Four tips for tackling your end of year communications

October 11, 2017

End of year commsThe malls have rolled out the decorations and the memes have started to be shared online, reminding us that there are this many days (and only this many weekends!) until Christmas. For some of us, this will bring joy and excitement. For others, possibly some dismay as to how another year has rolled by so quickly.

Although it’s tempting to pretend the silly season isn’t creeping up quite so quickly, this time of year holds great potential when it comes to your communications – and we don’t just mean sending your annual Christmas card to Aunt Mabel (although you should possibly get onto that soon too!)

The end of the year is the perfect time to not only recap on the fantastic year you’ve had and pay tribute to the clients, partners and staff who have supported you, it’s also a time to be organised – after all, you want to be able to relax and enjoy your time off without stressing about work during your break. So, while your mind might be frantically starting to assemble some of the things you need on your ‘to-do’ list before the jolly man pays us all a visit, take some time to consider our top tips for tackling your end of year communications.

  1. Plan in advance

You’ve worked hard all year to keep your communications regular, relevant, and consistent – and that doesn’t need to change now! You may be shutting up shop for a couple of weeks, but that’s no reason to go to ground. Technology abounds with scheduling tools so you can populate your social media with pre-planned posts, set your blog content to publish in your absence and have your newsletters scheduled to send automatically. It means a bit more work now, but it’s worth it to not let the balls drop over the holidays.

As well as pre-planning and scheduling content, you may have other tools that your clients or customers engage with, so make sure everything is in place for these to run smoothly before you shut up shop. It’s all about giving you piece of mind and ensuring they still have the best experience. Another great idea is to refresh your FAQs for the time of year, adding the answers to commonly asked questions in a way that’s easy to find and access. This will minimise the amount that people need to try to reach you directly over that period and let them know what they can expect.

  1. The content that works

It’s tempting to think that people don’t want to hear from you at this time of the year, but that’s usually not the case. In fact, in many ways, this is when they’ve got more time to devote to your content than before! However, bear in mind that you’re getting people while they are likely more relaxed, which means you want to keep your content fun, fresh, and relevant to the season and mood of your audience, so they’re more receptive.

No matter how you communicate normally, at this time of the year lighter-hearted content is generally a good way to go. Holiday wishes, or something more personal like your reflections on the year, or staff profiles that share what different members of your team are most looking forward to over the break are all great options. Consider a Christmas gift guide featuring some of your products, or compile your top tips for the beach, for example. Get your team together to brainstorm ideas, and while you should still find a way to reflect your brand and key messaging, what matters most now is simply staying top of mind clients over the holidays and as people start the new year.

  1. Give out some gratitude

Another excellent idea for communicating at this time of the year is sending your clients or suppliers a little piece of appreciation – after all, they are the reason your business is thriving. A Christmas card or small gift goes a long way or, for very special clients, find a meaningful way to say thanks. Think outside the box of your standard Christmas card and see if you can have a bit of fun with your brand, or find a way to surprise and delight them; try a personalised present or poem, a video or slideshow to recap the year, or a game that gets people engaged. You could even host clients for a special drink or lunch to show your appreciation and further strengthen your relationship. It’s worth the time it takes to truly leave an impression.

  1. Keep people in the loop

It’s fine to go off the grid in the holidays – in fact, we all need to occasionally – but make sure you’ve proactively communicated this. Clearly spell out your holiday dates to clients and key contacts to avoid bad feelings when they are unable to reach you. Set an out-of-office that communicates when you are back and, where possible, add an alternative contact for the time you are away. Do this a wee bit ahead of when you’re actually going on leave too, if possible – it can be amazing what extra work comes flooding in when you’ve said that you’re unavailable soon!

We get that this can be a busy time already without adding extra communications to your workload – so if you need any help creating clever content that speaks to your audience and tells your story, just get in touch!

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10 tips for coming up with fresh ideas for blog content constantly

September 18, 2017

Content ideas blog

We all (well, hopefully we all!) understand that when it comes to communications, we need to stay top of mind – which is why consistent communications are key. A few weeks ago we looked at why it’s so important to stay consistent, so now let’s look at how. Namely – when you’re talking to your customers every single week (or day!), how on earth do you come up with enough content ideas?

As storytellers, copywriters, and endless content creators, we’re constantly faced with the task of brainstorming and planning out content ideas (in fact, it’s one of our favourite things to do!) But when you have to do it for yourself, somehow it ends up much trickier! That’s why we’ve put together our best tips for how you can generate awesome blog topics with no trouble at all.

 

  1. Think of your FAQs

What are the questions your customers are asking on a regular basis? When you meet with a new prospect, what are the things you consistently have to answer? Are there things they don’t understand, or get particularly worried about? Or, on the other hand, are there things you WISH they knew before meeting with you? Think of your blog as a way of educating your prospects and customers; these topics make great posts that deliver real value when written well.

  1. Two brains are better than one

Don’t forget about your biggest asset when it comes to content ideas – your team. Try booking in a fun 20 minute brainstorm with the team to come up with as many ideas as possible. Not only does having fresh brains on the job help, you’ll usually find that each person has a unique take on different topics – perspectives that can be turned into unique blog posts!

Content ideas blog

  1. Tap into your network – and collaborate!

Who says that everything on your blog has to be written by you? Try tapping into your clients, suppliers, or networks to see if they might be keen to contribute to your blog as well.

A blog post written by them, an interview, or quotes from them incorporated into your own post – whatever form it takes, it’s a great way to show you appreciate them and their expertise. As long as it’s related to what you do, and relevant to your audience, it can also be a great way to save you from having to create content. Plus – they will generally then share it via their own communication channels (usually social media or enewsletters), which means you’re getting in front of a whole new audience!

  1. Use your data

Are you using Google Analytics? If not – why not? Make sure you know exactly which blog posts people are reading by checking out the stats on your Google Analytics account. Try to create new content based on the ones that have done well in the past. Did a how-to guide seem to resonate with people? What other how-to guides could you write? Or if particular topics seem to always do well – is there another angle you could take on that topic?

  1. Go back to your basics

Consider your key messages, or the main messages that you want to get across. Could one of them be explored more? How can you tell a story around that specific key message – could you show how you’re living that message through a case study or interview with a client? Or could you look more deeply into the problems your customers are facing to better illustrate why you’re needed?

Just a word of warning though – these types of posts can end up being a little too sales-y, so make sure you’re always asking yourself: “Is this providing my target audience with value?”

  1. What can you give an opinion on or add to?

With social media, we’re surrounded by news these days. But so many news items only look at the basics – which leaves a fantastic opportunity for you to provide an opinion, educate people about the topic, or add to the conversation with a well-timed, thoughtful blog post.

Try creating a Google Alert for topics that matter to you, and when things pop up that you think you could add to, you’re all set! Just aim to get it out quickly – the more timely the content, the more likely people with share and engage with it (don’t forget to get it out on social media quickly as well – and encourage people to comment and share their own opinions too!)

  1. Consider content themes

Blogs don’t just have to be one-offs either – try grouping some blog posts around a specific theme, such as the time of year, or a particular issue facing people. Whether it’s what you need to be looking at in the lead up to Christmas, a specific social issue that connects with what you do, or your own original theme, using a theme can often spark more ideas for content and force you to dig a little deeper.

Plus, in this world of fast content, a lot of people actually like being given the opportunity to fully engage with a thought-provoking topic. Perhaps that’s why the ideal length of a blog post takes about seven minutes to read (according to Buffer anyway!)

Blog content ideas & themes

  1. Share your findings

Have you done any research recently? Or do you collect data about your customers’ results? Could you regularly report on the findings from what you do? Is there a number or statistic that you could come out and share with people?

If you’re big on numbers, or happen to collect a lot of data, you could be in a great position to share findings based on that data – and the more impressive or surprising those stats are, the better! People love finding out surprising facts – or having the numbers tell them that they’re doing the right thing. Just be sure that you’re allowed to share any data or information before you put it out there!

  1. Make predictions

You’re an expert in what you do – so undoubtedly you’ll have some opinions about what’s coming up in your industry or field. Particularly at the end or start of the year, think about what you believe is going to change. Whether based on years of observation, lots of research, or gut instinct, people are interested in trends and knowing what you think is coming – so they can consider what might be changing too!

  1. Tell your story

Do people know who you are? Who your team are? Do they understand why you started the business in the first place or how you got to where you are today? If not, tell them! People do business with people they like and trust, so telling your own stories is a powerful way to build connections and start conversations with people. Don’t be afraid to show off your people!

 

So there you go ­– ten ways to find blog content ideas even when you feel like you’ve hit a brick wall! Just remember – keep it valuable and relevant and your customers will always appreciate it.

And if you need any help planning and writing awesome blog content – just get in touch!

Why specialise + the importance of owning your story once you’ve found your niche

August 31, 2017

Why specialise blog

Gone are the days when we should feel the need to be all things to all people – personally and professionally. But don’t worry, I get it. As many of us who have started businesses know, those lean, early days can turn even those of us with the best and most focused intentions into ‘Yes Men’ (or women!)

You’ll know what I’m talking about here if you are currently (or can remember back to when you were), a young business and you fielded requests from customers or potential customers that fell outside your core remit. My mouth would be saying “of course we can take care of that for you”, while my brain was thinking “Really? How?” We existed to make people’s lives easier and to go the extra mile, and that’s what we did… and it worked. For many years it worked, and we assembled a fantastic team of contractors and partners who enabled us to deliver all the periphery things that we took on.

However, you learn a lot of different things as you grow in business – and I think one of the key learnings is the importance of focus. Our incredible and trusted business advisor always says:  “When it comes to defining your business, and moving along the path to success, it’s just as important what you say no to, and what you don’t do, as what you do”.

People want to deal with the best, and it’s much easier to be the best when you know the one or two things that you’re freakin’ awesome at, and focus there. So, 2017 has been all about saying no. You would have heard us say this before, but it’s been about us going back to the core thing that we’re the best at (crafting incredible stories) and playing there, and there only.

That’s been our journey anyway – although I know we’re not alone in reaching this turning point. Some businesses even get the memo right from their outset; just look at the explosion of increasingly niche businesses in more recent years. From tighter targeting, to more potential to tap into influencers, there are a range of benefits when it comes to marketing to a niche audience.

However, I’m not just talking about businesses that do something for a very specific group of people here. Your market might still be relatively broad, like ours, but the thing that you do, or provide, could be increasingly specific. Either way you’ve found your niche; you’ve figured out where you want to play, so the next step is determining how you are going to win there.

I’ll leave the overall business pep talk to the strategists and the business coaches – what we’re concerned with here are stories. Once you’ve found your niche you need to cement your story. Strong brands – and strong businesses – know what they’re about and communicate that in a compelling and consistent way. There’s the prized elevator pitch – the short and sweet way you sum up what you do in the time it would take you to ascend 10 floors. But there are also all the stories that sit around and behind that too – the ones that show, time and again, what makes you special and different. The ones that bring your values to life and really resonate with people.

When you have a fixed focus, those stories become more important than ever in helping you to stand out in the crowd. Used both internally, and to your market, they become the narrative that determines how your customers and potential customers see you, and how your business feels from the inside… pretty powerful stuff!

We’re passionate about helping cool companies to craft their compelling stories so, if you’d like some help in this area, we’d love to chat.

Eco-content: When it’s OK to recycle

August 16, 2017

Eco-content blog 1

Anyone who is operating in the digital space, or knows anything about SEO will know that regurgitating content is not much use; when it comes down to it, putting the same exact article in lots of different places rarely helps – Google just puts its blinders on. However, there is a time and a place for recycling content, and it can be done in a way that works to a brand’s advantage. The way we see it, there are two key purposes – and we’ve outlined these below.

Control and consistency of your story

In an over-saturated market, the brands and businesses that stand out are the ones that know what it is that makes them special and different, and communicate that effectively. Only a cursory look at the current pre-election chaos is needed to demonstrate the disillusionment, and lack of trust, that the public (read: your market) feels when a story and key messages seem unclear.

We’ve long known that a strong brand is crystal clear on what it’s about, but we are – now, more than ever – seeing the importance of a business crafting its narrative in a way that consistently reinforces those messages. Great pieces of content contribute to your narrative; they demonstrate what makes you special in a way that moves people to think, feel and act in a particular way. And those pieces of content are powerful.

People need to see a message consistently, in a range of different ways and places, and at various times, to get it. As you tell your story and invite your customers and prospects to truly ‘get’ you, great bits of content provide the cornerstone foundation for this. You can be creative about it, but don’t be afraid to say the same thing more than once.

Getting maximum marketing mileage

When written well and reflecting all of your key messages, a little content can go a long way. If you’ve carefully crafted a key portion of your story, tell it and keep telling it. We have so many great channels for communication, and touchpoints with customers and prospects, at our fingertips nowadays, and a strong piece of content should be able to be leveraged across many of them.

Avoid making the mistake of merely copying and pasting though. To maximise your marketing mileage from a piece of content in the optimal way, you need to consider your audience, and the different way that those people interact with each channel, so that you can tailor your content accordingly.

For example, people bring a different attention span to an online publication that they have opted to read than they would when they’re engaging with social media (not to mention their varied expectations of different social media channels). Or, another example may be that you have used an article as a blog post, and then receive the opportunity to include it as a thought leadership piece in another organisation’s newsletter. You could just flick off a carbon copy of your original article, but your piece will get better results if you think about the types of people reading this specific newsletter, and do a small amount of tweaking to increase the relevance of your article to them.

Eco-content: Recycling like the pros

Clever copywriters know how take the compelling parts of a story and craft content that is optimised for use across a range of different channels. This allows you to achieve better bang for your buck and maximise the value you get from an investment in great content (and it is just that – an investment!) Not only that, it also helps you achieve a consistent brand voice, increases the chance of people buying into your story, as well as enabling you to control the conversation you are having with your market.

 

 

 

 

 

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Why consistency is key to using content to control a conversation with your market

August 2, 2017

Regular comms blog-2

When it comes to communications, consistency is key. No matter how dazzling and perfect a piece of content is, nowadays, it’s no longer enough to do something once and pray that it will work.

Don’t get us wrong, we’re all for wonderful content; in fact, we believe that businesses can most effectively communicate with their audiences when they’re telling interesting and valuable stories. That said, we also understand that if you want to win in your chosen space, you have to proactively and strategically drive the conversation that you’re having with your market.

To do that, however, takes time.

Time to uncover and craft compelling stories that help people understand what makes a business or brand special and different.

Time to connect and build up trust with your customers and prospective market.

Time to regularly demonstrate your expertise, build your credibility, gain trust and provide your audience with the confidence that you will consistently give them value.

Time (and consistency) also allow you to improve; over time you can learn from your mistakes, as well as what you’re doing well. If you’re communicating regularly, over time you can see the type of engagement you’re getting, gauge responses, and make tweaks as you go to improve the way that you’re communicating.

Whether it be in the blog space, through a printed magazine or newsletter, or on social media, or through online and digital marketing, it’s more important than ever that you’re consistently getting your message out, and consistently communicating with the people who will help your business grow.

We’ve seen time and time again what happens when businesses are haphazard and spasmodic with their communications; they wonder why their efforts aren’t converting and why they’re not gaining the momentum they desire. Simply scheduling your communications with a content plan allows you to strategically consider the conversation you’re crafting with your market, driving increased conversions from captive consumers.

Let great content build your reputation and earn you the trust of your market. Add your expertise and your narrative to the dialogue that already exists around your corner of the market, with a confident and consistent brand voice.

Magic happening inside… Intelligent Ink’s got a new HQ!

July 20, 2017

You may have seen the news on our social channels, or noticed that we updated the ‘Contact’ page of the website but, either way, we can now happily announce that Intelligent Ink has a new HQ!

After four years in our central city loft-style space, we’ve escaped the CBD (and accompanying roadworks) and headed up to Ponsonby (4B Blake St, to be exact). True to the brand, we’ve found another cute character space that suits us perfectly and we’re nestled near some other cool boutique businesses, including our lovely design friends, Mount Deluxe.

For you, this simply means that it’s even easier than before for you to come and visit. With heaps of street parking available (and no longer the ascent up 3 flights of stairs!) our new digs are well set up for hosting. We made sure we bought our extensive tea collection with us, and we’ve got the goods to make great coffee too… (it’s the important things, you know!)

We’re also happy to be creating a cool space for communications workshops. Our work sees us, more and more, working with brands to drill down to their story and key messages, coordinating content calendars that allow a business to control the conversation that they’re having with their market in a consistent and ongoing way. Our new creative space is perfect for taking clients along on this journey…

We’re excited about what the rest of the year holds (how is it already more than halfway gone though?!) for Intelligent Ink and the next steps in our journey. A special thank you to everyone who has been a part of our story over the last 6½ years and we can’t wait to meet all of you who will also be a part of where we’re going. We look forward to seeing you soon in our new space; don’t be shy!

Intelligent Ink content marketing & storytelling

Work the web: How to make your digital marketing succeed

July 6, 2017

Digital Marketing - Photo by William Iven on Unsplash

Gone are the days of simply having a website for your new business. These days your Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Website and Google account should all be linked together. But how do you know your business will even be seen in the vast and ever-changing worldwide web’s search engine? It’s most definitely not a case of ‘build it and they will come’ any longer (if it ever indeed was!) Sound daunting? Don’t fret, we have some tips on how to set your business up online in the most efficient way.

 

SEO AND CONTENT

Cathy Mellett Digital MarketerSEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation. The best way to ensure your business is popping up first on Google, Yahoo!, Bing and other search engines is by using clear and relevant keywords within your online content. Cathy Mellett, owner of digital marketing agency Net Branding, explains the only way potential customers will find you via search is with “exceptionally high-quality content.” We can definitely back this up, considering content is our love and speciality.  But prior to content, make sure you’ve got a long-term website and digital SEO strategy in place so all your efforts have an identified goal and purpose.

When it comes to content, it’s important to identify your keyword/root words; words that will always cross over your content to ensure consistency, and loyal searchers. “Your headings and meta descriptions should make the value you’re offering crystal clear upfront,” adds Cathy.

Then make sure you create content regularly. Although many of the pages on your website will remain relatively static, make sure there is at least a section – like a blog or news area – where you are regularly adding new content. This not only gives your readers a reason to keep coming back, but it will also help you maintain a higher spot in search results, as Google re-indexes your site for each new piece of content. Keeping your business optimised for search engines is a long-term commitment but let’s face it; if you’re not showing up when people are searching for your product or services, what’s the point of having a website?

 

WHEN IT COMES TO CONTENT, MIX IT UP

Let’s say, for instance, you’re running an online shoe business. Customers won’t merely limit themselves to only searching “shoes” when looking for a new pair, that’s far too broad. When we’re looking for shoes, we generally know what we want, so we likely search a brand, style, or even a colour too. It’s important that you always include specific and concise root keywords when producing content, to open up your business for differing search opportunities. This further supports the importance of frequently creating content, as you can explore different search terms and trends, without obviously “keyword stuffing” on one page. Don’t be afraid to have a bit of fun with your content!

 

INTEGRATION IS KEY

Search engine optimisation is one important piece of the puzzle, but it’s not your entire digital marketing story. Be sure to embrace the other channels you have at your fingertips, such as social promotion, email marketing, and Pay Per Click advertising. While many businesses are using a range of channels, Cathy believes what is becoming ever more important, in order to win online, is an integrated approach. “Don’t look at your digital presence in silos – with social media here, the website there and your SEO or online advertising strategy there,” Cathy explains.

“All businesses are different, but digital has evolved into a platform whereby all the functions can come together and work synergistically towards an organisation’s key objectives. Look at where you are now and where you want to go, and look at how you can best make sure you add your voice to the conversation.”

 

Digital Marketing Company Net BrandingTHERE’S NO ONE ANSWER FOR EVERYONE

There’s no point doing the same thing as everyone else if it doesn’t work for you – and not everything will! For some people, regular blogs shared via social media might be the answer, while for other businesses a more advertising-based focus could be right. “Depending on the business’s focus and urgency, other solutions such as Google Adwords and other online advertising options could be explored,” says Cathy, who’s just been over at digital marketing conferences in London. The important thing is to find out what works for you. Which brings us to…

 

YOU DON’T NEED TO DO ALL THE WORK YOURSELF

It’s important to invest in digital marketing for it to work for you, but this doesn’t all have to be at the expense of your time and upskilling. A digital marketing expert can help you ensure your online platforms are offering a cohesive brand presence and performing as well as they should. Likewise, you’re in the business of whatever it is that you do best, not that of creating content, so trust the experts here to curate your brand voice and drive a conversation with your market.

Keen to make sure your content and digital marketing are working for you? Just get in touch – we love working with experts like Net Branding to make sure your content gets the eyes it deserves!

 

Communicating your brand: How to fortify what makes you special

June 22, 2017

Brand blog

We all know the stuff of brands; it’s the unique design, sign, symbol, words – or combination of these things – that together create an organisation’s image. This image, and the story that you tell, helps people to identify your organisation’s product and differentiate it from your competitors. If your brand is proactively built, and positively sustained, over time it accumulates credibility, quality, trust and value in the mind of the consumer. As a result, it helps consumers identify the benefits of one organisation over another.

In all manners of business, a strong, positive brand is essential. However, creating a valuable brand is not a simple and static process; your brand must be constantly looked at to ensure it stays relevant and continues to increase in value. Simply having a nice logo isn’t enough. If you want to establish and fortify your own business’s brand, you must first develop a clear and uniform understanding of your brand identity and, with this understanding, develop a brand strategy for how you’ll best communicate just what makes your business so amazing.

 

Foster your brand

All businesses’ brand identities are determined by their business plan. So, to create and maintain a strong brand strategy, you need to keep an eye on what your businesses goals and aspirations are. Defining a clear brand strategy from your business goals will help you to develop, deliver and manage the brand going forward.

To develop a brand strategy, consider the 3 Ps (Purpose, Potential, and Promise):

  • Purpose: What is the purpose of your brand and business? What does it value?
  • Potential: Realistically consider your ability to achieve your brand goals. For instance, if you aspire to be the top performer in your industry, do you have the time, money and resources to achieve that? Create your own niche and unique position in the market in comparison to the competition.
  • Promise: What do you have to offer to your audience and how are you going to deliver this? What makes you stand out from your competitors? How do you fulfil the brand’s purpose within your potential?

 

Understand the organisation’s goals, ambitions, and capabilities

To further establish and maintain a successful brand identity, be very clear on your organisation’s goals, ambitions and capabilities. Some key things to consider include: What do you want the business to be? Is it that already? If not, how can you become that? Or, if it is, how do you communicate what makes your business special to your customers?

The answers to these questions will allow you to develop an in-depth understanding of the business’ current situation, where it wants to be and what it can achieve.  Whilst doing this, ruthlessly assess what the business really is, considering what is good and bad about it. Only by honestly assessing the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats to your organisation, can you develop a brand communication strategy that will improve the business.

 

Consider your customer

Another key component to building and maintaining a strong brand within today’s competitive market is understanding your customer – what they need and want. The customer should be at the forefront of your mind when you are developing your brand because they are your most important supporter. Before you can communicate your brand message to them, you need to ensure that it appeals to them and will be unique within the current market. Today’s market is incredibly competitive and your brand needs to have some sort of X factor – that can be positioned along with your unique story – to cut through. It’s all about figuring out what your point of difference is and owning it!

 

The product isn’t everything

When it comes to building, and maintaining, a brand it’s not just about having a good product or service and distributing it. The brand’s story must be brought to life in everything the business does, including its products or services, price point, packing, staff, stores or distribution methods, communications, and corporate social responsibility activities.

On a similar note, however, don’t try to be everything to everyone. Even the best brands understand that they can’t appeal to everyone, so they develop an intimate understanding of their distinct target audience. Essentially, in everything you do, develop a unique position and stand for something.

 

Love your brand

A brand is something that needs constant TLC to maintain its value and credibility in the market. To do this, everyone involved in the business must be involved and present. A brand identity should be treated like a living, organic thing that must be sustained and nurtured, otherwise it withers and dies. This is especially true in today’s digital age, where business never sleeps and social media connects everyone 24/7.

People can now engage with an organisation at any time, from anywhere and information can spread globally in an instant. As a result, social media should be constantly monitored and utilised to protect and share your brand. Depending on how it is used, it can be an incredibly powerful tool for accumulating supporters and/or opposition.

 

Businesses today need to be vigilant and constantly monitor their story and how people feel about them so they can quickly respond to issues and share positive developments. This also applies to all aspects of a business and its communications. Constant monitoring, in-depth planning and proactive action will develop and maintain a strong brand, which paves the way to successful business.

If you want to look at how you can better communicate what makes your brand special, get in touch! We’d love to chat.

 

 

 

Where is the future of content marketing heading?

May 24, 2017

We might still be fairly sprightly here at Intelligent Ink, but sometimes even we feel old – and never more so than upon realising that, tech savvy as our generation is, we’ve got nothing on the kids finishing school now.

Future of content marketing blog

Meet Generation Alpha. The newest generational group to join the purchasing world, they’ve created one of the largest demographic shifts since the Baby Boomer generation. Coined as ‘screenagers’, these customers are tech natives. Having grown up with technology being seamlessly integrated into their lives, it is no longer considered a tool but rather a necessity. A seven-year-old can probably navigate a smartphone as well as a millennial! Suddenly tablets are replacing teddy bears, text messages are replacing passing notes, and landlines and phone books have already become historical items.

So what does that mean for business? In particular, as new generational groups gain purchasing power, how do content marketers adapt their strategy in order to successfully target each group? A strategy that works well at targeting Baby Boomers won’t necessarily be as effective for the next generation.

To evolve with the generational changes, we’re expecting a few changes when it comes to content:

Interactive content

Interactive content is not a new development, but it’s becoming more and more popular in the sphere of content marketing. Gen Alphas have an incredibly short attention span of only 8 seconds; that’s shorter than most snapchats! To remain competitive and to get the attention of this segment you need to be able to hook your audience and give them immediate value. There will still be a place for traditional content marketing, although the use of visual aids and connective messages will grab more attention as a new facet of interactive content is on the horizon.

 

Personalisation

We’ve seen this trend evolve with both millennial and generation Z, but personalisation will become increasingly popular for Gen Alpha consumers. You can get your name embroidered or attached to consumer goods, create a Barbie that looks like your twin and have advertisements that are tailored to your search history pop up in front of you. Personalisation will go further in the coming years with interactions with big brands needing to be all about the individual customer. To lead the way in this, it should feel as though the individual is the sole person who is being targeted with a particular message.

 

Extra-long or extra-short

Engaging content that will hook the audience will either be extremely short or lengthy and in-depth.

With the two extremities in length comes a rethink to your overall strategy. Can your message be translated in a short, concise, snappy message that is most likely to be delivered over social media? Or is your message compelling enough to be in the form of a lengthy story? If your content is worth reading, customers will go beyond their typical 8 second attention spam to gain value and share articles.

One thing will never change about creating good content – and that is that, to be truly effective, you must take into account who you’re talking to. The first step in writing any content is to think about who you’re trying to target – if it’s a B2B customer, are they the business owner or perhaps the problem owner further down the chain? If you’re talking to consumers, are you talking to an early 40s mother who works and is always busy, or to a teenager in Generation Alpha who is used to getting everything instantaneously and spends their life on their phone? Considering who you’re talking to will help you define your key messaging, tone, channels used, and even (as we’ve said), the length, helping you grab the attention of these tech natives, share your story, and connect with your audience.

 

It won’t be long until these digital natives become the new customers. Now, more than ever, businesses need to be thinking about adapting to digital processes, and focusing on customising the experience of each user. Get ready!

 

On to the next chapter – what comes next after an internship

May 4, 2017

Our most recent intern, Caitlin, has just finished up with us – so we asked her to put together her thoughts on the internship and where she’s at now. It’ll probably be a familiar feeling to many people at the start of their careers!

16903334_1428732050471804_5320167433750120684_oI’ve spent the past 3 months as an Intelligent Ink Intern – writing countless blogs, articles and website content and, now suddenly, I’m left with the task of writing my final blog post detailing my internship and my mind is blank. Seriously, there’s nothing in there. Writer’s block decided to come and hit me on my final day. Awesome. Despite this, I’ll push through and follow some helpful advice from my friend Dory, but instead of swimming, I’ll just keep writing, writing, writing.

It’s a strange thought that I’m still coming to grips with; I was once a high school student, then a university student, now I’m an intern, but after today I have no title. Instead I’m left trying to figure out what I want to do.

When I was younger I was constantly asked, “What do you want to be when you’re older?” I would always answer, “A fairy,” and my naive 5-year-old mind thought that it was a viable career option. Anything was possible when you were younger. You could be anything you wanted to be. Why has that changed? Granted, I don’t think being a fairy and flying around all day is too realistic. But that younger self mindset of ‘I can do anything’ is the best one to have when you’re still trying to figure it all out.

Despite having no clue about what I actually want to do career wise, I definitely have a clue about what I don’t want to do, and that’s anything that involves math! And I have an inkling about what I love doing – passions that have ignited over the years and been further developed during my time here at Intelligent Ink.

Over the weeks of being an Intelligent Ink Intern I’ve learnt A LOT! More than I could have ever imagined.

Stepping into this internship was a big dive into the deep end; I was entering into the ‘real world’! However, I’ve learnt that going outside of your comfort zone, and confronting situations that make you nervous, is something that should be embraced! If I said no to everything that I thought I couldn’t do, I wouldn’t have learnt half as much as I did during my internship. Instead, I said “yes” to every opportunity.

No one loves criticism, but instead of shoving it aside and not daring to look at it anymore, I’ve learnt to turn the feedback into pointers for my following articles. In three months you want to learn and absorb as much as possible and that can’t be achieved if you’re not open to helpful, constructive suggestions.
Writing used to be a mundane, chore-like task at university. Sitting down to write an academic essay was a nightmare. I remember when I was younger creating stories and writing for myself was a rush. And far from writing everyday becoming a chore during my internship, it’s the complete opposite; I come into the office eager to write and loving every second of it! You have days where you’re completely unmotivated to write one sentence but the end result of ticking the task off your checklist and seeing your words in print or up on a website drives the desire to finish everything to a high standard.

If you asked me to name what I loved most about my time at Intelligent Ink and what I’ll be taking away from this experience, it’s my love for writing that has been reignited and the vast improvements I have made over the weeks I’ve been here. For this, I am truly grateful for the guidance and support Verity and Christina have given me during my internship.

Right now, there are so many avenues of my life that are undecided. Usually this would scare me, but instead everything is wide open and I’m excited to chase opportunities wherever they may lead.

So, I’m leaving Intelligent Ink with no title, just a recent graduate with some practical experience under her belt and a heart full of curiosity, ready see where the future leads.

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