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Five Steps to Successful Content Marketing
Content marketing is a golden opportunity gain credible, relevant engagement with readers.

Ultimately, content marketing will create action.

Your strategy will ensure that you steer people towards the behaviour you require from them.

Our last blog looked at why you should consider content marketing for your business. This time, we look at the five key steps involved with bringing it to life and generating results.  


Steps for Successful Content Marketing:

1. Who do you want to engage with?

Planning is crucial. Who is your target audience? What channels are they active within? (Take a look at our comments about the choice of social media channels, for example. Use the most relevant ones.) 

2. What do you want your content marketing to achieve?

You need to set SMART objectives, (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Time Bound). Your content marketing goals can involve:
  • Engagement
  • Website traffic
  • Search engine positioning
  • Brand awareness
  • Sales (long term)
For example: ‘We will deliver general interest marketing information relating to small and medium sized business operations. This will involve bi-weekly blog posts and daily Twitter activity. The outcome target is X new followers, Y shares/likes and Z blog page views per month, to be reviewed in March 2015.’

Remember you need to measure the impact of your content marketing activity. Note your baseline regarding connections, visits, engagement, (shares, comments, likes etc.) and website performance (Google Analytics is available to all). Changes can now be easily identified.

3. Resources

Who will be responsible for your content marketing? You need a consistent style as well as regular, relevant content, enhancing your branding and position within the market. Will you recruit or outsource, or find the time internally?

It’s also a great idea to have bank of information to draw upon.” There’s nothing worse than looking at a blank screen and feeling under pressure to create compelling content in a tight timescale” says Dawn Wills from Decisions Marketing. “Try bookmarking relevant web pages, creating a folder to keep emails that inspire you or even a note pad with ideas for topics.”

4. Go live!

With everything thought through and in place, it’s time to start publishing your content. Remember that content marketing is a long term marketing tool. To work, it needs to be:
  • Informative
  • Relevant
  • Interesting
  • Regular
  • Engaging (remember to respond to readers’ reactions)
  • VISIBLE (how will you make sure that people see your content?) 

5. Success?

Keep an eye on responses to your content, linking this back to your goals and metrics (see point 2 above). Content marketing can be fun, yet time consuming. You need to know that it’s earning its keep whilst acknowledging that it’s predominantly a long term activity.

Lastly, think through the impact of success upon your resources. Are you ready for prompt follow up?

Want to know more? Contact us for an informal discussion. Let's get content marketing working for you.
Writing for the Web
Today’s marketing requires a mix of online and traditional channels of communication.

It’s right to be consistent in what we say to our target customers; regarding message and style. But can we use the same wording? No.

Why should copywriting adapt for the web?

People read screens and pages differently. What you write needs to respect that online, readers will:
  • Have less time
  • Scan for relevant information before settling into the content
  • Have a different viewing pattern
So, your message may be the same, but online content will need its own version.

If we get our words right, we can create action. In marketing terms, the action we’re aiming for is engagement, via connection, conversation and/or sales.

Six top tips for effective online writing:

  1. Simple, short sentences. No more than 15 words, ideally 12… it’s tough, but it works!
  2. Succinct paragraphs with no more than five lines. Help people to scan as they want to.
  3. Use bulleted lists. Again for the scanners; they’re visually inviting too.
  4. Write directional text, with links. This is your conversation with the reader and your chance to encourage action. ‘Contact us’, ‘download free guide’, ‘sign up for our top tips’ are good examples.
  5. F style. People read online across the top of the screen, left to right, then down in the shape of the letter ‘F’. Respect this with your key content. (It also explains website menu positions.)
  6. Keyword positioning.  Blend what we know about search engine optimisation with online reading habits. Position a select number of keywords within your copy. It’s difficult to know column widths online (far easier with printed media). Position your chosen keywords at the start of each paragraph; early within the first sentence. They’ll be picked up by search engines and human readers alike.
To summarise: be clear, be brief, be relevant.

Getting your words right is tremendously powerful; influencing the action of others. For more tips about copywriting, follow us on Twitter. Or contact us for a chat. 
Press Release Pointers

What is a press release?

A press release is a piece of news sent to publishers of printed or online titles for possible use within their ‘space’. The good news is that a press release can gain free, credible exposure for your business. In fact, it’s a free tool that absolutely any business can use.


How do I write a press release?

We suggest writing notes against these open questions – it’s our starting point every time:
  • Who
  • Why
  • What
  • Where
  • When
  • How
This will give the editors everything they need to know; ideally captured in around 200 - 250 words. In addressing these points, make your news current, relevant and… as factually dramatic as possible!  
As with any marketing tool, always bear in mind who you are writing for, and what you want to say about your business.


Where do I send my press release?

Think about your target audience. You want to publish interesting news to them. So do the journalists… so help them do their job! Select the titles and websites that your target customers read or visit. If in doubt, research your market. Avoid the trap of placing your news in trade press for your competitors – not your potential clients – to see.


Top Tips for press releases:

  1. Include quotes – it brings your piece to life.
  2. Send images – pictures catch the eye and therefore attention.
  3. Remember there is never guaranteed coverage or copy control.
  4. Don’t be bullied into advertising. A credible press release doesn’t need it.
  5. Forget a sales pitch – it simply won’t get published.
Need some help? Contact us if you would like to discuss copywriting or a media list for your public relations activity.   
Web Pages that Generate Leads
Generally, your digital marketing tools will be designed to drive traffic to website pages. ​Each initial landing page should be relevant to your marketing content within other activities.

With most websites offering a content management system, you can easily 
tailor copy and optimisation to amplify your marketing message.  

All landing pages should contain key components to help generate leads from digital marketing campaigns. The points below describe recommended components. 

1.    This includes reinforcing a definite, core marketing message.

2.    To reassure the visitor, the ‘what’s in it for me?’ question should be clearly answered with offers, USP and endorsements. 

3.    If sales are offline so the ‘call to action’ should lead visitors to service information (e.g. first marketing meeting free), clear navigation and minimal clicks

4.    To progress the sales process, the webpage must encourage engagement with directional copy and clickable buttons.

5.    Social media connection and sharing encourages future engagement and lead generation.

6.    Action is encouraged via ‘call to action’ words (e.g. signup, download) with short, direct messages or persuasive copy directly above the ‘call to action’ words or button. Copywriting should incorporate key words and phrases, with clear engaging headlines (H1, H2).

7.    Clearly visible contact information should be on every page, (variety of methods).

Essential for Decisions Marketing is a ‘sign up’ button, gaining ‘opt in’ information for future communication. ‘Terms and privacy’ statements offer reassurance and engagement about providing details.  These are ideal for engagement and lead generation.

Is your website working for you? We offer a website review which assesses the design, wording, optimisation and conversion potential of your current site. Ask us for more details… we’re here to help.
Content Marketing. Why Bother?
Content marketing is relevant and available to all businesses – any size, any sector.

It aims to inform, to motivate readers rather than overtly sell.

What does it involve? Why is content marketing important?

This blog looks at what this tool is and what it offers… 


What is content marketing?

In essence, content marketing is a marketing activity which creates and shares free information to engage with target customers. Blogging, ‘how to’ guides, social media posts, e-books, webinars… all are popular formats for content marketing.

In reality, it’s always been at the heart of marketing. The explosion of internet activity – especially blogging and social media – has seen it become extremely current. The UK content marketing industry is worth over £900 million.

The Content Marketing Institute offers deeper definition:
“Content marketing is a marketing technique of creating and distributing valuable, relevant and consistent content to attract and acquire a clearly defined audience – with the objective of driving profitable customer action."

As with any marketing activity, it’s the planning and preparation that’s key rather than simply writing and posting content.

Best of all, it works.  


Content marketing - why bother? 

There are three distinct advantages involved which are relevant to every business, large and small:

•    Credibility – demonstrating your knowledge, experience and passion for your business sector gains huge credibility. Be warned – this is quickly undone if always linked to sales messages. Compelling content will motivate readers and assist the buying process on its own.

•    Connections – tapping into the interests of your target customers will ‘connect’ with new contacts and reinforce existing relationships. Your content should always be interesting and relevant, then people will want to read – and share – it. The ultimate aim of any content marketing is to engage with readers. 

•    Cost – content marketing can be very, very cost effective. Many businesses (62%) outsource content creation to save time. It’s that old chestnut of whether you do it yourself, or involve others so that you can concentrate on what you do best within your business. The main point is that this choice is available to all. Content marketing doesn’t have to cost a penny. 

Convinced that content marketing is a good idea? Great!

Read our blog to see how to create a practical content marketing strategy – and make it happen.

If you want to know more or would like a hand with developing your content, let us know.

You’ll be amazed at how many great ideas can come out of a brainstorming discussion! 
Time Saving Twitter Tips
Twitter has gained huge popularity, but what are the best ways to get it working for your business?

Here are our top five suggestions to keep your time and your tweets in check:

1. Be relevant – people don’t want to hear weather updates or their horoscope from your tweets. Make your content interesting and relevant; simply the best way to gain followers, website visits and who knows… sales. (Our web designer colleague gains regular work from Twitter.)

2. Volume – research shared by the Chartered Institute of Marketing shows that more than three tweets a day could easily disengage your followers. Go for the ‘little and often’ approach

3. Re-tweets – research shows that asking for ‘please retweet’ rather than ‘RT’ gets a better response from Twitter-users. (51% compared to 39%, HubSpot) Please don’t lose manners by cutting 140 character corners.

4. Timing – whilst Hootsuite will tell you that 12pm – 3pm is the best time to send a tweets, when will your market have a chance to see them? At Decisions Marketing, we’re big research fans. But – data must be interpreted with your own target customers in mind before you make changes to what you’re doing.    

5. Following – the same with any social media, before sharing content and following Twitter users, check to see if their content is relevant to you or your followers. If not, don’t do it.Hopefully, the above tips will help save some Twitter time for you.

One last thought – if time is tight, consider working with someone to create your content for you; to give it that perfect blend of interesting, relevant and personable… with a subtle sales edge too. We can help – why not arrange a free discussion?

Lastly, if any of you are not already using planning tools to help your Twitter feed, why not?! Free tools such as Hootsuite and Tweetdeck are saviours of time and sanity. For regular marketing tips such as these, please connect with us on Twitter. See you there!