The E’s have it: Four tips for mastering digital content

17581283684_34eb0d5c25_b
Use those bright ideas to get and keep your audience’s attention.

Times have changed. Gone are the days of being limited to receiving news at six in the evening, or being tethered to the kitchen wall when talking to a friend on the phone. We are in the age of smart phones now, and that means less limitations. Now, news is available in a few taps on your screen and texting allows us to communicate freely with people. But with smart phones comes a new era of marketing. Mobile marketing. This means thinking outside of the traditional marketing box and coming up with unique ways to reach your audience via their mobile device. How? The four E’s of digital content strategy, that’s how.

Engage:

The first step is gaining your audience’s attention and interest. A popular way to do this with mobile marketing is location-based discounts. The concept is simple, a user’s phone recognizes when they’re near your business and a coupon pops up. Easy, right? If they’re right there anyway, and they’re getting a deal, it increases their chances of coming in. Once you’ve engaged them, let them work for you. Make your content easily shareable to various online platforms so that your new customers will be able to share their experience with friends. RingPartner offers some useful tips on these and other strategies for engaging your audience.

Educate:

Once you have your audience’s attention, you need to be able to hold it. One way to do this is to provide knowledge to your audience. People are curious in nature, and if offered a learning opportunity in an interesting way, they will take it. Think blogs, how-to videos, or even an app. Give them a solution to something, give them information and they will come back for more. The sky is the limit here, so get creative. Not sure where to start? Convince&Convert gives examples of real businesses and their education strategies.

Entertain:

Another great way to hold your audience’s attention is to entertain them. I mean, who doesn’t like to be entertained? Most of us enjoy movies, books, music, etc. Use this to your advantage. Videos can go viral because of their entertainment value, so use them in your marketing. Bonus: they are easily shared so you can get new engagement this way too. But don’t rely solely on videos every time you want to entertain your audience. Find other ways to provide enjoyment to your audience. ClickZ suggests comics as another outlet to make your message exciting.

Evangelize:

As discussed with engagement, use your current audience to get you a new audience. Get those already engaged and involved as a consumer to speak for you. After all, even in this digital era, word of mouth is still the best way to gain new interest. Digital content just makes it easier to spread the word. With a single click one person can share your information with hundreds of people. For an in-depth look at evangelism marketing, check out marketing-schools.org.

With these four strategies, the digital world is your oyster. So get out there and start finding some pearls.

Soaring on social media: Tips for using Twitter

By Cassandra Secord

tweetcloud
In a sea of tweets, make yours stand out.

In recent years, social media has taken over. It’s rare now to find someone who doesn’t engage in the online world via Facebook, Twitter, and the like. With almost everyone engaged online, reaching your target audience through social media is obvious. What’s less obvious though is how to do that.

With so many social media sites to choose from, it can be hard to decide which one is the best to engage your audience. Facebook is one of the most used social networks, but it shouldn’t be the only one you use. Using Twitter, a micro-blogging site, can also be beneficial to your business. The limited word count on Twitter means messages need to be short and concise. This makes messages¬†easier for your audience to scan. But with only 140 characters to play with, how do you get your message across?

First, keep in mind that just because you have 140 characters, it doesn’t mean the you have to use them all. Shorter tweets are easier for the internet audience to digest. People are becoming more use to small bites of information, and tend to not read long articles or posts. So even though you are already limited, a short, snappy tweet will stand out among longer ones.

According to sproutsocial, shorter tweets are also more likely to get retweeted. Most users use RT to signify a retweet, as well as citing your Twitter handle. A longer tweet could make it impossible to use this format, as they may not have enough characters left to do so. It also leaves room for users to include their own comments.

To answer the question of how to write a short tweet, I suggest you look to JakeCanDo. They have a list of methods you can use to keep your tweets concise. Some of their best tips are to limit yourself to one message per tweet. Trying to share many ideas in under 140 characters is just going to be too much, so pick one and save the rest for later. Another good tip is to write long at first, then edit it to be short after. Once all your ideas are down, you can go back through and start making your language more concise.

Now that we’ve talked about shortening your tweets, let’s focus on another strategy. Photos. Twitter’s blog actually states that tweets containing photos receive 313% more engagement. Including a visual not only makes it easier to catch people’s attention, but also says a lot. Short tweets are great, but photos add some variety and are a great way to get around the word limit. Photos tell their own story, so even though you have few words, an image will speak for you.

There are many tips and tricks for improving your Twitter presence. These two are some of the easiest and most engaging. Now it’s time to use them, so fly on over to your Twitter page, create your own engaging tweet, and watch it soar.

 

Put more you in your website

pencils_with_personality
Colour your website with personality.

By Cassandra Secord

Having a website for your business or organization is now a necessity. After all, we live in a world where if it doesn’t happen online, then did it really happen at all? Yes, websites have become essential, but how do you even begin to create one?

When it comes to creating your website there is so much to consider: layout, colour, content, even search engine optimization (SEO). But don’t get overwhelmed. The key to a great website is creativity.

So hear me out, I’m not saying to ignore design principles, quality content, or SEO tools. I’m saying that there’s no magic formula for these things and that putting some personality and passion behind them will help.

When I was younger my dad asked me a question.

“Say you’re making good money and buy yourself a two-seat sports car. You come to a stop beside a bus stop and look over to see the love of your life, your best friend, and an elderly woman who is ill and trying to get to the hospital. What do you do?”

Of course, I told him I would give the old lady a ride to the hospital. Surely my best friend and true love would understand. It’s what I thought he wanted to hear- what I thought anyone would want to hear. But his answer was different.

“I would give the keys to my friend, let them drive the woman to the hospital, and sit there and enjoy the time with the love of my life.”

I told him I didn’t know that was an option. He told me he had been thinking outside the box.

Okay, a touching story, but what does it have to do with website design?

Well, I gave my father the answer I thought he wanted, but it was a generic answer, there was no ‘me’ in it. His answer, it gave what everyone wanted, to get the elderly woman to the hospital, but it also was unique to him. His personality shone through in his choice.

This is what designing a website is like. You have to consider what your users want. What layout works for them? What content do they want to see? What are they searching for online? But once you’ve figured all of that out, you need to include a piece of yourself in it too.

So how do you do that? Well there are a lot of ways. ICF offers a short list of simple ways to incorporate your personality, including your about page, your colour choice, and your writing style. Or if you’re feeling a little more ambitious, check out these unexpected ways to add your personality. Error messages, pop-ups, loading pages, the possibilities are endless.

Okay, these are all fun, but don’t forget about your content. Content is king, after all.

First, avoid writing like a robot. No one wants that. Yes, this is professional communication, but you’re still human. Allow your emotions to show through (to an extent, let’s leave the break up drama out of it). And don’t start working on content by dealing with SEO, write first and edit that in later. This article expands on these and other ideas.

Overall, it’s your website, your business, and your personality. So let the you shine through, and your website will shine too.

pencils-806604_960_720.jpg
Don’t just make it good, make it different.

Building a better blog

By Cassandra Secord

In the PR and business world, blogs can be a useful tool for building and marketing your company. They can be used to gather feedback from the public, to interact with the public, and to build or strengthen your company’s image.

But writing a blog isn’t as simple as typing out some words on a screen. The thought behind the writing is just as important – if not more important- than the writing itself.

So how can you come up with a killer concept for your business blog? Let’s look at a few ways to make your’s stand out.

Before you can even start thinking about your first topic for your blog, you need to name it. Creating the perfect name can be tricky. You need something that’s different from other sites, that’s catchy, and that’s reflective of what your blog will be about. Take some time to think about potential names and play around with different ones. If you aren’t sure where to start, head over to I Can Build a Blog for a step-by-step guide on developing the perfect name.

Now that you have a name, you need to remember that this isn’t another place to advertise your business or product. Ads belong a lot of places – television, magazines, billboards- but certainly not your blog! This is potentially one of the most important things to keep in mind when writing your blog. Virtually ever site that discussing business blogging lists using your blog as an advertisement as something to avoid. In fact, this article by Kissmetrics has it at the top of their list for blog tips. They highlight the importance of targeting your blog to your audience’s needs rather than your business’s.

Once you understand what your target audience is looking for it’s time to pick your topic. But not just any topic will do. Try to be unique. Even if your topic isn’t original, make sure you find a different angle to look at. Forbes actually emphasizes this as the most important step in the process. Don’t worry, finding a unique angle isn’t as hard as it might sound. Just focus on being yourself, and using your personal skills and experiences to find your take on the subject.

So before you begin typing, consider these tips to ensure that your business is getting the most out of your blog.

blog-769737_960_720
Putting a personal touch on your blog can help it succeed.