Category Archives: Content Voice

5 Tips for Better Social Media Engagement

Everyone knows social media is important. That fact has been drilled into us for so long it’s become a de facto universal law of business. People are social creatures, and they have a taste for this stuff now, so ignore their new playground at your own risk. Or conversely, a social media presence can give you advantages that were previously impossible.

So we do our duty, creating content and sharing it, reaching out into new networks and new audiences. And then we pat ourselves on the back — job well done! We have checked the social media box and may now return to normal business land.

But our jobs are not finished, not by a long shot. Social media is a never-ending two-way street, and once you start the conversation, you have to participate in it. If that thought scares you, don’t be afraid!

First, if people are commenting on your content, it’s a good sign. It means people are responding to what you are doing. Provided those comments aren’t acidic, you deserve that pat on the back you gave yourself earlier.

Second, you are not alone in being wary of engaging publicly on social media. We spend a lot of time carefully crafting our messaging, making sure we present our best face forward. Commenting on social media is a fast moving, often off-the-cuff type of communication, and it can be daunting if your used to micro-managing every detail of your message.

Additionally, it can mean a lot of extra time spent on your part if the volume of comments on your content is of any significant size. You have to monitor the stream regularly, craft responses and keep up with any replies. There is a reason why Social Media Manager has become a regular position many larger businesses!

The good news is, there are a few simple things you can do to make sure you are engaging on social media in a way that induces a positive response, without having to spend too much extra time worrying about the whole thing. Stay tuned, and we’ll go through a few. Continue reading

WordPress Plugins We Love: Yoast SEO

Yoast SEOOne of the reasons we love WordPress so much is the vast number of plugins it has available to extend the built-in functionality. But since there are over 40,000 plugins available in the repository, we thought it would be fun to help you sort through the pile by recommending a few of our favorites. These will be plugins we use all the time, have thoroughly tested and highly suggest using if you are looking for what they offer.

One of the great things about WordPress is that it’s already optimized for Search Engine Optimization (SEO), so just by installing it, you’ve taken a major step towards lifting your place in the rankings. But that doesn’t mean you can’t do a lot more than what it provides by default. To that end, we used to use a plugin called the All-in-One SEO Pack, but a little less than a year ago we made a switch to a new SEO plugin called Yoast SEO.

With a year of testing under our belt, we can now safely recommend it to you! And for good reason. While All-in-One SEO Pack was no slouch, Yoast SEO goes that extra step further in functionality and ease-of-use, making it a no-brainer for our go-to SEO plugin.

So why choose Yoast SEO? Stay tuned, and we’ll look at some details. Continue reading

5 Storytelling Techniques to Make Your Content Marketing More Fun and Effective

Content marketing can be an effective strategy to build your authority and grow your business. But for your content marketing efforts to work, you’ll need to make sure the content is engaging, interesting, and compelling for your audience.

Content marketing is not just about churning out informative or entertaining articles; it’s about creating connection with other human beings that are your customers or potential customers. And one of the most potent ways to connect with other human beings is through the power of storytelling.

Stories have always been a fundamental way humans communicate and relate to one another. Starting in childhood, stories are central to how we learn about the world, convey our own thoughts, and form relationships.

As a marketer and business owner, effective storytelling enables you to create a deeper connection with your audience by giving them something they can relate to. People see themselves in stories, they empathize with stories, and stories are both meaningful memorable to them. If you want an engaged audience, you can use storytelling to let them know you understand them, to inspire them to take action, and to encourage a sense of loyalty.

The following storytelling techniques will help make your content more fun and effective: Continue reading

In Depth: New Brand from Scratch (Part 3 of 3)

BrandIn this 3-Part series, we walk through building a brand from scratch. With all the pieces together and a real live business operation ready to sell, serve, and support customers. . . it’s time now to advertise and be ready to serve customers as the brand and by it’s standards. Part 3 walks us through the big follow-through. Click here for Part 1 and here for Part 2.

Marketing Plan

The brand marketing plan has been writing itself as you’ve walked through these steps. Now it’s time to nail it down. Decide on a budget and get the plan off to a solid start so it will manage you, rather than the reverse.

A good content and campaign calendar will span a year or more and take you from launch to sales goals to profitability. The plan may include promotions with respect to seasonality and annual trends specific to your industry. Decide up front who will be in charge of the PR, marketing plan, keeping track of the content calendar, social accounts, sponsored posts, ads, promo item inventory, trade shows, media buys, etc.  Continue reading

In Depth: New Brand from Scratch (Part 2 of 3)

BrandIn this 3-Part series, we walk through building a brand from scratch. In Part 2, armed with a good sense of identity after the intensive self-reflection exercises in Part 1, the brand is now ready to advance to the implementation stage and make some solid decisions.

Get Real

It’s time to level-set and refer to the business plan. Let’s align your brand vision with your revenue source. You need to be able to deliver on your brand promise, which you can achieve  by calibrating your tone and messaging to what you have the time, resources, and budget to actually accomplish within a reasonable time period.

Ask yourself what’s feasible, realistic, and affordable. What can the business afford? What can my team support? How much of an authority do we have to be on this subject? How deep a level of customer service do we need to provide? Continue reading

In Depth: New Brand from Scratch (Part 1 of 3)

BrandIn this 3-Part series, we walk through building a brand from scratch. Part 1 takes us though the planning and conceptual phases with the goal of spinning a compelling business case into an attractive and effective brand image.

To make your product or company really stand out in the marketplace and radiate with supreme power, you must first anoint it with the magic of Brand. Establishing an effective brand takes a coordinated blend of business and creative work-think. Let’s pull the team together and get a lot of input so we can realize the best identity for your business.

But first, congratulations are in order! Welcome to a rare, exciting, fun, creative, and collaborative experience. Building a brand means getting the chance to start something that could generate a ton of revenue and benefit many lives.

Whether you’re a first-timer, vet, or a company expanding into new areas, take this task seriously and consider it a great ground floor investment opportunity. Don’t be afraid to pour an abundance of time, energy, and heart into it up front. Continue reading

6 Tips for Choosing Awesome Stock Photos

stock photosSure, sure, it’s always better to generate your own photography. Everyone knows that. But the cold reality is that unless you have a professional photographer on staff, there is no way to generate the volume of original imagery necessary to support even a mid-sized marketing campaign or blog. Thus, the necessity of stock photos.

The problem is, stock photos get a bad rap. But the good news is, they don’t deserve it! Most of the issues you think you might have with using stock photography come from using it improperly, or using substandard images. There is a vast ocean of stock photography available to you to choose from, and if you take the time to carefully select the appropriate images for your needs, you’ll find that stock photos can accentuate and even transform a design.

So how do you choose the right stock photography? Answers coming up! Continue reading