Cameras, Conversions And Cats – An Interview

Cameras, Conversions And Cats – An Interview

This month we learnt a very important lesson. When being filmed, make sure your cats are out of the room!

Let’s backtrack a bit. Earlier this month we had the amazing opportunity to be interviewed by Karen from The Right Site. Karen is like the Yin to our Yang – we help you attract people to your website, and Karen helps you turn those people into paying customers once they’re there. It’s a match made in heaven, so of course, we have a lot to talk about. She asked me if I would be willing to do a short video interview with her about blogging and how it relates to conversion. It all sounded great to me, and you can see the finished article here.

Rocky Beginnings

Of course, starting is always the hardest part of creating content and that was just a true for in this case. From a cat insisting on being in the frame, the doorbell going, the cat insisting on trying to eat the camera and the phone ringing, everything seemed to be conspiring against us. The second we hit the record button and started talking, something would interrupt and force us to start over. If anything this made the experience better- everyone relaxed and laughed a lot, and it meant the conversation felt more natural. It worked out some of my pre-filming jitters (I’ve never been much of a natural on camera) and by the time the camera was finally rolling I’d almost forgotten it was there.

Don’t Rehearse, But Do Prepare

Contrary to our instincts, it’s actually better not to be thoroughly rehearsed for a video interview. We’ve all seen that one person on TV whose answers are so scripted it might as well be a robot reading them. That’s the danger of rehearsing your answers before the interview. It strips away all of your personality and passion, and while the words might be perfect, the video will come across as a bit flat. Of course, to prevent this, Karen didn’t actually tell me what she was going to ask. ‘Stuff about blogging’ was my brief, and to be honest, this made me much more relaxed about the whole thing. While some questions did catch me off guard a bit, it allowed me to showcase my knowledge by answering them in a natural way.

What I learnt from this experience is –if you know the topic of your interview it’s always best to do a bit of homework, but avoid scripting your answers as much as possible. This means you aren’t likely to be caught out by difficult questions, but your interview will flow much better and be more interesting for your viewers.

Blogging And Conversion

I won’t give away all the secrets from the video, but I can give away a few insights we didn’t have time to cover. A lot of people don’t see the link between blogs and conversion – after all, blogs just sit on your website, and conversion is all about calls to action, follow ups and hard sells, right? Wrong. How many times have you read reviews or guides before you have bought a product? If it’s service, have you looked for references, or asked to see previous work? All of that is part of the buying cycle, and your clients will look to your blog for answers. If you fill your blog with interesting information, industry insights and updates on performance, you are showing your prospects that you know what you are doing, and why they should buy from you. We talk a bit in our interview about why ‘content is king’ and why businesses are producing content both intentionally and unintentionally. That content all fits together like an invisible jigsaw in your prospects minds, and at some point, the final piece will slot in and they will make the decision to buy. Without that newsletter with your latest offer, without that blog post about how you can solve their particular problem, that prospect might never make the decision to buy. Ultimately blogs are useful for a lot of different reasons, and converting leads into sales is definitely one of them.

So that’s that. We had a fantastic time with Karen, and would love to thank her for her time and tolerance of our office furry friends! Again if you want to watch the video, just click here, and for more advice about conversion and how you can improve yours, get in touch with Karen.

How Tendinopathy Improved My Writing

Strap in kids, this one gets a bit personal. Around 6 months ago, I felt the first twinge in my right wrist. It was while I was at the gym, in the middle of a bench press, so I figured I had just overextended things a bit. I let up on the weight, and by the next day...
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Well, thus ends another year, and we at Eleven Eight are closing our doors for the festive season. On behalf of the whole team, thank you so much for sticking with us, reading our content based nonsense and making us as successful as are.We really couldn't have done...
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This month we learnt a very important lesson. When being filmed, make sure your cats are out of the room!

Let’s backtrack a bit. Earlier this month we had the amazing opportunity to be interviewed by Karen from The Right Site. Karen is like the Yin to our Yang – we help you attract people to your website, and Karen helps you turn those people into paying customers once they’re there. It’s a match made in heaven, so of course we have a lot to talk about. She asked me if I would be willing to do a short video interview with her about blogging and how it relates to conversion. It all sounded great to me, and you can see the finished article here.

Rocky Beginnings

Of course, starting is always the hardest part of creating content and that was just a true for in this case. From a cat insisting on being in the frame, the doorbell going, the cat insisting on trying to eat the camera and the phone ringing, everything seemed to be conspiring against us. The second we hit the record button and started talking, something would interrupt and force us to start over. If anything this made the experience better- everyone relaxed and laughed a lot, and it meant the conversation felt more natural. It worked out some of my pre-filming jitters (I’ve never been much of a natural on camera) and by the time the camera was finally rolling I’d almost forgotten it was there.

Don’t Rehearse, But Do Prepare

Contrary to our instincts, it’s actually better not to be thoroughly rehearsed for a video interview. We’ve all seen that one person on TV whose answers are so scripted it might as well be a robot reading them. That’s the danger of rehearsing your answers before the interview. It strips away all of your personality and passion, and while the words might be perfect, the video will come across as a bit flat. Of course to prevent this, Karen didn’t actually tell me what she was going to ask. ‘Stuff about blogging’ was my brief, and to be honest this made me much more relaxed about the whole thing. While some questions did catch me off guard a bit, it allowed me to showcase my knowledge by answering them in a natural way.

What I learnt from this experience is –if you know the topic of your interview it’s always best to do a bit of homework, but avoid scripting your answers as much as possible. This means you aren’t likely to be caught out by difficult questions, but your interview will flow much better and be more interesting for your viewers.

Blogging And Conversion

I won’t give away all the secrets from the video, but I can give away a few insights we didn’t have time to cover. A lot of people don’t see the link between blogs and conversion – after all blogs just sit on your website, and conversion is all about calls to action, follow ups and hard sells, right? Wrong. How many times have you read reviews or guides before you have bought a product? If it’s service, have you looked for references, or asked to see previous work? All of that is part of the buying cycle, and your clients will look to your blog for answers. If you fill your blog with interesting information, industry insights and updates on performance, you are showing your prospects that you know what you are doing, and why they should buy from you. We talk a bit in our interview about why ‘content is king’ and why businesses are producing content both intentionally and unintentionally. That content all fits together like an invisible jigsaw in your prospects minds, and at some point the final piece will slot in and they will make the decision to buy. Without that newsletter with your latest offer, without that blog post about how you can solve their particular problem, that prospect might never make the decision to buy. Ultimately blogs are useful for a lot of different reasons, and converting leads into sales is definitely one of them.

So that’s that. We had a fantastic time with Karen, and would love to thank her for her time and tolerance of our office furry friends! Again if you want to watch the video, just click here, and for more advice about conversion and how you can improve yours, get in touch with Karen.

We’ve Always Done It That Way

We’ve Always Done It That Way

Take a deep breath – I’m about to type the 6 most expensive words in business. The 6 words that will prevent your business from making progress, seeing growth or keeping up with your ever-evolving customer base. The 6 words that, in my opinion, form the most dangerous phrase you can say if you want to run a successful business.

‘We’ve always done it this way’. A failure in logical thinking that is referred to as the ‘appeal to tradition fallacy’. It’s something that we’ve all heard at one time or another in business or at home. It’s a conversational shortcut that allows us to avoid wasting time re-treading old ground. It is however, a fallacy, and a dangerous one at that. Here’s why.

Suggesting that ‘we’ve always done it that way’ makes two assumptions that aren’t necessarily true:

1) The current procedure or system worked perfectly when it was introduced.
2) The reasoning that was used when implementing the procedure/system is still valid in the present day.

The first point makes the assumption that the process or system that was originally implemented can’t be improved in any way – which is often incorrect. The second assumes that circumstances haven’t changed since the process was introduced. Again, not very likely. It should be fairly obvious that these are both quite courageous assumptions to make for any business!

When change is suggested and the response is ‘but we’ve always done it this way’, it is a major red flag for me. It shuts down the conversation before anyone has a chance to impart any new information and it implies that the current way of thinking is infallible. As the idiom goes, pride comes before a fall.

In many cases, the reasoning behind the decisions that have been made in the past is still valid. If that is the case, we should still be looking at the reasoning behind that course of action and appraising its efficiency. Is there a way we can tweak the process to make it work better or improve performance? Are there better ways of achieving the results we want? Can we reinvent the process to avoid common problems, or try implementing a new solution instead? All of these are judgement calls that decision makers should (and need) to make about every aspect of their business. By brushing these suggestions aside with ‘we’ve always done it this way’, then you are closing off the possibility of improvement. This course of action is actively harming your business, and soon you will start to stagnate while others leap ahead of you.

Avoid Becoming The Monkeys Uncle

There is a fantastic article by behavioural psychiatrist Leslie Durr that likens the ‘we’ve always done it this way’ response to research done in the 1960’s with monkeys. This is the simplified version:

You start the experiment with 5 monkeys in a cage with a set of steps. Place a banana at the top of the steps and wait for a monkey to approach the stairs to get it. When it touches the stairs, spray all of the other monkeys with cold water. Continue to do this every time any monkey attempts to climb the stairs, and eventually the individual climbing will be attacked by the other monkeys. They know what will happen if he climbs, and they try to prevent it. Now replace one of the monkeys with a new one. This monkey will instantly try to climb the stairs, and be shocked when he is attacked by all of the other monkeys. Eventually he will stay away from the stairs as well. Now replace another monkey. All of the other monkeys (including the previous newcomer) will attack the new monkey when it goes for the banana. One by one, replace all of the monkeys. You now have a set of monkeys who will not attempt to climb the stairs and reach the banana, despite the fact that none of them had ever been sprayed with the cold water. If they could talk, they would say ‘we’ve always done it this way’.

Resistance to change is a common ailment among established organisations. Without reappraisal, ‘the rules’ or ‘the way of doing business’ that have perhaps been in place from the beginning, serve to make the organisation inflexible and inefficient. Critical thinking is the lifeblood of problem solving, and reappraisal is a huge piece of the larger critical puzzle. If we abandon reappraisal and re-evaluation then we abandon our ability to stay ahead of the competition and continue giving our customers what they want.

The purpose of this blog is not to give advice – but to propose two questions. Have you ever given this dismissive response when being questioned about practices? And how can you avoid the pitfall of the appeal to tradition?

How Tendinopathy Improved My Writing

Strap in kids, this one gets a bit personal. Around 6 months ago, I felt the first twinge in my right wrist. It was while I was at the gym, in the middle of a bench press, so I figured I had just overextended things a bit. I let up on the weight, and by the next day...
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Your Date With Miss Metrics

Your Date With Miss Metrics

It’s late and you are sitting alone at a bar.

You are surrounded by marketing systems. A group of blogs are drinking huddled in the corner talking strategy, while newsletters are watching sports on the big TV and adverts are drinking shots at the bar trying to forget a long days work performing.

Then across the room you see a lovely lady – her name is Miss Metrics. You go over and start up a conversation. Amazingly, no one else in the bar seems all that interested in her. She seems like an interesting, mysterious sort of girl, with a lot of hidden depths just waiting to be explored. So you ask her out on a date. You learn a little more, and after a few more casual dates you finally become an official item. Once you open up and let her in, she shows you the hidden secrets of your marketing department. She helps you to measure how you’re doing as a business, how well your marketing efforts are performing and even how close you are to your company goals.

The relationship goes on until you feel you know everything about her. You can predict her moods, noticing when she is looking down and do something nice to make her feel better. This makes your relationship stronger and you start to see fantastically positive results – and by changing small behaviours she helps open your mind and see the big picture. And even when she has a bad day and goes a little crazy, you understand why, and are able to adapt and adjust until she’s happy again. She has become so important to you – she is your benchmark, the one you look to for advice and guidance, who helps you probe for weakness and who lets you in on the effects of your decisions – good or bad.

I might have taken the metaphor to its logical end there, but hopefully you get the idea. When you are looking at your business and your performance, metrics should be the thing you turn to. This is even more important in your marketing efforts. A lot of people think that marketing is a difficult thing to measure, and so generally don’t bother. But if you don’t measure your marketing efforts, how will you know what is working, and what is just a waste of money?

But How Do I Measure My Marketing?

You need 3 things before you can start measuring your marketing efforts:

  1. Your marketing goals
  2. Your key performance indicators (or measurement factors)
  3. Your plan for gathering performance information

For example, if you want your latest blog post to be seen by 30 people within 2 weeks, you need a strategy to promote that blog post, and a way to measure how many people actually read your post. You could promote your post through social media, with links directing customers back to the website. All of your links would link to the website, giving you a solid base for tracking reads. You will then be able to tally the total visits to your blog post page. If you have published your post on LinkedIn as well, make sure you add those reads into your total. At the end of 2 weeks, you can analyse how many people read your post, and if you reached your goal. This allows you to evaluate the success of your strategy, and perhaps tweak it for next time if you want to see better results. If you’re posting on social media, you are able to see how many people have interacted with your post and in what way. On some platforms like LinkedIn, you can go even deeper, and find out how many people have seen your post on a granular level.

In the world of print advertising, it is still incredibly difficult to measure your impact and the actual success of the campaign, but in the digital marketing age it has never been easier. For which digital marketing method you chose, there are several different ways to measure its effectiveness. The key is understanding what you want to achieve from your marketing, and what factors you will use to track and measure its success. You might want to do this through number of views, click throughs, lead conversions or open rates – the options are endless.

Measuring marketing effectiveness can be a daunting task, but in reality it has never been easier. In fact, measuring your campaigns’ success allows you to make changes as you go, and will put you head and shoulders above your competitors. By utilising metrics in your marketing efforts, you are able to discover which are your most powerful campaigns and capitalise on them, helping you grow your business quicker. If you want some advice about measuring the success of your marketing, or some help creating a marketing strategy, get in touch with us today for a free consultation.

How Tendinopathy Improved My Writing

Strap in kids, this one gets a bit personal. Around 6 months ago, I felt the first twinge in my right wrist. It was while I was at the gym, in the middle of a bench press, so I figured I had just overextended things a bit. I let up on the weight, and by the next day...
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Tackling Creative Block

Tackling Creative Block

‘What the hell and I going to write about???”

If you’ve ever been called upon to write a blog, a newsletter or just some creative content for your business, this thought will undoubtedly have crossed your mind. This is often the stage when creative block leaps in, erecting a solid wall between you and the language centre of your brain. Suddenly you can’t even come up with a simple sentence or a title, and the blank pages glares out at you accusingly. Our first piece of advice here is don’t panic! Everyone, and I mean EVERYONE suffers from creative block and one point or another – even us! So instead of worrying and panicking

Why Does Creative Block Happen?

While no creative block is the same, there are generally 4 reasons we will experience the big bad block. There are some blocks that are more common than others, but each is one you might come across at some point in your life, and being able to identify why you are feeling blocked is an essential part of being able to get around it.

Mental Block: A mental block is the most common, and happens when you become so locked into your particular way of thinking that you stop seeing other options. This means you are approaching the problem from a limited perspective, and are unable to see other ways around it.

Emotional Block: Creativity isn’t always about figuring out which word comes next. It can be an intense and powerful process, and this can leave us feeling very emotionally confused. Maybe your subject is painful, embarrassing or weird, or you have become so deeply invested in your creation that you don’t want to lift the curtain and discover what happens next.

Work Habits That Don’t Work: Perhaps the problem isn’t in your head, but actually in the space around you. I for one know that I can’t work in a messy environment, and spend time every morning ritualistically cleaning and tidying my workspace before I can begin. Maybe for you, you’re working at the wrong times, in the wrong places or with the wrong systems in place to encourage your creative genius out of its shell. Experiment with different working patterns until you find something that works for you.

Personal Problems: These things are often unfortunately beyond our control, and so the best thing you can do is focus on resolving the problem before you can start up the creative fires again. If that means putting back the deadline by a week so you can finish moving house, have that big chat with the friend you fell out with or take some time off to grieve for a loved one, it doesn’t matter. Your personal and mental health should always come first, and often if you try to power through your work will suffer too.

How Do I Beat It?

While all creative blocks are different, there are a few tried and tested ways to break through or climb over the creative block and find your way back to progress.

Talk It Through. Sometimes we get stuck creatively because we have been so involved with a project for so long that thinking of the next thing to talk about is impossible. So rather than going over it again and again in your head, find someone completely unrelated to the project and talk to them about. This can help take that knotted ball of string of thoughts in your head and unwind it, letting you see the next steps, or things you may have forgotten. So collar a co-worker or your best friend for a cup of coffee and explain your project to them.

Walk Away. When you are suffering from creative block, there is nothing less productive than starting at a blank screen. So remove yourself from the room and do something else. It could be moving on to a really boring bit of admin, doing the washing or just going for a walk. Put the project out of your mind and don’t focus on it for a while. The best ideas always strike when you aren’t expecting them, so don’t obsess about the fact that you can’t think of anything to write.

Impose Some Boundaries. As we said earlier, sometime creative block happens because we have too much freedom. So if you’re struggling, put some boundaries in place for yourself. This might sound backwards, but even Wordsworth agreed that “the sonnet’s scantily plod of ground provides fertile creative soil for artists who have felt the weight of too much liberty”. So set yourself a word limit, a time limit, and a deadline. Swear you won’t have one more cup of tea or biscuit until you’ve hit your word count, and stick to it.

Take Yourself To Inspiration. Don’t wait for it to come to you. Instead of feeling miserable that you can’t create something right now, take yourself away and experience some culture and creativity. There is no shortage of galleries, museums and exhibits in the UK, so take advantage of it! Explore new ways of expression, expand your knowledge and find out about something new – you never know what exciting thing’s you’ll find.

But Remember, Creative Block isn’t Always Bad…

I know, shocker right? But creative block has a wonderful duality about it – it can have you pulling your hair out in frustration, but it also reminds you that you are unique. Some people struggle with creativity, and some experience floods of it and become overwhelmed, paralyzed by the options. But creative block often helps us do our best work in the long run. When you feel the shadow of creative block, this can be your mind (or your gut) telling you ‘you could do this better’. And then we do what most people do when faced with that challenge – we rise to it. We stay up all night drinking coffee and pouring over that one sentence, that one brushstroke that just isn’t quite right. It’s this obsession that defines a great creative, and it’s creative block that helps us find it. So don’t get frustrated when you hit the wall, instead just grab your pickaxe and start breaking it down one stone at a time!

How Tendinopathy Improved My Writing

Strap in kids, this one gets a bit personal. Around 6 months ago, I felt the first twinge in my right wrist. It was while I was at the gym, in the middle of a bench press, so I figured I had just overextended things a bit. I let up on the weight, and by the next day...
Read More

Merry Christmas From Eleven Eight

Well, thus ends another year, and we at Eleven Eight are closing our doors for the festive season. On behalf of the whole team, thank you so much for sticking with us, reading our content based nonsense and making us as successful as are.We really couldn't have done...
Read More

Feed The Magpies With Content, Not Foil

If you’ve ever hung around with me and talked about content, you probably know by now that one of the key reasons many business owners invest in it is to rank highly on Google. While many do genuinely see the benefits outside of the SEO world, there are some...
Read More

5 Content Lessons You Can Learn From Women’s Underwear

Content is a huge, sprawling world with a hell of a lot of tripwires and trapdoors between you and your customer. There are a lot of things you can do wrong in content marketing, especially compared to the few things that seem right. But to be honest, content...
Read More

Celebrating The Life Linguistic – Or Just Chatting Shit With Copywriters?

So last week, despite being firmly in the middle of my lovely two week holiday, I strapped on my best copywriting helmet and braved the sodden winds of Bournemouth beach for Copy Cabana. I actually discovered this gem of an event last year – about three days too late...
Read More
To Blog Or Not To Blog?

To Blog Or Not To Blog?

Do you want to be found on Google, build trust with a wider net of potential customers while shouting out to the world about your expertise and knowledge? Yes? Then you need to be blogging. Blogs drive traffic to your site and keep it updated with fresh, relevant content that your readers will love. At least they will if we’re writing it.