Gryffindor – The Brave
“You might belong in Gryffindor, where dwell the brave at heart. Their daring, nerve and chivalry set Gryffindors apart”Let’s start with the ‘star’ house of the series. The three stars of the show all belonged in Gryffindor, thanks to their courage, spirit and bravery in everything they do. No Gryffindor is afraid of a challenge, and will try anything at least once. For the marketing world, that means you need to be willing to try new things. Don’t just stick to the same one or two marketing strategies you always have. Instead, face your fears and delve into the unknown. That could be trying out a new platform, posting new types of content or even hitting the ‘send’ button on an experimental new campaign. Be a beacon for the bold, the bright and the adventure-loving, and they will come to you.
Hufflepuff – The Empathetic
“You might belong in Hufflepuff, where they are just and loyal. Those patient Hufflepuffs are true and unafraid of toil”Hufflepuffs might be the butt of many jokes, but their values are something everyone should aspire to, regardless of if you’re in marketing or not. Hufflepuff house is all about hard work, loyalty and trustworthiness. Which is exactly what you want out of a brand. If you lean towards Hufflepuff, your content marketing will be naturally focussed on honesty, integrity and crafting a genuine connection with your readers. Empathy is an amazing quality, and true Hufflepuff marketers can understand their customer’s pain points and offer real solutions that appeal to their emotions.
Ravenclaw – The Clever
“Or yet in wise old Ravenclaw if you’ve a ready mind. Where those of wit and learning will always find their kind”I’ll put my hand up here, I’m definitely a Ravenclaw girl – academic through and through. To even get into the Ravenclaw common room, students have to answer a complex logic riddle – something like: ‘What came first, the phoenix or the flame?’ The answer of course is that a circle has no beginning. Ravenclaw marketers are all about data, statistics and analytics. To embrace the Ravenclaw, you need to produce content that is well researched, logically sound and compelling. Research your competitors, see what they do, and use that data to do better. Not only that, but you will need a strategy for promoting it and a way to analyse and measure its effectiveness so that you can improve for next time. When you think about it, it’s no wonder that the Ravenclaws of the marketing world nearly all end up being strategists!
Slytherin – The Ambitious
“Or perhaps in Slytherin you’ll make your real friends. Those cunning folks use any means to achieve their ends”And finally, Slytherin. The house in general has gotten a pretty bad rap, mainly due to spawning so many evil witches and wizards, including the infamous Voldemort himself. However, there is nothing about the inherent values of Slytherin house that’s evil. They are cunning and resourceful, with big dreams and a willingness to break the rules to make them happen. While you shouldn’t go breaking any actual laws, good marketers should never be afraid to colour outside the lines when it comes to their content. Try something that’s never been tried before, do that thing you’re ‘never supposed to do’, and never EVER settle for ‘good enough’. Instead, always strive to be better, and inspire your customers to do the same. Of course, as a copywriter, I need to not only understand, but write in all of these styles. After all, it’s my job to help you figure out which house you’re in, and then write fab content for you to reflect that. If you’d like to find out more, then just drop me a line and we can have a chat. If you quote this blog, I’ll even bring you some Harry Potter themes biscuits!
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 it was back to normal.
Fast forward 3 months, and I was experiencing sharp, shooting pains in my right hand at almost every movement. It came on quite suddenly, and rocketed fro, mild inconvenience to tear inducing pain in a matter of days, leaving me almost completely unable to actually use my right hand for anything.
Which as a copywriter who relies on her hands to do her job, was a very bad thing.
After I fought down the pure panic that I had developed rapid onset RSI, I dragged myself to a doctor. A few specialist visits and many tests later, I was diagnosed with tendinopathy – the tearing and inflammation of the tendons along the back of my hand and leading into my fingers, due to a combination of my 2 favourite things – typing and lifting weights. With the right treatment, it can be dealt with, but I will be prone to flair ups for the rest of my life. For a while, this felt like a hugely bad thing – a cloud hanging over the things I loved in life.
But actually, I’ve found it to be hugely beneficial. For one, it’s made me realise just how fragile our bodies are, and how much we take for granted simple things like being able to carry a shopping bag or fire off a quick email. It’s helped me adjust how I exercise to be safer, and more effective along the way. And it’s massively improved my writing. Since typing was such a big source of the injury, I was told I needed to adjust the way I work to avoid making it all worse. So I did 2 things – I bought myself an ergonomic keyboard, and I started playing around with voice to text software.
The keyboard has made much more of a difference than you’d think. Not only is it much more comfortable for me to write, but it’s forced me to re-learn how to type, since with that big hole in the middle (I’ll put a picture here so you can see what I mean), all the keys are in difference places. This in turn proved to me that I do indeed type like my father (with one finger on either hand, and quite hard). But now, I’m being forced to use all of my fingers to type, which is slowing me down while I learn. Sure, this means I can’t get as much done in a day, but that extra time means I can really think about what I’m saying in a way that I sometimes don’t when the words are flying out at lightning speed to try and keep up with my brain. In turn, my arguments are more considered, the words I choose fitting together more naturally the first time around (instead of in editing), and my own awareness of the processes I go through has heightened. I’m also much more conscious that I keep hitting the wrong keys at the moment, which has halved my proof reading time since I’m paying more attention to what’s going on the page the first time around.
The voice to text is a bit more interesting. I’ve only been using it on days when the pain is particularly bad, but it’s made an interesting difference. You see, as a writer I tend to flit around a lot. I’ll write one paragraph, then skip ahead and write a whole new section, before skipping around again and then linking them all together at the end and polish out any bits that don’t quite fit. It’s just how my brain works, and it’s worked perfectly well throughout my entire career. And when you’re typing, that’s easy to do. But when you’re dictating, it’s suddenly much more difficult, and everything often ends up in a muddle. So I’ve been forced to start thinking in straight lines, which is not something I’m used to in any area of my life. I bounce around as the inspiration and information comes to me, but having to know what I’m going to say in the exact next section is a relatively new experience for me. This in turn has led to improved writing, even if I can’t quite put my finger on why it’s better.
While it’s not like taking a course or reading a book, my journey through tendinopathy has certainly made some positive changes in the way I work. Just by being forced to re-evaluate how I do things, I’ve been able to improve a number of processes. Things I didn’t even realise were inefficient are suddenly glaringly obvious, and I’ve been able to take all of those positive changes and pass the benefits on to my clients. So yeah, I’d rather not have such a disabling condition in my hand, and living with the reoccurrences is going to suck, but would I go back and stop it happening.
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 it without you
So have a very Merry Christmas, a fabulous New Year and a fantastically successful 2018!
We can’t wait to catch up with you in January.
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 businesses for whom clawing themselves ever closer to that coveted first page ranking is the primary goal. But there is only one problem with that – Google is a fickle bugger that never seems to make up its mind. That’s not to be negative about Google – I think they are a fantastic company with great ethics, and they are fuelling so much innovation in so many sectors its frankly mind boggling. But they have also become the most widely used search engine in the world. It processes over 40,000 search queries every second, which adds up to over 3.5 billion searches per day, and 1.2 trillion searches per year worldwide. And if you’re like me and those numbers seem too hugely to really contemplate, they have a neat visualisation tool for it here.
So, it’s no wonder really that ranking on page 1 of Google is on most business owners marketing priority list. But Google is always changing, evolving, and learning from what its users are doing. So now, Google is crying out for content in all shapes and sizes for its users. That makes our big tip for 2018 really easy. Feed the Google magpie what it wants, and do it regularly.
A Brief History Google
And trust me, I mean brief! Since its inception, Google has undergone a lot of changes. The old school of SEO said that backlinks and keywords were crucial to building a good search ranking, and so millions of businesses stuffed their text full of key words and linked to every website they could think of. But Google cottoned on to that pretty quickly. Soon, they started looking at what their users wanted, and telling businesses that if they wanted that elusive page 1 ranking, they needed to meet those needs. But it’s a bit of a moving goalpost to meet them fully. Google has rolled out over 152 major algorithm updates since 2000 (full list here), and they are making smaller changes on average every other day. The ways Google measures what it considers relevant, and how it presents information to users is rarely static, but for many years they have been consistent about one thing. Content.
So Why Content?
If you want the short answer, it’s because users love content, so Google does too. Google make a point of telling you that all the time, and every marketing and SEO professional worth their salt will tell you the same. Sure, there are a lot of other things you can do to improve your rankings and get Google to like you, but content is the primary ingredient in the Google recipe to online success. The more high quality content you feed Google (this is another blog in itself), the more active and relevant it will see you as and the higher it will rank you in searches. Essentially, Google is essentially a giant, fat magpie, sitting in its nest and collecting interesting, relevant things from the world around it. And just like real magpies are attracted to shiny things like tin foil, Google is attracted to new content.
Now, both of those words are equally important. Content is a must, but the uniqueness and newness of it is also important. Google even have a name for it – it’s called the freshness factor. This algorithm basically measures all of your documents for freshness, and then scores each page according to the type of search query it would match. A former fellow from Google by the name of Amit Singhal explained this as ‘different searches having different freshness needs’, and gave some examples of what this could mean. And because I’m nice, I’ve gone and dug up those examples, so you don’t have to:
Singhal explains that there are some types of keyword searches most likely to require fresher content, such as:
- Recent Events or Hot Topics: “Brexit”, “trump protest”, “celebrity death”
- Regularly Recurring Events: “UK budget”, “Bake Off results”, “Tesla profits”
- Frequent Updates: “Best SLR cameras”, “ford focus reviews”
On top of that, Google can also determined exactly which queries require fresh content by monitoring the web, and their own huge vaults of data. So they will look at factors like:
- Search Volume: Are queries for a particular term spiking? (e.g. “earthquake San Francisco”).
- News & Blog Coverage: If a number of news organisations and bloggers start writing about the same subject, it’s likely to be a hot topic.
- Social Media: A spike in mentions of a particular topic may indicate the topic is ‘trending’.
Of course, many queries don’t require fresh content, but are still regularly searched terms. This is where your backlog of informative content comes in. If the search query doesn’t demand fresh, then it will search for the most relevant content instead. So fresh content is often better, but not always. The trick is to find the balance between fresh and informative, and keep it going.
At Eleven Eight, we specialise in creating written content for businesses in all sectors. From HGV’s to HR, marketing to accounting, we can help you meet the ever increasing needs of the Google magpie. Our experts have spent years crafting informative blogs (like this one), compelling case studies and engaging white papers, just so you can relax, put your feet up and enjoy a cup of tea while we do all the hard work. To find out more about what we can do for you, just drop us a line by phone, email or even carrier Pidgeon, and we’ll get back to you.
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 marketing is all about finding what works for your unique business, which means it might not look the same as everyone else’s. To demonstrate that, this week I wanted to take a closer look at what content lessons are out there in the most unexpected places – like in women’s underwear, courtesy of Natural Curves.
Know Your Market
If there’s one thing a business owner should know, it’s their market. But your customers aren’t just buying machines. They come to your blog because they want information, so you need to be providing that. ‘But what do I write about’ is one of the most common phrases I hear, and the answer is simple – write about what your customers want to know! For Natural Curves, they know their customers are plus sized ladies looking for comfortable underwear, so they have tailored their blog content to some of the issues those people may be facing. Knowing what size bra to wear, questions about bodysuits they’ve been too embarrassed to ask, and what type of bra will make them more comfortable are all things plus sized women will be looking for, and now they can find the answers – along with product recommendations – in one place. So try to get inside the head of your customer and figure out what they want to know, and you will know what to write about.
Client Testimonials Can Work Wonders
How often do you gather testimonials from your clients? Maybe you manage it with every sale, or maybe it’s only once in a while. Either way, you should be showcasing those testimonials in any way you can. Many businesses simply throw them on a testimonials page and leave them there. But as Natural Curves show us, testimonials can make great blogs as well. In fact, their latest blog post is a testimonial from a happy client about the values of their product. You can’t get much better sales collateral than that, and by showcasing it on a blog page it is much more likely to be seen. It can also be easily shared, commented on and found, extending the value of the testimonial far beyond its initial reach.
It Pays To Go Off Topic
Natural Curves sells underwear – but that’s not all they talk about. Sure, they give helpful information on bra sizing and fashion, but they also talk about the problems tall women. Can have, and how to be more confident in your own skin. They aren’t afraid to go off topics, and it really pays off. One of the biggest issues I come across when I’m looking through online blogs is that they are all very focussed on their specific industry niche, and they don’t stray from it. A lot of brands are scared to blog about anything but their own products – but this is exactly what you should be doing. Prospective customers who don’t know your brand aren’t interested in what you have to sell at first – they want to know if you know what you’re talking about. Demonstrating your knowledge of the industry (and giving that knowledge away for free) is the first step in creating a client relationship based on trust and value.
Your Product Descriptions Matter
Natural Curves sell a lot of different products. And you can tell what a lot of those products are by looking at the photos. But it’s their descriptions that really make the difference. Many distributors of products tend to do one of 2 things – they take the catalogue descriptions and sue those, or they just list the technical specs. Natural Curves has taken the technical specs, but they have also added their own description of the products that really makes them stand out. They target the way the product will make their customers feel – the tactile nature of the product and the lifestyle is denotes. All of these things match in with their target customer, and create an emotional connection with the product and what it will do for them, which makes them more inclined to buy it. All thanks to some good copy.
Blogs Can Be A Mix
One of the things Natural Curves do really well is mix up their blog content. If you visit their blog page, you’ll notice it isn’t all sales pitches and collections. There is some of that in there (like this post about a new collection of swimsuits), but it’s almost buried in there. On your way through the posts, you also find some of testimonials and, more importantly, LOTS of informative, non-sales related content. This discusses the sort of things that are relevant and important to their target customers – not necessarily what products they sell. Because their blog page is such a mix of different angles, people browsing through get a wider view of the company and, critically, they don’t get bored.
If you really don’t have the first clue about content and what you do with it, you aren’t alone. Thousands of businesses out there are still completely unaware for the content world, or the power it has with your customers. But if you like what you see, or even if you just want to find out more, then we are here to help. At Eleven Eight we’ve seen it all and done it all (in terms of content, anyway), so we can help you understand what your blog should look like, and what it shouldn’t. So get in touch – coffee’s on us!