How Tendinopathy Improved My Writing

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 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.

Absolutely not.

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

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 for the 2016 event. So I swore to myself I would get tickets the second they went on sale for 2017’s shindig, and thanks to the lovely Vicki Ross, I damn well did.

 

For those of you who aren’t quite as sadly dedicated as I am – Copy Cabana is the name given to the gathering of over 300 copywriters to talk about words. And believe me, the very best words were on display. From the moment the first people sidled through the doors (and were then told off and sent away for being 10 minutes early), the room was buzzing with ideas chatter that could only come out of copywriters.

 

It. Was. Amazing.

 

It was great fun too. I’m really glad I didn’t bother with heavy eye-makeup, because the speakers had me staring wide-eyed in wonder, laughing so hard I was in tears (I’m pretty sure the guy next to me thought I was having a nervous breakdown) and moved to the point of tears. I left feeling inspired, uplifted, and I’m pretty sure I drove my husband mad on the drive home with my excitable chattering. But I also learned some pretty amazing stuff too, and I wanted to share that with you lot. Because you all deserve to learn too! Strap in guys, this is a long one.

Fall in Love With The Devil In The Detail

 

Sarah Topping was the speaker I was most looking forward to seeing at the event, so when they announced that she was up first, I couldn’t contain the excited squeal (again, sorry Andrew!) Sarah Topping has my dream job, and I don’t think I’ve ever been more jealous of a human being. She cut her teeth by waddling through the Puffin/Penguin/Penguin random house offices writing all sorts of exciting and colourful copy. Sarah taught us all about the devil in the details, and how you really do need to put the research work in if you want great results. When creating book blurbs of a few hundred words, Sarah will read the entire book cover to cover, just in case the main character dies in chapter 4. Likewise, when writing anything you should know all of your facts before you start, or else you could write something completely wrong.

 

Seriously people, do your research.

The Robots Are Coming

 

I have never heard such a simultaneously terrified and angry outburst as when Glenn Sturgess and Pete Stephen announced that the robots are coming to steal copywriters jobs. This fantastic and informative talk had us all panicking that in 20 years, AI will be so sophisticated that it can write copy better than us. They even gave us a lovely poem, written by AI:

 

‘But it’s not all doom and gloom!’ they cried. ‘Copywriters just need to adapt!’ So instead of fearing the robots, we should be using their unlimited analytical and pattern recognition to test and improve our own writing (while we still can). In 20 years, we may be calling ourselves digital anthropologists instead of copywriters.

 

Everyone Loves Ice Cream

 

Next up was the most delicious speaker of all – Kerry Thorpe, Communications Lead for Ben & Jerry’s ice cream. Once I had got over my sudden desire to work at Ben & Jerrys (dogs, picket fence desks and 2 pints of free ice cream a day?!), Kerry revealed to us that that carefully crafted whimsical tone we see plastered over ice cream tubs isn’t all it seems. Instead of being just a clever piece of marketing tone, the teams at Ben & Jerry’s really live and breathe the ethos. Social responsibility, cheeky fun, experimentation and truly amazing ice cream – that’s what they’re all about. Kerry reminded us that companies who truly embrace their identity are the ones that create these standout brands. They do what they love, and it shines through in everything.

Care, And Care Hard 

 

A surprise insertion, the 4th speaker at this illustrious copywriting conference was….

 
A window cleaner.

 

Yes, you read that right. But he was a window cleaner who reminded us that we do our best work when we actually care about our customers. The same goes for any business, any service, anything. Care, and care hard. Or what’s the point?

 

Avoid Going Up Shit Creek

 

These ladies truly amazed me, in part because they run their content marketing school from a pub, and that’s pretty awesome. But they’ve also created some amazing graphics that describe exactly what the content marketing journey is like, and give you a compass to navigate it with. For example, their map of ‘content island’, which needs no follow-up:

 

They encouraged us as copywriters to get a bit more involved in the content strategy element of what we do, and help our clients do the same. Something I fully plan to embrace (watch out clients!) They also provided me with my first favourite quote of the day:

 

Dogs aren’t just for Christmas, and content writers aren’t just for web copy’

Something About Poetry

 

I’ve got to be honest here; there was a chunk of Rishi Dastidar’s section that completely flew over my head for two reasons:

 

  • I have about as much poetic talent as a duck on stilts.
  • Something he said sparked a fire in my brain, and I was scribbling down a children’s story idea so fast I’m surprised my page didn’t catch fire.

 

But in all seriousness, Rishi was great. His points about the creativity of copywriting and poetry (and their similarities), and how as copywriters we should always be trying to mix the magical into our everyday copy, just as poets do.

 

Guide To Wine Writing

 

Our celebrity appearance was Joe Fattorini (he presents The Wine Show on ITV) taught us that subject experts are quite shit at writing about their subject area, because they have the ‘burden of knowledge’. This is something I rabbit on about quite a lot (though I say ‘blinker vision’) and really shows when it comes to wine. Joe regaled us with tales of his days donating wine to the homeless in exchange for ‘real reviews’, and how the ‘fancy’ wine copy is often lying to you (ask me how later). Experts who use posh language to impress their customers rarely do, and instead, you should be looking for the real reasons people use your product if you want good sales. For wine – relaxation and because it’s enjoyable.

 

This spawned my second favourite quote of the day, when he described wine as ‘a wank in a glass’. And no, I’m not explaining that one any further.

 

Care Again

 

I don’t actually have many notes from Karen’s speech, mainly because I was so engrossed in listening to her stories. As the fundraising manager for World Vision UK, she has to reach out and pry money from the hands of privileged Westerners and give it to poor children suffering in the world’s harshest places. All she did was read us some of the letters they send to their supporters – telling the stories of these poor children and how their donations helped. By the end, I was reaching for my wallet too. Emotion might just be the single most important weapon marketing has, and we don’t use it enough.

Tone Of Voice Isn’t Bullshit

 

Remember when I said some of the speakers left me laughing so hard I was crying my eyes out? That was this guy. Every other word out of Nick Parker’s mouth was a mixture of laugh out loud comedy and genuine genius, which made his talk about tone of voice all the more impressive. He shared some fantastic examples of good and bad tone of voice with us, and coined his own names for the 10 tones of voice that provide marketing gurus with the fuel they need. A few of my personal favourites included ‘Ronseal’, ‘Big Friendly Giant’, ‘Playful Children’ and ‘Foolbiscuits’. But more to the point, tone of voice isn’t all bullshit. It’s the hand of Midas that turns your ‘meh’ content into true marketing gold.

Everyone Is Biased

 

Making a complete U-turn, Elle Graham-Dixon made everyone take a good hard look at themselves. With some simple riddle, she exposed the gender bias of everyone in the room, making us all feel like awful human beings. Although she did try to make us feel better by explaining it’s our brains who are lazy and make presumptions, not us. Still, Elle’s half hour segment about bias and stereotypes sent every copywriter in the room away with a new desire to write more inclusively, use insights instead of stereotypes and be the change we want to see. Bravo Elle.

The Art Of Being Interesting

 

Our final speaker of the day was promoted as having written the most expensive marketing book of all time (£3000 a copy), and being an all-round ultimate copy guru. Unfortunately, as a speaker he just wasn’t my cup of tea. No offence to Steve Harrison, but sometimes people don’t gel. Maybe I was getting tired (it was very warm in that seminar room). It’s not you, it’s me. Etc etc.

 

Steve did make some really good points, even if I didn’t connect with him as a speaker. And I know a lot of other copywriters there loved him. He reminded us that we really should be focusing on the problems the end readers of our content have – and not the problems the client who commissioned it has. We shouldn’t be writing content to get the client more sales; we should be trying to solve their customer’s problem. That’s how you generate buzz around a brand and turn passive readers into real-world sales.

 

And that’s it. My first experience of Copy Cabana was inspiring and insightful, and it’s definitely changed the way I think as a copywriter. I can’t wait to see what they have in store next year! (No pressure Vicki and Andy!)

 

Oh, and thanks for sticking with me for nearly 2000 words. I promise the next blog won’t be as long.

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A Day In The Life Of A Copywriter

A Day In The Life Of A Copywriter

It occurred to me the other day (well, was pointed out really) that a lot of people don’t know what I do all day. They know I write stuff, but it can be difficult for a lot of people to imagine that taking up an entire day. And rather than telling you vaguely that I spend all my time writing wibbly wobbly words and striking things out with red pen, I thought I would document an average day for me instead. So here it is ladies and gents, a light hearted change from the standard chatter about content – my average Monday in the office.

 

A Blow By Blow Account

So to start the day, I will get up at 6am and hop on the cross trainer for half an hour. During this I’ll usually listen to a podcast – either one on copywriting or true crime, depending on what I’m in the mood for. I’m now also trying to keep one eye on my mischievous little kitten, who’s developed a habit of trying to catch the pedals of the cross trainer as they pass over her head. After that it’s a shower, throw my face on and off to work for 8am.

 

My mornings are all fairly similar – they start with proof-reading of the content I wrote the day before. With this out of the way, I started out with a pair of blogs about marquees. Particularly, the Padoga marquee, which are the tall ones shapes like witches hats. This largely meant I spent a lot of time surfing Google trying to dig up the history of this marquee, and ended up in ancient China exploring Buddhist sanctuaries. I followed this up with a post about corporate events in marquee – an experience I have actually had, so it was much easier to write about.

 

 

Then I got a call telling me it was time for coffee. Here I feel like I need to explain a bit out my working structure. You see, Eleven Eight is just one brand of the family business, and it runs alongside an Event Amplification business, a catering business and an international tax regulation consultancy (try saying that 3 times faster). This collection of industry is spearheaded from a headquarters in Yateley, with 90% of the workforce operating from a purpose built cabin office in the bottom of a garden, adjacent to a rather lovely lake. So every morning at 9am sharp, we all gather around the main table and have a briefing, a coffee and a bit of a catch up to find out what everyone else is up to. This morning was mainly conversations around 2 of the lads from the business (1 of whom is my husband), who are in Singapore working with one of their bigger banks, and what they’re getting up to.

 

After coffee I hit the blogs again, covering the recent Trump hotel cyber security attack (which left me speechless), how to look flawless on your wedding day and the idea of non-competitive sports days (which had me banging my head on the table at the state of our education system). A quick jaunt home to eat and check in on the cats (who spent the hour alternately playing, fighting and ignoring each other) and it’s back to work for the remainder of the afternoon. Here I got to flex my muscles and talk about document archiving and shredding, storage and a brief dip into the world of HR. I got a bit of a break when I went to make coffee and ended up putting together a new bird table for my mother, but for the most part this day was all about blogs.

 

 

You might think that that’s it, work day done, end of blog. But no – Mondays are a special evening for me. I go straight from work to our local scout hut to run Brownies. This week, as it was the end of term, we had a film night watching Sing, which naturally led to a lot of dancing and singing 8 year olds and leaders. Fast forward to 8pm, and I’m at home, laptop on, typing away as dinner simmers in the background – this time jotting some ideas I came up with during the meeting. You see that’s the thing about copywriting – the job never truly ends. There’s always new inspirations, new ideas and more blogs to write. My brain is always boiling over with concepts for blogs, stats for whitepapers and ways I could re-write the drafts I’ve got on the go. A few times a week I even manage to work on one of my children’s stories, though not nearly as much as I would like to. Anyway, hopefully this has given you a bit of an insight into what my average day is like as a copywriter. And if not, I hope I’ve at least given you something to giggle about! If by any chance you’re interested in outsourcing your blogging efforts, I’d love some new things to write about! Just drop me a line and we can have a chat.

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What The Hell Is Content Marketing?

What The Hell Is Content Marketing?

Whenever I meet new people and tell them what I do, I am almost always greeted with a blank look. While we may have chosen the term ‘creative content agency’ because we like the ring to it, the nuts and bolts of what we do is content marketing. If you’re trying to market your business online, odds are you’ve heard about content marketing somewhere along the line. It’s everywhere you look, with 86% of businesses today using it in one form or another. But if you don’t practice content marketing, do you know what’s involved, what it means, or how you can weave it into all of your marketing efforts to make them more effective?

What Does ‘Content Marketing’ Mean?

 writingContent marketing is defined as ‘a strategic marketing approach focussed on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly-defined audience – and ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.’ A bit of a mouthful! In essence, the point of content marketing is to attract and retain customers by creating, curating and retaining content that is relevant and valuable to them. By doing this, you are portraying yourself as a thought leader in your subject, establishing trust and ultimately changing or enhancing the behaviour of your customers. This could be convincing them to start using your service, change the way they behave towards something or encouraging them to talk about your brand.

Of course, change doesn’t happen overnight. The key thing to remember about content marketing is that it’s an ongoing process that needs to be integrated with your overall marketing strategy. The creation and dissemination of original content and media is essential, and for this to have a noticeable effect it needs time to circulate and build an audience. I’ve lost count of the number of people who tell me they quit blogging or using social media because they didn’t see an increase in sales after the first 2 weeks. If you’re going to invest in content marketing, you need to understand that you are playing a long game, and it might be a while before you see any significant results. The concept of content marketing is built around the tried and tested idea that if we as businesses deliver consistent, ongoing, valuable information to buyers, they will ultimately reward us with their business and loyalty.

How Does Content Fit Into My Marketing?

The marketing world has been undergoing a subtle shift for decades, moving away from direct selling and advertising and towards subtle, broad marketing strategies. Today, marketing your business effectively is almost impossible without great content. Quality content affects all forms of modern marketing, including:

  • calendarSocial media – content sharing is a fundamental part of all social media strategy.
  • SEO – search engines rank and reward businesses that publish regular, quality content over those who don’t.
  • PR campaigns – Successful PR campaigns don’t talk about the business but address issues the audience cares about and discusses them, through content.
  • PPC – For a Pay Per Click campaign to work effectively, you need great content behind it.
  • Inbound Marketing – Driving traffic to your site and generating inbound leads revolved around drawing uses in with great content.

Essentially, for any marketing activity you can think of, content now plays a key part in its execution and effectiveness. Today’s consumers don’t want to be sold to (in fact, many would actively avoid buying from a business that ‘hard sells’), instead, they want valuable information when making their purchasing decisions, which is where content marketing comes in. Once you have created your content, it can spread through social networks generating powerful word of mouth exposure and convincing people to visit your site and buy. The takeaway here is that content marketing should be an integral part of your marketing process, not something completely separate.

Intrigued? Content marketing is as powerful and effective as the time and money you put into it, so if you want to see great results, be prepared to jump in with both feet. Not sure you can create your own content? There are always people out there to help you out – like us! At Eleven Eight we not only create high-quality content, but we teach you how to create and spread your own content. Want to know more?, Give us a call or drop us a line for a chat with absolutely no obligations.

What Is PAS, And Why Do You Need It In Your Copy?

Copywriting isn’t a paint-by-numbers process (sorry folks!). There is no secret formula for you to follow to produce magical, compelling copy just by filling in the blanks. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t formula’s out there that can help you. To give you a...
Read More

What Is Cornerstone Content (And Why Does It Matter)?

Imagine for a second that a really important visitor has arrived on your website. And I mean REALLY important – someone who could mean the difference between success and failure for your business. But this person has no idea what you do, and no time to go poking...
Read More

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Every business should be blogging.   There really isn’t a question about it anymore. Blogging isn’t some new-fangled form of marketing with no proof behind it. They’re been around a fair while, and they’re here to stay. By now, all the savvy businesses are...
Read More

The F Word (And Why Your Content Needs More F’s)

Relax, I’m not here to deliver some big sermon on swearing, or tell you that you need to pump your copy full of expletives in order to be noticed. Nothing like that. Today, I want to talk about a whole different type of ‘F’. You see, people don’t read in straight...
Read More

How To Get Your Blog Ranking On Google

Google, google, google. There isn’t a day goes by where we aren’t reading something about Google. How to get your website to page 1 is the main one, since occupying that coveted page 1 spot will gain you more clients, more exposure and ultimately, more success. And...
Read More

Whenever I meet new people and tell them what I do, I am almost always greeted with a blank look. While we may have chosen the term ‘creative content agency’ because we like the ring to it, the nuts and bolts of what we do is content marketing. If you’re trying to market your business online, odds are you’ve heard about content marketing somewhere along the line. It’s everywhere you look, with 86% of businesses today using it in one form or another. But if you don’t practice content marketing, do you know what’s involved, what it means, or how you can weave it into all of your marketing efforts to make them more effective?

 

What Does ‘Content Marketing’ Mean?

 

writingContent marketing is defined as ‘a strategic marketing approach focussed on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly-defined audience – and ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.’ A bit of a mouthful! In essence, the point of content marketing is to attract and retain customers by creating, curating and retaining content that is relevant and valuable to them. By doing this, you are portraying yourself as a thought leader in your subject, establishing trust and ultimately changing or enhancing the behaviour of your customers. This could be convincing them to start using your service, change the way they behave towards something or encouraging them to talk about your brand.

Of course, change doesn’t happen overnight. The key thing to remember about content marketing is that it’s an ongoing process that needs to be integrated with your overall marketing strategy. The creation and dissemination of original content and media is essential, and for this to have a noticeable effect it needs time to circulate and build an audience. I’ve lost count of the number of people who tell me they quit blogging or using social media because they didn’t see an increase in sales after the first 2 weeks. If you’re going to invest in content marketing, you need to understand that you are playing a long game, and it might be a while before you see any significant results. The concept of content marketing is built around the tried and tested idea that if we as businesses deliver consistent, ongoing, valuable information to buyers, they will ultimately reward us with their business and loyalty.

 

How Does Content Fit Into My Marketing?

The marketing world has been undergoing a subtle shift for decades, moving away from direct selling and advertising and towards subtle, broad marketing strategies. Today, marketing your business effectively is almost impossible without great content. Quality content affects all forms of modern marketing, including:

  • calendarSocial media – content sharing is a fundamental part of all social media strategy.
  • SEO – search engines rank and reward businesses that publish regular, quality content over those who don’t.
  • PR campaigns – Successful PR campaigns don’t talk about the business but address issues the audience cares about and discusses them, through content.
  • PPC – For a Pay Per Click campaign to work effectively, you need great content behind it.
  • Inbound Marketing – Driving traffic to your site and generating inbound leads revolved around drawing uses in with great content.

Essentially, for any marketing activity you can think of, content now plays a key part in its execution and effectiveness. Today’s consumers don’t want to be sold to (in fact, many would actively avoid buying from a business that ‘hard sells’), instead they want valuable information when making their purchasing decisions, which is where content marketing comes in. Once you have created your content, it can spread through social networks generating powerful word of mouth exposure and convincing people to visit your site and buy. The takeaway here is that content marketing should be an integral part of your marketing process, not something completely separate.

Intrigued? Content marketing is as powerful and effective as the time and money you put into it, so if you want to see great results, be prepared to jump in with both feet. Not sure you can create your own content? There are always people out there to help you out – like us! At Eleven Eight we not only create high quality content, but we teach you how to create and spread your own content. Want to know more?, Give us a call or drop us a line for a chat with absolutely no obligations..

10 Top Tips To Improve Your Blog

10 Top Tips To Improve Your Blog

In the information age, blogging has become one of those things that every marketing company will say you need to do. We are no exception. The problem is that blogging is something that in theory is simple to do (just write some stuff and upload it, right?) but in reality, it’s a lot harder to do. Well, you’re in luck. We have assembled our 10 top tips to help you improve the performance of your existing blog and turn it into a hub of interactions and marketing buzz. Sound good? Great! Let’s get started.

Use Categories 

When you’re uploading your blog to your website, you will have the option to put your blog into a category, usually through a menu on the right-hand side. Most people either completely ignore this function or put everything under ‘news’. Which is fine, but it won’t really help your blog perform. Categories within your blog act as signposts to Google and to your readers, indicating what the content is all about. Users can filter your posts by category to quickly find what they are looking for, which will improve your bounce rates because your content is easy to find. Categories will also help Google identify and catalogue your content correctly, boosting your search engine rankings. Categories can be anything, so all you need to do is make sure they are relevant to what you’re talking about. For example, if you run a baking company you might want to have categories for different ingredients, decoration tips or recipes. There is no right or wrong category – if it’s relevant to your content it will do the job.

Enable Sharing Options

Sharing is a big part of getting your blog out there, so there are a few simple things you can do to encourage sharing. A lot of blogs will have the ability to install a button that the user can click and share the content to Facebook and Twitter. These 2 are usually considered the ‘safe’ options, so companies enable them and leave them to it. But what if the majority of your customers aren’t on Facebook? What if they are on LinkedIn or Pinterest instead? Do a little research and find out where your customers are, then install the right buttons to share to those networks. It’s really easy, and most users are more likely to share your content if it’s just clicking a button instead of copying and pasting a link.

The Power Of Sub Headings 

Once you’ve written your blog post and you’re ready to upload it, you need to give a bit of thought to the layout. Once you’ve hit copy and paste and justified the text so it looks nice and neat (if you don’t it’s a cardinal crime against blogging), you need to separate it out. Big blocks of text are hard to read and put people off, so split up your content with relevant sub headings. Like that big bold bit above this section. But it’s important to remember that these headings aren’t just a bigger text size in bold. When you’re uploading your blog your toolbar will have text options, with the default being ‘paragraph’. For your subheadings, you will need to highlight the text and change this to ‘Heading 1’ or ‘Heading 2’. This will make them bigger and bold to visually separate your points, but it also signals to Google what each section is about. Everything we do with blogging is to please Google, so it’s the little things that make a difference!

Make A Clear Call To Action

A blog is a nice information resource to have, but it should always have a purpose. You should always be asking your readers to do something when they have finished reading your blog. This doesn’t have to be anything huge, it could be as simple as call me, click this link, watch this video. Make sure you have a call to action in there somewhere and it is clear to the reader. You can do this through fonts, colours or underlines, (which is all done automatically if your call to action is a link).

Cross Linking

Cross linking your content to other content is a great way to lower your bounce rates and keep readers on your site. When your content is relevant, make sure you are including a link to another blog post in there. For example, if we were talking about creative block, we would link to this post we wrote a few months ago. If you’ve touched on an issue in a previous blog, or one of your web pages it relevant, link to it. This keeps people interested and on your website, not to mention that Google loves it too.

Images Are Power

As humans we are very visual beings, so pictures play a big part in mainstream and content marketing. Use images to break up text, be an informative illustration of a point or to decorate the post and attract the reader’s attention. Include a header image and 1 in the blog somewhere for maximum impact, just make sure they don’t get too overpowering. Pay attention to size and placement so that they don’t dominate the post. It’s also good practice to make sure those images are tagged with an appropriate description and alt text to help Google categorise them. These are found in the image uploader underneath the thumbnail in most systems. 

Listen To Your Readers

A lot of people stop blogging because they run out of things to talk about. But take it from someone who wrote blogs about ring binders for a year (yes, I really did!), it is impossible to run out of thing to talk about. Keep an ear to the ground and develop your content from social suggestions. Social content that gets higher than normal engagement is a tip off for a post idea. If people pose questions to you on Facebook, Twitter or even in person, write a blog as a response to the question (after answering directly of course). Look into what people are sharing and talking about on social media or in the real world and present your spin on things. When you start thinking creatively, there is no limit to what you can talk about.

Carefully Craft Magnetic Headlines

This might get a tad confusing, but headlines are different from headings. Your headings go within your text, but your headline is just a fancy word for your title. Writing headlines is hard, but ultimately it’s what convinces people to click on your content, so you’ve got to get them right. You have 68 characters to inform and hook your readers and getting those characters to be informative yet intriguing takes some practice. Writing headlines is like solving a difficult crossword puzzle, sometimes you have to take a stab at it in pencil and step back to see if it’s the right one. Ultimately it’s practice and trial and error. If you want to see the effect of headlines, try the article on 2 different groups (say one on LinkedIn and one on Facebook) with different titles and measure the response. Whichever post gets more attention and interaction is moving in the right direction. 

Plan For The Marathon, Not The Sprint

A big mistake people often make with content marketing in general and blogging, in particular, is that they will see instant results. This just isn’t true. If you want your content marketing to be successful, you’ve got to plan, prepare and be in it for the long haul. Spend some time planning out your content and strategy so that you have a strong and cohesive plan to move forward with. Never amble through your blogging not knowing what you’re talking about next. At Eleven Eight, for example, we have a 6-month plan for each of our blogging clients that details the titles, links, subjects and metadata for each of their posts. If you’re not sure about how to plan out your content, get in touch for some advice.

Share, Share Share!

One of the biggest reasons that blogs fail is because people get bored of writing them or run out of things to say. The second reason is that people write and publish them but don’t actually do anything with them. Your blog can do a lot of work for Google just sitting on your site, but it needs your help to generate a buzz about your business. Make sure you’re sharing links on social media, in your networks and in person. Tell people about your blog and people will read it. Leave it alone and your Google ranking might go up and but it won’t do a lot else. Writing the blog is unfortunately only half the battle, so you need to get comfortable with sharing!

Ultimately blogging is a great tool for reinforcing branding, giving advice and establishing yourself as the subject matter expert, but they take time and dedication to get right. If you’re thinking about blogging for your business, take a step back and decide if you have the time to dedicate to it, or whether you need to bring someone else in to help you out. At Eleven Eight we have a range of blogging services and training courses to help you on your way to blogging like a pro, so just give us a call to chat about which options are right for you.

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Copywriting isn’t a paint-by-numbers process (sorry folks!). There is no secret formula for you to follow to produce magical, compelling copy just by filling in the blanks. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t formula’s out there that can help you. To give you a...
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Every business should be blogging.   There really isn’t a question about it anymore. Blogging isn’t some new-fangled form of marketing with no proof behind it. They’re been around a fair while, and they’re here to stay. By now, all the savvy businesses are...
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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.

What Is PAS, And Why Do You Need It In Your Copy?

Copywriting isn’t a paint-by-numbers process (sorry folks!). There is no secret formula for you to follow to produce magical, compelling copy just by filling in the blanks. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t formula’s out there that can help you. To give you a...
Read More

What Is Cornerstone Content (And Why Does It Matter)?

Imagine for a second that a really important visitor has arrived on your website. And I mean REALLY important – someone who could mean the difference between success and failure for your business. But this person has no idea what you do, and no time to go poking...
Read More

7 Reasons Your Business Should Be Blogging

Every business should be blogging.   There really isn’t a question about it anymore. Blogging isn’t some new-fangled form of marketing with no proof behind it. They’re been around a fair while, and they’re here to stay. By now, all the savvy businesses are...
Read More

The F Word (And Why Your Content Needs More F’s)

Relax, I’m not here to deliver some big sermon on swearing, or tell you that you need to pump your copy full of expletives in order to be noticed. Nothing like that. Today, I want to talk about a whole different type of ‘F’. You see, people don’t read in straight...
Read More

How To Get Your Blog Ranking On Google

Google, google, google. There isn’t a day goes by where we aren’t reading something about Google. How to get your website to page 1 is the main one, since occupying that coveted page 1 spot will gain you more clients, more exposure and ultimately, more success. And...
Read More

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.