New year, new content?

What can you do to make 2018 the best year as far as content marketing is concerned?

Make a plan, stick to it

One of the hardest things about content writing is doing it consistently.  For many people it’s easy to get started, but after a few weeks they find they’re posting when they find the time. This sort of approach means that it won’t be long before you realise you haven’t posted anything new for months!

The best thing you can do is come up with a content schedule.  How in depth this is, is up to you; however, it’s better to have something rather than nothing.  Perhaps you want to push company news on a Tuesday, or specific services on a Thursday. Maybe you’ll only blog once a week, in which case you can start to think about what might be topical and relevant to your audience.

Making a content schedule is a lot like having a work out plan – it’s no good if you have too many cheat days.  You certainly won’t see any of the benefits! The reality is the more you post, the more visible you become and this gives you, your business and your site more credibility.  Try to post at least once a week!

Do something different

If you’ve never embraced content before, now might well be the time to think about.

On the other hand, if you have and even use a content schedule to good effect, 2017 is the year for you to start thinking about spicing things up.  Adding the occasional infographic, or even video might encourage your audience to interact.  Could you even add a few free eBooks for people to download that help them with a particular issue or subject?

Promotion, promotion, promotion

It’s all well and good ensuring you have great content on your site, but how are you getting people to see it?  You need to make sure you’re getting it out there, otherwise what’s the point?

Not only do you need to make sure you have a schedule for creating and uploading content, but you need one to promote it too.  It doesn’t matter what social media platforms you use, or whether you completely automate the process, the key again is consistency.

The great thing with content, especially if it’s evergreen, is that you can use it so many times.  Play around with what works for your audience, and start tracking what days or times you get the most hits.  You can then work this in to your scheduling plan.

 

You’re so vain, you probably think social media marketing is about you

We all know people who are “inwardly focussed”.  OK, let’s not beat about the bush here, self-involved.  Whether they be friends or work colleagues, we all have that person who dominates conversation. If you have done something, they’ve done it better.  If you’ve been ill, they had it worse.  No matter what you’re talking about, they skilfully turn the conversation back round to them.

No matter who it is, or what the situation they’re in, these people are a royal pain in the what-not. However, when it comes to networking and marketing, it’s potential business suicide.

Think about the last time you went to a networking event and were faced with a total stranger who thrust their hand out, introduced themselves and shoved a business card at you. Five minutes later you’re still listening to them drivel on about their business, the product, their experience, their sheer wonderfulness.

Did you ever do business with them?

Have you ever referred to them?

Come on be honest, do you now avoid them at all costs?

Thought so.

Social media marketing is absolutely no different.  When I start working with a new client they often query what to post on social media, usually citing the fact their industry isn’t interesting enough to post about twice a day.

When I reply that the last thing they want to do is keep talking about themselves, their industry or their product they look at me like I have two heads.

But how will I sell if I don’t mention my latest gadget?

Over the years I’ve learnt to curb my urge to face palm and cry; however, this still remains my initial instinct.

I know I’ve said it before, but if you’re new, or have forgotten, let me say it again: social media marketing is NOT about selling.  It’s about building relationships with your audience, and you can’t do that if all you try to do is sell to them.

No matter how many of my ramblings you’ve read in the past, you may well find yourself thinking this makes no sense.  Your business is on social media because you want to sell things. Your audience knows you want to sell things to them, and clearly they don’t mind otherwise they wouldn’t be following you.

Right?

Wrong.

The key thing you need to remember is that your audience is not on social media because they want to buy things. They use social media day in, day out for entertainment, to learn things, to keep on top of news and current trends, to interact and to be, well, social.

Your constant posts to buy, buy, buy are nothing more than spam.

They can’t learn, they can’t interact, they can’t engage.

If they can’t do these things at any point, they will tune out.  It doesn’t matter if they unfollow you, or simply mute you – the end result is the same.

You are never going to get them back.

When it comes to social media marketing your job is to inform your audience.  Tell them about products that are on the market – even if you don’t sell them. Let them know you are the best person to come to when they are looking for advice.  Don’t judge every interaction by what you immediately get out of it.

A customer may come to you, ask your advice and go elsewhere. But they will always remember how you took the time to help them in the first place.  Next time they need something they may come to you and actually purchase. If you wow them then, I assure you, you have a customer for life.  And that is definitely worth whatever time it cost you in the first place.

People cannot build a relationship with someone who just talks at them constantly – you need to find ways to make them want to interact and engage with you. Let them learn about you, what your values are, what you stand for and what your experience is. Get them to care about your story.

Look after them, and they will most definitely look after you.

 

 

How to Build Trust Online

For the last two weeks we’ve been talking about the importance of building the “know, like and trust” factor online.  So far we’ve given tips on how get known for your content, and how to build likeability through all your online activities.

 

This week it’s the turn of trust.

 

Everything we’ve suggested so far has been leading up to this bit.  It’s all well and good being known, and people being aware of you, and it’s great if they like you and want to interact with you – but if they can’t trust you?  Well, they’re not going to buy from you or recommend you further down the line.

 

We all know that trust is earnt, and there’s no reason why you can’t build that online.  Here are our top tips for precisely how to do that.

 

#1 – Give stuff away

We’ve already touched on this previously, but giving stuff away is a great way to tackle all three building blocks of successful networking.  Sharing your best content (there’s so much free stuff on the web, please don’t give people rubbish) will show that you’re authentic, but equally it will show you value your audience.

 

Giving stuff away means you’re generous, and not just in it for the sales.

 

#2 – Don’t disappoint

We can debate all day about how often you should post on social media or update your blog, but the reality is an arbitrary number means nothing if you’re not going to stick to it.  If you say you’re going to post a video every day – do it.  Going to produce a weekly blog?  Do it!

 

If you put it out there and then start breaking your promises, you’re already showing that you can’t be relied on to deliver.

 

#3 – Be consistently good

Following on from consisting posting, your posts also need to be consistent.  People need to know what they’re going to get from you – your content has to be of the same standard throughout.  Don’t just throw something together because it’s got to be done, take your time to craft a specific message, and keep it inline with what you’ve offered before.

 

If people know what to expect from you then they’re more likely to come to you before going anywhere else.

 

#4 – Share testimonials

It’s easy for any of us to say wonderful things about ourselves, so occasionally let a third party vouch for you.  Share testimonials, and let other people use their own words to demonstrate how you add value, or provide great customer service.

 

Try to mix it up a bit – is there any way you can use a case study to really make an impact?  How about getting someone on video talking about why they love working with you or using your products?

 

#5 – Avoid jargon

 

We can all be guilty of it at times, using industry jargon, and forgetting that other people might now know what the Hell we’re talking about. People can smell BS a mile off, even online so it’s vital you don’t try to hide behind complicated and technical language.  Make sure you are approachable, clear, concise and easy to understand.  Never talk down to your audience, and always be happy to answer their questions and explain yourself when needed.

 

#6 – Apologise when you’re wrong

 

No one is perfect, and there are times you’re going to make a mistake.  It might be a faulty product, a poor service, whatever; when you make a mistake put your hands up and admit to it.  We are all human, so the error is never really the problem, it’s always the way you handle it that matters.

 

Don’t try to hide from the fact you got something wrong, use it as an opportunity to review your processes, and work out how you can avoid that issue arising again in the future.  Those who have been impacted are likely to forgive you a lot quicker if you embrace the situation, and use it as a catalyst for change.

 

 

Remember, Time Saving Heroes offer a wide variety of content writing services as well as social media management. We’re happy to have a chat and give you tips on what you can do to improve your offering for your audience, so pick up the phone and give us a call on 0161 883 2024.

5 tips for great web content

Most businesses these days have a website; however, few actually take the time to review its content, ever. Let alone regularly.

 

Web content is vitally important.  At the end of the day it doesn’t matter how good it looks, if it doesn’t tell a story, make people want to engage, or provide relevant information.

 

How then can you make sure that your content is up to standards?  Here’s Lu’s top five tips to get you off to a good start:

 

#1 – Keep it relevant

Have you ever typed in a search item and clicked on a link, only to find that the page you’ve been taken to is useless?  Unfortunately, it happens quite a lot, and it’s infuriating.

 

Make sure people who end up on your page are actually able to find the information they’re after.  Don’t title a page or blog post as one thing, and then write about something completely different.

 

#2 – Keep it short

Web readers are skimmers.  They don’t want to sit and read War and Peace, so provide the information they want or needs quickly, and concisely.  Use images, bullet points, graphs and infographics where possible to make it even simpler for them to digest.

#3 – Keep checking spelling

Nothing says unprofessional like a page full of spelling or grammatical errors.  Admittedly, none of us are perfect (we’ve been known to send something out with an error or two before), but it’s important to take a few minutes to go through everything just one more time before you hit publish.

 

Don’t go to the effort of researching and writing something amazing, and then leaving the wrong to/two/too in place.

 

#4 – Keep it strong

If you’re providing an opinion, then do so with authority.  Don’t be wishy-washy about it, and mince your words.  People want to know what you think, and what your opinion on a particular topic is.

 

Equally, if you’re talking about your products or services, do so with confidence. If you don’t believe in what you’re writing, why would anyone else believe it?

 

#5 – Keep doing it

The key to writing good content is practice.  Very few of us just stumble on the right words, the first time.  Try a few variations of what you’ve already got, and see how well it’s all received.  Review your site every couple of months in line with your analytics, and try to work out where people are coming from, what they’re viewing and where they’re dropping off.

 

Just keep it at, and you’ll hit gold in the end.

How to Get Known Online

Our Lu is the current Chair of Bury Business Group, the oldest and largely networking group in the Bury (Greater Manchester) area.  One thing that is key to successful networking is establishing the “know, like and trust” factor.  If people get to know you, they get to like you (hopefully) and ultimately they can trust you to do a good job.  All of that means they’re likely to use your services themselves, but even more importantly, will recommend you to their friends and family.

 

Most people understand that when it comes to physical face-to-face networking, but move that online, and all logic seems to go out the window.  Social media marketing, content marketing – whatever you want to call it, is absolutely no different.  You have to put the work in to be consistent, and show that people can know, like and trust you.

 

How do you do that when it comes to content?  If you’ve started a blog, or are thinking about creating one for your business, how do you build those relationships in a virtual world?  Here’s our top tips for getting a good online reputation.

 

#1 – Know who you’re talking to

Too many people think that because they’re content is going out online they’re talking to everyone.  In theory, your content has that potential, anyone can stumble across something you share; however, you’re not trying to appeal to everyone.  You cannot sell to everyone.

 

Here you need to be very clear about your buyer persona’s. Who is your target audience, what do they want to hear and read about, what interests them, and what products or services are they likely to want from you?  Make sure your content is tightly centred around them. Be completely specific!

 

#2 – Be an expert

One of the best things about blogs is that it allows you to express an opinion within a chosen field or topic, and as such you can exert yourself as an expert. However, giving your opinion isn’t enough. Give your ideas names and labels, really come up with something unique, rather than just spouting industry givens and common knowledge. Do something to really make YOU stand out, so you can become a thought leader.

 

#3 – Create the right content

No matter how tight your buyer persona is, and how on point you believe you are, the best thing you can do is actually ask your audience what it is they want to get from you.  Do your research, ask questions, dig that little big deeper to really understand your actual audience.  You may even find that you’re attracting a completely different market, and that’s one you can work with.

 

#4 – Create a free product

Yes, we know you want to make sales off the back of your blog, and you can, but one of the best ways to do that is to create a free product that you can distribute easily.  What problems do your target audience have, and how can you help them with that?  Create eBooks, newsletters, courses, top tips, podcasts, how-to videos and so on that your loyal followers have access to. Ask them to sign up, and from there you can create a database of people to reach out to (just make sure you are compliant under the new GDPR regulations).

 

#5 – Build relationships

It goes without saying that you should be building relationships with your audience, taking the time to actually connect with them rather than simply throwing content out there, but that’s not the only thing you should do.  Make sure you’re following key influencers in your market and industry, connect with them, comment on their content, share their content, interact and build relationships with them, too.

 

That doesn’t mean you have to be a suck-up and start virtually stalking these people, but get involved in genuine conversations.  Ask questions, and encourage interaction.  This is a great way to get noticed, and could lead to some interesting debates and further content to put out.

 

#6 – Interview the experts

Following on from the above point, if you can build relationships with key influencers, you may be able to interview them as part of your content.  That way you can tap in to their audience in a big to increase your own.  Everyone benefits from increased exposure, and your audience will enjoy seeing something different and having an alternative perspective.

 

#7 – Guest blog

Guest blogging on other sites is a great way to further expand your own audience and reach.  Showing that you’re not the only one who values your opinion, but being invited to share content on someone else’s platform is a further example of social proof, and will definitely do you and your brand no harm.

 

 

Remember, Time Saving Heroes offer a wide variety of content writing services as well as social media management. We’re happy to have a chat and give you tips on what you can do to improve your offering for your audience, so pick up the phone and give us a call on 0161 883 2024.

Freaky Halloween Offer!

Here at Time Saving Heroes we love Halloween.  In fact, it’s our second favourite day of the year (after Christmas, of course).  The crisp evenings, the spookiness, the ghouls lurking round every corner (and that’s just Lu’s kids), so much fun!

 

To celebrate we’re offering a scary reduction in our content writing service.

 

If you sign up by 31st October 2017 you can receive FOUR blogs for the price of two.  That’s a saving of £50!

 

No contracts, you don’t have to sign up to receiving more blogs – you can take your four and run (though, of course, we’d love to think you’d stick around).

 

All you have to do is call 0161 883 2024, email hello@timesavingheroes.co.uk or message us via our Facebook page here.

 

Then we’ll do the rest.

 

Blogs will be produced for use in November/December 2017.

5 content ideas you should be using

There is little doubt that having a blog on your website, or using another forum, is a great way to generate traffic and engage with your potential audience. However, finding things to actually write about can prove a little problematic at times.

So, here are our favourite options if you find yourself stuck for ideas.

# 1 – Listicles

Other than just being a really cool word, a listicle is a fantastic blend of the classic list based article. Essentially, take a concept, and turn it in to a numbered list. For example, top 10 things to blog about.

Having a list means you can easily call out a number in your headline: “5 reasons you should use a Time Saving Hero”. It’s engaging, and lets your time poor audience know there’s a degree of conciseness and even skimability about the content, that might encourage them to click and read.

# 2 – How to’s

People like to find out how to do things for themselves, and telling them how to do something doesn’t necessarily mean you’re giving away your secrets for free. Create posts that walk them through how to do something useful, whether it’s making a cake, setting up their Facebook business page or even changing a lightbulb. If t’s useful for your audience, then it’s worth doing.

Make it as simple as possible, add images and photographs, and where possible even add in a video to make it more engaging.

# 3 – Checklists

Checklists can be a great way to provide useful and very specific information, and is usually more precise and targeted than a listicle.

We recently prepared checklists for a travel agent client who wanted to help customers who were travelling with young children. The list was informative and useful, and was shared frequently even by people who weren’t customers (which was kind of the whole point).

Use checklists to show you really know what you’re talking about.

# 4 – Best practices

As an expert in your field you will no doubt come across the good and the bad in your industry on a daily basis. Why not take the time to share some best practice advice on a given subject? In the past we’ve done this for how to connect with people on LinkedIn, or how to optimise your social media pages.

We’ve always found that such posts are not only informative, but they often encourage a bit of healthy debate – from all members of your audience, including competitors. This is a great way to increase engagement and visibility, and perhaps even learn something yourself.

# 5 – Tips and tricks

One of our clients is an IT expert – there is nothing he doesn’t know about computers, and everything they’re capable of doing. Each day he shares tips and tricks via his Facebook page, from how to delete temporary files to free up disk space, to useful shortcuts on PowerPoint.

These are great posts, but people only see them if they follow his Facebook page. We recently encouraged him to pull together 8-10 tips at a time, and turn them in to content to share via his website. The reach has been huge, as people have been commenting and reposting specific tips.

It’s a great way to share your knowledge, and again place yourself as an industry expert.