Category Archives: Online Content

10 Facebook Live Tips

We’ve been running a Facebook Live Challenge over in our Group – Social Souls. If you want to join in then visit the Group at any point in June – and choose 7 days that work for you. You’ll find the 7 topics pinned to the top of the feed in the Group.

Meanwhile… here’s the 10 tips document…

10 FB LIVE TIPS PDF

How To Create An Effective Content Marketing Plan

Great content marketing is key to your marketing efforts and can reap huge rewards for businesses, both large and small, but how do you ensure what you are creating is great content? It’s a question we all need to ask ourselves, whether setting out to create content for the first time or thinking of developing an existing approach.

Inspirational quote – motivational poster with words by Benjamin Franklin: By failing to prepare you are preparing to fail.

I’m sure you will have heard the Benjamin Franklin quote, ‘By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail’, well it’s something that we here at Carvill Creative certainly agree with. The starting point when it comes to content marketing is all about devising a smart and robust plan, so that you know what you want to achieve and can measure how effective you are. ‘But…’ you may be asking, ‘where do I start?’

Goals and Measurement

There are basically 5 goals, which effective content marketing can help you to achieve, and which you must always be mindful of when creating content:

  1. Raise brand awareness
  2. Drive traffic to your website
  3. Generate leads
  4. Convert leads into customers
  5. Encourage existing customers to repeat purchase

It’s wise to sense check that what you are creating content-wise is actually helping you to achieve these goals. Measuring the success of your content marketing isn’t always straightforward, but with a little effort you can pull together enough information to be able to make a reasonably informed decision. Take a look at Google Analytics, get a deep understanding on how your content is performing against driving traffic, converting leads and repeat purchases. Get clarity on reach and engagement using the analytics available via the social channels you are using, and where relevant, track how many leads are being generated and converted.

Know Your Audience 

Whilst in an ideal world, you have one key persona that your create content for – it may well be that you have more than one, and therefore, there are a number of target audiences that you are creating your content for. But whatever the case, you need to understand what engages each audience. What are they sharing and liking content-wise? What topics are of interest to them? What needs / problems do they have, and how can you best present information to meet the audience’s needs and solve their problems so that they will want to read the content and ultimately feel compelled to share it?

And it’s not just about understanding what might engage your audience, you also need to understand where they are more likely to engage with this content, i.e. which channels that they use.

Create a Content Calendar

It’s a really good discipline to create a load of content ideas relevant to your target audiences that you can schedule into a content calendar, which can include topics and keywords, as well as the different formats required. This enables you to review opportunities to repurpose content too. Your Content Calendar might cover the upcoming quarter, or even the next six months and will allow you to remain focussed on creating timely and engaging content.

Your Plan is Good to Go!

This may initially feel like a lot of work, however once you have done the planning groundwork, you will reap the rewards of an efficient and effective way of creating engaging content, which will ultimately, transition your content creation from being a ‘churn out of publishing haphazardly’ – into a far more targeted and purposeful way to help you achieve your goals.

Be mindful of the quote we shared at the outset of this article…and be sure to plan for success.

Thanks for tuning in…

Team Carvill would love to hear your comments and ideas around content planning. Be sure to join the conversation over on our dedicated Social Souls Group.   

 Carvill Creative the digital marketing and social media agency, helping organisations to ‘Get Social’.

Social Video. It’s here and it’s taking over.

No matter what social media platform you are using, you’re bound to have noticed the increase in videos appearing in your timeline. It could just be a funny viral that’s being shared over and over again, or perhaps a slick, high budget, celebrity endorsement. Whatever it may be, online videos are fast becoming the leading marketing medium, with the potential to take over from TV ads.

More and more brands are now on the continuous lookout for ways to grab our attention (and our cash) using social media videos to make their product stand out from the crowd.

At this time of year especially, the buzz is even greater. Retailer John Lewis used social media to launch their Christmas ad last month, with the hashtag #ManOnTheMoon all over Twitter. And what did we all do? Liked it, Shared it. It’s so easy to do, and that’s what makes it work. You don’t have to be in your living room, watching the TV to be targeted. With a mobile phone or tablet, you can be reached anywhere..

jl

How we create videos now has also contributed to this rising trend. With the right app, nearly anyone can create a fairly professional looking video. It doesn’t always need to be complicated, it could just be a matter of getting your phone out and capturing the moment at just the right time. Originality is key…and humour, we all feel compelled to share something we find amusing.

Last year, we blogged about the importance of a Video Strategy, so find out what is working for your audience, what is liked and more importantly perhaps, what isn’t. Facebook now have Video Metrics to help with this, you can find out all sorts of valuable stats about your video posts.

So as 2015 comes to an end, we predict 2016 will be huge for Social Video as brands realise that video really is leading the way when it comes to content marketing.    

Meaningful marketing – right message, right person, right time

It was back in 2009 (blimey almost 7 years ago now) when I blogged about right person, right message and right time.

The post largely focused on direct mail – and the fact that many of our clients were challenged by the fact that they were getting low response rates to their one hit wonder marketing attempts.

Of course, in the past 7 years – everything has changed and yet nothing has changed.  The sentiment in the blog post I wrote almost 7 years ago remains the same – it’s just that tools, channels and technologies enable us even more with our endeavours to get the right message to the right person at the right time.

RMRPRT

However, whilst the tactics haven’t changed, the playing field has. There’s now more content delivered to consumers daily than ever before.

As Eric Schmidt famously said in 2010 ‘Every 2 days we create as much content as we did up to 2003!

With an abundance of content around – and technology at our 24/7 fingertips making whatever we need accessible to us – then there’s real skill required to get into the hearts and minds of your audience.

However, the practical tactics I talked about in 2009 remain:

1) A clear understanding of the purpose of the mailing (what need is it fulfilling).

2) Accurate and relevant targeting (the benefits may be great but if they’re not relevant to your audience – you’ve missed the point).

3) A way to compel and involve the reader to take action and respond.

So let’s take a look at the winning combination: Right message, right person and the right time.

Right Person

Targeting is the first step in any campaign.  Question your logic: who are you trying to attract?  Who do you want to reach?  Targeting is easier these days, but you still have to have systems in place to learn as much as possible.  You need to have some knowledge of your audience, in order to be able to target effectively.

A great start to targeting is utilising existing customer information, their user behaviours, the journey they’ve taken to reach you and where possible, ask questions during your purchase processes where relevant to find out more about them. Different WordPress website designs will attract different personalities so experiment with them in a way where you can see the differences. Such information should enable you to identify with them – understand what motivates them.  The more you have the more you are able to profile them into segments that focus on them as real people rather than ‘batches of behaviour’. The more your know, the closer you can get, the more personalised you can be – the more authentic the relationship you can build.

Right Message

There are many tactics and ideas for making your communications ‘stand out’.   And indeed some businesses spend enormous amounts of money on gimmicks, creative and incentives both online and offline.

It’s worth remembering that what customers (aka people) are really looking for is relevance – they are far more likely to respond to a mailing which has an offer they are interested in, than to one which has a great design or gimmick, but is of no relevance to them.

Indeed, it’s easy to get carried away with the ‘attention grabbing gimmicks’ – this is the fun stuff.   And whilst the ‘whacky’ designs may catch attention – what all communication experts agree on is the importance of ‘relevance of message’.  In a time strapped world, if you’re going to ‘show up’ and be useful, then you need to be as relevant as possible.

Experts agree that the creation of the ‘message’ needs research and planning.

The focus of the message is to win attention and encourage your readers to take action.  Some key tips to consider when crafting your message:

  • Be yourself – personalise communications as much as you can and demonstrate a sound knowledge of your audience’s business dynamics (if relevant) and a clear understanding of the obstacles they face.  If the reader believes you have empathy with their situation – they are far more likely to engage with your message.
  • Don’t talk too much about yourself – readers are interested in what you can do for them – not what you do.  Focus on the opportunities your products and services present for them. A good mantra is to uncover the ‘benefits of the benefits’.  If you’re too ‘feature’ focused – you’re missing the critical element of what’s in it for them.
  • Use the words ‘you’ and ‘your’ as much as possible and minimise the ‘we’s’.  This will warm up your messaging considerably.
  • If there is an offer in your message – then be direct about it – and get the value proposition or the offer in early on in the communication.   If you can save them £500 immediately (and if that’s a relevant message to them) – then tell them this in the headline.  And of course, repeat the offer again at other points – don’t let them miss the opportunity.
  • Make it easy for people to buy/engage/take action.  So often I read communications where I’m thinking – ‘what do they want me to do’.  Be sure you have clear instruction of how to take action.
  • Be sure to keep any response mechanisms (in order for people to engage and take action) as simple as possible and where relevant provide a few response options.  Don’t stipulate that orders must be done ‘online’ – as that may present an obstruction to buy.

Right Time

A key aspect to all effective communication is  ‘timing’.  It’s very difficult to know exactly when your target customer is ‘ready to buy / engage or take action’.  Of course, there may be some seasonal opportunities which determine an opportune time – and so consider this when planning.  But remind yourself, that it still doesn’t provide any guarantees.

Timing is exactly why ‘one hit wonders’ are extremely rare – if evident at all.  More often than not – deciding when to communicate, email, target – is more of a case of what you can internally manage and resource.

And that’s fine – provided that you don’t plan on doing communications or campaigns in ‘isolation’.  By this I mean – that you do not attempt to attain the elusive ‘one hit wonder’ – but instead plan an integrated marketing campaign of which direct messaging is one component.

Regular communication is the only solution to the ‘right time’ problem.  Even with sophisticated consumer behaviourial profiling, knowing just ‘when’ a customer is ready to buy – requires skills beyond the realms of our 5 senses.  Of course, marketing automation helps us to keep moving those interested in what we’ve shared forward – but again, be sure all communications are as ‘human’ and personable as possible. Often – automated communications are obvious. I know I’m being marched through a funnel – albeit a sophisticated one. So make the experience as personable and personalised as possible.

Having continuous conversations with your audience is key as even if your offer is amazingly compelling – for many of the people you target, it may simply be a case that now is just not the right time for them.  However, 6 months down the line – it may be the perfect time for them.  And so – regular communication, providing genuine value with each message, allows you to build ‘share of mind’, loyalty, and eventually ‘hit the mark’.

Let’s think about it this way.  Research in ‘sales activity’ tells us that the optimum number of times you need to ask the customer to buy in order to gain a positive result is 7.   This tells us that regular communication is necessary to achieve the end objective.

So – right time, right person, right message, six simple words – yet a whole load of complexity in getting it right.

In a sea of sameness and overload of marketing messages, consumer offers and choice – making your marketing activity authentically personable and meaningful has never been more important. So taken on the challenge of complexity, commit to getting close to your audience – like in case of doing the bluetooth beacon marketing – so you genuinely understand their needs – and you’ve got a whole lot more chance of getting the right message, to the right person at the right time.

My message to you is that if you’re not investing time in learning – then you’re just ‘churning’.  And my guess is, that’s not proving to be very effective.

As always – any questions tweet me @michellecarvill or email michelle@carvillcreative.co.uk 

Michelle Carvill, best selling business author, speaker, founder and Director at Carvill – the social media marketing agency. For information about how the team at Carvill can help you – simply get in touch or visit our website for more information.

Beware… The Curse of Knowledge – 5 ways to overcome your nemisis

For anyone that knows me – they know that I’ve always got a recommendation of a  ‘good book that you’d enjoy‘ at the ready.

Amazon business books must love me – as I buy books weekly! (In fact 3 books ordered this week, Getting Goosebumps, (@googledave) Stop Talking Start Doing and Do Less Get More – both by (@shaawasmund)).

I love to zip my way through them – sometimes reading two or three books at a time – scribbling notes and collecting gems of knowledge. It’s rare I don’t pick something up – and it’s wonderful when I pick upL plate on something that’s potentially been challenging me for years.

In my recent reading endeavours, I was introduced to Made To Stick a pacey and easily digestible tome – packed with practical insights into the power of stories and theories around why some ideas stick and others don’t. One area they touch on which really chimed with me is the Curse of Knowledge.

The Curse of Knowledge – the premise that the more you know about something, the harder it is for you to imagine what it’s like to lack that knowledge. This was a real ‘ta dah’ light bulb moment for me. As, I don’t know about you – but sometimes, I’m in meetings with people and when explaining something, all I get is bemused blank looks.

It’s as if my logical plain English discussion has been turned into a totally incomprehensible foreign language which no one understands.

What I now better understand, it that it’s my nemisis coming into action, mwah ha ha   –  the curse of knowledge.  When people look at me as if they don’t know what I’m talking about – that’s because they probably really don’t know what I’m talking about.

Thankfully, it’s not that I’m a terrible communicator (honest) – but rather that I am talking to them as if they already know what I know – and they don’t.

What does this mean for the way we communicate?

The curse of knowledge is such a significant factor in how we communicate. Not only with our colleagues, but also with our marketing communications. When we’re explaining something to a customer, client or new team member – either via talking, video, email or however else, we have to remember that they don’t know what we know.

We have to remind ourselves to turn back the  experience dial and think about what we had to know to know what we now know. (Too many know’s here but you get my drift).

And if you’re in the business of influencing people, management, business, selling – and you’re looking for people to do what you want them to do – or buy what you want them to buy – then the curse of knowledge becomes a big challenge.

Here’s one way of looking at it…

Liken it to driving a car. When you first stepped into the driving seat to take your lessons – you thought about every single thing that you did. You actively listened for the step by step instruction from your instructor.

You nervously checked, double checked and triple checked your mirrors, indicators, seat belt and that your foot was on the right pedal.  You probably then read up on your highway code or theory practice – so that you were fully immersed and prepared for any eventuality.

Ping yourself forward a few (or many years) and driving’s a breeze, right? You don’t even think about it.  But that’s because you’ve been doing it a while, it’s become part of what you do – it’s natural.  And importantly, it’s really difficult to remember, not knowing how to drive. If you now had to explain to someone how to drive – you’d find it challenging, you’d probably cut corners and you’d get frustrated that they weren’t ‘getting it’ – after all, it’s not rocket science – it’s just driving.  Right?

Well apply this scenario to work, business or life. The same principle applies. And when you become aware of the curse of knowledge, you start to see it’s manifestations all around you. In conversations, I find myself talking B2B and B2C and putting up slides filled with acronyms that I am familiar with and therefore, I assume everyone should know. Only to be asked, what does that mean?

And the worry is, just how many people do we think sit on their hands and don’t ask for fear of looking like an idiot. Not only does the curse of knowledge hamper communication and getting the point across – but it also stops you from genuinely connecting with people. There’s nothing more rewarding than being heard – but communication is a two way street and you need to be talking in a language everyone understands in order to achieve that effectively.

So here are my 5 simple lessons for overcoming the curse of knowledge:

1.     Be aware

Once you know about the curse of knowledge just start sense checking how you’re communicating.  You’ll start to spot the assumptions you make all the time.  People aren’t idiots or being difficult – they just don’t know what you know – just like you may not know what they know.

 2.   Sense check

Check in with someone that is similar, or part of the audience you’re looking at communicating to. Does it make sense to them. It is pitched at the right level. Do they understand what you’re saying. Is there anything that they don’t understand. Is there any jargon that could be simplified.

3.     Start at the beginning

Rather than diving in and assuming a high level of knowledge, ask where people are to gauge where you need to start. I’ve found it really useful to say things like ‘I’m not teaching grandma to suck eggs here – but I’m starting at the beginning just so that we’re all on the same page – for those of you that know this, great and bear with me for a few minutes, and for those of you that don’t already know this – great, I’m going to go through it briefly.

4.     Does that make sense?

When you get the confused looks, or you feel you might as well be speaking Japanese (to non Japanese speaking people;)) – then check in. Ask the question – does that make sense? See who is getting it and who isn’t and then be prepared to start at the bottom and work through things step by step for those that aren’t.

5.     Step into their world

Having empathy and patience is key to effective communication. You may not remember all the steps you took when learning to drive but you will remember how vulnerable you felt the first time you sat in the driver’s seat – and remember that for others learning something for the first time, they too may be feeling a little ‘fish out of water’. So work on drawing your audience in by understanding where they’re coming from – and breaking things down so it’s easily communicable.

For me – uncovering the ‘curse of knowledge’ – has set me on a mission to change and improve some of the ways I communicate. Here’s hoping you find it’s something useful to be aware of too.

As always – any questions tweet me @michellecarvill or email michelle@carvillcreative.co.uk.  

Michelle Carvill, best selling business author, speaker, founder and Director at Carvill – the social media marketing agency. For information about how the team at Carvill can help you – simply get in touch or visit our website for more information.

How to Market Your New Business – Everything you need to know in a 45 min video

How to Market Your New Business – Practical ‘how to’ video

Always great fun hanging out with @ThatSMGirl and the #StartUpTV team @madesimplegroup to deliver some quality content.

This week, on the very same day my new book was launched on Amazon, I delivered a 45 minute Google Hangout (aka a live streaming webinar), absolutely packed with practical gems to help market a new business (or market any other business for that matter).

Whether you are starting out and looking for ideas – or whether you are looking to improve your current marketing efforts, I encourage you to spend some time with this webinar to help you understand what you need to be focusing on.

Covering areas related to:

  • Keeping the customer front of mind at all times
  • Focusing on the 4 ways to grow a business
  • Market and competitor analysis
  • Mixing the modern marketing mix
  • Measuring what you to
  • Creating a simple marketing activity plan

View now and enjoy – and as always – any questions tweet me @michellecarvill or email michelle@carvillcreative.co.uk.

 Michelle Carvill, best selling business author, speaker, founder and Director at Carvill – the social media marketing agency. For information about how the team at Carvill can help you – simply get in touch or visit our website for more information.

A Word Of Advice To Content Creators: Be Sure To Know Where Your Images Are Sourced!

The diaphragm of a camera lens. Color toned image.

This week’s blog post focuses on the use of images in your online content and the importance of knowing where your images have come from.

As a social media and marketing agency we deal with online content on a daily basis and some of the time, when our clients don’t have images or written articles, it is down to us to create or source that content. Although some of us very much enjoy taking photos, we do not have extensive image libraries to hand! So we sometimes rely on purchasing images for use with the written content we’ve created or for our social media posts.

Recently we experienced a run in with a large stock photo agency who demanded a rather large amount of money from us because we had used an image from their site without their permission (It was a blog that was published many years ago and found using google images – but there was nothing on the image to say it belonged to anyone or that it was rights managed.

For a lot of people it’s all too easy to do a Google image search to find an image they like, after all it will say if it’s a paid image it would say won’t it? wrong;

Google Images show all sorts of images whether they feature on general websites or on sites that specialise in selling images and some of the time there are images that were initially purchased from the stock agencies and then used online. Google also announced recently that images in PDF documents will also feature in Google Images online search. So again, another good reason why it’s best to find alternate resources if you are looking for an image; This article really helps shed some light on how to ensure you are legally using online photos.

 

Have you recently had an issue over the copyright of an image you recently used online? We’d be interested to hear your experiences, tweet us @CarvillCreative