Tag Archives: social media content

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’.

Do You Know Who Your Competition Is On Social Media?

competitors
Carvill Creative Competition

When starting out with your business on social media, it’s often best practice to spend some time looking at what your competitor’s are doing.

When you and your competitors are both trying to attract the same audience, customers looking for the same thing are going to be torn between whose content is better. Therefore it’s good to review the kind of content your competitors are sharing, and if others are sharing it, if so – then there’s a good chance they’ll share similar content from your channels too – but you can work on it so that your content is even better! That’s why it’s important to research what content competitors are publishing as it will give you clues about where to gain the most engagement.

Take a look at three important things to be looking out for when researching your competition:

  1. Learn From Their Mistakes

In today’s digital word, as a small businesses you too have to go out and earn your brand’s reputation. One of the very first steps when starting online is to take a look at your competitors, and dig up the mistakes they have made in the past. Social media is any easy place to search and see what people are saying – so when you find mistakes that your competitors have made or things that didn’t sit well with your target audience – take note of it.

Tip: Aim to monitor your competitors weekly – look out for how often they post in comparison to you. You may be able to see some differences in what effects this has on your audience’s engagement. For instance if they are posting content a little more often then you and have a better engagement rate – you may want to test picking up the pace.

  1. Find Out The Best Ways To Interact With Your Target Audience

Your target audience should be the key objective when it comes to your social media strategy. How businesses interact with their social media audience will largely affect the kind of response they get. So be sure to investigate the customer acquisition approach your competitors have – then think about what you could be doing differently? Do you need to think about increasing your followers’ every day? What kind of voice do your competitors use? Keep in mind that humour always works well online – but of course it has to be appropriate for the business.

Tip: Don’t get caught up in the number of followers, likes, fans etc. that your competitors have – although these numbers are important, they’re not as important as the engagement rates.

  1. Find Out What Content Works Best

When researching your competition – be sure to look at what content works well for them – but clearly, your intention is not to copy them directly. You purely want to see what they’re doing to give you an idea on how you can make your content even better – so just take a quick look at their work and gain clues about your own content by seeing what gets the most engagement from their audience compared to yours. You’ll quickly be able to see whether those photos of you and your employees at the Christmas party were a good idea, whether you may need to post a video once in a while, or whether you need to use more images.

Tip: When following different theories to your competitors, it’s important to remember that just because they’re doing something new that appears to be working, there is a good chance that they have not tested it – so be careful and always use your best judgement.

As part of your social media activity, research and analysis is equally as important as sharing  content,  so take some time researching the ‘big players’ in your industry and be sure to take our tips on board and to consider how you can build in a process to critically analyse your completion now and again.

This blog post was brought to you by Michelle Carvill, founder of Carvill Creative, the online visibility experts and author of The Business of Being Social – A Practical Guide to Harnessing the Power of Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and LinkedIn for all Businesses.

If you need any help with your social media activity, blogging or creating content or any other digital marketing services, then do get in touch with us.

If Social Media is Fire and Content is Fuel – How effective is your Fuel?

If you are on social networks – then beyond my question to you of ‘why’ are you on those channels.  Is another important question ‘What are you going to share with your audiences?’

Content matters. Words matter.

What have you got that makes you so different to the millions of pieces of content readily available online?

My advice is that you create content that matters to the audience you are trying to earn the attention of.

Whether that audience is your customers, prospects, influencers – think about what they need, what there pain points are – what is it that you have that you can be sharing that will ‘earn’ their attention.

Content is everywhere – make sure yours stands up and stands out.

Think, plan, listen before you start talking about stuff people just aren’t interesting in – such as the latest cheese sandwich you had for lunch.

Do you find this blog post useful? Feel free to share it using the buttons below.

If you need any help with creating content or anything else then do get in touch with us.

This blog post was brought to you by Michelle Carvill, founder of Carvill Creative, the online visibility experts and author of The Business of Being Social – A Practical Guide to Harnessing the Power of Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and LinkedIn for all Businesses.

Michelle Carvill’s Chapter Insights – Listening and Analysis

Introducing the Listening and Analysis Chapter of ‘The Business of Being Social.’

Michelle Carvill, the Founder and Director of Carvill Creative has co-authored the book ‘The Business of Being Social.’

We’ll be sharing some taster videos with you over the next few days, sharing ‘Michelle Carvill’s Social Media insights’ – discussing chapters within the book.

Introducing the first Social Media Insight – Listening and Analysis

See the video to find out more…

We hope that THIS social media insights video has given you a taster of what to expect from the book

If you haven’t got your copy already… You can order yours here!

For further updates visit www.thebusinessofbeingsocial.co.uk

Also, you can stay tuned by following the book on Twitter!


	

Blogging Generates New Business – Fact!

Being a regular blogger, blogging for around 5 years now – I’m always surprised to find that a huge proportion of businesses and websites I come across don’t have any blogging presence.

In an age where 76% of consumers search for products and services online via search engines and social media platforms, (just think about your own consumer behaviour and what you do when looking for a new product orsocial media advice consultancy marketing service), then being ‘visible’ online is now business critical.

Having a website presence is one thing. However, in order for you to ensure your website doesn’t become a ‘billboard in the desert’ (as 40% of all UK websites are and received zero, yes, zero, traffic!), then you have to work at driving online visibility.

There are a number of ways to assist your online visibility – here are some of the key ones:

SEO (search engine optimisation) –  I’m not going to get into detail about SEO – however, enough to say that there are two key elements to SEO,  1) ‘on page’ – which relates to the content on your website, meta, site structure, navigation etc and ensuring all that is optimised.  And then, 2) ‘off page’ – which is the far more labour intensive means of growing credible and relevant ‘back links’ to your website.

The overall objective is to ensure that when someone types in those all important keywords when searching for a product or service eg:  ‘forensic accountant London’ – then you are visible on Page 1 of the search results (ideally in the top 3 organic search results – [after all, do you look beyond those or switch to Page 2 of search results?]).

Online advertising – When someone types in those all important keywords eg: ‘social media consultant London’ – you are paying to top the bill. You are bidding on keywords so that you become visible in the sponsored links. Again, ideally you want to dominate the sponsored listings – so that you have more chance of being ‘clicked’ on.  Results show that the top 3 positions receive the most traffic from sponsored activity.

Social Media Networks – Rather than putting all your eggs into one ‘online’ basket and simply having your website presence being the main means for audiences to find out about your business and services – now you can leverage a plethora of social networks to create a broader online presence.

Not only do social networks provide you with more opportunity to grow a presence online – but they also enable you to target specific people, influencers etc – and talk and converse and provide insight into what you and your business are really about.  This fundamentally enables you to showcase what you do for others via case studies, testimonials, track conversations, grow thought leadership by sharing opinion and expertise, grow fans and advocates who spread the word for you (to name but a few of the many uses of social).

Of course – the challenge with ‘Social’ is that you have to put something ‘out’ (share it) in order to attract people ‘in’.

Unlike advertising or optimising – social is the place whereby you ‘earn’ attention by the nature of what you share.

Therefore, you need to have something ‘sharable’ – and a method to consistently and simply share those all important insights into you, your business and your products and services.

This is where ‘blogging’ comes into play.

A blog, in my humble opinion, is a MUST for every website – and yes, I believe EVERY website, even those focusing solely on ‘ecommerce’.

The blog is the ‘mouthpiece’ for the business and brand. This is the place where you can share more than you can say on Twitter or Facebook – and of course,  provides you with unique, purposeful and relevant content to share on those social networks too.

Fundamentally, social isn’t about direct sales, it’s about getting people to ‘know you, like you, trust you, talk about you – and ultimately do business with you’.

In order to grow this relationship and get people to know, like and trust you – you’ve got to provide content that is useful, purposeful, authentic and from the heart of your business – so that you ‘earn’ attention.

Your Blog is your Broadcast Station

Your blog is indeed your broadcast station. Everything the business wants to share, believes in, has done for others, people get excited about etc – can be shared via your blog.  And of course – where does that blog sit? – on your website.

  • When people visit your website they see your blog (particularly if you’re smart and have it visible on the home page). They see that you’re alive and that you have opinions, advice, testimonials, case studies, view points, expertise, authority, a personality etc.
  • When people read your blog, they get pulled back to your website. Where they can explore more blogs or products or services or hit the call to action you included in your blog to encourage them to get more involved with your business by subscribing to your blog or downloading your latest Social Media or Marketing guide etc.

It’s the perfect ‘engagement’ and ‘broadcast’ tool.  It works beautifully for social media – as it gives you something to share – and it’s an authentic view on you and your business.

If a business isn’t blogging – then they don’t have much to say.  And in a world where being ‘vocal’ matters – then blogging assists with your online visibility.

Ok, so if we dedicate time and resource to blogging regularly – what’s the ROI?

At Carvill Creative we keep a track of all enquiries – whether they come via our online ‘Get in touch’ form or via phone or email.

Out of submissions from the last three months – 50% were via Google Search and 50% said:

I can confirm that from those that contacted us via seeing our blog – 60% have so far translated into new business compared to just 18% of those that made queries via Google Search.

Also – a client, Westbury Accountants – grew traffic to their site 386% when they picked up their blogging activity.  You can read their Blogging for Success Case Study here.

My questions to you are:

  • If you’re not blogging – why not?  If it’s a resource thing – then work with a company like Carvill Creative where we either train you and your team to blog internally (as we did with Westbury) or indeed we learn about your organisation and personality and regularly create content for your blogs.
  • If you have a blog how regularly are you blogging and are you measuring its effectiveness? Do you track where leads come from, do you monitor Analytics on your website to review traffic via your blog?

Blogging isn’t a sprint, it’s a marathon. Focus on the end in mind. You’ll find lots of tips and tactics for getting started with blogging here in our Blogging Masterclass in A Blog Post article – and of course, if you want to start a blog and don’t know where to start – get in touch. We’d be delighted to get you blogging.

 

@Michelle Carvill is owner and Marketing Director at Carvill Creative – the online visibility experts. A digital marketing and design agency based in Maidenhead, Berkshire.  The agency covers all aspects of marketing strategy and online visibility – covering social media marketing and social media training, user focused website planning and conversion focused website design.

Want to talk to the team at Carvill Creative about your social media activity or training needs? We’re happy to chat, so simply ‘get in touch’.

Finally, why not download our useful Social Media Marketing Planner and Marketing Plan. They’re totally free to download and use.

Content – Feed your Hungry Social Media Platforms

content strategy social media marketing consultancy training
Click on Image to Enlarge

Ok, so you’re all over social.  You have a clear understanding of your objectives and what you are setting out to achieve with social – and each channel is therefore, optimised accordingly.

You’ve got a Twitter channel, or two or even more – Facebook is set up and your Timeline is a heritage piece and also a showcase of your brand and business’ day to day life. Your LinkedIn Company Page is product and service optimised and you’ve spoken with all your team about the importance of their LinkedIn personal profiles being 100% and optimised – and linking through to your LinkedIn Company Page effectively.  Google+ is set up and optimised and you’re leveraging that platform for social search.

You may even be leveraging other platforms such as Pinterest and Foursquare (to name just two of the many) to further leverage your online visibility.

Effectively, the tool kit is all in place, each channel knows  its purpose – and so the base is well and truly grounded.

Each social channel has been designed to enable people to share very quickly and simply. What that translates to is that messages can spread quickly, people can advocate your brand, business, service, product and share to their friends. Therefore, your message has the opportunity to extend its reach beyond your usual database and the noise level has the opportunity to be significantly amplified.

The channels are clever bits of kit that’s for sure – however, what’s important is what you put through the channels.

We love the saying from Stowe Boyd:

“It’s our dancing that makes the house rock, not the planks and pipes. It is us that make Twitter alive, not the code.”  

And the same sentiment could be said about each of the social platforms.

The social channels, as you will find, are content hungry. You have to be sharing ‘something’ – and that ‘something’ needs to be compelling enough so that others share it and engage with it.

Your content needs a lot of thinking and planning. Like any conversation, some of it is scripted, some of it we’ve said before, some of it we’ve rehearsed, much of it is responsive and spontaneous.  It’s always wise to ‘think’ before you open your mouth. And the same applies to your conversational content.

Our advice, throughout every element of social is to think about your objectives, plan strategically and be prepared.

This Content Road Map should help you on your way.

@Michelle Carvill is owner and Marketing Director at Carvill Creative – the online visibility experts. A digital marketing and design agency based in Maidenhead, Berkshire.  The agency covers all aspects of marketing strategy and online visibility – covering social media marketing and social media training, user focused website planning and conversion focused website design.

Want to talk to the team at Carvill Creative about your social media activity or training needs? We’re happy to chat, so simply ‘get in touch’.

Finally, why not download our useful Social Media Marketing Planner and Marketing Plan. They’re totally free to download and use.