content strategy

“While Tangible Words was working on redeveloping our website content”

“While Tangible Words was working on redeveloping our website content, in-house we were developing the messaging for a new tradeshow banner.  We got Tangible Words on the phone to see if they could contribute to our brainstorming, and suggest more interesting phrasing. Tangible Words already knew our business well from the Communications Plan and Content Strategy; so our ensuing conversation Alysha was incredibly helpful and really unlocked our writers’ block.

First, Alysha started by asking which of our audiences we were looking to target with this piece. She then brought focus on our unique selling propositions and helped us drill down to come up with the right messages so we could concisely articulate what differentiates us from competitors and make sure we had a more compelling message for our prospects. She also gave suggestions related to images and logos that were good learning points that we may use in our visuals going forward.

We had already hired Tangible Words to complete our website information architecture and write our website content – but Tangible Words brought value to our organization even beyond the contracted services.”

QUIZ: Is Everything Going Wrong on Social Media For You?

Social Media Marketing: the very-real looking chocolate AND peanut butter ice cream cone when bitten, jars your jaw with a plastic surface.

Turn the kids’ toy into a real dessert.

If you’re feeling this way about your social media efforts even a little bit – complete the quiz below & see how you can turn the plastic toy into a real dessert.

The problem is  – social media marketing promises so much sales and marketing help (for free!!) you can imagine exactly how much it would deliver; but without a content strategy and a system in place to manage the whole production, you are left feeling completely unsatisfied, and paying for it. So if that’s not good enough for you – read on.

In my experience, there are two things we all like to be told:

  1. Reassurance that we are doing a good job—and
  2. That we are unique. So if you are an employee who has been tasked with managing your company’s social media marketing: complete this survey so we can give you some love.

We promise, you won’t be left crying in the corner feeling small and sad and left to deal with your pain alone. Instead, at the end of your survey, we’re going to give you a personalised service to help you see how get on track as soon as you’re done.

Social Media Marketing Quiz: Are the things that usually go wrong with social media happening to you?

If this doesn’t work above, please go to: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1Sb8Tuv5JQQL-BHeWf5Ax4AM3zVBGiplEA5EIgzb6uY8/edit?usp=sharing

Find Out Who’s Using Social Media & What Your Consumers Want To See Online

Did you know that by spending as little as six hours a week, 66% of marketers see lead generation benefits with social media. (Hubspot 2016). When you download this infographic you can use facts to guide your social media content strategy and increase your online traffic.

To help demystify social media, you’ll learn:

  • What consumers want to see online,
  • Who’s using social media to make buying decisions,
  • What’s content is shared the most.
4ba23fbb-e8b7-4e88-b0e6-f7d8a270b89a QUIZ: Is Everything Going Wrong on Social Media For You?

“We wanted an external assessment on the words we use to communicate”

“The Communications Plan and Content Strategy for Conservation Ontario by Tangible Words was very helpful and cost effective. The final report gave us much more than the price reflects: it was a lot more detailed than we expected and it triggered a lot of reflection on our part. Given the amount of thinking alone that went into preparing this document, I would have expected to have been charged quite a bit more than we actually were.

Like most organizations, we already have a web developer who consults with us about branding. But we wanted an external assessment on the words we use to communicate with our key audiences. I was hoping for an honest and critical report that would give us some tough advice which is why I turned to Tangible Words. They delivered have a detailed, solid plan with lots of ideas and advice we can follow up on.”

– Jane Lewington, Conservation OntarioCommunications & Marketing Specialist  

“They developed the Content Strategy for my Company Facebook Page…”

“Tangible Words helped me develop the Content Strategy for my Company Facebook Page. I received a meaningful, sustainable method that will help me start delivering content my target audiences want to read (and which  has increased impact with my clients) – instead of just re-posting content by default without an objective-focused strategy. It was a joy to do the session and get the direction and help I needed.

The Tangy Words crew is very approachable and I’ll continue to seek out their advice. “

“Knowing which strategic content marketing tasks to tackle…”

“Knowing which strategic content marketing tasks to tackle in sequence is critical for the Ontario East Economic Development Commission (OEEDC) . Tangible Words created a Communications Plan and Content Strategy to help our Innovative Rural Opportunities Sector Team organize our ideas, consult industry research and better understand how to separate and satisfy the differing needs of our target audiences. Now we’re using Tangible Words’ easy-to-follow Marketing Tools Calendar to forecast our budgets and make sure every marketing message will be aligned with our Communications Plan. Tangible Words even worked to an aggressive timeline we required for funding.”

Shelley Hirstwood, Board Member, Ontario East Economic Development Commission (OEEDC)

The Most Powerful Twitter Task You Can Do Today for Your Business

We’ve written about Twitter a few times on the Tangible Words Blog, but not a lot lately, and that’s for a very good reason.

 

Most of you know that in 2013, Tangible Words went through the same website redevelopment process we lead our clients through. And recently, I wrote about the ABSOLUTE NECESSITY of realizing your website is the hub of your content marketing (which includes social media marketing, ahem.)

 

For Tangible Words, 2013 was all about redeveloping the website for user-friendly navigation, optimal interaction, clarifying our services, and continuing the steady stream of good ideas and thought-provoking content for small and mid-sized companies through our blog. We also changed our e-newsletter strategy a little bit, but made sure that our content strategy, editorial calendar and content policy (frequency, posting process) etc., were all in good shape – and working hard for the company. (Your content marketing is like a hard working sales person, and if your content marketing isn’t helping you make sales, we need to talk).

Methodical Approach To Content Marketing

Many of you have heard me say at our Content Marketing Program workshops that content marketing really is the main source of most of our leads. And while we’ve been on Linked In, Facebook and Twitter for years, it’s always been front of mind that social media marketing is usually done poorly instead of well because people forget to make sure their website content is SEO copywritten, navigation-ally sound, and bursting with great information before they start, and stop, and start, and stop at their social media.The end result is that the sales process gets broken sooner than it should, like this great e-newsletter that broke the sales cycle.

 

So speaking from experience, as well as knowledge about the industry and what these tools are supposed to do for you, we recently took the time to review our social media marketing strategies and content policy for each social media tool, and with our website, blog and e-newsletter leading the charge, we’re now into the new phase of content marketing, using new tools. The result? We’re getting great results because the content marketing strategies and cornerstone tools are already established. So now it’s easy to use these tools for business and meet our high expectations: Twitter Counters, Likealysers and Linked In post engagement have shown exciting metrics – but more than that, our strategy is allowing us to have genuine, helpful sales conversations with our prospects – which we really like!

All of this boils down to what we promised in the headline:

“if you’re using Twitter, here’s a wonderful thing to do for your Twitter account to start using this tool more effectively for sales: go through your Twitter following list – find key accounts and put them on a “List”.”
If you don’t know how to separate your Twitter peeps into lists, I found some great resources online to show you how:
  1. Social Media Today has a great article that shows you Simple Steps To Create Twitter Lists on the Twitter web browser.
  2. The Twitter Help Centre’s article about Using Twitter Lists shows you some added functions of Twitter lists, like how to message a list at once.
  3. And if I don’t convince you about the benefits of using Twitter Lists in this article, you should read Tom Durby’s post on #Hashtags.Org “How Do You Benefit From Using Twitter Lists?”
The wonderful thing about separating your Tweets into lists, is that it prevents you from going onto Twitter and seeing “NOISE” instead of immediately knowing with whom to engage. When you don’t know where to start on Twitter, you often default to the “I’ll just broadcast my latest blog article- because this is too hard” setting and that’s not necessarily great for building relationships (if that’s all they ever get from you) and it might not be an awesome return on your energy because SOCIAL media is about building relationships (and relationships are how you make sales).
Lists help you engage more efficiently and more meaningfully with your targets. I’d suggest you make at least 3 lists – you can make new ones as you go.

3 Twitter Lists To Make Today To Build Business Relationships and Make Sales:

  1. Clients – you should be following and engaging with your clients on Twitter, they love to feel the love and it’s a great opportunity to show who you’re working with to the world.
  2. Prospects – put all the people you’d like to build relationships on a list so you know who to connect with.
  3. Competitors – keep track about what other people in your industry are doing, it’s a great way to find opportunities and get stronger as a company.
I use Twitter a lot for Professional Development, too, so I also made a “Learn” list of people who help me stay on top of best practices for website marketing, and those who create content I might want to share like Infographics and statistics.

 

I’ve also found that there are a lot of really FUNNY people on Twitter, so I made a “Fun” list – for when I want to have a good jolly giggle to break up my day or someone else’s.

 

You can make lists private or public so that Oscar The Grouch doesn’t get alerted that you put them on a list, and also because these lists are really just for you: to make your Twitter experience more business-y and less messy.

When’s the Best Time To Start Putting Your Tweets Onto Lists?

It took some time to separate my tweets onto lists, so you might want to multi-task while watching a webinar or talking to someone on the phone. It allowed me to really clean up my Following list to make sure no matter which tasks I’d be switching between on a daily basis, whenever I got to Twitter, I was thinking proactively and able to follow my content strategy for Twitter.
From now on, whenever I decide to follow someone, it will be with my Lists in mind – because I know neither you nor I have time to lose with social media and content marketing. We need these amazing business practices to be a process we can follow almost absent-mindedly in our daily work, but that completely align with our over-arching business goals.

Content Marketing: How To Remove Your Fears & Use Social Media

It occurred to me this morning that I’ve been using social media for nearly over 14 years, and while I’ve been running a content marketing company in Canada and Australia for 4 of those years – I’ve only just started using three of the world’s biggest social media platforms in the past 6 months. Here’s why…

When I first started using social media – it wasn’t called that.

I think it was only after the success of MySpace, that Facebook appeared, then Twitter, Linked In — and then the types of social media tools just exploded and a new term was needed.
Remember MSN Messenger?
Before all of that, we only had MSN Messenger – very popular with the University and high school crowd—and their parents. MSN was initially as a social chat tool (and a wonderful distraction to doing what you were supposed to be doing, in my case, English essays at Queen’s University). But the desire for sharing more than just a conversation with a few friends was already there. And many people (myself included) made the tool even more “social” by changing our names frequently to inside jokes, moods, or song lyrics to communicate what we were doing in one conversation with the people on our list who weren’t in the conversation. Back then, the only public element you could control was your name – you couldn’t broadcast anything other than text, but you can see the desire for that social connection was there.
What about MySpace?
While I missed out on MSN’s successor, MySpace (I actually was doing my University homework that year during my Bachelor of Education, and working very hard as a new teacher), I was an early adopter of Facebook. As a high school English teacher in Australia, I always felt my claim to fame was that I was on Facebook before my students (because it was popular with my Canadian friends before my Australian ones).

Business Blogs and Newsletters are Social Media Marketing, Too

Business blogging, however, has always been a key part of Tangible Words’ content marketing. Most people forget that blogging is actually a form of social media marketing; sharing ideas—content—to engage (intrigue) audiences across the internet = the definition of social media marketing. E-newsletters another social media tool Tangible Words has always used as a cornerstone of our social content marketing.  (Many of you have heard me refer in Tangible Words’ Content Marketing Programs to the first company Vicky and I started, Leading Out, whose net value was increased by the effective use of our blog for SEO and user trust.)

Sharing ideas—content—to engage (intrigue) audiences across the internet
= the definition of social media marketing..”

Getting Tangible Words’ blog and e-newsletter frequently publishing current, effective content to assist our SEO and increase user trust has been Tangible Words’ biggest marketing focus for the first three years, and it’s only in the last six months that we’ve started tackling new platforms. (And we’re a content marketing company!)
But we want our content marketing to be effective, we want to do it well, we want to make sure we have the resources to continue to do it well—and we want our content on all our social media platforms to prove who we are: a team you can trust to manage your content marketing and increase sales.

You actually don’t have to get on social media – you have to fix your website content first.

So it’s with a bit of a head shake that I listen to people saying “You have to get on social media”. You actually don’t have to get on social media – you have to fix your website content first. Second, you have to have a content strategy for which social media tools you’ll use, what kind of content you’ll share, what you expect to get out of the tools, and a content policy for who, when, how often you’ll share your content. It’s actually Step 3 that gets you onto social media. Skipping the first two steps means when you get to Step 3 you won’t have a good time.

It doesn’t matter what anyone else says – talk to entrepreneurs who have built and sold companies before, they know best – you won’t have BUSINESS success with social media unless you do steps 1 and 2 first. In particular, pivotal to your success in content marketing online is the content strategy for how you will use that social media tool (i.e. what kind of content will be relevant to share, what audiences are you hoping to attract, and how will you define success?) and your content policy (how frequently will you post, who will be responsible, what kind of account will you set up, etc.).

The Case for Starting & Stopping Social Media Marketing

The greatest problem with social media marketing is that there are 100s of tools you can use, and most people go at a handful of them all at once, without really tracking their Return on Energy – until they get to a point where they burn out, they aren’t seeing the results, so they stop. I’ve always felt that stopping your social media once you’ve started is worse  than not starting in the first place – it’s kind of like going to a website that proudly puts a “BLOG” link in the website’s navigational structure — but when you visit the company blog, you see the last post was more than six months ago.
One of the reasons we have always been attracted to the internet is the ability to find nearly “real time” information.
But if your blog is older than ~six months, you are not current, decreasing your credibility in the eyes of your audience. Furthermore, it also speaks to a disorganisation or a lack of resources and perhaps, professionalism: not the kind of business practices you want to share with your audience. It’s just one more case where actions really speak louder than any words you can say to try to disprove your actions.

Overcoming Your Social Media Fears

When we started doing our Business Blogging Content Marketing Program, one of the biggest fears espoused during the workshop had to do with publishing content – who would see it, who could comment, who would control comments. That fear of publishing our own voice has really decreased over the years, thanks to the popularity of Facebook especially – an automatically installed app on practically every mobile device and because everyone and their grandma really is on Facebook now. So we’re used to seeing friends post personal content all the time, and nearly everyone dabbles in sharing themselves online now – if only through minimalist “likes” and “shares”.

But when it comes to your business on Facebook there are a couple of fears still to overcome:

  1. Audience: the people who “Like” your pictures of your family, are they the same ones who want to hear about your business?
  2. Content: what kinds of information would be relevant to sharing for your company, that would reinforce the messages of your brand?
  3. Pushy Sales: we’re all weary of self-centred sales messages. You don’t want to turn off your loyal subjects and “friends” by annoying them with what seems like spammy content it’s so far from their interests.
The solution to the first fear is your Social Media Content Policy. The Content Policy should include points like “Social Media Account Information” – you’ll likely post as a Company page and not as “yourself” on Facebook. This used to be unclear, and the iPhone Mobile app still doesn’t make it very easy, but if you go to your Company Facebook Page on your computer, you have the choice at the top to always select whether you post as “yourself” or as your “company”. So you can move between the two accounts without any fear of pissing off your friends.

Brainstorming Your Content Strategy

I’ve found that a lot of my friends and family are interested in the same stuff my company is interested in, they just wouldn’t recognise it unless I package it in an interesting way. It’s important that you do interest your family and friends on Facebook first, becuase that’s one of the key ways to really grow your online presence—start with the people who already know and like you, and use them as warm door knocks. But the essential point is that you have to really make the link to your content and their interests obvious. Here’s where your social media content strategy takes care of fear #2: sharing content that helps (not hurts) your brand.

 

The content strategy takes a lot of creative thought, and it’s best to do that thinking before you start using the tools themselves, and get in the trap of overcommitting to social media. I’ve found that Jonah Berger’s book “Contagious” was really helpful for giving an awesome T-Chart to use as a template for brainstorming “contagious” content. His 6 STEPS of Contagious content give you a place to start for what kinds of things you could talk about that would be interesting to other people.

I’ve also found a personal brainstorm to be helpful. For most small businesses, your company brand starts with who you are.So with Tangible Words, we started with “what people like about Alysha” in her social circles and at workshops, and we made another list of content ideas based on traits that showed Alysha’s personality, and we’re using that to build the Tangible Words Facebook brand and Linked In as well. You also listen to what your clients are asking you about and then brainstorm idea on what interests your clients because at the end of the day, they are who you want!

Strategies that seem a natural fit with your Social Media Marketing. 

The final fear can also be managed in these steps as you discover that who your company is, may be hard sales at the end of the day, but what makes people want to work with you is the relationship you extend. So sharing content based on your personality allows people to come to understand who you are and what they can expect from you—fostering trust through social media.

Putting it Altogether For Social Media Marketing Excellence

Once that Content Strategy is established, and you’ve brainstormed content across the types of tools you’d like to start using: then you return to your Content Policy regarding the frequency of your posts. The final step is to create a content marketing Editorial Calendar where you layout your content across your E-newsletter, Facebook, LI, Blog, etc. so it’s never a surprise what you’re writing about, and you don’t run out of content to share.
When we’re helping clients with building this content map, we’ve found using Excel with separate workbook tabs “E-news”, “Blog”, “Facebook” to be really helpful in helping the client understand what information is going to be sent throughout the social media world each month. And they don’t have to worry anymore that their content is “on-target” “on-goal” because we’ve done all the hard work of a social media content strategy and content policy at the outset of the project.
If you want to learn more about content marketing for your social media marketing, get yourself on the Tangy Words e-newsletter digest. All of the details for workshops where we explain these topics and give you hands-on time to implement content marketing theory into your business are listed in this monthly letter.

Your Business Approach to Social Media – Return On Energy (R.O.E)

Your Business Approach to Social Media:

  1. Improve your website first, or you won’t have anywhere to send them. Phase 1 of your marketing plan must be to make your website damn awesome.
  2. Phase 2 is to create a strategy for ONE social media platform (blogging, e-newsletters, Facebook, Pinterest, etc.).

Don’t tackle them all at once or you will run out of things to say, have an ineffective content strategy, hit the wrong audience, and break the sales process.

Tangible Words spent the last 3 years perfecting our blog and e-newsletter platforms. Recently, we’ve developed our Facebook strategy. Linked In (LI) and Twitter have always been in the background but never really honed. Once we’re rocking on FB and LI and Twitter, we’ll tackle Google+ = and we’re content marketers – it’s what we do full time.

Don’t try all Social Media Platforms at once

So you can get the idea that you don’t have to do it all at once, and in fact, you shouldn’t, or you won’t succeed. It’s like anything else in business – you start small and grow once you’re ready.

WordPress Editorial Calendar Plug-in Makes Life Easier for Business

In case you missed it, you might find the 7 Articles from the Blogging Series very helpful to your Business Blog.

3 Reasons Why the WordPress Editorial Calendar Plug-in Makes Life Easier for Small Business

  1. Planning your content is key to a successful business blog. This WordPress Editorial Calendar makes it easy to plan future posts, get you organized and keeps your business blog active.
  2. You can create Draft posts so you know what topic you are writing about next. It can be seen on a monthly calendar so you can see what future posts need to be created.
  3. Post parking lot: editorial calendar is no longer an “extra”. As soon as you have the post idea instead of typing an email (“your pitch”) and sending it to yourself or your collaborator –you jot your ideas into the calendar for a future date (ie parking lot–rather than getting stuck in realm of indecision you are able to keep your calendar rolling for infinity.)

= an essential plugin for not just multiple writers but also for a one man team–you won’t let your blog calendar go stale.

But don’t forget, all your business blog posts should be written in accordance with a strategy and content plan rather than just willy nilly (what’s on your mind).

Google Glass – Is This Why Website Content Is Changing?

Have you heard about Google Glass? I hadn’t either until I was doing industry research to find this very clever tool that Google has produced. It’s not readily available yet as it looks like it is still in the testing phase, but it shouldn’t be far away. It got me thinking…

Does Google’s Search Engine Algorithm Keeping Changing Because We are Moving Towards Tools Like Google Glass?

Take a look at what the Google Glass offers. Speak directly to your glasses and images, videos, directions, etc. will appear. Conversational language when writing website content will be even more important on search engines because people can already ask questions to their phone, and soon their glasses!

If you still feel that your Company website should have complicated terms, and hard to read content, then you might be missing a big opportunity. Mainly, the millions of people how are now searching for questions, or simply combination of words to get what they want.

Take a look at your website statistics lately, or your Google ranking. Has is fallen away a bit? If so, consider a new content strategy or Strategic Communications Plan so that Google can start seeing that you are in fact an expert in your industry and so that potential clients can find you.

Helpful Google Search Engine Content Articles:

“Tangible Words helped deliver our recent Communications Plan targets”

“Tangible Words led Mississippi Valley Conservation Authority (MVCA) on a project plan and calendar of events that was professional, organized, to-budget, always on-time, and often surpassed our expectations for product delivery.

It became clear that we needed to work with Tangible Words to help deliver our recently specified Communications Plan targets.

Tangible Words has always used both a short and long-term approach to our communication goals with every deliverable:

  • Evaluation of Original Website Content;
  • Creation and development of Website Communications Plan and Content Strategy;
  • Creation and development of an Information Architecture for content;
  • SEO Website Copywriting for entire website;
  • Staff training on WordPress

MVCA is already making plans with Tangible Words to develop and deliver our 2014 Strategic Communications mandate.”

Suzanne McFarlane, Community Relations Manager, MVCA

3 Ways to Ensure Your Business Website Answers Reader’s Questions

Google’s new Hummingbird Algorithm has made companies and business owners consider how it affects their business website. With the focus on conversational language and answering questions our readers or potential clients have online, the question remains, how to ensure our business website is found and is useful to others.

3 Ways to Ensure Your Business Website Answers Reader’s Questions

  1. If you haven’t had a trained professional copywriter write your copy on your website, then it’s time to do so or at least get your writer’s trained. Don’t forget your business website is your shopfront and if your potential clients can’t find what they are looking for, or it doesn’t speak to their needs, you will lose them to your competitors.
  2. You need content that answer’s your potential client’s questions online. The best way to do this is by creating a business blog that addresses these needs. Here are 5 Ways Blogging will Benefit your Business. Not only will people be able to find answers to their specific questions, but Google will see that you are an ‘expert’ in this area, which will in turn help your Google ranking so people can find you online. But don’t forget to have a Content Plan for your business blog so you avoid the common mistakes business make with a blog.
  3. Have a different Strategic Communication Plan and Content Strategy for your Social Media Tools like LinkedIn, Your Business Facebook page, and Twitter. You can become an ‘expert’ with each of these tools, answering different types of questions your reader’s might be interested in that your business website hasn’t answered.

Did you get a chance to read the Best of 2013 Content Marketing Articles for your business?

 

 

Google’s New Hummingbird Algorithm – How Will It Affect Your Website?

Unlike Google’s Penguin and Panda updates, the Google Hummingbird is a completely new algorithm and will affect your business website. Unique content became the focus and this has not changed with the new algorithm either.

But How Will Google’s Hummingbird Algorithm Affect Your Business Website?

Becoming an expert online by creating unique, engaging, useful content for your reader’s and potential clients is the key. But make sure you share this information on social networks like LinkedIn, your Business Facebook page, Twitter, etc.

Google has recognized that people search using ‘conversational’ language. Some businesses still believe that ‘formal language’ shows people how complex their products are and somehow convinces their readers that they must buy from them (Read Education vs. Business writing to learn more about the difference when writing online). Unfortunately this is exactly the opposite of what people are looking for online and in fact Google proves this by changing the algorithm to look for conversational language.

In the next article you will learn ways to ensure your business website answers reader’s and potential client’s questions. This is the focus of Google’s hummingbird algorithm and will help your business website become an ‘expert’ online.

Website Copywriters Should Plan Your Content Not Just Write it.

What most people don’t realize is that website copywriters PLAN the content, and THEN write it. The purpose of the Communications Plan and Content Strategy is to figure out what you need to say, how you need to say it so that you will be heard by your target markets. Creating a Website Information Architecture on your site will also allow the time to figure out how readers are going to find that information (through which webpages, which blog categories) and how to organize the information so that  readers find what they are looking for and spend more time on your website, than less.

The other key component of redoing your company website is finding  copywriters who are professionally trained and experienced.  And especially now that the search algorithms are more focussed on content creation than ever before (e.g. Google Hummingbird), your content strategy and copywriter company should also have a plan for your sustainable content creation in-house, like having your in-house writers trained.

So please, for your sake, don’t wait until your website redesign is “over” to hire a website copywriter. Contact us first so we can help you through the process from day one. We can then make sure it is well planned, and ready for your potential clients and readers to find what they are looking for.

Remember, save money when redoing your business website by talking to content experts and get a content strategy done first.

5 Reasons You Need A Content Strategy Before You Need a Website Developer

In our last article we discussed avoiding one-stop shop website companies and, ‘How to Save Money when Redoing Your Business Website. Look for specialists for each area of your business website.

Here are 5 Reasons You Need A Content Strategy Before You Need a Website Developer:

  1. Accessibility: does your website communicate well with online reading software and captioning software?
  2. Search Engine Optimization of your website: does your website communicate well with search engines?
  3. User-friendly navigation of your website: can they quickly grasp the main ideas and immediately get what they need?
  4. Customer-focused messages and movement through your website: can readers get back to a place they wanted to go, do they have options for finding what they’re looking for? Is content suggested to them to make your website ‘sticky’ for the prospect?
  5. Your best self: have you examined your company from an external perspective to see if you’re really saying all the amazing things you can do for your prospects, so they want to work with you because of the messages on your website?

Next, find out why Website Copywriters Should Plan Your Content Not Just Write it.

 

 

Redo Your Business Website & Save Money:Talk To A Content Expert First

When you’re in the market to revamp your business website, most companies go back to the website company they used before, or find a new website designer or developer and call it a day. But there’s a lot more to making a great website than just finding amazing web designers and developers that you want to work with.  

How to save BIG money when redoing your business website.

Too often we meet companies who have spent thousands on their website but they still aren’t happy with their website. Going to a website developer or website designer first is simply not a good idea – and it’s not the web developers fault. Even though the design can look great, and the functionality can be good, there are big jobs that need to be done before you get to this stage, and if you skip them, the design and development won’t last you the 2-3 years (or longer) you expect your website to last.

When it comes to your company website, it’s all about your prospects and clients being able to easily find the information they need to make them trust and want to work with the company. That means, you need to map out the information you want them to see and write the user-friendly (and Search Engine friendly – SEO) content BEFORE you start tackling design and development of your website.

A lot of people we speak to feel overwhelmed by their website project – and you probably hear these complaints in your various social and work circles too.

And it can be really frustrating when that  “redo our website” task sits on your “to do” list for way longer than you intended – you just feel like you never make any headway and can’t get out from under it; and in the meantime, your online “shopfront” just isn’t really saying how amazing you are and sadly, prospects pass you over. If you’re not a person who thinks about how to organise ideas and words on a  website all day long, it’s hard to imagine how it will look on a page – let alone try to get the words right on your own.

Avoid One-Stop Shop Companies

There’s a lot of  ‘one-stop‘ shop companies who claim they can do everything from redesign, to copywriting, but it’s impossible to do each of those things really well – and you won’t get to ensure that everyone on your team is working in accordance to your ideals. You might think the ideas of “specialists” means that it will be more expensive – but in the creative economy of experts who work with low overheads, it’s not. Even better, when you choose your specialists for each stage, it’s actually less expensive and you have the benefit of hand-picking the people you want to work with, so you can feel confident in your choices – that means you are two steps closer to getting that website project off your desk.

But it shouldn’t all be on your shoulders here either. You’re great at what you do – which is presumably not working on websites all day. So it’s understandable that you would need help developing the content strategy for your company website. That’s why Tangible Words is adamant in recommending that you talk to a content strategist and SEO copywriting company with a Quality Assured Process  BEFORE you talk to anyone else about your website. You’re going to save money by working with a company who takes the time to understand what you do from the first point of contact, and who breaks down the process in digestible stages so you can build the site RIGHT from the ground up.

You need to have a plan for your website content before redesigning your business website, and it helps to have someone who can give you an external perspective on your company and who is an expert on the website building industry, by your side, the whole way. That way, if you ever need help speaking “tech” with the developers or designers down the road, you also have a liaison on your side, who knows your company and your industry to listen to you and communicate with the techie team behind you. Hiring a Professional Website Copywriter first means you will have  someone who “speaks web” to help you commission the right company, and to work with the web developer team on your behalf ongoing to get the functionality you really need for your new business website.

Stay tuned for 5 Reasons You Need A Content Strategy Before You Need a Website Developer‘. We will also discuss how website copywriters should PLAN not just WRITE your content.

All Great Email Marketing Uses This Formula

In our last article we discussed what an Offer, an Incentive and An Action is when Email Marketing. All great email marketing uses this formula:

Offer + Incentive = Action

Sounds easy but many of our clients wonder what their business could offer and how to make it profitable. Here are some examples to get you thinking.

  1. Kids eat free (offer): at Your Restaurant (action) Tuesday nights (incentive)
    ——> parents eat = profit
  2.  Free printer (offer) with purchase of computer (action)  by X date (incentive)
    ——> they buy cartridges, paper = profit
  3. 50% off (offer) this week (incentive) if you book a hotel room with Our Company (action).
    ——> profit (room service, parking)
    Now try it yourself. Write out 5 Offers and then finish them with an incentive and action. Here are other ways to turn visitors into customers.

7 Content Strategies to Turn Visitors into Customers

As a website copywriting and content strategist, clients are always asking us how content can turn visitors into customers. Using copywriting techniques, here are 7 content strategies to try:

  1. Call to action – you’ve heard of it, but are you using it effectively?
  2. Offer – pilot test, what can you do, are you an expert?
  3. Incentive – NOW. Why should I act now (before I forget about you?)
  4. Overview of the problem you solve – succinct
  5. Reasons why people buy you? Target Market – what’s important to them?
  6. Proof – evidence and testimonials of the people you
  7. Transfer your conviction of your product to the customer in all writing materials via tone, diction, colourful language, persuasive techniques.

So does your website turn visitors into customers? Don’t make it so easy to click away from your business website and onto your competitors.

Don’t Buy Design, Development, and Website Content From One Company

Alysha, Operations Manager, recently made friends with Armand of Moveable Online. He saw a post of ours on Linked In and got in touch to network with us.

They are development specialists. They don’t do website design because they recognize design is a whole other skill set and thus, industry.

They have a great point and this made me think about the website content clients we work with and what their experiences have been when updating their website design and website content.

Our Conclusion: don’t bundle your content strategy and website content with website design and development  – it’s all separate. Find a specialist company – and preferably one who can also train your staff to manage the in-house marketing you need to do on a daily basis.

You want people who are dedicated to best practices in their field. Not those focused on trying to be a one-stop shop – usually this means doing an ‘ok’ job on all areas, rather than a professional, knowledge-based excellent final product.

Why Would Your Small Business Need An Intranet?

Microsoft has this great article about why even small businesses need intranets. The article makes some great points about why a small company would want an Intranet: my favourite is the acknowledgment of broken telephone amongst a company of even two staff; “communication suffers when you’re dealing with more than one person“.

And while clear, effective communication is one reason why you would want an intranet, you can’t actually build an effective intranet without having a content strategy. Just like website content planning, having a communications plan and content strategy is essential to meeting the long term goals of the company intranet. Here’s why.

Why You Need a Content Strategy for Your Company Intranet: 

Tangible Words has been leading an IT team in Kingston, Ontario through the process of developing a company intranet for their staff.

We’ve been designing and tweaking the intranet system, since the soft launch because sometimes the goals you think you need to set are not enough. Having the content strategy in place has been helpful to acknowledging the limitations of our initial goals because the content strategy has always been a document to which we return for answers and creative problem-solving. Having a well-mapped content strategy reminds us of the problems we were worried about experiencing before the project started so that we don’t lose sight of them.

Also, the content strategy document gives us a point to figure out where we went wrong if ever we feel like something isn’t working in the project. (For instance, we might think that we can create staff engagement by doing X, Y, and Z. But the time comes and fewer people are spending time on the site than we imagined.)

In a small business, you’re already juggling so many balls, it’s too easy to let the important, long term goals drop whenever you feel frustrated – which is why it’s often so hard to get awesome initiatives like an intranet off the ground when you’re a small or even mid-sized company. However, if you have a document that lays out your intentions, you always have a place to return to figure out what you didn’t include, do more research and try again. In this way, big projects get off the ground with a content strategy in place.

Secondly, most people who have the dream of getting a project in place like an intranet are naturally quite entrepreneurial. They have a vision and a dream of what’s possible. In a young, underdeveloped field like website copywriting and content marketing, these people are rare, and can be considered the “early adopters” of Effective Online Communication. As such, they are quite “bouncy” in their ideas, and lose track of where they intended to go quickly as a new idea catches their eye. The value of having a content strategy specialist working with you on website projects is tenfold here. Firstly, the external perspective of a specialist content manager is there to make sure the project is managed and still running even when the staff are too busy. If you have someone (proficient and competent)  in charge of your content strategy for your company intranet, things will not fall by the wayside – not when you get busy, and not when you get distracted by the next great idea. The content strategy keeps you focused and able to tweak whatever isn’t yet working. Your decision to hire a consultant is a commitment to saying “we want this done and we want it done by this date.” A content communication strategy company will be able to create the milestones and metrics you require for your company intranet.

Thirdly, an intranet is a place to store, update and grow information. Naturally, the site will evolve and you will get feedback from staff beyond your IT department that you want to implement. Having an external content strategy person there will make sure that new information and ad hoc ideas aren’t added in such a way as to defeat your original site goals. For instance, no one wants a stagnant company intranet where you can’t easily search for information and the site is disorganised. A content strategy will make sure that even new ideas are filed in a searchable, organised way that makes sense to store the information.

Final Thoughts About Setting Up A Company Intranet:

If you decide to start setting up a company intranet for your small business, remember that websites aren’t just about cool designs anymore. In fact, you’ve probably already discovered in the first version of your company website that it’s essential to manage the output of new information on your website. So you need to plan website content beyond pictures, colours and layout but to incorporate a long term view of the goals you want to meet with any website. A content strategy helps you have a roadmap for managing the pages and posts and designing the flow of information.

The worst part about trying to get any kind of a website (intranet or otherwise) together, is not allotting facilitated creative thought time and sessions. You and your team need to a process  for setting aside constructive, creative space at the beginning of your project and throughout it’s life: to ask the right questions, to determine goals, to get all ideas in the pot, and to figure out what is missing.

Being able to ask “How close are we to where we all hoped we’d be?” and “Has our course shifted?” is essential, and easily guided by a content strategy document which you start at the outset, and tweak throughout the project’s life.

Top Questions to Ask when Starting A Company Intranet:

  • What will attract our audience to come here in the first place? Is it urgent enough to make them come here and not to a search engine like Google?
  • Is there a social element** to our Intranet to make people want to spend time on the Intranet?
  • What can we compile on the site to make sure the site is considered valuable *** (so that we know we’re making a good use of time with this initiative)?

**There’s another great article I recent read which talks about  how intranets are not social enough – 5 reasons. Unfortunately the comments were closed here, but I will make the point that if you are using WP for your intranet like Tangible Words is for one of our clients, it’s totally possible to also make it social (the very premise of this article is that they are not social – but I say, “They can be!“).

***You will have original goals of value to document, and it’s normal that you will learn new and better ways to create value with your content as you test the site, get feedback and evolve.