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July 31, 2018 Elise Le-Galloudec

How long do you think it takes for a potential follower or customer to decide whether your brand resonates with them? 17 seconds of scrolling your Instagram profile? One minute on your website? The stark reality is a lot more sobering. According to researchers at the Missouri University of Science and Technology, it can take around 0.2 seconds for an online visitor to form an opinion about your brand. So how can you ensure that person likes what they see? Avoid these common content mistakes.

Mistake One: Not having a consistent brand voice.

One of the simplest ways to improve how your business is perceived? Implementing a clear and consistent tone of voice across all of your business’ digital touchpoints. Does your brand use emojis on social media? Do you write your newsletter copy in a fun, colloquial way or are you a bit more serious and considered? What kind of pictures do you share and are they consistent in their aesthetic? If you’re not entirely sure, it’s time to figure it out.

When it comes to your brand’s voice, flipping and flopping inconsistently is terrible for business because your followers and potential customers won’t be able to properly grasp who you are and what your brand stands for. Figuring out your business’s specific tone of voice will allow your followers to decide if you’re a company that resonates with them and are worth trusting. Everything from your website copy, to your Instagram bio, to your blog posts needs to possess your brand’s unique DNA.

Mistake Two: Not providing content of value.

It doesn’t matter if you’re selling a product or a service, are a business with 5000 employees or a start-up that’s bootstrapping, the content you’re producing must do one thing: provide serious value to your followers and potential customers.

If you’re smart (and I think we can agree you most certainly are) then your business has cottoned onto the “content marketing” trend and is creating blog posts, newsletters and regular social media content. But if the content you’re producing isn’t adding monumental value to your potential customers’ lives, you might want to hold off on giving yourself a pat on the back. Sharing informative, helpful, valuable content that solves your ideal customer or client’s problems will not only show you’re trustworthy and position your brand as a thought leader, it’ll ensure your business is the one people go to when they’re ready to commit.

Mistake Three: Misinterpreting quantity for quality.

According to former Chartbeat CEO Tony Haile, your website has 15 seconds to capture the attention of the average visitor before – poof – they’re gone. If you think that’s dire, 55% of visitors actually spend fewer than 15 seconds actively on a page. The lesson here? Content that’s sparkly, concise and shares your brand’s personality and key messages is going to be way, way more effective than an About Us page so long it gives your thumbs a cramp from scrolling. Mistaking quantity for quality is a common trap many businesses fall into. No, the amount of words you can cram onto a page is not indicative of how wonderful your business is; it’s going to bore people at best and lose your brand business at worst.

 

Edwina Carr Barraclough is the founder of By Edwina, a consultancy that offers brand, social media and content strategy, sparkly copywriting and media coaching. Edwina is also a journalist who writes for The Sydney Morning Herald, News.com.au, Mamamia, Body & Soul and more. Head here to follow her on Instagram and here to follow her on Facebook.



April 8, 2018 Elise Le-Galloudec

By Jen McKinnon

Many small to medium business owners have seemingly bigger fish to fry when it comes to marketing than developing a brand voice for their business. However, something as simple as what you say and how you say it could be the difference between many and few conversions.

What is Brand Voice?

Brand voice is an ostensibly grandiose concept but it can actually be make or break for your marketing campaign. Simply, your brand voice is what tells your brand’s story – the personality of your brand. It’s what keeps your brand consistent and plausible through style and tone but, most importantly, it’s what differentiates you from your competitors. Your brand voice is applicable across all content streams, including (but not limited to) blogs, email marketing, social media, website content and digital advertising.

How will a clear Brand Voice help my business?

There are a number of ways your brand voice can benefit your marketing and your business as a whole by inspiring interaction, engagement and customer relationships. Let’s take a look at the top reasons to establish and employ a brand voice:

Establish Brand Identity

With a solidly established brand voice you can give readers an instant understanding of what your brand is all about, purely through the way you communicate. By personifying your brand (thinking of your brand as a person), you can find a way to encapsulate the values of your business in the style and tone of your content. Are you passionate but relaxed? Lovable but cheeky? Firm but approachable? Try to choose contrasting traits to give your brand voice more depth.

It’s important not to pick too many adjectives when describing your voice. If you do, you dilute the strength of the words that encompass your brand’s values most effectively. Aim to only use three or four adjectives when describing your tone and style of communication. This not only preserves the power of your voice but makes it clear to those using it.

Reach the Right Consumers

Your brand voice gives you a rich understanding of how to address your consumers. Knowing how to speak to your target audience will help attract more qualified consumers and, as a result, maximise your conversions.

For example, if your business is selling bicycles for children, the audience will be vastly different to a business that sells health insurance to under 25s. The bicycle store will be targeting parents, so their voice may be playful yet authoritative to demonstrate that the brand knows how to have fun but pays close attention to safety. On the other hand, the health insurance broker speaking to young adults may take a more comedic approach to be relatable to a youthful audience. There is no use in the bicycle store or the insurance broker employing a rigid tone of voice as it doesn’t appeal to either target market.

Gain Trust

Just as sending mixed or scattered messages can be detrimental to a romantic relationship, the same can be said about the marketing messages sent by your brand. You can avoid inconsistency in your communication by setting out clear brand voice guidelines. This not only improves the interaction your potential clients have with your brand but it also stimulates trust. Consistency implies stability and dependability, which are traits that all consumers look for in a brand.

Brands who know who they are and the value they provide to their market are the most successful because they appear trustworthy. Think Nike, Apple, Coca Cola – these brands all have a strong and identifiable brand voice. Just because your business isn’t a multi-million-dollar company, doesn’t mean the same tactics won’t benefit your marketing strategy.

Establish Connections

You want your brand to be relatable to your target audience and speak to them in terms they understand. Business is built on relationships, which is why it’s so important to ensure your customers can and want to connect with your brand. Establish a brand voice that inspires audiences to want to interact with your brand.

Many purchases are made for aspirational reasons. Consumers aspire to look cooler, be slimmer, get a better job and, by ‘talking the talk’ you further tug on the consumer’s aspirational strings. This can drive consumers to develop a relationship with your brand. Satisfying your customer’s expectations in terms of style and tone, not only adds coal to that aspirational fire for purchase but deepens the consumer’s yearn to forge a relationship with your brand.

Recognition

A good brand voice will be instantly recognisable. This doesn’t just improve brand recall, it also helps you stand out amongst a crowded market. If you communicate with your consumers in a memorable way, you have a higher chance that potential customers will remember and recognise your brand just from your tone of voice. Being recognisable and familiar to audiences is a high priority in marketing and can be the molecular difference that makes you a sale.

Once you have something to say and a way to say it, the marketing world is your oyster!

With a strong background in creativity, Jen has found her niche in digital marketing. As the senior content creator for the ASX-listed Melbourne IT Group, Jen is responsible for branded content across all subsidiary businesses. Her flair for writing is matched by her passion for sharing knowledge and she is driven to produce digital content that is useful to business owners and marketers alike.


February 10, 2018 Elise Le-Galloudec

By Lani Pauli

PR seems to be the golden child of a new business marketing arsenal. Send product to waiting journalist, get published, and watch the sales roll in, right? Sure, if you have a sizeable advertising budget to pair with that press release, but public relations in real life is a much longer game, and something that requires consistency, relationships and a little creativity!

This article is specifically for new businesses starting out, but the ‘rules’ can be applied to any business that’s just starting out their relationship with the media.

Firstly, when it comes to working with PR, if you’re still at the minimum viable product (MVP) stage, a fully-fledged PR campaign is unlikely to be the best use of your limited funds, time and resources. Journalists are looking for wins, runs on the board, case studies – the fact that you’ve launched often isn’t enough of a hook to grab their attention. At Deane & Co we have a saying, “Invest in getting your house in order.” That is to say, if you are about to open a bricks and mortar store you don’t throw open the doors, invite people in to look and shop with empty shelves. In this crucial time when you’re still working to prove your concept, spend the time getting your house in order with these simple steps.

1. Know what the purpose of PR is for your business

Public relations, specifically media relations, isn’t necessarily the thing that will make your cash register ring. PR is often more about brand awareness, introducing new customers to what you do, building relationships with journalists, influencers, customers… Don’t go into a PR campaign necessarily expecting a huge increase in sales. It takes repeated mentions of your brand and product across a variety of channels to encourage customers to make the leap to purchase, and relying on PR alone for sales is going to leave you disappointed.

2. Put your best foot forward

Make sure all of your other marketing and promotional channels are on point. Get your website looking beautiful, have professional images of your product, or yourself if you’re selling a service, make sure your social media channels are being regularly updated, and that you can actually handle it if sales do pick up when a journalist presses publish.

3. Create a 1-page general media release or fact sheet

Should media come knocking, you’re going to want an easy to access one page media release at the ready. It shouldn’t be a novel, but it should give readers the who, what, when, where, why and how of your business. At the very least it is brilliant practice at being able to succinctly describe what you do. Add a few quotes from yourself or your co-founder, include examples of the problem you solve, who the journalist should contact if they want more information and a link to hi-res images they can use in a story. Which leads me to the next point…

4. Have a library of images

Headshots and general lifestyle images of your product and/or service will be invaluable should you embark on a PR campaign. Aim for images that are a minimum of 1MB in size and don’t rely on the standard “founder standing against a wall in branded t-shirt” pose. Think outside the box and perhaps get the photographer to photograph you at your favourite cafe. Get a variety of images in portrait and landscape. The same applies to product shots. Lots of publications, both print and digital will only want deep etched (white background) images so they can create larger composite images with other brands. They may also want campaign shots, but it pays to have both easily accessible.

5. Know 5 things you could confidently talk about that are happening in your industry

Sometimes PR is talking about the bigger picture things influencing your industry. Think about and write down five things you could talk about relevant to your industry but doesn’t put a megaphone up to your startup and says, “Me, me, me.” For example, are you able to talk about what it takes to source an overseas manufacturer, have you started a business in a traditionally male-dominated arena, or are you seeing travel trends influence how consumers book and spend their leisure time? All of these are ways you can promote your experience and as a by-product your startup.

6. PR isn’t just about media

Public Relations can also include events, activations, working with influencers, community building activities and more – media isn’t the be all and end all for promoting your brand, particularly as publishers are becoming more aspirational and less a catalogue of potential purchases.

7. Think outside the box

The traditional media release really isn’t the way to get attention any more. Journalists get so many across their desks, they often don’t have time to read or respond. Instead, try emailing a journo with a very brief intro email, detailing the 3-5 hooks or headlines they might be able to write out of your story. Alternatively, send them something tangible – a colourful jewellery brand might send a jar of bright lollies with a ring hidden inside!

When working with startups, we strongly advise our clients to consider where they will get the most value for their money. If you’re chasing sign ups to your new app or really need to speak directly to people within a niche industry, the financial investment of engaging a PR agency or contractor in your early days might be better invested in, for example, engaging a business development manager, a digital marketing strategy or similar. Food for thought!



February 4, 2018 Elise Le-Galloudec

By Ashton Rigg

If ‘influencers’ was the marketing buzzword of 2017, ‘micro influencers’ is the next big thing.

The platform? Instagram, usually. The content? Less polished, more organic. And if you’re thinking you need to shill out thousands of dollars to work with influencers, think again! But first…

What exactly is a ‘micro influencer’?

Let’s break it down: a social media influencer is someone who shares their personal style, taste, opinions, or recommendations to an audience that follows their profile.

They’re storytellers. Sharers. Their audience relates to them, trusts them and eagerly interacts with them.

56% of respondents are more likely to purchase products after they’ve seen them featured in a relatable or positive photo from other customers (Olapic)

While there’s no magic number that makes you a ‘micro’ influencer, a social following of 3,000 to 10,000 is a good ballpark to play in.

If you think this kind of following is smallfry, you’re probably associating the ‘influencer’ label with the likes of Itsines, Hembrow, or Morello.

If this kind of captive audience seems lofty, this may be your first foray into the world of influencer marketing. You’re in for a wild ride.

Quality vs Quantity

So, you’re the tribute tasked with bringing an influencer campaign into the marketing mix. Congratulations! Be prepared to hear something like:

“We should work with {insert influencer name here} because they have a million followers.”

A million followers must mean a million people seeing our brand, which means more sales, right?

Unlikely. Less is more when it comes to smart influencer marketing. Not to mention micro influencers cost a fraction of the cost to work with!

When bigger isn’t better

Influencer A has 500,000 followers

Influencer B has 50,000 followers

Influencer C has 5,000 followers

How do you choose who to work with? It’s time to do a little digging.

You’re going to look at three things: their followers, the engagement on their posts (likes and comments), and what people are actually saying in the comments.

82% of consumers are ‘highly likely’ to follow a recommendation made by a micro–influencers (Experticity)

A bigger following usually means a broader following. Take a look at who’s following the account: Where are they? Are they ‘real’ accounts? Are they mostly male or female?

If your target market is women aged 25-45 in Brisbane with kids, the locally based ‘mummy blogger’ with 5,000 followers is likely to have a greater influence than the Sydney beauty account with 50,000 followers.

It’s all about engagement

Engagement should be the number one metric you use to measure the success of your influencer marketing activity.

What do we mean when we say engagement? It’s the amount of interaction on a post divided by the audience size (the influencer’s following).

To keep it simple, let’s say a ‘like’ is worth 1 and a comment is worth 3. If a post has 200 likes and 30 comments, that’s 312. The influencer we’re looking at has 5,000 followers:

312 / 5000 x 100 = 6.24%

Again, there’s no magic number to determine a ‘good’ engagement percentage. Generally speaking, 2-3% is a decent engagement, 4-5% is good, and anything in excess of 10% is great.

Finally, take a gander at past sponsored or partner content the influencer has posted. What are their followers saying? Are they interested in the product?

Above all else, you want to work with influencers who make an effort to create authentic content that is in line with their personal aesthetic, giving their honest ‘thumbs up’ about your brand to their audience.

Find these influencers, and you’ve uncovered the true value of influencer marketing.

 

Ashton is a digital marketer and content specialist based in sunny Brisbane. She gets her kicks developing content strategies, measuring social media ROI and ensuring every communication touchpoint is ‘on brand’. As a classically trained journalist, Ashton harnessed the power of words to segue into marketing and has never looked back, She is currently the Social Media and Content Manager at Youfoodz. Find her here, there and everywhere at @ashtonrigg.