2013: A Content Odyssey

If 2012 has left you slightly baffled about your marketing strategy and how social media fits in, then you’re not alone. Many small businesses will need to take stock and look at how they move forward in 2013 and where their time and efforts are best spent. However scary the modern marketing world may seem, if you break it down, these new elements are all simply channels through which you can, more easily than ever before, reach your target customers. Email was new once, remember? The difficult bit is creating the right content to put through these channels which will engage your targets and ultimately get them to spend their money with you.

For websites, content is always important and with developments in search engine technologies, such as Google Panda which lowers the rank of both low-quality sites and big user-contributed sites (e.g. eHow.com), quality content is a top priority. Job roles that didn’t exist two years ago will become commonplace, such as Content Developers/Editors, Web Copywriters, Community Managers and Brand Journalists. Small businesses should look to engage these skills from the creative services community to help them ride this next wave of marketing activity. There’s no need to employ an entire agency when one great freelancer will do.

Going mobile is also proving its worth as a business model. Whether this means optimising your current website and applications for mobile devices; enabling your workforce to work from anywhere; or indeed if your business model could work in its entirety as a mobile operation, is worth pondering over a pint. Perhaps a mobile application itself offers a better opportunity to expand your reach, either through app development, sponsorship or purchase. Consumers are app-crazy, downloading everything from apps that let users play games or read the news to those that enable mobile shopping or access to how-to advice. The key is to build apps consumers would be interested in or find enjoyable and market them appropriately. The existing and forecast statistics about mobile application downloads, revenue and developer take home figures make for eye-opening reading. So, where will 2013 and beyond take you and your company’s marketing strategy?

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The Prezi Virgin: update

My post as TigerSteph on the TigerNash site about the presentation I gave on 19 September can be found here. I won’t repeat myself, but I did have a great time and would love the chance to do it again. What I do want to say is how I got on with using Prezi.com, following my post that I was going to trial it.

Firstly, I’ve come to the horrific realisation that I’ve hit ‘that age’ where technology has annoyed me because I didn’t get the hang of it staight away, so I thought it was a waste of time and headed back to my Microsoft safe haven of PowerPoint. A week or so later, I came to my second realisation that I am older, wiser and there is more in my brain, hence it takes longer to learn things and having kids is my excuse for less active cells anyway, so I should give it another go.

I would love to say that I enjoyed the experience, but honestly I much prefer being shown how to use things in person rather than learning online, that’s just how I am. The video tutorials for Prezi were really good though and if I had the time, I reckon I could get the hang of it and make some pretty nice presentations. Depending on the type of account you create with Prezi, it allows you to store, share, edit and publish your canvas creations.

Considering I’m a PC rather than a Mac chick (I think Mac users will feel a more natural affinity with Prezi), I did manage to import my existing PowerPoint presentation and make it a little more funky than your average bear (yey me!), but given more time I would like to create something from scratch in Prezi. So for those who would like to see my first attempt, have a butcher’s here and if you want to make your own, then set aside some time, take a deep breath and give it a go!

  

Anxiety Reducers – Video Marketing

How often do you pick up your phone and shoot video without even thinking about it? Well, if you have young kids, you probably do it several times a weekend. Video is superb for many things (including keeping the grandparents happy), so why aren’t all small businesses taking advantage of this anxiety reducing medium?

Making videos used to mean big bucks, but not anymore. Here’s a few pieces of advice and links to help you make your first marketing video. This list is by no means exhaustive (I haven’t even touched on editing software for example), merely a taster to see that video is affordable, accessible and works.

  1. Making video is relatively easy and cost effective especially with the amazing technology in our smartphones, but sound quality is paramount for the end result to be watchable. Here the guys at Social Saturday Strategy show you a great way to get around the sound issue.
  2. Statistics show that adding video can significantly increase conversion rates and customer loyalty. (In case you need convincing!)
  3. Content can range from customer testimonials, product demonstrations, dialogues or monologues, but make sure the message is right and supportive of your marketing strategy. Have a look at these ‘how to’ guides for help with structure and objectives.
  4. Finally (for now), how do you get your video out to people once it’s made? Well, make sure it works on your website (homepage or landing pages, depending on your strategy) and, again from Social Saturday Strategy, get your video viewed.

I’d love to hear from you about your video dos and don’ts or examples of where it has really worked for your business, so leave your comments below.

The good, the bad and the ugly things about holiday…

The good…going on holiday.

The bad…realising you haven’t written any blog posts and scheduled them to go live whilst you’re away.

The ugly…wondering if scheduling posts and updates to happen whilst you’re away is a good idea for a small business/sole trader? Does it make you look good that you’re always available and online? Or potentially damaging because you look like you’re there and contactable when you’re actually not. Discuss…