Select Page
Storytelling for Marketers

Storytelling for Marketers

I’ve signed up for literally hundreds of webinars over the last few years. Why? Because I always hope that after investing two hours of my time I will be rewarded with at least one useful piece of information that will help me. Sometimes I get that one gem. Sometimes I get much more than I hoped for, and sometimes I get nothing.

After countless of hours spent listening to people who begin by recounting the story of their life I think I have the formula down. Nearly every single marketer started out in some kind of dire straits. Their story invariably included three elements:

Poverty. Illness. Death.

Sometimes all three. Honestly, had I taken out stock in Ramen noodles years ago I wouldn’t have to work so hard today. Better than the Xerox APO. Much better than buying gold at $500 an ounce.

Just once I would love to hear someone say, “I was born with a silver spoon in my mouth. I didn’t need extra money, but I decided to try internet marketing anyway. And guess what? I made more money and it was fun!” This would be someone I would be happy to associate with.

It’s very important for anyone trying to establish a presence on the web to convey their personal story effectively, especially marketers. It should be interesting, easy to relate to, and most important, it needs to be authentic.

Most marketers have little or no problem making their story interesting. The problem is that too many of them seem to have had the exact same experience with only minor differing details. When “things got really bad” they would end up having to sleep in a substandard place – their parents’ basement, their friend’s sofa, their car. They disappointed their parents, wives, children and friends by being an epic failure. Then one day, miraculously, they discovered the Secret to SuccessTM that Made Them MillionsTM that they are willing to share with me for a mere $47, $67, $97 or $497 dollars.

Okay, I get that you are pitching a product. That’s fine. I am somewhat more likely to buy that product since I committed to watching the webinar. But some of the personal stories I hear have no benefit to me, I find them hard to relate to, and they do nothing to convince me of the goodness of what is being sold.

Edit, please?

A popular internet marketer, whose products are very good I should add, is so enamored of his own story that he tells it over and over again. Word for word. Verbatim. And the telling of it lasts over 30 minutes! At this point I could repeat his story myself – word for word and verbatim. I am fairly sure it’s not a good thing when a prospective client attending your webinar knows that she can mute the sound for a full 30 to 40 minutes and not miss anything important. Please, don’t change your story, but change the telling of it once in a while.

Define “nothing”.

Sara was recently disappointed to learn that a famous marketer she was following, who always described himself as “coming from nothing”, actually came from a family worth two million dollars. While recognizing that everything is relative, this stretches credibility, don’t you think?

My parents came to the US from war-torn Europe with virtually nothing. They were fortunate to have family members here who were willing to provide a roof over their heads while they got jobs, learned the language and culture, and became model citizens. After they met and married life certainly was not easy. I would claim that we didn’t have enough to eat when growing up but my father was in the food business so that was never an issue. My clothes were all hand made by my aunts, which usually is indicative of modest means, but since my aunts were professionally trained in Europe my clothing was of exceptional quality and fit that could never be found in a store off the rack. My brothers and I went to college; two of us have advanced degrees. College was cheap back then, and we paid for it ourselves for the most part because we started working and saving at a very young age. When we couldn’t pay tuition our parents helped us. My father worked for a shockingly low salary but my mother was such a good manager of their very little money that they were able to buy a house, cars, and take a vacation now and then. In the end, they were well-respected members of the community who imparted stellar values to their children.

I would NEVER say that I “came from nothing”. I came from EVERYTHING. We just didn’t have much money.

My story.

I could tell you my own story of poverty, illness and death and it would be absolutely true. It would also rip your heartstrings out and make you feel sorry for me, even though I don’t feel sorry for myself. (Heaven forbid if you could relate to my experience because then I’d have to feel sorry for you!) While authentic, this part of me is not important for people to know.

Here’s what I want you to know about me: I love what I do. I love it as much, if not more, now as I loved it when I started decades ago. I adore writing and designing, branding, marketing and advertising, creatively communicating and solving problems. I also love that I get to learn something new every single day. After “practicing” my craft for so many years I have reached the Carnegie Hall stage – I’m good at what I do. If we are ever fortunate to work together I am sure we will benefit one another. At the very least I believe we will enrich each others lives just by our connection.

End of story.

Any questions? Call me at 610.937.5187 or write rhonda@contentandcreativity.com.

Ten Reasons Your Business Should Be on Instagram

Ten Reasons Your Business Should Be on Instagram

If your business doesn’t have a presence on Instagram, it’s time to reconsider your social media strategy. Here are the top ten reasons why Instagram is right for you.

  1. You need a new way to market to Millennials

The majority of users are in the 18-29 age group and chances are your business services Millennials, whether you know it or not. Due to everyone and their mother (in my case, literally my mother) joining Facebook that platform’s popularity has waned for both the Millennials and Generation Z. It’s not uncommon for members of my generation to be exclusively on Instagram, and since Instagram now has 400 million users and counting this trend doesn’t seem to be slowing anytime soon. So if you don’t have a considerable presence on Instagram you are not effectively reaching the Millennial market.

  1. If you’re looking for more engagement online, visual content is how to get it.

It’s a fact that visual content on any platform receives more likes, comments and shares than plain text. On Instagram visual content, whether it be graphics or video, is paramount. Of course, the caption for the photo or video is very important, but most often a “double tap” happens because the viewer likes what they see.

  1. In need of a digital portfolio? You’re in luck.

Instagram can work for many different types of business’ and industries, whether they offer products or services. For example, many hairdressers and makeup artists use Instagram extensively by posting photos and videos of their work and relevant tips. Ultimately, it turns into an easily accessible, free portfolio for those in the personal services industry.  With the help of relevant hashtags you can easily promote yourself and your work and gain not only a following of potential clients but connect with other colleagues around the world.

These Insta-folios are so effective, that it’s even landed someone a job or two.

  1. You want to connect to your audience, but don’t have a lot of time.

With the help of scheduling software like HootSuite it’s become even easier to create a full range of content for your followers to enjoy. Now you can post from a desktop computer, whereas before Instagram was a purely mobile app.

  1. You want to connect with other businesses in your area (and beyond).

Big businesses often team up on Instagram to expand brand awareness and engagement for both companies. (See #BlueApronXZola!). This is something small businesses should take advantage of as well. Contact other complimentary local or national businesses and ask if they’d be interested in cross promoting. The most popular way of cross promoting is a one-day “Account Takeover”. A takeover usually involves the complimentary business creating branded posts for your Instagram page and visa versa. This can be a win-win for both companies because it creates awareness of your brand in a different but relevant audience.

  1. Uninspired? Get insta-spired.

Instagram is full of inspiring quotes in attractive graphics. Whether you catch one on your photo feed or find one in the explore tab, there’s a quote graphic for everyone! If I’m ever experiencing the dreaded creative block I look to Instagram to find content to curate on my account. Apps like Repost are available for both on Apple and Android. Repost allows you to screenshot the original photo and copy the caption. That way you have a steady flow of content but you’re not stealing someone else’s work.

  1. Need quick and real feedback? Instagram can do that.

With the help of relevant hashtags feedback is just a post away. The best way to get feedback on your Instagram posts, your products, or anything else is to simply ask.

  1. It’s the perfect platform to reach niche markets

It is becoming more and more difficult to get your business noticed on Facebook everyday. If you’re looking for a bigger range of exposure you are required to pony up some cash for it. Fortunately that’s not the case with Instagram. Since such a low percentage of small business owners even Instagram, this platform is wide open for promotions and can provide a wealth of opportunities for your brand.

  1. Looking for more leads?

According to Shopify, Instagram has the second largest average order value.  Simply put, Instagram users are buying more high ticket items than every other social platform other than Polyvore.  So if you are struggling get leads that turn into sales, Instagram would be the platform for you to try. Not only do Instagram users buy more often than almost other platform users, but they spend more money as well.

  1. You can (finally) advertise on Instagram.

Instagram was bought out by Facebook in 2012, but just recently has Instagram started to venture into paid advertisements and posts. Advertising on Instagram is now available for all businesses, no matter what size and budget, through Facebook’s Power Editor. This is a great advantage for businesses who want to advertise on Instagram and Facebook concurrently since you will be able to view the metrics of both ads on the same platform. There are three different types of advertising spots: a carousel ad (multiple photos you can swipe left to see more), a single photo and a 30 second video. Like Facebook’s ads there are different projected goals and budgets to choose from.

 

So now you know the reasons why Instagram is right for your business. Are you still unsure you have enough time to use it to your business’ full potential? Then it’s time to call Content + Creativity! Our seasoned team will help you craft a clever, cohesive brand message that will span all your social platforms. Call us at 610.937.5178 or email us at info@contentandcreativity.com and we can discuss a custom plan to fit your business’ needs.

If You Can’t Make It, Curate It.

If You Can’t Make It, Curate It.

Constantly creating unique content for your business’ blog and social media accounts can be an exhausting task. Thankfully, that’s where curated content comes in. What is curated content? Anything that’s not created by you or someone on your team that may be helpful or relevant to your business’ industry and/or customers is defined as curated content. Curating content is an effective and time-saving way to fill up your editorial calendar. Here are some simple ways to make shared information sustain the buzz around your brand online.
The Great Time-saver
As was previously mentioned, creating appealing blog posts, articles, social posts and whatever else can be time consuming. The time spent on writing could be taking away from your social life or even running your business effectively. Sometimes your most highly regarded content that you put your heart and soul into doesn’t get the level of engagement it deserves. To combat this, second party content should be used to fill up your editorial calendar. This way your social profiles are filled with content and it would take much less time than writing all the goods yourself.

Not an expert on a relevant topic? You’re in luck…
Whatever industry or industries your business may fall under, it’s likely that nobody is an expert on every little nuance. That’s where content from opinion leaders or experts come in! This could be helpful when trying to fill your suggested 40% of monthly informational content on your social pages. (link to graphic I did). Remember to introduce the curated content in a way that will link back to your product or service. Otherwise, what would be the point of posting it?
Let’s say you own a landscaping business. HGTV posts an article on what to plant when you have a relatively shady outdoor space. If you offer garden design services to your clients this would be a great informational post to share. You could lead into the article reminding your audience that you can create a custom garden design and to “leave the work to us”. That way, the article wouldn’t take away from your business but rather give potential leads an idea before contacting you.

The jokes write themselves
If you’re not much of a jokester, *appropriate* memes are a fun and quick way to get engagement from your audience. I must stress *appropriate*, whatever that may be for you and your brand. If your audience is on the younger side for example you probably have the ability to push the boundaries of taste and language. Just be aware that controversial posts can often yield controversial results.
Now that you have a better idea what curated content is, it’s time to find it. This will certainly depend on your industry, but a good place to start would be mailing lists you are subscribed to, Google alerts or relevant groups either on Facebook or LinkedIn. Wherever it comes from, if it’s relevant to your business and doesn’t take away from what you’re promoting then you should probably post it! With curated content you’ll never have to worry about time gaps in you posting schedule again.

 

Are you looking to revamp your posting strategy? Are you not getting the engagement you think your content deserves? We can help design and execute a cohesive brand message that will make you stand out from your competitors. Contact us today at info@contentandcreativity or call us at 610.937.5187.

Five Simple Steps to Brand Optimization

Five Simple Steps to Brand Optimization

Brand optimization through social media is imperative for your business in the digital space. This can be achieved through creating brand consistency throughout the social platforms you are using, your website as well as your offline marketing efforts. In order to create a successful brand message that will reach the people the right way, start by doing these 5 simple things.

Avoid location confusion!

If your business has a brick-and-mortar location that customers can visit, you must have the same address listed on every platform you use. This includes Google and listing sites like CitySearch and Yelp. Although this may seem like a no-brainer, oftentimes businesses forget to update their addresses when they move their store to another location. Forgetting this important step will create frustration and potential loss of business. If you run a home based or online only operation, be sure to have your phone number and email readily available to the public.

Logos

Your logo is one of the first things your customer sees. Whether it be on your website, social platforms or in offline advertising, you want it to be the same image in every medium.

In terms of social media, it should be broken down as such: All your avatars on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Google+ should be your logo or a photo with your logo as the watermark. Twitter is the only platform you can choose a color scheme and background for your personal timeline, and you should pick elements and a color scheme that coordinate with your brand.  Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube and Google+ allow you to upload a “cover photo” which is just another space you can put your logo or a branded photo.

For those who are not so Photoshop savvy, there are sites that can help you create beautiful graphics for free. One of our favorite sites is Canva. Canva has predesigned templates that include the appropriate sizes for a Facebook cover photo, a Twitter background image or anything else you may need to create.

Keep Up With Your Profiles

Social media profiles for your business are a great asset to your online marketing strategy, but only if you use them correctly. Not only should your visuals be consistent, but you should also take advantage of the space provided for marketing messages. Make sure your website URL is a clickable link wherever allowed. Clicking on the cover photo on your Facebook page leads to a post in which you can list all your contact information as well as an extensive marketing message. After you upload a video to YouTube fill out the description with your website URL first as a clickable link, the rest of your contact info, and then describe the video. LinkedIn provides quite a bit of space to describe who you are and what your qualifications are. A company page on LinkedIn affords nearly unlimited opportunities to promote your business.

Stay on Top of Your Reviews

Online reviews show that you do great, or sometimes not so great, work. Whether the review is positive or critical you need to respond in a timely manner, within 24 hours if possible.

Now I know you’re wondering how responding to online reviews fits into brand optimization, but it’s pretty simple. Do you want to be known as a company with exemplary customer service? The first step would be to demonstrate it through the work you do, which I’m sure most businesses strive to do. But an equally important aspect of customer service is how you interact with your customers online. This includes addressing, and hopefully resolving the problems behind the dreaded negative reviews.

Does your brand need a clear message but don’t know where to start? We can help design and execute a cohesive brand message that will make you stand out from your competitors. Contact us today at info@contentandcreativity or call us at 610.937.5187.