I am shocked how many new hosts start knocking on the door of huge celebrities in their field asking for an interview for their show that hasn’t even reached ten episodes yet. There is something to be said for bravery and persistence but let’s think about this a little more strategically.Continue reading →
You have finally started your blog and are looking to turn it into a business, but these three annoying letters keep popping up everywhere. What even is SEO? Isn’t it dead? Let’s dive into creating SEO-friendly blog posts!
Relax! Search Engine Optimisation doesn’t have to be complicated and it’s most certainly not dead. It has simply evolved: gone are the days of keyword stuffing at the bottom of the page. Those little crawlers — the automated bots used by search engines to index data — have actually become pretty smart and can smell that spam from webpages away.
You must understand the basic principles of SEO if you want your blog or website to rank high on Google. However, SEO is really just common sense. You need to make your blog post enjoyable for both human readers — which you can easily do, since I assume you are one — and search engines’ crawlers — which, I’m going to make a bold guess, you are not. Not to worry: given their lack of human emotions, it’s very easy to think like one.
Do your keyword research when you’re creating SEO-friendly blog posts
You should be able to sum up your post in one long-tail keyword, which is just a fancy word for ‘a phrase consisting of three or more words’.
If you were breaking down the procedures to brew your own lavender tea, your keyword wouldn’t be just ‘lavender tea’. Your potential readers are more likely to Google ‘how to make lavender tea’. That’s your long-tail keyword. Make a note.
Now you can find some related keywords. How? It’s so easy peasy lemon squeezy that it sounds too good to be true. Just pop your long-tail keyword into Google’s Keyword Planner or Moz’s Keyword Explorer and you’ll find what users usually type when searching for the same topic (e.g. ‘How to make lavender tea from leaves’). Simple as that. As you build your confidence in creating SEO friendly blog posts there are more technical strategies you can explore, but for now, let’s keep it simple!
Integrate keywords organically into your blog post
We’ve already established that crawlers don’t like keyword stuffing, but I’m going to stress organically again because it’s very important. Your blog post must flow smoothly. Resist the impulse to chuck all the long-tail keywords one after the other without creating an actual meaningful paragraph.
You must sprinkle them strategically: in the blog title, the URL, headings, meta descriptions and image names, as well as repeating them organically in the body of the article, just as casually as I’ve repeated the word ‘organically’ in this one.
You still need to write quality content
Yes, you are here to learn how to please those little crawlers, but don’t forget that, at the end of the day, it’s not them who are going to share your blog post or subscribe to your newsletter: it’s us humans!
Your blog post must bring value to its readers. After reading it, they should always walk away with something.
Make it scannable
Had you bumped into this exact same blog post but without any paragraph breaks nor headings, would you have still read it? Probably not. I don’t blame you: you simply haven’t got time, and neither have your potential readers.
You need to make your blog post easy to scan so that they can figure out whether it’s the answer to what they were looking for, and crawlers can find it more easily. It’s a win-win.
Optimise images when creating SEO-friendly blog posts
You have found the perfect, Instagrammable and Pinterest-worthy pictures to go with your blog post. That’s great! Your human readers are going to be very impressed, but I’m afraid crawlers can’t see them, even if there’s text in the image.
What they can see, though, is their name. So ditch any lazy ‘image07.jpg’ and use relevant keywords instead.
Add a call to action
I assume you don’t want your readers to just read your article and then forget about it for the rest of their lives. You might want them to comment, share, subscribe to your newsletter, or follow you on social media.
Then add a question at the end to encourage discussion, have some ‘share’ buttons, link to older posts, or ask them to subscribe to your newsletter if they enjoyed your article.
The more people interact with your blog post and explore your website, the higher you are going to rank in the long run.
Choose the perfect title
You might have written the most impressive article since the birth of the Internet, but… who’s going to read it, if nobody clicks on it?
Your title should hook the reader in. For example, you can use long-tail keywords to state exactly what the blog post is going to offer (e.g. ‘The beginner’s guide to creating SEO-friendly blog posts’: it seems to have worked for you. Gotcha!).
You could ask a question, or state something controversial or unusual that your readers will want to check out (‘What no one will tell you about growing on Instagram’, ‘Why your beard needs caffeine’).
Listicles perform particularly well, especially when they include numbers or, even better, odd numbers — pun intended (e.g. ‘43 ways to cook pasta’).
Or you could address the reader directly (‘How you can quit your day job and live the life you deserve’).
How does this sound? I bet you can already think like a crawler.
Now, to stay true to my penultimate point, I’m going to slide in a cheeky call to action and ask you to let me know what you thought about these seven easy steps.
About the author
Giada is a copywriter who enjoys blogging about finding magic in slow life, loves the Oxford comma, and has ink in her veins (not literally, or she’d be dead by now). Find out more about Giada’s work.
Looking for more blogging inspo and tips? Check out our range of blogging articles.
In PR, just like TV news, no two days are the same. That is what makes it easy to find excuses to justify fast food and not making time for your health and wellbeing, but it is not sustainable. For more than 25 years I worked in newsrooms where the priority was the story of the day and meeting deadlines. Now, as Managing Director of a PR and digital agency, the pressures are similar, but there is one significant difference – I am the boss.
The old saying is “happy wife, happy life” and a company’s success is certainly dependent on a happy team. In the past 18 months, we’ve expanded offices and doubled staff numbers nearly every three months, and are still growing. Personally, I still find it hard to find time for me. However, there are steps we’ve taken in the office to help improve everyone’s wellbeing, including mine.
Here are some of those tips:
Learn to delegate
If you have a trustworthy, dependable and experienced team, you will feel more comfortable delegating roles. Although it might be a lengthy process, taking the time to hire reliable people is beneficial in the long run. You will feel comfortable and confident in delegating tasks.
Another approach is to utilise everyone’s strengths. If one team member excels at design, have them create visual content for your business. If another excels at writing, have them write content for your website or your clients.
Set boundaries between work and home
As a mum of two, keeping work and family time separate is always a challenge. While responding to emails or making phone calls might not seem like you are bringing work home, it can have more of an impact than you might think. It is particularly important to set boundaries between work and home if your business has multiple locations and you are required to travel.
For example, I am often leaving Brisbane for client meetings and media training, sometimes at the last minute. Over time, I realised how necessary it is to set boundaries to make time for work and my family.
Encourage health and wellbeing in the workplace
As all business owners know, it is important to lead by example. While this is typically with work ethic, it is just as important to actively encourage health and wellbeing. For example, many of us have diffusers on our desks with natural oils.
To counter that feeling of being stuck in front of a computer for too long we are embracing walking meetings. Sometimes it’s as simple as the morning WIP doubling as a coffee run. During this time, our Communications Director and Corporate Services Manager will brief me on the day ahead. It’s amazing how motivated you feel after some fresh air and sunshine, and the coffee doesn’t hurt either!
Be stricter about breaks during the day
I do encourage our team to eat lunch away from their computers. The temptation, especially in a communication and digital agency, is to stay tapping away at your keyboard but it’s important to give your eyes and your brain a break.
Our Administration Assistant selects fitness classes close to the office for the team to attend at lunch. It not only encourages everyone to take some time out during the day but helps build a strong team culture with a positive attitude towards health and wellbeing.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help
As a business owner, admitting you don’t know something can be difficult – particularly as you are leading a team. It is often expected you should know almost everything in the industry before launching a business, which isn’t the case.
Industries, whether it be Public Relations, Health, Tourism, Mining or Finance are constantly changing, and it is almost impossible to be across all of these changes. It is important to remember it is okay to ask for help or find a mentor. Listening to their advice will broaden your knowledge and it is a huge stress relief to get those questions answered!
About Leisa Goddard
Leisa Goddard is the Managing Director of Digital and PR Agency Adoni Media. Leisa has more than 25 years of experience working and presenting news and current affairs for Australia’s three commercial television networks including time as a foreign correspondent and war correspondent. Her award-winning agency has offices in Sydney and Brisbane.
Choosing a business name is crucial as it is typically the first thing people will learn about your new brand. Although it is a challenge, these three steps will encourage you to get the most out of your business name. By the end of the process, you will feel confident in your decision (and not like you’re stepping off the edge of a cliff).
Step One: Mission and Vision
Consider your audience when choosing a business name
When choosing a business name, it’s important to know who you want the name to appeal to. The name should be a reflection of you AND your target audience.
For example, a fashion brand targeted at professional women will be nothing like one geared towards fashion-forward students.
The best names are the ones that target a certain audience and engages them with values and emotions that they connect with.
A great example of this is the subscription service, Dollar Shave Club. This company markets themselves as a disruptor within their industry, with a quality product that is mailed to their customers. Unlike many of their competitors, the Dollar Shave Club doesn’t market their razors to a specific gender. Their name implies that it is an affordable subscription service, which are two elements that attract millennial consumers.
It’s important to consider the future of your business and where you want it to be in five years. If you want to start a flexible company that could grow into new areas, be careful not to pigeonhole your business. In the beginning, you might be launching a tech company and creating a new social media app, thus deciding that the name Chit Chat could be a great fit. The problem is that if you plan to expand into other territories later down the line, like adding a photography element to your app, Chit Chat is no longer an acceptable name for your business. If you plan ahead when choosing a business name you can prevent having to go through an expensive rebranding process in the future.
Try to summarise your brand’s mission and values in a short project statement. Here are some great examples of project states to get you started:
- We need a name that captures our innovative and unique approach to selling insurance.
- We need an effective name that sets us apart as a modern, youthful brand.
- We need a reliable name that hints at our environmentally-friendly practices.
Step Two: Get Creative when choosing a business name
It’s a great first step to gather all of your brand ideas in one place and figure out what kind of name you want for your specific business. The fun part starts now; you can begin coming up with name ideas!
A solid brand name should be:
- Simple to say.
- Easy to spell.
- Understandable when heard.
If people have difficulty sharing your brand with their friends and family then they won’t share it at all. This lack of sharing will likely stunt your brand’s rise to success.
Narrow your list
Once you’ve created a list with a wide variety of ideas, you can start crossing off names that don’t work. Keep crossing off name ideas until you only have five or six favourites left. This part of the process is an excellent opportunity to gather feedback from your friends, family and target market.
When approaching your target audience, frame questions neutrally by asking “Which brand would you want to find out more about?”. Rather than “Which of these names is the best?”.
Keep working your way down by picking a name that you feel is unique enough to help you stand out and supports your business. Your business name is more than a word – it is a tool that can help support your growth.
Remember, when choosing a business name, it is more important to prioritise something that will boost your business over one that you feel emotionally attached to.
Step Three: Check your Boxes
Secure your domain
A solid domain name goes perfectly with a good brand name. Your website is where people will find more information on what you do, so it is vital to have your domain and business name match closely. When you’ve narrowed your list down to just a few names, try searching if there are any available domains for those names.
Choosing a business name can feel like a daunting task before you start, as a lot rests upon a name. The name summarises your brand’s identity and serves as the first point of connection between your business and your target audience.
If you feel like there aren’t any good names left for you to choose, don’t worry! Keep brainstorming and go through each of these three steps and you’ll find your perfect name in no time!
About Grant Polachek
Grant Polachek is the Director of Marketing at Inc 500 company Squadhelp, a global naming platform, with customers from small startups to large corporations including Nestle, Philips, Hilton, Pepsi and AutoNation.
Cookies aren’t the only thing you can make in batches. If you’re a small business owner, batching your social media content is a powerful way to save time and get your social media calendar organised. As a freelance writer and digital content manager, batching social media content for my clients has been a total game changer in terms of productivity. It also helps if you’re about to go on a break, and want to set everything up to let it run while you’re kicking back with wine! Below are my personal tips for batching #likeaboss.
What is batching?
Basically, batching is scheduling a set amount of time into your day or week or month to work on the same types of tasks. It’s a great way to keep up to date on regular work and the frequency of batches will vary depending on what the task is. You may choose to batch your social media or a weekly basis and blog content on a monthly basis. Responding to emails would likely be a daily basis.
You block out a chunk of time just to work on that one task. For example, you might decide Tuesday’s from 3pm – 5pm you’ll dedicate to scheduling the next fortnight of social posts.
Benefits of batching social media
Updating your business social accounts is something you’re probably aiming to do daily or every second day. Finding the right image or content to share, drafting a caption and pushing it out to
your different social media accounts each day takes up time. Batching the work allows you to execute your social media strategy more simply and clears your mind of having to think about that task every day for the next 2 weeks, or however long you’ve batched for.
Of course, you can still be spontaneous! If you see some awesome content to share, post it and just move what you had pre-scheduled for the day. It also leaves more time for networking and engaging with your social community once your content is curated and scheduled. Some people even batch work for months in advance, like blocking 3-4 days out to write the next 4 months worth of blog content and schedule them for self-publishing.
Batching is also the opposite of multi-tasking. Multitasking kills productivity and wastes time, continually switching between a bunch of different projects and tasks. Laser focusing on one type of task for even a few hours will save you time in the long run. I write blog content and manage social media for a range of clients in different niches from natural skincare and personal development to investing and move out cleaning. I find when I batch work and focus on just one topic and one client at a time, it speeds up my work rather than continually switching gears back and forth on topics during the day.
Tools to help you batch social media
There are some great scheduling tools out there to make the process of batching content simpler. I personally use Buffer to batch social media posts for clients, it’s a paid tool that allows you to pre-schedule content to be pushed out to various social platforms; Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Pinterest.
With Buffer you can share the same posts across all platforms or adjust the content depending on the channel. I also use Schedugram for some Instagram accounts I manage, which has a great visual planning tool. I love that it allows you to layout your posts before scheduling so you can see what the feed will look like. Of course, you don’t need a paid tool if you’re just scheduling Facebook posts, you can do this within your business page for free.
Quick note – I don’t receive any affiliate income from the tools I recommend above.
Other batching tips
- Once you’ve decided when you’re going to get your social scheduling batch-fest on, I have a few more tips that can help you get in the zone:
Unplug from personal social media. Log out of your email and switch off your phone. Culling all distractions during your batching session can really boost your productivity during this time.
- ‘Mini’ batch all the tasks within the process. For example, first, you might find and resize all images, then design any quote or branded posts, followed by locating another type of content to share. Write all captions and then lastly load them all into the sharing platform.
- Set a clear goal. Define what you want to achieve in your batching time. 2 weeks of social media posting? 3 weeks? A month? Get clear on the goal and work to complete it within the timeframe you’ve set for yourself. The great thing about batching is you can apply this method to different areas of your business; blogging, commenting and networking on social media, invoicing, generating new business leads, website maintenance; whatever you like. The power of batching comes from applying focus to one task, so it doesn’t really matter what it is.
I hope these tips help you get onboard with batching your social media, I think you’ll find it’s a real game changer!
Elesha Piper is an Australian freelance writer and digital content manager for solopreneurs and small business owners. She writes on a range of topics from natural skincare and personal development to investing and end of lease cleaning. She’s also a minimalist and lover of fries.
So you have a fantastic idea for a startup and enough funds to create a minimal viable product to test it on the market? That’s great; you’re on your way to launching a potentially successful venture.
However, many startup owners forget how vital marketing is to the success of their product. After all, how else will your target audience learn about it without you putting in any resources into promotion?
Most of the time, founders have only enough funds to build an MVP and spread the news to acquire the first adopters. That’s why you need extra capital to spread the news about your product to a broader group of potential customers.
Here are 5 ways to help you find money for your startup’s first marketing campaign and take your business operation to the next level.
1. Friends and family
Financing your startup campaign thanks to resources coming from friends and family is one interesting option you should consider. Getting funded by people you know is rather simple because they already respect and trust you. Moreover, you can ask them for loans on favorable terms, and in some cases, you won’t even have to worry about interest.
Still, make sure that the deal is beneficial for them as well. You can offer them some dividend such as a share in the profits or revenue.
But don’t forget that raising funds for your marketing campaign from friends and family will not allow you to validate your product idea. After all, they might not know your industry and won’t be able to judge the value of your idea accurately.
2. Microloans & grants
Have you ever heard about microfinance? Microloans are small, short-term loan available to businesses that can be used as working capital or resource for your next marketing campaign. If you’re looking for a few thousand dollars, consider getting a microloan or government grants.
Microloans are subsidized loans by the state designated authority or nonprofit organizations. If your startup idea has been validated, you stand a chance at getting one to fund your marketing activities.
All you need to do is draft a business and marketing plan and get in touch with the organization responsible for giving out the loans or small grans. Even if you are sure that your application is strong, it’s always a good idea to ask for advice.
Research the opportunities available to businesses in your area and get in touch with the appropriate authorities to learn more about the application process and boost your chances of success. Start by checking out this list of the best microloans on the market.
3. Logbook loans
Logbook loans are a type of secure loans that work like a security bill of sale. In that type of transaction, borrowers transfer ownership of their car or another vehicle to the logbook lender as a security to secure the loan. While repaying the loan, the borrower keeps possession of the vehicle and can use it.
But until the loan is cleared, the formal ownership of the vehicle rests with the lender. If you’re based in the UK, logbook loans are an excellent option to raise funds for your marketing campaign because there exists a designated legal process to administer these loan to make them secure.
Another great option to kick off your startup idea is by sharing it on a crowdfunding platform. Crowdfunding means that you will be funding your campaign by raising contributions from a large number of Internet users.
This relatively new concept of alternative financing gained lots of popularity over the last years, and some claim that crowdfunding is on its way to surpassing venture capital funding as its size has reached $35 billion and constantly expanding.
Just consider the number of startup success stories we owe to the platform Kickstarter.
There are many ways in which you can benefit from crowdfunding – it can be reward-based or equity-based. Have a look on the web to find a crowdfunding platform and consider consulting and mediating company to make sure that you’re choosing a reliable funding partner. And before you set up a crowdfunding campaign, read the terms of your contract with the platform carefully. All that’s left is sharing the campaign as widely as possible on the web to reach lots of users.
5. Renting out extra space
If you’ve got some physical space you’re not using such as the garage, basement or a room at your office, don’t hesitate to advertise it on the sharing community sites to earn extra cash and fund your startup’s marketing campaign. That type of initiative will help you make the most of your resources, so advertise your space right now and start making money off it to add an extra boost to your marketing.
Use these 5 steps, and you will be on your way to securing funding for your marketing campaign and ensuring the efficient promotion of your products among your target audience.
Emma Lewis is a loving mother, a devoted wife and a part of the team supporting Spacer – a company helping you find storage space whenever you need it. Emma is also a staunch supporter of the sharing economy and often mentions its benefits.