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Jane Hunt

Coffee shop workspace
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Tired of the office? 10 of the best alternative workspaces

In order to instil a greater sense of happiness and productivity, several modern workspaces give precedence to natural light, wide open spaces, and plenty of greenery.

But even the most aesthetically pleasing, impeccably designed office can’t escape 3pm syndrome – a condition that saps motivation levels, encourages clock-watching, and prolongs tomorrow’s workload.

Thankfully, there is a cure…

In a recent blog, Trello’s Kat Boogaard discussed the ‘Coffee Shop Effect’, and why changing your work location can restore self-stimulus because:

  • The human brain has been proven to constantly seek something new, exciting, or novel.
  • The human brain is excellent at connecting an environment with specific situations, i.e. not working after lunch in the office.
  • You’re intentionally going there to work.

But why stop at the coffee shop? Where else could you go for a PM pick-me-up? Here are four alternative workspaces to consider.

 

The coffee shop

The long-established favourite of students, freelancers, and telecommuters everywhere, the humble coffee shop has an endless supply of your favourite energy-boosting beverages and sugary snacks.

Just remember that coffee shops rely on a constant stream of customers to survive, so try not to overstay your welcome, take up an entire table, or buy only one drink during a long stint.

Examples:

TY Seven Dials – London

This coffee shop/workspace hybrid not only features a range of food and drink options from local artisans, but also a relaxed environment where you can stay for as long as you like.

 Coffee workspace - TY Seven Dials

 

Workshop Café – San Francisco

Another space that blurs the lines between placid and productive, the Workshop Café places an emphasis on creativity, innovation, and networking.

Coffee Workspace - Workshop Cafe

 

The Wren – London 

Coffee with a difference. Located inside St Nicholas Cole Abbey, the Wren’s stunning architecture is guaranteed to inspire and influence your work.

Coffee workspace - The Wren

 

A co-working space 

If coffee shops feel a little unprofessional but you still want to escape the office for a few hours, look into local co-working spaces. Although you’ll have to pay for the privilege, co-working spaces afford a number of advantages.

More often than not, you’ll benefit from an environment specifically designed for productivity, fast and reliable internet, meeting rooms, print, scan, and presentation facilities, as well as the opportunity to network with like-minded individuals.

Examples: 

Duke Studios – Leeds

From architects and interior designers to film makers and SEO gurus, Duke Studios is home to all manner of creatives. There’s even a resident dog to make the working day that bit less stressful. 

Co-working space - Duke Studios 

 

Patchwork – Paris

Situated in the heart of Paris’ city centre, Patchwork provides individual entrepreneurs and small enterprises with a colourful, conceptual working environment.

Co-working space - Patchwork 

 

Soho Works – London (also LA)

Various membership options, lots of additional perks, and the sheer beauty of the rooms within Shoreditch’s iconic East London Tea Building makes Soho Works a truly exceptional co-working space.

Co-working space - Soho Works 

 

The library

To tick off your to-do list in double-quick time, head to your nearest public library for the ultimate in quietness and concentration. You may even find yourself reaching for the ample resources on the bookshelves behind you.

There’s usually no need to pay for anything thanks to free entry and free WiFi. University libraries are also an option, especially if you need to work outside of office hours, but double-check you’re allowed to enter and whether a student login is required for the internet.

Examples: 

Boston Public Library – Massachusetts, USA

Murals by John Singer Sargent, an Italianate courtyard, and no fewer than 23 million books – Boston Public Library takes some beating.

Library workspace - Boston 

 

Stuttgart City Library – Stuttgart, Germany

While controversial for not fitting in with the city’s greenery and red-roofed houses, Stuttgart City Library is still an awe-inspiring sight.

Library workspace - Stuttgart 

 

At home

Okay, so heading home early for the purposes of work doesn’t sound like a particularly productive idea. But the whole point of the ‘Coffee Shop Effect’ is to mix up your surroundings and change your attitude.

So, if your employer is flexible enough, ask to work at home one morning per week before commuting to the office. Alternatively, thanks to platforms like Vrumi, you could go to somebody else’s home for a welcome change of scenery yet still retain those necessary creature comforts.

Examples:

Loft Conversion – Manchester

This American-style loft conversion in Manchester’s vibrant Northern Quarter has sofas for laid-back brainstorming and tables for non-stop typing.

Home workspace - Loft 

 

Houseboat – London

For something truly unique, consider working from this romantically retro houseboat in the heart of central London.

Home workspace - Houseboat 

 

Next time you find yourself out of the office on a productivity binge, be sure to try some of our top content ideation tools too.

Digital PR apps
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Want to be a digital PR pro? These 5 apps will help

When it comes to digital PR, no two days are the same…

Whether it’s researching opportunities, putting together proposals, finding the right media contacts, or keeping track of campaigns, you’ve probably got an ever-changing to-do list that shows no signs of getting any smaller.

But this is where you need to work smarter, not harder. More so than ever before, PR professionals are able to call upon a cavalcade of tools to not only manage their everyday duties, but also improve and optimise them for the very best results.

Here are 5 of our favourite apps for digital PR pros…

 

1. Trello

Free to $20.83 per user/month

This all-in-one organisational platform enables you to organise and prioritise projects with the greatest of ease. Trello’s uncluttered dashboard provides a transparent overview of what you’re working on, who else is involved, and what stage the project is at.

Handy features like checklists and deadlines ensure you’re always on top of everything, while the ability to collaborate and communicate with others is invaluable. You’ll only need to use Trello a few times before it becomes the very first app you open.

Digital PR app - Trello

 

2. Meltwater

Pricing on request

Whereas some digital PR apps prevent our minds from going mad, others do what the human brain is simply incapable of. Take Meltwater for example, which decodes billions of digital documents from the industry’s largest database of global media, social media, and online content to deliver big picture trends.

In other words, you’ll receive all of your media mentions in one place, which are backed-up by intuitive dashboards, invaluable insights, and one-click reports.

You’re also given the tools to connect with key influencers and generate ready-made reports.

Digital PR app - Meltwater

 

3. Canva

Free

Even the most unimaginative or unartistic PR pro can create visually stunning graphics with the help of Canva. It’s also incredibly easy to use thanks to a drag-and-drop system for layouts, elements, texts, and uploads.

Next time you need to grab your audience’s attention with an Instagram post, impress stakeholders with an internal presentation, or excite attendees with an event invitation, head over to Canva.

Digital PR app - Canva

 

4. PressReader

Free (From $1 per paper)

PressReader is one of those apps you’ll find yourself using outside of work again and again. Along with delivering an endless stream of relevant news stories to your smartphone, it also enables you to keep track of client mentions in the print publications you don’t receive.

It also eliminates the need to manually clip articles (hang your head in shame if you’re still doing this). Simply search the name of your client, select the publications you’re interested in, and capture those all important press clippings.

Digital PR app - PressReader

 

5. Buffer

Free to US$399 per month

Quite possibly the easiest, most efficient tool for social media management. Buffer is a one-stop-shop for scheduling, posting, and switching between your Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn accounts.

But that’s not all. You can also create social media calendars, schedule custom posts for each platform, track your top-performing content for future repurposing, and give your followers visual stimulation with native support for video and GIFs.

Digital PR app - Buffer

 

Need additional help? Check out our digital PR services to see how you could gain more relevant, authoritative links.

featured snippets
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How to write your content for featured snippets

Attracting attention and generating traffic through the SERPs (Search Engine Result Pages) is harder than ever before…

Competition is fierce, with more and more brands prioritising SEO in their quest for increased online exposure. The number of organic links that Google shows has also decreased in recent years, chiefly because it wants marketers to buy ad space instead.

But these two obstacles often pale into insignificance when compared with another aspect of the SERPs – featured snippets.

 

What are featured snippets?

Featured snippets are certain search results that appear above organic links on the SERPs. Also known as answer boxes or ‘Position 0’,  featured snippets aim to give the user an immediate response to their search query without having to click one of the links.

A featured snippet

 

Even though featured snippets provide users with a quicker, easier, and better search experience, the fact you don’t need to browse other results is somewhat concerning for marketers.

 

Search Engine Land also reported that:

  • One page’s click-through rate jumped from 2 to 8 per cent after appearing as a featured snippet.
  • Revenue from organic visitors landing on the same page saw a 677 per cent

Therefore, the value of featured snippets is clear to see. But how should you write your content for featured snippets?

 

1. Identify the questions your audience are asking

Featured snippets are commonplace when the searcher asks a question, specifically with the following prefixes:

  • How do/does
  • How to
  • What is
  • Why do/does

So, take the time to think about the kinds of questions your audience are asking. You should already know the topics or themes they’re interested in, so pop these into Google and see what comes back.

Use search suggestions for featured snippet contentAnother excellent resource is Answer The Public – literally a search engine that finds out what questions the public are asking.

 

Answer the Public results

2. Write content to answer questions

 Now that you know what your audience wants to know, start brainstorming content ideas that specifically answers these questions. As content marketing and SEO guru Neil Patel puts it:

“If your content doesn’t answer questions, it won’t get into the featured snippet. That’s all there is to it.”

For example, with this very article, we’ve chosen the title ‘How to write your content for featured snippets’, not ‘Writing content for featured snippets’ or ‘Appear as a featured snippet by writing your content like this’.

Google’s search algorithms are constantly crawling sites to find content that best answers user questions. Once they do, they’ll promote them to featured snippets.

Types of featured snippet

3. Maintain your focus on quality

Google’s complex ranking system, which gives precedence to high-quality content, still applies for featured snippets.

This means your content must:

  • Comprehensively cover the subject
  • Be informative, interesting, and engaging
  • Put the user first
  • Feature essential on-page SEO (headings, bullet points etc.)

 

4. Provide the best answer

Sounds simple, but by providing a better answer than your competitors, you’ll stand a greater chance of being a featured snippet.

Pretend to be a potential prospect or customer and consider what you would want to read, as well as what keywords and phrases you’d use.

Cover additional questions relating to the subject, break answers down to a basic level, assume your audience knows nothing whatsoever, and use visual content to support what you’re saying.

 

5. Consider FAQ pages

Create a FAQ page that explicitly answers your audience’s most common questions and Google will know useful information is contained within. This is especially true if questions use the same wording as your audience.

Make sure that your FAQ page contains all relevant questions, is well-formatted with in-depth answers, is easy to navigate for a positive experience, and always provides value.

If you want to appear as a voice search result, FAQs are the way to go too.

 

Did you know that 40.7% of all voice search answers come from a featured snippet? Find out more as we explore why voice search could be the future of content marketing.

Dog looking for content ideas
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Stuck for content ideas? These 5 tools will help

So, you need to write a new piece of content but are stuck for ideas? Don’t worry, you’re not alone…

In an overcrowded online space, it’s not easy thinking of a new angle or fresh take on subjects your audience would be interested in.

Even when you’ve identified a killer idea, writer’s block could threaten your plans for creating captivating content that resonates with readers.

With this in mind, we’ve created a list of 5 awesome tools to help you discover novel content ideas and put your thoughts into words without too much creative anguish.

 

1. Moz Keyword Explorer

First of all, it makes sense to find relevant yet realistic keywords based on your subject matter. Although popular keywords attract a wider audience, chances are your content will get lost among a sea of similar efforts.

Moz’s Keyword Explorer is excellent at breaking down the numbers surrounding your chosen keyword. By working out how many searches it receives, how difficult it would be to rank for, and organic click-through rates, Moz gives you a priority score out of 100 along with possible long-tail suggestions for more effective targeting.

Moz keyword Explorer Content Marketing

 

2. BuzzSumo

A perennially popular resource for marketers everywhere and one of our favourite tools in the office, BuzzSumo is the go-to site for unearthing the web’s most shared content. Here, you’ll get a sense of what your target market is talking about on social media and how to position your content accordingly.

Not only does BuzzSumo display shares and engagements by social network, it also gives you an ‘Evergreen Score’ and the ability the find key influencers who could promote your content.

Search Buzzsumo for content ideas

 

3. HubSpot Blog Ideas Generator

If you’re not overly concerned with keyword opportunities or trending topics and simply want to give your audience some entertaining content, head over to HubSpot’s Blog Ideas Generator.

All you need to do is enter three words, wait a few seconds, and before you know it, you’ll be given a week’s worth of blog topics.

Not all ideas will be applicable or appropriate, but it’s bound to get your creative juices flowing. Even if you just use it to create more clickable blog titles!

Hubspot Blog Idea Generator for Content Marketing

 

4. Quora

The question-and-answer site Quora is a relative goldmine of content ideas. By browsing target keywords and setting up email alerts, you’ll always know what your audience is talking about or wanting to discover.

Another excellent aspect of Quora is its level of quality control, helped by a team of moderators that limit noise and maintain standards. Informed and well-written content is rewarded with exposure and engagement.

Quora Content Ideas

 

5. RescueTime

Even with a plethora of content resources to choose from, the conception and development process is often halted by writer’s rut or mental block. It’s something every creative has experienced from time to time, but help is at hand…

RescueTime runs in the background of your desktop or mobile to eliminate distractions, measure productivity, and ensure you’re always on track. Open this handy little tool before you start researching content ideas and you’ll already be one step ahead of the game.

Rescue Time Productivity Tracker

So there you have it – 5 essential tools that will make you the most productive and creative content marketer out there.

If you’re after even more inspiration then head over to our tinder infographic where we match content with brands (yes you read that right), content ideas can come from almost anywhere!

Is voice search really the future of content marketing?
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Is voice search the future of content marketing?

In the early days of voice search, most people dismissed the idea of speaking rather than typing as a gimmick. After all, publicly asking personal assistants like Siri or Google Now to search ‘Gangnam Style’ would undoubtedly be greeted with several disapproving stares (and perhaps a few dance move homages).

But fast forward six years and voice search is now a more accepted way of accessing information online. In fact, voice search comprised 20% of queries on Google’s mobile app in mid-2016, according to Google CEO Sundar Pichai.

While more recent stats about behavioural habits are a little bit difficult to come by, it’s clear voice search has cemented its place in today’s digital society, thanks in large part to devices such as Amazon Echo and Google Home.

 

But where does this leave the world of content marketing? If more and more users are conducting voice searches, do your content marketing efforts need to change?

 

Some say yes, but others disagree… Several industry commentators believe voice search is like virtual reality, chatbots, and other recent trends – something that requires consideration, but only needs to integrate into your existing marketing mix if there is a pressing need for it.  

In this blog, we’ll explore the zeitgeist of voice search – why it deserves your attention, how to go about adapting your content (if at all), and which brands are currently leading the way.

Let’s go…

 

Why does voice search matter?

Don’t be fooled into thinking voice search is a novelty; it’s gone beyond a fleeting fad to claim a surprisingly large percentage of online searches.

Here’s some telling statistics

  • Estimates suggests there are over one billion voice searches per month (Apline.AI)
  • 40% of adults now use voice search once per day (Location World)
  • 50% of all searches will be voice searches by 2020 (comscore)

With more virtual assistants coming to market, accompanied by increasingly intelligent language processing and machine learning, voice search will continue to rise in popularity and pertinence.

“Voice search is one of the most rapidly adopted technologies in recent history and it’s changing the way consumers interact with the world around them,” said Elizabeth Walton, Vice President of Marketing at digital knowledge management platform Yext.

 

“When you ask a question, you don’t get 10 links back; you get one direct answer. Marketers should ensure the main voice providers (Google, Apple, Microsoft) have the correct facts about their businesses so they can provide the correct answers.”

 

So, does this mean voice search will eventually replace all other means of accessing information and content online? No – it’s a matter of user intent.

 

voice search and content marketing

Why do people use voice search?

According to Google, there are three main characteristics of voice search queries:

  1. They are more likely to be about an on-the-go topic.
  2. They most likely don’t deal with sensitive information.
  3. They generally do not include searches for websites that will require the user to have significant interaction.

With this in mind, it’s imperative for marketers to understand user intent before overhauling their approach to content marketing.

Think carefully about why people are choosing to engage with a virtual assistant as opposed to a search engine web page. Chances are, they simply want a nugget of throwaway information instead of an in-depth content experience.

This makes even more sense when you consider MindMeld’s 2016 Intelligent Voice Assistants Research Report into the primary reasons behind voice searches, as well as where they take place.

Why?

  • 61% – Useful when hands / vision occupied
  • 30% – Faster results
  • 24% – Difficulty typing on certain devices
  • 22% – They’re fun / cool
  • 12% – To avoid confusing menus
  • 1% – Other

Where?

  • 43% – Home
  • 36% – Car
  • 19% – On-the-go
  • 2% – Work

But even if voice search is only being used to facilitate quicker, more convenient content journeys, that doesn’t mean you can afford to dismiss its potential influence on your own marketing activity.

For example, what if your company blog continues to succinctly answer industry-related questions? Or your business has an online star rating that exceeds competitors in the local area? Can you rely on Google, Apple, and Microsoft to send voice search users your way?

 

Alexa voice search

How do voice assistants work?

Britney Muller, SEO & content architect for Moz, recently ran an experiment for the Content Market Institute, asking “What are the best laptops?” to three pre-eminent voice assistants.

The results:

  • Google Home – Read out a list from TechRadar.com
  • Apple Siri – Answered, “The Apple Macintosh is my favourite computer”
  • Amazon Alexa – Answered, “Sorry, I don’t have the answer to that question”

As it does with traditional web searches, Google delivered the most relevant and detailed voice search results. This is because many of its voice answers come from Featured Snippets – a self-contained answer to search queries taken from a third-party site, positioned right at the top of the SERPs.

“Relevant, convenient, helpful, and accessible on virtually every platform, Featured Snippets are the answer to many of the content concerns of today,” said Julia McCoy, a content marketer, blogger, author, and entrepreneur. “What’s more, they stand to shift and change accordingly as the web adapts in the coming years.”

 

It’s at the forefront of many a content marketer’s strategy already, but seeing as Google-enabled voice search only delivers a single answer, Featured Snippets represent the holy grail of voice search, as well as SEO.

But there’s another reason why Featured Snippets can be compared to the holy grail – eagerly pursued and sought after, yet incredibly difficult (impossible?) to attain.

Therefore, is there any point in even trying to become a Featured Snippet to get noticed by voice assistants? Well, the approach you’d need to employ shares several traits with best practice for content marketing and SEO anyway.

 

How to create and structure content with voice search in mind

Brian Dean, a leading SEO expert and the brains behind Backlinko, conducted his own voice search experiment by analysing 10,000 Google Home search results. The anatomy of a page optimised for voice search had the following features:

  • Quick loading time – PageSpeed plays a major role in voice search, with the average result page loading in 4.6 seconds, which is 52% faster than the average page. Google itself has stated that “people want to be able to find answers to their questions as fast as possible…”
  • Contained long-form content – The average word count of a voice search result page is 2,312 words. Longer content means more opportunities for on-page text to “match” your user’s voice search query.
  • Contained concise answers – The typical voice search result is only 29 words in length. Google wants voice search results that are brief and to-the-point.
  • Highly-shareable – The average voice search result has 1,199 Facebook shares and 44 Tweets. However, it’s highly unlikely voice search uses social signals within any algorithm.
  • Appeared as a Featured Snippet – 40.7% of all voice search answers came from a Featured Snippet. For this particular analysis, Brian only looked at voice search results that cited a source.
  • Ranks in Google desktop search – Approximately 75% of voice search results rank in the top 3 for that query. There’s a strong probability this finding is pure correlation, not causation.
  • Written at a 9th grade reading level (or below) – Simple, easy-to-read content helps with voice search SEO. Google emphasises ‘Elocution’ in its official Voice Search Rater Guidelines.

Ask any marketing or SEO expert (including Brian) and they’ll tell you that this checklist contains several, if not all the essential elements a piece of content should strive for in the first place.

As a result, your content creation doesn’t have to deviate too far from tried and trusted paths, especially if there is little to no chance of attracting voice searches.

But when you do have content that would work well as a voice search result, remember to:

  • Conduct extensive keyword research – You can use SEMrush to research keywords that result in a Featured Snippet, or Moz’s Keyword Explorer to save lists and determine which keywords have a Featured Snippet. Not only should you target keywords that return Featured Snippets within your industry or niche, but also those you’re already ranking for. Try to improve upon the experience current pages provide but stick with a similar format.
  • Think about language – This is particularly relevant with local searches, which tend to take the form ‘pizza takeaway Leeds’ on mobile and desktop. But when it comes to voice search, users are much more likely to speak in full sentences with longer, often unnecessary words in-between such as ‘Where are the best places to get takeaway pizza in Leeds?’.  So, think carefully about your use of adjectives, connecting words, and prepositions with voice search-optimised content.
  • Create FAQ pages – FAQ pages follow a format that is tailor-made for voice search; a conversational question with a concise answer below. Also, as mentioned above, voice searches are often long-tail queries, which are commonplace on FAQ pages. Another compelling reason to go down this route is the fact very few voice search results contain the exact keyword in their title tag. It is more beneficial to write long-form content that answers several different queries on a single page rather than optimising individual pages around each keyword.
  • Set-up a HTTPS-secured website – For the time and money it takes to set-up a HTTPS-secured website, you might not think the ‘minimal boost’ Google promises for voice search is worth it. However, Backlinko’s study found that 70.4% of voice search result URLs have adopted HTTPS (compared to only 50% of Google desktop results). Once again, this relationship could be chance correlation, but its worth serious contemplation given voice search’s single answer responses.

While this advice will by no means guarantee voice search prominence, it can’t hurt your chances and could even propel existing SEO efforts further.

So what about the brands that have managed to succeed with voice-based content marketing? Is their activity limited to Google Home or do they work across other voice assistants like Amazon Echo (Alexa)?

 

Voice search winners and losers – content marketing examples

Whereas several brands are targeting Google in their quest for voice search greatness, others believe Amazon Alexa and its ‘Skills’ represent a better opportunity to be heard by consumers.

Alexa Skills allows users to perform voice-activated controls that range from news and information to education, games, and shopping.

Brands that have capitalised on the content marketing potential of both Google Home and Amazon Alexa include:

  • Hellman’s – Several food brands have developed skills for users based on their product offerings, but Hellman’s goes one step further by expanding the ways in which to discover recipes. Whether they’re based on the ingredients you have or found via browsing ideas, Hellman’s will send you an email containing a link to your chosen recipe, thus increasing the mileage of content.
  • Vogue – Fashion magazine Vogue recently delivered engaging voice content to users through a partnership with Google Home. By saying, ‘Okay Google, ask Vogue to tell me more about Jennifer Lawrence’, writer Jason Gay would provide behind-the-scenes insights into his interview with The Hunger Games star, thereby extending the reach of existing content.  
  • Tide Stain Remover – Perfectly aligned with voice search intent, Tide’s Stain Remover skill tells you how to get rid of coffee spills or grass stains from your clothes. You receive step-by-step instructions, product recommendations (Tide, obviously), and a follow-up text message. Bringing additional devices into the fold gives Tide a clever multi-channel marketing advantage.
  • Burger KingIn one of the most innovative examples of voice search marketing yet, Burger King released a TV commercial which featured the line, ‘Okay Google, what is the Whopper burger?’ Any device listening at home would immediately read out the information provided on the brand’s Wikipedia page. Although clever, it somewhat backfired when the Wiki entry was changed to include ingredients such as cyanide and rat meat.  A whopping mistake…

 

Clearly, there is huge scope for voice search to work hand-in-hand with content marketing. It might need an original, or indeed paid-for approach, but as long as the content meets user intent and encourages further interaction, most efforts should result in positive outcomes.

 

Voice search and content marketing – key points

Voice search continues to gain popularity as a legitimate (and socially acceptable) way of interacting with digital devices.

It not only delivers relevant content quickly, but also makes the whole experience easier when you’re otherwise occupied or can’t be bothered to use your hands – that’s a serious reason and not just condemnation of 21st century laziness.

For these reasons, brands should be mindful of curating content experiences just for the sake of voice search optimisation, as most of the time, user intent will be absent or non-applicable.   

But in instances where content could make use of voice search, brands are advised to follow a set of precise guidelines, several of which already make sense from a marketing perspective.

It’s also a good idea to think about the voice search or voice assistant device your content marketing activity would be best suited to – Amazon Alexa has taken off with lifestyle brands, whereas Google Home (and the way it sources content from high-ranking web pages and Featured Snippets) is more open to optimisation and innovation from virtually any enterprise or industry.

 

Voice search clearly has a future, even if it’s limited to household or entertainment devices. But where there’s opportunity for brands to be featured as the answer to a question or provide a concise slice of information, the role content marketing could play should not be underestimated.

 

Thinking about your content marketing strategy (or lack of)? Here’s 3 ways you can give it a quick boost in 2018 💪

Kardashians Instagram
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Keep Up With the Kardashians on Instagram

So much do Instagram and the Kardashians go hand that it seems like it would be impossible for one to exist without the other. A bit of a chicken and egg situation. To say that the ladies are good at Instagram is almost an insult to their greatness. Of course they’re good at it! They’re better than anyone! But this is a marketing blog. We want their secrets. What real, actionable lessons can your brand take from the Kardashians? Let’s really break it down…

Kim

Let’s start with the queen of Instagram herself. At last year’s Forbes conference, Kim had this to say:

“It’s such a struggle. It really is. Is people think you just post and it’s so easy – it’s not. I like my Instagram to look a certain way.”

She certainly does. Kim’s Instagram feed is a work of art – polished and curated to within an inch of its life while mysteriously retaining her winning authenticity.

In many ways, she’s the ultimate influencer. With each sponsored post racking up likes and comments in the millions and products reportedly selling out practically as soon as a product drops, Kimmy K’s Instagram is a machine as well-oiled as her backside.

Learn everything there is to learn about influencer marketing with our Definitive Guide.

Key lesson: Pick a strong look and stick with it From never-before-seen family pics to ads for her own products, sponsored posts for fitness shakes and the occasional internet-breaking nude, Kim keeps her content varied and her aesthetic consistent. Her shots never stray from her dreamy chosen colour palette – lots of nude to match her lipgloss and silver to match her glorious hair. This essentially means that she can experiment with her content while staying on-brand.

Kris

Mom-ager Kris Jenner is often written off as being not that “into” Instagram but dig a little deeper and you’ll see that she is actually an evil genius. Happy to appear laid-back and uninterested in Insta-stardom, it seems that she might be getting her daughters to do her dirty work i.e. post her incredible bikini snaps. They say the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree (remember when a very advanced 2-year old North “posted” all those bikini snaps of Kim?)

Key lesson: be authentic and positive Kris is a gran and it shows. In the heavily edited, polished world of Instagram, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. The woman is a ball of light – genuine in her adoration of her children, authentic in the artlessness of her feed and savvy in her promotion of her businesses – most notably Keeping Up with the Kardashians itself. Even when our favourite guilty pleasure isn’t on TV, Kris is there with a candid video shot of the family and a caption: “We’ll be back with a brand new Keeping Up on Feb 11!! In the meantime… here’s a reminder of how sweet and kind my girls are… lol!!! Thanks.” She is ON IT. Keep your followers up to date and remind them of what is to come. Even if you have no news, post a throwback to create engagement. 3,897,854 views can’t be wrong.

Khloe & Kourtney

💜 Cherry Blossoms and Tea for baby number three 💜 #KKW

A post shared by Khloé (@khloekardashian) on

Kourtney is perhaps the quietest Kardashian on Instagram but has clearly recognised that there is power in numbers.

Key lesson 1: Join forces Whether you are sisters or two brands with a shared audience, working together works. Following the launch of their joint brand with their own clothing store and TV show, Khloe and Kourtney consistently promote one another, thus resulting in a much larger audience base.

Kourtney focuses on sharing family snaps and promoting their TV show and most recently teasers for her app. Without providing a link, the caption will say something like, “leather vibes, on my app.” This prompts intrigued followers to research and download. While Khloe’s posts appear to be innocent, personal and family-focused at face value, the captions reveal that EVERY post is promoting something from the Kardashian empire.

Key lesson 2: Give them a striptease (not like that, though) Play hard to get. Don’t put everything on a plate for your followers -tease them with intriguing snippets. If they want more, they have to sign up and provide you with their details. It’s a win-win.

Kylie & Kendall

A post shared by Kendall (@kendalljenner) on


The infamous Kendall ‘hair hearts’ was the most liked image on Instagram in 2015. People all over the world were recreating it. Then Kylie took her sister’s crown and got the most likes on Instagram by announcing the name of her new baby daughter (Stormi). Having kept her pregnancy secret she then posted a ridiculously viral video, documenting her journey. The internet went WILD.

Key tip: Make an entrance If you want to compete with the Kardashians this one is essential. Don’t be afraid of controversy, don’t be afraid to make an entrance. If you fail, you might just fail spectacularly – a la Kendall for Pepsi. We’re still talking about it, aren’t we?

Want to Kardashianify your brand? Read our five quick tips for bagging the perfect influencer.

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International Women’s Day: Celebrating British Women in Our Industry

International Women’s Day celebrates the social, economic, political and cultural successes of women around the world. Join us as we shine the spotlight on seven British women pushing boundaries and bossing it in content marketing and other creative industries.

The Visionary
Kate Moross

Kate Moross

Creative Director and graphic designer at Studio Moross. Kate Moross is London born and bred. Since winning Creative Review’s Creative Future award back in 2007, Moross has become one of the most sought after collaborators in the design world. A multi-tasking illustrator, art director, designer and now public speaker she is known for her trademark energetic and arresting creative style – cool typography, striking illustrations and gratuitous squiggles. In the words of her team, “She pretty much is colour.” Today Moross oversees creative ranging from album and magazine covers to festival lanyards, video content and even tour visuals for One Direction. She has revealed she is inspired by everyday objects: sweet packaging, dogs, pizza, trainers – even London bus drivers.
 
Fun Fact: She previously designed bus and tube map holders for Transport for London.
 
Website | Twitter


The Dame
Dame Cilla Snowball

Dame Cilla Snowball

Group chairman and CEO of Abbott Mead Vickers (AMV) BBDO and all-round good egg, Dame Cilla was recognised on the Queen’s Birthday Honours List last year for her services to advertising, diversity and equality. Having joined the agency as the first new business director in 1992 she now oversees AMV BBDO, Proximity and Redwood. Snowball is one of the leading advocates for gender equality in the industry, having set up a programme within holding group Omnicom to increase the number, seniority and influence of women within the business – Omniwomen. Proving the programme’s success, last year Omnicom UK announced that 48% of its senior leadership is now female.
 
Fun Fact: The mother of three was also the first female chairman of the Advertising Association in 2012 and also chairs the Women’s Business Council.
 
LinkedIn | Twitter


The Activist
Ade Onilude

International Women's Day
Founder and CEO of Women in Marketing (WiM), Ade Onilude is passionate about challenging gender norms and is an advocate of the global economic empowerment of women. After becoming a member of the Chartered Institute of Marketing, Ade Onilude joined the London board as a volunteer. She was appointed Chair of CIMCOM, the CIM marketing communications forum – a role which saw her liaising with professional bodies from PR, advertising and design. Onilude identified the need for what is now the WiM forum – a space to “inspire, connect, encourage female marketers.” The first WiM was launched in March 2004, to coincide with International Women’s Day. Today WiM have an annual awards ceremony to honour women in the industry.
 
Fun Fact: She used to have a successful modelling career!
 
Website | Twitter


The Boss
Catherine Maskell

International Women's DayFormer head of global marketing at REED, Catherine Maskell was appointed managing director of the Content Marketing Association in 2017. As managing director of the trade body for the content marketing industry, Maskell is passionate about bringing agencies and brands together to create better content and keep the industry moving forward. Her role as managing director at the CMA has seen her present the prestigious CMA International Content Marketing Awards – awards that she won herself back in 2015 while heading up marketing at REED. Described by former team members as “inspirational and supportive,” Maskell is a natural leader and is already shaking things up in the content marketing industry.
 
Fun facts: Cath is a big foodie and loves cooking for friends
 
Website | Twitter


The Rising Star
Alina Ghost

Alina Ghost

As an SEO manager and trailblazer in SEO-lead content, Alina Ghost was named as the industry’s Rising Star at the Performance Marketing Awards. Ghost has worked for a number of high-profile brands including Tesco and now Amara Living. With a love of data, she cemented her expertise and passion for marketing at the University of Essex. In 2016 she created a business recommendation for Tesco’s first ever SEO-driven proposition. Using data to segment customers as well as content curation, Ghost has said that the biggest achievement was seeing the project come to life after creating the concept herself.
 
Fun Fact: She also has her own award-winning lifestyle blog and owns a pet tortoise.
 
LinkedIn | Twitter


The Guru
Bryony Thomas

Bryony Thomas

One of the UK’s pre-eminent marketing speakers and best-selling author of Watertight Marketing, Bryony Thomas first began her journey towards publishing her popular book in 2008. Thomas works with businesses around the UK to deliver 12-month marketing programmes and give businesses a clear marketing structure. A must-read for all small businesses, Watertight Marketing also won the National Indie Excellence Book Award back in 2014. Also a mum, Thomas worked for clients including Dell and Microsoft before moving to FTSE 100 company Experian, where she was appointed director of marketing.
 
Fun Fact: She loves a strong cup of tea and a pink wafer.
 
Website | Twitter


The Genius
Jo Franchetti

Jo Franchetti

A front-end web developer and all-round code genius, Jo Franchetti works for Samsung Internet and is the organiser of Codebar events. Dedicated to making the tech and web world more inclusive, Franchetti has dreamed of being an inventor since she was a little girl. She started her career building websites for people and gradually built up a strong portfolio bursting with projects big and small for agencies, brands and charities. To date her favourite project has been on an online counselling and mentoring system for children who are victims of bullying. Self-taught in web development, she now talks and runs industry meetings to help young developers get started in the industry.
 
Fun Fact: She graduated with a degree in mechanical engineering but decided not to pursue a career in the subject.
 
Website

Happy International Women’s Day! To see how the women at JBH are #BossingIt, take a look at what I get up to! Now off to sacrifice a virgin to Beyonce …

Instagram Stories and Influencer Marketing Event
576 1024 Jane Hunt

Meltwater Event: The Krays, Pancakes and Instagram Stories

Last Tuesday I collaborated with our friends at Meltwater for an event focusing on one of my absolute favourite subjects – Instagram Stories.

Meltwater were hosting the event at the gorgeous Courthouse Hotel in Shoreditch. I really enjoyed getting to know Perri and the team while planning the morning – Meltwater is a fantastic brand insight tool and it was interesting learning more about what it can do (spoiler alert – everything!)

Instagram Stories and Influencer Marketing Event

When giving a presentation I find that asking the audience a couple of basic questions is a great way to break the ice and get a better sense of who you are speaking to. I asked for a quick show of hands to find out who was currently using Instagram Stories and whether they were having success. It turned out that more than two thirds of the room were already loving Instagram Stories – making my job that bit easier.

My aims for the event were to cover some of the basics for those with limited knowledge, discuss ways brands can work with influencers and provide inspiration for those looking to get a bit more creative with their Instagram Stories.

It’s no secret that I am an Instagram fanatic – when your hobbies include brands, fashion, interiors and the Kardashians, surely it’s only natural? Armed with my passion, I wanted to inspire delegates to experiment with Stories features on a personal and professional level.

It’s hard to believe Stories has only been on our radar for 18 months or so. With more than 400 million daily users, this relatively untapped platform presents huge opportunities for brands to get creative and win over audiences.  

On a basic level, Stories is great for showing people what goes on behind the scenes. We will be sharing lots more content on Instagram Stories in the coming weeks (or there are details on how you can get your hands on the full deck from the talk at the bottom of this post), but to get you started …

Our lovely audience

Why should brands use Instagram Stories given their 24 hour shelf life?

Instagram is life for marketers

With their 24h shelf life, Instagram Stories are what we call ephemeral content. The platform offers a happier, more intuitive user experience than Snapchat (sorry Snapchat). Reach is greater and messages tend to travel much further. People are used to interacting with brands on Instagram – as the platform has grown, beautiful branded content has become a cornerstone of the experience.

Perfect for capturing a moment in time

Stories give your audience a glimpse into your world without interrupting your beautifully curated Instagram feed. It lets you really be in the moment and is perfect for capturing a moment in time – whether it’s a new product arriving, the launch of an event or competition or in a 24hr period.

It helps you smash your goals

Whatever your marketing goals are they will probably include some variation on brand awareness, traffic and conversions. IG Stories has given us another brilliant platform to make creative content to get users interested and ultimately drive to your goal, whether that’s to raise brand awareness, have someone donate to a cause, buy clothes, sign up for an event, visit your blog or download a song.

The perfect fit for influencer marketing

Stories perfectly complements a wider influencer campaign or strategy. Influencers are out there using Stories every day, creating vibrant, compelling content that audiences can’t get enough of and are handy with the “swipe up” feature which they use to drive traffic to their own websites, blogs and/or YouTube channels. The username mention feature makes it easy for influencers to send clickers through to brand accounts where your bio can then be used to drive traffic to your website or landing page.

So that’s why it works from a technical perspective, but Stories is also light, fast and fun. It works for influencers for the same reason it works for brands – it gives them the chance to be creative without any of the pressure and doesn’t detract from the impact of their beautiful ‘real estate’ or profile.

That’s a wrap!

A former cell (current VIP room) in the Courthouse Hotel bar

After wrapping up the morning speaking privately with attendees from a fascinating range of backgrounds, Lauren and I headed upstairs to check out the bar. Only recently renovated, the Courthouse hotel is (obviously) a former courthouse. The bar features the original prison cell blocks as VIP rooms – Perri told us that the Krays were trialled there and recommended that we check out the still-standing toilet in one of the cells!

The pancakes at Old Street Records – delightful!

All that was left to do was hit the Old Street Records Cafe across the road for some epic pancakes (don’t judge us, it was Pancake Day).

Want to learn more about Stories and influencers? Email me jane@jbh.co.uk and I’ll send you the full deck from the event. For bonus points read our Definitive Guide to Influencer Marketing – it gives a detailed overview of influencer marketing and is packed with tips and tricks.

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5 Timeless Content Marketing Wins

We love to hear the new stuff, but you can’t beat the hits.

In the wise words of former Google CEO and current Executive Chairman of Alphabet, Eric Schmidt:

“The internet is the first thing that humanity has built that humanity doesn’t understand, the largest experiment in anarchy we’ve ever had.”

In other words, it’s every man for himself. If the internet is one big experiment, is experimentation what is needed? Yes and no. Tweak, revise and update your strategy constantly, but in mind that the simplest ideas tend to be the ones that stand the test of time. Here are five of the best and most timeless content marketing wins.

Sell stories or products but NEVER both at the same time

 Great content tends to focus EITHER on the product OR on wider storytelling. It would be unfair to say that you should never create content based on your brand’s products and services. Just don’t try and do everything at once. If you have something new, educational or totally unexpected to say about your product then feel free to share it with audiences. Unfortunately for you, your customers and potential customers don’t care about your sales. They probably don’t really care about your product. Talk about the things they do care about. Teach, engage and inspire.

Encourage participation

Why not get your audience to generate the content for you? User-generated content is a tried and tested way of forging a meaningful connection between brand and customer and can increase the potential ‘virality’ of your campaigns. Something as simple as designing the user’s next Facebook cover photo can get fans and their friends excited about contributing to a brand’s marketing footprint. One of the oldest tricks in the book but it works.

 Personalise

Inbound marketing gets your message in front of appropriate audiences without being too intrusive. It can be argued that SEO and social media targeting kind of do the same thing – by delivering relatively personalised content in an unobtrusive way.

It works in the real world too. One great example, Google placed interactive posters around the San Francisco Bay community, giving passers-by the opportunity to choose the charities worthiest of a donation.

Leverage brand ambassadors

 Some brands find it difficult to convey a personable tone of voice with their marketing activity. Thankfully brand ambassadors are an easy and effective way of bridging the gap.

Unlike sponsorships and paid influencers rand ambassadors don’t necessarily need to be approached or employed by the company itself. In fact, the most influential ambassadors will be your customers themselves, which will require greater engagement and inclusion.

Use emerging technologies

With nearly every experiment, you’re bound to get something wrong at least once. But you might as well try to utilise an emerging technology just in case it turns out to be the next big thing.

Recent developments like virtual and augmented reality haven’t fully found their feet yet, but as reported on previously, brands including Jeep and Cancer Research are still capitalising on its capabilities. Other opportunities such as wearable technology are slowly but surely gaining traction too, but they could soon be classified as ordinary rather than experimental.

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The Underground and Other Underrated Marketing Platforms

Underground and underrated. Take care when stepping onto the marketing platform

If you’ve spent much time on the London Underground you’ll have noticed the ads. Ads on the trains, ads on the platforms, ads in the tunnels, ads on the escalators. Big ads, small ads, boring ads, funny ads. Ads on paper, ads on screens. And so on. In spite of some lines having enabled Wi-Fi, underground advertising remains powerful and relevant.

Research from Exertion Media has found that most commuters find ads a welcome distraction from their journeys and that

• 65% say advertising on the London Underground isn’t as intrusive as other advertising
• 60% notice when new ads appear on their regular journeys/ commute
• 7 in 10 agree they have the time to take notice of advertising on the underground.

All this makes the tube a unique opportunity. Even though brands continue to get it wrong with inappropriate advertising or controversial content, the tube is a highly underrated platform in terms of grabbing audience attention.

With such an overcrowded online space, marketing platforms with the ability to hold audience attention should surely be seen as gold dust. Here are three more.

Podcasting

According to Edison Research, podcast listening increased from 11% to 36% in 2016, translating into an estimated 98 million listeners. What was once a niche medium for specific topics and themes now represents a massive opportunity for marketers.

Perhaps the biggest advantage of podcasting is that it allows for easily digestible long-form content, in a way that few other marketing platforms do. Accoridng to Bob Knorpp, host of the Beancast Marketing Podcast and president of The Cool Beans Group explains: “People who say that your podcast should be shorter are talking about people who don’t listen to podcasts.”

Podcast-loving brands include Microsoft, eBay and the ever-forward-thinking GE.

Interactive billboards

“Outdoor advertising is peddling a commodity it does not own and without the owner’s permission: your field of vision,” said ad man Howard Luck Gossange in 1960. “The individual’s air space is intentionally violated by billboards every day of the year.” More than fifty years later and billboards are still distracting us; only now they’re interactive (ok, sometimes). Gossange may well have approved.

Interactive billboards give passers-by the opportunity to actively engage with advertising, rather than passively absorbing its unceasing message. Billboards with touchscreen capabilities can change and adapt to the user’s interactions.

A couple of years ago, Google used clickable paper posters to ask people which non-profits it should fund. Rather than launch a simple online vote, Google thought it better to get out into the community and ask the opinions of locals.

User-generated content

Knowing what content your audience wants to consume is a major marketing challenge, but one that can be easily overcome if you get your audience to create content for you in the first place.

Along with greater relevancy, UGC provides a different perspective on consumer interactions, more authentic approval of your goods and services and enhanced brand credibility among loyal fans and followers.

Starbucks already knows how photos of misspelled names on its coffee cups dominate the brand’s hashtag. But with its “White Cup Contest”, where customers were invited to draw on their cups and submit the pictures as entries, Starbucks encouraged users to create a more captivating kind of content that also offered a tangible reward.