Tips

1024 682 Rebecca Moss

Tapping into a new market: The pitfalls of international SEO & content creation

Your brand is established in the UK, you are looking to expand, and you might have already discovered a new, lucrative market. You have the business relationships it needs, shipment sorted and everything else to start selling in that market. The only thing that is missing is your digital marketing. Your content specialist says: “We’ll hire a translator on UpWork.” Your SEO specialist adds: “We need to implement hreflang tags.” That’s it, you’re done! Not so fast… three months in and you are wondering why your marketing and digital PR aren’t working…

Can we just translate this?

Translation fail at a shop window, Source: https://www.boredpanda.com/translation-fails/If only things were that easy. There is no such thing as “just translate”. Translating is a skill to learn. Being a native speaker of a language is a good start, but it doesn’t make a good translator. Whoever you get to do the job, check their background and experience and always check their translation, ideally by a proof-reader. If you have anybody in-house who speaks the language in question, ask them to take a look at the translated text to see if it reads natural to them and makes sense. If it doesn’t, you have a clear sign of a bad translation. In the best case, this will only cause for your brand not appearing in search, in the worst case you will embarrass yourself and damage your brand. The best translation fails have been collected by boredpanda.com, a comedian couldn’t entertain you better.

Translating keywords

Apart from incorrect translations or bad quality, there is another potential issue with a translation when it comes to SEO: keywords. Language is always tied to mentality and culture and there are certain concepts that cannot be expressed in the same way in different languages. Sometimes there is no word for it, sometimes you have more than one word in the other language. You can start with a translation of the keywords in question and use those as a starting point for your keyword research in that market.

Let’s take an example we are all familiar with: coffee. In the UK, a “Café Latte” is a common drink to order. You enter a coffee shop in Germany, and you order a “Latte Macchiato”. It seems to be a close match and you get a coffee with milk. You enter another coffee shop and you order a “Milchkaffee”. It is slightly different, but still you get the type of drink you want. You then go to a restaurant and in your best German, you ask for the price of a “Milchkaffee” because you cannot find it in the menu. The waitress nods and points to a drink called “Café au lait”. Are you already confused? Let’s back this up with some search volumes (taken from ahrefs.com):

Screenshot of coffee related keywords from ahrefs.com

Screenshot taken from ahrefs.com on 17/08/2020

Search intent

Looking at the above search data, you clearly would optimise your page about a coffee with milk for “Latte Macchiato” in Germany, but are you sure they all mean the same?

Let’s take a look at the local SERPs for those keywords in Germany:

Latte Macchiato:

Screenshot: SERPs for Latte Macchiato in Germany

Milchkaffee:

Screenshot: SERPs for Milchkaffee in Germany

Café au lait:

Screenshot: SERPs for Cafe au Lait in Germany

Already at this point, we can say that Latte Macchiato is a different type of drink than a Milchkaffee whereas Milchkaffee and Café au lait seem to be the same thing. One of them is simply a French word that makes it sounds a bit posher.

Café Latte:

Screenshot: SERPs for Cafe Latte in Germany

This is where it gets interesting. The images suggest this to be a slightly different presentation of coffee, but the knowledge graph suggests a “Milchkaffee”. Whereas the Café au lait though was described as being French, the Café Latte lists Italy as the country of origin. The description also mentions Espresso with steamed milk which would place it closer to a Cappuccino whereas the Milchkaffee is described as filter coffee with milk. Can this get any more complicated?

Kaffee mit Milch:

Screenshot: SERPs in Germany for Kaffee mit Milch

The literal translation would be “coffee with milk”. Traditionally, this would be a filter coffee or Americano with a tiny sip of milk and is the way most Germans drink their coffee. The SERPs though do not mention this. The intent behind that search query insinuates a health concern about coffee and explains the positive effect that milk in your coffee can have on your stomach.

By translating one simple coffee drink, we have tapped deep into the German coffee landscape and have already identified at least three different search intents and target audiences.

Title tags and meta descriptions

Keywords aren’t the only thing that can quickly turn into a minefield when it comes to translations and new markets: Title tags and meta descriptions. The first thing that comes to mind are the character limits, but those are not even an issue if you do it right. Let’s get straight to the point: Title tags and meta descriptions require transcreation, not translation. They are like your advertising line that needs to resonate with your audience and create an emotional reaction. In some cases, and for certain language pairs, a translation can work, but in most cases, you will end up with a boring sentence that won’t engage a native speaker. Good examples for this are movie and book titles that are often transcreated across markets. Let’s take a look at some of the most popular movies of all time and their literal translations:

Original English title German title Literal translation of German title French title Literal translation of French title
The parent trap Ein Zwilling kommt selten allein A twin rarely comes alone À nous quatre The four of us
Miracle on 34th Street Das Wunder von Manhattan Miracle of Manhattan Le Miracle sur la 34e rue Miracle on 34th Street
Saving Private Ryan Der Soldat James Ryan The soldier James Ryan Il faut sauver le soldat Ryan We must save the soldier Ryan
The Holiday Liebe braucht keine Ferien Love doesn’t need a vacation The Holiday The Holiday
Frozen Die Eiskönigin – Völlig unverfroren The Ice Queen – Completely Insolent La Reine des neiges The Snow Queen
The Notebook Wie ein einziger Tag Like a single day N’oublie jamais Never forget

 

Local requirements

Before you go off and translate your content that you have on your English website, there is one more question to ask yourself: Is that topic relevant to the new market? Local customs and culture should be taken into account.

Which products the market is interested in

Shyam Dattani of Searchmetrics held a talk recently at the BrightonSEO Advanced Search Summit about the use of data. Within his data set was a perfect example as to how different markets show different interest for similar products. The product in question is fireplaces and he analysed the data for the US, the UK and Germany.

All three countries see an increase in search volume towards the end of the year when it starts getting colder outside.  The increase though is highest in the US related to the Thanksgiving celebrations.

Slide from the presentation by Shyam Dattani on 31st July 2020.

Slide from the presentation by Shyam Dattani on 31st July 2020.

When looking at the overall developments in search volume over a few years, Shyam discovered surprisingly that the levels are equally high in Germany and the US, although the US is a much bigger market in terms of population than Germany.

Slide from the presentation by Shyam Dattani on 31st July 2020.

Slide from the presentation by Shyam Dattani on 31st July 2020.

 

By looking at this data, the UK would not be the main market to target, the opportunity is much bigger in the other two markets. Shyam went a step further to look at the different products and it is again a surprising result:

Slide from the presentation by Shyam Dattani on 31st July 2020.

Slide from the presentation by Shyam Dattani on 31st July 2020.

This data makes it obvious which of your content you would localize for the US and which content you would translate into German first.

Local customs and traditions

We already mentioned the US celebration of Thanksgiving as an important clue to find out which products are of interest in each country at a given time. Cultural awareness can help with business decisions, additional products and inform your marketing and content ideas. At this time of the year, there is one product booming for example in Germany that cannot be translated into English: the “Schultüte”, also known as “Zuckertüte”.

Screenshot of a dictionary for the term Schultuete

Screenshot taken from the online dictionary de.pons.com on 17/08/2020

The first day of school is an important celebration in Germany as a rite of passage. There is a formal ceremony before the whole family gathers for a big garden party. Gifts are usually presented in this colourful cardboard cone knows as “Schultüte”.

Key take-aways

To sum this up with some practical tips, we can bring it down to four main points that matter when taking a website global:

  • Work with experienced translators and proof-readers
  • Transcreate over translate (this includes keyword research)
  • Use data and research the market
  • Get somebody with native knowledge on your team

Next week, we will talk more about digital PR for international markets and what to be aware of.

Content Marketing Conferences to Attend in 2020
1024 682 Jane Hunt

Marketing Conferences to attend in 2020

After a positive experience at MozCon 2020 last month, it is time to look at other conferences – virtual and in real life – that the year 2020 has to offer. Many conferences have been cancelled or postponed but there is still plenty of choice.

As experts in digital PR and outreach those talks are the ones we prefer, but we are taking a look at other marketing areas such as SEO, content marketing, advertising, social media and analytics too.

Here’s what marketers can look forward to for the remainder of this year:

Social Media: Social Media Marketing Festival

September 1st to 3rd

Passes start at £99

Fully Virtual

This conference is aimed at any social media marketer. During Social Day, there will be talks about Instagram, TikTok, Facebook Ads, Influencer marketing and social listening. There will be networking opportunities at this virtual event to discuss latest trends and updated in social media. Ticket prices start from £99.

All-round Marketing: Inbound

September 22nd to 23rd

Free tickets available

Fully virtual

This conference offers something for everyone in marketing with talks about SEO, content, customer success, social media and analytics. There are still Starter Passes available for free, Powerhouse Passes are priced at $89 and provide full access.

Digital Analytics: Measure Camp

September 26th

Free to attend (limited availability)

London

Measure Camp is a London-based conference about anything related to analytics and measuring success. It is labelled as “unconference” because there is no agenda. It is decided on the day and talks will be held by fellow attendees. There will be training workshops on Friday 20th September. Tickets are available for free but are issued in batches and limited to 3 attendees per company. The next release will be on 15th August at 8pm.

SEO: BrightonSEO

October 1st to 2nd

Passes start at £235

Brighton, UK

After this must-go conference for any SEO in the UK had been cancelled in April due to COVID-19, it is now planned for October. Tickets remain valid, any new ticket can be purchased for £235, but the price will increase on 18th September. JBH’s co-founder Jane Hunt will be speaking about digital marketing at the next BrightonSEO conference.

All-round marketing: Festival of Marketing

October 5th to 9th

Early bird tickets for £199

Fully Virtual

FoM is going virtual in 2020 and will cover several aspects of marketing and branding from client relationships to lead generation, customer journeys, market research and data-driven strategies. Early bird tickets are still available for £199, the price will go up to £249. If you buy 5 tickets, it will be £149 per person.

Advertising: Advertising Week

September 29th to October 8th

Delegate Passes for £99

Fully Virtual

Advertising week has gone fully virtual this year with talks from different angles: academic, technology, marketing, brands, creative and more. If you buy 2 passes, the third one is free with access to all sessions, masterclasses and networking.

User-experience: UX Camp Brighton

October 10th

Awaiting next ticket release

Hove (near Brighton, UK)

UX Camp Brighton is an unconference and a non-profit event run by volunteers. Sessions will be held by attendees. It covers UX and design topics including product design, user research and information architecture. The conference had been postponed from March to October due to COVID-19 and tickets remain valid. More tickets might be released soon.

All-round marketing: PubCon Pro Las Vegas

October 12th to 15th

Passes start at $149

Fully Virtual

This all-round marketing conference is one of the most popular ones and this year, it will be available as a virtual event. You won’t have to fly to Las Vegas to attend PubCon Pro. If you only want to watch the video recordings, you can get access for $149. Full access to sessions, exhibit hall and events are included in the gold pass starting at $199. Prices will increase on September 1st.

Content Marketing: Content Marketing World

October 13th to 16th

Passes start at $699

Fully virtual

In over 100 sessions, workshops and forums, every aspect of content marketing will be covered. from storytelling to email marketing, in-house or agency side to tips and tricks for better collaboration with other teams. There are 3 different access passes available from $699 to $999.

Social Media: Social Media Week London

October 21st to 22nd

Ticket prices TBC

London, UK

With more than 200 speakers, every aspect of social media marketing will be explored during Social Media Week. The main themes for 2020 focus on what it means to take a human-first and experience-driven approach to marketing and will cover everything from content creation to measurement and monetization. Tickets have not been released yet, but you can register your interest.

B2B Marketing: MarketingProfs B2B Forum

November 4th to 5th

Passes for $595

Fully virtual

This conference is aimed at B2B marketing with more than 40 talks from industry experts. The ticket price includes a one-year Pro Subscription and provides access to all training materials by Marketing Profs.

Product Marketing: Product Marketing Summit

December 2nd to 3rd

Passes start at £795

London, UK

The Product Marketing Summit is the conference for Product Marketing Managers all around the world. The London conference will be held on 2nd and 3rd December 2020, further summits will be held across the USA, Australia and Europe in 2021. Early bird tickets are available until the end of September and start at £795.

4 Ways to collect data for digital PR campaigns
1024 682 Rebecca Moss

4 Ways to collect data for digital PR campaigns

Any successful digital PR campaign requires multiple steps from ideation to reporting. We can in general separate it into 5 steps that lead to backlink success. One of those steps involves the collection of data. In times where the public gains more awareness about fake news, you want to make sure that every statement you make is backed by credible data. Apart from that, data-led campaigns have a good success rate and whilst you are digging a bit deeper into it, you might find some interesting angles for your campaign. Here are 4 ways where to get your data:

Your own database

Everybody who owns a website has data of some kind, may it be visitor data from Google Analytics, purchase data in your Shopify account or scroll behaviour and interactions in Hotjar – to just name a few. High-quality data and data accuracy are an important and integral part of business intelligence. At the end of the day, we all want to know how much we have sold and if we can go home with a profit. This data cannot only be used for reporting on business success, but it often holds a wealth of information that can feed into a marketing campaign. For data-led campaigns within the realm of digital PR, the data you have could provide insights into customer behaviour at a certain time of year or market. Maybe the purchase of a certain item has spiked in a certain year or certain market. Can you tie this spike to any cultural, social, or political events?

If your website has a search box or chat functionality, is there anything that users suddenly ask more often than before? What could this mean?

You might already have what you need, all you must do is look at it from a different angle and turn it into a story for a digital PR campaign.

Person checking a sheet with different graphs and data visualisations

Photo by William Iven on Unsplash

Somebody else’s data

You might come to the conclusion that the data you already have within your business, does not provide a full picture for a story and that is okay. You have other data sources available. The most popular one amongst marketing professionals is Google Adwords, the good old keyword planner might have been renamed, but it still provides useful insights into your market and consumer interests. You can find out what people are currently interested in and what they are searching for online. You can also draw on sources like Google Trends, Buzzsumo or Reddit to find out what people are currently talking about.

At JBH we have done exactly that in our campaign for money.co.uk: We combined popularity rating in YouGov with Google Trends and Search Volume to find out which brands were the most popular in the UK at that time.

Social media can be used in a similar way to get your data for digital PR. For a campaign for gousto.co.uk, we have looked at Instagram’s hashtags which are always a good indicator of trending topics. We revealed the most popular regional dishes according to the number of hashtags they had received in every continent around the world.

Last year, we published an extensive resource on the JBH blog, which contains 100 Free Data Sources for Content and Digital PR Campaigns. In here you will find a 100 free and credible data sources, ranging from the ONS through to Crime and Policing which you can weave into your digital PR campaigns.

Top Tip: Sign up to receive email notifications and release calendars for your favourite data sources so you can plan ahead and have content ready to go as soon as the latest iteration of the data lands in your inbox.

Person typing on a laptop and looking at data in Google Search Console

Photo by Myriam Jessier on Unsplash

Market Research and Surveys

Depending on the idea you have for your campaign, there might be cases where it is better to collect new data instead of relying on existing data. Market research and surveys can be powerful tools to gain insight into consumer behaviour or the minds of the population. It is important that you collect data of a representative sample of the target group. For example, if you are analysing UK-wide trends, the survey participants should be from every corner of the country, not just one region. If you later want to compare the stats for every county, you should ensure early to have a representative sample size for each that will make the numbers comparable. Conducting such market research can become a difficult task and it might be worth considering the help of a professional. There are agencies that can conduct the research upon your requests (e.g. how many participants should be asked in which period of time) and will provide you with a clean dataset afterwards that you can use for your data-led campaign.

Person filling out a survey on a tablet

Photo by Celpax on Unsplash

Extensive Research

The first types of data collection are mainly numbers focused and you will end up with interesting percentages to show in your infographics. For some campaigns though, you might want to provide additional information that is not based on statistics. This is where research comes in and, in some cases, it will remind you of the academic research you spent all those years at university doing. For most campaigns, you will not need to hit the library as the internet often holds the information you are looking for.

Girl hidden behind a pile of books in a library

Photo by Daniel on Unsplash

We have done such research for footy.com with a new approach to rank sport stadiums that is all about the fans. We collected the elements that matter most to fans and ranked them. Those elements covered a wide range from public transport availability to eco-friendliness, each receiving a certain score that led up to the stadium rankings. Each of those elements had to be researched separately.

A similar campaign had been created for essentialliving.co.uk where we assigned a score to subway or metro systems in cities around the world to identify the best. The features we researched were amongst others accessibility, pet-friendliness, Wi-Fi connection, comfort and value for money.

Which approach works for you?

If you are now looking at your campaign idea again, you probably know already what type of data you need and where to get it from. Budget might play a key role in this, as some of the above outlined ways for data collection are more time-intense than others. In some case, a third party is involved that provides a paid service.

If you are still unsure where to get your data from, it might be worth getting back to the ideation. Maybe you are working on a topic that is too abstract or for which it is not possible to gather qualitative, accurate data. Those things happen. You can always change the angle of your campaign depending on the data that is accessible and what is feasible for you. And in any case, JBH can support you along the way.

1024 682 Rebecca Moss

Going Virtual: MozCon 2020

The year 2020 has been an interesting one so far, to say at least. Being in lockdown under the constant threat of a virus has certainly changed our lives. Although we were not able to travel and spend our time with the things we usually do, it is not all bad.

Many things have been taken online: zoom calls are the new meeting format, sports classes are delivered to your living room, quizzes and online games are the new Friday socials and SEO conferences that usually come with a high entry barrier are suddenly easily accessible. Ticket prices have been reduced to a tenth of their usual price (if it was $1000 before, it is now $100), big budget items such as flights and accommodation have been removed from the equation and you can access the talks and virtual networking rooms from the comfort of your sofa.

Mozcon Virtual poster

MozCon Virtual 2020

In that context MozCon, one of the most popular SEO conferences and almost a must for everybody who is serious about SEO, has been taken to the virtual world and took place over two days on 14th and 15th July. The tickets were affordable, we did not have to book a flight to Seattle and the time difference between London and the USA worked in our favour so that we didn’t even have to take a day off. We could sit down on the sofa and attend the talks from 5 p.m. onwards.

There was a little downside to it though: The technical set up did not quite work out on the first day and many people around the world had a hard time accessing the conference platform. The Facebook group was very busy at that time. Fortunately, those issues were resolved within the first hour of MozCon and we were all able to listen to the wisdom of industry leaders such as Dr. Pete Meyers, Rob Ousbey, Britney Muller and Brian Dean.

At JBH, we have a particular interest in all things digital PR and we got our key takeaways in the talks by Shannon McGuirk, Phil Nottingham and Brian Dean.

Shannon McGuirk: Great Expectations: The Truth About Digital PR Campaigns

In her talk, Shannon was looking back at many years of digital PR experience. One thing has become obvious to her over the years: PRs tweet a lot about their successes, about those campaigns that go viral, get massive coverage and links. But what about those campaigns that do not go viral? Those campaigns might just deliver average results or even fail. Nobody likes to talk about these, but they exist.

Shannon has split her campaigns into three performance sectors: huge wins, steady performers and huge fails. In between the two “huge” campaigns, we find steadiness – those campaigns that perform well, bring consistent results and long-term wins. Those should be celebrated too.

Screenshot from the talk by Shannon McGuirk at MozCon 2020

For the audience to learn something, Shannon shared some of the campaigns that failed including the reasons. We could summarize those as follows:

  • If there is a significant political event (such as the US presidential elections), journalists are not interested in other topics.
  • Be very thorough in your Q&A process to avoid spelling mistakes such as “Honk Kong” on a map.
  • Less complex campaigns have higher chances of success.
  • A campaign does not need to go viral to be considered a success.
  • Campaigns with multiple angles work well. (Refer to our steps to a successful backlink campaign to find out more!)
  • Consistency and steady performance are more important than one huge success.

Phil Nottingham: How to Build a Global Brand Without a Global Budget

The talk presented by Phil Nottingham focused on brand building and we understand if at first, the connection to digital PR might be a bit blurry. Whereas traditional PR aimed at brand building and visibility, digital PR focuses more on coverage and links – but why should these two be mutually exclusive if they can go well together? And having a strong brand will certainly make it easier to get that coverage rolling in for your digital PR campaigns.

What this talk though really was about are the metrics you look at and the audience you target. The example Phil used was taken from the area of video marketing. The links we care about in digital PR, are the views of the video marketing strategist. But what constitutes a view? Does this user really watch the whole video? Where do they jump off? And more importantly: Do they turn into customers and buy your product? As digital PRs, we could ask similar questions about the coverage we get, and we should start thinking about that. Phil has put it in different words: You got an impression (maybe even a click), but are they impressed?

Screenshot of the talk by Phil Nottingham at MozCon 2020

Brian Dean: How to Promote Your Content Like a Boss

He almost is a god in the world of SEO: Brian Dean of Backlinko and after following his blogs for years and watching his talk at MozCon 2020, we know why.

Content creation, blogs and websites in general are nowadays a lot more tangible for many people. 20 years ago, you must have had some serious skills if you had your own website. Now, it only is a matter of seconds and you get it up and running without any technical knowledge. This makes content creation a lot more competitive and even if you are creating something outstanding, it could easily happen, that nobody ever sees it. Brian’s golden ratio is equivalent to the old 80/20 rule: 20% of your time is creating content, 80% is promoting it.

Screenshot of the talk by Brian Dean at MozCon 2020

These are his tips to get the promotion right:

  • Find out which type of content attracts links in your industry, reverse engineer the process and take those learnings into your own campaigns.
  • Use social media appropriately, i.e. find out which channel works for you and your industry and how these channels work.
  • Do not send generic outreach emails.
  • Contact journalists and build relationships before you publish the content to assess their interest.
  • Use retargeting on social media.
  • Try Reddit for distribution.
  • Add a “Click to tweet” link.
  • The old-style newsletter still works!

Virtual or in real life?

MozCon 2020 was a unique experience and we are glad we attended this online conference when we had the chance. We learned a lot and it was an affordable experience. (We even got some ironing done whilst learning more about SEO and digital PR.)

Taking one of the biggest conferences in the industry has certainly made knowledge more accessible for SEOs around the world. The only part that could not replace the real-life experience was the networking and the discussions. But we cannot have it all. MozCon 2020 was a success and we are already looking forward to more virtual conferences.

1024 682 Rebecca Moss

10 Tips from Speaking to a Journalist

Recently, I had the opportunity to head to London to meet with Simon Neville, City Editor at the Press Association. As many PRs are in the dark when it comes to the inner workings of the newsroom, any opportunity for gaining inside insight is always welcome. Simon was there to answer the pressing questions we have when it comes to press – is there a perfect time of day to pitch? And what do journalists think of follow-ups?

Follow these quick tips when it comes to working with journalists.

1. Add Value

How does your story add value to the journalist or their readers? Many companies are happy to offer an opinion but tend to regurgitate what’s already been said. Some datasets have very little to say. Is the data you’re offering actually interesting, or is it only interesting to your client? Ask why – why would a journalist want this?

2. Journalists are Busy 

Your average journalist will get around three hundred new pitches a day. Simon described his role as spinning plates ten plates at once. Because of this, it’s easy for your pitch to get buried. Make sure you stand out with an engaging subject line.

3. Pitch Early 

Press Association have two people in from 7am checking for unusual pitches, and these days, newsrooms are opening earlier and earlier to get a head-start on the competition. It can help to get your story in before 9am. Mornings are key for coverage too, as many journalists are out or in meetings during the afternoon.

4. Get to the Point

Journalists are in a rush. Your subject line needs to be snappy, and they need to know what your pitch is about almost instantly. Keep things brief.

5. Speed Counts

You have to be available, because journalists work fast. If a journalist follows up asking for clarification on your data, a slow response could mean losing the story. If you don’t reply in time they’ll just move back down their pitches until they find someone who will.

6. Do THEIR Research 

With so many pitches and plates in the air, most journalists don’t have the time to do research. This can be a good opportunity for getting coverage. So for example, if you have a property client and the government releases data on new home builds by region, can you read the research on behalf of your client and pull out some key findings for the press? They’ll welcome someone doing the legwork for them.

7. Pictures Are Important 

Spend enough time reading retail stories and you’ll see the same header image on all of them. Journalists are hungry for imagery and often rely on the same handful of stock-photos to get by. If your client has a bank of original images, it might be worth sending them on – an image credit can still provide a link.

8. Comparisons are Key

One data set can be boring – compare two and you’re more likely to get a journalist’s attention.

9. Go Regional 

An extension of ‘Comparisons are Key,’ go even broader by breaking your data down by region. Gives you more journalists to contact too!

10. Always, Apply the Pub Test

Test your ideas with something called ‘the pub test.’ How do you do it? Easy – if the subject is something you’d happily discuss in the pub with your mates, it’s probably got legs for a story. If you wouldn’t, then maybe it’s not interesting enough?

Of course, not all journalists are the same. What are your pro-tips for working with press? 

1024 682 Rebecca Moss

Reddit, Get Set, Go!

When it comes to ideation, it can be difficult to know where to begin. Before you brainstorm with your team, you’re going to need to pool together a bank of potential ideas. This can be pretty daunting; even the most creative digital marketer will struggle to magic ideas out of the air.

Luckily, there’s Reddit. The self-proclaimed ‘front page of the internet,’ Reddit is a fantastic resource to mine when you’re getting started, and can be an invaluable tool when it comes to generating creative ideas.

What is Reddit?

For those who haven’t used it before, Reddit is an American news discussion site. Registered members submit content to the site in the form of links, text posts and images, which are then up or down voted by other members. The more upvotes, the more popular the content, and the more likely it is to be seen.

Reddit is organised into boards known as subreddits, which cover just about everything – news, movies, health, fitness, books, games, music – and get more and more niche the deeper you go.

Essentially replacing the online forums of the 2000s, Reddit is a now a vast melting point of content, creativity, and idea sharing, and essentially, the river source for the sea of the entire internet. If you’re reading about something on a news site or Facebook, you can probably bet that it started in some form on Reddit.

The World’s Biggest Focus Group

Reddit is also huge – the 19th most popular website in the world, with around 330 million active users talking in 138,000 subreddits – but don’t let this overwhelm you. Reddit’s size is a positive. Think of the site as the world’s biggest focus group.

Reddit’s diverse user base makes it a useful tool for mining ideas in just about any subject. It’s just about knowing where to look.

Mining Reddit

First thing to do is download Reddit Enhancement Suite – this is a handy Chrome extension which allows you to keep scrolling indefinitely down Reddit without having to click through pages.

Next, in the search bar, start playing around with a few keywords which relate to your client.

The trick is to look at broader subjects which relate to your client without being too focused or ‘salesy.’ Start out wide, and then chop down as you go.

So for example, for a banking client, look broadly at keywords such as:

  • ‘Finance’
  • ‘Insurance’
  • ‘Homes’
  • ‘Property’
  • ‘Mortgages’
  • ‘Money advice.’

Set the toggles below the search bar to ‘Top’ and ‘All Time’ – which will bring up the most popular posts on the site.


As you go, make a note of the most popular posts – those with the most upvotes, or those with the most comments. This suggests the topic being discussed is one a large amount of people are interested in, and which might therefore be a good avenue to start mining for ideas. Don’t be afraid to make a note of posts with less upvotes but which are so weird, or so unique they stand out to you. The most original ideas can be found this way! Make notes as you go – jot down any common themes or anything that inspires you, and don’t worry about what you’ll do with it at this stage. 

Have a look at relevant subreddits too – i.e. r/finance – and make a note of posts there with the most upvotes.

In 5 minutes, you’ll end up with something like this:

So for our hypothetical banking client, we’ve got a few stems of ideas to build on here:

  • Unusual or non-traditional paths to financial success
  • Budgeting advice
  • Milestones of life
  • Debt regrets
  • Debts of the world
  • What we spend in a week
  • Regrets of homeowners
  • Unexpected deal-breakers when it comes to homes – i.e. neighbours, pets
  • Income vs house price
  • How far money goes in different countries
  • What size home you can get in different countries
  • Renting vs mortgages

All of which you can take into your team brainstorming sessions and begin to build out into some great ideas together.

1024 682 Rebecca Moss

How to Write a Cracking Headline For Your Digital PR Campaign

The key to writing a cracking headline isn’t just down to having a knack for it. There are so many factors that come into the mix and help you decide what will grab that person’s attention. 

Sometimes, you will look at a campaign and headlines will ping into your mind left-right-and-center, but other times, writer’s block can hit. Whether it is for your digital campaign or an article, here is a straightforward guide to eye-catching headlines, every time.

How to Research Headlines

Search for your hook on Google to spark ideas. Once you see what journalists are using, you can get a better idea of what you need to focus on in your headlines. 

For example, if your campaign is about Instagram’s most popular food, you can search “Instagrammable food news” to see what magazines and top tier news websites are using for their headlines.

Top Tip: Take a look at the top headlines featured on the homepage of your favourite newspapers and try to copy the wording, phrasing and commonly used words.  

Digital PR’s Get Writer’s Block Too…

There are lots of avenues that you can go down when your mind can’t process an eye-catching angle. When writer’s block hits, you should read articles about your subject matter, which may help to spark some interesting headlines. 

Also, Twitter can be useful for battling writer’s block (even if common misconceptions say otherwise). Finding out what is trending around your subject matter allows you to see your subject in a different light. More importantly, it shows you what your audience is discussing, so you can mould your headlines to what they want to see.

Look Back at Your Campaign and Data

Repeatedly, read through your data points to gain some perspective on what you are trying to say. What is the campaign accomplishing and what questions could it be answering. Do you have any main data points that could be worked into headlines? Consider what sums up your campaign or narrative in one sentence.

Use your Statistics as Headlines

If you have any interesting or shocking statistics, use them as a headline. Although some may consider this to be ‘click-bait’, it is the perfect strategy for developing an intriguing headline, as long as you have the evidence to back up your claim. This can be helpful when promoting or outreaching your campaign, too.

Top Tip: If your statistic can be expressed in different ways, try it. For example, 30% can be expressed as ‘a third’ or ‘one in three’. Try it and see what has the most impact. 

When You Feel Like You’ve Used Every Possible Headline…

Get a fresh outlook from a colleague or anyone for that matter. Sometimes when you have been so involved in a campaign, it can be difficult to see any other possible angles. Ask them what they think stands out instantly as the most interesting piece of information in your campaign or narrative. This fresh outlook could put you onto a whole new angle completely, meaning lots of new headlines. 

If in Doubt – here is your failsafe guide to writing a cracking headline:

  • Ask a rhetorical question (only if your campaign can answer that question)
  • Practice writing headlines in the style of your favourite publications
  • Use your data as headlines
  • A cheeky pun is useful for any off the cuff magazines/ newspapers. 
  • Aim for shock factor but not click-baity (only if you have the facts to back it up)
  • increase click through rate on social media
    904 667 Perri Robinson

    10 Tips to Increase Link Click-Throughs on Social Media

    Social media is the perfect vehicle to leverage and positively impact website traffic, that is, when social platforms are used correctly.

    The golden rule in marketing is getting the right message, to the right person, at the right time. Although many of us comms pros usually live by this notion, we also sometimes forget that while the core message remains the same, how it’s communicated needs to be tweaked depending on the channel it’s distributed on. Sure a one size fits all approach makes our life easier when it comes to content creation, but the same can’t be said when it comes to improving results.

    Radio content doesn’t work for TV. TV content doesn’t work for social media. Social content doesn’t work for print. You need to create content for social media in order to see ROI from social posts and stop trying to fit the content you already have on channels they’ve not been created for.

    “At Meltwater, we’re seeing an increase in clients adopting social-first content strategies in order to drive website traffic. A social-first content strategy considers social media during the ideation and brainstorm phase of planning content, rather than as an afterthought to amplify content reach. This has proved to be a successful method for those wanting to increase link click-throughs on social media”

    With this in mind, here are 10 tips to remember when sharing content on social media. Follow them and increase link click-throughs in no time!

     

    1.Follow your audience

    Don’t fall into the trap of trying to create and share web content across all social channels. You’re not going to increase link click-throughs via social media if you’re audience aren’t present on the channel. Use a social listening tool to understand where your audience hangs out as this will aid channel prioritisation and focus. You can do this by analysing social conversations about your brand per channel.

     

    Follow your audience

     

    Social listening insights will stop you from leaning towards a channel you want to be present on and more towards the channel you should be present on.

    “Conduct social listening of conversations developing around your industry/ competitors too. You may find a difference in social network usage, suggesting where your brand’s audience may be to heading to next! Untapped social media channels offer a chance to reach new audiences and increase click-throughs from unique website visitors.”

     

    2. Create platform specific web content

    Although we’re seeing social networks mimic their rival’s technologies (like Instagram rolling out Snap’s Stories), each social network is still fundamentally different from one another. The unique characteristics must be respected when sharing web content on social media if you have any chance of driving web traffic.

    The image below from AddThis offers a high-level overview of the differences between social network content and tone of voice.

     

    Social sites explained donut infographic

     

    Let’s take Twitter vs Instagram as an example.

    Twitter defines itself as “what’s happening in the world and what people are talking about right now.” It’s a platform for real-time commentary, sparking global conversations. Instagram, on the other hand, defines itself as “a simple, fun & creative way to capture, edit & share photos, videos & messages with friends & family”.

    One channel relies on imagery and the other relies on text.

    If you’re aiming to increase click-throughs on Twitter, consider the ‘chatter factor’. Will your content spark debate? How can you take the conversation from Twitter onto your web page? For example, prompting people to continue the conversation in the comment section of your webpage works nicely.

    When creating content for Insta, consider the ‘shopability factor’. Is the photo attractive enough to not just generate likes, but get people to click on your microsite and explore?

    Due to the real-time nature of Twitter, it’s best to post timely content. Newsjacking, moment marketing, company announcements, customer service campaigns and crisis control responses are forms of content that work well for Twitter and will most likely increase link click-throughs compared to other forms of content. On the contrary, evergreen content, that always remains relevant, works better on Facebook.

     

    3. Play on emotions

    If you want somebody to explore your post beyond the caption your need to spark audience emotion. The best way to do this is through storytelling. This can be tricky with limited characters, so get creative and look at what others are doing in your industry. Most companies find evoking the below emotions significantly impact engagement and increase link click-through.

    • Humour
    • Sadness
    • Fear
    • Surprised
    • Angry

     

    4. Use subtitles for video

    85 % of Facebook video is watched without sound, yet in a recent Facebook study, 76% of rated video adverts required sound to be understood. When creating video content to be distributed on social media, ensure the narrative can be followed through imagery, without sound. Add subtitles to increase link click-throughs and post engagement. Check out Facebook’s handy closed-captioning tool which allows you to upload your own captions or generate captions automatically.


    5. A/B test

    When creating content for social media, professionals are in a unique position to arm themselves with more informed engagement insights. For example, they’re able to understand when people click a link, the pages they explore next or when they drop off their site. Social listening to conversations developing around competitors can also give you an insight scoop into the strengths and weaknesses of their strategies. Such insights should be used to A/B test content with optimisation in mind.

    The majority of social networks offer native analytics for business accounts within the app, but if you’re interested in more advanced insights, such as trending themes, consider investing in a third party social media analytics tool to help increase link click-throughs.

     

    6. Size matters

    Don’t forget that image sizing differs by channel. Nothing will detract your audience from clicking a link to your site than an accompanying image that has been cut off as this signifies content that has been poorly put together. You can find the 2018 guide to social media image dimensions here. If you think the content will resonate on other social networks (keeping in mind their unique characteristics) you can easily adjust content sizing using free tools like Canva.

     

    Keep mobile in mind

    7. Keep mobile in mind

    It’s also important to optimise content for mobile users, especially since 80% of social media usage is consumed via mobile. Increase link click-throughs by considering the user experience of engaging with content via a smaller screen vertically, but also the behavioural differences of mobile vs desktop users.

     

    8. Rethink the call to action

    No comms message is complete without a strong call to action (CTA). CTAs are crucial when trying to increase link click-throughs.

    “Every piece of content, regardless of what channel it’s distributed on, should have a goal it wants the audience to complete. However, CTAs should be adapted depending on the channel and its characteristics.”

    If the aim of the campaign is to double marketing database subscribers, you may want to push this through a timely competition for Twitter. On the contrary, since Facebook supports evergreen content quite nicely, its better database sign-ups through whitepaper downloads for this particular channel.

     

    9. Watch your timings

    We often have clients ask “When is the best time to post on social media?” Unfortunately, the answer isn’t as simple as Sunday at 6 pm (despite what people may think).

     

    “The best time to post on social media and increase link click-throughs depends on the time your audience is online on a given social network. This means the best time to post on differs by channel and communities.”

     

    Work out when the best time to post on social media is by looking at what times and days you get the most engagement on social media currently.

    For Twitter, go into ‘Twitter Analytics’ and sort by ‘Top Tweets’, you can then look at your top tweets. Analyse which time and day get the most engagement.

    For Facebook, go into ‘Insights’ of your page, to look at what days you get the most reach and likes.

    On Instagram, if you have a business profile, you can look at Instagram’s analytics feature.

    You can also choose the best time to post on social media through Meltwater’s social engagement tool.  ViralPost is a feature within Meltwater Engage that looks at your most active & influential followers on social media, and when they are engaging the most. It then recommends the best time to post based on this.

     

    10. Follow an integrated approach

    Rolling out a social-first content strategy doesn’t mean creating content for social media only. Marketing campaigns that produce high website traffic tend to be created with integration across all marcomm channels in mind. Customer experiences should be seamless, no matter where the message is viewed. With so many people multi-screening, the chances of your audience coming across the message on different channels (not just social media) is high. An integrated approach ensures consistency and maximum message impact.

     

    Coffee shop workspace
    1024 683 Jane Hunt

    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.

    1024 683 Jane Hunt

    7 Pre-Event Content Tips to Get Prospects Excited

    FOMO is a powerful thing. If your brand or agency is investing time, money and people in an event, you’ll want to ensure a) you fill it and b) people are psyched to be attending. Events are valuable because they allow you to gather a group of people with the same interests together in one place for a progressive conversation. Why not start that conversation early with some inspiring pre-event content?

    According to Laura Forer of UBM, “96% of attendees look for information prior to attending an event and 90% continue that search post-event. Effective content before, during and after an event is vital to the overall experience.”

    Pre-Event Content

    JBH recently joined forces with some social influencers and the ASA to host an influencer marketing event. The idea was to challenge some of the objections brands might have about working with influencers.

    This was our first time hosting an event and it was a success; not just because of how it went on the day but because it was a learning curve for us as an agency. We learned that creating great pre-event content involves more than just dishing out a time and address. Here we give you our top content tips and some ideas to make sure both you and your audience get the most out of your event.

     

    1. Make sure you are reaching out to people in your industry with your pre-event content

    Pre-Event Content

    It’s important that you fill your event with people who will benefit from it. While there’s always the option of sticking fifty quid behind a Facebook ad, even with targeting options it’s unlikely to reach the right people in your industry. Start with your own email list, then hit LinkedIn to reach a much wider audience. LinkedIn Pulse channels are great for event marketing. While the algorithm is a closely guarded secret, looking at other posts on your chosen Pulse channel will give you clues on how to put content together in a way that the platform deems ‘relevant and interesting’.

     

    2. Create video content

    Influencer Marketing Event

    Lighthearted video content is one of the best ways to pique prospects’ interest before, during and after your event. Videos resonate with audiences like no other content and can be put together whatever your limitations. Give prospects a sneak peek of the event, define topics and goals and/or help audiences better understand your subject matter through an educational mini series. Share your videos on your blog, promote them on social, signpost to them in your emails and whack them on YouTube. Above all, keep them short, light and focused.

     

    3. Tweet, tweet

    Influencer Marketing Event

    Social media is quick, cheap and easy – use it to underpin every stage of your event marketing. If you’re feeling adventurous you could create your own Snapchat filter or encourage attendees to share their photos, although it’s worth mentioning that user-generated campaigns can be tricky to get off the ground. Social media is overloaded – getting people to care about any post for more than three seconds is near impossible. The flipside of this is that your makes it that much more meaningful and sincere when they do.

     

    4. Make the most of your guests of honour  

    Influencer Marketing Event

    Your guest speakers are the lifeblood of your event. What reach do they have? Is it worth getting them to promote your event by creating their own pre-event content? Having guests tweet about the event on the morning of is great but by then it’s usually too late. If they are able to post on their platforms once or twice in the run-up to the event this could help get your message seen by people with the same interests. Better yet, they could write a blog post, mention your brand in their vlog or go live on social media. In our case Em and Junior had far greater reach than us, so it was exciting to see them talking about our event on social media. Your event speakers are what make your event educational and inspiring. Make sure you celebrate them.

     

    5. Give your landing page the attention it deserves

    Influencer Marketing Event

    There’s no better way to create a sense of urgency than to send prospects to a persuasive event landing page. Your landing page should be central to your event marketing campaign – before, during and after the event itself. Unique value proposition showing what attendees will get that they won’t get anywhere else, benefits,  beautiful imagery that fits the event. Our event was about Instagram influencers, therefore it was important that we used Instagram-style images featuring beautiful people and lots of white space. If relevant include a range of testimonials aimed at various personas who might benefit from attending. Finally, make sure your CTAs really stand out and are worded in a way that makes sense.

     

    6. Commission some original research

    Influencer Marketing Event

    Original research is an important part of any content marketing strategy. It gives you the chance to demonstrate insight, innovation and thought leadership – the things people want to see from you if they are going to take the time to come to your event. Commission a study or survey as part of your pre-event content, share your findings with prospects, attendees and speakers and use your findings to inform your session.

    And finally …

     

    7. Step. Away. From. The. Slides.

    Influencer Marketing Event

    Slides are a great way what to illustrate what you’re talking about but people tend to rely on them too heavily in an event. A good speaker should be able to present their topic should anything go wrong with the technology. Because Em is genuinely passionate about influencer marketing and educating brands about the right and wrong ways to work with influencers, she referred to her slides for a few images and stats but focused on speaking to the audience easily and naturally.

    Events are a key channel for direct engagement with your audience. Creative, valuable pre-event content is a good indicator that your event will be a worthwhile use of your prospects’ time. Your event might be weeks or even months from now, but there’s no reason the experience can’t start today.