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    What is content marketing and why is it important for your creative business?

    By Domini Marshall

    what-is-content-marketing-by-domini-marshall1

    There are so many definitions for ‘content marketing’ out there. The Content Marketing Institute defines it as:

    A marketing technique of creating and distributing valuable, relevant and consistent content to attract and acquire a clearly defined audience – with the objective of driving profitable customer action.

    That sounds lovely and professional and yes, it defines the process of content marketing well. It is about creating valuable, relevant and consistent content for your customers with the objective of gaining greater conversion, revenue and other positive results.

    In its very simplest terms, however, I like to think of content marketing as storytelling.

    Before we delve in, let’s talk about the term content marketing a little more. With content marketing, your content comes first and channels come second.

    What is content?

    Content encompasses anything you create to tell your brand story. It’s the story itself. Think engaging blog posts, compelling product copy, beautiful imagery, videos, infographics and so much more.

    What are channels?

    Channels are where and how you share that content. So, a blog is a channel. Social media, videos, emails and printed catalogues are all channels. With content marketing, content comes first, channels come second. The importance is on creating engaging and valuable content for your audience. Then, once you have that content, you can decide where and how you’re going to share it with the world. Ultimately, it’s about the customer experience, not just a product or service at the end of the line.

    Amy Crawford from The Holistic Ingredient does an amazing job at creating consistent content across her channels. With regular emails, eBooks, social media posts, recipes and more, she inspires her audience to live a life of wellbeing.

    Amy Crawford from The Holistic Ingredient does an amazing job at creating consistent content across her channels. With regular emails, eBooks, social media posts, recipes and more, she inspires her audience to live a life of wellbeing.

    Why is content marketing so great?

    The reason why content marketing has become so popular is that it offers brands and businesses a way to connect with consumers that is different to traditional advertising methods, and that has a proven track record of resulting in greater engagement, which builds greater brand equity and which translates to greater conversion.

    Great content marketing:

    • connects with your customers – connect is the important word here
    • takes them on a brand experience
    • builds brand authority – which means consumers look to your brand for relevant information on specific topics and which encourages positive word of mouth marketing for your brand
    • improves SEO (search engine optimisation) – Google rewards quality content with higher rankings which means your site will appear higher in search results
    • increases the time spent on your site through greater engagement which, in turn, increases conversion and revenue.

    Which leads us to storytelling.

    Why storytelling?

    At the core of all storytelling is the desire to connect. If content marketing is all about connection, then it’s also all about storytelling.

    We all have a story. We all crave connection. When someone tells us their story and their reason for being, we naturally engage with it because we have one too. If you find a brand that has a story that you find compelling and a message that is inspiring, it’s likely you’ll support that brand and share your love for it with others.

    Fete Press make the most of all their beautiful content. You can try out delicious recipes, find party and food inspiration in their online gallery and enjoy their consistent social media posts on Instagram and Pinterest.

    Fete Press make the most of all their beautiful content. You can try out delicious recipes, find party and food inspiration in their online gallery and enjoy their consistent social media posts on Instagram and Pinterest.

    What’s your story?

    In your creative business, what’s your reason for being? What is it about what you do that you absolutely love? What gets you up and out of bed each day? What inspires you? Start here.

    Think about those questions. What are your answers? Do you share them with your community often? Do your customers know your story? How are you going to communicate your passion and inspiration with them?

    For me, I love learning. I love that moment when I’m reading a book, hearing someone speak or watching a film and I lose myself.  I’m totally involved in the experience and my emotions take over. I feel inspired and afraid and vulnerable all at once.  I crave the moment that someone’s words or creations alter my way of looking at something and I want to create things that do that too.

    In order to connect with people you have to open yourself up to being vulnerable and sometimes that means taking a risk, but if you tell your story with conviction, courage and passion, you’ll discover a world of people who want to know more. In that story (in you) is all the compelling content you could ever want or need.

    Get organised, throw it in a content calendar and go!

    If you’re not already, use a content calendar. Organise all those amazing, wonderful, inspiring ideas that are bubbling away now and get them down on paper. Create something simple in a word or excel doc and plan ahead.

    Once you’ve got it down you can start thinking about where you want to share it. Start a blog. Create a YouTube channel. Sign up to Instagram, Pinterest or Twitter. You choose. Once you’ve got your story, once you’ve got the content, you can decide on your channels.

    Just remember that in storytelling there needs to be a listener or reader too. So, have a conversation with your audience. Share your story and ask for theirs too. Own it, embrace it, and listen to what others have to say. It’s there that you’ll find connection and plenty of ideas for content too.

    Domini Marshall is a freelance writer living in Melbourne. A love for great stories and connection inspires her work for brands and businesses in copywriting, content creation and social media. A creative at heart, she also writes short fiction and screenplays and you can find her sharing inspiration and more on Instagram and Pinterest

    (Photo credit: josemanuelerre via photopin cc)


    Posted by: Tess McCabe
    Categories: business tips, guest blog, what's new in social media, women who write | Comments Off
    Posted on

    Statigram makes your Instagram work for you

    By Susan Goodwin

    how-to-grow-your-creative-business-instagram

    We all love Instagram, those pocket-sized sneaky peaks into other peoples lives, giving us the opportunity to travel the world, eat all the good things, and see abundant creativity.

    It is also a great way to share your own creativity, and if you want to grow an audience for your creative business, then Instagram can be a useful tool to achieve that.

    First, a few things to consider:

        • Is your account a business account? Are you using it to drive more sales/awareness/and audience to what you do?
        • What parts of your life overlap with your business, that add character and richness to your creativity and bring your story to life?
        • Is your account name the same as your Twitter/Facebook/blog/Pinterest name?
        • What other Instagram accounts do you really enjoy, and why? Do they have beautiful composition, amazing styling, gorgeous photos?

    Being strategic about what you post may sound a little less “insta” than you are used to with an Instagram account. However, if you want to use it as a tool to grow your business, then a crazy mash up of last night’s leftovers, photos taken in the dark and endless photos of your family or your pets may not necessarily drive sales to your door.

    Having a goal and finding the steps to reach it starts with analysis. Enter Statigram. Here, you can find statistics on your Instagram profile, such as who has started following you and who has jumped ship, your ‘like’ rates, which posts get the most interaction, and it even gives you a handy little graph which shows when the people in your Instagram community are most likely to be online.

    Now that you have all this data you can start to use Instagram more effectively.

    statigram-my-top-five-photo

    • Post at the times your community is around for maximum effect.
    • Post more of the images your audience likes to see.
    • If the images of your work are not getting the most love, then consider different angles of photography, styling in an unusual way or using videos to show how you do things.
    • Hashtags may look ugly but good ones can bring a new audience to you. Try searching for your tag and using it occasionally to bring in a new crowd.

    You will soon find Statigram as addictive as Instagram. It will place all the information to grow your audience at your fingertips.

    (P.S. This post was NOT sponsored by Statigram or Instagram, we just like their websites.)

    Susan Goodwin is the designer, sewer and creator of Rocket Fuel, ensuring you are decked out in style while cycling. Read her blog or follow her on Twitter @rocketfuelstyle.

    Photo credit: images from Measure Twice Cut Once


    Posted by: Susan
    Categories: business tips, what's new in social media | Comments Off
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    3 ways to make your Instagram feed POP!

    CWCig

    By Susan Goodwin

    Instagram is such a fun and visual way to share sneak peaks into your work and life. But it can get kind of same same if you always take the same type of picture (morning tea, your shoes) and use the same filters.

    CWCig1

    So here are three ways to mix it up a bit and make your Instagram feed POP!

    Try out Instagram video!
    Find a process you do all the time in your work: it could be priming a canvas, stretching out an embroidered piece, sketching your ideas and make a little video. People love a ‘behind the scenes’ or glimpse into the creative process.

    Tip: If you turn the sound off on your phone, it will help eliminate that bad muffled sound that you often hear on Instagram videos.

    Don’t have a steady hand and your videos are looking a little bit more Blair witch project than you’d like? A tripod will help maintain a steady shot on any kind of surface. There are lots of smart phone tripods out there (google it!) and even some handy DIY options!

    CWCig2

    Get some new photo filters
    If you aren’t ready for video then perhaps it’s just a matter of making your regular photos a bit more interesting? There are loads of free and low-cost apps out there to make your photos a little more interesting by adding text, compiling images into a collage and more.

    I recommend:

    • Muzy for photo editing, collages, and more
    • Insta picframes, another option for photo collages & picture frames

    Add some text

    Followers will always be drawn to photos that contain text – it’s just the way the human brain works. Luckily there are some lovely apps out there that assist you to add text to your images in beautiful fonts, with just a couple of clicks.

    Try:

    • A Beautiful Mess for adding hand drawn borders and text
    • Piclab for dreamy filters and bold contemporary text

    Filters, compilations and text can all add a bit more dimension and interest to your photos. There are thousands more photo editing smartphone apps available, it’s just a matter of finding the right ones for you.

    And one last thing!

    For those of you who have a WordPress blog or website, don’t let your Instagram photos stay inside Instagram. Try:

    • Simply Instagram For importing the pics into your sidebar
    • DsgnWrks Instagram importer for making your pics into blog posts
    • IFTTT also has a myriad of recipes that can turn your Instagram feed into so much more.

    So get snapping and make your Instagram feed POP!

    —-

    Susan Goodwin is the designer, sewer and creator of Rocket Fuel, ensuring you are decked out in style while cycling. Read her blog or follow her on Twitter @rocketfuelstyle.


    Posted by: Susan
    Categories: regular columns, what's new in social media | Comments Off
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    Keeping your social media looking fresh

    By Susan Goodwin

    Your blog and website are still your best tools in your social media arsenal as they are the ones that often inform your customer the most about your business and encourage enquiries and sales. So keeping your website or blog looking fresh and working correctly is vital.

    Every so often I like to do a bit of a check of the following things on my own website and social media platforms:

    Broken website links

    I go back into the archives and choose posts at random to ensure they are still working and links are directing readers to appropriate and active content.

    Social media icons and widgets are up to date and importing correctly

    This is vitally important if you have changed your handle or use a different name on every type of social media e.g. business on the blog, personal name for Facebook, nickname on twitter etc. Consider streamlining your social media by only using one name or variations of your name to avoid confusing your customer. Or if that’s not a possibility, ensure all links are directing customers from your website to your social media and vice versa.

    Refresh avatar

    I’ve recently made my avatar more professional and relevant to my work. I love my cat, but a photo of her big furry belly in the sun is not necessarily the best way for me to advertise my business to all my Facebook and Twitter customers.

    Refresh headers and backgrounds

    While I’m refreshing my avatar, I often add a new header to my Facebook page, a new background to my Twitter page and freshen up the header on the top of my blog. Think of these items like the front windows of the big department stores. Sometimes a new and interesting front window is all it takes to entice a customer in the door and make a purchase.

    Check SEO (search engine optimisation) words and make sure every word in there is relevant

    If your work and focus has changed dramatically since you last updated your website, then consider resubmitting your website to Google. This is a super simple process and can help bump up the way people find you via searches.

    By regularly maintaining your online presence and social media platforms, your website will always be working for you and your social media will evoke a consistent and professional look and feel. That doesn’t mean it has to be strait laced and boring – it can be full of personality – but your main goal should be making it easy for your fans to find and interact with you with ease. The benefits will be endless!

    Susan Goodwin is the designer, sewer and creator of Rocket Fuel, ensuring you are decked out in style while cycling. Read her blog or follow her on Twitter @rocketfuelstyle.

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    Posted by: Susan
    Categories: regular columns, what's new in social media | Comments Off