How We Manage Digital Marketing Workflows With Trello

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At Starling Social, we use Trello every day to create, manage, and track updates to various deliverables across multiple digital marketing campaigns.

If you’ve never heard of it before, Trello is a great tool that uses a kanban-style layout to help teams work more efficiently.

In this post, I’ll share why we use Trello, how we set up our Trello boards, and how we use them to stay on track, communicate with our clients, and make sure no detail gets missed.

There’s a lot I could go into, but for this post I’ll be sharing:

  • Why do we use Trello?
  • How we organize Trello cards
  • How we use Trello columns to manage our workflow

Why do we use Trello?

Trello allows our team to collaborate with clients without calling, emailing, or jump into a meeting. By creating a space where every aspect of a project can be managed, edited, and approved, everyone stays on the same page. We also have a record of everything that happened.

Starling Social has always been (and always will be) a fully remote agency. I’ve never liked working in an office, but deciding to be remote meant that I needed to figure out a way to accomplish the following goals:

  • Reduce email back-and-forth since that’s where details get lost
  • Create a “hub” where my team and clients could work together
  • Keep track of everything without needing to check in all the time
  • Create a repeatable, scalable process we could use with every client
  • Avoid using Slack (I hate Slack, sorry/not sorry)

Trello solves all of those problems for us. Every client gets their own board, and we use a series of template cards to manage projects, track their progress, and keep everyone on the same page.

Wondering how we set up our Trello boards? Let’s dive right in:

How we organize Trello cards

Every template card is a little bit different, but they all share some similar characteristics, including:

Labels

These help us know what each card is about at-a-glance. I don’t have many pet peeves with Trello, but I do wish there were more options to customize label colours.

Members

When creating these boards for our clients, we add the people related to the development and approval of the task to the template card — this way, everyone gets notified when something changes, and nobody misses an @ mention, so approvals don’t lag.

If you look closely at the example images in this post, you’ll see that I’m also tagged on every card. This allows me to keep track of multiple moving projects at once.

Due dates

Due dates get added when the card is created and typically relate to the checklist’s first item. Due dates are updated as we go down the checklist, so everyone involved knows what’s due and when.

Descriptions

We use this section to lay out the details, files, and other important information needed to complete each card’s task.

Descriptions change on a per-template basis since different tasks require different information to get done. Here’s an example of the “Description” section for a template card related to developing quarterly interview features for a client’s blog:


Checklists

Checklists also change on a per-template basis. When creating new checklists, we make sure to mention who’s responsible for each task, so there’s no confusion. 

The example below lists “Client” as the assigned person, but with clients, we list the person’s name, specifically, so there’s no confusion about who needs to take care of what.


How We Organize Columns in Trello

Now that we've covered what goes into creating a card, let's take a look at how I set up our boards.

What I love about kanban-style project management workflows is you can visualize where a project is at-a-glance because it literally moves from column to column as it moves further towards completion.

By organizing different columns as workflow stages, the team and I can keep track of the status of every project we're working on, add or update due dates, and talk to each other and our clients about needs and deliverables in a shared space that we can all access in order to stay on the same page.

Some clients require custom columns for specific tasks or topics, but generally our Trello columns are organized into these categories:

Column 1: Templates

One of the most important lessons I’ve learned in business is to have a template for everything.

Templates increase efficiency, create repeatable processes, and make sure nothing gets missed. Templates also help us quickly pivot and update our processes when we discover a roadblock or bottleneck.

As you can see in this example, we create template cards for repeating tasks like copywriting, general social media tasks, as well as “one-off” items like events.


Column 2: Assigned

This column serves two purposes: 

  1. House tasks that are newly-assigned
  2. House upcoming tasks like events, special days, and campaigns

For our team, this column serves as our to-do list, and our clients have a place to add new tasks without needing to write an email about them. 

Column 3: Events

This column is where we keep track of any upcoming events our clients are planning, as well as any events they’re planning to attend.

We organize events chronologically. The due dates relate to when items related to promoting the event are due — usually visual assets, website URLs, and promotional videos.

When we start promoting an event, the card moves from “Events” to “Doing” so everyone knows that it’s an active task.

Column 4: In Review

This column is somewhat self-explanatory; items in review go here when something on the card needs a review. Sometimes this could be a blog post that needs a once-over or a campaign video that requires final approval.

Whatever it is, this is how everyone knows at-a-glance where the card is in the process.

Column 5: Doing/Ongoing

This is another self-explanatory column. When cards are in progress, this is where they live. 

Cards move into this column once all necessary information is added and approved. Cards stay here until they're complete, and then they move over to our final column:

Column 6: Done

Anything completed gets moved to this column. Over time, this column can get really long. 

Still, we don’t delete any of our old cards because they might contain important information, details about the approval process, or attached items we may want to reference or come back to later.

Column 7: Resources

As I mentioned, Starling Social is a fully remote agency, so we needed somewhere to store all of our client-specific information and documentation in an easily accessible place.

Cards in this column often include things like:

  •  a link to a secure image file with login information
  • how-to documentation
  • holidays and “special days” relevant to the client’s industry
  • a card for social media sizing (I add this to every board since it’s a really useful resource)
  • and other miscellaneous items we may need to reference on an ongoing basis

Managing Your Digital Marketing Workflow with Trello

The thing I love most about using Trello is how much it streamlines communicating with our clients. Having a single place where we can keep everything means the board’s layout becomes part of our process. 

Because I run the business, I get Trello notifications anytime anything happens on any board. This allows me to maintain a bird’s eye view of everything our account managers and copywriters are doing without needing to follow up and interrupt their workflow constantly.

Since everyone is added to the card, we can @ mention each other when we need something, reducing email clutter and keeping everyone on the same page.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this peek into how Starling Social uses Trello to keep our digital marketing processes on-track. If you’d like to know more about how we bring strategy and structure to our client’s businesses, check out our services page

If you have any questions (or want to chat about how we can help your business grow) I’d love to chat! You can reach me at alyson@starling.social", at @starling_social on Twitter, or by filling out our contact form.


 

Are Instagram Giveaways Killing Your Growth?

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Instagram giveaways are one of the most popular “IG hacks” out there — but are all those contests and giveaways helping or hurting your growth?

In this post, I’ll talk about why all those contests and new followers you’re gaining might not be as good for your business as you might think.

Does this situation sound familiar?

I’ve been thinking about (and doubting) the efficacy of Instagram contests for a while. Back in the “before times” when the pandemic wasn’t keeping us all at home, I was visiting a small business and chatting with the owner about how things were going.

She said, “we’re working with an agency who just helped us throw a huge contest that grew our account by over 10,000 new followers!”

I replied, “that’s awesome! How did the contest increase your sales?”

She blinked and said she hadn’t seen an increase in sales. 

I followed up by asking if she’d seen a boost in engagement with her Instagram content, and she replied by saying that it was lower than ever.

“I don’t get it,” she sighed “we got all these new followers and brand awareness, but it isn’t generating the results I was hoping for.”

Does this sound familiar? Have you been running Instagram giveaways, hoping to grow your business, but not seeing any sales or return-on-investment (ROI) beyond more IG followers?

If so, keep reading:

Why (most) Instagram giveaways are bad for growth

Instagram giveaways have been popular ways to grow your account since the beginning, and not all giveaways are bad (more on that later). 

However, since Instagram changed its algorithm to distinguish fake accounts from real accounts and began rewarding engagement over numbers, everything changed.

Instagram’s goal is to create the best user experience possible. It’s why they abandoned the chronological feed and replaced it with a feed showing the “best quality” content, which is measured through engagement: likes, comments, shares, and saves.

Instagram rewards accounts who spend time on the platform engaging with other accounts and creating real relationships.

How does the Instagram algorithm work?

To understand why contests don’t work, we need to dive into how the algorithm works.

Instagram’s algorithm is programmed to provide users with the best experience possible, which means weeding out fake accounts, spammy activity, and buying likes and followers (which we’ve also been against since day one).

Instagram is too big to track down and shutter all those fake accounts by hand, so the company relies on the algorithm to monitor for sketchy activity, like commenting on thousands of posts from a single hashtag, liking too many posts in a row, and other spammy actions.

This is why the algorithm is so focused on engagement, not on how many followers an account may or may not have.

The two types of Instagram giveaways

As I said at the top: not all giveaways are bad. There’s one type of giveaway that can be useful for growing your business, so let’s explore:

Giveaway one: big, generic giveaways

Giveaway two: small, niche-specific giveaways

Type one, the “generic giveaway,” is the kind of giveaway that hurts your business. Here’s an example:

The business owner I was talking to runs a niche business that sells female-focused products and services. She’s a local business, so most of her followers were young women in Winnipeg and the surrounding areas. 

She started with 6K followers, was posting once a day, and receiving 200 likes and around 30 comments because her followers are very engaged.

She hosted a month-long giveaway where people have a shot at winning a $500 gift card if they like, comment, share, and tag a friend in the post. This giveaway earned her 2500 new followers a week. Now she’s got over 15,000 followers! Great, right?

But, then she starts to notice that her likes per post are down to about 100 per post, even though she has all these new followers.

She also sees that she’s only getting about half the number of comments as before, and it’s mostly from people she knows, not any of the new followers.

She’s also not seeing an increase in sales or business growth.

What happened?

The answer is pretty clear: by hosting a generic giveaway, she attracted a bunch of people who only cared about winning the prize, and not enough people who actually cared about her business.

Her new followers might not be the kinds of people who would typically buy her products or services, have the same interests, or even be located within the same geographic location.

So while the giveaway increased her total number of followers, it caused her engagement to drop as soon as the giveaway ended, which  told Instagram's algorithm that her content wasn’t as useful as it used to be. 

Now her posts are seen by fewer people less often, which means she has to work harder to grow her presence on the platform and turn the limited engagement she gets into sales.

Other drawbacks of generic giveaways

Here’s a short summary of why generic giveaways hurt your business and Instagram growth:

  • They increase your total number of followers but decrease the percentage of engaged followers
  • This results in lower engagement for your posts
  • Which results in your account being shown to fewer followers
  • Which decreases the average number of likes and comments
  • Which, in turn, makes authentic growth even harder

If you’ve artificially inflated your total number of followers with people who don’t care about you, then Instagram’s algorithm will conclude that your content isn’t as interesting as it used to be. It will also conclude that your followers aren’t as engaged with your content as they once were, and show fewer of your posts to them. 

This starts in a spiral that shows less of your content to the people who are most likely to support your business. 

And, worst of all: generic giveaways attract people to your business who are less likely to buy from you. Why invest money in a “sales strategy” that doesn’t generate sales?

Effective Instagram giveaways

Like I said: not all Instagram giveaways are created equal. 

Small, niche-specific giveaways can be great for growing your follower count and attracting real customers to your business. 

Let’s use the business owner from earlier as an example. Since her business is local and targeted at a niche of women in a certain age bracket with particular spending habits, here’s what she could have done:

  • Offered to give away something specifically appealing to the audience she wants to attract
  • Something that would not appeal to people who aren’t in her target audience

Sure, giveaways of this type aren’t going to net 1000 new followers a week — but as we just discussed, we don’t want that kind of growth.

A small niche-specific giveaway would have had the following impact:

  • More likely to gain followers who are interested in her business
  • Rewarding the followers she already has, and attracting more like-minded women who are likely to engage with her posts
  • Often cheaper/less resource-intensive than big, generic giveaways

Who benefits from doing Instagram giveaways?

Don’t get me wrong: businesses do benefit from Instagram giveaways! 

But they benefit the most when they’re giving away products they already make or sell, and when their giveaway is targeted at their audience on the platform (not everyone).

For example, our client Portage & Main Press / Highwater Press specializes in educational curriculum material and Indigenous-focused literature. We regularly help them host contests and giveaways where the prizes are niche-specific: we give away copies of popular or upcoming titles, free sets of books for classrooms, etc.

These contests don’t earn them tens of thousands of new followers, but that’s not the point — the point is to get their books into the hands of people who will use and enjoy them, and to encourage people who care about the books they publish to follow them on the platform and buy from them in the future.

These small, niche-specific giveaways help us grow their total followers and increase engagement at the same time. 

Don’t make these Instagram growth mistakes

Running too many giveaways

Just because niche-specific giveaways are more effective than generic giveaways doesn’t mean we should overdo it. 

Remember: contests and giveaways are an artificial growth strategy. They motivate people to follow, like, comment, and share in the hopes of winning something — not typically because they care deeply about your business and what you have to say.

Running lots of contests and giveaways risks attracting people for reasons other than wanting to see your posts. But if you focus on niche giveaways that appeal to your target audience, you can help people with similar interests find your account. 

Focusing on vanity metrics

“Vanity metrics” are numbers that make you feel good, but don’t actually help you grow your business, increase sales, or generate a higher return-on-investment (ROI). 

On Instagram, the vanity metric people obsess over are their follower counts. 

Instagram giveaways: final thoughts

Like I said above, vanity metrics are just that: vanity. Who cares if you have 10,000 followers if only 100 of those followers genuinely care about buying from your business?

While small giveaways targeted to your niche can be great ways of growing your Instagram following, running big, generic giveaways hurts your growth, business, and wastes your time and money.

True, sustainable growth takes time, energy, and real commitment to fostering a community of people who love and support your business — something generic giveaways don’t do.

Do you have questions about running nice-specific giveaways? Drop us a line and let’s chat about how you can run contests and giveaways that actually grow your business.

And hey — if you like what you’ve read here, sign up for our weekly newsletter that’s jam-packed with articles and resources to help you make more strategic, informed decisions about your digital marketing. 


 

Are These 3 eCommerce Mistakes Killing Your Conversions?

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Are you struggling with low conversions on your ecommerce website?

When designing an online store, a lot of focus tends to go to the homepage since it’s the first thing visitors see when they arrive on the website. However, the real goal of any ecommerce website is sales, and those sales happen on the product page.

If you’re seeing low conversions (sales), then your product pages might be to blame.

In this post we’ll cover the three most common ecommerce mistakes businesses make on their product pages, and what you can do to fix yours.

What is a Product Page?

Product pages are exactly what they sound like: they’re pages on your website dedicated to a featured product.

Unlike a landing page, which is designed for a specific campaign, product pages exist only to convey the value of the product and to promote a sale. Prodigy pages tell shoppers what the product looks like, tells them what it feels like, what makes it better than similar products, and why it’s something they absolutely need to own.

Now that we've covered what a product page is, let's dive into the most common e-commerce mistakes, and how to fix them:

1. Poor-quality product images

One of the biggest mistakes ecommerce businesses make is not investing in high-quality product images and video.

Since customers can’t see, touch, or try the products before buying, your product images need to be clean, high-resolution, and help the customer picture what the product is like in real life.

The internet is a sketchy place, and as an independent seller there’s even more pressure on your business to look legitimate and create a sense of trust with your customers. 

Beautiful, eye-catching images help your customers feel more confident in their purchase. 

Which product images do you need for your ecommerce product page? Here are some must-haves:

Primary images

Primary images are standard, high-resolution images where the product is emphasized against a pure white background (like the images you see on Amazon, for example).

These photos should look professional, and should showcase the product from a few different angles.

Lifestyle images

These images are intended to show the product being used in real-life. This could mean showcasing a pair of earrings on a real person’s ear, or how the humidifier your company sells will look in a living room or an office.

Illustrations

While not as important as primary or lifestyle images, infographics or “how to” manuals or illustrations can show how easy your product is to use.

Videos

Short videos are one of the fastest ways to sell products through your ecommerce store. Research found that customers are anywhere from 64-85% more likely to buy after watching a product video, and you can re-use the video elsewhere on your social media (like in ads, for example) to get the most out of your investment.

Important: while DIY is of course an option, we recommend working with professionals for your product images and video. Bush-league video taken on a smartphone, or in poor lighting, can hurt your business more than paying for a pro.

2. Writing Bad Copy

The second-biggest mistake ecommerce businesses make is writing bad copy.

Website copy should be concise, engaging, and inspire the reader to take action (aka: buy)... but this is easier said than done. Not everyone has almost 20 year’s experience writing for the web.

To keep your product page copy short and snappy, follow these steps:

  • Focus on the unique value proposition (UVP) of your product. What makes it better than similar, competing products?
  • State all the benefits of using your product as a bulleted list
  • Use your copy to address any questions or doubts customers may have
  • Highlight any warranties or return policies you offer 
  • Write your copy for SEO and include keywords when you can
  • Use a casual, friendly tone without jargon or run-on sentences

3. Not Sharing Social Proof

Social proof, according to Wikipedia, is a “psychological and social phenomenon referring to people’s reliance on the feedback and actions of others to determine what is right and what is wrong in a given situation.”

Why does social proof matter? A study from Trustpilot found that 92% of consumers read reviews on the internet, and 80% of shoppers trust reviews as much as personal recommendations.

But how do you collect social proof? One of the easiest ways is by emailing your customers and asking them to share their feedback. Since there’s usually nothing in it for them, it might take a few follow-up emails showing that their feedback is important to you to get a customer to agree to submit a review.

The second (and more powerful) approach is to be proactive and incentivize your customers to leave reviews by offering them discounts and rewards in exchange for leaving honest feedback on your website.

A benefit to this second tactic is it builds customer awareness and loyalty from the get-go.

If your customers are leaving lots of negative reviews, take the time to respond to them in a polite, courteous way and reassure them that you’ll do everything you can to improve moving forward. Whatever you do, always respond to customer reviews, and never respond with a rude or disrespectful comment.

Even better: reviews are social proof that you can repurpose into social media quotes and testimonials to use elsewhere in your marketing.

Common eCommerce Product Page Mistakes: Conclusion

There are lots of moving parts to any ecommerce business strategy, but keeping your product pages up-to-date with professional images, clever copy, and social proof is the easiest way to make sure your customers complete a purchase before leaving the page. 

If you’re struggling to increase conversions on your ecommerce website (or if you need help increasing brand awareness to increase website traffic) get in touch and receive a free quote for service.

You can also stay up-to-date with the latest digital marketing news and strategy from across the internet by subscribing to our weekly newsletter.

Tags: Ecommerce

 

How to Create Better PPC Ads By Improving Your Writing

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Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising is HOT right now. 64% of consumers interact with Google ads when shopping online, and anecdotally we’ve seen a big jump in the number of clients interested in search ads in 2020 here at Starling Social.

Back when the market was less saturated, ad agencies took a (misguided) approach of “set it and forget it”, thinking that setting up a few ads with targeted keywords would be enough to generate results for their clients.

These days, a “set it and forget it” approach just doesn’t work.

PPC ads require a lot of up-front work: taking time to know the client, their customers, the most common questions customers ask, geotargeting, identifying keywords and calls-to-action… but the “secret sauce” that ties all of these elements together is strong, compelling writing.

As a team with +20 years’ running PPC ads and publishing content online, we know a thing or two about creating great ad copy, so today we're sharing a post that will teach you:

  • Why is strong writing important for PPC?
  • What does “strong” writing in a PPC ad look like?
  • How to write strong PPC ads
  • Two easy ways to improve your PPC ad writing skills

Why is strong writing important for PPC?

Google and Bing, the world’s two most popular search engines, reward strong writing with higher ad quality scores that help your ads be seen and decrease your cost per ad.

Obviously a low cost per ad is important, but a well-written ad can maximize the limited character space you have available and hold readers’ attention long enough to get them to take the action you want them to take (also known as “reacting to our call-to-action (CTA)”.

Ads with strong copy stand out and capture users’ attention, speak to the specific pain point or need that person is having, and include a clear, actionable CTA.

What does “strong” writing in a PPC ad look like? Two examples:

Before we dive into how to write great PPC ads, let’s review a few examples of what great PPC ads look like:

Upwork


What makes it great?

  • Clear CTA
  • Great use of the second headline “reinforcing” the first
  • Uses the Google Sitelink Extension*

*According to Google, adding a single ad extension to a campaign can increase the click-through rate between 10-25%.

Upwork is a marketplace that connects clients with freelancers. This ad is great because the CTA encourages you to use the service to hire the BEST, not just any ‘ol freelancer.

The ad further reinforces this by calling them experts in their field, which builds trust, and language like “a pool of agencies” helps customers feel confident that Upwork will help them ger great work done for less than they’re paying now.

(Hint: offering anything free, or focusing on cost savings tends to do well.)

Upwork also uses site extensions to direct users to the most important pages, like “how does it work” and “browse freelance talent” which make the ad larger (taking up more real estate on a user’s screen) and greatly increase click-through rate (CTR) by giving specific options for users to click on.

Even better: using site extensions gives us more data to understand what users care about, which we can re-apply to future ads to increase CTR. Yahoo!

Apple


What makes it great?

  • Clearly lists benefits
  • Speaks to timely concerns (contactless delivery)
  • Is relevant to the shopping season (holidays)
  • Call-to-action (CTAs) in site extensions

You probably know who Apple is by now, so you may be wondering: why the heck are they running PPC ads if they’re such an established brand?

The answer is twofold: to start, people forget about products no matter how big or well-known the company is. Second (and more importantly) if Apple doesn’t hold the top spot in a search engine results page (SERP), then a competitor will — not good for Apple!

This tactic — of fending off competition — is one of the things that makes PPC advertising so powerful and important for businesses. 

The ad starts by listing all the latest Apple products and speaking to customers’ concerns about holiday shopping, contactless delivery, and fast and free shipping — all things we know customers care about right now.

By using site extensions, Apple can direct search traffic to specific landing pages for the products they’re trying to sell and include CTAs about trade-ins to encourage clicks.

How to write strong PPC ads

PPC copywriters must have a deep understanding of the audience they're targeting with their ads.

Understanding what customers want and need is essential to writing copy that clearly states how you solve those needs. Below are the most important things to keep in mind when writing PPC ads:

Use audience-specific language

Once you know what your customers needs are, you can write copy that speaks directly to their interests, challenges, and proactively shows how clicking on your ad solves their problems.

Again, this comes down to knowing your audience. If you’re not sure what your customers care about, ask yourself:

  • What do my customers want when they contact us?
  • What language do they use when talking about their needs?
  • What are things they care about, like discounts or free shipping?
  • What adjectives can I use to convey the value of what we do?

Be detail-oriented

PPC ads are successful when they speak to a person’s specific search query, which means being detail-oriented about the copy you use when targeting different types of searches.

Think about it this way: every search is your customer telling you what they want.

The more specific the search, the more specific your ad copy should be.

On the flipside, a less specific search query requires less specific, more general copy.

Keeping the search intent and level of detail in mind, and crafting copy that reflects it, is how you can write PPC ads that speak to your customer’s needs.

Use call-to-action (CTA)s 

Your call-to-action is one of the most important parts of your ad.

A strong CTA is clear, direct, and to-the-point. Your CTA should specifically state what you want the reader to do and incentivize them to take that action.

Whether that’s “learn more”, “book now”, or “sign up”, your reader needs to be clear on what you want them to do with your PPC ad. 

Hint: an easy way to do this is to lead with a strong action word. “Shop”, “discover”, and “download” are all examples of action words you can use to encourage your reader to click on your ad.

Evoke emotion with your ad copy

By using words that evoke excitement, enthusiasm, or a sense of urgency, you can encourage readers to take the next step. 

This Buffer analysis of the IPA dataBANK (which itself has 1400 case studies of real ad campaigns) found that campaigns with emotional content performed twice as well as ads that were straightforward and unemotional. 

According to Buffer, here are the top five:

  1. Amusement
  2. Interest
  3. Surprise
  4. Happiness
  5. Delight

Before you start writing, ask yourself: what kind of emotional reaction do I want to evoke in the people who see my ad?

Have a beginning, middle and end

Whether you’re writing a tweet, blog post, or a PPC ad, your copy should have a clear beginning, middle, and end. 

This isn’t just regular ‘ol writing advice — people are conditioned to expect “story arcs” because we grow up with them in the books, TV, and movies we consume. As a result, it’s a pattern we expect, and one that makes us feel good when we see it.

Having an “arc” in your PPC ads creates a familiar structure for your readers, allowing them to act with the ad in a way that feels intuitive and “ends” with them taking the action you stated in your call-to-action. 

Two easy ways to improve your PPC ad writing skills

Below are two of the tools we use here at Starling Social to hone our copywriting and create PPC ad copy that drives results:

The Hemingway App. Ernest Hemingway was known for his tight, concise prose in his novels, and this tool identifies complicated sentences and helps your writing be more clear and direct.

The CoSchedule Headline Analyzer. This tool is exactly what it sounds like! By scoring things like sentence length, keywords, and emotion, this tool (which is technically for blog titles but is useful across the board) can help you understand how your copy is likely to perform.

Conclusion

Remember: writing (like everything) takes practice, but by using the strategies we’ve outlined here you can make your PPC ads stand out from the competition and give you an edge in generating the click-throughs that are essential to a successful ad campaign.

If you’d like more tips on promoting your business and connecting with more customers, subscribe to our weekly newsletter


 

How to Find New Leads on LinkedIn

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Want to use LinkedIn to find more leads? Looking for more ways to turn your cold connections into warm leads that move through your sales funnel?

With almost 700 million active users in 2020, LinkedIn has become more than just a job-hunting and networking tool. These days, LinkedIn isn’t just for CEOs and salespeople - it’s a must-use tool for any B2B business looking to increase brand awareness, find new leads, and increase sales by expanding their customer base.

If you’ve never tried using LinkedIn to generate leads, then don’t miss this post! These strategies will help you start reaching prospects and nurturing them into warm leads. 

Update Your LinkedIn Profile To a Custom URL

This simple strategy is one of the most overlooked tactics on LinkedIn. Custom links create a sense of consistency across your LinkedIn profiles and helps you look more professional. 

Instead of your LinkedIn profile URL looking like this:

https://www.linkedin.com/in/d5...

To this:

https://www.linkedin.com/in/al...

Updating this field is super simple! Just follow these steps:

  • Start by clicking on the Me icon on the top-right of your LinkedIn home page
  • Click View Profile

  • On your profile page, click Edit Public Profile & URL on the right

  • On the new window that opens up, click on Edit your custom URL on the top-right

That’s it! This simple step will help create a sense of cohesion across your LinkedIn profiles.

Invite connections to like your LinkedIn company page

It seems simple, but it works! This new(ish) feature might not be available for all company pages yet, but once it’s available inviting your connections to like your page is super easy. Just follow these steps:

  • Navigate to your Linkedin company page
  • Under the Admin Tools drop-down menu, select Invite Connections

  • A pop-up window will appear with all your connections listed
  • Select each person you’d like to invite, and click Invite Connections
  • If an error appears, you may have reached your invitation limit

To prevent companies from spamming their contacts, LinkedIn only allows 100 invites at a time. These invites are “credited” back to your account once someone has accepted your invite to like your page.

Share curated content from LinkedIn Content Suggestions

Another way to find new leads on LinkedIn is to regularly share posts focusing on topics they’re interested in. 

If you’re not sure what to share, LinkedIn has a handy Content Suggestions feature for company pages. This tool helps you discover topics and articles that your audience is engaging with on LinkedIn and is a quick, easy way to share content with your followers.

To use this feature, take the following steps:

  • Navigate to your Linkedin company page
  • Select Content

  • In the pop-up window, select your industry and a few demographics about your audience (ideal leads)
  • Click View Content Suggestions

LinkedIn will generate a list of trending content from the last 15 days based on your selected industry and audience demographics. You can refresh this list over and over to find new content suggestions that appeal to different audience types.

But beware: not every content suggestion will resonate with your followers, so choose wisely.

Use LinkedIn Messaging to build relationships

The more people become familiar with you, the more they like and trust you. This is also known as the Mere-Exposure Effect. Our favourite example of this effect in action is this chart of Benedict Cumberbatch

Obviously this chart was made as a joke, but it demonstrates exactly how the Mere-Exposure Effect works: the more someone sees Benedict Cumberbatch’s face, the more attractive he becomes.

So what does the Mere-Exposure Effect have to do with finding new leads on LinkedIn? 

Building the authority and brand awareness necessary to move a prospect from a cold lead to a warm lead takes time. After all, people want to buy from people and brands they like and trust, and the higher the investment in a product or service is, the higher that trust level has to be.

One of the easiest ways to establish this trust is to use LinkedIn Messaging to build strong relationships with prospective customers. 

How to develop a LinkedIn messaging strategy

Sliding into people’s DMs and asking them to buy from you right away is a tactless move, and it’s honestly a little rude, especially if you don’t know the person you’re messaging.

If you want a response you need to approach the relationship naturally. Ask questions, provide value, and be a real human being before pressing for a consultation or sales call. Think about this outreach as a multi-step process that could look something like this:

Step 1: Send a connection request

When you send a LinkedIn connection request, always click Add a Note to customize the invitation. Here’s an example of the kind of note we add (notice it’s focused on them and doesn’t try to sell anything right off the bat):

Step 2: Thank them for connecting with a value-add

Once someone accepts your connection request, send them a follow-up message as soon as possible. This message should thank them for connecting, and include a link to a relevant article or group you manage.

Here’s an example of a follow-up message on LinkedIn:

Hey Sandra,

Just wanted to drop you a line and say thanks for connecting! I’m looking forward to keeping in touch. 

Since you work in a technical field, I’d love your thoughts on this article we recently published about writing technical blog posts. You can find it here: [LINK]

Looking forward to your feedback!

Cheers, Alyson

Remember: the purpose of this message is to show them that you’re a trustworthy resource of content they care about. Make sure to tailor this value-add to the person you’re talking to!

Step 3: Share a link to a high-quality 3rd party resource (article, video, webinar, etc.)

We recommend waiting at least a few days between sending these messages so you don’t seem pushy and overbearing. 

This message should again relate to something they’ve said, posted, or shared on the platform. Be specific about why you think they’ll be interested in the resource and what you think about it as well. Don’t forget to ask for their feedback!

Here’s an example of what this message could look like:

Hey Sandra, 

I hope business has been going well! I found this article and it made me think of you, so I wanted to send it your way. It talks about the importance of showcasing company culture in “technical” industries like yours. 

You can find it here: [LINK]

I thought the suggestion to use the new Instagram Reels feature to introduce followers to your office team was really great. I’d love to know what you think!

Cheers, Alyson

Message 4: Request a phone call

Unless you’re a born salesperson, this is arguably the most anxiety-inducing of all the messages in this strategy.  This message should be short, polite, and to the point.

Here’s an example of what it could look like:

Hey Sandra,

I’m working on getting to know my LinkedIn connections a little better, and since we’ve been crossing paths lately I’d love to hop on a quick call and see how we can both benefit from being connected.

Are you free to chat next week? How’s Thursday, November 5th, in the morning work for you?

Cheers, Alyson

Did you notice that we suggested a specific date and time to meet? This strategy makes it easier for someone to say “yes” because they can quickly check to see if they’re available.

Message 5: Follow up

If the person doesn’t reply, send this follow-up message a few days after you’ve sent the message above. 

Hey Sandra,

Hope you’re doing great! Just following up on my invite to have a short phone chat to get to know each other a bit better. I’d love to learn more about how we can both benefit from being connected.

If not, that’s totally fine! You can always reach me directly via email. I hope to hear from you soon!

Cheers, Alyson

Only send this message once. Sending it multiple times will look pushy and might damage both yours and your brand’s reputations. 

How to find new leads on LinkedIn: conclusion

These are just a few of the many strategies you can use to generate new leads for your business on LinkedIn. 

Remember: the best way to use LinkedIn is to be helpful, positive, and consistent. By posting regularly, liking and commenting on the posts your connections share, and using the strategies we outlined above, you’ll be generating new leads for your business in no time.

Want more resources like this delivered to your inbox once a week? Subscribe to our hand-picked roundup of the strategies you need to know. 

If you’re ready to level-up your LinkedIn marketing strategy, drop us a line!


 

The Top 3 Social Media Marketing Metrics You Need to Be Tracking

- by

Wondering what social media marketing metrics you need to be tracking?

This post covers the top three marketing metrics you need to know, and how you can use them to make more strategic decisions about your digital marketing.

What Are Social Media Analytics?

Social media analytics is the data provided to you by social networks to help you understand areas like:

  • The demographics of the people who follow you
  • How many people see your posts
  • Which posts are the most popular
  • and more!

You can use this information to measure the results of your efforts, build brand awareness, and create scroll-stopping content that engages your target audience.

Every social media platform has its’ own insights or analytics tool built-in:

  • Facebook: under the Insights tab on your Facebook Page
  • Instagram: under the Insights tab for Business and Creator profiles
  • Twitter: under the Twitter Analytics tab
  • LinkedIn: offers basic data on your Company Page with a free account and full analytics with a premium account
  • YouTube: found under the Analytics dashboard
  • Pinterest: under the Analytics tab on for Business profiles

The Top 3 Social Media Marketing Metrics

Now that you know where to find your social media analytics, let’s take a look at the three most important marketing metrics you need to be tracking:

Reach

Reach refers to how many people are scrolling past your advertisement or post on social media. This is also sometimes referred to as Impressions. This number is often super high, but don’t get too excited - most people scroll or swipe right past posts without giving them a second thought, and a person usually needs to see a post or an ad seven times to recall what it was for. This is all before they’ve even made the decision to click through to learn more about what you’re selling.

Reach is important because it means people are seeing your posts, but this metric shouldn't be assessed on it’s own — we also need to measure it against our next metric: engagement.

Engagement

“Engagement” is how we measure whether our posts are creating meaningful, memorable experiences with our audience.

Social networks measure engagement when someone interacts with your post by taking an action, usually clicking on a link.

Comparing Engagement rates to Reach tells us how many people saw a post (or were “reached” by the post) and took the action we wanted them to take (or “engaged” with it.)

When measuring it, don’t just stick to looking at one social media platform - make sure your engagement strategy is being measured and tracked cross-channel and includes elements like email marketing, social media, and marketing automation.

Audience

Audiences are the most powerful way to understand who’s following your brand, and if your efforts are resonating with the right people.

Analytics tools like Facebook Business Centre or Google Analytics show a variety of data points about the people who follow your brand, like:

  • Geographic locations
  • Demographics like age and gender
  • When they're most active online
  • The keywords they use
  • and more!

This data is useful day-to-day, but is especially important when building audiences to target with your social media and pay-per-click (PPC) ads.

An easy way to expand your audience is to target people who have similar interests to your existing target audience.

Ask yourself: what qualities do my customers have in common with people who choose my competitors? What can I do to speak to these similarities and convert them into customers for my business?

Considering audience overlap opens up your content to a much broader audience who are likely to be interested in what you’re selling.

Tracking Social Media Marketing Metrics

When you pay attention to these three key metrics in your social media analytics, you can understand your audience on a deeper level.

This allows you to create a more personal connection and develop a following that is actually invested in your brand, which makes for lifelong fans and followers.

For more insights on how to grow your business and connect with more of your ideal customers, subscribe to our newsletter and get a hand-picked roundup of articles about digital marketing strategy once a week.

If you’re ready to start seeing better results from your digital marketing, drop us a line and let’s chat.


 

5 Common Facebook Ad Mistakes and How to Fix Them

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Want better results from your Facebook ads? Then you’ve come to the right place! Today, we’re covering five Facebook Ads mistakes you may be making and how to fix them.

Why Advertise on Facebook

Facebook is still one of the most useful and cost-effective ways to reach your target audience. With 2 billion monthly active users and a powerful targeting system, Facebook Ads help businesses generate brand awareness, drive conversions, and increase sales.

Not only does Facebook offer sophisticated targeting, but a study by Wordstream found that the average cost per click for a Facebook Ad in 2019 was $1.72, meaning you can reach hundreds of thousands of potential customers without a huge budget.

Here are a few more reasons why you should be advertising on Facebook:

You don’t need to be a pro to get started

Facebook Ads can feel intimidating, especially once you start digging into Business Manager, Ads Manager, Creative Hub, and the wide range of targeting options available to you. That's normal, believe us.

Luckily, you can start experimenting with Facebook Ads right from your Page before jumping into all the options behind-the-scenes. Try clicking on a recent post and click on the "Boost Post" button to start running your first ad!

Facebook Ads offer high ROI

Facebook is one of the biggest advertising channels on the internet, with total spending from the United States, alone totalling almost 9.9 billion U.S. dollars. There's a good reason for it: the average Facebook user clicks on 11 ads per month, or a total of one ad every three days.

While this may not seem like a huge number, remember that not all ads need a click to be considered effective — some campaigns are designed solely for brand awareness and aren't tied to a "click" as their metric of success. In fact, Reach on Facebook is higher than ever, and with impressions going up and costs going down, there's never been a better time to invest in Facebook marketing.

This stat also shows that users engage with and pay attention to ads on Facebook instead of tuning them out.

Facebook Ads are highly customizable

Facebook Ads offer a wide range of ad types, display options, and audience targeting to help your ad get be to your ideal audience. You can customize your ad design, copy, landing pages, how you spend your budget, audience targeting, and lots more.

For example, if you're a thrift shop solisticing donations you can create a short video ad asking for donated items and target it at people who live in your neighbourhood. Or, you could creat a single-image ad promoting an upcoming sale or special event. The possibilities are really endless, which is what makes Facebook Ads such a valuable tool in your digital marketing aresenal.

Now that we’ve covered why Facebook advertising is important, let’s dive into the five most common mistakes people make when creating Facebook Ads, and how to fix them:

Facebook Ads Mistake #1: Your Ads Aren’t Backed By a Strategy

The biggest Facebook Ads mistake businesses make is launching ad campaigns without a strategy.

This tends to happen because, as we mentioned above, anyone can set up and run a Facebook Ad if they manage a Business Page on the platform. 

Unfortunately, running ads without a strategy that takes elements like your budget, audience, targeting, and conversion goals into consideration will waste your budget.

The Three Stages of the Facebook Ads Funnel

There are three stages to a successful Facebook ad funnel:

  • Level 1: Awareness
  • Level 2: Remarketing (engagement marketing)
  • Level 3: Remarketing (website remarketing)

Awareness

The goal of these ads is to generate awareness about your business. Running ads at this stage builds credibility and authority for your brand, which is important for moving users through later stages of the funnel.

Ads at this stage should be educational or entertaining, and should position your brand in a friendly, knowledgeable way. Content-based ads like video work great here, and allow you to pull the people who engaged with your video into a new custom audience as you move to the next stage of the funnel.

Engagement remarketing

The goal at this stage is to drive people from Facebook to your website to learn more about a product or service and, ideally, make a purchase.

The best content for engagement remarketing ads is a special offer, promotion, or discount. Free trials, BOGO (buy one get one), and percentage-based discounts all work great at this stage.

Website remarketing

The final stage of the Facebook Ads Funnel is website remarketing. Here, we "retarget" our ads at people who have viewed a specific product or page on our website to drive sales and generate more leads.

Remarketing ads act as “reminders” and increase conversion and engagement with people who have already shown an interest in your brand.

The best content at this stage is ads that add social proof, like testimonials. You can also test sales and promotions that create a sense of urgency and encourage users to take action right away.

Facebook Ads Mistake #2: Using Truncated Descriptions

Another common Facebook ad mistake is ignoring the character limits in your ads. The main reason this happens is businesses running ads don’t update the news feed or carousel card description.

Facebook will automatically pull a description from the destination URL you set for your ad, so it’s important to be deliberate when planning your carousel card and news feed link descriptions to make sure they don’t get cut off.

If your descriptions are too long Facebook will cut them off (truncate them), resulting in ads that look incomplete.

Losing part of your text muddles your ad messaging, looks unprofessional and hurts the effectiveness of your ads.

Protip: the easiest way to make sure your ad text isn’t truncated is to check the mobile news feed preview to see how your ad will look on users’ phones.

Facebook Ads Mistake #3: You “Set and Forget” Your Ads

The third biggest mistake we’ve seen brands make is taking a “set it and forget it” approach to their Facebook ads by not checking in and managing their ads once they’ve started delivering.

A “set it and forget it” attitude hurts your campaign performance, since you won’t be able to identify any issues with your ads and make adjustments based on how it's delivering.

Some examples include:

  • Your Facebook audience has ad fatigue. “Ad fatigue” happens when people who’ve seen the same ad creative too many times stop paying attention to it.
  • Your cost-per-click (CPC) is too high. Your cost-per-click is an indicator of how well your campaign is performing. Read more about how to keep Facebook Ad cost-per-clicks (CPCs) low here.

In both of these cases we’d want to take action by updating the ad creative, ad copy, our campaign objective, audience targeting, and our call-to-action (CTA).

Facebook Ads Mistake #4: Underutilizing Facebook Remarketing

Remarketing ads are essential for seeing the highest return-on-investment (ROI) for your efforts.

These ads target people who have visited your website before and act as “reminders” to encourage users to return and convert.

The key to being successful here is to make sure your ads don’t continue to target people who haven’t visited your website in a while. Using a 3-5 day duration and setting the engagement condition of All Website Visitors, excluding purchases, means you won't miss out on the chance to connect with a single user.

Facebook Ads Mistake #5: Using Mismatched Lookalike Audiences

If you haven’t used these powerful targeting options before, it’s time to start using Facebook lookalike audiences in your ad campaigns.

Lookalike audiences are the most advanced audience types on Facebook. These audience types help you find new potential customers who share similar characteristics to a source audience, like a customer list or website traffic.

The biggest mistake businesses make when setting up lookalikes is not using a high-quality source audience. When setting up your lookalikes, use either your customer database (creating a “customer file” custom audience) or use a website custom audience.

Protip: Creating lookalike audiences is more effective when you have at least 1000 people in your source audience. If you don’t have enough you can use your website traffic, engaged page followers, and page likes to create lookalike audiences as well.

Common Facebook Ad Mistakes: Conclusion

With the Coronavirus pandemic affecting businesses across the globe, the demand for digital advertising has never been higher or more competitive.

As a result, Facebook continues to introduce new features, targeting updates, and new processes that make it more challenging for newbie marketers and businesses to stay up-to-date with the latest Facebook Ad best practices.

By avoiding the common Facebook Ad mistakes outlined above, businesses can enjoy a high return-on-investment from their Facebook ads, build brand awareness, and increase conversions and revenue.

Are you worried you may be making a Facebook Ad mistake? Get in touch and let us know how we can help.


 

How To: Create Facebook Lookalike Audiences That Deliver Results

- by Alyson Shane

Hey there! This post was originally published on December 2017, but has been updated as recently as September 2020.

Are you looking to connect with more customers and increase leads for your business? 

Are you wondering how to use Facebook Audiences to create Custom Lookalike Audiences?

This post will be your guide! In our first post about Facebook Custom Audiences we shared how to choose the right Custom Audiences for your Facebook ads, but this one will go into one of the most powerful tools at your disposal when you use Facebook Ads: Facebook Lookalike Audiences.

What Are Facebook Lookalike Audiences

Lookalike Audiences are audiences created from the profile data you've previously uploaded when creating your Custom Audiences.

Facebook will use the profile data from these audiences to create a new list of Facebook users who share similar demographics and interests. This is a super-reliable way to optimize your campaign targeting and make sure that you're not just re-targeting the same people from previous campaigns.

Lookalike Audiences allow you to take a relatively small sample size (10,000 customers, for example) and create "lookalike" audiences comprised of hundreds of thousands of people.

Before we get started, you'll need to have the following prepared and in-hand:

  • Access to your customer lists (emails or phone numbers), usually pulled from a system like MailChimp, or Shopify for our e-commerce friends.
  • Facebook Conversion Pixels set up on the pages you want to track results for.
  • The visual assets, headline and ad copy that you want to test*.

* We recommend using at least 2-3 of each, which will allow you to test how different combinations of words and text perform with your audience.

Let's get started!

1. Open your Business Manager and click on the "Audiences" option under your Assets column. 

2. Select 'Custom Lookalike Audience' from the drop-down "Create Audience" menu.


3. Select the Audience Size you'd like to target. We recommend creating two versions of the same custom audience: one at 1% and 3%, which will allow you to target users who most closely match your original Custom Audience, as well as a broader audience of users who may not be as close a "match" as the 1%.

4. Click "Create Audience" and wait while Facebook matches users and populates your new list. 

5. Once this process is complete (it may take a few minutes) open up your Power Editor and begin setting up your Ads as you normally would. When setting up your targeting, just select your new Lookalike Audience from the drop-down menu:


... and that's it! Now you can take your visual and content assets and begin setting up your Facebook Ads like you normally would.

Using Lookalike Audiences to Increase Sales

Now that you've learned how to create your own Facebook Lookalike Audience, it's time to begin using it to drive conversions... starting now!

Here are a few ways you can leverage the power of your audience:

Grow Your Facebook Page 

One of the easiest ways to grow your Facebook Page is to target one of your Lookalike audiences. This allows you to save time and takes the guesswork out of targeting new users who may not have interacted with your page before.

Increase Sales for Your E-Commerce Store

If you run an e-commerce store you can set up Facebook Ads that deliver to your Lookalike Audience which sends them directly to your website to start buying.

For example, if you have a women's wear section on your website you can create a Custom Audience of only women, then you can use Lookalike audiences to deliver ads to women who closely match interests or demographics of the women who have completed a purchase.

Increase Subscribers, Signups, and Get Leads

The fastest way to turn a lead into a customer is to increase the amount of interactions they have with your brand. Examples of "interactions" can include:

  • Answering a survey
  • Filling out a form
  • Subscribing to a mailing list
  • Downloading a piece of content

This tactic is similar to what an e-commerce website would do: upload a Custom Audience, create the Lookalike Audience, and then send people directly to a landing page on your website specifically set up to encourage them to take the action you want them to take.

Get started!

Now that you know how to set up and use Facebook Lookalike Audiences, it's time to start implementing them as a routine part of your Facebook Ad strategy. If you still have questions, drop us a line or connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or Instagram. We're always happy to chat.


 

How to Build a Monthly Content Strategy for Retail Businesses

- by Rose Regier

This post was written by our Account Manager Rose Regier.

It’s no secret that we love a good spreadsheet. Let’s just say they spark joy, so we use them a lot. And the monthly content calendar spreadsheet we use with our retail clients might be our favourite.

If you’re not a retail business, don’t go just yet! What we’re about to share can apply to any type of business.

Before we dive in, let’s talk about why we should plan our content. Why go to all the effort of planning content a month in advance? Wouldn’t it be easier and less time consuming to post on the fly? 

Read on, because we’re about to show you how planning content frees up time to spend on essential marketing activities that have a big impact on the success of your brand. 

Here are the benefits of a monthly content strategy:

1. Strategy in action

Planning posts in monthly blocks allows you to see at a glance how your content aligns with your digital marketing strategy. It also allows you to identify any gaps in content and make sure no product category is left behind.

2. Consistency is key

Building and maintaining a relationship with your audience takes consistent effort over time. Posting a flurry of content one week and then disappearing for a month can leave your followers feeling annoyed or disinterested. Using a content calendar allows you to spread out content so that your audience hears from you regularly and stays engaged. Plus, it’s great for the algorithms.

3. Tracking for the win

Although the monthly content calendar is mainly a planning tool, it also keeps a record of what you’ve done in the past. 

This allows you to keep track of what you’ve posted so a) you can avoid duplicating content and b) you can measure the effectiveness of each category of product posts.

4. Stay one step ahead 

Identifying key events — like holidays, sales, and product launches — and plugging them into the content calendar ahead of time means you never have to worry about those important posts slipping your mind.

Let’s move on to the “how.” How does the monthly content strategy work exactly?

How does our monthly content strategy work?

Our cloud-based monthly content planning spreadsheet allows multiple people to contribute in real-time. This gives our clients and account managers the ability to collaborate on the content planning process.

We work together to choose specific products to highlight based on the following criteria:

  • New arrivals
  • Most loved items
  • Products we need to move
  • Holidays or seasons
  • Sales or promos

Each month gets a tab in the spreadsheet, and serves as a record of the content we’ve shared. Product categories are colour coded for a quick visual way to see the variety in planned content (e.g. clothing, accessories, jewellery) and identify any gaps in the schedule.

Here’s an example of how the calendar might look like before the product details have been added:

Of course, we also leave room for posting user-generated content. Customer reviews are 12 times more trustworthy than messaging from a business, so we make sure to work content created by customers who know and love our clients into the mix.

In a perfect world, all content would be planned in advance, and we could wrap it in a bow and send it out into the world. 

The reality is that planned posts sometimes need to change, and some posts are time-sensitive and need to be created in real-time. Staying on top of upcoming posts to ensure the content is still accurate/relevant is crucial, so we bake this into our process.

Posting on the fly might seem faster and easier, but our brains work better when we dedicate ourselves to one task for a few hours as opposed to rapidly switching from one task to another. 

Creating content in "blocks" of time instead of posting on the fly ensures higher-quality, on-brand content because we're not scrambling to come up with something new every day.

Even better: having the foundation of a monthly content plan frees us up to spend time on the behind-the-scenes activities that get results for our clients: 

  • Monitoring and responding to customer comments/messages
  • Researching and adjusting hashtags
  • Staying on top of social media trends and social platform updates
  • Engaging with customers and vendors by commenting on their posts and stories
  • Reviewing and sharing user-generated content
  • Analyzing data across all platforms and adjusting the marketing strategy

Want to know more about working with us and how we can help your business succeed? Get in touch and let’s chat!

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How to Write The Best Technical Blog Posts for Clients

- by Alicia Kurz

This post was written by our Account Manager Alicia Kurz.

Are you wondering how to write a great technical blog post for your clients?

Chances are, when you think about writing a technical blog post, your first feelings are a sense of dread, followed by being bored before you even start. If you aren’t an expert in whatever complex subject you are about to embark on, starting can be discouraging.

Luckily, these steps will help you develop a process to create useful, interesting technical content and take the guesswork out of publishing great technical posts. Let’s dive right in:

Where do you even begin?

The good news is, the thought of writing a technical blog post is more challenging than actually doing the work. The key is finding the points in the topic that interest you and focus on highlighting those points. When you’re more interested in a topic, you’ll be more enthusiastic about writing the post and finding the correct information. The better the post, the easier it is for the audience to connect with the topic.

Technical blogs are a great way to reach a lot of people and give people information that’s easy to consume. After writing many technical blogs, here’s the workflow that makes things easy to focus on content instead of logistics. Let’s start spreading some good ideas!

1. Define your audience and key messages


Who are you writing for? If your target is moms between 25-40, your writing is going to sound much different than writing for 30-50-year-old engineers in the forestry industry — am I right, ladies? 


Audience personas can be quite helpful when you’re thinking about the tone and structure of your piece. A wine blog for beginners can likely be more light-hearted than a post about the environmental impacts of dust on a local community, for example.

It’s always important to think about what’s in it for your audience. People have limited time, so reading your blog better be a good use of theirs. Are the key messages of your blog in line with what your target audience is looking for? If not, you will need to make adjustments so people aren’t asking “who cares?”


2. Research your topic


Thank God for Google. Likely, you aren’t the first to write about whatever topic you are about to delve into. That’s a good thing. You have information from multiple sources — just please fact check — so it allows you to piece together the best information in the easiest to read way. Just because others have done it first, doesn’t mean they have done it best.

Often the research provided to you is written in nerd language and it’s your job to figure it out. If you’re a writer, that can be fun. It’s like fitting puzzle pieces together to make information more accessible to a larger audience.

If you have questions, other people probably do too. Your blog is where people will go to find those answers.


If you are writing this blog for a client, schedule a call where you can ask questions and make sure your key messages are clear. While you can independently find out a ton of information by yourself, it makes it a lot easier when you and your client are starting on the same page. Plus, they probably have specific information they want to be included that may not have been clear to you initially.

Make sure to record the call so you can go back and reference it. This will save you a lot of stress. It’s much easier than taking notes and trying to remember everything.

3. Create an outline


Now that you have your key messages down, you’ve researched your topic, and your client has given you an idea of what they are looking for, it’s time to create an outline.

Luckily, you have other blogs to reference and see first-hand which ones you were drawn to and which ones you pressed the back button immediately.

I said it once and I’ll say it again: always start with “what’s in it for them.” If your introduction doesn’t have a hook, your audience is gone.

Use headings and lists to make your content easy to read, and use a call to action at the end of your blog that aligns with your goals. Book a meeting, follow us on Facebook, or buy now are all great examples of how to further engage your audience after they have read your blog.

Outlines are also great to organize your thoughts and weed out excess information that will cloud your key messages.

4. Start Writing

Use your own voice to relay your messages. Whether that’s the professional version of your voice or your Saturday night version after a glass of wine version, just make sure the tone matches your content.

Use the K.I.S.S. method. In case you weren't born 60-years ago, or you just prefer to not reference rude acronyms, that means Keep It Simple, Stupid. Take out industry jargon and complicated language. You can sound smart without using words people have to Google. Your blog should be accessible to a large audience and easily consumable, not feel like more work.

5. Take a Break

Give your eyes a break once you’ve written your piece. After you stare at your computer for hours trying to write the perfect blog, you might become blind to minor errors. Maybe you typed “and” twice or used the same word in a paragraph three times. Try going on a walk, or just not looking at a screen for a couple of hours before you come back to it.

Although I prefer to save the trees, a great tip is to print your piece and edit it on paper — after you have run it through Grammarly, of course. For some reason, it’s easier to make changes that way. 

Plus, it’s kind of satisfying to edit your own with a red pen… maybe that’s just me.

If you have a chance, ask someone else to read it for you. Try not to get annoyed when they give you irrelevant suggestions. They also might catch something you said twice, or ask a question about something you thought you answered, but you weren’t clear enough.

6. Add the Finishing Touches

Now it’s time to make your blog look nice. Add headings, photos, article links, and an SEO-friendly title.

7. Publish

The most satisfying part of writing your blog is clicking the publish button. Ensure the blog is going to the right part of your website, add tags, set a featured image, and utilize any widgets you have installed on your site to make your blog SEO-friendly.

After it’s published, check that the image that pulls works on your social platforms and that it loads correctly on both desktop and mobile feeds.

8. Promote

You want people to see what you’ve posted. Share your blog post in places your target audience hangs out. Ask people to share it. This gives you a chance for your network to spread your post to their network.

Use Canva to create free images that look great on social, and you don’t need to be a designer to use. You can also resize these so it fits correctly on all platforms.

If your piece is really awesome, consider doing some digital advertising for it to get the most eyes on it.


Just remember, practice makes perfect. Eventually, writing technical blogs will become more of a habit, and creating these posts will flow much easier.

If you need help writing blog posts or getting your content in front of the right people, drop us a line and let us know how we can help!


 

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