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The best internal communications strategy? Storytelling

The best internal communications strategy? Storytelling

Does your internal communications strategy incorporate storytelling as a tool? Prose that leads people to action can appear in the most unexpected places. A rare moment of poignancy from a tormented author. A whimsical sonnet scribed by a long-dead anonymous poet. Even a bare inner-city building can become a blank canvas for the literary-inclined – the legality of graffiti notwithstanding. Many of us hold a narrow view on where we should find moving phrases and flashes of verbal brilliance – in novels and memoirs, poetry and song. But what those people often forget is that we live in a hyper-digital world. Our pencil gave way to the keyboard years ago. Why, then, can’t we tell stories without pen and paper – why should it be reserved for fiction? Let’s go even further – beyond the explosion of online journalism, blogs, editorials and interactive novels. Why can’t we bring storytelling into the workplace? No one has ownership of business storytelling. And content marketing isn’t the only outlet to drive people to action. If you have a story to tell and you know how to tell it, why shouldn’t you drive that message home through your internal communications? After all, if a story about hobbits can lead universities the world over to create Lord of the Rings-specific courses, think what your business could achieve once you embrace storytelling. Internal communications can drive engagement The biggest corporate buzzword in recent years has been ‘engagement’. The C-suite wants every employee to be fully engaged while on the clock. Supervisors want to engage their teams on a personal level. But when you look at...
How to Create a Brand Communications Style Guide

How to Create a Brand Communications Style Guide

It is time to create a brand communications style guide for your company? When you want to create a strong brand identity, build trust with your customers and make sure your brand is instantly recognisable, consistency is the key. This is easy enough to achieve if you’re a one-person operation, but when you have multiple individuals or design and content agencies working on projects for your company,  a brand communications style guide can become essential. A style guide lays out a clear framework for your communications, from the layout and font to the style and tone of the language used. A style guide can help you maintain a sense of consistency in your visual and written communications. A clear set of guidelines also makes it much easier for your writers and designers to do their job properly, resulting in better quality content, more recognisable brand values and a uniform message across different platforms. 7 things every brand communications style guide needs The idea behind a style guide is that it is as concise as possible – the easier it is to use, the more likely your team will refer to it rather than guesstimate what to do. While the details will vary depending on your brand, your style guide should include the following seven things as a minimum: Introduction: Always start with a clear introduction explaining the purpose of your style guide. Have headings for each section and include a contents page so people can find things quickly. Basic overview of writing guidelines: It might sound like a no-brainer but you’ll need to specify the basics like whether you’re using...
Should your business be ‘capturing leads’?

Should your business be ‘capturing leads’?

If you’re a service based business without any means of lead capture on your website, then you’re probably allowing many prospective clients to slip away. Perhaps you’ve come across the term ‘lead capture’ while reading up on content marketing, but aren’t quite sure what sort of difference it would make to your business, or how you would implement it. Let’s take a look at what lead capture is, what the benefits are, and what’s involved in doing it. What is lead capture? Lead capture is the practice of inviting website visitors to register their details in order to receive content and/or further communication from you. In the simplest form, lead capture is that ‘subscribe to our newsletter’ or ‘subscribe for updates’ option you see on many sites. However, unless your content writers turning out  highly unique material and you have droves of people wanting to sign up, this doesn’t go far enough. One reason this isn’t sufficient for most service businesses, is that not all their prospective clients have precisely the same interests, challenges, pain points and buying motivations. Unless you’re able to segment your database into buyer types, and deliver the most relevant content to each, results with a newsletter subscription alone are likely to be mediocre. Another issue is in the timing. When someone subscribes to your blog or newsletter, that action doesn’t indicate what they’re interested in right now, or how you might help them. However, if they download an eBook related to a specific challenge, it’s a different story. What you have then is often a genuine lead – someone who has identified themselves as a...
8 Digital Marketing Courses Business Owners Can Take for Free

8 Digital Marketing Courses Business Owners Can Take for Free

Calling all business owners who are tired of banging their heads against brick walls due to average digital marketing results. Sound like you? As every business owner knows, sometimes, if you want something done right, you have to do it yourself…at least until you find (or can afford) an exceptionally competent person to take it over. For many businesses, budgets simply don’t allow for outsourcing everything to a digital marketing professional or a content marketing agency. There might be no choice but to dabble in some DIY marketing strategies. The problem is, when we do attempt our own SEO or Pay Per Click (PPC) tweaking, we often don’t know enough to get the results we’d like. And as they say, a little knowledge can be dangerous! If you’ve been experimenting with your own digital marketing like a nutty cyber professor, and your results have been… well…blah…it might be time to think bigger. Here’s a list of 8 free courses and resources available to amplify your DIY marketing prowess. All of these can be done online in your own time. Take your time and investigate them all, or click the link on the list below to jump to the course of most interest. SEO training with Moz Adwords & Digital Marketing training by Google WordStream PPC University Inbound Marketing – HubSpot training Open Universities Australia – Online Advertising GFC Learn Free – Social Media Marketing Canva Tutorials – create fabulous images Wistia Video Tutorials SEO Training by Moz (facilitated by Udemy) Had a crack at your own SEO before? Or do you simply need to wade through the basics because...
2017 New Year Content Checklist

2017 New Year Content Checklist

Heading into the New Year with a resolution to step up your marketing efforts? If you didn’t get the results you wanted in 2016, here’s a quick checklist you can use to identify weak spots in your content marketing. Assuming you’ve made some effort to publish content during 2016, here are the four top mistakes we see that diminish the results: 1. Putting Little Effort into Content Creation With so much content online, if you’re not making a big effort to create content that hits home with your audience, you might be wasting your time creating content at all. Short shallow articles that state the obvious won’t hold audience attention even if a catchy headline entices people to click through to read it. And what’s the point of attracting visitors to your website or LinkedIn article if they’re going to roll their eyes and click the back button? The bad news: good content takes time and effort to create. The good news: even one or two excellent articles a month, properly promoted on social channels, can increase your audience, and help you connect with prospective clients. If your team can’t devote the time, there are content writing services who will be happy to help! 2. Failing to promote content on social media Many business owners believe that simply publishing regularly on their blog will drive additional traffic to their websites and deliver extra business. If you undertake your keyword research and publish well optimised posts, you might indeed garner some extra traffic to your website. But you’ll bring in more if you’re drawing people’s attention to your content via social...
Great content strategy – but who’s going to implement it?

Great content strategy – but who’s going to implement it?

So, you’ve developed a content marketing strategy your competitors would envy, but will you be able to carry it out? Creating a content strategy or an inbound marketing plan will provide a solid direction, but it’s what comes next – planning your content – that will determine how well you implement. If you don’t have a comprehensive plan, don’t jump in an attempt immediate implementation. Your strategy is only the what and why. Now you’ll need to plan the who and how. It’s this planning phase that will allow you to streamline your activities for the best chance of consistent implementation. Perhaps your strategy involves: Researching to ensure you choose topics of greatest interest to your buyer personas Publishing high quality content consistently Optimising your content for discoverability Being highly active on the social media channels most relevant to you Curating outstanding content your audience will appreciate Regularly repurposing your own content assets into eBooks or other material Here is a breakdown of some of the tasks involved to help you decide on the who and how for your content plan. Topic and keyword research – taking the time to undertake keyword research not only helps you identify popular search terms and long tail keywords with potential, it helps to identify the type of information your prospective clients are looking for. The person most suitable for this task might be your content strategist, or any other team member from a writer to a marketing assistant who has a thorough understanding of your audience, and familiarity with the tools used to undertake keyword research. Writing – there are several potential solutions for...