Written Content and the Advent of Voice Searches

Date Published: 2020-04-15 Wednesday
Written Content and the Advent of Voice Searches.

If you search for “Digital Marketing trends of 2020”, you will quickly see that one of the trends is Voice Searches and marketing towards that.

“By 2020, 50% of all searches across the internet will be voice based” (https://quoracreative.com/article/voice-search-statistics-trends). This means that if you are not optimising your website towards voice activated searches, you are missing out on a huge chunk of your potential market.

How does this affect the written content for your website?

Well to start, a voice search is far more conversational and shorter than a regular search. It is very keyword rich and usually is a straight forward question that requires a straight answer. Then, there is the answer given by the device. Research has shown that the reply given is usually given in 29 words or less.

This means that while blogs are still an important tool for your business, they will be almost obsolete for voice searches in their current format. Due to the fact that voice searches are more conversational, your blogs need to be written with more natural language so that the Search Engine can make the match. Blogs also need to start to ask and answer questions within the blog so that it appeals to the people that use voice searches. Blogs will also have to be balanced between long-form and short-form to so that you appeal to both types of searches, traditional and verbal.

Another way to update your written content for voice searches is to consider adding a Frequently Asked Questions page to your website. A FAQ page is perfect for voice searches because it helps search engines to easily find the answers that it needs, meaning that your website would be more likely to be found. And from there you can guide people across to your blogs to get more detailed information.

Content will also have to be updated to be mobile friendly as most voice searches are done on mobile devices.

There are more complicated methods to optimise your written content in terms of voice searches such as optimising to have your content become the featured snippet and embedding long-tail keywords into the content. However, these can come with time. The important thing now is to start becoming aware of voice searches and their effects on digital marketing and how that may affect your marketing plan.

Why the “About Me” Page is becoming as Important as your Landing Page

Date Published: 2020-01-12 Sunday
Why the 'About Me' Page is becoming as Important as your Landing Page.

In 2019 we saw a huge movement towards Emotional Branding and the trend is definitely continuing into 2020. “The ability for people, brands and businesses to create lasting connections has become fundamental to both personal and professional success.” - James Endersby

With so many products, services and companies to provide them, often consumers feel overwhelmed. Therefore, they would rather support a business where they feel a connection. This can be measured across prominence, distinction, emotion, and how dynamic a brand is. Previously brands created this connection through their blogs because this created a level of trustworthiness. However, as you can see there is so much more to creating a connection than just trustworthiness.

In terms of your website it now means you need to focus on different areas than you did before. That means the importance of your “About Me” page now increases.

The landing page is the first thing a visitor sees when they arrive at your website. This is often where you turn interest into sales. But what happens in this day and age where there are hundreds of websites, all with awesome eye-catching and engaging landing pages? How do you as a company stand out from that?

That’s where your “About Me” page comes into play. This is where you can make that connection to your customers and potential customers. This where your product or service becomes unique.

This is the page that you as a business owner can have that connection and yet it is often overlooked. Usually it very plain and clinical. Often there is no photo and just a brief introduction. Usually just a name and qualifications. Think about it, have you ever met someone in real life and had them say “Hi, my name is …..” and rattle off their qualifications.

So maybe your first 2020 resolution for your business should be to update your “About Me” page. Look at different examples on the internet (trust me, there are hundreds). Introduce yourself, your team and your company. Look at things like what are you passionate about, what makes you different and don’t forget your social media handles. Show off a bit.

Your “About Me” page should reflect your personality and your passion so there is no right or wrong way to create an “About Me” page. But one thing that should be there is a photo of yourself and if you have one of your team. This is the best way to create a connection with your clients. Just make sure it’s not a selfie.

Struggling to write about yourself or don’t know where to start? Contact us for more information.


Beware the Long-Form Blog

Date Published: 2019-11-21 Thursday
Beware the Long-Form Blog

There I have said it. And yes, I am aware that all the research shows that the long-form blog is the best format of blog and that it is the most shared form as well.

For those who don’t know, a long-form blog is a blog that contains between 1 200 and 2 000 words and can contain up to 10 000 words. These types of blogs regularly perform better in Search Engine Rankings. This is because Google’s algorithm sees them as having better quality content.

A long-form blog can also show that your business or blog is the authority on a certain topic. This can grow your brand’s reputation.

The problem is, your content may not be engaging enough to capture your readers attention for that period of time. I know a lot of people who will open a long-format blog and only read the 1st paragraph. This is either due to the fact that the information that they need is provided already in the 1st paragraph or the content is just boring.

If a long-form blog is going to have this reaction from your readers then it’s important to remember not to write one just because of Google or any other statistic. Your content as a business owner is to help solve a problem for your readers.

However, if you do choose to write a long-form blog, here are some tips to help you not lose any readers:

  1. Provide the number of words upfront.
  2. If you can run the article through a tool that will provide an estimated reading time and provide that.
  3. Do not answer the reader's problem in the 1st paragraph. Use this paragraph to catch the readers' attention instead.
  4. Don’t allow your scroll bar to include any adverts at the bottom of the page.

Remember Grey Squirrel Content is equipped to help you write blogs and content in any format. Contact us today for more information.

It Has All Been Done Before or Has It?

Date Published: 2019-09-18 Wednesday
It Has All Been Done Before or Has It

Do you often feel that you can't find a new topic to write about? With hundreds of bloggers, influencers and companies with blogs that it just seems that all topics you can think of have been covered before by someone else.

I admit that I also often sit in front of the computer with a blank page open and not have one idea in my head. However, the longer I am part of this industry the more I realise that it's not so much about what you write, but how you write it. You can share an article about any topic but if it is not geared towards your audience it will be useless.

People no longer buy products or services purely because they work. People want to support a brand and therefore they want to hear your unique voice in the article or post, even if they have seen the information before. They want to be reminded why they supported that brand in the first place.

So, no matter how many times you have seen an article on a specific topic, don’t become discouraged, use it as part of your research (just remember to always cite your references). And from there write the most awesome article that is created specifically for your audience.

Grey Squirrel Content is specially equipped to help you do this for any article or piece of content. Contact us for more information.

The Evolution of Search Engines and Social Media and How Written Content is Affected.

Date Published: 2019-07-29 Monday
The Evolution of Search Engines and Social Media and How Written Content is Affected

Let’s start with the biggest and most used search engine: Google. Google has done at least 2 algorithm updates this year alone. The biggest problem with Google however, is they are very secretive about exactly what is in each update. Sometimes they do give limited information after the update if they feel it's necessary. These updates often affect the rankings of websites. Even with the most perfect SEO techniques, your website ranking may be affected by the update.

Next is the fact that people are starting to slowly move away from Google. This can be due to privacy issues or how the Google search algorithm returns search results. This means that ultimately SEO techniques could vary too drastically to create a website that would do well across all-new search engine platforms.

Lastly, Social Media is also evolving at the same rate if not faster than Search Engines. Social Media companies are also very secretive about how their algorithms work. However, Instagram has announced a big change recently. This change is to help take the pressure off users to be popular. Instagram has decided to hide likes. Businesses would still be able to see the likes but their followers would not be able to see them.

Ultimately all of this means that engagement is the most important thing to focus on. And the best way to get engagement is to have great written content. Content would need to still contain keywords but the way that the content is written would become more important.

To start, you would need to focus on your headline. This would need to be catchy and entice the reader to read further. The content would need to encourage the reader to engage with the content, either to share or to comment on it. It would also mean that you would have to keep your content dynamic. The easiest way to do this is to have a blog or short updates on your webpage.

In terms of Social Media, photos would only become the mechanism to draw the follower into the written comment below. So, the written content becomes more important in terms of engagement. Therefore, you would have to change the format to get followers to engage. Maybe ask a question or give some advice.

Whatever you decide to do to create engagement, remember to keep your brand story consistent throughout. Grey Squirrel Content can help you write the best content to get the engagement you need.

Networking Out of Your Comfort Zone

Date Published: 2019-06-17 Monday
Networking Out of Your Comfort Zone

As a new business owner, I have learnt quite a lot over the last couple of months. However, the biggest thing was how important networking is.

Having a group of business owners who support you as a fellow business owner is a real benefit. However, if you don’t network properly it won't benefit your business as much. Therefore, you need to network outside of your comfort zone.

I did it recently and it actually was a lot of fun. I had the opportunity to attend a Microsoft SharePoint Saturday event and I was probably the only "non-tech" person on the day, but that is what made it perfect for me to network. All of the people there used SharePoint to share internal and external content for their companies on a daily basis.

Not only that, but the talks were extremely informative. Even if I couldn’t use some of the technology, the talks included some wonderful business tips.

I must admit that I was pretty nervous the day before. It was truly out of my comfort zone. However, the lesson that I learnt was as the adverts say... “Priceless”.

So now I am looking out for more opportunities to grow my business in different ways.

Personalisation – Beyond E-Mail Marketing

Date Published: 2019-04-08 Monday
Personalisation – Beyond E-Mail Marketing

Don’t you hate it when you get an E-mail that isn't relevant to you? Doesn’t it make you feel as if the company sending it doesn’t care?

Personalisation is the key to building trust in a relationship with your clients.

I am currently working on a short course on E-mail Marketing and of course, it deals with E-mail personalisation. E-mail personalisation goes past just using the person's name in the E-mail, it also looks at the segmentation of your E-mail subscribers’ list. By segmenting your list, you ensure that you only send relevant information to your subscribers.

There are many tools out there to help you as a business owner to segment your subscribers’ list and to help you automate personalisation.

However, this week I realised that personalisation goes beyond E-mail Marketing.

For example, I received a direct message from one of my followers through Instagram. This company wanted to reach as many people as possible with their message and so they created a group message to send their message. They chose as many people as possible to be part of this group message, including people like Richard Branson. It felt like spam to me.

It showed me that as small business owners' we need to extend personalisation beyond E-mails and into the realm of social media. So, yes you can have a generic message that you send out to your followers but take the extra 5 minutes to send it to them personally and address them by name (or by business name if you don’t know their name). This little bit of extra work will improve your brand's trustworthiness. And it will create a great relationship with your followers.

Personalisation goes a long way towards emotionally branding your company correctly and will connect you to the 50% of consumers who buy products or services because of how they make them feel.

The Process of Creating the Perfect Blog

Date Published: 2019-03-09 Saturday
The Process of Creating the Perfect Blog

The process of creating the perfect blog, is a long and complicated process, but if it is done properly it is worth the return on investment.

To start you need to look at who you want to write your blog. There are three main options and they all have their own benefits and disadvantages. The options are as follows:

  1. You author the post – this means that you are completely in control of the content written. However, this can be time-consuming as you will be in charge of the whole process.
  2. Guest writer – this is when you get someone with a similar interest as yours to write an article for your page. Because the article is written to suit both pages it can leave out some of your niche market. The best thing about this option is that you can get backlinks to your web page making it more trustworthy in the eyes of Google.
  3. Ghostwriter – this is when you get someone to write an article but you don’t use their name. This option allows you to focus on other tasks while still producing content for your page.

Once you have decided who is going to produce your blog, the next thing is to do is some research. The answer to the research questions below can guide you on how to write the perfect blog.

  1. Audience: The user experience is extremely important in terms of content; therefore, your audience is the most important thing you should focus on. You should think about the following when it comes to the audience:
    • Determine your target audience.
    • What are the problems that your audience have and how does your product or service solve these problems?
  2. Niche: This is your gap in the market. What makes you different from everyone else. Your content needs to resonate with this.
  3. SEO: Content is a great way to incorporate SEO into your web page. This includes keywords.

Once you have done all of the above you can then start writing your actual blog article. Remember to write for your readers and then for search engines. Stay focused on your topic and your tone. Finally, remember that word count is not set in stone. Previously, short articles used to be successful but as of 2019 long form content gets 77.2% more links than short articles. (source)

Your blog should be a true representation of your brand and so should also be as professional as possible. Therefore, to finish off you should proofread your article and make sure it meets the tone of your brand.

As you can see, the process of creating a blog can be long and difficult. Grey Squirrel Content can help make this process easier by guiding the research phase and then using that information to write a perfect blog for your page.

Why Does Your Company Need a Proofreader?

Date Published: 2019-02-20 Wednesday
Why does your company need a proofreader?

There is nothing worse than producing a wonderful and engaging piece of content, only to realise after you have published it that there was a spelling or grammar error. It happens to the best of us.

The point of well-written content is to create a good reputation for your company. This can be with your clients and potential clients but most importantly with search engines. Search engines look at websites from the point of view of a user so the better written your piece of content the better it will count with the search engines.

We rely on the many tools at our disposal. However, purely relying on these tools often lead to mistakes. The main one is “Spell Check”. Spell Check often only checks the spelling and basic grammar but it does not check correct use of words. Or if it doesn’t recognise a word at all it won't correct it.

Depending on what application you are using your content for, a proofreader will bring a fresh perspective to what you have written. They can help pick up mistakes that you have missed and know how to get the best out of proofreading tools.

If they have experience in SEO techniques, they can also make sure that your use of keywords fit naturally into the piece you have written.

You should use a proofreader for your social media updates. “Facebook now influences 52 per cent of consumers’ online and off-line purchases, up from 36 per cent in 2014” (source).

This means that your social media posts need to be as professional as any piece of content you produce for your business.

Grey Squirrel Content will not only run your content through some of the best proofreading tools they will also read each article to make sure that grammar, spelling and word usage is correct.

Content - A Multi-Faceted Tool

Date Published: 2019-02-09 Saturday
A Multi-Faceted Tool

Content is no longer just a blog. It has become a multi-faceted part of everyday business. You can no longer focus on just producing blogs for your webpage.

You need to look at everything that affects your business on a day to day basis.

I recently went to a wonderful talk given by Nadia Hearn who is a brand coach, radio presenter and entrepreneur on the importance of emotional branding. It was an extremely fascinating talk because most of the courses that you do on content marketing only look at the rational side of marketing your business. They tend to leave out a huge section of your market who are looking at a business from an emotional point of view.

It made me realise that great content isn't only about rankings on Google but is also about creating a good reputation as a company. It means looking at why you started your business in the first place and how you wanted to solve problems for your customers. It's what makes you different from your competitors.

In terms of content this means that you need to look at how you want people to react to your content and how you want make them feel to about your brand after interacting with your content. It also means that you need to create a story about your brand through all the places you share your content.

All of these factors will influence how and why you as a business will want to create content. And where you want to share that content to gain the best reputation for you.

Well written and produced content will help you build a great reputation. Grey Squirrel Content will keep up to date with the current trends in Content Creation and will use this to help your business create the best content you need.