Sep 10

The Lazy Writer

By Kevin Anderson | All Posts , Content Writing

I’ve used and abused the excuse that I am too busy writing for my clients to find the time to write my content.

That, of course, is utter nonsense. This will (#PostiveThinking) become the case in the future as I grow my reputation and business. For the time being, though, I have more than enough time to write blog articles and fresh new content for my site – without impacting my client commitments.

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I value the content I write on my blog. I know how important it is. I’ve witnessed a massive spike in traffic to my site since I started my ‘Blog a Day’ late on Sunday night. That’s great news – trust me I’ve worked in newspaper publishing where success is now measured on not losing sales as quickly as your competitors. I’ve never had so many visitors, and I’d be a liar if I said this didn’t give me a buzz. (I’ll share the weekly numbers in a future blog post.) I’ve drawn the most satisfaction from the real connections I’ve made with real people.

I’ve received comments (positive and encouraging – thankfully!) on the blog posts, which in itself is an achievement as nobody has engaged with my content up until now. I’ve had people reach out to me on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn with positive comments and one of the strong sentiments that have come through, is that people are relating to what I’m writing. They’re making a personal connection. Last night, I received a Facebook instant message from someone I haven’t met before. He posed a couple of questions about one of my posts; we chatted and by the end he said that I’d helped him.

So what’s changed? Why is the content I’m writing now getting noticed and connecting with people? I think there are three reasons.

  • This Time It’s Personal

I’m writing ‘filters off’. What I mean is that I’m not agonising over everything I write. I’m more honest than I’ve ever been, and I’m keeping it very personal. Square Tree Marketing Ltd. is me. I don’t have a team of people, and I’ll never pretend that I do.

  • I’m Speaking To My People

I’ve discovered my tribe. Or as I said in my TCMA2015 blog post

“I felt a sense of belonging. These people – are my people.”

What do I mean by that? They are what I call “Content Marketing True Believers” they maybe haven’t got everything figured out (nobody has) but they believe in the guiding principles of content marketing and that’s what unites us. I’m finally engaging with people that I can GENUINELY relate to.

  • I’m sharing

I’m using social media to share my stories. Most of my traffic is being driven through Facebook and Twitter. Although I’ve had my Twitter account since 2009, I’ve never really got into it in a big way. In fact, I only started using it again at The Content Marketing Academy event last Friday. The results have been encouraging. Crucially though, and related to Point Number 2 – I’m sharing it with the RIGHT people.

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The Next Step – Guest Blogging

But I want to write more and I want to reach new audiences. So the next step on my writing journey is ‘guest blogging’. I’ve already been asked to write a piece for someone, but I’d love to create original content for any blog owner that thinks I could connect with their audience as a guest. I can cover writing advice, the story of my journey so far or most aspects of marketing and business. I’ve also got a background in software development and am mildly obsessed with productivity tools.

Throw me an idea, and we’ll make it happen. Send me a message to start the conversation. 

(PS – and yes if anyone would like to guest blog on my site – please let me know!)

Sep 09

Niche to see you, to see you Niche

By Kevin Anderson | All Posts , Square Tree News

Niche to see you, to see you niche

Today, I made that classic mistake of asking the wrong question on The Content Marketing Academy Facebook group. The question, in question, was about what I should charge for two different types of copywriting. The question, though well intended, was wrong and frankly a little bit naive. Sometimes, like a lot of people, I get overly excited and want to move too quickly.

The question sounded simple enough, but there are so many factors that determine what anybody is willing to pay for anything. I have a much bigger, more fundamental question to address. Who can I best serve?

I’ve already made the decision to be a commercial writer.(If you’re interested you can read ‘the why I write’ blog post here.) That was a big decision for me, but I know that I now need to make an even bigger one. I need to narrow my focus further.

A Nice Niche?

I have worked in marketing communications, software development, publishing and the advertising industry. So it would make sense to focus on one of these areas. That would be logical. It’s where I have more authority and more credibility. But then I look at who I have worked with since launching my business in February this year.

  • A Baby Swimming Franchise
    p36-forsyth

    “Niche to see you to see you…….”

  • A Learning & Development Company
  • An Executive Coach
  • An Event Production Company
  • An Outdoor Adventure Company
  • A Web Development Business
  • A Graphic Designer
  • A Construction Services Business
  • A Commercial Cleaning Company
  • A Mobile Bar Company
  • A Professional Guitar Player

The only thing that these clients have in common is that they have, on the surface, NOTHING in common. Some are B2B, and some are B2C, but as Chris Marr reminded me via his ‘The Marketing Academy Podcast’ I should be thinking about ‘P2P’ – PEOPLE to PEOPLE. In other words – people buy from people. Yes, it’s a cliche, but like most cliches – it’s true.

As arrogant as this may sound, the reason I have won and retained so much of that business is because I made a connection on a personal level. In all cases I work with the business owner, I spend the time to understand them as the unique individuals they are. Unique individuals that run unique businesses.

I’ve gone from the euphoric ‘after conference high’ to ’confused Kev’ in a very short space of time. I’ve probably been over thinking it.

The Non-Niche Niche?

I spoke to a few people today. All have The Content Marketing Academy in common. The advice I’ve received has been hugely valuable, and it’s helped me get the clarity I so badly needed. My niche is a little bit different, but I still think it qualifies as a niche. I want to work with Content Marketing ’True Believers’ that need help with any of their written content. The type of people that are as passionate about content as I am, but just need help producing the volume of written content they require.

And for those that fall into the ‘Write It Yourself’ category, I want to help them by offering practical advice, tips and support.

Final Thoughts

I’m a small man that runs a small business. I don’t need hundreds of clients. All I need is a handful of ‘true believers’ that I can develop deep relationships with. That’s who I can serve best and as far as personal breakthroughs go – this one is priceless.

Sep 08

Why you should write it yourself

By Kevin Anderson | All Posts , Content Writing

Why YOU are your ideal Writer

There are certain universal truths that I believe. Firstly I genuinely believe that one day, I will have the growth spurt that I’ve been waiting for and reach the dizzy heights of 5 foot 4 inches tall. Conventional wisdom would suggest that at the age of 40 that my growing days are over. Unless you class weight-gain as growth, which I can empirically state is possible in the over 40’s.

The universal truth that I want to share today is this – nobody is better placed to write your content than you. From writing a blog post, website copy, eBook or white paper – you are the ideal content writing candidate and should ‘Write It Yourself’ (WIY). 

There will be no more authentic voice when talking about your business than your own. And this goes beyond merely having the ‘domain knowledge’ for your business and industry. It’s much bigger than that. You have the passion, and the perspective to tell your stories and make a genuine connection with those that read your words.

I’ve heard so many amazing stories of the power of content marketing and inbound marketing over the last few years. The speakers at last week’s Content Marketing Academy Conference in Edinburgh shared some powerful examples of businesses that have completely turned their fortunes around. All through the power of the written, or in some cases, spoken word.

So what holds people back? Some simply don’t believe in content marketing. But I think there is a HUGE subset of people that WANT to embrace content marketing but don’t. They don’t need convincing, but yet they sit on the sidelines, applauding others success. Why does this happen? I think the main reason is that they lack the confidence to share their stories with the World.

That lack of confidence is sometimes driven by the belief that they can’t write. Some don’t like the sound of their voice while others are perfectionists who toil to complete any writing project. Some are past-masters at making excuses.

You need content. You need to write. Don’t doubt yourself, just get started.

For me the best place to start and find your voice is to create a blog for your business. It’s never been easier to become your own publisher. Set yourself the challenge of writing two blog posts a week. They don’t have to be long, and they don’t have to be perfect. What they should be is helpful, informative and entertaining.

Don’t know where to start? Take the approach from Marcus Sheridan (www.thesaleslion.com) and follow the They Ask. You Answer. philosophy. Think of all the barriers that would stop someone buying the product or service you offer. Write them down. Then set about the process of addressing these directly in your blog posts.

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I write for a living, it’s what I love to do, but everyone has the power to write engaging content, and everyone should. Have faith in yourself, ignore the negative voices and just create natural content that reflects your personality and your business.

If you’ve got a content writing question or are looking for inspiration fire me an email or better still – leave a comment on this post. And keep an eye out for future writing tips and quite possibly a special post sharing the news of my extraordinary growth spurt. #ItWillHappen #IWillBe5Foot5 #NBAHereICome

Sep 07

Starting With Why

By Kevin Anderson | All Posts , Content Marketing

Marcus Sheridan packed a lifetime of knowledge into a little under an hour. My brain melted. One of the key messages that really struck me was starting with why. I’ve read the Simon Sinek book that shares that title, but I haven’t really articulated my own why clearly enough.

And I’ve shared part of the story in other blogs but my understanding of my own why has changed recently.

I’ve made the move move from being a ‘marketing consultant’ to being ‘a writer’ in the last two weeks. I’m officially a ‘freelance copywriter & business writer’.

There are two levels of Why.

The Selfish

I love to write. I always have. I’ve written throughout my professional career and for fun, have written short stories and true life accounts of amusing events that have happened throughout my life. When I left my last job I made the decision to do what I loved.

Startup Stock Photos

Disclaimer – Those are not my hands!

Bold words, but I bottled it. Instead I called myself a marketing consultant. But after 6 months in business I took stock, it turned out 99% of my revenue came from writing. I took this as a sign and ‘came out’ as a writer.

That was just 2 weeks ago.

Writing helps me make sense of the world & gives me a new challenge everyday. Writing gives me an incredible high, a buzz like no other. My perfect day would involve writing & spending quality time with my family. More than anything I know I need to write because it’s not something I need to escape from. When I’ve finished writing a draft for a client, after a short break I’m ready to get on with the next task.

The REAL reason

Being selfish isn’t why I’m really doing this though.

I believe that content in all its forms can completely change the fortunes of any business. I also know that not every business owner has the time or the inclination to write all of their own content.

I get a massive buzz from helping a client tell their story or educate their audience. I work with the owner of the business to fully understand what makes them tick. The greatest satisfaction I get is when a client tells me that ‘I really get them’.

I had a saying that I used to judge whether I was making a difference. I wanted to add value AND be valued. It’s only now, at the age of 40 that I can finally say that I’m achieving both.

That’s why I write & why I’ll never stop.

Sep 06

Travelling With Jamie

By Kevin Anderson | All Posts , Content Marketing

The Short Walk To Freedom

It’s a walk of some 0.2 miles. It should take approximately 4 minutes, but with a five-year-old, laden with a brand new school bag, it took considerably longer.

Mum’s & dad’s asked if I’d taken a few days off on holiday to be there for Jamie’s big day. That seemed logical, so I went along with it. When I was still escorting Jamie the following week, the same people asked “Still on holiday?” I said yes again.

When I was there three weeks later, someone suggested that I was “working from home” – again that seemed plausible – so I replied in the affirmative.

It took a while before one day; I finally admitted that I was off my work with a ‘stress-related illness.’

That was in August 2014.

The intention was always to get me well and find a new job that would be less stressful and more enjoyable. But the simple act of walking Jamie to and from school gave me the time to think. The more I walked, the more I thought, and the more I realised that working for anyone was the wrong thing for me to do.

The dropping off & picking up of Jamie was the only thing I needed to do. There was nothing else on my agenda – other than the small matter of deciding what to do with the rest of my life.

With each round trip to Inchture Primary, my resolve grew stronger, as did the bond with Jamie. We talked nonsense, we laughed, discussed school diners, his new classmates and connected on a different level. I realised just how much I’d missed out on with his older brothers. I’d missed so much – far too much. I’ll never let that happen again.

Freedom, finding true happiness, having a life again – all made possible by the simple act of walking Jamie to and from school.

I’ve shared this story before, but it wasn’t until the closing moments of Marcus Sheridan’s keynote speech at The Content Marketing Conference in Edinburgh that I realised the full significance of the morning school run.

Marcus will be joined on his international travels by his daughter Danielle, who will chronicle their adventure on her ’Traveling With Dad’ blog. I had my much smaller scale journey, but ‘Traveling with Jamie’ started the process of getting me well again – my short walk to freedom.

This post is dedicated to Marcus & Danielle Sheridan and of course Jamie.

Sep 06

The Content Marketing Academy Conference 2015

By Kevin Anderson | All Posts , Content Marketing

7.15am on the Dundee-Edinburgh train.

I’ve been deliberately frugal since launching the business. I’m working from home predominately, but also find I’m able to write quite easily in coffee houses, the local library, hotels and at my clients own offices. I don’t need silence to operate. In fact I think some ambient background noise is a good thing. Now, I’m writing on the train. I wasted money on an office when I had my first business. In fact, I wasted an awful lot of money on pointless things that didn’t add value. Now I’m operating the business by being ‘ducks arse’ tight.

But today I let go of the purse strings. I’m attending my first conference since launching the business. It’s the Content Marketing Academy 2015 event in Edinburgh.

There is a variety of speakers from different backgrounds, but they all have one thing in common – much of their success has been driven by content marketing. As a freelance copywriter & content writer, it is the perfect event for me to lose Square Tree Marketing’s event virginity.

5.55 the homeward journey

I’m on the train home after The Content Marketing Academy 2015 conference. Years of attending corporate events, sales kick offs, and other industry shindigs have taught me to keep my expectations low. I suppose you could say I still have an inbuilt cynicism, that is difficult to shake. I went into today’s conference hoping to take away one or two pieces of advice, maybe some ideas or a new concept that I could apply to my own business. I left with considerably more than that.

As I walked the few hundred yards from the COSLA building to Haymarket Station, my mind was racing. I’d taken copious notes, snapped a few pictures and absorbed the stories from the speakers. I know that I’ll never be able to remember every story, every anecdote or wise word, but that doesn’t matter. What matters is that each gave me at the very least one gift. And those gifts, when combined add up to one thing – a far more inspired version of myself. I’m at risk of having my very own ‘Tom Cruise on Oprah’ moment, but I’m writing this ‘filters off’.

Today will go down as the day my business changed forever.

The Content Marketing Academy community is already established, and I have, until now been a silent admirer from afar. I was nervous about going along today as there are several big personalities within the group, and I feared I’d be in the all-too-familiar position as feeling like an outsider. Someone who doesn’t belong. People that know me, and I mean REALLY know me, will find this surprising. I come across as a very confident person, but like so many people, I still have those huge moments of self-doubt.

Also because I didn’t attend yesterday, I felt like I missed out, not just on Marcus Sheridan’s amazing workshop, but on the opportunity to meet & establish relationships. All the cool kids will have formed their groups, and I’d be that awkward kid on the outside looking in.

But that wasn’t the case. I saw a few familiar faces and found it much easier than usual to strike up conversations with strangers. I think this is for two reasons. First – everyone was there for the same purpose, to learn more about content marketing and second – I’m comfortable to proclaim what I am – which is a copywriter and content writer. (You can read about me ‘coming out’ as a writer here.)

I’ve devoured a huge amount of content marketing content from books to blogs – videos to webinars. I’m a believer; a convert from the World of traditional media that knows content marketing is the single most powerful way to grow any business. Today, I entered the church for the first time. The rest of the congregation came from all walks of life, from different sectors and with varying levels of experience. I felt a sense of belonging. These people – are my people.

So what specifically did I take away the day?

My Own Content

Ironically, as someone that loves to write – I’m not creating enough of my own content. I’ve been writing plenty of content for my clients, and I’ve used that as an excuse for not writing for my site. That changes NOW.

I was arrogant.

I only bought my ticket last week as the list of attendees didn’t blow me away, which is ironic, as that’s exactly what they did. Let me explain. I only saw one marketing agency (Velocity Digital) on the list of speaker. I expected to see more. Who was Karen Strunk, who was this fella Richard Tubb and what who exactly was this ‘Sales Lion’? In my defence – this was programmed from going to large Internet Marketing events from my time at D.C. Thomson. But I got that all wrong. Very wrong.

The nature of Content Marketing is that it’s inclusive. It’s FOR everyone & it’s FROM everyone. A hardened B2B chap such as I can learn so much from an American that made his living selling swimming pools in Virginia. From an IT consultant turned blogger and yes, from a dominatrix turned personal branding, coach.

The Wikipedia of….

I need to become the Wikipedia of content writing. I love to write content for clients, and it’s how I make my living, but I’m well aware that not everyone wants, or can afford to outsource their writing. But I can serve the large audience that wants to create their own content by providing useful, free content that adds genuine value.

Think Bigger

I’ve not been thinking big enough. I can become a teacher, a coach or a mentor to the large and growing band of true content marketing believers that need support with their content writing efforts.

Be The Connector

I need to focus on helping other people first and as Richard Tubb said so powerfully – ‘Be the connector’. Not as a tactic, but because it is the right thing to do. Thanks Richard.

I am who I am

I need to embrace my personality. I could relate to Karen Strunks message about being authentic, genuine and true to yourself. She lives and breathes her message. Ten months ago I was off work with stress, on medication and felt utterly doomed. Now I own my own business and am doing what I love. From the lowest of lows to the highest of highs in a year. Thanks so much for sharing Karen.

I am who I am (part Deux)

On a related ‘personality’ note. I’ve always been told I should have been a comedian. I take that as a huge compliment. That came about from me sharing my mostly embarrassing tales inspired on my personal blog. They were inspired by the writing of David Sedaris. I love making people laugh – there is nothing like that. Gavin Oattes so skillfully and hilariously showed me that you can use humour to deliver a powerful, lasting message without in any way diluting its strength. I need to use my natural personality more in the content I create. Thanks Gavin – you delivered the perfect opening to the event and helped create the positive energy that framed the event.

I’m the Dummy

Stefan’s inclusion was freakishly well timed. I’ve avoided many of the traditional networking events, on the pretext that they don’t work. Ironically I know that they do. But it was my lack of self-confidence that was holding me back. I’m going to do three things. Buy his book (Business Networking for Dummies), take his advice and seek out more opportunities to establish deeper relationships. Thanks Stefan.

 

The Names McGrail, Mike McGrail

Mike at Velocity Digital taught me that it’s OK not to love LinkedIn! I love that a social media marketer doesn’t have to love every platform. The ‘James Bond esque’ targeting of competitors Facebook Likers wasn’t something I’d considered, but again is something I’ll certainly be trying. I scribbled so many notes and picked up so many tips from this session. Thanks Mike.

The Sales Lion

MARCUS

Marcus Sheridan. OK, I’ll be honest, I wasn’t sure what to expect and the tagline – ‘The Sales Lion’, did make me wonder why he was a keynote speaker at a Content Marketing event. I was wrong (notice a theme folks!!). He was the most engaging, energetic and authentic presenter I’ve ever had the pleasure to witness. If COSLA was the Content Marketing Church, then Marcus was THE Content Marketing Evangelist.

Marcus Sheridan’s words will change my business and my life. I will have a dedicated post about Marcus, but for now – thank you Marcus. You are an amazing man. I wish you and Danielle many happy adventures and encourage anyone reading this to visit www.travellingwithdad.com. Your emotional closing address touched me. I wrote a blog post called ‘Travelling With Jamie – The Short Walk to Freedom’. You inspired me to write it, and as such I dedicate it to you, Danielle and, of course, my own little trooper Jamie.

Final Reflection

Chris Marr has created a unique community and delivered the best business event I’ve ever attended. The perfect blend of knowledge and inspirational motivation – it will live long in the memory. It’s given me the direction, and the drive to do more, and to be more.

For that, I am eternally grateful.

Jul 29

Content Marketing versus Copywriting | Let Battle Commence

By Kevin Anderson | All Posts , Uncategorized

Content Marketing & Copywriting | Perfect Partners or Mortal Foes

When I tell people that content marketing is part of my business, the typical response is ‘What is content marketing?’

My response goes something like this –

“Your customers and potential customers don’t care about you, your products or your service. They care about themselves. Content marketing is about creating interesting information your audience is passionate about so they actually pay attention to you.”

That direct response sometimes gets a slightly puzzled look, the kind of look that says, “Nope – still don’t get it.”

My mobile writing office

The tools of my content & copywriting trade.

Then I tell them that I write content for clients. That content might be a blog post explaining a key concept, or it could be an animated video. It could also be creating a short ebook for a client to give away for free to clients.

“I see – so you’re a copywriter then. Why didn’t you just say so?”

Well yes and no.

The content marketing examples above have one thing in common – they are not selling anything. They are giving away free and valuable content for a target audience. They are the building blocks of a relationship. It’s not a sales pitch; it’s the start of a conversation. The principle being this – that if you continue to deliver valuable, free and relevant content that helps people – that they will come to trust you. If, in the future, they are in the market for a service you offer, the probability of them choosing you over an unknown business is very high. And even if they never become clients, they are likely to be fans of what you do and will help with your word of mouth marketing efforts.

So it’s not entirely altruistic, those that believe in content marketing aren’t saints – they just recognise that having content marketing as a cornerstone of their business makes business sense. They also recognise that content marketing doesn’t happen overnight. Creating content consistently takes time and for some the lack of an immediate payoff is the key thing that puts them off.

 

In other words, to them – Content Marketing is a luxury.

They’d rather focus on creating direct selling copy for their website or a piece of direct mail to post out to a database. This more direct approach still works, especially for those with the skills to write persuasive copy. But if it is ALL you write and if it is the only way you do business – then sooner, rather than later – people will switch off. Becuase ultimately the vast majority of people love buying, but HATE being sold to.

The flipside though is that if you only give away free content, and don’t have a product or service behind it to sell – then you frankly don’t have a business. There is a balance to be struck.

Gary Vaynerchuck sums it up perfectly in his book Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook. It’s a great book and worth a read – the central theme in the book is this. The jabs are a series of free, valuable content that is given away before a sale is asked for in the form of a copywriting right hook. Gary does this brilliantly by giving away, short daily videos, as well as frequent free blog posts. He follows this up by then sharing with his audience through a well copy-written sales page or video that he has a new book available. The key to Gary’s success isn’t just his full-on personality, but that the free content he shares is genuinely valuable. He also wins because he gets the ratio right. It’s not a coincidence that the book ISN’T called Jab, Right Hook, Right Hook, Right Hook.

Blog Writing Image

A regularly updated blog, is a great example of Content Marketing

So to take the boxing metaphor a bit further – content marketing and copywriting aren’t in opposing corners – they’re in the same one. They are the winning team. They work hard together in the gym over a long period, they do the road work, they do the bag work and a bit of skipping. When they finally get in the ring, they are perfectly prepared. And of course every boxer and boxing team need an opponent – they need an enemy – and in our case that enemy is apathy. Apathy that so often leads to someone hitting the ‘back button’ and searching again for the content that grabs them, engages them and connects with them.


Do the words you use strike that balance? Does the content on your site hold people’s attention? Does it deliver a knock-out punch for your business? If the answer is no, you owe it to yourself, your business and your audience to create fresh new content. And if you don’t have time to do it yourself or you simply don’t like writing get in touch with me, and I’ll turn words into real assets for your business.

Contact Kevin by filling in our enquiry form or if you’d like a chat, just call 07873 110097.

Jun 16

Quest Scotland Testimonial

By Kevin Anderson | All Posts , Testimonial

IQuest Logo - Square Tree Marketing Testimonial Page‘ve been working with Laura Mason at Quest (Scotland) Ltd. for a number of months now, to help develop their marketing plans for their Train the Trainer qualification. I created and presented the plan to Laura, who then commissioned me to implement several key marketing initiatives.

Here’s what Laura has had to say.

“Kevin at Square Tree Marketing has made my life so much easier. Marketing was something I struggled to fit in, during busy times and also something that I don’t actually enjoy doing.

I asked Kevin to focus on a ‘Train the Trainer’ qualification that we offer called “Planning and delivering learning sessions to groups” and help me to market it effectively. First he produced a marketing plan explaining all the options and then we started working on a few things which really made a difference.

1. A landing page for train the trainer on my website, which means potential customers can find the information easily.

2. A video promoting the product.

3. A new information pack and invite for the training.

4. An updated Facebook presence and LinkedIn page.

Within a few days of launching the landing page we had a new customer who booked 2 train the trainer sessions.

I think where Kevin excels is he makes me feel that he is working with me, rather than for me. He cares about the results too. His writing ability is also fantastic. I would have toiled over an article, hated writing it, but with Kevin I just give my views and majestically a well written piece is produced.”

Laura Mason,

Quest (Scotland) Ltd.
The Hub & Spoke Model
Jun 15

The Hub & Spoke Model – Creating Your Platform

By Kevin Anderson | All Posts , Platform

She’d built a reputation for producing beautiful, hand crafted gifts. It was something she loved to do. Encouraged by the kind words of her Facebook friends, she created a Facebook page and what started as a small hobby, morphed into a viable business overnight.

Sure, she had to work late into the nights once she got her 7 month old daughter down for the night, or as much as the night as you get with a typical 7 month old, but it was worth it. From being a ‘stay at home mum’, she was now a ‘stay at home entrepreneur’.

CraftImage

Fast forward just over a year and she’s closed down her social business. Why? Facebook moved the goalposts. There was a time when most of the people that liked her Facebook page would see everything that she posted. Almost overnight, her organic (free) reach fell below 50%. She’d lost the ability to reach half her audience. OK, not quite. She could boost her post or take on some form of paid advertising on Facebook, but she didn’t want to. If I’d met her. I would have recommended a $5 (£3.33 ish) boost on all her sale posts, but I didn’t, as this tale was shared with me by her dad.

There was so much she could have done, but it was all too much and while she still creates crafty gifts for friends and family, the scale of her operation is considerably smaller than what it once was. There are two lessons to be learned from this short tale.

Lesson One – Don’t Give Up

Firstly, don’t give up. There were, after all, some really low cost ways she could have reached out to her audience within Facebook. Being creative with tagging people into your Facebook posts is a legitimate way of boosting your free Facebook reach, and a simple, small ‘boosted post’ could have made a dramatic difference to the audience she reached.

One of my own clients has a little over 100 likes on his relatively new Facebook page. But through a combination of post sharing and post tagging, he regularly gets 4 times that in organic reach. Which is quite good for free. He now regularly, for the majority of posts adds a $5 boost. The result – he can reach 10 times the number of ‘likers’ that his page has.

Example of Organic Reach on Facebook

Organic & Paid Facebook Reach Example

Let’s break that example down. It cost him £3.33 to reach an additional 1,161 people. Or put another way – it cost him £0.00286822 for each additional person he reached. To make it even simpler – it cost him less than 3 pence to reach 10 people. This is great but it only represents real value for money if some of that traffic takes, be that paid for or free, engages and connects with you, your Facebook page and of course your business. It’s not a quick hit, but over time, if you share good, valuable content, you can build strong, profitable relationships.

Lesson Two – Don’t Build on Leased Land

The second point, is probably the most important. As good as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram all the other social media platforms are, they shouldn’t be viewed as the final destination for your marketing efforts. Instead, you should be using these incredibly powerful platforms to drive people to a place where you have ultimate control – your own website. It’s a bit like building a luxury villa on leased land. You might have the fanciest, most impressive villa that anyone has ever seen, but guess what, if the landlord sells the land, your investment could be bulldozed.

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If you overly rely on any one social platform, you will always be at risk. If they switch off a particular feature or decide to charge for an aspect that is currently free, you will find yourself potentially in the situation of losing revenue, through no fault of your own. You will have lost a key element of control. Now don’t for one minute think that this is an ‘anti – social media’ post, because it’s not. I believe in the power of social media, I just think that the power needs to be redirected in the right way.

The Hub and Spoke Model

As well as engaging with your followers, friends and ‘likers’ within the likes of Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, a key goal should be to direct them to a place you have ultimate control – your own website.

The Hub & Spoke Model

The Hub & Spoke Model

Your own website needs to be the central hub to your business. It has to become the place where those that have been treated to a tasty, social starter, end up going to enjoy a full, rich and satisfying main course. That means your job is to serve up compelling content. Content that is even better than what you share on social media. Your websites content has to be the home for your showpiece content.

If you have your own site. Great, but be honest – is the content as good as it could be? If it isn’t that needs to be your focus. There is little to be gained by driving people from a highly entertaining Facebook post to an uninspiring webpage on your own site. It sounds like hard work, but it really isn’t. Be yourself, write in a natural, personable way and let the stories that make your business shine through.

If you don’t have a site, then you absolutely need to get one. No excuses. Here are my quicks tips to getting a website up and running on a budget.

  1. Spend a bit of time thinking of the best possible domain name.
  2. Make sure you host your own site. This can cost between £50 and £200 a year.
  3. I recommend you use the WordPress content management system.
  4. Use a free template, or better still spend £25-£75 on a ‘Premium Template’. (the design of your site)
  5. Add the recommended plugins. (tools to help your site run.)
  6. Create the content. Mix up text, images and video to make the most dynamic experience for your visitors.
  7. Add Google Analytics to your site. (Free tool to show how many people are visiting your site.)
  8. Update the content at least once a week by adding a ‘blog post’.
  9. Add a newsletter sign-up form, to capture the email addresses of interested visitors.

I’m in the process of writing a guide to creating your own website, but in the meantime, if anyone wants any advice or support please let me know.


Key Message

Use social media in the right way – to engage people, show your businesses personality and drive them to an even richer experience on your own website – the central hub for your business.


 

Additional Resources

There is a great article written by Sonia Simone at Copyblogger that says it far better than I. It’s called Digital Sharecropping – The Most Dangerous Threat to Your Online Marketing and is worth a read.

Jun 12

In a minute episode 3 Testimonials

By Kevin Anderson | In A Minute

Transcript

Welcome to In a Minute, with Square Tree Marketing. Episode 3 – Testimonials.

There’s nothing better than having somebody tell the world, loudly and proudly how good you are at what you do. A testimonial, on your own website or shared on social media provides the social proof to turn a potential client into a real client. So many businesses don’t take advantage of them. They miss the opportunity to tell stories of their success. Simple short testimonials are great and very effective, but why not try doing something a bit different. Maybe a short video testimonial would work best for your business. Or for tradesman, use a ‘before’ and ‘after’ picture to show your craftsmanship alongside the testimonial. Or take it even further by creating a bigger story – in the form of a case study.

A final note from me – I honestly think most businesses need to have a better focus on gathering and using testimonials. They make more of an impact than you realise, especially when shared on social media.