It’s Your Reputation

I’ve been on a few visits to schools and businesses recently and I also read a fantastic article about customer service. We all know that it takes a long time to build a credible reputation but it can take seconds for it to be torn to shreds. So, are you doing all you can to build and foster your reputation?

Opinions can linger forever – via colleagues over the water cooler, family and friends eager to learn more about your job, or from complete strangers who can make or break the future of your company and undo all your hard work.

I’m very much an attention to detail person. I care about the small stuff. I notice the little things. I think about the conversations I’ve had that day – did I come off as unfriendly? Did I say something which could be taken out of context once passed around? All businesses rely on word of mouth but it has to be positive and constructive. Otherwise, you won’t survive. Your company will falter and your reputation will be under the spotlight. So, what can you do?

I like to think of reputations like sandcastles. At first, they are unsteady and can be subject to any element of the weather but if you pay attention to your reputation, nurture it, and fortify it, you can grow strong. But beware, of course, that a person can come along and kick your sandcastle down. Destroyed in a second, with no thought to how lovingly you built it in the first place.

So, think about the conversations you’re having, the people you’re meeting, and their first impressions of you. How do you come across? Do you appear dismissive or uncaring? Or, do you light up the room, listen to people, and care about what they’re actually saying?

Conversations and connections are at the heart of business – you never know who you will be introduced to in the future but you can be sure they’ll remember you if didn’t seem to care about them in the past.

 

What’s your marketing priority?

You’ve started a new business, you want to revive your flailing business, or you want to expand your existing business. When it comes to your goals, how do you work out your marketing priorities? You can’t do it all at once, after all, can you?

Your business requires many marketing avenues that will all lead to your business hub. A marketing strategy, copywriting, blogs, web content, market research, competitor analysis, advertising, press releases, articles, other media coverage, networking, events, social media, promotional material, website, SEO, branding…the list is endless! So many facets to make your business look great and appeal to customers.

Essentially, marketing is about building relationships with consumers through a number of intricate ways, designed to satisfy customers and in the midst of all these marketing components, you obviously have to get out there yourself and build personal relationships because clients like to see the face of the brand, and they like making a personal connection to a product or service they can get behind.

So, are you overwhelmed yet by the amount of marketing tasks there can be for your business? What do you do first? What do you prioritise? What do you put aside because you just don’t have the time? What are you not good at and therefore may intentionally avoid?

First of all, you have to decide what customers or clients you want to engage with, and then look at what they love and what they follow. It’s no use posting on Pinterest if your customers are more likely to be found on Instagram.

“When I advise my clients where to start, I always go to the beginning – having a marketing strategy. This is the nub of your business and where you would like it to go in the next few months, a year, five years.”

And, it isn’t a document set in stone – it’s a moveable feast that is adapted over time, thought about often with consideration, and never left to collect digital dust on your hard drive. You need to feel comfortable with all its facets, and then decide the best avenues to take to achieve your dreams.

Marketing is about relationships – honing them, spending time on them, and shaping them into malleable promises of buying into your brand, your products, or your services. Once you’ve worked on your marketing strategy, choose the avenues you’d like to start with (and of course ask a professional if you need help!).

You may wish to forge more personal connections with plenty of networking events, you may want to get to know other businesses you can cross-promote with, you may feel that your online presence, and in particular Facebook, is the place for your business to settle into and thrive. See where your competitors are, how much success they are having with their different marketing avenues, and then prioritise accordingly.

If I could give one piece of advice which I think is already clear is that you shouldn’t go all out doing everything at once. Pick your battles and you will win your war!

If you need help with your marketing strategy or specific marketing avenues, get in touch:
suzanne@warnermarketing.co.uk
07812 448664

Copywriting Class

Copywriting is an art form. The written content, in whatever guise it takes, increases brand awareness and encourages the person reading it to take a particular action. With the amount of content being created and circulated globally every day, copywriting is an essential part of marketing any business but do you have what it takes to get it right?

Words are my thing. Numbers not so much but words I can do. After my journalism degree, my first job was as a reporter and newsreader on a local commercial radio station. I loved it. Each day was different and I met so many people along the way looking to promote their stories, and their issues.

The majority of the press releases were too long and the actual story was buried somewhere, if it was there at all. And, part of my job was to ignore the noise, find the story and write it up into a brief news piece that was exciting and engaged the listeners.

That’s pretty much what copywriting is about. You need to have exceptional language skills, be a good listener, be curious, and pay attention to the detail. Copywriting is emotional. You’re trying to evoke feelings with the content that you’re writing to persuade the person reading it to feel compelled to think or act in a certain way.

Think of the content just one organisation needs to put out every day in its various forms and the explosion of the internet, social media, and our need to get instant information puts copywriters at the forefront of change, the exchange of ideas, and the swaying of opinion.

“Blogs should be telling a story, creating passion and interest from the reader. Website content should match your market, your ideals, and how you feel about the world. Social media posts should captivate your audience, making them hunger for more.”

Imagine being handed a mediocre press release and turning it into something simply stunning – it’s the same story but the words have been remodelled and moved around to generate a buzz, a hook, an emotion that tells the person reading it they should engage with the story on a deeper level and share it with a wider audience.

Stories can be dull or they can be truly magical. You can tell your story in a thousand ways, and your choice of words lets you be who you want to be in business. The trick is you have to get it right.

If you need help with the copywriting for your business, please get in touch:
suzanne@warnermarketing.co.uk
07812 448664

The Art of the Press Release

Press releases are an art form – get them right and you open up a whole new window into the world of your business but get them wrong and journalists won’t take you seriously. 

I first started writing press releases while studying for my Journalism degree many years ago. We learnt the basics of how to construct a press release, and how to turn a bland story into a stunning one. My first job was at a radio station as a newsreader and reporter and I came across many press releases – some were fantastic but the majority were run of the mill. Many missed the point of the actual story which had been buried in perhaps the fourth or fifth paragraph. Many were poorly written with grammatical errors, spelling mistakes, and sentences that lacked impact.

It was my job at the time to turn these press releases into noteworthy stories and I enjoyed the challenge. Then, I moved onto the BBC as a broadcast journalist and the volume of press releases sent in increased ten fold. How could we see the story in so many? How could we sift through the bad to get to the good? How could we get the right message across in such a short space of time?

Many press releases, I’m afraid, didn’t make it past the headline let alone reading the first paragraph. Some looked interesting and were worthy of reading on to find the actual story but the majority were spiked, literally. Some companies would call and ask us why we hadn’t run their press release on the air and most of the time I didn’t have the heart to tell them it wasn’t written properly and the story had got lost in its translation.

That’s why I like to think of a press release as an art form. There is a way of going about them that you must adhere to, and you need to give a lot of thought over how you’re going to construct them.

“Many fellow marketers I know choose to write the whole press release and then come back to the headline. They know that the most important part, and the attention-grabbing section, is the bold and enlarged headline. It is the essence of the story in a few words. It is your chance to engage the reader.” 

And, don’t forget the press release is free so it won’t cost you anything except your time. Unlike advertising, it’s a perfect opportunity to take advantage of a process that won’t cost you any money but are you afraid that you won’t get it right?

You want to be the media-friendly company, the one reporters turn to for comments, the business that understands how the media works. And, that means getting your press releases right, every time. You need to be at the point where every one you send in to the media is printed verbatim. When that happens, you know your story is getting the angle you have chosen rather than what the journalist has inferred.

And, don’t forget the same press release doesn’t fit all. You’ll need to write different press releases depending on who you’re sending them to. You’ll also need to take into account deadline days and when the pressure is on for the journalists. Don’t flood them with your press releases when they’re up against it. Choose your timing and adapt your press releases accordingly. Perhaps you can take advantage of slow news days to get your message across.

However you approach the press releases for your business, don’t forget they are an integral part of getting noticed so get them right and you’ll be amazed at how they can transform your brand.

If you need help with your press releases, get in touch:
suzanne@warnermarketing.co.uk
07812 448664

Why Blog?

I’ve been thinking a lot about the subject and content for my first blog. And then I thought – why not do it about blogging?

As a marketing consultant, I understand that blogging is part of the modern marketing landscape for any business. It is an essential part of sustained growth and renewed customer interest. But why?

Well, did you know that “companies with blogs have 55% more visitors than those without blogs”? A blog can also “influence a reader’s decision to purchase” (Source: https://bloggingwizard.com/blog-post-ideas-for-businesses/) so we all agree that blogging needs to be part of the marketing toolkit for any sustainable business.

However, it can be hard to keep up the momentum. With all the other tasks to do for your business, blogging is probably not even on your To Do List, or it may be at the very bottom and thus will be neglected forever. It is one of the marketing elements that you know is essential, yet you still can’t seem to dedicate any time to it.

My solution to this is to make blogging fun! Write something personal, tell a story, evoke emotions because the more meaningful the blog is, the more your reader will want to engage with you or share your content with others. This is a win-win situation. You shake off that feeling that blogging is tedious and it instead becomes a fun exercise that you look forward to. And, in turn, you develop a readership, more customers, and more content. After all, SEO loves fresh content.

If you need help with your blogs, please get in touch:
suzanne@warnermarketing.co.uk
07812 448664