What is hero content?

image of the 3H model

Hero content is a concept that is central to many content marketing approaches and in this post I’m going to explain what it actually is and show how you use hero content in a campaign.

In this post

What is hero content?

Hero content is the main piece of work that an entire campaign will lead up to or centre around and can feature (among other things) a major white paper, a research piece or an eBook that provides valuable and useful information for its readers.

Hero content establishes the credibility of you and your brand and shows users that you can be relied upon to have a detailed grasp of the subject. In short, it shows you are a subject matter expert.

The benefits of hero content

To my mind there are three benefits of hero content.

The first is the establishment of credibility.

When you are working in services marketing credibility is the key because with services the potential client needs to know that they are buying quality.

A chunky piece of hero content helps to establish that credibility and shows the client that you know what you are doing. It gives them the warm feeling they need that you have the background, experience and knowledge needed to help with their particular issues.

The second benefit is that it gives you a substantial subject for the focus of your marketing.

If you are wanting to get press attention, backlinks and visits then nothing works as well as original research or a thought leadership white paper.

Your hero content can form a central part of your marketing effort and depending on your objectives will enable you to drive engagement, shares likes etc. for your site.

The final benefit is the use of hero content to build a mailing list.

There can’t be many people who haven’t signed up to a mailing list to get a valuable piece of research or to read an insightful article.

It’s pretty much standard practice in the business world and from my point of view, I accept it both as a price to pay for the content but also in the hope that when I get emails from the company they will also be interesting.

Using the ‘3H’ strategy

The 3 H strategy was devised by Google to help YouTubers and is a method of garnering interest and pushing them towards hero content.

It’s an excellent way of marketing, especially if you are in services but it works across the spectrum and you can see charities, government organisations and online stores all using the 3H strategy too.

The 3H strategy uses 3 different types of content; Hygiene, Hub and Hero to engage with the audience.

The idea is that it all revolves around giving away free content to build credibility and brand loyalty.

image of the 3H model


The 3H strategy:- Hygiene

Hygiene is the name of the content that underpins the whole strategy.

If you were to transfer it to the AIDA marketing concept then it would be an ‘A’ – Attention.

Also called supporting pieces these are short, sharp attention getters that give potential clients some insight into a small area of your expertise.

They form the bedrock of the strategy and are useful for getting hits through keyword marketing.

The important point is that they aren’t necessarily going to make you sales.

If it was in the field of human relationships then a hygiene piece would be a first date. All your customer is doing is seeing if they like you enough to go on a second date, you’re not getting married yet!

The most common types of hygiene content is a blog article but it could be a short podcast or video. In fact, anything that is designed to get attention from your target market.

Because they tend to be simpler and shorter, hygiene pieces are the cheapest to produce and many marketers will say that done well, they produce the best ROI of anything.


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The 3H strategy:- Hub

Longer and more in-depth than a hygiene piece, the hub content is the next step in the 3H marketing method.

Also called ‘pillar’ pieces, hub content is a way of gaining more engagement from your intended audience.

You’re starting to give them something of real value here so the types of assets you produce could be things like worksheets, step by steps, longer ‘how-to’ videos and indeed anything that your customer can use in their day to day work or life.

Strangely they tend to be the longest-lived content because where the hygiene pieces are often topical and of the moment, a good pillar piece can be reused in a variety of different campaigns.

The 3H strategy:- Hero content

This is where it ends up – Hero.

Now you are really getting to the meat of the issue and what you are providing is a chunky, original and useful bit of work.

Maybe you have done some original research that will help businesses or you have an ‘ultimate guide to…’ that assists startups, helps with inheritance tax or even helps people plan a funeral!

Whatever it is I guarantee that in your business there is some hero content that is waiting to be discovered.

By the time your potential customer has read some of your hygiene content, used your pillar piece worksheets and pored over your hero guide they are clear that you are trustworthy, you know what you are talking about and you are professional.

And when you are in services that is the golden nugget that you are searching for.

Start with a plan

The place to start is with a sensible and realistic plan.

Think about what you want to achieve as a result of the campaign.

Think about your potential clients. What issues do they have that you can solve?

Think about how all the pieces of hygiene, hub and hero will work together.

You can decide to produce all of the hygiene first and then roll it up into a hero piece or you can start with your hero content and then chop it down into bite-sized chunks. Then you can expand upon these in a series of blogs.

Generally speaking, I’d say you need to look at producing one hero content, 2-4 hub pieces and an 12+ hygiene pieces that all support the theme.

And don’t get too ambitious. You are much better off proving you are a subject matter expert about a single, focused issue than trying to write a hero piece that contains everything you know.

3 ideas for great hero content

So I’m going to fess up here. These aren’t 3 great ideas for hero content that I have just had.

In fact, these are all pieces of hero content that I have already produced for clients, so I’m not being original. But then the point is that these are simply examples of ideas that you could use in your own industry.

Rydoo – the state of expense management

Rydoo is one of the best global Travel and Expenses systems out there and they asked me to produce a report based on the data they were seeing from their users.
The report was designed to who how expenses claims had changed as a result of COVID and what it meant for employers and employees alike.

This is a great way to use data you may already have in your systems and produce something of value for your potential customers and to make you a thought leader in your industry.

You do need to be careful of course. You need to be aware of GDPR requirements and you need to make sure you don’t give away any trade secrets!

Download a copy of the report here.

Access webinar

So although much of the hero content you see on the web is written, it doesn’t have to be that way.

Another COVID themed piece of content, the webinar “How to use the end of lockdown to rebalance your finance operations” was a way to drive engagement with a very specific target market – people who may need to buy new finance software.

The webinar was produced for the Access Group, a major UK based software house and was promoted across their social channels and supported with blogs.

There are lots of good things about webinars; they promote engagement, allowing attendees to ask questions and become part of the discussion, they are accessible for people who hate reading, and the platform pretty much demands that people give their email addresses otherwise they can’t get in!

The good news is that you know all of the information you need. After all you are an industry expert (even if you think you aren’t) so it takes little in the way of research.

And if you really don’t want to present it yourself then why not get a good looking and intelligent presenter. Ahem…

Ebooks as hero content

One of the most important reasons for producing hero content is to build an audience.

You want people to get some value out of your work so that they come back and enjoy more content.

The truth (that most content marketers won’t tell you) is that most of the people won’t buy what you are selling, but you may well find that they recommend you to other people and you may never know.

But, if you produce some hero content with real value it will build your audience and prove your credibility on a particular subject matter.

In a shameless act of self-publicity here’s an ebook I wrote for accountants called “The accountants’ guide to digital marketing” which you can download here.

Don’t worry that it talks about marketing an accountancy practice, in fact, it’s useful for anyone who wants to know more about hero content or just content marketing in general.

Hero content - free guide to content marketing for accountants

Need a bit of help?

I’m a professional writer and I spend my life producing this type of content.

I can either write for you to your plan or I can help you produce your campaign plan that you can write or I can do the lot.

Give me a shout and let’s chat. No obligation naturally.

Haven’t touched your blog since June 2019? Here are 7 different types of posts you have to make now

Freelance financial copywriter

OK so we’ve all been there, the blog sits on the to-do list, never getting ticked, just glaring at you.

You’ve been putting it off, I know you have.

So look you know that writing your blog regularly is the best way to get your site to creep up the rankings (higher rankings=more hits=more business) but you haven’t got the time.

What you need is either; an amazing financial copywriter (cough) or an injection of enthusiasm.

Well let’s assume you can’t find an amazing financial copywriter no matter how hard you look so this post is here to give you some ideas as to the type of blogs you can write for your business.

A blog about you

Yawn.

Yes you could, but unless it is incredibly engaging then nobody wants to know about you.

Sorry but thems the breaks.

Since we were little we have been told we’re special but the truth is that in business terms we’re not. So avoid writing about yourself wherever possible unless you are the Olympic champion carpet fitter or something.

A clickbaity blog

You know the sort of stuff

14 things you can do with a porcupine (you won’t believe number 6)

Ok so sometimes they do work otherwise people wouldn’t use them but generally avoid unless you have 21 pictures of Meghan Markel one of which I won’t believe.

Blogs about issues in your industry

Again, you CAN do this if you want and to be fair a blog about your own industry issues will often be very good for SEO purposes.

They can also work where your industry issues are your clients’ issues.

For example, if you are an accountant writing about IR35, well that’s an issue in your industry and will also affect your clients.

So go for it.


More resources
Wondering what to write about? Find out how to choose your blog subjects here

Blogs that answer questions about your product

Now I particularly like this one.

A blog that answers questions that your clients may have about your products is useful for three reasons;

  1. SEO. A blog about your product is going to include a lot of searchable terms
  2. It answers the questions that your clients are asking and gives them a warm feeling about you
  3. A good answer blog is very shareable, and we like shares.

In fact I would go so far as to argue that any company should have a good selection of posts that answer these sort of questions in detail.

For example let’s imagine you are a finance broker, then you need to make sure you are writing up blogs about the application process, features of different products, compare and contrast products or reviews.

Blogs that answer questions about something your product can be used for

This is different to the above.

So in the above section you are answering questions specifically about the product itself.

In this one you are answering questions about the uses to which you can put a product.

Can I use this finance to buy a house at auction?

Can I use this SaaS software to manage my practice?

Can I sell this software to my clients?

What you are trying to do is to answer questions that your customers may have but at the same time give them ideas about other ways that they can use your product or service.

Also these are answers to questions and Google loves that, it really really loves that.

Blogs about issues that affect your clients

Now we’re getting to the epic stuff.

Answering questions about things that affect your clients is a great way to get your service/product in front of them.

So for example, let’s imagine that you provide recruitment industry finance.

You write blogs about cash flow in the recruitment industry, 5 things to think about when you start your recruitment business, how to finance your payroll.

Naturally each of them do mention invoice finance but not in a salesy, in your face kind of way.

Your blogs are pointed towards people who may not even know that invoice finance exists or what it is.

Blogs about issues that affect your client’s clients

You wouldn’t believe it but this is an excellent way to publicise your business and it’s one that service providers use all the time.

I write content for software providers, often in the financial services industries and one of their favourite subjects is to write helpful posts about problems that their clients’ clients are having.

So I have a few software SaaS companies that provide software for accountants.

They write posts about specific industries that their clients market to.

For example they may write about changes to the Construction Industry Scheme (CIS).

They post the article and then (and this is the important bit) they publicise it to their accountants telling them that it is a good resource to share with their clients.

That way not only do the accountants read it, they also share it because it is some free resource that they can pass on that makes them look good in the eyes of their own clients!

C’mon dude, get that blog up and running

Right look, blogs are brilliant for SEO and they are awesome at giving potential customers a warm feeling about you.

Nobody likes seeing a website that has cobwebs growing in the corner so get to it and write a blog today, you’ll feel better about yourself, promise.

Haven’t got the time?

Course you haven’t, that’s why I’m here.

I’m that annoying guy that sits in the corner of your coworking location tapping away on his keyboard all day muttering to himself and letting out an occasional unnerving chuckle.

But I’m not bad at writing.

I can sort out your keywords, write your blog, post it on your site and do all that SEO stuff that you’ve never quite got your head around.

My mum will tell you that I’m a nice guy so get in touch now and let’s have a chat about how I can stop your website looking like the room that the Addams family are scared to go into.


5 items of content marketing that every accountant must use

Two accountants content marketing discussion

For go-ahead accountants content marketing is the way to go.

If you are looking to grow your practice, or if you just want to make sure your current clients are more engaged and understand all the services that you offer, then you need to be producing content.

And there are some bits of content that are absolutely essential for your content marketing.

So here’s my list of the top 5 things you need to be doing to make sure your accountancy firm stays ahead of the game with its marketing.

#1 – Blog posts

You have got a blog haven’t you?

This the absolute number 1 thing you need.

Firstly it shows your clients that you are an up to date, current practice rather than a firm that put a website up just because it was the done thing.

Make sure you are producing useful stuff though, and make sure its relevant to your focused target market.

And if you don’t have the time then pay me to do it.


Yellow tomato - content advice for accountants
Find out why choosing your focus is so important here

#2 – Technical updates

OK so I’m not talking about technical updates in the way that you or I understand them.

What I am talking about is a digest of a technical development but presented in an easy to understand format.

The aim here is to inform your clients about changes like MTD, IR35 or RTI but in a way that makes is accessible for them.

Essentially you are saying “here’s a problem, here’s how we can solve it for you.”

#3 – Videos

OK so I know you don’t like to see yourself on the screen and you hate the sound of your own voice but 82% of Twitter users for instance consume video content.

But don’t worry. It’s perfectly acceptable to employ an actor to voice or present your videos and they can be surprisingly cheap.

You can also use things like Powtoon to produce an animated video that doesn’t even need to feature you as a talking head.

#4 – Webinars

Remember that you aren’t really selling anything on your site, as a professional what you are looking to do is to increase your credibility in the mind of the client.

Webinars on specific subjects of interest to your clients are a great way to do this.

Look at linking up with other professionals who may have more experience and pool your resources and this can be a very cheap way of driving traffic.

Just make sure you record it so that users can watch it later on.

#5 – Expert reports, white papers or eBooks

One of the first questions that academics get asked when they are looking for a job is “what have you published”.

It’s a way of potential employers understanding how much of an expert the professor or researcher actually is.

So that’s my question for you – “what have you published”?

Producing a meaty piece of content that explores a subject in depth and cements your reputation as a subject matter expert is perfect.

It’s also great for using in an advertising or link building campaign.

Use content marketing for your accountants to grow your firm

Content marketing has a great ROI and done properly it can be long lived and very cost effective.

There are tens, maybe hundreds of types of content marketing that accountants can use but you MUST have these five.

Admittedly this takes time and may need a bit of expert advice and that’s where I come in.

call now or drop me a message and let’s talk about how I can help you boost your practice marketing.

What is TLDR and why you should care

TLDR (or TL;DR as it used to be known) means ‘Too Long;Didn’t Read’.

Simple.

So why should you care?

Well TLDR is really important when you are composing your blog posts and web content and I’m about to tell you why.

In this post;

Truth is no-one likes a wall of text

Have you ever been faced with a wall of text and just decided that life’s too short?

That’s TLDR in action.

A massive wall of text on a webpage is offputting.

Sure if you are sitting in the garden with a white wine spritzer and a copy of catch-22 then you can spend some time enjoying the experience of reading, but if you just want to find a recruitment consultant then you haven’t got enough life left to make it worth while.

Research has shown that our attention span reduced from 12.5 seconds in 2000 to 8.25 seconds in 2015 and the trend is continuing.

This means that as a blog writer you need to make sure your posts are snappy and to the point.

Otherwise your readers will drift away

person drifting away from a boat
If you’re not smart your users will drift away

Split up your text

So what can you do about it?

Well for a start you can practice writing in short, snappy sentences.

Long paragraphs of text aren’t attractive at all so you need to avoid them and make sure you use easily accessible language because the average reader won’t be wanting to read acres of jargon.

Make sure you break up your text with relevant images too that illustrate your point.

Text for your homepage

So here’s the thing – Google says you need plenty of text on your homepage to tell it what it’s about but in reality your users won’t read it. So what do you do?

You start off by getting to the point above the fold.

Above the fold means the bit you can see without scrolling.

If you check out my homepage it says quite clearly above the fold – expert professional services marketing.

If you’ve come to the wrong place then you’ll know straight away but if you have come to the right place then you’ll scroll to…

Telling people what problems you solve

Look, we don’t want to read a page full of jargon, we just want to know what you are going to do for us.

So get to the point as quick as you can, the problem, the solution, who it’s for.

So don’t dance around your handbags for half an hour before getting to the point because your TLDR readers have already left the building.

I’d suggest that above the fold you go for your most important services.

Then as the user scrolls down you provide more detail.

And when they click onto another page you can expand your thought process.

TLDR for blog posts

Have you noticed that I answered the question right at the top of the post?

I did this for two reasons.

The first is for the TLDR people. They don’t have to read any further than line 1.

That’s fine.

If you are going to buy from me then you probably want to know much more than just the simple answer to the question.

So I am happy to give TLDR people the answer to their question because I know that they probably aren’t going to engage with me anyway.

The second reason is for Google.

Google likes posts that answer questions, and it likes to use the answers on it’s featured snippets panels.

So if you answer the question that people are asking quickly and succinctly in the first sentence then you are much more likely to be highly placed.


Free resources to help with your copywriting and SEO
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Chuck in a bulleted list

Did you see at the start of the article that there was a bulleted list?

This is designed to help readers get to the bit they want to read without scrolling or reading through the rest of the article.

Seriously though, with so much great information available why would people scroll past?

But they do!

Oh and set up page anchors so if you click on the item it takes you to the relevant section. Find out how to do page anchors here.

TLDR is important to keep readers engaged

So in summary then the principle of TLDR is important if you want to keep readers engaged in your blog and if you want site visitors to read more on your site.

On your home page make sure you get to the point right away and make it above the fold.

For blog posts, answer the question your readers are asking straight away as this will help engagement and will also boost your SEO score for the page.

And make sure you split your text up into manageable chunks and include the odd image here and there.

Here’s the ad

If you’d like help with your site, whether it be copywriting, marketing or anything else then give me a shout and let’s chat.

How do you choose your tone of voice?

How do you choose your tone of voice

If you have spent any time at all thinking about marketing you’ll probably have heard people talking about ‘tone of voice’ and maybe you have wondered what this is.

Well wonder no more dear friends for in this post I am going to tell you what tone of voice is and how to choose yours.

What is meant by ‘Tone of Voice’?

Tone of voice is a concept that lives within the world of marketing.

It simply means how you speak to people through whatever medium you are using.

Tone of voice will be different depending upon what type of company you are, who runs it, the type of customer you are speaking to and what you are trying to convey.

A good analogy is thinking about speaking with your peers or your grandmother.

You use a totally different way of speaking.

Your phraseology is different, how polite you are changes and the words you use also differ.

You’ll use a different tone of voice if you are imparting technical knowledge as opposed to say writing in a lifestyle magazine and in fact, if you ever consider writing for people they will often tell you what tone of voice to use.

Tone of voice – some examples.

I thought I’d take 3 examples of different types of tone.

The first one is for a well established bank.

Barclays has a wealth management arm and this snippet is from one of their web pages.

“Whether you want to grow your wealth for a retirement income or a legacy to pass on to future generations, we can help you set goals and try to achieve them”

https://www.barclays.co.uk/wealth-management/wealth-planning/

Notice that the tone is neutral, professional, not overly ebullient. There isn’t a lot of technical jargon and there are certain phrases that shy away from being overt.

So instead of saying “we aim to make you more money than other people” They say “we can help you set goals and try to achieve them

Now compare this to a website aimed at IT professionals

“Archive Shuttle leverages the latest ingestion technologies within its Advanced Ingestion Protocol (AIP) to achieve speeds that are dramatically faster with a lower failure rate over traditional EWS methods of migration to Microsoft endpoints.”

https://www.quadrotech-it.com/archive-shuttle/

This language is very different.

They need to establish their credentials and they do this by talking the language of their target market.

I have no idea what Advanced Ingestion Protocol (AIP) is but it sounds impressive.

Of course the website isn’t aimed at me, it’s aimed squarely at people who are looking to migrate large amounts of data between locations.

Here’s my third example

We’re thrilled to be able to serve you once again and are ready and raring to help you with your online orders. Our Customer Care team are on hand, and very happy to chat you through our product range

https://uk.lush.com/article/your-questions-answered

This is from cosmetics firm Lush.

Make no mistake, they are just as keen to sell you stuff as Barclays and Quadrotech but the way they speak is as if they are your best friend.

They may be a multi-national but they are adopting a friendly, happy, positive tone that you could hear down the pub or in the gym.


The big digital marketing secret
There’s a big secret that people won’t tell you about digital marketing – want to know what it is? Click the image to find out.

So how do you choose your tone of voice?

The million dollar question!

The first thing to consider is your company.

Is it just you? one or two of you? 500 people?

The way you speak may change dependent upon the image you want to convey.

Think about your target market

Then think about your target market, what do they expect?

If you are talking to buyers of cosmetics would you use the same approach as Quadrotech? In other words, would you go into technical detail about what ingredients are in the soaps or would you talk about how it feels/smells/looks?

Then think about how your target market talks amongst themselves.

Do they use a lot of TLAs (three-letter acronyms, see what I did there?).

Are they highly professional, mums, teenagers, middle aged men?

Check out forums, message boards, Facebook groups etc, and just watch how they interact.

Adopting the language and mannerisms is important for people to like, or feel invested in your brand.

Then have a look round at websites you like.

Are there any that stand out?

Do any particular brands shout at you “This is how you should speak”?

Finding good examples of tone of voice that you think would work well is probably the best way to choose your own.

Finally think about how you are going to communicate.

Some TOVs work better in some channels than others.

In short if you have a young audience, a cool product and you are using instagram as your primary channel then this will heavily influence your tone of voice.

Using the same tone on LinkedIn may not have the desired effect!

The best tone of voice is the right tone of voice

When I start working with people to define their marketing plan they often ask what is the best tone of voice to use.

There is no simple answer.

If we think of the three examples, none of these is ‘better’ than the others, they are all examples of successful companies speaking to their customer in the right tone of voice for them.

And this is the important point.

The right tone of voice can be as individual as a fingerprint.

You need to be comfortable with it, your staff need to be comfortable with it and more importantly, your customers need to be comfortable with it.

So there you go.

All you need to do now is to choose how you want to communicate and make sure the same tone of voice is used across all of your marketing channels!

If you would like some help with tone of voice then give me a shout. I’m a nice guy honest and having a second pair of eyes usually saves you a lot of money in wasted copy!

What happened when I bought some cheap writing

Why buying cheap copy is a mistake

Anyone who runs a business will have heard the phrase “we’ve found someone who can do it cheaper”.

It’s annoying but understandable.

After all, it takes a lot of work to earn money and you want to know that you are getting full value for your Pounds, Euros or Dollar.

But I thought I’d have a go and see what it goes like when you buy cheap writing.

I decided to use one of the most popular freelance sites (I won’t say which one) and set a project.

I posted a project that asked for people to write a 600-word blog post called “6 things to think about when choosing a payroll system” and chose three writers to work with.

The replies began to ping into my inbox almost instantly which gave me a first clue.

Not all the people offering to do the work were writers!

I posted the project and within seconds I got proposals.

From graphic designers

And WordPress developers.

Now don’t get me wrong. They might well have been cruising the site and just pinged off an application but I’m suspecting not.

In fact I think they have a really clever bot that sends a standard application the moment a vaguely matching project gets posted.

Which means that the vast majority of applications I got were from people that weren’t really writers at all.

Frankly, if I wanted to get someone to do some copywriting for my accountants practice I’d want someone who did it at least part-time!

What content did they provide?

There were three different outcomes from the people I chose.

The first guy sounded the best and so I held out high hopes for him and sure enough 600 words arrived on time.

It was well written, made complete sense and I could tell that it was written by someone who really understood the subject.

Which is understandable because he’d stolen it off a website.

I put it through my plagiarism checker and guess what? He’d not even bothered to change a word.

Imagine the damage that would do to your business if you posted this and the original owner found out.


Content marketing is like a hot air balloon
Find out why marketing is like a hot air balloon – click the image

Number 2 was a lady who looked like she knew what she was doing. I sent off the brief and then waited.

Nothing.

So I sent her a message and asked what was up.

“Oh yes, some problems but I’ll get it to you tomorrow”

Nothing.

I sent another message but got no reply. Ever.

When you are working to a marketing plan it’s very very inconvenient if copy you expected doesn’t turn up.

I had high hopes for number three. After all we can’t have three duds in a row can we?

So this guy was a day late with the work, but at least he actually did it.

It wasn’t plagiarised and I could see why.

It included such gems as;

” So before making the system fully functional it’s functionality check should be carried out so that when it gets deployed in practical there are no chances of errors the working goes smooth.”

Or this

There are a lot of advantages a Payroll system have like it gives much accuracy , saves time and all the things become automated so human resource is saved.”

What you can’t be doing is paying good money for content that you have to essentially re-write or constantly have to speelcheck (just my little joke).


Do you need a freelance financial copywriter
How do you know if you need a specialist financial copywriter? Click the image to find out

Why quality copywriting is important for accountants

Any content you produce as an accountant (or for any professional service) is designed to show your competency in a particular field.

So if you are paying for content that isn’t accurate, well researched and grammatically correct then you are becoming a hostage to fortune.

Quality content does cost more, but employing an expert financial copywriter means that you’ll get work that you don’t have to check for accuracy and that will show your practice in the best possible light.

A great financial copywriter will also understand on-page SEO, which means that your posts are more likely to rank highly on Google.

Buying cheap is rarely the best option.

Want to talk about financial copywriting?

Mail me, call me, fill in the form and let’s have a chat.

The secret they won’t tell you about digital marketing

The big digital marketing secret

There’s a secret about digital marketing out there that people aren’t sharing and I think I know why.

I know why it’s not being shared and I also know why it is counter-productive.

It’s a secret that digital marketers and content producers know full well or, if they don’t then they ought to.

And it’s a secret that anyone embarking on digital marketing, whether it’s just for their own site or for someone else’s should know.

Marketers are great…

…at selling the sizzle.

It’s what we do.

We tell you how great things are going to be when you use our services and we let you believe that you’ll get instant results.

How often have you watched a video or read an article that leaves you with the impression that this is all dead easy and you can have amazing results really quickly?

The problem is that marketing has something called the ‘golden triangle’ which is something that project managers have known about for years.

If you want hits then you can have them cheap, quick or good but you can’t have all three.

So for instance you can get a huge number of hits by paying to always be top of the google rankings. They’ll probably be good hits and you’ll get them quickly but it won’t be cheap.

Or you can pay a link farm to get you tons of links. It will be cheap and fast but the sort of links you get won’t be particularly good.


Your quick digital marketing guide
Check out my 5 minute guide to digital marketing here

Here’s the secret to digital marketing

It takes time.

Yep that’s it.

It’s not earth shattering but it is important to know because if you think you will get overnight results and a billion hits from your single blog post then I’m sorry to say that you are going to be disappointed.

It takes time to understand your marketplace.

It takes time to find a strategy that works for you

It takes time to build up a site that has valuable content that really works for your potential clients.

You’d think this was a bad thing for someone in the industry to say right?

Well personally I prefer my clients to be properly informed from the start.

There’s no point in me promising you something that you can’t have only for you to be really disappointed this time next week when a billion hits haven’t magically appeared.

I prefer honesty.

Why don’t marketers tell clients this?

Because it’s nice to have some one tell you with absolute certainty that life is going to be wonderful and easy and that you don’t even need to think about it.

But the truth is always a bit more complicated than that.


Want a totally free guide to digital marketing for accountants?
Want a totally free guide to digital marketing for accountants? (it works for other industries too!) Click the image for you free resource

The truth about digital marketing

The truth is that anything worthwhile is worth doing well.

Like a good wine, a marketing strategy is worth taking a little time over.

Taking time to understand your clients, your market and your offer is rarely wasted.

Producing useful, good quality content, little and often is always better than paying someone to set up a big bunch of dubious links.

And making sure that your content is optimised for SEO and then shared with a relevant audience is priceless.

Take time over your digital marketing and you’ll find that it pays dividends with a sustainable community of people who like your stuff and consistently high rankings on the search engines that doesn’t drop off the moment you stop paying for advertising.

How I can help

I admit that for most people producing quality content regularly just isn’t possible and this is where Yellow Tomato comes in.

I can do a site audit and let you know where you marketing is letting you down.

I can produce a marketing plan that will show you how to start moving up the rankings

and I can write the content that will get your target market engaged.

Give me a call or email me and let’s talk.

Why content marketing is like a hot air balloon (and what to do about it)

Content marketing is like a hot air balloon

Content marketing really is like a hot air balloon.

You may think that there aren’t many things that link the two but read on and find out how this knowledge can help you with your digital marketing strategy.

In the beginning…

When you first start up a company blog you are all enthusiastic and ready to get going.

You probably write 5,6 or even seven blogs and amazingly there’s no impact whatsoever on your Google ranking and no-one visits your site.

So you stop blogging.

And this is where content marketing suddenly becomes exactly like a hot air baloon.

Keep the fire alight

Hot air balloons work on the principle of hot air rising.

The hotter the air and the more that is in the balloon then the faster and higher the balloon will rise.

But, if you stop burning gas then the air cools and the balloon starts to fall.

And so you turn on the gas again.

and the balloon rises

Content marketing is like a hot air balloon
Turning on the gas

This is exactly what happens with people’s marketing.

(Incidentally, the British Balloon and Airship club has a fascinating site that’s well worth a read here )

Content marketing needs to be consistent.

In the same way as the hot air balloon rises and falls I often see people do exactly the same thing.

They do loads of work on their content marketing at the start and the balloon rises quickly. In other words they bring in work.

But then they stop and unsurprisingly the work starts to dry up

so then they panic and do loads of marketing

And the balloon rises again.

It’s a natural reaction but unfortunately for the business it produces a ‘lumpy’ sales pipeline and makes it difficult to forecast sales and resources accurately.

Google also like sites that produce content consistently.

In short it’s better to do 8 posts over 4 weeks than do 8 on day one and then never do anything ever again!

A content marketing strategy doesn’t have to be hard

Content marketing can be fun and shouldn’t be a drag.

Consistency is the key. One or two articles every week is ample because it gives your balloon a nice flat trajectory which enables you to maintain a decent future sales pipeline.

The sort of content you produce doesn’t have to be all dry technical subjects. You can mix it up, not only to give yourself some variety but also to keep your readers interested too.

And of course consistent, interesting content is much more attractive for the search engines, which is half the battle.


Want some help with choosing blog subjects? Check out my post here

How great content can boost your SMEs sales
How to choose blog subjects

Publishing regular content isn’t always easy

Of course it isn’t. Otherwise everyone would do it!

You’re busy running your business and often you can’t find the time to sit and write a blog post or some interesting content.

That’s where I come in.

I’m a freelance writer and I specialise in content marketing.

I can help you with your marketing plan, can look at SEO on your site and can write the content for you.

If you are serious about kicking your content marketing into high gear then why not mail me and we can talk?

How to improve your blog in 5 easy steps

5 tips to help you write you blog

If you are using content marketing to improve your search rankings then a cornerstone of this is probably your blog and you want this to be a good as possible.

Here are my 5 tips to make your blog postings more effective as part of your digital marketing strategy.

Tip #1 – Have a clear plan to write to

It’s important that you don’t simply start writing and firing off blogs left right and centre.

Instead you need to think about what you are trying to achieve and set your keywords accordingly.

When you have a plan and a set of keywords then you should write posts around your keywords but I’d suggest only writing a post around one keyword at a time.

Trying to pack too much in will destroy the way the article reads and may even lead to Google thinking you are keyword stuffing, which is a bad thing.

Tip #2 – Use short sentences and simple words

You are probably going to be writing for a fairly mixed audience and Google understands this.

Short sentences are easier to read, especially on a mobile device and the vast majority of web content is accessed on mobile devices.

Google also likes you to use simple, accessible language and so unless you are writing something very technical for a professional audience then you are better off using short words.


Check out these handy tools for finding keywords and the questions your customers are asking – click on the image

% tools you absolutely need for your blogs

Tip #3 – Answer the questions that your audience are asking.

If you are writing general pages for your website then you can get away with simply writing copy that is about your company.

But if you are wanting to attract people to your site and of course rank highly on Google then you need to answer questions.

There are number of tools that will help you do this and I have done a separate post about my favourites which you can access here.

Essentially you need to find questions that people ask about your keywords and write to them.

For example, if you sell kitchen knives then you could answer the questions “What knife do I use to fillet fish?” or “How do I sharpen a kitchen knife?”.

By doing this over a series of posts Google will eventually get to think of you as a subject matter expert which helps your ranking.

More importantly if you have a wealth if information on particular subjects then your potential customers will also come to think of your site whenever they have a question they need answering.

Tip #4 – Structure your post.

I always like to use a simple structure that works really well, especially when you are suffering from writer’s block!

Start off with a striking headline

Set up the reason for your post

Answer the question you have asked

Summarise

Call to action.

In other words, tell them what you are going to tell them, tell them, then tell them what you’ve told them!

By doing this you will find that your posts are actually easier to write and fall into a comfortable rhythm that readers prefer.

Tip #5 – Don’t forget a call to action

You shouldn’t forget to tell readers what you want them to do as a result of reading your post.

“Call me for more details”

“Check this related post”

“Email me and book an appointment”

That sort of thing.

I see lots of posts that don’t include a call to action and that’s really missing a massive opportunity.

I’ve spoken to people who feel that this is somehow being too ‘salesy’ but actually when I read a post that has a call to action at the end it actually makes me feel a sense of certainty about what they want me to do.

A call to action doesn’t have to be ‘buy now’ but it can be more around giving people more related content to read or letting them know what they need to do to get more information.

Here’s your summary

So look back over this post and think about my post structure.

I’ve told you what I was going to tell you

I’ve told you

And now I’m telling you what I’ve told you.

And that’s how post structuring works.

The great thing about using this method is that if you have your keyword that you are going to focus on then the post almost writes itself.

Here’s my call to action

I’ll admit that not everyone has the time to write their own content so if you’d like help setting up your marketing plan, writing the content or you want someone to take over the whole shooting match then why not give me a call?

I’d be happy to talk over your options with no obligation at all.

If you’d like to find out more about SEO then why not check out the rather excellent Neil Patel here

Marketing in lockdown – 6 things to do

Marketing for accountants

Marketing in lockdown is something that every business needs to do and in this post I’ll give you some practical tips to let you know what you should be posting.

Lockdown is distressing for a lot of people and if you are used to being a busy owner who now finds themselves sitting at home you may well be finding it hard.

The trick in my opinion is to start to see this as an opportunity because it’s a time when we can sit down and do some of the things that we always wanted to do but never had the time.

Marketing is one of those things that often gets put on the backburner so here are 6 things you can do whilst in lockdown to revitalise your marketing

#1 – Tell people what’s happening – your customers will want to know what’s going on so write up a quick post that tells people what is happening, whether you are working or not and wishing them well.

If you are modifying your business model, maybe still working but with everyone remotely then let your clients know and ask them honestly to be supportive if your usual standards slip a little.

#2 – Review your current marketing – What has worked, what hasn’t? Is there something you do that has become a habit but has now lost its effectiveness?

A friend of mine found themselves forced to spend some time in hospital and used the time to do exactly this and realised that the time they invested in networking meetings really didn’t pay dividends, so after they recovered they scaled down the number of meetings they went to.

#3 – Make up your plan – when the current crisis has finished how will you get back to normal? Will the old normal be the new normal?

Once you have worked out how you are going to operate in the future you can work out how you are going to communicate with your customers.

The lock down is the ideal time to sit quietly and plan how your marketing will work in the future. Think about your target market, where they hang out & how and what you will communicate to them.

#4 – Find some marketing partners – once you have worked what sort of things you are going to produce then you can look for help in developing your ideas.

If you have decided that you are going to do a series of blogs or an eBook then you’ll need to contact a copywriter (ahem), or if you are looking at video then you’ll want someone who has videography skills.

You may want to find a PR expert and a social media consultant to publicise your work or maybe a graphic designer to make things look smashing. Speak to your network for recommendations or look at platforms like Peopleperhour to find professionals that can assist.

#5 – Keep producing – We know that Google loves fresh content so it is important to keep producing even if your business isn’t operating at the moment.

Look for content that will have a long shelf life and will work just as well post-lock down so that you can promote it when your company is back up and running.

#6 – Look for collaborations – who says that you can only produce content for your business?

Why can’t you produce content with your suppliers or customers?

Imagine a photographer who produces a video that shows how they chose some equipment and then used it with one of their customers. The cost of production can be split three ways and all three companies can promote the content.

So have a word with your suppliers and customers and see if a collaboration is possible.

So there are my tips.

I think the most important point is to not give up on your marketing.

You need to keep the pot boiling so that as soon as we are able to open up again you can get off to a flying start.

All the best and stay healthy.

And if you want help with building your marketing plan or producing content then why not get in touch?