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How you can start creating evergreen content

Creating evergreen content means making something worth reading.
Image by Suzy Hazelwood via Pexels

It’s all very well knowing that you want to include evergreen content in your marketing. (If you don’t know what evergreen content is or why you’d need it, start here.) The real question is, how do you start creating it? Read on for five quick ways to help you get started.

Know your audience

When you start creating evergreen content, it’s important that you know who you’re writing for. The normal rules of getting to know your audience apply, but when you’re creating evergreen content, you need to go a bit further. Identify the beginners in your audience and what they need to know. Experts will look for the latest news and updates and that’s not what evergreen content is about. Write for the newbies and you’ll be heading in the right direction.

Keep sharing

Evergreen content is great for SEO because it’ll turn up in Google searches for ages after you wrote it. That doesn’t mean you can ignore it completely (sorry). Give it a little boost every so often by resharing it on your social media platforms. You could also include this kind of content in a welcome sequence for new email subscribers. It can work as an introduction to your area of expertise and will help new subscribers understand the work you do.

Creating evergreen content: format ideas

There are a few kinds of content that lend themselves really well to this. If there’s a topic that most of your audience want to know about or questions that you answer all the time, start there. Here are a few examples.

Frequently asked questions

If you already have a FAQ page on your website, you’re off to a flying start. If not, start thinking about the questions you get asked all the time when people first get in touch. These are the kinds of questions that they’ll be typing into Google as well. You can even improve your SEO by linking to these posts from your FAQ page so visitors can head there for a bit more detail.

How to guides

When it comes to creating evergreen content, these are a classic. They’re ideal if you do the kind of work that your audience might want to DIY to start with. My version of this is a series of blog posts that show you how to write your first blog post. (If you’d like the full series straight to your inbox you can sign up here.) Create a guide that walks your readers through a topic step by step and you’ll have created a resource that’s useful for both new and existing visitors.

What to expect

Most people don’t like trying new things. I know that sounds pessimistic, but it’s true. You might have loads of potential customers who aren’t booking because they’re scared what might happen if they do. The best thing that you can do is to talk about what they can expect when they contact you. What happens at the first consultation or after they fill in that contact form? This is different from an FAQ; people won’t ask because they’re worried about looking stupid. Put their fears to rest by telling them what to expect.

Are you ready to start creating evergreen content? I can help with that. Just click here to book your no obligation chat.

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Evergreen content: what is it (and why do you need it?)

Evergreen content blog header - with literal evergreens!
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If you’ve ever heard the phrase ‘evergreen content’ you might have written it off as a bit of a buzzword. You might have heard it described as ‘cornerstone’ content in those SEO guides too. The thing is, if you haven’t got to grips with evergreen content yet, you’re missing out. It’s incredibly useful and could save you a heap of time. So what is it and why should you care? Read on…

Evergreen content stays relevant for longer

Evergreen content got its name because of its resemblance to evergreen trees. It might not look at home covered in fairy lights at Christmas, but it does last for ages. This kind of content doesn’t talk about current news, trends or even a particular season. They’re the sort of posts that your audience could find any time, for years to come, and they’ll still be helpful and relevant. It’s the difference between talking about panic buying petrol and how to maintain your car between services.

It’s great for SEO

Evergreen content is great for SEO because it covers the kind of topics that people search for time after time. You could write a blog post about how to soothe a screaming baby now and new parents might still be finding it in 2031. Posts about current affairs or new trends will get you website traffic in the short term (which is still a great thing). Evergreen posts will keep going for longer. Your figures might drop a bit, but they’ll keep going, quietly working away in the background to bring you new visitors.

It has wide appeal

The key thing about evergreen content is that it generally isn’t for experts. Someone who’s experienced in your field already knows the basics so will only be looking for updates. Evergreen posts work better for people who need a beginner’s guide to a topic. This is great for you because if you’re an expert working with non-experts, it’s an opportunity for you to share your knowledge. Your visitors might learn from you and do a DIY version, but they’ll still remember you as the expert who helped them when they’re ready to pay someone else.

Some examples of evergreen content

If you like the sound of this evergreen lark and you’re starting to think about topics, here are some ideas. In every industry there will be perennial subjects that never go away. Your audience could be interested in time management, parenting skills, how to write their first blog post or questions to ask a new supplier. When you come up with an idea, ask yourself whether anyone will care about this in five years’ time. If the answer’s no, you might still have a great idea for a post, but it probably won’t be evergreen.

Keep it updated

It’s tempting to think that once you’ve created your evergreen content you can just ignore it until the end of time. Sorry, but that’s not how it works. While the posts will definitely stay relevant for longer, it’s still worth checking in on them from time to time. Attitudes change and while your advice might be spot on for a few years, it won’t necessarily stay that way forever. A quick read through every year or so will tell you if anything needs updating to extend the life of your content.

Are you ready to start creating evergreen content? I can help with that. Just click here to book your no obligation chat.

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Why focus on the people who hate you?

A phone shows an angry emoji. I try to understand why you would focus on the people who hate you,
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In the 5 and a bit years since I became a business owner, I’ve learned a lot about mindset and motivation. A fitness coach once told me that you needed to aim for a positive outcome as trying to avoid a negative one didn’t work. I repeated this theory during a writing workshop, run by one of the most insightful and encouraging women I’d ever met. I don’t know what I expected her response to be, but “b***ocks!” certainly wasn’t it! I understand that avoiding the worst can be a powerful motivator, but I’ve seen a trend among some people in my network that focuses on talking about the people who hate you. I don’t get it. Why would you focus on that?

The people

We can all think of people in the public eye (like Katie Hopkins) who seem to thrive on being hated. I get it, up to a point. If you find it easy to make controversial statements and it gets you work and fame, why wouldn’t you? The thing is, I’ve started to see other people doing it, whose businesses aren’t built around writing opinion pieces or turning up on TV as a talking head. I find it harder to understand why someone who runs an ordinary business should be shouting about being hated, yet I see it all the time.

Doubters vs haters

I feel it’s important to distinguish between the people who hate you and ones who are trying to protect you. Starting your own business is risky. You know it and the people who love you do as well. When I started out I was leaving a profession and a steady income behind. I had plenty of people tell me that I could always go back to it if things didn’t work out. I bet you did too. Hearing those kinds of comments could dent your confidence. They motivated me because I knew I didn’t want to go back. There’s a world of difference between that and trolls who send you abuse.

The people who hate you

When I hear most business owners talk about negative comments, they describe it as an annoyance. It’s something that takes time to deal with, often when they don’t have time and mental energy to spare. One business owner said that having haters is a sign you’ve made it, because it means that people are paying attention. There might be something in that, but if you’re talking about the people who hate you, why not mention the ones that love you too? Otherwise, it could just mean that your marketing isn’t reaching the right audience.

The psychology

It’s been a while since I studied psychology, so I did some revision to try and understand what’s going on. For a divisive celebrity, the appeal of being a hero to some could counteract the effect of being hated. It could also be their way of putting two fingers up at anyone who tells them what to think. My favourite approach is in a 2015 study which suggests that knowing who your enemies are makes the world feel safer, so drawing them out might have its benefits. I think we can all understand wanting to find a bit of certainty just now.

I’m not going to start celebrating hate (it still feels like a waste of precious time and energy) but it’s given me some insight into the ones who do. Personally, I’d prefer to focus on the people who like what I do, because they’re the ones I can help.

What do you think?

While you’re here, if you need help attracting the right kind of customers, let’s talk. You can book in for a chat here, or sign up for monthly hints and tips using the form below.

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How you can use product descriptions in your marketing

Using product descriptions in your marketing helps you to make more sales.
Photo by RODNAE Productions from Pexels

If you already write brilliant product descriptions (and if you’re not sure where to start, read this.) you might think that they’ll just sit on your website until your customers find them. Not necessarily. They can be incredibly time consuming to create, so why not share them further afield? Here are 5 easy ways to use your product descriptions in your marketing.

Create social media posts

If you’ve written engaging product descriptions that go beyond the technical details, you can share them as a post. Just read them through to make sure they’ll make sense on a different platform. This is really useful at Christmas or during other festivals, as you can make gift buying easier for your customers. Just add a sentence like ‘these are vegan and gluten free as well as being easy to wrap’ (or whatever fits your product). Add an image and it’s ready to go.

Use product descriptions in your blog

You could probably write a whole handful of blog posts talking about gifts for different occasions. Valentine’s Day, Mothering Sunday, Easter, Halloween, Diwali, Christmas… you get the idea. A blog post that’s tailored to gifts for different people will help you to turn up in Google searches, particularly if you serve a niche audience. Just write a preamble introducing your topic and use your product descriptions in each section. You don’t have to limit yourself to gifts either – you can use this method to introduce new products that solve a particular problem.

Create a gift guide

This is one of my favourite time saving tricks for product-based businesses. Put your product descriptions into a gift guide so your customers don’t have to search your website. Organise them by section and create a PDF that you can email to your subscribers and share on your website. If you have the budget you can also create a print version. More and more local shops are supporting other businesses by sharing leaflets and brochures, so it’s worth investigating.

Make a video

You already know how much Facebook and Instagram love video. You could do a live talking about one or two products using your product description as the basis for your script. If you can condense your descriptions down to bullet points you can use them in a reel. You probably don’t want to use a full product description in your stories, but you can share part of your description to highlight an interesting feature.

Share the little details

Your customers are surprisingly good at finding reasons not to buy from you. You can start handling those objections in your product descriptions and social media posts. Say, for example, you send out every order in gorgeous handmade packaging. That’s the kind of detail that will sell your products to customers who care about quality or who hate wrapping presents. If you talk about sustainability in your product descriptions, share those sections in your posts too. If it’s important to your customers, you can use those tiny snippets of your product descriptions in your marketing.

If you’d rather save your time and energy for everything else you need to do in your business, I can write (or update) your product descriptions for you. Just click here to book your no obligation chat.

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How you can start writing brilliant product descriptions

Brilliant product descriptions help your customers to buy the perfect gift.
Photo by Pixabay via Pexels.com

If you have a business that sells anything remotely Christmas related, here’s a statistic for you. 38% of people start their Christmas shopping sometime in October. I know, I was surprised too. The question is, are you ready? Online shopping has rocketed over the past 18 months (by 46% – sorry, I’ll stop with the stats now). The question is, how do you encourage your customers to buy when they’ve only got pictures and a product description to go on? The answer’s pretty obvious when you think about it – you create amazing visuals and descriptions that let them imagine they’ve bought from you already. How do you do that? Read on…

Tell people what they’re buying

This might seem a bit obvious if you’re selling a t-shirt but include a caption that tells people exactly what they’re getting. It just offers an extra bit of reassurance that they haven’t misinterpreted the picture. It also makes your products more accessible to customers who use screen readers. On the other hand, if your product is something out of the ordinary you can use your product description to educate people.

Include technical details

Technical information rarely makes for a scintillating read, so it’s a good idea to put it in bullet point form. Even if it’s a bit dull it’s still important. You don’t want to miss a sale because your potential buyer can’t work out whether that piece of furniture will fit into their house. Tell me that I can chuck that kids’ t-shirt in the washing machine or I’m not buying. Put yourself in your customers’ shoes and you won’t go far wrong.

Show them the benefits

This is the bit where you can start to engage your customers’ emotions. Ask yourself what they care about and how you help with that, then include it in your product descriptions. This could mean showing a ‘before and after’. Focus on the result they want and explain how your product can get them there. You can also speak to people’s values. If you sell baby clothes, talking about fabrics that are gentle on delicate skin shows new parents that you understand them.

Product descriptions with all the feels

Photos and video are great for showing a product in action. One of the downsides of shopping online is that you’ve only got a visual to go on, so use your product descriptions to engage people’s senses and fill in the blanks. Talk about scent if it’s relevant. Describe the feeling of wrapping that soft scarf around their neck or tell them that those earrings would be perfect with their little black dress. Letting people imagine using the product brings them closer to buying it.

Show people the process

This might seem like I’m stating the bleeding obvious, but if you want people to buy you need to make it easy. I know that most of you will have a nice big ‘buy now’ or ‘add to basket’ button and an accessible checkout. What if your products are bespoke or can be personalised? Is there a place for them to add extra details or to send you a message? Is delivery included? The easier you make it, the more likely people are to buy.

One final thing. Remember the gift buyers, especially in the run up to Christmas. If something would make the perfect gift for a particular person, tell them. You’ll make their life a whole lot easier and you might just have a new fan.

If you’d rather save your time and energy for everything else you need to do in your business, I can write (or update) your product descriptions for you. Just click here to book your no obligation chat.

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How storytelling can make your email marketing better

Typewriter showing that stories matter in your email marketing.
Photo by Suzy Hazelwood from Pexels

Once upon time, there was a brave warrior princess who decided to start a business. She told lots of stories in her email marketing so her customers would love her and her business was a great success. The end.

Don’t worry, I haven’t lost the plot. I’m just telling you a story. What sprang to mind when you read ‘once upon a time’? Did it feel familiar and maybe a bit comforting? That’s what stories do. They don’t all have to start like a fairytale though. Telling a story is a really effective way to market your business, especially when you use it in your email marketing. Here’s why it works and how you can use it for yourself.

Why storytelling works

When a story comes in a format you recognise it feels comforting. You know what to expect and feel as if you’re in safe hands. A story doesn’t have to be a fairytale. It could sound like a chat you’d have with a friend. The point is, it doesn’t feel as if you’re being sold something. You’re just listening to someone else’s experience. When you use this in your marketing, it builds trust and helps you to connect with your audience. Simple.

When to use it in your email marketing

Storytelling works particularly well in email marketing. You’ve come straight to your reader’s inbox and now you’re going to share a story with them. There are, as you might expect, a few different ways to do this. You could tell one long story and relate it to your business at the end, or you could drop in snippets of story here and there. Here are a few ways that you can start using storytelling in your email marketing.

Nurture sequences

Nurture sequences are those emails that you send to new subscribers. They let new people know what to expect. It’s also your opportunity to introduce yourself. You can use a sequence to show your subscribers who you are and how you help. Let them see the person behind the business and you’ll build trust. You can also share useful stuff, like links to your best blog posts and handy tips.

Case studies

You might not think of a case study as a story, but it is. It starts out with someone facing a challenge, looking for a solution and ending up in a better place than they were before. It’s the real-life equivalent of a hero going on a quest. The only differences are that there aren’t any dragons and the princess saves herself. Case studies are also brilliant because they show your audience that you know what you’re doing and have got results for other people.

Email marketing introductions

If nurture sequences and case studies sound a bit long winded, don’t panic. There are simpler ways to use storytelling in your emails. You can start with your opening paragraph. That bit where you say hello before you share your latest blog post and current offers. You might decide to share your latest business news, but you can also tell a personal story. I work with lots of business owning mums so will often talk about the school holidays or something funny my kids have said. It’s a small thing that reminds my readers that we’re all dealing with the same stuff.

Do you want to start using storytelling in your marketing? I can help with that. Click here to book a chat with me and find out more about your options.

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Case study – creating new content ideas for Birkett Consulting

Case study about coming up with new blog topics.

I first met Ros Birkett via a networking group (which is pretty much how I meet everyone these days). She’s utterly lovely and a brilliant person to have a coffee and a natter with. When it comes to branding and marketing, what Ros doesn’t know frankly isn’t worth knowing. She’s the owner of Birkett Consulting, working with a range of clients to deliver adverting and marketing that gets results. In a nutshell, she knows her marketing onions, which is why it came as a bit of a surprise to get an email asking if I could help her to come up with some topics for her blog.

The challenge

When Ros got in touch, Birkett Consulting was in the midst of a website makeover. All of this was happening alongside the day-to-day work involved in running a busy agency and serving clients. There was also the small matter of getting to grips with an in-depth SEO analysis report for a client that ran to over 100 pages. Ros was faced with two main challenges. Firstly, that she was struggling to find blocks of time that would allow her to focus on website tasks. Secondly, all the topics she was reading about seemed a bit predictable. She wanted some fresh ideas that would help her to get the messaging right as we emerged from lockdown.

The solution

To start the process, Ros and I arranged a Zoom call to talk through Birkett Consulting’s marketing basics. She described her customers and the services that she wanted to focus on in the blog. Ros’ awareness of her customer base meant that I could focus on the topics that would have most impact. We also talked about bringing a bit of humour back into marketing to lighten things up after lockdown.

After our chat, I went away and came up with four possible topics using a combination of tools, including my own random marketing thoughts. I’m looking forward to seeing the results when the new website launches.

Could a fresh pair of eyes on your business help you to speak more effectively to your audience? Get in touch and let’s have a chat.

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Your marketing: do you know who’s watching?

Someone who's watching your marketing without you noticing.
Image by Daria Shevtsova via Pexels

That sounds a bit creepy, doesn’t it? Like you might have a stalker. In a sense, you probably have, just in a good way. I’ve been in business for over 5 years now* and it’s taught me a lot about the way people respond to marketing. Here are 5 types of people that are watching your marketing – whether you know it or not…

*I celebrated the anniversary in January, with home school and weeping.

The ones that make a lot of noise

There are two kinds of noisy person on social media. There are the ones that comment on your posts without really saying anything useful.  Then there are the ones who share your posts, offer insightful comments, or say thanks for a helpful tip. Both will potentially increase your reach, but I prefer the latter. They don’t just help me; they often add something for my other followers (or their own). Some of them even turn into customers.

The ones that act on your marketing

I’ve got to admit, this is a relatively rare experience. Everyone has followers who never really engage with anything. Then suddenly, something hits the mark and they become a customer. Even more rarely, you might get someone that hasn’t even followed you, but they respond to a post and turn into an instant customer. I have no idea how this works unless they’ve been lurking so stealthily that you haven’t noticed them at all.

The ones you meet networking

I love networking and it has helped my business to survive lockdown. I’m not exaggerating – every customer I’ve had over the past 15 months has been someone I met networking. That doesn’t mean I stop marketing online. When I meet someone networking, I still go and check them out online. It helps me to learn more about their business and whether my first impression was the right one. The same is almost certainly true of your networking contacts too.

The lurkers

Lurkers are the people you get rid of when you have a follower cull. They don’t leave a like or comment. Maybe they don’t even see your posts. Yet I’ve heard tales of people who lurk on other business owners’ pages because they want to know what they’re doing without supporting them. That bothers me. None of us are a good fit for every customer and if I can send someone to a writer that will do a better job for them, I’ll do it.

The quiet ones

I love the quiet ones. I still see you, reacting to my posts (but hardly ever commenting) and I’m so glad you’re there. Sometimes you’re the ones who tell me face to face that you enjoy my blog.  My favourite thing about you is that you’re the people who turn up just when I need you. I’ve had plenty of those moments where I wonder why I bother marketing because everything’s gone quiet. Then one of you appears out of the woodwork because you’re ready to work with me. It’s like a little bit of magic.

If you’re worried your marketing isn’t working, keep going. Get help if you need to, but don’t give up. If you’re one of my quiet ones, thank you. I hope I’m helping you. If you’d like to stick your head above the parapet and let me have your email address, I send helpful hints and tips out once a month. If you’ve been biding your time and are ready for a chat, here’s the link to book a Zoom chat. I’d love to see your face!

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Want more website visitors? You need to speak your customers’ language

Photo by EKATERINA BOLOVTSOVA from Pexels

You’ve probably gone to a lot of time and effort creating a great looking website for your business. There’s a lot of technical work you can do if you want more website visitors but one of the most important bits is the one that’s overlooked most often. The words. If your website copy (the technical term for the words) doesn’t tell your visitors that they’re in the right place within a few seconds they’ll bounce off to another site and you might have lost them forever. Then you have to work on attracting more website visitors rather than deepening the relationship with the ones you already have. The great news is that the words you use can help you to attract more visitors and impress them when they get there. How do you do it? I’m glad you asked…

Know your customer

When someone lands on your website, it’s because they were looking for something. You need to show them that they’ve found it. Say they’ve found your shop by typing ‘gifts for Mother’s Day’ into Google. The page they land on should tell them what gifts you’re offering, whether it’s jewellery, chocolates, or something else. If you offer a service, sum it up in a couple of sentences, or with a question they’ll answer yes to if they’re in the right place.

Apply the ‘so what’ test

It’s important to remember that your visitors don’t really care about you. Your credentials are important in that they help you to build trust, but your customer is only really interested in what you can do for them. If you’re an accountant helping small businesses with their tax returns, make it obvious. This can just be something like ‘Want to make your next tax return quick and easy? We can help.’ Yes, it’s really that simple.

What if your visitor isn’t ready to buy?

Sometimes you’ll get a new visitor, but they’re not ready to make a decision yet. They might just be doing some research or perhaps they need to talk to someone else before they decide. Inviting them to sign up to your mailing list or follow you on social media gives you the chance to stay in touch and remind them why they were looking for you in the first place. Then when they’re ready to buy, they’ll remember you.

Are you making it easy to buy?

If you’ve got a website visitor who’s ready to give you their money, make it easy for them. If you sell products online, you know that good photos and clear pricing are both essential, along with a quick and easy checkout. If you offer a service and need to talk to the customer before they buy, show people how to make an enquiry or book a call. Give them a button to click or a form to fill in so they don’t have to go searching.

What do you want to be found for?

If you’ve done any work on your SEO, you’ll know how important key words are. Yours might be easy to identify, particularly if you offer a service in a particular location. It’s worth thinking about the kind of terms your customers will understand. Most people know what a hairdresser does, but a copywriter like me? Not so much. My customers are more likely to look for advice on how to write a blog so I talk about that.

If you want to attract more website visitors and you think your website copy needs an update, let’s have a chat. Email me or book your free discovery call here.

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Case study: a content repurposing collaboration

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One of the best things about working in a creative industry is the fact that it gives me opportunities to work as part of a team. The other one is working one to one with clients, but they’re vastly different experiences. A collaboration for me often comes about when one of my website designing friends creates a new website (or redesigns an old one) for one of their clients. They don’t do the wordy bits so if the client doesn’t already have someone in mind, they send them in my direction. I love it because I know there’s already a clear vision for the site so I can jump straight in. It’s brilliant when another creative brain has already got things started because it sparks so many ideas in me.

All of which brings me to another kind of project. When I first ventured out of the (frankly boring) world of corporate networking and into drinking coffee with creatives I hadn’t considered working with people who make films for businesses. I kind of assumed that they’d already have people who are good at that sort of thing. What I didn’t expect was a collaboration that took video and turned it into something else.

The project

If you’ve been in business for any length of time, you’re probably already familiar with local initiatives that encourage business growth. I’ve seen everything from funding schemes to education projects. Beyond the obvious benefits to local businesses and regional growth, projects like this have one other massive advantage. It gives the people offering the scheme the opportunity to shout about how great they are. A Leicestershire based agency had been offering grants and loans to local businesses. The funding enabled them to secure premises or buy new equipment that allowed them to grow. There were lots of positive stories. Clearly, everyone involved wanted to get the word out.

The marketing

The marketing plan had several different strands, taking in both online and offline marketing. A video agency had already interviewed businesses who’d benefitted from funding and creating short films to share online. They just needed to turn the stories into a form that would also work in print. That’s where I came in. I took the transcriptions of the interviews and turned them into good news stories that could be shared online, via social media and even in printed mail outs to other local businesses.

The whole initiative was so successful that it’s happening again. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that I get to put together another collaboration and share some of the stories again this time round!

If I can help you to share your story in a new way, book your call here and let’s have a chat.