Your PowerPoint is boring me to death: Here are 3 alternatives

Is there anything more tedious than listening to someone talk their way through a long, dull deck? Face it guys, PowerPoint is boring. It’s the default mode of presenting, and I understand why that is;  it’s easy, familiar, cheap, and you can store it on a USB key.

It’s not exactly innovative though.

If you’re presenting on something genuinely important, whether it’s earning a promotion or pitching for new business, it might be time to try something new. If you’re aiming to be memorable, dare to be different.

6 mistakes that murder your PR pitch

Here are three ideas for something new that’s bound to set you apart from your competitors. Try them, combine them and enhance them – and don’t forget to leave me a comment on your best alternatives to a snooze-fest presentation.

1. Try TED-style storytelling

While TED speakers often have slides or some video in the background to add to their talks, the content of the slides is never the primary focus. TED speakers are coached in taking topics that are complicated, breaking them down to a level that almost anyone can understand, and most importantly, wrapping the idea up in a relatable, interesting story.

Check out Derek Silvers three-minute video below talking about how to start a movement:

It’s a story that’s told in the kind of language we use every day, it’s human, and it’s easy to listen to. Strong oral skills are vital for this kind of presentation, because people respond well to confidence and charisma. If you don’t feel those areas are your strong suit, don’t worry, because those are features that to a large extent can be learned.  Make sure to put plenty of practice in.

2. Let’s get visual

Please, oh please, spare me the dated stock photos. You can do so much better. If you’re going to use background imagery, choose pictures that are vibrant and colourful. All you need to create a decent behind-the-scenes video these days is an iPhone, a mic and a tripod. If you’ve got a graphic designer on your team (or even a very modest freelancer budget for the likes of UpWork), you can create all kinds of good stuff – Can you tell your story in the form of a comic strip? Would that eyesore of a table of numbers come across better as an infographic?

powerpoint is boring

For a real wow factor, could you bring a cartoonist into the meeting with you? Or a graffiti artist? With nothing but a marker and a blank sheet of paper, could you create a picture together that shows how you’re going to get from where you are now to where you need to be? Don’t let a culture of “we’ve always done it that way” kill your creativity.

3. Get your audience involved with some gamification

Keep your audience interested by making them participate. Listening to one person speak for any more than a couple of minutes will send anyone into a stupor. Do Dragon’s Den-style demonstrations (I think the US version is called Shark Attack, American friends). Pass around prototypes and props and ask for live feedback.

With larger audiences, you can use polling apps to carry out quizzes and surveys on the spot. Ask interesting questions that will make your audience think twice. Give out a spot prize to someone who gets a tough question right. Pit one half of the room against the other to bring out their competitive spirits. Gamify the experience to increase their interest.

Stop wasting your time and your money on newswires

So there you have it – a bunch of alternatives to the same old, same old. Maybe these ideas won’t work for every single presentation. There are, of course, times when the faithful old PowerPoint may just be the best option. But when you really want to make a splash, taking a chance on one of these ‘crazy’ ideas just might work.

What are your thoughts? Am I being too harsh, or do you think PowerPoint is boring too? I want to hear from you in the comments!

powerpoint is boringKatie Harrington is a Communications and Content professional based in Dublin, Ireland. Her book, Strategic Communications: The Science Behind the Art launched in November 2016. Katie has worked with global brands including Emirates Airline and Allianz, as well as in the Irish parliament and Qatar’s semi-government oil and gas company Nakilat. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram.

 

 

 

Stop wasting money: 3 ways to reduce your Communications and Marketing budget

Communications and Marketing budget

There are certain communications and marketing activities that we undertake year in, year out, without really thinking about it. We do them not because they add value to our businesses, but because conventional wisdom says we should, or because our competitors are doing it, or because the guys on the Sales team really enjoyed that event last year.

These “we do that every year” events and activities are often taken as a given, and rarely come in for any genuine attempts at calculating return on investment.

Trimming the fat from your Communications and Marketing budget

  1. Scale back Corporate Hospitality

I’d put money on this – none of your clients or stakeholders are choosing whom to give vital business to based on rugby or F1 tickets. There are a few reasons why expensive corporate hospitality packages are popular; it gives your Sales or Account Management team an easy way to claim they are building a relationship with clients without ever really having to prove that it’s resulting in business decisions going their way. Also, they LOVE going to these high profile events themselves so they will always back them.

If you are sending a team to a big event with a group of clients of potential clients, set goals for what will come out of the event e.g. we’re going to get three meetings set up with Tier 1 clients in the next quarter out of this event.

  1. Ban bullshit award ceremonies

I’ve written extensively about how most corporate award ceremonies are a sham here. If you have to pay a huge amount to enter or to attend, you’re essentially buying an award.

The justifications for this are often that these awards lend credibility in the market and that competitors are doing it so we really don’t have a choice. Stop.

For the first statement, ask yourself if that’s really true – is the award in question an industry-leading award, is it the Oscars of your sector? If so, go right ahead and try and win it.

Usually, though, it’s a make-y up-y award ceremony concocted by a marketing company two years ago. (One telltale sign of this is when a company’s sole business seems to be awards – this week they’ll be having an award ceremony for financial services, next week healthcare, the following week oil and gas)

As for your competitors, who cares what they’re doing. You’re a leader, not a follower, right? If they jumped off a bridge, would you. Ugh, you probably would. Stop being such a sheep.

  1. Axe Exhibitions and Conferences

How many poorly organized, badly attended conferences, exhibitions and trade-shows must we attend before we say enough? We spend tens of thousands on them only to return tired, with maybe a handful of contacts and a general sense of how our competitors are doing, but little else. We convince ourselves that the team got a lot of networking done, when we know in our hearts that most of the people in attendance were too junior to be genuine decision-makers.

And while we’re on the topic, how much exactly did you spend on those tacky branded freebies? Trust me on this one – nobody is deciding where to spend their money based on that USB key with your logo on it. Sure, we’ll take it – everybody loves free stuff – but no, it didn’t do anything significant to raise your brand’s profile.

So, what should you be doing to build relationships with clients and customers?

Hold bespoke events where you won’t be fighting with 25 of your competitors for your clients’ attention. Sell on the quality of your products and services, not the tickets you can get them or the ‘awards’ you’ve won – clients see right through all that anyway.

If you’ve got decent offices, you can even consider the most budget-friendly option of all – having it in-house.

If that’s not an option, try something a bit different; an Afternoon Tea at a nice hotel might cost €25/head and it gives you a chance to actually sit down and speak to people, or find out what charities or causes are important to them and invite them to a Corporate Social Responsibility event that matches the profile so you can connect with them on a human level.

If all else fails and you’ve only got a small amount of money with which to make a big impact, stop over-complicating things and just stick it behind the bar. There’s a long history of rapport being built over beer and pizza; friendships can be formed, relationships can blossom and – yes – business can be won.

So, who’s in favour? Let me know in the comment section if you’re onboard with my no-BS approach to allocating your Communications and Marketing budget. Any other tips for trimming the fat?

 

About Me

public-relations-katie-harringtonKatie Harrington is a Public Relations professional based in Galway, Ireland. Her book, Strategic Communications: The Science Behind the Art launched in November. Katie has worked with global brands including Emirates Airline and Allianz, as well as the Irish parliament and Qatar’s semi-government oil and gas company Nakilat. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram.

How to create a B2B Digital Content Strategy

The concept of Content Marketing is still in its infancy, and in large part when we talk about it, we focus on consumer brands.  Today I want to talk a little bit about that the background to B2C Content Marketing, before moving on to talk about how it differs to the even more recently established idea of building a B2B Digital Content Strategy.

The principle of using digital content to attract your target audience is almost like the opposite of advertising; with advertising, you spend a certain amount of money in the hopes of reaching your target audience with a message that is primarily designed to sell your products or services. You hope you’re getting in front of the right people, but you can never be sure, and it’s difficult to figure out what stage of the buyer’s journey your potential customers or clients are at.

Content Marketing works by attracting people who are interested in your products and services to your site by providing them with useful, relevant, actionable and entertaining information. By providing value to your audience up front, you build a relationship with them on their terms, and establish trust. Some common B2C methods of Content Marketing include hair and beauty brands that upload tutorials on how best to use their products on YouTube, personal trainers who post photos with exercise tips on Instagram or marketeers who give away free ebooks.

When it comes to creating B2B Digital Content Strategy, the focus is less on the ‘infotainment’ style of content we often see with consumer brands, and much more strongly focused on thoroughly researched insights, thought leadership and immediately actionable information.  Hard data is important, and should be complemented with high-level interpretations of the data and other industry challenges and trends from senior leaders. Struggling to figure out what your clients want that kind of insight on? Don’t guess; just ask them.

If you’re thinking about developing a B2B Digital Content Strategy, check out our recent presentation below where we cover:

  • How to develop content from scratch
  • B2B Influencer Marketing
  • Gaining buy-in from employees and senior leaders
  • Measuring Impact and ROI

Don’t forget to leave us a comment with your thoughts on B2B Digital Content Strategies, and how they differ from B2C.

public-relations-katie-harringtonKatie Harrington is a Communications and Content Marketing professional based in Galway, Ireland. Her book, Strategic Communications: The Science Behind the Art launched in November. Katie has worked with global brands including Emirates Airline and Allianz, as well as the Irish parliament and Qatar’s semi-government oil and gas company Nakilat. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram.

 

5 top PR blogs and Marketing influencers to follow in 2017

pr-blogs-2017

Content fatigue is a real thing. There are so many PR blogs and influencers out there that it can be overwhelming to try and keep up with it all. So, I’m going to keep this post brief, and I’m just going to give you the cream of the crop.

As a Public Relations Manager for a global company, I have to be up to date with what’s going on across the industry – I’m a generalist – but for top advice on particular areas, I look to these specialists.

Here are the top five marketing and PR blogs I’m subscribed to in 2017.

1. PR for small companies: Janet Murray

Janet Murray has created an impressive array of free resources for entrepreneurs and small businesses looking to improve their Public Relations as well as a lively Facebook community for exchanging support and ideas. As a former journalist, Janet offers practical advice on getting coverage for your company.

2. Inbound Marketing: Hubspot

The team over at Hubspot are experts at inbound marketing and content marketing. Their marketing blog provides lots of useful advice for content creation and building a blog strategy. Don’t miss out on their marketing resources library, which hosts a ton of free resources for email marketing, social media, landing pages, call to action buttons and much more.

Read: Social media vs blogging – which generates more sales?

3. Crisis communications: Melissa Agnes

From minor crises like an employee going rogue on Twitter to major operational upheavals, it’s vital to have a plan. Follow Melissa Agnes to keep up with best practice in crisis communications, and learn how to identify issues and resolve them before the turn into full blown crises. Melissa has advised organisations including NATO on crisis response, and is regularly featured in publications including Forbes.

4. Freelance inspiration: Creative Boom

Aimed primarily at freelancers in marketing and design, Creative Boom offers useful advice for everything from understanding your taxes and issuing invoices to maintaining a healthy work-life balance. The site is an invaluable resource for independent creatives, especially for new freelancers.The art, illustration and design sections are also superb places to find inspiration for new campaigns.

Read: How to get 1,000 views on your next blog post

5. Social media: Neal Schaffer

Neal Schaffer is a giant of social media marketing. Over on Maximise Social Business, you can find all kinds of advice for integrating your PR with social channels and amplifying the reach of your content. Neal also curates great blog posts from other industry influencers on Twitter.

So, those are the five PR blogs we read every week without fail – we hope you enjoy them as much as we do. Don’t forget to leave us a comment and let us know who your favourite industry bloggers are.

And if you’re enjoying the content here on Wilde Words, don’t forget to subscribe – we regularly offer bonus content including ebooks and templates exclusively to our email subscribers.

 

 

public-relations-katie-harringtonKatie Harrington is a Public Relations professional based in Galway, Ireland. Her book, Strategic Communications: The Science Behind the Art launched in November. Katie has worked with global brands including Emirates Airline and Allianz, as well as the Irish parliament and Qatar’s semi-government oil and gas company Nakilat. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram.

11 free PR resources every campaign needs

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The best free PR resources available online

These days, PR pros often find that our inboxes are overwhelmed with fancy, expensive tools designed to make our lives easier. Some of them are great, some of them less so, but for many of us who are on a strict budget, they simply are not an option. Luckily, there are a bunch of fantastic tools available online at zero cost.

Here’s a collection of some of the top free PR resources we recommend – and we want to hear about your favourites too in the comments.

Finding opportunities to promote your brand

1. HARO: Sign up to Help A Reporter Out to receive daily emails detailing journalist requests for sources, organised by sector/industry. When you come across an opportunity for a brand you represent, you send an answer attributed to one of your spokespeople and you can get cited as an expert source and sometimes get a link back that will boost your SEO too.

2. #journorequest: Along similar lines, you can search the hashtag #journorequest on Twitter to find opportunities

Social media

Naturally, organic social media buzz is vital to any campaign. These tools are hugely useful in creating and monitoring your campaigns.

3. Hootsuite: Scheduling your social media posts is a huge time saver. Sites like Twitter can take a lot of maintain, especially if you’re handling more than one account. It’s much easier to sit down for an hour once every week or two than to maintain a high level of engagement day to day. Having said that, it is best to log in and issue some replies and retweets on a daily basis, so your account doesn’t look like a bot!

4. BuzzSumo: This is a great tool for monitoring social shares of your content and backlinks referring traffic to your site. The best free features are quite limited but there’s a 14-day free trial that is well worth taking up if you need to generate some stats for a report.

Royalty free photo sites

In an increasingly visual online world, an eye-catching image can make all the difference to your next campaign. Unfortunately, we don’t always have budget to hire a professional photographer to create bespoke visuals. Luckily for us, many photographers make their images available royalty-free. You can find a huge variety at the sites below.

5. Pixabay: This is a great site to get generic, professional quality photos for blog posts and articles.

6. Unsplash: If you’re something a little quirkier or more artsy than the choices on Pixabay, check out Unsplash. It’s great for lifestyle shots, urban culture, travel, beauty, shopping and features.

7. Flickr: Popular with amateur photographers, many Flickr photographers make their work available for free. Make sure to check if the photographer allows modification or requires attribution.

Creating infographics

Infographics are the perfect way to present a lot of information in a way that’s easy for the reader to understand. Done right, they add colour and context, and can be used to break up blocks of text.

8. Easel: Choose from a huge range of pre-made infographics to edit, or start fresh and create your own using their text, shapes and characters. The free version works well, but if you love if and want more you can go pro for $3/month.

9. Hubspot: The inbound marketing experts over at Hubspot offer 15 awesome, versatile infographic templates completely free.

All things Google

Google offers a ton of exceptional tools for PR pros, but these are two of the most useful. I’ve taken it for granted that you all use Google News and Gmail anyway!

10. Google Analytics: Find out how many people are visiting your site (or your client’s), how long they spend on each page, which social media sites refer the best quality traffic, and track leads. Understanding the data can help you plan better campaigns.

11. Google Alerts: Lots of people pay reasonably large amounts for media monitoring services, but Google does a pretty good job of delivering mentions straight into your inbox absolutely free.

So, those are my top 11 free PR resources – some of them may seem a little obvious but I hope you learned about one or two new ones from this post. I’m sure there are some awesome ones that I’ve missed too. What do you use?

Leave me a comment and let me know!

public-relations-katie-harringtonKatie Harrington is a Public Relations professional based in Galway, Ireland. Her book, Strategic Communications: The Science Behind the Art launched in November 2016. Katie has worked with global brands including Emirates Airline and Allianz, as well as the Irish parliament and Qatar’s semi-government oil and gas company Nakilat. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram.

 

 

 

 

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How to promote blog content: 5 ways to get 1,000 views of your next post

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How to promote blog content on social

Recently, I wrote about how important blogging and other forms of inbound marketing are to any company’s Public Relations strategy. Creating valuable, useful content for your audience is a guaranteed way to keep them coming back to your site (and it’s a helluva lot cheaper than paying per click or other types of advertising).

Build it and they will come?

Here’s the thing, the mantra ‘content is king’ was repeated ad nauseum over the last decade, to the point where people thought creating engaging content was all they needed to do to build successful blogs.wilde-words-inbound-marketing

Unfortunately, that’s just not the case. There are 75.6 million blogs hosted on WordPress alone and 59.3 million posts are added to WordPress each month. In other words, the competition is fierce.

So yes, you need to write great posts. But that’s nowhere near enough. Promoting your content properly is vital, and well worth spending time on. Most of us already promote blog content on our own Facebook and Twitter feeds, but that means we’re relying on those who already follow us to read, share and engage with our content.

How can we reach new audiences and promote our content more widely?

Here are 5 suggestions to get 1,000 views (or more!) on your next post.

  1. Join the five largest Facebook groups that relate to your topic

    From fashion and beauty to sports and gaming, from entrepreneurship and public relations to photography and travel, there are groups on Facebook with thousands and sometimes tens of thousands of members. Find the groups that are most relevant to your blog, and you’ve got a ready-made audience.

    Rules of engagement: Different groups will have different rules for posting on their walls. Some designate a specific thread for blog posts, others only allow certain topics, while some may require admin approval. Scope it out before you post.

  2. Participate in all relevant subreddits on Reddit

    Reddit is a global forum and messaging board with groupings known as subreddits for almost every topic imaginable. It has 234 million unique users and more than 850,000 subreddits.

    Find and join the subreddits that are relevant to your blog post. Reddit operates a system of upvotes and downvotes, and users are quick to punish those who link-dump (i.e. post your blog without engaging with the forum and disappear). Subreddits are little communities, so comment on other people’s threads, ask questions and engage actively so that you’re not seen as a spammer.

    Rules of engagement: The rule of thumb on Reddit is that only one in ten of your posts should be self-promotional. Some subreddits have additional rules outlined in their sidebar, so make sure to follow those too.

  3. Submit your content to StumbleUpon

    stumbleupon-blogger-tipsStumbleUpon is a bookmarking site with more than 30 million monthly views. While anyone can submit content, the site uses a thumbs up and thumbs down feature to ensure the best content rises to the top. Users are shown a wide selection of content based on topics they have indicated an interest in.

    Strong headlines and images are particularly important for grabbing attention, because StumbleUpon’s users are always ready to hit “stumble” again at a moment’s notice if the page does not immediately grab attention.

    Rules of engagement: StumbleUpon suggests that only one in every ten of your submissions should be from your own site, so make sure to add high quality content from other sites you visit too to build credibility.

 

  1. Use striking imagery to win traffic from Instagram and Pinterest

    The human mind processes images more quickly than words. Beautiful photos, inspiring quotes and/or interesting infographics are essential to a high-traffic post. They help your audience to contextualise your words, and make your posts significantly more sharable. This is especially important on sites that focus more strongly on visual elements, like Instagram and Pinterest.

    Rules of engagement: Instagram allows a link to your blog from your profile page, so you can direct your followers there from each photo you post. On Pinterest, you can create specific boards related to your post topics, and post to group boards to widen your audience. Both channels are well-suited to lifestyle posts in particular.

  1. Drive industry professionals to your site through LinkedIn

    Use your personal page and company page to drive people who work in a related industry to your website. Just like point 1, you can also join LinkedIn groups which can connect you to tens of thousands of relevant professionals who love to get relevant content delivered to them.

    Rules of engagement: LinkedIn is a professional site, so it’s suitable for career and industry related content. Irrelevant or overly personal content is often met with comments like “This isn’t Facebook”.

By using any one of these strategies to promote blog content, you’re likely to see an uptick in site traffic. If you combine all five with some truly awesome content, you’re guaranteed to hit the 1,000 mark and likely exceed it. You’ll find a brand new, global audience for your content.

Give it a try and then come back and let me know what happened in the comments.

If you found this post useful, chances are someone else in your network will too – hit share!

By the way, have you entered our super simple competition to win a FREE COPY of ‘Strategic Communications: The Science Behind the Art’? If not, get on it straight away.

Don’t forget to follow Wilde Words on LinkedIn and Twitter so that you can share these posts easily with your colleagues and friends.

What is a customer persona, and why do you need one?

Building a customer persona

Meet James, Sara, Marie and Thomas – the new personifications of the people who buy your products. Each represents a particular customer persona – a composite sketch of the type of person who might buy your stuff. Every time you initiate a new campaign, ask yourself how it might make Thomas or Marie feel. It’s a helpful way of putting yourself in your customers’ shoes.

Story-telling has become such an integral part of how brands position themselves – and what is a story without characters? Creating a customer persona is a useful starting point before defining what the campaign itself will look like. It allows for the concept of homophily – the idea that people love what they know, or to use a cliché, the idea that ‘birds of a feather flock together’.

To create an effective customer persona, use the data you have available to you, make some educated guesses and add some human details to bring it to life. Remember, the purpose is to get an idea of what your ideal customer looks like as a person, rather than rows and columns on a spreadsheet.

Start by asking yourself simple questions, and then build toward something more sophisticated:

  • What age group does your ideal customer fall in?
  • Where does he or she live?
  • How much disposable income does he or she have available?
  • What is his or her favourite social media site? Where does he or she engage most?
  • What industry does he or she work on?
  • Does he or she shop more often online or in-store?
  • What challenges does he or she face on a daily basis?
  • Which influencers does he or she pay attention to in making buying decisions?
  • How far along in the consideration process is he or she?

You might end up with something like this:

Sara, 27, is a successful, single millennial living in London, England. She loves Instagram, and regularly posts colourful shots of her favourite brunch spots and new purchases. Sara is a young, professional earning a decent salary, but with a high cost of living in one of Europe’s most expensive capitals, good value is essential to her. Sara often browses online clothes stores before making a purchase, but enjoys making her purchases in-store so she can feel the fabrics and try the items on. Sara bought her favourite pair of shoes after seeing her favourite fashion blogger post photos of them with a positive review.

Challenge!

Think about one of your favourite brands and the products or services they provide. Now, create a customer persona for them. What does their ideal consumer look like? If you feel brave, leave a comment with your customer persona below!

To share these posts easily with your LinkedIn connections, follow our page HERE. And if you’ve got colleagues who might be interested in reading this – share the link (These posts take a while to put together, and we really appreciate the support!)

We post curated content from some of the world’s top PR professionals, as well as our own articles, over here on Twitter. Follow us there for trends and best practices in PR.

 

7 marketing tips from #GIRLBOSS Sophia Amoruso

From grunge to #GIRLBOSS in seven years

Sophia Amoruso is a #GIRLBOSS worth $280million dollars. She’s 32 years old, and a self-made multimillionaire. She’s a former hitchhiker and shoplifter. She paid for her Porsche in cash because even as she found success, her credit history was too poor for a loan. Sophia has been featured by Forbes, Inc and many more.

How?

Sophia turned a one-woman eBay business into one of the biggest alternative fashion labels in the world, in part by using the largest social media site of the day – MySpace – to connect with her target market. Along the way, she became a role model to thousands of girls and women inspired by her journey.

If there’s one thing Sophia had an intrinsic knack for, it was marketing. Here are seven tips from her book #GIRLBOSS we could all do with remembering.

marketing-advice-sophia-amoruso

1. Dare to be different

“What made me successful wasn’t necessarily what I sold, but how I sold it… I focused on making my store as unique as possible. My customers responded – they were willing to pay more at Nasty Gal Vintage than they were at other stores.”

Build your brand from day one, just like Sophia did. There’s a reason why people pay $5 for a coffee at Starbucks and only $1.50 for the same thing in a small-time corner cafe – and it’s not that Starbucks coffee is just that incredible – it’s branding.

2. Pay serious attention to detail

“I’m the kind of person who pays attention to something as small as a crooked shipping label… I took a lot of pride in how carefully I affixed those labels. I had to assume that my customer was as particular and as concerned with aesthetics as I was.”

At the very beginning, Sophia’s whole business was a one-man (should that be woman) band being run out of a single room – but she didn’t want anyone receiving goods from her to realise that. She took extra care in making sure everything looked professional.

3. Offer your customers added value

marketing-advice-wiled-words“When I wrote product descriptions, I exalted the details. I included styling tips in the copy, in case someone was considering bidding on a Betty White-type windbreaker but wasn’t quite sure how to pull it off like MIA could… What we were really doing was helping girls to look and feel awesome before they left the house.”

Sophia wasn’t just selling a garment to her customers – she sold a whole look, maybe even a lifestyle. By going that step further in her product descriptions she gave her customers something beyond clothing to keep coming back for. She built a loyal, devoted following for her brand – a #GIRLBOSS tribe.

4. Don’t underestimate the work involved

“Many people assume that working from home is like a vacation, where you get to do what you want. This was not the case for me. The demands of eBay put me on the strictest schedule I had ever endured.”

Lots of people dream of starting an online businesses and becoming millionaires overnight with passive income building up while you sleep. For most people, that’s not the reality. Working from home can have huge advantages, but never underestimate the work building and marketing a business will take.

5. Listen to what your market wants

“Each week, I grew faster, smarter and more aware of what women wanted. And each week my auctions did better and better. If it sold, cool – I’d instantly go find more things like it. If it didn’t, I wouldn’t touch anything like it with a the-foot pole ever again.”

Don’t fall into the trap of giving your customers what you think they should want, rather than what they actually want. Sophia listened intently to what her buyers were telling her and, importantly, never made the same mistake twice. The results showed immediately in her profit margin.

6. If at first you don’t succeed…

“From Nasty Gal’s inception, I have always viewed the business as a work in progress. I constantly tweak and move on, peeling back the layers of the onion as new ones arrive. If something didn’t work – like if I put a dress up for auction and no one was bidding on it – I didn’t just assume that no one wanted it. I just tried something else. I rewrote the product description. I swapped out the thumbnail because I thought maybe people couldn’t judge the silhouette correctly from the original picture I’d posted. I never assumed I’d just done my best job the first time around.”

Sophia believed in her products with a passion – so if something wasn’t selling, she went back to look at how she had marketed it, and whether that could be improved. Crucially, she was prepared to recognise when something had gone on, and act to mitigate it. How often have we seen marketeers get it wrong, but forge on down a path that’s clearly mistaken instead of holding a hand up and saying “I screwed up”.

7. Start small and scale

sophia-amorusa-marketing-advice“When you begin with the finish line in mind, you miss all the fun stuff along the way. The better approach is to tweak and grow, tweak and grow. I call it incremental potential… Dream big all you want – but know that the first step toward those dreams is probably going to be a small one.”

Our ever-wise #GIRLBOSS offers sound advice on getting realistic about your brand – you’re most likely not going to become a household name overnight, and while marketeers can and should think big, scalable growth is preferable to seeking investors to put a ton of money in right at the beginning. Give yourself the room to fail and the opportunity to succeed.

If you’re interesting in reading the full book, you can buy it here. It’s a very conversational, accessible read and highly recommended to any potential #GIRLBOSS out there. Sophia Amoruso tells it like it is.

Have you read the book? What did you think of the advice? You know where the comments section is.

To share these posts easily with your LinkedIn connections, follow our page HERE. And if you’ve got colleagues who might be interested in reading this – share the link (These posts take a while to put together, and we really appreciate the support!)

We post curated content from some of the world’s top PR professionals, as well as our own articles, over here on Twitter. Follow us there for trends and best practices in PR.

Build your blog: Tips from Backlinko CEO Brian Dean

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5 simple steps to convert visitors into loyal subscribers

build-list-loyal-subscribersInbound marketing is where it’s at in terms of going beyond building a blog to making money online. In Dublin, staying ahead of the game is made that little bit easier by the guys over at Learn Inbound, who put on regular events with phenomenal guest speakers. Recently, they hosted Brian Dean, founder of Backlinko, an expert in monetizing websites, building your SEO and content marketing.

He shared a dilemma he had in his early days as a content marketer – one that many of us face. He was getting plenty of traffic to his site, but it wasn’t converting – his visitors were coming and going without subscribing, meaning he might never see them again.

Brian shared a super simple strategy he used to increase his conversion rates, and I’ve jotted some down in five easy steps below.

1. Find your most visited pages

What are your most popular posts? Where do your visitors spend the most time? Use Google Analytics to find out. Generally, your site will follow the 80:20 rule – 80% of your traffic comes from 20% of your posts. Those top posts that are already getting a ton of traffic are where you want to start. This is the stuff your audience is interested in and wants more information on. And who better to give it to them? Hone in on those topics.

2. What do the people visiting those pages want?

This is a secret hidden in plain sight. It sounds ridiculously obvious, and yet most people are not doing it. The key to turning passing traffic into loyal subscribers is to keep asking yourself what the people landing on your site want (and then give it to them.) Your readers might already be giving you clues in the comment section. If not, ask them what they would find useful. Figure out what formats they love. Many of your most loyal subscribers will be happy to share their thoughts.

3. Create an exclusive, post-specific bonus

Create a relevant giveaway that is irresistible to your readers. The trick is to tailor it to a single post – one of the super popular ones you already identified above. It could be a PDF that expands on the topic, a video tutorial or an e-course that gives your audience exactly what they need – which you’ve already figured out in step 2. This is called a content upgrade. It doesn’t have to take a whole lot of time to create. It could be an expanded version of a post you’ve already done, a printable version, an e-book or a checklist.

4. Use a lead box

Pop ups work. They can be super annoying or less annoying, but they are absolutely proven to be effective. Exit intent popups (the ones that show up when you go to click out of the page) are less annoying because they don’t interrupt your reading of an article the same way timed pop ups do, and the user is leaving your site anyway, so you’ve got nothing to lost. You’ll need to use a plugin like Opt In Monster to create your popup and connect it to an email marketing service like ConvertKit to get started with collecting subscribers through content upgrades.

5. Make your giveaway prominent

So, now you’ve done all the hard work – it’s time to reap the rewards. You’re almost ready to start converting your visitors to subscribers at a substantially higher rate. (Brian mentioned conversion rates of about 4.5% for posts that have content upgrades, while Kim Roach of Buzz Blogger recently claimed rates of 10-15% on her content upgrades) Before it goes live, make sure your content upgrade is super prominent on your site. For Brian, having a yellow lead box seemed to be key – it may not be pretty, but it certainly grabs attention.

So there you have it – some super simply, actionable tips you can make a start on today. Thanks to Brian for an awesome talk.

Share your experiences on list building in the comments. Do you agree? Or do you still think awards like this are worthwhile?

To share these posts easily with your LinkedIn connections, follow our page HERE. And if you’ve got colleagues who might be interested in reading this – share the link. (These posts take a while to put together, and we really appreciate the support!)

We post curated content from some of the world’s top PR professionals, as well as our own articles, over here on Twitter. Follow us there for trends and best practices in PR.

How to go viral: The first secret

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Lesson 1: Understand social currency

Brent Coker is an expert in online consumer psychology. Over the next few weeks, I’ll be looking at some of the ideas he explores in his book Going Viral:The 9 secrets of irresistible marketing. It’s a worthwhile read for anyone working in Public Relations who wants a greater understanding of how to go viral (and who doesn’t?)

The first secret, Coker explains, is to understand the difference between traditional marketing and what happens on social networks. Classical marketing techniques, which saw brands ‘push’ their message to us through television, radio and print advertising, were often about gaining attention through being provocative. This includes explicitly sexual advertising, negative advertising, and going for shock value.

Because the audience was not a stakeholder in transmitting the message this was a great way to generate a buzz – people could chat about what they had seen the night before on TV over their morning coffee at work. Sex sold. Controversy sold. Often, negativity sold (See: every US presidential campaign).

And in classical marketing environments, sometimes they still do. But the world has moved on, and social campaigns are an entirely different ballgame.

How to go viral

go-viral-social-mediaWith the move to digital, audiences were no longer mere consumers of ads and PR campaigns – they could share and shape them, add their opinions and thoughts. Marketing departments that failed to grasp this have struggled to maintain their share of voice. In the past, this was largely dictated by who had the largest budget – so what’s a traditional marketer to do in a world where small businesses can make a huge splash with a cleverly orchestrated viral campaign?

The answer lies in social currency. People share things because they want to be seen in a certain way – your friend who constantly shares TED talks likely wants to be seen as intelligent, while your friend who shares memes wants to be seen as funny. Our social currency encompasses our status within the groups we belong to, the respect we have and our reputation; for a PR campaign or ad to be sharable, the target audience has to feel like sharing it will enhance people’s opinion of them.

The simplest way of putting it is this: You have to give people a reason to share.

Will it make them seem trendy to their peers? Maybe they want to be seen as ambitious? Or well-read? A share is often a signal of the person’s value system. Understand your audiences priorities, and how they want the people around them to see them – and then the kind of content they find sharable should come into view.

Most people won’t share explicitly sexual or overly controversial campaigns, because they are too personal for social networks. Increasingly, people are mindful of what they share, and wary of going against the grain (we all know our future employers will Google us).

Coker claims that being interesting is not enough. With the overwhelming amount of content available online, we consume interesting content from a wide variety of sources on a daily basis – to go viral, people must be given a specific reason to share, and the first of these is that it may shape their image to  the outside world.

So, that’s the first in a mini-series on how to go viral. What’s your view? Have you ever had campaign go viral? What was the secret sauce that made it happen?

Share our posts easily with your LinkedIn connections – follow our page HERE. If you’ve got colleagues who might be interested in reading this – share the link. (These posts take a while to put together, and we really appreciate the support!)

We post curated content from some of the world’s top PR professionals, as well as our own articles, over here on Twitter. Follow us there for trends and best practices in PR.

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