On the 16th January, I had been running my business for one whole year! It’s very exciting and I can’t quite believe how much I have learnt over the course of the last year; how many wonderful clients I have had the absolute pleasure of working with and all of the amazing support I have received via Facebook, LinkedIn and this blog. It is great to feel like I am still growing and learning.
I am true believer in continuing professional development. I think I am quite ‘academically minded’ and with a background in publishing I can’t help but constantly want to read books, as well as online articles and blogs, to garner more and more information about my new-found career in digital marketing; content strategy and creation; copywriting and editing for online materials, especially websites, blogs and newsletters.
There is so much to learn. I love the fact with digital items they can be changed, updated, edited and then re-published instantly. How I would have loved to have tweaked some of my textbooks that I had had printed in their 100s, just a few months after publishing, when I worked at Palgrave Macmillan!
However, the downside to anything digital is that the trends and advice for ‘best practice’ seem to change every minute! You read one article written just a few months ago, which is then contradicted by 2 or 3 written just yesterday. And the first article wasn’t ‘wrong’, it is just already outdated.
The one thing that does stand out and seems (for the moment at least!) to be consistent is the message that quality matters more than anything else. If your content is well-written, error free and of high quality, then it can only be a good thing for your business. Hence, I have a new tag line for The Content Consultancy and my mantra for 2018:
I love a bit of alliteration, but I also love the word ‘meticulous’ – to me it means caring – caring about the detail, caring about getting it right, caring about quality and caring about anything enough to plan it and make it the best it can be.
Whilst, I will be sticking to this mindset this year, I have also been investigating what seems to be the current trends for 2018 and what is going to affect small businesses and their content marketing over the coming 12 months…but don’t forget, whatever happens, quality always comes first.
Facebook wants your money
Perhaps this subheading is a little harsh, but from recent announcements it does seem that whilst Facebook wants to go back to being a platform for ‘friends and family’, the only way to get any engagement or reach for your small business and its posts is to spend money on boosting and creating FacebookAds. I think it is such a shame as I love seeing small businesses being able to communicate their message for free on Facebook. It genuinely helps me to buy local.
My advice, be very careful what you spend your money on. Facebook works on algorithms so there is no ‘handpicking’ who sees boosted posted or ads (just categories). Consider that whilst £5 here and there doesn’t seem much, it can soon add up month after month. Be critical as to whether more likes or reactions to a post is ACTUALLY getting you more clients.
If you are keen to work locally, investigate what is available – can you join Facebook groups and communities where you can share your news and offer your services? Could you establish your own group and offer meaningful interaction?
Does your local village or town offer an online directory or perhaps events calendar even, that you can use to advertise?
Consider again your use of other social media platforms. LinkedIn is increasingly popular and may even be more suitable than Facebook for your business. Twitter also still holds a lot of the market share and Instagram is brilliant for sharing the ‘visual side’ of any business.
Blog posts are getting longer
For those who loathe writing, sorry this is not the best news…however, for me…well, I’m singing it from the roof tops!
The advice used to be that a blog needed to be over 300 words, ideally around 500, to be considered detailed enough and to help with search engine optimisation (SEO). I would still say this is better than nothing. However, research suggests blog posts of 1000 words or more are effective in terms of engagement, SEO and converting ‘readers’ in to actual ‘clients’.
So, watch out for more depth and knowledge sharing from me in 2018 – and don’t be too worried about your own blogging, 1000 words is only two A4 pages. When you are talking about something you love and you structure it well, getting close to this figure shouldn’t take too much effort.
Video is a necessity not a nice-to-have
The growth of video is not what I wanted to hear but it is here to stay.
I much prefer hiding behind the written word, rather than having to see my ugly mug on screen, however it is not something that any business can completely ignore for much longer. From a brand, business building, social media and SEO viewpoint, video offerings will take a much higher precedent and help with those all important rankings.
If you just cannot bear the thought of talking to the camera, all is not lost. Slideshows, time-lapse videos and other types of ‘moving image’ are equally as important. I will blog about it soon, but do a bit of your own research and you can find lots of free apps and websites which help with video creation and editing. Also, many small local businesses are offering these services, including photographers and website designers.
I am very happy to help with scripting video chats, helping develop ideas and voice overs too.
Consistency is key
Finally, it seems we all need to be more consistent with our output, for two reasons: regularity and style.
Good optimisation for search engines seems to rely on regularity, seeing your content pop up and change/update over and over again.
Consistency also makes good business sense. If your content has a consistent style, then it will help build and cement your brand, engage your customers and make you seem more familiar. Take a moment to consider how you can be consistent. Make a plan and schedule you can stick to and follow it throughout 2018.
Happy 2018 everyone…and best wishes for a successful year.