Top Mistakes of Branding

Branding can be a great tactic and useful tool for your business. Branding is about creating a conscious image and awareness of your business. One that identifies and promises value. It has become less of an advantage and more of a requirement for a successful business. When creating a brand it’s important to have the following:

  • Tagline
  • Brand colors
  • Logo
  • Fonts and typography
  • Imagery

However, not many are aware of the mistakes that are often made when branding. Follow along for the top tips to avoid.

  1. Misunderstanding what constitutes a “brand” – Branding is more than just a tagline and logo. Your business identity includes an image, voice and specific style that all create the vision of your business. That is important to maintain.
  2. Not maintaining your brand – Businesses can be quick to change or alter their identity. However, it’s vital to remain true to your brand as changing can create confusion to your customers. Branding is a foundation to businesses.
  3. Jargon – Basically, business companies are all guilty of this to try and add value. Instead, keep it simple and to the point where your message is clean and understood by your customers.
  4. Not knowing your business – Every successful brand has a focus. If your business has great customer service and strive on it, make that your focus and run with it. If your delivery service isn’t the fastest at overnight delivery, don’t brand that you are. Instead, know your strengths and weaknesses and create an image that brings honesty and strength to both. Knowing where your company is competing can verbalize the differences and needs that customer want.
  5. Inconsistency – Consistency is everything when it comes to branding. Not only will it create familiarity to your customers and audience, but it also creates loyalty. Always be consistent.

Content Marketing and SEO

Similar to aiding your content to succeed on social media networks, it is also vital for your content to succeed with search engines as well. Although, two entirely different functions, SEO and content marketing do overlap and blend together. Think of it this way, SEO makes demands and content marketing is the solution to those demands.

With both helps, weaving SEO practices into your content will help make a good impression and move your website up the ranking list on sites such as Google.

Here are some tips and examples that content and SEO continue to work and blend together.

  • Use keywords – Use keywords naturally to identify your main keyword for the content. SEO demands keywords, and it is one of the fundamental components from it. For example, utilizing the keywords and tracking their rankings. For example, using a few synonyms, and a few related keywords and using them in your content, headers, and page content.
  • Use natural links– Building links is fundamental when it comes to SEO, and the only way to get linkback is having content worth linking to. However, be careful when linking as links from spam sources can hurt your site with search engines. Instead, build relationships with industry professionals who can share your content and link it to their primary resources.
  • Consistent – Consistent is key in both SEO and Content marketing. Fresh context gets indexed easily and ends up being registered on the older low-value content. Keeping it fresh and updated frequently is the only way to truly keep both combinations successfully working.

SEO is all about content marketing and content marketing is all about SEO. Remember creating content for your client and audience. Creating good content and having a good marketing strategy provides the information and answers that your target is looking for.

What is Content Marketing

 

Content marketing is a key to helping businesses plan for a reliable source of website traffic and new leads that help generate awareness to your brand.

Traditional marketing is no longer something that is used often or even effective anymore. With the times changing, technology is finding new ways to adapt and create new ways to promote businesses. It is a marketing technique to distribute valuable, relevant and consistent content to attract a specific audience. For example, content marketing, for example, involves the creation and sharing of online material– social media posts, videos and blogs.

There is several types of content marketing that can be used strategically and successfully when used the right way.

Infographics include charts and statistics, webpages used for SEO or even videos and podcast that help promote your service and products in a whole new way. Social media, however, is one of the primary sources to promoting your content because it allows you to interact with your audience directly. This also creates a great opportunity to survey what your clients want and need from you as a business, which only benefits your content even further.

Here are three ways content marketing is used within a business:

  1. Owned – Sharing your content on the brand’s social media channels is quick, customizable and easy to connect with your target audience.
  2. Earned – Social media works best when your audience shares your content with their networks.
  3. Paid – Social networks that allow paid advertising. Matching a network’s demographics with your brand’s persona will help you determine where to invest. 

Why is content marketing important to your business? Content marketing taps into awareness and research of the customer needs and wants. When it comes to content, it provides the consumer with a better solution that they didn’t consider before.

How Long Should A Website Last?

When creating a website, the idea of how long it’s meant to last should always be kept in mind. On average, 3 to 5 years is the standard length to a website’s life. The design and coding is an important factor to take into account when creating your site. It’s also important to question what features are better for your website? Is it still helping your business? Or is it easy to access and navigate for your customers and clients?

The best ways to maintain the website’s life is to have constant and frequent updates on everything – many times allowing you to add new features and functionalities to your website as time progresses. After a few years, a website can begin to lose its appeal and can cause unwanted issues for your customers. Similar to seeing an old restaurant lose its appeal, customers can identify when and what websites are new and which are dying out. Therefore, a redesign has the potential to produce better results of turning visitors into sales, or even provide other valuable improvements to your business.

Here are some solutions to help keep your website looking brand new: 

  • Making sure your website contact is up to date like the contact information, or checking if your business hours and location are still current. If your staff members are also included in the website, it’s a good idea to keep track of the current ones as well. Aside from accurate content, providing important information to your website such as FAQs, articles and information for clients will allow them to frequently visit your website for anything they need.
  • Social Media is a big deal for any business success. Make sure your social media accounts are all linked correctly. By linking your media accounts directly, it allows everyone to follow the accounts to their preferences – Use buttons such as “Like/Follow/Share/Connect”.
  • Another cool feature you can design into your website are blogs or discussion forums. It gives you and your audience a better way to connect, as well being a great opportunity to keep track of any event, information or product that your business promotes.
  • Attract your audience eyes by providing more images and/or videos. This is a great way to add content that can help extend the time your site design remains for viable.

Depending on your business, a fresh design varies from an entirely new website. Different elements can be added or changed on a regular basis. In many cases, applying new designs to your already existing website does the trick and saves you time from having to redo it from the ground up. This lets you redesign and rebuild more quickly and effectively while still giving you the chance to update any changes later on.

The 3 Secrets of Successful Website Content

Businesses today require more than just price, quality and convenience. Instead, it requires a successful online foundation it can continue to strive and attract its customers. When using a successful online process, it’s important to know which factors will make your audience come back. Here are some tips to help you better engage your audience and keep your content to a perfect amount.

  1. Engaging but To-the-Point Content – When dealing with content, your main goal is to engage your audience but also to get your point directly across. For example, think Buzzfeed. The articles aren’t incredibly long, and the paragraphs are properly divided out to get their points across. The best way in doing so, is to point out examples that are short and directly will get your goal across to your readers.
  2. Compelling Imagery – It is much easier to process information with images. It  breaks up long chunks of text, as well as create a stronger experience for the audience to scan the site they are seeing. When using images, use images that are professional and relevant to what your content addresses. In addition to this, use images that are high quality which will bring a unique experience to your audience.
  3. Satisfying UI/UX – User Interface and User Experience is all about how the site looks and flows to your audience. Of course you’ll want it to attract the eye, as well as be intuitive and easy to navigate. However, it’s important to have it clean and consistent (user experience) before look (user interface). You shouldn’t have to teach your user how to navigate your product. In doing so, you avoid using too many new, intriguing features so it’s not overwhelming to your readers.
  4. Know What You’re Trying to Say – It’s important to know exactly what you want to say, and what your main goal is when having an online presence. In doing so, you can represent accurate and related topics and suggestions that better represent your brand. You’re also able to better engage your audience to social media platforms that will represent your brand to not only your needs, but to the needs of your customers as well. For example, if your business is strictly photography, platforms such as Instagram or Facebook can be a better platform to your brand because you are able to promote your photos and engage your customers accordingly.

With these four helpful tips, your website will be able to have accurate content to better suit your customers and your businesses.

PR Essential You Need to Know

When dealing with Public Relations, you never stop growing professionally and even personally. With every new development in the business, you adapt and take in a bit of information every time. With the right skills and motivation, a successful career in PR isn’t hard to come across, however, which essentials are needed in public relations? Follow along for a list of the top skills a PR must have.

  • Communication – From being a good listener, communicating with others is something that will happen every single day. As a PR person, you must be able to pick up on the slightest tone or emotion during a conversation. Aside from not allowing your emotions cloud your judgement, having a clear way of speaking and choosing words carefully, allows you to build a relationship with your client.
  • Expert in Social Media – The social media is redefining communication today as we know it and being knowledgeable about social media is an important factor. Knowing your client’s voice is vital to their needs, and knowing how to brand that out on social media is what they will need. Making use of Google Alerts and other tools keep you on top of the hot issues and on top of the competition.
  • Research Skills – A good researcher, in order to communicate accurately, needs to be knowledgeable about their clients and what their needs are. This allows you to keep track of a fast-paced markets and keep you up to speed with current affairs.
  • Be Creative – As a PR professional, not only will you be creative in writing, but being creative in ways to promote new businesses and approaching new clients. As a profession that is always calling for fresh new ideas, having a creative streak is a crucial skill to have. If you can think out of the box, you’ll make your clients happy.

Better Photos for Your Website Using A Smartphone

Ever wonder how people take these wonderful and bright photos on their phones? How could they get a perfect angle, with the right amount of light without a fancy camera? You look through their Instagram and Flickr for inspiration and next thing you know, you’re trying to take pictures like them. With practice and patience, taking top notch pictures on your phone will become a habit for you. Here are some tips to try to get a better photo without the use of a professional camera!

  • Use Grid to Balance – The grid is your bestfriend. Using the grid is great to help improve the balance and focus point of your photo. With a series of lines on the screen of your smartphone’s camera, based on the rule of thirds – a photographic composition principle that says an image should be broken down into thirds, vertically and horizontally, giving you nine parts in total to use. By  points onto your focus, your photo will become more balanced, leveled, and focused.
  • Edit, Don’t Filter – Why use the same filter many, many people are using as well? Branch out and be creative. By editing your photos, you can get creative with lighting and choosing what colors are going to bring your photo to life. There are several helpful apps that are perfect for editing to help you get perfect exposure, filtering, convert to black and white and help get rid of blemishes and unwanted spots. A few apps that are free and great for editing are VSCO and even Snapseed, which is great to use for tools like removing any unwanted object or to enhance the mood of your image.
  • Focus on One Subject – The best photos always include that one subject, whether it be a plate of food or one specific person. In which case, spending extra time on the shot is an important key. By tapping on the screen, it allows the camera to instantly focus on your subject, helping you ensure the right focus and lighting.  Always remember not to let your focus take up too much of the frame, but instead allow two-thirds of the photo to be negative space – letting the focused subject stand out even further.

With these helpful tips, you’ll be able to get the right focus, with the perfect lighting and edits to get your picture perfect!

Ways to Get your Content Shared

Posting informational and helpful materials on your social platforms means nothing unless people are reading and sharing that content with others. In order for the content to be deemed as valuable it needs to be viewed, but with so much being shared on social media, it’s easy to have materials go unnoticed and get buried under other status updates and video sharing. Because of this, we have developed a set of tips to help create value to your content. Read along to learn how you can get your content shared.

Some basic points to keep in mind are headlines, the type of social network the content is being posted in and the purpose of the content.

Headline:

Build a strong and interesting headline for your content. The title should give an idea of what your content is about and create interest in what you are sharing with others. Play around with different headlines to see which one sounds best.

Type of Social Media:

Each social network is different and should be treated as so. Just because some content did well in one platform, doesn’t mean it will do well in all platforms, at least not if it’s presented in the same way. Tailor your content to the social media you plan to share it on. For example, Twitter expects short and to the point information, unlike Facebook where more details are shared.

Content’s Purpose:

What is the purpose of your content? Are you trying to inform others on a certain subject? Are you trying to entertain your audience? Whatever it may be that you are sharing, make sure you are not sharing the same kind of content consistently. You don’t want to bore your followers. Remember that you want to be interesting to your followers in order to get your content shared.

Aside from content-specific tips, here are some other alternatives to also incorporate to help get your content shared:

Ask Influencers and Employees to Share:

Build a relationship with other social influencers and ask them to feature your content. If you build a strong enough relationship, you may not have to even ask. Doing this, as well as asking employees to share the content, can help get your content shared by others while also increasing your company’s visibility.

Happy Posting!

Networking Organizations We’re a Part of: North Shore Chamber of Commerce

This month we will highlight North Shore Chamber of Commerce as one of the networking organizations we’re a part of. This organization is the largest business organization in our region and the most influential at that. It was established in 1918 and currently has more than 1,500 businesses and professional firm members of all sizes, different industries and occupation.

As a business located in the North Shore, we have been a part of this organization for 8 years, which qualifies us to attest to all the great benefits this organization has to offer.

One of the great benefits, which we have enjoyed, is being a part of the North Shore Business to Business Expo. This is a 2,500-person conference and exposition that features close to 100 exhibiting companies and speakers. Some other benefits include:

Executive Breakfast Forums where over 225 business leaders attend the breakfast to network with others and listen to important community speakers.

Speed Connections is similar to well-known speed dating. Here, attendees with other business professionals for 6 minutes at a time to network.

North Shore Business Journal is where all business issues, events, programs, and new member listings are published. This is prime location for business promotions, especially since thousands of North Shore businesses and firms are a on it.

Human Resources Employment Issue Workshops are available for the HR department of their member businesses. These are monthly discussions of issues that impact local businesses.

New Member Campaign is a great feature for all new members. Here you get to meet new professionals, get sales training, develop relationships while building your membership, win prizes and getaways, and-most importantly- gain exposure.

As a North Shore Chamber of Commerce member, you get many networking opportunities, exposure to firms in the area, referrals to your company, advocacy for your business, and education and training to help progress your business.

Among these, there are many more benefits that come with being a member of this organization. If you would like to learn more about the organization and where to sign up to become a member, visit here

How to Advertise on Instagram

Have you ever scrolled through your Instagram feed and liked a really cool picture just to notice 5 seconds later that it was a sponsored post? This is part of what makes advertising on Instagram a much better than other social media platform’s advertising.

Instagram’s first advertisement appeared on November 1, 2013 in the U.S. and later expanded to the U.K. that September. Like mentioned above, what makes Instagram advertising better is how they look like regular photos, making them feel less invasive. Many times users don’t realize that the photos are ads until they look above the picture to find the “Sponsored” mark on the top right corner of it. Another cool thing is that users can actually like the picture or decide to follow the company’s account in order to see everything they post on their feeds.

If you were not already aware, Instagram is the fastest growing social media site around the world. There are currently over 400 million members of the site in the 18-early 30s age group, which is perfect for targeting teens and young adults. According to Hootsuite.com, the Instagram per followers engagement rate is 58 times higher than on Facebook and 120 times higher than on Twitter.

One of the first companies to advertise on Instagram was Ben & Jerry’s when their new flavor Scotchy Scotch Scotch was released. They generated 4 advertisement pictures in eight-day-periods and made it so each user would see 3 of these ads on their feeds. After this was done 9.8 Million U.S. users were reached, there was a 33-point increase in ad recall, and 17 percent of users became aware of the flavor and associated it with the company.

Now, having a sponsored ad on this site can be pretty costly and, at the moment, only brands with a “successful Instagram following” are chosen to advertise anyway. If you can’t afford to advertise on Instagram, yet, or don’t fall under that category, do not be discouraged! Having a public Instagram account for your company with amazing photos can be a great start for advertisement. If you don’t know where to start, here are some ideas from sponsored advertisements:

  • Tell a story about your product. Because Levis has been around for many generations, they shared photos of their older products that were handed down to newer generations by family members.
  • Share “personal photos” of customers or employees using your company’s products/service and give them a shout out! Ben & Jerry’s shared photos of customer eating their ice cream and tagged them on the photos.
  • Do behind-the-scenes look of employees working on your products – like packaging it, creating it, putting it together – or providing service for your customers. This helps give customers incite on your company’s culture.
  • Be inspirational by sharing photos of cool adventures. Adidas did this by sharing photos of people wearing their gear on a hike, rock climbing, and more.
  • Think outside the box if your company is about providing service rather than products.