Category “Social Media Strategies”

The Usefulness of Long-Form Content – for Sites and Readers

Wednesday, 30 November, 2016

pencil and shavingsWhile I tend to focus on creating concise, focused web copy for my clients (for many reasons – reader attention spans, mobile phone use, effectiveness, “punch”, etc.), it’s important to also keep in mind that readers do actually also look for and enjoy long-form content. It has many benefits for site owners, including on the search engine ranking front, and can help you engage more with your specific audience. I think it can be argued that the more reliant we get on our devices, too, the more we use them for all types of reading – both long-form and short-form content.

So, What is Long-form Content?

Long-form content is usually defined as content longer than 2,000 words, so that might include white papers, research reports, or a long article (all of which I do write for clients as well). Yes, as online readers, we’re inundated with clickbait lists and ‘viral’ – what I’d hesitate to even classify as – articles. Much of what we see these days is designed to be shared or skimmed by a social media audience (think of the Facebook “news” section of trending topic “headlines”). However, a lot of readers are looking for depth and value, and longer articles do also get shared – actually quite a lot more than you might suppose. I firmly believe that well written, engaging content can be of any length – as long as you’ve thought about your audience and purpose. For example, I wouldn’t recommend long-form content for a Home page of a website, but it’d be a great for an in-depth case study.

How Does Long-Form Content Help Site Owners?

One of the reasons I advocate for a blog for many clients is that it allows you to show your audience that you are a source of knowledge and expertise on your particular service/product/industry. Long-form content can be an integral part of this same approach. It helps connect with readers and can actually increase your leads. As a recent article on Content Marketing states, “Users will not only stay on a page longer to read lengthier content, but also they’ll look at more pages than the average visitor. In addition, holding a reader’s attention for more than three minutes (as opposed to one minute) makes it over twice as likely that they’ll return to a website.” So the more engaged your readers are with your long-form content, the more likely they will actually come back to your website, which can lead to more business and a better bottom line.

One of the elements that counts when optimizing a site for Search Engines is fresh content, and it has been shown that Search Engines also like long-form content. This provides more opportunities to then include more keywords when optimizing a website, which then drives more leads. In simple terms, adding new, longer articles to your website can boost where you show up on search engine results pages. Given that most web users these days use search engines to find what they’re looking for online, you can see how this important and helpful this is!

What Should You Be Careful of with Long-Form Content?

As I mentioned, you do have to make sure you’re picking the right time and place for longer articles. The information still has to be well written and applicable to your audience, and it also has to fit into an overall marketing strategy. You can churn out content (or hire someone like me to do it for you), but if there is no strategy on how it will be used, where it’ll be shared, etc., then it won’t serve your purpose. You also have to be careful that you aren’t using “shovelware” (content that was created for a different medium that has been dumped online); long-form content still needs to be written and planned with web users and the medium of the web in mind.

Interested in finding out more about how long-form content can help your website and your business? Feel free to get in touch with me.

Geraldine

 

 

How Long Should Your Resume Be?

Monday, 12 August, 2013

Cartoon about resumesSomewhere along the line, we were convinced that there is a set length to a resume.  I remember how adamant a student of mine was once about keeping her 1-page resume format, despite it looking cramped and sounding incomplete. Others have shuddered at the thought of condensing their 3-page resume. Some recruiters insist two is the magic number. So what’s the ideal length? I would say it depends, much like the resume as a whole, on your preferences and what you’re applying for.

Length ∝ Job

One of the biggest mistakes people make with resumes is not to customize to the job, and length is part of this. I would argue that the length of your resume can be directly proportional (∝) to the job you’re applying for. If you’re fresh out of college and applying for an entry level position, then 1-page works well. If you have more experience, and it’s all relevant, then make it 1 1/2 or 2. If it’s executive level, then 3 could work.

However, I would also argue that it depends on the industry and the company. Perhaps, even for a high level position, a 1-pager would make more impact – it states the highlight of your career  and it guarantees the reader will absorb more information more quickly. After all, with a wealth of experience, what could you give other than core benefits your skills would bring to the employer? I think that if you’re applying for an unsolicited job (i.e. there is no ad, but you’re submitting your resume to a company you really want to work at), then perhaps a 1-pager also makes the most impact;  a teaser that says “call me if you want to know more”. 

Philip Berne, in his blog post titled The Zero Page Resume, discusses how we may be heading towards online resumes – no pages at all, but formats like LinkedIn to replace the traditional version. If you’re running a smart self-marketing campaign through social media, then much of your resume should be online already (think LinkedIn). Personally, I feel like a combination is ideal. Again, you have to look at the industry expectations, the information preferences of the reader, and what type of job you are applying for.

You vs. “They”

Regardless of what “they” say (including me 🙂 ), I think you have to decide what best represents you and what you think your readers will expect and need to see. And above all, follow the job ad guidelines to the letter – they’re telling you what they want, so give it to them. Don’t include every single job you’ve had; include the most relevant and get around the date gaps by using “Related Word Experience” or “Relevant Work Experience” as your work section heading. Tailor to the ad, the company, the industry. Highlight measurables. And edit, edit, edit.

Remember that these days recruiters scan through resumes very quickly (and they may be scanned by machine beforehand or after to look for keywords), so don’t overwhelm the reader with reams of information. Choose your highlights. And go with the length that works for you.

Geraldine

A Fascinating Infographic on Canadian Internet Usage

Saturday, 24 November, 2012

One of my favourite digital marketing companies in Vancouver is 6S Marketing. Beyond the services they offer, they share a lot of really interesting, applicable information with their network. Their’s is one of the few company newsletters I receive that I actually take the time to read through in its entirety. Their most recent letter had this fascinating infographic about Canadian Internet usage.

I already knew that a huge percentage of the population is online and that a vast majority use the Internet for product research etc, but some of these stats astounded me! It’s well worth noting the importance and impact that mobile devices and smartphones are having on business. Our clients are moving, and we need to follow.

Take a look.

Canadian Internet Usage Statistics

Why should your business have a blog?

Tuesday, 25 September, 2012

Tips for Business BloggingBlogs can sometimes seem like something only narcissistic weirdos with too much time on their hands  are interested in producing. However, blogs can function as highly effective business tools. Web 2.0 and social media give us a way to connect with our clients and potential customers directly, encourage feedback from them, and find out how they think we’re doing, almost instantly. Done right, blogs can be used by businesses to promote their products and services, cement their brand, share news, and create brand evangelists – a community of dedicated followers and supporters. Blogs can also be used very successfully as an internal means of communication to engage with employees and receive valuable feedback from your own immediate community.

What are some of the main functions of a business blog?

You can choose to use your blog to communicate within your business or to reach out to your clients and customers (existing and potential). Your blog can function to

  • market your company through free media
  • raise your social media/online presence but also add depth to it
  • communicate new products and services
  • recruit new employees, clients, customers, investors, etc.
  • communicate bad news to clients (but also do damage control at the same time)
  • get instant feedback on new ideas/products/services
  • gather information about potential target markets
  • offer customer service and/or technical support
  • and give your company a voice.

Of course you need to blog effectively to ensure the blog fulfills its potential functions.

What are some tips for better blogging?

In order to create a successful blog, you need to first of all identify who your intended audience is, whether internal or external. Next, you need to profile that audience to determine their particular needs and expectations. What sort of tone will they prefer? What types of information will they need and not need? What is their level of knowledge on the topic? Will they understand industry jargon or do they need layperson’s terms? Then you need to determine your blog’s ‘personality’ and the range of topics you are going to cover.

Remember that you are creating a whole channel of communication, not just a single message, so it takes careful preparation  and follow-up to blog effectively.

Here are some of my other tried and tested tips for blogging:

  • Use and develop a readable, comfortable, conversational style of writing (you have permission to be less formal but should still care about grammar, style, spelling etc. as this can affect your credibility)
  • Keep the information valuable, interesting, and to the point
  • Supply readers with links, extra resources, images, infographics, etc. (remember that both internal linking and external linking help with your search engine rankings)
  • Proofread the message and evaluate the content (edit, edit, edit!)
  • Keep your posts short (probably around the 180- 200 word mark)
  • Create a list of topics for you and your team to write about so you don’t run out of steam
  • Use engaging, eye-catching headings for your posts and use sub-headings for longer posts
  • Tag your posts with appropriate tags and categories
  • Ensure all information is legal, ethical, accurate, and not taken from any other source without permission or credit.

Finally, remember that you are trying to reach and build a community of readers who can potentially become clients or customers, so you need to allow for comments and feedback and be a responsive blogger. Reply to comments, consider following your own followers back , and encourage interaction.

Blogging is a great tool if used correctly, and remember that it’s perfectly appropriate for business, not just those navel-gazing weirdos…

Geraldine

 

 

 

#Twitlympics? Social Media #Fail & London 2012

Wednesday, 1 August, 2012

The Twitter Fail WhaleThe London 2012 Olympics are being hailed as the first “social media Olympics” and it seems like this is only because social media happen to be the current, mainstream arena of choice, not because of any particularly successful social media strategy on the part of the IOC, sponsors, or broadcasting networks.

I just read a very interesting piece on the failure of Twitter itself, as well as social media gaffes by NBC in particular, around the London 2012 Games, that really highlight the necessity of having a solid social media strategy in place and of knowing your audience and purpose.

#Olympicsizedfail? You tell me.