Write a killer blog post in just 7 steps

You don’t want to publish any piece of content on your blog that isn’t screaming to be read.

But it can also be hard to keep churning out new, insightful content every month.

That’s why we’ve put together this concise, 7 step guide to help you craft awesome, readable content.

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Writing Blogs for Readers, not Google

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If you’re marketing using a blog, or if your blog is a large part of your business, then chances are you’ve heard of keywords.

Keywords do what they say on the tin – they’re the essence of what you’re writing about, and they’re also what Google uses to decide how and where to rank your content.

Now, the old way of thinking was very much “the more keywords the better” … but this doesn’t make for very good reading for humans, and Google has started to realise this. It’s already made changes to its algorithm to prioritise blogs that write for their users, and not for search engines.

Here are 5 tips for keeping your blog content keyword-rich, without ruining the reading experience and landing yourself a hefty penalty:

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4 Digital Marketing Trends We Think are Here to Stay

If you’re trying to market your show, your service or yourself, chances are you want to read up on digital marketing. However, trends move so quickly that it’s sometimes tough to keep up.

Here we’ve rounded up four that don’t seem to be going anywhere anytime soon, which will hopefully make your strategy a little easier to plan.

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6 Skills to focus on in 2019

We’ve rounded up the top 6 skills to help you grow your career in 2019. Whether you’re a freelancer that runs their own business, or a creative mind marketing your work to the masses, here are 6 skills we think might be useful for you in the coming year.


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Negotiation skills

A recent study by Harvard University showed that men tend to get better economic results out of negotiation, and that whilst women negotiate assertively on behalf of other people (or their company) they’re less likely to be as forceful when negotiating for themselves. 

Whatever stage of your career you’re at, negotiation skills are crucial- whether you’re bartering down a third party provider or sat in front of your boss, asking for a payrise. The study also showed that the gender gap when it comes to negotiating narrows when women have been on a negotiation training course… if you needed another reason! 

 

Analytical skills

Analytic skills aren’t just for digital marketers and finance managers, they’re for anyone responsible for calculating business growth, forecasting results or problem-solving an issue. Having a solid analytic foundation is key as you work your way up the career ladder and are expected to be more and more involved with big-picture business plans.

You don’t have to be a numbers-whiz either: data analytics skills can help you calculate things like employee turnover, identify fraud and manage your own business.

Strategic skills

Honing your strategic management skills is a great way to ensure you’re ready for the jump between middle management and being part of the senior team. Despite this, Forbes reported that less than 10% of leaders exhibit strategic skills, and tend to fall-back on fire-fighting operational skills, which can lead to a lack of overall direction for the company or team they’re working in. 

If you can sharpen your own strategic know-how you’re putting yourself in a very strong position versus your competition. 

Entrepreneurship skills

Did you know that in 2018 only one in five small-to-medium business were run by women? And that in the UK, there are nearly twice as many male entrepreneurs than women?

If 2019 is the year you strike out of your own and put your business-nouse to use for your own projects, then an entrepreneurship course might be just the thing to give you a the competence (and confidence!) to make it on your own (and balance out those statistics).

Whilst you can’t learn the passion that entrepreneurship demands, you certainly can learn how to manage every aspect of your business (as likely you’ll start as your own CEO, CMO, CFO and office administrator). 

Writing skills

It might sound basic, but excellent writing is one of the most common skills asked for by employers – and it’s also one of the biggest employee skills gaps according to a 2018 report. 

This doesn’t just mean writing in a way that’s grammatically correct: different industries needs different types of writing. For example, you might need to learn shorthand in order to take business minutes accurately, or you might need to learn how to write bid proposals, reports, white papers or specifications. 

Think about your current career path and whether there’s any writing elements that feel like they’ll push you out of your comfort zone, because those are great places to start building your skills.

Presentation skills and public speaking

Public speaking seems to evoke one of two reactions in people: either they shrug, or they immediately break out into a cold sweat. If you’re in the latter camp, then you’re not alone. In fact, nearly 25% of people say they have Glossophobia, the fear of public speaking. 

A study by Psychology Today suggests that a large part of the fear comes from how skilled you perceive yourself as being at public speaking (and on the flip-side, being a confident public speaker does not entail being a skilled public speaker). So whether you’re a shrugger or a sweater, put public-speaking on your “done” list in 2019.

 


Penguin in the Room @prartsmarketing is a group of creatives with an arts marketing dream: penguin stepping our way into the arts industry and helping other creatives flourish! Specialising in online marketing, social media, branding, copy writing, media coaching and web design for actors, artists, casting directors, agents, production companies, theatre companies and creative individuals.

Contact us any time for penguin chats via email:info@penguinintheroom.com or Facebook.com/penguinintheroom or waddle over to our website: www.penguinintheroom.com

Working in Radio? Here’s Why You Need a Blogcast

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Now anyone with a passion for radio will know that if you sat behind your microphone and read straight off a script all day, your listeners would be bored as heck.

That’s because writing a blog and actually doing a radio show (or podcast) are two wildly different things.

When we speak, we make fun little inflections with our voice and odd sounds as we pause and try and remember the word we’re looking for.

When we write, we’re doing it at our own time and at our own pace, (and we can totally just Google that word).

So why on earth then are we telling you to combine oil and water into a Blogcast?

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When is the Best Time to Blog?

Blogging sometimes feels like you’re just shouting into the void. You write some super awesome content, get some fancy-looking images together, hit publish.

And then nothing happens.

And you wonder, what did I do wrong?

Well, in theory, nothing. But there are two things you need to think about before you hit that tempting, tempting ‘publish’ button and check it off your list.

Is it the best time to blog?

You might be up writing at 2am on a Tuesday morning, but chances are people aren’t reading blogs at 2am. Or if they are, they’re over the other side of the world (and probably not your client base, your audience, or the people you want to reach.)

So you need to think about when to post your blog.

Now, WordPress can do some of this work for you. It has a neat feature in ‘Insights’ that tells you exactly when the best time to blog is. So head on over to ‘Stats’, and then ‘Insights’ at the top and scroll until you see this beauty:

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Voila! You have the time and the day you should be posting your blog. So if your current schedule doesn’t match up to this, consider changing it.

The important thing is: check this every week! Because it changes

When is the best time to promote your blog?

Now you’ve sent your blog out at the perfect time of day and maximised all of the chances that people will stumble upon your site, what about the people who already know you exist? Those you have on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, the people you see down the shops?

You need to promote your blog. And that means sharing it on social media.

More than once.

You can set up WordPress to auto-tweet for you, and it can also auto-post to your other channels, but that’s not all.

Screen Shot 2018-06-16 at 10.51.17.pngYou want to keep drip-feeding your content.

So once you’ve written something awesome, be prepared to share it once a week for the next 5 or so weeks, providing you’ve got enough tweets/posts in between to cushion that (otherwise it will look like all you’re doing is yelling about your awesome blog post, which most people will then spitefully ignore.)

You can use a tool like audiense to see when your Twitter followers are online and post it at the best time for them too.

Social media is all about good timing. And don’t forget to check out our previous post about social media tools that will make your life easier, because these will help you with the whole timing thing, too.


Penguin in the Room @prartsmarketing is a group of creatives with an arts marketing dream: penguin stepping our way into the arts industry and helping other creatives flourish! Specialising in online marketing, social media, branding, copy writing, media coaching and web design for actors, artists, casting directors, agents, production companies, theatre companies and creative individuals.

Contact us any time for penguin chats via email:info@penguinintheroom.com or Facebook.com/penguinintheroom or waddle over to our website: www.penguinintheroom.com

What The New Data Protection Laws Mean For Small Businesses, Individuals and Freelancers

This May, new Data Protection laws will be coming into place, specifically, the Data Protection Act will be replaced by the General Data Protection Regulation.

What’s the difference? The GDPR will have new rules around the storage and handling of personal information and there will be stricter punishments in place for those who fail to comply.

Why the new law? The short answer is because hackers are more easily able to access data from small to medium businesses than they are to hack huge, well-protected corporate networks.

Changes in Consent

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At the moment it’s sufficient to ask someone to tick or even to untick a box in order to consent to the storage of their data.

Under the new laws, consent means active agreement. This means you cannot pre-tick a ‘subscribe me’ button.

Not only this, but companies need to be able to show a clear audit trail of consent, including screen grabs or saved consent forms.

Individuals also have the right to withdraw consent at any time, and it has to be effective and efficient. When someone withdraws consent all of their personal data must be immediately and permanently erased. It is not enough to remove them from the mailing list.

If you are subject to a data breach, you also have to inform the relevant authorities immediately and you must notify all individuals affected within 72 hours of the initial breach.

What does this mean for people that use e-mail marketing (and am I one of those people?)

If you have a newsletter that people subscribe to, or if you send e-mails to a database of people on whatever basis, this concerns you.

And it doesn’t just concern all the new data you might collect. It concerns all the data you currently have.

Any kind of personal data you keep has to follow these rules and you and you alone are responsible for being able to prove that someone has consented to have their data kept on file by you.

This means you can no longer capture e-mails through a competition and then add them into your mailing list, or you cannot auto-subscribe (for example) people that have bought a ticket to your show to your newsletter.

Does the GDPR apply to my personal blog?

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The GDPR applies to all enterprises. So if you run a business from home, or if your blog/website is engaged in “economic activity” i.e. you use it to make money – this applies to you.

It does not apply to people processing personal data in the course of a purely personal or household activity. I.e. if you have your plumber’s email address on file, that’s fine. If you’re sending your plumber an email telling him that you have a new kind of product available for sale, that’s not fine.

So what do I do now?

For every e-mail address in your system, you need to go back and seek explicit permission from the person to continue to send them whatever communication you are sending them.

If you cannot provide evidence of consent, you cannot send them emails and you must delete their data permanently.

This means you will need to launch a re-permission campaign and bring your entire database up to GDPR standards.

What are the consequences of non-compliance?

Fines. These are tiered based on the level of non-compliance and the severity of the violation, and they are capped at 4% of an annual turnover of €20million.

Ouch.

Check out our next post on how to run a GDPR compliant re-consent campaign.

Disclaimer: None of the above constitutes legal advice. If you are in doubt, we recommend you seek professional legal guidance.

penguinPenguin in the Room @prartsmarketing is a group of creatives with an arts marketing dream: penguin stepping our way into the arts industry and helping other creatives flourish! Specialising in online marketing, social media, branding, copy writing, media coaching and web design for actors, artists, casting directors, agents, production companies, theatre companies and creative individuals.

Contact us any time for penguin chats via email:info@penguinintheroom.com or Facebook.com/penguinintheroom or waddle over to our website: www.penguinintheroom.com

What Value Do Brands Add To Social Media?

In 2014, we were talking about the necessity of brands being on social media. “We need to be part of the conversation online! We need a social voice!” were sentences that I’m sure were bandying their way around a number of executive boardrooms.

In 2015, brands realised that in order to appeal to their (human) consumers, they needed to come across as human themselves. We moved away from copy-and-paste responses and added a personal touch across communication on social media, signing off with names or initials to show that there are people behind the screens.

Now, however, it’s 2017 and we’re seeing brands mourning when celebrities die. They show solidarity to movements. They stake a political claim.

For some brands, this makes sense. For others the link is more tenuous. For the most, it’s non-existent (see above).

But in all cases, we need to be asking — what value does this add for my followers?

Your followers are your consumers, and they are savvy. They know you’re in the social media realm to market to them. They know that what you are posting is always, even if not overtly, an advertisement. You may not be writing “buy this now!” but what you’re asking your consumer to do is spend some of their attention span thinking about you.

So why waste that opportunity by posting something like this?

(Put into context — Dorothy Perkins tweeted that the day after the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union 52% — 48%, so there was a high chance the majority of their consumers were not, in fact, feeling it that Friday…)

Consumers are flooded with online advertisements. It’s estimated your average consumer views between 500 and 5,000 advertisements in a single day (although the exact number remains fiercely debated).

With organic social, you may get one opportunity to make an impression on an existing or prospective customer with what you post online. You have less than 8 seconds to stop their thumb scrolling past you and onto the next brand.

So make the most of that time.

The best brands and individuals on social media are the ones that add value to their followers. They enrich the user’s experience of the platform by adding insight and information that your reader otherwise wouldn’t have had access to.

A great example of this is news outlets on Twitter, a platform where they perform exceptionally well. When a story breaks, live updates are posted on Twitter not just by the reporters, but by people who are there. It boils down to value — news companies bring something valuable to the party.

So, how can you ensure that you’re adding value to your consumer with what you post on social media?

Each time you go to post, ask yourself three questions:

1. What’s the purpose of this post?

2. Who cares about this post?

3. Why will they care?

Let’s take the Dorothy Perkins example used earlier.

What’s the purpose of this post?

I would assume this was a scheduled post, intended to piggy back on the almost-guaranteed trend of #FridayFeeling.

But it was a white noise post — words for words’ sake. Often disguised as a ‘brand awareness’ post, or a ‘presence’ post, the white noise posts are pointless both for the person writing it and the person reading it. There are no links, no calls to action, nothing to make me want to engage with the post. The purpose, it seems, was to fill an empty schedule slot.

Which makes it difficult to answer Question 2…

Who cares about this post?

At the time, this tweet actually got some attention — mainly because of its catastrophic timing. But let’s assume it was posted when it was originally intended, some benign Friday. Who cares about it? Who sees it as they are scrolling and pauses for this type of post?

Or perhaps more pertinently, who wants a clothing brand asking them how they feel? (Answers on a postcard please…)

Which means it’s impossible for us to answer Question 3…

Why will they care

— because they most probably won’t.

Now, I’m not suggesting that all text-only posts are white noise, or a waste of time. You can use text-only post to build on your brand’s persona to great effect. But the posts must have a purpose and therefore value for your consumer — even if that value is just “it will make them laugh”.

As someone who manages social media content, I have certainly been guilty of the ‘low value’ post. Or perhaps even the ‘no value’ post.

It’s easy to get so wrapped up in your own brand that you forget that whilst you may think this cake gif is brilliant for #NationalCinnamonBunDay, your followers don’t care. They’re just wondering what on earth a comedian is doing tweeting about pastries.

So look at your social media pages and have a think. Be your own analyst, get 50 weeks deep in your own content and ask yourself ‘what value is this bringing my followers? Who cares about this content? Why do they care?’

And make social media a more enriching place to be.

A shorter version of this post originally appeared on Medium.com

penguinPenguin in the Room @prartsmarketing is a group of creatives with an arts marketing dream: penguin stepping our way into the arts industry and helping other creatives flourish! Specialising in online marketing, social media, branding, copy writing, media coaching and web design for actors, artists, casting directors, agents, production companies, theatre companies and creative individuals.

Contact us any time for penguin chats via email:info@penguinintheroom.com or Facebook.com/penguinintheroom or waddle over to our website: www.penguinintheroom.com

How To Write A Killer Guest Post Pitch

If you read our previous blog, you’ll know that guest posting is the quickest and easiest way to drive new traffic through to your blog/website.

New traffic = more subscribers = more fans = more money.

(At least that’s what most marketing manuals will tell you.)

But what they don’t tell you is how to write a great pitch for a guest post.

Because at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter if you’ve written something that spells out the meaning of life. If you can’t sell it, no one will read here.

So here’s our step by step guide to getting your guest post secured:

1. Subscribe to their blog

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Think about it. If you had someone telling you how awesome your blog was, and then you realise they don’t even subscribe, you’ll be pretty peeved.

So once you’ve selected your list of targets, go through and subscribe to them all. You want them to know you’re serious – and invested – in the success of their blog. That’s going to sound a whole lot more convincing coming from someone that actually follows it.

2. Make it personal

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Nine times out of ten, someone will have their name somewhere on their website. Use it. Addressing the email personally will mean it’s much more likely to get opened, if not read. “Hey, Tanya” is so much better than “Hey there” or (even worse) “To Whom It May Concern.”

Never start a pitch email with that, because whoever is reading it will automatically decide it probably doesn’t concern them.

3. Show them how good you are

Include some links in your pitch that are the best possible examples of your tone and writing style. You want to wow them with the quality content you’re creating, so send them your 2 or 3 best pieces of work.

If you’re lucky enough to have featured elsewhere already or have been interviewed, include one of these as a third link underneath your own work.

4. Don’t go into too much detail

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They will want two things. One of these things is a title, and the other is a reason why their readers are going to open that blog in the first place. This does not mean you have to send them the blog in its entirety.

What you should do is include a little 2-3 sentence outline so they know where the blog post is heading, like this:

How To Blog: A post focusing on the common pitfalls most bloggers make and how to avoid them. Your readers will walk away knowing how to write killer blog posts that bring in more traffic and convert that into paying customers.

I mean, sounds like a blog you want to read, right?

Right. That’s exactly what they want.

5. Track the emails you send

Gmail has some great extensions that you can download that track whether or not your email has been opened. Streak is awesome because it tells you when your email was viewed and when it was opened. It also keeps tabs on how often someone visits the conversation so you can see exactly what’s happening once you’ve sent your pitch into cyberspace.

6. Set up a chase system

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Now that you’ve sent your emails, you don’t just want to sit there and wait.

No.

Like a flower, you need to tend to your precious pitches by watering them every now and then. Or, at the very least, following up with an email a week later.

People are busy, so you don’t want to harass them, but a simple chase email 7 days later is more than acceptable.

If your chase email doesn’t get a reply, you can cut that time in half and email again 3 or 4 days later.

So here’s what your chase schedule should look like:

  • 7 days – send initial chase email if no open
  • Send another chase 4 days after first chase
  • Send a final chase 7 days after previous chase
  • Send new email 14 days after last email

7. Follow up

You don’t want to nag them. After all, you’re asking for a favour, essentially, even if you’re creating awesome content for them.

So you need to keep your follow up emails short, sweet and to the point.

Make it easy for them to come back to you with a one word answer, a simple yay or nay reaction. Because we all have way too many emails and never enough time:

Hey Tanya,

Appreciate you must be super busy, just wanted to see if you had a quick yes/no based on my previous email?

I can get started on it straight away and wouldn’t need anything from your side at this point – other than the OK!

Thanks so much, hopefully catch up soon.

8. Follow through

You’ve promised them the world – or at least a great blog post – so make sure you follow up and keep your word. Deliver on time, deliver with photos and deliver to whatever specifications they ask for (Google Doc, HTML or otherwise.)

Don’t fall at the last hurdle!

Have you got any tips you think we’ve missed? Let us know in the comments below!

penguinPenguin in the Room @prartsmarketing is a group of creatives with an arts marketing dream: penguin stepping our way into the arts industry and helping other creatives flourish! Specialising in online marketing, social media, branding, copy writing, media coaching and web design for actors, artists, casting directors, agents, production companies, theatre companies and creative individuals.

Contact us any time for penguin chats via email:info@penguinintheroom.com or Facebook.com/penguinintheroom or waddle over to our website: www.penguinintheroom.com

Top 5 Blogging Tips from “Blogging for Business” by Business Training Made Simple

Hot of the press: here are the top 5 tips I picked up from the brand new “Blogging for Business” course run by Business Training Made Simple

Top 5 Tips:

  1. It’s free – you can create a free blog to showcase your skills, writing, expertise and to help and inform your clients and followers. “The best things in life are free, ba ba ba ba”.
  2. Spacing – People have less time to read on the net so format your blogs to make them easier to read. Use that spacebar! Create small paragraphs, headings, bullets to make your posts look pretty.
  3. Keywords – Make sure you are using those searchable words ie. the words you would pop into google, so people can find your blog! That includes location, topic, company name, your name.
  4. Commitment – Stick with it! You won’t get a billion subscribers and comments over night (unfortunately) but stick with it. Do a little blog diary (yes that means new stationary – hurrah!) and make a schedule of how many blogs you aim to publish a month and try to stick to it.
  5. Promote it! – There’s no good writing a fabulous blog and keeping it for yourself. Let other people join in with your blogging joy by promoting your posts via twitter, facebook, LinkedIn etc

There we are! I hope you found these tips as useful as I have.

Till next time, keep on blogging.

Penguin in the Room @prartsmarketing is one penguin with an arts marketing dream: penguin stepping my way into the arts industry and helping creatives flourish! Specialising in online marketing, social media, branding, copy writing, media coaching and web design for actors, artists, casting directors, agents, production companies, theatre companies and creative individuals.

Contact me any time for penguin chats via email: info@penguinintheroom.com or Facebook.com/penguinintheroom or waddle over to my website: www.penguinintheroom.com