Rebecca Caroe Quora profile

Using Wikipedia and Quora for marketing

I recently got asked about whether Wikipedia is good for marketing. It’s a high traffic website from where backlinks could be valuable.

If you do create Wikipedia entries be aware that there are rules about businesses on the platform.

The recent history of Marketing on Wikipedia

A lot of PR agencies got publicly burned while trying to promote their clients there.
Which led to Wikipedia publishing this.
And check out the PR institute rules in the UK which followed.

Basically, don’t expect this to be an amazing source of new business.

However, I have an other option to offer you which may work.

Quora expert profile

5 Quora tips for marketing

Answering questions around your topic of expertise and interest and inspiration is definitely somewhere you can shine. It’s not open source, so nobody can edit your submissions and you can get upvoted and become an “expert” on the platform quite quickly.

The key is to start in an established niche where you are confident.
Here are 5 easy tips on writing Quora replies with a marketing slant.

  1. Read all the other answers first and upvote / or reference good parts which you agree with
  2. Then add your own slant which is hopefully something not already mentioned
  3. Find something in your own published content which could be linked from your answer and which adds more detail. This is key because a skim reader won’t follow the link, but someone who is really interested will click to follow and land on your site. So you filter out the tyre kickers quickly.
  4. If you haven’t already got something you can use from your own content write it now. Write it on your website / blog, publish it, and link it inside your Quora answer before you hit save in Quora.
  5. Use the GA campaign link tool so you can identify traffic from that article link.
  6. All Quora links are nofollow but real people will click on them – so they give you customers instead of immediate SERP rank juice.
  7. Tick the box to follow the answers and get alerted when someone else joins the thread so you can come back in later if you need.

Now what’s stopping you?

 

Oh, and if you came here from Manaaki – welcome. You’re following exactly the technique I recommend for use on Quora.

And you can use this technique on other forums relevant to your niche. I have three which send me traffic and build my profile as an expert in new business development.

home office desk corner

5 Tips for Managing a Company With Remote Employees

With the availability of the internet and technology that we have today, more and more companies are operating remotely. There are plenty of advantages for employees working remotely. They can work from home and care for their family. They don’t have to deal with rush hour traffic during their daily commute. The organization also thrives from a remote work setting because they can generate more revenue without the costly overhead for brick and mortar. There can be a bit of a learning curve for businesses that are making the transition from an office setting to a fully remote environment.

home office desk corner

Thanks to Roberto Nickson for sharing their work on Unsplash

1. Logistics

There are several factors to understand when working out the logistics of creating a remote working environment for your employees. You should structure your business by keeping in mind the current market conditions. Create an operations plan for your organization including how many employees you need. You should do payroll calculations to know how much compensation the company can afford for each employee.

2. Training

Remote working is a different experience than working in an office setting. Many people have not experienced working from home and may need training in various programs and software that your business uses daily. Provide online training to your remote workers so they know what is expected. This helps to better equip them to provide their best work. By helping to improve your employees’ skills, you are also helping your business grow.

Remember that remote working also involves remote communication.  Staff can talk to each other but group messages may get overlooked with email. A better solution is a desktop system like SnapComms which enables a diverse range of getting employee attention when everyone is busy.

SnapComms features include alerts, desktop tickers, wallpaper, lock screens and the important panic button.

snapcomms features

SnapComms features for employee comms and remote working effectiveness

3. Team Building

It is beneficial to the company to develop a team mentality among coworkers. Businesses that have a cohesive attitude tend to become more successful in meeting their objectives. It can be more difficult to build strong bonds among online personnel because they lack the one-on-one in-person face time that people have in a traditional office setting. It is helpful to provide online team-building exercises to help create a stronger bond among your personnel. A cohesive team works effectively and efficiently.

4. Communication

Good communication is key to a successful organization. Be sure that every employee you hire has exceptional communication skills. An online business needs to run their operations in a way that is conducive to good communication channels. Provide communication tools that provide an interactive platform for employees to easily correspond. Make a clear structure for the chain of command so that everyone knows how to properly escalate items as they arise.

5. Efficiency

A strong work-life balance provides employees with peace of mind which helps them to work more efficiently. Remote workers do their best work when they can work a flexible schedule that enables them to meets personal needs. Keep your employees’ mental and emotional health in mind, as people that work from home often have less personal interaction in general which can cause stress. Implement an environment that is conducive to the mental and emotional health of your staff.

It is important for workers to feel valued for their hard work. This is particularly true for remote workers since they do not have the same interaction with employers as office workers. Show gratitude towards your employees for their hard work frequently by rewarding them with recognition.

spam SEO linkback example

Getting linkbacks for SEO

<Rant warning begins>

Do you regularly check your website links?

I found comments in my site back end today which made me spit tacks.

And so I wrote to the business who was linked from the commenter.

Do you know your SEO agency are making spammy comments on blogs in order to get you linkbacks? It doesn’t work and gives you a bad name.

So don’t do it.

AI written comment is spam

 

Using bots for marketing

And another thing – using AI to write comments creates inhuman weirdness.

Read the text in the image above. This is clearly not written by a human; not written by a human who speaks English as a second language.

This is a bot.

AI comment spam

Writing comments on blogs can be a nice way to get linkbacks – but most popular sites now set all comments to be [nofollow] links and so it’s not very beneficial. Clearly some agencies have decided that cutting costs by using artificial intelligence tools is worthwhile.

I am not against experimentation. BUT check the outputs match your expectations.

The comments on my site just scream LOW QUALITY SPAM.

Who seriously thinks that bots can make good marketers for B2B is just plain WRONG.

 

<Rant over>

Slideshare got sold

Today’s discovery. Slideshare got sold.

scribd and slideshare

Slideshare header about Scribd

I was a very early Scribd user…. now I find they’ve bought Slideshare from LinkedIn.

This will change things for many of us who love Slideshare.

  • What happens to my slide decks shared into LinkedIn? [they stay]
  • Who still uses Slideshare [me and my clients]
  • Why is Scribd such a great platform? [sharing document images – especially long ones.]

Why I loved Slideshare

It was the first and most easy way to share decks – create embeddable and downloadable links and also do lead generation from a single place. For folks in professional services this was great if you were using education as a B2B marketing tool. I frequently recommended this strategy for my clients and it remains very effective.

What changes now?

Well, tools come and go all the time. I spend a lot of time cataloguing new marketing software and services which could be useful for me or my clients,  That’s one of the reasons why I’m often such an early adopter of these services [checkout when I joined Twitter for example].

Slides featured on my LinkedIn Profile

The functionality for slide embeds will continue to rest with Slideshare for the time being. But its utility is now altered.

Where and how expertise is shared is not the same and will continue to evolve.  And so, for now, I’m going to be looking closely at Scribd and its functionality.

And don’t forget LinkedIn – what will happen to future slide decks? Will there be alternative software for uploading them? What are the Slideshare alternatives and do they work on the LinkedIn platform?

What does Scribd do for me?

Scribd now also has functionality for reading magazines and books and audiobooks as well as slide decks.  It’s a competitor to Audible, Google Books, Kindle, Flip, Isuue and news or magazine aggregators.

All Slideshare users are automatically given a Scribd login.  Sadly they are only offering 2 months free use to Slideshare customers.

This makes me suspect that the acquisition was just to buy a user base. Sharing your slides isn’t exactly the same use case as using Scribd.

What do you think about this acquisition? Useful? Waste of Time? Who does slides today anyway?

Please NOT another covid email

I just sent this message to my clients.

There’s an overload of businesses sending unnecessary emails about the New Zealand Covid-19 alert level change.

May I suggest we simply put something on the website home page?

And telephone anyone who’s coming in for a meeting.

And maybe the team add a note to their email signatures….

Covid Alert Email – is it necessary?

The customer is SMART

Interrupting with email is not respectful of people’s time… they will probably guess what you’ll be doing because, let’s face it, compliance has been exemplary through lockdown.

Virtue signalling emails are self-serving and easy to see through. Do you really need to send that message?

Our clients and customers aren’t stupid.

The Exception

One of my clients sells PPE gear – for them this email is useful – because they can communicate product stock levels and ordering information to bulk-buying customers who are probably already working on stocking up.

Be sensible, just think it through from the recipient’s point of view.

One thing to DO NOW

Update your Google Business Listing status.  There’s already a Covid notification “post” option. Google my business Covid

Good.  Sorted in 10 minutes work.

calling bullshit data book

Data – you need to understand it

Data – love it or loathe it, we get it served up everywhere we look. But do you know enough to judge and make up your mind? What is factual, what is relevant, where are devious presenters hiding the truth?

The answers to all these questions requires modern marketers to educate themselves.

calling bullshit data book

Calling Bullshit: The Art of Scepticism in a Data-Driven World. By Carl Bergstrom and Jevin T West

The The Economist called this book “Dodgy Data – the sum of all fears” and opened its article with an expose of the State of Georgia’s Covid19 count – which I tweeted on 18 July.  See if you can spot the deliberate mis-information as presented in their map illustration below.

State of georgia, covid 19 cases, dodgy data

July 2 on left July 18 on right. Covid 19 cases growth.

I think this book will be as influential as Ben Goldacre’s Bad Science was in 2010 – exposing what is and is not a scientific process and a robust outcome.

I’m buying this book (pre publication) if you’d like a copy pm me and I’ll add it to my order. If you’re in Auckland – I’ll hand deliver….. saving you the postage.

Oh, I’ve also reached out to one of the authors….. we will see what happens.

Hex codes, colour codes, logo colours

Hacking brand colours

My logo has a beautiful gradient of colours in the design.

This gives me a huge number of subsidiary colour elements which I can add into customer communications and marketing.

I did an analysis of the key colours and the “colour palette” of associated shades. You can do this by uploading your logo or using a digital colour selector tool.

Creative Agency Secrets logo colour palette

Creative Agency Secrets colour palette tool

Then I made a ton of work for myself

This was a mistake – certainly.

I wrote down each colour hash on a post-it note and had it above my desk. Every time I was writing or designing, I manually wrote out the colour hash. My copying skills are all right – but the potential for a single digit error was high – particularly when I was in a rush.

And so I decided that a change was needed. Electronic copying rather than visual copy-typing was needed.

But again, having a document I had to find and open and copy and paste was a bore. You get the idea. Time consuming eh?

My big insight

I realised that my emailing programme was the place where I used these colour hashes most frequently.

And so I edited the newsletter template to include a segment where each and every colour and its associated hash is listed.

Hex codes, colour codes, logo colours

Creative Agency Secrets logo hex colours

The time saving design outcome

Now whenever I need to get the colour shade I want, I can copy it from the template block into the area where it’s needed. Remove the hash text and bingo!

The only thing to remember is to remove the block from the final email design before sending.

 

 

facebook groups, facebook marketing,

FB Group tips – invite a friend

facebook groups, facebook marketing,

Invited by option for group memberships

I am a Facebook for Business group administrator and I’m delighted that they just added back an old feature.

When FB introduced the new interface for Group Admins about 9 months ago, the “Invited by….” feature was missing.

I sent my feedback that this is really useful and I wanted it…. Today it reappeared.

Why is this helpful? We have screening questions for the group and if you don’t answer them, we don’t let you in. BUT if introduced by an existing group member, that allows the applicant to bypass this step and still get accepted. Without knowing if they’d been invited or not, I couldn’t work out who to refuse or accept.

Now I wish they’d allow me to filter group applicants by “have they been invited”.

Rebecca Caroe copywriting, fountain pen copywrite

My copywriting process explained

I write copy for a living.

I write a lot.  Words, words, words. Each project is designed to fit into a particular desired outcome within a marketing strategy and tactical framework. I say that so you understand context.

Context in writing is both important and valuable – but more about that later.

Rebecca Caroe copywriting, fountain pen copywrite

My actual pen and notes for B2B copywriting

How I write marketing copy

Getting a message across using printed words (as opposed to audio, images or video) is a giant challenge. Knowing how long humans have been writing, you’d think that everything that could have been written has been. And yet…. we know that’s not true.  The imagination and skill of mankind to innovate is immense.

My writing is usually business to business copywriting for marketing purposes. That’s my area of expertise. And so the steps I take begin with the outcome. What do I want to happen as a result of a prospect or client reading what I’ve written?

  • End goal is to click through to website
  • End goal is to understand how to write B2B copy
  • End goal is to reply with a  question

These examples are all valid outcomes and each requires very different copy treatments.

The first version is always factual

What are the true, inalienable facts that support the end goal? I list these in a brain dump document. Frequently these are the result of conversations with the client, the internal team and existing customers.

Then I supplement this with some desk research. Reading ‘around the subject’ can come from many sources – newsletters, online magazines, blogs, books. Interestingly, I rarely search social media for this information. My choice – it may suit your needs. The amazing Knowledge Hunter, Geoff McDowell, taught me so much about this subject.

Adding more copy material

From the wider reading I copy/paste and add in more themes, concepts, nuance, examples, phrases and keywords. I also look out for no-nos. These are things I want to avoid.

Sometimes images, colours, layouts and other visual elements present themselves from this research too. That can be very helpful as my brain often leaps forward towards the end result WAY earlier than it’s supposed to. To avoid distraction, I save and note these ideas back in the research document. By noting them, I have preserved the idea; but I’m not focusing on them at this stage. It means I don’t lose the inspiration – I can revive that thought later just by re-reading my notes.

This all contributes to a second draft. This is when I decide the overall frame for the project and HOW does this translate into the copywriting. This could be storytelling, it could be demonstration, case study, questioning, educating. There is a lot more information added, there are more concepts and overall I just write freely incorporating the research information and framing arguments, emotions and logic into one long piece of writing.

This is the place where context comes to the fore. How will the message be delivered, what will the recipient be doing or not doing? Where in the customer journey will they be? What is the outcome or next step goal in this campaign?

Editing and refining copy

This is the part I love.

Precise and concise are watchwords which I hope any client applies to a testimonial about my business copywriting.

Taking what I wrote and simplifying, cutting, removing extraneous information and honing it down into a tight, precise and well-organised message is a repetitive task and it gives me so much pleasure. Sometimes I use a technique of adding in sub-headings (as in this blog) because it helps me to organise and find the big messages in the very long copy.

Often I leave the first opening paragraph until last because it’s so hard. Sometimes I switch the first and last paragraphs – try it!

Headlines and calls to action are a separate challenge and I may do a couple of different versions or give options and let the client choose. This is because they are mostly better-informed about their product or service than I am. Teamwork helps work out what will resonate and achieve the goal.

And then I sleep on it

Yes this is really the final step before showing it to the client, adding it to a mock-up or an EDM. This is important and is one reason why planning at the first step needs to include deadlines and allowances for sleep time.

7 things I’ve appreciated after sleeping on my work

  1. My brain is fresher in the morning
  2. I process ideas while resting
  3. Better re-writes are (nearly always) possible
  4. I can check that I haven’t missed anything out [done this MANY times – but rescued the situation before the client read it]
  5. Reflect on alternative approaches which I earlier discarded
  6. Opportunity to print it onto paper and read out loud
  7. Check grammar, punctuation, capitalisations and links all working and correctly placed

And that’s it. The whole creative writing process for B2B copy.

About the picture illustrating this article.

That’s really my pen and my notebook, photographed this morning as I got a tiny bit of inspiration for a client as a result of doing some research for a different client. It’s odd the way my brain works. And I have learned to respect my brain process and to always seize the moment and make the notes when they jump into my mind. I don’t have to use them – but I’m sure I will lose them if they aren’t captured.

I do not have the neatest handwriting, yet using blue-black ink in an old-fashioned fountain pen gives me both pleasure and the chance to read my words again without guessing what I meant to write. Someday I’ll photograph some of my notes which turn out to be illegible even to me. Generally when I rush to write, legibility suffers.

The unknown part of writing inspiration

The pen also lives in a leather case. My ritual of opening the case flap and flicking back the long cover, unsheathing the pen and unscrewing its lid before writing still gives me a frisson. I never know exactly what will come out of the inky nib onto that pristine sheet of paper, onto the next empty line, or inserted between the paragraphs of print.

And the pen – a birthday gift chosen with care while on holiday. I got the nib re-surfaced by this amazing pen expert who recommended not using ink cartridges. He also explained a lot about the issues of ink/paper and my unique hand/pressure and what a converter is, not a bladder. There is a distinction between them.

So now you know my B2B writing process. What will you do with this knowledge?

 

Brief Rebecca on your copywriting project

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