My Marketing Dream

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Hi everyone:) This blog post is a milestone for me it’s my 80th one!  To celebrate this, I have decided to flip the script a little and explain to all you readers why marketing for me is my passion. It’s the thing that ignites the fire my belly, the thing that makes me hungry and my blog has been an outlet to show the world and more importantly myself, to never go a day without thinking about something you love and never stop working for it – period.

From an early age,  I knew I wanted to work in a creative environment and industry. When I created my own book at age 6 entitled “Emmanuel Kankam  All About Me”, I was already developing a creative mindset and had a love of drawing.

all about me

There is one thing I saw that resonates with me growing up and helped even add more fuel to being creative and that was watching the ToysRUS advertisement. As cheesy as it might sound,  I loved that advert; I wanted to be a part of that ‘magical place’ and I also wanted to create it for others.

Over the years this developed in secondary school as I excelled in subjects such as English, Art – even winning an award for my work.

Intro to drawing

By the time I was choosing my A-levels I had a more invested interest in media and the process of getting work onto the screen. I chose to do Media Studies, Art and Engish as my subjects of choice to study. All had creative elements and they all kept me motivated. I made the conscious decision to study in subjects where my heart and passion lied. If I wasn’t passionate about it I didn’t want to do it or it would have been a waste of time.

Growing up sometimes we are told to take the ‘safe option’, to do things to please our parents and friends even. But my thing is if you are not happy doing it and have no desire to do it then don’t. It might be me being stubborn but to me, it’s being passionate.

It wasn’t until the second year of university when I was studying Media and Cultural Studies,  and I did a module entitled PLM3302 – Marketing and Promotion that I thought to myself “You know what? This is me”. I knew I wanted to pursue something creative career wise but wasn’t entirely sure what, to be honest until I did that module. When I was given assignments for this module, I was buzzing. I was like the child who got excited watching his favourite show, opening his presents on his birthday or Christmas; all of those in one. It reflected in my work and my lecturer was pleased and encouraged me to keep going and I did.

When  I broke up for summer holidays, I did an internship.  I worked at a local charity called The Croydon Youth Games. I was a Press Officer and had to contact businesses via email and phone.  I was given the chance to have creative input by writing a press release and thinking of the ways to promote the charity which centred around getting youths active and into sport. Even though it was unpaid, I didn’t care. To me, it was chance to learn and also be creative. By the time I went into my third and final year at university, it proved pivotal.

To many, the final year at university is all about exams and obviously getting the grades you need to get the job you want or further your education. However, maybe it was naivety, I assumed that it would be plain sailing and it wasn’t.  The reality is, the world is very competitive and things do not fall into your lap – you have to fight.

When I finished one of my modules JCM 3501 – Video Work Shop 1, I remember the final words that my lecturer Eddie McCaffrey said. He told all of us “Whatever happens from now, I hope you guys don’t just go for any job and just settle but go into something as a career”.

In 2010, this year was life-changing; I reunited with old school and university friends, I was healthier than ever but one thing was still affecting me. I started hearing those words that Eddie McCaffrey said and they become louder and louder so whilst I was working in a financial institution, I decided to visit the marketing department as this was (and will always be)  a passion of mine.

I was very fortunate to meet two marketing managers Craig Child and Jeremy Laight and they gave me more of an understanding of marketing and gave me tasks to do so I was learning.  For that, I will always be eternally grateful to them. The following year I decided to push myself more.

With my former lecturer’s words of wisdom still ringing in my ears and the time I spend in the marketing department, I decided to fund my own CIM marketing course. My passion had been reignited.  I didn’t want to take life for granted or end up wondering what if.

In the beginning, I was adjusting to managing study and work but managed to find a balance. I was doing well in the course and was able to able to put some practice into action at work. I started doing presentations to boost my confidence, got involved in organising events internally and I just kept thinking to myself that I just cannot give up.  It was not easy at times, especially when coming to the end of my course which was stressful but had good friends around such as Petrus and Christine who kept me going.

When I passed my course, it was also the year that I got made redundant. I always believe everything happens for a reason and thought this is my time.  I thought this is my time to pursue my dreams as a marketer, to show myself and the world that I am not giving up and it’s something ingrained in me so I started working on my journey.

I started attending marketing exhibitions and also got involved in and created group discussions on LinkedIn – I became a top contributor numerous times.  I thought this was a great time for me to learn from people already working in the industry. However, I thought that this was not enough.  On the 10th of June 2014, I wrote my first blog post. I created this blog because I wanted to show my passion for marketing and to show that I could and still can think like a marketer.

I remember a phrase I saw before on a t-shirt worn by Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson which read: “For those who are truly brave will never live in a fear”. I didn’t want to live in fear of not achieving my dreams and my blog has been and is part of my story in becoming and being a modern day marketer.

My blog and activity on social media platforms helped me secure my first job in marketing and in gaining some experience. I have continued with my blog whilst working because it is something I love to do and no one can take that away from me. I am not doing this for no one but for me. It’s my work and each blog post is part of my marketing story.

I often get asked the question “Why marketing?” My answer is storytelling.  From being a child wanting to create a magical place that ToyRus introduced me to, I wanted to be a storyteller; I just didn’t know at the time. Marketing to me is identifying, anticipating and satisfying your customers need. You take them on a journey with your brand and you create their story as well as the companies. The product or service that company provides has to benefit the consumer and the pay off is a return on investment.

I do not do marketing for monetary gain but for a passion and legacy. I want to do something  I love for career as many people just settle into a particular job or career because they are comfortable and it is a safe option –, not me. I want to leave a legacy of good work that has made an impact and as cheesy as it may sound if I am fortunate to have children I want to tell them to go for their dreams and achieve them just like I did.

I am not trying to emulate anyone or be the next big thing but the first me. I am working towards finding my way and as challenging as it may be at times,  this is my marketing story and no one else can write it for me because I hold the pen.

It goes without saying that I have been fortunate to have people support me along the way of my marketing journey so here is a list and a thank you to people(if I have missed anyone out, apologies and thank you): Craig Child, Jeremy Laight , Petrus, Christine, Ashir, Daniel, Baz,  JungJung, Simon, Jonathan Henley, Paul, Tim, David Ross, Carina Claire-Jeppesen.

 

Four years ago I started this blog and now that I am writing my 80th blog post, I feel a sense of achievement. It may not be a big thing for some but it is to me. So here’s to a few more years to come of my blog and maybe another 80 blog posts and thank you to everyone who has read, liked or commented on my blog.

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Emmanuel #EKsMarketingViews

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The power of the hashtag

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Social media and the way in which we communicate with each other through technology is here stay; it is not going anywhere anytime soon. I am just stating the obvious. What some companies fail to realise though is the importance of hashtags on some platforms.  It is not just simply using the hashtag symbol # and putting a word next to it. It is more than that. Let me break it down for you.

Hashtags are a type of metadata tagging that is associated with social media platforms such as Twitter, Instagram and other microblogging sites.  It’s a user-generated tag that makes it easier for people to find/follow content or a message that is of a specific theme.  Hashtags can act as a newsfeed for users to find out what is going and they can ‘trend’ if enough people use a specific tag.

However, it is not as simple as learning the alphabet, it is a craft that some companies take for granted. As a result of that their social media efforts flounder. When using hashtags there are a few things companies should look out for and pay close attention to.

Making it relatable

Before a  company starts using a hashtag, they should make sure that is something that is relatable to them and their audience.  Hashtags should convey a message that the company is trying to put across otherwise it is pointless. For example, if an organisation is tweeting or putting a message up on Instagram about a new product and then use a hashtag about The Avengers film, where is the logic in that? You are making your message confusing.

Building a connection            

Following on from my last point,  an organisation has to try to make the hashtags they use to connect to as many people as possible.  If people are talking about a new function on Twitter for example and the company works within the social media realm like a PR or marketing agency, then they should use specific hashtags on that topic if they are trying to start or participate in a discussion.

Being strategic

Ok, so a few people are under the assumption that hashtags can only be used at the end of a sentence – they don’t.  Hashtags can be used anywhere in a sentence – beginning, middle or end as long as they make sense where they are placed and gives the content more context.

 Growth

If a company is new to social media platforms Twitter and Instagram or is just simply trying to grow those platforms exponentially, I would say use more hashtags. This applies especially to Instagram as the more hashtags you use the easier it will be for others to find you as Instagram allows users to follow hashtags. Instagram also allows users to use up to 30 hashtags. Before people jump the gun and think that is excessive, you don’t have to use that amount. If however, you want to use quite a few hashtags and don’t want them showing up in your content, you can put them in the comment section. Organisations shouldn’t assume people will know that they are on a social media platform by using just two hashtags.

Some organisations may be set in their ways and have the mentality of “We’ve always done it that way”. Ok, an organisation can think like that but here a question for you – “What has doing it the way you always do gotten you?”  If the answer is your platform is not getting the traction you want, have a think about that – seriously.

Quick side note: Instagram also now lets users link to hashtags and other profiles in their bio.

Research before you use

It is vital that before you use a hashtag to research it. Just because a specific hashtag(s) is trending or your followers are using it, don’t jump on the bandwagon asap. Click on the hashtag and see what people are talking about when using it. An organisation does not want to make a schoolboy error of using a hashtag inappropriately for example if it is used for a sensitive matter as this could damage their brand.

Monitor your brand

“Having a brand-specific tag will also let you see what other people are saying about your company and/or campaign (good and bad). This is important because you are able to monitor your reputation in real-time and then use that data to further help your brand”. – Thirsty Agency

Let creativity blossom

If an organisation does not want to stick to generic hashtags, nothing wrong with using original hashtags as they can be very successful in a campaign. It’s good for an organisation to let heir creative juices flow. If something does not work, no harm in trying something different. It is better to have tried than not tried at all.

 

So, there you have it, some reasons why hashtags are pivotal and why organizations should pay close attention to using them. Hashtags are powerful for creating brand awareness but organisations should not be afraid of using and being creative with them. Growth does not come from being in a comfort zone, it comes from stepping out of it even if it is just a little bit. #DontTakeHashtagsForGranted

Until next time….

 

Emmanuel #EKsMarketingViews

 

 

Video made the Marketing Star Part 2

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Storytelling has been with us since time began. Video will continue to grow and if brands utilise it the right way, they will continue to grow with it”. – Emmanuel  

In part one of my last post, I discussed how video can play an integral part in an organisation’s entire business strategy. In part two,  I am going to explain how video can be used by companies to benefit them and their target audience.

Before I begin, organisations need to have a clear objective in what they want to achieve in including video in their over strategy. Do they want to increase sales? Do they want to increase brand awareness? Is there an important message they want to convey?Are they trying to keep up with their competitors? Are they trying to be unique? Are they going by target audience/consumer feedback?  All these questions (and more) need to be asked before a decision is made and that is why planning is essential.

Once a decision has been made to incorporate video the next question is “Will we use video just for our website or just use on social media platforms?” Well, the answer to that my friends is simple – use both! Why just share videos on a company website and not use social media for maximum exposure?

On the website

In my last blog post, I explained that an organisation is 53x more likely to appear on the first page of Google if a video is embedded on their website.  By working with the technical team or if there a technical whizz on your team, you can also share videos directly from your website to your social media platforms. You can have the icons being the links to social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter with more options to share videos as demonstrated by the image below.

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By doing this if the video entices the viewer on the organisation’s website, they have the option of sharing this thus spreading the message for others to see and creating brand awareness. This can then generate more traffic back towards the website.

Networking the story

LinkedIn is the world-renowned networking site with over 500 million business professionals. This a great platform for organisations to use video. If an organisation is looking to generate leads, work in the business-to-business sector or even looking to recruit staff, video is ideal.  You can simply share a video even from a desktop by clicking on the video icon as shown in the diagram below.

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By uploading a video on LinkedIn, this can persuade businesses to work with other businesses which could be mutually beneficial.

From a recruitment standpoint, it can give potential employees a clearer understanding of a company’s work ethic and if they do indeed encapsulate their mission statement. Videos such as employees talking about the company they work for can be a great catalyst for people to want to work with the company as it showing a visual and human side. To generate leads i.e. sales, videos messaging must be clear and show what the benefit is to the viewer in order for them to want to do business with an organisation.

By sharing videos on LinkedIn, it also allows the viewer to leave a comment which may be beneficial to an organisation. It might provide useful feedback to take on board and incorporate into their strategy.

You are what you tweet

With the constant rise in mobile apps and technology, Twitter is a great platform for companies to upload videos and grow their brand. With the opportunity to now broadcast live on the Twitter app, this makes the viewer feel even more a part of the video.  Let’s say for example that your organisation is exhibiting at an event or you are doing the marketing for a client, by broadcasting live at the event this makes the viewer feel as though they are there – this is in real time! To be able to see something as it happens from a consumer and viewer standpoint it keeps you engaged and intrigued. You feel as though you are part of the story and content should be that – the organisations and customers story.

Just like LinkedIn, videos can also be uploaded to the platform and not just in real time but by also clicking on the icon as shown in the image below.

Twitter video

With Twitter increasing its characters from 140 to 280 last year, this can allow an organisation to explain a little bit more about their video and strategically place relevant hashtags within a tweet. By doing this it can increase the chances of people sharing the video through retweeting or sharing on other platforms.

Facing the facts                                 

As social media platforms continue to grow, Facebook is still number one. With 2.2 billion monthly active users, it will continue to grow. Organisations have to capitalise on its functions.  With the Facebook Live video function, this is a great opportunity for organisations to become creative and real with their storytelling. By clicking on the “Live Video” or the “Photo/Video ”, businesses can choose to use video in the way that best suits them.

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With live video though this is a great way to ask and answer questions to and by your target audience. As the video is being recorded in real time this can create an experience like no other for the user and the viewer of the video. Face to face interaction on an online platform courtesy of video. Live videos on Facebook can also last up to four hours.

Being Instant

We’ve all heard the expression “A picture paints a thousand words” right? So what does a video paint?  Does it paint a thousand stories? You want a video to paint a clear message and with Instagram’s videos functions, you can create a few stories in creative ways to keep your followers and audience engaged.

Just like its counterparts Twitter and Facebook, Instagram allows you post live videos as shown in the diagram.

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However, videos are only one minute long. So the trick even though it can be a challenge is to create a short but engaging video within that time frame. No one said a video had to belong to get a message/story across.  What is also good about this social media platform is that it doesn’t just limit itself to using video in one form.

By clicking on the image in your profile you can see that there is a plus sign.

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When clicking on that sign you can create a short Instagram story that highlights on your profile picture as shown below.

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This lets followers or anyone viewing your organisation’s profile know that you have uploaded a short story. As stories last only 24 hours, you can upload a few within that time period. This helps increase engagement as it can be used as a short video diary or a series of small trailers if you like to give people an insight into an organisations day.

The great thing about creating a video directly from Instagram is that you can add images by using the icon with a smiley face or write using then pen icon (can change the colour too) as shown below just to make the video just that bit more engaging.

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You also have the option of saving the video, uploading to your Instagram story or sending it specifically to a person or group of people.  Different styles of video can also be used such as boomerang which allows the user to create mini videos that loop back and forth.

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Share and share alike

One of the biggest platforms for sharing and uploading videos which would be beneficial to an organisation’s overall strategy is the juggernaut itself YouTube.  This video sharing platform has allowed and given the opportunity for people (and companies) to go viral, create brand awareness on a global scale and made life/career-changing opportunities for those who have been in or created a video.

With no specific timescale, YouTube allows users to upload short or long videos.  Once a video is created whether that is by using a camcorder, video phone or any other method, it can be uploaded directly to the platform and be viewed publically or privately as shown in the diagram below.

video 1

To make a video stand out, organisations need to think of an eye-catching title and use tags that relate the video and the subject matter that it pertains to. Lots of tags can be used as they are hidden in YouTube’s algorithm, so the viewer cannot see them and only the creator can and can add as many as they want. I have demonstrated this in the diagram below.

tagging YouTube

So there is an eye-catching title to go with the video and tags have been included, however, the video can also be given more context by using the description box to explain further what it is about.  What would also be beneficial for companies to add is links to all their platforms so viewers can follow them and learn about what they represent and if they add value to them like the diagram demonstrates.

social media YouTube

As the video now seems good to go, if you go into ‘Advanced settings’, the video can be placed in a specific category as shown in the diagram.

Categories YouTube

Just like tagging, this makes it easier for the viewer to find as they might be looking for a specific subject matter whilst on YouTube.

When the video has all the essential details and is out there in the public domain, organisations can help people find their video and subscribe to their YouTube channel by sharing it on social media by clicking in on the icons; see below.

social share YouTube

In conclusion, what I will say is this. Storytelling has been with us since began. Every day, minute, hour and second new stories are being told or created. The boom in video is not a fad and will be here for a very long time. It is up to businesses to focus on how they can document their stories through video and keep their audience engaged.  Afterall, everyone has a story tell but the way the story is told is the real magic.

If you have found this blog post useful on how organisations can use video in their marketing and overall strategy, like, comment and share.

Until next time…

 

Emmanuel #EKsMarketingViews

Video made the Marketing Star part 1

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2017 was a big year for marketing. Brands focused more on storytelling within their content. Video was at the forefront of this. It has proven to be a powerful and effective visual medium to enhance engagement and elicit a response.

According to statistics from HubSpot last year, “51.9% of marketing professionals worldwide named video as the type of content with the best ROI”. If you are on social media,  you can see even from looking at your feeds, a video will likely appear from a person or a brand. It’s something that should be embraced by businesses and not be taken for granted.  After all, “Over 500 million (that’s half a BILLION) people are watching video on Facebook every day” – Forbes.

From a business standpoint, video helps humanise a brand. By consumers or potential ones watching a video by a company, they can see and get a feel for what they represent.

Video marketing is also about psychology; you want to get inside the mind of your audience. You want to evoke a reaction, tell a story and help create brand awareness (and understanding). This can help generate sales.

Many of you may have heard the expression “Music is a universal language” as it can resonate with everyone, a video can do the same if its message is clear. If a video does not come across at times as a sales pitch that is being force fed to consumers, it can be effective.  After all, the best type of marketing is when it does not feel like marketing.

With the rapid growth of video, companies must incorporate it into their marketing strategy. I will give you some reasons why.

  1. According to video marketing tech company Eyeview, “Including a video in a landing page can increase conversion by 80%”.
  2. Video helps build trust. Trust can be a great conversion for sales.
  3. Video helps with SEO. “Did you know that you are 53x more likely to show up on page 1 of Google if you have a video embedded on your website?”- Moovly (cloud-based digital media and content creation software platform).
  4. Video gives stories an explanation. It really does. By creating a piece of written content, it can give an audience an explanation but to see the visuals it can make that explanation/story a whole lot clearer.
  5. By incorporating videos into your overall business strategy, it can help increase shares on social media. How many of you reading this have seen a video and shared it on social media or shared directly to a friend? Video is a great tool for word of mouth marketing on social media platforms.
  6. Video and marketing are in sync. As I mentioned before in a previous blog post, statistics last year from Smart Insights showed that 80% of internet users owned a smart phone and apps accounted for 89% of media time. Social media apps help make up part of that 89%. The mobile phone can now be perceived as a hybrid – a new mini computer and a television.

 

So as you can see video is an integral part to an organisation’s  marketing and overall business strategy. To incorporate it is the logical thing to do. The real question though is “How can you use video?” Well, I’ll explain that to you in part 2 of this continuous blog post. Until next time….

 

Emmanuel #EKsMarketingViews

Searching

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Search –  “To look or rummage for; to explore, examine. * n quest; pursuit; inquiry” –  English Dictionary, Geddes & Grosset.

Ever since recovering from the dotcom bubble, the internet’s popularity has grown exponentially. It has become a one-stop shop for people to research, ascertain information and to learn. The world wide web has become and is an online encyclopaedia.

For many companies, the internet has become their safe haven. It is a place for them where they can create brand awareness, generate revenue and get a return on investment. Many techniques and strategies are used by companies to generate traffic towards their website. This is where Search Engine Optimisation comes into place.

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is “The name given to activity that attempts to improve search engine rankings” – http://www.redevolution.com.  It is a marketing discipline that focuses on using organic (non-paid) methods to generate traffic to a company’s website.  The best way I can explain SEO through music.

When a signed musician has a new single coming out, they may promote their song using these methods:

Socia media

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On the radio

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Tv shows

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Doing performances

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By doing so, they are visible to their fans and target audience. If the single does well  i.e. ranking high in the charts, this could lead to an album being released and eventually their own headline tour.

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The main emphasis for the musician is to create brand awareness and generate traffic towards themselves. By doing so, this should help increase sales, therefore, enabling the record label to get a return on their investment. Makes sense right?

So in regards to the internet, the higher a website ranks in a search engine just like in the music charts, the more likely it will become visible to people online. This increases the probability of turning a viewer into a consumer of that brand.

So how is this done?

I have compiled a list below of SEO techniques and strategies that can be used to improve a company’s search engine rankings and maintain an edge over their competitors.

1.Long tail keywords

Keys words are important as they help web user’s find content that matches their needs. Using descriptive long tail keywords for a specific target audience or consumer can help generate high amounts traffic to a website.

2. Using Visuals

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We have all heard the phrase “A picture paints a thousand words”. By adding clear, professional images to content,  this acts as a powerful visual aid in increasing engagement.  Images can bring the content to life and break it into different sections.

3. Quality not quantity

Links are essential in driving traffic towards a website. In search engines like Google and Bing, the algorithm picks up links especially third party links. This helps a website in regards to ranking.

Use quality links from highly regarded sources and place in content when needed.  Search engines perceive lots of links that are not of quality as spam. So quantity is not key but the quality is.

4. Being Social

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Sharing useful content on social media platforms is a great way to generate traffic to a website. This is because it can get web users attention which can eventually lead to increasing the chance of gaining more quality links. Web users can also see a company’s social media as providing resourceful information and go onto their website to learn more about the organisation.

5. Being mobile

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According to statistics from Smart Insights, 80% percent of internet users own a smartphone. With the continuous rise of mobile technology, having a mobile friendly website is essential for SEO.  To see if your company’s website is mobile friendly, you can click on this link here.

It should appear like or be similar to this:

mobile friendly

If not, a company should work in collaboration with the technical team in making this come to fruition.

6. Breaking it up

Good formatting can be make or break for a person to view and stay on a company’s web page.  Good formatting can consist  of:

Shorter paragraphs

Keeping paragraphs to two or three sentences may make it easier for the reader to follow with their eyes.

Shorter sentences                                           

Longer sentences are harder to read and at times unnecessary. When possible, break down longer sentences into shorter ones.

Subheaders     

People online don’t read content – they scan. By breaking information down into subheaders it makes content easier to digest. By a subheader also being quite punchy and catchy it can keep readers engaged and want to stay on that web page.

Bullet Points

If you have a lot of data encapsulated into a paragraph, such as graphs and statistics, it is easier for a web user to scan the information by it being put in bullet points.

7. Revamping and Republishing

By updating and amending old blog posts, this can increase organic traffic to a website. By streamlining web content,  it can also increase the speed of a website. This is useful to a web user as a slow running website can become disengaging.

8. KYC

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Whatever type of company you are, it is fundamental to KYC – Know Your Customer. Look at data such as Google Analytics and data on social media. This invaluable information can be used to see what content resonates with your target audience.  A strategic plan can then be implemented in continuing to create content that helps drive traffic towards your company’s website.

 

What businesses have to remember is Search Engine Optimisation is like a science. Different techniques and strategies have to be tested until you find the right formula for your business. At times, you will have to adjust the equation in order to keep up with the ever-changing digital sphere.

It is about learning to be adaptable in order to get your brand’s story heard and always having a focus on delivering rich and informative content.

 

Emmanuel #EKsMarketingViews