How Content Marketing can build your business

How Content Marketing can build your business

What is content marketing, and how can it build your business? Content marketing is not a quick fix. It’s a long-term strategy for building an effective online presence. Content marketing is a digital marketing strategy that uses targeted written or visual content such as articles, blogs, posts, white papers, videos, photos, infographics or case studies to increase SEO ranking.  Content should demonstrate your brand, and how it can add value, solve a problem or provide a service relevant to their needs.

My 2019 New Year's Bizolution

My 2019 New Year's Bizolution

With the new year ahead, I’m thinking about my own business and how I’d like it to develop.  Each business is different and has different goals, but we all need to get there in the same way – with a defined marketing strategy, and a well detailed plan of attack.

So this is my new year’s bizolution – to create time to do for myself what I do for other businesses. Here is how I’m stepping out the 2019 Honey & Flint marketing strategy.

Why and how every business should give back

My Christian faith prompts me to give regularly, to look after those who are less fortunate than me.  Look around!  It doesn’t take long before you see a need that requires money or time.

When I started Honey & Flint, I felt that it was important that this business, regardless of how much it earns me, should give back.  And I personally think that every business should. 

Why?

Here’s three reasons:

  1. Because people, wildlife, and the environment are struggling in many different ways, and they need our help.  Poverty, pollution, population growth, poaching, these are a bunch of ‘p’ words that just scrape the surface of the need that exists.
  2. Because we can afford to help.  Even small donations can make a difference!  If you consider just a 5-10% portion of your business earnings, you could make quite a significant difference over time.
  3. Because there are business benefits.  Come June 30, those donations can help you save on your tax bill.

How?

There are a range of ways you can choose to give.

  1. Make a once off donation to your charity of choice just before tax time
  2. Decide on a monthly amount to donate throughout the year.  This is a great option for charities, as they can then depend on, and plan around your ongoing donations.
  3. If you have employees, consider offering workplace giving, where your employees can nominate a charity, and an amount of their salary to be donated on a regular basis.
  4. If money is difficult for you to give, I find that people are always in need of services.  Perhaps you could decide to allot a certain number of hours each month to help out a charity, or do something for someone in the local community.  I’ve definitely noticed that I get asked if it would be ok for me to do this or that, so if I know that I’ve allowed 2-5 hours a month to offer my services for free, then I can factor this in to my time.

There are plenty more ways to give, and a quick chat to your accountant can help you identify the best way for your business to give back.

And don’t be afraid to share your charitable acts.  It’s not bragging to put your charity of choice on your website, it’s sharing your heart, and spreading the word.  It should be commonplace for businesses to be charitable.  So, advising your customers that you support World Vision, Cancer Council or A21 (like me) is a great way of showing them what you care about, and that you are deliberate in passing on some of the profits of your business.

Today, make the decision to give, and commit to it.

Fair Trade Your Corporate Christmas Gifts

Eeek!  It’s December (well in 3 days) and you have been so consumed with the final push of the year, that you haven’t had a chance to think about what to do for your clients for Christmas. 

Ok, I’ll get straight into it, because the last thing you have time for is to read an enticing opening paragraph.  Here it is:

Why Fair Trade:

1.     Because you expect to be paid fairly for what you do all year round, so why shouldn’t the person who made your Corporate Christmas Gift.

2.     Because, although budgets can be tight, if you are going to spend some money on gifts, why not make it go that extra mile.

3.     Because it shows your clients that you are thoughtful, and that you care.

Where Fair Trade:

Here are 5 great websites where you can find ethically-produced corporate gifts that can be purchased and delivered to your clients in time for Christmas, if you order them quick smart.

1.     www.materialcause.co - Fair Wear t-shirts that have the added bonus of giving back to your charity of choice.

2.     www.importants.com.au - Handmade drawstring bags and recycled paper journals which can be branded for quantities of 80 or more.

3.     www.tribesandnations.com.au - organic chocolate and coffee, and upcycled homewares.

4.     www.ethicalgifts.net.au - stone hippos and African handmade candles are adorable for decorating people’s desks.  Oilcloth lunch bags also make a work appropriate gift.

5.     Your businesses charity of choice.  Does your company have a set charity that they raise funds for throughout the year?  If so, take a look at their online gift store (they most likely have one) and buy a goat, or a cap, or a branded mug, and let your client know that their gift has supported a worth charity.
TIP: Check that the gift is Fair Trade, because some charities will sell items that can not be traced back to the factory where they were made… likely a sweat shop.

I hope this has helped you complete another task on your long end of year list. 

 

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from Honey & Flint.

 

Preparing for an award submission

Nominating your business for an award has many rewards.  For winners there is the personal satisfaction of a job well done, the industry recognition, and the certificate you can display, giving your customers peace of mind that they are dealing with an award-winning business.

But the benefits keep coming regardless of whether you win.  Award submissions are often heavily detailed forcing you to hunt through your files, analysing your original business plans and marketing goals, and considering their success.  The process of submitting an award becomes a great way to audit your year, and consider its success and what can be improved upon. 

Seeing as you are reading this article, I can only assume that you are thinking about submitting for an award category, the question is, when is a good time to start preparing.

Well the answer is – TODAY!

It doesn’t matter how far out the award submission date is, there are things that you can start doing now to help you write an outstanding award submission - and this might sound a bit like cheating – but thinking about this process early will set you up for the win.  If you know what category you are going to submit for, you can make sure that your focus is on achieving success in the areas outlined in category questions. 

Each award will require different information, but as a rough guide consider setting up an ‘award submission’ file and dropping the following items in it:

1.     Business plan

2.     Mission, Vision and Values

3.     Staff induction/training guide

4.     Marketing plan

5.     Customer service policy documents

6.     Sustainability statements

And start gathering stats from the running of your business such as:

1.     Visitor/sales figures

2.     Response statistics/sales from particular campaigns

3.     Geographic and Demographic stats for your visitors/customers

And don’t forget to look further afield.  Most awards will be looking at your contribution to the wider industry (whatever industry you are in).  So keep a record of:

1.     Staff attending industry training sessions run by governing bodies

2.     Any industry memberships you hold

3.     Any industry programs you participate in.

Having written numerous award submissions over the years, I can tell you that preparing early will take a lot of the stress off you when you come to preparing the submission content.  And any contractor that you hire to prepare the written product will be asking you for these things. 

If you are looking for a submission writer, please drop me an email – Melinda@honeyandflint.com.au.

Unleashing your introverted marketer

It’s not nice to feel that you fit into a particular personality box, but understanding a little of how you are wired can really make a big difference in terms of the way you work.  Having managed staff for many years now, I’ve had the pleasure of working with all types of people, each with their own set of values and beliefs.  Understanding some of your team members personalities and key work values will help to produce a well balanced, and highly functioning team.  

One particularly important personality type to note is whether a team member is an extrovert or an introvert.  Extroverts are those ones that love to be with people and seem to charge up when they are around others.  Introverts can be chatty and outgoing, but ultimately they need their quiet time to process thoughts and recharge.  

Although they probably wouldn’t enjoy this, I'm putting the spotlight on the introverts today. 

There is a LOT of value in the introverted members of your creative marketing team, you just may not have fully uncovered it.  Introverts are incredibly insightful, educated, and researched, you just might not be currently getting this in your creative team meetings.  You may be presenting the topic of discussion and being met with silence.

Trust me, the silence doesn't mean they have nothing to add.  Here are 5 tips to getting the gold out of the introverts in your team.  

1.     Always make meeting agendas clear and get them out prior to the meeting – You see the introvert is an inward thinker.  They must be planned, and therefore they must be forewarned of what will be discussed.  If you can give them the meeting agenda the day before (or a week is better), your highly valuable introverted team member will come with thoughts, notes and ideas, and you’re bound to get some real gold.

2.     Everyone gets a chance to talk – In meetings, make sure you give everyone a chance to talk, and to provide their thoughts.  If you make this an expectation for each meeting, then your introverted members will make sure they are prepared with something incredibly clever to share with the team. 

3.     Allow time for feedback on campaign items/concepts – If your designer has come up with some creative, and you want to get everyone’s feedback, why not email it around, or print it out and ask for everyone to take a look and then provide feedback by a set time.  It’s much easier for an introvert to have time to themselves to consider the layout, whether the content is clear or if the tag line is catchy enough.  You can then come together as a team (to satisfy the extroverts – who are also clever in their own, spontaneous way, and do love to get together) to talk about the creative piece altogether.

4.     Make responsibilities clear – When your meeting is over, you will have a list of items that need to be completed or followed up, make sure you are clear with who needs to undertake each of these tasks, and set a deadline for each item.  Introverts will be able to go away with a clear direction, and will get to work to complete their tasks on time.

5.     Open doors – If you’re a manager, then it is good practice to keep your door open as often as possible, and to also have a sitting area for any team members to come in and chat.  Some introverts may find it difficult to approach a manager to ask questions, but if they know that it is common place for people to swing by your office, then they will feel much more comfortable. 


Initiating Stronger Branding

Start the journey to a stronger brand with this team exercise

I am a little bit of a branding nerd. I have to admit that when the ads come on between my favourite program segments, I’m still glued to my screen analyzing their advertising technique, what I think works and doesn’t work, which brand personality they would fit, the thoughts go on. 

Sometimes brands do lose their way a little, or perhaps they didn’t define themselves well from the beginning.  You may have identified this problem in your own business or company and you want to address it.  So here’s what I would do to start to tackle this problem.

First off, if I was running this session with a client, I would have the following people in the room – the marketing/creative team, CEO/Manager, 1-2 board members (if you have a board), 2-3 invested customers/members.  Each person should answer the below 10 questions in under five words.   

1.     Who are we now?

2.     Describe the current culture?

3.     Who knows about us?

4.     How would they know about us?

5.     What image do we portray?

6.     Where will we be in 10 years?

7.     What would be the culture then? 

8.     What are our top 5 strengths?

9.     What are our top 5 weaknesses?

10.  What attracts someone to our brand?

 

Ultimately you are looking to have a better understanding of how your brand/business currently sits, and how you envisage it in the future.

Doing this exercise as a team is a great way of bonding and to get the group on the same page as you move forward.  Give yourself a couple of hours to talk through everyone’s different thoughts, and make sure all people are heard.  Sometimes the quieter team members have a lot of wisdom to share, and might see things in a different, but equally important light, so make sure everyone is heard.

Let the discussions lead to a general consensus for each question.  Once the session is over, consider the feedback - where you are now, and where you want to be.  This may then help you to work out strategies to help you make the journey to the end goal.  

And my final thought for this session is to make sure you have the right person leading the group.  Sometimes this can be a session where everyone decides to air their differences, and raise those thoughts/grievances that have been simmering for months.  So having someone external come in and run the session can help to guide the team to positive outcomes. 

For more branding exercises check out the articles page.