Tag Archives: strategy

Big change for Gmail users and… everyone sending newsletters!

Monday’s Herald (July 1st) had a wee article that I want to share.  Debbie Mayo-Smith pointed out the new inbox option for Gmail users and it could be a game changer. Not just for Gmail users, but for everyone sending newsletters to their customers.

Changes from Google

Your emails and priorities automatically sorted.

In short, Google has quietly introduced a Gmail inbox configuration which (with drop and drag) makes sorting inbox content dramatically different.  Now everyone can automatically weed out the content that they don’t want to see straight away.

If, like me, you’ve been automatically assigning newsletters to a separate folder anyway – it just got a whole host easier. If however you’re like most people, who get all their Gmail straight into their inbox, this is likely to be a very welcome change.

However, if you’re sending newsletters to customers, this change makes them less likely to be seen!

Now more than ever, your newsletters are going to have to stand out from the crowd. Once this inbox shift takes off (and I predict it will), your newsletters could be automatically buried in a separate tab in one of the world’s most used email systems.

Read Debbie’s article here.  And if you need help to make your newsletter more compelling contact us.

Chunking it vs churning it!

If you’re not naturally a writer and have to write for your business, it’s important to give yourself a fighting chance.  As with any postponable task, the key is to break it into small manageable chunks that will systematically get you where you want to be.

Without context, that last statement gives even me, the horrors.  Anyone who’s ever done a time management course is thinking “really?! That’s your best insight?” and who could blame them.  So let me show you how to do it, with context and a genuine example.

Let’s look at writing a newsletter.

What on earth are you going to write about?  Probably, because you knew it was coming up, you have a couple of ideas for some of the content. Maybe a link or two?  Maybe an industry article?  Maybe a thought about something a client said last week. All good.  But it’s what you do next that matters most.

Do NOT be tempted to just start writing.

If you do, you will churn.  By churn, I mean you will change sections around, write and rewrite the same article, ditch one idea for another, rewrite the headline seven times and still wind up dissatisfied.

STOP and decide what you want to achieve.

(I do hate to beat an old drum, but yes, that comes back to ‘the brief”, so if you haven’t already, download our free guide to giving good brief here.)

With your brief in hand, break your newsletter into sections where each section has a purpose or point to achieve.  In my case, we have 6.  Best research says 5-7 items is about as much as the brain can handle so we have 6 (and yes, these are the 6 topics most requested by clients).

Our highly technical chunking tool in action.

Our highly technical chunking tool in action.

This is what the chunks look like:

1. The Writer’s Corner : how to write better
2. Across the Desk : insights into marketing best practice
3. Working It : how to work with a creative (writer / designer / etc…)
4. Inspiration : where to find it
5. The Naughty Step : things you should never do (and hilarious things others have done)
6. The Water Cooler : useful online resources for writing / SME marketing 

So for me, I don’t write a newsletter per se, I write 6 mini-articles.

See the task is getting easier already!

Even then, I don’t write all 6 at once.  I write one article, to purpose, until completion. Then it’s done. 5 to go. The task is getting smaller. Satisfaction all round. For this article I only had one purpose; to give you a useful tip on how to write better.

So if you are struggling with writing your newsletter this month, stop.

Take 10 – 15 minutes to work out the main sections of your newsletter. Give each section a section title and a section purpose. You only have to do this once. The next newsletter will use the same sections and same purposes (until you want to retire or renew them).

Now pick one section. Go back to your ideas (links, industry stories, client’s comments) and find one that fits your purpose. Do not change topic. Do not change purpose. Just get the words down for that section and once you’ve finished the article, check your grammar and spelling, and only then give it a title.

There you go. It really can be that easy.

And as you get better at chunking instead of churning, those articles will start to roll off your fingers with ease.

Post your comments below. Meantime happy writing!

Understanding the copywriting process

Thanks to Allan Kent of Zeald I came across a brilliant theory that explains a lot about why some marketing doesn’t work. I’ve borrowed his theory to explain the copywriting process and the pitfalls to avoid.

It’s a quick look at what commonly goes wrong, and an overview on how to get it right, from the very beginning.

Here’s the link to my free download about The Copywriting Process and how to get more out of your marketing investment… yes, it’s about marketing for results!  Enjoy!

Link

Click here to download this free how to guide and master the art of briefing your copywriter (or yourself). It’s short, to the point, easy to read and understand, and includes your own 12 step template to make sure you leave nothing out. Essential reading for every business owner!

Link

Click here to download this free guide on The Copywriting Process to ensure you get the most from your marketing investment. Discover the number one mistake business owners make when investing in marketing and learn how to avoid it. Essential reading for anyone looking to hire a copywriter!

Struggling to write? Help is at hand!

How to write an effective brief to make more of your marketing investmentOne of the hardest things as a small business owner is trying to write your own marketing material.  I’m not saying it’s impossible, but I know it can be really frustrating spending hours with the backspace.  So I’ve decided to make it easier, right here and now. Continue reading

Insuring yourself against Google changes…

SEO or Search Engine Optimisation is all well and good but it can cost a bomb (shouldn’t but it can). Clients tell me about their marketing activities of course, and a number have asked me recently how they can insure themselves against future changes in Google’s search engine rankings. Easy I say, the answer is to put the content out there.

Look, Google isn’t trying to trick anyone even if some SEO companies are (did yours tell you to clear your browser cache before searching on your keywords? They should have… just saying. That’s a top tip from a friend of mine who’s a bit of an expert – thanks Shane! He deserves a free plug for that alone – check him out at out Alpha Local NZ).

Google’s role is to give the person searching the most popular, most relevant, most recent content; they just want to give you the best answer for your search. That way you’ll keep trusting them and using them, and that’s where they make their money.

It’s exactly the same for you.

If your content is real, regular and relevant, no matter what algorithmic changes occur – you’ll still rank.  And you’ll build trust.  And as Google gets smarter, you’ll be assured of their continued good favour.

So get out there and make content for people, not the machines. And if you need help, contact us!

four letter words

Yes, I made you look but I’m not talking about the obscene kind. The words I’m referring to are “goal”, “plan” and “track”.

Ok, that last one has five letters but you’d think it was a four letter word (and that word would be “rack”, as in “on the rack”), judging by the way some businesses react to it.

Running a business isn’t easy; you’re always up against competing priorities. In NZ we’re famous for our number eight fencing wire mentality – we can fix anything and we do. Of course we’re also famous for our rugby. So the way I see it, if John Kirwan can talk about “the plan”, so can we.

Planning is often referenced as the place we go back to when the (proverbial) hits the fan and it is really good for that. But planning is largely ignored when everything’s working ok – and it shouldn’t be!

Setting goals, planning and tracking are essential to avoid wasting precious business resources on poor outcomes. And it doesn’t have to be hard (another four letter word), or complicated.

At Copy Carats we like goals, plans and tracking because it gives us a chance to show off. Equally importantly, we like them because it gives us a chance to use our number eight fencing wire skills (tweaking, fixing, innovating) because we can see if it’s going wrong.

If you haven’t got a goal, a plan to get there and a way of tracking your success – you’re relying on luck and she’s a fickle mistress. We can still help, but we’ll put you in touch with the right expert.

If you have a goal, a plan and the means to measure it – talk to us. We’re champions of copy and we’re a dab hand at numbers too.