The benefits of blogging

With a new job, comes a new style of marketing. Focusing on digital transformation, our events are unique. Invite-only and exclusively for C-level executives, this presents a challenge for me.

How do I ensure that we are getting in front of the right people? 

C-Level executives are marketed to almost constantly! I want to make sure that our collateral stands out, and is not deleted or worse – unsubscribed from.

So, I’ve started by trying to understand our target market. Thinking about what sort of digital transformation challenges, or tips they may be searching for. This is not a quick process.

My first act as VP, Marketing has been to launch a new blog – the Digital Diary. I’ve started to dabble in blogging. The benefits of content or inbound marketing are huge and undeniable.

  1. Credibility – position yourself as a thought leader, an expert or source of solutions.
  2. Education – the act of putting a blog together allows the writer to delve into the topic matter. To learn more about digital transformation, I have been researching and using these results to produce blogs.
  3. Search – smart blogs that answer your target’s questions, and are SEO’d, increases your findability. Inbound links also help you rank for long-tail keywords, and in turn Google.
  4. Social – blogging boosts social media campaigns.
  5. Conversion – it increases conversion rates and leads.
  6. Human – blogging cannot be done by a robot (yet!). It humanizes your company and also allows you to engage with potential customers – H2H marketing.

It’s tough to start writing, especially on a topic that you may not feel too confident about, or for a new company who you are eager to impress.

In the words of Ann Handley from MarketingProfs, the key is to just write.

So that’s what I did. Armed with the recipe for copywriting, A.I.D.C.A., I started to explore the world of digital transformation in healthcare.

A.I.D.C.A. stands for: A – Attention I – Interest D – Desire C – Conviction A – Action

In any copy, the writer needs to grab the reader’s attention. To encourage the reader to continue reading, it is then important to peak their interest. Reader’s are human. So give them something they care about, it needs to satisfy a need or desire. The reader also needs to be convinced. Use evidence to demonstrate your expertise. This, in turn, demonstrates that you as the product or service provider can deliver. You as the writer need to have conviction in what you say. And finally, clear action guides the reader through their journey, through your marketing (hopefully all the way to becoming a customer).

Here is a breakdown of my recent blog, The future of healthcare is digital. 

A – The headline, The future of healthcare is digital, clearly states what the blog is about, and would grab the attention of those interested in the digital transformation of healthcare.

I – Next, to peak the interest of my readers I used a quote to provide instant impact, followed by a clear introduction that provided background.

D – For desire, I detailed the instability of the current political state in the United States and how the future of healthcare is unpredictable.

C – The evidence for this post came from quotes from reputable sources and well-known names within the industry. That and appropriate source attribution, adds credibility to this blog.

A –  Finally, the action for this one was easy. I wanted to guide those interested in checking out our events, in particular our April assembly on Digital Healthcare Transformation.

I then distributed the blog across a variety of social platforms, including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+.

Blogging is also made harder when you don’t see the results you desire immediately. That is benefits of marketing, in particular, digital marketing, the results are instant! If you are starting from scratch and building a readership base, your blogs are unlikely to go viral just yet. Consistency and a solid distribution plan will be vital to increasing your reach.

I was lucky that one of our previous speakers, Cynthia Johnson saw the post on Twitter and shared it.

Cynthia Johnson shares blog on future of healthcare

Thanks to Cynthia, the blog’s reach was expanded exponentially. As the first of my blog’s onto the NEW Digital Diary, this was certainly an extremely helpful leg-up.



The 7 Secrets to Great Copywriting

As I sit here this evening preparing to train the sales team in copywriting tomorrow, it seems an appropriate moment to write a quick blog about the ‘7 Secrets of Great Copywriting’.

Recently I got a visit from my boss, the Global Head of Marketing who is based in Dubai. This was a great chance for me and my team to learn, get a refresher course on the fundamentals and also brainstorm what marketing could be in 2016. During her visit, she taught us the 7 secrets to great copywriting.

  1. Clear Call-To-Actions – use strong, clear calls to action. Tell the reader what you want them to do and why they should do it. It’s important to decide what action you want the reader to take before you write your copy. Use the same CTA and repeat it. For example, we have a minimum of 5 CTAs in EVERY email, that are always the same (reworded). Be sure that they stand out and are prominent.
  2. Benefit driven copy – don’t feature dump. You need to demonstrate the value to the reader. Having a great keynote speaker is a feature. How their presentation will solve the reader’s problem is a benefit.
  3. Define your purpose – this should be done FIRST in the planning stage. How can you write any copy without knowing why you are writing it? Or what you want your reader to do? You need to know what and to whom you’re selling.
  4. Features – although it is important to avoid a feature dump, the features back up or support the benefits. They are the evidence to support that you can deliver the benefits.
  5. Repeat the message – it’s important to enforce the message of the copy and also what it is you want the reader to do. I recently came across this blog that explains the importance of repetition in PR – the same principles apply in copywriting.
  6. Simple language – copywriting is writing to sell. Think about how you speak to someone and write the same. Don’t use fancy jargon! Remember you are human. The reader is human. They want to be spoken to by a human. In B2B, we are guilty of getting distracted by industry jargon. We are still speaking to humans.

Armed with these 7 secrets and also A.I.D.C.A. (a recipe for any copy), I am confident we will have the strongest copy out there!

If you don’t ask, you don’t get

Sometimes at work we get asked to do things that seem bizarre at first…but then you realise there is method in the madness.

Recently, my boss asked me to dabble in a wee bit of Sales, or business development. My initial thought was this is madness. But then I remembered that it is always good to test yourself or be thrown in the deep end. Sink or swim as they say. The experience reminded me of something important…if you don’t ask, you don’t get!

It’s important to remember this, not only in Sales but also in Marketing. It is not a coincidence that emails with subject lines such as “Brochure now available – download it now” work better than those that perhaps beat about the bush. In fact, this was the subject of a team discussion today. Why do some emails work better than others?

In marketing, we all love to be creative and try different things (creativity is literally in the job description!) However, we have to think about our customer. In this day and age, we all receive hundreds of emails a day. Those subject lines that simply state what the email is about and the purpose of the email make our customers’ lives simpler. It’s straight to the point – they know what they’re getting or being asked to do. Sometimes being direct can set you apart from the competition more effectively!

Sometimes its better to get straight to the point. In other words – if you don’t ask, you don’t get! 

Is there such a thing as too much cheese?

I’m a fan of good pun or a little cheese every now and then especially if it improves my email open rate. In a B2B business, I often get criticism from my colleagues that it is not appropriate…I heartily disagree. 

A little cheese here and there doesn’t hurt. Used wisely and perhaps sparingly, it is a great and simple way of helping to stand out. I am 100% that my customers get sick of seeing the same old copy from us and yes absolutely the messages conveyed in those emails are important. But why not do something a little different.

I recently created an email for one of our events, Home Delivery West (taking place tomorrow – still time to book if you’re interested) that played on the delivery event content. The subject line was designed to look like a message from a delivery company, but also needed to be personalised.

Subject line: [FIRSTNAME], there’s a package waiting for you in San Diego

The copy itself demonstrated the treats waiting in the package at Home Delivery West.

Home Delivery West

With a unique open rate of 18.6%, well above our average – I say a little cheese was totally worth it!

Basics of killer content #CNX15

#CNX15 delivered once again with a great panel on producing killer content. Dave Thomas, Sr. Director, Content & Engagement for Salesforce, Ann Handley, Chief Content Officer + Author for MarketingProfs, Chris Penn, Vice President of Marketing Technology for Shift Communications and CC Chapman, Consultant, Speaker, and Author came together to deliver an excellent panel on content marketing.

The panellists broke down content marketing into 3 stages.

Stage 1: Building the strategy. 

Where to start? By understanding your business. From this is where you can develop the objectives behind your strategy. Understanding the competitive landscape will also help you to build your strategy. What are your competitors up to? What are they not doing? And finally, what better way of building a content strategy is there then simply asking your customer or your customer-facing staff what content they need.

Stage 2: Doing the work

Now you have the strategy, it’s time to assess the content you currently produce. 9 times out 10, content marketers don’t need to produce more content they need to produce better content. Ann Handley recommends the So what/ because exercise. Breaking down the needs of the customer will help you identify what content will drive your business forward.

We are all guilty of fearing writing. What if I am a terrible writer? The panel’s advice – don’t over think it. Write bad. Edit well.

Publishing tools such as Pocket or Evernote are your friends. Use these tools to help plan your content and build an editorial calendar.

Stage 3: Analysis of content

We have a content strategy. What we haven’t been able to do is prove the ROI. It’s the ROI I need to get buy-in from my superiors to build on this strategy. It was the tips the panel provided to improve this content strategy that really inspired me today.

The panel ended with a slide entitled – What can you do tomorrow?

So what am I going to do tomorrow?

Firstly, I need something to analyse! So I am going to use Chris Penn’s first-30-days of content plan. Over the next 30 days, I will post different types of content at different times of the day. As a international business, this plan will help me to cover all time zones. This will enable me to analyse reach and engagement.

9AM- Welcome message

12PM- Own media (unique content)

3PM- Shared media 

6PM- Shared media

9PM- Promotional or shared

12PM- Promotional or shared

On top of this, tomorrow I am also going to start identifying Influencers and building a network. This will help me to increase my reach, levels of engagement, help measure if I am aligned with my customers needs and also build data around customer behaviour.

How do I plan on measuring the success of this content plan? I am hoping to see an increase in twitter followers by 100. I would also like to see levels of engagement increase. This will be measured in number of retweets, favourites and mentions.

So check back in 3 days and let’s see what happens!

Using AIDCA to improve copy

Copy is one of those things we all have to do. Whenever I ask one of the conference producers to write some copy, I get a look of despair! The word copy seems to ignite fear.

That was the reaction until we starting using AIDCA – a formula that can work for all types of copy. From brochures to email, following this 5 step copywriting process.

AIDCA stands for: A – Attention I – Interest D – Desire C – Conviction A – Action

In any copy, the writer needs to grab the reader’s attention and entice them to continue reading. The writer now needs to convince that the copy is in the reader’s interest. Now the reader needs to feel that the product or service will help them. It needs to satisfy a need or desire. This is where the emotion of the writing comes in. The reader also needs to be convinced that you as the product or service provider can deliver. You as the writer need to have conviction in what you say. In other words, provide evidence. And finally, the reader needs to know what action to take to purchase.

Here is an example email from a recent email we wrote. This email for Aviation Festival Americas 2015 which got a 16.2% open rate and a 54% click-through rate.

A – (Subject line) The CEOs of Spirit, Frontier and LAN Colombia are doing one thing you should try

I –6 years ago, Terrapinn started the World Low Cost Airlines Congress, which brought together the top CEOs across the Americas. They addressed new ways of gaining ancillary revenue and how new business models could change the aviation sector. As the divisions between LCCs and legacy carriers have fallen away, we now bring together all airlines and key airports seeking innovation and business opportunities at the much larger and spectacular Aviation Festival Americas 2015. You can join the leading CEOs, CCOs and CTOs of the top airlines and airports at Aviation Festival Americas.

D – Can you afford to miss the opportunity to meet executives from over 100 airlines?

Here are 10 reasons why this is the one Aviation event you need to attend this year:

  1. Never be bored! Pick from 3 streams of content on topics related to Aviation IT, AirXperience, Low Cost, Air Retail, and Aviation Interiors
  2. Hear from Spirit Airline’s, Ben Baldanza, and Frontier Airline’s, Barry Biffle, on how they are maintaining the lowest costs and able to offer the lowest fares
  3. Join interactive roundtables to speak closely and directly to industry experts on topics like how to tie IT into improving the customer experience 
  4. Determine where the industry’s next big ancillary revenue increase will come from with Insel Air’s Chief Commercial Officer 
  5. Understand how WiFi systems on passenger jets are at risk of being hacked with international tech guru Ruben Santamarta
  6. Hear from Google on building your brand and appealing to the connected traveler
  7. Ask new airline executives your burning questions during the audience participation at the New Airline Start-up Panel
  8. Debate what new opportunities lie within NDC with IATA’s Regional Director, Americas, Jean Charles Odele Gruau
  9. Sit down with Miami Int’l Airport’s Director of Information Systems and discuss how they are using location based beacons
  10. Network at the Up In The Air Cocktail Reception with Caribbean and Latin American airlines like Azul, Volaris, Avianca, Copa, LATAM, VivaColombia, Bahamasair, VivaAerobus, Sunrise Airways, Surinam Airways, andAir Yucatán

C – Hear from: Barry Biffle, President, Frontier Airlines, Hernan Pasman, CEO, LAN Colombia, Trevor Sadler, CEO, InterCaribbean, Edward Wegel, CEO, Eastern Airlines, Ken Choi, CEO, Jeju Air, Adam Scott, CEO, Odyssey Airlines, Hamish Davidson, Chief Operating Officer, Sunrise Airways, William Shaw, CCO, VivaColombia and James Callaghan, Chief Technologist, WestJet. 

A –  Book today by visiting the website

I don’t know who originally coined AIDCA – thank you!