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April 2018

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Content Marketing and advertising are big topics at the moment. I come from a commercial advertising background but I now work much more in a content marketing relm, so the journey of learning the difference has been very important for me. Some people hate commercial advertising and love content marketing and visa versa. I personally see them as having different purposes – sometimes one suits your business more than the other. We’ve included some examples from our own work so you can see.

 

So, what is Content Marketing?

The way I like to see it is when you produce content that provides value. Think – blog posts, interviews and anything else your audience might be interested in. The key is that you are usually providing them some value and you are not explicitly promoting your product or service. The aim is to get people interested in your product or service in an indirect way. So, if you’re sharing really useful information or things that are really helpful then people might come to your website and check out your product or service.

Image of a morning routine for Content Marketing
Content Marketing example of offering value rather than advertising product

 

Advertising is what then?

Advertising is where you are explicitly promoting your product or service. For example, think about all perfume adverts promoting their expensive perfume, or the car ads where you are shown all the features of the car.

Advertising will use the more traditional routes such as: TV, Radio, Billboard ( also referred to Out of Home or OOH for short), Direct mail and email. You can also see paid brand advertising online in the form of web banners and promoted posts on social media.  Content marketing is primary online and might be seen more on social media and blogs.

brand advertising example with HowNow
brand advertising example of we promoted HowNow on social media with text that advertised the product.

 

Content Marketing Vs Commercial Advertising?

You might be wondering when content marketing should be used and when commercial advertising should be used? Well, in my opinion both are useful and can be used at the same time. Advertising can be great for trying to raise brand awareness and to make sure you are reaching the right audience as you can more precisely target your consumers.

As Content Marketing on the other hand can be great for building up a strong relationship with your consumers. Purely because you offer them more value and are far less invasive with your product or service messages.

I believe content marketing should be done at all times to build up long lasting customer relationships. Content marketing is essentially the personality of your brand. It’s like a friend that is dishing out  super handy advice to you, without becoming preachy. Commercial Advertising should be used to get your product to consumers mind in raising brand awareness or informing people of a new product or service. So use content marketing more than you use advertising is the way I look at it.

So, there you go – that’s the difference. Fairly simple way to remember is just think advertising means promote product and services and content marketing is producing useful content.

Let me know if you have anything really interesting to add to this as it’s an evolving discussion and sometimes lines can feel blurred.

Teaching online is a fantastic way to reach people from far and wide. It allows a great flexibility for the teacher to teach when convenient and for the learner to be able to fit in the course around their busy lives. Teaching online may be new to some of you or you may be sceptical about how to make sure it’s engaging for your audience and they actually leave the course having learnt something. So here are our 3 tips to creating engaging Online Courses.

 

1. Vary your content types

So as you might recall those teachers at school that really got you to learn used multiple content in their lessons. Having the ability, to listen, read, watch and interact are great for mixing up the learning styles in your Online Courses, giving something everyone can benefit from. You can be sure to keep your learners on their toes by varying your content type, as they use different senses to interact with the content. HowNow offers you the ability to have multiple content per lesson so you can be sure to offer : Audio, video,  live classes, broadcast, text, quizzes, images, assessments.

 

HowNow formats

 

2. Encourage Discussion

Discussions are a great way to interact with your learners and for your learners to interact with each other. Having a Discussion forum will create the environment of a real life classroom with the ability for people to ask questions, share opinions and experiences. You can enable this feature when creating Online Courses with HowNow.

 

People talking about Online Courses

 

 

3. Reward your learners

We all like to feel like there is something we are working towards. We might not be at school anymore but the feeling of having achieved something makes us feel accomplished and also motivates us to continue on our learning journey. Reward your learners with badges and certificates when they have completed courses ( this of course is available with HowNow). You don’t have to wait till the end of your Online Courses to reward your learners, you co do this along the way for each unit they complete. Or offer them something different- maybe special extra content or resources for making the progress they have in your course.

 

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We were excited when we got the opportunity to interview Mallika Malhotra who is a brand photographer at MikiFoto + Co. Mallika is passionate about photography and wants to ensure brand’s are doing all they can to create a visual strategy that will really represent their brand to consumers.  Mallika gives us some great advice for visual strategy and lets us know her journey as an entrepreneur.

 

So, tell us a bit about you and what you do?

I help women entrepreneurs move from invisible to impact through storytelling, branding, and photography. I am passionate about empowering women to finally be the face of their brand and share their message with confidence. I also published a book called, The Brand Photography Playbook: The Insider’s Guide to Planning Your Photo Shoot and Building a Stand-Out Brand. It’s a comprehensive guide for entrepreneurs, answering all their questions about brand photography and walking you through how to plan a successful photo shoot.

When and what made you decide to become a brand photographer?

I have been in the photography business for 10 years but began specializing in brand photography 3 years ago. I love working with fellow women entrepreneurs and learning about their business challenges. I started doing headshots at first but learned quickly that my clients needed more storytelling images to stand out and create real depth to their brands.

Being an entrepreneur is hard but rewarding, what is the biggest challenge you faced and the biggest reward you have gained?

I am a mompreneur (I have three sons aged 15, 13 and 8) so balancing a business, family and home is very challenging. There never feels like there is enough time to do everything. And when you do one part really well, something else falls through the cracks. So if my biz is booming, it seems like my family is eating a lot of take out :(The biggest reward of being an entrepreneur is the flexibility and freedom to fulfill my passion. I love that I can create a business on my own terms and grow it at the pace that fits my lifestyle.

 

Why is a visual strategy important to the success of a brand?

Visual storytelling has become a powerful tool in connecting with our audience and communicating our message. In order for our brands to stand out in today’s noisy marketplace, we need a collection of strong, storytelling photos in our marketing. From websites to email to social media, we need brand photos that tell our story and dive deeper into the many layers of our business. Visuals that create emotion, trust, connection and interest.

What are some crucial mistakes you see brands making in their brand photography and how can they rectify them?

1) A headshot isn’t enough to tell your brand story. Sure, everyone needs a good professional headshot but it won’t communicate the depth of your brand. You need to be strategic and share the different layers of your business. Your audience needs to have a full picture of what you do and who you are. This visual storytelling will not only make your brand more memorable but can also inspire action.

 

2) Do the strategic work before your brand photo shoot. Before you take a single pic, you need to get clear on your story, your message, your target and your positioning. This information is critical in the visual strategy of your photo shoot. Brand photos have a distinct purpose and intention for your business. Don’t just show up to shoot but instead take the time to review your product suite, your marketing efforts and future goals.

What are three golden rules for a brand visual strategy that you would advise to your clients?

1) Quality does matter. The photos you choose to represent yourself and your business are making a huge impression on your audience. Are you a professional or an amateur? Are you trustworthy? Do you look like someone worth hiring? If you are constantly posting selfies or creatively cropped photos or poorly lit DIY pics, you may be sharing the wrong message. The more professional your photos, the more you will be seen as an authority or expert.

2) It’s not just about pretty pictures. Brand photography is so much more than posting glamour shots. It’s about creating depth in your brand and building connection and a relationship with your audience. It’s about storytelling. It’s about sharing information. It’s about differentiating yourself. The goal of these images is to help your viewer visualize your message, your process, your products and services more clearly.

3) Know your story and share it. Don’t hide behind your logo, products, services, clients and portfolios. Get clear on your message and put yourself into your marketing. When you show up in your visuals, you become the connecting point to your business. People do business with people so it’s time to show up and be the face of your brand. Customers want to see the heart of the brand (you!) and learn about your mission, your movement, your manifesto.

I see you ran a capture your brand challenge, will you be running any more of these?

I am running a Capture Your Brand photo challenge right now and just started a free Facebook group called Brand Confidential. If there is interest, I will definitely plan more of these photo challenges.

Make sure you follow Mallika and check out her website:

It’s Stress awareness month and I think it’s important if we just stop for a second and take note of the horrible impact stress has on our lives. Right, ready to continue? Good, stress can be important for change and drive but when it reaches a level that is not manageable then, that’s when you need to stop for a minute and evaluate things. So what small changes can you make that will really help?

 

1.Mange your own expectations

 

Expectations is often what drives our stress levels up. This could be us expecting to get a job promotion by a certain date.  It could be expectations to deliver vast quantities of work by a certain deadline or it could even be hitting personal targets you have set.  Take a moment and step back to evaluate what is making you stressed. Ask yourself how much of this, is really in my control? Ask yourself, what can I realistically achieve in this time period?  Once you have established that then begin to manage your own personal expectations better. After that manage the expectations of those around you. Talk to those who are affected by the outcome of your goal and let them know how things are going and how you feel.

 

2. Learn how to relax

 

This may sound relatively simple but you would be surprised how many people struggle to relax when they are stressed. You have probably heard alot about meditation and mindfulness? It’s not just a fad that is on trend, it actually has scientific evidence behind it. So give it a go.

Also find other things that relax you which allow you focus on that activity alone and allow you to be free from intrusive stressful thoughts This could be playing sport, painting, playing an instrument. Try a few things out.

3. Look after your body

 

Now when I say this I mean think about the food you are eating when you are stressed and the level of sleep you get. So when we are stressed we tend to stress eat. Popping out for a muffin from M&S at lunch? or maybe it’s shoving down a galaxy bar and a packet of crisp for dinner because you’re going to be home to late to cook.  Get on those quick health meals – make your lunch the night before. Develop a sleep schedule and stick to it. Make sure you’re going to bed at the same each night and have a relaxing routine before bed. Sleep is often the thing that is most affected when we are stressed but the thing we most need when we are stressed to help us operate.

 

 

 

If you’re a teacher, an educator then you will want to listen to these 5 outstanding podcasts.  It’s always great to find a podcast or tv show or book that you can relate to and shares some of your own experiences. We have found 5 great podcasts that will have you keen to hear the next episode.

1.Truth for Teachers

This podcast is frequently ranked highly within the educational podcast space. Angela Watson the person behind this assassinating podcast covers the day and life of a teacher while giving you stories and advice to inspire you onwards in your own educational career.

 

2.House of Edtech

Chrisopher Nesi hosts this podcasts which investigates the technology within the educational sector and how it is impacting teachers and educators as they teach. You can expect some great stories from teachers and invators within this industry on how they believe technology can take you to the next level.

 

3. Inspiring Educators

Educators can often feel like the  heros overlooked for their hard work and their passion to share their knowledge with others.  Sung Lee who started this podcast wanted to give teachers aned educators a voice. You can oftern here guest educators share their stories of success and struggle in their classroom and out of it. A good listen and hopefully something which will inspire you.

 

Elearning Coach

This podcast will keep you up to date with the latest technology and trends in elearning. Find out how it can affect you and your learners. They cover a range of hot topics. You may find yourself taking the stairs at work so you can just listen to a bit more. A podcast, great for educators and course creators alike, so, if you’re thinking of teaching online get this one downloaded into your library.

 

The Bedley Brothers

These brothers were teachers of the year! Their podcast is 30 minutes long interviewing high profile guests about their lives. They deliver great little anecdotes and practical information that will help any educator.

 

We were very fortunate to be able interview the lady behind the extremely successful site the Lady Boss Blogger. Elaine Rau is the hard working and talented lady behind this successful site for female entrepreneurs. Many women come to Elaine’s site looking for inspiration and motivation as well as business tips from the many interviews and guest posts she has on her site.  So why don’t we get to it, I am sure you’re keen to find out more about how Elaine became so successful.

 

Tell us a bit about you and your blog?

I feature female entrepreneurs from all walks of life and from all over the world on my blog, LadyBossBlogger.com, via interviews and guest posts as a source of inspiration, motivation and continued education for current and aspiring entrepreneurs.

I read you started your blog as a way to connect with other women and online experts – but why did you choose a blog?

I didn’t always have stable internet so I needed something that consumed little bandwidth. I was living in a third world country and sometimes our electricity would go out for days, so I needed to craft my interviews in a way that allowed me to work offline, which is why I sent them as word docs so I could download and edit them offline if need be. Additionally, I wanted to be able to reach people on the other side of the globe who sleep when I’m awake and vice versa and the best way to do that was simply to send them the interview to complete on their own time.

How did you go about starting a blog?

I wanted to blog about lady bosses around the world to gain insight into the way they did business regardless of their backgrounds, cultures, and upbringing and see what concepts overlapped.

What is one key bit of advice you would give someone who wants to grow their blog?

Be patient, your blog isn’t going to boom overnight. It’s a fierce combination of consistency and perseverance that will take you from where you are to where you want to be. Seek advice from those who have gone before you.

What do you think you have done differently to others to make your blog a successful business?

My blog was never about me, that is where most bloggers trip before they even start. My blog was a resource for other people, including myself! I was an avid reader of my own blog! I wasn’t the expert, I showcased experts and in so doing, I learned from the best.

What advice would you give to entrepreneurs who want to start building a social audience starting with zero followers?

Post every single day on all of your platforms. If you don’t have a constant presence online, you’ll fade in to the background. That being said, make sure the content you’re putting forth benefits the people who might see it. If your posts add value to people’s lives, you’ve got the success formula.

But once again, be patient, building an audience is like growing a tree, you must plant the seed, water it every single day, and watch it grow steadily. Most people who you see as ‘overnight success stories’ have been plugging away in the dark for years before they surface.

Even the ones that have only been doing it for a year. I worked on my blog from the minute I woke up in the morning at 7am to when I closed my eyes at midnight. I posted on my blog 365 days without fail. Did my consistency and perseverance pay off? Yes it did. You must put in the work. My audience of 100K followers didn’t just magically appear. I started at zero a year ago as well.

What is one bit of advice you have heard from an entrepreneur in your interviews that has really stuck in your mind?

It’s not the opportunity didn’t work for you, it’s you didn’t work for the opportunity.

 

Follow Elaine/ Lady Boss Blogger on her blog and social!

Blog

Twitter

Instagram

Facebook

 

Webinars are a great learning tool, as you can feel like your attending a lecture that you can interact with. There are many free webinars out there that people should really take advantage of. They are a source of wisdom and expertise for areas within your business. What’s great about webinars these days is that you can also participate – asking questions or voting on answers the speaker sends out to the audience.  We have gathered 5 free Webinars you should attend to grow your business.

 

1. Nail Customer Experience

Business Growth with Human to Human Customer Experience by Biz Launch and Oracle

Biz Launch are offering a great free webinar on how to grow your business with a human customer experience despite being an online business.  This webinar will cover how to execute a human to human customer service strategy online to stop your customers being lost to competitors in a few clicks.

 

Date for the Diary:  10th April.

 

2.Facebook Ad Success

How to measure Facebook ad success: key metrics everyone gets wrong- by Hootsuite

Hootsuite is a fantastic tool to use for scheduling social media posts, and anyalsing social media performance.  Facebook can be a tricky playing field for brands as it’s difficult to understand the metrics on your ads.  This webinar will take you through  the key metrics you need to watch and how to interrupt them.

Date for the Diary: sign up and access the video on demand

 

3. Smart Selling Through Live Chat 

How sales people can turn  intelligent live chat into smart selling tool by sales power with Intercom

Live chat is popping up (literally) on all sort of business websites at the minute. However, are you really using it to it’s full potential. I have experienced many live chat’s which will have a very long response time or could have captured more data. Intercom will be running the webinar which will show you how to use it as a strong sales tool for developing leads.

Date for your Diary:  May 2nd

 

4.Perfect Picture Posts For Instagram

Create Perfect picture posts for Instagram by Sproutsocial and Peg Fitspatrick

Instagram is a great place a brand can grow it’s business but it’s a tricky market to operate. If you don’t have great content and beautiful pictures then you will never grow properly on this platform. In this webinar they take you through how to create those beautiful pictures to really get your audience’s attention.

Date for Diary: Unknown – so sign up now and I am sure they will share the date with you

 

5.Get Email Marketing On Auto Pilot

Get new and repeat business on autopilot with email marketing by Score

Email Marketing is still one of the most effective ways to market your business and generate new leads and encourage existing ones to come back for more business.   In this webinar they will take you through how to get your email game on auto pilot so you can have repeat and new business coming to you.

Date for your Diary: May 1st