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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.

Facebook ads are a great way to promote your HowNow classes. If you have a Facebook page you have everything you need to set up adverts and make sure as many people as possible see what you can do. Here’s a step-by-step guide to setting up a campaign:

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Visit your ‘Adverts Manager’ account on Facebook. If you have a Facebook page for your company, you’ll see this in the menu on the left-hand side of your Newsfeed. If you don’t yet have a Facebook page set up, you’ll need to do that first. Click on the green ‘create advert’ button in the top right-hand corner.

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Pick what you want your ad to achieve. There’s a load of options to choose from, but to promote your HowNow class specifically, you might want to try selecting ‘send people to your website’.

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Give your campaign a name to help you track its success and click ‘continue’.

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Now you’ll create your audience. You can target your add to people in, or even just visiting, specific locations if that’s what you want to do. However, do keep in mind that because your class is online it can be taken from anywhere.

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You can also choose the ages, gender, and language of the people you want to reach.

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After that, it gets interesting. You can choose people depending on their specific interests. If it’s possible to ‘like’ something on Facebook, it’s possible to target an ad to reach fans of that subject. If you’re a yoga or guitar teacher, that’s a good place to start. If you’re teaching business, you could target people who like The Apprentice. This is where a good knowledge of your demographic comes into play. You can save your audiences to use again, or create a new one each time if you’re feeling experimental.screenshot-129

Using the ‘Connections’ drop-down menu you can then choose if you want to target just the people who like your page or people who’ve never heard of you.

Step 5

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Once you’ve got your audience it’s time to decide on a budget. This can be per day or for the lifetime of the ad so make sure you’ve checked this over before you let your ad go live. You could spend as little as a fiver or as much as you like, really. It’s totally up to you. Facebook will never charge more than the budget you set, so there’s no need to worry about it going rogue.

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Decide what you want Facebook to charge you for. This can be either link clicks or impressions. When you get to this part of the Advert Manager it’s wise to work with Facebook’s recommendations if you’re not familiar with the process. As you get more comfortable you can play around more.

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Choose your image. If you have a high quality image, that’s great.

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If not, Facebook also have a library of stock images you can use. Beware of images with too much text. Facebook used to ban any images with more than 20% text. That’s not the case any more but they do warn that ads that have images with too much text will be shared less.

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If you’re advertising your class, the ‘website URL’ box is the place to share your class link. That way, when people click on your ad they’ll be taken straight there. After that you’ll fill in a headline and the text for your ad. Your headline and text character limits will vary depending on the kind of ad you’re producing.

After that, you’ll have the option to preview your ads, and then once you’ve confirmed you’ll be away! It’s great fun to see what kind of results you can get for different kinds of ads.

The other kind of Facebook ad that’s super-easy to create and doesn’t even require you to spend time in the Advert Manager is a promoted post. If you’ve created a post and think more people should be able to see it, this is the option for you. Facebook’s algorithms work in such a way that this is basically the only way to guarantee that your content gets the attention it deserves.

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Find the post you want to boost and click the ‘Boost post’ button.You’ll choose and audience and a budget just like you did when setting up a full Facebook ad.

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While your boosted post is still being promoted, and after your campaign has finished, you’ll be able to see exactly how many people you reached. When you view your results you’ll see more details about exactly who engaged and how, which can be vital information to use when planning future ads and deciding who should be in your audiences.

So there you have it! Promoted posts on Facebook are great to advertise your classes, and you can create campaigns to suit any budget. We can’t wait to see what you come up with!

You might think email marketing is the preserve of big businesses. Think again. Technology has levelled the playing field for businesses great and small, so it’s easier than ever to create slick email marketing campaigns that look as though you’ve paid thousands of graphic designers to help. But what should be considering when you start your campaign?

Keep it regular

Pick a day of the week, and a time in that day, and stick to it. That’s when your users should expect to hear from you. By giving you their email address they’ve basically trusted you. If you abuse that and send too many messages, or send emails when they’re not interested, you’ll find yourself relegated to the junk folder before you can say ’email marketing’. If you don’t have enough content to warrant a weekly newsletter, remember you could always just make it fortnightly or even monthly. It’s better to send one great message than five rubbish ones.

Make sure it looks appropriate

You say a lot about your company before you’ve even said very much in the body of your email marketing. The look of your newsletters can give your mailing list an idea of exactly what your business is like, so make sure it suits what you. For example, if you sell floral vintage china and your key demographic is grannies, your emails probably don’t need to look slick and minimal. Appeal to your demographic.

Make it engaging and informative

Try to let some personality come through in your emails. You might always include a link to a funny news story, or always have something motivational to say. It’s a little thing, but it makes people more likely to read your next message. On the flip side, don’t send out a marketing email for no reason. Keep things informative. Let people know about company updates, new products, or any press. Don’t email ‘just to chat’. That’s a bit weird.

Don’t be too ‘salesy’

Picture the scene: Someone turns up at your house trying to sell you something. You’re not interested. You close the door in their face. You feel a bit guilty, but there was no other way to deal with them. Email marketing has the potential to be a bit like that, except without any guilt about getting rid of you. If you’re emailing people and trying to aggressively sell something, you’re going to rub them up the wrong way. There’s a big difference between saying ‘here’s some things you might be interested in as a previous client’, and saying ‘Hey. You’ve shown a vague interest in me before. Buy all of my stuff. BUY IT NOW.’.

If you’re still on the lookout for a way to make great email newsletters, we recommend Mailchimp, which is versatile enough to do pretty much anything and also has a free subscription below a certain number of subscribers. We can’t wait to see what you come up with!

 

Blogs. These days it seems like the world and his wife has one. They’re a great way to earn a bit of extra income, and can even lead to a full-time career. They’re a great way to show off your expertise and attract followers and job offers. But if you’ve never been in the blogging game before, what should you be thinking about before you begin your blog? We made a list of some of your key considerations:

 

1. Set a goal

Back in the day, the most common way to monetise a blog was to sell advertising space on your site. There’s less demand for that these days, so you need to be thinking differently. Is your aim to find clients through demonstrating your expertise? Perfect. Do you want to sell products through an online shop? Great. Basically, just know what you’re aiming to achieve. You don’t have to make the knowledge public, but it’s good to bear in mind.

2. Pick a niche and stick to it

The internet is packed with beautiful lifestyle blogs featuring minimalist design and perfectly-Instagrammed pictures of lattes. Unless you have something very different to add to that field, there’s not much to be gained from producing more of the same kind of content. The more specific your subject matter, the quicker you’ll find you rise above the noise. If you’ve got lots of passions, pick one. If you’re a dog groomer looking to attract new customers with your blog, keep your writing about dog grooming, rather than all of the cafes you visited when you went to Paris.

2.5 Know your audience

This is too similar to point 2 to warrant it’s own number. Once you’ve found your niche, you also need to know who you’re writing for. It’ll make it much easier to target your content. After all, you won’t get anywhere if your writing is littered with ‘LOLs’ and ‘YOLOs’ and hashtags and you’re writing a blog for retirees who like waterskiing (it could happen).

3. Don’t take shortcuts with your content

Yes, SEO is great. You need to understand it if you want to bring people to your site. But once you’ve got them there, they won’t hang around if the content isn’t great. And the chances of them making a repeat visit are even less likely. Once you’ve honed your SEO skills, they won’t really change, while reader expectations for great content will keep shifting. So make sure you’re keeping up with what’s trending in your field, and which kinds of articles are popular.

4. Don’t live your life by pageviews alone

It’s easy to get disheartened if your pageviews don’t match up to those of the superbloggers everyone knows and loves, but try to remember that that’s not the be-all and end-all. If you blog about the paintings that you sell and only have 10 followers, but they each spend £1000 on your art, that’s way more valuable than 1000 followers who don’t engage. So when you find yourself comparing yourself to other people (and you will), remember the goal you set yourself and chill out.

 

5. Get involved

It’s all very well to write a killer blog, but how will anybody know you’re doing it? If nothing else, you should be engaging with other bloggers in your area of interest by reading and constructively commenting on their posts. You’ll also need to be sharing your content on social media so at the very least a Facebook and Twitter account wouldn’t go amiss. If you’re creating business-related content, you might benefit from being on Linkedin, and if you’re all about fashion or lifestyle, Bloglovin’ is a great place to be. The benefit of social media is that you can do so much more than simply share your own content – you can discover new people to follow, join conversations, and maybe even pick up a few new contacts.

6. Keep it regular

You keep followers by being trustworthy. Once people have discovered that your blog is great and has the exact kind of content they’ve been looking to read, they want to know when to come back for the next pearl of wisdom. They’re not going to keep coming back if they’ve seen nothing new for three weeks, so you need to make sure you’re regularly rewarding them for their loyalty with brand new posts. It’s sometimes worth making clear on your ‘about’ page when new content is posted, or even starting a newsletter so people can have your latest material sent straight to their inboxes.

7. Have a great ‘About’ page

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Now that you know your audience, what you’re writing, how you plan to write it, and how often, you need to think about introducing yourself to your readers. Why should they trust what you have to say? Make sure your ‘About’ page lists all of the reasons that your readers should consider you to be an expert in your field: Do you have a lot of experience? Did you study the subject? Are you working in the industry you’re writing about? Have you won awards? If you’re learning as you write, that’s also good, it just helps to add context to what your saying if people know where you’re coming from.

8. Stick with it

Picture the scene: It’s been two months. You’ve been posting regularly, SEO-ing everything, writing high-quality and original content, and you’ve set yourself up with a shiny new Twitter account. But you’re not seeing much action. Don’t freak out, and do not quit. In those first few weeks when nobody’s heard of you and you’re struggling for followers, remember that Rome wasn’t built in a day. And neither are blogger reputations. It takes time to start getting noticed. Keep at it, and it’ll happen in the end.

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So, what will you be blogging about? We’d love to see once you’re up and running, and don’t forget to keep browsing HowNow to find some amazing experts who can help you along the way.

For this article, we’re going to go ahead and assume you know the basics of online marketing. If not, you should make sure to check out our tips for increasing your Twitter follower numbers as well as this one. After all, we don’t want you to be doing half a job when it comes to social media. And we especially don’t want you to be doing half a job on our say-so.
It’s all very well to have great social media accounts for your brand, as well as engaging with other people and linking to sites you love. However if you’re relying on having a Facebook page and a Twitter account ticking over and nothing else, you might find that it’s difficult to speed up the growth of your channels or reach the engagement targets you set yourself.
We’ve put together a list of other things you should probably be thinking about. These options may not work for everybody, but they’re certainly a good place to start.

Paid ads

One of the main mediums that have proved to be successful in terms of promoting a brand online is paid advertising over social media. On Facebook you can choose your audience by age, location, interests, and even relationship status. It’s creepy as hell if you think about it too much. In fact, it’s best to focus on taking everything you know about your demographic and using that knowledge to build the perfect audience. You can choose what outcome you want, from gaining followers to getting clicks to a website. Twitter operates in a very similar way and, since you can set your own budget it’s definitely something worth experimenting with.

Twitter Cards

With just a few tweaks to the HTML of your site you can change how content looks when it’s shared on Twitter. That sounds complicated but there’s hundreds of tutorials for this online, or you might have a friend you can bribe. Or you could try learning some coding basics on HowNow. If you’re a photographer you can make sure your photo shows up front and centre when you share a link. If you’re selling physical products you can share a listing which features an image alongside the price. There are 9 different Twitter Card iterations to choose from, and the best thing is that if the public share your content it’ll show up the exact same way.

Competitions

If you want to foster a sense of community and get more engagement amongst your existing followers social media competitions are a good way to go. They’re also great for engaging your existing followers. It’s pretty simple – you offer a prize in exchange for a comment from a follower, and then pick a winner. That might be out of the hat or it might be based on merit, but either way it’s a great way to start a conversation. After all, engaged followers are much more likely to stick around.

Pay attention to analytics

Facebook, twitter, and most third-party CMS systems have inbuilt analytics which are can be incredibly useful. Did you post something that got a lot of engagement? Awesome. It’s probably worth posting similar stuff again. Have you noticed that there are times of day when you get more impressions? Again, that’s information you can use to dictate when you should be posting your best content.

Social media

These are just a few pointers, but the world of social media is vast and constantly changing. If there’s something we haven’t quite covered here, it might be worth getting one-on-one help to iron out any issues. Keep an eye on HowNow – we might have just the expert for you.

Twitter is a great platform to help you market your brand, show off your expertise, or find new contacts. It has a reputation for being the place people go to discuss the sandwich they had for lunch, but that’s doing it a disservice. After all, any opportunity to network is a worthwhile one, and Twitter has the added bonus of allowing you to work in your pyjamas. But how can you make Twitter work for you?

Twitter tip No. 1

Get Involved. It sounds obvious, but you’d be surprised. Twitter is a conversation, and not just an opportunity to post all of your opinions for the world to see. Reply to what people are saying, and get involved with conversations surrounding trending hashtags (for example #CraftHour). You might find that people with similar business to yours hold Twitter chats you can get involved in. And if not, you could even consider running one yourself.

Twitter tip No. 2

Use images and links. research shows that people engage more with Tweets that include images and/or links than they do with plain text. On a very basic level, it’s probably because there is actually something to engage with, but whatever the reasoning it’s a good thing to bear in mind. It also makes your profile page look more interesting to stalkers/prospective future clients.

Twitter tip No. 3

Know your audience. Who are you aiming to reach? That should influence the kind of content you share, the tone you use, and the people you follow. If you’re writing content for a new vegan cafe, it’s probably not worth sharing an image of the awesome steak sandwich you had for lunch. It’s a common-sense point, but it’s an easy place to start alienating people if you don’t have your audience in the forefront of your mind when you start posting.

Twitter tip No. 4

Consider using ads if you’re a business – If you’re ready to kick things up a notch, consider using ads on Twitter. You’ll be able to get your tweet into far more feeds than by just tweeting alone. Assuming that you know your audience and how best to appeal to them, it could pay dividends to make sure you appear in the newsfeeds of your target demographic.

Twitter tip No. 5

Tweet regularly. Twitter is the kind of place where both quality and quantity count. There are hundreds of tweets every day on the timeline, so if you want to attract attention you have to rise above the noise. Interesting tweets which get lots of interaction will help you do this, but the odd one or two here and there isn’t enough. Consistency is key. If you have to, investigate the use of a scheduling tool like Hootsuite, Buffer, or Sprout Social. We won’t judge you.

Twitter tip No. 6

Make sure people can find you – Social media is an immediate thing and if you have an existing off-Twitter following you should be making the most of it . Make sure you link to your Twitter everywhere you can. We’re talking on your website, in your shop, in email newsletters, on other platforms… Nobody has ever made a mental note to follow somebody later and then actually remembered. Help your current audience to strike while the iron’s hot.

Twitter tip No. 7

Post a variety of content – It’s great that you like the full back catalogue of Gandhi’s inspirational quotes, but you need to be adding something original to people’s’ newsfeeds too. If you come across relevant articles that you like, share them. Cool and relevant images? Share them. Retweet other people, maybe add in the occasional GIF (the internet loves GIFs), and your profile will be interesting before you know it.

Twitter tip No. 8

Realise it takes time – Once you start engaging with Twitter and keeping it consistent you should start seeing a difference. The thing is, it might not happen as fast as you want it to. Resist the urge to buy followers, because it’s always obvious. Resist the urge to start using ‘automated’ following programs, because it’s generally pretty inaccurate. Resist the urge to use automatic ‘thanks for following!’ DMs, because it’s a big turn off. There’s no shortcut better than posting consistently great content, sorry.

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We can’t wait to see what you get up to on Twitter – don’t forget to give us a follow at @GoHowNow, and keep an eye on the website for some awesome experts who want nothing more than to help you along the way.

Social media is kind of a big deal. It’s a great way to compliment your brand, network with contacts, and even make sales and find jobs. If you’ve never been very reliable with your business’ online presence, we recommend that you change that. These are some of the social networks you should consider being a part of.

Facebook

There’s basically no reason not to be on Facebook. Whatever your business, with Facebook you can share content, promote products, and create highly targeted ads to make sure you reach the right people. Considering that most of the world is on there, you definitely should be too. It’s social media 101.

Twitter

People argue that Twitter’s days are numbered, but it just keeps hanging on. It’s a great tool for businesses because it’s another way to create targeted ads so you end up in just the right newsfeeds. It’s also a fantastic place to get involved in conversations, and to make new contacts. Customer retention is also a big bonus, as lots of people resort to Twitter when they need help. They’ll do it whether or not you’re using the platform, so you might as well be there to engage and respond.

Instagram

If you’ve got something you want to show the world, Instagram is the way to go. You might want people to see how awesome your product looks, or just show off your team and how hard they’re working. Instagram has recently added a new feature which makes it very similar to Snapchat, so you can share lasting images as well as off-the-cuff snaps that disappear after 24 hours.

Pinterest

If you rely on a heavily visual element for your business, you might find Pinterest super-useful. For starters, it’s a great place to showcase your designs. If you have great blog content, it’s a unique way to share with an audience. And if you need to show clients a point-of-reference for a project (for example, if you’re an interior designer or a florist) it’s a great way to collate examples of the kind of aesthetic you’re picturing and sharing that information.

Tumblr

If you’re aiming to reach a younger demographic, there’s a lot to recommend Tumblr. The tone of content on this cross between a regular blog and a micro blog tends to be very informal. If you can live up to that with your content, it’s super-easy for people to discover what you’re sharing. They can also share it again with their followers.

Snapchat

Snapchat  is a tricky one as social media goes. If you’re a blogger or influencer it could work particularly well to give your followers a glimpse into your day-to-day life. The downside to Snapchat is that it doesn’t allow much chance for discovery (aside from its super-exclusive ‘discover’ page, which is incredibly hard to get into and reserved for the media elite). You’ll need to know people who are also using it in order to avoid snapping into the void.

Youtube

By 2019, video is predicted to account for around 80% of all internet traffic. Basically, now is as good a time as any to start thinking about how best to make it work for your brand. Maybe you have a product you want to show off. You could have some expertise you’d like to share which could lead to new work. Or maybe you just have a good time working in your office and want to show off how cool your brand is. Video is a great way to add variety to the range of content you’re sharing, and Youtube is the place to start.

Linkedin

If your success relies on you finding contacts and showing your level of expertise in a certain arena, you should definitely think about being on Linkedin. You’ll be able to see what connections you have with people (you’d be surprised) and use that information to make new contacts. You can also share content that you’ve written, and highlight other work that you think your connections might find interesting.

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In conclusion, there’s basically a social media account for everything these days. However, you should make sure to pick the ones that specifically suit your needs. If you try to spread yourself too thin you’ll lack effectiveness. If you need more social media help, don’t forget to check out HowNow. We might have just the expert for you.

There’s loads of brand new ways of marketing your business using the internet. Email marketing is a classic, though. While some companies have moved away from it in favour of advertising through social networks, we think it’s definitely still worth doing. But why should you care what we think? We put together a list of reasons you should probably consider email marketing if you don’t already do it.

Pretty much everyone has an email

When considering online marketing, Facebook is always a sound choice. They have 1.7 billion monthly active users worldwide. However, email greatly surpasses that with 2.5 billion users around the world. There’s a chance that some people in your demographic might not be on Facebook, but they’re very likely to have an email.

You can engage customers

Sending emails can open up a dialogue with your customer base. If you send messages from an email address they can reply to they’re likely to do so. It probably won’t happen so much that you feel inundated, but it’ll happen on occasion. Whether your email list have questions, comments, or complaints, it’s a great way to get feedback. You’re also contacting people who have at one point or other willingly (we hope) given you their email. That implies that they’re probably already interested in what you’re doing, which is a great place to start.

People expect promotions

Email has been commonplace for a lot longer than social networking. As such, the idea of receiving promotional messages is something we all expect and largely accept. At this point it basically feels the same as getting pizza leaflets through the door. Paid marketing through social networks like Facebook and Twitter has been around for a lot less time and is still seen by some as an annoyance, which means email can be the better option if you want to find a receptive audience.

You can personalise it

If you create a Facebook ad, for example, there are very prescriptive rules about what you have to have to include. The same can also be said of Twitter and Instagram. When you’re sending promotions directly to inboxes you have the freedom to present your company however you would like – the only restriction is the limit of your imagination. Although do avoid sending unsolicited giant files to people. Nobody likes that company.

There’s more chance of being seen

According to ReturnPath, 18% of emails were either blocked or undelivered last year. Similarly, 4% went straight to junk folders. That means 22% of emails don’t reach their destination. On the flip side, organic reach for a post on a Facebook page is likely to be less than 7%. That means that without spending money to promote your posts you run the risk of 93% of your fans missing your content. Basically, email can prove to be a much more cost-effective way of reaching more interested people.

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If you’re still on the lookout for a way to make great email newsletters, we recommend Mailchimp, which is versatile enough to do pretty much anything and also has a free subscription below a certain number of subscribers. We can’t wait to see what you come up with!

The internet is great. It’s opened up marketing like nothing else and means that small companies actually have a chance of competing with the big guys. After all, you can create Google Adwords campaigns, and so can they. You can make sure your content is seen in the right facebook newsfeeds, and so can they. You can make viral video content just as well as much larger companies.

The increase in internet use for pretty much everything these days does mean, however, that certain marketing ideas that were commonplace are starting to fall by the wayside. But just because they’re seen as outdated, it definitely doesn’t mean that it’s useless to give them a try. After all, your target demographic might not even be big internet users, and what will you do then?

PR Stunts

They say all publicity is good publicity, but free publicity is even better. To bring your brand to everybody’s attention it’s worth thinking about what you can do in the real world to make them take notice. This could be by holding a big event. It could involve going to a public place and doing something stupid (but something legal, please). You could also try anything else which is a bit out of the ordinary. Not only will you hopefully be able to get people talking in person and online, but if you’re doing something weird enough, you might just be able to catch the attention of the press as well.

Giving out freebies

If you have a physical product, take it to the streets and hand it out. You’ll get feedback, and you might also get a little bit of online love from your happy recipients. This isn’t necessarily something we’d recommend if you’re selling, high-end watches, but could work a treat for something small. If giving your stuff out to all and sundry in a public place isn’t a possibility, you could also try sending products to a few well-chosen bloggers or other influencers. However, it’s worth remembering that if they haven’t asked for it, they don’t owe you any coverage. But your product’s so good it’ll totally win them over, right?

Sell in person

We’re not talking hard-selling here, but if you’ve got an online craft store, get yourself down to a few actual craft fairs. If you sell fitness wear, see about setting up a stall at a local gym or a trade show. If you’re running your own online marketing company, get out and network. Potential customers like to know about the person behind the brand, so never underestimate the human touch.

Create something viral

That’s not to say that you should go completely off-topic from the kind of content that you usually share. Your regular followers know you, and if you completely change your style overnight it’s going to be obvious, and might be unwelcome. However, if there’s a news story relevant to your industry that you can create content (or even design a product) around, then grab the opportunity and do it. If you manage to get something shared a lot people will be interested in seeing what else you have to offer, which might just pay off.

Physical posters

Physical marketing materials can be an almost-subliminal way of marketing your brand. The average person needs to see an image almost 100 times before they decide that it’s something they can trust. Posters, flyers, or even billboards can help to get your message out to more people and to slyly signal to them that what you’ve got to offer is worth exploring.

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These are just a few ideas for ways to up the ante with your marketing as opposed to relying purely on your online presence. Some ideas will work for some brands, and others won’t. For more guidance on how to use marketing to enhance your brand, check out the Expert advice available on HowNow.

SEO is a complicated beast. Google is constantly changing their parameters in order to weed out people who take shortcuts to rank higher. This means that the requirements for good SEO are always changing. However, there are a few basic things you can do to give you the best possible chance of ranking.

Have a high-quality site

Google’s definition of exactly what defines a ‘high quality site’ changes a lot. However at the very least they want to know that the people visiting your site will be satisfied with what they find. That might involve lots of additional content, or just straightforward information displayed simply. It depends on each individual business. You’ll be penalised for not making sure everything is mobile friendly. You should definitely avoid naughty things like hidden backlinks and too many forced third-party ads.

Use keywords

So you want your post to stand a chance of ranking when a user searches for a certain topic. You need to be using keywords associated with that topic (shock, horror). For example, if you were writing about baking, you need to make sure you actually use the word a lo. It’s not something that should cause much panic, since you’ll mention what you’re writing about when you write about it. Google’s bots tend to scrape the first few lines of each piece of content, so make sure you make a few references to your subject matter in the first few lines. However, you also remember to keep it sounding natural.

 Have your keyword in your URL

In much the same vein as the previous point, make sure that your keyword appears in the URL of the page. Whichever CMS you’re using, you should be able to edit your URL to make it say what you want it to. It also helps to bear in mind that once you’ve settled on a URL, it’s best not to change it, because it goes without saying that you’ll be sharing it across your thriving social media channels. Don’t have those yet? No biggie. Check out how to get started here.

Use Plugins to help you

If you’re using WordPress there are plugins that can help guide you through the process of implementing great SEO. For each post you write, plugins like Jetpack will keep track of how many times you’ve mentioned your keyword. They’ll also remind you to add in anything you’ve forgotten, like those pesky pictures. You’ll be able to update your meta description so that you can make it something attractive to your demographic, rather than simply the 160 characters that just happen to get picked up by Google’s bots.

Keep your site active

We’ve mentioned that you could benefit from having a good level of extra content on your site, and that’s one way to keep it active. If that’s not something you’re going for, you at least need to be keeping all of your information up-to-date. This allows the the powers-that-be (Google) to see that you’re still maintaining the site. If they don’t see any signs of activity they’ll question the quality of the UX, and if you’re not careful you might see your account slipping down the rankings.

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Like we mentioned at the beginning of this, the rules for SEO are constantly changing, which makes it difficult to stay on top of everything. The thing to bear in mind, though, is that Google are ultimately looking for high-quality sites with good information. As long as you have one of those, you’ve got off to a great start with SEO. If you’re looking for a more in-depth insight, check out HowNow to find experts who can teach you.