Saturday 27 June 2015

Keeping the creative juices flowing

No matter how good of a writer you may be, if you're a freelancer, you're bound to hit a dry spell. Projects, if plentiful in March may be non-existent come April. It's important to remember that a sudden drop in work is okay - as long as you're smart about how you go about filling the void.

If you're new to the freelance game and wondering how to turn a dry spell into a period of productivity, consider some of the following tips.

I know it sounds crazy, but to a new writer, working pro bono not only allows you to build up your network and your portfolio, it helps to keep you writing in a professional capacity. Don't look at it as giving something away for nothing. If anything, writing for free helps you to hone your craft in the early stages of your career for companies and organizations that you'll be able to leverage at a later date. When the opportunities start knocking, you'll be glad you've got plenty of great content to show potential clients.

When the work slows to a crawl, there is no better time in your career to figure out which industries you'd like to write for on a regular basis. Obviously, a good freelance writer can write great content for any industry, but do yourself a favor; figure out where your interests lie and learn all you can about that particular field. While it might be appealing to write about a wide range of topics, becoming specialized in a handful of industries can make you an often sought out hot commodity in the freelance writing world.

Obviously, connecting with paying clients will be your ultimate goal, but don't forget about connecting with other writers. Platforms like LinkedIn and Google+ are rife with communities populated by professional and amateur writers eager to share their success stories and nightmare tales. Joining these communities can help you to get a better understand what it's like to be a freelance writer, but doing so can also help you land paying gigs.

Wednesday 1 April 2015

SEO trends for 2015 and how they'll affect your small business

SEO, much like a raging river, is constantly reshaping the online marketing landscape. And while it may be an exhausting endeavour to try and stay on top of things like evolving search algorithms, as a business owner, it pays to know how changes in SEO will affect your company's bottom line.

According to Robert Cairns, Lead Account Manager for Caseo Digital Marketing Services, three of the most important trends that can help keep your business in the limelight are as follows:

1. Be sure your site is mobile friendly

This particular trend may not take many by surprise given the pervasiveness of smartphones in our society, but ensuring your site is compatible with all manner of devices goes beyond acknowledging the fact that consumers access the internet - and thus your site - in different ways. "Mobile-friendliness" will soon become a ranking factor in Google search results; if your site is not currently mobile friendly, you might want to consider ear-marking some funds to do so, or risk being left in the dust.

2. Be sure your site is fast

We've all experienced the frustration that has resulted from a site's slow loading speed. Making a potential client wait longer than they have to is never a good business practice. All else being equal, when a customer is forced to choose between a fast site and a slow one, the former will prevail. User preferences aside, Google is currently testing a system that will determine a website's response speed - those found to be below a certain speed threshold will be labelled as "slow" and will be penalized accordingly at the algorithmic level - resulting in a drop in traffic.

3. Contractual negotiations

The word on the street is that Google will likely be parting ways with giant partners like Apple, leaving the world's most powerful search engine to "stand on it's own two feet". It's expected that the loss of search partners will result in a significant traffic loss for Google. According to Cairns, the smart money will be on getting to know "second tier" search engines like Bing and Yahoo, and firms who invest the time to familiarize themselves with alternate search engines just might reap the reward of monumental traffic gains in the near future.

Tuesday 31 March 2015

Content writing: the keystone to your marketing strategy

You might think that creating engaging content for your company's website is something that you can do without. The fact is, posting good content to your site or blog on a regular basis is a great way to keep your company's brand at the forefront of your client's minds; and in an age when the web is rife with competitors from all over the globe, your content strategy can be the deciding factor between your company emerging as an entrepreneurial success story or a cautionary tale.

Great content doesn't need to be long or complicated - but it does need to be of value to your audience. While there are no hard and fast rules that govern content creation or guarantee instant results, it has been proven that time and again that over the long term companies that make the investment to grow their online presence will succeed where others have failed.

While the creation of quality content is certainly paramount to your success, if you haven't developed an online community to share it with, all your great content will go unused. Take advantage of as many social media platforms as are relevant to your business; whether it's Facebook, Google+, Pinterest, Twitter - or a combination of all of them, social media is the platform to deliver your content to the masses.

Finally, think of your content as the icebreaker you need to engage with your customers. Obviously, you want to make sales. But engagement with your audience should never be about cluttering their feeds with promotions and product reviews (you'll find that doing so will quickly dissipate your audience). Engage your audience with useful content relevant to your industry and in line with their interests and you can look forward to a long and prosperous relationship with your target market.