Social Media and the ‘Know-It-All’ Culture

Social Media and the ‘Know-It-All’ Culture

Some would say it’s great that social media gives everyone a voice. Others would argue that it leaves everyone open to abuse. There’s no doubting that trolling is an issue. And bad language is for the most part just that: bad language that only reflects badly on the writer. No-one wants online censorship. On the other hand, there’s something of the Wild West culture about the Internet – and the predominance of social media only serves to exacerbate that. We see social media at its worst in moral and political debate where there are plenty of half-baked ideas and opinions on display. Yet who am I – or anyone else for that matter – to say what’s right or wrong? Doesn’t everyone have the right to disagree? And if we don’t like the cut of someone’s jib, why don’t we simply ignore them rather than becoming embroiled in an online slanging match? Despite what the world beyond the Appalachians may think of Donald Trump, hasn’t this man given a certain legitimacy to using Twitter? He claims it’s his way around the dissemination of ‘fake news’. Roll up folks and read all about it: Trump-style. Maybe it’s just me, but it looks suspiciously like there’s been an increase in the number of British politicians taking to Twitter. Like everyone else, they know you can poke your head above the parapet, fire a few salvoes, and then retreat to your trench. Yes, it’s all a bit cowardly (like the online bullying that’s rife among school-age children). Of course, we can all choose to ignore social media but it’s become such an... Read more...
Copywriting – The Champion of Change

Copywriting – The Champion of Change

‘Change’ is the word on everyone’s lips at the moment. You’ll probably hear it whispered in the same breath as Brexit. The good news is: business will always adapt to economic change – and, as the handmaiden of marketing, copywriting will never be far behind. For copywriters, ‘change’ is a way of life. First came the Internet; then Google; then SEO. All of these changes, and more, transformed the world of copywriting in little more than a decade. In this context, Brexit is little more than a blip. Dare it be said: the word ‘opportunity’ has even been heard in some quarters!   ‘Opportunity’ Is The Brexit Keyword The enforced changes we all have to face in the post-Brexit era will bring new and unexpected opportunities for those who are ready to exploit them. In the world of business, that means new and improved marketing. In the world of marketing, it means persuasive copywriting, inviting content and innovative channels that will best bring piggy to market. Bear in mind that this is a new scenario where consumers’ pockets could well be raided by a depleted pound, rising inflation and a receding economy. With a little judicious aforethought, however, copywriting will stand out as the most flexible tool for achieving marketing success. New opportunities exist in new markets. For existing customers, fresh approaches can be devised to out-strip the competition. Anyone who runs or manages a business will be on the lookout for OPPORTUNITY. And although the dust has far from settled on the UK’s rapidly evolving political and economic landscape, those who are prepared to take measured risks will... Read more...
SEO Copywriting and the Alchemy of Linking Inking

SEO Copywriting and the Alchemy of Linking Inking

SEO Copywriting is corporate gold dust whose off-page incarnation relies for its efficacy on various shades of link building – planned or opportunistic. Either way, it’s been given greater impetus and recognition by the rise of Content Marketing.  SEO Copywriting of the off-page variety can be seen as part of the Content Marketing phenomenon. Of course, Content Marketing is about much more than SEO. It is, in fact, an end in itself that goes way beyond the narrow (albeit valuable) confines of aspiring to be top dog on Google’s SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages). Some would say that Content Marketing has given SEO a certain respectability it had lacked hitherto. By association, SEO Copywriting has benefited from the broad strategic scope of Content Marketing with its emphasis on the twin pillars of quality and authority.    Exploring the Interface   In exploring the interface between Content Marketing and SEO, the obvious questions are about how far they’re complementary, or whether they operate largely independently of each other? Without ‘content’, off-page SEO would not exist. Likewise, any editorial planning must always have an element of SEO at the heart of its strategic plan (notwithstanding other significant non-SEO benefits). ‘Content’ at its best should be part of a coherent SEO strategy. Call it old-fashioned integrated marketing if you will, but even Google acknowledges the validity of having a consistent theme running through all pieces of content. Without substance, ‘content’ can never amount to anything. And without a theme to the substance, the search engine has nothing to evaluate on behalf of its content-hungry searchers. Where ‘content’ has its own standalone validity is... Read more...
‘To Google’ – With Love

‘To Google’ – With Love

Why is everyone so critical of Google? Is it because the company is too big for its boots? Is there a niggling feeling that maybe they’re abusing their monopoly power? The truth is: it’s probably neither. A company that can become a household name across the world in less than 20 years must be doing something right. ‘To Google’ is now a verb for goodness sake! Google has joined the likes of Hoover, Photoshop, Superglue and Velcro where the brand has become a verb. ‘Googling’ is synonymous with using the search engine to solve all your problems. No other company comes close – not even Bing/Microsoft/Yahoo!   AdWords and SEO Collide  So why do so many people want to take a pop at this online behemoth? After all, there are plenty of dynamic companies who monopolise their niches without attracting the same levels of opprobrium as Google. Steve Jobs’ Apple or Richard Branson’s Virgin are two examples that spring to mind. Could it be that Google is a victim of its own ingenuity? No-one could deny that its AdWords cash-cow is a fiendishly clever concept. And it somehow seems churlish to complain that SEO has been made overly difficult for marketing professionals when the system of online organic ranking of website pages is free-at-point-of-entry anyway. What many people forget is that Google has achieved its phenomenal success by doing what every business sets out to do: namely, to provide its customers with the best service possible.   No Such Thing as a Free Lunch!  As a search engine, Google’s primary responsibility is to make sure its search results provide... Read more...
Does Content Marketing Take Too Much Time?

Does Content Marketing Take Too Much Time?

The Internet is drowning in a sea of content – and the main culprit has to be so-called ‘content marketing’… The first-fruits of this come-lately type of marketing are supposed to be enhanced SEO/SERPs results; establishing yourself as an ‘expert’ in your field; and providing visitors to your website with the type of useful information that will encourage them to re-visit the site and/or share the content on social media. No-one could argue that these are laudable aims with tangible benefits. Everyone gains and this kind of activity earns valuable SEO brownie points from the search engines, whilst also validating their raison d’etre. One of the major problems with content marketing, however, is that an ‘average’ company will run out of the content that meets Google’s criteria for original, useful material in a relatively short space of time. Creating quality content – regularly! To produce content on a regular basis, so many companies are forced into dredging up sub-standard material from within their own industry or re-cycling material that’s already in the public domain. The net effect of this is the deluge of ‘me-too’ stuff that no-one really wants to read. It helps of course if you have a copywriter or marketing agency to come up with new and useful content, but you may well be left wondering about how many ways there are to skin a cat. For companies who may not want to invest in professional content creators, and for those who are sceptical about the ROI for these activities, there is always the DIY route. As everyone knows, ‘content’ is all around us – potentially… and... Read more...

Integrated Marketing and The Endless Echoes of Mad Men

In case you hadn’t noticed, ‘integrated marketing’ has come full circle. Back in the day, when Mad Men roamed Madison Avenue and TV advertising was the new kid on the block, everyone wanted a slice of the marketing action. In late-1950s Britain, television sets in everyone’s living room marked the end of post-war austerity and, with it, the beginnings of an affluent consumerist society that continued throughout the 1960s and on into the present day. TV advertising was a powerful tool of mass communication that eclipsed print media, direct marketing and PR almost overnight, particularly among those with bigger budgets. It’s often said that history repeats itself. That would certainly seem to be the case with integrated marketing. To get a handle on the historical perspective of it all, you need to compare the Mad Men era and the arrival of TV advertising with the emergence in our own era of Internet marketing and Google. Both of these phenomena transformed marketing as it was known hitherto – and both ended with an aftermath of integrated marketing that sought to make sense of a new and dominant marketing force. The underlying driver on both occasions was the realisation that we shouldn’t risk throwing the baby out with the bath water.   In The 1960s… TV advertising in the 50s and 60s was a potent and entertaining medium with the power to engage and persuade like nothing that had gone before. Or was it? Apart from being incredibly expensive, TV advertising in 1960s Britain had a limited platform of only one commercial TV station. Even if your company could afford it,... Read more...