The Ultimate Instagram Stories How-To Guide

If your business uses Instagram, you’ll have probably used the Stories function once or twice. Swiped from Snapchat (more or less), it’s an instant way to share thoughts and boost your visibility on your followers’ feeds.

If you’re not a confident Instagrammer, it’s also another confusing feature to feel intimidated by.

Some businesses hammer Stores all day every day, and some barely use it at all. This ultimate Instagram Stories how-to guide has been created to help you get the most out of this quickfire feature, no matter how you intend to use it.

polaroid-2315182_1280.png

So let’s get started!

Create a Calendar

If you’ve been running your business for a while, you’ll already be familiar with the concept of an editorial calendar, whether you know it or not.

Your editorial calendar is a foolproof guide, created by you, to help you create and post the right types of marketing content, advertisements and offers at ideal moments throughout the year.

Whether you drill right down to the hours and minutes or you simply keep track of your busier times of year, your editorial decisions are based around these timings. It sounds difficult, but it isn’t: think about how you plan campaigns around Christmas, or summer holiday season, or even in the run-up to the weekend. It all counts!

Creating a calendar for your Stories content will help you out because it means you won’t be left stranded without content on a busy day. It also means you can really take advantage of my next tip…

agenda-3991875_1280.jpg

Schedule Your Stories

Creating your Stories content in bulk and scheduling them across the day, week or month is a fantastic way to keep on top of your Instagram Stories and ensure you’re not leaving your followers drawing a blank when they want to see content from you.

There are apps and scheduling platforms that allow you to do this easily, such as Tailwind and Later. Use their tools and let technology do the hard work for you.

What content should I share on Instagram Stories?

Good question. Every Instagram account is different, and it depends on what you use the platform for as to what you’ll be publishing on Stories every day.

Your main options to choose from are:

●      Photo

●      Video

●      Boomerang

●      Sharing posts.

With photos, you get a static picture, but you can add gifs and other adornments to them in the editing process.

Using video is great to share news or product releases in a personal way, and you can choose to have volume on or off.

call-1866884_1280.jpg

Boomerang is a more compelling way to share a relatively dull image – think shots of packaging – but it can eat into your users’ data and become annoying if used too much.

 You can also add to your story by sharing posts from your main feed or from any other feed you choose. This is really useful for highlighting review posts, or drawing people to your main feed for your latest post.

Use Stats

If in doubt, follow the numbers. If you’re not sure what types of content your followers are enjoying, take a quick look at Instagram Insights to see what’s been playing out well and what’s been flopping.

Armed with the facts, you can head back to work and create content you know will hit your targets.

See, Instagram Stories are easy once you get the hang of it! But if you’re really struggling, ping me an email. I’d love to talk to you about how I can help boost your Instagram game.

Until next time…

5 Quick Ways To Improve Your Website Today

Websites are vital to business, but we all know how time-consuming their upkeep can be.

That’s why I’ve come up with five things you can do today to improve your website. Not tomorrow at 9am; today. Even if it’s 3pm now. You can achieve these small tasks.

Consider this a collection of easy wins. Let’s get to it.

  1. Check Your Contact Page

Can your customers reach you if they want to?

You’d be surprised.

Take a look through your contage page and see if all the information is correct and visible. Here’s a checklist for you:

●      Is the phone number right?

●      Can you highlight the phone number on mobile so someone can easily pick up the phone and call you?

●      Is the email address right?

●      Can the email address be clicked on or tapped to send a message immediately?

●      Does the contact form go anywhere?

●      Is your address and postcode visible?

●      If you have a map here, is it working?

Some of these might be issues for IT to deal with, but at least you know now that your customers can contact you without any trouble – or they will be able to soon.

2. Plan Some Blog Posts

You might not have time to write them today, but you can definitely come up with five blog post ideas for your website’s blog.

Blog posts are one of the best ways to improve and update your website’s content and bring new visitors to your website. Taking fifteen minutes to research some compelling blog post titles and then planning out some time to complete and upload them will improve your website by 100%.

Stuck? Try this blog post generator by Hubspot.

3. Update Your Imagery

You’re bound to have some images on your website that are out of date. Times change, things move on and inevitably, websites get a little tired.

Take a look at some of the stock imagery on your website’s main pages and think about photography you could replace it with instead.

Your customers and website visitors find original photography much more engaging than obvious stock photos, but don’t worry. If you have no photos and can’t organise a photoshoot (or take a few new ones yourself), stock imagery can work as long as:

●      It looks natural

●      It works in context

●      It matches the tone and feel of your website.

untitled.png

4. Check Your Links

Are your pages full of hyperlinks?

Well, they should be.

Google loves links that aid the reader to research more, and using links in context is a great way to boost your Google ranking.

However, broken links bring your site right back down again and not only that, they frustrate your visitors too.

Click through your links to make sure they aren’t leading to dead ends, and replace any that do.

5. Check Your Comments

Bots love to leave nonsense comments on blog posts. It’s just robot nature.

While there are very good, very useful spam detectors available for website developers to install, some comments just slip through the net and onto your website.

Take a few minutes to scan through your comment sections (doing this via the back end will be the easiest way) and nip off any of those weird, nonsensical comments that make your site feel a little overgrown and unloved.

I really hope these tips help motivate you to get improving your website. If you think you need a little more help, or would like to talk to me about the website content support I can offer you and your business, let’s chat.

Until next time…

Why You Should Hire a Copywriter in 2019

If you’ve been hesitant to hire a copywriter, I can sympathise. Making the decision to outsource your web content, social media posts or ads can seem like a daunting process. After all, your company is your pride and joy - and handing over the creative reins to an outsider involves a lot of trust.

You needn’t worry. Professional copywriters are experts, and we exist to help you. If you need a simple press release writing, that’s what we can do. If you need a full website’s worth of content creating, you can count on us to deliver exactly what your brief describes.

A relationship between a copywriter and our individual clients is all about communication. We trust you to give us all the information and support we need to create exceptional content – and in return, you can trust us to work hard to deliver content you need that goes above and beyond your expectations.

Here are some more compelling reasons why you should hire a copywriter in 2019, and why I think the job I do can help out businesses of all kinds all over the world.

A copywriter knows exactly what you need - even if you don’t.

You might be unhappy with your web content and need an overhaul. You might be working on a brand new website for a startup. You might have heard about Instagram ads and want to get involved.

You might know this, but you don’t know what next steps to take.

This is what we copywriters do. We can talk through your options, and together we can work out the best possible plan of action. Then we get to work. Simple as that!

notepad-1276779_960_720.jpg

Copywriters only do what you ask us to do.

If you’re afraid that hiring a freelance copywriter will somehow start a chain of events that leads to you paying for content and fees you didn’t want to pay, don’t be.

Good copywriters can send a clear contract to you for every job you ask us to complete. If we think more work needs to be done – for example, keyword research or a spot of competitor analysis – we’ll flag this, but ultimately it’s your call.

If a copywriter is charging you more than you can afford, it only takes a conversation to rectify the situation. After all, we work for you, not the other way around.

Freelance copywriters have experience - and lots of it

Believe it or not, most freelancers don’t have one, specific niche. This is a good thing. It enables us to flex our mental muscles, turning copy into well-rounded, well-informed information.

We might know everything there is to know about your particular industry, but in the background we might also be experts in retail management, extreme sports and professional cleaning services. They don’t feel connected, but a wide spectrum of reference points helps our writing feel less robotic - and that’s what you want.

A copywriter understands how important your content is

If your team doesn’t have time to give your content the precision and care it needs, your business could suffer for it.

macbook-336704_960_720.jpg

A copywriter understands how vital your content is, and will work hard to ensure it is perfect before sending it back to you for your comments. We are also great at making amends, sometimes several times, so that the content you want is the content you get. We understand. It’s important to you, so it’s important to us.

A copywriter gives you space to achieve

 Whenever I speak to potential clients, I want to make sure that they are making the right choice for their business. I also want to convey that by handing over this work to a professional copywriter, they will be freeing up headspace, time and resources. It makes a huge difference to be able to pass work over.

The most common comment I receive from my clients is that I’ve given them time to think, and to work on important projects that in turn have helped their business to grow.

In that sense, copywriters offer two things in one: a chance to turn your mind to more important matters, and the truly essential resource of a professional who can write content that takes your business higher.

If you’d like to chat about how we could work together this year, please get in touch. I’d love to hear from you.

 

What Your About Page Says About You

Does your website's 'About' page says exactly what you’ve asked it to say? Usually, about pages are fairly simple. Maybe yours has a couple of paragraphs about your brand's views, morals and expertise. You might also have added an FAQ, or even some Meet The Team snippets. At the very least, your page should have a basic description of your business - basically, who you are, what you do and why you do it.

Some businesses don’t bother to do much more than that. I’m here to tell you that they’re missing out. You most definitely should put in a little more effort into this often-overlooked page.

Your About Page Offers Insight About Who - and What - Your Business Is

How does a customer decide how to choose your business for the products or services they’re looking for?

Millions of hours of research has been done on this exact subject, concerning every level of the sales funnel. What remains true for every customer no matter their stage, is that they want to know more about you before they trust you with their money.

business-man-2452808_960_720.jpg

In an age of high competition and easy research, the way your portray your brand can make or break your conversions. If you’re selling a similar product to your competitors at the same reasonable shipping cost and with similar additional extras - for example, customer service, warranties and guarantees - your about page can be how you set yourself apart.

How to Use Your About Page Effectively

It might just be a page on your website, but there are many ways you can utilise the space within it to communicate directly with your customers. Your about page should be considered an important part of the inbound marketing journey, and on top of that, it should represent exactly what your brand priorities are.

office-594132_960_720.jpg

Think outside of the box. Instead of writing out a few paragraphs lifted from your employee and brand handbooks, try to match the personality you want your brand to have with the way you share that information.

Some ideas for you:

●     Design up an interactive timeline of your business’ history

●     Add videos and team interviews for more unique insights

●     Tell your story creatively.

How Your About Page Can Inform Your Brand’s Tone of Voice

Tone of voice is a vital part of your brand. It might not be something you’ve considered on its own, but if you choose certain words or phrases to describe what you do in any of your literature on in your web content, that’s your tone of voice shining through.

Basically, the words you choose help to build up a picture of who you are. If you use the words 'professional' and 'experience; in the same paragraph, you begin to build up a picture of your business as an outfit people can trust, Using words like 'care' and 'your needs' gives off a different impression; one that shows your business aims to look after and support your customers or clients.

Using these brand-aware words and phrases in your about page will help to build your image psychologically.

Take a look at these successful brands' about pages and you’ll see what I mean.

Jewson: Leading providers, friendly customer service.

Pampers: Care, protection, love.

Edinburgh Zoo: Connection, conservation, experience, research.

Fancy Some Homework?

After taking a look at those three examples and comparing them, how would you improve them? Using that same constructive criticism, take another look at your own about page. Does it need an update?

Finding the Time to Update Your About Page

Of course, updating and refreshing your web content can be another important task in a long list of jobs you have to tackle this quarter.

keyboard-498396_960_720.jpg

Why not outsource to a professional copywriter and web content creator? I have experience with working with businesses of all shapes and sizes and in a huge range of industries. Get in touch to find out how I can help you.

 

 

 

Why hire a copywriter?

You know how important good content and communications are for your business, but perhaps you just don't have the time to put fingers to keyboard and get cracking. So what now?

If you’ve never outsourced your work to a copywriter before, it may be time to try that out. After all, what better way to make your website stand out than with the help of a professional who specialises in copywriting for businesses?

There are plenty of reasons to hire a copywriter - and I’ll be going over five of them in this blog post. Read on...

They Free Up Your Schedule

You can say 'cheerio' to your hectic schedules when you hire a copywriter. You shouldn’t have to spend hours figuring out why no one’s clicking on your website, or what the heck crawl stats are (hint: you can find out in Moz's Beginner's Guide to SEO). Pumping out engaging content takes up a lot of time, so leave that to the pros!

Copywriters will do the technical stuff you’re struggling to do and give you the time to focus 100% on your business. Rather than stressing over how to write copy that draws traffic, you’ll now be able to give your undivided attention to the things that really matter.

business-3224648_960_720.jpg

 

They Can Really Sell Your Service

Yes, copywriters write, but they also spend time doing research that leads to richer, more vibrant content. You’ll find plenty of copywriters who specialise in an industry-specific niche. If you sell handmade baby clothes, for example, you’d do well to find a copywriter who specialises in the industry that caters to mums.

A copywriter can capture the essence of your service and sell it to your audience in a way that is both engaging and fascinating.

They Provide Consistent Content

Let’s be honest for a moment: churning out consistent, new content can quickly get tiring. It can be easy to recycle old content by tweaking a word here and there, publishing it, and hoping readers won’t notice you wrote about the same topic two months ago, but please don’t do this.

laptop-820274_960_720.jpg

When you have a freelance copywriter on your side, you don’t have to worry about that. They can whip out fresh, high-quality content to capture your readers’ attention like nothing else. Even better, avoiding duplicate posts will turn your site into a Google-approved page. Who can resist that?

They Know How to Speak ‘Google’

There are plenty of SEO guides out there on the Internet, but it can still be tough to learn if you’re also trying to juggle your business on the side. Rather than try to force-feed this information to yourself, hire a copywriter who’s already familiar with SEO.

Copywriters can keep your website looking up-to-date and polished. No matter how many tweaks Google makes to its search engine, copywriters will keep on top of it so you don’t have to. Leave the technical mumbo jumbo to them.

 They Can Boost Sales Organically

Adverts are important for maintaining an online presence for your business, but organic traffic is just as important. After all, you’re more likely to get legitimate, long-term customers this way, rather than hoping someone scrolling through Facebook clicks on your ad.

home-office-336378_960_720.jpg

Copywriters will reach out to potential clients by creating fresh, original content for your social media accounts, and then by crafting equally brilliant content on your site that will keep visitors once they get there. By going the organic route and going easy on the adverts, you could see a significant bump in your sales.

So now that I’ve given you five reasons to hire a copywriter, I’m here to give myself a (shameless) shoutout. Need a hand with your business? I’m a copywriter based in Yorkshire - but I can work on your project remotely - wherever you are in the world. Let's chat!

For updates, you can find me on Facebook and Twitter.