Archive by Oliver Wheaton

How to Identify the Best Reactive Content Opportunities For Your Brand and Audience

06Sep

One of the best ways to get your business noticed and build a good base of back-links to your website is to hone your reactive content. Creating reactive content promotes your brand as not only being tapped into the news cycle, but also tapped into what your audience wants and is interested in.

What is reactive content?

Reactive content, put simply, is designed to react to a recent news story or issue that has captured the public consciousness. Whereas most content projects can take weeks, if not months to put together, reactive content needs to be created and outreached in a matter of days, or even hours. Let’s take a recent example of the devastating news about fires in the Amazon rainforest. An environmental organisation or NGO could garner a huge amount of coverage by producing a well-researched infographic explaining exactly how much of the Amazon has been impacted by the fires. This would appeal to both their existing audience and help promote their brand as being well informed of the issues facing their industry.

This is a basic example, however there are steps you can take to ensure your reactive content is always on point. Here are our tips to make the most of reactive content for both your brand and your audience.

Know your brand

Continuing with the example laid out above, clearly this is the right sort of issue for an environmental organisation to be creating reactive content around. However if a car company was to attempt a similar content project, they might end up damaging their brand and alienating their audience.

To create effective reactive content you need to know your brand well, and know what sort of news stories and issues relate to it. On top of this, you must…

Know your audience

Getting a huge amount of coverage is great because it will often lead to scoring plenty of back-links which helps your website’s SEO. However, if you’re a shoe company, you won’t win many new customers if your reactive content is only picked up in the technology pages of tomorrow’s newspaper.

It’s important to know exactly what kind of media your audience is going to follow. When you know this, it’s easy to create reactive content that you know will be seen by them. Think about their age, the type of websites they frequent, and the type of stories they are likely to have read over the past week, then create content which will be seen by them AND appeal to them.

Know the type of stories to look out for

If you work in a specific industry, you should be following news about it anyway, however this is particularly true when you are looking for a reactive content angle. If you see a news story in the morning that you could create some reactive content from, then your competitor probably saw it as well. Be sure to move quickly to capitalise and beat your rivals!

When I was a journalist, a PR called me up to offer some interesting information about the New Horizons probe that had just transmitted some incredible images of Pluto in 2015, however she got in touch two days after the photos had been released, so the story (and the probe) had already moved on – she literally missed the story by 100,000 miles!

Don’t make this mistake. Set up Google Alerts, buy all the papers, subscribe to all the blogs – just do whatever you can to make sure you are always the first person to read an interesting piece that could prompt your reactive content.

Always make yourself available for comment or to provide industry insight

Finally, you can always get someone else to do the work for you. By this, we mean that you can establish yourself as an authority within your industry and offer quotes for a follow-up story. Charities excel at this, which is why often in a news story about, say, a racist moment in sports, you will notice the articles about it often include a ‘reaction quote’ from Show Racism the Red Card, or a similar organisation.

When you hear of an issue or story impacting your industry, it pays to put a quote together and send it out to all of your media contacts. This can be hard at first, but if journalists get used to seeing your name attached to insightful industry quotes, it won’t be long before you start being approached for comment.

Obviously for this to work well you need to ensure that any quote you provide is more than just an opinion – you need to give the insightful view on the topic that only an expert can give. Make sure you quotes are backed up with facts and figures, and are written in a way that the journalist can repurpose with ease.

5 Tips to Keep Employees Happy and Reduce Staff Turnover in the Digital World

28Aug

There is no longer such a thing as a job for life. Younger workers, in particular, see chopping and changing jobs as a reality of working life and a necessity if they are to get to where they want to be. According to research by life insurance firm LV, a UK worker switches jobs every five years on average, leading to employee turnover rates in some industries of up to 15 percent.

The reasons for the rise in job-hopping are clear. Employer-provided job security is a thing of the past, so there’s little benefit in staying put. By switching jobs more regularly, workers tend to receive higher compensation and develop a broader base of skills than if they stayed with the same firm for a longer period of time.

The cost of high staff turnover

Having a high staff turnover adds to the costs of a business dramatically. The investment made hiring and training the outgoing employee immediately vanishes, leaving the employer to pay the same costs all over again. However, the negatives in terms of the costs and the performance of your business don’t stop there. There’s also a knock-on effect on daily task management, team morale, company image, team dynamics and productivity and continuity.

With staff turnover rates in the UK tech sector currently among the highest of any industry at 13.2 percent, it’s hardly surprising that keeping staff happy and reducing staff turnover are priorities for so many firms. But what steps can you take to reduce staff turnover rates?

1. Recognise that retention starts with recruitment

The road to reducing staff turnover starts right at the beginning of the recruitment process, from screening applications to choosing who to interview. Identifying the aspects of your culture and strategy that are important and seeking that out in your candidates greatly increases your chances of hiring employees who are completely engaged with and will become part of the company’s success over the long-term.

As well as finding candidates that are a good match for the company’s culture, you should also try to identify those that are more likely to stay the course. Look at the length of time candidates were at their previous roles. If they have worked at a company for five or more years then that suggests loyalty, perseverance and engagement are traits they may have. Someone who plays team sports outside of work or is really invested in a cause also shows they have the mindset to stick with something they care about.

2. Invest in digital skills

Data collected by the ValueMyCV tool found that of 22,000 CVs, one in ten millennials had the word ‘digital’ on their CV, compared to just 6 baby boomers. Equally, just 3 baby boomers listed social media as a skill compared to nearly 1,300 millennials. Clearly, digital skills are something millennials value heavily. With millennials expected to account for up to 75 percent of the workforce by 2025, investing in their digital skills could be a sure way to keep staff happy.

Despite the huge demand for digital skills, skill levels are staggeringly low. In fact, when tested on their digital competence, figures from the Digital Marketing Institute show that marketers across Ireland and the UK scored an average of just 38 percent. Those same marketers acknowledged that their digital marketing skills needed to improve (86 percent in Ireland, 69 percent in the UK) if they were to remain competent in their roles.

3. Provide a clear path to advancement and ongoing development

Can you really expect a candidate who is talented, ambitious and has in-demand skills to stay in a job if there’s very little opportunity for progression? Realistically, no. Promoting from within and providing a clear path to greater compensation and responsibility is central to reducing employee turnover.

Career advancement goes hand-in-hand with employee development and ongoing training. Furthering your employees’ development with the acquisition of new skills, new processes and new technologies will make them feel valued by the company and provide a powerful incentive to make them stay.

According to research by the Consumer Technology Association, in the digital world, high-skills training (80 percent) and professional development programmes to hone soft skills (74 percent) are considered among the top benefits to retain employees over the next five years.

4. Be transparent and build trust

The latest research from Bupa UK confirms that trust is a major factor in whether employees choose to stay with a company. In fact, nearly a quarter of UK workers have admitted to leaving a company due to trust issues. But how do you build trust among your team?

A big part of that is creating honest and open communication between employees and management. Regular meetings where employees have the chance to ask questions and open-door policies that encourage employees to speak frankly with their managers can play an important role in reducing staff turnover, but only if they feel their input is listened to and valued.

5. Create a strong team ethic

The people you work with and the relationships you build are an extremely strong factor in employee retention. Colleagues frequently come out on top when employees are asked why they love their jobs, with 70 percent of people saying work friendships were the most crucial element in a happy working life. How do you create an environment that supports the building of workplace friendships? It starts with workplace culture.

Developing a culture of mutual respect and appreciation, starting at the top down, is essential. You should also create physical areas within the organisation to support collaboration and work to promote a sense of psychological safety and support, where all ideas are heard, considered and never ridiculed. It should also be made very clear that interacting with co-workers is not ‘against the rules’.

Take steps towards becoming a great place to work

Every organisation understands the importance of keeping staff happy and reducing staff turnover, but not every business does something about it. Any of these strategies has the potential to improve your employee retention rates, and importantly, you don’t have to succeed with every initiative, but you do have to show you’re trying.

Boost the digital skills of your team

At Digital Kitchen, we have a range of digital training courses that give your employees access to the skills they crave. Take a look at our beginner and advanced SEO, PPC, Social Media and CRO courses and get in touch today.

5 Reasons Why Your SEO Strategy isn’t Working

19Aug

Copyright: www.seolium.com

It’s been three months and you’ve seen absolutely no results from your search engine optimisation (SEO) strategy. The burning question is – why?

In SEO terms, three months is not a long time, but you would typically expect to see some improvement in your rankings by now, which would lead to a boost in traffic. If not, then you’ll probably start to wonder what’s going wrong.

Whether you’re trying to do a bit of DIY SEO or have hired an SEO freelancer or agency, it’s important you’re aware of the potential reasons why your SEO strategy isn’t working. Through the process of elimination, you will then be able to identify the fault and make the necessary changes to create an SEO strategy that gets results.

So, what’s going wrong?

1. Your website’s too slow

All the time, effort and expense that has gone into implementing your SEO strategy could be undermined by something as simple as a website that takes too long to load. While having a fast, mobile-optimised website was always a recommendation from Google, now load speed is a fully-fledged ranking factor in desktop and mobile searches.

In practice, if you already have a fast website but a competitor’s site is a tenth of a second faster, it’s very unlikely to make a difference. However, if your website takes more than around 3 seconds to load, what Google describes as ‘noticeably slow’, you could be affected.

The good news is that this is a relatively simple problem to resolve. Google’s PageSpeed tool and third-party tools like Pingdom will provide all the information you need to get your site out of the slow lane and up those rankings.

2. Your on-page SEO isn’t in order

No matter how much time you allocate to SEO tactics such as link building and blogging, if your on-page SEO isn’t up to scratch, you won’t get results. There are numerous on-page factors that will help to increase your rankings on the search engine results pages (SERPs). That includes:

  • Content quality – Your on-page content must be original, useful, well researched and published on your site before it appears anywhere else.
  • Page titles and meta descriptions – This is an extremely important ranking factor. When the search engines are ‘reading’ your pages, they check the page title, meta description, headings and content to understand what the page is about. It can then be ranked on the SERPs.
  • Formatting and headlines – Your content should be properly formatted with headings and subheadings. The text should be split into three- or four-line paragraphs and well-spaced to make it easy to read.
  • Images and other multimedia elements – You should include images on the page and other multimedia elements such as video or moving images if they’re relevant to make the page more interesting.

There are also a number of other critically important on-page SEO elements you need to get right, which you will learn all about on our SEO training course.

3. You don’t have enough inbound links

Creating inbound links from other websites to your site (known as ‘backlinks’) is an incredibly important part of any successful SEO strategy. Earning high-value links is a primary ranking factor in Google’s algorithm. Why? Well, if your website is linked to by lots of other websites in your industry, it shows Google that you’re trustworthy, relevant and authoritative in your industry, and that’s exactly the type of content Google wants to show its users. That means you’ll benefit from higher rankings.

If you don’t have many inbound links, start creating high-quality content that answers your customers’ questions. By marketing that content to bloggers and other authorities in your field, you’ll build more links and receive higher rankings for relevant searches.

4. Your SEO provider doesn’t know what they’re doing

Most small businesses don’t have the time or the resources to run their SEO campaigns in-house, so instead, they hand over the reins to SEO consultants and SEO agencies, who do the important work for them. However, the level of expertise out there varies tremendously. If you’ve been working with an outsourced SEO ‘expert’ or agency for a few months and are still not seeing results, you need to ask why.

Warning signs that your SEO provider isn’t up to scratch include:

  • You have no visibility about what’s being done
  • There’s no noticeable improvement in rankings, traffic or leads
  • Changes to your site or content that’s being produced doesn’t look or read right
  • There’s no meaningful reporting or contact
  • There’s no way of measuring results
  • There’s no monthly guidance on the opportunities that have been identified

Although SEO is often portrayed as highly technical and complicated, there’s a tried and tested pathway to success that WILL generate results. If you’re not seeing those results, it’s time to work with someone else.

5. Your keywords don’t match your budget

You can plug away at your SEO strategy for years, but if the keywords you’re trying to target are simply too competitive and dominated by some major players, your results will be limited. As an example, if you’re an insurance broker, you might try to get your website on the first page of Google for the keyword ‘car insurance’. However, with the top rankings dominated by national brands such as Go Compare, Admiral and AXA, you could spend millions of pounds and still not get on page one.

Instead, you need to be a little more selective about the keywords you target. If you’re a small business, targeting localised keywords is a great place to start. ‘Car insurance broker Bristol’ is a much less competitive term that will give you a far greater chance of ranking on page one quickly without having to spend too much.

Not sure how to plan a successful SEO strategy?

Then that’s something we can help you with. At Digital Kitchen, we offer a range of digital marketing courses in London that can help you get your SEO strategy on track. Our intro to SEO is a great place to start, while our advanced SEO training course will provide you will the knowledge and tools to finetune your campaign. To find out more, please get in touch with our team today.

How to Stay Productive in a Shared Workspace

09Aug

There’s something special about shared workspaces. Researchers who study how workers thrive have found that those who work at a shared workspace score an average of 6 on a 7-point scale. That’s at least a point higher than employees who work in regular offices.

There’s no denying that a shared workspace can be an inspiring, creative and vibrant place to work, but being surrounded by other freelancers typing, talking and generally going about their business can be incredibly distracting. So, how can you make sure you stay productive in your shared workspace? Here are our top tips…

1. Get up early

You might have hoped life as a freelancer would bring an end to early starts, but if you really want to be productive, it’s advisable to get up and head to your shared workspace while everyone else is still resting their heads.

Shared workspaces tend to open early to accommodate all working types, while some can even be accessed 24/7. In the early morning, you’re likely to find the space is lovely and quiet and you might even have it all to yourself. Come the early afternoon when the workspace is busy, you can head home for a well-earned nap.

2. Avoid impromptu conversations when you’re busy

One of the biggest advantages of a shared workspace is having the opportunity to meet other freelancers. Losing the social aspect that comes with employment can be tough, but a shared workspace is a great way to fill that void. That said, stopping for impromptu chats every ten minutes is not going to help you get things done.

Creating recognised breaks and sticking to them, such as stopping for a coffee and a bite to eat, will help you show people when you’re ready for a chat. It’s not about ignoring people; it’s about creating the time to engage with them properly.

3. Invest in a pair of noise-cancelling headphones

If your shared workspace is a bit raucous towards the end of the day, invest in a pair of noise-cancelling headphones to keep you in the zone. Even if you can’t work while listening to music, the headphones will still cancel out much of the ambient sound. It’s also the polite equivalent of hanging a ‘do not disturb’ sign around your neck, showing others that you’re well and truly in work mode.

4. Pay more for your own desk

If never knowing where you’re going to be working hinders your productivity, paying a bit more for a dedicated desk could be a sound investment. You can set your desk up however you like and choose to have it in an area that’s conducive to hard work.

When choosing your desk, make sure there isn’t anything chaotic and messy within your line of sight to help you maintain your focus. Face away from cluttered tables, rubbish bins and busy hallways. Instead, try to find a desk that faces simple, clean lines, such as a garden window or a wall, and ideally gets plenty of natural light.

5. Use your time wisely

The most productive workers are not those who work the longest hours, but those who work for a shorter period and take regular breaks. Studies have shown that to produce the highest quality work, freelancers should work intensely for 52 minutes followed by a 17-minute break. During those 52-minutes of work, ignore all emails, stay off social media, mute notifications and focus on getting your best work done.

 

How to find a good shared workspace

Now we’ve shared a few tips to keep you productive, it’s worth thinking about how you can find a good shared workspace in the first instance. With 85 percent of people more motivated and 88 percent having better interaction with other people during the working day, the reasons for choosing a shared workspace are clear, but how do you find one that’ll bring the best out of you and your small business?

  • Test drive the space: Most shared workspaces will offer a free trial for a day or up to a week so you can ‘try before you buy’. If they don’t offer you a trial, ask for one.
  • Check it has everything you need: Every co-working space will have essential office tech such as printers and high-speed Wi-Fi, but make sure it also has conference rooms for client meetings, private spaces to make phone calls and quiet areas where you can work without being disturbed.
  • Get a feel for the culture: Every space will have its own culture, which will make some workspaces a better fit for you and your business than others. Make sure you feel completely comfortable in the space before you sign on the dotted line.
  • Lease terms: You want a flexible lease deal that suits you. If one shared workspace can’t offer you a deal on your terms, there’ll be plenty of others that can.
  • Productive and varied workstations: Don’t just settle for a flat table space. Look for a shared workspace that has a variety of workstations that will support how you like to work.
  • A sense of community: Some co-working facilities specialise in supporting workers from a particular industry or build a sense of community by making introductions, hosting networking events and even holding a happy hour.

Take your freelance career to the next level

Finding a shared workspace that fosters your productivity is a great start to your freelance career. The next step is to enhance your digital marketing skills to boost your traffic and bring in new leads. Our SEO, PPC, social media and CRO courses in London will propel your business to new heights. Get in touch today to book your place on our next course.

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