How to Create Content Even When You’ve No Ideas

To get the most out of your website and your social media marketing, you need to be sharing valuable and engaging content regularly. But how do you come up with content when the ideas just aren’t flowing? Here are four top tips:

Write about what you know

One of the hurdles of marketing your business to get over can be the inner critic telling you that no one is interested, or that you’re teaching grandma to suck eggs. But not everyone has your skills, experience and knowledge, and even if some do they will value your take on a subject they’re also interested in. So share and shine!

Planning ahead really helps

Time is in short supply, but setting some aside to plan your next month’s content can be so useful. It forces you to find something to say when you thought you had nothing. If you prepare as much as you can in advance and schedule accompanying social media posts, you can be raising your profile even while you’re run off your feet elsewhere. Like a squirrel storing nuts, when the Christmas season is in full flow you’ll be glad you wrote that blog on decorating on a budget in August.

The calendar is your friend

There are seasonal events and awareness campaigns that you can join in with as an opportunity to share some of your content. Not every event will be relevant to your business but there will be plenty that are. For instance a vet may share tips on soothing your pet on Bonfire Night, a decorator or florist can write a blog for Tree Dressing Day, an office may want to share why they’re taking part in Movember, and any self-employed parent can share advice on juggling the summer holidays with business. This is a really useful website for helping you plan your content, but don’t forget the seasonal events that everyone knows about, like Easter and August bank holiday.

Collaborate

When you really don’t have an idea or really don’t have time, why not offer one of your partners or associates a guest slot on your blog and ask for one in return? Doing this will expand your audience and strengthen your networks, as well as directing new traffic to your site.

And there we have it, four top tips for creating content…now get writing!

Datgan can provide you with weekly, fortnightly or monthly content depending on your needs. Get in touch to find out more.

 

 

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Top Six Tips for Talking to Journalists

As a business owner you may have a piece of news you want to share with the media – from an event to winning an award, to sponsoring a school trip. If you’re nervous about approaching the press, here are my top five tips to help you:

  1. Journalists are just real people

Never feel intimidated by talking to journalists. Despite what you may have heard, they’re just real people! Their job is to write stories, so they will be happy enough to talk to you. However, bear in mind:

  1. Journalists are busy, overworked people

So be respectful of their deadlines and pick a good time to call – unless you have a real scoop for them. If their newspaper comes out daily in the morning, then first thing in the morning is furthest away from their deadline. If their newspaper is published every Thursday, then steer clear of Tuesdays and Wednesday mornings.

Also have a clear idea of what you want to say before you call and make sure you have all the information you need to hand.

  1. Take their advice and guidance

Essentially if you’re trying to get coverage for your business through the editorial pages rather than paying for the advertising pages, you need to have a news angle. If the journalist is telling you that what you’re trying to push is an advert and not a story, but they’re kind enough to say that something else you mentioned would make a story – then go with it. They are the professionals, if they say there really is no story then it’s time to call in Datgan, not to get shirty. Which brings me to…

  1. Be polite

Newspapers are private businesses not public services and journalists are professionals, not public servants. Obvious, right? You’d think so, but you’d be surprised how many business owners phoned me up during my career as a reporter making rude demands for coverage. Treat the journalist like you’d treat any other business contact. Maybe even read a few of their pieces first and tell them which one you particularly enjoyed. A good relationship with a reporter can be invaluable to your business.

  1. Don’t be too relaxed

It’s fantastic if you develop a good relationship with the reporter, but remember some key principles. Use positive language, don’t be drawn into commenting on anything controversial, and if you don’t want something attributed to you, then you must state that it is off the record before you say it.

  1. Follow up

If you’ve had a successful interview with a journalist, or sent them a press release they expressed an interest in, keep an eye out for its publication. If it’s not in after a week, ring to politely ask why. It may be there has been a busy news period, staff illness, any number of reasons. Keep in touch politely until the piece is featured, and it doesn’t hurt to phone or email the reporter afterwards to say thanks for the piece.

There we have it, six top tips for talking to journalists. If you still don’t think pitching to the media is for you, Datgan can do it for you. Clients always say I am approachable and easy to talk to, so what are you waiting for?

Five Reasons Why Your Business Needs PR

If you’re a small business or start-up you may think that PR is only for big companies. If you do believe PR might be useful to you, you may think it’s too expensive.

But you know who your customers and target customers are, and you know you have to get word out to them. But how? This is where I argue that PR gives you a much better value return on your money than advertising.

With advertising you can blow your budget in one fell swoop. If you’re advertising an event or a one-off offer you might get the result you want, but it may not have any lasting effects.

With PR, your budget can be spent on a mix of PR tools including press releases, community events, social media and digital marketing tailored especially to best reach your target market.

Think about it as a consumer: if you’re thinking of buying something expensive, an advert might bring a product to your attention, but a favourable review or article is what helps you to make up your mind.

PR gets you genuine press or online coverage which holds more sway than an advert. Articles, blogs and reviews are seen as a third party endorsement, while everyone knows an advert has been paid for – if they even look at it.

Each bit of good PR is keeping your name on people’s lips and building up your reputation.

Here are just five reasons why you need PR:

  1. Blowing your own trumpet.

If you don’t, no one else will.

Single mum gone from living on benefits to giving your family a great life through your business with hard work and a great idea? Share that! Helping young people with an apprenticeship scheme? Tell everyone! Stocking only Fair Trade products? Show off that you care!

 

  1. Taking control of your own story.

Tell people what you want to tell and how you want to tell it. The very act of thinking about your story and your PR strategy ensures you plan ahead. This means you’re well placed to make the most of all opportunities. If there’s a positive story to tell, tell it.

 

  1. Raising your profile/Building brand awareness

Letting people know you’re there and keeping up a regular flow of communication keeps your name out there and over time builds trust, good relationships and good reputations.

 

  1. Establishing yourself as an expert

Appearing in print media regularly, writing blogs and guest blogs, offering to answer readers’ questions in a local newspaper or online chat all help to position you as a leader in your field, and to customers as someone whose products/services are of a high standard.

 

  1. Reputation/crisis management

Sometimes you need PR to handle a negative situation, be it a bad online review to a fire at your factory. Having someone on your side who can handle the media, knows what to say and what not to say can be invaluable.

 

Ready to take the plunge? Call Laura Edwards on 01352 754011 07958 716489 or email laura@datgan.co.uk to discuss a PR plan to suit your budget.

Have you planned your Christmas PR strategy?

If you’ve been to a supermarket recently you may well have huffed and puffed at the prominent displays of Christmas chocolate tins and cracker selections. “It’s only blooming October!” you may have grumpily mumbled under your breath at hearing Last Christmas piped through the speakers.

But retailers have to start planning for Christmas if they want to see a jump in their like-for-like sales in the run up to the big day.

Christmas also offers a golden opportunity for PR. As a former journalist, I know how quiet it can be for reporters in the Christmas period. Just like August, it is often a time where everyone is taking their foot off the pedal work-wise and enjoying time with their families. In other words, not a lot is happening.

Perfect timing for a PR person to come along with some lovely stories to help fill those pages!

If you’ve made your Christmas business plans and have any events to promote or cover, now is the time to plan your Christmas PR strategy.

Even if you think you’ve got nothing happening, Christmas is a great chance to write an article based around what you do. For instance, if you’re in counselling you could create an article giving advice on getting on with your relatives over Christmas. A children’s entertainer could offer tips and tricks on keeping the children amused.

Datgan is just bursting with ideas so please, let’s work together now to get your Christmas campaign ready. That way, when December comes you’ll be free to get on with what you need to do while we secure you some fantastic seasonal media coverage.

Dos and Don’ts When Sending a Press Release

DO spend time before starting to decide what your angle is and which readers you want to target.

DON’T waste your time sending to titles whose readership does not fit with your target customers.

DO research titles’ readership demographics, style, reporter contact details and deadlines.

DON’T send a press release that isn’t relevant to a title.
A local newspaper in Bournemouth will not be interested in a fantastic new product by a designer from Blackpool. A design magazine will be interested in a fantastic new product by a designer from Blackpool if it is innovative enough. A local newspaper in Blackpool will also be interested.

DON’T send out a blanket press release to everyone.

DO write different versions for different titles.

DON’T just send your release out and hope for the best.
The contact you have picked could be on holiday or sick leave or your email could get stuck in the spam filter.

DO call to let the journalist know it’s on its way and phone again to check they’ve received it. However…

DON’T bother a journalist when he or she is near their deadline, unless you have a genuine scoop for them.

DO pick a good time and be polite.

DON’T think the job is done yet…

DO keep an eye out for your piece – if you’re happy with it a quick email to say thanks will never hurt. If it doesn’t go in, ring to politely ask why. It may be there has been a busy news period and it will soon be featured. If it doesn’t make the grade, ask why, listen to feedback, improve and learn for next time.

DO remember – these are the bare bones of placing and monitoring a press release. There are other factors such as timing and exclusivity. How to write a press release and thinking about accompanying images will be the subjects of future blogs, so please check back. If this all sounds too difficult or you need further advice:

DO please get in touch with me at laura@datgan.co.uk – I’m here to help.