Category: Communication

Need a Little Inspiration?

Generating a consistent stream of interesting and insightful content online can be a grind. I’ve been feeling a little tapped out lately. The monotony of COVID restrictions, waiting for spring to arrive for good, and other factors are contributing to a sense of stagnation.

I went looking for a little inspiration to reignite my work in Q2. Here are some great places I found.

Be a Blog Reader

Subscribe to a variety of blogs related to your field and your target audience. Look to them for ideas that you can use for your next post. Sometimes you will find the same topic covered in different ways, giving you some good depth to draw from.

Be sure to look at the comments as well as the posts. There are often great gems in the comments that let you know what’s top of mind for your target audience.

Follow Aggregators

News aggregators pull blog feeds and newsletters together to provide a rich source of ideas around a specific topic. Just reading through the headlines can give you inspiration. Reading the posts can help with research around a specific topic.

Listen to Podcasts

Podcasts are really taking off. You can find them on every topic, even ones you never knew existed! Give some a listen. Sometimes just looking at titles and descriptions is enough to spark some new ideas.

Learn from Questions and Answers on Quora

The Q&A website Quora is a forum for just about everything. The questions and answers there will give you ideas.

Put that Email to Work

We mostly talk about the overload of email, but looking at all those messages as a place to mine for ideas makes the deluge seem a little more palatable. Subscribe to interesting newsletters. Click-through at least a few items every day.

Content Ideas Offline

There are plenty of offline ways to get some fresh ideas, too. A friend finds them walking in nature. Another gets energized with a little retail therapy. There’s inspiration all around if you open yourself up to the opportunities.

Go, and be inspired!

Create Calls to Action that Work

It is a best practice for your content to include calls to action. A CTA tells the reader how they can act on the content they have just seen. That gets to the engagement we all seek with our online marketing efforts.

Some calls to action fall flat. How many times have you seen “click here” or “learn more”? These overused CTAs don’t get anyone excited.

Creating the right call to action requires some thought. Here are some ideas to help you get to the right one.

The Right Call to Action for Your Content

The right CTA gets people to take the action you want. The first step in crafting the right one is to know your goal for the content. What do you want people to do?

In general, keep your call to action short. Use 3-5 words to tell someone exactly what they should do next.

Make sure it stands out on the page. Use a button that stands out on the page and with a eye-catching color.

Define the action. The first word of your call to action should be action oriented! Use a word that will make people click. Here are some great words for CTAs:

  • Call
  • Join
  • Register
  • Save
  • Start
  • Watch
  • Try
  • Subscribe

Create a sense of urgency. No one wants to miss out on a great opportunity.

  • Act Now
  • Limited Time Offer
  • Available While Supplies Last

Solve a problem. What does your target audience need your help with? Your CTA should tell them that you have what they need.

  • Get your xx fixed
  • Start creating your xx
  • Step-by-step help for xx

Want to generate sales? Make a valuable offer using language that promotes value.

  • Get 30% Off Now
  • Get Your Discount
  • Online Special

Every Piece of Content Needs a CTA

Reach your goal for every piece of content with a thoughtful, enticing call to action. Make it focused and clear. One call to action per page is usually about right.

When you tell people what you want them to do next in a way that appeals to their needs and entices them to act, you increase the chances they will do exactly what you ask.





Effective Marketing Via Zoom

Marketing Via ZoomEverything you do online creates your online presence and impacts your marketing. Consider Zoom and other online meeting and networking platforms as part of your marketing strategy. Be intentional about creating a thoughtful, inclusive space that represents you and your brand well.

Make Your Brand Clear

Carry your brand into your online meetings. Incorporate both your name and your company in your screen name. Consider using a background that includes your business name and/or logo. This can be on the wall behind you or an image you use to mask your actual background. You can also wear branded apparel.

Verbally connect yourself with your company and make sure everyone understands the goal of the conversation.

Use the chat feature to share contact information and extend an invitation for follow up and 1-1 conversations.

Plan for Inclusiveness

Video meetings can also exacerbate  inequalities that exist in physical meetings and introduce new challenges. For example, you can’t read body language or facial expressions as easily, so it’s more difficult to tell if someone is uncomfortable or disagrees with you.

Here are some simple tips you can use to make sure your video meetings are inclusive and welcoming for all.

  1. Create an agenda. Let everyone know the plan for the call before it begins.
  2. Give participants a say in the schedule. With remote work, you can’t assume that everyone is keeping M-F 9-5 hours.
  3. Handle interruptions with grace. Find the funny in moments when a child, animal, or parent interrupts. We’re all doing our best.
  4. Make cameras optional. Not everyone is comfortable sharing their home turned into office space or has the ability to isolate from distractions.
  5. Give everyone a chance to speak. Internet connections can create lag, and folks with slower speeds can be hesitant to interrupt the flow.

Be Personable

Be as personable online as you are in face-to-face meetings. (Remember those?!?) Be sure to give everyone time to settle in and meet each other. Give them a chance to feel welcome before diving into the planned agenda.

Use hand gestures to help people follow your conversation. Watch their faces for reactions that may tell you to move on or slow down. Take pauses to ask questions and get reactions.