Royal Mail #fail – When you choose to send a letter just 1km

I don’t usually post fails or customer service moans, but this piece was too good to ignore. A beautiful #fail, considering the millions of packages they do get right.

Sent from Redhill to Reigate (about 1km had the letter been able to walk itself over), this poor letter has arrived in a bit of a state. Delivered on time and to the right address though.

Comments please on what you think happened over night?

My vote: RAF lazer target practice or mauled by smoking dog.

Nice discovery in bit.ly today

Havign just returned from the eConsultancy #Jump conference I was very happy to find that bit.ly are now adding QR codes to every link. I use bit.ly at the moment for Work and play. The ability to create and track those coming from various channels and sources in one place is pretty cool. So here’s one I’m testing, which points to my blog home page.

and the stats, QR image, etc are here: http://bit.ly/cQxavq+

Can really see this helping where we have online archives of print materials, or want to invite clients to events. And now a barcode bit.ly??? 

 

 

Writing content, articles or posts for your website


I’ve read so many great articles and to be honest, can’t compete with @copyblogger when it comes to giving great copy insights.
Having said that, I’ve made these as a note to self, a 101 guide for new writers to the web. Let me know your thoughts or comment below. Would it work for your team?

Starting out

Try to think in terms of keywords (maybe brainstorm 5-10 before you start writing) but you don’t want to force yourself to use synonyms just to get all of them in there. You don’t want to ruin the flow of the article, just to cover every keyword, but you do want to have thought out what the keywords were.

Layout

Use the Journalists pyramid or News Style to create your work.

The most important facts should come first, and expand as you scroll down. The idea being that if the article goes over the word limit, the least important parts can be removed.  You can always end with a summary or conclusion. But remember that readers may not get that far, if the content becomes too hard or boring to read before they get there.

Length

Optimum page length for search engines is 400-600 words. – Take up the challenge. (I’ve only just made it with this post!)

Content

  • Your opening sentence is key, as it sets the tone for the article. It must be hard hitting, including as many of your keywords as possible.
  • Paragraphs should vary in length throughout the article from 2 to 6 sentences. It makes the page easier to read. – remember to try and fit your key words in once or twice each in subsequent paragraphs.
  • Sentences should average, 12 to 15 words for readability, especially if you’re a highly technical company – as per Economist/NY times.
  • Use active voice customer-focused messaging, rather than internal terms and acronyms.

Formatting

  • Try to use subsections and headers – it really breaks the content into readable chunks.
  • In most articles you can focus on a “call to action”. Pose a question or express a view to encourage reader interaction.
  • Bullets and lists can be used to great effect, making complex items easier to read.
  • Highlight key words or phrases with bold or italics – you could even try and block quote a key line from the author.

Linking

You want to add a few links but you don’t want to pile a huge number at the top of the page, or you risk losing the reader (they’ll click off and get away from you).
Use descriptive text to link from, like this link to bulleting content by @copyblogger. I’ve given it a good SEO friendly title that you can see on mouse over as well (Copyblogger article on various bulleting and listing techniques).

Links should reflect their actual content (so no more – click here, more info etc). Here are some possible linking options if you’re stuck:

  • A relevant press release or article
  • Related services
  • A Glossary reference
  • Relevant laws
  • Twitter posts or a hashtag search
  • Your Facebook or LinkedIn groups / profile

Images

If you use an image, include an appropriate descriptive title (alt text) for it.

Wrapping up

When you’ve finished, read the page out loud. This is to see if you can actually say that sentence in one breath, as readers’ minds lose track otherwise.

How is the call to action looking? Do you need my help?

Let me know your thoughts!

Light thoughts: A B2B Web Presence

A B2B web presence should be at least a collection of: targeted, integrated, interlinked, ongoing interactions.
For a B2B Consultancy to stand out from the masses and warrant a premium price, the company must stand out. Be it for: knowing the most, offering the best service, consistency, innovation or quality. And their Online presence should express this, be it at a corporate level, or extended to that of its associates, alumni and fans.
The tools are there – PDF thought pieces, ebooks, quick email updates, in depth analytic material or tools, insights into current market developments, events, forums, networking groups, surveys and web-casts. The hard part being creating themes and learning paths to take your clients down – something that engages the client and links to their interactions with their account manager/consultant. Something that rings home with their current issues and the wins they’re after.
A plan might roll out something like this.
  1. Marketing translates and polishes great though pieces into quick to market, well thought out, easy to digest (and share) nuggets.
  2. Events are booked to discuss the emerging themes.
  3. LinkedIn groups form post event, and webcasts or one to ones are booked for further dissection.
  4. Collections of nuggets are turned into publications for distribution and sent with Deep Insights to clients to devour offline.
  5. A full record is kept of client interactions preferences, consulting, thought pieces received and the events they have attended – even what they browse, how much they read and what’s their favourite topic.
  6. Marketing augments client engagement and supports Account Managers with “your clients may like this – please forward or add them to our distribution”.
  7. Possibly networks of clients and consultants form, discussing relevant themes, formulating areas of interest and shaping a companies offerings.

And harking from my Rework chapter today (37 signals)  – Who knows, the company may even start to think like a famous chef, and publish their best recipes for all – knowing that even if a competitor tires to do what they do –  only they know how to really mix the ingredients.

Posted via email from nickwallen’s posterous

Antony Mayfield – Some great notes on Monitoring Social Media

This is a really great slide deck from Antony Mayfield who presented yesterday at the CIM Financial Services Event: Social networking in financial services
I’m hoping his slide deck from last night will be up soon on slideshare, but check out the below in the meantime.
I’m particular fond of slide 12 – perfect layout of a Social Engagement Framework –  Principles, platforms and processes!

Monitoring Social Media 09 – #msm09 – After Brands I Crossing

Temple Grandin TED video: What the world needs now is different types of brains

Temple Grandin

Temple is giving us hope. Great insight into the Autistic mind and thinking differently/creatively.

“I get excited doing things that make real changes in the real word, we need more of this and a lot let just thinking about abstract theory”.

Collaboration of designers and suppliers

I was inspired this morning buy the though that @chrisbrogan was in my time zone (attending a conference in Paris) and that maybe a 30 second tweet up with him would “inspire me for life”. Too slow in figuring an angle and commitments to work meetings meant I missed my window.

Thinking of his Trust agents and tribes throughout the day I got a boost when @dbasulto posted a great post on @archdaily http://bit.ly/4T4vDk

Leveraging networks to collaborate

The post is a great piece of theory any budding entrepreneur should action on.

It’s the kind of thing I think all Designers in New Zealand could do and the UK/developed markets too. For too long we have tried to compete on mass production, doing everything, outsourcing nothing for quality control fears – something we just can’t do with the BRIC nations growing so fast.

Smaller firms or even single entrepreneurs, pairing up with others that have the skills they need to produce great work.

Experts in each area: market, design and produce something fantastic.

There’s even spots to outsource the whole business logistics, accounting and legality side as well.

I think we’ll see more and more simple online packages for startups (accounting/Irenas Cloud Bookkeeping and marketing), and suppliers pricing for one offs rather than bulk orders.

A website to foster this collaboration

One site I’d thought of was to put these two points together. A DIY hubspot where the client has the idea, he picks a skilled designer by resume, who together come up with a good builder and choose the optimum parts for the job.

Just imagine how your next bicycle, car or house could look!
I’m sure someone’s already doing this on a freelance scale, but what about for mass marketed custom goods?

the online space – according to nickwallen

Leaders

Leaders of online marketing – future leaders of all marketing – develop their online brand to create a following.

The following in turn buy their products and information because they are an expert their field – as evident from information freely available on the web.
To be considered leaders and experts valuable information needs to be readily available from them.

Creating their brand online in a Web 2.0 age means transparency and honesty – followers will be quick to drop anything they dislike and their word of mouth – extended by web 2.0 and social technologies can have drastic effects. Yet if they OWN their space their word and brand are the ultimate sales tool.

Being a leader and owning your space – places you at the top of clients’ minds – they’ll scourer your site for information and you’ll be the first person they "reach out to"/contact when they want something.

You need to be listening!

“answer every single email and every single comment on your blog’ for the rest of your FREAKING life.”

Gary Vaynerchuk

Converting/making money

An open, transparent and honest leader has no need to shout or hard sell their insight/consulting/research. But how do they convert people who access their site freely – gathering up information – into not just loyal followers, but ultimately paying customers?

The issue we face

We want things on our terms and to feel like we wanted it – we weren’t sold into it. If we’re slowly brought into the fold as a loyal follower, the end sale seems like a logical purchase. We also won’t return the item or argue price, as we’ve seen the value all along as we’ve been following the leader.

Online and offline we want to keep ourselves anonymous and avoid sales, even face to face contact at all costs. Privacy is paramount.

We will accept however a little intrusion to our privacy – and maybe relinquish our email for future updates

  • if that source of information could be sent to us daily
  • if the information they reveal is so compelling that we want the full copy
  • if there’s an anonymous webinar we could watch without the threat of actually hafting to talk to a salesperson

An opening

This inital step, to relinquish even a little privacy, is the window. The key
is that value for money balance and being prepared to give your followers what they want, valuable information, in return for their custom in the long haul.

Using insight gained from their downloads/browsing/IP we can tailor messages, offer relevant articles, even invite them to exclusive events (webinars). We can do all this would even mentioning the product/service or even bringing a consultant or salesperson into the scene. This will keep followers happy, web 2.0 expanding and our online brands alive.

The test for traditional marketers is to avoide temtation. Provide enough tasty information to wet their appetite, and unlearn the hard sell!

Architect as a Developer

Jonathan Segal and his practice come development company, are an inspiration to me.

His innovative, vertically integrated company means that he’s moved from a B2B to a B2C with a focus on design for the end client.

Instead of designing for other developers of multiple family housing, he’s creating rental units that he will ultimately rent out, building a “passive” income from. This unique business proposition has also given him freedom as a designer and architect. In up times, he has all the profit from his end renters and freedom to make stunning pieces. In down times, he faces covering the leveraging costs of construction loans, yet can retrench to his rental incomes.

Check out this short clip for more, or his website: www.jonathansegalarchitect.com


Jonathan Segal Documentary final 13 mins from BREADTRUCK TV.

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