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Back to School: What is Marketing?

‘So, what is marketing?’

I wasn’t expecting such a simple question to stump me for what felt like five very long seconds. We were attending the Careers Day at the local Ellesmere College, and we were prepped with a banner and on-brand coloured cupcakes (we know what kids want), ready to speak to students about a career in marketing, PR and communications.

We’re used to dealing with professionals who want to know how digital marketing can work cohesively with traditional PR, or how we can maximise the benefits of influencer partnerships on social media – we’re never asked a simple question which essentially asks, ‘what is that you do, every day?’

Albert Einstein

Albert Einstein famously said that “If you can’t explain it to a six year old, you don’t understand it yourself.” We weren’t dealing with six year olds here, we were talking about our industry with curious and intelligent teenagers at a crucial decision-making point in their lives.

As well as being able to help young people as they start to carve the beginnings of their future careers, the afternoon gave us an opportunity to take a step back and go back to basics: what is it that we offer?

After a couple of practice groups of students who feigned a remarkable interest whilst clearly eyeing up the baked goods, I got into the swing of it: we essentially offer a subtle form of advertising.

As opposed to large, in-your-face adverts on the side of the motorway or shoved between TV shows (which of course do have their place), we work with businesses to identify their target audience and, most crucially, understand them. Then we use a whole host of communication lines from news stories, to profiling, to social media in order to influence their audience towards the business. This comes together into a holistic campaign, using every tool we’ve got to ensure that your brand is in front of the right people, saying the right things.

If you’ve got a growing business and thinking of taking your first step into marketing, just get in touch for a laid back chat – you never know, we might even have cake.

CONTENT MARKETING – HOW TO GET YOUR DIGITAL CONTENT JUST RIGHT

Unfortunately too many clients still believe that because they’ve spent hefty amounts on a new website, all will be well and the new business will roll in.  Unfortunately, it’s simply not the case as without quality, optimised and relevant content management – there’s a high chance a potentially fruitful website will wither on the vine.

The good news however is that a growing number of businesses are seeing the benefits of effective content marketing.  Recent statistics show that as many as 91% of B2B and 86% of B2C marketers use content marketing to facilitate business growth.

Although content marketing has been with us for years now it remains an effective way to build brand trust and awareness as well as establish business credentials by simply offering highly relevant information to the right target audience.

However, like other digital marketing methods it has evolved considerably over the past decade, so here we’ve outlined a few pointers as to what works best:

  • Achieve cut through and say something new, different and relevant. There are more than 2 billion blog posts listed every day, so make sure yours cuts through by being original and not ‘me too’.  If you want to be a thought leader, say something new or challenge the status quo.
  • Focus on content that you have the right to comment on – why are you experts and why should people listen to you? Don’t blag it if you don’t know what you’re talking about as that can back-fire, instead focus on an area that your business excels in.
  • Use a quality digital communication agency to provide the right copy and content – if you’re not a writer, get some help so that you can focus on what you do best. Having a nose for a good or interesting story will also help.
  • Work with partners, suppliers and friends.Building back links is a critically important element of SEO and this is a useful tactic to not only receive endorsement but build links.
  • Think how best to share your content. Although building content and links on the page is useful for SEO, if you’ve got something interesting or unusual to say why not cascade through the right social media channels or via an electronic newsletter?
  • Take a longer term view – organic content marketing won’t immediately knock you up the SEO rankings but be specific on key words and in time it will bear fruit.
  • Evaluate and evolve. Has your content achieved any inbound links, has it been shared, have you maximised the opportunity through social media/newsletters, what’s the feedback / comments, can you place the piece editorially?

As with all digital marketing campaigns, it’s important to test, evaluate, improve and evolve.  Remember to take a long-term view that’s measured against specific goals and objectives as this always delivers the best results.

If you’re looking for a reliable digital agency in Chester that uses modern content marketing strategies, contact us and let us show you what we can do.

BLOGGERS: A BRAND’S BEST FRIEND?

Despite their increasing presence in the modern media landscape, the subject of working with bloggers will still make many business executives cringe. To several, the “blogosphere” remains a rather nebulous and untrustworthy concept which can be a little hard to grasp.

However, what initially began in 1999 as a fairly insignificant space for individuals to document their online diary has radically transformed into a bona fide digital platform and essential PR tool. The influencer landscape has a crucial impact on today’s consumers and can carry a lot of weight in terms of managing a brand’s reputation online.

Here’s why…

Blogging is everywhere

With two in every three people now reading blogs on a weekly basis, blogging has transformed from a hobby into a legitimate career choice. Studies have revealed that 23% of current total Internet usage time is devoted to social networks or blogs. With consumers spending so much time in this sphere, brands are well advised to have a presence.

Blogging affects SEO

Even if you’re only well-versed with the very basics of search engine optimisation, you’ll be aware that generating links back to your website can be enormously beneficial in terms of boosting Google rankings. Once a relevant blogger has written about your brand or services and included a link directly to your website, not only will Google recognise it as a sign of page authority but visitors to that particular blog will also be presented with a direct call to action to visit your website.

Bloggers have an influence

As bloggers give such an honest insight into their daily lives, their readers relate to what they write on a much more personal level and are therefore more likely to mimic their behaviour. In an increasingly technological world, people are turning to the internet for ‘word of mouth’ opinions as opposed to their friends and family, and that is precisely the role the blogosphere is currently playing.

As an agency, we always err on the side of caution when it comes to blogger partnerships, as there are many things which need careful consideration. Firstly, choosing a blogger that closely matches your brand ethos is essential as you’ll want to ensure the message is reaching the right audience. Secondly, ensure that you’ve done a thorough background check on your blogger’s stats. Simple sites like Coveragebot will enable you to check their domain authority and will also give you an indication of their monthly online readership. Lastly, check their social channels to ensure that their engagement rate is consistently high, not just for high following figures.

Ultimately the message is clear: if you proceed with careful consideration and choose your partnership wisely, a blog partnership can be enormously beneficial to the awareness and reputation of a brand.

Connectivity: What’s The Cost to Rural Businesses?

Tap. Click. Check-In. Tag. Review. The issue of whether businesses should or should not have an online presence is no longer a debate: today it is a must. But just how much can the issue of rural connectivity affect us?

We’re incredibly lucky here at Source – we enjoy a quaint rural village location, but within easy access of cities and commuter routes to visit clients all around the country. Poor 4G signal and dodgy internet isn’t something we particularly suffer from (touch wood), but this is certainly not the case for many other rural businesses.

The issue of poor connectivity goes further than just the frustration to business owners as they run their operations, it also affects customers, guests and clients. These effects are twofold – firstly, in this day and age, it is a fact that visiting customers expect good levels of connectivity as standard. Even those who come to stay with rural hospitality businesses to ‘get away from it all’ to leave the beeps of incoming texts and void of social media behind for a while and get back to nature, still expect some level of coverage just in case they want to reconnect with the outside world – they want the option.

Social Media requirements

Secondly, online social media presence is a great asset to any rural business. When guests are staying or customers use your services, they have the ability to help build your brand with a like, positive review or comment. Whilst customers are enjoying themselves in the moment, they’re most likely to check-in to let their followers know what they’re up to or upload an Instagram story showcasing your business to a whole new audience.

Allowing guests to connect with your business and express themselves in real time is invaluable – although many can create a positive review and upload photos when they’re back home, opportunities could be missed as this task slips down customers’ to-do lists when ‘real life’ settles back in.

The cost of poor connectivity can have a huge impact on rural businesses – so let’s hope the issue becomes a higher Government priority!

 

 

 

Modern Communications and Word of Mouth

A short while ago, news reached the UK that blood donors in Sweden receive a text message when their blood has been used to save someone’s life. For so many reasons, this is an excellently admirable scheme – those who are kind enough to give up their time to donate blood should be applauded, and communication to let them know that they’ve saved a life right there and then is the perfect way to let the magnitude of their kindness really hit home.

 

Whenever anyone’s using modern communications in new ways, our ears are always pricked – and with this innovative use of mobile communication, we started to think: could an initiative aimed to give back to the public, actually end up driving business goals?

 

Communication between businesses and their customers is the key topic here. By keeping customers, in this case the donors, updated throughout the entire blood journey they’ll feel more connected to the entire process. So whether you’re collecting donations or selling goods and services, keeping your customers linked and connected to the journey will only ever make them feel more valued.

 

Then you’ve got to look further down the line. If you receive a message saying that your blood has just saved another human being’s life, that’s hardly something you’re going to keep to yourself. When you get that incredibly unusual and special message, the natural reaction is to share it. Using modern communication tools sparks the unstoppable chain that is word of mouth – suddenly, a whole new group of people are aware of the service and its cause, and they can then go on to tell their work colleagues the next day about this unbelievable message their friend received.

 

By crafting the right words and sending them the right way, modern communication tools and old fashioned word of mouth work hand in hand to build and drive a brand’s message. It doesn’t matter what your goal is, by creating a unique and engaging story to communicate to your customers, you’ve started a campaign of brand awareness that has an infinite finish line.

My Time At The Source – What To Expect From Your Work Experience

During my first year of sixth form, it was expected that as a student you would find a week of work experience during the summer term. Initially, I was terrified at the mere thought of spending an entire week in such an alien environment, with complete strangers. Being a typical teenage boy, I had no idea what I wanted to do, let alone where or with whom.

After much thought, I came to the conclusion that to compliment my A-levels: English Language, Fine Art and History, I may want to consider a career in PR or marketing. Not to mention my natural fascination with social media – being a millennial and all.

So I began scouring the internet for an agency near to home that had an interesting mix of local and national clients, and came upon Source PR. The sleek and contemporary aesthetic of their website piqued my interest, and from looking at their clients, I was very impressed. I contacted Source and felt welcomed by their enthusiastic response for work experience.

On arrival, I was made to feel right at home, with everyone at Source being extremely friendly. More importantly, I was made to feel useful, and quickly set about different tasks that were carefully explained to me by the team. One fear I had about work experience was that I would spend my hours making cups of tea or watching someone else do their job. It was a relief that my time at The Source was as engaging and exciting as it was.

I juggled: blogs, media releases, and social media. All tasks were equally valuable, and from going into the week with little to no idea of the inner workings of a PR company, I have ended the week with a new understanding of just how important PR is. Everything today is about reputation and I now know how dependent companies are on PR to help shape their image. Working here I have developed my critical thinking as every tweet or blog is written with perception in mind. How will the client, their customers, and even potential customers perceive the discourse? What effect will this perception have on the company? This idea extends to even the most minute and seemingly insignificant forms of text. Each client has their own tone and representation that they seek to create.

Over the week, I got used to the office environment and felt like a member of the team. Source employees happily answered any questions I had. I would encourage anyone partaking in work experience to be outgoing and to ask lots of questions, as it will make your week much more valuable. Speaking as someone who usually keeps his questions to himself, it is well worth trying to pipe up every now and again… even if it is just from 9-5 each day.  I best thing was that I was even made comfortable putting forward some of my own ideas and opinions – most notably when suggesting campaign ideas or proofreading texts.

The level of feedback I had during my week was exceptional. I was well commended for anything that I did right and constructively steered in the right direction for everything that I perhaps didn’t do as well in. I gladly have taken any feedback into account and encourage anyone to do the same as it will help to further your skills and knowledge – no one expects you to be perfect!

Overall, I had a great time working at Source. Each day was made fresh and interesting and the relaxing environment of the office made me interested in a potential career in PR in the future. “PR not ER” was bounced around a few times and honestly, I think it perfectly captures what my time was like at Source. I thoroughly enjoyed myself and am thankful to Louis and the team for granting me the opportunity.

P.S I’d like to expend a special ‘thank you’ to Evie who was fantastic and really helped me during the week.

 

Alex is a 6th form student at West Kirby Grammar School

The Remarkable Evolution of Instagram

Since its inception in 2010, Instagram has been quietly picking up traction thanks to its attractive scroll of infinite new content – not to mention the rapidly improving photo quality on iPhones. From carefully staged selfies to artistically arranged flat lays, the platform has quickly established itself as the top social platform for engagement. Read more

‘The Source’ of 2017’s Success

The Christmas and New Year break was over before we knew it, and now 2018 is in full swing. To beat the ‘January Blues’, here at The Source we’re keeping positive by reminiscing about the finest moments of last year. 2017 was filled with incredible cultural moments, from that ‘oops’ moment at the Oscars (how will we ever forget the Moonlight and La La Land mix up?!) to the recent royal engagement, but away from all the crazy going-ons of the outside world, nestled in the quaint village of Tattenhall, we had quite the year ourselves. From team expansions, to new clients, awards and of course, a rebrand! In case you missed any of our highlights from the past year, we thought we’d share them with you here.

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Client Awards: TIMco Wins Big at NBG Awards

One of our longest standing clients, TIMco have had an incredibly successful awards season so far scooping not one or even two, but three award wins at the NBG Awards 14thNovember at a Gala Dinner in the Exhibition Centre, Liverpool.

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Emojis – More Than Meets The 👁

The task of connecting with the Millenial market is getting harder and harder as young people become savvier about brand messages and stunts. But their love of emojis is showing no sign of slowing down – but proceed with caution: as the symbols have grown in variety, so have their meanings… Read more

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