How to nail the UX on your website

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Today we’ll dive into the impact of User Experience (UX) when implementing a slick, trending design to increase user retention.

Why is this important? Well, think about the marketing funnel. We've been providing tips to get potential users to you and your product, but if the UX ain't slick, the customers won't stick!

So, first things first:

What is UX?

You probably already know that UX stands for “user experience”. It is everything that happens to your users when they interact with your business or organisation via your website, application or online comms. It includes everything they see, hear and do, as well as their emotional reactions.

UX involves approaching the design of a website with your target audience firmly in mind. The finished product should be tailored to them and lead to more interactions and a lower bounce rate.

So, how important is it?

To put it simply: massively. UX is important because it tries to fulfil the user’s needs by providing positive experiences that keep them loyal to the product or brand. Additionally, a meaningful UX allows you to define customer journeys on your website or applications that are crucial for transactions.

If you’re not thinking about your user, then why are you creating the website or application? If you want to generate more business, this will depend on decisions made by your target audience, so knowing who will be using the site and designing it to suit their needs will reflect well on your company.

Neglecting UX can result in a sloppy website that people will not come back to, so developing an interaction-rich experience will drive users back to you.

What you can do to get it right

UX design can convert visitors into clients. Here are a few steps you can take to get it right when designing your website:

  • Interview your customers: UX is driven by how your customers use your website, so the best way to start is to reach out to potential customers and interview them. What do they wish to see on your website? What do they consider as great UX? Which websites do they like the most?

  • Watch your competitors: It is important to research what your competitors are doing. Check out their website, see which features work well and which ones can be improved or avoided.

  • Be clear and simple: Make it easy for users to find what they are looking for on your website. The clearer you are the better UX your website will provide.

  • Get feedback: Once you get your website done, go back to those initial customers you interviewed and get their feedback. Listen to what they have to say and work from that to improve the UX even more.

  • Watch someone use your website or product: With no guidance, what do they do? Are there any barriers or misconceptions you didn't spot? Record someone using your website as a test, and then LEARN.

  • Test & Learn. Refresh. Repeat.

If you do everything right there is a long list of benefits from lowering your support costs, to increasing your customer retention and market shares. Now get to work!

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* This post was originally published in our newsletter The Communications Workshop. Sign up to get more free tips on communications and marketing here!

Instagram: Five top tips

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Since it was created in 2010, Instagram has turned into a powerful tool when it comes to PR and Comms. It is used by companies to promote their products and has introduced a whole new way of selling through influencers and their millions of followers. From humble beginnings, the app is now close to one billion global users - their own Instagram account has 257M followers!

We’ve compiled a few tips to get your Instagram game on. If you are an Insta aficionado, this post will add a beautiful string to your bow. If you are an Insta avoider, it’s time to change your attitude and realise all the potential that this social media platform has to offer.

1. Follow sprees - yes, please!

The follower and following lists for every profile are viewable if you click on them. People will be looking at the list of followers on popular accounts and will follow them. Make sure that the account they follow is yours! A great way to kick off your page is to let your friends know what your @ is and to also follow popular accounts. Recently, Instagram has made this incredibly easy for you too, as ‘suggested’ accounts now pop up after a new account is followed. Tap, tap, tap.

Follow selectively on your spree and always be mindful that the list of who you follow is public too. Not only are your followers notified in real time by the ‘activity’ section of the app, the number of accounts - and who they are - is embedded at the top of your profile.

2. Ratio(h no!)

The follower to following ratio of the account @Instagram is 257M:216. Dreamy. But if you didn’t create one of the most popular platforms in the world your numbers will look quite different.

Nevertheless, it is very important that you have a good ratio. A follow spree in your early days is fine and gets the ball rolling, but once you’re underway, do not hesitate to have a spring clean of your following list. It screams “spam” if you’re following 3,000 accounts but have 22 followers.

You can follow 3,000 accounts if you like, but do it on an account known as a burner. Have a public and professional profile with a clear-cut ratio and have a private one for all of your following desires.

3. Show it off or shut it away

There’s really no point in having your profile private if you are trying to build a following. As before, it is perfectly acceptable to have two accounts (one public and one private), and you should not see this negatively.

Having multiple accounts is becoming the norm, and it does not necessarily mean that you will spend double the time on the app. See it instead as intelligently streamlining your user experience (UX).

4. Meme me

Memes are a perfect antidote to the turbulent times that we are living in. They reflect popular culture and use genre conventions to create humour. If you haven’t caught the news recently, or gone out of your way to see the current viral videos, meme accounts accumulate the masses and condense it neatly for your consumption. Staying up to date with popular culture is essential to working in PR & Comms, and if you can do it with a smile, that’s even better. But, use with care, as apparently they are bad for our health.

It is interesting to note here that memes act as a catalyst to blurring conventions and genres between social media apps. For example, a huge proportion of Instagram meme accounts are simply screenshots from Twitter. Most of the time, those running the account will make no attempt to hide this.

5. Art is the literacy of the heart

Our final tip is to follow some obscure artists on Instagram. Just as a laugh a day is essential, there are millions of art galleries in your phone waiting for you to walk down their pixel-dripped halls and get your daily dose of beautiful artwork. In Comms, it’s essential to be reactively creative. This isn’t an overnight process, it’s a way of thinking that needs to be harnessed when it arises and embedded in your subconscious. Keeping your creative juices flowing by following creative Instagram accounts is key. Instagram is a perfect platform for the artistically inclined. Indeed, it is why it was originally created. Here are four accounts to follow to get you started: MeLoveMeALot, indg0, MLMA_Art and Love.Watts.

You do not have to just follow and begrudgingly ‘like’ the Instagram posts of your friends. Explore! Exploit the ‘suggested’ accounts feature, check who has commented on posts that you like… open Pandora’s Box for your Instagram experience.

Dive into the accounts of some new artists today - your eyes will thank you.

BY JAMIE GRIFFIN, JUNIOR AT CEW COMMS.

How to make easy PR wins

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When you are an early-stage startup your main priority should be investing in developing your product. This means that, for a while, you won’t have the necessary funds to hire internal or external PR support.

But until then, there are a few things you can start doing on your own to help your company get the attention of the media!

1. Work on your message

The first thing to do when you don’t have an experienced PR professional to advise you on a regular basis is to define the message you want to convey to the public. What do you want your company to be known for? How does your product stand out in the market? Who is the audience you are hoping to attract?

Once you have all of this information, write it down in the most objective way you can --think of it as explaining what you do to a 10-year-old, no complication, no fuss, direct to the point. When you have an initial draft ready, send it to friends and family who are not familiar with what you do to get feedback if the message is clear enough.

2. Find your journalist soulmate

When you have your message ready it’s time to create your personalised media list so you have people to send your information to. Remember to focus on the journalist and not on your product. You should look for media professionals that cover stories and topics that are relevant to your industry. You do that by staying up-to-date with the news in your sector and by researching the publications that publish those stories.

There are a few tools online that can help you find the contact information for journalists, like Anewstip, Hunter, Pressfarm, Hey Press, and Muck Rack --some of these tools are paid, but you can try to request a free demo.

Once you get the contacts, write a killer pitch and send it their way (you can learn how to pitch to journalists in one of our previous newsletters).

Make sure the email is publicly available, and add a line to your email explaining where you found them online - get ready for GDPR people!

3. Stay alert to what journalists are on the hunt for

If you’re on Twitter, just search for the popular hashtags #journorequest or #prrequest and see what journalists are currently writing about. You can then reach out directly to them to pitch yourself or your company to the article they are working on.

Another thing you can do is to sign up for media enquiry services, like Response Source or Help A Reporter Out. These services will provide you with regular requests from journalists who are looking for experts to be featured in their articles.

Remember to create a file with the contact information of all journalists you are in contact with - this will be helpful when you have an important announcement later.

4. Position yourself as the expert you are!

Ask not what the media can do for you, ask what you can do for the media. So don’t just sit around waiting for journalists to contact you. Follow them on Twitter and provide relevant comment and insight on pieces they’ve published.

This can be done by retweeting their posts with a quick message attached to it or messaging them directly. If you do opt for messaging them, don’t overdo it, you don’t want to come across as a desperate stalker.

Also make sure your Twitter profile is sleek, with a professional photo, updated bio and link to your company’s website.

5. Make it easy for journalists to find you

You don’t have to give your personal mobile number and be available 24 hours a day, but it helps a lot to have an email in which you can be easily contacted.

Don’t forget to have all contact information clearly stated in your company’s website and in a place that it’s easy to find - ideally leave it in the footer or header of the website, visible in all of your pages.

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* This post was originally published in our newsletter The Communications Workshop. Sign up to get more free tips on communications and marketing here!

Twitter: 5 top tips

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As with all social media channels, enthusiasm can be zapped at any point and the account can be left dormant or rarely used. Your profiles are your shop windows to the outside world, you do not want to leave them dusty, dirty, bird poo splattered or graffiti covered. It’s completely fine to have blips in activity, but try not to leave it too long and get back on the horse (or blue bird) pronto.

The trick is to have some quick-fire tactics to get your creative juices flowing and to leave your audience hungry for more. These tips will spice up your tweet life.

Could your Twitter do with some TLC? Perhaps a little scrub up? We know just the article to get you tweeting terrifically!

Share positive press coverage

If you have received great news, shout it from the rooftops! There is no better place for this than Twitter. When sharing press coverage, it’s always a good idea to add a comment about the piece. This can be a direct quote or a thought-provoking question to entice a reply from another user.

When sharing news articles, be sure to tag (@) the publication and, if possible, the journalist. This can help to get the article seen and you can be sure that the journalist will appreciate the virtual high-five, too. In this way, you can build a rapport with journalists and the little hits of dopamine from the notifications they receive will cause them to remember and favour you.

Engage in conversation

Hey! How are you? Thanks for reading this blog post.

A simple query about wellness is an easy interaction to make, but try to think a bit more outside of the box. There is no point in replying to the news posts of giant media outlets, they will not respond to you and you are more likely to encounter trolls. Set your sights on influencers in your sector and take them to town with your knowledge of their area. They will be impressed, engage in conversation with, and follow you. This is also an easy way to get free promo as when they reply your conversation is displayed as a chain on the timeline of their followers. Cha-ching.

Be approachable

Relax. Take it easy. Nobody likes someone who is uptight and serious all the time. You should lay out a tone of voice document for your account if you haven’t done so already but definitely do not lean to the super serious end.

Twitter content is jovial, it’s barbaric, it’s hilarious and it’s banal. It’s everything, because it mirrors the crazy world that we live in. Your content should be diverse too, otherwise against the plethora of content on Twitter, you fade into the background. People are more likely to follow and engage with you if you are upbeat and approachable. Cheer up, Chuck!

Keep your strategy in mind

In the mighty Twitters own words: “It’s important to have a clear roadmap while keeping a finger on the pulse on Twitter’s fast-moving trends.”

There’s not a huge amount to say here, as your strategy is like your fingerprint - unique to you. If you have a strategy, stick to it. If it doesn’t work, change it. Social media is transient and you do not need to follow one rule forever... switch it up! You want to wear those patterned trousers this weekend? You go for it. Walk the walk and talk the talk! Be your own biggest fan and that’ll convince others of your greatness too. I can see those new follower notifications rolling into your phone from here.

#Don’t #overdo #the #hashtags

Hashtags are great but overdoing them exposes you as a social media rookie. Sprinkle them delicately on your tweet, a bit like Salt Bae. One to two (three if you’re feeling daring) on each tweet is enough.

Think creatively about them, too. There’s scope for them to be a humour tool (a la The Circle) or to become a viral trend. Be sure to search them before they are used, to make sure that there is an audience for that # and that you can piggyback onto it.

Good luck!

BY JAMIE GRIFFIN, JUNIOR AT CEW COMMS.

How communications work in the tech industry

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In the tech industry, communication is vital in making your business stand out. It’s all about building relationships to advance, promote, and benefit the reputation of you and your company. At its core, communication revolves around this universal fact: people act based on their perception of news and facts. By managing, controlling, or influencing people's perceptions, you can be one step closer to success.

We’ve compiled a quick cheat list with some fundamentals of how PR and Comms work in the tech industry, including some savvy advice we give to our clients --we offer a range of tailored packages for startups and companies in the tech ecosystem to help them meet their objectives.

So, without further ado, let’s get started!

Be active

Start by having a social presence. Establish a profile on relevant networks like Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn. This gives you and your startup an authentic voice and shows the people behind the brand. It also gives you an additional outlet to share your latest updates, progress and provides another point of contact for customers, prospects and influencers. It’s key to maintain consistent updates and engagement – it’s not enough to just have a profile and be silent.

Create unique content. The best way to attract users is by using your content to creatively inform them about your company. It must be appealing, unique, original and diverse (e.g., text, video, images, quizzes, gifs).

Experiment

The great thing about the tech industry is it’s constantly on the move – there’s never a dull moment, and the spontaneous nature of trends creates interesting marketing opportunities. Constant change means there’s always a new story to get on the news. Capitalise on this!

If you would like to know more about how to utilise your social media, check out our previous newsletters - A no bull💩 guide to social media (part 1 & part 2).

Establish relationships with the media

You want to be able to capture a journalist’s attention. To achieve this, know that tech reporters want to write about exciting companies that are doing new and different things. They often receive hundreds of pitches every day and are looking for the ones that stand out. They want nicely packaged stories with relevant metrics, case study examples or other interesting information that will make their job much easier and significantly boost the chance of being picked up.

So make a list of journalists you would like to target. These journalists will be related to your industry and will be a great target to build media relationships with. If you already know who you would like to target, but aren’t sure how to go about it, check out our previous edition of this newsletter on pitching to journalists.

Don’t be promotional

When pitching journalists don’t be too self-serving. Offer interesting data, tips, insights on trends and other industry information that editors will deem as interesting and useful to their readers. Quality content is more likely to grab the attention of both reporters and readers, and garner attention for the company at the same time.

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* This post was originally published in our newsletter The Communications Workshop. Sign up to get more free tips on communications and marketing here!

The dark arts of stunt PR

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Do you remember when Stormtroopers marched across London to promote the release of “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story”? Or when Deliveroo installed a 6-metre wide wall of free burgers in Shoreditch to celebrate their 10-millionth burger delivery in the UK?

These were all successful PR stunts aimed to raise awareness of as many people as possible to a cause or product. These stunts were successful because they combined three key factors: they were bold, memorable, and got high levels of engagement from the public.

If you’re feeling adventurous, why not try a stunt to get people noticing your brand? But, first, let’s start with the basics:

What is stunt PR?

Stunt PR, also known as a publicity stunt or sometimes even a gorilla campaign, is a planned stunt designed to attract as much of the public's attention to the organizers or their cause. Publicity stunts have a long history with being disruptive, but it’s a great tactic for building brand awareness --think of it as the ancient version of viral videos. When done right, they can help your business grow exponentially.

How can stunt PR succeed?

In the PR and comms industry, stunts are not uncommon. But for your stunt to succeed, it will need to be entertaining and engaging, while also having a coherent narrative that integrates well with your overall marketing message. There’s no point in doing a stunt if it’s not relatable or isn’t easily referred back to you.

Most stunts work better when they have a picture or video element associated with them –and if that’s the case you need to resist the temptation to use corporate branding and logos. Credit the audience and media with some intelligence and respect. Great campaigns prompt people to learn more; they will want to know ‘who did this and why?’

Remember Carlsberg’s 'best poster in the world'? Using a slogan is a great example of an effective PR stunt. In 2015, the beer brand unveiled the ‘best poster in the world’ in London’s Brick Lane –a billboard that dispensed free beer. It was an incredibly simple concept, but perfectly on-brand. Unsurprisingly, the stunt generated a lot of interest on social, with #probablythebest generating over 3M Twitter impressions in just one day.

How can stunt PR fail?

A common way for a PR stunt to fail is if no one gets it. When Oprah was still hosting her TV show she attempted to pull a major PR stunt to help promote the Pontiac G6. The talk show host gave away one of the cars to everyone in the audience and said “Pontiac G6” over and over again, but today, hardly anyone remembers what type of car she gave away, they only remember her famous statement “You get a car! You get a car! You get a car!”

If the public remembers the stunt but doesn’t understand what you’re promoting, then the stunt isn’t worth it. When you pull a stunt, make sure that the thing or company you are promoting is unmistakably associated with the stunt.

How can stunt PR help your company?

PR in any form is a good way of boosting your company’s social reach and helping you gain more customers. Best of all, it brings about a public awareness on a large scale in a short amount of time.

Fairly unknown/new startups can greatly benefit from stunt PR, not only because you have more room to experiment with your marketing and carry less risk compared to much larger brands, but because the result can bring massive brand awareness to your product or service and drive impressive growth figures.

Are PR stunts pricey?

Sure, they can be. The examples above are from relatively large brands with big marketing budgets. But that doesn’t mean you can’t come up with some remarkable publicity on a low budget. Remember the good old flash mob? That just took a couple hundred willing participants and a video camera.

Also, social media is a great tool and is a free way of pulling stunts without the high costs of high-end publicity stunts. Utilise the community and followers you’ve built to create a social buzz.

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* This post was originally published in our newsletter The Communications Workshop. Sign up to get more free tips on communications and marketing here!

What to expect when working with PR agencies

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Being a startup founder is endlessly busy work. A small team building a household name from the ground up can seem a daunting prospect. But with a PR agency on board, your fantastic idea can be catapulted into the Goliath you know it can be. It takes a career lifetime to build the knowledge of the PR landscape and the contacts that PR agencies have, but, for you, that expertise and contacts list is unlocked as soon as collaboration begins.

Working with a PR agency is a bit like having a pocket rocket marketing partner. They are always there, operating in the background. Then, when you need that real push, PR agencies blast into action and make it happen. PR, Events, Social Media, Influencer Engagement, Speaking and Consulting are the bread and butter of agencies. These areas are hugely important when growing a business, as they are often the first things that an audience will see of a company. To take just one example: you can be sure that if your social media accounts look unloved and unkempt then a prospective customer will be put off from buying your product. If these key areas are not your forte, it makes perfect sense to take the weight off your shoulders and dedicate your time to growing other areas of your business, leaving the PR and Communications to the experts. There are many agencies, ready to use their long-established connections and well-honed skills to solidify your brand in the 21st century.

What to expect

As with every partnership, one must expect a certain amount of bad with the good. The understanding of a sector and generation of visible, quantifiable results can be difficult to grasp at first. Although it’s possible to transform your business into an overnight success story, PR agencies cannot guarantee it will happen quickly. But you can be assured all PR muscles will be flexed to make it happen as soon and efficiently as possible. When you’re a startup starting from zero, it’s about gaining momentum over time.

Having regular and open dialogue is essential. PR agencies will fire ideas at you and the quicker your response is received, the quicker PR agencies can get on with implementing those ideas. In the world of social media, news stories fade into the cyber abyss very quickly. So, if say a PR agency secured you an interview with a high-profile publication, it would be essential to reciprocate enthusiasm right away, so the agency can strike whilst the iron is hot. Any foot-dragging could mean missing out on opportunities.

In this way, your success is also the agency’s success. Regular catch-ups are an excellent way to track and measure performance. Setting clear goals initially is key to the work that PR agencies do. The more that they know about you and your business, the more efficient adopting your house style becomes and the quicker work can get started.

How to work effectively together

Working together is a key aspect of a PR agency and client relationship, it is important to do this at an optimal level. You can trust the agency to be doing the job that was agreed upon and you will be notified on progress toward the agreed goals in reporting.

But a great agency will also give you the strategic input and insight to feedback on the ideas you may have - and this is where you need to be open to receiving friendly criticism and open to sharing a lot of information on what is happening in your company. Visibility is key for PR to success. A strong partner wants to ensure you look great at the right time, to the best audience, across multiple channels - agencies come with lots of experience, so take onboard the feedback and suggestions they provide.

Dealing with rejection is a huge part of PR, so it is important to recognise this and not be disheartened. A story could take months of preparation but then eventually not run at all. This might be because of various reasons, from a change of plans from the editorial board to having to compete with breaking news. However, you can be certain that if the PR agency can see how your product could fit into a media conversation, then it will know who would be interested in it - and can get that pitch onto their desk.

Bill Gates recognised the value of PR - and he made a pretty good success of his business. One of his famous quotes is exactly about his approach towards this type of work: “If I was down to my last dollar, I would spend it on Public Relations.”

So what are you waiting for...?

BY JAMIE GRIFFIN, JUNIOR AT CEW COMMS.

How to use influencers

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When you’re a startup you have to think of creative ways to promote your brand and social media is a great tool for this. Building a following can be challenging, but using the influence of others can bring a boost to your channels!

Influencers are people who have power over an audience, who listen to what they have to say --usually on social media.

Getting an influencer to endorse a product usually costs money, but influencers come in all shapes, sizes and follower numbers.

Today, we'll take you through a few ways to connect with them to build a relationship and get more followers from engagement. If people see that someone of power or influence has endorsed you for whatever you’re doing, chances are they’re more likely to follow you. But before you know how to use influencers, you need to know who to pick.

1. Identify

First figure out which influencers are relevant to you, and not the ones that you like the most or who have the biggest following (although this can help). If your business focuses on travel, then influencers relevant to you might be senior social media managers at Airbnb, Tripadvisor, Expedia or other similar travel agencies. Remember to focus. You might enjoy looking at Ed Sheeran’s Instagram but targeting him as an influencer for your business might be completely irrelevant.

Just as you would research journalists who can write about you, research influencers who should know you.

2. Organise

Create a list and think what you want from your targeted influencers and what you can give that will interest them. It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking on your own terms but it's important to always be empathetic. Think first what value you can provide, then dive in. Additionally, organise your profile, make it look slick and make it stand out from other accounts. You want your branding to be memorable, but not annoying or invasive.

Your research will help you to decide what the best approach may be to engage with this person.

3. Engage

It’s now time for contact. The two main ways to do this are through the main social media channels and email. DM them, ask them questions, flatter them, express gratitude, and whatever you do, always provide something of interest. Tell your story where possible (but don't send swathes of text!) and highlight where your two brands run complimentary. Show them the opportunity.

Do this by researching what their interests are beforehand and then making the effort to send content that is personalised to them. For example, if you work in the sleep tech space and want to engage Arianna Huffington, which tweet is likely to stimulate a response?

“Thank you so much @ariannahuff for all your research on the importance of sleep, it helped my business so much”

Or

“Love your work on sleep @ariannahuff, what are your thoughts on smart beds and sleep tracking technology? Are they worth the cost?”

The difference doesn’t seem great, but it is. For the first tweet, you have somewhat mentioned the influencer’s interest but the second tweet is much more inviting for a response. Not only are you asking a question, but you’ve taken the time to understand the space this influencer is in and provided a more personalised tweet, increasing the incentive for a reply. This is the mindset you need to maximise engagement.

4. Build a relationship

Remember the 3Rs. Relationships are built through Rapport and the Right intentions. It would be unwise to engage an influencer just once. By developing a relationship you can exchange value in the longer term.

You do this by staying in contact and providing the other person with something that is valuable to them, which could be anything ranging from a certain service to a funny message exchange on Twitter. This is the process of building rapport and will help strengthen the relationship.

5. Measure your results

It’s great to engage influencers and foster mutually beneficial relationships, but this needs to have an impact on your business. So, if you do get engagement from an influencer, look at the statistics. If sales are going up, ask yourself: is this due to the influencer or some other correlation? The point is, always be savvy and results-driven. If it works, invest!

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* This post was originally published in our newsletter The Communications Workshop. Sign up to get more free tips on communications and marketing here!

Setting and sticking to goals

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Setting goals is easy, but how good are you with sticking to them and actually achieving the milestones you set?

We came up with a little list to make sure you’re on top of everything you set to achieve!

Define a target
Let’s get started! What do you want to achieve? Write it down. It might sound silly, but once you can visualize what your end goal is, it will become clearer and easier for you to establish a plan of action.

Be realistic
When we start we feel like anything is possible and end up setting ambitious goals that might be a bit hard to achieve as the months go by.

The secret here is to be pragmatic when deciding what you want to achieve. Use 13-week cycles to set important milestones for achieving your big goal, and don’t set too many! For example, if your ultimate goal for the end of the year is to achieve £200K in revenue, you can set yourself to achieve one quarter of this amount in 13 weeks. The actions you put in place for this could be to work on your marketing strategy, revise your pricing, and develop relationships with current and future clients.

Three clear quarterly objectives that help get you to your end of year achievement would be perfect!

One way to organize your goals is by setting them as S.M.A.R.T. 
Specific
Measurable
Achievable
Relevant
Time-bound

Making objectives easier to meet will give you a boost of confidence and energy when you get them done, motivating you to keep moving forward. You can always revise them as the year progresses.

Create a plan of action
Once you have clearly outlined what you want to achieve it is time to create a plan to get this done. Try writing down three actions you think will contribute to you achieving each milestone and do everything you can to stick to it. TIP: Look at these regularly to remind yourself to keep doing them!

Get organised!
The best way of keeping everything in check is to get yourself organised. There are a ton of apps you can download to help you with that --Evernote, Wunderlist and Trello are just a few of them. If you want to try something analogue, why not try a bullet journal?

These are also good ways to track your progress and keep you motivated. It doesn’t matter how you do it, as long as you get it done!

Start the work!
Now that you have realistic goals, an action plan and are on top of everything, just go get what you want! Remember: don’t be too hard on yourself and be open to change. When something is not working, make adjustments. Go over your strategies to improve your results and do not be afraid of trying new approaches.


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* This post was originally published in our newsletter The Communications Workshop. Sign up to get more free tips on communications and marketing here!

Different ways to think about growth: a creative approach

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You may have seen the furore over recent comments by Kendall Jenner about her hot-wiring of the fashion industry through her elite family connections. But, unless you are an affiliate of the Jenner - Kardashian ilk, there’s no real sure-fire way to become an overnight social media star. Their friends may stick to them in photos hoping for that much-coveted tag, drawing millions to their profiles, but it’s unlikely doing this with your friends in a picture holding happy hour cocktails is going to yield the same volume of traffic to your Instagram. So we have to think a bit differently when it comes to generating growth in our personal and work profiles. Building your personal brand and spinning the ordinary are two of the approaches you can take on.

Building your brand

Building a profitable personal brand online takes time and careful cultivation. Being generous with likes and follows will help you to get noticed, but once the fish has bitten, you need to reel it in and keep it in the net. Your content must be polished, grammatically correct and engaging or no one will follow you. Don't aim for perfection early on. Instead allow your brand to evolve naturally over time and concentrate on providing massive value and focus on over-delivering to your target audience. It’s perfectly fine to emulate other profiles that look how you want yours to, but be sure to put your own distinctive spin on them. This will clarify your message and crystallise your brand in the process. Think of your profiles as a person that you are creating: they need a personality, a face and a voice. It’s up to you to decide what those are.

Spin the ordinary

Trends come from everywhere and can be reworked, reinvented and repackaged. What starts off as an absurd idea is soon absorbed into the ordinary, especially in popular fashion, just take a look at Vetements clothing. For example, Vetements spun an ordinary DHL workmans t-shirt into the must-have item of 2016. They did this by taking a recognised item that would not have been looked at twice in the fashion world, and put it on the catwalk. This idea was so bizarre, that it transcended boundaries and made run-of-the-mill into high-end. Notwithstanding the huge impact this had on how one views high fashion, it enabled Vetements to charge 41 times more for the item than DHL did. 

But in PR and Comms, this is where you can go viral, generating huge sales and returns from relatively little effort. What is an area of your business that you could turn upside down in a way that would get people talking, and tell their friends about it too?

Thinking differently and conveying a message that resonates with people will cause them to attribute positive feelings to your brand, which should result in them spending their money, or time, with you.

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That is some following to follower ratio! The main KFC Twitter account is incredibly selective with the accounts that it follows. The selection is reflective of their ‘secret’ recipe which includes a mystical variation of herbs and spices. For this reason, KFC follows the Spice Girls and six guys named Herb. This is a quirky and fun use of the conventions of social media, which generates traction to the page, conversation and furthers brand awareness.

So what are the ways that you can use this concept to see growth in your personal or work business?

Is it the 31st of July, or is it Avocado Day? The unofficial world calendar is teeming with dates that can be exploited for a wealth of social media opportunities. Take Avocado Day… if you are, for example, a car insurance company, you could create a campaign around the phrase:

“Happy #NationalAvocadoDay! We do smashing deals on #car #insurance… but it’s essential that you avo-ca-do” 

It is important to clarify, here, that if you do decide to use a “national day”, to make sure that you are doing it for good reason. That being, that there is a clear connection to your business and to consider a good will initiative of some form. Not everything has to be about monetary gain and it can build positive connotations to your brand if your genuine good nature is reciprocated in your social media output. 

If you want to drive more people to your profile, compliment those who know you. People enjoy being complimented in real life and you can guarantee that they are  well received within the online world. A further example of a date-harnessing opportunity could be to use National Coffee Ice Cream day on 6th September. 

If you are in a shared co-working space, you could set up a makeshift stand at your desks, where people have to share and tag you in a post if they want an ice cream, or (cheaper!) a coffee. This way, you’re showing a jovial nature to your company and, effectively, creating your own targeted adverts. The ice cream and coffee devourers will be followed by relevant accounts to their sectors, which are very difficult to target directly without seeming overbearing with sponsored posts. By getting onto their timeline through a mediator, who is singing your praises whilst you sing theirs, represents a ‘win’ all round for your Twitter analytics that week. 

Now, where was that stand…...? 😉

BY JAMIE GRIFFIN, JUNIOR AT CEW COMMUNICATIONS.