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Makenzie Davies Posts

Should Your Association be Blogging?

This is always one of the first topics of conversation when we meet with a potential client. It starts with “should I have a blog?” and then leads to “my main competitor has one so I feel like I need to.”

Now, usually, we smile because we are very excited about the opportunity to blog. After all, our firm specifically believes in the power of content. However, blogging can be tricky. Our response to the question typically goes something like this “what do you want to blog about?” Some leaders have thought about the “why” but others have not. Usually, we receive a response similar to “I don’t know yet but I feel like I need to have one. Everyone else has one.”

guestpost_am_111616This is where we sit up a little higher in our chairs. Blogging has become a very popular marketing tool and one, that if used properly, can bode well for a brand. On the flip side, it can actually damage your brand if you aren’t utilizing the tool in the way it’s intended to be used. Here’s what we mean:

With most marketing tools, a strategy must come first. Many of our initial conversations with curious bloggers-to-be begin with an interrogation from us on their goals. A blog is a communication tool that requires a great deal of dedication and focus. Writing takes time. Not to mention, writing is much harder than what it was five years ago. People do not want to spend more than five minutes on one article or blog post. Often times, articles even have a timestamp by the title to tell you how long it’ll take a viewer to read it. And while the demand for information is at an all-time-high, bloggers need to be aware that what you say and how you say it are quickly important to capturing an audience.

So, when we discuss whether or not a brand should have a blog, here are the things we like to ask first to validate whether it’s a good use of time and resources:

  1. What is your goal in having a blog?
  2. Name 3-5 content pillars (content topics) your blog could be focused around. Do you have enough content to keep your blog regular and consistent or should this content be reflected in, perhaps, an email newsletter?
  3. Review your 3-5 content pillars. Is your content unique and differentiated enough to your audience (members, prospective members, sponsors, partners, etc.)?
  4. Who would write your blog posts?
  5. What tone of voice would you write your blog posts in? Is that tone of voice compelling enough to sustain a lengthy period of time?
  6. How frequently will you publish blog posts? (This answer may heavily depend on your answer to Question 1).

By answering these questions, you have either set up a great skeleton-strategy to begin implementing a blog OR you have decided that blogging may not be right for your association at this time. (And that’s ok). Content is king in today’s wealthy world of internet info-gathering, however, blogging isn’t the singular solution for everyone.

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Why a Brand Must Have Social Style

Trendy. Exotic Bohemian. Preppy. Cowgirl. Punk. Artsy. Tomboy. Sporty. These are a few of the popular fashion styles we, as a society, might use today. After reading that list, I’ll bet at least one stuck out to you as a style you’ve worn before. Our mood can change our fashion style often, but overall, we gravitate toward a staple style that we are comfortable with in our daily wear.

Like fashion trends, social media has been evolving and testing new “platforms” for more than 10 years now. However, there are certain priorities that remain constant, like staple fashion pieces, and that’s a brand’s social style.

Makenzie_Davies_Image_051616If you’re unfamiliar with what social style means, here’s the short and sweet version: It’s the style of your social profiles combined with the aesthetic of the images you post.

Design elements will shape how and if people engage with your brand. People typically don’t prefer to associate with brands who don’t look the part. For example, an avid hiker is more likely to purchase his or her equipment from the brand whose social style best reflects his or her lifestyle and personality. This comes down to style of images published but also the personality behind the content, which can also reflect that overall “social brand style.”

As social media and digital marketing evolves, brands are starting to pay more attention to what their brand image looks like. Here are four tips from our corner to help a brand enhance its visual image.


Act bigger than you are. If you’re a small brand, you don’t need to call yourself out with poor design. Make sure your social media profiles have cohesive brand imagery; the cover photos and profile photos should all look like they were posted by the same “person.” It’s important to note that each social platform has different specs, so size your images appropriately. You don’t want parts of your images cut off. That’s tacky.

TIP: Pick one Instagram filter and stick to it. This brings consistency, among other considerations, to your Instagram. Take into account not only the individual photo quality, but your Instagram feed as a whole.


Use branded theme images. Do you publish quotes as part of your social strategy? If so, stick to a cohesive look when posting these quotes. That could mean incorporating your logo colors or brand fonts into the theme.  

TIP: Not a designer? That’s ok. Try Canva, a free and easy-to-use platform with template designs and formatted text, to help you get started.


Bring design to text. When people scan through their newsfeeds on their lunch break, you want to grab their attention. So do your competitors. What’s going to separate your tweet from the pack?

Add creative eye-catching symbols to your text like → My Domaine or toss in some personality with fun emojis to metaphorically make your point. You’ll get all the likes.

TIP: Do not overuse. No one likes an emoji junkie.


Add visual elements to your posts. With social platforms like Instagram, brands are more dependent on design appeal to capture the audience of each generation. When you scrolled through your personal Facebook in bed this morning, what grabbed your attention? Photos. Videos. More Photos. More videos.

Our eyes gravitate toward visual pieces and on social media that means pictures and videos. A person has an eight-second attention span and marketers have more competition today than ever before today – and it will only continue to increase. To captivate the attention you’re looking for, you need to understand the expectations of your social community. They want visuals.

 

TIP:  Add a photo or video to every post, particularly on Facebook because of the new algorithm rules. Don’t have enough pictures? Use Twenty20, one of our favorite stock photography websites that caters to the modern expectations of consumers.  


One final thought… All of these design tips will go to waste if a customer clicks from your Facebook page to your website and sees a disconnect (even if it is subconscious) in your design style. While you’re upgrading your website design, remember to make it mobile-friendly. Google changed the rules on us last year, and now all websites need to be mobile responsive to populate in a Google search.

| TIP |  Modernize it. Integrate clean lines, high-res images, call-to-actions and light yet informative content.

Like fashion, there are several styles to choose from and each of us gets to find our style identity. Brands are no different.

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