Content Development

Best Practices For Writing A Letter to the Editor

A letter to an editor is a very effective way of getting your opinion heard, but what is a letter to an editor, and what are some of the best practices for writing one and having it published?

A letter to an editor is a short letter that a member of the public sends into a publication about a concern that they have or an opinion that they want to share on a particular issue. This concern could be anything from small grievances in your community to bigger issues that involve influencing policy-makers to take action. Your letter isn’t guaranteed to be published in the publication or newspaper, but following these tips could help your voice be heard.

Facebook News Feed Changes: What Do They Mean for Small Business?

Facebook is changing the way marketers can reach and grow fans and followers. Only time will tell what changes Facebook makes to the News Feed, and which ones last. But  there are steps your business can take today to maintain your current reach - and increase Facebook engagement. 

5 Tips for Writing Blog Posts That are both SEO and People Friendly

A great way to drive traffic to your site is to consistently blog on topics that relate to your business. It’s important to follow a few guidelines so that your post is not only SEO friendly, it’s also people friendly. These five tips will help you write a better blog post that looks well-formatted and eye-catching. Your posts will be easier to read and will also be naturally SEO friendly as well.  

Portfolio Spotlight: Explainer Video for Proactive Backups

An explainer video tells your story with images so your message is easier to understand and remember. Explainer videos are an affordable and effective addition to your marketing strategy to drive traffic to your website, keep visitors on your site longer and increase sales.

Blogging v Brand Publishing: What's Right for Your Business?

What's right for your business? Blogging, content marketing and brand journalism are not mutually exclusive: in fact, they go hand-in-hand in a well-defined content strategy. Inbound marketing attracts your target audience to your website by sharing high-quality, useful information that they want to receive. 

How to Use LinkedIn to Build Your Brand

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Your LinkedIn Profile: Go Big Or Go Home

~ Forbes

Many professionals create a LinkedIn profile, and then let it sit there. Unlike many other popular social networks, LinkedIn is designed for professional and business networking. If you want your LinkedIn page to work for you, invest some time in setting up a professional LinkedIn profile to increase your visibility and invite your target audience to connect with you. Then, use your LinkedIn page to grow your brand and build relationships.

5 Tips on Using LinkedIn to Build Your Brand

 1.  Shows your Expertise

Your LinkedIn Profile is the header information on your LinkedIn page. Having the wrong LinkedIn profile sends out the wrong message. Maximize your LinkedIn branding by designing a profile that delivers your message.

  • Your profile photo is your 1st impression: LinkedIn users respond to professional, not necessarily formal, profile photos. LinkedIn is not the place for your photo holding your cute kitty: unless you're a vet. Family photos are better suited for Facebook and other social channels.
  • Complete your profile: don't leave blanks in LinkedIn's prime real estate. If you don't have something to say about yourself, you need to determine what are you trying to accomplish on LinkedIn.
  • Keywords are critical to quickly saying who you are and what you do: be descriptive, not a bragger.

tip: Choose View Profile As to see what your LinkedIn profile looks like to a connection or to the public.

2. Optimize Your LinkedIn Summary

LI Summary provides up to 2000 characters for you to customize your message. What do you want people to know about you, your brand and your services? Here are some Summary tips from LinkedIn for Business expert JoAnne Funch:

  • Start the Summary with your contact information: email and phone number
  • Include a call to action: what do you want the reader to do?
  • What problems do you solve?

3. Connect and Join

LinkedIn users evaluate you based on who you connect with.  Find people you want to build relationships with: who you want to follow and exchange ideas with.

  • Personalize your invitation to connect: do you want to be branded as a spammer? Why do you want to connect?
    • Do you share common LI groups?
    • Are you in the same industry?
    • Are you a fan of their articles?
    • Know why you're connecting. The number of your connections shows in your profile: while 500+ looks impressive, 100 good connections that build your business will be more effective than 500 strangers you don't learn from, and you spend time scrolling past.
    • Join LinkedIn groups in your industry or your target audience. Your groups show up at the bottom of your LinkedIn page.

4. Share

LinkedIn is where you can establish yourself as an SME: Subject Matter Expert:

  • Contribute high-quality articles to LinkedIn Pulse, LinkedIn's publishing platform.
  • Post on SlideShare, LinkedIn's visual platform:
    • Share Slideshare posts on LinkedIn and add relevant SlideShares to your LI profile.

5. Contribute Insightful Articles and Comments

Regularly post status updates, comment and share on your connection's updates, and contribute to group discussions. Your posts and comments influence your ranking on LinkedIn, and increase your online visibility.

  • Share your blogs, guest posts, interviews and other relevant authorships.
  • Curate industry topics and add insightful comments and post in updates or in your groups.

LinkedIn is a powerful tool to build your personal brand. Basic LinkedIn is available for free, and LinkedIn for Business has paid options to grow your business including relationship management tools and advertising. The first steps to building your brand on LinkedIn is to optimize your profile and engage with your audience.

Let's deliver mutual value and connect on LinkedIn:

Connect with Kathryn Bechthold:https://ca.linkedin.com/kathryn-bechthold

Follow Alchemy on LinkedIn: Alchemy Communications Inc.

For More Information on Optimizing Your Brandon LinkedIn Ragan.com: 5 ways to use LinkedIn for content marketing LinkedIn for Business: LinkedIn Summary: Your Prime Advertising Space

Kathryn Bechthold CEO Alchemy Communications
Kathryn Bechthold CEO Alchemy Communications

author: Kathryn Bechthold, Communications expert in Calgary, AB. Owner/CEO of Alchemy Communications Inc.

Optimize Your Branding to Increase Your Online Visibility

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If your brand is unique, your message shouldn't blend in

~ Kathryn Bechthold, CEO Alchemy Communications

For marketers it can be tricky making sure your name is out there, but you aren't appearing too spammy or salesy by plastering your logo on every available surface. PR pros and marketing experts often overlook some very simple yet strategic ways to maximize your branding for increased online visibility.

3 Simple Tips for Visual Branding

1. Watermark your Visuals

Your visuals are shared across social media - that's your goal! Imagine that clever meme you created going viral... but no one knows its your creation. Your visuals can be:

  • repinned on Pinterest
  • retweeted on Twitter
  • regrammed on Instagram
  • reposted on Facebook

Many times the identity of the original poster of a visual is lost in all the social sharing. To avoid getting your visual hijacked, always brand your visuals: add your brand logo, name, social links, hashtag or website to your visual. Don't go crazy and add them all: just chose one strategy, and stick with it!

if your business is unique your message shouldn't blend in ~ Kathryn Bechthold
if your business is unique your message shouldn't blend in ~ Kathryn Bechthold

2. Create a Unique Brand Hashtag

Your event, brand, product or campaign can have a unique hashtag that you use across all social media channels, on your visuals, promotional materials, news releases: anywhere you want to promote your brand. And each time your social post is shared, the brand and your message grows!

TIP: Make your hashtag memorable. As CEO of Alchemy Communications I'm a #PurveyorOfPR  - check us out on Twitter!

3. In Images, Size Counts

You can design the very best infographic or image, and no one will ever see if it the visual isn't the sized for that social media channel. Unfortunately each social channel has evolved to have uniques size criteria for your profile photo, cover image and posts. When you write a blog post, to share it across social media channels might require 5 or 6 different images to meet the social criteria. Unfortunately when it comes to visual content marketing, it is not one size fits all.

This optimal image size cheatsheet from Social Media Today will help you design images that are the exact size you need

optimal image size for visual marketing
optimal image size for visual marketing
Kathryn Bechthold CEO Alchemy Communications
Kathryn Bechthold CEO Alchemy Communications

author: Kathryn Bechthold, Communications expert in Calgary, AB. Owner/CEO of Alchemy Communications Inc.

3 Easy Ways to Make Your Social Media More Visual

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90% of information transmitted to the brain is visual

~ HubSpot

The data is conclusive: adding visuals to your social media posts increases the likelihood they will be read, clicked and shared.

There are many options to add visuals to your blog posts and social media:

  • infographics and charts: communicate data with images instead of words
  • video and animations
  • photos: stock photos or original photos,
  • memes: photos with text written over them
  • graphics and animations: drawings which may include text, movement or sound
  • slideshow: a series of images

There are some great free and paid tools and programs available to create awesome visual content for your blogs and social media, including:

  • Canva: freemium tool to design beautiful graphics, cover images, infographics and so much more
  • PicMonkey: freemium photo editing tool
  • Vine: free app for creating short looping 6-second videos
  • PowerPoint to turn presentations into slides
  • WordSwag app overlays text on your images
  • YouTube video editor lets you do some basic editing to your videos

3 Shortcuts to Add Visuals to Your Posts

Many tools offer features that are easy to learn and quick to use, and you can develop a basic visual in less than 15 minutes. But what if you don't have 15 minutes: and you have to get a blog or social media post live now? Here are 3 super-fast, simple and professional shortcuts for adding visuals to your blogs and social media posts.

1. Insert a Quote

Quotes Are Highly Shareable

~ Social Media Examiner

Quotes attract attention and encourage sharing. Most blogging platforms offer a quote feature that highlights the quoted text and makes it stand out from rest of the text. WordPress has quote plugins that emphasize the quoted text: I used the WordPress text editor quote option as a H3 heading to make the above quote stand out: it took about 3 seconds.

2. Share a Statistic

Visual statistics are quickly understood and remembered. People love to share statistics. Create a visual statistic with DummyDesigner/Stats. The feature image for this blog took less than 30 seconds to make and shares an important visual marketing statistic: Tweets with images receive 150% more retweets (Buffer). Dummy Designer also quickly creates quotes which you can attach to your social media posts. This quote image took less than 30 seconds to make!

visual content marketing
visual content marketing

3. Display a Screenshot

Feature your product, demonstrate a how-to or show information discovered online by taking a screenshot and then inserting that image into your post. You can use the screenshot as-is, or enhance it by overlaying text or adding design. It took me less than 60 seconds to take this screenshot, crop it, and draw the circle around the important text using Awesome Screenshot.

How to add visuals to social media posts
How to add visuals to social media posts

Visual marketing is a critical and effective element of your communications strategy. Not all images have to be elaborate or be a significant time investment. Have a few basic visual creation tools and visual marketing strategies in your PR arsenal to design and deliver visual marketing for your social media and blog posts.

TIP:  Infographics are an ideal way for small businesses and nonprofits to communicate complex data to their audience. Your data is translated into visual content with compelling images that your viewers can easily read, comprehend and share. Visual content is highly ranked on social media: a quality infographic can increase your SEO efforts and target traffic to your website.

Visit our portfolio and contact Alchemy PR to create an infographic that delivers your message: info@alchemycommunications.ca

For More Information on Adding Visuals to Your Social Media

HubSpot: A Handy Little Guide to Creating Visual Content for Social Media Jeff Bullas: 10 Types of Visual Social Media Posts That Get Shared Like Crazy

Kathryn Bechthold CEO Alchemy Communications
Kathryn Bechthold CEO Alchemy Communications

author: Kathryn Bechthold, Communications expert in Calgary, AB. Owner/CEO of Alchemy Communications Inc.

Keyword and Hashtags: Do You Know the Difference?

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A hashtag is much more than a keyword with a # symbol in front of it. Of course hashtags use the # symbol: but do you understand the difference between a keyword strategy and a hashtag strategy?

Hashtag or Keyword: Strategies for Content Marketers

1.  What social platform are you using?

Keywords are a critical content marketing tool for your website and blog. Your keyword strategy identifies which words or phrases readers enter into search engines to find content. Your website should be designed around your keywords, and your site and blog content should strategically use your target keywords to help users find your information. Search engines read websites to identify the most important information for readers - your keywords.

Hashtags are one or more words combined together with the # symbol in front of them; hashtags sort and organize content and create campaigns on social media channels. Not every social media network uses hashtags - LinkedIn does not support hashtags, and they've never been popular on Facebook, but hashtags are heavily supported by users on Twitter, Instagram and G+.

  • Your keywords may be used as a hashtag by combining them and adding a # symbol, or your keywords may differ from your hashtags

example:

  • keyword = Calgary public relations
  • hashtag = #CalgaryPublicRelations or #CalgaryPR

2. Immediacy of ranking

If you publish a blog on your website today it may take weeks for search engines to find, understand and rank your content on your keywords, and your SERP are subject to the search engine's algorithm. You can promote your content immediately on social media by using hashtags, and you control the message content and where and when it is posted.

example:

  • keyword = Calgary public relations
  • hashtag = #PRtips

 3. Voice and tone of message

Keywords tend to be very precise terms used to find specific content, while hashtags are more expressive and can convey emotion.

  • Keywords are read and analyzed by search engine robots. Hashtags are used and interpreted by humans.

example:

  • keyword: public relations professional
  • hashtag: #PurveyorofPR

Hashtags and keywords are tools to increase the online visibility of your business, and make your content more easily found by search engines and people. You can design separate but complimentary keyword and hashtag strategies to optimize your SEO efforts and help your audience find you.

For more about Keyword and Hashtag Strategy
Inbound Marketing Agents: How to Develop a Powerful Keyword Strategy
Forbes: Why You Need a Hashtag Strategy for Your Business