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Simon Frost
Marketing, business development & copywriting
Marketing, business development & copywriting


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Publishing content that your target clients will want to read

For any business, having a website and a social media presence where they can regularly publish good quality, relevant and informative articles is incredibly powerful. And it is one of the most cost effective forms of advertising that you can have.

To achieve that however, it is crucial for any business to understand first and foremost who they are trying to reach – their target market. Marketers call this ‘Target Audience Analysis’…. or more simply ‘knowing your customer’ because once this has been achieved, it is possible to create copy and content that people will read, share with others online and help to build your brand profile.

So here are four concise tips to help you get to know your market, build customer relationships and ultimately achieve sales.

1. Be clear in your mind who your ideal customer is. Having a general idea is not enough! Let’s use a few basic examples: How old are they? Are they mostly male or female? What they do for a living? What social media accounts do they use…Facebook, Instagram? Where do they shop? It doesn’t mean that all your clients will be like this but by profiling in depth (this is often referred to as ‘Target Personas’) it will make it easier to write content that is relevant to this market.

2. Focus on the audiences that will be interested in your product or service. This means publishing content – blogs, articles, social media posts, e-newsletters etc. – that your ideal customer will want to read – and do not worry about the rest! You should be seeking to answer their questions, solve their problems and provide your customer with a product or service which they will wish to buy.

3. Find out where your ideal customer spends their time and money. Taking social media as an example, there is literally no point in you investing your time, energy and hard-earned cash on a paid Twitter ad campaign if your ideal customer does not use twitter or only sends the occasional tweet. Instead, if they prefer Facebook, or Instagram, design campaigns which will reach your clients via these accounts.

4. Review what works and what doesn’t. Facebook Insights is a good example of a simple but effective tool for measuring how people respond to your content. There is a huge amount of data on the site – and it is free to access. Why not take a look?

We all want people to enjoy, read and share the content we publish. By getting to know our target customers this will inform what we write, help to build our brand profile, increase enquiries for our product or service and ultimately result in a better sales performance.

#contentmarketing #copywriting
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Why is content planning important?

It is easy to get daunted by the sheer mass of information that we are faced with these days. News updates pinging on our mobiles, Facebook posts, emails of course and browsing websites on our computers or tablets. The exponential growth in content on the web is huge and is likely to increase in the future.

If you own a business or you are looking to start up one, you will be aware of the crucial importance of having a professional online presence. However, once the website has been created and the logo designed – how do you navigate your way through the maze of competition to establish an online presence that stands out – and will ultimately grow your business?

Preparing a Content Plan is the start. An important one too, as it helps to provide you with an outline and an identity to your business. So below are a few tips on good content planning – whatever the industry or sector you are working in.

1. Be clear as to your target audience. Marketers use this as part of their market segmentation work as it enables you to understand who are your potential clients and group them together according to their shared characteristics, including age, sex, demographics etc. By identifying your target audience, you will be able to write content which will appeal to this market and in a language they will understand.

2. Write in a consistent style. The words that you use form part of the brand that you are seeking to communicate and it is necessary to write with clarity so that the message is easy to understand.

3. Think SEO. SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation and is how you will build an online presence by making your website visible to others. SEO warrants a whole blog – or blogs! – in itself, but at its most basic concept it is a way of considering carefully the keywords that you use in your content so that your website grows “organically”. The end result will be that your site will appear higher up the google rankings.

Content planning may sound dull – although it is actually quite fun! Honestly. In any line of work, there are always plenty of things to write about. Perhaps it is a short profile about yourself and what you are passionate about; the launch of a new product; or a testimonial from a client that your business may have received. The sky’s the limit.

Establishing a sound online presence will take time – but is worth it.

If you would like some ideas on how to create some great content themes for your business, please get in touch.

#contentplanning #copywriting #contentmarketing
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What’s your poison? The booming UK gin market.

Which market is now worth £1 billion (€1.1 billion) and has exports from the UK which now exceed the value of British beef and soft drinks? Gin of course – and over the past 5 years, this market has seen phenomenal growth with the opening of new distilleries and the launching of new brands, especially in the independent craft gin sector.

Recently I undertook some research into the UK gin market as part of a piece of work for a client (after all, somebody has to do it!) and discovered some fascinating insights into how this drink has changed its image to appeal to new markets. Traditionally, the typical gin drinker was perceived as someone over the age of 50 and was a relatively unfashionable drink that was largely taken with a dash of tonic and a slice of lime.

However, in 2009 things changed with the relaxation of licensing which enabled new distilleries to be set up across the UK (including that home of whisky, Scotland), with new ingredients and new flavours created to interest and excite a younger generation; bar tenders have played an important role too, concocting different cocktails in bars and clubs that have challenged the old perception and established a positive reputation for the drink amongst the millennial generation.

Bombay Sapphire has been especially clever I think in how they have designed their marketing campaigns to reach this market. The drink (now owned by Bacardi) was first launched in 1987 and this iconic sapphire blue bottle is now a firm favourite with many gin lovers, capturing an increasing share of the premium brand market in recent years. Using art and vivid colours which aim to create exotic experiences and connect with inspiring themes of food and travel, Bombay Sapphire has successfully positioned itself to reach young professionals. I particularly enjoyed a video (see link) which arguably communicates many of the messages that Bombay uses.

But of course it’s not just the big boys that are benefiting from the burgeoning gin market: much of this growth as has been mentioned derives from the independent, artisanal craft market. There are plenty of examples; after all, there are now some 275 distilleries operational within the UK. And lots more on the continent of Europe, and across the world, too…. One of my favourite brands is Normindia which is produced by a Calvados distillery close by, Domaine du Coquerel. In an old family book dated from 1765 called "La Chymie du Goût et de l’Odorat" (approved by Louis XV - King of France) the family owned firm discovered a recipe of a Juniper distillate. It was decided to combine this traditional recipe with Indian botanicals to create an entirely new type of gin – Normindia; the objective was to produce a gin that was fresh, fruity and smooth like their Calvados Fine and that gets a little spicy and floral at the end like their Calvados VSOP.

These are only two examples – large businesses and an independent owned enterprise – taking advantage of the changing taste for alcoholic drinks and successfully tapping into new markets. Bombay Sapphire is demonstrating how to use carefully executed online campaigns and achieving a huge social media reach; whilst the Domaine du Coquerel is proving how effective diversification can be, creating a gin product to complement its’ existing range of Calvados and other drinks.

Good luck to all those seeking to launch new products or services in 2018. Cheers!
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For the love of a short story

I love short stories. Some of the world’s best and most celebrated authors – Ernest Hemingway, Thomas Hardy, Ian McEwan and Doris Lessing – excelled at writing short stories as well as novels. Hemingway’s First Forty-Nine Stories is widely and rightly considered to be a classic.

After a period of being regarded as the inferior child to the novel, short stories are now back in business and increasingly popular, providing the platform for new and younger writers. Indeed, in 2017 there were more than 690,000 short stories and anthologies sold in the UK, netting their publishers and authors a cool £5.88 million. So they are profitable, too. It’s not just e-books that are leading this counter-revolution as printed books are retaining their slice of the market.

Short stories are a great read for many reasons. They are perfect as bedtime material, when you can enjoy a good book from start to finish. They are similarly ideal for trying out the literary style of authors that you’ve never come across before; and perhaps as a way of taking a break from a novel that you are currently reading.

It is fair to say that I have also tried my hand at writing short stories. I was inspired to write ten years ago when I attended a Writing Weekend with the great Cornish poet D M Thomas and since then have penned around a dozen or so. Many of which I set in St Ives, Cornwall whilst others have been based on a range of different themes and places; maybe one day I will have them published.

There is definitely a sense of accomplishment in writing, as well as reading, a short story; it appeals I guess to our desire to get to the heart of a good story quickly and through to the ending, discovering the fate of the principal characters.

How long should a short story be? The definition is pretty wide; everything from around 1,500 to 30,000 words. I have also written a few micro- stories, around 300 words for my blogs and they can be great fun to have a go at; however, they can be challenging too as brevity is often more difficult to achieve than writing a longer piece of work. And longer short stories are of course sometimes referred to as novellas, which seems to me a great word to use…

My favourite short story? There are many. However I would choose an anthology of short stories that I have had in my collection for possibly 40 years; called Escape! it contains 27 stories written throughout the 20th century. Very much Boy’s Own stuff, but great all the same…. And it remains a treasured piece to this day.

If you have not read a short story recently, why not (re)discover one for yourself?

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