Category Archives: Storytelling

My Favourite 2014 Blog Posts

Happy New Year! I’m excited to start a fresh year of blogging. But before moving ahead, I think it’s Typewriter spelling the words "Once upon a time"important to reflect on what stories worked well and drove a lot of traffic and/or engagement in 2014.

So, below are some of my most popular posts from the past year (across multiple publications) and my thoughts on why I think they were so successful.

1. Six steps for setting up a small business in Canada

I kicked off 2014 by writing this story for TELUS Talks Business. I think that this post continues to generate a lot of page views because the topic is evergreen – meaning that it is not time sensitive and people can refer to this post as a check list of things to do in order to get started with their small business.

2. Kirstine Stewart says Twitter offers a new beginning for television

Last May, I attend the Clickz Live Conference in Toronto and really enjoyed Kirstine Stewart’s (managing director at Twitter Canada) talk about how Twitter can help drive increased television viewership and engagement. I think that the reason that this story got so many shares on Techvibes is because the title was extremely compelling and it offered insights/thought leadership from a senior level person at one of the world’s largest social media technology companies.

3. Cheers to happy accidents

Although this post didn’t drive a lot of shares on my personal blog, it did drive a lot of conversation on Twitter. I think that the reason some of my Twitter followers chose to respond to this post was because I shared it in the evening (when people are often sitting around after dinner and looking for casual stories to read online). The topic was also very playful and interesting. It’s definitely one of my favourite posts of 2014.

Writing a highly engaging or traffic-driving blog post is an art form. And I am constantly trying to learn why some of my stories tank and others soar. Have a tip for how to drive more traffic and engagement via blog posts? Please share in the comments section below.

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Creating Great Content Isn’t Just a PR Stunt

In a recent eMarketer article, WestJet’s Corey Evans, manager of sponsorship and community creating your own visioninvestment discussed the company’s 2013 “Christmas Miracle” viral video success. In the post, he is quoted as saying: “You used to do a PR stunt just for the PR. Now you do the PR stunt for the PR, and then you can tell the story through social media, and it can live longer and continue to grow.”

I think that is a really important message – especially because the lines between social media being a PR function vs. a marketing or advertising function are often very blurry.

What marketers or PR professionals must always remember is that – especially when using online video to deliver your message – what sets you apart from other social media initiatives is the story that you tell in order to explain what is truly unique about your brand. The WestJet Christmas Miracle video was so compelling because it connected with viewers in a very emotional way – teaching them that WestJet goes the extra mile for its customers.

So, the story that you tell is most certainly not just a PR stunt. And while you will get publicity for a very good story, your message is more about ensuring that people connect with your brand in a meaningful way – enticing them to want to be your customer.

Likewise, just as the eMarketer article suggests, the more you invest into making your content great, the stronger the impact and the wider the reach of your story.

Here’s the WestJet “Christmas Miracle” video – in case you were living under a rock, or didn’t have a Internet connectivity in 2013.

How to Save Your Customers Time With Better Web Copy

So, you’ve launched your small business or startup and you’re ready to tell the image with words like strategy and successworld about it on your new website. With so much to say, it’s tempting to include everything you could ever tell your customers about your product and your company in the copy.

But too much copy can be a turn-off. That’s because Internet users are very impatient and want to find exactly what they are looking for when they arrive at your website. And they want to read it in as little time as possible.

Below are some tips for making your website copy easier to digest.

Keep it short and scannable.
You should aim to keep your paragraphs short – just a few sentences. The same goes for your overall copy.

If you can say it in 200 words, rather than 500 words, do so. You’ll be helping people to find the information they need to make their purchase decision faster.

Use sub-headings to break up text.
By highlighting your key points with sub-headings, you will help impatient readers get the gist of your message without having to read all of the copy.

Highlight important information with bullet points.
It can be tempting to write about your company’s key features and benefits as one, long paragraph. But if you want your customers to understand why they should buy from you in as little time as possible, it’s better to separate the information with bullet points.

Say it with an image, video or diagram.
It can be tempting to explain everything about what you do with text. But keep it mind that it might be easier for the user to understand your product through diagrams, images or explainer videos – especially if you sell sophisticated software or anything that takes a long time to explain with text.

Do you have any other tips for helping web visitors to make quick purchase decisions with short and snappy copy? If so, please share in the comments section below.