An offline guest post in the Metro – Lowcostholidays

February 20th, 2014 by

Here’s another example of Content Marketing, this time by Lowcostholidays:

lowcostholidays content marketingI’ve worked in the SEO industry for over 2 years, and I’m not sure who started off the “Top 10 list” format- print or online, but this article format is well and truly spammed online! Not to say it’s not a handy way of structuring a post, but it would be great if writers could be more creative with the titles! Buzzfeed does a lot of lists, but actually manage to keep titles funky fresh..

Anyways, it looks like Lowcostholidays have teamed up with geekmom.com and asked them to write an article for them to post in their ad space.

I’m all for content over ads, but if I’m honest, I didn’t really find this article engaging. I’m not sure if it’s because I’m not the target audience or if it’s because I’ve seen very similar articles “guest posted” on various travel blogs, but while it grabbed my attention, it didn’t really keep my attention all that much.

The timing of the content ad is great- it’s just coming up to off-peak holiday season in the UK and Lowcostholidays are trying to attract the savvy holiday makers with their content- specifically parents looking for a cheap deal.

On a completely different side note, upon discussing the article with a colleague, he made a great joke about how this article is basically a guest post in the Metro, if it was online, Google would have given the Metro a wallopping as they do not like guest posts anymore!

Would it have stood out to me if I wasn’t an SEO? Not sure, if there are any mums who saw this ad, your feedback on the effectiveness of this piece of content will be much appreciated!

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A fabulous example of business blogging

February 19th, 2014 by

I came across a brilliant example of content creation today. A company called Photobox who do things like personalised iphone covers and canvas prints etc. have decided to commit resource to blogging. So I wanted to spare a moment to spotlight their wonderful blog which can be found here.

The SEO industry has been moving in the content direction for quite some time and more businesses have taken to ‘blogging’ to create fresh content for their website.

Sadly, blogging for a business can be rather difficult, what do you talk about when your business operates in a dry vertical- like office chairs, or photo mugs?

The answer is to blog about anterior topics. Topics that have much more appeal to readers but not too far away from your vertical (or risk losing relevancy and sign off!).  This is what the team at Photobox have done.


Photobox blog

Instead of talking about “10 gifts to buy your mum” (one of the items being a photo mug being the hook..) or “Tips for choosing an photo iPhone cover” (you see where I’m going with this..) Photobox have elected to write about photography- a massive emotive topic. 

They have posts on how to improve your photography skills, creativity posts, photography competitions, amongst the usual seasonal content pieces and internal news posts like interviews and product releases. They even take guest posts from professional photographers.

Even as someone who doesn’t know the first thing about photography-Photobox’s blog is beautiful to look at.

*Round of applause for Photobox!*

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Content Marketing Examples- Onken

February 18th, 2014 by

I like reading the Metro on a Tuesday as it’s normally a slow news day and there end up being lots of PR stories. Stories that have been sent in by PR companies and subsequently featured. SEO is trying to do PR online so I like to see how PRs do it and what type of stories get published.

Anyways, I came across this lovely piece of Content Marketing by Onken!

full page content marketing onken

As a brief overview, Onken have bought a page worth of space in the centrefold of the Metro. But instead of plonking an A4 ad there like many brands do (think Cosmopolitan and their pages of adverts vs actual editorial..) Onken have opted to put content in their bought ad space.

There are 3 little ‘feel good’ stories laid out in 1 inch-columns and the tone of the copy resembles newspaper editorial so much, it could easily look like part of the Metro’s organic editorial. In fact, I had to double take before I saw the ‘SPECIAL PROMOTION’ label in the top right hand corner.

It’s good to see brands actually producing content that’s engaging for readers. The ‘Good News’ theme of their columns are much more readable than a lifestyle shot of a healthy looking family eating a pot of yogurt.

There’s a story of the ‘Real- Life Forrest Gump’- who doesn’t like Forrest Gump, ‘Frockolate’- who doesn’t feel a slight emotional stir when reading about chocolate? and finally ‘Perdy the giraffe’ strolling into a cafe in Johannesburg. This story even comes complete with the Daily Mail-like pun headline: “necking a pint”, what is a news story without a not-so-witty-pun?

In case you liked the feel good stories and wanted more, Onken has added a box highlighting their Good News Facebook feed:

onken Good News facebook feed

And in case you weren’t interested in content and more into competitions and winning freebies, there’s even an eye catching ‘WIN’ promotion box in the bottom left highlighting a Metro/Onken competition:

Metro Onken competitions box

All in all, a fabulous piece of content marketing by Onken.

 

 

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A Bad Example Of Localisation-Magnum Ice Cream

December 30th, 2013 by

So being home this Christmas, I got the chance to watch lots of Chinese Tv and with it, the never ending adverts. I thought I’d share an advert that caught my eye. Magnum are trying to advertise their ice cream using the following advert:

Translating The Brand Name
Ok, let’s start off with the good points. It’s good that they have phonetically translated the brand name. Magnum becomes ‘’ which is just ‘Magnum’ with more of a Chinese accent and emphasis on each syllable. As a bi-ligualist, I love this part of Asian culture! I love listening and seeing how close they can get it to the English brand names.

Commercially though, I doubt brands are going through all this hassle for my entertainment. I believe by doing this, it makes it easier for the Chinese to pronounce the brand name.

It also makes it more official, advertisers shouldn’t leave the consumer to transliterate it themselves. When penetrating the Chinese market, if you don’t control the transliteration (or at least try to influence it), the Chinese could end up giving you an awkward transliteration-it’s easier to remember a brand name when it’s silly so the Chinese will do it if you leave it to chance!

The Voice
The voice over has been translated-basic stuff, if you want Chinese people to understand the USP of your products, then make sure it’s translated by a native speaker. I’m starting to think there is one guy who gets all the advert voice gigs, on the plus side, it’s a familiar voice said in a familiar format. The guy sounds like he’s have an exquisite time narrating the premium ice cream.

The Copy
The copy has also been translated into Chinese, well done.

Onto the ‘could be better stuff’. I’m not sure we care/understand why Belgium chocolate is a big deal..?

The Narrative
It’s pretty boring, a hot girl walking on the top of some cars and eating a Magnum. It’s nothing special narrative-wise.

Sweeping generalisation here: but I think whether you are in the UK or China/Hong Kong, adverts that tell a story are more effective. Without getting too philosophical, I enjoy the adverts where you can identify with the person in the ad. It makes you feel like the company gets you and therefore the product they are selling will be suited to you. I know there are different styles of adverts and narrative, but to me, the Magnum advert is just a pretty face prancing about with the ice cream-it not poor, just not a stellar example of advert that has an identifiable hook to it.

It’s looks low effort, and it doesn’t seem like much thought has been put into the narrative. If Walls just want to make me aware of the Magnum ice cream, fine it works, but I don’t think this advert gives them any competitive edge over other ice creams that have well thought out ads.

I enjoy the adverts that appear to have had some thought put into it. The ones that make your mind go ‘oo that’s clever!’. They create more positive sentiment towards the brand as opposed to just making me aware of my options.

The Actors Aren’t Asian

Something that sticks out like a sore thumb-the actress, XXX I’m told, doesn’t look like she’s of Asian origin.

I don’t know if this was so they can appear to be exotic to their target market but to me it looks like they used their US/UK ad and did some basic translation. For me, this isn’t localisation; it’s translation.

If you’re watching Chinese TV, you expect to see a Chinese face advertising products during the ad breaks. Imagine if you were watching The Apprentice or The Voice on a Saturday evening. The ads come on before they announce the results or the firing. Your usual ads toilet roll ads come on, food ads are played, and all of a sudden, the Chinese Cornetto advert post comes on (click here youtube if you haven’t watched it). All the actors are still the same but they’ve translated the copy and the voice over. Their marketing team have tried to justify it, saying “it looks more exotic if it has Asian actors in it!” Just no. Sadly, it looks lazy rather than exotic.

The Flavour

I watched the advert with my mum, and the first thing she said to me was that “it’s just too sweet”. I thought perhaps it was just a mum quirk, she’s not a hater of ice cream (just yesterday she recounted how she had a bit of time before her golf match in Stratford upon Avon started, so she deliberately parked the car and walked to the high street to get an ice cream from a stall we used to visit as a family.) But I realised that this could be a genuine concern with regards to ice cream. That’s when it dawned on me that a lot of older Chinese women would feel the same way about the Magnum.

Personally, I like the sweetness, I don’t mind over indulging when having an ice cream. However, it may be a bit much for the healthy types in HK. They are very health-conscious over there if you’re Chinese there’s a lot of pressure to be skinny (I know this from my Chinese upbringing). The majority of the adverts shown are beauty, weight loss products and health products-whether this is the cause or effect of people wanting to be “healthy” I’m not sure, it’s just to give you an idea of what the Chinese are like..

I’m not saying that Mangum needs to position itself as a healthy ice cream but they need to be aware that the sickly sweetness of the chocolate coating may be a barrier or driver of people picking a less indulgent ice cream.

Mangum could try localising their product by tweaking either the flavour or making a low fat alternative if they want to increase the uptake.

The Music
Also isn’t localised-some sort of mellow rock-honestly don’t know much about music and how it affects an audience but as I see it, it has a distinct western feel to it. I think that it would be better if the music was more familiar to the Chinese ear as it would invoke the “oo I heard that on the radio the other day” sentiment.

As I said, I don’t know too much about music, if anyone can recommend any reading that looks the role music plays in advertising please let me know in the comments.

Key Takeaways (not the Chinese sort) :

  • If a brand wants to penetrate the Chinese market, they should:
  • Hire a Chinese actor/actress and shoot an ad that fits into the local culture
  • The product may also need to be localised to suit the taste of your target audience

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Funny Scam Emails

March 8th, 2013 by

Every so often, I like to go through my spam folder. It’s hilarious! I get emails from people claiming that I have an uncollected inheritance  and undisclosed business propositions from strange Chinese men…! I’ve also been addressed as “sir”, “hello dear”, “Dearest in the Lord”…

Well we are all familiar with the well referenced Nigerian Prince scam, but I think those guys have cottoned on that we’re cottoning on! The scammers must have noticed their money transfers dwindling (insert heavy sarcastic tone here) and have come up with a new creative narrative to pull on our heartstrings and/or sucker us in.

I like to think I know a little about email marketing, here are some of my favourite unsolicited emails and some friendly words of advice on how to improve response rate (for lols for the love of god, for lols…):

1. Rude openings (I’m not gonna help you if don’t ask nicely now..):

“Please reply back to me immediately.

Greeting in the name of the lord Almighty,I am 17 years old I need you to help me to receive my inheritance in your account in your country I agreed to give you 20 percent of the total sum. Please promise me that you will take me as your biological son. because i am an orphan and i have prayed before contacting you. and promise me that you will not betray me if this money enter into your account.”

No, I don’t think I will…

(more…)

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Useful Phrases For Dota 2 (Spanish)

February 12th, 2013 by

Dota 2

Last night, boyf decided play a game of Dota 2 so I could watch him play (and learn).

After a long wait, the game put him into team with four guys who spoke Spanish. Oh dear lord…I’m told that Dota 2 is a team game, how your team plays determine whether you get win or lose and communication is IMPORTANT. Since boyf doesn’t speak Spanish, he had no clue what his team were saying and doing when the match started.

Everything was going a bit wrong due to this language barrier (Drow was going to the bottom lane instead of mid (apparently she’s a good hero for mid), nobody bought or upgraded the courier, nobody put wards up, stuff like that).

That was up until one of the guys blasted out an English command- “Poosh mid”. Boyf did this and things started taking a turn for the better. Boyf immediately asked me to Google Translate “Thanks for trying to speak English” and replied with a “gracias por intentar hablar Inglés” (I don’t even know if this is correct!) and those little gestures were powerful enough to open up communications that boyf could understand and change the game. They lost in the end but it was a good game.

I thought to myself, if only we could command enough Spanish to communicate and direct the team and was surprised that nobody had translated some basic but useful Dota 2 phrases. So I asked my boss (Spanish) to help the Dota 2 players out there who are looking to knock down the language barrier when playing Dota 2:

Pushing middle - Atacar por el medio /  Pushea mid.*

Pushing top - Atacar por arriba / Pushea por arriba

Pushing bottom - Atacar por abajo / Pushea por abajo

When …….. comes, kill them first - Cuando ………. venga, matadlo el primero

Come -Venid

Pull back - atras or para atras.

Stop - Para (singular) / Paraos (plural)  

Wait for everyone before pushing - Esperad a que estemos todos antes de atacar/empujar

Recuperate and then push -  Recuperate y luego ataca

Your mom - Tu madre

I’m still pretty new to Dota 2 so if I’ve missed any phrases, let me know and I will consult the manager!

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Doctor Who-Boring Companion Choice

December 26th, 2012 by

So I watched this year’s Doctor Who Christmas Special-The Snowmen.

I knew it would be atrocious as usual but I was curious about how they would handle introducing the new companion-Clara or Oswin Oswald or Clara Oswin Oswald.

"me so boring" Clara Oswin Oswald Photo credit: tardis.wikia.com

“me so boring” Clara Oswin Oswald
Photo credit: tardis.wikia.com

Needless to say, there was only a minuscule amount of information revealed about her in that episode but at first glance she seems pretty typical of the Doctor’s companions.. She’s pretty, smart enough, and more energetic than previous companions we’ve seen but seems like a very..boring choice, I didn’t really care when she fell off a roof and almost died…I guest she’s enough to fulfill the role of the person asking questions on the audience’s behalf. But does this mean she’s a good choice of companion? Not in my opinion.
(more…)

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Google Search Trends-Christmas 2012

December 26th, 2012 by

I was curious as to what people would search for over the Christmas holidays. So I went on over to Google Trends (previously known as Google Insights) and I found some pretty interesting results as to what people looked for over the Christmas period. I will be going into these trends shortly after I’ve disclaimed what the results are actually showing.

Here is a screen shot of the “Hot Searches” done using Google. It was taken on Boxing Day at 14:45 (UK time):

Christmas search trends
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Building Relationships with Journalists Using Social Media- 7 things you need to know about how journalists use social media

December 18th, 2012 by

Social media is a neutral place to start a relationship with a journalist if you want them to promote your content/cause.

Luckily, Cision conducted some research into how many and how frequently journalists use social media, what platforms they use and how these journalists use social media to help them with their assignments.

As someone who builds relationships with bloggers on a daily basis and as someone who is looking to do the same with journalists in the online space, I found this research pretty interesting. You can read the full report here but here are some of the highlights.

1. The most popular social media platforms among UK journalists are Twitter and Linkedin

So starting of nice and slow, Cision found that there was an overall increase in social media usage compared to one year ago. The most popular platforms being Microblogs (Twitter) and Professional Social Networking Sites (Linkedin) with the latter seeing the greatest adoption this year (it was the least popular form of social media last year, this year sites like Linkedin are the second most used).

platform usage year on year

Credit: Cision report

(more…)

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Anyone remember the VHS tape?

December 17th, 2012 by

I feel a bad case of the 90′s nostalgia coming on again and would like to take a moment to remember the humble VHS tape (or Video Tape)!

Back in the day, films would be released on VHS, none of this fancy DVD or Blu-ray stuff. Hefty tapes which left bruises when you dropped them on your feet (likely to happen when you’re a child). I had a lot of Disney on VHS-The Little Mermaid, Aladdin, Return of Jafar…

VHS-cassette

Rewinding took ages, and you were constantly worried that the VHS player would chew up your tape. In fact my mother specifically said never to ‘Fast Forward’ the tape because it would ruin the picture quality and/or wear out the VHS player…I could believe it.

(more…)

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