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Does what it says on the tin

Recently we underwent a name change and you’re now reading a blog post on webcontent.ie, the website of Web Content Partners. For a year this business operated under the business name Elaine Larkin Media.

But we weren’t happy with it. We felt it didn’t really reflect or portray in any way what business we’re in. Lots of business names don’t, but to have a more relevant business name had been important since the idea of setting up a web content business came to us back in the summer of 2008.

Elaine, the founder of this web content copywriting business spent a year on an Enterprise Platform Programme in Waterford and would regularly tear her hair out looking for the perfect business name. Early favourites were Pure Content and Fresh Content. Content, though an absolutely vague term, (it covers off audio and video as well as the written word) was high up there in the words the business name should include. Writer, writer or writing didn’t appeal – no disrespect meant to others with these words in their business names!

Some people don’t have a problem with picking a business name, but for us everything from esperanto online dictionaries to Brewer’s Dictionary of Phrase and Fable were perused. Online polls were created, results collated only to find the most popular names were registered trademarks in other countries or the URLs were unavailable in .com or .co.uk which can be nice to have.

One day, we came across Dropped.ie, typed in ‘content’ and webcontent.ie. It was love at first sight and out came the Laser card. As it’s no longer possible to register a .ie business name with the Companies Registration Office and because there’s a grey area about operating a business with a URL (such as webcontent.ie) we decided to register the business name Web Content Partners. (Any clarification on this welcome!)

Then it was back to both the web designer and graphic designer to make changes to existing website and logo and that was it really.

Sure, the name is a bit long, but the fact of the matter is we do partner with and are available to partner with a variety of service providers in the digital world: web designers, web developers, marketing agencies, digital agencies, SEO professionals, internet marketing companies, publishing companies and so on. That is apart from working directly with clients.

And we’re not limited to working with those just on our doorstep  Wexford or neighbouring counties like Waterford, Kilkenny, Carlow or Tipperary. We regularly travel to Dublin for client meetings and this is the kind of work that can be done online and with occasional telephone contact.

What do you think of this little rebrand? Anything we should have done different in your opinion?

Facebook profiles are not for businesses

Facebook page Vs Facebook personal profile

Today I received two interesting Facebook invites. One was to be come friends with a business i.e. a business setting up a personal profile on Facebook instead of a Facebook page. Instead of sending a message to the person behind this error, I’m writing this blog post. I want to help them but there’s so many others that require help too.

It’s a common mistake and it is one that has been many a time and is being made over and over again. It’s also been written about before and here’s one good example of a previous post.

Ditch the Facebook profile for business

I’ll keep it short and sweet. Facebook profiles are for people. Facebook pages are for businesses, brands, products, organisations, artists bands and public figures.

The other message I received this morning via Facebook was  from a “friend” that is actually a business asking me to “like” a certain Facebook page – which, yes you’ve guessed it, has the exact same name as the profile. This business is just one of many that’s facing the hassle and realization of moving friends over to pages. Social media migration may be a new business in its own right, separate to social media management. The problem with migration is of course losing a few along the way, so there is that risk, but the benefits outweigh losing a few people that didn’t like your business anyway or don’t know how to use Facebook.

Mistakes you may have made

If you’re in business the reasons you might like to have a Facebook profile rather than a Facebook page to represent your business include:

  • You didn’t realise there’s a difference.
  • You enjoy breaking rules.
  • You find it easier to raise awareness of your Facebook business profile by inviting people to become friends of your business profile.
  • You’re scared that people may not ‘Like’ your new Facebook page for business.
  • You like looking at other people’s holiday snaps and personal info, because chances are they haven’t filtered their privacy settings.
  • You’re scared of success.

Moving over to the other side

Well here are some reasons to go and start migrating your friends on your business profile to your new Facebook business page. (Tip, people are no longer “fans” of Facebook pages – they are given the option “like”.)

  • Your page’s news, status updates, photos, links to interesting articles, competitions, whatever you choose to publish to the people who like your page, will appear in their feed (unless they decide not to receive info from you, but they can do that to anyone’s profile anyway).
  • You will get updated on how people interact with the page through Facebook Insights.
  • You can try and bring people to the page using ads.
  • You may find more people will organically come to your page and like it – perhaps because they saw a friend liked it.
  • You’re playing by the rules.
  • You want to have a social media presence for your business.
  • You don’t want to be limited – profiles can only have a max of 5,000 fans. Pages seem to be unlimited.

So what’s keeping you? Get going. Set up that Facebook page now and start migrating people over. Or get someone who knows how to do it to sort it out for you. Would love to hear any comments or questions!

Overwriting and knowing when to stop

A few tips on making your content more shareable

Just look at the headline above. It’s neither here nor there. The word shareable is all on its own on the second “deck” of the H1 headline.

Now take out today’s paper or any newspaper and you’ll see that in all likelihood that there are no lone words on second or third decks of headlines. They tend to be filled out across one or a few decks and tightly written to fill the space (with a little help from layout programmes such as InDesign or Quark to increase or decrease the space between letters/words very subtly).

If you’re putting any sort of a heading, sub-heading etc on your website, blog or email newsletter, think about how it many characters as opposed to words will fit across either one or two lines before writing. It’ll look tidier. *

Fitting concise messages into Twitter

A handy way of practicing writing within a confined amount of characters is by using Twitter. 140 characters. Wow, that’s short you may think, if you’re not a regular Twitter user. But if your message is something other people might like to share by retweeting (RT) it, you may need to consider writing a 100 to 120 character tweet.

This morning I saw a tweet from a Bus Eireann twitter account which I thought would be worthwhile retweeting for another account I manage @housemates. I prefer manual retweeting, where you can edit the tweet or add a comment after it. So, in Hootsuite, the Twitter programme I use a lot of the time, I hit Re-Tweet and I saw the message was 156 characters long – 16 too many - because it included “RT: @buseireanndeals: ” Including spaces, that’s 22 extra characters to RT something from @buseireanndeals manually. I didn’t RT it. I didn’t want to go to the bother of editing it. Other days I may have, not today. At least not yet.

If you want your tweets to be more shareable and retweetable then you have to take into account the number of characters in your usernname and the space taken up by the other stuff. The other stuff, to save you counting, comes to 7 characters. If I am tweeting from @elainelarkin I know that anything I think could be retweeted should come to 140 characters minus 7 characters (the other stuff) minus 12 characters (username) = 121 characters. Make it short enough and you make it shareable.

*Disclaimer: Sometimes we’re in a rush too and to prove we’re human and not robot, there have been occasions where we’ve left one word hanging on its own on the second deck of headline in previous blog posts.

Inseperable: excellent design and excellent content

Reading is something I do a lot. At times, I just scan over the content of a broadsheet, a magazine, an e-mail newsletter or an online news website. Other times, I read every word in detail. Or, words jump out at me. I love seeing how different words can be used in different situations, or more interestingly what substitute words are not used. It’s all about reading between the lines.

One word that jumped out at me lately was the word ‘inseperable’. It was in an obituary and the relationship between the lady who had died (may she rest in peace) and her husband. They were described as ‘inseperable’ and nobody could recall seeing one without the other in decades. I thought that was sweet, to me it said something about a certain type of relationship from a certain era.

It made me think about relationships nowadays and how eyebrows are as equally raised if a couple are seen together the whole time or if they never seem to be in each others’ company.

Anyway, that was just a musing and I couldn’t really figure out whether inseperable is good or bad in human relationships. (I think it’s bad if say one half of the couple is more dependent on the other and doesn’t mix with anybody other than their inseperable half. But I think being inseperable while alose retaining strong friendships and relationships with others is a sign of soulmates or two halves becoming one. But less of that).

So anyway, my mind brought me off on an Alain Botton-esque tangent into the philosophy of love and relationships, but ultimately brought me back to the role the word inseperable has to play in my business. I’m in the business of words, writing online copy for businesses websites, ensuring that the content naturally contains those all-important keywords so that it’s found easily. But I also concentrate on good writing, making sure the content is interesting and readable, written in such a way that the reader wants to read it.

But, I’m a strong believer in good design and this is where the word inseperable comes into play. Why have a beautifully designed website if it’s just pretty to look but nothing else (unless maybe you’re just a visual artist and communicate in pictures and not words). The whole point of the exercise (in most business cases anyway) is that the website is informative or it makes people want to hire you or buy your product.

If your content is just slapped together by four or five people in the office, not edited for consistency, has no style about it, is way too long, or not informing enough, is filled with misspellings etc, it’s just not going to wow either existing clients or potential customers or investors. Good design and good content are inseperable. It’s a bit like being all dressed up and nowhere to go. You can separate the two, but really, honestly, in the age that content is king, you really shouldn’t.

Social networking for business

Okay, this topic has been talked about to death, but still I have decided to proceed with a 10-minute lesson on the topic. I’ll be delivering the lesson to a group of seven people on Saturday morning at Waterford Institute of Technology, as my final assessment for the Certificate in Practical Teaching Skills for Adult Tutors that I have been working towards since February.

It’s important that the lesson is as relevant to the class as possible, which can be difficult in a group with varying backgrounds.

But if there is one thing we all have in common, it is wanting to better ourselves through the medium of education. Having completed the 12-week course, many of us would like to get into regular lecturing or delivery of workshops.

In my opinion, setting up a presence on a social networking site like LinkedIn, or even Twitter, Facebook too, would be of use to this audience in making new contacts and making people aware they have the right skills and training to deliver educational material to groups of adults.

I’m available, for example, and this is something I can disseminate through social networks.

If you’re not in, you can’t win.