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Five Lessons We Learnt From Brighton SEO

I didn’t know what to expect from my first time at Brighton SEO, apart from the fact that I expected to bump into a load of nerds and would have absolutely no idea what they were talking about.

It turns out this wasn’t the case. A lot of what I heard made very good sense (okay, so I didn’t understand everything)! With so many talks taking place, I was spoilt for choice. So, I chose to stick to the ones which were social media events and content-focused.

Here’s what I learned…

1. Don’t create – document!

Documenting is easier than developing. Also, simply documenting something can be very, very effective. 

Documenting what you do is also authentic and transparent, which, in a world full of fake news and ‘buy-me’ content, is exactly what many people are looking for. Authentic, behind-the-scenes content also helps develop trust with your brand, which strengthens the relationship between what you do and the people you’re trying to reach. So, documenting is not only cost-effective, it can generate better outcomes than those gained from glitzier content.


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2. Re-purpose on purpose

People often don’t realise that they can squeeze more from the assets they create.

For example, just because you created a two-minute film, that brand asset does not need to end with YouTube. The very same film can be cut into smaller clips that can be used across Instagram and Facebook. It could also be used for polls or made into GIFs that can be pushed out via Twitter or your email list.

The same content can also be used to produce other media assets, including infographics, standalone images, interviews and animations.

By considering all the different media types that are available, as well as all the platforms through which you can push content, you can repurpose a single brand asset in myriad ways to reach the widest possible audience.

For example, take the messages from the film you produced for YouTube and create an infographic with it that you push through LinkedIn. Told you it was simple!

3. How to nail YouTube

What gets you noticed on YouTube? Video quality? The type of microphone you use? Charisma? Try thumbnails!

And no, we’re not suggesting you spend some time down at the nail bar getting a trim and polish.

Think about it. There is an ocean of video content to choose from. What makes someone select one over another? It may be a snappy title. But it’s even more likely to be a polished, exciting thumbnail cover image.

The thumbnail is the first thing people see when finding your video. Think of it as your shop window: if it looks good, it draws people in. Having great content means you won’t lose them once you’ve got them hooked. But you must get them hooked in the first place.

So, great thumbnails deserve a thumbs-up!

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4. The best way to target on Facebook

Who doesn’t love a good paradox? I know I do.

This is what I was thinking as I sat through a talk on Facebook advertising techniques.

The gist of the talk was this. While it’s a good strategy to narrow your content to a specific audience, what happens if you get that wrong?

If you want to reach a niche audience, how about (and here’s the paradox) casting a really big net? (Isn’t this exactly what broadcasting is? Casting a broad net?) I agree: it’s sounds counterintuitive. But stick with me…

Imagine throwing a steak in a room full of starving people. Some will be avid meat eaters who will undoubtedly jump at the bait. Who knows, if they’re hungry enough, even some vegans may go for it. Then again, there may be some meat eaters who don’t move a muscle… because it turns out that they only like chicken.

Discovering just who takes the bait can provide a very healthy return on your investment. This is also a good way of finding out what works with your advertising. If your steak doesn’t appeal to anyone, then you can be pretty sure there’s something wrong with your steak (does this make it a mis-steak? Sorry, couldn’t resist.)

Casting a big net could help you discover who and where your audiences really are.
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"To separate your brand from the charlatan’s, you must gain people’s confidence. The best way of doing this is with trust. "

5. Put it to the test

Fancy visuals are the bees’ knees, aren’t they? Or are they? The truth is, not everyone has a fancy for fancy. For some, simplicity is all that matters.

Which means it’s all about user experience. It’s all about knowing your audience.

It really doesn’t matter that your CEO likes to see some popping visuals: you’re not actually selling to your CEO!

Testing really is key. Yes, some will love fancy visuals. But others will like very simple YouTube content, without the flashy, minute-long intro from the vlogger. Others, meanwhile, will get excited by edginess…

Which goes to show that, when you really want to know, you really have to test!

Conclusion

The only thing about internet marketing that will stay the same is change.

What worked yesterday may not work tomorrow. It may not even work today.

Fancy worked before everyone had a fancy website. But now, every snake oil salesman has a fancy website.

To separate your brand from the charlatan’s, you must gain people’s confidence.  The best way of doing this is with trust. Trust can be gained from transparency and simplicity. It’s not necessarily about the fanciest design, the specific channel you use, the medium you feel is right for your brand. It’s more about removing doubt that you are what you say you are. You do what you say you do. You are authentic.

Engaging with your audience, asking them their preferences, testing their likes and dislikes, helps develop the kind of relationship every brand wants. There’s no snake oil involved. Just a lot of reaching out. A lot of listening. A lot of open-mindedness to change. And a lot of testing.

So, to find out what works for you and your audience, put it to the TEST!

By Mike Howse - Social Media Executive