The Inverted Pyramid: How to master digital content writing

Put simply, the inverted pyramid is a way of structuring written, digital content that you produce. It allows you to prioritise content so that, as a whole, the piece reads well and is coherent. It is a structure that has been borrowed from journalism and adapted slightly so that it is more applicable to digital content creation.

The standard approach to this sees the writer start with the most interesting or stand-out feature of the event they are writing about. This is called the ‘lead’. You need to explain what the happened as well as giving information that will compel a reader to continue with your piece. The next section should be the ‘details.’ Use this section to expand on the ‘lead,’ moving from a general overview to a more specific recitation of event. The final part of the pyramid is the ‘context’ section. This could cover anything from the history of what you are writing about to the more general circumstances in which the main event arose.

This works well for journalism and can be easily adapted to be equally, if not more, effective for digital content writing. The best way to deploy this in the digital world is to structure your copy around a question and answer format. Say you wanted to write about how to run a marketing campaign on LinkedIn. You could simply entitle your article ‘Marketing on LinkedIn.’ Alternatively, you could pose the question ‘How can I maximise the efficiency of a LinkedIn marketing campaign?’ Both could be written with exactly the same content – what would distinguish them is the structure. While the inverted pyramid method of content creation lends itself more easily to question responses, it can be used in an explanatory context too. Correctly structuring an article is just as key as the content and the inverted pyramid method allows you to do this with ease.

The first this to do in responding to a question is to actually answer it. This is the equivalent of the ‘lead’ section of the pyramid. Let people know how to market in the most effective way possible on LinkedIn. This should be broad picture stuff – give your reader the general gist of how to organise a successful campaign.

Following this should be a section on the details that support your answer. For example, if you assert the LinkedIn is the best platform for B2B marketing, this needs to be backed up with figures detailing how many businesses are on LinkedIn or another related fact that distinguishes it as the best platform for B2B. Backing up your answer with fact is the best way to lend credibility and authority to your answer. If you have done your own research and can contribute some original figures to the piece, put them in. It will make your writing stand out as more authoritative because you are not relying on external sources for your information.

Finally, in your ‘context’ section you should bring up sub-questions and other questions that may have been raised by the original question or your answer so far. This is your chance to further explore the topic in question and address other avenues of thought. Do not, however, just nebulously pose questions. Any sub-question that you bring up, you should respond to in some way whether this is by directly responding to it or suggesting how it might be addressed.

The inverted pyramid lends a structure to your written content but can also give a structure to the page on which it is located. By having the title, lead, details and context, your page is lent a natural structure that will allow for it to be favourably indexed by Google over a page that simply provides an answer and goes to no effort to explain it further. You could include a ‘learn more’ link at the bottom of the article that takes people to your related product or service pages to provide a natural call to action. Quality internal linking: tick.

In short: journalism’s inverted pyramid technique is useful for the digital sphere too. By having a clear structure to your writing, you don’t ramble as each section has a specific aim and goal, keeping your writing tight and structured. It benefits the reader as it leaves them with a clear picture of what you want to communicate, complete with the necessary details and background information.

LinkedIn is an excellent platform to market on because it is a professional network; you know that everyone there will be, in some way, receptive to B2B marketing. In addition to this, the way that LinkedIn lists its members allows you to use it as a highly accurate targeting platform so that only the people who might be interested are pushed your content. Here are Terrier’s 6 steps to get you going at LinkedIn marketing:

  1. Optimise your business page

The first thing to do to make sure that your LinkedIn marketing is as successful as possible is to optimise your business’s profile. It acts as the hub for your company on LinkedIn. People may also be able to find it in search engine results and it can sometimes appear in the rankings ahead of your own company site. It is not hard to get your page looking good. Fill in all the information about your company that you possibly can. When your page is looking good, you can use it to advertise jobs and share content. Encourage employees to list on their own LinkedIn profiles that they work there. With your employees on board, you can ask them to share your content too so that it reaches into their networks too.

  1. Create content to post

Content is everything. It is not merely about the quantity of content that is posted onto your LinkedIn page, it is more about the quality of your content. One post that is very widely shared and read will be far more effective than posting many that only a few people read. If you are posting blog content from your website, for example, make sure that you do not simply post the link. Include an accompanying caption that outlines the article’s subject or an interesting fact related to the content. Use this as an opportunity to spark their interest so that they want to read you post.

  1. Ensure your content is suitable for the platform

Infographics are an example of the type of thing that works well on LinkedIn. An illustration of a piece of information or trend in a colourful and visually appealing manner will do far better than something that has no accompanying visual; in fact, LinkedIn’s own best practice advice suggests that post with an image have a 98% higher comment rate.

  1. Use LinkedIn groups

The idea behind this is a simple one. LinkedIn groups are formed of people who share a similar interest or profession and, therefore, make a good place to focus your marketing as you know that the audience is likely to be receptive to your content. What is most important about using LinkedIn groups for marketing is that you do not annoy the group’s other members. By using your expertise in group discussions, your credibility is likely to rise amongst your target audience, making it more likely that people will seek your professional guidance on a particular issue.

  1. Make use of LinkedIn Ads

The nature of LinkedIn means that its members supply it with information that allows for the very specific targeting of adverts. You can pay for ads on LinkedIn and there are three types that you can list on the site. Sponsored content will appear in the newsfeeds of people that LinkedIn thinks will like the content. You can also have PPC text ads that appear on profile pages and group pages as well as elsewhere. The final type, and the one with which you may be the most familiar if you are a LinkedIn user, is Sponsored InMail. This is like email marketing but for LinkedIn. People are sent ads straight to their messaging inbox. LinkedIn only sends the to users who are active, making them more likely to be noticed.

  1. Know how to access LinkedIn Analytics

Like other social platforms, LinkedIn has analytics that can be accessed by the page’s owner. LinkedIn’s own research has suggested that content posted in the mornings tends to receive the most engagement, followed by posts that shortly after business hours. Use this information to schedule your posts so that they can get the maximum number of people seeing them. In order to access LinkedIn Analytics form your company’s page, click the ‘Analytics’ tab where you can find information on all of you page visitors, updates and followers. This is a valuable tool as it allows you to accurately asses what types of posts are receiving the most engagement. Knowing this allows you to create content that conforms to what people want.

 

There is a fair amount to do in order to get a LinkedIn campaign functioning at full capacity but, when it is in motion and has continuous good content, it is a hugely powerful marketing tool.

 

Brands are only beginning to realise the importance of conversing with their consumers online. To give an indication of just how important it is, 83% of people say that they are more likely to make a purchase if they have had positive social media interaction with a business. In addition to this, auto-posting to Facebook decreases the likes and comments a post will receive by 70% on average. If you only using generic content, you could be missing out hugely on potential business. In order not to miss out on these opportunities, engaging in conversation with your consumers is an absolute must in today’s world.

 

Conversation is important for many reasons.  Marketing used to be more personal as many sales took place on a one-to-one basis; however, mass marketing removed this individual aspect, causing businesses to be out of touch with the consumer. This was often in the form of developing specific, business related jargon that the everyday person would not understand.

 

Social media allowed for mass marketing as it enabled businesses to push content but this changed as people realised that they could reply and engage with the brand on these platforms. This has made it essential that brands respond to this communication to capitalise on conversing with customers.

 

Conversation is needed to capitalise on the use of social media primarily because it lends an authenticity to your brand that is almost impossible to achieve by any other means. Conversation is undeniably authentic as our ability to edit speech in real time is limited. It means that they have to respond to what you say and do not have the time to go through several drafts of a response. Whether this is in face-to-face conversations or through an instant messenger on a social platform, it does not allow a brand to hide behind a façade of media that it pushes. It lends a human side to your business as it ceases to be a corporation pushing content and becomes a partner in conversation. The value of this transition cannot be underestimated.

 

It may, at the outset, be hard to see how a business can actually engage in conversations with consumers without is being forced or potentially unwelcome. One of the best ways to initiate this is to respond to their interactions with your content. Respond to their comments, questions and complaints. Starting a conversation in this way shows that, as a brand, you are listening and a conversation cannot happen without this element.

 

To be sure that what you are saying to your consumers is understandable, make sure that you use language that they are likely to understand and, even better, use themselves. The use of company jargon that was built up with mass marketing has broken down now as brands are adopting the language of their consumers. Target, for example, realised that consumers were using the term ‘(to go for a) Target run’ and began to use the term in their own messages. Deploying the language of consumers in this way is far more likely to make them think that they are making a genuine connection with your brand.

 

With 83% of people more likely to purchase from your brand following positive digital interaction, conversation cannot be ignored and represents both a step forward and a step back in the marketing world. It is a step forward for how businesses use social media to engage with their audience. Conversely, it appears to be making a step back as mass marketing is dropped in favour of a far more individual approach. Given the potential to convert on social platforms, it is a facet of social media marketing that businesses cannot afford to neglect.

B2C marketers have been engaging with their clients digitally from the get-go yet, with B2B audiences, this type of marketing has not really been used, let alone deployed, to its full potential. B2B marketing has not really moved on from the idea of sales people calling potential clients consistently until they either agree to the sale or refuse. This is a time-consuming process and many leads will not develop into new business. Using digital marketing techniques can make B2B marketing more efficient and cost effective.

One of the key things to do in order to engage your B2B audience is to push them content they will be interested in. It would be time consuming to individually create and push tailored content to potential clients but, broad customisation is possible. Developing a robust tagging system for your content is a must, especially if using platforms such as WordPress. Following on from this, you can split your clients and prospective clients into personas – simply: groups that share interests/industries/ages, for example. Then, when pushing out this content via digital ads on platforms such as Facebook, build new campaigns based around each persona and target them with content that’s relevantly tagged to the persona. Simple.

The content that you are giving to your audience needs to move beyond the traditional channels such as on a company’s website or in a newsletter. Social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram have been used for B2C but never fully used for B2B marketing. One exception to this is Cisco. Their Instagram account has 192K followers, allowing the company to reach an audience of people that it would not have been able to reach with the same ease through more traditional methods.

While those following a business account might not be as interested in the business in the same way as those who are specifically targeted by phone calls, Instagram, for example, has two advantages over traditional telesales. Firstly, its reach is far greater. A single Instagram post will appear to the followers of your account whereas a phone call will only get to a single client. Secondly, Instagram is a free platform to use!

Another advantage of using digital channels to engage your B2B audience is that you can use interactive content. Whether this is in the form of a video they can watch, a podcast they can listen to or a survey for them to fill in, it will allow you to track the number of engagements that your posts are having. It will have the additional benefit of adding personality or a face to your brand – something that’s notoriously been lacking in the B2B sector.

Digital channels can give you better client retention. Bain & Company have estimated that boosting client retention by only 5% can lead to an increase in profits anywhere from 25-95%. These are huge margins and effectively marketing on digital channels can help to achieve this. Early phase contact is key here as they would have just brought into your brand so will be receptive to your content. Immediately engaging them, as well as, continuing to give them relevant and personal content will help to keep your clients and boost your profits.

Here, there is a wealth of untapped resources for B2B marketing which some brands are only starting to use. Breaking away from the old way of sales will allow you to reach a larger audience by putting in less money and booting your retention rate.

 

 

Whatever sector you work in, you will want your website and brand to attract potential customers and clients away from your competitors and towards your own business. Looking at their web presence is a great way to ensure that they are not leaving you behind and can help you identify areas where you are doing well, and where you’re possibly behind.

Here are five great tools for spying on your competition:

Google Keyword Planner

Google Keyword Planner is one of the most widely used tools in a marketer’s arsenal and one whose functionality in monitoring competition means it cannot be left form this list.

Google Keyword Planner will allow you to check how many people are searching for various terms related to your business. Think: A fruit snack brand looking into how many people are searching for ‘Healthy snacks UK’.

This will give you valuable insight into popular searched terms that your competition is not using which you could use. It will also allow you to identify the key words which you are willing to compete with your rival businesses for.

Majestic

Majestic is a powerful tool for monitoring the number of backlinks which lead to a website. In general, the more backlinks you have leading to your page, the higher you will appear on search engine results (but, as always, there are other factors at play!)

Majestic offers a free search, but a paid subscription is available if you want to examine more data. The free option gives you a very good overview though. Simply copy your competitor’s website’s URL into the search bar, and you will be given the number of backlinks currently leading to their site.

Having an idea of your competitor’s link profile will allow you to identify whether you need to work on link building to attract more traffic to your page. It also gives you a list of links you should try and copy, does it get any easier?

SEMrush

If you want to dive deeper down the rabbit hole, SEMrush may be for you. As well as supplying backlink data, SEMrush will give you an insight into the traffic going to your competitors site and the organic keywords which lead visitors there.

All you will need to do is paste their URL into the search bar and SEMrush will return the results. It will allow you ten free searches before requiring you to pay so, if you are not interested in using it long-term, use your free searches wisely!

SEMrush is an immensely powerful tool. By identifying the keywords that produce traffic on your competitor’s site, you can optimise your site to appear on searches of these keywords to try and steal their traffic. Alternatively, you can decide to stay clear of keywords/traffic sources you’re happy to concede. Up to you!

BuzzSumo

Instead of searching for individual URLs, BuzzSumo allows you to enter the domain of your competitor. It lists the top posts on that site and will show their engagement.

There is a free option but the information it will give you is limited. You can sign up for a free trial which will give you access to additional data such as social media users who have shared your competitor’s content.

The real value of BuzzSumo is that, if you create valuable content, it allows you to identify people to reach out to who may share that content with their followers. If they have a history of sharing similar pieces from your competitor, it is likely that they will have no problem in sharing yours too, increasing the number of people your content reaches. Win.

Hootsuite

BuzzSumo allows you to trace some social media interaction with your competitor’s site but not to the same extent as Hootsuite which is able to track over 35 social networks.

Simply identify your competitor and bring up their social media streams on the Hootsuite dashboard and it will collect the data for you. Although it’s not free to use, there is a 30-day free trial available. No rest for the wicked in the world of squashing competitors.

The true power of this is that it prevents you having to monitor the individual social media streams of your competitors by uniting them into one dashboard, saving you time and allowing you to easily follow their activity. You can even track keywords and hashtags to keep an eye on all their social media engagement.

We’ll stop there, you’ve got some snooping to do. Good luck!

When was the last time you searched for something on Bing? Yes, it’s been a while for us too (never).

Well, Bing remains the default search engine on all newer Windows OS computers, tablets and devices and, as such, is used by millions daily. Brands and local businesses would be foolish to miss out on these potential clients/customers. However small…

Bing’s Places for Business feature – largely analogous to Google’s My Business – is not be smirked at. Signing up is as easy as 1-2-3:

  1. More often than not, Bing will already have some details for your business. All you need to do is fill out your phone number or business name and location. If they’ve got you in the system, you’ll be asked to moderate the information. If not, just manually add your business via ‘Add New Business’.
  2. Once you’ve claimed your business, you’ll be presented with a range of drop-down menus. Bing advises being as ‘complete’ as possible when it comes to info, so fill out as much as possible: details, contact info, photos, services offered, etc.
  3. Verifying your business is super simple. Bing will send out a personalised PIN via post, phone or email. Of course, it’s far quicker to use the phone or email verification, the postal option however only takes 3-5 days – not too bad.

Boom! You’re on Bing Places! Still wondering why on Earth you should be bothering with Bing? Here’s a few factors to consider:

Cost

More than anything, your business is showcased to online customers at no cost. All it requires is your time to set it up.

Reach

As alluded to above, Bing is still the first port of call for certain internet users. Although market share figures do fluctuate depending on where you’re looking, Statista places Bing’s share at 12.1% in July 2018.

SEO

We’ll be honest, this one’s a deal breaker. Listing your business on Bing Places will help your Google ranking. Google, in all its omniscient majesty, looks far beyond its own borders when ranking sites. Although Bing may provide little to no traffic to your site, getting listed on Bing Places will boost your local search performance on Google – and that’s key.

Analytics

If you’re already sold on setting up your Bing Places listing and forgetting about it instantly, that’s cool with us. Dare you dig a little deeper, Bing offers some robust analytical functionality. For example: Bing provides you with useful snapshots of your local search performance in comparison to your competitors.

Bing’s Places for Business hardly reinvents the wheel of local search, but it’s worth ticking off as part of your SEO activity. Check it out.

Social media has become an undeniable integral part of modern life. We use it for everything – EVERYTHING – including recruitment. Here’s why:

Company culture

Posting about your company’s events, culture and staff can really enhance the way your brand is perceived, and often make it more appealing to potential candidates. Anything from an office-organised charity run to your Friday afternoon drinks! Showcasing a different side of your brand can be extremely effective as part of an online recruitment process. Make it a place people will want to work in.

Passive candidates

Passive candidates are those who are not actively looking for a job. They could even already be employed- but they may be open to change, if the right opportunity comes along. By posting job opportunities on your brand’s social media channels you may advertise for an opportunity that’s perfect for one of these passive candidates.

Cost effective

By not having to pay for a ‘middle man’ to do the recruiting for your brand, you can save a significant amount of money. You also get to use social networks, which are free and easy to manage, rather than other recruitment websites, such as job-hunting platforms.

Any case studies?

Deloitte: they created a separate website for recruitment and linked their social media platforms to it. Twitter was used for job vacancy alerts, Facebook as a scouting mechanism for potential candidates and sharing interesting information, that built a relationship between the company and its followers; LinkedIn was used to recruit more experienced candidates, whilst YouTube was used to showcase their staff and testimonials. This multi-channel strategy allowed for Deloitte to target a much larger demographic other than active job seekers only, whilst nurturing their relationships with their followers.

This was incredibly efficient: after this social media strategy was implemented, Deloitte’s recruitment website traffic went up by 234%. Numbers don’t lie – what are you waiting for?

As of June 2018, Google’s Chrome had a 58.94% global market share of the browser game.

This got us thinking:

What Chrome plugins would we struggle to live without?

Following some ‘healthy’ debate, we put together a shortlist of sorts. The A-Team. Check them out:

PIXEL HELPER

Facebook’s Pixel Helper is an essential tool in any self-respecting digital marketeer’s arsenal. With this tool, all potential issues relating to a site’s Facebook Pixel are monitored and, if needed, flagged… in real time no less.

WHATFONT

Everyone loves a bit of typeface inspiration (read: theft) No shame in casting a wide net of influences. WhatFont has your back. Everything from Helvetica to the informal classic Comic Sans…

MOVE IT

Not one for the faint hearted. Making long days stuck at the desk a thing of the past and get your office in shape with Move It. Regular notifications reminding you to get up and move about a little. Legs feeling a little numb? Climb a ladder on the spot for 10. Can’t think of anything worse? Well, not for everyone we guess.

TAG MANAGER

Crashing back down to earth with Google’s Tag Manager at #4. Most digital marketing professionals have had a long day spent in front of Analytics/AdWords at some point. It can leave you wanting to chuck your laptop out of the window. Tag Manager keeps tabs on your Google tags, so you don’t have to!

EYE DROPPER

Another one for the designers here. Loving a certain shade? Nail your colours with Eye Dropper. It works on any web page, just click and drop. Coca Cola? #f40009. Scottish flag? #0065bd. Terrier Agency? #ff6820, of course.

Make your Chrome browser work for you with these handy plugins. You’re the boss after all…

We’ll cut to the chase. Boosting on-site conversions can sometimes seem like an uphill struggle. It doesn’t have to be. Check out our top fifteen tips:

Include as few fields as possible on forms

Always ask for as little information as possible in any email/sign-up forms. Form fields have an impact on lead generation. In fact, one additional form field decreases conversions by 11 percent.

Add a guarantee

If you want to increase conversions, you should include a refund policy on your product page. Your customers will more likely trust you and purchase your products. Adding a guarantee reduces risk and in turn, can increase sales.

Use testimonials

Testimonials help your customers feel comfortable with your brand. It increases your credibility and portrays your business in a positive light. It can motivate people to invest their time in your brand, which can lead to more conversions.

Pay careful attention to your headline

Your headline is the touchpoint of your webpage, so it needs to be compelling. Spend time brainstorming headlines and pick the one that stands out.

Keep conversion elements above the fold

If you want to see the best results, place opt-in boxes and other conversion elements above the fold. Content that appears above the fold is what users will see when they first load the page. Above the fold has long been the holy grail of web design, as it entices people to take action.

Incorporate strong calls to action (CTAs) into every piece of content on your site

Having a clear call to action is an essential part of your content. You need to tell your users exactly what to do next once they finish consuming your content. Whether it’s asking visitors to fill out a form or click a button, CTAs are an effective way of boosting conversions.

Recommend related products

You should add a section on your product pages with links to related products. This will keep visitors on your site and help improve sales. It’s an effective method of cross-selling to show your customers other products.

Include stock numbers

Always include the number of remaining stock with your product descriptions. It can lead to greater conversions because your customers will know they may not have long left before the product becomes out of stock. It’s an effective way to urge your customers to convert.

Give your visitors tunnel vision

Make sure your landing page is clutter-free. Remove any potential distractions, like sidebars and other CTAs. Your landing page should be about getting your visitors to take a specific action. When someone comes to your site, they should have immediate clarity of its purpose.

Use live chat

Integrate a live chat tool to help customers with any concerns they have. This strategy can keep visitors engaged and help build a strong customer-brand relationship. Live chat can deliver excellent customer service and drive sales.

Offer various payment options

To keep every customer happy, offer a number of payment methods. This will satisfy the preference of all your potential customers, and decrease the chances of them clicking away. Also, you could take a look at your target audience to see which payment option they prefer.

A/B split testing

Running an A/B split test compares web pages against each other in order to collect data. The said data can be used to measure the impact your marketing is making. You should perform A/B testing on your entire platform. It can help you understand where to make changes to help you achieve your conversion goals.

Increase trust

There are many ways you can build trust on your website to drive conversions. First of all, you need to make sure your website is secure on every page. Switch to HTTPS to provide a secure environment for your customers. Make sure you humanise your company and show customers the real people behind the brand. Find ways to build trust through your brand’s identity and always highlight your authority wherever you can.

Retargeting

Only 2% of online shoppers will buy an item the first time they visit a site. If you want to drive visitors back to your site, you need to set up retargeting. It can help improve your conversion rates drastically. Retargeting can help you win customers over, because you’ll target them with relevant content. Relevancy = higher conversions.

Don’t require registration to buy. Allow guest checkouts

Skip the registrations. If you’ve managed to get the customer to the checkout page, why force users to go through a tedious registration process? It’s a barrier you can avoid by offering guest checkouts. No one wants to create yet another account so keep it simple and use guest checkouts.

See, nothing too taxing – right?

Writing effective PPC ads is no easy task. It’s easy to get lost in the noise. The good news: You don’t have to be a world-class copywriter to produce quality ad text, it just requires a little creativity (and a little time). Your PPC copy must be efficient, clear and vivid. Quick, high-impact writing that drives click-throughs and generates leads. Here’s five tricks to crack PPC.

Specificity

With such a limited amount of characters, you don’t have enough space to be descriptive for description’s sake (see: waffle). When writing PPC ads, you need to get straight to the point. So, don’t mince your words. Keyword research is essential – make your word choices work for you by drawing on search volumes and commonplace phrases.

Headline power

First impressions count. Headlines are the first and most essential elements in any PPC ads. Primarily, people search for answers on Google so make sure your headline directly address a problem. In doubt? Use the keyword itself in the title. If you sell statement hats and are running PPC ads around those terms, ‘Statement Hats’ isn’t the worst headline in the world. Remember: Keep it simple (stupid) and avoid making your prospective customers guess what you sell.

Remarkability

You need to put your unique selling proposition front and centre. In your ad copy, you must demonstrate why your prospective customers can benefit from visiting your site/buying your products. However, it’s important to be honest about how distinctive your USP really is. Repetitive, run of the mill claims of uniqueness do more damage than good.

Read, read, read again

A typo or missing comma can spell disaster. If you double-check blog posts before uploading, you need to ten-check PPC ads. PPC ads are short and sweet, there’s nowhere to hide. This point is best explained with a hypothetical example. Imagine a private health insurance firm, trying to highlight their wide range of plans perfect for everyone, whatever stage of life they’re at:

Disabled elderly children? Commas are vital when making distinctions.

CTA

A call-to-action (CTA) is your final opportunity to persuade a customer to click on your ad. Whilst it’s important to be clear, avoid pushy or generic CTA copy that prospects will skim over – Buy Now, for example. For example, if you offer a trial to new customers ‘Free Trial’ may prove a far more effective call-to-action than ‘Find Out More’. The key is to try different CTAs and monitor their effectiveness. Conversion per Impression is an incredibly powerful metric, allowing you to determine the specific impact of a CTA on gross number of leads, or sales.

PPC ads are an incredibly efficient and effective form of digital advertising that every brand should consider. The tight word counts may seem intimidating at first, but learn to love this compact artform and you’ll be on to a winner.


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