Think Content strategy is only for large agencies?Think again!

Content Strategy

Image credits Flickr:pshutterbug: It’s about rules and strategy


I know its one of those buzz phrases which is chucked around all over the web, but this week I want to examine content strategy, what it is and why its important? If you are to maintain any sort of web presence, your content strategy needs to be considered, a website would certainly qualify for this. Firstly we need to examine what exactly is content strategy?

What is content strategy?

The website offers a concise definition of content strategy ‘The goal of content strategy is to create meaningful, cohesive, engaging, and sustainable content’ (

The Content Strategy Consortium define Content Strategy thus

Content strategy is the practise of planning for the creation, delivery, and governance of useful, usable content” (quoted from Content Strategy at Work)

In her book Content strategy for the web Kristina Halvorson offers the following definition of content strategy as

“how you’re going to use content to meet your business (or project) goals and satisfy your users’ needs.”
Rahel Baillie’s definition adds a bit more substance as to exactly what a content strategy is

Content strategy deals with the planning aspects of managing content throughout its lifecycle, and includes aligning content to business goals, analysis, and modelling, and influences the development, production, presentation, evaluation, measurement, and sunsetting of content, including governance.Rahel Baillie:Content Strategy: Connecting the Dots Between Business, Brand, and Benefits(2012)

Why is content strategy important?

The keywords for me are in the Content strategy consortium definition ‘useful, usable content’ rather than waste time, money and resources creating poor quality content which is not fit for purpose, A content strategy enables you to set the goals for your content marketing and realistic viable plans for producing the content.

Does a small business need to bother with things like content strategy?

Emphatically YES! Content strategy is not something that need only concern large outfits and agencies, resources are often tight in SMEs,I especially find time to be the most pressing constraint, a content strategy enables time and resources to be efficiently allocated

Benefits of a content strategy

Content strategy offers benefits in addition to planning and resources, improving the overall quality of website content by ensuring that content is useful and cohesive, so no poor quality content slips through the net, this can be verified by content audits which I examined last week, as content maintenance is part of a content strategy there’s no excuse for inferior quality content being present

Parting thoughts

Content strategy is not something which need only concern large companies and agencies, it prevents content being developed in a haphazard manner and ensures content is properly planned with resources being allocated accordingly with priorities being planned which is very relevant given the pivotal role of website content in search engine rankings and performance something which many small businesses take very seriously indeed, you cannot afford to waste time and money developing content which is not fit for purpose. In conclusion content strategy adds to a more cohesive use of content, better quality content will make a good impression on website visitors. Useful content, which answers their questions, can only benefit their impression of your company.
Personally I feel that Margot Blumstein’s definition of content strategy sums up the aims of content strategy perfectly in a succinct manner

How do you make smart choices to ensure the content types, tone, and media in an experience support that experience in a way that’s appropriate to the brand and useful to its audience?Margot Bloomstein: content strategy at work(2012)

it is imperative that content serves the needs of your audience, otherwise it is useless.

Bibliography/Further reading

  1. Content Strategy Basics
  2. content strategy at work, Margot Bloomstein (2012)
  3. Content Strategy for the web(voices that matter),Kristina Halvorson & Melissa Rach (2012)
  4. 10 Definitions of Content strategy
By |November 20th, 2015|Content|0 Comments

Content Audits, how you can get started on the right track

Content Audits

Content auditing may not be the most exciting part of your content program this doesn’t detract from its importance. Knowing exactly what content your website contains allows resources to be allocated effectively, in addition to this it enables the quality of your website content to be analysed and adjusted accordingly giving you the opportunity to focus on the areas which require improvement. Content expert Kristina Halvorson suggests a number of benefits offered by auditing a website’s content such as

  • Help you to scope and budget for a content project
  • Give you a clear understanding of what you have and where it lives, even if only to being thinking about maintenance or content removal
  • Serve as a reference for source (or existing) content during content development, making it a highly efficient tool for writers and other content creators to keep track of what they have to work with

Kristina Halvorson and Melissa Rach: Content Strategy for the web(2012) suggest further advantages which are detailed below, the difference in the advantages is due to the different focus of Ms Halvorson who is a content strategist and which is a SEO based website and service.

  • Determine the most effective way to escape a Panda penalty
  • Determine which pages need copywriting / editing
  • Determine which pages need to be updated and made more current, and prioritize them
  • Determine which pages should be consolidated due to overlapping topics
  • Determine which pages should be pruned off the site, and what the approach to pruning should be
  • Prioritize content based on a variety of metrics (e.g. visits, conversions, PA, copyscape risk score…)
  • Find content gap opportunities to drive content ideation and editorial calendars
  • Determine which pages are ranking for which keywords
  • Determine which pages “should” be ranking for which keywords
  • Find the strongest pages on a domain and develop a strategy to leverage them
  • Uncover content marketing opportunities
  • Auditing and creating an inventory of content assets when buying/selling a website
  • Understanding the content assets of a new client (i.e. what you have to work with)

Different Types of audit

Halvorson identifies a range of different audits some of which have a complementary role to play in the detailed auditing of your website’s content. These are as follows:

Quantitative Audit

Quantitative content inventories are a comprehensive top to bottom records of all the content in your website. Automation has a role to play in the creation of Content Inventories, as this could be a very long winded process otherwise, a quantitative audit is used to get an idea of what content is present on your website determining whether it is fit for purpose is the role of the other type of audit, the qualitative audit.

Qualitative audit

Qualitative audits are used to examine the quality of your website content, is it good enough to use or will further effort be required to bring it upto scratch? The Qualitative audit will highlight content which requires removing from the website. This should be part of your on-going content maintenance efforts.

Parting thoughts

I’ve already started auditing the content of this website and the initial quantitative audits have highlighted relatively minor issues (both of which are now rectified), as a website evolves its easy for content to fall out of date or by the wayside, I’m confident the qualitative phase will highlight content which doesn’t make the grade, My intention is replicate the 4 grades of content which use when reviewing their content which are “Keep As-Is”, “Remove”, “Improve”, or “Consolidate”, this will enable the quality of content to be maintained and where necessary improved. Furthermore the content audit is the starting point of developing a cohesive and realistic content strategy which is what I will be examining with next weeks post.

Bibliography/Further Reading

  1. Content Strategy for the Web (Voices That Matter):Kristina Halvorson and Melissa Rach New Riders 2012
  2. How to do a content audit
  3. Qualitative or quantitative: which one do you need?
By |November 13th, 2015|Content, SEO|Comments Off on Content Audits, how you can get started on the right track

Effectively implement your content strategy with the Content Lifecycle

Anne Rockley’s Content Lifecycle: original vector courtesy Designed by Freepik


This week’s post will introduce a concept which relates to how content is utilised on your website that of the content lifecycle. The Content Lifecycle ensures that content is created in an organised and predictable fashion. Content Expert Anne Rockley suggests that

‘Content moves through various phases of development such as creation, review, management and delivery’Anne Rockley: Managing Enterprise Content: A Unified Content Strategy’(2002)

Content Lifecycle and Content Strategy

Content Lifecycle is not the same as Content Strategy, although they are related. Content strategy has some influence on the Content Lifecycle. Content strategy maps the direction; the Content lifecycle provides a map for getting where your content needs to go. A lifecycle helps to maximise ROI from your companies content.

Benefits of a Content Lifecycle

Having a defined content lifecycle helps to bring a degree of organisation to your companies content efforts, essential if resources are to be allocated efficiently, ensuring that content is supported to borrow a metaphor ‘from cradle to grave’.

There are a number of different content lifecycles. Rather than go through them all which would be pretty tedious, I’ll examine two of the more established lifecycles that proposed by Anne Rockley and the lifecyle proposed by Erin Scime
Erin Scime Lifecycle

Erin Scime’s Content Lifecycle: original artwork courtesy

Erine Scime Lifecycle

Erine Scime’s Lifecycle consists of 5 major stages these are as follows

  • Audit and Analysis: Content stakeholder interviews, competitive analysis, objective analysis and evaluation of the content environment (site, partner content, sister, parent sites)
  • Strategy: Determine topical ownership areas, taxonomy, process/ workflow for content production, sourcing plan, voice and brand definition
  • Plan: Staffing recommendations, content management system customization, metadata plan, communications plan, migration plan
  • Create: Writing content, asset production, governance model, search engine optimization, quality assurance
  • Maintain: Plan for periodic auditing, advise the client, determine targets for success measures.

Anne Rockley Lifecycle

In Contrast Anne Rockley’s content lifecycle, which is detailed in her book ‘Managing Enterprise Content: A Unified Content Strategy’(2002)

Consists of 4 stages although she suggests there may be some fluidity with regards to naming of the phases and the phases she identifies may be known by different names elsewhere. The four phases Rockley identifies are as follows:

  • Create
  • Review
  • Manage
  • Deliver

    Rockley’s book and lifecycle are geared more towards large organisations and for that reason I believe Erine Scime’s lifecycle is more appropriate for small businesses

    Parting Thoughts

    Content Lifecycles help to ensure that new Content is added to your site in an organised fashion, Content is too important an element of the inbound marketing mix to add to the site in a haphazard fashion. I’m determined to make sure that my website is full of great quality content and a formalised lifecycle will enable me to initiate continual improvement in the niche which my website covers. My intention is to have a narrow focus on all aspects of digital marketing.

By |November 6th, 2015|Content|Comments Off on Effectively implement your content strategy with the Content Lifecycle

Fine tune your content by understanding the different types of search query


(Image credits:

Search Queries fall within three main categories. These are as follows

  • Transactional Queries
  • Navigational Searches
  • Informational Searches

If we can understand how searchers use Search engines then it should be possible to build websites, which enable them to satisfy their informational needs.

Navigational Searches

Navigational searches are where web searchers are looking for a particular website, “Facebook” and “You tube” are both navigational searches (incidentally they are the top two searches on Google ( these are good examples of navigational suggest that ‘Navigational searching seeks to locate a specific web site’( On a more everyday level searching for a particular company name in the hopes their website will be revealed is an example of a navigational search. Research has shown that around 10 -15% of searches are navigational in nature.

What can I do about Navigational Searches? suggest that ‘The fact is, you don’t stand much of a chance targeting a navigational query unless you happen to own the site that the person is looking for’( this limits the options available for website owners

Informational Searches

When searchers are looking for facts and answers to questions this is known as an informational search. Research has shown that 50-80% of searches are informational in nature (

How can I target Informational Searches? argue that The best way to target informational searches is with high-quality SEO content that genuinely provides helpful information relevant to the suggest two broad categories of informational content, “time limited” and “evergreen” content, websites will derive more benefits from the latter type of content which doesn’t go out of date however they warn that evergreen how to type content has

unfortunately earned a bad reputation due to sites like ehow and wikianswers, where you are as likely to find content on how to tie a shoe (not particularly useful) as you are on how to tune a guitar (useful). If a how-to is useful, then by all means, you should write it and include it on your

Transactional Searches

Transactional searches are where a searcher is intent on making a purchasing decision ‘Apple iPhone 4s’ would be an example of a transactional search as would ‘takeaway pizza Lancaster’ many local searches are transactional in nature.

How can I target Transactional searches?

Wordstream recommend using Pay per click to complement organic search results arguing that with sponsored as transactional searches are generally near the bottom of the sales funnel targeting these type of queries will deliver ROI results already taking up a sizeable chunk of ‘above the fold’ content on search engine results pages (SERP),PPC would be an effective way of ensuring that your site ranks for this type of query.

Parting thoughts

The types of search query customers use changes during the customer journey or depending on their position within the sales funnel. A potential customer will have different questions and information requirements from a repeat customer it’s the job of your website to support customers with their questions during the buying process or at what describe as touchpoints. Providing a range of relevant and useful content is the best way to do this.

By |October 23rd, 2015|Content, SEO|Comments Off on Fine tune your content by understanding the different types of search query

Add extra authority with social Proof

social proof

Image Credit (Flickr: Alexandre Duret-Lutz)

This weeks post will examine Social Proof it is related to the topic I initially planned to cover that of authority it is an important subject for those marketing on the Internet and using Social media to support that marketing

What is Social Proof?

When we are confronted by an unfamiliar situation we examine the actions of others to determine the proper behaviour expected of us the British we have a well known tendency for forming queues we’ll use Social proof to ascertain where we should queue i.e. by the guide rope near the nightclub door, and is queuing actually necessary? The use of social proof extends online to actions such as social media shares case studies, testimonials and reviews it is related to authority, Social proof can be utilised to influence people’s purchasing decisions which is what as marketers really interests us.

Types of Social Proof

5 types of social proof are commonly cited these being

‘Approval from a credible expert, such as an industry blogger or other
Approval or endorsements from celebrities, especially those that are unpaid
User Social Proof
Approval from current users of the product/service, such as customer testimonials, case studies, and reviews
Wisdom of the crowd
Approval from large groups of other people, ie 5 million people cannot be wrong use our widget!
Wisdom of friends
Approval from your friends or people you know, family would fall in this category

The categories and descriptions in the above list are courtesy of both TechCrunch and Hubspot.
I have no doubt you will be familiar with most of these types of social Proof especially the first two where Celebrities and experts are used to endorse products this will undoubtedly influence some people to purchase said product. Personally I tend to relying mainly on the wisdom of friends and to a lesser extent the wisdom of crowds for opinion on purchases. If I am buying a widget I will talk to friends who I know to be widget experts and ask their opinion, where such expertise is unavailable I will examine reviews on both the British and American Amazon websites, that is how I personally gather information for purchasing decisions, using specialist publications to find reviews to complete the process if you like that’s my typical buyers journey and how I use social prof to reinforce decisions.

Online Social Proof

Online people look for forms of social proof however they take slightly different forms, an article which is widely shared would be regarded as having social proof likewise a twitter or You tube account with a large number of followers. On reflection I suppose that social proof is related to the concept of critical mass, people do join Social Networks if most of their friends & acquaintances are using the network, Critical Mass is the number beyond which people will join your social network on their own accord, in a similar way Google plus failed to take off in the UK at least so lack of social proof may put people off an action.

Definition: Critical mass is a sufficient number of adopters of an innovation in a social system so that the rate of adoption becomes self-sustaining and creates further

Parting thoughts

Social proof is a factor well worth considering when considering your online marketing efforts, utilised correctly it can be used to give your marketing more impact ands to give you more authority, which is always desirable online.

By |September 25th, 2015|Content, SME Online Marketing, Social Media|Comments Off on Add extra authority with social Proof

Why Visual Content is so important for on-line marketers

visual communication

Image Source Flickr:jamjar

This week I’ll return to an important topic I’ve covered previously the use of visual content in social media and content marketing

What exactly is Visual Content?

This may seem a rather basic question, but things such as photographs, illustrations and graphics count as visual content in addition content such as video and presentations/slideshows are categorised as visual content, this is a constantly developing field with the widespread adoption of HTML 5 Leading to the current trend of animated infographics as animated .gifs are supported by both twitter and now Facebook this is a trend I can see continuing to develop further, I personally find them very useful and informative (yeah, I’m a geek)

A Picture tells thousand words

The above truism (or banality if you like) is the main advantage of visual content in the attention starved world on the internet you only have seconds to grab the attention of site visitors or social media followers, The brain processes images 60,000 times more quickly than text, well chosen (more on that later) visuals enable the marketer to do that, they can also be used to convey emotion

Further advantages of Visual Content

Being rapidly understood is not the only advantage of visual content there is a number of additional benefits ‘ll attempt to introduce some of them here:


Visual content uses design to present information in a format that is stimulating, attractive and engaging. This makes it easier to synthesize and piques interest immediately. In short, visual content grabs your audience’s attention.

Readily Shareable

Visual content is easily shareable on social media, with memes being the perfect example of this type of content, for this reason good visual content is a great way to raise your brand’s profile. Wikipedia offers the following definition of Internet Memes

An Internet meme (/ˈmiːm/ MEEM) is an activity, concept, catchphrase or piece of media which spreads, often as mimicry, from person to person via the Internet. Some notable examples include posting a photo of people lying down in public places (called “planking”) and uploading a short video of people dancing to the Harlem

If you’ve spent any length of time on social media you will have encountered memes even though you may have not been aware of the definition.


Visual Content is a great way to convey emotion either through the use of colour or imagery. Carefully chosen imagery can be used to provoke an emotional response be it happiness or trust. Conversely poorly chosen imagery can provoke a negative response, this is where stock imagery can often fall flat although beautifully photographed it looks inauthentic and staged, in my opinion this is a common problem with stock imagery it can be spotted a mile away and looks pretty corny

Parting thoughts

Visual Content is one of THE most effective ways to give your online marketing more impact and vigour, the rise of social networks such as Pinterest & Instagram shows that it’s a form of content, which has wide appeal, as with all content it can work both ways if your choice of visual content is misadvised it risks

By |September 18th, 2015|Content, Social Media|Comments Off on Why Visual Content is so important for on-line marketers

Brand Voice will enable you to take your content & Social Media to the next level


Image Flickr:Jae Storer


I’ve mentioned before that I believe that Authenticity lies at the heart of great content and social media it’s an element of this I wish to examine with this weeks Blog post that of Brand Voice. The reason I’m discussing this topic is I find it hard crafting calls to action designed to suit a British audience, I suppose an understated type of British Call to action would be appropriate, why not try our they are really rather good, would be fine, mind that Cranks Britishness up to 11 and its in danger of being included in Downton Abbey but on reflection the approach is fitting. If you are serious about Branding, the Brand voice and persona are important considerations.

tone, voice and persona

There’s some confusion between the terminologies I’m using here, I want to use this section to clarify the differences as the following terms are sometimes used interchangeably


Stephanie Schwab defines tone thus

Tone is the underlying vibe that emanates from your brand’s communications. This is where you establish your credibility; place your brand in the past, present or future; and subtly alert fans and followers whether your brand is going to be wide-open or a bit more buttoned up


Buffer app define voice as

“Your brand personality described in an adjective. For instance, brands can be lively, positive, cynical, or professional.” I find this is where some of the confusion creeps in. Julie Wildhaber at suggests that

You could consider tone a subset of voice. If voice is the personality of a story, then tone is the mood.

The Difference between Tone and Voice

I like the way that Charisa Weaks clarified the difference using dictionary definitions however I’ll use a different dictionary Chambers UK , a method I’ll copy here

a quality or character of the voice expressing a particular feeling or mood

For example you could write in a sarcastic tone where I much prefer to use a helpful tone on this website and a playful/friendly one on social media

expression in the form of spoken(or written-Carl) words gave voice to their feelings

Wheaton College provide a helpful explanation of the difference, the voice is what makes communication uniquely yours a stylist fingerprint if you like

Anything you write should still have your voice: something that makes your writing sound uniquely like you. A personal conversation with a friend differs from a speech given to a large group of strangers. Just as you speak to different people in different ways yet remain yourself, so the tone of your writing can vary with the situation while the voice — the essential, individual thoughts and expression — is still your own.


Persona is a fairly similar concept, which Ms Schwab defines thus, this is a different meaning of the term persona to the usual on employed with social media and content marketing

This is the starting point for the development or furthering of your brand voice: Who does your brand sound like? In order to determine this, you may need to first determine who your customers are, so you can assume a persona for the brand that will resonate with your primary target audience.

Parting Thoughts

The key words here are ‘will resonate with your primary target audience’ get the brands voice wrong and you risk alienating your audience, which is not a good idea. Like authenticity Brand voice is a topic I feel quite strongly about, content and communication without voice is boring and bland at worst its like talking to a RSS feed (an approach some social media users adopt with lots of posts with scant interaction with other users, I’m not convinced about this approach with social media it may attract followers but does nothing for engagement which really is the whole point of social media if you ask me. Brand Voice is a vital consideration, a poor choice of voice will make my hackles rise I don’t know if this is just me being grumpy .Voice even extends to the choice of fonts, Colours and Imagery used

Poor choices make a poor impression

For a Curriculum Vitae Comic Sans would be deemed inappropriate choice of font, yes I appreciate that’s a heavy handed example but it illustrates the point there are even instances of Gravestones set in Comic Sans (no, I’m not joking) it shows how information delivered in the wrong voice can be jarring and make a bad overall impression, in this case not so much the deceased person but their friends &family!

By |September 11th, 2015|Content, SEO, SME Online Marketing, Social Media|Comments Off on Brand Voice will enable you to take your content & Social Media to the next level

Discover the Importance of context

Scarecrow Fox by David Wilcoxson: Sculpture In Context 2012 at the National Botanic Gardens by William Murphy (Source: Flickr)

Scarecrow Fox by David Wilcoxson: Sculpture In Context 2012 at the National Botanic Gardens by William Murphy (Source: Flickr)

This week’s post will introduce a concept I believe is of vital importance for those making use of social media or content marketing as part of their marketing mix

Defining Context

Chambers dictionary offers the following definition of context

context noun 1 the pieces of writing in a passage which surround a particular word, phrase, etc. and which contribute to the full meaning of the word, phrase, etc. in question. 2 circumstances, background or setting. contextualSource:

To simplify the concept context applies to the where, who and how of communication, where one is communication, who one is communicating with and how one is communicating, pictures of kittens etc. would be perfectly in context on a social media channel but would be woefully out of context on LinkedIn, when communication is out of context it jars and grates on people. Risqué jokes might be fine at the pub but they’d be badly out of place at a family gathering/christening, this toying with context is frequent source of humour in Best Man Jokes where risqué humour is concealed in ways which wont offend the easily shocked members of the wedding party

As Marketers why is this important to us?

In her whitepaper ‘Why Context is essential to Digital Marketing’ Rebecca Lieb argues that

The more marketing can be targeted in context, the better – and more relevant – the customer experience. Context means the right person receives the right message at the right time, but also in the right place, on the right platform and in the right language.(Source: Lieb 2014)

So context even plays a role in Search, for example I do a quick search for pizza I don’t want results in New York, Exeter or Chicago, I want the results for Morecambe and perhaps Lancaster in a format which is readily understood on my computer of choice (desktop or smartphone)

Parting thoughts

Context is what takes Content Marketing to the next level, as Rebecca Lieb notes it is growing in importance so its worth taking the time to understand this concept and to apply it to your own marketing, I hope I’ve explained the basics of context well with this post, Context complements content to ensure that customers & visitors to your site have the best possible experience when using your website, I’m inclined to agree with Kevin Jorgensen’s emphasis on the importance of personas here, the value of which is already well understood by professional content marketers, context uses a thorough if not complete understanding of your customers to provide an excellent service, if a website can be said to serve people. If context could be mapped to the position of customers within the sales funnel then it would completely transcend standard content marketing, the question has to be can smaller businesses leverage this technology & way of thinking, based on what I’ve researched this week, I’m starting to reappraise context in how people and companies utilize social media, think of it as another dimension of communication if content marketing is 2d communication, Context adds the 3rd dimension. Failing to appreciate this will lead to less effective communication.

By |August 28th, 2015|Content, SEO|Comments Off on Discover the Importance of context

Professionalism is not enough, great content requires more


(Photo credit:Flickr Alex)

This week’s blog post builds on a theme I’ve explored previously that of authenticity, it was inspired by an article by an Article by Brian Solis @briansolis he called the concept what do you stand for? or #WDYSF its all well and good me banging on about authenticity but there’s a real need to walk the authenticity walk BUT its quite a challenge for the time strapped smaller business to find and develop great /authentic content so much online content could disparagingly be described as content filler(i.e. I’ve got to have a 700 word blog post written by Friday ahh this’ll do) I’ll revisit my favourite definition of great content and adjust it accordingly to suit

What is authenticity?

Chambers Dictionary defines authenticity thus
authentic adj 1 genuine. 2 reliable; trustworthy; true to the original. authenticity noun.
I’ve been struck this week how many times I’ve felt the key point the author was making concerned authenticity, its made me revisit my whole approach to both social media and website content.

Why is authenticity so important?

Authenticity is not quite synonymous with quality it’s the difference between a fake insincere smile and a genuine one, easily spotted and importantit’s the lack of authenticity which makes an awful lot of stock photography look so cheesy and fake (I’ll admit here stock photography is a secret pleasure of mine, its also what makes a LOT of corporate social media appear so fake and insincere ’yeah you are using lots of stock kitten images but is it genuinely something you’re passionate about or are you just trying to look trendy this also applies to viral videos. I’m a stickler for authenticity where memes/viral videos are involved, the first Harlem shake video was ok but when marketing departments & social media teams started producing it the authenticity was lost and it rapidly became quite old/lame. Kim Garst (@kimgarst) has pinpointed passion as a component, which I think its completely correct her #beyou theme highlights the importance of authenticity, I wouldn’t describe it as the ‘secret sauce’ that’s the American way of describing it ands not a phrase Id use in day to day life(although due to my use of the web I encounter its frequently and it would be fake/insincere me utilising the phrase, this is what I mean about walking the walk.

Parting thoughts

Good content always has an objective, it is created with intent.”Anne Handley

The original meaning of the term amateur is connected to passion & love

784, “one who has a taste for (something),” from French amateur “lover of,” from Latin amatorem (nominative amator) “lover,” agent noun from amatus, past participle of amare “to love”(source:

its this passion which often makes content produced by amateurs so good even if there’s room for improvement in the writing/artwork/design writing/artwork/production values,I’m aware I’m possibly on thin ice here, promoting amateur values, but if the passion of the amateur can be combined with the production values & strategic insights of the professional you’ll have a winning combination that will differentiate your content & social interaction

By |August 21st, 2015|Content, SME Online Marketing, Social Media|Comments Off on Professionalism is not enough, great content requires more

Its time to beat procrastination


(image credit: Flickr MORT Radio)

procrastinate verb (procrastinated, procrastinating) intrans to put off doing something that should be done straight away, especially habitually or to an unspecified time(source:

Online Procrastination has been the bane of my self-employed life (and before if I’m being completely honest) the major culprits being my favourite football forum and Facebook, the latter I’d imagine is a problem for a lot of people (going my university laptops & library computers its an issue for a large number of students, in this weeks post I’ll examine ways to both monitor and defeat procrastination and hopefully ensure LOTs of productive work, so if space permits I’ll examine productivity boosting techniques(I think it will)

Why monitor procrastination?

Monitoring procrastination allows you to see the impact of procrastination on your working day & work rate It also enable you to identify which websites are the main culprits for wasted time, I find that my personal procrastination follows set patterns, I agree with Leo Babauta’s assertion that ‘procrastination is a habit’ it is by monitoring your procrastination you can take the steps to eliminate this bad habit


Rescuetime is the mainstay of my procrastination monitoring it provides a handy dashboard which shows where time goes, websites can be graded between very productive to very distracting it is also possible to block ‘very distracting’ websites if the rescuetime browser add-on is added to your browser, I use the premium service for £46 per year which gives access to more features than the free service which doesn’t allow the blocking of distracting websites (which was my primary reason for upgrading) this took a bit of tinkering to activate properly fortunately Firefox support is now far superior

Block those Distractions!

After Monitoring I’d identified my two major time sinks let’s call them, Facebook and football forum, my solution needed to block access to these distractions during work hours (lets say 9 – 5) I investigated a number of solutions for this from the draconian to the basically ineffective.

Working in the garden shed

This was the most draconian solution as there is no Internet connection in the shed I was free from online distractions, unfortunately I was unable to research and monitoring emails was problematic so I ditched this solution, although I did like working out there!

Internet Off

Less draconian but similar to the previous method for this solution I simply unplug my computer and use my phone to monitor social media and email, unfortunately it also limits my ability to research (which is a big part of my typical workday) I overcame this hurdle using Evernote premium (which allows me to clip webpages to my Evernote notebook and access them offline) a less than perfect solution but it helps productivity!


The next solution is similar to Internet off with the same advantages & disadvantages however rather than unplugging the internet, the cheap and easy solution software is used to achieve the same goal (ie preventing internet access) it is only available for the Mac and costs $10 from which conveniently leads us onto my favourite productivity boosting piece of kit the truly fantastic anti social

Anti Social

This is a fantastic piece of software which can block access to selected websites, like Freedom it is produced by 80 per cent solutions, this is a more elegant solution than either Freedom or unplugging the internet which allows you to both research and monitor email, at the time of writing this is my preferred solution, it is available for both Mac & PC

Productivity is never an accident. It is always the result of a commitment to excellence, intelligent planning, and focused effort. Paul J Meyer (source:brainyquote)

Planning & Productivity

The other way to minimise/eliminate procrastination is through Workflow & scheduling, productivity techniques can be used to further improve performance.


Scheduling means that I have a general idea of the goals/aims for a set block of time be it a day or week. This means I develop to-do lists or the equivalent on my planning software; these are developed the night before so I have clear targets for the next days work

The journey of 1000 miles begins with a single step

I find the best way to approach writing is to develop a framework for any piece of writing I need to undertake from blog post to eBook, this ensures that there writing is structured and broken down into smaller bite size chunks (typically of about 100 words each), this approach makes writing a LOT less daunting, it can also be applied to other tasks such as creating new websites

Productivity Techniques

My preferred method is a combination of David Allen’s Get things done method where focussing on one task at a time is encouraged, and the pomodoro technique

Pomodoro technique

I don’t want to go overboard describing as there’s plenty of websites that do a good job of this already (see further reading at end), I can provide a broad overview of how it works

Pomodoro Basics

In the Pomodoro technique the day is broken down into 25-minute periods known as pomodoros, after each pomodoro a 5 minute break is encouraged, then after 4 pomodoros a longer 10-15 minute break is taken, the underlying belief here is that frequent breaks help to maintain a good level of productivity throughout the day

Parting thoughts

As I mentioned in the introduction, procrastination is THE major problem when developing new content its so easy to be distracted by the internet & web when researching, the efficient anti procrastination setup I’ve highlighted in this article its now easy for you to both research online & work more efficiently. If I’m now getting a score of 90%+ efficiency (on rescuetime) and less that 15 minutes wasted a day online that’s a level of efficiency I’m quite happy with

By |August 14th, 2015|Content|Comments Off on Its time to beat procrastination