What to prepare before launching a blog

Setting up a new blog and then regularly posting high quality content can be considered a journey, and if you are ready to embark, we would be happy to assist you in this exciting new endeavour. Blogs can help you earn money, from enjoying passive income, earning through affiliate programmes to monetizing ad space and selling your blog.

There are many ways to start a blog, but usually there are two kinds of bloggers – those who like to prepare everything in advance, and those who like to wing it, start blogging and then learn on the go. Whatever approach you choose will be up to you, but we are here to tell you what works.

First things first

Instead of yearning to blog without any goal in mind, we suggest you at least get a catchy title and then checking if the domain is still available. The hardest part about starting a blog is probably naming it. You would want to explain what you blog is about right there in the blog title, and that can be really hard. Especially if you already have a perfect name planned, and then realise that it’s already taken.

After finding a name and a domain, set up your social media accounts to match the blog name as well. Even if you don’t plan on using all social media channels, you never know which one you might use in the future. It’s better to set up an account and squat on it so that somebody else doesn’t steal it later.

Visual identity

Branding is important, and while you don’t need a professional website design from the start, it would be nice if you had a custom logo for your site. Scour freelancing platforms and hire a graphic designer with good reviews and portfolio to design your logo if you don’t or can’t do it yourself.

Paid or free?

If you want to test the WordPress platform and setup, you can use a WordPress.com that comes with free domain and is hosted by WordPress, but if you are serious about your blogging, we suggest you invest in a hosting package so that you have control over your domain and hosting. Free platform offers limited functionality and options, and you will have to pay to monetize your website, and until you do, WordPress will use your blog to place banners. These banner ads may not be relevant to your target audience, so it could put readers off.

Do your research

You should have a general idea about the topic of your blog before you get started, and chances are, somebody else is already blogging about the same topic. Do your research and find your direct competition so that you can analyse what they’re doing. If you notice areas where content or topics can be improved, use that knowledge when writing your next blog. Even though they are your competitors and you write about the same topics, you can have a totally different take or angle, and that is something that can set you apart.

When doing research be thorough, watch their tone, note their blogging intervals, what type of content they are writing, and what is the message.

Use your visual content

It is preferable that you invest in a stock photo subscription, or to use your own if you can. All trends indicate that video content will only get bigger, and with tech advancements and better camera phones every year, you have the equipment you need to take unique shots. After all, promoting your blog on social media networks will be much easier if you have original content.

Use tools like Canva to create unique visuals for your blog and social media posts.

Set your goals

Set short and long-term goals, and create a content plan and editorial calendar. Stick to the blogging routine, because publishing one article weekly and pausing for couple of months isn’t going to bring favourable results.

Moz has a distinctive format for their blog section, called Whiteboard Friday. You guessed right, there’s always a lecturer with a distinctive topic and he/she explains things written on a white board, every Friday. Try to find your own format that works for you and your readers.

But, be realistic, don’t expect that success will come over night. Blogging is hard work, and if you do it right, it can be really rewarding.

Prepare blog posts in advance before the launch

Have a certain amount of blog posts written so you can post them when you launch. You can even try to build awareness about your new blog on social media, and invite people to sign up via a landing page prior to your launch date. Research a couple of topics and prepare elaborate blog posts around them. Be sure to check your draft several times before publishing the final post! Spellchecker tools are available for free, and it wouldn’t hurt to copy and paste the last draft and catch a misspelled word with a bit of computer assistance.

Grow your email list

Once you have chosen your niche and have a couple of posts on your blog, you can create a free guide and offer it to people if they sign up to your email list. People like to get something in return – they are sharing their email with you after all – and they are inviting you to their inbox. Reward them by sharing your knowledge.

Common mistakes

It’s understandable that you are eager to start blogging and share your point of views, but any smart blogger will tell you that you need to listen first. You need to identify the trending topics, to find what people are searching for and then blog about that. Solve a problem or pain point. For example, we know that people who, like yourself, want to start a blog are interested in learning about setting it up, so we will blog about that and offer them a collection of helpful tips.

Blogging isn’t really just blurting out what’s on your mind – it’s having a carefully prepared strategy, researched topics based on trends and helping people solve their problems with your blog.


Our last piece of advice would be that you endure. Don’t give up, research, work on your blog, read up on various tactics and try different approaches to get more readers.

If you need help setting up a blog for your brand or coming up with a content strategy – get in touch with our team!

5 signs that your company website is due for a redesign

Why fix something that isn’t broken? Redesigning your website can seem like a daunting task and you need to ask yourself if it’s benefiting your company, or just bogging things down. Below we’ve listed some signs to be on the lookout for. If you notice these things, it might be time for a redesign.

Your website isn’t responsive

A big must-have these days is a responsive website. This means that all the elements of your website responds to the device its being viewed on, and still look great on a phone or tablet. Check the images, text, and navigation. Is the user experience still relatively easy? Mobile web browsing has been growing since 2009, and last year in 2016, it overtook desktop browsing for the first time.

A tool we’ve found helpful is Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test. To run this simple test, just plug in your URL, wait for it to run through your website, and voila – it will tell you if your website is mobile-friendly or not.

You should also consider Google’s ‘mobile-first’ indexing because the way your mobile website is created can affect how you appear in search results.

Looks outdated

Your website is your first impression in many cases. There’s nothing worse for a user than getting to a website and immediately being turned off by the unresponsive design and then hitting the back button to get away from it. This is what you need to consider if you might be feeling that your design is outdated.

81% of consumers research online before buying and 90% of your prospects will visit your website before calling your business.

Go ahead and look at your competitor’s websites. Are they crisp, clean, and fresh looking? If you feel like your competitors are hundreds of steps above you, it might be time to invest. The market is extremely saturated with hundreds of companies doing the same thing you’re doing – you need to find a way to stick out, or at least look more professional than others.

In addition to just the look and feel of your website, your content might be outdated. It wouldn’t hurt to take a fresh slate, clean up your content, and get everything nice and tidy, and organized for a new relaunch.

Hard to navigate – can’t find what they are looking for

User experience is all the rage these days. Having a clean and easy to navigate path throughout your website is critical. “If your target user can’t figure out your website in less than 20 seconds, they’re likely to search elsewhere. Imagine you were in the grocery store shopping for milk and couldn’t figure out where the dairy section was. You would leave feeling incredibly frustrated and probably never return.”

Visitors want to quickly find the information they are looking for. When you’re looking at your website, try to do it from the perspective of someone who has no idea what your company does. What would I want to know? Where would I look for it? Is it on the Home page, or do I need to navigate to another page? Don’t over complicate the navigation – simplicity is key.

Lacking SEO (Search Engine Optimization)

SEO is another biggy. Did you know? Only 6% of people who search for something on Google make it past the first page of results. I believe that alone shows how important it is to get your website ranking as high as possible on search engine result pages.

Since Google keeps updating their algorithm, they recommend in their SEO starter guide to improve the structure of your URLs so that they convey more content information. This allows for search engines to better crawl your pages to pull content for users.

Make sure you keep away from these common mistakes, and you should be alright!

You’re not seeing business results

At the very least, your website should be bringing in leads. Hopefully you’re getting sales too, but some sort of conversion is important. Does your website contribute to your business goals? If you have key metrics in mind, it will be easier to redesign your website because you have a good understanding of what your goals are, and you’ll be able to measure the success or failure.


Click here for some examples of hilariously terrible web designs – hopefully you’re not at this point. And if you are – or you just need help to refresh your existing website, get in touch and we’d love to help design the website of your dreams!


Planning for a new year

If you haven’t already started working on your digital marketing strategy and budget for 2018, it’s time to get cracking! With only a few weeks left of 2017, the year is quickly drawing to a close and time to research and design a comprehensive strategy is running out.

In this post, I’ll share some of our team’s tips on how to determine what digital marketing efforts you need to focus on in 2018 to grow your business.

In short, our process works as follows: Set marketing goals and objectives for the new year, audit the client’s competitors, audit the client’s activities, determine what worked and what didn’t and then based on your findings and the marketing budget, design a digital marketing strategy, content strategy and implementation calendar.

While this process may seem daunting and like a lot of work, I suggest you break it up into smaller, daily tasks over the next few weeks. Spend an hour or two every day to analyze, do research and build your digital marketing strategy.

Competitor research and its role in your digital marketing strategy

So, while you may be aware of who your competitors are and what they offer, it’s important to get up to speed with their digital marketing efforts and what approaches they’ve used the past few months.

I always suggest that clients follow their competitors on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, etc – subscribe to their newsletters, blog, set Google Alerts for their brand name, etc. This way, you can stay up to date with what they’re doing throughout the year and make notes along the way of tactics being used, successful marketing campaigns and so forth – which will help you when you get to the planning stage of your digital marketing strategy.

Do not let the word ‘competitor analysis’ or ‘SWOT analysis’ scare you. To keep things simple, I suggest you select three to five of your main competitors and analyze their website, social media channels, newsletters and any other marketing tactics they utilize. For the digital marketing strategy, we only focus on digital channels and tactics but if your competitor is doing offline marketing that is worth noting (print advertising in i.e. your local newspaper), then list that down too.

Tips for compiling a competitor audit

On your competitor’s website, you want to pay attention to things like calls-to-action (CTAs), the tone of their website copy, what pages they have listed, the flow of their website’s content (when using the website as a visitor), their blog (if they have one) and then also how frequently they update their blog and what type of content they focus on.

As for their social media activity, you want to determine which channels they are active on and then also note their fan and follower counts for each, how often each channel is updated, what type of content they publish and so forth.

For their newsletter, see if you can determine monthly themes, specific CTAs, what subject lines are they using?

Be as detailed as possible for each marketing channel or tactic that they utilize – the more information you have, the easier it will be to determine what worked for your competitors and what you could possibly incorporate in your digital marketing strategy.

Once you are done with your competitor analysis, it’s time to move onto your own channels and tactics. Your advantage at this stage? You have Google Analytics data to give you concrete direction.

Firstly, start with listing all the promotional tactics, marketing tactics and channels that you used in the past year. For instance:

  • New, optimized blog post published every week on our blog
  • 5 updates per week published on Facebook
  • 8 updates per week published on Twitter
  • Monthly newsletter
  • And so forth

You should have ROI data available for each tactic – for instance:

  • Blog content: Website is now ranking for X amount of new keywords (which in return increases the traffic to the website)
  • Social media updates: Drove X amount of traffic back to the website, resulted in X% increase in engagement across platforms, etc
  • Monthly newsletter: Database increased by X number of subscribers, X number of leads were generated through the newsletter, open rate improved by X%, click through rate improved by X%, etc

While it’s impossible to touch on every single channel and tactic in this post, you’ll need to cover everything you’ve done in 2017 to ensure you make an informed decision when deciding what to do in 2018.

Also focus on:

  • What CTAs on your website, in your social media updates, in newsletters, etc worked and resulted in leads being generated?
  • What specials or promotions did you utilize that worked?
  • What newsletters received the most engagement (open rate and click-throughs) and why?
  • For your social media content, any trends that you can pick up with content that performed well?

Using this information, start working on your strategy for 2018. Be sure to be very clear upfront with the goals you want to achieve in the new year, and break them down into actionable marketing objectives. Then, detail what tactics you’re going to use to reach those objectives.

Once your digital marketing strategy is created, you’ll need to move on to your content strategy and calendar.

For the content strategy, we like to work with monthly themes for blog posts and newsletters. We then try to tie in some of the social media updates to relate to this theme, however – a good mix of content is needed and you should include other types of updates too. Once we have the themes detailed and we know how many social media updates we need, how many blog posts need to be written, what new pages need to be added to the website, etc we start working on the content calendar.

Your content calendar will detail what is due when, and who is responsible for it. We have a process that looks like this for a blog post:

  • We will get a detailed brief from a client
  • The brief goes to our copywriter, and she will do additional research if needed, and create a first draft
  • Our editor will proofread the first draft
  • The blog post is then quality checked by the project manager before it’s sent to the client
  • The client gives feedback and we implement their requests
  • The updated version of the post is sent to the client for approval
  • Once signed off, our content manager will upload the post to the client’s blog

While this is a slightly longer process (your internal process may be shorter), we need to allow time in our content calendar for each step. Our copywriter will need 2 to 3 days to research and write a post. The editor needs one day for proofreading, and so forth. Plan you calendar out so that the timeline is realistic and everyone is aware of their responsibilities and deadlines.


I trust this post has given you a starting point for planning your 2018 digital marketing strategy – or at least gave you a few ideas on how to proceed. If you have any specific questions or tips for other readers, please share them in the comments. We’d love to hear from you! 🙂





How to increase your organic Facebook reach

Has your organic reach on Facebook been dwindling? Since launching its marketing platform, Facebook has been making changes to its algorithm. In the beginning of September 2017, significant changes were made that affected many pages. Marketing professionals noted the decrease in Facebook’s organic reach – and they were right. But, what does that mean for businesses whose primary ad placement is on Facebook?


Photo Credit: Buzzsumo

The number of Facebook’s users is steadily growing every month, and the trend continues to go upwards. While marketers might rejoice at these numbers, that also means that people are consuming more content. The latest research shows that people are turning to social media channels for their daily dose of news (where Facebook is still their preferred platform). However, this also means that newsfeeds easily get cluttered.

Until the latest algorithm change, Facebook’s organic post reach was around 2%, which means that if your business page has 10 000 likes, when you post an update, only about 200 people will actually see it in their newsfeed. Whether these people choose to interact with your post or just scroll down and don’t even see it, is another topic altogether. But now, organic reach numbers look even worse. There are several reasons why Facebook implemented this algorithm. Even though they say that they just want to serve more relevant content to its users (which is true nonetheless), they are also in it for the money, which is a given. If you want to promote something, Facebook should still be your go-to platform due to the fact of its cost-effectiveness and its numerous targeting options.

It should be noted that the number of businesses that have created Facebook pages is also on the rise, and that marketers are turning to paid Facebook marketing more and more – it’s hard to reach customers when ad space is limited, and there are so many competitors who are fighting for it. The equation is simple – more businesses on Facebook, more boosted posts, and limited ad space. Facebook indeed needs to make those ads more relevant to the content consumer. It doesn’t hurt that that also means more revenue for the company.

So, what can you do to increase your organic reach? Our top tip is to further refine your target audience and focus on ad optimization. Now more than ever it’s important that you reach your golden customer, and the first step to finding them on Facebook is better customer segmentation. Did you know that through advanced Facebook targeting options, you can go as far as creating campaigns that can reach 1 specific person? Read more about these advanced targeting options here.

Our second tip is to make sure content follows Facebook’s preferred trends – and that’s a bit tricky. Currently, Facebook is trying to steal Twitter’s thunder for being the most in-the-now-platform. When you want to know what’s happening, you go to Twitter and browse trending topics. Like we mentioned earlier, Facebook aims to become the go-to news platform, and that means that they are changing their algorithm to better serve newsworthy content to its users. Chances are your business isn’t in the news reporting business (if it is, then you’re in luck!), and that your organic reach will dwindle because your content isn’t about current news.

You’ve heard this before, but now more than ever you should invest time and money into creating high quality content, because with the latest updates Facebook also plans to fight the empty clickbait links. One of the factors that Facebook takes into consideration is users’ visit duration when they click on a link, so when people do visit clickbait links and spend a fraction of time, leaving unsatisfied, Facebook will factor that in. Newsworthy, high quality content that visitors engage with, will be rewarded with better reach.

Using curated content? It’s still a valuable tactic, but reconsider your original sources. Facebook ranks some news publishers higher than the others, so the same post, with the same curated content, but posted from another source can yield very different results. This is a trial-and-error tip, so you have to play with different sources to find the best one. Sorry, no cheat-sheet there!

In the attempt of decluttering users’ timelines, Facebook is also tampered with posting frequency and its reach. Unless it’s a news publishing page, the more content the business post throughout the day, the more will organic reach and engagement drop per post.

Lastly, if you are finding all this algorithm talk boring, you can always hire Twenty3Media to take care of your social media marketing J Feel free to browse through our portfolio here  and get in touch if you need help!

How to generate sales for your business through a company blog

Generating Sales
First things first, if you don’t have a blog – consider creating one. Every business should have a website along with a blog. Why is blogging important, you ask? Take a look here.

In today’s difficult economic climate, it’s tough to make a sale these days, but there are things that you can do that will help get the return you’re looking for. Blogging is a wonderful thing – it can do the selling for you. No cold calls, no pushy sales talk, no gimmicks – just information presented to the customer in such a way that it adds value for them .

When you produce high quality content, you become a valued resource for your reader. This creates trust and it proves that you are worth the money. Prospects start thinking “hey, I wonder what else the author of this article knows that I need to know.”

Below are some trends that may seem familiar, but it’s worth noting:

  • Business blogging is steadily on the rise.
  • B2B companies with a blog receive more leads than those without.
  • Higher blogging frequency is more effective.
  • A B2B blog has tremendous SEO benefits and organic search attracts high-quality leads.
  • A company blog has more long-term ROI than traditional marketing efforts.

Keep reading for our tips on how to generate qualified leads and sales through blogging!

Offer unique content

Unfortunately, there is a ton of content circulating that never gets read, or shared. If you are simply rehashing what everyone else is saying, you won’t get far. Look at a topic from a different angle and provide new information, or figure out how to present it in a new way. Readers want to learn. We all want to learn – so don’t tell them what they already know.

Build this into your content marketing strategy and brainstorm ideas that will keep your readers engaged.

Include content for all stages of the funnel

47% of buyers viewed 3 to 5 pieces of content before engaging with a sales rep. You need content for everyone. You want to draw in new readers, while also beginning to lay a foundation with others to start working with your brand and consider buying your product.

Be consistent

Post regularly! Consumers don’t like to see gaps in posts, and this can create mistrust. Consistency is key when it comes to making money from your blog. Take a look at this research done by HubSpot – companies that publish 16 or more blog posts per month get 4.5 times or more leads than those who publish 0 to 4 posts. Now, do what you can – remember, consistency is key.

Include a call to action

This can be a simple sentence at the end of you post – something like “click here to request a free consultation,” or “download our ebook now.” It would be such a waste for a customer to take the time to read through your content, and then you don’t ask for something in return. Your biggest asset is contact information. Do what you can to obtain it!

Don’t be afraid to use ads in the sidebar

Do you offer free ebooks? Whitepapers? Demos? Promote these, and your products and services in the sidebar of your blog. This way, you aren’t interrupting your reader with ads in the middle of your post – but you’re still showing what else you have to offer.

No matter what you are selling, keeping a tidy, consistent blog will help convert, and generate the ROI you’re looking for. Contact us today if you’re looking for help with your company blog!

Do you have other tips for generating sales with your blog? Let us know below!

How to use storytelling in marketing

Storytelling is not a new concept, and businesses across the world are becoming increasingly creative when using storytelling for content marketing and branding.

The purpose of storytelling is to let people know what your business can offer them in a memorable way that will not only connect with them but also make them think and take action. Consumers must be able to relate to the characters you cast and the story you are telling. Businesses must humanize their product, and the best way to do this is by storytelling. We found some fantastic examples of successful storytelling campaigns that we’d like to share with you.

Successful storytelling case studies

This is a good example of how Duracell humanized their product.

We also love this new Checkers ad, their creative team managed to use a topic that hits a nerve with South African consumers and used it to create a great ‘story’.

We have round up a few ways to help you to create the best story for your brand. If you include these, you are likely to reap the benefits of great storytelling.

Be honest

You are in fact telling a story, but it needs to be based on the truth of your brand and product.

Create relatable characters

People need to connect to the story you are telling. They need to feel something when watching your story, and that can only be done by creating characters in your story that people can relate to. Knowing the wants and needs of your target audience plays a great role here.

Hit a nerve

Creating a heart-felt and sincere story will make your story share-worthy and memorable.

Don’t give it all away

When telling a story you want to show your audience how great your product is, and not talk about it all the time. Show scenes that softly pitches your product, and let people read between the lines.

Don’t overthink

Keep it simple but striking. Tell a story that makes an emotional impact.

Stories are powerful. They inspire and move us, and that is why storytelling is such a great marketing tool for businesses. There is so much information and advertising noise in the world, it is impossible to remember it all, but for some reason people remember a great story. What is your favourite campaign and why? Chat to us in the comments, we’d love to hear from you.