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Content marketing agency_Business New Year's Resolutions_Mt Tamborine view red wine

Five Business New Year’s Resolutions we’re adopting

By | Stories | No Comments

I don’t know about you, but I’m maniacal about setting New Year’s Resolutions.

Ever since I read this stat from Dr. Gail Matthews, a psychology professor at the Dominican University in California – which outlined that you’re 42% more likely to achieve a goal if you write it down – I realised I wasn’t crazy in my goal setting, merely, setting myself up for success.

This year, I’ve taken a new twist on resolutions, writing both personal ones and business New Year’s Resolutions. My business New Year’s Resolutions, I’m proudly typing up here and sharing widely on social media as accountability (that’s from you, dear reader).

If you haven’t set business New Year’s resolutions yourself, I’d strongly encourage it – even if only to put yourself in that top 42% more likely to achieve them.

Our job now is to action them. Yours is to keep us accountable. Are we clear?

Resolution One: Create Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for everything

Content marketing agency_Business New Year's Resolutions_Standard Operating Procedures_Mt Tamborine room with a view

Over the Christmas break I devoured Michael Gerber’s E-Myth Revisited, a book I’m going to say is officially my favourite read in our recommended business reading list. To date, it’s the book that’s had the most profound impact on the way we’re going to do business – I can’t speak highly enough about it.

The premise of Gerler’s book is simple – you need to run your business like it’s a franchise, rather than the small operation it is today.

What he means by this is that there should be a standard operating procedure for everything. Aka anyone should be able to pick up the manual and press go on any task. Think McDonalds, where every store runs identically, with or without Ray Kroc.

To be honest, I’ve known we’ve needed these for a while. But we’ve used the guise of ‘offering creative services’ as a crutch for not implementing SOPs because every job is truly different – even down to the way we win the job and onboard the client.

That said, when we stepped back to really look at how we do our work, there were a lot of similarities. All jobs require a brief – so why not create our own re-brief template? Why not formalise how we send drafts and how we document our revisions – both internal and external?

And just like that, SOPs have been born.

Given the breadth of our services, we’re still working through SOPs for every possible combination of services, but by the end of 2020 I have no doubt these will be a well-oiled machine, especially if Kristy and Rochelle have anything to do with it.

Resolution Two: Ask for reviews

Content marketing agency_Business New Year's Resolutions_Ask for reviews_Mt Tamborine diningLast year I was asked to present workshops around the State about managing online reputation and management.

About two hours into the workshop the same awkward thing would happen – I’d have to show the workshop room what a Google My Business Listing Profile looks like, showing them our lonely eight reviews.

We have so many more than eight success stories – but out of sheer laziness to follow up with clients – few reviews tell that tale. Quelle embarrassment!

Since the first step of receiving is asking, we’re going back through the client archives to politely ask clients to review their experience with us.

Cue SOP ‘client onboarding’ which now has a final step, ask each customer to leave a Google Review at the end of their experience.

Resolution Three: Quit being the cobbler without shoes

Content marketing agency_Business New Year's Resolutions_Promote yourself_Mt Tamborine road side produce stand

You know how a builder’s house is never finished? A cobbler doesn’t wear shoes? A mechanic drives the worst car? Well yeah, the same thing can be said for marketers. We’re often THE WORST at promoting ourselves.

This year we’ll be marketing ourselves big time – and are setting ourselves the challenge of consistently promoting our product and services. We’ve started in January with an SEO dive into every corner of our website. Boy, has that found some cobwebs we didn’t even know existed!

To make our resolutions SMART (that’s Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely), this is what we’re going for:

  1. Posting on Instagram and Facebook three times a week and scheduling our content a fortnight in advance
  2. Posting on LinkedIn once a week with original Media Mortar content
  3. Developing Media Mortar blog content (like this) once a month

Oh, and maybe adding something audio-visual soon too! But more on that later.

Resolution Four: Spend 20% of the week acquiring new business

Content marketing agency_Business New Year's Resolutions_New business_Mt Tamborine garden walk

If you missed our announcement in November last year, we opened a new office, Media Mortar Melbourne *cue the pom poms and online cheer squad*.

Since opening its doors at Thrive Network, it’s been like being back in start-up mode. You know the time in your business where everyone is a stranger, every day is a hustle and networking becomes a good excuse for mid-week drinking?

In walking Rochelle through our new business process, it’s put the spotlight on me to tidy up and formalise my own BDM process. After all, it seemed only fair that I be committing the same amount of time and energy to driving sales as she is.

So, in 2020, I’m putting on my woolly-jacket for cold calls and pitch emails and officially spending twenty per cent of my week on new business – coffees, networking, meetings, emails and conferences.

If you start to see me cropping up in your inbox more than usual, you know what I’m up to.

Resolution Five: Get seriously organised

Content marketing agency_Business New Year's Resolutions_Get organised_Mt Tamborine waterfall

I’d describe myself as organised, but when it comes to the business, I feel like we have a million ‘organisation’ tools and schedulers but use them all to about five per cent of their capacity. It does my head in.

This year we’re becoming Asana pros, we’re learning how to make TimeCamp speak to Xero and we’re focussing on our file storage systems – world, why so many file transfer systems?

We’ll be getting bossy too. We won’t be starting projects until we have everything we need to set us up for success – a trap regrettably we fell into too many times in 2019 when trying to be helpful.

We’re not being difficult, just more organised. And the more organised we are, the better service we know we can provide to our clients.

And in the spirit of organisation, we’ll be sticking these resolutions on the wall as a constant reminder of what we want to achieve. Why? To be part of the 42% more likely to achieve your goals only works if you regularly revisit them.

Now it’s over to you to help keep us accountable. According to Marie Forleo, if you have an accountability partner (that’s you reader), you’re up to 60% more likely to achieve your goals.

We like the sound of these odds.

Do you have any Business New Year’s Resolutions you’d like to add?

By Hannah Statham

Hannah Statham is The Boss at Media Mortar. She’s a heavy weight wordsmith, punching with puns, analogies and metaphors that leave readers wanting more. When she’s not refreshing her Instagram feed, you’ll find Hannah walking her rescue greyhound Olivia.

Media Mortar_Marketing to millennials_Hannah Statham presenting at Adventure Queensland

Why your business should be marketing to millennials

By | Stories

Millennials don’t need much of an introduction. The press they’ve been given in recent years unfortunately does most of the talking for them.

Narcissistic. Entitled. Bratty … these are just a few adjectives that are thrown around the media. Maybe you’ve seen or heard a few of these delightful monikers?

It’s fair to say the world hated millennials … that is until they became a $3.3 trillion industry and businesses globally started to sit up and pay attention.

If you run a business, whether you’re in the product or service industry, lifestyle, tourism, construction or something completely different – it’s no longer a question of if you should start marketing to millennials, but when.

What makes millennials such an important segment?

You only need to follow the numbers to realise millennials matter.

As at 2020, they’ll make up 50% of the workforce and by 2025 statisticians put the generation at 75% of the world’s workforce (Source: Inc).

And dear readers, this is the reason you need to make marketing to millennials a priority. They’re not just a target audience, they are soon to be your ONLY target audience.

Considering this generation will live longer (if current age projections are to go by) and they’ll work longer (at least, if the bar to accessing superannuation and pensions keeps moving higher), it makes sense this group will be a key purchaser for more years than any other generation that’s gone before them.

I put it to you, if your business is in the business of making money (whose isn’t, right?) you’re now officially in the business of marketing to millennials.

So, stop mocking their avocado toast and the fact they live at home for longer, here’s what you need to know.

What makes millennials so special?

Millennials might be the butt of media jokes for wanting to be ‘special’, but the truth is, they are.

This is a generation that’s more educated than any other, with university enrolments and graduates rising year on year in Australia – with just shy of a quarter having completed a Bachelor’s degree or higher (source: ABS).

They’re also driven (not lazy, thank you very much) with 87% taking on managerial positions in the past five years (source: Hubspot).

They’re used to getting things on demand – and when they don’t like the status quo, they disrupt it with technology and solutions that are far more effective than any that have gone before.

Now these are qualities we should be celebrating, don’t you think?

Millennials are diverse and their diversity makes them like catching smoke

Content marketing agency_Marketing to millennials_Coffee at the airportWhen marketers talk about target markets, we’re told to get razor sharp – but this is tricky with millennials who share a 17-year age gap.

It’s not just nearly two decades of difference, it’s a deep chasm of technology evolution that distances their eldest constituents (born in 1980) and youngest (who joined us earth side in 1994).

As a generation, they have members who grew up with a mobile phone in their hand and others who learnt how to send messages when keyboards had text on nine keys.

For the oldest members of this generation, going to the movies with friends was something that needed the session times printed in the newspapers and for the youngest, the choice at the flick of a Netflix switch.

You’re starting to get the picture – no two millennials are the same. And before we start dismissing this group as a generation who lives at home with the parents, only to leave it when there’s a Pokémon to be caught, let me just remind you 25% of all millennials are parents themselves (Source: Adobo).

So, if millennials are the most important target market but are so damn hard to talk to, how do you go about marketing to millennials?

Over the past two years, we’ve made it our absolute passion to study this group and to learn from them.

What we’ve observed, which is confirmed by social scientists, is that millennials are all motivated by three things:

  1. Freedom
  2. Change
  3. Choice

With these motivating factors top of mind, we’ve broken this down further and compiled our biggest learnings into seven steps we’d recommend integrating into your marketing plans if you want to successfully market to millennials.

Step 1: Stand for something

If this blog post was a meme (and if you’re marketing to millennials, it pays to think like one) it would read: ‘your vibe attracts your tribe’.

Millennials stand for something and they expect you to as well.

If you really want to connect with this generation, you need to think about your business differently. You’re no longer in the business of selling a product or service, you’re now in the business of selling your purpose.

This isn’t just nice fluffy stuff, your service to others will drive sales. In fact, according to Millennial Marketing, 50% of all millennials are more likely to make a purchase from a company if they think the purchase supports a cause.

What’s more, 37% of millennials are willing to buy more from a brand that actively supports a cause (Source: Medium).

If you’re looking for inspiration, check out local brand Outland Denim who wear their purpose (and their denim) on their sleeve.

Tip 2: Advertise differently

Content marketing agency_Marketing to Millennials_Airport diningWhen it comes to marketing to millennials, a group who’ve been overrun with advertising their whole lives, it’s time to put down your AdWords and create social proof instead.

Don’t just take our word for it, according to Hubspot, 84% of millennials don’t trust traditional advertising. Now, that’s a majority, too great to ignore.

Creating social proof is relatively easy – you just need to get other people to do the talking for you. We wrote a whole post about mastering your online reputation which will get you started.

While most businesses we work with are fairly good at getting testimonials, most are terrible at doing anything with them once they’ve been written.

Millennials more than any other generation lean on testimonials for their decision-making. In fact, all disruptors like Uber, Airbnb and Airtasker all lead with two-way testimonials and reviews – they are that important to doing business in the modern world.

Tip 3: Get social & stay social

It might be obvious, but you wouldn’t believe how many people are still placing print ads to capture ‘young families’ attention.

If 25% of millennials have children, they are the definition of this audience segment and Nielsen Data shows this group spends more time on social media than any other demographic. So, if you’re making TVCs and print advertising, make sure you’re using social media to support them.

Invest in making your product and experience Insta-worthy from all angles and take your product to the social media market your customers like to shop at. [Eds note: we are not advocating you replace good product and service for flower walls because your business will soon be out of business if that’s your operational strategy too].

Social media is so important for millennials, in fact, 34% of them use it to influence their purchasing decisions (Source: B&T).

If you’ve read this post about six common marketing mistakes you’re probably making, chances are you will have avoided the cardinal sin of social media – posting and then walking away.

When it comes to marketing to millennials, 62% say they are more likely to be a customer if a brand interacts with them on social. So, with this generation, you quite literally have to talk-the-talk.

Tip 4: Communicate instantaneously

When you’re talking to a generation who is used to everything on demand, it makes sense when millennials want it, they want it now.

This is a group who doesn’t wait for a session time to see a movie – they watch it on demand. They don’t wait or walk for a cab … they get an Uber from their door and they don’t even date IRL … everything is done with a swipe left or right.

We get time poor business owners can’t be all places at once, so automate as much as you can to ensure millennials are getting their answers as quickly as possible.

On social media you can set up a Facebook chatbot with the flick of a setting-switch and Instagram can automate DM’s too based on keywords. You’ll find these step-by-step instructions in our social media handbook, over here.

Whether you’re automating responses or not, on social it’s important to dedicate one person to respond to queries so nothing is missed.

Tip 5: You do you

While I’d love to play a drinking game in meetings where we take a shot every time the word ‘authentic’ is bandied around, it is a buzz word in the industry for a reason.

When it comes to talking to this group transparency is key – millennials will know when they are being sold to.

Cut through the noise by being yourself. And if you don’t have anything to say – just remember that silence often has the loudest sound.

And remember, if you’ve made mistakes (and don’t pretend no business hasn’t), own them.

You’ll find that when you apologise for poor actions, decisions or practices of the past, you build up trust capital with your audience and they find you more human, credible and relatable.

If you’ve read this post, you’ll know that trust is the key deciding factor in whether or not a customer will convert to a transaction.

Be humble, true to yourself and most importantly, own your mistakes.

Tip 6: Appeal to FOMO

You only need to talk to a millennial home alone on a Saturday night to find out the fear of missing out is very real.

Tap into a millennial’s desire for being involved – making it so enviable to be a part of that they have no choice but to accept.

A simple way of doing this is to build anticipation for a new product launch or something being unveiled.

We work with lots of brands who are great at coming up with launch plans, but to date, no one’s ever asked us to come in for the sneak peek planning.

The pre-launch I would argue for this demographic is even more important than the real deal to build anticipation and hype and plant the seeds of FOMO-doubt.

Tip 7: Do more of what you’re currently doing

If you’ve stayed with us for this long, we’ve left the best point ‘til last – keep reading, keep learning and keep talking to millennials.

The best way to market to millennials is to spend more time with them.

Considering very few millennials sit in CMO roles (or chief decision maker positions), it’s important for brands to create internal millennial masterminds. Give them buy-in, ask them how they want to be spoken to, create campaigns collaboratively.

Anyone who has ever hired a millennial will know all about their ambition. What better way to give them opportunities to grow in the organisation than set them a challenge or a task so they can rise to the occasion?

If you want to ‘make an impact’ – create a millennial mastermind or taskforce and give them the sole goal of making one with a marketing campaign that targets millennials. Inception is a beautiful thing!

Give it a go and let us know below how it worked out for you in the comments below.

By Hannah Statham

Hannah Statham is The Boss at Media Mortar. She’s a heavy weight wordsmith, punching with puns, analogies and metaphors that leave readers wanting more. When she’s not refreshing her Instagram feed, you’ll find Hannah walking her rescue greyhound Olivia.

Media Mortar_Content Marketing Agency_Caption Cures - Champagne Pools Moreton Island

Our cures for Instagram caption-block

By | Stories

Have you ever found the perfect photo to share on social media, but as your fingers hover over the keyboard to write a Pulitzer-prize worthy Instagram caption, your mind goes blank? Yep, it even happens to us too.

You’ve got a case of Instagram caption-block. Aka the crippling stall of ideas and creativity that usually kicks in when you’re short on time and in a rush to send your post into the Instagram wild.

What if we told you we have a guaranteed cure that will have your posts live and on their merry way to engagement and conversion-heaven?

Enter our eight ways to cure your Instagram caption-block that will banish the words “what should I write” forever.

Cure 1: Use a quote

Media Mortar | Content Marketing Agency Brisbane | Instagram caption cures - Brisbane Airport New RunwayLost for words in your Instagram captions? Why not use someone else’s?

We’re not talking about plagiarism but searching for inspiration from someone that’s appeared on television, radio, a movie screen or newspaper and let their words do the talking for you.

Make sure you know your audience (to find them, check out our how to find your target audience resource) before you start quoting anyone and everyone from the bright lights of Hollywood.

Speaking to a younger crowd? Chances are you’ll be looking for inspiration from someone with a blue certified star on their Instagram account rather than a John Wayne film.

Either way, we strongly suggest the quote comes from a stand-up citizen who hasn’t been on the wrong side of the law.

Quoting Rule 101: don’t forget to reference who said it.

Cure 2: Channel your inner comedian

Media Mortar | Content Marketing Agency Brisbane | Instagram caption cures - Western Downs Sausage DogWe’re all funny in our own way, right?

Although psychologists, neuroscientists and philosophers are still trying to understand how humour differs for everyone, what we call ROFL-factor remains one of the most effective ways to gain cut through on social media.

Why? Because just like the adage “laughter is the best medicine” – humour allows your audience to become distracted from their day-to-day stress.

If your target audience is Millennials, Gen Y or Gen Z, you’ll want to put humour on the top of your caption-cure list. These generations are reportedly the most open and responsive to humour.

Strategically speaking it makes sense too – studies show the odds of your post being shared to friends or family is higher when you make them laugh.

If you’re lost for places to start, Google puns related to your images. You’ll be surprised how quickly the creative juices start flowing with a bit of pic-spiration.

Cure 3: If you can’t make an original joke, adapt one

Media Mortar | Content Marketing Agency Brisbane | Instagram caption cures - Western Downs - Ludwig & Will CoffeeChannel your inner five-year-old and remember the jokes you shared in the schoolyard, like why did the chicken cross the road? Knock knock, who’s there?

You don’t need to be the funniest person in the room to make people laugh with your Instagram captions. Simply use a bit of creative licence to adapt a joke to fit into the context of the image.

To give you an idea, we had fun horsing around with this picture for @experiencewesterndowns above.

Cure 4. Use popular sayings or rhymes

Media Mortar | Content Marketing Agency Brisbane | Instagram caption cures - Brisbane Airport Planes on a RunwayRemember the old colour rhymes or proverbs your teachers drilled into you growing up? Blue and green should never be seen, or red sky at night, a shepherd’s delight?

Clever wordplay is as simple as interchanging the words to suit the image.

Take this post above we made for @brisbaneairport where shepherd was replaced with passenger for an instant Instagram caption cure. It’s not rocket science, but is guaranteed to get you out of your caption rut and onto other things in your day.

Cure 5. Let national holidays do the heavy lifting

Media Mortar | Content Marketing Agency Brisbane | Instagram caption cures - Brisbane Airport Weekend TravelsSchool holidays, Easter, Christmas, or even the fact that it’s the weekend, is one of the oldest tricks in the caption-creating book.

Diarise all the national holidays or international dates in your calendar – from Labour day to Talk like a Pirate Day (or, check out our calendar of international dates to save yourself the elbow grease) and use them as Instagram caption thought-starters.

Once you have the days diarised, make some notes on how you can best utilise these posts. Such as:

  • A Willy Wonka quote for International Chocolate Day
  • Emojis for International Beer, Champagne, Donut or Pizza Day
  • Countdown to Christmas, Easter or School Holidays
  • Research Pirate-speak for Talk like a Pirate Day

Just don’t forget to also diarise when you’ll need to take photos of the content too. It’s too late to get the team together in Santa hats on Christmas day.

Check out how we used a long weekend to promote this photo above for @brisbaneairport.

Cure 6: If words fail, use emojis

Media Mortar | Content Marketing Agency Brisbane | Instagram caption cures - Western Downs Windsor Hotel MilesIf engagement is the flame 🔥, consider emojis the moth 🦋.

Don’t think we’re promoting a lazy approach to solving your Instagram caption-itis – emojis can increase engagement.

Social Media Today reported posts with zero emojis received lower engagement than those with between one to three, and over 10 per posts receiving the highest.

Although emojis are well equipped to take centre stage for a post, it never hurts to add a few words as the backup dancers if you can – like the example above for @experiencewesterndowns.

Looking for engagement? Why not tempt your audience to get creative with an answer to a question, answering only using emojis too?

Cure 7: Tell people why you shared the post

Media Mortar | Content Marketing Agency Brisbane | Instagram caption cures - Media Mortar Digital TrainingSometimes you need to let your guard down and get personal to cure your Instagram caption-block.

Is there a backstory to your post? If so, share it.

Harvard Business Review highlights sharing your story as a powerful way for your followers to feel more connected to your brand.

So, this is your permission to get personal about why you selected that photo and what it means to you.

Cure 8: Share a tip

Media Mortar | Content Marketing Agency Brisbane | Instagram caption cures - Brisbane Airport Lord LamingtonDid you know Deloitte listed the need for continued learning as one of the top-rated trends for 2019?

Why not speak to the 80% of social media users who are looking for ways to continue learning by sharing a tip in your caption.

Work in the marketing industry like us – why not share your knowledge (for free), such as when it’s best to post on social media or other industry best practice?

You’ll find this knowledge exchange works both ways. Not only will your customer likely learn something new, but when you share value to customers, you’re proving yourself as a subject matter expert.

If you want your followers double-tapping on the post, make sure what you share is relevant to your audience.

Work in tourism? Read our Instagram Tips for Tourism Businesses.

Let us know your best Instagram caption hacks below!

By Rochelle Vaisanen

When not climbing mountains on two wheels, Rochelle can be found on the hunt for the best almond croissant around town. A lover of good coffee, food and wine, and with a passion for travel, Rochelle is always on the lookout for new adventures locally and abroad.

Scenery in Devonport - Media Mortar | 7 key takeaways from the Australian Regional Tourism (ART) Convention

Tourism marketing takeaways from ART Convention

By | Stories

As a content agency specialising in tourism marketing, we work with regional tourism boards, operators and events A LOT (seriously, check out our portfolio).

We truly believe it’s the roads less travelled that provide the most exciting stories to tell. So, it was a no-brainer for us to clear the schedule for the two-day Australian Regional Tourism Convention (ARTC) and learn from the best-in-regional-tourism-class.

For anyone working in this space – from local council, tourism organisations and professionals, to government bodies – ARTC is not to be missed. It’s the perfect forum to listen, learn and discuss the challenges and opportunities for regional areas.

This year’s conference kicked off with master of ceremonies Nigel Collin asking everyone in the room to finish this sentence: “I am the only person in the room who has…”

Sadly, due to Chatham House Rules, I can’t disclose any answers, but what I can share is the key learnings from the conference – perfect for anyone with an interest in tourism marketing.

1. Think inside the box instead of outside the box

Lighthouse in Devonport - Media Mortar | 7 key takeaways from the Australian Regional Tourism (ART) Convention

“Knowing your constraints frees you to come up with solutions that are possible.”– Nigel Collin, Keynote Speaker.

How many times are we told to think outside the box? Nigel posed two important questions those in tourism marketing rarely have the courage to ask clients:

  • Are those ‘outside-the-box’ solutions realistic?
  • Should they be implemented?

He suggested that instead we start by looking inside the box.

Imagine the four sides of the box represent budget, resources, location, and infrastructure (these can be exchanged for anything that is a restriction to your business). Once you know what your limitations are, you can find realistic solutions.

For a tourism marketing agency, and many others in the room (based on the discussions over pastries and a cup of tea), this was a true Oprah “aha moment.”

This insight has given us a fresh way to work with clients to determine what the sides of the box look like for them. This will ensure we can deliver something that’s realistic. If you find us asking you to draw a box in our next meeting together, you’ll now know why.

2. Keep an empty chair at the table

“Look through the lens of the customers.” – Nigel Collin, Keynote Speaker.

It’s rumoured Richard Branson keeps an empty chair at the boardroom table, not because someone cancels last minute – but because the chair represents the customer. In Branson’s world, the customer is an equal stakeholder.

In our experience, plenty of brands say they are customer-first, but few actually are.

We’ve observed a correlation that often exists in regional communities – the smaller the destination, region or event, the higher the input of stakeholders. Scarily there’s not just no customer seat at their boardroom table, there’s no customer consideration.

For tourism marketing success, it’s imperative we look to the customer first and ask what are their wants or needs.

What’s the point in working so hard to get customers to your destination, region or event if they can’t find what they are looking for once they get there?

Which brings us to takeaway number three…

3. Staff need to deliver the marketing promise

Fundamental Espresso - Media Mortar | 7 key takeaways from the Australian Regional Tourism (ART) Convention

“A marketer can do a great job getting the customer to the region, but it all comes down to their experience when there.” – John Hart, Australian Chamber – Tourism

John asked questions we’ve often wondered when marketing tourism products across the country. Marketing is great, but do your staff on ground have the skills to deliver our marketing promise?

Do they believe in the brand? Are they passionate about delivering quality service?

If not, you’ve got a big problem and it’s got nothing to do with your marketing.

It’s not rocket science; we all know an exceptional visitor experience = positive word-of-mouth.

Take the host city Devonport for example. I’m sure I’m not alone in putting Devonport on my travel list for 2020 based on my experience from Fundamental Espresso, who remembered my name and coffee order after one day, to Charlotte Jack – a dining experience you’d expect to have in Melbourne, London or New York.

Good food – tick
Good coffee – tick
Exceptional service – tick

4. Look in your own backyard

“Look in your own backyard for your hero product.” – Steve Rosa, Destination Southern Highlands

Ever thought a humble pie could bring an additional one million dollars in visitor economy to a region from one year to the next? Well that’s the reality for Destination Southern Highlands who turned themselves into the Southern Pielands.

While doing a deep-dive to find something to attract travellers during the off season and change their waning visitor perception, they noticed that they had over 60 pie operators in their region.

Voila, an instant USP and one that turned out to be a crust above the rest.

So often in our marketing travels, we ask destinations and businesses to list their unique selling proposition (USP) but they can’t, quelle surprise. This is such a great example how a USP can be invented through a little navel gazing of what’s right under your nose.

5. Accessible Tourism needs to be more than an afterthought

Fundamental Espresso - Media Mortar | 7 key takeaways from the Australian Regional Tourism (ART) Convention

“Ensuring product is ‘accessible ready’ can no longer be an afterthought.” – Giovanna Lever, Sparrowly Group

Have you ever been allocated a disabled room at a hotel? If not, lucky you – they’re ugly, sterile and lack any design elements that would normally leave a lasting impression. Picture a hospital room – you’re close.

With the accessible tourism market making up 25 per cent of all tourism spend in Australia and 10.8 billion travellers annually (that’s more than the Chinese market to give you context), why are we not talking about how to make the product better?

When working on product development with our regional tourism clients, we’ll be following the lead of Accor Hotels who are championing accessibility by creating “smart rooms” – with all the same design elements you’ll find in any other room, only accessible.

6. We can’t keep saying we’re “time poor”

“Focus on high value output.” – Ali Uren, Kiikstart

We’re all guilty of it. We’ve all uttered the words: “I’m busy/I don’t have enough time/I’m time poor,” then next minute you’re so far down the rabbit hole of Instagram you forgot what you were looking at in the first place.

After listening to Ali, we put it to you – are you really time poor, or are you just not focussing on high value output?

Why not swap scrolling for dedicated continued learning. Don’t delete blogs (like these) or other industry articles that pop into your inbox – read them.

7. Flearn – it’s a word

Charlotte Jack - Media Mortar | 7 key takeaways from the Australian Regional Tourism (ART) Convention

“Flearn = failure + learning.” – Paul Matthews, Visit Victoria

Failure is ok if you learn from it, otherwise it’s just failure.

We all know that failure teaches us more than success ever will, so it’s important we’re prepared for it, given failing is a constant in the changing environment we live in.

If you’re able to learn from the failure and change the process or way of doing something to ensure the same mistake doesn’t happen again – you’ve mastered flearn.

*cue T-shirt printing #flearn*

8. Everyone faces the same challenges

ARTC convention - Media Mortar | 7 key takeaways from the Australian Regional Tourism (ART) Convention

This learning came from what happened outside the conference walls – everyone in tourism faces the same problems.

It was comforting to learn the regional tourism industry faces the similar challenges, whether you’re in Devonport or Dirranbandi, Longford or Longreach.

It was refreshing to meet other marketers who work in this space and are so open for collaboration rather than competition.

After one day exploring the Cradle Coast and two jam-packed days of learning more about regional tourism and meeting other regional tourism champions, I only have one regret. I departed without trying the local specially – scallop pie.

All the more reason to return to Devonport.

By Rochelle Vaisanen

When not climbing mountains on two wheels, Rochelle can be found on the hunt for the best almond croissant around town. A lover of good coffee, food and wine, and with a passion for travel, Rochelle is always on the lookout for new adventures locally and abroad.

The view overlooking the beach from Riley, a Crystalbrook Collection | Top 7 takeaways from ASTW convention Cairns

Top 7 takeaways from the ASTW Convention Cairns

By | Stories

In case you missed our Tropical North Queensland tans, we recently attended the Australian Society of Travel Writers (ASTW) 2019 convention in Cairns.

It was a sun-filled weekend of networking, learning about trends in the tourism industry and soaking up all North Queensland has to offer.

It wasn’t all fun and games though. Our team also assisted the Tourism Tropical North Queensland in providing famil and itinerary coordination support to over 100 domestic travel media across 15 different pre and post famils – #wedidit.

If you were suffering a case of FOMO while we were gone, we’ve collected our top takeaways from the 2019 ASTW convention.

1. Tropical North Queensland is the perfect destination for a travel convention

There’s something about Cairns. From the moment you step off the plane, feel the sunshine on your skin and warm tropical breeze – something clicks within. Peak holiday mode is activated – and that’s before you’ve even left Cairns Airport.

Hannah Statham Cairns Airport | Top 7 takeaways from the ASTW convention Cairns

Tropical vibes also courtesy of BossHan in the food hall.

There’s no conference chaos in Cairns. In fact, it’s hard to get stressed when you have tropical beaches, cultural experiences as well as two heritage-listed sites – the Daintree Rainforest and the Great Barrier Reef – a stone’s throw from the convention centre.

Throw in 300 days of sunshine per year, an average temperature of 28 degrees and you can see why Tropical North Queensland is the perfect location for what happens apres-conference as well.

2. Riley is a little bit of paradise

Riley, a Crystalbrook Collection | Top 7 takeaways from the ASTW convention Cairns

Riley, a Crystalbrook Collection lagoon pool

In the case of the ASTW conference, we took over Riley, a Crystalbrook Collection – one of Cairns’ newest hotels and only five-star accommodation in the CBD.

The hotel is located on The Esplanade (beachfront) and combines style and luxury, without feeling pretentious while it does it.

As conference guests, we were peppered throughout Riley’s 300 rooms, treated to their three exclusive dining areas (Paper Crane, Greenfields and Cairns’ highest rooftop bar – Rocco) and dived into their 1000 square metre lagoon pool, naturally.

The convention delegates were also some of the first guests to take a behind the scenes tour of Crystalbrook Collection’s sister properties Bailey and Flynn too, which we’ll be excited to sample in 2020 if (no, when) we make it back.

3. Local food shines bright

Many conferences are known for average food – stodgy sandwich fingers and cakes and biscuits from a packet – but not this one.

There was no need to whip out the ‘I’m on a diet’ talk – everything was fresh and healthy. Think make-your-own poke bowls, fresh and local in season tropical fruits, noodle boxes, smoothies and homemade sweet treats (including the vegan kind).

In keeping with this epicurean event, the ASTW gala dinner was catered by Palm Cove’s award-winning restaurant, Nunu.
Chef Nick’s paddock to plate philosophy reigned supreme with the likes of Tablelands pork belly, Innisfail heart of palm, locally sourced fish, beef and tropical fruits. We’re not kidding when we say people were fighting over their alternate drop choices and literally licking their plates clean.

4. Content is still king

Media Mortar ASTW sponsors | Top 7 takeaways from the ASTW convention Cairns

Look Ma, we sponsored an event!

If you’ve read this post of ours, you’ll know we are living in a world of storytelling and creating captivating content to engage with customers – and the first panel at the conference hit it home.

With consumer attention spans getting shorter and shorter, the topic for discussion was how do we create content that makes a strong connection with consumers?

Tourism Australia, Destination Canada, Tourism New Zealand and G Adventures led with insights, with a key theme that emotional connection is marketing’s secret sauce.

Our note pads were full with the following tips:

  • Make an impact – use humour and emotion to tell your story
  • Stay on message and stick to your brand values
  • Gritty is the new pretty – consider a switch to using unbranded content rather than over-polished TVCs
  • If your story is shit, no one will care
  • If you don’t have the big budgets, get creative – try crowd sourcing sites like Genero to find someone who will work for your budget
  • Create content for the long-term that can be integrated across multiple platforms – EDMs, social media etc

5. Even the most seasoned of travellers will experience travel disasters

It’s not every day you get to listen to travel writing royalty. The keynote speaker, Tony Wheeler the creator of Lonely Planet, undoubtably wears the crown in the travel writing community.

Considering Tony has more passport stamps than most, having travelled professionally for most of his life, he shared some insights on his favourite and not so favourite experiences.

Across the hour his travel tales proved that even the most seasoned of travellers have travel disasters along the road.

Hot tip: he said he wouldn’t bother with the Maldives. Good news for the rest of us who couldn’t afford it anyway!

6. With great social media power, comes great social media responsibility

Social media trends in tourism panel | 7 top takeaways from the ASTW convention Cairns

Spotto BossHan on the Tourism and Social Media Trends panel

It was fitting that the topic of responsible travel was a focus of the social media panel given the conference’s location at Riley who are leading the way with what they call #responsibleluxury.

MM’s own #BossHan was a panellist and championed along with the other speakers that social media influencers and social media account managers have a part to play in over-tourism and representing safe behaviour.

According to BossHan “it’s about always promoting safe practice and following a leave only footsteps philosophy”.

“Often times we come unstuck because we aren’t familiar with the region and that an influencer has crossed a barrier to take the photo. As social media experts, it’s our job to remove such pictures and only promote the consumer experience.”

“The days of doing it for the ‘gram are over.”

7. Travel is an opportunity to learn new experiences and meet wonderful people

Cairns Esplanade | Top 7 takeaways from the ASTW convention

Magic hour on the Cairns Esplanade

While we walked away with new knowledge from the conference, what we really walked away from the ASTW convention with was new friends.

The ASTW convention proved what we know and love about the travel community. It brings people together and welcomes newbies with open arms.

The tourism industry might be a small community, but it has a big heart, and life-long friendships to be made. We think that in itself is worth celebrating.

Here’s cheers to the 2019 ASTW convention in Cairns and a warm hello to the 2020 convention taking place in the Whitsundays. See you there?

Kristy Media Mortar
By Kristy de Git

If they were handing out PHDs for organisation, Kristy would be first in line to collect the scroll. She’s master of a to do list, which is why she’s aptly in charge of content at Media Mortar.

Brigalow Western Downs | Image by Alex Coppo

Storyselling: why stories drive sales

By | Stories

A wise man (Seth Godin) once said “marketing is no longer about the stuff that you make, but about the stories you tell” and in our opinion, these are words to plan your marketing strategy by.

We strongly advocate that stories have the power to drive sales, because they have the ability to empower action in the recipient; something gratuitous data dumps (aka sales campaigns) rarely achieve.

This has never become more important for Australian products and services, because we can’t compete on price, but we can on story. This is particularly pertinent for the tourism industry, where our beaches compete with Bali and forests with Fiji and competing on price is like agreeing to letting the other side win.

Folks, it’s time to start leading your marketing with stories not sales.

Let’s start with a history lesson

Western Downs storytelling project | Storyselling: why stories drive sales | Image by Alex CoppoWe get a good chuckle when marketers tout storytelling as a new marketing trend. It’s probably the oldest marketing trick in the book. In fact, humans have been telling stories for more than 40,000 years.

Whether you grew up on Dreamtime stories, fairytales or fables, chances are you’ve been on the receiving end of a storytelling strategy since you were old enough to hold an attention span.

Us humans are even subconsciously hardwired to love stories; we dream in stories and daydream in narrative.

You only have to watch a good documentary to know stories have an ability to make us think, feel, laugh and cry – leaving an impact long beyond the end credits.

Take the documentary Super Size Me for example, which had the power to drive a multi-billion-dollar industry to action.

Neurologically speaking stories are powerful

How storytelling affects the brain | Storyselling: why stories drive sales

The power of storytelling is more than just recorded in the history books, it’s heavily documented by science. Our brains hear statistics and numbers, but they feel stories.

This is because stories tap straight into a larger section of the brain that controls emotions and makes decisions, undoubtedly the part of the cortex every marketer in the room would prefer to be speaking.

When your brain hears a story, depending on the plot line, it releases one of three powerful chemicals which empower us to take action: dopamine, oxytocin and endorphins.

  • Give your audience a dose of dopamine and you’ll create focus, motivation, memory
  • Release your audience’s oxytocin and you’ll leave them feeling more generous, trusting, leaving them with a greater bond to storyteller
  • Pump up your audience’s endorphins and they’ll feel creative, relaxed and more focused

Take this commercial from American Greeting Cards, for example. We think you’d have to have a heart of stone not to feel the power of this story.

Can you imagine the difference had they lead with a Mother’s Day Card for $6.99?

Importantly, campaigns that lead with sales, numbers, deals and discounts, release a completely different chemical reaction in the brain.

Sales campaigns are proven to increase the audience’s adrenaline and cortisol, making them intolerant, irritable, uncreative, critical and forgetful. Hardly the qualities you want on your side if you’re trying to convert a customer, is it?

As marketers, we’re often measured on conversion KPIs. So, where do stories come in?

Flinton Races Western Downs | Storyselling: why stories drive sales | Image by Krista EppelstunIt’s critical that we create emotional experience for our customers in order to create conversion.

If the history and science is anything to go by, the success formula is simple:

Stories = Trust
Trust = Transactions
Therefore, by our calculations, stories = sales

Our experience and portfolio proves storytelling delivers three-fold; stories build awareness, improve sentiment and drive conversion. We challenge you to name a business that doesn’t list all three in their strategic marketing plan.

But don’t just take our word for it. A recent Digital Marketing Institute study reported a higher yield from storytelling (compared with sales) to the tune of 20 times over.

Got the theory, what comes next?

Chinchilla Watermelons | Storyselling: why stories drive sales | Image by Krista EppelstunIn our view, good storytelling only needs to achieve two things:

  1. It needs to capture attention
  2. It must transport the recipient to a different world

The good news is that most brands are already in the business of content marketing and storytelling. The bad news is that not all stories told are good.

That’s why we created a seven-step guide to making sure your stories are set up for success (link coming soon!)

There is one enemy to storytelling

Drillham Western Downs | Storyselling: why stories drive sales | Image by Alex CoppoAt Content Marketing World (an international event that draws content marketers from all over the world) – Content Marketing Institute Joe Pulizzi, argued storytelling has one threat – lack of understanding.

He said storytelling initiatives rarely got shut down because of poor performance; instead they are killed because the people who provide the funding for content marketing don’t understand it.

We’d take Joe’s point one step further, and strongly argue it’s decision by coalition that dilutes the power of stories.

We often see one story get presented to a wider marketing team who each add input, layer stakeholder feedback and in effect, diluting the power of the story (often) with every amendment.

If you’re a marketer, we implore you to argue the benefits of marketing and fight its value. The first marketing any marketer needs to do these days is the value of storytelling in the face of broader teams who still know and trust sales.

We’re passionate about creating more storytelling advocates so the power of stories can be passed on for generations to come.

Given the focus on storytelling, it feels remiss not to finish this post with two little words. The End.

By Hannah Statham

Hannah Statham is The Boss at Media Mortar. She’s a heavy weight wordsmith, punching with puns, analogies and metaphors that leave readers wanting more. When she’s not refreshing her Instagram feed, you’ll find Hannah walking her rescue greyhound Olivia.

Redcliffe Lookout | Pitch Perfect: How to get publicity for your business

Pitch Perfect: How to get publicity for your business

By | Stories

There might be no such thing as bad publicity – but what if you’ve got no publicity?

That’s the reality for lots of small businesses we work with, who don’t have a PR plan, let alone well-practiced pitches to land their product, brand or services in front of the media.

The good news is PR, unlike ER, is something you can DIY yourself. We’ve got you covered with these tips – tried and tested during our one-on-one sessions with tourism operators up and down the State.

But first, let’s just make sure we’re all on the same PR-page

Fish & Chips Redcliffe | Pitch Perfect: How to get publicity for your businessWhen we talk about publicity, it’s so much more than just coverage in a newspaper, magazine or TV show (although that would be nice).

PR by our definition means anybody other than yourself talking about your business/brand, which opens the remit to digital influencers, your own social media channels, a thought-leader in your industry talking about you or just a niche community group spruiking your product like a mini-marketing machine you don’t pay.

If you’ve read this post, you’ll know how important it is to have someone else talk about your business/brand because it acts as an endorsement.

What we know is third-party referrals create trust in your business/brand and where there’s trust there’s a transaction.

If you picture PR like the best word-of-mouth referral you’ve received, only attached to a megaphone, it makes sense why marketers consider publicity one of the most effective methods to convert customers and core pillar of their marketing strategy.

But PR is a double-edged sword – and not just because publicity can be good or bad

Redcliffe Beach | Pitch Perfect: How to get publicity for your businessThe good news (for small business owners at least) is that publicity is generally the cheapest form of consumer marketing. You won’t need Facebook dollars or lucrative newspaper placements to win the PR-game – just man-hours and generally, lots of them.

With publicity, what you give up in exchange for price, is control over what people say about you.

If you want to control the message, you’ll need to pay for an advertisement where you get the opportunity to choose the words, images and design.

Remember, with advertising you pay for it. With PR you pray for it.

Enough small talk, how do you get publicity?

Know the media first

Pimms in Redcliffe | Pitch Perfect: How to get publicity for your businessSending your cute local story to a national newspaper is a sure-fire way to waste your own time. Don’t do that. Your time is too precious to be shooting blank pitches.

Before getting started, ask yourself:

  • Is this a national story? e.g. will Australia care
  • Is it a State story? e.g. will your State care
  • Is it a local story? E.g. will the local area care

Also ask yourself seriously, does anyone care? We totally get why you might love your business … but that doesn’t make it newsworthy. Sorry.

Before preparing your pitch, learn about individual publications, what they write about and how often they publish to create a bespoke proposition for the publication.

Knowing your publication will increase your chance of publicity exponentially for two main reasons:

  1. You can speak to them at the right time
  2. You can speak to the right person

Timing is everything

In regional Australia, some papers only print weekly, so missing the deadline by as much as a day could mean your news is no longer newsworthy by the time of the next publication.

We’ve seen poor planning from event organisers render their ‘pre-promote’ press release completely useless by missing the deadline of their local paper – all because no one diarised the paper’s print dates.

Write to the right person

Redcliffe Markets | Pitch Perfect: How to get publicity for your businessIn researching publications, get to know their reporters and what they will write about. In bigger publications the journalists who write about property, won’t be the ones writing about education. Knowing who’s who in the zoo is as easy as reading and watching your desired publication before reaching out to them.

A bit like sending a local story to a national level, there’s no point contacting the restaurant reporter with your event story … unless of course it’s got a food truck handing out bags of cash rather than burgers – that story is newsworthy.

A quick Google search will usually reveal your pitch’s ideal recipient – remember to keep your eyes peeled for titles like editor, photo editor, chief of staff or news desk.

Cook up an angle

Dining in Redcliffe | Pitch Perfect: How to get publicity for your businessIt’s time to get sharp about your angle, which is going to involve some business / brand navel gazing.

No matter how big your business / brand is – not every story is worthy of attention. Can you imagine how long and boring the news would be if journalists covered every single story that was pitched to them?

Start by asking yourself, what’s so interesting about what you want to tell the media? Be really firm as you ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Is your angle newsworthy aka how big a deal is this and who will care?
  2. If it’s not newsworthy, is it quirky enough to get away with not being newsworthy? “Man bites dog” is certainly more compelling than a story about a dog who bites a man.
  3. Is your story timely? Remember that today’s news is tomorrow’s fish and chip wrapper (proverbially now) and if it’s not new, it’s not news.

If it’s not clear to you, chances are the angle won’t be clear to anyone else. It’s ok to abort mission. The timing might not be right for PR for you.

Create a pitch

Redcliffe Beach | Pitch Perfect: How to get publicity for your businessWith an audience in mind and an angle up your sleeve, you’re ready to create a pitch.

We always recommend practicing your pitch out loud before it goes out into the world. You’ll find the way you orally tell someone a story filters the most important information first – and you’ll have yourself a news pyramid almost every time.

To double check you have everything you need – go back to your year two storytelling recipe of who, what, when, where, why and how to make sure these are all covered off in your pitch.

Once you can explain what makes your story so special, you’re ready to pitch in the wild.

Does it need to be a press release?

Hornibrook Highway | Pitch Perfect: How to get publicity for your business

The Internet is full of opinions on the matter – but our advice is that if you’re a small business and don’t need quotes approved by management, there’s really no need to go to the lengths of writing one up. Phew!

It’s just as effective to pitch your story either by a succinctly worded email, list of dot points or a phone call. Remember media get inundated with emails – so keep things short, snappy and succinct.

If you’ve got images to support the story, why not let them do the talking? Remember, a picture is worth a thousand words.

When should you follow up?

Redcliffe Beach | Pitch Perfect: How to get publicity for your businessYou’ve sent your pitch out to the world, and you’ve been return served with silence. Ahhh, the joys of PR.

Journalists and producers are busy (and so are you) – so it’s good to place a follow up call, email – even just to obtain a hard no so you can close the chapter on that pitch. If that’s the case, go back to the basics, perhaps you didn’t put the right angle into the right hands. Don’t give up.

If you happen to have a PR-win, make sure you have Google Alerts set up to help capture the coverage so you can spruik it!

In our experience, nothing drives competitors more wild than a positive PR story in your favour.

If you’re looking to dial up your Public Relations efforts, our Content Crew will be more than happy to help.

By Hannah Statham

Hannah Statham is The Boss at Media Mortar. She’s a heavy weight wordsmith, punching with puns, analogies and metaphors that leave readers wanting more. When she’s not refreshing her Instagram feed, you’ll find Hannah walking her rescue greyhound Olivia.

Media Mortar - customer reviews

The marketing secret sauce every business needs: customer reviews

By | Stories

Did you know the most powerful marketing department in the world has no budget and makes no marketing plans?

Who is this elusive marketing team and how the hell do I employ them?

They’re consumers – and good news, there’s billions of them out there.

Collectively, they make up the world’s largest marketing team and what they have to say about your product, brand or service will likely make up more than two thirds of your marketing efforts (Mark Schaefer).

It therefore pays to spend time listening and working with what your customers are saying about you.

If you haven’t dabbled in the world of online reviews – it’s time you did.

This consumer army are walking megaphones for your brand – and as business owners, it’s your responsibility to funnel some of their thoughts, comments and feelings into a place that you can use to your benefit.

Dip your toe into the world of online reviews with this guide to customer reviews and managing your online reputation.

Why do reviews work

Media Mortar - customer reviewsThere’s plenty of reasons we know reviews work, but they all boil down to the social proof and endorsement that your product is one worth investing in.

This is a big deal when we know consumers are drowning in the constant firehose of information and advertisements, with reviews turning a position of distrust into confidence.

If there’s one thing you take from this post, it’s that customers only tend to think you’re good when someone else does.

Think about it – do you choose the restaurant that’s empty or the one that’s only got a few tables left?

Our theory is backed by stats, and 92% of consumers read (and are influenced by) online reviews Trust Pilot. And, they’re not satisfied with one review either. 73% of consumers form an opinion by reading up to six reviews (Vendata) – proof you’re going to want to start building that review bank.

How do you encourage reviews?

We get it, asking someone to write reviews is up there on the list of awkward conversations (albeit second to telling a stranger they have food in their teeth), but it doesn’t need to be. Try these sure-fire ways to get the reviews rolling in.
Ask for a review

It might seem obvious, but when was the last time your local coffee shop asked you to leave a review for them? My guess is never.

You don’t have to go on the hard sales approach but an honest “we’re working really hard at the moment to build our online reviews because it helps us attract more business, if you had two minutes, I’d be so grateful for you to tell us what you think online” – will start to clock up more stars than the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Of course, you can be selective with who (and when) you ask for a review to help ensure you’re inviting five-star reviews – but remember – asking is the first step towards receiving.

Tip: Just as a reporter prefers to get quotes and comments from a footballer as the final whistle blows, your best chance of obtaining a review from a customer is the minute they finish their service with you. The minute they’ve finished, they’ve moved onto the next big thing and your moment is hijacked.

Put up signage and links to where people can review you

You’d already know customers are distracted creatures – so it doesn’t hurt to add signs around your physical address asking customers to leave a review on your preferred channel.

Signage will also help keep your reviews partially contained, by funnelling them to where you want. This is important if you’re a time poor business owner, and don’t necessarily want to be community managing Facebook reviews on top of Google ones.

Better than signage, add a link to your eNewsletters to reduce the work for your customer down to a single click. A good time to drop a ‘review me link’ to your customer dialogue is when you’re thanking your customers for their business.

Incentivise your reviews

Media Mortar - customer reviewsWhile offering a free service in return for a five-star review is probably going to have Aus Trade cracking down with a bribery claim, there’s nothing wrong with a little incentive to get the ball rolling on the review-front.

It’s not just the customer you might like to incentivise. Incentivising your staff will go a long way to keeping the reviews rolling in.

Our recent house removalists, although exhausted, took the time to show us how to leave a Google review (and I absolutely humoured them so I could watch this social experiment roll out). When I pressed their urgency to get a review then and there, they disclosed they have a competition back at head office and a carton of beer was on the line for the team with the most reviews. Incentive enough for our two removalists to work their arses off for their five stars, which we happily gave.

Give reviews to other people

Riddle us this, what would Quid Pro Quo be without the Quo? Just a one-sided favour. Try a push/pull principle with your online reviews by dishing out reviews to your favourite businesses yourselves. What you’ll probably find is any review you put out is returned by a review in.

Like anything in life, when you scratch someone’s back, they’re more likely to scratch yours.

Now that you have reviews, what next?

In a world where everyone is faced with not enough content and too many channels, we strongly encourage you to use testimonials as a content opportunity.

We always say every piece of content created for the business should be cut, carved and cooked into more content – like a babushka doll of opportunities.

If you even have as little as one testimonial, you have a world of opportunities. Here’s a few of our favourite ways to create more content magic from a single testimonial:

1. Create quote tiles for your social media accounts using free apps like Canva or custom designed tiles. We made this one recently based on glowing feedback left on Google for us.

2. Add a face to name by filming a video testimonial or a still photo. Here’s one we recently prepared for a client, Active Build.

3. Start a bank of kind words to send with your creds document to potential new clients. This could be developed into a simple document that you send out, or more formalised in a brochure like this one.

4. Add the testimonial to your website – and importantly, update the testimonials on your website regularly.

5. Share kind words in your eNewsletter program as a regular segment.

In case you’re still scared about chasing down reviews in fear of what people will say, we’ll leave this stat here from Social Media Today: 75% of reviews posted on review websites are positive.

We’d love to know, how do you encourage reviews and testimonials about your business?

By Hannah Statham

Hannah Statham is The Boss at Media Mortar. She’s a heavy weight wordsmith, punching with puns, analogies and metaphors that leave readers wanting more. When she’s not refreshing her Instagram feed, you’ll find Hannah walking her rescue greyhound Olivia.

Women in Tourism - Media Mortar

7 tips for adapting to change in the workplace

By | Stories

“It is not the most intellectual of the species that survives; it is the one that is able to adjust best to the changing environment in which it finds itself” – Charles Darwin

I was recently asked to speak on a Women in Tourism panel about adapting to change in the workplace – a topic I could talk under wet cement about.

Throughout my career, I’ve changed not just roles and organisations – but industries too – switching law for marketing approximately one billable unit in.

I’ve worked for small business, big business, private and public sectors, and I can tell you, none of these moves compare to the change of waving goodbye to a regular pay cheque and starting my entrepreneurial journey.

The past two years have taught me plenty of lessons (more on that over here) about change – arming me with a better appreciation for it and making me an expert at adapting to it.

If you’re struggling with change in your career, these are my tips (and a few collated from the epic line up of panellists at the Women in Tourism Brisbane event) to staying calm through the chaos.

Tip 1: There’s only one thing more terrifying than change…

Women in Tourism - Media MortarAnd it’s the thought of never changing at all. If you keep in the back of your mind that change is a chance to grow, develop and improve, you’ll never look at change in the same way again.

Tip 2: The best way to prepare for change is anticipate it

Sure, you don’t have a crystal ball to know what’s around the corner, but that’s what contingency plans and budgets were invented for. In our business, we have contingency plans for most things – which really do help me sleep at night.

We keep a separate ballast for unexpected expenses, we keep the door open for interns so our potential recruitment list is only a phone call away if any staff leave in a hurry (if they’re reading this, please don’t) and we diversify our clients across different industries in case one industry (e.g. construction) completely bottoms out.

Take it from me, keeping a plan B up your sleeve (usually) costs nothing to make and will help take change in your stride.

Tip 3: In times of change keep an eye on the long-term vision, let plans change

Women in Tourism - Media MortarI encourage you to let change de-rail plans, but whatever you do, don’t let change de-rail your business vision. Your vision is your roadmap for the future – and while you can detour your path to get there, you always need to ensure your business GPS is still coded with a destination.

In our case, the vision for Media Mortar is to be Australia’s leading content creation agency – and as The Boss, it’s my job to keep my eyes firmly planted on where we want to go, even if roadblocks and detours get put in our path.

Tip 4: Make shorter plans

Gone are the days of five-year plans, at least in marketing where technology and consumer behaviour changes faster than you can plot a Gantt chart. When it comes to content for our clients, we write our plans fortnightly or monthly – and for larger clients requiring further sign off, quarterly. Our own business plans are even drafted quarterly. We find this more manageable with three core focusses rather than an overwhelming laundry list of things that need to get done (for more psychology on this, read The Power of Less in my recommended business readings).

We find our quarterly plans are nimble and agile enough to withstand significant change, and personally, I feel more in control of the change when we don’t have an enormous strategy document completely de-railed.

Tip 5: Diversify your team

Media Mortar - Women in TourismIt’s a given not everyone loves change – so prepare for that. Build teams that are stacked with a mixture of personalities, each with a different appetite for change. You don’t want an entire team who run towards change constantly, but equally you don’t want one that shies from it either.

I’ve used Gallup Strength finder to help assess appetite to change and risk in team members before – and I find DISC profiling incredibly helpful in finding out how people are hard-wired. It won’t just make you better at adapting to change but managing people and their communications methods too. If anyone is guessing, I am a D.

Tip 6: Communicate change

It’s one thing to be the instigator of change and another to be at the receiving end of it. If you’re an instigator or driver of change, be sure to communicate change to the whole team. I’ve seen too many times hallway whispers spreading based on restructures that were never afoot – and where there is smoke, there’s fire and staff disaccord.

Tip 7: Accept periods of change are hard

Women in Tourism - Media MortarInstagram is full of quotes that promote the benefits of change: “if it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you” which are probably more suited to a personal training studio than the office.

I think it’s important to call out, not all career change is good and not all change is easy. I’d just remind you not every moment of your life requires you to play a leading role. During periods of change, it’s ok to be the back-up or supporting actress to parts of your life. Especially in times of immense change I prefer this quote: “You can have everything you want in life. Just not all at once”. So be patient.

And remember, all change will pass.

What tips do you have for adapting to change?

By Hannah Statham

Hannah Statham is The Boss at Media Mortar. She’s a heavy weight wordsmith, punching with puns, analogies and metaphors that leave readers wanting more. When she’s not refreshing her Instagram feed, you’ll find Hannah walking her rescue greyhound Olivia.

8 steps to building your online strategy

By | Stories

If we had a dollar for every person who told us “I don’t need an online strategy”, we’d be swinging in hammocks on an island far away.

The short answer and premise for the next 1000 words is this: if you’re selling a product or service to customers, an online strategy is a non-negotiable for your business.

In Australia alone, 88% of our population is online and 69% are active social media users (We Are Social, 2018 Digital Report). So without an online strategy you’re not just fishing without dynamite, you’re fishing without bait.

The good news is that setting an online marketing strategy isn’t as tricky as it sounds. It boils down to a plan that will have your audience buying your product, service or tickets – and going for your brand hook, line and sinker.

If you like where this is going, settle yourself in for our tips for writing your online strategy.

1. Write a marketing plan

Media Mortar - customer reviewsIt all begins with a marketing plan. Your marketing plan doesn’t need to be a tome, filled with pie graphs and Gantt charts. Hell no.

Just Follow the KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid) theory with these inclusions – even if it means your marketing plan looks more like a shopping list than a governing document for the business:

Step 1:

Identify your target market – who are you selling to and why would they purchase from you? If you’re having trouble identifying ‘your people’, check out our Social Media Handbook which has a whole appendix to troubleshoot this problem.

Step 2:

Set out your business goals and objectives for the next 12 months and ensure they are measurable and achievable. Put simply – what do you want to achieve? Do you want more followers in your database? More revenue? Sell the business? More efficiency? Something else?

Step 3:

Once you know who you are talking to and what you’d like them to do (step 1 and 2), it’s time to determine a marketing strategy. Forget the scary ‘S’ word, this is about how you plan on reaching your customers, who likely form part of the 88% and hang out online.

If you’re looking for something a bit more detailed than our three step strategy, the Australian Government has a great online template to get you started.

2. Build your customer personas

As marketing guru and author Seth Godin says, “everyone is not your customer and you cannot market to everyone the same way”.

This means you need to know who you’re targeting and where to place your marketing efforts – customer personas (aka little biographies that personify your customers based on real data you’ve gathered from your existing clients) can help with this.

For example, if you’re selling a beach resort holiday, your customer persona could be Holly Holiday, a 25 year old office worker in Brisbane City who is dedicated to climbing the corporate ladder and rarely takes a break (even though she needs one).

Your marketing challenge has narrowed from trying to capture the whole world who wants a holiday, to how you will capture Holly Holiday’s attention and what marketing content will likely encourage her to take a holiday at your beach resort.

If you need assistance finding or writing your personas, our content crew can help.

3. Identify your customer acquisition process

If you’re looking to attract new customers, the first place to start is a deep dive of your current customer journey. Map how your existing customers interact with your business from finding you, right through to paying their final invoice and beyond.

Your starting point is how customers currently find you. Are they coming through from word of mouth? Is it blog content with a strong SEO component? Social media ads targeting potential customers?

Then, once you have the customers attention and they’ve made a purchase with you, what experience are you offering them through the booking transaction? Are they receiving personalised service from you to get them excited for their experience?

After their experience, did you give them the most amazing service that will leave them so satisfied they may want to book another experience? Or refer a friend or even write a positive review online?

By identifying each of the touchpoints you have with your customers, you can start to plot out your online strategy – because your strategy needs to connect with the customer before, during and after their purchase with you.

4. List your current online activities

Like all business owners, there’s only a number of business assets at your fingertips. Start by listing your current online activities and assets and what you’re doing to attract potential customers to your business.

List these out so you can see an overview of your online marketing activities – you might be surprised to see how much work you’ve already been doing! Here’s a free download to a marketing channel asset audit template we’ve prepared earlier to make it easier to spot any marketing gaps.

After a self-assessment, it might be a good time to look at what online tools you can use to support your online activities. Tools such as social media scheduling tools, email marketing software and online booking/ticketing functionalities to make your online marketing techniques seamless (and make your life a little easier too).

5. Planning your online strategy

Media Mortar - customer reviewsWith targets set on your audiences back (step 1 and 2) and your marketing weapons in your hands (step 3 and 4), you’re ready to plan and launch your online strategy with bullseye accuracy.

For example, if your goal is to grow your online sales you might increase your regular eNews sends, offer sale codes, introduce (and market) AfterPay and make targeted social media posts promoting your product using Instagram and Facebook’s shop function.

7. Attack of the strategy

With your strategy in place, create a plan of attack and put these ideas into action!

We always recommend creating a six or 12 month action plan (plan any longer and your digital marketing techniques could well be out of date!) on what online activities you’re going to achieve and when you plan on instigating them.

This doesn’t need to be fancy. It could be something as simple as a spreadsheet that’s broken down into daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly or annually marketing activities – whichever system works for you.

Remember your online strategy shouldn’t just be social media. Social media is just one tool to support what you sell.

8. Reporting and measurement

Finally, track your online marketing activities to see what worked and what didn’t work. Whether you use Google Analytics for your website, eNewsletter statistics or social media engagement, it’s important to measure and review your marketing activities to ensure you’re on track with supporting your business goals.

Remember, some marketing techniques take time and might not command instant results.

Happy strategising!

Kristy Media Mortar
By Kristy de Git

If they were handing out PHDs for organisation, Kristy would be first in line to collect the scroll. She’s master of a to do list, which is why she’s aptly in charge of content at Media Mortar.