1A

3 MORE tips and tricks to streamline your InDesign process

We recently shared a few useful tips and tricks to speed up your InDesign process. InDesign is chock full of clever shortcuts, so this is a series that really could go on forever… but we won’t do that. Instead, we will simply present part two: just a few more of our tried and true favourites.

Here at Curve we love working on magazines, programs and brochure design. When working on a multi-page document, we want to make it as easy as possible to ensure consistency across pages, so that we know our creations are clean and organized, and so that we don’t find ourselves—or our clients—looking at uneven margins, conflicting punctuation rules, or shifting headers and footers. Below we’ll share some of the ways we do this.

1. Customize Your Workspace

Once you start to get comfortable in InDesign, you begin to notice some preferences and patterns in terms of which tools you’re always reaching for, so it’s super helpful to have them all ready at your fingertips. Luckily InDesign makes it easy.

For example, when designing a magazine for a client, I know that I always want access to the Pages panel, as well as Layers, Paragraph and Paragraph Styles, Character and Character Styles, Stroke, Effects, Text Wrap, and Swatches.

These are not the default Tools that InDesign provides, so I need to create a custom workspace so that every time I open the program, I can quickly pull them up. Here’s how:

a) First, go to the top of the screen and click on Window. Select each of the tools you want to bring into your custom workspace. It will look pretty messy at first, but don’t worry – you’re about to clean that up.

b) Now you get to organize them. Simply drag the window panels one at a time to the sidebar on the right of your InDesign screen—all the way to the right until you see a blue vertical line appear, and then release it there. Drag each panel in this way, in the order you want them to appear. You can click on the double arrows at the very top right of this sidebar to switch between a collapsed view and an expanded view of the tool panels.

c) Note that you can put multiple panels in the same box, as I have done with Paragraph Styles and Character Styles; or Stroke, Text Wrap and Effects, as these are tools I tend to use at the same time, so they might as well be stored in the same place.

d) Once you have your workspace set up how you want it, click on “Essentials” at the top right of your InDesign window. Scroll down to “New Workspace” and name it whatever you like. Next time you open InDesign, you can choose your custom workspace and save yourself time by not having to look for the tools you love to use!

2. Make Use of Master Pages

When you’re working on a multi-page document like a magazine or perhaps an event program, there are certain design elements you will want to consistently apply to each page. Things like page numbers, headers and footers, margins and guides, logos and other graphic elements, text or graphic boxes, and so on. Save yourself time by setting these up in Master Pages, so that they will automatically apply to the individual pages you create—and importantly, they won’t move around! Here’s how to do it:

a) You can easily double click on “Master Page” in the Pages panel to get started. Or, if you’re creating multiple master pages, you can choose “New Master” from within the Pages panel. Choose a name (ie “Section Heading”) and an easily-identifiable prefix (ie “SH”) for the master page.

b) Next, set up the elements you want to appear each time you need to create this type of page. In the example below, I’ve created a master template that includes guidelines, an image box, a text box, a header containing a logo, and a page number that will automatically update for accuracy (more on that in tip #3).

c) Now anytime you want to apply this master layout to an individual page in your document (for example, to create an actual section header page), you will just drag that master page icon (in this example, the one marked “SH”) over the page you want to apply it to.

This will put all the text frames, image frames, and guides right onto that page, and you can be confident knowing that the placement will be consistent every time you use this master layout. You can now fill in the individual pages with the relevant content.

d) Note that if you ever want to remove an entire master page setup from a page, you can simply drag the master icon marked “None” overtop of the individual page and it will override the master previously applied and remove all of the master settings on that page. If you ever need to remove just one element from the master template—for example if you don’t want a page number to appear on a particular page but you do want the rest of the master template to apply—just choose “Shift + Cmd,” click the box with the page number in it, and hit “delete.”

2C1

3. Apply Page Numbers in the Master Page

When designing a multi-page document, sometimes those pages end up moving around after the bulk of the design is done. Not having to think about renumbering the pages is just one of the benefits of using the “Current page number” placeholder feature on your master page(s). Here’s how to insert that placeholder so you don’t even have to think about it again.

a) In your Pages panel, open up the master page and draw a text box where you want the page numbers to appear.

b) With your cursor inside that text box, click on “Type” > “Insert Special Character” > “Markers” > “Current Page Number.”  

c) You can now format the style of the page number as you would with any other text: change the typeface, size, colour, paragraph alignment, etc to suit the style of the rest of your document, and know that on all pages with this master applied, the page number will populate accurately and with all formatting applied consistently.

InDesign is so good at creating templates and tools for establishing consistency and clean, professional documents. Need a little guidance? Reach out to the team at Curve and let us help you with your design projects!

2

To Podcast or Not to Podcast? Top Ways to Get Yourself Heard

We live in a digital era. Therefore, modern-day users expect different types of content to suit the respective needs. Not everyone out there will have ample time to go through a 1000-word long post. While some prefer video content, there is an increasing population who love podcasting. Wish to give your business a boost through content? Let us show how podcasting can help your venture!

Podcasting is serving to be a great way for modern businesses to reach the target audience while the users are in front of their computer or mobile device. The best part? There is no need for you to be an experienced content creator to learn how to podcast for your business.

Podcasting for Your Business

Unlike visual or text-based content, podcasts are great to listen when you are doing something –whether running on the treadmill or commuting to work. Putting on your headphones as you are doing your day-to-day chores is something a listener will always choose.

It has now become seamless to go through podcasts. The revolutionary Bluetooth technology allows people to enjoy them in their vehicles. The Podcast app by Apple comes built-in with every iOS device. You can subscribe to the desired podcast within seconds.

Podcast is high on demand. With the ever-rising concept of on-demand listening, podcasts are gaining huge impetus in the modern business scenario. It is estimated that there are over 800,000 active podcasts along with over 54 million episodes available out there.

As a business owner, you should leverage the immense potential of this next-gen technology catering to the specific needs of your target audience. Whether you are new to creating a podcast or a seasoned player, we will help you know about the best ways to promote your business podcast.

Benefits of Podcasting for Your Business

The podcasting domain has offered a new way to target the right audience for your business. People have become hooked to listening podcasts. This is because it serves to be an easier way to absorb ample information.

Still confused whether or not you should start a podcast for your business? Here are some reasons to make you think in its favour:

Building Personal Connection

It is a different experience to build connections through visuals or a written piece of content. When you are on a podcast, you are able to open up more. The audience gets to hear your voice daily or weekly. You can leverage interesting themes and running jokes for building a notion of trust and personal connection.

Open up to the listeners for building a relationship for the long run. Voice is capable of engaging audiences significantly in comparison to written words. This helps in building trust.

Convenient

With podcasting, you should not be worried about your target audience being busy. The best part about podcast listeners is that they can consider downloading their favourite episodes while listening to the same at a later point of time. Driving, working, jogging, or relaxing –irrespective of the situation, podcast listeners can consume its information without any hassle.

When listeners subscribe to the podcast feed of your business, they can receive downloaded episodes automatically on the respective device upon the release of a new podcast. It is quite fast than typing keywords on the desktop or searching for the desired video.

Easy to Get Started

As your podcast starts becoming successful, you can consider investing more to improve its overall quality. While you might be only starting out in the journey, it is fairly simple to achieve the same. For launching your business podcast, all you need is access to a computer system, a mobile device, an editing software tool, and a reliable Internet connection.

Improved Traffic Generation

Like other types of content, podcasting for businesses can help in reaching out to new target audience for building familiarity. Listeners subscribe to a particular podcast to which they can listen regularly.

When you are consistent in your efforts, the target audience will continue listening to your podcast. Therefore, it helps in increasing your reach while leading to improved traffic and lead generation.

Top Ways to Get Your Podcast Heard

There is a stark difference between launching your podcast and getting the same heard by your target audience. To ensure the same, you need to go through the following tips:

Invest in Proper Equipment

While it is not expected to put in thousands of dollars into finding the right podcast equipment, you should still have access to the right equipment set to start off with.

One of the most important tools of a successful podcast is a good quality of microphone. Eventually, a good podcast featuring an impressive sound quality is assured to get success. When you have access to a decent headset, a microphone, and some standard editing software tools, you can ensure a major difference in the overall sound quality of your business podcast.

Select the Right Theme

The theme of the podcast determines its success significantly. This does not imply that you should go for choosing a topic you feel will be capable of capturing a larger audience. It implies that you should select a theme that you are capable of committing to in the long run.

When you are truly passionate about what you will be talking about in the podcast, it will resonate with others having the same passion. It is important to be genuinely interested and informed in whatever you aim at talking about. It will help in keeping your audience engaged throughout.

In addition to this, there is a higher possibility that the listeners might consider sharing the podcast with others having similar interests. Stick to something you are aware of and passionate about.

Create Quality Podcasts

There is no denying this fact. However, it is interesting to know how a number of to-be podcasters are focused on the artwork, title, and launch of the podcast. Eventually, they forget about the most important aspect –the podcast itself.

Like everything else, you are expected to practice podcasting effectively to ensure success in it. When you wish to have a successful podcast, you should aim at becoming a good podcaster in the first place. The only way to ensure the same is by being consistent in recording.

Continue learning and honing your podcasting skills. Eventually, you will reach a stage wherein people will start enjoying listening to what you will create.

Find the Perfect Balance

As you start creating and posting your podcast, you will eventually start receiving comments and feedback from the listeners. Some listeners would like you to modify the format, while others will have special requests for some guests.

While it is recommended to listen to your audience as well, it is equally important to ensure that your podcast remains in its truest identity.

It is not always necessary to include your audience in everything related to the podcast sans listening. A podcast that is capable of sparking real conversation will definitely turn out to be more interesting than the one just going with the flow.

As a business owner, you should be decisive. Therefore, take control of the direction of where the podcast is going and where you want the podcast to be in the long run. Have a strong opinion about your podcast marketing skills.

SEO-friendly Podcasts

Most individuals do not realize the fact that Google Podcasts and iTunes are search engines. Therefore, you should consider including some relevant keywords in the descriptions and titles of the podcasts. It will offer a boost in its overall rankings. However, it is equally important to note that you should not go overboard with including the keywords.

When you have relevant keywords in the title, subtitle, and description of the podcast, it will make it easier to search your podcast. It will definitely boost the success of your content.

Draw the Attention of Great Guests

Guests are immensely valuable factors determining the success of your podcast. When you have expert guests for the content, they will have interesting and intelligent things to share on the pod for the listeners. At the same time, they are most likely to bring more followers to your pod.

You might be adept at the given podcast topic. However, it is always valuable to hear some different perspective – both for your business and your target audience. If you have received the opportunity to host guests on your pod, ensure that you are treating them with ample respect.

Conclusion

Podcasting is a powerful marketing tool that is here to stay. Podcasts are easy to listen, accessible, and need minimal effort for the end users.

It serves to be an impressive marketing tool for modern-day businesses. Moreover, it is also a leading branding vehicle. Give your startup or seasoned enterprise a boost by creating meaningful podcasts and sharing the same with the target audience. All the best!

1

5 Ways to Pitch Your Business to Media and Get The Best Results

Whether you wish to get the word out about a new product or raise the public profile of your business, media coverage serves to be one of the best ways to get your business noticed. However, getting access to lucrative press coverage is not a simple affair. Like all good things in life, successful media coverage for your business also requires careful planning and ample hard work.

Importance of a Strong Media Pitch for Your Business

When you have access to a reliable media pitch for your brand, it helps in setting the stage for your brand to stand out from the competitors. Companies having persuasive media pitches tend to depend on external sources for presenting the respective case. Elements like ample research on the company background and infographics can help in coming up with an interesting story for the media.

Successful media pitching will get customers to talk about your brand while positioning your business as a market leader. Social media influencers, reporters, bloggers, and editors can take your brand communication to the next level.

With inboxes of media reporters filled with multiple media pitches from different brands, how should you get your media pitch noticed? Let us help you unravel some of the essential tips to pitch your business effectively to obtain the best outcomes.

Top Ways to Pitch the Media

In the modern era, PR professionals tend to outnumber journalists significantly. If you wish to stand out in the modern-day information-filled era, you will need a dedicated plan. You should have a plan for allowing you to land ample coverage that you require.

Here are some important steps that you will help you come up with a strategy for pitching the media effectively:

Begin with Your Story

What is the secret to impressive press coverage? You should do something that will draw the attention of the media. Leading companies use the strategy quite often. From startups to celebrities, the idea remains the same –the media wants something out of you to catch the attention of the target audience. When you offer the same, your media coverage will know no bounds.

It is estimated that around 40 percent of journalists tend to receive media pitches 20 times every day. The best way for your business to get to the press is by presenting a compelling brand story. It should be designed to stand out from the crowd easily.

Your brand story serves to be the way to present your business or news in the manner that becomes irresistible for the press. Along your startup story, you should come up with a relevant personal story as well. This will allow you to offer your brand a face while adding ample human interest. Specify the problem you aim at solving, or how your brand is going to change the world.

When you have a strong and interesting story, you will ensure a great start. Your story will help in laying grounds for ample media coverage.

Define Your Goals and the Target Audience

Your ultimate goal is to obtain media coverage. To achieve the same, you need to be smart before you begin pitching. It is recommended to come up with SMART (Specific, Manageable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-centric) goals. Here are some ideas to help you get started:

  •   Focus on improving brand awareness across a particular demographic
  •   Search for new investors
  •   Generate ample leads for your business
  •   Aim for creating a spark in the target market about your product launch

The goals that you design should be linked with a particular audience. You should be aware of the target audience. The goals and the target audience for your business will help in determining the angle you should be pitching.

Be Careful About Sending to Different Groups

As you go through the famous hashtag “#PRFail,” you will come across multiple media partners and publishers complaining about a common thing –generic pitches.

While you might attempt email blasts, still they are considered sloppy in the modern digital era. On the other hand, you can consider targeting a particular writer having the publication that tends to cover the given subject area for matching up with your brand story.

You should avoid sending bulk emails to all the reporters in the given publication. However, you can think about sending the same pitch to some publications simultaneously. Every reporter out there is no going to respond to your sales pitch. Therefore, it is a smart decision to maximize your opportunity for coverage.

You should remember that you should not send pitches to generic email addresses. This is because in most cases, the inboxes tend to be monitored poorly. You should search for professional email addresses of the publishers while contacting them directly.

Establish Rapport with Journalists Before Their Help

When you are pitching to the press, you are essentially asking the journalists a favour towards covering your brand. However, unless you develop proper rapport, you might be asking favours just out of strangers.

Before you commence pitching to the targeted journalists, it is important to connect with them way ahead of time. In an ideal situation, it is recommended to establish a connection before you start pitching.

Effective media outreach is all about establishing meaningful relationships. Some of the ways in which you can connect with the journalist out there are:

  •   Following them on Twitter
  •   Connecting with them on LinkedIn
  •   Connecting locally

Design the Perfect Pitch

All your efforts could be in vain unless you come up with a compelling pitch for your brand. Every journalist you are pitching to should receive a unique piece.

Always begin with the name of the journalist. Journalists are known to receive thousands of emails on a daily basis. Therefore, you are required to be concise. At the same time, it is also important to note that you are providing them with everything they would require for revealing the story.

Some additional tips in the given context are:

  • Journalists are known to commence the workdays quite early. Therefore, you should aim at getting into their inbox before they start working. This will make sure that you are on top as soon as they launch their email.
  • If it is possible for you to include images or videos, try including links for downloading and allowing the journalists know how they can use the same.
  • Try using multiple angles to observe if one strategy will work better than the others. Then, you can focus on the particular strategy to receive the best outcomes.

Structure the Media Pitch Properly

A pitch email should be informal. However, it should still have a dedicated structure to it. In most cases, journalists tend to have daily deadlines. Therefore, when you structure the pitch in the manner that is easy for the journalists to scan, you can increase your chances of earning ample coverage.

Here is an instance of how the pitch for your brand should be structured:

  •   Start writing something personal. You can consider including a story of the journalists that you might have recently read. You should aim at searching for something related to the concept that you will pitch.
  •   It is important to define the aspects including who, what, why, when, and where of the brand story. The structure is known to serve the best results for conventional media outlets. This is because most reporters tend to structure their reports in the given manner.
  •   Deliver news value by detailing why your brand story is exciting to the target audience.
  •   Include a relevant call to action.

Try packaging all this content in around 300 words.

Deliver the Pitch at the Right Time

Journalists tend to be deadline-driven in most scenarios. They feature a particular ‘lead time.’ It is the time taken to write and deliver a piece of content. Once you are in touch with a reporter, know about the respective lead time as soon as you can. This will help you in sending pitches at the right time for ensuring maximum coverage.

Avoid pitching on the day you would need the brand story to get published. In case you are concerned about relevant brand news leaking before the launch, you can consider sending pitches before the product launch day.

Personalize the Pitch

Try making your pitch as personal as possible. This will allow you to make an impact within the first few seconds of encountering the same. Supporting details and documents can also be great. However, they could turn out meaningless unless you have an interested audience.

You can include a bulleted list for outlining the available assets. It helps in delivering quick & effective communication for building reliable relationships.

Conclusion

Every business media pitch serves to be an opportunity for presenting your brand to new audience. Moreover, it also helps in building new relationships with reputed media advocates. In case you do not hear from a pitch, you should follow up. When you still do not receive a response, move ahead to pitch to some other media professional.

unnamed (2)

9 Manufacturing Company Websites That Will Inspire You

Are you a marketing manager at a manufacturing company who thinks your website could be so much better? Are you looking for inspiration? Besides being visually appealing, there are several more factors to consider while designing a compelling manufacturing website. After all, a manufacturing company’s website is expected to convey in-depth technical information while also revealing core brand values and be easy to navigate?

An attractive website is a strong marketing and sales tool for any manufacturing company. When you have an innovative, thought-led website, it is a lucrative opportunity to ensure great impressions. It helps in showcasing your brand to potential customers. When done properly, it helps in communicating your niche.

For your manufacturing business, it is crucial to have a website for housing all your important information. In case you are starting out or revamping the existing website, you can have a look at other brand inspirations to give your website a great start. You can observe what works, what will not work, and experiment with your website.

In this post, let us help you go through major design inspirations for creating an attractive and functional website. And of course, always feel to reach out to Curve for advice. 

 

Top Manufacturing Website Design Trends 2021

As the digital landscape has changed significantly, there are multiple initiatives that manufacturing businesses are using for executing digital marketing through attractive websites. Manufacturing website trends have changed as generating traffic online has become highly competitive than ever before.

Nowadays, high-end digital procedures like SEO, retargeting, and pay-per-click are making website creation a crucial task. Websites are the foundation of all digital marketing strategies for manufacturing businesses. As per the latest manufacturing website trends, here are some core elements of a manufacturing website on which you should focus:

  •   A clean design working great on tablets, smartphones, and other mobile devices
  •   Attractive visuals along with impressive infographics, videos, or images
  •   A simple conversion funnel with easy-to-use navigation and strong CTAs
  •   Opportunities to garner more information –including lead magnets and right forms

The Best Manufacturing Website Design Examples

We have selected a series of favourite websites to leverage as direction, inspiration, and for showcasing your products and services effectively. None of these sites are Curve clients. But we still appreciate solid work. Have a look:

Andrew Plastics Ltd.

Andrew Plastics Ltd. is a renowned Plastic Injection Moulding company. It boasts over 70 years of experience in the manufacturing industry. The company was in requirement of a compelling website to deliver them ample exposure, communicate their vision, and improve customer satisfaction.

The website of the company now represents everything that they stand for. The company features a clean, easy to navigate, and simplistic design. The website attractively displays the services, the sectors in which the company works, and the overall company history, and much more. The website also serves to be a hub for learning with the help of effective content marketing. You will find that the blog section is filled with ample resources featuring the best SEO practices in use.

Beta Solutions

The company claims that it has been the core of the production of heavy-duty industrial cleaning machines for over 30 years. The company is based in the United Kingdom. The team here is specialized in the production of sturdy, hard-working, and durable floor cleaning machinery for fabrication, manufacturing, engineering, food & beverages, warehousing, and several other industries.

Beta Solutions was in need of a website for communicating its incredible range of products & services while positioning itself as the expert brand. Website designers made use of content marketing in the best possible manner. A multi-channel approach is used for targeting the buyer personas while answering questions and educating readers.

The website currently showcases the Beta brand, its impressive range of products & services, and the industries they work with with great detail. The website puts forth all important information that is relevant to the end-users.

On the Level

The company is a reputed trade wet room manufacturer and supplier. The company has its renowned name in the construction industry for its high-end project work along with ample modular expertise for high-end projects. The overall work of the company is quite impressive.

On The Level had been keen on developing a website solution to serve as a long-term digital strategy for the period of 5 years. The final outcome of its website design revealed a current and simplistic website feature with strategic customer journeys and guaranteed customer satisfaction.

The website designers of the company made use of ample immersive videos along with SEO-centric content for engaging the users.

Lockheed Martin

Lockheed Martin is a renowned name in the field of aerospace brands out there. Therefore, there is no denying the fact that the website design of Lockheed Martin is just as airy and free as it can get.

The design of the website differentiates itself with the smart use of imagery. There is also the presence of a dropdown menu for allowing potential customers to find the respective area of interest quite instantly. Even with the bold design options, the website features a highly responsive design. Therefore, it is capable of working effectively on a wide range of mobile devices as well.

NTS Unitek

The website of NTS Unitek excels in its use of high-quality imagery along with intuitive content to draw the attention of the visitors. The site features striking images of high-end technology in action. The written copy of the website is concise and well-defined. Therefore, the website allows its visitors to know what they are doing in the right manner.

The website also features a separate “Learn More” Call-to-Action (CTA) icon for inviting website visitors to explore the website more. The icon allows them to garner in-depth knowledge about the organization and the industry as a whole.

Right below the main images, the website presents a detailed menu of the respective services that can be tabbed. Therefore, there is the presentation of a single service at a particular moment unless the visitors would click on additional services. The website designers have been quite flawless in the overall presentation and self-promotion of the brand itself. There is a dedicated testimonial section for offering access to two testimonials at a time.

PR Hoffman

The company features an attractive website featuring a main hero image appearing as a slideshow moving about every 30 seconds. Every hero image present in the slideshow feature has a unique copy for explaining what the manufacturing company is capable of doing for its customers. It offers its visitors the feeling that the company is advanced technologically while being quite futuristic at the same time.

The website also features detailed contact information at a visible space of the page. There are three distinct categories of products that are placed under the main hero image of the website. These categories invite prospective customers to go on exploring while learning more about the products and services that are offered.

The best part is that the website also features a short video at the homepage’s bottom for allowing the visitors to know about the working of different machines.

John Deere

John Deere is undeniably one of the leading manufacturing brands in the entire world. As such, it is no surprise that the leading manufacturing brand also excels its website. The brand is responsible for delivering amazing user experiences while providing ample menu options on the homepage with the help of engaging images.

The website is capable of appealing to all its visitors. It makes use of impressive content marketing strategies for adding more value for the visitors. The publication by the company “The John Deere Journal” is situated at the website’s footer section. The brand’s website also showcases real stories to include a human element for resonating well with the customers.

Marlin Steel

The official website of the manufacturing company performs exceedingly when it comes to using video for the homepage. This helps in effectively drawing the active attention of the site visitors. The site also features specialized conversion elements throughout the design. Moreover, the brand also boasts an extensive product offering.

The site serves to be simple and easy-to-navigate for first-time users. It delivers accurate specifications and a proper quote with the help of just a few clicks on the homepage.

FireRock

The website is about a leading building solution brand. FireRock provides building solutions for both end users as well as contractors that are planning their customized home projects. Therefore, it is no surprise that the website design of the brand incorporates some of the most intriguing ideas in its B2C designs.

Along with the easy-to-navigate features and accurate subsections, the slogan remains at the front & center of the website.

Conclusion

Our shortlist of manufacturing website examples is a great starting point for those who wish to create an impactful, professional, and informative site. From the navigation layout to colour palette options, you will come across ample inspiration from these websites that are designed by leading designers. If you need help with your existing or new manufacturing website, please reach out to the team here at Curve Communications.

Blog 4 - Brainstorming

8 Tips for Your Next Brainstorming Session

No matter what industry you work in, coming up with creative solutions to problems is necessary – and let’s be honest, sometimes difficult. We bet you’ve seen something somewhere and thought to yourself, “Wow, that’s genius, why didn’t I think of that?” Well, you don’t need to be a genius to come up with an incredible idea – you just need some brainstorming!

Brainstorming is a well-known technique for generating creative solutions, but it might seem like a pointless process to some, if it’s not done right. It’s not like there are rules to brainstorming, but there are definitely some tips and tricks you should follow if you want to have a productive session where everyone is engaged and collaborating, and from which you take away some amazing ideas.

Here are some pointers to bring into your next meeting.

1. Focus on Quantity Over Quality

Let’s establish the most important thing first: the goal of brainstorming is to come up with the highest possible number of ideas. Don’t get attached to how good they are. You might not solve the problem right there and then, but you are probably going to leave the session with a fresh perspective and a few good concepts you can explore further. The golden solution is hidden between 30 other not-so-good ideas.

2. Set a Time

Having a time limit will ensure you don’t waste a second. The goal here is to keep everyone engaged, focused and contributing. A session can be anywhere from 15 to 45 minutes, depending on the size and complexity of the project – so a sweet spot is 30 minutes. However long you choose, make sure to communicate it to everyone before the session starts and stick with it!

3. Prepare Beforehand

You won’t have much time, so spend it wisely. Do some research before the meeting. For instance, if you’re brainstorming ideas for an event, spend a few minutes going over what other events like yours did in the past; you might have missed an idea that seems obvious.

4. Change the Place

To help spark creativity, get the team out of their habitual space. Leave your desks and go to the conference room, the break room, or even better, go outside. Changing your surroundings will help everyone get more inspired.

5. Choose the Participants

Another important limit you should set is the number of people. Choose a group of four to seven to be in your session–less than that and you won’t have enough ideas; more than that and people will not participate. And if you work in a large company, bring in people from different departments or different job positions. You will get great insights from different perspectives. 

You also need to assign one person to take notes. They can contribute with ideas, of course, but their main responsibility here is recording everything that’s said. That way, the other participants can focus on the discussion.

6. Don’t Think About Execution

The meeting is not the time, nor the place, to think about how you’re going to execute each idea! Do NOT think about how you’ll get it done, how much it will cost, how long it will take. Use this time to come up with concepts. LATER, you will select a few that were the best and explore them further.

7. Go Wild

Because crazy ideas can sound implausible, many people avoid them in favour of more practical solutions. However, creativity and craziness go hand in hand. Never dismiss an idea just because you believe it is technically impractical. Often, the crazy one will spark inspiration in others and can be the starting point to the winning solution.

8. Keep Judgements to Yourself

On the same note, remember that there’s no such thing as a dumb idea. Don’t shut people down while they’re brainstorming. If a person feels their ideas are being rejected, they are more likely to withdraw from the discussion entirely. Use this space as a brain dump – people should feel free to say whatever comes into their minds. A “silly” idea might just be what another participant needs to get inspired. 

Follow these simple steps and you’re set for success! Just make sure to communicate this to your team and get everyone on the same page. And if you’re stuck and need help, contact us and we’ll be happy to collaborate to take your ideas–and your brand–to the next level.

Untitled design (31)

Smart Strategies to Build Brand Awareness

You have your product, you’re ready to make sales, but people aren’t seeing your product. Brand awareness is the first step for marketing your product or service. It is the degree of recognition your brand receives. Without perfecting the awareness stage, the people that you determined to be your target audience will not find out about your brand.

How do you build brand awareness then? There are multiple ways to go forward with this, and you should not limit yourself to just one.

1. Organic content

No matter where you decide to take your brand awareness journey, it all starts with content. Without content, no one will be able to learn about your brand, your products and services.

You need a designated copywriter to create content copy. Once you have the copy, start putting out organic content. You will need to determine what social media platforms to post on, whether you want more videos, more photos or more text-heavy content.

2. Paid Traffic

Once you have your organic content out there generating awareness, you can take it a step further and invest money into advertising.

The main channels you should focus on for paid traffic are Facebook and Google. Unlike organic content, once you set your budget, you are guaranteed to have your content viewed by your target audience.

3. Search Marketing

When it comes to search marketing, your primary goal is to get clicks to the site. In order to get to the top of Google searches, you have to build authority with Google and potential customers.

SEO plays a big role in building our brand awareness. Without high rankings on Google, no one will be able to find your content. Make your website crawlable by Google robots. Technical errors can lead to the confusion of the robots, in return reducing your search ranking.

4. Brand Management

Maintain a consistent and cohesive look to make your brand recognizable. In order to do this, always refer back to your brand style guide when creating content.

Remember, brand awareness is the first step in creating a loyal customer base, so you want to focus a lot of your time and money here. Come up with marketing strategies to support this and don’t move past this step until you have reached your goals.

Brand awareness can be a hard aspect of marketing to tackle and can get overwhelming at times. Contact us and let us help you build your brand awareness.

pexels-cottonbro-5077038

A Beginner’s Guide to Facebook Pixel

Starting the journey in online advertising can be scary. There are many things you need to set up before you can run ads. If you have done any research on Facebook ads, you’ve probably read the words “Facebook Pixel” somewhere. So today we’re here to give you all the information you need on what it is, how it works and most importantly, how to set it up!

What is the Facebook Pixel?

The Facebook Pixel is a little piece of code that you insert into your website. It collects data that enables you to measure conversions from Facebook advertising, optimize your campaigns, create targeted audiences for future ads, and retarget to individuals who have already engaged with your website. The pixel tracks and records multiple actions a person takes on a website, such as a purchase or adding a product to a wish list or cart. On Facebook, these acts are referred to as “events.”

How Does it Work?

The pixel sets a cookie on the user’s browser, records their online activity, and allows you to “follow them around” with customized advertising. Facebook provides JavaScript code that you may include on your website. The code then connects with Facebook to track, optimize, and grow your campaigns’ audiences. Once you have advertised to previous site visitors, you can also employ pixels to track their activity on your site. 

By installing and activating cookies, the Facebook Pixel records users’ interactions with your brand on and off Facebook and Instagram. As an example, suppose you visited the Curve Communications website and began browsing our services. You discovered one that is the exact thing your business needs but were forced to leave without contacting us, and you promptly forgot about it. Now, the next time you browse the web, you’ll see that our advertisements are directed towards you. This serves as a reminder that you visited the site and encourages you to pick up where you left off.

According to a well-known study conducted by Retargeter.com, just 2% of online traffic converts on the first visit to most websites. Retargeting is a technique that enables businesses to target the other 98% of consumers who do not convert immediately. Therefore, if you haven’t already configured the pixel for your website, keep reading for a step-by-step guide on how to configure your very own Facebook Pixel code for retargeting.

Why Should You Install a Pixel?

When pixels are used in conjunction with Facebook, businesses get an essential tool for retargeting and nurturing prospects. The insight you gain from the pixels allows you to:

  •       Calculate cross-device conversion rates;
  •       Optimize distribution to those most likely to act;
  •       Create audiences for retargeting website visitors automatically;
  •       Create “Custom Audiences” for visitors to your website who perform specific actions;
  •       Gain insights into your audience (get informative stats about the people who visit your site);
  •       Create “Lookalike Audiences” to identify other individuals who are similar to your most significant customers.

How to Install a Facebook Pixel

Now that you’re familiar with its purpose, the next step is to install the Facebook Pixel on your website. Just follow the steps below!

  1. Establish a Facebook Pixel

The first step is to create your pixel. You’ll need to access your Ads Manager on Facebook and go to the Events Manager tab, navigate to Connect a Data Source and select Web. Then pick Facebook Pixel and click Connect. Input the information asked.

  1. Add the Facebook Pixel to your website

The Facebook Pixel can be integrated in three ways:

  • Manually

Once you’re done with step 1, select Install Code Manually and copy the base code. To install it on every page of your website at once, simply add it to the bottom of the website’s global header section, between <head> and </head>. Then click Save Changes.

  • Using a Partner Integration

In the Events Manager, select the pixel you created in step 1 and click Use a Partner. Select the partner and follow the instructions.

  • Hand it Over to a Developer

If a web developer maintains your website, you can easily email them the instructions and the Facebook Pixel code. After setting up the code according to step 1, select Email Instructions and enter the developer’s email address. 

  1. Set up Events

Now you just need to add the events you want to track using Facebook’s Setup Tool. Click Open Event Setup Tool and follow the instructions.

After adding the code, use the Facebook Pixel Helper to verify that it is functioning correctly. Additionally, Facebook Pixel Helper notifies you of problems, allowing you to retry the installation procedures to verify everything is operating the way it should. If the Pixel Helper displays no problems, you may begin seeing real-time event and conversion statistics for your Facebook marketing campaigns.

Not as complicated as it seems, right? But if, even after reading this blog, you still find it overwhelming, contact us and we’ll be happy to assist you with your advertising!

7 foolproof - blog

Seven Foolproof Tips for Getting Your Content Through Reviews and Approvals FASTER

Blood, sweat and tears are shed through the planning and execution phases of content marketing. Sometimes it feels like you’re scaling mountains, slaying dragons, and jumping through hoops to check off tasks, coordinate the workload and hit milestones. Everything should be going according to plan. The summit is in sight. But before you are crowned victorious and can celebrate, you find your artfully created content sitting for what feels like an eternity in your client’s review and approval pile.

Now the goals and deadlines that were scheduled suddenly have to be rescheduled. While you monitor and nudge the approval process along, the project that should already be completed just sits there, occupying precious real estate in your mind. It’s tough to see your efforts sitting idle while your content collects dust. 

Here at Curve Communications, we understand it can be disheartening to wait in limbo, so we have amassed seven foolproof tips for getting your content through reviews and approvals FASTER. Read along to streamline your process and reach the summit.

1. Adapt to your various clients’ internal workflow

Your clients’ processes and workflow can vary depending on the teams involved and their chosen work tools. Do they use Google Docs or Asana? Wrike or Microsoft Teams?

Whatever their workflow may be, you need to adapt to it, like a chameleon camouflaging to its surroundings. If you and your team adapt to your client’s processes, then you can ensure you are all on the same page. 

Here are a few questions to ask your client during your project onboarding process to set yourself up to succeed:

  1. What is your current approval process?
  2. Do you use any project management software?
  3. What organizational tools do you use?
  4. Who are the stakeholders involved?

Only by asking, will you find out what is needed for success. You may uncover a steep mountain to climb or a clear road ahead.

2. Draft a template

With your client’s workflow in mind, you can draft an internal template curated to their specific needs. This structure will identify potential bottlenecks and help streamline the process.

Here at Curve Communications, we use Asana to create templates that ensure the team marches along towards approval.

Our typical review and approval template usually looks something like this:

  • Notify clients: Get in touch with reviewers and approvers to let them know when they should be expecting your content.
  • Coordinate internally: Divide work among your team members based on individual strengths. Once everything is proofed you can move to the next step.
  • Round one – reviews: Deal out the first version of your content to your client. Keep in mind they will most likely have comments about it. Give them a heads-up about the asset’s goal and its deadline. 
  • Round one – proofs: Based on your client’s feedback, update the content while improving on it. 
  • Round two – reviews: With your new and improved version complete, send it for reviews. 
  • Round two – proofs: Draft a final version based on round two comments (if any).
  • Distribution: Send and give access to the final version of the content created to the relevant stakeholders.

Launch: Assets are live! You and all parties involved can give each other pats on the back. Go out for drinks or treat yourself to your favourite burger joint.

3. Acquaint yourself with your client’s brand guidelines

Before you strap up your boots and start the climb towards approval, you must first get to know your client’s brand as an old friend.

During the onboarding phase, ask your client for materials that define their brand. This guideline or playbook will set guardrails within which your team will base its efforts. The materials they send over should answer the following questions:

How do they want to convey their brand’s tone and language? What is it that sets them apart from the competition? Which colours and feelings do they want the created assets to evoke? Finally, why does your client do what they do? 

With the answers to all these questions, you can be sure that you are creating content that best represents the essence of your client’s brand.

4. Familiarize yourself with the approval team

To avoid potential bottlenecks, try to get to know the approval team who will have the fate of your content in their hands. Get to know:

Which departments are involved? 
Who does what?
What are their strengths?
Who are the key decision makers?
Who are the influencers? (The person or people who will help move the content along.)

It is as easy as emailing your client with these questions, and introducing yourself to the people involved. Get to know them as they get to know you. Be friendly towards them and be ready to help when needed. Like the saying goes, You win more flies with honey.

If you know your client’s approval and organizational structure, you will have a much easier time with your content and can avoid missing a deadline.

5. Identify your “man on the inside”

Acquainting yourself with the team has the added benefit of establishing or identifying your point person, influencer, “man/woman on the inside.” This person is usually the one who hired you to develop the content, or the one who is most responsive. They care and understand the deadlines and will help you push the approval process along.

Befriend this responsive person and keep things jovial, so that when the need arises (if the process has stalled, for example), this person can go to bat for you. They can talk in person, send internal notifications, text, or call up whoever it is that has the created materials on their approval pile. Your content will either get pushed forward or the person will come back with some information as to why it isn’t moving along.

6. Authenticate yourself with an outstanding first impression

They say you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but first impressions play a key role that sets the tone between you and your client. One mistake during the beginning phases can cause approvers to be biased against you. Maybe they thought you didn’t quite grasp their target audience or industry, or that you didn’t capture the essence of their brand, or perhaps that you simply conveyed the wrong message. Whatever the reason, once approvers lose faith in you, the content you bring forth is not a priority for them.

Spend some time researching your client’s brand, their team, the materials provided during onboarding, and past content they may have created prior to your arrival, so that you can write from their point of view. Aim for your first draft to be your final draft.

Be flexible so that you not only make a great first impression but also a stellar lasting impression.

7. Relate unapproved assets to missed opportunities and extravagance

Content is not like wine. It just doesn’t age well. Instead, it loses relevance and wastes time and money for both you and your client. You could be on a retainer, so the unapproved work means they are paying for nothing. Perhaps your thoughtfully created Labour Day post sat idle and you missed the holiday. No one likes feeling like their efforts are going to waste; and even worse, no one likes wasting money.

To guarantee your client understands where you are coming from, communicate your desire to help them get their money’s worth. They will know you have their best interests at heart, and will thank you for it when a swarm of leads come through the door from the content you developed.

With these seven tips added as tools to your arsenal, you can scale the tremorous peaks of review and approval, finally reach the summit, plant your flag and bring forth something you can all be proud of.

Interested in more content creation and project management tips? Follow us on social media and read our blogs for more insights about the digital marketing world. Click here to schedule a chat with us!

unnamed

Tips to Enhance Your TikTok Marketing Strategy

TikTok is still majorly underestimated when it comes to advertising and brand strategy, and a lot of companies don’t feel they have a place on this platform. However, TikTok’s user base has grown exponentially since 2019, and now, more than ever is the time to take advantage of the app.

When it comes to TikTok advertising, you can’t approach it the way you do with Facebook or Instagram, where influencer marketing and the push for paid advertising have blurred the line between personal users and advertisers. In fact, in many ways, this has pushed many “regular” users off of those platforms; they are switching to TikTok, which means there is a massive opportunity for advertisers to jump in and experiment with content and storytelling. 

This article will cover why TikTok is such a big deal, who the target audience is, and how to strategically market to them on Tiktok using the right methods. So, let’s get started!

Recognize the importance of TikTok as a marketing channel

TikTok’s main appeal is that your feed is “For You.” The TikTok algorithm ensures that you experience completely different and unique content that is curated just for you and what you like. However this can make targeting ads difficult: while the audiences on Facebook and Instagram are easy to find, TikTok exposure relies on sensation, whim, personality, and trends. 

As a business, your key to navigating TikTok is to keep up with trends and find a way to implement your brand’s voice into them, while still maintaining an organic and “authentic” personality. TikTok’s video formatting allows businesses and creators to get creative with their content, and it has created a more intimate platform for businesses/celebrities/leads to connect with their audience.

For example, Lionsgate Films (@lionsgate) has taken advantage of TikTok’s Gen-Z user base, employing TikTok trends and creating “meme”-worthy content about their newest releases. They also use witty and random humour poking fun at older franchises, such as “Twilight,” which evokes nostalgia in older users and creates new fans in younger users. The result is a massive audience of diverse users who consistently engage with the brand’s content and look forward to seeing new posts, and thus look forward to seeing new releases produced by Lionsgate. 

An older example of this method of advertising is the popularity of the sassy Wendy’s Twitter “roasts.” This brought on the trend of creating advertising that wasn’t just plain and boring copy, and instead, focused on creating a brand voice or character that feels authentic and entertaining. 

So, now that we know what makes TikTok stand out, here are some tips I recommend for enhancing your strategy.

Define Your Target Audience

Start by defining who your target audience is. Yes, TikTok may be known as the “young people” social media app, but so was Facebook at the beginning, as well as Instagram. Don’t take the app for granted when people of every walk of life are signing up now. 

To find a target audience, start by looking at the content and creators similar to your business, see what posts have the most engagement (and the least), and most importantly, read the comments. What are people asking for? Are they asking lots of questions? Can you answer those questions or provide a solution? That is how you find your audience: by looking at the content they’re already watching and finding a gap where you can fit in

Engagement on TikTok is about “human to human” interactions. Provide your target audience with valuable content, and TikTok will continue to push you to the right people.

Quality over Quantity

The number ONE most important thing to remember about creating TikTok content for your brand is that QUALITY is always more important than QUANTITY. That does not mean, however, that you need a fancy camera or lighting setup. It means that your content should provide value to your audience and to the people who are experiencing your content for the first time (even if that content is just providing a good laugh). This is because the TikTok algorithm tests content with small audiences first, and if your content doesn’t grab the attention of a small few first, then it will not succeed at all. 

For example, if you’re a plumber, you could take advantage of showing before and after transformations (very popular on TikTok), give basic tips and tricks to younger users who may be moving into their first apartment, or even create content on what to look for in a good plumbing service! A great example of a Plumber/”Handy-maam” that found her brand voice, is the extremely popular @mercurystardust, who created a channel that is both a humorous place for her to tell her brand story, but also a comfortable and open space for people to ask for advice not only on household maintenance, but on life in general too. 

It’s not so much about what you’re selling, it’s about telling a good story. So be consistent with your posts, engage with your audience, and help your audience find a solution to their needs with your content.

It’s Not About Followers

Lastly, don’t invest all your energy worrying about your followers or the perfect hashtag. These things don’t matter as much on TikTok. 

A TikTok account with 10,000 followers and one with five followers both stand the same chance of gaining millions of views if their content is deemed interesting to an audience. Once again it’s about providing value and quality content, or to put it simply, to be featured on the “For You” page. 

As for hashtags, make sure you use hashtags that are relevant to your brand or post. You can also follow trending hashtags and use them on your posts to boost the chance of your video being featured on the “For You” page. However, TikTok captions are very limited in characters, so I recommend using max 4-5 hashtags on each post. 

So don’t stress about followers. If your content is delivering value, the followers will come.

Explore and Be Willing to Experiment

So now that you know some of the best ways to elevate your TikTok campaigns, you should be ready to start posting. However, if you’re still unsure of the best content for your brand, the only way you are going to learn what works is by diving in head first and doing your research. 

Start by getting familiar with the app, use the search features and find other brands and people who are creating similar content like yours. Save trending songs and sounds for later, to help create fun and relevant content, or test out the video editing tool to add engaging captions and pop-ups for informational videos. As well, use the duetting feature to react/speak to people who may be having a problem that you have the solution for. Finally, answering comments in video format is an amazing way to create lots of content once you’ve gained a small following.

At the end of the day, look at what works and doesn’t work, apply it to what you think is achievable with your brand, and enjoy the process. Yes, TikTok is a video platform first and foremost, but it’s also an explosively popular social media app. It stands to reason that if you plan on running a successful social media campaign for your business — TikTok should be part of your strategy. 

Get in contact with us so we can help you build a TikTok strategy.