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How to find the right topics to include in your monthly content calendar

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Woman making notes on a calendar to create content later
Topics aligned with your content strategy will boost social engagement | Photo: Karolina Grabowska

Creating a monthly content calendar aligned with your business’ marketing strategy is one valuable step towards keeping your communication and sales targets trackable. This calendar will also help you know when posts will go live, which videos are performing well, and which content you should probably avoid spending time on in the future. But how do you find interesting topics to talk about in the first place? How to find the right topics to include in your monthly content calendar?

Another reason why you need to have an efficient content calendar – not random content scattered around or created and posted based on your mood – is that it takes a lot of time. The task of creating good content doesn’t end when you add your last image to a folder containing a month’s worth of posts to start scheduling ahead of time. Nor does it end when you spend a whole day painstakingly uploading content to a social media scheduler of your choice. Those working with digital content know that, besides the hard work that goes into creating content, there will be a vast amount of time you will have to allocate to interaction with your content once it is live. This includes answering questions, replying to comments left under your posts, and being engaging while still business-oriented.

I asked influencers and professionals in charge of creating large batches of content, in Europe and in the US, how they manage to find great topics to include in their monthly content calendars. And here is how they get inspired to come up with content that is both relevant and engaging.

 

Pinterest’s business tool for search terms

“One way to find interesting topics is to utilize Pinterest’s Business tools. For instance, I use Pinterest Trends to view the top U.S. search terms on Pinterest and find when those specific terms peak. I use these insights to find interesting topics and determine when the best time of year is to post that content. I also use Pinterest Predict, which uses data to predict trends that will occur in the future.”
Kathryn Schwab – Head of Content at www.hibobbie.com

 

Have SEO in mind

“The way we find content ideas at our agency is by doing keyword research and having search engine optimization (SEO) always in mind. First, we find keywords and topics that our competitors are ranking for. We also want to choose keywords that we know we are able to rank for. Use Google autosuggest and ‘people also ask’, and www.answerthepublic.com. These tools will tell you if people are interested in that particular topic. In just two hours of this research, you can get all your years’ worth of content ideas.”

Isabel Pak – Global Digital Marketer at www.businessoneonone.com

 

Go back in time

“One way to get interesting topics is to hop in your time machine and see what people were talking about one or two years ago. If you find that there’s been sustained interest in a topic, then go with it. It’s likely that people will be talking about it again. Add your own twist to the topic and VOILA!
Stephen Anfield – Freelance writer and a non-profit consultant.

 

Keep an eye on the competition

“I think the best way to find topics that you could potentially rank for (and should bother creating) is by seeing what your competitors are ranking for. You could use a tool like Ahrefs or SemRush for this. Once you input your domain into Ahrefs, for example, you go to ‘competing domains’ – which will include all the domains that are ranking for some of the keywords you are also ranking for.
You can ignore the keywords you are both ranking for and focus on the ones that only those domains on the list are ranking for. These keywords can give you tons of topic ideas that will help you rank on the first page of Google.”

Freya Kuka – Personal finance expert at www.collectingcents.com

 

 Mailing lists can be useful to crowdsource interesting topics

“One of my favourite ways to develop content ideas is surveying my audiences. Reaching them on social media or using mailing lists to crowdsource the topics of interest is an invaluable method to align my content with the interest of the readers. When reaching out, it’s important to provoke some thoughts and direct your followers toward meaningful responses. So, you want to go deeper than just asking them what they think is a cool topic.”

Rebeca Sena – Architectural Marketing Consultant at www.getspace.digital

 

Search viral content at BuzzSumo

“One of the best ways to get content ideas is to use a tool like BuzzSumo. Enter in a keyword or topic and it will display the most viral content related to it. This includes social shares, backlinks, and other important metrics. Use this to understand what readers are interested in and create content based on that. Marketers can also spin the main topic into clusters and sub-topics for maximum efficiency.”

Carmine Mastropierro – Toronto copywriter and marketing consultant at  www.carminemastropierro.com

 

Ask around to create what people want

“My #1 hack for planning content and topic ideation is “asking the people” – what content are people looking for that’s related to your business? What questions are they asking? Using tools like AlsoAsked.com, using the ‘People Also Asked’ section of the SERPs, and joining social media groups are great ways to learn what your market actually wants to know.”

Shonavee Simpson-Anderson – SEO Strategist at www.firewiredigital.com.au

 

Reddit and Facebook are your friends

“You can create content from discussions online, such as a blog post from lifehacks that uses your product. Crowdsourcing still works for content as long as it’s curated. And if the page of the client you are developing content for has a light tone, you can create memes to share on social media.

We usually create content calendars for clients in advance, but we’re not strict about which topics should be posted on a specific date; if there’s major news that’s related to our niche or our audience’s everyday life, we do adjust.”

Clara Buenconsejo – Digital Marketing Consultant at www.theclaymedia.com

 

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How to write better emails in 2022

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Write better emails. It’s as simple as that. Love them or hate them (let’s be honest, most people hate them), they are the lifeblood of your business. They give your business visibility in a way that no other platform can.

They’re the chips to your burger.

The gin to your tonic.

The strawberries to your cream.

The aisle seat to that flight you take when you have food poisoning and you spend 5 hours running up and down to the toilet on your way from Johannesburg to New York. (True story)

So, how do you write banging emails, that are clear, juicy, and convert the reader into a fan who can’t get enough of you? Let’s explore, shall we?

gif of man throwing glitter - humour

What’s in an email?

Well, hopefully, you. Hopefully your style, your personality, your vibe, your weirdness, your humour. Emails are the single most powerful way to connect with your community. They’re personal. They’re intimate. And they’re something that your subscriber has asked to receive. So, best you make it count.

One of the best ways to do this is to clearly define your brand voice in a way that is authentic and memorable.

1. Subject lines

You’ve got to be creative because the competition in your inbox is stiff. I get dozens of emails every single day. Most of them end up unopened, in the trash. The ones that pique my interest are the ones that have a subject line that stands out. You can do this in a number of ways:

  • Use emojis to grab attention
  • Miss-spell a word (sekshual, kerr-azy, ecks-perience)
  • Offer something for free

Mostly, though, you want your subject line to introduce an idea in a way that drives curiosity.

‘Here’s what no one is telling you about X.’

‘That time I saved Madonna’

‘Meh…’

2. Write to a friend

A lot of my clients tell me that when they sit down to write the email, they go blank. This is normal. Don’t be afraid. The best way to write an email to your list is to think of your best friend and write to them. Seriously. Imagine you’re writing to your bestie. It’ll make your email personal, real, truthful, easy-to-read. And those are the best kinds of emails.

3. The rule of ONE

As much as you possibly can, keep the focus of your email to one thing. If you have a million things going on in your business, and you feel you need to share it all, do it on your social platforms. When it comes to emails, though, you want that baby to be focused and clear. The reader should have no doubt as to what you’re writing about or what action you want them to take.

One focus.

One call to action.

One. Singular sensation.

4. Length

This really is a personal preference. Your email can be as long or as short as you want it to be. It’s true, a lot of people don’t have the time to sit and read through a looooooong email, and might skim through it. But, some readers love sitting down with a cup of tea or coffee and reading something substantial. The trick is to know your audience. And write an email that is well-crafted and interesting. If the email is good, people will read it.

5. The scanners

A lot of people will scan your emails. There’s a lot going on in people’s lives and they don’t have time to read everything. So, make this easy for them.

Bold the important bits.

Use italics.

Introduce colour. 🎉💋✨

Make it as easy to consume as possible.

And put a PS on the end with the important stuff. If people skip to the end, make sure they can grab everything they need in the PS.

6. Images

Use images like they’re your bestie. Don’t put them in for the sake of it. Make them speak. I LOVE gifs. I put them in all my emails. They are fun, and they can illustrate a point in a single moment. Images are fantastic and people love them.

7. Give value

Your emails should give value to the reader. Of course we need to sell. We’re in business. It’s vital that we sell. But if every single one of your emails is selling something, your people will unsubscribe quicker than you can build your list.

Finally…

Building your email list and writing banging emails is one of the most powerful ways you can build your business. It gives your business credibility, it allows you to do valuable market research, and it allows you to convert leads into clients. Write better emails, and watch your business soar.

 

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Dating app narrows gender pay gap with £60,000 minimum salary for all employees

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Woman using a dating app
Feeld, a location-based online dating application for couples and singles users, was launched in 2014. | Photo: Andrea Piacquadio

A dating app with over 20 sexuality and gender options has announced that all employees across the globe will be receiving a minimum salary of £60,000 ($80,000) from January 2022.

The new salary announcement, which will impact close to 40% of Feeld‘s full time staff, comes as the leadership team continues to be as transparent and accountable as possible whilst challenging the industry benchmarks.

The independently-run company, launched in 2014, aims to provide enough compensation so that all employees can live a meaningful and fulfilling life while rethinking existing systems on compensation and working towards a human-centered future of work.

“When reviewing salaries for 2022, we realised that none of the benchmarks or data sets from the job market represented the impact of the work of certain roles within our organisation. They were simply highly undercompensated in the wider job market.” – says Ana Kirova, CEO at Feeld. “We created the Baseline Freedom Salary to compensate for our team’s hard work and ensure unfair gaps in compensation don’t creep in as we grow. We feel it’s crucial all of our employees live meaningful and fulfilling life and fair compensation is key. Hopefully, initiatives like this could serve as examples to spark positive change in other companies, especially in these times of drastic change to the workplace.”

Since being appointed CEO in April 2020, Ana has made crucial changes across the business, which includes forming a leadership team of 60% female-identifying members, over 50% female-identifying newly hired engineers, closing the male-female gender pay gap within the company from 6% to 1%.

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First Centurion Lounge in Europe opens at London Heathrow Airport

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American Express VIP Lounge at Heathrow
The lounge at LHR is the first Centurion to partially utilize renewable energy through newly installed solar panels

For those already taking advantage of travel restrictions coming to an end in several holiday hotspots, American Express has opened its first Centurion Lounge in Europe as part of its signature airport lounge program, at London Heathrow Airport (LHR).

Located in Terminal 3, the exclusive space is American Express’ third Centurion Lounge to open this year.

With over 650 square metres, the new lounge features local custom-made design elements and unique amenities, including dedicated workspaces, power outlets, private phone areas, wireless mobile charging, high-speed Wi-Fi, and access to American Express Member Services. Other perks include a curated Global Menu by Michelin-Star Chef Assaf Granit as well as a British-Inspired tea cart with hot and cold beverage selections.

“We are thrilled to introduce the Centurion Lounge experience to our Card Members traveling through London’s Heathrow Airport and make their return to travel even more special,” – says Pablo Rivero, Vice President & General Manager of Global Lounge Experiences. “From bespoke interior design to signature bites from a Michelin-Star chef, we continue to raise the bar for airport lounges by providing truly unique, top-notch premium experiences.”

To welcome guests, the lounge’s design taps into British culture. Features include a moss wall that nods to London’s famous Hyde Park and a series of architectural pencil artwork by Minty Sainsbury, allowing the lounge interior to transport visitors on a journey to discover London through design. Custom furniture sourced from UK-based producers Konk, Naughtone and Deadgood, and an art gallery curated by Art Story, including Norman Parkinson’s fashion photography and original pieces by Carne Griffiths and Stephen Marshall, are also part of the project’s décor. Each artwork contains a QR code, so Card Members can digitally engage with it and learn more about the piece and artist. The lounge will also feature luxury and modern lighting designs by Lee Broom and Tom Dixon, two of the UK’s leading product designers in lighting design.

“We are delighted to be the first major hub airport in Europe to host an American Express Centurion Lounge. As travel restrictions continue to ease and key markets open back up, the new Centurion Lounge in Terminal 3 will be a most welcome addition for passengers in need of a quiet place to relax before setting off on their journeys,” says Fraser Brown, Director of Retail and Property at Heathrow.

The Centurion Lounge at LHR is also be the first Centurion Lounge to partially utilize renewable energy through newly installed solar panels. The environmentally-conscious design is in line with American Express’s 2025 environmental goals to reduce energy use across its managed facilities and its recent announcement to commit to net-zero emissions globally by 2035.

Eligible Card Members can find a lounge at the Global Lounge Collection website or by using the American Express® App. They can also check into select Centurion Lounges through the mobile check-in tool within the American Express® App.

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