5 Lifelong Lessons from the Pixel8 Team
There are few experiences like working in marketing agency. Whether your mind conjures up ideas of free flowing coffee, tight deadlines, or debates about who wrote that tweet, every so often you come across a real gem. And the pixel8 team are truly one of a kind.
So now that I’m sadly moving on to another adventure, I thought it would be a good idea to pass on the words of wisdom I’ve acquired along the way. Each one of these tidbits have helped shaped my perception of copywriting and I’m certain they’ll be invaluable to others working within the giddy world of content marketing too.
Seed your way to content glory
Content seeding, v. 1. The process of distributing content on social media for the purpose of increasing audience engagement and generating web visits.
Content seeding was a new phenomenon for me when I first started at pixel8. In fact, I’m pretty sure it’s unique to our team - so, for anyone out there still unsure, here is why I think ‘seeding’ is important.
One of the most valuable tasks for any copywriter is being able to take responsibility for every stage of the content creation process - from research, to writing, and then distribution and ongoing analysis.
But it’s not just about taking on double the workload. The truth is that copywriting can sometimes feel like a one-way conversation. It’s easy to fall into the trap of writing content purely for a theoretical customer, in the hopes of producing something that someone, somewhere, will find useful.
You might as well be throwing a pot of spaghetti at the wall to find out what sticks.
Content seeding doesn’t just save resources. It also puts copywriters at the forefront of their audiences, giving them instantaneous feedback and inspiration for glorious new blogging ideas.
At pixel8, we keep an excel document filled with all our latest blog data. This spreadsheet includes statistics on everything from social shares to web analytics. We then use that data to determine the overall success of the content - and whether or not we’re hitting the mark with our digital audience.
It’s really been a whirlwind moment in my own content writing. If you’re still unconvinced, however, I suggest you have a peek at our recent blog about how to make your content marketing machine work harder.
Every good business starts with a killer set of brand guidelines
One of the biggest benefits of working in an integrated marketing and branding agency is seeing exactly what goes into creating a successful brand.
There’s a popular belief that all great brands empower customers to be the person they want to be. Some would even go as far as to suggest people don’t buy products, but a better version of themselves.
It’s a fascinating idea. However, I’d argue that the same is also true of a great set of brand guidelines. These aren’t rulebooks that seek to confine and constrict team members. Instead, a beautiful set of brand guidelines enables staff to make their business shine and share their unique story.
The design team at pixel8 have been creating brand guidelines for over 15 years-now, including the likes of Crowne Plaza and Hotel Indigo. And to gain access to this knowledge and expertise - direct from the Northern Quarter - has been an absolute pleasure.
Facebook is invaluable for audience feedback
This lesson is closely related to the benefits of content seeding - but Facebook is so valuable, I believe it deserves a segment to itself.
Within a B2C context, there is no better way to gain an understanding of your audience than through the brain-child of Mark Zuckerberg.
Not only does Facebook provide you with plenty of juicy analytics about your audience, it is also exceptionally valuable for developing brand loyalty and finding content ideas that audiences crave.
For example, pixel8 have a hospitality client based in Anglesey. Facebook is the perfect platform to share blogs and news updates, and give audiences the opportunity to tell us about topics they care about. And guess what: 9/10, the recommendations or questions we receive are also reflected on the message boards of Tripadvisor.
So, once a week, our digital team will dig deep on Facebook and look for inspiration to fuel our content marketing efforts. It could be something as simple as an upcoming event, or even a blog topic we had never considered before.
This bottom-up, rather than top-down, approach to content marketing is invaluable for anyone working within a B2C context.
No wonder 68% of B2C marketers say Facebook is their most important social network platform.
You can’t rely on only yourself for creative ideas
It’s difficult for anyone within an agency to come up with fresh and exciting ideas every day, especially if it’s your job is to blog about them.
That’s why the team at pixel8 use a variety of different methods to gather insights and knowledge directly from colleagues. One of my favourite new tools is Slack - a digital platform where everyone can share interesting and beautiful content to inspire their work buddies.
So far, we’ve used Slack to share everything from industry articles, to blogs, and even songs on Spotify.
You can even communicate with others without filling up your work inbox.
But more than that, Slack is ideal for enabling marketers to keep on top of the latest industry trends without wasting hours reading everything that pops up on your Twitter feed. Much more productive.
The cornerstone of any good content marketing campaign is a careful and well-executed plan.
But that doesn’t mean you can’t be flexible. Or spontaneous.
For example, one of my favourite pixel8 blogs (and incidentally one of the most successful) was a collection of the best responses from a recent SEMrush Twitter Q&A.
We knew that our digital community was going nuts over SEMrush’s questions about the biggest challenges facing SEO experts today. So, within 30 minutes, we created a short blog containing all the best responses using #SEMrushchat. And before the Twitter exchange was finished, the blog was live and has attracted significant engagement across social media.
For these reasons, one of the best lessons I’ve taken from my time at pixel8 is to spontaneous and have fun with blogging. Not everything has to go by the rulebook. After all, if you’ve enjoyed writing it, chances are it’ll much more enjoyable to read.
So, for all these wonderful snippets of wisdom and insights, I would like to thank the pixels for welcoming me with open arms during my stay. You guys rock.