Intern Blog: Things I’ve Learned at Good Monster That Will Help Grow My Blog

 

Everyone has those things on their “to do” list that sit there for what seems like forever. You plan on doing them, because you actually want to do them. However, you never take the plunge and get it done. It might be something small like cleaning out your closet. Or it could be something much bigger like traveling to Europe. One of the things that sat on my ‘to do’ list for a while was starting a baking blog. My sister and I have always loved to bake. Free time in our household always results in something sugary and covered in frosting being created. It also results in that sugar and frosting ending up all over the kitchen, and also somehow the dog (Sorry Sophie). We wanted to take this shared hobby of baking, mixed with my love for photography, to the internet with a blog. For months and months we pondered the idea of starting one. We knew we wanted to, we just didn’t know how to go about it. After a lot of research we finally started our blog five months ago in March. The blog is called The Cupcake Chronicles and can be found at www.thecupcakechronicles.com.

The Cupcake Chronicles

It definitely wasn’t an easy process. Starting a website when you have no knowledge of how any of it works can be quite a daunting task. There were hours spent teaching ourselves how to do certain things in the areas of web design, wordpress, plugins and post creation. Five months in and we are still learning new things.

Blogging is a very competitive area. Especially food blogging. There are thousands of websites dedicated to doing exactly what we are now doing. Therefore, it is difficult to get noticed. Growth at the very beginning was slow. This is normal for a new blog. You aren’t going to get attention immediately because no one knows you exist. So, we started spending more time on social media. We set up an Instagram page @cupcakechronicles and still growth on there was slow. We utilized hashtags with every post to ensure people would see us. That led to a few likes and follows, however, it was still a slow process. Soon after, we created a Facebook page for our blog to reach a different audience. On our Facebook page we post links to our blog whenever we add new content. As of today we only have about 100 likes on our page and they are mostly friends we invited from our personal Facebook pages to like the new page.

The actual daily views on our blog have increased slightly over the past five months. On average, we get about 40 views a day. That is not a lot, however, it is much more than we started out with. One thing that has helped has been Foodgawker. Foodgawker is a website that allows users to submit photos with a link to a blog post. If the photos are accepted, they will appear on the site for visitors to see.

Foodgawker

After about two months of having picture after picture rejected, we improved our photography and started getting accepted on a regular basis. This has really helped bring people to our website. Getting one image posted on Foodgawker could bring an average of 200 people to our site in one day.

Things I’ve Learned at Good Monster

One thing I’ve learned at Good Monster in my time here is the importance of social media. Almost everyone is on social media. If you want content to reach an audience, post it on a social media platform. With that being said, there are certain types of media that do well on certain platforms. For example, Facebook is great for sharing videos. Chances are, if you go on your Facebook feed right now you will see video after video being shared. That is because media has shifted away from text and over to more visual means.

As far as social media goes, our blog is present on Pinterest, Instagram and Facebook with varying degrees of success on each one.

Pinterest

Whenever we post new content, we share it on Pinterest. There are so many people on Pinterest looking for new ideas. Therefore, Pinterest is critical if you want to get your stuff out there. If you are lucky, someone with thousands of followers will repin one of your links, leading to your pin to be seen by thousands of people. However, that has not happened for us yet. Sometimes our recipes get repinned 20-30 times. Other times, we do not get any repins.

Facebook

Facebook is the platform we are struggling with the most. It has been very difficult to get new followers other than the friends and family we already have. One thing Good Monster has taught me is that you can pay to promote your page on Facebook. This is one thing that we are thinking about doing in the future. Once you gather a decent following, it will be easier to get other followers. Since Facebook is gearing more towards video, that could be one of the reasons our page links do not do that well. Therefore, we are considering adding a video element to our Facebook page. Recipe style videos could potentially do much better.

Instagram

Instagram is the platform where we are having the most success. On average we see a gain of 1,000 new followers a month. One reason for these growing numbers is reaching out to others. Outreach is a very important aspect of growing your business or social media. Most likely, people do not know you exist and they probably won’t find you on there own. Therefore, you need to put yourself out there and let them know who you are. On Instagram we do this by liking and commenting on other people’s images. Oftentimes users will then click on our feed to see who we are. If they like what they see, they will follow us. This has been a very successful practice for us. In addition Instagram has been the most interactive platform. We get likes and comments on a daily basis from our followers. We also receive frequent messages from followers leaving us very supportive and encouraging words. One problem with Instagram is that most Instagram followers just like the visuals of our Instagram feed. They do not click over to our actual blog. This has been a struggle for us.

Moving Forward

There are many things I have learned at Good Monster that I will be taking with me to help grow my blog. Since the outreach has been the most successful method, we will continue to do that on as many platforms as we can. Communicating with your audience is key. It shows your followers that you are there and that you care about them. It helps us build up a trust between us and them. Sometimes we share baking tips with them and other times they actually share new tips with us! The most changes will likely occur on Facebook. One thing we are planning on implementing is more video marketing. People are more likely to stop and watch a short video on a recipe, rather than clicking a link that will take them to another page where they will have to read through a page of text. Maybe using videos will work, and maybe it won’t. However, we won’t know unless we try. Furthermore, we plan to start promoting our page whenever we can. Although some may not want to spend money on Facebook, I believe it is important to spend even a few dollars to help your page reach a new audience.

Intern Blog: Creating Video Content

As an engagement marketing agency, Good Monster prides itself on creating content that is engaging and entertaining across social media platforms. One of the many tools we utilize in our efforts to achieve this is video. The types of videos we create range from funny and ridiculous to more serious and informative. No matter the type of video, the desired outcome is the same. To get people to engage with the video and also with the brand. Whether we are making a 10 minute produced video, or a 30 second Snapchat story or a Musically, a lot of thought and effort goes into the production of the content.

Why Video Content is Effective and Necessary

The things that people share on social media have shifted away from images and over to video. Facebook, for example, has become a major outlet for sharing videos. Many companies are starting to see the value in producing engaging video content on social media leading consumers to interact and follow brands almost as they would a traditional ‘friend’.

Here are a few reasons why videos are effective:

  • The world is very fast paced. Individuals are always on the go, and want to be able to take their media with them. Rather than reading long text, people want to be able to watch or listen to a video while they are doing other things.
  • It grabs attention. Pages of text can often be a deterrent. Some people don’t want to sit down and read something. It’s going to take time, and more often than not, they won’t remember what they just read. According to Replay Science, if a video is available, studies show that 60% of visitors will opt to watch it before reading any text.
  • Videos have a long shelf life. A post on Facebook or LinkedIn typically remains in the news feed for 22 hours on average. This means that after those 22 hours, the post gets lost amidst the sea of other posts. YouTube on the other hand, is active and effective for much longer. Statistics show that the average YouTube video sees 40% of the total video views in the first three weeks. After four to twelve weeks of posting, another 30% of video views come in. Finally, 30% more of the views come in after 12 to 52 weeks of posting.
  • Humans are very visual. Although text can relay a message, there are certain factors that cannot be conveyed as well such as emotion and personality. Video also speeds up the explanation of visual concepts. Ninety percent of information transmitted to the brain is visual and visuals are processed 60,000 times faster in the brain than text.

Videos also deliver a 74% increase in a visitor’s understanding of a product or service, compared to pictures, and increase the likelihood of purchase by 64%.

How to Make an Effective Video

Making a video that is effective is not as simple as it may sound. There are many factors that go into creating engaging and informative video content. There are 4 main factors to consider when planning a video.

  1. The reason for the creation of the video. Why are you making the video? Are you trying to sell something? Give information? Or are you simply trying to entertain? Once you determine your reason, you will be able to move forward in a direction with much more focus resulting in the end product being extensively more effective.
  2. The feeling you want to evoke. The tone of the video is very important. Is the video going to be serious and emotional? Or is it going to be humorous? The feeling you want your audience to have while watching the video will decide the tone.
  3. The information you want the audience to take from the video the most. Effectively delivering information is very important. You don’t want your video to be bogged down with information that is not important. Stick to the main points you want to deliver and deliver them well.
  4. Who you are and how that will be conveyed. How do you want your audience to perceive you? If you are a business making a video about the work that you do, or the products that you offer, you want to make sure that you are portraying yourself the way you want your audience to see you.

Content Creation Process

Brainstorming. Sometimes we are creating a short snippet for Snapchat. Other times we are creating longer videos for clients. Regardless of the length or type of video, the process is the same. This is the part of the process where we figure out what kind of video we want to make. We come up with ideas and then determine how we are going to execute those ideas. If the video we are creating is for a client, we first consult with the client to determine what they want to achieve with the video. We can then discuss a timeline and budget. Here are some questions we might ask:

    • Why do you want a video?
    • Who is your audience?
    • What video style do you envision?

Pre-Production. This is the part of the process where we make sure we have all of the equipment we will need to successfully create the content. Some steps include:

    • Creating storyboards
    • Writing scripts
    • Finding locations
    • Obtaining supplies and props

Filming. Once we have hashed out the details, we set up the cameras and start shooting, often times doing multiple takes to ensure it is just how we want it. Some videos can be shot in as little as 5 minutes, while others can take several weeks of planning and shooting to execute.

Editing. When filming you are often left with minutes to hours of footage to sort through. You’re usually not going to use it all. This is where editing comes into play. Our videographer sifts through all the collected footage, makes cuts where necessary and adds effects to make a complete story. Typical actions include:

    • Adding music, effects or voiceover
    • Editing for sound and color
    • Adding titles and text
    • Reviewing project with the  team and getting client approval

Release. Once the video has been reviewed, often multiple times, the video is ready to be released.

Final Thoughts

Like photographs, web design and graphic design, video is a tool used to convey a message without the use of long form text. The Good Monster team works to make high quality videos that are engaging, effective and entertaining to whatever audience we are trying to reach. Some clients want video content, however, they do not know how to do it, or what types of videos to create. The Good Monster team helps these clients come up with a strategy so they too can have video content that reaches an audience. The proven effectiveness of video marketing gives companies yet another tool to use to help grow their business.

 

Intern Blog: Why We Are Focusing on Snapchat

 

What is Snapchat?

In the growing world of technology, social media has become a main stimulant of communication.

  • It provides users with a means of entertainment
  • Allows individuals to stay connected with friends
  • Gives companies a dynamic new medium to grow their business and communicate with consumers

Snapchat is a social media platform that is taking the world by storm. Snapchat was launched in 2011 by Evan Spiegel and Bobby Murphy and is a multimedia platform that allows users to send and receive images and videos to other users. These snippets of information are termed “snaps” and can be edited with text, filters, drawings and effects. Once the snap is opened and viewed for a user determined amount of time, the snap disappears and can only be replayed one time. What was once just an idea for a Stanford class project, turned into a platform with over 100 million daily active users sending out over 400 million snaps per day.

Why is Snapchat so Popular?

Snapchat began with the reputation as the app that allowed users to send risque photos to other people with all evidence being deleted, however, over the years the app has gained momentum and widespread popularity which has lead to its status as a major messaging platform. In the beginning, the app was exclusively used by individuals to send snaps to other individuals. The company has since expanded, focusing more on snapchat stories, which is a feature where users can post images and videos to appear for a span of 24 hours with the important note that snapchat has a time limit of 10 seconds per media piece. This is part of the reason that the app is so successful. It is no secret that people these days, especially younger generations, have short attention spans. It doesn’t take long to get distracted, leaving active minds to wander off somewhere else. The short term nature of Snapchat grabs attention for the perfect amount of time, leaving no room for boredom.

The youth of today are very visual. They thrive on experiences. Snapchat gives individuals a window into the experiences that other people are having. Snapchat’s curated event stories not only show an experience, but create one by allowing Snapchat users the ability to contribute to handpicked curated stories at events that are happening around the world. This gives Snapchat users at the same event the ability to see the event from other people’s’ perspectives, enhancing the overall experience.

There is only so much a Facebook post or 140 character tweet can do to capture a moment. Text requires the individual to envision the moment, whereas a video shows the moment exactly the way it is. Snapchat features such as text, video, images, emojis and drawings have taken all the aspects of other social media platforms and combined them into one. Snaps place you in the moment seconds after it occurred, sparking conversations and engagement.

Why is Snapchat Good for Business?

Along with personal use, Snapchat has gained momentum in the business world. It may seem like a hassle having one more social media platform to manage. However, it can have positive effects on your business if used correctly. Here are some ways businesses can utilize Snapchat.

  • Behind the Curtain Content. Businesses can use Snapchat to provide followers with behind the scenes footage of day to day operations. This helps engage followers, which creates a strong and trusting company-consumer relationship.
  • Offer Perks or Promotions. Consumers love discounts. Establishing special insider deals to Snapchat followers is a way to build up an audience and keep a strong relationship with the followers they already have.
  • Showcase Private Content. Snapchat is set up in a way that allows only followers to view a user’s content. This in itself creates a community. Companies can utilize Snapchat to show followers sneak peaks of unreleased projects, giving followers the feeling that they are involved in the process.

Words from Good Monster CEO John Timmerman

“Snapchat is important for some businesses. If you’re anyone targeting any kind of consumer, doesn’t matter the industry,  if you’re targeting a consumer that’s anywhere between the age of 15 all the way up to 35, then snapchat is a must. Without a doubt”

“What does being on snapchat mean? Being on snapchat means creating entertaining and possibly educational content that is going to relate to people’s needs. For example, if you’re a real estate agent, you should be all over snapchat because you can walk through your houses, you can show different rooms. Each section of the story could be a different room. You can tell great stories on snapchat, then you can promote that snapchat story on other platforms and be like ‘hey you wanna learn about the listings in your area? Follow me on snapchat, I do them everyday.’ That would be a killer use of Snapchat”

“Most brands and entrepreneurs aren’t thinking that way. They are still thinking ‘I need to be on Facebook,’ but as Facebook becomes more and more saturated the ads become more and more expensive and the content that goes out there becomes less and less visible. The attention as you skew younger is starting to sway away from Facebook and more towards Snapchat”

What Goes Into Making a Good Monster Snap?

Making a Good Monster snap is not as simple as it might seem. As a company, we don’t want to just create content. We want to create content that is funny, engaging and entertaining. In order for this to happen, there are three main steps that occur.

  • Idea Generation. First, we need to come up with an idea. What type of message are we trying to send? What is the tone of this message? Once we answer these questions we can start brainstorming content ideas. We work together, shooting out ideas and playing off the ideas of others, until we arrive at the most hilarious and perfect idea. From there, we hash out the details and develop a storyline and script.
  • Execution. This is the part of the process where the idea comes to life. We shoot the video (often multiple times) until it comes out the way we want it. Sometimes it works. Sometimes it doesn’t. If the idea doesn’t work out as hilarious and perfect as we envisioned, we sometimes have to go back to the idea generation stage.
  • The Final Product. Once we are happy with the result we add appropriate text, if needed, and send the finished snap out into the world for viewing.

Final Thoughts

Snapchat is continually growing in popularity and has the ability to reach individuals around the world, therefore, if used strategically and correctly businesses could benefit from adding this platform to their arsenal of social media accounts. It is understandable why some companies would be apprehensive about taking on another social media account, therefore, the Good Monster team has worked with companies to help make the process easy and effective. Staying ahead of the curve is a great way to continue giving a company an edge and Snapchat is the perfect platform for that.