This project is centered around content writing and organic social media brand growth. The goal of this project was to launch a new website filled with original, interesting, and targeted blog posts. Beachcombing has long been a passion of mine, so I wanted to create a brand that appealed to that community and would offer educational and entertaining reading material.
By building a library of tailored content and marketing it to members of the beachcombing community, we would receive website traffic, engagement, and brand growth. The goal of this project is not to sell anything, but to grow the brand as much as possible in the limited time frame offered by this class format.
My time is split fairly evenly between content creation and social media networking. I generally tried to create at least 2 blog posts each week, with one general post about beachcombing, and one “Creature Feature” that highlights an interesting ocean animal.
Social media networking is another major part of this project. I wanted to go for a mainly organic approach to growing the brand, without many targeted ads or promotion. I began by creating Facebook and Instagram pages for my brand and joining communities of beachcombers, ocean conservationists, crafters, etc. I began to follow various people, commenting and liking along the way.
This method has been largely effective and my followers continue to grow each day. Once I had established a rapport with some members of the community, I also began to collaborate with them on my content. I reached out to photographers on Instagram and asked for permission to use their photos for things like crafting ideas, nature shots, etc. The reception has been overwhelmingly positive and several of them went on to promote my blog posts on their own channels.
For my target audience, I narrowed it down to the United States. I wanted to use language, locations, and cultural references that would resontate with members of my own country. International appeal is a possible avanue to exlpore in the future, but sticking somewhat close to home is best when this brand is just starting out.
I further narrowed it down to coastal states within the United States. Since this brand is largely focused on beaches, it’s important that a large majority of my target audience has access to the ocean. Obviously there are travellers and people in landlocked states who could also be interested, but my core audience will be people who live closer to the coast.
I set the main age range of my audience between 25-40 years old. This is an age range that covers a lot of different life experiences. Many people will have finished the majority of their schooling by this point and will have a career of some form. They may have more disposable income and time on their hands. For those in the older age range, if they have families, they are becoming more independent and are searching for good activities, new hobbies, and possible travel locations.
I selected women as my main target gender due to the appearance and tone of the brand. It is somewhat cute and covers topics like recipes, crafting, fashion, and travel. In my mind, these topics would resonate with more women than men.
The target interests of my group include:
· Seafood: The website will include seafood recipes, information about edible things around the ocean, and possibly recommendations for seafood dining.
· Travel: This interest is to reach people who like to take beach vacations. They might be on the lookout for new spots and activities to do there.
· Crafts: Members of the target audience might enjoy making crafts based on things they find, DIY projects, decorating. They might be on a budget or just be thrifty people who enjoy making crafts with easy-to-find materials.
· Animal lovers/ Marine conservation/ Ocean: These additional interests cover the general interests the audience might have. Those who love the ocean are likely to care about its conservation, including the animals that live there.
Writing Style Guide:
1. Keep the tone conversational
People coming to this website should be informed, educated, and entertained. You’re not trying to push a product on them, but rather provide a place where beach-lovers can enjoy original content.
2. Use personal anecdotes
Use stories and personal touches from your own life to connect to readers. By demonstrating that you know about and love the ocean, you will be able to gain credibility in their eyes. Don’t go overboard and make this a personal journal though. At most, include 1 anecdote per article.
3. Make each article useful/ unique somehow
There are a ton of websites and blogs out there. This isn’t the only one that deals with the ocean and so readers need a reason to stay. Provide actionable information in DIY posts, and interesting, easy-to-read information in educational posts.
4. Don’t give information that is illegal, unsafe, or ethically questionable
Many beachcombers like to collect shells, and most of us have messed with ocean life as kids. Even though these things are important to our nostalgia and shared experience, don’t advocate for any practices that will cause harm to an ecosystem. In recipe posts, be sure to emphasize where you can ethically get ingredients. Emphasize the preservation of ocean life wherever possible.
5. Include at least 2 pictures per article
Visual information is important to the overall appeal of a website, especially if I want to draw people in. Recipes need to look appealing with good examples, beaches need to look appealing, shells need to look pretty. People need to see the value of what I’m offering. There needs to be a featured image at the top of every post, and at least one more in the body. Don’t use the same photo more than once anywhere on the website. This makes it look like you couldn’t find enough content to use.
6. No formal style guide, but make sure each article flows well
In keeping with the rule about keeping things conversational, don’t make the writing too stuffy or formal. No formal works cited page, but add built-in links to sources of outside information. Make sure links open in new tabs to keep people on the page as long as possible.
7. Be careful of copyright
Use stock photos from trusted websites as much as possible. Use Creative Commons photos if a stock photo is not available. For all outside photos, provide a visible attribution and working link.
8. Keep a word count of 1,000-2,000 for main articles
Ideally blog posts should fall between this range. The length depends on how much there is to say on a topic. For more informational, education-heavy topics, a longer format should be used. For more fun, entertaining pieces, they can be shorter. Stay withing these guidelines to give readers a worthwhile amount of content.
9. Keep a word count of at 500-1,000 for smaller features
Some readers won’t want to commit to a lengthy article, and will instead want a brief article for things like Creature Features. These need to hit the main details in a fun, compact and eas-to-read way.