Crisis Management During a Twitter Meltdown

It's every brand's nightmare: a tweet goes viral for all the wrong reasons. Things move so fast on Twitter that it doesn't matter whether the viral story is about a hot-button topica poorly executed jokea product gone bad, or staff tweeting from the wrong account, the crisis can boil over in an instant and has the potential to ruin the brand's reputation.

The best way to handle a crisis on Twitter is to be prepared before it even happens. A crisis management plan doesn't have to be an extensive document, but it should include these sections:

  • Defined roles for each member of your team
  • The definition of a crisis, with a scale of urgency for potential issues and corresponding response tactics
  • Identify approved messages that can be used in most circumstances
  • Communication guidelines that include who may deal with each level of crises
  • Standards for monitoring crises including how tools will be used

This plan will make sure that your team has defined steps to follow when a crisis unfolds. Once you've identified that a crisis is occurring, here are four more tips to help navigate the waters of a Twitter meltdown.

Listen Carefully

Before any statement is issued, it's important to monitor the situation and understand exactly what the problem is. If need be, reach out to select users to ask clarifying questions on the matter to understand what the crisis is centred on. Only once you understand the mistake can you craft an appropriate statement.

Keep Emotions in Check

The stress of a public relations crisis can be overwhelming, but the best thing you can do is keep a level head. Emotional, impassioned responses can be interpreted as deflecting the issue or denying it, and the very last thing that you want to do is correct, call out, or otherwise negatively engage users. This will only make the situation worse, and create more issues for you to address and apologize for.

Pro Tip: This is where pre-approved messages will come in handy. Posting a message that alerts the public to the fact that you are investigating the issue will buy a little time for you to watch the situation, calm your nerves, and release a full statement.

Address the Problem Head-On

It isn't easy to eat crow, but sometimes it's just a part of life! Being direct and to the point in your statement about the crisis will generally curry favour with the public, while also showing that you are in control of the situation.

Post-Crisis Debrief

Once the situation has been handled and the hubbub dies down, make sure to sit down with your entire team to discuss the situation, how it was handled, and any lessons learned during the crisis. If part of your crisis management plan was incorrect or did not work, now is the time to update it before anything else occurs.

Remember that you can't avoid a public relations crisis, but you can handle it with grace and dignity.

We've Got a New Look & Feel!

One of the things that I counsel my clients on is the need to reassess how they present themselves to the world on a regular basis. I am my own worst client because I haven't thought about the branding for Wonderland Media in over three years, and it was high time that I practiced what I preach! 

The original branding for Wonderland Media was born from the mind of a mid-twenties entrepreneur with stars in her eyes: pinks, greens, calligraphic font mixed with a sans serif, and flowery imagery. As I've grown and changed as a person, and as a business owner, I came to realize that this branding really did portray the Wonderland Media brand very well. Rather than a few tweaks, I went for a full brand overhaul. 


The new branding is modern and sleek; its simplicity lies in its monochromatic colour scheme and single font choice. 

Final Branding-100.jpg

The logo design is simple, and a complementary brand mark was created for use in social media, photo watermarks, and anything else that requires a small, but distinctive, branding. 

Wonderland Media Branding Inspiration
Wonderland Media Branding Inspiration 2

The colours and feel of the brand were pulled from two stock photos that feature prominently throughout the website and the marketing materials. Soft textures, natural elements, and a bold monochromatic colour scheme ensures that the focus is on the content, rather than a fancy logo. 


When it came to the website redesign, I decided to keep the site as simple as possible--three pages and a blog, to be exact. This may grow and change over time, but for now I wanted the blog content to be the main focus of the site, since it houses the most up-to-date information. 


The social application of the branding is simply an extension of the website look and feel. This creates consistency across all platforms, and will ensure that people can easily identify the Wonderland Media brand no matter where they are. 


Does your brand need some work? Just fill out a quick form and we'll get started today!

Easy SEO Tips for Better Blog Posts

There are hundreds of ways that you can optimize your website to influence your search engine rankings, which can make search engine optimization feel like an insurmountable problem for business owners. Google has decreed that quality content is king, however, and this makes things a lot easier for any business owner wanting to increase the traffic to their website.

Having strong static content on your website is a must, but the best way to ensure that Google (and the other search engines, we suppose) re-indexes your site is to regularly update your blog. Here are some easy SEO tips to ensure you get the most out of every blog post!

Topic

Make sure that you choose a topic that is both relevant to your industry, location, and is somewhat popular for people to search for. For example, a bakery wouldn't benefit from writing a post about seasonal car maintenance, but sharing traditional Thanksgiving recipes in September would bring relevant readers to their website, and increases the chance of converting that visitor into a paying customer.

Pro Tip: Use Google Trends to see how often your topic has been searched for in your region, how popular it's been over time, and check out alternate topic suggestions to find one that is more popular.

Keywords

After choosing your topic, identify 1-2 keywords (or 1 phrase) to focus on for your post. Continuing the bakery example, they could use "thanksgiving baking" or "hot crossed buns" as keywords, or "traditional thanksgiving baking recipes" for a phrase. These are relevant and will be easy to include a few times naturally in the post. Naturally integrating them is key, because search engines reward content that is written for people and not crawlers.

You'll want to include them in the following places

  •  Blog Title
  • Header (H1 or H2)
  • Body (2-3 times)
  • URL (optional, but readers are more likely to engage a URL that is short and descriptive)
  • Meta Description

Pro Tip: If your site is hosted on WordPress, use the Yoast SEO plugin to check post for readability & keyword saturation. The plugin will give you suggestions to improve your SEO as well as easily allowing you to change the meta description without having to dive into any code.

Internal Linking

One of the best ways to ensure that your older content isn't going to waste is to internally link to relevant past posts in your new posts. This provides the search engine crawlers with additional chances to index content as well as provide valuable information to readers that can lead to them spending more time on your site. For the Thanksgiving baking post, the bakery could link to a pie crust recipe from last year and a table decoration post from 2010. Both are relevant to the new post and will encourage site visitors to 'fall down the rabbit hole' of site content.

Pro Tip: Make sure that you properly tag each post with relevant categories and tags; this will save you time finding relevant posts to link to in new content.

Post Optimization

Because we consume so much content on the web now, the last thing that visitors want to do is read an essay on holiday baking. Instead, break up paragraphs with relevant images, separate topics and use H2 modifiers to creating headings, use lists instead of paragraphs when possible, and keep the post short and to the point.

In the end, the most important SEO trick isn't really a trick at all--just write great content! Sometimes, though, this isn't enough, and that's when these other SEO tips come in handy.

Have questions about how I can help you tell great stories about your company? Send me an email at ashley [at] wonderlandmedia [dot] ca!

Facebook Link Preview Update

It seems like Facebook is always launching some new feature, or changing one that we've come to know and love. Today, Facebook is rolling out a change to the Link Preview settings that will change how businesses and social media managers post links to pages from now on. This link preview update will remove the poster's ability to edit the meta title, description, and image associated with a link in a Facebook post. Any past or pending posts with custom metadata will automatically revert back to the original metadata associated with the shared URL.

One the one hand, this update is understandable as it is designed to combat the proliferation of 'fake news' on the platform. If people can't edit the metadata, it means that they can't game the system when posting the link. But on the other hand...this is going to be a headache for marketers.

Here are 3 ways to ensure that your posts are optimized for posting on Facebook:

Ensure your website meta data is completely filled out.

Since Facebook will be pulling the link title from the link that you post, make sure that your page titles are labelled correctly on your website, and that your blog post titles are short and descriptive. You'll also want to make sure that your meta description is completed for every page and post on your site; this should be 1-2 sentences long, and concisely explain what the content on the page is about. Yoast SEO is a great plugin for Wordpress sites; Squarespace has SEO fields built into every page and post, so make sure you use them regularly!

Screenshot of Metadata Fields on Yoast SEO for Wordpress on Wonderland Media
Screenshot of Metadata Fields on Yoast SEO for Wordpress on Wonderland Media

Optimize the social sharing image for your website.

This will be your only chance to control what image Facebook uses for your posts, so choose wisely! Wordpress and Squarespace both have built-in options for the social sharing photo assigned to each page and post on your site. I would recommend creating a template that you can quickly and easily use to generate a custom image each time you need one. If you don't have access to Photoshop or InDesign, PicMonkey is an excellent online resource for image creation.

Screenshot of Featured image for Wordpress on Wonderland Media
Screenshot of Featured image for Wordpress on Wonderland Media

Test your post data before sharing the link on Facebook.

This might seem like a no-brainer, but it's always a good idea to test out your link on Facebook before sharing it! This is especially helpful if you're new to metadata and are unsure if you've filled in the right fields. After you paste the link into your Facebook post, it will automatically generate the preview directly below the text post. If it doesn't look right, the description or title is too long, or the image isn't pulling properly, go back and edit the page until you're happy with the preview.

New Facebook Link Preview update on Wonderland Media
New Facebook Link Preview update on Wonderland Media

At the end of the day, we're at the mercy of platforms like Facebook, but that doesn't mean you should shy away from any updates or new features that are released.

Don't have the time or patience for social media marketing? Let us do it for you!

There is No Room for Passive Aggressiveness in Business

A post-it note stuck to your monitor, a "general reminder" during a staff meeting that can only be directed at one person, an overly-loud conversation between two coworkers about pet peeves shortly after you heated up your tikka masala lunch--we've all been on the receiving end of passive aggressive behaviour at work, and most of us have dished it out a time or two as well. But it's time to acknowledge the simple fact that there is no room for passive aggressiveness in business.

For one thing, we can all agree that it solves absolutely nothing. Never once has a company-wide email reminding people not to bring highly-spiced, odiferous foods for lunch actually stopped anyone from bringing highly-spiced, odiferous foods for lunch. What it does do, however, is further the resentment of the masses towards that one person that really enjoys eating curried meals midday, and isolate that person by publicly shaming them for their food preferences simply because a few people do not share the same flavour palate. In this scenario, the subject of the passive aggressive reminder knows that they are the target of it, and this will affect their mood at work going forward due to embarrassment. For some, it may lead to distancing themselves from their coworkers to avoid any other potentially embarrassing situations that may become the next company-wide email reminder.

Sometimes it isn't as easy to pinpoint the target of passive aggressive actions, and this only causes more discord and discomfort in an office environment. Music is a great example in this case because people are so passionate about what they like and dislike listening to while they work. So, imagine working in an environment where everyone has their own office, but there are no doors to close to hold in that sound. Naturally, everyone in that shared space will try to find a volume balance where they can enjoy their chosen music without disturbing the rest of the office. But even that isn't enough for some people.

An example: Molly* is listening to country music, and Sharon* really dislikes hearing snippets of it when she walks past Molly's office. Sharon then complains to Manager Tara* about Molly's music. This leads to Manager Tara reminding everyone to keep their music quiet to ensure that no one is disturbed by it, but never mentions to Molly that there was a complaint about her music. How is Molly to know that she needs to adjust her volume? She won't, which will lead to more complaints from Sharon, and more reminders from Manager Tara to keep the volumes down-- a frustratingly cyclical situation where, at some point, I imagine that Sharon will run short of patience and confront Molly, or angrily gossip about how obtuse Molly is for not understanding that the generic music reminder was directed at her.

This entire scenario sounds ridiculous typed out, but these kinds of situations happen daily in offices across the country. People feel isolated, picked on, shamed--and for no good reason, either.

There is nothing unprofessional about being direct with someone. So long as you are treating people with respect, and not belittling or condescending to the people you work with, being direct is generally the best way to deal with any situation. If Sharon has just asked Molly to turn her music down slightly, she would have saved everyone in the office from having to endure those reminders and Sharon's frustrations. And everyone will be much happier in the long run, I promise.


*Names are made up, naturally.


Author's Note: I've been sitting on versions of this post for a few months now. I've been hesitant to post it because I never want my clients to think that I'm calling them out or being negative about them. This post is based on a cumulation of over a decade of experience in the business world.


Wonderland Media is a digital media agency located in Edmonton, Alberta that specialises in creating and implementing strategies for: social media, content marketing, public relations, event marketing, branding, and graphic design. Owner and creative director Ashley Fisher puts her decade of experience with marketing, design, and writing to good use by guiding small businesses and bloggers through the digital marketing quagmire.

Keep up to date by following Wonderland Media on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

The Dog Collection for Casetify is Here!

STUFFxWonderland Dog Phone Case Collection for Casetify on Wonderland Media Blog
STUFFxWonderland Dog Phone Case Collection for Casetify on Wonderland Media Blog

There are so many things that are happening in 2017 that I am excited for, but sharing some of the really neat designs that I've been hoarding is at the top of the list! Starting the year off with a bang is the official launch of my new collection for Casetify!

Starring pretty pooches, lovely floral elements, and taking advantage of their high-quality transparent case designs, the Dog Collection has been a passion project for the past few months for me.  So far there are FIFTEENcases available, and even more will be going up over the next few days! Currently, the breeds represented are:

Beagle Boston Terrier (both plain and with florals!) ChihuahuaDoberman French Bulldog (both plain and with florals!) Italian Greyhound (both plain and with florals!) HuskyLabrador/Golden RetrieverPapillion Pitbull (two designs--one black and white, one brown) Pug

More breeds will be coming, including Westies (naturally!), and by this time next week all of the breed cases will have a floral option available as well! Make sure you're following us on Instagram so that you don't miss out on new launches, sweet sales, and surprise giveaways!

Did I miss your favourite breed? Let me know in the comments!

Wonderland Media is a full-service digital media agency located in Edmonton, Alberta Canada. Owner and creative director Ashley Fisher puts her decade of experience with marketing, graphic design, and writing to good use by guiding small businesses and bloggers through the digital marketing quagmire.

Keep up to date by following Wonderland Media on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

How to Price Services

Whenever I am consulting with business owners, especially newer ones, the subject of pricing comes up frequently. Product pricing can be determined mostly using a formula, but pricing services can feel like a shot in the dark. There is no magic formula that works for every situation (unless you have one, in which case please share!), but there are ways to figure out if you are charging an appropriate rate for your services.

I use a simple spreadsheet to track my research which you can find here. You can download it by going to File > Download As, and then choosing which format you'd like to use.

Note: The formulas I have included make a few assumptions: that you fill out all 10 blank spaces on tabs one and two, and that you are working 8 hour days/40 hour weeks. You will need to update the formula for the averages throughout if you choose to use a different number of comparables or hours per day/week.

Comparison Shop

This may seem like a no-brainer, but doing research before setting your own rates is important. Charge too little and you're losing money on a project, but charging too much can drive potential customers away before you have a chance to speak with them. Find several comparable businesses that target similar markets and offer services like your own--the more comparable you have, the more accurate your pricing will be. Tab 1 of my spreadsheet contains the table to complete for comparable services research.

Research Salaries for Similar Jobs

If you were employed by a company to complete the services you sell, they will pay you based on industry norms and experience level. Glassdoor has an excellent salary tool that takes your geography into account. Once you find the annual salary for a comparable position, fill out the second sheet of the spreadsheet to figure out average hourly rates for those positions. Compare these results to the first tab, and you'll have a better picture of what reasonable rates for your area are.

Cost of Doing Business

When setting your prices, you have to make sure that you are covering the costs of operating your business. For this, you'll need to know how much you are spending on supplies, infrastructure, and other business needs, and then convert than into an hourly figure. The third sheet contains a table that will help you determine how much you need to make per hour to cover these costs.

In the end, you have to price the services that you offer in a way that makes you comfortable, but following these steps will ensure that your pricing is fair to both you and your consumer. Be sure to revisit your pricing regularly to keep your pricing in line with industry changes. Personally, I revisit my pricing structure at least once each quarter.

Need help? Send us an email at ashley [at] wonderlandmedia [dot] ca.

International Literacy Day Freebies!

I know that I already gave you some pretty sweet book quotes to pretty up your computers and tablets this week, but since today is International Literacy Day I wanted to give you four more! A sad but all-too-true fact is that literacy is an amazing gift that not everyone is given. Since 1966, UNESCO has been bravely bringing literacy to the world. Literacy is a key component to Sustainable Development Goal 4, aiming to “ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all”.

Not only is this the 50th anniversary of International Literacy Day, but it's also the first year in the 203o Agenda for Sustainable Development. Their vision of literacy will focus lifelong learning opportunities with special focus on youth and adults throughout the world. Want to know how you can get involved? Check out the UN's "The Lazy Person's Guide to Saving the World".

And now, the freebies!

z: a novel of zelda fitzgerald quote free desktop wallpaper download from wonderland media

from Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald by Therese Anne Fowler

hello, goodbye, and everything in between quote free desktop wallpaper download from wonderland media

from Hello, Goodbye, and Everything in Between by Jennifer E. Smith

cress quote free desktop wallpaper download from wonderland media

from Cress by Marissa Meyer

the strange and beautiful sorrows of ava lavender quote free desktop wallpaper download from wonderland media

from The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender by Leslye Walton

To download, just click on the picture and it should start automatically! If that doesn’t work, right-click and open the image in a new tab (computer) or hold your finger down and save (touch-enabled devices).

This post is not sponsored, nor was I approach by anyone from the UN/UNESCO to write it. I genuinely believe in their mission and Sustainability Goals, and I'll talk about them whenever possible -- xo Ashley

National Read a Book Day

Today is National Read a Book Day, and to celebrate I've created some pretty backgrounds for you! Each is a solid quote from a recent YA read of mine, but don't fret if you haven't read them! Each one was crafted with love just for you guys.  

loose ends list quote free desktop wallpaper download from wonderland media

from Loose Ends List by Carrie Firestone

ruin & rising quote free desktop wallpaper download from wonderland media

from Ruin & Rising by Leigh Bardugo

raven boys quote free desktop wallpaper download from wonderland media

from The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

To download, just click on the picture and it should start automatically! If that doesn't work, right-click and open the image in a new tab (computer) or hold your finger down and save (touch-enabled devices).

If you haven't read them yet, I highly recommend all three of them! The Loose Ends List caught me entirely off-guard, but was absolutely wonderful to read.

Happy Tuesday, my loves!

Freebie Friday - Get Sh!t Done Download

When I started designing blogs and websites, I relied heavily on the freebies offered by so many established designers. There are tons of resources out there for free fonts, wallpapers, and goodies that can get your creative juices flowing--just make sure that you know the licensing rules for them! One of my favourite websites--Creative Market--offers new freebies every week. Six brand-new templates, graphics, photos, fonts are free to download every Monday, and checking them out has become a regular part of my Monday morning routine. Sometimes I stock-pile them for use in later projects, and sometimes they inspire me to create something the second I see them.

get shit done free download from wonderland media
get shit done free download from wonderland media
get shit done free download from wonderland media
get shit done free download from wonderland media

Last week, one of their stock photos really hit the nail on the head for me. I loved the colors, the layout, and most importantly, the price! So off I went, making a kick-ass motivational poster for my desk. It wasn't until one of my clients saw it, and asked for a copy, that it crossed my mind to post it as a freebie. So here it is:

Just click on the image, then right-click to save. And keep getting shit done!

Creative Market assets found in this post:

Feminine Styled Stock Image Navy from Creative Market
Feminine Styled Stock Image Navy from Creative Market

Avoid Customer Burnout With These Tips.

I want to support my small business-owning friends because I know how how hard it is to try and pave your own way in the world. It doesn't matter if you are an interior designer, a fitness coach, or a product representative (hey, Avon ladies!)--I want to support you. I want to know about your products, and I want to see your success. But, guys and gals, I cannot hold my silence any longer. There are so many amazing products that are sold through reps--Avon, Younique, hundreds of awesome leggings companies, Monat, Scentsy (and Party Lite, their candle counterpart), Mary Kay, and countless others that I know I'm missing. These direct sales positions can be incorporated into almost any lifestyle because they are so flexible, and I can understand the appeal. Create your own hours! Work from home! Be part of a dynamic team! Work with a seasoned mentor to learn more about business! Use your social network to recruit others! Copy and paste 30 status updates to your Facebook wall every day! Forget family photos--post our branded photos instead!

Wait...what?

The perks of being a product rep are amazing. The product line you are hawking is miraculous. We get it. And do you know how we get it? Because you are shoving it down our throats constantly.

The 80/20 Rule

There is a general rule in social media marketing called the 80/20 rule. In essence, you should be posting about your own brand only 20% of the time; the remaining 80% should be community outreach, sharing non-branded content, and generally cultivating a community around your brand.the 80/20 business wreath by wonderland media

Consider this business wreath--which is a thing, I promise. It illustrates (in the most beautiful way possible!) the 80/20 rule. Let's break it down.

 

  • The blue flowers represent your branded/product posting. Take note how few blue flowers are on the wreath!
  • The rest of the wreath represents your remaining social media posts. Post (yours or other's) tutorials, blog posts from like-minded bloggers, etc.
  • Visually, the wreath is cohesive, which alludes to your brand voice. Without curating your posts around your brand identity, you'll end up with a smorgasboard of posts and very little growth.

 

Creating your brand voice is personal, and may evolve over time. If you're incorporating religion into your beauty business, you could post inspiring stories from like-minded blogs. YouTube videos, funny memes about makeup, blog posts from beauty bloggers--these would fit into the voice of a beauty product representative.

 

I work with a few Scentsy reps as their business coach, and we've found through trial and error that Scentsy customers also tend to use essential oils, natural products, and enjoy DIY projects. Obviously this is our limited experience, not a sweeping generalization of the Scentsy customer base as a whole, but it goes to show how you can link together multiple ideas into your brand voice.

 

Tried and tested, this is one of the hard-and-fast business rules I always try to reinforce with my clients, but especially for anyone that is using their person profiles to promote their business. Failing to follow it will lead to brand burnout with your potential customers, and could lead to annoyed friends or family muting your posts entirely.

Extra Credit

It's your responsibility to nurture and grow your business, but there are tons of ways to make it a little easier on yourself. Here are some ways to avoid annoying your friends and family while still growing your business:

Create a dedicated Facebook page for your business.

You can invite your friends and family to like it--that way they get to choose if they want to follow your journey. This allows you to keep all of your business information in one place, if someone decides they want to look up a video or photo of a product, and it gives you more freedom to post the content when and how you like. Personal accounts are just that--meant for sharing your life with your friends and family, while following a business page comes with the expectation that you are going to try to sell to them.

Ask for permission before adding someone to a group for your business.

Groups are very different from business pages, and they should be treated as such. Groups are meant to foster discussions and connections within your community, whether it be with your colleagues or your customers. Not everyone that follows your page wants to be alerted each time a post is made, which is the default setting for groups. Save the group for your VIP clients, those that you've recruited to work with you, or people who express an interest in sustaining a long-term conversation about your product.

Don't just copy and paste.

Yes, I know that these companies come with robust marketing support, and probably have already sent you an eBook with 50 Facebook Posts That Convert. Just remember that people aren't stupid--even a non-marketer can identify when someone uses a pre-written post and not something unique or tailored to the rep. Instead of capturing attention, this conveys that you are just in it for the money, and not selling a product you are passionate about. Take two minutes to write your own copy, in your own voice. It makes a difference!

 

Have any other tips to add? Let us know in the comments!

 

Are you a business owner or product rep that wants help? Fill out the short form below to get started!
[contact-form][contact-field label='Name' type='name' required='1'/][contact-field label='Email' type='email' required='1'/][contact-field label='Comment' type='textarea' required='1'/][/contact-form]

 


Creative Market assets found in this post:

fleur watercolor assets from creative market

Advice from a Professional on Websites, Branding, and Being a Good Friend (to your professional friends).

As soon as someone finds out what I do for a living, the questions start coming. Some of them--like how I got into the industry--are pretty benign questions. Frequently, though, questions veer from personal to professional, and I end up giving out advice that would normally cost someone a few hundred dollars. My answers aren't usually what they expect, but they're what I need to give them:

  • Yes, I can take a look at your website and tell you what needs fixing. Please email me and I'll send you a quote for an appraisal. 
  • Sure, I can make you a simple logo with short notice. Please email me and I'll send you a quote for logo design. 
  • You hate your business cards? That's unfortunate. Please email me and I'll send you a quote for business card design. 
  • You want to launch a newsletter for your customers? Please email me and I'll send you a quote for newsletter design, content creation, and newsletter management. 

Unfortunately, too many people assume that designers and marketers are chomping at the bit to add (unpaid) work to their portfolio, or will work for dirt cheap/free because you are friends/family/co workers/distant relatives/neighbours/insert relationship here.

As a small business owner, I absolutely understand that sometimes you just don't have the budget for something. I can empathize with starting up a business on a shoestring budget. But I need you to understand that, while you need cards to promote your business selling widgets so that you can pay your bills, I need to charge for design work so that I can pay my bills.

So let me give you some free advice in the hopes of clearing up some misconceptions. All of these nuggets are based on the questions that I am most often asked about marketing, branding, and working with authors.

Branding

  • Yes, you need to develop your brand. You can use our branding workbook, or create a simple Word document outlining your logo, fonts, colors, and how you want your brand is portrayed to the world, but you need to sit down and figure this out sooner than later. This will be extremely helpful when you can work with a professional designer.

Websites

  • Yes, you need a website. If you offer products or services to consumers then you need a website so that people can find your business, refer you to potential clients, and act as the base for your online presence. If you are an author, you (at least) need a well-designed one page site with your information, links to published works, and contact information.
  • Just throwing one together using Blogger/Wordpress/Squarespace alone isn't enough to convey your professionalism or brand properly. You can make one yourself, but be ready to learn (at the very least) HTML and CSS to create one that is professional and customized to your brand.
  • Yes, even if you are a one-person show, you should have a website for your business.
  • No, you don't need to have a blog. If you aren't going to use it, don't add one to your site. If you are going to use it, make sure you update it regularly so that people can see that you are an expert in your field.

Marketing - Traditional

  • Yes, you need a logo.
  • No, using a logo generating website is not your best option. Depending on your needs, I can create one for as low as $50 for you--fully customized, and will properly represent your company branding.
  • Yes, you should have your marketing materials professionally designed and printed. Again, this goes back to consistency in branding and presenting a professional face to the world. This includes any assets used in your digital marketing, including Facebook and Twitter cover images, website imagery, downloads, newsletters, etc.

Marketing - Digital

  • If you sell products or services to clients, and you wish to expand your business and attract new customers, you should be marketing your business online.
  • You don't have to sink thousands of dollars into your digital marketing, but be ready for less than stellar results if you choose not to invest enough money.
  • Social media presence isn't a requirement, but it will allow you to see what people are saying about you and give you a chance to respond accordingly.

Editing/Proofreading/Line Edits/Manuscript Critiquing

  • Yes, you need a professional to look over your manuscript before self-publishing or querying an agent/publisher. You want the world to see the best version of your work possible, so that means having someone other than your friend or family member comb through your manuscript.
  • There are a lot of great resources for free help (I love Absolute Write for this), but remember that the advice you are given there is generally from amateurs or those with little experience with professionally editing, proofing, and providing feedback on manuscripts. *There are professionals that take part in the forums, however they are generally hesitant to give the cow away for free--as they should.*

I am probably missing some of the generalized advice that I've given, but this list is a very good start. Try to keep these points in mind when approaching professionals, and don't take it personally if they are cagey with their answers or outright tell you that they charge for services. We all have bills to pay, and unfortunately the bank does not accept gratitude.

Services Magazine Cover & Featured Spread for Scandinavian Building Services

I am excited to announce that Scandinavian Building Services was featured on the cover of the May/June edition of Services Magazine, a building maintenance magazine with distribution across Canada and the United States. Scandinavian received a six-page feature spread encompassing the sustainable practices employed by the company. The magazine editor was an absolute gem to work with, and really captured the spirit of the company in her profile. The online edition is available here.

Cover photo: Wonderland Media | Profile: Shannon Winslow-Claunch

Love the Space You're In

No matter which field you work in, professional envy is a thing, and it can rear its ugly head in infinite different ways. It's tricky, and it usually creeps up on you with zero notice. For me, it showed up as extreme office envy.

I live in a condo downtown, so the fact that I have an entire room dedicated to being my studio is incredibly fortuitous. I have a room where I can practice yoga, paint, create, or just use as an escape from the busyness of life.

Of course, there is a but coming. But. I don't own a proper desk, so instead I have an end table to put my computer on--and I sit on the floor. My monitor is propped up on yoga blocks, and there is nowhere to put my printer so it stays in the living room until I need it. Not exactly an inspiring place to work from...

Curse Instagram and Pinterest for perpetuating the idea of perfection and curation, and curse me for falling prey to the green goblin that is envy! For so long, I would look at the incredible spaces that others have built and shame myself for not having a beautifully designed den from which to work.

But envy no more. I keep reminding myself that it's a start. Every small business has a humble beginning, and this is mine. The room is a blank canvas, and it's my blank canvas. One day I'll have my dream office to work out of, and I'll appreciate it all the more for the wait.

Honest (and fun!) Greeting Cards

honest greeting cards now available stuffxwonderland.com I'm going to come right out and admit something--I generally hate greeting cards. I find them cheesy, and expensive, and entirely forgettable. But, because so many other people find them critical or polite, I find myself buying whichever one doesn't make me cringe. It's horrible, really.

I hate that I can never find a card that expresses a sentiment in a way that suits either me or the recipient. So I decided to make some.

True, these aren't your grandma's cards; but they're honest. They're to the point. There are no poems about love or friendship. They literally just say what most of us are thinking--and, yeah, most of them contain curse words, because that's just how I talk.

Help me lead the honest card revolution, and get yours here.

We're Going Tech-no!

So many exciting things are happening with STUFFxWonderland! There are quite a few collaborations coming up that are really exciting for us, and today we finally get to spill the beans on one of them!

STUFFxWonderland will be collaborating with Casetify to create a custom line of cell phone cases! Some of these cases will feature artwork available in our Etsy store, but many of the designs are brand new, limited edition, and available only on Casetify!

STUFFxWonderland Casetify Shop Announcement

It's a bit of a process to have all of the designs uploaded for each brand of phone, tablet, and computer, so keep an eye on the store over the next few weeks. If you love a design, but can't find your phone model in the shop, email us directly so that we can get it up there!

Go forth and spread the news, my friends, and snap up your limited edition case today!

Google Analytics: The Basics

everything you need to know about google analytics by wonderland media

Just as I mentioned last week, having a website for your business is key in today's world; the majority of the population will search online for contact information, product specifications, and other information about your company or industry. In order to ensure that your website is efficiently providing the public with quality information, you have to understand how people interact with your site.

In order for you to make sense of the data, we need to start with the basic statistics that you're going to encounter, and how they work.

basic stats screenshot google analytics wonderland media
basic stats screenshot google analytics wonderland media

A bounce is when someone lands on your website, takes no further action, and then leaves. For example: while I am on Facebook, I click on a link to an article on Creative Market that seems interesting. Once it loads, I can see right away that it's not what I was looking for, so I close the tab. Because I did not scroll, click a link, submit information, or interact in any way with the site, my visit is recorded as a 'bounce'. Bounce rate, therefore, is the average percentage of bounced clicks versus non-bounced clicks.

Caution: bounce rate is a stat that shouldn't be taken too seriously on it's own. Although a high bounce rate might mean that people are landing on pages that aren't relevant to them, it can also mean that they found what they were looking for (such as a phone number) immediately upon landing on your site. And that's a good thing!

Average session duration is an important statistic, and usually goes hand-in-hand with pages per session. These two complimentary stats are important, because they indicate how informative your users find your site. Generally, sites with a ton of content (ie blogs, new sites, etc) aim for a higher average duration and pages per session--especially if you have monetized your site. Monetizing is a popular way to bring in money from your blog; all you have to do is place ads on your site using networks such as AdSense. This is a topic that will be covered in a later post.

Now, we have reached the quagmire of goals and conversions. A goal is an action that must be taken on your site by a user; a conversion is when an end user completes that specific goal (or series of goals) that you have determined to be of value to you. Completing a goal triggers a conversion for you to track in Analytics. Don't worry if you're confused--conversions will be discussed in-depth in a later post. 

Referrers are sites that link to your blog post or website, and there are four basic categories: social, organic, direct, and referral.

  1. Social networks are generally a substantial referring source for blogs and businesses, and can be broken down to find out how many users were sent to your site from Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, etc.
  2. Organic search means that the click came from a search engine
  3. Direct referral means that the user typed your URL directly into their browser (or clicked on a bookmarked link).
  4. Referrers in Google Analytics is a generalizedgrouping of any URL that referred users to your site that don't fall under social, organic, or direct. For example, Yellow Pages or Goodreads would be listed in Referrers, as would a blog post referencing your site.

If you are running digital marketing campaigns on platforms such as Google AdWords or Bing, you will find these listed as well.

Enabling more features in Google Analytics will result in a ton more information for you to analyze, but these cover the most basic areas that any business owner or blogger should be aware of. In subsequent posts we will break down the different category tabs in Analytics, and explain how to understand the data that they contain. The resulting data will allow you to analyze your site performance and create actionable steps to improve it.

Click here to re-read the introduction to this series.

Google Analytics Series: The Beginning

Having a website for your business is key in today's world; the majority of the population will search online for contact information, product specifications, and other information about your company or industry. In order to ensure that your website is efficiently providing the public with quality information, you have to understand how people interact with your site. The best way to monitor your website is with Analytics software. This is a piece of code that sits on your site and gathers information about how visitors use your site. This will tell you if your blog posts are effective, how many people abandoned forms or shopping carts before completing the action, and how people are finding your site. Personally, I prefer to use Google Analytics for all of the sites that I build and manage. It's an incredibly powerful (and free!) tool that can be quickly and easily set up for any website. Best of all, I can use one profile to monitor multiple sites at a time--no switching accounts or remembering additional logins!

everything you need to know about google analytics by wonderland media

Ensuring that your website has Google Analytics installed is important, but understanding and using the data that it harvests is the best way to analyze how your website is functioning. It is important to note that Google Analytics will not gather or store personal information; all information gathered is for analysis only, and is anonymized by Analytics. 

Over the course of the next few weeks, I'll be sharing with you how to analyze and interpret the data that can be found in Google Analytics. If you haven't set up Analytics on your site yet, or if you need help, Google has an excellent walk-through for installation support. Having access to an Analytics account will help immensely throughout this series!

Join me on Monday when we start with the basics!

Each week a new tutorial will be posted, and links will be added below so that you can jump around between them.

Click here to jump to the section most relevant to you: The Basics | Audience Breakdown | Acquisition | Conversions | Behaviour

Announcing STUFFxWonderland!

Friends, I am so excited to share this project with you. I have been working tirelessly on it for the past few months, and now I just want to shout about it from the rooftops! I've started a store on Casetify to sell some of my creations! It's called STUFFxWonderland, and it's a place where I'll be selling fun cases for your tech. I'm working on collaborations with other artists to create some really neat limited edition collections, and I'll be adding new items to the shop over the next few weeks.

And, just because I love you all, you can use the coupon code BLOGLAUNCH25 before the end of April to get 25% off your order! And don't forget to share a photo of how you use your STUFF in your home or office, so that I can show it off on Instagram!