We’re now fully into the festive season, which you’ll no doubt be aware of. The chances are you’re partaking in plenty of seasonal traditions too. Novelty knitwear perhaps? Maybe mince pies and mulled wine on a nightly basis? Sound-tracking your entire day with Slade, Wham and Mariah Carey’s yuletide tunes? Opening your advent calendar each morning for a chocolate-fueled countdown to the big day?
Well, we have a slightly different countdown to Christmas this year with Yard-vent, our festive themed review of the year past and a look to the exciting year ahead. Yard-vent features the 12 days of Christmas, each day containing a bite-sized insight, tip or memorable moment, all contributed by different departments at Yard.
On the first day of Christmas – Our four favourite events of 2018
Contributed by: The Technical SEO Team
- DMA Copywriting Club – 22 February
In March, we hosted the DMA Copywriting Club on the value and importance of quality content for marketing. Our Head of Search and Content, Barry Begg, used our ROX campaign The Art of Luxury Watchmaking as an example.
- Drum Search Awards – 25 April
Speaking of The Art of Luxury Watchmaking, Yardies won big at the Drum Search Awards in April, bagging the illustrious ‘Best Use of Content’ trophy for the campaign.
- Marketing Society Scotland Awards – 21 June
- Digital Marketing Insights for Financial and Professional Services – 8 November
On 8 November, we hosted our first #YardInsights event at the Sheraton Hotel in Edinburgh. The event was tailored for Financial and Professional Services companies and gave Yardies and some of our special guests the chance to share their expertise in search marketing and machine learning with a cavalcade of senior marketers from 23 different companies.
Day 2 – Christmas campaigns
Contributed by: The Account Management Team
It’s a joyous time of year, and the merriment is enhanced by brands hurling their festive deals at us and just about everyone and their cat creating some sort of campaign for Christmas (not to mention it now being socially acceptable to play Michael Buble every day of the week).
Nothing beats the start of the Christmas ads though, and yes, we like the classic John Lewis and the controversial Iceland ads, but there are a few other ones that really stood out for us this year.
The One Gift Santa Can’t Deliver
Starting strong, the Red Cross Christmas campaign focus on a side of Christmas many take for granted – not presents or money or even that long-awaited Christmas dinner, the ad shows ‘the one gift Santa can’t deliver’. A powerful video highlighting the ICRC’s work in reuniting missing people with their families (yeah, we ‘had something in our eye’ too).
Please Wear Responsibility
Every year, we take part in Christmas Jumper Day for Save the Children so of course, we had to include this year’s campaign.
Back for its 3rd year, Spotify’s annual ‘Wrapped’ campaign will always be the winner for us – although not particularly Christmassy, it’s always long-awaited. Drawing on listening habits to give personalised playlists for individuals and cleverly creating a humorous campaign with all their customer data, this year we definitely weren’t disappointed.
— Spotify (@Spotify) December 6, 2018
What’s your favourite Christmas campaign of 2018? Tweet us @YardDigital and let us know.
Day 3 – Edinburgh Yardies’ proudest moments
Contributed by: The Edinburgh Yardies
It’s been a hugely successful year all round. We started working with a whole bunch of amazing new clients – DC Thomson, NIVEA, Watermans, Snow Software and Schroders – while strengthening our relationships with existing clients. We’ve really knuckled down and worked incredibly hard, not just for our clients – which goes without saying – but we’ve developed our internal processes and ways of working, improving efficiency while still maintaining the high standards that set us apart.
On top of the previously mentioned Drum Search Award win, we were also shortlisted for four awards in November, including The Best Large Search Agency at The UK Search Awards.
Here’s to a great 2018 and an even better 2019.
Day 4 – The content creator’s wishlist
Contributed by: The Content Team
We’re far too old and some would say cynical to believe in Santa (bah humbug to the lot of you), but that doesn’t stop us from having a Christmas wish list. If, as they say, it’s a time for giving, we’re happy to take one for the team and be the receiver when there’s some gifts being doled out.
If we are to get anything this year, these are some of the things that would make our jobs a touch easier:
More high-quality images available under Creative Commons licensing
We know that unique images are most desirable. However, there are times when we could really do with a great image to illustrate a point in a blog post yet can’t find the perfect one at a reasonable price. Anything that reduces the amount of stock imagery used online is good for users in general, so it’s a present for everyone.
We got this last year. What a great present. We love creating great content that generates strong results for our clients and the inspiration that drives the ideas and is sprinkled throughout the creation process is key to us doing that.
Google to not play with title and description lengths too much in 2019
When Google updated the SERPs to show significantly longer meta descriptions, we saw an opportunity for our clients seize to increase organic click-through rates and traffic. Fun while it lasted, shame it reverted to the previous length of descriptions being shown a few months later, requiring another round of description rewrites.
We’ll try not to be too greedy, so sign off with our season’s greetings to you all.
Day 5 – Yardie productivity tips
Contributed by: The Outreach Team
Arrive at your desk a few minutes before you’re due to start so you have the time to jot down a to-do list and plan out your day whilst sipping your morning coffee. This way, you hit the ground running when the clock strikes 9 am with a solid structure for the hours ahead.
Break up your time
Rotate the monotonous and repetitive tasks with more engaging ones. Give yourself a time frame to complete each task so you achieve more and have greater variety in your day.
Smash the productivity killers
Silence those pesky (and often pointless) notifications on your phone and schedule specific times throughout your day to check and respond to them.
Let your colleagues know when’s best to approach you
Whether it’s working from home for half a day or having your earphones plugged in, it’s important to signal to your coworkers that the task in hand requires unbroken concentration.
Day 6 – New Year’s resolutions for bloggers
Contributed by: The Outreach Team
Keeping your blog current, engaging and active can be a struggle for brands and individual bloggers alike. Here are 3 tips to lock in your blog strategy for 2019 – and stick to it.
Fail to prepare – prepare to procrastinate
Plan your key blog content for the entire year – it sounds like a lot of work, but it’ll save you hours in the long run and give you direction. You can find templates online that’ll help you map out your blog activity.
For inspiration, do some competitor research and look at what others are talking about and when. Look back on your previous posts and highlight the different types of content that your audience engaged with and what was most valuable to them.
Create your unique personality
Let your brand’s personality shine through your tone of voice and make sure your content is both inclusive and appealing to your audience. Give them something unique and don’t be afraid to stand out.
Make the most of your content
Stick to your schedule and you’ll be armed with regular, informed content. Now, your only job is getting people to read it. By integrating your blog schedule with your social media activity, you’ll drive traffic to your site and be able to engage with your readers in real-time. Use automation and scheduling tools such as Hootsuite and Buffer to your advantage.
Stay tuned for the second part of Yard-vent, which is currently being wrapped and will be ready for you to open next week.