An example of funky communication – from Bookfunnel

Choose KiwiWords to write your communications content in Northland or Auckland with witty words, stylish structure and clear calls to action. Mike is available at mike@kiwiwords.co.nz. 

In the meantime, check out this great email from Bookfunnel I received this morning.

It’s an example of writing with an exquisite tone designed to get the reader onside so the reader supports the brand while receiving the message gladly. It speaks the language of the audience, it uses an image to convey its message… good writing all round. 

Excellent comms, guys. 

Let’s have a look:

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January’s facepalm (and what we’re doing about it)

In January, we emailed you guys about a new feature (the Facebook pixel update) and that prompted a flood of “Cool! It would be awesome if you guys also did X” emails, which is very exciting! Yay for feedback!

Unfortunately, most of the emails requested features that we already have. Boo for inadvertently burying features! Hiss! 

Apparently, mind reading was still not a thing, even in 2019, and we had a lot of work to do in the ol’ communication department. So, we gathered the troops and started tackling the issues.

The first issue we tackled?

Our website. Wow, was it… sparse. It didn’t even mention direct sales, print codes, or group author promotions. Yikes. We overhauled BookFunnel.com on February 1, and now our website actually reflects the service we provide. Crazy, right? We also added the charming tale of who we are and how our little company came to be.

The second issue?

Blogging. We’ve started posting every week or two. New features, in-depth dashboard dives, and a series on communicating with your readers when you’re out of things to say. If you follow the BookFunnel Blog, you’ll be the first to hear what we’re up to…

FOLLOW THE BLOG

Not following our blog?

Big mistake. Big. Huge.

Here’s what you missed just in the last month:

EmailOctopus Integration Integrate directly with EmailOctopus, a low-cost mailing list service that sends your emails through Amazon’s Simple Email Service (SES).

Not Sold In Stores Series: Bonus Scenes Thrill your true fans with extended scenes, deleted scenes, or even extra steamy scenes.

Constant Contact Integration Integrate BookFunnel directly with Constant Contact and we’ll add new subscribers to your list automatically.

Multi-Book Delivery Actions Deliver boxsets or book bundles without the formatting hassle.

Certified Mail: Schedule Campaigns and Review Reminders Our #1 feature got an update in February!

Not Sold In Stores Series: Special Deals Create special discounts and promotions and offer them to your fans right from your website.

But wait. There’s more!

So we’ve fixed our website, started blogging more frequently, and we’re planning sweeping changes to the dashboard and knowledge base this year (we totally have one of those, y’all!). But… that work isn’t stopping the new feature train (woo woo!).

In fact, we’re cooking up something special and announcing it on the blog this week! It’s fast, it’s easy, it’s available on all plans, and it’s going to help you sell books. You like selling books, don’t you? Of course you do. Follow the blog and don’t miss the post!

Until next time,

The BookFunnel Team

 

 

How to use the news to get your business talked about

by Michael Botur, KiwiWords writer

mike@kiwiwords.co.nz 

See this Spinoff/Kiwibank thing above?

It’s a useful publication bringing in useful expertise from a useful service provider to provide useful perspective about something in the news.

Everybody wins – and so can you, if you comment about important issues in the right way. 

Privacy breaches, disasters in rental accomodation, food contamination, workplace accidents… Any issue in the news can be leveraged to bring attention to your organisation and its services…. sort of.

Of course there are ethical pitfalls to watch out for.  Leveraging off others’ upset is not cool – but offering a solution in response to a crisis is warmly welcomed. 

Let’s have a yarn about the best model any organisation can strive for:

Q. The news reports that there is a shortage / lack / failure / neglect going on in our world

A. You respond by recapturing the issue, adding some expertise, then letting the world know you can fix the problem by supplying a respectable product at a respectable price. 

KiwiWords advises you to:

  • Add extra, hard-to-get information on top of the news topic you’re talking about (really pertinent stats; really insightful quotes; expert perspectives from your team)
  • Be ethical and progressive
  • Say something really original. Great words can go viral if people appreciate your comments. 

Channels you might use to tell the world you have a solution for a problem in the news:

Neighbourly – Yucky videos of people being racist in the news? Perhaps your business has a culturally inclusive kaupapa you’d like to mention in response

LinkedIn – Royals visiting NZ? If you run a bed and breakfast, you could post an interesting blog on Linked about the fascinating history of hospitality for royals visiting NZ (King Edward VIII was impressed by our toheroa shellfish, for example)

Your own website – Climate change is always in the news. If your organisation has a sustainability policy, write about it. 

Eventfinda – Domestic violence and suicide are often in the news. Why not lead a fundraiser for Lifeline or Women’s Refuge and use Eventfinda and Eventbrite to maximise support for those causes? 

Facebook Grapevine – These groups have big reach in any community. Whangarei, where I’m writing from, has tens of thousands of Grapeviners. Give your local community a parochial response to something in the news. 

Stuff Nation – It’s always the International Day of Something. Find a cause which ethically matches what your organisation stands for then put out communications saying you support the cause. Stuff Nation is all about opinion pieces – why not get your leader to write a constructive opinion piece? 

Opinion pages of your local newspaper – Papers in small communities are desperate for thought leader pieces because of a dearth of talent in the smaller regions. If you are launching, say, an app which matches unemployed people with jobs, get the editor to carry your story. 

Industry publications – There is pretty much a publication for everything. With trucking alone, there are multiple magazines, websites and online groups. Publish your story with them (assuming you’re a trucker)

> Mike at KiwiWords is of course here to help get your words written. Phone 021 299 0984 / email mike@kiwiwords.co.nz <

Want more inspiration? Look at these headline topics.  It’s not hard for any business to talk about a topic and slip in a little salesman while offering solutions to whatever the issue is. 

TOPIC IN THE NEWS ORGANISATIONS WHICH SHOULD COMMUNICATE ABOUT THIS TOPIC
Facebook /  Instagram server upgrade outages If you provide cloud storage solutions and backup; if you offer social media services
Students protesting climate change inaction If you offer transport solutions; signage for students to make placards; if your business is all about being progressive and ethical and endorsing the strike helps your brand
KiwiBuild used as a political tool If your business is housing, property management and rentals, building and construction, you could have oodles to say about the merits of these affordable houses and their location. Also most NZ regional and city councils want Aucklanders to settle and bring money. 
IAG reducing Wellingtonians covered by earthquake insurance Anyone in building, construction & housing repairs; insurance brokers; Wellington businesses; financial advisors
Brexit: British MPs to ask EU for extension Comment on this if you’re in the business of law, immigration advice, services for the British expat community or NZ working visa tourist holidays
 For writing help… mike@kiwiwords.co.nz / 021 299 0984

Topics in the news spreadsheet PNG.png

ps. This awesome blog was originally entitled ‘Use the news, get your business perused: My views.’ I just wanted to squeeze that in there somewhere.

For writing help, contact

mike@kiwiwords.co.nz / 021 299 0984

 

 

 

Creative ways to get your name on NZ’s most-viewed top 50 websites

You can publish content on NZ’s most-viewed websites.

So can journalists. No wonder there is some journalist vs PR rivalry! 

NZ’s top 50 Alexa-ranked websites include Google, obviously, Twitch.tv, amazon.com, Newzealandgirls.co.nz, ANZ, Metservice.com, IMDB, Ladbible, Imgur, TVNZ, universities and the IRD.

None of us have much power to control the content on those platforms. 

However, with the right words, any of us can get content on the country’s top-ranked NZ websites. Here are some suggestions. 

#2YouTube – Look at ‘The Vision is Clear’ campaign by Dairy NZ. Not only have they taken over NZME’s videos, everything on YouTube is owned by Google and boosted accordingly. Why not do a video profile of a likeable employee? 

#3 Facebook – Doesn’t cost much, gives great statistics, and unlike many news platforms, you as the content creator can comment directly to your audience. Why not post a heartwarming viral story? 

#5 TradeMe – One of my clients in the property management business publishes lots of listings on TradeMe. You pay a little but you get free publicity and boosted in search rankings. 

#6 Wikipedia.org – Hard, slow and boring to control, but it is extremely authoritive. It’s viewed essentially as the number one record of something’s legacy in history. 

#7 Stuff.co.nz – They own an interesting range of media including Neighbourly. Worth utilising. They’re larger than NZME and have more reach. 

#8 Reddit.com- This is a tricky beast to wrestle. Reddit hates advertisers and has many cynical users who can harm your brand. Try publish something on Reddit which will be unassailable and universally loved. 

#10 Nzherald.co.nz – The Herald loves stories about ordinary Kiwis enduring dramas. Make your story human-focused when you send it in.

#12 Twitter.com – Tonnes of influential followers; lots of negative, cynical material published on it. You’ll need photos with every post. 

#31 TVNZ – They love a good heartwarming story and they have useful content sharing arrangements with Radio NZ and Stuff to maximise your page views. 

Source – https://www.alexa.com/topsites/countries/NZ

 

Things You Never Knew a Writer/Journalist Could Do For You

Learn how expertise in communications strategy, web content editing and journalistic writing come together as KiwiWords. 

by Michael Botur

 

Communications, public relations and strategising to get clients’ stories into the news: that’s one discrete skillset. 

Interviewing, fact-checking and structuring narratives according to news standards: quite a different skillset altogether. 

Creating compelling narratives with rich vocabulary and emotive language using creative writing experience? Yet another set of skills. 

It’s nice when a writer and combines all these abilities. Your man at Auckland / Northland communications, copywriting and content experts KiwiWords Michael Botur offers all three skillsets resulting in first-class communications. 

Here Are Some Things You Never Knew Your Writer-Slash-Journalist Could Do For You

Training as a journalist requires a couple of years of solid training, hundreds of newsroom hours and often, literally, writing a million words*. 

Some useful things a marketing writer with journalism experience can do for your corporate communications include

  • Ask hard, objective questions to access difficult information from people in power. Journalism training enables a writer to pitch questions to people in authority in ways which are professional and objective. It’s about being selective with language to extrude information from somebody without causing upset. Having the right manners and tone gives great results – it’s the opposite of being some angry young blogger raging at companies anonymously.  
  • Take Photos – all journalists trained since about 2010 have been expected to take photos and often video while out reporting. A journalist knows that good photo opportunities can be rare so the mission is to capture well-framed photos of the best possible quality so a picture can assist communications. At KiwiWords, Mike usually delivers photos alongside words. 
  • Record audio – Y’know that old image of Woodward and Bernstein relying on a dictaphone plugged into a landline phone? Today the reality is every single phone call a journalist makes is typically recorded on an app on the journalist’s mobile phone. Any journo turned communications expert should do the same. Recording words verbatim keeps everybody safe from getting it wrong. 
  • Verify and research – Journalists know their way around government historical archives, council archives, and especially how to tell a reliable internet source from something liable. 
  • Attend court – It’s as simple as finding out where the hearing is being held then going in and sitting either in the public gallery or the media bench. Great way to get hard-to-reach information.
  • Test customer experience – Your man Mike at KiwiWords has done this more times than he can remember. I once had a job going around tiling stores in Auckland measuring their customer service. Scored some sweet free tiles, too. 
  • Compare prices – I was once tasked with comparing prices at Auckland Airport Countdown against prices at a dairy inside Auckland Airport. It’s not exactly espionage worthy of Five Eyes, but it involved a systematic approach with an audience who really wanted to know the results. Heck, I even once had a job surveying East Cape farmers about how much they spend on dog food. Whatever written material the client wants, KiwiWords gets. 
  • Check police and emergency response and outcomes – This one involves knowing how to get a hold of emergency services communications professionals, how to ask questions without sounding ignorant and necessitates that the person requesting the info knows the difference between a constable and a regional district commander. 
  • Transcription of recordings – Transcribing recorded audio word for word? All part of the job. Expect KiwiWords to type your stuff at around 90-100 words per minute. 

 

Would you like KiwiWords to gather some challenging but valuable information for you?

Would you like to be assured any external interaction will be highly professional, courteous and well-documented? 

Give KiwiWords a bell – 021 299 0984 / mike@kiwiwords.co.nz. 

 

*This is no exaggeration – writing just 5000 words a day for 200 days gets you to a million words. 

Why Journalists Used To Be Sceptical About PR, and Vice Versa

Let’s talk about why NZ newsmedia wants control of stories and why truthful communication is seen to interfere. 

by Michael Botur, KiwiWords janitor, comptroller and deputy head writer

 

I’ve been in a handful of communications centres and media newsrooms in Auckland and Northland and I can tell you this:

  • Communications PR people are often sceptical about journalists
  • Journalists are often derisive about communications PR people

I’m not going to blow air on the ember, though. In fact I’ve literally just changed the heading of this piece from “Why journalists are sceptical about PR” to “Why journalists USED TO BE sceptical about PR” because I’d like readers to leave this page feeling optimistic rather than pessimistic (For anecdotes about journos saying ghastly things regarding well-known communications people, we’ll need to have a couple of beers.)

 

Sometimes PR and Journalism Are At Crossed Purposes. That’s Unlikely To Change

I describe journalism as ‘painting with facts.’ What that means is arranging wholly factual, unassailable, carefully-researched quotes, stats and facts to suit a narrative. The most basic narrative of any news report is the top-wide pyramid, which means

  • The most new, recent and pithy ten second summation of a story goes in the first line. 
  • Even long form journalism begins by telling the reader what kind of narrative to expect

Journalists get sceptical about information if they see a better way to arrange the info, or if they feel the information occludes or misleads or is based on false facts. 

  • Communications people are tasked with promoting a brand or business and can’t be selective with which ones to promote
  • Communications people aren’t always trained in research and may not have exposure to a wide range of industries like a journalist, so they may not be able to promote their cause with the best set of facts
  • It is demanded by publishers that journalists regularly question or critique even the most successful businesses. It’s part of branding each news publication as objective / unbiased / non-partisan / independent. 

Have you ever seen a reporter express their thanks to a PR/communications provider? No? Let’s discuss why. 

PR: not a phrase used much any more. 

The Public Relations Institute of NZ remains the professional body for, er, PR, obviously. However, communications is the new, fancy word for Public Relations. Don’t believe me? Type ‘communications’ into Seek.co.nz and compare the high number of results to the low number of results you get for ‘public relations.’

The phrase PR is a bit old-fashioned and unfortunately doesn’t convey that communications writers preached to the converted (internal audiences) as well as telling brand new sermons to brand new audiences (external comms.)

There are new requirements of people working in Communications in 2019 which never used to apply.  Expect communications staff to take care of the following:

  • Comms staff are empowered to (attempt to) publish words through a range of platforms, which gives them more power than journalists (who can only publish through one imprint/brand/platform)
  • Communications staff can have exceptionally large audiences ready and waiting which certain news publications don’t. Look at Auckland Council, for instance, which in 2016 had nearly 10,000 staff serving an audience of 1.5 million. That number is bigger than the circulation of many of NZ’s leading magazines. 
  • Writing by communications experts can often reach reach an audience before journalists’ writing does. The following are examples of publishing platforms which every day deliver messages directly to audiences without journalistic interference: LinkedIn, Neighbourly, TradeMe, Scoop, YouTube, Twitter and StopPress. 

 

How Come Advertisers Have More Money Than Newsmakers? Does It Mean They Have More Influence? 

That’s a huge question best asked over some huge drinks with journalists of huge experience. Long story short, though…

  • Audiences have proven they won’t, on the whole, pay as much money for news because they can get it for free on a range of websites, especially Facebook
  • High quality publications like National Business Review or North & South or NZ Geographic carefully maintain a particular price point and a paywall so they can serve a very particular audience – however they can’t afford as many staff to produce their content as they used to have
  • Every newsmedia publication has dedicated space for sale to businesses with budget to pay for what are discretely called ‘advertising features.’ Advertising features are high quality advertorials, with good quality accurate words driving sales. 

One thing is for sure: communications experts and journalists both like to control the narrative around any story on any of the following websites (the Alexa ranking of each is given numerically)

#5 – TradeMe

 

 

 

 

 

NZ’s other top 50 Alexa-ranked websites include Twitch.tv, amazon.com, Newzealandgirls.co.nz, ANZ, Metservice.com, IMDB, Ladbible, Imgur, TVNZ, universities and the IRD.