Archives/ Monthly Archives/ April 2014

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Does my headline look big in this?

Well, just a fraction, actually. Apparently 6 words, not 7, is the optimum number in any blog headline. The blog itself should be 1,600 words in length, but don’t worry, I’m going to undercut here, whatever the science tells us. We’ll hopefully never reduce marketing to maths, but there’s no doubt that analysis is vying with creativity to be top dog in the new age, and no self-respecting marketing manager can afford to be found wanting where churning the numbers is concerned. Can’t see Don Draper taking to it, mind.

So let’s reduce social media to numbers for a minute. (This is all thanks to Kevan Lee and his column.)

Start with twitter. 169 characters may be the character limit, but what’s the optimum number? Make it an even century, says Bevan, who tells us that 100 is the engagement ‘sweet spot’. Enough to say ‘Talk to Conor Horgan at Horgan PR & Marketing on 01 5383633 for all your communications requirements.” And not a lot besides. Expect your engagement rate to rise by 17% if you can keep to this.

Now here’s a surprise: facebook has no character limit, of course, but we’re advised not to go beyond 40.   Now that’s not a lot. Try “Need comms help? Horgan PR on 01 5383633”. The prize for complying with the 40 character limit? Engagement goes up by more than 80%. The key is to let your visuals do the talking. Remember, this is social media, so don’t be the bore who hogs the conversation all the time.

The prescription of 1,600 words for blogs is based on 7 minutes being the optimum time spent reading a blog. The science doesn’t stop there. Set your paragraph width to between 45 and 55 characters. Limit your presentations to 18 minutes (now that sounds like good advice!), your title tags to 55 characters and your domain name to just 8 characters. Like “”, come to think of it.

As a kid, I remember reading a poem or something that said; “To write a sentence in sixteen syllables is very diffic” and thinking it quite clever. Little did I know it that it would presage the task of the new age copywriter so well. Orwellian though the above may sound, it is not to suggest that good content is determined more by technical parameters than by creative genius. So let’s take the advice on board and continue to concentrate on insightful, entertaining copy.  Otherwise I’m still 1,186 words short …

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Simple communications shows way to the top

“Hi guys, we have a problem.” Most of the promotional emails we receive each week we can’t trash quickly enough, but who can resist opening an email with those opening words?  Relatively few of the thousands on the e-marketing list for this year’s (Web) Summit, I’d venture. As direct marketing effectiveness goes, this is pretty good.

No fancy graphics, no annoyingly hyperbolic language, just a simple personal message (from founder Paddy Cosgrave no less) telling us that all the initial round of recommended hotels have booked out (don’t worry, they’ll find more). Ah, so that’s the problem. We had thought – no, hoped – it was some computer malfunction or other organisational hiccup … the kind we can’t help delighting in in others. In fact, it was a message of success, cleverly couched in apologetic tones, and a good spur for delegates to get booking. It’s not just the Summit event that’s great, it seems. The communications around it is shaping up that way also. Good luck to all concerned.

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May Day May Day: Smart marketing gets its reward

By out smarting our rivals, we get ahead. By out-thinking our competition, we make gains. By using clever tactics, we bring great business rewards. Because, smart wins.

I’m breaking the rules here, as this blog isn’t ‘Not About Us’, but I suppose I have a good excuse. Last night Horgan PR & Marketing was announced on the shortlist for the An Post Smart Marketing Awards on 1 May.

Everyone loves a good old award. Ok, so we all harbour a scepticism about them, but that’s when others are in line for them. When there’s a chance that it’s you who’ll be collecting that gong, there’s no resisting them.

I guess compliments and acknowledgement can be scarce commodities in business life: you deliver on what you promise and don’t expect to get much thanks for it. We all live with that, so awards are a welcome form of compensation. For a new agency such as ourselves, it’s a great boost, but the allure of awards extends to even the most seasoned of recipients. I was working on an arts awards some years back, and was struck by how even the A-list artists were excited at the prospect of another trophy for their mantelpiece.

So what is Horgan PR & Marketing in the running for at the 2014 An Post Smart Marketing Awards? We ran a successful B2B launch event for the Ford Transit Connect on behalf of an automotive client using An Post’s new product. With a clever online map, it allows you target businesses within a given geographic area, upload artwork and presto – the collateral goes out to them for little more than the price of a stamp. It wasn’t necessarily the ultimate in creative genius, but it helped double sales, and for a company looking to reach out to several thousand local businesses quickly and cost-effectively, it was a ‘smart’ move. That’s what these awards are about. Fingers crossed.