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Digital Marketing Trends in 2021

Phil Aston SEO Cornwall Genius Loci Media

Digital Marketing Trends in 2021

These are my observations from the frontline of running a digital agency in 2021.


For what seems like years, various people have been saying the practice of SEO is dead. Perhaps the use of WordPress and Plugins like Yoast have given this impression. It is a bit like having an app on your phone telling you how many steps you have done. If you want to find out how healthy you are, you will need a different set of measures and data. SEO is more important now than ever.

The practice of SEO is a multi-disciplined set of skills now, but it still requires an intuition that comes from being aware of the real people trying to find you and the technology they are using to carry this out.

What I am seeing is people putting more effort and energy now into their websites again. Social Media (which I will come onto later) is going through many changes, and businesses are getting more nervous about relying on rented real-estate like Facebook.

SEO is at the heart of Content Marketing and Digital Marketing. When I see either phrase that is my first thought, how is the SEO going to be implemented?
Any content needs to start with the right intent and objective to help the people find it.

In 2021, your new content will more likely start as a video. The next steps might be extracting the audio for a Podcast, then the transcribed text used for blog posts. Extracts from these blog posts then become part of your social media strategy. The objective now is using all of your business channels to bring in leads and enquiries.

More than ever, customers are cross-checking social media posts with your brand pages and posts on your website. They ask questions on social media, forums, watching videos, reading reviews and then seeing what response they get when getting in touch via email or messenger.

Behind all this SEO is researching your market, key phrases, competitive data, hashtags and analytics across multiple channels and platforms.

2021 is the year you should be investing more in SEO and on a continual basis. Make sure you include your YouTube channel!

Social Media Marketing

I feel Social Media has taken a few body blows in the last 12 months. Covid19, The Election in the USA, Conspiracy Theories, lack of trust, privacy etc. Many people are looking for alternative platforms or growing tired of spending so much time on social media.

Privacy, Apple and new laws are also making the advertising landscape look less and less attractive and more expensive. I have also seen a vast and worrying trend in businesses getting their Ad accounts suspended on Facebook and Instagram. You could lose your entire brand off Facebook if this happens.
Although I have helped a couple of businesses get their Ad Accounts back, it is getting harder, and it is impossible to talk to anyone on these platforms.

Social media is also fragmenting as other fledgeling platforms start to surface. Bibo is going to make a comeback and Club House the audio-only platform is already popular.

Another observation I will make is that each platform has its fans and try as you may; you will not get them to move or join you elsewhere.

I run an online music magazine called Now Spinning. It has a dedicated community within a Facebook Group. It also has accounts on Instagram, Twitter, a Facebook page, Linkedin page, YouTube and of course, a website!
Over the last 12 months, the communities on YouTube and Facebook have been the most active. Although there is some cross over with fans on each platform, most people have NO interest in joining or even being on any other platform.

The idea of sending out one post to every platform is doomed to fail or at the very least result in very little engagement.
If you have a video to upload you are looking at uploading to Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube separately. I have run several experiments, and although posting links from YouTube seems a more manageable option, you will get far less engagement on Facebook if you do this.

Is Advertising Worth it on Social Media?

I believe that cold calling is dead in 2021, and this includes all uninvited email campaigns.
I do feel, however, that there are some benefits to advertising on social media. If your objective is to raise your brand profile, then Facebook works very well with Instagram coming in behind it. Simply trying to sell on Facebook is not as effective as it was and if you get your Ad copy wrong, you can get penalised.
I do not recommend advertising on Twitter as the platform now is more news orientated.

Video Marketing

From personal experience, nothing builds trust faster than video. Of course, meeting people face to face may be better, but a video has the potential to be discovered globally.
Another tip for 2021 is to make sure your YouTube Channel is optimised and has new content regularly.
The other thing I cannot emphasise more is answering every comment and in a timely fashion. The difference this can make to you getting discovered and gaining new subscribers is enormous.

Where Should You Post?

Youtube – This is essential and as I have mentioned your channel should be optimised and updated whenever possible. Use 1080dpi

Facebook – Also very important, I find uploading at 720dpi gets the best results.

Instagram – I find this is best for video of fewer than 60 seconds. You can post on IGTV up to any length, but a long-form video is not why people are on Instagram, so I have found engagement falls in the last 12 months.

Vimeo – There are many reasons to use these platform but if you want to be discovered by people who do not know you, use YouTube.

Twitter / Linkedin – keep them short otherwise use YouTube and your website.

Stop Trying To Be Everyone Else

I work a lot with hospitality businesses, and in the last few years, the tone of voice used for branding has become almost interchangeable. The introductions, the descriptions of the rooms, food, the photos all look the same. It can take looking at the contact information to realise that you are in a different location.
For most businesses in 2021, you have 30 seconds to grab someone’s attention. By the time they find you, they may have a dozen tabs open as they flick from one to the other.
The businesses that talk from the heart and do not try to be anyone else are the ones that will get the enquiries in 2021.

If you want any help or advice on any of the topics raised here, please get in touch.

Phil Aston 

+44(0)1736 719342 | phil.aston@geniusloci.co.uk

Quick linksSEO ServicesSocial MediaVideo Marketing / YouTube – Website / WordPress Management


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60 seconds on Content Marketing

60 seconds on Content Marketing

Edited video transcript below

There are many ways to add new content to your online world.
You could just post something onto your favourite social media channel and think job done.

But what about your audience and potential customers who could discover you from your other social channels and your website?

The issue could also be you have mentioned something in your post that is not mirrored on your website because you have yet to update it.

My advice is you should use your website as your main hub but at the same time utilise the power of video and text.

  1. Record a video like this on your phone
  2. Extract the audio and transcribe it to text
  3. Add the video and text to your website as a blog or update.
  4. Use snippets from the Blog for your social media posts with links back to your website or call to action page.

Phil Aston
Genius Loci Media

SEO Content Marketing Support from Cornwall

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SEO Tips

SEO and Content Marketing are very much joined at the hip. The most important thing is to turn up and be consistent.

Produce a piece of content that can be shared across your channels but keep the message personal for each audience. Experient with the times of postings and write from the heart.

This is about building trust with humans before search engines.

We can all get bogged down with trying to be super creative and spending far too much time scrolling the creativity of others. I find it easier to think about what I am trying to achieve rather than just thinking well that’s the blog post out the way!

Document what you are doing and if you are between projects, document your thinking, your ideas. Let your potential clients/customers have a peek around the curtain.  Also, try and use imagery that stands out, try and avoid stock photos and just think outside the box. It will be fun!

Phil Aston

Genius Loci Media

+44(0)1736 719342

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SEO Cornwall with Daleks - got you looking ! Genius Loci Media

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Evergreen Content Will Always Have a Life of its Own

Evergreen Content Will Always Have a Life of its Own
I had a client a couple of months ago say that they were getting very little traction from their blogs and perhaps they should just concentrate purely on Facebook as that is where they got the most engagement.

I tried to convince them that putting all your content on one platform (which you have no control over) could be a big mistake but they decided that was what they wanted to do.

Three weeks later they noticed in Google Analytics that a blog post from 2017 had suddenly started to get shared over 100 times a day, first from Youtube, then Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin. Other pages linked from this were also getting way more traction.

The piece of content was timeless, it had been discovered and was now introducing a whole new audience to the clients business and knowledge.

Everything you post is there to be discovered, you might think it has had its day but for someone else, it could be just what they wanted at that moment.

Phil Aston
Genius Loci Media
+44(0)1736 719342

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Content Marketing Tips – Blogging, Podcasts and Video

Video Duration 5 mins (Transcription Below)

How often should you blog? That’s a question I get asked a hell of a lot.
Another way of looking at it is what kind of medium do you also want to use? Because there are so many options now.
Are you going to use video? And if you are, are you going to do ‘live video’or is it going to be pre-recorded video?

Perhaps you should be looking at podcasts?
Everyone’s talking about podcasts now. Should you be doing that as well? But again, what about your blog? And what do you even put on your blog and how often should you do it?

Try and see it as one piece of content. I would recommend video as your starting point. I don’t go live because it can come across as an interruption unless you have been promoting it in advance.

On Facebook you might get some people looking at your broadcast, but I tend to find presenters spend too much time saying ‘Hi’ to the people they see pop up in the newsfeed. This behaviour can take away the focus and most people will start to get bored very quickly if you do not stay on message.
Also, it is a major commitment to go live at the same time every week. What if you have a dental appointment or when your cat is sick!

A pre-recorded video has many more options because that pre-recorded video can also be a podcast and once transcribed a blogpost as well.

You can decide if you want to do this monthly, biweekly or weekly and this will be a lot easier to stick to.
The key thing with content marketing is to be consistent and ensure you turn up. Search engines will know there is fresh material coming onto the website, and your audience also knows to check because will not want to miss anything.

This takes us to the other key point. What do you talk about?
This is where a lot of people get hung up thinking they’ve got to find this incredible piece of quality content every time they post. Maybe you do sometimes, and you have lots of engagement, and then you have a nightmare thinking how do I top that!

Rather than getting hung up about being Uber creative, why don’t you document what you’re doing throughout your working week? You will be working on projects for clients, which you could talk a little bit about, perhaps a problem comes up that you solve, the solution could be the topic, or maybe you’ve gone out for a walk, and you got inspired by something that is also a possible blog post.
A photograph from your week and a few lines of texts is a blog post.

Another way to look at this is to see the main pages of your website as your corporate look. Your services are there, your about page etc.
This is the part of the website that wears the business suit, and your blog post is the jeans and tee-shirt version part of your brand.informally
It is more chatty, like meeting informally by the drinks machine. you can talk about what you are up to, maybe talking about what music is playing on in your home office (Deep Purple here!) and bring that into your client work.
So rather than getting hung up, which means that you’ll miss a week or keep putting it off. Pick a day when you are going to publish and make notes during the week and remember it doesn’t have to be long.

This video ended up being about five minutes, but it could be just two minutes next time.
The key thing is to turn up and be consistent because if you don’t do that, you will become invisible!

If you need any help with content marketing or how to feel comfortable in front of a camera, just let me know and I would be delighted to talk to you.
Thanks very much.

Phil Aston

Genius Loci Media

+44(0)1736 719342

by Phil Aston Phil Aston No Comments

Digital Marketing August Update

Video Transcript
Hi, this is Phil Aston from Genius Loci Media in the far West of Cornwall

Is your Facebook business Page a website?

No, it’s not a website. It’s a page on someone else’s online space, and you are at the mercy of whatever that organisation decides to do now or in the future. (Remember Google Plus?)

Do you remember when Facebook was really keen in wanting people to set up their own business page on the platform? You set up our Facebook Business Page and asked lots of people, contacts etc to like your page and then you posted content and everyone saw it.  Basically you helped build Facebook’s business. Then as soon as it became successful, they then stopped everyone seeing your posts. (it is less than 2% now).  So then they encouraged you to actually advertise to the people that already liked your page. So again, you were building their business.

So what is happening now since the world changed with COVID?

Well, even those Facebook Ads (or any Ads!) do not work the way they used to.

If you are building brand awareness, there’s still some mileage in Facebook Ads, but if you’re trying to sell products or services, people aren’t going to take your word for it anymore.  Users can now say they do not want to see your Ads and can block them on their mobiles. Running Ads is really is kind of a cul-de-sac right now.

So your Facebook Business Page is not your website, and this is not a video to try and make you build a new website. It about is aimed at people, who have a website but have neglected it due to all your focus being on your social platforms.  Your website is perhaps sitting there and had not been updated for a while and the message it is out of sync with you recent Facebook posts. I see a fair few websites where the last blog post merely states they are going to do more blogs posts and even that was a few months ago.

Social media is actually more important now than ever as it is where your customers can share information and read reviews from real people but they are still going to check out your website to ensure the message is the same and read material which will help build trust before they make a decision.  Your website should be where you post your content first. This is where you are in control, it is your domain and online space. Whatever social media channels rise or fall your website will remain as your content mothership representing your brand online.  This is where SEO comes in and having good quality content that answers questions from your customers and fans.

It is from your website that you can then share your content to your Facebook Business Page, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube etc, Your website is your content hub. You’re probably thinking,  that’s a hell of a lot of work to keep on top of this (it is). But what this current Pandemic situation is telling us is that this is when you should be investing in your content strategy. This is when you should also be thinking about connecting with people through video to build trust even more.

I have personally learned a great deal during this period. I am based in Cornwall and have been a fairly regional business, but now through video, I can connect with new clients anywhere in the world.  I’ve got just as much chance of getting a client in New Zealand or Los Angeles as I have in getting them in Truro or Camborne. This also puts emphasis on the role of your website. You may be talking to people via Linked or Facebook but your main brand representation is your website. 

I can talk to people anywhere in the world. I no longer think of clients and having a face to face meeting once a month, I can jump on to a video call via Zoom to have a quick update at any time.  Thinking regional can restrict your business or even your creativity. You can have a zoom call with someone in Los Angeles or mountain time in America and then just carry on with other tasks. You might be thinking you can’t build relationships the same way via video as face to face. I would argue that. Yes, you can.

If you want help on anything I have mentioned in this video from SEO, updating your website or even knowing what microphone or what video camera to use for video calls please get in touch.

Phil Aston
Genius Loci Media
+44(0)1736 719342

Get in touch

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Workload & Capacity July 31st 2020

Workload & Capacity
A quick update on our workload for website design.
Some of you may have noticed across some of our media channels that we are slowly changing direction and some of the services that we offer are going to be withdrawn. Website design is one of these.

We have currently got seven website projects in the pipeline and we are not going to be taking on any more from the end of this month.

Our focus is now on content marketing, SEO and Social. We are still offering website management and hosting for clients as this fits in with our content and media services.

If you need any help with anything to do with your online content marketing, get in touch, and I’d be delighted to talk to you.

Thank you

Phil Aston
Genius Loci Media
Insight Backed marketing without the noise
+44(0)1736 719342

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Digital Marketing Masterclass with Phil Aston

Very honoured to have been asked to be on ‘The Thaducation Podcast’ with Thad Cox

In this podcast, I tell our story about how Genius Loci Media was set up, the risks we took, the mistakes we made, how we learnt to pivot when required and then go on to become a very successful Digital Agency.

I also cover lots of tips on how to use Social Media and promote yourself using digital media.


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Get Back To What You Do Best – While We help with The Rest

Ideas are easy; it is the execution and implementation that is harder.

It is the same when creating content for your website and social media. You might type your thoughts into a Facebook or Linkedin post, but when it comes to your website, I see many people just put this off.

This approach results in a mixed message where your website seems to be behind your other online activities and can be confusing to your customers

One of our clients said “I have the ideas, but I don’t have the time to think about the SEO elements, source or resize images or worry about layout.”

We take your ideas, publish them on your website (and social media), look after the SEO, layout, and can even suggest subjects for you to write about if you need them!
Our approach is to take away the worry so you can be creative, look after your customers while we look after your online world.

Please give me a call to see how we can help you and your business.

Phil Aston

T : +44(0)1736 719342

blogging advice - website and wordpress management

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Don’t Put All Your Marketing into one Social Media Platform

Don’t Build Your Empire on Rented Land
I work with a lot of clients who have started out on several platforms and then through seeing initial success ended up putting all their efforts into one.
This is never a good idea, algorithms can change, the rules can change and the audience may go elsewhere.

It is very important to spread your content and energy across several platforms and most importantly keep your website at the centre of operations.

I am currently working with a client who has nearly 100% of their business on Instagram and has had their account blocked for a few days due to using a 3rd party App. Their engagement had dropped considerably due to changes within Instagram already and now they need to build their brand elsewhere and really focus on SEO and getting a more professional website in place.

Putting all your marketing eggs in one basket is not a good idea

The point to remember is if you lose your presence on a social media platform you lose all your content, connections and history. Remember Google Plus!
Your website should always be where your content is shared from or at least also available.

From experience, many social media posts could easily be tweaked to be Blog posts.

Don't Build Your Empire on Rented Land

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