How to develop a content marketing strategy by Ann Rob

In the 90s, Bill Gates predicted the importance of content marketing in his essay ‘Content is King’, saying: “Those who succeed will propel the Internet forward as a marketplace of ideas, experiences, and products – a marketplace of content.”

If content wasn’t ‘King’ before is it now since the rollout of Google’s Hummingbird algorithm in 2013. The focus has shifted from jamming keywords into your content to writing copy that is compelling and useful to your audience.

What is Content Marketing?

Joe Pullizi first coined the phrase and in his book ‘Get Content, Get Customers’ in 2008 saying: “Content marketing is a marketing technique of creating and distributing relevant and valuable content to attract, acquire, and engage a clearly defined and understood target audience – with the objective of driving profitable customer action”.

A successful content marketing campaign establishes you as an expert and helps you build a long term relationship. It is not a hard sell but a slow burn; if you provide as much value as you can people are more likely to trust you and buy your product. To read the rest of this article follow this link

Condies Introduces a New Business Hero

It has been said that the key to life is in not spending time, but in investing it wisely.

Traditional accounting software has caused problems for our clients who have found that:

  • The data in the system isn’t up-to-date and neither is the software.
  • It only works on one computer and data bounces from place to place. For example, on a USB drive. This can impact on both security and reliability.
  • Only one person has user access. Key people can’t access financial and customer details.
  • It’s costly and complicated to keep backups (if done at all).
  • It’s expensive, difficult and time-consuming to upgrade the software.
  • Customer support is expensive and slow.

Condies believe that accounting software should make life easier; it shouldn’t be a chore to use and just because historically software could be tedious doesn’t mean it has to be that way going forward. Traditionally, it could suck up far too much of your business’ time, effort and resource.

Cloud accounting software can save your business time and money and that’s where Xero comes in…

What is the cloud?

Much has been written about the cloud, but what is it exactly?

Cloud computing is a means of storing and accessing data and programs over the Internet instead of on your computer’s hard drive.  The cloud is just a metaphor for the Internet.

Internet banking is a prime example of this. Every time you access your banking data online, you’re using the cloud. The cloud is a platform to make data and software accessible online anytime, anywhere, from any device. Your hard drive is no longer the central hub.

Working in the cloud has many advantages but put simply, it gives you a better overview of your finances, and improves collaboration with your team – wherever you are and whoever you work with.

The cloud and accounting software is the perfect match

You can use cloud-based software from any device with an internet connection. Online accounting means small business owners stay connected to their data and their accountants.

The software can integrate with a whole ecosystem of add-ons. It’s scalable, cost-effective and easy to use.

Let Condies Be Your Guide

Condies work with clients throughout the set up process to tailor the Xero file to individual needs and ensure this is ready for use combined with hands on live initial training session with one of our Xero Certified Advisors.

Via online accounting software, Condies can collaborate effortlessly with you throughout the whole accounting process as we share instantaneous access to your current financial position through Xero.

Cloud computing has a number of fantastic benefits, especially when budgets are stretched:

  • No large upfront costs to buy software or hardware or maintenance costs for regular backups or servers.
  • Future-proof – no more software upgrades to buy and install.
  • Access your accounts and run your business anywhere, from John o’ Groats to Land’s End. Pinpoint exactly where you’re making and losing cash – before it’s too late.
  • As your accountant, Condies can log into your accounts throughout the year to make sure you’re on track.

To discuss your current accounting software and how Condies could help you to change your business, call 01383 721421 or contact

Don’t just take our word for it, for further case studies and Xero client testimonials click here:  or why not subscribe to trial Xero for free?

Higher profile is needed at home for food and drink sector

Tuesday 21 October 2014

We are rightly proud of the role that the food and drink business sector has on boosting exports and promoting Scotland abroad, but are we doing enough to exploit growth opportunities in our domestic market?

The variety and quality of our food and drink was not readily associated with Scotland several years ago, but this perception is changing and the opportunities for businesses are extensive.

In Scotland, visitors spend 20p in every pound on food and drink and with nearly four million visitors to Edinburgh over the last year; our capital city is growing in stature as a dining destination. With over 100 new bars, cafes and restaurants opening last year it is not surprising that Edinburgh is the most popular city break destination outside London. Over 80% of visitors think about food when choosing a destination.

The growing demand for traditional dishes, regional specialties and local produce provides excellent opportunities for suppliers across Scotland. Our local suppliers should continue to be supported with coordinated marketing opportunities, supply chain efficiencies, including manageable trading terms.

The development of business opportunities through social media channels is key, as is demonstrated in the Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce training programmes where social media is by far the most popular series of training courses to develop new sales channels and brand profile. Creating more consumer choice for local produce in our grocery retail outlets needs to be developed further.

As major grocery retailers and discount chains develop on our high streets, we must ensure that they strike the right balance between internationally sourced products and those from local suppliers.

More needs to be done to encourage more shelf presence of local brands, whilst respecting the need to have efficient supply chains and an acceptable consumer price. The role of the local trader is critical in the mix as is the growing trends towards farmers’ markets.

We must also continue to invest in our talent to ensure the quality matches the best internationally. Customer service expectations will continue to grow, whether it is one of Edinburgh’s five Michelin starred restaurants, or those attending Edinburgh’s Festivals, who spend over £37m on eating and drinking. Close collaboration with the education sector is key and across Edinburgh there continues to be market leading partnerships with all levels of education, nurturing both new talent and developing new skills for those already in employment.

Let’s make sure that the growing strength of Scotland’s outstanding larder overseas is equalled at home. We must ensure that with even closer working together between major brands, local businesses and education that we reach the hearts, and of course appetites, of both our local consumers and the ever increasing international visitors.

David Birrell, CEO at Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce

Onyx Group: The Latest I.T. Security Threats

Once again the news is awash with stories about new security vulnerabilities. This time we are faced with SandWorm and POODLE. One is a critical flaw in a key element of Microsoft Windows and the latter is a vulnerability in SSLv3.

The mainstream media, as usual, will do a great job of scaremongering, making these latest vulnerabilities appear to be the next batch of malware threats that will destroy your entire IT environment in an instant. But is that really the case? We have called upon some of our expert Security Consultants to delve into these topics, looking at the technical aspect of the threat, the level of danger you face and the steps you should be taking to minimise the risk.

For more information please follow the link:

Celebrating 25 Years of the World Wide Web – an Interactive Infographic

Did you know that the first item sold on eBay was a broken laser pointer back in 1995 for $14.83?

As 2014 is the 25th anniversary of the world wide web, the team here at Onyx are taking users on a journey through some of the highlights of the world wide web since its conception by Tim Berners-Lee back in 1989, developing an entertaining interactive infographic.

The infographic is a celebration of 25 years of the world wide web and coincides with Onyx’s 20th anniversary of providing IT solutions to businesses across the country.

For the full article please follow the link,

Queen Margaret University ‘did you know’ facts

Last month Professor Petra Wend PhD FRSA Principal and Vice-Chancellor of QMU was the speaker at our ‘Inspiring Women in Business’ afternoon tea and in her speech she mentioned some very interesting ‘did you know that’ facts about Queen Margaret University.

Did you know that it only takes 6 minutes to travel from Edinburgh Waverley to Musselburgh train station, where QMU is only a stones throw away?

Did you know that nearly 94% of QMU graduates find jobs, way above UK and Scottish average?

Did you know that QMU have one of the highest application rates per place in Scotland? Hot on the heels of St Andrews and Edinburgh. And this year they have increased their applications even further, way above the UK average?

Did you know that QMU have over 20 applications for every nursing university place?

Did you know that the vast majority of QMU students are not local, but come from Europe, the Rest of the UK, the rest of Scotland and from overseas?

Did you know that 20% of QMU students are international and come from 84 countries?

Did you know that QMU have a campus in Singapore? That they teach in India, Nepal, Middle East? That they form the British University in Cairo with Loughborough University in England?

Did you know that QMU income from knowledge exchange, i.e. research and work with businesses is the highest of modern universities in the UK and higher than many old universities?

Business Mentoring Scotland: A Free Service to Help Businesses Grow

Do you feel that you need a bit of support when growing your business?

Would your business benefit from the input of an experienced mentor who is there to support and challenge you? If so, this fully funded mentoring service might be for you.

Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce is a delivery partner for Business Mentoring Scotland and we match over 150 senior managers from growing businesses annually with experienced mentors. Our mentors volunteer their time and are all professional business leaders in their own right and are committed to sharing their knowledge, experience and skills with growing businesses.

Whether you are a relatively new business, or have ambitious plans to grow you existing business, working with a mentor can kick-start or re-invigorate your plans, giving you immediate access to impartial advice, relevant experience, and a great network of contacts. Business Mentoring Scotland is available to leaders with businesses that have been trading for over a year, have over £100,000 turnover and have a strategy to grow further over the coming 3 years.

With a rich talent pool of over 200 mentors in Edinburgh and in excess of 850 throughout Scotland we’re confident that we can match you with an expert mentor from any sector to help you and your business grow.

For more information, an application form or to book a meeting with our mentoring executive, Jimmy O’Connell, please call 0131 221 2999 Option 3 or email