Uncategorized Archives - Small business consultant

Category Archives for "Uncategorized"

Keys to unlocking your passion

The other day I attended a pre-interview meeting. In this meeting, the interviewer was trying to choose which topic to focus on for the interview. To narrow it down, they said to me “imagine you’re scuba diving. What topic could you talk about for hours underwater”. Now I was often told I could talk underwater with a mouth full of marbles, but I got the point. What was my passion?

I’m a little different when asking people what their passion is. I’d like to know what they would love to yell about into a loud hailer from the top of the tallest building in their town.

But the problem I often encounter from people is: “Kara, I don’t know what my passion is?” So how do you uncover your passion if you don’t know what you’d shout into that loud hailer?

What annoys you most about your industry?

I have to admit that this plays a part in how I came to my passion. I was so annoyed with the constant chatter around images, and metrics, and tools, and hacks. I became disillusioned with colleagues who were all selling the next shiny object. I was heartbroken for the people who contacted me who felt utterly disconnected from their audience and their business. This drove me to flip the social media industry on its head and concentrate on the ‘social’ rather than the ‘media’ everyone else had their eye on.

So what is it in your industry that drives you wild? Is there part of it you could flip on its head? Or could you take a 180 approach to what everyone else is doing?

History repeats itself

In the craze of hustle, push, and achieve, I look back. It’s no surprise if you know how many years I spent in quality assurance or if you’ve done my goal setting & review work, that I will often look back to where I’ve been. The thing is that if you look back through your schooling and your career, you will find commonalities. There is a thread which travels through our lives and ties it together. It doesn’t have to be a vocation, though mine is psychology. You might find that you were often called on for one particular trait. You might find that there was a task you always enjoyed. You might find that there was something you once enjoyed but forgot. Sit down and write these down and look for threads.

So what?

The other week a business coaching client had been watching Simon Sinek’s Ted talk on “Start with why” and was struggling to move their definition from what they do to why they do it. This strategic thinking is not something we are generally required to do, it is something I’ve had to do through my government career. There is a key to flicking your thinking to a more strategic focus and all it takes is repeatedly answering the same two word question: “So what?”

Now I admit to using this technique on myself and yes I annoyed the crap out of myself by doing it, it works. I often find it helps using the tone of a petulant child. When you think you can’t answer it any more, ask it at least once more because you will be surprised just how much clarity you can achieve. Write down the answers and watch the progression.

Break down your passion into parts and ask the question of each of the parts. So what about the audience? So what about the motivator? So what about the benefit? So what!

Still stuck on defining your passion?

What do customers say about you and your business? Is there are key thread? Is there a particular part of the interaction they enjoy? Customers are incredible mirrors and will show you what you don’t see in your business. The glorious part of using their feedback is that it’s in words they will understand when you use it in marketing.

So why do you need to define your passion?

Well other than the obvious scenario like I was in, it helps to guide your business. Having a dogged direction , purpose, and reason makes marketing clear and it makes it easier for any staff to understand and get on board. With this clarity you will save time and be more productive & that’s always a good thing in business.

How to get more out of Facebook Messenger Codes for your business

4 ways businesses can leverage Facebook Messenger Codes

What are Facebook Messenger Codes? These are cute, round QR codes for Facebook profiles and pages. They offer another way for people to share their contact details. When scanned, the code will open up a Message with the scanned profile/page.

Who can have Facebook Messenger Codes?

Facebook Messenger codes are being rolled out across the platform. Eventually, all profiles & pages will have their unique identifying Code.

How do you get Messenger Codes?

On your Facebook Messenger App head over to the head (Android) or cog (iOS) and tap on it. There you will be greeted with your profile picture inside a circular QR code.

Find Facebook Messenger Code on iOS


Find Facebook Messenger Code on Android


But what about my page?
Well you will actually need to be on your desktop to get your Page Messenger code. (Strange but true. Why is nothing ever straightforward Facebook?) Anyway, I digress. You will find your code by clicking on your Messages Tab on your page and it will either be at the top OR the bottom (again with the consistency Facebook) of your Messages. On the upside, you will always see it as a set of concentric circles and it’s on the left-hand side where the names of the people are. Click on the circle (when you find it) and your Page Messenger Code will start to download to your computer.

pages Facebook Messenger codesmessenger

How do I use my Facebook Messenger Code?

Ok, so that is entirely up to you but I do have a few suggestions…

  1. Add it to your business card and other promotional material – including your contacts page on your website.
  2. Have your Facebook Page Messenger Code as your personal profile picture. Great for those who work a day job while they are also working in their own business as it’s an inconspicuous way to market.
  3. Having it as your profile picture also helps to market your business when you are posting in those Facebook Business & Networking Groups.
  4. Share it on other platforms, just as people share their SnapCodes on Twitter – share your Facebook Messenger Code around.

How do I use someone else’s Messenger Code?

Remember how I told you how to get your personal Messenger Code? Great! Now head back there and click on your face. (Weird I know) Up the top of the screen you will see the words ‘Scan Code’. Android FTW on this one as it is the default screen. Anyway, you will see a circle appear, so line up the code you want to scan in that circle and bullseye you will launch Messenger with that person or page.

Looking for other ways to grow your Facebook Page? Then look at my Organic Facebook System.

How to scan a Facebook Messenger Code on iOS


How to scan a Facebook Messenger Code on Android


How to win at media pitches

Kellie O’Brien spent 16 years in print journalism in Tasmania, writing everything from hard news stories through to international celebrity features. During her career she’s led newspaper campaigns, been a magazine editor, chief of staff, chief copy sub editor and photographer. She also had a regular guest spot on commercial radio and hosted and spoke at numerous live events. Since its inception, her personal blog has grown at a rapid rate. This is thanks to numerous marketing initiatives, strong branding and a keen interest in social media. From this, Kellie helps people realise their dreams through the power of communicating their story to the world and systemisation.


The 3 major errors businesses make when pitching to media outlets

Journalists and media outlets are looking for a way to show relevance & grab the reader, so unless you are heading for 100 years in business – don’t pitch your birthday. These story hooks do not help the journalist to capture the reader. You need to make them timely, relevant, and give them a different twist to what they would normally see. Let’s face it, they are just as interested in promoting themselves as you are. A different twist to your story or story hook will give the outlet a different angle & perhaps a way to capture a wider audience in relation to your story.

Don’t pitch the Editor, pitch the relevant journalist. Editors are responsible for the oversight of the paper, or their section of the paper; & with the exception of smaller outlets they will not be looking for stories. Searching through the relevant paper will help you to find the responsible journalist. Look for the names attached to your niche.

When you get the media attention, make sure that you have a way to capture that traffic when it hits your website. Otherwise you are missing an opportunity to gather leads & more broadly market your business. Ensure that you products are easily found on your website & that there is a clear call to action on your homepage.

Should media pitches differ between print, radio, & tv?

Some coaches will recommend blanket pitching across media outlets, while this saves you time it can cost you opportunities. This scatter-gun approach means that no one agency is getting their exclusive, which they all crave. This is not to say that you shouldn’t pitch to multiple outlets, just that you need to differentiate your hook. Craft your hook to suit their audience. You will need to ensure you have three wins: a win for the journalist (a great exclusive), a win for the reader (interesting content), & a win for your business.

Is there still a place for print media?

Many print outlets will have some form of social media presence, they will also leverage these platforms to capture their audience. Your story might just be one of those stories that they promote online, giving you exposure in the print publication & on their social media profile.

Businesses also need to consider the habits of their ideal client. Do they read the paper (and which one), be it in print or online? This ideal client avatar is useful across the business profile, not just for social media marketing.

Additionally, having an article in media gives you the opportunity to add their logo to your website, growing your media cluster badge. This collection is valuable social proof when other media outlets are searching your site, but also when customers are stopping by. These badges show that you have a reputable brand or offer.

What role does social media play in promotion in media outlets researching your business

This really depends on the story, it can play a part if you are looking for credibility in your field. That said, if you have thousands of followers but no interaction on your profiles the size of your following will not help. Outlets like to know that you are current and active in your field. Additionally if you Google your business name and appear on the first page of the result for your areas of interest then media outlets are more likely to find you when they are looking for article topics.

What is the benefit to having a media pack available

Having a media page/pack helps the outlet research your business. If you are looking to be interviewed, have a list of your top 10 questions (this will save the journalist time in having to think them up). If you are running an event, include a fact sheet. Most importantly, make sure you have a 200-300 dpi jpeg image of yourself for the outlet to use in the promotion.

What are your tips for HARO and Sourcebottle?

The biggest tip is to respond quickly. While some outlets will put a lengthy timeframe for responses, it is often the first few which will gain the most interest. That said, look out for repeated questions, this means that the outlet hasn’t received quite what they are after & providing a great response will mean a grateful journalist.

When responding, ensure that you provide relevant information. While you might want to spruik a new product, unless it’s relevant to the topic you will only come across as needy and spammy. When providing contact details, ensure they are ones that you are able to respond to quickly – no point providing a work number if you are there part-time. If a journalist is unable to contact you, you will miss your opportunity & risk looking unreliable.

What is the power of sound bites?

Sound bites, or quotable quotes, are short, 10-30 sec sound (or text) bites that summarise a point. The key to these quotables is to include emotion. You can inject emotion into the quotes through smilies, metaphors, analogies, pop culture, or just good fun.

Is there a better (or worse) time of year for pitching to the media?

This really depends on your business and the media outlet. Coming into Christmas, relevant products with a novel twist can gain good exposure in the media. Coming in to the New Year, health and business planning services will stand to gain for the quieter holiday period. You have to ensure that you provide a novel twist on the season, something that which will have your service (and the story) standing out from the crowd.

Kellie has a content calendar which includes the holidays and relevant observance days. This is a helpful resources for planning your social media activities & gives you the necessary hooks for pitching to media outlets.

Here is the entire interview with Kellie O’Brien. If you would like to read more about Kellie’s services and products please go to www.kellieobrien.com.au





What is Pinterest – A quick social media guide for business, including pinner behavior

Pinterest is a content curation tool. It is a place where businesses can go to collect ideas and content to share across social media, and this is how I started. But as always, it’s not about what you want to get out of the platform as a business. Key to a business’ success on the platform is understanding the behavior of their followers. This blog goes through some key technical tips & then digs into pinner behavior.

Watch my video from Blab about Pinterest.

In the US, 93% of users use Pinterest to plan their purchases & 96% of customers use the platform for research. Now, I am also one of these people who use the platform for research, particularly if the item is mainly American. For Australian readers, I would hazard the point that unless you can sell to the US I recommend using the platform for content curation as there are only 320 000 Australian Pinterest users.

There are three practical things you need to do first when establishing your Business Pinterest account.

Set up a business account

This is a 3 step process. Many people hesitate to set these up, feeling that they will then need to have their own account for their own purposes. This needn’t be the case. Having a business account then allows you to access the Pinterest Analytics. Having analytics is important not only so you can see what is popular, but also who is pinning from your site & how that’s being used. You can then use this information to develop more content or find more content around that item/subject.

Verifying your site

To see who is pinning from your site, your website will need to be verified. While for some this can mean a small change to the code (and a cost), for others using WordPress, the simplest way is to use their plug-in.

Setting up your Bio

These are the 160 characters you have to make an impression on people coming to your profile. It should include keywords for prospective customers & it can contain a link. You need to understand your followers’ search behavior &  this is discussed below.


The use of meaningful keywords can not be underestimated in Pinterest. These are the terms used by individuals to look for information, this is their search behavior. Don’t forget that pins are also indexed to Google, so I recommend using the Google Trends & Adwords tools to work out what is best for your pins (don’t forget to look at your analytics).

I also encourage you to change the keywords when you repin or pin from sites. You can not guarantee that other businesses will use optomised keywords or that they will be suitable for your audience.


Clear images are essential for Pinterest. I suggest using tools like Canva to create correctly sized images for your site, which will then be easily transferable to Pinterest. Make sure you include your logo in your images, you never know when it will go viral.

Make sure you use one of your images (if relevant) as the board cover for your boards. This free real estate is great for your marketing, but remember it must be appealing to your audience.

While Infographics can rule Pinterest, do not make them so long that people are constantly scrolling to get to the end of the information. In the main, you will lose readers once an image hits 2 pages. Be mindful that many users are on mobile devices and long infographics do not render well on smaller screens. You should look at your

Behavioral considerations

If I could shout one thing, it’s to remind businesses that there is a person on the other side of the screen. It is up to you to meet their needs and meet them where they are, not for them to step up to you and ask how you can help them.

People use Pinterest for 2 main reasons: to Inspire & to Aspire. To succeed on Pinterest you need to do both. Your content needs to help them where they are. It needs to be useful. It needs to answer a problem.

Long weekends and holiday weekends are high traffic times for pinners. As too are big sporting events. During this time businesses should be actively pinning & repinning to encourage activity on their boards and to attract new followers.

While content is the key consideration for pinning, you can use group boards to expand your reach. I would encourage you not just to choose active pinners & boards, but also be active on the boards.

Don’t worry if you come across something relevant to your business that you want to keep, but not share. You can have secret boards for those gems. These pins are hidden from prying eyes & competitors, so it’s handy for product research, client avatars, & future projects.

Other considerations

Rich pins

Rich pins are where key content has been pulled from the pinned webpage and displayed in the Pin description. Recipes are a great example. Read more…

Promoted Pins

Promoted pins allow business page owners in the US  to promote (similar to promoted Facebook posts) to Pinners. Read more…

Buyable Pins

Buyable pins are pins where a button has been added to link the viewer off to directly purchase an item. It is only available to the US and only on iphone & ipad. Read more…



Authenticity is quickly becoming the next big thing online. With a mass of marketing coming at us everyday through our phones, computers, tablets, radios, & televisions – it’s not surprising that businesses are looking to new ways to influence buyer behaviour.

Authenticity is, according to the Oxford Dictionary, is something that is made ‘in a way that faithfully resembles an original’ or denotes ‘an emotionally appropriate, significant, purposive, and responsible mode of human life’.

Why is authenticity important for customers, particularly online?
With the amount of information consumers have to access, they are drawn to authenticity. They want to know that businesses will deliver as they state & to some degree we like to be able to have a connection to those who sit behind the brand.

How can small business use Authenticity?
Small businesses are in the enviable position that authenticity is easy to show, as you are the owner of the brand and generally the one carrying the online presence. It is easier for you to show the personality behind the brand; in doing so you build connection & rapport with the potential customer, moving you closer to the sale.

Why is authenticity important?
Customers will buy from businesses that they ‘like, know, & trust’. Using authenticity will give you the mechanism to build the ‘know & trust’ parts of the relationship. This relationship building will help you to not only sell, but to build a strong selling partnership, brand advocates, or strong business partnerships.

How do you show authenticity in your business?
While I find live streaming the quickest and easiest way to show authenticity, it’s not for everyone (apparently). Some people say that the best way to show authenticity is to show up, of course it goes deeper than that. You can show authenticity by showing behind the scenes of your business, you can show it by being candid, you can show it by sharing things that inspire you & your business, you can show it in the language you use. It’s about imparting your personality into your actions & business. In small business, so much of ourselves go in to what we do, it’s a shame to hold it back from public view. Remember, people buy from brands that they ‘like, know & trust’.

Words of warning!
While rants are authentic, they aren’t suitable for public consumption. Ranting on your social media profiles about competitors, suppliers, or worst of all customers is a ‘no go’. When your customers read your negative emotions, they take some of it on board & in turn they feel negatively. You don’t want your customers to have negative feelings when they experience your business online. Read more …

So, how will you be showing your authenticity & growing sales online? Leave a comment below or join the conversation on Facebook.

Competing with the competition

Stop it; stop competing with your competition, stop looking over your shoulder, stop playing second fiddle to someone else’s dreamTweet this That’s what you are doing when you constantly compare your business to your competitor’s; you are devaluing your business.

I admit I used to do it. I used to watch, stalk, track, and follow. I used to compare, observe, and compete. I used to worry! I used to worry that they were earning more, that they had more customers, that they were selling more, and that they were taking what could have been mine. Yes, there were times where customers and ideas were taken from my business and used by others, and boy did that drive me crazy!

The thing is that the obsession was driving me crazy. It was taking a lot of my time and energy away from my business and family and handing it to them. I was empowering them. While I made certain that I didn’t like anything on their Facebook page, just me giving them the ‘time of day’ was enough. That time I could have spent improving, developing, or just enjoying life in general.

And if wasting your time on something that isn’t getting you closer to your goals isn’t motivation enough, here is my clincher. They aren’t my business. Huh? Read it again. They aren’t my business. Let me explain.

If you are watching your competition and worrying about their moves, do you know what goes on behind the scenes? You might think you do, but do you really know? I quickly found out that my competition was operating without business insurance, without declaring their earnings, and were working day and night to keep up with demand for their under-priced goods. I was trying to compete with a business who didn’t have the same business expenses, was taking risks I wasn’t prepared to take, dodging tax, and working twice as much as I was. Why would I want to compete with someone who wasn’t even playing in the same ballpark?

Here’s the other thing I realised, they were aiming at a totally different customer. While they were happy selling unlicensed merchandise and cheap, imported items, I was selling bespoke, classic pieces. Her customer was never going to want what I sold and I was wondering why she had them? It’s illogical why I even worried in the first place.

Still not convinced? Consider what happens when you are walking around your house, constantly looking backwards over one shoulder. I don’t know about you, but I quickly trip up or hit a wall. It’s no different in business. If you are constantly watching what is happening behind you, you’re not focused on where you are going and you will ‘trip’ up.

So how do you stop? Unlike their business page from Facebook, unsubscribe from their Newsletter, unfollow them on Instagram. Cut those ties! If you are concerned, ask a trusted friend or your partner to keep an eye on them for you. Otherwise, cut them out of your life!

Go back and look at your goals, revisit your ideal client, and refocus your energies on how you are going to make it all happen. Set some timeframes, set out steps you need to take/achieve to get there. Move yourself forward. Don’t waste any more energy looking over your shoulder to someone playing a different game, with different rules to your own. Tweet this

Would you like to learn how to make more of your business online? Would you like to know how you can reach more of the 13.8 million Australians with active Facebook accounts. Then fill out this form so we can discuss how to get your business moving and you empowered online.

Work with Me

1 Hints to maintain business social media while on holiday

Keep working while you play Write to RightEver wonder how you will keep your social media followers engaged whilst on holiday, while ill, during peak periods, or even when you need some time away from your devices? My family and I have just returned from a four-week overseas holiday (I feel refreshed and with a clearer direction for both of my businesses) and I maintained my Facebook post reach of 90%, engagement rate of 10% and increased my number of followers.

Even though I did have my smartphone with me, wifi connectivity was unreliable and patchy. The other issue that I had was being between 9 and 12 hours behind my regular time zone, meaning that ‘on the fly’ posting to my main follower base was not an option. I wanted a relaxing holiday, so in the four weeks leading up to my holiday I scheduled 70+ Facebook posts and four MailChimp newsletters. I did post occasionally to Instagram and used some time to increase my Twitter following.

 So how did I achieve this?

As I said earlier, I used the four weeks leading up to the break to schedule my content. I do not use a social media scheduler to post across multiple platforms, it doesn’t suit me or my business (in fact I have just read an email from Crush Social outlining why my approach is correct). In the past I have used the calendar on my phone to keep track of which day I am up to with my scheduling. This time I had a social media calendar.

 Social media calendars

There are a number of free and paid social media calendars on the internet. I have looked at a number of them and was lucky enough to receive one from Kellie O’Brien Media. It is a month-to-a-page calendar (affiliate link), BUT (and it’s a big one) the thing that stands out for me is the hints and the special dates. It is the special dates which helped me to determine posts when I had run out of my popular content (I will post later on this topic). The special dates include things like awareness weeks (or days), holidays, and sporting events. While Kellie has used Australian dates, a lot of these awareness events are international and it is these special dates that sets her calendar apart from the others available. (Note: while Kellie did provide me with the calendar, it was done so for user testing, my affiliate link was provided after)

Productivity is never an accident Write to Right


I am an avid Pinner. I admit to having more than your average number of boards and a few secret ones too. While I do pin content from the internet to Pinterest, I most often repin. The key to Pinterest is to understand your ideal client & pin that. Tweet this  According to hubby, I spend too much time on there, but I see it as all valuable research time (ok, sometimes it’s like a rabbit hole).

If you are not on Pinterest, I would suggest having a look. Many businesses, including my own, use it to promote their own products. While I do not find it a good sales vehicle, it is handy for brand awareness. I would suggest starting with the ‘Popular’ pins and over time Pinterest will learn your tastes and customise your feed to suit. Follow the boards of your favourite Pinners or just follow them entirely (some people I follow entirely and others I select certain boards). The thing I like about Pinterest, is that in the main, you will be linked back to the original source. This is great for sharing the content directly and makes attribution simple.

Facebook Scheduling

I regularly schedule Facebook posts and have for a while now. I don’t like being flustered and pushed into posting content on the fly. I regularly check my Insights and I post when my followers are online (a great way to help engagement). Scheduling posts allows me to post when they are on, but I might not be.

I have found this recent video by The Stacey Harris on how to schedule a Facebook post.

MailChimp scheduling

If you have subscribed to Write to Right’s newsletter, you would have received my scheduled newsletters. (You haven’t? Head over and sign up now and receive a free set of my top social media hints) I use MailChimp as my email platform, there are dozens out there, but MailChimp is a well-known provider and integrates with my website.

Email lists are a fantastic way to reach your customers in a more personalised and direct mannerTweet this It’s also a fabulous way to offer digests of your social media content, deliver special offers and generally remind people that you are still there (let’s face it, not everyone spends as much time as I do on Facebook). So my email subscribers didn’t miss out, I scheduled my regular newsletter. Ok, so it didn’t contain new content (there’s nothing wrong with recycling and I will discuss this in another post), but it did help me to stay in front of mind whilst I was away. I found this great video from Chris Durnan, who details how to schedule a MailChimp campaign.


These are the main tools I used to keep my businesses running whilst I was away for four weeks. While they work for my businesses, they might not be right for yours. If you have any other tools or hints you would like to share, please leave a comment below. If you would like to learn more about writing for social media, please read my other blog posts.