Writing Archives - Page 3 of 4 - Kara Lambert

Category Archives for "Writing"

How to write for online

The key to social media is being social

Have you been following the expanded series on ‘how to write for online so you don’t look like an utter Noob‘? So here is your business checklist so far:
– you have a plan for the coming 6-12 months
– you know who your ideal customer is
– you have detailed your business mission & vision
– you have worked out what terms you will use (your style guide); so
– NOW WHAT?

Guess what, now you are ready to write for your customers. What? You’ve been doing it for a while? Good for you, now step back and consider this:
– Do you know where your ideal customer hangs out online?
– Do you know how they use the various social media platforms?

Unless you are lucky enough to fall into your definition of your ideal client, do NOT assume that they use social media the same way you do and do NOT assume that they want to either.

Websites

Let’s start with your website, Etsy page, Made It page etc. While I’m not going to tell you how to set these up, because they all differ, what I will say is this: whose need is it meeting? Don’t laugh, because the vast majority of websites I edit or visit are written for the owner’s benefit, or worse they are written in industry terms making them written for your competitors!

Consider the product categories, descriptions, and tags. Are they words you use to describe your products or services, or are they words that your customer would use? Go back to your definition of your ideal customer, their needs and where they crossed with your mission and vision. Now, are there words there that you can use in your description etc.? Why is that important? If you can:
– make it easy for your customers to find
– show them that you understand where they are coming from, then
– you will boost your sales.

Let’s face it we like to feel that we are understood, that our needs are important and are being met, and that we matter.

Do you blog? If you don’t and have the ability to add it to your site then I highly recommend it. Why? There are many reasons, but my favourite is to educate. But I reiterate, you need to blog for your customer (if you are running it on your website); that does not mean that all of the posts have to be about your products, in fact blogging about their other pain points can help to build a relationship (very important in building buyer confidence). Read more about the importance of blogging in my previous post (make sure you come back here though).

Before you read on, consider this:

Not all social media is created equal.
&
Social Media is there to be social.

Tweet this

Now read them again, consider where your ideal customer is on the chart above and then read the following points about the major social media sites.

Now I generally say not to post the same thing across Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. The thing is, most of us don’t have a lot of time and it is convenient for us as business owners. But, are we our customer? No! I’m not saying don’t do it at all, but as a customer I beg you, DON’T DO IT ALL THE TIME. Seriously, if you find it difficult then use the scheduling function available in Facebook or on your social media scheduler. By all means schedule the same post over different days at different times to ensure you have grabbed your customer where they are hanging out. Otherwise, give us some credit that we will see that you have posted the same thing in 2-3 locations, where we follow you because we love you, and we will wonder just how much you value us as individuals. Don’t believe me, consider how you feel when you hear mainstream radio play the latest hit over and over and over again, get sick of it & want to hear something different?

Time spent on social media

Facebook

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3 Facebook algorithm & putting social into social media

The them and us of social media - W2RWe are now almost a month into the new Facebook algorithm and one thing is patently clear – my reach died on my larger page.

I run two pages, one for each of my businesses (Write to Right & Schooled Up), and the larger of the two saw a dramatic drop in its reach. Normally I sit between 60-80% reach (total or post) for my page (all organic); with the change in algorithm it dropped to a third of that. I was in shock! I looked at Write to Right, a newer and smaller page, and its stats hadn’t changed, still 80-90% total reach. I was a little surprised, but being a much smaller page it wasn’t too surprising that it hadn’t moved.

So I pulled my socks up and went back to grass roots for Schooled Up. I looked at the articles about the new algorithm and I looked at what I was already doing. I was already sharing links the way that Facebook wanted them shared – no bait linking and with the image brought in from the website. I didn’t generate my own videos, so there was no benefit of having native video uploads. My photos were bright and colourful. I had engaging content. What was up?!

It hit me! Zuckerberg had gone back to grass roots Facebook, back to the user experience, closer to a true ‘social’ media platform. I had to be more sociable, I had to think link my end user, I had to use Facebook (as a business) like I use it as an individual. Tweet this

So what does that look like?

It means I think more about what my customer wants to see. What they are going through, what is bothering them, what will make their day easier, and I share that. I share more of myself. I used to be a little standoffish, not wanting to share too much of me on my page. I now inject more of my personality into my posts. Now, there is a word of caution here, my customers on the Schooled Up page are a happy chatty lot, they are there to see what I am making, have a laugh, and learn a hint or two. So, I can use emoticons and kisses in my posts, they don’t mind. But honestly, we can all lighten up a little bit! Even brain surgeons joke around; so why not try to find, better still make your own, a humorous quote or picture which will appeal to your ideal client.

Speaking of lighten up. Don’t rant on Facebook. I mean don’t ever! As a user I am on Facebook to catch up with what my friends and family are up to and to see what great new things your business is doing. I do not want to hear how: Facebook isn’t playing nicely, how another business stole your idea, and at a push do I want to know that you can’t make a deadline because of illness. People will disagree with me, they will say that it boosts their stats – sure, temporarily. If you continue to whinge at your customers they will turn off. Consider this, your Facebook posts and page are your shop front, how would you feel as a customer if you walked into a store to some sour person whingeing about how bad business is. It’s not welcoming. Last year, Facebook published its research on how positive emotions in posts effected behaviour. I analysed it and wrote about how businesses can benefit from the research. I strongly suggest that you head over and revise that content. Why? Because with the change in algorithm to a more user oriented, socially driven Facebook, you will benefit from knowing what makes people click and comment on Facebook.

Now what do I mean about being sociable, well I wrote about it back in June 2014, but here are a few ideas. Consider what is troubling your ideal client (not sure who your ideal client is, here is where you can do some background work), then head to Pinterest, Google, ask them what their favourite pages are, or if you happen to be in your definition of you ideal client then look at your Newsfeed. Set up an interest list of the Facebook pages they find interesting and follow them, look at what they are sharing, share from them (you will be helping their stats too). Not too sure about that? Have a look at what is trending on Facebook. The other day, the big news item here in Australia was the change to the Cadbury crème egg recipe, so I found a DIY for the eggs and shared it, with a reference to the recipe change. It was huge! With most of my fans being parents, I shared a kinetic sand recipe just after Christmas – another popular one with my customers.

So what did I have to do to improve my Facebook insights? (they are now back up) I went back to what my customer wants. They don’t want to see a constant stream of my products, they don’t want to hear my whinge about how my stats dropped. They want helpful ideas on raising their kids, mealtimes, and cleaning the house. They want to know how my products will help make things easier for them. They want to be entertained. They have enough drudgery in their lives, and I help make it that bit easier.

So, do you know what your ideal customer wants? How are you improving their day? Want to know the other gems I use to get my reach so high? Then sign up for the weekly newsletter, where I will share the hints and you will be invited to attend my Facebook secrets workshop, where I will tell you the steps to take to get seen on Facebook.

Style guide

style guide Write to Right business solutions

I believe that a classic style never dates and consistency is key to delivering to your customers. But how does it apply to business and why is it important? Consider official letters from Government. They can be sent from anywhere in a country, not necessarily where you reside, but it will not matter where it is they will all have a similar look and feel. The easiest way to combine the two is to develop a business style guide.

Why is this important? People like consistency, we are generally adverse to change. If you were reading an official letter and it used terms interchangeably, changed its logo throughout, and referred to you or the representative in different ways you would start to question. You would question if they knew what they were doing, if it was actually an official letter, and how you would be treated face-to-face or on your next encounter.

So how does this apply to your business? Firstly, I could almost guarantee that there are other businesses around with a similar name and or function to yours. A consistent look to your communication (website, emails, Facebook, etc.) will save them any confusion as to which business they are talking with. Secondly, it is easier for a business owner to use one style for their communication, rather than feeling the need to make it up as they go along. It is also helpful if you have staff who write for the business. Thirdly, it can save you money when employing a consultant to undertake any communication tasks (developing a pamphlet, building a website, managing social media etc.).

Using a style guide has certainly helped me when writing for different media and clients. While working in government, there were guides for press releases, ministerials, client letters, and an overarching guide. Unless you are a business with a few hundred staff who communicate across many media and stakeholders, you are unlikely to need this many guides. However, a document that outlines your mission, vision, ideal client, benefits, key adjectives, and preferred tone is a worthy addition to your business. From here it can evolve to including which messages are distributed over particular media. You can even detail how minutes will be taken and distributed.

Consistent look

If you have been following the blog, you should now go back and revise the adjectives where your
goals/mission/vision and the needs/fears of your ideal customer cross. This will give you some grounding to develop the style guide.

Business name
You will need to consider how you will refer to your business. Will you use the name in full all the time, for the first time on a page or use, will you use a shortened version?

Business owner/s
Have you thought about how you will refer to yourself as the business owner or owners? Will you use ‘I’, ‘we’, ‘they’, or your name or names? Although you will need to consider the tense of the text you are writing, this is one topic where I see a lot of inconsistency. Something you might wish to consider if you are struggling with this is if your customers would prefer to be spoken to in a formal or informal/conversational tone. An informal/conversational tone will use ‘I’ and the formal tone will use ‘we’ or ‘they’.

Logo
Probably one of the easier aspects to settle on, except if you consider how it will be used online, in black and white, or if there is some instance where you will prefer a shortened version.

Colours
Something I had previously overlooked was how I used colour through my communication. I underestimated how the use of consistent colours can reassure customers and develop your brand image. Consider the background colours to images or posters you develop and font colours for any communication. There is a simple rule of thumb applied to the use of colour online: There should be a high contrast between the background and the text colour, and avoid yellow text (many people find it difficult to read online).
Here is something I learnt as a manager, don’t refer people to a particular coloured text, it will be meaningless if they are colour blind.

Font
Some businesses will consistently use one font for all communication. Others will use the font from their logo. This is a matter of style. Branding experts recommend using no more than three font styles in one image or document. Additionally, research indicates that people find text with serifs easier to read, something to consider if you are writing a larger document.

Tense
The tense you use will generally depend on the topic or how the document is to be used. My word of advice is to be consistent. While there can be a need to jump between past, present, and future tenses; doing so can make your document harder to read and can cause confusion.

Ease of use

So, if you have detailed how your business will meet the above points, it will give you a handy guide when writing. Better still, if you and another person write for the business it will assist in having consistent look to your communication. I have found having a ready reference also helps me to quickly put together supporting images and documents (and I’m all for saving time).

Saving money

Employing a consultant to manage your social media, develop a website, or develop a document can be a costly, though worthwhile, venture. Having a document that outlines how you will refer to yourself, your business, how you want your logo used, and your business colours will save having this conversation with the consultant. It allows us an insight into the back end of your business and means that we can easily support you and help you to achieve your outcomes. Let’s face it, in anyone’s business time IS money.

Work smarter

work smarter with Write to Right

Working on over working in. Work smarter, not harder. Have you heard either of these in business? They are not cliché and are actually related.

When you choose to work on your business, you are dedicating your time to working smarter. (Tweet this) Working smarter doesn’t mean lowering prices, increasing profits, or churning out more widgets. It’s not about doing more with less, either.

Working on, similarly isn’t about working out how to increase sales, profits or decreasing costs. These things are all about working in your business.

So what’s my point?
As an owner of two businesses, I have had to establish some clear systems to allow me to meet my obligations. With a family to go with these business obligations, I like some flexibility. This is where I have started to work smarter. This doesn’t mean that, at times, I have to work hard.

What have I done?
In the past year I have implemented a number of changes in how I run my businesses, which allow me to grow my income, reduce the time I spend working in my business, and increase the time I can spend with my family. (And I haven’t increased prices or decreased costs)

Last year, I implemented six-monthly reviews of my business goals and broader activity. I track my income and expenses as they occur (but this is working in), however, I also monitor them against the broader goals I set. This review allows me to see where I am meeting (or exceeding my aims) and also where I need to change.

In my business, ‘working on’ has two arms: education and systems.

As a business owner, I find it difficult to put work aside and spend time on myself. However, it is exactly when I spend time developing my knowledge that I receive the greatest benefit in my business. (Tweet this) When I read, I am either developing myself or I am developing my business knowledge. In the past 12 months I have read and learnt from: Get Rich Lucky Bitch (Denise Duffield-Thomas), The Big Leap (Gay Hendricks), Thrive (Arianna Huffington), and Tribes (Seth Godin). I also read a number of blogs, including, Make it Look Easy, Leonie Dawson, and Marie Forleo (plus those whose books I have read).

Grow your business with Write to Right

I have learnt more about goal setting, planning, self-assurance, self-care, and self-love. All of these have helped me grow as a person and as a business owner, but not one of them has directly resulted in an increase in cash flow. They have all been about working ‘on’ me and my business and it is how I have implemented the learning which has resulted in financial growth.

The thing I love most about this growth is that I can then apply it to my business. If I feel more self-confident then I am more likely to make the system changes my business needs.

When I change the systems in my business, I gain time that I can then spend on myself, my business, or my family. There are large system changes and small system changes. Here are a few that I have made and profited from over the past year.

Reverse engineering my time
As I said earlier, running two businesses is taxing. The biggest system change I have made is to reverse engineer my week. I used to be reactionary or first in first out before I started Write to Right (my second business). As a result of starting Write to Right I had to make drastic changes to how I handled my time. I work backwards from when work is due, include other obligations, free time, and some contingency time (because let’s face it we get sick). Now, this does not mean I take all of this time to do the work; in fact, I am more likely to finish the work earlier. What reverse engineering allows is for me to feel less pressured when things go wrong and for me to value my time for myself and my family.

Accounting systems
A recent review of my accounts and time input into the business lead me to change my accounting systems. This has meant a simpler way for customers to pay invoices and a more automated accounting process on my end. So not am I not working harder, I am no longer busy working in my business collecting debts.

Websites
I recently needed to update my website, but realised that I needed to change the entire platform on which it was built. So I outsourced it! There is a misconception in small business that:
– we must do everything we are capable of (and I certainly was)
– outsourcing is expensive, and
– outsourcing is a luxury.

They’re all wrong. While I knew how to change the platforms, I also knew that by outsourcing it, it would be faster and allow me more time for other activities.

So, how will you work on your business in 2015? What will you do to work smarter? 2015 is my year of growth, so I will continue to learn. Growth isn’t always inwards, so I will be growing and sharing what I know with all of you. The first is a series of facilitated courses with practical tasks that will give you knowledge you can implement (straight away). After this I will be working towards my ebooks/workbooks and videos; these will push my boundaries, help me to grow, and allow me to meet my goal of helping you to grow your business.

4 Getting closer to meeting your customer needs

Focus on the customer - Write to Right

 

Where do your mission and visions cross? Are there any common words or themes? Where does you ideal customer meet with your mission? With your vision? When do you meet the customer needs? If you are unsure of any of these things, head back over to the previous posts and read more about how to get to this point, then come on back and continue on.

List the adjectives, or find relevant adjectives, to describe the intersections. These are the words you use to drive your interactions. There’s a word of warning, they must be for your client. If you start writing about the business it becomes about you. You don’t need to sell to, or convince, you. Also, unless your ideal client is a competitor, don’t write about your industry either. Your customer doesn’t want to know why your industry does xyz, they have a need and want you to meet it. Tweet this  It’s why they are at your website/Facebook/Google+.

Go back and look at the list and where it meets your ideal client. What words help to meet their needs? What benefits (don’t confuse these with features) are they looking for? Remember you wrote out their preferences, look to these for inspiration on how they want to be sold to and what needs you need to meet. Now, what are the benefits of your product or service and how do you meet your idea customer’s needs? This is the ‘what’s in it for me’ that your customer wants answered and you need to explain. Watch the following video, it gives a great (and quick) run down on the difference between a feature and a benefit; plus there’s a little extra business boost to get you ahead of the game.

Now let’s step it up a notch and investigate how it will make your customer feel. What will they experience from the product? Here’s a word of warning, quality is on everyone’s list – meaning that it can also be on yours, but it can’t be alone. The following video is a brief overview on when businesses get this next step right. I can vouch for the Disney experience and the desire to be a repeat customer (yes, I am considering making the long-haul flight back to the US to do it). Watch the video and think about how you want your customer to feel when they use your product/service, deal with your business, and see your marketing.

I’ve learned that people  will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel. – Maya Angelou

So now you have the adjectives to help describe your product or service and you have the benefits you need to include when you write those descriptions. But which tone do you use?

Finding your voice

Look at your adjectives, benefits, and your ideal customer – what language suits these best? Will they appreciate slang, a conversational tone, factual, or formal speech?

I would suggest that if your business has more than one person writing for it that you establish a style guide. While I use the Commonwealth Style Manual for proofreading, while in the Commonwealth Government I also worked with a departmental style guide. This guide outlines various things, such as:

– how the business name is written (capitalisation, abbreviation)
– use of acronyms
– how owners are referred to
– tense
– tone
– how customers are referred to, and
– font style, size, & colour.

This certainly helped when writing for different media and clients. There were guides for press releases, ministerials, client letters, and an overarching guide. Unless you are a business with a few hundred staff who communicate across many media and stakeholders, you are unlikely to need this many guides. However, a document that outlines your mission, vision, ideal client, benefits, key adjectives, and preferred tone is a great start. From here it can evolve to including which messages are distributed over particular media. You can even detail how minutes will be taken and distributed.

Style guides are beneficial for copywriters and copy editors. It allows us an insight into the back end of your business and means that we can easily support you and help you to achieve your outcomes. It also saves lengthy discussions when engaging us to undertake work for your business: saving you time and money.

8 Business mission & vision statement & core values

In the previous posts, I spoke about defining your ideal client and your core business values. These are your defining ‘who’s, who are you working for and who you are. They are also key start and end points in your business, where you are working from and to.

You need to get these definitions out of a book, off of the wall and into your actions. My years of Quality Assurance, project management, staff management and public sector experience all drew one key aspect from my Psychology degree, which is that values drive behaviour. So when I took over a dysfunctional team, I sat down with the members and discussed their values and drivers. From there I was able to align them with the functions (outputs) of the unit. An amazing thing happened, when the staff could see their roles aligned with their values, their performance improved exponentially, complaints decreased, and morale (and attendance) improved. All because I listened to the core values of my staff and matched them to their jobs and the function of the team. Now, imagine what you can do with your business, when you align your values, mission, and vision! Imagine what you can achieve, how easy it will be to bring in staff, how you will grow.

Leaders of tribes - Write to Right

Does your business have a mission statement? Do you know why you are spending your time in it?

If you don’t have one then this is where you need to start. These questions set the foundations of how others see your business. Here are some simple prompts to help you write your mission:

Who– who are you, are you a multi-national, family company, or sole trader? Who are your customers? Are they families, singles, seniors, small business, multi-nationals?

What– What is it that you do? What do you sell?

Why- Why do customers use your business? What is the benefit to them?

Where– Where can they find you? Are you a bricks & mortar, online, franchise?

Do you have a vision statement? Do you know where you want your business to be in one year, three years, five years?

This is where you have to be SMARTER. Make sure your vision is:

Specific– No wishy-washy motherhood statements. Say exactly where you want to be, put a dollar figure to it.

Measureable- If it can’t be measured then you can look back and see if you have achieved it. It also means that it’s likely to be a motherhood statement and you are less likely to hold yourself to account.

Achievable- The goal has to be appropriate, able to be attained in the given timeframe.

Reportable- You have to make yourself accountable for the goal and the only way to do that is to make it reportable. That could be in your end of year financial report, quarterly reports, cash flow reports, stakeholder reports, reportable to a mentor or a friend.

Time-sensitive- The goal has to have a deadline. Don’t make it a moveable goal or you are less likely to set tasks to achieve it.

Evaluated- Is it reasonable, achievable, how does it compare to others in your industry?

Reviewed-
How often will it be reviewed so you know if you are on track?

Now we move on to aligning the previous work you have done.

Where do your mission and visions cross? Are there any common words or themes? Where does you ideal customer meet with your mission? With your vision? List the adjectives, or find relevant adjectives, to describe these intersections. These intersections are powerful points. Remember, when you align values, missions, and visions magic happensTweet this

So when you have these magical sweet spots, you need to leverage them. These are the words which need to drive your interactions. There’s a word of warning, they must be for your client. If you start writing about the business it becomes about you. You don’t need to sell, or convince, to you. Unless your ideal client is a competitor, don’t write about your industry either. Your customer doesn’t want to know why your industry does xyz, they have a need and want you to meet it. It’s why they are at your website/Facebook/Google+ .

Go back and look at the list and where it meets your ideal client. What words help to meet their needs? What benefits are they looking for? Remember you wrote out their preferences, look to these for inspiration on how they want to be sold to and what needs you need to meet. Now, what are the benefits of your product or service and how do you meet your idea customer’s needs?

So now you have the adjectives to help describe your product or service and you have the benefits you need to include when you write those descriptions. Make the most of these powerful sales tools to drive your business to your ideal customer. Remember, they are your goal, your target market and anyone else that you catch along the way is fantastic.

 

 

Define your ideal client avatar

Know your client - Write to RightA while ago I wrote about finding your online voice. While all of it is important, there is one step that I am finding businesses either struggle with or skip altogether – defining their ideal client.

Now, I grew up with the adage:

You can please some of the people some of the time, you can’t please all the people all of the time. So why do we as business owners try?Tweet this

I know in my handmade business that I am not going to be everyone’s cup of tea. I don’t want to be. So why does my service business (Write to Right) have to be any different. Well, fortunately I don’t believe it and in fact, before I started the business I worked with a leading marketing professional to define many aspects of my business.

Why did I define these aspects of my business? Well, I knew that I would need to market Write to Right differently to my handmade business. That being the case, I took a corporate approach and went to a consultant. The first thing we didn’t do was sit down and discuss how she was going to revolutionise my business, nor did we work out strategies for different media. The first thing was working out who my ideal client was.

This pushed my buttons as I hadn’t even considered defining my ideal client, and to be honest I was happy to provide my services to anyone. I hadn’t realised that the fundamentals I had learnt in the handmade sphere translated to business services. The thing I have realised since is that I am not alone. Most of the businesses that I have worked with do not know who they are marketing to. They haven’t gotten to know their ideal client.

Don’t worry, defining your ideal client does not mean you can’t work with anyone who falls outside the definition. Defining your ideal client allows you to develop so many strategies to help your business, to grow your business, and to save you stress. Yes, it’s another ‘thing’ you should do and need to do, but I promise that it will save you time (and help to make money) in the long run.

Defining ideal client - write to right

Current research indicates that it takes between seven and ten ‘touches’ before a customer will purchase from a business. A touch can be them seeing your business name, speaking to you, reading a social media post, or seeing you in person. If you are consistent with how you speak to your customers, then these touches are easier. By having an idea of who your ideal client is, it is easier for you to formulate these interactions.

There are many tools and videos online to help you define your ideal client. I have found these two videos to be simple and informative. Watch them in the order I have posted below and use the questions in the second video (they are more in depth) to help you define your ‘who’, and the instructions in the first for the ‘why’.

 

 

I’d love to know how you go defining your ideal client, so leave me a comment below. Did you find the videos helpful? Was the exercise enlightening? Or, do you already know your ideal client and can share how you use this knowledge?

 

Quality, heart-centred online business

Quality websites - Write to RightIn my last blog post, I wrote about how I kept my online presence whilst I was on holidays. Now, during those four weeks I not only had a marvelous time, I received a shot of clarity. See, I thought I knew what was at the heart of Write to Right, seems there is something in the Parisian air and I now know what is at the centre of the business.

I have a burning desire to help business owners make their online presence the best it can possibly be. My focus is on quality. While I have been teaching you the skills and sharing my insights in running an online business, what I wanted to do was to help you make the most out of what is inside you, what drives your business. I want to help you get that out to your customers.

I was talking to a prospective client, who was looking for a content author (something I can, but prefer not to do), and I spoke to them on how I like to focus on getting the most out of a business’ existing online resources and how they will benefit. I explained that although I write all of my own content, I don’t write for others as my experience is that business owners are best placed to write their own content. (Read my blog post on why you don’t need a copywriter) I also explained how, though web designers/builders are great for building your site – they will only put in to it what they receive from their customer (you).

Now, while I am a firm believer (now) in getting something up live and rejuvenating it, I also am a firm believer in the need to make it the best it can be at that time. Some would say that it’s advocating for polishing the proverbial dog dung, but some customer’s prefer theirs shiny and isn’t it better to show your customers what you sell on a polished turd than not letting them know at all?

I’ve read a lot recently about quality being an entry requirement to the marketplace, I’m also seeing more on how marketing is changing from a push to a pull. I don’t think they are mutually exclusive. As a consumer, I am turning away from the hard sell and I am also becoming wary of the soft sell. As a business owner, I (and others) am developing the ‘social’ part of my social media presence. (Read how you can be more social in my blog)

I believe that consumers are looking for genuine interaction when purchasing and I firmly believe that businesses find genuineness easier when they come from a place of quality.

Why? Quality, and delivering what you say, engenders trust and customers will only perceive genuineness when they trust the message and the method. (Tweet this)

Take some time to watch this TED talk from Joseph Pine. While this talk is now a decade old, I believe that we are still in the transition phase and that when businesses realise that customers are after more than just a product or service they open up another level of their business’ earning capacity.

Social media is ingrained in current culture. In fact, Facebook has an average of 1.35 billion people using the platform every month (Tweet this). While businesses might believe that they can afford not to be on a social media platform, I’m not one to ignore the potential of reaching 1.35 billion people every month. Incidentally, I am also aware that there are a number of consumers who shun social media, and as a result I maintain a website presence. The benefit of both is an increased potential client base.

I want your business to make the most of the opportunities afforded it. I want you to shine above your competitors. I want you to extend the quality you invest into your products and services to your online presence. I see benefit in moving to the experiential model and believe that a lot of this lies in your online communication.

I believe that ensuring the quality of your business’ online presence is what lies at the heart of my business. There is science behind this. Google has quality indicators in its search algorithm, customers will not buy from websites that contain spelling and grammatical errors. (read more about why I think this is important) I want to take this science, meld it with my Management and Psychology qualifications and balance it with my years of website experience to offer you ways to have the best online presence possible for your business.

So that’s the ‘why’, what about the ‘how’? Read through my blog posts, sign up to the newsletter, like my Facebook page. These are all ways in which you can find out how you can DIY a better online presence. If you are time poor check out the services I offer to do it for you.

Where to from here now that you have read, signed up and liked? I want you to watch the following TED talk by Seth Godin on Tribes. I want you to think on what is at the core of your business and how you will lead your tribe in a new direction. Think about what influence you can make in the next 24 hours and take your tribe on a new journey. Better still, when you take them on the journey, let us all join you by sharing it in the comments below.

 

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

 Pinterest

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.

1 6 big ways blogging benefits business – part 2

big ways your business benefits from bloggingLast week I let you in on the first half of why you should be blogging, how your business benefits from blogging, and a little bit on how you can go about it. This week I round out the series with three very ‘feel good’ reasons to get blogging.

  1. Research

Blogs are fantastic ways to find out more about your customers. You can uncover more about their demographic, their needs, or their preferences.

Start with your ideal customer (find out how to determine this in the online voice post) and start chatting to them. Ask some questions. I am fortunate enough to fall into the category of being my own ideal client, so I often discuss things which I feel are relevant to either my personal or business life. (Great when I have writer’s block)

Ask questions. Engaging in conversation is a great way for you to reveal your personality, develop relationships and learn. There’s no such thing as a stupid question, you never know who else is thinking the exact same. Ask a series of questions and pose answers or solutions. These solutions can prompt further discussions and learning.

Post a number of related topics over a number of posts to discover where your customer interest lies. Posts with more interaction could indicate more interest, allowing you to hone your subject matter. Running a series is a great way to promote a newsletter, RSS, or other subscription service you might have. Never neglect the opportunity to increase your subscriptions (sign up for mine over here and receive a free ebook).

  1. Social media content

Blogs provide fabulous content to share on all of your social media profiles.

They don’t just fill a hole, they provide a vehicle to drive content to your website (helpful if your sales are run through your site). When answering questions on a blog, try to incorporate your product, this allows for internal linking (read how it benefits your site), education, and drives sales. By linking to your blog post from social media you can receive numerous benefits.

If you use catchy pictures on your blog, these can provide useful and shareable content for your social media profiles. Having shareable content is a great way to increase marketing and social reach. Word of advice: when creating shareable content ensure your business name, logo, or website address are on the image; nothing worse than having great viral content and not profiting. (tweet this)

Pay attention to the following items in your blog post as they will be used by Facebook to generate supporting content for your link:
Blog title: this is used by Facebook as your title
First 20+ words: the first 20+ words are used to generate teaser content in the link, and
Meta-description: if you use a meta-description, Facebook will use this in the place of the first 20+ words.
As a WordPress User I have installed Yoast SEO, in their program you have the ability to customise the title and description used by a number of social media platforms, including Facebook. This can be useful if you want to undertake split testing or if you prefer not to show your Social Media followers a description filled with SEO keywords.

  1. Relationship building

Building relationships is my favourite reason, outside of education, to blog. When I blog I impart a little piece of my own personality. It might be the language I use or my experiences, but there is a little piece of me in every post. I think that doing this is important as it means that when you meet me, you already have a sense of who I am. If I have already shown you a little of myself, then we are on the road to developing a working relationship.

I have previously mentioned that many experts believe that it takes five touches before a customer will purchase. Blogging allows businesses to make another touch with a customer. Reaching out to them, where they are keeps you in mind. Even if they are not quite ready to purchase, a post gets you one step closer and can help keep you in front of mind.

If you blog to answer customer questions, or you answer their comments on your blog, you are showing them that you are listening. No one likes to be ignored, so listening and responding to customer needs is an important part of building relationships.

Why do you blog? What do you enjoy about blogging? Is there something you would like blogged about by Write to Right. Leave a comment below.

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