I’ve worked hard to mould my services listing into what it is today. Proud to announce the changes I’ve made to all my followers. Thank you for your continued support!
Researching, reading and writing- this is my life and I wouldn’t change it. Occasionally, I’ll stumble upon reads that are too insightful not to share, so here you are, grab a cuppa and take notes.
- BRW– reinforcing the need for quality content (now this is what I want to see!) http://goo.gl/HSdkel
- Startup Smart’s take on the social media news fresh-to-biz business owners must be aware of http://goo.gl/Vpyxip
- Ruby Connection present some noteworthy legal points as to how and what you share on social media http://goo.gl/AQsm7R
- Insurance Business Online explore the potentially harmful effects of ignoring social media as a business owner http://goo.gl/LT7VYA
- Unashamedly Creative take aim at which business owners have taken over which social media platforms http://goo.gl/Vu1YnG (I don’t necessarily agree with the idea of ditching Facebook just yet, but I’ll let you form your own opinion of course……)
What have you been researching this week? I’m always keen to read and share articles that I think will assist others in the journey we are all sharing.
Which social media platforms work best for you? Which are your favourites and why? Which are more suited to your personal and professional endeavours?
Stay tuned this week for my take on where social media interest is headed in the coming months……
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Give Your Word Some Nerd- The Importance of Quality Content in Business
Content is just a mash of business buzz words right? No. Not just. Your business content is the words you use to convey messages, inform, educate and communicate in your business, whether this is with other business owners or with actual/potential clients. Content marketing is just advertising right? No. There are so many ways to convey business messages through text and images. Anything text you create and attach to your brand reflects on you and how you operate in business.
The good, the bad and the ugly in content is easily definable. Good content inspires. It appeals to readers to read more, think and act. Gary Bencivenga (copywrite extraordinaire) once said “effective content is salesmanship in print”. Bad content is what makes you look like just a salesperson. And with all the effort you put into your products and service, that’s not who you are.
With all the interesting information on the Internet, no one is going to want to read an article that just lists all the benefits of your products or business (http://smallbiztrends.com/2013/12/create-engaging-content.html)
So once you drop the sales act, stick to pure and simple. Clever content can often backfire and your messages will definitely be lost on your clients. Either that or they will look elsewhere for a business which has got hot-to-trot content.
Clear, concise content is the key. You will appeal to a wider audience if your voice reflects the needs of a more diverse group of clients. Many business gurus speak of the “feature versus benefit” debate on how to brag about your business. Personally, I prefer to speak of the features of a business so potential clients understand what you are about, rather than rampaging into the benefits of engaging with your business and missing the core messages you want people to remember. Benefit-speak can lead you into sales pitches. Remember to avoid those yeah?
Engagement, especially in terms of social media management, is the way to grow your brand (a type of product or service delivered by a particular company under a specific name) and having more people interested in your business. Clients will respect the time you take to get your business content right. Make sure the voice you use is honest and respectful. Personal stories also help in conveying your business brand to the public. And always remember that a desire for a product or service can’t be fabricated.
Quality content will educate your clients and provide insight to potential clients. This can increase lead generation as clients will recognise the value in knowing you and seeing your can’t-live-without business unfold before their eyes.
A determining factor in deciding whether to use a copywriter these days in business is time. Do you have enough time to get your content right? What is “right” for you and more importantly, for your client base? Do you make time or are you unmotivated and don’t see it as a priority? It really needs to be a priority. Simple content errors can turn literally hundreds of potential leads away if they are paying attention to you.
Copywriters are more than a “hired pen”. We get stuff done because it is our job to do so. Our motivation and inspiration to write is the heart of our business so if you lack any one of these, saving you time is a big BIG deal. Time is something you don’t ever get back so why not use it to work in your business, rather than on it?
So to end, here is the Little Red Mini Checklist for creating SUPERSTAR content (or the beginnings of):
- Research to cure your writer’s block (self-directed learning is compulsory if you want to succeed in small business);
- Edit and proof read (many times, and then ask someone else to critique your bulkier writings);
- Describe well, create pictures in the minds of your readers, don’t be too wordy and stay focused (clients should be able to feel why they can’t go on without learning more about your product or service);
- Show your personality (remember, honesty is the best policy in everything you do and your personality in business is what makes it unique); and
- Write for your target audience and speak their language- don’t waffle or baffle!
Can you add to this check list?
I’ve been fiddling with my Little Red brochures for months: adjusting, simplifying, correcting, adding and subtracting. Now that I think I got it pretty much right, I want to share with you how I got there. Sometimes it takes a few drafts, sometimes not. Simple fact is, it’s gotta be damn good, a lot of people don’t read brochures. They collect them at expos or in the mail and then bin them. These are my tips on getting yours to work for you.
- CLEAN- focus on colour (3 maximum), font (2 maximum) and a simple, effective layout. If people wanted clutter, they could come and look in my Tupperware cupboard. Make your graphic designer work hard for their payment so working on your business brochure pays off for you.
- QUALITY PRINTING- Having a husband who works in printing, I know good and bad printing when I squint at it. Watch for irregular bleed, general fuzziness. Find a top-notch printing agency (stick with small business yeah?) who can produce high-resolution images on sleek pages. Now brochures can’t be sexy, but you get my drift. Make them look damn impressive.
- BRANDING- Is your brand easily identifiable? Make sure your brochure logos/images make all the other business material you are producing. Having your brand recognised by others is a difficult task to achieve but you can make it work when you work hard on your brand image.
- APPROPRIATE IMAGES- Do the images match your content? This isn’t a trick question. I completed a brochure for a client who asked for pictures of puppies on their brochure when they wanted to show off their jewellery range. Puppies don’t usually wear jewellery (in Melbourne they don’t anyway) so use images to support your content. Don’t just throw them in there because “every brochure needs pictures”.
- SAY NO TO CHUNKS- Make sure your brochure isn’t wordy. No huge paragraphs or people won’t read them, or take your brand seriously. Using more words can often be misconstrued as not knowing what you are talking about. The layout won’t be as impressive if words take up all the useable space.
- KNOW ITS VALUE- Do you know how important brochures are? Do you know their purpose? Approximately 20% of people in the US have never searched for a business listing online (which means they’d need one of your brochures to get in contact with you again). The principle behind a brochure may seem old-school in this grand (new) digital age we reside in, but they never go out of style in business if they are created and used correctly.
- THINK STRATEGICALLY- Where are you going to send/hand out/ leave these brochures? This needs to be worked into your layout. You might not be with your brochure when people are seeing it for the first time. So it needs to be targeted to the appropriate audience and easy to read.
- CONTACT INFO- Make sure your contact details are clearly defined and UP TO DATE. You are creating a brochure to turn readers into buyers so the readers are at some point going to want to know how to get a hold of you.
- CTA INCLUDED- Related to #8, include a call-to-action. Provide value and information which entices your readers to want to know more and to act on what they discover in your brilliant layout.
- MOST IMPORTANT!!!! Your HEADLINE will be the decider. Five times more people read the headline than the body of any article of text. If the headline doesn’t attract them to read on, the time you spent on your brochure will be useless. Don’t get cheesy, be concise and clever.
Do you have any more tips to add to my list? I’d love to see what kind of brochures your businesses are producing. Remember that less is more in this case.
I’ve been blogging for a small portion of my life, but writing for longer. I didn’t realise how much fun and how therapeutic blogging was until I started my own copywriting business.
My ideas can be random, my thoughts can be scattered, my ideas can be personal and not always business-focused. I write for myself, no matter what, and hopefully, kind people who take a look at my work enjoy what I write, agree/disagree with my words or feel inspired to write something for themselves.
I can’t imagine my world without being able to write in this way. And I love what I do. So thank you from the bottom of my heart to all of you lovely people who have either stopped by my blog, commented in some way on a post or two or liked my work.
You have no idea how much it means to me when I get a notification saying “X liked your post” or “Y likes Little Red & Her Writing”. It turns any darkness in my day to light!
Business Content Explained
(plus my two noisy dogs make a background appearance- don’t mind them, just doing their jobs fighting backyard canine crime!)
- Clever YouTube Plugin ~ Video Content = NO SLAP ZONE (imdealbox.wordpress.com)
- 21 of the Worst Marketing Flops, Follies & Faux Pas (grasshopper.com)
- Clever Marketing: Emails in Disguise (benchmarkemail.com)
- The Cult of Clever (suecowley.wordpress.com)
- And All of a Sudden, I Find Myself With Nothing Clever to Say. (becomingfictional.wordpress.com)
- Captive Thoughts (psalms34eight.wordpress.com)