Tag Archives: business marketing

Your Business Personality: Rediscovering Your Small Business Passion

BooHoo[1] A great deal of information is written about choosing the right business, knowing your passion, developing the right business plan–before jumping feet first into starting up.

But how do you know you are going to be fulfilled, motivated and passionate–wahoo!– about all the activities of a business before you actually do it.  I sure didn’t.

The Evolutionary Business Plan
As I  developed my small business, I  found my “self” developing.  So, I  allowed my business plan to remain very much alive,  to evolve as I began to better understand my own small business personality. If I had not followed this plan of action, I would have considered myself a failure and dropped into that 70%.  Here’s what happened.

Uh, oh. The thrill is gone
You see, I had begun as an excited freelance writer, yet came to dread the  time I spent alone with my computer–with myself, with my phone, with the laundry. Which led to thoughts of Failure. Incompetence. Self-doubt.

Uh oh.  My Passion took a big nosedive. Now what? Send out resumes?

The Darwinian business plan to the rescue
Rather than quitting, I  added coaching services. These services provide the interaction I need to keep me motivated. And I was good at coaching. I immediately received great feedback! Passion reignited. Laundry ignored. I’m planning workshops based on the feedback I’m receiving and I also plan to teach.

It’s alive, just like you
 My lesson learned:  view your business as a living entity. And you will gently get to know yourself. And keep your passion alive.

Step Away From the Computer: The Best Kept Secret to Great Content Writing

Lessons I Couldn’t Learn Online

“Give up!” begged my hands. “You have googled,” they moaned. “You have bookmarked,” they barked.  “One of us has tendinitis!”

“Look hands,” I answered.  “I ‘m learning ‘how to write social media,’ so I’m studying posts on ‘how to write social media.’”

But my hands were right. I realized I wasn’t learning much. My posts weren’t bad. But compelling?  Not even close.

Throwing convention to the wind, I unplugged. I ignored the internet. I went out and bought a real notebook– one with paper. I registered for a Social Media Writing class at UC Berkeley Extension that (gasp) met in a classroom.

Why I learned in class

What was I missing online? The following lessons:

1. A compelling blog post is first, a well-written blog post. Craft comes first. Readers know the difference.

2. There is no better place to learn to write well than in a class of writers.  With my work splashed across the screen for weekly discussions, my motivation to edit jumped a notch–or three.

3. A well-thought out writing process is as important for creating social media content as it is for other written work. An instructor well-versed in the form can provide clear guidelines.

4. Feedback and class discussion are far more educational than pages of internet flotsam.

How to Improve Your Content Writing:
Tips courtesy of my real-life classmates:

  • Build a structured framework; add elegant content: Create a clear path through your content with structure: headlines, subheads, and lists.  Add text with flair. Edit concisely.
    Ciana– topic, brand development
  • Produce passionate pieces: Convey enthusiasm—it’s contagious. You will create a voice that persuades your audience. David– topic, internet safety
  • Hone your writing craft:  Want to be taken seriously? Write well. Professionals seek advice from other professionals. Work on mastering the language. Laurel– topic, microbusiness
  • Use a personal point-of-view: Don’t hide who you are. Your unique point-of-view breathes life into your content. People do business with people they like; readers read authors they want to know. Catherine—topic, travel photo app
  • Look close-to-home for topics: Readers relate to concrete examples. Personalize the abstract with close-to-home examples.  For example, are you writing about going “green?” Place the sustainability issue directly in the hands of your readers.  Suggest they hold– and consider– the destination of a Starbucks disposable cup.  Kathrin–topic, sustainability
  • Don’t be an expert: Not a topic expert? No problem. Just let your readers know your stance.If you are undergoing a career change or learning a new skill, write as you learn. Your readers will appreciate a jargon-free take on a well-worn topic. Judy–topic,  real estate
  • Experiment for results: Work smart not hard. Don’t be afraid to try different approaches for FB, Twitter and your blog. Then measure audience feedback. To save time and effort, multipurpose content. A press release can become a blog which can become a great Tweet, and so forth. John–topic, coupon website
  • Make them laugh:  Not everyone can be funny, and not everyone should try. But if you can write humorous content, your readers will remember and return for more.
    Daniel–topic, music

Do you think social media writers should excel at the writer’s craft?

How do you gauge the effectiveness of a social media writer?

How to Write Press Releases to Attract New Customers

“Why didn’t my sales increase after my  front page article?’

A client asked this question. And it was a good one.

My response was this: Keep two things in mind about any press release. That release must be a part of an ongoing PR and marketing strategy. And, to increase sales, it must be written in a way that highlights product benefits and prompts prospects to take action.

Why doesn’t one release increase sales?

A few years back, a prospect would recall your marketing message after viewing it in print three times. Today, because we have become media saturated,  that same prospect must view your message seven times. Developing an ongoing PR and marketing strategy  has become essential.

Not only must your press release  produce an article that sends a marketing message, it must also include a call to action. In this client’s case, the article focused on the history of the business. The release included no marketing message, no call to action.

What to include in a release

If you want your press releases to increase sales, here’s how:

  • Write the release about the benefits of the product or service.
  • Use your headline to highlight the benefit.
  • Include a call for action.
  • Place additional information about the business at the end  of the release.

Let’s try it. Compare the following headlines.  Which set, 1 or 2, highlights benefits of the products?

Set 1

  • XYZ company announces new one-hour computer service
  • Red Apple Wellness sponsors free nutrition seminar
  • Nonprofit webinar series features three nature artists

Set 2

  • Your computer back in an hour: XYZ manager
  • Free wellness seminar: Boost your energy by 50%
  • Artists’ webinars teach homeowners to bring outdoors in

Set 2  headlines highlight product benefits.  They offer value.

Set 1 headlines inform readers that the company  is taking some action.

What is ‘A Call to Action?’

You want your prospects to do something–you want to convert them to customers. Prompt them to call you, come in to your shop, clip a coupon.  Tell them that in the release. Include a phone number or an online link.

For example, a computer repair company could include a link to a coupon for a free laptop diagnosis. Or they could include a phone number  to schedule a free diagnostic appointment.

Understand what you want your press releases to do

Know what you are trying to accomplish with your releases, and you will create the best content.  Are you trying to boost sales?   Change your company image?  Drive customers to an online site? Review your goals, then write your release accordingly.

 It’s easier than you think

Sending out one strategized, well-written release per month to targeted media is an achievable goal.  And,information  you send out in one release can be used across multiple platforms: Facebook, LinkedIn, Blogs.  In this manner, you can simplify your strategy and keep your name in front of prospective buyers. Here’s how one client achieved that goal.

Which releases increased your sales? Leave a comment.