Business and Humanity

photo-1425421669292-0c3da3b8f529_500Being in business means you’re in business. That sounds like both a simple statement to make, and a rather silly statement to make. No kidding, you’re in business to be in business. However, I have discovered recently that doing business with people, especially entrepreneurs, people who own their own business, or are sole traders, has an entirely human aspect to the deal, which does not always mesh well with the idea of ‘business’.

I cannot find the author to whom this quote came from, but it speaks to me right now:

Everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about. Be Kind. AlwaysRead more »

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Turning up and doing the work

shutterstock_242337691_550Being a writer, a creative, can sometimes be a joyous thing. Inspiration strikes, and words flow from the mind to the page in a dance of poetic wonder. But the other 99% of the time it doesn’t. Just like other professions out there, I have to turn up to work, even if I am not in the mood, having a bad hair day, or don’t really know how to write that day. Yeah, those days happen.

This week, one of my students admitted to me that he was struggling with the first assessment, which was overdue. And with the second looming, he was feeling the pressure. His spoken English is quite good, I have yet to read his written English, so I cannot determine his language skills, of if he is ESL, but that was not the point he was raising with me. He admitted that, because he was struggling, he avoids doing it. And avoiding it means he gets stressed because deadlines are looming, and so it goes. Read more »

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7 reasons you should have a blog for your business

1If you are in business today, wrapped in our hyper-connected world, then you have heard of the term ‘blog’. If you know me, and have read some of my articles, you know that firstly, writing blogs is one of the things I specialise in, and secondly, a blog is not always a blog. It can be a newsletter, an article in a magazine, a chapter in a book. You can read some more here.

One of the most common questions I am asked is- what is my return on investment? If I pay you to write a blog for me, where will I see that money, and then some, returned to me? Sometimes it can be difficult to measure, in black and white, the ROI for having blogs on your website. But let me give you some ideas on how you get a return on your investment for blogging. Read more »

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Taking Criticism

Starting out in business, in a new venture, in a new direction, you’re going to make mistakes. It is inevitable. I talked about mistakes in my last article, and how if you take the lesson from them, and if you can recover from them, and not hold onto them, then mistakes can be very educational to you. But what else happens when you start out? What other ways do you think you suck, when really, you don’t?

shutterstock_98139248_650If you make a mistake, and someone tells you off, and shows you what you did wrong, then you feel awful. Of course you do, someone said mean things and made you feel like crap. Why? Because they’re better than you and want you to know it. This is a crappy thing to think, but it is what goes through you mind. Let it sit there, digest it, and then wisp it away with a wave of the hand. So someone has an ego they want to shove down your throat. Let them. Not all the world is full of these people.

As a writer, I deal with editors a lot. And, as an editor, I have had to be mindful of what I say. However, my writing community is used to cutting commentary, editing which cuts and bleeds. As long as the edits and critique are constructive, as long as if you don’t like something, you say WHY you don’t like something, and as long as it is not personal and is open for rebuttal, harsh criticism is okay.

Unfortunately, outside of my writing community, such harshness is not really done well. People seem clumsy in giving criticism, and some people are unable to accept criticism. And that is okay.

You are not required to do either to be a good person.

Remember that.

However, if you can put aside anything personal from the criticism, and if chocolate or a tub of ice cream helps, then I am all for that, try and dig out the core of what the criticism is all about. If a person full of bluster attacks the logo you designed for them because it is just crap, firstly, that is not real criticism; but secondly, start to think why he might say that or believe that. What is it about that person who might not understand why you did what you did. If you’re working with someone who has loved black and white lettering in 18pt font for 20 years, and you give them something modern, and they hate it, perhaps catering to their needs, with smaller changes, might be more beneficial. Perhaps your vision, what you know to be awesome, is not the same as what THEY seem to think is awesome. And, if they are the client, then you should aim towards what they want.

What is the lesson to learn from all of this? Understand the client, how to work your magic into the boundaries of your client. Understanding who is open to new ideas, and who is not yet ready for the 21st century. It will teach you about PEOPLE, and how some clients work. It will also teach you the signs to recognise these kinds of people, and how to find ways to not work for them. Find the clients you WANT, not the ones you NEED. A business coach once told me that if a client comes along and rings alarm bells, make the price extraordinary. If they still agree, then it is possible the dollar figure may make up for the difficulty. In truth, I don’t think there is enough money in the world to handle 10 edits, of which we had returned to the second draft anyway, and this client just wanted to re-draft and provide feedback and want change, purely because they did not know what they wanted.

And then, if you have someone who has been in business for 20 years, come back to you and tell you why what you provided does not work for them, and they express it in a way which is constructive, you will still feel awful for not making it right the first time, however, you can use this feedback on how to make it right. There are people out there who understand that first draft is just that- a first draft, that you will not hit the mark on the very first go. Work with these people, absorb their feedback, adopt it to your work, and LEARN.

If you never received feedback, if someone never criticised you, then you’ve never ever found boundaries and rules with which to guide you. You need some reality checks, so you don’t begin to believe that you can do anything and people will still love you.

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Mistakes were made, that’s okay

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Starting anything is difficult, hard, time consuming, ego destroying. And the older we get, the more aware we seem to be that we suck at things. Do you remember how long it took for you to learn to walk? No? You tried, you stood up using tables and chairs. You wobbled on your feet and then fell on your bottom. And after a while, you’d take three steps and fall over. Then five, then ten. And soon you were running around, causing all sorts of mayhem.

But, to begin with, you sucked at walking. Crawling? You were ace at that, but you even had to learn that. There is an old cliché saying there, if you look hard enough. But you did not think about how much you suck at walking, which made you give up. Nope. You kept on going until you got it. Your determination to do a thing trumped any feelings of inadequacy, any failings you had, any thoughts you had that you were not good enough.

So why is it, now that we ‘know better’, we are so damn hard on ourselves when we can’t do a thing? Why must we only come out into public with a skill, when we have perfected that skill so we get 10’s from all the judges, including the Russian judge?

We all compare ourselves to others in a variety of different ways. We use the benchmarks of other people to inspire us, to encourage us, fire us up to be like them. We use the examples of others to compete against, as a thing you want to be as good at, if not better than. Or, to be just like them. And if we’re not, in our own mind, then we’re not good enough.

And it is in our own mind where all this bad stuff, the self-sabotage, really takes hold. Someone can tell us they really like our writing, and we can smile and say thanks, but the inner critic starts going- did they just say that to be nice? Do they think it sucks and theirs is better? Am I supposed to say nice things about them now? Is their fake compliment really an indictment on my fashion choice?

Okay, fashion, possibly not, but crazy thoughts like that often do happen. Do they not like my stuff because of who I am, what I represent, what I am wearing? Throw in anger, anxiety, the need to be wanted and belong, and a whole mess of other things. And we end up just stopping, just quitting what we tried to do, without even breaking through that barrier of learning.

So what kind of things do we do to ourselves which make us think we suck, and what can we do.

Firstly, you’re going to make mistakes. This is inevitable. You are not going to be 100% proficient in what you want to do, right from the get go. I write copy for real estate companies. I did this four or five years ago, and then the market dried up for me. Late last year, I made a connection, and got back into it. I quite enjoy it. I visit a house, walk through and decide if I would want to buy it, of course. I speak with the owners, find out what they like about their place and why they are leaving, and get a story behind the whole thing. Then I go home, write it up, in an hour, send it off, and huzzah! Pocket money, spending money. It’s good, I like it a lot.

However, when I did my first two or three, there were issues. Missing data which I was supposed to have collected, parts of the template not filled in; one particular property, which had 5 bedrooms, and a study and a rumpus room and, and, and…. The copy did not resonate very well. Luckily I had a client who would give feedback, but inside me, I was kicking myself thinking- how is it I mess things up, such simple things?

Now, I have put processes in place, have tweaked the template to autofill certain fields, and took on board the idea of walking a person through the home (not house). Things like this. I learnt from MY mistakes. It is always better to learn from other people’s mistakes, but if you can LEARN from yours, if you can work on the mistakes and how to not do them again, you will improve, get better and more confidant in how you do what you do.

Reffing junior basketball, I watched an under 10 boy make the mistake of shooting the ball in the opposition basket in the second half of the game, because he forgot that you changed directions at half time. The coach asked him- you know what you did? The boy nodded, was quite embarrassed, he did perform this feat in front of a lot of people. But he came out and scored twice after the time out.

So remember, mistakes happen. They are all a part of the process of learning. Even after taking 3 steps, you, as a baby, fell on your bottom. But you got back up, and you did it again, learnt that after 3 steps, you can make a fourth, and a fifth.

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When is a blog not a blog?

shutterstock_2782658_550Everyone who knows anything about marketing says that a content marketing plan is key to your success. You need to have a blog. Great. What is that? After reading many definitions online, the general consensus is a blog is a web page, written in a casual and conversational style, often a news piece or information piece, specific to the industry the person is involved in.

It is kind of like a diary, or a journal. What happened today in the world of Widgets? Let me tell you. What is going to happen tomorrow in the world of widgets? Have you seen this cool thing I can do with widgets? Write something about widgets, and then post it to your website. And to whit you have a blog.

Seem a little bit simple? I think so. When I am asked what I do, one of the things I say is- I write blogs. If the conversation goes deeper than that, I then say how the word ‘blog’ is so restrictive. I write content. The same content you wrote for your blog, can also be used on LinkedIn. While they have what could be considered a great blogging platform, they refer to it as ‘publishing a post’. This is deliberate, as the content you feed into LinkedIn posts can be eligible for publication in their electronic magazine- Pulse. Hence the terminology of publishing, and post.

This same piece of content you’ve written about widgets can also be used for newsletters. Publish it into your newsletter which you send to your list. Or, if you’re a subscriber to Widget Monthly, see if you can become friends with the writer or editor of their publication. You could potentially have your thoughts about widgets included in their magazine or newsletter. Suddenly, your voice of widget authority is spread to a new, LARGER list of people who share your interest. You go up a level in the expertise level.

Do some of these people also have a blog about widgets? Can your content be shared on their blog, can you be a guest blogger for them?

Can this blog now be used for an offline, print magazine? Is there a widget magazine? Is there a publication which can include widgets, such as a home renovation magazine, a hardware magazine?

Now, your blog has become a post, a newsletter, and a printed article. But wait, there’s more!

Vodcasts, vlogging, doing short videos for your customer, is a great way to have digestible content delivered with not much effort required by the viewer. Can you stand in front of a camera and confidently speak about widgets for around 2 minutes? No? Then why not read your blog? It now becomes the script for your educational video.

Before you even begin blogging about widgets, you downloaded my 12 month blogging planner, so you know what you’re going to be talking about for the next 12 months. You’re a little shy, and not too confidant you can say a lot about widgets, except in October when there is the International Widget Convention, so you’ve chosen only one blog per month.

Time passes, at the end of 12 months, you were diligent and published a blog about widgets every month. Fair enough, a few of them were a couple of days late, but well done on sticking to the 12 month plan. During that 12 months, you got some ideas for more you can write on Widgets, and you kept these ideas ready for the next year.

But lets pause for a moment. If you look at the past twelve months of blogs, could it be that you have 12 chapters for a book about widgets? But wait, you say, they can just read my blog and get all the information for free. Why would they want to buy a book about it? Well, that’s when you include chapters about those ideas you had during the year, chapters which they can ONLY read if they buy your book.

But wait, there is even more! The idea of having a book is a great idea, but lets morph that idea for a moment. Don’t think the book is going to make you money. You’re not going to make too much off the book. But you can make some good money because of the book. A value-add to the workshops you’re going to be running. A value-add to the series of webinars you are producing which people subscribe to. Sign up for my 12 week course on how to make widgets and I will give you my free book.

If I had a choice between signing up for a course, and a course with a free book, I would lean towards the book. Plus, people really appreciate it when you give them free stuff.

So, what do we have at the end of all this? A blog, a newsletter or two, a guest blog, a printed article in a magazine; a post on LinkedIn which could get circulated through their magazine- Pulse. We have a script for your video or pod cast, and we have a book which can be sold, or be used as a value-add for the next level of marketing you are going to be doing.

And all of this is derived from the same, singular piece of content- the blog. So, when I say- I write blogs, it is actually so much more than just a blog.

What ideas can you come up with?

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LinkedIn Buzzwords- Part 2

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Can you display your extensive experience which shows off your creative drive and your passionate motivation?

When you read the above question, did it resonate with you? Did you ask yourself how you can display your extensive experience? Did you wonder what your creative drive is? And what is your passionate motivation?

Or are you a little bit confused on how to answer those questions, like, you know what the words mean, and you kind of know what they’re trying to ask you, but how do you narrow it down to a great answer?

Well, I just managed to use the top 5 buzzwords of 2015, in the title of this article.

 

  1. Extensive Experience

This is, again, something which is better shown rather than told. If you put into your profile that you have extensive experience, and then not show it, then this looks bad for you.

If you have had the same job for twenty years, it will come up as one job, in your profile and people may question if you really have extensive experience if you’ve been at the same place for so long. It certainly shows loyalty, but in this era of job-hopping, it may be seen as not very experienced.

This is where you list your major achievements. Where did you start twenty years ago? Where are you now, and what awesome things have you achieved and learned in that time? THAT is your experience, and THAT is what you’re going to be bringing with you, wherever you go.

If you want to point out your experience, words such as considerable. wide-ranging or comprehensive. But again, don’t use these words in isolation. Make sure there is something to back them up.

 

  1. Driven

Anyone can be driven to greatness, to do the work if watched, or driven to try and get more money. The issue which surrounds this word is the lack of context when it is used. What are you driven by? What are you driving towards? And then, a lack of backup material to explain how and why you driven.

This word is so closely related to another word on this list, I am not surprised they are both on this list. Driven and motivated are often a one-two combination used to wow readers to show you’re great at, um, stuff. But, what is it you’re driven by?

I enjoy mentoring people to be writers, giving advice to those who come asking. I am driven to be an educator and get that wondrous sparkle in the eye when someone ‘gets it’. It makes me feel great inside. I am driven by the need to show people that yes, they can be a writer if they want to be, that it is okay to not write good, but you will get better.

I AM driven by the need to learn and grow, (more buzz words), to learn from authors who use words in ways I have not yet done, I am driven to work with people who are willing to use language in ways I haven’t yet.

There really aren’t too many words you could substitute here. Compelled, but that feels passive. Guided, directed, but again, these are passive words. Best to try and avoid this word if at all possible.

 

  1. Creative

This is a word which is so widely used, that it often loses its effectiveness. What does it mean to be creative? What associations are made with this word, what assumptions? If you’re working in a call centre, for example, if you described yourself as a creative person, that does not sit well with the image of you working in the call centre. You may be a fantastic artist, a painter or sketcher, but that does not apply to your occupation as a call centre worker.

You need to be more specific about how you are creative at work. Words you could use instead would be innovative, original, inventive, perhaps productive and prolific.

This word is a difficult one for me, personally. I am a writer, I work in a creative space and consider myself a creative person. But, as a buzzword, telling you that I am a creative person, really has no impact. I like to be innovative, and bold. I like to think outside of the box, the square, or other shape you can think of.

 

  1. Passionate

This word should describe Latin dancing, the look between lovers. It really shouldn’t be used to describe how you feel about your work. Yes, you can be passionate about a cause, you can find the passion, that which you truly believe you are good at. But be wary about how you use it. Everyone is passionate about something, but step lightly when using it.

I have read someone’s profile who was passionate about the homeless. I know that they felt the need to help the homeless, but taken literally, it was a little awkward. And if you are going to use the written word to describe yourself, you do need to be careful when you do, else someone on social media points it out to the rest of the world.

You can be impassioned by the plight of those less fortunate; you can have a spirited response to a situation; feel strongly; have a heartfelt desire to change the world for good. Yes, these things pretty much mean passionate, but they have a better feel to them.

This buzz word is one of the trickier ones to disarm. You want to show that you have strong feelings for, you have a lot of determination and energy to get things right, you have beliefs in a certain thing and feel vehemently about them. You are the best person at discussing widgets because you have loved widgets all your life. You can show this, through articles and a history of sharing content. A slower burn, but it is a way.

 

  1. Motivated

shutterstock_162299999_450What motivates you? WHY do you get off the couch and go outside? WHY do you get up out of bed each morning and face the world? TO say you are a motivated person, really says nothing at all. A swarm of bees over there motivates me to run that way, but does that make me a motivated person?

If you’re not motivated to do anything, then, well, you won’t do anything. You won’t have a complete LinkedIn profile, you won’t update your profile, you won’t get out there and try to tell the world how awesome you are.

Motivation is just a big word, it can be applied to so many things. What is better, perhaps, is narrowing down your sense of enthusiasm for what it is you want to tell other people.

Are you inspired to educate? Does the plight of the homeless provoke you to action? Does bad customer service trigger a response from you? Do you get the spark of life with every new book that you read or write? Are you prompted to do better by learning from the mistakes of others?

Whenever you see yourself using the word motivate or motivated, ask WHY. WHY are you motivated? What gets your energy rising, gets you fired up to take action? It doesn’t matter if it takes more words, these are important words.

Thank you for reading through my thoughts on the top ten buzzwords of LinkedIn profiles. I ask you not, to take action and read your LinkedIn profile summary. If you find any of these ten words or phrases, find a way to write them out of your summary.

If you discover that you don’t have a summary, and you’d like one which is not full of buzzwords, clichés and exaggerations, email me here – matthew@matthewfarmer.com.au

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Are you a motivated and passionate expert, with extensive experience, a great track record and are driven to succeed? Why buzz words are a bad thing.

gameofchampions_sabrinadan_linkedin Every year LinkedIn scours the summaries of many thousands of its members to find what words are used the most, buzzwords which sound great when you use them, but which are slowly turning into nothing but white noise to the people who read your summaries.

Look at the headline of this article. Did it make you say YES! Or did you think- wow, that sounds beige? I put six of the top ten buzzwords for 2015 in there, plus one from 2014. If I tried to squeeze all ten in there, then it might have looked a little sillier than it already does.

When introducing myself to people, I describe myself as a Professional Writer, Storyteller, and Social Media Wizard. There are so many specialists, gurus and experts around, that people become jaded to that title. But tell them you’re a wizard, and suddenly they’re interested. It implies something similar to those three previous buzzwords, but is different that people want to know more. And they want you to perform card tricks, which I can’t do, sorry.

Let me step you through the Top 10 Buzzwords, as found by LinkedIn, and give you some alternatives which will help you stick out and be noticed, better than the herd.

  1. Expert

As I have already told you, I use the term Social Media Wizard to find some difference here. And while I say guru and specialists are also buzzwords, you could quite conceivably use the word ‘specialist’ in your profile, but only if you back this up with evidence.

Having some content, published on LinkedIn, to establish how you are a specialist at what you do, makes this word ‘permissible’ if you will. A better word to use would be ‘authority’ which ties in stronger with articles backing you up.

The word ‘Professional’ is another word you can use to replace this, and in a way carries more weight to it. I am a Professional Writer, versus a Writing Expert. One implies that I know all about writing, and the other implies that I am good enough to make a living from writing, which I do. Not only that, I am a professional about it, so you will expect a level of work from me which is more than hobbyist.

If you want to be seen as capably, but casual, using words such as ‘deft’ or ‘adept’, have enough suave about them that you will get some notice.

 

  1. Organisational

This means you are able to organise things. That sounds great, but it really doesn’t say what you organise. Your sock drawer or the lives of CEO’s of multi-national corporations? Both have merit, but without some further explanation, it is a pure buzz word which sounds important but does not say anything.

This is a word which requires you to think about your target market when you want to use its alternative. Do you want to be known as governmental, or bureaucratic? This might work well as a team leader, someone who can do the dance between teams and managers, internal and external stakeholders.

Are you looking to be seen as commanding? Directorial? More than just a team leader, but someone who takes something, commands it and makes it happen? Using these two alternates fits well in with project management. You can organise people, fine. But what about directing them? Commanding them? Much stronger, more forward thinking. (Are you keeping score of other buzzwords?)

 

  1. Track-record

One of the things which has been drummed into me as a creative writer is to SHOW don’t TELL. In this instance, saying you have a great track record, is really redundant. Use your LinkedInunsplash_52d65d1ebeeb2_1 profile to show your awesome track record. Give a blurb for each job, each project, highlighting the awesome things you did. Ask people to give you recommendations for each one, further proving what a great track-record you have, without telling people about it.

This buzzword sets people up against you. Whenever I hear someone has a great track record, I go and research it, and judge it more critically, than if I could read their history, and read what other people think about them.

If you do feel the need to highlight some great work you have done in the past, then mention it by name, the client, the job, and then let people go find that information themselves.

 

  1. Strategic

This is a word, a great buzz word, because it implies something, without saying much at all. Strategic at what? Are you good at plotting and planning, organising and getting results? This is another example of where showing would be better than telling. If you can show the critical decisions you made, the logical steps you took to get a result, then that would show your strategy.

And using words such as ‘critical’, ‘vital’ and ‘key’ at those points where your strategy came into play, can highlight those points for you, without the generic term of Strategic.

Words which work as well, for being strategic, can be diplomatic, gracious, polite and tactful, or even political. It can be the driver behind a lot of team management and projects you ran, allowing someone who is interested in you, get to know the details of WHY you think you are strategic.

 

  1. Responsible.

This word is a buzz word because, in reality, would someone want to work with you if you were NOT responsible? If you are responsible for a task, then there are better words to use, which are more specific for the topic for which you are responsible.

Are you responsible for a group of people? Then you lead a team, you manage a project or a group.

Are you responsible for OH&S? Then you are in charge of the OH&S.

Are you responsible for a book, or an article? Then you are an author. You authored, you wrote it, you created it. You did these things.

If you are a responsible human being, then that is fantastic. We all hope that everyone is a responsible human being. Show this by the projects you have lead, the businesses you have built and run successfully. Your actions will speak louder than the words, here.

Other words which are similar to responsible are just as beige – able, capable, loyal, reliable. Again, you’re on LinkedIn, you’re in the digital sphere trying to look the best you can be in words. We would hope that you are all these things without having to spell it out.

I will cover the top 5 in the next instalment of this article. Look out for Part 2!

If you would like a LinkedIn Profile that does away with the buzz and gives you word which counterpunch, send me an email – matthew@matthewfarmer.com.au

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Breaking that blog plan down into bite-sized pieces.

The last article introduced you to the idea of looking beyond the horizon at your blogging plan. As a part of your larger marketing plan, a blog is a powerful tool. If you’re introducing a new widget in the New Year, warming people to the thought of why widgets are important, and why it is important to upgrade their widgets each year, warms them to your new widget Mark 2. Some will be ready to buy from day 1.

shutterstock_24495289_450So, you’ve got your 12 month content plan, and you’ve had some great ideas, filled out the next 6 months. This is great, better than a lot of people who start to write their own blogs. You’ve decided on 2 per month, so there are topics for 12 blogs sitting there, in note form. Now what?

There are two ways you can strategise this. You can look at each month as a group, a couple working together, or look at each blog individually. The choice you make can depend on how confidant you are in your vision, or how meticulous you want to be with each post.

I have taken some feedback from customers on how they love to work with me, plus input from what I need from clients, and produced a worksheet which helps me, and helps my clients, become very clear on what they want from each post. A link to this worksheet is available HERE, which you can reference while reading this article.

If you are going to one month, multiple blogs method, then you will have 2 or 3 or even 4 blogs based around the same idea. So gathering some core ideas and words are important for consistency of message and brand, to keep the same call to action which you want your readers to perform.

I will be using my worksheet as a base for this article, so grabbing it to reference would be handy.

Let us imagine you’re going to blog every fortnight, 2 blogs a month, roughly. Looking at the worksheet, you would have the month (November), and circled the number 2. There is a row beneath that for date, the date you want to publish the blog, which you can then schedule and cross off.

On the left is the BIG topic for the month, that which the two sub-blogs are going to be about. So, let us imagine I am planning a pair of blogs for November- What is a Blog? This is a question I am asked more and more. So, my two subtopics are going to be- What is a Blog? And then – When is a Blog not a blog?

Moving down the worksheet, what ideas do I want to get across? The history of the Blog; where to find blogs; what have blogs been used for in the past; how can you use a blog? And then- what other ways are blogs being used; a blog can be more than just words on your website; the other ways you can use your blog.

Keywords, these help with search engines, on Google, LinkedIn and Facebook, so random people may find my blog. Key words for both will be, of course, ‘blog’ and ‘blogs’, ‘blogging’ perhaps, if I can fit it in without seeming awkward. Knowing what I am going to write about, I’d like to include ‘sales funnel’, ‘call to action’, and ‘why do I need a blog’. I will also use Google analytics and other keyword tools just to give me some keyword oomph.

The call to action is what I want the blogs to do. Every piece of content must have a purpose. It can be simply to say hi, if that is what you want. But it is a chance for you to educate readers into something awesome, and then get them to take action once they feel awesome. Me? I write blogs for small to medium businesses. So I will encourage the reader, once they understand how awesome blogging can be, to grab my free toolkit, and then perhaps engage with me to write their blogs for them.

Once you have broken the whole blog down into pieces, you can then insert those pieces into the blog. Make sure the title includes a Keyword. Ensure you include the ideas you’ve written down into the blog. Finish with the call to action. And huzzah! You will have a blog which has your ideas, can track through Google, and will encourage the reader to take action.

Now you just have to write it. And the next one.

You can pick up a copy of my worksheet HERE

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Podcasts and Postcards

 

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Guest Post by Vandal Hype Photography

Postcards are like little pockets of joy in a busy world. They arrive, unexpected, they showcase a place that evokes a sensation, a mood, out of the reader. Basically they’re a simple joy in life.  I love getting them.  I also love sending them. I made sure I sent quite a few on my recent Northern Territory Holiday for this reason alone.  I also listened to a lot of Podcasts during long distance drives up in the Northern Territory.

One podcast I listened to recently was Greetings from Coney Island, from Love and Radio. What was it that drew me in and had me smiling throughout the telling of this tale?  Was it nostalgia? A postcard from 1938 with the beautiful vintage design stating – “Greetings from Coney Island.” Was it the mystery? It was addressed to a New York woman in the here and now of today’s modern world. Was it the sense of personal identity? A romantic relationship, an apparent lover from the past. Was it just really well presented story telling?  The overlap techniques and background sounds were as much a part of the story telling through the medium of podcasting, as much as the story itself.

Having just returned to the “real world” after being on holiday, the longest time away from work in the past four years, I think it was a combination of all these little elements. That combination created this great podcast story and evoked images, moods, and even inspiration for me.

It took me away from driving to work, to being in New York and seeing how Rachel picks up her mail every day in her apartment building to find a strangely beautiful postcard. That starts something for her, and something for me, the listener.

Good story telling can transcend media. Podcasts are very good at this if done right. The trick is ensure you know how to present it on each platform and tweak it just so, whilst carrying the same story across.  Don’t think the same thing will just fit on all platforms in the same way, because audiences differ from social media platforms to platforms.

As humans, we make connections through stories. We grow up being read and told stories, whether it is with the purpose of building our skills base or passing on oral history, stories are a very common denominator amongst a lot of us.

When I try and nail this one thing of why I got so hooked on this podcast story I guess I just believe, everyone has a story to tell and some are just more interesting than others.

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