Posted on Leave a comment

Why you need a fresh perspective on your marketing content

Fresh perspective contentWhen you first start marketing your business it’s all trial and error. You might find that one post is a hit then something similar completely flops. Over time you can start to build up a picture of what your audience responds to and where your customers are coming from. Of course, it’s never quite that simple. Your customers’ needs change over time and external trends have a big part to play in that. Sometimes it’s hard to tell what’s having an impact on your business and what changes you might need to adapt to in the future. Getting a fresh perspective on your marketing content can help you to stay relevant and grow your business. Here’s why.

Getting stuck in your own head

Are you stuck in a rut? If you’ve been marketing your business in the same way for a while, you could be. That’s not necessarily a bad thing if you’re still getting a steady flow of customers. Unfortunately it could trip you up in the long run. Retail has changed completely in the last ten years, with more and more people shopping online. The companies that have survived are the ones who built or adapted their business to suit. If you follow the same marketing formula all of the time without getting a different perspective you’ll get bored and so will your audience.

I freely admit that I’m terrible for getting bogged down with my own thoughts. In fact, it often means that I go round in circles! We all need to look around to see what‘s happening out there once in a while.

Talking to your customers

If you’re fed up of the sound of your own voice, you probably need to listen to someone else’s. Talking to your customers is a great way to track changes in your target market. Of course, it has its limitations. As Henry Ford said, if he’d asked his customers what they wanted they’d have said a faster horse. But asking your customers what challenges they’re facing and how they want to shop can give you valuable insights into how their lives are changing over time. Maybe they’ve stopped watching video and started listening to podcasts because they’re more convenient. Perhaps there’s a challenge they’re facing that you have a solution for – you just need to shift your focus and talk about it more.

This doesn’t just apply to your customers, of course. Talking to other business owners about what’s happening with them can help you to discover what subjects people are interested in. You just have to keep your ears open.

How you can get a fresh perspective on your content

If your conversations with your customers and networking colleagues lead you to a new type of content creation or if you discover that the tone of voice you use isn’t winning you fans any more you’ll need to change your approach.

We’re still in holiday season as I write this. A change of scenery can be ideal for getting you out of your own head. Sometimes issues with your content arise because you’ve drifted too far from your original message. The values that people connected with have been lost over time. If your holiday allows you some quiet time, use it to remind yourself who you want to serve and how you can do that. Talk to your family (or yourself if you feel like it) and listen to the phrases that you use. Those are the ones you need to include. Alternatively, go and get some training to learn about the kind of content you want to create, or to improve your technique.

If you’d like to get some training to help you get started creating a blog for your business, or to improve the content you already have, sign up to my mailing list using the form below to find out more about my small group and 1:1 training.

Posted on Leave a comment

How you can start learning about blogging

Learn about bloggingThere’s a world of difference between wanting to start a blog and actually doing it. You might like the idea but when it comes to it you don’t know what to write. Perhaps you’re looking at your already packed schedule and wondering where on earth you’re going to fit it in. Maybe you’ve even tried writing your first blog and got stuck. You spend hours on it and get nowhere or think what you’ve written is rubbish. Sometimes all you need to get started is a bit of education. Thankfully there are lots of different ways that you can learn about blogging. Here are just a few.

Free resources

There is loads of blogging advice available online (including here). You can access it for free and just search for what you need. If you want advice on blogging topics, structure or what platform to use, it’s all out there somewhere.

In fact, the ‘somewhere’ is the main disadvantage. If you know what you struggle with it’s easy to search for the answer. It’s not quite so straightforward if you have no idea where to start. After all, you don’t know what you don’t know. Also, are you getting good advice? I’ve had training along the way and can tell you what’s worked for me and my clients. There are also some fantastic platforms featuring pieces from experts in their field. Generally speaking, anything from Orbit Media, Digital Marketer and Copyblogger is worth reading. Their advice often goes beyond blogging into other useful marketing topics too.

Paid courses online

If you’re able to hand over some cash there are lots of courses available online. The beauty of any course is that all the information is presented for you. Some will be available to access all the time and others will have a limited release. This often depends on what the course is offering. Some will give you materials that you work through on your own, perhaps getting feedback from a tutor. These are great if you need to fit learning in around other commitments and can’t always stick to a regular time for online workshops. If you need the buzz of a group you might be better off with a course that has a limited time frame but plenty of interaction. The level of interaction you get with your tutor is usually reflected in the price.

Checking on the credentials of your course provider is particularly important here. There are some great courses available via general training providers like Udemy and Skillshare as well as writing and marketing specialists.

Group workshops and one to one training

I’ve put these together as they both work best face to face (although I’ve had some fab training experiences via Zoom as well). Getting together to learn with other people who are in the same boat as you can be fantastic, particularly for beginners. Your trainer can take you through the basics and answer questions as you go. I really enjoy learning like this because you can learn from everyone in the room. Everyone has different ideas and questions and it creates a great atmosphere.

Of course, you might feel a bit nervous about asking a question and looking silly. (For the record, there’s no such thing as a silly question.) You might need something that’s a bit more tailored for your business, especially if it’s something out of the ordinary. Maybe you just want to be able to focus on the topic without anyone else distracting you. In those circumstances, 1:1 teaching could be your best option.

Ultimately, only you can decide how you learn best. If you want to know more about the training options I offer you can sign up to my mailing list to find out more.


Posted on Leave a comment

How your blog could benefit from training with a friend

benefits of training with a friendWhen you want to learn something new there are usually a range of options available. Blogging is no exception (and if you want to know more about the ways you can learn about blogging, read this). Actually choosing the right method for you can be tricky. Do you opt for a workshop where you don’t know anyone and could be out of your depth? Would you rather get some 1:1 help? To be honest, you could find a way to talk yourself out of any of the options. If you’d prefer to learn in an environment you know will be friendly, you might want to consider training with a friend. There are all kinds of benefits. Here are my top 4.

You get to choose who you work with

Most good course leaders will aim to get the right mix of people in a workshop group. It doesn’t help anyone if one person is struggling to keep up while another is completely bored. However, one person’s definition of ‘beginner’ might be different from yours. When you’re training with a friend you get to decide who you work with. You can have a chat in advance to make sure you’re at roughly the same level before you go ahead.

You don’t just have to choose one friend either. If you have a small group of friends who all want to learn you can gather them all together.

Other people have good questions

Even when you’re training with a friend, you’ll both have different perspectives. There might be one bit of the training that you find easy but your friend struggles with, and vice versa. You can learn from the questions they ask as well as your own. It might even add a whole new level to your learning. You may even find that someone else’s question shows you that you hadn’t fully understood the subject the first time.

Training in a group helps you to bounce ideas off each other so you all learn more.

You feel comfortable asking questions

Training with a friend (or more than one) creates a good atmosphere in the room. You’re with people you like so you can relax and enjoy it. That has the added benefit of helping you to remember things. It also means that you’ll feel more comfortable speaking up when you don’t understand something. No-one is going to take the mickey because you asked a question. They’re your friends, so they just want to help you understand. Plus the answer to your question might be useful to them too.

The more relaxed you are in your learning environment, the better the outcome will be.

Training with a friend improves your business skills

Even if you work on your own, there will be times that you need good teamwork to build your business. That could be because you’re working as part of a team on a project or when you need to delegate tasks to someone else. Whether you share a one-off training session or a whole course, you’ll learn how to listen and work with other people’s learning styles.

Of course, that has an added benefit when it comes to customer service. During the learning process you’ll probably get into discussion and debate about your subject. Listening to a friend’s perspective will improve your listening and communication skills when you’re dealing with your customers as well.

If you like the idea of training with a friend or getting a group together to learn about blogging, I can bring the training to you. Sign up to my email list to learn more about my 1:1 and small group training sessions below!

Posted on Leave a comment

How you can start storytelling in your marketing

How to start storytellingI know, you’ve heard people like me bang on endlessly about using storytelling in your marketing. It’s a great way to get personality into your content and set yourself apart from the crowd. The thing is, how do you do it? It won’t surprise you to hear that it’s not just a case of telling everyone your life story. It’s all about balance. Your customers will love the fact that you’re relatable but they mainly want to hear about how your business can benefit them. Here’s how you can start using storytelling in your marketing.

Dig deep

You already know the good news about storytelling. Here’s the bad(ish) news. You need to put some work in. As with anything that’s worth doing, using storytelling in your marketing requires a bit of groundwork. If you don’t believe in what you’re saying your customers will spot it. Your message comes across as half-hearted and no-one will buy into it. That’s the last thing you want.

This means that your first step is to work out exactly what your story is. There are loads of things that go into this. If you’ve ever thought about your ‘why’, you’re halfway there. Think about why you chose to start this type of business, or to become self-employed at all. What are your values? How does your lifestyle and history relate to your business? Dig down to the core of what motivates you and write it all down.

What do your customers care about?

Once you’ve got a clear picture of what you’re about, start looking at it from a customer focused angle. People do business with you because you offer something that they need. As consumers we’ll often choose a big brand because we’re confident they’ll deliver most of the time. We know what they’re offering and have clear expectations. As a small business you need to build all of that into your marketing. Your customers only really care about your story because it gives you substance. If you share their values or understand their lives you’re much less likely to let them down.

What does this mean for storytelling? It means that you need to look at what your values are and decide which of them your customers will care about. If you offer products or services for children, parents might trust you more if you’re a parent yourself, or have a childcare background. Look at your story and work out which bits are going to be important to your audience.

The storytelling drip feed

About once a month I’ll write something that isn’t really related to my business. It doesn’t help you to work out how to write your blog or improve your website, it just tells a story. They usually end up having some kind of business relevance because it’s often a story that tells you how I got to where I am or what an experience has taught me.

If you want to do something similar, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t. You can use storytelling any way you want and if you’re talking about something that helps your audience relate to you better, that’s great. However, it’s not the only way. You can still drip feed your story into your blog or business related social media posts. For example, you could post a time management tip on Facebook and sign off with a joke about being late for the school run. Or write a blog with tips to get something done more quickly (because the only long winded thing about your day should be getting the kids into their shoes).

Do you need to start storytelling? Sign up to my mailing list for your free guide and lots of hints and tips.