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Case study – creating new content ideas for Birkett Consulting

Case study about coming up with new blog topics.

I first met Ros Birkett via a networking group (which is pretty much how I meet everyone these days). She’s utterly lovely and a brilliant person to have a coffee and a natter with. When it comes to branding and marketing, what Ros doesn’t know frankly isn’t worth knowing. She’s the owner of Birkett Consulting, working with a range of clients to deliver adverting and marketing that gets results. In a nutshell, she knows her marketing onions, which is why it came as a bit of a surprise to get an email asking if I could help her to come up with some topics for her blog.

The challenge

When Ros got in touch, Birkett Consulting was in the midst of a website makeover. All of this was happening alongside the day-to-day work involved in running a busy agency and serving clients. There was also the small matter of getting to grips with an in-depth SEO analysis report for a client that ran to over 100 pages. Ros was faced with two main challenges. Firstly, that she was struggling to find blocks of time that would allow her to focus on website tasks. Secondly, all the topics she was reading about seemed a bit predictable. She wanted some fresh ideas that would help her to get the messaging right as we emerged from lockdown.

The solution

To start the process, Ros and I arranged a Zoom call to talk through Birkett Consulting’s marketing basics. She described her customers and the services that she wanted to focus on in the blog. Ros’ awareness of her customer base meant that I could focus on the topics that would have most impact. We also talked about bringing a bit of humour back into marketing to lighten things up after lockdown.

After our chat, I went away and came up with four possible topics using a combination of tools, including my own random marketing thoughts. I’m looking forward to seeing the results when the new website launches.

Could a fresh pair of eyes on your business help you to speak more effectively to your audience? Get in touch and let’s have a chat.

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Top tips to help you identify and enforce strong and healthy boundaries

Many of us set up our own businesses so we can have more freedom and autonomy.  So we can dictate when and how we work, who we work for, how much money we earn and where we sped our time.  All this extra time we will have when there’s no boss dictating to us. 

Fast forward to being in the thick of running your own business and you wonder how you could have been so naïve!  Instead of just having your main role to do, you are now wearing ALL of the hats for your business – Accountant, Social Media Manager, Admin, Content Creator, Salesperson, Marketer to name just a few – leaving you with little very little of the headspace or freedom that you once imagined was part and parcel of being self employed. 

So how do you change that? 

One of the main ways is to get some clear boundaries in place.  Women tend to be people pleasers.  Most of my clients don’t want to let people down so take on too much and do everything for everyone else and actually let themselves down in the process. 

There’s lots of talk about setting healthy boundaries but what actually is a boundary? A boundary is an imaginary line that separates you from others and vice versa.  When you think of a physical boundary, it’s the image of a fence around a property to keep you safe inside and others from coming in.  But there is always a gate that swings both ways to allow ease and flow. 

These physical boundaries are clear for all to see but when we talk about emotional boundaries, they are much more difficult to recognise and enforce. 

But how do you go about recognising and setting boundaries when everything feels like it has a competing priority? 

Here are my top tips to identifying and enforcing strong and healthy boundaries 

  1. First of all, you need to identify what your boundaries are.  Boundaries are very unique to you as an individual so yours might be very different to your best friends’.  Spend some time (ideally a month so you can track it against your hormone cycle) noticing when someone has crossed your boundaries.  Blaming yourself, feelings of shame and guilt, justifying your behaviour, sensing that something is “off, using words like “should” are all signs that your boundaries are being crossed.  Make a note of when these situations occur, who you are with, time of day etc… It’s important not to judge these observations.  You are just collecting data to analyse. 
  2. When you have tracked these observations, take a look at what you have captured and look for any patterns.  Is there a certain day of the week or a particular activity you are carrying out or a certain person you are with etc… that triggers these uncomfortable feelings? 
  3. Name the emotion that you feel – angry, sad, frustrated.  When you do this, it detaches you from that emotion so that the feeling isn’t part of your identity, it is a feeling that will pass. 
  4. When you have identified any patterns and feelings that arise, explore what this means for you.  If it always happens with a certain client, is this someone you want to continue working with?  If it always happens at a certain time of the month, do you need to block time out of your calendar at that time in hour cycle for more self-nourishment?  
  5. When it comes to emotional boundaries, you need to make sure you communicate them.  This can be as simple as stating in your email signature or sending an automatic out of office that stipulates your working hours.  Make sure you stick to those hours.  If you have said you only respond between 9am – 5pm, be consistent with that message.  If you are catching up on work late at night, make sure you delay the delivery of your emails to the following morning at 9am so that people don’t expect you to be working late into the night. 
  6. For boundary setting on a more personal note, this can feel really vulnerable and scary so my advice is to start small.  Begin by communicating your boundarires to someone you know really well and feel comfortable with so it’s a safe space.  Eg this could be to your partner.  Let him or her know that they may see a change in your behaviour because you have realised that you need to set boundaries to protect your time / energy and health.  You don’t have to elaborate or explain further than that.  Just be clear that they will notice a change in you and invite them to help you stick to your new boundaries so it’s collaborative. 
  7. Invite and respect other people’s boundaries.  When collaborating, ask the other party what their boundaries are such as their working hours, what method of communication they prefer, what their non-negotiables are and share yours too from the outset.  This role models healthy boundaries for others too. 
  8. This will take practice so continually be on the look out for when boundaries are crossed as in point one above.  Be consistent and tweak your boundaries as they evolve.  They will change in new situations and different times in your life so make sure you make it a regular practice to notice and enforce healthy boundaries.  You will notice a positive change in your mental and physical wellbeing as a result and although tricky at first, will result in healthier relationships with less resentment and guilt. 

About Ellie

I’m a strengths & leadership coach based in South Manchester.  I’m a mum of 3 little hurricanes, wife, recovering perfectionist and introvert.

I was a coach before I even realised it.  People used to say how natural I was at developing others but didn’t really understand what that meant.  It turns out I have made a career out of it in various guises throughout my 15 years of leadership within large organisations.

I have combined my coaching skills with my passion for helping people thrive in their working life by setting up Elevate with Ellie in January 2021 where I specialise in helping small business owners get the best out of their people.

Here is where you can find out more about me:

www.elevatewithellie.co.uk

https://www.instagram.com/elevatewithellie

https://www.linkedin.com/in/ellie-lloyd-jones-leadershipcoach

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5 ways you can find new things to blog about

Woman making notes about new things to blog about
Photo by Judit Peter via Pexels

Finding new things to blog about can feel a bit relentless. You create a plan then before you know it you have to start all over again. I’d say it’s like painting the Forth Bridge, but even they’ve stopped. Then there’s the monotony of the whole thing. You might have your own favourite methods but you’re just bored of them. What you need are some fresh new ways to help you find topics to blog about. As if by magic, here are a few of my favourites.

Ask the audience

One of the simplest things you can do to find new things to blog about is to ask your customers. I suspect that if you took to social media and said, “what should I blog about?” you’d get tumbleweed, but if you ask, “what are you struggling with right now?” you’ll get some useful answers. You could also try a poll with a few suggestions to get them started.

This method helps you offer timely and useful information as well as boosting engagement on social.

Write a case study

Case studies are brilliant for two main reasons. Firstly, they offer social proof. It’s not just a nebulous statement that you can help with something. You can show your audience that you’ve actually helped someone. Secondly, it lets them imagine themselves in an existing customer’s shoes. Your case study could be describing someone just like them, with the same challenges. If you’ve helped someone else, you can do it for them too. A case study can also help them to understand the process or how you deal with potential problems.

Update an old post

If you’ve been blogging for a while, you should already have data to show what your audience liked. Use your analytics to find your most popular posts. Then update them. Are there new things that you’d like to add? Has your advice changed? This post from last week is an update of one I wrote a couple of years ago. I’ve changed the structure but also added some new ideas. Finding new things to blog about is a perennial topic so it’s always going to be useful.

Find things to blog about with autocomplete

This is a bit of a blunt tool, but it’s useful if you need inspiration. Head to Google and start typing a question that’s relevant to your business. Here’s what I got when I started typing ‘content writing tips’.

As you can see, it gives me a whole list of potential things to focus on, including key phrases that I can target to help with my SEO. Some are useful, some not so much, but it helps me to learn what people are looking for advice about.

Collect useful resources

It’s tempting to believe that absolutely everything you write has to be fresh and original. It doesn’t. Your content just needs to be useful. If you can bring together resources that have helped you (or that will help your customers), that’s incredibly useful. It saves them a heap of research time and offers them solutions that are already tried and tested. By supporting your audience you’re also building trust in your own brand, so it’s a win-win.

Do you need to come up with new topics? I can help with that. We’ll have a 30-minute chat then I’ll come up with some fresh new ideas that you can take away and write about. Just book your slot here.

You could also sign up for my mailing list for hints and tips straight to your inbox every month. I don’t do spam and will never share your information with anyone else.

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How you can find fascinating blog topics

A woman at a laptop reading about fascinating blog topics
Image by Ekaterina Bolovtsova via Pexels

When you start coming up with blog topics, there’s one very important thing to keep at the front of your mind. Your customer. Whatever you write about, ask yourself – “will my customers care about this?” If they won’t, don’t write about it.

Knowing your customer should be one of the foundation stones of your marketing. When you know who’s most likely to need your services you can start talking just to them. A good blog can create that moment of recognition that makes your reader feel seen and understood.

Before you start working on a list of blog topics, think about who they’re for. Are they cash rich but time poor or the complete opposite? Will your products only suit people who are at a particular stage in their lives, like new parents or people who’ve just retired? Think about the problems you solve or the ways you make your customers’ lives better. Then we can get started.

The story so far

Sharing your story with your audience helps you to understand each other. People get to know you, like what you say and ultimately come to trust you enough to buy from you. The key is to talk about your experience and link it to the ways that helps your customers.

As an example, if you’re a parent selling clothes for babies and children, talking about your family shows your customers that you’ve been through it all and know how to make clothes that will last. 

What has my personal life taught me?

You might have a personal story that isn’t obviously related to your business, but that’s made you who you are.

For example, when you’re building a business, you need to be a bit brave sometimes. If you’ve found a way to be brave, share it! Maybe something in your past has helped you to build skills that you use now. Tell your customers because they might just recognise themselves.

FAQs

Answering an FAQ is a quick and easy way to create a new blog post. What are you asked most often? What do your customers ask you in emails or face to face? If they’re asking, people who are looking for you online will be too. It’s an easy way to start building your search rankings.

Create a list of the questions you’re asked all the time and start answering them in your blog.

What’s in the news?

You have to move fairly fast for this one, but if you can relate a news story to your business, people are more likely to find you. Lots of businesses offered advice about GDPR when it was on everyone’s minds. You can talk about current topics, but it’s also worth thinking ahead. Look out for topics you can talk about that your customers will need to deal with in the future.

What’s next?

Hopefully that’s got you off to a good start, but what else can you do? As always, put yourself in your customers’ shoes. Think about what questions they’re typing into Google that will help them to find you. I’ve found that small business owners won’t necessarily search for a writer. But they will ask how they can attract more customers or improve their marketing. It’s my job to make sure that I talk about the answers to those questions.

If you’d like some more inspiration in book form, I can help.

‘50 blog topics for your business’ does exactly what it says on the tin. It gives you 50 topics that you can use straight away – if you write one a month that’s over four years’ worth of ideas for less than the cost of a family takeaway.

Does that sound good? Get your copy by clicking on the image below.

book with 50 blog topic ideas for your business

Some useful resources

Answer the Public – type in a key word and it’ll tell you what people have searched for.

Google Trends – what searches are most popular when.