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Are you setting boundaries between your personal life and business marketing?

The image shows a laptop, book and phone wrapped in chains. This is setting boundaries at its least technical and most extreme.
Photo by Pixabay: https://www.pexels.com/photo/black-android-smartphone-on-top-of-white-book-39584/

I’m a big believer in sharing some of your life in your marketing. Here’s why. The question is, how much do you share? It’s one thing to give your audience a glimpse behind the scenes, but that doesn’t mean giving them access to your entire private life. Everyone is different; what’s right for you may be inappropriate for someone else. Here are some of the things I thought about when I was setting boundaries between my marketing and life behind the scenes. I hope they help you too.

Can you talk about work?

I ran a blogging workshop at a business retreat a few years ago and one of the attendees told me that she couldn’t talk about her day job. At all. She’d signed a non-disclosure agreement. She was building a business on the side and could talk about that but couldn’t share any anecdotes about her work history or experience. It’s an extreme example, but if you work with sensitive information or have a duty of confidentiality towards your clients this could be an issue for you. The problem is that case studies are a great way of showing future customers the kind of challenges you deal with. I often share an anonymised version of a case study in these circumstances. If it’s something distinctive or highly personal I’d still recommend contacting the client in case they recognise themselves.

What do you want to protect?

Your family might support you in your business but that doesn’t mean they want to feature in your marketing. My husband has appeared in the background of a few Zoom calls, but he’d be deeply uncomfortable if I put him on Instagram. I talk about my children because it helps me to connect with other business-owning mums, but I never share images of them or mention their names. This is the kind of boundary that it’s best to set by having a conversation with the people closest to you. My kids aren’t old enough to consent to be on social media, so I don’t put them on there. That’s why I acknowledge their existence but don’t share details.

You might think this is a small issue, but it can cause rifts if you make assumptions. (Google ‘why don’t we see Aimee Osbourne’ if you don’t believe me.)

Setting boundaries around personal details

Setting boundaries isn’t just about protecting your family members and throwing caution to the wind when it comes to your privacy. On a practical level, sharing too much personal information puts you at risk of identity theft or being scammed.

You might have started your business because of something you went through and want to help others with. Connecting with your audience might mean sharing some incredibly personal details. You might be talking about your experience of baby loss, medical treatment or mental health issues. Your audience might read about your experience and emotions and be relieved that they’re not alone. At the same time, you might feel that some details are too personal. Remember, it’s your decision. If it feels like too much, leave it out. I know you want to help your audience but think about what’s right for you too.

Do you need some help creating marketing with the right boundaries? I can help with that. Book a call here and let’s have a chat. Or, sign up to my mailing list for blogging and marketing hints and tips straight to your inbox every month.

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Why you need to show your life in your marketing

A woman celebrating - you can put life into your marketing too.

You’ve probably seen loads of marketing advice telling you that you need to share your knowledge and establish yourself as an expert in your field. That’s all true. When you have a small business, you need to go one step further and share a bit of your life with your customers. The big brands can build a corporate image around their values, but you need to show your audience who you are as a person. Here’s why you need to put some of your life into your marketing.

It makes your audience feel part of something

Content marketing is designed to help you build a relationship with your audience so that they’ll buy from you. When your marketing creates a community, it helps your audience feel as if they’re part of something amazing. That might happen because of chats in the comments on your posts or what you share in your Facebook group.

The easiest way to make your audience feel included is by giving them a glimpse behind the scenes. If you create products, you can share videos or posts of you making something. Someone might see the work in progress and decide they must have the finished product! Case studies are brilliant if you’re like me and offer a less visual service. You can show prospective customers the process so they know how you work and can read about the results.

Shared experience connects you with your customers

Maybe you started your business because you came through a challenge and wanted to help other people do the same. Your story needs to be central to your marketing. It shows your customers that you understand what they’re going through because you’ve been in their shoes. You can build trust by talking about your experiences. This is particularly good for business or health coaches, personal trainers and parenting experts.

Showing your life and the experiences you share with your customers can also work in another way. Whilst it might not be directly relevant to your business, sometimes you just want to work with someone who’s on the same wavelength as you or support their business. I work with lots of business-owning mums and it gives you a shorthand that makes communication easy and fun.

Sharing your life shows people you’re human

When you spend time running a business online, you’ll inevitably come across people who forget you’re a human being with feelings. They think that those nasty comments will bounce off (if they even think before they type). Sharing posts that show people what your life is like when you’re not at work helps to remind people that you’re a real person. It could also help to distinguish you from another, similar, business. I haven’t had anyone tell me they want to work with me because I’m a rugby fan so far, but you never know!

One word of caution; use posts like this sparingly. Every so often is fine but your customers aren’t your friends. They don’t need 500 pictures of your baby, cute puppy or to hear about how hungover you are. Just an occasional reminder that you have a life outside business.

Are you ready to put some of your life into your marketing? I can help with that. Book a call here and let’s have a chat.

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Why you need to start using emotional marketing

A woman experiencing emotional marketing.
Photo by Ekaterina Bolsova via Pexels

Does your marketing get in touch with your customers’ emotions? I don’t expect you to have them sobbing into their cornflakes all the time, but emotional marketing can be incredibly powerful. The adverts that you remember are the ones that made you feel something. Think of that McDonalds Christmas ad that made every mum wish her children would stop growing up so fast and you’ll get what I mean. Emotional marketing doesn’t have to be hysterically funny or make your audience cry to be effective. Here’s why you need to start thinking about your customers’ emotions when you create your marketing content.

Know like and trust

You may have heard this one before, but the know, like and trust factor is one of the key things you need to build if you want a successful business. People are learning to trust their local small businesses, but they can still be wary of handing their money over to someone who might disappear into the night. If you regularly share marketing content that shows your audience you’re a real person they’ll start to trust you. Make it something human and relatable and they’ll start to like you.

The great thing about emotional marketing is that you can be yourself. That might be terrifying, but it helps you to attract your kind of people. Your marketing makes them feel seen and understood. We’ve all learned the value of community over the past two years; emotional marketing can help you to build a community around your business.

Decisions come from the heart as well as the head

Have you ever made a logical decision then hesitated because it didn’t feel right? Or had a gut feeling about something that eventually proved to be correct? Our brains process emotional information far more quickly than facts. In fact, emotions bypass the logical part of the brain altogether. It means that emotional marketing helps you to create a great first impression before your customers know anything else about your business. They might still make a list of pros and cons, but it’ll probably come later. Or be completely irrelevant if they don’t like you.

That doesn’t mean that your marketing has to be ‘likeable’ as long as you make your audience feel something. Creating a connection is the most important bit.

Emotional marketing can be used in different ways

As you might expect, different emotions get different results. Negative emotions are more likely to encourage people to take action. Content that makes them laugh or feel happy is more likely to be shared. Your business will influence the kinds of emotions you want to evoke, but it’s important to include a mixture. You might help people with a challenge that makes them feel stressed or anxious. Maybe you want them to think about something difficult that they didn’t know about. It doesn’t mean that your marketing needs to be relentlessly depressing. You can still share the positives. This is particularly true if you’re showing your audience the before and after – more on that in a future post.

Are you ready to get some emotion into your marketing? I can help with that. Book a call here and let’s have a chat about how I can help you.

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Need some new ways to repurpose your blog?

Repurpose your blog for fresh new content
Photo by Karolina Grabowska from Pexels

When you repurpose your blog, you take it from being a series of lovely informative posts on your website to a content generating machine. No, I’m not exaggerating. When you’ve gone to the effort of writing a blog post (or getting someone like me to write it for you – https://www.kirstyfrancewrites.co.uk/packages/) why not make it go as far as you can? I’ve written about this before but, as with all things in marketing land, there are other methods that you might not have considered yet. Here are my top 5 favourites.

Create Reels

You don’t have to dance or point to create a good Reel. They can just be good fun. Using your blog as a starting point makes it easier to come up with content ideas. I’ve done a few myself and follow Virginia Kerr for inspiration. You can do tips to camera but if you absolutely don’t want to show your face you can use images too. They’re being rolled out on Facebook as we speak so it could be a good time to give it a go.

Inspire your podcast

If you’re pushed for time the idea of starting a podcast can feel a bit overwhelming. On the other hand, if you’ve already started one you can repurpose your blog and use it for topic ideas. A lot of people who don’t have much time to sit and read will listen to podcasts or audiobooks while they’re out walking or folding laundry. (That’s me if you couldn’t tell.) Do a solo chat about your subject or invite a guest to offer their perspective.

Write a new blog

If your audience really loves reading blogs or you just need new ideas, look to your old blogs for inspiration. If you’ve written a post with 5 tips, choose one and go more in-depth. For example, if you’re a florist with a blog post about choosing flowers for your wedding, one of the tips might be about seasonality. That could be a whole post by itself. I’ve mentioned headline writing in loads of blogs but I’ve never written one that’s just about headlines. I’ll get round to it eventually…

Repurpose your blog into a presentation

A blog post is designed to educate and entertain your audience, as well as building your authority. If you wanted you could turn it into a training session. I’ve written a series of blog posts about how to start writing a blog and delivered training on it too. If you’d rather hide under a rock than deliver training, you can still repurpose your blog into a shareable presentation. I’ve just started investigating using SlideShare for LinkedIn – if you have any tips, please let me know!

Create an infographic

This is one of my favourites because it appeals to the visual learners. It means that you could attract a whole new audience who love graphics and won’t necessarily read a blog post. Take the main points from your blog post and use them as headings. You can add a bit of extra information too. The best part is that you can use it as an image within the blog post itself as well as sharing it on social media.

Would you love to use some of these tips to repurpose your blog but don’t have a blog to do it with? I can help with that. Take a look at my blog writing packages or book a call here and let’s have a chat about how I can help you.

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5 ways to improve your blog today

Improve your blog today
Photo by Suzy Hazelwood from Pexels

Have you ever sat looking at a blog post you’ve just slaved over and felt that it was just a bit – meh? Could it possibly be a bit waffly and difficult to read? Maybe you’re just wondering why anyone would be interested in what you’ve got to say. If you’re worried that your topics are less than thrilling, this might help. Otherwise, read on to discover the 5 steps that will instantly improve your blog.

Edit ruthlessly

When you love what you do it can be easy to go on a bit. The trick is to know what to leave and what to remove. You might just need to take a few words out. Firstly, take out the adverbs. You don’t need to say that something is really exciting, it’s just exciting. Then, make each sentence as simple and jargon free as you can. If you wouldn’t say it to a customer in a face-to-face chat, don’t put it in a blog post.

Use subheadings

Subheadings are your best friend when it comes to readability. (Yes, that is a real word.) Reading one endless block of text is tiring; break it up with subheadings and you’ll instantly improve your blog. It makes it more scannable too, so if a visitor is looking for something specific a good subheading can help them find it. You’ll also make your post more user-friendly to people using assistive technology like screen readers. Another big plus is that Google loves subheadings because they suggest you’re organised.

Write a good headline (or 20)

A good headline might seem like a small thing, but it’s an easy way to improve your blog. A great headline will attract attention when it pops up in a search and makes it more likely that you’ll be found in the first place. Your headline needs to let people know what to expect when they click through (no clickbait please). Using the right kind of language also makes it enticing and relatable. Sometimes this can be as simple as making a headline feel personal by using ‘you’ or ‘your’. Write a few then try them out in a headline analyser like this one.

Add a CTA

OK, this probably won’t improve your blog in terms of quality. I put my hands up to that. Using a call to action (or CTA) will help you to make your blog part of your overall business building. If you want your readers to do something after they’ve read your blog post, tell them. People often need a bit of a prompt before they take action. Give them a link to your shop or to book a call, ask them to leave a comment or invite them to sign up to your mailing list.

Get feedback

Here’s the scary one. You will improve your blog much more quickly if you ask someone else to read it and tell you what they think. Weirdly, it’s far more frightening than hitting publish and sending your post out onto the anonymous internet. Getting feedback from a friend or an editor will teach you a lot. You’ll find out what bits have too much jargon or where your sentence structure doesn’t work. Being brave and getting feedback lets you make improvements now.

Could you improve your blog by letting someone else write it for you? I can help with that. Just click here to book your no obligation chat.

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How to get blogging basics right (aka I made mistakes, so you don’t have to)

Blogging basics
Image by Suzy Hazlewood via Pexels

If you’re just starting out writing a business blog it’s important to get the basics right. On the other hand, if you’ve been going for ages, it’s still worth checking to see if you’ve developed any bad habits. I’ve made every blogging mistake going (please don’t look, it’s embarrassing). When I look back on some of my early blogs now, they make me cringe. It’s made me realise how important it is to get the basics right. Here are my top 5 blogging basics that will get you started (or back on the right track).

Know your audience

Sorry if you’ve got déjà vu; I sometimes feel as if I start every blog post with this. The thing is, knowing who you’re talking to is absolutely fundamental. It’s not about excluding anyone; you’re just focusing your time and energy on the people who are most likely to need what you offer. When you have a clear idea of who they are and what they care about, it’s much easier to talk to them. That way you’ll create blog posts that make people feel heard and understood and not underwhelmed.

Don’t make assumptions

You might already know who your ideal customer is, but you’re cursed with knowledge. That makes life easy if you’re talking to other experts in your industry. Otherwise, it can be a challenge to work out how much (or little) your readers already know. The last thing you want is to drive your audience away by talking down to them or blinding them with science.

If you aren’t sure whether your audience is familiar with a particular topic or their level of knowledge, ask! Social media is great for this. You can use your own platforms or ask in other groups to get a wide range of opinions and create content at the right level.

Don’t dilute your message

I know that there are lots of entrepreneurs out there with a whole range of interests. They’re also incredibly skilled at distinguishing between the different parts of their business or showing how all the different elements combine to help you achieve the results you want. Why does this matter? It’s because it takes time for people to work out what you do then they’ll forget if you don’t keep reminding them. If they see you shift to only talking about something else, they’ll assume you’ve stopped doing the first thing.

Choose your tone

This is another reason why knowing your customer is on my list of blogging basics. You can choose the right tone of voice based on what they need and what they expect from you. The way you talk to a client as a solicitor is likely to be quite different to the approach you take as a beautician. Professionalism doesn’t have to be stiff and formal but it’s still worth bearing in mind. You might want to shake things up in your industry, but it should be on purpose!

Be consistent

If you start a blog then ignore it for a year, your potential customers might wonder whether you’re still in business. It might just be that they couldn’t keep up with their own schedule. When you start blogging, aim for a realistic view about how much you can achieve in terms of quantity and quality. A good blog post once a month is way better than a rubbish one every week. If you’re already blogging and the quality has dropped, do less.

Do you need help with getting your blogging basics right? I can help with that. Just click here to book your no obligation chat.

Alternatively, if you’d like blogging and writing hints and tips straight to your inbox every month, just fill in the form below. I’m a vegetarian so I hate spam and will never share your information with anyone else.

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Writing website content: how you can get started

This image of a computer screen might look pretty but writing website content is equally important.
Photo by Format from Pexels

First, a disclaimer. I know a lot about writing website content, but not so much about the techy side. Let’s just say I know what I need to do to keep everything ticking over. If you want to know how to build a website there are lots of DIY guides out there, or you could just talk to my good friend Clare McCabe at Purple Star Design. She’s ace. So, if you’ve got the technical basics sorted, here’s how you can get started with writing your website content.

Work out what your website needs to do and who it’s for

This might seem obvious, but your website design depends on who you’re trying to reach and what your business does. If you have an ecommerce business you’ll need a shop, product descriptions and a way to take payment. Your website is an amazing tool to help you generate new leads. If you offer a service and get work mostly from referrals you might only need a brochure site that shows your expertise. As with everything in marketing, the language you use depends on who you want to talk to.

Start with basic keywords

Even if you haven’t gone down the SEO rabbit hole yet, it’s worth thinking about keywords early on and getting your site set up to include them from the start. You can keep this simple to begin with. What words might your customers use to find you? This could be the service itself (i.e., hairdresser) or a type of product (children’s clothes). They might ask a question that leads them to you even though they don’t know the name of your service. Start like this and you can build as you go.

Show visitors they’re in the right place

When a new visitor finds your website, you’ve only got a few seconds to make an impression. Your home page is likely to be the main entry point so make sure they know what they’re getting from the start. Share the most important information first and keep it clear and concise. If you have a lot to say on a particular topic, create a separate page and invite visitors to click through if they’re interested.

While I’m at it, keep your page titles simple and clear. You’ll lose visitors if they can’t find what they want because you’ve called it something obscure or overly clever.

Share the transformation

I could write reams on this (and probably will) but the most important thing about writing website content is that is needs to engage your visitors’ emotions. They’ve landed on your website because they’re looking for something. Whatever it is, there is always an emotional need as well as a practical one. It could be wanting to buy someone the perfect present or feeling desperate because their baby won’t sleep. Show them that you understand where they are and where they could be with your help.

Include a call to action

What do you want visitors to do once they’ve found you? Buy something or book a call for a chat? Make it easy for them to do that. What if they’re not ready to take that step? Think about something they could do that’s less of a commitment, that keeps you in their mind while they’re deciding. Offer them any additional information they might need. Invite them to follow you on social media or sign up to your email list so you can keep in touch.

Are you trying (and struggling) with writing website content? I can help with that. Just click here to book your no obligation chat.

Alternatively, sign up to my mailing list for writing and marketing tips straight to your inbox every month.

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3 ways you can put your personality into your marketing

Photograph of Kirsty France, demonstrating how to put personality into your marketing.
Photograph by Amber Gosden

It’s a cliché for a reason – people buy people. Most big brands don’t build themselves around the personality of the owner, but small businesses like ours have to. It can feel utterly squirm inducing to put yourself out there in your marketing, but it’s worth it. Your personality is the biggest difference between your business and every other similar one out there. Need more convincing? Read this. If you’re already sold on the idea of putting more of your personality into your marketing, read on. I’ve got some great ideas to get you started.

Write the way you talk

Grammar is a slippery little beast. I know the rules which means that I can bend and occasionally break them for effect. (Like starting a sentence with a conjunction – my ten-year-old was horrified by that one.) The great thing about content writing is that the overall effect is more important than sticking to the rules. You can write the way you speak and your content will often be better for it, as long as it gets your point across.

If you find it difficult to sit down and write, start by recording yourself. Imagine you’re explaining something to a customer and go from there. You’ll be able to hear the phrases you naturally use and include them in your writing. You can then edit your writing yourself or send it to someone like me.

Show your face

If this idea makes you want to hide under a rock, I get it. I’ve built up my confidence over time but there are still days where I’ve planned to go live and talk myself out of it. The reason I do it is because it helps people get to know me. When you show your face, it gets more personality into your marketing. It makes it more likely that people will pay attention because they recognise you from earlier posts or face to face networking. You stop being a faceless business owner and turn into someone they can trust.

The easiest ways to show your face involve video, whether it’s live, prerecorded or a reel. Plan what you’re going to say then just press the button and start talking. The more you do it, the easier it gets. If you really can’t face that yet, start with photos that have you in them and build from there.

Tell a story

The human brain loves stories. We associate them with happy childhood memories or good times with friends. Telling a story in your marketing can put your audience in the main character’s shoes or give them insight into your life. (Which gives them another opportunity to see you as a real human being.) Case studies are a great way to do this as you can tell them the story of someone you helped who is just like them. They can identify with their struggles and see you as the solution.

Sharing a story from your life is ideal if you share common ground with your audience. You might have been in their shoes in terms of life experience, for example as a parent. You could also have felt the same emotions, like overwhelm or imposter syndrome. It doesn’t mean sharing your life story but giving a bit of yourself will help you to build a relationship with your audience.

Would you like to put more of your personality into your marketing content? I can help with that. Just click here to book your no obligation chat.

If you’d rather get to know me a bit first, you can sign up to my mailing list for blogging hints and tips straight to your inbox every month. You can unsubscribe whenever you like and I won’t share your information with anyone else.

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4 easy steps to help you plan your marketing for 2022

A planner that will help you plan your marketing for 2022.
Photo by Bich Tran from Pexels

When the Christmas scramble is over it’s time to turn your attention to a shiny new year. (If you’re really organised the best time to plan for the new year is before your Christmas marketing even starts.) If you plan your marketing on the hoof and never feel as if you’re quite on top of it, I’m here to help. Here are my 4 easy steps to help you plan your marketing for 2022.

Map your services to subject areas

This might sound like I’m stating the bleeding obvious, but your content needs to talk about stuff you want to sell. The key is to cover relevant topics in a way that shows your expertise but also lets your customers know that you understand them. You can keep things really broad at this stage and come up with general subject areas. For me, this part of the plan includes blogging, website copy and content marketing. Once you’ve come up with those, start to think about the challenges that your customers face that you can help with. Shifting your focus to the things that your audience care about will help you to come up with topics. Which brings me to…

Break the big ideas down into smaller topics

Within every big subject area there will be loads of smaller subjects. If you’re a beauty therapist one of your key areas might be skincare. Your audience will have different needs depending on their skin type, individual problems or even the time of year. Break them all down into the smallest topics you can think of. If you’re writing content for December your customers might be looking for Christmas gift ideas, ways to protect their skin in the colder weather or how to look after their skin during Christmas party season when they’re wearing make up more often. The narrower your topic, the more likely it is to be useful to your audience.

Choose a monthly focus

Marketing is pointless if it isn’t consistent. (You’ve probably heard me say that before.) We learn by repetition and studies suggest that someone needs to see your message at least 7 times before it sinks in. When you choose a monthly focus for your marketing it means that every piece of content sends the same core message. Even if your followers don’t see everything you share, the message sinks in and they understand what you offer. It also makes it easier for you to plan your marketing each month because everything comes back to the same central focus. It also means that you can use my next tip much more easily.

Repurpose your blog

A blog is a wonderful piece of content because it’s endlessly reusable. You can take each blog post and break it down into individual tips to share on social media. You can use each tip more than once, creating different types of content. That could include image posts, stories, Reels or other kinds of video just for starters. Look at your analytics to work out what your audience likes and try out new things to see what reaction you get. It saves you time because you don’t have to constantly plan new marketing content or write new words for each individual post. Don’t worry about repeating yourself because no-one sees everything you share.

Would you like to create a new marketing plan and brand-new content? I can help with that. Just click here to book your no obligation chat.

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Case study: Just Jules jewellery

Jules from Just Jules jewellery at work in her studio.
Image by Just Jules jewellery

Freelance life has its ups and downs, but sometimes you get lucky. One of my lucky moments involved meeting the lovely Jules Baines from Just Jules jewellery. I met Jules networking (I know, this is a recurring theme for me). We became friends and I bought a lot of gifts from her (because she’s a genius who can always be relied on to come up with the perfect present). It meant that when she needed some help with her marketing and content creation, I already knew all about her brand and how she looks after her customers. Now we work together regularly and it’s always new and exciting.

What Jules needed

When we first spoke, Jules already had a flourishing website and she shared occasional blog posts alongside news and updates. She wanted to make more of the blog and start posting more regularly. Then, as we chatted, she started talking about the other website updates that were going to happen. She didn’t feel that the copy in certain areas really reflected her brand, so we talked about ways I could change it. Then, before you know it, we’d landed on the subject of product descriptions and how much new stock gets added to her website every year.

Since then, we’ve worked on blog posts, updated website copy and product descriptions. The work is always fun because Jules is incredibly creative and the brand takes in jewellery, candles, wax melts and home décor.

How we work

Since I first started writing for Jules, we’ve had a global pandemic and Just Jules jewellery has become a permanent fixture in a bricks and mortar shop. (The Lifestyle Barn at Bawdon Lodge Farm, in case you’re wondering. If you’re in or around Leicestershire I highly recommend a visit.) The website is still thriving, helping Jules to stay in touch with her customers.

We get together about once a month and work out what we’re going to do next, then I go away and do the work. This often involves Jules sending me loads of gorgeous pictures, which is a lovely thing to have in your inbox. I’m about to start work on a Christmas blog and can’t wait to see what’s coming next!

You can have your own Just Jules shopping experience at the Lifestyle Barn or visit her website.

I can create the content you need, when you need it. Let’s have a chat and you can find out how it works.