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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.

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Evergreen content: what is it (and why do you need it?)

Evergreen content blog header - with literal evergreens!
Photo by invisiblepower from Pexels

If you’ve ever heard the phrase ‘evergreen content’ you might have written it off as a bit of a buzzword. You might have heard it described as ‘cornerstone’ content in those SEO guides too. The thing is, if you haven’t got to grips with evergreen content yet, you’re missing out. It’s incredibly useful and could save you a heap of time. So what is it and why should you care? Read on…

Evergreen content stays relevant for longer

Evergreen content got its name because of its resemblance to evergreen trees. It might not look at home covered in fairy lights at Christmas, but it does last for ages. This kind of content doesn’t talk about current news, trends or even a particular season. They’re the sort of posts that your audience could find any time, for years to come, and they’ll still be helpful and relevant. It’s the difference between talking about panic buying petrol and how to maintain your car between services.

It’s great for SEO

Evergreen content is great for SEO because it covers the kind of topics that people search for time after time. You could write a blog post about how to soothe a screaming baby now and new parents might still be finding it in 2031. Posts about current affairs or new trends will get you website traffic in the short term (which is still a great thing). Evergreen posts will keep going for longer. Your figures might drop a bit, but they’ll keep going, quietly working away in the background to bring you new visitors.

It has wide appeal

The key thing about evergreen content is that it generally isn’t for experts. Someone who’s experienced in your field already knows the basics so will only be looking for updates. Evergreen posts work better for people who need a beginner’s guide to a topic. This is great for you because if you’re an expert working with non-experts, it’s an opportunity for you to share your knowledge. Your visitors might learn from you and do a DIY version, but they’ll still remember you as the expert who helped them when they’re ready to pay someone else.

Some examples of evergreen content

If you like the sound of this evergreen lark and you’re starting to think about topics, here are some ideas. In every industry there will be perennial subjects that never go away. Your audience could be interested in time management, parenting skills, how to write their first blog post or questions to ask a new supplier. When you come up with an idea, ask yourself whether anyone will care about this in five years’ time. If the answer’s no, you might still have a great idea for a post, but it probably won’t be evergreen.

Keep it updated

It’s tempting to think that once you’ve created your evergreen content you can just ignore it until the end of time. Sorry, but that’s not how it works. While the posts will definitely stay relevant for longer, it’s still worth checking in on them from time to time. Attitudes change and while your advice might be spot on for a few years, it won’t necessarily stay that way forever. A quick read through every year or so will tell you if anything needs updating to extend the life of your content.

Are you ready to start creating evergreen content? I can help with that. Just click here to book your no obligation chat.

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How you can use product descriptions in your marketing

Using product descriptions in your marketing helps you to make more sales.
Photo by RODNAE Productions from Pexels

If you already write brilliant product descriptions (and if you’re not sure where to start, read this.) you might think that they’ll just sit on your website until your customers find them. Not necessarily. They can be incredibly time consuming to create, so why not share them further afield? Here are 5 easy ways to use your product descriptions in your marketing.

Create social media posts

If you’ve written engaging product descriptions that go beyond the technical details, you can share them as a post. Just read them through to make sure they’ll make sense on a different platform. This is really useful at Christmas or during other festivals, as you can make gift buying easier for your customers. Just add a sentence like ‘these are vegan and gluten free as well as being easy to wrap’ (or whatever fits your product). Add an image and it’s ready to go.

Use product descriptions in your blog

You could probably write a whole handful of blog posts talking about gifts for different occasions. Valentine’s Day, Mothering Sunday, Easter, Halloween, Diwali, Christmas… you get the idea. A blog post that’s tailored to gifts for different people will help you to turn up in Google searches, particularly if you serve a niche audience. Just write a preamble introducing your topic and use your product descriptions in each section. You don’t have to limit yourself to gifts either – you can use this method to introduce new products that solve a particular problem.

Create a gift guide

This is one of my favourite time saving tricks for product-based businesses. Put your product descriptions into a gift guide so your customers don’t have to search your website. Organise them by section and create a PDF that you can email to your subscribers and share on your website. If you have the budget you can also create a print version. More and more local shops are supporting other businesses by sharing leaflets and brochures, so it’s worth investigating.

Make a video

You already know how much Facebook and Instagram love video. You could do a live talking about one or two products using your product description as the basis for your script. If you can condense your descriptions down to bullet points you can use them in a reel. You probably don’t want to use a full product description in your stories, but you can share part of your description to highlight an interesting feature.

Share the little details

Your customers are surprisingly good at finding reasons not to buy from you. You can start handling those objections in your product descriptions and social media posts. Say, for example, you send out every order in gorgeous handmade packaging. That’s the kind of detail that will sell your products to customers who care about quality or who hate wrapping presents. If you talk about sustainability in your product descriptions, share those sections in your posts too. If it’s important to your customers, you can use those tiny snippets of your product descriptions in your marketing.

If you’d rather save your time and energy for everything else you need to do in your business, I can write (or update) your product descriptions for you. Just click here to book your no obligation chat.

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How you can start writing brilliant product descriptions

Brilliant product descriptions help your customers to buy the perfect gift.
Photo by Pixabay via Pexels.com

If you have a business that sells anything remotely Christmas related, here’s a statistic for you. 38% of people start their Christmas shopping sometime in October. I know, I was surprised too. The question is, are you ready? Online shopping has rocketed over the past 18 months (by 46% – sorry, I’ll stop with the stats now). The question is, how do you encourage your customers to buy when they’ve only got pictures and a product description to go on? The answer’s pretty obvious when you think about it – you create amazing visuals and descriptions that let them imagine they’ve bought from you already. How do you do that? Read on…

Tell people what they’re buying

This might seem a bit obvious if you’re selling a t-shirt but include a caption that tells people exactly what they’re getting. It just offers an extra bit of reassurance that they haven’t misinterpreted the picture. It also makes your products more accessible to customers who use screen readers. On the other hand, if your product is something out of the ordinary you can use your product description to educate people.

Include technical details

Technical information rarely makes for a scintillating read, so it’s a good idea to put it in bullet point form. Even if it’s a bit dull it’s still important. You don’t want to miss a sale because your potential buyer can’t work out whether that piece of furniture will fit into their house. Tell me that I can chuck that kids’ t-shirt in the washing machine or I’m not buying. Put yourself in your customers’ shoes and you won’t go far wrong.

Show them the benefits

This is the bit where you can start to engage your customers’ emotions. Ask yourself what they care about and how you help with that, then include it in your product descriptions. This could mean showing a ‘before and after’. Focus on the result they want and explain how your product can get them there. You can also speak to people’s values. If you sell baby clothes, talking about fabrics that are gentle on delicate skin shows new parents that you understand them.

Product descriptions with all the feels

Photos and video are great for showing a product in action. One of the downsides of shopping online is that you’ve only got a visual to go on, so use your product descriptions to engage people’s senses and fill in the blanks. Talk about scent if it’s relevant. Describe the feeling of wrapping that soft scarf around their neck or tell them that those earrings would be perfect with their little black dress. Letting people imagine using the product brings them closer to buying it.

Show people the process

This might seem like I’m stating the bleeding obvious, but if you want people to buy you need to make it easy. I know that most of you will have a nice big ‘buy now’ or ‘add to basket’ button and an accessible checkout. What if your products are bespoke or can be personalised? Is there a place for them to add extra details or to send you a message? Is delivery included? The easier you make it, the more likely people are to buy.

One final thing. Remember the gift buyers, especially in the run up to Christmas. If something would make the perfect gift for a particular person, tell them. You’ll make their life a whole lot easier and you might just have a new fan.

If you’d rather save your time and energy for everything else you need to do in your business, I can write (or update) your product descriptions for you. Just click here to book your no obligation chat.

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Why do we find it so difficult to show the person behind the business?

I'm almost showing the person behind the business while having a cup of tea.
Photo by Amber Gosden

There are days when I sit down to write and it all just works. Today isn’t one of them. There are two sets of circumstances that allow me to just open a new document and get going. Firstly, there are the times that I have a plan. I’m either writing something for a client, where we’ve had a chat and I’ve got loads of notes, or it’s something I’ve written into my marketing planner because I think you’ll find it useful. Secondly, there are the days when I’ve got something to get off my chest. This is the stuff that sometimes doesn’t make it into print. It just feels good to write it down. When I’m wearing my fiction writing hat those words sometimes come back to me. They might not go into a finished piece, but it helps me get into the mindset of a character who’s thoroughly hacked off.

What’s the plan?

Today, I sat down with no idea what to write about. I’m a big believer in showing the person behind the business and being honest, but it’s not easy. I get frustrated at the way other people’s social media posts either pretend that everything in their life is perfect or exaggerate the misery. It’s the same in business. We feel as if we have to present a front that pretends business is easy and wonderful 100% of the time. Truth is, it isn’t. It’s frequently tough. It leads to those 3am crises of confidence where we sob and tell ourselves that we’ve made a horrible mistake. That doesn’t mean it isn’t worth it. I’d rather deal with the self-doubt than go back to having a boss. But does reminding you all that there’s a real person behind the business make me look weak?

Why am I telling you this?

You may be reading this (or perhaps you’ve given up) wondering what on earth I’m going on about. What’s the point? The point of the story is that we all struggle to know what to talk about in our marketing. What do we share and what do we leave out? It’s partly for me, to help me work out why I find it difficult to write when I don’t have a plan. I hope that it helps you to know that you’re not the only one who struggles. Most of us don’t tell the truth on social media (I know that isn’t a profound insight, but there you go). A lot of us leave out anything negative. If times are bad we don’t post at all. Some people just lie. Or exaggerate to add some drama.

What next?

If we want to show the person behind the business, where do we start? Do we post warts and all accounts of the doubts and fears along with the wins? Probably not. We all have things we can justifiably keep private. But maybe we can start sharing some of the eye roll moments, or the times when things don’t go to plan. Or when the plan didn’t exist in the first place.

As for me, I’m going to go back to my planner and think of more stories like this one. I might even look at ideas for strategies to use when your mind goes completely blank!

If you’d like regular tips and inspiration straight to your inbox, you can sign up for my emails using the form below. I won’t spam you or share your information with anyone else. Alternatively, book your slot here for a chat about how I can help you to create marketing content that tells your story and speaks your customers’ language.

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How you can use your blog in your email marketing

A woman being happy because she's using her blog in her email marketing.
Photo by Vlada Karpovich from Pexels

When you’ve gone to the effort of writing a blog, I’m willing to bet that you don’t want it to just sit there on your website. You want it to be out in the world, being read by your ideal customers. At least, I hope you do. If you’re just writing for fun and a creative outlet, I salute you, but this blog isn’t really for you. (If you haven’t started a blog because you don’t know where to start, read this.) If you’ve spent time on writing a brilliant blog post and are wondering what else you can do with it, I have two words for you. Email marketing. It’s a wonderful thing to send to your list if you have one. Your blog can also help you to build a list if you need to. Here are my top 5 tips to get you started.

Create a calendar

A content calendar helps you to get organised. It also makes your marketing more coherent overall. When you choose a focus for each month you can plan all your blogs, emails and social media posts around that one topic. It makes things easier for you because you can repurpose your content by sharing your blog in your emails and breaking it down for social media posts. It also makes things clearer for your customers.

Use your blog in your email marketing

Have you ever stopped sending emails to your list because something had to give? We’ve all been there. It’s more likely to happen if you’re creating fresh content for every marketing channel. If you use your blog as a central part of your emails, you make everything quicker and easier. Then all you need to do is top and tail the email with a bit of news and your latest offers and you’ve saved yourself loads of time.

Add a sign-up form

If you don’t have an email marketing list, or you want to attract more subscribers, add a sign-up form to the bottom of your posts. (I have a widget from Thrive Themes that does mine.) It’s the perfect way to attract the right audience because people only sign up if they’re interested in what you have to say. It’s a good idea to offer people something useful as a thank you for signing up. Which brings me to…

Use older blogs as lead magnets

Firstly, a note of caution. GDPR includes rules about offering freebies to new subscribers. Please make sure you’re up to speed before you follow this tip. If you’ve already written a whole load of useful blogs, you can repurpose them to send out to your subscribers. Tips posts are particularly good if they have advice readers can put into action straight away. Just format the post as a PDF with images and you’re ready to go.

Blog series = email marketing sequence

If you’re new to blogging this is a good one to bear in mind for the future. A blog series works well for topics that are too big to cover in one post. For example, I wrote a series on how to start writing a blog. You can read it on my website or get it straight to your inbox. (Just complete the form below – see what I did there?!) What topics could you write a series about?

Are you ready to start writing a blog that you can use throughout your marketing? I can help with that. Click here to book a chat with me and find out more about your options. Or sign up to receive my series on how to start your business blog using the form below.

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How storytelling can make your email marketing better

Typewriter showing that stories matter in your email marketing.
Photo by Suzy Hazelwood from Pexels

Once upon time, there was a brave warrior princess who decided to start a business. She told lots of stories in her email marketing so her customers would love her and her business was a great success. The end.

Don’t worry, I haven’t lost the plot. I’m just telling you a story. What sprang to mind when you read ‘once upon a time’? Did it feel familiar and maybe a bit comforting? That’s what stories do. They don’t all have to start like a fairytale though. Telling a story is a really effective way to market your business, especially when you use it in your email marketing. Here’s why it works and how you can use it for yourself.

Why storytelling works

When a story comes in a format you recognise it feels comforting. You know what to expect and feel as if you’re in safe hands. A story doesn’t have to be a fairytale. It could sound like a chat you’d have with a friend. The point is, it doesn’t feel as if you’re being sold something. You’re just listening to someone else’s experience. When you use this in your marketing, it builds trust and helps you to connect with your audience. Simple.

When to use it in your email marketing

Storytelling works particularly well in email marketing. You’ve come straight to your reader’s inbox and now you’re going to share a story with them. There are, as you might expect, a few different ways to do this. You could tell one long story and relate it to your business at the end, or you could drop in snippets of story here and there. Here are a few ways that you can start using storytelling in your email marketing.

Nurture sequences

Nurture sequences are those emails that you send to new subscribers. They let new people know what to expect. It’s also your opportunity to introduce yourself. You can use a sequence to show your subscribers who you are and how you help. Let them see the person behind the business and you’ll build trust. You can also share useful stuff, like links to your best blog posts and handy tips.

Case studies

You might not think of a case study as a story, but it is. It starts out with someone facing a challenge, looking for a solution and ending up in a better place than they were before. It’s the real-life equivalent of a hero going on a quest. The only differences are that there aren’t any dragons and the princess saves herself. Case studies are also brilliant because they show your audience that you know what you’re doing and have got results for other people.

Email marketing introductions

If nurture sequences and case studies sound a bit long winded, don’t panic. There are simpler ways to use storytelling in your emails. You can start with your opening paragraph. That bit where you say hello before you share your latest blog post and current offers. You might decide to share your latest business news, but you can also tell a personal story. I work with lots of business owning mums so will often talk about the school holidays or something funny my kids have said. It’s a small thing that reminds my readers that we’re all dealing with the same stuff.

Do you want to start using storytelling in your marketing? I can help with that. Click here to book a chat with me and find out more about your options.

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How editing can help you create good marketing content

Typewriter emphasising the importance of editing and rewriting.
Photo by Suzy Hazlewood via Pexels

Have you ever sat down, ready to create new marketing content and found yourself grinding to a complete halt? You either can’t get going or you write a few sentences and delete them again because they sound rubbish. We’ve all been there (even me). The trouble is that we think we have to write something amazing first time. The truth is, we don’t. No-one has to read your first draft of anything. You can write the scrappiest sentences you like because editing is your friend. As long as the stuff you write gives you something to work with, you can go back and edit it later. So, set yourself free and write whatever you want. Then follow my five editing tips to help you make it better.

1.      Use your spelling and grammar checker

Yes, it’s really that simple. If you write using Word or Google docs, they have inbuilt spelling and grammar checker. You don’t have to follow every grammar recommendation – sometimes sticking to your original phrasing makes it sound more like you.

If you have a WordPress website and use Yoast’s plugin for SEO, it also has a readability checker. In my experience it’s not 100% reliable but it has some useful tips for editing sentences that makes them easier to read.

2.      Have you stuck to the point?

I mentioned this in my last blog (which you can read here). There’s no faster way to lose your readers than by wandering off on constant tangents. Read through your blog and ask yourself whether every paragraph talks about the original topic. If it doesn’t, take it out, but save it somewhere else. It could be useful for a future post. (Can you tell I love recycling?)

3.      Does it make sense?

This can be a tricky one to gauge. Your content might make sense to you but be bewildering to someone else. You’re an expert but maybe your readers aren’t. The first thing to check for is jargon. If you’re using phrases that only people in your industry understand, take them out.

Getting a second opinion is often a good idea. Tidy up your content then ask someone outside your industry to read it and see if they understand what you mean.

4.      Check your sentence length

This is supremely geeky, but it will help you to write better content. Using a variety of different sentence lengths makes things easier to read. It’s mainly because it makes your writing closer to normal speech.

You don’t have to count every sentence (I can hear the sigh of relief from here), but if a paragraph sounds a bit monotonous when you read it, have a quick count. You might find that all your sentences are the same length.

5.      Are there superfluous words?

Your writing will be clearer if you keep things simple. Words like ‘really’ or ‘very’ can add emphasis, but not if you use them in every sentence. Stephen King famously said that you should never use adverbs. Why say that someone shouted loudly? If it was quiet, it wouldn’t be shouting. (My grammar checker suggested that I take ‘loudly’ out of that sentence, which probably means that you don’t need to worry about it too much if you follow tip #1!)

Would you like a second pair of eyes on your content? Or would you rather hand it over altogether? Book a call here and let’s have a chat to see how I can help you.

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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
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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.