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Case study – creating flexible packaged services for Fishers Solicitors

Flexible packaged service case study

My work with Fishers Solicitors’ started thanks to a conversation about my packaged services at a networking event. If you’re at all familiar with my work, you’ll know that’s a common occurrence. I’m usually involved in the conversation in question, but this time I wasn’t. That’s the beauty of networking with people who remember what you do. One of the partners at Fishers was talking about marketing and the fact that their marketing manager often needed members of the team to write blogs. The trouble is that busy solicitors generally have more pressing demands on their time. It was proving to be a struggle. I was swiftly introduced for a chat with Chloe, who co-ordinates their marketing.

The challenge

When I spoke with Chloe it soon became clear that they needed more than blogs. Like a lot of professional service businesses, they had access to a bank of articles that they could share but they also needed content that was unique to them. The practice covers a range of different services so they have plenty to talk about. Chloe told me that she gets lots of content ideas from the different teams but that execution is an issue. They struggle with formatting and getting their message across in the right way. She wanted to create a discussion-based blog that is topical and pushes their strategy. They’re also regular contributors to a magazine where they answer a legal question each month and want to add new content to their website too.

The solution

My packaged services are built around creating a set number of blogs each month. However, they can also include other types of content too. While Chloe wants to build an effective blog to build Fishers’ reputation and position them as thought leaders there’s more to it than that. Since we started working together, I’ve written blogs, a new page for their website, a magazine Q&A and a news item that can also go out as a press release. Chloe and I speak once a month and she introduces me to other members of the team so we can have a chat. That means they can just tell me what I need to know in a few minutes, rather than trying to write content in a way that’s completely new to them.

Does your business need flexible content at a predictable cost? I can help with that. Just email me or book a chat here.

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Case study – rewriting website copy for Photography by Jess Iliffe

A baby who's completely oblivious to the importance of good website copy.
Photo credit: Photography by Jessica Iliffe

Jess Iliffe has the best job in the world (obviously I do too, but hers is still fantastic). She gets to hang out with cute babies and their parents all day and take the most beautiful pictures. I met Jess networking (no surprises there) and her passion for her business shines through in everything she does. There’s nothing quite like seeing someone’s eyes light up when they talk about their work. Jess’ enthusiasm could power a whole town. We’d known each other for a while and I’d already written a couple of Facebook posts for her when she was too busy to think. Then, one day, she said “I need to update the copy on my website.”

The challenge

When I looked at Jess’ website, there wasn’t much wrong with it. As a photographer who specialises in photographing babies from birth to one year she has a very visual business and there are loads of gorgeous photos on her site. In other words, exactly what her potential customers need to see. We wanted to let the images take centre stage but still give potential clients the information they need. This included explaining how Jess works and what the costs of her service might be. Jess had also found that people were getting confused about pricing and wanted to make the whole thing clearer.

The solution

I started off by reviewing Jess’ existing website and making some recommendations about ways we could improve the copy. Then we had a chat over lunch so I could get a clear picture of the kind of clients she works with and the overall feel she wanted her new site to create.

Then I went away and wrote new copy. This included creating a friendly call to action that will encourage people to get in touch. I also added new descriptions to her services page and updated the pricing descriptions to make the whole thing clearer.

After a busy Christmas and New Year Jess hasn’t got round to updating her site just yet, but I’ll keep you posted. If you’re expecting a baby and would love to capture some truly beautiful images of their first days, I highly recommend you give Jess’ site a visit.

Does your website need a bit of a refresh? I can help with that. Just send me a message or book a chat here.

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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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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.

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Case study: a content repurposing collaboration

Photo by Gabriela Palai from Pexels

One of the best things about working in a creative industry is the fact that it gives me opportunities to work as part of a team. The other one is working one to one with clients, but they’re vastly different experiences. A collaboration for me often comes about when one of my website designing friends creates a new website (or redesigns an old one) for one of their clients. They don’t do the wordy bits so if the client doesn’t already have someone in mind, they send them in my direction. I love it because I know there’s already a clear vision for the site so I can jump straight in. It’s brilliant when another creative brain has already got things started because it sparks so many ideas in me.

All of which brings me to another kind of project. When I first ventured out of the (frankly boring) world of corporate networking and into drinking coffee with creatives I hadn’t considered working with people who make films for businesses. I kind of assumed that they’d already have people who are good at that sort of thing. What I didn’t expect was a collaboration that took video and turned it into something else.

The project

If you’ve been in business for any length of time, you’re probably already familiar with local initiatives that encourage business growth. I’ve seen everything from funding schemes to education projects. Beyond the obvious benefits to local businesses and regional growth, projects like this have one other massive advantage. It gives the people offering the scheme the opportunity to shout about how great they are. A Leicestershire based agency had been offering grants and loans to local businesses. The funding enabled them to secure premises or buy new equipment that allowed them to grow. There were lots of positive stories. Clearly, everyone involved wanted to get the word out.

The marketing

The marketing plan had several different strands, taking in both online and offline marketing. A video agency had already interviewed businesses who’d benefitted from funding and creating short films to share online. They just needed to turn the stories into a form that would also work in print. That’s where I came in. I took the transcriptions of the interviews and turned them into good news stories that could be shared online, via social media and even in printed mail outs to other local businesses.

The whole initiative was so successful that it’s happening again. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that I get to put together another collaboration and share some of the stories again this time round!

If I can help you to share your story in a new way, book your call here and let’s have a chat.

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Ready to outsource? How you can find the right people

Outsource by finding the right people.

Making the decision to outsource some of your business tasks is one thing. Finding someone you’d actually trust to do the work is quite another. If you’re looking for a full time employee you might be better off hiring someone to find suitable candidates. However, more and more businesses don’t want the hassle. It may even be that you only need someone for a couple of hours a week, or to work short term on a specific project. A freelancer with other clients is the ideal solution. But how do you find the right one?

Sole trader v Agency

Agencies or larger businesses are ideal if you’ve got a specific project or need help with a range of different things. There are agencies of all sizes, including some that are run by sole traders. The difference between an agency and one sole trader is that the agency will have built a team of people who can cover a range of different things and will manage them all for you.

Sole traders are great if you don’t need to outsource to lots of different people. For example, you might already have a designer who’s created your new website, but you need someone to write the copy. Managing two freelancers is relatively easy – it gets trickier if you need five or six different specialities.

Getting recommendations

When it comes to finding the right person, getting a recommendation from someone you trust is by far the best option.  You can get a personal recommendation based on their own experience so you can outsource with confidence. Of course, it’s worth bearing in mind that their needs might not be exactly the same as yours and their approach to work may be completely different.

Networking events have been invaluable for me in finding people to work with. My main memberships focus on relationship building so I’ve got to know a range of people and discovered who I get on with. Then when I need a particular service I’ve often already got someone in mind.

Personality is key

Whilst access to specialist skills is one of the main benefits of working with a freelancer, you’ll still need to consider whether their personality fits with yours. This not only makes the working relationship easier, it will get you better results. No matter what work you’re planning to outsource, communication is the key to getting it done well.

I’ve met and worked with all kinds of different business owners, but they all have one thing in common. I’ve found it easy to build a rapport with them. When I’m choosing service providers for my own business the only difference between two equally qualified people has often been that I like one better than the other.

Selection

Of course, there’s more to it than personality. It’s important to be upfront about what your budget is when you’re talking to people. This enables them to tell you whether you need more funds, to adjust your expectations. They might also be able to recommend someone else. It’s a waste of everyone’s time if a freelancer takes the time to prepare a quote only for you to find it’s double what you can afford.

Also, think about whether their working style is a good fit. You may simply need someone who gives you regular updates or uses resources that allow you to check progress. If you’re looking for coaching I’d also recommend looking at their whole approach. Some coaches help you to become more personally effective, others look at your whole business and deliver strategic operations to achieve growth. Which kind do you need?

If you’re ready to outsource your copywriting, get in touch and let’s have a chat. If you’re looking for a DIY approach, visit my online shop for resources that will help or sign up to my mailing list for monthly hints and tips as well as a copy of my free guide ‘Stop hiding your business! 5 ways to be seen online’ as a thank you.

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Why you need to outsource your blog

Is this your idea of fun? Why you need to outsource your blog.
Is this your idea of fun?
Image from Pixabay

It’s one of the most common misconceptions about blogging. “Shouldn’t I be writing that myself?” Well, if you’re writing as an individual about your personal life, yes. Otherwise, for most people, no. There are a couple of reasons why writing your own business blog is a good idea (I’ll come to those) but a few others which mean it’s a better idea to outsource. Here goes…

When writing it yourself is a great idea

If you’re writing a personal blog, it should be, well, personal. That probably also applies to influencer type bloggers too. However, if you’re writing a blog for your business it’s not necessarily about you. You’ll be talking about your business but focusing on what your customer needs or wants. However, when you first start out you’ll spend some time finding your way. There’ll be trial and error while you work out what people like and how you want to sound. You might even be working out where blogging fits in your marketing. If this describes you, keep writing. (If you’re struggling to get going because you need ideas, this book is for you.) If you eventually hand your blog over to a writer it’s much better for everyone if you have a clear style that your writer can adopt.

Help with talking to your customers

There will always be trial and error when it comes to blogging, but what if you’ve been trying for ages and getting mostly error? You know exactly what you want to say but it just doesn’t come out right. When you outsource and a writer can take random ideas from your head and turn them into sentences that sound like you (this is where ghost writing gets a bit spooky). The other benefit is that a writer or marketing expert isn’t part of your business. You might see something as boring and routine when it’s exactly what your customer needs to hear about. Sometimes it’s as simple as asking you to explain what’s in it for your customer or helping you to spot the things they don’t understand.

What’s your time worth?

Blogs are slippery little beasts because you never know who is watching. I’ve had new customers tell me that they love my blog but they’ve never visibly engaged with it. I’m telling you this because I know how disheartening it is to slave over a blog and get tumbleweed. It’s even worse if you’ve spent time on it that you could have spent having fun or doing something more productive. The truth is, if your analytics tell you that people are reading, it’s probably working. It builds your profile and it’s hard to put a figure on that. I pay a cleaner because I don’t want to spend my day off cleaning. If you resent the time you’re spending writing get it off your plate and go and play with your kids instead.

How much do you love writing?

If the days, hours or minutes you spend writing content for your business are an absolute joy, keep going. The more you do it, the better you get. If the time came when writing was competing with other things that are important to you, you might have to decide to let it go. If, on the other hand, you sit down to write with a sigh because you hate it, then stop. I know you might have to get some income into your business before you can do that, but you could make it something to aim for. Goals don’t just have to be about income. It could be ‘I want to earn enough to outsource my blog/pay someone to do my filing/ [insert your least favourite task here]’.

Are you ready to outsource your blog? Drop me an email and let’s have a chat (and if you just want to ask me how much it would cost so you can put a figure on your goal, that’s fine too).

50 blog post ideas for your business (if you're not ready to outsource)