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How to write your website homepage

Photo by Monoar Rahman from Pexels

Your website homepage is the main point of entry for new visitors unless they’ve clicked through to read a blog post. It’s one of the most powerful tools you have for attracting new customers but it’s also easy to lose people if you don’t get it right. A website is an ever-evolving thing that you change as you learn more or your business changes, but here are just a few homepage basics to get you started.

Show visitors you have what they need (or not)

When a new visitor lands on your homepage you only have a few seconds to make an impression. It’s important that your headline shows them you can help. It could be as simple as saying who you work with and what you do. If you sell products you could start with images and a bit of explanatory content like ‘beautiful jewellery handmade in the UK’. If that’s what they’re looking for they’ll stay and dig deeper. They’ll leave if it isn’t for them and you’ve only lost someone who wouldn’t have bought anyway.

Show your human side

Even huge corporations have photographs of the people who run the show and it’s even more important when you’re a small business. Showing your face and those of your team (if you have one) helps your future customers to trust you. Include an image along with a brief bio on your home page and you start building a relationship straight away. Your home page shouldn’t be weighed down with too much text so add a click through to your ‘about me’ or ‘meet the team’ page for more.

Make information quick and easy to find

When you write your website homepage, give your visitor enough information but not too much. Put important stuff near the top then work down. (Beyond making sure visitors know they’re in the right place, there are no hard and fast rules. It’s one of those things you can play with and test over time.) Easy navigation is also key. If someone knows exactly what service they want, help them find it. If they need help working it out, signpost them to relevant information; that could be key blog posts, FAQs or a questionnaire.

Include testimonials

If you’re starting out you might not have testimonials yet, but they’re so valuable. They let potential customers see that you’ve helped real people like them. You’re not just telling them you’re good. It works on social media too – you’re much more likely to buy from someone if you can see that your friends like them as well. The technical term is social proof – it’s the digital marketing equivalent to asking around. Start gathering testimonials as soon as you can – I’m rubbish at this so it’s advice for me as much as you.

Contact details

This seems stupidly obvious but make it easy for people to buy. If you have an online shop this should be simple but if you don’t, show people how to book your services. Make it clear and straightforward on your homepage. Also, let people know what to do if they have a question. Give them a contact form. Put your email address or phone number in a prominent place and ask them to use that. This doesn’t just help them – it means that when you get questions you won’t miss them.

Are you trying (and struggling) to write your website homepage (or the rest of your website content)? I can help with that. Just click here to book your no obligation chat.

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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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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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How you can start creating evergreen content

Creating evergreen content means making something worth reading.
Image by Suzy Hazelwood via Pexels

It’s all very well knowing that you want to include evergreen content in your marketing. (If you don’t know what evergreen content is or why you’d need it, start here.) The real question is, how do you start creating it? Read on for five quick ways to help you get started.

Know your audience

When you start creating evergreen content, it’s important that you know who you’re writing for. The normal rules of getting to know your audience apply, but when you’re creating evergreen content, you need to go a bit further. Identify the beginners in your audience and what they need to know. Experts will look for the latest news and updates and that’s not what evergreen content is about. Write for the newbies and you’ll be heading in the right direction.

Keep sharing

Evergreen content is great for SEO because it’ll turn up in Google searches for ages after you wrote it. That doesn’t mean you can ignore it completely (sorry). Give it a little boost every so often by resharing it on your social media platforms. You could also include this kind of content in a welcome sequence for new email subscribers. It can work as an introduction to your area of expertise and will help new subscribers understand the work you do.

Creating evergreen content: format ideas

There are a few kinds of content that lend themselves really well to this. If there’s a topic that most of your audience want to know about or questions that you answer all the time, start there. Here are a few examples.

Frequently asked questions

If you already have a FAQ page on your website, you’re off to a flying start. If not, start thinking about the questions you get asked all the time when people first get in touch. These are the kinds of questions that they’ll be typing into Google as well. You can even improve your SEO by linking to these posts from your FAQ page so visitors can head there for a bit more detail.

How to guides

When it comes to creating evergreen content, these are a classic. They’re ideal if you do the kind of work that your audience might want to DIY to start with. My version of this is a series of blog posts that show you how to write your first blog post. (If you’d like the full series straight to your inbox you can sign up here.) Create a guide that walks your readers through a topic step by step and you’ll have created a resource that’s useful for both new and existing visitors.

What to expect

Most people don’t like trying new things. I know that sounds pessimistic, but it’s true. You might have loads of potential customers who aren’t booking because they’re scared what might happen if they do. The best thing that you can do is to talk about what they can expect when they contact you. What happens at the first consultation or after they fill in that contact form? This is different from an FAQ; people won’t ask because they’re worried about looking stupid. Put their fears to rest by telling them what to expect.

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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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.