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Want to help new customers find you? Use your blog.

Woman working on her blog to find new customers
Photo by Ivan Samkov from Pexels

Have you started a blog and are wondering how long it will be before it brings those lovely new customers to your (virtual) door? Maybe you’re just thinking of starting one but are hesitating because you don’t know whether the time and effort is worth it. Whilst a good, helpful blog that’s relevant to your customer base is a wonderful thing, there are still a few things you can do to give it a better chance of being found and read. Here are my top 5.

Optimise your blog for keywords

You might already have your SEO strategy sorted, or you might not. Whatever your situation, one of the simplest things you can do is to optimize each blog post for relevant keywords. If you’re a hairdresser with a blog post about elegant wedding hairstyles, use that as your keyword phrase. Using the right tech will really help you with this. If you have a WordPress website, Yoast have an excellent plugin that will help you to use your keywords in the right way.

Share on social media

Yes, I know this seems blindingly obvious, but it’s worth including for completeness. There are loads of ways to do this, like creating a short video summarizing the main points with a link in the comments. You can also post snippets with an image and add a link to those. Don’t be afraid to share multiple times and add a link to your Instagram bio if there’s space. You can find more ideas here.

Reuse your blog in your emails

Email marketing is a great tool for making sales, as your readers already like you enough to have signed up for your emails. If you’ve written a blog with gift ideas for an upcoming occasion, or services that will support them with a current challenge, you’re already being helpful. Add links to buy or book and they’re more likely to click through because you’ve just made their life a whole lot easier.

Write good headlines

A great headline can make the difference between someone clicking through to read your blog and scrolling on to find something more interesting. The important things to remember about headlines are that they need to be relevant to the post and your customers. Basically, avoid clickbait (it’s annoying) and show people that you understand what they need. Headlines that feel personal are more likely to be read, so using words like ‘you’ and ‘your’ work really well.

Track what’s popular

If you’ve got website analytics set up, review them once a month to see which of your blog posts got the highest number of visitors. You can also check what followers engaged with on social media. Is there a pattern in terms of the headlines you’ve written, or the type of content you’re covering? You might also have a post that didn’t get lots of readers, but which prompted people to get in touch. By working out which posts get the best results you can do more of the same.

If you want to attract more new customers by starting a blog, let’s have a chat. I offer a range of options to support you, from topic suggestions to writing it all for you. Email me or book your free discovery call here.

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Want more website visitors? You need to speak your customers’ language

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You’ve probably gone to a lot of time and effort creating a great looking website for your business. There’s a lot of technical work you can do if you want more website visitors but one of the most important bits is the one that’s overlooked most often. The words. If your website copy (the technical term for the words) doesn’t tell your visitors that they’re in the right place within a few seconds they’ll bounce off to another site and you might have lost them forever. Then you have to work on attracting more website visitors rather than deepening the relationship with the ones you already have. The great news is that the words you use can help you to attract more visitors and impress them when they get there. How do you do it? I’m glad you asked…

Know your customer

When someone lands on your website, it’s because they were looking for something. You need to show them that they’ve found it. Say they’ve found your shop by typing ‘gifts for Mother’s Day’ into Google. The page they land on should tell them what gifts you’re offering, whether it’s jewellery, chocolates, or something else. If you offer a service, sum it up in a couple of sentences, or with a question they’ll answer yes to if they’re in the right place.

Apply the ‘so what’ test

It’s important to remember that your visitors don’t really care about you. Your credentials are important in that they help you to build trust, but your customer is only really interested in what you can do for them. If you’re an accountant helping small businesses with their tax returns, make it obvious. This can just be something like ‘Want to make your next tax return quick and easy? We can help.’ Yes, it’s really that simple.

What if your visitor isn’t ready to buy?

Sometimes you’ll get a new visitor, but they’re not ready to make a decision yet. They might just be doing some research or perhaps they need to talk to someone else before they decide. Inviting them to sign up to your mailing list or follow you on social media gives you the chance to stay in touch and remind them why they were looking for you in the first place. Then when they’re ready to buy, they’ll remember you.

Are you making it easy to buy?

If you’ve got a website visitor who’s ready to give you their money, make it easy for them. If you sell products online, you know that good photos and clear pricing are both essential, along with a quick and easy checkout. If you offer a service and need to talk to the customer before they buy, show people how to make an enquiry or book a call. Give them a button to click or a form to fill in so they don’t have to go searching.

What do you want to be found for?

If you’ve done any work on your SEO, you’ll know how important key words are. Yours might be easy to identify, particularly if you offer a service in a particular location. It’s worth thinking about the kind of terms your customers will understand. Most people know what a hairdresser does, but a copywriter like me? Not so much. My customers are more likely to look for advice on how to write a blog so I talk about that.

If you want to attract more website visitors and you think your website copy needs an update, let’s have a chat. Email me or book your free discovery call here.

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Case study: a Christmas blog for a non-Christmassy business

A Christmas blog for a locksmith - case study
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How do you market your business at Christmas when your service isn’t seasonal? A Christmas blog sounds like a great idea but what on earth do you talk about? If the problem you solve could come up at any time of year, you might find yourself struggling to make it festive.

The good news is you just need a bit of lateral thinking. You might also need a writer who doesn’t work in your business every day.

The client

The client came to me through an SEO expert they’d been working with to improve their search rankings. They’re expert locksmiths based in Scotland and serving a clear geographical area, so their SEO campaign was helping them to build their local reputation. They wanted to let local people know about their employee credentials and show why their service was better than the competition.

They were already starting to see results and then came the question of the Christmas blog.

The challenge

The great thing about being a locksmith is that people could need your services all year round. This is good for business but not so great for your Christmas marketing. Do you ignore Christmas altogether or try to include it? The client had only just started blogging and didn’t want to lose momentum. They also realised that a Christmas blog would be more likely to attract readers. The question is, how do you make it interesting and relevant to your audience?

The Christmas blog solution

Luckily for the locksmiths, they were working with me, a writer with a strong lateral thinking streak. It turns out that people lock themselves out of their houses much more often at Christmas, simply because they’re distracted or out of their normal routine. There’s also the increased risk of burglary when your house is full of presents. We talked about simple solutions and included details of what a locksmith could help with. It was helpful and sent a clear message.

So, there you have it – a Christmas blog for a non-Christmassy business. If I can help you to create one of your own, email me or book your no-obligation discovery call here.

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Are you ready to start planning your Christmas marketing?

A woman with hot chocolate getting ready to plan her Christmas marketing
Photo by Brigitte Tohm from Pexels

Yes, I’m publishing this blog in May. No, I haven’t lost my mind. If you’re still scarred by the ghosts of 2020, I wouldn’t blame you if you’re leaving your Christmas marketing until the last possible minute. Even the organized people who were sorted by April had to change everything in the autumn. I’m giving myself the gift of optimism this year and daring to hope that we might have a relatively normal Christmas. Even if we don’t, we’ve learned to adapt so we can still plan.

I’m not suggesting that you jump into content creation right now (unless you really want to). All the same, a bit of thought and planning now will make things much easier further down the line, plus you’ll have plenty of ideas if you need to get someone else (like me) to do the creating for you. So, here are a few things to think about for your Christmas marketing.

Start with a blog

You won’t be surprised to hear me suggest this. Even if Christmas isn’t peak season for you, a blog can be reused and shared throughout your marketing, so you build awareness. If it’s your busiest time, a blog gives you a central piece of content that you can break down and share as individual posts. It means you’re more likely to be found by people buying gifts, looking for inspiration or just trying to survive the Christmas stress.

Be helpful

I know that for most of you Christmas marketing is about making sales. That’s OK. The important thing to remember is that you’re more likely to make a sale if you’re being helpful. Put yourself in your customers’ shoes. Offer them a solution to a problem. That solution might end up with them buying something. Even if it doesn’t, you’ll have created a good impression and started to build a relationship that’s based on trust.

Ideas for product-based businesses

Need some ideas? No problem. If you’re a gift-based business, start by making gift recommendations alongside some lovely pictures and links to buy. You could create a whole series of blogs with gifts for mums, dads, aunties, little kids – you get the idea. If you have gifts for the person who has everything or is difficult to buy for, talk about that. You could even do a round up of Secret Santa gifts if you have lots of stocking fillers to share.

Ideas for business that create the perfect day

If you help to make Christmas easier or more enjoyable, talk about it in your Christmas marketing. Do you do home delivery, help with meal prep or offer gift wrapping? Can you suggest 5 ways to keep the family entertained when they’re full of turkey or sick of the sight of each other? Talk about ways to survive Christmas without getting frazzled or share expert tips for busy people. If you can make the whole thing less stressful, your customers will love you.

What if your business isn’t Christmassy?

Writing a Christmas blog for a non-Christmassy business takes a bit of lateral thinking. It starts with putting yourself in your customers’ shoes. Can you offer tips to make extra family time less stressful? Could you help them avoid a Christmas Day emergency? Quick self-care tips are perfect for this time of year. You could just focus on fun – share some Christmas jokes or write a funny blog. My personal favourite is still this one I wrote for an insurance broker about insuring Santa.

Have I got you thinking? If you’d like to talk over some ideas and find out how I could write your blog for you at any time of year, you can book your free discovery call here.

Further reading

If you’d like to go a bit more in depth on the Christmas blog ideas, I’ve got a whole load of them here:

This is for you if your business sells gifts

If you help to create the perfect day

Or if your business isn’t Christmassy at all

You can also sign up to my mailing list for 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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How you can create seasonal marketing content (even if your business isn’t)

Spring blossom - how to create seasonal marketing.
Photo by Brett Sayles via Pexels

Is your business seasonal? You might have one of those businesses that gets incredibly busy in the run up to Christmas, so it makes sense to focus your marketing attention there. Maybe it’s less obvious, but if you look closer you might find patterns that repeat themselves across the year. Creating seasonal content for your business is a great way to stay in touch with what your customers need at any given time. If you can tune in to the things they’re thinking about you can talk about them in your marketing. Your customers trust you because you’ve shown you understand them and you’re much more likely to make a sale. How do you spot the seasonal elements in your business? Step this way…

Do you have a peak season?

Some businesses have a clear peak season. It could be Christmas for retailers or summer holiday sales for travel agents. (Of course, those bookings might start on Boxing Day.) Your business might have more consistent sales throughout the year, but with customers buying different things at different times. Think seasonal skincare – you might sell more sunscreen in the summer and more hand cream for fingers chapped by the cold in winter. What do your customers need as the seasons change?

Focus on a seasonal issue

Are there things that your customers only need help with at a specific time of year? For me and my primary age kids the long summer holiday has always been a challenge (though home school has made it feel like a picnic). Do you offer the solution to seasonal childcare challenges, buying the perfect Christmas present or getting the tax return in by the deadline? Show your customers that you have the solution to the thing they’re stressed about and they’ll love you.

Look at your best sellers

You might have products or services that people can buy whenever they like, but when do they actually buy? You could join a gym in November, but there’s something symbolic about a new year that spurs people into action. The same probably applies to books that help you discover the ‘new you’. Using these patterns in your marketing doesn’t just help you to sell more. It allows you to help the people who are already buying, by offering extra hints and tips.

Consider seasonal trends

If your business has been going for a while you might have a whole load of information about the way your customers behave. But what if you don’t? Maybe you’re a new business, have never collected much data or just haven’t spotted any patterns. Google Trends is your friend. Learning more about when people search for information helps you to target your marketing around the things they’re searching for. Visit Google Trends and search for keywords that relate to your business.

Other important dates

You can build your marketing content around almost anything seasonal. Talk about gifts for Valentine’s Day, Mothering Sunday or Easter. If your business has a sporting element you can focus on the major tournaments. There are increasing numbers of awareness days/weeks/months that you can talk about. One plea from me if you take this approach – please make sure it’s relevant. I’d rather hear from a brilliant baker on National Cake Day than from someone who just likes eating it.

Would you like to get next season’s marketing planned and created now? I can help! Book your no-obligation discovery call here or find out more about my services. You can also sign up to my mailing list for hints and tips straight to your inbox using the form below.

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How I got bitten by the writing bug

Typewriter with writing saying 'something worth reading'
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I’m one of those people who always wanted to be a writer, even if it wasn’t always the only thing I did. I’ve shared the story behind leaving my old career and starting a new one before, but I’ve never really talked about the reasons I started writing in the first place. It’s been a constant in my life for as long as I can remember. Here’s how it all began.

Surrounded by books

My mum always jokes that I had a library before I was born. It’s pretty close to the truth. My grandpa worked for Brockhampton Press, which was the children’s book division of Hodder and Stoughton at the time. They published classics like Asterix and The Magic Roundabout, with Papa being responsible for book fairs. One of my favourite stories is the one where he got pulled over by the police pulling a Roman chariot up to Harrogate. He wasn’t in trouble, they just wanted to know why. His job meant that I grew up surrounded by books. What’s more, I knew from an early age that being a writer was something you could do for a living. It left a lasting impression.

Creating my own stories

I know that we all have to write stories at school, but I was the kid that just kept going. As a teenager I filled endless notebooks and devoured books to learn more about how to create a good plot. Whenever I had to wait somewhere or spent time on a train my notebook came out as a form of entertainment. I was once on a train, mid-story, when I ran out of paper and ended up finishing my tale on the back of a sandwich bag. Some of the stories were good – I was shortlisted for a prize for young radio playwrights a couple of times. Others were dreadful, simply because they were too simplistic. It was time for a change.

Finding something else to do

The main problem with my teenage writing was the problem every teenager has – I just hadn’t lived long enough. I loved crime fiction and came up with plots that needed to be populated with believable characters. The best crime writing is born out of a solid grasp of human nature and the ways in which relationships can go wrong. I just didn’t have it. I realised that to become a good writer I needed to go out into the world and get some experience. That’s what eventually lead me into a legal career. Ironically, the thing that first attracted me to the law was the fact that there were so many good stories in it. Obviously, there was also crime, although that’s not where I ended up working.

Coming back to writing

As the years passed, I told myself that I wanted to write but I was spending less and less time actually writing. Then I heard an interview with P.D. James, who wrote her books around a full-time job and raising three children alone after her husband’s death. When asked why she had continued with her writing, she replied that if she had found herself telling her that ‘what I always wanted to do was write’, she would have felt that her life had failed in a very important way. Her answer has stayed with me because I feel the same. I realised that if I was going to write I just had to get on and do it. So that’s what I do now.

Can I help you to share your story in your marketing? Book your call here and let’s have a chat. Alternatively, you can sign up to my mailing list for blogging and marketing tips straight to your inbox every month.

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Case study: a content repurposing collaboration

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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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5 quick ways you can create marketing content

Woman at desk writing marketing content.
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Creating new and engaging marketing content for your business can feel a bit like living on a hamster wheel. You might be dizzy but you can’t seem to stop moving. I’m not going to pretend that creating marketing content doesn’t take time. It does. What I will tell you is that it doesn’t need to take you as long as it is right now. Here are a few of the ways that I save myself time when I’m planning my own marketing content so you can swipe them for yourself.

Reuse your blog

I see lots of business owners who think that every post needs to be unique. They spend hours planning and coming up with ideas before creating brand new copy and images for every single bit. The truth is that your audience won’t see everything you post. Sharing the same message more than once keeps your marketing consistent and means that it’s more likely to sink in. If you’ve spent time crafting a good blog post, (or if I’ve written one for you) recycle it as much as you can – there’s more on how to do that here.

Choose a theme

When it comes to marketing, consistency is key. You might offer a lot of different products or services but if your marketing flits between all of them your audience will just get confused and back away. Choosing a theme for each month makes planning easier as your posts can talk about different aspects of the same thing. Your theme might be seasonal, for example winter sun holidays or summer skincare. If your business is in health or wellbeing you could focus on a particular problem. You could simply focus on a service that you want to promote.

Create a content calendar

I have a monthly content calendar that sets out the type of post I’m going to create. It includes things like videos, blogs and posts on different platforms. I share my blog at the same time each week and have regular monthly posts on things like business buzzwords or good copy that I’ve spotted online. It acts as a template, which means that I don’t have to spend loads of time pondering what to share, but I can still change things if I need to.

Don’t reinvent the wheel

You don’t have to create absolutely everything from scratch. I have lots of resources that other people have created and which I use in my own marketing. If you’ve got something similar, share it. Your audience will remember that you were the person who gave them that useful thing so they trust you more. Sharing popular social media posts also helps you to increase your reach. Just make sure that it’s relevant to your audience and that you credit the person who created the original.

Use a scheduler

Scheduling tools are a massive time saver because it means that you don’t have to find time to post every day. You can just block out content creation time and create everything in one go. Put it in your scheduler and you don’t have to think about it until next time. You could break your time down into planning, writing and image creation (or even smaller blocks than that). Doing it this way means that you don’t have a last-minute panic where you end up posting something random because it’s better than nothing.

If you really want to speed up your content creation, I can do it for you! Book your no-obligation discovery call here or sign up to my mailing list for hints and tips straight to your inbox.

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How to break your blog writing into 5 easy steps

Break your blog writing down into easy steps

There are loads of reasons why you might have put off starting writing a business blog. One of the ones I hear a lot is the fact that it seems like a load of work for one piece of content. (Actually, it doesn’t have to be one piece of content – read this to find out how you can make it go further.) I won’t lie, writing a blog can take ages. The sight of a blank screen can make even my writing brain turn to fudge sometimes. If you tackle writing a blog as one big task it can be incredibly daunting. Breaking it down into manageable chunks makes the whole thing much less scary and more likely to happen. Here’s my plan for creating a great blog post.

Make a plan

Once you’ve chosen a topic (more on how to do that here), think about what information you need to share. Can you structure it as a list of tips, questions or is it more like a story? Think about what the central point of the post is going to be and write down the points that are essential for covering it properly. For a blog of around 500 words 4 or 5 points is ideal. Any more than that and you’ve got an epic post – or a whole new topic.

Talk through your topic

When I say talk, I mean it literally. This works really well if you freeze in front of a blank page but can explain yourself perfectly when you talk. You can record notes on your phone or use Word’s dictation feature for voice to text. It won’t give you the perfect blog post first time but it helps you capture your voice. You can see which phrases you naturally use and include them in your blog.

Create a first draft

This can be the scary bit, but if you’ve followed the steps so far it needn’t be. You can use your key phrases to create sentences. The points you set out in your plan are your subheadings – just write a few sentences under each. If you’ve talked a good game you might have more than you thought. The important thing to remember is that no-one has to read the first draft but you. Don’t worry about your grammar, just get everything on paper.

Edit your blog

Editing is your friend. Your first draft just gives you something to work with. Remember, you can’t edit a blank page. Use the spelling and grammar check tools that come with your Word document or Google doc as a first step. Then go through and read what you’ve written, preferably at least a day after you wrote it. Does it still make sense? Does everything relate back to your central topic? If not, take it out. You can also ask someone you trust to sense check it for you.

The finishing touches

The final touches are really a set of micro tasks. The key one from a writing perspective is your headline. There’s a whole load of headline theory out there, but when you’re starting out the main thing to remember is that it needs to tell the reader what to expect. Basically, think of a clickbait headline and do the opposite. Then you just need a good picture and remember to use your website’s SEO tool if you have one.

I hope this has inspired you to give blog writing a go. If you really can’t face it and just want to hand the whole thing over, get in touch and let’s see if I can help. Otherwise you can sign up to my mailing list for blogging and writing hints and tips to your inbox every month.

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How you can add value to your customers with a blog

Add value with your blog
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Firstly, forgive me. I know that you’ve probably had people telling you to ‘add value’ left, right and sideways. If you’ve escaped this so far, well done. Over on my social media pages I highlight a business buzzword every month. I ask people whether they love or hate it or whether it’s just overused. This nearly made it onto the list so I’m a bit surprised to be talking about ways to add value here.

The truth is, I couldn’t think of a better phrase to sum it up. Adding value isn’t just a buzzword. It’s incredibly important, not just in attracting new customers but in looking after the ones you have. Writing a blog can be the perfect way to add value. Here’s why I love it and how you can do it for yourself.

Enrich the experience for existing customers

We put loads of effort into attracting new followers, but your existing customers have already been won over. Putting some time and thought into looking after them will encourage them to come back. One way to do this is by writing a blog that helps them to enjoy the thing they already bought. For example, if they’ve booked a holiday with you, share the top 5 must see sights wherever they’re going. It shows you care about them having a good time, not just about the cash.

Solve a problem

I’ve seen plenty of advice saying that you shouldn’t share too much of the ‘how’ in your content. After all, why should someone become a customer if they can do it themselves? I take the view that if you can help someone to solve a problem quickly they’re more likely to trust you. Help your audience with an easy way to solve a problem. Then when they have less time or need better results, they’ll remember that you gave them a quick win when they needed it.

Provide a reference guide

You don’t have to offer a quick win to add value. You could provide a longer, step by step guide to something more complex. You’ve probably seen the type of thing I mean. A guide to creating your first website or 50 ways to come up with new content ideas. Your customers could read it all at once, but they’re more likely to return to it when they need something new. It means you’re helpful long term and they’ll remember your name every time they refer back.

Talk about something current

Most of the suggestions I’ve made so far are evergreen content. It’s information that will stay broadly the same for years on end and that you’ll only have to tweak to reflect small changes. Sometimes you can add value by responding to something current and time sensitive. At the moment that could be 5 things to help stressed parents and children cope with home school. You might be sharing techniques that will support people’s mental health at other times. By offering help in a crisis you’ll build trust.

Add value by being a signpost

Adding value often means giving your audience something useful without any expectation of reward. They could take your solution and use it without you even knowing. If you’ve ever written a blog with questions to ask a professional they’re thinking of hiring, you may have helped them to choose someone else. A great way of acting as a signpost is by sharing your favourite third party resources. It sounds counterintuitive but by sharing the things you value, you’re helping your audience to get great results themselves.

Do you need to create a blog that adds value? Book your no obligation discovery call to find out how I can help you or sign up for monthly hints and tips straight to your inbox using the form below.