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What marketing training do you need for your team?

marketing training teamIf you’re a larger organisation it can be easy to think of marketing as part of someone else’s job description. It’s easy to understand why. If your business has invested in employing marketing professionals why not rely on them to do the heavy lifting? Leave the marketing training sessions to small business, sole traders and network marketing companies. The truth is that even when marketing isn’t your primary responsibility it doesn’t mean that you can’t play your part. After all, as far as your customers are concerned, every employee represents your brand. The question is, what do you need your team to do and what marketing training do they need?

Social media

You might justifiably think that this is one to leave to the marketing team. When it comes to posting to official business accounts, you’d be right. However, you’d still be wise to consider what your team are doing on their own social media. If your employee is making offensive comments or acting in a way that could reflect badly on your business, it’s best to know about it sooner rather than later. Of course, some people make it easy. The annals of internet history are littered with stories of people who were sacked because they forgot they were Facebook friends with their boss.

The kind of training you’ll need to provide here is probably best lead by HR as it’ll need to be in line with company policies. It’s also a fine balancing act between protecting your business reputation and preventing your employees from posting anything vaguely interesting.


Personally, I love business expos. I get to wander round chatting to people and they’re also an excellent source of free stationery. However, I say this as someone who has never had to spend an entire day standing at a stall. Engaging with potentially hundreds of people to create the right first impression over the course of a day takes stamina.

You might think that it’s just a matter of sending the right people. However, even your most loquacious employees might need help. An expo is no different from any other marketing platform in that your message needs to focus on your customer. A monologue about your services isn’t going to help anyone. I’d suggest that a workshop style briefing session would be the ideal pre-expo training. Firstly, the team develop questions to get visitors talking. Then they think about potential answers and how your services would be of benefit. Your staff sound knowledgeable and visitors get to hear about stuff they’re actually interested in.


Depending on your business you might already have members of your team writing articles for various platforms. This may have lead you to believe that you don’t need to blog. The truth is that they’re not exactly the same thing. (For more on why, read this.)

Blogging is one of the most effective ways of humanising your business. People often see corporate businesses as remote and think that you might blind them with science. A business blog can, on one level, demonstrate your expertise if you let the marketing team do it. However, if you delegate some of the blogging to employees you get a unique perspective each time. It shows your customers that you’re approachable and not just a corporate stone edifice.

If your teams (even your marketing team) have never blogged before, there are some great workshops available that will take you through the basics from choosing topics to editing. It probably won’t surprise you to learn that I offer one and will bring it to you – sign up using the form below to find out more.

However you market your business it’s always worth getting your employees involved by offering them the right training support.

Further reading

Even your marketing team might need training – these social media horrors were created by professionals.

A more comprehensive expo survival guide

Finally, for details of my training sessions, sign up to my mailing list here.

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Why you need to know the difference between articles and blogs

difference between articles and blogsBusinesses come in all shapes and sizes, from the sole trader working at home to massive multinationals. The main differences in their marketing strategies tend to come down to budget. If you’re a one person business you’re unlikely to be able to afford to plaster your message on a city centre billboard or nab an ad slot in the middle of ‘Coronation Street’. On the other hand, creating written content is accessible to everyone. Any business can create a blog, but a lot of the people I talk to tell me that they don’t need to as they’re already writing articles. The fact is, while there are similarities they aren’t the same thing. Here’s why.

Articles are on someone else’s platform

For the purposes of this blog I’m lumping all articles together. In reality, there are hundreds of different outlets for articles. You could be featured in a local magazine or in a professional journal that’s targeted at a specific industry. Finding the right outlet is crucial to raising your profile. When I was a solicitor one of our partners used to write articles about legal issues for food industry journals to showcase his expertise. If you’re offering a service that’s accessible to the general public a local magazine could help you to reach potential customers.

The big difference between these kinds of articles and your own blog is that the articles are all on someone else’s platform. You don’t get to choose how they’re promoted or if you get to publish them at all. An editor has to think about what message will appeal to their readers and it might not be the one you want to send.

Different tones

In marketing it’s important to tailor the tone of voice you use to the platform as well as your audience. If you write articles for a local magazine your tone might be quite similar to that of a blog. By contrast, the difference in tone between a blog and a professional journal article is going to be pretty big.

I find that a lot of professional people shy away from writing blogs because they think it looks unprofessional. A serious article enhances their reputation but a blog might make them look frivolous. I’m generalising here, of course – some of my blog writing clients are very serious businesses. The key difference is that whilst articles make you look professional, a blog makes you look human. They can both win you clients but for very different reasons.

Your audience

When you write an article for a magazine, do you know who is going to read it? You might have been given information about circulation so you know where it’s distributed or who the audience is. It doesn’t tell you who puts it straight in the bin. Even regular readers might stick to their favourite articles and ignore yours completely. The only way you’ll know if your articles have been an effective marketing tool is if someone mentions it when they get in touch.

Now I know that you might have the same issue with your blog. You can’t control who visits your website or whether Facebook shows your post sharing the link to anyone useful. But you can see the data on how many people are reading and where they’re based. You can also run adverts promoting key pieces of content and targeting them at specific people. The results might still be hit and miss but at least you have a fighting chance of discovering what worked and what didn’t.

If you’d like to learn to write blogs, or how to shift your tone from writing articles to something more customer friendly, I’m here to help. Sign up using the form below to find out more about my 1:1 and small group training.

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Why you need a fresh perspective on your marketing content

Fresh perspective contentWhen you first start marketing your business it’s all trial and error. You might find that one post is a hit then something similar completely flops. Over time you can start to build up a picture of what your audience responds to and where your customers are coming from. Of course, it’s never quite that simple. Your customers’ needs change over time and external trends have a big part to play in that. Sometimes it’s hard to tell what’s having an impact on your business and what changes you might need to adapt to in the future. Getting a fresh perspective on your marketing content can help you to stay relevant and grow your business. Here’s why.

Getting stuck in your own head

Are you stuck in a rut? If you’ve been marketing your business in the same way for a while, you could be. That’s not necessarily a bad thing if you’re still getting a steady flow of customers. Unfortunately it could trip you up in the long run. Retail has changed completely in the last ten years, with more and more people shopping online. The companies that have survived are the ones who built or adapted their business to suit. If you follow the same marketing formula all of the time without getting a different perspective you’ll get bored and so will your audience.

I freely admit that I’m terrible for getting bogged down with my own thoughts. In fact, it often means that I go round in circles! We all need to look around to see what‘s happening out there once in a while.

Talking to your customers

If you’re fed up of the sound of your own voice, you probably need to listen to someone else’s. Talking to your customers is a great way to track changes in your target market. Of course, it has its limitations. As Henry Ford said, if he’d asked his customers what they wanted they’d have said a faster horse. But asking your customers what challenges they’re facing and how they want to shop can give you valuable insights into how their lives are changing over time. Maybe they’ve stopped watching video and started listening to podcasts because they’re more convenient. Perhaps there’s a challenge they’re facing that you have a solution for – you just need to shift your focus and talk about it more.

This doesn’t just apply to your customers, of course. Talking to other business owners about what’s happening with them can help you to discover what subjects people are interested in. You just have to keep your ears open.

How you can get a fresh perspective on your content

If your conversations with your customers and networking colleagues lead you to a new type of content creation or if you discover that the tone of voice you use isn’t winning you fans any more you’ll need to change your approach.

We’re still in holiday season as I write this. A change of scenery can be ideal for getting you out of your own head. Sometimes issues with your content arise because you’ve drifted too far from your original message. The values that people connected with have been lost over time. If your holiday allows you some quiet time, use it to remind yourself who you want to serve and how you can do that. Talk to your family (or yourself if you feel like it) and listen to the phrases that you use. Those are the ones you need to include. Alternatively, go and get some training to learn about the kind of content you want to create, or to improve your technique.

If you’d like to get some training to help you get started creating a blog for your business, or to improve the content you already have, sign up to my mailing list using the form below to find out more about my small group and 1:1 training.

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How you can start learning about blogging

Learn about bloggingThere’s a world of difference between wanting to start a blog and actually doing it. You might like the idea but when it comes to it you don’t know what to write. Perhaps you’re looking at your already packed schedule and wondering where on earth you’re going to fit it in. Maybe you’ve even tried writing your first blog and got stuck. You spend hours on it and get nowhere or think what you’ve written is rubbish. Sometimes all you need to get started is a bit of education. Thankfully there are lots of different ways that you can learn about blogging. Here are just a few.

Free resources

There is loads of blogging advice available online (including here). You can access it for free and just search for what you need. If you want advice on blogging topics, structure or what platform to use, it’s all out there somewhere.

In fact, the ‘somewhere’ is the main disadvantage. If you know what you struggle with it’s easy to search for the answer. It’s not quite so straightforward if you have no idea where to start. After all, you don’t know what you don’t know. Also, are you getting good advice? I’ve had training along the way and can tell you what’s worked for me and my clients. There are also some fantastic platforms featuring pieces from experts in their field. Generally speaking, anything from Orbit Media, Digital Marketer and Copyblogger is worth reading. Their advice often goes beyond blogging into other useful marketing topics too.

Paid courses online

If you’re able to hand over some cash there are lots of courses available online. The beauty of any course is that all the information is presented for you. Some will be available to access all the time and others will have a limited release. This often depends on what the course is offering. Some will give you materials that you work through on your own, perhaps getting feedback from a tutor. These are great if you need to fit learning in around other commitments and can’t always stick to a regular time for online workshops. If you need the buzz of a group you might be better off with a course that has a limited time frame but plenty of interaction. The level of interaction you get with your tutor is usually reflected in the price.

Checking on the credentials of your course provider is particularly important here. There are some great courses available via general training providers like Udemy and Skillshare as well as writing and marketing specialists.

Group workshops and one to one training

I’ve put these together as they both work best face to face (although I’ve had some fab training experiences via Zoom as well). Getting together to learn with other people who are in the same boat as you can be fantastic, particularly for beginners. Your trainer can take you through the basics and answer questions as you go. I really enjoy learning like this because you can learn from everyone in the room. Everyone has different ideas and questions and it creates a great atmosphere.

Of course, you might feel a bit nervous about asking a question and looking silly. (For the record, there’s no such thing as a silly question.) You might need something that’s a bit more tailored for your business, especially if it’s something out of the ordinary. Maybe you just want to be able to focus on the topic without anyone else distracting you. In those circumstances, 1:1 teaching could be your best option.

Ultimately, only you can decide how you learn best. If you want to know more about the training options I offer you can sign up to my mailing list to find out more.


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How your blog could benefit from training with a friend

benefits of training with a friendWhen you want to learn something new there are usually a range of options available. Blogging is no exception (and if you want to know more about the ways you can learn about blogging, read this). Actually choosing the right method for you can be tricky. Do you opt for a workshop where you don’t know anyone and could be out of your depth? Would you rather get some 1:1 help? To be honest, you could find a way to talk yourself out of any of the options. If you’d prefer to learn in an environment you know will be friendly, you might want to consider training with a friend. There are all kinds of benefits. Here are my top 4.

You get to choose who you work with

Most good course leaders will aim to get the right mix of people in a workshop group. It doesn’t help anyone if one person is struggling to keep up while another is completely bored. However, one person’s definition of ‘beginner’ might be different from yours. When you’re training with a friend you get to decide who you work with. You can have a chat in advance to make sure you’re at roughly the same level before you go ahead.

You don’t just have to choose one friend either. If you have a small group of friends who all want to learn you can gather them all together.

Other people have good questions

Even when you’re training with a friend, you’ll both have different perspectives. There might be one bit of the training that you find easy but your friend struggles with, and vice versa. You can learn from the questions they ask as well as your own. It might even add a whole new level to your learning. You may even find that someone else’s question shows you that you hadn’t fully understood the subject the first time.

Training in a group helps you to bounce ideas off each other so you all learn more.

You feel comfortable asking questions

Training with a friend (or more than one) creates a good atmosphere in the room. You’re with people you like so you can relax and enjoy it. That has the added benefit of helping you to remember things. It also means that you’ll feel more comfortable speaking up when you don’t understand something. No-one is going to take the mickey because you asked a question. They’re your friends, so they just want to help you understand. Plus the answer to your question might be useful to them too.

The more relaxed you are in your learning environment, the better the outcome will be.

Training with a friend improves your business skills

Even if you work on your own, there will be times that you need good teamwork to build your business. That could be because you’re working as part of a team on a project or when you need to delegate tasks to someone else. Whether you share a one-off training session or a whole course, you’ll learn how to listen and work with other people’s learning styles.

Of course, that has an added benefit when it comes to customer service. During the learning process you’ll probably get into discussion and debate about your subject. Listening to a friend’s perspective will improve your listening and communication skills when you’re dealing with your customers as well.

If you like the idea of training with a friend or getting a group together to learn about blogging, I can bring the training to you. Sign up to my email list to learn more about my 1:1 and small group training sessions below!

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Do you need blogging training that’s designed for you?

blogging training designedI suppose the question should really be – are you bored of going to workshops that all blend into one? Or are you the person who’s responsible for organising them? It can be tough to find new ways to make learning more interesting. That applies whether you’re a sole trader looking for some good quality training or part of an organisation where there’s a set pattern to your sessions. When it comes to blogging training, it is possible to find workshops that work for you.  I can design a session to include whatever works for you. In the meantime, here are some ideas for things to look out for at your next workshop.

Discussion groups

If you want to get good results from any kind of training, it helps if you have something in common with your fellow attendees. You might all be from the same industry or at a similar level in business. One of the reasons it works is because you can access a variety of potential solutions for any issues you’re having. Of course, I’d love to be the font of all wisdom (who wouldn’t?). But sometimes you get more interesting suggestions by being able to talk about a topic with other people who understand your business. Everyone learns something and it’s great for networking.

The other advantage is when it comes to asking questions. If you’re a brand new business owner it can be intimidating to be surrounded by people with years of experience. If that prevents you from asking a question for fear of looking stupid the only person who loses out is you. Being with people you feel comfortable with means you’re more likely to speak up. Then you’ll get more out of your session.

Walk and talk

Did you know that walking can improve your memory? It’s true. Any type of exercise increases the blood flow to your brain so you remember more. Take someone along for a chat and you can improve your mood and overall mental health. I confess that I haven’t heard of any training sessions that are carried out entirely on the hoof. It might make note taking tricky. However, there are a few walk and talk networking groups out there if you like the sound of that.

I’m currently putting together a group of people to meet up and learn about blogging. It’s going to be a full day with time to write as well as learn. One of the reasons I decided to host it on a farm is not just because it’s one of my favourite venues. It also has the advantage of masses of open space. That means you can go for a walk while you think or brainstorm with someone else.

Blogging training to take away

Have you ever been on a training session, taken loads of notes then never looked at them again? Or even been told that you don’t need to take notes, it’s all on the handouts? The last time I heard that I looked at the notes and couldn’t understand how they related to what I’d just listened to.

I’m a firm believer that you need to go away with a plan, if not a finished piece of work. If you’re looking for good training ask about the notes in advance. Are you going to have work sheets where you can record your own ideas before implementing them? What materials will be available to make sure you won’t forget what you’ve learned?

If you want to get a group of people together for some blogging training, I can help with workshops that are tailored to you. Alternatively, if the idea of getting together with other business owners on a farm sounds good to you, just complete the form below to sign up to my mailing list and hear about my newest workshop group.

Further reading

Discover how walking improves your memory in this article from Psychology Today

My favourite training venue

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Getting together to build business

getting togetherAs some of you will already know, I run workshops and training to help business owners start writing their own blog.  Things don’t always go to plan but that’s OK.  Getting together with other business owners is generally a good thing in my book. I wanted to share a story (because that’s what I do) about how a workshop went a little bit wrong and still worked out brilliantly.

Making plans

Before the one that went wrong, I’d delivered two workshops that had gone pretty well.  They’d both been hosted by other people. One was a lovely lady called Clare Farthing that I’d met networking online.  She specialises in mentoring women and acting as an accountability partner to help them set goals and stretch themselves to get there.  (If you’d like to find out more about her Facebook group for women in business go here.)  The other workshop was arranged by one of my networking groups, who offer regular training to members.

Both workshops had been well received so I decided to strike out on my own.  I booked the room, set up an account on Eventbrite to start selling tickets and began sharing my event online.


Before I chose my date I contacted some of the people who’d expressed an interest to see what dates would suit them.  I sent messages out to let them know about the event and kept on sharing it on social media.  The early signs were good.  I got a booking almost straight away.  Then it all went quiet.

A week before the workshop date I still only had one booking.  I considered cancelling. I knew the lady who’d booked had done it to invest in herself and I didn’t want to let her down.  So I adapted.  I cancelled the room and we met in a local restaurant instead.

Getting together

You know what? I went from feeling a bit despondent at my one person to having a fantastic time.  I woke up on the morning of the workshop feeling excited.  My morning was going to be spent talking to someone that I enjoyed spending time with.

We talked about blogging and I saw lightbulbs go off in her eyes.  Best of all, I was able to tailor everything I was talking about to suit her.  I realised that I didn’t need to talk to a room full of people. It’s enough to inspire one person.

What now?

I’ve realised that you can turn things around when they go a bit wrong, but I still found myself hesitating about booking more workshops.  What was stopping me? I took my question to the place I take all of my business questions – my coaching group.  I already knew what had gone wrong the first time. Ultimately, I’ve realised that I want to take a different approach.  I still want to talk to people about blogging and teach them, but I’m not really into putting the big events out there.

All of this means that I’m changing my approach.  I’m still going to put workshop groups together, just in a different way (sign up to my mailing list using the form below if you’d like to know more about that).  Other than that I’m going to go out and talk to more people about blogging.  That could be a talk at a networking group meeting or a workshop for your team.

If you’d like to invite me along to speak to your group or deliver training to your team, send me an email at

To find out about my workshop groups, complete the form below to sign up for my mailing list.  I promise it’s a spam free zone!

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Why my workshops don’t critique your writing

workshops critique writingAre you a business owner or a writer?  It’s completely possible to be both, especially if you have a writing or marketing based business.  However for most people it’s one or the other.  If you went into business to make a product or offer a service that’s nothing to do with writing, the idea of a workshop that focuses on writing blogs could seem like a complete nightmare.  A room full of people picking your writing to bits? No thanks!  Of course, there are services and workshops that are designed to provide critiques.  They’re mostly for writers.  Here’s why my workshops don’t.

My workshops aren’t for writers

There are lots of workshops out there that are designed for writers.  They’re for people who want to write for a living or get published. Go along to one of those and there’s a general assumption that you’re already quite good at writing but you want to get better.

Mine aren’t like that.  I work with business owners who may never have written a blog or a piece of marketing content in their lives. My workshops are designed to get you writing something so you can improve it over time.  Progress over perfection.

Your writing is your own

Well *duh* (slaps own forehead for such stupidity).  Of course.  Everyone’s writing is their own.  Professional writers use lots of different copywriting techniques, but you’re probably not interested in them.  If you were, you’d be writing for a living already.  When you create your own blog it’s your voice and your audience that matters.  If you work with a professional writer we’ll get to know you and your business first then apply our own techniques to producing content for you.

The beauty of writing your own blog is that it lets your customers hear your voice.  It might need some tweaks to make it more effective but a group workshop probably isn’t the place for that.  Even if all the other people in the room are in the same industry as you, they won’t have exactly the same message or audience.  What you need to communicate is unique to you.

The follow up

My workshops are designed to let you create a plan for your first blog.  You leave with a framework then write your blog later.  That’s the time for feedback.  Everyone who comes to my workshops can send me their finished blog and I’ll provide some feedback then.

The main reason I do this is because everyone who comes to my workshops arrives with a blank page.  Workshops that are designed to critique writing will usually ask you to come along with something you’ve already written.  Either that or it’s a weekend retreat where you can create something new and get feedback on the following day.  I’m only asking for half a day out of your life so I’ll email you some notes afterwards instead.

Would you like to come to a workshop that gets you writing a business blog without picking your work to bits?  You can find out more about my upcoming workshops by completing the form below to sign up to my mailing list.

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What to expect at a blogging workshop

what to expect blogging workshopTrying something new can be a bit scary.  You hear all these people who say ‘what have you got to lose?’ and ‘you get more confident when you try scary things’.  (Actually, I do that last one.)  Asking what you’ve got to lose is a complete minefield.  We all get those questions running through our heads.  What if I make a fool of myself? What if I’m not clever enough? If you’re thinking about coming to one of my blogging workshops but have some of those pesky questions running through your head (or even some of your own), I’m here to help.  Here’s my guide to what to expect at a blogging workshop.

Say hello and have a cup of tea

This sounds obvious, but workshops work better if you know a bit about the people you’re with.  Plus my brain doesn’t function without tea.  At my favourite workshop venue* you can get amazing chocolate brownies too.

Obviously, if it’s an online workshop you’ll need to supply your own refreshments, but we’ll still make the introductions.

Think of some topics

The first stumbling block a lot of people hit when they start writing a blog is knowing what to write about. Everything’s boring, or obvious, or the topic’s too big for one blog.  We start with some ideas and questions to get the creative juices flowing.

The main aim of my workshops is to help you create a plan that will enable you to leave the workshop and write your first blog.  So, you get a few minutes to make a list of some things that you could write about.

Make a plan

Planning your blog in advance helps you to avoid blank page syndrome.  (That may not be a medically recognised condition, but it’s definitely real.)  A well planned blog gives you happy readers and makes your life easier so the next bit of my workshops focus on that.  You get advice on the different ways that you can break your topic down and present it in an easy to read way.

Of course, you’ll also get some time to create your own plan based on one of your topics.

Talk about writing

This is another massive stumbling block for a lot of people.  You might be able to explain your subject really well when you talk to people, but writing it down is another matter.  We’ll discuss some ways to overcome that and you’ll also have the chance to talk about any challenges that you have.

In my face to face workshops we also break off to have a discussion in pairs that’s designed to help you get something written down. (Another blow for blank page syndrome!)

What next?

A blog can be a wonderful thing to read but there are a few more things to think about. If you write a blog, why not get it working harder for your business?  In the last part of the workshop I talk about the importance of a call to action (CTA) and some ways that you can reuse your blog.  Your CTA and the ways you reuse your blog will depend on your business goals so most people go away and think about what they want to do.  There’s time for questions at the end and then you can go home and get on with your day.

Finally, once the workshop’s finished, you can stay in touch.  You’ll get a pack of notes and my contact details so you can always ask questions if they come to you later.  Remember, there’s no such thing as a stupid question!


*Bawdon Lodge Farm – here’s the link if you’re looking for a brilliant meeting room in Leicestershire.

If you want to find out more about coming to a blogging workshop, you can sign up to my mailing list my completing the form below.