3 reasons to join the blogging revolution

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Are you wondering why so many small business owners are blogging? Don’t really understand the benefits?

Here are three great reasons why you should join the blogging revolution:

  1. Blogs help you convert your page viewers into customers.

They educate your potential customers about your products or services and how you answer their problems.

If your ideal customers are time-poor, cash-rich small business owners, you need to show them how you can alleviate their pain and take away some of their burdens.

Notice the word used – show. You can tell someone you’re what they need until you’re blue in the face, it won’t make half the impact of someone else in a similar position to them saying the same thing.

Case studies are king. Testimonials from real people – preferably with pictures – give you gravitas.

Educate your potential customers in a fun way, engage them, and they become part of your team.

Be authentic, and they’ll choose to stay within that team and you’ll build goodwill.

Once they’re in your tribe, they’re more likely to make the leap towards purchasing what you offer.

  1. They help your SEO.

Regular blogging on your website, and sharing on social media, drives more people to your site.

That helps your SEO and the way you rank in search engine results.

It becomes a virtuous circle.

Use clever links between your blog and key, relevant pages on your site and you’ll help keep your bounce rate (the number of visitors who go to one page and ‘bounce’ straight back off the site) down to a healthy level too.

  1. They build your brand.

Being visible on social media helps you to spread your brand values. Blogs give you content which you can sculpt to those values to share regularly on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, or Pinterest.

You can embed video, images, or audio to make your blogs a rich experience.

Blogs are useful as part of your overall brand marketing including promotional products, visual branding like logos, your website, and even branded car wraps.

Too busy to blog?

If you need help with your blogging, give us a call on 07790 654274 or email maria@wordsyoucanuse.co.uk

How the Pokémon Go phenomenon could work for you

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There’s no doubt that Pokémon Go is the world’s most successful mobile app.

In Germany, it hit the number one spot on the iPhone chart which measures app revenue within three hours of its launch in the country.

It took just 13 hours to reach the top of the US sales chart last week.Industry experts are saying it’s making $2 million a day in the USA. Its launch in the UK today mean thousands and thousands of UK players are about to follow in the footsteps of people around the world.

The augmented reality (AR) app shows Pokémon characters in cartoon versions of real-world locations. Players have to use the app to throw balls at them and catch them. Some Pokémon characters are much rarer – and more valuable in the game – than others.

This isn’t just for children. People in their twenties have grown up with Pokémon characters and many are playing the game.

Why am I telling you all this?

The answer’s simple – savvy business people in the retail and leisure industries can use this phenomenon to drive sales.

Find out where the Pokémon characters are near your shop, cafe, bar, restaurant, or leisure outlet, and tell your potential customers on social media. Encourage them to visit your place with special offers. You could even encourage group ‘hang-outs’ for people searching for characters to collect – to swap ideas and suggestions.

Players will be looking to collect different characters and hunting for the rarer ones – you will be building your brand on social media by helping them. You could also be driving up the footfall at your premises.

Pikachu and his pals could end up helping your sales – if you make the most of the opportunity.

MARIA WILLIAMS IS A PR, COPYWRITER, AND BLOGGER FOR SMALL BUSINESS. VISIT www.wordsyoucanuse.co.uk.

 

 

 

4 of the best on Brexit, Euro 2016, and small businesses

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Brexit, Euro 2016, and the day-to-day challenges of running a small business have been on the minds of our blogging customers this summer.

In case you missed them, here are four  of the blogs we’ve written for some of our clients in the past few weeks:

3 compelling reasons you should buy silver now – read more.

The 10 commandments of business networking – read more.

7 ways to find the right finance for your business – read more.

How your business can survive a summer of sport – read more.

Need someone to bring expertise and creativity to your blog? Call us on 07790 654274. Check out our affordable blogging packages here.

Time for your 60-second make-over

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Some people love them. Some people hate them. Those 60-second slots  to introduce ourselves at networking sessions are business Marmite.
However you feel about them, they can be important when it comes to making the right impression on would-be customers.
Do well, and you might make a lasting business-client relationship.
Do badly, and you pass up a chance to impress.
Here are my top 5 tips to ensure you make the right impression:

1. Say who you are and what you do.
You’d be amazed how many people forget this. It’s worth saying it up front, and reminding people quickly at the end.

2. Talk about what you can do for potential customers.
So many people talk about themselves and list their products. Would-be customers want to know how you can help them – sell the benefits.

3. Create a way to be remembered.
Taking something visual along is a good tip. Will you be the bloke with the hi-vis vest or the woman with the hula hoop? You’ll stand out from the crowd.
Creating a verbal hook for the end of your speech is also a good technique – something which plays on words in your industry always goes down well.

4. Write it down.
If you don’t want to write down the whole 60-second speech, write bullet points. You will forget things, otherwise. It’s useful to have something to pull you back into the flow if you feel yourself getting lost.

5. React to things around you.
Think about the audience, the location, or if something funny has just happened. Don’t be afraid to work a little of that in at the last minute – it’ll make your 60 seconds seem fresh.

Don’t worry if it feels daunting – most of us felt like that until we became used to doing it. I certainly did!
Practise makes perfect. So even if you have a few stumbles on the first few occasions you speak, you will improve.
Remember, there’s always someone new at these events who won’t have seen your 60 seconds before.
You can make a great first impression on them, and change the way the rest of the group sees you, too.
It’s time for your 60-second make-over!

Maria Williams is a copywriter, professional blogger, and PR for small business. Visit www.wordsyoucanuse.co.uk.

How to share the buzz on Record Store Day

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Hundreds of independent shops will take part in the UK’s Record Store Day 2016.

This year’s event is set to be the biggest ever seen with more than 200 stores taking part and tens of thousands of music fans attending live events to mark the day.

There will also be 500 limited edition vinyl releases on Saturday from artists like Florence and the Machine, Primal Scream and David Bowie.

A number of the events have a strong Bowie theme to mark the passing of the music legend three months ago.

Record Store Day began in the USA nine years ago and is coordinated by the Entertainment Retailers Association in the UK. This year, the day is staged in partnership with BBC Music.

Recent years have seen a resurgence in vinyl sales, fueled by events like Record Store Day. In 2008, there were just over 75,000 vinyl albums sold in the UK. Sales reached 2.2 million records in 2015. In 2016, LP sales are already up 67% on last year’s figures.

If you’re taking part, make the most of your marketing opportunity.

Use the official hashtag #RSD16 when posting your events on social media and copy in Record Store Day’s official feeds for Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. That will give your posts a wider audience.

USEFUL SITES:

www.recordstoreday.co.uk
www.facebook.com/rsdayuk
www.twitter.com/RSDUK
www.instagram.com/recordstoreday

Share the buzz

Let local media know what you’re doing. Here’s the official press kit: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/nw7b3b6vlvc1aqw/AADKhN8jAYtLyTu_WV8v_6bla?dl=0 – if they can’t attend send them video and pictures during the day for their websites, and after the day for their print editions.

Here’s The Wonderstuff’s Miles Hunt at last year’s event in Swordfish Records:

Plug your events on their sites and your own channels before the day.

Share your images and social media posts throughout the day – people will spot them and decide to come into your store. Retweet and re-post images your customers have taken during your events.

Create a year-round Facebook page for your Record Store Day events and encourage followers to share their stories and images with you. Keep it going so you can use it again in the run-up to next year’s event.

 Here are just some of the events on offer:

  • Rough Trade in East London will be hosting Irish singer- songwriter Glen Hansard, multi-instrumentalist Georgia and Benjamin John Power’s solo project Blanck Massplus.
  • The Museum of Soho will be screening three Bowie-related documentaries from the BBC Arena archive on Saturday.
  • In Newport, Gwent, Newport Rises and Newport City Radio have organised a ‘pop up’ vinyl sale in the foyer of Newport Market and a showcase of the best live music in three locations around the city centre. Kriminal Records based in Newport Market is donating records to sell in order to raise money for Maes Ebbw School. The ‘Kriminal Records pop up shop’ will be open in the foyer of Newport Market during the day.  Newport City Radio will host local music acts across three sites:  at the vinyl sale; at Slipping Jimmy’s bar and grill on High Street; and The Ivy Bush in Clarence Place, from 2pm. Diverse Records on Skinner Street will also have exclusive vinyl releases.
  • The British Record Shop Archive is hosting an exclusive pop-up curated by the Museum of Soho from April 14 to 21 on Beak Street, Carnaby.
  • Pie & Vinyl in Southsea is hosting an outside music festival with Band of Skulls taking the headline spot
  • Hannah Peel is touring the South East Coast with her music box. She will be attempting to perform nine live in-store performances in one day. She starts off in Brighton.
  • Piccadilly Records in Manchester is hosting DJ sets from Mary Anne Hobbs and Domino’s Higher Authorities. Face painters will transform staff and customers into their favourite David Bowie incarnation.
  • Container Records host an all-day DJ party at Pop Brixton.
  • Rough Trade in Nottingham hosts soul star Charles Bradley.
  • The first vinyl playback of Ian Brown’s Solarized LP will take place at London’s Soho Hotel in conjunction with Sister Ray – in total darkness.
  • Inspiral Carpets’ Tom Hingley will be performing an acoustic set for the crowds at Vinyl Revival in Manchester.
  • Jumbo Records in Leeds is staging performances in store by C Duncan and Allusondrugs.
  • VOD Music in Mold (which measures 67 sq ft and is said to be the smallest record shop in the UK) has limited edition vinyl releases and festivities.
  • Vox Box in Glasgow has 15 bands lined up to play in store including 2016 RSD artist Pinact and Emma Pollock.

Find your local record shops using Record Store Day’s store locator here: http://recordstoreday.co.uk/participating-stores/

Maria Williams is a copywriter, professional blogger, and PR for small business. Visit www.wordsyoucanuse.co.uk

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5 effective tips for anyone outsourcing their blog

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When you decide to outsource your blog, you do it for very good reasons.

Usually, saving time is top of the list. Often, you take the decision to bring in an expert writer who can craft your blog posts because they have both the time and experience to do so.

Finding a great professional blogger is a major boost for your marketing campaign. A good blogger will be able to understand your company, know the style in which you’d like them to write, and do their research about your ideal customers.

They can write you social media headlines to maximise your SEO when sharing your posts, and emails to help you share your new post with your database.

If you’ve never used a professional blogger before, here are some tips to get the most from that relationship:

Be specific.

If you want something done a certain way, be as specific as possible with your blogger. They want to give you copy you’ll love, and which gives you a great return on investment. The more detail you give them the better. If you want a headline with a figure in it and a post based closely on data you’ve collected, tell them. Don’t assume they’ll know exactly what you’re thinking, even if they are on your wavelength.

Embrace their creativity.

If you’re not sure what to do with a post, ask your blogger. They may have tried and tested ways of delivering something great which you hadn’t thought about. A good blogger will be able to come to you with ideas, and you can agree with them what you’d like them to work on. Part of the time-saving in hiring a professional blogger is that it frees you from having to come up with all the ideas yourself. That can be a real headache after a few months of consistent blogging.

Copy them in on your calendar.

That helps them spark off ideas for new posts around events you’re attending, sales, product launches, or new directions you’re taking in the business. Blogging calendars will also contain major events like film launches and holidays such as Easter and Christmas, but the more relevant the blogger can make it to your individual business, the better.

Let them mix it up when it comes to length.

Statistically, posts which are between 1,200 and 1,700 words get the best engagement. Shorter posts, however, are also excellent ways of getting information across quickly, especially if you’re blogging every week, and longer posts tend to be more expensive. The best way forward for your business could be having a longer read every month or two, helping to build engagement with your blogging audience.

Images are important.

Most bloggers have good sources of stock images. The best ones have good contacts among freelance photographers. If they offer you free stock images, take a look at them. If they’re relevant and good images, why not use them? Most social media platforms have far better engagement when pictures or video is used, so take any opportunity you can to embed them into your blog. Would it be worth getting  a new image taken for your post? Could you use it elsewhere in brochures or flyers, or on an advert? It’s worth thinking about that, too.

Here’s to a fruitful relationship between you and your pro blogger!

Maria Williams is a professional blogger, copywriter, and PR for small business at Words You Can Use Limited.

 

Why every business blog should start with a detailed profile of your ideal customer

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Samantha is 41. She has two children, aged 17 and 12. She has run her own business for the past four years, and between work and a busy family life, a lack of time is her biggest problem.

She’s married, holidays in France, and sometimes Italy. She’s tech savvy, no fool when it comes to managing her money, and takes the reins when it comes to the household spending.

She wrote her own website copy four years ago, but her analytics and her own intuition and experience are telling her it could be doing so much more for her company. She likes blogging, but doesn’t have the time.

Samantha’s my ideal customer. I could tell you more about her, but I think you already get the point. When it comes to writing blogs to promote my own business, Samantha’s the woman I have in mind when I sit down at a blinking cursor. You might think she’s just my imaginary friend, I can’t possibly comment…

Why do I need to spend so much time on her? It’s all about cutting through content fatigue.

Sometimes, we feel like there’s a deluge of information on the internet. It can be off-putting, confusing.

There’s so much content out there right now. The thing you as a business blogger have to remember is that most of it isn’t useful to your target audience.

You need to be different. You need to speak directly to them.

Building a profile of your ideal customer/s is the starting point.

It all starts with data.

Your data will show you who is buying your products or services, and who is interacting with your social media posts. That’s not to say all of them are your ideal customers, but it must be your starting point.

Here are your sources of data:

Google Analytics – if you haven’t got this activated on your website, activate it now. It’s still the gold standard when it comes to seeing website visitor numbers and the levels of engagement. Its demographics function also gives you a great deal of information about your website visitors. Please be aware, though, that a cookies warning may well be necessary for those activating the demographics part of the service.

Twitter Analytics – Twitter gives you a great deal of information about those who view and interact with your posts. It tells you what interests your followers (business, news, sport, comedy, etc), the age range and gender breakdown, what sort of devices they use, and even which mobile phone/broadband service they use. Twitter has shown me that a growing number of people are viewing my tweets via iPhones and iPads, and Android phones, continuing the trend towards mobile.

Facebook and other social media – Facebook can show you a great deal about those who engage with your posts including locality, age range, friendship networks, interests (via your followers’ likes), and other social media you use regularly can also give you good insights into who is interacting with you.

Your sales records – It’s amazing how many people overlook this. Your own records have great insights into who is buying your products or services, and how they are using them. It’s an excellent starting point. If you don’t know how old they are, what brought them to you, etc, why not consider a customer questionnaire to help you improve your service?

Take a few days to plough through all of this information. Pick out the age range, gender balance, locality, their interests, where they ‘hang out’ on social media, whether they are professionals.

Now, you have a basic profile. You should know whether you are targeting women in their 40s or professional 20-somethings.

Most people would stop there. Don’t. Your ideal customer profile has to be very detailed. Now, you have to take a look at marketing data about your specific age range and gender group.

A good place to start would be marketing studies carried out by academics, professional bodies, or marketing media.

It’s as simple as Googling “marketing to women in their 40s”, for example, and seeing what comes up. You’ll soon find information which is highly useful. Did you know that 96 per cent of women in their 40s make all or most of the major spending decisions for their households? Neither did I until I started profiling a customer’s ideal clients.

From all of this data and information you’ve gathered, you should now have a feel for where you’re going with your profile. At some point, the data has to be supplemented by your intuition about those who will buy from your business, and why.

Get more in our free, 16-page guide to boosting your small business blog by signing up for our mailing list. It has more about profiling your ideal customer, how to headline and structure your blogs, how to use images and sound, and how to boost its profile using social media and influencers.

Sign up for the Words You Can Use Limited mailing list here: http://www.wordsyoucanuse.co.uk/contact-us/4590570178

Don’t worry about being inundated with spam. We will only send you free guides, and links to our latest blogs. We won’t release your mailing list details to third parties.

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