Marketing hit the news this week with a whiff of aftershave. Shaving? Controversial? That male rite of passage that often starts around 12 years old? I remember my brothers’ sudden interest in shaving apparatus and the creams and lotions that accompany it. New smells from the bathroom!
Now everyone’s talking about shaving. At least for the moment in certain contexts. We’ll come back to this thought.
CNN for business reports crowding in the men’s razor market. According to CNN, the new controversial Gillette shaving commercial was spawned because Gillette had to do something to stand out. They’re re-branding due to the fierce competition in their market. True and true.
CBS chimed in with their own take. So have thousands of other people. I first noticed the buzz on my LinkedIn feed this morning. A fellow marketer put up the YouTube ad link and posted a question. Love it? Hate it? Within an hour 65 comments had been posted! Being curious as a marketer, I skimmed all 65.
Here’s a link to the Gillette ad that’s generating so much buzz about life, marketing, and especially #metoo. https://youtu.be/koPmuEyP3a0
Gillette sparked a conversation. Look who’s talking! Major news sources are. Social media is. Your friends and coworkers are. You can’t reach clients without talking to them in some way, shape, or form.
Someone in Gillette’s marketing department has been researching their clients’ challenges. When you find you’re in a hot mess, you appreciate someone who’s willing to step in it with you. Misery still loves company. Bullying. The #metoo movement which has been shaking things up for fathers, grandfathers, bosses, and co-workers. Love it or hate it, you ignore this issue at your own peril.
Gillette’s marketing is short and sweet: We Believe: The Best Men Can Be. It ties into their tagline -The Best Men Can Get. I have formed my own opinions on this topic. I’m sure you have, too. Nevertheless, if Gillette had tried to also include something about the controversial wall or the environment, they would’ve lost their audience’s attention. Too many ideas confuse. You confuse, you lose. I’m betting Gillette is on the right track for more sales this quarter!
Do you need help with storytelling that starts a conversation? Need clarity finding your audience’s challenges or pain points? What about content marketing that focuses on ONE big idea, ONE hook at a time? Let’s do some powerful business brainstorming today. Or just throw the idea at me, and I’ll run with it for you! email@example.com
#contentmarketing #goldenrulemarketing #marketing #freelancemarketingwriter
I’m an old hand at lemonade stands. Maybe that’s where my gritty business mindset was born. Hot, humid South Carolina summers in “Mister Rogers Neighborhood” with several busy siblings — it’s prime recipe for an age-old kid-preneur business plan — a lemonade stand. Ours stood under a giant mossy oak tree.
Fast forward twenty years. My cutie-pie, blueberry-eyed daughter with long blond braids wanted some pocket money one summer. Without scrubbing Mom’s windows, sigh. Selling lemonade seemed SO much more exciting — until she spent hours in the humid shade of a tree with very few sales.
This time of year, you might be dreaming of sunny summer days with a hint of lemon in your sparkling water and LOTS of clients in 2109. You’re planning and getting your business in order. Or making a valiant effort?
2018 was a tough year for small business owners wiped out by the fires in California or the hurricane damage and flooding in Florida. Maybe it was a tough 2018 for you due to personal losses.
Personal loss and tragedy can be especially hard to work through when you run a small business and don’t have the perks of paid time off to recover and refocus. How can you bring your A-game to your business when your mindset is out of kilter?
I can relate. I’ve been hands-on caring for an immediate family member recovering from stroke and cancer. Then there was the sudden, unexpected cross-country move of another close family member, as well as two not-at-fault car accidents this year. I’ve felt like I could barely come up for air before the next wave washed over my head.
Yet somehow, I’ve been blessed with some sweet, sweet lemonade. I’ve worked with wonderful clients this year. I’ve interviewed and written about some amazing humans that inspire me to tiptoe in their GIANT footsteps. Their accomplishments are such a dose of positivity that I tell myself: Pick yo-self up! Shake it off! Move it, lady!
I had some help! Looking back on 2018, I made a list of a dozen favorite tools and tips for inspiration that helped me keep moving and not drown in a sea of lemonade. If sharing these can help you persevere in your business or even in a stinky job, well, I’d love to pay it forward right here.
Just three, folks! Anyone can do this. I read more books than these on a personal growth level, but these three really applied to my business mindset.
1.) Real Artists Don’t Starve by Jeff Goins was my top favorite business book. I bought in on a flash sale off of Amazon, and read it on my Kindle app on the go. If you’re on the verge of quitting on your talents — don’t!
Read this book first. Please. We’re not factory machines. You’re not a cog in a wheel. You have unique gifts and talents to use for the good of others and your own paycheck. “A laborer is worth of his hire.”
2.) Eat That Frog! 21 Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done In Less Time by Brian Tracy. I so needed this book. By the way, Michael Hyatt and Brian Tracy must share ideas. They both talk about getting your BIG THREE out of the way first thing each day.
Writing down my BIG THREE each day has been a huge benefit to my productivity and a boost to my morale and mindset. CHECK. CHECK. CHECK. Whew! I did it. This is only one of 21 wonderful tips that make total sense when your life doesn’t.
( If you’re thinking I’m hooked on the number three, you might be right. The artist side of me knows that a good composition often consists of groups of three.)
3. ) Expert Secrets by Russell Brunson. Entrepreneur extraordinaire, Russell Brunson has helped internet businesses catapult with his SAAS-type offering at ClickFunnels. I’m still on the fringes, figuring this out, but I can say I’ve talked to two people personally whose small businesses have grown exponentially by using ClickFunnels.
One thing Russell has inspired me to do is to be authentic in my business. Like today. I’m telling a bit of my story, because I’m a human interested in helping other humans. He didn’t quit, either, when his story got very tough. Lotsa lemonade to be sipped while reading Russell’s story.
Personal challenges can suck the brain cells right out of you. You get a sucker-punch in the gut, and yet somehow you have to get on stage with your business and perform. That’s when nothing in life makes sense, right? So here are my podcasts of brain restoration in the order of MY personal favorites.
Ed Gandia of www.b2blauncher.com hits it out of the park with practical, useful topics for business writers. However, often his topics overlap and apply to any small business owner — such as a podcast on health insurance for freelancers. Or how about a podcast on using LinkedIn to grow your business? Ed’s been podcasting for a while. With a wealth of topics to choose from, you can choose ones that interest you and apply to your business. Check out the link below. You’re welcome, too!
I was first introduced to Michael Stelzner after reading his book on writing white papers. Very, very B2B!
So imagine my surprise when I found out Stelzner now heads up Social Media Marketing World conference and offers his expertise at www.social mediaexaminer.com. His podcast is chock-full of interviews with experts on the ever changing world of — you guessed it — social media marketing! Cause pretty much every single business is on social media now. You need this shot in the arm!
Since I’m a business writer, the next podcast is my cuppa tea. Steve Slaunwhite is an excellent teacher on all things practical for business writing. Maybe you want to handle more of your own business writing? Check out his short, informative podcasts!
Now, to be clear, I’m biased. I’m a business WOMAN. I’m also a writer. So I’ll forgive you if you tune me out here.
However, my top favorite FB group is run by a woman, the inspiring Julie Christine Stoian, but many men are in this group: Living the Laptop Life: A Group for Online Service Providers and Marketers.
Such a plethora of amazing professionals hang out here and help one another. Plus, you get to drop a link to your business on Mondays and Fridays (with a $50 offer that can lead to MUCH better money). It’s been good for business, folks. If you don’t get a bite, keep throwing out different hooks, a.k.a, Russell Brunson.
I was so delighted to find The Freelance Content Marketing Writer group on FB. Jennifer Goforth Gregory has a good thing going here. Though the job postings have not yet hit “gold” for me, I’ve gotten answers to business questions.
Writers let down their hair and ask for advice about tough clients or prospective gigs and pricing questions. The professional insights are just what the doctor ordered to ramp up my business mindset. It’s a good, safe place to go when business from home gets tough or lonely. https://www.facebook.com/groups/FreelanceCMW/
For networking purposes, I’ve been pleased with Women Helping Women Entrepreneurs FB group. I haven’t really done a lot on this group, but I find the quotes to be inspiring, as well as the large group of women working from home. https://www.facebook.com/groups/womenbizowners/
I have a few openings to work with quality, caring professional service providers. I can help you attract and connect with your clients through regular blog posts, email newsletters, or a THAT ebook download you need. Maybe you need a refresh on your web copy? Let’s make some sweet lemonade with your content marketing! Call me or email for your free initial phone consult.
Julia 443-362-8789 firstname.lastname@example.org
It’s a CRAZY noisy world.
We’re constantly bombarded with marketing. Instagram. Facebook. Twitter. YouTube.
If you’re a professional service provider dead-set on doing your best for your clients, it doesn’t seem fair that the biggest, loudest, flashiest voices get the “worm”. (You know, “the early bird gets the worm”).
Maybe you only have five seconds or less to capture your target audience online.
Or maybe not. Maybe that climb to the top will take T.I.M.E!
My take? Perhaps great marketing for quality service providers is a combination of the five-second rule AND the story of the tortoise and the hare.
If you’ve never heard this Aesop’s fable, here’s my five second version: It’s the ultimate practical joke in the Animal Kingdom. Everyone knows the outcome, right?
The race is set between the flashy, fast-talking, handsome Hare and a slow-moving, heavy Tortoise. BANG! They’re off.
Hare prances, dances for his audience, and zips off at lightning speed, leaving Tortoise to eat his dust. Once he’s far enough ahead, he decides to take a short snooze.
Tortoise crawls along lifting one cumbersome, heavy leg at a time. He never stops moving slowly but surely.
Along the way, he passes the sleeping Hare but does not pause until he crosses the finish line!
The Animal Kingdom gasps then raucously applauds, waking up Hare.
“Slow and steady wins the race.”
Ever heard that line before? I’ve repeated this hundreds of times as an educator, encouraging my students to persist, to keep climbing, to take one small step at a time.
Content marketing needs both elements — pizazz and persistence.
Why do I call it “persistence marketing”? Most content marketing is effective as a steady drip. You have to show up regularly to build confidence and trust. We’ve seen more than one shop in town end up closing due to irregular hours.
How will you add pizazz and persistence to your content marketing plans today?
I offer a free 30 minute content strategy session for new clients only where I look at your business online and discuss ways to improve your copy or content marketing. Julia, at your service! Call 443-362-8789.
A chronic illness that lingers gradually strips the normalcy from your life. It steals your dreams, your friends, your finances, and your loved ones.
Or an illness like cancer can suddenly attack and suck the life from you overnight. Instead of a rags-to-riches story, you endure the reverse tale.
If you get a diagnosis, you and your medical team can start working on a solution to those health problems with a real sense of understanding, right?
Imagine running medical test after test, brutal blood-draw after blood-draw, chasing clue after clue, and not getting the answers you need to help your suffering child.
The Might family never gave up. Finally a research team from Duke contacted them and asked them to join a study on illnesses with no diagnosis. Why? To see if exome sequencing, a cutting-edge DNA research, could lead to answers. Exome sequencing, a less expensive option, only deals with one small portion of a person’s genetic coding. In the case of the MIghts, researchers compared a small amount of DNA sequencing from their son’s DNA to each of his parents DNA.
About two years into the study, the Mights discovered that their son had a previously unheard of disease with no known treatment plan. He inherited an extremely rare glycosylation disorder caused by NGLY1 mutations. Precision medicine at work — so amazing! My hat is off to those researchers devoted to helping those with rare medical needs.
On with our (true) story. With a combination of perseverance, brains, grit, and social media networking, Matt Might went to work to find other NGLY1 victims.
Why? According to Seth Mnookin’s article (see link above) in The New Yorker, “… without additional cases, there was virtually no possibility of getting a pharmaceutical company to investigate the disorder, no chance of drug trials, no way even to persuade the FDA. to allow Bertrand to try off-label drugs that might be beneficial.”
Precision medicine doesn’t work without finding the precise drugs needed. What the Might family needed was a drug or drug combination that would be effective and currently FDA-approved to use for their son’s condition. Relief could not wait for years of drug-testing and research.
Enter Might’s viral blog post!
He did it! He found other sufferers with NGLY1 disorders. Most importantly, the Might family improved the quality of life for their son AND others with the rare NGLY1 disorder. Their research led them to FDA approved drugs within a few years.
It’s not the kind of precision achieved by AI, bots, or any computer-generated copy. I’m a firm believer that no robot will ever fully replace passionate human creativity! Technology should forever be a helper but not a replacement for the human touch.
Matt wrote from an intimate understanding of his son’s need. He also wrote his story from his heart — full of love, compassion, and urgency. His story, though technical at times, was not stuffy. I got choked up reading it. I cheered him on in his search. It sounded like a mini-stadium in my living room!
You need someone who cares about your business to write about your business — that’s heart.
Sharing his unique challenge in a personal way hooked those might also be facing some other sort of unknown genetic nightmare.
That’s what I’d love to do for your business today. You can reach me 443-362-8789 or email email@example.com.
Maybe your business is going through trying times? Maybe you’ve hit a wall with growth.
It’s time to scratch, hunt, and dig up some happy client stories. Don’t invent them. Sooner or later you’ll be seen for a fake. I’m sure you’re not.
What about a quick exit survey on your website?
What did you like about us? Did you like our service? Please leave us feedback and an email. This may generate a client you can actually talk to in the world of online sales.
Other ways include in-office surveys and asking happy clients in person if you can share their story.
Good feels. We all need them. An ancient Proverb compares pleasant words to honeycomb, sweet and healthful. How you spread your news is up to you. Facebook is a quick hit and an instant share. This will mean an abbreviated happy client story, so shrink that case study down to one paragraph with a quote!
If you’re a B2B company, then you can share the love. Even a small business can feature another small business. Life gets more beautiful.
Your generosity in featuring another business will not go unnoticed. Generosity breeds generosity.
For longer-term impact, you will want to use your full-fledged 500 word or more case study as a printable sell-sheet for your sales reps. Your in-house marketing and design team create an attractive format that your sales reps hand to a client. Or you can ask your freelance content writer who their favorite designers are. They often work hand-in-glove.
You know the drill. B2B clients stop by your booth. You want quality brochures or fliers to hand them as they move along to the next vendor. Attractive stories are a quick way to get your company remembered. At end of the day, your case study flier may be the first thing your potential client wants to read.
Updated information on your website keeps the SEO rolling. Is your web copy boring and bland. Add some zip and zing to your content. A happy client story? Bingo!
Old-fashioned emails are not dead. In fact, I just bought a small item recently from a small company that emails me regularly. I may skim most of them — truth– and don’t read every word. Some get trashed. Still, the word SPECIAL caught my eye.
Offer a discount with this teaser — an abbreviated case study or a happy client story. That’s a winning combination!
B2B customers hang out on LinkedIn. Why not put your best foot forward? You need to publish regularly to get seen on LinkedIn. No fairy dust here. Just a steady drip of attractive information will do.
If you’re ready for a new lead magnet on your website, a great case study could fit the bill. Maybe you are shifting your target market. New client case studies based on this specific market might be just the ticket. You can include the link in business emails with clients. Boom! They have something attractive to print off for their boss, or whomever is in charge of the buying decisions.
Ready to invest in quality case studies for your business? I’m here to help strategize, interview and write, polish, and write!
As a professional service provider, your clients want to hear from other folks just like them. How did you solve their problems?
Now that’s a story worth telling. Let’s get started today! I’m talking to clients every single day, so please leave a message on my cell 443-362-8789 or email firstname.lastname@example.org Your story is important to me!
Maybe you already have a well-established clientele. But what business doesn’t need to grow? LinkedIn can become a powerful networking and growth tool. Here’s why.
While Facebook is still a bigger pond with 800 million plus users, LinkedIn is very much a mega pool to fish from for helpful business connections. With a clearly defined professional profile, your ideal clients can also locate you. Since Microsoft acquired LinkedIn in 2016, it’s also bound to continue growing as a professional networking pool.
Generally they don’t post about their personal feelings or what they ate for lunch! If you join LinkedIn groups, you can learn about the latest business best practices. Or, you can share your business expertise on topics.
Let’s talk about Facebook for a minute. I avoided it for years, personally, because I saw all the online drama that people choose to post. Reading the comments sections of many news articles, and even personal posts will make your stomach turn.
Yuck! It can also easily become a major source of personal information gathering for friends or foes. Basically, unless you are super careful with your settings and the groups you participate in (which can change overnight from private to public), it’s a massive “people-stalking network.”
That being said, I’m not advocating ignoring Facebook advertising.
I just think a business will need to exercise greater caution to keep their noses clean on Facebook. Once I had to disable my comments on my business page because some troll decided to have fun on my page.
It’s certainly a platform for “people drama”. By the same token, I’ve done a great deal of profitable learning and connecting in Facebook business groups and forums. I’ve gotten more likes and shares on this platform thus far.
You can post relevant business articles. If you are a creative, you can post samples of your work in slideshare.
In short, you have a platform, a way to build credibilty, and a huge networking tool!
Seriously, the Alexa ratings for LinkedIn lists it as the 10th most popular website in the US. http://www.alexa.com/siteinfo/linkedin.com.
Globally, LinkedIn rates 22nd as of the writing of this article. Either way, these statistics mean that it’s a massive search engine that can be used to showcase your successful products or services. It’s also a publicly traded company. #LNKD
Better than a comment section, your business profile can receive professional recommendations from those you have served well. Unlike Yelp, you have some control over what is posted there, too. A real name and face on these recommendations adds to your business credibility. This builds the “know, like, and trust” factor which is every marketer’s goal.
Professional practices and networking, huge pool of potential clients, and a way to be taken seriously in your market — have I convinced you yet? Let’s get your LinkedIn growing.
Be sure to put your best foot forward with a professional headshot, client-facing profile, and professional connections.
It did grab your attention, right? Now is the time to grab your favorite writing tool or dictation app and do a brain dump.
What went well for your business this year? What areas need some love? What specific steps can you take to improve your business this year? Goal-setting, anyone?
To help with this process, I’m highly recommending a free download from Michael Hyatt. You can get this by visiting http://www.bestyearever.me
The free ebook is called:
Achieve What Matters in 2017: 8 Strategies Super-Successful People Are Using Now to Accomplish More This Year.
I hope to reread this before 2017 begins. I have some huge goals this year. I may post a few of them just to hold my feet to the fire. Not today, though! This post is for you.
Everyone, every business needs a website! Just look around. Every handyman’s van, every delivery truck, every service vehicle almost without exception has a website listed on it. Just because you have one doesn’t mean it’s a good one, though.
Short sentences. White space. Uncluttered webpage. Not a huge bunch of ads and affiliate links.
Your massive list of credentials may be impressive. Ask yourself this question. Does it focus clearly on how you can help your client succeed with their business needs? If, so, good. It’s okay to state what you’re good at if it helps others. If not, cut it down to what matters most to your client.
Your web visitors need a clear nudge to try out your product or services. The digital marketplace is noisy and crowded. Your website needs to be warm, friendly, and inviting. You also need a compelling reason for them to click and try what you have to offer.
Folks are looking for social proof these days. Ever read Amazon reviews before you buy? Recently we tried out the auto maintenance services of a local shop because of the awesome reviews!
Make sure you highlight happy clients or character references on your website. Consider hiring someone to ghostwrite these so you don’t have a sloppy success story that fails to showcase your best business solutions!
If you sell a more complex product or service, an in-depth case study or success story complete with a professional interview by a writer will grab your client’s attention. Reviews are great, but a success story clearly focused on your business solution is even better.
This year I spoke to a highly frustrated business co-owner of a consulting service. Her partner had hired a marketing manager who wrote web copy that was full of errors and wildly disorganized.
I had to ask, what exactly is it that you do, after reading their website.
The same held true of the marketing materials and business emails being distributed. Their target market is highly skilled professionals! Epic business fail! This consultant firm was in serious need of a second set of eyes.
Maybe your website looks sharp. However, fresh web copy could boost your web traffic and SEO. Your content copywriter may even suggest a new marketing theme or strategy. Two pairs of eyes are better than one.
Oops! That is my business goal, too. Let the cat out of the bag, didn’t I?
Providing free, helpful information through a blog or an email newsletter is a great way for your target audience to get to know you.
The consistent “drip effect” is a proven marketing strategy.
Along the way you may find yourself reaping the kindness you have sowed by gaining new clients.
Offer a reward system for loyal customers. The small gifts are a surprisingly effective way of saying thank you. This could be an extra product or an extra service. Serve the extra five minutes, say, as the extra mile.
Take the heat gracefully. Mistakes and misunderstandings happen. Figure out a fair way to compensate your client. This is far less costly than “reverse referrals”.
Simply say the words “thank you for your business”. In a world of constant negativity, these words are a day-brightener when spoken warmly and sincerely.
Take a page from Chick-fil-a. Little things like, my pleasure, create a crowd of loyal fans.
Thank you for reading this, by the way.
Perhaps you already have a grateful fan club? Spotlight your happy client stories to breed a circle of gratitude!
Now that’s a smell that’s warm, spicy, and very attractive.