Feeling Like A Cosseted Customer In French

Over the last few days the husband and I have been excitedly planning our imminent trip to Paris.  We’ve been poring over guide books, maps and trip advisor: shortlisting restaurants, walking tours and wine bars.  Although not necessarily in that order 😉   In terms of the language, we usually get by on a combination of my sketchy school-girl french, our trusty Berlitz phrase book and, when it’s about food, a text to my mum.  But only knowing the basics does mean that we often miss out on how beautifully the french use their language. Take, for example, the reply we received following a restaurant reservation request.  I was pretty sure that it thanked us for our reservation but I wanted to be sure.  So I asked a native french speaker, who confirmed that not only were they were thanking us for our reservation, but added they would be honoured by our custom.  Which certainly beats “your reservation has been accepted”.  So now we’re really looking forward to our meal at that restaurant; and we feel like special guests...

Three Ways To Ensure Your Blog Brings Bigger Business Benefits

If you want customers to choose you, it makes sense to be as targeted as possible when you’re writing as your business.  Take an HR Consultancy I recently did some work for as an example.  Of the two blog posts they’ve published so far, each has resulted in speaking invitations and one has resulted in a proposal to work in partnership with another business. So what’s behind this success?  Well, while I’d love my writing skill to take all the credit, it’s more to do with the clarity of the brief.  Because before I wrote a word, we did three things: We got clear about who I was writing for.  We built a profile of the HR Consultancy’s ideal client: who they were, what role they fulfilled, what made their life difficult, what would make their life easier. We got clear about the subjects that would interest them, what their problems were around those subjects and what their frustrations might be about the traditional solutions. We sketched out short articles that outlined the problem and presented a solution that demonstrated the HR Consultancy’s expertise and approach.  These articles showed that the HR Consultancy understood the issues their customers faced and presented a solution they may not have considered, demonstrating a fresh approach to the problems they face. I understand how tempting it can be to say to any expert, “Just do it”.  But when it comes to copywriting, doing the preparation before pen is put to paper, pays dividends every time....

Where Inspiration Strikes!

When I was younger than I am now, I used to picture what being a writer would be like.  I imagined myself in a beautiful room, with an enormous window that showed me the beautiful countryside/beach/loch/river/cityscape that lay outside my front door.  And I imagined that I would live my life waiting for inspiration to strike; which it would do almost immediately and then I’d write for hours on end.  Hahahahahahahaha!  At least I know I’ve got a good imagination! The reality, like most realities, is slightly different than I imagined!  It seems that the thing about being a writer is that you can’t just hang around waiting for inspiration to strike, because a lot of the time it doesn’t arrive unbidden.  When you’re a writer you have to find that inspiration, wherever you are and whether you feel like it or not. That’s not to say, however, that there aren’t places where I feel more inspired.  One of those places is Highland Perthshire, where a sense of excitement-infused-calm creeps up on me as I turn off the A9 towards Logierait, and beyond to Kenmore,  a tiny village at one end of Loch Tay.  A place where ‘awesome’ means awesome: where the scenery holds you in awe; where I often wonder at what the hills and loch have seen, long before my ancestors were thought of, and what they will see well after I’m gone. It’s there that I am, with ease, at my most creative and productive.  Writing is easy, it requires no effort, no psyching myself up, no searching for inspiration.  It’s just there.  As certain as...

Top Tip For Writing About Yourself

In A Nutshell When you’re writing about yourself the best thing you can do is focus not on yourself, but on the people you want to impress.  At the end of the day, it’s what they want to know that counts; not what you want to tell them.  Because even when someone wants to know more about you, what they actually want to know, is more about you in relation to themselves. The Whole Kit And Kaboodle There are so many opportunities to write about yourself these days.  You have LinkedIn profiles, Twitter profiles, About pages, networking pitches, investment or customer pitches, the list is endless.  And let’s be honest, it’s not often that you view the task of writing about yourself as an optimistic opportunity, is it?  Many people see it as a chore and others view it with dread.  I wasn’t brought up to blow my own trumpet and I’m guessing that you weren’t either?  Which, when it comes to writing about yourself, is a good thing.  Yes, you heard correctly.  The people who have the real problems when it comes to selling themselves are the people who love to tell everyone who’ll listen how great they are. Surprised?  Well, if you’ve been reading my blog then you shouldn’t be! 😉  Because if you’ve been reading some of my previous posts,  you may remember that the thing your customers are most interested in is themselves!  There are things they want to know about you, but that’s mainly in relation to them and how you’ll solve their problem or make their life easier.  So here’s my top tip...

The Website Crime That’s Crippling Your Business

The website crime that’s crippling your business isn’t a new virus or a scam.  In fact, it’s something that’s entirely within your control: it’s a crime you may very well be committing right now!  But while it’s not a crime that’ll have the police scrambling the Rapid Response Unit, it could be doing some serious damage to your business.  So will I ever tell you what I’m talking about?!  Yes: it’s the crime of not updating your website! Now, I can hear you let out a sigh of relief.  Whew!  It doesn’t sound that bad does it?  But what if outdated information means customers are passing you by?  How many decisions do you make based on a business’s website?  Last week I was going out for dinner with some friends.  The restaurant we planned to go to was fully booked so my friend suggested an alternative.  I visited their website and found they were displaying a menu for Christmas 2012, and advising that they still had places for Valentines Day.  If I’d come across that website on my own I’d have assumed that they were no longer in business and we’d have eaten elsewhere.  And then I’d never have found out that they were no longer the fish restaurant they claimed to be on their website… Keeping your website up to date doesn’t just help you attract the right kind of customers, it tells people you’re in...