Make Hay Even When It Rains

I know I shouldn’t complain. I mean I know it’s December. And it used to be that I barely noticed. But since we got Kimber, the weather has become a major part of my life. Every day I take a look out of the window and work out what today’s walks will look like. Will they be a quick walk around the block before retreating home to play with a ball? Or will they be long walks in the countryside to take advantage of that winter rarity: a beautifully crisp sunny day? Even when the weather’s shocking we still have to make at least a brief sojourn; but when the weather’s fine we always make up for any lack of exercise the previous day. And it occurs to me that I’ve learned to apply this practice to my blogging too. Even though I love to write, there are days when the words don’t flow for my own blogs. I blog most days in one shape or another: for clients, for Sunday Sunshine, or for Blog Club’s Weekly Shot; and those are words that have to come, whether I like it or not. But for this blog and my blog at samdounis, I don’t commit to blogging daily or on any particular day, so I can afford to wait until the words come more easily. But what I’ve learned is that even on those days where I’m not blogging for myself, the trick is to make at least a short sojourn into that world. Whether it’s taking photographs of Kimber, or the landscape to use as a blog or social... read more

My Top Three Ways To Beat Blogging Procrastination

You know how it is.  You sit down with every intention of writing a blog post, when it suddenly strikes you that what you really need, is a cup of tea.  Or a piece of chocolate.  Or five pieces of chocolate.  Or you metaphorically hit yourself over the head as it occurs to you that you haven’t put any dishes or clothes on to wash recently: best not have that hanging over your head!  And perhaps you should walk the dog in case it needs walking while you’re mid-flow.  And when was the last time you checked your emails or Facebook? Who knows what might have happened in the world that you need to know about?! We’ve all practiced procrastination at some point or other, and while analysing and addressing the underlying reasons will help us in the long term, when you need to write that blog post, all that does is give you another way to procrastinate! So here are three ways I’ve used to beat blogging procrastination. One: Start by writing something unrelated.  It can be a commentary of your day so far, drawing a page full of doodles, or using a story prompt tool, such as oneword.com.  I love ‘The Art Of Getting Started’ by Lee Crutchley: it’s full of short exercises you can do to just get started. Two: Play something in the background to help you focus.  In the past I’ve listened to classical music, but these days I’m more likely to tune into coffitivity.com or brain.fm.  Both are great at helping me focus. Three: Blog with a buddy.  We do this every couple... read more

Giving Value Gets You Clients

I’m always looking to find new ways of adding value to my client relationships. So when my friend Laura from Commission Crowd sent me a link to a Business Zone article, written by Gavin Bell of Blue Cliff Media, about his value based selling approach, I was curious. Gavin has devised a simple, yet genius method to demonstrate his experience and expertise to potential clients, in a way that gives them something of value even if they don’t engage his services. He starts by compiling a list of potential clients from LinkedIn, before recording a video review of their social media activity. He emails them to ask if they’d like the review, and if they do he sends it to them. It gives them some useful pointers about what they can do to improve the results they get from using Social Media, whether they use Blue Cliff Media to help them or not. It’s such an abundant approach, and there are so many upsides that I can see. The businesses get better results from their social media, and Blue Cliff Media raises awareness of its brand, while establishing a raft of brand ambassadors. Because even if a business isn’t looking to engage the services of a digital marketing agency, they’ll be more likely to recommend Blue Cliff Media to other businesses who are. After all, they’ve had experience of their services, and their value-based approach. Adapting this idea to your industry or market may take a little imagination, but essentially it involves making a list of the people you can help and giving them something of value that’s pertinent to their business. If you’re a... read more

How To Write A Blog Post

A question I’m often asked is whether there’s an easy way to write a blog post.  Of course, the easiest and quickest posts to write, are the ones where you share a news article and write a few sentences of commentary about it.  But when it comes to writing a ‘proper’ post, this is my seven step process: I hope it gives you something to follow that makes it simpler and easier for you too. Step One: I start the process off using paper and pen.  For me there’s something in the process of physically writing down my thoughts on paper that helps my brain work out what I’m trying to say.  It makes the whole thing a lot easier.  It also means that if I change something, I can see how it’s developed, and access my earlier thoughts more easily than I could if I was deleting my words on screen. Step Two:  start with your blog post idea in the middle of a bit of paper and surround the idea with the main points you want to make, in the style of a mind map.  When I wrote a blog post about the five things you need if you want to get blogging and keep blogging, I started it off with a title in the middle of a bit of paper, and then drew seven lines out from the idea: one for each of the five things, and one each for the introduction and conclusion. Step Three: write what you want to say about each of those key points.  Write what you would say to someone if they were... read more

One Blog Post Does Not A Blog Make

In business we’re often looking out for the quick wins, the low-hanging fruit.  Sure, we’re wise to ‘get-rich-quick’ schemes, but if someone whispers that they have a shortcut, a sure-fire formula to grow our email list, get more customers, earn six-figure incomes; our ears prick up, and before you know it some persuasive copy and compelling testimonials mean we’re helping someone else make their own six-figure income. Of course experience tells us that once we’ve learned the shortcut, even the quickest of wins needs an investment of time and effort, and even low-hanging fruit can require a step-ladder to pick it.  When it comes to business, it’s rare that one size fits all, especially for service-based or high-end-product businesses.   So what works for someone else’s business will need adapting to work in yours; and even with their formula you’ll need to put the work in. The same is true of blogging.  Blogging is a valuable business tool: but as you would expect from a valuable business tool, it requires a strategic approach, commitment, time, and effort if it’s to work.  Which doesn’t mean it has to be dull and tedious.  It’s quite the opposite.  But you can’t publish one post and expect that to be that. The key is to start blogging and keep blogging. To post consistently and often.  And before long you’ll have built a bank of useful resources for your prospective customers: material that you can share again and again on digital media platforms, and that’ll help you establish rapport and build trust. Until next time, Happy... read more

What Your Blog Needs For You To Succeed!

The thing your blog needs most of all, is POSTS!  ‘Well Duh!!’  But while your blog certainly needs posts, before you even get to posting, it needs POSTS.  Let me explain. P is for People.  The people you need to be speaking to if you want to use your blog to grow your business.  You need to get to know these people so that you can talk to them about the things they want/need to hear.  Building a picture of your audience is an ongoing process, and one that requires you to apply the Green Cross Code principles of Stop, Look, and Listen; and then continue to Look and Listen All The Way. O is for Objective. If you’re going to find the time to blog, your blog needs to have a purpose, a reason for existing.  You need to know why you’re blogging.  And if your blog is for your business, you need to give it a Business Objective.  Without a solid enough tie to your business, without a business purpose, you’ll never be able to give your blog a high enough priority.  There will always be something more important for you to do.  This is the most critical thing your blog needs if it’s to help you to be successful.  I will bang on about this until the end of time! S is for Story Cupboard.  You need a fully stocked Story Cupboard of great blog post ideas.  A virtual treasure trove, if you like, of fun, inspirational, useful, entertaining things to write about.  So that you never have to rely on inspiration alone.  Every time an idea comes... read more

A Vlog About Limiting Beliefs

I’m always telling people that they should mix things up in their blogs.  That they should post different types of content in order to keep things interesting.  And then I go and post the same kind of content, because writing’s what I love to do, and up until recently I’ve shied away from all things video.  Well here I am practicing what I preach!  I’d love to hear about your Limiting Beliefs, especially where they relate to blogging, and how you’re overcoming them... read more

The Danger Of Not Blogging

If you think blogging’s a marketing tool for the future, you need to catch up: because blogging is fast becoming an integral part of any successful business’s marketing strategy.  And the danger of not blogging is leaving money on the table and directing all your ideal customers to take their custom elsewhere. A couple of days a week I work out of Loudons Cafe in Edinburgh.  I’m lucky because it’s a brilliant cafe with lovely owners and friendly staff.  And handily it’s also situated opposite my husband’s office.  So on the days I work in Loudons, Paul and I drop Kimber off at Doggie Daycare (which is just as cute and bonkers as you imagine it is) and drive into town.  This morning I was telling Paul about a talk I gave yesterday on the importance of blogging.  I was recounting one of the questions I was asked, which was ‘what are the dangers of not blogging?’, when he cut in with a rather succinct, and if I may say so, forceful response!  Which was along the lines of ‘the danger is that someone who’s her ideal customer will come on her site and not be able to tell that she’s their ideal accountant.  So they’ll go somewhere else.’.  This from the man who didn’t consider blogging to be ‘proper work’ not two years ago.  Now given that my husband specialises in helping struggling businesses to become viable, thriving businesses: the fact that he now considers blogging to be an integral part of any business’s marketing strategy tells me that blogging is no longer a marketing tool for the future.  It’s... read more
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