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Tag Archives: authenticity

Be the expert

open book

‘Expert’ is in danger of becoming meaningless.

It’s going the way of ‘passionate’ as a business buzz word so heavily overused its become detached from its real meaning. The world is apparently passionate about customer service, fresh ingredients, packaging, air fresheners, consumer risk reduction. Passionate? Really? Are you?
And ‘expert’ risks slipping in the same direction, which is a shame, because its a useful term that should carry weight. It means you absolutely know your stuff, your opinion can be trusted, and you’ve got valuable knowledge to share.

So here are some ways of proving you’re the real deal.

1. Demonstrate your expertise. Just saying it means nothing. Use your website to show me your expertise in action. Deliver that talk. Write the book.
2. Share it. Be generous with your expertise. Social media is a great place to help. Don’t worry about giving it away for free, people will like you for it, and likeability counts for a lot. It means you’ll get referred, recommended, and in front of the people who can pay. Spread the word.
3. Learn more. Experts know there’s always more to find out. So read around your subject, ask questions of other people in your field, dig deeper.
4. Be niche. Carve out your space and stick to it. The longer I go on copywriting, the clearer I’m becoming on my own space. I think mine is knowing what people need to hear, and saying it clearly. And that’s it. Tiny! It makes me perfect for getting messages spot on or web projects – creating high performing websites that really make a difference – but if it’s a white paper you’re after, I’m probably not your girl. I distill the essence of things, I’m not a reams of detail writer.
5. Have a story. What brought you here? Experts are made, not born, and understanding the steps that led you here will help you be clear about how your knowledge fits into the bigger picture, and how exactly you can help.

What have I missed? I love to know your thoughts on how you can prove it’s expertise and not empty words.

If you need help distilling your business message, call me on 07985 015300.

Five things your newsletter needs

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A good newsletter is a great communication tool. A dull one goes straight into the trash. Here’s how to make yours stand out.

Think about why you’re producing the newsletter. If it’s just because you think you ought to, the chances are it won’t succeed. Newsletters are a great way to keep in touch with customers, reward clients, share knowledge, demonstrate expertise, convert warm leads into sales….so make up your mind what your goal is before you start.

Having a clear aim in sight makes it much easier to create relevant content that targets your readership and makes a real connection.

Authenticity

Chances are your business isn’t the only one offering your services. True uniqueness is rare. But it will have qualities that make you different from your competitors, and these need to shine through in your newsletter. Create content that spotlights the way your service is different. Demonstrate how your particular focus helps your clients.

Voice

Write it well, in a voice that reflects your brand guidelines. In practice this probably means finding a designated person in your business to write it every month, or outsourcing it to a good copywriter. (What is doesn’t mean is passing it round the office so that everyone can write their bit.) Consistency, accuracy and style count.

Brand

Newsletters have a privileged position in your communications toolbox. Your clients have signed up for it, they’re already interested in you. But just because you’re preaching to the converted it doesn’t mean you can churn out any old sermon. Treat the newsletter with as much attention to your brand values as you would your website, or special marketing campaign.

Design

Invest in design – just because they’ve signed up for it doesn’t mean they’ll read it. A good designer will work with your writer to make the content engaging, accessible, and easy to navigate They’ll work together to create headlines that draw people in, and make sure the page is balanced and reader-friendly.

I can help you get started with your newsletter. A new perspective is often helpful when you’re trying to define goals and identify brand strengths. Or I can write it for you. Do call if you think I can help – 07985 015300

My five marketing lessons

It’s been a year since I started in business on my own – a good time to reflect on the marketing lessons I’ve learnt in 2010.
I haven’t done any formal networking, or cold calling, and I haven’t even got round to sorting out my business cards. But I have managed to build up a network of clients that keep coming back, and who I really enjoy working with. Here’s how it’s working for me.

1. A good website is crucial.

While I loved the design of my first site (thanks Daniel Penfold), I outgrew it quite quickly. A WordPress site (more thanks DP) gave me something I could update myself with writing that would be useful for potential clients and that could stay up to date and relevant to the kinds of people I want to work with. Redoing the site after only 10 months was a great exercise in redefining my offer. Keeping my website valuable is top of my marketing list.

2. Twitter works.

I’m steadily building up a Twitter network that is both useful and entertaining. You make your own community on social networking sites, and I find Twitter a really friendly and supportive place. I know I sometimes cross the boundaries of personal/professional when I’m Tweeting – but I like Tweets from people that come from real life – being funny, or exasperated, or unsure is okay by me. I accept that this isn’t right for anyone, but Twitter is a great showcase for writers, and creating readable tweets is a fab exercise in making the most of a few words. Be useful, supportive and interesting – that’s my approach.

3. Newsletters raise your game.

Both the discipline of creating something valuable, useful and readable once a month, and the credibility it gives you as an authority on your subject is priceless. I picked up a lovely new client after only 2 newsletters, and expect to find more next year. Demonstrate your knowledge in an accessible and useful way.

4. Collaborate.

Working with Sonja to develop Valuable Content has been incredibly good fun, and professionally useful. We’ve pushed each other to achieve things, shared ideas, been each other’s sounding boards, spell checkers and friends. We’ve got big plans for next year, so watch the Valuable Content space. Work should be happy, so surround yourself with good people.

5. Be yourself.

I get on with my clients, and find them really easy to work with and it is more than a happy coincidence, I believe it comes from creating an on-line presence that reflects who I am. People will have checked me out on the website, maybe read my Tweets and newsletter, and decided whether they like my style and approach. People who don’t like the sound of me, won’t get in touch. I’m happy about this – it saves us both time. Be true and the right people will find you.
(I’m basing this theory on the one difficult client I’ve had this year, who came via a contact of a contact of a contact. He hadn’t been through the web/twitter filter – maybe if he had he would have chosen a different writer.)

So for next year? I”m going to do more of the same. More blogging, more writing about how to write, more newsletters, more collaboration, more Tweeting. But I’m going to try my hand at networking too, and I am, I promise, going to get those business cards sorted.