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A writer’s secret to good marketing content

Not everyone’s a writer. When you’re running your own business, you kind of have to do everything yourself, so writing emails, blogs, social posts, customer emails, product descriptions, etc is likely on your daily to do list.

If you feel like you spend hours working on words, trying to craft something that’s going to engage your audience, convert viewers to buyers, and improve your business, I have a little tip and some suggestions for you today…

Did you know that, back in 2008, I graduated with a degree in Creative Writing?

It’s true. My passion for books and words and finding ways to express thoughts and feelings took me back to my place of birth (Leeds) for a university degree in writing. Since then I’ve been writing as part of my job for about 13 years.

And while part of me still holds a glimmer of hope that one day a novel or a screenplay will emerge, I am beyond happy that writing is something I have done professionally, and use daily in my work (and life).

A writer’s tip: Write the way you speak

We spend our early educational years learning about spellings, words, grammar, and the approved structures of the English language. It’s important. I love a bit of grammar. And don’t even get me started on punctuation.

But when it comes to words that have an impact, you need to write the way you speak.

We don’t need full sentences, perfectly punctuated, with adverbs and formal syntax.

We need you to say it in a way that makes sense to us as we’re scrolling and going about our business.

The way we talk has flow and friendliness, and that can add so much sparkle to your copy.

Here are some things to try:

  • Record yourself talking about something (a product, an experience, your brand) and transcribe what you hear
  • Have a conversation with a friend or fellow business owner, asking each other about what you do – again, record it or take notes on the words and phrases you use
  • Ask a friend (or even a lovely customer) to talk about you, your work, and your business – they could send you a quick voice note that you can use as inspiration for words and phrases you like
  • When you’re checking pieces of writing, like a social post or product description, literally read it out loud to make sure it flows (in your head gets you one star, reading it aloud gets you five!)
  • Listen to good podcasts, audiobooks, and TED talks – you’ll learn about the rhythm of storytelling, and you might even find some words and phrases you like!

Honestly, saying things out loud as you write and create will make your words so much more powerful to your audience! And you’ll start to feel more confident in them, too…

Can’t wait to hear how this goes for you – keep me posted!

What’s next? Black Friday vs Valentine’s Day

If you’re a maker or creative business owner in retail, the next few weeks are pretty much the most intense of the year. If you hadn’t noticed, it’s Christmas, and this year, things are even more unpredictable.

In this blog post, I’m making it really easy for you to market your products right now, and plan ahead for future success. To read this and do all the things I mention, you probably need about 30-45 minutes. Doable, right?

So let’s pretend for a moment that fulfilling orders is a breeze, you’re totally on top of that, and you have no worries in that area.

In fact, let’s pretend that your only job right now (imagine, my dear solopreneurs and tiny teams! just one job…) is marketing.

As the Marketing Manager for your business, you have a few things on your mind:

  • Black Friday
  • The rest of December
  • Valentine’s Day

Partly, you’re bringing in sales right now – that is your urgent job – but you’re also thinking strategically about the future – that is your important job.

Let’s look at how to balance the two:

Black Friday

Black Friday is next week, the 27th November, with Cyber Monday on 30th November. These are big online shopping days, not just for those looking for discounts, but also in general: November payday happens, and we as a society actually acknowledge that Christmas is coming.

In good news, this year there’s a huge movement for shopping small and shopping early. Royal Mail are sharing the message, and Google are running tv ads about supporting small businesses.

Black Friday can be noisy – lots of big brands and businesses now rely on a Black Friday week to generate discounted sales. And that can be off-putting for small businesses who feel their voices are too quiet.

As I’ve said in my Tuesday pep talks over on Instagram, it’s still worth sharing your products over Black Friday weekend, even if you don’t discount. People are still looking to shop.

Here are my top tips for Black Friday weekend (and the rest of December):

  • Post regularly on social media, ideally scheduling ahead of time
  • Send out an email (two if you’re running a discount) – read this blog post for a content rundown
  • Be really clear about how people can order from you (this is especially good in IG Stories, but also on your feed):
    • Where do they need to go?
    • When do they need to order by?
    • What’s your experience with delivery right now? Even if it’s good, say so!
    • Can you gift wrap and send direct to their recipient?
    • Make it REALLY EASY to place an order!

Valentine’s Day

But here’s the thing: Valentine’s Day is hot on the tails of Christmas. Urgh, I know. The Worst.

As your business coach and mentor, I am morally obliged to remind you that 2021 is coming, and you, amazing human, deserve to succeed in the coming year, as well as in the coming weeks.

So absolutely take care of yourself and your orders and maximise this opportunity. AND let’s think long-term, too.

Here’s how to spend 15 minutes on Valentine’s Day that will pay off big time:

  • Book a photoshoot in January. Seriously. Do it now. Whether it’s your own time or with a professional. (I recommend Girl Behind The Lens for remote product photography.)
  • Plant the product development seeds in your creative brain. You don’t have to design everything before Christmas, but maybe jot down some ideas of what you’d like to share for Valentine’s Day.
  • Mark some key dates on your calendar, like when you’ll open your Valentine’s Day shop (I recommend 25th January), and when you’ll need to upload your listings (probably the week before!).

I have made all this take even less time and feel even easier with the Valentine’s Day Launch Plan, which not only has a printable calendar for you, but also then has all the marketing content templates for email, Instagram, and Facebook from pre-launch to last order dates. (Seriously, I just want to remove the obstacles getting in your way.)

So there’s a quick rundown of how to juggle immediate and long-term success. Let me finish with a reminder that I absolutely believe in you AND you are worth taking care of. Sleep. Water. Good music. Great snacks. Ask for help.

You’ve got this.

Jenny x

PS That link again to the save-you-time, make-you-money Valentine’s Day Launch Plan.

I’m not great at following recipes, but here’s why it helps my business

I love to cook. Okay, the one-year-old and lockdown juggle might be holding me back a little right now, but mostly I enjoy the creativity of preparing meals.

And that’s just it for me: the creativity. Like a lot of things, I’m in it for the creative flair, and sometimes that doesn’t necessarily work out in my (husband’s) favour.

I want to be able to just throw in a dash of this and a dollop of that. I want to be able to sense when the souffles are done. (I’ve never actually made souffles, but you know what I mean.) And I want to be able to play around and produce something yummy that everyone enjoys.

Sometimes it works. There are dishes I can vary depending on my mood, like a risotto with a select combination from the fridge and cupboard, or a slow cooked casserole. Usually, I can play around with these meals because I’ve learned the recipes by heart and made them many times.

Because guess what I resist, literally and metaphorically, in the kitchen and in life? Recipes.

Friends, I do not like being told what to do.

Partly, hello, I’m a rebel. Partly, I want to be able to intuit the best formula for a dish.

But you know what helps me to learn how to cook and discover the best formula for a dish? Recipes.

So what do recipes have to do with business?

You might have guessed that – just like this recent post about cake – there’s a food-based metaphor going on here. (I just love a metaphor, especially a food one.)

Just like in cooking, there are recipes in business, too. Not in exactly the same way, but pretty close. Processes, structures, templates, tips, and step-by-step instructions. Using things is art and science, formula and instinct, logical and creative.

Just like in cooking, you can discover a process in business and once you’ve got the hang of it, you can play around and make it your own. (Or even write it from scratch in the first place.)

Let’s say you want to be able to create a delicious marketing offering. You can learn about how to create different types of content – photos, videos, written pieces – and schedule them. You can follow some suggested recipes and guides. And as you practice, you’ll learn your favourite flavours, and the ones your family (customers) love the best.

Maybe you’ll find some crowd pleasers. Maybe the first time you make a souffle, it won’t rise. (Chances are.) But maybe on the third attempt, it’s just right: perfectly light, gooey in the middle and a little crispy on top.

I love reading about marketing and business. It’s a bit like browsing Pinterest or a good cook book for foodie inspiration.

There are also times when I find a recipe I want to learn by heart, like a basis for making my own granola (that was a pre-baby obsession) that I can mix and match when I like.

My game-changing recipe realisation

Realising and accepting that recipes are in fact helpful and not something I need to rebel against has been GAME CHANGING for me. The structure they give me allows me to be at my creative best. (And yes, I’m kind of talking about business here, not just oat to raisin ratios…)

If you, like me, have realised the value of having a structure and a recipe, I think you’re going to like The Better Business Collective. It has a whole load of templates for sending email newsletters to your subscribers (a VERY worthwhile marketing endeavour), as well as a stunning, magical, easy-but-doesn’t-mean-we-do-it Game-Changing Success Ritual that has the power to level UP your business and your mindset.

You’re oh so welcome in The Better Business Collective if you:

  • Want to raise your business savvy up a level
  • Know that you want to work ON your business rather than IN it but struggle to actually make that happen on the regular
  • Love learning and implementing business and marketing strategy live and in community with other humans in business
  • Are a rebel, like yours truly, and want to get out of your own way 
  • Aren’t a rebel, but would love to unlock your potential and create your own version of success

Let’s get cooking, shall we?

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