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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!

How to decide if a course is really right for you

There are so many courses, coaches, and programs out there, and a lot of them offer incredible value, wisdom, and resources… For the people that truly need them.

So how do you decide whether a course is right for you, right now?

  1. It’s for you if… it solves a problem you’ve already identified.

I hope that you’ve already figured out the things holding you back. There are plenty of ways people can tell you about a problem you didn’t even know about, and then sell you the solution. Sometimes that’s helpful. Sometimes it’s not a problem you need to fix RIGHT NOW. 

I see a lot of people in the industry selling education about Facebook ads. But if you don’t have the budget, and don’t know what you’re trying to achieve or the wider strategy to support it, that course isn’t for you RIGHT NOW.

But you’ve probably identified a few things that you need to work on or need help with, and you can prioritise them first.

So if a course or coach is solving a problem you’ve already identified, go ahead and find out more! If you didn’t know about this problem, check in with yourself: is it really a priority for you right now?

  1. It’s for you if… you can afford it.

There are two factors to affordability.

The first is can you afford to pay for it right now? If you have the literal cash in your bank account at this very moment, great! Keep finding out more. If you don’t, and would consider putting this on a personal or business credit card, you need to be really, really confident that you’re going to get a return on your investment, and in the relatively short-term.

Because that’s part two: the ROI. I’m all for investing in your personal, professional, and business development. This is essential for growth. And sometimes gaining confidence and a positive feeling is worth the investment without any numbers on it, but let’s also give our brains the opportunity to do some maths.

To cover the cost of this course, coach, or program, what level of revenue would you need to bring in? For example, The Better Business Collective is £250 when you pay upfront. If you’re a product-based business (the core business type for The Collective) and you have a 25% profit margin on your products (the rate I recommend as a minimum), you need to make £1,000 in sales to cover the cost of the program.

Since The Better Business Collective is four months long, you’d need to make £1,000 over the course of four months to break even on the investment.

So when you look at the program and the resources offered, are they tools that will help you to make MORE THAN £1,000 on top of your normal turnover in that time frame? (I’m fairly confident that the email templates, marketing support, business review, and live workshops will bring in a lot more than that, just for the record…)

You can use this same calculation for any course, coach, or program.

  1. It’s for you if… you can commit to the time required.

It’s really easy to purchase a course and figure out when you’ll actually do it later. Read the sales page carefully. Does it have a clear estimate of how much time you’ll need to actually make use of the resources? If not, red flag! And if so, is that manageable for you?

For example, if you sign up for The Better Business Collective, I recommend having about an hour to 90 minutes a week available to work on the program materials and make the most of the community. That includes these monthly activities:

  • The monthly Game-Changing Success Ritual preparation (1 hour) and live call (1 hour)
  • Time to create your email and other marketing content (either on your own, or in an hour-long live workshop)
  • Getting support from me and the community each week in the focus and flow community posts

You might decide to take extra time to plan a photoshoot to support your marketing content, for example, or dive deeper into your Game-Changing Success Ritual preparation and analysis. But to really get the benefits of the resources, 60-90 minutes a week is ideal. (And yes, you can spend less time on it in December!)

  1. It’s for you if… it supports your learning style.

How many of us have signed up for a self-paced course and then never completed it? HAND UP. Me, too. It’s so easy to do, right?

And have you ever bought a course that’s 100% PDF reading, when you’re an audio or kinaesthetic learner? Chances are, you didn’t get as much out of that one.

If you get the most out of things that are live, look for resources with live workshops – great if you struggle with accountability or prioritising the work.

If you like to hear things said aloud rather than reading, look for courses and programs where there’s a video or audio version.

If you’re really visual, you’re going to work best with videos, well-designed PDFs and clear overviews.

If, like me, you’re a kinaesthetic learning (you learn by doing), look for resources that have checklists, step-by-step structures, and clear instructions.

I am OBSESSED with figuring out as much about ourselves as possible, so that we can make smart decisions. Whatever you know works for you, check in: does the course you’re considering have that?

(And yes, The Better Business Collective has self-paced options, live workshops, great PDFs, and clear step-by-steps. I’ve got you covered.)

  1. It’s for you if… you’re ready.

I know it sounds silly, because of course we all want more success and a better life and to feel happier, but making real progress and committing to sustainable growth (whether material, mental, emotional or spiritual) takes energy. It takes commitment. You have to be really ready.

You have to be ready to commit to yourself through the course or program. No matter how well it’s written or delivered or coached, if you don’t yet believe that you deserve more success (and the course doesn’t support you in that), there’s a chance you’ll self-sabotage and drop off the course.

So yes, be ready to do the course, but be ready to do the inner work, too. (Even better, find a course or coach or program who helps you do BOTH at the same time…)

And even if all the previous questions were a yes, even if all your logic says it’s the right thing, step back for a moment and ask your gut, ask your heart – and even your soul – are you really ready for this exact route into your future?

Listen closely. Then decide.

PS I hope this helps you figure out if The Better Business Collective is right for you. I hope you’ll, at least, check it out before the doors close on Monday 14 September.

Here’s the thing: your sales aren’t shit

First, excuse the language, if it’s not the wording you’d use.

But perhaps you’ve said something like that? “Sales are so bad.” Even if it’s just in your head, if you’ve repeated a phrase similar to this more than three times, we need to talk.

I’ve heard it hundreds – if not thousands – of times from clients who are pretty low on energy, looking for a magic answer or at least some kind of good news. And, truthfully, I’ve been there, too.

I’m not one to sugar-coat things. I don’t like spiritual bypassing or anything similar. (“It’s not that bad! Just look on the bright side!” No, thanks.)

But this is where self-discovery and self-development are incredibly useful. Using awareness of what’s going on in our brains, we can change the story, and change the situation.

Here’s what I mean:

You’ve looked at a number, or several numbers, and something in your brain has said, “Sales are shit.” It’s such a clear and powerful message that you may have questioned it briefly, but it’s basically taken hold.

Then, because it’s not a great feeling, you’ve told someone else. “Sales are kind of shit.” And this person tells you they’re sorry to hear it, or that they’re in a similar position, and you feel not alone. Which feels better than sales-are-shit-and-I’m-all-alone.

So the mantra takes further hold.

And then when you sit down to write a to-do list or you’re thinking about your business, your brain is thinking from this “sales are shit” place. You feel desperate, or uninspired – both sides of the same coin. Maybe you have that frantic energy: you’re getting a lot done, but it’s not really changing sales or changing your mind. Or maybe you just… don’t do very much, because it all feels overwhelming and out of your control.

This story – one that you decided on in the blink of an eye based on something that isn’t the full picture – has become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Want to get out of the downward spiral? There are three essential things to do.

Check the numbers you’re looking at.

If you decided sales are shit based on a two-second glance at a dashboard that doesn’t take your entire business into account, you absolutely need to dive a bit deeper.

If sales are down, you’re likely to be looking at turnover, rather than profit. Which is a false success metric, and is definitely going to give you misinformation about your business and your efforts. Track and look at profit as a marker of where you are, rather than assuming turnover is the same – broadly – as profit. (My business is way down on turnover compared to a couple of years ago, but my profit is significantly higher.)

Check the language you use. Clarity is power.

Okay, so as I said, I’m not one to sugar-coat the truth. Telling yourself things are fine when they’re not won’t help you to improve your business or your situation. We need truth. We need clarity.

But there are ways to phrase things that honour the truth without getting stuck in a story.

First, let’s get the facts. If you’ve looked at the numbers, you’ll hopefully be able to say something like, “My turnover is 30% down on last year.” Or, “My profit has dropped.”

Then there’s something to add…

“My profit has dropped, and I’d like to change that.”

“My turnover is 30% down on last year, and my profit is, too. I’m ready to improve my profit.”

Sticking with true statements, we want one that expresses something true about the situation. You’ve got a fact statement about the numbers, and then it’s best to add something that shares what you want to change. In a positive way, of course!

Get a new game plan.

With a more positive mantra, like, “I’m ready to improve my profit,” you can start to put together a more proactive game plan.

The thing about the “sales are shit” mantra is that it keeps you stuck. You can also get stuck with a positive mantra (even if it’s amazing), if there’s no action that relates to it.

So if you truly are ready to change your profit levels or improve your enjoyment levels, it’s time to get creative about how you want to do that.

I’m pretty clear on something: most business women I know can come up with 3-10 great actions to take if they have half an hour and a positive environment to picture possibilities.

Maybe it’s creative ways to reduce your costs and streamline things. Maybe you can create a more efficient way of fulfilling orders. Maybe (and I say this with many years of experience) you need to put your prices up.

You don’t have to change your entire business overnight. But find a starting place. The second part of your new mantra should encapsulate the way you want to feel, say, a year from now.

When you write your next to do list, include something that is linked to how you want to feel.

What do you think? Does this method resonate with you?

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