5 Ways To Boost Your SEO Rankings And Get Found (So easy you’ll kick yourself for not having thought of them already!)

Lighthouse

You may not realise it but right now, as you read these words, people are looking for you.

You might not know who they are, and that’s a pity. You should…

The reason is, once you got past that “getting to know you” bit, it could turn into a highly valuable, mutually beneficial relationship that lasts for years and brings an entirely new income and referral stream to your front door…

So why isn’t this happening?

Because they don’t even know you exist!

You may just be two ships, passing in the night. But you can change this- transform yourself into the lighthouse they see from far away, shining like a beacon.

To achieve this (and here’s the best part), you don’t need to fork out tonnes on your marketing budget or spend weeks crafting a highly-detailed plan. It’s all down to three key words:

Search Engine Optimisation

So here’s 5 ways to boost your SEO rankings and get found- so easy you’ll kick yourself for not having thought of them already:

#1: Research Your Keywords

You want to apply the same keywords your online audience use when they’re searching for your specific industry in your specific area. So, if you were a real-estate agency in North Lakes, you’d want your main keyword phrase to be something like ‘Real Estate North Lakes’ or even ‘Realty North Lakes’.

Sure, you might have a bit of competition for those main search terms- but what about the secondary search terms? This is where your area of speciality comes into play. What do you provide that your competitors don’t? What sets you apart from the rest?

Overall, your priority here is to understand the language your target audience uses when  they go searching for a business like yours.

#2: Optimisation

You want to include a reasonable amount of quality content across your website and social media platforms. I don’t mean stuffing your content full of keywords (the bad old-fashioned way), although it might help if you update your meta tagging to include terms that are user-friendly.

I’m talking about including a page for legitimate testimonials from happy customers. Get video testimonials whenever you can. Have a Q&A section and a page with profiles for each of your staff. Content like this is useful for your site browsers but also online search engines like Google.

If you’re a local business, you definitely also want to include a ‘Contact’ page with a business address, primary phone number and an embedded GEO site map (which can be easily done right here: Geosite Map Generator

#3: Google Local

Local Google+ pages gives you more exposure, while also helping you to open up a two-way communication path with your customer by responding to reviews and creating post updates. You can find out more on Google+ here: Google Places for Business vs. Google Local

#4: Consistency

Inconsistency can negatively affect your online presence, which is why you need to be consistent when you list your business name, contact number and address across all your online pages. This makes search engines like Google happy, and it also makes your customers happy. Make it as easy as possible for them to know who you are and how to get in contact with you.

#5: Get The Word Out There

Collecting reviews from happy customers on Google+ or via video testimonials, is one of the most traditional (and authentic) ways to stand out online. Make it easy for your customers- let them know they only have to write a review once (if writing one) and if they don’t have a Google+ account, that’s ok. Let them give you a glowing review on LinkedIn or Facebook instead!

Whether they want to type your testimonial or speak it out loud, the most important thing to remember is: always be authentic. Don’t bribe them or ask for positive reviews. People can spot a fake easily and you’re better than that, anyway.

The best word of mouth is when its’ genuine.

I’ll leave you with these easy action items for now, but let me know how you go covering these 5 steps. Sharing your success stories is always welcome!

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Preparing To Fight Taught Me THESE 3 Unexpected Things:

I sit across the desk from Gavin (gym founder and former Australian middleweight champion) as he tells me what a journey I’m in for over the next 10 weeks…

He says there’ll be times where I’ll question myself and want to quit- yet how often guys come back again after Fight Night because of the transformation they experience along the way…

He speaks glowingly of Fight Night- about how it’ll be “One of the best things I’ve ever done”…

I figure he’s giving the whole Fight Like A Pro experience “the big sell”- and why wouldn’t he?

So I go out, shoot a quick video for my YouTube channel with Gavin to announce what I’ve just signed up for, and later that evening come back for the group photo…

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It’s always worth doing for the t-shirt…

I have fighting experience already (being a 7th Kyu red belt in Goju Kai Karate) and while the idea of learning boxing appeals to me, I’m not entirely sold on Gavin’s vision of what the coming 10 weeks will be like for me. I’m just keen to learn a new form of physical combat and get my fitness levels up. You see, my year to date has been a difficult one- like an endless trek up a mountain, with no time to stop and rest. That hasn’t pushed me to the point of quitting, neither did any challenge I faced in karate training and so I doubt this is going to be any different…

But as I’ll discover soon enough, I was wrong…over the next 2 and a half months, there are some big lessons and personal revelations to come…

#1. “Did I Get Better?”

So, how did I find the first few weeks of training?

Not too bad.

Learning the techniques to stance, jabbing and and punching all required a bit of adjustment from the karate techniques I was grounded in- but aside from that, I saw all this new training and information as just more of the lessons and challenges I’d gone through all year to date. Why would I want to quit? You’d have to be hopelessly out of shape or of weak character to think about quitting.

But then came the time for sparring…

Sparring Night

Gloves on, head guard strapped up tight, mouthguard in, stepping into the ring to spar face to face with an opponent. The real challenge came when I was pitted against the experienced guys- before I could think about throwing a punch, they’d land several with lightning fast blows-

BAM! BAM-BAM-BAM!

Gloves pounded into both sides of my head and my stomach. They backed me into the corner of the ring with nowhere to retreat. I got belted with nothing in return.

Soon enough, time was up. I sucked in deep breaths, heart pounding, sweat burning.

I thought of Fight Night…

I thought of how guilty I’d feel if people I knew gave up their Saturday night and paid money to come and watch me go out with a whimper. To get beaten here was one thing- but to get my arse handed to me with people watching- people who cared about me?

Who am I kidding? Why am I bothering with this? Stuff boxing, I don’t need to do this…I thought in that moment. What was the point? I was so far off that Fight Night would be a complete anti-climax. Surely even my opponent would feel disappointed that I was such weak opposition for him!

All of this went through my mind in less than a minute, with the idea of being competent at fighting (let alone good) like a mountain peak beyond my reach…

But-

I’d still manage to finish the session. Headgear off, unfasten the gloves, pull the mouthguard out. As I stood there and unwound the wrapping from my knuckles, it sunk in: even if I felt like a human punching bag right now, in some small way I was better than when I began that evenings’ session:

Either my stance had improved, or my jabs and hooks had more power behind them, or I’d be quicker at ducking or slipping my opponents’ punches and hitting him with the counter. It was like this after every training session, without fail. That’s why I kept coming back: the idea that Hey, I might still be far off but I just got better at this. Let’s keep going and see where this leads?

This would lead all the way to Fight Night: 3 rounds and 6 minutes to show everybody how much I’d improved since the day I first stepped into the Fight Like A Pro gym.

I’ll get to that big night soon enough. But first? There were other lessons to come:

#2. “Could I Have Done More?”

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I trained 4 times a week: Tuesday afternoons, Wednesday and Thursday evenings- and also at the crack of dawn on Saturday mornings.

At 5:10 my alarm woke me. I’d throw on my trainers, shorts, singlet and zip up my jacket, get into the car and drive down in the Winter darkness to our 5:30am rendezvous at Currumbin.

We’d all stretch as the sun peeped up over the horizon, do a light jog for a few k’s and then return for the big slog: 20 minute circuits up and down the steps of Currumbin Alley. Even for someone who represented my school and won medals in Highschool Cross Country, this was an uphill battle in more than one sense of the word:

When you’re expected to jog for 20 minutes straight and every step- going up or down- jars your knees, hips and ankles- you quickly begin to question why you should keep going? I’d think Stuff this, I don’t have to bother with this! How will it make any difference?

Then at last Kevvie, (one of the trainers) would be at the landing, calling out “Come on guys, finish up strong!” in his Kiwi accent. One final blast (especially once in view of the trainers below) and then pull up on the grass, sucking in deep breaths, hands on hips, sweating in the cool morning air.

What a relief it was to be over!

But then something happened-

5 minutes later while stretching down, I’d think of how I could’ve done more. How I could’ve gone harder. Despite how much I resented every step and silently cursed the trainers every time they’d call out for us to “Push harder!” I regretted knowing I could’ve done more. That feeling like I’d conserved something, not pushed myself just a couple of percentage points further?

It felt like a wasted opportunity.

After that realisation, I always gave everything during those morning sessions. Whether it was running those 20 minute cycles or doing sprints, burpees and crawls down on the beach, I kept asking Is this the best I can do? Because I knew that stronger than the will to back off, would be the feeling of regret afterwards if I had something left over and could’ve done more

#3. “What’s The Most Important Thing Right Now?”

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At last- it was Fight Night…

Gavin brought us all together in the ring before our friends, family and guests arrived. He spoke for about 10 minutes and at one point he said that if we stepped into the ring tonight and didn’t feel scared and wonder What am I doing here? then there was something wrong with us!

As it turned out, I was drawn to fight second. Before the opening bout of the night had begun, I was already away in the dressing room with my cornerman Tony and my other trainers, warming up. Soon enough, the time came to go down the corridor, out towards the packed auditorium and await my big entrance. Standing behind the stage, out of view of the crowd, I got last-minute reminders:

“Keep moving, go in and throw a few quick jabs then back out again.”

“You’ve got the reach- use it to your advantage!”

“Remember to back away, don’t be afraid to back away and catch your breath then go in again. If you stay in close range he’ll get to you- make him come to you and wear him out, let him use up his energy coming towards you.”

I was tuned out to everything except what they told me. I felt completely indifferent about the fight I was about to walk into. No emotion, no anticipation. Nothing except committing every instruction given by Tony and my trainers to memory, adding it to my training so far.

Then I got the tap on the shoulder. It was time to go. The announcer introduced me, fighting in the red corner. I hopped up the steps onto the stage, into the blinding lights and camera flashes. I struck a pose and shadow boxed as ‘The Touch’ by Stan Bush blasted through the auditorium- just as I’d requested.

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You got the touch! You got the poweeeeeeeeeer- yeah! After all is said and done, you’ve never walked, you’ve never run- you’re a winner…

I moved to the beat as I strode out through the crowd, ducked under the ropes and stepped into the ring.

I paced back and forth.

No nerves.

No gripping fear.

No wondering what I was doing here, with an auditorium full of people about to watch me slog it out for 3 rounds against my opponent, Glenn. I’d sparred him a few times already. I knew he’d be a difficult fighter because no matter how red-faced he got, no matter how gassed he was, he’d go hard right to the end…

Then- he made his entrance, as Bon Scott’s voice boomed through the sound system to snarling guitar riffs:

Jaaaaail-break! And I’m lookin’ towards the sky….Gonna make a jaaaaaaaail-break! And I wish that I could fly…

But I zoomed right back in to the task at hand. In that moment, it was the only thing that existed in my conscious mind.

Headgear on, gloves strapped tight. The referee brought us together and made the rules clear. Then we returned to our opposite corners. A pause.

Ring-aling-aling-aling-aling

There was the bell. This was it.

I recall what followed only in small flashes: the dark void outside the ring. Sizing up Glenn. Someone’s voice from my corner going “Ben- double jab cross!” or “Ben- move away, move away!” Somebody would land a few hits and the cheering would surge.

Then the bell sounded. Back to my corner to sit down and listen to Tony. Just one minute ceasefire until the fight resumed. For that minute, nothing existed in my world except:

a) Getting my breath back and,

b) Every word Tony said

I barely drank from a water bottle held at my mouth, because even that posed a distraction to me.

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I felt no emotion- positive or negative. For me, there was only the will to listen. Then the bell rang- up to my feet again.

By the third round, I yearned for that final bell to come and finish it all. It was now a grim, exhausting slog. I was more agile than Glenn and could throw quicker punches- but he had fists like mallets and if I let my guard down even a moment, he’d be in my face throwing sledgehammer punches. He was tiring quicker, but he wouldn’t let up. As a result, neither could I. Sweat pored from Glenn’s bright red face. I felt myself tuning out to anything but Tony’s voice or the announcer counting down the minutes or seconds left. Meanwhile, the crowd cheered and yelled out incoherently. I felt a brief flash of resentment for them, watching us like trained circus animals. So few of them had a clue what we were going through. I wanted it to stop and I knew Glenn wanted it to stop- but neither of us could do a thing about it. So we had to keep going…

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Ring-aling-aling-aling-aling!

At last! It was over!

The next 45 seconds was the worst feeling of the entire 10 weeks. I staggered to the corner and slumped over the ropes. My legs felt like pipe cleaners. One of the trainers peeled off my gloves, someone patted me on the back and someone else poured the contents of a water bottle into my mouth. Somewhere in the background, ‘What Do You Mean?’ by Justin Bieber played (and that was not my choice). I was rigid on the spot. I didn’t want to breathe, move a muscle or do anything…

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Some energy slowly returned to me in the following minute, however. The referee brought Glenn and I together, either side of him in the middle of the ring. Glenn had got a few solid shots on me right at the end and barged me up against the ropes- but I’d given him good measure over the whole three rounds.

Then the referee took my right arm and held it aloft.

Winner!

I was handed the trophy, but it felt like nothing more than a formality. In every bout, somebody wins. Tonight, the win was mine. The announcer came over to me with the mic and asked for my thoughts. I couldn’t manage a lot more than saying how tough it was to fight Glenn and how buggered I was.

That was it. I made brief chatter with Glenn and patted his young son (who he was now cradling) on the head. Then I stepped down from the ring, trophy in hand. My only feeling was relief, nothing more.

But then, Tony and my cornermen came over full of praise for me- because I’d gone and done exactly what they’d told me to do.

At that moment, a great rush of pride surged through me. Like I said, I felt no emotions going into the fight, focusing only on what I needed to do to win, on saving my best fight for when it counted. Despite the overwhelming fatigue- I’d gone and done exactly that. I’d been given a plan to follow in order to stand my best chance of winning- and followed it every step of the way.

For me- that was the real victory.

Leading into that fight- and throughout it- I’d felt on a different level of focus. The intensity was crazy. The crowd, the occasion, how I might feel about stepping into the ring? I’d shut it all out, shut out everything except for the key objectives of the fight.

If I could tap into that level of focus in other areas of my life- working, writing, meditation- what new level of results could I unlock?

***

In the following months, Gavin called me back. I was happy to return and resume training amongst familiar faces. I began sparring a new guy there, named Rory. I took him aside one evening and gave him some pointers on his technique, with no idea that (in the end) I would be the one drawn to step into the ring on Fight Night and face off against him…

On the night itself, utilising what he’d learned, Rory saved his best fight for when it counted- and got the win. In every bout, somebody wins. This time, the win was his.

But to the point- my Fight Like A Pro experience gave me some valuable lessons:

I learned that even in getting knocked around and feeling as if we failed, the question that really matters is: Did we do better this time?

I realised that as tiring or frustrating as a task might be, making that extra 1 or 2 percent effort is worth it to reach the other side and know there was nothing more we could’ve done…

And I discovered the power of tapping into a new level of focus- where nothing exists apart from the task at hand and what I need to do to reach its’ desired outcome. I discovered that zooming in completely on an objective- where everything else ceases to exist- is where you cast off emotions or distractions that would otherwise hold you back from reaching your peak.

On that note?

I want to say thanks to Tony. Thanks to my trainers. Thanks Glenn. Thanks to everybody who helped me on my way to that one night in September.

And thanks also to you, Gavin-

You were right after all! (And I’m still waiting for my DVD from Fight Night #34- you bet I’m keen to watch it back)…

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  • If you want to find out more about the Fight Like A Pro Experience, you can get all the info right here: Fight Like A Pro

 

 

 

What ‘The Voice’ Teaches Us About Keeping People Hooked…

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Do you ever watch a movie or show on TV and then go Hang on- I see what’s really going on here! and you wonder how you didn’t notice it until right now? It happened to me one night, just recently…

I’m packing my suitcase for a week’s trip away, and the TV’s on. I’m waiting for ’60 Minutes’ to come on because there’s a story I want to catch, but while waiting for it to begin, ‘The Voice’ is on…

Now I don’t normally watch ‘The Voice’. Actually, besides sport, I don’t watch a great deal of TV as is- be it FTA or cable. Anything else of interest I can find online.

But on ‘The Voice’, they’re doing the intro for an upcoming contestant. She’s 16 and her family are there to watch her audition. They share her back-story, including a home movie of her singing when she was just a small girl. Then comes the story of her father- a military man who was a casualty of war in Afghanistan. Cut to the news clip of his death and footage of his coffin draped in the Australian flag. This girl says he’d always say “Go” before she sang. Tonight, she says, she’ll hear him say “Go” in her head, as she takes that stage to put herself at the mercy of the 4 judges…

Then of course- straight to the commercial break.

But all of a sudden, despite having little interest in the show- I want to see how this girl fares…

Why should I care about the fate of a single contestant I don’t know on a talent show?

Why do we endure the bombardment of ads, always dividing our introduction to a new contestant and their on-stage audition?

Watching the TV that Sunday night, it suddenly ‘clicks’:

The producers are clever. They don’t get paid the big bucks for nothing.

And if you’re wired the right way, what I’m about to share with you could be a revelation to your marketing, the effect it has on your audience- and the results you get:

Firstly: Imagine if ‘The Voice’ was covered like the Olympic games?

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Imagine if you just saw the name, age and origin of the contestants. Saw them come up to stage. Begin to sing. They do their bit. Members of the panel turn around (or none of them do) and that’s it.

Think about it:

“Here we have Sophie Bush from Lismore. 26 years old and this is her first audition. After that last audition attempt by Chung Lin from Melbourne, she’s got a tough act to follow. Chung, of course, deciding to go with Kelly’s team for the next stage…Sophie’s coming up now and there we see her family…and here she goes, to perform her rendition of Whitney Houston’s 1992 hit from ‘The Bodyguard’, ‘I will always love you’ “

If it just showed Sophie on screen, gave her details and told you she’d be up next with no other introduction, how easy would it be for you to tune out and do something else the moment the ads came on?

So, what is it that keeps us hanging on?

Why do we care about somebody we’ve never met, doing something no more life-threatening than getting up on stage to sing a song of their choosing and hoping that at least 1 of 4 pop stars will press their button to say “I like this one”?

Want to know why?

We care because of their story.

We discovered their back story, why they wanted to audition, how long they’ve been singing, what hardships they’ve endured to get here, why it means so much to them to get up there on stage and sing, how it would feel for them if just one of those judges turns around before they finish their song…

So when that 16 year old girl from the Gold Coast talks about her fathers’ death and you see the videos he made of her singing as a young child- the videos he no doubt expected to laugh at with tears in his eyes one day at her 21st or her engagement party as he reflected on how far his little girl had come- we want her to go out there and succeed because you understand how much this means to her. On top of that, we know how much it would mean to her dad as well…

Do it for him- we’re all right behind you!

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That’s how they hook us into the story, make us care- and keep us tuned in.

It’s exactly the same with your online content. If all you share is dry, static information like where you’re located and what you do, there’s only a shallow investment from the people who bother to read it.

But if you give them reason to care by sharing your background, your story, your trials and your triumphs and why you do what you do?

People suddenly care about you and they’re eager to hear more! It doesn’t matter if your goal is a common one (to keep making money) because in the process of sharing your story, people invest in you and want to find out more.

The’ll even tolerate your adverts along the way, just to keep hearing from you!

So: How do you achieve this on a regular basis, get people tuning in- and investing?

You do it it through the following two mediums:

#1- Video

In this link is a great example of a 3 and a half minute video where (even if you’ve heard nothing from Kerwin before) you find yourself caring because of the STORY he shares:

Kerwin Rae: Let’s Get Vulnerable

#2- Regular blogging

Sure, you’re going to share your expertise, service updates or important announcements with your online audience- and posts like these are very important in the process of persuasion…

But it can’t just be static information. You need to go deeper and share your personal story- your triumphs AND your struggles. Your goals, why you keep making the effort on behalf of your staff, customers and subscribers and how you got to be where you are.

I get that maybe you don’t have a huge amount of time to be writing, editing and publishing a regular blog across your online channels. But, when you realise what you gain from doing it in terms of real results, then you know it’s worth making a priority- whether you do it or somebody else does it for you.

So, if you’d like that online audience to sit up, pay attention and tune in and become somebody they can’t wait to hear more from? Then let’s talk.

You’re the voice:

Contact Me

 

 

 

 

Some Real Numbers To Make You Re-Think Blogging:

I’m back again- did you miss me?

If you’ve been following for a while now, you know I’ve spoken a few times about how crucial it is to post a regular blog if you want to take your rate of leads, long-term, paid up clients or customers to the next level…

So I’ve been away, scouring the web for some real statistics on blogging for you to read, research and think about- whether blogging is something you’ve thought of up until now or not.

The figures you see below are just a handful of real numbers when it comes to blogging and how integral this element of marketing is to online business success in 2018.

Now, if you’re already 100% satisfied with the scope and the sheer number of leads and sales you’re currently getting, the rest of this post won’t matter much to you and I won’t waste your time. But for the rest of you?

Sit back and take note!

 

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= Percentage of companies with a regular blog who’ve landed a paying customer from a blog-generated lead.

I’ve spoken before about the real benefits that come from keeping a regular blog, in posts like this one:

3 Reasons You Should ABSOLUTELY Bother To Blog

Essentially, savvy online marketers make blogging a priority for the same reason well-connected, reputable professionals and business owners alike make it a priority to attend regular business events like conferences, networking events or workshops-

They’re eager to discover new ideas, but they also want to connect with new people who might be a great strategic alliance for them OR be their next, big spending customer. But to reach these people, first of all they want to know a few things about you:

They want to know what you do.

They want to know what you could do for them.

They want to know that you’re the real deal and can get the job done for them.

So if you keep a regular blog, you’re ticking all of these boxes for an online audience that is, for lack of a better word?

HUGE! (vale Darrell Eastlake).

Anyway, here’s the data that confirms just how many businesses are enjoying these very results:

Design Damage State Of Marketing Report

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= The percentage of Fortune 500 companies that had a public blog as of 2016

Did you think regular blogging was just a fun side-hobby for garage operations or people with more free time than paying customers?

You MAY want to reconsider that- especially if you have BIG ambitions for your business.

How big?

Try ‘Fortune 500’ big. These guys are blogging on the regular, too. Think they might be onto something with this one?

I reckon they are, but go ahead and tell me if you agree or not?

Fortune 500 Companies With A Public Blog

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= A company with a blog gets 67% MORE leads than a company who doesn’t blog

Do you want to spend your time wisely, doing activities that are proven income generators for your business?

Maybe you’re still not fully sold on the idea of blogging, after reading that report on the Fortune 500 companies?

So maybe this is more to your liking:

Study Reveals More Pages Equals More Leads

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= Participants in a Hubspot survey (mostly small to medium sized business owners).

Of them, 796 of the respondents kept a regular blog. And this is what they had to report:

Study Shows Business Blogging Leads To 55 Percent More Website Visitors

So at this point, if you’re not keeping a regular blog then you might be wondering “Why not?”

Be wary in doing so, however- because no matter how great you are at writing your own material, keeping a regular blog always takes time- even for a single post. On that note?

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This is the average amount of time (in minutes) it takes to write a new post:

2017 Survey Of 1000+ Bloggers- Orbit Media

So…

If you’d love to open the floodgates for new lead traffic, sales AND long-term customers that all comes when you’re strategically posting a regular blog- BUT

You don’t know where you’ll get the time to do so- or how to get started?

Let’s chat: Get In Touch

 

 

The Content Creators’ Secret To Smashing Post-Easter Burnout:

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Ok, so the Easter long weekend has been and gone…

Long days spent indulging, partying or taking it easy with family and friends- and now it’s over.

How are you backing up?

A shorter week means this weekend comes up quicker but on the other hand?

There’s that pressure to get stuff done in a shorter space of time…

Going “back to work” straight after a break like Easter can hit us like a bucket of icy water in the face! 

It’s one thing if you work for somebody else and your tasks are laid out for you. But if you’re the captain of your own ship?

Right now can feel like a real grind as you think of all the things that need to be done of your own accord. It’s especially challenging when you’re in a field that relies on use of your creative powers and expertise because chances are you can’t just take a paint-by-numbers approach to your work. Instead, it requires full focus and brain-power- two things that can feel especially hard to summon at will at a time like this!

So, this week I’m sharing the 3 things I always do that ensure I sign off on a productive week, regardless of the long-weekend I’ve come back from:

#1. Consolidate

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A longer weekend break has (no doubt) left a larger pile of ‘to do’s for you than normal. Coming back to this pile after taking it easy for a few days can feel especially discouraging. So…

Consolidate!

Just focus on the most important tasks. Those ones that have an absolute ‘must do’ deadline attached to them. If they stand to make you money this week- focus solely on them.

You can leave the rest of them for next week. Your professional world won’t come grinding to a halt because of it- believe me!
#2. Exercise

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After the chocolate, alcohol and food you enjoyed over the long weekend? This is definitely a priority!

Burn calories and make sure you get your quota of exercise this weekend:

Walk.

Swim.

Ride your bike.

Get to the gym.

Doing stuff like this recharges your body. Not only that, but it puts you in a refreshed frame of mind as well, and it’s perfect for sharpening your creative mind…

You see, writing as a professional feels like I’m a police detective at times. Even in my free time, my mind can still be “on the job” so to speak. So I might go for a walk up the mountain near my place or shift the afternoon’s work for the evening and go for a ride instead. I down-tools on my work brain, get into the moment and enjoy my surroundings. Physically I go to work but mentally, I take it easy…

By the time I get home, I’m often buzzing with ideas and I’m ready for action!

Just from exercising and “switching off”…

#3. Relaxation

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Don’t worry what people around you are doing. Go easy this week…

Feeling as if you need to go twice as hard to compensate (or through a sense of guilt) is only going to burn you out before next week. I get it- you love what you do- but it’s about being prepared. This week may well be less productive than normal- and that’s okay!

So relax.

Put your feet up at night.

Meditate.

Take breaks during the day if you can.

This is different to coming back from the Christmas break- you’ve gone from working at your typical pace to a sudden halt for Easter- and then you’re dropped right back into action come Tuesday morning.

But don’t go and sabotage next week from feeling like you need to do everything before Friday. 

Take it easy.

Recharge your batteries.

Get yourself fully prepared- and we’ll see you next week, ready to do what you do best

Here’s How To Make Your Next Post An Epic:

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Monday evening, I was near the end of a long train journey after a week in our nations’ capital, catching up with friends. It was late at night and all I could see out the train window was the reflection of the carriage interior staring right back at me. So I pulled out my phone, scrolled through Facebook- then saw a brand new post from an old friend, in which he talked about his love for the Steven Spielberg box-office hit, ‘Jurassic Park’. I read it- and I was hooked. Straight away I read it back again to analyse why I loved it so much…

You can take a look at it for yourself, right here:

Running And Screaming: Jurassic Park & Kids

Now (presuming you went on and read it)- what makes this piece special?

It serves as a perfect example of the 3- step formula for writing posts that people love to read. I assume you did yourself a favour and took a couple of minutes out to read Jono’s post, so I’ll go ahead and refer to it as I reveal these 3 steps to you:

#1. Use Pop Culture References.

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He starts out by referring to ‘Jurassic Park’. This is a movie an entire generation saw at least once (myself included). So we understand what Jono is talking about from the very first sentence. Referring to popular movies, TV shows or music is always a winner, because you don’t need to spend time explaining who the people/ characters/ movies/ bands are. Your readers get it right away.

When you set the scene for your post, it always helps to use something that your audience can easily identify with. It can be a more specific reference if your market is niche and has those interests (wake boarding, designer watches, hunting etc), but obviously when you reference more mainstream art, film or music then it’s going to appeal to a greater number of people.

This is how you get them reading from the start. Then…

#2. Let The Spotlight Fall On YOU.

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If you’ve seen Jurassic Park even once, then you have an opinion on it:

“I LOVED the soundtrack, and the special effects blew me away!”

“I was so scared when the T-rex got free and went after Lex, Tim and Dr Grant!”

“It was one of my favourite movies of the 90’s!”

“I used to get frustrated because they were so close to opening an awesome dinosaur park and then stupid people ruined it all”

(That last one was how I always felt watching it as a kid)

Point is- you have a unique opinion on this movie.

So does Jono- and after opening by referring to Jurassic Park, he turns the spotlight onto himself- and tells us about HIS response to the movie:

For him, Jurassic Park was the first movie that he really began to ANALYSE, as an art form (this movie obviously played a big part in shaping Jono’s passion for film). He says that despite the dinosaurs and the incredible special effects, he regards the actual plot of the movie to be about a man learning to love kids. He highlights two scenes to explain why he came to this conclusion, and then (seamlessly) moves on to a universal principle- the idea that we often hate what we fear. He connects this with Dr Grant’s dislike of children and THEN Jono reflects on his own life, a time when he disliked children and didn’t want them. Yet, in the same way that Dr Grant ends up clearly having much affection for Lex and Tim by the end scene of the movie, Jono now has two children of his own and relates his own experience of hate and fear morphing into love and acceptance.

He doesn’t just tell us what Jurassic Park is about- he goes a step further and tells us what Jurassic Park is about for him.

You don’t need to talk about movies. It could be something you’ve done in your life, something you achieved, a hardship you faced, a concert you went to or a TV show you loved.

The takeaway is that after telling your audience about it, you then want to switch the spotlight onto how it relates to YOU. What is this story REALLY about?

This is what people want to know!

#3 Make The Personal Universal

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What Jono has done brilliantly is recognise that his personal feelings are feelings shared by most of us. Yes, these are his own thoughts on children- but how many of you read his words and thought “I remember feeling that way!”

After telling us about his response to the movie, he then manages to bring us on board and make the personal universal. He shares life lessons that almost anybody reading can understand and relate to themselves.

As another example, I once wrote a post where I recalled the time I won the regional cross country in Highschool. The purpose of sharing it wasn’t to brag about my athletic prowess- it was to explain that as tempting as it is to compare ourselves to people we think are “ahead” of us, the only thing we should take pride in is beating our own “personal best”- because that’s what puts us in our most powerful position…

So after you’ve shared your own experiences and feelings, make sure you relate it to how the reader feels. Tie it into their own experiences, give them a gold nugget of wisdom, something to think about. Make the personal universal!

Now, if you follow these three steps?

You’re on your way to writing a blog that entertains, informs and makes a connection- all in the one post. Trust me- your readers will love you for it- as will the people they share it with!

 

 

 

The Secret Life Of A Copywriting Handyman, Revealed:

 

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I know many of you think being a professional writer is the ideal gig. Maybe you imagine a life as simple as this-

 

1. Get Ideas.

 

2. Write Them Down.

 

3. Profit!

 

Except it’s not like that. Let me tell you why… 

 

First of all- in case you’re thinking maybe I don’t love doing what I do?

Or that I only got here from pushing myself out of guts and determination?

Or that I was motivated by the dollar signs and nothing else?

I love doing this and I could talk more about why but…I believe that what I do backs me up more than what I say (ironic, huh?)

 

This may come as a surprise, but I didn’t always dream of writing for a living…

 

I didn’t have an enthusiasm for writing in my early school years. While I did write a project on mushrooms when I was in kindergarten, the writing was all random letters formed into sentences. My teacher told my parents it didn’t matter, that what was most important was that it ‘made sense’ to me…

 

I didn’t begin learning to read until I was in 1st grade, and it was tedious early on, trying to make words out of those groups of letters on a page. Through Years 2 and 3, I’d write journal entries for class exercises, but I still found the actual writing part of it somewhat tedious- I enjoyed the illustration part more and was happy to devote lots of time to drawing the pictures and colouring them in with those thick, standard-issue pencils every public school had back then…

 

It wasn’t until the 4th grade that I began to enjoy writing. I’d volunteer to stand up the front of class and read my creative writing assignments aloud. I was in a Year 4/5 composite class, so when my latest work made the 5th graders laugh, I felt pretty cool for those 10 minutes or so. My classmates would tell me to get up and share my latest story when it was creative writing time, and the kudos I got inspired me to write crazier, more elaborate tales- to send up people in our class and be as silly as I could get away with!

 

The thing was- I didn’t know why people liked hearing what I’d written. Sure, I’d always been hassled by my classmates to draw stuff for them and people had complimented me on my drawing skills for as long as I could remember, but this?

 

This was a new experience.

 

I finished Primary school and moved into Highschool. It was a brand new environment where I was a relative unknown and felt like I had everything to prove. So writing was how I connected with my new classmates and gave them an insight into the mind of this shy, awkward 12 year old. I’d recently awakened to a new and uncomfortable sense of self-awareness. It felt like I was constantly being watched, sized up, judged. Unfortunately it didn’t occur to me that it was the same for virtually everyone else…

 

But when I wrote?

 

That insecurity vanished. Instead, I felt one step ahead, like I knew exactly what I was doing and I had my classmates in the palm of my hand…

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“Alright, now here’s what I REALLY think of the teachers….”

​I’d read and they hung on my every word. People laughed. The girls laughed (right when being able to make girls laugh was suddenly a big deal). I wished I could be the person I was when I stood up to read, all the time. In Year 7, we had to write our autobiographies for an assignment. I took a whole day off to write mine- and ended up getting marked 50 out of 50 for it. I got up and, in front of my classmates, shared stories of my life. They all laughed (and in the right places).

 

If only I knew how to have this impact on people all the time! I thought…

 

20 years have now passed since those bittersweet years of adolescence, and if I’m not setting out a proposal or engrossed in a client project, then I’m writing a new post just like this one, corresponding with clients, leads and colleagues or writing another entry in the journal I’ve kept these past 5 years. It’s rare there’s a day where I’m not writing! What I like is that it isn’t like speaking out loud to somebody, where being understood and keeping communication going often requires thinking on the spot. When you write, you can take as long as you want. You’d have no idea if it took me 2 seconds or 2 hours between finishing that last sentence and starting this one because to you, it was a seamless transition!

 

So people imagine that being a paid writer must be a dream job. In some ways? I agree…

 

All I really need to work is a writing utensil of some sort. Mostly it’s my laptop, but even failing that I could cover a fair bit of work with just a pen and notepad. Give me my laptop and internet connection and I can work virtually anywhere. I have practically no overheads- no shopfront, no stock to insure or maintain- with the added bonus of being a business owner. I set my own schedule and have last say in whatever work I take on. A number of times I’ve been rugged up indoors, going about my day and I look outside at the bleak sky and the rain and feel blessed. This job is great at offering freedom!

 

But on saying that?

 

With that freedom comes responsibility. Managing most businesses requires discipline of thought, discipline of action, an appreciation of time-management and organisational skills. Doing this is no different. Soon enough, you learn that you can’t do everything you want, because time is precious. Although I am the captain of this ship, it means that I can rarely sit on deck and enjoy the view. I’m constantly thinking of what else I have to take care of because unless I do it, it’s not going anywhere.

 

There’s also the amount of time I spend alone. Hours of my day are spent in solitude, solving my own problems and formulating my own ideas. While working in a team can bring out the ugly side of office politics, it also offers camaraderie and the chance of relationships developing. For me, like anything else, there are the wins and moments of glory. But much of the journey is undertaken by me alone. Hours of my day are spent solving problems and formulating ideas by myself. Most of what goes on behind the scenes is barely noticed by anybody else.

The life of a copywriter, behind the scenes

That’s the thing with being a writer-  the freedom of being un-shackled from the traditional ‘grind’ of weekly living and forging your own path, comes at the expense of feeling ‘cut off’ from the world at times. So many problems and outcomes exist largely in your own mind. Meanwhile the outside world goes on, blissfully unaware…

 

There’s also the trick of trying to maintain balance. It’s not like the classic ‘Angel/ Devil’ scenario, but there’s one side of me that keeps telling me that if I want to really strike success with a sledgehammer, then I should do more- work harder, sacrifice more, push on further etc.

 

But then there’s another side of me, reminding me that no amount of money or prestige is worth throwing away good people, my health, and years  of my life because I was so focused on the next big thing. What’s the point in abundance if you don’t enjoy your blessings and don’t have people to share them with?

 

Still, logical as the latter approach may seem, you’d be surprised how often the former voice chimes in, telling me that I’d be way ahead of where I am if I worked for longer hours at a time and devoted more of my life to work. We absolutely need to have good stock in more than just a financial sense- relationship stock, quality of life stock, personal contentment stock are all crucial- otherwise what do we really have to show for ourselves? Yet even then, fighting off that voice telling me I’m not a serious player until I’ve forgotten what relaxation or a day off feels like, can be more difficult than you might think!

 

But you know what the strange part is?

 

While my life as a professional writer (and its’ challenges) feels unique to me, I’m sure that for many of you, reading about it feels familiar. I bet there are things you have to deal with that you feel most people won’t understand. As much as you want to, how do you reach out and connect with people and get them to understand what it’s like to be you?

 

Because once you understand this- and get better at answering it- the better you get at writing.

 

And if you’ve always wanted to be a writer, that’s where it all starts…

 

Contact Me

 

8 Steps To Get Red-Hot Testimonials

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As someone who specialises in writing for businesses a lot like yours, what I’m about to say may come as a shock to you-

Yes, words do wonders for your SEO rankings.

They also do wonders for generating valuable leads that (in turn) deliver you more sales, long-term clients and premium pricing…

But, take it from me:

YOU STILL NEED VIDEO!

Especially when it comes to your testimonials. Sure, happy customers can write glowing words about how you provided the miracle cure, amazing product or astounding service they’d been looking for. But if you want other leads to take notice, then you’ve got to give them a reason to stop and do so. So remember:

People are more likely to watch (and believe) a testimonial video than a written review about you.

In short? You can never have too many video testimonials!

So here’s how you collect great testimonials, in 8 easy steps:

#1. The “Before and After” Story

Right from the start, your testimonial client needs to explain their “before and after” story (e.g. “My backyard was an unkempt mess and I didn’t know where to start, until Dave’s Landscaping came along and within a day my house had become a castle once more!” or “I was overweight and couldn’t stand to see my reflection in the mirror until I consulted Naomi about her 12-week program and now I’m glowing- inside and out!“)

#2. Benefits Galore

Make sure the person giving the testimonial mentions how your product or service has changed their life, solved their problems and improved their productivity. Anybody else watching a video like this is thinking “What’s this going to do for me?” So make it easy for them to imagine!

#3. Can They Relate?

The testimonial should be from someone your target audience can relate to. Choose customers who are obvious examples of your target audience. Again, make it as easy as possible for them to see themselves as that happy customer raving about your product or service.

#4. Who’s Who?

Your video testimonial must have the name and any descriptive title of the person, so that viewers know the comments came from a real person and not a paid actor.

#5. Measuring Up

It’s always a bonus if your testimonial is comparative, where the customer tried another product or service like yours previously and found that it failed to deliver the expected results. Whereas, when this person tried your product/ service, the results were stunningly different, providing significantly extra benefits.

#6. Hit ‘Em Up When They’re High

Get the testimonial when the client is upbeat and on a high, so that you are benefitting from the natural passion they have at the time (straight after someone has enjoyed their hair salon experience or maybe just after the auto detailer has finished restoring the showroom shine to their car).

#7. Keep It Fair Dinkum!

Don’t ask the client to go overboard with their personal recommendation. Keep it natural and believable- keep it fair dinkum!

#8. Remember- Your Audience Is Smart

The can detect a testimonial that has been manipulated or coached by you. By all means, let your clients provide a personal recommendation, but don’t let them get “corny”. Just ask them to be real.

The beauty is that you don’t need a fancy camera or studio-standard editing equipment to capture a glowing testimonial. You only need the camera app that virtually all phones come equipped with these days.

So, in a nutshell?

Keep it natural, follow these 8 steps and let the red-hot recommendations roll in!

And of course, raving testimonials all start with the leads you attract. To find out how you can attract more of those valuable leads direct to your business? Contact Me

3 Reasons You Should Absolutely Bother To Blog…

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If I say that you should be posting a new blog article every week, every fortnight or (at the very least) once a month, I already predict the two most common excuses (sorry, “reasons”) I’ll hear.

Or maybe you’re different?

But if your “reason” for not doing it is:

a) “I don’t have time” or,

b) “I don’t know what to write about”

Then take note of this:

a) Considering other tasks you devote great amounts of time towards for the minuscule returns you get?

You can definitely make time to blog on the regular!

Or maybe you’re stuck for ideas. But here’s the truth:

b) There’s an absolute shitload you could write about!

If you recognised what long-term gains come from writing and sharing blog posts on a regular basis, you’d make it a priority. If you’re not yet convinced, why not read on a little further and remember these points:

#1. A Regular Blog Converts Your Doubting Thomases

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In this age of social media, you can find people making big promises in exchange for big dollars everywhere. But-

I don’t care how revolutionary your product is.

I don’t care how great you are at what you do.

If your online marketing equates to little more than you constantly trying to sell to me?

I’ll look for any reason to doubt it. Then I’m going to tune out completely, never to pay attention again.

You know what sucks for you?

If you’d gone about it differently, there’s a good chance you could’ve had me.

Remember- a lot of your potential customers have had sweet nothings whispered in their ear before. They’ve had other people promise them the world and then deliver them a tattered, dog-eared atlas with East Germany still on the map…

They got their fingers burned and, wounded, they now put the defences up when a good, honest person (like yourself) comes along.

It’s not you, it’s them. I get it.

But they can still be won over. And if you did, they’d pay BIG for what you can bring them- over and over again. So how do you do it?

Do it by winning their trust, steadily. Don’t try and sell to them. Instead, educate them.

Encourage an ongoing relationship with yourself. Draw them into your world and allow them to get to know YOU. Not just “business” you, but the personal, life-story you.

Keep giving them new, engaging material to read and their defences soften.

They’ll stop glancing at their wounds and start falling for you.

The more they read from you and realise you’re one of the rare good, honest ones out there, the more they trust you. Once that happens, and they realise you can bring them what they’re looking for?

They stop doubting you and start paying you. So get writing!

#2. A Regular Blog Puts Your Name Up In Lights

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If it felt like I singled you out at the start of this post when I said “I bet I know what your excuses will be”, don’t take it as a personal attack. The thing is, I only predict these answers because so many people don’t blog for the same reasons.

But here’s the wonderful revelation that follows:

Plenty of the people not blogging and making the same excuses for not doing so- are the same people competing for your untapped leads.

What better reason to sit down, start writing, get your name out there and put yourself head and shoulders above the rest!

Guess who your leads contact right off the bat when they realise they need what somebody like you can sell them?

The one person who bothered to introduce themselves and start the dialogue 3 months, 9  months, 2 years ago…

So get writing- because soon enough the person who wins that lead turns out to be you!

#3: A Regular Blog Is Your Ticket To Premium Pricing

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The more you sit down to write a new blog, the more people discover who you are and what you do best…

The more they learn about you (on a personal and professional level) the more they come to trust you…

The more they trust you, the more they respect you…

The more they respect you, the more they talk about you to other people. Some of those people then check out your blog posts and some share them with a third degree of contacts you haven’t reached out to before…

The more your name gets out there, the more leads come to you…

The more leads come to you, the more leads buy from you…

The more in-demand your product is?

The more heavily booked you are?

The law of supply and demand comes into action.

You can charge more for what you already sell or provide!

Every blog you post increases your chances of becoming that well sought-after, highly-paid expert.

To Wrap It Up:

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Yes- writing and keeping a regular blog takes time. It always does, now matter how long you do it for. But the amount of time and energy you waste in other areas doesn’t pay half what you stand to gain from this…

Sooner or later, the scales tip in your favour. The payout?

You become more highly sought-after. Your sales figures go north. You get paid more for every single one of those sales.

Aren’t those 3 reasons you should absolutely bother to blog?

If you want to find out more about how it’s done- let’s talk: Contact Me

 

5 Things You Need To Master Your Marketing:

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“Earth!” the man thrusts his fist skyward.

“Fire!” yells another man, balled up fist also pointed to the heavens.

“Wind!”

“Water!”

Two girls also join in the call.

“Heart!”

A younger man follows.

Each of these people wear rings, lightning beams of colour shoot out from the gemstones. In a blinding flash, a blue man with a green mullet appears.

“With your powers combined- I am- Captain Planet!”

‘Captain Planet’ was a popular show that featured on the ABC’s afternoon kids’ line-up, back when I was in Primary school. Captain Planet was the environmentally-friendly superhero, summoned when each of the 5 ‘Planeteers’ (get it?) combined the unique powers of their rings as one force. Individually, the Planeteers had limited power, but when they each pooled their unique element?

They awakened a force who could literally move mountains and make it rain!

Now- while I can’t guarantee that these five marketing pillars will save the world (or summon a buff guy with a green mullet, for that matter) I can tell you that if you get them right, it makes a big difference to the volume of leads you attract- and the ease you can do it with.

So if that’s what you seek, then take note of these- and implement them ASAP:

#1. Website.

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Think of your website like it’s your online business card. In order to get browsers to stick around, it must be:

a) Easy to navigate,

b) Contain the key info they’re looking for and,

c) Also have a clear call to action.

Do you want them to e-mail you, call you, place an order or subscribe?

You’ve got to lead them there!

A sharp, up-to-date website with SEO loving copy is a must-have for anybody that wants to achieve any degree of impact online.

Who To Call On: Web Designer, Graphic Designer, Copywriter, Corporate Photographer

#2. Social Media.

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To quote copywriting coach Bernadette Schwerdt, “Social media is word of mouth on steroids”

You’d be amazed just how many businesses- including your competitors- are virtually non-existent on social media.

Google is not the only way people find you online!

Having a dedicated business presence on Facebook, LinkedIn etc. is how you start conversations with tomorrow’s top clients. Regularly posting content on your social media pages is how you get seen by your target audience- and get them interested in your product, service or area of excellence.

By doing this, you stand head and shoulders above more people that you might realise- and reap the real benefits of doing so!

Who To Call On: Social Media Marketing Experts

#3. Video.

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Regardless of the demographic, people love video.

The beauty is that with everything from film cameras to iPads to smart phones- shooting and uploading video has never been easier!

Ideas for what to film and share:

  • Profiles of your business and your team
  • Regular updates of goings-on to keep your audience “in the loop”
  • ‘How To’ clips
  • Answers to FAQ’s
  • Promotions
  • Entertaining, fun content

There’s a wealth of ideas to run with!

Video on your website and your social media pages ads a whole new level to your online presence and how readily people engage with you.

Who To Call On: Videographers if you want the professional touch. You can, however, do it yourself and still create content that’s watchable and of great value to your audience- millions of entrepreneurs aren’t wrong!

#4. Blogging.

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In short?

Blogging is the art of writing ‘Stories That Sell’

Alongside mastering social media, regular blog posting is how you lay down the foundations of solid, lasting relationships with leads AND strategic partners. You don’t just want to share useful information, but write about your business and yourself. I’ve seen it time and again with clients I’ve written for-

They start with all these great ideas for handy ‘How To’ posts they can share with their audience- but what people love are the posts where they peel back the curtain and share the story of their lives: how they got into their industry, what keeps them busy outside of work, what their passion is.

We all want connections like that. On top of sharing your expertise and promoting yourself, blogging also provides your audience one thing we’re all crying out for in this day and age:

Authenticity.

Oh- and did I mention that regular blogging is something at LEAST 80% of your competitors are NOT doing? Think about that…

Who To Call On: Copywriters

#5. Individual Selling

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Cold calling

Live presentations

Hosting workshops

Networking

These are all better than just sitting in your office at your computer if you want to dig up every last diamond. Connecting with people on a face to face, individual level ads a new level of legitimacy to your brand and your marketing message.

Despite the changes in communication technology of the past century, we still have that need to make real connections with one another. We still have more trust for the people we know personally than the people we’ve only seen online.

Getting out there, talking to people and meeting people is how you become a 3 dimensional business- and become memorable.

Who To Call On: Go look in the mirror. That’s who!

Becoming a true master of marketing isn’t just about competence and consistency in the 5 areas I’ve listed, however. More than just ticking boxes and putting lines through tasks, it’s about stepping forward, giving of ourselves and thinking about ways to do that little bit extra.

Because when you do that, it’s when you get that bit extra in return.

Now, if you read through #1, #2 or #4 and you realised this is something you want to get better at- and you want to find out how to make it happen? Then it’s time to discover why putting a proven strategy in place- and getting started- is easier than you might have thought:

Contact Me