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How to avoid costly marketing mistakes

By on Feb 21, 2014 in Business skills, Copywriting and marketing | 0 comments

Let’s start with a fairytale Once upon a time, there was a girl called Cinders. Cinders always worked hard and thought herself practically perfect in every way. One night, Cinders found herself surrounded by boxes and boxes of brochures. Earlier that day, very angry people had called her, wanting to know why their information was all horribly wrong and what  was she going to do about it! Cinders did her very best to calm the angry people and set to work righting the mistake. She toiled long into the night, adding a corrections sheet to every single copy of the 5000 brochures, wearing her manicure down and wiping away her tears of frustration. Cinders learned a great lesson that night. Never again would she boast about being practically perfect in every way. She would always check her work properly.* Meanwhile, in real life, it is so easy to make mistakes in your business...

Seven ways to screw up a press release

By on Feb 7, 2014 in Business skills, Copywriting and marketing | 2 comments

Your business has some great news or an event you want to publicise. Whether or not you agree that the newspaper industry is dying, the public need for news is bigger than ever. With streaming sites and constant updates, websites need more news content than your local newspaper could ever contain in their daily or weekly edition. So, how best to get your company’s news into websites, newspapers and magazines? The press release (aka the media release or the news release if it’s feeling fancy (fair warning, I’m about to use all three terms as I like to keep you on your toes!)) still reigns no matter where the news will eventually be displayed. Some PR agencies will have you thinking that creating a press release is some kind of dark art that takes them thousands of hours to toil over so they can happily charge you a fortune. When I first started freelancing, I asked...

Who died to build my laptop and other ethical dilemmas

By on Jan 16, 2014 in Ethical business | 2 comments

In my pursuit of a sustainable lifestyle, my one downfall keeps being IT. What a tangled web there is of supply chains, components and ethical dilemmas. Need new smartphones for your business? One manufacturer currently has factory workers rioting and has been accused of ‘slave labour‘ in the past. Need new computers? So called conflict minerals (gold, tin or tungsten) are in just about every microprocessor there is. Need a web-host? I fell into the trap of choosing a very popular web hosting service that I soon discovered went against some of my core beliefs (I am against animal cruelty and sexism ). There is some light on the horizon with ethical IT choices: Fairphone want to create the first smartphone that is ethically sound, with conflict-free materials and ethical working practices. Intel have announced they will no longer be producing microprocessors with conflict...

Nine website mistakes that turn off potential customers

By on Jan 5, 2014 in Copywriting and marketing, Website tech | 0 comments

Always a good idea to start off the new year with a rant! I’ve asked around so these aren’t just things that bug the heck out of me but they will all make me hulk out! A landing page that feels like a cheap car sales ad Whether you’re advertising your latest product, ebook or just trying to get more email sign-ups, you need to make sure your offer is worthwhile for your potential customers and easy to get rid of (nothing more annoying than not being able to find that little ‘x’ to close the window). Unbounce has a great critique page to give you some ideas for what you should include on your landing page and what to avoid at all costs! A Home page that doesn’t tell me What.You.Do. Just like an essay or college paper, state what your site is all about! Don’t jam a ton of keywords in there, just tell me what you can do for me and what you do...

How to make sure you reach your objectives in 2014

By on Dec 20, 2013 in Business skills, Ethical business, Freelancing, holiday cheer | 2 comments

The festive season always seems to be a time for reflection and looking back on the highs and lows of the previous year. This year, I say to hell with reflection, let’s start planning! Look forward to 2014 and make a New Year’s resolution for your business Now, we all know that most resolutions don’t happen: go to the gym more, lose weight, socialise more, make more money, get more clients. Why don’t these resolutions work? Because they’re such broad ideas, you’ll never know when you’ve reached them! How much weight? How many clients? How much money? So, I’m going to take a leaf out of my previous project management life and make a SMART resolution for 2014. If you haven’t heard of SMART objectives yet, they’re a great way to turn your objective in to something you’ll actually manage to do. Although I’m on a quest...

Freelancers deserve a break too

By on Aug 16, 2013 in Freelancing | 0 comments

When I thought about taking a proper break for the first time in nearly two years of freelancing, I hit a lot of questions: Will I lose work by taking a holiday? What if I get offered something great and I miss it because I’m on holiday? Should I keep up my social media presence by buffering tweets? Should I schedule some blog posts to be released while I’m off? But then I’ll need to promote them so how do I do that if I’m on a break? And around and around again until I got sick of listening to myself worrying about doing something that a big part of the population does all the time. So, what was I worrying about and were there answers? There’s two big issues here – have you been thinking about them in the dead of night as well? Work, clients, future work, money, money, money Freelancing means you have to plan your holiday time a lot more carefully...

Who are you and what do you do?

By on Jul 11, 2013 in Business skills | 0 comments

Business people of Great Britain – speak up! In the last couple of months, I’ve been to a range of conferences and events where audience members were encouraged to participate and ask questions of the panel. At the beginning of the sessions, everyone gets told the same thing, that if they have a question or comment to: wait for the microphone tell everyone your name and your business ask your question or give your short comment. Simple, right? At every event, just about everyone fell down on the second point and, as this has happened at every event I’ve been to, I’ve gotten more and more infuriated by it! Got the microphone? Check. Tell everyone your name and your business and then ask your question? BIG FAT FAIL! Here’s what I heard from 95% of those who got the mike at every one of these events: “Hi, my name is garblegarbleblurblur and I work...

Inspiration on a gloomy day

By on Jun 13, 2013 in Freelancing | 2 comments

Baby, it’s cold outside It’s cold out, it’s been raining for what feels like years, you’re stuck on your project/writing/design/life.  My tip?  Stop thinking so much!  Look outside your own brain for some inspiration.  It’s a big world out there and there’s always inspiration around you.  Here’s some of the ways I try to kick-start my brain on a really miserable day. Got an empty wall? Fill it with inspiration In my little home office, I have an inspiration wall.  This started as a few postcards on a cork noticeboard when we first moved into our home.  Then, my husband wanted to add some more photos to ‘his’ part of the board.  Then, I wanted to add some cards to ‘my’ side of the board.  There’s only so much inspiration a little cork board can provide! One morning, I walked into an inspiration office!  My husband...