The power of the pause

photo of man not speakingYou might have noticed a lack of blogging from me this year. This has been partly due to lots of projects which is great, but it’s also due to me working through a Foundation Certificate in Coaching Skills. This training has been a real eye opener for me and I highly recommend anyone thinking about adding coaching skills to their repertoire to look into this course. One of the biggies of the course has really been backing up what I’ve already been spreading the word on for years:

Just how powerful a pause can be.

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Keeping your LinkedIn connections meaningful to your business

image of linkedin chocolates

I’ve been on LinkedIn for quite some time now and I always find it interesting to hear how useful others find it as a business network. Often I’ll hear negative responses as people aren’t always sure how best to use it. I’ve also heard that people feel overwhelmed by LinkedIn invites or feel that all the invites they’re getting are from spammers or complete strangers and they just don’t know what to do.

How best to use it is easily solved with a bit of advice: I really liked Thomas Oppong’s advice when it came out (even though I’m not normally a fan of ‘6/8/12 etc. things successful people do’ type articles) as it’s very simple and straightforward so it’s a good starter guide. Take a look for yourselves.

There’s also Carol Tice’s advice to writers on how to get freelance gigs from LinkedIn and the ever helpful Social Media Examiner’s metric ton of advice on getting the most out of LinkedIn.

But it seems to be the invites to connect that people can’t cope with: Continue reading


Embracing the New Year a little late!

image of woman shrugging

So, it’s true, I admit it, it’s a fair cop, I give. Last year, I didn’t really, truly, entirely keep to my own promise of regular blogging. I’m going to completely own my lack of shame here – I was busy!

Life took over last year, my part-time job grew, my freelance business grew, life stuff happened a.lot. To the point where blogging went to the back of my mind for a while.

But it’s a new year and that means sitting my butt down and making sure I update this blog at least once a month – no more excuses! Continue reading


Look before you leap into the world of social media

social media crayons photoAs a freelance writer and marketing bod, I get asked these questions on a regular basis:

“Should I be on LinkedIn?”

“Isn’t Twitter just for teenagers and celebrities?”

“I don’t get Facebook, can you explain to me?”

What is really behind all of these questions and many more like them is the deep-rooted fear of not belonging. We all want to be liked, we all want to be acknowledged and having a consistent social media presence gives us the sense that people must like us. Business owners see their competitors on social media and worry that they’re behind the times by not following the crowd. Where followers, likes and pluses start, customers follow (just not instantly!). This sends some business owners into a panicky state and can lead to some pretty embarrassing mistakes on social media.

So, if your business isn’t on any social media networks yet, take a big breath, take a step back from the judgmental looks of the virtual schoolyard and ask yourself a bigger question,

“why does my business need to be on social media?” Continue reading


How to avoid costly marketing mistakes

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, Cinderella illustrationwanting 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, Continue reading


Seven ways to screw up a press release

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 of newspaper stand

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How to make sure you reach your objectives in 2014

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!

photo of me looking forward

Looking forward to the new year (and more snow?)

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? Continue reading


Who are you and what do you do?

Hello my name is sticker

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! Continue reading


How your guts can save you time, money and your sanity

This is the year of listening to my gut! Growing up with a mum who’s got Crohns Disease and Colitis (and who’s worked tirelessly over the years to remove the stigma from those illnesses, yes, you’re fab, Mum!), I’ve been surrounded by discussions on guts for what feels like forever. But I’m not talking about biology now, I’m talking about something that feels so amorphous that you can’t always believe it exists. Your gut instincts.

Not sure about a prospective client? Going back and forth on whether to work with someone? The answer’s in you!

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Can’t keep up? 7 ways to simplify your Twitter feed and keep your Twitter rep golden

Twitter is a great tool for business.  You can make new connections, keep an eye out for jobs or projects, get some tips from specialists in your area.

Twitter can also make your life hell!  The constant feed of news, useful and inane, pesky Direct Messages, spammers – all of these mean time wasted for you and your business.  This post started life as ‘Why I won’t follow you back’ – the key to keeping up with Twitter is keeping a handle on who’s following you and who you want to follow as this is what affects your daily feed of information.  Here’s some simple tips on wrestling back control over Twitter:

1. You are not Lady Gaga, don’t try to be.

With over 20 million Followers, that’s a lot of ‘monsters’.  However, Lady Gaga is also following nearly 140,000 people – the mind boggles at what her daily feed looks like.  Twitter is not a popularity race for businesses – be selective about who you follow – other businesses will be looking at your list and judging your business on the quality of it (you know you do it too!).
Follow some well known specialists in your field but also search for the little guys:
– local businesses close to you;
– businesspeople you know in the real world;
– connect with global businesses in your field;
– move one step away from your field or the complete opposite of it and follow those people – knowledge and opportunities can arise from unexpected places.

2. Keep a close eye on your Followers.

Click on each Follower’s profile and view their tweets before you even think about clicking Follow back – that photo of a businesswoman could have a profile with a porn or spam website link – spammers are getting smarter, don’t fall for their disguises.  Click on the little arrow next to the Follow button and you can either Block them or Report them for Spam.  Potential clients or partners don’t want to see a long list of these types of Followers in your profile – this is your business twitter feed, not pleasure!

3. Ignore the egg people.

Anyone with an egg for a profile picture or no tweets whatsoever – don’t Follow them back.  If they seem genuine in their profile description but clearly new to Twitter, give them some time to build up their profile and tweets and then decide if you want to Follow them back.

4. Utilise Justunfollow.

Justunfollow shows your inactive Followers as well as those people you’ve Followed but they’re just not Following you back.  You can Unfollow them through Justunfollow but there’s a daily limit so you might just want to have the list and your Twitter list open at the same time and directly Unfollow them on Twitter.

5. Avoid the TMI syndrome of social media.

If you really feel the need to tweet about what you had for breakfast/how your baby is/what the weather’s like, blah blah blah fishcakes, create a separate Social Twitter account.  Aside from keeping some work/life balance for yourself, this keeps your daily ramblings off everyone else’s feeds.

6. 80% information / 20% advertising.

Twitter for business use is definitely not about just selling your wares, it’s about building relationships.  Retweet interesting articles and other people’s tweets, breaking news in your industry and tips from other businesses.  Tweet about your own business when you’ve got a great special offer or some news about your business that others will find interesting (keep in mind your customer and their mindset of ‘What’s In It For Me’).  Self-promotion is not what Twitter for business is for and, overly used, will get you Unfollowed from a lot of people’s feeds (including mine!).

7. Get your profile right.

Good profile picture of you (not just a logo), interesting and complete profile description, not stuffed with Keywords.  Simple suggestions but very effective for keeping your Twitter reputation golden and making connections.

Alongside these tips on how to manage your daily feed, there are lots of systems out there to help you manage your own tweets – some people swear by Hootsuite, I like Buffer for its simplicity and ability to time tweets and analyse my Tweets.  Take a look at what’s out there and don’t be badgered into using the most popular app; use a system that helps you manage your time spent on Twitter (even if it’s just a simple calendar of when you want to tweet).

I hope these tips go some way to decluttering your own Twitter feed – let me know what’s worked for you!