Top Reads of the Week- Take Note

Researching, reading and writing- this is my life and I wouldn’t change it. Occasionally, I’ll stumble upon reads that are too insightful not to share, so here you are, grab a cuppa and take notes.

  1. BRW- reinforcing the need for quality content (now this is what I want to see!)      http://goo.gl/HSdkel
  2. Startup Smart’s take on the social media news fresh-to-biz business owners must be aware of http://goo.gl/Vpyxip
  3. Ruby Connection present some noteworthy legal points as to how and what you share on social media http://goo.gl/AQsm7R
  4. Insurance Business Online explore the potentially harmful effects of ignoring social media as a business owner http://goo.gl/LT7VYA
  5. Unashamedly Creative take aim at which business owners have taken over which social media platforms http://goo.gl/Vu1YnG (I don’t necessarily agree with the idea of ditching Facebook just yet, but I’ll let you form your own opinion of course……)

What have you been researching this week? I’m always keen to read and share articles that I think will assist others in the journey we are all sharing.

Which social media platforms work best for you? Which are your favourites and why? Which are more suited to your personal and professional endeavours?

 

Stay tuned this week for my take on where social media interest is headed in the coming months……

 

Lauren Jeffery

Little Red Writing Solutions

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Send me an email lauren.jeffery@live.com.au

Giving Your Word Some Nerd

Give Your Word Some Nerd- The Importance of Quality Content in Business

 

Content is just a mash of business buzz words right? No. Not just. Your business content is the words you use to convey messages, inform, educate and communicate in your business, whether this is with other business owners or with actual/potential clients. Content marketing is just advertising right? No. There are so many ways to convey business messages through text and images. Anything text you create and attach to your brand reflects on you and how you operate in business.

Content comes in all forms in business

Content comes in all forms in business

 

The good, the bad and the ugly in content is easily definable. Good content inspires. It appeals to readers to read more, think and act. Gary Bencivenga (copywrite extraordinaire) once said “effective content is salesmanship in print”. Bad content is what makes you look like just a salesperson. And with all the effort you put into your products and service, that’s not who you are.

With all the interesting information on the Internet, no one is going to want to read an article that just lists all the benefits of your products or business (http://smallbiztrends.com/2013/12/create-engaging-content.html)

 So once you drop the sales act, stick to pure and simple. Clever content can often backfire and your messages will definitely be lost on your clients. Either that or they will look elsewhere for a business which has got hot-to-trot content.

Clear, concise content is the key. You will appeal to a wider audience if your voice reflects the needs of a more diverse group of clients. Many business gurus speak of the “feature versus benefit” debate on how to brag about your business. Personally, I prefer to speak of the features of a business so potential clients understand what you are about, rather than rampaging into the benefits of engaging with your business and missing the core messages you want people to remember. Benefit-speak can lead you into sales pitches. Remember to avoid those yeah?

Making your words work hard for your business- that's what TOP CONTENT is

Making your words work hard for your business- that’s what TOP CONTENT is

Engagement, especially in terms of social media management, is the way to grow your brand (a type of product or service delivered by a particular company under a specific name) and having more people interested in your business. Clients will respect the time you take to get your business content right. Make sure the voice you use is honest and respectful. Personal stories also help in conveying your business brand to the public. And always remember that a desire for a product or service can’t be fabricated.

Quality content will educate your clients and provide insight to potential clients. This can increase lead generation as clients will recognise the value in knowing you and seeing your can’t-live-without business unfold before their eyes.

A determining factor in deciding whether to use a copywriter these days in business is time. Do you have enough time to get your content right? What is “right” for you and more importantly, for your client base? Do you make time or are you unmotivated and don’t see it as a priority? It really needs to be a priority. Simple content errors can turn literally hundreds of potential leads away if they are paying attention to you.

Errors errors everywhere- gulp

Errors errors everywhere- gulp

Copywriters are more than a “hired pen”. We get stuff done because it is our job to do so. Our motivation and inspiration to write is the heart of our business so if you lack any one of these, saving you time is a big BIG deal. Time is something you don’t ever get back so why not use it to work in your business, rather than on it?

So to end, here is the Little Red Mini Checklist for creating SUPERSTAR content (or the beginnings of):

  1. Research to cure your writer’s block (self-directed learning is compulsory if you want to succeed in small business);
  2. Edit and proof read (many times, and then ask someone else to critique your bulkier writings);
  3. Describe well, create pictures in the minds of your readers, don’t be too wordy and stay focused (clients should be able to feel why they can’t go on without learning more about your product or service);
  4. Show your personality (remember, honesty is the best policy in everything you do and your personality in business is what makes it unique); and
  5. Write for your target audience and speak their language-  don’t waffle or baffle!

Can you add to this check list?

Little Red- Creating, Thinking, Writing, Living

Little Red- Creating, Thinking, Writing, Living

 

www.lrwsolutions.net

www.facebook.com/LRWSolutions

lauren@littleredwritingsolutions.com.au

0432-394-391

If It Doesn’t Challenge You, It Doesn’t Change You

I’ve been on an extended break from Little Red Writing Solutions to focus on my family commitments over the Christmas and New Year period. It has been wonderful to just be with my children and my husband and to be able to just relax and have fun without any major planning.

In the back of my mind however, I have been going over and over what heading back to “work work” will mean for me. I write during the night when my children are asleep and I have a part-time day job which keeps me more than occupied.

But soon, my contract will end and I’ll need to find more “work work”. You may or may not know that I am a Registered Nurse and was working in Surgical Nursing until I went on Maternity Leave to have my daughter in December of 2012. Alongside writing. Then in April of last year, my Mother passed away unexpectedly and my whole career vision started to shift. I couldn’t go back to Nursing out of fear of breaking down in front of patients. I couldn’t face introducing myself to a patient with the same name as my Mother. I was frightened to leave my children to go and care for other families when I needed to be around them so badly. So it was with this sudden change of heart that I decided to let myself look into other options, without feeling “guilty” for leaving Nursing.

I made the decision to take on a temporary contract at a hospital I was very familiar with, just so I could work, heal and have the time I desperately wanted with my young children. The job has been wonderful. I’ve really enjoyed it and still have a few months left.

In the meantime, as I continue to write for Little Red part-time, I’ve happily and proudly come to a conclusion. With my extensive public health care experience and my profound passion in the areas of grief and bereavement, depressive illness, anxiety and panic disorders and mental illness, I can happily announce I’ve been accepted into a Masters in Psychology program.

I needed to take greater responsibility for my long-term happiness and for the future of my family and believe that this path in life is for me. So with this career change, so changes the rest of my life! I haven’t left Nursing behind yet and I’m not sure if I ever will, but for now, I’m putting all my (spare) energy into this new program, combined with Little Red.

Little Red will continue on as normal (refer to my Facebook page for opening hours and the product/ service listing), I just needed to share my good news.

Cannot wait for these new challenges to test every inch of me!

Lauren @LittleRed

Take Control of Social Media in 2014- A Little Red Investigation

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{image courtesy of bryandigital.wordpress.com}

After spending 2013 on all the big wig social media platforms {and truth be told, enjoying Pinterest and Facebook the most}, I’ve come across some trends that I hope will prevail this year {oh dear God it’s a new year already and I was only just getting used to writing 2-0-1-3……}

Social Storytelling is booming. We’ve all read the “I can check in on Foursquare, Post a Photo of it on Instragram, post an update on Facebook, Tweet my details” etc posts floating around in Google. We can share EVERYTHING we do ANYWHERE at ANYTIME. How cool is that?!

We all know how huge Facebook is. We spend the most time on it. We connect with friends more there than we do text and call friends in Australia {are text messages almost as obsolete as the old ICQ chat thing? I never used it but it must’ve been quite intriguing}. Mobile-friendly Facebook is quite awesome. It’s not much more difficult to navigate than Desktop Facebook, probably because all the top developers know that wherever we go, we want Facebook to be right there with us. We want to tell our friends and consumers {if you are a business owner and Facebook-savvy} what we’re up to, where we are checking in and so forth. In other words, read our online diary to our friends and followers.

Tailored content and mobile/video ads {of which YouTube are already the masters} have made website browsing, searching and shopping all the more simplified through the likes {pardon the pun?} of Facebook advertising. Your business is instantly mobile friendly with the short ads that are now, well practically everywhere. Sometimes you don’t even know you’ve clicked on a sponsored ad {if you don’t happen to spot the “SPONSORED” sign on some posts}. Also, search high and low through iTunes and PlayStore this year for business-related apps. Every year is the Year of the App, but with most sites being mobile-friendly, how better to pair a mobile site with a few handy apps to get your business motor running this New Year.

My advice to small business owners and community page owners this year re: Facebook? Stop spamming people’s walls and connect. Make new contacts that you’ll actually engage with. I’m over the “like for like” experience. Most of the people i “like” won’t come back to visit my page. And frankly, I don’t want to be spammed with another “try this miracle body wrap and lose 2000 inches of your childbearing hips” page {whinge over}.

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Are you already onboard the S.S #facebookhashtag? Wondering how much it will grow in 2014. All my friends hash-tag and to be honest, I find it entertaining and thought-provoking. Especially to think that you have to come up with some very poignant, individual words for some otherwise mindless pics or updates. But to me, they always work and the random conversations where every word is hashtagged always makes me giggle {is hashtagged a word in the dictionary yet?}

For those who went to Kindergarten and for those who remember it, we all used to participate in Show And Tell- where we’d share an important fact, object, detail of our life. This can now be loosely translated into how we see social media now. So much more of our content this year should be visual and image based. We want to like what we see, we want to focus on detail and we don’t always want to read thousands of words strung together. B-O-R-ing.

Marketing will go full circle and come back to basics this year. 91% of marketing gurus in Australia {roughly} used social media platforms in 2013. Small businesses are all about social media. Social media has become a solid investment and is no longer about communication only. Factor in networking/collaborating, planning, processing and researching and there you have it my friends, your focus for 2014 {SOCIAL MEDIA, in case you missed it}.

Google+. SEO’s best friend. Now here lies an interesting social media network. Have you noticed that to access good old YouTube, you now need a Google+ account? Sneaky hey?! Thumbs up Google, well played. Join a Google+ Hangout, TV for social media and comment and share information in real-time. I’ve tried it and I love it. In the past two years, I’ve been led to believe that Google+ has jumped above Twitter in the number-of-users game. But the big question is- will it jump above Facebook? We’ll know soon enough. Jump on Google+ in 2014 and network like crazy. It’s good fun and well worth your time. 

Instagram- the online photo album. #hash #tag #crazy. Take a photo of anything in good taste/good spirit and it’s out there for the Instagramers to “heart”. #idontliketalkinginhashtagsbecauseibelieveingoodgrammarandpunctuation but I do like seeing what celebrities are posting, it’s like a free version of NW Magazine. I expect that Instagram will only get bigger this year, especially with the new ads and “Flipagram”-style videos you can post. It was found to be the fastest growing social network in the world for 2013. {you probably should follow me on Instagram, really}. A friend told me on New Years Eve that over 70% of the top brands in the world now use Instagram. Now there goes the old catalogues in the mail that I used to read whilst having a hot cuppa. Everything goes out of style!

No matter which platform you’re on, you’ll always find those viral posts somehow. You know, the ones with a kazillion shares of that picture of a monkey riding greyhound in a cowboy suit or the “my girlfriend will marry me if this post gets a trillion likes”. Keep sharing them or even better still, use 2014 to create one of your own. You never know what will go viral! In my case, I always look at funny posts that will make me cry in hysterics. You’ll have my vote if you can make me laugh that hard.

My second favourite platform {well, favourite in my personal domain rather than professional} is Pinterest. Oh my Lord, the ideas that have come from this network are unbelievable. As a crafty person myself, Pinterest is like Heaven. Pinterest now has analytics and place and rich pins. Can’t go wrong this year with Pinterest, it’s as simple as pinning a pin.

Twitter is a digitally enhanced land I used to visit quite often but with my desperate need for human contact, I found it a little cold and uninviting in 2013. With tailored audiences, promoted accounts showing up in timelines and keyword targeting to hit the big{ger} time in 2014, don’t ignore Twitter any longer. Do what you can to get the hang of it. My business tip? You need to post a lot otherwise you won’t be seen. Simple.

If you want to network more and find more leads in 2014, head across to LinkedIn. It may not look as pretty as Facebook and as covered in beautifully filtered pics as Instagram but it’s worth it.

Social media advertising will become more complicated than ever in 2014. Just because I think there are so many outlets and new audiences to reach. Status updates can be “promoted”, you can DIY advertising packages now and it’s becoming easier for anyone to share their work and thoughts. I’d stay away from the “give me $5 and I’ll give your page 1000 new fans” packages this year. Let all those pages fizzle out. I’m sorry but if I pay more money, like $1000, and you’ll give me 100,000 new fans, do you actually have 100,000+ fans yourself and do you know these people? Are their pages reputable? Will they engage with me and my business? Nope. So no thank you, if you want to like my page in 2014, you need to be interested in what I do and who I am. Another Little Red tip: stop tricking your consumers this year, your SEO needs to be a brilliant display of online marketing.

2014 is all about pizzazz, personality. Guts and glory. Digital marketing is losing steam and people want to connect with real people. Not updates on autopilot. Recommendations from others drives up sales. I know I buy many things after being recommended them by friends and family. We want to know the truth from people we can trust and this is how we should want our consumers to see us and our products. They want to know about us and what we do. Not who we think we want to be and what we think we should be telling them to drive up our analytics figures {despite our society’s focus driven by performance}.

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This year, stop thinking about how Facebook and Twitter ads will earn you money. Question whether it is worth it and then think about how you can improve your social media profiles to offer more insight to your consumers. People want advice and information. People always seek out help. You need to know how to show people they need you without selling til the cows come home.

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Privacy and censorship has taken a back seat to the proliferation of social media in years of late. Do we care less? Why don’t we feel the need to restrict what strangers can and can’t do with our information? Because the more we share, the greater the reaction we get from people. We love being recognised and we love creating original and unique content. It’s free and we get a kick out of it.

My final thoughts? Pinterest will be amazingly helpful to personal and professional account holders {did you know you can have a business account on Pinterest now?} and survive huge growth spurts this year. Foursquare and Tumblr will be on the up but Facebook, Twitter and Google+ are where it’s at {again} this year.

Arm yourself with knowledge in 2014. It’s your greatest weapon and ally. Only 39% of Aussie have some type of social media strategy in place when it comes to small and online business operations. In a time where B2B connections are more important than ever, get yourself with a top-knotch diary, some longlasting pens and get writing. Plan the heck out of 2014 and you’ll see the light.

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Lauren @LittleRed

 

You’ll Have My Business IF…..

I’m sure all you small business owners out there post on your social media pages about why your product and services are IT and a BIT. You may do this regularly.

You’re cutting edge. You provide something you believe no one else is. You’re the only {insert cool business product here} seller in {insert small town or bustling metropolis here}. You know what your target market wants and why they need you RIGHT NOW.

You spend a lot of time marketing your service and your products in the hope that someone or a group of someones will engage with you. And we all know what engagement leads to. Number one? Strengthened relationships. Number two? Sales.

I like to be different and take a walk on the weird side every now and then. So this is what I’m proposing. Think about how much time you spend selling yourself and your products {which, as a rule in the social media scene, shouldn’t be all that much or often} and now spend half that time researching which businesses you WANT to engage with. Sales are sales, if you are that desperate.  Focusing on which businesses you can work with can strengthen your brand and build your business character. Think back to your target market. Does that need to change? Has it evolved with your business planning? Have your business goals changed? Of all the clients you have provided a service to or sold products to, which have you really remembered?

Whichever industry, field, market etc you’re in, there will be top business owners, mediocre business owners, rubbish business owners and THE GREATEST BUSINESS OWNERS {just to emphasise the point}. Choose the ones you want to engage with wisely. Make your relationships work for you. You do it in your personal lives- you have family and friends who support you and love you, are there for you when you need it. So do it in business. Find those awesome businesses that can give you EXACTLY what you are after. Don’t just settle.

Branding after all is building. Build your name, your business reputation, your service, your products and your research skills. Make communication, documentation and RELATIONSHIPS your number one priorities. Think about who you engage with. That might seem sensible and also a bit strange of me to say. But when you take the Facebook Networking “Like for Like” scenario of engagement between businesses, thinking about who you are engaging with doesn’t always come to mind. You like their page, they like yours.

Then what? You get their news feed items straight to yours and vice versa. But do you really need to know what is happening with those body wraps that claim to reduce your waistline in just a matter of days if you are an accountant? Do you need to know which baby hair accessories are on sale for Christmas if you are single, a male and running an online marketing page?

Be wise and be weary. Get the most out of your networking and marketing by choosing wisely who you will share your business time with and also those will be share in your business dealings. Your business is precious and a valuable asset in your life, whether you are making dream dollars or not. You have started your business for a reason and that reason is as important today as it was the day you started working on your vision. Business relationships are a two-way street, like any relationship.

Give and take. It’s not always about how your business can work to make sales for you, it’s also about how other businesses can help yours to flourish. How can you help someone else in their small business adventures? You will learn from other great business owners, it shouldn’t always be about what you can sell or what they can buy.

Make this a rule- You’ll have my business IF we will both grow from the experience. Appreciate each other’s experience, background and knowledge. Quick sales don’t help you grow. Well, maybe a few dozen or a few hundred do, over time. But just try it. Time and money will be saved and your brand will be strengthened.

Lauren @LittleRed

A {little} Reminder

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Who?

Lauren Jeffery is the director and writer, Australian Small Business Owners are her market

What?

Little Red Writing Solutions is a Copy Writing Service

Stay tuned for an updated Service Brochure!

How?

Small Business Owner {A} contacts Lauren

via email: lauren@littleredwritingsolutions.com.au;

via phone: 0432 394 391;

via Faceboook: http://www.facebook.com/LRWSolutions;

via Twitter: http://twitter.com/LRWSolutions with a brief outline of their content {and context} requirements, Lauren provides an obligation-free quote with appropriate contractual details and the partnership grows from there

When?

Little Red Writing Solutions is open for busy-ness Thursday-Friday 0800hrs- 1700hrs and Saturday-Sunday 1000hrs-1600hrs {please contact Lauren via email with enquiries outside of these hours}

Where?

Based in Melbourne, Little Red aims to assist small business owners Australia-wide with a variety of business writing and social media content needs

 

Follow me on:

Twitter {LRWSolutions}

Google+ {Lauren Jeffery}

Facebook {LRWSolutions}

LinkedIn {Lauren Jeffery}

 

Lauren @ Little Red 

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