Tag Archives: writing

Are You Ready for Social Media?

star treck social mediaYou don’t have to be an expert to maintain a presence on social media. However, you do need to have a strategy, a plan and a commitment to make your presence known.  If you have never given any thought to what you want your social media platforms to look like, then there is no time like the present.

Here are a few things to keep in mind;

  1. Determine who your audience is (or who want it to be).
  2. Decide how often and when you will post.
  3. Study the various platforms, paying special attention to the most popular- Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus ,  LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Instagram.  Keep in mind that not every business will work on every platform. For instance, while the first four will work great for nearly every business, Instagram and Pinterest might not.
  4. Choose a cover photo and profile picture that expresses who your company is and what you do. Be sure to use the same images on every platform as this adds credibility and helps with branding.
  5. In most cases, shorter posts are better than long ones.
  6. As much as possible, include a picture as part of the post. Ideally, the picture should be original to you/your company. When it isn’t be sure to give credit to the source.
  7. Be sure to check for spelling, punctuation or grammar errors.
  8. Don’t be afraid to post something that might be controversial. This often encourages reader engagement.
  9. In making a social media post, ask yourself the following: Is it educational? Is it entertaining? Is it encouraging?  The more of these you can answer, “yes” to the better the post.
  10. Consider linking back to your website whenever possible.  This is referred to as signposting, and provides external links.
  11. Don’t make every post about yourself. Ideally, only 20% of your posts should be about you. Otherwise, your followers will get bored with what you have to say.
  12. Did you use #hashtags and keywords that go with your business?

These are but a few tips for developing a social media presence. Develop a plan that works for you and then commit to it.  Need help? Contact Write Away to manage your social media platforms for you.

 

(image from imforza.com)

Words Are Hard!

Recently one of my son’s buddies spent the night. Whenever this charming and amusing young man would get tongue-tied, he would grin and quip, “Words are hard.” Upon hearing him say this a time or two, I told him I was stealing his line for my blog. After all, as one who spends many hours a week working with words, I would be lying if I did not say that, at times, “Words are hard!”

Words are hard!
Words are hard!

For many people, writing is one of the most difficult chores out there. Yes, they recognize the value of a properly written website, but the thought of spending time crafting web content that flows and gets the message out is intimidating. Add in things like understanding search engine optimization (SEO) and incorporating pics, managing social media pages and producing a newsletter and you have moved beyond “words are hard” on to “I hate writing!”

Fortunately, when you hire Write Away Copywriting, you don’t have to bogged down with finding the right word(s). Rather, you can hand that job off to me. I will be glad to take on the writing process for you so you can focus on elements such as helping current clients, reaching out to potential clients and developing new ideas and products. I will take time to learn about your service/industry and will then create SEO content that is perfect for both web crawlers and people, alike. By hiring a copywriter, you can pass the job of Finding the Right Words off to someone else.

So, the next time you are facing a writing project and find yourself thinking “words are hard”, don’t stress out. Just contact Write Away and take writing off of your To Do List. I look forward to hearing from you!

 

Words image from Constant Contact.
Child's pic, used with permission.

 

Social Media: Try it – You Just Might Like It!

pic from en.wikipedia.org
pic from en.wikipedia.org

Not long ago, I had the privilege of being a part of a educational event at a local university. It was my “job” to pretend to be suffering with pains similar to  having a bladder or kidney problem. It was up to the students to ask enough questions to determine the cause.  This was an activity far removed from my normal day, and one that I greeted with excitement, and even a bit of trepidation. After all, I am more of an observer, and prefer to avoid drama of any kind.

However, the day was actually quite enjoyable. I found that stepping outside of the box was more fun than anticipated and I got to meet some really great people.  And, even better, I found that with each new “doctor” I met, the more comfortable and easier the acting became.  I found I anticipated the questions, knew better how to answer and learned a bit about what it takes to train to be a physician.

My experience with acting is often how people feel about using social media or blogging about their company. Taking that first step and setting up a social media page might be intimidating. There are “all those” questions to answer, and the job of finding the right pictures. Then, you have to spend time each week posting things that are engaging and interesting. These tasks can seem daunting, so people often choose to merely observe other businesses on Facebook, Twitter or other platforms rather than get involved with the “drama” of social media.

But, just as I was a bit uncertain at the outset of my day of being a patient but later found it was actually a bit fun, those companies that take the plunge and set up a social media profile (or two….) usually find that while it may initially seem difficult, with practice it becomes a great way to engage with others. By using social media to promote who their company is and how others can benefit from using their products and services, they build up their customer base and develop a strong presence on the Web.

No,  the first few social media updates may not go viral (chances are, they won’t!) but with practice and perseverance, a social media page can be a strong tool in your marketing toolbox. So, don’t just sit back observe the social media scene, get out there and give it a go. You might just find that you like it.

 

8 Things Being Involved in Ministry Has Taught Me about Being a Business Owner

(image from dae-lee.com)

I have been involved in church ministry for over 2 decades. I have worked with preschool children,  elementary children, behind the scenes as an admin assistant, been involved with the music and currently work with the youth. And while the level of involvement, the responsibilities and the manner in which  communication is accomplished has changed over the years, much has stayed the same.

Recently, I was thinking about how often my ministry involvement and having my own business are alike. Here are my observations. If you have others to add to the list, I would love to see them!

  1. If you don’t have a plan for the day, the children/teens will. From time to time I get up and turn on my computer for the day expecting my workload to be light and thinking that I might take time to chill out. More often than not, those are the days that rather than simply working just a few hours, I end up with a full day’s work! (Not a complaint, just an observation.)
  2. You have to be flexible. Just because you have a plan, it doesn’t mean that the lesson prepared will be the lesson taught. In business, you have to be open to new approaches in getting a job done. After all, the Web and the way one does business is always changing.
  3. Mistakes happen; don’t dwell on them! Find a way to correct the problem and deal with it effectively and efficiently. Sometimes that great object lesson or game completely backfires and you have to be able to address the situation and move forward. In business, that idea that sounded so wonderful in your head might not be a great in practice. Be willing to step back, re-assess and move forward again.
  4. You can’t please everyone; sometimes you have to sign off on a project. This doesn’t mean failure, just the need to find a better way. Also keep in mind, that some people refuse to be pleased with a product/service. These people are always going to be there. Learn what you can in those situations and move forward.
  5. The client/customer must feel valued. Even if you cannot provide the exact service or product one might want, going out of your way to provide service with a smile is a great way to build repeat customers. In a ministry, you must make each person, from the team members to the people being served, feel like they matter…because they do!
  6. Everything eventually works out, It might not always be the way you envisioned it, but a solution can usually be found that pleases most of the people involved.
  7. It takes work. There is always something to be done. Whether it is planning the next meeting, writing another blog post, visiting with new clients or ministry team members, etc. Like in business, you can count on ministry taking time.
  8. There is always room for improvement. No business, regardless of its size, can’t be improved with more training, better procedures, etc. Ministry is no different. There will always be ways to make the space more inviting, help leaders to be stronger and attendees feel more welcomed and connected.

5 Ideas for Blog Posts

5 Blog post ideas for the tired blogger (pic from www.gapyear.com)

Having a blog on your website is a great way to boost your site’s SEO, but only if you take the time to post to it on a regular basis. In fact, many experts recommend posting at least once a week. But for many of us, that is a steep assignment as life and the daily needs of running a business can get in the way of blogging. For others, it might not be the time involved for blogging so much as having ideas for the posts.

If you fall into this latter category, then you are not alone. Write Away Copywriting has some ideas and tips for your next blog posts.

Be informed of the latest changes, new products, etc. in your industry so you can share that information with your readers.

Lessons learned about running your business are not only inspiring but lets others know that they can overcome obstacle, too. It also lends some credibility to you and your business.

Ongoing saga of what is going on at your company. Do you have a new product or service? Perhaps you have hired a new sales rep or expanded your service area. Letting your readers know what is going on helps them connect and builds loyalty.

Goals you are working towards also lets people know where your company is headed.

Surveys are a great way to get customer feedback or to ask leaders in your field for their input. Consider posting pictures with names and companies of the survey contributors, as way to boost link opportunities, as well.

Blog posts are a fun way to generate interest and excitement about what is happening at your company. They don’t have to be long, technical diatribes, just something that keeps site guests engaged and wanting to hire you or use your products. So, don’t let that blog page sit empty…write a blog post this week!

Say What You Mean: Using Keywords in Your Online Presence

 

Snellen_chart.svgI was recently told the following story:

A mother brought her young son to the optometrist because he had complained that he could not see everything that was written on the blackboard. The child is an excellent reader, so the doctor opted to use the traditional alphabet-based eye chart.

The doctor pointed to one of the smaller rows and asked the boy if he could read it. The boy replied, “No, Sir.” The doctor then pointed to a row with larger letters, and again asked, “Can you read this?” The little boy again answered, “No, Sir.” As the doctor moved up the chart, the little boy said that, no, he could not read the row. Finally, the doctor reached the second row from the top– the one just below the big “E” – and once again, the little boy replied that he could not read it.

By now, the doctor and the mother were quite concerned. The optometrist finally asked, “Are you sure you cannot see the letters?” The little boy replied, “Oh! I can see the letters but you asked if I could read it and none of the letters in the rows of letters made words!”

Conclusion: Be sure the words you use convey the message you want the recipients to receive.

Writing for the Web is no different. You have to not only use your company’s keywords, but you need to use then often enough –without overdoing it – to be noticed by the search engines but without forgetting that you are writing for people. After all, keywords are not just important to your Website content, but if you wish to be found on the Web, you need to use them as part of your social media updates, PPC campaigns, landing pages and blog posts.

However, not every company specializes in writing for the Web (also known as Search Engine Optimization) or has time to learn the nuances of SEO writing. As a result, their online presence suffers. This is where NC copywriting professional, Write Away Copy Writing is there to help. Whether it is through providing SEO rich Web content, making weekly/daily social media posts, writing company newsletters or providing keyword rich blog posts, Write Away Copywriting would love to help you get found on the Web.  Contact J. Slagell, your NC SEO copywriter today to learn how the words you use for your business can be incorporated into website and social media posts so that your intended recipients are getting the message you want them to receive.

Hiking & Writing

 Coors 2A few months ago, a friend and I traveled to Steamboat Springs, CO. We spent 5 days making new friends as we explored the area-taking time to do some shopping, checking out local cuisine and even hiking. Those who know me personally would not be quick to peg me as a hiker, and they would be correct. In fact, while I have always liked a brisk walk around the block, I had never hiked a mountain-especially not one covered in several feet of snow. However, hiking was one of the activities, and I was determined to make it to the top of the trail. And, despite falling a few times, I did make it!

“So what,” you may ask, “does this have to do with writing?”

When I first began writing for the Web, I knew very little about what that meant. Just as with hiking I know how to walk, I knew how to write. After all, I had written my share of research papers, some poetry and had even written a few short stories, but I had no concept of what it took to get up each day and look at a blank screen and produce Web friendly content. Like making that hike and placing one foot in front of the other –even though I wasn’t sure I could make it, writing that early Web content meant writing sentence after sentence, and not being completely confident I had it right.

Along the way to learning about Web content writing and later on doing social posts, I have stumbled and have had to get up and keep going and learn better ways (thanks Panda and Penguin!) ways to write. And, like using a walking stick while making that mountain hike, I have learned how to use tools like AdWords for Web content, as well as Hootesuite and TweetDeck for social media pages so that managing the plethora of pages for which I am responsible is easier.

And, as on my trip where I made friends with people from all across America, thanks to Write Away Copywriting I have made new friends in the world of Web design, too.  But not only has writing allowed me to make many new friends and acquaintances, I have also had the joy of learning about so many fascinating topics and even visit some places I did not know about, as part of the research.

So, to all of you that have been a part of the hike –Thanks! I could not be here without you. I am having a blast making the climb and look forward to traveling on with you. I love taking on new writing projects or social media accounts, so please don’t hesitate to ask.

The Moods of Writing

Quite often, when my children’s friends find out what kind of work I do, I get met with a grimace and a comment along the lines of, “You write. I would hate to do that all the time!”  Comments such as that always make me chuckle.  I rarely think of writing as being some sort of punishment or assignment. I have enjoyed writing, and it’s partner Reading, for as long as I can remember.

However, that does not mean that writing always comes easy. Often, I am asked to write about topics that I know little to nothing about so finding the right approach to a blog post can be somewhat daunting. But, since I love to learn about new places, people, processes and purposes even those jobs that are daunting at the outset are pleasurable in the long run – even if there are moments in the middle that leave me scratching my head as I endeavor to understand. So, with those moments in writing that have caused me some struggle, here is a great pic I found that writers of every age will relate to…..

Happy writing!

Moods of writing

Why New Year’s Resolutions Don’t Work

C & H resolute

 

How are those New Year’s Resolutions Coming? Did you make a long list of resolutions for 2013? Maybe they included getting into shape, starting a business blog or newsletter , getting involved with a community outreach group or perhaps saving more money. After all, those, and many other similar goals, are viable resolutions with great benefits. Unfortunately, they are also resolutions that can be hard to implement into an already busy schedule. Earlier this year, my pastor shared some reasons why New Year’s resolutions don’t always work and I thought I would pass them along.

We try to accomplish them in our own power.
Most are incremental and not immediately transforming.
Most of them are outcome based, rather than action based.

So, if you have begun working on those resolutions and are wondering if it they are really worth it, don’t despair.  Keep on working at it. In fact, whenever you start something new, researchers have found that it must be done 21 times to become a habit. Of course, if you are finding that the resolution to “Start a blog post or newsletter” really isn’t your thing then perhaps you will find that it is beneficial to hire a writer to do it for you.  If that is the case, contact Write Away, and before you know it, those writing resolutions will be taken care of.