Blogging for Business – HOW?

Part Three: HOW To WRITE?

From my Blogging for Business One and Two you will hopefully have gathered together a ton of ideas and started to think creatively about different ways to engage with your target customer.

Working At Home

Image courtesy of http://laurelsprings.com

All these ideas it can be overwhelming – where do I start, how do I manage it all?

I start by creating categories. Look over your lists and ideas and start grouping them together under category labels.

Some examples-

Tips
Business Skills
Profiles
Inspiration
Company – focused
Events

Look at things critically and see what ideas slot in nicely and what doesn’t fit in anywhere at all.

Remember to keep in mind your niche and your brand. Do these all match up nicely with what you want your business to convey?

Choose three to five categories that seem to fit best. From here its time to create a very simple Blogging Calendar: this will be the core of your blog planning.

Everyone will have a different way to structure this and there are a ton of different tech tools that can help. For me, an excel document with a month by month plan works best.

Think about how many times a week you want to post. Be realistic. How much time do you have? Maybe you want to post once a week? Two or three times a week can be a good target.

Your categories can slot into your Blogging Calendar as you see fit. An example would be:

Tuesdays: Profiles
Thursdays: Company- focused posts
Fridays: Inspiration
Every second Monday: Tips and Tools

Once you have the basic categories planned, start adding blog titles to go out on certain dates. If you have further details like links or descriptions put them there too. The more information you have the better. If you can fill up 12 weeks of content planning – perfect. If not, try for 8 as a minimum. Look at upcoming events and see where guest posts can be fitted, or thematic posts around a holiday, but keep your categories consistent.

The more in-depth your planning is now, the easier it will be later when you are trying to write. Here’s an example

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Actual Writing

For many this is the scary bit.
Now you have a plan, you have to actually do the writing!

Posts don’t have to be long. 500 words is a good length. One page.

But the key is scheduling YOU. As well as your Blogging Calendar you need ‘Content Creation’ slots in your own calendar.

If you want to publish a post on a great salad recipe or a book review on Wednesdays, you need to schedule an hour into your Monday to write it and half an hour on Tuesday to edit it, find some images and get it looking pretty.

If you have Customer Profiles planned for every Thursday, you need to send out fifteen interview requests at the beginning of every month because it’s likely only five will reply, and even then will take more time than you expect.

Plan and Schedule. Stick to It.

 It’s not going to happen just because it’s in the Blogging Calendar.

Be realistic, with your planning and then commit to keeping to your plan.

If you do, eventually you will have an in depth blog with on-brand articles you can tweet about, share on Facebook and email to clients for whom it could be relevant. You can re-post articles on your Linked In profile (with a link back to your blog), or guest post on another blog.

You will have a way to connect deeply to your customer and help your customer identify who you are and why you are doing what you are doing.

We have covered the Why, Who, What and How in this three part series. Has this helped you identify useful content for your business blog? Have you set up a Blogging Calendar?

 

This article was written by WoolfWorks founder, Michaela Anchan and was featured in Executive Lifestyle. 

Blogging for Business – WHO and WHAT?

If you missed the Part One: WHY SHOULD I BLOG, you can read it here.

Part Two: WHO and WHAT?

Now we have established WHY you should be blogging, the next step is to pin down WHO are you, WHO you are writing for, and WHAT you could write about.

Go grab a lovely big A3 piece of paper, a sharp pencil and a cup of coffee and let’s figure it out.

woman typing

Image courtesy of http://www.womansday.com

Who are you?

What is your ‘why’ behind your brand? What is the story, the passion, the reason you are doing this? How are you going to help people?

What are the qualities you want to convey? What is the connection you want to make with your customer? How do you want them to feel about you?

Connecting to the person and the story behind a company can make a huge decision to a customers decision to do business with you.

Who are they?

It is absolutely vital you put a solid amount of time in to figuring out your niche.

Who is your ideal customer? How old are they? Are they male or female? Are they an entrepreneur, an employee, a freelancer or are they a homemaker? What are they worried about? What magazines do they read? Where do they socialise? Are they tech savvy? Do they want to be? Where do they live?

What?

What are you going to write about: the big question. Again, I recommend a nice crisp A3 sheet of paper and a sharp pencil. Start brainstorming ideas.

Start very broadly:
What are the interests, thoughts and topics that are linked to your business and interesting to your target?
What are the questions customers tend to ask you?
What are the challenges they face?
What do they believe you are an expert in?

Then do a bit of research:
Look at other blogs, magazines, websites related to your industry – what are they writing about?
Ask your customers – do a formal survey or just call them up for a chat. What are they confused about? What do they find mysterious about your industry? What information would they like to have access to? Who do they admire? Where do they want their business to go? How can you help them?
Let these questions and thoughts sit at the front of your mind for a few days – once you start thinking and talking about these questions the ideas may pop up at different times. Write everything down.

blogging

Image courtesy of http://www.scribewise.com

Then, take it further by looking at different types of content. There is so much you can do which can tie in to all of the above:

Customer profiles or interviews
Staff profiles
Profiles of people in history
Profiles of partner businesses
Guest posts from partner businesses
Links to relevant articles around the web
Information about a package / rate you offer
Write-up an event you held
A day in the life in your business
Resource lists
Tutorials
Infographics
Images
Business background stories (focusing on your WHY)
Beginners guide to..
FAQ about your business

And don’t forget videos and podcasts!

Keep the WHO is mind during this – who you are, who your customer is. Keep the ideas flowing – write everything down! Keep going, keep researching – the more ideas now, the better. Don’t worry about relevance or titles yet, just keep writing down ideas.

Next week we will talk about the HOW.

How does this brainstorm of ideas get turned into a structured, planned social media campaign? How is this going to be manageable for me when I have so much going on?

 

This article was written by WoolfWorks founder, Michaela Anchan and was featured in Executive Lifestyle. 

 

Blogging for Business – WHY?

Part One: WHY SHOULD I BLOG

What’s the advantage of blogging for your business?

We all hear about how you must blog – ‘content generation’ is a huge buzzword, and there can be such a feeling of guilt if you haven’t started, aren’t keeping it up or haven’t established a regular schedule.

It can be helpful to go back to basics and think about WHY you should be blogging, and what you hope to get out of it. How do you want it to help your business? We all want to generate more revenue, how can blogging help that?

1. It’s a great way to have a conversation with your target market.

You get to talk to your customers and clients directly. You get to say what you want, share the opinions, tips and topics that best reflect your business and you get it in front of their eyes – it’s a second best to ringing them up and having a chat.

2. It gives you credibility in your industry.

The moment you are an author on a particular topic you position yourself as an expert. Imagine a customer is trying to choose between two landscape gardeners. He looks online and found one has a simple website which looks good, one has a simple website but also has a blog filled with expert articles on weed control, best choices in flowers for the local climate, shrubs of the week and fertilising tips. Who do you think he is going to call?

3. If you give a little, people want more

If this gardener does a series on how to do basic landscape gardening yourself, perhaps creates an e-book around it, her customers are going to imagine just how much more fabulous she can do things as a professional.

4. Branding and Positioning

Your blogs give you a great chance to further develop your brand and position in the market place. Your topics can be targeted and developed to reinforce your brand. A high-end interior design store is not going to write about where to find the cheapest bed linen in town, nor will a yoga studio post about the new burger bar down the road. Keeping your themes and topics consistent with your brand is crucial in connecting with your target client.

5. Driving traffic to your website

Blogging effectively can be a great way to drive traffic to your website. Identify keywords that are bringing traffic to your site and use those keywords again and again. Blogging creates pages of text, which can be picked up on a Google search – use it to your advantage!

and the best part of blogging?

6. Blog posts work while you sleep!

Twenty four hours a day, seven days a week your articles are out there to be read by customers, picked up by Google and referred to by customers. They are your representatives working hard out there in the world, for a very low wage!

Modern office workplace

Image courtesy of http://sueallenclayton.com/

Clarifying WHY you are blogging is important. It helps form the foundation of your social media strategy, and ensures that your blogging is targeted and planned.

Next week, the next important question: WHO are you blogging to?

 

This article was written by WoolfWorks founder, Michaela Anchan and was featured in Executive Lifestyle

Power-Packed Breakfasts to POWER through your working day

Guest Post by Karen Aroney (ANutr, ASN)

Karen is holding a talk on Motherhood and Nutrition at Woolf Works on the 11th March at 10am. More info and tickets details available here.

 

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Even if you are not a breakfast eater, ensuring you have even a small, balanced meal in your stomach before you head out for work is beneficial for the following reasons:

Brain Power

The brain requires between 100–150 g of glucose (blood sugar) daily. Once we wake up from our sleep are cells are in ‘fasting’ mode, waiting for the next hit of glucose (known as carbohydrate). If we don’t fuel ourselves with a nutritious breakfast of protein and carbohydrate, then what how do we expect to perform in that meeting? that presentation? Fuel for your brain is essential for high performance.

Weight Control

Lower rates of obesity have been found for people who ate breakfast regularly, versus those that skipped breakfast, partly due to breakfast eaters not over-consuming high energy snacks or meals at the later part of the day (where you are less likely to expend most of your energy)(1). Moreover, people who skipped breakfast also have a higher affinity for high-calorie foods and again over-eating with these foods, than people who eat a regular breakfast(2). Worth considering next time you reach for the ‘hidden chocolate’ in the desk draw or find yourself in front of the vending machine!

Increased Energy and Better Quality of Life

Research indicates that there is a direct effect of morning eating patterns on physical activity levels throughout the day, with people who ate breakfast displaying higher energy and overall physical activity levels(3). Further studies have found that breakfast eaters (versus those that skipped breakfast), had a more positive score for overall quality of life, vitality, social functioning , and emotional and mental health(1).

The easiest and tastiest way to enjoy a stress-free POWER-PACKED nutritious breakfast is to literally jar it! Here are 2 recipes to get you started:

Blueberry Coconut Overnight Oats

Pour 1/2 cup rolled oats, 2 tablespoons hemp seeds, 1 tablespoon flaxseed, and 1 cup of coconut milk into a mason jar and stir to combine. Add 1 cup of fresh or frozen blueberries and mash them in the pudding for a thicker consistency or you may leave the blueberries whole for a topping. Add honey to sweeten. Store in fridge overnight. Then before serving, top with shredded coconut, almonds and pumpkin seeds!

Almond Butter Chocolate Overnight Oats pure2

Pour 1/2 cup gluten free steel cut oats (use rolled oats for a smoother oatmeal), 1 tsp chia seeds, 1 tsp flaxseed, 2 tsp cacao powder , 1 tbsp almond butter, 1 chopped medjool date or 2 tsp maple syrup, 1/2 cup almond milk. Throw everything in a mason jar, mix well and store in the fridge overnight to eat. If you like yours thinner, just add a bit more milk.

(Recipe credit: www.nutritionstripped.com, www.mywholefoodlife.com)

All these factors combined make you more POWERFUL and PRODUCTIVE, so start the day on the right track and make it happen!

References:

  1. Huang CJ, Hu HT, Fan YC, Liao YM, Tsai PS. Associations of breakfast skipping with obesity and health-related quality of life: evidence from a national survey in Taiwan. Int J Obes (Lond). 2010 Apr;34(4):720-5. doi: 10.1038/ijo.2009.285. Epub 2010 Jan 12.
  2. Farshchi HR, Taylor MA, Macdonald IA. Deleterious effects of omitting breakfast on insulin sensitivity and fasting lipid profiles in healthy lean women. Am J Clin Nutr. 2005 Feb;81(2):388-96.
  3. Betts JA1, Richardson JD1, Chowdhury EA1, Holman GD1, Tsintzas K1, Thompson D1. Am J Clin Nutr. 2014 Aug;100(2):539-47. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.114.083402. Epub 2014 Jun 4. The causal role of breakfast in energy balance and health: a randomized controlled trial in lean adults.

pure3PureVitality Nutrition Concepts Pte Ltd is run by Karen, an accredited Nutritionist (ANutr, ASN) and Wellness Coach. She is also mum of twins, passionate about travel, sport, family health, and food!

PureVitality Nutrition Services provide nutritional advice and awareness through individual, child, family, and corporate coaching programs, and health talks to maximize health and well being. The key is to effectively empower individuals to develop healthy eating habits that support their goals in all areas of health, family planning and fitness for life. We help individuals and families create a healthy balance between food and life. Our mantra – “Welcome to Today. Another day, Another chance. Feel free to CHANGE!”

 

 

How to Inject More Excitement Into Your Business!

timthumb

(image via www.womenunlimitedworldwide.com)

We all want our businesses to be thought of as exciting, fresh and appealing. Unfortunately for small businesses, especially those with just one main person working behind the scenes, public image can become boring with repetitive marketing campaigns that lack sparkle and innovation.

Here’s a few ways to bring something new to your business:

 

1. Try different media

Video is the new black. If you haven’t started thinking about video content for your blog or social media, get thinking now!

Here’s a great article from The Guardian about video content for small business.

Check out the Will it Blend videos’s from Blendtec – a blender company created a viral marketing campaign starting in 2006, of very low production-cost videos in which they blend household objects. Cheap, creative and out of the box and this video has 11 million views!

 

2. Connect with communities out of your usual comfort zone

Ditch the networking evenings and join a dragon-boating group, an art class or a heritage walk. Connecting to new communities can not only help you reach new customers it also opens your mind to new opportunities, partnerships and ideas.

 

3.  Find people that excite and interest you

Mentors, influencers, inspirations: follow their blog, read their books, watch their speeches. Surrounding yourself with positivity and success stories keeps your mind open and engaged on your own journey. We need role models at all ages – this article from Psychology Today talks about the influence of role models on creating ethical leaders.

 

4. Go back to your WHY

Why did you start this business? Why do you love it? What’s your story?

Storytelling is a big buzz word these days, for good reason. People connect to stories and authenticity, they want to engage, hear more. They want to support someone they feel close to, especially over a cold, persona-less company.

 

5. Push your limits

Do something different, try new things, meet new people!. Switch up your schedule, work somewhere new, take a day off to go walking and thinking. Take a meditation class, have a massage, cook a new recipe. Invite someone you admire out for a coffee, swim in the ocean at 6am.

Check out this great article on Lifehacker about breaking out of your comfort zone:

“The point of stepping out of your comfort zone is to embrace new experiences and to get to that state of optimal anxiety in a controlled, managed way, not to stress yourself out. Take time to reflect on your experiences so you can reap the benefits and apply them to your day to day activities.”

 

 

It just takes a little bit of mixing things up, trying something new, to start changing thought patterns.

Schedule it into your week if you have to – just do it!

 

 

Fast food judgement or whole grain positivity?

commuters

We all do it, at least occasionally, I’m sure.

On the MRT, in a taxi, walking down the street. Looking up and down at passers-by, thinking,

‘Look at those shoes. Some people have no taste.’

‘That blouse does nothing for her.’

‘What a sour look on her face, I bet she’s a real dragon lady.’

‘Look at him in his fancy suit, who does he think he is?’

‘Rich housewife.’

‘Wanker banker.’

‘Airhead.’

Sometimes these thoughts swim into our heads automatically; we don’t mean to sound so awful. We don’t even realise how awful we sound.

Some days are definitely better than others. Some days we are in our own world and don’t notice anyone, let alone care what people are wearing or what they look like.

Some days, we are tired, feeling down on ourselves perhaps. It can feel good to know your taste is better than everyone else’s. To know you make better choices, have better style, a better outlook on life, right?

Really?

Do you think it feels better in the long run though?

These thoughts are like fast food for the brain: a quick fix, a cheap thrill, a quick spike in blood sugar, short term happiness.   But what about the long term effect?   Like fast food, these thoughts do nothing for us in the long term. Quite the opposite, they pollute our body, our brain and cloud our intentions.

Imagine though, if we reversed things.

Can we think good thoughts for long term happiness?

The power of positive thinking is well researched. Barbara Fredrickson’s study found that effects of positive thinking can be: increased mindfulness and purpose in life and decreased illness symptoms, which in turn can increase life satisfaction and reduce depressive symptoms.

Positivity has also been linked to a longer life span.

Sonia Lyubomirsky’s research shows that happiness leads to success, which leads to more happiness. An upward spiral of positivity! How great is that?

So how can we kick-start this spiral?

Think good thoughts.

Or, more specifically, think good things about people. About everyone.

When you are sitting on the MRT today, or waiting at a red light in your car, those strangers you see in front of you:

Appreciate their beautiful hair or their kind eyes.

Imagine the hard day they have had and silently wish them a good sleep tonight.

Imagine a tough family situation they are heading home to, and wish them strength and courage.

Think about how those hands have held their children’s hand, cradled their grandchild’s head, or stroked their wife’s cheek.

Think about how those shoes or that bag may have been a reward for six months of careful saving.

Smile when they look at you and wish them a happy weekend, or a good day ahead.

hulahoop

Start with stranger, and move on to those you love.

Remind them of their beauty, their value and their importance.

Think good thoughts.

See the humanity in people.

See the good.

It’s good for you.