What are Brochures and Do You Need Them?

Freelance, Marketing

Talking about brochures, in the world of the Internet, can seem quite archaic. Sure, you can promote your products – for free – on your super snazzy website, but brochures still have their place in the world of business marketing.

So, today we’re going to be looking at brochures, what they are and why you need them.

 What are Brochures?

Brochures are booklets that are typically designed to offer in-depth information into the products and/or services that a business has to offer. They are much more detailed than both pamphlets and leaflets.

In the age of the Internet, brochures can seem so out-of-date, as many of us come to the conclusion that we can just direct everyone to our websites. Websites are, of course, incredibly useful, however it’s important to remember that not everyone has the Internet, and even those who do might not feel comfortable using it.

Even the most ardent Internet user may decide that they prefer to have the information firmly in their hand, and there are a few reasons that this might be a preference:

  • Brochures offer ease of general browsing. It’s much easier to flip through or dip in-and-out of a brochure, than it is to flip through a website.
  • They allow for access to products 24/7, without the need for electricity or a piece of technology
  • Brochures can be taken pretty much everywhere: the bath, the toilet, the train. It could be argued that with the rise of tablets and accessibility on smart phones, this isn’t really a big deal. However, some people might not want to take their tablet into the bathroom (understandably), and not everyone “gets” the obsession with technology.

But Websites are Free, Brochures are Not

You’re right; websites are free, but the key to think about is that by not having brochures you could potentially be pushing out a considerable portion of your market. That is not good news, because that is potential money lost.

Look at producing brochures as an investment. The money put into them, will hopefully be returned by the customers who prefer them over your website.

Another key factor is to ensure that your brochures offer customers something that your website doesn’t, or even can’t: detailed information perhaps, or maybe even special offers and coupons that aren’t available on the website.

Do Brochures just Contain Everything from the Website?

They could do, yes, but that’s really up to you to decide. Personally, I have written brochures for clients using similar content from the website. The difference was that they wanted a little bit more depth in the brochures.

Case Study

One website that I worked on, was looking to launch a range of natural skin care products for teenage skin. Their idea was that they wanted the brochures to be more about offering advice to the teenagers who the products were being aimed at. The aim was to show the target audience what the problem was with their skin, what they could do about it (diet and skin care wise) and then how specific products could be used to target these problems.

This was advice that wasn’t used on the website, as the website was more aimed at the parents who were actually buying the product.

So should I have some brochures made up?

Only you can really answer this question, but it ultimately depends on your business. Many businesses would greatly benefit from the extra information that a brochure offers, but they do come at a price.  They’re probably not going to be part of your initial marketing plans, for this reason. However, the future investment is definitely worth thinking about.

 

For all your writing needs, get in touch 🙂

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How to be on Social Media All the Time

Freelance, Marketing

social media tips

Perhaps the full title for this post should really be: “How to be on Social Media All the Time…or at least make people think that you are!

Social media websites such as Facebook and Twitter require you to appear “visible” practically all of the time, to be available to answer questions, respond to complaints and generally encourage new and existing customers to interact with you, not only as a brand, but on a personal level as well. People want to be able to trust you, but if you’re not around, they might come to the conclusion that you don’t care, and that you’re not really interested in what they want.

The problem with being permanently visible, is that in the world of business, it’s just not possible for someone to literally be visible all of the time.

You can’t exactly hire someone to spend 24 hours a day, seven days a week to stare obsessively at their computer screen, just waiting for someone to ask a question or enquire about something.

When a customer contacts you through your website’s contact form, the most common way of addressing the time it will take to respond, is by setting up an Auto-Reply to assure them that you will deal with their query as quickly as possible.

Unfortunately, in the fast-paced environment of social media, auto-responses are considered slow, and most importantly cold, because the reason people use social media is to talk to a person, not to what they consider to be a machine.

So, how can you go about your every day business, whilst still appearing to be available all of the time?

The trick is to adjust the settings on all of your social media accounts so that every time someone writes on your Facebook Wall, leaves a comment on a status, tweets you on Twitter, or mentions you, you will receive a notification straight to your email informing you about it.

As a result, you can quickly respond appropriately.

How to adjust notification settings on Facebook:

  1. Open up your Facebook business page, and click the button that says “Update Page Info”
  2. Click the “Settings” tab at the top of the screen, scroll down until you reach “Notifications” and select to edit
  3. Here you can select to have notifications sent using Facebook, or to your email account.

How to adjust notification settings on Twitter:

  1. Sign into your Twitter business account, and click on the cog symbol next to the “Compose New Tweet” button
  2. From the drop down menu select “Settings” and click on “Email Notifications”
  3. From here you can select everything that you want to be notified about, including whenever you are mentioned, when your tweets are re-tweeted and even when someone joins in a conversation that you are a part of.

Setting up such notifications are ideal especially when you are not in your email account all the time, or when you are out-and-about, because the notifications can be set up as alerts directly to your smart phone.

 

For advice, guidance or questions about Social Media, feel free to get in touch.

I am more than happy to help 🙂

 

What are Re-Writes and Do You Need Them?

Freelance, Marketing

The topic of re-writes is often one that is misunderstood. For the record, by Re-Writes I don’t mean that the original content was bad, just like re-writes also doesn’t necessarily mean that the writer will be re-writing the work of someone else either.

Why would someone ask for Re-Writes?

There are two reasons why a client might ask for re-writes: The most common reason is because they want to share an article or story in several places, for example:

  • On their website
  • On their blog
  • As a Press Release
  • On a third-party website

It’s all a form of advertising, using the same article, but re-written. The second reason is much more simple. Most clients love what they do, but will openly admit that when it comes to writing about their product and/or service, they hit a brick wall. So, they might write down a basic outline of what they want, and then it will be my job to re-write it. In this case, the purpose of the re-write is to create content that is interesting, but also encompasses Search Engine Optimisation.

Should you have content re-written?

This is something that I can’t answer for you, but there are a few things that you should think about to help you decide for yourself:

1. Do you have a good piece of content on your website that you would love to share elsewhere? Perhaps on another website, on your blog, on a publicity website or maybe as a guest post? You can’t hand over a piece that has already been used, because most web masters and editors – along with search engines – consider this a bad thing. Most website owners, as well as press release websites etc. prefer content to be completely unique to them, and with the added agreements that you won’t use it anywhere else.

2. Have you got a piece of content in your off-line content (in a brochure, leaflet etc) that you would love to share online? Copy for off-line and online are both completely different, as they serve different overall purposes.

Should you re-write your content?

If you decide that you do want some content re-writing, you now need to make the decision about who should do it, so here’s another couple of things to think about.

1. Do you have the time to sit down and re-write that content for yourself? Even more importantly, do you have the time and energy to re-write it several times?

2. Perhaps just as importantly, how confident are you with your own writing skills, to write content – several times – that is completely different from the others, whilst still focusing on the same key matters and issues?

If you can answer “yes” to both of these questions, then go for it – you know your business after all. However, if you don’t have the time, patience or energy then don’t be afraid to ask someone else to do it, whether that’s another member of your team or outsourced.

If you would like your content re-writing, get in touch and find out how I can help.

5 Ways to Conquer SEO

Diary of a Freelancer, Freelance, Marketing

In case you managed to miss the memo: SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation, and the online world seems to be absolutely obsessed with it. And in my opinion, a little too obsessed with it. So the real question is: SEO: is it worth the hassle?

Initially, I want to say a huge, big, fat and resounding “NO”. However, despite my reservations about this obsession, SEO does have its benefits; as long as you get it right – and so many people, just don’t.

Therefore, here are my five ways to conquer SEO:

1. Content is Always King

Oh yes, it’s the old cliché that Content is King, but content really is the master of your success.

Problem:

Imagine the ideal scenario:

Image sourced here.

Image sourced here.

You’ve created lots of keywords, and the Search Engines are bringing traffic in by the bucket load. Yippee, you’re thinking – excellent, lots of business heading your way! But wait, you’re sat by your inbox, waiting ever so patiently for all those orders to come and hmm…nothing!

You check your website analytics (as you should be doing, on a regular basis), and barely anyone has remained on your site for longer than ten seconds.

Here is where the problem lies, just because you’ve brought traffic in, doesn’t mean that your job is over with. Your second job (after drawing people to your site) is to ensure that you keep them there, and tempt them with your amazing wares. Unfortunately, keyword-heavy content that is boring, full of jargon or doesn’t even make sense, is not going to do that for you.

Solution:

  1. Create content that is interesting to read and packed with relevant information 
  2. Ditch the jargon – no one has a clue what you’re talking about, so seriously, don’t do it!
  3. Make your content easy to browse – remember, we’re lazy, so make things easy for us with headings and keywords and important phrases highlighted (although, don’t do overboard)

2. Do your Research

It’s really easy to fall into the trap of thinking “Oh, I can do that – it’s easy!” when it comes to SEO, but in reality, you can’t expect to get anywhere, without doing a little bit of research.

Research helps you to determine your market, and target it to perfection.

Research KeywordsProblem:

The real problem is distinguishing what keywords you should be using. If Search Engines are going to bring traffic to your website, you’re going to want to make sure that you use the best keywords. Using the wrong ones might draw in the wrong kinds of people. You should also be aware of using keywords that could be interpreted as misleading.

Solution:

  1. As the heading suggests: Do your homework. Check out the competition, find out what keywords they’re using and look into how you can adapt that into your website. However, don’t just copy all of the keywords that they use, because some of them might not be suitable for your brand.
  2. Think about your brand, and the types of keywords that people might search for, in order to reach that brand
  3. Put yourself into the shoes of your customers. What are they looking for? What are they likely to type into Google?

3. Stay Relevant

Why would someone buy a product or service from a website that contains content that isn’t relevant to the product or service? Honest answer: They wouldn’t. It’s as simple as that. Therefore, relevant content is just as important as good content.

The Problem:

What exactly is relevant? One of the mistakes that I have made, and a lot of other people make, is to write about the things that interest

Bananas

This image has no relevance to this post whatsoever.

you. If you’re writing a personal blog – that’s great. Nevertheless, in the world of business, writing about how hilarious your cat is, well, it’s hardly going to draw customers to your company that sells lipsticks, is it?

If someone comes to your website looking for a funny story about cats, then it’s likely that the website they are probably looking for is going to be something to do with cats; a vet, an animal charity, a retailer who sells animal toys for example.

Solution:

Ask yourself a few questions:

  • What are your customers interested in?
  • What information could you provide?
  • What could you teach?
  • What would customers find helpful?
  • How could you provide this information?

4. Imaging

The Problem:

I once read that you shouldn’t bother putting images onto websites, because Search Engines can’t read anything other than text, so why bother.

The problem is that images are useful when it comes to whether or not a person will read your content. Take me, for example, I’m your typical internet surfer, I want to be spoon fed information and I don’t want to have to work hard for it. Why? Because I’m Lazy, and because the internet is so full of information, it starts to get boring. If I come across a website that is just one big huge paragraph of content, I’m likely to yawn, and click away.

The Solution:

The critics might have been right, Search Engines can’t read the actual images, but they can read the ALT Tags and ALT tags are an incredibly valuable part of SEO. ALT Tags should be used to describe the image, allowing Search Engines to read what the image shows.

One way of approaching this, is to imagine that you are describing the image to a blind person, or someone who – for whatever reason – cannot see it. Ask yourself a few questions that a blind person might want / need to know:

  • What does the image depict?
  • What is it representing?
  • What is the images purpose?

5. Don’t Get Obsessed

Despite what we’re quite often told, keywords are not the centre of the universe. Yes, they’re important and yes, they can help your business, but they’re only one part of a very big puzzle.

The Problem:

For many businesses, it’s easy to become so obsessed with keywords that you lose sight of what you are actually hoping to achieve. Content becomes boring, stress levels sky-rocket and you don’t enjoy working on a part of your own company.

Solution:

Don’t allow yourself to be consumed by keywords.

The truth is that if you know your product/brand/service well (and you should) then it’s likely that keywords will flow into your text with absolute ease.

Concentrate on creating content that is interesting, and relevant, and you’ll find that your job is a lot easier. Just remember not to give up, and don’t allow yourself to forget to post regularly to your blog, because that’s a sure-fire way to notice a nose-dive in your blog’s statistics.

 

Top Tips: How to be a Great Blogger

Blogging, Marketing, Writing

Virtually every single “advice” blog and website is telling us that we need to be writing a blog, especially if we run a business. However, what a lot of those sites never seem to do, is tell us exactly how to write those blogs, or even what we should be writing about. So, how are we supposed to get it right?

The truth is, that there isn’t really a right or a wrong answer to blogging. For most people, it’s a case of trial and error and discovering what works for you and your business.

Nevertheless, here are a few tips for how you could start on the road to success, as a blogger, no matter what your business, your niche or your passion in life.

Write about what you are passionate about. I am a huge believer that it is only possible to create anything successful, if you are truly passionate about it. It all goes back to when I was choosing my GCSE options, and my Mum told me to pick subjects that I enjoy, because I’d enjoy studying them and hence I would do better. She was definitely right, and I think the same applies in both business, and in blogging. If something interests you, the chances are that there are people out there, that are just as interested as you are.

Blog regularly, but only when you really have something to say. It’s easy to find yourself trying to write a blog, because you feel that you need to get something out there, so that readers don’t lose interest. However, readers are far more interested in reading interesting posts, every few days, than reading poorly written and underwhelming posts every day that waste their time.

Don’t be afraid to step away from your blog if you are struggling for inspiration. There is nothing wrong with taking a break, especially when you’re just not “feeling it” with your blog, however, be careful not to completely abandon it.

Keep posts short, because most internet-users are “skimmers“, meaning that they probably don’t read things fully, but rather skim for the most important points. If it interests them, there’s a good chance that they’ll read it in depth.

If your posts do need to be long, make sure that you make them interesting. Plus, to help skimmers to figure out if your post is worth reading – for their own interests – try putting key points and words in bold and/or italic. Also, remember to use sub headings, to further enhance what your post is all about.

Put a lot of thought into headlines, because this is what is going to draw your audience in. Entice them, and give people a real reason they want to read your post.

Write in first person, and make your posts really personal. People love to read content that they can relate to, and feels like a human being in talking to them, because it’s like reading the inner thoughts of a friend.

Add images, to break up the monotony of a long post, or to help in making a point. Images can also help to show what you are talking about, or a product that you are selling.

Be uncomplicated, and avoid jargon. I don’t need to tell you how annoying I find jargon, slang terms and highly technical language. So, keep your posts simple and easy to understand. I’m not suggesting that your over-simplify, but ensure that someone who knows nothing about your industry could understand what you are trying to say.

Don’t be afraid to be controversial, especially if you have an opinion that “goes against the grain”. In other words, don’t be afraid to say what you really think about something, however, avoid being controversial just to stir up a reaction, otherwise you may be accused of “trolling“.

On the other hand, expect to bear the brunt of “trolls – people who deliberately say controversial things (typically in comments, disagreeing with you or making personal comments), to stimulate responses of anger. Trolls are typically not very nice people, and certainly not worth the hassle. Try to ignore them, and definitely delete any troll-type comments.

Include links to other websites that are relevant to what your blog is about. It’s good to share the love, and search engines feel quite highly about outgoing links, as much as they do for incoming ones.

Most importantly, enjoy blogging, because it isn’t meant to be stressful.

Hire Me // Portfolio

Debate: Does Spelling Matter?

Blogging, Debate, Marketing, Writing

As a writer, and a lover of books, I have always been a natural proofreader. I think I get it from my Mum, and neither of us are capable at looking at a menu or a sign in a street without subconsciously noticing spelling mistakes.

However, seeing things like this has opened up this big conflict inside me. On one side, I hate to see spelling errors, but then the other side of me is saying “yes, but we can still understand what it being said, so does it matter?”

Throughout history, the spelling of words has altered to fit current needs with the eventual growth of standardised spellings. So, it seems fairly logical that spellings will continue evolving. However, I don’t think any linguist could have predicted that we would revert back to such an unstandardised state.

So, here’s the question: Are there times when spelling does or doesn’t matter?

Here are my thoughts:

When it does matter:

Example: Recently we have spotted a cafe that spelt its own company name wrong, and a leading department store that had misspelt the name of a food product on a sign that was no doubt used in every single one of their shops, right across the country!

Why this is bad: It looks incredibly unprofessional, especially on a business with a strong reputation and a large collection of shops nationally. Whilst a small business could be excused for have more things to worry about, and not enough time in the sense that the signs were probably written in a rush, larger companies have no excuse.

Larger companies can typically afford to hire more staff than a small one, so surely they can expand someone’s duties to proofreading?

Example: Then there is the case of a certain series of books, that you might have heard of – or even read – called “Twilight”, which have become almost as notorious for their poor spelling, as they have for their absolute ridiculousness – I mean, c’mon sparkling vampires, where the females grow make-up?!

Why this is bad: I’ve done work experience in the Editorial Department of a Publishers, in the past, and I know how important the role of the Editor is. Most importantly, I know how important the role of the proofreader is, so the idea that a proofreader has missed these mistakes, not only once, but every single time that the books have been reprinted, is just astounding.

I think that if the mistakes were evident in the first prints, that would be acceptable, because sure mistakes are missed, especially when Editors might be a little less lenient on books that they are not sure will sell that well. However, surely reviews etc have highlighted the mistakes, so a big publishing house has no excuse but to correct them for further reprints, when they know that people are going to buy them!

When it doesn’t matter:

Example: Blogs and newspapers are rife with spelling and grammar errors, mainly because both are written at a past pace typically to a tight schedule. The problem really lies in the way that they are produced, because they are typed so quickly, meaning a slight flick of a finger towards the wrong key can alter spelling without even noticing.

Why is doesn’t matter: Blogs are typically a personal affair, as a single person shares their thoughts and opinions on something that they are passionate about. Most of the time, these people are writing for themselves, around their full-time jobs, so they don’t have the time to fret about mistakes. Plus, it isn’t the spelling or the grammar, but more what is actually being said that matters.

When it comes to newspapers, we’ve all heard the phrase “tomorrow’s chip paper” haven’t we? I personally don’t see the point of moaning about a spelling mistake in something that will be forgotten by the next day. Unlike magazines, who have longer to produce copy, a newspaper might only have an hour – or even less – to produce a crucial story, so spelling is again second best to the actual content.

Example: Social media and this need to share practically everything has led to a rise in spelling errors, either because people are attempting to shorten what they have to say, or because they are having to write things that in the past they would have predominantly used in spoken communication.

For me, this last point sparks the biggest problem for a lot of people, especially on Facebook. As they are used to speaking, more than writing, many tend to type as they speak, which has led to a rise in the rise of the word “of”, when the correct word is actually “have”.

Why this doesn’t matter: Despite often having to get out a translator to figure out what some people are saying, it is usually possible. And surely that was all the person was ever intending to do right? Share a thought or an opinion.

Conclusion:

Spelling matters when you are a company selling a product. Spelling does not matter when what you have to say far overpowers the spelling of it

What do you think? Do you think spelling still matters, or are we all just moaning about nothing? Do you think that it depends on the circumstances, and should there be different rules for different types of writing?

Hire Me // Portfolio

How to Write Kick Ass Product Descriptions

Marketing

It doesn’t matter what you are selling. Whether its beauty products, jewellery, computer software or mobile homes, you need to write a solid product description.  Without a good description of your product, what it does and what your customers should expect from it, then customers may jump to a few conclusions:

1. That you are not passionate enough about your product to tell them why it is so amazing.

2. That you don’t know your product very well

3. You’re only interested in making money, rather than customer satisfaction.

It doesn’t matter if these three “notions” aren’t strictly true, but this is what people are going to be thinking. So, it really is important to take some time to sit down and really analyse not only your product, but also your potential customers.

1. Step in your customers shoes and get personal

What gap in their life, is your product going to fill? What problems is it going to solve? Try and get to know your customers well, so that you can really understand what is going to motivate them into buying your product. If you’re not entirely sure what kind of person your customer is going to be, look at the competition. Who are they selling to? How are they promoting their products?

How to use this: Once you fully understand your customers wants and needs, write as if you are talking directly to them. Be light-hearted, casual and urge your customers to feel like you are their friend and that they can trust you.

Remember: Get personal. Solve their problems. Make it look like this product was designed especially for them.

2. Avoid Technical Jargon

Virtually every industry is full of jargon that only people in “the know” really understand. You have to come to pretend that your customers are very young children or an older person, even if they most definitely are not. This isn’t to say that you should patronise them, but what it does mean is that you should try to avoid using jargon as much as you can, and if you absolutely have to, then you should explain what certain things mean.

Think of it this way, if your Grandmother doesn’t understand exactly how your product works, then you’re not explaining it well enough.

How to use this: The beauty industry is bursting with jargon, that the majority of us don’t understand. Terms like “Non-comedogenic”, “hypoallergenic” and “ophthalmologically tested” often appear on packaging, but what do they mean? If they don’t mean anything, don’t use them. But if they do, consider including a dictionary of terms, or actually explain what it means in the description.

Remember: Breaking things down is not patronising. Of course a lot of people will know what terms mean, but a lot of people won’t.

3. Offer all the information that Customers need

Some advisors might tell you that offering all the information is counter-productive because it stops people asking questions, and once you have people asking questions, it allows you to draw them in with sales pitch. This might work well – at times – in the real world. However, on the Internet – and very often, in the real world too – people do not like asking questions, for the exact reason that you want to them. They just want the basic information, but are too intimidated to ask, because they are not interested in the hard sell. Therefore, you have just lost a potential customer.

How to use this: Think of all the questions that a customer might have about your product, and try to answer them in your description. Have a FAQ if necessary, but try to keep things simple.

Remember: Include everything that they might need to know about buying, as well as using, the product. You should include things, such as: Price, Colour, Size, How to Use, How to Clean, How many uses they should expect to get out of it, How to Replace Parts (include links if necessary) etc. If you are selling different colours, try to describe what the shade looks like.

4. Be Descriptive

It’s easy to say that a “dress is red”, but red doesn’t sound very interesting does it? How about “fire-red” or “passion red”? In fact, the word “dress” doesn’t really offer a great deal either does it? Describe the style. Is it knee-length, a maxi or a midi? Does it have a halter neck, sleeves, slim straps? How does the dress fit in with current trends? Is it suitable for the current season, or a specific event, such as a Christmas party or a wedding?

How to use this: Most people tend to buy things such as clothes and beauty products, with a specific occasion in mind. So, tell customers when they might wear it, and even how they should wear it.

Remember: Get personal, and create a narrative that speaks directly to your customer. Get into their head and try to understand what they might be looking for.

Make a product sound alluring and appealing.

5. Always stay Positive

All products have their minor flaws, that’s a given. However, there is a fine line between being honest about your product and making your description sound negative. Doing the latter is of course going to put people off. Therefore, it is essential that everything you write should always be positive, no matter what you are trying to say.

How to use this: If your product isn’t necessarily are good as a competitor, imagine the reasons why a customer might choose you, even in the knowledge that yours might not be as amazing. Things like cost, larger variety of shades. Draw their attention to these facts, without mentioning that the rival product might be better.

If you feel yourself becoming negative in your copy, cut it out and don’t mention it.

Remember: Never lie about your product, because the moment you do is the moment you tread on dangerous ground. A lot of beauty companies exaggerate about how good a product is, but again be careful if you decide to do this.

Stay positive.

Final Thought:

Don’t be afraid to take inspiration from the competition – a little – as long as you only use their ideas as a jumping off point, twisting it around and leaving your own stamp on things. On the other hand, don’t be afraid to do the complete opposite to your competitors either. Sometimes, being different is enough to intrigue.

Be faithful in your product, but not so faithful that you leave it to sell itself. Unless you are one of the really big companies, it is very unlikely this will succeed.

Don’t be afraid to admit you are wrong. If something isn’t working, take a look at it and re-work it to see if that works better.

Most importantly, good luck.

To hire me to write your product descriptions, please do get in touch

Email Me / Portfolio

Book Review: Brilliant Freelancer by Leif Kendall

Books, Marketing

Title: Brilliant Freelancer

Author: Leif Kendall

Publisher: Pearson Education

Published: 2011

ISBN: 978-0-273-74463-4

Genre: Business

RRP: £12.99

What I was looking for: As a writer, I believe that you can never know everything, and we should always seek out ways to educate and better ourselves. Which is why it’s so good that I love to learn new skills whilst improving existing ones, so my goal was really to find a book on online marketing to discover new ways to promote myself that I might not have previously thought of. Skills like this are also incredibly useful to have to offer to potential clients.

Recently I’ve felt like I’ve been struggling with figuring out new and better ways of promoting myself, so marketing had felt like an obvious genre to aim for.

The Challenge: The problem with an area like marketing is that almost everyone seems to have something to say about it, which means that the  Business Section in Waterstones was practically full of books shouting at me to buy them. Of course, each one of them seemed to be begging to be bought. But with prices varying from the cheap £6.99 all the way up to the pricely sum of £44.99, it can feel like a mind field of questioning if the genre is a “you get what you pay for” area.

Why did I choose “Brilliant Freelancer”? Admittedly, Brilliant Freelancer wasn’t entirely what I went into Waterstones looking for, why? Well, it’s hardly a book on marketing per se. There were a couple of things that drew me to the book though:

  • The fact that it was a book for freelancers was the biggest lure, purely because every other book felt more like it was aimed at companies, but I’m not a company, I’m one girl working on my own as a freelancer. So, it was nice that I would be able to relate more deeply to the issues that were raised in the book.
  • It was also quite nice that the author was not only a freelancer himself, but a freelance writer, making me feeling even more confident that I’d be able to relate to his experiences.

What features in the book: The book comes in six parts, each of which focus on a specific area of Freelancing that are important to understand and know about. The parts are:

Part One. The freelance essentials: what you need to know before you take the leap

  • Although mainly irrelevant to me personally, as I’m already an established freelance writer, I found the chapters in this section to be quite interesting, purely because it reminded me and drove home why I went freelance, and how much staying self-employed means to me. I think it just confirmed, within my own head, how much I love my job.

Part Two. Finding freelance work: how to find the most profitable and manageable work

  • Unsurprisingly, this was the section that I was most interested in. However, although I did learn a few things and picked up a couple of websites that will be useful to my business, the majority of information I already knew. That was of course a little bit of a shame.

Part Three. Manage your clients (before they manage you)

  • Initially this was a chapter that I didn’t expect to find anything new. However, I’m glad I read it, because it taught me to recognise my own self-worth as a writer. For too long, I’ve felt under-valued by over-demanding clients who aren’t willing to pay more than a couple of dollars for work that takes a hour to do.
  • Although it didn’t feature specifically in this chapter, on page 43, Kendall says something that supports this so well:

Clients who prioritise cost above all else are rarely good clients – and do you really want a client who only likes you because you’re cheap?

Funnily enough, no I don’t and I have come across a lot of clients who have been rude (and sometimes even aggressive) because I’m not willing to dedicate several hours of my time for the measly sum of $1 per hour.

Part Four. Motivate yourself and get stuff done.

  • I loved this part, because Kendall didn’t just focus on the obvious stuff like writing to-do lists (although he did of course cover this). Instead he also covered areas that I hadn’t even thought of like how both diet and exercise effect how you work.

Part Five. Protect yourself: finances, cash flow, credit control and contracts

  • When I first started out as a freelancers, finance and keeping records, as well as tax was the biggest aspect that had put me off. I convinced myself that it would be confusing, and I wouldn’t be able to do it. Luckily, I was convinced otherwise, and as the chapters in this section evidence, financial stuff might not be the most exciting part of being self-employed, but it isn’t too difficult, at least not when you’re starting out.

Part Six. Next steps – and beyond!

  • As someone who is already working freelance, I was definitely interested in this section, because I’m always looking for new ways to expand my business and help it to grow. Admittedly, a few of the ideas are ones that are more a few years away for me, but it’s important to have big dreams to aim for.

What the book worth the money? It really depends what you’re looking for. Whilst the book is initially aimed at people thinking about moving into the world of freelance there is a lot of useful information to get current freelancers thinking.

Unfortunately, getting you thinking is all this book will really offer. It pushes you to do a lot of stuff, but never goes into a lot of detail. In a way this is good, because it’s forced me to do more research into moving my business forward, but in other ways it’s left me a little more confused, especially on the marketing side of things.

As a result, I’m thinking about investing in a book that is solely dedicated to online marketing.

Who would I recommend this book to? Anyone who is considering making the transition into working for themselves.

If you’re already a freelancer, you might gain a little insight into how someone else moved into that lifestyle, but chances are that you’ll probably have picked up most of what it tells you along your own journey.

As a motivational piece of literature, however, it is definitely beneficial to every freelancer new or old.

Note: I am not affiliated in any way to the author or publishers of this book. I am also not affiliated with Waterstones.

Does your Business need a Website?

Marketing

According to the Office for National Statistics, in 2010 over 30 million British adults surfed the internet every single day, with the general demographic of users widening into all age ranges and social statuses. Therefore, it is definitely fair to say that the vast majority of your customers are using the internet. So, the answer to the question here is: Yes, your business most definitely needs a website.

Well, that was an easy post, I’ll be heading off then!

Ah, but of course telling you the statistics of who is online isn’t going to persuade anyone to create a website, because if you’re a good businessman (or woman), you’ll be wanting more reasons than that.

  1. People like instant information. They want to know if you offer what they are looking for, so drip feed them a little of what you offer, and encourage them to contact you for more information. If that information isn’t available, they’ll look elsewhere. And of course, feeding information through a website is much more cost-effective than fliers or brochures. Why? Because a customer can’t throw away your website, it will always be there when they need it.
  2. More information. Leaflets are perfect for quick promotions and offers, but let’s be honest, there is only so much information that you can find on a A5 sheet of paper (or card, if you’re being fancy!). A website, however, allows you to share far more information with your customers, including pricing, full lists of services and a website could even offer them the opportunity to purchase online. This alone could really boost your sales.
  3. Geography. With leaflets, unless you are a major company with a heck of a lot of money to spend on widespread marketing campaigns, the chances are that you will only be able to afford to drop leaflets in a generally small area, which is probably local to your business. A website, nevertheless, has a much wider reach, not only nationally, but globally. So before you know it, you could be reaching out to customer thousands of miles away.
  4. Feedback. Trust is a big deal to the modern man and woman. With stories of phone hacking, deception, money laundering and let’s not forget the MP expenses scandal, it really is no wonder that so many people struggle to trust businesses that they don’t already have strong knowledge of. And building up trust is incredibly important. A website can help build strong relationships with your customers, as it could allow them to air their experiences with your products and/or services enforcing why others should trust you. Plus, so many people won’t use a product or service until they have read other peoples’ opinions on them.
  5. It’s so easy. A few years ago, running a website was a potential nightmare. They either cost a small fortune hiring a Web Designer who could potentially steer all control to themselves in order to bleed a company dry. Or, you could create your own, if you had the HTML knowledge, which unfortunately, most of us don’t. These days, however, Web Design is much more affordable and so many companies offer services that allow you to create your own website cheaply, without complicated HTML experience.

Getting your business on the World Wide Web is simple, but if you need an extra helping hand getting it set up, and full of powerful, interesting content that gives your customers all of the information that they need, whilst keeping their attention, use the contact form or drop me a line.