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Showing posts from December, 2019

That's Not What I Wanted to Hear

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The best boss I ever had told me I was a crappy listener. Those weren't the exact words he used, but Carlos was always blunt and to-the-point during performance reviews. I was young and confident... and completely surprised to be told I had this failing. After surprise came denial, reluctant acceptance, and finally, a desire to learn to do better.

Twenty-five years later, I recall that discussion with both chagrin and fondness. I'm still not a great listener but I'm a better listener than I was then. And I'll continue to improve.

Now, as a small business owner, I'm so very fortunate to have a few strong people supporting me who have no fear of telling me when something is not so good. Feedback and advice are both important for doing good work and continuing to improve. Whether it's what we want to hear or not, honest, thoughtful feedback comes from people who truly care about our success.

Whether you are a new business owner or an experienced pro, invest time …

Get Read to Get Ranked

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Years ago when I first started doing email newsletters, each new client had questions about writing the introduction to their very first issue. Eventually, I prepared a tip sheet for new clients and also posted the info on my blog thinking it might be useful to others. That was in 2012.

Three years later I realized 2 things: the advice I was giving needed to be refined/updated and this was the top-performing post on my blog (by far!) so others were indeed finding it useful. I published a refreshed version with a similar subject line. That was in 2015.

Now you can see that these two posts account for a huge chunk of the traffic:


And you can see what that organic traffic is searching:


These readers didn't come to my blog because I did something magic to get Google to rank the posts. People came (and still come) because it's a topic they're interested in and the information is useful. (If you search 'write newsletter introduction', you should find me on page 1 right …

Pantone Colour of the Year for 2020

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Now, this is a colour I can get behind - Classic Blue. This shade of blue is great when "any shade of blue will do", which happens more often than you might think. Did you know blue is overwhelmingly the world's favourite colour?
"We associate blue largely with the sky and water (as well as more mundane, but neutral-to-positive, items such as ballpoint pens and blue jeans), raising the average preference for blue higher than the remainder of the rainbow."
Why Blue Is the World’s Favorite ColorPANTONE 19-4052 TCX Classic Blue colour values:
RGB 15 76 129HEX/HTML 0F4C81CMYK 100 76 25 0Will you be using more blue in your marketing in 2020?

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We Must, We Must, Increase Our Trust

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You may not often think of trust in relation to productivity but there's a very direct correlation, especially for small businesses.

What is trust in a business relationship? It can be quite different than in our personal lives, of course. I've recently weathered the end of a 16-year marriage which was quite a life lesson in trust. And, while we can certainly have business relationships longer than this, the trust element is not all-encompassing - it's limited to delivering on work-related promises. This means things like having clear expectations, establishing goals and deadlines and meeting them, respecting each other's time, being honest about feedback, keeping communication open and relevant, and, of course, doing good work or selling reliable products.
“Trust is your willingness to be open, vulnerable and courageous based on positive expectations.”Lea BrovedaniHaving established trusting relationships helps us be more efficient because our customers will know we…

Editing Checklist for Your Marketing Content

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Whenever you write something, it's always a good idea to wait a while before editing - later the same day or the next day. You'll have a fresh perspective and it'll be easier to pick out what can be improved upon.

Here are a few things to watch out for when you're editing:

Brevity: Cut out every word that adds nothing to the meaning or flow. Each word should be working for you! Read Slice Words to Save Money for examples.

Clarity: Use specific adjectives instead of vague ones to increase understanding and interest. Instead of "We received numerous applications to volunteer at the conference," say "We received 33 applications..."

Paragraph length: Each paragraph should deal with only one topic or idea. Short is always better.

Tone and style: Don't write like a business; write like a human being and use your normal conversational style. Try the "Hi Mom" test.

Variety: Avoid starting each sentence or paragraph with similar words or phrases...…