What I Won’t Be Doing in 2019

I love making my to-do lists. I find them to be very helpful. I have one for annual goals, one for longer-term or non-deadline specific goals, and then my weekly calendar with the top 3-4 things that have to be done each day.

However, I realize that I need to also keep a not-to-do list. This list would remind me of things that I should stop doing, or should limit. At the top of this list is to limit my time on social media between 9:00 am and 9:00 pm. Those are the hours in which I work and spend time with my family. At work, I simply don’t open browser tabs for Facebook or Twitter. At home, I leave my smartphone in my purse or on a table, away from where I am sitting.

I also would add to the list the business services that I want to stop providing. It’s the whole 80/20 rule. If 80 percent of my income is derived from 20 percent of my activities, then wouldn’t that mean I should focus on the 20 percent of activities that is bringing in the most income and stop doing the less-satisfying activities that are just not worth it? Continue reading

Should You Consider a Selfie Station to Promote Your Business?

I’m not usually a selfie-taker, but there have been some selfie stations that were just so funny, I couldn’t pass them up. There was the time I posed inside a reproduction Baker’s Dunk at an old Silesian castle (#torturemuseum). Perhaps you’ve been known to stick your head through a picture of a jouster at a Renaissance Festival (#renfair), or stand inside a large speech bubble in a major city (#BeBerlin) – or even to simply pose with a costumed mascot at a sports game (#GoNats). All of these are ways businesses and institutions use to get someone else to do the marketing for them.

Small business owners have limited resources when it comes to online marketing – limits both on staff hours and funding available to dedicate to promoting the business on social media. However, this doesn’t mean they have to resolve themselves to being hindered by these limits. Continue reading

Alternatives to Translating Your Entire Website

I’m going to let you in on a big secret: Not every business needs to translate its entire website in order to reach customers that don’t speak their native language.

It’s true.

On a sheet of paper, make a list in one column for all of the pages on your website. Each of these pages is a way to reach out to customers, right? Do you have some landing pages online? Include those, too. Continue reading

6 Things that Must Be in Your Next Newsletter

For many businesses, the regular newsletter is the primary way they communicate with past, current, and potential customers. For authors and publishers, it’s the main way they connect with readers. Unfortunately, if your newsletter is missing crucial information, it may not be as useful as it could be at engaging readers or stimulating business. In fact, you may even create a negative reaction in your readers, achieving the opposite of the effect you want.

I’ve copy edited newsletters for many of my clients and subscribed to dozens of others, and here are some things I’ve realized are “must-haves” when you are trying to make the most of your email list.

1. Link to website.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve received newsletters without links to the sender’s website. Sometimes, there aren’t even links to the products or services being offered. If I read your newsletter and can’t easily click from it to your website, chances are I’m not going to close the email, open my web browser, open a search engine, search for your business name, navigate through the search results to find your company’s website, and then click to visit it. You’ve just lost a potential customer. Are you an author or publisher announcing a new book? If you don’t provide a link to the book or your website, there go your potential sales. Continue reading

Things I’ve Learned from Podcasts – #6

Here’s another installment in my series of posts about podcast episodes I’ve listened to recently, along with “my takeaways” from each.

The Accidental Creative Podcast – Todd Henry, “Overcoming Creative Roadblocks”

My takeaways: Henry relates the way a friend’s teacher described the process of a creative endeavor. It’s a U-shape, like standing atop a mountain and looking over at your goal, which is on top of the mountain across a valley. When you start on your journey, you can see your goal clearly. However, when you get down into the valley, that’s where things get thick, and it becomes easy to lose sight of the goal. Henry says the great lie we tell ourselves is that the hardest part of any creative project is getting started but, in reality, the hardest part is in the valley, where we are tested in the following ways. Continue reading

Why I Will Never Call Myself a ‘Gig Worker’

I’ve read many articles heralding the growth of the ‘gig economy’ and every single time I see that term it makes me cringe. The truth is, I hate the term ‘gig economy’ and its partner term, ‘gig worker.’

BandBands play gigs. A gig is something short-term. You play a gig, and then you move on to the next gig.

But I will never call myself a gig worker. I am not working gigs. I am working with clients, and I prefer to create long-term relationships with my clients. I like working on multiple, recurring projects – NOT gigs – so that I get to know my clients’ businesses as thoroughly as any of their staff. Continue reading

My Website Has a Hero Space?

Take a look at the home page of your website, or at the home page of any website you visit regularly – perhaps this website, or your favorite restaurant, etc. What’s the first thing you see?

What you are looking at is frequently referred to as the website’s ‘hero space.’ The hero space is that large section that fills the top of the home page when someone lands on your website. Often, the hero space consists of the single, prominent ‘hero image’ – a graphic that has only a few seconds to influence your visitor into checking out more about you, responding to a call-to-action, or hitting the ‘back’ button to look at a different site.

What is your website doing with its hero space? Are you making the most of it to immediately engage your visitor?

Let’s take a quick look at 6 things to consider when deciding the best way to use your hero space. Continue reading