Professional writer and press manager

Perfectly Content: A Brand Love story

Remember the early stages of falling in love? The quickening heart, the pervasive thoughts, and the butterflies in your tummy?

Does your brand inspire that kind of excitement in your audience?

The trope of marketing paralleled with love stories is nothing new. Although the advent of tinder and related dating apps, does eerily match the behaviour of buyers on online. Communicating with prospective customers relies on devices to woo prospects into falling in love with you. Well, your brand at least.

Freelance writer Cornwall creates brand love stories

Creating imagery makes readers fall in love with your brand

Rather like the idea of tinder, where you want someone to swipe right and choose you, you now have just a matter of seconds to try and hook visitors in when they visit your website. Remember it’s likely to be done via smartphone these days too.

When looking for a date, or potential match, whether it’s online or in ‘real life’, the first thing we look at is appearance. Yes, it’s true that the first thing to make or break the decision making to stay on the page lies within its design; the words you use are what keep people there. Which is why you should always write for people, as opposed to engines.

Because after deciding they have a handsome, pretty, kind, caring or nice face, we then look for compatibility. So even if you have a product that tastes amazing, people are looking for a feeling too. It’s belonging, it’s empathy and it’s something that eases their conscience.

These days we feel guilty about spending money, so anything that helps us feel our money will go to real people, good people, helps ease the way we feel about spending it.

And this is why we need to create a chemistry between curiosity and conversion. The magic happens here in effective communication. My friend will immediately swipe left when someone misspells something, uses bad grammar, or uses stale clichés.

Gone. Like that.

Next, the crucial bit that creates desire, comes down to how they describe themselves.

Content creation in Cornwall relies on its diverse landscape

Content shows how unique you are

All too often we read the same words in an About Us section. We read that people are passionate, expert, or professional. But we don’t know anything about them. This is really important for brands. Write, rewrite and edit this piece of information so it distils the essence of who you are and what you stand for. Or hire a writer who can communicate your brand.

Use language that sparks interest; find exciting ways of communicating content outside of words. Use images, video, infographics and quizzes to gather information about your audience and build a picture of who you are talking to.

And talk to them.

Through content marketing, use words that incite emotions. Without wanting to sound too ‘English teacher-y’ (bearing in mind this was my job for 5 years), these are created through imagery, connections, poetic devices and tone of voice.

To make someone fall in love with your brand, endear them to what makes you unique.

Since I grew up in Cornwall, it’s in my blood. Everything I write, and some of the brands I write for, are riven with its scenery and images of its surging seas, clattering cliffs and burnished beaches. This is what makes it unique, which is why I love writing about it. I write copy for clients in accounting to zebras too, and what makes people fall in love with them is communicating who they are and their moral compass.

To speak about anything from straplines to features, give me a call today on 07729263818 or chat via email about hiring me.

Such an inspirational place as Cornwall produces creative writers

Cornwall is synonymous with clear beaches and crystal water

Professional writer and press manager

Setting business resoultions

So, I implemented a much needed hiatus from updating over the Christmas period. Catching up on real life and hanging out with friends and family can be an all too distant memory for many other small business managers like me!

I’m not a massive fan of resolutions, since so many people set wishy-washy goals without achievable steps. Myself included. This year, to save me from tears, I’m focusing on goals that are attainable.

Seasonal dust beginning to settle, we welcome what I believe in the rest of the country to be a wintery cold new year. Down here in Cornwall it’s still been a respectable 8° at its lowest, most of the time. Apart from the 2 days of ground frost, which excited me so much I actually got my camera out to photograph its glittering beauty.

winter frosts resemble new beginnings in business

Crisp content glitters like the frost of winter

Last year, I focused on one resolution: to write more. Crikey! I don’t think I could have expected this to be fulfilled with quite the ferocity it was. Some weeks producing over 10,000 words of content for just one client, and adding to that heaps of calls, emails and meetings. Still, I achieved it, due to its simplicity.

So what resolutions can small business owners make, and stick to in 2015?

Outsource

Whether it’s accounting, content creation or social media; weed out the aspects of progression that are time consuming and outsource them to an expert. Generally, this means they will spend a focused amount of time, which is likely to be much less than you, on achieving goals within that area. Outsourcing is the first step towards progressing because you’re focusing your own time elsewhere.

 

Having recently acquired several new clients, I am excited to see that more and more small companies are understanding the value of outsourcing a multi-skilled writer. Building case studies, content and even branding and marketing strategies for different companies allows my clients to do what they do best, and gives me the same opportunity.

Remember to schedule relax time

So, OK right now after having had some time off, you can see how vital that time is. Productivity, motivation and enthusiasm are all restored with lashings of resilience if you allow yourself to enjoy some time off. It’s simple, and yet so many of us are forgetting to do it. Hopefully the inevitable rest many of us have managed to glean over the festive period reminds us of the importance of this!

Commit to Content

I know: it’s easy for me to say. Indubitably, large companies have all got this underway now. Producing excellent content is a strategic endeavour, which brings with it a range of benefits, ultimately resulting in the same thing: more sales.

Boosting organic SEO, developing trust relationships and demonstrating your authority within your field; content creation is a game changer for anyone whose business has an online element. Which should be almost everyone in 2015!

Excellent on brand writing will raise your profile

A successful media campaign yields impressive results

Promote your business

Whether you have a budget for advertising or prefer to carry out an email marketing campaign, make a commitment to a consistent promotion, so people know you’re still there: offering them a solution to their problems.

Through regular interaction on social media, we have seen The Cornish Seaweed Company’s exposure raised significantly through appearing twice on Saturday Kitchen. This has not happened overnight but rather through regular promotion and contact with a relevant audience. It’s a similar story with Chocolarder who sold out of all stock this Christmas due to massive press exposure from our campaigns.

However you choose to do it: from flyer drops to social media or through press release and blogging, decide on a strategy and implement it. Sales for one of my clients have increased by more than 5 times.

Essentially breaking your goals down into bite size chunks and working through them empowers you to feel like you have achieved something.

Anyway, I’m still getting my head around this whole getting back to work thing. And it’s Sunday and the kettle’s boiled. Happy new year.

Professional writer and press manager

A storyteller’s tale of a year in business

Buena’ dia’, whistled the man through his gapped teeth and ratty moustache. The plastic bottle of aguardiente ensconced in his dirty jacket hung as a Christmas decoration from his bailer twine. He took advantage of the first available space to nestle his head into the bristly seat cover. I studied his face. A face you could climb up; its crags and boulders mimicking the Andes; rising in the surrounding pueblos. His left eye was a pastiche of the lake at Cotopaxi – minus the perpetual rainbow thrown into the sky. Outside the rain tapping on the leaves applauded in the last month of the year. Its gentle beat was the quietest sound as November departed. The road from Quito to the jungle is long and winding.

 

Deciding to spend my holiday this year working on cacao farms in Ecuador; the days involved trekking through muddy paths, wielding a machete and learning permaculture; evenings marvelling at the combined sounds of a bassy frog, honking goose and cascade of cicadas. The rhythm of a rainforest rave like nothing I’d ever slept through before, it became a prize, a comfort at the end of a long day.

with an incredible content of antioxidants real bean chocolate is having a resurgence

Bespoke bars come from aerated beans

Waking up to the sounds of a rainforest couldn’t feel much further from the skreigh of gulls ripping bins apart on my backstreet doorstep in Falmouth. Further again from the swollen black sky of Tokyo where I was living a few Decembers ago. Having chosen hummingbirds to decorate my website and associated social media pages, it seemed serendipitous that the end of my first full year as a fledgling business I should be surrounded by them; their call part of the soundtrack to my day.

Having started 2014 reproached by my failure to teach full time, I ended it by returning to several things I love: Ecuador, volunteering and (yes) chocolate. Not entirely unrelated to the work I’ve been doing with Cornwall’s only bean to bar chocolate producer, Also I am looking for social responsibility projects to support as part of my long term vision for the business.

What I expected to learn and what I eventually have; like the best laid plans of mice, men, hummingbirds and writers – well, went astray. But it did provide me the space to take a look at the future of Palaver Maven and what I want to happen next. From the fantastic work with  sustainable seaweed harvesters The Cornish Seaweed Company and their propulsion into mainstream media, to the attention The Chocolarder has received from luxury magazines and food blogs; it’s been an amazing year. My small business has made connections to big press on behalf of small businesses, and

I’ve been blown away by meeting each and every person who has dropped their job in order to live the dream.

Recently having started writing adventure stories for Sharing Socks, I feel happy to combine my love for adventure with social projects; particularly those surrounding education and equality. As 2015 beckons, presenting with it the option for expansion, I’m excited to be offering the opportunity to help young people in Cornwall find an in-road to media careers.

with a love of words as obvious as my own, Thomas is a hero

A Child’s Christmas in Wales: Dylan Thomas’ inspiring poem

So as December arrives, we’ve got tasting menus to try around Cornwall, and exciting events such as returning to the rainforest here in Cornwall to tend to, it’s a great time to be in Cornwall. And it’s an even better time to be a business in Cornwall.

From brand relationships, case studies, press campaigns and white papers to newsletters, website copy and regular content, have a browse around the site and let me know if there’s something you think I can do for you.

Professional writer and press manager

How content changes can help you get noticed

Whoosh! How on earth did it get to be November? And an unseasonably mild mid November at that?

It’s not you: it’s me

Content has really changed over the last few years.

What used to be a mandatory part of a website; reserved for keyword stuffing and announcing tidbits of company news, has suddenly become the game changer that can propel your company forward into the homes of the masses. Better yet, like a garden, a relationship and, theoretically a bank account; the more you put in, the more you will get out.

Content is a sure-fire way to grow. And the way that it’s changed means there has never been a better time to release bits of content throughout the many digital channels; building your brand’s online presence. The most exciting by-product of this is engaging with people who have a genuine interest in your product, service or company.

I recently posted about the ubiquity of content. It is everywhere and in everything your brand creates and sends out. From a photo of the prototype, or the methods and processes used along the way; to the finished product and everything you communicate about it afterwards.

Making waves via social media make content accessible

Effective content marketing starts with ripples

Testing the waters

As you intrepidly dip your toes into the creative waters, beginning to experiment with what’s out there and what works; you might make mistakes. The same way that rockpools can hide tiny crabs, the internet can hide theses pitfalls. But it never stops rockpooling from being fun! Advice columns throughout the business and entrepreneurship communities implore you to be specific with content, but this takes time, and experimentation, and a little bit of magic. Facebook, twitter and other social media platforms have their own in-built analytics, which allow you to track response and engagement with followers.

This way you can identify trends in popularity and respond with more of the same. This post by B2B explains what to look for and how to look for it in greater detail; but, put simply, whatever generates the most engagement and the most sales, leads and meetings is your bread and butter.

When ripples become waves

Honing this down to a strategy for getting noticed involves tenacity, sagacity and diversity in digital methods. It involves being open. It involves being social. The power of twitter is demonstrable by the recent successes we have seen with client work. As Christmas approaches, sales have increased at an astonishing rate for two of our most treasured clients: authentic artisan bean-to-bar chocolatiers from Penryn, Chocolarder and sustainable, ethical seaweed harvesters The Cornish Seaweed company. Where having articles in certain publications may have created ripples; passing these around through social media will make waves.

creating waves in the social media indusrty

After the storm comes focus and strategy

The way content has changed recently only serves to make it easier for brands to produce and distribute it; building relationships, building trust and building impact.

If you’d like to discuss how a strategy could be implemented  to help raise your exposure, and therefore sales, please get in touch to discuss your needs. From general copy to press releases and bespoke packages: no undertaking is too big or small and you are under no obligation.

Professional writer and press manager

Is your content part of the user experience?

Content marketing remains the Marmite of discussion on my favourite hangout for engaging with copywriters across the globe: twitter. Some love it: singing its praises as a new way to make brands connect with customers. Others prefer the more traditional methods of emailing and calling. But with this incessant marketing, how many websites are getting the content right? How many are weaving it throughout the core of the user experience?

Nobody puts content in the corner

Excellent content uses all of the space

About ten years ago, I met someone who walked around the beautiful beaches of Cornwall in ripped up shorts, a guitar and an obsolete lack of direction. Soon, he turned the MSc in Physics he’d gained into a mastery of SEO: which was a mystery to me at the time. I wrote a lot, and was prolific on social media; one day he told me I’d probably be a really good copywriter.

“I write for passion!” I exclaimed dramatically, never dreaming to deign to write for corporations.

Now I am a full time copywriter, I do think back to those days; knowing that my values haven’t really changed. Yep, I write for small local businesses now, but I still write with passion. My storytelling on client websites is driven by my innate fascination with words, etymology and storytelling. I want to shout it from the rooftops. Even the funny ones.

But how are clients; corporations, brands using their approach to content? Every single word shaped on this site, on any site, should be making use of the great storytelling capacity of copywriters.

No copywriter  puts content in the corner

Like the gunpowder mills at Kennel Vale, Cornwall, content can become obselete

It’s as important as the design! I don’t want my well-honed stories to sit there redundant; like the old gunpowder mills at Kennel Vale. You see, some websites treat content as a disease: something that should be hidden away in a category labelled ‘blog’ just because that’s the new SEO, don’tcha know?!

Remember school discos in the 80s? Maybe before. Either way, I remember the early ones as boys on one side; girls the other. We forgot to use the whole space.

This is the problem many websites have with content.

Content is everything within that site. And out of it too. Social media interaction? Content. Product descriptions? Content. About Us? Content. Images? Content. Landing page? Yep, content too. Don’t limit it to blogs and don’t relegate them to some dark corner.

Nobody puts content in the corner.

 

Integrate content throughout the site to optimise and enhance user experience of the whole space. Link everything together: from the images of your staff party to your ethos, from the press success you have had to the funny anecdotes about what went wrong this week.

All of this is content, all of it is communications and all of it helps people to engage with your brand.

Our very name palaver maven means expert of communications in ye olde playful English and so we know a little bit about effective content use and communicating with brands, for brands and with customers. To have a chat about anything related, please call on 07729263818 or drop me an email on the contact page. A

And if it’s just the content you like, have a signup to our email and get our updates to your inbox. You just pop your email address in below and we’ll do the rest!

 

 

Web content that captivates

How to Improve User Experience on Your Website

From last week’s post about the brilliant, inspiring minds we meet in Cornish businesses at The Launch event, we were lucky enough to connect with Victoria and Stuart from Cornish Pixel. Their website is beautiful.This is a guest post by Victoria from Cornish Pixel.  Victoria writes the weekly Cornish Pixel blog which provides advice on helping businesses make the most of their online presence.

 

Pencils are a copywriter's best friend

Excellent writers know where they are with pencils

I don’t really like computers; I’m a pencil and paper kind of girl. You always know where you are with a pencil. It sits comfortably in my hand and it moves wherever I choose. It doesn’t get sick and the only update it demands is a ten-second spin in a pencil sharpener. Of course, its life isn’t limitless and it will one day die. Luckily, its twin brother can be bought for 20p. I love pencils.

Unfortunately, the same feelings cannot be felt for my new computer.  It seems neither PC nor tablet, but a frustrating combination of both. And whilst it looks pretty and could probably double-up as a GCHQ code-breaker, it’s a huge tease!

This latest oh-so-cool time-saving device is actually costing me time; its favourite game of hide and seek is killing me. I can often be heard yelping across the office: ‘Aaarrrgggh! Where the hell has my desktop/settings/photos/documents/control panel disappeared to?’

Much consideration has been given to the design and technical capabilities of this particular computer, and the experience of the user has been neglected; style over substance. A curse many websites also fall victim to.

Of course, websites should look good (and ideally like they weren’t designed in the 90s) but, it is far more important that web visitors enjoy being on a website, and are able to access all the information they need simply and quickly. Therefore, it is vital that online businesses consider the ‘user experience’ (UX).

A good web designer/developer should be versed in user experience design or UED/UXD.  Being able to craft a beautiful looking website without considering how the site will make a potential online customer feel, is much like serving a scrumptious looking roast chicken with an unexpected rose-pink centre.  Looks wonderful, but makes the customer sick.

Effective web design should prioritise the needs and wants of its users; websites should not be an opportunity to showcase the designers’ fabulously versatile and kooky creativity.  If I visit a website looking for a supplier of paving slabs, I do not need to see an eye-popping headache-inducing cabaret show of a homepage. I will not think, ‘Ooh look, they can put on a show like Jean-Michel Jarre, their patio slabs must be awesome.’ Instead, I’m more likely to bounce off the website immediately and find a more-soothing and inviting website to browse.

People do not visit websites to be entertained, unless they’re after Netflix or Foxy Bingo. They visit to find information. No one needs to see an outdated Flash animation on a homepage; of images turning, rotating, spinning and swirling.  It’s puff.  And it’ll make users feel like they’re staring into the hypnotic eyes of the snake in Jungle Book.

Keep browsers on your website by following these tips:

  1. Try not to make visitors dizzy and disorientated with over-stylised moving images. Keep things clean, simple and pleasant to view.
  2. Avoid irritating visitors with pop-ups and ads. They’re an annoying distraction.
  3. Do not test visitors’ patience by making them search for information. Ensure site navigation is straightforward and intuitive.
  4. Avoid boring visitors with useless information. Keep all written content succinct.
  5. Do not use an illegible typeface. Choose one which is easy-to-read and doesn’t require special spectacles.
  6. If your website’s ‘call to action’ is to contact you or buy a product, ensure the steps the user takes to reach your desired outcome are as straightforward and apparent as possible.
  7. Make sure your website can be easily viewed on various platforms such as tablets and smartphones. Users browsing on a mobile device will not wait for large files to load. They’ll bounce off to a responsive website instead.
  8. Encourage interaction by connecting with your social media platforms.
  9. Avoid 90s’ clipart and irrelevant photos. Choose appropriate images to foster positive feelings.
  10. Don’t make customers hunt for your phone number. Ensure your contact information is easy to find.

Websites should be inviting, comforting and useful; like a cup of tea and a bowl of soup on a winter’s day. If your website is an uncooked chicken, don’t be surprised if customers go elsewhere to find both style and substance.

We know a thing or two about user experience and web design. Hop on over to Cornish Pixel to learn more.

Thanks for reading.

Victoria.

 

Author bio: Victoria is the co-founder of digital agency, Cornish Pixel.  Based in Wadebridge, the team offer bespoke web design, e-commerce and SEO services to businesses across Cornwall. Pop over and say hello at www.cornishpixel.com or via Twitter: @cornishpixel.

Professional writer and press manager

The Launch 2014: Celebrating Cornwall’s Innovation

In weather that can only be described as pathetic fallacy this week, Falmouth has seemed at once chaotic and beautiful; windy and mild; now exciting and nerve wracking. Last night I took my notebook to The Launch 2014, where we donned branded waistcoats and chatted words, branding and strategy with some of Cornwall’s finest bright minds. Professional journalists, Copywriters in Cornwall, innovators, artists and crafters.

Empowerment

Along with its unrivalled beaches, diverse scenery and friendly manner, Cornwall has been receiving a lot of attention recently for its innovation. The Launch celebrated this. In a place with such stark inequality and disparity of wealth, one of the things I have enjoyed the most is seeing Cornish people take back some power. Where we can’t find jobs, we create them.

It’s core to my business ethos.

Boscastle attracts copywriters

Artists, Writers and creatives are drawn to Boscastle

Growing up in Boscastle meant I was blissfully unaware of how stunning where I lived was, in comparison to the rest of the UK. I mean, I thought everywhere was like that. Everywhere was full of creative people: writers, artists, and musicians. Cornwall is a breeding ground for excellent writing.

Don’t get me wrong: Dorset is biscuit tin cuteness; Wales’ dramatic black mountains conjure somewhere between Middle Earth and Narnia; the lakes and peaks ‘oop North’ are gorgeous. But, for me nothing beats a good sunset at Widemouth or Trebarwith. These places are seared to my brain, since I played there as a child. Even after living in some interesting and exotic places, such as San Cristobal on The Galapagos Islands, I can’t find beaches that match their beauty.

Cornwall, you see, is a brand

In many ways the iconic landscapes, the rises and falls of tides, and the association with DuMaurier, Hepworth and good old Richard Lander demonstrate Cornwall’s eminence exuberance and infamy. In a place famed for toiling tin, for hard workers and innovators, Cornwall is still resplendent on the international stage; putting its unique stamp on products from handmade pasties to bespoke websites; from agile and creative words to hand made artisan chocolate.

Even beaches in the Galapagos Islands don't rival the scenery of Cornwall

La playa de Chales Darwin, Santa Cruz, Galapagos

The seed cracks open

I may have quoted Occelli before, so I’ll paraphrase: to achieve its best, a seed must crack open and turn inside out; externally this appears as destruction, but essentially, it is regrowth.

Cornwall is an impoverished area. Eurostat reports released earlier this year, claim that due to its disparity of wealth; cost of living for the poor leverages less spending power than anywhere else in Europe. Yet the launch last night told me that innovation is very much alive, and leading aspiration in the county. Local businesses in Cornwall need to create opportunities for young people in the community.

Cornwall is also a hub of innovation. Over 20 startups exhibited at The Launch yesterday evening, and I have spoken with and met several others this year at various food fairs and networking events. We may be lacking support from a London-centric government, but we won’t go down with that ship. We will come up fighting, like the Celts who crafted us and we will persist as a brand.

Cornish creativity is some of the best

Emerging from Cornwall are some of the finest ideas, usually at prices that London companies could not afford to roll them out at. Having once been a pupil within the county, and since been a teacher; the minds being shaped beyond Brunel’s bridge (the gateway to the county) seek to extend this creativity and bolster the Cornish brand.

And long may it continue.

Professional writer and press manager

Developing character: the multiple personalities of a content writer

This post may debunk the magic. Read on at your discretion…

“you’re looking for the secret. But you won’t find it because of course, you’re not really looking. You don’t really want to work it out. You want to be fooled.”

Excellent branding, as I’ve often said before, starts with excellent planning, and also entering into and maintaining a dialogue with your audience. We’ve always been told, in any industry, that customer service is the most important factor. Which it always will be. Essentially, great customer service is about communication. All good relationships are about communication, and excellent branding is making a commitment to a long relationship.

What it also involves is an element of magic. And what I mean by that is not some terrifying display á la The Great Danton or Houdini. It’s the element of magic that Michael Caine, aka Cutter, in the film The Prestige refers to when he says “you’re looking for the secret. But you won’t find it because of course, you’re not really looking. You don’t really want to work it out. You want to be fooled.” And creating amazing stories across all brand communication channels is much the same kind of magic.

People must realise there is a lot more to a brand than the lovely pictures that get shown on social media and the crafted stories spun to engage and inspire readers. Behind every business is accounts and finances; admin; bills; payroll; training; outsourcing; and whole host of less-than-exciting menial tasks that a small business simply cannot function without. And yet, what they buy into are the snippets of stories, the development of character: the suspension of disbelief.

we know it's not really magic, but we don't want to know the truth

Storytelling in branding is like magic

Coming up with a strong and believable branding story requires creativity and strategy and excellent storytelling. It also requires the attributes of a professional writer. You need to sound like the protagonist. Your brand is leading the story, by becoming an authority voice. Kathi Kruse wrote an excellent post about the techniques used within a good content strategy, and essentially boiled hem down to the literacy points I would have taught my kids when I was teaching: show don’t tell, build drama, write about the stuff you like. All of this is advice that excellent writers such as Marquez, Atwood and Murukami would give.

It’s no surprise that with this level of detail, professionalism, strategy and time, many people choose to employ a professional writer to create tone of voice.

Part of my job as a content writer and branding consultant is to help craft these stories for my clients.  And to do this well, first I need to spend some time with them, really getting to know their character, the character of their brand and start to shape a direction for the story of this character to go in. The peaks and troughs. Ups and downs. How would they react to current affairs?

In any one week, I might be an American business man imparting his marketing secrets; a food expert reviewing restaurants and products, a young fashionista describing the newest makeup on the market; or a yoga expert evaluating the effectiveness of different anyasas. I also have my regular posts, where I review food and drink products and restaurants, write for The National Curriculum.com website and give marketing and content writing advice right here.

I imagine long running soap stars must have the same problem!

At times, I  have focused so sharply on this array of characters that I almost feel I have multiple personalities. I write only for brands I care about, and so immersing myself in their worlds is no hardship. But once a project is complete; which can happen for any number of reasons; I find myself missing hanging out with my friends. I imagine long running soap stars must have the same problem!

Just as we do for a good story, a movie or book; we need to suspend disbelief when ‘buying into’ (in the psychological, time investment sense) a brand. And if you can ignite that same sense of curiosity, excitement and empathy, you will build a successful brand and see sales increase.

To find out more about my services, stay tuned via my e newsletter once a month. Sign up by popping your email in the box below, but please feel free to contact me by phone or email too.

 

Professional writer and press manager

Branding and Storytelling: Why you need to take time

As the skies were illuminated by the giant face of the moon; red and speaking of autumnal fires; as nights have drawn in, chattering with thunder that ripples across the harbour, shivering blades of light into sheltered coves; I’ve been running out of hours to meet with Cornwall’s finest creators, designers and all round lovely people. I’ve still done it, though, and been excited to encounter brand new businesses who have pulled together to create a networking event in a few weeks: The Launch 2014.

In addition to creating high quality content that gives value to clients of clients, this week I’ve been had meetings to discuss branding and tone of voice, and how having an expert can really help in these endeavours. To truly create a strong brand and customer loyalty, you need to give your brand enough respect to take time with it.

Kintsugi - using mistakes to create something beautiful

Strong, dependable branding relies on transparency

Just as each of the products you create are based on trials and experience, learning from failures, the incredible art of kintsugi, of not hiding ‘mistakes’ but seeing them merely as part of the process; getting the tone for your branding exactly spot on is not an instant process.

It takes spending time together with your writers, designers and artists, preferably together, in order to create something that truly reflects the essence of your values, goals and motivations. It’s about taking the very best version of you and injecting it with just a touch of caricature to give a story to your prospective customers, or those already existing, in order for them to feel an emotional connection.

Emotions themselves are, of course, complicated, divergent and duplicitous, just as language can be. Creating an excellent brand starts with transparency; which engenders trust. By transparency, one of the interesting aspects I mean is to talk about your processes. People love a story, and real stories follow the true arc of intrigue and understanding, with elements of drama through crises. These crises make us human and overcoming them makes us stronger. Keeping regular contact with the public, through blogging, social media, newsletters and whatever form of contact you are using seems daunting to some companies.

How will I make a story? Some wonder.

But being a strong brand really just means connecting with people. Getting their emotions involved. Make stories from the rises and the falls of your week. Today we were experimenting with new paper and the print wouldn’t stick properly, so it smudged. Yesterday I hand wrote 70 letters, but the wind blew them into the garden and the dog chased the like leaves. these small failures happen to all of us every day and help to establish connections.

brand evokes emotions

Great communications create imagery

People also invest emotion in something driven by senses; experiences they can relate to. If walking through the grounds of a Sicilian holiday cottage becomes the scent of fresh lemons, and sunshine and July’s searing heat; most people can relate to some of that imagery. And some will result in craving that very experience.

Others might hate lemons.

But that’s OK too because you can’t keep all people happy all of the time.

Like building up great relationships in real life, building a brand people trust doesn’t happen overnight. It happens through consistent storytelling, revealing information that demonstrates our failures and celebrates our successes. It happens with commitment, patience and humility.

To arrange a free consultancy regarding your branding and tone of voice, please call me today. But don’t expect it to take 5 minutes! 07729263818

To subscribe to free updates about branding, marketing tone of voice, content creation, social media and much more, please subscribe to my newsletter, using the form below.

Moving on Up

Setting up a company demands determination, plus the coordination of many different skills. Being an entrepreneurial person, at the earliest phase, you’ll be occupied with the business all of the time: roadmapping, advertising, organising, collaborating and documenting accounts. This article covers the crucial time period of shifting from a startup to an SME. Your revenue growth ought to be an indication of when this organic period has arrived. However, despite there being an organic time to transitioning, ultimately you are the boss and you govern whether to develop your company, or perhaps preserve its existing steady rate. The time must be right for you

#1 Be in the growth zone

You personally need to be prepared for the growth yourself. What this means is understanding that you can no longer manage everything yourself, and relinquishing responsibility over some areas. If you’ve grown rapidly, you may have become overwhelmed. Prior to making the transition, you need to first understand how things are going to change and prepare for the new challenges that will inevitably arise.

#2 Outsource or employ?

Growth will ultimately lead to you needing some help! Don’t try to go it alone. Seek opportunities to try outsourcing. Many companies offer freelance accounting or freelance content management, social media management or even PA services. You may wish to expand and take someone on for a permanent role, but in the interim transition period, the wealth of excellent freelancers available on the internet is really worth tapping into.

Platforms such as People Per Hour can offer cost effective solutions to finding people, whilst twitter groups such as Bizitalk really help you to connect with other small businesses and establish relationships that way.

Ultimately, this person is going to help make your schedule easier. Of course, it makes sense here to play to your strengths. I previously mentioned that my Dad does my accounts for me because I am stereotypically a writer who has trouble with numbers. I often get asked to write for numbers people who don’t get on so well with words. So choose someone to help with what you can’t do, before getting help with what you can!

#3 Stick to your guns

Usually, at the very beginning you’ll kind of want to do anything to build up a portfolio and reputation, in the hope that referrals will lead to other business. And whilst endorsements from others are the best form of advertising, you will need to make sure you can cover your overheads.

Once you initiate the transformation that’ll develop your company, you must keep tabs on which customers are working out better for you. No business can sustain being employed for free,and you must stick to what you know is the right price. It’s better to have one genuine customer who appreciates the quality of your work, over time; than 3 who are underpaying you and possibly even taking advantage.

That said, number 5 on this list is really important too. Always weigh up what’s working and what’s not and make tweaks to perfect it.

#4 Focus

Set yourself attainable goals and evaluate your progress towards them on a regular basis. Be dedicated to these aims, as opposed to expansion: growth is a by-product of your effective organisation. Expanding to become an SME should never compromise your business ideals: these are what makes you, you. Or what makes your brand unique and ultimately what led your customers to you in the first place. Get your focus right: managing your business how you want it to be managed and you will acquire the clients you deserve.

#5 Innovate

Being the boss is pretty cool because it means that if you think of a great new idea; you can innovate without checking with someone else! If you’ve seen a risky strategy that you’re sure you can govern: do it! If you’re heart’s set on sending each client a chocolate lolly with their service order: send it! It’s your time to experiment and move with the times. Taking risks is what led you to startup in the first place. don’t be afraid to continue into SME ship!

Right now, self employment is 40% higher than ever before and seemingly rising. It’s a great time to be transitioning, as many companies seek expansion in the final quarter of the year. 57% say they foresee growth in the next few months. Join them, by ensuring that you get the help you need and stay focused on what makes you unique.