Keyword inclusion – before or after writing?

How to please Google…that is the ever-present thought in the mind of a good business marketer ….”how do I please Google AND give the people what they want?” Some days it seems like an impossible ask. You don’t want to sound like a robot or a weirdo, shoving all those juicy keywords into your writing wherever possible, but you DO want your words to be found and rank well in Google so you can share ideas and help more people – and that requires clever keyword inclusion.

I often get asked: “When should I insert keywords into my content? Do I do it as I create the copy or should I go back afterwards and add them in?”

I’m going to be completely unhelpful here and say that in this instance, there is no hard and fast rule. It is a rare case in the SEO space where you can do whatever you please. Meaning, keyword inclusion can happen as you write or you can do it afterwards when you’re editing your piece. Or you can do a little of both.

Either approach will work fine, and has its own advantages: Continue reading

The big secret to creating fabulous business content

Composing a piece of content for your business shouldn’t be a burden.  It shouldn’t feel difficult. Ideally it is a joy to create….because you know it has a noble purpose. Creating business content will always be joyful if you remember just one thing:  business content must fulfil a promise.

A business owner is simply a ‘purveyor of goods and services’ (isn’t that a gorgeous romantic way of viewing yourself!). The process by which you attract someone’s attention to your goods and services (versus someone else’s) is called marketing.  That marketing requires words and images to be placed together in carefully concocted ways which is widely called content.  The strategic distribution of that content is called content marketing. This process is as old as the hills. Think back to the oldest trade in the world… Ladies of the night would dress in a way that stood out, they would tease passers-by with whispers and promises, they would stand on the most highly trafficked corner, and encourage repeat business and word of mouth referrals.

The big secret to creating business content is…

Regardless of how you dress it up, business owners (and the content they create) make promises to their intended audience to make their life better.  In the business most of us are in – coaching, consulting, speaking, healing – when you write blogs or social media posts or emails or a book, you are in the business of promising to bridge a gap in the reader’s knowledge, skills or abilities… as well as possibly inspire them to do  something different with that new knowledge.  The reader believes that they will be changed by the time they turn that last page or watch that final video frame.  In fact, they are desperate for that change.  So don’t deny them that.  Ensure your content delivers on the promises of a better, more efficient, more fulfilled, easier, happier, sexier, healthier, richer life.

It’s also true that our audience asks us to make and fulfil promises.  If we listen carefully to our clients, our prospects, our peers, our industry we can find clues everywhere to what promises they want us to deliver on.  Whether it’s before or after a session with a client, or at a networking or training event, there will be conversations you have that are filled with hints and suggestions on what you should and could create.  This act in itself – careful, purposeful listening – can be a game changer for those creating business content. Continue reading

Business writing tips for more effective comms

The advent and uptake of the world wide web has shifted how we do business.  The world has shrunk overnight, meaning we can do business with whomever, whenever, we please.  We chat with strangers, we use words that didn’t exist a decade ago, and we expect responses at warp speed.  However some things haven’t changed – namely the need to communicate with others effectively in writing. In fact, the need for succinct, successful communication has stepped up! The problem is that business writing isn’t everyone’s natural forte.

When you run a small business you not only need to deliver your service to customers, you need to know how to deliver your ideas, requests, opportunities and information more broadly and in the most striking way possible.  Not only are there emails to write, but there are training documents, presentations, proposals, promotional copy, grants requests, advertising, and more to construct. The ability to deliver the right information at the right time and strike a chord with the reader is paramount. But even though writing is a huge component of our business lives,  so many people are really bad at it! Learning to write well is not, after all, why most people go into business. Continue reading

Twas the night before Christmas – my version

Twas the night before Christmas
When all through the burbs,
Laptops have closed
Writers have no more verbs.

The year has been great
Many deals won, some lost,
Ups and downs and roundabouts
Are all part of the cost…

Of running a business
That I love and cherish,
Freedom, flexibility
And clients that flourish.

I’ve loved helping those
In my studio and on retreat,
So much got done
Living on purpose is sweet.

Books, blogs and posts
Websites and speeches,
Helping you write well
Is one of my best features.

So now as the sun shines
It’s time to rest a while,
And say thank you to everyone
Who made me smile.

Merry Christmas lovelies!
I wish you all the best for the holiday season.

I’ll be taking a break from client work until mid-January, but I’ll be checking emails and messenger periodically, so reach out if you want to book a session or a chat about retreats.

Content Planning – a party or a pain?

Tis the season for planning!

Every online coach/ marketer/ consultant/strategist worth their salt is hosting a planning event of some kind. Have you noticed that??? Hard not to, right! If you hang in the same circles as me, then right about now your inbox is being hit hard with programs and online parties and webinars or planathons.

It makes sense, given we’re about ready to roll into a new year, (and new decade, btw!), but just how much planning is too much, and what actually is effective?

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4 common mistakes when writing a book alone

Writing a book alone is not an easy task. Nor is self-publishing.  But with over 1m books being self-published each year now plenty of people are giving it a crack! Unfortunately there is a wide range of results…some are successful, but many others are a dismal failure. The good thing is that whilst a lot of authors have made a lot of mistakes, many of them have been generous enough to share their trials and tribulations. In other words, you now get the benefit of their experience so that your own book writing and publishing experience is positive.

Many self-published authors have help from experts along the way; some choose to do it entirely alone.  From personal experience, and anecdotal evidence, the ones who write and publish a book with some form of guidance tend to do a whole lot better than those who don’t.  But if you choose to run the gauntlet, how do you avoid the 4 most common mistakes when writing a book alone? Continue reading

How to organise your ideas for a non-fiction book

So many people I speak with about writing a non-fiction (business, self-help, professional development) book feel overwhelmed by simply starting it.  They can visualise the end product but they freak out about where to begin.  The hurdle seems to be in the organisation of their ideas.

Anyone who seriously considers writing a book to help leverage their expertise and grow their business knows that they know enough valuable stuff for it to work. However, they often don’t know how to distil that ‘stuff’ into digestible chunks of interesting information for a reader. And they often want to include EVERYTHING that they know….which is a big No-No. Organisation of your ideas before you start writing is crucial to completing a non-fiction book as efficiently as possible.

Writing a book without a content plan is like running a marathon without knowing where the finish line is. It’s as crazy as trying to drive from Melbourne to Kalgoorlie without referring to a map. I’m sorry, but this is one project where relying solely on your intuition isn’t going to cut it. You may eventually end up in Kalgoorlie, or at the finish line, but you will have wasted a lot of time, fuel and sneaker tread getting there. Continue reading

What to look for in a book writing coach

Engaging a writing coach is like hiring a tour guide. They know where you want to go, the terrain you’ll need to cover, how long the road is, and where the obstacles are. Your writing coach has been there, done that, and can offer a close eye on what you’re doing but with enough distance to be objective. And if she’s talented, she’ll shorten the learning curve on your writing career and make the process fun!

But how do you know what to look for in a book writing coach?

If you’re ready to move past the baggage that’s getting in the way of your success, or transforming the writing process into something more enjoyable and effective, then hiring a writing coach is a great choice. Before you make the investment however, there are some crucial things to consider to ensure you get the most for your book writing coach buck. Let’s face it: You’re paying for a high level of expertise and skill, and that doesn’t – and shouldn’t – come cheaply. Continue reading

Why hire a book writing coach

As with anything you want to learn and then do well, you need expert advice and guidance. Hiring a book writing coach when you want to write a book is like hiring a physical trainer when you want to get fit. Yes, you can get fit on your own by eating well and going to the gym, but do you really know the right exercises for your body type and goals? Do you know the right foods to eat for your metabolism and training schedule? And will you keep turning up to the gym when it’s cold and wet and all you want to do is eat chocolate and drink wine on the couch?

Likewise, of course you can write a book without a writing coach…but will you consistently write for a few hours each week until your manuscript is complete? Will you be able to push through the writer’s blocks on your own? Are you able to make decisions about structure and tone and characterisation without some help? Do you know how to publish and market your book once it’s complete?

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Not a good writer? You can still write a book

I get asked to answer this question SO often: “I know a book would help my profile and open up new opportunities for my business, but how do I write a book if I’m not a good writer?”

Let me tell you a little story to answer that.

When I was in primary school I used any spare moment that I wasn’t dancing or eating or sleeping to write stories at my bedroom desk. I was obsessed with writing. I had worked hard to get my pen license and I cherished the baby blue Papermate that I was gifted when that license was mine. I wrote short stories, essays and even penned a series of poems about Oliver Twist discovering his real parents and a sister!

I wrote reams and reams of words, filling notebooks until my hand ached. I travelled into far-flung places in my mind and created such vivid characters I believed they were my friends.  A couple of my stories won prizes at local library and bookstore comps, and I was a bit of a goody-2-shoes in my English class – an A- was a fail in my books.

This writing ‘success’ continued throughout high school. The most amazing English Literature teacher introduced me to the classics in year 10 and I fell in love with him and Heathcliff (of Wuthering Heights fame) simultaneously. I was the Editor-in-Chief of our school magazine and I actually relished all the essays I was demanded to write. I was no Jane Austen though – my writing was good but not genius, and yet I still dreamed of writing for a living.

Reality hit at university however. Suddenly I was a little fish in a big pond, and whilst I was still getting great marks for my academic research writing, my creative writing floundered. I felt misunderstood and criticised by one of my teachers and I couldn’t get an A no matter how hard I tried.

That teacher crushed my big dreams of being a professional writer.

Continue reading