Entries Tagged 'Building a business' ↓

Public Relations and Networking

If you follow this blog you’ll know that networking is not one of my favourite business activities. But as it is a necessary evil of the freelance life of a copywriter, I have to force myself to endure it now and then (but not as often as I should).PR and networking

As I sit here preparing myself for tonight’s networking event (eek!) I can’t help but think about how closely related PR and networking are.

For example, if I were meeting a member of the press to promote my business, there are certain things I would automatically do, which are also things I should be doing when networking.

Hmm, that’s sounds rather vague, so I’ll explain what I mean.

Whether you like it or not image matters in business. By image I mean not only how you look, but also how you come across to others and how you interact with them.

Listen and interact

A bad networker will talk at you and not ask any questions about you or your business. They see the event as a way of speaking to lots of people and an opportunity to get rid of loads of business cards – not very effective.

But a good networker will drive the conversation with lots of open-ended questions that will lead the conversation in the direction they want it to go. They don’t bully answers from the person they are speaking to, instead they chat, ask questions and gather vital information that lets them know whether they can help them or not (now or in the future).

They effectively start to build a relationship with them.

Eye contact

Not everyone finds it easy to maintain eye contact with someone, especially if they don’t know him or her. But glancing left and right or looking at the floor while speaking comes across as quite rude.

By maintaining eye contact (without it turning into a staring match) you’re showing interest in the other person and holding their attention. It shows engagement and attentiveness, which will encourage the other person to chat openly with you.

If you do find it challenging, practice in the mirror.

Dress to impress

Be smart, but be expressive. There’s nothing worse than being at an event dressed up like a kipper and feeling uncomfortable. A networking event doesn’t mean you have to be suited and booted. Just make sure you’re smartly presented; dress like you want to be taken seriously.

It’s about you not me

Whatever you do, don’t just talk about you.

We’ve all been to a networking event and been talked at by the person who just wants to shout about their achievements, their business and their goals – yes, the networking bore.

If you want to be well received introduce yourself, but then ask them about their business, their future plans and what interests them. Make an offer of help or refer them to someone who may be able to help them reach their goals, just don’t be pushy.

Networking and PR are very closely related. Listening, eye contact, interacting and image are all an important part of the networking process. It may not come easy, but practice makes perfect.

The Qualities of a Successful Business Person

And why The Apprentice candidates are wrongbusiness qualities

Have you been watching the latest series of The Apprentice?

If you have, you’ll probably understand why I’m writing this post.

In the early days I found it quite entertaining, especially as it featured one or two candidates that looked promising. But this year’s line up beggars belief – would you seriously consider any of them as a business partner?

The girls are constantly cat fighting, the boys are just intent on getting one over on each other and as for Alex – has he come as the cartoon villain?

Yes, you need grit and determination to succeed in business, but you also need empathy and the ability to get along with people. What happened to good old-fashioned teamwork? I haven’t seen any of that yet.

Week after week they are back-biting, jumping in trying to hijack pitches, making decisions without any consultation and generally stabbing each other in the back.

Lord Sugar would be better off sacking the lot of them and investing in someone who actually shows some business acumen rather than a forced cut-throat attitude because they think it makes them look big.

OK, I’ll admit it makes good TV (although I can no longer bring myself to sit through their toe-curling antics any more), but it gives completely the wrong impression to the next generation of entrepreneurs.

Let’s face it, if people run their businesses the way the candidates are, they will quickly alienate their suppliers and customers, not to mention their teams. Their attitude is a sure fire way to failure.

Business qualities

As a copywriter I have been in business since 2007. Over that time I have been fortunate enough to have worked with some fantastic people.

The vast majority have not shown any of the traits displayed by the candidates.  Instead of arrogance they have shown empathy and a willingness to listen, engage and work together to reach desired goals.

That’s why they are still in business today and thriving.

I have a feeling that if any of the candidates actually manage to get a business off the ground (and apparently some of them already have) they will be short lived, unless they change their attitude.

To be a success in business you need determination, but that must come with equal amounts of empathy, engagement and good old-fashioned manners.

What do you think?

What’s your take on this year’s candidates?

Have they got what it takes or has The Apprentice turned into a business version of The Jeremy Kyle Show?

I’d really love to hear your thoughts on this one, so leave a comment below.

Thanks for letting me rant.


Boosting Your Marketing Engagement

What sort of marketing do you do?

  • Social media – Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn etc.
  • Blogging
  • Video marketing
  • Email

What is the one thing that each of those need to be successful?


Every piece of marketing you produce must make a connection with your audience and that means thinking carefully about what you say and how you present it.

Here are 5 ways you can make your marketing more engaging.

1. Them not you

How many times have you seen a Facebook page, Twitter feed or email that’s all about the writer and not about the recipient.

Constant sales messages, promotions and pointless links are annoying. They don’t tell you anything about the company (other than they place their importance way ahead of anyone else’s) and certainly nothing about why you would want to deal with them.

By engaging and putting out messages that don’t involve selling – i.e. offer tips, advice and great information, you will begin to establish trust and give potential customers a reason to care about your brand.

That means focusing on what your customers want.

2. Questions

Asking questions is the best way to boost engagement. Although you can ask through social media platforms and surveys, a more intimate approach will work better.

Why not consider having a small networking gathering at your office for some carefully selected individuals? Perhaps a dinner or event (wine tasting?) will help you engage and get to know them.

Both approaches will not only give them a chance to get to know you better, they also offer valuable market research potential so you can make sure you continue to give your customers what they want.

3. Respond

Although asking questions is great, you mustn’t forget to answer them too.

With social media it’s very easy to get caught up in everything and miss the questions you get from your followers. There’s nothing worse than having your tweet, post, or blog comment ignored, so make sure you have someone manning those channels so nothing is missed.

If you get asked the same questions a lot, why not compile them into an FAQ page?

Just an idea.

4. Audience participation

The best way to drive engagement with the content you produce is to involve your customers in the creation process.

Use them as case studies or use their experiences to compile a blog post. You could even encourage them to add photos of them using your products to your Facebook page.

5. Don’t be a one trick pony

Written communications are all well and good, but don’t lose sight of the fact that people engage differently. Some may prefer audio or video content too, so offering a mixture will widen its appeal.

6. Be human

It’s widely believed that when you’re marketing your business it has to be very impersonal and corporate.

It’s a myth – the best way to engage with your audience is to inject some personality into the mix. Add a few personal updates and tweets to they can get to know you as a person.

As the above has shown, engagement is about getting to know your audience and customers. That kind of connection generates one of the most valuable commodities in business – trust.

How do you go about generating engagement? Do you use any innovative techniques? If so, leave a comment and share them with us.


Sally Ormond, copywriter and founder of Briar Copywriting Ltd. She also loves blogging, tweeting, cycling and the odd chilled glass of Pinot Grigio.



How to Get Your Company Selling More

Every company wants to sell more.

As a copywriter you would expect me to harp on about how the copy across all your marketing materials is essential if you want to engage and encourage your customers to buy. Of course that’s true, but this post is going to look more at your company as a whole and how its entire marketing ethos should work.

Engaging with your customers is the key to selling to them. To be really successful this engagement needs to happen on all levels within your company and at all stages of customer contact.

Let me explain.

Your company united

Although you probably have a sales department, boosting your company sales shouldn’t be down to them alone.

Everyone within your business, regardless of department or job title, should always be thinking sales. Any conversation could potentially lead to a sale, so its essential all your staff are switched on and ready to act.


Meetings with customers are often viewed as opportunities to quickly make the customer aware of your products/services and then sign them up.

But meetings are more effective is you listen more than you speak. Listening to what your customer actually wants will lead to better service in their eyes. Show an interest in what they have to say and don’t be afraid to ask difficult questions such as budget while you have their attention. The more information you can extract from them the better.

Education, education, education

If you want people to buy from you, you have to show them how much they need your product/service. The best way to do that is through education. Blogging, how to posts, videos, eBooks, free demos and free trials are all great ways to get your customers reaching for their credit cards.

Use these marketing materials to show them how buying from you will benefit them. Use case studies to show real life examples so they can get a feel for what you can do. Everyone loves a real life story and they are a great way to demonstrate what you do.


I know some larger companies tend to use a sales script, especially in telesales departments, but these can sometimes come across as contrived and lifeless. Although you probably want your staff to stick to these scripts, encourage them to inject their own personality into their delivery.

It will boost engagement and make your customers feel as though they are dealing with real people who care, rather than someone reading from a piece of paper.

Act now

One of the greatest ways to get someone to buy is to add a sense of urgency to the deal.

Having a time limited special offer for example will encourage your customers make a decision because they won’t want to lose out. Although nothing new, this method has been a winner for many, many years so use it.

Not at gun point

Have you seen those TV documentaries that unearth rogue companies that encourage their sales team to use heavy-handed sales pitches that badger customers in to signing contracts?

Under no circumstances should any of your staff be forcing a sale through. Many people will simply turn their back on you if you try and certainly will never do business with you again.

By relying on education, case studies and helpful, polite staff your company will enjoy great sales figures.

4 Tips For Creatively Marketing Yourself

The following guest post was written by Luke Clum. The author’s views are entirely his own and may not reflect the views of FreelanceCopywritersBlog.com. If you are interested in producing a Guest Post for this blog, please get in touch with your ideas.


Content marketing is a fertile field for freelance writers these days; in fact, it’s one of the few areas in which opportunities for writers seem to be getting better, not exploding in a newspaper-fueled inferno. But good content writing jobs won’t fall in your lap just because you woke up one day and said, “I’ve got it! I’ll be a writer.” Getting these jobs requires building a portfolio, being highly adaptable, recognizing promising opportunities, and getting your work into the hands of the right people.
In many articles on the subject, you’ll often find the suggestion to join a content mill to build your portfolio, despite the pitiful rate of pay. This actually is a good first step if you’re really starting from scratch (you need to have something professional to show potential clients). But to really stand out from the masses of people calling themselves writers these days, you’ve got to consciously create content that really brands you as an industry and creative leader. Here are our top 4 tips for doing just that.

1. Become an Informational Resource

By now, you’ve probably been told a million times that you should start a blog to show prospective clients. Again, this is true, but keep in mind that since this is often a baseline (i.e. something that’s strange not to have but not particularly distinctive if you do) your blog or website has to stand out in some way. One of the best ways to do this is to pick a niche and brand yourself as an informational resource by producing a few great pieces of content.

As an example, take the cloud accounting service, Xero, which produced this cloud computing guide as a helpful resource for its current and potential customers. The guide not only addresses a very relevant and widespread question (“Just what is the cloud?”), but it also showcases the company as a fun, down to earth, and helpful brand. And, as an added benefit, stand-alone resources like this are far more likely to go viral than a single company website.
Much the same is the case for the insurance company Simply Business, which has branded itself as a business resource centre with things like this guide to social media success. While not all of the company’s potential customers will want to look through these resources, many will, meaning guides like these both widen the company’s audience and instantly establish their credibility.

While you won’t have the same resources as these companies, the point remains the same. Take the time to develop great informational content that can act as a standalone piece. If you have any interests or specialities as it is, create a resource that answers questions you know are common within that niche, or use the Google Keyword Tool to find what potential readers are searching for. With compelling, impressive resources like this, a potential client will learn a lot more about you than if you were to send them yet another top 10 list.

2. Volunteer…Strategically

Another way to find distinctive material for your content portfolio and to get your work out in front of movers and shakers is to volunteer at a place you really “get.” This could be at an organization that’s within the industry you’re looking to enter, or it could be a cause you’re really passionate about. Either way, sticking with your interests will put you in a position where you’ll be more likely to have those creative content ideas, and more convincing in you pitches to your volunteer clients. What’s more, if you’re writing for an organization’s website, you’ll likely gain a lot of exposure for your work while also adding to your portfolio. The better the job you do, the more likely the people you’re volunteering with will be to use you in their own businesses or refer you down the line.

3. Partner Up

Content writers don’t operate in a vacuum. Where once editors used to be a writer’s most crucial contact (and, don’t get me wrong, they’re still pretty high up there), now partnering with someone in a related industry, like graphic design or SEO, can be just as fruitful a venture. Having a freelance partner means doubling your networking ability. It can also make for a much more convincing sales pitch if you can bill yourselves as a one stop shop kind of place. What’s more, if you’re looking to create those specific resources previously mentioned but you don’t yet have a niche, partnering up can be just what you need, as you can then take your partner’s expertise and get it down in written form, establishing an expert’s reputation for you both.

4. Become a Microblogger on Social Media

Social media isn’t just about promoting your content (though that certainly is important). Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn are all potential sites for microblogging. Through tweets and status updates, you can post helpful tips in your distinctive and creative voice. On Facebook and LinkedIn, you can write blog posts and join industry groups with discussion boards. These are all forms of content creation, and the more regularly and uniquely you embrace them, the more you’ll stand out.


When you’re a freelance content writer, your content is your marketing. Showing clients what you can do with the resources you create and the impact you can make on social media is showing them just what you can do for them, should they take you on board. Make it helpful, full of expertise, fun and interesting to read, and your content writing career will take off in no time.


Author Bio

Luke Clum is a graphic designer and writer from Seattle. Follow him on Twitter @lukeclum