Entries from April 2013 ↓

Wanted – Tips on Networking Please

I’ve spend years writing oodles of blog posts about the skills of a copywriter, marketer and social media user and how they can be used to help boost your business success. But if there’s one aspect of running a business I don’t enjoy, it’s networking.

Some people love it and get a real buzz from entering a room of strangers and working it.

That’s not my experience.

I hate it with a passion. I would rather swim with sharks than go networking, which is why I’ve done most of mine online. In the world of social media I get to hide behind my Mac and pretend to be whoever I want to be. You would have thought the easy solution would be for me to pretend to be that person when at an event, I tried it – it didn’t help.

The most enjoyable event I’ve been to (yes, I do force myself to ‘get out there’ every now and then) was a Dirty Dancing workshop cunningly disguised as a networking event. It was great fun and because everyone was having a laugh it didn’t seem like networking.

Dirty Dancing networking event

Yes, that’s me flying

By the way, before you think I’ve gone off my rocker, the guy that ran it is part of a business Facebook group and he offered to run the workshop (which is usually for schools, hen nights, parties etc.) as a way of a ‘getting to know you’ thing.

Now Richard who runs it played the role of Jonny Castle in the West End production of Dirty Dancing (amongst other stage and TV credits) so I was amazed when we were chatting and he said he felt the same way as me about networking.

Seriously? Here’s an actor/dancer who hates walking into a room of people and can’t just strike up a conversation with them. Me I can understand, but him?

Anyway, that is a rather long winded way of getting to the point of this post.

I’m asking you for your help – call it a bit of reverse blogging if you like – what tips can you give a non-networker like myself to convince me to get out there and give it a try?

What strategies have you used in the past to help you break into groups and introduce yourself?

You really would be doing me a huge favour by offering some advice.

P.S. If you want to know more about the dance workshops, Richard’s website is Dance With West End Stars.

Why You Should Want to Guest Blog

In today’s search driven world it’s a given that you should be blogging.

After all, Google has an insatiable appetite for fresh, quality content so if you want to keep in its good books you have to give it what it wants.

But blogging just for you isn’t going to cut it. Even if you blog religiously you need to widen your reach to be a success and that means guest blogging.

By persuading other bloggers to take your posts you’ll increase your web presence and reinforce your status as an expert in your field. This is especially true if you approach websites that are prominent in your particular industry.

I know what you’re thinking, guest blogging is hard work – that’s true, but if done well it will pay dividends in more ways than you can imagine.

Expose yourself

Please don’t take that literally.

Writing for other people will widen your reach as an expert, as with anything, the more often you’re seen the better. It’s just like adverts – consumers have to be exposed to a brand several times before they are ready to buy. So the more people who see your name (and in the more places it’s seen) the better. It will become lodged in their brain, so when they need your particular service they’ll call you.

Web cred

This is street cred for online marketers.

The chances of you being accepted by a big hitter in your field immediately are slim, so start off with some smaller sites to build a portfolio of guest posts. Then you can approach the big players.

Let’s face it, the bigger the website the more credibility you’ll get.


The beauty of guest blogging, other than getting your name plastered all over the web, is that it will generate valuable inbound links to your website.

Now, admittedly, not all websites will allow you to place self-serving links in the body of your article, but they usually allow an author’s bio that can contain a link back to your website.

Of course the bigger the fish you land, the more kudos the link will give.

Social media

How will guest blogging widen your social media audience?

Simple, just about every blog out there offers social sharing buttons. So when your article is read and loved (as it obviously will) the reader will probably share it through social media. It will then be seen by others, generating more Google+ and Twitter followers for you.

So as you can see, guest blogging isn’t just about getting links. It’s about gaining the right kind of exposure online and in the social world.

It takes a lot of time, but the rewards speak for themselves.


Sally Ormond is an international copywriter and MD at Briar Copywriting Ltd

Old Hat SEO That Should be kicked into Touch

Search engine optimisation is one of those marketing techniques that changes more often than a teenage girl trying to work out what to wear on a night out.Old SEO techniques

You’re told one thing, then Google adjusts its algorithms and then you have to do something else.

Because of that SEO marketers tend to fall into one of two categories: those who continue to do what they’ve always done and begin to see their website’s fall, and those who embrace new techniques and flourish.

This post is aimed at the die-hards who believe that the old techniques are the best even if they are no longer working.

Here are 4 old techniques that should be shown the door. So if you’re still doing any of these, stop right now.

1. Keyword density

Wash your mouth out with soap.

All your content should be written naturally and with the reader in mind – not the search engines.

It’s hard to believe that there are still people out there fixated by the number of times a word or phrase should be repeated within their content. If you’re writing about a specific subject, the keyword (i.e. the topic) will be naturally introduced into your writing without you being obsessed by inserting it into every nook and cranny you can find.

As soon as you start to think about search engines you lose the ability to write naturally so cast them from your mind and forget about keyword density.

2. Press releases

Another firm favourite is writing press releases for absolutely everything and blasting them out to umpteen online outlets.

On the face of it you may think that’s fine, as it will generate loads of backlinks for you. But the problem is that the press releases aren’t newsworthy and can damage your reputation just as a poorly written piece of content can.

That’s not to say you shouldn’t write press releases, just make sure you only issue them for a real news story.

3. Spinning

Once upon a time, marketers thought it a great idea to write one article and then stick it through some spinning software to generate umpteen versions of it that were then blasted across numerous article sites.

The result was a lot of very bad articles.

Although that type of article marketing is a no-no, you can still write great, unique content and publish it to grow your reputation as an expert in your field.

4. Meta Tags

In this instance I’m talking about keyword Meta tags. They are meaningless and about as much use as a chocolate teapot, so don’t use them.

If you are using any of these ‘techniques’ stop right now.


Sally Ormond, copywriter, tweeter and MD at Briar Copywriting Ltd.

What Happens When You Get Twitter Followers?

Most businesses seem hell bent on gathering as many Twitter followers as possible.Twitter engagement

They seem to be concerned, when starting out, that their ‘following’ to ‘being followed’ ratio will look odd if the first number is greater than the second.

Well, for starters the only way to get people following you is to follow others, so this really shouldn’t be an issue.

But numbers are not the be all and end all of Twitter. Yes, we’ve all seen people (ordinary Joe’s, not super celebs) with tens of thousands of followers because they’ve followed one of those ‘how to get thousands of followers quickly’ blog posts.


It’s not impressive and all they’ve done is land themselves with a worthless Twitter stream of inane ramblings of people they’re not interest in.

It’s so much better to search out the people you want to follow and have a stream of interesting tweets from people you want to engage with.

But once you have your followers the next big hurdle is to get them to notice and engage with you.

The following 5 ideas will help you stand out, but it will take time and practice, no one becomes an overnight Twitter superstar – not even you.

1. Time zones

Your followers not only come from all over the country, but all over the world. They are all going to be using Twitter at different times of day, so if you have something important to say, say it once or twice at different times.

That doesn’t mean sending out the same tweets all day long, but once or twice at different times (only for the important stuff) is OK.

2. Talk

If you’re one of those people that sends out blanket tweets to everyone the chances are your engagement levels are zero.

If you want a particular influencer in your field to see what you’re saying, say it to them directly. Keep an eye on what they’re saying too and respond to them. Eventually, they will notice you and talk back.

3. Retweet

Having one of your tweets retweeted is a great feeling and will draw people’s attention to you.

If you have someone you particularly want to engage with, retweet his or her stuff (not everything, you’ll look like a stalker) if it resonates with you. They’ll start paying attention to you too.

4. Ask

Rather than just putting stuff out into the Twitterverse, start asking questions and advice. As a copywriter who works alone most of the time, I use Twitter as a knowledge bank. When I have a query about IT or need a recommendation for a service provider, I turn to my Twitter followers.

It gets you noticed and is a great way to start conversations with people.

5. Be consistent

When using Twitter it’s important to be consistent in what you put out if people are going to get a sense of your personality. If you always put out great information, retweet useful information and interact with other tweeters, you’ll start to build long-term and rewarding relationships with other people.

So you see, Twitter isn’t just about getting loads of followers. If you want to be effective you must get people to notice you.



People Are Less Polite on Social Media

Although a slight departure from the norm, this one does relate back to earlier posts such as “Why You Should Engage Your Brain at all Times“, “Social Media – Employers and Social Snooping” and “Getting into Hot Water with Social Media.social media and offensive comments

The name Paris Brown has become well known, but for all the wrong reasons. For those that don’t know it (really?), she is (or rather was) Britain’s first youth police commissioner who resigned shortly after being appointed when certain violent, racist and anti-gay comments posted on her Twitter account came to light – ooops.

She said she was resigning because she had fallen into the “trap of behaving with bravado on social networking sites.”

But why do some people find it acceptable to say things on social media that they wouldn’t ordinarily say to people face to face?

According to an article in The Drum, a recent survey showed that 88% of respondents believed that people are less polite on social media than in person and 19% had reduced in-person contact with someone because of something they said online. It also found that the main culprits for having “emotionally charged” conversations online were the young rather than ‘baby boomers’.

So are social media platforms the problem?

It could be argued that they are because they allow instant channels to vent frustrations that would otherwise remain behind tight lips. With a flourish of fingers a comment can be made and sent out into the online social world without any thought about how it may affect other people. Whereas in a face to face situation people are likely to be more reserved and (if they do vent their frustrations) will do it privately, or at least without the likelihood of several hundred or thousand friends and followers witnessing it.

It would appear therefore that education is called for to make people stop and think before they post or tweet. The author of the report, Joseph Grenny, offers 5 tips for communicating both candidly and respectfully on social media.

1. Check your motives

Social media hasn’t only changed the way we communicate, it has also modified our motives.

Think about why you use social media – is it to get lots of ‘likes’, provoke controversy or are you looking to have healthy dialogues with people?

2. Replace hot words

If you want to make a point rather than score points, look at what you’ve written and replace “hot” words that may provoke offence with words that will help others understand your position. For example don’t use “this is idiotic” when you could simply say “I disagree because…”

3. Pause

Never post a comment or tweet in the heat of the moment. Emotionally charged writing will only end in tears. Give yourself time to calm down before writing anything.

4. Agree before disagreeing

We are all different so, at one time or another, are going to disagree with each other. Find your common ground first before wading into an argument. According to Grenny, arguers agree on 80% of the topic, but create a false sense of conflict when they spend all their time arguing over the other 20%.

5. Trust your gut

When you read a response to your post and you feel the conversation is getting too emotional for an online exchange – stop because you’re right. That’s the time to meet up and talk about it face to face.

Over to you

What are your thoughts on this?

Is social media to blame or do you think it’s youth culture?

Leave a comment below, I’d love to hear from you.


Author: Sally Ormond, Copywriter, blogger, tweeter (@sallyormond)