How To Create An Awesome Personalized Customer Experience

How To Create An Awesome Personalized Customer Experience

Customers find us in many different ways. Some find us offline and in-person at a trade show or a market, or even as a product in the local store. Some find us online by typing a search term into Google. Some find us on social media. And still, some find us by referral.Each road to our business is different, and the experience on a particular road is going to be different than the other roads. Because we are competing on the basis of customer experience, it is important that we personalize the journey on each road to ensure that our customer reaches their destination and has a pleasant journey along the way.

10 Questions to Ask A Freelance Writer

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"I have tons of time to write blogs." - said no business owner ever. Unless writing is your business or hobby, it's likely not something you want to spend a lot of time on. There's a lot involved in even a basic blog post. You have to think about the goals of your content, keywords, length, brand voice, content research, editing, image sourcing...

Exhausted?

This is where freelance writers are worth more than gold. Well, not really. But considering that content marketing is only getting started and you only have so many hours in the day to work on your business, we are really handy. See, when you are so busy running a business creating your goods and services, trying to figure out your cash flow statement or on the phone with the IT guys for the 100th time today, the LAST thing you want to think about is building high-quality content that connects and converts.

Enter freelance writers.

I've built an entire business designed to help entrepreneurs create incredible content that resonates with their audience and eventually (with some sales funnel magic) converts a few customers.

But it's important to hire the right writer for your business. Not every writer is going to understand what you do and who you are. Hiring the wrong one will end up causing you grief and a lot more money. Finding the right writer for your business can be challenging, so I've put together a list of 10 questions to ask a freelance writer to ensure you get the right one for your business.

Use these questions to guide your search to find your unicorn writer and once you've nabbed one of us, get ready to make some content magic!

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What is included in your price?

A good freelance writer will set appropriate prices and will be very transparent in what those prices include. Get very specific with your writer on this part because it's fraught with opportunity to overcharge and underdeliver. Now that I've scared both the entrepreneurs and freelancers reading this, here's what you want to ask:

  • Does your package include keyword or topic research?
  • How many revisions are included?
  • Is your price for a specific length of content? (Typically, this falls somewhere in the 500-2000 word range. Be specific if you need more or less.)
  • Who is responsible for providing the images?
  • Is this an hourly service or a set rate?
  • Who will be responsible for measuring and optimizing content?

How do you adapt your writing to my brand voice?

Good writers are "word chameleons". We should be able to understand your brand's unique voice well enough to write content that will resonate. If you're a light-hearted, witty brand, writers should be able to adapt. I will usually do this by taking a look at your existing content, scouting for specific words or phrases that you use often and adapt my writing to fit that. A good writer will also ask questions to understand your audience and voice to produce a good piece of content. Don't hesitate to ask a potential writer to produce a simple piece of content to evaluate whether they can adapt their writing.

READ MORE: How To Create a Brand Style Guide

Do you have examples of previous work?

A good writer should have a portfolio of work. (For example, this blog acts as a large portion of my work as a writer.) If a writer does not have a portfolio, ask them to create a blog post, sales sheet or another simple piece of content to evaluate their work.

questions to ask a freelance writer

What is your process?

Writers are inherently creative, so process isn't exactly our sweet spot. But having an effective and efficient process will ensure that your project moves forward on time and on budget. A good writer should take you through their individual process. This question should encompass a series of additional questions including

  • What do you need to get started?
  • Will you be able to meet deadlines?
  • How will I pay you?
  • How will you handle revisions and proofreading?
  • Who owns the work? Do you get author credit?

For example, here is my process. This process assumes that we have already made a connection.

  1. Fill out a content brief. This is a document designed to capture as much information as possible to understand the project, including your goals, audience, competitors, key messages, scope of the project, etc.
  2. Establish roles, responsibilities, workflow, budget, payment terms, and deadlines. This is a meaty part of the process as it sets expectations regarding who will be responsible for what (research, keywords, image sourcing, linking, etc.). This is also where we develop a workflow that will keep the project moving, and we talk about your budget, how and when payment will be handled and timelines.
  3. Sign a contract. (Hard line here: no contract, no work. It protects the both of us.)
  4. Do the work: write, edit, repeat.
  5. Sign off on the project.
  6. Pop some bubbly. I will. You can join me, if you want.

What are you reading right now?

Good writers are active readers. It doesn't matter if it's a novel, blog or comic series, but it is important to know that whoever you hire is developing their writing skills by reading.

(In case you're interested, I am reading "How to Be A Bawse" by Lilly Singh, aka Superwoman.)

questions to ask a freelance writer

With what topics and formats are you most familiar?

I used to write blog posts for a funeral home. Yes, guys, a funeral home. Now I know more about embalming and space burials than I care to. To start, I wasn't incredibly familiar or excited about the subject matter and to be honest, my writing was not as good as it could have been. This post is all about finding the right freelancer for the job, so hiring someone who neither has much expertise nor passion about plumbing may not be the right fit for your blooming plumbing business. A lifestyle writer might be a better fit for your floral business than a business writer. You'll spend less time educating your writer and more time letting them wow you with their magic.

How do you source credible research?

If you're trying to rank, drive traffic or even establish a little brand awareness, developing authority in your industry is essential. Linking to non-credible sources in your content will not help you. Ask a potential writer where they find their information and how they vet a particular source.

What pieces need to be in place for a successful content project?

Content is created for a purpose and an audience. Good writers will create content keeping the goal and the audience always front of mind.

What do you know about SEO?

Good writers will understand how to incorporate white hat SEO practices into your content. They will understand how to weave in keywords, add alt tags, build links and adapt to algorithm changes.

What do you love about writing?

Nothing is more infectious than someone who loves what they do. Their passion is palpable, and that passion is transposed into great work. 

After your conversation with a potential freelancer, you should understand:

  • how the work will get done;
  • who will be responsible for what;
  • how much the work will cost;
  • the logistics of the project (payment terms, deadlines, etc.); and
  • whether a writer is right for your business.

Hiring a freelancer writer is not much different than hiring an employee. Passion, culture and character are essential components to a great professional relationship. These questions should give you confidence that you've hired the right person for the job.

Think you and I would make some content magic? Click the button below to learn more about how Bourbon & Honey can help create amazing content for your business.

 

How To Write an "About Us" Page Your Audience Will Love

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The "About Us" page is one of the most underrated and underloved pages of websites and blogs. But it is one of the most powerful pages you will create for your website. The "About Us" page is where your readers or clients will come to learn more about you. It's where you tell people what you bring to the table, why they should buy from you or even read your blog. It's not an easy piece of content to write, but with the right amount of care and nurturing, you'll build trust with your audience and keep them coming back for more.

In this post, I will show you how to write an "About Us" page that will connect and convert.

 

Write about your audience.

Put your audience at the centre of the story. The reality is your audience doesn't come to your website for you; they come to your website for them. If they read your content, what value are they getting from you? How do you make their lives a little bit better or easier?  Write your "About Us" page for your audience. Make it about them. For example, I’ll say something like “tell better stories with great content. Let Bourbon & Honey help.” It makes my potential client feel like they are in the driver’s seat when it comes to creating content for their website, blog, newsletter or social media channels.

 

Stay away from technical jargon.

Technical jargon is great if you are talking to someone in your industry. However, it doesn't belong on your "About Us" page. If I’m going to a financial service company and they use terms like “accrual” and I don’t understand that, I’m probably going to move on to a company that connects with me. Connection and understanding are more important than showing your audience how much you know.

 

Don’t forget your brand values.

Your "About Us" page should be drenched in your brand values - it is, after all, your introduction to your audience. The trick is to write it unobtrusively. You want to your audience to connect with your brand values right away, but make them feel like they drive the relationship. If you are not sure what your brand values are, I've created this handy guide (with examples) to establishing your voice. This guide will help you create a brand voice checklist. This checklist will help you infuse your "About Us" page with your brand.

 

Make it visual.

Statistics show that you retain more information when you see it. (Source) When building your "About Us" page, think about adding in visuals to make it more appealing and capture attention. You can tell your story using a fun photo series, include your company history as an infographic, showcase your company's staff using funny photo or tell people what you're all about using a video.

 

Let your customers do the talking.

You don't go to a restaurant without checking reviews or asking your friends for their thoughts if they've been there. You trust what other people say about that restaurant. Your strongest asset is your audience. If you can use your audience to help build your "About Us" page, you can create a lot of trust and loyalty in very little time. If you have testimonials, awards, recommendations or accolades, include them here.

 

Include a call-to-action. 

Content marketing is all about guiding people through your sales funnel. We include calls-to-action on every blog post, landing page, webinar, video, etc. Including one on your "About Us" page is an easy way to encourage your readers to continue to read your content.

 

Your "About Us" page is prime real estate for your company. It takes a lot of care and nourishment to make it a piece that informs and delights your audience. If you don't remember anything in this post, remember these most important tips when writing your "About Us" page:

  • Make it human.
  • Make it about your audience.
  • Make it interesting.

 

And if you are still unsure what to do with your "About Us" page or have no time to do it, my team can help you write a killer page that will delight your audience.

 

5 Ways to Repurpose Content and Save Time In Your Business

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Hey, entrepreneur! Do you have time to create new content every week? Probably not, hey? Girl, I get it. After filling product orders, prepping for markets, editing photos and handling your accounting, the LAST thing you want to do is create content for your marketing strategy. Some days, after a day of meeting clients, creating service offerings and forging collaborations, I just want to sit on my couch, eat my white cheddar popcorn (not healthy, I know...) and tut at Frank Underwood's unscrupulous ways. But...Frank Underwood isn't going to help me grow my business.

Enter content repurposing.

What the heck is content repurposing, you ask?

In its simplest form, content repurposing is using your existing content in a different way.

I'm going to talk about why you should think about adding content repurposing to your editorial calendar. I'm also going to give you five quick and dirty ways you can easily repurpose content.

[Don't have an editorial calendar? Download a template here.]

 

So WHY should you repurpose content?

 

Repurposing content is an important element to any marketing strategy, even if you're only focusing on social media.

Saves You Time

Think about this: you write one blog post with five key points (like this one!). Let's say you want to generate some leads, so you turn those five points into an eBook which you offer in exchange for an email address. Then you use a quote from your blog post for your social media channels. Oh, and maybe your blog post serves as a script for a video or Facebook Live. Boom! From that one post you created, you've got three more pieces created with little effort.

Reach A New Audience

Delight those in your audience who love to read AND love the visuals. Have a post with tons of data? Create an infographic for those visual lovers in your audience. You can also create an ebook for the text lovers. (The beauty is you don't have to waste time researching both pieces - you already have the data!)

Resurrect Old Content

Have you ever gone back in your yearbook or photo album and reminisced over those memories? I do it all the time. #goodolddays Remind your audience of those awesome posts, videos or podcasts that they once loved. You'll extend the shelf life of these pieces and delight your audience. P.S. It helps to have evergreen content, but I'll do a blog post on that specifically.

 

repurpose content

 

5 Ways To Repurpose Content

 

Okay, now for the practical stuff. Here are five ways you can repurpose your content.

Turn Blog Posts Into...Anything

Seriously. You can turn your blog posts into anything - a blog series, ebook, infographic, podcast, video script. Maybe you've written a post on how to choose the right type of knitting needle for your project, a post how to get the best yarn, and a post on how to create your own knitting pattern. How valuable would it be to your audience if you combined all your "how to" blog posts into a guide for your audience to download? Probably very.

Turn Podcast Into Video

You already have a script. Just flip on a camera, upload it to YouTube and you'll reach those who want video over podcasts. You can post this video on your social channels and website.

Turn Data Into An Infographic

Have lots of consumer insight and data that will be valuable to your audience? Make an infographic! Not a designer? Not too worry. Use free tools like Canva which has some amazing templates that makes graphic design so easy.

Turn a Powerpoint Into A SlideShare

So let's say you are giving a talk at a university about social media and you create this beautiful PowerPoint to present to the students. Don't let that go to waste! Upload your work to SlideShare and promote it via your social channels and you can get some longevity out of your hard work.

Turn Any Piece Into Social Media Content

This is one of my favorites. If you have a blog post, video, podcast, guide, ebook, whitepaper or whatever else in your editorial calendar, find the tips, tricks, quotes and data and create social media graphics to promote that piece.

 

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Content repurposing in action

If everything I've said sounds a bit much, here's how this works in real life.

  1. Publish your blog post on How To Choose The Best Knitting Needle. Promote on social and email.
  2. Create a guide, checklist or ebook if applicable. Create a guide on Knitting 101: The Beginner's Guide to Knitting. Create a lead generation form and make this available for download. Hello, email list.
  3. Just did a workshop on knitting? Create a PowerPoint and upload it to SlideShare. Promote on social and email.
  4. Take your tips and tricks and create visually compelling images for social media. (Seriously, use Canva. It's so easy.)
  5. Take your ebook and create a video for each chapter. You've already got the script. No extra work (except editing) required.

Once you have one piece of quality content, don't let it just sit there. Make sure you promote the heck out of it. Do that by recycling your content into different forms. Keep your audience on its toes - and save time and energy doing it.

Have questions about content repurposing? I'm happy to answer them here!

 

 

 

Branding & Bubbly: Create Compelling Visuals To Tell Your Brand Story

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Imagine if you didn't have a logo. Or a tagline. Would people recognize your business? Do you struggle to create visuals that resonate with your audience? Can you identify your top three brand values?

I love storytelling. I love helping businesses find their stories - and teach them how to write a good one for their brand.

And creating visuals is important, even imperative, to crafting a New York Times Best Seller type of story for your brand.

Don't believe me?

Try these stats on for size.

  • If you hear some information, you'll remember 10% of it 3 days later. If you see that same information, you'll remember 65% of it 3 days later. (Source)
  • There were 700 million monthly active Instagram users in April 2017. (Source)
  • 63% of online shoppers believe a high-quality product image is more important than product info. (Source)
  • Including an image in your article will reward you with 94% more views. (Source)

So if you are scratching your head right now, I want to invite you to a special event.

Join Megan from Little Dot Creative and me for a fun night of storytelling, visual branding and BUBBLY!

Whether you are brand spanking new business in the throes of building a solid brand or a growing business that needs to take branding and marketing to the next level, this workshop will provide you with the foundational knowledge of brand storytelling and practical experience to create amazing visuals to elevate your brand.

I will be talking about brand storytelling, understanding your brand's values, how you discover your audience and how to put it all together.

Megan will cover the basics of branding and how to translate brand values into compelling visuals that connect and inspire.

You will learn:

  • why using stories in your marketing in important
  • how to determine the values that form your story
  • how to find your ideal audience
  • how to put together a winning elevator pitch
  • how to create compelling visuals that tell your brand's story

DATE: May 31, 2017

TIME: 7:00-9:00 PM

LOCATION: Outside the Shape

This is not a simple come-and-learn workshop. Oh no. Megan and I will be providing tons of actionable tips, tools and worksheets to set you up to take charge of your brand and connect with your audience. (Aka those people who are gonna buy from you.)

We will also have some treats from some local businesses for attendees. Oh, and the bubbly is on us.

The workshop is open is both product and service-based businesses.

You have a story. Let us help you tell it.

create-compelling-visuals About Little Dot Creative

Little Dot Creative creates swoon-worthy brands and websites that work as hard as you do. Visit her website and follow her on Instagram.

About Bourbon & Honey

Bourbon & Honey believes that every business has a story to tell - and an audience to share it with. Bourbon & Honey helps you write a better story and connect with your audience through simple and beautiful content. Follow Bourbon & Honey on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.