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Digital Summit PDX: Small Business Takeaways

I went to Digital Summit Portland this week, and it was pretty cool, everyone.

It’s all about digital marketing for people who are involved with all aspects of it, from content creation, to strategy, to back end… stuff. Whatever those people do with code.

Content marketing hub plan

Small business writing is marketing.

“Kelley, you’re a writer. What the heck were you doing at a marketing conference?”

Great question! All content and copy is marketing. If you’re going to hire a writer, you’d better make sure that a) you have a strong marketing plan, or b) your writer has marketing skills to help you support your goals. That’s why I take every opportunity to keep up-to-date on online marketing, as well as to hone those writing chops.

A lot of the presentations and programs at Digital Summit Portland were geared toward businesses that work on a larger scale than my clients. The email strategy for say, Home Depot, will be different than strategy for your home-based photography business. Still, there were some pretty cool things to think about and take away for anyone who’s making content or marketing online.

Be real.

Most of your consumers can see a pitch coming from a mile away. They want their brands to be authentic. To stand for something. To add real value to their lives. And if they get that from you? You might get a repeat customer who loves and supports your brand.

Don’t be afraid to use your own voice.

Make an action plan, but keep it agile.

You need a content strategy plan. Even if it’s sketched out on a napkin and pinned onto a bulletin board — you won’t get results without knowing what the heck you’re supposed to be doing and, more importantly, WHY you’re doing it.

Later, if something’s not getting the results you wanted, take another look. Tweak it if you still think it’s worthwhile, and scrap it if it’s not.

Figure out who your customer is.

Have you ever made customer personas? It’s a fairly common marketing practice. Say you have a brick-and-mortar boutique. A very basic persona might be “Jenny.” Jenny is a 37-year-old woman who lives in South Beaverton and has two girls ages 2 and 5. She’s married, owns her home, and works full-time in real estate.

The new, hot thing? Mapping Customer Journeys. What steps does Jenny take before she becomes your customer? What else is she searching for on the internet? What’s the first time she hears about your business? Does she come into your store than once before she buys, or is she more impulsive? Does she look online first? How can you keep her as a customer after she walks out the door? When will she buy again?

Whew, that’s a lot, and it can get even more complex. But thinking this way helps you nurture your leads throughout the process of buying, and in helping them become loyal customers who will buy again.

Fun fact: Customers are less likely to buy from a company who took their email and never contacted them. Get those newsletters out, people. (Yes, I’d be happy to help you. Send me an email.)

Slay all the time.

There was a presentation that was based on Beyonce songs, so OBVIOUSLY I ATTENDED THAT ONE. (The slides are also available for download.)

Beyonce water from Lemonade video

Lessons learned from Beyonce? So many.

Slay all the time. Get crazy in love with your customers. Be the best.

Make it easy for your customers to love you. Make it easy to interact, and easy to get questions answered. No 30,000 unread emails or full voicemail boxes.

Can we chat for a second?

I’ve written for local publications for a while. Often, I’ve needed information on local businesses to fill out a roundup like “Five Restaurants with Gluten-Free Mac and Cheese.” (Not a real article I wrote.) Maybe their website said they had a kids’ menu, but it didn’t say what was on it. So I’d send an email. “I’m writing an article for X Magazine. Do you have gluten-free mac and cheese? If so, please let me know the price by Friday.” I’d give them several days. How many do you think would respond?

Maaaaybe one out of five. For free publicity.

But we digress.

Make extra special customer experiences. Stand out and be unique, but make sure your customers can know what to expect when they interact with you. Empower your employees to go above and beyond. Train them and ask them what customers are saying. Front-line employees are a goldmine of information.

Try Being Funny.

People like humor! It adds a bit of color to your clients’ lives, and helps you compete for attention against internet celebrity dogs. Dogs are really cute. Try adding a little humor into your copy and seeing how your customers respond. Most people get 7-24% increase in conversions with just a little joke.

(There’s obviously more to this, so please be cautious. You may wish to hire a professional for applying humor, as it can backfire.)

Need help?

Let’s can work together on a content strategy that targets your ideal client. Email me, or book a consultation. Start getting more customers today.

And slay.

Beyonce with fireworks


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NW Kids July 2017: Business Profile with Olababy

What’s special about your business? I’ve written for what we call editorial for a while — that’s content for publications, rather than for sales — and business profiles cross over the two disciplines.

For readers or for customers, it’s all about the hook.

I love writing business profiles.

Check out this example of a profile I did for NW Kids Magazine’s July 2017 issue. (Page 17, if you please.) Olababy is a local company that designs baby feeding gear: bottles, spoons, and these cool bowls that you can use to steam and serve.

Okay, I haven’t actually tried to steam any food for *my* baby yet, despite the tasty peas in my garden that are about to give up the ghost. But those silicone spoons are a lifesaver.

Olababy business profile with baby drinking from bottle

Olababy business profile spread in NW Kids Magazine, July 2017

For this profile, I got some information from the PR company to review. Then, the two principals of the company were willing to chat on a conference call. Lucky for me, because one of them was in China at the time. Our Friday afternoon chat was a very early Saturday morning chat for him.

A freelance writer should come to the table with their own background research, and then figure out the tricky part — what’re the most important questions to ask? What do the customers really want to know? What’s missing?

Finding an angle that gets the audience interested? That’s the fun part.

Whether it’s a white paper, profile, or about page, let me help you tell your story.

Shoot me an email today.


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Sweet Web Copy for Cherry City Roller Derby

Sometimes you need hard-hitting web copy.

Writing about roller derby? Don’t mind if I do.

If you gave me $100 to come up with a project that was more up my alley than this, I’d have a hard time coming up with something. After all, I literally wrote the book (okay, a book) about roller derby.

Recently, I had the opportunity to work with Upswept Creative on the newly designed Cherry City Roller Derby website by writing and editing the web copy. I cleaned up some copy and wrote some sections from scratch. We collaborated a survey for stakeholders to find out that to include in the new site. They made the site beautiful and functional while I thought about how to communicate with all those people who use the site: skaters, fans, and sponsors.

Screen grab from Cherry City website, web copy writing

Check out Upswept Creative for brand design, rebranding, and website design in Portland, Oregon. They’re good people over there.

Need user-friendly web copy for your tough-as-nails website? Drop me a line.

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Back from Maternity Leave, and Ready to Roll

I’m back!

After taking a few months off (who’s counting, anyway?) for maternity leave, I’m back at work. Let me tell you, the new kid I made is cute. Super cute. He smiles and giggles and even thinks it’s funny when I do a David Byrne dance to “Nothing but Flowers” at Trader Joe’s. The three-year-old might not be as generous.

Sweet orange booties on cute baby toes (if I do say so myself)

Baby toes

As nice as it is to hang out with my kids, it’s good to be back using my brain for something other than figuring out the best order in which to run the laundry and dishwasher for peak household efficiency. My long break really did show me that I love what I do. I’m eager to get back to work.

Let’s do some.

That means I’m available for:

Press releases
Web copy writing and editing
Substantial editing
Chats over coffee about potential projects

Schedule a consultation today.

Twitter for small business

You’ve heard it before: Twitter can be an exceptional tool for your small business. You can connect with your patrons, find out what people are saying about you, and keep your community informed. There’s only one problem, though.

Twitter takes time.

Having an inactive or non-responsive Twitter account is bad for business – definitely worse than no Twitter at all.

The solution?

I can manage your Twitter account, by posting for and monitoring your account. You can leave it alone and not worry, resting assured that your customers are being taken care of and that part of your marketing plan is on schedule.

Contact me today to talk about Twitter or social media management.