Beat the Block: Tips For Dealing with Writer’s Block

Beat the Block: Tips For Dealing with Writer’s Block

Have you ever found yourself staring at your screen, wondering what to write, but the words just won’t come to you? Or perhaps you’re creating a post for social media that you believe to be original, but you can’t help but feel like you’ve written it before? If so, you might be experiencing what’s commonly referred to as “writer’s block.”

What is writer’s block? When writers are stuck for ideas, it is known as writer’s block. It affects writers at all phases of their careers, and if ignored, it can prevent you from writing for days, weeks, or even months.

The good news is that you can avoid writer’s block and keep your writing fresh! Here are some ideas for “beating the block” and staying in the zone.

Keeping content ideas fresh

Every content writer faces the challenge of keeping their content fresh, informative, appealing, and on brand. It’s essential to give your readers the kind of content they want. Consistently doing this will have a significant positive impact on your readership. What’s new? What has changed? Think about offering a new perspective to your readers.

If you’re stuck for ideas, give one (or all!) of these a try:

#1. Be the customer. Take a step back and observe your company from a customer’s point of view. What questions do you have? Share answers to those questions in your writing.

#2. Solve a problem. When you are networking or talking with other business owners, what are the common topics of conversation that keep coming up? Do they want to learn more about topics like cash flow, marketing, how to handle challenging clients, or how to target a particular demographic? What problems can you help solve?

#3. Discover what’s happening in the world. Take a few minutes to browse social media, respectable news outlets, YouTube, and even TikTok! Or, if you find yourself with even more time to spare, binge-watch a popular TV series, attend a concert, or spend an evening at the movie theatre. Find out for yourself what people are talking about right now and incorporate it into your content.

#4. Take time to prepare and plan. Make a “special-days” calendar or check out fun holiday ideas from sites such as HootSuite. Tuck away testimonials from emails or recommendations from social media. These great reviews make uplifting content to easily inject in an e-newsletter or in social media posts.

#5. Do you think you’re funny? Try your hand at creating memes! We subscribe to imgflip.com and have a lot of fun (and even internal company competitions) developing memes.

#6. Go behind the scenes. Show your readers who you are. Humanize your brand by taking candid shots of staff at work, celebrating your team members’ birthdays, and sharing staff recognition.

#7. Create a poll or survey on social media and ask people what they want to hear about. Current Revenue Canada regulations, deadlines, or news? Trends on social media? The Pantone colour of the year if you’re considering rebranding or refreshing your website? Everyone has an opinion and they’re usually happy to share it!

#8. Build a list of FAQs. Which questions do your clients, readers, or prospective consumers often ask you? Make a list of the questions and respond to each one, providing examples when possible. You can also create a few case studies.

#9. Interview experts within your industry. Interviewing someone within your field is a great way to establish an emotional connection between your company and its audience. The content you capture during the interview has the potential to supply material for your blog and social media for some time. You may even consider recording your interviews and converting them into podcasts for even more content. (https://www.myobontario.ca/podcasting-101/)

#10. Become a savvy content curator. There will be days when you’d rather not reinvent the wheel, and that’s fine. As you know, there is already a ton of content out there on the internet. Look for interesting, relevant, and timely posts and share them with your followers from time to time.

Over to you

We hope these suggestions help you get your creative juices flowing again. Do you have a tip to add to this list? We’d love to hear what works for you when you’re experiencing writer’s block.

Written by: Jennifer Hanford, MYOB Blogger

Your Social Media and Website: A Love Story

Your Social Media and Website: A Love Story

It is no secret that having an online presence – including a website and social media accounts – is an important aspect of any company’s online strategy. But what happens once you have set up your website and social media accounts? How can they work together?

All your marketing channels, whether online or off, should already be working together to increase brand awareness, generate engagement, and drive conversions. Here are some ways that your website and social media should be interacting together.

#1. Connect your social media accounts to your website.

To get the most out of your online presence, ensure your website visitors can view your social network accounts and vice versa. By encouraging website users to join your social following, you can improve traffic to your website while also increasing customer loyalty and expanding your reach. On your website, remember to add social media icons and links to your social media accounts. Then, in your social profiles and ‘about us’ sections, be sure to include a link to your website.
If you want to highlight your social media even more, consider embedding a Twitter/Facebook live feed on your website. However, if you do this, make sure you are consistently adding updated content to your social media platforms to keep the stream fresh. Keep in mind that the branding should be consistent throughout all your business’ social media channels and your website.

#2. Encourage people to visit your website by sharing on social media.

Share information from your website on social media on a regular basis. Both your website and social media are designed to engage your audience with quality content. By directing your social media followers to your website, you can encourage them to read your blog posts and/or other web pages, which increases the possibility of converting them into customers. As well, when you are driving more visitors to your website via social media, you’re also increasing the chances that your content will be shared elsewhere on the web, potentially improving your SEO. At MYOB, some of our website clients have requested e-newsletters from their website, or monthly blogs. These are both wonderful sources of content that successfully attract traffic from social media to your website and vice versa.
As we have mentioned in previous blog posts, social media provides a ton of opportunity for engagement, allowing you to rapidly react to and reply to customer comments and queries, as well as urge followers to visit your website for more information. Using social media to enhance the human aspect of your business generates an emotional connection, which builds relationships and nurtures trust and loyalty.

#3. Track your progress by using analytics.
Using analytics and data provides important insights on how well your content is driving traffic from your social media platforms to your website. Setting up Google Analytics for your website is an essential part of capturing that data (https://marketingplatform.google.com/about/).

Monitoring your social media and website can help you recognize both the successes and the areas that need improvement. For example:
• Determine the type of content and posts that perform best across social media and your website, so you create and share the types that do well.
• Use your social media data to better understand your target audience and develop content for them, and vice versa – use your website visitor data to customize your social media posts.

Over to you

Your website is one of your strongest branding and marketing tools. There are many different types of websites that may work for your business:

• Sites that act like brochures
• Interactive sites with chats
• Sites that require logins for membership

The same techniques for creating the interaction between your website and your social media platforms will apply regardless of the type of website you have. At Mind Your Own Business Inc., we will collaborate with you from the ground floor and build a customized website that meets all your business needs. Contact us to get started today!

Written by: Jennifer Hanford, MYOB Blogger

Grammar & Brand Messaging for Your Business

Grammar & Brand Messaging for Your Business

Is it possible that a typo – or a series of them – can turn off a potential customer? You’d better believe it! These days, many people begin their purchasing journeys online, so a flawless website that grabs and keeps their attention is critical. Remember, first impressions matter.

Whether intentionally or unintentionally, poor grammar, spelling, and punctuation on your site can negatively influence how people see you or your brand and may even damage your or your brand’s reputation. And, with so much of a business’s communication tied into branding, marketing, and emails, improper grammar can completely affect the interpretation of what you are trying to communicate.

Here are a few reasons why proper grammar in your brand messaging is so important to your company’s success.

#1. Without proper grammar, spelling, and punctuation, your brand’s message is at risk of being confusing and even completely misunderstood.
You have most likely spent a lot of time and effort to decide on the best message for your target audience. Producing content that contains mistakes in grammar, spelling, punctuation, and even style may significantly dilute the message you worked so hard to establish. Your brand does not benefit from confusing messaging.

#2. Poor grammar, spelling, and punctuation alters the consistency and impacts the trustworthiness of your brand message.
People look for brands on which they can rely. Trust is earned. By delivering a consistent message, your business becomes one they can trust. Consistency can refer to several things, but it is especially important when it comes to your wording.

#3. Your brand’s credibility is at stake if your content contains grammar, spelling, and punctuation mistakes.
As we mentioned earlier in this post, typos are one of the key reasons why people may become turned off by a brand. Attention to detail is critical. People simply do not trust brands that seemingly fail to put in the time and effort to create error-free content.

#4. Poor grammar, spelling, and punctuation can negatively affect user accessibility.
It is important to keep in mind that not everyone who reads what you have written will easily ‘get’ what you are saying. Some people are attempting to figure out the meaning of every word, regardless of whether it is correct or not. In addition, English may not be the native language of your potential customer. Grammatical errors and other typos may result in potential customers being unable to understand your message. Or, even worse, they may misinterpret you completely.

How can I avoid grammatical errors in my brand’s content?

When creating content for your brand, it is inevitable that you will commit a grammatical error at some point. Fortunately, there are a few ways to help you avoid, or at the very least catch and modify, these errors before they are published.

To avoid grammar errors in your business content and correspondence, consider these tips:

  1. Make edits as you go. If you start editing straight away, you will save time later because you will have fewer edits to make at the end.
  2. Use digital tools to help streamline the editing process. With a quick Google search, you can easily find a variety of free online spelling and grammar checkers. Some of these tools also provide synonyms, allowing you to use a broader range of words in your content.
  3. Double-check your own work for typos. Even though your work may be reviewed by an editor before final approval, it is still a good idea to do your own proofreading before submitting it.
  4. Outsource it to a team with writers and proofreaders. By hiring a specialized group to create and review your material, you can drastically reduce the grammar errors on your website and on your social media pages.

Over to you

All businesses, regardless of their size or industry, should understand the value of using good grammar, correct spelling, and proper punctuation in their online content. Whether it’s a quick tweet or status update, an email, or the more involved writing of a blog or a company page, you want to make a good first impression to people who are interested in your brand.

At MYOB Inc. we have several content writers and proofreaders on our staff to help you present your best messaging to represent your brand.

Written by: Jennifer Hanford, MYOB Blogger

Using Your Resources

Using Your Resources

When it comes to running a successful business, a little knowledge goes a long way. The effective use of available resources is one way to gain that knowledge. Additionally, businesses can achieve new heights of success by utilizing their resources efficiently.

For many small business owners, however, managing their resources can be challenging. For one thing, there is no “one-size-fits-all” solution for managing all your company’s resources. Here are some recommendations to get you started.

Resources for social media

When it comes to using social media for business, you will want to keep in mind that there are significant differences between professional and personal use. Fortunately, there are many resources available both online and off to help you plan and create the best social media content for your business.

You’ll learn quickly that fact checking should be a top priority when sharing social media content on your company’s social media sites. We all want people to read, enjoy, and share our pages’ posts. However, before you share an enticing, hot-off-the-press piece in the hopes of gaining engagement, make sure it is accurate. As we have mentioned in previous posts, false information abounds on the internet, so verifying your sources when creating and/or sharing content is critically important for building trust and social proof with your audience. For example, if you are checking the validity of a story online (such as a political story, news story or celebrity based story), www.snopes.com can help you verify. When looking to verify statistics, try www.statista.com for accurate information.

The appropriate use of hashtags is another resource that helps businesses manage their social media. In fact, hashtag usage has skyrocketed on social media over the past few years. And, with the right hashtags, potential customers can find your company on social media platforms more easily, and your posts will reach a larger audience. Hashtag tracking tools, such as the one provided by BrandMentions (https://brandmentions.com/hashtag-tracker/#) aid in the discovery of popular and relevant hashtags on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and other social platforms.

And lastly, there are the resources that provide you with analytics for your business’ social media platforms. In a nutshell, analytics are important since they uncover insights in social media that can be used to benefit your business. They will assist you in determining where to focus your social efforts, which networks are active, and what type of content has the greatest impact on your audience. Each of the main social platforms provides ways to access and view your pages’ analytics such as the number of followers, reach, impressions, and engagement.

Resources for bookkeeping

Proper bookkeeping for your business is essential for its overall financial health. Having your books neat and in order aids in tax preparation, among other things. Many business owners choose to keep up with their own books, but it’s time-consuming and labor intensive. One resource that is readily accessible to help you learn the ins and outs of small-business bookkeeping along with managing your books is online accounting software. A quick online search will produce several results from which to choose.

Creating and regularly reviewing a Profit and Loss Report (P&L) for your company is another valuable resource. The P&L is a financial report that summarizes a company’s revenues, expenses, and profits/losses over a specified period of time.

The main categories that can be found on the P&L include:

  • Revenue (or Sales)
  • Cost of Goods Sold (or Cost of Sales)
  • Selling, General & Administrative (SG&A) Expenses
  • Marketing and Advertising
  • Technology/Research & Development
  • Interest Expense
  • Taxes
  • Net Income

Another source of online information for bookkeeping and accounting fundamentals can be found on the websites for the Canada Revenue Agency (https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency.html) and Service Canada (https://www.canada.ca/en/employment-social-development/corporate/portfolio/service-canada.html).

As your company grows, however, you may discover that you have less time to devote to precise bookkeeping. Hiring an accountant and experienced bookkeeper can assist you in staying organized and current with government filings while saving you from headaches in the long run.

At Mind Your Own Business, for example, we work with our clients and communicate with them regularly as we maintain their books and ensure that all government filings are completed on time. (https://www.myobontario.ca/are-you-ready-if-the-auditor-comes-calling/)

Resources for websites

An invaluable resource for any business website is Google Analytics (https://marketingplatform.google.com/about/analytics/). Installing Google Analytics is a smart option because it is a free website analysis tool that collects data and then produces reports with thorough statistics on who visits your site. As well, Google Analytics assists you in better understanding your site and app users to better evaluate the performance of your marketing, content, products, and other initiatives.

Some of the statistics you may find helpful include users, sessions, pageviews, and bounce rate. The bounce rate is the percentage of visitors who left your site from the home (landing) page (they left the site from the same page they entered it on). A high bounce rate typically indicates that your site’s landing pages are not relevant to your visitors and/or the content isn’t what the user was looking for.

There are numerous advantages to implementing Google Analytics. It is a useful tool for all types of businesses because it provides information on who your website visitors are, if they’re engaging with your content, and how long they stay on your site.

Over to you

Small business owners are fortunate to have access to a wealth of resources to assist them in starting, running, and growing their companies. A good business owner is always learning; acquiring knowledge through various resources enables you to recognize and capitalize on opportunities around you, allowing your business to thrive in the face of competition and ensuring its relevance in your industry.

Written by: Jennifer Hanford, MYOB Blogger

Is Your Online Window Display Fresh?

Is Your Online Window Display Fresh?

In this digital age, having a website for your company is essential. However, keeping your website and its content up to date is equally important. Your website is, without a doubt, a representation of your company. In fact, it may be the only part of it that some people see. As such, keeping your site updated and relevant will go a long way toward generating a positive impression on both current and potential customers.

Here are a few reasons to keep your website up to date:

  1. Your website can help your business generate revenue, increase brand recall value, promote goodwill among clients and target audiences, plus deliver powerful marketing messages around the clock, 365 days a year!
  2. Keeping your website’s material current contributes to the development of relationships between you and your customers, which ultimately helps to build trust and credibility in your company. Customers are most likely looking to your site for relevant information that helps them stay in-the-know.
  3. Customers are likely to feel comfortable using your services when your company has a high-quality website. Plus, your website can help its visitors feel confident that they will have a positive experience in all aspects of your business.
  4. Because search engines like Google place a strong emphasis on local results, having a website is even more important if you are a local business. More people are using the internet to find local businesses than ever before so if you don’t have a website, they may be unable to contact or locate your company.
  5. When your company has an updated website, you will have an increased ability to communicate with customers in real time. This is especially true when your website’s content and social media are integrated. Your social media pages all work together to increase your website traffic and boost revenue.
  6. The ability to attract new customers is one of the most compelling reasons to invest in updating your website. Since the visitors to your site will be at various stages of the sales process, including researchers, comparers, and buyers, you’ll want to make sure you have offerings for them all. The goal is to convert website visitors into leads, so speaking to their needs and providing them with a clear action plan to take the next steps will help make the process smoother.

Let’s get started.

We build WordPress websites for our clients and provide them with two hours of training after launch to teach them how to make minor changes on their own. We recommend WordPress because it is customizable and user friendly.

Are you ready to talk about your website design and management? Fill out our contact form and we’ll get in touch!

The Importance of a Business That ‘WOWS’

The Importance of a Business That ‘WOWS’

Most small business owners agree that one of their most powerful marketing tools is their website. And, as you are probably aware, some websites are designed better than others. Have you ever visited a website and been disappointed by its appearance or complicated navigation? Or become frustrated when visiting a website that takes forever to load? Of course, you have. We all have. And, more likely than not, you have probably moved on to a fancier (and faster!) website.

The simple truth is that a business that wishes to be competitive online needs a website that wows its visitors. In a nutshell, a business website has the potential to do one of two things:

  1. Help you stand out from your competitors or
  2. Drive people directly to your competitors.

Savvy business owners realize their potential clients go online for more than purchasing products and/or services. Instead, they crave a unique and highly visual online experience which entices and delights them as well. This is where the importance of exceptional website design comes in.

Reasons why you need a well-designed business website:

1. You only have one chance to make a first impression – so make it count!

Visitors to your website often decide whether they want to do business with you within a fraction of a second, based on their perceptions of your site. They may not even be aware they are judging you, but having bias is part of being human.

The better first impression you give, the more likely your visitors are to stay or return to your website. In other words, your website’s design can make a big difference when it comes to attracting and retaining potential clients.

2. Your business website is a direct reflection of YOU.

Along with that all-important first impression a website gives to its visitors, your website design also gives them an idea of how you conduct business. For example, a web design that is outdated or sloppy may inadvertently give your visitors the impression that your products or services are also inferior or low quality.

On the other hand, a well-designed website can go a long way towards building trust in your business, and trust is a big factor in sales. An organized website with a strong visual component helps to create an air of legitimacy for you and your business. This is why we say your business’ website is your most powerful marketing tool. Consider good design as another way for you to successfully reach out to your customers.

3. Your website is an essential component of your business’ brand.

As part of your marketing toolbox, your business’ website also serves to promote your brand. While brand awareness is valuable for all businesses, brand-building is especially important for new business owners who need to establish a positive reputation from the get-go.

Over to you

Good website design is a must in today’s highly visual market. Understanding the importance of a well-designed business website is step one. What is the next step? Building one. Mind Your Own Business will work with you to develop and implement a plan to create a website that accurately represents you and your business in a current, approachable, and positive way. Are you ready to get started? Contact us today by calling 519-657-4283 or by filling out our online form.