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5 Benefits of Blogging for Business

It doesn’t matter what kind of business you have – multinational, SME or creative solopreneur, you still need to be blogging regularly to help drive new (and returning) traffic to your website. These days, it’s crucial to have a strong web and social media presence to grow your brand – and having a blog is a smart, strategic way to do it. If you’re thinking about starting a blog and wondering what it will do for your company, read on.

Here’s how blogging can benefit your business.

1. Helps drive website traffic for free

Want more website visitors? Of course, you do! But if people don’t know the name of your business or product, how will they find you online? People don’t generally read blogs – they use keywords to research a product/service or solve a problem. If you’re providing unique and relevant content on your site, search engines will index it, so it’s easily found. Figure out what your customer is looking for, common problems, post useful articles and then share them on social media, so word gets around. Do this repeatedly, and your business will grow organically.

One of the advantages of blogging over paid advertising is that it’s free – you’re providing useful information for as long as your site is live. Tip: set yourself a publishing schedule and stick to it to show search engines that your website is active and needs frequently scanning for quality content.

2. Traffic becomes leads

Once you start publishing regular content on your blog, you’ll naturally attract new readers and return visitors. Always add a call to action to your posts to turn them into leads. Ask them to download a free e-book or white paper in return for their email address, so you can send follow up e-shots. Direct them to your products and services page or ask them to test a new product. You can set small targets and monitor analytics to see which of your posts are getting the most traction and engagement and then create more content around those themes. Tip: make sure people can subscribe to your blog, leave comments, and add share buttons so they can share content on their social channels.

3. Blogging brands you as an expert

Blogging positions you as an expert in your field, and someone others can come to for advice on a subject. If you share useful content that solves a problem or helps people improve their lives or business in some way, they will refer you to others as an authority and send more leads your way. It’s also an excellent platform for thought leadership – share your views on business (as well as your products) to engage your reader and grow your audience. Blogging can lead to new opportunities – more shares on social media, a speaking gig or even a column in a business publication. It also helps you to build authority and trust with customers. If your salespeople don’t know the answer to a question, they can refer a client to the blog as a helpful resource to help speed up the sales process. Tip: Share your opinions and take a position on things – don’t just sit on the fence – to help you stand out from the competition!

4. Scalable business blogging

One of the joys of blogging is that it’s scalable. It’s a good investment of your time as it keeps on working for you. If you write a blog and share it on social media, you’ll get a few click-throughs every time you share it. It will rank on search engines over the coming months and be a continual source of traffic and leads whenever someone searches for info on that topic. Unlike social media, a blog is on your website as long as you want it to be – a knowledge resource for visitors and your team. Tip: Create some evergreen posts about your products or services that aren’t time-sensitive and update them periodically to keep them fresh. HubSpot recommends that we focus on creating ‘compounding blog posts’ which solve problems, e.g. ‘how’ or ‘why’ in the title) as their traffic grows steadily over time.

5. Press & PR coverage

Having everything in one place on your blog (company news, personal stories, ideas & opinions) makes it easier for journalists to quickly find what they need to write about you and your business. Blogs should be open for comments to help you generate new business ideas and test out new products before you commit to spending money on them. Clients and journalists want to read about the people behind a brand, and a blog is an ideal platform for this as the tone is conversational and intimate. Take your reader on a journey and involve them in your business story and they will become loyal clients and share your content for you.

Are you interested in creating a blog for your business? We produce daily content for clients large and small to help them build brand awareness and drive sales. 

This article was originally published on Perspective Marketing & Design here.

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#15 On Staycation; The Big Return; How Companies Can Win at Remote Work; Countryside Communities; Where to Find Remote Jobs.

I’m on staycation till September.

No need to go anywhere – the south coast is like the Med. Why rush around getting to France (& back!) to meet ever-changing quarantine rules so the kids can #getbacktoschoolsafely? Hardly a relaxing holiday. If you’re there, just chill and enjoy it. It won’t matter if the kids miss another week or two. Besides, who’s going to be tracking your movements when you get back? 😉

So, I’ll be attending to the book pile, soaking up the sun, sleeping, walking. Julieta will be back from Italy soon, so I’m making the most of my lack of domestic responsibilities.

Overheard on the beach this week – day-trippers down from London. “Isn’t it great to be out of the city? I feel different down here. The air’s so fresh.” Huge skies too – shifts your perspective.

And some advice from a guy I got chatting to down the pub. “Get your baked beans in. Anything you can eat cold and don’t have to cook. Mix them with curry powder. A year ago, who’d have thought we’d be walking round with nappies on our faces. Being told where to go and what to do…?”

There’s much talk about the big return in September.

According to the Mail on Sunday, “Thousands in the city will never return full-time.” Schroder’s staff have been given the option of working from home permanently. “Rethinking the rulebook on flexibility will prove a huge shot in the arm for productivity long-term”. KPMG says 50-60% of its 22,000 UK workforce will work flexibly permanently following the pandemic. Based on a survey that over 70% of its staff want increased flexibility in working arrangements.”

Cause we’ve had our taste of freedom and we like it, innit!

Bruce Daisley has been chatting to people about what they’re planning to do – have a listen to The Big Return. Making the call on what to do next, and what other companies are doing.

Government messaging has changed from “Stay home if you can” to “Go back to work if you can” (on an egg) perhaps? They want us back in the office asap because they’re worried about the wider impact on business districts. If we’re all holed up at home, no one’s buying sanies or pottering round the shops. It’s a big problem for central London. Many small businesses are struggling as they rely on workers coming into the city. If you want to support the high street and help safeguard jobs, here’s something you can do today –sign this petition. And buy someone you love a gift card!

Companies are right to be cautious, though. There’s still no vaccine in sight. Russia has one, of course, but they’re on their own mission. Would you have a vaccine that’s not been adequately tested? Social distancing is hard to manage in open-plan offices – not a pleasant experience at the best of times. You’ll be sat there flinching every time someone coughs or sneezes, getting OCD about your keyboard and door handles. Sat behind screens for team meetings. And wearing a nappy to buy your lunch. Who can be arsed with that? Far too much effort.

Companies have also realised they can save some cash by cutting back on expensive office space and in turn, expensive staff… So, it looks like remote working (& workers) will be the norm for some time.

Now the talk has moved on to how companies can win at remote work.

🔗 the links 

Here’s Hoxby on how remote working technology is helping us to think bigger.

The age of the office is over – the future lies in Britain’s commuter towns. Where to move to? Anywhere with a cathedral, apparently. 

Comment from Lauren Razavi “So many urban pals are talking about starting intentional communities in the countryside after months of lockdown in cities. Would you get together with a bunch of friends and move to a village? Where? What would you need?”

Coffee shops, fast wifi, work wives, a decent climate, affordable travel to the UK. So, Southern Europe, probably. I’m still thinking about the Italian casa dolce casa for $1 that I can convert into an Airbnb/creative hub.

Read Lauren’s predictions on what lies ahead for the future of work. The future’s what we make it, so let’s create it!

Useful thread from Daina_larkin on “Stresslaxing” being an obstacle when working from home. When you don’t leave “the office”, it’s hard to completely disconnect. How to beat “stresslaxing.”

Good tips though the joy of working on a laptop/phone is that you can take it anywhere… garden, sofa, bed, floor, standing desk, café, loo… who wants to sit at the same desk all day when you’re WFH? 

Welcome to Cube City. Would you work in your own self-contained 3m x 3m cube? Interesting idea, but I don’t know any freelancers who could afford £800-1600 a month on a workspace. Spend the night working on projects (nope), showers on each floor, a day bed… you’ve moved in, effectively. I think we need more affordable housing first. The line between work/rest/play is blurred enough.

Remotely Inclined – Stefan Palios’ excellent newsletter on remote work:
Welcome to the Creator Renaissance – creating, building, and making is (finally) cool again.

Where to Find Thousands of Remote Jobs – non-tech companies still hiring throughout the pandemic.

Visas, Incentives, & More: Here’s What Countries are Doing to Attract Remote Companies.

Happy holidays!

Bought me a mask I can actually breathe in – doubles up as a scarf. Nice.

Pssst. Have a read through the archives and let me know what you’d like to see more of. Have a question about running a remote business or escaping the city and moving to the Sussex coast? Ask me anything. nicci@niccitalbot.com.

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#14 Midlife crisis? You’re not the only one…

A shift in values during the pandemic; how to pull off a successful launch; building an open-source publishing platform; the downsides of WFH; the future of co-working?

As you reach midlife, your values shift. Maybe you’ve achieved what you set out to do, but now you can’t see the point of it all. Or you feel like you haven’t done enough compared to your peers. You’re halfway through your life and feeling a bit restless. What next?

Psychoanalyst Elliott Jacques coined the term ‘midlife crisis’ in 1965 in a paper on the working patterns of creative geniuses. It was a small part of his life’s work – he had loads of big ideas – but this has become a cultural phenomenon and what he’s best known for. For most of us, it’s not really a crisis, more like a persistent feeling of dissatisfaction in our 40s/50s. “Is this it?” has come up frequently in conversations with friends.

What’s interesting about the pandemic is that it’s left many of us feeling like this – not just the midlife generation. 

New research reveals a seismic shift in consumer values across all ages during the pandemic. There’s been a rapid fall in values like materialism, power, status, wealth, ambition, self-promotion, adventure, and excitement. 

New values taking their place include protecting the family, duty, thrift, helpfulness, simplicity, honesty, self-reliance, and stable personal relationships. It’s the same trend we saw during the Great Depression of the 1930s. And it’s happened fast – over the last four months of lockdown. 

The pandemic has also shaken up how we think about our finances. According to Charles Schwab’s annual Modern Wealth report, we’ve drastically lowered our markers for financial success.

This shift in values has big implications for consumer brands, says Afdhel Aziz, founder of Conspiracy of Love, a brand purpose consultancy. We need to listen to stakeholders and stay in tune with the public mood, to make the right market decisions. Companies need to show a sense of duty & responsibility and look after their employees’ wellbeing. Offer practical solutions to the new challenges we’re facing. And understand and empathise with what we’re going through, given that millions of us are out of work.

The good news is that at midlife, you’re well-equipped and resourceful enough to take on whatever challenges and economic uncertainty lie ahead. If the traditional markers of success like ambition, power, money and status are no longer as important, it creates space for new ways of living & working: change and transformation. More collaborative leadership that bring people together from all age groups to get stuff done. 

Now is the time to work out what you really want to do with the next half of your life. Get building! Test stuff out. You don’t need to have it all mapped out.

I’m working on it!!

Simple pleasures this month. Beach, swims, walks, books, friends, podcast therapy. We have two new restaurants in town – a seafood bar and a Japanese kitchen, and the new St Leonards Makers’ Market – everyone’s been making stuff during the lockdown and now they need to sell it. I’m also celebrating a small win – The Science of Growing up Happy book I worked on last year is finally here!

The downsides of working from home 

Do you claim expenses for WFH? Will you claim more this year if you’ve been doing it full time? Has your employer or client offered to help out with costs or provided equipment? Interesting thread on Twitter by Timandra Harkness, on the downsides of working from home and the pressure to turn your home into a rent-free workplace. Should trade unions be pushing back on the assumption that employers can use your home as a workspace for free? Ask your client/employer about what they can offer.

Creative Spotlight

Sapphire Bates is the founder of The Coven Girl Gang, an online membership platform for female-founders and freelancers. She’s also a business coach and offers monthly coaching as well as an eight-week in-depth training programme on how to start & scale your own membership. She hosts the Witching Hour pod and edits The Coven magazine – open to pitches! Q&A here on the key elements of pulling together a successful launch. Find her on Twitter @covengirlgang and @sapphirejbates on Instagram.

🔗 the links

🎧 Listen to John O’Nolan, founder of Ghost, on building an open-source publishing platform that makes $63,000/mo. Some good advice here – none of us knows what we’re doing, even the big brands. Don’t feel you have to know it all before you get started. It’s easy to get stuck in a loop of reading countless books on startups and not take action. 

Be terrified. If you have the initial drive to jump – take a leap into the unknown and test stuff out – it’s Beta! Don’t be afraid to monetise things early on – a mistake we often make is waiting until we feel we have a ‘freemium’ offering. Pay attention to your feelings. You’ll know when you’re on to something as people will respond.

I’m enjoying Rediverge – his new online publication about remote work, world travel, and building a different kind of life. Also liking Ghost’s ethos – a non-profit, open-source publishing platform that’s crowd-funded rather than VC-funded. I’ve been testing it out and it’s fast – how WordPress used to be before death by Plugin! I’ll be migrating over shortly.

📝 Try the London Writers’ Salon. Daily writing sessions from 8 – 9 am. Set your intention, grab a coffee and off you go. It doesn’t matter what you’re working on – it’s about having a regular practice and doing it with a community, which feels different from writing on your own. After the session, I had a chat with a PhD student and a theatre director in the breakout room. I appreciate the effort Parul and Matt have put into organising this. It’s given many people a reason to get out of bed in the mornings.  

📆 Check out Birch – a new co-working space/hotel/events venue/membership community set in 55 acres of nature, 11 miles from London. You have SPACE to work, rest and play, an extensive events programme and it’s family-friendly – kids & dogs welcome. Go for foraging walks with ‘Farmer Tom’ (nice branding!), bake, make pottery, & enjoy talks, films & masterclasses.

I think we’ll see a lot more of this kind of thing. Holistic working. Much more appealing than a cramped, soulless workspace in the city. 

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#13 – How to survive the Covid storm when you’re a solopreneur; top tips for going freelance; online communities; Government comms jobs

How do you feel about the prospect of a second lockdown?

Would you do it differently?

If money were no object, I’d move to the south of France with my freelance family and collaborate on some projects – host events, workshops, cooking, Aperitivo, massage, sunshine, walks, and learn French again. I spent far too much time on my own during the lockdown.

I enjoyed this article by Rosie Murray-west – Progress: how to survive the Covid storm when you’re a sole trader.  

Rosie talks about dealing with the mental health fallout from running a business alone during a pandemic.

Common problems:

  • Loneliness and isolation – having no one to bounce ideas off
  • Homeschooling at the same time as working – feeling exhausted physically and mentally
  • Working longer hours to try and compensate for the economic slowdown and minimise the impact on your business; doing overtime with no breaks.

Day bleeds into the night when you’re working online at home. It’s hard to switch off when everything you read, see and do feeds into your work. We’ve also been over-compensating with online meetings & events during the lockdown – Zoom fatigue.

She shares some useful tips on how to avoid burnout and keep yourself motivated when working remotely.

  • Connection – phone calls, virtual lunches/co-working sessions, doing product chats live on Instagram
  • Setting boundaries around your work/leisure time. I like the Pomodoro Technique, 25 mins on one task then a 5-min break
  • Working at a sustainable pace to avoid burnout – a solid six-hour day
  • Outsourcing work if you can afford to
  • Working with a mentor or business coach
  • Joining online networking groups
  • Journaling – having a brain dump at night, writing down what you’re worried about, grateful for, and celebrating any wins
  • Better self-care – exercise, nature, meditation, good food, sleep

I saw this piece come together on Lightbulb, an entrepreneur and press hangout. Interesting to see the behind the scenes process and how organic it is. Writer callout, case study pitches, printed article, likes, comments & shares. Things happen quickly and there are no PRs in the group. You can see what editors are looking for (Christmas gift guides!), find new markets and contacts to pitch to and do skill swaps. There’s a small fee to join and I think it’s well worth it. The group has around 2,000 members.

Other online communities worth checking out: Freelance HeroesBeing FreelanceLeapersHoxbyWork NotesFreelance FeelsNo 1 Freelance Media Women.


Meet Susan – here’s what remote working could do to you in 25 years 

Meet Susan – your future self if you don’t change your slovenly ways.

She was created by jobs discovery platform, DirectlyApply to show how remote workers could look in the next 25 years if we don’t change our working habits.  

Susan has terrible eyesight, red eyes and dark circles from staring at the screen all day, bad posture, and an overhanging belly from lack of exercise. She’s stressed out from not spending enough time talking to people and has wrinkles, thinning hair and pasty skin from lack of sunlight and vitamin D.

Pin her to the fridge or by your trainers as a stark warning to take care of yourself, including that eyebrow wax…


Creative Spotlight – Lisa Sweeting, Green Sense Events 

I spoke to Lisa Sweeting about quitting her full-time job to become a freelance events manager. She set up her company, Green Sense Events, during the lockdown and offers creative, bespoke, and sustainable event solutions. Read the full interview here.


🔗 the links

👩‍💻 COMMS JOBS – Comms Connect is a new scheme to help you find work across the government’s communication service. It’s for people who aren’t working or who have lost contracts due to Covid-19. You can register here and be notified when roles come up. It’s worth signing up for the newsletter – lots of tips on learning during lockdown. They are also asking for insights and resources you’ve found helpful during this time – email gcsrecruitment@cabinetoffice.gov.uk. 

🎧  PODCAST – Courier mag has launched its second podcast, Courier Workshop, to explain key business topics to help you work better. Each episode takes a deep-dive into one essential concept and unpacks it – defining terms, sharing expert views, and useful tools. Workshop two explores tone of voice and how to create it for your brand. Listen here

💻 SURVEY – The NUJ is seeking support from freelancers in a legal challenge to the UK government against the exclusion of large numbers of freelance workers from the Self Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) and the government’s failure to produce a coherent policy to ensure PAYE workers at publicly-funded employers can access support via the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS). 

The NUJ is looking for freelance evidence for the judicial review and can use named and anonymised quotes in their case. Take the survey here (live this week). 

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#12 Lockdown Learning – Interview: Lisa Sweeting, Green Sense Events

Lisa Sweeting quit her full-time job in March and decided to go freelance during the lockdown. She has now set up her own company, Green Sense Events, focusing on sustainability. I asked her what’s she’s learned so far, and her top tips for going freelance.  

You went freelance during the lockdown. What was the catalyst for setting up your own company?
I’ve worked in Events for 15 years, managing a mix of corporate celebrations, weddings, private parties, and mass participation sports events. I’ve toyed with the idea of going freelance for about 10 of those years! The thought of having ultimate flexibility, financial independence, fitting work around a family etc, but the comfort blanket of a regular income, paid holidays and sick pay always kept me in my job. When it’s not just you anymore, and you have the responsibilities of a mortgage, and mouths to feed, it’s not an easy decision. 

However, I often felt like my creativity was compromised working for someone else. I was bored of following a system, of doing the same thing year in, year out, everyone who knows me knows that I love variety and learning new things. I’m a real get up and go person, and yet somehow, I felt stuck, and I started to lose some of who I am, which in turn affected my confidence. I love working with new people which is why I love events, collaborating and connecting with like-minded individuals and I felt so busy all the time just juggling work and home life that I had no time to network with others. One of the biggest drivers was that I felt like I couldn’t implement any ‘change’ in a big organisation. After looking at jobs with event & marketing companies mostly based in Bristol and Bath, both an hour’s commute away, and getting frustrated with the lack of home-working opportunities, I finally decided enough was enough. 

I handed my notice in at the beginning of March, and then lockdown happened. Two months later, having worked my notice period, I was left with no job, and no prospects, so why did I still feel amazing, like I could finally breathe again! Firstly, I was able to focus on my children and homeschooling, while my husband worked full time in our home office. I was also ready to start connecting with a few people I’d lost touch with – albeit virtually! I joined some Facebook groups, thanks to a friend in the know and started communicating with people, and I loved it. Given that we were spending so little, I felt I could relax a bit and use the time to work out what I really wanted to do. 

I decided to go freelance despite no prospect of any events on the horizon, and then I set up a sustainable events company: Green Sense Events. Focusing on sustainability was something I’d wanted to implement while employed, and we had started to do it as an organisation but certainly nowhere near enough. I soon realised that if it was important to me, then I’d need to incorporate it into my business from the beginning, so it was at the heart of my work and not just a nice to have. 

What have you’ve learnt so far?
Social media can be overwhelming. I joined lots of Facebook groups, networking events, and digital events which were all great, but at one point, I had to step back and work out a plan of action, write a business plan, edit and update my social media profiles, just to focus my mind. It’s easy to read everything on social media and sign up to every digital event, newsletter and training session going, which is fun and can be useful, but it can also be exhausting. It’s essential to work out what is actually helpful to you in terms of upskilling and raising your profile. 

I’ve learnt to treat my peers as a community rather than competition. I’ve found that pretty much everyone I’ve spoken to whether they have their own sustainable events company, are a supplier or in a different industry altogether, has been incredibly supportive and happy to suggest other contacts and useful top tips. The more you connect with like-minded individuals, the more it leads you to other valuable connections, and it’s a great way to learn. 

Any tops tips on going freelance? 
I’d love to be able to offer top tips that will allow others to gain work, but the current climate means there just isn’t much work around. Things are starting to come back, and it’s great to have some actual dates for when events can start happening again. I’m using the time to get myself set up properly on social media and finishing my website for the company. Educating myself on the areas that interest me – which is sustainability, learning from similar event companies, and looking at what Tokyo Olympics are doing, for example, to be more sustainable. Building my network of suppliers and networking with others as much as possible. 

Many of the traditional networking events have moved online. So, there are still opportunities to network, online instead of ‘in person’, everyone is a potential client even if they aren’t looking to organise an event right now. I hope that people will start to think about planning events going forward even if they can’t happen just yet. I also plan to start a blog once my website is up and running, there are lots of interesting articles out there on sustainability, and I’d love to be able to share it with my network. I think it’s also a good way of engaging with people. 

I am interested to see how digital events affect the industry moving forward, so exploring different platforms to see what’s possible in this field. Digital is a fantastic way of lessening our impact on the environment, so it’s an important area to look at and experience. I think even if you’re not hosting a virtual or hybrid event, look out for virtual events that you can attend as a participant, so you can at least talk from experience. 

Useful Facebook groups: #Eventprofsforchange, Delegate Wranglers, Get Ahead in Events, UK Live Event Freelancers Forum.

Anything you need help with?
I am really keen to hear from anyone who is either a sustainable supplier or venue, and I’d also to hear about what people think about sustainability. I worry that we could move backwards slightly with all the use of plastic PPE, and restrictions on the use of re-useable cups. But equally, I feel that businesses might do more online and perhaps not hold events for the sake of it as much as they used to. 

Get in touch:
Lisa Sweeting, Green Sense Events Ltd 

lisa@greensenseevents.co.uk
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