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Communication Strategy

What is a Pain Point and Why Does it Matter?

What is a Pain Point and Why Does it Matter?

By on Jun 20, 2017 in Blog Writing, Communication Strategy, Social Media Writing | 0 comments

It’s important in business to understand what your customer wants, but it’s even more important to understand why. What are the underlying needs, issues, concerns or problems that are driving people to seek out a particular product or service? Knowing the answers will help you create better content for your blog and social media. In the marketing world, these are often referred to as “pain points.” The idea is that the customer is seeking a product or service to solve some sort of pain that they may or may not be aware of. I don’t like the negative connotation of pain, so I prefer to refer to them as “deepest desires.” Here’s why they matter to you: As a provider, the more you understand why people need or desire what you offer, the better you can tailor your product or service to meet that need or desire. This applies to developing content as well. Knowing what drives people will help you to find the messages and words that will connect with them. Suppose you clean houses. Why do people hire someone to clean their house? The obvious answer is that they don’t want to do it themselves. But why? Is it because they don’t like to clean? Then you want to talk with them about how you can take that job off their hands. Or, is it because they’re so busy? Then talk about how much time you can save them. But there’s more. Why is having a clean house important to them? Do they a greater sense of peace when their home is clean? Or do they want to avoid being harassed by an in-law? Maybe it’s a little bit of both. Should you be talking about how you can relieve stress or how you can help your customer impress the visitors? Now, dig deeper. What’s important to them about how the product or service is delivered? Scheduling? Cost? Style? When you know the answer, you can talk in terms of how you will address their issues. They will see how you will solve their problem. How to uncover the deepest desires: Put yourself in your customer’s shoes and think through the buying process from their perspective. Ask...

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How to Get a Headshot that Says 1,000 Words

By on Apr 14, 2017 in Communication Strategy | 1 comment

It seemed like a simple request from my client. She wanted a serious headshot and one that showed the lighter side for her website. But how often is it simple when it comes to photos? My last headshot was taken more than two years ago when I had shorter hair. In the one before that, I had almost curly hair and fewer worries. Neither fit her goal. Besides, they were no longer quite accurate, which means they aren’t quite authentic. And went it comes to online marketing, authenticity matters. I know that a headshot is a powerful tool. It shows people who you are and helps to convince them that they should do business with you, or at least consider the possibility. It matters as much, and maybe more, as your words. With that in mind, I was feeling a bit stressed out. After all, this would represent me on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and my website among other places. And, based on past experiences, it will be there quite a while. What should I wear? How should I pose? Where should I have it taken? I wanted something natural and fun yet somewhat serious. I wanted a photo that says this person will get the work done and make sure everyone has a good time doing it. No pressure, of course. I turned to headshot guru John Munson, owner of Beacon Photography for guidance. He offered some suggestions to keep in mind whether you’re having a friend take the photo or hiring a pro. Here are the Don’ts: Wear narrow stripes and large bright prints. They will be distracting and draw attention from your beautiful face. Don’t wear large pieces of jewelry, unless that’s your typical style. The focus should be on you more than your accessories. Crossing your arms tightly across your chest. This sends a “stay away” signal. Arms down at the sides is generally the most flattering pose. Here are the Dos: Think about the image you want to project and the audience you want to attract. Friendly? Serious? Competent? Wear clothes that represent the image you want to portray. If you run a serious professional business, dress in formal attire. But nix the tie...

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How to Build Systems You Will Love

How to Build Systems You Will Love

By on Apr 5, 2017 in Communication Strategy, Social Media Writing | 1 comment

The sun finally came out on Sunday bringing a welcome warm breeze. I know because I glanced at it longingly from my desk in between furtive bursts of working to catch up on a year’s worth of bookkeeping. I would love to have been outside, but instead, I was at my desk going through my calendar and crunching numbers. At some point in the afternoon, a little piece of advice I was once given floated into my brain: Systems will set you free. This great little phrase needs a qualifier, however. It should be: Good systems will set you free. I have a bookkeeping system, it just happens to need improvement. A good system makes things go more smoothly. It reduces your workload and ensures that things happen as they should when they should. Bad systems can not only leave you at your desk on a sunny spring day but also derail you and hold you back. Some might say it’s about discipline and doing what you know you should. But I think that’s only a small piece of the puzzle. I think the better approach is to design systems that make more sense for you and your life. When it comes to online marketing and social media, you can use systems for generating blogs, sending out emails, posting to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other channels, and more. Yes, it takes some time to set up the systems, but compare that to the time you will save in the long run. As someone who is not a natural system follower, I’ve developed a method to develop systems that I can stick with. I’ve already applied it effectively to several parts of my business, and I’m working on it for others (ie bookkeeping). Here’s my formula: What is it that you want to have a system for? While this seems almost too basic to include, it is an important starting point. It forces you to focus and be clear about what you want to build. Why do you need the system? Perhaps this is obvious, but thinking about it will help you design the system. Keeping this in mind can also help you stick with it. What is your current...

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The Road to Good Communication is Paved with Active Listening

The Road to Good Communication is Paved with Active Listening

By on Mar 30, 2017 in Communication Strategy | 2 comments

In my business, we talk a lot about what to say, how to say it and when. The focus is on using words both on screen and in person to communicate a message. But there’s another side to the conversation. While it is important to know how to talk, it is also important to know how to listen. The thing about being a good listener is that you will not only be better informed but also find it easier to get your message across. When people feel they have been heard, they are more open to hearing. It’s about listening actively and taking the time to process what you’re hearing. But, as I’m finding, it takes practice. Think about this: The average person talks at a rate of about 125 to 175 words per minute. I’ve been told I’m at the higher end of that range. Even so, most people can comprehend at a rate of up to 450 words per minute. That means even with my rapid-fire chatter, there are a lot of opportunities for minds to wander. And given how busy we are, my guess is our minds tend to wander off often as what we’re hearing triggers reminders of all that we need to be doing. At least mine does. Calming the Chaos This morning, my normally even-keeled daughter was in hysterics because she couldn’t get her homework to print. She told me last night that she needed it, but it hadn’t really registered. More accurately, I wasn’t really listening. Most likely, I responded with a hollow but reassuring, “Okay, dear.” Instead, I could have asked clarifying questions about when the homework was due and what steps needed to happen. We could have avoided the morning’s disruptive emotional turmoil. It can make a difference in business too. Take for instance a networking meeting when you need to meet new people. Surprising to some who know me, I’m a little shy. What helps is being armed with questions. “I’m Jennifer, and you are?” “What brings you here today?” “What was the highlight of your day?” When I’m working on being an active listener, I listen to their answers without judgement, and I ask questions about what they’ve...

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Make Time to Update Online Social Media Profiles

Make Time to Update Online Social Media Profiles

By on Mar 20, 2017 in Blog Writing, Communication Strategy, Social Media Writing | 0 comments

Would you call you? One of the best bits of wisdom I picked up in the early stages of my business is that people want to do business with people they know, like and trust. I have found this to be true and a little frustrating. Afterall, you can only meet so many people in a day. If you can’t meet them, how are they ever going to like and trust you? Fortunately, there is the internet, which gives us the capacity to meet people from all over the world with whom we could potentially do business. The challenge, of course, is that you still need a way for these people to get get to know you so they can find out how likable you are and determine that they can, indeed, trust you. This is why your content matters so much. You’ve got just a few lines to hook people and make them want more. What does your content say about you? Have you looked at it lately from the view of someone who hasn’t met you and doesn’t yet know how wonderful you are? Now could be a good time to do some Spring Cleaning on your social media profiles. Here is a quick checklist to make it easier: Are your profiles accurate? Are they up to date? Do they reflect what you are doing now and how you want your business to grow? Do they focus on what you offer to clients? Is there a call to action? Do they include contact information? It’s a good idea to review these profiles every few months to make sure they reflect what you are doing now and where your business is headed. If the thought of it is overwhelming, break it down into smaller chunks. Just do one channel at a time. Or, schedule small blocks of time, 15 to 20 minutes. Keep coming back to it until it’s done. As you review your profiles, think of trying to reach just one reader at a time. You are not talking to a big group. You are talking to one person who is making a decision about whether to follow you, look at your website, or maybe even give you...

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How Not to Go Visit the Grand Canyon And Lessons for Social Media

How Not to Go Visit the Grand Canyon And Lessons for Social Media

By on Mar 4, 2017 in Communication Strategy, Social Media Writing | 1 comment

I was under the impression that the drive from Las Vegas to the Grand Canyon was just about 2.5 hours. There were plenty of tour buses that would pick you up early in the morning from your hotel, bring you there and return you just in time for dinner, so a day trip seemed feasible. I was in Vegas to organize a conference. It was three days of intensive activities following several weeks of intensive planning and preparation. Consequently, I had been too busy to adequately plan this feasible day trip, but I wasn’t going to let that stop me. I rented a car and picked up a friend who had also been too busy to plan. We lingered over coffee and then left with a notion of the right direction and a sense of what we were doing. Once on the road, we Googled the day and made plans for a hike on the South Rim. We followed Google Maps and diligently turned off at the big sign that said “Grand Canyon This Way.” So far so good. But somewhere in the midst of the Joshua Trees, we started to realize we weren’t heading where we thought we wanted to go. We were on track to go to an outlook where there was no hiking. At this point, we’d lost access to Google Maps and had to rely on old-fashioned paper maps. None of this would have been a major problem except that I had a plane to catch later that day. As best we could without GPS to give us an exact time, we estimated how long it would take to get to where we wanted to go and then how long to get to the airport. It would be undoubtedly close. We knew it was unlikely that we would get time to hike even if we made it to the South Rim. But what is life if not a daring adventure? Besides, the speed limit out that way happens to be 75 miles per hour. (It’s just 65 around where I live.) And so, off we went in the new right direction. The thing about traveling out west is that you don’t always feel like you are getting...

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