Tag Archives: Copywriting

2015 Year in Review

3d-business-plan

At this time every year, I take time to review everything that happened in my business. I look at the good as well as the not so good. Why? This tells me where my successes have been and where I need to work harder to round out the areas that I don’t do well in.

LET’S START WITH THE SUCCESSES!

3 business people

I had three new clients this year that produced quite a bit of income for me. Each client allowed me to learn something new and to troubleshoot solutions to their problems.

3rd year

This is my third year in business and I’m still working hard to attract new clients and retain the ones I have now. My expenses were less this year, because I’ve already purchased all the marketing materials and software that I need to do the projects.

skills 2

I took my top three skills (research, writing, and creative thinking) and used them to expand my services. I love to write and you can’t write without doing some research. I love the creativity of finding new ways to write something or present a different point of view. I’ve done some copywriting and I felt that it was time to take it a step further. I enrolled in a copywriting course and I found that I knew quite a bit about doing it correctly, but I also learned some tips and tricks of the trade.

NETWORKING

business-people-shaking-hands

I’ve networked more this year that the past two years combined. I’m getting better at meeting and greeting people, so I’m stretching myself and seeking out places and events, where I can meet new people and tell them about my business. I still panic when I walk through the door, but once I’m in there, I start to relax and mingle and I think I’m getting the upper hand in this.

I may never fully conquer this fear, but at least, I’m working toward that goal. I’ve met some great people and learned a few things from them. I always eat something before I go to an event, because I don’t want to feel hungry or faint. That little burst of energy gets me started and by the time I am hungry, I’ve met some people and relaxed a bit. This is part of my 2016 business plan. I want to network more, but also, get more out of networking and I believe practice makes perfect. The more I do it, the better I will become.

NEVA

 It’s always a great idea to socialize with like-minded individuals. I’m so happy I joined NEVA (New England Virtual Assistants). They’re in the process of changing the name to NEVBO (New England Virtual Business Organization). This is an exceptional group of business professionals, who want to learn new ideas and trends, but also want to learn to succeed. The monthly conference calls feature guest speakers and the in-person quarterly meetings at restaurants around New England gives members the opportunity to network and exchange ideas and plan for future events.

I was skeptical about joining, because I didn’t know anyone and didn’t know what to expect, but this group has so much to offer in the form of education, speakers, and possible job offers. It is a wise investment in my business!

MY BUSINESS PLAN FOR 2016

 So what does my business plan for 2016 look like?

  • I am pursuing copywriting, because I believe it is a perfect fit for me. I will take another copywriting course early next spring.
  • I plan to meet with someone from the Rhode Island Small Business Development Center. They offer free workshops and I can learn so much from them.
  • I also plan to contact someone at SCORE (Service Corps of Retired Executives), a national group that also serves Massachusetts and Connecticut. They offer mentoring and one-on-one meetings to help small business thrive.
  • Do more networking and try to enjoy doing it. Work on my elevator pitch, so the words will flow out of my mouth and attract everyone’s attention.
  • Get more involved with NEVA/NEVBO. Try to attend more of these events and attend more of the conference calls.

 

If I can accomplish most of this, I will have a great year. If I only accomplish some of these ideas, my business will still be better off than just hoping or waiting for something good to happen.

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WRITING AGES LIKE FINE WINE

So Many Topics, So Little Time

Virtual Colleague LLC 4

I’ve written over 140 blog posts since April 2013. In that time, I’ve covered various topics about my virtual assistant business, Virtual Colleague, LLC, running a business, different aspects of a business, my fiction novel “Everyone Evelon” and many other topics.

Everyone Evelon Cover

In preparation for writing this post, I went to back to the first six months of my posts. Needless to say, my writing has greatly improved. I struggled as anyone does, when they start out doing something that they’ve never done before. Back then, I had a variety of topics, but my writing style was not that good.

Through reading other blogs and doing some research, I’ve honed my writing skills and produced better copy and deliver more information to my readers. It doesn’t matter what topic I write about, I’ve developed a better way of expressing my thoughts and opinions and the blogs are better for it.

I write two distinctive blogs. One is for my virtual assistant business and the other began as a blog for my author website, but is in transition. As a result of taking a copywriting course, I will be dividing my time between my virtual assistant projects and copywriting.

Perfection

Mom Always Said Practice Makes Perfect

 BloThis is so true! I see the results in my posts as I scan through my blog posts from beginning to end. I’m getting better all the time. I’m still struggling with SEO and keywords, but I’m headed in the right direction.

wine-cups-and-grape

Writing Does Age Like Fine Wine

 Wine starts out as grapes. These are the topics for blog posts. The grapes are squeezed, so only the juice is used. This is the research that comes from searching for pertinent information to include in the blog post. The juice goes through a fermenting process. This is where the blogger researches, writes, stops, researches again, continues to write and then leaves this copy for several days to let it “settle” before going back to it to find mistakes, inaccuracies, or any other problems.

When the wine is near perfection, then it is ready for public consumption. So too, with your blog post. After you have rewritten your copy several times and changed the word order or some words and checked punctuation and grammar, then it is ready be shared with the public.

This is the analogy I use, when thinking about my blogs. Every post I complete is shared worldwide, so it needs to be as perfect as possible. I admit, some posts are funnier than others are or contain more information than the others, but each one is the very best I can do at the time. I use the wine analogy to keep myself focused and produce the best posts I can.

 bottle-and-glasses-of-wine

Wine Is Sometimes Enjoyed In Intervals

 

I recently bought a bottle of wine for the holidays. I know I will not drink all of it at once. Instead, I will savor it over a period of time. Writing blog posts should be like that, too. Your readers should want to reread them or refer to them, if they need to. Your posts should make a lasting impression.

The next time you start to write something, whether it’s a thank you card, letter, description, or other piece of copy, remember the wine analogy and make whatever you write as clear and smooth as a fine wine.

 

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Online Image is Everything

 You now have to decide what ‘image’ you want for your brand. Image means personality. Products, like people, have personalities, and they can make or break them in the market place.David Ogilvy

David Ogilvy

 It is so true that we judge and are judged by our appearance. Not just by our physical features, but by our cleanliness, attire, and attitude. That’s why it is so important to create a brand that works for you. You must be true to yourself or else the brand you choose will betray you. For example, if I enjoy the outdoors, I can still dress to the “nine’s”, but that is not a true picture of what I like and enjoy. Jeans, boots, and a baseball cap would be a better representation of my true self.

young-woman-cycling

Branding can be a tricky business, because most of us want to be all things to all people, but in business that is simply not possible. We have to select a niche and stick with it. This makes us experts in this area and we can then impress our clients.

Niche

As I labor through my online copywriting course, the leaders in this field of writing are convinced that your business brand is extremely important. Why? Because as a copywriter, you cannot hide behind a team or group. YOU ARE the copywriter and are held accountable and responsible for all of the words on the page.

writer

If you’re a good writer and bring in money for the company, they will ask you back again and again. If you express mediocre talent and don’t show potential, your assignment will be a one-time event.

I think of “image” as the description of “you” without words. When I see you, I can guess what mood you’re in, if you’re tired or energetic, if you want to be in another place at this moment and many other things about you without either of us speaking a word. When I think in those terms, I realize how important my brand or image is to my business, Virtual Colleague, LLC.

Virtual Colleague LLC 4

I am in the process of transitioning from a variety of virtual assistant writing services to specializing in clients, who need copywriting. I will still be a virtual assistant, but copywriting is something that comes naturally to me and satisfies my creative juices.

I expected the copywriting course to cover the basics of copywriting and give a few specifics, but this course examines the whole spectrum of skills, business, and marketing strategies to become successful. It’s a lot more than I bargained for, but it is exactly what I needed.

The information I’m learning in this course can be applied to almost any business. In the course, the leaders talk about branding and its effects on the marketplace. They also talk about the art of selling and how to persuade clients and customers to buy something they don’t really need or want.

Selling

It’s not aggressive sales techniques or sales quota strategies. It’s just a step-by-step way to find what the student does best and encourages each of us to work on it and improve. I thought my brand was solid, but after reading a few chapters, I have revamped my image and changed a few things. I’m more aware of my social media presence and I look forward to posting something every day. This course is giving me a lift for my business and a personal challenge to do my best every day. I look forward to completing this course and learning so much from reading and doing the exercise.

 

It confirms the motto, “if you do something you like to do, it’s not work.”

  Do you have any questions or comments about copywriting?

 

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WHAT IS A NICHE AND HOW TO FIND IT?

Virtual Colleague LLC 4

Change is good for the soul. When I started my Virtual Assistant business, Virtual Colleague, LLC. in early 2013, I wanted to conquer the world. I did not want to restrict myself to certain services, so I offered many services. Services like transcription, social media management, document preparation, etc. I wanted to come on strong and get my business up and running. I read that most virtual assistants have a niche and work within those parameters. I speak French, so I know what a “niche” is, but how do I find mine? A “niche” is a fancy word for “specialty”. Sometimes we know ourselves too well and don’t realize our strengths, but we all know our weaknesses.

Niche

I enjoy being flexible and performing a variety of tasks, whether it’s cooking, gardening, or writing; I enjoy the freedom to explore and learn something new.  That’s why it was so difficult for me to find my niche. I didn’t want to tie myself down to certain tasks or groups, but I knew I had to.

female executive

It didn’t take long to realize that I was a “Jill of all trades, mistress of none” meaning that although I can do many things, I really needed to specialize and stay focused. I had to do some soul-searching. One the one hand, I knew I loved to write. One the other hand, I enjoyed researching and learning new things. How could I marry these two loves?

strategy

I quietly honed down my services in my business over several months and focused more on writing projects and resume packages. The more I wrote, the more I loved it. I started researching what other virtual assistants were offering during this time. In my personal life, I always research everything before I buy anything. I check for quality, reviews, and pricing. When I do make the purchase, I am satisfied that I got a good deal. I then realized that I love to research. I will look up anything – an old classmate, a movie star from the 80’s, or travel destinations.

Salad

While meeting with a few friends for lunch, one of them suggested I learn to copy write. She told me that I have a great sense of humor, I can talk people into doing or buying things, I love to write, and I could make more money, if I focus on that part of my business. She advised me to learn more about it. I’ve done some copywriting, but not on the scale she was talking about. This idea intrigued me, so I researched it further. I decided to take an online course in copywriting, so I can learn from the masters and get a feel for this style of writing. I’m not quite half way through the course, but I’m really enjoying it. I find that I’ve been producing good copywriting, but this course offers so much more in the way of helpful tips and tricks, personal stories from successful copywriters, and samples of great copywriting work.

copywriting

I’m grateful to my friend for suggesting this and I realize that this is a perfect fit for me. Not only do it get the opportunity to write, which is my passion, but also, I have to research new products and services for my clients and that makes the job fun, interesting, and informative. The fees are based on the copywriter’s experience, but if I really work hard, I can earn several times more than I’m earning now and not only get better at copywriting, but learn a lot about new products,  services, and what’s going on in the world.

Sometimes it only takes a few words from someone to point you in the right direction.

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Benefits of Article and Advertising Copy

This is the first post about one of the services that I offer in my virtual business, Virtual Colleague, LLC. As I mentioned in a previous post, I am focusing on the writing services of my business.

In this post, you will see how important article writing is and how it can help to grow your business, organization, or group by highlighting the benefits of the product, service or volunteer opportunities available.

Newspaper Article

As a certified freelance writer, promoting an idea, suggestion or offer through written words is more effective than just a poster or a sale. Let’s talk about article writing.

When I write an article about a product, the article defines the product, gives dimensions or sizes and, states what the product does for you, the customer, and why you shouldn’t live without it. The article can then either give you the history of the product or itemize the other uses for the product and reinforce why you absolute cannot live without it.

Widget

While video and cartoon-type advertising is eye-catching and flashy, it is so costly. Writing is an art form and it has been around for centuries. It is effective, because:

  • The customer can refer to it on paper or via computer
  • The message can be as long or short as needed
  • The message can be copied and placed on many different types of media
  • Speaking words is a momentary type of communication, but the written word is there for all to see and is PERMANENT

The most interesting part of writing an article for a company, organization, etc. is that the writer gets an opportunity to really get creative and get the message out about the product or service in a unique and positive way.

Along with article writing, which can appear in a blog, magazine or website, creating advertising copy is fun, interesting and a learning experience for the writer. Through advertising copy, a writer has to really get to know the product or service and come up with new ways to present it, education consumers to go out and buy it, and come up with a catchy phrase or slogan. Not really the easiest thing to do, but still, a fun, mind-exercise that can stir hours of creativity from within.

slogan

Part of article writing has to do with facts and details, but it must leave the reader with wanting to know more about the product or service.

I’ve had the opportunity, through my writing, to promote activities of the International Association of Administrative Professionals – Providence Chapter both on the chapter website and on the Greater Providence Chamber of Commerce website. The chapter events and activities were out there online for all to see and hopefully readers would contact the association for more information.

I have recently been asked to co-edit the monthly newsletter of the International Association of Administrative Professionals – Crossroads Chapter. It is a volunteer position, but I will be responsible for providing content on a number of topics for the newsletter.

I am thrilled to have this opportunity, because it gives me a chance to do my favorite thing, which is writing and I get to promote activities and events for the association that provides education and training for all administrative professionals on all levels.

Virtual Colleague LLC 4

Do you know anyone that could use the assistance of a writer for any reason? If so, please ask them to contact me at JPlante@VirtualColleagueLLC.com, so we can discuss how I can help them with their project.

How do you feel about reading rather than listening to an advert? Please leave your answer in the comment section.

 

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