Tag Archives: services

VIDEO SCRIPTS BRING YOUR PRODUCT/SERVICE TO LIFE

Did you ever consider making a video for your product or service?

Video posts are becoming more popular, because they make your product or service seem real. Videos create the opportunity to provide new information about your product/service and let’s your potential customers/clients SEE your product or service in action.

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While most of us have phones that can create videos, it’s not enough to make a great impression.

A great video starts with an idea about how to present your product/service. The idea should focus on what makes your product or service different from your competition. Then, an outline should be created to present your product/service in a step-by-step process. This is accomplished by hiring a video scriptwriter.

Video scriptwriter

Can anyone write a video script?

Of course, they can! But you need someone, who not only writes passionately about your product or service, but understands how to sell your product or service through words. That’s where a qualified copywriter or video scriptwriter knows how to present your product/service and how to entice potential customers/clients to contact you and ask for more information. The video script is important, because 1) it lays out the benefits of the product or service, 2) highlights the features, and then 3) gives potential customers/clients a reason to want what you have to offer. The script has to flow and seem very natural to anyone watching and listening.

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Another consideration for a video script is the rhythm of the speaker. Sometimes, the writer has to analyze the speech pattern of the speaker.  Using words or speech cadence that the speaker is unfamiliar with can ruin a video, if it is not carefully synced together. Background in video can be distracting, so the writer has to work with the graphics department to ensure that although the product or service is shown, the words have to add additional meaning to the visual.

Music Band

Time is also a factor. You have to determine how long you want the video to run. Music may be used, but again, it should complement your product/service or create a feeling of urgency. The music should do more than create a mood. It should appeal to the customer/client’s senses. You must be careful and get full permission to use music, graphics, or other elements in your video. The penalties can be steep and include jail time.

The video presentation has to be believable, enticing, realistic, plain speaking, and give the customer/client a reason to want to know more.

As technology continues to grow and push boundaries, some business owners are going totally video. They do this for two reasons: 1) they like the intimate feeling that is conveyed to the public by looking into the camera and speaking directly to the viewer and 2) they have the opportunity to sell something visually, verbally, and audibly. Three great ways to reach customers/clients in ways they can relate to.

Camera man

Making a video can be fun and a great team-building project, so if you’re looking for something to enhance your marketing, try creating a video, but make sure you hire qualified professionals. Virtual Colleague, LLC specializes in video script writing for any product or service. Contact Virtual Colleague, LLC at JPlante@VirtualColleagueLLC.com to schedule a free consultation.

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RESEARCH VERSUS WEB RESEARCH

As a virtual business assistant, I do research on almost everything I work on. For my own business, I research my competition, rates, offers, services, and many more things. I like doing research, because it’s a learning tool. I always learn new information and ideas, when I’m researching.

I always research with a purpose.

Because researching is fun and interesting, I could spend many hours just looking up and reading, but that doesn’t get me where I need to go. I always research with a purpose – a clear purpose. That keeps me focused on what information I need to find and prevents me from wasting time reading information that I don’t really need to know.

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Web research is the most expedient way to find information.

 It’s fast and links to other pertinent information. It’s better than reading a book or magazine to extract information. Web research has all if not most of the information at the push of a button and the copy and paste feature ensures that I’ve captured the source and quote correctly.

Researching for my clients helps me to understand their businesses, products and services, and what makes them unique or stand out from the rest. I put myself in their shoes and look at their business offerings. Then I try to find the differences between the businesses themselves, the products and services, and their target markets. All of this factors into the way I research, the depth of research, and the type of research I perform.

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For comparison research, the method and time involved is minimal, but for research that compares other businesses with my clients business. It is a long and tedious process. I have to not only find the information, but also verify that it is real and true. Many website today post information about other companies, but is it true? Maybe yes, maybe no.

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It falls to me to provide accurate and honest information to my clients. They depend on me to site my sources and to provide multiple accounts of the same information. Businesses that take the easy way of researching or failing to verify the information, run the risk of losing their credibility and over time, the business usually dissolves for lack of trust and honesty.

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Researching also provides me with an education. I may not always have an interest in the topic I’m researching for a client, but I will learn about it anyway. Who knows, somewhere down the road, I may need to use this new information for another client. I have to put myself in my client’s shoes, so I immerse myself in the research needed to provide reliable information for marketing and blogging purposes. When it’s an interesting topic, the time flies by, and I’m entertained. When it’s a little more intricate or technical, I have to put my full concentration on it and look up any words or terms I’m not familiar with.

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Contact me at Virtual Colleague, LLC for a free consultation on how I can research for your business and products/services.

 Toll Free #: 401-384-0257

Local #: 401-595-0087

Email: JPlante@VirtualColleagueLLC.com

 

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WHAT IS A NICHE AND HOW TO FIND IT?

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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.

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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?

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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.

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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.

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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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WHAT IS VALUE?

Value is defined by Dictionary.com as “relative worth, material worth, or estimated worth of money, material, services, etc.” This definition does not answer the question.

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Ask anyone what “value” is and they will give you their version of what is important to them. In the virtual assistant world, value can be described in several ways.

  • Value is a job well done, completed before the deadline with no mistakes.
  • Value can be troubleshooting issues for your client, so if they occur, the virtual assistant is prepared to correct the inconsistencies.
  • Value can also mean the price of services. A virtual assistant might think she is worth a specific hourly fee, but the client may not be so sure. If the client thinks the fee is fair, the client considers the partnership good value.

How can a virtual assistant be sure that value is included in every project and with every client?

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Value is determined by the client, not the virtual assistant. The client sees how a virtual assistant works regarding meetings, assignments, questions, suggestions, etc. This can be seen as value. The virtual assistant is showing the client that the value is in the details and workings of the project.

Value is also in the fee for services. Clients know how much their employees are paid, so when a virtual assistant submits a fee for services, there might be sticker shock. Virtual assistants are usually paid by the hour or project, but employers are used to having their employees there for 35 – 40 hours. Employers might find a virtual assistant’s fee a bit exorbitant. This is where the virtual assistant has the opportunity to sell their skills, expertise, and educate the client on what they will do and how they can save the employer money and expenses.

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So value is anytime someone sees they’re getting more for their money or more work performed. It’s up to the virtual assistant to make this happen. That’s why I schedule a meeting with my client, so we can get to know each other and the client’s needs.

I also assess the client’s management style and expectations. This is crucial, because personality plays in role in any working relationship. Management style is important, because this will determine how well you both work together. Being able to work with difficult people or people, who don’t share your work style, will ensure that you will attract and retain clients.

Value for me, as a virtual assistant, is being able to complete a project before the deadline. Doing this saves time to do other things. Value, in my opinion, is being able to complete a project by knowing some shortcuts and achieving all that the client wants. Saving time is like saving money. It allows me to market my business, network, write my blog posts, or do other things without diminishing my time for my client.

Most people look for value in the things they purchase. Value is in the eye of the beholder.

What does “VALUE” mean to you?

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WEED, SEED, AND FEED

This sounds like a gardening commercial, but in reality, this is what you should be doing if you work as a virtual assistant. As owner of Virtual Colleague, LLC, I try to stay current with new technology.

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I’ve been working in my yard to get it ready for summer. I live in New England and the weather can be tricky. If we have hot weather in May, everything starts to grow including the weeds. If we have a lot of rain and then it turns hot, there are all kinds of green vegetation growing everywhere.

As I was weeding some of my flowerbeds, I realized that in order to grow new plants, I had to make room for them. As I was working to clear the debris, I started to analyze which plants had started to grow and which ones would not return. I thought about what I would put in the empty spaces. Do I want flowers, ferns, or foliage plants?

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I systematically worked on each garden bed until they were all weeded. Then I had to do some research to determine which plants do well in the sun or shade and how tall they would grow. It took a few days to gather this information and lay out what I wanted to do. I decided that starting the plants from seed would be a waste of time as the summer season is upon us.

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I decided to buy starter plants and simply put them into the ground at strategic locations. This would not only make the gardens look different, but would add a splash of color and definition to those areas.  After I finished planting, the gardens looked totally different from last year and I had a mix of perennials and annuals. Perennials come up every year, but annuals appear only one time.

Yard Flowers

 

After sitting back and admiring my work, I had to develop a schedule for watering and caring for all of these plants. With a little more research, I created a spreadsheet with all of the pertinent information about each type of plant and then pinned it to the back of the door of my gardening shed. My “Weed, Seed, and Feed” was finished. All I have to do is stick to my schedule.

I thought about my virtual assistant business. I’ve offered the same services for quite a while. Maybe it’s time to “’weed, seed, and feed” my business. I looked at my list of services and decided that some of them will not appearance on my services list. I will still offer them, but I will not promote them.

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Instead, I need to sow some new seeds in my business. This means doing some research and finding out what services are in demand. There are some skills I am not capable of doing, but I’m sure that if I look at my existing skills, I can find some other services that I can offer to diversify my offerings. These are the “seeds” that I must plant in my business from time to time.

I did find a few other services I can offer and I know with a little practice, I will be as strong in them as I am with my current offerings. This is “feeding” my business. I will admit, I’ve become complacent with my services and that needs to change. By “feeding” my business on a regular basis, I will be able to adjust my services and skills to acquire and accommodate new clients.

Just as the new plants look fantastic in my gardens, my business will be refreshed and attract new clients. Never be afraid to change things up for the better!

Do you change your services from time to time?

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Web Research: a Thirst Quencher

Several of my relatives have made a lifelong commitment to finding out all they can about their friends and neighbors. Unfortunately, they cannot contain that information to themselves and instead spread the details or stories to anyone that will listen.

Gossipers

I’ve always wondered why some people do that, even though: 1) it’s none of their business and 2) they could have the facts wrong and ruin someone’s reputation. My theory is that they have an unquenchable thirst for information. They feel compelled to find out everything they can about everything and everyone around them.

Unquenchable thirst That is the exact opposite of web research. I offer web research as part of my virtual assistant business, Virtual Colleague, LLC, because every business needs to stay current with information about products, services or new innovation.  The most common reason to do web research is to find out what the competition is doing. Businesses need to be upfront about the products and services they offer, any special deals or discounts that’s out on the web. This provides a challenge to them to find ways to stay competitive.

Competition Web research is also used to explore new possibilities. It provides current statistics on trends, important issues, and declining interests. Scanning the web for pertinent information can provide direction to a company, so they can decide to diversify by offering new products or services or to phase out products or services that are becoming outdated or obsolete.

I enjoy web researching, because as the researcher, I learn about new items and ideas and get a fresh perspective on things that I just took for granted. As a virtual assistant, I always get a clear picture of what my clients need and why they need it.

As a web researcher, I can pull up all kinds of information, but is it relevant to the needs of my clients?  That’s why having a meeting to discuss what the purpose and focus of the research is all about saves time, money and enables me to quickly discard information that’s not needed.

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    Convention Center

New Car

Whether I’m researching a vacation resort or convention sites or just researching to find the best vehicle for the company fleet, it is important to outline what to look for and why the search is so important. I usually create an Excel spreadsheet or maybe even a PowerPoint presentation to display my results in a way that is clear, concise and easy to follow.

The end result is a detailed list (spreadsheet) of each item I have researched and broken down each piece of information into categories, so my client can make an informed decision. I may also take any financial information and make a chart or table that provides a visual of the information I have collected.

In the case of researching a place or product, I may create a PowerPoint presentation with a page for each item or place I have researched. I try to provide pictures or photos and list the Pros and Cons on each page. This may seem unnecessary, but I’ve found that after reading reports for most of the day, my clients prefer visuals, so they can look at the whole picture rather than just concentrate on the numbers.

A web researcher must be vigilant and discerning. Everything on the internet is not true or substantiated and that’s why web research is a lot like trying to find your ancestors. You must find matching information that verifies the original information that you found, so you can count it as true. It’s not enough to just look things up on the internet and take them at face value.

Just as my relatives have earned bad reputations as gossipers and busybodies, so to for any web researcher that wants to keep clients, the information has to be true and correct.

 

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HOLD THE PRESSES FOR A PRESS RELEASE

Did you know that Virtual Colleague, LLC writes press releases for companies, groups and associations? So what is a press release and why should you use one?

A press release is a written statement released to various forms of media, i.e.: newspapers, magazines, websites, blogs, online forms of media, etc. It is an announcement of important news about the company/group and usually talks about some future event or new product/service or even a membership drive that details what the group/association is all about and why you should be a member.

The press release may include a scheduled event, but not just the details of the event, but some background into why it’s so special and discuss the purpose of the event. A press release may also be used to introduce a new product or service to consumers. This press release would give a detailed description of the product or service, what it can be used for, and why you simply can’t live without it. It may also give some history about the product or service development and why it is superior to other products or services that are similar. There may even be a free trial offer or discount for new customers.

Press Release

Press releases are also used to announce promotions of employees or business partners and any awards they have received. Some companies use press releases as an affordable alternative to advertising their products and services in big pricey ads in newspapers and magazines. By promoting their employees and officers at promotion time, these companies feel they generate “good” publicity by demonstrating what a great place it is to work and how an employee can move up in the ranks. Although these types of press releases are mostly found in business publications and newspapers, they can be found in online groups and on the company website.

Press releases are sometimes used to announce sales figures in an easy to digest manner. Rather than pure boasting about their achievements, companies will send out a press release about their sales figures for the last quarter or quarters and may also highlight the top 3 salespersons responsible for those numbers. It is a professional way of bragging and it is effective in challenging their employees to make sure that they stay competitive and on top of their share of the market place.

Sales Figues

Sometimes smaller companies are scrambling to get noticed by investors and consumers alike. In this case, smaller companies would create a press release that focuses on a series of newsworthy items. For example, they may want customers to know that they now have 50 employees after starting the company with only 10. They may have diversified their product to include colors or sizes. They may boast that they always have free shipping or that they only use UPS door-to- door shipping. They may also include stories about their employees. For example, a nod to returning veterans or describe some of the charities that the company supports.

In these ways, companies, groups and associations can continue to promote themselves in a positive way and stay active in the minds of customers and consumers by releasing these press releases on a frequent schedule.

Sometimes, a whole news story can be generated by one aspect of a press release. These stories are usually written by journalists or freelance writers for newspapers or magazines.

Creating press releases are a huge part of Public Relations. It is the responsibility of the PR team to get the public interested in what the company, group, or association has to offer and why it is something they need. A Press release is just one of the way they do this.

Writing a press release can be fairly simple, but you must be creative to make it “stick” with customers.

1)      You need to write a catchy headline

2)      Write the body of the text – be concise and deal with the facts

3)      State the “5 Ws” and the H clearly:

  1. Who is this about?
  2. What is the actual news?
  3. When does this happen?
  4. Where does this take place?
  5. Why this is news?
  6. How is this happening?

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4)      Make it clean, crisp, and applicable to your audience – use good grammar and use jargon that the customer will understand, if writing about a specific type of product

5)      Tie it all together, so the potential customers will see a normal progression of the idea and facts.

Press Releases are also being created as infographics and PowToons. This requires greater creativity on the part of the PR team, but it is well worth it! The use of social media will greatly improve the audience and reach of the press release in any form and generate more business, because it reaches a more diverse audience.

 

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Virtual Colleague, LLC can write press releases for all events, promotions, new products and services and other items or newsworthy business. Contact Virtual Colleague, LLC for a free consultation and find out how working virtually can help your business save money, while getting the job done effectively, within budget and on time.

Email Jo Ann @VirtualColleagueLLC.com for more information.

 

 

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