• Rachel Pintarelli

I don't know about you, but sometimes I feel like I'm just floating in a sea of information overload.

Link after link saved to my iPhone promising that THIS is the thing you MUST do to succeed with your content creation, your branding, your small business strategy, your 'insert whatever here'.

But the truth is, I find the most inspirational and helpful resources to be the ones that keep it simple. I love to learn, and simultaneously not feel like I need a Master's degree in acronyms to decipher a free download.

So in light of these experiences, paired with my nearly twenty years in marketing, I've discovered that dedicating my content shares to foundational information is the way to go. It's a perfect fit for my marketer's heart and soul. I love that I'm creating a warm, welcoming home for small business owners to return to when they feel overwhelmed by the concept of marketing their services.

And the truth is, as much as I can offer my services within limited budgets, many small business owners are struggling, especially in the face of what is coming. It seems that now is the time to make myself, my knowledge, and my approach more accessible to the thousands upon thousands of small biz owners that will need to find a way forward without the overwhelm.

Let's prepare to face this "new normal" ahead, together. Below are foundational tips, tools and resources for creating the core of your content and things to keep in mind moving forward.

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Know Your Audience

Write your content in a way that will draw your reader in. Target the structure of sentences and the messaging in a way that it will appeal to your audience (a.k.a. target market).

How to Target Content

Reflect on who your target market is. What information are they seeking? What FAQs (frequently asked questions) would provide them with a greater understanding of the services you provide? What free insight can you offer so that they view you as a trusted, valuable resource?

Use Keywords Seamlessly (The Dreaded SEO!)

When writing online content, it is important to include keywords for search engine optimization (SEO) so people can find you when they search for related content. Once you have formed your list of keywords and phrases, be sure to craft your content as if keywords don’t exist. Include them in a way that they flow naturally throughout your content.

SEO Resources

I'm far from the expert on SEO but I've learned enough to be dangerous. Some resources for keyword searches include www.keywordtool.io and if you are looking to see what others are searching for on a topic you are writing about I love using answerthepublic.com. Both are free (& valuable) resources but have limits on usage and extended capability unless you upgrade. I also adore Meg Casebolt of loveatfirstsearch.com. She makes things super easy to understand and provides many free resources to her followers.

Keep It Professional

Great content isn't just about what you say, or how you say it, but also how professionally it is presented. It is critical that all content, whether online or in print, is always proofread before hitting the send or publish button. Poor grammar and misspelled words can instantly discredit your content's value.

Pro Tool Tip:

Although nothing can take the place of a professional copyeditor/proofreader, Grammarly.com has an amazing free service that allows you to copy and paste your content into their screen and evaluate it. It offers corrections for spelling and basic grammar that you may accept or decline. The advanced version is paid, but the free version is still a great tool for those that tend to feel lost when proofing their own work.

Other Quick Bits

  • Brand: Make sure your content is on brand with your business and utilizes your brand voice.

  • Sensitivity: Acknowledge the current climate of the times and be sensitive to it (i.e. the state of things due to the pandemic).

  • Engage: Look for opportunities to connect and engage with your readers. Don't be afraid to speak from the heart or provide transparency on the values/mission of your business..

  • Updates: Periodically review existing web content, older blog posts, newsletter content, etc and consider how content can be refreshed, reworked and/or reshared.

There is no question that Covid-19 is affecting everyone and everything around us and in many different ways.

The challenge before us, as small business owners no matter your situation is to keep the connection alive between you and your virtual audience. Both your existing clients and your eventual new ones all NEED to know you are still present and accounted for despite closed doors (if that is the situation, which it seems to be for most). And if your doors are still open, or you're operating online, then they need to know that too.

And all the while, the content we are sharing whether it's in our social media streams or our blog posts must come from a place of empathy. Operating under the same ole, same ole policy of what you may have been sharing before is not going to keep your audience connected. If ever there was a time to get real with your Facebook/Instagram followers or blog readers...it is NOW. Compassion, transparency and an open line of communication have never been more needed in the way we are creating the content for our faithful audiences.

I know this can sound overwhelming. I know that the idea of pulling together a daily or weekly routine of keeping your content alive and in a way like I've mentioned, while simultaneously working through your own fears, whatever they may be, seems daunting.

And I hear you. Nearly all of March and early April were simply lost to my feelings of fear, disappointment, and unending worry. It seemed a monumental undertaking just to put on a pair of socks each morning, never mind create content and try to salvage a virtual connection to lost clients due to a massive economic shift.

It's not easy to share that, but it's important. What's also important is to know a way forward, to figure out some things you can do to create your light at the tunnel's end. And like my mother, Paula used to say, "You can let yourself feel all the feelings, you can cry and eat all the chocolate in the world, but at some point, you have to stand up and live again."

When the middle of April arrived, those words rang in my head louder than ever and I began again.

The life of your business can continue through the content you share, it can be a way back to the new normal that awaits so many small business owners. And it can be done while you also try to manage the reality of now.

Here are some helpful tips on what to share and how to share in this very unusual time we are living through:

  • You do not need to mention Covid-19 in all of your content. That said, it is important to consider the tone of your captions and content. People are experiencing this time in a multitude of ways. It's important to keep empathy in play and keep top of mind that "sell, sell, sell' is a tone that will be lost on many. I'd also caution against the already virally communicated "perfect pause" marketing content. For many, this time has wreaked havoc mentally and emotionally and seems less than a perfect pause in life to be grateful for. A repeated marketing message that "take this time to be your best self" may do more harm than good without being certain your full audience is on board with that approach.

  • Be transparent. Allow yourself to share some of your current struggles. You do not need to go into detail, but content that gives your audience a "behind the scenes" feeling makes you, and your business more relatable.

  • Revisit past content and re-use with a different spin: Go through some of your previous blog content/social posts and find ways to reflect on that content and reuse it. For example, if you are a salon that shared imagery of a beautiful client's cut and color from months ago, repost with a new caption. You could mention how you and your staff look forward to supporting your customers. This also helps to reinforce the quality of your product or service for a new follower/reader.

  • Encourage engagement: Ask for input on how others are managing through this crisis to get a feel for what the climate is like amongst your customers/followers. And of course, to simply show that your presence and connection to them is not simply one-sided, but that you genuinely care.

  • Alternate ways to support your business: If you are a storefront business that can sell any of your products through the mail, SHARE THAT INFO in your content. And share it often. I can't tell you how many businesses I've stumbled across that only have one or two small posts about selling products or merchandise remotely. This is a great content opportunity to combine the "be transparent" content element while still being able to sell product empathetically. Many people WANT to help support their favorite small businesses, and that means an honest, genuine open door to let your customers know they can support you through online sales.

  • Provide hope: Many of your clients and customers miss you, your services and your products just as much as you miss them. Don't be afraid to share genuine moments of hope or joy. It doesn't have to always be about the business, it can be about you. If you take a walk amongst the trees with your family, take a picture and dedicate a post or blog to the calm you felt in that moment. Because THAT is hope, and we need that now more than ever.

P.S. As always, I'm here if you should ever need some guidance or if you would like some writing assistance. I've emerged from this difficult time realizing I need to be a true "helper" for small business owners, and that's where my spirit currently needs to live.

Right now, in light of current conditions and restrictions happening in our very real world it occurred to me that there are plenty of people out there entering the "work from home" zone. These may be folks that have never lived the life of a "work-from-homer" and thought it may be helpful to offer a cheat sheet of productivity tips to welcome you all to this new way of working.

That said, these tips can provide as a refresher for those of us who have already navigated our way into this world. And it is a world that is once again changing. Unfortunately, it means keeping our focus, and making sure we are nourished and staying peaceful and productive is especially challenging right now. I know for me it is something I'm beginning to contend with and the battle to not let it consume even an hour of my day is alarming (full disclosure!). So just like you, I'm going to soak in my top 6 tips for keeping the momentum train moving.

After-all, we may be here for a while, and that's OK. Stay healthy and stay safe everyone!

tips on working from home

Visit Zen Habits for an extensive list of productivity tips on working from home!

Connect with me today and let me know how I may support you! Feel free to dive into any of the options below and schedule directly if you know what support you need. Not quite sure? Drop me a line in the online form below and I'll be in touch within 1 business day!

Connect with me today and let me know how I may support you! Let's spend 30 minutes 

getting to know each other and see if we fit just right!

Whether it is a copy edit session together in real time, or you need someone to brainstorm with on how to market a new offering, let's press "play" and start those engines together! 

© 2020 Rachel Pintarelli, Rock Your Brand. Created with Wix.com

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