Today, more than ever, business owners are sharing their personal lives in their blog and social media posts. Despite fears of mixing business and personal, entrepreneurs are finding that their followers love seeing a more “real” side to business. Whether you want to call it authenticity, being genuine, or simply being you, it doesn't matter - being personal attracts others to you (and to your business!).  

 

By now, as a business owner, you’re probably well aware of the benefits of blogging. But do you realize the harm you may be doing by NOT posting consistently?

The thing is, humans are creatures of habit. We like to have routines. We want to know that the businesses we choose to work with will deliver on their promises consistently. And frankly, grabbing the attention of your readers is hard enough. If you succeed in capturing their interest, you better not push them away by only posting interesting content once in a blue moon.

If you blog every week for a month, and then disappear for six weeks, your customers are going to wonder what happened. If you post sporadically, your customers won’t make it a habit to check your blog every week. You want to make sure you deliver content to them when they are looking for it! You want your readers to get used to coming to your blog every Wednesday, or whichever day you post!

Moment of truth: I had no clue what content marketing was when I started working at Rough Draft Solutions (RDS).Thankfully, after a year of working at RDS, I’ve got an idea of what content creation strategies businesses should be using.

The amount of advertisements we see each day is excessive. Businesses are striving to show off their brands and attract potential customers, but if they are strictly relying on self-promoting ads, they are missing the mark. If companies want to make a meaningful impact on their customers and extend their reach, they need to produce value-focused, authentic, and hard-hitting content.

We are excited to welcome back our guest bloggers content strategist, Allison Spooner and tech enthusiast, Jesse Flores. In today’s blog post, they will explain the steps your business should take to create a customer persona. This is an important step to take to not only improve your business and marketing strategies, but to also truly get in touch with your customers needs.

We are confident Allison and Jesse will help you master the process of creating the perfect persona for your business! Read on!

 

Are you still debating whether or not your business should have a blog?  We think it’s time to make up your mind - and to start blogging!

Maybe you’re hesitant to start a blog because you think “No one will read it,” or “I have nothing to say…” Don’t worry, you’re not alone in this thinking. But you are wrong! We are fairly certain that you have a lot to share in your realm of expertise - and trust us, if it is unique, valuable content, people will read it!

Before I started working for Rough Draft Solutions, I had written one… maybe two blog posts ever. Now, I write one or two posts per week! Turning a blank screen into a page filled with high-quality, appealing, and informative content hasn’t been easy, but it has been beneficial to RDS, our clients, and myself as a professional.

After writing blogs on a consistent basis for almost a year, I have learned A TON about blogging. In part 1 of Business Blogging , I will cover the 6 things your company is missing out on by not blogging and what you need to do to get started. Writing blog posts consistently is not always an easy thing to do, but the benefits blogging brings to a business makes it worth it.

Do you ever feel like you’ve lost your voice? That somehow in the rush of it all, you’ve lost track of your unique ideas, opinions, or perspective? As a small business owner, a writer, and a consultant, I feel like somewhere along the way I got so caught up in “building a business” that I forgot that at the heart and soul of this business was one single person…. Me. 

Uffda. Losing your voice as a writer is a hard thing to admit, but I think it is important that I do. To take ownership of Rough Draft Solutions, to get back on my own two feet, and to feel proud of what I am doing, I have some owning-up to do. 

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AuthorAmanda Washburn

Today is an exciting day! We are hosting our very first guest bloggers! Allison Spooner and Jesse Flores are sharing with us how business isn’t just business. It’s personal. Their insight is on-point and vitally relevant to our efforts to support our clients in an authentic and valuable way in 2016.

So, who are the writers? Allison is a freelance, content wizard. She writes content that helps businesses in Lansing and beyond tell their stories, educate their customers, and promote their brands. Jesse is a startup junkie and tech enthusiast. His most recent endeavor is launching SuperWebPros, which builds Super Websites with Heroic Service for small businesses. Over the past year, we have enjoyed brainstorming with these two content and business gurus and are confident you will enjoy the insight they have for you.

Before hiring a new employee, there are dozens of factors to consider. Businesses want employees to have a positive attitude, strong loyalty, and compelling creativity. However, it is arguable that the number one asset companies are looking for in candidates is effective communication and writing skills. Why is this so necessary for the job market you may ask? Today, we will explain why your ability to write and communicate effectively in business will never be obsolete. 

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AuthorEmily McPherson

You know the feeling when you get a new outfit and you can’t wait to parade around showing everybody because it gives you the kind of confidence that makes you feel like you can take on the world? Well, that’s kind of how we feel about our new About Us video. Which is why we couldn't be more excited to share it with you!

Here is an inside peek at what goes on at Rough Draft Solutions!

Most of us understand that in order to connect with customers and increase our online presence, it’s important to have a company Facebook page. And while you may have dabbled in posting statuses or sharing photos, I would argue that the majority of us don’t exactly know what we’re doing on this platform.

You may be scratching your head wondering, how do I gain a steady following? What kind of content should I post? And does it matter what time I post? Believe it or not, all of these little details directly affect the success of your page. Failing to create a clear strategy (and following through with it) will stunt the growth of your page and will keep you from reaching your desired audience.

Which leads to the bigger question: What is the most effective way to run a successful business Facebook page?

You may provide outstanding products and services, but if you don’t treat your customers right, they will find another way to get what they need. It is important to show your customers they are respected, valued and appreciated by your company. There are many simple ways to give your customers excellent service, but you want to be the business that goes above and beyond to keep your customers coming back.

Here are seven ways you can better serve and support your customers. The goal is to keep them happy and coming back for more!

When it comes to navigating social media as a business owner, there are many factors to consider. What, when and how often should you post? The list of questions on how to do social media “right” is a long one. While the logistics may be confusing, the goal is to use social media effectively to ensure your company is connecting with its customers in a real way. After all, that’s what social media is about— creating meaningful connections with people and brands you care about.

In today’s post, we are sharing our thoughts on four major social media dos and don’ts. 

Words matter. The way we talk about our business matters. The way we write about our business matters. The way we communicate with our customers matters. While people may not remember exactly what we say, it is a well-known fact that they will remember how we make them feel. Here are a few important questions to ask yourself as you consider how you make your customers feel with the way you communicate with them about your business. 

  • Do you try to make your customers feel like a valued part of your business community? Do they know you care about their opinions? Do they hear from you consistently enough to feel remembered? 
"The truth is, what you do matters. What you do today matters. What you do every day matters. Successful people just do the things that seem to make no difference in the act of doing them and they do them over and over and over until the compound effect kicks in.” 
― Jeff OlsonThe Slight Edge: Secret to a Successful Life

I love this idea. You can apply this concept to whatever element of life is most relevant to you at the moment. Whether you are trying to lose weight, save money or start a new business, you need to do things over and over and over again before there will be any sign of growth or improvement. What you do matters. What you do today matters. 

Hello!

Happy Friday! It has been raining all morning and all I want to do is go sit in front of the fire with a hot cup of coffee. Ah, coffee. I haven’t had any in two and a half weeks! (If you know me well, you know I used to drink at least 3 cups a day.) I won’t get into it but I have been on an awesome detox directed by Back to Basics Healthy Living and no caffeine is allowed (amongst many other things). It is quite a feat considering all we have accomplished here at Rough Draft Solutions without any coffee involved! Despite over extending my will power during this detox, I am feeling better than ever. -- All joking aside, this weekend we are headed out of state and it is threatening to snow. Way. Too. Early. If it snows, I am definitely going to give in and have a nice hot cup of jo.

Anyhow, how was your week? What was your biggest accomplishment so far? Around here we have been having fun finishing up some great projects.

Hello!

How are you doing on this fine Friday afternoon? I hope it finds you doing well and enjoying the beautiful weather we are having here in Michigan. What are you up to this weekend? I have family coming into town and we are going to spend as much of it outside as possible! Whatever you are up to, I hope you get the perfect balance of relaxation and adventure.

To switch gears completely... I must apologize for something. The mistake I have made is something I advise my clients against and that I always thought I understood. 

 am currently reading the book Epic Content Marketing by Joe Pulizzi. While I am not very far into the book, I wanted to share some interesting thoughts from it.

Discerning the difference between content marketing and traditional marketing, may be a challenge for some. In an early part of the book, Pulizzi pulls together several definitions of content marketing, one of my favorites was the “Content Marketing: For Practitioners:”

“Content Marketing is about delivering the content your audience is seeking in all the places they are searching for it. It is the effective combination of created, curated and syndicated content.* Content marketing is the process of developing and sharing relevant, valuable, and engaging content to a target audience with the goal of acquiring new customers or increasing business from existing customers.**”

Consistency is key. This topic has been coming up repeatedly the last few weeks. When companies are struggling to create a strong brand or to effectively engage their customers, a lack of consistency is usually the root of the problem.  Being consistent is important in two core areas of your business.

First, it is imperative that you are consistent with what you are saying about your company. While it is important to share different information about your organization, your customer needs to be able to quickly identify that the content is coming from you. Whether you are posting on a blog, publishing a newsletter, or simply posting on Facebook, can your reader easily identify what your values are as a company? Is your identity clear? Do you use one tone for all of your content?