Do you struggle with writing captivating content in a timely manner?

I recently asked my Instagram community to share what they struggle with most when it comes to writing. The challenges they shared were all too common and ones I witness business owners fighting every day.

One day the struggle is not being able to think of anything to write, other days it’s spending way too much time editing. Some of these struggles, especially when experienced over and over again, make us feel like writing content isn’t worth it. But it is.

A photo may be worth a thousand words, but what happens when it’s paired with a well thought out caption? Now that’s where the magic happens.

Instagram captions can be a time-suck. You finally perfected your photo and are now staring at a white box wondering what in the world to say. You frantically head to Pinterest searching for an idea, a clever phrase, or a witty quote. Maybe you type a few words, but then immediately erase it because it’s not creative enough, cheeky, or genuine. Next thing you know, a half hour goes by, and you have to move on to the next thing on your endless to-do list without even posting a photo! Ugh.

Your website is the face of your company.

You may have heard that before, but it’s worth repeating. Your website is often the first place people go when they want to learn about what you do and how you can help them. And while it’s important for your website to look appealing, the words on each page will determine if it works effectively for your business or not.

The truth is, website content is often an afterthought. When building a website for your business, your first thought was probably about how you wanted it to look. Don’t get me wrong! A well-designed website is imperative, but your content is what’s going to cause people to take action.

Business owners are some of the busiest people in the world. It’s no secret that you’re juggling a million things. Often, writing content for your website, blog, newsletter, and social media platforms probably isn’t high on your priority list. But if you’ve been around here very long, you know how vital content is in enriching your customer's experience.

The truth is, as business owners, we have the tendency to put too much on ourselves. This isn’t because we don’t trust our staff or don’t know how to prioritize. It’s because we want to do the best we can for our business. But if you’re anything like me, you need to remember you can’t possibly do it all and it is okay to get help.

You’ve got a blog, you’ve scheduled the time to write, and now you just need one more thing. A blog post idea to write about.

Even though you’re an expert in your field, sometimes the hardest thing is to figure out how to capture your knowledge and ideas into a pretty little blog post. How do you balance sharing what you know and answering the questions your customers have?

Do you ever wish you could hire someone to write blog posts for your business and still get the credit?

Kind of feels like cheating on a test, right? Thankfully, it’s not. In fact, it is a recommended practice that will not only save you time but provide value to your customers.

A ghostwriter is someone who will take on your tone, style and persona and use it to write content for you, under your name. Not all successful small business owners are skilled writers, nor do they have an abundance of extra time. A ghostwriter can write your blog posts and newsletters, giving you the freedom to focus on the work you love and need to do.

If you’re a small business owner, content marketing needs to be a part of your daily business strategy.

Still scratching your head and wondering what content marketing is exactly? 

oe Pulizzi defines the concept in his book, Epic Content Marketing, as “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.”

Pulizzi further explains, “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.”

Who doesn’t want their blog to be more successful? Nobody.

As business owners and marketers, we are all looking for ways to increase readership, enhance engagement, and ultimately, get more mileage out of the blog posts we write!

A couple weeks ago, we published a short video “4 Ways to Make Your Blog More Successful.” We totally appreciate all of the wonderful feedback you gave! We wanted to provide a more in-depth look at these tips and share a few more tips we think you need to take your blog to the next level.

These are the tried-and-true strategies we have been using for the past year. Enjoy!

Most of us recognize when it is appropriate to write emails in a formal or informal tone. At work, we are told to error on the side of being too professional when communicating with coworkers, our boss, and our clients. We’re given the impression that it’s better to be safe than sorry and to be careful not to come off as too casual or worse, disrespectful.

But once you’ve formed strong relationships with coworkers and clients, wouldn’t it feel weird to be strictly professional in your emails? Shouldn’t your communication style reflect the connection and trust you’ve built over time? So, how do you walk the line between being professional and personable in your emails?

The truth of the matter is that some of us started blogging because someone told us we had to, and others started because they wanted to talk about their products and services. But those are not the right reasons to blog.

Watch our most recent video clip and learn about the top three blogging mistakes we encourage you not to make! Businesses who make these three mistakes are simply adding to the mountains of irrelevant content online and disappointing their customers by not offering the solutions they so desperately want. 

What’s your home page saying about you? As the most viewed page on your website, your homepage should leave your audience intrigued and informed. What they should not be is bored, confused, or unsatisfied. If you don’t capture your current and potential customers’ attention quickly, they will leave. Seems like common knowledge, and yet, we come across poorly executed homepages every day!

What you include on your homepage sends your audience a message about what you think is most important for them to know, your approach to customer relationships, and why they should do business with you. Your homepage should direct your audience to where they should go next on your website and how they can get more information.

Your homepage is your 24/7 sales tool. Don’t screw it up.

Last week, we got to know Amanda, the owner of Rough Draft Solutions. This week, we wanted to focus on the two other team members of the business, Emily and Maddie.

These two ladies have added so much value to the work we do at Rough Draft Solutions. They are skilled writers and editors, and we are excited for you to get to know them a bit more!

AuthorAmanda Washburn

In the world of small business, we must take ownership of our story. We must speak out, share our experiences, and open up about our struggles. By doing this, we can inspire and encourage one another to keep the dream alive. We are continually inspired by the hardworking business owners who are bootstrapping it and making things happen!

This week we’re interviewing our very own Amanda Washburn, the owner of Rough Draft Solutions. We hope it gives you a bit of insight into our company and why we’re committed to empowering other businesses to communicate with their customers! So, grab a cup of coffee and stay awhile! 

Love it or hate it, blogging is here to stay. Every week I meet business owners who ask me about whether or not they should be blogging. Most times, my answer is yes, but under one condition.

Don’t be a dummy.

Okay, that may not be quite what I say, but if you’re going to write a blog you need to follow some house-rules. The rules aren’t complicated, in fact, they aren’t too different from what your 7th grade English teacher taught you in regards to writing a paper.

Awhile back, we made this blog writing checklist for a training session we did with one of our clients. This checklist is a quick and easy way to make sure you cover all the bases before you publish your blog post. Use this checklist as you get started writing and before you know it, blog writing will become second nature.

If you published a powerful piece of content without your name on it, would your customers know it is from you? If you're not sure, you've got some work to do.

One of the most important things you can do when it comes to marketing is to create a business voice that stands out and is easy to connect with.  Remember, we've gotten away from just selling our products through content and are now focused on producing value and telling stories. To do this effectively you must create a style and tone for your business that can be used across all platforms and documents.

Remember, your customers probably won’t acknowledge that you have a set style in place because they will be too caught up in effortlessly reading your content (and that is what you want!). And often, if they do notice your writing style and tone it's when something is off and your cadence/approach/perspective doesn't match what they are familiar with. 

Let's dig into why you need to establish your business voice (more specifically, your writing style and tone) sooner than later and lay out exactly how you're going to do that. 

When it comes to blogging, one crucial and often, overlooked aspects of blogging is finding the time to do it! The idea of having a thriving, popular blog sounds fantastic, but making it happen is another story. You may have a plethora of blog topics you want to publish, but it’s tricky to find the time to blog when you have a hectic schedule.

Today, I will give you tips that can help you thoughtfully plan your time and dismiss the overwhelming stresses, so you can bring  your blog ideas to life.

Turning a blank page into a piece of engaging and sophisticated content is a tough task. There are some days where the amount of creativity spilling out of you is utterly ridiculous, and your swift typing fingers can hardly keep up with your ideas. And then there are days where you can’t seem to think of a solid concept, let alone write it down.

Being a writer for Rough Draft Solutions has been so much fun and such a blessing, but believe me - there are days where writer’s block gets the best of me, and I stare at my laptop for probably way too long. Every writer experiences writer’s block at some point, and each person handles it differently.

Before throwing in the towel or overstressing and freaking out that you can’t get over your  writer’s block, here are some tips on ways you can cope, manage, and beat writer’s block when writing for your business. Some methods may work for you and some may not, but there are plenty of different efforts you can try to beat writer’s block and make creativity your friend again.

Since grade school, we are taught to use “Well” instead of “Good,” “I’ instead of “Me,” and “May I” instead of “Can I.” When people correct us, does our grammar become perfect? Do we implement everything we’ve ever been corrected on? No, of course not.

As a young 8-year-old, I was a patient student and a sharp listener. While my classmates were fond of math and science, I was focused on perfecting every spelling test and became fascinated by the new world of commas. My class fell silent when we discussed grammar and spelling, but I was always eager to show off my knowledge. The teacher would finally ask, “Emily, where should the comma go?” “Before the conjunction,” I would say, keeping my reserved character, of course, so my friends wouldn’t think I was annoying.

The purpose of your business’s website is to provide your customers with information about your company’s products, services, and brand, but is that all it should be doing? Your website has the power to entertain, educate, and delight your customers. Your business may be open 9 to 5, but your website is available to the public 24/7. Are you confident it is working for you? The key to ensuring your potential customers understand how you can help them and are interested enough to contact relies on one simple thing. Your website content.

Today we will explore how to write engaging website content that will captivate your customers and impact your business in a positive way.