20 Ways to Become a Better Writer for Your Business

20 Ways to Become a Better Writer for Your Business

Don’t think you’re a writer? Think again! If you own your own business and are building your own brand, you are constantly communicating with your audience, prospects, and clients via the written word.

On your website.

On social media.

In emails.

You are a writer.

As a former copywriter, I spent a lot of time studying the effectiveness of words and practicing better ways to put them together to communicate with our ideal clients. Here’s a list of 20 simple, straightforward ways that you, too, can begin improving your writing.

 

 

 

 

#1 – When you write, picture the one person you want to talk to (this will usually be your ideal client). Don’t talk to “everyone” or to a vague “target market”. Talk to that one, unique person.

#2 – Write regularly. Every day, or twice per week, or however it fits into your schedule. The more you practice writing, to more natural it will become. (You can funnel your regular writing habit into a blog, and begin attracting clients through it).

#3 – Read, read, read! Reading other good writing will help you improve your own. Read other websites that you think sound great, read magazines, blogs, books in every genre. Feed your creativity.

#4 – Write the way you speak. Using contractions, sentence fragments, and other grammar short-cuts (like we do when we talk) will make you sound more conversational and human online. But remember that breaking rules intentionally is different than sloppy writing.

#5 – Become your own editor. Proof-read everything before hitting publish, send, or share. Typos happen even when you do your darnedest to catch them, but proof-reading your work thoroughly will cut down on embarrassing slip ups. (Grammarly can help you with that, too).

#6 – Use your personality! Communication void of personality is boring to read. Use your own natural quirks, energy, and style to make your words interesting + effective.

#7 – Get a second opinion. When you write something for your brand – like a new landing page or a sales email – zip it off to a trusted business pal or writer friend. Ask for specific feedback.

#8 – Set a timer when you write. If you find that writing feels hard, or that every five words you’re tempted to click on the Facebook tab, then you NEED to curb your distractions and bust writer’s block. One of my favorite ways of doing this is setting a timer for 45 minutes and promising myself I can take a break when it goes off.

#9 – After you’ve written something, read it out loud to yourself (or your spouse, or your puppy). Hearing your words out loud will help you gauge how natural they feel. If it sounds stiff and awkward out loud, it will sound stiff and awkward in your readers head, too.

#10 – When you write anything for your business, ask yourself how you’re serving or benefiting your audience through it.

#11 – Always spend extra time crafting a good headline for your blog posts and sales pages. Grabbing people’s attention in the first place is half the battle.

#12 – Talk about benefits, not features. People don’t want to buy shampoo – they want to buy healthy, shiny, magazine-cover-worthy hair. What benefits does your product, program, or service offer? (Hint: it’s usually rooted in an emotion).

#13 – Learn how to be concise. Writing short and writing concise aren’t always the same thing. Long sales pages can still be concise. It’s about cutting fluffy words and non-essential information.

#14 – Never end a sales page, blog post, or marketing email without a call to action. Always give people a next step.

#15 – Use your audience’s words. Study how they talk about your type of product or service – the words they use, the worries they voice, the benefits they value most – and infuse that into your copy.

#16 – Hire someone to help you polish your most prominent pieces of copy (like your website).

#17 – Make sure you know who your perfect, ideal clients or customers are before you write anything.

#18 – Don’t get hung up on perfection, or about publishing, sending, or sharing something that’s better than everything else out there. Just write what you mean, write it as best you can, and share it.

#19 – Don’t stress too much about creating an endless stream of great content for your business. There are plenty of ways to recycle your words and ideas.

#20 – Learn how to plan your content and writing out ahead of time, so that when you sit down to write something, you’ll have focus and purpose.

          

call - 616.821.7244  |  email - sonja@jobsonstudios.com  |  follow along - @jobsonstudios 
Grand Rapids, MI

The Best Free Tools for Creating Great Visuals for Your Business

The Best Free Tools for Creating Great Visuals for Your Business

Having great visual designs for your business has always been important – but I would say that it is more important than ever now, especially if you do the majority of your marketing and business-building activities online.

If you think about your own habits online, you’ll probably notice that you rely heavily on visual information. We skim a lot more than we’d like to admit (because, after all, we want to believe people still read every word we worked so hard to write down on our own blogs and websites).

But because it’s a lot easier and faster to process visual information – like illustrations and photos – we pay more attention to them. In addition to it being easier, visuals are also a lot more fun to pay attention to. Reading a page of text can seem like work while glancing over a pretty infographic feels like entertainment.

 

 

 

 

All of this to say: creating high-quality visuals for your business is crucial. And it doesn’t have to be expensive or super time-consuming. Below are 3 great (and free) options for designing visuals that will impress your prospects.

#1 – Canva

Canva review

Canva is a great online tool you can use to create everything from social media images to blog post graphics to posters and business stationary.

It is incredibly easy to use (drag and drop style) and the basic version is completely free. While some of the graphics and images in their library are premium (and you have to purchase to use them), they also supply a large library of options for free.

#2 – Pic Monkey

pic_monkey

Pic Monkey is another great option, with a bigger focus on photo editing. While you can create illustrative visuals on both Canva and Pic Monkey, Pic Monkey will be the platform that will also allow you to easily edit photos.

You can crop photos, add filters, adjust levels, and include effects. It’s also an easy way to create photos with overlayed text for blog posts or social media.

You can also create solid graphic design items in Pic Monkey with their large library of backgrounds, fonts, and illustrations.

#3 – Adobe Illustrator (free trial)

AI

Even though Adobe Illustrator is NOT a free tool, it’s the best of the best when it comes to designing visuals for your business – and since you can score a free 30-day trial, it’s definitely worth mentioning on this list.

Illustrator will come with a steeper learning curve than free, super-user-friendly tools like Canva and Pic Monkey, but it will open up limitless possibilities when designing visuals for your brand.

The tools inside Adobe Illustrator give you the ability to design icons, graphics, logos, illustrations, and much more. If you’re very serious about improving your visual design game, Illustrator will take you the farthest (by a lot).

You can get your own free trial of Adobe Illustrator here.

          

call - 616.821.7244  |  email - sonja@jobsonstudios.com  |  follow along - @jobsonstudios 
Grand Rapids, MI

Designer Matchmaking: How to Choose the Right Pro For Your Business

Designer Matchmaking: How to Choose the Right Pro For Your Business

Are you in the market for a branding and/or website designer? Are you feeling overwhelmed by the job of choosing the right designer for your business?

Choosing someone to help you design (or re-design) your brand is a big deal, and it’s important that you do your homework before signing a contract. As a brand + website designer myself, I know how important it is to find a good match. Your designer is going to help you shape and refine your business identity and how the world perceives it – so they should be someone who you trust and feel comfortable collaborating with.

But how do you know who that person is – especially if you’re hiring someone online? It’s actually not as complicated or risky as you might think. Keep the following 5 guidelines in mind while reviewing potential designers, and you’ll find a great match in no time.

 

 

 

 

1 – Scope out their portfolio

The portfolio is a great place to start when considering a designer. Their portfolio will highlight their past (and, hopefully, best) work and give you an idea of their designing style.

But be careful – don’t just look for examples that closely resemble the design *you* want. One of the skills your future designer should possess is the ability to adapt to each brand they work with, and create a design that uniquely reflects their business, appeals to their ideal client, and helps them achieve their specific business goals.

Instead, look for variety and technique. Does the portfolio demonstrate the ability to create unique designs with different aesthetics, or do they all look super similar (and in that case, does the super similar look of their design style appeal to what you want for your brand)? Also, look for good technique – like the ability to create impactful designs while keeping things simple and clear.

2 – Review their process

Great brand design is built on a strong foundation. And that foundation should be based on your business personality, the style you want to convey, and who your ideal clients are, among other things. The only way to establish this foundation with a designer is through a thoughtful and purposeful process. Your designer should take the time to get to know you and learn about your business, goals, and audience. A lot of designers will post information about their process right on their website. But if you can’t find it, make sure to reach out and ask them what approach they will use to get to know you before diving into the design work.

You want to work with someone who knows how to identify the important details and help you communicate exactly what you want for your brand.

3 – Don’t let price be your deciding factor

Not to say that you shouldn’t shop within your budget. Knowing what you can afford to invest in your new design is important, and you should seek out designers who offer services in your price range. But once you are reviewing a handful of designers that fall within your budget’s reach, don’t simply choose the cheapest one.

Hiring a designer based on price alone can be a terrible strategy. It’s well worth it to spend a little more to work with a designer who understands your vision, has a style that matches what you are looking for, and will take the time to guide you through the process and create branding and website design that will fit your business perfectly.

4 – Ask them who their ideal client is

Ask a potential designer up front who their ideal client is. A designer who has taken the time to clarify who they do their best work for will be able to help you tremendously in figuring out if you are a good match for each other or not.

5 – Check for a timeline

There is no set standard amount of time your project should take – because every project and every designer is different – but your designer absolutely should establish a timeline for your project.

Ask a potential designer how long a project like yours typically takes, and ask if they set up a process to keep projects on track and to communicate progress consistently. It’s important to remember that deadlines work both ways – and that you’ll need to be quick with responding to questions, providing feedback, and communicating revision requests – but your designer should definitely be providing you with a delivery date, progress updates, and consistent communication.

Hiring a designer to bring your visual brand to life is a great investment – and it doesn’t have to feel overwhelming or risky. Use the 5 guidelines above and do your homework on potential designers. Speak with them via email and on the phone to get to know their approach to design AND business (you want beautiful design plus great customer service, right?). Don’t be afraid to ask questions!

          

call - 616.821.7244  |  email - sonja@jobsonstudios.com  |  follow along - @jobsonstudios 
Grand Rapids, MI

Brand + Website Design for Lovely Life Events

Brand + Website Design for Lovely Life Events

When I connected with Kaitlin about redesigning her brand and website for Lovely Life Events, she wanted to focus on these words:

Intimate, relaxed, genuine, and natural.

LovelyLifeEvents_Portfolio_Infographic

I have each of my clients create a visual inspiration board at the beginning of our project, and Kaitlin’s was full of beautiful, woodsy scenes, earthy colors, and geometric accents. Pulling from her visual inspiration, her ideal client profile, and the overall business goals she described in her project workbook, I created several logo concepts to choose from:

Kaitlin-Wise---Logo-Concepts

Her initial top choice was concept #1, and after reviewing the design strategy and direction behind each logo, we both agreed that concept #1 was the strongest.

After working through some minor revisions of the logo and finalizing her color palette, we began work on her collateral items. She chose to have business cards, posts cards, and an info flyer designed for her business:

KaitlinWise_BusinessCard

LovelyLifeEvents_PostCards

LovelyLifeEvents_InfoFlyer

In the final part of the design process, we moved on to developing her new WordPress website that would showcase her new branding and her freshly-launched service packages.

Website

When I connected with Kaitlin about redesigning her brand and website for Lovely Life Events, she wanted to focus on these words:

Intimate, relaxed, genuine, and natural.

LovelyLifeEvents_Portfolio_Infographic

I have each of my clients create a visual inspiration board at the beginning of our project, and Kaitlin’s was full of beautiful, woodsy scenes, earthy colors, and geometric accents. Pulling from her visual inspiration, her ideal client profile, and the overall business goals she described in her project workbook, I created several logo concepts to choose from:

Kaitlin-Wise---Logo-Concepts

Her initial top choice was concept #1, and after reviewing the design strategy and direction behind each logo, we both agreed that concept #1 was the strongest.

After working through some minor revisions of the logo and finalizing her color palette, we began work on her collateral items. She chose to have business cards, posts cards, and an info flyer designed for her business:

KaitlinWise_BusinessCard

LovelyLifeEvents_PostCards

LovelyLifeEvents_InfoFlyer

In the final part of the design process, we moved on to developing her new WordPress website that would showcase her new branding and her freshly-launched service packages.

Website

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