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How to deliver a keynote presentation like a boss

Do you have to prepare a keynote presentation as part of your job? Then, of course, you want to make an impression. But many people would rather run a mile than stand in front of an audience, especially if you don’t do this often. Forget about the fear of spiders, high altitudes or being afraid of the dark, research shows that people are most panicked at the thought of public speaking. How about you? Remember, that the fear is almost always in your head. Doing a keynote presentation does not have to be scary at all. Here are a few tips to prepare you well and to make a perfect impression with your presentation.

Preparation is key: know your subject inside out

You can be such a confident person, if you have not prepared, you will fall flat on your face. A presentation not only needs to be brought with conviction, but it must also be properly structured. Choose a topic that interests you and delve into it. Gather the main facts, certain aspects, things that spark curiosity and perhaps include an anecdote to keep the audience engaged. Write these bite-sized chunks of information down in keywords or bullet points. It’s much easier to remember the order and content than when you write it all out word for word in a large piece of text.

Be a storyteller

Telling a great story does not mean that you have to write down the entire presentation. The worst type of presentation is one that is read from a sheet of paper or screen. Use bullet points and short sentences that you put on paper as a memory aid. It’s a bit like writing an article: you start with a global introduction to outline the context of your topic, after which you explain several things in more detail. You illustrate your story with good examples, anecdotes and of course visual material. Keep the attention of your audience by offering plenty of variety in your talk. You could shake it up a bit by asking the audience a question. When you know enough about your topic and you have prepared well, there is nothing to worry about.

Structure your presentation

  • INTRODUCTION: what is it about and what is the problem you are exposing? / what makes it topical right now in your industry?
  • MAIN STORY: time to dive a little deeper into the subject with great examples, anecdotes, images and some statistics. This is the longest part of your presentation, but do not devote too much time to one particular thing so that you end up with a bored audience. Make it a nice mix, surprise your listeners with some fun stats and questions. Keep them alert.
  • CONCLUSION: at the end of your presentation, do a quick summary of what you have discussed, using an image or slide with a summary in bullet points. Finish with an image that makes the audience remember you.
How to time a presentation

Practice out loud and with a stopwatch

Hearing yourself talking out loud in the living room sounds a bit crazy, but it helps. By practising your presentation out loud, you get used to your own voice and you notice which sentences sound good and what still sounds a little clumsy. Maybe you find you take too much time explaining one thing and run out of time in the end. Want to really put yourself on the spot? Go and record yourself on video to watch yourself speak, how you stand and what you can possibly improve. By working with a stopwatch, or simply keeping an eye on the clock, you make sure that your presentation is well-timed. For example, you can agree with yourself that for a half-hour presentation, you take a maximum of 10 minutes for your introduction, 15 minutes for your main story and 5 for the conclusion.

Prevent death by PowerPoint

Nobody wants to read endless PowerPoint slides showing complete paragraphs which you repeat word for word in your presentation. Limit yourself to some good, fitting images, or even short video clips that illustrate the subject, supported by a few PowerPoint slides with summarizing points. You ultimately want people to listen to you with interest and not stare blindly at the large screen that is full of text.

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Breathe and mind your posture

Even when you have prepared really well you will probably still feel a little nervous before your presentation. That’s a good sign! A bit of tension ensures that you are focused. Are you still shaking too much and feel your heart beating a little too loud, then there are a few handy techniques to calm yourself down.


Tips from professional speakers:

  • BE ON TIME
    Arriving too late and then having to start your presentation in a hurry is an ideal way to increase stress and feel extra nervous, so leave home early, check the traffic and directions and give yourself plenty of time to set up. Believe me, you don’t want to have to figure out how the PowerPoint works when everyone is already in the room.
  • TAKE A DEEP BREATH
    When we are nervous, our muscles tighten and sometimes even hold our breath. Do you feel you’re losing it? Take a deep breath to get oxygen to your brain and relax your body. Do this before your presentation, but also when on stage.
  • PAUSE
    Don’t be afraid to slow down and use pauses in your presentation. Pausing can be used to emphasize certain points, let a certain fact sink in and make an overall more relaxed impression. And take a breath.
  • SMILE
    Smiling increases endorphins, replaces anxiety with calmness and gives you a good feeling about your presentation. Occasionally smiling also shows confidence and enthusiasm to the crowd.
  • DRINK WATER
    A dry mouth is a common anxiety symptom. Prevent this by drinking enough water before you talk (do go to the toilet before you start!). Also keep a glass of water within reach during the presentation.
  • STAND UP WITH CONFIDENCE
    Practising self-assured body language is a good way to prepare. When your body radiates physical self-confidence, your brain will follow this example. Whatever you do, at least don’t sit down, that’s too passive. It may sound strange, but five minutes in advance, somewhere on your own (in the toilet or in the corridor), pretending to be a Power Ranger or the Hulk does wonders! Give it a try, you’ll feel more ready than ever.
How to a confident public speaker

The benefits of hiring a website content writer

What are the benefits of hiring a website content writer? Why spend money on someone like that? I mean, you know your business inside out, so surely writing down half a page about what you sell and offer can’t be rocket science. Right?

Wrong. Think about it. How many times have you clicked on a web link to try and find out more information about a business, only to get frustrated because it was impossible to find out basic details? Contact details and opening times, a simple, short paragraph about what’s on offer, or how you can make a booking? Why do businesses struggle so much with writing clear information about who they are and what they do?

Why most business owners are bad copywriters:

Problem 1: They are in it too deep

Number one reason why business owners find it hard to write about themselves: they are in it too deep. They think about too much detail and want to mention absolutely everything on their website because they feel it is all very important. When you deal with your business day in day out, it becomes very hard to stand back and see what is needed to inform a client in a clear and to-the-point way, in a few minutes, seconds even. What’s your elevator speech?

Problem 2: They have no time

This is a problem most business owners can relate to. Running the show is time-consuming. Who has time to sit down and write a bunch of copy – let alone blog posts – for their website without being distracted by emails, phone calls and jobs that cannot wait? Writing those new web pages becomes something at the bottom of the to-do-list. The bad news? That out-of-date copy is still the first thing a new potential client reads about you a year down the line. It may put people off, which means a negative impact on sales. So put that fresh copy at the top of your agenda and make your business shine online.

Problem 3: Not everyone is a writer

You may be great at selling cars, but that doesn’t make you a great copywriter. I wouldn’t attempt to repair my car, so why would a garage owner attempt to write a professional text for his or her website? This applies also for restaurants, estate agents, yoga teachers and wedding photographers. Any professional. We all have our strengths, which is what earns us our money. Often it is better to invest in something that a professional can do so much better, especially if it means your reputation, brand – and your sales – will benefit from the investment.

Copywriter versus Content writer

So we now know the common problems most business owners have when it comes to copywriting – or content writing. What is the difference between these two by the way? Copywriting is the term most of you will have heard of and basically is what you see written in any marketing material, whether online or offline. In flyers, brochures, catalogues. The term copywriting is used for things like product descriptions and other information mainly aimed at promoting and selling products and services.

Content writing goes a step further and is a relatively new term in the world of marketing. Content writing is something that not only describes a business and what they do, but more importantly, adds value to the brand by adding content about what the business does, the industry it is in and various topics that have something to do with the business and are of interest to the client. Last but not least: Google likes it when you add new content to your site regularly. It boosts your SEO.

Storytelling and adding value

Content writing is like storytelling. A content writer may write down the story of your business but also writes about other topics that your clients may be interested in, especially when you have a blog linked to your website. Having regular articles and new content on your website and social media will add value to your business because you are giving your clients or potential clients something to come back for. People are always keen to learn something new, read about something interesting or get a little entertainment to spice up their day. It helps them to remember your business better and makes them want to be associated with your brand.

Become an authority in your industry

Own a restaurant? Teach people about different, authentic ingredients or recipes. Are you a wedding photographer? Share images of gorgeous off the beaten track locations to inspire them or tips on how to decorate a venue uniquely and beautifully. Do you own a yoga retreat? Share articles about healthy lifestyle and mindfulness. Think outside the box. What knowledge do you have to share? And it doesn’t always have to be written text, content can also mean short videos, tutorials or photos. Anything that your client will enjoy reading or watching because it links to your business and what the client is interested in at the moment.

If you can offer them interesting content as a brand, people are more likely to remember you and see you as an authority in your industry, making them more likely to come to you for business – and tell their friends about you.

How a website content writer can help you

You’ve probably guessed it by now: content is king, but writing is an art. If you are confident in creating fabulous content for your website or blog yourself, that is great! If you are however spending all hours of the day doing other stuff to keep your business afloat, then perhaps it is time to hire a pro. As I already explained, high-quality content not only makes your website, business and brand look good and professional, it also helps to boost your SEO. Use the right keywords and phrases in the articles and pages and you will come up higher in the internet searches. Content writers can therefore help you attract potential clients, help them to engage with you, trust you and want to build that relationship with your brand. Great quality content and web copy will ultimately help you convert website visitors into real paying customers.

Need extra help? Contact me to see how I could help your business! Contact


How to design a good looking Mailchimp

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Where to start?

You’ve got the information you want to use, the images and now you are ready to tell the people on your mailing list about your news. You’ve created a mailing list with permission from your subscribers, uploaded it to Mailchimp, have had a look around the website so you think you know what you’re doing (No? Check out these guides). But how do you prevent your email from looking and sounding like your local community newsletter? Let me show you a few tricks to up your game and professionalise your Mailchimp emails!


Choose a good subject line

Want people to actually open your email and read it? Only 30% of all email newsletter get opened on average (yes!) so it is vital to have a good email subject standing out in people’s inbox. Urgency, Curiosity, Offers, Personalisation, Relevance and Timeliness, Name recognition and Cool stories are all ideas to keep in mind when thinking up an email subject.


Pick the right template

Regular campaigns are the most common type of HTML email. They can be formatted and customized with images, colors, and other design elements to fit the needs of your business. There are a variety of customizable layouts and pre-built themes that can be used as starting points for your campaign, along with a selection of intent-based featured templates that can help you create the perfect campaign for showcasing products, sharing news or stories, following up with customers, or helping folks get acquainted with your business. And you can always import a template or use our template language to create your own custom-coded solution.

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Once you have created a newsletter you like, it is easy to replicate the email. You simply go tour your list of ‘campaigns’ and click on ‘replicate’ in the drop down menu next to your latest email. Replace text, images and links and you have yourself a brand new newsletter.


Create a good looking header image + logo

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In my job at multi-arts centre the Barn, I created consistency in email marketing by always placing the logo in the bottom right, but changing the background image depending on the subject of the email.

Do you have a logo? Or an image that represents your business? Then use these in your header, EVERY time. Consistency means people instantly see who the newsletter is from and this way you build brand recognition. Use free design programme Canva to create beautiful email headers.


Who will be reading it?

Adjust your tone of voice depending on who will be receiving the email. The more people know you and your business, the more familiar you can be with them, referring to previous emails, articles and projects perhaps, because they will know what you are talking about. If your audience is new to you or still getting to know you, make sure to make them feel welcome and include plenty of informative articles, images and links to make them want to read your emails every time. But this is true for everyone, because with so many emails arriving in people’s inboxes you’ve got to make your worthwhile. I would always choose to make an email easy to read, informative, avoiding jargon or  complicated language, no matter what the subject is. (Just because you are talking about art, doesn’t mean you have to revert to abstract highbrow language that nobody gets!)

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Break up your text

That brings me to my next point: don’t talk non-stop in long sentences and endless paragraphs. Most people have the attention span of a goldfish, so in order to keep them awake and with you, break up the blurb! Start a new paragraph after a space every few sentences, adding bold sub titles, to make the text airy and make it easy to read.


Use good quality visuals

A picture tells more than a thousand words, so choose your images wisely. Use images on their own or create attention grabbing visuals on canvas with overlaying text to encourage people to click or take action. Video is also a great way to enhance your newsletter and can simply be dragged and dropped into your Mailchimp newsletter as long as you have a Youtube or Vimeo url link to copy and paste. Use trailers if you are promoting film nights, a walk through if you are showcasing a home, shop or restaurant or a create a tutorial showing people how to do or make something. All these media can of course be used on your social media and websites too.


Include real links to drive traffic

A newsletter’s main objective is to tell people about whatever you are offering – and make them take action. Whether that is to buy tickets, buy products, read your full article or call you to make an appointment, you want to make those links as clear and straightforward as possible. Mailchimp has a very helpful ‘button’ function you can simply drag and drop into your email, which you can link to a web link or email address. Use words such as ‘Buy Now’, ‘Browse Collection’, ‘Call Us’ or ‘Book Tickets’ to encourage readers to take action.

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The footer

With data protection becoming a lot stricter from May 2018, you have to make sure your footer (and privacy policy) are up to date. make it clear to people why they receive this email and that they can simply unsubscribe if they want to. Also put your contact details in the footer if people want to get in touch.


Still feeling out of your depth or jut not got enough time? I am an old hand at Mailchimp and am used to creating weekly newsletters. Let me do it for you! Contact

Basic copywriting tips to improve your SEO

You have a beautiful website, a great business and now you want people to find you. How do you get Google to take notice? It is important to get that web copy up to scratch in order to have better SEO ratings. In this post I am sharing some basic SEO tips that have helped me improve my websites.

Publish original content

It is very tempting to copy and paste text from another website if you have found a business online that is offering a similar service. Many people do this. However, apart from the fact that is not good practice (you are basically stealing someone’s else’s copy), Google also does not like this. When the Google machine does its job and crawls across the net looking for new websites and content to rank, it will detect copy that is duplicated from another site. This is not good news if this applies to your website as Google will prevent your site from showing up higher in the search results. The solution? Be original. It is OK to get inspiration from similar sites, but make sure you rewrite the content and put it into your own words. Not just a little bit, but enough to make it read as a completely new article.

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Pay attention to readability

What does this mean? Readability is another thing that search engines look for in a website. A well written blog post or web page gets ranked higher. This means it is a good idea to avoid using very long sentences. It it also recommended to write in an active rather that passive way, i.e. “I am sharing some tips today” instead of “Some tips are shared by me today”. Another way to improve readability is to keep the paragraphs concise and separate them with a sub header.

Paragraphs longer than 300 words are not recommended. You can choose to include your keyword in one or more of your sub headers too. It’s common sense really: what would keep your attention when reading web content? Probably a text that has plenty of space, bite-size paragraphs, sentences that are not too long and interesting sub headers to keep you reading. Always read and re-read your copy and try and place yourself in the shoes of your web visitor: is he/she still with me?

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Use keywords (and be niche)

What is your blog post, article or web page about? What would people type into Google in order to find it? Testing your keywords or key phrases by typing them into Google is a good idea to see what people are looking for and what kind of pages rank high. If the top pages are all big high street stores or large international companies, then your website will probably not show up using that particular keyword. Try and be more niche, but not too obscure either. Add another word to be more specific and see what comes up instead.

Having a niche makes it easier for people to find you than when you are trying to be too generic. Zoom in on what your business is really about. Use your location, a specific target audience or description of your product/service in your key phrase. When you choose a keyword, make sure to use it in the title and several times in the body of the text. Using Keyword planner is a useful tool in choosing keywords.

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Don’t forget your image descriptions

Google not only scans text, it also looks at your images. Don’t forget to give your images descriptions that will help rank your page higher in web searches. Use keywords in the title, the ALT description and even captions to improve your SEO.

Install YOAST on WordPress

If you are on WordPress like me, YOAST is a helpful plugin that highlights any improvements you can make in your web copy. It will give you a green light when your SEO and readability are good, an amber light if it is OK and a red light if it needs some work. It tells you exactly what to do and where the errors are in your content. The plugin is free on WordPress Pro packages.

 

Why your business should be on Pinterest

Most businesses are on social media these days – and if you’re not – where have you been? Facebook being the most popular, followed by Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and of course, Youtube. Today I am talking about Pinterest.

Pinterest is a very powerful visual tool to draw customers in, speak to them through great images and get them engaged with your brand. Why do people love Pinterest so much? Pinterest is a very strong visual tool and we all know an image speaks more than a thousand words. How many of you have been on Pinterest to find inspiration for a room makeover, travel destinations, ideas for the garden, recipes, choosing a theme for your wedding or party or looking at DIY craft tutorials? Pinterest is easy to use and you can create beautiful visual ‘boards’ to refer to and remind you of your ideas.

why your business should be on pinterest 2018


Let’s continue with some statistics that are pretty impressive.

Pinterest statistics

Pinterest was born in 2010, currently has over 500 employees and has 175 million users worldwide. Compared to Facebook this is nothing (2.20 billion monthly active users! Wowzers), but with it being more ‘niche’ it has the potential to reach many more of your ideal clients. There are 50+ billion Pins saved by users, on a total number of 1+ billion boards. The total number of shopping pins saved daily to boards by Pinterest users is 2 million. Although the following statistics are based on the US, it is save to say that Pinterest is growing in popularity worldwide.

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Pinterest Demographics

  • 81% of Pinterest users are actually Females.
  • 40% of New Signups are Men; 60% New Signups are Women.
  • Men account for only 7% of total pins on Pinterest.
  • Millennials use Pinterest as much as Instagram.
  • Median age of a Pinterest user is 40, however majority of active pinners are below 40.
  • Half of Pinterest users’ household income is $50K or greater per year, with 10 percent of Pinteresting households earning more than $125K.
  • 30% of all US social media users are Pinterest users.
  • 60% of Pinterest users are from US.

Fun Facts

  • There are over 75 billion ideas on Pinterest.
  • 87% of Pinners have purchased a product because of Pinterest.
  • 72% of Pinners use Pinterest to decide what to buy offline.
  • 67% of Pinners are under 40-years-old.
  • Over 5% of all referral traffic to websites comes from Pinterest.
  • Pinterest said 80% of its users access Pinterest through a mobile device.
  • 93% of active pinners said they use Pinterest to plan for purchases and 87% said they’ve purchased something because of Pinterest.
  • Two-thirds of pins represent brands and products.
  • Food & Drink & Technology are the most popular categories for men.
  • An average Pins made by an Active Female User is 158.
  • Recipes: There are more than 1.7 billion recipe Pins.
  • Shopping: Every day nearly 2M people Pin product rich Pins.
  • Articles: More than 14 million articles are Pinned each day.
  • Average time spent on Pinterest per visit is 14.2 minutes.

(source: www.omnicoreagency.com/pinterest-statistics)


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Image: Nina’s Apartment


If you sell beautiful products, get on Pinterest!

The following graphics show evidence of how much Pinterest is used as a source of inspiration – and eventually decision-making – when it comes to shopping for products. This can be for the home, for clothes, for weddings, parties, etc. If your business is all about selling products that fall into those categories, Pinterest is an essential tool to get exposure.

pinterest for retailers and shopping

Whereas Facebook Business pages and groups are useful tools for storytelling and posting links to articles, websites and other related online pages for your business, statistics say these media don’t necessarily turn viewers into buyers. The storytelling is still important to create loyalty around your brand and build relationships, but the actual visual impact of great images of your products will be much better on Pinterest, where users save the image to a board and most likely look at it again in future.

Imagine you are planning a bathroom. You have a certain style in mind, but would like to have some inspiration. I know that most women, and I am one of them, will turn to Pinterest to start a board (collection), pinning images of rooms and products that fit in with the style you are after. These images will be pictures of nice bathrooms, but most likely include shopping pins of sinks, tiles and taps as well. Then, once you have gathered enough ideas, look at your board again. If there are certain products that really take your fancy, you will probably click on the source link to find out more and see where to buy the products you pinned.

How to get people to make that journey to your website? It is up to you as a business to make that happen! Good images, good descriptions with keywords used in searches – and ultimately a great landing page for your business are essential in this process. Make it as attractive and easy as possible. Rich Pins and Product Pins are more advanced types of images you or your developer could create to offer a more in-depth experience and direct links to shop your product.

Read and learn more about Pinterest and Business

Want to read more about how to become a Pinterest wizard? Here are some useful links to learn more:

How to Use Keywords on Pinterest

Etsy Hack: How to Make a Sale a Day using Pinterest

9 pinterest tips to increase blog traffic