Boost your online marketing with a powerful blog

Become an expert in your field

A website without a blog is harder to find in search engines. A static page is, well, just very static. Nothing is happening; there is nothing fresh, nothing to engage with or get excited about as a reader. Blogs, therefore, are a necessary part of any business nowadays, not just to attract traffic to your website but also to be seen as a brand that is vibrant and alive. Does your company have a blog?

When you optimize your web pages through SEO — including your blog posts — you’re making your website more visible to people who are entering keywords associated with your product or service via search engines like Google. But that’s the technical side of it. A blog is much more than that. Share interesting content regularly, and that blog can be a powerful tool to build trust and attract followers. It shows customers that you know stuff, that you are an expert in your field, and that your site is a place to come to for new articles.

Ditch the sales pitch

What should you write about in a successful blog? First lesson right here: a blog is not a sales pitch. No reader wants to continually read about how amazing your company is, how excellent your products are and that they should BUY NOW. Would you love reading content like that? You’d quickly get bored and click away, right? Your blog content has to be useful to the reader; tell them something they don’t know yet. You are not going to hold their attention for very long if you have nothing new to say.

The importance of storytelling to build trust

So what do you write about in a blog? Place yourself in your customer’s shoes. What would make an exciting read? What would add value to your website and brand? A yoga and fitness brand could share healthy smoothie recipes; a furniture shop could teach readers easy interior design tricks. A ‘behind the scenes’ story with video footage will show the human side behind the business. There are numerous ideas when you think outside the box.

People like to relate to a brand before they commit to buying, and storytelling will help you do that. Be honest, be sincere, be inspiring, tell them about what drives you to do this business. Of course, you can put in links to your product page but do it subtly.

“Make keywords a natural part of the story, to build trust. Don’t be a pushy salesman. People will see right through that.”

A blog is great tool…and a big commitment

You want to post something weekly or at least twice a month, to keep your blog fresh and have enough quality content to share across your social media platforms. Sounds like much work? It sure is! But not giving it the attention it needs will ultimately mean that your competitors will rank higher in the search engines and your site will be harder to find. And not only that, you are under-using the online marketing tools that are out there to connect with customers.

Many business owners sigh when they think about the need to write blog posts. They will put it somewhere at the bottom of their to-do-list. After all, you already have a website, a Facebook page and an Instagram account. You know that starting a blog is essential, but it feels like having that pile of laundry sitting in the hallway, staring you in the face, and you can’t bear to sort it out. Later. Not now. Too busy. Ugh. No time. Does that sound familiar?

A small investment, big results

Now, you can do it all yourself, of course. Many people do. Perfect if you can and fantastic if you love it! But if writing is not your thing or it takes you days to create a story that you are happy with, it will more likely give you a headache. You can use your time and skills a lot better.

Hiring a professional content writer may sound like something only big companies can afford, but that is not necessarily true! Hiring a professional writer will help you boost traffic to your website, add value to your brand and ultimately increase sales. A content writer is a creative brain in your (freelance) team, who will churn out interesting articles way more quickly and efficiently than you ever could. That is a relatively small investment compared to the time it would take you to do this all yourself.

It’s time to face that pile of laundry.

Are you interested in hiring a professional content writer? Get in touch, and we’ll have a non-obligatory chat.

How to start earning money as a freelance writer

So you can write, you know your SEO tricks and you want to start earning money writing content. How and where do you start? How do you find paying clients? I have been writing full-time now for a number of years as a freelancer and today I want to share some tips on how to get started on freelance platform Fiverr.

Taking the leap and starting out as a freelancer

I remember two years ago, when I registered as self-employed and I felt just like you: eager to start earning money by writing content for others, but not really having an idea where to find clients. I started out by making a website and a Facebook page for myself and my new business, and posted a lot in local Facebook groups, where I knew some clients may hang out. I also posted on my personal timeline, to share my news within my own network of friends and family. I soon got a few writing jobs, which I then could add to my portfolio. Client reviews helped my credibility and this is how I grew my profile.

how to start earning money as a freelancer

Finding clients on Fiverr

How I really started to find paying clients outside my own network however, was through Fiverr. This is one of the best know freelancer platforms on the internet, and gives you access to clients worldwide. It is free to join and set up a profile. You then create your ‘shopfront’ of gigs, including any writing packages you want to offer. Below an example of my own product page.

How to offer packages on Fiverr

The best way to attract clients to your page is to offer packages. What does this mean? When you look at my product page, for example, you see that the prices are quite low for the jobs. The trick is, however, to make potential clients click on your profile and take a closer look at what you are offering. When they see the different packages, they will discover that the lower price is for your Basic package. In the basic package you offer something you can do for them at a relatively low price. That is fine, of course, but they are probably looking for more help.

Upselling your skills to earn more

The key is to make the client want to order the Standard or even Premium package, because they see that for a little more money, they will actually get what they are really after. To find out what to charge for each package, it is best to browse the different profiles and packages of the other freelancers on Fiverr and see how you compare.

These are the packages I offer for content writing at the moment, but you could design it differently of course. Perhaps you want to only offer 250 words in your basic package for a low price, for example, to get people to click on your gig.

Creating custom orders on Fiverr

The packages are one way of selling your services, but I find that most of my clients ask for custom orders. This is great, because you can then give them exactly what they want, tweak your offer and adjust pricing where possible. How to create custom orders on Fiverr? Once you are in conversation with someone in your message thread, you will see the button ‘Create an Offer’. You click this, and you can then explain to your client what you will do for them and at what price. If the client is happy, they will accept and you can start the job! If the offer is on-point and the price is fair, nine out of ten times the client places the order. Do make sure to give yourself enough time to finish the job, so you don’t get stressed out and miss the deadline. If you pass the deadline you have set yourself, this will have a negative impact on your seller level. No need for this 😉

How to become a lever 1 seller on Fiverr

The tricky bit? Competition is high. In order to get seen and go up in the ranks, you’ll have to work hard at the beginning. How you do this? The first few gigs I offered, I did for a lower price than my going rate. Yes, it does feel like being handed a wet handkerchief at the end of the job, but see it as an investment. If you deliver great work, these people will leave five-star reviews. The more reviews, the better it looks. Also, you will want to work toward reaching your Top Rated Seller status, as this again makes you stand out more, get better clients and higher paying jobs. This will take a while. First things first. To get from no-level to Level 1 seller status, you have to reach these first milestones:

  • At least 10 orders
  • Earn at least $400 (Fiverr works in USD)
  • Response rate: Respond to 90% of the inquiries you received in the last 60 days
  • Order Completion Rate: Complete 90% of your orders, over the course of 60 days
  • On-time Delivery: Deliver 90% of your orders on time, over the course of 60 days
  • Rating: Maintain a 4.7 star rating, over the course of 60 days

How much does Fiverr take from your earnings?

Now the downside of Fiverr: they take a hefty 20% off your earnings. Yep. That hurts. Or if you are a ‘glass-half-full’ kind of person and prefer to look on the bright side: you get to keep 80% of your earnings. The good thing is, you never have to chase up invoices or non-paying clients. Buyers have to pay upfront for you to receive the order. Once you complete a buyer’s order, the money is transferred to your Fiverr account, which you can then withdraw or transfer to your own bank account. No need to chase clients for payments and wait 60 or 90 days for a check.

Have you got an accounting programme yet?

As a freelancer you will have to start keeping track of not just your earnings, but also your expenses. Finding a good accounting software programme is a life-saver. Newly launched platform And.Co by Fiverr is one of those and worth a look. This online software programme is great for you as a freelancer in terms of invoicing any other clients you have outside Fiverr. It also gives you options to keep track of expenses and time, and send nicely formatted proposals to clients, etc. A great feature is that it accepts payments directly from your invoice. You can give it a go for FREE by signing up for the basic account, which gives you the opportunity try out the suite of options and to invoice one client. If you like it, you can upgrade for $18 per month for a pro account for unlimited clients.

Try out And.Co for free

Disclaimer: This article contains affiliate links that I receive a small commission for at no cost to you. I only ever recommend products that I love and would use myself also.

The best gadgets for working and studying from home

Make working from home pleasant

The new academic year is starting soon, but what that will look like exactly remains to be seen. Many employees are still required to work from home a large chunk of the week. The Covid pandemic has caused a lot of turmoil, and working and studying from home will be part of our day-to-day life for probably the next year. Some people love it, others prefer the vibe of a lively office or faculty. Whatever floats your boat, we’ll have to make it workable for ourselves in the current situation.

Of course, working from home does not mean that you have to work on the couch with your computer on your lap. Most of us have by now created an office at home, in a dedicated office space or in a quiet corner of the bedroom. You can create a professional, pleasant workplace, even if you don’t own a mansion. We may not have solutions to keep the kids out of your hair (but wait till we tell you about the noise-cancelling headphones!), but we sure can share the best gadgets for working from home. Here we go.

Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

1. A Docking station

All those cables, all those connections… it quickly becomes a mess on your desk and the floor. A docking station makes connecting your laptop to your home office workplace a piece of cake. With a docking station, you only need one cable to connect everything to your laptop. You connect monitors, keyboard, mouse, headphones, network access and other things to the docking station permanently and plug your laptop into it when you need to.

2. Noise-Cancelling Headphones

Lovely and peaceful, working from home, right? Cup of coffee, silence, no colleagues disturbing you. Or is it? How about the neighbour who decides to remodel his house while you’re working on your deadline? Or the kids whose school requires another home quarantine and remote learning for a week or two? You get the picture. A good pair of headphones is, therefore, one of the best investments you’ll be making to get stuff done in peace.

3. Airbar: turn your screen into a touchscreen

Do you know that feeling? You have just been scrolling on your phone or working on a tablet and then go back to the laptop. That’s not a touchscreen! Wouldn’t it be handy if it was? An Airbar is a magnetic strip that you attach to the bottom of the laptop screen, which turns it into a touchscreen. The small magnets serve to click the strip easily on and off the screen. You plug the USB plug into one of the USB ports.

Photo by Rene Asmussen on Pexels.com

4. Headset and webcam

With all those video meetings, suitable technical accessories are essential. The camera and microphone of a laptop will suffice, but with frequent use of video conferencing it is advisable to go up a level and invest in a better headset and webcam. Game products are great for this.

5. Powerbank

Not so much a necessity at your home office, but if you want a change of scenery for a day, escape the house and decide to work in a coffee shop, then a powerbank is a welcome gadget. There is not always a socket available and if the battery of your mobile runs out, you can connect it to your powerbank.

6. Wireless charging station

A wireless charging pad is a desk gadget that serves as a drop zone for your electronics. Place your mobile on this gadget and it will automatically charge. A charging station with space for stationery items and other loose things keeps the desk neat and tidy. It is a handy gadget for at home, but also if you share the space with a few colleagues and you need a central place to charge devices.

7. Wireless keyboard and mouse

Using a wireless mouse and keyboard helps to keep the desk clear and not get more cables tangles up. You do have to recharge them or provide them with batteries now and then. Fortunately, there are various manufacturers who have come up with something for this, such as fast-charging keyboards or keyboards that have long-lasting batteries.

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.

strong business woman red

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:

    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.
    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.
    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.
    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.
    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.
    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 and grows your online reach.

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