Three Reasons Why Brand Management Is Important

Branding Word Cloud

Your business is defined by its brand. The brand is how your clients or customers recognize your company, evaluate your service, and perceives your reputation. The loyalty and attachment to you and your company by your clients or customers are associated with the products and services you offer. By properly developing the marketing activities of your business, and by keeping control of the message of your brand, you will:

• Enhance the recognition of your company

• Differentiate your products and services from your competition

• Protect the reputation of your business

The recognition of your company’s brand is enhanced by the marketing and promotional activities that cause your clients and customers to think of you and your company first when they are ready to buy your products or invest in your services. The #1 way to maintain brand recognition is to be consistent with the photo and/or logo you use for all of your marketing materials, including your e-signature, your blog, your newsletter, your press releases, and all other forms of communication you use in your business.

Who or what is your direct competition? Every business has competition, and knowing who you are competing against can help you to grow your brand as well as your business. Knowledge about your competitors will not only help you to keep the customers you have, but it can also help you to improve the quality of your own products and services. One of the easiest ways to keep tabs on your competition is to set up Google alerts for your industry or business model. Remember to also set up a Google alert for your own company so that you can see what is being written about you.

When you work to protect and control the reputation of your brand, you have a two-pronged goal: 1) to ensure that your company promotes and maintains its “good name”, and 2) establishing continuous and positive online and offline visibility. Some branding techniques to put in place to monitor and improve your brand’s reputation include: Keeping your website updated so that it is listed near or at the top in search engines. Having a comprehensive and responsive social media marketing strategy, including Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook. Developing an online community that encourages two-way communications between your company and your clients and prospects.

Managing your brand should be a strategic and foundational goal for you and your company. Your brand and the messages it gives to clients and prospects will determine whether they will become your loyal customer base and help you to grow your business.

The branding and marketing professionals at the Writing It Right For You Companies can help you to develop an effective branding program for our small business or solo practitioner company. Contact us for your free 15-minute consultation; together we can assist you in determining the branding goals and objectives for your brand.

Defamation: Libel or Slander?

Writing It Right For You - English Grammar Usage Tips

“Defamation” is the legal term for publishing disparaging information about a person in verbal or written form with the intent to damage the reputation of that person. Whether the defamation attempt is considered “libel” or “slander” depends on how the defamation attempt is published.

Libel is a defamatory remark that is published in writing, on the radio, or in audio or video form.

Slander is a defamatory remark that is published orally via a gesture or verbal communication that is not recorded.

The person who is the target of defamation by either libel or slander can file suit against the defamer by with court action to prove:

1) that a defamatory statement was made;

2) that the statement was published (as outlined above) to a 3rd party;

3) that the defamer knew or should have known that the statement was false;

4) that injury was caused to the target of the defamation.

Unlike the usual court cases where someone is “innocent until proven guilty”, in defamation court cases, the burden of proof is on the plaintiff or the person who is the subject of the defamatory publication.

That is why it is imperative for creative freelancers and other business owners who provide services to clients to ensure that they are protected with detailed and legally binding contracts and that they have complete documentation of any and all communications–just in case.

The person who intends to defame, even “casually”, should also be prepared to defend their claim as they can very easily be counter-sued by the original plaintiff.

 

Disclaimer: I am not an attorney, nor do I play one on TV. Please consult your own legal professional for detailed information on libel and slander.

 

 

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Collaborating on a Manuscript with Basecamp and Scrivener

Image representing Basecamp as depicted in Cru...
Image via CrunchBase
Scrivener (software)
Scrivener (software) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As you may know, Writing It Right For You has a related company, Detroit Ink Publishing, where we work with authors providing ghostwriting, manuscript preparation, editing, and book formatting and publishing services. We also publish our own books through the Detroit Ink Publishing imprint.

We are presently working with four authors who are in various stages of book completion. One of our clients has a very large and complex manuscript that she had been writing in bits and pieces for several years. Once she started working with Detroit Ink Publishing, we were able to get all of those disparate files together and get focused on producing a completed manuscript ready for publishing.

As my client’s editor, I am using two of my favorite apps to accomplish this large task: Basecamp and Scrivener:

Basecamp is a project management app that allows me to include my client , my assistant, and anyone else involved in the project to become a part of the “project community” and share files, schedules, messages, discussions, progress reports, etc. Instead of endless email threads, everything is kept in Basecamp and can be accessed as needed by all who have been given permission. My client and the cover designer she chose for her book live on opposite sides of the country, yet through Basecamp they collaborated on several revisions of the cover until the client got exactly what she wanted for her book. I was able to follow the entire process in Basecamp without having to be directly involved in this part of the project.

I recently wrote a post about how I am learning to use Scrivener for virtually all of my writing now (including this post). For this large project with my client, using Scrivener has helped immensely with organizing, re-organizing, editing, formatting, and compiling all of the chapters, front and back matter, photos, and other parts of the book that will be included in the final draft. I can work with two versions of a file side-by-side, easily move chapters around or in a different order, keep all coordinating research and additional files in the Scrivener project for this book, and track changes and leave and respond to comments in the manuscript as the editing process proceeds. So much easier than trying to juggle all of those files and ongoing changes within a word processing application. Scrivener works the way writers work. It is not a “word processor”, it is a writing tool.

My client and I have been working for several months on this manuscript, and it is almost finished and ready for publication. Working together in conjunction with Basecamp and Scrivener, we are very pleased with how things are progressing. As always, having the right tools for the job make all the difference.

If are an author and you would like to find out more about how Writing It Right For You and Detroit Ink Publishing can assist you with your manuscript, contact us! We’ll be glad to talk to you!

 

 

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Scrivener is the #1 App for All of my Writing Projects

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I am a writer. I am an editor. I am a manuscript preparer and an eBook publisher. I am a social media marketing and branding consultant. For all of those roles that I manage for my three businesses, I do a lot of writing. I write on my MacBook Air from my home office and my MacBook Pro from my Midtown Detroit office. Away from my offices, I write my iPad2 and iPad Mini.

When I write short, often internal documents, I use Google Docs and Google Drive. Most of my clients send me documents in Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, the global gold standard contained in the Microsoft Office Suite; I use those programs in Office for Mac 2011, which integrates (almost) perfectly with the PC/Windows version. Sometimes I use Pages, Keynote, and Numbers in the Apple iWorks Office Suite, mostly because the apps are fun to use (and now free in iOS). For now however, for the majority of my original writing and editing I do for myself and for my clients, I use Scrivener, the popular application designed especially for writers.

Scrivener is not a “word processor”, it is a writing tool. What is the difference? Scrivener was designed just for writers, who are, for the most part, right-brained “creatives”. Scrivener includes several features that allow writers to plan, organize, view, edit, and write in whatever structure they are most comfortable. Completed Scrivener projects can be exported in many formats, including for eBooks.

MacBook Pro Available in 15.4- and 17-inch dia...
MacBook Pro (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I use Scrivener to write my blog posts, my articles, my eBooks and books, my courses, my marketing materials, and my podcast scripts.

In a future post of my “Apps I Use” series, I will give you a more complete narrative of the app and how I use it for my businesses, but right now I have several client projects to finish. All of them have been uploaded to my Scrivener account, which I can access on both of my MacBooks.

This is going to be fun. If you need the assistance of the professional writers and editors at Writing It Right For You, contact us and we’ll get right back to you!

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The Top 10 Year-End Financial Questions for Freelancers

2014

Updated for 2013:

Yes, it’s almost here—the end of the calendar year! While most people are asking themselves what is the best way to celebrate New Year’s Eve, freelancers and small business owners should first be asking themselves important financial questions about their business finances. Before the clock strikes midnight on December 31, here are some questions you should ask yourself and your bookkeeper or accountant:

1)            Are my general ledger balances reconciled with my bank statement balances?

2)            Are there any accounts receivables or bad debts that can or should be written off?

3)            Are the inventory balances correct—do they include inventory items that should be written down to match their actual market value?

4)            Are the listed fixed assets still owned and properly depreciated?

5)            Have all adjustments been made for any prepaid items such as insurance and fees?

6)            Have all payables been accurately recorded?

7)            Have all payroll tax liabilities been reconciled with the quarterly reports?

8)            Are all of the notes payable accounts (loans) reconciled with the bank statements?

9)            Are all debts included in the year-end financial statement?

10)         Are all accounts receivables been reviewed and correctly aged?

As you prepare to answer these questions and check your financial records, are you even sure that those records are in good order? Can you and your financial advisors easily access all of your documents? Are all of your invoices, receipts, and business documents entered and indexed? Do you have a comprehensive way to keep track of all of the relevant conversations and emails with your clients and customers? Have you sent out your final invoices and collected those last payments?

Those of you who follow our Writing It Right For You Blog know that we periodically highlight the great apps we use to run our company. We actually use the apps we recommend—after we’ve tried several similar apps. All of the apps we recommend are especially designed for people and companies like ours: freelancers, SOHO (Small Office/Home Office) business owners, and solo practitioners—they are not scaled down versions of larger applications meant for large businesses.

You know that if you treat your business as a business, taking good care of the administrative tasks are just as important as completing the actual client work. If you are a freelancer or a small business owner with 1-10 employees, check out the apps that we have found to be very helpful to keep our business records in order, to manage our clients and our projects, to do our bookkeeping and accounting, and to invoice our clients.

All of these apps are online and are SaaS, which stands for “Software as a Service”. Instead of plunking down hundreds of dollars for shrinkwrapped software SaaS applications are delivered and supported directly to your computer online for a monthly subscription fee. Besides the ease of use, one of the things we most like about our apps is that they are interrelated and work together so that we don’t have to enter the same information repeatedly.

The data is secure and can be accessed from any computer (and mobile devices in most cases) with an Internet connection. A good group of apps to start with if you are considering using cloud-based apps and keeping of your client and financial data in the cloud:

  • HIghrise by 37Signals for our CRM (Customer Relationship Management) application to keep track of all of our prospects and clients.
  • Freshbooks for time tracking and invoicing for your clients.
  • GoDaddy Bookkeeping (formerly Outright) for small business bookkeeping and accounting.

Happy New Year—here’s to greater success and a more organized business for you and your company!

 

Related articles:

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Tribute to Pulitzer Prize Winning Playwright August Wilson

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Tonight, August 26, 2013, renowned Broadway actors will perform the 1st live recording of all ten plays of the Pittsburgh Cycle of plays by August Wilson. Each play will be read and recorded in order over the next few weeks.

For more details about this great tribute and the full schedule click here.

August Wilson was born as Frederick August Kittel, Jr. in Pittsburgh in 1945. In 1965, after his father died, he decided to change his name to August Wilson to honor his mother. During his life Wilson had many jobs, including: chef for the Little Brothers of the Poor, writing educational scripts for the Science Museum of Minnesota, even as a porter and and a gardener when money was tight.

Wilson was an American playwright and his crowning achievement The Pittsburgh Cycle (that includes a series of ten plays) was awarded two Pulitzer Prizes for Drama. This 10-play cycle depicts 100 years of African-American life. Divided into each of the decades, these plays explore African-American life throughout the 20th century:

august_wilsonGem of the Ocean (2003) – 1900s

Joe Turner’s Come and Gone (1988) – 1910s

Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (1984) – 1920s

The Piano Lesson (1990) – 1930s

Seven Guitars (1995) – 1940s

Fences (1987) – 1950s

Two Trains Running (1991) – 1960s

Jitney (1982) – 1970s

King Hedley II (1999) – 1980s

Radio Golf (2005) – 1990s

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I LOVE (and Need) All of My Gadgets

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Image credit: 123fr.com

 

Everyone who knows me also knows that I am a true “Gadget Girl”…I work with a desk full of computers, tablets, and smartphones. I use Mac OS, iOS, and Android (sorry, Windows and Blackberry, I quit you both a long time ago).

Today, I am editing the literature review for a dissertation proposal for one of my PhD student/clients. I LOVE (and NEED) to use three of my gadgets to speed up the process.

  • In the middle of my deskspace is my MacBook Air, on which I am using Word for Mac to do the actual editing.
  • On my left is my iPad2, where I am checking the list of references that I uploaded into my Dropbox account.
  • On my right is my Samsung Galaxy Note, with which I am checking the references on the Chrome browser.

I save time because I don’t have to switch back and forth between apps and tabs on my Air. I save paper and printer ink because I don’t have to print out lists or copies of documents. Everything is uploaded to the Cloud.

Now do you see why I LOVE (and NEED) all of my gadgets?

After I finish editing this literature review, I will be happy to assist you with the editing of your academic documents. Contact me right away so that I can put your project on my schedule. I look forward to putting my gadgets into service for you!

Prospect, Lead, or Opportunity?

It's A Deal!

 

Many freelancers and small business owners don’t think of themselves as “salespeople”, but unless your company is big enough to have a dedicated sales team, you are the “sales team”. The old adage: “Nothing happens until something is sold” is still true today. Before you can close the deal and sign the contract, you have to move people from prospects, to leads, to opportunities.

Ed Gandia, the co-author of The Wealthy Freelancer, and founder of the International Freelancers’ Academy, encourages solo practitioners and freelancers to understand the difference between the levels of people who may one day (hopefully soon) buy your products or services:

  • prospect: a person you have identified as a target for your marketing efforts and activities. This is your largest group of people; you should pre-set your criteria for prospects so that you are not just scattering your marketing to the wind or anyone  who is breathing.
  • lead: a prospect who has indicated a certain level of interest in your products or services. These are people who have signed up for your e-newsletter, or “Liked” your Facebook Page, or joined your LinkedIn Group, given approval to be on your blog post distribution list, or otherwise expressed interest in keeping abreast of you and your company.
  • opportunity: a lead who is ready to give you a chance to present your services, to discuss up potential project, or submit a formal quote for your products and services.

It is important that you develop a system to keep up with your prospects, leads, and especially with your opportunities. Once “opportunities” award you the project (and signs the contract!), then and only then do they  become clients and now “it’s a deal”! Congratulations!

If you are a freelancer or VSB (very small business), how do you manage your sales opportunities? Let us know in the comments!

 

 

 

 

Why Companies Need PROFESSIONAL Copy Editors

I personally have never heard of this magazine, but this cover is a perfect example of why companies need to hire highly professional, highly educated, and highly experienced copy editors. How did such a glaring and obvious error get published!

Can you find the error(s) here?

“It Matters How You Say It!” The highly professional, highly educated, and highly experienced writers and editors are ready to help you to avoid errors in your copy. Contact us here.

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intense or intensive?

QuestioningThese two adjectives are very similar, so who do you know when to use which? It really is rather easy, and just may take some practice.

Emotions are intense.

Actions are intensive.

Intense describes qualities and conditions that come from within.

Intensive describes the degree of an outside influence.

Can you use each word in a complete sentence?

When you need assistance with word meanings, contact the professional writers and editors at Writing It Right For You.

 

 

 

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You’ve Written It…Now You Need an Editor

Computer Friends
Writers and Editors Make a Great Team!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Whew! It’s done! But wait…writing your book, article, eBook, sales page, web copy is only the first step.

Now your masterpiece needs to be professionally proofread and edited.

Proofreading is the process of checking for typos, spelling errors, incorrect punctuation, etc.

Detailed line editing includes a total grammar check, ensuring continuity, matching tenses, complete plot or story line, and overall organization.

It is a true fact that you cannot edit your own work. Your mind subconsciously
“fills in” missing words, punctuation, sentences, and even whole ideas you meant to include.

If you are a writer, you need an editor. Contact the professionals at Writing It Right For You, because it really does matter how you say it!

Word Count is not the Only Project Pricing Factor

Pam at DeskWhen you are a business owner in a specific industry, you can increase your knowledge by reading and studying others in your chosen field. Laura Spencer is a freelance writer I follow regularly. Sometimes other writers say exactly what I have been saying.

 

 

 

August 27, 2012 | Laura Spencer | Comments 0

FAQ: 8 Factors that Cause Writing Projects to Cost More

Often writing clients want to know my rate–what do I charge for a specific type of project?

My usual answer is that I don’t have a rate, but that I would be happy to provide a customized proposal. I’ve learned over the years that the amount of effort that goes into writing projects varies greatly.

Many clients don’t understand the factors that cause a writing project to cost more money, so I’ve listed eight of those factors in this post.

 

Every project really is different. Even if two writing projects seem similar, they usually require a different amount of effort (and therefore have a different price).

8 Reasons Your Writing Project Costs More Money

In most cases, the longer it takes to work on a project, the more expensive the project is.

Here are eight factors that will cause a writer to spend more time on your project. If you include these factors in your writing project, it will cost you more money.

  1. Meetings. While I include an initial meeting in my project estimates, additional meetings generally add to the project cost. I do understand that sometimes it’s desirable to have a regular meeting on long-term projects, but project meetings can also take a lot of time. To save money, make sure that the information presented in the meeting is really relevant to the writing task. A meeting where lots of contractors give their status on unrelated projects can be a waste of time.
  2. Extensive Research. If the topic of the writing project is common knowledge, then the piece can be produced much more quickly. However, if the topic requires research then the writing piece will take more time. In general the more obscure the topic is and the harder it is to find information about it, the more time the project will take to complete and the more money it will cost.
  3. Revisions. Like any writer, I’m happy to correct mistakes if they occur. However, I limit the number of revisions that are included with each project. Of course, additional revisions are available at an extra charge. To keep revision costs under control, be as specific as you can about what you want up front. Too many clients take a trial and error approach to writing–they don’t know what they want, but they’ll know it when they see it. This approach can be very costly to the client.
  4. Levels of Approval. In general, the more levels of approval a project requires, the more the project costs. For example, a project that requires me to write a weekly column on a money-saving tip of my choice would be less expensive than a project that requires me to write a weekly column on a money-saving tip when the topic must first be approved by the client and an outline must be submitted in advance.
  5. Interviews. Interviews can be a great way to spice up an article or blog post. But getting an interview takes additional time, even if the project only needs a few quotes. Not only does the writer need to schedule a time to get with the interview subject, they also need to learn about the interview subject so that they can ask relevant questions. Then, after all of that is completed, they can write the piece.
  6. Images. I highly recommend that all writing that will be published online include an image. However, finding an appropriate image takes time or costs money (or both). As a writer, I either need to purchase an appropriate image from a stock photo site or I need to find an image with a license (such as Creative Commons) that allows it to be shared. If you publish a lot of pieces online, you may be able purchase stock images for less than an individual writer could.
  7. Non-writing Tasks. In most cases, I am happy to include non-writing services along with my writing services. Such services typically include managing other writers, managing a writing project, checking the work of other writers, or promoting the publication online. However, such tasks take time and typically involve an additional charge.
  8. Rush Work. Work that requires an extremely fast turnaround typically costs more. Not only does doing such work mean that I will be working on the project during what would normally be my leisure time, rush projects typically require extra care to avoid miscommunication. My preference is to avoid rush work whenever possible, but I do understand that sometimes it is necessary.

Naturally, I’m happy to provide any or all of these factors when a client needs them. However, many clients don’t realize that these factors add to the cost of a writing project.

Of course these are just eight factors that can cause a writing project to cost more. Can you think of others?

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About the Author: I am a successful freelance writer with 20 years of copy writing experience. I am available for consulting, business writing, copy writing, editing, technical writing, and web content writing. In addition, I have written an ebook, How To Start A Freelance Writing Business, to help new writers. Find me on Google+.

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discreet or discrete–which is correct?

QuestioningHomophones are pairs of words that sound alike but have different spellings and different meanings. Discreet is an adjective that means showing reserve or respect with one’s behavior or speech. The noun “discretion” is derived from “discreet”. Discrete is also an adjective, but it means something distinct, separate, or unrelated. Example: The child gave ten discrete reasons for his actions.

Which homophones are confusing to you? Let us know in the comments section.

If you need assistance with homophones or any other writing, editing, or grammar challenges, feel free to contact the English professionals at Writing It Right For You. We’ll be glad to help you!

 

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Stationary or Stationery? Which One When?

Question PersonHere’s another word pair that is often confusing for people. These words are called homophones–which mean they sound alike (same sound), but have different meanings.

*  stationary (with an a) is a verb which means still, not moving, in one place.

*  stationery (with an e) is a noun that names the paper used for formal written communication–either personal or business.

For a high-tech way to remember which word to use when, remember that you use email to send digital communication and stationery for hand-written or printed formal communication.

The professional writing and editing team at Writing It Right For You is ready to help you with any projects–confusing or not!

Are there any other homophones that confuse you? Let us know in the comments section!

 

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