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.

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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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!

What We Do: Grants and RFPs

CollaborationApplying for grants and responding to requests for proposals (RFPs) are very arduous and time-consuming undertakings. Some organizations have staff people dedicated to just those tasks, but most do not. Special expertise and experience are called for; and if your organization would like to apply for grant funding or respond to private or public requests for proposals, the writing team at Writing It Right For You can help.

Pamela Hilliard Owens, M.Ed., has years of experience in both the public and private sector in sales and sales management, and has helped companies apply for dozens of grants and respond to scores of RFPs. Her eye for detail and excellence in English grammar and usage is perfectly suited for such detail-oriented work.

Allan Brauer has spent years working in the private sector in human resources and procurement and presently specializes in working with non-profits, arts organizations, and progressive political groups.

If your organization needs funding, you need to contact us! When filling out the contact form, be sure to request our special document detailing our grant writing and RFP application process and services. We look forward to working with you and your organization.

Creating Content for your Small Business

Writing It Right For You

If you are a small business owner or solo practitioner, producing relevant content materials about  your products or services with engaging content online and in print is a very important part of your marketing efforts.

Two weeks ago, I participated in a two-day global virtual (online) conference for freelancers called “International Freelancers Day 2010“. It consisted of 24 different presentations from some of the top speakers and mentors for freelancers and very small SOHO (Small Office Home Office) owners.

Ann Handley made a presentation called “Content Rules” about how important it is for to small business owners to create and publish their own content. Lexi Rodrigo, a blogger on Freelance Folder, wrote a great summary of Ann’s presentation.

If you would like assistance creating and publishing content

for your business,

make sure to contact us here. We’d be glad to help!

Lexi’s summary is below:

At the recent International Freelancers Day virtual conference, one theme that struck me was the importance of creating and publishing content. Many of the experts discussed, in various angles, why getting published would be good for freelancers.

Anne Handley’s presentation, Content Rules, was in fact all about content and how to create it well. Day Poynter talked about writing a book and getting published. Other speakers such as Michael Martine and David Garland spoke about other forms of content that can do well for freelancers, such as blogs and web TV. Almost all the other speakers mentioned, in one way or another, the benefits of having your own content.

Why You Need To Create and Publish Content

If you’re a writer, it’s obvious that you should be writing and publishing your own stuff–not only content for your clients. But, what about graphic designers, programmers and other non-writers? Should they become content producers as well?

The short answer: Yes.

The benefits of being publishing content includes:

  • You’re searchable online. When you publish content, it becomes so much easier for prospects to find you online. This makes it easier for you to find leads or, rather, for leads to come and find you. Google and other search engines are particularly fond of WordPress blogs and online videos. Plus, the more you publish, the easier it gets to find you.
  • You’re more shareable. This is particularly true for digital content. With social media, it’s so much easier for your content to get passed around and shared. If you create something particularly good, you can gain instant notoriety.
  • You get instant credibility. Being the author of a blog, special report, white paper or book, or the creator of some other content makes you an instant expert. You’re right up there with your favorite author. It’s like having initials for degrees after your name. It shows you’ve accomplished something the majority haven’t.
  • Build your prospects list. It’s much easier to build your list of prospects when you have valuable content you can give away. At the same time, blogs, podcasts and web TV can attract prospects round the clock.
  • Leverage your expertise and efforts. Having a published piece of content is an excellent way to leverage your unique approach to things. You can literally create something once and have it working for you over and over again.
  • Feeling of accomplishment. It plain feels good to finish a piece of content. Even if you’re a writer you know it isn’t easy to finish a special report or white paper… especially if you’re writing it for yourself and not a client.
  • Passive income. There are ways to monetize your content so it brings you passive income, which is a necessity for everyone. You can create several pieces of content and think of each one as a separate stream of passive income. Who knows? Maybe someday you can actually fire all your clients and simply work for yourself alone.

Ways to Create and Publish Content

The phrase “get published” conjures images of printed books on a shelf. Thanks to the Internet, there are many more ways to get published, and it’s easier than ever to get self-published. Here are some examples:

  • Ebook. This is a book, but in digital format. Aside from the common PDF, you can also publish your ebook as an electronic book downloadable through Kindle or an iPad. Other formats include the Vook. Print-on-demand services are also available online, for readers who prefer to hold something in their hands.
  • Special Report/White Paper. A special report or white paper is often shorter than a book. As with an ebook, a special report or white paper can be published in both digital and non-digital formats.
  • Blog. A blog is an indispensable tool for writers and copywriters. However, even freelancers in the non-writing field can get good results from a blog. It’s great for showcasing your expertise, and it serves as your central hub on the Internet. The many functionalities of a blog make it easy to promote, get search engine traffic, and be shared around in social networks and bookmarking sites.
  • Podcast. Hate writing but love to talk? Consider a podcast. It’s more involved than the earlier types of content, because you may have to buy additional equipment and software. However, it can be done on a shoestring. The content is more important than the equipment! If you’re shy, you could easily build a podcast around interviewing different people and pretend to be a reporter. Even if you do that, your credibility and status will be perceived to be as good as the experts you interview.
  • Video Blog or Web TV. A video blog or web TV is another possible format for non-writers. You will have to write at least a paragraph or two to introduce the video and feed the search engines–they can’t crawl video and audio content yet, only words. Internet users seem to love online video, as evidenced by the popularity of YouTube and other video sharing sites. As with podcasting, creating and publishing video will have more technical requirements than the other formats.

Still Not Convinced?

Imagine meeting a prospect for a meeting and as you shake hands, you give him a print copy of your special report (you could have printed it on your home office printer; it doesn’t matter). His eyes widen as he realizes that you’re some sort of expert who has actually written a book.

Or, imagine one of your clients recommending you to her friend. She tells her friend, “You can check out his blog at his URL. He’s great!”

Or, how about getting invited to guest post in a blog with thousands of readers every single day… and those readers happen to fit your Ideal Client?

If you want it, then create content. You can do it!

“Falling” into Productivity

Well today is October 1st. Autumn temperatures are here and the leaves are turning. It is also the first day of the last quarter of 2010. I love this time of year because it is still relatively warm and being outside is often very comfortable.

I also love the beginning of a new season and a new calendar quarter because it is time to review the previous three months and plan for the next three months. I love to review and plan–it keeps me grounded in my business.

What else do I love? Being re-hired by previous clients! I woke up this morning to three clients requesting new projects. That affirms my previous work for them and starts the month out with a work schedule filling up. I already signed two other new clients earlier this week.

The best thing about what I do is that I get a chance to do so many different kinds of projects and meet and work with so many wonderful people from around the world and right here in my own neighborhood.

If you are looking for writing and editing assistance for academic or business projects, contact us here at Writing It Right For You. We love what we do.

Monday Musings: Which should come first work or workout?

Writing It Right For YouIt is not quite 9:30am and already I have finalized a project, answered all of my emails and responded to a request via my website for two prospective projects. I am an early riser and a definitely a morning person. Many people say you should workout first thing and have it done for the day, but as soon as I get up, I like to get started at my desk.

I have been trying to decide whether to do my workout first thing in the morning and then start my workday, but I think I’ll work first and then do my workout. Otherwise, pending work is on my mind. I think I’ll like it better when I can get the work done and then have a clear mind for the remainder of the day.

A Copywriter for Your Copyright

Writing It Right For YouJust about everyone knows what a “copyright” is: an exclusive government protection for the works of an author, musician, and so on. If you write anything in print, audio, video, etc., you can apply for copyright protection against people copying your work and passing it off as their own. When you have that protection, your work is copyrighted. But what if you need effective marketing messages for your print, audio, video, website or blog? You really need a professional who understands how words affect people’s responses and actions. You really need a copywriter. A professional copywriter can help small business owners fine-tune their marketing copy to stay competitive in today’s business climate. There are so many variables to consider: website copy, sales materials, advertisements, social media marketing, email marketing, case histories; the list goes on and on. A professional copywriter does much more than “write copy”. An experienced copywriter excels at using words to inform and persuade the reader. A gifted copywriter will help your marketing materials yield results for you: clicks to your website; sales into your e-cart; phone calls to your office; etc. A professional copywriter cannot secure a copyright for you, however. The writers at Writing It Right For You are talented and experienced people, but we are not lawyers! If you need material you authored to be copyrighted, click over to the United States Copyright Office. When you need marketing materials that are professionally written to sell your products or services, educate people about your business, and indice your readers to action, contact the professionals at Writing It Right For You.

Editing or Proofreading?

Editing and ProofreadingWriting your document is just the first step. Whether you are writing a letter, a report, web content, marketing materials or a dissertation, your writing must be edited. It must also be proofread. What is the difference? Many people think that editing and proofreading are the same thing, but actually they are two different processes. Think back to your school days: your teacher usually told you that the paper you were writing was only the “first draft”. (And you thought you were finished with that assignment!) Once your first draft is completed, the two-part editing process begins.

The whole process is all often called “editing”, but editing is actually the first component, and should begin as soon as the first draft is completed. There are several levels of editing:

* How well is the actual content written? Does it make sense? If instructions or guidelines were given, were they followed? Does the overall document have a smooth and consistent flow?

* How is the document structured? Is everything clear? Are the topics and sub-topics logical? Does the writing move smoothly from one idea to the next?

* Is your writing clear to the reader? Is everything explained clearly? Is everything cited or hyperlinked correctly? Is the tone and “voice” consistent? Is your writing too brief or too long or too repetitive or too bland?

These are just some of what is involved in the “editing” part of the process. Often it will take several revisions to reach the final draft.

Then the document is ready for proofreading, which is the last step of the editing process. Proofreading should be done after all of the revisions are completed. Proofreading involves checking for misspellings, incorrect or missing punctuation, grammar, and formatting.

Although all word processors have spelling and grammar checkers, they are not foolproof. A word can be spelled correctly, but used incorrectly. For example, many people confuse “your” and “you’re”. Both words are spelled correctly, but are used differently. A word processing spell checker would not recognize the difference. There are similar problems with relying only on the grammar checker in a word processor. English is a very complicated language, and the grammar checkers in word processing programs are too limited in their scope.

Finally,y the formatting and citations or references must be consistent. When your writing has been edited, proofread, and formatted carefully and in detail, it is finally ready for final distribution or publication. Your writing needs both editing and proofreading.

If you need professional editing and proofreading for your academic or business documents, contact us for a customized project plan.