Posts tagged branding
My top 5 podcasts

I have a podcasting habit. As an enneagram 1, I’m all about effective use of time and podcasts are one of my favorite ways to learn, recharge and get inspiration while running, walking, driving or cleaning. I like to bring up the podcasts I listen to on the regular which leads to the frequent question, “hey Lindsey, what are you listening to lately?” from friends, family and my team at work.

top five podcasts

Whether you’re a podcast lover like me or curious where I get many of my ideas and motivation from, here’s a list of my top 5 favorite podcasts.

Building a StoryBrand with Don Miller

This one is my favorite for marketing and a bit of business sense. I’ve been following Don Miller and the StoryBrand formula for a couple years and it’s transformed how I approach copywriting and putting together a clear marketing message. The podcast is easy to digest, light and entertaining while providing a ton of great ideas and inspiration. If you’re looking for great general marketing advice that isn’t too technical, you really need to check this one out.

The Craig Groeschel Leadership Podcast

Been a long time listener of this one and it’s absolute GOLD for anyone in a leadership position or working with a team. The episodes are usually about 20-30 minutes long and the content is well developed - if you use the website, there are leader notes for discussion. I often use his podcasts as conversation for my team at work.

Lore

A guilty pleasure. Normally, I’m hitting play on something a little more serious but when I need a mental escape from the daily grind, I choose Lore. It’s a storytelling podcast that digs into historical myths, legends, odd occurrences, mysteries and anything creepily fascinating. It’s extremely well done and offers a completely different type of entertainment than binging Netflix. I get so hooked on some of the episodes I can actually listen to them while I run. Yeah, they’re that good.

Rachel Hollis’ Rise Podcast

I’ve listened to quite a few girlboss podcasts in the last year or two but Rachel’s is the one most consistently offering the kind of content I can appreciate and apply. She lands incredible womaneur interviews and offers a ton of vulnerability in sharing her own story. It always feels like I’m in the same room, completely welcomed into the conversation she’s having with special guests. This is one to listen to whether you’ve got goals to reach or need a consistent voice of wisdom in your life.

EntreLeadership

Fascinating interviews with successful business owners and high achievers, EntreLeadership offers exceptional coaching for business owners and leaders. The focus is that combination, but the stories exposed offer vastly more insight and inspiration applicable to every area of life. The episodes are normally around an hour and sometimes combine interviews with TED talk style clips from Dave Ramsey & Co (EntreLeadership is under the Ramsey umbrella) speaking engagements.

A marketing checklist for your business launch
business launch marketing checklist

Launching your own business involves an endless amount of tasks. Between business planning, budgeting, developing out your product or services, licensing, supplies to purchase and on and on, you may struggle to catch your breath. Looking for a way to make it easier? Allow your fellow boss babe to lend a hand.

Here’s a quick checklist of the primary branding and marketing assets you’ll need for a successful business or product launch.

  • Name

  • Tagline

  • Business description (think elevator pitch)

  • Branding

    • Brand colors

    • Logos

    • Fonts

  • Website (a basic home page, about page and contact page is fine to start with!)

  • Marketing budget

  • Marketing plan

Do you need social content? Maybe. Emails ready to go? Maybe. A Facebook page? Possibly. Everything outside of the list above will be determined by your marketing plan. What you don’t want to do is throw time and energy into an extensive list of marketing must-haves before you map out goals, a budget, a strategy and a plan.

If you want pro guidance through the launch of your business or a new product or service, grab my 3-month marketing plan from The Marketing Plan Shop. It will help you go step-by-step through planning and even includes a nifty branding checklist so you can identify exactly what your business needs and keep track of all the marketing details.

3 Proven Remedies for Content Writer's Block
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Even for a full-time content creator (that's me!), writer's block is real. As I type this out, in fact, the tail end of a sinus infection and distraction of my toddler's noisy toys (anyone else SUPER sensitive to noise while they work?) are causing the wheels of inspiration to turn about as fast as a turtle on the highway. 

So if website titles and email subject lines and social captions and blog posts and product descriptions are not on your list of favorite marketing tasks, I sympathize. For a non-writer who doesn't even enjoy writing very much, the struggle with writer's block has got to be THE. WORST. And yet, for any business owner, writing is part of the gig. Can it get easier? Absolutely.

Here are my favorite tips for overcoming writer's block, fit for both pro content creators and the reluctant wordsmith who just wants to get out some decent marketing for your business. 

Find new topics in your unfinished thoughts

I'll start with my favorite way to spark inspiration, especially when I need a fresh topic or theme to unpack on a blog or email campaign. This is probably my most-used method for generating ideas. When I'm stumped for new topics to cover, I'll read back through previous blog posts, my website, social accounts, etc., for unfinished thoughts that I can turn into whole posts on their own.

Not others' stuff, just my own content, because I track best with my own ways of thinking and writing. Within a couple minutes, I can uncover a thought that I've never really unpacked. Usually it's a point in a blog post that I wrote three sentences for or a fleeting thought in a social caption.  When I see it, I'll think; bingo, there's your next topic. The best part? I've usually thought it through at least a little bit whenever I brought it up previously, so the train of thought is already tracking for a larger, deeper dive into that point. 

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Activate creativity through activity

Now, before you assume I'm going to try and turn you into a runner, here me out on this. Yes, I'm a runner, and I personally get a lot of inspiration from running. I formulate leadership teachings for work while I run. I process through topics while I run. I came up with my one and only tattoo while running. Running is my thing. When I'm doing burpees at the gym on the other hand, nope. Nada. My brain can only handle getting through those burpees. 

You have an activity that I guarantee encourages your creativity. Or maybe it would if you gave it a chance. 

Here's my challenge to you: Whether it's yoga, walking, cleaning, driving to an appointment, gardening or browsing the aisles at Target, let your creative wheels spin. Don't assume those are activities that are separate from processing through your marketing content. Many times, those are the perfect activities for getting in the brain space to create. They have to be activities you can put on auto-pilot though. So if it's a new yoga flow or an appointment you've never been to before that you need to actually pay attention to the gps to get to, this probably won't apply. 

Bonus tip: bring headphones (even for one ear if you're driving or have littles to attend to) and play some soothing music. The kind that helps you focus. This may turn a mundane chore into a set-up for your imagination to soar. 

Reverse-psychology the pressure for length

GAH, okay, I know I said my first tip was my favorite but I really love this one too. Who are we kidding, all three of these are gold to me. I would go crazy-writer-lady without them. 

Anyway, this one is gooooood because it works. every. time. Do you often face your content pieces with the nagging thought that they have to be long? Like, your next pdf download should be 8-10 pages. That blog post needs to be at least five paragraphs? Your social plans have to stretch out over a week, two weeks, a month? Shoot, that email campaign needs to cover 6 months, which means it needs to contain at least 12 emails!?

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Ladies, I am here to SET YOU FREE. What if, this time, your pdf download was simply one page? Your blog post was only a couple paragraphs? Your social plan is simply a single post? That email campaign is a strong, yet simple introduction email. Does that take the pressure off? Does that help you get past the overwhelm and into writer's mode? I bet it gets you there quicker than what you were originally telling yourself. 

There's no faster way to kill my marketing content mojo than the overwhelm of length. That voice that says I need to chain myself to the desk chair and pour over words for the next 76 hours. So I do reverse-psychology on my own brain. I tell myself; Hey, Lindsey, this time let's just do something short and sweet. Just sit and write something for a few minutes. That's all. 

And you know what happens? I sit to write something for a few minutes, which puts me in the right head space, which turns into a desire to write and create a little more, which, before I know it, turns into a lot more content than I expected from myself at first. 

Girlbosses, we can be our own worst enemy when it comes to putting pressure on ourselves. Give yourself permission to simplify, shorten, or even skip something this time around. No one works well under too much pressure. Especially when it's an assignment you don't really enjoy to begin with. 

Are you feeling freer yet? Have you found any of these to work for you? I'd love to know! Leave your comments, friend, and let me know how you get past writer's block, whether you're a content queen or a words-averse boss babe ;) 

Of course, if you could care less about ever writing another marketing word again, I am for hire, and I do offer free 15-minute consultations to help you decide what your content needs or if it's time to turn it over to a pro. 

Now it's time to go put my own tips into practice. Have a great week!

Branding Authentically: Learn from others without losing your voice

You would think authenticity in a marketing message would be one of the most natural skills for a business owner. Simply write like you talk. Convey a thought or idea the way you would standing in your kitchen or brainstorming with your team. 

But how many of you girl (and guy) bosses are with me when I admit to serious struggle in this area? Especially in those first few months of my business' launch. All day long I'm watching and learning from those more successful than me; studying their Instagram feeds, reading their LinkedIn articles and listening to their podcasts, thinking, "oh, okay, that's how I should do it."

mom boss marketing

Sure, we need training to improve how we lead, manage and move our companies forward, but all this absorbing others' material can also cloud our communication. It can become very tempting to take on someone else's tone, style, word choices and methods, to our own detriment. Your audience doesn't want another so-and-so, they want you, and the special way you can serve them. Your business will never stand out if you don't decide what's going to set it apart.

I'm still learning this myself, and I'm sure I always will be, but I can tell you what has helped me in this area - and if you'll let me preach for a moment - stress to you that I really, truly want you to fight for authenticity with your business and brand messaging. The world needs your way of doing something that is a little - or a lot - different from the other companies in your field. Learn best practices, but don't be afraid to put your own spin on what that is for your small business. Here are a few ways you can make sure you're branding authentically.

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Write your first draft from the heart

Sometimes, when I begin a blog or content piece, I can't get past the first couple sentences without second-guessing myself. Is this what I should say? Is this how I should say it? Oh shoot, is that even grammatically correct? 

Brand owners, I give you full permission to toss all the rules out the window and let your heart guide your first draft. Just let those thoughts and fingers fly. Who cares about proper punctuation, how someone else may read it or if the sentence is perfectly formed? First drafts are the best time to put your spirit into your words. You can worry about all that fine-tuning after you feel that what you're saying and how you're saying it is truly a reflection of you. 

Learn from your own successes

Hopefully, after you've been at it a while, you can shift your attention off other business owners and focus more on what's worked for you. Gradually decrease the amount of time you spend following your favorite branders and devote more time to what you love about your own branding. This will help you build off what's been working and stay in tune with how you should come across to your specific audience to create more successful leads. 

Create your own stylebook

If there's any point here that I feel equipped to speak to, it's this one. I began in the magazine publishing world, worked at a newspaper, blogged for businesses when it wasn't cool yet and just crossed three years as a full-time copywriter for a mortgage company. Style, grammar and the English language have been my world for about 15 years. 

When it comes to brand messaging, advertising and marketing content, style guides and grammar rules can be held loosely. It's a different type of communication, and you can absolutely feel free to create your own style guide.

What you don't want to do is be inconsistent. Choose how you're going to write a term ( pluralize business' or business's?) or punctuate (do you like more or fewer commas?) and stick with it. Sure, it may not pass a college essay, but college English wasn't about branding your business. In marketing world, your grade is about consistency.

Be firm with your business boundaries

If you hate blogging, don't blog. If you prefer to podcast over owning a Facebook business page, then put your time and creativity into a podcast. You don't have to do all the types of messaging you see others doing - especially in the early years. It's okay to choose the type of marketing you prefer, and what works best for your audience - it's your brand!

Keep putting yourself out there

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When it comes to writing authentically, repetition is the best teacher. I felt super awkward those first couple months trying to "be me" with my own brand. Years of helping other business owners and companies find their voice didn't mean my own came instantaneously. You're entitled to a few awkward social posts, blogs, videos (have you visited my YouTube account lately? Me neither, lol) and emails. 

Don't let those uncomfortable first few hold you back. Keep posting, recording, emailing and captioning. Your voice will come. 

 

Maybe you've been in the biz a while and you've established your authentic brand conversation. Now, your problem is you simply don't have the time or desire to take your marketing to the next level with strategic, lead-creating website writing or email campaigns. That's what I can help with. And please, if you simply found this blog super helpful, leave me a comment because I'd love to know! 

Until next time, bosses!

This is what's keeping your brand mediocre

If you're a small business owner trying to figure out why your pretty fantastic company can't break through a growth ceiling, it may be this: You're trying to be everything to everyone. 

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I know that's not easy to hear, but from what I've seen in my time of helping brands become more extraordinary, this is absolutely the most common reason many businesses never climb from mediocre to outstanding. You may dream of serving more than one type of audience, and your long-term strategy may be to branch out into a wider variety of products or services, but if you leap from narrow to wide too quickly, you'll get in your own way. Here's why. 

You haven't spent enough time learning how to reach the one.

To have a growing brand, you have to hone in on one primary target. And if you haven't figured out who that is, you're probably not excelling as quickly as you could be.

Learning to communicate with one type of audience takes time. You have to live in their world for a while, learn their language and develop marketing messages that work for them. If you haven't done this, you shouldn't assume you're ready to reach anyone else.

And if you're scratching your head, wondering who your primary audience is and how you can more effectively reach them, this is a good time to take me up on my free, 20-minute consultation. 

Your marketing will lose power. 

In your business' first few years, your marketing (website, emails, print pieces, social media posts) should be geared toward that primary audience we just talked about. When your home page or emails or social posts are for too many types of people, you're not going to get the attention of anyone in particular.

The mom isn't going to hear what she needs to hear from you to become truly interested in your product. The teenager isn't going to care what you have to say unless it's relevant to him. The man isn't going to pay attention if the look and feel are not at all his style. 

Marketing that's spread too thin over an array of people groups will do little to help your brand grow.

Your customer service may not be ready.

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Us boss babes (and boss guys) tend to be the driven, idealist type, which means we often leap before we look. Great for the launch phase, not great for the build phase. One of the questions I ask business owners when they want to increase their marketing is what their plan is for taking care of the new leads it will bring in. When you take on too many, too soon, you can ruin your customer service reputation and tank your business. Marketing PLUS a great customer service plan go hand-in-hand. 

When you have the plan and manpower in place to take care of added demand, that's when you should pull the trigger on a marketing boost. 

Hopefully, if any of this describes where you're at, I've saved you from a few bad business decisions :) And if your new strategy is to increase your pull with your primary audience, I'd love to help you move in that direction with some sound advice

As always, comment below what was helpful to you, or if you have questions! Later, biz friends!