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    How to Improve Your Blog to Grow Your Creative Business

    How to Improve Your Blog to Grow Your Creative Business by Dannielle Cresp on Creative Womens Circle

    By Dannielle Cresp

    Blogging is great for business. We all know it. But when it’s not the number one thing on your to-do list, it can slip from a “must do” to a “should do”. When a month or two passes without any new content going up, we know it looks bad, but the longer it’s left the more difficult it feels to get back to it.

    I’ve been blogging weekly for almost a year now without missing a single post. So today I want to share with you my tips for improving your blog to help your creative business grow, without adding too much more to your plate.

    • Have an editorial calendar and dedicate at least half a day a month to it. Decide what days of the week you’ll be posting over the coming month. I recommend less rather than more if your blog isn’t your main business. It’s better to be consistent once or twice a week than 5 days one week and nothing for the rest of the month. Use that half day to plan what you will write (even if it’s just vague topics for now) and the dates you will publish the posts.
    • Dedicate time write posts in batches. Set aside half a day to a day to write as many posts as you can. Take the photos you need to accompany what you’ve written, and then schedule them according to your editorial calendar. It might seem silly to not work on your main business for a whole day or so, but blogging is an important part of marketing!
    • Make your images easily pinable to Pinterest. Only use great quality images and add your post title to the image you’re going to use (like the example above). Also consider adding a ‘pin it’ button over your images. This makes your content easier to share amongst Pinterest users, and will help drive traffic back to your site. It’s also a great way to bookmark and categorise your own blog posts for easy reference.
    • Have an e-Newsletter Sign Up on your blog sidebar and encourage readers to sign up (e.g. by offering them exclusive offers or something extra if they do).
    • Keep your colours and fonts consistent. Your blog is an intrinsic part of your brand, and consistency will ensure people will get to know you and your work by sight.
    • Only write as much as you need to. Blog posts needn’t be long, especially if your creative business has lots of visual appeal. Write only what you need to and share some great images that will help you get your point across. There is no ideal blog post length. For many of you, images will be a way to share some behind the scenes work and you’ll only a short ammount of text to give those images some context.
    • Have some fun with it. It might seem odd that you would have fun with the marketing side of your business, but if you let your personality shine through a bit people can see there’s a person behind the brand and feel like they’re supporting someone rather than something. Even if you’re a team, it can be a great way to give some insight into who the customer (or client) might be hiring or purchasing from.

    Blogging can be great for your business and it doesn’t have to take up a big part of your daily business routine. Find a rhythm that works for you and and it will be much easier to stick to and to enjoy.

    Dannielle is a blogger, serial organiser and passionate traveller. She has a secret love of 90s teen movies and can often be found hanging out on Pinterest. She is on a mission to help people bring happiness (and fun) back into their homes with a dash of organisation and a sprinkle of their own awesome style over at her blog Style for a Happy Home.

    Image from © Lime Lane Photography with text overlay


    Posted by: Dannielle Cresp
    Categories: organise me, regular columns | Comments Off
    Posted on

    How to Plan now for the Christmas Rush

    By Susan Goodwin

    how-to-plan-now-for-the-christmas-rush

    Christmas, a time for giving, a time for family and the lead up to it can be some of the most intense times for your business. It may be months away yet but if you do some prep work now you will arrive at Christmas not a frazzled mess but as a cool calm collected business woman who has just made the most of one of the biggest retail opportunities available.

    Get your products ready
    Ensure all products, goods and services are going to be ready in time for the Christmas sales period. If they aren’t you will lose a big opportunity so make sure your deadlines are being met.

    Plan when to let your customers know
    Work out a calendar of when the goods are available and how to best communicate to your customers during a time period when they are going to be bombarded with buy buy buy messages

    Schedules your blog posts and social media
    Hopefully you are working to a blog content ‘calendar’ by now… If so, set aside a couple of days in July and do as much prep work as you possibly can to have December posts ready to go. Even if you need to add photos later, get the writing and scheduling done.

    Plan out your cards
    Sending out Christmas cards? If they are physical cards, get them designed and printed before October. That way, you have time to write in them and get them into the post mid- to late-November in time for an early December delivery. If the bulk of your cards are going overseas, be sure to check the posting schedule and aim for an early November post date.

    If your cards are virtual, get onto the design now and pre-schedule them to be sent out.

    Sending gifts or products to key clients or agencies?
    Think ahead and be sure to make your present relevant and as inspired as possible. Avoid the cliches and ensure you give a gift that will be remembered and appreciated.

    Wrapping paper, not just for the presents you are giving, but for your own products
    Think about how wrapping a product can benefit your brand and delight your customers. Do test runs, get costings and have everything ready far in advance.

    Wrapping your products in a creative way could work in-store or at markets. Think about how to make this an engaging aspect of your customer’s experience. Could you set up a wrapping station and allow customers to wrap their own gifts? Or have expert guides on hand to help? For online customers, offer gift wrapping as part of the service or for a small charge. Beautiful photos of the final wrapping are a must and will encourage people to take the option of wrapping and be happy to pay for it.

    Then, prep for sales beyond Christmas
    Think ahead: will you offer sales and discounts in December, or just from Boxing Day? Make a sales plan and act accordingly. If your website needs to change prices on the 26th, ensure you won’t be needed to manually input pricing changes on Christmas Day. Perhaps inside the gift wrapping you might consider adding a discount card to encourage repeat custom, or an easy way for them to share their gift on social media. Make it fun and engaging to increase your exposure. Plan it, pre-schedule it.

    Overall, planning and scheduling as much as possible earlier in the year, will ensure you’re calm and efficient during December. Not only will sales be flying out the door, you will have engagements and parties of your own to attend. Make sure your business is well looked after so you can enjoy the celebrations and not be locked in the office till midnight writing out Christmas cards (which could’ve been done in October!).

    Plan and schedule and you will have time for both success and pleasure this Christmas.

    Susan Goodwin is the designer, sewer and creator of Rocket Fuel, ensuring you are decked out in style while cycling. Read her blog or follow her on Twitter @rocketfuelstyle.


    Posted by: Susan
    Categories: how to, organise me, regular columns | Comments Off
    Posted on

    5 Tips for Keeping a Positive Mindset When Things Aren’t Going to Plan

    5 Tips for Keeping a Positive Mindset When Things Aren't Going to Plan by Dannielle Cresp on Creative Womens Circle

    Sometimes we have periods where our businesses are going great-guns. It’s hard work but things are moving quickly and in a forward direction. Nothing but awesome – it’s a great place to be. But there are also times where we might start to wonder why things aren’t going to plan, and why it feels more like we’re treading water (even if it looks awesome from the outside looking in).

    Here are some tips to work with that.

    • Take a break and get away from work. This could be an hour or two in a coffee shop or a weekend away, or even a weekend where you just do anything but work. Clear your head and give it a chance to see the forest for the trees. It can feel counter productive to step away when tasks are piling up and you feel like you should be doing more to fix the situation, but you have to take care of you to take care of your creative business.
    • Confide in someone you trust. Even if they can’t give advice, they can help share that load weighing on your mind. They might have some creative solutions, or they might just be someone who’s got your back. We all need them, in good times, but especially when times feel bad. Having someone to remind you of something funny always helps.
    • Come up with a plan. Yes, things aren’t feeling great, but now’s your opportunity to turn the situation around. Identify the things that aren’t working and write them each on their own pieces of paper. Turn your favourite music on, dance, and start to think about how you can use those things (focusing on one at a time) as jumping-off points for something much better. Sometimes it’s in the most frustrating problems that we find the best solutions.
    • Dream big and then dream small. Things aren’t going to plan? You realised that this just isn’t working as it is? Now is a great time to start thinking about what does work for you. Ask yourself: What’s the ‘big picture?’ Got it? Now dream small and turn it into actionable goals. Remember that nothing is a straight sprint to “Hell yeah!”, it’s more like an obstacle course.
    • Do something that fills you with energy. When things aren’t going well, it can feel like there’s no time to do the kind of work that fills you with energy and makes you feel great. Try to find 15 minutes to an hour a day to do the task that reminds you what that great feeling feels like. Even if you have to ride the less than great times out, this will give you something to hold onto during those times when you need it most.

    All of these things have helped me when things in my creative business haven’t been going as planned. When I came out the other side, I had all these things in my armoury, plus the knowledge that the tough times don’t last forever. Even if things are going great right now, it can be good to make a mental plan of who to reach out too and what it is that always fills you with energy. Here’s to more good times than bad!

    Dannielle is a blogger, serial organiser and passionate traveller. She has a secret love of 90s teen movies and can often be found hanging out on Pinterest. She is on a mission to help people bring happiness (and fun) back into their homes with a dash of organisation and a sprinkle of their own awesome style over at her blog Style for a Happy Home.


    Posted by: Dannielle Cresp
    Categories: business tips, organise me, regular columns | Comments Off
    Posted on

    5 Tips for a More Productive Day

    By Dannielle Cresp

    5 Tips for a More Productive Day by Dannielle Cresp on Creative Womens' Circle

    Productivity and creativity aren’t always the best of friends. Sometimes you’re really feeling it and want to do all the things and other times it can feel a bit like you’re wading knee-deep through mud. Here are some of my favourite ways to push through and make a really productive day.

    • Start with Two To-Do Lists. First write down all the things you need to get done, not just today, but all of them. Doesn’t matter about order or priority for the mean time, just get them all down on paper. Once they’re all there, take a highlighter and highlight all the ones you want or need to get done today. Put them on your second to-do list and put that first big one out of sight.
    • Get your working environment ready. It might seem like procrastinating but think about what you need for the tasks on your to-do list and get them out so they are within reach before you start. Nothing makes it harder to stay productive than searching for something you need desperately mid-task. Also get a bottle of water so you’re keeping hydrated whilst working.
    • Decide the order of your to-do list and eat the frog first! When deciding the order of tasks, do the hardest thing, or the one you don’t feel like doing the most, first. Then do something that’s quick and/or something you enjoy. Once that thing you didn’t want to do is out of the way you’ll feel lighter and more able to get on with everything else.
    • Batch your tasks so you can stay in the right mindset. Need to write a series of blog posts? Do a few together whilst you’re focussed on writing. Need to organise your social media for the week? Schedule your posts and social media updates in one hit – guarateed to make you feel super on top of it all.
    • Take proper scheduled breaks. It might seem counter-productive to be taking a break when trying to be productive but it’s amazing what 20 minutes of fresh air and slowing down will do for you during your efficiency and creativity. If you try to run at full speed all day, everyday, you will get tired and worn out and your productivity will suffer. Taking a break allows your body and your brain to reset and even in a world of deadlines, we all need that!

    Just a little bit of planning at the beginning of the day can really help make it a more productive – and ultimately more creative -one. Giving yourself the permission not to do everything on your big to-do list and just taking it one day at a time can really make a big difference. Tackling each day like this really helps you to prioritise what the important things are to you and your creative business, which is the cherry on top!

    Dannielle is a blogger, serial organiser and passionate traveller. She has a secret love of 90s teen movies and can often be found hanging out on Pinterest. She is on a mission to help people bring happiness (and fun) back into their homes with a dash of organisation and a sprinkle of their own awesome style over at her blog Style for a Happy Home.

    Image from © Lime Lane Photography with text overlay

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    Posted by: Dannielle Cresp
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