I hope you find my writing and business tips and observations useful. My business and blog are dedicated to helping businesses communicate clearly and reach their potential. Read, subscribe to my newsletter, enjoy!Tash

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Blogging about FOOD…

I like to make a difference, to contribute to my community and the world. So I like to DO things when I can, and joining Blog Action Day each year is a small action that I aim for. I am proud to be taking part in Blog Action Day OCT 16 2011 www.blogactionday.org

Blog action day is about many people discussing a topic at the same time to get greater awareness – for example, posting about ‘green’ business practices in 2009 was part of making people think about climate change.

This year’s theme is food which doesn’t seem quite as relevant to a business and communications blog – but I see that as challenge rather than a reason to not blog! Yes, I am doing this two days late but I adding my voice to food blogging day.

What about you – could you find some relevant content to blog about food?

Home-grown food

The flavour and pleasure of fresh fruit and vegetables is always superior to store-bought equivalents – the apples off the tree in my yard last summer were delicious and I even enjoyed then stewed (I normally avoid cooked apples).

But there are more benefits than just yummier food when you grow fruit and vegetables at home:

  1. I know the food is free of additional chemicals
  2. the food is high in nutrients because it is fresh and grown with natural fertilisers
  3. it is lovely to look out my window and see the crops
  4. fruit trees shade my office windows in summer but let the winter sun through – making my office a comfortable temperature naturally
  5. the occasional care for the garden gets me outside in the fresh air, moving and getting in touch with nature – all of which is good for my mental and physical health
  6. home-grown is cheaper, and with prices sky rocketing this year, that is a growing benefit
  7. it reduces my family’s food miles which is excellent for the planet

Paul Hassing recently posted how changing food habits can also be good for business (namely it reduces his stress so he can work more effectively) and I would agree with that.

I also see another business lesson from home-grown food.

Home-grown food tastes great, is more interesting and has a number of advantages. So is original business material.

Do you prefer to read an article or web page that is the same (or practically the same) as 100 others or an original piece that gives you new information or a new perception?

Are you more attracted to a tailored website or one that is based on a template you’ve seen 20 times already today?

Letters and emails addressed to you by name and include something personal are much more effective than a standard letter addressed to “Dear sirs”.

A landscape designer who uses the same layout regardless of block shape and aspect won’t be as successful as one who designs a unique garden every time.

The chef staying to the same old recipes and copying other’s presentation will never be a master chef.

And so on. The point is to use home-grown ideas and skills rather than going for the mass-produced, lack-of-variety style – the results are more interesting, flavoursome and fulfilling.

What do you think – are home-grown food and home-grown business behaviours more appealing and rewarding?

Make blogs interesting, not advertisments!

Some time ago, I wrote about avoiding a sales pitch as your blog ending. I was recently reminded of this when reading a post on a new blog.

The post was about others not having enough skill to offer professional services, which is a fair point (and one of my pet hates, too!) However, a middle section of the post was “Others wrongly offer a and b. Our business offers x and y”., and expanded on what they offer.

Instead of explaining their point of view so I could learn something, they told me what they can do – I still don’t know why they think their way is better than anyone else’s way. Consequently, I gained no knowledge and they gained no credibility.

Blogging is not just a form of cheap advertising – it is about building a community where people share information, ideas and opinions. The more you give through your blog, the more likely that people will start trusting you and valuing your expertise. That is how blogs bring you customers – not by boring them with lists of your services.

Here’s to interesting blogs to read!

Promotional Articles

Think about why you use the internet for business. Sure you look at the graphics and pictures, but the main activity is collecting information, right?

So, does it make sense that one of the best ways to pull people into your site is to give them information? Selling your product or service is your main business aim, of course, but if you give people information they will trust you – and they’ll stay on your site long enough to learn your name.

How can you use information to get people to visit your website?

Informative articles from Word ConstructionsBy far the easiest way is to submit informative articles to various web sites and ezines. That doesn’t mean you submit an article about you or your business as that will bore and annoy your readers. What you have to give them is good information about something relevant to your business, something they can use and appreciate you for.

If you are a mechanic, you could submit articles explaining what fuel injected means or how to jump start an engine; a wedding planner can write about how to decide on a guest list; an accountant can explain negative gearing or claiming GST inputs; and a butcher could write about the different cuts of meat.

You also need to make sure the article is interesting and basic enough for your potential clients to understand and finish. It must be accurate and presented professionally as well,  if it is to promote your business positively.

At the end of the article, you include a short bio about yourself and your business. You can see the bios I use at the end of business and health articles.

If you have a web site or email address, make sure the bio includes this information so it can be hyperlinked back to you. Thus anyone reading your article and wanting to know more or use your service can contact you instantly.

I mentioned the value of promotional articles a few weeks ago, and I will cover ways to make use of them in coming posts.