Yet we don’t have normal circumstances. What we have is a Covid-19 pandemic throttling the world. So here’s a few pointers on why you should fingers to keyboard pronto.
1. Staying visible when you can’t do face-to-face networking/markets/run a bricks and mortar shop etc
This is paramount. This situation WILL end. And when it does you’ll be able to reopen your shop or trade at a market or restart whatever it is that you do. But you won’t be on your own there will you? Other shop owners/creatives/market traders/small business owners will be re-opening/shifting up a gear too.
So, if you’ve stayed visible with regular blogging you’ve a fighting chance of those potential customers remembering you.
2. You’ve got the time!
This is your chance to plan a few months’ worth of blogging content.
Once it’s planned I can help you with that. If you really don’t want to write, or you can’t write (it’s not everyone’s forte) or you can write but want someone to give it a sanity check – I can help. More on that at the end.
And – if you’ve got more time to get blogs out there, then by extension, people will have more time to read them.
3. Answer your client’s pain points by writing blogs that offer solutions
Blogging drives traffic to your website. And website visits are what makes your Google juice extra flavoursome. Think about it. Google isn’t a knowledge provider. Google is a juggernaut of an information vessel transporting all the information out there on the WWW to people looking for it.
I read something the other day that said: ‘As of January 2020, there are 4.5 billion Internet users. And a big chunk of claim to be reading blogs on a regular basis.’
And we’ve already ascertained a chunk of them find themselves with time to read all of a sudden.
So get providing the knowledge for Google to transport.
4. Build your online brand without selling
Telling isn’t selling – it’s that mindset that’s given selling a bad name. Instead, use your blogging to provide valuable content and show your expertise. Give your readers value and you’ll gain recognition in the community.
Become an authority in your niche – and that will build your online brand.
5. Build up a store of content that you can use again and again
You can repurpose each blog into shorter posts to use on your social media content. Canva is a useful tool here. With Canva you can create a series of image-based posts that you can use on all your social media platforms. And, so long as the content isn’t topical, you can recycle them over and over. Social media timelines are busy places, people soon forget what they’ve seen. You might need to tweak a bit here and there of course. But you can soon build up a library of material for your marketing purposes.
5 Reasons to Blog Now! AND BLOG OFTEN!
Here’s how I can help
Watch this short film for a visual explanation of how my business activities wrap around this Born Again Swindonian blog. And read this post.
The big value of these pieces is the back-link to your business website and your social media platforms from a large site, updated regularly with frequent traffic. The articles sit there and Google does its thing.
A one-off Swindon in Business feature costs £79.99. The price includes writing, uploading onto my blog and optimising for SEO and some initial social media activity to get it some traction. You can of course share the link to it across your own platforms.
Then, beyond that, for regular blogging help there are two ways of doing it:
Bash the blog/s out and send to me for proof-editing. I’ll make it readable and help Google to love it.
I can ghost write them for you.
One blog to research and write is £55. I apply a modest discount to subsequent blogs and regular work, rather than one-offs.
I can also create a series of Canva posts for you to use on your social media platforms, to get extra mileage from your blogs. Most blogs will yield 4 to 6 suitable snippets of information. These are £5 each or 6 for £25.00.
Female pupils experience working at one of Swindon’s biggest medical device companies
Girl’s’ Work Experience News. Seventeen female, year 10 pupils from Swindon Academy School got a special visit to Beckton Dickinson. There they met inspiring women working in science and engineering. Beckton Dickson is one of Swindon’s largest medical device manufacturers.
Partnership: Girls’ Work Experience News
The partnership between Swindon Academy and Beckton Dickinson is an example of an initiative called the ‘Enterprise Adviser Network’. The Swindon and Wiltshire Careers Hub run this network. It’s partnership between the Careers and Enterprise Company, Swindon and Wiltshire LEP, Swindon Borough Council and Wiltshire Council.
The Careers Hub recruits leaders in business. It then matches those leaders with a local school or college. Together they provide a long-term relationship between education and the business world. These Enterprise Advisers (EAs) work alongside the school to develop everything from pupils’ interview skills to experience days.
For Swindon Academy, the careers Officer Jessica Cook and Helen Hewlett, Beckton Dickinson’s HR manager, foster the partnership.
Jessica said: “Having Helen means we’ve got someone to turn to for advice on how we should steer our careers programme. That’s how we make it the best it can be. This applies both to employers and to the young people that we’re supporting.”
“It’s been great that the pupils had female leadership in each activity. That means they can see female role models, within science and within tech. Having a female role model, working within a STEM subject is inspirational for young girls aspiring to work in these industries.”
Helen Hewlett has been the EA for Beckton Dickinson for 18 months and has built the relationship with the school. She said: “What we are doing with these students is giving them the full experience of different areas within our business. They are seeing engineering services, microbiology and also going into production. It’s the most rewarding experience seeing students get excited about our business.
Auriel Chandarana of Swindon Borough Council runs the Enterprise Advisor Network.
“It’s important that pupils understand what employers need, while they develop their skills. We want them to learn and understand the journey to what they’d like to do in the future,” explained Auriel.
In Swindon there are now 21 Enterprise Advisors working with 23 schools and colleges in the area. In an ideal world, each school or college will have two EAs that help them build better links with business.
Chair of Switch on to Swindon Jenny Groves added: “The scheme is a fantastic example of:
how schools can help inspire young people into working in Swindon based businesses
And how business can think about how it can attract future pupils to work for them.
Switch on to Swindon fully supports the EA programme and I hope more businesses get involved in it.”
Swindon networking breakfast set to serve up a full house
With its first networking breakfast of 2020 a full house, the next planned by Swindon’s Optimum Professional Services is on course to be a great success and give you an optimum start with their FREE business breakfast.
The company runs regular, free networking breakfasts at its Stratton headquarters. The next one is soon: 18th March 2020. As usual, the breakfast will run from 7.30-9am. It’s free to all business owners, advisers and business people to attend.
Since we launched our free networking breakfasts last year, we’ve had dozens of business people from a whole range of organisations attending,” said Optimum’s Head of Audit, Rob Stokes.
We’re also planning to stage other future events, which will have specific themes. Such events will give added value to the local businesses community and our expanding client base.”
At the breakfast, complimentary tea, coffee, juice, bacon rolls and vegetarian alternative will be on offer. And you can accompany your bacon butty with some great business networking of course.
Heating engineers rally round to help elderly couple keep warm
Warm-hearted heating engineers rally round. Swindon company Priory Heating show are one of the first in the town to sign up to a new initiative to help the elderly keep warm in winter – after replacing a couple’s broken boiler for free.
These warm-hearted heating engineers are members of DEPHER (Disabled & Elderly Free Plumbing & Heating Service). DEPHER is a CIC – Community Interest Company. This company works with the elderly and disabled people in the community and offers free or discounted services. Currently based in Burnley, DEPHER’s vision is to roll out the scheme across the country. The aim being to prevent older people suffering ill health and even death, when they get too cold to heat their homes in the winter.
Liza Van Zyl, co-founder of Priory Heating said: “As engineers working around the Swindon area, we’re all too aware of the health problems brought about by cold weather
Pensioners having to choose
“We are also well aware that some pensioners try to save money by turning down their heating in cold weather. Too many have to choose between keeping warm and paying other bills on a fixed and limited income.
A few weeks ago, the team visited an elderly couple in Swindon whose boiler had broken down, and they were using electric heaters to heat their home. “What they needed was a new boiler. But affording it was simply out of the question,” Liza said.
“We did our best to keep them warm in the short term but we knew we had to do something more to help them. We chatted to them about what they needed, and put them at ease saying we would soon have them warm.”
Liza and business partner Oli Royall spoke to their suppliers who replaced the couple’s boiler free of charge. The couple wish to remain anonymous.
A vote of thanks
Oli said: “We would like to take this opportunity to thank our suppliers Baxi and Vaillant for their help. And many thanks to Swindon Plumbing Supplies; Wolseley, Swindon; City Plumbing, Swindon and Spares Base, Fairford for also helping out.”
Statistics highlight the consequences of these issues. In the winter period of 2018 – 2019 (December to March), there were an estimated 23,300 excess winter deaths in England and Wales. Of those, 46% were men and 54% women. The latter partly explained by the higher proportion of women aged 90 years and over, compared to men. (ons.gov.uk)
Founded by Liza van Zyl, Priory Heating have their base in Swindon. Liza is a qualified heating engineer experienced in heating and boiler installations, landlord inspections and all aspects of heating and plumbing services.
Places snapped up for video blogging course aiming to put business people in the picture.
Hurry! There are now only two places left for the March course, run by Swindon-based Eight Interactive, which creates video and digital content for businesses.
Why Pam is offering the course
Pam Jones, director of Eight Interactive, devised the Video Implementation Programme (VIP) in response to the many video blogs (VLOGS) that the believes would be better left on the cutting room floor.
“I’ve found video blogging an invaluable marketing tool in my business. But you have to do it well and there is a process involved,” said Pam. “I want to help people get their video blogging right, so it helps promote rather than harm their business.”
The two-day VIP course is on March 3 and 4 at the Doubletree Hilton in Swindon. It’s open to a small group of business owners and Pam will cover the entire process involved in video blogging.
Delegates will learn how to plan and film their videos, and what equipment they need (such as a tripod to hold a smart phone). Pam will give individual guidance through the filming process. She’ll also cover basic video editing and offer advice on which software to use.
At the end of the course, attendees will have at least one video ready for posting, with a firm plan for a dozen films and the know-how to create them. Unlike quickly snatched videos for social media, these vlogs will be evergreen. What’s more, course delegates will create their VLOGS with search engine optimisation in mind.
The VIP, which is a follow on from Pam’s popular workshop on using video to promote a business, costs £397 + VAT.
Apprentices get connected with using social media for business
Digital apprentices gained business social media insights thanks to Wiltshire expert Yola O’Hara.
The British Computer Society invited Yola, founder of Royal Wootton Bassett-based social media company Visually Explained, to present and run workshops at an event in London. The BCS staged the event to tie in with National Apprenticeship Week.
Called ‘Look Beyond – Digital Apprenticeship Challenge’, BCS targeted the one-day conference at digital apprentices and organisations offering apprenticeships. The conference aimed itself at extending their understanding of the value of social media in the business world.
The focus of the workshops in which digital apprentices get business social media insights
Yola focused her talk and workshops on five main areas:
How to get engagement for a business idea
How to improve brand recognition
An insight into LinkedIn as a business platform
Using influencers and …
… standing out from the crowd on social media.
“I was delighted that the BCS asked me to speak at the event,” said Yola. “People are familiar with using social media in their personal life. Yet, as soon as they apply it to business they sound formal and corporate.
They need to learn to be true to themselves. If they remain authentic, then their uniqueness will come through. And it is uniqueness that will help them to get noticed in what’s a very crowded arena.
“I wanted to help the apprentices understand that social media isn’t only about posting photos of people wearing silly hats! There is a process. And, if they use a process, and engage with their audience, it’s an effective business tool.”
Co-presenters Joshua Uwadiae, of WeGym, and Danielle Ariyo-Francis, of IBM, joined Yola at the event, attended by some 50 apprentices and organisations.
Yola added: “I was pleasing to support this National Apprenticeship Week event. It’s my belief that it’s vital we attract young people to work in social media. That’s why I have taken on New College students for work experience and am considering creating an apprentice position within Visually Explained.”
Visually Explained specialises in delivering outsourced social media. The company also creates social media libraries for clients and audits their social media platforms. VE runs social media training programmes and workshops too.