News and opinion on business,
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Taking better notes will make you a better writer

I take lots of notes from client meetings, conference, podcasts and blogs and while I am reasonably comfortable with my process I do feel I should have a more consistent approach to collecting and recalling them. I know I could build a better resource to drawn from.

Once of Drew’s ideas is to not worry about what you should be collecting but to collect the ideas that occur to you as you let information flow over you. This idea is very freeing when I have long list of podcasts to consume but get caught up in where to start rather than just starting, listening and making notes as an idea occurs to me.

Drew also mentioned about how the act of writing notes, leaves brain free to better connect ideas. This reminds me of how effective the Getting Things Done task system can be for exactly the same reason.

Don’t wait

Seth on his blog

If we decided to simply reduce our waiting and worrying allocation by 50%, just imagine how much we could discover, how many skills we could learn, how dramatically attitudes could shift.

If you have time on your hands, don’t wait until COVID or the Lockdown is over. Use the time now to learn something new.

How to design a logo

Article from Smashing magazine on logo design

Why did you start your company? If you can get to the heart of why they went into business, you’ll be able to create a logo that feels more genuine to that original mission.’

The post focuses on designing a logo (from a web developers point of view) but has some good questions to ask yourself when planning your website and marketing too.

Also worth checking out Branded in Memory, a site that looks at how people remember 10 of the strongest logos around.

Why it’s not profitable to use dark patterns

Paul Boag writing for Smashing magazine on How To Convince Others Not To Use Dark Patterns

‘Brands always used to be able to get away with manipulation because consumers were mostly unaware of being manipulated. Even if they did realize(sic), the choice was limited, and so there was very little they could do. That is no longer true. The web has changed that.

We need to help management realize the fact that consumers have changed. That in every consumer’s pocket is instant access to every other company on the planet that offers the same thing as you. It is so easy to find your competitors and so simple to swap that one small annoyance is enough to make people switch.’

Dark patterns are tricks to make people do things they don’t mean to do. You’ve probably come across them on an airline website when booking seats or paying extra for insurance. Find out more about what they look like here.

While these tricks seem like a clever way to up-sell, here’s an example Paul cites as a reason why dark patterns are not as profitable as they might seem.

‘Sure enough, the sales of filters skyrocketed, and the e-commerce team was pleased because they were one step closer to meeting their targets.

Unfortunately what they were not aware of was what was happening elsewhere in the company.

The marketing team who ran the companies social media channels found themselves having to spend time addressing complaints on Twitter and Facebook.

The customer support team received an increase in calls asking for refunds or complaining. Each call was costing the company £3.21, more than the profit margin on the filters.’

Tips to help you work from home during lockdown and beyond

Advice from home workers on from British Red Cross training, including one from me – I’ll let you find it.

One of the tips was from friend and colleague Catherine Every. It’s actually a great idea and would work well for some but I like to work solo and woe betide any who disturb me.

‘In terms of staying in touch, I sometimes have all-day Zoom sessions with fellow freelancers, both one-to-one and in groups. There are two ways I’ve done it: the first is having a new call at set times, and the second is where we’re on the call the whole time but on mute with the video off for most of it. Either way, the idea is you check in every hour or so to say “hello” and talk about progress. It helps me stay focused if I need to get something done because there’s some accountability – it’s also just nice to know someone’s out there working ‘with’ you.’

There’s also a tip from Sarah Townsend (who I interviewed recently), on setting work/home boundaries.

Inside the weird, get-rich-quick world of dropshipping

From Wired

‘“My main gripe is that you’re selling a course for $6,000 to a person from middle America who’s put all their funds into this, and you’re teaching them to sell avocado slicers online with 40 other people who are also selling avocado slicers,” he says.’

Get rich quick schemes almost never work out except for the people who start them or sell the courses. Much like MLM schemes and too-good-to-be-true share offers.

It’s a dirty area and best avoided.

Infectious Marketing, free webinar – May 14th 2020

Heidi CJ Shouting in megaphone

Heidi Chamberlain-Jones (Eat Sleep Live Herefordshire) and Ben Kinnaird (Rather Inventive Marketing) share their best ideas on using social media, email and presenting on video to stay connected during lockdown so you and your customers come out of this stronger together.

We’ll also look at the website and SEO improvements you could be making in this quiet time to prepare for a return to normality – Whatever that will look like!

This event has finished but you can watch the webinar video recording.

When: Thursday, May 14th 2020 @ 1:00PM BST

Where: Online Webinar

Cost: Free

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How to get your guests to promote your podcast

Every podcaster who does interview shows struggles in booking, interviewing, and following up on their guests to some degree. Building rapport is an added hurdle at times too.

On this episode, we continue last week’s conversation with Rob & Kennedy of The Email Marketing Show and dig into the process of preparing, emailing, scheduling, & interviewing guests, and reconnecting with them after the podcast goes live.

If you have a podcast, this episode is worth a listen.

Even though we’re changing tack on the podcast and reducing the number of guests, the idea of using automated emails to get guests excited for when their interview is published is a great idea and something I should have done years ago.

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