I want to firstly apologise for leaving ti so long since the previous blog post, for someone within the marketing and social media business, a long hiatus never looks good. So take note!

The reason for the hiatus is quite a long one, so will explain as best I can within a limited amount of words, as I do not wish to rabbit on.

Just before Christmas we moved to Watlington in Oxfordshire, as my partner Michael was headhunted for his dream position. In circumstances such as these, the opportunity was far too good to turn down. I have also decided to return to studying. I am half Italian, and whilst I am still able to speak Italian relatively fluently, my grammar and writing has suffered. I am also able to speak Spanish, having taken it for GCSE; so I thought with the move it would be prime opportunity to take a break and study hard, so that I would be able to also offer the language services, along with the marketing and social media services. However, I have decided that I can in fact do both at the same time, and Watlington and the surrounding areas are full with fantastic businesses, again it seemed like a silly opportunity to pass up!

So there we are; the full, albeit, shorter explanation for the hiatus. I am now going to bury my head underneath severe planning for blogs, posts and other work to find more wonderful clients and businesses who potentially require my help. Do not forget that you are free to comment for any helps and suggestions, as well as any tips and suggestions for myself.



Blogs that are doing it right


I have recently taken on a new client, Annamaria, who is setting up a business in health and well-being, as well as family life, fashion and exercise regimes. I have been researching blogs for Annamaria to get an idea of what others have designed, what they are blogging about, how they are blogging about, and most importantly, why they have started the particular blog. It was a really fun search as it isn’t normally something that I would look into, and some of the blogs I came across were just fantastic. I’ve found that, quite apart from health and well-being, these blogs cover everything from art, fashion and photography, to family life, trials and suffering, successes with things they have tried and tested. What shines through is the passion behind these blogs, which isn’t always something that you see.

So I thought it would be nice to list a few blogs that I have come across that I love to read, that I think showcase what is right about a blog!

Being Positive about Being Positive – http://beingpositiveaboutbeingpositive.wordpress.com

Being Positive is a blog that focuses on life after discovering that they are HIV Positive. The blog covers everything from the back story to how they caught the infection, to how it has affected their day to day life, health, diet and how it has affected their emotional state. I think that this is a beautiful blog because it has been designed to look simple. This allows the actual content to be thing that captures and holds the reader. It would make sense that all blogs are like this, but in fact, I find that it is all dependant on the subject. Being Positive works not only because of appearance and content, but also because it’s such a raw, honest and relevant blog.

The Damson Tree – http://thedamsontree.wordpress.com

The Damson Tree is written by my very clever and wonderful friend Jessica Field; we met at university in Bangor. Her blog is filled with the most amazing and delicious recipes out there! It is thanks to Jess that I am renowned for my excellent white chocolate and raspberry cheesecake and my equally amazing sweet potato wedges with peanut butter! Definitely not two things that are for those on strict diets 🙂 Jess covers such a delicious range of recipes which will instantly make your mouth water and your stomach eat itself. As well as the recipes, the blog is stunningly beautiful; it has been carefully layer out and well thought of, with fantastic images to accompany her posts (remember my post about how powerful images are, and this blog is a wonderful example) She loves getting feedback, so please try a recipe and give her a shout, she’s left us for Canada the minx!

EcoWild Garden & Landscape Design – http://mberwicklandscape.wordpress.com / http://allotmentadvice.wordpress.com

Well, of course I was going to have to mention my partner’s blogs. Not just because it is slightly mandatory for me to show my support, but also because I support Mike with proof reading and guest posts, and above all else, because I LOVE to read what he has been up to. I mean yes, we live together so I tend to get a first hand account of everything, but I love to see his posts created and set out for the people he has following him. My favourite is more the allotment blog, because I bought the plot for him, and also because our son and I are constantly roped into back-breaking labour to cultivate wonderfully, satisfying, organic fruit and vegetables. What is also crucial about the allotment blog, is that it is covering a subject that many are now taking up. I know so many people of my generation who are getting stuck in the mud (excuse the pun) and relishing being able to grown their own things from seed. It’s also important because I do think people need to learn to be able to survive off their own produce; not to be too morbid, but the population is expanding, and I guarantee you growing your own is far cheaper than going to the shops to spend money on fruit and vegetables that are over priced and out of season. Mike allows me to posts recipes that we have tried and tested using the things we have grown, and without too much tooting of my own horn, they are amazing. So, make sure you look both up, whether you have been looking to have your garden redone, or you want to know how to successfully grow garlic, you won’t ever be bored.

Abbie Leanne Sharman – http://abbieleanne.wordpress.com

Abbie is another wonderful friend from the world of university. If you want a blog that covers everything from love, relationships and dating, to science, beauty and writing, then Abbie’s blog is the one for you. Aside from the fact that she is the sharpest person I know when writing anything, it is also incredibly honest, giving readers a real insight in Abbie and her life from university to London. Abbie is above all else, an artist, and incredibly talented when either behind or in front of the camera. Like Being Positive, Abbie has kept the background of the blog plain, whilst allowing her images and captions capture the interest of the reader. This works because this is who Abbie is, and what her blog represents. It is an extensive blog, yet it doesn’t feel cramped and readers are not made to feel like they are constantly having posts thrown at them. Her blog is not filled with irrelevant posts, or posts for the sake of posting, it’s all relevant because it’s what is important to her.

So, there we have it, five blogs that I constantly have my eyes on. Do suggest other blogs that you have come across that you love to read. Don’t forget that if you are looking to set up a blog, have posts proof read, or simply want some guidance on how it could be layer out, send me an e-mail at emma@laboromarketingsolutions.com


A LinkedIn Group


So, though a little later than promised, a quick note on the groups of LinkedIn, how they work and how they can benefit you.

There is a group for everything and anything professional within the world of LinkedIn, it’s merely a case of searching for the ones that suit you best. You can join up to 50 of them, and leave anytime you like to replace them with a group that you feel might be more suited to you.

If you are only just starting with LinkedIn, I suggest that once you have set up your profile and made a few connections, allow LinkedIn to throw you suggestions. 99% of the time! it is spot on about suggesting a group that will be beneficial for you to join. Make sure you carefully read exactly what he group is for, what posts they want and don’t want, and have a good read through previous posts if you can. This will give you a feel for what to expect.

I recommend writing a brief hello on the group page, but it certainly isn’t a necessity. If you are setting up your own group page, then you will most definitely need an introduction; ensure that you mention how long you’ve been in your current position for, why you’ve set up the group page, what you’re looking to get out of it, and any rules you’d like future members to abide to. Remember that groups can also be private.

I recommend a handful of groups to start with simply because you will get daily e-mails about posts that have been put up by other members, or posts about anything that you have liked or commented on within the group. I guarantee that the more groups you’re part of, the more you will dread your phone going off letting you know that you have an e-mail. Even with a handful, you won’t always have the time or the need to check what’s been posted every day. Make it a rule of thumb to check it once a week, but if in the meantime anything pops up during the week that you want to comment on then by all means do so.

If you remember, I recently worked with Michael Berwick and his blogs. He found LinkedIn groups great when he was trying to get opinions on what sort of logo he should have. He created an opinion poll with 10 different logos, found relevant groups on LinkedIn and asked people to vote and to write why they had voted for that particular one, or add any suggestions they might have. You will find that LinkedIn groups will have well over 100 accumulative years of experience on the chosen group subject, so any advice and opinion will always be welcome.

And that is LinkedIn groups in a nut shell; as always, if I have missed anything or you simply want to post an experience you’ve had with LinkedIn groups, please feel free. If you want any advice or guidance with groups, please e-mail me at emma@laboromarketingsolutions.com


Get a Link


I hope you have been enjoying exploring the wonders of writing a blog, and have also had some fun reading through ones which could clearly do with some guidance.

I have recently had the pleasure of taking on Karen Chantler, who is owner and director of Hart Enterprises (www.hart-enterprises.co.uk) Her business involves coming together with both employers and employees to strengthen working relationships and take businesses from strength to strength. Karen is rather wonderful; our meetings always consist of a glass of wine and putting the world to rights, and then a little business chat… if we have time. Our focus has currently been on the world of LinkedIn and I realised that it might be worth a post.

LinkedIn is essentially the working world version of Facebook; it is taken seriously because people all over the world use it, from posting updates about their business projects, to scouring the site for potential candidates for positions within their company. It is your on-line CV, and thus you have to ensure that it is constantly up to date, filled with every job you have ever had, every skill that you posses. On top of all this, you need to fill it with all your academic achievements, both in and out of school. Make sure you have contact details, website links, everything to point people to you and to help them get in touch with you.

Like Facebook, but more professional, LinkedIn also has numerous groups which are specific to careers, technology, software, solutions, schools, collages, universities everything and anything that will allow you to have discussions and promote what you are doing career wise. The best thing about these groups is that they are in themselves, mini communities for you to help others who are experiencing problems with a subject you might have great knowledge on, and vice versa. Within LinkedIn, again like Facebook, you can create a business page which will obviously only contain information on your business, and any products, topics, news, promotions relevant to your business.

Unlike Facebook and Twitter, I would say that LinkedIn is a social media site where more connections speak volumes. This will be because each connection will show you a further two to three other people who you can connect with. As well as this, you can then go through the recommended connections that LinkedIn will compile from your profile and the people who you have already connected with, giving you the widest range of possible leads within the world of social media platforms.

Within the connections you will make with LinkedIn, there will be those that you have previously worked with. What I strongly recommend you do is ask for a recommendation, and ensure that you return the favour by writing a recommendation to the person that has written one about you. Recommendations carry a lot of weight; again remember the post I wrote about how much credibility you gain if friends are willing to vouch for you publicly on Facebook, this is like that but again more professional. People who have worked with you, who will have seen what you are like dealing with all sorts of situations in all sorts of scenarios, will hopefully be writing about how great you are and recommending that people approach you for work.

I don’t really feel like this is enough of a clear explanation of just what LinkedIn can do, so take it as a general overview. I am making a plan to write a post every week and I will go into further, clearer detail about every aspect of LinkedIn, perhaps with examples. I make no promises though!

Again, for any questions, quires or if you feel I have missed something out or got something utterly wrong, leave a comment.




Apologies for taking so long to post this; I’ve had such a manic few weeks and this has been sat in my drafts waiting to be sent.

In the last blog, I talked about how important it was not to be lazy with your blogs. I do hate to repeat myself, and I also don’t like the idea of boring people, but I feel like this needs to be mentioned.

Do not cheat on your blog. It is so obvious and more than anything else, it can get you into serious trouble. Remember the blog I mentioned that I read for fun because of the mistakes and the lack of knowledge on the subject of the blog? I was catching up the other day, and noted that a new post had been added. There was me praying that maybe they had decided to make more of an effort; and I was surprised to see that there was not one single spelling, grammatical or punctuation error to be seen. Hurrah! Then I realised that the paragraphs didn’t all make sense, they didn’t appear to flow very well. That will be because the person who wrote the blog post had gone and copied paragraphs from other leading magazines and newspapers. Imagine at this point, me smacking my palm into my face and muttering a lot.

I mean it is just stupid. Firstly, as I stated, it’s obvious. People who start keeping up with your blog will get a feel for what you have actually written yourself, and for things that don’t sound like you at all. Don’t forget that blogs are like an open diary, even if they are professional, your personality will splash on to the page in some way or another. Secondly, by all means quote newspapers and articles, or add the link of the article or newspaper that you are quoting and discussing, but learn how to cite the original. Don’t copy things and try to pass it off as your own work. Thirdly, if you don’t know all the details of what you are talking about, why on earth are you blogging about it like you do? Be honest; use your blog like a friendly non face to face way of asking for the public’s knowledge and opinion on the subjects that you are unsure of.

Please take note, read this post by Corey Eridon ‘How not to steal People’s content on the web.’ http://blog.hubspot.com/blog/tabid/6307/bid/33098/How-Not-to-Steal-People-s-Content-on-the-Web.aspx

It is not worth getting into trouble over, and more to the point, not worth people like me reading it and using it as a ‘what not to do’ guide.

Hope this helps, though if there is anything you’d like to know, or anything that you feel I missed out on, please leave a comment.


Take your time and check before you hit send


I recently got an e-mail on LinkedIn offering me a special service for my website, which would apparently turn all the visitors to my website into hot leads and successful business transactions. I politely declined. I then received an e-mail whilst in the office from the same company who had reached out to me over LinkedIn, but this time from a different employee within the company. I rolled my eyes and was about to delete the e-mail, when an incredible sentence caught my eye. It read something like this ‘… I really do believe that the services we offer will be rite up your street.’ I almost laughed out loud. The more I read, the worse the spelling got. On top of the bad spelling, the grammar and the language of the e-mail also got worse. This e-mail was quite long; and I would assume from the spelling that the person who had sent it had not just spent ages carefully compiling it.

So this not only reflects badly on the employee, but on the company too. Why would you write up an e-mail, but not bother to check the spelling, the grammar, or the way it sounded? Who in their right mind will think that sending an e-mail like that will get people interested, enough to actually call the company and enquire after the services they are offering?

I understand that people are under pressure to hit sales targets, that companies are also under pressure to ensure that they are getting results. But mistakes just make you look lazy. It does not take long to go over what you have written before you click that send button. If you are not sure, use the internet! Or even better, send it to someone you trust and ask them to check it. It honestly is not worth risking annoying people you are hoping to follow-up with a call.

When it comes to spelling and grammar, don’t just think of your e-mails. Remember your bios in your social media platforms, and most importantly, your website. These will be the first places that your potential customers will find you. Spelling mistakes count because it annoys people. I know that you see stars getting annoyed with followers on Twitter who correct them on spelling, but that is different. They are already loved by thousands, so it doesn’t make a difference to them. You can’t afford to be lazy and look sloppy.

One more thing… a bit of a dirty secret if you like. I am currently following a blog not related to work, which is probably the worst written blog I have ever read. I mean spelling mistakes and grammatical errors that make your toes curl. But I can’t stop reading it because it just makes me laugh. The person has gone to great efforts to do research of some kind to get the content together for the blog, and it’s all ruined by the bad spelling and the bad grammar.

Please, please, please… Take your time and check everything before you hit send.



A blog about a blog


Firstly, I’d like to start off with saying a huge well done to Michael Berwick, owner of http://allotmentadvice.wordpress.com and http://mberwicklandscape.wordpress.com on the success of his blogging experience. I have had the pleasure of working with Mike over the last few weeks, and his blogs have gone from strength to strength. I will explain why shortly, but first a little about Mike. His full title is Michael Berwick BSc MLA; he studied landscape design at the University of Sheffield. Since graduating nearly two years ago, he has been working self-employed as a landscape labourer and an ecologist for several companies in both Kent and Sussex. His true passion lies with design and ecology work, thus he decided at the beginning of this year to kick start his company. He has a website meeting with my good friend Tom Crane (Crane Creative), to help him design a website suitable for his business, and I have taken full charge of his marketing and social media. Thus having a blog seemed only natural. He has a business blog, and a blog referring to his allotment, which he received as a Christmas present.

Due to the creative nature of Mike’s work, having a blog was a must. If you have a business, and especially if it is creative or artistic, a blog will aid you in getting more traffic to your website, helping with customer service and helping your business to do well. You need to think of your blog as a way to communicate with the masses, but in a personal manner. Using a blog, you are able to talk in great detail about a product, a service or a specific subject related to your business that you are passionate about. For example; if you are in the fashion business, you might perhaps like to write an entire post about silk. From where it originated from, to the pros and cons of using the material for a garment, and above all else why you like it so much. People like to read about what interests people, what others find passionate. We have seen a huge rise in blogs related to beauty and hair because every woman out there is desperate to find a way to enhance their best features and find a new hair trend that suits their type of hair. So, once you have a business plan, research your target market, see what blogs there are already if any, and start posting!

You can be extremely clever with a blog, using readers out there to help you shape ideas for any projects and services you might be thinking about applying through your business. One of the first obstacles that Mike faced when setting up his business was with regards to what his business logo should look like. So I suggested that he set up a blog, come up with up to 10 different logo ideas, and ask readers to cast their votes. If you visit his blog, you will see that he had over 80 votes, along with helpful suggestions and quires to other logo ideas. He also joined a design group on LinkedIn, which saw him gain further advice not only from other landscape designers, but from graphic designers also. His blog got over 175 hits on a daily basis, which means that there are already people out there who have invested themselves in having a part in the shape of Mike’s business, and who will be on the look out for what he doing next.

One of the things I stressed to Mike about when creating his blog, is that he had to make sure that he was communicating with his readers, and most importantly the people who had taken the time to vote and/or leave a message. Blogging is (excuse the pun) a two way street. If someone is taking the time and effort to read/interact with your blog, then you need to acknowledge that effort and respond. Whether you simply reply to a post, read/follow their blog, people will respond warmly to this, letting them know that you valued what they did and said, and that you are willing to do the same. This is where you can see how having a blog will help with your customer service. If a customer has written a specific comment on your blog, and you see that maybe a few others have agreed with the original comment posted, you can look to create a personal blog post designed to deal with what your customer needed. This again leaves them feeling like you are dealing with them personally, and will increase traffic to your website and bring you more business.

A few things to remember when creating and writing blogs:-

  • Visuals are extremely important; don’t forget that images help add a personal touch to your business, make customers feel you have added personal touches, and help emphasise the topic of your blog post.
  • Spelling is extremely important; do not make mistakes on your posts. It looks extremely unprofessional and sloppy. people switch off the minute they read mistakes, because if you aren’t going to take care over what you’re writing about, why should they?
  • Language is equal to spelling; if you have a PROFESSIONAL blog then keep it that way. Do NOT start using slang/abbreviations it is lazy and infuriating.
  • If you are unsure of your blog post, save it as a draft and ask people to read it prior to publishing it. Remember how important friends are; they may be harsh critics, but they will be onset with you. And it’s always better coming from them than from a total stranger.
  • As stated earlier, your blog is professional. So whilst friends should be supportive, they must in no way write anything on the blog that would be deemed detrimental. Yes Saturday night was fun, but your readers do not need to know how you ended up or you were seen kissing on the dance floor.
  • Equally, if you are reading someone’s blog and you notice any mistakes, leave a comment but don’t be mean. It makes you look extremely unfriendly and people don’t tend to listen to the advice. Don’t appear to be a know it all, or a snob either.

Above all else, and with this advice in mind, have fun with your blogs. Readers will be able to pick up on a post that you enjoyed reading, so don’t make it feel like homework!

If you are considering setting up a blog, simply want advice on content, or any other quires, please visit my website http://www.laboromarketingsolutions.com or e-mail me at emma@laboromarketingsolutions.com and I will be more than happy to assist in any way that I can.

Happy blogging.

Em x