Category: Business and marketing tips

Go for goals and stop setting ready resolutions fast forgotten…

 A New Year, a new you? Scrap that. It’s not a new you. It’s still you, but maybe you want to present the best you or to improve you in some way? Nothing wrong with that, if that’s what you want.

But, we don’t want to forget you, because that would mean leaving behind everything that has made you what you are.

We’re not shedding our reptilian skins and having our memories erased; we’re building our insight, knowledge and skills to propel us on our path; wherever we decide that’s leading us.

Setting goals and not resolutions is where I’m at. I don’t want to buy into commercial direction that aims to lure me into the latest fad. I want to build my year and beyond as I see and define it.

That’s why I’m going for goals and not ready resolutions that are far too easy to casually throw away like fast fashion.

Here are #10GoGettingTopTips on how you can get what you want…

#1 Turn on the kettle and let the brewing commence: Set goals you can get to...

We’re not talking about brewing for your daily caffeine intake, but your thoughts and ideas. You want to think about setting goals and decide how you will reach them. What will that look like in real life? What steps do you need to take in order to get there?

Start by jotting down and brainstorming. Use processes like mind mapping and spider diagrams, which are a great way to see and create flow to your ideas. You don’t have to select everything on your list.

And you don’t even have to do all of those things right now. That’s the point of planning. But it’s a good way to get the juices flowing with ideas.

Not every thought is going to be your golden goal. But noting down everything you might like to achieve will allow you to offer clarity of mind and focus to where you’d truly like to head.

#2 Think sums. If it doesn’t add up, it won’t happen: Accountability…

Hold yourself accountable and set a timetable. Split your aims into digestible sections such as; days, months and quarters, to be achieved over the course of the year.

But, keep yourself accountable. Find a friend, fill them in on your plight. Involve your work team and share your updates with them. You’ll find they’ll be right behind you, cheering you on.

Whoever you choose as your accountability partner, you want to find someone that can be your verbal conscience to keep you heading in the right direction.

#3 Don’t be fake. Set it to be real: Visualisation…

It’s a powerful thing to visualise. If you can see it, you can be it. If you can visualise it, you can reach it. So, I actively urge you to have a vision board.

You can create an actual board with pictures and words that associate and align with your goals. Or you can design one by using online tools that you’ll likely already have sitting on your phones or laptops.

#4 Find your groove: Make it real with a tick list…

Not everyone’s cup of tea, but I’m a huge fan. You can create actual lists on bright post-its or lined paper, use highlighters, different coloured pens etc, or you can use note taking apps and the notes section on your phone.

However, you decide to play it, do it so you can place an actual tick beside your completed daily challenge, to-do item or obstacle. That way you can feel the satisfaction once it’s done. It’s seems minor, but trust me –– try it and you’ll realise, it isn’t.

#5 It’s good to be regular: Check back-in

Goals are one thing but achieving them is another. Set aside time to see where you’re at and if you’ve deviated off course how you can weave back to where you want to be.

If you’ve set accountability in place with a colleague, team member or even a friend; get them to check in with you too.

You’re not reliant on others to help you achieve, but a gentle nudge and a friendly face in your corner is a great boost.

#6 Stuff happens: Adjust where you need to

Life happens and sometimes our course is unintentionally altered. It’s unrealistic to assume the seas will be plain sailing and so try to filter in additional time to give you the opportunity to adjust if you need to.

Having to be flexible in times where life throws you a curveball doesn’t mean giving up on your goals, but it does mean you may need to plan around it.

Factoring this in from the off doesn’t impact you for the negative. What it does is to offer you a plan and a route should something unplanned happen.

#7 You don’t have to be a magician and keep the plates spinning: But you do want to keep spinning your motivation…

Staying motivated and staying on course can seem like you’re spinning the magician’s plates constantly. But it doesn’t have to be the case.

What keeps you motivated? What’s your magic sauce? Whatever, you need to keep you on course, do it. If it’s a break to catch up on your favourite Netflix box-set, then do it. If it’s a run to your favourite beauty spot, then do it. If it’s curling up with your book of the moment, then do it.

Motivation can be therapeutic and even energy gaining by doing things such as; talking it out with your partner, your best friend or the family pet. We all need a little motivation and if it’s keeping you on target, then don’t feel bad for doing whatever it is that works for you.

#8 It really is cool to communicate: Stay in-touch with your goals…

If it’s just you, set diary dates and use your accountability partner to check back in. If you’re a part of a team working towards goals, then set regular points to check in and see if you’re meeting the check points that you’ve set.

Use a diary, and even your phone diary to sync it to your laptop, your computer and even your tablet; so that you can see your goals and when you want to achieve them by.

Set reminders so they pop up and you can’t ignore them. Leave notes and even positive affirmations for yourself.

The journey is much easier if you challenge yourself but at the same time are kind to yourself too.

#9 There’s no one size fits all approach: Set small steps and mini milestones, as well a lightning leaps…

Set a collection of goals that are workable, doable and that are a mixture of those small steps and those lightning leaps. Not every goal has to be big or even business related. It can feel vulnerable to put yourself out there when there is that feeling that you might fail. But if you don’t try and you don’t plan towards it, you’ll never know.

Don’t let your good ideas be only that. Bring them to life by making them happen. You’re are the captain of your own ship. The destination course is yours.

#10 Find your get up and go. There’s no time like the present is there? Ready steady and set your goals…

There’s no time like the present. Get setting. You’ll likely already have ideas on where you want to be this year. Maybe even some that have been on the back-burner. Why wait? Put together your actionable goals that you know you want and can do this year.

Take that leap today and create positive habits that form a part of your year’s goals. Most importantly don’t forget to celebrate them once you’ve reached them. I know I’m much better with a purpose attached to what I’m doing and so goals really work for me.

It’s not always easy to be motivated and we don’t always feel like it. But your mindset, your resilience and your determination are huge driving forces, that are within your control.

So, what are you doing to shape your time today?

What are your #10GoGettingTopTips?

I’m no superhero, who is. None of us actually wear capes. Unless of course you’re superman or superwoman ­­­–– obviously. But you don’t have to be a superhero to achieve and excel in life. Honestly, it’s true. Remember you decide what success looks like, by putting that into a plan you offer yourself the best chance of seeing your goals become your achievements.

What would be your #10GoGettingTopTips? Could you share them with others so they can benefit from your wisdom too?

It’s worth noting that not all goals have to be business related. They could be life goals too. But remember a goal only becomes a reality it you plan and act upon it.

Don’t let the latest fad ready resolutions fast forgotten become you: be goal getting instead…

Here’s to the year you yearn for….

Do you need the ‘know how’ on how to write for your business? Fun fact…not only do I offer writing services and packages, but I can also consult with you on how to be your own content writer and show you how to write what you need for your business too.

Why not email me at, and connect with me on LinkedIn @Amber L Smith plus visit me at my website:

Hey you! Go get your goals. Whilst you’re thinking about it why not get in touch and tell me what tips you would add to my #Top10TipList above?….

First published on Thrive Global on 7th January 2020

How to bake to perfection your content for your brand and business…

So, you’ve written your business piece, your blog, you’ve posted your post, typed your article, created your content, made your video. But does the middle part of your content seem muddled? Does it align with the message and tone of the whole piece?  Does it match the question in the title? Does it correspond to the conclusion?

We spend a large proportion of our time perfecting our introduction, and tweaking the end, but does the guts of the piece fit in with your overall message?

This blog article is all about how you can help to keep yourself on track with ensuring your middle is baked to perfection and not more akin to a cake that looks better than it tastes when you bite into it.

Let’s start with the muddle part of your baked business content

The muddle is the middle. It’s what sits between your title and leads your reader through to the end.

It’s the juicy bit. The meat. The special sauce. It’s what gives your reader their takeaways from your content. It’s what your reader will learn. It’s what will guide them to the end. It’s your story.

As well as being gripping and interesting your content needs to peak enough interest to keep the reader wanting more. You want your reader to feel satisfied, empowered in some way, to have insight, to gain awareness and to enhance their knowledge of you and their reason for reading, viewing or watching what it is that you have to say.

As well as what you’re writing or presenting, your reader wants to see consistency in your content. But most of all they want to see value in your content. Don’t allow your content to veer off topic.

3 takeaways to consider for the middle part of your business content

1) Message match throughout all of your content that you produce. Relate it back to each section and then ensure it still relates back to your reader.  What is the meaning of your message? Identify its purpose.

2) Keep it simple. Think with clarity. Make it easy for your reader to follow your message throughout. Make it digestible.

3) Who’s it about? Always make sure your reader is the star of the show. Your audience should always be at the forefront of all of the content that you’re creating. Think about what you are trying to tell them?  What’s your unique selling point? Who are you aiming your message at? Does the content do its job? Does it make sense? Is it any good?

Some content creators like to use formulas and frameworks such as PAS (Problem-Agitation-Solution) and AIDA (Attention-Interest-Desire-Conviction-Action) to keep them on track. You may find that this helps your business to create the best content it can offer and to ensure the whole piece of content is focused rather than elements of it.

The middle is just as important as the end, the beginning and your call to action. It will all be for nothing if the pieces do not connect with one another.

Focus towards your one goal of the piece, with the content you are creating.  Make your audience want to move in some way to connect further with you, your brand and your business.

Let’s address the star ingredient of your business copy and content – the reader

It’s always your intended reader. Your audience. Every last bit of copy and content that you produce has to relate back to your audience. It has to offer value. It has to offer learning. It has to offer something for your audience to take away. It has to offer enough to intrigue them to want more.

Have you got personas of your target audience? To create the best content and to relate it to your reader you have to know who they are. Knowing this helps you to know what content to write, to post, to blog, to put into video form. It allows you to use it as part of your content strategy.

On a star ranking blog written on the website they list 7 questions to get to know your audience. So, when you are wanting to make your reader the star of the show make sure you can answer these questions about them;

1) What are they like?

2)  Why are they here?

3) What keeps them up at night?

4) How can you solve their problems?

5) What do you want them to do?

6) How can you best reach them?

7) How might they resist?

Could you answer these about your reader? This in turn helps to build your brand, your business. It adds authenticity, it adds weight to your marketing and your expertise. It’s also in understanding how your reader acts online that you can direct your content to speak directly to them. How is your reader likely to respond to your content?

Website content and your reader

Did you know that according to an article on crazyegg.comthe average reader will spend 15 seconds on your website content before clicking off?

That’s 15 second to make an impact. That’s 15 seconds to encourage them not to bounce. Make it count. Make it compelling. Make it persuasive. Make every part of your copy and content worth sticking around for. This of course will impact how Google will view your content and whether or not your reader returns back to the search page that they started on.

Social media content and your reader

Of course, it’s not just the copy or content on your website that you’ll be encouraging. It’s also your social media posts. Despite the reported drops in content engagement over the last few years, social media still plays an important role.

Not only does your social media strengthen your brand loyalty, and build strength in your relationships, it’s also still one of the most powerful conversion tools. Which is why it’s imperative to get to know your audience. To talk to them. Just like you were chatting to them in person.

That’s why social media is encouraging the “social” part. People want more from your content. They want to get to know you. They want to understand you and understand why that should matter to them. They want to engage and connect with your business and brand. Your audience wants to feel connected to you.

Being active with your reader and your content

Being active with your content and relating it back to the reader along with ensuring you are making it all about them –– is the goal. It’s the vital decoration on the cake. This ensures you are on the same page. The same level as your audience.

According to a SocialMediaToday article; 65% of brands post online but don’t engage. It’s one of the easiest ways to make it all about your audience. It shows that you’re real and that you care enough to want to respond to them.

So, make your reader the star of the show. Make them want to read what you have to say. Give them the lead role in your business and brand copy and content.

The icing on the cake: the Hollywood ending with your reader?

We’re not dancing off into the sunset. That’s only for the movies. But you can do a waltz with your audience; with your reader.

It can be hard to add personality and a human touch when you can’t see that person’s face but there is a person behind every profile. Make your brand human by showcasing your human side in every part of your business copy and content.

Find a way to connect. Let’s get social and let’s be authentic in our interactions with our copy and content. Let your business message and your goal also be to resonate with your reader in every aspect of your content. Let your content spark a response. Let your content create a conversation. And let your content offer value and learning.

After all what are you trying to achieve if not to build relationships that create value but that ultimately create long-term, long-lasting opportunities for your brand and business?

And cut the cake: It’s the summary

Each and every piece of your business and brand content is as important as the other. It doesn’t matter what content or copy you are creating, whether it be a blog post, a video, an article or a short form post for social media. Your goal is to move the reader along. Guide them to then end. Create authority for you brand and business.

Take your audience on a journey. Squeeze the value into everything that you do. Make sure your goal for your business and brand content speaks to your reader and keeps the action going right from the start until the very end.

So, what do you think: is your business and brand content looking like it’s baked to perfection?

Don’t stop there: head on over to my other blogs at; or you can email me for help with your copy and content needs at, or connect with me on LinkedIn at Amber L Smith Twitter @simplyamberlou, Facebook Amber L Smith and Instagram simplyamberloucopywriting.

Will I want to engage and connect with you?….

Storytelling is the currency of the modern-day writer, creative and business. We write, we draw you in, we dazzle you with a cleverly woven tale. But does it tell your story? Do you grab my attention? Does it make me want to engage and connect with your brand?

If you’ve ever read a story and felt like none of the issues you thought were going to be addressed were even answered at all: and you learnt nothing new-how would you feel? You’d feel frustrated, you’d feel disappointed- wouldn’t you?

Time is a precious commodity which is why it is imperative to tell your story carefully. It’s why your story should inform and create understanding to make it personal to your audience. Let’s take a look at some of the essential anatomy parts of storytelling;

Keep it simple: write with clarity

Caroline O’Hara wrote an article on storytelling for HBR and in it she says, ‘Not every story you tell has to be a surprising, edge-of-your-seat epic. Some of the most successful and memorable stories are relatively simple and straightforward. Don’t let needless details to detract from your core message. Work from the principle that “less is more.” One of the biggest mistakes you can make is “putting in too much detail of the wrong kind,” says Morgan. Don’t tell your audience what day of the week it was, for instance, or what shoes you were wearing if it doesn’t advance the story in an artful way. But transporting your audience with a few interesting, well-placed details — how you felt, the expression on a face, the humble beginnings of a now-great company — can help immerse your listeners and drive home your message.’


Stick to the point: allow time to edit well

Don’t add waffle if that waffle doesn’t aid your point and will not get your reader from the start of your article to the end. Your goal is to not only tell your story, and to get your audience to engage- but you want your audience to glide with ease from start to end.

Keep to the point throughout your story. Always check back to ensure you haven’t veered off. Edit and edit well- at first draft you can write it all down: but when you check your draft take out what isn’t necessary.

Don’t be caught up in a word count unless you know all of the material is golden material. Be ruthless once you come to editing. Check back to your original brief. If words or sentences don’t fit or align well then don’t be afraid to take them out.

If possible and you have time in your process before editing why not ask a trusted colleague to take a glance over what you’ve written. Can they understand the point? Would they change anything?

Does it make sense: is it jumbled?

Even if you feel you have stuck to the point throughout your storytelling piece does it flow? Or does it jump from one to many differing concepts before coming back to the original point? How can you edit the work to create the flow you will want for your intended audience?

Always take a look with fresh eyes-you’ll never spot the flaws if you haven’t had time to step away in order to refocus your mind for when you edit.

It’s a myth: it doesn’t have to be boring- even if it’s corporate

I’ve read reviews for books where people have felt the book was boring because the story was too corporate. But this doesn’t have to be the case. Keep it authentic, add weight by reminiscing from personal experience. Remember your brand is you and you are the face of your brand- and so your story should be personal.

When you write of course add your personal touch. You want people to be able to relate to the brand but people also want to get to know the face behind the brand. People want to engage and connect with people. They need to feel it’s authentic so they can place their trust within your business.

‘Because people always remember a good story. A great story that personifies your brand is what you need in order to position yourself in the most effective way.’Jeff Charles HuffPost 2017

Good examples of brands to check out that have nailed this are the likes of Lego, Adidas, Headspace, Google, Apple, Coca-Cola etc.

Think about your colour choices: colours match feelings and emotion

This sounds airy fairy: but it isn’t. Colours spark a reaction and accompanying emotion. Choose colours that not only suit your brand and those that you consistently use but that in type are kind to the eye but also say who you are and creates the right image to match your audience.

A Help scout article written by Gregory Ciotti found that ‘In a study titled “Impact of color on marketing,” researchers found that up to 90% of snap judgments made about products can be based on color alone, depending on the product. Regarding the role that color plays in branding, results from another study show that the relationship between brands and color hinges on the perceived appropriateness of the color being used for the particular brand (does the color “fit” what is being sold?).’

What will they learn from your piece: what’s your message and CTA?

According to the as of Monday 21st May there are 1.82 billion indexed pages online. It’s hard to command attention amidst the noise so always aim to make your content speak quality over quantity.

Align your message within your storytelling with your brand. Always start with ‘Why’ when you write as Simon Sinek says. Then look at how and what.

Know your intended message, audience and goal of the piece/article before you start. Your call to action (CTA) should be clear and simple. You may feel like you’re stating the obvious but that’s because you know what you want your audience to do. The audience don’t forget may not know if you don’t say it. Try and put yourself in the readers shoes-then you’ll know if you’ve hit the mark.

What next: consistency, authenticity and continue to tell your business story

When you end the storytelling business piece, try to involve your audience. Ask them a question, ask them for their expertise or experience etc. Interact with them. You have started the journey but now want to aim to continue that path: and take the reader along for the ride.

Mike Kappel Forbes contributor says to, ‘Use business storytelling to strike an emotional connection with customers. Talk about how an event related to your business affected you and what you learned. This creates an immediate response that makes your story memorable and shareable.

People like to be a part of stories. Your customers can be characters in your brand. Come up with ways to get your audience involved.

For example, Patriot Software reached out to some of our customers to hear their startup stories. Black Sheep Boutique and Lamplighter Brewing Co. were among several companies featured in business storytelling examples on our blog. Showcasing these businesses directly linked our customers to a part of our story.

Telling the story of your brand is an ongoing process. Each day, your business grows, shifts, and adds new chapters to its story. Make business storytelling an essential part of your operations to attract and retain customers.’

Consistency is key along with authenticity. Clarity should always be front of mind when writing your business story along with tone. Align your goals and objectives to fit your story. Know why you are writing-make sure you research what your customer wants and decide how you fit into that.

Enjoyed this post? I’d really like to hear your thoughts-  Send me your comments and opinions…..

  • Do you believe in business storytelling?
  • Do you invest in business storytelling?
  • What brands do you feel get it right or wrong and why?

You can follow me on LinkedIn @Amber L Smith and on Twitter @Simplyamberlou. Your likes and shares let me know you’ve enjoyed the piece and are all gratefully appreciated.

Thank you for being a part of my story and journey… Amber 🙂 

The new secret and unknown tale of the 3 little pigs: A plan built like straw, sticks and bricks….

Once upon a time their lived the 3 little business pigs….

This is a tale of the 3 little pigs and their business planning like that of a house made of straw, sticks and bricks. The 3 little pigs discover the importance of planning and setting appropriate goals in alignment with their company’s purpose.

1.The First Little Business Pig: A plan built like straw

The first little pig was a professional in business and needed to create success in order to be able to expand and grow. She had big dreams, but struggled to keep a track of her plans and didn’t really set actionable goals or achievable ones.

This in turn meant that first little business pig’s employees could find themselves somewhat demotivated and confused as to where they were headed. The company’s vision could feel blurred and so objectives could prove tricky.

The first little business pig had put together her business planning as if she was building a house made of straw.

One day along came the big bad wolf. She huffed and she puffed and she blew down first little business piggy’s straw plan. The first little business pig was crestfallen but knew ultimately that the planning had gaping holes in it and had much room for improvement in order to succeed.

The first little business pig fled to help second little business pig. Surely planning like you were building a house of sticks would have much more success?

2) The Second Little Business Pig: A plan built like sticks

The second little business pig was another professional in business and wanted weatherproof, obtainable goals. But she wanted them right now and had little patience to sit and brainstorm and to work a full plan of traceable action as to how these would be ascertained.

She was very busy and thought it was ok to have it in her head as she would remember and all of her employees would intuitively follow suit by her lead. She had taken on a new employee first little business piggy to help progress the company and take them forward.

The planning was like building a house made of sticks. Breakable, untraceable and no clear guide as to where they were going.

One day along came big bad wolf. She huffed and she puffed and she blew down the second little business piggy’s stick like plans.

Second little business pig was disappointed. She knew she should have planned better and allocated time to dedicate and understand the company and its vision and objectives. She took all of her employees, and first little business pig to start business with the third little business pig.

Building a plan like you were building a house made of bricks would surely have longevity?

3) The Third Little Business Pig: A plan built like bricks

The third little business pig was a professional in business. She had also had the unfortunate dealings with failing plans but had come to the wise decision that planning goals would lead to a progressive and stable business.

The third little business pig used a SMART method to plan for her business and she was keen to communicate and demonstrate with relevant individuals such as first little business pig and second little business pig to ensure the plan was delivered as per the agreed strategy and put into actionable steps.

She wanted it to be broken down into short and long terms goals with periodic meetings to ensure everyone was on track. To compliment the meetings a Google sheet table or Excel spreadsheet would be designed to help keep everyone on target.

All of her goals would be in alignment with her company vision and objectives. It was important to her too that her employees all felt a sense of achievement as she knew it would help to motivate them which would mean a greater sense of satisfaction and work efficiency.

The third little business pig had built a plan as if she was building a house made of bricks. One brick at a time, a clear foundation that would be sturdy enough to withhold a growing structure on top.

The big bad wolf had followed the first and second little business pigs and decided she would try to huff and Puff and blow the brick built house like plan down. But….

This time the plan stuck. It was a solid plan and had many merits. It had a clear path. She would have to try and get in from the roof!

Strong winds came and the big bad wolf crouched down and she fell through a skylight on the business roof into the building where the three-little business pig’s and their colleagues worked.

The big bad wolf saw the well thought out and considered plans and decided that this was the opportunity she had been holding out for. She would join the pigs on their business adventure.

To Conclude: The moral of this story….

Plan well, don’t overlook this phase, it’s the foundation to which successful businesses are built on. Plan short and long-term goals. Good communication should always feature in any implementation of any plan. Well motivated staff achieve well and mentally feel engaged and fulfilled in their roles.

Your success story isn’t a story if there’s no plan. You need a path to follow. It’s your journey and it’s your path but you need to build it with solid foundations.

What’s your success story? Has your business taken you by storm and now you’re in need of assistance?

 Need a little help in kick-starting your blog, articles or content curation? 

Get in touch: Let’s chat.  I offer a free no obligation consultation to discuss your needs and can put together a tailor-made package to suit you and your business needs both now and in the future.

Email me: . Visit my site, send me a direct message and follow me on LinkedIn: Amber L Smith and follow me via Twitter: @Simplyamberlou .

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