21 fabulous email subject lines that work

email subject lines that workEmail marketing is still alive and well. BUT, given the amount of email that the average business person receives each day, it’s hard to make an impression on that inbox and shout “Over here! Look at me! Read me!”

Email marketing is about one thing: engagement.

It’s hard enough to get people to read your email when it’s in their inbox, but what if it doesn’t even make it past your spam folder? Some email service providers such as Yahoo, Gmail and Hotmail, use an ‘engagement score’ to decide whether your email will get beyond the gate keeper or not.

The metrics used for the engagement score are:

  • open rates (obviously the more opens the better)
  • lateral scroll rates (the further people scroll, the better it is for your score because the assumption is they’re reading it!)
  • hard and soft bounce rates (the fewer hard bounces, where the email address doesn’t exist and soft bounces where the email inbox is full, the higher your engagement score.
  • complaints and unsubscribes (you need to reduce these babies as much as possible!)

One of the best ways to get a good engagement score is to write fabulous, enticing headlines that peak the interest of your people. You can kiss the other metrics goodbye if your email doesn’t even get opened!

So that leads me to subject lines.

In my experience, all successful email subject lines fall into one of these four categories:


  1. Urgency, necessity, scarcity – the need is communicated immediately for fear of missing out
  2. Curiosity, mystery, teasing – no direct benefit stated, but mystery often increases open rates
  3. Benefit driven – the benefit of opening the email is clearly stated
  4. Proof or Credibility – results are leveraged to build credibility

Trial and error is often the only true way to test what works with your particular audience and database. And of course what works one time may not always work, for whatever reason. What I do know however, is that there are some really good generic subject lines that can be used either verbatim, or tweaked just slightly to suit your crowd.

Once you get your emails opened, more than half the battle is won! Then you just have to wow them with ridiculously good copy and amazing offers! (But that’s another blog post or two…)

For now, here are some fantastic, PROVEN, subject lines that will increase the chance of your emails being opened.

  • OOPS… I forgot to tell you….
  • You’re going to miss this…?
  • Not long now…
  • Ok, you’re all set to go
  • Only 12 hours left…
  • Here’s the details you wanted…
  • Have you read it yet?
  • Now open for business
  • Don’t do this unless you’re really ready
  • I’ve decided to quit.
  • Important announcement
  • Final notice
  • Use my top 5 tips for you own benefit
  • Important – date change
  • Need my help?
  • Can you help me please?
  • You’ve been selected to…
  • Urgent: This is not a test
  • Last chance to be a VIP
  • This week’s top 10 [insert things you offer]
  • Today only: 30% off [X]

There are lots of ‘tricks’ to email marketing and plenty of proven methods. The honest truth is that the game keeps changing, and everyone’s audience is different, so you will just have to keep at it and try out different things to see what resonates.

Your database list is a powerful tool, one that shouldn’t be forgotten in the era of social likes, fans, and followers. If Facebook closed down tomorrow, would you have any way of contacting those fans? Would you be able to gather those names in an instant? Would you actually have a business left? It’s always good to keep your own database humming along, nice and warm with valuable offers and guidance on a regular basis. They’re yours, they’ve opted in and you can communicate with them regardless of Zuckerberg.

Happy writing and enjoy the headline testing!

1,825 blog posts created for you in a snap

Idea MapImagine how great it would be to have your next year’s blogging topics all mapped out for you. No more heartache on a Monday morning when you know you should be saying something to your prospects and clients but just can’t think of anything. No more staring at the blank screen, kicking yourself because you can’t remember that great idea you had last week.

This little process I’m going to teach you is a simple one, but an effective one. It will stop you feeling like your head is about to explode every time you sit down to write. You’ll feel calmer and more in control of your content calendar. You’ll stop beating yourself up and reduce your fear about writing; you’ll begin to sing like Elsa and just “Let It Go”…. (ok, maybe that’s just in my household!). You’ll have more time to focus on the things you love to do to get your business cranking.

Here’s how it works:

Consider your brain a muscle that needs to be exercised every day. Within that brain is a wonderful section for ‘ideas’. This is the cool place where new and creative stuff is generated. So, let’s see what that ideas section can do for you each and every day.

The process is simply to pick a topic and jot down 5 ideas around that topic. They don’t have to be highly fashioned, perfectly wonderful ideas… just ideas. Short, sharp and to the point.

The process of doing this, every day, is the best way to fill your content calendar with things to write about. By making it a ritual, your approach to writing and communicating with your audience will change – for the better. You won’t be half as scared next time you dip your fingers into the ideas jar looking for something juicy to write about.

Some days the ideas will come thick and fast, and by all means you should jot down more than 5 if you have them. Other days it may be like pulling hens teeth from your brain and the last idea may not come to you until your head hits the pillow. Regardless, you should try to build this process into your daily schedule so that you are truly exercising your creative muscle. And I can assure you, it does get easier with practise.

Choose a central place to store your ideas so you can refer to them whenever you need to. It may be that you think better through a pen than the keyboard. If so, find a great notebook and go for it. Perhaps you want to create some system and order around your ideas, so a spreadsheet might suit you better. The HOW is not the concern, the WHAT is the biggy here.

Now, you may end up looking at some of the ideas down the track and thinking they’re a load of rubbish. But it doesn’t actually matter. Because the truth is there’s probably about 70-80% of them that are really great and workable.

5 ideas x 365 days = 1,825 ideas.

At a 75% strike rate, that’s still 1,368 and three quarter ideas that are pretty darn good!

So go ahead and give it a go.

1. Choose a theme or topic

e.g. 5 commonly asked questions from your clients
5 case studies
5 things that differentiate you from your competitors
5 tips and hints
5 business building activities

2. Write your ideas down at the same time each day – habits create outcomes more quickly.
First thing in the morning is an easy way to get it out of the way and feel you’ve accomplished something. As I said though, the last idea may not come to you until you’re popping the moisturiser on in the evening!

3. Don’t edit yourself.
Forget about whether the ideas are good or even plausible, just get them down. You can check out their viability when it comes to writing them.

4. Look outside your brain for inspiration.

Check out tools such as the Blog Post Idea Generator, Quora and HubSpot’s Blog Post Topic Generator. Even plain old Google can be a source of inspiration – simply type in your topic or some keywords and see what comes up.

Actually, there’s inspiration all around you if you look hard enough. In the words of Willy Wonka:”If you want to view Paradise, simply look around and view it.” The real shiz, is getting those ideas out of the ether and onto the page in a semi-usable fashion. THAT’S where the difference happens.

Five ideas each day for 365 days and you’ll have 1,825 blog ideas to play with. You’ll be looking for a bigger content calendar to fit them all in!

Doesn’t THAT seem like a brighter writer’s future?


Have you felt yourself lately?

when do you feel like your true self?When was the last time you TRULY felt like yourself? Felt full of the goodness of life and perfectly comfortable in your own skin? When were you last free of worries and stress? When did you last feel like you actually belonged somewhere?

It may have only been yesterday. At home, in the garden with your dog. Or it may have been last night, on the couch with your best friend. Or maybe you’re struggling to recall that feeling. It may have been a really long time since you felt that comfy, relaxed self.

If you have felt this feeling, then try to replicate it as often as possible. Whether it’s the activity, the people or the place that made you feel yourself, try to be doing that thing, with those people or in that place again…as much as possible.

If you haven’t felt it, or it’s been ages since you’ve felt it, then maybe you’re trying too hard to be something you’re not. Maybe the career you’re pursuing, the friends you’re spending time with or the place you’re living is just not right for you now. People change and grow. That’s the fun of being human. And what was right a little while ago may just not be right now. You morphed and didn’t realise it!

Either way, why don’t you feel like yourself more often? Your true self is wonderful, so don’t hide from it or push it away. Embrace who you are and be proud to tell people about it. Your story is a great one.

Business Buzzwords: love them or loathe them

Buzzword bee cartoonWhether you add these to your ‘never on a month of Sundays’ list, or you try to throw at least three in at every business meeting you attend, these are the business buzzwords you should know for the next financial year.

  1. Remarketing: It’s a form of display advertising (think banners, medium rectangles, leaderboards) whereby the ad for your company is continuously shown to a user even after they have dropped off your website (or the website where they first were shown the ad). This remarketing occurs if the user doesn’t convert (i.e. click on the ad) when they are first shown the ad  This form of marketing (even though some may consider it stalking!) has one of the best returns on investment and should be part of your marketing strategy if you are buying ads across networks.
  2. Goal Digger: [I love this play on words.] A goal digger is someone who pursues and successfully achieves their goals – usually in a creative or opportunistic way.
  3. H2H: [This is soooo good and necessary.] Rather than thinking about your business marketing as business to consumer (B2C) or business to business (B2B), innovative brand marketers are starting to throwing around H2H, which stands for human to human.
  4. Freemium: Freemium is a pricing model that is often found in the software or web services industry. It’s the offer of a free limited version of a product or service, sometimes with a small amount of additional features.  The goal is to provide just enough functionality in the free version to hook customers, but limit them in a way that encourages an upgrade to the premium version.
  5. Freeples: [Beware of these people!] These are the ones who constantly sign up for free things – tips, webinars, eBooks, recordings – but never actually ever want to bring out their credit cards and pay for your services.
  6. Newsjacking: This is when a company leverages a current news story to exercise its own marketing or sales message. Quite clever if you ask me, if executed well.
  7. Mydeation: The use of a group, in a brainstorming session, to help an individual solve a specific challenge or to generate ideas for their own new product or business venture.
  8. Conversation Marketing: [Absolutely necessary in the current climate.] Marketing that is conducted with the goal of having a direct one to one conversation with customers through the use of social media and other channels such as email marketing or mobile marketing.
  9. Big Data: Essentially, Big Data is the exponential growth and availability of both structured and unstructured data. The idea is that this data should be used to inform business decisions and direction, as well as product/service development and the subsequent marketing.
  10. Millennials: This is the name for our friends in Generation Y, the kids born between 1982 and 2004. They are computer natives, having grown up heavily using communication, media and digital technologies. Their tendency is to move about a lot and always be connected.
  11. Responsive web design: The process by which your website is designed so that the screen automatically resizes to be viewed correctly on smaller screens such as tablets and mobile phones.
  12. Native Advertising: Native advertising can be considered a sub-set of ‘content marketing’, meaning the practice of using content to build trust and engagement with potential customers. Online advertisers attempt to gain attention by providing content that matches the form and function of the platform on which it appears. By providing content in the context of the user’s experience, the hope is that it will feel less like advertising and become more easily digestible for the user. For example, an advertiser would write an article to promote their product that uses the same form as an article written by the journalists of the online publication. The word ‘native’ refers to the content’s coherence with other media on the platform.
  13. Brand Storytelling: The act of storytelling is not a new concept. However, the way we think about communicating our stories has altered. Storytelling must be at the heart of any brand strategy. Whilst the content may actually stay much the same as it has in the past, the technology advances – as well as user expectations – have changed the game for how we market and deliver content. The majority of brand marketing tends to fail if there isn’t a really good story at the heart of it.

So whether you love them or loathe them, these are the concepts and buzzwords floating around the marketing and advertising world at the moment. Have some fun with them. Next time you’re in a meeting with a client, see how many you can throw in! If they stare blankly at you, you get a great chance to step up and sound like the guru that you are!

Is gratitude mere platitude?

Piglet talks to Pooh about gratitudeThere’s so much buzz about ‘gratitude’ in the business community at the moment. Have you noticed that?

Just as there’s lots of buzz about mindfulness, energy healing, chakra cleansing, open heartedness, intuitive marketing. It’s fab, and interesting, but if I put my academic hat on, it’s also a really curious phenomenon. Is it that we suddenly find ourselves in a much more enlightened era? Are the planets aligning weirdly and affecting our thinking? Is the craziness of world wide terrorism and horror finally hitting home? What is it that has opened us mere mortals up to the idea that if we thank the universe more profoundly, we – and our businesses – will thrive?

More interestingly, to me anyway, is the gratitude coming from a genuine place or are people just getting on the band wagon and paying lip service?

I’m not quite sure why I’m questioning this, nor am I trying to be controversial. I’m just genuinely curious as to why and how the wave of sentiment has occurred.

These subjects/words/teachings/prastises were traditionally the realm of ‘wellness practitioners’, ‘yogis’, ‘hippies’, ‘earth mummas’, ‘lefties’. They were not in the vocab of the corporate world or commercial, profiteering business owners. However, for whatever reason (anyone have any theories?) they have more recently become ‘mainstream’. They are now principles that are held in high regard and, in some case, deemed ‘necesary’ for success by a wide range of high profile executives and business operators.  Holistic business practises are the new buzz.

The way we run businesses in the 20-teens is definitely changing.

In its purest form, ‘gratitude’ is simply the quality of being thankful; the readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness. When bandied about in business terms the application of this word is perhaps less clear. Should I be thankful for my health – how does that impact my business? Should I be grateful that my invoices were all paid on time? Should I be showing appreciation for every person connected to my business? Where does it start and stop and what bearing does it have on how I run my business?

And anyway, who cares if I say ‘thanks’ to the universe for a great win in business? Or if I quietly raise my thumb to the galaxy and say ‘cheers’?

One of the theories I’ve heard is akin to: ‘ask and you shall receive’…then be really really grateful and you will receive again!

Is this why people are being so much more grateful now? Because they think that if they thank a higher being they’ll be rewarded again? Is it this preemptive? (Or am I wildly cynical and off track?) Perhaps it is this idea that when you are grateful and inspired, forces, faculties and talents that had previously lay dormant, suddenly come alive and you discover that you are a greater person than you ever dreamed you could be? I guess that’s a pretty good motivator for being grateful!

But should we not have always been quietly thankful for the fortunes that were afforded us? Wasn’t that what we were always taught – to mind your Ps and Qs and say thanks? Why is everyone in business only talking about it now?? Or does it just appear that way…?

Maybe business owners have been quietly discussing gratitude for decades and I’ve just not been in the loop. Hmmm.

Regardless of whether it’s a new or old phenomenon, I believe gratitude is not an emotion to be bandied about with little true purpose. And it definitely should not be used as a ‘business tool’ to win favours with the universe. Rather, gratitude should come from deep within and be used without reciprocation as its intention.

Then: blokey. Now: woo-woo (or at least I’m trying it on!)

woo-woo-woo-you-know-it-1I’ve always been a grounded, pretty black ‘n white, frank kind of chick when it comes to doing business. I guess I grew up professionally in a man’s world – first as an IT recruiter (95% male candidates and clients) and next in Business Development roles working for realestate.com.au where my client base was again 95% male. Those kinds of environments – blokey and salesy – tend to shape you in a certain way. There was little room for an ’emotional’ day…there was no time for protracted decision-making …and absolutely no space for consulting the universe! And so that’s just how I did things. In fact, I came to think that the ‘girly-girls’ with their short skirts, flighty attitudes and emotional highs and lows were not ‘real’ business women and that they didn’t have what it took to genuinely ‘make it’.

That’s not to say that, as I matured, I didn’t learn to use my feminine wiles occasionally…. 😉

But the reality was that if I didn’t get on with the job fast, and trust my first instinct, and deal in only facts and tangible results, then I would be left behind and fall behind. Some fella would happily swoop in and make the sale, get the promotion and climb the ladder. I may have been a product of my era (think: post Gordon Gecko, dot-com boom) or environment (entrepreneurial businesses run by men) or my own desires (I desperately wanted to prove myself, buy the suits and own my own property). Regardless, it became my norm and the only way I knew how to operate. Work hard like a man, play hard like a man.

So then when I started my own Content Marketing business I did so with that framework and modus operandi as influence. Of course I did because I knew no different! For better or worse, it’s how I knew to build a business and how I got things done. And, for the record, I performed really well in those earlier careers because I adapted quickly and knew how to make the situations work successfully for me; so I assumed it would work well in my own business too.

And guess what? It did …for a while. But funnily enough (or not) I attracted lots of male clients. They knew what they wanted and they wanted to pay me to do it for them – and quickly. No grey areas. No blurred lines. Easy.

Until I had a small epiphany. It was simple really. I just didn’t want to do it that way anymore. I didn’t want to operate in that zone any longer. I didn’t want those types of clients anymore. I didn’t want to be that girl anymore. I just stopped ‘feeling it’. Aha.

The crazy, awesome thing about this epiphany was, that rather than scaring the bejeezus out of me, I actually welcomed it with a relaxed sigh. Thank Goodness! Finally. A sign. It just became really apparent to me that running my own small business as a female offered alternative ways of operating – without sacrificing success. A way that would be more in tune with where I’m at in life as a mother, wife and professional. A way that didn’t mean I had to give up my direction or goals for prosperity and success, but a way that meant I could obtain those without being quite so black and white and instead be more gentle, nurturing and true to my feminine self.

What’s been really interesting throughout all of this change is that the people I surround myself with have changed somewhat. And of those who I follow and admire and hang with, they are changing too. We’re morphing together, but singularly, on this path to more well-rounded, more aware, more enlightened business owners and women. It’s really cool, a little bit ‘la-la’, sometimes a bit airy fairy, but mostly really amazing.

The evidence is clear that this is a growing trend among female entrepreneurs the world over. Everything I read, see, hear, attend at the moment seems to be about affirmations, energy clearing, creating space for abundance, removing limiting beliefs, spiritual business practises, meditation etc etc. To be honest it’s stuff I would have scoffed at a short while ago. These types of things I was only vaguely interested in from a personal perspective, but I never entertained the idea of using them as business tools or enablers.

But now?

Now, I’m embracing my feminine self and raising my awareness about energies and forces beyond what I can see. I’m still not what you’d call entirely ‘woo-woo’… I still have some level of scepticism (I choose to call it a healthy level!) but I am so much more open now to reading, understanding, trying and practising a wide range of things that are beyond my traditional working framework. And why? Because why the hell not!? I’m trying to level up, move my business forward, make a difference to people, engage with my community, feel good about my life, add financial freedom to our family’s future and create a space where I am thriving and so are my clients.

There is an abundance of coaches and consultants nowadays offering everything from life to purpose coaching, relationship to spiritual coaching, energy clearers, abundance consultants, healing therapists and the list goes on. Why not try one on for size and see if they fit right. Everyone is different, everyone needs someone different. Open your mind and heart to the possibilities of doing business just a little bit left of centre, without sacrificing the success you desire. I’m giving it a go. Why not come along for the ride with me!?

Writing is like sex….

Slide1First you do it for love, then you do it for your friends, and then you do it for money. (Virginia Woolf)

So true Ms Woolf! Three great reasons why they can compare. But there are some others I’ll let you in on in just a second….

What’s weird is that I’m not quite sure why I was contemplating this thought. It’s kind of unlikely on a Wednesday afternoon as I sit at my desk with a cat on my lap, having just finished some lunch and a call with a client. Next on my to do list was certainly not writing about sex. I should have been calling the bank about my payment gateway, I needed to do some revisions on a flyer I have to produce, and I really ought to have been working on my new website. But instead, this idea popped into my head. So I’m taking my own advice and I’m going to run with the 25 minute writing theory and see what falls out.

Hopefully it will make for an amusing read too!

Top seven reasons for why writing is like sex:

1. The more you do it the better you get at it.

Self explanatory really. 😉

2. You can’t always wait until the mood is just right

Waiting for the perfect moment when you’re both relaxed, freshly waxed and ‘feelin’ it’ can sometimes mean you’ll be waiting until Christmas. Flickering candles and angels singing may be the desired picture, but in the end, the bedside lamp and the sound of the kids snoring might be as good as it gets.  Sometimes you just have to do it, even if the setting isn’t as Mr Grey would want it.

Same goes for writing. How awesome would it be if every time you sat down to write the desk was clean, the air was still and quiet and the words just flowed effortlessly? Well, there are days – weeks – when that may never happen, so sometimes you just have to get down to it and do it regardless of mood or atmosphere.

3. Sensitivity comes from practise

Whether you’re in a long term relationship or are trying on a few partners for size, the more practise you have the more attuned you are to your own needs and those of your partner. Sometimes it’s all about two souls deeply connecting, fulfilling heightened emotional states. Sometimes it’s pure carnal knowledge. Physicality in its most primitive state. Either, way the more you do it the more you get to know how to read the situation and deliver the goods. So to speak..

Same same for writing. The more you do it, the more you know how to deliver what your clients want/need or what your publisher desires. You become aware of the peaks and troughs of your own writing habits and emotional states and you become more sensitive and attuned to the needs of your clients.

4. There aint nothing wrong with a quickie.

If there’s only a few minutes spare when both of you are in the same room, the kids are being dropped off in 5 minutes and the dinner is not yet burnt, go for it! It may not be romantic in the typical scene-setting, fluffy-pillow, lingerie-clad kind of way but hell it’s exciting! And sometimes spice is just what you need.

Short bursts of spicy, focused energy can produce amazing writing too!

5. It’s ok if it’s not mind-blowing – every time!

Yes it’s disappointing, yes we can feel a bit ‘meh’ after it, but in truth, even a mediocre session should not be considered ‘wasted’ time.  Your still spending time with your loved one, building on your relationship.

Being out of sync with your writing can also produce disappointment, but it doesn’t mean it’s not a useful experience. Bonding with your writing over the good and bad times is what brings you closer together and helps you grow.

6. It’s not all about the destination

Keep in mind that, both in writing and in sex, the journey can be just as fulfilling as the end goal. Sometimes the result/climax/outcome actually disappoints – or at worst case isn’t actually reached at all! So whilst there’s no harm in having your eye on the prize, it’s important to remember there are learnings and joy to be had along the way.

7. Do it with a partner you actually like…

Don’t go sacrificing your time, energy, focus, love, emotions, body or soul for someone who isn’t worth it. They don’t have to be your forever partner, but I reckon it’s really important that you at least dig them for now.

Same goes with your writing. If you don’t like it, don’t do it.

Here’s to happy days with blogs, boomboom, business and books!

Jo xx

Don’t Waste Your Time With Content Marketing


Did you just write, “don’t waste your time with Content Marketing?”

But aren’t you a Content Marketer, I hear you say?

Well, yes, but the truth is, that for some businesses, content marketing IS a waste of time.

And you know why? Because they just ‘play’ at it. Muck around with it. Learn about it but don’t truly implement it in any meaningful way.

The thing with content marketing is, that unless you actually plan it, work at it and make it part of your business practise, it won’t work.


And who cares right? You’ve got other marketing avenues you can throw your cash at….

I’m probably not supposed to say that, given that this is what I do for a living. However, I’d be lying if I said otherwise. Also, I guess Content Marketing is not really unique in this sense. I mean, how many times have you learnt things, known that it will be good for you or good for your business, been all fired up about it and then failed to follow through? All razzed up and nowhere to go! Nothing changes unless something changes….

The guts of content marketing – building an audience through content creation – is what I preach.

The channels – Facebook, Google+, Twitter – are all must-have tools in the modern business kitbag.
Being found by the behemoth – Google – is imperative to commercial success.
Your blog is your content hub from which all content marketing efforts need to emanate.
There is a process for content marketing success, which, when repeated, will yield awesome results for your business.

I can tell you this stuff until I’m blue in the face, but again, the truth of it is that none of it matters one iota unless YOU ACTUALLY DO IT.

And, I hear you mutter, personal relationships and lots of free value-add content is ‘not relevant’ in my marketplace/industry/business. I’m not a coach, I’m not a consultant, I don’t need to build those kinds of relationships. My products/services sell themselves.

Ok then. Sit back and let them sell themselves, and talk to me in 12 months time when you’re wondering why you don’t have a business anymore….

So, is this Content Marketing hoo-ha all a big fat waste of time? That would be terrifying, right? (In fact, worse for me than you, because this is what my business hangs its hat on!)

Instead of banging your head against the proverbial brick wall, maybe I could just do it all for you. Take that pain away. You could hire me to write your plan, plan your stuff, execute on the plan, write some things….that sounds cool, right? But then what happens when the money runs out and I leave and go do it for someone else?

I’ve written countless plans, schedules, inspirations, strategies… but I wonder how many of them have actually been implemented?

I know this shouldn’t frustrate me, but it does. I know I get paid regardless, and that you are in no way obligated to implement anything you pay me for, but it still shits me!

The truth is, it IS frustrating because I genuinely want to help you achieve success online.

Want to know the kicker? It doesn’t matter what I believe and what I want….YOU have to believe in it first. YOU have to really want this. To make a difference with your business by reaching more people with your awesomeness.

So many business owners come to me wanting to know HOW to write better. And yes, there are definitely techniques and ways to approach writing that can be taught. But I think that we perhaps focus too much on the ‘How’ of content marketing. We get lost in tactics and techniques and forget to ask the big question, ‘Why?’

Here’s the thing. You have to be able to answer these questions:

1. Why do you engage in content marketing? AND….

2. What if content marketing actually works???


Here are my answers:

1. To build an audience.
2. (short and commercial answer) I’ll sell more coaching and consulting gigs. (long and more thoughtful answer) I’ll be able to pick and choose the projects I want to work on and have an enviable lifestyle that works for me and my family without sacrificing time or money.
And this is why I love to (and need to) build my audience through Content Marketing. I love what I do and I really enjoy creating content that adds value and offers something useful to the people who I hang with. Because they’re kinda looking for that sort of thing.

But that doesn’t have to be you. Everyone will have different answers.

However, the underlying truth is that all content marketing initiatives should be about building an audience which at some point you want to sell something to. 

Personal brand, authority, profile are all excellent by-products. But the guts of it is that you have to want to eventually sell something to the audience you are building.

And if you’re not building an audience, then content marketing is a waste of time. You’re simply Facebooking for fun. You’re playing around. Mucking about. Wasting time.

That’s a bit black and white, but it’s the truth. If you’re not working to build an audience, then you’re not content marketing at all.



So here’s some things you can do to STOP wasting time:

  • Set a goal (financial, numbers of fans, etc)
  • Decide on, and really get to know your target audience.
  • Setup the communication channels and tools required to capture that audience.
  • Set up a process to connect with your audience.
  • Dedicate yourself to the task of content creation.
  • Test. Test. Test.
  • Repurpose. Repurpose. Repurpose.
  • Make friends with – and share stuff from – other creators.
  • Use tools to improve efficiency (measurement tools etc).
  • Create one-to-one conversation opportunities.
  • ASK FOR THE SALE (**If we build an audience and never ask for the sale then the cash register never rings.)

Content marketing is a business function.

When done with purpose, when done consistently and with skill, content marketing works.

20 minutes a day to write the great Aussie Novel…

…or at least write some darn good ads or blogs….

copywriting-formulas-list-682x1024Writing is a discipline. It’s an art, for sure, but it’s also a bit of a science. There are definitely formulas to create good writing. Apart from character development, knowing your audience, grammar, tenses, plot development, features-advantages-benefits and that sort of thing, one of the big formulas to learn is simply about TIME. Spending time writing each and every day will not only improve your writing, but it will improve your mindset around writing, which will ultimately create better writing.

I recently ran a survey asking people about their learning styles but also about what frustrates them in terms of content development. Do you know what 75% of respondents said? FINDING THE TIME TO WRITE.

So here it is peeps. An easy-to-implement (but sometimes hard to stick to!) discipline to help you actually find time in your week to write.

You’ve heard the old saying ‘you have to spend money to make money’, right? Well it’s the same with writing. You have to spend time writing to find time to write.

How many people do you know who want to write a book? It’s been burning inside them for years. But they just never do it. And not usually because the idea is bad, but because life gets in the way and they ‘don’t have time’.

I read a fun article last year about bucket lists. Not surprisingly ‘write a novel’ was in the top 50 things to do before you die. In fact it was 24th on the list.

So, regardless of whether you have lofty ambitions as a novelist, or you have a great idea for an online course, or you just want to be able to keep in touch with your fans by banging out a couple of business blogs and social media posts, you need to actually structure your week to factor in some quiet writing time.

Writing something for your business, in particular, should never be considered a luxury…something to do in your spare time….or something to do only when everything else is done. Because you know what? You WILL NEVER DO IT!

Every excuse in the book will come up. I’m too busy. I’m burned out. I’m away too much. I don’t know what to say today. I don’t feel motivated today. I spend too much time in front of the computer already. It never sounds quite right. I should be doing that thing over there instead. It’s too noisy today. It’s too quiet today!

(I can feel you nodding now….!)

Excuses are just that. Lame reasons for not doing the thing you know you ought to be doing. And whilst writing a novel may be a luxurious past time (except if you’re an already published author and have an agent breathing down your neck for the next book!), writing for your business is no luxury. It is a necessity.

I hear business owners constantly talk about wanting respect and recognition in their field of expertise. Wondering why competitors get asked for comments or interviews and not them. Wondering why noone seems to care that they are actually the best in their field and have something to offer? Well, it’s because they’re not out there. They’re not spreading their word and knowledge wide enough. They’re not vocal enough. They’re not being seen enough.

There is SOOO much noise out there in business land now. Everyone is an entrepreneur. Everyone is fighting for a slice of the pie. The only way to really ‘make it’ is to be bloody good at what you do (that’s a given) and to tell people about how bloody good you are at what you do (with grace and professionalism not arrogance!).

So, content is the way to do that. Writing stuff about something that you know about. Making it your own. Then sending it out to the world to add value to someone, somewhere. It’s the only way to start being perceived as an authority in your space.

So back to making time to write then…

MAKING-TIME-TO-WRITE TECHNIQUES and other failed attempts at organisation!

I’ve tried a bunch of techniques myself. Most of which haven’t worked, but there is one that has. That’s not to say however that some of these others won’t work for you – everyone runs their day and their enertime-to-writegy differently, but the common denominator is ‘making time to write – every day.’

– I tried getting up when my husband does, which is about an hour earlier than I would normally, to use this time to write. It was quiet, there were no interruptions and I would get it out of the way before the rest of the day started. BA BOW. I was so damned tired that my writing was really crap, I resented being up so early when I got so little sleep anyway and the rest of my day was a long drag of droopy eyelids and yawns.

– I tried the ‘writing-holiday’ technique. I’d go away for a day or weekend with my laptop, promising myself that I would simply revel in the hours of ‘free time’ to write. PIFFLE. I’d get distracted by whatever new location I was in and research the best beach/bar/antiques store in the area, or I’d stupidly check my email and get sucked down a vortex of client work that simply HAD to be attended to.

– I set myself arbitrary dates for when I would get a certain piece of writing completed.  The dates would come and go, I would reset them in my calendar – feeling incredibly efficient and organised – and still get bugger all written.

So then the guilt kicked in. I hated myself for failing at all these techniques. I abhorred my lack of focus, my lack of conviction, my laziness. But the truth was I was just damn scared to get started writing in any kind of regular fashion, so I was doomed to fail from the outset. And it was just stupidity. Some crazy blockage. I wrote reams and reams of verbose diatribe in my teens and twenties. I have degrees in Literature. I know how to write, let me tell you! But for some reason when it came to writing for my own business I had a blockage.

(Sound familiar?)

So here’s the thing. This is really as simple and as complex as it gets.


It doesn’t actually matter if it’s morning or night or in the middle of the day, just schedule it in for 20 minutes, and stick to it. Everyone has different rhythms, different energy burning at various times of the day, different tasks they have to get done in a work week. But the one thing we all can do, is find 20 minutes in the day to write.

My time is night time. It’s quiet. The kids are asleep, the cats have settled, my phone has stopped ringing and I’m calm. My imagination is better at night time and my creativity is flowing. I set the timer on my phone, write furiously for 20 minutes and stop. Regardless of where I am, I stop. The reason for this is to train yourself to use the time wisely by throwing everything into it and maximising your output without over-stretching it.

I guarantee you, you will get shitloads done!


Focus on one task is completely possible – and probable – for 20 minutes. Even when you’re tired and busy, 20 minutes is doable. It’s really only once or twice round the water cooler in the old corporate days. (Seriously, if you can’t find 20 minutes in your day, you need to sort your shit out – there is TOOOO much going on.)

If you make your writing time first thing in the morning before anything else, your mind is fresh, uncluttered and available. If your time is at the end of the day, your day is done, you’ve calmed down, the stars are shining. It’s peaceful at either end of the day and these would be my recommended times for you.

Stopping after the allotted time is really important. If I kept writing, I think I’d be overwhelmed and ultimately this would stop working for me. I’d feel great on the days I wrote for an hour and really crappy on the days I couldn’t manage 10 minutes. So, find the time that’s right for you – if 20 minutes is too long make it 15 – then stick to it.  The more easily you can fit this time into your schedule, the more successful it will be for you. You’ll get heaps more achieved and, seriously, you will reap the benefits big time by expanding your profile through your content.

So whether it’s a blog, social media posts for the week, research papers, case studies, a novel, marketing materials, whatever…..think about how much you could achieve it you just gave yourself a calm, happy 20 minutes each day to write….

I wish I had said…


ever felt like this?

Do you find yourself in situations, particularly with strangers, where you wish you had said something different?

I was there about an hour ago and I’m still fuming. So I’m going to write about it, to get it off my chest and move on. (By the way, doing this is a really great tactic for anything that’s plaguing your mind – be it good, bad or indifferent!)

I’m not a confrontational person by nature and I don’t thrive on inane chit chat with people I don’t know, however this morning I really wish I had opened up and let rip.

I was talking on the phone to a client in my car, parked in a shopping centre carpark. I was chatting away when I heard a BANG BANG BANG. I turned around and there’s a woman wrestling her little boy (maybe 3 or 4) into the car next to me – and HE’S KICKING MY CAR! Full on kicking it. Now, most parents have experienced the annoyance of little monsters who won’t cooperate and don’t want to get in, but she DID NOTHING to stop him! In fact, worse, she stopped trying to get him in the car and stood there motionless, watching him kick! Allowing him another couple shots… AS THEY BOTH STARED AT ME THROUGH THE WINDOW!!!

I was mid-conversation and kind of incredulous so I left it for a minute. After the woman got her boy in the car, I hopped out to see if there was any damage – thankfully there wasn’t. But that’s not the point. She was hurriedly pulling out of her car spot and ready to drive off when she rolled down her window and shouted at me “Your car was parked crooked so I couldn’t get him in the car. And it’s also a big car so there wasn’t much room.” And drove off. All I could get out was “Hang on, my car was a bit crooked because the car next to me was too.” What I really wanted to say to her was “But I’m still in between the white lines of my parking bay! And anyway, that’s no fucking reason to let your kid kick someone’s car! And my car is not bloody big – it’s no bigger than yours. And why the hell am I in the wrong here!!!??? What lesson are you teaching your precious little shit right now?”

Man. I was mad. And still am. But it’s subsiding as I write this; getting emotion out through written word is good therapy. Whilst I know it wouldn’t have helped one iota, I really wish I had managed to get more of that retort out. I think it would have made me feel better…. perhaps….

Hindsight is a marvellous thing, isn’t it? We’re all braver, more confident, stronger, wittier, more charming in hindsight. In the moment however, I was so stunned that I could be neither rude nor factual. Just dumbstruck. And obviously, a deep-seated aversion to unnecessary confrontation, especially with someone who could potentially be a loose-canon nut-case, held me back. I’ve read too many accounts over the years about people ending up in hideous situations because they’ve caused an argument with a stranger, so I am definitely cautious. You just never really know who you’re dealing with do you?

Anyway, that’s it really. Just a bit of a rant this morning. I’d had such a good start to the day, and week, with cuddly, co-operative kids getting ready for their days and then this came and burst my bubble. People are damn annoying and just plain strange sometimes.

But writing it out is helping. It gets rid of the angst, pens the words I wished I’d said and makes space for more stuff – positive stuff. And I will move on. And truth be told, I know that in the end it wouldn’t have helped if I’d yelled at her. I would have been acting no better than her. “Don’t lower yourself to her level” is what my mum would have said.

And I won’t.

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