How To Tell Stories That Matter To People

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I had the great honour of interviewing Marc Schurman about his sustainably farmed greenhouse operation for Canadian Geographic magazine’s Places segment. (Read it here: Farming without fossil fuels on Prince Edward Island.) The print version will be available early in the new year. A feature article focusing on the heating system they chose will appear in Greenhouse Canada magazine later this year.

The Schurman family has been involved in sustainable farming practices for multiple generations, and their recent dive into carbon-neutral greenhouse heating is only the latest step toward clean farm management. Continue reading → How To Tell Stories That Matter To People

How To Become A Work-From-Home Ninja

How To Become A Work-From-Home Ninja
Image by Anrita1705 from Pixabay

Sometimes a cliché is the best way to capture a moment: Folks, we are living in interesting times.

Ever since our provincial and federal governments began limiting workplaces from remaining open if they couldn’t ensure that employees would be able to maintain a physical distance of two metres, I’ve been thinking about those people for whom working from home is a new and strange circumstance. If you’re one of those people, you’ve had to figure out how to connect to your work files, your colleagues, and your clients.

Needless to say, any workplace that was already working in the cloud is going to be able to manage that transition much more easily. Continue reading → How To Become A Work-From-Home Ninja

3 Steps Businesses Must Take During The COVID-19 Pandemic

3 Steps To Effective Communication During COVID-19
Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

I’d like to begin today’s post with an understatement and a cliché: COVID-19 is a game-changer.

Despite quick and decisive action that follows the advice of doctors and virologists, Canada has not been spared the community spread of COVID-19. My home province of Ontario has seen the highest rates of infection in the country. Our municipal, provincial, and federal leaders are unified across party lines in their approach to this crisis and are keeping citizens informed with daily press conferences.

Take note. Business leaders – whether you own a small or medium-sized business, or are in the c-suite of a large company – it is paramount that you keep in regular communication with your clientèle. Continue reading → 3 Steps Businesses Must Take During The COVID-19 Pandemic

COVID-19 Check-in: How Are You Doing?

I truly hope that all of you are well during these uncertain times. I’m used to working from home, but I can imagine what a strange transition it must be for those of you who are used to sharing space with your co-workers. But, all of that is inconsequential in light of the very real devastation that COVID-19 is causing worldwide.

If you’re worried about your business, your employees, or your family, I’m here to listen. Just reach out. (more…)

Brand-Customer Relationships – The Long Walk Down The Aisle

Brand-Customer Relationships – The Long Walk Down The Aisle
Photo: Mike Petrucci via Unsplash

 

relationships can sure be hard

They love you. They leave you. They’re back with a box of chocolates. Who knows how it’s all going to end? You just have to take it on faith because sometimes all the statistics in the world can’t tell you what will be. 

Speaking of stats, did you know…

  • *57% of customers make purchasing decisions based on a company’s ethical values?
  • *61% believe that boycotts, speaking out on social media, and other types of protest influence how a company behaves?
  • **92% would drop a brand for another that had a compelling social purpose?

Uh huh. That brand-customer relationship is fraught with love and heartache. Continue reading → Brand-Customer Relationships – The Long Walk Down The Aisle

How To Build A Diverse And Inclusive Website

How to build a diverse and inclusive website
Image by Anemone123 from Pixabay

I truly believe it’s time to stop talking about cultural fit in the workplace. Hiring for fit sounds like a good idea. How could it not? Everyone getting along, on the same page, able to finish each other’s sentences … it sounds like the perfect formula for business success. If your team is ONE, accelerated positive growth seems to be the natural outcome.

To a degree, yes.

Cue all the websites that feature images of employees that look and sound the same. Is your business made up of mostly one gender, one cultural group, one age group, one method of hiring? Look, I know sometimes a workplace just ends up being that way. But, part of my job is to entice consumers to learn about a brand through content marketing and public relations. What those consumers see and read on a company’s website makes a difference to them. They’re attuned to subtle nuances, even if they can’t always articulate them. Continue reading → How To Build A Diverse And Inclusive Website

Tell Your Customer Stories Without Breaking The Law

Tell Your Customer Stories Without Breaking The Law
Image by mohamed Hassan from Pixabay

It’s a bit of a dramatic title, I know. But, I’m going with it to draw attention to two facts.

First, as business owners, we want to promote the good work we do for our customers. Sharing success stories is one of the most effective marketing tools we have. It’s the reason why there are so many review websites all over the internet. The customer experience told in their own words is a very powerful sales tool.

Second, customer stories belong to your customers, not you. Receiving a glowing testimonial feels great. But, you can’t post it to your website, share it on social media, or print it on your company literature without express consent from that customer. Continue reading → Tell Your Customer Stories Without Breaking The Law

Press Releases: Alive and Kicking It For Small and Medium Businesses

Press Releases – Alive and Kicking It For Small and Medium Businesses
Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Press releases are like that first line of Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities, “It was the best of times. I was the worst of times.” Some of them can be wonderful reads – replete with all the right information set out like a compelling story. Then there are those that are not.

The question for you is whether, as an owner of a small or medium-sized business, you should even bother going to the trouble of preparing one.

Yes. Yes, you should. Continue reading → Press Releases: Alive and Kicking It For Small and Medium Businesses

Every SMB Needs A Press Kit

Every SMB Needs A Press Kit
Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

You are a rockstar! Starting your business and scaling it up is not exactly easy. As a business owner, myself, I know how many hours it takes to lead a passion to fruition. My business has had its ups and downs – sometimes of my own doing, sometimes not. Like me, I know you’re trying to keep up with new marketing trends that will keep your business in front of as many eyes as possible. You’ve bought ads in your local newspaper. You’re an active member with the local chamber of commerce. Maybe you even have a website.

(By the way, did you know that 40% of small businesses do not have a website?)

My point is that business owners are not just experts in their field. They also need to be experts in marketing. There is, however, one marketing tool that most small and medium-sized businesses likely haven’t tried. Continue reading → Every SMB Needs A Press Kit

Writing About Lifestyle Topics For A Magazine

Writing About Lifestyle Topics For A Magazine
Image by Ryan McGuire from Pixabay

Hats off to all of you inspired to write about lifestyle. It’s a fabulous subject area loaded with possibility. Of course, there are already a whole lot of articles written and published every day covering everything from food to health to travel and beyond. But, I’m very glad that fact isn’t dissuading you.

Your story will be at least as readable as anyone else’s. But, before your story is published in a magazine, you have to do a little homework. Continue reading → Writing About Lifestyle Topics For A Magazine