Tag Archives: website

Just ASK – Making Photo-Legal Groundwork Add Up


There are few mediums which can universally capture the hearts and minds of people like the perfect photo.  When updating your website, blogging or developing ads for your business, the hunt is always on for the images that say it all.  Just don’t be tempted to turn a blind eye to the origins of those perfect images and the conditions for copying them, in case you find yourself exposed because of a copyright violation.

Your exposure is no less just because you may have relied on someone else to put your website, blog content or ad together and get those little copyright details right. Your business is your business and you have the responsibility to make sure it is not threatened by wasted investment, a senseless tarnishing of its reputation and in some cases, litigation that bleeds your time and your profits. Taking the time to find photo perfection may mean digging around a bit, but in the end the effort will help you and your business stand tall above the rest.

Let’s start from the obvious – the mantra everyone knows – just because a photo can be downloaded from the internet does not mean it is free to use.

Okay, great, so you know that, but what about stock photos?  You may have paid for them, but you still have to read the fine print.  Not all stock photos can be used for any purpose, or come with permission for indefinite usage.  Similarly, accessing images under a Creative Commons license (e.g. through Flickr) is still a license and has terms that have to be respected to stay on the right side of the law. These are issues you have to educate yourself about, either through your own research or by asking the professional who helps you put your ad together.

And what about those photos you commission? Again, there are questions you need to ask to be sure you can put them to the uses you are contemplating to market your business:

  • If there are models in the photos, were model release forms executed?
  • Will you own the copyright in those photos? This is a question to discuss with the photographer in advance.
  • If the photographer won’t assign to you their copyrights in the photos taken for the benefit of your business, do you have a solid agreement (license) that you can rely on to use the photos the way you want to?

When it comes to getting the ‘pics’ you want for your business use, you always have to be prepared to assess your resources, seek the appropriate rights to use them and be prepared to adapt if too many unknowns are left unanswered. While it may feel like only one image can say it all, remember that neither you nor your business is one, or even two dimensional – there is more than one photo waiting to be snapped, or out there, to help capture the brilliance of your enterprise and message.

In summary, your photo-legal groundwork boils down to a simple practice – Just ASK:

Approach, get consent and acknowledge the original source of the images you use.

Substitute with other images, if in doubt about making copies of your first choice ‘pics’.

Know your options because today there are many, and there is really no reason you can’t be efficient finding the imagery you want without jeopardizing the integrity of your enterprise.


Ariadni Athanassiadis is the lead attorney of Kyma Professional Corporation, which provides intellectual property (IP) legal services to help your business develop and benefit from the creative efforts and assets that make it distinctive. Whether it is your brand, product, services, designs, technology or business processes, Ariadni can help design IP legal solutions which let you make the most of what you give to your business.


Ariadni Athanassiadis

Kyma Professional Corporation

T: 613-327-7245

E: ariadni@kymalaw.com

W: www.kymalaw.com

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Websites and the 5 W Principle


Are you looking to do a refresh of your website? Is it time for an update or perhaps a wholesale change to your content? Today we talk tips on creating short, snappy website content that resonates! Similar in nature to when we looked at blogging for business, we’ll take a brief look at the “5 W Principle.”

To begin, keep this in mind:  Treat your website like your resume and engage in TARGETED MARKETING.  Like a resume, what do people most need to know about you? Do they need to know every job you’ve ever held, from that very first day working on the fry line at a fast food chain or do they only need to know that which is most relevant to the business you are engaged in now? Certainly you should talk about any relevant prior experience but brevity is key. No need to share your life story, just clearly talk about your product or service by answering the “5 W’s” – the who, what, where, when and why questions. In doing so, you’ll create an edited version of your skill set that still sells you and your product or service, just like a resume “sells” you to a potential employer.

Here are your key considerations:

Be targeted (or very specific) in narrowing down your potential audience. You do this by answering the question “who x 2?” That is, who are you and who is your intended audience? It’s actually not limiting your business by weeding out potential customers before you even speak to them, rather, its good time-management. You’re preventing unwanted, time-wasting phone calls from people who will probably never do business with you anyway.  To help with the “who” question, you also need to clearly identify your “why?” Why do you do what you do? This is where your passion for what you do will come through. Use thoughtful, engaging language that helps others understand why you are so passionate about your business. Sharing your passion is what engages potential “right-brained” customers. By addressing the questions of WHAT and HOW (how do you do what you do) you will engage with potential left-brained customers who both need and want specifics in order to determine whether to do business with you. Providing some level of detail will appeal to them. Answering the where and when is easy and somewhat self-explanatory. Finally, I’ve said it before and I will probably say it again as it comes up in all of my seminars; always make sure that your website content is “CORI” content. That is create content that is:

  • Current
  • Original
  • Relevant
  • Interesting

By creating and maintaining content that’s fresh and relevant to your industry – you are demonstrating that you are “on top” of industry trends. Keep your website updated by blogging, posting specials, providing seasonal information and by sharing tips and tools that matter to your customers. Give information away for free to establish goodwill and credibility. But always remember, don’t be that annoying person who shares and posts constantly just to be heard because you risk being ignored or “unsubscribed” instead! So when it comes to websites, practice the “5 W Principle” for a wonderful website that works.

As Owner and Principal partner of “Writing Right For You” Sheralyn is a Communications Strategist – working together with entrepreneurs to maximize profit through effective use of the written word. Looking for web content that works, blog articles that engage or communications strategies that help you get noticed?  Contact Sheralyn today. Sheralyn is also the mother of two children now entering the “terrible and terrific teens” and spends her free time volunteering for several non-profit organizations.

Sheralyn Roman B.A., B.Ed.

Writing Right For You

Communications Strategies that help you GET TO THE POINT!

416-420-9415 Cell/Business


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The importance of small businesses blogging

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When blogging made its first appearance in the late 90’s, it was mainly used by individuals wanting to express their thoughts and feels towards various topics. However, over the years blogging has evolved and is now used as a main tool for many businesses to express ideas, pass along valuable information and is a means of keeping connected with clients. Blogging is one of the biggest, easiest and not to mention free marketing strategies out there. Entrepreneurs, whether established or starting up, need to understand the importance and value of this tool.

What having a blog site can do for you:

  • Boost your websites search engine optimization (SEO): by posting blogs frequently, Google and other search engines will be able to use the important key words, which are plugged into your post and your appearance on the search engines result page will increase.
  • Causes traffic to your website: by linking your blog site to your business’s website, you will increase traffic flow, along with creating more awareness around your brand.
  • Establishing relationships: end your blog post with a question and get conversation going, create a section under your post for readers to leave a comment or additional feedback. Being able to review and respond to their comments will give you some insight as to what your customers are looking for from your business.
  • Connecting to the brand: most outbound marketing techniques do not allow you to show off your personal side, blogging gives you the opportunity to show your business’s true personality.
  • Free marketing: whether readers share your post on Facebook, tweet it or email your blog to a friend, this is helping create more buzz around your business.


Dwania is the Founder and Executive Director of Canadian Small Business Women Contact Canadian Small Business Women:


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Dealing with Negative Comments on Social Media

Teach Me Social Blog - dealing with negative comments on social mediaIt’s happened to all of us. We work hard to publish an article or a social media post only to have someone come along and respond with a negative or defamatory comment. It’s disheartening, frustrating, upsetting and even angering and it takes every ounce of patience to not want to write back an equally negative and snarky reply. I’ve been there, and I’ve felt the same way. But I can honestly tell you that the best way to respond to negativity on social media is with positivity.

Sir Isaac Newton described his 3rd Law of Motion by explaining that “Every action has an equal and opposite reaction.” In elementary Mathematics, we are taught that a negative and positive number of the same absolute value cancel each other out in an equation (ie. -4 + 4 = 0) What does this have to do with social media? Well, the same notion of countering forces can be applied to all positive and negative forces, energy and comments.

As a rule of thumb in customer service, it is always best to respond to customer complaints in a calm, professional manner. As business owners, we need to recognize that the customer just wants to feel validated for their complaint. This can be handled in a number of ways, but it is always best to acknowledge their negative experience and try to offer a solution. There may not always be a mutually agreeable solution, but remember that an angry customer has more potential to do damage to your business’ reputation than a happy one.

Here are some important Do’s and Don’t’s when considering how to respond to customer complaints, reviews or feedback on Social Media…. KEEP CALM AND RESPOND WITH CALM Poster

What not to do –  

  • Don’t ignore it. It might be tempting to try to delete the comment, or hope it quickly fades down in people’s newsfeeds, but there is never any guarantee. It is always better to respond and address the problem than ignore it and hope it goes away.
  • Don’t respond back with negativity. In the world of debates, two negatives never equal a positive! Responding with anger or offence is just going to add fuel to the fire. It’s upsetting for everyone involved and surrounds your business with negative energy.
  • Don’t get into a battle. There is nothing to be gained from trying to have the final say. Anyone following the discussion on your social network will be able to “see” the entire battle unfolding and each of your followers has an easy click to unfollow you and refuse to see any future posts from your business.

What to do instead –

  • DO take time to formulate an appropriate response before typing any reply to the comment. If possible, ask a colleague or trusted friend to read your reply first before you publish it online. Taking time not only allows you to respond with a clear head, but it also has likely given your disgruntled customer a chance to cool off too.
  • DO respond with professionalism and offer to address the complainant’s concerns offline, perhaps via email address or over the phone. Offer a solution to the problem right up front so that the next step is in their hands to either take you up on the offer, or to walk away.
  • DO end the discussion quickly, after a single, well composed reply. There is nothing to be gained by carrying on the discussion if you first response did everything to address the complaint, offer a solution and provide a non-social media form of communication to use to continue the conversation.

Teach Me Social owner Kelly Farrell has been helping empower Canadian Small Business owners through social media for over for years. Teach Me Social now offers services ranging from training sessions for small business owners and their teams, to full-service social media account management. Visit teachmesocial.ca to learn more about our service offerings or to contact us today for a no obligation consultation, including an audit of your existing social media channels.

Kelly Farrell - Teach Me Social -headshot (2)

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Perfectly Precise


Precision.  It is such an important word and embodies a world of meaning. Depending on your industry, precision could be a technical term that relates to accuracy or, for your business purposes, might simply mean choosing the best words possible for your website content or next marketing campaign. Typically, we associate precision with the accounting industry more so than we might when thinking of those whose primary “tools” are words. Today however, I take this opportunity to remind you that being precise when it comes to words is not only nice, it’s necessary.

Our friends at Merriam-Webster define precision as this: “the quality or state of being precise: exactness or accuracy.” For my husband, as a Tool and Die Maker, exactness means working to tolerances that represent less than the width of a human hair, on molds that are worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. If he makes a mistake, it could have huge and expensive ramifications. Given that one little piece of metal he once worked on is now actually orbiting in outer space, you can imagine how important precision is to his business. Any firm who has undergone an accounting audit will also be able to describe the importance of precise, accurate records.

Words, and the precision with which you choose them, may not make space exploration history but they are still critically important to your mission – that of making your business a success. When you go to a paint store, you don’t ask for “green” paint, you state the specific shade of green you seek. You ensure accuracy by being precise.  There is a world of difference between “forest” green and “lime” green and being precise will help ensure you only have to paint the room once!

What can be frustrating about the English language is that occasionally there are several appropriate words to choose from. How do you choose the best one?  For newcomers in particular this can be challenging. Simply deciphering the “their,” “there” and “they’re” conundrum can be frustrating. However, the very fact that there might be two or even three great words to select from simply highlights that you both CAN and SHOULD choose the best word possible. Clarity is the goal. Consider using a dictionary or a thesaurus when writing, ask a friend to review your content or poll your customers to ask what about your website attracted them and whether any particular word, logo, slogan or marketing material grabbed their attention. Ask a professional to create or edit content for you because statistics consistently show that you only have between 10 – 30 seconds to make a favourable impression on your website.  That’s not much time. If you want your message to resonate, attract customers and turn a website search into an actual sale, it’s imperative you make every word count.

As Owner and Principal partner of “Writing Right For You” Sheralyn is a Communications Strategist – working together with entrepreneurs to maximize profit through effective use of the written word. Looking for web content that works, blog articles that engage or communications strategies that help you get noticed?  Contact Sheralyn today. Sheralyn is also the mother of two children now entering the “terrible and terrific teens” and spends her free time volunteering for several non-profit organizations.

Sheralyn Roman B.A., B.Ed.

Writing Right For You

Communications Strategies that help you GET TO THE POINT!

416-420-9415 Cell/Business


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Creating “C.O.R.I.” Content



Much has been written (by me, for CSBW, never mind from all those other experts!) about creating great website content and how to blog for business. Today, I would like to add to the narrative by sharing my short and simple acronym for creating meaningful content that works.  It’s “C.O.R.I.”  When writing about your business in any capacity and particularly when creating content for your website, make sure that it’s Current, Original, Relevant and Interesting.

Social Media encourages, to some degree, a tendency to “over share.” I attended a networking event recently where a person told me they shared to Facebook 7 or 8 times per day!!! I am not sure when they were getting any work done but unless you are actually in the business of Social Media, providing this as a service to clients as part of their business strategy, this is probably a little too often. It also begs the question are you sharing relevant information or just re-posting randomly? So unless you’ve hired an expert like my good friend Kelly Farrell at Teach Me Social, stick to the C.O.R.I. principle.

Your website content should always be current.  Create a schedule where you build time into your business to regularly refresh and update.  There is nothing worse than searching for something on the web and coming across a Christmas special at Easter. Your product or service may not necessarily change but you can tweak the wording, offer a seasonal special or post a blog all of which could help your rankings if a search engine like Google thinks you are posting new content.

Make sure your content is original. First and foremost if it isn’t that’s plagiarism and we all remember the consequences of that from school. Secondly, if you are posting and sharing excessively, from other sites, again your rankings could be affected because Google sees it as duplicated content. Besides, your website is about you, your product and/or your service so it SHOULD be original.

Relevancy is a big one for me. This is not so much about your website content because it is assumed if you are describing your service, the content is relevant to your business! However, when sharing information across your other social media platforms it is imperative that you share content that is related to your business. Sharing stories about cute kittens or babies sucking on a lemon is not only irrelevant but frankly, might just annoy your potential clients and see you placed on their “blocked senders” list.

Finally, when it comes to content, do your best to make sure that it is also interesting. Provide tips and tools that your potential clients can actually use.  Share a news story that is current, interesting and related to your industry. Perhaps, offer a little known “fun fact” about your product that people might not already know. Post something regularly that engages your audience without inundating them.

By creating content that is current, original, relevant and interesting you will create an audience that comes looking for you rather than you having to seek them out! Be an original. Share responsibly, not randomly.

As Owner and Principal partner of “Writing Right For You” Sheralyn is a Communications Strategist – working together with entrepreneurs to maximize profit through effective use of the written word. Looking for web content that works, blog articles that engage or communications strategies that help you get noticed?  Contact Sheralyn today. Sheralyn is also the mother of two children now entering the “terrible and terrific teens” and spends her free time volunteering for several non-profit organizations.

Sheralyn Roman B.A., B.Ed.

Writing Right For You

Communications Strategies that help you GET TO THE POINT!

416-420-9415 Cell/Business


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Bridge Building 101


Using bridges as an analogy for great communication is a pretty common theme for me and I believe it’s a message that occasionally bears repeating. Great communication is about building bridges between people.  Like a bridge that facilitates transportation between two geographical points, a communications bridge acts as your platform to transmit information. It requires a solid foundation, pillars of support and the actual bridge span that connects the two. The definition of communication is this: “The development of skills in three critical areas: Listening, Language and Writing.” Think of these three skills as your pillars, foundation and bridge span. Communication is about sending a message and ensuring that message is both received AND understood. When communication fails, it’s because the bridge was left unfinished or because it crumbled, not having been built on a solid enough foundation.

The bridge could be your website, a blog, a video about your business, perhaps it’s a sales call to discuss your product or it takes place while you’re conducting a seminar in front of an audience. Whatever your “bridge” it is based on the premise of creating a two-way flow of information. (It’s important to note however, even a one – lane bridge allows traffic to flow in both directions, we just have to take turns! Wouldn’t the world be a better place if we did?)

Here are a few simple tips on how to build a better bridge to your customers:

  • Keep your communication clear and concise. State your position (just the facts) using language that is precise and carefully chosen.
  • Avoid over reliance on industry specific jargon – not every one “gets” it.
  • Avoid excessive and unnecessary elaboration. Say more, with less.
  • Ensure understanding by soliciting feedback.
  • Encourage two-way dialogue by asking questions.
  • When creating content for your website follow the techniques we have blogged about before: Treat web content like it was a Resume and answer the basic “Who, What, Where, Why and How questions.
  • If you have a contact button on your website – RESPOND when people use it! Encourage the conversation. If you put a tollgate on your bridge, make sure it’s staffed otherwise no one is getting across and not answering a customer query means a lost business opportunity.


If communication is further defined as the ability to “express or exchange information” what else can you do in your business to ensure that exchange takes place? I would argue that listening is the single most important pillar of the communications bridge. In any relationship, business or personal, listening to the other person helps them to feel valued, that their opinion matters or that there concern has been addressed. By listening, I am referring to “listening to hear,” (to understand) not “listening to respond” (planning your comeback.) Listen to what your customer is asking for rather than trying to sell what you think he needs.

Just like a poorly built bridge, the stakes are high and the consequences long term.  Perhaps you read about the recent collapse of the Nipigon River Bridge, severing the Trans-Canada Highway, the only road linking Eastern and Western Canada. It’s not only an enormous and costly mistake for the bridge builders but has long term consequences for any business attempting to transport goods and services to its customers along this corridor. Similarly, what are some of the consequences of poor communications for your business?

  • Misunderstandings
  • Lost business opportunities
  • Angry employees or customers
  • Poor sales
  • Potential legal ramifications
  • Long-term damage to your reputation

You may have heard the old saying; “If it’s worth saying, say it right the first time!” or my personal motto “Say only what matters because it matters what you say!” Either promotes the same message – good communication needs a solid base to “bridge” the gap between your customer and your business, between fostering good relationships and repairing bad. Communications is a bridge that runs both ways and if it doesn’t, it leads to nowhere.

As Owner and Principal partner of “Writing Right For You” Sheralyn is a Communications Strategist – working together with entrepreneurs to maximize profit through effective use of the written word. Looking for web content that works, blog articles that engage or communications strategies that help you get noticed?  Contact Sheralyn today. Sheralyn is also the mother of two children now entering the “terrible and terrific teens” and spends her free time volunteering for several non-profit organizations.

Sheralyn Roman B.A., B.Ed.

Writing Right For You

Communications Strategies that help you GET TO THE POINT!

416-420-9415 Cell/Business


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39 ways to hand out your business cards


Welcome to the world of networking. Business cards are the most inexpensive way to get your name out there. They are small, thin, and easy to give out. Your name, contact, website, and slogan tell the prospect all they need to know about you and your business. You can get 500 for less than $60 in colour. This means when you have successfully handed out your 500 cards, that’s 500 people that didn’t know about you before. There’s no telling what this can do for your business. If you try these 39 ideas on a regular, you’ll see more traffic to your website, and more referrals coming your way.

  1. Post them on community bulletin boards (churches, laundromats, grocery stores, etc)
  2. Place them in thank you cards, birthday cards, anniversary cards to your clients with your handwritten notes
  3. Make sure you have more than enough to hand out at networking events
  4. Attach business cards to all your bags with products
  5. Place them at the bottom of gifts
  6. For an event place them in goodie bags to hand out
  7. Punch a hole in the corner of each business card and attach them to sucker to hand out
  8. Look for businesses that have a community table where you can place a stack of business cards for their customers to take
  9. Deliver them to mail boxes
  10. Before presentations, attach them to each folder
  11. Make sure you have an electronic copy as your signature of each e-mail
  12. Use your electronic copy as a banner for your social media platforms
  13. Place them on windshield wipers
  14. Place them in bathroom stalls
  15. Add them to your invoices
  16. When you are out running errands, use this opportunity to meet new prospects and exchange numbers. Hand out your business card
  17. Have a card display attached to your car with your business cards
  18. Attach your business cards to balloons at an event and hand them out
  19. Keep samples in individual bags with your card in each of them. Get their information in exchange for your samples
  20. Have a referral system with professionals similar to you but are not your competition. You keep their cards, and they keep yours and together you spread your business
  21. At networking events have your card in a clear plastic name tag
  22. At an event, hand out water bottles. Punch a hole in the top right hand corner of your business cards and tie with a string to each water bottle
  23. Glue your card to clothes pins and pin your card everywhere
  24. Stick your card onto a magnet and hand them out
  25. Give a few cards to friends and family to hand out for you
  26. Ask your good customers for referrals. Give them cards to hand out for you and for every business transaction that comes from a customer, give them a discount.
  27. Throw a party, hand out your cards to your guests
  28. Place them in individually wrapped bags with candy and hand them out
  29. Get mini cards and hole punch them for your customers to add to their key chains
  30. Canvas to restaurants and small businesses, and introduce yourself and your products
  31. When you leave a tip, give your business card with a thank you note
  32. Give your child(ren) to hand out your business cards at events. No one can resist cute children!
  33. Wear a clear lanyard  around your neck at all times with your business card
  34. Keep business cards in stands on tables or counters from businesses in your area. Make sure you make good connections with these business owners and recommend their business whenever you can
  35. Place them in books at your library related to your business
  36. Stick them in free newspapers
  37. Go door-to-door and introduce yourself with your business cards and products
  38. Stick them on a hat as a creative way to attract interest to you
  39. Bring a brightly covered basket of your products in crowded places and when people ask you about them, give them your card

Hope these ideas will inspire you to get out there and meet new prospects! For more information call Jemi Echevarria at (647)785-5851 or e-mail her at jemiechevarria@gmail.com.

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What to do if the Media Aren’t Interested In Your Story


You have developed your campaign, put the work in to build your launch story (and your perfect pitch!), and you have actively been pitching and following up with the media with your beautifully written media release. Unfortunately, you are sitting and waiting in silence. You can’t seem to get any media interested in the story you have to offer.

There are a few reasons why the media might not be interested in what you have to say:

  1. You targeted the wrong media. Do your research to make sure they cover stories like yours.
  2. There is no relevant connection to an overarching newsworthy storyline (ie. Current events, pop culture, etc.)
  3. You didn’t give the media enough time before your launch or event. They need to have time to put together the story before it’s past.
  4. Bigger news came up. Do your research to make sure there isn’t a major event happening. However, it’s impossible to predict when the latest scandal or huge news story will break!
  5. Your pitch was too long.
  6. Your subject line wasn’t attention-grabbing.

Maybe you have done everything right. From a media perspective, sometimes they get hundreds of pitches every day, so despite how hard you try, your email or Twitter pitch may just get lost in the shuffle.

Here are three ways you can get creative with your outreach strategy to build buzz if you need can’t seem to get through to the media:

  1. Build a strong content strategy. If you have built a great brand story for yourself or your business, you should also be putting out great content on all of your marketing channels – your website, social media, blog, e-newsletter, etc. You have to make sure you are putting out great content on a regular basis. That means setting up a schedule for posting and keeping up with it so your audience expects it from you and they can engage with you. Sometimes a strong content strategy will actually put you on the radar with media who often look for story ideas online.
  2. Become a guest contributor. Try connecting with publications, industry-related blogs, and blogs of associations you are part of. They are often looking for great content, and this is a fantastic way for you to get your name out there and showcase your expertise.
  3. Be active on social media to grow your community and brand awareness. Social media is all about relationship building and empowering others to talk about your brand. Keep it social and go on at least once per day.

The key is that you shouldn’t give up on generating buzz about your brand just because you can’t get media coverage. Media coverage is a great goal, but there are so many other ways for you to get your brand out there that shouldn’t be ignored.

Candace Huntly is the Founder and Principal at SongBird Marketing Communications, an agency working to take organizational and individual brands to the next level. With a passion for all things related to creativity and strategy, she specializes in business intelligence, marketing & branding, content strategy & development, media & influencer relations, and social media. Basically, if you need to put your brand, product, or cause in the public eye, she will find a way to do it, while making it unique to you.

Connect with Candace


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Name That Tune…


I may be dating myself but years ago a show on TV called Name that Tune asked contestants to “name that tune” in as few notes as possible. What you ask is the relevance of this memory? It brings to mind that moment your eyes begin to glaze over at a networking event when someone tells you EVERYTHING you ever DIDN’T want to know about their job, position, title, company and number of years on the job. I know you know what I’m talking about and I know exactly how you can avoid it. Just follow “The Rule of Ten.”

In Name that Tune, the music was so good and the “hook” so memorable that people instantly recognized the song. That’s what you want for your business.  An introduction that is catchy and memorable – your own personal “hook.”  The Rule of Ten is my personal guideline to developing a solid, short and simple introductory sentence that succinctly describes you and your product or service. It’s derived from the “Tenplate for Success” which includes ten critical communication tips for those in business. Taking ten means taking the time to distill your business mission statement or your vision into just ten words (or less!) using catchy lingo that will draw in the audience, inviting them to have a conversation with you. Isn’t that the whole idea behind networking? You don’t want the  “glaze over,” you want to encourage and enable a conversation. For that to happen, all you need is something catchy to get the conversation started.

So – what is the Rule of Ten? It’s simple: Take your main product or service, your goal or vision for your business and distill it down to the BEST TEN WORDS that describe your service and sound enticing to potential customers. Think it can’t be done? It can. Your first attempt might rival War and Peace but I assure you, with a little effort, some fine-tuning and perhaps a hint or two courtesy of Google Thesaurus, you CAN create a ten words or less elevator pitch that gets your potential customer talking to you not running from you.

Compare “I am a freelance writer and editor providing website content, editorial, blogging and advertising services for the small business entrepreneur” vs. “I help small business succeed using words that work!” or this one: “At a loss for words? I’ll help you find them!” In the first intro perhaps all you’ve heard is the word “Writer” and immediately images of a lonely, rumpled and wild haired women in front of an ancient typewriter comes to mind.  In the second or third example however, you’ve created the possibility of a conversation between you and your prospective client.  “Really,” they might say. “How do you use just words to help business?” There’s your opening, your invitation to have a conversation with a prospective client, without any pre-conceived notions that might possibly be associated with the word “Writer.”

Tammy Elliott of The Leadership Forum in Caledon calls this finding your passion and letting it shine through in your “5 second intro.” Using this technique helps you position your passion as a value statement and your client is much more likely to connect with you if you are like-minded and have similar values. Using words like “help” implies genuine caring, enthusiasm for what you do and again, it encourages a conversation over an eye-glaze. Try it. Throw a bunch of words on a page and then start working with them. Break out the Thesaurus or Google words.  Choose the best ten, formulate your catchy sentence and then give it a try at your next networking meeting. Have fun with it and hopefully soon your customers will be singing your favorite tune!

As Owner and Principal partner of “Writing Right For You” Sheralyn is a Communications Strategist – working together with entrepreneurs to maximize profit through effective use of the written word. Looking for web content that works, blog articles that engage or communications strategies that help you get noticed?  Contact Sheralyn today. Sheralyn is also the mother of two children now entering the “terrible and terrific teens” and spends her free time volunteering for several non-profit organizations.

Sheralyn Roman B.A., B.Ed.

Writing Right For You

Communications Strategies that help you GET TO THE POINT!

416-420-9415 Cell/Business


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