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The Value of Personal Connections

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A couple of weeks ago I was reminded of the value of personal connections.  I love the social world, the ability to connect and build relationships online has been a powerful resource for my business.  As a writer it is so easy for me to hide away behind my pen and paper and remain in the safety and comfort of the office.  Trusting relationships can be established through many different ways, including online, but I think like many of us, I had lost sight of actually connecting in person.

When organising my trip to New York with other entrepreneurs for an event with our business mentor a small group of us decided to share an airbnb.  Honestly, my first reaction when this was suggested was to say no.  I love my privacy and personal space, but I knew if I want to get the most of this experience I needed to throw myself into it with heart and soul.  Facing my fear, I agreed to share and arrived at the Manhattan apartment to meet 5 strangers from different continents.

Facing our fears is something we have to do a lot in business, it’s what challenges us, makes us stronger and also helps us succeed.  Those 5 strangers, over our brief time together, have now become great friends and advisers.  We connected not only on a personal level but we shared a passion for business that infused our creativity for our own businesses.  Our mentor Todd Herman, likes to describe us as ‘weird’, and it’s a word we embrace. That weekend we were with like minded people who understood our workaholic nature, our desire to be challenged, and our thirst for knowledge.

But returning home it got me thinking, what if I hadn’t faced my fear?  What if I have crept into my safe bubble and got myself a hotel room on my own, would my experience have been the same?

The simple answer is no!

Meeting people in person puts a whole new dimension on a relationship, it makes it stronger and more meaningful.

Get out there

Just as I did, go and face your fear.  Get up from you comfort zone and experience something new and exciting.  You don’t have to take a trip to another country, just push yourself to do something different.  Why not have a tweet-up for your social media following and take your online relationships to the next level.

I often find doing a training programme, whether online or off-line is also a great place to build a relationship with people.  You can learn together, get frustrated together and succeed together.  Don’t fall into the trap doing the same training as your colleagues as it will be easy to just communicate with those that you know.  Remember everyone is a stranger to each other at the beginning, you may start that way, but you won’t be strangers by the time you finish.

There are thousands of networking opportunities across the globe.  I know how frightening it can be to walk into a room where you don’t know anyone.  You worry about babbling or you hide in the corner.  See every networking group as an opportunity, the people you meet may not be a direct client, but you never know who they have in the circle of connections.

Lesson Learned

I’ve learned a valuable lesson, my social connections are amazing but if I take those connections to the next level who knows where it can lead!

 

Why You Should Outsource Your Blog

Why You Should Outsource Your Blog

Great!

You have a blog page on your website, but do you use it? Everyday I come across business websites whose blog page has no recent content, or the content consists of a paragraph – or even worse it is empty.

Are you damaging your brand?

No one said maintaining a blog was easy, especially when you don’t have the skills and resources. But having no blog or a poor one is damaging your brand. It’s like someone giving you a book you really want to read, but all the pages are empty. You are left confused and disappointed; not a good first impression for any business.

Why don’t you blog?

The main reasons why companies say they don’t blog:

  • No time
  • I’m no good at writing
  • Business is boring, we have nothing to write about
  • No marketing budget

Firstly, no matter what industry you are in you have a story to tell. People and businesses are fascinating, that’s why I love what I do; everyday I get to tell stories. But these stories enable my clients to build emotional connections with their customers.

Trust

Having a blog is about building trusting relationships with your readers. They want to get to know you and your business in ways a website can’t convey.

So if you can’t do it yourself, what are the options?

Guest Posts

A guest post is when a person or a business writes content specifically for your blog. It’s a great way of ensuring you have regular content, but who should you ask? When looking for a guest blogger ideally you want:

  • Someone with knowledge of your industry
  • Who can provide relevant content for your clients
  • They are experienced in writing guest posts, and
  • They have a writing style that compliments your business

Ghost Bloggers

We fall into this category, in essence we write in the voice of your business. Why use a service such as ours?

  • Detailed industry knowledge
  • Consistent and relevant content
  • Saves you time to concentrate on your business
  • Experienced at turning your thoughts into words to tell your story
  • Creatively able to gain the trust of your clients through emotional connections
  • Provide client centric content

Not in our words

While you are continuing to think of the reasons why you should not outsource your blog, your competitors are racing ahead. Yes outsourcing is a cost, so is it worth it? I’ll let some of our clients answer that:

“Andrea of Citrus Content has been a great find and a real asset to my business. Andrea’s passion for interior design is in direct alignment with my client base, making her ideally suited to help deliver my message. I found social media marketing to be a terrifying proposition and needed considerable help and advice in order to navigate my way forward. Andrea understands the nuances of the social media landscape and has a natural ability in marketing and promotion. She has helped to raise the profile of my business and exposed my brand to a far wider audience. I’m very grateful for the work she has done for Your Space Living.”

Jo Buckerfield, Your Space Living

“Highly recommended. Andrea and her services have been the best support for my business. I have always struggled to put my thoughts into words, Andrea has been able to capture our style and tone perfectly, I no longer have to worry as I trust her to produce content relevant to my business. In addition, I have found Andrea to be extremely helpful, supportive and friendly, going out of her way to help us.”

Amalia Protheroe, Homelink Lettings

What’s holding you back?

Click here to book your strategy call and let us show you how we can add value to your business today.

 

Trust vs Traffic – What do you believe in?

Trust VS Traffic (1)

Who do you trust?

How do you measure the ROI of social media in your company, by the number of followers and likes? If you do, you are not alone, but at Citrus Content we think differently.

One of the initial questions from a prospective social media client is: ‘How many followers and likes are you going to get me?’  This is not surprising when you see so many social media companies guaranteeing:

20,000 Likes

10,000 followers

Woohoo!!


The conversation
 

Client               “How many followers and likes are you going to get me?” 

My Reply          “I’m not!”

This is not my attempt to lose business, but we firmly believe that traffic is not the way to build a following. I have personal experience on this from growing my own personal following through social media before launching Citrus Content. I noticed that when I provided content that was of quality and interest, my following grew and what’s more this following trusted my content, my opinion and me and what’s more they were loyal.

On launching Citrus Content I knew that I needed to have this consistent approach with my clients. But I’m not alone in this thinking. Social media and marketing expert Mark W. Schaefer states:

“Instead of focusing on traffic, we need to focus on TRUST”

 And this is exactly what we do!

No matter what content we are working on for a client, we focus on building trust and loyalty. Website content, company brochure, blog post or social media management our approach is always the same. Trust is two people having a connection and as we know people do business with people.

Building this trust takes time, but it is also so powerful.

The need to share

If you have a blog, you need to be populating it with powerful content, content that people will want to share.  It is no good writing your blog posts and then doing nothing with them, you need to share them with your social following, your email lists and your team.  It is only by sharing content that you start to establish a quality following built on trust.

83% of brand marketers view social sharing as the number one benefit of digital marketing (eMarketer)

Let me be clear, sharing is not traffic.  “Traffic is intoxicating as it is easy to measure” (Mark W. Scheafer)

And this is the problem; if you concentrate on the traffic you will stop the trust. 

So why is trust so powerful in the social world?  

The New York Times recently did a study and the results speak true for no matter which country you are in.

70% of people are more likely to make a purchase based on a friend’s social media updates

In other words if you saw your friend sharing a post from a particular estate agent, they are 70% more likely to ‘purchase’.  This could be inviting the estate agent for an appraisal, view a property on their books or simply sign up to their newsletter.

Surely you want a following that is actually interested in your business?

 

How do we measure the ROI for our social media clients?

  • Profile views, if someone is checking your profile, they are interested in who you are.
  • Website visits, if you’re sharing content from your website on your social media accounts and the content is of quality, they will visit your site to discover more.
  • Engagement, are your audience/following sharing and liking your posts?

There is a place for monitoring the increase in following but this has to be measured alongside the above. For example, if you have a rapid increase in following together with engagement, you know you are attracting the right audience.

So do not worry if your competitor has 1000 more followers than you, we’re striving for quality rather than quantity and so should you!

We recommend

Posts with images and links are ore likely to be engaged with in some way. If you’re struggling to find copyright free images check out our FREE Ultimate Guide.

Want to know more?

Get in touch today to find out how we can help you grow your business through Trust.

Don’t Miss our Hot Tips!

Want to write powerful content?  Check out our hot tips

 

 

Are you embracing the modern way of working?

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I’ve always loved the idea of working from home but whenever I Googled terms like ‘work from home’ or ‘be your own boss’ it would always cough-up the same dodgy looking websites, offering an unobtainable pipe-dream; when in fact all they want to do is rob you blind!!

And then a couple of years ago Yahoo slapped a big ban on their employees working from home, which (for many) was seen as the first ‘nail in the coffin’ for home-workers. CEO, Marissa Mayer, left hundreds of her staff facing a tough choice between relocating from home to Yahoo’s nearest office or quitting, as part of her vision of a ‘new era of collaboration’. However Richard Branson has recently spoken out about Yahoo’s controversial decision, branding it a big mistake. The Virgin Group founder believes that companies who forbid their employees from working from home put pressure on families, whilst limiting opportunities for women.

Branson: “Unless you have a technical job like flying a plane, you can probably do it from home.”

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I know working from home isn’t everyone’s cup-of-tea, especially for those of you who need continual guidance and have a short attention span, but when I saw a (rare) opportunity to work as a remote personal assistant I jumped at the chance. Fortunately (!!) the position had already been filled, and not long after I was offered an even better role working from home with Citrus Content, and since then I haven’t looked back!

Why do I like working from home? … Well:

  1. There’s no commute (I don’t drive!)
  2. Work via my own initiative (This is how I work best!)
  3. No formalities to adhere to (e.g. I can dye my hair whatever colour I like!)

Our approach to content writing is equally as refreshing as Andrea’s approach to business. This is because at Citrus we aren’t confined by stuffy offices or corporate nonsense, as our main focus is finding and creating the voice of your business.

The general consensus of those who don’t work from home seem to think it must take a phenomenal amount of self-discipline, if you don’t have to be there at a set time or have any outside pressure to be continually busy and motivated. But I don’t agree, as I believe if you’re truly passionate, enjoy the work that you do and respect and get on well with your co-workers and boss; the drive to excel and work hard will come naturally.

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There are lots of ways to keep on track from home, and as a company we use Bitrix24; a free social enterprise platform for small businesses. Offering a complete suite of social collaboration, communication and management tools, it allows me to still feel part of the office event though I’m not based there. It helps me to stay on target with deadlines, store helpful dates, keep in contact with the Citrus team via in-built video chat and much, much more.

Citrus Content as a company embraces flexible working, believing that a happy workforce is a productive one. So as a business, what with recent and continual advances in technology, why wouldn’t you embrace the modern way of working?

Ask yourself this: are you limiting your work forces productivity by doing so? …

- Samii.

6 Month Check-Up

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As we get older we all need a 6 month check-up and I feel the same about the rest of my life.  Sometimes even just 2 months when things are that hectic.  Using the word “older” makes me sound old but I am most definitely not, no matter what my Fiancé says!  Still holding on to being in my twenties for another few weeks I do feel that life changes quicker as you hit your twenties, then I imagine slows down again later in life, but we’ll see!

I’m not meaning to sound philosophical I just feel that since working, having a family and running a home I need to check on my life a lot more than I used to.  For me, being happy is paramount to everything else, I find without that as my first check point there’s no point in looking any further.  A quick review now again is healthy, here is mine.

6 month check up 1

So let’s go through my check up, over the past 6 months I have jumped back into working, this time as a Mum.  Work also has a different meaning to me now, more of a purpose and more important than ever.  I’m not religious or particularly superstitious but me finding Citrus or Citrus finding me, seems to be more than just coincidence.  Good timing?  Luck?  Fate?  Either way it’s happened and I’m squeezing every drop out of it!

In the short time that I have been working at Citrus Content I have already moved from being Andrea’s Personal Assistant to also writing articles and blogs.  Somehow Andrea has managed to discover a passion and talent inside of me which, with her help, I’m slowly feeling confident enough to release.  At a recent brand meeting I described my thoughts about Citrus and my role, the outcome of this words workshop brought up feelings that I had never really thought about in much depth.  How many of us are proud of their job and love telling people what they do?  I am!  I think that says so much about Andrea, Citrus and our working relationship.  Along with my job description my label at home has also changed from being just “Vic” I’m now “Mum”, a title which holds a whole world of pressure and responsibility.  Luckily these feelings are completely eclipsed by the fun and love that also comes with being a Mum.

The past 6 months has also included a few anniversaries, our first Christmas as a family in our new home, Nico’s first birthday and our 2 year engagement anniversary.  All of which made me almost wish away the year to experience the celebrations all over again!  On a personal note, I have also been able to celebrate something that you all probably take for granted, I have just passed my driving test.  After putting it off for almost 13 years my partner took charge and booked me my first 10 lessons, since then I haven’t looked back and somehow (god knows how) I managed to pass both my theory and practical test first time!  This is a huge significant achievement for me as I let my fear of not being in control take over for so long.  Now I have been given the gift of time, being able to drive has literally meant that I now have an extra couple of hours added to my day!

What are the results of my check up?  After another crazy but blessed 6 months the defining moments in my life are simply stepping stones preparing me for what’s next to come, more work, more fun and more surprises.  As we all know we can’t predict the future and I wouldn’t want to, I could never have imagined what was going to happen but it just makes me even more excited about the next 6 months.

How did your check up go?

Estate Agent Leaflet Drops – Sin or Success??

Estate Agent Leaflet Drops - Sin or

Yesterday I was privileged to attend a Rightmove seminar in South Wales, where on a couple of occasions when the words ‘leaflet drop’ were mentioned.  This made me twitch a little, why?  Every day we all receive a wonderful selection of ‘junk’ mail through our doors some of which could include one of your leaflets.  Now I am a little sad as I actually go through my junk mail to pick out estate agent leaflets as I want to research what you are doing.  But many of these leaflets are lost inside the numerous take-out menus that seem to decorate my door mat when I arrive home.  Unlike me, many people will be throwing this pile of unwanted mail in their recycling bin so are your leaflets going the same way?

I ask you, are leaflet drops working for you?

When is the last time you actually questioned the number of leads you received from this essentially costly form marketing?

What is the solution?  You need to create awareness of your brand and your agency services.  You want to ensure that you are in the forefront of people’s minds when they are looking to sell, so is there another way to ‘leaflet drop’ that will have a greater success rate?

The typical estate agent leaflets are a maximum of A5 with pure advertising copy.  I have even had post cards, house shaped and even scraps of paper (yes not the best first impression!).  But is it the size or the copy that is not making you stand out in the junk mail crowd?  Dare I say possibly both!  Nowadays no one wants to be sold to, and isn’t that what a leaflet drop traditionally is, selling?

So what would make your potential clients take note of what you deliver and even keep hold of it?  We work with one of our clients on a monthly newsletter that has had a real impact on his business.  This is a 4 page A4 quality ‘leaflet’ that is filled with tips, advice, seasonal information and industry news.  What’s more the newsletter has a focus on their local community, making it something that their past, present, potential clients and the community at large look forward to reading.  This community edge gives the reader the sense that they are not just based in the community but also actually part of it.  This newsletter is an investment in their business but the results speak for themselves.

Every piece of material you create for your business must serve a purpose and not just because its something that is done in the industry.  Look outside estate agency and property for ideas and inspiration as you need to make a lasting first impression.  Well who knew a meerkat could have such a dramatic impact on a price comparison site?

If you would like ideas on how your marketing material could evade the curse of junk mail, contact us today to see how we can help your business.

Andrea

 

Our Top 5 Reasons Why Blogs Convert into Sales

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At Citrus Content we pride ourselves on the blog service we give our clients.  Each blog post is written exclusively for the client and we ensure that their voice shines through.  Working with our clients we cover a multitude of issues, news and inspiration within the property and interior sector.

1. The Facts

We know why blog posts are powerful for your business and therefore we would like to share with you some facts.

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2. More Facts

It’s all in the name: Citrus Content

We are proud that our blog post service has won awards for our clients.  Recently one of our clients disclosed that using Citrus Content has provided increased traffic to their site by 400%.  In addition, our clients are part of the 62% of companies who outsource their marketing – the facts and figures speak for themselves.

  • Blogs can assist you with the effective promotion of a service or product. (Convertwithcontent)
  • Websites with Blogs have 434% more indexed pages (helps search engines & SEO efforts) and 97 % more inbound links. (U.addresstwo)
  • 84% of inbound marketers – compared to only 9% of outbound marketers – cite organic sources (blogging, SEO, social media) as rising in importance. (HubSpot State of Inbound, 2014)
  • Blogs can give you credibility and authority. (Convertwithcontent)
  • 46% of people read blogs more than once a day. (HubSpot Science of Blogging, 2010)
  • SEO is out. Blogging is in. (Convertwithcontent)

3. Show Your Expertise

Blogs are an effective way of showcasing your expertise.  As a leader within your organisation you have a wealth of knowledge that should be shared with your clients.  Clients like to do business with experts, they want to know they are in safe hands.  Telling your story is a way of connecting with them on another level.  We help you put your thoughts into words.

4. To Have a Voice

Every business has a voice, it encompasses your USP’s, your ethos and your personality.  Every piece of content you produce should speak in your voice as clients can connect with a voice rather than a corporate image.  We know how to find your voice and ensure it’s consistent in everything you produce.

5. To Engage with your Clients

Being engaging is about showing a piece of you and your personality.  Engaging content not only creates sharable content that will increase awareness of your company but it will also encourage loyalty.  We make sure you engage.

Why Blogs Convert into Sales

The facts speak for themselves and through your expertise, voice and engagement and instead of chasing sales, sales will come to you.

If you are thinking of outsourcing your blog and are interested in how we can benefit your company then get in touch today.

Product of the Week – Winter Woodland Collection from Sophie Allport

Winter Woodland Collection, Sophie Allport

We just love our new Product of the Week feature and it seems you do too.  One of the most fun parts of our job is looking at stunning interior finds to feature in the articles we write.  As our parents told us ‘it’s rude not to share’, we just have to share our wonderful finds with you!

As it’s almost Christmas, this week we decided to feature 1 product every day from the enchanting Winter Woodland Collection from Sophie Allport. The delightful collection boasts over 30 pieces all of which are beautifully designed and some are hand painted.

Winter Woodland Collection Lifestyle High Res 4 edited

This collection embodies a wonderfully festive Winter Woodland with falling snow around Christmas trees and plenty of Woodland creatures – foxes, hares, owls, deer and squirrels on a frosty and dusty blue background.

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We have love Sophie Allport’s work and often feature her collections, but who is she?  Whilst living in London Sophie spent her time as a freelance illustrator working on projects for many famous names ranging from wine bottle label design to book and magazine illustrations. In 1996 Sophie was invited to demonstrate her skills at the Country Living Fair in London and decided to have a few of her illustrations made up into cards and limited edition prints.  They proved a sell out and Sophie has become a stalwart of the Country Living Events since. Her products now range from Fabrics to Fine Bone Chine and Trays to Tinware!

# Sophie Allport Logo Grey High Res editedSophie has also designed three festive collections to date: ‘Robin’, ‘Stag’ and most recently ‘Winter Woodland’. The products make for great Christmas presents, stocking filler or to brighten up your Christmas entertaining!

Winter Woodland Collection Lifestyle High Res 5 editedDon’t miss our daily picks on Facebook and Twitter and make sure you take a moment to indulge in the entire Winter Wonderland Collection

Product of the Week – Evans Lichfield Jack Russell with Scarf Cushion from Cotswold Trading

Welcome to the launch of our very first “Product of the Week”

It’s our business at Citrus Content to find, love and share great products! We feature many various products each week in our blogs and online articles. For our first week we have chosen the Evans Lichfield Jack Russell with Scarf Cushion from Cotswold Trading.

Evans Lichfield Jack Russell with Scarf Cushion

The Evans Lichfield Jack Russell with Scarf Cushion is cheeky, fun and stylish and would make the perfect gift for countryside or dog lovers. The design features a proud Jack Russell in front of a snowy woodland scene, wrapped up warm with a red scarf. The cushion has a woven Belgian tapestry front with a cotton twill reverse and a polyester fire-retardant filling. The outer cushion is zipped to allow easy removal of the inner cushion.

Evans Lichfield Jack Russell with Scarf Cushion

 Offer – 10% Off

To celebrate our Product of the Week Cotswold Trading have kindly offered  10% off  the Evans Lichfield Jack Russell with Scarf Cushion by using this code CUSHION10.  If purchased between Friday 5 until Friday 12 December.

 

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Cotswold Trading have a stunning range of interiors.  We asked Rachel from Cotswold Trading to tell us a little more about the company, “Cotswold Trading is a gift and housewares destination store, where you can buy something for everyone and loads for yourself. Our staff are friendly and knowledgeable, our merchandise is ‘musthaveable’ and we’re located in Broadway in the Cotswolds, one of the most scenic parts of the country.”

Cotswold Trading is perfect place to find something for your home this Christmas.

 

My new Citrus beginnings

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Letting you in, opening up, talking to myself…all facts and fears about writing my first blog! To imagine someone who is the class clown but would never read aloud, who loves to sing but can’t find her voice is completely me.  My new found confidence has been thrust upon me by my “pushy mother” style boss lady Andrea Morgan suggesting I write a blog so here goes…

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So far 2014 has been a year for all things “new”.  New baby, new house, new job. All positives you would think but they have also come with new fears, new pressure and new worries. My aim of the year is to turn the few negatives, which will never get their air time in my blog, in to more and more positives! My beautiful new baby, a constant positive who makes me smile and be silly every day. My new house, a home for my family, transformed by my fiancé and never to be completed. My new job, an unexpected encounter with endless opportunities.

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Citrus Content so far has been refreshing, inspiring and exciting! In the space of a month I have gone from working with dreary CXO’s to the interior design and content writing industry. The splash of colour has been a huge welcome to my new life and every day I am learning and smiling; both as refreshing as Citrus Content aims to be!

Working at home and in our new office gives me a balanced work life although some of my work doesn’t feel like “work”! Each client has their own needs and my work allows me to help them in various ways of never ending content and sharing all with an aim to grow their business and ours. “Our business” Andrea has encouraged me to use “our” and “we” which has made me feel so at home in a company which was her baby. This has all added to my continued passion for the job and eagerness to grow together and with whoever else wants to join us on this ride to the top!

At Citrus work never stops, finding great websites and products, sharing our work and stories on social media and working with interesting clients! I have 3 aims for my future here:

Never stop learning. Never stop growing. Never stop smiling.