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How to blow a sale #1,324,295

By Renae Gregoire

Yesterday, something happened that took me aback.  Like … I literally sat at my desk for several minutes, looking up and down, and back and forth, between the air above my head in the room in front of me and a text I received through Messenger. Before I show you … a little backstory. I had been stressing […]

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What’s your talk trigger?

By Renae Gregoire

This is post #1 of my book-to-blog experiment; read the previous post, about the inspiration for the project, here.What’s your talk trigger?Is there one thing about you or your business that makes customers talk about you? If so, that might be your “talk trigger,” a term coined by Jay Baer and Daniel Lemin in their […]

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A Book-to-Blog Experiment

By Renae Gregoire

Trying to increase two habits I long for: reading and bloggingHey there. I’m Renae, an online business owner since 2002. Running and growing that business, along with raising a family from toddlers to college students, has taken up much of my time — including my reading and blogging time.And even though my reading and blogging time decreased, […]

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My three words for 2019

By Renae Gregoire

Do you have a North Star for your business?By North Star, I mean a shining light that guides you along the journey. A light that acts as a reference point and keeps you from getting lost when you stray from the path of your intentions. These days, we don’t follow an actual star. We follow a […]

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Don’t steal images from the Internet

By Renae Gregoire

What can happen when you swipe random images from the Internet to use in your contentSeveral years ago, I had been blogging and creating content as usual for my website, pulling images off of the Internet wherever and whenever I wanted.  I’d heard tales of people being hit with lawsuits for doing this, but I thought, […]

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50 Gifts for Writers, Bloggers, and Entrepreneurs

By Renae Gregoire

Updated 2019 editionCelebrate the bloggers, writers, and other small business owners in your life with this hand-picked selection of 50 gifts and stocking stuffers. It’s that time of year again! Hustling and bustling and shopping and cleaning and decorating and cooking and wrapping and OH MY GOD THIS IS EXHAUSTING! Yes, exhausting. But still fun. Especially when you’re […]

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Your soul’s purpose will find you.

By Renae Gregoire

Right now, your Soul’s Purpose is searching for you.I recently read an article by Ponny SH Lam called, “Do You Choose your Soul Purpose, Or Does It Choose You?” In it, Ponny talks about how, when she was a university Career Advisor, the Universe sparked her soul by way of a chance encounter at a fast-food […]

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Sometimes success takes … glacial persistence

By Renae Gregoire

Forget the “ain’t nobody got time for that” memeI had a Zoom meeting with my mastermind recently.  (By the way, I highly recommend masterminding … SO GOOD!) We were talking about the progress we’ve been making in our online businesses.  That’s when one of the members mentioned something she’d heard from some online guru, something about how sometimes […]

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Perceptions: Do your prospects see what you see?

By Renae Gregoire

Do you see what your customers and prospects see?Running a business can be kind of strange. Here we are, doing this thing we do, selling that thing we sell. Trying to get the word out. Trying to get our product or service in front of our ideal customers. It’s a lot of work, right? We’re busy scurrying here and there, […]

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What’s the deal with blogging?

By Renae Gregoire

To blog … or not to blog?I’ve been talking a lot about blogging lately.  I created a blogging card deck, a 30-day blogging challenge, and I’m working on a program to help solopreneurs and small business owners jumpstart their writing confidence along with their blogs. It’s been “Blog this, blog that, blog, blog, blog, blog, blog” around […]

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3 ways to use writing to share your gifts with the world

By Renae Gregoire

You’re a solopreneur. Now what?I love being a solopreneur.  I love peeling back, refining, and communicating deeper and deeper layers of talent, all with the glorious goal of serving my ideal clients and in some ways changing the world. Yeah, that’s lofty. But it’s also true. If you’re a solopreneur, then your goal might be something similar.  You hold […]

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I joined a mastermind; here’s why I’m staying

By Renae Gregoire

Investing in yourself and your business with a mastermind You know what it’s like when you do something stupid? For instance … spending $10,000 to join a mastermind?<GULP>“Did I really just do that?!?”“What will I tell my husband?!?”“How will I PAY for it?!?”Well, that’s exactly what I did back in March 2017.I joined a mastermind group.At […]

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Closed loops: the most-overlooked secret to business success

By Renae Gregoire

It’s something so small, so easy, yet so often overlookedI’ve been working from home as a marketing writer since 2002. Over the years, I’ve hired many dozens of vendors and contractors:PrintersDevelopersDesignersVirtual assistantsEditorsResearchersWritersAnd I am consistently dumbfounded by people’s inability to do one simple yet crucial thing, even if asked. That thing?  It’s closing loops. Not Fruit Loops®, the brand.Photo […]

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Wake up, class! How I became a confident writer

By Renae Gregoire

Hint: It had more to do with role models than writing      Dateline: Freshman Year in College, 1994 “Wake up, class!” Professor Harrison boomed, a big smile on his face, quickly clapping his hands twice by his right ear, as if clapping would jostle the remnants of sleep from our bleary, first-period eyes. He held that pose […]

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Getting to know you: A tour of my bookshelves

By Renae Gregoire

Welcome to my bookshelves!   Salutations!  I’m very happy you’re here!  I love to share my favorite books (nearly as much as I love reading them!), so it is my pleasure to take you on a brief journey to explore the treasures on my bookshelves. Note that I wrote this post several years ago as part of […]

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Hey writers! Assume your readers don’t care.

By Renae Gregoire

Beware the indifference … or hostility … of readers.   In an interview with The Irish Times’ Sara Keating, former US poet laureate Billy Collins spoke words of wisdom not only to poets, but also to all who write with the intention of having people eagerly read their work. That goes for you and me and all […]

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In defense of the exclamation point!

By Renae Gregoire

Pro or con? Choose your side, and stick with it!   Have you seen this chart by Hubspot, on when it’s okay to use an exclamation point? You can click in below for a closer view, but what I really want you to see is the spoiler (in the blue box) at the top of the image.  It […]

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Cut these 5 words; be a better, stronger writer

By Renae Gregoire

Sometimes even good writers need a reminder …   While watching a recording of a live event for the design industry yesterday, one of the speakers surprised me when she mentioned how she became a stronger writer by eliminating one word from her communications. As soon as she mentioned the word (I’ll tell you what it is […]

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Time to stop sucking at this blogging thing

By Renae Gregoire

Where’d consistency in communication go?While poking around on my Blog Post Ideas spreadsheet looking for goodies to write about, I came across a Harvard Business Review blog post by JD Schramm, which touches on the importance of Consistency in Communication.  In recounting the story of a professor who for years and years consistently sent a typewritten […]

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Hiring a writer: Am I right for you? Are you right for me?

By Renae Gregoire

Am I the right writer for you?Dear reader, Welcome!  I’m so glad you’re here. My guess is that you’re on this page for one or more reasons. You may be looking for:  The Blog Post Inspiration Deck (coming soon!)A fabulous marketing writerA supercalifragilisticexpialidocious editorPricing for writing and editing servicesInspiration for your own writing or editing bizInformation on that wacky […]

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Marketing 102: You caught a prospect’s eye. Now what?

By Renae Gregoire

Toot your own horn (shh … quietly)   Hooray! You’ve completed Marketing 101 and grabbed a potential client’s attention.  Now what? Now, the marketing continues.  This time though, in Marketing 102, your goal is to build that always powerful know, like, and trust factor. Your goal is to give prospect the feeling that you’re qualified and more than able […]

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Growing up and into my core values

By Renae Gregoire

Core values, blah blah blah, yadda yadda yaddaI’m in a 13-week transformational coaching program. I need to transform, baby! One of the modules is about “core values,” the values that drive and shape our behaviors. Knowing what we value, the thinking goes, allows us to nudge our businesses in directions that reflect those values. I have to say, […]

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5 ways to avoid killing readers with your content

By Renae Gregoire

The Internet is like our oceans … filled with garbage  One day, while I was out on the Internet, doing typical Internet-y things — Facebooking, following links, reading articles — I discovered what seemed to be an intriguing article, both by the vivid image and promised topic: 10 colors that increase sales, and why. Sounds good. Looks […]

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Marketers, is there a smell in your sell?

By Renae Gregoire

What happens when you try to sell ice to Eskimos?Before I became a product creator and writing coach, I used to troll all the job boards looking for writing and editing work.  Believe me, applying for “gigs” is about appealing as I imagine that getting back into the dating scene would be after being married for […]

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How are you? I’m looking for opportunities.

By Renae Gregoire

A small change with big consequencesWhat do you say when people ask you how you are? “Hey there! How are ya?!?” If you’re anything like me, you say things like:I’m fine, thanksI’m exhaustedI’m super busyI’m tiredOne day, when I was Zooming with my accountability buddy during our weekly call, I responded to his, “How are you?” with, […]

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Insights on blogging

By Renae Gregoire

Live from the farm….Since I started the 30 Day Blog Post Challenge a week ago, I’ve realized a few things about blogging and want to share them with you.1. Regarding that blogging calendar…. A blogging calendar has turn out to be not very helpful to me during the Challenge. I find that the topics on […]

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Luminous writing: Holy crap, that’s scary!

By Renae Gregoire

Let me be luuuuuuminousEvery day during the 30 Day Blogging Challenge, I’m drawing a set of cards from my soon-to-be-available Blog Post Inspiration Deck. One of the cards today is luminosity. Luminosity. Luminous. I love that word, both the sound of it … luuuminous … and the diverse images it brings to my mind. Like … a sunbeam, […]

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How to blog: Start with a hunger to help and inspire

By Renae Gregoire

Dear blogger, in your posts I see your beauty, your brilliance, my callingAlthough this post is part of my 30 Day Blogging Challenge, I’m not just bringing these words, sentences, and paragraphs into being to satisfy some requirement or complete a challenge I set for myself.  Yes, those two things are important, but the real reason […]

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How to create a best-selling card deck

By Renae Gregoire

How I created a soon-to-be-bestselling card deckI’ve been talking to my tribe about my upcoming card deck The Blog Post Inspiration Deck for a little while now.  But the only reason I’ve done so is because my card deck mentor Marcy Nelson-Garrison decided to reopen her Card Deck Master Class program — and it’s open […]

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Blog post template: The quick and dirty version

By Renae Gregoire

A simple blog post template for beginning bloggersWhen I first started researching blog post types, I was dumbstruck at how many different types of blog post exist. In my upcoming card deck — The Blog Post Inspiration Deck — I cover 20 blog post types, from how-tos and listicles to success story posts. And I have […]

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How to write a manifesto

By Renae Gregoire

What’s a manifesto? And do you need one for your business?Did you know that Seth Godin writes a manifesto for every book he publishes?I found that out through Marcy Nelson-Garrison, creator of the Card Deck Master Class, the program I used to create my card deck, The Blog Post Inspiration Deck.(My deck is in the […]

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Yes

By Renae Gregoire

Join my tribe?Do you sweat the small stuff? Do you want your online presence to inspire trust and confidence? Do you grit your teeth when others don’t care enough about YOUR web experience? Are you all about creating an excellent website and excellent content that makes it easy for people to get to know, like, […]

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My three words for 2018

By Renae Gregoire

My three guiding words for 2018What word or words will guide you in 2018?I follow and am in a group coaching program held by Christine Kane, who has a FABULOUS and in-depth Word-of-the-Year Discovery Tool.  Last year, I used that tool to find my word for 2017, which was CHOOSE.I’m not sure what happened to the word […]

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Freelance writer rates

By Renae Gregoire

Freelance writer rates: As with all things in life, you get what you pay forThere’s a blog post over at ClearVoice entitled “15 Scenarios When to Pay Freelance Writers Higher Rates.”I wanted to respond to the post right in the comments but, alas, the comments were closed.So I’m writing my reply here as a blog […]

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Take imperfect action?!? (A virtual hug for perfectionists)

By Renae Gregoire

Imperfect action ≠ crappy content  The gurus say that imperfect action is better than no action.  In a way, I agree: It’s better to have an “imperfect” something out there than nothing at all.  BUT.  A huge BUT.  Imperfect doesn’t mean “crap.” Glaring content issues that shout “CRAP!” to everyone Imperfect doesn’t mean you let content out of the house with […]

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An Etsy email marketing lemon

By Renae Gregoire

Email marketing lemon: Sending customers pictures of products, but then not allowing them to buyThis morning, a marketing lemon in my email inbox stopped me from looking at products on Etsy, and possibly buying them. There I was, just recovering from a marketing lemon in the shape of a form tossed at me by Stein Mart, […]

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Marketing lemon on a form

By Renae Gregoire

Marketing lemon on a form: An illustration of just how easy it is to lose people onlineThis morning, a marketing lemon on an online form almost stopped me from becoming a registered customer at Stein Mart. There I was, purchasing Tea Tree Oil Foot Repair Balm on the Stein Mart website because prices were too high […]

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Introducing: Marketing Lemons

By Renae Gregoire

A new column dedicated to documenting — and hopefully ridding the Internet of — marketing lemons, one at a timeI’ve long been a collector of marketing lemons: Mistakes, bloopers, gotchas, boondoggles, and annoyances that make it harder for people to do business with or buy from a company.Today, after running across two lemons, one after […]

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Know Like Trust: 5 Ways to Lead People to YES

By Renae Gregoire

Free, no-email-required guide on know, like, and trustYou’ve probably heard at least one expert say that people buy from people and companies they know, like, and trust. Trouble is … that’s where the guidance stops. It’s like: “Know, like, and trust. You need it, so go do it! Get to it!” But HOW? What does it *really* mean to […]

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Is your long-form content killing readers?

By Renae Gregoire

It seems that everyone loves long-form contentYou know what? I get that long-form content is great for driving traffic. Neil Patel says so. Kissmetrics says so. Search Enging Land says so. Content Marketing Institute says so. I’m not here to argue about the effectiveness of long-form content. Having a supply of long-form content on your site is a good thing. […]

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The sales power of communicating your WHY

By Renae Gregoire

When I started my business back in 2002, I was on a mission. I wanted to help small business owners, solopreneurs, and marketers lead more people to YES with clear content and strong positioning that would differentiate them online and offline.  As time went on, my motives became less altruistic. Growing more and more tired of crappy […]

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Customer service bomb: When online chat goes awry

By Renae Gregoire

When online chat goes wrong: Frustration, multiplied   ​ Are you now using or have you ever used Audible.com?  I was a customer several years ago, paying $14.95 a month for an ebook, and stockpiling ebooks when they went on sale. Finally, when my ebook library far outgrew my capacity to listen, I put my account on hold. […]

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Website popups gone wrong: A mistake to avoid

By Renae Gregoire

Here at The Write Idea, I’m all about helping you make life easier for the people who visit your website and read your content — including content on your website popups. To that end, here’s a lesson learned straight from this morning’s browsing session.The problem: Vague website popupsSo … I’m about to embark on a passion […]

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Marketers: Just say NO to FOMO (sometimes)

By Renae Gregoire

In a span of just four days, I had two emails pop into my inbox with an acronym in the subject line — an acroynm I understood ONLY because I’m in marketing. What’s the acronym? It’s FOMO. Fear of missing out. Lookie here, at the first instance:Now, how many consumers are going to know what FOMO is? I asked […]

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Get on the proof train and rock your biz — fo’ shizzle!

By Renae Gregoire

A new breed of business owner wants to help you rock your biz–so you can rock your world.It’s the mom-preneur, dad-preneur, wantra-preneur, solo-preneur, heart-centered-preneur, healer-preneur, wellness-preneur, and other-preneur. The gurus, biz bosses, thought leaders, and experts in their various topics who started online businesses a year or so ago, and are now out there full […]

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Is your business struggling? You might need softness.

By Renae Gregoire

Softness. Such a lovely word. It brings to mind pillows and clouds. Feathers, warm towels, and cuddly kittens.​ But I doubt “softness” is a term you’d associate with a struggling business, so it’s probably not a “solution” that’s crossed your mind.  Whether you’re finding it hard to win customers, attract prospects, gain traction, or even break even […]

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“We will respond in 5 business days”

By Renae Gregoire

Chasing down broken emails  Just this morning, I filled out a form on the Holiday Inn Express website because they’re sending me email messages I can’t read.Here’s what I see:​ Broken in the browser, tooI use Outlook, which presents this message for all emails with images: “If there are problems with how this message is […]

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“Your company sucks!” The value of negative feedback

By Renae Gregoire

Have you ever been swayed by a company’s testimonials? You know, those customer statements that tell you why you should buy? As a prospect, you read through the glowing testimonials thinking, “Gee, if all these people were happy, then maybe I will be, too!”​ Trouble is, no company willingly publishes negative testimonials. Amazon and Yelp aside, could you […]

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How to bring your marketing content to life

By Renae Gregoire

Marketing content: Heaven (and sales) is in the details.  Quick question for you:What do you see when you look at this postcard? It’s nice, right?Maybe, if you like snow.But to truly appreciate the image takes a little imagination.​ For instance, imagine standing in the scene yourself, right where the photographer stood, seeing that exact view. Your hands […]

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Are your infographics killing readers?

By Renae Gregoire

Don’t get me wrong: Infographics done right are GREAT. People love to look at them, read them, and share them.​ I’m one of those people.​ Lately though, I’m seeing more and more infographics that are so dense, so complex, that they frustrate rather than help readers. (Well, this reader, at least.) This trend mirrors a quote by Jay […]

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For insightful content, use an INFJ marketing writer

By Renae Gregoire

Differentiation is the name of the writing (and selling) game.   I’m into personality assessments and have taken lots of them over the years. Recently, I took a Myers-Briggs test over at www.16personalities.com (great site and presentation, by the way), and saw something in the results that I thought you, my client or prospective client, ought […]

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Your company sucks! Negative feedback, part 2

By Renae Gregoire

In part one of this three-part series about the value of negative feedback, I talked about one particular instance where I wasn’t able to satisfy a client, and why I think the engagement went wrong.Here, in part two, I’ll share yet another painful, personal example of a failed client engagement. In this instance, I really […]

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How to write an About page that rocks

By Renae Gregoire

I hate most About pages. How about you?We have to read them before doing business with others, yet they’re so formulaic.​ “So and so is a professional blah-dee-blah. She has been blah-ing and blee-ing for more than a decade. Her focus is on meeting clients’ needs by providing the highest quality blah blah blah. She earned […]

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Keeping up a blog is a pain in the $#!@#*

By Renae Gregoire

“Just keep blogging, just keep blogging, just keep blogging….”(Imagine Dory from finding Nemo as you read that first line.)Yep. I said it. Despite my best intentions, I struggle to keep my blog fresh with new content.​It’s not that I don’t have anything to say or share. On the contrary. My Evernote account is loaded with […]

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Should we expect even memes to be usable?

By Renae Gregoire

Poke around my website and blog. You will quickly notice I carry the banner of usability: Usable websites! Usable documents! Usable applications! Usable hardware! Usable … memes? Okay, so your business may not be in the business of creating memes. But, if it was, I’d say that even the lowly meme and how you present it deserves consideration and attention to […]

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Can webinars really be “full?”

By Renae Gregoire

The sold-out webinar: Is it false scarcity? Or is it for real?I confess: Since the dawn of the webinar, I’ve always thought that statements like these from webinar hosts were nothing other than feeble attempts to use scarcity to try to convince people to “sign up now”:There are limited seats and we’re almost full up.​Seats […]

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How to differentiate using your logo

By Renae Gregoire

My goal is the same as yours: Differentiate! You’ve heard it said that one of the chief goals of marketing is differentiation: Showing, telling, and illustrating to prospective customers why your product, service, or solution is better, faster, stronger, the right choice.I faced the differentiation dilemma when developing a logo for my freelance writing business; perhaps […]

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Marketing so useful, people would pay you for it

By Renae Gregoire

Have you heard of Youtility? It’s a concept coined by Jay Baer, author of a book by the same name. Jay defines Youtility as “marketing so useful, people would pay you for it.” You create Youtility when you’re useful where customers are–when they need it, where they need it.Is your company Youseful? In other words, […]

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How to reduce shopping cart abandonment

By Renae Gregoire

Is your ecommerce site loaded with minefields, each of which may cause shopping cart abandonment, and inadvertently kill a sale? What kind of minefields? Consider:​Site speed, or how long customers wait for stuff to load​Product reviews, either on your site or elsewhereProduct visuals, whether images, videos, or the lack thereofContact details, whether easy to find or […]

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5 tips for writing a winning press release

By Renae Gregoire

EXTRA! EXTRA!So you want free publicity? Thinking about writing a press release? Great idea! In the age of the Internet, most major news outlets and publications get a high percentage of news from press releases.Your goal is to get your release noticed rather than ignored or trashed. But keep in mind that a new website, new […]

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The free “Small Business Work Easy” Resource Guide

By Renae Gregoire

Get your free Resource Guide with my most “Can’t-Live-Withoutable” tools Are you a small business owner? Marketing pro? Freelancer? Or are you just starting your entrepreneurial journey? Either way, chances are that you, like me, are always looking for business tools and resources to help you get stuff done.I’ll tell you this: I’m one of those […]

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What’s your differentiation? Your “disruptive”?

By Renae Gregoire

What’s so special about you? Why should your prospects care? What’s your disruptive? Whitney Johnson’s HBR article on career change, innovation, and disruption really got me thinking—not just about my disruptive skills (although I am thinking seriously about them), but also about a company’s disruptive ability, or even a document’s disruptive power.By “disruptive,” Whitney means unique, […]

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How to draw and write on screenshots

By Renae Gregoire

Save time for yourself … save time for your readers … with annotated screenshots. How many times have you visited a website, read an ebook, or downloaded a document loaded with screenshots?And how many times have you had this experience?You read the text leading up to the screenshot.Then you look at the screenshot.Then you read the […]

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How to lead people to YES with marketing content

By Renae Gregoire

A few years ago, while pursuing a master’s certificate in professional and technical writing, I dabbled in a grant-writing class. Something I read in that class stuck with me because it’s as relevant to content marketing and content writing as it is to grant writing.From Miner and Miner, 2005, p.5., emphasis mine:​During the review process, […]

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Want better marketing content? Cut the crap.

By Renae Gregoire

I don’t know about you, but if I have to read (or write) one more piece of stuffy, fluffy, jargon-filled marketing content, my head will literally explode.(Okay, not literally … although “literally” apparently can mean “figuratively” these days, so … there you go)​You know the kind of stuffy marketing content I’m talking about, right? The […]

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