February 8th 2012

What should I blog about?

As small business owners ourselves, we often struggle with what to blog about.  Maybe that's not the greatest thing to admit, since we do consult with other small businesses on what they should be blogging about...however it's not always easy to see the answer for your own business. Just as it's far easier for us to design for others than it is to design for ourselves.

If there's on thing that's true about blogging it's that blogs help businesses. How do they do that?

  • Blogs help build your credibility by being transparent; being you
  • Blogs show your expertise by giving your clients things they need to know
  • Blogs allow your clients (and potential clients) to get to know you by being more than a voice on the other end of the line or an email address
  • Blogs deliver a platform for instant feedback 
  • Blogs can also significantly effect your google ranking (who doesn't want a little piece of that pie?)

Now that we know why you should blog, we need to know what the hell to actually blog about?

The quick and fast rules:

  1. Blog about topics that your target audience is interested in or needs help with

How do you know the answer to that?  

  1. Surveys - you can actually go out and ASK them what they need help with.  This is a very straightforward and often underrated way to get feedback from your customers. (check out surveymonkey.com) You can also use twitter and facebook for this.
  2. Emails - review client emails. What are their biggest frustrations?  What are their most common questions?  Chances are these same topics will be useful to other clients as well.
  3. Google suggestions - we all use google so you have probably seen google give you suggestion based on what you type into the search box.  These come from real searches from other people and you can use them to narrow in on what your niche is searching for.  For example, our client Heather Jarvis might look up "student loan" and see this:

    Then based on this information, she could write blog posts about any or all of those topics.  
  4. Ask in your newsletter - you have a newsletter right?  Good!  (if you don't we can help you set one up)  The best newsletters engage your readers.  A perfect way to do that is to ask them what they need help with. You might think they'll get annoyed but in reality, they'll be happy that you actually care about them enough to ask. Trust me. 
  5. Hang out with them - if your business is local, you could become a member of your local chamber of commerce or networking groups (check out meetup.com) or for online businesses visit forums and message boards, social media sites and blogs. 

These are just a few simple and easy suggestions on honing in to your target market.  What's your biggest challenge when it comes to blogging for your business? (see what I just did there?  I'm sneaky!)

By Melissa :: In Marketing :: Comments
January 27th 2012

Color Palette #4: Roasted Red Swirl

About two weeks ago, I found hummus.  Sean had some at a client dinner and really liked it.  Then I decided to make some, and I really liked it.  Then we were out at a Coopers, local restraurant for dinner last Friday and they have a hummus appetizer which was delicious. 

I'm kinda in love with hummus.  It's seriously like the New Crack, at least that's what we call it around the office. 

But the best part, it happens to be so easy to make.  I wish I had tried it a long time ago.  I have a lot of catching up to do!

This weekend, I'm going to make either a Roasted Garlic Hummus or a Green Herb Hummus -- both sound delicious. The one that I've been making lately is a simple Roasted Pepper Hummus that has just the right amount of pepper flavor and garlic. It's also the inspiration for today's color palette. 

This palette is filled with lovely fall colors (which happens to be one of my favorite seasons).  It's warm yet bold.  It's gotta a little pumpkin feel to it, but not overtly so.  I'm digging it for the richness and overall cozy feeling. 

The hummus isn't so bad either!


By Melissa :: In :: Comments
January 19th 2012

Custom Illustrations and Letterpress Design

I was recently looking for letterpress prints to hang up in my newly painted office.  I wanted something fun, a little whimisical and pet related.  While I didn't find many prints that struck my fancy, I did come across some really fabulous card sets.  I've purchased letterpress cards before and then just framed them to hang on the wall.  Not necessarily their intended use, but it works just the same.

Sweet Harvey offers ready-made gorgeous original illustration letterpress and screenprinting designs and I've fallen head over heels. There are prints, pillow covers, even embroidered hoop art, but what caught my eye were the notecards and greeting cards.

The cuteness. The simplicity. The whimsy. The clean design. They have it all. I kinda want one of everything, but Sean would flip out if I did that.  I've yet to decide which to get, but the Fox and Owl are high on the list.

Here a few other noteable mentions as well.

How cool is this vintage typewriter?

And this pup with a little red eye patch? *dies*

And of course, this sweet pumpkin!

I'm not sure I'll be able to decide. I think it might be easier if there was a package of 10 assorted cards to choose from (*hint**hint*), but for now I'll have to pick just one because they are simply to lovely to pass up.

January 14th 2012

Color Palette #3: Black Raspberry Sorbet

When I’m choosing a color palette for a web design project, I find inspiration in so many places. Finding the right colors is an important aspect to the overall tone and feeling a website conveys.

I love how colors influence how people feel and it should be an important aspect of your branding message.

Today my inspiration came from a simple and delicious snack I whipped up between some SEO work and some brand positioning research that I’m doing on a new project.

web design color palette

A mixed berry & banana sorbet, which also happens to be completely dairy free (my thighs are thankful). I love the play of purple here. I don’t always love purple, but I think this palette comes together nicely, not just for eating. The richness in the purple meshes well with the softness in the pink and peaches. I’m ready for another scoop!

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