Entries by kmlashley

Is Your Business Showing Up to the Wrong Party on Social Media?

"I've just started a new business and I need to be on Facebook."

"My competitors are on Twitter--so I need to be on Twitter, too."

"I just heard about Snapchat. How do I get started on it?"

These are the things I hear from my coaching clients and others when it comes to how their businesses should show up on social media. They feel a crushing sense of overwhelm when it comes to figuring out how to fit social media into their already crazy schedules. They struggle with how they're going to find time to tweet, post and pin things their audiences will like every single day.

Believe me, I get it. The pressure is on to make sure your business is getting likes, shares, pins, retweets, comments, views, and all other kinds of recognition. One--it makes us feel good to get noticed. And, two, there's hope that this recognition will lead to increased brand awareness among those in our target audience and that this awareness will eventually generate sales.

Here's the thing: You don't need to be on EVERY social media platform-or even more than ONE-in order to succeed.

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When it comes to choosing which social media party you're going to attend--go where your audience already is. And don't assume you already know. Just because you use Instagram doesn't mean your customers or clients do. Here are a few quick tips to help you figure out where you need to be:

  • Know who your target audience is.
  • Ask your current clients or customers which social media platforms they use the most.
  • Do some research to see how active your audience is on social media platforms. (If they don't actually engage with the platforms they're on, then you might want to consider if you want to spend time posting content to those platforms. Again, this is something you can ask them about.)
  • Understand the demographics of each of the most popular social medial platforms. Here's a great post from Sprout Social to help with that.

Once you decide which platform(s) you're going to focus on--and I advise my coaching clients to pick no more than two--learn everything about how they work and the best type of content to post on them. Also, remember that if you're not posting content and engaging with your followers on a regular basis on social media, you quickly become irrelevant. Harsh--yet true.

If you're going to pursue social media as part of your content marketing efforts, COMMIT!

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No doubt, social media can be a mind-boggler for entrepreneurs--especially if it's just YOU who's having to run everything with your business. But keep it simple. Go to the social media party where your audience has already arrived. And forget the rest.

If you're just starting a business or in the process of thinking about starting one, you probably have a TON of questions and not nearly enough time to find the answers. That's what The Page-Turner Mission Coaching Program is here for! I'd love to chat with you about how I can help you on this new venture. So, shoot me an email at michele@smarterwritinglab.com to schedule a time to connect!

“I’ve just started a new business and I need to be on Facebook.””My competitors are on Twitter–so I need to be on Twitter, too.””I just heard about Snapchat. How do I get started on it?”These are the things I hear from my coaching clients and others when it comes to how their businesses should show […]

10 Novels that Rocked My World

I really LOVE getting book suggestions from people who've read something that moved them in some way. It always feels like such a gift when I receive that kind of recommendation. It's like they've given me a small part of themselves in some way. So, in this post, I'd like to give you a gift of 10 book recommendations of my own. Some of them you might recognize. (Frankly, some of the books have been around FOREVER.) But there might be at least a few that are new to you and that you'll enjoy as much as I did. The links are affiliate links--which means I'll get a small commission if you use them, but it won't cost you anything extra. If you don't want to use them, that's cool. You can always go directly to Amazon or any other bookseller--including your local bookstore! Enjoy!

The Paris Wife by Paula McLain  

Ever heard of Hemingway--as in Ernest? Yep. Thought so. Well, this book is a fictional account of his first wife--​Hadley Richardson--and their passionate and heartbreaking romance. The setting is 1920s Paris and the cast of characters includes many you'll recognize, including F. Scott Fitzgerald, Gertrude Stein and James Joyce. As a writer, I ate all of this up! It was so much fun to be transported back to a time that was as creative and transformative as it was wild and heady.

Bury Your Dead: A Chief Inspector Gamache Novel by Louise Penny

My soul sister introduced me ​to the Chief Inspector Gamache books several years ago and I fell in love with them from the very start. Although the books are typically murder mysteries, the focus is on the characters who live in a small, out-of-the-way town near Montreal, Canada called Three Pines. I love them all--from the profanity-spewing elderly poet to the gay innkeepers to the intelligent and kind chief inspector. And I miss them while I'm waiting for Louise Penny to publish the next book in the series.  The book I've mentioned here isn't the first book in the series--that would be Still Life--but it's my fave.

​The Art of Racing in the Rain--A Novel by Garth Stein

If you love dogs, this is a must read. Seriously. ​Get it now--and bring tissues. I read this book right after I had to put my beloved 15-year-old Labrador to sleep several years ago and SOBBED when I got to the end. (And I'm not a crier.) But it brought me an overwhelming sense of peace that I hadn't been able to find until this book. It's that good.

The Prince of Tides--A Novel by Pat Conroy

When Pat Conroy passed away, it felt like such a huge loss to me. I had never met the man--but I was so sad that I'd never read a new work by him. I'm a southerner by birth and loved how he wrote about the South--fearlessly and beautifully exposing its downfalls and celebrating its wonder. The Prince of Tides was the first book I read by Mr. Conroy. I was in my early 20s and I clearly remember sitting on the floor of my two-room apartment reading the final pages of this magnificent novel--realizing that this would be the book against which I'd forever measure all others.

Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood--A Novel by Rebecca Wells

Maybe you've seen the movie Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood. I did. And I loved it! But, even if you saw it, you still need to read the book it was based on. It's such a wonderful tale of strong--and sometimes broken--female characters. I was mesmerized by the way it explored the relationship between mother and daughter and the strength and resilience of the tie that binds a group of such uniquely different friends through the decades.

A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini

I loved The Kite Runner. Amazing story. But I ADORED A Thousand Splendid Suns. From beginning to end, I was absolutely spellbound by this story of two women. It seemed to constantly move back and forth between heartwarming and horrifying. ​And I was also awestruck by the way Khaled Hosseini brings Afghanistan to life in such a vivid and beautiful way.

American Assassin: A Mitch Rapp Novel by Vince Flynn

Okay. I must confess. I'm a political junkie. And the Mitch Rapp series by Vince Flynn feeds my habit. The main character--Mitch Rapp (obviously)--is a CIA secret operative whose focus is counterterrorism. I've read the entire series to date and most of the reading I did was when I was on the treadmill. The action in the books is too intense for me to read sitting down. Let me just say, it made my workouts go by faster than EVER.

The Winds of War by Herman Wouk

I've always been a history buff and this book set during WWII is the REAL DEAL when it comes to sweeping historical fiction. I read it years ago when I was a college student--and it wasn't a class assignment. I read it because it's a story that absolutely consumed me. I lived with the characters day after day, night after night as I made my way through this epic. And the best part? It didn't end at "The End." There's a sequel called War & Remembrance!

Pompeii by Robert Harris

I've always been fascinated by the story ​of Pompeii and the eruption of Mount Vesuvius. We've all seen the ghostly images of those who were frozen in time by the ash and debris that rained down on the city. But that doesn't even begin to tell the story of the vibrant seaside community that existed before that terrifying day. This book by Robert Harris brings it all back to life in a way that gave me a whole new perspective--not just about the disaster, but about the people who lived through it and died because of it.

The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd

I've been a fan of Sue Monk Kidd for years. And The Invention of Wings just solidified that fandom. Set in 19th century Charleston, it's a tale of an unexpected and complex relationship between a female slave and the plantation owner's daughter. Their age is about the only thing these two have in common--but their life stories are intertwined in ways that held my attention from beginning to end.

So--there you have it! Ten books that I've loved and that touched me in so many ways. Now, how about sharing YOUR favorite books with me and others in the comments below? I'd love to hear your recommendations. Summer's coming up and I need to get my reading list together!

http://smarterwritinglab.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/10FaveNovels-1.mp4 I really LOVE getting book suggestions from people who’ve read something that moved them in some way. It always feels like such a gift when I receive that kind of recommendation. It’s like they’ve given me a small part of themselves in some way. So, in this post, I’d like to give you a […]

How Much Copy Should Go on Your Home Page?

It can be hard determining how much copy to put on your business website’s home page. Should you put a lot? Or will that turn people off? Should you just put a little bit? Or will that not give site visitors enough info to make a decision? This fantastic (and well-researched) infographic by Neil Patel […]

What Can a PB&J Sandwich Teach You about Marketing?

The PB&J. It's a classic. And, with very few exceptions, one PB&J is pretty much like the other. So, with that said, let's do a little experiment.

I'm going to give you two descriptions of a PB&J as they might appear on a menu. Read both, and then choose the one that convinces you that you just HAVE to have that sandwich. (Share your answer in the comments!)

Option 1

PB & J Sandwich: Smooth or crunchy peanut butter and grape jelly on two slices of white or whole wheat bread. Served with chips. 

Option 2

The OMG!!! PB&J: Forget the traditional PB&J on white bread. BORING! We put the creamiest (or crunchiest--your decision) peanut butter and the most delectable Concord grape jelly between two light and fluffy buttermilk pancakes in just the right amounts. And THEN we sprinkle the top with a fine dusting of powdered sugar. From the very first bite you take, you'll experience layer after layer of pure deliciousness. And you'll notice how the flavors come together in a way that can only be described as "OMG!!!" (Seriously. We hear our customers saying this ALL. THE. TIME.) We'll give you extra napkins to wipe the jelly off as it runs down your chin and to dab the powdered sugar off your nose.

Okay. Which one would you order? For me--it's Option 2. Hands down. (If you want the recipe, here's where I found it. And thanks to The Huffington Post for turning me on to it!)

What Can This Teach Us About Marketing Our Products and Services?

If you have a product or a service that a lot of other people offer too, the classic PB&J is a great metaphor for you. So many businesses focus on the features of what they sell rather than how it will benefit the consumers or clients they serve. (See Option 1 above. Just the features, ma'am.) They also get a bit lazy when it comes to looking for ways to differentiate their service from competitors and how to communicate about it in a way that potential customers or clients will actually pay attention to.

What Option 2 represents is taking something that EVERYONE else offers and putting a spin on it that's uniquely your own. What something you can do--even it's a small thing--to differentiate the way you offer therapy services? Writing services? Legal services? Consulting services? SOMETHING so that you don't sound and look like everyone else in your field. 

Option 2 is also an example of how to communicate in a way that allows others to "see" how their lives can be improved by purchasing your product or service. It doesn't have to be a HUGE improvement. It can be as simple as giving them an unexpected twist on a PB&J. When you talk about your offering in the same way your competitors do, then you'll remain invisible. And that's no fun for anyone.

In a marketplace that's becoming noisier and noisier, you have to find a way to stand out. But you don't have to be a marketing expert to do that. You just have to understand what your potential customers are looking for and how you can connect with them in a way that gets you noticed. I'll be teaching students how to do that in my new course Connection Communication. And I'd LOVE to have you join us! Be sure to check out the details here.


The PB&J. It’s a classic. And, with very few exceptions, one PB&J is pretty much like the other. So, with that said, let’s do a little experiment.I’m going to give you two descriptions of a PB&J as they might appear on a menu. Read both, and then choose the one that convinces you that you […]

Every Day is New Year’s Day

Not to be a party pooper, but I’m SO not a fan of New Year’s Eve. There. I said it. And, here’s a little secret: There are a LOT of people who don’t like New Year’s Eve. But, they live in the shadows because they’re afraid to admit their dislike of the holiday out of […]