You Deserve an Expert

Where do you go when you need something?

Berks County, like many other areas, is one where you need a car. It’s mostly rural with no public transportation outside of the greater Reading area. I’ve had my present car for four years. I drive to Philadelphia twice a week for classes, and I live on an unpaved, private road in a rural area where it takes the road crews awhile to plow snow.

So last fall it was time to get new tires. I chose to go to a local business: Kanter’s Tire Service in Shoemakersville. There are two reasons for this. One is because I always try to support independent businesses whenever possible. The other reason is because Kantner’s does tires. That’s all they do. They’ve been doing tires for 40 years, which basically makes them an expert on the subject. I’ve gotten tires there before and they’ve always been helpful and knowledgeable. It’s a family-owned business so they are invested in providing great products and services to their customers.

car-repair-362150_1280 Pixabay

Why choose an expert over an amateur or DIY?

Could I have gotten the same or similar tires installed for less money at a chain store? Probably. Would the level of service have been the same? Maybe, but probably not. Price is not the only thing that’s lower when your choice is based on “cheaper.” Customer service, quality, and caring are also lacking.

The same goes for the communication your business puts out to the world — on the web and in print. On the signs hanging in your office and the one outside on the building. Do you really want a college intern or your kid to manage your social media account or write the landing page for your website or the brochure that you want customers to take and share with their friends and family? Or do you think that your livelihood deserves an expert, experienced eye for grammar, punctuation, SEO, and marketing techniques?

Free Evaluation

Call today for a free evaluation of your website or print materials.

  • Two pages of your website. This can include a blog post.
  • Two pieces of your printed material, such as a brochure, white paper, poster, or news release (word limit: 1,000 each)
  • Copy and line editing
  • A brief in-person meeting to deliver and discuss my recommendations or, if you prefer, recommendations will be emailed


Branding, Schmanding — Who Needs It?

Lucky Brand emblem on jeans

What is branding?

You’ve heard the word, and you think you know what it means. If you’re a small business owner, you might think that it doesn’t even apply to you — but it does. Oh, it most certainly does.

One of the simplest concepts of branding is that your company represents a specific idea or emotion to customers. Here’s a quick exercise. Take a minute to view each logo below. What do you think of when you see them?


Lesux Name Emblem-J.Les Galnous Flickr



McDonalds Logo neeky_b Flickr



G4 Powerbook Apple Logo-KevinT.Houle Flickr




Walmart Logo

(All images from Flickr Creative Commons.)

Your Own Brand

Now, think about your own company’s logo or name. What do you want your business name to represent to your customers or clients? Do you think it does?

Branding is a combination of colors, logo and content that projects your brand identity over social channels, in print, and everywhere your business appears. However, building an authentic identity is more than how you appear on the printed or digital page. It goes much deeper and includes how you respond to customer complaints, your processes, company culture, and even your employees. Without a clear identity, your content, social media posts, and your employees could be delivering the wrong message — and that can easily result in loss of current customers as well as loss of potential business.

Get a Free Evaluation

Want to know if your current content is representing your company identity the way you want, at the most basic level? To help you hit 2018 running, for a limited time I am offering a FREE evaluation of your website content OR print content. This includes:

  • Two pages of your website. This can include a blog post.
  • Two pieces of your printed material, such as a brochure, white paper, poster, or news release (word limit: 1,000 each)
  • Copy and line editing
  • A brief in-person meeting to deliver and discuss my recommendations or, if you prefer, recommendations will be emailed

Contact me by phone or email to request your free evaluation.


Pro Writing Tools — On Your Phone?

Did you know you can make an em dash and en dash on your phone’s keyboard? As a professional writer, I was really excited about this feature when I discovered it. But anyone can — and should — use this feature when posting to professional social media or your business blog from your phone.

  • Go to your phone’s keyboard and choose the numbers display.
  • Find the hyphen. Now, press and hold the button.
  • A menu pops up that shows the em (long) dash on the left, underscore in the middle, and en (medium) dash on the right. (There’s also a tiny bullet dot on the far right.)
  • Just slide your finger to the one you want to insert, and let go.



I know, right? How cool is that?

Why should you use an em or en dash rather than just a regular old hyphen? There are several important reasons, which I’ll discuss in my next post!

Workshops Offer Instruction on Using Social Media for Business

twitter-117595_1280On Saturday, I attended “Get Social,” a social media workshop presented by fleur de lisa solutions. The topic for this particular workshop was Twitter. Now, I have three Twitter accounts for different purposes, so I am familiar with the platform — but 95 percent of what I learned was information I hadn’t known before. I was amazed by all the components of Twitter, most of which remain unknown by general users.

Twitter is a social media platform, but it is quite different from Facebook in many ways. Did you know that there are apps designed specifically to improve your Twitter capabilities? Did you know that Twitter’s analytics — its demographic information about your followers — is more in-depth than Facebook’s? Well, neither did I. This information alone was worth the cost of attendance.

I know that small business owners often struggle with finding the time and maybe even the funds to attend workshops like those offered by fleur de lisa solutions, but believe me when I say that it is worth every effort to learn about social media marketing for your business. Digital marketing has specific advantages that print advertising does not: it’s cheaper (and even free!) and it has a much greater reach — if you are utilizing social media to its fullest capabilities.

Owners of larger businesses should consider sending an employee in their Communications or Public Relations department to attend these workshops. The knowledge they bring back to your company can be incorporated into your current marketing and customer relations strategies, and will benefit your business a thousand times over.

These workshops are currently held on the third Saturday of every month at Cloud 9 Cafe, Wyomissing, from 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. Contact Lisa Balthaser at fleur de lisa solutions for more info.

The next workshop is June 18th, and I sincerely hope to see you there.

Ten Reasons to Shop at Independent Businesses

1. It supports your own community’s economy.

2. It supports the business owners and their families, who may live in your town or in neighboring towns.

3. Many small businesses purchase their products locally. Franchises and chains must buy their product as dictated by their corporate rules.

4. Large corporations can generate a lot of waste. A small business usually doesn’t. Most recycle, reuse, help the environment and prevent waste.

5. By keeping businesses in your town, you are helping to provide jobs for those they employ.

6. You will often get better service at a local business, because the owner has a sincere interest in your satisfaction. He is not just there for the pay check.

7. Dealing directly with the owner of a small business gives you, the customer, a more personal connection.

8. The owner will be knowledgeable about the product he is selling to you.

9. Business owners are constantly asked to donate to local events, churches, sports and school organizations. You can show your appreciation of their support by shopping there.

10. Because without you, they will not survive.

Five Ways a Communications Professional Can Help Your Business

We all know the feeling. You need to create a blog post, update your website, send a weekly email to your followers, and post on your social media sites. Who has time for all that? Because you are busy with your main job — managing your business — these “extra” tasks are often moved to the back burner. When you do finally get a chance to do them, they are done hurriedly with no plan or structure because, after all, you ARE a busy business owner with one hundred other things that need your attention every day.

 A Communications Professional / Editor can help you with these tasks in the following ways.

 1. Proofread and edit your blog posts for punctuation, grammar, usage, and sentence structure.

 Don’t be fooled by people who claim to be versed in writing blog posts. Your friend who offers to proofread your stuff may mean well, but unless she’s highly experienced and/or credentialed in writing and editing and familiar with a specific style (AP, Chicago, etc.), chances are that her efforts will fall short of what you need professionally.  An editor’s job is not to make your posts sound “snobby;” they will adapt to your voice while making sure that your posts don’t look as though a third grader wrote them. This means your point will be clear and easy to read.

 2. Proofread your website.

 A trained eye looking over your website content is both smart and necessary. Your website is the world’s view of your business – so you want your brand to be strongly evident. Any errors or words that can be misread here will be magnified 1000 times. An editor can tweak the content to represent you in the best way possible.


3. Create content for media kits and flyers.

All printed material you release to the public should represent you well. An editor will make sure that it does.

 4. Advise you on social media posts

 Because of the informal nature of social media, many business owners make the mistake of assuming that posts on Facebook or other social media sites are not as important as other aspects of their business. This could not be further from the truth. In fact, it’s even more important on social media, because what you put out there is exposed to the entire world — and it’s there forever. Your business presence on social media should be approached in the same manner as your print information – with professionalism. Posts should contain correct spelling and grammar with no typos and represent your brand accordingly.

 Additionally, your business posts should be less informal than what you would post on your personal social media account. Posting insensitive or rude comments could actually lose customers. A Communications Professional can advise you on what is appropriate content for business posts.

 5. Ad content

 Don’t rely on the organization publishing your print ad to proofread it. I once saw a print ad for a coffee house with the misspelling “expresso” for “espresso.” Online ads are no different. Just because an ad appears online does not make the content less important. Don’t make a mistake with advertising — have a skilled editor look it over first.