GDPR Don’t Panic, Just Prepare

On Monday I shall be at the GDPR Summit in London, helping DBR Data to support SMBs and SMEs to get GDPR compliant with the help of GDPR Mentor software. They have until May 25th and whilst there is no reason to be scared, there is every reason to make sure you are compliant. Thankfully, the days of data mis-using or abusing data should disappear, but it won’t happen overnight.

GDPR Compliance Sign May 25th 2018 Small Business Support My Words Work For You

Ready?

GDPR in a Nutshell

As I have said in a previous post, it is all about transparency but that starts with awareness. Companies have got to know, and be able to account for, every movement of data that occurs, with both electronic and physical data. If there is a data breach, they have just 72 hours to provide a report about what has happened and how. If your company had a breach of data on a Friday, would you be able to report on it by the following Monday?

1st Step: Awareness

The first step to compliance is awareness. Are you aware of:

  • What information you store
  • If any of the data is ‘sensitive’
  • Why you are storing it
  • Where and how you are storing it
  • How you use it
  • How long it is stored for
  • Who has access to it
  • How it is being transferred, when, and why

Why Are You Holding The Data?

Ask yourself:

  • Is there a legitimate interest? I.e. In order to perform a service e.g. ‘It is time for your dog’s booster’
  • Do you intend to use the data for marketing? E.g. To send out emails telling them about other products/services.

If your intention is to use it for marketing purposes you must be compliant with ePrivacy Regulation (currently known as PECR).

GDPR – a Chance to Tidy Up

This sounds like a massive chore but on the plus side, think of it as a chance to streamline your processes, reduce costs, clear out unnecessary/unused data and introduce a more structured, manageable system. Added to that, you are reducing the risk of hefty fines by gaining compliance.

GDPR Next Steps

  1. The first step is to create a privacy notice on your website. This is your chance to be open and transparent, tell people what you are holding and why, how it is held and what you intend to do with it. DBR Data offer a free Privacy Policy generation tool.
  2. The time-consuming part is yet to come, you need to make yourself fully aware of your data systems and of any data transfers that happen within your organisation, you must now be able to account for it. Software is available to make this process comprehensive and straightforward.
  3. Contact every individual making them aware of your Privacy Policy and crucially, giving them the option to withdraw their data.

Your data subjects have rights over their data management including the ‘Right to Erasure’.  For a complete summary, the ICO have produced a ‘12 Steps to Take Now‘ guide.

GDPR Make it Happen

If you have been ignoring GDPR and hoping it won’t affect you, now is the time to look it in the eyes, grab it by the horns and steer it the way it has to go. There are benefits to be had for businesses as well as consumers.

Providing Small Business Support makes me happy, have a look around my Blog.

 

Posted in Small Business Support | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

How to Live Longer

A quick post today and a departure from my usual Top Tips for small business series

What Factors make You Live Longer?

Today I am writing about antibodies. You may not believe this but part of my research took me on to Youtube, where I spotted this. Before you watch it (and it’s only a few minutes long)…

What factors do you think play the biggest part in helping you to live longer?

An Effort To Socialise

Much of my day is spent in front of a PC which in itself could be problematic. I have no wish to be a hermit. If I think back to this morning as a case in point:

  • I chatted with people at the pool and bumped into a friend who has asked me to  help with his business.
  • Out with my dogs and I meet the usual ‘doggy people’ who I know and trust, doggy people are usually ‘good sorts’. Today’s conversation: ‘Stick and flick?
  • Throughout the day I am communicating with various people including clients
  • Tonight is a scheduled Skype call followed by a family dinner.

Without all of this, I would be lonely, frankly. Getting on with people is what makes the world a better place, it is a bit of a bonus then that it also helps us to live longer; worth the effort, isn’t it.

Posted in My Life, My Words | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Small Businesses Unite

Got Space to Spare? Use it!

Many months ago I came home after using the village post office and wrote a post about it. The local postmaster works long hours and has neither the time nor the inclination to stock his shelves. The space is empty apart from a few dusty, unwanted birthday cards lingering in empty racks, yet people are in and out all day long.

Save Our Post Offices

Village post offices are disappearing at an alarming rate, leaving gaps in communities around the UK. Let’s be honest, not many of us write letters anymore, the three thank you cards I wrote this morning made my hand hurt! We do still need the postal service, if nothing else to deliver Amazon parcels. How many other business owners are there who could benefit from valuable space in the centre of a community?

Sustainable Business Solution

I’ve said before, this idea could be rolled out to any vacant business space, I am hearing examples that it is now happening. The post office/landlord could rent out business space by the shelf, the small business owners run it, the community has a thriving shop and gets to keep its post office, the post office benefit from the additional revenue and stand a chance of surviving. Frankly, the four items I have posted today will each land on doormats around the UK tomorrow for the princely sum of  67p, I’m very happy to keep that service. We could proactively support our post offices as well as local businesses, everybody wins.

Post Office Inside Space Support for Small Businesses My Words Work For You Copywriting Service

Contact me if you are looking for support for your small business.

Posted in Small Business Support | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Facebook’s New Algorithm – What it Means To You

The Monster that is Facebook

Many businesses have long regarded Facebook as a ‘necessary evil’. It is, after all, a massive drain on time and energy, detracting us from real life. A tide of ‘Facebook leavers’ see no added value to their busy lives. Facebook had to act, and not before time.

Facebook for Business

In the past, we kept up the momentum of engagement by releasing regular, relevant posts, adding value to the audience. Over time, Facebook showed fewer people, I understand why.  So, clever Facebook promised to show more of your audience, as long as you paid them. Businesses ploughed more and more money into reaching the audience they had worked hard for, with a diminishing return.  At a Facebook bootcamp I attended they explained, there is simply too much information out there.

What Facebook Say

“The research shows that when we use social media to connect with people we care about, it can be good for our well-being. We can feel more connected and less lonely, and that correlates with long term measures of happiness and health. On the other hand, passively reading articles or watching videos — even if they’re entertaining or informative — may not be as good.” ~ Mark Zuckerburg

Frankly, Zuckerburg’s rationale here is hard to argue with.

How Can Businesses Make it Work?

The short answer is, it will never be the same as it was. Facebook is not a great way for businesses to reach an audience anymore. Don’t give up entirely. The rules of engagement haven’t necessarily changed. Your posts should be:

  • Relevant
  • Regular
  • Engaging
  • Purposeful
  • Add value to your audience

 

What’s the Future?

We are all inundated with input from an ever-increasing number of sources. How much time do you waste trying to find ‘that message’ on a variety of threads? Twitter seems to struggle to keep people entertained. As I write, the place to be is Instagram, people of all ages are loving it. Pictures need to be good and content needs to snappy. You need to be worthy of followers. Enjoy yourself, social media can be a fun place to be, just not all the time.

Social Media Logos Future of Facebook Small Business Support My Words Work For You

Place your eggs in more than one basket

Posted in Blog, Small Business Support | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Content Writing for the Science Industry

A long-standing client of mine supplies equipment, tools and solutions to the science community. Scientists around the world trust my client to provide proven, reliable, modern solutions to support their research. My job as content writer is to demonstrate that accurately, and brilliantly, to the right audience.

Know Your Audience

The salient point here is, the scientists looking for these solutions are frequently:

  • Busy
  • Using English as an additional language

When writing content for this company, I keep it simple. The audience is busy, a lot of their time is spent wrestling with high level research papers written in language that would be unintelligible for the lay-person. My aim is to make their life easier, I speak in a clear, direct tone and support the reader with useful information. I want this client’s site to feel like a refuge, a safe place to be that has everything they need, a place they can trust, the ‘go to’ place for all their research needs. It seems to be working.

Customer Acquisition

I liaise with this particular client to plan a content strategy that works. They know their products and their customers and they understand how to support them. While they are busy being good at what they do, they ask me to produce content that reflects that. In terms of customer acquisition, my client tells me that my content writing so far is bringing in more customers and more sales than anything else the company has done. This success is down to understanding the audience and providing the best solutions for them.

Keyboard Hands Typing Content Writing that Works Content Writer for websites My Words Work For You

Content Writing Examples

So, if you find yourself in need of Immunohistochemistry Tips, or at a loss when deciding between polyclonal or monoclonal antibodies, take a look at the links below.

IHC Tips and Monoclonal Vs Polyclonal

 

Posted in Blog, content writing | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Making Mistakes?

We recently lost a family member, bringing sadness, regrets, and a not inconsidearable amount of work. I am an Executor of his estate but the whole process has been reasonably straightforward, with one exception…

Dealing With The Energy Company

In my attempts to support the ‘small guys’, I set up the account with this particular energy provider for him. They seemed OK and their rates were reasonable. The experience has not been a bad one, until I called to tell them about the death. Within a couple of weeks they sent a letter to his house.

‘We are sorry to hear you are leaving us’

I would have chosen slightly different wording, given the circumstances.

I'm sorry for your loss Small business support My Words Work For You

Alternatively, they could have said this

What happened next? They sent a bill, in my name. I called them to settle the account and discovered that the person who took my original call had taken it upon herself to set up a new account in my name, by the end of the call I was assured the situation was resolved. This week another bill arrived, I called them again today. It had not been resolved, but I am assured (again) it is now.

Mistakes Happen

So we none of us are perfect, occasionally mistakes happen, but a mistake is a chance to show how good you are in the way you deal with it. So many businesses are now pitching themselves against the slick, well-oiled machine that is Amazon. If a business is making countless mistakes, then not correcting them super-fast and super-brilliantly, customers will vote with their feet, and we can all see the direction they will head in.

The Giant That is Amazon

I recently conducted a snap-shot poll on my Facebook business page, 53% of respondents had made their most recent purchase from Amazon, the rest of the businesses out there, small, medium and large, shared the remaining 47% between them.  No business can afford to be making mistakes. Train staff constantly, listen to them and your customers, keep ahead of the curve and be constantly looking at ways to improve. This is your chance to shine. 

Posted in Small Business Support | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Start The Day Well

Good Morning! (It is as I write this)

How is your day so far? Monday mornings can be a challenging concept. Our weekend was packed: In London to watch ‘The Last Leg‘, housework and rugby, friends for dinner until late ‘o clock, unusually for me at a weekend, some work to help a client out, followed by a day clearing the house of a relative who has sadly passed away. Monday morning has arrived at break-neck speed.

Get The Day Off To The Best Start

How does this sound for a great start to any day…

  1. Wake early, straight into swimming togs and down to the pool for 80 lengths
  2. Dog walk in the sunshine around the local nature reserve
  3. Cup of tea beside me, dogs at my feet and down to work. Today I am writing about ELISA testing kits used in scientific research, I finished this one last week.
Springer Spaniel Walk Freelance content writer for small business My Words Work For You

Springers in Springtime

The Freelance Content Writer Lifestyle

Civilised huh? I know how lucky I am to be a freelance content writer. And I get to sit here feeling virtuous for the ret of the day. My point really is, life is a balance, if I am in a good place mentally and physically, I am far better placed to produce outstanding work for my clients. Be good to yourself, set yourself up for the day with a great start.

Have a great Monday everyone.

 

Posted in Blog, My Life, My Words | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

That Job You Hate? Delegate!

How’s Your ‘To-Do’ List?

We all have jobs that we don’t like doing. That task that keeps getting filed under ‘later’. The one that just doesn’t go away. The job that is so huge you have no idea where to begin… Sound familiar?

To-Do List Content Writer for small business My Words Work For You

Are you performing any task except ‘that one’?

There will be reasons aplenty to explain why you are not doing it:

  • It’s difficult
  • It’s time consuming
  • It’s boring
  • I am a first class procrastinator
  • I don’t know how
  • I don’t know where to start

The list is by no means exhaustive.

How To Do Your To-Do List

Here is my very helpful little list to help you face your demons and get that task completed.

  1. Familiarise yourself with exactly what is required, it may not be as daunting as you fear
  2. Ask for help
  3. Break down the task into manageable chunks
  4. Brainstorm to get your thoughts onto paper
  5. Delegate to somebody with the right skill set
  6. Allot specific time for that task each day/week/month, and STICK TO IT
  7. Turn off distractions
  8. Set yourself a task/goal reward system (cup of tea and a biscuit after ‘X’ is complete)

Think of the smug satisfaction you can enjoy once you have finished. Go on, you’ll smash it.

Posted in Top Tips | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Content Writing – A Worthwhile Investment

I need to be quick, today I am writing about a lab technique used for quantifying protein sequences within a sample, it’s going to take time.

Content Writer Available

Within the last few weeks I have been asked to do several things involving words. Here are a few, from memory:

  • ‘Reply to the Laddies on behalf of the Lassies’ at a Burns Night supper
  • Write a eulogy and order of service for a funeral
  • Carefully word some wedding invitations to navigate through a potentially awkward situation
  • Listen to children read at a local primary school, each week
  • Produce scientific content writing extolling the virtues of various lab techniques and help the researchers who struggle daily with these complicated procedures

I am happy to do all of these things to support various people and events, it brings variety and new dimensions to my world.

The Effects of Weak Literacy

I recognise that being literate has made my life easier. I am giving time to support the children at school who are not necessarily reading much at home to make their adult lives easier. Having worked in education, and in industry, I have seen first-hand how challenging life is for those who struggle with literacy. Misunderstandings, mistakes, miscommunications will unfairly or inaccurately represent the writer / business. Crucially, fair or not, mistakes give people that all important first impression. I see examples of it every day, copy with mistakes that frankly, look unprofessional and lost the trust of the audience.

Copywriting mistakes Content Writer My Words Work For You Content Writer Cambridge

Your Chance to Give a Great First Impression, Use it Well

 

Play to Your Strengths

The take-home message is this, variation of the species at its finest, we are all good at different things. If words are ‘just not your bag’ but you need words to perform for you, find someone who will bring them to life and open doors.  In the world of content writing, well-written words will:

  • Attract a wider audience
  • Increase conversions, sales and revenue
  • Make you memorable
  • Create loyalty and trust in you and your brand

It is worth the investment. Contact me if you need my words to work for you.

Right, back to ELISA tips and tricks!

Posted in Blog, content writing, Small Business Support | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Mothers Day Marketing – to Everyone

Mothers Day Marketing

It always makes me chuckle to see it, and this year has been no exception. Why do marketing departments publish Mothers Day marketing that’s aimed at either men  or women? Surely we all had/have mothers? I know it might appear that men and women are from different species but honestly, for Mothers Day, marketing needs to include males and females.

Marketing to a Specific Audience

The message to marketers is, when marketing to a specific audience, think carefully about who is in that audience. Speak to them, all of them.

How Is Your Day?

My Mothers Day has been amazing so far. An Alpaca experience gift from both by son and daughter followed by a long cross-country dog walk with the family to test out my walking boots for an upcoming walking weekend. A stop off at the pub for a pint of pork scratchings (no really, a great idea) and an afternoon in front of the rugby, as I write, it’s not looking too good for Italy. I hope yours has been a good day too and that your glass is full.

Pork Scratchings Pint Content Marketing My Words Work For You

Be different. N.B. Some pigs were harmed in the making of this product 😦

Posted in marketing | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment