Too busy to blog? We can write them for you!

Blogging is a fantastic marketing and business development tool.

But blogs take time to write; time you probably don’t have.

Why not let us write your blogs for you?

The process is quick and easy:

  • A brief chat to share your ideas and expertise.
  • We research and write your draft blog.
  • You feedback your comments.
  • We finalise your blog and it’s ready to go live.

Surrey-based Claire Dee Communications is run by Claire Dee, a trained journalist and communications professional. Claire ghostwrites blogs for businesses large and small on everything from accountancy and engineering to learning and development and the law.

Please contact us to learn more – we’re happy to help!

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Brexit: Keep calm and carry on

So, here we are, the frenzy after the storm.

Following months of mixed messages and Westminster wrangling, we have more of the same albeit on a global scale now.

Yes, it was a shock. Yes, it will have significant ramifications. And yes, 48% of British voters went with ‘Remain’. But 52% voted ‘Leave’ and as a democratic society we must respect the outcome and move on: without panicking.

As an entrepreneur running a small business, while I have some concerns about the immediate future, we survived the 2008 recession and everything it brought in between, so the same will apply now.

Yesterday (28 June), I attended the Hart Brown Economic Forum at the University of Surrey in Guildford. A staple in the local business calendar, it was well attended with interesting speakers.

Economist Vicky Pryce kicked off proceedings with a top line analysis of European GDP figures (no surprise there), supported by insightful comment albeit rather negative: “Europe has been weak for some time and is only just recovering. We’re now in for a long period of weak growth. Europe is a continent with serious problems. We will have to learn to live with it.”

On the flip side, however, Jonathan Lucas, business owner and managing director of Elstead Lighting (which he revolutionised from a £3 million flagging company to a £10 million export success), was more upbeat. Commenting that while Brexit would have some impact on how they trade, the European business relationships he has built up were solid and would survive.

Hear, hear.

Businesses – large and small – are built on relationships. They also have longevity (unlike political leaders who come and go). This makes them extremely resilient.

At Claire Dee Communications, it’s very much business as usual. We are where we are, and we will flex accordingly and continue to serve our clients.

Women on boards: should it matter?

There seems to have been a surge of information about women in leadership just lately.  Either moving into – Lloyd’s new chief executive Inga Beale – or moving out of – Angela Ahrendt leaving Burberry for the top job at Apple.

But should this really still be such an issue in this day and age?

Yes.

The most notable figures came earlier this year in the form of an update from Lord Davies, whose ground-breaking Women on Boards Report published in 2011 called for a target of 25% female representation on FTSE 100 boards by 2015.  Back in 2011 this stood at 12.5%, and is now 20.7%.

Progress has been made, but in Lord Davies’ own words: “This clearly isn’t gender parity but it is a strong foundation and major milestone in a longer journey.”

However, some argue that quotas are not the answer.

EEF, the manufacturing organisation, suggests instead that we nurture young talent and rid the industry of its “dirty and unglamorous” image.

Whatever your viewpoint, boardroom diversity is on the increase, positive discrimination has played a leading role, helped in part by producing reports which feed the much-debated topic of women in leadership, which can only be a good thing.

After all, as Oscar Wilde so famously noted: “…there is only one thing in the world worse than being talked about, and that is not being talked about.”

Skills = success

Every business – large or small, local or global – needs skilled people to drive its success: more so now, than ever before.

And while each employee brings their own core skills to a role, as they progress so too does their need to learn more and broaden that skill set.

The answer?  Training.

As the Department for Work and Pensions notes: An effective workforce is fundamental to a successful organisation.  Good practice includes ensuring that some form of ongoing external training or online training package is provided. 

I run bespoke workshops for organisations keen to teach their people the art of good business communication.  Anything from advanced writing and editing for marketing and business development purposes – e.g. external articles and client bulletins – to effective business writing for everyday use – e.g. email correspondence and proposals.

In today’s e-enabled world, communication via the written word is at an all-time high and growing.  For those who are less adept at conveying their message, this can prove challenging and career limiting.  I find a simple half-day workshop, with top tips and interactive exercises, really can enhance ability, build confidence, and mean the difference between adequate and exceptional.

The power of effective writing should never be underestimated: “Regardless of the changes in technology, the market for well-crafted messages will always have an audience.”  Steve Burnett, The Burnett Group.

The whole is greater than the sum

Just a quick blog this month as I’m up to my eyes in work and loving it!

In my capacity as Surrey Chambers of Commerce council member and co-chair of their Business Women in Surrey (BWIS) group, I recently wrote a column for the Surrey Advertiser business page.

Here’s the abridged version…

Earlier this month BWIS held its latest event – Ask the Marketing Panel – organised on the basis of feedback requesting marketing and communications (marcomms) help and advice.

Our impressive panel was made up of marcomms professionals from all walks of the business world, including charity (Rainbow Trust), corporate (Sony) and public sector (Surrey Police).

Interestingly, while the experiences of each where quite different, the overall issues remained much the same: tight budgets; overstretched resources; new versus traditional media.

As a communications professional of 20 years standing, I remember the pre-online world.  Including the days when photos were collected in their hardcopy form from the photographer’s studio and biked to the printers/press room to meet urgent deadlines.  Thank goodness we now have email and JPEG!

However, as wonderful as modern day technology is in all its various guises, it’s important to ensure it adds to and complements other more traditional tools rather than replacing them entirely.  From the traditional (newspaper) to the new-born (Twitter), each plays its own role in the communication chain and each complements rather than replaces the other.

Just as they should in the marcomms world.

By all means embrace Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn with gusto, but don’t underestimate the power and effectiveness of magazine and newspaper advertising and editorial or organising face to face meetings and events.

I regularly email, text, tweet and call my clients.  But nothing works better than simply getting together in a room from time to time for a catch up meeting.

Modern day technology provides several slices of the marcomms pie but is not the pie itself. Remember, the whole is always greater than the sum of its parts.

What a year!

This month Claire Dee Communications is celebrating its first birthday.  And what a year it’s been.

Having stepped off the corporate ladder after 11 years working in the City, realising my dream of running my own business was the natural next step to take.

 So I drafted my business plan, calculated my figures and took everything along to an independent business adviser for a sanity check.  Will this work and can I do it I asked?  Absolutely, she replied.

And she was right.

A year on Claire Dee Communications is a successful and profitable business with a broad mix of local and international clients and an established presence in the Surrey business community.

How did we do it?  There’s no secret formula or magic bag of tricks just common sense, hard graft and self belief.

Here are my top three tips: 

  1. Plan – it may sound boring but it is essential.  Know your business inside out on paper before you kick-start anything for real.  If there are flaws or weaknesses it’s best to discover them at the planning stage than further down the line.
  2. Seek advice – and make sure it is independent professional advice.  My husband, mum and circle of friends were hugely supportive but not impartial.  The business adviser was; as was her constructive criticism.
  3. Believe – belief in yourself and your business is the fuel that feeds the fire in your belly.  If you don’t believe why should anyone else?  I love what I do and am passionate about my subject and my clients recognise this and buy into it.