Irish butchers are blogging brilliantly!

25 January

BE. EXQUISITELY. DIFFERENT.

Alex Franzen dropped that perfect idea into a blog post about how to get noticed in the noisy, super-saturated world that we live in.

I never imagined I would be featuring butchers’ blogs on my site! And yet, I discovered two Irish butchers who have have found a way to chat and help their customers online. My message in this post is simple; you can write a blog about any business once you learn how to excite your audience.

It all goes back to what Alex says in her post

If everyone else is emailing … don’t email.
If everyone else is cold-calling … don’t call.
If everyone else is doing purple this season … bring back neon green.

Be strategically contrarian.

To this I could add, if most butchers only exist in the 3D world, you have an eager online audience all to yourself!

First up are McLoughlin butchers, based in Dublin.

mcloughlins craft butchers2 1
McLoughlins butchers

McLoughlin Butchers have been trading since 1965.  Their website proudly describes how their high standards and the traditional butchering methods are still in use today. They talk about the strong links between themselves, the farmers and their customers.

To encourage interaction, they even have this great resource to allow customers to “Ask your butcher a question”. Anything you ever wanted to know about meat…

The rest of the site is set up to answer questions their customers might have; “Get the best cuts” and “Tasty recipes” as well as information on all of their meats.

mcloughlins craft butchers
 

Next I discovered James Whelan butchers, with shops in Dublin and Tipperary.

James Whelan butchers are based in Tipperary and also promote high standards and traditional techniques. They are passionate about sourcing quality meats in Tipperary and offer a home delivery service. Pat Whelan tells us how each product is “hand selected, tasted and tested by me”.

Customer service is also key to this business. How about this for a promise of quality;  If you are not completely happy with your order, simply contact us and we will go to extraordinary measures to make things right…

The site and blog are packed with an encyclopedia of helpful content and resources. Dip into recipes, video guides or a day in the life of a butcher.

Something that caught my attention was a butchery demonstration – This is a live event where master butchers talk you through some knife skills and meat butchery. The line-up includes ‘Knife play‘,  ‘A celebration of pork‘, ‘The sweet secrets of beef‘, followed by ‘Nibbles and natter‘. Sounds fascinating, even if I’m not a huge carnivore! These evening classes take place in Avoca Food Hall, Monkstown as well as the Avoca food market in Rathcoole.

pat whelan butchers collage
James Whelan butchers

These two butchers understand that their customers don’t just want to buy meat from them. They are looking for information and inspiration. The aim of both sites is to develop a strong ongoing relationship with their customer.

So what can the blogging butchers teach any business that is considering writing a blog?

  • Focus less on your products or services and zone in on what your customers need help with. For example; show a busy parent how to create quick, mid-week meals. Or educate them about the different cuts of meat, so they can experiment more when cooking.
     
  • Replace the concept of a ‘blog’ with an ‘interactive website’. Give meaningful words to blog-style sections that will appeal to your audience. Be playful with your words.
     
  • Use language that talks directly to your audience. Show that you understand their needs.

Are you thinking about writing a blog but are unsure about what to write about? I can help you do that! I give small workshops and one-to-one introduction to blogging classes. Read my post on the 5 common fears about business blogging and how to tackle them. I’ll give you the confidence you need to launch.

What do you think of these charming and helpful butchers? Can you see how friendly and interactive an online site can be? I’d love to hear your thoughts below!

Connect with these butchers online:
McLoughlins butchers
James Whelan butchers
 

I agree; we should all be an ‘and’.

17 September

I read a post by Jeff Haden recently, that had a big impact on me. It summed up what I believe and teach others; that it’s OK [and great] to be good at a variety of things. Jeff wrote a article called Why we should all be an ‘and’. He earns a living from several different occupations. But he finds that people react strangely when they hear that he is not just a specialist in one area. There’s an assumption that he can’t be good enough at any skill to specialise in it.

what diverse business skills do you have
 

I’m going to look at this idea from a different angle. When someone asks us what we do, we usually simplify it down to our specific skill. You might say ‘I’m a photographer’ or ‘I run a B+B’. Most of us don’t talk about our other areas of expertise; the things that make our product or service different from our competitors. When I talk about what I do now, I explain that I ran my jewellery business for fifteen years, learned how to successfully blog for it and now want to share the skill with others. I’m bringing other areas of skill to what I do now and I’m sure you do too.

It’s time for us to stop thinking that we ‘do’ one thing. Forget about paper qualifications and write down some of the additional skills you have, that help your customers. This isn’t marketing blurb; when you see these things from your customer’s view, you can understand why they would choose you over someone else.

I’m even taking this one step further; I’m actively connecting and collaborating with people who have different skills and interests to me. I guess that’s what the internet has allowed us to do. Find and introduce yourself to interesting folk online and then arrange to meet them for a chat.  It’s a major relief to realise that we don’t need to ‘know it all!’

Personal Kanban – What will you do today?

5 August

Be honest! Is procrastination preventing you from starting a great business blog?

Do you ever feel overwhelmed and wish you could get advice on how to manage your time better? I’ve been feeling like that myself recently but I’ve had a light-bulb moment in the last week. I want to tell you about it because it has to do with overcoming procrastination…

My husband Ben is always recommending ideas or books on stuff that intersects our worlds; [his] computer geekery and science + [mine] creativity and business. His latest suggestion was a book called Personal Kanban. Apparently, his IT team use a version of the technique to manage ongoing agile projects.

I seem to have huge ‘to do’ lists. I’m great at writing them. I have lots of fun with highlighter markers! But the hardest bit is putting it all into action. Where do I start?

Are you like this too? Maybe it’s because we now spend so much time online. There are so many distractions. We just need to decide how we can best spend our time doing ‘actual stuff’!

The best light-bulb moments can be summed up in a couple of sentences. Apparently there are only two rules to Personal Kanban: Visualise your work and  limit your work in progress.

The rules of Personal Kanban by Jim Benson and Tonianne DeMaria Barry
The rules of Personal Kanban; a book by Jim Benson and Tonianne DeMaria Barry

The ideas in this book were a revelation to me. Once you have a clear visual view of what you need to do, it’s much easier to see the steps. The key thing though, is to outline all of the steps involved and then limit that to a small number of actionable, daily ‘Doing’ tasks.

The book is full of brilliant ideas which I’m going to be using! My favourite aspect is that all of the plans are written on post-it notes and placed on a wall or whiteboard. There are three basic columns; Ready, (work waiting to be processed), Doing (work-in-progress) and Done (completed work). This is an active ‘to do’ list, with items moving towards completion.

There’s many more great ideas in this book but I’m going to leave you with a quote from the authors  to get you thinking;

Hours, days, weeks of our lives vanish into the ether. Precious time we’ll never recoup because we aren’t paying attention to what we’re doing, we’re just endlessly and mindlessly doing. By visualising your backlog, your work-in-progress, and your completed tasks, Personal Kanban rewards you for recording the good work you’ve done and knowing what comes next.

Do you have tips on getting things done? Please leave me a comment below. And if blogging is one of the new things you’d like to do for your business, I’d love to connect with you. You might prefer a one-to-one session or a small group workshop. And if this is something that’s still in your ‘Ready’ list, you can sign up by email to hear about my upcoming courses!

I highly recommend this book. You can find out more about Personal Kanban and purchase the book via the website. let me know if you read it

I want to write a business blog

31 May

Are you thinking about writing a business blog? Does the starting part overwhelm you a bit? I now offer one-to-one mentoring sessions to give you the confidence to write your blog and launch! This session is the perfect introduction to my one day workshops on how to write a business blog with heart.

‘Mentoring’ sounds serious but these sessions are far from it! Like most things; just getting started can be biggest step. This is a chance for you to pinpoint the core message of your business. I’ll de-mystify the jargon and help you come up with a plan of action.

I’ve run my own business for fifteen years and have been blogging for five. I know what it’s like to juggle business promotion with making or doing. I strongly believe that telling your business story is the best way to connect with your customers.

This introductory offer is for a ninety minute, one-to-one class which is priced at €90. These classes take place in a Dublin city centre location. Another option is to learn at your place of work. Pricing for these classes will depend on the venue location.

How will I help you?

Before we meet up, I’ll get you to answer some questions about you and your business. This helps me to tailor your session. Questions will include: Why do you think you should blog? Who is your customer? What problems can you solve?

Once we know the answers to these questions, I’ll help you come up with content ideas as well as a content plan. I’m here to help with the answers too!

We will discuss different blogging platforms and see which one suits your needs best. I’ll briefly show you how to write a blog post, include photos, video and links. I can recommend website or graphic designers to help with your website template.

An overview of your industry; I will show you examples of good blogs within your industry. We’ll also look at other industry blogs to show you interesting ways of business promotion.

My forte is listening and offering advice! I want to show you how easy it is to connect with customers and peers. I’ll also tell you about the hidden benefits of blogging too!

Everybody’s needs and experience level are different. Give me a call or drop me an email so we can chat about your business.