All posts by Ann Kristine

The Power of Focus: Lessons from Jack Canfield

Are you a business owner or a project manager?

Then answer this question: Is it a struggle to find focus?

Let’s be honest, there are days when you think you got your day right: you listed down your to-dos, you turned your phone and other notifications on silent. But something’s just gotta give. Soon, you found your day wasted.

Good thing Jeff J Hunter bumped into The Power of Focus author, Jack Canfield. Jack generously shared his thoughts on focus and how we could win our day.

Here’s the video of the conversation.

Let’s break down The Power of Focus: Lessons from Jack Canfield and how we could immediately apply it to our daily lives.

1. Focus is important.

What do you really, really want to do?

Answering this question is already putting focus into the spotlight.

When a person focuses on his strengths, he channels all of his energy to the area. He will invest in training, mentors, and activities that will make him brilliant on his focused strength.

Why do people do this?

Because being a jack of all trades is really mastering nothing.

Learning to focus is critical to success.

2. We live in a distracted world.

Jack Canfield is right on what he mentioned in Jeff’s interview. How many times have you seen yourself opening many browser windows of different videos or articles? Have you observed the times you have a must-read book in your hand but then you remember a Netflix show episode that you want to watch?

How many times have you realized that the things you are doing were not apart of the day you planned for yourself?

Here’s the truth: Distractions are getting more creative these days. Don’t let them own you.

Distractions are going to make your life a disaster if you don’t do something about it.

It’s time to pull out a Post-It note just like Canfield’s, and write these words: “Is what I’m doing now the best use of my time?”

3. Scheduling your day in blocks of time

Have you heard of Pomodoro?

The Pomodoro Technique is a time management method developed by Francesco Cirillo in the late 1980s. The technique uses a timer to break down work into intervals, traditionally 25 minutes in length, separated by short breaks.

Scheduling your day in blocks of time could be easy if you try the Pomodoro Technique. Instead of working against time to work on what you need to do, you work with time.

Do you think the Pomodoro Technique could work for you? Well, why don’t you try it for a week and see how it goes? Here’s how to do it.

4. Eat That Frog!

Some of us seriously dread the sight of frogs. But Brian Tracy could get us thinking of frogs in a better perspective.

What is your biggest and most important task of the day? Do it first. Discipline yourself to begin immediately and then to persist until the task is complete before going on to something else.

That’s why Jack Canfield mentioned that we need to beware if we’re doing to-do lists. When we create a to-do list, we tend to work on the easy things first.

Why don’t you improve your to-do list by putting the biggest and most important task of the day on top? By finishing the “frog” first, you can activate your happy hormones, therefore giving yourself a sense of clarity, confidence, and competence.

Got two frogs? Brian Tracy says to eat the “ugliest” first.

5. Having an accountability partner

Jack Canfield is also a firm believer of having a powerful network (he calls it mastermind). So it’s no brainer that he mentioned having an accountability partner.

Having an accountability partner is great for achieving our goals. Having a person who is going through the same thing (thus is as emotionally invested as you), will help you be on track, no matter what happens on your journey to your goals.

Does this mean that you have to forget having mentors? Not really. Mentors are people that you consider as the “person that I’d like to emulate”. These people have both the experience and skills that you’d like to have soon.

The best team for success is an accountability partner and a mentor.

6. Commit to things that you care about

Jack Canfield is right: when you care about something, you invest time and effort into it. On developing the power of focus, get your act in order and focus on your true priorities.

How about you? How do you use the power of focus on your day? Share them with us.

TAKE BACK YOUR TIME!

Our team can save you a ton of time and energy that can be better spent elsewhere.

You know that already, that’s why you’re here!

TAKE BACK YOUR TIME!

Our team can save you a ton of time and energy that can be better spent elsewhere. 

You know that already, that’s why you’re here!

Copywriting or Blogging: Which One is the Best for Your Business?

Copywriting or Blogging?

We know that there’s a difference between the two.

Here’s what we think: Copywriting and blogging could benefit your business. The question is: which one is best for your business?

To answer that question, we need to get to know copywriting and blogging through the following criteria: objective, results, customer funnel, and use.

Objective

The objective of blogging is to educate or inform the audience about something. Are you in the business of fruits? Perhaps putting a series of blogs on different variations of bananas or mangoes would help your customers determine their choices the next time they visit your store.

On the other hand, copywriting is used to sell products in a short period through persuading readers to take some form of action. Based on the example above (fruit store), if you want your customers to order the first batch of your best-selling fresh mangoes, you release an ad or announcement on your online store.

What is your objective for your audience: educate or take action?

Results

Copywriting and blogging also differ in results.

Blogging is the best for long-term results. Blogging is part of content marketing. You create articles online to share information or to educate your audience. As you consistently publish blogs, you establish your authority on a certain topic. Later on, you’ll see that you have already created an audience through blogging.

Through its nature of persuading readers to take immediate action, copywriting, gives you a short-term result. The short-term result could be signing up on a newsletter, watching a video series, or buying a product.

Ask yourself: What results do I want to generate? Do I want the results now or later?

Customer Funnel

Blogging is a tool used for the bottom level of the customer journey or customer funnel. It is at the bottom of the funnel where you focus on increasing awareness of your audience – that your product or service exists. Blogging is one of the ways to provide awareness for your business.

Copywriting, on the other hand, is usually found at the bottom and in the middle of the funnel. Copywriting allows you to get your customers to act through staying tuned to your blogs (bottom funnel). It also allows you to make an initial offer connected to the price of the content that you give (middle funnel). For instance, ask your customer to download a coupon for their first purchase in exchange for their email address.

Answer this: Where is your customer located in your funnel? Where do you want them to go?

Use

Copywriting is seen in a website’s home page and landing page. It is also used in emails, case studies, white papers, and infographics.

On the other hand, blogs are seen on a specific area of the website (BLOGS). The blog area is your content resource where the bulk of the information and education exists. Blogs are then shared on emails or social media.

Now that you understand the difference between copywriting and blogging, I hope you’d be able to decide on what you need for your business.

Can copywriting and blogging co-exist? Of course, yes. These are two of the most potent marketing arsenals that you could have. As you focus on informing your audience, you could include a bit of copywriting to make your call-to-action more convincing. As long as you find the right balance between the two can build your website, leads, and improve sales while making your customers happy.

So, which one is best for your business: copywriting or blogging?

This is my third copywriting blog. Click here to read the first copywriting blog.

START RE-FOCUSING YOUR ENERGY AND GET YOUR TIME BACK.

Whether you need to publish blogs on your website, tell your audience to download your special report or attend your webinar, VA Staffer could help you. We offer copywriting services and blog writing services to our clients.

We can help you write and construct a message to your customers, so you can successfully reach them.

TAKE BACK YOUR TIME!

Our team can save you a ton of time and energy that can be better spent elsewhere. 

You know that already, that’s why you’re here!

Ways to Make Your Direct-Response Copywriting a Success

The key to successfully marketing a  product or service is based on the message that lies within it.

I am not just talking about copywriting, but specifically direct response copywriting. Direct response copywriting has the ability to get you customer to take immediate action after they absorb the copy.

In other words, they are so infatuated with your work they are intrigued to go and buy your product or service directly after reading the copy. It could make your customer buy your service or product as soon as he finishes reading.

What exactly is direct response copywriting?

Direct response copywriting is a method where the objective is to get an immediate effect on the reader. Your customer should directly be able to understand you and your product or service through the means of copy. . No fuss, no frills.

In short, direct response copywriting compels conversion.

Direct response copywriting has been around even before the Internet was born. Our parents have read different advertising pieces in newspapers and magazines that have looked like this.

David Ogilvy, Claude Hopkins, Leo Burnett, and Robert Collier, among others, were the direct response copywriting gurus. . We continue to follow the paths they have paved for us until now.

Why?

With the technological advancements in our society, thousands of content and information nowadays, direct response copywriting is vital for progression.

However, could a business owner like you make direct response copywriting work? With these critical points to keep in mind, the answer is yes.

Here are ways to make your direct response copywriting a success:

1. You’re talking to one person.

“Do not…address your readers as though they were gathered together in a stadium. When people read your copy, they are alone. Pretend you are writing to each of them a letter on behalf of your client.” – David Ogilvy

David Ogilvy said it best. Sure, your product or service could help hundreds or thousands of people. However, you need to target one person. This will persuade, intrigue, and make them eager to know more about your topic. .

That is why is it important to get to know your buyer or customer avatar. Who are they? Where do they live? What do they do?

I suggest going even go beyond profiling and do more in-depth research: What are your customer’s goals and ambitions? What are your buyer’s apprehensions toward a product or service similar to yours?

As a copywriter, how can we make our product a service something our customer needs not just wants?

This may all take time, but time that will translate over into success. What you gather from researching your customer avatar will  assist you in writing your direct response copy as you will be more familiar with who your target audience is.

Remember: Direct response copywriting focuses on the customer.

2. Headlines should call your customer’s attention.

“Hey! How’s it going?”

I’m sure you’ve heard this saying from time to time. ? Perhaps at your local store?

How come you didn’t hear your name , yet every time, we turn around?

That’s the power of asking for attention. In direct response copywriting, call to action  is crucial. This is done through headlines.

A headline is a big deal. Neil Patel says, “a catchy headline is your entry into your reader and potential customer’s world–and that’s a very busy space they occupy.”

Your headline could make or break your direct response copywriting piece. So make sure it gets your reader’s attention. Inspire their curiosity, and spark their interest.

Remember: Create value-defined and customer-focused headlines.

3. Embrace long-form writing.

“The person who says ‘I would never read all that copy’ makes a mistake of thinking they are the customer. And they’re not.” – Dan Kennedy

Most of the time, direct response copywriting is in long-form.

Why?

That is because you need to provide valuable information to your customer to help them better understand you and your product or service. Your direct-response copywriting piece should present essential details that will  convince the customer to buy your product or service.

Some details are:

  • Social proof like testimonials and people who have tried your product or service
  • The benefits of your product or service
  • Scarcity, such as providing deadlines

Long-form copy should answer these questions:

  • How can I trust your product/service to be as good as you say?
  • Why should I buy this from you?

Remember: Make your direct response copywriting in long form to provide your customer with enough information to buy from you while attaching value.

4. There is patience in testing.

Gary Vaynerchuk says “there is patience in the process.” It’s the same with direct response copywriting.

Headlines, sub-headlines, images, and the long-form content require testing.

Ogilvy says direct-response copywriting is easily testable. The fact that you can test variables in a controlled situation means you can work out what influences the buying decision much quicker (and usually much cheaper).

Remember: Testing is the holy grail of conversion. You better love the process.

5. Create a strong call-to-action.

In war movies, protagonists – kings, leaders, generals – always have their war speeches. At the end of their speech, they say any of these:

“Charge!”

“To Freedom!”

“Fight!”

Well, it makes sense for protagonists to tell their hundreds of men or soldiers to act after they have roused them into the battle.

It’s similar with direct response copywriting. After reading your piece, the reader must take immediate action.

These are just some examples of call-to-action:

Sign up.

Learn more.

Send a message.

Call us.

Download.

It is best not to ignore putting a call-to-action on your direct-response copywriting piece. If you forget this, and you may get nothing .

Remember: Call-to-actions are where conversions happen. Create a powerful call-to-action. Persuade your audience in such a way where they are hungry to read more and feel an inevitable urge to take action in buying your product or service.

Direct-response copywriting is a success with an immediate result. Use it for your product or service today.

TAKE BACK YOUR TIME!

Our team can save you a ton of time and energy that can be better spent elsewhere. 

You know that already, that’s why you’re here!

Topics to Write About for Engaging Copywriting

Topics to write about could be one of the top problems about copywriting as a whole.

It’s almost synonymous with having a “writer’s block.” A writer’s block means “the condition of being unable to think of what to write or how to proceed with writing.”

This writing concern is present as long as you are doing copywriting. You want to get a saw, slice your head into two, and reboot your brain to have even a bit of spark so your brain can start producing magic. .

Okay, I may have gotten way too descriptive on opening your head. It’s true; having difficulty in knowing what topics to write can be frustrating. .

However, consider this: it’s not rocket science to have topics to write about for engaging copywriting – that is, if you do your research well.

Here are topics to write about for engaging copywriting:

1. What is your audience looking for?

This might sound like the Lionel Richie song “Hello” but it seems so. Discovering what your target audience needs to know will prevent you from running out of topics to write about.

In my social media and consulting work for clients, I put emphasis on knowing their target audience (or ideal customer). More than the demographics and interests, a business owner should understand what makes the audience say, “I love that!” that would eventually result in “I want that! I need that!” “

If you understand who your  audience is, you have found the gold, my friend!

How to know what your audience is looking for? Engage in groups (Facebook or LinkedIn), subscribe to forums, and even join offline communities. Ask them honest questions with the objective of assisting.

2. What’s the buzz?

Do you know why Buzzfeed is one of the most shared sites  on the Internet?

One, they know their audience.

Two, they keep themselves updated on, well, the current buzz.

Whether politics, entertainment, or even cat topics, Buzzfeed always knows what’s trending. So should you.

Here are tools that could help you be on top of buzz pack:

  • Google Alerts – Allow Google to send you a list of articles based on topics or keywords on a daily, weekly, or as it happens.
  • Digg – This news aggregator curates topics for you.
  • AllTop – Also a news aggregator, but with a wider range of topics. You could even customize your AllTop Page.
  • Flipboard – Choose the topics that you love and Flipboard will give it to you. I love the “flip” feature that they have if you’re using it on mobile as if you’re flipping a page of a magazine.

 

3. What’s Google suggesting?

Google’s auto-suggestion is giving you the obvious: what topics to write about!

I have relied on Google Autosuggest many times, and it has made my life easier. Here’s how it looked when I searched for “copywriting”:

And here’s what happened when I added the word “for”:

Both searches gave me an idea of what most people are searching for in Google. If that’s the case, who could stop me from creating an engaging article on “copywriting for beginners” or “copywriting examples?”

We hope these points will keep you from banging your head on the wall, or worst, cutting your head into two. Consider these points, and you will no longer run out of topics to write about for engaging copywriting.

TAKE BACK YOUR TIME!

We at VA Staffer offer copywriting services to our clients. We can help you articulate a message for your customers, so you can powerfully reach them without overwhelming them.

Start re-focusing your energy and get your time back.

TAKE BACK YOUR TIME!

Our team can save you a ton of time and energy that can be better spent elsewhere. 

You know that already, that’s why you’re here!

Improve Virtual Team Communication With These Tool and Apps

Do you feel your virtual team communication needs an upgrade?

Do you still think that Skype is the ONLY way you could talk to your virtual team?

If you just said YES to those questions, you better drop everything that you’re doing now and read this article.

We got nothing against Skype. It is still a great app for communicating with your virtual team. But if you want to improve your team’s engagement, promote better communication, and prevent technical problems, then it’s about time to look for other virtual team communication tools.

Here in VA Staffer, we always make it a point to communicate with each other to make sure that every task gets done (with some fun on the side). We won’t be able to make things easier for our clients if we don’t use virtual team communication tools.

In this article, I am going to share with you our virtual team technology tools. These tools are no longer a secret. A lot of business owners are already optimizing these tools for their business. If you’re just as impressive as them, then I suggest you consider giving these tools a try.

Improve your virtual team communication with these apps:

Virtual Team Communication 1: Active.Collab

Are you still sending tasks to your virtual team members via e-mail? That isn’t only too tiring. It could also be very confusing! Imagine the countless back-and-forth of replies and managing e-mails! Furthermore, it could lead to some of your team members missing instructions because you accidentally forgot to cc them.

We love e-mails. But for better virtual team management of tasks and communication, we at VA Staffer suggest you use Active.Collab.

ActiveCollab is a project management tool that helps your team stay organized. But it’s so much more than that — with plenty of neat add-ons, it’s a one-stop solution for all your business needs. It could help you manage tasks, allows your team to collaborate efficiently, tracks the time of your team, and even allows your members to send invoices.

VA Staffer loves Active.Collab because: 

  • You could include add-on features to make the tool work for you better
  • Track tasks via mobile (IOS and Android)
  • It has a 14-day trial allows you to try it out first
  • You can choose between a monthly plan or self-hosted

Virtual Team Communication 2: Slack

If you want your virtual team to communicate better, we suggest you use Slack. It is a collaboration hub that helps connect groups, unify systems, and drive businesses forward.

Remember the previous article on Virtual Team Building Activities for High Performance? One of the activities that I mentioned was maximizing online tools. Slack is one of the tools that VA Staffer maximize for our virtual team.

VA Staffer loves Slack because:

  • You could integrate other online tools (Google Drive, Active.Collab)
  • You can create channels for specific topics (per project, per team, or per department)
  • Previous messages are searchable less the scroll up, thanks to its Search Function. Just use a keyword and voila! (You can search 10,000 on a free account.)
  • Got pricing plans for Slack Teams and Slack Enterprise Grid

Virtual Team Communication 3: UberConference

Weekly meetings? Daily roundups? How about you just a few reminders or updates to one of your team members? The answer: Online conference.

We at VA Staffer use Uberconference. You can join meetings instantly without PINs. You also don’t need to download anything. Most of all, no technical glitches!

VA Staffer loves UberConference because:

  • It allows you to share the screen (great for presenting reports or tutorials)
  • You’ll know who’s on the call and who’s speaking. You could even see their social profiles.
  • They have hold music for the waiting times.
  • Join meetings via mobile, too (IOS and Android)

Virtual Team Communication 4: Zoom

If you got a client meeting or a webinar, Zoom is the best tool to use. Zoom can share screen and host as many as 100 (for Enterprise Plan).

Zoom also allows you to see who’s on the meeting by turning on the video feature. Zoom also has a recording feature that would give you an audio and a video file, plus the chat conversation. How’s that?

VA Staffer loves Zoom because:

  • It can hold team meetings and webinars.
  • You can create Zoom Rooms
  • You can have separate meeting IDs for different meetings.
  • Zoom offers a full-featured Basic Plan for free with unlimited meetings. Basic Plan has a 40-minute time limit on meetings with three or more total participants. No trial period for the Basic Plan!

One of the business’ successes is having a fantastic virtual team. Improve your virtual team communication apps so you make your organization become more collaborative and productive.

Now you know why our virtual team works best. 

Which among these virtual team communication tools and apps are you using? Or what do you look forward to giving a try? Share your responses in the comments.

TAKE BACK YOUR TIME!

Our team can save you a ton of time and energy that can be better spent elsewhere. 

You know that already, that’s why you’re here!

Virtual Team Building Activities for High Performance

Truth be told: building trust in a team does not only apply to physical, offline offices. It is even more essential for virtual teams.

You may have experienced letting a team member go. It happens in business, right?

But take a closer look at your virtual team if you have noticed these warning signs:

  • The team fails to share information
  • Members don’t trust each other to deliver deadlines
  • Recurring work issues
  • Members are openly critical or cynical of each other
  • Missed deadlines

Building trust within your virtual team is different from the physical unit. It takes a different approach to make virtual teams work.

So how do you build trust within your virtual team?

Before we work on the how’s, let’s find out the why’s.

Here are two fantastic reasons why building trust within your virtual team is essential:

1. It boosts team morale and productivity.

When your virtual team works, they are in front of the computer most of the time to get tasks done. In time, exchanges can become transactional because there is no human interaction. Building trust with your virtual team makes the work not only lighter but fun. Who wouldn’t want to see their team get things done with a smile?

When your team members communicate more often, they learn more from each other. The result? They provide support and motivate each other. Indeed, strong bonds equal to team morale.

In VA Staffer, we say that our virtual team can power your business. We also make sure that each team member is empowered. Our team members come from different parts of the world, but miles do not hinder us from working well. Get to know our fantastic team by clicking on this link.

2. It provides a better perspective.

If your virtual team is working miles from each other, potential concerns such as time zone differences could take place. Furthermore, since your team don’t see each other much, it is possible that members do not know each other well apart from the work that they do for you.

These situations call for building trust with your team through effective communication strategies. A weekly meeting could already make a significant impact in providing a better perspective for each team member.

I look forward to team meetings because I do not only get to find out team updates and what needs to be done in the week. I also get to share WINS – these are professional and personal events or situations that took place for me the previous week. It feels good to share and find out that other members of the team are happy for you (and they also got their life going well!).

 

In short, virtual team building leads to high performance.

So now you know that building trust within your virtual team is essential, let’s go to the how’s.

 

Build trust within your team by engaging them in virtual team activities.

Did you know that 65% of virtual assistants say that have never experienced a team building session? Don’t let this happen to your team. Here’s a fact: Team building activities for your team need to be expensive.

Here are virtual team building activities for high performance:

1. Engage the team in online games.

Yes, the same computer that your virtual assistant is using could be used to have fun with his co-members. Who says you couldn’t do Little Known Facts About Me and Two Pictures could only be used for physical interactions?

In one of my virtual teams, I experienced playing CashFlow Game 101 online. It was not only fun, but it also gave me lessons about money.

2. Create a Learning Day.

Establish a weekly Learning Day where your team could spend time together learning. For a start, you could teach them something that could help them in their work on in their career. Later on, you could assign each team member to take turns in sharing what they know.

You are hitting two birds with one stone with this activity: one, you allow team members to meet without talking about work and two, you are creating a learning community within your team.

3. Maximize your online tools.

Which do you prefer: Slack, WhatsApp, or Telegram? How about Trello or Asana?

These online tools effectively make your team’s work done on time. Why don’t you use these to foster team bonding?

You may create channels or cards on these online tools where members could say something good about a co-member after a long day of work. You could also use them to have a water cooler where they could talk about anything non-work related – sports, cats, kids, dogs, more cats, and more.

4. Schedule a Happy Hour or Movie Night.

Happy Hour and Movie Night could also apply to virtual teams!

With many apps to choose from, your team could sing their hearts out during your scheduled Happy Hour. Don’t force anyone to join (and sing!) if they don’t want to. A virtual card or a $5 bonus for a team member who belts it out best, maybe?

A Movie Night is also an excellent way to allow your virtual team bond. Stream a movie via a virtual conference call with screen-sharing ability. A live chat would allow for comments, anecdotes, and insights.

5. Get your Virtual Team Fit.

Most of your team members are spending the time sitting on their home desks. You could promote health and wellness by helping your team get fit. Allow your members to get suitable goals for themselves and provide fitness apps to track their goals (you may choose to provide paid trackers or leave it to the members to track their progress).

Give them a channel where they could share their fitness activities. You’d be surprised to see them sharing healthy recipes and exercise tips!

Lipnack and Stamps, who wrote the book, “Virtual Teams; People Working Across Boundaries with Technology” (2000), said, “Take a typical team, make it virtual and expect trouble.” Don’t let this happen to your virtual team. Build trust within your virtual organization through virtual team building activities and you’re sure to create an enjoyable working environment online.

How about you? What virtual team building activities do you give your team? Share them with us!

TAKE BACK YOUR TIME!

Our team can save you a ton of time and energy that can be better spent elsewhere. 

You know that already, that’s why you’re here!