psyborg® blog

Just in time learning

Just in time learning

Just in time learning

Just in time learning

The internet has become a great tool with a variety of uses. We use it to connect with people through email, social media, dating sites, video link and in so many other ways. We use it to sell products and to shop for pretty much anything we want. It has many uses but probably the biggest and most beneficial use is the information it holds. The internet has given us the ability to learn, and learn quickly. The web enables us to learn ‘Just in Time’ for when we need to get something done.

You can pretty much learn anything online, from how to solve maths equations to how to build a kitchen, what fashion suits your body shape or how to cook a 5 star meal or how to fly an aeroplane and how to service your car. Seriously, think of something random, Google it, and I am sure someone out there has put up something on the topic. I just searched ‘how to dissect an ant’ and was surprised at the amount of YouTube clips and web pages that came up.

Just in time manufacturing

Back in my industrial engineering days I learned about a concept known as ‘Just in time manufacturing’. Just in time manufacturing is a methodology aimed primarily at reducing flow times within production as well as response times from suppliers to customers, Ref: Wikipedia.

Back in the 60’s and 70’s, just in time manufacturing started in Japan and by the 80’s it had migrated to the western industry and its features were put into many big companies. This new tool allowed for the quick manufacturing of products which reduced flow times and costs. If a part was needed it was able to be delivered just in time to be installed. No longer did huge storage sheds full of parts need to be around or the long wait for parts as we had the ability to get the part manufactured quickly once it was ordered.

I think of Just in Time Learning in much the same way. It is reducing the amount of time it takes for work to be carried out. It enables us to find out how to do something, often giving us easier, quicker, cheaper and better ways to do things.

Just in time learning aids the ability to be agile and lean

Being agile is being able to move quickly and easily. Being lean is having the ability to reduce or eliminate non value added activities. Being agile and lean really comes down to being able to adapt to change quickly; or keeping up with the current technology. Just in time learning certainly gives us the ability to be agile and lean.

Technology is changing very quickly, new and better programs are introduced so frequently and as a graphic designer and web developer I need to be able to keep up with the trends to stay in the game for my own sake and for my clients. If I was asked to do work using some software I hadn’t used before or a program that was unfamiliar, I could accept the job with confidence, knowing I can learn the information needed in time to complete the project. I have the basic knowledge and tools to be able to easily learn and navigate the unfamiliar using the web to source information, making just in time learning possible. My business is agile and lean because of that.

Being able to learn just in time lets us quickly adapt

I often use the internet to learn how to use software and applications. YouTube has been a lifesaver at times and even when writing code for new websites I have found the internet a quick and easy tool to help get projects completed. I can adapt and overcome challenges by using just in time learning.

Other businesses, I am sure, use just in time learning to adapt quickly to new challenges. For example a mechanic, servicing a car they have never serviced before, may need some extra assistance. This information can be found in the car manual, but if the mechanic knew the car was coming in to the workshop, had a spare slot of time, they could have researched, probably even just watched a 10 min video, and they would be up to speed on how to service the car. They already have the base knowledge and with the abundant amount of information online they are able to learn it quickly and easily just in time for the car to be at the work shop. This would have saved both the car owner and the business precious time, so just in time learning can be beneficial for all involved as it allows people to adapt quickly to new technology.

Just in time learning builds self confidence

Self confidence in what we do can be challenging, particularly when doing something new. If you are about to do a job which you know how to do, but are lacking experience, you can take the time to do a little more online research or watch a few more video clips to build your confidence. Just in time learning allows you to consolidate knowledge and build self confidence.

Just in time learning also gives us the confidence to accept new challenges. For example if a teacher is asked to teach a maths subject and they are unsure of how to even do the questions themselves, they can confidently take on the challenge knowing they have the time to learn the information. Their next job is to learn how to do the maths equations online, even do some practice questions online to consolidate the information, and walk into that classroom confident and ready to teach the students how to complete the questions.

Building self confidence and realising what you are capable of can also build self awareness as you are able to see what you can achieve and improve upon. This can in turn help you realise your strengths and weaknesses and in some cases help increase your motivation and get you working towards your greater desires.

How to use just in time learning

Being able to use just in time learning means the individual needs to have the ability to find the information they need. So being able to research and bring information together to get the job done. There are a few ways to find information; the three main ways I find information for just in time learning is Google search, Blogs and YouTube videos. Sometimes I use a mixture of all three if I am taking a little while to get my head around something.

It is also a good idea if you are using information from a blogger or poster you haven’t used before to check a few sites to make sure the information is credible.

Often if you find someone in the industry who you rely on, you may use this same person for just in time learning if they have information on the topic, because past experience has taught you they do a good job and know what they are talking about.

Other ways I broaden my ability to learn just in time are;

  • Subscribing to relevant newsletters
  • Following relevant social profiles
  • Listening to relevant podcasts
  • Attending relevant groups or meet ups
  • Having access to relevant mentors

It is important to remember not everyone who puts information onto the internet is credible. So someone claiming to be an expert on breeding parrots may have in fact had a parrot as a child and thinks they know it all. So often looking at a pages rating (if available) or peoples comments, YouTube clips or linked social media accounts you can find out if their information is any good. Or as mentioned above if they do not have this function on the site then simply researching a few resources will often show what information is current and correct.

Another disadvantage of just in time learning is that everyone can become an expert and think they can do things which perhaps they can’t. For example if I decided to use YouTube to build my own bathroom and I took shortcuts or sloppy work the cost of the mistakes could be huge! Imagine bad waterproofing along with leaking taps and cracked tiles. A job you think you are doing yourself to save money could in fact cost you more money, so I guess some substantial foundations are necessary to take on new tasks, but hey, that’s the best way to learn, by giving it a go and working out what needs to be improved upon.

To sum up

Just in time learning is a fantastic tool for all kinds of businesses. It enables us to get work done quicker, and therefore be lean and agile. We are able to quickly adapt to new trends and technology. It allows us to be confident in the work we take on because we know if we need help, there is an abundant amount of information out there that can be accessed quickly, and often Just In Time to get the job done.

Daniel Borg

Daniel Borg

Creative Director

psyborg® was founded by Daniel Borg, an Honours Graduate in Design from the University of Newcastle, NSW, Australia. Daniel also has an Associate Diploma in Industrial Engineering and has experience from within the Engineering & Advertising Industries.

Daniel has completed over 2500 design projects consisting of branding, illustration, web design, and printed projects since psyborg® was first founded. psyborg® is located in Lake Macquarie, Newcastle but services business Nation wide.

I really do enjoy getting feedback so please let me know your thoughts on this or any of my articles in the comments field or on social media below.

Cheers Daniel

The hidden value of keeping timesheets

The hidden value of keeping timesheets

The hidden value of keeping timesheets

The hidden value of keeping time sheets

Many companies and businesses think of time sheets as one of those tedious tasks that simply has to be done which is typically motivated to bill hours. This is not the case for me. For me, time sheets are not only an important tool to keep track of your working day and stay on task but also a tool that can, if used correctly, grow your self awareness and your business!

After working in the engineering game for a few years prior to getting into design, and especially after completing my Associate Diploma of Industrial Engineering, I learned that the true value in maintaining and analysing time sheets is continuous improvement and self awareness.

Time spent and staying on task

When I started my business over 10 years ago the first task I actually did was to set up my first time sheet. Originally my time sheets were categorised into 2 areas; Project Time and Admin Time. At first I saw my time sheets as a way to see where my time was spent. This information helped me bill clients, quote new jobs, determine time frames for work, and turn down work if the load seemed too great.

Along with seeing where my time was spent, I also found it kept me on task. Once I started a task I would stay on task as I knew I was recording it as time spent. It stopped the mid task coffee breaks and email checks. I also found that listing the categories; project time and admin time, helped my general awareness. Some tasks I would do subconsciously, but I found listing these items on my timesheet had me working less in the unconscious mind patterns and helped me become more efficient in the work I was doing.

If helping you quote and bill clients along with staying on task are the only benefits you get from time sheets, then they are still worth doing. It certainly helped me in my business. Although I delved further into the time sheets and started to closely analyse the information my time sheets held.

Data is king

I love data! I like to be able to see information in an easy to read way and analyse the information obtained. At the end of each week I would look at my timesheets and some numbers would stand out to me and I’d think things like ‘I should spend more time on this and not that’, but didn’t think I could do much about it at the time. Week after week the timesheet numbers would jump at me and one day I made the decision to look more closely at this data.

I started to put the data into spread sheets and graphs. Analysing more closely where my time was spent, what jobs earned me the highest income, how much of each category of work I was doing and which clients were the best for my business. I saw that some processes took up lots of my time and I made a decision to get an admin assistant in part time. I also started thinking more closely about my business and more importantly myself, and what I really wanted.

Timesheets and self awareness

Self awareness is being aware of one’s self; your strengths, weaknesses, thoughts, beliefs, motivation and emotions. Self awareness is, I believe, the most important factor to achieving success. Only when you are self aware can you truly see what it is you desire out of life. To become more self aware we must look closely at what we do, and in business I believe this can be done through time sheets and analysing the data they contain.

As I continued to obtain data from the time sheets I began to not only look at the time sheets in a business sense, but as a reflection on myself. This is when I began to develop my self awareness. I saw my business and how it ran. I began to wonder what I wanted out of this business, I started to see where my strengths lied, where most of my revenue was coming in, my weaknesses, I started to think about these weaknesses and whether I wanted to improve these aspects of my business or continue to focus on my strengths and sway the business toward that direction. I critically analysed myself, I started thinking big, what I believed I could achieve, and I made some big decisions.

One of my weaknesses was that I spent all my time working on projects or doing admin work, and to grow my business I really needed to have some ‘Working on the Business’ Time, so my first step was to add this category to my time sheets. I now had three categories; project time, admin time and working on the business time.

I realised time was my biggest issue, I could do so much more if only I had more time to set aside for working on the business. Where could I get more time? Stop sleeping? Well I knew that wouldn’t work. Again I turned to the time sheets to see where I could cut time. I realised I needed to make my business run more efficiently if I wanted more time and the changes that needed to be made. The changes that needed to be made were big, huge even. As part of my ‘working on the business time’ I decided to restructure and revamp my entire business; I went paperless, I redesigned my office, I started putting time into growing my business. Redesigning my office and going paperless cleared the clutter out of my office and in turn out of my mind, I had some clear thoughts coming through and some clear direction of where I was headed. Read more about the effect clutter has on creativity here.

In my new office I created a planning wall. This wall would help me plan business direction and help me find more time. Again most of the things on this wall initially came from the information I found out from my time sheets. I put up four headings; Problems to Solve, Automate, Eliminate and Delegate.

psyborg studio

Problems to solve

Under Problems to Solve I write down things I want to achieve and leave it there until I work out how to achieve it. I have found this part of the wall is having more and more movement. So things are being solved and coming off the wall and more ideas are going up. I have some long term goals up there and I am really excited to see what I can achieve.

Automate

Automate is taking out the human aspect of a task and automating it. I have been able to cut time on many things by automating them. Once I started researching I found some great and reliable programs, such as Xero and Zappier, that are designed to do some of the tasks that I used to take precious time to do. There is so much value in these programs and the time saved is phenomenal!

Eliminate

Eliminate is getting rid of a task all together. Either by automating them or finding a way they were no longer needed at all. It’s funny some things we think we have to do that could simply be eliminated entirely.

Delegate

Delegate is giving a task to someone else. My admin assistant was great for this at first, and now I have been able to employ a junior designer to pass things onto as well. I also found at times I was doing some of the work the client should do and I have begun reminding and passing this back to the client.

Success so far

My biggest goal was to have more time to work on my business, and already I have achieved so much. You are currently reading one of my goals, to start blogging more regularly. I have also recently updated and redesigned my own website, I have begun to use tools such as social media to grow my business, I have more work than ever coming in and am able to successfully take on and complete this work. All my current achievements in growing my business I put down to self awareness, having the ability to know what I want and am going for it. The self awareness came from the data received from time sheets. The value of time sheets is priceless.

Keeping time sheets enable continuous improvement

As you can see time sheets and the data that is obtained by keeping them allows for continuous improvement. If done honestly and consistently the information is invaluable to the growth of your business. The data obtained allows you to see, at a quick view, where your time is spent, what your strengths and weaknesses are, and it is up to you to change this if you have the desire.

So to sum it up: time sheets equal data, data analysis leads to self awareness, self awareness enables growth.

Daniel Borg

Daniel Borg

Creative Director

psyborg® was founded by Daniel Borg, an Honours Graduate in Design from the University of Newcastle, NSW, Australia. Daniel also has an Associate Diploma in Industrial Engineering and has experience from within the Engineering & Advertising Industries.

Daniel has completed over 2500 design projects consisting of branding, illustration, web design, and printed projects since psyborg® was first founded. psyborg® is located in Lake Macquarie, Newcastle but services business Nation wide.

I really do enjoy getting feedback so please let me know your thoughts on this or any of my articles in the comments field or on social media below.

Cheers Daniel

Who is your client avatar?

Who is your client avatar?

Who is your client avatar?

Do you know who your client avatar is?

It goes without saying that if you are selling a product or a service you need to know who you are selling to. This is your client avatar.

Businesses will be more effective if they can determine who their client avatar is so they can directly aim marketing and products toward that person, their ideal client, which if done right can have clients and customers knocking on your door.

Without a client avatar your marketing could be generic and ineffective. Having a website developed with no client avatar can result in no purpose or clear message that may not help business.

Imagine if a high end restaurant looking at mainly servicing high end business, corporate lunch-ins used pink cartoon character to advertise, I think mothers with young children may show up thinking it was a new play centre cafe. If this restaurant builds a client avatar based around their ideal customer, they can then create their marketing or ad campaign to that customer, and the outcome will be well worth the effort put in to build their avatar. This may sound far fetched but it is more important to know who your audience and target that audience then simply creating a piece of communication or you may end up with clients or customers you do not want, or worse, none at all.

When creating your client avatar you need to consider a majority of aspects which will be different depending on what you are selling. For instance some businesses will aim towards one sex, i.e. woman’s makeup, others will aim to both men and woman i.e. pest control. Some avatars will need to be more detailed than others depending on how broad or limited the focus group is and what product or service you are selling.

Before you define your client avatar I recommend defining your own business by looking at how you want to be perceived and articulating your culture. This is an important step before defining your avatar as these aspects of your business will help shape who you are and therefore who you want to sell your product or service to.

The ideas in this article can also feedback on itself, as you define your client avatar you may choose to reverse engineer your culture and perception to suit. The point is you want to document the perception, culture and client avatar so you have a clear perspective of what you and your team can achieve.

Perception

To begin with you need to determine how you want to be perceived!

So what do you want people to think about your business? Fun, quirky, adaptable, high-end? Sophisticated, high tech, unique? Quick, affordable, straight forward or conservative?

Some of the things on my list include; slick, clean & fast, lean & agile, and unique just to state a few. When a client looks at my business this is what I want them to see.

Culture

Once you have defined how you want to be perceived you then need to define your culture.

Defining your business culture is deciding on what you stand for, what are your beliefs. It goes more deeply than just how you want to be viewed by clients & is more focussed on what your organisation is all about. Many businesses determine this when hiring more staff, they need to find people who will fit in with their culture and have the same beliefs and values as the company.

Some of the words on my list to define the psyborg® culture are; lean, functional, creative, aspirational, always adapting and driven, just to name a few.

Your ideal client avatar!

Now it is time to develop your avatar. Start with the easiest things, and remember not all of the aspects of an avatar will be important for different businesses.

Demographics

You need to look at how your ideal client is positioned demographically. So the age group, sex, race, economic status, level of education, income level, employment level, anything that has a straight forward answer that is important for your clients or customers.

Values and attitudes

Once you have determined the demographics that are important for your client you can look more closer at the person they are, their values and attitudes.

Just like if you were looking at hiring someone then you’d want them to have the same culture as you, clients also want someone who will fit with their ideals, which is good because you want clients that fit with your culture too. So usually this step is a matter of looking at how you want to be perceived and your culture and determining what aspects from this you want your clients to posses, and then what aspects you want to add for the clients values and attitudes.

For example as a designer I have a certain style, my work is clean and emotive and it is depicted in the graphics I create. Clients would usually look at my work, discuss ideas with me, and if we are on the same page then they will hire me to create their visual communications. I also look for certain values and attitudes in my clients, and if we simply can’t work well together then I know the things we create will not make either party happy and we end up going different ways.

Some of the aspects my client avatar have are; savvy, approachable, organised and ‘ok with change’.

Once you have built your client avatar

Once you have defined who you are aiming your business at you can keep this in mind in whatever you do. It will help determine where you advertise, when you advertise, what types of advertising to use to reach your ideal customer, what vocabulary to use, what’s the best method for client interaction and much more.

If you are going to set out on a content marketing strategy, a client avatar is also super helpful here as this will help to guide what kind of content you will create.

In another blog article ‘Psychology of Advertising’ I touched on basing your advertising to your avatar and used the below example, the advertisement for Myer compared to the advertisement for Kmart.

As you can see the avatar for these two companies both selling similar goods developed by different brands would be very different. Myer is aiming at an avatar who is not too young, on the higher economic status, probably a good education, working and has values of quality products, keeping yourself looking good, sophistication etc. The ad logo is entitled ‘Find Wonderful’, it almost seems like it is marketing towards people who are looking for a pampering type of effect when shopping.

Compare that to Kmart’s Avatar who would be of any age group, lower income, employed or unemployed, trends rather than designer label, the values of the client would be bargain products, reasonable prices, quantity rather than quality etc. The ad slogan is titled ‘Irresistible Prices’, so it really is targeting a lower socio economic group.

In summary

So to sum up, first look at your own business, how you want to be perceived and what is your culture, once you have done that you will be able to create an avatar who will help your brand, product & business grow to be the best it can be.

You could also decide to create a poster that could be hung in your office which will continuously remind you and your team of who your client avatar is. That way you can focus on creating interesting and inspiring communications targeted towards your ideal client which should inevitably have them coming to you, and isn’t that what we all want in business.

Daniel Borg

Daniel Borg

Creative Director

psyborg® was founded by Daniel Borg, an Honours Graduate in Design from the University of Newcastle, NSW, Australia. Daniel also has an Associate Diploma in Industrial Engineering and has experience from within the Engineering & Advertising Industries.

Daniel has completed over 2500 design projects consisting of branding, illustration, web design, and printed projects since psyborg® was first founded. psyborg® is located in Lake Macquarie, Newcastle but services business Nation wide.

I really do enjoy getting feedback so please let me know your thoughts on this or any of my articles in the comments field or on social media below.

Cheers Daniel

The secret to creativity

The secret to creativity

The Secret to Creativity

Consider this Scenario…

Consider this, you are completely organised. Your life is compartmentalised, you have time separated for work, for play and for family. Everything in your life has a place to put it, so much so that it becomes automatic to find something. Your life is so organised that you consider it robotic and boring. Your on the edge of finding something to do because you’ve done everything so you potter around, you experiment a little and you begin to play. In playing you combine ideas from different disciplines, different topics and opposing ends of the spectrum. You start to innovate, you start to be creative.

Now consider the alternative, you have a big job on at work, you are in your office and have just started to write up a brief on your Mac, you go to grab a pen to jot down something, the pen isn’t there, you search the top draw, scribble with one that doesn’t work, check the next draw (you have to move some paper and magazines to see around them, stabbing yourself with a discarded paper clip in the meantime and pull out a pair of scissors you were looking for a week ago), no luck, go over to the side table and find a red pen, not ideal but that’ll do, back to the desk and jot down those four words you needed to remember for later in the brief, turn back to the job at hand, what was it you were writing? Oh yes that’s right… back into it.

Now it may have only been 5 minutes or less that passed but your train of thought was also disturbed and a lot of work could have been done in that time.

Now back to the ideal; you need to write something down, you grab a pen from its home on your desk and write down what you need to, back on with the work. Wow, I even feel better writing it down that way!

I am a firm believer that being organised is the secret to creativity. I have run my design studio for just on 10 years now and the more I become aware of how organised I am or can be, the easier I am able to switch into creative mode and therefore solve different client problems.

 

So, not only does an organised office, home or life mean less time spent searching for items but also less time worrying about things that have been misplaced; ‘I can’t find that document I need’. This worry can also transfer to the home environment too when it is playing on your mind because you still haven’t found it.

Being organised means having a ‘home’ for every item and knowing where that home is and always putting the item back in its home. Not just thrown into the top draw where you rummage around for it, a specific, easily accessible home for it.

The less time you spend finding things, or moving objects the more quality time you can spend on your work being creative. This means better productivity, less rush and therefore usually higher quality work, not to mention LESS STRESS.

I think it’s time to organise that office and work on strategies to keep it that way.

Being Organised Means More Creativity!

Organisation doesn’t only improve your productivity but also your creativity. Imagine you are an architect, if your mind is filled with thoughts of ‘where is that ruler, I need to find my eraser, where’s the sharpener’ and all this while creating a unique home design, how can you expect your mind to stay clear to allow the creative flare to take over.

Even while writing this blog, if the phone rings, someone talks to me or I stop for a moment I have to re-read the paragraph and re-‘find’ my train of thought. In my opinion creatives (that is creative people) need a clear mind, free from distractions and mess to get the best of their abilities out. To allow the brain the space it needs to be creative the physical environment needs to be clear also.

Being Organised Means More Productivity!

This may seem like a farfetched idea at first, but when you think about it, it actually makes complete sense.

Walking into a house or workspace filled with mess causes stress! And studies have proven this, the level of cortisol (stress levels) rise when people are confronted with mess and clutter. It has a negative effect on our emotions.

Imagine working in a place that lacks organisation, then going home to a house filled with clutter. It does not leave room for the important things to freely flow in our minds because we get too hung up on the physical surroundings when they are cluttered and disorganised.

A cluttered environment can lead to a cluttered mind.

Some Strategies to Get Organised!

I had the pleasure of chatting with Jo Carmichael, a psyborg® client and business owner of ‘All Sorted Out’. Jo is a professional organiser whom assists home and business owners with decluttering and implement strategies to stay organised.


Jo uses the konMarie method, which is a huge craze sweeping the UK and America and starting to come into Aussie homes too and Jo has a different view on this.

Jo says the decision should not be so much on ‘what can I throw out?’ but more about ‘what do I love and want to keep?’. Same thing? I guess it’s one of those glass half empty scenarios. Rather than looking at it like I have to get rid of heaps of possessions to de-clutter my life, you look at it in a positive way ‘what things are important that I need to keep and what things bring me happiness and I want to keep?’ Then you simply get rid of the things that you do not need or that do not bring you happiness. We hold on to many old clothes, books, papers and keepsakes that really no longer play a role in our lives and we could discard. Let these items go!

Jo says to de-clutter you need to have a ‘keep pile’ and a ‘discard pile’. Only once you have discarded the items that no longer have a place in your home can you start the organisation process.

Jo says that many creatives will physically clean their desk tops, removing papers & wiping it clean, before commencing a new project which helps to kick start their focus and vigour.  Just like making our bed kick starts the day, you will definitely be less inclined to snooze off once the pillows are all in place.

An Organised Home also helps with your Business and Creativity!

So you have an organised business and that’s where your work is done, why should your home also be organised and clutter free? Well good question. I think this is important because work is just that, where you work, and home is where you should be able to recharge, relax, rest and just chill out! Yes homes, the place you come to after a day hard at work, should be a peaceful place you want to be.

When you finish work you don’t want to come home to a cluttered environment filled with ‘stuff’ you want to come home to a clean, peaceful area where you can sit in your favourite chair and relax for a while.

Having a more relaxing and pleasant home life will help your creative outcomes too. You will have less worry, better sleeps and dare I say it, that overall Zen feeling. Your mind will be free for the important things in life. I really do believe this to be true.

Jo says we do need to de-clutter our homes. She said that these days we can get manufactured goods at such low prices and people buy more than they need. They fill their homes with ‘stuff’ that clutters areas making them look messy. This ‘stuff’ has no role in our homes, no need to be there! We need to get rid of it from our homes and make space for the things that are important to us, that of which recharges us.

Being organised in your workplace is a gift to yourself and business potential whereas being organised in your home is a gift to you and your family.

We need to bring organisation into our lifestyles to create a space for productivity and creativity. This will help work outcomes, home life and stress levels! Happy days.

Daniel Borg

Daniel Borg

Creative Director

psyborg® was founded by Daniel Borg, an Honours Graduate in Design from the University of Newcastle, NSW, Australia. Daniel also has an Associate Diploma in Industrial Engineering and has experience from within the Engineering & Advertising Industries.

Daniel has completed over 2500 design projects consisting of branding, illustration, web design, and printed projects since psyborg® was first founded. psyborg® is located in Lake Macquarie, Newcastle but services business Nation wide.

I really do enjoy getting feedback so please let me know your thoughts on this or any of my articles in the comments field or on social media below.

Cheers Daniel

10 practical blog article ideas

10 practical blog article ideas

10 Practical Blog Article Ideas

10 Practical Blog Article Ideas

With Google’s latest update to it’s search algorithm it’s getting clearer that becoming an expert in your industry is what it takes to rank your website higher in search engine results.

We recently touched on this issue with our guide to SEO and Content Marketing and thought we would elaborate further by providing 10 practical blog article ideas to get you thinking in the right direction as a lot of my clients are not sure where to start when it comes to writing blog articles.

If you are passionate about your product or service it should not be too difficult to find things to write about, and if you do start to take control of your blog or news section you will begin to understand and control the SEO of your website.

Naturally, if you are blogging about your business you will be building fresh content that will add keyword rich text to your posts becoming indexed by Search Engines.

Here are my 10 practical blog article ideas to get you started.

10 Blog Article Ideas Tip 01

1. A Project Update

Working on a new project? Want your clients to see what a great job you are doing while expanding your SEO? Why not blog about it. It is probably one of the simplest articles you could write as the project is fresh in your mind so not a lot of extra time and thought will need to go into the article. If your website is on WordPress you can even use the Mobile App to write the article and add images directly to your camera on the go.

You may be a florist working on a new flower bouquet design, a new blog article is a perfect way to add some new photos of your work to your site, show off some new techniques you’ve learnt and add a few extra key words that will help your website get viewed by more potential clients. It wouldn’t need to be long, it wouldn’t need to go into too much detail and it could have the potential to help your site and clientele grow.

Don’t forget to forward the article on to the client who’s project it is to make them see their job is important to you and build those personal relations, and who knows, they may even share it!

10 Blog Article Ideas Tip 02

2. Announcing a New Client

Great, another fantastic client has come to you and wants to use your expertise. Why not blog about their decision to choose you to do their work, again expanding on your site and portraying your skills.

You may be a builder and a client has chosen your business to build their new dream home or renovate their existing home. This new client may live at the top of a hill with a view overlooking the hills or ocean, why not publish an article about them? They may have just bought a 100 year old house in a quiet street, why not blog about it? They may be using a unique design you’ve never seen before, lets blog about it! Take some snap shots of your work or plans (client permission needed) and get it online to show your talent and craftsmanship while adding keywords and increasing the SEO of your site.

If it’s a new home in a new estate add a link to the sales office and perhaps a link to the architect who designed the home who you have built a good relationship with and who always recommends your handy work. This will not only optimise your key word search but may also get you some new clients. You could also ask those involved to link back to your site or article.

10 Blog Article Ideas Tip 03

3. An Interesting Industry Innovation

As a professional in your field you try and keep up to date with the latest trends. If something grabs your attention that is new and exciting to you, why not post an article about it?

Perhaps you own a café and you learn of a new kind of coffee technique on offer. Why no blog about it and show how you are bringing the new coffee to your beautiful cafe. You are so excited as you know your customers will LOVE it and cant wait to share this with them!

Don’t forget to share the post on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn so your customers have the chance to get in and receive the first weeks ‘10% off’!

10 Blog Article Ideas Tip 04

4. A Relatable Video you found on YouTube

While you were searching about a topic related to your business you found an interesting YouTube Video that you’d like to share with your readers? Why not write a blog about it?

Say you own a Yoga studio and while searching YouTube you came across a stressed single mother who has decided to video and upload her 30 day Yoga challenge. She has done a 3 minute video on how this 30 day challenge has transformed her body and mind, at the start she is stressed and tired, by the end she is happy and energised. You have chosen to write a blog about stress and the benefits of Yoga and as part of the blog and you share this woman’s transformation as you know clients may be able to relate to her circumstances.

Obviously you’ll want to share it, so it might reach the right person and don’t forget to use some fantastic key words, someone looking for methods to relieve stress may come across your article and be using your studio the following week!

10 Blog Article Ideas Tip 05

5. Something Interesting about a Staff Member

Your business would not be what it is today without your devoted staff! Posting about a staff member is not only a great way of letting clients know how great your staff are, but also a great way of letting your staff know you appreciate them and the experiences they bring to your business.

Imagine you are a real estate agent who buys and sells homes and also looks after rentals. One of your rental managers has just been on their honeymoon and was very excited to tell you and the other staff about their experiences. Why not blog about their time away and how they have come home refreshed, excited, happy and in love and whatever else! Add some photos they have shared and a few snap shots of the wedding day too.

Does this relate to your business? I believe it does. I think that the clients this property manager look after would like to know she is back at work and had a good time away, so don’t forget to email them a link to the blog! It also helps build client relationships, shows what a close team you are and might be something that reaches an audience who isn’t interested in some of the other articles you posted. Clients that have read the article may then recommend your services to other potential clients “they are so nice and friendly and always happy to help… you should use them to sell your home…” All the while expanding your SEO.

10 Blog Article Ideas Tip 06

6. A Unique Client Experience

You got a new client who has shocked or surprised you with their request. You’ve never done something like this before. Why not write about it?

Pretend you are a baker who not only makes but decorates cakes. You were surprised to be asked to design a cake for a 21st birthday and they have asked you to make a cake in the shape of a Panda Bear! Turns out this 21 year old loves Pandas and the parents want to surprise her. How could you say no, this masterpiece is going to cost them a bit, take up a lot of time but the end product is unique and beautiful. You must blog about it to share the experience and some photos or a time-laps video of your latest masterpiece.

Don’t forget to Instagram some of the pictures and post a time lapse video to YouTube linking back to your new article.

10 Blog Article Ideas Tip 07

7. An Opinion piece on Another Article

Have you come across an article that you strongly agree or disagree with? Why not write about it? Things you feel passionate about are usually the easiest articles to write, as the content simply flows onto the page.

You are an accountant and come across an article titled ‘How to receive more tax back’, it looks interesting so you have a read. The article certainly has many ways to claim more money back but more than half of them are illegal. You must warn clients or future clients not to believe everything they read and explain some of these illegal methods that are out there, explaining that if they were audited they would be slapped with a hefty fine or even jail time.

Share the opinion piece to try and stop this from happening to any of your tax clients, make sure to add a link to a similar article you or another expert has written about legal ways to get the most back at tax time. It shows your expertise in the field while building fresh content indexible by search engines.

10 Blog Article Ideas Tip 08

8. How your Business has Grown

It is always nice to look at how your business has evolved into what it is today. Why not do a blog article on how far you have come.

Say you are a Lawyer, who started out doing jobs from a home office and over the past 5 years your business has grown into a full functioning law firm. Each year more clients come to you, more staff are employed and more cases are won. Why not blog about your achievements. Include some statistics, a few photos, talk about some of the biggest cases you have won, some of the clients who you have built close bonds with, some of the big changes in legislation that you remember! Anything really. You may do it for the companies 1 year, 5 year or 10 year anniversary! It is good to remember your achievements and show clients how determined you have been to get to where you are today.

Email a link to new and past clients if you would like to share it and once again, you are building fresh content and optimising your search engine results and all this while celebrating your achievements and goals!

10 Blog Article Ideas Tip 09

9. Something that makes your Business more Efficient

You were struggling to get something to work in your business and after a long process you finally got success! Why not blog about it.

You might own a restaurant and are constantly losing business because the phone is often engaged as most of your clients call in orders. You decide something has to happen to fix this problem and you end up implementing an online order system where people can even pay for the goods online before coming in. Your productivity goes up and wait time goes down as employees no longer need to spend as much time on the phone trying to get orders.

You simply have to share this new system and it’s benefits with customers and forward the blog to everyone, you also get signs, fliers and business cards made up to get this message out. An article about this not only directly helps your business but it adds to the websites SEO because more blog articles means more fresh content and keywords have been added!

10 Blog Article Ideas Tip 10

10. Something that makes your Clients Happy!

Did you do something that helps your clients? Did you add something new to the office and want to reach out to tell your clients? Why not do this through your blog?

Imagine you own a dental surgery and you have noticed over the years how hard it is for some parents to get to the dentist child-free. When parents do come they are usually in a hurry to get back to the babysitter or when the child does tag along they are worrying about what the child is doing. You’ve always had a few toys in the reception area but know you need something different. Construction has just finished on a new dental room that is much bigger than the regular rooms and contains a ‘play area’ for children to use while they accompany clients to the dentist! What a perfect way to get out a blog article that has some pictures of the refreshed and re-furnished ‘kids room’.

This is yet another ‘MUST SHARE’ article as you know many of your clients will utilise this room and again, it will add to your SEO.

 

The Bottom Line

As you can see a blog article doesn’t always need to be a formal piece of writing. There are so many simple and quick article types that can be added to any website which still have the effect of  building fresh content, adding keywords and therefore optimising your website for search engine results! When you think about it, to rank higher in search engines you are simply competing against other websites in the same keyword category than you, hence the more expert content that you create about your business compared to your competitors the more of a chance you have in out ranking them and if you’re not doing it somebody else is.

So why not get blogging? …and if you need help in setting up a blog on your current website or would like to discuss a content strategy be sure to contact us for more information.

 

Daniel Borg

Daniel Borg

Creative Director

psyborg® was founded by Daniel Borg, an Honours Graduate in Design from the University of Newcastle, NSW, Australia. Daniel also has an Associate Diploma in Industrial Engineering and has experience from within the Engineering & Advertising Industries.

Daniel has completed over 2500 design projects consisting of branding, illustration, web design, and printed projects since psyborg® was first founded. psyborg® is located in Lake Macquarie, Newcastle but services business Nation wide.

I really do enjoy getting feedback so please let me know your thoughts on this or any of my articles in the comments field or on social media below.

Cheers Daniel

Outgoing SMTP email settings

Outgoing SMTP email settings

Outgoing SMTP Email Settings

Outgoing SMTP Email Settings

When setting up your new email account in your preferred email software you will require an outgoing SMTP mail address.

To make it easier we have listed the most common Australian internet service providers SMTP email addresses below.

And in case your wondering, SMTP stands for Simple Mail Transfer Protocol which is an Internet standard for electronic mail (e-mail) transmission.

Your Internet Service Provider Your Outgoing Mail Server
AAPT mail.aapt.net.au
Telstra Bigpond mail.bigpond.com
Blink Internet mail.blink.m2.com.au
Dodo smtp.dodo.com.au
iiNet mail.iinet.net.au
Internode mail.internode.on.net
iPrimus smtp.iprimus.com.au
OntheNet mail.onthenet.com.au
Optusnet mail.optusnet.com.au
Ozemail smtp.ozemail.com.au
People Telecom smtp.syd.people.net.au (NSW)
Three (3G Mobile) smtp.three.com.au
TPG mail.tpg.com.au
Virgin Mobile 3G smtp.virginbroadband.com.au
Vodafone 3G smtp.vodafone.net.au
Westnet mail.westnet.com.au
Daniel Borg

Daniel Borg

Creative Director

psyborg® was founded by Daniel Borg, an Honours Graduate in Design from the University of Newcastle, NSW, Australia. Daniel also has an Associate Diploma in Industrial Engineering and has experience from within the Engineering & Advertising Industries.

Daniel has completed over 2500 design projects consisting of branding, illustration, web design, and printed projects since psyborg® was first founded. psyborg® is located in Lake Macquarie, Newcastle but services business Nation wide.

I really do enjoy getting feedback so please let me know your thoughts on this or any of my articles in the comments field or on social media below.

Cheers Daniel