New Tool: Using Paperless Post for a Client's Nine Year Anniversary Party

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I was so happy to help our local yoga studio celebrate their 9th year in business! It’s really a joy to do design work for them. I love that we have our own yoga studio! It’s one of those special businesses that makes Downtown Woodstock unique.

The owner of Ember Yoga, Margaret, and I knew we wanted to do something special for their anniversary party. (9 YEARS!) Yes, we could do a Facebook event and send out an email blast… but why not do something a little special and different? My sister-in-law has been using Paperless Post’s Flyer for birthday parties. (So convenient and CUTE!) I thought we could probably apply the same ease of use and do something fun for our members at Ember Yoga.

First we designed our Flyer. We were feeling a little fancy so we went with Lucille Ball’s Champagne gif and matched it up with some over the top font choices. (The template we used was called Ritz. Check it out here!) Why not go all out, eh?

We used Flyer’s email function to email all the current members. I love that members could RSVP right from the email - and I liked that we could see who opened the invite too! There’s even a follow up feature!

It was fun and easy to use, which in my book makes it so great for both personal parties and business events. If you’re looking for a bit of a different event experience, I’d give it a shot!

Why The Words On Your Site Matter As Much As the Design

Why The Words On Your Site Matter As Much As the Design

This may seem like a funny topic to appear on graphic design website, but it’s true, the words on your website do matter as much as the design. As a copywriter, I’m definitely partial to words. But in multiple conversations with Madison and other graphic artists like her, it’s often a complaint on both sides of the fence. No matter how you look at it, words matter. Period.

While it’s true that we live in a visual world, where beautifully curated photos and impressive videos abound, words will always carry weight. They may not be the first thing you see on a stunning website, but they are often the point where persuasion meets action.

What Difference Do Words Make?

Finish these sentences for me:

“Four score and _____.” – Abe Lincoln

Be the change ______ see in the world.” - Ganhi

“_____ Do It.” – Nike

“Snap! _____! Pop!” – Rice Krispies

“Toto, I’ve got a feeling _____.” – Dorothy Gale, The Wizard of Oz

“If you liked it, then you should have  ______” – Beyoncé (Don’t act like you don’t know it!)

We could do this all day, right? Images stick with you, yes, but so do words.

Words have the power to inspire, engage, anger, and move us in countless ways. So, if you are focusing all your efforts on what your website looks like, but not giving much thought to what it sounds like, you’re missing half of the equation!

A gorgeous website with no substance is unlikely to get you far with your ideal audience. It’s like a car with no gas. A plane with no pilot. Peanut butter with no jelly.

That’s what makes this a common complaint for designers as well as copywriters. Graphic designers know this as well. They’ll create their little hearts out, but at the end of the day, you need both powerful words and images to compel your tribe.

Now that we’ve cleared that up, let’s talk about three ways to improve your website copy.

Hire a Copywriter

No surprise that I wrote this as my top suggestion, but hang with me. It makes sense to hire someone skilled in a specific area for a particular job. It’s the same reason I hired Mad + Dusty to create my own website. They’re much better at it!

Here are a few reasons why you should consider hiring a pro:

  • You’re a good writer, but you’re slow and needed elsewhere.

  • You’re not a good writer, and that’s evident when someone reads your site. (Speaking truth in love, people!)

  • You’re too close to your work, and can’t see it the way someone else does.

  • You have a hard time explaining what you do well, in memorable language, or without using “insider” language or jargon.

  • You don’t need a complete makeover, but you could use some editing and a touch up.

I have no idea where your website copy falls on that spectrum, but here’s what I will tell you. First of all, this is an investment. Unless you go through major changes, you don’t have to rewrite your website every year. Second, consider the outcome. If you invested a lot of time and money into your website, but it’s not doing its job, or no one ever tells you how great it is, there could be a big problem. Third, how many websites do you visit each week? If you don’t have anything enticing for them to show up and look at, you’re doing your organization a disadvantage.

If you’re working with talented designers like Madison and Dusty, I already know your work is important. We need it. So, let’s make sure that others take note of that when they see your site, too.

Get a Free or Cheap Outside Opinion

You know those people called friends and family? You probably know one or more of them with a keen eye and a strong love of punctuation and grammar.

Choose a couple of people who know what you do, and ask for their opinion. I’d choose a couple of folks who are either in your target market or have some sense of what you do, but don’t know it inside and out. You want an educated guess, not someone who sees it the exact same way you do. Objectivity is the name of the game.

Ask them what they like, what confuses them, or where they have to think too hard about what you’re saying. This will help you identify areas that need to be spruced up.

I recommend getting at least three opinions so you can look for commonalities. Everyone has their own opinion, and you don’t want to get stuck in making lots of tedious edits based on one person’s feedback, especially when it doesn’t speak to anyone else’s thoughts.

Barter for Better Copy

I’m a big fan of bartering. We in the solopreneur and small businesses community are quite good at it.

Maybe you have a professional service you can trade for someone writing or editing your website, such as design, photography, or accounting. Or maybe it’s a personal service like carpooling, cleaning their house, or pet-sitting for a friend. Bonus points for creativity!

The point here is that there could be something you can give, which is also something that another person wants. Bartering is mutually beneficial, so be helpful.

Next Steps

It’s time for an honest evaluation. Take a half hour, and give the main pages of your website a good read-through. Are you impressed, inspired, or intrigued when you read it? If you can’t wow yourself, you may not be able to woo your website’s visitors. And that’s a big problem when it comes to your sales or donations.

It’s possible that you spent all your time thinking about how your website would look, but figured that you could just throw a few paragraphs of text up on the pages and call it a day. Or, more likely, that you’d get back to that part of your site “later.” Either of these sound familiar? It’s probably time to move it back up on your To Do List.

Think about it this way. If you spend a lot of time driving people back to your website through social media, emails, conversations, handing out business cards, or relying on organic traffic, you can’t ignore your website. It’s time to up your game.

Your work probably revolves around relationships. It could be with partners and sponsors, donors, customers, and those who benefit from your mission. It’s probably also very personal. So, do your job to the best of your ability—and make sure your website does the same.

Want more website writing tips? Here are 10 mistakes you can’t afford to make.


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Kristi Porter helps nonprofits and social enterprises get noticed and grow through effective marketing and communications. She also teaches solopreneurs and small businesses how to incorporate philanthropy and giving strategies. Kristi believes that cause-focused organizations are the future of business, and when they succeed, we all win.

Find her online here. and on Facebook here.

Small Business and Motherhood

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I’ve gone through most of my pregnancy with a pretty cheerful attitude. Sure, the twin thing was a surprise. But they are growing well, and I feel okay most of the time. Then about a month ago something changed. I started creating spreadsheet upon spreadsheet. Outlining our design packages, updating our cash flow spreadsheet, and talking worries to Dusty 24/7.

I think this is nesting? Or at least how small business owners nest?

So in the darkest of hour, I did what any seasoned entrepreneur would do. I emailed my friends, “How the heck am I going to do this!?”

They came back with some AMAZING advice.

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prepare for a deep shift in perspective.

“Becoming a mom eclipsed anything else I had been in my life, and I was totally unprepared for that and surprised in the best way. Before having my son, the business was my baby. Everyone says this but a child puts things in perspective. I think I’m able to enjoy my job more because the little things don’t worry me so much. He lights up my whole life.”

Maddie Morden, Personify Shop

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Plan and work for that maternity leave.

“My best advice to a new working mom: take time off. You'll be sleep deprived, a little hormonal, and smitten with your new babies right after they get here. As a business owner, I hired an admin assistant to handle day-to-day communication while I took three months off with Sophie. It took a lot of work to get to that point while I was pregnant, but hands down, that was the best decision I made pre-baby!

Decide now if you want to keep working and make a tentative plan for when you'd like to return to work. Recruit help (we use family and daycare!), and use your work hours efficiently. You'll be surprised how quickly you can work when you're apart from your babies!

My best online resource is the Moms On Call Scheduler app. They provide scheduling help, feeding guidelines, bath time tips, sleep schedules and more! My favorite new mom book has been The Wonder Weeks.

Last but not least, give yourself so. much. grace. I can't say this enough to myself and my fellow mamas out there.”

Laura Balfour, Fleecher Design Studio

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Outline priorities ahead of time.

“Before Atlas was born, I wish I had given myself a strict maternity leave. At 2 weeks postpartum I worked on a couple different orders, and while I enjoyed a small amount of normalcy, at two weeks I should have been soaking up that newborn yumminess instead. My advice, therefore, would be to check in with your priorities ahead of time and commit to them! They are only so little for a small amount of time, and your emails can wait.”

Becca Doane, Little Moon Rising

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Leave room to feel differently about work.

“Leave room to feel differently about work. I thought I'd just jump right into both my day job and my side hustle after baby, but I felt changed in unexpected ways. Ask for help! I'm notorious for just working through the hard times while also not asking for a little time away. Don't be afraid to ask for help often from everyone - you shouldn't have to do it alone. Lastly, take advantage of all of the time you have now. I never realized just how much time I had before, so I felt overwhelmed at how little time I didn't have post-baby. You WILL find strategic windows of time to create and work; it just won't be the same. Enjoy the quality time...soon enough they will be grown.”

Barbara Billings, The Stranded Sheep

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Embrace the next chapter, and behold, the Instant “NOPE.”

“Take it slow. I jumped so fast to get back into the game and it wrecked me (not really but you know what I mean). I actually ended up taking time off again 6 months post baby to process all the mental changes. So give yourself grace and if you need time, never hesitate in taking it. Babes are only little once.

Motherhood truly changes you in ways you don't expect. So it goes without saying that your work, how you structure your day, and even what your work looks/feels like will change too. It took me a while to come to terms with this, but I actually love my work so much more now. In terms of style, I feel like my work is more natural and authentic and I've actually switched to shooting mainly motherhood, family, and children. I've stopped worrying about what other people want my photos to look like and just do what I want now. Its unbelievably freeing. Plus, those jobs you currently feel like you need to take? Yeah, they become an instant "NOPE" because those are precious hours you can spend with family instead.  

And for me, baby wearing was my go to. Our little love refused to be put down so the Solly Baby wrap was the best investment we could ever make! And the Doc-A-Tot, because as a mother you get paid in sleep. So if they stick to their routine and can actually sleep during the night... you get more done the next day. 

Alyson Jarvis, Alyson Jarvis Photography

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I am so thankful that I’m not alone in this. I’m so lucky to be surrounded by strong mothers who run are raising beautiful families and building businesses. What about you? Any advice for a first time mama?