CCC Turns 3! And the Winners Are…

We’ve been celebrating all week, and today it’s official. My company, Clearly Conveyed Communications, turns 3 years old.

CCC turns 3! The swag has arrived.

The swag has arrived. How do you like the retro touch?

In some ways, it seems like yesterday that I made the leap to start my own company; in others, it seems like a lifetime ago. In 3 short years, CCC has gotten social with first responders, worked with international clients and connected with people the world over. We’ve scratched, clawed, struggled and grown, experienced the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. That’s the life of a small business owner.

And small business owners are close to our heart. While we’ve worked with companies of all sizes, we love helping small businesses succeed and realize their hopes and dreams. If you’re a small business owner, drop us a line. We’d love to hear about what you’re doing, so we can help spread the word.

We’re grateful to everyone who’s helped spread the word about us and wanted to thank you. Earlier this week, we announced a contest for those who engage with us on social media and are excited to announce the winners!

The winners of the ‘CCC Turns 3’ contest are:

  • Missy Radecki, Associate Professor of Nursing, FL *** CCC swag prize pack
  • Lyla Larimore, Blogger & Fire Service Enthusiast, IN *** CCC swag prize pack
  • David Rose, CEO at PRSONAS¬†*** Spotify Premium gift card

Congratulations to our winners! We’ll be in touch with more information on your prizes.

A sincere THANK YOU to everyone who has helped shape CCC in any way, from clients and customers to ardent supporters to close friends who serve as sounding boards. We appreciate you!

p.s. We’re still partying! Penelope and Mojo are swinging around the office. ūüôā

Grateful and blessed,
Jaime

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CCC Turns 3, And You’re Invited (To Win)!

We’re throwing a party, and you’re invited — to win.

CCC turns 3!

Clearly Conveyed Communications is turning 3 this week, and we’re celebrating with our clients, customers, supporters and fans. All week, we’ll be partying (while we work) at the office, so we’re inviting you along for the fun.

Follow and engage with us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and the blog for your chance to win CCC swag and other cool prizes. The winners will be announced right here on Friday, so stay tuned!

While you’re here, kick off your shoes and stay awhile.¬†We’d love to help you with your next marketing, writing or social media project. Let us know your challenges, so we can help you with solutions. Have a question? Ask!

To kick your Tuesday up a notch, here’s what we’re dancing to in the office right now. Join us!

Now that you’re done dancing, here’s a chance to win.

What’s your favorite post (or series) on the CCC blog? Let us know below to be entered to win!

(New to the blog? Check out the right-hand sidebar for recent posts, popular content, categories, subject tags, archives and contributors to the CCC blog. You may be surprised at what you find!)

p.s. THANK YOU to all of our loyal readers and followers. We love to hear your thoughts and appreciate everyone who likes, comments on and shares our posts to further the conversation.

Cheers,
The CCC Crew

Jaime, Penelope & Mojo

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Your Invite: It’s Spring Training At The CCC Blog

Welcome to the CCC blog, rookies and veterans alike!

Root, Root, Root for the home team!

Nothing beats a night at the ballpark!

With spring training coming to a close, we thought it would be a great time to show you around the place. This blog (and website) is set up to help you, so here’s how to navigate it with ease.

Popular Content

Today, everyone wants to know, “What’s hot? What’s everyone else doing?” Well, here’s our answer. The Popular Content area on the right hand side toolbar shows you what people are reading every day that you visit. It varies wildly from recent posts to ones penned a few years ago. Rest assured, you’ll find an intriguing topic in Popular Content.

Categories & Tags

While we do have a search box (upper right hand corner), the Categories and Tags clouds on the right hand side toolbar can point you in the right direction quickly. In general, our posts fall into one of four categories: marketing, writing, social media and personal reflection. However, we take a variety of routes to get there, as evidenced by some of our tags. What’s the difference between a category and tag? A category classifies the main topic of a post while there may be 10-12 tags or other topics mentioned. Does that make sense?

Archives

Our Archives (on the right hand side toolbar) are like those scrapbooks you never get around to making. With one click, you can see what we were writing about in October 2012 or the beginning of this year. Easy peasy!

Contributors to the CCC Blog

This is where it gets interesting (and fun). We’re fortunate enough to have some fantastic contributors to this blog, who are noted in this special section on the right hand side toolbar. CCC values different opinions and viewpoints, so we’re always open to guest bloggers. For more on a guest blogging opportunity, click here. If you’d like to check out our guest posts, just click on the Guest Bloggers Category link.

CCC Wants to Give You A Voice

Clearly Conveyed Communications offers marketing, writing and social media services, which you may have figured out by our main blog categories. Check out more information on our services, and let us know if you have a specific project to discuss or a question in general. We’re here to help!

If you stumbled across our blog and like what you see, subscribe. At the very top of the right hand side toolbar, you can choose to receive email or RSS Feed updates. Want to read our posts in your pj’s? Go ahead. We won’t judge!

“Baseball, it is said, is only a game. True. And the Grand Canyon is only a hole in Arizona.” -George Will

Pitch In!

We’d love to hear from you! Join the discussion by adding your unique voice to a topic raised on a post, or contact us if you’d like a little more privacy. As a communications company, we welcome your opinion and recognize that more voices add to the discussion and create amazing solutions. All we ask is that you be respectful of others while you’re here, so everyone can enjoy themselves.

What topics would you like to see covered in future posts?

What’s an incredible blog post you read (or wrote) recently?

What’s your favorite tag on the CCC blog?

We love trading ideas and supporting fellow blog owners. Feel free to leave your blog URL in the comments, and remember to let us know what you write about. Happy blogging and baseball season!

CCC’s Manager,
Jaime

Tag, tweet, mention or pin us –> Join the conversation: ¬†
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Spring Cleaning? Don’t Forget Your Business

Spring is in the air! Maybe it’s the rising¬†temperatures or longer days, but optimism abounds this time of year.

Spring is in the air! CCC can add a breath of fresh air to your communications.

Spring cleaning? Don’t forget your business! CCC would love to help you freshen up your communications.

If spring cleaning is on your to-do list, don’t forget about your business! How can you spring clean your business? Try these tips:

  • Get Organized — Go through your paper and electronic files and form a system. The point is for you to be able to find what you’re looking for quickly and efficiently. Try alphabetizing file folders or creating sub-folders to further corral all of your pictures and electronic documents. Don’t forget to back up your electronic files!
  • Review¬†Your Online Home¬†— Take a fresh look at your website or blog, or ask an unbiased third party to help out. What catches your eye? Is your site easy to navigate? Does the look and feel still work or is it time for a change? If you don’t have a blog, now’s a great time to start one.

Related reading: A Simple Step-By-Step Guide to SEO // Do You Mow Your Blog? // To Blog, or Not To Blog: That Is the Question

  • Get Social with a Strategy — Review your social media presences. Do you like what you see? Be honest — are you providing your community with value?¬†Are your efforts producing the results you want? If not, step back and think about what you want to accomplish.
  • The Right Fit — While we all want to grow our businesses, sometimes downsizing can help¬†spur¬†growth. Are you stretched too thin on social media? All platforms aren’t the right fit for all businesses. Choose your platforms wisely to get the highest return on investment. Remember, social media isn’t free!
  • First Impressions Matter on Social Too — Your profile, profile picture and cover photo are often the first impressions that a visitor — potential customer? — has of you on social media. Make a favorable first impression!¬†Refresh any profiles, profile pics or cover photos that need it. Note that some platforms have changed dimensions for 2015.

Related reading: Have you found your social media voice? // Should You Slim Down (on Social Media)? //¬†What’s in a social media profile? Everything.

  • Revisit Your Customers¬†— Take a fresh look at your customers. Are you providing the right products or services to help them achieve their objectives? Do plans or strategies need a fresh look? Is your customer still a good fit for your business?¬†Companies and brands change, so you need to be fluid too.
  • Look in the Mirror — Look at your brand: your logo, colors, font(s), name, reason for being… everything that makes you who you are. Does it still fit? Has your brand evolved but your look and feel stayed the same? It may be time to rebrand or just refresh.
  • Freshen up Your Communications¬†— Has your message grown stale? Are you having trouble reaching your target audience(s)? Are you sending out the same emails, newsletters and blog posts? Freshen up your content to re-energize your brand and re-engage with your customers, prospects and employees.

Related reading: Why You Should Think Like The B.A.U. // Branding Is A Feeling, Not A Noun // The Power of the (Red) Pen

We hope that you enjoy the related reading links, which should help you tackle some of the aforementioned business spring cleaning tasks. Or you can search the CCC blog in 3 ways: search box (upper right-hand corner), Categories and Tags (scroll down the right-hand sidebar). If you have a question about your particular project or a subject in general, just ask! We’re here to help. Not sure how we can help you? Check out a sampling of the¬†marketing, writing and social media services we offer.

“I always find something I’ve lost when I do my spring cleaning. This year it was my mind.” ¬†-Maxine, Hallmark character

What part of your business are you going to spring clean?

Whistling while I work,
Jaime

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Step 2: Now It’s Time To Write

If prewriting is the pregame strategy session, step two of the writing process — drafting or writing — is the mad rush onto the field. After all of the film watching and play designing and planning, it’s time to let it all out.

Wildcat Willie leads the Kansas State football team onto the field!

Step two of the writing process is a rush of adrenaline!
Photo by The U.S. Army via CC BY 2.0 // effects added by the author

draft·ing (verb): the second stage of the writing process during which a writer organizes information and ideas into sentences and paragraphs

You may be wondering why I’m using the term drafting instead of¬†writing. I thought it would help avoid confusion because we’re discussing the entire writing process. But rest assured, we’re talking about the same thing. This is the phase where you try to type or write as fast as the words pour out of you, if you’ve done a good job of prewriting.

Write freely and as rapidly as possible and throw the whole thing on paper. Never correct or rewrite until the whole thing is down.” ¬†-John Steinbeck

This is the fun part, or at least the part where you start to see results. It’s like rolling that first stripe of paint on the wall after hours of prep work or taking the plunge out of an airplane after going through all of the pre-jump requirements. (I prefer the latter but I’m sure painting is just as exciting to some people!) This is the time to introduce your characters or describe the situation or state your points clearly.

This is not the time to worry about spelling, grammar, punctuation or overall structure. I’m not saying that you should leave them out on purpose, but these items will be addressed during the next two steps (revising and editing). If you tend to correct grammatical errors or typos without thinking about it, don’t worry. Some of us are just hardwired that way (including yours truly). It will slow you down if you attempt to not correct these errors at this time.

One of the reasons that I love writing is that you can do it almost anywhere. All you need is a computer, typewriter or pen and paper AND some privacy. How much privacy? That depends on you. Some people want a room with a door they can shut. Others don’t mind light background noise: quiet conversations on a cafe patio, the soothing tones of the ocean or the peaceful sounds of nature.

“Like your bedroom, your writing room should be private, a place where you go to dream… The space can be humble, and it really needs only one thing: a door you are willing to shut.” ¬†-Stephen King

Privacy can be hard to find in today’s corporate America environments. If you’re sitting in a cubicle in the middle of an open concept floor plan, surrounded by talking co-workers, music piped through overhead speakers and other office noises, it can be tough to write — for anyone. Don’t discredit your ability to write if you have issues in this type of environment. Try to find anywhere quiet — an open conference room, a forgotten nook or a local park during your lunch break. It’s frustrating, but you may have to take your writing assignments home in order to produce quality work.

And if you’re into writing by hand (like a certain author of this blog)? Don’t be embarrassed or feel old-fashioned. It turns out that it’s good for your brain.

FREE Download ‚Äď> The Power of the Pen: 5 Steps to Writing That Produces Results

Feedback on This Draft

Where’s your favorite place to write?

Who’s your favorite writer?

What’s your favorite written piece — by you or someone else?

Chime in with any other thoughts on the drafting (or writing) phase of the writing process.

If you have any writing-related questions, please ask. Or we can handle all of your writing needs so you can focus on saving the world before bedtime (or the big game).

Cheers,
Jaime

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Auld Lang Syne & Happy New Year!

The time has come to say goodbye to 2014.

Happy New Year from CCC!

Before we watch the ball drop to kick off 2015, let’s take a quick look back at the year that was. My¬†helper monkeys, Mojo and Penelope, have prepared an end-of-year¬†report for the CCC blog. Thanks to you, what a year it’s been!

Consider this:

 A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 4,500 times in 2014. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 4 trips to carry that many people.

We shared 69 new posts this past year, usually sticking to our Tuesday and Thursday schedule. You came early and often, culminating on November 20th (Mexican Revolution Day?!), our most popular day with 54 views.

What posts tickled your fancy the most?

  1. Promotional Products as Effective Marketing Tools
  2. 50 Things I’m Grateful For… Summer 2014 Edition
  3. A Simple Step-by-Step Guide to Search Engine Optimization
  4. Kindness in the Workplace: A Guide for Your Organization
  5. To Give or Not To Give…

Along the way, we hit two notable milestones: 200 followers and 500 likes. Thank you!

CCC hits 200 likes! 11.25.14CCC hits 500 likes! 11.21.14

Loyal readers, you came from near and far. The United States, India and Brazil were our most represented countries, and we had visitors from 91 countries around the world. Some of you found us through Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest, our top referrers.

“Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened. ¬†-Dr. Seuss

OK, now you can sing “Auld Lang Syne.”

Cheers to peace and prosperity in 2015!

The CCC crew,
Jaime, Mojo and Penelope

Welcoming old friends and new, connect with us!
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Writer’s Block: 4 Ways You Can Break Through the Wall

You sit down at your computer to write an inspiring blog post and you get nothing. Maybe it takes the form of a brick wall or just an expansive black void. Everyone suffers from writer’s block from time to time, but how do you break through it to produce meaningful content?

Current Events: What’s going on in the world right now? It’s so important to be up on current events, not only to make small talk with potential customers and partners, but also so you can tap the pulse of the world, your country, your industry or your city in your blog. It may surprise you how often there’s a connection between what’s going on in the outside world and what you do. For example: Where Has All of the Good Journalism Gone?¬†| The Olympics: A Global Brand (Kind Of)

Your Story: Your journey on the road¬†of owning a business (or excelling in your industry) shouldn’t be shared only during networking events and hostage situations (kidding on that last one). Talk about memorable moments or how you handled difficult situations. People want to hear from people who have lived through similar experiences. Your personal observations can help others navigate through chaotic moments. For example:¬†Jumping Off A Cliff: My 1st Year As An Entrepreneur¬†| An Omnipresent View? The Life of a Small Business Owner

Your Customers: While you’re answering your customers’ questions, jot them down. Chances are that other people have the same questions. Sometimes when a client asks me a question, I actually think, ‘there’s a blog post in there!’ Don’t be afraid to talk about successful case studies either, especially unique ones. Of course, you should make sure your client’s comfortable with using its name or just talk in generalities if you’re not comfortable doing that. For example: Get Social: 4 Easy Ways to Join the Conversation¬†| Should You Slim Down (on Social Media)?

Your Interests: Have you watched an intriguing movie lately? Attended a thought-provoking lecture? Read an inspiring book? Talk about it. Tell your audience why it affected you and how you’re using the experience in your professional life. You may be surprised at how your everyday life spills over into your business. Trust me, I didn’t set out making leg lamp cookies to learn about my business, but I did.

Your Inspiration: I wanted to be two people when I grew up: MacGyver and Ricardo Tubbs. Either that, or join the A-Team. What does that have to do with your business? Everything. I shared with my readers how MacGyver can inspire their marketing efforts¬†and how to model your team after the best there ever was, the A-Team. Oh, and don’t forget about how Elvis can inspire your success. Big fan here! Use your inspirations to inspire others. You never know what will cause that ‘ah ha’ moment in someone else.

Your Turn

How do you beat writer’s block?

What other writing prompts have you used to break through the wall?

What’s your favorite blog post where someone tied in an unexpected subject to business?

Black belt (in beating writer’s block),
Jaime

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Where else can you read about MacGyver, Marketing and Leg Lamp Cookies?

As we approach the 200 follower mark, it seemed like a good time to officially welcome (or re-welcome) everyone to the blog and answer some frequently asked questions.

The doors open... come on in!

What’s this blog about?¬†

In a nutshell, posts typically fall into 4 main categories: marketing, writing, social media and personal reflection. As loyal readers will tell you though, we may take any number of roads to arrive at the destination. Elvis? Check. MacGyver? Yes. Leg lamp cookies. What else would you expect?

How can I check out previous posts? 

The categories and tags balloons on the right hand side of the page are great for delving into posts on specific topics — books,¬†branding, paying it forward, etc. If you’re looking for what others are reading, check out the popular content section on the right hand side. It changes daily based on what people are reading that particular day. The archives heading, again on the right side, is a great way to find a past post from a specific time period, say September 2013. Looking for different voices? Scroll down to the Contributors to the CCC Blog section on the right sidebar to enjoy business insight, thoughts on branding and even original poetry.

Do you host guest bloggers? 

Yes! We’ve been blessed to host some wonderful guest bloggers, including those referenced in the aforementioned Contributors to the CCC Blog section (on the right hand side). You can browse all of our guest posts here.

Are you interested in being published on the CCC blog? Click here for more information.

What’s CCC stand for anyway?

Clearly Conveyed Communications. We give companies and brands a voice by assisting them with their marketing, writing and social media needs. Wondering what to post on Facebook? Looking for some magical marketing copy? Trying to keep tabs on your ever-changing market? Give us a call (or email or tweet or message…)! We’ll be happy to discuss your next project — no strings attached. Just have a question? That’s OK too! Hit us up; we might just know the answer.

Who’s the voice behind this blog (and site)?

Me. ūüėČ

What can we expect to read in the future?

This is where you come in! Are you looking for information on a particular topic? Would you love to hear more about something previously touched on? We love your feedback and try to use it to shape future content. Drop us a line or leave your thoughts in the comments below.

So that should just about do it. Any other questions? Thoughts? Suggestions?

–>Who’s read this blog in their pj’s?<–

Photo credit: the doors open by Torley Olmstead via CC BY-SA 2.0 // modified by the author

Cheers,
Jaime

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Free Your Mind and The Productivity Will Follow

One of my favorite college classes was Business Writing. While it was a morning class (night owl here), we were so productive in that hour and fifteen minute time frame. Why? Free writes.

Do you free write?

Free writing‚ÄĒand espresso‚ÄĒhelp me get the creative juices flowing.

Each class, we’d arrive and sit down at a computer. The professor (who was another reason that class was so productive) would give us a topic, seemingly at random. We’d have 15 minutes to write on that topic, whether it be our desired superpower or a special memory from our childhood. No matter the topic, the free writes produced the desired results — getting our creative juices flowing.

Let’s be honest. College students aren’t known for being morning people and may party more than most. But the simple act of free writing helped us wake up, start thinking and made the rest of the class more productive.

Do you free write?

Sometimes I’ll look back through my college papers, and I always enjoy re-reading the free writes from this class. I’m going to begin incorporating these back into my routine to help break through writer’s block and get my mind going when it’s just one of those days.

Here’s your free write topic: What superpower would you choose? Why? Drop your thoughts in the comments below!

Cheers,
Jaime

Connect with CCC for free flowing fun (and helpful tips too)!

Walking on the Wild Side to a Devoted Blog Following

Walking on the Wild Side to a Devoted Blog Following by Clearly Conveyed Communications

In our last post, we talked about attracting an audience when you first begin your blog, and a little about Field of Dreams. (Hey, it was a great movie.) Thanks to all who contributed to the discussion. Now that people are coming through the turnstiles, how do you keep them at the park?

Publish Consistently

Of course, quality content is important, but so is publishing consistency (even more so than frequency, in my humble opinion). Choose a frequency that you can handle (realistically, not in your dream world), and stick to it. When I first started this blog, that was my biggest issue. I’d publish a post here and there, which didn’t help with drawing visitors. Once I committed to a schedule, business definitely started to pick up. Last year, I decided to up my frequency to twice a week, publishing on Tuesdays and Thursdays (after initially experimenting with Tuesdays and Fridays). It’s a commitment, but I’ve managed to stick with the schedule pretty well with a little planning and guest bloggers.

A Note on Guest Blogging

Note that I only began inviting guest bloggers once the CCC blog had reached a decent readership. Second, guest blogging has come under fire recently because some marketers and social media folks (OK, a lot of them) have abused it as an SEO tactic. Google has been criticized by some circles for warning against this practice, but you shouldn’t be guest blogging or accepting guest bloggers purely for SEO purposes. Will the proposed content interest and benefit your audience? If not, then pass. The same is true if you’re looking to write for other blogs. Only propose content that fits their audiences and don’t stuff it with unnecessary links back to your work.

Yours Truly, in leopard print
Yours Truly, showing my true colors for my last head shot taken in corporate America.

Walk on the Wild Side

It’s OK to walk a little on the wild side sometimes or have a wide path to begin with. It may take a little time to figure out exactly what topic(s) you want to discuss. This blog is a little different because it covers a myriad of subjects, but they’re all related to four main topics: marketing, writing, social media and personal reflection. It just so happens that Elvis, MacGyver, The American President and leg lamp cookies all relate to these topics while giving the blog a breath of fresh air. I have a plethora of passions and like to try new things, so it’s only appropriate that my blog is wide-ranging as well. Have fun, and don’t be afraid to take a stand on an issue or two. (Just don’t hate; that’s never helpful.)

Open Mic Night 

Involve your readers; don’t lecture at them. People like to share their opinions and experiences, which will add another dimension to your blog. Always ask for comments, and feel free to throw some specific questions out there. It’s always fun to hear others’ points of view. We’re fortunate to have people around the world reading this blog, and I love hearing from them. (Full disclosure: I’m a sucker for British accents, so I always read comments from Great Britain out loud complete with accent.) Sometimes a post can take on a whole new meaning because of a question posed or insight provided by a reader.

Don’t worry if your blog’s comment box isn’t blowing up either. You may have loyal readers who love your posts who would never venture past the like button, if that. Some people prefer to remain silent while others don’t want to take the time to leave insightful comments or just don’t have anything else to add. Regardless, if your follower count keeps creeping higher, then people are listening.

That’s the leopard print lady’s take on filling the grandstands with devoted readers. What do you think?

What other suggestions do you have?

Is anyone else in love with animal print? ūüôā

As a reminder, we covered how to get folks to visit your blog in our last post. We’d still love to hear your thoughts on that subject as well.

Still walking on the wild side,
Jaime

Constant Readers, let’s get social..