Transcription & Business Marketing

Transcription and marketing

Transcription Services for Marketing Professionals

Marketing is an essential aspect of any business, it is one of the most important tools you can utilise to meet your own business goals. However, a half-hearted marketing strategy is no good to anyone. To get a top of the line marketing strategy off the ground you need skill, dedication, creativity and a strategy. As you can imagine, it is an exhausting endeavour and not only that it can be expensive in time, money and resources.

Efficiency is the number one key to making your marketing strategy as effective as possible. But remember, efficient and lazy are not the same thing! Outsourcing is one of the ways that you can make the more time-consuming marketing tasks less of a drain, meaning you can focus on the more important tasks which will yield the best results for your business.

Transcription is a valuable tool for marketers yet it is one that many marketing specialists overlook. Instead of wasting your valuable time typing, time which would be better spent doing actual marketing, using a transcription service gives you back that time. It doesn’t really matter how fast you can type – it still uses up time that is better spent elsewhere.

So how can you use transcription to improve your marketing? Here are 3 key areas to look at:

#1 Market Research – transcribing focus groups

Focus groups are a great way to get opinions from customers, whether that is for a product, brand or just some ideas of how you can best market a concept. However, although they help garner valuable insight the data they provide can be difficult to organise. In fact, it is impossible unless you transcribe the actual event.

Transcribing focus groups takes a lot of time particularly if you can’t type well or have little to no experience of transcribing different voices, often when they are all trying to talk at once. Although you may be tempted to use AI online transcribers they rarely get the same quality as a human transcriber and this may lead to many extra hours spent re-listening and editing the transcript. Sometimes cheaper and faster is a false economy.

Once the text has been transcribed you are able to identify key points, messages and themes. If you are using data analysis software your transcriber can format the text precisely so that this stage can be completely more efficiently.

#2 Faster, easier creation of content and SEO

A time consuming task facing most marketers is creating content and then optimising it for search engines like Google. By grabbing chunks of the text that have already been transcribed you already have most of a blog post written. If you are posting a video, providing a transcript on the same page automatically boosts your SEO and increases visibility on searches. Transcription provides a multitude of avenues to explore making the SEO and content creation options open up.

#3 Captions

One of the things people expect these days is captions on video content. Many people like to watch a video with the sound off – in fact, according to Facebook around 85% of the videos they host are watched in this way. Using a transcript to make captions will make your videos more accessible, increase engagement and lead to a wider reach for your marketing message.

#4 Increases Searchability

If your marketing strategy involves a lot of video it can take a lot of time out of your day trying to search through looking for that special sound bite. If a transcript was available you could look for the key words and then skip to the exact time in the video. You can just cut and paste and the job is done. Absolutely no fuss, and you’re free to get on with something more important.

It is true that transcription is time consuming so it makes sense to use a professional transcriber to help remove this potential roadblock and let you get on with marketing your company.

If you are a marketing professional and you want to find out more please feel free to contact me to discuss your needs.

Image Credit: unsplash-logoCampaign Creators

Public Speaking & Transcription

public speaking transcription

How transcribing your public presentations, courses and workshops can provide added value to your clients and your business.

Are you a public speaker? Perhaps you deliver courses or workshops? Or you are a business person delivering seminar or conference presentations?

Having delivered some excellent material what then happens to all that knowledge and information once the conference, course or workshop is over? Wouldn’t it be great if all that work and effort could continue to create value for your clients, and your business?

You probably have your course notes available – but what about the discussions, the questions and answers, and the nuances you added as part of your delivery? All of these things are normally lost.

Here are 5 reasons why you should consider recording your speech or presentation and how you can use a transcript of your conference, workshop or event,.

#1 Future Publicity

If you are promoting a series of courses or speaking engagements, a transcript can be a really helpful way of producing a blog, social media updates or even a press release. No need to spend hours reinventing the wheel because the key points are already written down – accurately, word for word. A one hour transcript can be worth its weight in gold in terms of providing many small bite-sized pieces of information that you can cut and paste straight into your social media feed.

#2 Drive Traffic to Your Website

Adding regular content to a blog drives traffic to your site. A transcript provides a ready made blog post (or even two or three in some cases). While adding a video of your event won’t help with your position on Google, just adding the transcript underneath makes all the difference. The text can also be used to make subtitles, making any visual content much more accessible.

#3 Provide Value to Clients (and for your business)

If you are presenting at a conference, or perhaps delivering a workshop or course, a written transcript can be used as the basis for the production of downloadable extra value content for your clients or students. It can be used to provide handouts for future events, it can even be combined with transcripts of other events, edited and turned into a book on the subject.

#4 Self Improvement

Having a written transcript to look back gives you an ideal opportunity to look for areas in your delivery or content that you might want to improve on for next time. You can see clearly where you lost a train of thought or just highlight that you say, ‘you know’ or other filler phrases after every second or third word. It is certainly a lot more comfortable than watching a video of yourself, and is just as effective.

#5 Cover Yourself

The sad fact is that in this day and age litigation is something that has to be considered more and more frequently. If you have a word for word transcript of your course/seminar/speech content, you always have concrete evidence of what was actually said. No need to try to fight off false claims, deceptively worded paraphrasing or selected quotes, it is all there in black and white transcribed by someone completely independent and unbiased.

To find out more about how I can support you in maximising your public speaking engagements by producing amazing and versatile content, please contact me today.

Why you need a business blog

blogging, blog, business blog

Why you need a blog for your business

(And how to get it written!)

Blogs Get You New Customers

It is a fact of life that the ways of marketing to customers have completely transformed. When people want a service or product the first thing they do these days is to go online. If you have a consistently and regularly updated blog your site goes up in the search results. If you are not on that first page – or possibly the second page – you are probably going to miss out.

A regularly updated blog tells customers that you are active in your business, that there is always something going on, that you are focused on what you do and most of all that you are interested in providing value to your customers.

Blogs are a great way to develop a personal rapport too – it doesn’t have to be all about your products or your service, but an insight into how your organise your business, or even an interesting post about your hobbies raises consumer interest and keeps your search rankings high.

“But I don’t have time”

Running a business is hard work and most solo owners just haven’t got time to fit in writing a blog around everything else they need to do. But from a marketing perspective it is something that most agree is worthwhile. How do these companies and business people ever get their blog posts written? They hire people like me to do it unless, of course, they never sleep, eat or have an organisation large enough to employ an in-house writer.

If you look at my own blog you can see that even I struggle to write something regularly – that’s because I am running my own business and in between writing other people’s content it is hard to find time to do my own!

Take the decision to make life easier for yourself

There is no doubt that blog writing is not only vital, that it has huge benefits for any business, but it also that it takes a massive time commitment to do it successfully.

Hiring someone like me can free you up to work on what is important to you – building your business – and passes on the hassle of researching, writing, editing and posting online content.

Your blog can be used for so many things – setting an image for your brand, building trust, answering customer questions and presenting a vibrant, up to the minute image for your company which makes customers confident in using your services.

If you manage to grab your customers’ attention they may even share the content on social media – giving you a huge amount of FREE advertising!

What content do I need?

Basically you need to be writing about what is important to your customers – what are they talking about right now? Usinkeywordsds is a good way to get your message across and these can be found easily using online tools. Once you have a good list of words you can use this to plan blog topics:

  • If you are a cafe your blog could offer some recipes or nutritional information.
  • If you sell shoes – tips on shoe care, accessories, hand bags, and other fashion news.
  • A pet store could review products and give information on pet care.

The opportunities for any type of business are practically endless.

Getting the best from your writer

Make sure you give your writer as much information about your business and your personal expertise as possible. A personal story of how the business started often gives valuable insight and is a useful starting point. Once they have a grasp of your company’s history, aims, product and services then they can write excellent posts backed up with research.

A good writer will find some useful external links to build into the post and make sure that keywords are used often enough to get the page high on the search engines but sparingly enough that it reads well and does not look contrived.

It sounds a bit complicated but this is bread and butter stuff for your average professional blogger. Once a strategy has been decided and implemented you will start to see results over time.

Don’t forget social media

Not everyone is fortunate enough to get huge amounts of traffic to their website so you should make sure to promote your blog. It won’t work for you if people don’t see the content. The best way to manage this is via social media – make sure you share each and every blog post with your followers. Providing this kind of extra value to your customers shows that you care about them, and about your business.

Want to start your blog?

Maybe you already have a blog which needs to be brought back to life?

I can help – call me today.

Client Relationships – turning lemons into lemonade

negative feedback

Aka what to do if you get negative feedback.

The best approach if you receive any negative feedback is to use it as an opportunity to make a positive change. This may be in your own expertise or simply in how you manage client relationships. Ultimately both you, as the freelancer, and the client wants the same thing – a great product and a very happy client.

Negative feedback is something that all freelance workers dread and yet, realistically, we are all going to receive varieties of this no matter how good we are at what we do. The longer you work, the more work you do, the more likely you are that somewhere along the line you will come across a client who is not 100% happy with you at the project’s end. If you are working via an online freelance platform negative feedback takes on a new relevance because repeatedly low ratings can affect how often you are viewed and ultimately your business.

Most clients are a real pleasure to work with, and I’ve been super lucky with mine, but when that negative feedback arrives it can be a real slap in the face and can make you doubt why you are even carrying on. It can bring up feelings of imposter syndrome and really make a previously good day into a pretty bad one. The trick is developing some strategies to deal with negative feedback in a positive way.

So the negative feedback arrives in your inbox – what do you do now?

Here are my top tips for dealing with negative feedback:

Question it: Is this negative feedback justified or not?

Our first response is often defensive but instead of reacting instantly it always helps to have a standard response ready. Something along the lines of, ‘I’m sorry you aren’t happy and I want to make it right, bear with me while I check the work and I will get back to you’, works well, but make sure you personalise it – whatever you do don’t send a client a generic response, it is always obvious and it will make them more annoyed than they potentially already are.

If the feedback is justified – make it right. If it isn’t, then the issue gets slightly trickier. Obviously, you don’t want to end up with even more negative feedback but if the criticism is not reasonable you need to ascertain why the client is saying what they are saying.


Check the brief:

The work could be perfect but if you have not read the brief and acted on it the client may well have ended up with something they were neither expecting nor hoping for.

If you didn’t follow the brief to the letter – make it right.

If you did, this makes it a little harder to deal with diplomatically. For example, if someone gives you the incorrect information at the get-go it can be difficult to get this across in a way which doesn’t look like you are saying, ‘actually, this is your fault, I just did as I was told’! A better response is to cut and paste the original information, explain that this is what you had acted upon and then ask how they would like you to proceed. Often they’ll give you more relevant information and you can make it right for them and give them something they are really happy with.

Once you have undertaken these steps most clients are pretty reasonable and the project continues.

But I can’t find anything wrong!

First of all, don’t panic!

It is a sad fact of life that there will always be a tiny minority of clients who will give negative feedback no matter how accommodating you are. These types of clients tend to fall into 2 main groups:

They want a discount/refund: These clients often give super positive initial feedback, want to work with you again soon, will recommend you and so on. Then a few days later you suddenly get an email saying how awful the work was and how their boss/client/whatever found ‘tons of errors’, and before you know it you are on the negative feedback treadmill.

Some clients are never satisfied: As with any walk of life, there are people out there who want to pay as little as possible for as much in return as possible. These clients are best spotted before you enter into the contract (and there will be a blog on this later!), but those who do slip through the net often want endless revisions, add-on work and so on – free of charge, of course.

These clients can be particularly hard to deal with and are often found on the freelance websites where they dangle the threat of negative feedback to get what they want. My personal response to this will vary depending on how justified I feel the complaint is. Even when I feel that it isn’t I will often give a free revision while making it clear that further revisions will be charged for. You are then being reasonable as far as the client is concerned, yet you have made it clear that even if there will be negative feedback you will not be bullied into delivering free work.

Finally always keep in mind that most of your clients will be lovely to work with and appreciate your work – it is those clients who make it all worthwhile – don’t let a few bad apples spoil your day – as Dale Carnegie once said, ‘When life gives you lemons, make lemonade’.

New Service for 2019: Natural Sounding English Text

new services

Natural English for speakers of English as a second language

One of my more popular services is to edit text to natural sounding English. Although this service is aimed at speakers of English as a second language I have also done this for people who are not confident of their ability to produce a written product that flows naturally.

The type of project this works well for includes:

  • Letters
  • Website copy
  • Product information
  • Academic assignments
  • Business reports
  • Anything that needs to be written in natural sounding English

If you need something that looks like it was written by a native English speaker then this is the service for you.

What can I expect?

Changing your text into natural sounding English is usually a 4 step process:

1.  Assessment

I look over the work to see how much editing will be needed. Ability in language can vary, some people may require very little tweaking to their work, others may need extensive editing.

2. Planning

I discuss with the client what is needed in terms of the deadline and layout requirements. Once we are both happy and have agreed on a price the project can move forward.

3. Implementation

The project is then edited. It is important to remember that the service does not include correcting errors in specifications, academic texts or rewriting a thesis! It is always incumbent on the client to supply correct information because all I am going to do is check spelling and grammar and make it flow, I won’t change the meaning or content of the work.

4. Evaluation (and payment!)

Once completed the work is returned to the client who checks that they are 100% happy with the edits.

The client receives 3 files: The original, a copy with the changes tracked, and a clean, printable copy of the edited work. At this stage, payment is made and the project ends. I always hope to get some feedback too so I can continue to improve my service.

If this is something that you feel may help you or your business please contact me, I will be more than happy to discuss your needs.

Celebrating my 3rd year

third anniversary

2016-2019 – Reflecting on 3 years

Last week – the 16th January to be exact – is the 3rd Anniversary of the launch of Mara Fraser Transcription Services. I am amazed at how quickly time has flown so I took some time to reflect on the key experiences of setting up and growing my business to the point where I now work for myself full time.

Evaluation

Three years ago I was working in a bookshop as a retail sales assistant. I really liked the job and my colleagues, it was a small independent bookshop and sold all sorts of really interesting books on a variety of different subjects. I was not working full time so I decided to take a look at what skills I had and potentially add another income stream.

Assessment

I had a variety of skills from my previous working life: I had secretarial qualifications, I had worked as a carer and then as a Registered Nurse for around 15 years, I was organised, resourceful and good under stress. I decided to offer something that utilised my skills and eventually settled on audio transcription. Adding medical transcription as a specialism meant I was not only using my keyboard and secretarial skills but also my nursing knowledge and experience.

Getting Started

I wanted to know if I could make a success of a transcription service but I obviously needed to continue to earn an income. I offered my services on a freelance website and waited. I literally had no equipment when the first few files came in and had to rectify this quickly; trying to type audio files with no foot pedal takes forever!

I had totally underestimated how long it actually takes to type an audio file because we speak a lot faster than even an extremely skilled person can type. I also learned that some clients could be difficult to deal with so I had to hone my assertiveness skills.

Moving Forward

As more files came in it became clear that I was going to need some office equipment and furniture and after the first few weeks, I had purchased a foot pedal and some proper headphones. I continued to gain more clients and put aside money for an office desk and chair. My back was really suffering by this point so I had to do something proactive to sort out my posture.

I was very appreciative of my early clients for taking a leap of faith and employing a newcomer to the market. I must have done something right because many of them have stayed and brought others along too!

My office was taking shape, although I look around now and it is unrecognisable from the early days, with new desk, specialist headphones, a better foot pedal, I have already replaced my chair and I have a new desktop PC, scanner and printer.

Building on the basics

The launch of the business coincided with a change in working hours for me and freed up 3 full days a week to focus on my own projects. This turned out to be both a blessing and a curse.

For the next 18 months or so I continued working my day job and then coming home and working in my business, some days it was fine but when I had spent all day at my day job it was tough, some days I would be working 12+ hours, often I would work into the night to finish a project on time.

I recognised that working 60+ hours a week was neither ideal nor healthy and had to stop yet I still did not feel confident enough to go full time on what I still thought of as ‘my side hustle’. A number of times the workload was so much and so stressful I considered just quitting but deep down I knew that I really wanted to work for myself.

Taking the leap!

In the end, events conspired and the decision was made. I knew I wanted to travel and as my husband often works abroad it seemed foolish not to take the opportunity to accompany him. I also knew that I could not keep taking time off work and that by securing a work permit I could pack up my office and work anywhere in the world. I was extremely busy almost all the time, my portfolio had grown, I was offering new services which were proving as popular as the medical transcription. What was I waiting for?

So what happened?

In May 2018 I resigned. I gave 2 weeks notice to my employer and quit.

At first I had no idea how to move forward and spent a good couple of weeks panicking. I still had work coming in and had extended my portfolio substantially, along with the services I was offering. I had more clients coming in independently of the freelance site too which meant I could maximise my income by avoiding fees and also negotiate better deadlines and be more flexible for clients.

I found that I had time now to do my work, study for my degree, and be able to spend time doing things that previously I had not had time for. I feel more relaxed. I obviously have to work a certain amount of hours a week but I can at least choose when I do them. Some weeks are frantic and some are not busy at all, this no longer totally freaks me out, because I recognise it is just part of the cycle of how self-employment works.

It is still a work in progress but I am still moving forward, continuing to promote myself and have started on a 5-year plan so that I can eventually work smarter, rather than just harder.

I would just like to say a huge thank you to all my clients past and present and hope to work with you all again very soon.

anniversary

If you feel I can help you with your project please feel free to contact me.

New Year – New Services

new services

2019 – New Year – New Services

As 2019 starts apace I have introduced a couple of new services to add the existing range that I offer my clients. Throughout 2018 I have been gaining experience using freelance websites but I feel that the time is now right to move these into my main business and what better time than at the start of a brand new year?

The first new service I will be offering for 2019 is a blog/content writing service.

Blogs are a crucial way of making sure that your website content is bang up to date and helps to drive traffic to your website by bumping you up in Google’s search results. It makes sense then that you want to hire the best person possible to provide top notch content. Last year I wrote a blog about how to find a good writer ( and this year I intend to provide all of those things for my clients, along with my usual personal customer service.

As well as writing for your blog or website I can also help with:

  • Sales Content – product descriptions, sales on eBay, Facebook etc.
  • Social Media – blog posts, status updates, providing content for Facebook, Twitter and so on.
  • Running your blog site via content management systems like WordPress.
  • Content for papers and magazine

All of my content will be certified by Copyscape Premium as 100% original content and will be SEO optimised using key words to increase your ranking in search results but without looking stilted or forced.

Plus of course, I will be happy to tailor the post layout, structure and tone to fit in with your unique requirements.

If it is written, I may be able to help, so just get in touch and we can discuss your needs.

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Christmas Business Hours

Things are gradually starting to wind down in preparation for the Christmas break.  I will be taking some time off, so if you need anything before 24th December now would be a great time to get in touch – I do offer a ‘do it faster’ service for those urgent jobs that won’t wait until New Year.

Business as usual from 2nd January 2019.

Just contact me for more information.

Time for some Christmas down time!

resting at Christmas

Tips for some R&R this Christmas

It seems that as everyone else is starting to wind down for the Christmas break things are still pretty hectic in the transcription business! That said I am definitely looking forward to taking a few days off over Christmas and New Year. I know many lucky folks get several days off but I usually just take the minimum before I get back to work.

If like me, you are self-employed it can be difficult to switch off from work at times, however, it is really important that, just like every other member of the workforce, we try and get some much-needed downtime. It can be difficult to avoid checking emails and so on but not getting enough rest, not taking holidays, etc., can eventually lead to serious physical and mental health issues. This applies to everyone but particularly if you work for yourself – too much stress and anxiety increase the risk of ‘burn out’. Reducing the scale and quality of your service is just not an option so be sure to take that Christmas break!

So this Christmas I’ve developed a bit of a 4 point plan for getting some Christmas R&R:

  • Switching off the work mobile phone, the laptop and the desktop PC. I am going to look forward to receiving any personal messages from friends and family by email, text or phone but any work-related technology is going to be firmly out of bounds for every day I am not scheduled to work.
  • Staying in the now –I am really going to enjoy being able to spend time with family and loved ones and giving them my full attention during my Christmas time off. Christmas really is the perfect opportunity to spend quality time away from the office because mostly every sector has at least a few days off during this time. I tell my clients in advance and then have no need to worry – they are usually expecting me not to be available anyway, at least for a few days over the Christmas period.
  • Having fun – it might be going out for the day or just hanging around at home playing silly board games but anything that helps switch off the brain is great as far as I’m concerned. Plus it is great to spend time with my family without the pressure of mobile phones, laptops and all the other intrusions I have the rest of the time.
  • Take it easy – in between the festivities having a little bit of me time will be great – some pampering, walking the dog, or simply enjoying the fact that the office door can be firmly closed and I am not rushing against a deadline.

Even though not everyone celebrates Christmas as a religious holiday the beauty of this time of year is that most people do end up taking time off, and it is really the one time of year when everyone has the permission we often feel we need to take some time out and just relax and recharge.

Whatever you are doing this year, whatever your faith, however you celebrate and evenif you don’t, I hope you have a restful, rejuvenating and happy few days off this December.

Image credits
Credit:AlexMaster – stock.adobe.com
Copyright:©AlexMaster – stock.adobe.com

How to choose a great transcription service

choose transcription services

How to find a transcription service to meet your needs.

You’ve decided you need to hire a transcriber for your business, research or academic project so you go online. Now you are presented with a vast array of different transcription services to choose from – so how do you know which one to pick?

Here are my 5 top tips for choosing a transcription service provider to suit your needs:.

#1  What is most important to you?

This is a critical factor. Is it the quality of the completed transcript? The ability to meet deadlines? Relevant experience in your industry or profession? Confidentiality? Once you have decided what your most pressing need is you can start to narrow down your choices and make  the decision-making process a lot easier.

#2  Do your research and ask questions:

Most transcription service providers are happy to discuss your needs by email, telephone or in face to face meetings. These consultations give you the opportunity to ask lots of questions, to find out if this particular individual or company can meet your most important  need.

#3  Ask for testimonials or a client list:

Although any transcription service provider is going to be reticent to share detailed client information most are happy to give examples of the types of clients they have worked for and the sort of work they have previously delivered. If you are using an online freelance hire site they often have feedback on their profile, if not you should feel  free to ask to see any testimonials they have before commissioning  them.

#4  Ask about confidentiality:

Whatever your specific transcription needs the likelihood is that you want to make sure that your information remains confidential. Things to think about here include how your data is stored, how long the files are kept and so on. More detailed information on this can be found here and here.

#5  Does your transcriber give good customer service?

I think this is one of the most important factors because ultimately you may end up having a fairly long-term working relationship with the person transcribing your files. Look for a person-centred approach which shows that they are taking your individual needs into account. If you are not tech savvy are they willing and able to talk you through  aspects  of uploading   and downloading files, for example?

Once you have been able to consider some of these issues you should find it is relatively easy to choose someone that you can work with well and who will be happy to provide you with transcription services as part of an ongoing business relationship.

So what about cost?

Cost is something that is always to the forefront when negotiating business services and transcription services are no exception.  When negotiating a price there are one or two things to keep in mind:

  • Cheap is not the same as good!  It may seem like a good deal but if you end up with a bad transcript or having to pay someone to proofread or repeat the work it could be a false economy to simply go for the cheaper option.
  • Asking for a sample of work is a good way to judge quality.  Do be aware, however, you should limit this to a short 2-3 minutes of audio.  Most transcribers are happy to do this, although expect them to refuse to type out files of longer duration.

If you need to discuss hiring a transcription service please feel free to contact me.