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    Spotlight on “Content Perfection”: How to start with a blank canvas, amaze your clients, and grow your business tenfold

    Spotlight on “Content Perfection”: How to start with a blank canvas, amaze your clients, and grow your business tenfold

    I’ve never been to Lisa’s home office, but legend has it that it’s a room of wonders resembling a voodoo shop from New Orleans. There are string ligh...

    I’ve never been to Lisa’s home office, but legend has it that it’s a room of wonders resembling a voodoo shop from New Orleans. There are string lights hanging on the side, with elaborate curtains near the window. A light up moon, a hellraiser box, some skulls, and a stack of books that probably exceeds an average human’s height. This of course, I can only imagine. 

    That’s not all though! The floor-to-ceiling bookcases in the office continue around the house. This, of course, is on top of all the containers filled with books here and there. But back in the office there’s also a death moth that’s framed looking pretty, and paintings from local artists that Lisa bought to give them their official title of ‘artists’. This is nothing short of inspiration for a writer, I thought. 

    Between the laughter and side jokes during our interview, I grew fond of Lisa and her stories. Only a true storyteller would go on to excel in copywriting and content marketing, something she’s done as she built her business, “Content Perfection”.

    “Write from your heart,” Lisa said, “it’ll be great.”

    No pressure though. 

    Here’s a piece about Lisa Harvey and her small business that focuses on copy excellence, her journey with VistaCreate (with tips on how to start from a blank canvas!), how she managed to surprise every single client she’s worked with, and how her business grew tenfold thanks to her personal 100%.

    A business born in the middle of a pandemic

    I started my business literally in the middle of the pandemic. Lockdowns were in force and it was like the whole world was a ghost town. No one was out. I was thinking past the pandemic, beyond that. 

    I left my corporate position and lockdown happened; they were intending to bring me back on board. I was Content Marketing Manager for a big corporate tech marketing firm in San Francisco. When the world was shut down, I was just dwelling on that – do I want to go back to my job? People were in such need, people all over the world were so afraid. Everybody was so uncertain. There’s still a level of that, but not like how it was during the lockdown. 

    I wasn’t interested in just hard-selling a product. I really wanted to help. I want to help people, I want to help businesses.

    I’m not out to retire on what I make off of one client. I want to help and I want to stay flexible with services and pricing. Just so I can meet people where they are, where their businesses are. Because they’re all trying to balance business needs and budget with quality. Those don’t always intersect. And that forces them into getting poor quality. that doesn’t help them at all. They might as well put their money in a bonfire!

    I do my best to meet people where they are. The corporate position wasn’t going to allow me to do that. Not the way I wanted to do it. And I felt like I could use all my years of expertise, and all my talent to go back to that or…I can start my own business and do things the way that I want to do them. And I believed it would work. I believe that I have a talent that could help businesses. Especially small businesses. 

    I love working with small businesses. I can help them, even if it requires baby steps. I believed in myself and I believed that I can help people. My gut was telling me – do it. Just do it. It was terrifying but I said: “you know what, I’m going to do it.” Because I can work for someone else or I can have my own business and work for myself and build this out. 

    It was almost like a vision, I saw it in my mind. I wasn’t sitting there drinking tea and watching netflix and mulling around in possibilities. It hit me like a thunderbolt. So I just decided – I’m going to do it.

    I got licensed and got a lawyer and got my LLC, had everything lined up. I just started doing it. Step 1, step 2, and on and on. I had experience in business, quite a lot, and I’ve skinned my knees with the many experiences with business setups. But I wasn’t starting from ground 0. I was lucky in that aspect. 

    And on working with content, I really get in the zone as I’m writing, like with acting. I 100% pour myself into a piece I’m doing, I put myself in the clients shoes and their target audience’s persona. I become that. What would they be thinking, what would they want? So, for me, it’s like a method acting exercise. 

    Diving in and when I’m there – it’s in the zone for me, and the rest flows like water. I channel my writing and it’s so fun.

    Picking a name can be as simple as A or B

    I sat down at my computer and I just started jotting down ideas for a name. I run with my gut a lot, I trust my gut. I made this list of 5 or 8 different names that really stood out. I narrowed it down to two and I asked a small group of people “Which one of these names do you like better?” I put it out there – and everybody chose B. Content Perfection. 

    It’s catchy and it encapsulates what I strive to deliver. It’s what people are looking for, certainly more than content perfection, but it’s at least a big part of it! I decided that was the name. I made sure the domain was available and wasn’t being used anywhere else. That would blow! If you come up with the name and do all your marketing and collateral…and that’s not an option. Oops. 

    Going from 0 to growing a business

    I built up my business just by sticking to it everyday. By putting 100% in it and always giving more than promised. I always do that, even today. Someone wants a lead gen piece, and I’d give them graphics along with it. When I’m in creative mode I give 100%. I never overpromise, I do what I say. Always. I’m always honest with everyone. If it’s not a good fit, I don’t take a client. I don’t just take a client because I have bills to pay. 

    I have a set of rules that I use for myself and it’s to work hard, give it your best, be honest with your clients, and I stick to those.

    I’m always taking the next course, I’m always learning. I read like a crazy woman. I read everything about the industry, the kind of clients that I have. Just to stay on top of what’s relevant, what’s new, what’s up and coming. I do a deep dive research about my client’s target audience, who they listen to, who they watch, what channels, what podcasts, what YouTube channels they watch, what language they use, what hashtags, what words are in their bios. Really deep-dive. All that stuff gives me a whole other persona to be able to create content. It’s just part of my process. 

    And I show up for work everyday and have my goal. It’s to help. I never sit there and go ‘yes, this is the month I’m going to make 10 grand’. It’s a mindset, and my whole mindset is I can help this person. My services are a good fit, what can I do? I can help this person.

    Word of mouth has helped my business a great deal. People were just finding me, and I just grew organically. I don’t advertise. No paid ads! Even with SMM I do exclusively organic campaigns because they’re more powerful.

    Organic campaigns are slow, but they’re steady. Because at the end of the day, the followers are genuinely interested in what you have to say. It’s not people following just to follow. It turns it more into a tribe instead of “I have 1 gillion followers” No, instead it becomes a small tribe, and it grows like families grow. Then, it’s word of mouth and these people get to keep all of their ads, because they’re not spending it on PPC. 

    This is especially true for small businesses. They’re watching every penny. And I remember what that’s like! Small businesses or solopreneurs that come to me for my services, I adjust my rates.

    Helping pandemic hit businesses 

    I’m not focused exclusively on pandemic hit businesses, but it does seem like every business that has approached me recently has been hit. The whole world has been impacted, and businesses got hit hard. I think a lot of the greater public doesn’t understand what it takes to be in business and how expensive it is. They look at a business owner and go “Oh you’re rich”. A lot of the times, if they are, good for them, but a lot of the times it’s not the case. 

    A lot of these businesses – it was all they could do to hang on after the pandemic. The ones that survived and come out on the other end need the help. 

    I still give thematically more than what they ask for, just because they need it. I haven’t run into a single business that wasn’t struggling. It’s a crazy world right now business wise. It’s a scary time. It’s hard out there for a lot of these businesses.

    Stumbling on VistaCreate

    I used VistaCreate to create my logo. I use it for everything! I used to use a different tool before, but I didn’t know any alternatives were out there. I came across VistaCreate when it was still Crello. I thought, this is pretty close to what I already have and I didn’t look much further. But my gut, it was eating away at me! I thought…let me check it out. It seemed like it had a lot more functionality, and there were little videos explaining everything and how easy it was. 

    The thing I absolutely love is when you actually create a graphic, you can just click resize and choose what size you want, and BAM it’s done, it’s there, it fits. Back then the other platforms didn’t have this. 

    When I first purchased VistaCreate, I jumped in it and started creating stuff. With fonts, it allowed me to upload my own fonts. I had a bit of a learning curve. The other tools felt a bit limiting, but with VistaCreate it’s whatever you can imagine. Literally whatever you can imagine – You can make it. You can make it real. And once that sunk in, I learned the platform and loaded all the fonts I wanted. I started playing around with designs and I was sold. 

    Everything that I want or my clients want – I can create it for them. I can ‘see’ what it is that they want, like envisioning a movie. With VistaCreate, I’m able to bring to life all those movies and images in my head. I’m able to create these graphics and every time I share them, submit them, the clients say ‘this is exactly what i hoped it would look like, this is exactly what i wanted!’

    It’s about being able to capture an emotion, to capture and bring to life through the graphics tool, it’s about tapping into the emotions and bringing them to life. It’s not just the words. I’m able to pair my writing with these graphics that capture an emotion. It’s such a powerful tool. It’s like language times 10!

    Every time I share paired text and images, clients are impressed, potential clients are impressed because I was able to capture and present with images the things that they didn’t say, all that emotional stuff that they didn’t verbalize. I’m able to capture that and make it come to life and share it. And that’s so powerful. It’s such an amazing tool. 

    Visuals help me communicate an idea subliminally 

    I use VistaCreate for almost everything that I do with my business. It helps and makes things pretty. Even in an email. It makes things more interesting. 

    I create visuals for social media, for my website, for project proposals. I use it for email sequences when I create them for clients. I would add images throughout. I create those graphics for social media, for myself, and for my clients. I try to throw in a graphic anywhere I can!

    I’m also a very visual person. Images and graphics can say things or enforce an idea subliminally. It shows off a level of skill and professionalism.  For example, with blogs – some people just want a picture, and I always say make it better – make it a graphic you created yourself!

    A piece of advice if you work with the art of the written word

    With social media posts – never send a social post with just text. If someone likes the image and they stop even for a second to look at that image, they’re going to go ahead and bother to skim the short post. If there’s no image, they’re just going to fly through it. No one’s going to take a look at it. I take that premise with everything that I do. If there’s an interesting image or a graphic I created – if a client is asking for an email sequence – I can submit just the words or I can put a beautiful header image I created on VistaCreate, and then the content. It shows them the finished product.

    If someone is trying to choose their vendor – if I’m submitting something to say ‘hey pick me’ and 1000 people are submitting a project to be chosen for a particular job – are they going to look at 100 pages of blank text? They will probably read through it to find the best candidate, but which one of those pages is going to stand out? The one with the graphic. 

    When they’re reading through, which one will stick? It’s the one with visuals. Something that touched an emotion or tapped into a feeling. That’s what will stand out, what they will remember. Most clients probably don’t have the skill to create a graphic. 

    Using the power of a visuals to touch deep 

    It’s my experience that a lot of people (even people in the industry) aren’t visual. A lot of people are great at what they do, but they’re not visual or artistic like that. They’ll just see words and go ‘ok this is good’ or ‘no this is horrible, you have to redo it’. Thankfully I don’t hear that! 

    I never assume that anybody is going to see the finished product the way that I do. I give them the text content they want, but I also always put a graphic in there. And 100 times out of a 100 they’re like ‘wow’, because then they can see it. Don’t make them try to be artistic if they’re not – show them the finished product. And it works!

    I think the majority of people don’t know the power of visuals. And the power that it brings, the strength it brings to your product, the power that it holds to reach people subliminally. Some of the best commercials on television – like during the superbowl – some of the most powerful ones are emotional. There are some that don’t even say a word and those go deep, and touch deep. I look at that and think, ‘yes, that can work across the board”. 

    With VistaCreate, I don’t need a master’s degree to create

    I don’t consider myself a graphic artist, but I create graphics all the time. I’ve brought the two together though – copy and visuals. With unique graphics, it’s like putting a period at the end of the sentence. That’s what I do. My big secret is out! Now everyone is going to do it! 

    Another outstanding thing about the platform is all the functionality that it provides. But you don’t need a master’s degree to be able to work the platform. It’s a bit of a learning curve but it’s just about getting familiar with the platform and what each feature does.

    There are some web building platforms, for example, that say “It’s easy! Just drag and drop.” And you get into it…and no…actually it’s one step up from coding. VistaCreate has massive functionality and I love that it’s just so easy to use. 

    When I first started exploring what was what, I was waiting to have to put all this information, fill in all the regions to make something, like it’ll require all kinds of coding and be a nightmare, but it was never like that. There are all these features and templates. I typically use templates for inspiration. 

    If I pick a template, I deconstruct the entire thing. So it might as well be a blank canvas. I was deconstructing templates so much that I thought it’d just be easier to start from scratch. 

    It’s just my ideas that guide me. It’s either a thunderbolt moment, and I jump in on VistaCreate and start doing it, or it’s a visual I’ve been living with in my head for a couple of days. I already see what I want it to look like. I jump in and just start from scratch. I’ll layer an image on first and then I start adding other creative assets on it. 

    My favorite VistaCreate tools ever

    One thing I use a lot for working with a blank canvas is the design for your story feature, where you can pick a size and stick with it. I love the brand kits feature because it saves me so much time. It’s literally my plug and play when I’m putting a proposal together or putting something together for a client. I can put together different brand kits, slam their colors in there, and whenever I’m creating something, I don’t have to search through their color scheme, logos, and so on. 

    I use objects a lot. I like the shadows. The masks are very cool. But you have to learn to use it a bit. They don’t always work the way I see it in my head. I use shapes all the time. I started using the web features for certain jobs I have coming in and what those require. 

    I really enjoy the image library and use that a lot. The search with photos is solid. There are other sites with image libraries, and I’m not a fan of those! You put in search for whatever it is you need, it gives you polar opposites of what you’re looking for. The search feature on VistaCreate to the image library is excellent. Images are modern, they’re unique, they’re beautiful. 

    I’m really pleased with the quality of the stock images. The quality of the photography on VistaCreate is right on par with some of the bigger photography websites. I’m always looking for unique images that you won’t see every day. Or those overused ones, socially.

    VistaCreate helped me tenfold with selling my services

    VistaCreate has been very impactful for me and my business. In a good way. It allows me to express the visuals I have in my head. It allows my ideas to come to life. And that has helped me with selling my services and products to clients and prospects tenfold. 

    When I’m submitting proposals, I’m using VistaCreate so much. And it just works. I don’t just do a list..it’s usually a multi page with images and it’s like a whole production. That’s what I send out for proposals. 

    Tap into the emotional power of visuals

    Don’t assume people are visual. I don’t buy a ticket to a movie so that I can read the transcript! So you never want to do that as a professional. People need a visual to help bring ideas to life. They’re buying a ticket to the whole movie, not just the credits or the transcript. And it just works. 

    Visuals bring ideas to life. They touch people emotionally. The impact is amazing. Language is powerful, but language and visuals paired together are like OF THE GODS.

    Everyone loves beauty, everyone has emotions (the ones that don’t thankfully are behind bars). But everybody that’s free is a living, breathing, feeling, emotional wonder. And we have an opportunity to tap into that. They may not be able to create beautiful things, but it doesn’t mean they don’t like them or they don’t want to see them. 

    I add creative graphics to everything that I do. When I write, I add the visuals and it just makes it pleasing, not just to me, but it also helps people understand the message. And it’s like a little break for the people that are looking at it. It’s not just an ocean of paperwork. 

    If you’re new to VistaCreate, here’s a tip

    You need to try VistaCreate! It’s worth getting away from whatever platform you’re currently using (we shall not speak that name). VistaCreate is complete. It’s a one-stop shop. Once you get used to the platform, it’s just as second nature as wearing high heels on a cobblestone street or driving a car. It’s just as second nature as that. Then you’re just full-on creative once you get used to the platform. 

    I open VistaCreate and I don’t even have to think about where I’m going, I know where things are. It’s like having an empty canvas, a paintbrush, and I can go all Leonardo Davinci. Anyone that hasn’t tried it should! Take a couple of hours to stroll through the platform to understand it. You’re not being spoon fed a few options to play around with, you’re being handed endless ways to be creative. It’s just limitless options on VistaCreate. 

    If you’re not familiar with the platform, create things for yourself. And have an idea. Any creative idea that you’ve got. Try to build that. Pick one idea that’s swimming in your head and take a blank canvas or a template and make that happen. Create that! And see what you think. Try all the features to make whatever idea you’ve got in your head and build it. Then, you’ll see that you can build it. 

    If there’s one thing that I think can help you…

    In this big corporate world, remember that the people are just people. And the CEOs are just people. And all the people that work for them, they’re just people. And we have that connection, we’re all connected as humanity. If you’re new and starting out, don’t be intimidated! 

    If you don’t have a college degree in marketing, don’t be intimidated by the people that do. They’re just people. Approach them not like “I’m a newbie, I don’t know if I fit in”, approach them as a partner in humanity. That will help calm your nerves because they’re just people. Doesn’t matter what their title is. Even if it’s your dream job and you’ll be surrounded by people you won’t enjoy being around, and it won’t boost your emotional quality of life, it might not be the job for you! 

    Take a deep breath and realize the people around you are just people. I walked into big corporations, and everyone’s got their suits on, they use their big college words. I’ll walk up and talk to them like a normal person. And they’re just immediately relaxed, it’s almost like they take off their penguin suits. I’m not working for a building, I’m working for the people in that building. You have to have the ability to connect to the people and it makes it real. 

    Read more stories about our power users from the series:

    Sandra Iakovleva

    Head of Content Marketing at VistaCreate. Sandra is a little bit of a wordsmith by day and a restless artist off work hours. Instead of a lengthly bio, check out some of her latest articles.

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