Digital: A Big Boost for Small Biz

With technology giving people unprecedented information and choice regarding products or services, customers are now firmly in a position of power in their relationship with retailers, service providers and brands.

This means you have to work harder than ever to meet – and wherever possible exceed – customer expectations. Digital marketing can help you meet this challenge. It boosts customer acquisition and loyalty; raises word of mouth and expands the relationship between shopper and seller.


When we say “digital marketing” – what are we talking about?

I’m so glad you asked. Welcome to Small Biz Tips (Part 1 of 2) where I intend to fully ignore buzzwords and jargon (much of it means very little anyway) and break this down into broad categories and terms everyone can understand.

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Popping up on Podcasts

Now, I did say in “Hittin’ the Airwaves” that when I had the audio, I would share my appearance on the Banburyshire show from the other day. Thanks to Ian for getting me the file.

If you missed that post, here’s the situation – I was invited to be a guest on The Banburyshire Show on Puritans Radio. It’s a bit of music and a lot of chat about local businesses, highlights and issues. I was there to talk about two of my favourite things – Banbury and content marketing. For convenience, the segment is split into two sections. Part 1 is about Banbury and history. Part 2 is content marketing part of the segment.

Part 1: Chatting About Banbury (runs about 8 minutes)

Part 2: Talking Content (runs about 11 minutes)

And as long as we’re talking podcasting and radio, it’s worth mentioning that there are three Fabulous Foodie podcasts for your listening pleasure over on the Modern Parlance YouTube site.

  • What is a sandwich: I have my views on what makes a sandwich a sandwich but I am shot down by the legal facts, courtesy of my fellow foodies
  • Food fears and freezers: What foods do you fear eating? What have you not tried making because you’re worried it’ll all go wrong? And more frightening than all of that – what lurks in the dark corners of the freezer?
  • Bundt pans:  a very small but very important point about Bundt pans and ‘one use’ kitchenalia.

Searching Out Stock Photos

Does the cost of stock photography sometimes leave you reeling? Join the club! I’ve been shopping for and using stock photos for over 25 years and there are still times the price tag can leave me speechless.


Not surprising then that so many of us end up Googling phrases like “free stock photos” or “hi-res free photos.”  Of course then you get the results from that search and find yourself shocked at how bad some of the “free stock photo” offerings are. Well, maybe not so shocking if you subscribe to the “you get what you pay for” school of thought. But even taking that into account, some of them are breathtakingly bad.

Luckily there are increasingly good places to find high quality, absolutely free stock photos. I provide a few below. Some appreciate credit but do not require it. But all are free.

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Hittin’ the Airwaves

So, I spent part of yesterday talking about two of my favourite things – Banbury and content marketing – when I appeared as a guest on The Banburyshire Show on Puritans Radio. It’s a bit of music and a lot of chat about local businesses, highlights and issues.  Once the podscast is available, I’ll post a link.


I look a bit windblown – but winter decided to FINALLY arrive yesterday. The day I decide I’ll walk to the studio. Oy!  But that’s the beauty of radio – no one cares what your hair looks like. Until the host takes a picture (and thank you to Ian for the pic!) It’s one of the few pictures of myself that doesn’t make want to start photoshopping like crazy.

Oh well, enough about me. What about the show?

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Dealing with Unwanted Gifts

We all know it’s the thought that counts but let’s face facts. It doesn’t always make sense to keep everyone’s ‘thoughtfulness.’ It may duplicate something you have, be utterly opposed to your taste or lifestyle. Or it may – the truth hurts – be utter crap. So, what do you do after you smile sweetly and say thank you?


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Considering the Culinary in Coventry

My most recent piece – 15 Things You Need To Eat In Coventry Right Now – is now live on Buzzfeed and boy was I ever hungry working on that. There’s some awesome stuff happening on the Coventry dining scene.


I also noticed something while putting it together. The restaurants, cafes and coffee shops of Coventry are really doing right by diners with special diets. Obviously you’d expect a vegetarian or vegan restaurant to cater to their target demographics special diet. But what really struck me was so many mainstream restaurants – including quite a few that didn’t make it into my piece -had vegan menus, gluten-free menus, etc. Not just a couple of suitable items but full on menus with starters, entries and puddings. Maybe it’s happening more and more across the country but it’s the first time I’d come across so many in one town or city.

I’d definitely be up for exploring this further – seeing if it is, in fact, getting to be more common across the country. Or if it isn’t – what places seem to be leading the way (or riding the wave).

Spacelore: Storytelling Among the Stars

I am thrilled to announce that Spacelore, the latest title in the Modern Parlance Press imprint, is now available. JB Zimmerman (author of the very popular urban fantasy novel, New York Magician) has set his sights on the stars, spinning tales of adventures, horrors and surprises across space. I’ve been hugely excited about this one. Some stories will make you laugh, some make you cry – and I don’t mind admitting that a couple of the scary ones kept me up at night.

spacelore_coverWherever you find people, you will find stories. Stories of triumph and loss, of pain and joy, of caution and adventure. To find them, you must seek out the places where tales are told. These are the tales you might hear if you found yourself in a space traveler’s bar.

With settings ranging from the early spaceflight era to the distant future, from Earth to unknown star systems, this collection of short stories can be yours without having to travel the spaceways and buy disreputable characters disreputable drinks in disreputable dives!

by JB Zimmerman
Available from: Amazon | Amazon UK

Also available by JB Zimmerman:  THE NEW YORK MAGICIAN

From the reviews:

“… a great mix of action, noir, and the supernatural that will have you smiling to yourself every time you catch one of the many references to mythology, magic, and both contemporary and historical New York City.”

“… the wit of a detective novel, the firepower of a good action movie, and a hell of a lovingly detailed city for the plot, protagonist, and characters. What’s not to love?”

nymMichel Wibert knows New York City better than most. He knows about the magic that crackles above the rooftops and beneath the streets. He knows about the creatures and beings – considered mythical to most and gods to some – playing their long and complicated game across the city. Until recently, he’s kept to the sidelines – watching their moves, keeping their secrets. But now things have shifted and it’s not clear whether he’s player or pawn. If he wants to survive, he’ll need to decide which is his true role.

Available from: Amazon | Amazon UK | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Apple

Autumnal Authorial Update

The temps are dropping, articles are going up and ebooks are on the way. It’s been a busy few weeks in my corner of the writing world.

knife&forkAnother Banburyshire Info restaurant review published – this one for Knife & Fork, my first experience with pop-up restaurants and I’ll be honest, I had very little idea what to expect. I knew it wouldn’t be like dining in a regular restaurant – set menu, for one thing. In short, I loved it – the food and the unique dining experience. Will definitely do it again and keen to seek out others. Have you been to a pop-up or home hosted restaurant? What did you think?

Finished editing another ebook for Modern Parlance Press for one of my favourite writers- a sci-fi short story collection (coming out soon – more to follow as soon as I can on this). As noted by the author, the single author short story collection isn’t as commonly seen these days. Oh there are some but many fewer than when I was young. I had tons of them growing up – almost all mysteries. There’s something deliciously bite-sized about a well-constructed short story.

BI_logoWrote a series of featured articles for Banburyshire Info on organic cosmetics. Learned some interesting – and surprising – stuff about what can and cannot be deemed organic in the cosmetics marketplace. It’s much less regulated than organic food in this way.

Two new Banbury pieces that came out of my habit of over-researching for something else.


  • Boo! Haunted Banbury” just a smidgen too late for Halloween but never mind. It’s read for next year and I am sure Father Bernard (the resident ghost at Whatley Hall) won’t mind waiting. He’s been doing so for centuries!


Blogging Heats Up Over July

There were so many things I should have been doing in July – wen won’t even discuss how much more attention the garden needs or the every growing list of small jobs that need doing around the house. But July is – and always has been – an especially foodie month for me so it’s not surprising that Fabulous Foodie heated up over the course of the month.

Mary-Berry-Paul-Hollywood-594359Especially after the news of Great British Bake Off‘s return broke. Suddenly it was ALL about baking.

  • Fabulous Foodie’s Tips for Better Baking:  At Fabulous Foodie, we’re very excited about the return of Great British Bake Off next week.  So much so that we’re finding it hard to think about anything else. To be honest, we haven’t actually tried that hard to think of anything else. I mean, it’s Bake Off!
  • More Tips for Better Baking: The count down to Great British Bake Off continues and so does Fabulous Foodie’s Tips for Better Baking.
  • The Old Bake and Switch:   Have you run out of a key ingredient or forget to buy it?  Maybe you only discovered mid-bake that you have no brown sugar. Don’t worry – we won’t tell  Mary or Paul and see if we can’t come up with a “save” of sorts. Don’t let these little hiccups stop you from baking up a storm. Swap and switch – and bake on!
  • Of course, Fabulous Foodie isn’t all just about food – it’s about culinary history and quirky foodie facts as well. Bastille Day (July 14) presented a perfect opportunity to delve deeper into both – with the story of how a Crafty Cardinal Contributed to Cutlery The French DO make me laugh.
  • We’re also not adverse to a bit if a tipple on occasion over on Fabulous Foodie so we were delighted to find it was Pina Colada Day on July 10.  We were even more delighted when we discovered – in the Tale Of Many Ramóns for Piña Colada Day – a bit of a debate behind the origins of one of the world’s most popular cocktails.