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Author Archive for Catherine Poole

Intelligent transcription – how it can help with your audio and video content

Intelligent transcription – what’s that again??

It’s been a while since I’ve written a blog post. Good intentions have come and gone, so it’s time to go back to basics and ask you a quick question.

What are you struggling with right now, with regards to your content? How can intelligent transcription help with your content? What the bloomin’ heck is intelligent transcription anyway??!!

A quick recap of intelligent transcription

There’s that word again, intelligent!

I’ve come to realise that despite me thinking everybody must surely know what it is I do, and what is involved, this is not the case.

I was chatting to one of the other attendees at my regular networking meeting this week, someone I’ve now known for quite a few months, and it transpires he wasn’t exactly sure what my work involves.

I had mentioned taking the ums and ers out of the spoken word (meaning I was transcribing what someone was saying, and leaving the mumbles and stutters out whilst typing), and he thought it meant I literally took the ums and ers out of the recording!

Not sure that my technical ability is quite up to that!

So here’s a very quick recap to get you up to speed…

My business is all about transcription. At its most basic level, I listen to audio and video recordings through my headphones and I type what’s said. I have special transcription software that works in conjunction with a foot pedal, so I can play, pause, rewind and fast forward using my foot!

What sort of audio and video recordings can be transcribed?

  • Straightforward one person dictation e.g. letters and reports.
  • Interviews.
  • Focus groups.
  • Meetings.
  • Conferences.
  • Workshops.
  • Webinars.
  • Course content in the form of videos or audio recordings.
  • Facebook Live recordings.
  • YouTube videos.
  • Podcasts.

Have I missed anything?

What’s the intelligent bit?

In some cases, for example police interviews, a verbatim transcript is usually required. This will include absolutely everything that’s said in the recording, including ums, ers, where the interviewer says yeah, or mm-hmm, background noises, coughing…absolutely everything.

Intelligent transcription takes away anything unnecessary. What you get is a transcript of what was said, but missing out things like ums, ers, unnecessary repetitions, interjections and so on, so the text makes absolute sense.

I suppose the exception would be for straight dictation, but the content of a letter or a report usually needs to be word for word, and if it’s one person speaking, you can usually use a bit of common sense to leave out the odd ‘um’ during the transcribing process!

How can this help you?

I’ll give one example of a client I had a couple of years ago. She had put together an online course, and most of the content was available to access in the form of videos, which were also provided as mp3 audio recordings, so those participating in the course could listen on the go.

However, she was aware that learning styles differ and some people prefer to read their content, rather than watch or listen. It was my job to transcribe the videos, and the transcripts were provided along with the video and audio recordings, thus making the content fully accessible.

So that’s just for starters.

What are you currently struggling with? Could intelligent transcription help you make your content more accessible? Or perhaps you’re a one person business doing letters and reports and you need help on an adhoc basis, but don’t want to hire someone full time, might this service help you?

I’d love to hear what you think, so please either comment below, or pop over to my Facebook page and leave me a message.

 

Be yourself in business, everyone else is already taken!

Be yourself in business…

I’m going to start off by being brutally honest (hence the worried face in my pic!).

I haven’t written a blog post for nigh on seven months now, and that fact has been weighing on my mind for quite a while, but for some reason I’ve also felt incredibly resistant to getting it done. I wasn’t feeling the fear and doing it, if you like! I will admit that I was feeling the fear and just hiding. Getting a case of the old imposter syndrome, catching a bad dose of comparison-itis, wanting to hide under a blanket and watch repeats of Sex and the City (they have the entire box set on Sky Anytime, you know!).

Reminding myself to be visible

A few weeks ago I was attending the only local networking group I go to (and again I’ll be honest, this is mostly because I work on my own and like to go along and sit with a cuppa and chat to other grown ups), and the theme for the week was ‘What’s my Quote’. The one I came up with was the well known Oscar Wilde saying, ‘be yourself, everyone else is already taken’.

This was particular apt for me at the time, and I really should write it on a post it note and stick it on my laptop, because I’d forgotten one of the most important rules when you’re running a business – people work with people they know, like and trust! If you can’t be yourself in business, then who are you pretending to be?

I’d got myself all bogged down in despair when I looked at one of the groups I’m in on Facebook (one of the ones I don’t contribute to very often, because I’m scared I’ll say the wrong thing) and saw that a number of people were recommending a cheap and cheerful transcription company to transcribe their audio and video recordings.

I had a look at their website and saw that they are based in the US and use a big team of associates to do the work with incredibly quick turnaround times, plus only charging a dollar per audio minute.

Okay, that was a bit depressing. I know the exchange rate isn’t brilliant at the moment, but I’m a bit more expensive than that.

Then I remembered something (which reminded me that I need to become more visible again, both on here and in groups). I do all my own client work in my business. That means you can always rely on my attention to detail and my pedantic disdain of misplaced apostrophes. You can rely on me going above and beyond the call of duty to Google endlessly to find out how to spell a complicated word. I really don’t like putting an ‘inaudible’ timestamp in unless I have to! I don’t send work out to other people because I would then have to check it against my own high standards.

So effectively my USP is me!

It can be difficult to be in a situation where you actually meet your clients when you work online like I do – hence making the effort to go to networking once a week – but if I do a good job for somebody, I hope that they’ll come back for more, or even recommend me to their friends. And that they’ll do that because they feel they’ve connected with me, and not just with an anonymous and dare I say faceless company.

Thoughts? I’d love to hear yours, so please comment below, or get in touch via my Facebook page.

 

 

 

Lessons learned from an oven clean

What are you outsourcing just now?

oven before

oven afterI’m going to share a couple of pictures with you, and the first picture is a wee bit embarrassing, but the second one makes my heart sing with joy!

As you can probably tell from the ‘before’ picture, it had been a wee while since my oven was cleaned. We’re talking years, rather than months here. Oh, the shame!

I have had a packet of Oven Pride under the sink for some time now – a ‘joke’ gift from my mother in law, but I’ll be completely honest, I really could not be bothered.

I’m not a fan of cleaning at the best of times (getting a cleaner is on my to do list!), and tackling an absolutely filthy oven was not top of my list of priorities, despite what well meaning people always tell me about how you can just spray the stuff on, leave it overnight and the gunk just comes off. I don’t want to be wiping off gunk!

A business lesson learned from an oven clean

A friendly chap from Scottish Oven Cleaning (highly recommended if you’re in central Scotland!) came round on the day the kids went back to school, and he was in and out in an hour and a half, resulting in the gleaming oven pictured above. It seems a shame to use it again, it’s so lovely and sparkling!

I have no idea how long it would have taken me to do the same job. He has specialist equipment – the racks went into the back of his van, and something (I don’t know what) was plugged into a socket in my garage, so I can only assume it was some heated up fancy cleaning gadget that strips all the gunk off and leaves no trace.

I can actually see through the oven door, it’s amazing!

Do you know what I was doing while Kevin (as that’s his name) was cleaning the oven? Getting on with doing the work in my business that brings in the money to pay for the jobs I hate e.g. cleaning!

What’s my point?

There are always going to be certain things that we don’t want to do or don’t get round to doing in our businesses. Creating written content may well be one of these, and yes, I know, this is my first blog post since June, but when I do get started with the writing process, I wonder why it’s taken me so long to get back to it.

If you’re more of a fan of articulating yourself verbally, perhaps that’s recording videos or doing regular Facebook Live broadcasts, don’t let that valuable content just sit there! If you get it transcribed you can use it again for written content.

And if you do want to get that blog started and you feel more comfortable speaking, why not dictate your thoughts instead. Intelligent transcription can help shape your spoken words into written ones that make total sense.

What do you think? What have you outsourced lately, either in business or at home? Please do comment below, or pop over to my Facebook page and let me know!

 

 

On being a technical luddite

Are you a fan of tech?

2016-03-18 08.51.18I’m the first to admit that I’m really not a fan of tech. In fact, I would go so far as to say I’m a technical luddite. Take this website – I sought help to move my site to WordPress about a year and a half ago now, and it’s been a great move. I’m able to write blog posts as and when I want to and in theory I can make changes to the site and add or delete plugins to my heart’s content.

But what if I break it?

Ah, there’s the rub. Writing a blog post, well, that’s one thing. When it comes to messing around with plugins and the like, however, I’ll let you know right now that I’m a little terrified that if I make a change like that, it will send the website into meltdown and I’ll never get it back the way I want it.

Technical luddite alert!

Case in point – I popped into the back end of my site the other week and was notified that I had to update several plugins to the latest version. Boom, up came an error message that may as well have been in Chinese for all I understood it.

I headed over to Google to seek a solution, only to find a bunch of clearly technically minded people explaining how to add lines of code into directories and wherever, but only to do it in this particular place and definitely not to do it in that other place, otherwise you would be doomed to remain in website hell until the end of time.

You might now understand the expression on my face in this picture – anxiety reigned!

Luckily I have reached a stage in my business where I’m more than happy to offload this particular problem onto someone else. It makes sense that you spend the majority of time in your business doing what makes you money, not what makes you tear your hair out and send you running for the hills. I was able to turn to the very lovely and helpful Tracy Swindale at supersecretary.co.uk (WordPress and tech expert extraordinaire), and she helped me out and got everything back up and running again. Phew.

Technical stuff is not in my zone of genius, but turning your spoken words into lovely written ones by means of intelligent transcription is!

My point is, you really don’t have to be good at absolutely everything to do with your business, that’s why other businesses also exist. You can outsource your website, your tech support, your admin, your bookkeeping, not to mention your transcription, editing and proofreading! 🙂

I’m not remotely ashamed of the fact I’m a technical luddite, and I really don’t mind that I have to outsource that part of my business. If I choose to look into further techie things in my business (and goodness only knows what these might be), then I will probably outsource them too, but I take comfort in the knowledge that there is someone out there who can help take away the techie headache.

What things do you outsource or would you like to outsource? I’d love to know, so either comment below or come and say hi on my Facebook page.

 

 

The know, like and trust factor

trustThe trust factor

When I started my business at the end of 2010, the first client I got was somebody I already knew. I think that’s probably the case for most small (micro!) businesses – until you get a bit of momentum behind you, people aren’t going to know who you are and they might prefer to use somebody more established and more experienced. Essentially they want somebody they know, like and trust, to coin a well-known phrase.

So how do you get that ‘know, like and trust’ factor?

Know, like and trust – doing business with people you like

Have you ever done business with someone you didn’t get on with? It can leave you with a bit of an icky feeling, can’t it? Even if the service you’re getting is completely fine and the job is getting done, if you don’t gel with that person, the whole process can be uncomfortable.

The thing about my business is that most of it’s done online. In the early days I had to get out to networking meetings (my worst nightmare come true at the time!) to meet other business people, and I imagined that everybody else would be corporate types in business suits and they would all know what they were talking about.

This wasn’t the case at all, of course, and I met some lovely people who couldn’t have been further from the image I had in my head. Meeting people in person is helpful for someone like me who is often taken in by the image that’s often portrayed by businesses on Facebook and the like. The reality is that of course everybody is paddling furiously, regardless of how serene they appear on the surface.

Being ‘authentic’ in your marketing

I’ve talked about this in another very recent blog post, and trying out being ‘the real me’ has certainly given me more engagement on my Facebook page, for example. I don’t think people always want to see some perfect person, it’s a bit off putting when you sometimes feel like you’re flailing about with little or no direction.

Being prepared to admit you’re human and you have to deal with all sorts of stuff in your daily life makes it easier for others to relate to you.

You don’t want to come across as a complete doofus, of course, you’re still an expert in what you do, and it’s important to get that across!

I might not be the best person in the world at always being visible in the groups I’m in on Facebook, and I haven’t always been completely consistent at being regular with my blog posts, but I’m ‘me’ whenever I choose to be visible.

I am also consistent with the service that I give to my clients, and I think that’s why a lot of my business recently has been word of mouth referrals.

If you do what you say you’re going to do, and you’re reliable, you give great value, you’re polite and responsive and always friendly, even if you don’t feel like it, then people will come back for more. I really do think it’s that simple!

What do you think? Please leave me a comment or pop over to my Facebook page and drop me a message, I’d love to hear from you.

 

 

Video or transcript?

Video or transcript? Watching or reading?

DeathtoStock_CreativeSpace1 11.45.06 AMLike most business owners I subscribe to rather a lot of email newsletters (probably too many!), and the content of these obviously varies, but there’s one in particular that contains a weekly video, plus a transcript of the video. I will come right out and say (and I’m not biased in any way as a transcription specialist!) that I always read the transcript and never watch the video. So what about you? Video or transcript, which do you prefer?

 

Different learning styles

Everybody processes information in different ways. For me personally, when I’m faced with even a short video of five minutes or less, I will always prefer to skim read the transcript and I can get the information I need in a fraction of the time.

Yes, I know that makes me sound incredibly lazy! I can’t always be bothered to watch a five minute video, but I’m easily distracted, and I’m sure I’m not the only one. I just prefer to read the text instead, as that’s the way I absorb useful information.

Video versus audio

Funnily enough, however, I’m completely happy to listen to mp3 recordings of things like course content or podcasts while I’m doing something else like housework. This might be because it takes my mind off the completely tedious job in hand (I’m determined to get a cleaner soon!), but I’m quite happy to potter about cleaning the bathroom or dusting and learning at the same time.

I think with video it’s because you’re kind of fixed to the spot and there’s no escape. Because my mind has a tendency to wander, when faced with a one hour webinar or video-based course content that’s longer than half an hour, I’ll find myself checking emails and browsing Facebook, and I’ll completely switch off from what might be relevant and useful information for me.

For other people, however, the opposite is probably true and they’re quite happy to sit and focus for longer periods of time. I’m just not one of these people, unless it’s an episode of The Walking Dead, perhaps!

What this boils down to is that if you’re creating content and you want to reach as wide an audience as possible, it’s always important to remember all the different learning styles out there.

There are so many options out there for recorded content, and if you get your videos and audios transcribed, you’re not only appealing to those who prefer to read (myself included!), you’re also giving yourself the opportunity to use your content again and again. You can turn your videos into blog posts, ebooks, newsletter content and social media posts, quickly and easily.

I’d love to hear your views on this. Video or transcript? Do you prefer to watch, listen, read, or perhaps a combination of all three? Please comment below or ping me a message on Facebook.

 

Being ‘the real you’ in your business

Are you being ‘the real you’ in your business?

160316-091232I was chatting with the other ladies in my Facebook mastermind group last week and discussing what we put out there on our business pages and what gets the most reach. We all agreed that reach can be fairly pitiful, depending on what we’re sharing. It got me thinking about the content I post on a daily basis and the content of other people’s pages I see. Obviously we tend to see people’s highlights, so where can you be ‘the real you’ instead of a carefully curated version of yourself?

Being ‘authentic’ – for want of a better word…

I shared this particularly ‘authentic’ (I’m not sure I like that word in this context!) photo of myself on my page in the middle of the week after the chat with my mastermind buddies.

I decided to bemoan the fact I feel obliged to have a phone for my business, although I never actually answer it. I get enquiries via email 99 per cent of the time, anyway!

I always thought I was quite unusual in having a bit of a phone phobia, but the engagement I got on my post was amazing! Who knew so many others dislike talking on the phone? I’m actually thinking of getting rid of the phone later this year and only having an email address on my website.

Is this something you would consider doing? Do you have a phone only because you think you have to have one?

When I started my business I did all the stuff I thought I should be doing, and I offered certain services in my then virtual assistant business because other VAs did, so I thought I should too. I didn’t realise that I could just offer something I really enjoyed doing, i.e. transcription, and forget about the other stuff.

The same goes for how I have portrayed myself on social media and so on. For a while now I’ve been considering changing the picture I have on my website, Facebook page and Twitter profile. It’s the same picture, and it’s fine, it’s a nice businesslike shot and I’m smiling. But is the picture above more like me in my business on a day to day basis?!?

Lastly I do consider myself to be a bit of an introvert. That’s not to say I’m not the life and soul of the party when I want to be, but only on my terms. I would far rather have a glass of wine and a laugh with a small group of friends than be thrown into a gaggle of people all competing to see who can talk the loudest. This probably explains why I love to work on my own so much, and why I can lose myself in the interesting content that I transcribe on a daily basis.

So…what do you consider is ‘the real you’ in your business? Do you try and present an idealised picture to the outside world, or do you show yourself and all your flaws, warts and all? Please comment below, or pop over to my Facebook page and check out my recent posts!

 

 

 

My top five tips for re-purposing content

My top tips for re-purposing your content…with transcription!

re-purposing contentThere’s a lot of talk going on just now about the importance of content marketing, of making the most of your content, of re-purposing content and making it super valuable and useful.

This is all well and good, but it’s enough to make even the most enthusiastic creator of content feel completely exhausted before they’ve even started. I don’t know about you, but there are so many different types of content out there these days, and it’s difficult to know where to start, let alone actually re-purposing the stuff.

Here’s what to do…

You might already be aware that getting your content transcribed can help make it more accessible, but you’re not really sure how it works. In a nutshell, ‘intelligent transcription’ takes the ums, ers and repetitions out of recorded words and turns them into written words that make sense.

So here are my top five tips (in no particular order!) as to how using a transcription service can help when it comes to re-purposing content.

1.

Dictating your thoughts – if you’re struggling even to get started with the whole content marketing process and writing’s just not your thing, why not dictate your thoughts into your phone? A lot of people feel more comfortable expressing themselves verbally, and a transcription expert can transcribe the results ‘intelligently’ to produce a piece of content for you.

2.

Periscopes, Blabs and other types of live video streaming are really popular right now, but if what you’re talking about is really valuable, why not make it accessible to a larger audience? A transcript will remove all the bits where you’re interacting with your ‘live’ audience and keep in the bits that can be used again for a blog post or newsletter.

3.

And while we’re on the subject of newsletters, I subscribe to a couple which include videos PLUS a transcript. This might sound incredibly lazy, but if a video on a social media post or in a newsletter is more than five minutes long, I just can’t be bothered watching it. I’ll quite happily read the transcript, mind you! It’s always best to consider your audience, and there will always be a mixture of people, some who like to watch and some who prefer to read. If you’re recording videos on a regular basis, a transcript will help you use the content again for things like newsletter content, blog posts or, if it’s a series of instructional videos, a set of chapters in an e-book.

4.

Podcasts are an incredibly useful way to showcase your expertise, either on your own or via interviewing other experts. Transcripts of your podcast content will not only make the valuable information accessible to all, but once you’ve stored up a library of expert advice and interviews, you could create an e-book which you could sell.

5.

This might seem obvious, but the very short videos that you often see on social media can be easily broken down and turned into Facebook and Twitter posts. I did a 30 day video challenge last year and kept meaning to transcribe the results, but never did. Maybe I should take my own advice!

These are only a few ideas and I would love to hear your thoughts on the topic. Please either comment below or message me on my Facebook page, and if you have recorded content that you think you could be re-purposing with the help of intelligent transcription, you know where I am!

 

 

 

 

 

When is it time to outsource?

When is it time to consider outsourcing?

DeathtoStock_SlowDown3I’ll be honest, this is a question I’ve been asking myself a LOT recently. Anyone who knows me will know that I can be a bit of a control freak when it comes to letting go of anything to do with my business. I’ve been in business now for just over five years, and the only thing I’ve entrusted to someone else is the yearly task of the dreaded tax return. So, when is it time to outsource tasks in your business?

Are you running out of time?

I’ve been really busy with actual work recently. Not that I’m complaining, after all, why on earth would you start a business if you weren’t trying to get clients and be busy with work?

The downside to being so busy is I’ve let things slide, including this blog. This is my first post since before Christmas, and I’m a little bit cross with myself, as I’d got into a fairly regular pattern of blogging once a fortnight in 2015 and I had plans to be writing more regularly.

I just haven’t been setting aside the time to get this scheduled in!

It’s silly, really. I’ve started going to a networking meeting every Tuesday morning at 9.15am, so this is scheduled into my diary and I fit it in.

If I can manage this, there’s absolutely no reason why I can’t also fit in blog writing, or whatever else has fallen by the wayside, like scheduling social media posts or getting my accounts up to date.

That doesn’t necessarily mean I enjoy updating my accounts, mind you…although the Virgo in me loves seeing the spreadsheet all up to date with the columns nicely aligned!

What do you enjoy doing and what makes you feel a bit….meh?

I don’t mind scheduling social media, but I never really know how many posts to schedule, and the whole analytics thing makes me go all Kevin the teenager – do I have to?!?

Accounts can be a bit dull to keep up to date, but as mentioned above, I do outsource my tax return, which is a definite bonus!

I actually do enjoy writing my blog (when I make the time), but I know the writing process doesn’t come easily for some people.

So I have two suggestions for you when it comes to blogging.

You can either outsource the writing of blog posts altogether, and for that I suggest you go and speak to Charlotte Fleming at Great Copy – she really knows her stuff. Or if you prefer, you might want to try dictating your thoughts into your smartphone, and you can pass your musings on to me and I will transcribe and edit them into a piece of writing that makes sense.

What to you think? Are there tasks that you keep putting off? Please either comment below, or pop over to my Facebook page and send me a message.

 

Merry Christmas! My 2015 round up…

Merry Christmas!

snowman

Ho Ho Ho! I’m writing this on 18th December, it’s the last day of term, the kids will be home in about an hour, so I’m trying to get all my last minute bits and pieces done before then.

In the midst of attempting to finish my last transcription job of 2015, it seemed a fitting time to look back over the last 12 months and have a look at what I’ve managed to achieve, and what hasn’t quite happened as planned.

What’s gone well?

I’m pleased to say that tracking my time religiously has worked like a dream! There are a load of apps and time tracking thingies available online and on most phones these days, but I’ve gone with the simple stopwatch on my phone. Timing how long it takes me to do a piece of work allows me to see how much time it really takes to get stuff done, and also how much time I spend faffing!

I also started using a spreadsheet to log the results, and this also works out how much I’m earning per hour (as I charge per audio minute), and it gives me daily, weekly and monthly totals, plus an average daily hourly rate. Extremely useful!

The result of this is that I’ve managed to more than double my monthly income from this time last year, purely by being so much more aware of what I’m actually doing. It’s so bloomin’ simple!

What’s not gone so well?

I had great plans this year to get going on an online course, and I’m sorry to say that this hasn’t happened quite as planned. I did get started on creating a number of videos, and I was testing these with some very helpful volunteers, but for some reason, I just wasn’t feeling it. Maybe it was the content, maybe it was the way I was putting it together, I’m not really sure.

For the time being, I have knocked the idea of course creation on the head, but it’s still something I want to pursue, and I’m hoping to get started at some point in 2016.

What else has been going on?

I have taken on a number of lovely new clients this year and am continuing to enjoy helping them make their recorded content super valuable – because that’s what it’s all about, really!

I’d love to help you if you think your content needs a bit of attention in 2016. It’s so easy to turn your videos, podcasts and audios into completely new content, so please pop over to my Facebook page and send me a message if you’d like to find out more.

In the meantime, I wish you all a very Merry Christmas, and all the very best for a prosperous and abundant 2016!