Tag: Blogging

Never Underestimate Your Value to Clients

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Have you ever assumed people already know how to do something that comes easily to you? For instance, just because someone is a published author, do you assume they love to write? Or that an accomplished speaker will automatically be a great interview on television without media training?

These assumptions have not always been correct. The same is true when I, like many people, believe that just because our clients are highly successful in the areas of their passion, that they know everything there is about the subject, or care to be an expert in all the details. Not true.

I couple of months ago I was given the opportunity to work with a highly-accomplished internet marketer. She did not choose my collaborative blogging program that includes my administration of publishing the blogs and the Twitter and Facebook posts because she wanted to stay engaged on those platforms for herself. That made complete sense.

After reviewing some of the blogs on her site and noticing the number of social networking posts she was using I saw an opportunity for optimizing her efforts. There were small changes she could be making to the blog site as well as her engagement to drive more traffic. I held off bringing this to her attention for a couple of reasons. First, she was a new client and I was not sure how she would receive my constructive feedback. Second, she was an accomplished internet marketer and who did I think I was telling her how to improve. Seriously!

I believe she has such great content and I know she could be increasing her visibility and helping more people with just a couple of tweaks. So I went for it. I not only explained what I thought she needed to do, but offered to do it for her on a temporary basis. This would be a win for her as it would save her time and effort, and teach her how to maximize the blogs. And it was a win for me. I was able to add more value and see the tangible results of my work.

I quickly received an enthusiastic email that could not have been more gracious. She felt clueless about these little details that came easily to me and was not afraid to admit it. I felt great that my message and offer was well received and I can’t wait to jump in and help her.

The lesson here is to remember that all of your knowledge is not common sense to everyone. What you know and how you use it has value. Take a few minutes and review what each of your clients is doing (or needs) and find small ways to solve a problem, increase visibility and create credibility. Your willingness to pay it forward can lead to great things.

Note: This blog post was reviewed and approved by my client prior to posting!

Getting Started with Blogging & Social Networking

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How often should I be blogging?

djcodrin/FreeDigitalPhotos

djcodrin/FreeDigitalPhotos

How do I efficiently drive traffic to my blogs?

How do I know if anyone is reading them?

Blogging, Twitter, Facebook, shortened urls, click through rates, etc. It can all sound very confusing when you are just getting started. Here are some basics to demystify the social networking world so that you can see the big picture.

Blogging

Regardless of your reason for having a blog, here are some key points to keep in mind:

  1. Don’t start a blog unless you can commit to it – regularly. Creating a blog and then letting it accumulate cobwebs (old posts) looks worse than not having a blog at all.
  2. Begin with at least one blog post per week and work up from there. If you are in the technology or social networking your visitors will expect more frequent blogs because of the ever-changing nature of your field.
  3. Blogs should be professional, yet casual. Depending on your reason for creating a blog, remember that you are leaving an internet footprint and establishing your brand (and reputation) online.
  4. Check out my previous post, 12 Elements of a Great Blog for specific details about writing a blog.

Facebook and Twitter

Use these micro-blogging sites to begin conversations and engage a community with similar professional and personal interests by creating status updates (or tweets).

  1. Facebook is much easier to connect with people through wall posts and comments. You can also follow conversations on a single page rather than multiple posts.
  2. You can build a following much faster on Twitter which gives you the opportunity for more visibility.
  3. Like blogging, stay focused with your posts on both social networking sites. Publishing random comments will take away from your online identity and your followers will lose interest.
  4. Create posts about your blogs and include links to drive traffic to your site
  5. To maximize your efforts, check out this blog post How to Get the Most Bang for Your Book on Twitter about the prime days and times to tweet to get the most visibility.

Bit.ly

http://bit.ly/ allows you to create a free personalized account so that you can create shortened urls. The advantages of this service are:

  1. Allows you to create shorter links to fit within the character limitations on Twitter and Facebook
  2. Provides you with detailed statistics on who, when and how many people clicked on your link and went to your website. The number of clicks is called a click through rate (CTR). Check out the blog previously mentioned “How to Get the Most Bang…” for how to increase your CTR.

SocialOomph

This personalized account allows you to pre-schedule your posts to your social networking sites. It is free to connect to your Twitter account however they offer fee-based premium accounts to connect additional social networking sites such as Facebook. This account will help you:

  1. Be efficient with your social networking efforts. Rather than remembering to write posts throughout the day or getting caught up spending hours on the sites, you can schedule multiple posts for the entire day, week or month.
  2. Optimize the key CTR without interrupting your work flow. Set each post up so that it is published at prime times.

If you are interested in learning more about blogging and how to use social networking to drive traffic to your website, check out our Strategic Blogging Plan.

12 Elements of a Great Blog

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Hmm…there is so much that makes a blog great that I am challenged to fit it all into 700 words or less.  That is not to say you have to incorporate a lot of elements to create a great blog but there are so many easy, intuitive things you can do that I want to share them all with you.  So no more preamble, let’s get to it.

    Image: Salvatore Vuono / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

    Image: Salvatore Vuono / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

  1. Be consistent with personality and voice. What do you feel passionate and knowledgeable about that you wish to share?  How conversational do you want to be while still remaining professional?  Your visitors should get a very good sense of your personality while they spend time with you online.
  2. Stay focused. The reader should be able to get a quick sense of what to expect from your blogs.  If your posts are about random topics and rants, you will not keep a steady readership.  Topics among blogs should vary to keep your reader interested but your overall blog site should have a clear theme.
  3. Identify your target audience. Who is your reader? Who is your ideal client?  Write about topics that are important to them.
  4. Provide original content. Make sure you don’t just rehash what is already online in order to create a blog, speak from your own wisdom and experience.  You can always add an additional tip or two from what you have read, but use it to enhance your content.
  5. Address your audience. Write for your reader, not at them.  Use “you” more often than “I”.  Blogging should not be a lecture, a keynote, or a monologue.
  6. Create scan-able formatting. Long paragraphs and big blocks of text turn visitors off.  Instead work towards short introductory paragraphs, lists of tips, bullet points, action items, etc. and then finish with a quick round-up.  If a particular blog does not lend itself well to lists, find a way to highlight key points or elements within the paragraphs that break up the text so that the reader can find the gems easily.  Incorporate subheadings or separate the blog up into a series of posts rather than try to fit it all in one long blog.
  7. Invite a discussion. Your topic does not need to be controversial to create a buzz.  Elicit comments and ask for feedback.  Readers like to share their views but sometimes unless you create a clear call to action they may just read, enjoy and move on.  Clearly ask for comments or opinions.  Go back to your post and respond to their comments.  Answer questions and thank people for engaging with you.
  8. Support others. Linking to other sites and blogs is a great search engine strategy but it can also be a wonderful way of adding even more value to your reader and supporting the efforts of your colleagues.  For instance, Arielle Ford makes some great points about why (and how) authors should champion their competitors in a recent blog on The Huffington Post. Check it out.
  9. Limit Self-Promotion. It is certainly understandable if you want to share valuable content and then do a soft sales pitch for your services or products, but this should not be a regular occurrence.
  10. Edit…Edit…Edit. Reread your blog draft and cut unnecessary and irrelevant pieces.  If your initial word count is 850, challenge yourself to get it down to 600.  Your writing will improve and your readers will thank you for it.
  11. Write a great title. Make the title of your blog interesting, descriptive and accurate. It is fun to come up with clever headlines but if you are interested in the general public finding you sometimes you have to be simple and clear. Think in terms of the keywords someone might use in a search engine.
  12. Integrate pictures. Your blog will be more visually appealing and give a relevant clue to your readers about its content if you add photos.  Look at Flickr for available photos and just make sure you link back to the original.

What have I missed?  Please share your wisdom!

How to Keep Your Blogging Mojo

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Has it been a while?  Are you plumb out of ideas?  Can’t find the time?  Don’t feel like making the time?

As I step into the confessional I bow my head and say, “Forgive me visitors, for I have sinned, it has been one month since my last blog post.”  Now I could use the logical explanation (excuse) that as a collaborative writer I create dozens of blog posts for my clients every month and yet I can not keep up with my own.  (i.e. The cobbler’s children have no shoes.)  But when it really comes down to it, I struggle just like you do in thinking, What new content can I share?  What questions can I answer?  What can I teach?  How can I best serve? Even with good ideas I still struggle sometimes in finding the time to create and publish the blog, and then drive traffic to it via social networking outlets.

So let’s look at ways to keep our mojo.

Need Topic Ideas?

  • In the past week, what questions have you answered for your clients?  Why not share your answers with the rest of the online world?
  • Have you seen an article in a trade magazine or online that you think needs some clarification or you want to show your clients how they can adapt it for their business?
  • If you were asked to write a How to… article as an expert for an industry publication, what would you write?  Now think in terms of breaking up that content and perhaps elaborating on each subject for a blog series.
  • Use your Facebook profile or Fan page to pose a question and ask for advice, comments or ideas.  Write your next blog on their contribution and your observations.
  • Think about the last speaker presentation you went to.  Are there any thought-provoking gems you want to highlight and relate to your visitors. (Remember to always give credit where credit is due and link back for proper etiquette.)
  • What interesting time saving or business-building concept did you just discover?  By all means, share your excitement and your findings.
  • What are people talking about on the social networking sites?  How might that apply to your audience and your brand?

Need Time Blocking?

  • Knowing that the high click through rates and prime retweeting times are Thursday and Friday afternoons (EST), you should plan to publish at least one post on Wednesday or Thursday morning and schedule your status updates and tweets accordingly to get the most impact.
  • With this deadline, commit to writing a blog draft at least two times a week at the same time each week.  Set that routine and block out that time.  Schedule it like a meeting or conference call and stop making up excuses. (That last part was more of an internal dialogue!)
  • When your creative juices are flowing, don’t step away from the keyboard until you have two blog drafts written.  You know the way you feel when you have written great content?  Keep that adrenaline going by pounding out another one.  (The Real Housewives of Fakeville and their constant bickering will just have to wait!) Can you feel the sense of accomplishment already?

Need Motivation?

  • Because we want to learn what comes so naturally to you.
  • Give us even just a glimpse of your talent so that we too can grow our businesses, our lives and our loves.
  • Share it all! Enough said.

If you still need a nudge, a push, a kick…..a collaborator, I would welcome the opportunity to help you grow your brand.  Creating content and writing comes naturally to me and I want to share it all!  For specifics about my programs, check out:

www.YourVoiceInc.com/BloggingYourBrand and

www.YourVoiceInc.com/StrategicBloggingPlan