, , , ,

Is there a simple way to get more people to read your content?

It’s the first thing I will tell someone who wants to increase their online presence: “You need to create content!”  In my opinion, content on a website is the foundation to every other avenue of online existence.  Once the content is there, you can proceed to utilize it in unlimited ways. You will be able to extract the ‘yummy nuggets” to use on Facebook, Pinterest, Google +, LinkedIn, Twitter, and more.  Each blog post or website landing page can provide you with any number of posts.  Add images and you are well on your way to being able to make the content freely available to your audience.

But – this won’t necessarily make your audience actually read the content.  And, you can be very sure they will absolutely not read it if the content is boring, ordinary, too dense. Not only will they not read this content, they will likely avoid clicking through to your content in the future, as well.

content people will read

A recent article on the Copyblogger, 8 Incredibly Simple Ways to Get More People to Read Your Content, addresses exactly that challenge.  In this article, Pamela Wilson empathizes with those of us who spend hours agonizing over every phrase, every word…. working so hard to try to be clever, insightful, snarky, smart.  After all of that attention to detail, we do finally publish our article only to find that nobody reads them.  We receive no comments, no shares, no applause.  Pamela suggests that we could be writing less, but styling our text to make it easier to read.

In this age of the 2.7 second attention span, we need to get our readers to move out of ‘scan’ mode and into ‘read and interact’ mode.  We will need to structure our posts to be easily digested by breaking them up in to bite-sized portions.  Try constructing your paragraphs with the conclusion stated first, with the supporting comments following. Help your readers decide at which point they will want to get in close to learn more.

Here are some of the design elements outlined in the Copyblogger article: Read more

, , , ,

Personal Branding – Be Better at Teaching

Have I ever mentioned Marcus Sheridan to you?

One day, I was hiking Split Rock Trail at Borderland State Park while listening to one of my favorite podcasts from The Social Media Examiner. This day, Michael Stelzner was interviewing Marcus Sheridan of Rock River Pools and The Sales Lion.

Marcus Sheridan passionately asserts that blogging is essentially about teaching the people about your self and your industry. He says that it is important for your business to be better at teaching than anyone else in the world. All we had to do was to answer every question that our clients had ever asked!  We had to have searchable content that answered the exact query that a user might type into Google. Brilliant! Listen to the podcast.

personal branding

Honestly, I had to stop at the top of one of the trails to email my clients to tell them about this revelation!

Last month, I had the amazing good fortune to sit in on Marcus Sheridan’s presentation at Inbound 2014. The energy in the room was a cross between an evangelistic revival meeting and a rock concert. He had us all drinking the Inbound Marketing Kool-Aid!

The number one question he wanted us to answer on our website?

How much?  

So I did.

I came directly home and wrote a blog that outlines the many variables which will affect how much social media services cost.  Then, I added my own pricing structure on my “what I do” page.  The process was strangely liberating.

Marcus Sheridan and me

As you may already realize, I am passionate about helping my connections create their authentic online presence and their personal branding strategy.  Helping folks who are in my ‘tribe’, my ‘circles’, my ‘network’, learn about and use the tools available to them ultimately strengthens the reach for all of us.

I am very excited to start offering group social media sessions to be able to teach new skills and resources to local entrepreneurs.  Social media, contact relationship management, e-newsletters, website upkeep will be among the topics covered in these group sessions.  Learn more.

More on Social Media and Personal Branding

 

 

, , , ,

How Much Will Social Media Services Cost?

Have you reached that point? Have you ever said “Who has the time to manage a Facebook or Twitter account?”  Have you said it enough times that you are finally ready to consider using a social media coach or hiring social media services.  If so, I am sure that the first question you had to ask was, “How much will social media services cost?”

Cost of Social Media Services
And of course, as always, the answer is “It depends”.  You see, social media marketing, inbound marketing and digital communications help can come in a variety of shapes and sizes.  You would really need to take a look at what it is your company wants and needs.

What are your goals for your social media journey?  Are you trying to build brand awareness?  Will you be trying to engage an audience to build a community? Is your goal to generate sales or leads?  Will you be utilizing your personal brand to build your business brand?  Will others in your organization be taking ownership of any parts of the program?

Read more

, , , , ,

Content Curation and Sharing

Using the Power of You.
As I mentioned in my previous blog, Social Media and Personal Branding, there are loads of folks who want to learn what you have to share. Your followers are interested in watching you follow your passion for your area of expertise. By sharing interesting articles (including your own, as much as possible) you are establishing yourself as a resource for others who want to learn more about you and your business

Content Curation – What is That All About?
Content curation is the process of making your way through the vast amounts of content available on the web to then be able sift, sort, arrange and present it in a meaningful and organized way.  You will want to be choosy to pick the best content that is important and relevant to your own community. Often, curated content may be organized around a particular theme.

personal brandingCurating great content can help you as a  small business owner establish yourself as a thought leader, a valuable resource within your spheres of online presence, thus strengthening your personal brand.  You essentially become the “go-to” authority for issues or topics related to your industry.

By curating relevant content, you develop the ability to serve up frequent content which then increases your opportunities for interaction, which can help exposure over time as you strengthen your online personal branding.

This means that you will need a number of reliable sources to turn to for access to interesting and appropriate articles.

There are many tools and personal favorite methods for collecting articles that are relevant to you and your business.

Here are my current top 6 content curation sources and tools. Read more

personal-branding-resource
, , , ,

Social Media and Personal Branding

Where to begin?  You have started your own business.  You’ve invested in a website to highlight your product or service.  You may have even begun to add content to your website to help visitors learn more about your product or service. How will you develop a social media online presence for your personal brand?

As I mentioned in the previous blog, Personal Branding for the Small Business Owner, personal branding is about identifying and then communicating what makes you unique and relevant and allows you to differentiate yourself to your target audience. Your online relationships will grow through the sharing, liking, and commenting on posts from people you have identified as influencers and/or evangelists. But what will you bring to the party?

Be the source!

personal-branding-resource

Be constantly on the lookout for great pieces to share that relate to your area of expertise.  Find websites that relate to your industry and bookmark them, or follow them on social media, or sign up to receive their newsletter.  When experts in your industry, or related industries, share their great content and you think that folks who follow you on your platforms might be interested in it as well, share it with an insightful comment of your own. Let your audience know what you liked (or disliked) about the article.  Let them know where in the article they might find the information that will help them with whatever challenge they may be faced with.

Schedule your posts out. Read more

personal branding
, , , , ,

Personal Branding for the Small Business Owner

Most of the people in my networking circles are solo-preneurs, small business owners. Realizing that a strong online presence will benefit their business, they often ask which social media and networking platforms would be the most benefit to their goals. Although they have just used those exact words, “Social Media Networking”, many remain hesitant, almost adverse, to actually putting themselves out there to be “Social” in order to “Network” on the “Media”. Often I hear these words: “I don’t want any of my personal stuff out there” or “I don’t think what I have to say matters online”. As a small business owner, your personal brand and business brand overlap on social media, whether you want them to or not.

personal branding

For a small business owner, the single most important part of building a personal brand is to be exactly who you are. Be authentic. Be genuine. (But Better!)
I say “But Better” because the online persona that you will build for your professional self gets to benefit from planning. It gives you time to edit your thoughts and offerings. Read more

, , ,

Social Media Roundtable

On Wednesday, August 27, 2014, Tricia White, VP of Creative Marketing for Fun Enterprises , facilitated a roundtable discussion on Social Media Marketing at HarborOneU, 131 Copeland Drive in Mansfield. This panel was a great opportunity for small business owners to gather their questions about social media marketing and ask some amazing experts to weigh in.

Her panel guests:

1. Erin SweeneyOwner of Erin Sweeney Design. She is a graphic and WordPress website designer. She is experienced in website design and implementation, visual design, business branding, search engine optimization and social networking.
2. Lucille FisherOwner of Sage and Savvy Marketing. Lucille is a marketing strategist who helps businesses improve their social media footprint. She also helps companies work through software programs that can better integrate business processes with marketing.
3. Susan Barron Finn Owner of Susan Finn Online and Founder/Director of the Women’s Business Network. Susan is a social media specialist who works with small businesses to better improve their social media reach as well as data base systems and e-mail marketing. She helps companies improve their brand online.
4. Tammi JacobsenOwner of Tammi Jacobsen. She is a seasoned social media expert who teaches businesses strategies for social media marketing. She is a passionate blogger who works with companies on strategies as well as time management.

Topics covered ranged from branding and web design to social media networks, strategies, tools and search. Small businesses examined their marketing strategies and began to identify pain points. Attendees left the workshop with questions answered and with viable strategies for improvement. Read more

, , , ,

Social Media “Tribes”

social media divasI spent this morning in the Kensington Real Estate conference room, (Thanks, Sheryle) Happy to be at the opposite end of the table from the donuts, cruellers and candy,  I sat back in appreciation, once again, of the unique learning, networking and sharing methods of a group of women who are life-long learners.  Jumping from subject to subject, we covered topics that ranged from cooking apps for our phones (BigOven.com )  to admiration for ‘paperless’ office techniques (Evernote, Cloud Computing, iPad, DotLoop) to planning Google+ Hangouts.

The Social Media Divas are an amazing group of women that decided, three years ago, to work together as a marketing team to help grow each other’s business using social media. Working as a team means knowing. liking and commenting, sharing.

Today’s questions and conversation.

How do I keep up on my blog?  

  • Use your recording feature on your cell phone to record text while you are driving home from work
  • Schedule a block of time each week and use it solely for this purpose (suggested 2 hours)
  • Ask for guest bloggers to send you some content on their specialty

Naked Brand

Getting the corporate structure to get the concept of social media.  Bolocco CEO tweets – if its too cold in one of the branches, he responds immediately.  Pepsi, UnderArnour, Zappos are other companies who have an active and responsive social media program. The culture in business  has changed.  The consumer wants to connect with the Brand.

Employees as an extension of the social media team

Engaging on Google+, LinkedIn, Vine – as each employee wants to be involved in social media – give them a new avenue.  The beauty of Google+ is its easier to use the circles so that you can control the group that sees each post.

“People will support that which they help to create” – Aileen McDonough, 3am Writers

Every time the “Divas” meet, we jump from subject to subject with incredible speed.  Each of us brings to the table a new question, a new tool, or a new observation to share with the others.

As a solo entrepreneur, it is extremely helpful to set up systems to make certain that we have an opportunity to share ideas, frustrations and new knowledge with like-minded people.  I feel incredibly fortunate to be included in this group of electric women.

, ,

People Believe

people believe“People don’t believe what you tell them.

They rarely believe what you show them.

They often believe what their friends tell them.

They always believe what they tell themselves.”

– Seth Godin

, , , ,

Organize Files into Folders- Constant Contact

file folderI couldn’t be more excited  today.   Many of my followers know how much I enjoy working on the Constant Contact platform for third-party emails.   I enjoy many things about their tools, but today I want to shout out to everyone how excited I am about a brand new feature they just announced:

Creating Folders  – Yippeee!

Physical vs. Virtual Organization:   One thing you can know about me is that in my physical life, I am not very neat and tidy.  Projects, files, books, mementos surround me.   (note: no photo posted here !)   However – on the computer, I am a stickler for organization.  I insist that every file go in to the proper folder.  Loose, lonely documents make me uneasy.  I think this is a direct result of my physical surroundings……Often, in “real” life, I spend way too much time looking for something. ( keys, for instance – wallet, for another)  However, in my work life, I want to know exactly where something is immediately.  I enjoy categorizing my work into nice neat folder icons.

So, although I have enjoyed using Constant Contact for over 8 years, and although I had developed my own system of naming email campaigns for easier sorting, it still made me a bit uneasy to open up the “My Emails” folder and just view one long list which could date back 8 years!

Ta Dahhhh –    Today, Constant Contact announced the Folder Feature for My Emails.

Not only do now have the capability of arranging emails any way that works best for my client, we can also toggle between list views for a quick visual take on open rate as well as a thumbnail preview of the campaign.

All I can say about that is….. Yippppeeeee     I just can’t wait to get in to all of the Constant Contact accounts I administer and start foldering!

If you are a Constant Contact user – Read this recent announcement: Email Marketing Product Update:

 This is Great Stuff !

making online connectionsView past issues of “Making Connections”

Receive monthly “Making Connections” in your inbox.

Other related articles:
When Email Marketing is Like a Plate of Spaghetti

Know, Like, Trust

Consider Outsourcing

More on Email Marketing

constant contact email marketing  Let Me Help You Build Your Email Marketing

, , ,

Promises – The Big Stuff

The Big Promise
A post this morning by marketing maven, Seth Godin, gave me a double take – at first, I thought that his piece on small promises was meant for us to take note of all the little things we say that we are going to do and make sure to DO THEM. But, then, when I read it again, the following line struck me.

“The big promises of transparency and care, of design and passion, of commitment and stewardship–we ought to be demanding more of this. “

Well of course….. That makes so much sense. This is my goal for all of my clients. My clients are hard-working, honest, giving people who provide meaningful services. They care deeply not only about their clients and customers, but I have found them to care deeply about their employees, as well. We work together, through their online platforms to create a strategy of transparency and care – to publicize their passion for their business and their commitment to their employees. This their big promise to their customers. This is my big promise to my clients.

Thank you for the post, Seth.

Read Seth’s full post.

This is Great Stuff!

, , , ,

No Holiday Blah-Blah Content

no blahHere’s some very helpful advice from Constant Contact:

 How do you create share-worthy content? 

1. REMIND YOUR AUDIENCE OF YOUR SHARED VALUES   ~~  People like to support and spend money with businesses that share the same values and support the same causes. They also like to share information regarding those values and causes. If there’s a particular cause your business supports or values you stand behind, the holidays are a great time to remind your audience.

2. PROVIDE ADDED VALUE ~~  Content that people find valuable will get more use and more shares.   ~~~   According to a recent study: Nearly 75% of those polled said they prefer information from companies in the form of articles over ads.

3. ENGAGE YOUR AUDIENCE WITH SOCIAL CAMPAIGNS AND SPECIAL OFFERS ~ As you might imagine, people still love to get a great deal. And they love to share those savings with their friends. Especially when email and social media are used together

  • An offer of a free item increased open rates by 47.3%
  • Coupons increased click rates by 52.7%
  • A percent off increased revenue per email by 95.4%

BE SMART WITH YOUR HOLIDAY CONTENT —  As you put together your plans for the holiday season, look for ways you can create share-worthy content in the form of shared values, added value, and social campaigns and special offers to make this your most successful holiday yet.

This is Great Stuff.

Read more from Constant Contact.