Three Reasons to Blog for Your Business

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What is a business blog and why should you have one? The most important function of a blog is to serve as a platform for you and your business; a blog is a way for you to easily, quickly, and consistently tell your story to prospects and current clients or customers.

Whatever your creative or business endeavor, you can be sure that there are thousands or even tens of thousands of other people or businesses like yours. So how do you stand out from the crowd? Writing and publishing regularly on your own blog will help to get you noticed and established as an authority in your field.

1) Establish Relationships with Your Readers

Unlike most “push-type” ads that only allow for one-way communication from you to your prospects, a blog allows you to have a two-way communication venue to actual conversations between you, your prospects, and your customers or clients. Building actual relationships with people helps to build your brand and your reputation.

2) Bring Traffic to Your Website

Publishing regular posts on your blog is a fantastic way bring attention and traffic to your website. (You DO have a website, don’t you?) As you become more proficient in your blogging efforts, you’ll learn how to use relevant keywords for your niche or industry, learn to share on your social networks, and to link to other similar blogs for greater exposure.

Sharing your blog posts via social media is accomplished in two ways: 1) you share via your own social networks when you publish your post, and 2) your readers share your posts via their social media outlets. By ensuring that your blog posts are shared far and wide, you will increase your visibility and your authority.

3) Generate Leads for Your Business

Each of your blog posts should include a CTA (“Call To Action”) that encourages your readers to sign up for your email list, contact you for further information, or “Like” your Facebook Page. Your email list will be one of your most valuable items, so getting contact information for your prospects and customers or clients will be so much easier from a blog post that also gives your readers valuable and interesting information.

A blog for your business is different than the personal blogs that many people have for journaling or family and friends. Your business blog is an invaluable tool for growing your company. If you would like help in setting up your business blog on your business website, we would love to work with you! Contact us!

Three Reasons Why Brand Management Is Important

Branding Word Cloud

Your business is defined by its brand. The brand is how your clients or customers recognize your company, evaluate your service, and perceives your reputation. The loyalty and attachment to you and your company by your clients or customers are associated with the products and services you offer. By properly developing the marketing activities of your business, and by keeping control of the message of your brand, you will:

• Enhance the recognition of your company

• Differentiate your products and services from your competition

• Protect the reputation of your business

The recognition of your company’s brand is enhanced by the marketing and promotional activities that cause your clients and customers to think of you and your company first when they are ready to buy your products or invest in your services. The #1 way to maintain brand recognition is to be consistent with the photo and/or logo you use for all of your marketing materials, including your e-signature, your blog, your newsletter, your press releases, and all other forms of communication you use in your business.

Who or what is your direct competition? Every business has competition, and knowing who you are competing against can help you to grow your brand as well as your business. Knowledge about your competitors will not only help you to keep the customers you have, but it can also help you to improve the quality of your own products and services. One of the easiest ways to keep tabs on your competition is to set up Google alerts for your industry or business model. Remember to also set up a Google alert for your own company so that you can see what is being written about you.

When you work to protect and control the reputation of your brand, you have a two-pronged goal: 1) to ensure that your company promotes and maintains its “good name”, and 2) establishing continuous and positive online and offline visibility. Some branding techniques to put in place to monitor and improve your brand’s reputation include: Keeping your website updated so that it is listed near or at the top in search engines. Having a comprehensive and responsive social media marketing strategy, including Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook. Developing an online community that encourages two-way communications between your company and your clients and prospects.

Managing your brand should be a strategic and foundational goal for you and your company. Your brand and the messages it gives to clients and prospects will determine whether they will become your loyal customer base and help you to grow your business.

The branding and marketing professionals at the Writing It Right For You Companies can help you to develop an effective branding program for our small business or solo practitioner company. Contact us for your free 15-minute consultation; together we can assist you in determining the branding goals and objectives for your brand.

Scrivener is the #1 App for All of my Writing Projects

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I am a writer. I am an editor. I am a manuscript preparer and an eBook publisher. I am a social media marketing and branding consultant. For all of those roles that I manage for my three businesses, I do a lot of writing. I write on my MacBook Air from my home office and my MacBook Pro from my Midtown Detroit office. Away from my offices, I write my iPad2 and iPad Mini.

When I write short, often internal documents, I use Google Docs and Google Drive. Most of my clients send me documents in Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, the global gold standard contained in the Microsoft Office Suite; I use those programs in Office for Mac 2011, which integrates (almost) perfectly with the PC/Windows version. Sometimes I use Pages, Keynote, and Numbers in the Apple iWorks Office Suite, mostly because the apps are fun to use (and now free in iOS). For now however, for the majority of my original writing and editing I do for myself and for my clients, I use Scrivener, the popular application designed especially for writers.

Scrivener is not a “word processor”, it is a writing tool. What is the difference? Scrivener was designed just for writers, who are, for the most part, right-brained “creatives”. Scrivener includes several features that allow writers to plan, organize, view, edit, and write in whatever structure they are most comfortable. Completed Scrivener projects can be exported in many formats, including for eBooks.

MacBook Pro Available in 15.4- and 17-inch dia...
MacBook Pro (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I use Scrivener to write my blog posts, my articles, my eBooks and books, my courses, my marketing materials, and my podcast scripts.

In a future post of my “Apps I Use” series, I will give you a more complete narrative of the app and how I use it for my businesses, but right now I have several client projects to finish. All of them have been uploaded to my Scrivener account, which I can access on both of my MacBooks.

This is going to be fun. If you need the assistance of the professional writers and editors at Writing It Right For You, contact us and we’ll get right back to you!

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The English Language is So Much Fun! (Or is it…)

I found this graphic on my Facebook Page (posted by “Grammarly”) and I just HAD to share it with you!

What English words drive YOU crazy? Let us know in the comments section.

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Navigating the Social Media Maze

This clever graphic is making the rounds on the Internet, but lurking behind the joke is the reality that the world of online social media is a confusing jumble. Whether you’re trying to build your brand as an individual or a business, understanding the different social networking sites can help you navigate the maze effectively.

The central marketing problem facing all my clients is this: they are so busy doing the actual work of operating their business that they lack the time, energy and focus to think about how best to communicate what they’re doing to the world.

As an online marketing consultant, I take the time to get to know each of my clients and understand what it is they do, what differentiates them from their competitors, and who are the prospective customers they are seeking to attract. Only then do I begin to map out an online marketing strategy, because one size definitely does not fit all.

My clients don’t have to concern themselves with maintaining a website and posting updates to Facebook or Twitter, nor do they need to worry about pageviews, clickthroughs and the other metrics by which online exposure is measured. They can count on me to communicate an authentic story of their unique strengths, and deliver it to the right online outlets at the right time to reach the right audience.

If you’d like to learn more about how Writing It Right For You can manage your online presence to grow your business, contact us today for a consultation!

Making the Most of the “New” Facebook

As Facebook keeps evolving, WIRFY stays on top of those changes to ensure your message reaches the widest possible audience.

Recently, Facebook unveiled an updated version of its social networking platform.  At first, there was a highly negative reaction from many users. They didn’t care for the most noticeable new feature, a vertical scroll that announces any new activity by your Friends and the Pages you like, creating a Twitter-like real-time information stream.

Other changes, though not as obvious, impact which status updates people see when they first arrive at Facebook. We at Writing It Right For You have developed strategies in response to make sure that your message doesn’t get lost in the shuffle.

These changes also represent opportunities. Clients of WIRFY benefit from allowing us to manage their online social networking presence, because we can react to these changes quickly and incorporate new tools into how we help spread your message. Let those of us who focus on social networking and online marketing keep your online presence up-to-date, so you can focus on your organization’s mission.

Let’s look at how Facebook has upgraded the handling and display of images and graphics, and some ways to take advantage of this improvement.

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Top Ten Reasons to Work with Keith

Keith A. Owens

1)    Keith has more than 25 years of experience as a professional journalist. Keith knows what makes a compelling news article, as well as a compelling piece of commentary that is likely to get the attention of editors.

2)    Keith has also published works of fiction and is an avid reader of all sorts of fiction, with a special attraction to sci-fi, horror, and character-driven literary fiction. If you need someone to read over your novel, or short story, and make helpful suggestions about how to make it better, Keith is your guy.

3)     Keith has experience writing/creating his own blog site as well as writing for others. He is currently a regular contributor to the widely-read political blog site Jack and Jill Politics. If you would like to know how to write tight, compelling blog posts that will attract readers, Keith can help with that. Keith is NOT the guy to see for improving blog design, however. Words are what Keith does best, and he prefers to stick to that.

4)    Keith has a lot of patience, and does not believe in beating up aspiring writers to make them better writers. Keith believes this method only results in adding to the already overflowing pool of beat up aspiring writers. If you’re serious about getting better, Keith will do everything in Keith’s powers to make you better. And if you happen to be a better writer than Keith, Keith will quickly recognize that and bow down.

5)    Keith has a great sense of humor, which helps Keith survive those who don’t.

6)    Keith prefers not to handle numerous clients at a time so that he can devote more quality time to the relative handful he may be working with at any given time. The top number of clients Keith will work with at once will range from 3 to 5. Apologies in advance to those who may not be included at first, but this really is done to maximize devotion of time and resources toward the needs of my clients.

7)    Did I mention that Keith has a great sense of humor?

8)    Keith also has experience writing press releases, and will gladly provide assistance to anyone wishing to write a concise, strong press release likely to get the attention of readers and editors. Keith would prefer not to get involved in the distribution and marketing aspect of press releases. In other words, Keith will help you write it, but it will be up to you to know where you plan to send it.

9)    Keith asks that each client have a clear set of goals to work toward, which makes everything easier. If this area is still somewhat murky, Keith is willing to work with clients to help them better define what those goals are and/or should be.

10) Keith is good to work with because Keith actually loves good writing as much as he hates bad writing. The army of good writers needs reinforcements, and this is where you come in.

Texting Primer for Baby Boomers

A little fun for the last day in May–thanks to my friend Desiree who posted these texting abbreviations from her Facebook friend, Nichole.

Are you a Boomer? Do you text? Do you have any text acronyms to add to this list?

ATD: At The Doctor

BFF: Bring The Wheelchair

BYOT: Bring Your Own Teeth

FWIW: Forgot Where I Was

GHA: Got Heartburn Again

IMHO: Is My Hearing Aid On?

LMDO: Laughing My Dentures Out

OMMR: On My Massage Recliner

ROFLACGU: Rolling On Floor Laughing And Can’t Get Up

TTYL: Talk To You Louder

TSP: Type Slower Please

AARP: Another Angry Retiree Posting

 

 

What Happened to Your Facebook Friends?

 

If you have noticed that things have changed in your newsfeed since Facebook made that drastic profile change a few weeks ago, you’re not alone. Thanks to my Facebook friend Robert Randall for these tips.

PLEASE READ:
THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT TO EVERYONE WHO USES FACEBOOK FOR BUSINESS OR PERSONAL REASONS AND WISHES TO STAY IN TOUCH WITH THEIR CONTACTS!!

 

Pam’s Facebook is: http://facebook.com/pamelahilliardowens

Writing It Right For You Facebook Fan Page: http://facebook.com/wirfy

Please make sure you are on both of my pages!

 

Have you noticed that you are only seeing updates in your newsfeed from the same people lately? Have you also noticed that when you post things like status messages, photos and links, the same circle of people are commenting and you are not hearing from anyone else?

…The problem is that a large chunk of your contact list can’t see anything you post and here’s why:

The “New Facebook” has a newsfeed setting that by default is automatically set to show ONLY posts from people you’ve recently interacted with or have interacted the most with (which would be limited to the couple of weeks just before people started switching to the “new profile”). So, in other words, for both business and personal pages, unless you or your friends/fans commented on one anothers posts within those couple of weeks – you are now invisible to them and they are invisible to you!!

HERE’S THE FIX:

On your homepage click the “Most Recent” title on the right of the Newsfeed, then click on the drop down arrow beside it and select “Edit Options”. Click on “Show Posts From” and change the setting to “All Of Your Friends and Pages” (you can also access the “Edit Options” link at the very bottom of the Facebook homepage on the right)

Note: Business pages do not have a newsfeed. Owners of business pages should adjust the settings on their personal accounts.

The good news is:

You can now view all of your friends and fans again.

The bad news is:

YOU ARE STILL INVISIBLE to a large portion of your list. If you want to re-establish contact, you will need to get the word out to ALL of your contacts by inviting them to this “event” or creating one of your own so they can read the post and adjust their settings.

To invite your friends:

Click on “Attending” at the top and then you will see an option to invite your friends under the smiley face. It’s public so everyone who logs onto Facebook can view it and even the friends who can’t see your posts WILL see the event invitation. You can also tweet about it, create a blog post or send out an email to your subscribers in hopes of reaching them all.

 

Creating Content for your Small Business

Writing It Right For You

If you are a small business owner or solo practitioner, producing relevant content materials about  your products or services with engaging content online and in print is a very important part of your marketing efforts.

Two weeks ago, I participated in a two-day global virtual (online) conference for freelancers called “International Freelancers Day 2010“. It consisted of 24 different presentations from some of the top speakers and mentors for freelancers and very small SOHO (Small Office Home Office) owners.

Ann Handley made a presentation called “Content Rules” about how important it is for to small business owners to create and publish their own content. Lexi Rodrigo, a blogger on Freelance Folder, wrote a great summary of Ann’s presentation.

If you would like assistance creating and publishing content

for your business,

make sure to contact us here. We’d be glad to help!

Lexi’s summary is below:

At the recent International Freelancers Day virtual conference, one theme that struck me was the importance of creating and publishing content. Many of the experts discussed, in various angles, why getting published would be good for freelancers.

Anne Handley’s presentation, Content Rules, was in fact all about content and how to create it well. Day Poynter talked about writing a book and getting published. Other speakers such as Michael Martine and David Garland spoke about other forms of content that can do well for freelancers, such as blogs and web TV. Almost all the other speakers mentioned, in one way or another, the benefits of having your own content.

Why You Need To Create and Publish Content

If you’re a writer, it’s obvious that you should be writing and publishing your own stuff–not only content for your clients. But, what about graphic designers, programmers and other non-writers? Should they become content producers as well?

The short answer: Yes.

The benefits of being publishing content includes:

  • You’re searchable online. When you publish content, it becomes so much easier for prospects to find you online. This makes it easier for you to find leads or, rather, for leads to come and find you. Google and other search engines are particularly fond of WordPress blogs and online videos. Plus, the more you publish, the easier it gets to find you.
  • You’re more shareable. This is particularly true for digital content. With social media, it’s so much easier for your content to get passed around and shared. If you create something particularly good, you can gain instant notoriety.
  • You get instant credibility. Being the author of a blog, special report, white paper or book, or the creator of some other content makes you an instant expert. You’re right up there with your favorite author. It’s like having initials for degrees after your name. It shows you’ve accomplished something the majority haven’t.
  • Build your prospects list. It’s much easier to build your list of prospects when you have valuable content you can give away. At the same time, blogs, podcasts and web TV can attract prospects round the clock.
  • Leverage your expertise and efforts. Having a published piece of content is an excellent way to leverage your unique approach to things. You can literally create something once and have it working for you over and over again.
  • Feeling of accomplishment. It plain feels good to finish a piece of content. Even if you’re a writer you know it isn’t easy to finish a special report or white paper… especially if you’re writing it for yourself and not a client.
  • Passive income. There are ways to monetize your content so it brings you passive income, which is a necessity for everyone. You can create several pieces of content and think of each one as a separate stream of passive income. Who knows? Maybe someday you can actually fire all your clients and simply work for yourself alone.

Ways to Create and Publish Content

The phrase “get published” conjures images of printed books on a shelf. Thanks to the Internet, there are many more ways to get published, and it’s easier than ever to get self-published. Here are some examples:

  • Ebook. This is a book, but in digital format. Aside from the common PDF, you can also publish your ebook as an electronic book downloadable through Kindle or an iPad. Other formats include the Vook. Print-on-demand services are also available online, for readers who prefer to hold something in their hands.
  • Special Report/White Paper. A special report or white paper is often shorter than a book. As with an ebook, a special report or white paper can be published in both digital and non-digital formats.
  • Blog. A blog is an indispensable tool for writers and copywriters. However, even freelancers in the non-writing field can get good results from a blog. It’s great for showcasing your expertise, and it serves as your central hub on the Internet. The many functionalities of a blog make it easy to promote, get search engine traffic, and be shared around in social networks and bookmarking sites.
  • Podcast. Hate writing but love to talk? Consider a podcast. It’s more involved than the earlier types of content, because you may have to buy additional equipment and software. However, it can be done on a shoestring. The content is more important than the equipment! If you’re shy, you could easily build a podcast around interviewing different people and pretend to be a reporter. Even if you do that, your credibility and status will be perceived to be as good as the experts you interview.
  • Video Blog or Web TV. A video blog or web TV is another possible format for non-writers. You will have to write at least a paragraph or two to introduce the video and feed the search engines–they can’t crawl video and audio content yet, only words. Internet users seem to love online video, as evidenced by the popularity of YouTube and other video sharing sites. As with podcasting, creating and publishing video will have more technical requirements than the other formats.

Still Not Convinced?

Imagine meeting a prospect for a meeting and as you shake hands, you give him a print copy of your special report (you could have printed it on your home office printer; it doesn’t matter). His eyes widen as he realizes that you’re some sort of expert who has actually written a book.

Or, imagine one of your clients recommending you to her friend. She tells her friend, “You can check out his blog at his URL. He’s great!”

Or, how about getting invited to guest post in a blog with thousands of readers every single day… and those readers happen to fit your Ideal Client?

If you want it, then create content. You can do it!

When is a blog a cheese sandwich?

Nigel Legg Using social media to promote your blog. This question was posed on twitter some time back, and the point the poster was trying to make is a very valid one.  In essence, the question is the same as the old one about whether a tree falling in a forest makes a sound if there is no one there to hear it: if no one reads your blog post, would your time have been better spent making (and eating) a cheese sandwich? Writing a blog post is only a part of publishing your thoughts, ideas, and news on the internet. The second, and equally important, part is gathering an audience of readers. Without readers, your posts are an interesting record if nothing more.  Don’t let these comments discourage you, however; remember that posts that you might have made in the past, which might not have been read by many people, are still there, and you can still promote them. I will cover four Social media tools you can use to gather an audience (or draw traffic) to your blog: Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and bookmarking sites.

Twitter. With around 105 million registered users, twitter is currently the second largest social media site, but, by its nature it is fast moving and it can be hard to gain traction there. When you post an article to your blog, it is good practice to post a link to it to twitter, telling people that it is there and giving them a very short taster of the content.  A number of blogging services will automatically post for you, including Posterous, and twitterfeed will also post when the article is posted.  If you use these services, however, be aware that they only post the title of the article, and they post as soon as the article is published; you need to be sure everything is correct before you use them.

Facebook. In facebook you can do one of two things: you can set things up to bring the whole blog post in as a Note, or you can post the link to the article in your news feed.  The advantage of Facebook over twitter is that you can explain why it would be useful for your Facebook audience to read the article – the downside is that you may blog about business, but use Facebook for personal connections.

LinkedIn. If you use the WordPress platform for your Blog, you can set up the LinkedIn WordPress application, which will publish your blog posts to your profile.  This is especially useful if you are the only person using a blog and it is about your professional field.  Otherwise, you can post link to your blog articles to your news feed as status messages or to groups; as with twitter, in some cases this can be done automatically (for example, links to posts on my blog are automatically fed into the Bright Business Thoughts group).

Social Bookmarking. There are a number of social bookmarking sitesyou can use. Links to blog articles are posted to Digg, Stumbleupon, or Delicious, in the appropriate category, where they are available for any subscriber to view and vote on.  The more votes a post gets, the higher in the rankings, the more people will take a look at it. I don’t use all of these for every post; it depends on how important I feel it is, or how relevant it is to the audience in each place (followers, friends, or contacts).  Without these means of promoting posts, however, I would not have an audience, and I might as well have stayed in the kitchen, making a cheese sandwich.

Nigel Legg is an independent social media monitoring, measuring, and marketing consultant based in Bristol, UK.