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!

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!

Happy New Year! I Resolve…

2011 to 2012One of the blogs I regularly read is “All Freelance Writing” by Jennifer Mattern. Jennifer, a wonderful role model for freelance writers like me, published a 2012 New Year’s Resolutions blog post the other day. I would like to use her model to publicly state my 2012 resolutions for Writing It Right For You:

1) Make and meet my schedule for all of my websites, my blogs, my upcoming ebooks, and other personal and business projects.

Just like Jennifer, I asked another freelance writer friend, Sharon Hurley Hall how she gets so much written every day. Sharon, who has written two guest posts for this blog, recommended Dragon Dictate, which Jennifer and I have installed, but haven’t used to its full potential. So one of my goals is to really put Dragon Dictate to use to help me write more and faster.

My husband and business partner, Keith Owens, and I have four books almost ready, and our goal is to have them published by the end of this quarter.

2) Ensure a minimum 25% increase in my monthly base income.

I actually declared this resolution last week in a tweet, but I am res-stating that goal here. Our company did pretty well last year, but like all freelancers, our monthly gross income fluctuates–often wildly by thousands of dollars. But we also have several regular and ongoing clients and graduate and post-graduate students–bless ’em–on retainer; they are the ones who provide us with our monthly base income. That monthly base income from retainers is what we will increase this year by 25%.

3) Finalize the revised look and feel of our websites and blogs. 

As many freelancers and small business owners know–especially when you have lots of wonderful clients to work with, it is difficult to stay on track with the other non-income-producing projects that are important but not critical. What I have done is make a project list for each one of the administrative and personal projects I want to complete and I add tasks to those lists as I think of them. Then when I have scheduled open slots in my schedule, I tackle each project one task at a time. That really relieves my stress levels–the only way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time. The same is true for completing all of those projects vying for your attention.

4) Complete the remodeling and re-working of my home office.

Again, this is a work in progress. I know and I have visually (with before/after photos) set up how I want my office to look. It will be a lot of work to totally finish my office, but my goal is to greet spring with a newly remodeled office. Let’s see, that is about March 21 here in the northern hemisphere. I’ll post pictures when that goal is met.

5) Continue to find the right balance between work-family-community.

I LOVE what I do and I am very grateful that my work reflects my passions, my values, and my skills. But again, like all freelancers and SOHO (Small Office Home Office) business owners, I constantly must ensure that I do more than just “work”–especially when my commute to my office is about 5 feet! It is very easy to work all of the time, blur the boundary between home and office, and be constantly connected with all of my computers and gadgets . So this year, I will work especially hard to find the right balance between everything I love to do–and I will try to actually “unplug” for a while every day!

Jennifer had 1o (!) resolutions, but I will stick with 5. That is enough for me!

What are your resolutions for your business in 2012? Do you have any tips or apps or methods that have been successful for you? Let us know in the comment section! Happy New Year!

 

(This post is cross-published to my BlogHer Blog…)

 

 

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NaBloPoMo 2011 Day 3

Can you listen to music and write? What song did you hear today?

For the 3rd day of National Blog Posting Month (NaBloPoMo), the prompt asks about a blogger’s music listening habits. Actually, I cannot write WITHOUT music. It may seem strange, but I cannot work in total silence. Unlike many other people, total silence causes my mind to wander, while having music in the background helps me to focus.

I cannot say exactly what one song I heard today. I listen to my iTunes playlist, or I put on one of my 100+ Pandora stations, or I listen to a SiriusXM genre station. I love almost every genre of music. (I even have three (3!) country songs in my playlist–but just three.) When I really need to concentrate, I listen to either classical or jazz–otherwise I start singing along with the track and that is when it is hard to write and listen.

What is your favorite type of music? Do you like to listen to one kind of music at a time, or do you like to mix things up?

 

NaBloPoMo 2011 Day 1

 

 

 

 

 

What is my favorite part about writing?

That is the writing prompt for the first day of National Blog Posting Month: NaBloPoMo, as it is affectionately called. The task is to publish a post every day of the month. This is one of my writing goals for this month.

So, what IS my favorite part about writing? It is hard to choose: the beginning, the middle, the ending? It is hard to decide, but when I think about it, my favorite part is right after I actually start the writing. Writers, like athletes, often get “into the zone” after the starting gun. Sometimes, it’s hard to get going; sometimes there is a lot of preparation research and planning to complete before the actual writing begins. But once the actual writing starts, the words begin to flow.

That is my favorite part of writing: when I’m “in the zone”. In my business, I do all kinds of academic and business writing and editing. I love all of the different writing and editing projects I do and my job is very interesting because I write and edit so many different topics and issues. But no matter what type of personal or professional writing I do, my favorite part is when I’m “in the zone”.

This Day #1 of NaBloPoMo is cross-posted on my page at BlogHer.com.

What We Do: Blog & Website Content

After brainstorming all night and day for weeks or months, you are finally ready to launch your company’s website/blog…or so you thought.  When you have to explain your product or service to people who have never heard of it, what will you say?  How will you explain it?  Will it sound good?  Is it easily understandable?

Grab the sides of your head, stop the spinning!  The team at Writing It Right For You is more than happy to work directly with you.  We will make sure we have a firm grasp of what you are offering and the tone you wish to set with your audience.

“The task was greatly executed. The project is done and it is featured at my profile. Further requests were also done in a quick and professional mode. Pamela is a great writer with professional approach and understanding of clients’ wishes.”   —Anton Konovalov: Entrepreneur, Thailand

If you need assistance with communicating with your customers, contact the professionals at Writing It Right For You. We’re here to help because “It Matters How You Say It”!

 

 

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.

Editing or Proofreading?

Editing and ProofreadingWriting your document is just the first step. Whether you are writing a letter, a report, web content, marketing materials or a dissertation, your writing must be edited. It must also be proofread. What is the difference? Many people think that editing and proofreading are the same thing, but actually they are two different processes. Think back to your school days: your teacher usually told you that the paper you were writing was only the “first draft”. (And you thought you were finished with that assignment!) Once your first draft is completed, the two-part editing process begins.

The whole process is all often called “editing”, but editing is actually the first component, and should begin as soon as the first draft is completed. There are several levels of editing:

* How well is the actual content written? Does it make sense? If instructions or guidelines were given, were they followed? Does the overall document have a smooth and consistent flow?

* How is the document structured? Is everything clear? Are the topics and sub-topics logical? Does the writing move smoothly from one idea to the next?

* Is your writing clear to the reader? Is everything explained clearly? Is everything cited or hyperlinked correctly? Is the tone and “voice” consistent? Is your writing too brief or too long or too repetitive or too bland?

These are just some of what is involved in the “editing” part of the process. Often it will take several revisions to reach the final draft.

Then the document is ready for proofreading, which is the last step of the editing process. Proofreading should be done after all of the revisions are completed. Proofreading involves checking for misspellings, incorrect or missing punctuation, grammar, and formatting.

Although all word processors have spelling and grammar checkers, they are not foolproof. A word can be spelled correctly, but used incorrectly. For example, many people confuse “your” and “you’re”. Both words are spelled correctly, but are used differently. A word processing spell checker would not recognize the difference. There are similar problems with relying only on the grammar checker in a word processor. English is a very complicated language, and the grammar checkers in word processing programs are too limited in their scope.

Finally,y the formatting and citations or references must be consistent. When your writing has been edited, proofread, and formatted carefully and in detail, it is finally ready for final distribution or publication. Your writing needs both editing and proofreading.

If you need professional editing and proofreading for your academic or business documents, contact us for a customized project plan.

Working in the Cloud

Pam at Desk

This is a recent guest blog I submitted about how I work my business “in the cloud”. It was fun to write and the site owner really enjoyed it. He has a great site.

From Jeremy: This post really does a great job of showing what you can do using technology.  Pamela runs her business in the cloud.  She does a great job of describing her environment.  Enjoy!

Click on the link to visit the site and read the post…

http://www.refocusingtechnology.com/index.php/blog/

Contact us so that we can set up a customized blogging schedule for you with one of our experienced blogger/writers.