Nerdy Copywriting – How To Find Topics To Write About For Your Blog

Nerdy Copywriting  How To Title Your Blog PostsSo today’s nerdy copywriting post is about how to use back end analytics data to find out what to write about on your blog posts. Today I am going to lift my skirt and show behind the scenes of my Google Analytics and Webmaster tools to see how I figure out hot blog topics.

Disclaimer – This will not work if you are just starting out. I would think that you need to have at least 100 blog posts under your belt to be able to reverse engineer trends and what is working for your website. Startup friends, I do enough sites for other people that I promise I will do something that will work for you soon!

Why You Should Do Research

It is easy to get going on your blog and just think that everything is hunky-dory. You are writing your blog posts religiously and getting some traction in the search engines. But what if you could increase your traffic even more. What if you could double or even triple it by making sure your site is organized correctly and that your upcoming posts are relevant and will rank well in the search engines.

I do this research semi-frequently. It is interesting to see seasonal changes (like the mega-shit-ton of hits that I got for last year’s Thanksgiving quotes) as well as what is actually ranking well in the search engines and sending traffic my way.

Additionally, I sometimes struggle with what to write like everyone else. BUT if I have a list of topics that I can count on to do well in the search engines for me, then I am way more likely to do well if I am mindful of the copywriting topics I use when writing blog posts.

Where To Get Your Data

The best place to get data about where your traffic is coming from is Google Analytics. If you are not using analytics on your website, stop now and get you over and set it up immediately. It is so interesting to see the progression of pages and what people are actually interested in reading about.

Now that being said, it is a self fulfilling prophecy in some cases. I started out writing posts about Realtor Marketing in 2008 when I left the real estate industry, just because that was what I really knew a lot about at the time. Since then I have branched out into other areas like entrepreneur marketing and working with authors, speakers and coaches. But still the biggest segment of my traffic does tend to be to Realtor Marketing posts.

But you can change that by writing a variety of posts and slowly turning the Google search ship in any direction you like.

Happy Accidents

One of the happy accidents in my life is that I rank really highly for “Customer Demographics”. This started happening years ago when I wrote a single post and there must not have been much competition. Since then I have filled out my Customer Demographics posts and made sure there was easy navigation to them from my search bar and drop down menus.

I also share these posts frequently on social media which increases traffic which tells Google that they are still relevant and interesting posts.

Finding Themes

One of the things that became clear by looking at my data and trying to get it into some sort of grouping is that I talk about copywriting a lot, even though I don’t call it that. I think that it would be totally worthwhile to swing back around to those posts, change the titles a bit and include more copywriting content.

As for today, I changed the title of this post from “nerdy numbers” to “nerdy copywriting” so I could add to my cluster of copywriting posts.

Writing About What You Like

Now that I have given you empirical data to show that you need to be writing to very strict guidelines, please disregard all of that at least some of the time.

I have posts like that one customer demographics post that are BRILLIANT, but which get no traffic. Then I have other posts that I thought we okay which become bestsellers! I think that the most important thing you can do is be passionate about your topic, only write about what you know about and then be prolific.

If you are writing a post a week it will take two years to get to 100 posts. If you can manage it, I would recommend writing a lot more post than that, enabling you to get a good jump start on ranking and beating yoru competition!

Should You Write Your Blog Posts For Google or Social Media?

Content Marketing - Should You Write Blog Posts for Google or Social Media?The question of whether to write for Google or social has been banging around in my head a lot lately when thinking about content marketing. The happy, friendly answer of course is that you can write great content that does BOTH…big smiley face. But I am not really sure it is possible to do Google and social well.

This question came to mind a couple of different ways:

First: I did a really neat search on Similar Web for this blog, They had some good “stuff” that was presented in a pretty manner but what came glaring out at me was that 75% of all of my visitors come from Google search traffic.

75% Google Search Traffic

Now that amounts to a fair bit of traffic so YAY! But my numbers from Social were deplorable…

6% from social

and that is with me and my business partner sharing these posts on our HUGE social networks. So I started thinking…what the hell is going on here?!?!?!

Second: We set up a fair amount of blogs for our clients and they always want to get to the first page of Google for words like “Tampa Real Estate” or “Best Restaurant Denver”.

In the first case, they would have to build a giant site, garner a ton of real backlinks and take a relatively long time to get there. There are already other sites who have done that work for years and there is no way to jump to the front of the line.

The other kind of client is thinking about ranking well for a search term that doesn’t come up all that often in search. Currently Google is showing NO traffic for the keyword “best restaurant denver”. Now, that doesn’t mean there is no traffic at all, just not consistent traffic. Mostly when I want to find a great restaurant I will check Yelp first (they have a real scoring system, not just who is best at SEO) or ask my friends on Google+ or Facebook.

Lastly: My biz partner and I have talked for years about how we get traffic to our respective websites. She always used PLR (Private Label Rights) or duplicate content which is not Google-cool. She is a much better social media marketer than I am, sharing and building interesting networks of real people (I talk about marketing all the time so my real friends tend to try to be supportive but sometimes roll their eyes a lot!).

Long story short, in today’s world there is no one “right” way to do it and there are things that crossover, but I am a staking a claim – your one little blog post can’t be great for search and social at the same time! You have to pick a side!!!

Let’s start at the top – Headline

Google search results for entrepreneur marketingGoogle likes factually correct headlines with words to match search. As you can see here, all the results for the search “entrepreneur marketing” have those exact words somewhere in the title. Now I have heard like everyone else that Google killed SEO and now it understands words so you can just write about any old thing and it will figure out you mean “entrepreneur marketing”, but a couple of minutes on the search engine will show you these kinds of results for your industry!

Social. That is all well and good but knowing that most people who are going to find and share your post to social media will not take the time to rewrite your headline to make it more interesting does not bode well for our factually correct headline words. I like the fact that Vala added a personal endorsement on his post, but none of those headlines would really jump out at me in a buzzfeed kind of way. You can see that there are many hashtags (#entrepreneur) and @mentions but are those enough to counteract the bland dryness of the good for Google headlines?

Twitter headline listings

Buzzfeed-style sharable headlines are more along the lines of scandal, intrigue or mystery…

Buzzfeed headlines

Now, maybe I could write scandalous marketing headlines that would be intriguing AND search friendly, but would serious business people who are actually looking for marketing help really respond to that? I don’t really think so.

- – – A break for blatant social media link baiting – – –
Click To Tweet >>
SCANDALOUS Blog Post Reveals The Secret Behind The #SocialMedia versus #Google Controversy [JK]

- – – Now back to our regularly scheduled programming – – -

Next comes content

Google generally adds up all the content in the blog post and figures out if what you say you are talking about in your headline is what you are actually talking about in your post. They also check to see if the user “bounces” meaning that they see the search result, click the link to the post and then come right back to check another search out.

While it is true that you could do a super fun headline like “Funny Realtor Postcards that will make you laugh so hard you pee your pants“, at the end of the day it is up to your content to support that title. The funny realtor postcards blog post is actually about how to have cute headlines for your print marketing, but I am not sure they are THAT funny.

I can only assume that someone seeing that title in social would expect pictures of postcards and not be thinking about reading a 1,000 word blog post on how to do direct mail marketing.

Pictures matter

There are at least 5 different sizes of pictures that you need to satisfy social. (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest and Google+). Pinterest likes a really tall photo that spans a couple of rows of listings (like the one at the top of this post!) and Google Plus likes a really wide post that they will make huge in the feeds like this.

Google wide photo

If you are primarily considering sharing your picture to social, you want to give enough information in the picture that someone could get the idea of what you are talking about just by looking at it THEN you want to make sure the words on the picture match the content of the blog post.

Plain jane social media pictureIf you are just writing a blog and not sharing it socially, then any old picture will work (or you could even skip the photo entirely). This is good enough to give you an idea that we are talking about social media and that is about all we are trying to accomplish.

Should You Write Blog Posts For Social Media or GoogleThis one though is great for sharing. It is 1200X800 so it will be big enough to show up well if shared on the social sites and anyone seeing it will know that it is about social and that it is a blog post about content marketing.

That is just the tip of the iceburg about pictures for social (it is such a big topic we wrote a whole book about it!)

Can you do both?

I really do try to make my blog posts Google friendly, fore-going social stuff. That said, it is pretty easy to make the graphics “social friendly” too. At the end of the day I am much more concerned with making Google happy than making social happy which shows up in my deplorable social numbers!

Do you try to do social or Google in your content marketing? Please leave a comment below to let me know!!

Buy The Book!

Graphic Design For Social Media Marketing EbookGraphic Design for Social Media Marketing

If you are checking this book out, you have probably figured out that pictures and good design matter to marketing, that your marketing efforts are becoming more and more image based, and that you HAVE to get with the program and start doing better, prettier, more compelling pictures in order to keep up.

The cool thing is that with just a few “tweaks” you can take your graphics from amateur to brilliant and this book will show you exactly how! We talk extensively about how images can capture a mood or evoke a feeling immediately, how to position text on an image to create impact, and generally how to make your marketing marvelous with pictures and graphics.

>> Get it on Amazon!!!


Public Speaking, Blogging and Email Marketing – What Is Your Voice?

Public Speaking, Blogging and Email Marketing - What Is Your Voice?When you are public figure (and I am feeling like everyone in business is moving in that direction with the advent of blogging and social media), you have to be interesting. Your blogs, emails and speeches have to convey something that ads to the conversations that are happening online and in the real world.

Back in the old days, like 10 years ago, everything that a company produced marketing-wise was “corporate”, whether that company was a tiny little entrepreneur based enterprise or a massive conglomerate that was snapping up the competition left and right. The “brochure” was created, agonized over, re-worked and then stood proudly as a testament to THE COMPANY, a perfect piece to give a prospective buyer or client.

Then in about 2008 blogging started. At first people were confused…who cares if you had oatmeal for breakfast and NO business would ever be caught dead having a blog. Blogs were stupid.

Fast forward another couple of years and now blogging isn’t looking so stupid anymore. Some really big name companies are utilizing the power of the RSS feed and the fact that they can build an email list to market to and all of a sudden blogging is cool.

Here we are today. Social media means that you need to be, well, social. Posting internal company pictures, showing the process of your business and communicating with prospects and customers in a very “UN-Corporate” way. The masses have risen and there is no barrier to them. They want to see more than what you have so carefully crafted on your brochure. In fact, they are so busy with all their online stuff, they don’t have time to even look at your brochure!

Why Does All This Matter?

So this history lesson is nice, but what is the point? The point is that in years past, you could present whatever kind of front to the world that you liked. You could have a glamour shot taken and use that as your business card picture for 10 years, who would know?

Today, you are on the Facebook with a million pictures from events and other things you are doing. If you are a speaker, you are taking pics of the airport, posting stuff from the front of the room and generally documenting everything AROUND your speaking events on Instagram.

The world wants to see behind the mask and know all about you…and if they like what they see, they will sign up for your email lists, speaking events and read your blog voraciously.

The one thing about all this access is that it makes being fake impossible. You may WANT to be cool and polished, prim and proper, but then someone will post a picture of you on Facebook making silly faces and jumping around in your jammies.

We meet A LOT of people who want to avoid that happening by hiding behind their business Facebook page, cutting their “real” life off from the social media world. Seriously, this is just not going to happen today. Even if you are not on there, people are posting and commenting and sharing abut you all day long and it is better to be part of that conversation than to not have a voice!

Stop Worrying and Stay Real

So a number of years ago I had a great client who was super fun to work with. She was friendly and bubbly in person and her email messages reflected that in her writing style. A single missive could contain 10 exclamation points, two smiley faces and portrayed her joy of life.

Then came “the day”. I assumed she was ready to fire me as the tone of her messages turned dour. There was no life in them anymore, just the facts ma’am. After a couple of weeks of this, I had to call her and ask what was up (it was driving me crazy). Well, come to find out, she had hired a coach and the coach said she needed to clean up her emails and make them more “professional”. Gone were the smileys and exclamation points, and they never came back…sigh.

What is your voice?

From being interested in people and watching them A LOT, I have found a number of different types of writers and speakers. Here are a few that I notice…

Effusive and caring – This is the message I got when I joined Chris Brogan‘s affiliate program…”I’m SOOOOO excited you decided to help with being an affiliate marketer for all my various offerings.” It felt personal and that he really was talking to me because it was not boilerplate, perfect and proper. Chris is a very open communicator and that shows in his public speaking, email messages and his blog.

Vulnerable and openBrendon Burchard is a public speaker who really shares a lot about himself personally. He is caring and really interested in the people who belong to his tribe. His email message for Christmas was, “love you Happy Holidays!!” Now I would NEVER send that because it would not be congruent with who they meet when I speak or talk on my blog, but for Brendon, it was COMPLETELY understandable!

Grouchy and to the pointGary Vaynerchuk is one of my favorites! He is blunt and cusses a lot when he speaks. There is no mincing words here, he is very passionate that there IS time to do everything you want for your business if you will just, “Stop watching fucking Lost.”

Now, I am sure that Gary V. offends some of the people in his audience. They are not motivated in the same way I am so the message starts to sound like yelling or nagging instead of as inspiring and “get off the couch and do something”. Brendon is not one of my favorites. He IS high energy (which I like) but a little too touchy feely for me. That said, his message is so good that I stay on his list so I can still consume it when I am in the mood.

Stop rounding off the corners!

There are a million ways you can present yourself. You CAN be incredibly cultured and demure. You CAN cuss like a sailor and drink beers during your talks. You CAN be sincere and open, spilling your guts out for everyone to see.

What you HAVE to be is honest. If you are not a sliced-white-bread Yankee who wears alligator shirts and drives a “beemer”, don’t try to play one online. Today we have to make sure that our online life matches who shows up when we speak or make videos or blog.

If you have not found your voice yet, ask your 5 closest people what they think of you. Ask them to pick 5 words that describe you and your style and then run with it. I will tell you, being “real” means that half of the people will love you and half will hate you, but the ones that love will do so completely, signing up for your newsletters, watching your videos and attending any talks you give.

I KNOW, being yourself seems scary but honestly, it is the only way to go!

Where Should You Share Your Blog Posts?

Where should you share your blog posts 2013-2014Today’s question comes from reader Rae Ann Dougherty of Green Cleaning Products LLC. Rae Ann asks…where should you share your blog posts in late 2013 or early 2014? She mentioned sites like Google, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Digg,, Stumble Upon, Technorati, Yahoo Buzz!, Blink List and Tumblr.

The landscape has changed so much that it is hard to know as a business person where you should spend your time and energy! Now, this is a post about where to share your blog posts, NOT about where you should publish content, which is a whole different ball of wax and can include sites like Rebel Mouse, Medium and the like.

In thinking about this, I want to break down the three types of content sharing…social sharing, search sharing and bookmarking. Social sharing sites include things like Facebook, Search sharing is on Google or the other search engines and bookmarking is less about sharing and more about making a list of relevant sites.

Let’s break it down by my numbers…we are going to look at two of my sites..this one that is O-L-D and gets lots of search engine traffic and which has old share links across the web (maybe not the best example for most of my readers) and which is new (under a year old) and does not have the benefit of being already indexed on lots of sites.

Social Sharing:

Social sharing includes sites like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and LinkedIn. I KNOW that there are myriad more but these are the ones that have the most traffic and mass of humans to be able to share and consume your stuff. (Whether you should be on tiny social networking sites is a post for another day).

Web visits from social sharing sites

As you can see, Pinterest is overwhelmingly the top spot for sending traffic (and that is knowing that most of our stuff being B2B was not that hot on Pinterest a year ago…:) I find it awesome that using the tool is actually helping our traffic.

Search Sharing:

This one is a little more confusing as I do not see Google Plus broken out as a line item for Marketing Artfully as it is so integrated into Google the search engine so I am not sure if there is just no traffic from Google Plus or if it is actually just being absorbed by the Google numbers. That said, I did see three click throughs for google plus broken out on the site.

Web Visits From Search

Bookmarking Sites:

At one time, getting a front page link on Digg was a real coupe. Today Digg has faded into obscurity and no longer is the driving force it once was. There are some old sites like Digg and Reddit, some (good for me) sites like Stumbleupon and some that aren’t taking individual posts anymore like Technorati. As there is not as strong a social sharing component, I am not sure that these are as valuable as they once were BUT please note that I only really share to Stumbleupon at this point so my numbers are skewed that way.

Web visits from bookmarking

So, based on the numbers, I would say that spending time on social and increasing your search are good uses, I will continue to do stumbleupon because I find stuff there to share, but overall will not be taking any time to submit to directory sites from now on.

PS – this “where should you share your blog posts” data is skewed. It is based purely on what we are doing currently and just because we are not getting traffic from some of the sites may have more to do with the fact that we are not focusing on them than the fact they wouldn’t send traffic if we didn’t do a bit more. I used the data I had at hand!

How Long It Takes Blog Posts To Rank – Practical Internet Marketing

How Long It Takes Blog Posts To RankEver wonder how long it take blog posts to rank (or your website even). Here is a little bit of practical internet marketing to get your day started right!

Internet marketing is full of hype. There I said it. As a marketing professional I spend A LOT of time reading sales copy that tells you should have 100,000 Facebook followers by just doing this one little trick. That if you spend $497 on a course you can learn “the secret” to dominating something.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I am a learn stuff kind of gal BUT what I find the most harmful is what all that talk does to us. How we get in our psyche a feeling that everyone else is having amazing success and they are doing much faster than we are.

Even I, intrepid marketer that I am, can feel like, “dang I am doing all this and not getting anywhere”. Well today we stop that nonsense! I am going to break down blog posts and how long it takes to get them to rank and then give you tips on how to make it happen even better, maybe faster but definitely better!

My best blog post – 100 Great Email Subject Lines, gets around 3,000 hits per month. She is my little sweet pea and I adore her! That said, she looked a little peaked out of the gate. I had spent about 8 hours writing the post and collecting subject lines and wha wha wha…she just laid around for a bit.

This is the breakdown of how many views she got over time:

  • Written Nov 21, 2012 – first day, 50 views (whoo whoo)
  • Nov 21 -Dec 21 – 351 total views
  • Dec 21 – Jan 21 – 283 total views (christmas is a really bad time for my views!)
  • Jan 21 – Feb 21 – 1030 total views (Monday Feb 4th was a good day)
  • Feb 21 – Mar 21 – 1633 total views
  • Mar 21 – Apr 21 – 2876 total views
  • Apr 21 – May 21 – 3773 total views
  • May 21 – June 21 – 3370 total views
  • June 21 – July 21 – 2604 total views
  • July 21 – Aug 21 – 2736 total views
  • Aug 21 – Sept 21 – 2888 total views
  • Total views to date – 21,871

How Long Does It Take A Blog Post To Rank

So what happened to make that a reality? A number of things.

First off, I wrote a blog post that is a helpful service to people. It took a while and honestly was just something that I couldn’t find a good one of so I decided that I needed to make it.

Second off, I promoted the heck out of it. I did not just share it once and cross fingers that people would “get” it. I post it regularly to this day on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+ (really you can only post it once on the Pinterest, a couple of times if you put it on different boards). I also internally link to it (like I did today) and also post a link to the other blog sites I own. Just FYI I don’t try to mask them or fool google, they all have the same analytics account so I am sure that the google knows they are all mine…oh and I do the author thing to make sure of it!

Third, there is a wild card that is other people linking into it. This is where that whole “if you write great content it will float to the top” comes in. That said, I try to help it along by doing what I can to share my posts.

BONUS INFO – Seasonal Blog Post Rankings

Okay, so I am REALLY interested in this stuff and I wanted to see what would happen if I had a post that probably would only rank seasonally. I wrote one that is called Work Quotes With Pictures and Labor Day Quotes.

It looks like this:

Seasonal Blog Post Rankings

There are only four days that it is a rock star:

  • Written Aug 31, 2012 – 38 page views
  • September 3, 2012 – 438 page views (that was labor day)
  • April 30, 2013 – 122 page views
  • August 30, 2013 – 177 (the friday before labor day)
  • September 2, 2013 – 287 (labor day again)

Google Trends Labor Day QuotesNow is she setting the world on fire, nope. BUT over the whole time she has been around she has gotten 7,174 views which is nothing to sneeze at!

Here is what the google trends report looks like for “labor day quotes”…same up and down around labor day…go figure!

This is crazy…a post that just sits there and churns out views, tiny bits at a time, month over month with some big hits at the end.

Would talk to you more today but have to head on out to make some more great blog posts that rank!!!

9 Tips For Writing Great Email and Blog Content

9 Tips For Writing Great Email and Blog ContentContent is KING…if I hear that one more time I am going to puke. Writing great email and blog content is NOT about churning and burning words on a page but writing great stuff that matters!

Basic Tips For Writing Great Email and Blog Content

These are general, a refresher for those who are in the trenches everyday and should really help those who are just getting started.

Tip #1 – Would You Guest Post It

I am a little weird because I have not guest posted all that often and when I do I get rejected A LOT because they like my writing on my blog but when I am ready to put it on someone else’s they would like it to be more, well normal, like their blog. Fair point BUT my writing is my writing and I am not actually capable of changing it (I have tried to check my spelling more, cuss less and generally dumb it down so the content optimizers are happy…doesn’t work so screw it!)

That said, you should NEVER post anything on your blog that you would not consider good enough to send to someone else. BELIEVE ME, there have been crappy posts on this blog and I have been horrified to read them later. Good enough is no longer good enough!

Tip #2 – Is your blog post interesting? and do you care?

If you take a peek at my blog I have a nice mix of stuff that I know people want (like this post) and information that is a little out there and probably only interesting me and about three other marketing nerds in the world (my ongoing obsession with Twitter and the mechanics of it comes to mind!)

If you try to write only “link bait” articles and never show your personality or interests, people are going to see through that fast, use your current article to link bait their own social media and then move on. Having a blog with personality will get more email signups, more returning visitors and just generally more bang for your buck.

Tip #3 – Your Emails better be AMAZING

Now for the opposite…email marketing. I can tell you that every post you write will not appeal to everyone BUT when it comes to your email list, you darn well better make sure that something in it appeals to everyone you send it to! There is almost no wiggle room at this point for the content of your emails. Now, your main content can come from your blog BUT if your list is expecting to read about Finance and you start blasting out the latest celebrity news, you will get unsubscribed FAST! Keep your content relevant and AMAZING.

Medium Tips For Writing Great Email and Blog Content

I have spent A LOT of time collecting online headlines for my post 100 Great Free Report Titles, Best Headlines and Free Optin Offers. In addition, I wrote a post about 100 Great Email Subject Lines – Email Newsletters and what I found was shocking (to me at least). I thought these two things would be similar but they couldn’t be more different.

Tip #4 – How to title your blog posts so they will read your content

First off, a blog post has to have keywords that someone is going to be searching for! I KNOW, you will read that you can title it anything and your loyal followers are going to love you. I would rather title it something that people are looking for and dazzle them with my brilliance after they find the darn thing…:)

Blog posts are NOT mini sales letters. They are ENTIRELY meant to get someone to your blog to read what you wrote (and sign up for your mailing list). You need to have a great headline with great content that matches the promise of the title.

Having looked at thousands of blog posts titles across myriad industries, I can tell you that the ones that are popular target some part of the human condition…helping you make money, stay young, feel better, make your kids happy, save time, find love, get respect, do something better. The ones that scream, “I am going to give you a huge sales pitch” don’t even show up on my subconscious at this point…I just skim over them (more about this later!)

Tip #5 – How to title your emails so your content gets read

Okay, so you have them on your email list and you think, awesome, the factually correct thing worked to get them here, now let’s keep that ball rolling. NOPE! For people to see your email content and click your links you have to start with a great subject line that will cut through the inbox clutter AND let them know about your great content inside!

You need teasers of what they will get, PLUS to make sure your title is congruent with the content. In the days when you didn’t have to worry about bening labeled as spam or having a ton of unsubscribes you could play this a little fast and loose, but today you need to get real and offer real help or solutions to their problems!

So am I saying you can’t send an email that sells something? NOPE again! Chris Brogan does a great job with his newsletter. Normal newsletter, catch title and great content. Sales newsletter and he lets you know that there is a selly-sell in there…funny thing is I read them both! Letting them know that it is something that you might want to buy can frame them to, well, buy!

Advanced Tips For Writing Great Email and Blog Content

These are some of my observations and reflections on writing.

Tip #6 – Last title tip… Use descriptive titles that are easy to share on social media

You have a great post, you want everyone to share it so it can “go viral” but the title is too darn long. What will happen when they hit the share button is that the program will cut off the end of your title or they will pick the parts that you DIDN’T want them to. Titles should be no longer than about 100 characters which will leave room for them to put the source (for example @taradactyl takes up 14 characters of a tweet). They may also want to add their own words so leaving a little room is never a bad idea!

if you want to check out what a 100 character tweet looks like, please feel free to share this article with your twitter friends! click to tweet

Tip #7 – Remember their worldview

This is the most powerful thing I have started paying attention to (see more about it in my post Seth Godin Q&A)

Basically Seth said that you need to make sure that you take their worldview into consideration when you are writing content. In his example he said that ladies who buy $1,000 shoes are not considering that luxury footwear, just a reasonable fashion choice. The fellow who was asking the question really wanted the women to recognize that $1,000 shoes are luxury but to them they were just normal footwear and luxury footwear was probably in the $10,000 range.

I though also of how we write for people who are interested in green cleaning or green cleaning products. Their world view already says that having healthy, safe products is more important than strong degreasing so there are two camps to address when selling these types of products. One is to people who already drank the Koolaid and who want their world view reinforced. We can also extrapolate that they might be interested in other health and environmental issues and can talk to them in a way that lets them know we are like them!

The other people are ones who are at least considering buying green cleaning products but who we have to convince that it is the right thing to do. These folks need different kind of content to move them down the sales funnel and into a decision. Neither is right (although the quicker sales come from Koolaid drinkers) but the thing to watch out for is how we talk to each and how we frame the message for them!

Tip #8 – What’s in it for them

Whether it is an email or a blog post, NO ONE has time to read something that benefits you and not them. They don’t care how many sales people you have on staff to take care of them (that is a feature), they care that if they call there is a zero wait time to order (a benefit). They don’t care your company has been in business for 20 years, they care that because of your experience you know how to help THEM.

I see A LOT of marketing that is boilerplate and self serving. If you are sending out an email or a blog post, stop right now and see if more than 10 percent of it is anything other than pure bliss for your reader. Think about this post you are reading. It is not 9 Tips For Why Tara Jacobsen Is So Amazingly Awesome (not sure even my Daddy would read that), it is a post to help you, my reader, to understand how to write great content.

Tip #9 – Puffery is dead

Best free email marketing course everIf you have been in marketing any length of time you know what puffery is…functionally the fact that you can’t get sued for saying that you have the “Best darn free email marketing course EVER” even if you can’t prove that it is the best EVER.

I read a super good post today about Millennials (Gen Y) and why hype is no longer working. Marketing To Millennials And Other Skeptical Customers? Make Will Ferrell Your Gen-Y Consultant

Basically it is about been there, done that. If you bought one course that said you could make a million dollars with no website and no list and made even $10,000 you would feel cheated. The next time you see a course like that you are going to take it with a grain of salt and the 400th course like that you just reject out of hand.

There has been too much puffery in the marketplace to make anyone notice anymore and it may actually count against you. The people that I like and respect are not trying to shove miracles down my throat but are providing practical solutions to real problems I have at an affordable price. Now, your job is to figure out how to find people who want what you are selling and to make sure that your pricing is attracting the right crowd!

Guest Post Blogging – How NOT To Ask For A Guest Post

Guest Post Blogging – How NOT To Ask For A Guest PostThis post is a “how not to” for guest post blogging requests. Please, whether you are applying to my blog or any other blog, read it in its entirety so you can know what it feels like on the other end and maybe improve your requests. Please know that if you send me horrible requests to guest post, they may be published here (without any identifying information).

Guest post blogging is all the rage! I even jumped into the fray and tried my hand at it, check out my post about the experience…(Guest Post Blogging – I was rejected by Social Media Examiner and I am okay!)

While my traffic and customers are nowhere near the level of the SME, I do get my fair share of traffic… I am number 68K of US blogs, with a readership comprised of college educated women, who have an average income of 60-100K a year – not a bad bunch of readers to try to court! check out my Alexa details

Because of this and all the info out there about how great guest post blogging is, I have a problem. Every day I get about 10 requests to guest post to my website. As I have only had about 5 guest posts in 5 years, the chances that I will spontaneously start accepting guest posts at this rate is low (read non-existant).

That said, still the requests they come pouring in! Here are some of the worst of the bunch I have gotten recently and why I find them so heinous (I have gotten myriad other ones that were simply sad, not horrific and I won’t bore you with those!)

Guest Post Blog Request 1 – It would be a great opportunity for you to use your site to help me

Hello Tara,

My name is X and I work with X, a company specializing in visible magnetic board systems. I have been looking for bloggers that are influential in this industry, and found your blog intriguing. After reviewing your content, I think it would be great opportunity if we could contribute a guest post to give you some more great content and get our name in front of some new readers as well.

We have a few topic ideas that we would love to share with you, but are also open to any suggestions you may have. I look forward to hearing from you.

In the meantime, I welcome you to learn a little more about who we are here.

I am not sure I could have been less interested in this company. First off, I did not solicit this email, so them telling me that it would be a great opportunity for them to get their name in front of my people, while true, is pretty ballsy. Additionally, they were nice enough to leave a link so I could check out their stuff before promoting it for free on the website I have been slaving over for almost 6 years now. A true non-starter (but good for this post…:)

Guest Post Blog Request 2 – Run on sentences and I get the picture, you would like to “publish in your blog”

Hi Tara,

I visited your blog Marketing Art Fully today and I really liked the way you’ve presented it and as I was reading some of your articles I found them informative and engaging, especially your post entitled “Small business marketing tips – does everything have to be perfect?”. I’d love to contribute to your blog and provide you with a compelling article to publish in your blog.

I was thinking perhaps one of the following titles: (edited by me – they were about appointment setting and data cleansing – two topics I don’t write about)

Would you like me to send you one of these articles to publish in your blog. If these articles are not appealing to you let me know the latest topics that are of interest to you, and I’ll be glad to write a compelling article for Marketing Art Fully.

I look forward to hearing from you. Thank you and have a lovely weekend, X

First off, I am not stupid, I know you can pick a post and cut and paste the title in…guest post requests 101. What about a little bit about WHY you liked it (I KNOW, they didn’t actually like it, just heard that this is what you are supposed to do!) Second off, they spelled my site name wrong twice and repeated “publish in your blog” over and over like I would be mesmerized and write back, of course you could “publish in my blog”.

Guest Post Blog Request 3 – I am not doing what I should to promote them and off topic, you think?

Hi Tara,

Hope you are doing great…I am waiting for your response on my Guest Post proposal, Could you please let me know as how should I proceed ahead? If you’d like to take a look at what I’ve written before, Here is our sample of works:

I look forward to hearing from you.

First off, I wrote back and asked this person to explain to me why she thought her children’s articles would be a good fit for my marketing blog, but she didn’t answer. Second off, you can write me every day and I still won’t publish a post about kids…it is off topic!

Guest Post Blog Request 4 – Seriously?

Hi Admin..

I am a regular reader of your site and I really like your site so much. That’s why I also want to contribute my some articles to your site( So please give me chance to contribute some articles for your site.

MY name is: X

>> Update 5 minutes after publishing this post!!! – another winner in the “did you know it was a writing assignment category!<<

Hello Admin, (DOH – my name is Tara and is published on my site!)

Hope you are doing well. I’ve been reading your blog on since long. All of those that I have read are informative and beneficial too. I highly appreciate the information posted on your blog.

Moreover, I would love to share my insights in terms of knowledge and information for your readers by posting on your blog. As of now I have blog related to “Business marketing” which i wish to post on your blog.

Could you please let me know as how should i proceed ahead? Looking forward to hearing from you.

Okay, this was the straw that broke the camels back! Do these people understand that this is a WRITING request that they are sending? If you cannot write a three sentence request, what would make me think that you will write a 300-500 word article that I would be willing to publish on my own website? Now, I am not the grammer police, I have miss-spellings and sometimes cuss, BUT IT IS MY SITE! I am allowed to write however I want.

In conclusion, if you are going to send a request for anyone’s site to publish your work please:

  • Actually read at least one of their articles and say WHY you liked it enough to include it in your pitch letter
  • Use good grammer in your guest blogging request
  • Stop telling them what a great opportunity it is to have you write for them (a little humble goes a long way)

and DON’T keep writing them to ask why they haven’t answered you back, they are busy making their site popular enough that you want to be on it!

Guest Post Blogging – I was rejected by Social Media Examiner and I am okay!

Guest Post Blogging – I was rejected by Social Media Examiner and I am okay!Guest post blogging is the new black. Finding authority sites that will publish your works is as old as the hills, but has turned into one of the only true-blue ways to get backlinks that Google likes.

First Off, What Is Guest Post Blogging?

This is where you find a site that would have comparable materials to yours and offer to write a post. Sites like the Social Media Examiner even have a submission form where they review your current work and then let you know whether or not you will be a good fit. I was super excited the day they let me know they would consider one of my articles!

Next you submit (or they tell you) a number of different titles that would be interesting to their readers and write a post for their review. I worked with an awesome editor, Cindy King who seemed a little hesitant about my titles but in the end said the one about contacting authorities in the marketplace might work. I wrote the article in my somewhat quirky style, trying to remember that it was not for my blog, but needed to fit into their process. I got quotes from Chris Brogan and Seth Godin and included them in the post (they were both VERY gracious about sending me over great info!)

Pitfalls When You Are Guest Post Blogging

Okay, I should have seen this coming a mile away. While I do read and enjoy Social Media Examiner almost every day, I didn’t really scope out that they are more of a technical “how to” site than suits my style of writing. Also, they have very high end techy people who are excited about sharing the details of what to do, where I am more of a how and why kind of gal. It was not a good fit so I stopped trying to make my round peg fit in their square hole.

There is nothing wrong with me and nothing wrong with them, just we were not a good fit!

So not only should you make sure they are in your industry, you should make sure that your writing style fits their publishing style. I am thankful for the opportunity they gave me to try, but my time is better served by finding sites that do fit how I write and approaching them instead of trying to make my whacky bits fit their serious bits.

A couple of things…first off, if you are techy and involved in social media, I would recommend you sign up to see if you could write for the Social Media Examiner. They have a high class operation that is a pleasure to work with.

Second off, if you would like to read the article they rejected (which is VERY good if I do say so myself) it is below!

Exact Strategies To Connect With Thought Leaders In Your Industry

We have all heard it before, the way to increase your SEO and Social Media efforts is to piggyback on the authority of thought leaders in your industry. That is great for you and can only serve to help your efforts, but what is in it for them?

Experts in industry have spent a lot of time or energy becoming experts. They have written best selling books or gotten super advanced degrees in their field. They have spent years building up an audience of rabid fans and the outward manifestation of their hard work is the fact that they now “important” and everyone wants their time or attention.

In my industry (marketing) it is easy to think, “if Chris Brogan would just write a blog post about me and how wonderful I am, all my lead generation problems will be solved!”

But what would cause Chris (or any other thought leader) to notice you?

I know, you could send them a long email about your product and how it would be great for his readers! In it, you could enumerate the ways that your product will benefit his audience and how much money he could make if he just told everyone about it.

Sigh. Even on my small scale of notoriety, I am astounded about how many people will approach me asking me to use my authority to help them.

When you go about it this way, not only does it make you look ridiculous, but you may have blown a real opportunity to make a meaningful connection!

So exactly how should you connect with thought leaders in your industry?

I was reading the editorial guidelines for writing a post on the Social Media Examiner and they said, “Try and quote people: Expert quotes always add to your work. You can source these from blogs via email or by phone.”

Brilliant! I want to write for SME and they say to get quotes….I should ask some experts. Hmmmm, let’s try some best selling authors in the marketing field. Who do I know? or more correctly, who knows me enough to take time away from their busy day to help me?

1. Read their “stuff”

The first person I thought of was Chris Brogan (of course), a New York Times Bestselling author of books like The Impact Equation and Trust Agents. Chris has a newsletter that I read weekly on Sundays and email him back when appropriate. I also share his blog posts on my social media when I think they will help my audience, using the @chrisbrogan method of letting him know I shared it.

So I sent him a quick email (short is better, they are busy) asking if he could give me a couple of words about how to approach someone for a favor, this is his response,

“Often, what happens when people approach me is they come from what they need, what they want, what they hope to get, and usually, with very little to offer me or my community in return. They want my time, my thoughts, and my effort, but without really giving me much of a reason to participate. 

The people who get my attention tend to have actually read the last handful of things I posted (not the most recent because that’s an easy fake), don’t bother lavishing me with praise, do give me really simple directions for what they need, and do make the project easy to do. 

It’s not that we’re prima donnas and that we have gentle sensibilities. It’s that our inbox is full to the top with people asking for something. But if I can answer easily, or can participate without a ton of effort, I’m usually game. 

Just like this reply. ;)”

What to do:

  • Read their writings – I know this seems simple, but many authorities are AUTHORS, the whole point of their being is to have people read their works.
  • Buy their books and review them on Amazon – bonus points if you write a blog post about the book and point it to their Amazon sales page without an affiliate link!
  • Sign up for their newsletters and reply when there is something that interests you.

2. Follow and share their events

Another one of my favorites is Gary Vaynerchuk of Crush It and The Thank You Economy fame. Gary has a HUGE social network and I know that he cannot possibly see everything that everyone is saying about him, but he tries.

I have met Gary in person twice, first at a small little event he gave before he was famous and then at a local book signing when his second book came out. Both times I introduced myself as Taradactyl (my twitter handle) and he graciously said he recognized me.

I did not get a response back from Gary for this article, but that is alright. I am sure that he is busy with writing books, appearing on television and running his social media marketing empire.

What he has done in the past is ask for my help (by pre-buying a number of his books) in return for the promise of something cool. Nothing more specific than that, just something cool. What I got was a box full of samples, coupons, marketing gizmos and special offers just for “friends of Gary”. It was an amazing surprise and one that cemented even further my liking of him.

What to do:

  • Watch for them to have national appearances – just recently @GaryVee (his twitter handle) shared that he was going to be on Piers Morgan. I Tivo-ed it and was able to reference that in my request to him!
  • If there are videos from their TV appearance, share them with your networks.
  • Go to their book signings – again with the Author thing, they need people to show up!
  • When they do have an event, share it with your social network – bonus points if you Instagram a picture of you with them from the event.
  • Set up a Twitter list or a Facebook list so you can check daily to see if they have a new offer or something of theirs that you can share.

3. Show your support

It is really easy to think that a personality has enough other people to help that you don’t need to jump in. Before his last series of books came out, Seth Godin did a campaign to raise money and to show his publisher there was support for a book that he intended to write. His goal was to raise $40,000 and ultimately what was raised was considerably more than that.

Seth Godin - Kickstarter Campaign

One of the best parts was the opportunity to support Seth and get a HUGE book of over a quarter million words of his blog posts printed out. From the Kickstarter site, it looks like just over 2,000 people took advantage of getting the “big book”.

Now that it is here and popular, more and more people are wanting to get one. This is the key, support them before it is cool to, not after everyone else has jumped on the bandwagon!

I emailed Seth to ask him “about the best way to approach a best selling author without being a jerk about it?” and this is his reply,

“The best way to approach someone in demand is to not approach them! In general, this feels like a shortcut, but it’s not. The opportunity is to create your own sphere of influence, curate your own content, lead your own tribe… it might take longer, but it doesn’t put you at the mercy of the delete key.”

What to do:

  • Show excitement about their work – this is a great video done by a fan about opening Seth’s book (Rex Williams, the man who made the video has almost 5,000 views on this video and personal links from Seth from his Squidoo lens).
  • Buy what you can afford – someone without the means to purchase one of the big Kickstarter campaigns, could have accomplished a similar level of enthusiasm by buying the smaller book, doing a YouTube, reviewing it on Amazon, posting about it on their blog and generally blanketing the airwaves with it.
  • Pay it forward before you attend one of their events. We are attending a conference that Jay Baer will be speaking at. We have contacted him and asked his best social media links to include in an unofficial guidebook we are making and he was happy to share the best ones with us. – update since I wrote this, we also wrote a post The Trouble With Email Marketing – A Shoutout To Jay Baer and Chris Brogan after seeing his keynote and he commented! YAY!!

Isn’t This A Little Mercenary?

With all the setting up Twitter lists, subscribing on Facebook, sharing on the Google+, doesn’t it ever feel a little icky stalking your target influencers?

Two things to think about here, 1) if you are working in an industry you love, they are probably on your radar anyways and 2) this is not about figuring out what they can do for you, it is about supporting them! Yes, there is a point when you might ask them for something, but I have found more often than not, they ask me for something.

Gary Vaynerchuk tweet

Of course I answered Gary and said I would buy some books to share and would be happy to evangelize what he is doing. Did that cause an equation to happen [answers a mass call on Facebook] + [requests a quote for article] = [gets the quote].

Do these tactics always work?

Nope, this time GaryVee was too busy to help. But next time he might not be, or he might have an opportunity that is too small that he could recommend me or my company for or any number of other good things that could happen because I am being nice.

If you think more about helping others than what they can do for you, oftentimes they will come through in the end!

What is your best tip for getting thought leaders in your industry to notice you?

Internet Marketing – Should You Write Major And Minor Blog Posts?

Internet Marketing - Should You Write Major and Minor Blog PostsIf you are doing internet marketing you are probably at least considering doing some blogging. Now, this can seem time intensive and it is, but you can save time if write both major and minor blog posts.

What are major blog posts?

Okay, a confession here…I made up major and minor blog posts, it is just how I think of my writing. Major blog posts (to me) are ones that I have to research or do some extra work for. Some of the things that make a major blog post are:

I would say that a major post can take between an hour and a couple of hours to write. They require more than my personal knowledge to write and are probably interesting to me and a smaller segment of the small business population than most of my posts! They are also generally longer than most with some bumping up on 2,000 words.

What are minor blog posts?

Minor blog posts are the ones that I can write off the top of my head. I have 15 plus years of experience in marketing and spend HOURS a week researching and learning about different marketing techniques that could work for our small business peeps. That means that I have A LOT of information that other people don’t know. This is key.

You probably have a lot of information in your industry that other people don’t know. Sometimes it can seem like what you are talking about is too basic but that is because you KNOW it. Other people probably do not know it and could use your expertise.

These posts usually take less than a half an hour to write because I write them from experience and they are generally around 500 words max.

Which are better?

So I like doing major posts because I generally learn something during the process and they tend to be interesting to me and very high level advanced marketing. Sigh…well come to find out, they are not the magic that gets people to my website. My top posts last year in order were:

So 4 of my top 5 blog posts were written off the top of my head. They total 13,872 hits to my website last year and just sit there like little soldiers, bringing people by to see my site daily.

Internet Marketing – Your Home Page Doesn’t Matter

Internet marketing is NOT about pretty and shiney anymore and the sooner you understand your home page doesn’t matter, the more money you will make and the more leads you will get!

Internet Marketing - Your Home Page Doesn't MatterAlright, this is blasphemy and I know that there will be outrage about it, but your home page doesn’t matter in web design.

I say this after looking at analytics from many different sites, and what I noticed right away was that there is a very small portion of people who actually come to your home page. Okay, I KNOW that some of you are optimizing your home page, you are driving paid traffic to it, etc. but in general, the majority of your traffic (if you are a small business owner) will come from blog posts on your site.

Why would that be? You want people to come to your home page so they can see the labor of love that you have done, with flash and an intro page and moving images. Oh the time you took to make sure it was perfect and looking EXACTLY as you wish.

Well, no one is interested in you or your company.

I am sorry to be the one to break this to you, but in todays always on, 24 hour news cycle, get kids to the soccer game, fight to keep your job, information inundated world, NO ONE CARES ABOUT YOU or your little website either.

They care about what YOU can do for THEM. The end. They don’t care if you have a great home page, if you have the right stock photography, if you have a splash page that loads, loads, loads (well they do care and probably leave before it ever gets loaded). They do not have time to try and figure out a complicated website. They want to be able to find the most important navigation links, see that your site looks professionally done and then get to whatever they need.

Prove it!

Okay, here is a lovely little video where I look at the back ends of some our (and my) blogs. You will see overwhelmingly that people are looking at pages that help them, tell them something or that they want to buy, NOT at any home page.

So, please stop trying to make the front of your blog or website look pretty (if you aren’t blogging, that is a shame and a post for another day). Make the most of your internet marketing efforts by producing great content and leave the looks for the other guys!

PS – want a bit of fun….check out…most of the problems with having a “beautiful” site are that they are counter to good design, non-functioning and basically invisible to search engines.

WordPress Internet Marketing – Categories and Tags

So when you are doing wordpress internet marketing (like we do for some of our clients), things change depending on what The Google is doing. Stupid things. Throughout this post I am going to be adding some ideas for you and then making suggestions – PLEASE read the suggestions so you don’t FUBAR your blog and then yell at me!

Wordpress Internet Marketing - Categories and TabsWhen I started doing marketing on WordPress years ago, the prevailing thought was to have your posts in LOTS of different categories. And oh, the tags, you should have small biz marketing, and small business marketing, and marketing your small business because the Goole had not figured out yet how to follow the rabbit hole down and know that all of those references lead directly back to one blog post (or even a number of them).

So today I was talking with a client who has done a FABULOUS job writing content for her corporate wellness blog and we were taking a peek at her blog posts, categories, tags and Google analytics. Wonderfully enough, she had started with us a couple of years ago AFTER the insanity had stopped and we had her content organized into just a few, highly relevant categories.

That having been said, they were not the best categories for where her business was two years later and we are going to move some stuff around (not two categories Gluten Free and Dairy Free, but now one Gluten Free | Dairy Free).

note – DO NOT change the slug (the url words) since it may already be indexed in google, if you have the ability, seo the title and description but leave the slug alone so that the Google doesn’t think it is a broken link on your website.

note – The straight up and down line is a called a “pipe” and is a neutral in programming language. We use it frequently so that we do not cause interent problems with using an ampersand or worse a forward slash which IS a programming keystroke.

note – Having 10 strong categories is MUCH better than having hundreds of disparate categories and each post should only be applicable to one category or maybe two or it is too broad!

Interenet Marketing WordPress TagsWordPress Tags

This is a picture of my tag cloud so you can take a peek. First off, I used to use them to make sure I was talking about the right things in my posts. They get bigger when there are lots of posts (I used to have a HUGE mindset tag which is nice, but my blog is about small business marketing, doh!)

Additionally, they allow for a subset of organization that could be below categories. For example, we have industry based marketing categories on our Marketing and Media Monsters site, but then we have tags that drill down to the type of marketing like video marketing or article marketing.

Tag clouds

So, just a year or so ago I came upon a site whose admin had put in HUNDREDS of tags using a plugin. Most did not have a post associated with them, but the thinking was that all these disparate words would help with the SEO (search engine optimization).

Whenever I have a question about whether something is right to do or not, I check with Matt Cutts, Google’s frontman who tells us things about how we are doing SEO-wise. A search for Tag Clouds and Matt Cutts turns up his take on these from 2010. Now I can’t say that I have ever seen the Google spontaneously change their mind and say that something they considered detrimental was miraculously made a good thing, so I listened to Matt and took my tag clouds off!

Why is there so much bad information about SEO data out there?

Okay, I am on a tear because one of our clients who hired a bad SEO company emails us almost every day asking if one or the other tactics of theirs is hurting or just not helping. I did a bunch of research with experts in this and watched a funny (funny sad not funny ha ha) webinar where the expert went right down the line enumerating the bad SEO tricks that people were using that hurt their website’s ranking ability. read all about it in my post Keyword Marketing – Does Bad SEO Hurt.

That having been said, I get asked often why someone would do that. They got bad SEO info. They are not deliberately trying to hurt my client (I don’t think), just they took a class for sale on the internet with ideas that were 3-5 years old and already rejected by the Google.

Doing SEO work is not easy and requires that you keep your own ear to the ground and research, research, research what is working and what doesn’t. Additionally, NEVER do anything that some guru is selling a quick trick to fool Google. Generally I find these all to be old “tricks” that might of worked years ago, but don’t work today.

Seriously people, there is NO WAY TO FOOL GOOGLE! They have the smartest guys in the room working day and night to keep ahead of the spammers who are working day and night to figure out new “tricks” to use until they are broken and then sell to the dupes that don’t know any better!

If you are a small business owner who is growing an internet empire to last, do not use tricks. Just hire a company that has strong white hat tactics and who will take the time to help your business grow online on strong foundations!

How Long Should Your Marketing Be? | Emails, Blog Posts, etc.

I get this question A LOT and it is DEFINITELY a do as I say, not as I do kind of thing, “How long should my emails (blog posts) be?” Here are some words of wisdom from the interwebs and my experience.

How Long Should Marketing Be - Email Blog PostsWe need to look at a number of factors when considering the length of your messages:

First off, are you an established entity? I started writing seriously in 2008, have rarely had a post that was under 500 words and have a following that reads what I write. I would LOVE to take the advice of people who say that shorter is better, but I have long thoughts and I am not sure my audience would be happy with short, fluffy posts (not to say short is always fluffy, sometimes I should break my thoughts up into small ideas instead of having many concepts in one post or email!)

Second off, do you LIKE writing long posts? Gary Vaynerchuk, a two time best selling author is not a writer. His message comes to us via video and books with nothing in between. I tell you this because sometimes small biz owners are put off thinking that they have to write war and peace when actually, they could just use their cell phone to grow a following!

Thirdly, is your information technical or common sense based. While it would be nice to learn about how to do SEO (search engine marketing) a tiny piece at a time, not having the big picture could lead you do individual pieces that wound up angering the Google gods because you never got the big picture.

Lastly, is your learning style (and communication style) designed to do one piece at a time or are you a dive right in kind of kid? When I am learning, I get SO wicked mad when they parcel things out over 6 or 8 weeks. I have the attention span of a gnat for that kind of thing, but can immerse myself in a topic for hours and come out with a good understanding of the content so that is how I tend to roll. LONG posts and emails that are full of info work for my peeps, but may not work for you.

Alright Already, I Came Here To Find Out How Long Should Emails and Blog Posts Be?

Easy, about 300 words (that would have taken up to part way through my 4th introductory point of learning style). In fact, I was reading a 1,000 plus email from that nice Chris Brogan this weekend and he said so too..:) I have heard that as conventional wisdom for years from all kinds of sources.

But why 300 words?

Well, I did a BUNCH of research and it does not seem to be a read-a-bility factor but more so to satisfy the Google and make it a minimally sharable link.

BUT….SOOO happy about this…while 300 words seems to be a minimum, it does not seem to be optimal! That nice Matt Cutts is the Google guy who tells us what is okay to do SEO-wise and what is verboten!

So, what I take from this is that 300 words is acceptable, but not necessarily well thought out or informative.

So, your emails or blog posts should be in excess of 300 words long, informative and helpful to the reader. THAT is how long your marketing should be!

Internet Marketing – How Important Is A Website These Days?

So we do internet marketing and we get a lot of questions about websites, websites versus blogs and whether they are important anymore with the advent of social media. So let’s break down the bits in a way that my small biz peeps will be able to understand!!!

Internet marketing - having a hubHaving a hub…first off, let’s talk about what either a blog OR a website does. It makes a place (HUB) for all of your social media marketing to land and is your home base for your marketing efforts. ALL of your marketing materials, online and offline, should point back here.

Some of the places that you should have linking to your “HUB” include:

  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
  • Email Marketing
  • Pinterest
  • YouTube
  • Your Blog (if separate)
  • Business Cards
  • Brochures
  • Photo Sharing Sites

the list goes on and on!

Why You Should Have A Blog

Okay, I have to say that as a marketing person, I am a HUGE blog proponent. The RSS capabilities of a blog make having one vital in today’s interconnected internet. There are two types of blogs, free blogs and paid blogs. Free blogs come from places like and and are a great way to dip a toe in if you are not ready to go the paid route.

Paid blogs have hosting with a company like GoDaddy and are owned by you, providing much more latitude to selling or pitching your product. We recommend having a blog because of the high SEO (search engine optimization) factors and the ability to target keywords with each post! MANY of our marketing clients have a website HUB and a separate marketing blog (which we recommend and is a post for another day!).

Now, blogs can be prettier than they were in the past, BUT we are not going for pretty with our blogs, we are going for FUNCTION! Hard core SEO and get you noticed on the search engines kind of thing. Find out more about our blogging setup and maintenance services!

Why You Should Have A Website

Medical websitesSo, am I anti websites with all this blogging talk? Nope! I do think that for specific industries a blog is not going to suffice. Blogs are for computers and a really beautiful, well designed website is for humans!

This website is for a pediatric office, and is designed by the internet marketing for doctors company, Officite. If you are considering taking your child to a new doctor, you DO care what the initial impression of the website is. Does it convey professionalism and reliability? Additionally, it offers functionality like appointment scheduling and an interface with the doctor’s office.

So who needs a website versus a blog? Doctors, lawyers, people who require confidential information be submitted online like mortgage pros, oh and Ecommerce peeps who want to have a big online store!

Wrap Up

So, with all of this social media talky talk, are you saying that you need Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, videos, photos, a blog AND a website? For some of my small biz owners, YES! I KNOW, having all of those properties and managing them effectively is a hassle and I would love to tell you that all you need to do is buy a yellow page ad and be done like in the old days…but that is not the way the world works anymore. Having a strong web presence is VITAL to having a success business in this day and age!

Why You Should Put Pictures In Your Blog Posts – 2012 Update

When you are busy and need to pound a blog post, it is easy to ask yourself why you should put pictures in your blog posts. They are hard to find legally (no stealing!) and sometimes, unless you are a graphic artist, you cannot find exactly what you are looking for which takes even more time!

Why you should put pictures in your blog postsSo why, in 2012, should you put pictures in your blog posts?

First off, many people use Feedburner to read your postings. Feedburner lets people sign up to get your articles or post by email. As you can see in the picture, when Feedburner sends out that message, it includes the picture from your post. Humans like pictures (especially pictures of people so that is something to think about!)

Feedburner is owned by the google so it is a GREAT idea to have a feedburner feed set up for everything you do that has a feed (like your YouTube videos (but that is a post for another day!)

Secondly, in 2012 EVERYONE who is any marketing idiot knows that you need to add your blog posts to Facebook and the other social media sites. Because I did not have a photo in the first example, the only photo Facebook could find to post was the captcha from a form (NOT a great draw to get people to read my post!) The second one had a photo so Facebook was able to pull a relevant photo from the blog post and get it in there to attract readers!

Facebook wall - pictures in blog postsWhen you look at this screen capture of my Facebook wall, you can see that there is a little red button (which is just a part of someone’s website design) and then there is a drawing that was a picture in a post. Think about it, which attracts you more? A little piece of a boiler plate website or something that catches your eye and makes you want to read more?

If you have been on the internet lately, you will have noticed that photos and videos are much more highly consumed than are words and marketing drivel. People want a quick idea if they should explore more. Now I am not saying that you should have pictures and not posts (you have at this point read 369 words and counting). Blog posts are a great way to find people who are looking for expertise on the search engines. What I am talking about is getting their attention in the first place!

Small Business Marketing Doodle

Social media marketing servicesOkay, most small biz owners are overwhelmed, disgusted or confused by social media. What is it, why do they need it and how should they fit it into their already busy schedule?

We work with small biz owners to help implement a social media marketing plan that will work for their company! Find out more about our social media marketing services or call today to talk with real live human being! 727-415-9165

Small Business Marketing Doodle

Social Media and Blogs Are The New Yellow Pages

Social Media and blogs are not going to save a dying business, they are not going to generate a million visitors in a couple of weeks and they are not going to fix a flawed product or service (no matter how many times the media says they will!)

That having been said, Social Media and blogs are the new Yellow Pages! In the old days, you paid your $800 a month to be in the yellow pages so that people could look you up and find your business. If you were not there, you basically did not exist. Well today’s social media and internet landscape is much the same. Someone will do a search for your industry or keywords, find your company and (this is where it gets crazy), check about a million sources to see if you are who you say you are company-wise and person-wise.

I think this comes from the love hate relationship we all have with the internet. We LOVE the convenience of searching and finding a bunch of different options, we HATE that there are scammers and charlatans behind every bush and we need to make sure that we are not going to get ripped off.

So, picture your customer sitting at his keyboard looking for your product or service. He finds you listed on the Google and then starts to check and see if you are a legitimate business. He checks Facebook and Twitter, he Googles your name and your company name, he even may do a search for something like “scams” to see if there are bad comments about you one the internet.

We had a client who was furious that he had built a HUGE eCommerce website with tons of information on it. A prospective buyer checked that out, then went to Twitter and posted a comment and even went to his Facebook Biz page and asked a question. Our client thought that they should have stayed on his site and bought the product (which was about $60 – not a huge commitment). Well, that is just not how the world works anymore. Your prospects are going to be searching all over to see if there is anymore info about you, BEFORE they pick up the phone or hit that buy button.

Social Media Side Note – If they ask a question on your Facebook page or Google Plus, it means they are interested, answer them!!! Do NOT delete questions (as I see so many biz owners doing), it shows interaction and that you are interested in your customers!

What ARE Social Media and Blogs Good For?

So if social media is not to SELL, SELL, SELL, and blogs are not going to make you a millionaire, what the heck ARE they good for? Here are some of the things blogs and social media can help with:

  • Unfortunately, in today’s rough market, they can let people know you are still in business. Too many companies have gone under to let us feel totally comfortable thinking that our favorites will always be around. THIS is why you need to keep posting every week on your blog, the Facebook and Twitter so that there is no question about your viability and involvement.
  • Brand building, each time someone sees and interacts with your company or you online, you are given a free opportunity to get in front of them with your brand, products or services.
  • You can use a blog to rank higher in the search engines that your website can. Due to the RSS Feeds and the way that they are built, blogs that are posting frequently (once or twice a week) will tend to rank better than a static website for a search term. You can also send this Google love back to your “real” website if you have one.
  • YouTube is a GREAT way to incorporate video into your blogs and branding efforts. The video that is in this post was sent out to the agent who I featured (Palm Harbor Realtor, Julia Fishel the Pinellas Peach) so all my people got to see it, all her people got to see it, I can post it on Twitter, my Facebook business page, post on Google Plus and incorporate it into a blog post.

Having social media and blogs works well for your business as long as you keep working it. Unfortunately, it is stop and die proposition so you HAVE to make sure you are active on each marketing channel each week! The easy way to understand how this works is to think how you use the internet, mostly you check Google if you don’t have a referral from a friend, if you do have a referral, you will do a search for that company or product. THEN you will check around a bit to see what they are all about, THEN you will buy.

If you have not updated your Facebook Business Page this week, get in there and do it. If you blog has been sitting idle, write a post! Get things moving and you will be pleasantly surprised at the results!!!!

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If all this Social Media sounds like too much work, check out our Social Media Marketing Services page for more about how we help small business owners manage their online presence!

Small Business Marketing – When You Start, No One Is Listening!

Small business marketing seems like it should be relatively easy these days, set up a blog, Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, a YouTube Channel and about 30 other things and people will flock to you, RIGHT? Come-on, if you do all that work to get everything set up, that’s it, RIGHT?

Small Business Marketing Nothing WorkingWe work with A LOT of small business marketing clients, on their social media, blogs and videos and EVERY one says the same thing at first,

“But I don’t think anyone is (watching | reading | listening)

OF COURSE no one is watching, reading or listening to you yet! You have been doing it for about 10 minutes and they are busy!

Think about YOUR day. You get up, check your email and answer the important ones, get ready, check your voice mail and then answer the important ones, check the news, check the internet, see if there is any chit chat on Facebook or Google Plus, write a blog post, make a video, etc. In my world, just because someone else makes one video, doesn’t lead to me buying something the first time out of the gate.

How People Buy

So I follow this guy on Facebook who says he can help teach how to get 10,000 fans. Here is approximately how the sale was made:

  1. I saw something good he posted on Facebook and liked his page
  2. I followed that for about 4 months and he made an offer to give me something for free if I signed up for his mailing list
  3. He emailed me a few dozen times with more good, free stuff and did not spam me
  4. He asked me to attend a free webinar about getting fans
  5. I bought a $50 product as a result of the webinar

Damn that feels like A LOT of work for 50 bucks! It was posting on Facebook, setting up autoresponders and sending emails, setting up a webinar and sales page, doing the course for the sale and then, months later, 50 bucks. If he had stopped working at any point in time during that process because he thought “no one is listening”, he would have missed the sale. Now this guy is pretty sharp and his stuff is good so I figure he sold to more than me. Say he sold 10, that would make his take for all that work $500. But what if he sold 100?

We all hear about the thousand of people on webinars who buy. I recently paid $50 to attend a webinar and the guy estimated that he sold about 300 seats on the webinar. That was a 15 THOUSAND dollar payday for two hours? Damn good money if you can get it, BUT! But, you need to be Chris Brogan to rake in that kind of dough. Chris has spent YEARS giving great information and growing a following to get that response.

So, if you are just starting out and are NOT going to be willing to do A LOT of work BEFORE someone starts listening, stop now and save yourself some heartache. BUT, if you are serious about making a name for yourself with your small business marketing, get out there and start doing LOTS of stuff so people start listening!

Small Business Internet Marketing – RSS Feeds

I am a small business internet marketing kind of gal. Notice the small business part? While I try to keep my posts non-techy so that my peeps can implement most of the concepts themselves, this RSS Feeds post is going to be a little technical BUT worth reading if you want free traffic to your blog, facebook or videos sites!

Small Business Internet Marketing RSS FeedsWhat Do Search Engines Do

Before we get too technical, lets talk about search engines and what their job is. Search engines are constantly looking for new information to show humans who have used keywords to do searches. So, if you do a search for “big screen tvs”, search engines will provide you with a variety of sites, some with reviews, some with sales and some with research data. They will do their best to provide a variety of content so that the human who is searching finds what they are looking for, be it a news story, blog post, picture, press release or any other manner of information.

Additionally, search engines have algorithms that allow them to know that when you type “superbowl” you really mean “super bowl”, that big football game played at the end of the season. They can also know that humans search for “cold remedies” when they really want to know about “sore throats”. Our language is diverse and keeps the google on its toes.

Small Business Internet Marketing – RSS Feeds

RSS Feeds and Small Business MarketingSo what are RSS Feeds and what do they have to do with search engines and content? RSS Feeds are technically “Really Simple Syndication” feeds that PUSH content you have developed to other places such as blogs, twitter and other aggregator websites who need to have LOTS of content. There are couple of ways to find these feeds, (1) if you are using the Firefox web browser they appear in the address bar as blue icon or (2) you can look around the page and see if you can find an orange icon that indicates an RSS feed is available.

As a small business marketer you can use these feeds for a number of different things like auto-publishing to your Twitter account or posting to your Facebook page, but today we are talking about the magic of other people using YOUR feeds to produce content for THEIR site.

Small Biz Marketing Rss FeedsThe picture above shows a screen capture of someone who took my blog post about Superbowl Demographics and posted it on his website. This site did a REALLY nice job of it, pulling quotes, recognizing me as the author and adding backlinks to my blog. See HIS post here. It is safe to assume that he has taken my RSS feed and is using it to publish content on his blog. The picture down here is another site that publishes my content, They pull my posts and put them onto their pages, adding backlinks to my recent posts although they are not as good at crediting me as the author of the content.

So why would these people take my posts and publish them on their sites? I am trying to rank for certain keywords like realtor marketing, small business marketing and entrepreneur marketing. The site seems to be trying to rank for “internet marketing for Real Estate Agents”. Search engines DO put a lot weight on having the exact keywords people search for BUT they also add up different bits to make a whole. In this case it seems that is hoping that my Realtor Marketing articles, plus the work that they do will get them to the top of the search engines for the search term “internet marketing for Real Estate Agents”.

Additionally, they are running google adwords down the right side of the page so they get a little bit of money anytime someone clicks on one of those links. For all we know the whole site is nothing but aggregated feeds that they never have to do any work to update and which may pull them in a ton of money.

What are pingbacks?

When you have a blog, often you will get a message from your blog that you have a pingback. A pingback means that someone has published your content on their site with a link back to your blog. It is VERY nice and you should ALWAYS approve it unless the site publishing it is a “bad neighborhood” like porn, pharmaceuticals or gambling sites.

So what does that mean for small business internet marketing?

Is this post going to explain EVERYTHING about RSS feeds and how they help your small business internet marketing efforts, no. Is it going to tell you about everything that you need to do to get your feeds recognized so that complete strangers publish your content on their sites, no. As small business marketers, what I hope it does is open your eyes to why having a blog, Facebook or YouTube channel might be so important. As you publish content on these media which have an RSS feed, you never know who is going to pick it up and use it for SEO or to “plump” up THEIR content!

If you would like to find out how we help our clients use RSS feeds and other fun marketing items to grow their business, check out our Small Business Marketing Services!

Thanks to Richard Turcott for featuring my post in his RSS blog!

Badly Executed Small Business Marketing – Commenting On Blog Posts

Commenting on blog posts is one of the ways internet marketers recommend to use to get traffic to your website. Unfortunately most of these campaigns are badly executed small business marketing!

Small Business Marketing Commenting on Blog PostsLet us start with WHY you want to comment on blog posts. There are any number of reasons but in general it is to:

(1) get a high comment on a popular blog so that people will follow your link and find your site
(2) to be SO insightful that everyone who reads your comment will be forced to visit your site
(3) get a backlink that has the correct keywords to increase your google rank or
(4) to post a comment so full of actual links to your site that you are spammer and will not be taken seriously and your comment may not be published

You will notice that two of the three of these require that a human see your comment and then follow a link back to your site. If you are paying someone who is in another country to post inane comments like “good post” or gibberish that makes no sense, this is just throwing money down the drain. We have a number of clients who spent good money to get “backlinks” this way. Unfortunately when checking the links, most were on “no follow” blogs so they were basically paying for nothing!

According to Wikipedia a no follow blog is

a value that can be assigned to the rel attribute of an HTML a element to instruct some search engines that a hyperlink should not influence the link target’s ranking in the search engine’s index.

What that means for us marketers is that google will not count that as a point in our favor so if we are not going to do commenting the right way our time is wasted!

Commenting On Popular Blogs

This one works well if you have the time to cruise popular blogs in your industry and are prepared to make insightful comments that ADD the conversation rather than just posting “first” on them. The reason this works well is that comments generally show from first to last and so anyone reading the post will get to see what you wrote and may click the link to get back to your site. The only thing to watch out for on this is one is to make sure you are early or late in the conversation, some popular blogs get HUNDREDS of comments and being in the middle of them will get you no love.

Posting Insightful Comments

This one works well and if used in conjunction with targeting industry leaders can increase both your traffic and networking efforts. So this is how it works, you take someone like Howie Jacobson, adwords genius, who writes a blog and has written a book about how to do adwords correctly. If you are in the online marketing field, he is a great one to comment on because people read his blog AND he answers his own comments. This way you could get a click back while increasing the chances that a big wig in your industry might notice you and possibly recommend you OR comment on YOUR blog!

So what is an insightful comment. I can tell you that is not determined by length! Just yesterday I wrote a post about real estate farm marketing (which is picking an area that a realtor would target) and got a really long considered comment about selling farms in the midwest. TOTAL disconnect and I did not approve the comment so that time was wasted for either the person commenting or whoever they hired to do this work. Make sure that you write a couple of sentences that are relevant to the conversation!

It is also about content! Here is a comment that came in on that same post, “Thanks for a great post. very informative. I totally agree with you, having is the right mindset is most important of all. I Have already shared this post with a few of my friends and they loved it. Thanks”. NOW, while I have plenty of posts that talk about mindset, this was not one of them. Had they taken two minutes more and found the right post to comment on, I would have approved it even though it was spammy. The grammar mistake was theirs not mine!

Commenting On Blogs for Keyword Targeted Backlinks

Blog post commenting small business marketingThis one is a little technical and somewhat controversial. If your whole point of commenting is to get a keyword targeted backlink then you need to use a term like “Small Business Marketing” as your name rather than your REAL name (in this case I would want to use Small Business Marketing INSTEAD of my real name Tara Jacobsen).

If I did this on a blog that allowed follows then the google would attribute that keyword back to my blog! Unfortunately most blogs are no follow and additionally, some that are will not post comments from keywords, only people. If you are paying people to post comments, then make sure they are targeting “do follow blogs” and that they are using your keyword targeted names.

Commenting With Hyperlinks

One of the easiest ways to get labeled a spammer is to post a comment FULL of hyperlinks to your website. If it is an open comment blog it will get posted but it is impolite. If the blog author monitors their comments then they will, in most cases, not approve the comment. Either way, definitely not a best white-hat marketing practice!

So there you have it! My top commenting on blog posts marketing tips. If you have any further suggestions or comments please leave them below with your real name and no spam..:)

Blogging – When to post and when to just do it

Blogging is a GREAT lead generating tool and the best bloggers know that to increase traffic, all they have to do is post an article. That having been said, if you can not have a perfect blog posting schedule, do not miss an opportunity to get something out there!

Blogging When To PostI write blog posts about 2 times a week during normal times. This month I am writing 31 posts in 31 days so I have some good data to tell you about in regard to what a normal month looks like compared to a month where ridiculous amounts of blogging are happening every day!

The first Saturday of this month I posted and got 67 visits, last month when I did not post I got 24 visits. Weekends are usually terrible traffic days for me BUT by posting I more than doubled my traffic (Sunday was 63 and 40).

For the first full week of last month I had 377 visits and this month, posting every day, that number jumped to 743, a significant rise in traffic. Now, this is all organic traffic and I will have to stop my testing because I have started some paid campaigns which will skew the results, BUT just that little bit allows me to extrapolate that I can double my web hits just by posting every day.

So when is the best time to post to your blog?

In his article, The Best Time To Post, Socialnomics guru, Erik Qualman braves a train to tell us that these are some good blogging guidelines:

* Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday are your best days
* Saturday is the worst day
* Holidays are slow traffic days (except commerce sites)
* 10 am – 11:30 am and 1 – 3:30 pm are best times to post
* Stagger posts based on time zones

I agree whole heartedly that these are the best times. I get the majority of my traffic on Tuesday through Thursday and find that both B2B and B2C blogs report this shift. It seems to me that business people are accessing information during working hours on weekdays and that employed people are accessing information during working hours on weekdays also!

I have to say that in a perfect world I DO like to get my post out by 9am Eastern Time so that I have time to bookmark it and have the majority of people in the United States available to see it all day. This practice seems to result in the most hits per post, not even taking into account the lifetime value on post that is sitting out there generating search engine traffic for me on an ongoing basis.

Okay, perfect world aside now! I am writing this post at 12:30 Eastern time and will still publish it today. I published one of my 31 posts at 4:30 in the afternoon and still got traffic, maybe not as much but there was still a response to my article. If you set a goal like posting every day or twice a week or every Tuesday, stuff will happen. Your client will call or your breakfast will catch on fire or some other calamity will happen. What I do not want you to do is give yourself such a tight time frame that if you miss it, you don’t post at all.

I have seen this happen with newsletters. Supposedly the best time to send a newsletter is Thursday morning. Clients will miss Thursday morning and then feel like they have to wait until the next Thursday morning to send it and then something happens, I am sure you see where I am going here.

Marketing done imperfectly still benefits your company! Getting a post out there is more important than waiting to have all the planets align just right and never posting anything.

How To Get More Blog Traffic On The Weekend

Getting more blog traffic on the weekend can be a real challenge. On the weekends many sites’ traffic drops like a stone, I know that mine does!

How to get more traffic to weekend blog postsIf you are targeting business traffic, there is a good chance your site traffic will decrease on the weekends when people are less likely to be working and more likely to be playing. Typically I do not do blog posts on the weekend BUT doing one yesterday doubled my (admittedly low) weekend hits for a Saturday. Since I am posting every day this month, I did not do an authority or evergreen post that would be wasted on a low traffic day and am writing more informational and less keywordy posts. No matter what we do, most B2B (business to business) will occur Monday through Thursday, so targeting that time is vital.

If you would like to find out more about writing evergreen blog posts, check out this link!

That having been said, some sites traffic INCREASES on the weekends and this blog post is for you! If you are selling something that is more personal, fun or family oriented, people can be surfing around looking for entertainment or shopping for themselves or their family. Here are some great posts that I found for this B2C (business to consumer) crowd!

  • 7 Easy Ways to Get More Weekend Traffic for Your Website – The big A HA that I took out of this one was to use paid or PPC traffic on the weekends. Much as I don’t post on Saturday and Sunday, I have never run a campaign on the weekend and may set up one just for that purpose. I DO think that it will have to be more tailored to new business owners and part-timers though.
  • How to Increase Your Weekend Traffic by Ehow – This one reminded me of how most Ebay contests end on Sunday evenings. You could run a contest that would focus on that deadline, BUT make sure YOUR weekend is open for work so that you can promote it continually on Email, Facebook and Twitter. Just setting up Hootsuite posts will not work for this, you will have to be available to “talk” with people who are excited about your contest.

Overall, I just think that after I do my death march of 31 days of posts I will go back to focusing on the days that are inherently better at generating traffic. I still feel that trying to get people to act differently just because I want them to is counter-productive. BUT I think I will do some weekend PPC just to see what happens with that!

How Can You Get More Blog Hits

Today’s post is about how to get more blog bits. I am on a roll to do 31 posts in 31 days if that gives you any hints!

How Can You Get More Blog HitsSo you have a blog and are ready for the flood of traffic that is inevitably going to beat down your internet door…right? Most people with a blog do not have a plan to post regularly, do not have a plan on what to post and get discouraged because they do not get many comments. Well, I have had a blog for quite a while now and can tell you that when you start out, no one comes. Then a trickle, then more and more until it does become fun to post because you know that people are reading.

Seth Godin wrote a book called “The Dip”, in which he talks about what it takes to find success and how you need to know ALL endeavors have a big dip in the road to success. His great example is a really tough kind of chemistry pre-med doctors have to take, most students fail that class and quit there. Seth’s thinking is that if you are not going to do EVERYTHING possible to get through that class, why even start medical school. Blogs are like that too.

You start off all happy and worried about what it looks like. You get your buttons in the right place and may even post a couple of times. BUT then life and work get in the way. You are thinking you will post weekly and wind up posting monthly or even further apart. You get worried that you haven’t posted enough and throw up something just to get the monkey off your back.

Post Often

I mean post at least twice a week if not more. I KNOW, you are not good at writing, do not know what to write about and worry that no one is reading them, BUT until you get a good number of posts under your belt you will not get better.

Set a schedule and keep it. I pledged to write 31 posts in 31 days so I WILL write a post today, one tomorrow and one the day after. Unless I break all my fingers, there is no reason why I cannot get them done. Generally I post at least two to three times a week.

Write About All Different Kinds Of Things

Last month I had traffic from search engines on 806 different keywords. 708 of those had only one hit. This is called the long tail of search. Chris Anderson wrote “The Long Tail” years ago, in which he discussed the fact that most of Amazon’s sales come from books that only sell one copy per month. This translates to the fact that I could never imagine when I am writing posts that people would search for “are email newsletters good for business in 2010″ BUT since I have written about email newsletters and business a lot, google served up my site as something that might interest them.

Learn To Do Keyword Marketing

Write your post and then figure out what good keywords are for the topic you picked. I wrote a whole post about “How To Write A Blog Post That Will Rank In Google” that you can check out if you are interested in that kind of thing.

Bookmark Your Blog Posts

Make sure that you are submitting each post to Stumble Upon, Reddit, Digg, Delicious and Google Bookmarks at the least. This is a free way to get more traffic coming to your site to read your posts.

Add Your Posts To Facebook and Twitter

I get a lot of free traffic from these social media sites also. You may not believe it but I like Twitter even more than Facebook for getting the word out about what I have written! There are computers all over the internet who are searching Twitter to find great content and I make sure to give it to them.

Quite Worrying That No One Comments

I get between 2,000 and 3,000 hits a month and I only get about 10 real comments a month. Now I am sure that there are ways that I could train my gang to comment more (asking them to comment comes to mind) but I do not care if they comment! I care if I am getting more traffic to my site this month than last month AND that I am converting that traffic to sales. That is something to get worked up over, not that no one talks to you.

Make Your Blog About Something You Like

This one is huge for me! I work with all sorts of people who are looking for a hot niche. They want to know what will get them big money fast. Let me tell you, if you pick a niche you know nothing about you will struggle to write about that topic. If you pick something because it is popular, not only will it be hard to write about BUT you will have a lot of competition. Now, don’t get me wrong, I write about marketing which is a HIGHLY competitive market BUT I LOVE IT! I can generate a post without having to do research. I can write a post in about 15 minutes if I have to. Liking your topic can make all the difference in your success.

If you are a small business owner who struggles to do their blogging, we can help! Check out our small business marketing services page for more information.

How To Write A Blog Post That Will Rank In Google

It is amazing how many bits go into writing a blog post that will rank in google. While there are a million different posts out there on this topic, this post is laser focused on one of the more practical aspects – keyword marketing.

How to write a blog post that will rank on googleWhen you sit down to write a blog post, the first step is to make sure that you have a topic that you are interested in and which will compliment your three main keywords for your site. My site is all about small business marketing, entrepreneur marketing and realtor marketing so I HAVE to talk about some kind of marketing (which is good because I am obsessed with all things marketing).

The next step is to start writing. Put down everything that you think is going to be relevant and interesting WITHOUT worrying about what keywords you are going to be using. Yesterday I started out writing a post about “Using national marketing campaigns for small business marketing” because I had seen a good link posted by one of my friends on Facebook. This is the first paragraph (which I use for my description) when I started:

The easiest way to jump start your small business marketing is to use national marketing campaigns. Piggy backing on something that a national company has spent GAGILLIONS to produce is a great way to help build YOUR brand!

Interesting to me, easy to research BUT after I got a little ways in I started wondering if anyone was searching for that! It is great to be a purist and write about what you are interested in BUT I want people to actually find and read my words also. Come to find out that NO ONE was searching for that type of thing. Now this doesn’t mean that I have to scrap the whole post and start again. I did a search on the google external keyword tool and found out that 135,000 people search for “funny youtube videos” – now that is MUCH better! So I kept writing my post about “funny youtube videos” when I realized that doesn’t have anything to do with marketing (and I am not funny but that is for another day!). RATS.

Okay, so I need to get it into the realm of marketing so I checked and there are 1,300 people searching on google for “funny youtube commercials”. A MUCH smaller number but probably people who are going to be at least a little interested in what I have to say about funny videos and marketing.

Here is the final description that I can up with for my “Use Funny YouTube Commercials For Small Business Marketing” post:

The easiest way to jump start your small business marketing is to use funny YouTube commercials for small business marketing. Piggy backing a funny YouTube commercial that a national company has spent GAGILLIONS to produce is a great way to help build YOUR brand!

I KNOW – that seems like an awful lot of effort just to get your keyword marketing right, BUT it actually took about a half an hour to write the post and 15 minutes to “fix” all the keyword problems. At the end of the day I am happier with how it turned out AND am way more likely to rank well in the Google!

Website and Blog Design – The Wrong Things

When small business owners having a website or blog designed, they are all happy and ready to start. They have been thinking about this for while and know just what colors and fonts they want. Sigh.

Website and Blog DesignWebsite and Blog Design – So What Are The Wrong Things?

  • Looks – Looks are important…BUT! Spending time on getting the right color purple font is a terrible waste of time. Websites and blogs should be about usability. Having snazzy fonts and colors makes it harder to read.
  • Fancy Flash or Movie Intros – Making users click through a landing page with a “skip intro” button is a waste of time and money AND confuses the search engines.
  • Picking A Fun URL – Your website should be easy to find online. Having a “fun” URL like will be fun to market, but will not help you in the search engines. Nor will having your company name. I bet you will rank well for that even if you do not try all that hard since hardly anyone else will be competing with you!

Website and Blog Design – So What Are The RIGHT Things?

  • Good Solid Design – You want a site that looks professional and which directs people to where you want them to go (like your products or services page).
  • Easy To Use Navigation – Having tons of different things for people to do is distracting. You should be able to tell at a glance what you want your users to do when they land on your page. They should also have an easy way to get to the subpages of your site. Generally, it is good to use the same words that everyone else does – not creative but effective!
  • Readable Pages – DO NOT have too much text on the page. Break it up with pictures and headings.
  • Great Content – Today there is nothing more important than having great content that internet users are looking for. They do not care what solutions you offer or any other industry buzzwords, they just want answers to their questions.
  • Keyword Research – This is the most important one! You can have the most beautiful site on the internet, but if no one can find you on the search engines it will not matter. Make sure to target keywords with high searches and low competition!
  • A Good Searchable URL – This is the second most important! If you name your site, it will not be as fun to market, but it sure will rank better for important keywords don’t you think?

So if you are considering having a website or blog designed, make sure you are more concerned with things that matter than what it looks like! AND if you designer won’t have these hard conversations with you, you may wind up with a great looking site that no one ever sees!

Writing Evergreen Keyword Blog Posts

Writing evergreen keyword rich blog posts is a great way to generate traffic for your site. Once you target a keyword phrase, all you have to do is make sure that the technical bits are right and you should rank well for that phrase.

Writing Evergreen Keyword Blog PostsIn my business there are two types of blog posts (1) ones that I can write off the top of my head and that are great for generating a little bit of traffic and reinforcing my keyword ranking for may main three search terms, small business marketing, entrepreneur marketing and realtor marketing and (2) evergreen blog posts where I want to rank consistently over time for a specific keyword or long tail phrase.

What exactly are evergreen blog posts?

Evergreen blog posts are ones that do not change over time and which are keyword rich in content that you want your site to rank for. In my case I target marketing terms like social media, direct mail (newsletters, postcards, logos and collateral), email marketing, keyword marketing and blogging as subsets of my main three keywords. In this way I can rank highly for entrepreneur marketing PLUS postcards or realtor marketing PLUS postcards.

When you are just starting out it is great to have those major keywords in mind and then use minor keywords to add up to the whole. For example, you might write about bookkeeping tips and tricks, then how to do your general ledger and which accounting software is best to use, all which help google add up to the fact that you provide small business bookkeeping services. The Google is super smart and knows the little bits of the whole which make up the major evergreen keywords.

So how do you find out what keywords you should be TRYING to rank for?

  • I check my google analytics and see what search terms people are looking for that they use to get to even if I haven’t targeted them that way yet. For example, I found out that I ranked well for the term “funny realtor postcards” even though I did not have a post specifically targeting that (although I did have a direct mail post about postcards and did have those other words in there). With a laser focused post I was able to truly rank for the tip top of page one for that search phrase.
  • I use SEM Rush to see what words I rank in the top 20 of google for, and reinforce those so that I can keep my standings or branch out to different targets.
  • I check the google external keyword tool to see what keywords are better. For example, yesterday I wrote a post about Email Marketing Writing Great Subject Lines. When it started out it was actually a post about writing great email marketing headlines because that is how I thought of it. Luckily, I popped over to google and found that no body but me calls them that and that there are 14,800 searches a month for the phrase “email subject lines” as opposed to “email subject line” which is only 9,900. I will take that extra potential 5,000 visitors anyday!

Extra tip – I have a habit of writing about things that are not necessarily in my “marketing” niche. I rank on page one for such obscure terms as “customer demographics” and “selling to c personality types” which I rank twice on the first page for because I am interested in how the DISC personality types work with sales and marketing. BEWARE BEWARE that you do not let your personal interests drag down the focus of your site. Check your tag cloud on your blog to see which words are big so that you can tell if you have fallen off track. As you can see on the right side of my blog, I am doing okay with my keywords but sometimes “mindset” gets big and I have get back on track!

For August our DIY Small Business Marketing Membership will have videos on exactly how I do all these cool keyword researches for my sites and my clients! Make sure you are signed up to get the scoop!

Keyword Marketing Capitalize On Current Events

Keyword marketing has reached a new level and super exiting level. ANYONE can rank on page one in Google for a search term that thousands are searching for if they capitalize on current events.

Keyword Marketing Capitalize On Current EventsSo what are current events in the Keyword Marketing world? Current events are thing that are new and noteworthy that people will be searching for OR large events that have their own humongous marketing budgets that you can piggy back on.

How can a motorcycle race team use Apple’s Marketing dollars to get viewers?

So you know Apple, Steve Jobs and all of them? You know their marketing budgets run in the millions of dollars right? And you know that they just launched the iPhone 4 with a digital video camera. They are IN THE NEWS! Well this little team of motorcycle racers in Colorado did a GREAT job of leveraging the power of all that marketing by being one of the first people to USE the phone to do a mini documentary on an interesting subject (the phone has been out less than a week at this point).

iPhone 4 Short Film – “156 Turns” – Pikes Peak International Hill Climb with Ducati Multistrada

Another whackjob, I mean GREAT marketer who will be capitalizing on this launch is the “will it blend” guy. He takes perfectly good things and blends them. Why this is so brilliant marketing-wise is that he is showing how good his product is AND getting more and more viewers by each and huge product launch that is out there. He has blended iPhones, iPads, Olympus cameras, and even Facebook. Each of these are a great keyword that most everyone is chasing but that he is getting ranked for!

So how can a small business owner do this? Well a Flip video camera costs less than $200 bucks. And creativity costs nothing. One example that springs to mind is one of our clients who paints horse portraits. She could pair the term “horse portraits” with “Kentucky Derby Winner” or “Belmont Stakes Traditions”.

For people who sell makeup, look to the Grammys, Oscars, Miss America, etc. For those who sell toys, Santa, Christmas, Child Star Birthdays and more would be good. Basically you need to put on your thinking cap and try to find topics that are in the news now that would be a good match for your industry!

Blogging Success Stories for Small Biz

Blogging success can sometimes be hard to judge and having goals is vital to knowing whether you are doing well or just spinning your wheels.

Blogging success storiesWhen you are blogging (or for that matter doing any marketing that takes time away from your real work), you MUST know what you are trying to accomplish. Here are sone of the results that you can measure to see if you are succeeding….

Blogging success indicators

  • Posting regularly – this is a biggie! I find that small business owners often want immediate results from their blogs. They feel that throwing up a couple of posts should bring a flood of visitors and traffic to their door. This is not going to happen. Blogging is a get rich slow kind of gig where you build up content and a following over time.
  • Getting readers – it would be lovely if you started writing and then people just magically found you. Well this part is going to take work also. Make sure that you list your web address on all of your outgoing emails, have links from your social media and association pages and tell everyone you know what great information you have on there. One of my best suggestions is to follow that up by bookmarking every post on places like Digg, Stumble Upon, Propeller and others. These give you back links and can generate real human traffic.
  • Make it easy for people to sign up and receive your blog posts automatically. I have never found anything as good as the free service Feedburner by Google for this. When you offer this to your readers, basically they are going to get an email or an update to their reader every time you post something. WOW!
  • KNOW what your readers want to hear about. When you get comments on your blog posts, make a note that that post sparked interest. Do a Survey Monkey to find out what is top of mind for your readers. Check your Google Analytics to see what keywords people are using to get to your site and write more about those topics!
  • Write about current topics of interest. You can go to the front page of Twitter and see topics are trending OR use to search your industry and see what other people are finding interesting now.

So, after you do all this, HOW do you get more business from a blog? Well people buy my products almost every day from my blog, which they find because of my quality content and posting. SOOO that tells you e-commerce is a great thing to consider for your blog AND…

I wrote a post about My Top Ten Tips for How To Get Paid Speaking gigs. A woman named Maria Todd commented and I wrote back in the comment section to thank her. The next night I was at an event and woman had a golf shirt on with Ask Maria Todd embroidered on it! We talked for at least a half an hour on ways to generate more speaking engagements, what pricing models work and whether we are pro NSA or not. Now I am SURE that I will get at least a couple more speaking events from her suggestions which always lead to more money in my pockets!

Difference Between Small Business Websites Versus WordPress Blogs

I spend A LOT of time trying to explain small business websites versus wordpress blogs to people. There are some major differences that matter to your web success so here is the difference for the final time!

Websites versus blogsI have been involved in making websites and blogs for over a decade now and have watched the progression from pure HTML sites to Flash to database driven sites. I have seen SEO (search engine optimization) change over the years also. When we started, a website was basically a fancy brochure with lots of obscure copy about solutions driven results and client acquisition matrix. In fact we used to play buzzword bingo the terms were so ludicrous.

Fast forward ten years and the internet has changed. Putting up a website with your brochure on it only works AFTER someone has made a buying decision and is researching your company. While they are searching they want Information – information with a capital I! They also want to be able to do a search on Google or Bing or Yahoo and find knowledge, not your sales pitch but active information about the topic that they are researching which you may know the answers to.

I have to tell you, about 4 years ago I thought blogs were silly! Who wants to talk about what they ate for breakfast or how many times they put the dog out (some of the same arguments people give me about Twitter, but that is different post on this same theme). Today I cannot see why anyone would want a website unless they were doing a big ecommerce launch or had to have layers of security because they dealt with people’s confidential information.

So what are the main differences between websites and blogs?

  1. Blogs have feeds, websites do not Part 1 – I got a voicemail from a client last night who had an urgent event she needed to post on her website. She is a new client and her blog is not set up yet so I had to tell her the bad news, if we put that info on her website, it could be four to six weeks before google comes back to spider that information…sigh. If we had a blog done for her, we could post that information and it would PUSH it out to the search engines today. Search engines are hungry to make the latest information available and so are glad to have new items every day.
  2. Blogs have feeds, websites do not Part 2
  3. Because blogs have a process to notify everyone when something is posted you can have an email sent out automatically by using Feedburner which is free and owned by google, you have the post automatically tell your Facebook page through Networked blogs, you can have Twitter post it automatically with TwitterFeed or Hootsuite. You can combine feeds from different places like we did on, allowing all kinds of realtors to post their blog posts automatically.

  4. Blogs have LOTS of content to index – Every time I write a post there is a chance it will make it to the front page of google. I have written over 200 posts about small business marketing, entrepreneur marketing, realtor marketing, time managements, website design and more. Each of those posts stands alone as something that google may be interested in ranking well.
  5. Blogs have webpages too – I can guarantee you that some of my clients do not know that my small business marketing website Marketing Artfully is a blog. They saw a blog 3 or 4 years ago and do not know how far they have come. I have a contact us page, sales pages, product pages, policies and procedures pages, and events. Basically everything a website has along with about 200 mini sites built in because of the blog posts I have written.
  6. Blog posts are easy to share – EVERY time I write a blog post I bookmark it. Bookmarking is pushing those buttons that say share or tell a friend which allow you send your post to Digg or Delicious or Propeller. These bookmarking sites rank REALLY well and drive actual traffic to your website. Adding them to the bottom of blog pages is super easy which brings me to…
  7. Blogs are easy to use and update – Blogs look like MS Word on the back end. They have great content management tools like the Thesis Theme for WordPress which we use for all of our clients. They also have plugins and widgets that do almost anything you want. When I wanted a calendar for my site it took about 10 minutes to research the right one, upload it to my blog, activate it and start using it. No development time and no cost (we use Calender by Kieran O’shea). I have been in many marketing meetings with developers when we wanted to add something like that to a website. Just the time to do the specifications would have exceeded 10 minutes let alone the development time which could run to days or weeks with the associated costs.
  8. Blogs do not all have to look boring BUT having bells and whistles costs more and can take more time for upkeep. I changed the Thesis Skin on this site to something snazzier than just a plain Thesis theme with cool graphics. While I am happy about the look, it added about 15 to 20 minutes to the time it takes to write blog posts because of the special formatting of photos needed and how it is not just super easy peasy anymore. That having been said, if you absolutely want a custom look to your blog, it can be bought for a price!
  9. Humans do not care or understand whether your site is website or a blog – I have a client (and friend) who I have worked with for YEARS. We talked a couple of times about building a blog but her husband had his heart set on a website. It is finally up, over 6 months later and has 5 pages which include a contact us page and an about us page…sigh. Your prospects DO NOT CARE what technology your website is built on. They care about 3 things only – do they like you, do they trust you, do you know what you are doing.

So there you have it, my best information about the difference between websites and blogs. I am sure some of you have different opinions that I do and would be happy to publish them in the comments if you want to let me know. If you are a small business owner who would like to learn more about getting a blog for your business, please email me at support (at) and I will have someone give you a jingle!

There are links in this article to free small business marketing tools as well as affiliate links. If you would like to avoid my getting paid for referring you to them, please type the website addresses in your browser bar manually.

Outsourcing Marketing Do Inane Comments and Spam Work

Outsourcing is a great way to leverage yourself. Hiring a company or people to help is often the only way to advance your business beyond what you are capable of doing time wise or talent wise. BUT do inane comments and spam emails REALLY work?

Outsourcing MarketingI had a problem with my site this weekend and as a result my comment spam filter is not working. BOY do you get a new look at what is going on with the comments when you actually have to see all the people who are posting links to pharmaceuticals, organ enhancements and the like. That having been said, I saw an interesting one today. It was a bland comment like “I totally agree with everything you said”, the email link was an SEO company and the link went to a virginia beach roofing company website. Obviously they were attempting to get backlinks to their clients’ website.


HUH, it is disconcerting that an SEO company doesn’t know that most wordpress comment sections do not allow backlinks. You have to ADD a plugin to remove the no follow attributes for the comments and I know very few blogs that take that step. So WHY do we recommend that you make comments at all? If you add a relevant note with some thought behind it, humans will read that information and follow your link back to your website where you could get them to do something like sign up for your newsletter or buy something. Additionally, we always make our blogs so someone has to approve the comments before they are posted so that spammy link will never see the light of day anyways. Outsourcing at its finest for sure.

When you hire a quality internet marketing business to represent you, you may not get reports that a million links were attempted. You may not have a ton of new boucing traffic BUT you will have people who think you are a valid, reputable company with a brain in your head.

to note: the roofing company has no page rank, 1 incoming link and no discernible traffic


So I am cc’d on email leads that my clients get so that I can make any changes that come up when a site launches based on feedback so I see a bunch of different websites’ contact us forms. Almost all of them got an email this week that said “We are interested to increase traffic to your website, please get back to us in order to discuss the possibility in further detail.” They also get ones that say they will get them on the first page of google and a date with George Clooney (okay I made up that last one but you get the picture).

Do you really think a company that sends out poorly written spam emails is the right company to represent you? Getting page ranking, building social networks and building a loyal following take time and energy. There is no magic pill people!!!!

If you are considering outsourcing marketing, Marketing Artfully works with two great companies that do good work for their clients on Social Media Marketing and overall internet marketing deployments. We have worked with Stacy Hansen of Personalized Marketing Corp for over 10 years and are proud to recommend her for helping to manage your entire internet package. Amber Montel of Your Marketing Voice is superb at helping you to build up your social networks like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.

Blogging How to find something to write about everyday

How to find something to write about when you are blogging is the number one question I get from our clients. Here are my Top 10 Ways To Find Something To Write About!

Blogging what to write aboutSo what is the best way to overcome this almost daily bout of writers block and get some content up there on the interwebs? Here are my Top 10 Kick Me In The Pants and Make Me Write Something For Goodness Sakes ideas…

Top 10 Ways To Find Something To Write About

  1. Subscribe to newsletters – oftentimes all it takes to get me writing a blog post is to read something I like or hate by another writer. Now do not get me wrong, I never copy and always give attributions BUT I can jump off that idea and start a post of my own!
  2. Subscribe to feed readers – I use iGoogle to keep track of my favorite bloggers (do not worry Seth, you are always top left). Just seeing a title can give me an idea.
  3. Subscribe to google alerts – use the power of google to send you a digest of what has been written about the previous day.
  4. Check out twitter trending topics – if people are talking about it, it must be in vogue, jump on that bandwagon and get a great keyworded post out there.
  5. Check out what people are talking about on Facebook – I have to tell you, between Twitter and Facebook, I have found some of my most recent, favorite things to use!
  6. Ask your friends and followers online what they are interested in – you can just ask outright on social networks or get a going and laser target it.
  7. Pick a theme for the month – with a theme everything becomes easier, your research, your writing and ranking for that keyword in google.
  8. Listen to humans – when you go out and talk to humans, many times they will all ask you the same questions. Pay attention to what they are and “answer” them on your blog!
  9. FAVORITE – Dink around! Give yourself permission to spend a day or even an hour dinking around on the interwebs. It is really easy to get so focused that you are not learning or growing.
  10. FAVORITE – Check your google analytics Right there in the keywords people used to get to your website through google is a list of topics that they are interested in and which you have to be ranking somewhat high on google.

So, enough already! Get over your writers block and try some of these out for more than five minutes and I bet you will get your creative juices flowing again.

Writing Blog Posts Do Good Grammar and Spelling Matter

Do good grammar and spelling matter when you are writing blog posts? There are people out there just waiting for you to mess up. Stop letting them intimidate you.

Blog spelling grammarSo, I was reading one of my favorite bloggers the other day and he talked about fears that bloggers have including using incorrect grammar and spelling. This fear seemed to be crippling their work and stopping them from hitting the publish button. Do not let this happen to you!

Fear of being judged

If you are worried about being judged for your commas, punctuation and spelling, there is a good chance you are terrified that someone will not like your ideas. Here is something that should make you feel better (or worse) – I guarantee you that everyone will not like your blog. There I said it.

If you are writing great content then there are going to be people who disagree with what you are saying. There are grammar police out there right now circling to tell me how wrong I am about this post!

This comment on a blog post epitomizes what I think is the worst of grammar policing.

Spelling Grammar Blogging

It is an anonymous comment by someone who obviously takes great joy in pointing out that there is a misspelling. Nothing about the great article, the author’s take on the content or anything else, just blatant criticism. NOW, because that was on a popular blog with LOTS of other comments NOT related to spelling, I am sure that the writer will sleep tonight. BUT I know that there are beginning and even seasoned bloggers out there who spend more time worrying about typos and grammar than they do about getting great words strung together. Which leads me to…

Do lots of content and do not worry about details

I write blog posts every day. Sometimes I do not read them before I hit publish because I am running behind BUT I like to post daily so I am trading perfection for getting information out there. I make sure that I have great content and BELIEVE me, someone will email me back with my spelling, grammar or mathematical errors.

When readers let me know about mistakes nicely AND actually have read my work, I LOVE IT! Thank you so much for helping. When they leave ugly, mean-spirited comments like the one above, I fix my work, delete the comment which does not add value to the conversation and hope they never want to hire me!

If you are blogging for your business, the goal should be to talk as much as possible. One PERFECT post that has been agonized over, written, rewritten, sent to the proof reader, reworked and THEN published will not get you as much traffic or interest as ten articles with great content and a couple of mistakes.

Search engines and humans are voracious. They need new content all the time and if you are providing consistent, wonderful words and thoughts you will win!

How to Choose the Right Keywords for Your Small Business

How to choose the right keywords for your small business is one of the most important things that you can do with your marketing efforts. This post features guest author Reid Peterson, Internet Marketing Educator at!

Keywords Small Business MarketingFor those of you that don’t know by now – your keywords do matter.

That doesn’t mean to choose a keyword like “Real Estate” because you are a real estate agent and you sell real estate. You would spend the rest of your life competing for a search result ranking that might make page 5. (if you’re lucky)

And you might think you’re clever and choose “Real Estate Denver CO” because you sell real estate in Denver, Colorado.

Guess what? Instead of taking a life time to rank high in search results pages, it may take a decade. (and if you’re a rock star- like one who would publish two or more blog posts per day, it you might get to #1 rankings in a year.)

Yes, SEO companies promise you page 1 rankings (and often #1 ) by tomorrow, but even if that is true (which I’m still waiting for someone to video blog their success of that), you would have to pray that the views of your website are converting to business. Are they?

So your website success (earning business from the people who view it) starts somewhere- where exactly is that “somewhere?”

It starts with keyword research and you have to be both very smart and creative about the keywords you choose. Here’s how to use your smarts and creativity to choose the right keywords for your business:

1) Know your customer. And I mean know them well- all five senses (maybe avoid what they taste like though.) You’ve probably heard that you must know your ideal customer’s needs (wants) but do you know how they react to the emotional umcomfortabilities that create their needs and wants? Yep, you must know that!

2) Listen to how your customer communicates. What words do your ideal customers use to speak or write? Those are your keywords right there! (I now feel complete but also compelled to write more)

3) Test the words your ideal customer uses. Now that you know what your customers say to express their needs, you have to see if there is enough search volume for these phrases. Google “google external keyword tool” for a free method of checking the search volume for these phrases. You can also use wordtracker (not sure if it is free) or a software that I think is inexpensive: Market Samurai (this is what I use and it serves me well.) When you select your tool, determine how many searches is enough for your business to prosper from.

4) Wordsmith the phrases that you select. You may have thought “Real Estate Denver CO” was a great keyword phrase because it has a specific location included in it, but guess what? Other real estate agents have also done the same thing. The competition is probably very high to compete for. Instead, get even more specific (and creative). People searching real estate online may be in the market to buy a home… Why not compete for the search term “buying a home in Denver?” (You may be surprised)

5) Use your smarts. Your final step is to analyze the key words/phrases that you’ve creatively crafted. Use analytics (in your head) to assess the relevancy of the phrases. Do they represent the language/communication of the community that represents your ideal client? If you were a good business person and listened to your ideal client speak emotionally about what they need, would you hear them say the keywords that you selected? If not, it’s time to go back to being creative and come up with new ones.

Going through this process of using your creativity and smarts will help you select the right keyword for your business; Ones that reflect the needs of your ideal clients. Also, ones that provide the comfort that your clients are seeking (which means sales for you!)

Reid Peterson teaches people how to market their business online. He teaches in focus group formats; empowering business owners to learn self SEO, Social Media, and Better Blogging methods. To learn more about Reid Peterson and how you can master your own online marketing, visit

Writing Great Blog Posts Strike While The Words Are Hot

Writing great blog posts can be a joy or a drudge. Since I have vowed to write a post a day, the challenge is to write great content on topics that interest my readers without wanting to commit hari kari.

Writing Blog PostsWhen I tell my small business blogging clients that they should aim for a post or two a week, many wonder what they will possibly have to talk about. If you would like to find out how often to post to your small business blog, check out my past article.

So how can you write great blog posts day in and day out? I have to admit that some days I do not jump out of bed with tons of good content rolling around in my head about small business and entrepreneur marketing. There I said it. That having been said, I have been blogging about small business marketing for quite a few years and the topic never bores me!

Additionally, I like the challenge of ranking well for keywords that I would have to pay money for over on google because I am frugal (cheap may be a better word). I DO pay for things that matter like technology and training BUT I have a hard time paying day in and day out for something that I can achieve organically.

So how do you make sure your blog posts have great content when you are not inspired? Here are some of my tricks for finding topics and generating great content…

  • Strike when the words are hot – today is a good blogging day. This is the third post I have written and I am heading out to the interwebs to make some free pages that will link back to my Marketing Artfully HUB site! I wrote my post for today, one for Friday and this one that will come out tomorrow. NO, I am not such a prolific writer every day, but when the words and ideas are flowing, I try to make the most of them!
  • Read interesting stuff by other people – my post for later in the week came from an idea I had while reading another bloggers post. Because I am a fun gal, I made sure to link back to her blog at the end of it AND had a great time writing it.
  • Check out your google analytics – see which keywords people are coming to site from and write more about those topics. This is a fun one because you can do internal linking back to old posts that could use some google love!
  • Do some keyword research – find out what other topics people are looking for that will meld with your blog. Sometimes just seeing new keywords can spark a blog post or two.

Well there you have it. That is how I get the great content for my blog. If you would like to learn more about keyword research and blogging, check out our Do It Yourself Small Business Marketing product, you will be glad you did!

How Often Should You Post To Your Blog?

I have been blogging about small business marketing for years now and one of the most frequent questions I get from beginning bloggers is – how often should I blog? To me this is NOT a one size fits all kind of question! There are a number of factors to be considered including…

How Often Should You Post BlogsFirst – Do you like to write?

Posting blog entries is not a chore for me. I can write about anything (once I even wrote about toenails in conjunction with marketing on a dare!) Since it is not hard for me to do, making sure to post at least three times per week here is easy. If you are not a natural writer, I would suggest starting with once a week and building up from there!

Second – How often does your audience expect to get updates?

My audience is small business owners, realtors and entrepreneurs and I know that they are only avid readers of my content basically Monday through Thursday. Friday through Sunday are dead times for me so I rarely post then. Also, they are not necessarily looking for me to post multiple times per day so I am good with a thrice weekly schedule.

Third – What are you trying to accomplish with your posts?

I have close to 200 posts on my site that I have done over the years. While much of my daily traffic comes from today’s posts, an equal number of new visitors are coming in response to a search engine listing on an archive post. This is the long tail theory of marketing which says that I could never figure out EXACTLY which keywords people might use to search for my content BUT if there is enough content out there then I will get eyeballs.

For example, today someone found my site by searching “differences between facebook, linkedin and twitter”. Now I have never written a post for that and the page that came up was the sales page for my social networking videos that I need to change BUT the cool thing is that they bought! Writing lots of content is the closest thing to money for nothing and the chicks for free that I can find!!!

If you have not read Chris Anderson’s “The Long Tail” yet it is definitely a MUST READ if you are just getting going on internet marketing! This is an affiliate link but that doesn’t make my ABSOLUTE recommendation any different…:)

Finally – What can you commit to?

I have found that some bloggers start off hot and heavy and then peter out because they get busy. Busy with life, busy with following up on all of their blog sales leads, busy with work. Now those are high quality problems to have, but if you blog 30 times your first month, 10 times your second month and 2 times your third month, you are going to disappoint your readers who have now come to expect a high volume.

My thought is that it is better to set a reasonable schedule and then live up to it. If you do write more then you can just schedule that they be published at a later time.

Well bloggers – hope this helps! The photo with this picture is my original blog design from 2006! I liked my meerkats and other cute pictures but they did not necessarily scream small business…:)

Small Business Marketing – How To Get More Traffic

All small business marketers want more traffic to their website, blog or facebook pages. These are where you can actually make content and build a brand and a following rather than just talking to your readers. So how can you get more traffic?

This is NOT a get traffic quick scheme! This is a slog it out, build a following, talk to them kind of post so if you are looking for a quick hit, move along.

Still here? Okay here goes…The first thing you need to do is figure out where you are sending all of that traffic and what you want it to do! I send all my marketing traffic to Marketing Artfully and until recently had kind of mixed the message once you got here. There were tons of things to look at and click and places to go. Now it is very clear that I want you to click over to my membership site. SO….look at the site you are going to be sending all that traffic to and make sure it has a call to action.

Back to traffic….

There are a gagillion ways to send generate traffic and the first thing I want you to do is STOP and figure out what you like to do!!!!

  • Do you like to write?
  • Then blog A LOT and then use the little button at the bottom to “share” your content on Stumble Upon, Technorati, Digg and Delicious (I use the tell a friend wordpress plugin by social twist for this!)
  • Write articles on Ezine Articles and point links back to your site
  • Get out there and comment on other people’s posts
  • Do you like to teach?
  • Hold seminars and webinars that drive people to your website
  • Make a little video class series and offer it for free
  • Do you like people?
  • Join the social networks and get involved – you cannot just put a link on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter and let it sit there forever without any love
  • Are you a Salesman? (I LOVE salesmen!)
  • Call people with complementary blogs and talk to them. Ask them if they would let you put a blog post on their site with great content.
  • Ask them if you can do a teleseminar with them that you can tape and distribute
  • Call your database and tell them all the great things you are doing on your main site
  • Email your database and ask them to share the big changes with their friends
  • Email someone with a complementary blog and ask them to NICELY to feature a link back to your site! I got the nicest email today that sparked my interest from Ethan over at Sparxoo which prompted this post.

So there you have it, some ideas to increase your traffic that are not hard, but take some work! Some will provide you with direct traffic and some will help your google rankings. Any which way, all will get more eyeballs on your site!!!

If you would like to see the email that sparked this post and find out more about how to generate backlinks from other sites, visit our Marketing Memebership Site – the great letters I responded to are available at the $1 level!!!

Thesis For WordPress – How To Videos

social_networking_informationThis 18 VIDEO course will walk you through all of the steps on how to use your Thesis for WordPress blog to grow your business. This course is perfect for the beginner who needs to know where to start and for the more advanced user that wants to increase thier blogging knowledge!

BUT wait…:) If you buy this now and we update it later are you going to have to pay more money?!?!? Nope – we will send you notifications any time this page is updated so you can see the new videos FOR FREE!

The Thesis for WordPress How To Video Course Includes:

Beginner Basics – How To Use Your WordPress Blog 

  • Signing into wordpress and an overview of the dashboard
  • Creating a post
  • Using relevant links
  • Comments – How to approve or deny them
  • Appearance and widgets overview

Advanced Thesis For WordPress Options

  • Adding a page and navigation
  • How to use Tags and Categories
  • How to add plugins
  • How to add users
  • Adding YouTube videos to your blog posts – Coming Soon!

WordPress for Thesis SEO Options

  • What is SEO (search engine optimization) – Part 1
  • What is SEO (search engine optimization) – Part 2

General Blog Marketing – How can you get the word out!?!?!

  • Google loves blog posts!
  • Using Twitterfeed to automatically upload your posts
  • Market your blog posts with social media
  • Digg your post!

Special for Marketing Artfully Clients

  • How to use feedburner
  • How to use analytics

Before you buy! These are hands on, how to videos that will teach you the real deal BUT they are large files because of all of the content. If you are on a slower internet connection it WILL take them a while to download. If you mind waiting for this great content please do not purchase this product!

Price $24.97 – for the first 5 people then going to $49.97 – AND it is free for all our blog clients!

Social Networking and Blogs – How Do They Get You More Business?

Join Twitter and get a tons of money, be a Facebook user and get a million clients, get LinkedIn and EXPLODE your business, or build your blog and get a gagillion readers!!! If that is how you think it works then this is probably not the post for you! You WILL be disappointed. Using the internet is just like real life, getting new customers and growing your business is hard work.

So how can you REALLY get new business on the internet using blogs and social networking? I am going to tell you some stories from my experience, you can then extrapolate them to your business!


So I blew into town (Westminster, CO) with my marketing roadshow and decided to re-build my marketing business here in Colorado. To meet people I joined the Elle Group – a networking group for small business owners. I have met close to 100 small business owners face-to-face thus far. At one of those sessions I got invited to another networking session and said “yes I would go”. I met a girl named Tara there who is big on Facebook. I became her Facebook friend. 

that is the first online thing – you CANNOT grow your business sitting at home in front of a computer, sometimes you have to meet humans!

She posted a message telling us to ask about marketing opportunites with I asked. She had a fellow call me and, long story short, I am being interviewed for an online video on Monday! WHOO WHOO – how fun!!! The three pivot points in this story are “friending” Tara, being open to talking with her about opportunities and having a great blog. When they went online and checked me out to see if I should be interviewed, they found this blog and validated their decision because of the information that I have here about marketing!


When I speak I like having humans there! In the past when I wanted to invite people, I would make a flyer, send some emails and wonder if anyone was showing up.

Now I use Facebook and LinkedIn to send a messages about my event to people who are my “friends” or “connections”, who have already raised their hands and said they are interested in hearing from me. The amazing thing to me is that is just the tip of the iceburg! Once a person who is in my sphere accepts, the programs tell everyone in their sphere. 

Last month I taught Social Networking in Clearwater and my buddy Brian P. Forrester, the mortgage man, said that he was going to be coming. One of his connections saw that and came too! It was amazing that on a Wednesday afternoon in Clearwater I could get about 25 people into a room to hear me speak! 

So what is the moral of the story? Social networking will not make you a galillionaire overnight. You will still have to network with humans. BUT there are tools out there that exponentially increase your message and if you are not taking advantage of them, you are leaving business on the table!

Want to save yourself time getting started? Check out our social networking how to videos!

Where should you spend your time?

Time is money. I know, it is trite but true! I had a client ask me today if I thought she should spend some of her time on adding her real estate listings to a website. (See my response on Active Rain)

It made me think about what I spend my precious time on. Sometimes I spend time with my friends and favorite clients (good), sometimes I spend it lead generating (good), sometimes I spend it writing blog posts (good) and sometimes I spend it doing something that ultimately does not benefit my business (bad).

When I was an active Realtor I got lots of emails from companies that would “let” me post my listings on their site. They would then sell that feed to other sites who wanted real estate listings. While it did give my listings more exposure, I could have done that all day, everyday, rather than spending my time doing actual things that could sell my listings like contacting other realtors, marketing the home, attending pitch sessions, holding open houses and a million other things besides posting my listings on sites that had no traffic.

Are you doing something that you “could” do rather than stuff you “should” do? DO NOT get me wrong, I am an early adopter who likes to try new marketing efforts BUT if what I am doing does not benefit me dollar for time then I should focus on dollar productive activities and save my energy for things that have a chance of working for me!