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, Marketingartfully.com. 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] http://ctt.ec/sf3dq+

- – – 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, De.i.cio.us, 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 www.MandMMonsters.com 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 bufferapp.com 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 MandMMonsters.com 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:

http://X.com/kids/5-fun-mediums-for-art-with-children/

http://X.com/uncategorized/kids-and-chores/

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(http://marketingartfully.com/). 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 marketingartfully.com 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 Kickstarter.com 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.

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 Blogger.com and WordPress.com 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!

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 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.

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 MarktingArtfully.com 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!

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 search.google.com 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 www.twitter.com/tweetinghomes, 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) marketingartfully.com 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.

Arbitrary Small Business Marketing Goals Part Two

These arbitrary small business marketing goals are part of continuing series about how Small Business Marketing Goals Make A Huge Difference. Read at your own risk, they coud make you do something!

Small Business Marketing Arbitrary GoalsSocial Networking or Social Media

If I get one more email that tells me that they can get 10,000 in 15 minutes I am going to scream! The best way to grow a marketing channel that will respond to your offers and listen to what you say is to grow it slowly and patiently.

Having a gagillion person list when you sell weight loss is silly. Most of the people will disregard what you are sending or unfriend or unfollow you. Having built a list of ladies primarily, who are concerned about their weight or appearance and who are looking for help…that is priceless to the marketer who is focused on the weight loss niche.

If you want numbers to shoot for…follow 50 people a day on Twitter (some will follow you back), friend 10 a day on Facebook and get as many connections as you can on LinkedIn. Hit Plaxo just for fun and then establish a presence only on the hundreds (or maybe thousands) of other sites out there.

Then, this is the hardest. Post every day. I post every weekday which says that I am interested in my account, providing great info to my friends and followers and are not using it as purely a spam-engine to sell them something.

Blogging for Business

Having a blog is harder work than having a website. A website takes a little time once and then fades into obscurity. A blog wants to be fed which in turn calls the search engines and also can help populate a bunch of your social networking.

If you do not have a blog start one today. WordPress.com has free ones and we sell business blogs that work. Start writing. If you are new, one post a week is a great way to start. It will take you what feels like forever but soon it will become a habit and will seem less hard. Also you will get in the groove of finding out what your readers like which takes me to part two of blogging…

If you have a blog, look at your stats and see what is generating traffic and write more about that. You KNOW google is sending people to your blog for that keyword phrase and will be reinforcing their faith in your site to provide great content on that topic!

If you have a blog, and you get more hits on the day you post, what would happen if yoiu committed to posting one more day a week? I get up to 10 times more traffic on the days that I post than on just normal days.

Last but not least, bookmark your posts. Get the little button at the bottom that says share and share on StumbleUpon, Digg, Delicios, Google, Yahoo and more. Set up your accounts once and then you can just fly through posting easily!

Local Marketing

This is a new field that is growing because of the capabilities of the GPS Phones and the growth of online marketing for local businesses. If you are not on there yet make sure you hit gowalla.com, foursquare.com, google and yahoo local.

Even if you are a work from homer or online business, set up your stuff!

There you have it! If you do a couple of these things your business will grow, if you do them all you should be able to count on getting more leads and increasing your revenue much faster!

Realtor Marketing Is Social Media Necessary

Realtor marketing has come a long way from carrying around a huge listing book on your buyer appointments. BUT is all of the new realtor marketing hype important and is social media REALLY necessary.

Realtor marketing social mediaIf you listen to the hype, every agent must now spend as much time marketing as I do (and I am a full time marketer!) They must be blogging, tweeting, friending, getting on foursquare, emailing and more every day. Well, in the interest of letting you guys off the hook, that is not true!

Let’s take a reality check and talk about what you really must do to accomplish your profession…write contracts, show houses, attend listing appointments, attend closings. That sound about right? I have been a Realtor so I know what it takes to make money and not one of those things involve learning new technologies.

The sound of silence I am hearing from my fellow Realtor Marketing experts is overwhelming and if you are a realtor who wants to convince yourself that you are okay with not ever marketing again, stop here and you can feel vindicated.

The wonderful San Diego Realtor, Kris Berg, wrote an article today about whether social media marketing is bad business for Realtors. I agree with most of what she said BUT have a different viewpoint of the success.

I have talked to Realtors this month who have gotten listings through postcards, had come list me’s because of a blog post and one who does about 98 percent of her lead generating through blogging. I DO think that marketing works and that any agent who wants to stick their head in the sand and rely solely on prospecting or calling their sphere is a little naive.

That having been said, if you are a Realtor I think you fall into 3 different categories…let me know what you guys think!

  • New Realtors or Realtors in transition in this new market – If you do not have a bunch of listings or buyers in the car, your ONLY full time job as a Realtor is to get more of one or the other. I have seen agents who do not currently have a buyer and only have a couple of listings tell me they are working full time – doing what? If you have more time than money it is SO worth your time to learn how to use all of the social networks, set up your blog, mack out your company site, set up your emails, and generally get your house in order. I suggest doing this at open houses where you COULD get a client but that is up to you.
  • Seasoned agents or Technophobes with no clients or computer skills – In this day and age, if you refuse to learn the computer, you are falling further behind every day. It is not cute to see an agent who cannot even check her email or send a pdf for signatures. Today’s savvy buyers and sellers generally expect an agent to be proficient at the basics at least, so get out there and try some new stuff. If you don’t know how to do anything, hire the front desk person to teach you an hour a week. If you are truly that clueless though, the time it would take you to set up everything is lost time. Hire someone to set up your empire and then focus on learning to use it and grow your social networks until…
  • If you are a successful Realtor with buyers and sellers then your time should be spent with buyers in the car, on listing appointments (well you get the drift). If you like doing techy things, do them when you have time. My buddy Deb Ward loves tinkering BUT has people to load her listings and do her marketing tasks so that she can be doing Realtor work. I work with two other successful agents who know where their time is best spent so I take care of getting their “stuff” set up and updated, with anything they do as just gravy. We have made blogs for a bunch of Realtors, since learning to set them up has no value to them, while producing content is fun for them.

Today’s agent can feel like they are failing all of the time. If they are busy, the stress of dragging those properties, kicking and screaming, to the closing table is huge. If they are not busy, they feel like they should be doing more realtor marketing, most times they just don’t know what or how. Guys, give yourself a break! Whatever you are doing is fine, just remember to keep adding to that everyday and you will get there!!!

If you would like to find out more about our DIY Realtor Marketing or our Marketing Maintenance for Realtors plan, please give me a call!

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 surveymonkey.com 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!

Denver Area Upcoming Marketing Training Events

Just a quick reminder of some upcoming events I will be speaking at that could help you achieve your small business marketing goals. For those of you who are not in the Denver or Boulder areas, we are considering doing more online events and would appreciate any feedback that you could give regarding pricing and and topics that would be of interest to you!!! Thanks! Tara


Take Your Blog to the Next Level: A Hands-On Workshop – Denver
I am doing this event in conjunction with the Denver Internet Mastermind group and the fabulous Anita Edge. She talked me into adding a free membership to the social media videos to go along with the attendance!

Here are the details:

March 22 – 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm
Blake Street Tavern, Denver
Dinner served, Bring your laptop

find out more….


Social Networking for Business: A Hands-On Workshop – Boulder
If you are a small business owner wondering how to get started (or get better) at using social media to grow your business, this is the class for you!

Here are the details:

Intelligent Office
4450 Arapahoe Ave. No. 100
Boulder, CO 80303

Dates & Times – March 23, 1PM – 5PM
Class Sponsored By Your Marketing Voice
Call Amber Montel of Your Marketing Voice with any questions (720) 338-6996

find out more….


Grand Connect Networking
I am speaking at my pal Debby Hall’s Grand Connect in Arvada. It should be a really neat intro to social media and a great chance to meet new business people!

find out more…

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!

Small Business Marketing There is no set it and forget it!

This post about small business marketing is a follow up to “There is no one marketing thing that works“. In that post I gave small business marketers the bad news that there is one marketing thing that works like the old yellow page ads used to. Well get ready for more bad news! If you would rather that the world go back to the way it used to be, then this may not be the post for you.

Loudspeaker SalesmanI LOVE the infomercial pitchmen! They are brilliant at separating you from your money with catchy taglines and REALLY strong call to actions. The best tagline I ever heard was “set it and forget it”. This was for a product that cooked an entire meal for you using one appliance and the salesman had the audience chant that over and over during the commercial.

Neato kitchen appliance notwithstanding, there is no set it and forget it for your small business marketing. Buying a website and blog, then ignoring it for a year will not get you top google rankings. Just setting up a business Fan Page will not grow your sales by thousands. BUT worse than that even, learning to use Facebook or Twitter will not carry you over then next 10 years of marketing.

If you had asked about the biggest social networking site a couple of years ago you would have been talking about MySpace, which has now fallen off the face of the earth marketing-wise in favor of Facebook and Twitter. If you built a state-of-the-art website 3 years ago, you may be surprised to find that an affordable blog may be the best way to drive traffic to your sales page.

Nothing stays still and if you are thinking that you can just “set and forget” your small business marketing, you may find yourself losing ground fast!

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…:)

Outsourcing is the new black!

So you are considering outsourcing some of your tasks – YAY YOU! Now that the rah-rah is out of the way, what kinds of tasks can you honestly get off of your plate and onto someone elses? One last thing, outsourcing does not always mean sending your work out of the country, just remember that because the standard of living is lower elsewhere, sometimes it just makes sense for certain tasks!

So what do I outsource?


Outsourcing Administrative Help – For any of you that read my blog regularly, you know I use THE Shell Marketing Manager for email database updating work and managing my schedule and clients. Michelle is in the US and very selective about the clients she will take so I am assured that my clients will be handled with the utmost care. She also does phone calling for me – after having had a bad experience previously, I am VERY careful about who I give my database list to call on my behalf!

Outsourcing general admin help that can be done not on site, I generally check first at oDesk . They offer all kinds of support and manage the workers so that you can be sure that you are getting work for the time you paid for! They are good for non-client contact work like submitting my websites to places, posting content to my niche blogs, basic admin tasks AND most don’t need to be hand held through the process because oDesk tests them first…:)

Outsourcing setting up my speaking events – I let Amber from Your Marketing Voice (online and offline networking) handle advertising my Denver area monthly internet marketing training events. She handles setting up events in Facebook, finding a place, answering attendee questions and so much more. Great speakers are not necessarily good admin people – don’t let people fall through the cracks just because you don’t follow up!!!

Outsourcing Blog Writing – I NEVER let anyone write for me for Marketing Artfully as this is my main blog, that having been said, I do hire writers to write articles, blog posts and free website content for some of my other web 2.0 properties. For cheap writing I use http://www.need-an-article.com/ and have been VERY happy with the results. I have to tweek it some to make it great but it is SO much easier to edit than to have to come up ideas from a blank screen. For content that I can just plop in there without having to worry I use a couple of different US based copywriters who I like very much!

There are people I outsource my technical problems, my accounting and also people I outsource my cooking too (LOVE that Colorado Home Chef..:) ANYTHING you do not like, have time for or do not know how to do is fair game! Find someone to help and get going working on what you ARE good at AND if the first one doesn’t work out, do not give up – try again!!!

There are affiliate links in this post that if clicked will result in me getting a little bit of money. If you would like to avoid giving me a little bit of money, type in the URLs manually…:)

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!!!

Small Business Marketing – Success Is HARD!

When you think about small business marketing success, there is no magic bullet! I am sorry to be the one to tell you that, but I sick of hearing about “get rich quick” schemes.

I work in the trenches everyday with small business owners and they are busting their humps to succeed. They are learning new skills, networking online and in person, attending tradeshows and training events. They try and fail AND try and succeed!

Some people who make me proud:

  1. Deborah Ward – My real estate buddy who does stuff that I tell her do and never asks why. We are in the process of taking over the St. Petersburg Real Estate and Florida Foreclosures market.
  2. Cyndee Haydon - Cyndee is a Clearwater Realtor who has been working like a demon for 4+ years and now is reaping the rewards.
  3. Mary Dado - Mary and I work together to make blogs for small business owners but her company writes all kinds of business writing. She is working her tail off networking and following up. I am awed by her strength!
  4. Tara Becker – Tara has a great Denver Area Networking group. She is great at talking to people face to face and has grown an 8 meeting a month group. She is NOT a whiz at online marketing but she is learning and slogging through it.
  5. Kirsten McKay Smith – Kirsten of Passion Parties is running hard and has set goals that she is working towards. She is one of the few people I know who have as many things on her plate at one time as I do and I am so glad she is in my High D mastermind!!!
  6. Lori CrawfordTrinity Realtor, Lori Crawford is a great marketer. She is the only person I know who gets a lead EVERY time she sends her newsletter. Into every life some sanity must fall and Lori shows me what professionalism looks like.

I am sure that there are MANY MANY people who I missed but those are the ones that came to mind today. WHATEVER you marketing style is, take a page from one of these gals and JUST DO IT! Start a big audacious goal today, knowing that it will be hard but DO IT ANYWAYS!

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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!

GETTING AN INTERVIEW WITH WOMENOF.com

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 WomenOf.com. 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!

GETTING BUTTS IN THE SEATS AT MY EVENTS

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!

How To Be A Successful Entrepreneur – Always tell the truth!

Successful entrepreneurs come in all styles! Donald Trump is RUTHLESS, Martha Stewart is OBSESSED and my all time favorite Seth Godin ALWAYS tells the truth. Even when it is inconvenient! I read a recent post he had that talked about how what you say, what you do and who you are should all be the same thing. I AGREE!

In the new world of the interweb, it is easier than ever to find out if someone is trying to “SELL” you something.

I overheard a funny conversation the other day at networking where two women were talking about the difference between a seasoned insurance salesman who takes the time to find out what you need and the rookie who jumps on you and says you need what he has to sell!

As many of you know, I recently moved from Florida and down there Brighthouse Cable and DSL has ads all over the airwaves with the tagline, “It’s All About You” which segue right into the same old marketing. Someone must have told their advertising agency that this is the new important thing, without telling them to fix their customer service department. Here is Broadband Reports, a stand alone website that allows users to review Brighthouse. Overall the service gets an OK but everyone had trouble with Tech Support. So Marketing gets more and more customers who leave out the back door because of poor service.

As a successful entrepreneur, I will tell you that the most valuable thing I have in my business is my reputation for always telling the truth! I never recommend a service or group that I do not believe will benefit either an individual or my online social networks. I never spam. I never try to make a quick buck just because I have a list of people I can email to.

You shouldn’t either. You shouldn’t sell something to someone that you know is not a good fit. Your prospect can tell in a heartbeat if you are talking with “commission breath” and will run from you and never look back. Instead, what if you tell the truth, say it won’t work for them AND THEN get 3 referrals for people it might work for?!?!

Social Networking, Blogging and Sanity

How do you keep up with all your social networking and blogging? I use Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, digg, Plaxo, Thrive Contact System, Marketing Artfully and Active Rain often. It drives TONS of traffic to my websites, adding more people to my email database which means more people to talk to about my services and speaking gigs!

Here are some of the easy things I do to make all of that a little easier – commonly known as a system!

SOCIAL NETWORKING
It is VERY fun to watch what your friends and business associates are doing and finding new information on social networks like Facebook, LinkedIn, Plaxo and Twitter and I check most of these once or twice a day. BUT if you are using these to lead generate for your business it is also important to be “on purpose” when you are using these sites. Here are some do’s and do not’s that I follow:

  • DO – Make sure to post links to your blog posts (see below)
  • DO – Update your status with new products and services that you are offering
  • DO – Make comments on your friends’ and business partners’ status
  • DON’T – Spam them with self-serving updates multiple times a day (putting links to great information is NOT spamming, posting every one of your products or listings over and over is)
  • DON’T – Put ANYTHING on there that you would not want your best customer to see – the internet never forgets!

BLOGGING
My goal is to blog on one of each of these everyday. I am not always successful BUT the goal is there and I generally get an email everyday that some kind of lead – either for a marketing consult, a referral to one of my business partners or just someone who wants more information about a service I offer. A lead a day is 365 over the course of the year and helps to feed my pipeline!

  • Marketing Artfully – My main site and the one that I spend the most time on. It has all my product offerings, my shopping cart and is where I send the most people. WHAT I DO: When I write a post here I then add it as a link on Facebook, I often write a mini-post over on Active Rain to drive people back here to read the full post, sometimes I digg it and it automatically goes to Twitter and from there to Plaxo.
  • Thrive Contact System – This is one of our products and I post info on Database Marketing, Systems and (surprisingly enough) client contacts. I am not as vigilant about this one as I should be BUT it still gets some good organic search traffic and is on the list. WHAT I DO: When I write a post there I then add it as a link on Facebook, sometimes I digg it and it automatically goes to Twitter and from there to Plaxo.
  • Taradactyl on Active Rain – This one sends LOTS of people my way. It is full of Realtors, Mortgage Pros and Title people (one of my target markets) and I should be WAY more aggressive about posting there! WHAT I DO: Because it is a feeder for my Marketing Artfully blog I don’t tend to do more than write a post BUT it does automatically feed to Twitter and from there to Plaxo.

Hopefully this will help you get your arms around all this work and you can see that it does not have to be overwhelming AND can help generate more business for your business!

Marketing Planning for Entrepreneurs

Entrepreneurs are strange creatures! We hop from great idea to great idea, often not stopping to dig into how to actually DO the last great thing. Well I have the secret to stop the entrepreneurial madness – do the first thing first!

I know, that is not glamorous. There are no shiny pieces or exciting opportunities. All that will happen is that you will get something done! 

Here are some first steps for different marketing opportunities I know entrepreneurs are interested in (I talk to lots of them EVERY day):

Starting a Blog for Entrepreneurs

Starting a blog is NOT hard, there are tons of free platforms for people to use like www.wordpress.org and www.blogger.com. These are GREAT for business owners if all you want to do is have a brochure site and interact with people. The thing that it will not let you do (easily) is generate leads. It is very hard to integrate forms to feed your database.

You guys know I am all about feeding your database, right? SO if you are going to use your blog for business, I would recommend a self hosted wordpress blog! The cost of having someone set one up for you is about $500 including 5 blog posts and all your normal pages written for you (About us, contact us, etc.). There are also hosting and domain costs, I like godaddy.com for this – they cost about $75 for both for a year. So for under $600 you can have a fully functional blog up in a couple of weeks. If you would like to learn more…visit www.businesswritingink.com and talk with my friend Mary Dado about how to get started! That is your first step!

Social Networking for Entrepreneurs

Everyone keeps hearing how using social media will grow your business but how do you get started? Sign up for an account at Facebook or Linked In or any other site and start making friends! I have included links to ones that I am a part of and, since I am a friendly girl, will ALWAYS accept your request to connect if you are a business person!

So how do you get people to join your networks? Here are some ways that I use!

I will be talking about these more in the coming weeks, BUT if you like what you see here, make sure you sign up for my Marketing Newsletter for Entrepreneurs – my readers got this info days ago and got about 5X as much of it!!

Airports, Snow Boots and Your Small Business Marketing Message

I love small business marketing and I love my husband who has moved to Denver for a job transfer. So I have been flying back and forth to the Denver Airport to visit him and try and find a house to buy in the Denver area (we have an offer in – again – so fingers crossed people). What I noticed about the weather here compared to Clearwater Florida, where I am moving from, is that it is C-O-L-D. The people are generally nicer and they have snow boots.

I also noticed that real estate in Colorado is also different from real estate in Florida. They get a different commission than I am used to, they have fewer listings than agents carry in Florida and they have snow boots on when they show houses.

So what does this have to do with marketing you ask? We KNOW real estate is local but so is marketing! If you are in Cleveland, which is a very depressed area right now, you may have to market WAY harder in order to get the same results you got in the past. You may have to do more face-to-face sales pitches to close a client. If you are in Denver, where they say the economy is more solid, you can focus on gaining market share. Do LOTS of marketing to take over the market before the national economy rebounds!!!

While it is not fair that you have to work harder in Cleveland than Denver, make sure you match your efforts to your expected results, not just what worked in the past!

and don’t forget to wear your snow boots!

Focus Schmocus – How to get things done!

You have a million things you HAVE to do TODAY. You need to finish your paperwork, call some clients, send a newsletter, read an article, do some more paperwork, call that icky client, start your taxes, arggg!

I can tell you that there are probably only two or three things that you HAVE to do today to grow your business, sell something or get a new prospect. Those are the only things you HAVE to do today! (If you owe money to the IRS you may HAVE to talk to them today – you have my permission!)

So if you only have a few things you HAVE to do, you must WANT to do all that other busy work you have set up for yourself, right? We humans are funny creatures, we like to keep busy, to feel needed, to do important work. If we have lots to do we can justify to ourselves not getting some vital things done.

That ends today people! Today you need to figure out the top 3 things that you need to do for your business and EVERY day, before you do anything else, those things have to be done!

For my business, my top three things are:

  1. Lead generating – writing blog posts, attending mastermind sessions, writing articles, emailing prospects
  2. Strategic planning – getting the systems in place so that when opportunity knocks I am ready
  3. Writing Ebooks or speaking in person – this is my actual physical work!

If you are a realtor, yours may look like this:

  • Lead generating – holding open houses, blogging about a neighborhood, sending out emails to your database, sending a newsletter, calling your prospects or clients and asking for referrals, attending network events
  • Strategic planning – organizing your calendar, targeting neighborhoods or niches, working on your database, setting up automatic emails to your prospects
  • Actual Realtor Work – taking listings, signing buyer broker agreements, showing houses, servicing your listings, writing contracts, negotiating contracts, and attending closings

Doing anything other than those things is a waste of your valuable time! You need to make sure that something from those lists is on your calendar every day!

Write these things out and hang them on the wall. Anytime something comes in that seems urgent, hold it up to your list and see if it something you HAVE to do…you may be surprised how much you have been doing that is unnecessary busywork that you just have a habit of doing.

Small Business Advice – Doing what you love AND…other stuff

Small Business Advice – Anyone who knows me well knows I LOVE talking about marketing, reading about marketing, teaching marketing classes, blah, blah, blah. On the weekends I frequently spend time researching new marketing ideas, planning for new projects and doing lots of other TOTALLY fun things. This weekend I ALSO spent 7 hours fixing my blogs, optimizing them for SEO, picking keywords, etc. I hate doing that! A friend called me during hour 7 and asked what was wrong, I sounded that glum!

I also spent 6 hours this weekend working on a design project for a great client (www.Managemy401k.com). The owner is a businessman and marketer who is commited to executing a comprehensive marketing plan for 2009 – that makes me SO happy! BUT he needs design help first, so I am doing that for him as part of the whole plan. That is not my favorite part, but it is something that must be done in order for him to succeed.

So what does that have to do with you? You are a Realtor, or retail store owner, or a craftsman, or a Mary Kay Lady. Well…I am sure that you picked your profession because you love part of it. I know Realtors who have battled through 2 years of hardship with no end in sight, just because they love helping people and selling real estate. I know beauty consultants who like to make people feel good about themselves by making them pretty.

EVERY small business owner (and employee) has stuff the don’t like to do. Stuff that they put off as long as humanly possible before starting and then only do scratching and clawing through each step with horror and gloom. What if you did those things first? Got them out of the way sooner rather than later? OR What if you found someone else to do it instead? Kept the parts of the business that you like and ditch the rest!

How To Add A Video To Your WordPress Blog

I LOVE WordPress blogs! They are easy to use and basically FREE except for the domain name registration and hosting costs! I had a client (Ken Rossi of www.HomeBuyingTampaBay.com) who wanted to add a video to a post. One note to WP users – you do not have to do “turn off visual”, just go to the the “HTML” tab and don’t switch back to “Visual”!

Here is how! THANK YOU JACK HUMPHREY FOR THE VIDEO!

Small Business Marketing Case Study – Body and Mind Enrichment

So I met with a GREAT gal this week – Emily with Body and Mind Enrichment. She won our drawing at the WIN (Women in Networking) Symposium for a free Marketing Plan! 

Mary Dado of Business Writing, Ink and I started out by taking a tour of all the plants Emily has around her house that she uses in organic natural products that she makes like bug spray, itchy creams, ointments, oils, scrubs and LOTS more. I used her bug spray and itch cream – it is all natural (very nice!) and has a fresh, woodsy smell because it is made of herbs!! Emily also composts and makes things like tea from lemongrass.

Emily’s life is dedicated to healthy living through eating, exercising and working WITH nature!

We talked with her for a while and worked on her mission statement (still in progress) and discovered that she has been keeping the different parts of her business separate (pilates instruction, natural products and overall health instruction). Through analyzing her favorite clients we found that it was people she helped with their WHOLE lives that she most enjoys working with. We also discovered that she does her best lead generating by attending networking events and having a table. She needed to have some materials that she can put on the table that show her products, her services and that tell people what she likes to do. It is VERY hard to sell concepts like healthy living without showing pictures of how that looks. We decided that she would use a collage format for her materials and I heard from Emily just today that she got a tri-fold flyer together for her first show today (I will keep you updated on how that went!)

We also talked about her website (www.bodyandmindenrichment.org) which is not something that Emily is married to keeping in it’s current format. We will probably convert this to a blog where Emily can talk about her healthy living philosophy, her products and her services. 

Some neat things that Emily does or can do that could help differentiate her –

  • She does a group meeting that features vodka infused with herbs (this one I can get on board with…:)
  • I just saw today on Best Friends (Dog Town) that there is such a thing as catnip bubbles to play with Kittys – I think this would be a GREAT way to reach people who are dog and cat lovers without their having to be health oriented! 
  • With a blog Emily could reach MANY more people with her ideas and also grow a following, making her an expert in healthy living
I will let you guys know how everything works out for Emily! Mary and I have agreed to help her since she is SUCH a wonderful soul and has such great enthusiasm for her business!!!

You have a GREAT IDEA – So What?

I have LOTS of ideas! I spend about 20 hours a week reading different articles, magazines, websites, blogs. I attend masterminds and classes. I reach out (deliberately) to new people who do things differently than I do and try to understand what makes those things work.

So how many ideas do I implement a week? Not as many as I would like!

I think that I am above the curve but nowhere near where I would like to be – sigh. So many great ideas, so little time. So what should we do to make more use of our good ideas?

  1. Write them down! I cannot tell you how often I have had a flash of pure brilliance, thought out an entire business and marketing plan, figured out how I was going to spend the gagillions of dollars it would make me AND THEN FORGOTTEN IT ALL! Because it was SO brilliant, I figured that I would remember it. I would be able to hold all of the pieces in my head and then…life happened. The toilet broke, the car needed oil, the dog had to be let out – whatever I had thought about left me. Now don’t get me wrong, I still had the concept, but all the goodies that I had with my intial concept slithered away. Now I am stuck with a GREAT IDEA that I have to think really hard about. It seems less fun. I am trying to recreate rather than innovate. 
  2. Prioritize – So now you are writing your great ideas down! YAY! Darn it, you have about 30 and your list keeps getting longer. You are starting to get overwhelmed with the amount of work that these ideas will take. STOP! You cannot do all of your great ideas at once. Someday when you are fabulously wealthy and have an assistant and your assistant has an assistant you will be able to do nothing all day but follow your whims, but right now you will have to limit the amount of things you have time for! Pick two things a week that will make a difference to your business and make sure you do those two things! Write them on the top of your daily planner pages and don’t do anything else extra until those are done. Some will be able to happen within the week and some will be ongoing. If they go over the week timeline, assess at the end of the week if they are still one of the two things that will make an impact on their business and see if they should stay on the list.
  3. Make Friends – Now that you have a plan for your two things, what do you do with your leftover ideas? Should they shrivel and die just because you are not able to get to them? NO! Let them free to help the world be a better place!!! Okay, I know I am out of control here, I will reign it in a little…:) There are some things you can do to keep those ideas going – share them, get help, work together. If it is a great idea that you will never use but you know someone who would benefit from hearing it, tell them! If it is a great idea that you would like to use but will NEVER have time to research and develop, share it with a friend who can help with the legwork and you both can benefit! If it is an even bigger idea than that?!?!?!?! Work together with a group of people who can share your vision and chunk out pieces. THEY can put part of it on their two things to do list and the idea can keep moving forward if you all work together!
THE SUPER SECRET TO GROWING YOUR GREAT IDEAS!
 
If you are reading this far you probably have some ideas, you are probably someone who is forward thinking, are curious and interesting (I know that anyways since you read my blog…:)  So what is the Super Secret to making the most of your great ideas? DO SOMETHING! START TODAY! If you are new to the idea game start writing them down. If you are writing them down, pick two to think about. If you are focused on one or two ideas, time block to make sure that you are able to work on them. 
 
I know you are busy, I know that you have a family, job, house, pet, in-laws, etc. that need your time and energy. I know you are already working as hard as you can possibly work and that if you add 15 minutes more to your day you will DIE! Really? Are you sure you don’t have 15 minutes a day to start. 15 PLANNED MINUTES! Just think, that is over an hour a week that you were not working on your ideas before! If you get going I can GUARENTEE that you will want to do more and more. If it really is a good idea it will HELP your business and you will be even more successful than you are today!!!!

How To Add A Postlet To Your WordPress Blog

Postlets.com offers a great mini posting that you can put into your blog, your Active Rain Blog or on Craigs List. This tutorial will go over how to add a postlet to your wordpress blog. If you need help on how to make a postlet, please visit our How To Make A Postlet page.

If you would like step-by-step instructions for how to add a postlet to your wordpress blog, they follow the videos.

This first video will show you how to do a basic postlet!

Wordpress screenshop
Wordpress screenshop

Advanced Postlets in wordpress – if you would like to know how customize your postlet for wordpress and are not afraid to delve into the HTML code a bit, this tutorial is for you!

(please be patient – it is a large file)

Wordpress screenshop
Wordpress screenshop

Step by step Guide To Adding a Postlet To Your WordPress Blog:

  1. Log into your wordpress
  2. Write>New post
  3. Title>Add your title
  4. Open a  new browser and log into your postlet account
  5. Go to my postlets
  6. Select your listing and choose>post
  7. Pick the size you would like to have in your post (if you have a big content area use the default code, if you have a smaller content hole then double click on the medium until the entire box is highlighted0
  8. Right click to copy
  9. Go back to your wordpress post
  10. Click the HTML tab (beside the visual tab)
  11. Paste your postlets code
  12. Hit save
  13. Preview your post
  14. Hit Publish
  15. Tip – Make sure to put some words in your post so that the seach engines see something besides just HTML code!

If you would like advanced help please watch the 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!

Tech Expo – Blogging On Active Rain

Tech Expo – Presenter Tara Jaconben

Hi All! This is intended as a reference for today’s class on Active Rain. If you have any additional information or reference materials please add them as a comment! I interviewed Cyndee Haydon (a Fantastic Blogger!) and I include her note after each item – they are paraphrased, any mistakes are mine!

Sign Up For Active Rain

Pinellas County Realtors On Active Rain
As you can see we have 435 Realtors In Pinellas
There are 81 in Clearwater
In 5 Days of Posting I have gotten to position 7! Tara Jacobsen On Active Rain
Recommended cities – Clearwater Beach, Dunedin, Largo, Oldsmar, Pinellas Park, Safety Harbor, Tarpon Springs

- Cyndee Haydon – Pick a city you can rank well in. There is nothing to stop you from posting an article about Tampa or Clearwater or St. Petersburg, BUT it is easier to place higher against smaller competition.

How To Get More Points On Active Rain
Jimmy McCall wrote an excellent post on maximizing your points right off the bat by filling out all the areas that Active Rain requires. I cannot agree with him more AND I think that this will help you in all your marketing efforts. For example, I had to contact some of my clients to get additional testimonials – what a great way to get an extra touch in AND they say nice things about you!

- Cyndee Haydon – While getting points allows you to rank higher in Active Rain, I have seen a number of agents who posted non-professional comments and/or posts just to gain points (you get points for up to 10 comments per day and for each blog  post over 200 words). This is NOT the point of blogging since you are trying to increase your professional appeal to consumers and also to hopefully generate referrals from other agents. Stay on track and on target, providing relevant LOCAL information.

Writing A Blog Post
Dustin Luthur has written a series of excellent articles on how to succeed at Active Rain. These are used with his permission!
Staring at a blank screen wondering what to write can be daunting! I would go back through your emails and see what you have sent to clients. If you get questions about a particular neighborhood, blog about that. If you have learned some useful information (like how to get rid of oil tanks in Dunedin), blog about that. Basically anything can be a blog post!

- Cyndee Haydon – Remember that time is on your side. Write something and then you can go back and revisit it, expanding on what you have talked about. The search engines like to see that you blog (or site) has been in existance for a while to assure that you are not a scammer, so having your posts around for a while will help you. Also, it can be overwhelming to try and generate enough content for an entire site in one day. Set a timer for 15 minutes and only write for that long. It will take the pressure off of you. Also, blogging has made me a better realtor, when I am asked a question from a reader I research the entire answer and then post it. When you have to know enough about a subject to publish it for the world to see, you better know what you are talking about!

Commenting On Blog Posts
On stand alone blogs, as well as Active Rain Blogs, the VERY best way to generate new visitors to YOUR site to comment on THEIR site! I have a number of blogs that I visit including Cyndee Haydon’s Sandbars To Sunsets,   Kris Berg’s San Diego Blog, The Bloodhound Blog (LOT OF READERS – make sure you know what you are talking about!) What you want to do here is add something meaningful to a conversation (which is what a blog post is) – DO NOT just say “great post” or “I agree”. Basically you are auditioning for a new reader – if you say something like “I enjoyed reading about your position on the cost of gas, did you happen to read the article in The Times Today….” or “While I agree with…”

- Cyndee Haydon – Do not say something on your blog or a comment that you would not like to have published in the newspaper. Remember that the internet remembers EVERYTHING and that before you hit POST you make sure that you blog or response is professional and represents you and how you run your business!

Additional Resources
Commenting On Blog Posts
Inserting Widgets Into Your Blog
Engage In An Active Rain Group

Nobody Told Me THIS About Active Rain!

So I was surfing around this morning and somehow got to the Active Rain website. For those of you who do not know what Active Rain is, it is a real estate site where agents can list their services, set up a blog and connect with other agents, sellers and buyers. I had NOT signed up for this service until today and still have reservations about putting my information and efforts into somewhere that has LOTS of other realtors, but that is a discussion for another day.

PG 13 Warning – Do not read any further gentle readers unless you want to experience the carnage of rampant competitive megalomania!

What no one ever told me is that it is NOT a popularity contest like Facebook or those other networking sites (I am not all that interested in being popular). It is a good old fashioned BRAWL to get the most points! You get points for all kinds of things and can “WIN” if you get the most points! Well I am always up for trying to win contests so I got started right away!

When I started I had 0 Points and was ranked 81 for Clearwater, FL (as there are only 81 realtors listed on Active Rain for Clearwater, I was NOT in a good position!). Then I added my picture to my profile, did some other fun things like adding Testimonials, an About Us overview, etc. and I was off to the races! I currently have 986 points and am ranked 22 – yahoo!!!! I also added a link to Active Rain from my website which will push me up to 1486 after they review my link over the next 4-6 days. I calculate that this will push me up to 1498 points and number 14 (just above Jack Johnson – a GREAT Keller Williams agent).

AND I haven’t even written a blog post yet! I am on fire here!!!!

Now to add some sense of reality here -My new pal Cyndee Hayden is the top dog Realtor for Clearwater, FL and has had great success using the service (and other online means) for lead generating. She has 226735 points – that’s right over TWO HUNDRED THOUSAND! Dang.

Anyways – if you are a realtor and are not at least considering adding this to your arsenal of online spots, consider it now! It took about 20 minutes and could add to your book of business (at the very least it can’t hurt!)

PS – if you sign up using this link http://activerain.com/action/referrals/taradactyl I can get even more points! (I just need another 200 points to beat the next guys on the list and slip into lucky number 13! – Being aware that you have a problem is supposed to be the first step in fixing it, right?)