Create a Blog Publication Calendar

blog publication calendarBlogging is a great way to earn income, promote your business, or just have a venue to discuss your passion. One way to keep up with blogging is to create a blog publication calendar. A calendar will take into consideration important upcoming events, product launches, and other issues, helping you work in advance to keep your blog full of interesting and relevant content.

All successful bloggers have three things in common:

1) They post blogs regularly
2) They post unique content
3) They post audience-focused content

If you do at least these three things, you can have a super successful blog. You can have a blog that attracts an audience who wants to read what you have to say and take your advice, and who comes back for more on a regular basis.

In order to make a blog publication calendar, you need to first make a few determinations such as:

How Often You Will Blog – First determine how often you plan to publish a blog post. This could be daily, weekly or whatever your choice. This helps you know how often you’ll need to write blog posts, and when you’ll need to publish them or schedule them.

Who You’re Blogging For – Write down a few different personas for your audience so that you can know to whom you’re writing the blog posts. It can help you keep focused better if you can look at these personas when you are ready to write.

Which Blogging Categories You’ll Use – Depending upon your niche, you’ll need to choose some categories that a post will go under when you blog. Spreading out the categories can help you come up with more interesting content. For example, if you have a blog about Labrador Retrievers, some categories might be Rescued Labs, Feeding, Exercising, Training, Chocolate Labs and so forth.

Upcoming Events or Product Launches – On the calendar you may want to list any upcoming events related to your niche. For example, is there a conference coming up, or are you launching (or someone else) a new product that is perfect for your niche? Keeping up with these dates can help you create content that will entice readers to buy the item at launch.

When Industry News Is Released – You’ll want to keep up with the industry news, too, so it will help you to know when the different online magazines or blogs release new information for you to use. For example, if the state of your industry is released every quarter, keep that in mind as you create the publication calendar so you can include important information.

Once you have determined this information, you can start brainstorming content ideas to match upcoming events, product launches, and industry news. In between those types of blog posts, you can put other types of posts up such as educational, informational, interesting and fun blog posts. List these ideas in the calendar so that you can then use the calendar to generate a list of timely titles and subject matter for your blog posts.

Get Creative with Your Blog

CONTENT MARKETINGThe wonderful thing about blogs today is they don’t have to be boring and only include text content. You can get creative and include all kinds of content on your blog. The more types of content that you include, the more interesting it will be for your audience. They’ll want to read more, engage more, and even buy more when you have more creative content.

Video – You can easily create videos using your webcam to educate your audience, or software like Camtasia to record your screen to visually teach your audience how to do something or to go through a slide show. Video brings a brand-new element to your blog that is truly unsurpassed in opportunity.

Audio – Podcasts are super popular; people love downloading them and listening to them later in the day or when on the road. You can turn any blog post into a podcast by recording it using software already on your computer.

Infographics – An infographic is a pictorial depiction of data put together in an interesting way. Most infographics are fairly long and can include a lot of data. If you have any data-centric blog posts or informational articles, consider making them into an infographic.

Memes – Use beautiful imagery, quotes, facts and data to create pictorial images that are about 350×350 pixels depending on where you use them. You can put them on your blog; share them on social media, and more.

Guides – Longer blog posts that are very complete guides to something are very popular, and will increase the authority level of your website. These are very long blog posts with a lot of information links to other information on and off your website.

Reviews – Anytime you’re not sure what type of content to put up, try doing a review. There are likely books within your niche, movies, educational programs, info products and more that you can easily do reviews about. Be honest, include images, and disclose how you came by the product you’re reviewing.

Interviews and Webinars – Believe it or not, interviews, webinars and other recorded events can become content for you on your blog. Record, cut it into shorter versions, transcribe it, make infographics to support it and you can create a lot of content out of one interview, webinar or hangout.

New Formats – When new formats come out for content, include them in your content mix. Mixing things up and making things look a little different will go far in keeping the interest of your audience.

Blogging is lucrative, fun and interesting. You can make it even more wonderful by being creative in the types of content you include on your blog. As long as the content fits your audience, go ahead and include the type, and be creative with how you present the information.

Productivity Software to Make You More Efficient!

productivty softwareWhen it comes to running a lean business, the name of the game is efficiency. You want to use productivity software that increase your efficiency and help you do more in less time.

A few Productivity Software Solutions We Love

PayPal – This is a no-brainer today, as many people like paying for their online purchases via PayPal. There are other online payment processors and certainly you need more than one, but PayPal is going to be the one most people choose to use. Link – https://www.paypal.com/

Go Daddy Bookkeeping – This is single entry bookkeeping that helps you keep track of income and expenses automatically. It connects with FreshBooks, PayPal and your bank to help eliminate data entry issues. Link – https://bookkeeping.godaddy.com/

FreshBooks – This is an invoicing system with some project management, budgeting, and accounting features. You can use it with many other types of bookkeeping apps like Go Daddy Bookkeeping, but also with some others that you might like. It offers time tracking and the ability to manage a team’s work. Link – http://www.freshbooks.com/

Basecamp – This is project management software that is low cost, and people love it. It helps arrange tasks, reminders, and more. Your clients can sign in too, or you can just use it to manage a team of contractors. Link – https://basecamp.com/

TeamworkPM – This is another project management tool to use that will do all the things Basecamp does. It is more designed for working with teams and clients who don’t like signing on to anything and prefer using email. Link – https://www.teamwork.com/

Microsoft Office 365 – Using MS Office is almost essential when working from home. Although you can use some free services like OpenOffice.org, MS Office is still the main one that most people use. And you’ll need it. Instead of buying the software outright you can use the online service for a monthly fee. What’s wonderful about that is that you do not have to worry about updates. Link – https://products.office.com/

Dropbox.com – This is a file sharing and storing solution that works great with your clients and team. It’s not expensive and they even have a free version. They have also developed a project business version. Link – https://dropbox.com/

Evernote – This is free software that enables you to keep track of notes from the web, voice, photos, and more, even handwritten notes. This is great for planning and organizing new products and services. Link – https://evernote.com/

Hootsuite – If you manage social media for others, or yourself, using a service that allows you to automate some issues will cut down on the time that you use for doing things. Link – https://hootsuite.com/

Zendesk – If you have a lot of customer service issues, this is a great way to set up a ticketing system. Ticketing systems will save you a lot of time and effort. Link – https://www.zendesk.com/

Mozy – This is a backup system that will save you from disaster. Saving on an external drive is not good enough; it’s safer and better to save your computer’s files in the cloud. Then if you lose your entire home, computer, external drive and all, your work is safe. Link – https://mozy.com/

WordPress.org – Starting a website with WordPress.org self-hosted website is very important. And, outside of special platforms like membership sites (for example the New Rainmaker platform) and personalized websites, it’s free. Link – https://wordpress.org/

AWeber – Whether you use AWeber or another autoresponder service is not as important as actually using one. The time you can save, plus the ability to easily stay lawful in your communications with others, is amazing. Link – http://www.aweber.com/

You don’t need every one of these pieces of software to run a lean business as some of them do the same thing. Choose which of these productivity software applications work best for your niche and the way you have designed your work flow. Remember that the more efficient you can become using software, the leaner your business can become.

Top10 Search Engine Updates for September 2015

There’s always a lot of change happening when it comes to to search engine updates and the way they look at presenting their search results. Even though they are extremely difficult to keep up with, here are 10 that have happened recently that might benefit you or your business.

Search Engine Updates You Should Know About!

  1. Google has made it easy to file a complaint against marketers who are violating its guidelines. You can simply use this URL to file your complaint. You can navigate to Contact Us button (top right) > Email > Complaint about a Partner.seo-1
  2. Google has introduced a new local pack which displays only 3 results instead of 7 with minimal information, excluding the mandates like phone numbers or street addresses which were earlier visible in the 7 pack.
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  3. Google Maps changes its manual verification process for businesses. You will now no longer be able to call the Google Maps team and have them manually verify your business over the phone. You’ll be instead directed to the normal verification methods.
  4. A long tail search indicates that a customer is close to a point-of-purchase; hence it creates excellent opportunities for local businesses. Here is the complete study from BrightLocal.
  5. Now business listings will show verification check-marks in Google maps.
  6. Bing started showing reviews in its results exactly when Yahoo stopped it. Coincidence? Maybe!
  7. Google will not force a new user to make Google+ account to sign up for Google services. *Sigh. Here is the official statement from Bradley Horowitz – “We want to formally retire the notion that a Google+ membership is required for anything at Google… other than using Google+ itself.
  8. Google will take down unverified and inactive plus pages associated with business listings. So make sure to get your business pages verified and keep them active by sharing content regularly.
  9. Google has introduced a feature that will inform you about the peak time of the business so you can avoid the rush. But many have doubts about the usefulness of this update.
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  10. Updating a new address in Google Maps can be tricky especially while displaying driving directions. To understand why this happens and how to fix it, you can simply refer this guide.

There are plenty of search engine updates to keep up with here, but the key is to find the ones that impact your business and put a plan in place to adjust or capitalize on them. If yo uare not sure what to do next, feel free to Contact Us and we can help you put a plan in place!

Nine Ways to Create Buzz about Your Business

create buzzCreating buzz about your business means that you do something to get people talking about you and your business. Today, creating buzz about your business is important, especially as there are so many people to compete with. But, if you can set yourself apart in this way, you’ll win a lot of new customers.

Here are nine ways to create buzz about your business!

1. Send Out a Press Release – Press releases are still viable and important ways to get buzz about your business, even in this day of social media and blogging. Press releases should be sent out to your contacts every time you have something newsworthy to share.

2. Create and Share an Infographic – Infographics are long, pictorial graphics that tell a story about the data and information that you have. These are great ways to encourage sharing, especially if you include data that is relevant for your audience that they’ll enjoy.

3. Release a Free eBook on Kindle – Having a book launch with a free Kindle book is a great way to create buzz. Ask the people who download the book free to give you a review and feedback, which will help move your book up on the list that Kindle recommends to people.

4. Create Viral Videos – While you might not be able to just willfully create a viral video, if you create regular videos that are of interest to your audience then one of them is bound to resonate enough to go viral. Videos get shared more often than text, so you’re off to the right start when you create videos.

5. Conduct a Facebook Contest – Contests are great way to create buzz about your business. You can have them on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, your blog… however you want. Just follow the rules of the platform and make sure your prizes are relevant to your audience.

6. Conduct a Blog Tour – A blog tour is where you plan to place a guest post that is original to the place where you put it, and which is about something you’re promoting. The way to set that up is to contact people to join the tour and allow you to post your information on their blog.

7. Host a Webinar or Teleseminar – These are great ways to build your email list and get buzz about your business. A good way to do it is to ask other people to do them with you. That way you all promote to your own email lists too.

8. Start a YouTube Channel – A YouTube channel can be almost as good as having a television show if you plan out the content you want to do, post content on a consistent basis, and try to be as professional as possible.

9. Connect to a Charity – You don’t want to do charitable things just because you want to create buzz. But, if there is a charity that you like, you can donate a percentage of proceeds all the time to it, or you can have yearly sales where all proceeds go to the fundraiser.

If you want to create buzz about your business use the ideas above and use social media to drive attention to what you are doing. Try these different ways and see what reactions you get. Keep doing new things as often as you can to keep the buzz going.

Book Review – Effective Multitasking

effective multitaskingEffective Multitasking 7 Habits to Boost your Effectiveness
Where to buy: www.amazon.com

Let’s begin by saying that multitasking as you think of it right now is a myth. Doing several things at once leads to several things still left undone because nothing truly get accomplished, not in full. When it comes to multitasking the best way to accomplish it is to conduct your tasks in such a way that it appears you are working on more than one thing at once. The difference is that you will actually complete and cross items off of your list. It’s all here in “Effective Multitasking: 7 Habits to Boost your Effectiveness.”

With so much to do, business owners are crushed under the weight of their obligations especially small business owners. When you have email, blog posts, content creation, client conferences, networking and more to accomplish, dealing with all of this every day can leave you worn, stressed and still behind the eight ball. Discover 7 habits that can make multitasking work for you in the best way possible. They include: Classifying Action, Storing Materials, Awaiting Responses, Prioritization and Total Focus, The Golden Rule of your Calendar, Task List and Weekly Cleanup and Daily Startup. The advice works for both large corporations and small businesses alike.

Effective Multitasking 7 Habits to Boost your Effectiveness direct link: Affiliate Program at Amazon.com

How to Make Your Online Marketing Message Effective

online-marketing-message

Everything in online marketing always comes back to the message.

Guest post by Elaine Whitesides – Whitesides Words

Every business person wants their online marketing messages to be effective and profitable. But business owners, especially small business owners, don’t have the time (and often the real inclination) to research all the elements involved and then figure out how to assimilate the information to implement a strategy that works. It’s not a simple do this and that will happen.

 

The online world is fluid and evolving every moment. It’s complex and just about the time you think you have figured out some part of it, it’s changed. But I like to simplify things and some things will never change. One of those things is that the Internet is used by humans. And one thing all humans want is to understand. That means that content will always be important. So if you concentrate on how to develop content that humans want to consume – no matter the platform, the technology used or the speed of it, you will always be marching in step.

Developing the content in your online marketing message

It’s not often that people, including you, jump into the car without a destination in mind. If you do, you might be looking forward to a leisurely adventure, a carefree few hours anticipating some pleasurable surprises. That may be fun, but it’s not the way you’d run your business, is it?

It’s definitely not the way to keep content and communications fresh online.

If you do not have a plan behind the content you put online, you are just out for a ride. You might collect visitors and have lots of traffic, but is it doing anything besides getting people to visit? Probably not.

You have to think about that when considering what you are putting out on the Web. Yes, freshening content and consistent touches with your fans and followers are absolutely important. But the real fuel for the conversion from prospect to client lies is a purposeful plan.

Make your online message consistent and purposeful

Your plan starts with the end in mind (yes, just like Steven Covey suggested in the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People). You have to know what you want those fans, followers and visitors TO DO. You could want them to:

  • Engage
  • Interact
  • Link
  • Opt-in
  • Buy
  • Click through
  • Share

No matter what, you have to know what your goal for them is in order to determine what to say and how to say it in every post, publication and tweet. For example, if you want them to download a special report, you have to know the content of the report, have a link or download ready and write copy that engages and persuades them so they are ready to take the next step.

Likewise, for SEO purposes, you need to have the appropriate keywords and keyword phrases that would be used in searches in the copy of the posts, publications and tweets in order for the search engines to find you organically. Again, that requires forethought and planning.

Unless you want hit or miss marketing results, you have to prevent a hit or miss marketing effort. Make a plan. What you need to know before putting pen to paper or digits to the keyboard:

  1. Goal (what you want the reader TO DO)
  2. The product or materials to be directed to the reader (what you will GIVE the reader)
  3. The link, URL or download location (where the product or material will COME FROM)
  4. Keywords and phrases (what the reader will SAY in searches)
  5. Which platforms (WHERE and WHEN you will release and publish)

Knowing all these things prepares you to compose clear and targeted pieces that will align and lead to the achievement of the goal. Each piece of writing should be tailored to the message, the goal, the platform and, most importantly, to the target market and ideal client in mind. This includes tweets, Facebook posts, free reports, blogs and even website page copy.

Bear in mind, none of these are SALES pitches. No, social media and your online communications are, more than anything, a means to educate and communicate with your herd, tribe, followers, whatever it is you call the people you want to, and do, touch. Your sales pieces are just that – a sales pitch. But your other pieces are setting the stage, answering questions, meeting needs and developing awareness of need and cultivating want.

Don’t confuse content and sales pieces. If you do and try to sell, sell, sell and sell some more in your communications, you will wear your prospects down – and out. They will go away because it is a rare few who like to be sold to all the time.

Build your community. Develop relationships. Make friends and become a resource. When they come to know, like and trust you, they will convert to customers – if you have what they want and need. The world of online marketing is seldom an overnight blast and sensation. It takes time and, if you do it right, it will be successful.

A marketing strategy and plan involves so many different aspects – technology, the message, timing, purpose and goals, tools, editorial schedule, just so many things that have to be coordinated and implemented, monitored, measured, analyzed and then you start all over again. The process, to be effective, has to march on like a never-ending parade. That’s why I prefer to talk with guys like Neil here at Strategix. He’s the little engine that can – he is the drum major that keeps the marching band organized, tooting away and marching forward. I hope you have a Neil – if not, get one – or him.

A few words about wants and needs and your online marketing message

Yes, professionals are quite able to identify the needs of their customers. But just because a customer NEEDS something, doesn’t mean they WANT it – and statistics show that buyers buy from WANT more so than NEED.

Take for example, food. Everyone needs to eat or they die. But do they need to eat cake or steak or drink vintage wine? No, they don’t. They could survive on raw fruits and vegetables. In fact, they might be healthier. But they will toss what they WANT into their carts at the grocery store and stride up to the cashier and pay for it.

The lesson: You have to make what you offer as a solution to their problem what they WANT – not just what they NEED.

If Charmin can make toilet paper fun and appeal to the vanity of their market, if Bean-o can make light of personal gas, and if the market is willing to pay lots and lots of money for bottled water, there exists the possibility of clients wanting your product or service.

Be sure to include and build that into your online message with your branding and plan.

Fill the human need to understand and make having your product or service something that people want and you can’t help to be successful.

 

elaine-whitesidesElaine Whitesides has a unique business past having spent time in the residential and commercial real estate/finance corporate world and also many years as an educator. Combining those with a love of writing and organizational development, she founded Whitesides Words. Her business is to bring together professional service providers and the business owners who need their services – at a reasonable rate. Her purpose is to share the stories of business and business people with the world. She can be contacted at elaine@whitesideswords.com or at 317-520-2885. Visit her website at www.whitesideswords.com.