How to Come Up With Content If You Can’t Write Well

content if you can't writeYou know you need to create content for your website or blog in order to help promote your products or solutions. But what if you’re stuck because you can’t write? Well, don’t give up yet, because there is help for the non-writer! Following these guidelines can help you create great content…even if you HATE TO WRITE!

Tips For Creating Content If You Can’t Write…

Hire a Writer – If writing isn’t your strength, the simplest thing to do is to hire someone to do it for you! Many people don’t realize that this resource exists, or they don’t realize how important it is if you struggle with writing. You can go to Upwork.com to hire a writer to do the work for you. Not only can you hire writers, you can even hire an entire content company to help you with content ideas, content creation and publishing to finish the process. The extent to which you hire writing help is completely up to you!

Talk Your Content – Even if you can’t write, you can probably talk. Get a voice to text software program and talk your content. Simply go through and edit it a bit so that you ensure that everything was spelled right, and you’ll have great content in no time.

Create Videos – You don’t have to limit yourself to writing to create awesome content. Instead, create videos or vlogs. You can then have them transcribed by a professional transcriptionist who can then turn it over to a hired writer tasked with creating content from the video. This works great for the person who is more of a talker than a writer.

Make a Podcast – A podcast is a lot like a video, except it’s only audio, which can also be very powerful. Like video, you can also have the podcast transcribed. You can use the transcription as is, or you can it over to a writer to make some text content out of it.

Curate Content – Other people create content for your niche. There is value to your audience in having all of that information in one spot, saving them the time to research. You can then offer only your thoughts about what you’re sharing, as if you’re telling a friend about it. You can become a one-stop-shop for your audience, and your opinion on the content of others can be valuable to your audience as well.

Attract User-Generated Content – Some of the best content is created by your audience. User-generated content can be in the form of forum posts, social media comments, blog post comments, and more. If your audience participates, the discussions can make for some excellent and effective content marketing, and having your audience engaged keeps them coming back!

Ask for Guest Bloggers – While guest blogging has changed over the years, it’s not dead. Ask for guest bloggers to write about various topics. Just be careful to make sure that what they provide must be original and unique, and not published elsewhere. This is especially useful if you have a connection to someone well-known who your audience trusts.

Following these tips can make sure that your inability to write doesn’t stop you from creating good content. Everyone gets in a rut from time to time, and these tips could be helpful even for proficient writers who can occasionally get a case of good old-fashioned WRITER’S BLOCK. Using these resources can not only help you with writing struggles, but it can also keep your content fresh and diversified, leading your audience to keep coming back for more! Don’t let writing struggles stand in the way of great content!

How to Write an Effective Press Release

Effective Press ReleaseA press release is more than an announcement about what is happening in your business. It is a sales tool, and it works especially well if there is a newsworthy story behind it. You can write an effective press release if you write it as if you’re an outside reporter, provide some good quotes and information from top movers and shakers within your company, customers, or field. Once it is written and contains the content that is appropriate for your needs, you need to figure out who to send it to in order to make it worthwhile.

Getting the content just right for a press release is key. The process is fairly simple if you are intentional about your content. The set-up of a press release is standard throughout the industry. You really must write your press release in the following way in order for any news organization to take it seriously.

How to write an effective press release:

Headline – The headline is the key to a successful press release. If the headline doesn’t look a certain way, nobody will care how good the content is. Headlines need to be in bold font, with the first word capitalized, carry the right key words, and grab the attention of your audience as well as the gatekeeper.

Body Copy – You have to put the name of the city and state, as well as the date, on the first line. Include an attention-grabbing first sentence that leads the reader to want to read more about the story. You want to avoid using filler words and make the body copy as compact as possible. State only facts, and save the fluff for other marketing venues.

Who, What, When, Why, Where and How – As you write, try to answer the five w’s and the h, too. This will help you keep your copy short and to the point. You want to put the most newsworthy information at the front, and again at the end, of the press release. At the end of the day, the purpose of press releases are to get information out there. You have to make sure the details are the focal point of this piece of writing. Make sure it is written in third person, as that’s how news is reported.

Make It Press Ready – Remember that no one is going to edit your press release for you; it needs to be ready to print, and already be edited. Double check your spelling and fact check the information you include in the press release.

Give Them More – At the end you can include links or even a QR code that directs people to more information about your event or business. Providing that little bit of extra information can be the difference of getting your press release published or not. Because effective press releases are short and to the point, having a link to more information is vital.

Send It to the Right People – The key to getting your press release published is that you send it to the right people. So many press release companies are disingenuous when it comes to this part. They blanket out the press release without any regard to where it’s going. Don’t do that; send it to the right people. That may mean that you need to do some research first, but the time you put in will pay off when it gets in the right hands.

Just the term press release itself can seem intimidating, but by following these guidelines, you can write an effective press release that gets your business noticed by the right people. Including just the facts, providing contact information, and sending it to the right people will get your press release, and your business, the attention it deserves.

Why Social Media Matters to Your Small Business

social mediaLet’s face it – social media is here to stay. And more importantly, it is as useful as it is entertaining. It offers individuals and business owners alike the ability to get the word out about any event in a quick, efficient way, reaching lots of people. Most people use social media of some kind – and what’s more, they keep it close to them with their mobile devices at the ready. People share everything on social media, from their baby’s first steps to more mundane things like what they’re eating for dinner tonight. Having that tool in the palm of your audience’s hand can be very useful to a business owner.

Being online and using social media to promote your business offers so many benefits. Here are the most important benefits you don’t want to miss:

It Helps with Brand Recognition – If you want people to recognize your brand, it’s important to develop a branded appearance that you use across all social media networks. Use the same logos, in different sizes, and stay true to your brand at all times. People eill beging to associate that logo with you and they will recognize you more readily.

It Increases Conversion Over Time – When you provide information over a long period of time, your audience becomes accustomed to your message. Over time they develop trust, and after being exposed to you regularly through social media they are more likely to place an order in the long run.

It Improves Authority – When you often post a lot of accurate and helpful information, people start viewing you as an authority on the topic. Once you’re viewed as an authority, you will start making even more money because people will be waiting to hire you or buy your products.

It Increases Brand Loyalty – The more people see your brand out there, the more loyal they will become toward what you offer. Your offerings should represent what your brand stands for and you’ll find that people become more loyal to you as you stick to what you know and believe in.

It Increases Traffic to Your Website – Using social media to share and promote your blog posts and new offerings will increase the traffic to your website exponentially. One of the best ways to rank higher on search results is to be active on social media.

It is Inexpensive – Social media is not an expensive form of marketing. It can also be fun. Guard yourself from getting sidetracked, but always be interactive and engaging with your followers. Remember, time is money. Automate what is not direct communication so that you can get more done in less time.

It Increases Engagement – Social media can let you engage with users in a very beneficial way. You can have deep conversations about many topics. Just remember to keep it professional and handle controversy carefully.

It Works with Mobile Devices – Better than most websites and email, social media works effortlessly on mobile devices. Social media and mobile devices really go hand-in-hand. People take their devices on dates, and even to bed – you’ve never been closer to your audience than now.

If you don’t have a presence on social media, then you need to change that right now. You don’t have to be everywhere; just find out where your audience hangs out and BE there. Then, use that social network to your fullest ability to reap these and many more benefits for your business growth.

Common Content Marketing Mistakes to Avoid

content marketing mistakesContent marketing is a very important method of getting the word out about your products and/or services. Content marketing is the best way to inform, educate, and engage your audience while building authority in the eyes of your audience. However, there are some common content marketing mistakes that you’ll definitely want to avoid in order to be effective with your content marketing.

Are you making these Content Marketing Mistakes?

Ignoring SEO (Search Engine Optimization) – Search engine optimization involves both on- and off-page actions that you can take to ensure that search engines find your website, blog or product. SEO uses certain techniques and strategies to help your audience find you. Don’t think that it doesn’t matter. The more you put these improvements into place, the better your results.

Not Using Automation Wisely – Automation needs to be used wisely in order for you, just one person, to reach ALL of the clients and prospects you need to reach in a given week. You can maintain the personal touch through your responses, but you can get mass amounts of content out through automation.

Not Promoting Your Content – When you create any type of content that you want people to find, you should promote it via your social media networks and email. You can even promote it via pay-per-click ads. If you don’t promote your content, it won’t get found and you won’t be able to reap the benefits of it.

Forgetting to Optimize Your Headlines – Part of search engine optimization involves headlines, but your headlines deserve special attention. Make sure you put the keywords in the first three words of the headline, and remember that you can test out more than one headline to see what gets the best response.

Creating Poor Quality Content – Your audience doesn’t want a ton of content under all circumstances. If you can’t create quality content on a daily basis, then don’t. Create quality content on a schedule that works for you. Commit to only publishing content that is high-quality. If it’s high quality, answers questions, and solves problems, it will be welcomed.

Not Reworking and Rewriting PLR – Private label rights content offers you a good way to get content fast. But, to use it properly, you need to learn how to update it, change it, and make it your own. You want to avoid duplicate content issues, and you want all your content to speak in the same voice. Truly make it yours.

Not Publishing Enough – You do have to publish enough to get noticed and keep the interest of your audience. Don’t get so bogged down in perfection that you neglect creating new content at least weekly. Set aside time to regularly create quality content. The more you build this into your schedule the moew natural it will feel.

Content is key in getting your audience to know you and what you have to offer. Publishing the wrong type of content or poor quality content can be detrimental to your cause, but the right type of quality content can be the catalyst that springboards your cusiness to success. People will get to know, like, and trust you if you avoid these common content marketing mistakes.

Are You Making These Website Mistakes?

7 Common Website Mistakes to Avoid!

Including Irrelevant Content – From images to audio, to text, you want to avoid including any type of content that is not relevant to your audience and the message you want them to take away from visiting your website.

Contact Info Is Not Readily Visible – Nothing is more frustrating than wanting to contact a business but not knowing how. Don’t hide your contact information from your website visitors. It’s imperative that they can contact you.

Unnecessary Entry Pages – You’ve seen websites like that; the ones that you have to “click here to enter.” This is completely unnecessary. It can be an impediment to your audience finding the information they need, and is absolutely a problem for search engines. Making offers to people on the way to your site are a great list building marketing strategy, but make them smart – that is they know when you’ve been there before and don’t just keep showing up everytime you visit.

Including Automatic Audio – Some websites have sound that comes on the moment the visitor goes to it, or if the cursor goes over it, but this is also a bad thing to do. Let your visitor choose when the sound comes on and goes off so that they aren’t irritated.

Not Updating SEO Regularly – Search engine optimization involves ensuring that the right keywords, headlines, sub-headers, and information are in each page, plus that you provide enough information off your page to help get links back to your page. Learn all you can about SEO to make the most of this organic means of getting traffic.

Too Many Graphics – Graphics are important for a website and add to the look, feel and mood of your website. But, you don’t want to have too many, because it will make your website load slower and cause your visitors to get tired fast.

Unorganized Navigation – Learn how people tend to look at websites. When they read paper, it’s left to right, but websites they read vertically and sometimes in an F pattern. If you can understand that, you can put the important information where they’re most likely to view it.

If you can avoid these website mistakes, and in fact perfect each item here, your website will be that much more inviting and useful to your audience. You’ll get more visitors to come to your website, plus you’ll get more of them sticking around, answering your calls to action and ultimately it will improve your bottom line.

The Number One Mistake People Make When it Comes to Referral Marketing

Referral marketingThis week, we will focus on common mistakes that business owners often make in their marketing.  Many people view focusing on mistakes with a negative connotation, but in the world of marketing, it’s a very positive, intentional strategy that yields constant improvement.  This week we will focus specifically on strategy, website, and content mistakes – three big areas that you can tweak just a few things and begin to notice immediate results.  So this week, sit back, relax, and LEARN FROM THESE MISTAKES!

Our first post this week is a guest post that comes from the well-known marketing consultant John Jantsch, founder of Duct Tape Marketing, through which I am a certified marketing consultant.  Today he offers us insight on the most common mistake people make with the marketing strategy of referrals.  In this season of new beginnings, it’s an important mistake to avoid as you look into your business plan for the new year.

Don’t Make This Referral Marketing Mistake!

Everyone loves referrals, but let’s face it – the real point of a referral is a customer. If you’re getting plenty of referrals, but few are turning into new clients, it’s time to change a few things about your approach to referrals.

The number one mistake people make in the business of referral generation is to ask for leads or referrals when they should be asking for introductions.

So many people seek referrals by simply asking clients, or anyone that will listen, if they know anybody who needs what they do. If the referral source can come up with a few names we’re often tickled to have some new “leads” to go chase.

But, what do we really have? Something less than cold call – maybe. Sure, we can name drop, “Bob said I should call you.” But, we’ve all been on the other end of that call and know how that usually ends up.

If you want to make referral generation a significant part of your marketing success you need to start asking for introductions and not simply a list of names. You need to build the trust and leverage that would allow you to ask a client to introduce you to three others that could benefit from the value you bring.

In this week’s episode of The Duct Tape Marketing Podcast I visit with Bill Cates, author of Get More Referrals Now and the upcoming Beyond Referrals. Bill has spent many years coaching financial professionals on the fine art of authentic referral generation and in this segment he shares some well tested tactics.

The key to generating introductions is to make it as easy as possible for your referral source to do so. Offer a list of specific prospects you would like to meet and see if they know anyone on the list. Offer to host an informal educational workshop and allow your best customers to bring a friend or two. Take a handful of customers to lunch and ask them each to bring a guest.

Cates mentions a former client that would ask his clients to introduce him to two colleagues who would take his call just because they asked them to.

Getting your customers or contacts to rise to the level of engagement required to make introductions or bring a friend to lunch requires a level of value that few can muster. This is the key to making this idea work. You must bring value to every interaction, conversation and setting.

When you can do this, people will gladly introduce you to others. When you change the context of a referral to that of an introduction you automatically raise the stakes for all parties and that’s the place where you can do your magic.

 

john-jantschJohn Jantsch is a marketing consultant, speaker and author of Duct Tape Selling: Think Like a Marketer; Sell Like a Superstar and Duct Tape Marketing: The Commitment Engine and The Referral Engine. He is the founder of Duct Tape Marketing.

What You Should Include on Your Business Website

business websiteYour business website is often the first impression that your audience will have about your business. It’s their first peek into what you have to offer, so it’s important to include specific information that everyone will be looking for on your website.

A business website is there to give information about your business to your audience in very specific detail. You want to ensure that it’s laser-directed to your audience in such a way as to make the audience feel understood and safe at the same time.

Essentials to include on your business website:

Unique Content – Content consists of all information you put on your website, from blog posts to the home page. Images, forms, contextual information, the words on a submit button, and lots more are all content, which means that each one offers a unique opportunity to appeal to your ideal client. The more you can direct everything toward that ideal client, the better results you will have.

Overview of Benefits – A list of benefits of your offerings someplace or in many places on your website is a great thing to include. Your audience should leave your site fully understanding the benefits of your offerings, without question.

Contact Information – Some people seem to want to hide their contact information. That’s the opposite of what you really want to do. Instead, make it easy. Use your CONTACT ME page to offer multiple ways that your audience can contact you, including a phone number, email form, social media pages, and more. Don’t hide; be open about who you are and what you can offer.

Simple Navigation – Nothing is worse than not being able to figure out how to get around a website. If you want your audience to not only stick to your website but also to use it to its full potential, make the navigation easy to understand and intuitive to your audience. Today attention spans are getting shorter and shorter. If someone has too spend too much time trying to get around your website, they will likely click off of it and you will have missed your opportunity.

Comments Section – Make it easy for your audience to comment as well as read comments from others. You want your audience to be engaged so that they feel a connection to your site. This is a powerful use of website space, especially because user-generated content is loved by search engines.

Clear CTAs (Calls to Action) – Don’t be shy when it comes to calls to action. Your audience has no idea what to do unless you tell them. Make your CTAs super clear. Try to limit them to one or two per page of your website so that they don’t get confused about what to do.

Special Offers – A great way to draw people in to reading more information on your website is to include some sort of special offer to new visitors. You can use plugins to make time-sensitive offers to your regulars, as well as to make special offers to new visitors. This is a great way to increase customer loyalty.

Email Newsletter Subscription – Don’t let your visitors leave without offering them the ability to get updated about your offerings in the form of a newsletter or email. Make sure you give your audience a reason to share their email address with you. Pop-unders and sliders are very common today, because they work. Consider adding them to your business website for maximum impact.

Adding these elements to your website will allow it to be a key element in your marketing and sales strategy. It is essential to create your content with your audience and ideal client in mind and is focused in terms of how your audience thinks and feels rather than how you think and feel. When you do, you will start to realize the full potential and benefits of a great business website.

Book Recommendation – Your Best Year 2016: Productivity Workbook and Creative Business Planner

your best year 2016Your Best Year 2016: Productivity Workbook and Creative Business Planner
Where to buy: www.amazon.com

What does a successful business year look like to you? For author and creative business owner, Lisa Jacobs, it looked like turning a $100 investment into a top earning storefront on Etsy. You can have the same kind of year when you invest in her new workbook, “Your Best Year 2016.”

Those who don’t learn from their mistakes are doomed to repeat them. Has this been true of you in your business ventures? Don’t let lessons go unlearned. Reap the benefits from what you discover doesn’t work and what you learn does increase your success. This workbook helps creative entrepreneurs to get a handle on their business so that each successive year is better than the last. It begins with a review of the previous year, which for this workbook would be 2015. Discover what you didn’t do, which you had done and how what you actually did panned out for you.

Take that information and use it to prepare for 2016. Look at forming new habits that will work for you and leaving other behind. Build in monthly or quarterly reviews to make sure that you stay on track throughout the year. Set tasks and accomplish them.

Your Best Year 2016: Productivity Workbook and Creative Business Planner

An Email List is Essential To Your Marketing Plan

email listIn today’s business world, having an email list is an absolutely essential piece to any healthy marketing plan. You can think of your email subscribers list as your personalized client pool, full of potential buyers for the future. That email list can be instrumental in your business success. There are a variety of ways to grow that list, depending upon the type of business you have. Customers can directly share their email addresses with you when they make purchases, potential prospects may fill out a form to receive your messages, or they may give you their email in exchange for a free offer you make to them. These email addresses are then collected into a database that allows you to easily send out messages both immediately and automated to all the people on your list, or specific ones that you choose.

Remember these helpful tips when utilizing email lists:

Email Is a Professional Way to Contact Customers – Today most consumers are accustomed to giving their email address to a business entity, or they realize that when they make a purchase the business will have their email address. This is a common way to communicate and contact customers, and it has become acceptable by most people.

Email Software Offers Simple Automation – A really special function that you can do with email marketing software is to automate some parts of your email messages to your customers, leads, and prospects. This means that messages that are educational, standard (like thank you messages), and they only have to be created once and sent to each person when appropriate, based on how you set up your autoresponder software.

Email Enables You to Add Value to Your Subscribers’ Lives – When you use email to contact people who have signed up to receive your messages, you are connected to them 24/7 in a very intimate way. This affords you the opportunity, if you plan for it, to add extreme value to your customers’ lives by sending them information that solves their problems, thereby increasing their engagement with you.

Email Marketing Increases Conversion Rates – There is no denying that email marketing is one of the most, if not the most, effective forms of marketing that has ever existed. By using email to teach prospects about your business and offerings, you can increase conversions.

Email Marketing Creates Repeat Customers – Your best bet for increasing sales is to always keep your customers happy so that they become repeat customers. Repeat customers offer you the ability to increase your income exponentially. You simply need to use the customer list to tell them about other offerings that may be of interest to them.

Email Allows You to Get to Know Your Audience Better – Email is your opportunity to speak one-on-one with someone. This allows you to use email to send out polls to find out information about your audience. Some email software will let you know things about your audience simply based on the information they can get from the person’s email address and the files on record with Google and other email address providers.

Email Keeps You Super Close to Your Customers – Thanks to smartphones, you’re always with your customers at any time of the day. It doesn’t even matter if the message is automatic; you can contact them 24/7 easily with just a click of a button, and you are as close as the palm of their hand.

Email Allows You to Educate Your Audience – A really awesome feature of having an email address for leads, prospects, or clients is that you can send them information that educates them about their problems and then introduces them to the solutions, without browbeating or having to make cold calls.

Having an email list means that you may spend some time up front collecting email addresses from leads, prospects and customers. But the countless uses for email marketing and the contact it allows with your audience pays off in the end. It allows customers to hear you out on their own time, which is preferable to most prospects, so email marketing is a win-win for everyone involved.

Why You Need a Marketing Plan for Your Business

marketing-planWhen navigating the journey of starting a business (or starting to actually focus on growing it), it’s important to have a plan. A marketing plan is actually different from a business plan, but it is a vital piece to your business. It is the strategy by which you’ll get the word out about your business to your audience. If you have a great business, but nobody knows about it, what’s the point of having that GREAT business? It doesn’t need to be some intricately detailed book, but it is important that the plan exists and makes sense for your audience. Having a plan can mean the difference between planning for success instead of hoping for success.

When creating a marketing plan for your business, you will need to do the following:

Market Research – It’s imperative that you learn about the market in which your business exists. You need to know about all aspects of the business, the competition, and your audience.

Determine Competition – Who your competition is, is just as important as what types of products or services they promote. It’s obviously not going to be exactly like yours, so learning all you can about your competition helps you differentiate yourself and your products from theirs.

Plan Marketing Strategies – One of the most important parts of the marketing plan is choosing the strategies that you will use to get the word out about your business. Will you use a website, blogs, content marketing, brochures, online ads, offline ads, or something else entirely? What type of results do you believe you’ll get for each of these, and do they fit your audience?

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Create a Budget – When you learn more about your market and what it takes to get a customer, you can make a budget that is realistic to help you get more customers and make more money.

Set Goals – Without knowing a lot of information about your demographic, product, service, and budget, it can be hard to set goals. But while creating the marketing plan, you’ll start to develop some preliminary goals that will become instrumental to your business.

Evaluate the Plan and the Results it Yields – A marketing plan is not a one-and-done thing. Healthy marketing plans are living documents that are continuously changing and responding to the factors that influence them. Constant evaluation and re-evaluation is vital to the continuous growth and improvement of your business. Doing a SWOT Analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) of your business is one way to accomplish that.

Following these guidelines as you develop a marketing plan will help you to make smart decisions about your business. Every decision you make can greatly influence the health of your business. Having a marketing plan can help you make decisions that can mean the difference between saving and costing you money. Having a marketing plan to get the word out about your business, and get it to the right audience, will lead to the business you dreamed of having. It allows you to plan for success instead of just hope for it.

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