Streamline Content Marketing with CoSchedule

Streamline Content Marketing with CoScheduleHaving blog posts on your site is key to looking like you are current, smart and know what you are talking about. It is important to write about things that your client base would find informative, helpful or entertaining. It is not the place to sell.

The blog posts should demonstrate your brand personality and expertise and shorten the sales cycle by having people feel like they would like to do business with you before they even make a call.  Most savvy business owners know about the importance of content marketing but don’t know what to write and don’t feel they have time to write a post and then send it out through social media.

I am all for tools that can help streamline this process for harried business owners and their content creators. CoSchedule is our new secret weapon. [Read more…]

Doing What it Takes to Grow Your Business

Doing What it Takes to Grow Your BusinessBack in the day, it took a lot of money to build a loyal customer base. When I had my software company, we had to spend thousands of dollars on advertising, pr and going to expensive, time consuming trade shows.

That was why later, I was so struck by the power that ordinary people could have using content management websites along with free social media apps to develop a following for our businesses, just like the larger companies and media. The impact of this idea to me was huge and I knew that everyone was going to want and need this technology. [Read more…]

The Secret to Great Content and Developing a Following

The Secret to Great Content and Developing a FollowingThe secret to getting traffic to your website is providing content that is in sync with your brand, and valuable to your customers.  It’s important to write content that shows your expertise, is entertaining, or develops a relationship between you and your people. You will notice a couple issues arise: first, how to find valuable content and then, how to make it your own.

In order to develop a content strategy, you need to know your right customers and what information they will value receiving from you. Who are they? What are their pain points, where are they coming from? What is the best way to communicate with them? What do they really want to know? How can you be the source of making that content accessible to them? [Read more…]

Twenty Tips for a Scrumptious Food Blog

Twenty Tips for a Scrumptious Food BlogEveryone and their sister has a blog these days, and what better thing to blog about than food? Food is one of the highest searched content areas on the web. I tried to find how many food blogs there were but the only figure I could find with real numbers was from a 2012 post on a site called Taking back the Kitchen that quoted Technorati saying there were 16,588 Food blogs at that time. I could not update or even verify that information with Technorati since in May of this year Technorati removed all of their pages of their blog directory and associated information and hasn’t replaced it.

The thing about blogging is that it is hard to do. At least it is hard to do for the long haul. Many people start and then abandon their blogs like gym memberships in July when they find out that to blog on a consistent basis is a JOB. [Read more…]

Copyblogger’s Authority Intensive Conference

Copybloggers Authority Intensive ConferenceI was quick to sign up when I heard that Copyblogger was hosting their first content marketing conference, the Authority Intensive. It was right up my alley. They had a lineup of speakers that was a roster of my heroes with people such as Seth Godin, Ann Hadley of Marketing Profs, Sonia Simone and Darren Rouse just to name a few. Additionally, they were only selling 400 tickets, which would facilitate networking. [Read more…]

Secret to Easy Content Curation

Secret to Easy Content Curation I am an evangelist frequently preaching the importance of adding fresh content to your website. This is referred to as Content Marketing and one of your main vehicles for this type of marketing is your blog.  Each time you write a blog post, it is a lottery ticket that might come up in a Google search on that topic.  I have some posts on my site that get 100 visits a day and have been getting this number of hits for four years!  In addition, and more importantly to making your site a search engine magnet, fresh content gives people a reason to come to your website. It shows that you are an active player in your niche, and that you care about educating and engaging with others.

For the most part, I work with small and medium sized businesses and there are three main reasons people give for not blogging:

  1. I don’t have time.
  2. I don’t know what to write about.
  3. I am not an expert in some of the things that our readers would be interested in.

Today, I am going to share one of my secret content marketing weapons with you so you can start getting more traffic, more engagement and build Know, Like and Trust, which will bring you new subscribers and down the road some new business. [Read more…]

Blog To Connect with People and Make Them Want to Work with You.

Blog To Connect with People and Make Them Want to Work with You.Seven years ago, when I was doing loft development in Atlanta, I Googled my business name and what came up, number one, was my dog’s blog on Dogster.

My real estate website showed up on the fourth page, number 40 in the search results – where no one goes.  I couldn’t figure how that was possible until someone told me the difference between a content management website like Dogster, which organizes fresh content in a way search engines prefer, and my bad old static website.

Hmmmm.  It only took a minute for me to realize that soon everyone was going to want a content management system, and in the meantime, I was definitely going to have to have one. Thankfully I chose WordPress for my platform, as it was the new kid on the block at the time, and I set about teaching myself how to use it and made myself a new WordPress website for my business. [Read more…]

Personalized Content Marketing to Grow Your Business

Personalized Content Marketing to Grow Your BusinessIt is cold here in Atlanta, like 5 degrees cold, and hitchhiking to Florida wouldn’t help much because it’s 36 degrees even in Orlando. Cold is cold, and since only 10% of my newsletter subscribers reside in other countries, chances are it is cold where you live too. I hope you are staying warm and cozy wherever you may be.

Speaking of readers from faraway places, it blows my mind that I have readers from all over the world.  I recently noticed a flag I didn’t recognize in my newsletter signup notification report, so I looked it up and it was [Read more…]

2014: Content Marketing is Here to Stay

2014: Content Marketing is Here to StayHappy New Years!
I am so excited that this year, that my blog posts fall on both Christmas and New Years!  I know you are busy fixing Black Eyed Peas and Collard Greens so I won’t take up too much of your time this morning.

I just thought you would want to know that Radiant Orchid is the Pantone Color of the Year for 2014.

Pantone chose this color because “it blooms with confidence and magical warmth that intrigues the eye and sparks the imagination. It is an expressive, creative and embracing purple, one that draws you in with its beguiling charm. A captivating harmony of fuchsia, purple and pink undertones, Radiant Orchid emanates great joy, love and health. [Read more…]

Find Your Online Balance

Find Your Online BalanceOn the Internet these days people expect authenticity from the sites they visit. Even Google rewards authenticity by giving better search engine ranking to those who make it clear that they are an author on a website and have a completed profile on Google+. If your site and blog posts are shared on other social media sites, so much the better. The search engines can see these things as [Read more…]

Blogging: What is Holding You Back?

Blogging: What is Holding You Back?In today’s world, writing blog posts is essential to growing your business. It used to be that you could put some text on your website telling people what you do, have some testimonials about how great you are and put some keywords on each page. I am so sorry to tell you this, but that just doesn’t work anymore. The world of content management websites, social media and search have changed expectations and the game is not played the same anymore.

Maybe you just want a place for people to look up your rates and your phone number or directions. As long as you come up in a search for your own business name (you’d be surprised that some people don’t), then I agree you don’t need to blog. But if you want to attract more of the type of client that you want, and have them ready to work with you without your having to “Sell” them, then it is essential that you [Read more…]

15 Tips to Writing Blog Posts People Will Read.

15 Tips to Writing Blog Posts People Will Read.Last week, I gave some tips to writing great headlines that will get people to open your e-mails or read your posts. This week, let’s talk about things you can do to get them engaged in what you are writing.

Before I launch into the tips, let me preface this with an important overarching caveat.

No amount of  good writing will overcome a poor website design.  You need a web design that, first of all, facilitates people finding your blog posts. Otherwise, only your mother is going to click the tiny little word, Blog, that is lost on a blah blah blah marketing speak site. Once you have a good site, make sure the style sheet is set up to give your posts a nice presentation. This will make it so much more rewarding to write. Now with that said, here are 15 tips to make you a better blogger:

15 Tips to Make You a Better Blogger

1. Write posts that are interesting and informative and not just marketing speak. Show them how great you are, rather than telling them.

2. Use at least one image to draw people into the post.

3. Left align the first image with text wrapping, so that the first couple of lines of text to the right side of the image are shorter (about 250 – 300 pixels wide). It is easier for people to read shorter lines of text on the web, but once they are engaged they will keep reading the text with normal column width.

[Read more…]

Five Tried and True Methods For Headlines that Get People To Read Your Posts

Five Tried and True Methods For Headlines that Get People To Read Your PostsDo you want people to read what you write? Of course you do.  Great headlines are a secret weapon.

Fess up. Have you ever been in line at the grocery store when a National Enquirer headline was so compelling that you bought it so you could read the article? Are those techniques smarmy? Well kind of but they are ever so effective and have been working for decades.

Five Tried and True Methods to Write Headlines That Have a Better Chance at Getting People to Read Your Posts:

 

1)  _________Ways to _____________

  • 50 Ways to Leave Your Lover
  • 4 Ways to Know If You are Going to Live To One-Hundred
  • 300 Ways to Make Some Extra Cash in A Hurry

[Read more…]

Tips for Blogging Like the Big Dogs

Tips for Blogging Like the Big DogsI know some of you don’t have blogs – yet.  But, if you have a business, a blog or a WordPress website, it is essential to getting your site optimized and engaging with your clients/customers/market.

If you do have a blog, here are some simple tips to keep you blogging with the big dogs.

1. Keep your target reader/customer/purpose in mind. This means you can write about other topics they would be interested in.

2. Break your posts into short paragraphs, with no more than 7 lines each.

3. Use sub-headings between paragraphs. This helps readers to scan and not be overwhelmed.

4. Use body text that is 14px – 16px for easier reading on desktops and mobile devices. [Read more…]

Adding Images To Your WebSite

Adding Images To Your WebSiteWorking with Images

One of the biggest problems non-graphic artists have when learning to maintain their websites is the whole issue of working with their images. Web 2.0 sites really rock with photos and images to demonstrate a topic or can be used in a long blog post to break up text into manageable sized chunks.

Image File Types and Purpose

It helps to know a bit about file types. If you don’t know your JPEGs from your GIFs image formats, this is for you. First, lets talk about file compression.

There are basically two ways of saving images, lossy or lossless (no, I didn’t make those up). If an image is saved in a lossy image format, it means the format being used discards some of the “unimportant” image information. However, the resulting image file is smaller. Lossless retains ALL the image information. OK, now that you know that, here’s an overview of the [Read more…]

Blogging Tips from New Tricks Academy

I have a weekly marketing group for small businesses that meets for 90 minutes each week. In the group we are setting measurable goals and learning to target activities such as writing blog posts to help reach their goals.  I wrote these tips for them but wanted to share them here too.

Blogging Tips

1. Keep your target reader/customer/purpose in mind.
2. Break your posts into short paragraphs, with no more than 7 lines.
3. Use sub-headings between paragraphs. Helps readers to scan and not be overwhelmed.
4. Do not use a black background or text that is too small. Why do people have blog themes that make their writing impossible to read? On the other hand, don’t have text in your blogs posts the size of the senior edition Reader’s Digests .
5. Use links rather that writing out a link URL. And please check the links. Best to go to the site that you are linking to and copy their url and then paste it into the link box. Don’t guess.
6. Use bulleted lists or numbered lists. People like them and Google likes them.Win-Win.
7. Have calls to action on the pages that your posts are on. Don’t make people guess what you are wanting them to do. Make it easy for them to shop with you, become your client, sign up for your newsletter etc…
8.Use the “read more” tag in your posts so that the articles on the front page of your blog are not too long. You want people to be able to scan a number of the titles and thumbnails of your posts. If the posts go on too long they won’t keep scrolling.
9. Use images in your posts. They breaks up the text and makes your posts more appealing. Dreamstime is one of my favorite places to get images at reasonable cost. You only need the small low resolution graphics that don’t cost very much. You buy yourself $20.00or so, of Dreamstime credits then you have access to downloading the images you want.
10.Do post about other people’s posts and link back to them. Don’t copy their entire post. Just tell your readers what you liked about the material, maybe put your own take on it and then link to their posts. Hopefully you will write a post or two that other people will link to.
11. Make em mad, Make em laugh or Kick up some dust with your posts. These are the things that have people comment.
12. Ask questions of your readers. Get them to start commenting.
13. Use key word phrases( something someone may search on to find your article) in the title and the content of the post. Catchy headline titles are old school, print cliches. Your post titles may appear in a Feed Reader or search result, so they needs to describe what you have written about. On the other hand, don’t just stuff key words into your posts you will get dinged by Google and it is bad form and spammy.
14. For most blogs, you should write in the first person. Write conversationally. People want to know you and you should show up. And it will make it easier to read.
15. Proof read and spell check.
16. Keep a file of good blog post ideas that can move you towards your goals and then make a schedule as to when you will write what.

Homework

Marketing plan: Pick one short term goal that you have for your business. How will you measure it? What steps are you going to take to reach that goal?  Write post titles that may help you reach that goal. Schedule the posts. Write and post the first one.

Leave a comment here on the goal you would like to work on and your ideas for it.

Why Re-Design Your Website?

I  just read a great post called Why Redesign Your Website? by HubSpot which is a SEO marketing Company that is pretty darn on target. I really liked what they said. One of the main points is that sure you have to have a well done site that is polished and put together, but…. the point is getting more visitors and leads, So you do a redesign if you are not on a Content Management Site (CMS) platform, not because you are bored with the design or because your CEO wants a new logo design.

Marketing guru, Seth Godin says,

“I’m going to go out on a limb and beg you not to create an original design. There are more than a billion pages on the web. Surely there’s one that you can start with? …Your car isn’t unique, and your house might not be either”.

The founder of WordPress, Matt Mullenweig once said to me ( I love that he actually, in person,  said this to me)

“I wonder why any developer would build a theme from scratch for a client when there are over 5000 themes to customize and save them time and money”

Great content is a most important activity on your website and adding the content on a regular basis drives people to your site. Which is most easily done with a Content Management Site such as WordPress and they should absolutely include a blog, RSS and landing pages.

Any website built today should include these basics.  They are not expensive, and they work.  A blog is a great way to create content on an ongoing basis, and to start to converse with your customers and prospects and RSS allows some content from your website to be automatically pushed out to other websites and people, increasing the reach of your content.

So take these words to heart and when you find yourself spending too much time with what the banner should look like. Yes, it should look sharp, but it really matters more that you get your content out there with the right technology, the right navigation, and a way to start and keep adding more content on a regular basis.

I am talking to a woman today who had her site redesigned over a year ago and it still has not gone live because she was paralyzed over the design the technology choices and her wording. I agree, for someone new to all of this it can be daunting. And there is a lot of competing information out there. There is a lot of OLD school information out there. Like selling people SEO services around key words and metatags, or people still building static, non-owner friendly sites that the site owner has to pay the developer every time they want it updated! At New Tricks, we really try and make it easy for you. Yes, of course we believe in good design, but it is important not to let your obsession on perfection stop you from doing it now.

How to Batch Resize Your Photos so they are the right size for Your Web Site

Many of you have lots of photos in your computer files and find that they are too large to quickly upload to your website. The first thing you can do to help with the problem is to adjust the settings of your camera. Most cameras these days can take pictures that are Ginormous. Unless you are a professional or want to use photos for large prints you can adjust your cameras to a smaller resolution. But if you want to keep your pixels huge then I have another fast  solution.

Download the free program Picture Resizer. It is an easy way to re-size your jpgs.

How to use it?

  • Download PhotoResize400.exe and place it on your desktop.
  • Open Windows Explorer to your photo files.
  • Select the photo or the entire file that you would like the photos re-sized and drag and drop JPG files or folders with JPG files on to the  the application icon on your desktop.
  • The tool will re-size JPG images and save them next to the originals. Names of the new pictures will be based on the original names, with a suffix indicating their size. For example, the re-sized version of MyPhoto.jpg will be called MyPhoto-400.jpg, where the number 400 indicates the size of the picture.

On the program home page there are choices you can make about the way you want the photos re-sized. These choices are changed in your program by renaming the program icon on your desktop. Just go to the desktop and right click and change the name to whichever choice you’d like to make. I used the one that makes the maximum width 400 px and keeps the proportions of the original photo.

Treat Your Readers Like Dogs to Keep them Coming Back For More

Treat Your Readers Like Dogs to Keep them Coming Back For MoreI came across a great post today on Copyblogger called  How to Create Better Content: Treat Your Readers Like Dogs. Given that we are a company that believes you can teach an old dog New Tricks, I found this right up our alley. In real life it is always much more effective to use your “Biscuit Voice” with your spouse or your child, if you’d like to them to do something, rather than speak to them in a stern or critical manner.  You know the biscuit voice? It is the one you use with your dog when you want him to come to you.

Clydey, do you want a biscuit ???>

According to Sonia Simone, the same theory applies to increasing the readership of your blog.  The basic concept being in my own words, that you need to give your readers a treat. You must make your content so appetizing that your readers will chew through a trash bag to get a mouthful. Well actually she doesn’t say that, but sort of. Check it out.

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