You created a blog… Now What?

The beauty of blogs is that you don’t need to invest in software to maintain it.

Blogs are maintained online and so you can access them anywhere and at any time, as long as you have an Internet connection. You just sign in to your blog account and you can create a post, edit post, change blog template, customize your blog and change blog settings easily.

It is also very easy to add a lot of cool tools to your blog like an opt-in or subscription form so if you don’t already have a list it is a great way to start.  If you already have a list it’s also a great way to continue to build your list.

Ideas of things to put on your blog besides articles:

  • Video is really easy to publish on your blog and is another great way to get noticed by the search engines. Google loves video.
  • Go to blinkx.com and find a video on a topic that’s in your niche that you like and insert the video with a commentary on your blog. You can also go to YouTube.com and do the same thing.
  • Have a guest blogger write an article one week for you.
  • Review a product or service.
  • Do a frequently asked questions.
  • Search ehow.com or ezinearticles.com for some ideas.

Another cool thing about blogs is each post you create is assigned with different URL address which means they each will have their own and separate web page. This is just one reason blogs are great for getting noticed by the search engines.

Position yourself as an expert! Plus not only does a blog help you get attention and traffic.  Your blog positions you as an expert and builds your credibility.  Plus a little human touch goes a long way to building trust.  See my previous posts about Oprah to learn why that is important.

Let me know when you have your blog up and running.  Post a link to it in response to this post and share it with everyone here.  I would love to see it.

What is a blog, really?

I’ve had this blog for 4 years now, which is totally hard to believe… and it’s been a terrific tool for me and my business.  So I thought it would be helpful to give you some tips about what a blog is and how to best take advantage of it in your business..

Blogs have gained a lot of notoriety in this techno world we live in because in an instant you have access to information on almost any subject or question you might have. And I know you can’t believe everything you read on the Internet but it’s all about adding value and giving terrific content.

What is a blog? Blog by definition is a shortened form of weblog (“web” as in Internet and “log” as in journal). So basically it is a diary of sorts of words, pictures, audios, and videos for public viewing.

Why blog? Businesses use blogs to share ideas, concepts, expertise, knowledge, experience, help, support and ultimately to help promote their business on the World Wide Web.

But as you might guess, not all blogs are successful. You have to have good content that people will actually want to read about. But this content above all can’t be boring or be to over promotional or too salesy. You need to add a splash of humor, show your personality, and use real life personal stories to capture your audience’s attention, as well as even entertain them.

So your blog posts are about your business, tips and tricks, techniques and good advice sort of things that are specific to your niche. In doing this you need to carefully choose keywords to describe these posts so they will rank high with the search engines.

Here’s a free tip for you.  One of the most frustrating things about blogs I find is figuring out what to write from week to week. Ideally you want to have at least 1 post a  week and at most 2 to 3 posts in a week.  So figuring out what to write can be cumbersome and you could wind up with the blank page syndrome.

Here’s a terrific idea that will totally help you — Get your readers to write your blog for you.  You can do what my friend and client Jeff Walker did when he was creating his blog. He used a survey to find out exactly what his customers wanted to read about. He got so many ideas I’m sure he won’t have blank page syndrome for a long time! How did he get so many responses on his survey? He had a contest. If you helped him name his blog and give him some ideas, the winner would get an iPad. This is a terrific tip that everyone ought to be using in their business— ASK your prospects and your clients what they want to learn more about, ask them what their biggest challenges are, start the conversation with them by doing a survey.

And blogs that are more recent and updated regularly are the favorites of the search engines.

Does your business have a blog? If you do, terrific, then why not get your list to help you figure out what to write. If you don’t have one, then check out Blogger.com (blog.com) or WordPress.com and start a free blog with them. This is also an awesome way that you can drive more traffic to your website by having a blog.

Keep in mind your posts don’t have to be long, just 200 – 400 words.

Here’s to happy blogging!

Oprah’s Not the Only One Who Can Have Fun While Working…

It’s true you know, Oprah’s not the only one who can have fun while working.  You can too!  Yes, I know, I know, it wouldn’t be called work if it was fun and all the other dreary sayings.  Listen, you have a choice when it comes to work.  The choice is in your attitude and how you view it.  Yes, for some work is simply the thing we dread that we must do in order to make money, pay the bills and live. Sounds dreary and boring yet as I said earlier, it can be fun, it’s your choice.  In my last blog, which I got a ton of great feedback thank you, I focused on how firing a client will free you and your business to be more successful.  You know the client I’m talking about, the one who’s being a real pain and causing you so much stress and it’s not ANY fun working with them. Well this blog goes hand in hand with that one because I believe you can have more fun when you’re working with the right like-minded people.  So in addition to letting your pain in the rear client go, here are some ways to help you make your work more enjoyable:

  1. Put on some music. Music can draw our minds away from the more challenging tasks we have to accomplish.
  2. Just do it already, finish that task, that project, you know that THING you’ve been putting off. Feelings of dread often disappear when we become immersed in a project.
  3. Think about where you can find joy in all the tasks on your plate.
  4. Don’t do it alone, work with a friend, colleague, relative or someone whose company you totally enjoy.
  5. Be sure to stop and take several breaks. Many folks I work with take 15 minute break after working for 45 minutes. Don’t go ninety to nothing every day.
  6. Break the job down into more manageable tasks. Big jobs can be overwhelming and diminish your stamina and drive to complete them.
  7. Do your best work you can. There are amazing psychological rewards that come when we know we did a terrific job.
  8. Do something you enjoy each and every day. It will give you something to look forward to and make all the working worthwhile.

Remember it’s all in your attitude and work is totally what you make it. So why not have more fun?!

Back To School Night & Second Chances??

You see I hold on to things for so long until it’s “perfect.” Which of course takes a long time to get done. So what I need to be doing is simply get it done, so it’s good enough- then send it out, or post it, or whatever I need to do with it. Then at some point I can give myself a second chance. I can always go back to it and upgrade, or update it to make it even better.

Last night I attended my 11 year old son Harrison’s “Back to School Night.”  He just started 6th grade and it’s his first year in Middle School which is a brand new school for him.  Typically most kids aren’t thrilled about change and starting school.  And starting a new school is always daunting, especially when you don’t know many people.  I remember how much I loathed starting school every fall.  I was extremely quiet and shy (yes-me- shy- go figure!)  It was just so scary, new teachers, new kids, new books, new everything!  Well, I digress… [Photo- Harrison’s 1st day of 6th grade.  You can see how thrilled he is starting a new school. I’m sure my expression was exactly the same- “Awww Mom-why do we have to take this stupid picture anyway?!”]

It’s always been a bit surreal attending these back to school nights because it brings back so much about my own experiences in school.  (And of course when I was done with school- little did I know having a child I’d be thrown back into helping/doing homework once again!) So tonight, Harrison wrote out his class schedule for us and we literally went from class to class (6th grade is the first year they change classes, have lockers, etc.)- hearing from each of his teachers was fascinating and amazing.  To me it was kind of like hearing 8 different sales and marketing pitches- some were more than excellent and some were just so so.

The thing that struck me as we listened to each teacher talk for 15 minutes (of course we got lost trying to find some of his classes and got the tail end of others), things have really changed in learning, thank goodness, since I’ve been in school.  Like in his Language Arts class- they can’t earn extra points by doing more assignments or extra credit.  But what they can do is after they’ve written something, if they’re not satisfied with their grade, they give them second, third and fourth chances.  They can rewrite and revise to get a better grade.  Wow, now that was really cool!  This is something I wished I’d have had in school.

So it got me thinking- this is how I ought to be do my marketing for my business.  Stick with me here.  You see I hold on to things for so long until it’s “perfect.”  Which of course takes a long time to get done.  So what I need to be doing is simply get it done, so it’s good enough- then send it out, or post it, or whatever I need to do with it.  Then at some point I can give myself a second chance.  I can always go back to it and upgrade, or update it to make it even better.  I’d suggest doing this in your business.  Don’t hang on to things forever until “you get it perfect.”  This perfect state may never come and your “thing” will never get done.  Go now and finish a project and send it out, or post it- or just take some action with it.  Don’t wait till it’s “perfect.” Remember, mistakes are only terrific guide posts to get you moving in the right direction!

One last observation of my “back to school” night experience was I thought his science teacher and history teacher get an A+ for their efforts in teaching.  They’re using a new technique called experiential learning.  It focuses on having the kids experience what they’re learning. Like in history they actually build trenches for WWII and reanact this experience, along with many other reanactments.  The reasoning is by experiencing history they will retain and remember it- it works! Wow, now that would have been really cool to do when I was in school.  But hey, maybe this is something you can incorporate into your business.  How can you give your prospects and clients a more experiential experience within your business?  Let’s put our thinking caps on and let me know what you come up with! [Photo- Harrison and I shading ourselves from the sun while enjoying our time on Martha’s Vineyard this past summer. I’m holding our video camera- in addition to marketing, I’m now doing video production! If interested- ask me more about it.] [digg=http://digg.com/educational/Back_To_School_Night_Second_Chances]

Are you singing the recession blues?

Well I sure hope not, because as an entrepreneur and business person, you need to be focused on how to increase your business. You need to get your head out of the sand and not use the excuse that the economy is in a recession and that’s why your business isn’t doing well.

I just went and saw the most motivating and inspiring marketing mind ever. His name is Dan Kennedy. He’s so many light years ahead of businesses because of how he thinks, it’s a little bit scary. He’s the one that’s said many times, if you’re smart and you know how to market and who to market to, you can make money in any economy and you know what- I agree with him and I am doing it!

I had the pleasure of being able to see Dan Kennedy live, last week in New York- for FREE. This was a rare appearance and I have to say if you have the opportunity to see him speak, go see him, he’s so refreshing and has such a fascinating outlook on business. He was speaking at an event and promoting his new book, No B.S. Marketing to the Affluent: The No Holds Barred, Kick Butt, Take No Prisoners Guide to Getting Really Rich. He focused his talk around if you’re not doing well right now, it’s not because of the recession, it’s because you’re not getting people excited enough about buying and doing business with you. He also said it could be because you’re not as agile to change your business with the times. I’ve said this numerous times before- in a recession, you need to shift who you’re selling to- focus on the people who are least affected by the recession and that would be the mass affluent. I also had the pleasure of speaking with him at the break and it was a real treat for me and inspired me to make some much needed changes in my own business.

In this crazy world of business you need to be agile and ready to able to move with the world, however it turns- tragedy vs. opportunity. He also said a number of other fascinating things that I want to share with you-

  • The number of competitors in a market place doesn’t matter. You simply need to craft a business with over laden with value and marketing services. Create a unique market place and niche- promote your key benefits to your niche.
  • Done for you is best- gone are the days of teaching people to fish- give them the fish- now!
  • Price is controlled by value of the product to the buyer. A good example is if you’re selling one of a kind jewelry pieces- ensure you’re going after the customer who values and appreciates this unique factor.
  • Business isn’t bad- it’s just that follow-up really sucks.

Lastly, before I go- I had to share these with you- Here are the 6 secrets to increasing your profits in today’s recession-

  1. Always have good, better and best categories- give your prospects 3 tiers to buy from. They will always buy according to emotion, not logic.
  2. Raise your prices now- we all are not ever charging enough for our products and services. Plus in a recession you can make up for the loss of volume by increasing your prices.
  3. Target better customers- go after the mass affluent- sell to people who rarely make their decision based on price.
  4. Never do what everyone else is doing- 99% of businesses do things a certain way and it’s always usually wrong. Be part of the 1% to break out and do things differently.
  5. Have immediate up sells when you get a customer- e.g.- sell them a tie when they buy a suite, etc.
  6. Multiply your customers with post sale follow-up – send a thank you letter, or send a thank you and up sell later. Always, always follow-up with your clients and customers.

So take these 6 things all the way to the bank. Put away the newspaper, in fact, stop reading or watching the news altogether. Focus on the positive aspects of your business and your life and work towards being incredibly successful and happy! [digg=http://digg.com/business_finance/Are_you_singing_the_recession_blues]