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!

How to Turn Your Contacts Into True Connections

What’s the one word you ALWAYS hear when you ask someone, “How do I get more clients? More Business?”  That word is – NETWORKING. I think this word has gotten a bad rap over the years, and I’m wondering if it’s because the MLM (Multi Level Marketing) industry has used and abused this word to the nth degree.  It doesn’t really matter; what does matter is this is not a bad word at all. In fact, what I want to do in today’s blog is give you some amazing tips on how you can turn the people and contacts you meet into terrific connections.

The real key, I think, is to look at networking differently.  When you go to a meeting and meet other like minded business folks, it’s not about “hunting” for the best new prospect that will boost your business.  No, not at all; it’s actually about “farming,” which means you’re better off meeting a like-minded person and developing that relationship over a period of time.  These types of relationships will mean so much more in the long run.

I actually have proof of this, from just attending two masterminds back to back. The people in that room are all amazingly successful entrepreneurs.  And the approach when attending those meetings isn’t about the quick fix, it’s about getting to know them, their families, what makes them tick, and then it’s about how can we help each other.

Here are some tips for you on how you can turn your contacts into true real connections for you.  These tips were inspired by Ivan Misner, who wrote the book Networking Like  a Pro :

  1. Knowing who your best prospect is
  2. Knowing where they gather
  3. Standing out and having a terrific USP (Unique Selling Proposition) or 30 second elevator pitch
  4. Then it’s about being visible to them; after you meet them follow-up
  5. Then being credible, give them help and refer people to them first (givers gain more)
  6. Then simply just being patient and take some time developing your new relationships

Some other tips are don’t just talk, talk, talk.  Big word— LISTEN!  Ask them questions like, “How did you get started in your business?  What do you like the best about your business?  What are you most passionate about?”  And my favorite — “What are you biggest challenges in your business right now?”

This is how I created an incredibly successful business: always pressing the flesh, attending meetings, workshops and conferences where my prospects gather and just being my naturally curious self.

So the next time you go to a conference, a meeting or a workshop, brush up on your USP or elevator speech. Ask a lot of questions; be genuinely interested in the people you meet. You never know how many degrees of separation they’ll be for you to land that next big contract, or big client.

How to Leverage Your Relationships With New Influential People You Meet

Wimbledon TuesdayIn the past 6 months, I’ve met over a 150 people, or probably more than that, simply because I traveled to some conferences and workshops where like-minded entrepreneurs gather.  At those meetings I simply meet a lot of people and give away a lot of cards, and I also get my share of cards.  The real question here is how to you leverage those new folks you meet.  How can you turn them into more influential and helpful relationships?

I’ve created some step by step guidelines that I’ve used over the past years that have helped me cultivate these relationships.  This is what I do when I go to a conference or workshop and how I develop these relationships over time:

  1. Always ask them what’s their biggest challenge or frustration and really LISTEN to their answer. Make mental notes for later.
  2. Big key – DON’T solve it for them, just listen and ask questions.
  3. If they ask for your help, then go down that road, but don’t give them too much and don’t overwhelm them.
  4. If they ask for your card, give it to them, but don’t offer it unless they ask.
  5. Don’t be shy – ask them a personal question about what they’re passionate about or what they love most to do in the world, etc.  These are terrific questions to get to them more on a personal level to connect with them.
  6. When you get home follow up with them immediately. Depending upon the conversation and opportunity I do a few things. Send them an email right away, then I add them to my newsletter list and mail them my latest newsletter with a personal note from me.  This ONE strategy has helped me bring in thousands of dollars. Believe it or not ALMOST NO ONE snail mails a follow-up with a person they met.  Direct mail is king in this department, so use it to your advantage.
  7. Add them to your snail mail list or email list and continue to follow up with them over time.

Yanik Silver & Shannon McCaffreyJust remember that every time you meet someone new, it’s an opportunity to lay the foundation for a successful business relationship. You never know how this relationship will unfold or how you can help each other. In my experience, the sky is the limit.  This is how I ended up getting Jeff Walker and Yanik Silver as clients as well as joining each of their exclusive Mastermind groups, because I developed a relationship with them over time… (See photo of Yanik and I at his mastermind.)

Dan Kennedy and Shannon McCaffreyPlus this is how I was able to speak at Dan Kennedy’s AWAI Business of Copywriting Course this past May.  He gets my newsletter every month, plus I fax him about once every other week and he faxes me back. (Yes, that’s the only way he communicates, but it works for him.) In fact, he gave me a great book suggestion to improve my copywriting that I’d also highly recommend to you – The Untold Story by Iain Calder. It’s a fascinating behind the scenes look at how the National Enquirer changed the course of journalism.

So the main take away of my article is this: A lot of times, those relationships, if nurtured over time, will become very fruitful indeed and mean the difference between success and failure.  So connect with people as much as you can.  As Dan always says, don’t let a day go by without doing at least ONE thing to connect with a potential prospect or client.

P.S. Check out this link to discover another hidden strategy to build relationships — this one is a proven way of how you can “wake-up” your dead customers – Plus you’ll get a free download with the template on exactly how to do it…

One of the Most Important Words That Will Help You Build Your Business

There are many words that are incredibly important in business. However, lately I think this word tops them all when it comes to building a very successful business… that word is:

Relationships.

You can have seven different business degrees, you can understand every nuance of successful business ventures, and you might have the best product in your industry.

But if you don’t have the ability to develop and grow successful relationships, you’ll find yourself working ten times harder to achieve every goal… and sometimes you won’t be able to achieve them at all.  Dan Kennedy, the millionaire maker, has told me the strategy several different times.  He never lets one day go by without sending a note, a letter, a fax, or a phone call to someone of influence who he wants to connect with. On many occasions, these folks turn into business for him.  This relationship building strategy alone has helped him build a multimillion dollar business.

I discovered this myself over 4 years ago when I started my business, just how important building relationships really is….  Where I benefit from it the most is whenever I’m the product launch manager for a launch I’m doing with a client. It’s amazing how much more successful a JV (joint venture) launch can be when the client has wonderful relationships with influential and powerful people who have big lists that we can email to.  Look at this photo of Paul Lemberg, myself and Brad Peterson. This photo was taken at our launch planning session at Paul’s house for his new course that we’re launching this week.  The three of us have terrific JV relationships that we’ve built really to ensure Paul has an incredibly successful launch. You can check out his launch here.

You don’t have to have a big launch to build relationships. In fact, there are some simple things you can do right now to start building some powerful and influential relationships:

  • It’s all about connecting – Get to know them, connect with them on a more personal level, it’s not just about you wanting something from them, or charming or manipulating them.  Be real, this could be a future long term relationship in business and also friendship.
  • It’s all about respect and reciprocity- If a person doesn’t respect you, they will not go above and beyond to help you. But if the people you know respect you, they will be there for you in ways that exceed your every expectation. And in business, you simply won’t thrive unless you have those kinds of relationships. When it comes to the law of reciprocity, when you help others, they will feel obligated to reciprocate and help you.  So what I’ve done is gone out of my way to always lend a hand and give others help and advice, which has helped me build many successful relationships in my business.  Just ensure you’re sincere; don’t help them in order to just have them reciprocate. Be genuine; it shows and will go a long way in building more long term relationships.
  • Follow-up with them – Remember, communication is key here.  Follow-up with them on social media (Facebook, Linkedin or Twitter), or send them an email. Or better yet, if you have a printed monthly newsletter like I do, add them to your list. This has done wonders for my business. (If you’re not on my free newsletter list, sign up here now.)

So keep this in mind the next time you meet someone at a conference, a workshop, or anywhere.  They could be your next influential relationship where you both can benefit from in each of your businesses.