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!

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Selling Out Your Events By ASKING Your Prospects What They Want

It’s almost May and I’ve already attended 7 events in 2011 and all of these events had a healthy number of people in attendance. One thing surprised me though— none of these events used this one  strategy that can totally capitalize on filling your event AND also help you plan your event, speakers, activities, etc.

This strategy is so simple, it’s basically creating a survey and sending it out to everyone who’s registered for the event.  I just did this for Alex Mandossian and we found out some terrific insightful information that we wouldn’t have known without asking these pertinent questions. Plus the answers we received will go a long way to planning a stellar event that our attendees asked for.  In other words, we can use this fact in our marketing saying something like— “You asked for it, we’re delivering the content and giving you what you wanted to create an incredibly successful business at our event….”

The real key in creating a survey before the event to send out to those who’ve registered is have a goal of what you want to accomplish for the survey. Maybe you want to get content ideas, speakers, or want to find out what to upsell them at the event, or you want to find out price points, or get their feedback on extra outside activities.

After you know your goal, then you can start creating your questions.  My rule of thumb is to have about 10 -15 questions.  Start off with simple, easy questions, then move into the more complex questions. I also do a variety of multiple choice, ranking and open ended questions.

Here’s some terrific examples of questions you can use in your survey:

What is your most pressing challenge in your work/business right now?  You can make up multiple choice answers for them to check off, or you can simple ask them to write down their comments.

We are looking at the kind of training we’re offering and want to provide you with the most helpful format(s) and resources to help you solve the biggest challenge you’re facing right now. Please select the options MOST desirable for you. (Choose all that apply)

Live Audio Training (teleseminars, webcasts)
Listening to Audios (on your computer, MP3 player or Ipad)
Watching Online Video (webinars, blogs, YouTube, etc.)
Reading Printed Material (books, print outs)
Reading Online (ebooks, blogs, articles)
Live Events (classes, seminars, workshops)
Online Learning (e-courses)
Coaching (one on one or in groups)

Would you be interested in participating in a live 20 minute business “hot seat” during the event?

Yes
No

If Yes, please tell me a little bit about your business, and what some of the challenges your facing, and how you think a hot seat could help you.

What’s the single most important thing you hope to get out of our event

Another advanced strategy is sending out a survey to EVERYONE on your list before you even launch your event to ask them pre-event questions.  This is a terrific strategy because you’re basically “seeding” your event beforehand. By asking them to help you answer your survey, you’re also looking to get their buy in before you launch the event to raise their hand and sign up. I’ve seen Bill Glazer use this strategy very successfully to fill Glazer-Kennedy Insider’s Circle Super Conference event.

Whatever you decide to send out a survey to pre-launch your event, or to simply get feedback after they’ve registered, creating a survey and sending it out is a fantastic way to ramp up your event, help fill it, and make it more profitable for you and your company.

If you want to discover more about how to use surveys in your business, check out this webinar I did with my good friend Stephen Beck. I give you some fantastic ideas on how to use surveys to create a much more successful business.

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Do You Ever Long to Feel like You Belong Somewhere?

I’m writing from the train, heading home to New Jersey. I’m on the way back from a business training meeting that was in Baltimore. (As an aside, riding in business class is the best way to ride up and down the east coast- no worries of gas or traffic!) To be honest, I wasn’t totally looking forward to working the whole weekend, yet I was so pleasantly surprised at what happened.

Going there, I honestly had no expectations. I was ready to learn and discover new ways to help promote a business I’m working on with one of my clients. The weekend of discovery and training turned out to be one of the best meetings I’ve attended in a while.

At this meeting I had the best sense of being a part of a wonderful organization. It was a small meeting- only about 70 people. I was surrounded by incredibly smart, funny, and the nicest people you could ever want to spend a weekend with. In fact I was able to have some great chats with Bill Glazer, President of Glazer Kennedy Insider’s Circle, and was inspired by Karen Schaefer, who has a fast-growing info-marketing business involving real estate investors, real estate brokers and agents, and consumers: ‘Simple Appeal’, the premier nationwide “staging company” assisting homeowners in presenting their homes to obtain top dollar from buyers http://www.simpleappeal.com/

I’m leaving my meeting with such great connections and this wonderful feeling of belonging to a group of like-minded, motivated and successful people. Most, if not all of the people in the room, were incredibly successful entrepreneurs. I discovered a lot of great ways to promote my client’s business and things I can even use in my own. Yet the biggest lesson for me was how much I so enjoyed feeling like I belonged with these people. I knew being an entrepreneur was going to have its ups and downs. And for the most part I’ve very much enjoyed my ride to date. The only things that gets in my way at times is spending too much time in my home office and not enough time with like-minded entrepreneurs.

My suggestion to you it look for ways to join some like-minded groups of people. Don’t miss out on belonging somewhere and collaborating and brainstorming with fellow like-minded business people. Seek out a Ladieswholaunch or a local Glazer-Kennedy Insider’s Circle Chapter or Mastermind Group. This group is all around the country and you can check out this map to see one that’s closest to where you live. Don’t wait. Do this now- schedule an event, go check out a new meeting. You’re not alone. We’re all seeking out friend, colleagues and ultimately our own financial freedom. [digg=http://digg.com/business_finance/Do_You_Ever_Long_to_Feel_like_You_Belong_Somewhere]

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You are who you hang out with…

Have you ever heard this statement before? “You are a product of who you spend the most time with.” I’ve heard this a number of times in the past two years since I started my own business. In fact my friend and Master Coach, Rob Berkley just wrote about this and tells me and our Mastermind group this all the time. I think I finally get it now…

Me and Kristi Frank at the GKIC Superconference in NashvilleI just came from a very inspiring and idea filled event- Glazer-Kennedy Insider’s Circle Marketing SuperConference in Nashville. It was amazing to me how being surrounded by immensely successful people really elevated my thinking and opened my eyes to a much bigger way of thinking and doing things. Instead of figuring out how to grow my business incrementally, I left with some much larger ideas on how I can grow my business fast in a much shorter time frame. This is what happens when you hang out with incredibly successful people more often. That’s me in the photo with Kristi Frank, she was one of the original members of Donald Trump’s The Apprentice.

I have to admit, it did take me a while to get this. I really had to take a hard look at myself and who I was spending time with on a regular basis. I really needed to get rid of those people that, to put it bluntly, sucked the life right out of me. I realized if I wanted to move forward in my work and my life I needed to try to upgrade my friends and colleagues. It takes immense courage to be able to look at who you’re spending time with and ask the question- are these the people who are going to lift me up in work and life or are they going to bring me down? If you want to become really successful, the best thing you can do is hang around with hugely successful people.

The next courageous step is to move towards letting go of those folks who are bringing you down. Take a look at who you’re spending the majority of your time with and seriously look at upgrading your colleagues and friends. Take it from me, you deserve to be incredibly successful and happy. Why not have people in your life who are supportive and want to help you get there.

When you do this exercise, you are basically focusing on your soft skills. You know, how self-aware are you to “see” who those people are that you need to let go of. Are you willing to take that risk?

One thing I did was join a Mastermind group that meets every other month. Hanging out with these successful business owners has improved my business tremendously. In addition I also travel to two – three conferences a year where I get to hang out with entrepreneurs, like Kristi Frank, who are making thousands and millions of dollars. As I said earlier, you are who you hang out with, so why wouldn’t you want to hang out with people who are hugely successful. Don’t wait, upgrade your colleagues and friends now. Join a networking group, a mastermind group, go to a conference that attracts people you want to hang out with that can help you be successful- you deserve it! [digg=http://digg.com/business_finance/You_are_a_product_of_Who_you_hang_out_with]

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