What Kind of Content Should You Create?

What Kind of Content Should You Create?

The holidays are long behind us. What’s more, Punxsutawney Phil let it be known today that it’s going to be a short winter. Spring is on its way. Looks like we’re all out of excuses for failing to create valuable content. We’d better get on that. But …

What Kind of Content Should You Create?

Your focus depends on whether you are a B2B (business-to-business) or B2C (business-to-consumer) concern. Fellow writers, we are solidly B2C (unless you’re writing business books). Common to both, however, is this: Writing is a business. And if you want to connect with your intended audience, you should be creating content on a regular basis and connecting with that audience in every way possible.

One part of your audience includes other writers, agents, editors, and those in various aspects of the publishing industry (it’s about the networking, people!). The other part is readers in your genre. If you’re already published — whether traditionally, indie, or self-published — you likely have some readers, and Lord knows you want more of them. If you’re in the as-yet-unpublished category, you need to start connecting with potential readers now, before you are published.

The infographic below is a terrific guideline for deciding which tactics you should be using. Whatever you do, don’t — let me repeat, do not — jump in and attempt every single one right off the bat. Pick one and learn everything you can about it. Get good at it. Become consistent with it. My recommendation is to start with a WordPress blog. There are a couple of good reasons for this:

Your WordPress blog is both a website and a blog, all in one place.

You never want your blog readers to have to wander away from the cozy confines of your delightful blog out into the cold, dark interwebz to visit your website. You don’t send the most important person in your (writing) life out to cruise the dive bars of cyberspace! They could get lost and never find their way back to you. Avoid this tragedy. Feather a comfy little nest for them to visit, have a cup of tea or a cocktail, enjoy your writing and learn more about you.

You own and control your blog and everything on it.

Your blog is the hub of your online presence. You create a blog post and — voila! — you now also have a Facebook post, a tweet, a Google+ post, a LinkedIn post, and numerous others through the miracle of cross-posting. Oh, that’s right, you’re not on those platforms yet … because I told you not to jump into the deep end before you knew how to swim. Good, I’m glad you were listening. But here’s the thing: When you do get going on those platforms, you’re going to be able to take those blog posts and cross-post them to your other places on the web … so that even if Facebook blows up your page, or LinkedIn becomes unlinked from our universe, or some other cosmic calamity causes your social media account to be lost forever, you’ve still got your blog.

Words to remember: Your blog is forever. Make it the home of everything important that you create for the web.

Start with your blog and build your online presence piece by piece.

Chances are, you’re one of the one-billion-plus people who have a Facebook profile This is a nice way to stay in touch with your old school chums and those relatives you’d rather not see beyond weddings and holidays. But for your business? You’re going to want to have a Facebook page. That differs from a Facebook profile in several significant ways, which we will go into in a future blog post.

Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, and all the rest? Each has its own merits. Yup, sounds like another blog post coming on.

To make sure you don’t miss these and other posts that can help you be a better self-marketer, be sure to subscribe to receive notifications of future blog posts by using the box at the top of the right-hand column.

INFOGRAPHIC - What Content Types Should You Create

Google and the Great Gmail Switcheroo

Google thinks you’re stupid.

Frustrated with GoogleIf you are a Gmail user, you may have noticed (or will soon notice) that Google thinks you can’t manage your own email.

Google has inexplicably decided to separate your Gmail inbox into separate “tabs,” and THEY will decide what goes into each tab. What this means is (more…)

How to Keep Your Email List Happy

Email ListThe money is in the list.

If you publish an email newsletter or do any other kind of email marketing, you know how precious your list is – and you’ve probably heard me talk about this before.

Today I wanted to share with you a way to be sure your list remains eager to hear from you and engages with you in a meaningful way – and, in fact, makes it easier for you to provide just the information they’re looking for!

I’m going to assume that, like my own, your list was built on IRL (in real life) relationships and voluntary opt-ins. I’m going to further assume that you’ve never purchased an email list, “scraped” email addresses from websites, or obtained email addresses in any other [ahem] less-than-desirable way.

If so, you’ve set a high standard for yourself, and I applaud you.

Along with impeccable ethics, I’m betting you’ve also set a high bar for yourself when it comes to meeting and even exceeding your readers’ expectations. You realize that you really have to strive for quality information, a reasonable publishing schedule, and content that engages in every single communication. You know that the last thing you want to do is alienate an audience that’s CHOSEN to spend time with you! They’re counting on you to deliver on the promises you made when they signed up.

So, I have a revolutionary idea to propose, and it’s something almost no one else is doing, so you’ll really stand out if you follow through with this: (more…)

Email Marketing: What Do They Know That You Don’t Know?

Email Marketing2A new study of small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) reveals that these firms are spending the largest portion of their marketing budgets on email marketing, and far less on social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook.

Over 600 email marketing decision makers at companies with annual revenues between $1-50 million and less than 1,000 employees were surveyed. It was discovered that 15 percent of the marketing budget of these businesses is spent on email marketing, ahead of events and trade shows (14 percent), person-to-person contact (13 percent) and print ads (11 percent).

The most interesting aspect of this study for me was that just 8 percent of their budgets were spent on social media, tying for sixth place overall with search engine optimization (SEO). My email marketing clients benefit from integration with social media, which contributes to their search engine rankings, so our Best Practices actually incorporate both these items at almost no additional cost to our clients. Win-win!

Here’s a breakdown of spending on marketing, as revealed by the survey: (more…)

Introducing Our New Referral Rewards Program

Budget-CuttingAs part of my 2013 marketing plan, I decided to devise a plan to reward those who help us grow our business by making it easier for them to grow theirs. So, I analyzed others’ programs, tossed around a few different ideas, and finally …

I’m pleased to announce our brand new Referral Rewards program!

Now, this program is not exclusively for new clients, as I found many such programs to be. Why would I choose to reward new clients and not those who are already contributing to my business success? That made no sense to me. So, instead, I designed it so that Referral Rewards can be included in our initial contract with new clients or as a contract addendum with our existing clients.

I also didn’t want to make the program overly complicated, and I didn’t necessarily see any point in putting an expiration date on it, since there is no limit to my gratitude for those who refer business to me 🙂

As a result, Referral Rewards is literally as simple as 1-2-3! Here’s how it works: (more…)

Online Reputation Management

Online Reputation ManagementOne of my favorite quotes about online reputation management is by Tyler Tervooren: “Even if you opt out of participating in the digital world, your online identity still exists in parallel; you’re just not in charge of it.” Basically, it comes down to this: Refusing to acknowledge that people are talking about you does not make that talk go away. And if that talk is negative or inaccurate or untruthful, you have, essentially, decided to allow others to decide who you are and what your brand represents.

Whether due to time constraints, or not knowing enough about how online marketing differs from traditional media, or an inability to keep up with the ever-changing world of online marketing – monitoring online channels is not something the average business professional can reliably do on their own. Many try, only to find sooner rather than later that neither they nor their staff have the time and expertise necessary to develop the Know-Like-Trust factor that leads fans, followers and other online connections to be converted into buyers.

Understanding those challenges is what led me to transform my own business from a general sales and marketing consulting firm to one focused exclusively on branding through social media, online, and email marketing.

Managing Your Online Reputation

There are two equally bad responses to negative online feedback: (more…)