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Image credit: sxc.hu

Lately I’ve been in a quandary about what to do about this blog. I’ve been filling in with guest posts and trying to buy time while I figure out how to proceed. I wasn’t sure what the problem was. I’m a writer. I love to write. I write for my clients all day long, but when it came to writing for this blog I faced a brick wall of resistance. Then one day while I was listening to the Internet Business Mastery podcast, a little light bulb came on over my head.

Sterling and Jay were talking about the, “The 5 Most Common Mistakes When Choosing a Niche,” and I think the first one was not selecting a specific audience when you select your niche. I realized that was my challenge with this blog. When I started this blog back in 2007, the purpose was to be able to provide examples of my writing to prospective clients for my writing services. As time has gone by, the content has evolved into a few main themes: online writing, online/content marketing, and personal development. Lately I’ve expanded the focus to include indie publishing and ebook publishing, but I have yet to clearly define an audience.

So, I’m using my little dilemma to show you what not to do when you are creating a blog. Selecting an audience is a vital, foundational step to creating a successful blog. When you are clear on who you are writing for, it makes content creation a breeze. The content that you do create will also naturally attract that perfect audience because you will be speaking to their needs.

When you are in the process of selecting a niche and doing keyword research, don’t leave out the vital step of getting to the root of the wants, needs, hopes and fears of your target audience. I will be going back and doing that work so that I can re-launch this blog and start reaching the right audience. I’m grateful to my current readers and subscribers who have hung in there while I sort all of this out.

 

 

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By Robert Middleton

One of my favorite marketing sayings is, “Writing is to marketing
strength as pumping iron is to muscle strength.”

So, if you want stronger, more effective marketing, you need to
write. There’s really nothing else that has that impact. But
writing, for most people, is a real struggle. That is, it’s not a
pleasant task. In fact, it can be downright stressful.

Let’s look at what makes it that way:

1. You don’t have a method or structure for writing that works.
You’re not sure what to say and how to put it all together so that
it has impact and makes prospects respond.

2. You are intimidated by your English teacher and all the formal
rules of writing. So your writing comes across as stilted or overly
formal, not connecting with your audience.

3. You are afraid that other people will judge you for your writing,
so you hold back, not wanting to make a fool of yourself. What if
your writing makes you look unprofessional or ignorant, or worse,
it comes across as hype?

All of those are realities I’ll address in a minute, but first, what if
writing wasn’t such a stressful chore, then what?

1. You’d have a tool immediately available to you to communicate
about your business with impact. Your prospective clients would
get the information they needed to make a decision and they’d
be motivated to contact you to find our more.

2. You’d build business relationships quickly. After all, when
people first hear about your business and want to know more,
you’d have that information readily available in an easy to
understand and digestible format. Good writing connects you to
your prospects in a way nothing else can.

3. Confidence with writing would enable you to do other
marketing activities much more easily as well. Presentations,
audio, and video programs all start with writing. Once you’ve
nailed down the formula for writing, none of these things would
be a mystery anymore; you’d know exactly where to start.

Let me give you the two most important tips that could transform
your writing.

1. The place to start is with “conversational writing.”

One of my guest bloggers, Diana Kightlinger, covered that about
a month ago in some depth, so I won’t dwell on that here. Read it
if you missed it; it’s great:

http://actionplan.com/blog/258-conversational-writing

2. Use Marketing Syntax in all your marketing writing.

This is simply the order in which you organize your writing. And if
you take a look at this article, you’ll find I’m following marketing
syntax to the letter. Here are the steps in marketing syntax that
work for articles, blog posts, web pages, presentations, sales
letters, etc.

a) Start with a clear topic or issue in a paragraph or two.
Immediately make it very clear what you are writing about or
people will tune out fast. This may be either a problem that your
prospects face or a solution you’ve discovered. Sometimes a bit of
both.

So if you’ve discovered a way to help your clients get more
“employee engagement” which will increase productivity and
retention, let your readers know that right away.

b) Follow that with some issues, concerns, or problems regarding
this topic. This gets you and the reader on the same page:

“Have you ever experienced times when your employees are
disengaged and can’t seen to move steadily towards your
company’s most important goals? Perhaps some of these
symptoms are familiar?”

That draws prospects right in. Everyone likes to discuss what’s not
working; they can relate to it perfectly.

c) Then talk about what it could be like. You don’t have to go
overboard here, however your possible outcomes should be both
compelling and believable. This creates desire in the reader to
know how to get from where they are to where you’re pointing:

“Not only is it possible to get your employees engaged, once they
become engaged the power of peer pressure will get their fellow
employees engaged as well, often increasing productivity
dramatically.

d) Next, you list a number of points of HOW you actually get
those results. This could be anywhere from three to five points,
depending on the medium. You are giving away specific, hands-on
and how-to information your readers crave.

As you see, this is exactly how I’ve outlined this article. It’s very
easy once you have this structure of Marketing Syntax. Let me
review it again:

1. Get attention with a relevant problem or solution.

2. Get interest by discussing issues they can easily relate to.

3. Increase desire by explaining how things could be.

4. Provide fulfillment by giving away some practical ideas.

5. Make a clear call-to-action.

Suggest a simple action the reader could take to turn your ideas
into results for themselves. This might be a link to your website
or a certain service, or perhaps a meeting to find out more.

The call-to-action depends on the context of the written
communication. So here’s my call to action for this article:

If you found these ideas useful, you might like to learn more
about marketing syntax, effective marketing writing, and a whole
lot more, that would help you attract more of your ideal clients
with less struggle.

I’d like to give you a free hard-copy of my new book, “Marketing
Ball – Lessons on Attracting Clients from the Marketing Coach.”

It’s yours at no cost or obligation if you try out a month of the
Marketing Club which contains a wealth of programs, courses,
expert interviews, coaching calls, client tracking software, and a
whole lot more to help you grow your business.

If you’re already a member of the Marketing Club, I’ll send you a
copy of the book if you upgrade your membership to quarterly,
yearly or lifetime.

Just click on this link to find out more:

http://actionplan.com/fasttrack

Cheers, Robert Middleton

This post was written by Robert Middleton of Action Plan Marketing. Please visit
Robert’s web site at www.actionplan.com for additional
marketing articles and resources on marketing for professional
service businesses.

 

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Pinterest featue in Metro - 27th February 2012

(Photo credit: Great British Chefs)

Have you been enjoying the guilty pleasure of pinning images and creating boards on Pinterest, but wish there was a way you could use it to benefit your business? Pinterest is the hottest social media property out there right now. It’s gained faster adoption by users than any other social media platform. For example, the InQbation blog says, ‘Pinterest Most Successful Startup Company on the Web in 2012.’ Lemon.ly created an infographic that illustrates the statistics related to this fast growing, social media platform.

Here are some Pinterest stats:

  • Over 10.4 million users
  • They hit 10 million unique monthly visitors faster than any site in history
  • Pinterest generate more referral traffic to websites than Youtube, Google+ and LinkedIn.com combined. Source: lemon.ly

If you’d like to get some insight on how you can leverage all of that traffic and re-route some of your ideal audience to your blog, here are five tips for attracting traffic to your blog using Pinterest.com:

1. Find out what kinds of images your visitors like to pin

Jessica Kupferman, of Badass Biz, wrote this guest post on Denise Wakeman’s business blog, ‘Top 5 Reasons You Need to Use Pinterest with Your Blog.’

I like tip #4, which shares a link that you can use to find out if visitors are pinning images from your website: http://pinterest.com/source/yourwebsite.com (replace /yourwebsite with the URL to your blog.) This will give you an idea of what your visitors are pinning (if at all) and what they are not pinning from your site. Source: http://bit.ly/HHV5YJ

2. Discover what gets pinned and re-pinned the most

Rather than link to a specific article, I’m sharing a link to an entire site that is a fabulous resource for learning about marketing and selling on Pinterest.com. Marketing on Pinterest, is a website authored by marketing specialist Jason Miles, and it covers topics such as Pinterest traffic tips, infographics, and he offers a 10-part video boot camp.

His, ‘Pinterest Traffic Tip #18,’ asks, “What content gets re-pinned the most on Pinterest?” He also includes an image that captures the main points of the tip that can be shared on Pinterest. This illustrates how you can leverage Pinterest’s visual focus even if you’re selling information products. You can create compelling visual images, graphic book covers or product shots and share them with your followers.

3. Customize the images you share

If they are popular and appealing, photos and images can be pinned and re-pinned dozens of times. But this can lead to the link to your website getting lost when visitors do not follow the custom of pinning from the source as opposed to simply clicking that re-pin button. Create a watermark of your logo and/or your website’s URL to include in each image you share on Pinterest. This will make sure that those who are re-pinning your image know exactly where it came from and how to get to your site for more information.

This comes from tip #4 of Michael Chizbuzor’s article, ‘Pinterest and Twitter: 16 Marketing Strategies to Drive Twitter Traffic.’ In this post, Chizbuzor writes about using social media to drive qualified, targeted traffic to your website for free.  Always keep his tip #5 in mind when you are doing any kind of social media marketing: Don’t waste your time. Invest your time. Get in, post your pins and get out.

*Bonus Tip: Share other people’s blogs

Ken Pickard has started a Pinterest Blog Roll. In his article on the Empowerment Network blog, Ken shares the concept of sharing other people’s blogs, so that in turn, they will share your blog on Pinterest.com in order to get more exposure and traffic.

Basically, Ken has created a content syndication tribe where the members visit each other’s blogs and share one another’s content. You can read his post and join his tribe, or follow suit and create a special tribe within your niche or network.

Source: empowernetwork.com/kenpickard/blog/pinterest-blog-roll/

Please follow me: http://www.pinterest.com/evelynwrites, and be sure to subscribe to my email newsletter where you’ll get lots of insider tips about writing and marketing online that you won’t ever see on the blog.

 

 

 

 

 

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For the past three days I’ve had very limited Internet access at home, which for me is a problem because I run my business from home. I called the cable company and they sent a technician out to fix my problem. While the guy was working, he was asking me a bunch of questions. You see, I told him that it was urgent that we get this problem fixed because I work from home. He wanted to know what the, “secret” was to making money from home. “How do you do it?” he asked me.

I told him that I work for myself. I’m a writer and web developer/marketer and I run my own company. He looked crestfallen and he said, “My wife’s been trying to find a good, ‘work from home,’ opportunity, but all she keeps finding is these scams.” I told him that if they were looking for a way to work for someone else, it would be a challenge to find a legitimate work from home opportunity. “My secret,” I said, “is that I started my own company and I get my own clients. It takes effort and energy.” He went on to tell me that he has paid over $1,500 for a website business that was supposed to be, ‘turn key.’ He’s got the website all set up, but nothing is happening. I told him it’s because he needs to generate traffic to his website. Nothing happens until you start attracting traffic. He was quite irritated at the prospect of how much time and effort he would have to put in to start getting a good flow of traffic to his site. He thought that he would just get the website built and set up and that the people would just end up there and buy stuff. That elicited a good belly laugh from me, but he was serious.

I shook my head and wondered to myself, “Did he really think it was going to be that easy?” The reality is, if you want to build a business whether online or offline in a brick and mortar shop location, you’ve got to market your business to attract traffic whether it happens to be foot traffic to your store, or search engine traffic to your website. Yes, you can make money working from home, but you’ve got to be willing to put in the energy, effort and commitment to making it work. Don’t expect that you can set up a shiny, new website and instantly have people visiting it and buying from it.

When I shared some effective website traffic strategies with my cable guy, he said, “No way do I want to do all that work.” I told him about PPC, but he said he’s not investing another dime in this venture. So, unless by some feat of magic a bunch of people happen to stumble across his website it’s not going to do any better than it has been.

In my business I create content for clients who are using a content marketing strategy to attract traffic and leads. Today I just sent off a report that I wrote for a client who is going to use it to attract traffic and new subscribers to her newly launched website. Content marketing is a proven, effective strategy where you offer value first and give your visitors just a taste of what you have to offer. If what you have to offer resonates with them and provides an elegant solution, they will be back and they will inquire about your premium products or programs.

Running an online business is not easy, but it’s incredibly rewarding if you adopt a resourceful mindset and if you’re willing to be committed to doing whatever it takes to achieve success. Contact me today if you need fresh content for your blog or website. Please share your thoughts in the comments.

 

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photo credit: Erik Johansson

Guest post by Brianne W.

The immediate impact and the efficacy of visual storytelling have been known for long. It is making its presence felt in a more prominent manner now with social networking platforms that rely purely on images, graphics or presentations. These have the potential to bring in traffic to a website, to create a repertoire of inbound links and to help the SEO initiatives taken up by an organization. The difference now is that the effort need not find a place only on the organizations’ websites. More avenues are now available for marketing through visual storytelling. You too can benefit from these platforms by following a methodological approach.

1. Create an effective campaign

Use platforms such as Pinterest, Slide Share, Youtube and Instagram to give shape to your visual storytelling initiatives for marketing. Each of these platforms boasts of millions of users. A video, a slide or a picture can all prove effective in making your campaign go viral over the web. Do not turn the campaign into a list of features. State what it can do for people and show people their benefits for you to gain in the form of higher sales and revenues.

2. Use networking platforms

Even though the visuals based platforms remain your primary ground for activity, post the links to your visual message in the form of videos, slides or pictures on other networking platforms as well where you have gradually built a place of prominence. Capitalize on your goodwill on these platforms to get more inbound links and traffic.

3. Prepare your site for a higher conversion rate

Once the marketing through visual storytelling methodologies prove effective and you get the traffic for your website, the product details and the website as a whole should inspire confidence in people. Build your website in a manner so as to capitalize on the gains that your marketing initiatives bring. Enable ease of navigation. Provide information on the various options available to get more details on products.

4. Document the processes in a visual format

Each business has an aspect that is visually more appealing while at the same time immediately identifiable with the business. Focus on such aspects of your business to give shape to a striking campaign. Give it a professional touch to prepare it for the immense competition you face on the visuals based networking platforms.

5. Connect with people

Make sure that the campaign allows people to connect to it. Depict issues that people face. Let your picture or video bring a smile on people’s faces knowing very well that they are familiar with the content of your campaign. Highlight the features that present a solution.

The visual medium carries a wider reach. It does not rely on the written word more often than not. A picture can be self explanatory. Your audience gets the message in just one glance. If the message is powerful enough, it draws people to explore more. Once this happens, the marketing campaign moves towards conversion. The efficacy of your overall campaign in the visual storytelling domain depends on your creative skills. Let your creativity do the talking for you.

About the author: Brianne is a blogger by profession. She loves writing on technology and luxury. Beside this she is fond of gadgets. Recently an article on beer pong game attracted her attention. These days she is busy in writing an article on data recovery software.

 

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Guest post by Debra Johnson

You’re stuck. You have no idea what to write, how to start writing, or even where to set your story. You are frustrated, getting angry and wanting to give up this gig. Don’t give up. There is one simple trick to get writing- write what you know. What do I mean by that? Read on.

1. Write emotional- You feel things intensely. It might be your love life, your pets, even your love of food. Whatever you love or even hate will come through in your writing. The more emotion you have behind the words, the more they will connect with readers.

2. Write opinionated – don’t blend in with the crowd. You have your views on subjects, so share the. Don’t try to please others, even the hypothetical readers you’ll have. The more you sound like the group, the less people will want to listen because they’ve heard it all before. Stand out and dare to be different!

3. Write truthfully– They will know when you are lying. It will sound forced, faked, or just too complex. Real life is crazy, fantastic, and bigger than anything you can make up. So write the truth. It has more impact when people know you are just being honest. Even if you are writing fiction essential truths are always there.

4. Write local – You know where you live. You know what it smells like, sounds like, how hard it is to get around, how the people act and relate. Use that. Even if the location is just a tiny blip in your story, the realism will bleed through. It will make your story a richer, more vibrant place for your characters to roam.

5. Write life –You’ve lived. You’ve experienced. Even the most boring and normal person has done and seen things that few others ever have. Share your life with your readers. It doesn’t have to be non-fiction, maybe your character visited the bathroom and saw a Daddy Long Legs on the wall. Maybe she walked past a department store and could swear the mannequin winked at her. It doesn’t have to be anything complex, but just adding that little spark of real life makes your stories more powerful.

There it is; five reasons to write what you know. You know a lot more than you give yourself credit for. You’ve lived a full, rich life and you need to share it with the world. It might be through poetry, fiction, or non-fiction, but any style of writing can be improved by just knowing what you are writing about.

About the AuthorThis guest post is contributed by Debra Johnson, blogger, editor & a knowledge gainer of  being full time nanny.  She welcomes your comments at her email Id: – jdebra84 @ gmail.com.

 

 

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By Yvonne Bynoe

As a coach or solo-entrepreneurs one of the biggest challenges that you have is that your income is directly tied to the number of customers that you can serve in a given day, week or month. For some of you, you’d literally have to work around the clock to earn a decent living. Rather than burn out, why not expand the ways that you can generate revenue.

There are three things that coaches and solo-entrepreneurs can do to “clone” themselves as a way to increase their incomes, without personally working with more clients.

1. Consider Hiring “Understudies”: 
In the theater understudies perform when the lead actress is ill. It’s a concept that’s perfect for many businesses. For instance, in many upscale hair salons, the owner only personally services a handful of clients—the ones who are willing to pay a premium price for her time. In this business model the majority of clients are delegated to understudies; these stylists and colorists are trained and supervised by the salon owner. Coaches and solo-entrepreneurs can easily use this model by hiring and training other people to use their signature systems with clients (people the owner brings into her business).

The main benefits of this arrangement are:

1) the owner can still work with directly with clients; and

2) there is more income generated because there are more service providers.

The only caveat is that the business owner has to ensure that her understudies  provide the same quality of service as she would. An array of businesses owners could use this or a similar model including: consultants, web designers, photographers, personal trainers, day spa owners, personal shoppers, aestheticians, virtual assistants, etc.

2. Create Service Packages: 

Stop offering single sessions and instead create bundles of services or ”packages” geared toward particular outcomes. You and I know that single sessions rarely solve your clients’ problems. It usually takes several sessions to accomplish most goals.  By offering a package you are actually providing more value to your clients by giving them a clear pathway to reach their goals. This strategy also allows you to ethically raise your rates; meaning that you receive more money per client.  Your package’s rate reflects the transformation that the client receives not your “hourly” rate.  Lastly, by offering packages you can request payment in advance; this alone could increase your monthly revenue by thousands of dollars.

To create packages think of 1-3  main goals or outcomes that your clients routinely seek.  Then create specific multi-session packages that achieve those results. Be sure that the packages’ names clearly spells out the aim of the package. Some ideas: ”End Your Sugar Cravings in 30 days” ; ”Attract Your Soulmate in 90 days”; ”21 Days to a More Productive Home Office”.

3.  Home study courses:
One of the things that entrepreneurs overlook is that many people want to learn in the privacy and convenience of their own homes.  What this means for you as an entrepreneur is that there is a big opportunity for you to provide your guidance and expertise, without actually meeting your clients.

I tend you use the term “homestudy” loosely.  A make-up artist can create a video (or video series) to teach women how to properly apply their cosmetics. Ditto for yoga, pilates instructors and personal trainers.  There are “how to” books and ebooks on nearly every imaginable subject.  If you’re not a fan of video or writing, then do a series of audio recordings could be just as effective.

Virtual classes and retreats are also a possibilities to work 1-to-many.  You have the ability to work with a group of people around a particular subject for any length of time from a few hours to a few weeks.

Homestudy courses are a gateway to establishing a long-term relationship with your clients.  Clients have the opportunity to test-drive your business—your methods and your results. If the client is satisfied, then she or he will want you work with you personally or will buy the next product that you make available for sale.

Yvonne Bynoe is an expert in holistic business and wealth development. She is the founder of the Business Alchemy System(TM). the proven, step-by-step program that shows you how to create a more profitable business…quickly.Click here to download her F.R.E.E. report “15 Secrets To Help You Charge What You’re Worth and Get It!” and to receive her weekly marketing and success mindset articles on attracting high-paying clients and catapulting your income.

 

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I had a client meeting this morning with one of my ideal clients who is working on launching a new initiative for her existing business. We were talking about marketing and I was trying to give her some ideas for narrowing down her niche so that she could refine her message and reach the clients that she was trying to attract.

She is a personal trainer, so potentially she could serve many different kinds of people, right? But this trainer is different from other personal trainers. She has her own style and approach to fitness and healthy living that she has been refining over the 20 years or so that she has been involved in the fitness industry.

In the process of rolling out this new product offering, it is necessary for her to create a profile for her ideal client so that as we begin to develop marketing materials, she will know exactly who she is looking for, and those people who are in her target market will resonate with her marketing messages and come to her.

Here’s a round-up of some articles that tackle this issue of finding your ideal client:

How Psychographics Strengthen Your Small Business Marketing

by Lisa Mininni

“Know who your audience IS, not just what they want… to find the ideal client.

Whether you’re starting up your business or have been in business a while, you must be exact to attract your ideal clients. However, when the going gets rough small business owners cast a wide net hoping to pull in someone. They quickly become disappointed when their prospect pipeline dries up.

One tool to keep that prospect pipeline full is your ideal client profile.

Your ideal client profile is the description of the person you would be happiest to work with. It focuses on a specific kind of client. One that reads your materials and is so mesmerized by your message they keep reading. It means that when you speak to them, they are compelled to. . .”

Read more: http://bit.ly/xVN9H5

Two simple ways to find your ideal clients

by Fabienne

“Wouldn’t it be great if you could find your ideal clients all in one place? What if they were gathered together for you?  That would sure make marketing a heck of a lot easier wouldn’t it? The good news is that this is completely possible!

There are two basic ways to find your ideal clients and both methods work really well.

1. Find ways to pull your ideal clients toward you, inexpensively and in large numbers.

There is something you could offer, whether it’s a special report, a class or workshop you could create that your ideal clients would literally jump for. One important feature, is that whatever you decide on, it should be available free to prospects. This eliminates any. . .” http://bit.ly/yXc3Cv

How to Identify Your Ideal Customer

by April

“Remember that Your Ideal Customer Lights You Up

You can start to narrow down your ideal customer by knowing who isn’t your ideal customer. Start by making a list of the “not so fun” customers you’ve had in the past. This could be someone you liked but didn’t connect with. This could be someone who seemed interested in your services at first, but always had an excuse as to why she didn’t follow through. What characteristics do these customers share?

What customer experiences have lit you up? I want you to stick with the experiences that have made you jump out of bed in the morning to start working, enticed you to. . .” http://bit.ly/wSj3Uq

How to Find Your Niche, Determine Your Ideal Client, and Target Your Market 

by Online Business Coach Donna Gunter

“How do you find your niche, target market, tarket, niche market, ideal client? Whatever you call it, you need to define it for yourself to be successful in business. Whatever you want to call it, the way I define these terms is as follows: offering what you do best (your niche) to a group of people (your ideal client) who hang out together in some organized fashion who desperately need and will pay for what it is that you offer (your target market).

Most business owners are afraid to declare a niche or focus on a target market for fear of excluding people. Read this next sentence carefully: In order to be successful, your goal needs to be to exclude as many people from your business as possible. As a matter of fact, I do that regularly with my website. One of the primary goals of my website is to. . . “

Read more: http://bit.ly/wx9s2n

Who is Your Ideal Client? Do you know?

by Jennifer Bourn

“While getting started on brand strategy and design and website strategy with my clients, one of the first things I want to know is who the ideal client is. Who is the person the brand and website must resonate with and speak to. Who does it need to attract to my client?

How do you know who your ideal client is? Your Ideal Client is some one who:

  •  Has problems and challenges you can easily fix and solve with your eyes closed
  • Sees you as a valuable necessity they treasure, instead of a necessary evil
  • Likes you, appreciates your hard work, and will tell their friends, peers, and contacts about you
  • Will pay you what you’re worth and will be happy to do so because they know you’re worth it

But how do you find out exactly who they are?”

Read more: http://bit.ly/A0Onw0

Once you have a clear picture of who your ideal client is, what they want, what they hate, what keeps them awake at night, what is the solution that they are searching high and low for, you will be able to create marketing materials that are a perfect match to that audience.

One way to begin to speak the language of your market is to create a survey and ask them some questions about what they are looking for in the product or service that you have to offer. Read their responses carefully and pick out some of the language that they have used so that your marketing materials are written in a way that answers their questions using their own language.

Have you discovered your ideal client? How has defining the psychographic profile of your ideal client helped you in your business? Please share in the comments.

 

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photo credit: JupiterImages

Today we’ve got another guest post about how authors can make the best use of social media without feeling overwhelmed. This is a topic that I know many writer’s struggle with including myself, so I hope you’re able to glean some helpful insights from Amy’s article.

Social Media: Balm or Bane for Authors?

By Amy Atwell

How many of you use some form of social media? Facebook and Twitter seem to be the bastions most popular with authors today. But there’s also LinkedIn, Google+, Pinterest, StumbleUpon and more. Social networking is what drives GoodReads, Shelfari and LibraryThing. Even Pandora radio lets you create a profile page and encourages a community of listeners.

Many authors find it all overwhelming. It’s a challenge to find enough time to write fiction, much less post and pin and tweet. So where is the sweet spot? Just how important is social media to authors?
If you’re serious about a long-term writing career, social media will continue to be an important and viable source of promotion and audience building. But, and here’s the key, it’s only going to work for you if—

1. You find at least one of social network that you enjoy.
2. You strike a balance between your online social networking and your writing.
3. You approach social networking with the same imagination and commitment you bring to your writing.

Doesn’t sound too scary, does it?
Here’s why I think it’s important—the Internet isn’t likely to disappear. Millions of people are on it, and millions more are buying smart phones and tablets because they can’t get enough of it. In some ways, our society is growing more fragmented, with less person to person interaction in real life. At the same time, people seek out and savor their interactions on social media.
This is where social media works so well for authors. Most stories have some element of human connection at the core of the story. A hero learning to trust. A heroine returning to confront her hometown memories. A family on the brink of disaster brought whole again.
The readers who love those kinds of stories are out there in social media as squawking and hungry as birds. Keep tossing out birdseed on a regular basis, and those birds will find their way to you. Readers who connect with you and your stories will become loyal fans. They will spread the word for you. Remember the old shampoo commercial? “And they’ll tell two friends, and they’ll tell two friends…” and so on and so on.

That’s the magic of social networking.

You may be a pantser when you write but plotting or, rather, planning ahead will save you a lot of headaches with social media. Make a game plan for yourself so you can make the most of your social networking. And if you’re not published yet, it’s not too early to get a jump start on this. By all means, start to build your tribe now.

1. Study the different social networks and decide which one(s) best match how you want to communicate with potential fans and fellow authors.

2. Secure your profiles on any (frankly, I would do all just in case) social network you plan to use. Ideally, use your writing name.

3. Find an image and write a short bio so your profiles are consistent.

4. Make a list of the topics you will discuss—and not discuss—on social networking. You want to be personable and friendly in your interactions, but remember anything you say can come back to bite you and your career.

5. Start slowly and blend in. Join in other conversations, repeat items of interest, help your fellow authors. Don’t just pop in and shout about your book.

6. Ask questions! Experienced users love to help newbies.

7. Set aside some time weekly, 30-60 minutes to seek out people to follow and friend.

8. Be gracious. Send thank yous to people who repeat your messages.

9. Tend your social network account(s) daily, whenever possible. Each day you miss, you will lose a bit of momentum. 15 minutes is all it takes, really.

10. Be prepared to adapt as the social networks grow and change.

I’ll mention that Facebook is in the midst of rolling out its new Timeline design. Both personal profiles and business (author) pages are changing. You can read a full article on it on Author E.M.S., the online business resource library for authors.

I hope some of that was helpful. I’m happy to field any other questions you might have about social media—so, tell me, what’s your biggest fear or frustration with social networks?

Visit Amy online at her website, Magical Musings, Facebook, Twitter and/or GoodReads.

 

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photo credit: sxc.hu/ rohach

Today’s guest post provides some useful tips for generating blog content ideas quickly and putting them to use right away. I saw this article in an email newsletter that I am subscribed to, and it was a perfect fit for my blog so I published it. Do you see how guest posting on blogs is a perfect win-win-win? You, the reader get a fresh point of view from a different blogger, the blogger gets exposure to a new audience and a back link to their blog, and I as the host get some fresh content that I didn’t have to create myself. Perfect.

5 Ways to Generate Content Ideas Quickly

By Dr. Rachna Jain

If you’ve been promoting online for any length of time, you’ve probably understood the importance of coming up with new content ideas.  After all, you need content for your website. Content for your blog. Content for your Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn updates. Content for your guest blog postings and article syndication and videos and slideshows and. . . and. . . and. . . (You get the idea.)

Now, in between service delivery, marketing, and all the other things you do to keep your business running, who has time to come up with good content ideas over and over? And yet, you know you must, in order to keep your business growing. So here are 5 ways to generate new content ideas quickly:

1.) Scan your email and social networks. What questions are people asking? What kinds of content or updates are they posting? Can you find something to respond to or reply to?

2.) Create a list of 25-30 topics your target market is interested in- and then create a list of subtopics for each of these. Refer to this list whenever you’re stuck.

3.) Examine your own life for lessons or stories you can share. Your readers want to know you better, and a story is a great way to share about yourself and provide valuable information at the same time. You can also find good ideas in books you read or movies you see.

4.) Examine your website statistics. Which posts or pages are getting the most interest? Can you write a follow up article for something you’ve already written about?
5.) Create a case study. Case studies are a useful way to create content. Think about a client you are working with or recently helped. How can you create a narrative about their transformation?
These 5 strategies will help you build new content ideas rapidly. Once you get in the habit of generating content ideas from these sources, you might find that you have a lot more to share than you ever realized!

” Popularity is Good. Profitability is Better. Profitable Popularity is the Ultimate Goal.”
- Dr. Rachna Jain http://profitablepopularity.com

 

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