Regular readers of my blog know that in addition to being a blogger I am a Freelance web content writer, and I have to put a warning label on this post because it’s a bit more personal than my normal posts on this blog But my heart is full today and I wanted to take a moment and share with my readers some of what has been happening in my life lately.
I love my work because I am living a dream that I had been holding on to for most of my adult life. As the daughter of two entrepreneurial parents, I grew up thinking that having your own business was no big deal. My older sister and I started our first business when we were teenagers. We made baked goods for a local natural food restaurant. We ground our own flour, came up with our own recipes and when we made our bi-weekly deliveries, the cafes regulars were standing by waiting to get their hands on our famous ‘Kitchen Sink’ cookies and our moist and delicious banana bread.
Later, Angela and I tried our hands at another business–custom dressmaking. We sub-leased some retail space and did alterations and made custom clothes for our clients. But, given the fact that we lived in a tiny town in southern Oregon, there was not much of a call for designer gowns. But we learned some valuable lessons about business at a young age, and ever since then I have been determined to create my own business doing something that I love, which is writing.
So often you hear that famous statistic that says 90% of businesses fail within the first five years. Now I am well into year number three and my business has really taken off. I am so pleased and proud to be self-employed and getting paid to do work that I absolutely love and that fulfills me while allowing me to make an important contribution to the world.
This afternoon I just returned from a video shoot with one of my fabulous clients, 64 Clicks in Tyson’s, Virginia. They are a SEO firm that does Internet marketing consulting. I have clients who have a speaker’s bureau that helps market powerful women who want to get into public speaking, called Women Who Influence, and another amazing client, Bonnie Mechelle, whose life work is to help women become healthy and attain their ideal weight from the inside out. She is part of an amazing new project called ‘The Inner Weigh.’ I share all of this to say that I have been blessed beyond measure in my life and I am grateful for everything that the Universe has placed in my path, but all of these things are coming together because I did not give up.
Building a business takes time, effort, tenacity and guts. There have been times when I wondered if anyone was even aware that I was alive. But I did not give up. I kept on working and learning and writing. I honed my craft,
I built my skills and I kept reaching out until now my business is successful. If you have aspirations of starting a business then I encourage you to go ahead and get started. Circumstances will probably never be perfect so you may as well just seize this moment.
For a long time I was playing small and not living up to the woman I knew that I could be. Then I decided that it was time to stop riding the brakes and to step out and own my authentic power and strength. Now I have to learn to manage the incredible growth that my business is going through and that I am experiencing. As I have taken the lid off and opened myself up to the abundant flow that I had been blocking before I am amazed at the opportunities that are opening up to me.
I am grateful beyond measure for all of the support I have received from my friends and colleagues, and above all, I am grateful for all of my fabulous clients who trust my writing and marketing skills. Be sure to keep your eyes peeled as there will be some changes coming up on this blog. I am working on branding myself and my business, so things will be changing and evolving to serve you even better than before. Finally, I am grateful to you, my readers, for sticking with me throughout all of the changes that have been going on in my life and in my business. Life is good, and to God be the glory.
How to Fearlessly Create Free Products to Give Away, Generate Leads and Build a Responsive Email List
When visitors land on your website you’ve got mere seconds to grab their attention and get them to stick around to see what you’ve got to offer. Most people will not buy what you have to offer on their first visit to your site, but if they like what they see, you want to seize the opportunity to open up a dialogue with them so that they can get more comfortable with you and learn what you have to offer before they click that “Buy it Now” button.
So, your goal should be to get your visitors to sign up for your email list so that you can continue the conversation with them. In order to entice and encourage your visitors to give up their contact information, you’ve got to answer the “What’s in it for me?” question for them. What do you have of value to offer them that will give them that will whet their appetite for the products and services that you can provide?
This is basic content marketing at work. Content marketing seeks to woo prospects encouraging them to become customers who continue to come back for more because you have both demonstrated the value of what you have to offer them, and you have made the effort to develop a relationship with them.
The key to successful content marketing is to consistently deliver valuable and relevant content that meets your prospective customers needs. It is not thinly-veiled marketing materials–otherwise called spam. Rather through the content that you offer you are establishing your expertise and authority in your subject matter and industry. Through your relationship building efforts you are creating an environment of trust that could lead to higher customer loyalty.
It is easier than you think to create your own free product to give away to your website visitors, and in today’s post we are going to take a look at some creative ways you can quickly and easliy come up with a product to give away to generate leads and build a responsive email list.
Here are some ideas for giveaway products:
- A video series
- An audio series
- An email e-course
For each of these products you will begin with an outline. You can create a mindmap to brainstorm for ideas and then arrange them in outline order.
If you are going to create an ebook, chunk it down to a series of short articles strung together with an introduction, a table of contents, logical transitions and a conclusion that summarizes the materials and presents the next steps that you want your reader to take. A give away ebook does not need to be more than five to eight pages long. You will deliver on the promise made in the title of the book, but remind them that if they want the complete picture they should visit your website for more in-depth information.
If you don’t like to write, or if you think you’re not a good writer, you can record what you want to say in your ebook and then have it transcribed. Sign up for a free conference call service that records calls. Dial in and create your recording, and then find a transcriptionist through any of the online freelancing websites such as Odesk.com, or Elance.com. There is an online transcription service called, speechpad.com where you can call a phone number, speak your message into the phone and then the audio is transcribed and sent to you in an email.
For a video series you can use the outline that you created to write scripts or storyboards if you are making slide-show videos. Having a plan in advance makes gathering the information and shooting the videos take less time and effort.
With audios, your outline will help you to stay on topic when you are recording your messages. If you want to get fancy, add a bit of bumper music at the intro (fading in) and out-tro (fading out). Be sure to include a short blurb at the end of your audio inviting the listener to visit your website.
An e-course can be easily put together from a series of ‘how-to’ articles. Load the messages into your email auto-responder service and then stagger delivery of the messages every few days. At the end of each message, point your readers back to your website.
Once you’ve got your product created, you can either hire a graphic designer to create an e-cover for your product, or you can make one yourself quite easily and inexpensively here: http://bit.ly/ecovermaker.
The final step is to upload your product to your website and create a link to the download page. Grab the opt-in code from your auto-responder program and if you have a WordPress blog you can add a new text widget to your blog’s side bar, and paste the opt-in code along with your e-cover image into the widget and then click ‘save’ and then ‘close.’
You should add a bit of descriptive copy above the opt-in box that tells the visitor what they will get when they subscribe to your email list. Better yet, create a short intro video that describes what they will be receiving.
Remember, this is not a marketing piece. You are offering them something of value in exchange for their subscribing to your email list. At the end you can include a call to action that directs them to your website to find more information and resources about your products and services.
If you’d really like to have a custom made lead generation product that you can upload to your website or blog to showcase your content and build your contact list, but you just don’t have the time to create one yourself, contact me and I will create one for you.
Have you created an awesome free product to give away to visitors to generate leads? Please leave a comment with a link to your site so that we can take a look.
Related articles by Zemanta
- Don’t Let Your Email List Die! (famousbloggers.net)
- Email your web visitors timely for more leads – the new feature (leadsexplorer.com)
Life as a professional blogger/freelance content producer moves very fast these days. Last week I was up to my eyeballs in client projects, but I made the time to participate in a coaching group that would help me to improve and grow my business, while also helping me to refine my mindset. Being in that group and participating with the other participants who were business women at various stages of our businesses from those who were working on brining a business idea to fruition to those of us who already had successful businesses was inspiring.
In this blog post I want to share a bit about the importance of being coachable, and how working with a coach can help you to leap-frog over obstacles and reach your goals quicker than you otherwise would.
How coaching can help you grow
For a long time I ascribed to the “Lone Wolf” theory of entrepreneurship. I was going to tough it out alone, learn what I
could through trial and error and bootstrap my way to success. After floundering around for awhile trying different things and not getting the results I was after, I realized that it probably made sense to accept the guidance and advice of someone who has achieved the goals that I was seeking to achieve in my business.
The Christian Bible is full of verses about seeking counsel, but this is one of my favorites, “The way of a fool is right in
his own eyes, but a wise man is he who listens to counsel.” –Proverbs 12:15. This verse reminds us to take the time to listen to others who have learned valuable lessons and be grateful that they are willing to share them to make your path a bit easier than theirs was.
Heeding these wise words, I began to seek out the advice and guidance of coaches. I will tell you from the vantage point of having tried to go it alone, and now working with a coach, it is so much better to have someone in your corner to advise, support and encourage you as you go along.
Another benefit of working with a coach is that you save time. Trial and error takes time–and it requires that you make mistakes, learn from them and then course correct. But having a coach can help you to avoid many of those costly mistakes in the first place. When you are working with a coach who has already achieved the goals that you are aspiring to, they can show you exactly how to avoid many of the pitfalls that can side-track you, and which steps you should take to achieve success.
Commit to investing in your growth and development
Of course, working with a coach is not free. They need to be compensated for their time and expertise, but if you choose the right coach this is considered an investment that will bring an exponential return. You can never get back time that you have lost heading down the wrong path or climbing a ladder that is leaning up against the wrong wall.
You’ve got to be willing to commit to investing in your growth and development. You have got to be willing to invest in
yourself before others will invest in you.
Choosing the right coach
When you are looking for a coach who will support you in moving your business to the next level take the time to vet several candidates. Get recommendations from trusted friends and colleagues for coaches that they have worked with or who they have heard positive reports about. Visit their websites, watch their videos, and read about their accomplishments and their approach to coaching. If they offer a complimentary introductory session, take them up on it and have a lst of questions ready when you speak to them. Listen with an open mind and decide if you think that you have been able to establish a rapport with this person and if you think you will be able to learn from them.
I have worked with spiritual coaches, business coaches and most recently a blogging coach. I have found that the time and money spent was well worth it because in return I received increased focus, a ton of knowledge and the support and encouragement that you can’t get working alone. I highly recommend working with a coach if you want to move forward quickly while feeling supported and guided.
Finally, I would advise you to check out their cancellation policies in advance in case things go south and you decide to no longer work with them.
Working with a coach can be just what you need in order to catapult you to the next level of growth personally and for your business.
What have your experiences been with coaches? Have you found good results from working with a coach for personal or business goals? You are welcome to share your story in the comments.
Bloggers and Online marketers work in a field that is moving at an incredibly fast speed. It seems like as soon as you get a handle on a particular strategy or technique then some new changes come along and you must quickly learn to adapt.
Professional development is crucial for those who make their living online. You’ve got to stay up on the newest technologies or get left behind by your competitors. There are a few ways that I try to stay abreast of all of the changes going on in this volatile industry, and I wanted to share them with you.
Must-follow blogs for bloggers and online marketers:
Darren Rowse is the mac daddy of big bloggers, and his blog is not to be missed when it comes to tips and strategies for growing and improving all aspects of your blog. I recommend his, 31 Days to Build a Better Blog ebook. I followed along with the SITS girls on this 31 day challenge a few weeks ago and I really learned a lot that helped improve my blog.
Because your content is the one thing that will distinguish you online, copyblogger is a great resource to help you to hone your onlione copywriting skills.
I’ve heard mashable referred to as, “the CNN of blogging,” because you’ll more than likely read it first on mashable. They cover all aspects of social media, entertainment, technology and more.
Described as, “. . .a blog offering internet marketing and blogging tips, alongside social media strategies. Best consumed by bloggers, entrepreneurs, web publishers, marketers, freelancers and small business owners.” I like dosh dosh because the posts cover specific topics in a thorough manner. I also enjoy reading the comments, of which there are usually many, for even more insights and tips.
I just recently discovered this fabulous little blog. Authored by Tia Peterson, it’s a blog full of practical tips for bloggers. While Tia and her team are not big, rock star bloggers, the information they share is smart, and relevant.
Essential podcasts for Internet marketing/business:
There are many podcasts out there on the topic of online marketing, but I am listing these because I subscribe to them, I listen to them each week, and I highly recommend them.
Internet Business Mastery
Hosted by Sterling and Jay, this podcast which recently celebrated its 100th episode is a must-listen podcast for solo-preneurs who are following their passions and creating a business online from scratch. These guys keep it real and share lots of tips and strategies that you can take action on right away to grow your business and refine your mindset. I’ve been a long time listener to these guys and I have learned a lot from them.
Internet Marketing This Week
I found this podcast when I was following Ed Dale’s 30-Day Challenge a few years back. Hosted by Ed Dale, Paul Colligan, Michelle MacPherson and Lynn Terry, all online marketing rock stars, this podcast is good for industry news, and some practical talk about Internet marketing.
The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It by, Michael E. Gerber
Crush It!: Why NOW Is the Time to Cash In on Your Passion by, Gary Vaynerchuk
The Whuffie Factor: Using the Power of Social Networks to Build Your Business by, Tara Hunt
Success Secrets of Social Media Marketing Superstars by, Mitch Meyerson
The Referral Engine: Teaching Your Business to Market Itself by, John Jantsch
The links in the Amazon carousel below are affiliate links. If you click on one and purchase a book, I will earn a commission.
I hope these resources prove to be helpful to you. Keep in mind the importance of focus. You can listen and read and gain new insights and ideas that you can apply to what you are doing in your business without chasing after every new, shiny object that crosses your path.
So, expand your knowledge, stay up on what’s happening in the industry but keep your eyes focused on your business finding ways to improve what you are already finding success with.
Content Creation Workshop: How Many Ways Can You Re-Purpose Your Blog Content for More Traffic, Links and Sales?
Bloggers know that it takes a lot of time, energy and maybe even a little bit of blood, sweat and tears to crank out quality content. They also know that it’s the quality, relevance and stickiness of their content that attracts traffic and gets visitors to subscribe and hang around to find out what else you’ve got to say.
In this post we’re going to take a look at some creative ways you can make the most of your blog content by transforming it into different formats. One thing to keep in mind is that people come to your blog with a variety of preferences and learning styles. If your blog is predominately text based, those who prefer other mediums such as audio or video may not be as attracted to your content or as eager to consume it as they might be if it were presented in a format that they prefer.
Another benefit to having your content in a variety of formats is to provide your visitors with several different ways to consume your content. With audio, they can download your content and listen to it on the go at their own convenience. If visitors don’t want to take the time to read your blog post or article, translating the content into a video allows visitors who are more visual learners to consume your content in a way that appeals to them.
So let’s dive right in and start transforming your blog post into the various different formats and publish them.
Create an Article
A blog post can be converted to an article quite easily. You might want to change the headline so that it contains your keywords, maybe edit the language a bit if it’s written in an informal or personal tone. If it’s shorter than 400 words you’ll want to extend it to between 450-600 words, as this is the more appropriate word count for the article directories.
Include a resource box, which contains both an anchor text link and the full URL to your blog. The purpose of the resource box is to entice the reader to click on it and visit your blog, so make it appealing and inviting.
Publish your article in several of the top article directories. As your collection of published articles grows your traffic will pick up and it will boost your page rank with all of those high quality back links.
Here are the top 12 article directories with their Alexa rank and Google page rank:
1. ezinearticles.com 124 6
2. articlesbase.com 342 6
3. suite101.com 658 7
4. buzzle.com 713 6
5. helium.com 1,328 6
6. articlesnatch.com 1,632 5
7. goarticles.com 1,667 4
8. articlealley.com 2,184 5
9. articledashboard.com 2,919 5
10. selfgrowth.com/articles.html 3,411 5
11. ideamarketers.com 3,704 5
12. bukisa.com 4,243 5
Create an Audio
Let’s begin with a blog post or article. The first thing we’re going to do is transform your written text into an audio file. All you need to do is download a piece of free software called, Audacity, and then using a microphone plugged into your computer read your article while speaking into the mic and record it. If you do a quick search you can find free, online tutorials on how to edit your audio. If you want to add a bit of professionalism you can include a piece of bumper music for the intro and out-tro that fades in and out. Record a short bit of audio at the end to direct listeners to your blog.
If you decide to create a series of audios, you might want to consider turning them into a podcast. You can then list your podcast in iTunes and the dozens of other podcast directories online where you’ll get lots of exposure from a new audience.
If you want to begin by just recording an audio, you can then reverse the process and have the audio transcribed and then you can re-purpose the text version.
I just found a fabulous resource called, speechpad, which is a web app that allows you to record an audio file over the phone and have it transcribed for you. You can also upload an audio and they will transcribe it using a combination of software and an actual human edit. http://www.speechpad.com
Here are some links to the top podcast directories:
Create an eBook
If you’ve got a collection of posts on a particular topic, you can compile them, do a bit of re-writing to insert some transitions and any other additional information that will make the copy flow better and be more useful to your readers. You can use the resulting ebook to build your email subscriber list, or package it and offer it for sale.
If you do plan to sell the ebook, you might consider getting a professional looking, graphic ebook cover made. Having a good-looking cover for your ebook will make it more appealing to your customers.
Add images and music to create a video
The next way that we are going to re-purpose the original blog post is by creating a video. If you’ve got presentation software such as power point, you can take the main points and create slides. Add images that relate to the topic and use the audio that you recorded previously to play in the background. Adding a short musical intro and outtro puts a nice finishing touch on these videos.
Make sure that you use your primary keywords in the title of the video, and the description. The first text in the description box should be the full URL to your website. Direct viewers to click on the link and give them an idea of what they will find there that will be of interest to them.
Windows movie maker video tutorials:
Create slides to transform it into a webinar
Depending on the nature of the content you can even take your blog post’s contents and convert them to a webinar. If it is a ‘how to’ type article, or generally informative, you can use the webinar to educate and inform your visitors about your topic. Use the webinar as an opportunity to build your list, increase your exposure and to be seen as an expert in your industry.
There are lots of informative videos on sites such as youtube.com that can show you step-by-step how to create and record a dynamic webinar that will impress your attendees and boost your profile considerably.
In this blog post I’ve shared several ways that you can get a bit more mileage out of your blog posts while getting increased exposure and targeted traffic back to your blog. But what if you really don’t have time to create your own original content?
As a freelance web copywriter, I create compelling content for a variety of clients every day. Let me transform some of your content that is languishing on your site into fresh content in a variety of formats or I can create something new. Contact me today about my writing services.