05 May 2013
Great content in the form of videos, posts, and blogs is important. But if no one is engaging with you, maybe they need to be told what to do. In this short video I explain how easily it is to implement a Call to Action:
Ask for the like.
Ask people to share.
Ask for comments.
- Remind people to Subscribe.
Works like a charm. Which call to action works best for you?
28 Apr 2013
Sunday night and time to write the blog. Like everyone else, I sometimes have a major brain block. What do I write about? What has happened in the last week that people would be interested in knowing about social media? Well, I am sure lots is happening, but I don’t want to write about that.
As a coach and consultant, I tell my clients all the time – you are your brand. People want to know about you. Not the deep dark secrets – although I am sure some voyeuristic person would love to know all that stuff – but the things that make a difference to you personally. What are your values, what makes you tick, who is the real person behind the posts and videos and blog?
I’d like to share that this past week for me can be described in one word – empowering. I am treading into deep waters because I decided to makeover my website. And since one’s website is the social media funnel that all great information should be directed, I want a new, spiffy-looking site. Only this time, I decided not to hire a web designer. I am going to do it myself. Like I really have time to do a website – I don’t, but I have definite ideas of how I want it laid out, a new product suite and programs, and I am not going to pay a fortune to work with a web designer.
Enter The Online Empowerment Formula, led by entrepreneurs Marisa Goudy and Corinna Rake. Their program is a series of six coaching sessions and lots of work in between. But it’s good work – it has forced me to think deeply about my brand, my mission, my business and what I want to convey to others via my website, the hub of my business. Marisa and Corinna are a great team. I met them on Twitter – more proof that social media works!
Back to the website – it’s been challenging and sometimes frustrating because I am not a programmer or particularly technologically gifted. I have to work hard to learn left-brain stuff. I am way more creative than techy. Regardless, I committed to conquering my limiting belief about coding and have diligently dug in and embraced the work I need to do to have my finished product up and running.
What has resulted is a deep sense of pride and total ownership of my website. Not to mention, I am learning valuable new skills that will help me help my clients who often ask me questions about the back end of a Word Press site. I have been totally focused on accomplishing this task and will celebrate by having an extra glass of wine the day it is done! And that day is coming very, very soon.
What one word describes your week? What challenging project have you taken on recently that made you beam with pride? Would love to know, so please share.
17 Feb 2013
When I first started coaching social media, I remember very clearly one client who adamantly refused to blog. I mean she wouldn’t even try. I was shocked because this particular woman always had a lot to say about herself and her business when I would see her at networking meetings. So, I had to dig a bit deeper to find out why blogging was out of the question for her. It turns out she never graduated college because she could not pass the required classes needed in English and Composition. She was ashamed and felt her writing was so poor that no one would ever want to read anything she tried to write.
After working with her for several sessions, I convinced her to send me a sample of her writing so I could judge for myself. Imagine my surprise when her first attempt at a blog brought tears to my eyes. She was a beautiful writer and has since moved on to have a successful blog and a large following.
Blogging is something every savvy business owner should be doing to expand their reach and share their message. There are entire websites and businesses devoted to lending support to bloggers to help them to monetize their message and gain fabulous media coverage. My guest this week on The Social Networking NewsHour was Melanie Gorman, the Senior VP of YourTango.com, a website that helps brands to use the internet to draw in a more attractive, interested, and successful client base.
According to Melanie, there are two types of blogs – branded content blogs and trending blogs. A branded blog provides content that is relevant to the audience you serve, your business philosophy and opinions related to what you offer your target market. An example might be a massage therapist writing about their different types of massages, services, and product lines.
A trending blog incorporates your industry’s current events and hot topics, positioning you as a business owner that is current and on top of relevant and timely issues in your field. The massage therapist who writes about new controversial regulations as they relate to healing professionals, siting a case study that analyzes the regulations, positioning themselves as the expert would be an example. Trending blogs put you in front of your audience as a professional who is in the know about what is affecting your industry as a whole.
Being able to curate your content and have a stockpile of educational-based marketing tips, techniques, information and expertise and being able to write about them regularly in your blog is imperative for success in the social media universe.
Which kind of blog do you usually write; branded or trending? How often do you blog? Please share!
Laurie Hurley is the founder of The Social Networking Navigator and blogs every Monday. She is a social media consultant and mentor.
05 Oct 2012
It’s already Friday and I am just sitting down to write my blog. I usually write on Monday, which means two blogs in three days. Not impossible to do. But, I am asking myself why I procrastinated all week? After all, as a social media consultant and mentor, one of the things I tell my clients is to blog regularly, at least once a week on the same day. So why didn’t I take my own advice? There are several reasons and I am going to share them with you because I think many people experience what I did. And, it’s OK every now and then to slip up .
1) I was feeling down and blue. Yes, it happens to us all. After an especially emotional weekend dealing with family issues, it was really hard to sit down, be thoughtful, and give great content. And every blog should deliver something useful.
2) I ran out of time. For me, I need to have a block of about an hour to write my blog. I don’t write a rough draft; I just sit down and type. As Sunday night rolled around, I realized rushing would produce a poorly written blog – and no blog is better than one that is boring and not applicable to my target market. (I hope so far you can relate to some of these reasons!)
3) My dog died. Yes, that is right, my dog really did pass to doggie heaven in her sleep a few nights ago. It was traumatic losing her after fourteen years of having her be a huge part of our family. Who can concentrate and turn the brain on (and the tears off) after that? So one more day passed – no blog.
4) I over scheduled myself. Yes, I use a calendar and yes, I usually leave plenty of time for appointments regardless of whether they are via phone or in person. But, every day this week, my iPhone would beep, reminding me of my next client or networking event, or activity with one of my daughters. I was rushing around and spent very few hours actually sitting down in my office. Can’t blog on the fly!
5) I wasn’t inspired. When I write a blog, I like to have a message, a lesson learned, an experience to share that will help my followers and teach someone at least one thing. I could think of nothing, so I didn’t push it.
So, why now, on Friday afternoon am I writing this? Because on Wednesday, during my weekly radio show, my guest Maurice DiMino, The Sicilian Mentor, reminded me about my Million Dollar Message – and everyone, whether they know it or not has a Million Dollar Message inside. Here is mine: ”Help small business owners and entrepreneurs to craft their marketing message and blast it out on social media in a way that is authentic and comfortable for them. No trickery or neon flashing lights needed. Speak from your heart.”
So, I am speaking from my heart. My heart was kind of empty this week and I didn’t feel like sharing any hot tips or techniques. I was being good to me first. The house is quiet right now, the sun is shining and my message to you is this. It’s ok to break from patterns and schedules when you need to take care of yourself. That is authentic.
What do you do when you just don’t “feel it?” Push through or take a step back and wait until you feel more motivated?
Most Sunday nights I sit down at my Mac and write my weekly blog post. Sometimes the thoughts and words come out fairly easily and other times I fret all weekend about what to write in my blog. As a social media consultant and mentor, I teach others how to blog, so one would think I would be an expert. But, alas, even a teacher of blogging sometimes has writer’s block.
In the interest of helping you figure out what to blog about, here is my standard list of hints and tips:
- Write about your passions. You cannot go wrong. Even if they don’t relate directly to your business. Your target audience wants to know about you as a person. That’s what I did last week.
- Speaking of target audiences, be very clear who you are aiming to please and choose your topics accordingly. If you are a real estate agent, writing about moving and packing tips is relevant but writing about a new movie is probably not.
- Address your audience in words they will understand. Don’t get too technical and use jargon that no one gets. A good example again is the real estate agent. If you are writing about interest rates, which many people do not understand completely, keep the language simple but thorough. You don’t want someone getting more confused than they might already be about interest rates.
- Choose a topic that is broad in scope that will appeal to your audience. You can repurpose it at a later time if you see many people leaving comments and saying they would like to know more. Then you can narrow it down to more specifics.
- You are the expert in your field, so write about your expertise. For example, if you are a cosmetics rep for a large direct sales company, write about how often one should moisturize and the best practices and techniques. Show off your experience!
- Use visuals to convey your story. Infographics are also excellent in a blog. Break up your words and make your blog appealing.
- Tell a story; convey a case study about one of your clients, convey a testimonial without going for the hard sell approach.
- If all else fails, record a video and turn your blog into a vlog. Sometimes speaking the words is easier than writing them.
How do you inspire yourself to write your blog when the thoughts don’t seem to flow?
13 May 2012
When I mention the word blog to my new social media clients, most of them shudder, shake their head, or tell me they don’t have a blog and don’t want one. Now, mind you, my Target Market is new entrepreneurs and small business owners who want a more consistent presence on Social Media via their Social Media marketing efforts- and not just Facebook. So, I usually have to explain to them that fifty-one percent of blog readers shop online. That blog readers average 23 hours online each week. Just those two statistics alone (and there are many more) are usually enough to get their attention.
Learning how to blog is really a oxymoron. If you know how to write and tell a story, you can blog. Because a blog is nothing more than a story – usually a very short story, sometimes with chapters to keep the readers’ interest.
To begin blogging, I recommend doing the following:
- carry a notebook around with you at all times. Jot down interesting things that happen. Stories are wonderful fodder for blogs and if you don’t have a note pad or use Dragon Dictation, you will probably not remember your brilliant ideas. Keep one in your car, next to your bed, in the bathroom, and on your desk. The most mundane things can turn into the best blogs!
- make a list of what you are good at – actually what you are an expert at telling or explaining. You want to position yourself as an authority, so write down what you know and turn it into an informative blog post.
- what are you zealous about? And this does not have to be related to your business. If you are an avid reader, runner, cook, etc. write about it. Your audience wants to know about you, the person, as well as the business owner.
- turn on the video camera and talk about yourself and your business. Video blog (vlogs) are powerful, especially for the visual person who would rather see and hear you than read.
Blogs are meant to inform, educate and influence. Of course content – meaty, juicy content is important, but so is consistency. Blogging once a month will not be effective. Blogging once a week or more is good business strategy. Try it and see who engages with you and don’t forget to acknowledge the engagement with a nice comment.
Coming tomorrow – some important rules for blogging.
Laurie Hurley is a social media coach, mentor, consultant and speaker. You can hear Laurie every Tuesday night on Blog Talk Radio from 7-8pm when she hosts The Social Networking News Hour.