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Facebook Marketing

There are a number of ways to market your business to get more exposure for your brand and increase your sales and conversions. In addition to search-engine optimization, some of the most popular marketing tools include e-mail marketing and social media marketing, particularly with Facebook. SEO is always going to be one of the best ways to market your site and to help you gain page rank and increase your traffic. However, after you invest all that time in optimizing your site, you may not have enough time to also devote to both e-mail marketing and social media marketing.

Though many online marketers have long contended that e-mail marketing is king — “the money’s in the list,” they say — the rise of social media marketing is challenging this conventional wisdom. Facebook has proven itself to be a much more effective marketing strategy than e-mail marketing for a number of reasons. Here’s why Facebook outperforms e-mail for marketing a business and why you may want to consider ditching your autoresponder:

Most People Won’t Open E-mail

When you sign up for an e-mail list, you’re likely new to the site and excited to learn more about what it has to offer. The first few times that you get an e-mail from the list, you open it to learn what new things are going on at the site. After a few weeks, you start to feel less excited when you see those e-mails — especially when they all promise some amazing secret, some new solution, or some critical tool or service that’s going to change your life for the better. E-mail fatigue sets in, and you not only stop opening the e-mails but you also stop noticing them altogether.

When you follow a business on Facebook, on the other hand, you learn about new posts through your news feed. Instead of just a headline, which is likely sensationalized to get you to click, you can see a short synopsis of the post, letting you know whether it’s relevant or interesting, increasing the odds that you will click on it to learn more. If there are a lot of likes and comments on the post, that will also encourage you to click through to learn more.

E-mail can become Invasive

Most people hate to have a cluttered inbox. When they sign up for a lot of newsletters, those can start to pile up in their inbox, creating clutter. Most people will react by either automatically deleting the e-mails or unsubscribing. Too much e-mail just starts to look like junk mail.

Facebook, on the other hand, streams all this information into a news feed that’s constantly moving. It doesn’t seem cluttered because the information is always feeding through — whether you have 1 friend or 1,000 friends, it looks the same. Posts that appear in a news feed will seem a lot less invasive than those that appear in an inbox.

People are More Likely to Share on Facebook

When you read an article that you really like in e-mail, do you forward it? Probably not. The days of the e-mail forward are mostly over, as most people recognize that they are annoying their friends and cluttering their inboxes when they send forwards.

However, when you read an article that has been shared on Facebook, you are much more likely to share. The option is immediate: Just click “share” and it goes to all your friends and family. There’s no need to sort through your address book or think about who might like to see it. All those who are interested can click through when they see it on your feed.

Facebook Allows Immediate Interaction

Facebook like

In addition to making it easier for users to share content, Facebook also allows for more immediate interaction. When users read articles on Facebook, they can click “like,” which is a great option for those who don’t want to commit to sharing but who still want to signal their approval. When users like the article, it will appear in more news feeds and get more exposure — something for which there is no equivalent for e-mail marketing. Facebook also allows users to immediately comment and respond to the article. Through e-mail marketing, users would have to click through to the article and then navigate to the comment section to begin this interaction. With Facebook, the comments are right there, encouraging others to join the conversation.

Your time and your resources are limited when it comes to marketing your site. Make sure you choose the strategy that gives you the most impact for your investment. When it comes to Facebook vs. e-mail marketing, you may just find that Facebook offers your business more results.

Do you have more success with Facebook marketing or e-mail marketing? Share your experiences or your tips in the comments!

price

Freelance writers are a dime a dozen. Yet some businesses take that adage a little too literally. Sure, there are a lot of freelance writers in the market, but there aren’t a lot of good freelance writers who know how to deliver the quality content that will help take your business to the next level and meet your needs — and there are even fewer freelance writers who will do that in a professional manner and on deadline.

Do you really want to take chances with your brand image by bargain shopping for freelance writers?

You pay for what you get. When you pay someone that you found on Craig’s list $10 a post, you are going to get hastily written content that is full of grammatical errors and typos at best and contains nothing more than recycled, generic ideas at worst. You aren’t going to get a lengthy, detailed post that offers fresh insights and helps to position your brand as an authority in your niche. You aren’t going to get revisions to help refine the post so that it can meet the goals of your content marketing strategy.

Remember: When you are playing the numbers game, freelance writers are, too. Paying $10 a post is a bargain for you. Accepting $10 a post is a hustle for a freelance writer. That person then has to squeeze in as many $10 posts per hour as is possible to make a respectable hourly wage — including enough to cover the cost of overhead involved with being self-employed.

When you pay a quality rate, you get a quality post. The more you pay per blog post, the higher qualified candidates you are going to attract, including those who have advanced degrees, more ongoing training, and more talent. The more you pay per post, the more effort you are asking that writer to put into writing the post, including:

  • Coming up with a fresh idea
  • Writing in a unique style or voice
  • Proofreading the document for grammar and spelling
  • Using proper internal and external linking to boost SEO
  • Incorporating keywords appropriately to boost SEO

When you pay a professional rate, you get a professional-level post. And doing so helps you to establish a quality blog that will position you as an authority in your niche so that you will attract the qualified, targeted traffic that you need to grow your website and your business. The more you invest in a freelance writer, the bigger the return you can expect to see on that investment.

Warren Buffet said that price is what you pay but value is what you get. When you’re hiring a freelance writer, price and value are intertwined.

freelance writer

The right freelance writer can help you establish your authority in your niche. The right freelance writer can help you define your brand through your site’s “voice.” The right freelance writer can help you get the traffic you need and convert that traffic into sales and leads.

You well know what the right freelance writer can do to help you grow your business, but finding the right freelance writer is often easier said than done. You may deal with flaky writers who don’t meet deadlines, who turn in substandard copy, or who don’t understand what your needs are or how to meet them. It is important to develop a strategy for finding and working with freelance writers so that you establish the right relationship to achieve the goals you have set for your business. Here are a few tips for how you can find the right freelance writer for your business:

Define Your Goals

If you don’t know what your goals are for your content strategy or your website, how is a freelance writer going to know what kind of content to create for you? Whether you are working with a freelance writer or you’re writing the content yourself, you must define your goals for your site and develop a content strategy that will help you to meet them. However, when you decide to outsource your content, you can use these goals to help you research freelance writers who may be able to help you achieve them, and then you can use these goals to guide your conversations with the writer who you choose to hire.

Read Published Clips

One of the best ways to find out if a freelance writer is going to be able to deliver the style and the quality of work that you want is to read their published clips. A professional freelance writer will have plenty of clips available for you to read on their website. However, some ghostwriters and others who are working under confidential agreements may not be able to share these samples publicly. In such a case, you can request the writer to produce a sample article for you, specifically, based on a prompt that you provide. The quality of writing should be a strong indication of the type of quality you can expect to receive.

Check References

Even the best writers can be hard to work with, which can be disruptive to meeting your goals. For example, you may find a writer with excellent clips, but what you don’t know is that those articles were turned in weeks after deadline. It is important to check the references for any person you are considering working with to ensure that all aspects of your relationship will go smoothly. You can call the references the writer provides, but it’s also a good idea to check references independently, calling organizations that have published the writer’s work.

You should also take the time to check out the writer’s reputation online. A quick Google search should turn up information like reviews, forum discussions or comments on blogs from others who have worked with the writer.

Look for Experience

Experience matters. Though you might be able to hire a writer who is just getting started for much less, you will end up paying for it in the time it takes you to manage the person and to send back substandard copy for edits. An experienced freelance writer can create the copy you need in the time that you need it and will provide a professional experience from beginning to end.

There are thousands of freelance writers available on the web to help you write any kind of content that you need. However, you have to think of the bigger picture and choose someone who can do more than offer you the lowest bid. In the end, you get what you pay for, and a professional freelance writer can help you take your business to the next level by giving you outstanding copy that gets results.

Do you need to hire a freelance writer for your business? Contact me to find out how I may be able to help you develop a content strategy that can grow your business!

personal brand

Your personal brand is who you are. It’s who clients and prospective employers understand you to be. If you own your own business, it’s who your clients understand you to be.

It is critical that you take the time to develop your personal brand to convey the values for which you want to be known. Developing a voice for your personal brand is a key part of that process. Your brand’s voice is how you communicate with your audience, and it tells your followers who you are, what you value, and why you’re unique. Here are 3 simple ways that you can develop a voice for your personal brand:

Write a Blog

There is no better way to develop your personal brand and to establish your voice than to write a blog. From the tone you use in your posts to the type of information you present, you are telling potential clients a lot about:

  • Your authority in your niche.
  • Your expertise on your subject matter.
  • What you value.
  • The approach you take to your business.
  • How you feel about clients.
  • Your level of professionalism.
  • Your adaptability.

… and much more.

With a blog, you have unlimited opportunity to connect with your audience and to showcase who you are as a professional. If you don’t already have a blog on your personal website, you need to start one now.

Be Yourself

You don’t have to hide behind stilted and boring language to be “professional.” Some of the most successful personal brands are those that have BIG personalities. Consider Derek Halpern of Social Triggers or Tim Ferriss of the 4-Hour Work Week. If you are in business online, you probably know who these men are, and you can probably immediately “hear” their voice in your head (maybe even literally if you’ve seen some of their interviews or YouTube videos). Watch what I mean:

Don’t be afraid to be yourself — in your writing, in your e-mail communication, in your videos and podcasts. Not only will you be more memorable, but you will create a deeper connection with your followers and your clients.

Be Consistent

You can’t set aside “fun” you for social media and present only “business” you on your blog or website. You must use a consistent voice every time you communicate in order to establish your voice for your personal brand. Make sure you are using the same style, the same tone, and the same voice every time you write a blog post, update your Facebook status, send out a tweet, or write an e-mail to your subscribers. Your voice will naturally emerge, and you will effortlessly create your personal brand.

You cannot avoid your online reputation. These days, who customers think you are online is who you will be. If you want to be successful — whether you own your own business or you are trying to work your way up the corporate ladder — you must tend your online reputation and actively create a personal brand. These tips will help you develop the voice that you want customers and prospective employers to know you for.

What is your personal voice? Tell us how you developed it in the comments!

blog posts that go viral

Content marketing is a great way to promote your business. But if you’re writing boring, dull posts that don’t get noticed, you’ll never see more traffic coming into your site. Learning how to write blog posts that go viral can help you to make a big impact in your content marketing strategy and to see an explosion in traffic to your site.

Writing viral blog posts is easier said than done. After all, if you could just make up your mind to do it, everyone would. You have to learn a few tricks and develop the right strategy. Here are a few tips for how to write blog posts that go viral to get the exposure and the web traffic that your business needs:

Write a Gripping Headline

Your headline is what gets your readers in the door and what can ultimately get you blog posts that go viral. What’s better:

  • How to Lose Belly Fat

OR

  • The 3 Foods You Must Eat Right Now to Lose 10 Pounds in One Week

Your headline has to get right to the point and grab your readers’ attention. It can do this by promising a solution, a trick, a secret, or some other information that they won’t find anywhere else. Just be sure that whatever you promise, you deliver. Trying to pull a bait-and-switch will only make you seem like a snake-oil salesman, and you will lose twice as many readers as you hooked with the headline.

Solve a Pressing Problem

If you were waking up every night with a crippling migraine and you were up searching for information on how to treat the problem, you’d fall over yourself to click on an article that promised you a solution — and then you’d be sure to share that article with everyone you knew if it delivered on its promise. When you offer people a solution to pressing problems, it is easy to get blog posts that go viral.

When you are thinking of the problems your readers face, focus on those that are serious, imminent issues — the kind that will have your readers jumping in their car in the middle of the night to solve.

Provide a “How-to”

If Pinterest has shown us nothing else, it’s that a good how-to post has the innate potential to go viral. The how-to doesn’t even have to be all that complicated. A how-to on creating activity bags for kids or downloading a video from YouTube are both pretty simple, but both provide a solution for readers and both will be shared far and wide.

You don’t have to write an in-depth how-to that provides a Pulitzer-prize winning solution to a problem in order to get blog posts that go viral. Just think about what you know and share that with your readers. (Oh, and if you’re smart, you’ll include a pinnable image with it!)

Write a List or a Round-Up

When you see a post that offers you “5 very good reasons to punch a dolphin in the mouth,” you just have to click — and share. Ditto for posts like “101 Handmade Baby Gift Tutorials” or “100 Stars without Makeup.” People like lists and round-ups. They like to see what you come up with, and they like to compare notes.

If you include other websites on your list (like “Top 10 Websites for Writers” — feel free to include mine!), you may even get those site owners to share the list or link to your site. The more people you have talking about your list and linking to it, the more you will have blog posts that go viral.

Take a Controversial Stance

Everyone agrees that education is important. If you want blog posts that go viral, don’t write about how important education is, write about how overvalued it is, or how college isn’t for everyone, or how formal education is undermining our economy. By taking a controversial stance, you are much more likely to get readers’ attention and to get them riled up and involved with the post. If they agree with you, they’re bound to be passionate about their agreement (you are taking an extreme position). If they don’t agree with you, they’re bound to be pretty upset about it (again, you’re taking an extreme position). Either way, they’re sure to comment and to share the article with others, generating even more buzz from other people who are going to get riled up over what you say.

There’s no formula for how to write blog posts that go viral. However, these simple tips can help you see a huge uptick in traffic on your site so you can get more exposure for your brand. Do it often enough and you can improve your page rank and your site’s authority.

Of course, good writing is at the heart of any content that goes viral. Write well and people will always respond to it. Don’t write well? Hire me to do it for you!

What are your tips for writing blog posts that go viral? Share them in the comments!

professional freelance writer Content marketing is one of the best ways to get exposure for your brand and to drive traffic to your site. By providing fresh, quality content to your site, you help to establish your brand’s authority and you offer your customers additional value that will keep them coming back to your site again and again, helping you to build long-term relationships and to encourage repeat business.

Many businesses feel like they can’t afford a professional freelance writer and so they either assign the writing to someone in-house (who usually does not have the proper training) or they try to outsource it to low-cost sites like Fiverr or Craig’s list. No matter what your budget, hiring a freelance writer can help you to get a higher return on your investment and can increase your conversions.

Here are just a few reasons why your business should hire a professional freelance writer:

Quality Content

When you hire a professional freelance writer, you don’t have to take a gamble on the quality of content you are going to get. When you pay less, you get less. When you buy from content mills or freelancers who charge $5 or less per article, you risk getting spun content (which will get your site penalized and sink its position in search results), and you risk getting content that will be so badly written that you will have to spend as much time editing it as you could have spent writing it yourself.

A professional freelance writer will give you quality content every time. You will get website and blog content that engages readers, establishes your brand authority, and increases conversions and page rank.

Results

A professional freelance writer does more than write content that reads pretty. When you hire a professional, you can be sure that the content you get will bring results. Professional writers are trained in search-engine optimization techniques, and can use those in your content to ensure that your page rank increases and that your website appears higher in search results for your chosen keywords. SEO services can include keyword research, proper keyword usage, and proper usage of tags.

In addition to using SEO strategies to help drive traffic to your site, professional writers can also write content that drives conversions by utilizing persuasive sales techniques. Writers know how to incorporate emotional appeals, persuasive arguments, and other types of sales techniques into their writing. When you hire a professional freelance writing trained in these techniques, you can be assured of getting results.

Time Savings

As a small-business owner or blog owner, you wear many hats. As a result, you probably end up working from sun up to sun down most (or all) days of the week. By hiring a professional freelance writer, you can allow someone else to wear one of those hats and free up your time to concentrate on other aspects of building your business. Not only will this allow you to better manage your time, but it will help you to grow your business faster.

Money Savings

Yes, a professional freelance writer is going to cost you more money than someone you can get through a content mill service for $5 an article. However, as noted previously, you get what you pay for, and if you want to get quality content, hiring a professional freelance writer is the best way to get that and save money at the same time.

If you hire a professional writer to join your staff, you will have to pay a large salary, in additional to benefits. A freelance writer works by the contract, so you only pay for the work you need, and you don’t have to pay for any benefits, such as health insurance or paid holidays. Therefore, you end up saving quite a bit of money in the long run.

Ongoing Training

Professional freelance writers are responsible for their own training, and they have to stay up-to-date on the most current techniques in marketing, both online and off. You benefit from this expertise without having to get that training yourself or to provide it for employees.

Because of this training, a professional freelance writer can advise you of how best to accomplish your goals and help you develop a content marketing strategy, conduct keyword research, and more.

Do not be fooled into thinking that you can get away with paying $5 for a 500-word article and that it will be “just as good” for promoting your blog or website. It is worth investing in hiring a professional freelance writer who can help you to get results, saving you time and money in the process and increasing your ROI.

If you are just starting up a blog or website, or you think your content needs a makeover, e-mail me so we can talk about how I can help you get the results you need.