Q&A: Where can I get my one-off content distributed?

Posted by on April 10th, 2012

I have an idea for a piece of content and I want to maximize the likelyhood that people using Google will find it. I don’t plan to create an ongoing blog, and I don’t currently have an outlet that this content is appropriate for–I just want to write about this topic! I considered setting up a WordPress, but it looks complicated for my purposes. How about tumblr? Other ideas? -Wants Right Internet Tool Sometimes you have a piece of content just banging around in your head and you want to have people read it, but you lack a good place to put it. You could, of course, create a new microsite devoted to it, or a small blog, or even just put it up as your Facebook status, but those options all come with significant limitations or downsides, from lack of professionalism to lack of distribution to excessive work for your purposes. My suggestion to WRIT? Find a site that accepts guest posts that is related to your topic, and offer your post up to them. Seek one that is as relevant as possible, has good readership and/or connections in the blogging community, and which will offer social media publicity for your content. If WRIT lacks the expertise to find the right channels for her content, hiring someone who does article marketing (like me!) is always an option. Once you’ve found a good channel, WRIT, don’t forget about social media distribution. Pushing your post out to your friends and family…

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Q&A: Do I need to be on Facebook?

Posted by on March 27th, 2012

I recently launched my business and I’m working on building social media profiles. I don’t have a lot of time and I’m worried that having many profiles will spread me too thin. I sell mostly to business professionals. Does my brand need to be on Facebook? –Facebook Is Necessary? Let me preface this with the following: I’m a product of the Facebook generation. I got a profile back when you had to have a college email to join. Social media helped shape my college experience, and therefore has had no small influence on my career. I love Facebook. That said, FIN, you DO NOT have to have your brand on Facebook. Some brands need Facebook. Some brands will do wonderfully on Facebook. But some brands have no business even attempting to be on Facebook because it’s simply going to be a waste of time and money. How do you know which of these your brand is? Should your brand be on Facebook? Ask yourself the following: Am I selling to a Facebooking demographic? If you are trying to reach anyone under 30, women up to around 50 (Facebook is full of moms), college-educated folks around 18-30+, or social media addicts (this is a real demographic if you’re marketing games or apps), you need to be on Facebook. If you are targeting an over-40 demographic, especially males, Facebook might not be the place for you. FIN is targeting business professionals…FIN, are you on LinkedIn? Do I have the time needed to…

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5 Tips for the One-Person Business

Posted by on March 14th, 2012

“[Good] bosses consider coaching to be top priority and trust that investing in people will cause the numbers to improve.” I have seen several variations on this advice in recent business-management articles (the quote is from an slideshow on the habits of ineffective managers). The sum takeaway is “People, not numbers, make your business; focus on relationships for long term success.” Which I agree with whole-heartedly. What I actually want to talk about here, though is the implications for the single-person business. How does “invest in people and profits will come” apply to the one-(wo)man shop? The answer is surprisingly simple. As a one-person business, investing in your staff means investing in yourself. Educate yourself: Don’t overtax your hours stressing over the bottom line when you are trying to build a business. Instead, focus on being the best you can be: educate yourself. Spend at least an hour a day learning. If you try to do too much and leave no time for learning, you will not improve your skills and your business will stagnate. Network: Get to know people in your field, but also get to know other business owners in your geographic area. You’re going to need an accountant; you may also need distribution channels, business partners, cross-marketing opportunities, etc. You may need your computer fixed on short notice. Local business relationships can be vital to filling these needs. Keep your eye on the prize: Focus on providing top quality service/product 100% of the time. Profits are…

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From the Horse’s Mouth: Employee Word-of-Mouth Marketing

Posted by on March 9th, 2012

In a company of any size, it is your employees who make or break your business–they are the ones who speak to your clients and potential clients, the ones whose motivation and rewards will determine the efficiency of your business. Clients are important, of course, but it can be easy to forget that word of mouth marketing comes not ONLY from clients, but ALSO from employees, and in many cases a good or bad word from “the inside” can count a whole lot more than the word of one customer. What are your employees saying about you? Ask yourself: What are my employees saying about me, and my company? How can I positively influence this? What information do my employees have about my business I wouldn’t want customers to know? How am I controlling that information? Do my employees like working for my business? A happy employee is unlikely to bad-mouth you. An undercompensated, overworked employee is already complaining about you on Twitter. What can I do to make my employees more satisfied? A satisfied employee speaks highly of their employing company. How can I encourage employees to be good word-of-mouth? What can I do that will encourage them to passively bring in new business (remember, you don’t have to pay for this!)? Furthermore, consider: How am I controlling my reputation on the social web? As an online marketing professional, I see many companies that have little awareness of the social web beyond “I know I should be on Facebook”…

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New England Winter Beauty

Posted by on March 8th, 2012

This is the view out my window last week. ENORMOUS icicles. I lived and worked in Los Angeles for three years, and while many people think I am insane for moving back to New England, I have very few regrets about doing so. What I miss isn’t the weather (boring, though pleasant)–it’s the food. I really miss having international food on my doorstep all the time. But when I lived in LA…I have to admit I missed the icicles, the lightening storms, and the ridiculous snow. Troublesome as New England weather can be, it’s at least INTERESTING. Now, back to work.

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Be Careful with WordPress Plugins!

Posted by on March 5th, 2012

WordPress is a wonderful, open source, flexible, user-friendly, mobile-friendly, SEO-friendly way to build a website. It’s what this site is running on, and it’s one of the most popular platforms on the web. However, this very user-friendliness comes with a price. The downfall of many things which are user-modifiable is that they are also readily user-breakable. Many people like to fault Apple for being a very closed system–and they are right, to a point. However, it is this closed system that lets Apple provide a highly functional and dependable computer with excellent customer service should you have problems. When building a website, it’s actually a pretty different animal–the least-user-modifiable systems are really pretty poor even for the totally new-to-the-web user (see GoDaddy’s awful Website Tonight product). However, they do provide one significant advantage: it’s hard for the uninformed user to break them. WordPress is a great entry-level platform for sites. In its default state, it allows users to quickly build an attractive, usable site with as much content as they want. If the user never touches anything but the default adjustments, their site will probably work perfectly for the foreseeable future. But the fact is, people like to fiddle, and my generation of internet users has high expectations for websites. WordPress provides access to thousands of plugins which extend the interface, add functionality, let you alter additional settings, and so forth. Many are excellent. There are about 3-4 that I install on every site I work on, because they provide…

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Q&A: My blog gets all my traffic, but it’s not connected to my site!

Posted by on February 26th, 2012

I’ve decided to start answering occasional website management questions on the blog! I’ve always kind of wanted to be an advice columnist, so why not? Here, a business founder wonders how best to manage her website and a related off-site blog: So, I have my official web site, which provides all the info people need about my organization. But then, because I absolutely love blogging, I also have my blog that details the process of starting my organization. So, here’s the thing. They’re two different websites. Now, my initial thinking on this was to make the blog a separate site because it covers a broad range of topics, and I wanted to make the organization’s blog (onsite, currently inactive) much more focused on organization-specific content. The offsite blog is already generating far more traffic than the organization site.  Since the whole point of that blog is to build support for the organization and funnel curious visitors back, I can’t help but wonder if I wouldn’t be better just attaching the offsite blog to the organization’s site and calling it the official organization blog. But then I might feel less free to blog about whatever I want! What should I do? –Blog Is Successful, Oh No! BISON (oh yes, I’m going to use silly acronyms!) has a fairly common problem. She started a blog (fun! often updated! useful to others!) and a organization website (boring, static, limited appeal) and now her blog is popular, but her org site isn’t. They’re related,…

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This is not a magic trick. This is what I do.

Posted by on February 1st, 2012

When you hire me to do SEO, online marketing, UX optimization, advertising, social media, or anything else: Consultations are always free. Marketing services will always come with education. I bring you new marketing ideas not because I want to make more money from you, but because I think that my ideas will help you do more business, and you will want to keep hiring me and referring your friends. While there is a lot of SEO and marketing information freely available on the internet, it seems to me that a lot of SEO companies are in the business of not explaining themselves to their clients. Perhaps they believe that if they educate their clients, the clients will stop hiring them. Perhaps they like keeping SEO a ‘magic trick’. Perhaps they don’t really understand how Google works, but my opinion is that you can’t tell your client “Google search traffic is highly important to your business” and then expect them NOT to turn around and Google search “how to do your own SEO”. Fact is, whether you CAN do your own SEO is beside the point. I CAN do my own sewing when I want a jacket altered, but I don’t. Why? Because hiring someone to do it is ultimately cheaper than the time I would spend learning to do it right and then doing it, and also likely to result in a better final product. SEO and online marketing are the same way. When someone hires me to work on…

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SOPA: Nibbling Away at Your Rights

Posted by on January 17th, 2012

Do you know what SOPA is? You should. It’s a piece of legislation moving through Congress right now that, if it passes, may change the internet drastically. Here’s CNN’s overview if you’re not familiar. In short, SOPA would force sites to go dark for US visitors if they were accused of infringing copyrights. Google has said that YouTube would “have to go dark immediately”. But possibly more alarmingly, the language of the bill is muddled enough that it really allows for sites to get shut down (not actually shut down, but dark for US visitors) on the whim of anyone with enough clout to get heard. Sounds like China, right? Let’s not go there. We still have a chance to stop this. Call your congresspeople, sign petitions, tell your friends–this bill is bad for the internet, bad for your rights, and already way too close to reality. My opinion? People in congress are so far out of touch with the real world, and even further out of touch with the virtual world that has become so intrinsic to our reality, that they probably haven’t a clue what they’re actually doing here. Several major sites, including Wikipedia, are going black on January 18th in protest of SOPA.

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Search Plus Google+

Posted by on January 13th, 2012

Google’s latest revision to search has created a small uproar in the online marketing and SEO communities–not to mention annoyed Twitter to no end (Facebook’s probably irked as well, but Twitter needs the publicity–complaining loudly is a bid to stay relevant that Facebook doesn’t need). Here it is in a nutshell. Google has always personalized your search results, tailoring them to location, previous searches, and a whole host of other things. It’s the reason why your “ranking”–where your link appears in the search results–is not as cut and dried as many people believe. I don’t see the same results you see, and your Aunt Maggie sees a different set of her own. The latest update to Google Search, however, is adding a whole new element of personalization, bringing in socially syndicated content from your friends, contacts, family and professional circles. Great, right? Okay, but the kicker to this is, it’s only bringing in Google+ information, not social data from Facebook, Twitter, etc. That’s why Twitter’s so annoyed. So what does this mean for your business or brand? It means, that while Google + is still a fairly new social network with relatively low adoption, and despite the fact that the ability to have brand/business pages is still pretty new, you need to be on it and sharing your content via Google+, or you’re missing out on a newly-important way to get your name in the top of the personalized, individual results that Google is dishing out. Marketing agencies are jumping…

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