BloggyCon16: Lessons Learned from Sandusky, Ohio

20161005_104426-resizedOn the shores of Lake Erie, with the fabulous Cedar Point Amusement Park as our setting, I attended my first blogging conference September 17th & 18th. 30 hours later and after meeting as many attendees as possible (close to 150), my brain was full of ideas, motivation, and plentiful wisdom of which I share with you this week.

Keynote speaker, Rachel Brenke, spoke on how to Position yourself as an Influencer:
•    Cultivate your audience consistently.
•    Create an audience avatar—a representation of who your ideal reader is.
•    Keep your focus on what would most appeal to your avatar; what does he/she need or want?
•    Stick to your values—how far are you willing to go for your avatar?
*I came away with a better understanding of my audience and what their prime interests are.

Claudia Krusch of TrendyLatina and SocialCoerce spoke on Monetizing Social Media:
•    Lack of followers and lack of money does not equal a lack of blogging success!
•    Know yourself: your content reflects you and therefore, your brand.
•    Will you have a broad or a specific niche?
•    Set a schedule: reliability and predictability are vital to success.
•    Find blogger support groups and networks to learn, grow, and help.
•    Follow people within your niche on Twitter, including people and brands that are compatible with what your goals are and what your avatar needs.
•    Retweet content from others. Comment, share, and reach out.
•    Participate in Twitter parties and Twitter chats.
•    Instagram is growing fast. Get involved in a new platform.
*Social media isn’t as scary as it sometimes feels. There is debate over whether to go broad or specific in your niche. Talk to others and get their opinion!

Influencer Marketing from Tiffany Carroll of IZEA:
•    Brands are looking for creators—YOU!
•    Does your blog fit with their brand—product, service, or idea?
•    Are you authentic on your blog?
•    Brands seek blogs & creators with engagement: are your followers an actual audience or other bloggers?
•    Create interactive content that inspires readers to respond.
•    Share posts to expand your reach and the brand’s reach.
•    Try new social media platforms.
•    Quality content and blog length are what matters to readers and brands.
*I like that brands are in need of bloggers! While our numbers may be small, these brands won’t turn us away. There are ways around what we think are obstacles.

Digital Insights with Kristi Allen:
•    Know your online visitor.
•    Create a strategy based on your goals and their needs.
•    Write more content. Share more content.
•    Find new ways to share: social media, live streaming, podcasts, new media.
•    Implement Google Analytics and Google Tag Manager.
*I have a better understanding of analytics now. Her free download, Smarter Website Goal Worksheet, has several tips for ultimate website performance.

Creating a Culture that Connects with Brands by Tasha Branham:
•    She reiterated what Tiffany said: brands are looking for us!
•    What’s your MVP: Mission, Vision, Purpose?
•    Reach out to the brands that fit your audience.
•    Don’t wait for brands to reach out to you!
•    Write to be relatable; your audience wants to know YOU.
•    Build credibility by being honest.
*I came away with that both brands and our audience are in need of us. There is something for everyone and that we won’t gain (nor will our readers) if we always stay silent. Build your blog, share it out and reach everyone.

Other great insights came from the ‘Bloggy Squads’ in which we broke into small groups to discuss various topics: affiliates, monetization, digital products, parenting. I gained lots of new connections with homeschooling parents and will be implementing their wisdom as I prepare to homeschool my granddaughter.

The greatest wisdom came in a conversation with Claudia Krusch. She told me: Your website needs to be separate from your blog. They don’t mix and if you want either to succeed, you will need to create a separate blogging site. Not the news I wanted to hear, but necessary. Looks like that’s on my 4th quarter agenda.

One last lesson learned: this body is no longer built for rollercoasters!

What about you? Do you have blogging or content questions?

Kristen Edens

Ready to Blog? Here are 216 Tips to get you Started

my buddy S. MilesNow that you’ve got a business up and running, maybe you’re considering adding a blog to your online activity.

Or you’ve had a website with blogging capabilities, but you’ve never quite understood how to get the whole thing started.

Whichever category you fit into, questions like

  • How do I get started?
  • What should I call my blog?
  • What should I write about?
  • What happens next?

keep you spinning your wheels without making any progress.

I’ve been there, too. It took me over 4 years to get into the blogging frame of mind—and I’m a writer! A lot of my early blogging experience came from trial and error. Once I worked through the kinks, the process became smoother and effective. The same can happen for you, too. To help you get into the blogging habit, I’ve collected infographics and articles that will help get started:

How to Come Up with the Perfect Blog Name

Naming a blog can be a challenge for many, but this infographic makes it painless. Once you’ve got your blog name, it becomes part of your brand.

68 Ultimate Blogging Tips: Bloggers Checklist

So which comes first: naming a blog or getting it up and running? There are SO many considerations that these weigh us down to the point of no action. This next infographic offers 68 tips to help you through that snag. 68 tips seems like a lot, but this checklist covers it all. More than likely, you already know most of these. Choose 1 or 2, then implement. If you get stuck or feel stranded, I’ll help you work through them.

33 Things you can do when you’re ready to get Serious about Blogging

According to Hubspot’s State of Inbound Marketing 2014, “Marketers who have prioritized blogging are 13x more likely to enjoy positive ROI”. With stats like that, we want to get serious about blogging! Many of us experience a waxing and waning of activity until we have a solid, doable plan. This blog outlines 33 excellent points to help.  My favorites are #4, 7, 8, 9, 12, 14…oh, they’re all good! That’s why it’s here.

40 Tips: Getting Past Zero

We all start somewhere so this next infographic helps tone down all the ‘noise’ to keep us focused. They’ll pump you up rather than overwhelm you.

75 Blog Resources for Busy Bloggers

Avoid the ruts in your road to success. Once you have your blog up and rolling, it’s easy to get stuck in a rut. This blog offers 75 resources to keep you going strong. You’ll find plenty of links to how-tos, online resources and ideas to keep your blogging activities fresh and effective.

While all these infographics are helpful and motivating, you still need blog ideas. That’s where I can help. Talk to me about idea generation. I offer 1-hour phone conferences that will produce up to ten or more blog ideas. I offer these sessions for $175 but will discount the session 10% for Scribbles of Wisdom blog readers. For more information contact me at kristhescribbler@gmail.com

Happy writing!
Kris the Scribbler

(photo image courtesy of Stuart Miles of freedigitalphotos.net)

New Ideas for Old Blogs

blog-S. Miles of fdp.net

How long have you been blogging? How many blogs have you created in your early years? Did you get many comments? Did you share it everywhere?

If you’re embarrassed to answer, I’m guessing that your previous blogging was sporadic and half-hearted. You knew you needed to blog and so you gave it a try. And hated it. Or couldn’t find the time. Or weren’t pleased with the results.

The good news is that these early, yucky blog attempts may be ready for another step into the big world. The only requirement…

Did you save them?

If yes, HOORAY! If no, then there is still good news. The difference depends on where you stand in your blogging history. If you have blogs that are over 2 years old and got minimal response, then let’s give them another spin. If you are just starting the blogging habit, then a year or so from now, you can revisit these blogs and write a topic review, industry update, an update to your newest services or discoveries, etc.

Let’s talk about the pros of old blogs:

  • There’s gold in those pages! Even if it’s not your best writing, the topics are reusable. Your industry and business offerings will have changed since your early writing so that alone offers expansion on a specific topic.
  • Old blogs inspires new ideas. Even if they’re less than ideal, they will trigger new topics or offer ideas to expand upon.
  • Minor edits needed. It may take a few fresher sentences to be current with the latest thinking in your industry, but you’re not far from having a several blogs ready to go.
  • Ideal for emergencies or vacations. It happens to us all; we end up in a situation and don’t have time to keep up with our content schedule. Resurrecting an old blog can help in a pinch—and it’s better than falling behind! You’ll need to make a few edits, but it’s faster than staring at a blank page. Hint: plan ahead for pinch-blogs. Start the review process now so you’ll have a few ready to go when you really need them.
  • You’ll never run out of ‘old blogs’. In a few more years, you can revisit the blogs you wrote in 2015 and create a ‘best-of’ theme, updates, or even an e-book.

Now let’s talk about the cons of old blogs:

  • Not your best work. It’s probably not the topic itself that’s making you shudder, but you don’t like your ‘voice’, the writing is crappy, it’s too long, too short, or just an uninteresting blob of content on a white background…but it’s a place to start. Revisit and rewrite. If writing still makes you ill, then consider outsourcing the task to a writer (see Struggling through the Writing Phases on how a writer can work with your rough drafts).
  • Finding them. Sometimes we’re embarrassed to admit we wrote those hideous things and never want them to see the light of day. I hope you didn’t delete them, but if you did, you now have a new starting point. If you didn’t, then take a deep breath and dig them out (then refer to the positive points above!)
  • It still takes time. Not as much time as writing from scratch, but you will need to dedicate some time to reading, reviewing and revising.
  • You may not be pleased with your early writing style, but there is helpful information there that people need to know about. What solution did you write about? How is it still applicable today? How has the industry improved the processes since you initially wrote this piece? What new twists can you put on the theme?

If you have created blogs off and on for a few years but never created a regular schedule or gained solid traction, now’s the time to bring them back to life. Start by taking a journey through your blogging archive.

Need blogging encouragement? Give me a call and we’ll make it happen!

Happy writing!
Kris the Scribbler

(photo credit goes to Stuart Miles of freedigitalphotos.net)

Are You A Content Dud? 12 Tips to Put Your Content to Work!

Stuart Miles at fdp.net

Now that you’re creating content, the next obstacle is what to do with it. As discussed in Working through Your Writing Phases, you’re back to determining where it fits with your time, skills and budget. During this process, the biggest error business owners make is to do:

NOTHING

That’s right! Whether they wrote the piece themselves or hired a writer, it ends up buried deep in a computer file, often forgotten in frustration and forever unavailable to help your potential clients. Before you become a content dud, implement one or more of these ideas:

Share it on your social media sites: You’ve heard it a million times, but each platform really does make it easy, the chore is to schedule time to make it happen.

  1. If you don’t want the fuss, there are plenty of tools available to help. A few popular options are Hootsuite, Buffer, and SocialOomph, however, you’ll need to establish some time to learn the process.
  2. Or, spare yourself the hassle and outsource to your favorite social media expert (I suggest Karen Fox of Karen THE Connector or Mich Hancock of 100th Monkey Media).

Is the abandoned content a blog? These may be the easiest to crank out, but they are also the easiest to neglect. First, publish it on your site. Next:

  1. Put a link to it in your signature line.
  2. Publish it on your LinkedIn Profile, home page, LinkedIn Pulse.
  3. Send it out to your email list.
  4. If you really struggle for blogging ideas, publish now then return a year from now for a follow-up report.
  5. If you have been writing for several months and still haven’t seen blogging results, repurpose your early work!
  6. Blogs are versatile and benefit from reincarnation. They’ll inspire new ideas with a half-yearly review.

Is the content an e-book or white paper? It may sound crazy to go to the time and expense of writing these detailed projects and then letting them gather hard drive dust, but it happens. Make sure it doesn’t happen to you with these ideas:

  1. Offer as a free giveaway for newsletter signups.
  2. Are speaking opportunities your strength? Create a presentation out of the document. You’ve got everything you need—now present it at a conference, networking group or professional organization.
  3. Leave-behinds. Okay—this is a whopper to leave behind, but you can create an outline of services from your paper and offer it as a marketing tool. Readers will gain a better understanding of what you do and what problems you solve.
  4. If tech is your thing, consider creating a video blog out of the content. Each chapter or section will have everything you need for a video. To get more details about video opportunities, Samantha Naes of CN Video or Steve Smart of 2Q Solutions can help you out.

Content can be a great bonus for your business but it won’t get found buried in your hard drive. Start with the ideas above, add a little twist and creativity to fit your personality, and you’ll become a content pro instead of a content dud.

To your content success,
Kris the Scribbler

(photo credit goes to Stuart Miles of freedigitalphotos.net)

The Grief Cycle of Content Creation

freedigitalphotos.net-sumethoDo you struggle with developing a content creation plan? Are you experimenting with a process that fits your schedule and your budget, but still get overwhelmed by the possibilities? Perhaps it’s the demand for content that has you spinning your wheels.

This is a struggle most business owners encounter early in their business growth. As I worked on a topic for this week’s blog, I was reminded of the well-known Grief Cycle developed by Elizabeth Kübler-Ross (On Death and Dying, Macmillan, NY, 1969). Her process is often related to people with terminal illness, but further research and adaptation has noticed that “this emotional cycle was not exclusive just to the terminally ill, but also other people who were affected by bad news, such as losing their jobs or otherwise being negatively affected by change.” (changingminds.org)

After some quick research, I found the process to be similar to the emotional cycle business owners encounter as they develop their content plan. Below is my adaptation to the Grief Cycle for business owners suffering through content creation.

Denial: You have a new business and plenty of energy to make it succeed without all that content hassle and hype. You’re on your way with a plan. Watch out world!

jesadaphorn at freedigitalphotos.net

Anger: #$%#!! Your plan isn’t working. In fact, people can’t find your website, your LinkedIn profile, your Facebook page, twitter account, YouTube channel, etc. You cuss, kick, scream, vent, eat chocolate, drink a beer, or a combination of all. Still, it really irks you that you have to reduce yourself to the content hassle and hype.

Bargaining: Fine, dammit. You’ll do one thing: LinkedIn perhaps. So you learn the basics, create a quickie profile, and send everyone you meet to your LinkedIn profile. It is, after all, cheaper than a website and it’s professional. That should be enough.

(Intersperse a little Anger and Denial here)

Master isolated images at freedigpho.net

Depression: Double #&%$*!!! It still isn’t working. Okay—maybe you got a few people to connect with you, but that was it. You fall into a funk, still denying the fact that your business must step into the constant content arena. You still have big dreams of success, but something must change for that to happen. What’s worse is your business peers, business coach, and everything you read online is telling you content is king. (Insert a little more Anger and Denial)

Testing (based on new model information from the Changing Minds website): You explore different options for content creation. Which to start with? Which can you handle on your own? Which must you outsource? What can you avoid? (Expect a random repeat of stages 1 through 4 here).

zirconicusso at fdp.net

Acceptance: You can avoid it no longer. You’ve dug in your heels, gave it your best shot, but, dammit, you’ve discovered it works. *Sigh*

*Adjustment: This isn’t one of Kübler-Ross’ stages, but every business owner will continue to experiment, research, and adjust many aspects of their business. Content creation is just one of them. Be ready for it. Be aware of the cycles. Change brings it on.

Which stage are you at? How are you working through it? Share your grief stages below. If you are still stuck or are trudging through creating a plan that works for you, give me a call. I’ve been through every stage–repeatedly!

Happy writing!
Kris the Scribbler

(photo credits, in order: sumetho, jesadaphorn, Master isolated images, zirconicusso; all at freedigitalphotos.net)

Blogging for Business: Why Your Stories Make a Difference

punsayaporn freedigitalphotos.net

 

Blogging is sometimes viewed as a necessary evil; if we want to succeed, we must blog. With that idea, no wonder so many people struggle to make it a part of their business activity. Many start with good intentions, get frustrated, get few results then quit. Even though we’ve all heard:

  • Be transparent,
  • Be honest,
  • Write what you know,
  • Share stories,

We still fall flat. WHY? Because we forget that stories are the basis for our blogging. Does it sound as ominous if you replace ‘blogging for business’ with ‘storytelling for business’? Probably not, but in case you’re still hesitant, here are solutions to make your storytelling easier:

Start by thinking about your business strengths. You may be an expert NOW, but you started somewhere.

  • What struggles did you encounter when you first began building a widget, designing your first website, learning a new product feature?
  • Include your thoughts and feelings, even if you screamed, cussed or cried.

Make a list. Your future clients will certainly encounter THE SAME experiences—only more of them!

Write your solutions. Create another list with these ideas:

  • How did you work past your own obstacles?
  • What trials and errors did you encounter?
  • What tips or tricks did you discover along the way? How long did it take you to perfect the process?
  • Include your AH-HA moments and how that one solution made a difference with time, money or energy.

THAT’S what your readers want to know, and hearing it from you demonstrates that you know what it’s like to be in their shoes.

Now you’re ready to relate to your clients as they struggle with the same problems. For instance, here’s my story when someone complains about finding ideas for blogging:

Client: I hate blogging! I never know what to say and I don’t want to bore my readers!

Kris: I know exactly how you feel. It took me years to get comfortable blogging because I had the same fears—and I’m a writer. I dabbled in blogging and read plenty of competitor blogs for nearly 3 years. What I learned is that we all start somewhere and my clients take comfort knowing that I’ve experienced similar problems. Here’s how to move past that obstacle…

Listen to their problems. Reach out to more people and ask questions.

  • Build blog topics from their answers (check out Headline Headaches & Stuck on Blogging Ideas for additional blog-generating ideas)
  • Add your experiences with these same problems.
  • Share other client stories with them (withholding the name, of course.)
  • Provide a solution.
  • Write in a way that relates to your reader (story + emotion + similarities = relationship).
  • Listen to and ask for feedback.
  • Repeat.

Soon, you’ll be writing blogs that will develop into a series on their own. For example, I could create a series of blogs on the first set of bullet points above—based on my personal experiences. Then I can create a small e-book based on the series and include it as a free download for visitors. The same opportunity exists for you.

Are you ready to tell a story? What comments or questions do you have? If you still struggle with (or hate blogging, I mean, storytelling!), give me a call and we’ll work through these problems together.

Happy writing!
Kris the Scribbler

photo image courtesty of punsayaporn at freedigitalphotos.net

Double Your Networking Results with These Simple Questions

freedigitalphotos.net by Danilo RissutiNow that you’re less reluctant to GOYA at networking events, let’s double your networking results! Yes, we’re there to build relationships and grow our business, but part of that growth comes from learning what others know (or don’t know) about our business. Once you introduce yourself to one another, take a moment to ask your new contact a few questions about your business. This is a good way to break the ice, but it also provides valuable insight on what is unknown about your business or industry.

For instance, let’s consider questions Thad James of Sammy J Balloon Creations could ask networkers:

What benefits could you gain from creating a balloon installation?
What do you think is the most difficult part of planning a balloon installation?

What could Samantha Naes of CN Video Productions ask networkers?
How long do you think it takes to edit video?
What are the biggest mistakes businesses make when creating their own video?

How about these questions Laura Wiley of Marketing Lift could ask networkers:
How does [strategic marketing] differ from event marketing?
What do you think are overlooked aspects of marketing for small business?

Some of the questions I ask networkers include:
What do you think are the biggest headaches business owners encounter when creating their content?
What do you think are some of the easiest ways to reach your target audience?

With some preplanning, select questions not only build awareness for your business, but you’ll also learn something else: their answers often will reveal their areas of need. This in turn creates a warm lead, plenty of topics for blog posts and could eventually create secondary or supplemental services for your business.
For an extra example of potential blog topics, here are some ideas (Thad, Sam and Laura, these are bonuses for you!):

4 Unexpected Advantages Balloon Installations Bring to a Tradeshow
Avoid These Common Mistakes When Creating a Product Video
5 Reasons to Add Event Marketing to Your Calendar NOW!

Then take it a step further and tweet your blogs, share on your facebook business page, on your LinkedIn home page, Google+ and more. Give a little ‘shout out’ to those who inspired your topic. A 10% discount on your services sweetens the experience a little more. Not only that, you can provide links to your new contacts’ websites which creates a better experience for all.

Sometimes I’ve had a participant ask why I’m asking these questions, but I explain that I’m conducting research for blog topics. I’ll also share the lessons learned from this exercise and suggest similar questions they could ask as well. Notice that the segments in bold above could be adapted for any business. Modify them to fit your business and you’ve got a very simple process to implement at future networking events.

What questions would work for your business? Or do you have other questions about the process? Share or comment below!

Happy writing!
Kris the Scribbler

photo credit goes to Danilo Rissuti of freedigitalphotos.net

Headline Headaches and How to Avoid Them

David Castillo Dominici freedigitalphotos.net

Headlines are one of many stumbling blocks when it comes to writing for our business. How many of us have stared at the blank page just trying to come up with a potential headline that will spark an idea.

First of all, coming up with a headline for an unknown topic is tougher than coming up with an idea. If you’ve got a blogging project ahead of you and are stuck with ideas, start here. Then take those ideas and work through a few headlines. Thanks goes to Joanna Brown of The WordHen who found and shared this link on the Kris the Scribbler facebook page: 7 Ways to Write Headlines that Get Clicks.

In the article, the author, Whitney Cole, identifies 7 types of headlines:

  1. Ask a question
  2. Be honest
  3. Use shock and awe
  4. Show them how to do something
  5. Solve a problem
  6. Include the reader in a group
  7. Promise big benefits

She even provides excellent examples for each. What’s missing, however, is how to take one idea and spin it to fit all 7 headline categories. So I’m taking the topic of blogging for business and providing a headline for each headline type.

  1. Ask a question:

Will Blogging for Your Business Really Help?

  1. Be honest:

Lessons Learned from Not Blogging for My Business

  1. Use shock and awe:

How I went from Guest Blogger to Paid Blogger in Less Than 3 Months

  1. Show them how to do something:

How to Build a Relationship through your Blog

  1. Solve a problem:

Not sure what to do with the Blog You Just Wrote? Follow these Simple Steps.

  1. Include the reader in a group:

Blogging Tips for Boomers & the X-Gen

  1. Promise big benefits:

4 Blogging Habits that will Get You Noticed—FAST!

Notice how each headline type provides a different viewpoint for the same topic. Not only that, each one educates and helps your potential or existing client. Your product or service has several similar topics and headline ideas, as well, and with a little exploration into what you know and what your clients need to know, you’ll have many ideas and headlines fast!

Then, spread them out and intersperse with other blog ideas and you’ve filled your business blogging calendar for several weeks or months, depending on your blogging plan. An extra bonus: you can create a knock-out e-book, presentation or webinar from your topics.

And all this starts with a headline! Pretty amazing, isn’t it?

Got a headline question or comment? Share it below!

Happy writing!
Kris the Scribbler

photo credit goes to David Castillo Dominici at freedigitalphotos.net

Stuck On Blogging ideas? Your Latest Events Could Offer Inspiration

Ideas from Stuart Miles of freedigitalphotos.net

One of the most asked questions is, “Where do I get blog ideas?”

Everyone gets stuck on this aspect of business-ownership (even me) and for some, it could be as unpleasant as pulling your own teeth. Part of the mental obstacle comes when trying to come up with something that WE think our audience would like to read. Most of the time, what ideas come to mind interest you (because no one loves what you do like you), so they’ll probably bore others.

Not so. You are the expert in your industry. In your niche. The people you have collected through networking, LinkedIn, groups, associations and organizations know YOU and they are trusting you to have the answers they need. Even if your industry is swarming with competitors, you have a unique neighborhood of contacts that a competitor does not. So write for them. Solve a problem for them. Let them know you are an expert. They may not need you right now, but someday they will and that’s when magic happens!

If you’re overdue to write a blog because you can’t find a topic, take a look at your work activity last week. Ask yourself these questions:

  • What business-related tasks did you do last week? (list 3)
  • What client tasks did you accomplish last week? (list 3)
  • What client questions did you answer? (list 3 to 5)
  • What events did you attend? (list 3)
  • Did you have to explain your expertise to anyone? If yes, what did you say?
  • What problems did you solve—either for you, your business, or a client? (list 2 or 3)

To give you an example of potential answers, here are mine:

What business-related tasks did I do last week?

  1. Gathered all my tax stuff and sent it to the accountant.
  2. Scheduled my social media posts for the next week.
  3. Created an interview outline for 5 upcoming interviews.

What client tasks did I accomplish last week?

  1. Edited a white paper for a client.
  2. Created a March editorial calendar for a client.
  3. Wrote a bio and presentation summary for a client’s upcoming event.

What client questions did I answer?

  1. How much does this cost?
  2. How long will it take?
  3. What will you need to write my bio?

What events did I attend?

  1. Online webinar about LinkedIn.
  2. 1 Million Cups
  3. Venture Café

Did you have to explain your expertise to anyone?

  1. Yes; the word ‘copy writer’ gets confused with ‘copyright’. I explained the difference by saying the copy WRITER writes what a business needs to attract clients. The copyright deals with the distribution and use of the creator’s product, service or idea.

What problems did you solve?

  1. Problem for me: finding a quiet location to work when the family is home all day.
  2. Problem for client: refining a tagline that ‘just didn’t work for her’.

Next, review the answers and decide which ones would make a good blog post. Experiment with title ideas. Here are a few blog ideas from my events:

  • 5 Top Interviewing Tips for Any Business Owner
  • How an Editorial Calendar Prevents Blogging Headaches
  • The Best Info Needed for an Unbeatable Bio
  • Business Lessons Learned at 1 Million Cups
  • Copy write vs Copyright: Make Sure Your Prospects Understand Your Profession

Can you see how ideas generate from your everyday activity without seeming ‘every day’? Not only that, you’ve got enough blog topics for a week or a month.

Got questions? Comment below. Your question could end up as a great blog topic!

Happy writing!
Kris the Scribbler

photo courtesy of Stuart Miles of freedigitalphotos.net

Social Media vs. Email: Which Content Plan Works Best for You?

Online Mkg by Stuart Miles of freedigitalphotos.netThis topic comes to you courtesy of MediaPost.com and their recent article entitled, Hoping for Social: Depending on Email and based on the 2015 Marketing Trends infographic at Strongview.com. The article opens by saying “Social media is the second most popular marketing tactic…” Though the article is based on research of companies with at least 100 employees, my question is how do small businesses and entrepreneurs factor in social media and email into their marketing efforts?

According to the article, for the companies with all those great employees, their biggest obstacles related to social media success are:

  • employee skills
  • measuring effectiveness
  • creating a strategy

As small business owners, we’re often a one-man-band handling these same issues on our own.

The set-up: Most of us have the standard social media plan: LinkedIn, Facebook business page and Twitter. Those who are really savvy probably have a YouTube account, Google+ and Pinterest, but how effective are these for you? Which are you actively involved in? Which platform best reaches out to your target audience?

And how does this compare to your email marketing activities?

Of all the methods just mentioned, email is the oldest form of online communication—but not by much. We are all capable of sending and receiving emails that we now prefer email contact over cold calling or follow-up phone calls. Just as with the larger companies, email marketing is an easy way to keep up with customers and connections. Social media is quickly growing to be the top outreach method, but we just aren’t comfortable with it yet.

It’s all about comfort: For me, blogging and emailing are my two main activities for keeping in touch. It could be because I’m a writer and I’m very comfortable writing. The important thing to remember is to go where your ideal audience is and to do what makes you comfortable. Stepping out of your comfort zone takes time, but it will come if it’s important to you, your audience and your business.

And ease: My social media activities are focused on LinkedIn. Why? Because—for me—it’s an easy and immediate way to connect with people I meet through local networking groups and national organizations. From there, I extend those relationships by joining LinkedIn groups that complement my specific audiences. It takes time, but this activity has created business for me. The other platforms (and yes, I have accounts in all those mentioned above), are slowly working their way into my monthly agenda. However, it’s a matter of comfort, familiarity, and scheduling that keeps me focused on what works. But remember: what works for me, may not work for you—and that’s okay!

As small business owners, what are your social media and email preferences? Which marketing tactic is your strength? Why? What plans do you have for branching out in 2015? Please leave your comments and ideas in the section below. I’d like to write a follow-up to MediaPost’s article, but from the point of view of small, one-man-band business owners.

And if you’re considering LinkedIn for your 2015 marketing plan and would like to update or improve your profile, I’m offering $50 off profile writing services (regularly $325).

Happy writing—and reaching out!
Kris the Scribbler

photo credit: Stuart Miles of freedigitalphotos.net