Content Development for Cash-Strapped Entrepreneurs, part 4: Hot Content!

ID-100139079Over the last month, I’ve shared experiences and wisdom on content development for small business owners, in the following segments:

Building a list
Choosing a communication method
Evergreen content

In this segment, we’ll discuss what to do if you find a hot piece of curated content and want to share it with your followers NOW.

In part 2 of this series, I had recommended choosing a monthly or quarterly newsletter to get over the hump of starting a content habit. So if a great article crosses your radar and it’s another month until your next newsletter, you have the option to send it out as a special report, but IF it fits a few criteria.

Ask yourself these questions:

• Does it tie into an upcoming event you are promoting or involved in?
• Is it pertinent to your readers now?
• Does it highlight you, your business or something you are involved in?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, then send it out now. You won’t need a detailed e-newsletter or wordy intro; just the basics will do. The subject line is where you’ll really need to shine. Here are a few subject line suggestions:

• Free preview of upcoming session:
• Just released:
• Big News:
• Hot off the internet presses:
• A sneak peek:

Choose one of these teasers and hint at a snippet of the article yet to come. Teasing your reader will spark interest and inspire open rates. In the body of the letter, offer a brief intro, such as:

Hey Bob,
With my upcoming webinar on Content Development scheduled for next Wednesday, I thought you’d be interested in my interview with Entrepreneur Buzz on 10 Content Obstacles Business Owners Must Overcome. You’ll get a quick peek into content development and come away with an extra 10 tips! If your friends struggle with content creation, share this email with them, too.

See you next week!
Kristen Edens
Kris the Scribbler

Include links to landing pages and the article, podcast, or whatever you want to bring to your readers’ attention. Keep it short and sweet, and include a call to action. If it’s immediately meaningful to your readers, then it will make a good ‘special report’. If the hot article doesn’t fit the above criteria, save it for your next newsletter.

Content development is one of those necessary evils for a successful business, but taken in steady steps, it will become a solid habit. The challenge is to get started.

If this still gets you stumped, contact me at kris@kristhescribbler.com and I’ll talk you off the content ledge!

Kristen Edens
Kris the Scribbler
A grandparent in business

Image courtesy of pigdevilphoto at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

How Does Content Marketing Influence YOUR Small Business?

DavidCastilloDominici at fdpLast month, Express Writers created The Ultimate State of Content Marketing in 2015 infographic based on research from Curata.com.

It’s packed with quality information and I recommend reading it. However, as small business owners, we’re likely to get overwhelmed by the statistics and expectations arising from content marketing. Below are some tidbits to break the stats down into not-so-mind-boggling information based on my experience:

9 out of 10 marketers use content marketing: true, but with small companies, the challenge is creating consistent content.

60% use content marketing weekly: once a content plan is created and a calendar is established, the task becomes easier.

41% positive ROI: this does not occur overnight. Results start trickling in after several months of content creation, planning, sharing, and responding. The key to success is to be consistent and not get discouraged.

82% of prospects find relevant content most valuable: Your content is needed and valuable so prove yourself valuable to your audience. Once your prospects get to a point of no return, that’s when they’ll contact you.

Blog posts vs infographics: blogs are easiest and cheapest to put together. Supplement your content curation (see below) with infographics and blogs specific to your industry. If it’s extra informative, create a helpful commentary and include in your next blog (like I’m doing here!)

Whitepapers vs shorter formats: see ‘length matters’ for more info, but create shorter pieces for your weekly marketing. Produce a whitepaper as a free downloadable to build your email list. All formats build your credibility as a thought-leader and variety expands opportunities and share-ability.

LinkedIn & Twitter: two excellent places to share your content and build a following. Make sure to include both sites in your marketing plan.

Length matters: for small businesses tight on budget and time, it’s more important to create useful content consistently. If you are just getting started, shorter content (300 to 500 words) is more realistic as you build your readership. Use longer pieces for downloadables.

Quality: make your content worth reading! (Your favorite writer can help create content ideas!)

Post consistently: tied with idea generation, these are the top hurdles to overcome.

Perfect headlines: we like to read and learn but we don’t have a lot of time for long content. Read Headline Headaches for ideas. Include bold font, bullet points and short paragraphs for skim-ability.

Content audit: this process involves examining all the content on your website and assessing their strengths and weaknesses for future marketing activities. A lot is based on SEO and analytics and a discussion for another blog.

Content curation: this is when you search for great content from industry leaders to share with your contacts. Keeping up with content demand is a challenge for everyone. When you come across something informative, sharing with your audience reduces the consistency pressure.

Creativity: this goes beyond just writing something to get out there. People like to get to know the person behind the content and your stories will help.

Even though content marketing seems overwhelming, it is possible. If you still have questions, send me a note and let’s discuss what’s holding you back. If you know of others who need to better understand the process, share this article.

Happy writing,
Kris the Scribbler

(photo image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici 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)

Still Struggling Through the Writing Phases? Here Are 3 Ways a Copywriter Can Help

David Castillo Dominici of fdf.netLast week I wrote about writing phases and which hang you up most. Were you able to work through the process any easier? Did the next phase hang you up? If so, that’s normal, too. Sometimes it helps to have some guidance, other times you just can’t take it anymore.

I get that way with tech stuff, so I understand your frustration with writing. I have a post-it note on my wall that says:

Outsource what stresses me!!

If writing your content is stressing you, then it may be time to outsource. When someone contacts me at this level of frustration, the question that often follows a brief venting session is, “Can you help me with a blank page (or rough draft)?

Good news: yes! Each phase has its own pros and cons so I’ve broken it down into what you can expect from working with a writer and wherever you are with content creation.

First, for any project, expect a few interview-type questions:

  • Who’s the audience?
  • What is the purpose of this document?
  • What do you want your reader to do?

Then I’ll ask for any samples or drafts you have already created, if available. This helps identify your ‘voice’ and the message you want to deliver.

Next, I will research your business, your industry and your competitors to learn as much as possible.

Then we’ll examine where you are in the writing phase. Here’s the breakdown:

The ‘blank page’ business owner: you’ve tussled and toiled, and still have a blank page. Never fear, the interview (can occur over the phone or through a series of questions by email) tackles the problem. I’ll gather plenty of information to write the needed document.

  • Pro: You’ll avoid false-starts, increased work load, or becoming overwhelmed or frustrated.
  • Con: the focus is on the project at hand. Following the interview, I may suggest ideas for complimentary content or ways to multi-purpose this piece.
  • Fees: project-based which includes the basic interview, research & writing.

The ‘first draft’ business owner: Writing is not a pain for you, you may even enjoy it, but it’s the time commitment that’s starting to take its toll. As your writer, I would repeat the process for the blank page business owner and include reviewing your drafts as part of ‘getting to know you’.

  • Pro: I can pick up your style and voice and replicate that through future projects, if desired. Your content history can reveal where you’ve been, where you’re going, and sometimes what’s missing.
  • Con: same as for ‘blank page’.
  • Fees: same as for ‘blank page’.

The ‘brand journalism’ business owner: This is for the business owner that doesn’t like to write, doesn’t have time and can be really stuck for ideas. What this involves is an hour-long detailed interview with a focus on your business, your industry and the unique audience you seek to attract.

  • Pro: We’ll gain plenty of information and topics for several projects—best for blogs and newsletters. *Also a helpful session for the ‘blank page’ and ‘first draft’ business owners who want to create a content calendar of topics.
  • Con: This project type has a higher fee.

With all phases, we grow together and ideas come faster.

Got questions? Share them below. Outsourcing seems scary until you understand the process. Contact me to discuss your content struggles or projects.

Let’s write!
Kris the Scribbler

(photo image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici of freedigitalphotos.net)

Working through Your Writing Phases—Which Hangs You Up the Most?

digitalart of fdp.netNow that you’ve worked your way through the Grief Cycle of Content Creation, you are writing—sort of. It could be a blog post, an e-newsletter, or an article for a trade journal, but you are building a writing habit and putting it to work. There still may be some reluctance and grief related to your writing habits, but that’s okay. There is no right way to create your content; the most important point to remember is you are an expert and people want to hear from you. The next phase is getting through the typical writing phases that all writers experience, starting with…

The Dreaded Blank Page: We all start with a blank page. It stares at us, stark and white, almost taunting us with its emptiness. To fill in that space you doodle, scribble and probably write some TO-DO reminders (I’ve done this).

To get past this phase, doodling is okay, for a while. Eventually, you will need to focus your time on a problem your ideal clients encounter and how you solve it.

  • List 5 or 6 problems that clients bring to you.imagerymajectic from fdp.net
  • Then list a series of solutions your business provides.
  • If you were to offer a free 30-minute coaching session to that client, what advice would you give?
  • What sequence of steps would you provide your client to make the process easier?

Write these down! Before long, that blank page isn’t so blank and you’ll be…

Advancing to The First Draft: What you just created above is now a first draft. Is it ready for its debut? Well, no. It’s too rough. While it makes plenty of sense to you, your readers won’t understand it. It needs refining and some sparkle.

  • Choose one of the problems your clients encounter—TIP: choose the one that would be easiest to write.
  • Choose the solution that best fits this problem.
  • Create a 5- or 6-point outline that walks your reader through the solution (use this blog format as an example)
  • Give a brief explanation of the hows and whys of the process.
  • Add a little personal experience to your explanation.

Next, you’ll need to incorporate grammar, spelling, punctuation and sentence structure into the document (remember high school English?) It’s not that bad—you made it through high school…and then there is…

The Light at the end of the Tunnel—the Final Draft: You’re almost there! Your draft is ready for some polishing.iosphere at fdp.net

  • Give it distance! Out of sight, out of mind is a good habit for writing. Step away for an hour (or overnight) to let it simmer.
  • Read it aloud—the next day—it will sound very different and mistakes or gaps will stand out.
  • Better yet—let someone else read it aloud. Be prepared for glaring mistakes, but don’t fret too much; they’re easy to fix. Scribble down the areas that need tightening up.
  • Final adjustments—go back and make those corrections. Don’t rewrite it—just fill in the gaps.
  • Add a call to action—many people forget this.

By the time you work through these phases, you’ve got content that’s ready for the real world. Yes, the process still requires a dedicated amount of time, but it does get easier. My own writing habits follow this same sequence.

What questions does this bring up? Share them below. If you need help with any phase or idea development, give me a call!

Happy writing!
Kris the Scribbler

(photo credits go to: digitalart, imagerymajestic, and iosphere from 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

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

Thought Leadership: What is it and Why Do I Need it?

thaikrit at freedigitalphotos.net

Now here’s a buzzword that has many small business owners scratching their heads AND wondering how to incorporate yet another task into their role as business owner.

After a little research, I found several definitions on the phrase but settled on the two which I thought best summed it up. For a detailed, corporate-style definition, go with Denise Brosseau of Thought Leadership Lab:

Thought leaders are the informed opinion leaders and the go-to people in their field of expertise. They are trusted sources who move and inspire people with innovative ideas; turn ideas into reality, and know and show how to replicate their success.

If you want it between the eyes, with a little more hard truth (and perhaps a touch of luck), then Mashable’s guest blogger Lauren Hockenson defined it as:

Do something everyone else in your field thinks is dumb, and be right about it.

For small business owners, thought leadership is what we strive to obtain in order to:

  • build your image as an expert
  • become known, liked, trusted
  • make a difference in your industry, your connections and yourself

So how do you do this without losing our mind and gobbling up your time? You’ll find lots of information online, but it boils down to two main objectives:

Share your knowledge:

This is where your content becomes critical. While the internet and social media make it easy to share your knowledge, expertise and enthusiasm, WRITING IT is where the headaches occur.

Your connections and clients want content that educates, inspires and informs. People have problems and they want solutions now. You have the answers they seek, but must get the word out to them. It’s a vicious loop, but never fear: you already know several simple solutions to common problems in your area of expertise! That’s important information to blog about. Share it through your social media channels, send an email to your connections, build some social media posts around your answer. Find a way to tell a story around your solution. For instance, here’s one I encountered last week:

I wanted to add a banner image to my social media profiles, but didn’t know how to format them appropriately. I tinkered to the best of my limited technical knowledge, then got too frustrated and called another connection to help me. A week before, I met Don Hawkins, of Don Hawkins Photography, at a Networking Geniuses meeting. In his elevator speech, he mentioned his expertise in creating professional images for social media sites. I called him late afternoon on a Friday, told him my issues, and he had them formatted to the correct size in a matter of minutes (check out my LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter page). Once the task was completed, I asked if he encountered this a lot and his answer was yes. Don now has a great blog post—and call to action—for connections wanting a banner image!

What common issues or problems do your clients encounter? Listen. Ask. Explore. Then write. Tell those stories. Share the solutions. Then—BAM!—you become a thought leader. You may not reach the coveted national or international level of thought leader, but reaching that status among your connections and your geographic region is a great place to start—and a great sense of accomplishment.

Share your joys:

You love what you do otherwise you wouldn’t have built a business around it. Thought leadership is a way to express your enthusiasm for what you do, which in turn, attracts future clients. Let your personality show in your content, your messages, and your work and people will remember you. You’ll be the one they seek when they next encounter a problem they KNOW you can handle!

THAT is how you become a thought leader.

Do you struggle telling your story? Do you need help finding ideas and solutions to become a thought leader? Share your ideas, comments or problems below. Or, send me a note and I’ll help you get started.

Happy writing!
Kris the Scribbler

photo image courtesy of thaikrit at freedigitalphotos.net

7 Top Tips to Bore Your Readers

Bored by pixgood.com

 

 

You’ve heard plenty of times what makes a great blog, e-newsletter, website and social media post, right? The goal is:

  • write something fantastic—often
  • get your readers hooked—through ‘engaging content’ and snappy headlines
  • start building a relationship—through touch points (more writing)

But what really makes content uninteresting? How do you know if what you write is flat or fabulous? If boring your readers is your goal, then these 7 tips are the sure way to make it happen and to get your readers to unsubscribe FAST!

  1. Talk about you. A LOT. Don’t solve their problems. Don’t provide solutions to their troubles. Tell them how you are a great (name your profession) and that no one has the experience and talent you do.
  1. Never answer questions. Keep your secrets to yourself and you’ll never have to worry about someone sharing your solutions with their friends and family.
  1. Write long chunks of stuff. Everyone is dying to hear from you and they have plenty of time to read your wisdom. Forget about bullet points, bold, italics and anything that makes your message easier to read. Put it all out there. Scrolling is fun and good exercise for people with lots of time on their hands.
  1. Write once; hit send. You are so great at what you do, there is no need to review it before sending it out to your followers. They know, like and trust you, so everything you say will be of value to them.
  1. Spell Check? Bah! Because you are so great, your followers will forgive and overlook any spelling errors. No need to waste time on silly homonyms or the proper spelling of ‘your’. They know what you mean. If they don’t, they’ll figure it out.
  1. Basic headlines and subject lines. No need to fuss over inspiring or entertaining headlines anymore. Titles and subject lines like ‘My newsletter’ or ‘Today’s blog’ are all you need to say. Remember: it’s from YOU and everyone wants to read your wisdom now. Don’t worry about identifying who you are; they will KNOW!
  1. And don’t forget industry jargon. You’re the expert and your readers want to be wowed by how much you know. Big words are impressive. Acronyms and industry-specific words are not used enough. If your reader doesn’t know the word, no biggie—see rules #1 and #2.

I’d ask if you have questions, but this goes against rule #2 above.

If, on the other hand, you want to break all the boredom rules, attract an audience, and solve their problems, I’ll break these rules with you, too. I’m ready! Are you?

Where do you struggle with your writing and touch points? Share below or send me a note.

Happy writing!
Kris the Scribbler

photo credit goes to pixgood.com

Looking for Books to Help Your Business Grow?

Gualberto107 freedigitalphotos.netOwning a business means we’re constantly learning and growing. In addition to reading countless blog posts and white papers on building, growing and thriving in a business, there are plenty of books on the subject. Below is a list of the business books I read and a brief summary on each.

Conversations That Win the Complex Sale by Erik Peterson and Tim Riesterer

I discovered this book and author at the Business Marketing Association’s annual conference. Tim Riesterer presented and did an excellent job explaining the conversation it takes to make a tough sale. Not only did Tim explain the process with energy and humor, he writes that way, too. I recommend it if you struggle with making that final stretch to paying client.

Defeating an Internet Boogeyman by Mason Duchatschek, Adam Burns & Will Hanke

I’ve known Will Hanke of Red Canoe Media, for several years and we have worked on projects and workshops together. Will and his partners wrote the book to protect individuals from online attacks to their professional and personal lives. At 118 pages, you’ll find plenty of real-life experiences and easy solutions to existing or potential internet problems.

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain

Although I read this book in 2013, I refer to it often. As an introverted business owner, there are more times than not when I must step out of my shy-shell to build my brand and build awareness. Without doing so, my business (and I) would not grow. This book reminds me that there are plenty of introverts out there and the strengths they bring to business.

Create Your Writer Platform by Chuck Sambuchino

I met Chuck at the Missouri Writer’s Guild Spring Conference this year and his book was the title of his presentation. Although written for authors, many of his points can also be applied to growing business relationships. Chuck’s book breaks it down into 240 pages of overwhelming, mind-boggling, how-in-the-world-am-I going-to-do-this instructions on how to build your platform. Lots of great information here, but I finished the book feeling like I was drowning.

Crush It! by Gary Vaynerchuk

Then Gary’s book comes along. It must be the ‘chuck/chuk’ name, but both authors discuss much of the same information. The difference: Gary makes it sound possible; anyone can do it. However, he does state that it takes A LOT OF WORK. While I’ve felt too intimidated to return to Chuck’s book to implement his ideas, I have referred back to Gary’s book often and started making an outline before I finished reading.

The 45-Second Presentation That Will Change Your Life by Don Failla

This 81-page wonder details the process and potential with network marketing. At the time it was written, online anything did not exist. The beauty of this book is that the process is just as applicable today as it was 30+ years ago. I came away with new ideas and a plan that complements the outline I created with Gary’s book.

Six books in one year may not sound like much (not counting the fiction books I read), but the information gleaned from these books has been tremendous. Pick up one or two, or all and let me know what you think.

What’s on your reading list? I’d love to hear what you read and what you recommend.

Happy reading—and writing!
Kris the Scribbler

photo credit: Gualberto107 at freedigitalphotos.net