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Repurposing content

Are your archives full of blogs, PowerPoint presentations, and other media that are just collecting dust, despite it’s continued relevancy? Older content may not be ready to be put to rest just yet; consider repurposing it for a new post.

What content is fit for repurpose? First, it must be evergreen, meaning that it is still relevant and likely to stay relevant through time. Second, was it popular the first-go round? Could it help even more people? And finally, do you have something more to say about a topic that you posted about months ago? Now could be the perfect time to elaborate.

Ways to repurpose evergreen content:

  1. Create new blogs and articles. Create a “spin-off” of different points made throughout. A new article could go into further detail of helpful information that was only touched upon the first time around.
  2. Create a presentation. Did a piece have a lot of interesting statistics or a quote that really stood out? Bring more attention to it with a slideshow presentation. Using tools like Slideshare and Canva, you’re able to create visually appealing presentations that you can embed right onto your website with the right plug-ins.
  3. Build an infographic. If a presentation doesn’t seem like the right to go with statistics, create an infographic. You can highlight useful information with appealing imagery. Infographics are also a great way to repurpose and summarize “How-to” tutorials, adding interesting visuals to make the lists more eye-catching.
  4. Turn statistics into tweets. Share some fun facts with your audience via Twitter! A good way to drive traffic to the blog is to enter the stat directly into the tweet with a link to see the post.
  5. Turn a blog post into a podcast or webinar. People may not always have time to read a blog, so a podcast is great way to catch them on the go.

Repurposing your content can be a huge benefit because it is a major time-saver and you also have a new opportunity to reach a new audience. Repurposing also boosts your SEO, especially when you are using the right keywords in your posts.

Advertising on Instagram

Ever considered an ad on Instagram? With a community of over 400 million users (making it one of the world’s largest social media platforms), Instagram ads can help you reach a larger audience by building awareness and driving traffic to your website.

There are three types of Instagram creative ads:

  1. Photo –representation through imagery.
  2. Video- visual representation through a thirty-second video with the added elements of sound and motion.
  3. Carousel- a photo ad carousel, giving users the opportunity to swipe through multiple images.

To get started with Instagram advertising, your brand needs a Facebook page. If you don’t already one, you can create one here. To add an Instagram account to the Facebook page follow these steps:

  1. Go to your Facebook page
  2. Click “Settings” in the top-right of the page
  3. Click “Instagram Ads” on the left menu.
    1. If you already have an Instagram account, click “Add an Account” and sync up the username and password.
    2. If you don’t have Instagram, click “Add an Account” and select “Create a new account.” A screen will appear, prompting the instructions on how to join Instagram.
  4. Click “Confirm.”

To create your Instagram ad:

  1. Go to your Facebook page and click “Create Campaign.”
  2. Select an objective, such as promote a page
  3. Set target audience, budget, and schedule.
  4. Click “Chose Ad Creative.”
  5. Choose the content of the ad, which can be run solely on Instagram or both Instagram and Facebook simultaneously.
  6. Format the ad by selecting the creative: video, photo, or carousel SEO 429
  1. Select your respective Facebook Page and Instagram accounts to represent the ad.
  2. Fill in the ad details: headline, text, and call to action to add links.
  3. Ad Preview will show the placement of the ad in the media channels where it will run. Default settings will include Facebook news feeds and audience network. You can customize the ad’s placement with the “remove” icon to the right.
  4. To run the ad, click place order.
  5. Facebook will review the ad for appropriate content and pricing; once it’s approved, the ad will begin running on Instagram and other selected media channels.


Happy advertising!




Your New Assistant Could Be Coming to a Phone Near You!

Have you heard? Rumor has it that Facebook will be launching a new Artificial Intelligence “Bot” within their Messenger app next week at their F8 conference. Facebook’s new bot, called “M,” is an AI service overseen and trained by real people. M could be your new best friend, or at least your assistant. You’ll be able to ask “M” questions about products and services and she will offer you the best options and be able to complete tasks for you, such as making a purchase.


So how will this impact your Facebook strategy as a marketer? Hard to say for sure as it’s still a bit speculative at this point, but understanding what a bot is (and isn’t) as well as how a bot works will be our first step.

There are several kinds of bots, but most common in marketing is the Chatterbot. Chatterbots are used to automate conversations with consumers, acting as a customer service agent. They are designed to simulate intelligent conversation via text or auditory messages and SEO_415give users a programmed response. Remember Clippy from MS Word, the paperclip that would help you learn how to use the program? He is a great example of the early uses of a Chatterbot in computer software.

Today, the use of bots has gotten more dynamic. As people are becoming more dependent on smartphones, applications are creating ways to add bots to existing services to make finding information faster. For example, Taco Bell and Slack (another messenger app) are partnering together to create Tacobot. Tacobot will be a service on Slack where consumers can order tacos and even converse with the bot, if desired. The bot uses artificial intelligence to learn more about the consumer and their ordering habits, so when the consumer comes back, the process will be even faster.

Many experts are predicting that, eventually, bots may replace apps. They offer a more interactive service than apps, including instant-messaging customer service, the ability to buy products and services, learn additional information, and ask questions directly related to the brand. Because Facebook Messenger already has 900 Million users (and growing!), M could be the new black and be a game changer for mobile platforms becoming the new standard across all devices.


Meme Marketing

Have you ever considered thought about meme marketing? Memes are images that reference popular culture with an image and a few lines of text that is virally shared across social media platforms and blogs.  Marketers are turning to memes as a source of pop-culture that appeal to a mass audience

Memes can be a great marketing tool for several reasons:

  1. They’re attention grabbing and easily digestible.
  2. They’re funny and relatable, adding value-content to your strategy.
  3. They’re easy to share and help you stay relevant on social media.
  4. They’re fun and easy to make!

SEO_ 48Memes can be created on Photoshop with an image and text, but if your design skills are lacking, there are many tools available to create a meme for free. Here’s how to generate a meme on imgur.com:

  1. Go to imgur.com
  2. Browse popular memes or, if you already have an image in mind, click "Upload images" at the top of the screen.
  3. Click "Make A Meme" from the dropdown menus
  4. Browse popular meme images and select one to make your own. You can filter by the meme name or upload your own background.
  5. Enter your text and format to your liking.
  6. Click "Make This Meme" on the right (by doing so will be accepting Imgur terms and conditions.)
  7. Share!

Imgur offers the ability to see your meme by link or by downloading it to your library. You’re able to post it to various social media and get the links to share, direct link, and embed it in HTML to add to a website or blog.

Using Twitter Events to Your Advantage

Twitter Analytics offers a lot of useful information: they collecting data on your mentions, profiles visits, and followers. No Analytics will enable you to learn even more about what’s trending across the platform. Why is that useful? Researching the trending topics on Twitter can help you join the conversation on trending topics and engage with audiences based on their interests. One of the ways to do this is through Twitter Events. Twitter has a record of all the major events from around the world, including the iHeartRadio Music Awards to the New York International Auto Show and April Fools Day.

To learn what events are being discussed, log into your Twitter account, and click on you account icon and select “Analytics” from the drop-down menu. Once on the analytics page, you’ll click on the “events” tab at the top of the screen to see a full list of events being discussed. By clicking on a specific event topic, for example, entertainment or sports, you can see the most popular events from around the world in those categories and learn more about the demographics surrounding that specific event, including gender and geographical location.

Certainly browse the trending topics that best to relate your brand, but don’t be afraid to stray away to other topics, especially if they’re trending in the demographics that align with your target markets. If something is seemingly unrelated, this analytic offers a chance to get creative. For example, a craft store joined the conversation on Daylight Savings by tweeting about a fun project for kids to teach them about time differences. They were able to market some key products, show they’re family-friendly, and utilize a trending hashtag, all of which can help boost ROI and attract customers.

Getting involved with the conversation is a key part to audience engagement and it’s now easier than ever with these types of social media analytics. Many companies use tools like Twitter analytics to expose their brands and be seen across the platform, getting involved with events could be that first step to exposing your brand to a larger audience.


SEO 41

Facebook Instant Articles

On February 18, Facebook introduced the concept of Facebook Instant Articles: a new platform that will be available to all content publishers starting in April. What makes a you a content publisher on Facebook? Publishers include social media marketers, bloggers, as well as big publishing companies such as BuzzFeed or NBCNews.

Publishers will be able to distribute articles and content with different interactive developments, including auto-play videos, interactive maps, and tap-to-zoom image display. One of the major goals for Facebook Instant Articles is in the name: instant. This technology is developed to be quicker on a mobile platform and gives the readers the ability to immerse themselves into the story.

Instant Articles will be available to add on WordPress as a new plugin called "Simple Facebook Instant Articles." It is optimized for faster mobile performance and a customizable visual display. The Instant Articles plugin uses a standardized markup language to apply different interactive functionality to the posts. With this plugin, the articles will be viewable on iPhones and Android devices exclusively and will be easier than ever to share articles across a mobile platform.

Here’s what you need in order to have to be ready for Facebook Instant Articles:

  1. A Facebook page and Facebook page app to preview your content.
  2. An RSS Feed to help you automate content publishing to Facebook Instant Articles.
  3. A minimum of 50 articles to submit to Facebook for approval into the program. Approval is based on the style of content and how the design fits into the article layout and the markup elements of Instant Articles. Learn more
  4. Facebook Business Manager, in case you are ever in need of support on the site. Without the Manager, you won’t have direct access to the support.

What makes Facebook Instant Articles different? For starters, publishers are in complete control of their articles, can sell ads on their content and keep that revenue, as well as leverage their own analytical tools. Best of all, Facebook Instant Articles load much faster than adding a link to a post. On the average mobile, it would take at least 8 seconds for the post to load. Facebook Instant Articles load instantly, as much as 10 times faster than the standard mobile web.

One of the best ways to find out if Facebook Instant Articles will work for you and your content is try it out! By signing up at Facebook, you can learn more about Instant Articles Publishing and how it could benefit you.

Repurpose content on LinkedIn

Do you have some older posts or content ideas that didn’t get their due credit? Repurposing content is growing trend in 2016, many marketers are finding ways to recycle "oldie buy goodie" tips. Sometimes when a post doesn’t get the traffic, putting it on different platforms can boost visibility. Consider LinkedIn.

In 2014, LinkedIn added Pulse to the platform, which gives users a feed of articles based on interests, skills, and likes. As a user of LinkedIn, you are able to post your own content to be seen on your connection’s feed.

  1. Create a LinkedIn account and log in.
  2. Under the "Interests" menu, select "Pulse"
  3. Click "Publish a Post"
  4. Create a headline and write your post
  5. Add embedded links or videos or images (optional)
  6. Click "save" or "publish"

SEO 311

Don’t be afraid to get creative, even in the professional world of LinkedIn. You want to catch the attention of your audience; the headline is the place to do it. You’re also able to add tags to your post, so be sure to include keywords that are commonly used in search engines in relation to your content. If people are searching for similar content, with those keywords, they’re more likely to come across your post. According to a study from January 2016, these different practices helped make a post more successful:

  1. Specific headlines ("Over 55,00 Dental Care Providers. Accepted Guaranteed." Versus "Best Price Dental Care- Without Insurance."
  2. How-to tutorials
  3. Lists posts
  4. Question posts (ex: "Why Publish on LinkedIn?")
  5. Include visuals
  6. Publishing time (when should you publish to find the right traffic?)

Ensure your content is evergreen, meaning that it is sustainable and has lasting relevancy to the readers. That way, even long after its publishing date, it can still turn up in search engines and gain traffic.

Creating a Social Media Quiz

A great way to drive traffic to your website is creating a quiz. Quizzes are a benefit to bring more people to your site, pique interest in products, and they are easy to share among users.

When creating your quiz, you need a plan. What is the ultimate goal? To bring more followers? Showcase your brand? Announce an event? The first step is to consider the overall goal of this quiz.

What about this quiz will benefit your audience? The answer to this question creates a topic for your quiz. If you’re looking to introduce your brand to a new audience, consider your products and how they can be useful to people. You might develop a personality quiz based around the products you’re trying to showcase. Previously, we discussed how to build a "fandom" with your audience- a quiz is a great way to find out their interests and join the conversation and build a relationship. Or you can create a poll or survey to get feedback on products that you’ve already showcased. The possibilities are endless!

There are a variety of tools out there including Viral Quiz Builder, Qzzr, and more, all offering different services, based on your needs. The basics of a package include tools to create the questions, ways to upload media to make the quiz more interactive, and embed the quizzes to make them more shareable across multiple platforms. Sometimes

Things to consider in your questions and results:

  • Keep it short – if a quiz is too long, users may lose interest.
  • Use images- this can draw the attention of the quiz taker.
  • Keep it simple- make the quiz easy to understand and easily shareable.
  • Make it fun- while more sales are your end goal, the focus of the quiz should be for participants to have fun.

SEO 18 1Results! Don’t reveal the results too soon- a good rule of thumb is to add an opt-in page for the partaker to join a mailing list or event an offer to receive a free gift participating. However, there should be an easy way to skip this step.



The results of the quiz should all remain positive, because people are more likely to share a positive result, rather than a negative. Keep the wording upbeat and encouraging, especially to get their friends to take it too! Include the link to website, offering the chance to learn more. The Girl Scouts provide a great example of a results page:


Quizzes are the type of media that can be used again because you can always change the topic to fit your needs. Whether you’re trying to boost a brand or drive sales or connect with followers, there’s a quiz for that!

40 Social Media Marketing Acronyms Revealed [Infographic]

In the social media universe, it is often necessary to keep your messages brief. This has brought about an explosion of Internet specific acronyms used to communicate thoughts and ideas quickly and efficiently. Whether you are new to social media or a self-proclaimed expert, there will come a time where you’re perusing your favorite social site and you wonder, what in the world does that mean?!?!

For your enjoyment and edification, may we present forty popular social media marketing acronyms and what they stand for.

SM Acronyms

40 Social Media Acronyms Revealed

1.  API = Application Programing Interface

2.  B2B = Business to Business

3,  B2C = Business to Consumer

4.  CMGR = Community Manager

5.  CPC = Cost Per Click

6.  CTA = Call to Action

7.  CTR = Click-Through Rate

8.  CX= Customer Experience

9. ESP = Email Service Provider

10. G+ = Google Plus

11. GA = Google Analytics

12. FB = Facebook

13. FTW = For The Win!

14. DM = Direct Message

15. IG = Instagram

16. ISP = Internet Service Provider

17. KPI = Key Performance Indicator

18. LI = LinkedIn

19. P2P = Person to Person

20. PPC = Pay Per Click

21. PV = Pageviews

22. ROI = Return on Investment

23. RSS = Really Simple Syndication

24. RT = Retweet

25. RTD = Real-Time Data

26. SaaS = Software as a Service

27. SEM = Search Engine Marketing

28. SEO = Search Engine Optimization

29. SERP = Search Engine Results Page

30. SM = Social Media

31. SMB = Small Business

32. SMM = Social Media Marketing

33. SMO = Social Media Optimization

34. SMP = Social Media Platform

35. SOV = Share of Voice

36. TOS = Terms of Service

37. UGC = User Generated Content

38. UV = Unique Visitor

39. UX = User Experience

40. WOM = Word of Mouth

See any that we missed? Please be sure to add them to the comments!

SEO and SMM Alert 6/14/2013 Edition

Happy Friday!

Enjoy this week’s alert!


Lindsay’s FAV SEO and SMM Alerts- 6/14/13 Edition

Weekly WordPress Plugin:  “Social Contests

Use this plugin to run promotional campaigns on your WordPress site that spread quickly on Facebook and Twitter. Promotions allows you to run contests.  Get the results you need: Fan-Gating entices users to “Like” to see your contest, increasing your Facebook Fans

3 Creative Ways Brands Are Using Pinterest

Are you looking for some creative ways to use Pinterest? Would you like to make stronger connections with your customers?

Want To Turn Visitors Into Customers? Optimize Your Landing Page!

If high, landing page bounce rates causing abandonment issues, if the average conversion rate in the industry is twice higher than what you have, if inefficient pay per click solutions are wasting your valuable time and money, than you need to get to work and optimize your landing page.

How to build your audience in social networks?

What are the most popular ways to attract new subscribers to groups? and
How many new subscribers is it possible to attract in a natural way per month?

Seven quick tips for success with localized SEO

Do you have a localized SEO strategy? Are you making effective use of Google Places? If you are not, like many brands, then you are missing a trick.

Five Killer Video Marketing Tips

No matter what you’re selling or hoping to promote, video should be a consideration for your marketing spend and focus. With easy-to-use platforms like YouTube, nobody can blame technology as a hurdle anymore.

How to Improve Your Social Media Marketing Return on Investment

Have you ever been asked to show the return on investment (ROI) for your social media work?
Have you had trouble giving an exact number to explain your ROI or even set quantitative goals for your social media?

SEO and SMM Alert- 6/7/13 Edition

Happy Friday!

Enjoy this week’s alert!


Lindsay’s FAV SEO and SMM Alerts- 5/31/13 Edition

Weekly WordPress Plugin:  "AtContent Plugin"

AtContent plugin you get an unique backlink from AtContent for every article on your site, increasing your site search ranking. You also get up to 20% – 70% new readers from AtContent, depends on your blog subject. Other people can now legally repost your publications, provide backlinks to your site and attract new readers. This boosts your search ranking and readership faster than ever, and it’s free!

How to Use the LinkedIn Contacts Feature

Are you looking for a smarter way to stay in touch with your most important business relationships?
What if you could store all of your contacts in one place?

3 Ways Social Media Creates a Social Local Community

Are you looking for ways to engage with your employees and your local community?
Are you using social media to create awareness for the services you offer?

26 Ways to Create Engaging Content

Are you looking to create content that engages?
Does your content connect with people and encourage them to engage?

Too Busy to Blog?  Richard Branson Isn’t

The Internet & social media have changed the way companies have engaged the  power of branding.  Now individuals & solopreneurs have followed suit.  There is new thinking — everyone is a brand, every person, every professional.

Google Authorship is the Future

Google authorship ties your content together with your Google+ account. The result is that Google takes you as an author into account when delivering search results

Top Five Tips for Making Content Work for Your Brand

Content is king… That’s what all the buzz has been about, right? Yet the 2013 B2B Content Marketing Benchmark Report   found that only 36% of businesses believe their content marketing is effective.

1-8-13 Tuesday Training: How to use Hootsuite Efficiently

For the average user, Hootsuite is a free and very convenient service used to manage your social media accounts. You can schedule posts, view your Home Feeds, see analytics and all kinds of other stuff for Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ and more! At times, we’ve found this service to be very handy but other times it’s unfortunately been a detriment to its user. But as long as you follower our advice, you’ll be able to get the most out of Hootsuite without falling into the common trap.

First off, if you haven’t already, visit Hootsuite.com to set up your free account. They’ve got a pretty slick set up process so it just takes a few minutes to hook up all your social media platforms.

Once it’s all set up, we recommend looking around the site for a little while. Maybe even take the short "tour" they provide. Soon enough, you’ll have a good grasp on what Hootsuite is all about.

One of the most popular uses for Hootsuite is post scheduling, so that’s what we’ll focus on in this session. Post scheduling is where some people fall into a trap. They think they’re being efficient with their time, scheduling posts in advance, but really, that "efficiency" is just a nice way of saying "convenient enough that it allows me to be lazy." Obviously, that’s not the best approach to social media. And truth is, you’ll more than likely see the effects of that laziness returned in the lazy (or non-existent) engagement from your followers.

We want to offer three tips to make sure that "efficiency" that Hootsuite offers, really is efficient for you. Because if you aren’t able to engage with your followers, it’s really not an efficient system at all in social media. It’s a waste of everyone’s time.

Efficient Tip # 1: Plan.

Yes, we said it, do plan posts. A vital part of effective online marketing is a marketing plan. Know what you want to accomplish with your social media sites. Determine what steps you can take to get you there. Craft strategic posts for things you can see in advance.

Efficient Tip #2: Set it, DON’T forget it.

Businesses especially seem to take to the idea that people will engage with their preplanned posts and that it is the business’s right to not engage back. It may be your right, but what is the point of your customer engaging with a post about your product when you’re not there to post the sale? Always keep in mind which posts you have going out on which day. And then remember to check on those posts and breathe a little extra life into them if necessary.

Efficient Tip #3: In Addition to…

Your Hootsuite posts should never be your only posts. If you’ve got an active presence on the world wide web, odds are new topics and stories might come to you as you go through the rest of life. Or maybe there’s news in your office? These are perfect opportunities to make "live" posts on your social media sites to ensure that what you’re putting out there really is relevant and up-to-the-minute.

No matter which way you slice it, social media needs a person on both ends. The business end doesn’t need to be a CEO, but it can’t be an online service. And why would want an online service "personally" engaging with your customers when you could have an educated and talented employee doing so?

Still struggling with managing your social media sites? If you’re frustrated with your current website, or just looking for a little help, we’re now offering website reviews for only $295 (normally $495)! If you’re interested in learning more please email info@celebritysites.com

1-1-13 Tuesday Training: How to Cross-Sell with Facebook

We all know by now that Facebook can be a great marketing tool for your company (not to mention free). You’re able to engage with your users on an outstandingly personal level and constantly send them whatever message your company wants to send. But how can we move from selling your brand on Facebook, to selling your product?

Our short answer? Applications!

Facebook Timeline comes equipped with a whole host of apps to add to your page. What do you wish people could do through your page? Buy your book? Well maybe they can!

When your Facebook business page is created, you’re given a few default apps. These include "Photos," "Likes," and maybe "Events" and a map of your location. It’s up to you to add more applications that work directly with what you’re trying to accomplish on Facebook.

Wish people could see your website straight from your Facebook page? Try the "Static HTML: iframe tabs" app! You can create an app that directs to a page of your website by just having the URL – no coding required! Or use the "Static HTML: iframe tabs" app to direct them to your book on Amazon, or any other URL where they can buy your products.

Another app we love is Youtube. Your customers can see a list and description of your videos straight from the Facebook App. And if one sounds interesting, they can simply click the link and Youtube will open a new tab with your video!

Of course we love the RSS Feed apps. It’s another direct way for your customers to access your content and think about purchasing your expertise to fulfill their needs and wants.

There are some 9 million apps out there on Facebook, so use your imagination. What do you want Facebook to do for you? Talk with your Social Media Coordinator at Celebrity Sites and see how you can begin to utilize Facebook to sell your products and begin to monetize your social media.

Still struggling with managing your social media sites? If you’re frustrated with your current website, or just looking for a little help, we’re now offering website reviews for only $295 (normally $495)! If you’re interested in learning more please email info@celebritysites.com

12-18-12 Tuesday Training: How to "Highlight" something on Facebook

This a simple concept, but we’ve found that with Facebook’s change to Timeline format, this feature went unnoticed by many people. Because of the change to Timeline format, the layout of business pages has changed for better and for worse. It a fun format and with exciting features but one negative aspect in some people’s opinions is the "Recent Posts by Others" box on business pages. While some love that it puts what everyone else is saying to the side and the regular viewer is able to just see what the company is saying, other people hate it.

The solution? The "Highlight" option.

To start with, we’ll approach from the business post perspective. Have you ever seen that Fortune 500 company’s business page with the giant picture that stretches across the whole screen? That’s because the post has been highlighted.

Posts that you’ve made as your business will already appear on your business page timeline. But what if you want to highlight one of those posts even more? What if you want to put a giant picture on your timeline? It’s simple!

With your cursor, hover over the post you’d like to highlight.

Click the star in the top right corner, and voila! Your post is highlighted. (You may need to refresh your page to see this change)

Now, we’ll talk about highlighting "Recent Posts by Others," which can be a little bit confusing. As we mentioned before, Timeline format kicks all the posts by your followers to a box on the side. But what if a client writes a recommendation? No one will see it in that box over there. You need to get it out on the full Timeline so that visitors to your Facebook page will be able to see it right away.

In the top right of the "Recent Posts by Others" box, click "See All."

Find the post you’d like to highlight and hover over it with your cursor.

Here’s the confusing part: An "x" will appear in the top right corner of the post. In the past, this "x" was basically used to delete a post. And there’s no other indication that it would do anything different now. In fact, if you hover over the "x" with your cursor, the word "Remove" will appear. We don’t know why Facebook would do it like this, but the "x" in this case really functions like a drop down menu. It doesn’t remove, necessarily. It gives you several options, one of which is to remove the post. So click the "x" (even though we know, it goes against your instincts! An "x" in the top right corner always means "go away" and not "highlight").

Once you click it you will see the option "Highlighted on Page" which you can then click.  And there you go! All will be able to see that post in giant format! Keep in mind that Timeline is still in chronological order, so if you are highlighting a post that was put up a month ago, it will show up back before the last month’s posts.

We hope this post was helpful in untangling one of Facebook’s slightly confusing features. We’ve found that Facebook and many other social media sites can be constantly evolving, making it difficult for business owners to stay on top of things. But that’s what we’re here for! We stay up to date on the latest and greatest in social media and are ready to implement it for you at your command!

You tell us – what else would you like to learn about social media?

Still struggling with managing your social media sites? If you’re frustrated with your current website, or just looking for a little help, we’re now offering website reviews for only $295 (normally $495)! If you’re interested in learning more please email info@celebritysites.com

12-11-12 Tuesday Training: How to Tackle Pinterest for your Business

As one of the fastest growing social media sites (they hit 10 million unique vistors per month faster than any website ever) and with its referral traffic higher than LinkedIn, Google+ and Youtube combined, Pinterest isn’t really something many companies can afford to ignore. Perfect for our visual culture, it’s a picture sharing machine. Since pictures say a thousand words, users don’t have to read about products and services. They can see them. And then be directed straight to an opportunity to purchase them.

Like any social media community, Pinterest has its own breed of users. And more important than jumping in, is knowing what you’re jumping into. We’re making three recommendations to help give you a solid foundation to put your business on Pinterest.

  • Know the audience. Pinterest is predominantly women. To put a number on it, about 70% of users are female. This is one of the most important factors in developing your social media marketing plan for the site. What do you have to offer women? Is your product solely for men? If so, your Pinterest marketing plan would have to accommodate both a narrow audience of men and an audience of women who have their man in mind. Be sure to spend time considering your marketing plan for a crowd that is almost exclusively women. What kind of woman are you targeting? Homemakers? Prominent business women? Health conscious women? Once you’ve developed an understanding of who you’re talking to on Pinterest, you can start to understand how to talk to them.
  • Know the site.  When a user "pins" something on Pinterest they pin it to a certain "board" which falls into a certain category. Understanding the most popular categories can  give you a head-start in planning what types of posts might be the most widely viewed on the site. Currently, the top five categories are: Home, Arts & Crafts, Style/Fashion, Food, Inspiration/Education. Is there a way your product, service or brand relates to one of these categories? Be creative! You might be surprised by just how possible it is that your brand does have a place on Pinterest. Don’t believe us? Check out what General Electric http://pinterest.com/generalelectric/ is doing .
  • Know how to have fun. Another lesson you can learn from General Electric besides creativity is how to relate to your customers in an intentionally fun way. The more time you spend on Pinterest the more you’ll be able to see the trends and jokes and be able to participate in the conversation. See how General Electric participated in the "Hey girl" trend here. http://pinterest.com/generalelectric/hey-girl/

These three tips can give you great insight into the world of Pinterest and help you formulate an effective and relevant marketing plan for putting your brand on one of the fastest growing social media sites to date.

Still struggling with managing your social media sites? If you’re frustrated with your current website, or just looking for a little help, we’re now offering website reviews for only $295 (normally $495)! If you’re interested in learning more please email info@celebritysites.com

12-4-12 Tuesday Training: How to Keep Facebook Interesting

If Facebook has become boring and monotonous for you to update, you can bet that your followers probably agree. And they’re probably long gone. Social media is all about keeping things interesting and up-to-the-minute.

A page full of status updates is not interesting. It’s a newspaper. And newspapers aren’t popular anymore – for a reason. People don’t want long stories full of heavy text. They want to be able to interact. Pictures that grab their attention. Things they can comment on. Enter you, the business, longing to interact with customers and prospects. So how can you keep Facebook interesting so you can interact with your customers? We put together a few simple reminders to help.

  • Pictures – Didn’t we already say this? Yes. Because it’s 2x important. Statistics show that people love pictures. More than updates and more than videos. What do you think made Pinterest so popular, a social media site that revolves around pictures? It was pictures.

  • So what kinds of pictures can I post?

    • Event pictures – Cocktail parties, events at your office, volunteer outing for your staff.
    • Full staff photos – maybe post your company card as an image wishing your followers a Merry Christmas?
    • Memes – What’s a current trend, picture or joke going around the internet? Maybe you can relate it to your field and make a funny joke for your followers.
    • Caption contest – Invite your followers to caption a photo you put up.
    • Products or services – Is there an interesting way you can take pictures of your products and services for Facebook?
  • Polls (Facebook now calls them "Questions") – Yes, your followers are allowed to comment on just about everything you put on Facebook. But will they? Maybe not. Polls are a way to actively engage your customers and seek out their opinions.

  • What kind of polls can I post?

    • Let your customer decide – Thinking of providing a free workshop on real estate? Do a poll – are people more interested in learning about short sales or getting a first-time home-buyer lecture?
    • Has something recently happened in your industry that affects your customers? See how they feel about it.
    • What do you wish you knew about your consumers – Sometimes it’s best to just ask! You’ve got a free market research opportunity right at your fingertips.
  • Milestones – Don’t forget about these. Just what they sound like, they represent noteworthy moments in your business’s timeline. These posts show up in different format than most people are accustomed to viewing so they can be attention-grabbing and interesting. In addition, they give your follower a special sense of involvement in the growth of your company.

  • What are some examples of milestones I can post?

    • Did your company change locations or add a new office this month? Make it a milestone! It shows you’re expanding and thriving. And don’t you want to get the word out about where your customers can come see you?
    • Is your company acquiring another? Posting a milestone about it will inform your followers and can help the customers from the newly acquired company to feel valued and involved.
    • What is your company celebrating? Share it with your Facebook followers!

Remembering to incorporate these different kinds of posts into your status updates and links can make a huge difference in your followers’ engagement with your page. It livens it up and provides visual and content variety creating all kinds of interest in your posts.

Still struggling with managing your social media sites? If you’re frustrated with your current website, or just looking for a little help, we’re now offering website reviews for only $295 (normally $495)! If you’re interested in learning more please email info@celebritysites.com

11-27-12 Tuesday Training: The Top Three Things YOU Need to Do on Your Social Media Sites

Of all people and businesses, we understand that you might not have very much time to invest into social media outreach for your brand. But that doesn’t make it any less important. Below are three social media priorities that should be explicitly designated to whomever manages your social media.

  • Put Something Up! – A social media page without recent updates borders on worthless. Of course, it has its SEO and third-party-verifier uses which are extremely important. But if a client goes to Facebook to verify your brand and they find a ghost town for a business page, they won’t exactly get a positive impression. And to put it logically, a social media page with no social engagement just isn’t social. It’s just a page.
  • Post a video or a link. Even a simple status update. Something that will connect with your users. Do you have hobbies that they might be able to relate to? Is there a buzz in your industry about a related topic that you could comment on? Holidays are also great times to relate to people. What does your brand want to say about the upcoming celebration? And don’t forget, people love pictures.  Take pictures of an event or maybe an office party. Just connect with your followers. They will appreciate the effort and who knows, maybe they’ll engage with your brand and eventually give you their business. Social media is a great way to keep constant contact with your customers and potential customers. Don’t let that potentially lucrative opportunity turn into an empty page.
  • Check Your Messages! – People don’t like to be ignored. Especially from a customer service standpoint. Start seeing your social media inboxes like your customer service hotline. Many social media users today see interactions on social media sites on par with conversations in any other medium. This means, that many customers will have the same expectation to have their issue resolved via Twitter as they would the phone. Is it your company’s customer service policy to let the phone ring when it’s a customer with an issue? No, someone answers the phone and provides resolution. In the same way, a message should never sit in a social media inbox unchecked.
  • And even beyond complaint resolutions, we’ve seen many people ask for more information on a product or service through inboxes like Facebook and LinkedIn. We’ve even seen those inquiries converted to sales!
  • Whether you do it to provide excellent and responsive customer service or to facilitate sales, monitoring your social media inboxes is imperative.
  • Grow Your Network! – Even if you have someone managing your social media sites, this might be one you’ve got to do on your own. You can designate someone to post on your behalf, but you can’t quite designate someone to be you. Your social media manager may never know that the new CEO of a Fortune 500 company was your roommate in college. And they’ll probably never try to connect with them on LinkedIn unless they know. Only you know that you bumped into an old colleague at the grocery store whom you’d now like to do business with.
  • Obviously you could tell your social media manager each of these things. But odds are, you’ve got more important things floating around in your head. Instead, take 15 minutes every week and spend it on LinkedIn, Facebook, Google+ etc. and grow your network. It’s a simple and enjoyable habit that could reap huge rewards for your business.

There are other very important parts of managing social media, but if you start with these priorities, you’ll have a solid start on building an online presence that works for you.

Still struggling with managing your online branding? If you’re frustrated with your current website, or just looking for a little help, we’re now offering website reviews for only $295 (normally $495)! If you’re interested in learning more please email info@celebritysites.com

11-20-12 Tuesday Training: How to Get Your Klout Score

In last week’s Tuesday Training we wrote about measuring your influence in social media outlets through a website called Klout.com. The application gathers information about your engagement on different social media sites and about others’ engagement with you, and then generates an overall score reflecting your influence.

This score can be a great tool in simply monitoring your involvement and discovering areas for improvement. But as time goes on and the website becomes more popular, it is possible that the Klout score itself will hold an increasing amount of weight to your potential clients, aside from your actual social media engagement itself.

That makes two reasons to work for a higher Klout score. To improve and social media engagement, and to improve your score itself.

First, check your home page on Klout. Look through "Your Moments." This is going to show your influential social interactions within a recent period of time. Are there themes here? Can you see that some moments were more influential than others? Maybe one social media outlet has had more user engagement than another. Maybe people responded well to a personal post.

Whatever it is, see if you can find a theme. Advice that is most often overlooked is the data that comes from our own experience. And oftentimes that is most relevant to you! What has been successful for you in social media? Try to replicate and tweak those effective engagements.

Beyond using your own data to improve your influence, we came up with two small ways to help improve your score.

Promote Post "Likes" – This is surprisingly easy to forget. When posts are created, we often just assume that our fans will "like" them when they actually like them. But sometimes our beloved Facebook users need a little help. Try prompting them in your update. When our people from Celebrity Branding Agency traveled to California for the National Academy of Best-Selling Authors Annual Best-Sellers’ Summit and Awards Gala, they posted "We made it! ‘Like’ this post if you’re checking in to the Hollywood Roosevelt with us today! – or if you WISH you were!" This post earned more likes than most others from that same event. A little prompt that promotes user engagement can go a long way with your Klout score (not to mention with your clients!)

Retweet others – Twitter can be a give-and-take sort of social media outlet. Sometimes. Sometimes, others want to be retweeted just as much as you do. Taking the first step doesn’t hurt. Retweeting your customers or like-minded organizations can be a great way to make positive connections on Twitter. And it can open the door for them following you or wanting to retweet you! Now, if you retweet the president, he probably won’t retweet you. If he did, your Klout score would probably skyrocket since he is rated highly influential on social media. But know that it will never negatively affect you to retweet someone who has a lower score than you. Engagement can only help!

Both of these ideas seem overly simple, but every little bit helps when it comes to your Klout score and social media engagement. Sometimes fine-tuning something you’re already doing is exactly what you need to get totally different results.

Still struggling with managing your social media sites? If you’re frustrated with your current website, or just looking for a little help, we’re now offering website reviews for only $295 (normally $495)! If you’re interested in learning more please email info@celebritysites.com

11-13-12 Tuesday Training: How to Get Your Klout Score

Klout.com is a website that measures a person’s influence in social media. To be more specific, it measures how people interact with your content and how you interact with others’ content and then generates a total score of your social influence.

The application works with our four main social media sites – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+ as well as a few others. And of course it interacts with each in a different way. For instance, when measuring Facebook influence, Klout looks at Mentions, Likes, Comments, Subscribers, Wall Posts and Friends. And on LinkedIn, Klout is concerned with your Title, Connections, Recommenders and Comments. And that’s just an overview

It also factors others’ Klout scores into yours by assigning more value to a comment from a LinkedIn member with 1,000 connections than a LinkedIn member with 10 connections. Or assigning less value to a Facebook comment from a user that often comments on many statuses versus a Facebook user who rarely comments on anything. All these things and much more are seen by Klout as indicators of your influence.

So how can you check your score

  1. Start by visiting Klout.com. If you’re interested in learning a little more, click "How It Works" in the top right corner. They go into even greater detail about how your Klout score is generated.
  2. Click the "Connect with Facebook" or "Sign in with Twitter" button
  3. Sign in to your account and authorize the app.
  4. Klout will probably ask for your other social media sites also – LinkedIn, Google+ etc. And adding these sites will most likely help your score.
  5. Get your score!

Rumor has it that Justin Bieber is the only person with a Klout score of 100. But as the app becomes more popular, that could easily change.

While other Klout users can see your score, use the number right now as just one gauge of your social media health. As the app becomes more widely received, your score may contribute to an online perception of your company – people may see your score and assume that you are or are not a person or brand that truly engages on social media.

But for now, it’s a great test. Because even though Klout’s measurements may seem in-depth and complicated, they really are a pretty relevant reflection of how other social media users see you. Whether they do consciously or not, potential customers will ask themselves similar questions and make determinations about your influence. "Is this person connected to anyone?" "Is this person connected to anyone I find interesting?" "Why does this company follow more people than it has followers?"

As with any score, see it as a picture of the places you can improve. If your score is low, take a closer look at what Klout measures. Then experiment with ways to improve in those areas. Or check out nest week’s Tuesday Training for a shortcut!

Tuesday Training 11-20 How to Improve your Klout score

How to Read Basic Facebook Page Analytics

Facebook business pages can be rather easy to set up and maintain. If you were at all experienced with Facebook when you created your page, you probably found it all to be quite simple. It’s the analytics where things can get thick.

For being free to use, yet enabled to market to literally millions, Facebook is truly a notable advertising product. If that weren’t enough, it offers useful analytics to monitor user engagement, effectiveness of campaigns, demographics, and the list goes on. In fact, just exporting the "Page Level Data" for Celebrity Branding Agency’s Facebook page for one month, we’re given around 92 different "key" metrics. We’re not even sure we want to know that much! But we’re not complaining. This wealth of information gives us the freedom to discover many things about our potential clients – if we just take the time.

Now, we don’t recommend that you dive into this overwhelming pile of data right away, so in this training session we’ll just be focusing on the basics.

Login to your Facebook account and navigate to your company’s page. You’ve probably always noticed the Admin Panel at the top. But have you taken a little time to absorb the information? New Likes, Messages, and the topic of the day, Insights. The Insights graph is presented pretty simply.

The purple dots, of course represent your posts, the larger ones representing multiple posts within a day. Pretty straight-forward.

Skipping head to the blue line, "Reach" is a pretty easy concept to grasp too. It means, "the number of unique people who have seen your post." Keep in mind "unique" basically means non-repeat. This metric won’t include people who have seen your post in their news-feed two or three times.

The green line is an expression of the people "Talking About This." That sounds great, but what does that really mean? Are there really people who have been to your Facebook Page and have then created their own status update saying, "Celebrity Branding Agency just posted a tip on personal branding and I think it’s great!" Not necessarily. Facebook defines it as, "The number of unique people who have created a story about your page in the last 7 days." But what is a "story" then? Back to Facebook’s definitions, a "story" is created when someone "likes, comments on or shares your post; answers a question you posted; or responds to your event. Basically, your "Talking About This" number is the number of non-repeat users who have engaged somehow with something you put on Facebook.

Want more information out of this number? Click the "See All" link in the top right corner of your graph on the Admin Panel. A larger graph will show up and below that, a list of your posts by date. Identify the post you’re interested in and the "Talking About This" column, then click the number. A small box with a pie chart will appear showing just what kind of "stories" make up that number.

If that isn’t enough for you, change from the "Overview" tab to the "Talking About This" tab at the top. You’ll find information on gender, age, location and all kinds of great stuff about your engaged users.

It might be helpful to take a little time on a slow afternoon to explore your Facebook Insights. You might be surprised at what you find. And I guarantee it will give you useful information as you continue to refine your outreach tactics and learn what best engages your Facebook clients and potential clients. This awareness of your reach and special understanding of your clients and potential clients is just another way to stand out from the competition. When you can learn to effectively utilize the data your potential customers are giving you, you’ll be able to reach them in a personal and specific way that will help them view you as their expert.

Still struggling with managing your social media sites? If you’re frustrated with your current website, or just looking for a little help, we’re now offering website reviews for only $295 (normally $495)! If you’re interested in learning more please email info@celebritysites.com

10/30/12 Tuesday Training: No Such Thing as Free PR? An Introduction to HARO

If you’ve never heard of Help A Reporter Out (HARO), you’ve probably been missing great Public Relations opportunities. The company functions as a middle man between reporters and the subjects and experts they need to interview for their articles and segments. Reporters from news agencies such as FOX, ABC, Associated Press and many others along with radio show and television hosts utilize this great go-between. In today’s media-driven world, this extra exposure could be exactly what you need to drive traffic to your site, increase sales and most of all, become known as the celebrity in your field.

How it Works:

A reporter submits her topic to HARO along with a description of the type of person she needs to interview.

Then HARO takes that query along with many others and places them in an email.



Summary: Your Best Entrepreneur Tips

Name: Susan Payton CorpNet.com/blog

Category: Business and Finance

Email: query-2k5h@helpareporter.net

Media Outlet: CorpNet.com/blog

Deadline: 2:00 PM PST – 26 October


I’m looking for tips for someone starting a new business from
 entrepreneurs. What are your top 3?


Please send tips directly as I won’t be conducting interviews,

rather pulling tips from the responses I get.


HARO sends out three different emails a day filled with all kinds of PR opportunities (morning, afternoon, evening).

Next you, the source, sift through the email’s queries to see if any fit your niche. You might be surprised at how often your niche will show up in a query. But that’s why you’re in business, isn’t it? Because there’s a need in the world for your specific expertise.

Once you’ve found a query that fits you – respond! Remember that branding yourself as the celebrity expert in your field not only takes strategic PR but also persistent PR. If you aren’t quoted in one article, maybe you’ll be quoted on a radio show you submitted for.

How to Start:

The Basic Program is FREE and has the potential to make a big difference in your business. If you’d like to see priced options that are more tailored to you, check out their website here. http://www.helpareporter.com/sources

To sign up for the Basic Program, visit their website and sign up! They’ll ask for a little information about you and your company. Then, after the confirmation email, you should be entered into their morning-afternoon-evening cycle right away! And a great bonus – they don’t sell your email.

HARO is just one small cog in the machine of online and media branding. As I’ve said before, it’s Circular Marketing that will gain recognition for your name. A combination of our branding tools and capitalizing on opportunities such as the ones HARO offers is the branding approach that will give you a true Return on Investment.

Still struggling with managing your online branding? If you’re frustrated with your current website, or just looking for a little help, we’re now offering website reviews for only $295 (normally $495)! If you’re interested in learning more please email info@celebritysites.com

10/23/12 Tuesday Training: How to Respond to Negative Feedback on Social Media Sites – Part 3

Our last two training sessions have been dedicated to this important practice. As more people continue to migrate their social interactions to sites like Facebook and Twitter, their customer service complaints will travel as well. Not only will an increasing amount of customers begin attempting to resolve their concerns via social media, they will also be proclaiming their service experiences through status updates, recommendations and reviews.

We’ve covered Part One – "Monitor your Brand" discussing the importance of paying attention to your feedback and using tools to see what people are saying about you.

In Part Two – "Listen" we highlighted the importance of actively working to understand your customer. We used the real life example of a company that didn’t take the time to really listen to a customer’s negative review and instead, ignorantly responded with irritation and a sharp tone – for all their would-be customers to see.

This week is our last installment in this series about how to respond to negative feedback on social media sites.

3. Respond Quickly

To be clear, by "quickly," we mean respond in timeliness, not haste – as we saw the negative outcomes of that in Part 2.

In Part One we saw a real-life example of a company that failed to respond quickly to negative feedback and things got out of control. The customer became increasingly frustrated and increasingly vocal. Others joined the conversation and by the time the company actually became involved, many potential customers had already been referred elsewhere. And to top it all off – this took place on the company’s own blog. It’s extremely important to respond quickly for reasons like this. Be involved in the conversation before it gets really ugly. And most importantly, make sure the customer feels "heard" by you and not ignored.

According to an infographic released by peopleclaim.com, "1 in 2 consumers who’ve tweeted a complaint toward a business expected either a response or at least the tweet to be read." And that number increases with age, they say – 65% of customers age 55 and older expecting the company would read the tweet.

Take a second to ask yourself, what is your target demographic? Do you deal with retirees? Then pay special attention because as we’ve just learned, that typical age group tends to be the most expectant of good social media customer service.

Or do your customers typically fall between the ages of 35-44? The stats for this age group came in at 54% of them expecting their tweet would be read. Are you delivering what your customers want from you?

According to the same infographic, "86% of tweet-complainers would have been happy to get a response back." Which goes back to customer service common sense – the customer needs to feel "heard." And people found that when customers do feel "heard" by receiving a response from the company, "3 out of 4 are somewhat or very satisfied."

Again, don’t forget the timeliness aspect we touched on. You can offer the greatest customer service with specific attention and a positive attitude, but none of it will matter 6 months later. The customer will have likely moved on, informed others of his negative experience, and resolved not to buy your product or service again. We suggest resolving social media customer concerns as soon as possible. Aim for at the longest – under a week. Keep in mind that the internet is instant. People can instantly buy things, instantly say things and instantly see things. Your customer will probably be hoping for instant (or timely) access to your company’s ear.

Try and take a little time, or designate someone at least once a week to run a quick check of your social media sites to make sure you’re not missing an important opportunity to offer your special brand of expert customer service to someone who needs it

Remember to see social media customer service as a great opportunity to show the world how well you treat your clients. If you try to put our three-part series into practice, you’ll have a head start in effectively and positively engaging your clients and potential clients. By monitoring your brand, you’ll be on top of what people are saying about you and will be able to join the conversation. By listening, you will ensure that your brand is represented accurately and intelligently, and you’ll gain a greater understanding of your customers and their thought processes and challenges in buying or using your product. And by responding quickly, your customers will feel "heard" and cared for.

Still struggling with managing your social media sites? If you’re frustrated with your current website, or just looking for a little help, we’re now offering website reviews for only $295 (normally $495)! If you’re interested in learning more please email info@celebritysites.com

10/16/12 Tuesday Training: How to Respond to Negative Feedback on Social Media Sites – Part 2

Last week we discussed the importance of this practice. In today’s communication climate, the customer service storms are taking place on Facebook and Twitter instead of private phone lines with customer service representatives. Because of this and the glaringly public nature of these complaints, companies have an opportunity to capitalize on publicly resolving customer concerns in a noteworthy manner, or publicly failing to care for their customers.

Part one in this series was  "Monitor your Brand." We highlighted a social media management company that was utterly unable to manage its own social media.

This week we are underlining another integral part in managing negative feedback on social media sites.

2. Listen

This might be a cardinal rule of customer service – or perhaps communication in general. There is no hope in resolving a complaint if you don’t listen long enough to really understand what the complaint is. You’ve heard the old adage, "You have two eyes, two ears and one mouth, use them at that ratio." Even though online you have two eyes and ten fingers to type with, we still suggest retaining the former attitude. Don’t just read their comment or message. Really listen to what they are saying. What is it that they want? Resolution? Maybe just an apology?

As we mentioned earlier, a very important part to remember in this process is its public nature. What are you telling your other customers as you respond to this customer?

One company we found was doing a great job of monitoring their brand. They kept a close watch on their Facebook page and Twitter mentions, and even managed their customer service on directories such as Yelp and YellowPages. But what they failed to do was listen.

A customer posted a negative comment on a directory and gave the airport parking service 2 out of 5 stars saying, "Don’t buy a reservation online; you’ll pay a service charge and down payment and then get ripped off at check out because they don’t honor the quote. The excuse is that they are independently owned."

To which a representative replied, "There is not a service charge to book online… There has never been a fee. We honor all coupons. We do not give out quotes. You must be speaking of another airport parking lot in the area. Please remove your negative comment."

The company’s representative saw the discrepancies in the customer’s experience and the company’s policy, but didn’t take the time and common sense to really understand the customer’s situation – and that the customer had been confused.

The customer had purchased his reservation on a third party website with empty promises and apparently found upon arrival that the website had no affiliation with that airport parking company. If the representative had taken a moment to remember that scams exist like the one listed above, he might have approached the interaction with more understanding. Instead, the representative immediately assumed the customer was ignorant and then took the offensive, and asked him to remove his post.

Rather than using short, sharp sentences, the representative could have asked for more information about where the customer made his reservation. The customer service representative simply could have said, "We apologize for any inconvenience but we are independently owned. If you plan to park with our company, please be aware that we do not accept reservations or rates from third party websites."

The latter would be informative to anyone researching the company on directories. It would also redirect the negativity away from the company and toward the scam. It could even be added to their website to avoid further confusion for their customers. But instead, the representative didn’t listen to the customer’s issue, used pointed and relatively aggressive communication techniques and completely missed an opportunity to resolve and prevent further customer issues.

And what does the company’s approach to the issue say to potential customers that come across this interaction? That they are not going to listen to your issue? That when they don’t understand your issue they will respond with irritation? That if they don’t understand you, they will ask you not to exercise your voice?

Not exactly what we look for in customer service…

This customer service exchange has been public on Yahoo Local for about four years. That means for four years, people have read the interaction and made their own inferences about the type of service they will receive with this company. Who knows how it has affected their business.

Remember to treat negative feedback on social media like any other kind of customer service – with patience and understanding. But above that, remember that your reaction is public, and it can also be lasting.

By following these guidelines, even negative feedback can be turned into a star on your mental report card in your customers’ minds. It can be informative, preventative, or helpful. And it can help you stand out above your competitors and help your brand become recognized as the celebrity in your niche.

Stay tuned for part 3 next week!

Still struggling with managing your social media sites? If you’re frustrated with your current website, or just looking for a little help, we’re now offering website reviews for only $295 (normally $495)! If you’re interested in learning more please email info@celebritysites.com

10/09/12 Tuesday Training: How to Respond to Negative Feedback on Social Media Sites – Part 1

Social media sites are where people go to speak their mind on anything from the brand of coffee they’re currently drinking to their political affiliations. Instead of the beauty parlor or a customer service hotline, people are going to Facebook and Twitter to share gossip, recommend a brand and vent about a horrible product or service.

In the realm of recommendations, this is great news for your brand. When it comes to the "venting" aspect however, this can pose a little more of a challenge. But view this challenge as an opportunity. Sure, it’s not ideal for someone to say anything negative about your brand to someone ever. But as is true in all customer service, complaint resolution can be an incredibly positive step in building the customer relationship. On top of that, it gives the rest of the world a chance to see the kind of specific attention you give to your customers. And when a truly solid customer service reputation is built, you’ll become the go-to brand – the celebrity in your niche.

By following the steps in this three part series, you’ll have a head start in managing this challenge and building relationships with your customers.

  1. Monitor your brand

This is a good practice in general. It helps to keep your marketing feet grounded so you can really understand why and how customers are engaging with your brand. From a customer service standpoint, it’s imperative. If you’re not out there monitoring your brand on the worldwide web, things can get out of control fast.

One way to monitor is by using a site called socialmention.com. (Learn other great ways to use this tool here) Type in the name of your brand and the free site will show you posts from various social media sites containing those words.

Another even more important habit to develop is checking comments on your blog posts, Facebook posts, tweets, etc. After all, the whole point of posting updates and writing blogs is to engage with your customer. But if you’re not reading the responses, you’re simply not engaging. What a waste of time for both you and the customer!

One company that actually sells social media management software failed in this area. A dissatisfied customer made a negative comment on one of the company’s blog posts. The comment wasn’t dealt with, and over time, the customer became increasingly frustrated and had no problem leaving those feelings in further comments. Soon others joined the conversation about the poor reflection on the company’s management software if the company itself isn’t even able to manage its own social media.

By the time the company actually started to take part in the negative conversation on their blog post, people were already being referred to other products and services. Things got totally out of control.

If they had simply been paying attention to their customer in the first place, the conversation would have gone much differently. Likewise, if you are actively monitoring what’s being said about your brand on social media sites, you’ll be able to take part in the conversation. And if you’re diligent enough, you might even be able to jump into those conversations quickly enough to change the tone, resolve the issue, and build a strong customer relationship.

Check out Part Two: Listen Here!

Still struggling with managing your social media sites? If you’re frustrated with your current website, or just looking for a little help, we’re now offering website reviews for only $295 (normally $495)! If you’re interested in learning more please email info@celebritysites.com

10/02/12 Tuesday Training: How to Tweet @ Someone

When Twitter first started it was mostly a way to put out little bits of information about your or your thoughts. And not much else. Over the years it’s grown into a much more interactive community and thus a great place to jump into to grow your business.

One way to interact on Twitter is known as tweeting "at" someone. It would be the equivalent of standing in a room and saying, "John, I loved your last blog post." But instead of being in a room together, you’re on Twitter together. And instead of typing "John…" you’re typing John’s Twitter handle.

If you’re not familiar, a twitter handle is basically a person’s username on Twitter with the "@" symbol in front of it. Celebrity Branding Agency’s Twitter handle, for example, is @CelebBranding (and no, capitalization does not matter when it comes to Twitter). It’s written in gray font after the title. So be mindful, to tweet at someone you must use their username along with the "@" symbol. Don’t just use the title – the tweet might not work. An example again – the @CelebBranding Twitter has a title of "CelebrityBranding."

So if you wanted to tweet at John and his Twitter handle is @john789 you’d type "@john789 I loved your last blog post." Simple as that! The next time John logs in to Twitter and checks his "Connect" page, he will see your tweet and can easily reply!

There are two other very easy ways to tweet at someone – directly from your feed or on their profile. If you see a tweet in your feed that you’d like to reply to, simply mouse over the tweet. Directly underneath the Tweet will appear the option to "Reply." When you click that, a box will open below the tweet with that person’s Twitter handle automatically already in the box. Just type in what you’d like to say to them and click "Tweet"!

If you’re on someone’s profile and you’d like to Tweet at them, you’ll see right underneath their profile picture Twitter gives you a blank to "Tweet to ______." Again, Twitter has automatically filled in their Twitter handle. Simply compose your tweet and click "Tweet"!

Tweeting at other Twitter users is a great way to get your name out there, build a community and of course, network. Give it a try! Jump on Twitter and tweet at @CelebBranding or another friend just to test it out. In no time at all, you’ll be totally comfortable and totally connected.

Still struggling with managing your social media sites? If you’re frustrated with your current website, or just looking for a little help, we’re now offering website reviews for only $295 (normally $495)! If you’re interested in learning more please email info@celebritysites.com

09/25/12 Tuesday Training: How to Find Relevant Content Ideas for Your Social Media Sites

We’ve consistently discussed that social media is a necessity for businesses these days. And if you choose to tackle these monsters alone, it can be especially daunting. What sites do I use? What risks do I take? Who am I targeting? What should I post about?

Thankfully, there are tools out there to help you answer some of these questions. One obvious example – this blog. Another tool we found is socialmention.com. Once you learn to use the site, it can yield a wealth of relevant data to inform your social media updates.

The tag-line of the site is "Real-time social media search and analysis." Basically, the site searches content on nearly all social media sites (though the results are often predominantly Twitter-related) and shows you what everyone is saying about your chosen topic.

Let’s give it a try:

  1. After following the link to socialmention.com, type in a topic related to your industry (i.e. "wealth management").
  2. You’ll notice the "in" dropdown box. This lets you choose if you want to search for your topic in blogs that people are writing, or maybe images that people are uploading etc. For now, we’ll leave "All" selected and click "Search."
  3. Reap your results! These are all blog posts or social media updates people have made about your topic.

Take a second to scan down your results.  What are the popular posts? Are there news articles? Youtube videos? Once you start to explore some of what other people are saying, you might find some relevant content to share on your own page. Maybe you can even share your own insights about an article you find.

Now check out the left side of the screen. It’s full of percentages and bar graphs galore. It might look a little overwhelming but it’s got good information to really help you zero in on key points for your posts. To keep it simple, pay special attention to the "Top Keywords," "Top Hashtags" and "Sources" sections.

“Top Keywords" is a chart showing you the significant words that are most often found in posts relating to your topic.

"Top Hashtags" tells you the hashtags people are most commonly using in Tweets relating to your topic.

And the "Sources" graph gives you an inside look at where all these people (who are apparently interested in your topic – and maybe soon, your posts!) are on the internet. Photobucket? Twitter? Reddit? Where are people most often talking about your topic?

Now that you’ve got this information, you can start to use it to shape your updates. Maybe instead of a Youtube update, you put content on Twitter because according to the "Source" chart, that’s where users who are interested in your topic tend to be today. And maybe you post a comment about a recent news article that showed up three times in your results. Then you can top it off with a hashtag that you’ve found is popular and relevant to your topic.

Before you know it, you’ve crafted a relevant social media update using information you gleaned from a free website. You’re welcome!

It’s practices like this that help you become recognized as a thought-leader in your industry. Finding and developing fresh, relevant content, making it visible and presenting it with the twist that can only come from your unique experiences and educated perspective.

Still struggling with managing your social media sites? If you’re frustrated with your current website, or just looking for a little help, we’re now offering website reviews for only $295 (normally $495)! If you’re interested in learning more please email info@celebritysites.com

09/18/12 Tuesday Training: How to Choose Keywords for your Website

Keywords are an extremely important part of search engine optimization. These are the words that Google (or your other favorite search engine) uses to determine whether your site is relevant for their user. Google takes these keywords from places like your URL (website address) or from the actual content on your website. For now, we’ll focus on your website’s content.

If your website is already up and running, go ahead and test out some of your pages on tools.seobook.com/general/keyword-density/. Type your URL into the blank, leave all the options default and click "Go." Next you’ll see a list of your page’s keywords – according to SEOBook, this is what you’re telling Google you’re all about.

Are those the words you were hoping to see? It’s always good to stop and consider your customer. Is he or she likely to type those words into a search bar?

Check to see if your keywords are logical. First, that they’re accessible, likely words a customer would use to search for a company like yours. But beware, because choosing keywords that are too simple won’t help you show up on the first page of a search either. For instance, a small-town candy shop relying on a keyword like "chocolate," has approximately no hope in showing up anywhere near the top of a search. Hershey’s and Godiva will beat them out every time. But adding a geographical keyword like "Duluth, MN" to their site could help exponentially. This is especially good to keep in mind if your product or service is location specific.

Second, aim to balance your keywords. Try not to hang all of your hopes on one word or phrase. You’ll notice that the keyword analysis you just did on your pages also yielded percentages. While the numbers really range depending on the actual words you’re using, some experts recommend aiming to have your main keywords rank around 3-4%. Again, this number is subject to your specific keywords so it’s also suggested by some to do a keyword checkup on the number one site and then aim for 0.1% higher than that percentage.

Last of all, be sure your keywords are truly relevant to what you offer. It might be tempting (and occasionally helpful, we admit) to over-broaden, but the best policy is to be true to your company and engage your best customers. Learning to own your niche like this is a big step in becoming a celebrity in your field and having a truly effective online presence.

Online is not the place to be haphazard, disorganized and subsequently invisible. Determine what you really want to say to your customers and potential customers and then use keywords and other tools to focus on reaching them in the most efficient and engaging way possible.

Need help with search engine optimization for your site? We’re currently offering website reviews for only $295 (normally $495)! If you’re interested in learning more please email info@celebritysites.com.

08/07/12 Tuesday Training: How to Schedule Tweets using HootSuite

Twitter can be a powerful business tool if you know how to manage it properly. One of the best ways to keep up with this, sometimes time-consuming, social media outlet is to schedule your Tweets. When scheduled Tweets are done correctly, they can be a great way to maximize your time in front of the computer, control your content flow, and increase your visibility.

Instead of sitting at your computer and sending out 10 Tweets in 10 minutes, why not spend a just few minutes at your computer to schedule 10 Tweets to be sent out over the course of 10 hours? Staggering your messages like this will allow your content to be seen without flooding the Twittersphere with back-to-back Tweets. This is a less obtrusive way to reach your followers, and it optimizes the little time that you have to spend on Twitter.

HootSuite is one of the most popular tools used for scheduling Tweets. Here is how to schedule your Tweets usng HootSuite:

  1. If you haven’t already done so, sign up for an account and download the free program at HootSuite.com.
  2. Then, login to your panel and craft your Tweet.
  3. From this panel you have the ability to set the date, time and the specific social network to which you want post your message.
  4. Once this is complete your Tweet will show up in the pending Tweets panel of Hootsuite.

Yes, it is that simple J There are many other services for scheduling messages similar to HootSuite, as well!

Now that you know how to schedule your Tweets to be sent out on specific dates and times, allow me to briefly discuss the proper etiquette when it comes to automated Tweets. Remember, scheduled Tweets are not always the solution. Individuals who abuse Tweet automation with annoying sales blasts can be labeled as spammers, and this will not build your online reputation.

Instead, be sure to always provide your audience with quality Tweet messages that authentically promote your brand and engage your followers. Remember, you don’t want to fully automate your Twitter efforts! However, when Tweets are scheduled with the intention of providing your followers with substantial content throughout their day, it can be a great tool to grow your online reputation, thus making you the go-to expert in your field! J

If you’re frustrated with your current website, or just looking for a little help, we’re now offering website reviews for only $295 (normally $495)! If you’re interested in learning more please email Kristin@CelebritySites.com.

07/24/12 Tuesday Training: How to Use Twitter for Customer Service

Twitter can be one of the best tools when it comes to providing your clients with great customer service. Why? —Because it’s personal and it’s fast.

More and more, businesses are beginning to understand the value of social media in the workplace, especially Twitter. Actively engaging with your clients on Twitter is a great way to build their trust, gain that 3rd party verification that YOU are the EXPERT at what you do, and it provides your audience a way to connect with you! So, why not also use this powerful marketing tool to provide your clients with great customer service too?!

Respond Quickly and Authentically:

Use the speed of Twitter to your advantage by dealing with client issues quickly and using the @reply feature that Twitter provides. The @reply is a tactic that many successful companies like Honda, Toyota, Starbucks, and Microsoft are using in their client relations efforts.

The beauty of Twitter is, if someone mentions your business in a post, you can easily follow the conversation. When you find someone complaining about your company or an issue relating to your business on Twitter you can @reply them to see how you can help! The conversation is going to happen with you or without you, so it is your job to step in and turn a negative into a positive ☺

@replies provide a quick, public and transparent face to your customer service! It allows others to see what you’re doing for your clients, how you handle their needs. The public nature of @replies can also answer questions that other clients might be wondering.

Be Personal:

Twitter is a conversational platform, so make sure you are joining in the conversation! Don’t be a distant, rigid corporate entity that your clients can’t relate to; instead, be personal! Twitter is a great way to build a trusting relationship with your audience AND reinforce the fact that there are REAL people behind your business, so use it to your advantage!

Twitter and social media are redefining how customer service is done in today’s business world. Using Twitter as a customer service tool can be a great way to build trust with your audience and reinforce the fact that your clients come first!

Remember, the conversation is going to happen WITH you or WITHOUT you—so it is your job to step in and take action! If you come across an unhappy client on Twitter, address it with an @reply and always be approachable ☺ You can easily turn a negative into a positive by displaying fast and quality customer service on Twitter!

If you’re frustrated with your current website, or just looking for a little help, we’re now offering website reviews for only $295 (normally $495)! If you’re interested in learning more please email Kristin@CelebritySites.com.

07/17/12 Tuesday Training: Integrating Facebook With WordPress

With over 845 million users, Facebook is the world’s largest social networking site, and with over 53 million WordPress sites in the world, WordPress is one of the most popular publishing platforms out there. In today’s business world, integrating these two social media powerhouses isn’t an option—it’s a MUST!

Before I go into HOW to integrate Facebook with your website, I first want to explain WHY it is important J Integrating Facebook with your website allows visitors to share your content! Also, people who visit your website need to know that they can connect with you, and if your website is lacks a way to connect through Facebook, people are going to wonder why!

Remember, linking your business website with Facebook is a great way to get your content shared, connect with your audience and obtain 3rd party verification that you the go-to expert in your field!

A great way to begin integrating social media sites, like Facebook, with YOUR business website to choose the right WordPress Plugin! If you visit http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/ you can browse thousands of WordPress plugins for integrating Facebook with WordPress. Here are some Plugins to start you off:

Add Link to Facebook: http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/add-link-to-facebook/

Automatically add links to published posts or pages to your Facebook wall, pages or groups and more!

Social Sharing Toolkit: http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/social-sharing-toolkit/

This plugin allows visitors to easily share your content and connect with you on social networks!

Facebook Comments for WordPress:


This plugin integrates the Facebook commenting system right into your website. If a reader is logged into Facebook while viewing any comment-enabled page or post, they’ll be able to leave a comment using their Facebook profile!

Once you integrate Facebook with your WordPress website, you can begin to add social sharing capabilities for other popular social media platforms—like Twitter and LinkedIn! Social sharing allows visitors to your website to share your content on their own social media sites and provides a way for visitors to connect with you! Remember, integrating social media sites with your website is seen as 3rd party verification that you are an expert, thus making YOU the CELEBRITY of your field 🙂

If you’re frustrated with your current website, or just looking for a little help, we’re now offering website reviews for only $295 (normally $495)! If you’re interested in learning more please email Kristin@CelebritySites.com.

07/10/12 Tuesday Training: Using Pinterest For Business: Keywords, Hashtags, and Links!

What is Pinterest?

Pinterest is the world’s fastest growing social media platform to ever grace the interner, reaching more than 10 million followers faster than Twitter and Facebook. On Pinterest, "trending" images, with links back to the original source, can get Pinned and Repinned on thousands of virtual display boards!

Using Pinterest For business:

Businesses have caught on to this popular visual marketing tool, using Pinterest to grow their brand and promote their online presence! Not only can businesses generate buzz with attention-grabbing images, but they can also use Pinterest to build links for that sought after 3rd party verification! So, before your business becomes the next CELEBRITY on Pinterest, you need to understand the value of keywords, hashtags, and links on this!

Keywords and Hashtags:

When creating a description for a new Pin, you can optimize your Pin by adding specific keywords that users are most likely going to type in when searching for specific content on Pinterest! You need to think: what are people searching?

For example, say you are a fitness expert, and you want to post a wonderful eye-catching photo of a healthy recipe, with a link back to your website. When coming up with keywords to use for your Pin description, you probably do not want to use the same language that you would use when speaking to another fitness expert. Avoid industry jargon, and stick to what you know people will be typing in!

You may also wish to add hashtags to "tag" your Pin. For example, you might add "#healthy or #fitness to the end of your Pin. You may add as many as you like, but remember that too many hashtags can look like spam! So, having too many actually work against you!


Be sure to add links to your company website and your other social media platforms on your Pinterest profile!

When posting a new Pin, you can also bring users to specific web pages on your website by adding the specific URL in your Pin description 🙂 You can also add a "Pin-it" button on your blog and website! This will allow users to Pin these photos, and you can achieve that 3rd party verification!

Now that you know how to optimize your marketing strategy on Pinterest by adding specific keywords, unique hashtags and linking pins back to your website, you can become a CELEBRITY Pinner and grow your onine presence! You can create a Pinterest catalog, host a competition and even Pin special offers—all linking back to YOUR site for that 3rd party verification!

If you’re frustrated with your current website, or just looking for a little help, we’re now offering website reviews for only $295 (normally $495)! If you’re interested in learning more please email Kristin@CelebritySites.com.

07/03/12 Tuesday Training: Happy Pinning! How to Add a "Pin it" Button

What is Pinterest?

Pinterest is the fastest growing social media platform ever, reaching more than 10 million followers faster than Twitter or even Facebook. "Trending" images (with links back to the original source) can get Pinned and Repinned on thousands of display boards!

Why Pinterest?

Originally, the only images that were trending on Pinterest were creative recipes and wedding ideas; but this social media powerhouse has grown to be so much more than that! Now, trending images can consist of various products, or images linked with useful tips and services!

Perhaps your business is hosting an event—take pictures and Pin-it! Think of creative ways to Pin what you do 🙂 Whether you are a yoga instructor, or a tax relief expert, there are always visuals and images that you can use to attract attention to your business!

Businesses have caught on to this popular visual marketing tool, using it to grow their dollars and promote their online presence! With Pinterest, you can easily build links and advocate your brand! But before you can become a CELEBRITY on Pinterest, you need to know how to install the "Pin-It" button to your website!

How do I start Pinning?

So, now that you are brainstorming which images you want to use to grow your business, lets install a "Pin-It" button that allows users to easily Pin images right off your website!

If you have a WordPress, the work is done for you 🙂 (WordPress just makes everything easier!)

When you sign in to WordPress, just go to Settings on your Dashboard then click Sharing and make sure you add the "Pin-it" button to automatically be available on all of your posts! If you do not have a WordPress, you will need to add your "Pin-it" button manually.

Here’s the code you’ll use to place the "Pin-it" button on your blog in each of your blog posts:

<a href=”javascript:void((function(){var%20e=document.createElement(‘script’);e.setAttribute(‘type’,’text/javascript’);e.setAttribute(‘charset’,’UTF-8′);e.setAttribute(‘src’,’http://assets.pinterest.com/js/pinmarklet.js?r=’+Math.random()*99999999);document.body.appendChild(e)})());”><img alt=”Pin It!” style=’border: none;’ src=”INSERT IMAGE URL HERE”/></a>

If you do not have a blog and want the "Pin-It" button to be present on your traditional website, Pinterest has made it easy for you! Go to this link http://pinterest.com/about/goodies/. This page allows you to enter your website information so that individual images can have a "Pin-it" option!

Now that you know HOW to make your images "Pinnable," you can begin to explore the powers of Pinterest and become a CELEBRITY online! You can create an online catalog, host a competition, Pin a business event, and even Pin special offers

06/26/12 Tuesday Training: How to Install a WordPress Plugin

WordPress Plugins are prepackaged codes that you can install to add unique features and functions to your WordPress website! Thousands of WordPress Plugins are available to the WordPress community and new Plugins are made every day! However, this information doesn’t do you much good if you don’t know how to install them 🙂

Finding the Right Plugin:

Not all Plugins are beneficial for your website! Here at CelebritySites, I like to provide you with a useful, weekly WordPress Plugin on our blog to make it easy for you! You can also browse through the available Plugins on the WordPress website!

Installing your Plugin Automatically:

To install your Plugin automatically, you must know your hostname, FTP username, FTP password, and your connection type. (FTP just means File Transfer Protocol and it is a way to upload files to your web hosting account.)

When you log into WordPress, go to Plugins > Add New and enter the name of the WordPress Plugin you wish to add. To view additional information about the Plugin and receive installation assistance, click Details under the Plugin name! Then, click Install, which is located directly under the Plugin name.

This is when WordPress asks you to please enter your FTP information to move forward with your Plugin installation. If the WordPress Plugin installs correctly, the resulting screen will ask you to click Activate! Your WordPress Plugin is now active on your WordPress website 🙂

If your Plugin fails to install, WordPress will notify you immediately. You can then try the manual installation method; however, keep in mind that there is a possibility that something may be wrong with your Plugin if it did not install automatically.

To install your WordPress Plugin manually:

First, where you found your WordPress Plugin, click download, and begin downloading the latest version of the Plugin to your computer. Then with an FTP program, access your website’s server. Copy the Plugin file (or folder) to the /wp-content/plugins folder! (I know that was a lot of tech-talk :)) Now, in your WordPress Administration Panel, click on Plugins and your new Plugin should be listed!!

Don’t forget that we do most of the work for you if you read my weekly SEO and SMM alerts!! I will provide you with a new, useful Plugin for your website every week with the link and a description.  Now that you know how to install a WordPress Plugin, you can start taking advantage of customizing your website for your business, making YOU a true CELEBRITY on the web!

06/19/12 Tuesday Training: How to Host a Tweet Chat!

Hosting your own Twitter Chat can be an excellent way to interact with your clients and other business professionals. It will give you the opportunity to get to know your community, as well as promote your brand and business though relationships and conversation!

First, allow me to clarify what a Twitter Chat actually is 🙂 A Tweet Chat is a public conversation centered around one unique hashtag, which allows individuals to follow and participate in a discussion. Hosting a Tweet Chat for business purposes is an effective way to interact with clients and make you the CELEBRITY of your niche market! 🙂

Step #1: Pick a topic that generates buzz!

For your Tweet Chat, you can identify a topic in your industry that people are talking about, or even address some questions that your clients have about your company. What conversation do you want to have with your followers? What types of discussions could grow your business and promote your brand? Remember, when you do choose a topic, make sure you stick to it throughout your entire Twitter Chat!

Step #2: Choose a unique hashtag!

This step is important, because this is HOW clients will follow your conversational event. Once you’ve decided on a hashtag that is suitable for your event (this can also be your company hashtag if you have one), and researched to make sure it’s not already being used, it’s time to register it! This will give you ownership of the hashtag. I suggest going to http://twubs.com/ and registering 🙂 Once on the site, click "Register Your Hashtag." That’s it!

Step #3: Set up a day and time!

Next, let your clients know when your Tweet Chat "event" will be taking place, and don’t forget to address different time zones! You can advertise your Tweet Chat by writing a blog about it, emailing desired participants or promoting it on your other social media platforms. Tell your audience the time of your Tweet Chat "event," the topic that will be discussed, your unique hashtag and why they should join the conversation!

Step #4: Run your Tweet Chat!

Remember this checklist when it comes time to run your Tweet Chat:

1. Start with a welcome (give your followers a few minutes to say hello)
2. Announce your chat topic
3. Tweet your own thoughts and ideas on that topic/ask your first question
4. Give at least 5 minutes for your chat participants to share their ideas
5. Retweet and summarize the best answers
6. Thank everyone for participating
7. Tweet the chat conclusions

Ok, so you have set up a hashtag on Twitter, set a date, invited your party and now it is time to run your Twitter Chat! Have your clients go to TweetChat.com and type in your unique hashtag at the very top. This will bring them to your Twitter Chat event! (It is also easiest to run your Tweet Chat from TweetChat.com because the site is set up specifically for Twitter Chats :))

Also, when you use TweetChat.com you have the option to set up automated Tweets. For example, if you wanted to post a different question every 5 minutes, you can use TweetChat.com to do so 🙂 The "style" of your Tweet Chat really depends on whether you need automated Tweets. Are you only posting questions? Do you prefer an open discussion? Are you running a contest?

Step #5: Remember, the Tweet Chat may be over, but the conversation continues!

Remember, when your Tweet Chat comes to a close, your followers can still continue to have discussions centered around your unique hashtag 🙂 Make sure you check and see what conversations are going on about you and your business, and continue to build relationships! Tweet Chats are just one of the many social media marketing tactics that you can use to grow your business and become a true CELEBRITY!

6/12/12 Tuesday Training: Crafting a Hashtag

Twitter can be the key to effectively promoting your business through social media! With Twitter, you can host Tweet Chats, facilitate conversations to grow your business, get instant feedback from your clients and successfully make you the CELEBRITY of your niche market! 🙂 But, before you can do any of this you need to know how to craft a unique hashtag!

Why Do You Need to Know How to Craft a Hashtag?

A hashtag is significant word or series of characters preceded by the # symbol. Hashtags help categorize posts and can make it easier for other Twitter users to search for tweets. By creating your own hashtag, you can use it to drive conversations about your business, event or blog!

How to Choose a Unique Hashtag:

First, you need to make sure that whatever hashtag you choose isn’t already taken! You can search to see if a hashtag is taken on hashtag.org or twubs.com. Once you’ve decided on which hashtag you want, you need to register it. Registering your hashtag helps prevent other events or organizations from using your hashtag, that way you can have your "own" conversations to promote YOUR business. When crafting a unique hashtag I suggest making them short and easy to remember. You can always abbreviate 🙂

Registering Your Hashtag:

Once you’ve decided on a hashtag and researched to make sure it’s not already being used, it’s time to register it! This will give you ownership of the hashtag. I suggest going to http://twubs.com/ and registering 🙂 Once on the site, click "Register Your Hashtag." That’s it!

Now, you have a hashtag to facilitate interaction between you and your followers to build relationships and promote your business, have fun with it and be creative! Host a Tweet Chat, encourage clients to use your hashtag at an event, have a contest—there are countless ways to promote your business using Twitter! Join the conversation and be the CELEBRITY of your field 🙂

Use Your Social Media Presence to Increase Credibility and Establish Yourself as an Expert

The rising popularity of social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and YouTube present a valuable opportunity for business owners.

But before we get there, let’s talk about a common misconception about social media.

Many marketers seem to believe that social media is a new development.

But social media is not new—in fact, it is thousands of years old. Digital tools like Twitter are simply the latest version.

Humans are relationally oriented… we like to talk, gossip, share experiences, and strengthen friendships. This was true in 3000 BC, and it is true today. Sure, modern technology makes connecting faster, easier, and more convenient than ever before—but  there is nothing new about our desire to connect with one another.

Understanding how social media fits into everyday life is the key to unlocking its power. Today, many people use social media like the telephone was used 20 years ago. On a daily basis, I personally use Facebook to not only share personal stories and photos but also for business tips and events. I also regularly use Pinterest, Twitter, LinkedIn ,YouTube as well as social bookmarking sites to share both business and personal stories.

Sharing is nothing new here. Social media doesn’t represent a mystical fourth dimension—it’s just a tool that people can use as they see fit. And once a business owner understands this reality, they can create and execute a strategy designed to engage with customers and prospects in their market.

Used correctly, a business owner’s social media presence can provide increased visibility, credibility, and ultimately more business. Here’s how to begin:

  1. Create profile pages that reflect your expertise. Whether it is Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or another social network, it is critical that your profile page represents your personal brand (and personality) and establishes you as an expert. From the choice of your picture to your written biography, be sure that every element of your social media profiles communicate the brand and image that you want to convey.
  2. Use your social media presence to share and break down developments that impact your industry. By reporting and analyzing news that matters to your industry, you position yourself as well connected and knowledgeable. For instance, as a retirement advisor, you could note the passage of a new law through congress—and then break down the implications of this new law for your clients and potential clients. As a dentist, you could break down the benefits and drawbacks of a new toothpaste or mouthwash. A real estate broker could break down recent market trends, provide projections for the future, or keep his or her audience in the loop regarding homebuyer assistance programs. Whatever your area of expertise, the key is to report and analyze the news authoritatively—and in a way that makes sense to your customers, clients, and prospects.
  3. Interact with your followers and fans—answer questions and share suggestions. If you spend much time on Twitter, in particular, you will notice that users are constantly asking questions on a wide variety of subjects. As a dentist, obviously, you should pay attention to questions that pertain to oral health. Whenever possible, answer the question… or provide a link to a helpful resource. This type of interaction is a win on two fronts—most obviously, it provides a great boost to the relationship between yourself and the individual that you assist. But even more importantly, it sends a strong message to your entire audience. Answering questions makes it obvious that you know what you are talking about—and it makes you appear friendly and approachable as well.
  4. Regularly share tips or hints that help your audience. Many business owners have discovered the value in publishing blog entries and articles that provide actionable tips to their audience—and this approach works well for social media networks as well, albeit on a smaller scale. As a real estate agent, for instance, you could post a "homebuyers tip of the week" every Monday. This could feature financing tips, help for buyers seeking to narrow down a huge list of homes to a small number of final choices, or whatever you think would be helpful to your audience. This is a great way to provide value to your current customers—and it’s a great way to position yourself as an expert in the eyes of your audience.
  5. Engage in conversation—don’t make a sales pitch. This is an area that many business owners go off course, and the error stems from a fundamental misunderstanding of social media users. As we discussed earlier in this article, social media is a tool used to communicate. In fact, I like to think of social media networks as a giant cocktail party. You wouldn’t walk into a party shouting "I SELL INSURANCE!" at the top of your lungs, would you? More likely, you’d buy drinks for people and engage in conversation.  Obviously, it’s ideal if these conversations center upon your industry, but it’s also a good idea to invest in creating relationships with your followers and fans, even if the conversation doesn’t directly correlate to your business. Remember that "people buy people"—and that anything you can do to establish trust in a relationship is a positive.

Do you have a social media presence? If not, it’s time to get in the game! Thousands of potential customers join networks such as Facebook and Twitter every day—and if you aren’t actively seeking to engage them, you can bet that your competitors are!

If you ARE active on social media, great—but are you utilizing your presence to build credibility and position yourself as an expert within your industry? The five tips I’ve shared above will help you move in the right direction. If you’d like more information or aren’t sure where to begin, feel free to get in touch with me today!

Seven Ways Your New Website Will Revolutionize Your Business

If you are like most business owners (myself included), you are always looking for ways to take your company to the next level. Whether it is hiring more employees, securing additional funds to invest, or launching a new marketing campaign, business owners will leave no stone unturned when it comes to growing their business. Now, in the years I’ve spent both working on my own business and working with clients, I have identified many strategies which lead to increased profitability and sustained growth. However, over that time, no investment has been more consistently successful than the creation of a dynamic, content-centered website. (and web presence in general). You may already have a website. You may even be receiving some business through your website. But don’t underestimate the value that a new, dynamic website can add to your business. Below are some of the benefits you can expect from a new, content centered website:

1) Your new website will brand you as an expert in your field. A good website is designed with the intent to make the business owner look like a celebrity within his or her market. No, you don’t need to become the next Brad Pitt or Angelina Jolie—but you do need to be branded as a credible expert. If you’re a dentist, you should be positioned as the go-to guru in your market. When your customers view your website side-by-side with the website of your competition, you’ll be the easy choice! Everybody wants to work with an expert, and that’s exactly how your new website should position you.

2) Your new website will showcase your knowledge and enhance your credibility. Your new website should feature a space for your blog entries and articles—allowing you to display your knowledge of your industry. When a prospect visits your site, he or she will see that, in addition to looking like an expert, you also have the expertise to write knowledgeably on subjects that relate directly to your target market. Nothing builds credibility more efficiently than writing on topics that are relevant to your industry, and your new website should provide the perfect forum.

3) Your new website will plug you in to the exciting and fast-growing world of social media. As social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and yes, Google+ continue to explode in popularity, it is more important than ever that you and your company are engaged. Your site should be designed to be integrated into your social media presence—resulting in a vibrant, dynamic website that keeps you plugged in to the fast-paced world of social media. These days, it is not enough to have a static, standalone website. Your new website should seamlessly connect to your various social media profiles, allowing you to present exciting content to your audience across the social media universe.

4) Google will love your new website. You can have the most beautiful website the Internet has ever seen, but if Google doesn’t love it, its effectiveness will be dramatically reduced. Why? Because a sizeable percentage of the traffic to any business website results from search engines like Google. If your website doesn’t show up on the first page of Google for the right keywords, you simply aren’t going to get the traffic that you should be getting. Your new site should be designed not only to look good to humans, but also to look good to Google. By featuring expertly created content and a SEO-friendly layout, your site can attract more traffic—which ultimately translates to more business.

5) Your new website will appeal to journalists and other media members. As you probably know, media coverage can dramatically increase the level of interest in you and your business. Therefore, it makes good business sense to have a website that will appeal to the media. When reporters and journalists are looking for a source to quote or a business to feature in a story, they look for credible experts. Your site should be designed to maximize credibility—so that when a journalist visits your website, there is no doubt that they have found an expert.

6) Your new website will capture information from clients who aren’t ready to buy today—but might be next month. Too many websites are focused on generating immediate sales, to the point that if a visitor is only looking for information, he or she leaves without initiating any contact whatsoever. The reality is that many visitors to a website are only browsing, "window shopping" if you will, and have no intention of making a purchase at the time. When they see something that interests them, however, they are often interested in learning more—and therefore are willing to provide their contact information. A properly designed website will effectively capture this information. Once you have it, you can continue to provide information about your products and services as you build your relationship. When they are finally ready to commit, you will have positioned yourself perfectly to gain their business.

7) Your new website will generate leads effectively and with no effort on your part. The bottom line, when it comes to judging a business website, is lead generation. It’s not enough to simply attract traffic—your website needs to capture the information of potential customers. This requires a multi-pronged approach to site design that accomplishes several things: It must look good, and make you look good. It must present you as a credible expert in your market. It must compel your visitors to sign up for your services—or at the least, provide their contact information and request further information. And it must be optimized for maximum appeal to Google and other search engines, in order to draw potential customers. A site that accomplishes all this will be much more than simply a web page—it will be a sales machine.

If you are looking for the best way to take your business to the next level, a dynamic, content-centered website is the answer. If you’d like more information, you know where to reach me!

Building Your Business Blog Empire

By now, I’m sure you’ve heard the term "blog." If not- you might possibly be living under a rock 🙂 Although I have no doubt you are aware of the term and know what it means, I’m still shocked how many sites still don’t have one… do you?

Today, blogging has become an effective way to communicate across the web as well as a great way to market yourself and/or your company. The best blogs are a delicate balance of information and personality, and that little bit of cleverness can be an excellent way to build (or reinforce) your business brand.  Blogs are a great way to get the conversation started about what you do or have to offer.

Like every other aspect of your business your blog should be "branded." And when I say that- I don’t so much mean like a logo is branded, but rather I mean the "theme" or "tone" of the blog should be branded; what you are preaching on your blog should match your overall theme of what you are promoting from your business as a whole.

As we always say, "people buy people" and customers like to see a face behind the business name. After all, it’s what makes you unique and what will make you stand out (and above) your competition. And while personality is very important, your customers and prospects are equally interested in having up-to-date news on what’s happening in the business in general, and not just up-to-date… it really should be more specific; it’s up-to-date RELEVANT content. The best blogs are the blogs that weave personality and humor into great takeaway content. Blogs are one of THE BEST ways to brand you as the expert in your niche.

Here are 6 benefits of a business blog:

  1. Expert Status. Today, the first thing someone does when making the decision to do business with a company is check them out online. A well-updated blog with valuable content is a great way to showcase your expert status to you prospects and show that you are well informed.
  2. Real-time Discussion. Blogs are instantaneous and allow you to share information directly (and quickly) with your clients and prospects. They also provide a way for your clients and prospects to engage with you by leaving questions and comments on your posts.
  3. Boosting Traffic with Backlinks. You don’t have to limit your blogging to just your own blog. Being a contributing blogger to traffic sites can be a great way to create quality backlinks and increase traffic.
  4. Good SEO. One of the keys to SEO (search engine optimization) is to make sure your website is constantly being updated with current, relevant content. Blogs make it easy for businesses to add fresh content to their websites on a regular basis.
  5. Low Cost Marketing. Blogs are a very cheap way to keep your customers informed with new products/services you are offering. They are also a wonderful way to continue building your relationship with your customers and prospects.
  6. Keeps You Ahead of Your Competition. In today’s competitive industry, a blog can help to distinguish you from your competition. By showing your personality and keeping up-to-date information about your company and your industry, a blog can give you that little extra boost to rise above your competition.

If you want return readership, make each post count.  Consider what a customer reading your blog might hope to gain from it.  Maybe you are a trusted product reviewer.  Maybe you are insightful and offer good wisdom or inspiration.  Your appeal might be your humorous writing approach.  Perhaps you know how to offer a good inside scoop. What better way for a customer to monitor the climate of a company or get real-time updates than through reading an insider’s blog?

Think of blogging as a type of high-quality, interactive advertising. It can draw people towards your company and boost your profile. But it can also do more than that. It can show what your company is interested in and that you are engaged with the rest of the world; it can show that you care about listening to others. The boost that it can give to the reputation as well as the sales of your company is considerable.

Every company, no matter how small, should have a blogging presence. If you don’t already have a blog, jump in and try it.  It might just be a vital key you’ve been missing to gaining more clients.

March 4, 2011- Google is using outside human raters.

Just released today it seems that Google is using outside human raters (in part).

Google’s Amit Singhal said they asked raters questions like "Would you be comfortable giving this site your credit card? Would you be comfortable giving medicine prescribed by this site to your kids?"

Matt Cutts said other questions Google asked to establish trust include "Do you consider this site to be authoritative? Would it be okay if this was in a magazine? Does this site have excessive ads?"

So what does this mean to you? This is speculation and interpretation at the moment until we see how it really pans out- but some SEOs think this will knock sites with overloaded with AdSense and other flashy advertisements. We also already know that Google HATES squeeze pages (banned already from PPC)- so I’d pull back from those as well- or keep them on a separate domain.

Who Said Your Tweets Don’t Matter?

So, when checking my rankings today after Google’s recent announcement about article syndication I came across some interesting results for my name…

Now- I had seen Tweets coming up in the “instant” before… and I had seen my Twitter account come up when you searched my name, but this is the first time I have seen actual recent tweets cached for my name.

Who Said Your Tweets Don’t Matter?

How Google’s Recent Change has Changed my Rankings

Although I do still see some articles (on page 3) that were distributed using some of the article syndication sites that got knocked yesterday- the biggest difference I see is now suddenly my videos are popping up- or more of them at least.

Before- I would have 1 or 2 on page 1 of Google and that was about it. NOW I have 4 on the 1st page, 2 on page two and 2 on page 3.

The other thing to note- THEY ARE NOT ALL FROM YOUTUBE.

Check it out!

Page 1

Page 2

Ah- the changes of Google

(in case you want to know how we’re changing our strategy do to recent Google changes- this is the email I sent to all my clients about 2 minutes ago)

Well- part of why I love what I do is because it never stays the same!

I’m sure by now you’ve seen recent changes Google has been making since November- their "war again spam." Although I’ve been monitoring it- up until now, I haven’t seen a need to change anything.

That changed yesterday…

Effectively released yesterday- article syndication is dead. While I do still have some of my articles showing up on page 3 from some previous syndication- the weight from these types of sites is no longer signification and I would bet that as soon as I put out more relevant content these pages will disappear.

Is your website going to hurt? Not at all.

This doesn’t affect your website- what is does affect is the "link juice" these sites pass to yours… Or now, as they are saying- they don’t pass much at all.

What does this mean for you? All this really means is we will tailor our strategy for you so that you get maximum exposure. I will continue to watch these article syndication sites because I assume that they, in a couple months, will bounce back with some stricter guidelines that might make them useful again…. But as of now we will stop submitting to these sites as they are no good. I am also watching Hubpages and stopped syndication there as well because they got hit too BUT WE WILL submit to KNOL and Squidoo as part of our strategy for you.

Rest assured that you will still see content being indexed for your name and company name- and the articles produced WILL still brand you as the expert- just the syndicated/distribution channels will be changed slightly.

This also means that these strategies will play an even bigger role in online brand domination:

  • Videos for your YouTube channel
  • Photos on Flickr
  • Create a Podcast for iTunes
  • Squidoo Lenses
  • Press Releases
  • Build a strong following on social networks

So- if you currently are not using videos and photos as part of your overall strategy- let’s look at how we can help you do that.

I just wanted to give you an overall update on the changes. Again-these links DO NOT NEGATIVELY AFFECT YOU– they just no longer really help 🙂 Let me know if you have any questions- I’m happy to answer!

Online Customer Conversion: Concepts That Increase Sales

The key to customer conversion is simple: Remove the word “no” from the equation, offer options to entice the fence sitters, and make it easy to complete the purchase.

After many years of online shopping, I can attest that these simple steps are VERY important for online sales… however, if my shoe buying habits aren’t enough to persuade you. Studies agree with me as well! ?

The One-Click Rule

You must make it easy for customers to pay you.

I see this mistake countless times on websites that I visit. And although I consider myself pretty Internet savvy, apparently, I’m not "intuitive" enough to know where to look to purchase something; or, maybe, I shouldn’t have to look.

In today’s fast-pace world, it is now more important than ever for the "flow" of the sale to be as easy as possible. Therefore, your order page MUST be accessible in one click regardless of where someone is on your website.

For a few products, a website should offer a prominent menu item which takes the customer to the order page where all of your products are available to purchase. If your website has hundreds of products, every web page that provides information on a product should include an “add to cart” button and you should be able to access the shopping cart from the top of every page of your website.

In addition, if you have a web page dedicated to a product or service that includes a lengthy description of the product, the description should include embedded text links leading to a buy now or add to cart window.

For every extra click it takes to buy your product, you will lose customers.

Keep the Check Out Process Simple

If possible, keep the check out form on a single page. Don’t force your customers through a series of pages in order to complete the check out process. Ask for the shipping address and billing address on the same page and always offer a checkbox to denote the same address for both.

While it’s okay to gather information such as an email address or ask how they found you, don’t get carried away and keep them filling out forms and answering questions. The longer your potential buyers are forced to linger in check out, the more chances they have to change their mind and abort the purchase. Keep it simple.

Bundle Products and Services to Entice More Sales

Bundling products and services for a discounted price is a good way to increase the sale. You earn more than you would from selling a single item and the customer gets a discount.

Buyers tend to shop on impulse and you should do everything in your power to make an additional sale while they are at your website with a credit card in hand. Once they leave your website, the odds of getting them back to make that additional purchase decreases.

This concept can also help you by offering an “add to cart” option rather than a buy now button for a single product that forces check out for each individual item. If they can add items to a shopping cart and check out all at one time you’ll increase your odds for multiple sales from a single customer.

Offer Choices That Remove the Word “No”

With a single purchase option the customer must make only one decision: whether or not to buy. This is a simple yes or no question for the customer. If you offer choices that change the basic question from yes or no to which option, you increase your odds of a sale.

For example, if you sell Widgets for 19.95 each and Widget Holders for 10.00, you can offer three different options to buy a Widget.

1. Offer the basic Widget for 19.95.

2. Sell the Widget plus the Widget Holder for 24.95 giving the customer a $5 discount for purchasing both together.

3. Partner with a company such as Trialpay to give the Widget away as a freebie while still earning 19.95 for the Widget.

This gives your customer choices, which is a proven method of gaining sales. The customer is no longer thinking in terms of yes or no, he is now focused on selecting the best option. (Amazon does a beautiful job at this.)

Provide Alternatives for Payment Processing

Not everyone is comfortable with the same payment options. Several years ago a prominent payment processor changed their method of detecting fraud. The end result was that some checkouts were asking for social security numbers in order to verify the customer. Sales took an immediate nosedive as people didn’t want to enter their social security numbers for Internet purchases and if that was the only option you were offering, your sales would have followed the downward spiral.

By offering more than one option at check out, you increase your odds of gaining a sale. If the customer sees an option they are familiar with and more importantly, comfortable with, they are more likely to convert to a sale. For example you could offer three choices: Paypal, Google Checkout or your standard credit card processing.

Get Paid to Give It Away For Free

There will always be customers sitting on the fence, somewhat interested but not fully compelled to purchase from you. They may believe there’s a better price or a product with more features. Perhaps they’ve never heard of you and would be more comfortable with a known name brand even if the product isn’t as good. It may be as simple as having an unprofessional website that turns them off.

You must motivate the purchase. For the fence sitters you need to offer some sort of enticement that brings them off the fence. One option is to offer a freebie with the purchase or put the item on sale. An alternative is to offer your product for free yet still get paid for it. They might hesitate to lay down $20 but the option of getting it for free might be the incentive that makes the sale.

Payment processors such as Trialpay.com offer innovative methods for you to partner with big name companies and gain extra sales. Your product becomes a giveaway that accompanies a more prominent product. The big name company pays you for the product and the customer gets it for free.

It seems simple, but it’s SO important to make it SUPER easy for someone to pay you. By simply avoiding these mistakes, you can dramatically increase your online sales. Happy selling!

Simple Publicity Tricks

You don’t need to be a professional publicist or marketing expert to write effective online press releases. Writing a press release for online distribution is a quick, easy process. After writing a press release, submit to free online distribution services. For an extra fee, some services will further optimize press releases and blast out to larger distribution markets.

Begin your press release with a strong headline. The headline should be no more than 80 characters. The first paragraph (the lead or introductory paragraph of the press release) summarizes the main information. Don’t add fluff – stick to the basics. A press release covers the five Ws: Who, What, When, Where, and Why. It should not exceed more than one page.

Stick to newsworthy facts. Write "facts" and avoid writing that sounds sales/advertising-oriented. If a press release reads like an advertisement, it’ll be rejected by online distribution services and media outlets. The goal of a press release is to gain media coverage and exposure. A press release should read like a news story and includes newsworthy that quickly grabs the media’s attention.

Use optimized keywords. Sprinkle keywords throughout the press release but do not stuff keywords for the sake of optimization. If allowed, always add the company’s website within the text of the press release (some distribution services do not allow hyperlinks within the press release).

Review for grammar and spelling errors. Do not add superlatives to the press release (example: very). Use active verbs and write short, succinct paragraphs. Review the press release for grammar and spelling errors before you send to online distribution services and media outlets.

Should You be Using Flash on Your Website?

There are many benefits to using flash on your sites, but there are also drawbacks. The pros and cons need to be weighed carefully when deciding if Flash is the right application for your Website.

My two cents is that we don’t use it, it doesn’t play in mobile browsers and with the SEO disadvantages- we stay clear! (However, there are some SEO friendly versions that look like flash that your web designer can get away with!)

Anyway, because I was asked about Flash from a client this week- I thought I would list some pros and cons!

Here you go!

The Benefits of Using a Flash Website:

By using Flash, you gain advantages in design and the ability to use a variety of media. Flash can be used to incorporate music, text, photography and video – bundled together in a sleek format  that offers your website visitors an uniquely immersive experience when visiting. The ability of Flash to provide a state of the art multimedia event can draw your visitor through an immense variety of information. It can do so without requiring a click, and can provide a stunningly effective introduction to your business.

The Disadvantages of Using a Flash Website:

Web surfers are impatient. A  Flash site has the drawback of additional load time, and you may lose a percentage of visitors who click away for this very reason.  The larger the file, the longer the load time. The main drawback to be aware of is search engine rankings. Spiders cannot read the context of your Website if flash is incorporated and may have difficulty ranking it. If your business is highly dependent on organic rankings and traffic, Flash may not be the best option.

Flash is like any other application on your Website. It’s important to be aware of both benefits and drawbacks, enabling the designer to make the best decisions for your Website and the business it represents.

Online PR NOT the Same as Offline PR

Here’s the biggest misconception I get when talking about PR. People still think that today’s world of online PR is the same as it has always been in the traditional offline “PR.” That’s just not the case, today’s game is much different, and actually, to your advantage.

First, let’s clear this us; PR doesn’t mean public relations… today, it means public relationships.

And good news for you, you don’t need to be a professional publicist or marketing expert to write effective online press releases.  Writing a press release for online distribution is not only quick and easy process; but it’s one of the most valuable tools you can use in your business, not only for credibility, but for SEO.

Here’s a couple tips when writing your online PR:

Begin your press release with a strong headline. The headline should be no more than 80 characters. The first paragraph (the lead or introductory paragraph of the press release) summarizes the main information. Don’t add fluff – stick to the basics. A press release covers the five Ws: Who, What, When, Where, and Why. It should not exceed more than one page.

Stick to newsworthy facts. Write "facts" and avoid writing that sounds sales/advertising-oriented. If a press release reads like an advertisement, it’ll be rejected by online distribution services and media outlets. The goal of a press release is to gain media coverage and exposure. A press release should read like a news story and includes newsworthy that quickly grabs the media’s attention.

Use optimized keywords (and this is THE key). Sprinkle keywords throughout the press release but do not stuff keywords for the sake of optimization. If allowed, always add the company’s website within the text of the press release (some distribution services do not allow hyperlinks within the press release) as well as anchor links as these are the best kind of backlinks you can get.

When you’re done with your release, take 5 minutes and submit to an online distribution channel like http://www.prlog.org (that’s my fav!).

To your success!


Business Lessons from an Early Age

A story my father wrote about me and one of my first business lessons…

“Teaching your children seems to be getting harder these days. I don’t know whether it was ever easy.

To teach a lesson requires being on hand when the problem arises and then guiding the child through the learning process.

Such was the situation when my youngest presented her latest crisis. Her best friend was going to copy her Halloween costume down to specifics and now they would look exactly the same on that special day. Now, this may not seem like a 10 on the Richter Scale for problems to you, but to Lindsay it was sufficient to give her a class-one stomach ache.

Enter Dad. Easy problem. Easy solution, right? Wrong. One man’s problem is another cake walk. This is true no matter the age or the problem. I have seen people financially destroyed and declared bankrupt because of a $200 payment. I have seen others millions in debt negotiate to borrow more money to help them pay the debt. I have learned that an individual’s problems can never be minimized and no matter how big or seemingly small, the problem must be attacked with equal vengeance towards the solution.

‘You must learn to compartmentize the problem,’ I counseled my six-year-old.

‘Compartmentize?’ she asked in the questioning tone that let me know I was speaking in tongues.

‘Take the problem, break it down, and try to find a solution. You know MacGyverism,’ I said. A ‘MacGyverism’ she understood. MacGyver being the character of a TV show by the same name who routinely solves complex problems with brain instead of brawn.

‘But that won’t work with this,’ Lindsay said, indication a negative attitude I also wanted to break.

‘I’ll tell you what. You come up with a good MacGyverism to solve this problem and I’ll pay you one dollar,’ I told her realizing that I needed an additional motivation factor. The reduced tears and the determined look on her face told me I had been right. It isn’t always that we fathers are right about our advice and I’m always happy and a little smug when I think I’ve scored a victory. I had taken the time and I taught my daughter an important lesson.

Early the next morning, Lindsay bounced in my room advising me of her solution that she had working out in her mind. It was simple, but it worked.

‘Great job, Lindsay,’ I said. giving her encouragement and feeling proud that my guidance worked.

‘Do I get my dollar?’ Lindsay asked excitedly.

‘You sure do. And tell me, what lesson did you learn?” I asked knowing I would hear the reinforcement in my training.

‘Well,’ said Lindsay thoughtfully. ‘When you have a problem and you need a solution, just throw some money at it. Right?’ she asked, her facial expression indicating she had found the secret of life.

‘Well, that’s close, Lindsay,” I laughed. That’s close, I thought to myself. Parenting is such a precise science.”

… although some of that I think Daddy was a bit judicious with his writing… when I re-read that story again, it made me think of some very simple business concepts that I can tend to overlook.

1. What comes easy to you, may not come easy to others. How can you turn that into something that you can help others with?
2. Even in a “bad economy” people will pay for knowledge (or service) that they need…. and fortunately, it’s a little more than a dollar!
3. A client’s problem, although may be “small” compared to others, might be paralyzing to them- treat them all the same.

Just some “food for thought,” that I was reminded of from a simple story Dad wrote years ago and how it still applies to business today.

To Your Success!

A Break from Social Media Marketing…

I have been blessed with a wonderful family, all of which I admire and strive to be more like. My father is my mentor… and in business he has given me 1 rule: “Find what you love to do and figure out how to make money doing it.”

I have been fortunate enough to figure that out, kinda :), although, I’m still not exactly sure what I want to be “when I grow up,” but for now I’m doing what I love. I also take comfort in the fact that my father still says he’s not sure what he wants to be when he grows up :).

However, taking that one step further, I was listening to Frank Kern the other day and he was talking about imagining what would make you happy, what your day would be like if you could have a “perfect” day. Although I do what I love, I had never thought about what a perfect day would be like… what would I enjoy doing from the time I wake up until the time I went to bed.

I quickly grabbed my journal and started describing my day and what it would look like. I described what I wanted to do, who I wanted to surround myself with, where I wanted to be, etc. After I was finished, I looked at it and thought “well, now why don’t I do that? What’s holding me back?”

It was simple, I had never put down on paper.

With that simple exercise, I quickly changed the way I was running my business… and my day. After all, isn’t that what it’s about? If you aren’t having fun, then you need to change what you are doing.

For me, that meant figuring out what made me smile most in life and making sure I filled my day with that as much as possible. It’s amazing how much more productive you become when you are smiling.

“If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always gotten.”

Facebook "Likes"

If you are on Facebook, you may have seen a change this week. No longer are you a "fan" of a company fan pages (such as our social media agency fan page for CelebritySites), now you "like" them. Not to worry, for users and fan pages, there is really no change in the functionality of the button, "liking" a fan page still allows the page to push the same content to your news feed. So why the subtle change, why fix what ain’t broke?

For Facebook, this is another step toward its plan to create an Internet-wide "like" button. Yep, much like the button Facebook users have become accustom to using to like a friends post, video or pictures, we will soon see a "like" button on public sites. This seemingly competitive move against Digg and other such sites may be a dream come true for social media marketing. Since so many people already have active Facebook accounts, this move would allow publishers to connect content to Facebook networks with the simple click of a "like" button.

The plan is just getting started for now… but we shall soon see more.

Do You Have a Social Media Game Plan?

Whether you’re a novice or expert on the Internet, you probably use social media on a daily basis (if not hourly if you are @brianhorn @davidbullock or myself ?). And, if you own a business or are a marketing agent of some kind and haven’t really utilized these networks to help you spread your message, you’re really missing out on a wealth of relevant followers. There is a captive (and passionate) audience out there that you can certainly tap into but to quote David Bullock’s tweet from last week "Is social media a fad or distraction for you? Do you have a pragmatic social media plan or are you just chatting? Hmmm…."

That even made me think (thanks Dave)… am I effectively utilizing my game plan?

Social Media by it’s meaning is "social." So it should certainly be used for that purpose- and if you are spamming your followers with nothing but advertisements that will get you nowhere in their minds.

However, like any other aspect of your business, you have a plan and you should absolutely have a Social Media plan… and treat it as such. Not to say, don’t "tweet" when you think of something valuable to push out to your audience, but overall have a game plan for what you are trying to accomplish. Set it weekly, monthly… two days in advance if that’s all you can do… but, whatever you find that works for you and your business have a plan nonetheless.

Figure out the goals you are trying to accomplish from using Social Media. Is it more traffic to your site? More referring sites? More page views? More downloads? More returning visitors? Increased visitor interaction? Find the ROO (return of objective) that you can measure and set a game plan to get yourself there.

Don’t just "chat"… make money while chatting ?

Social Media Marketing Quick Tip: Be Yourself!

With the social networking sites growing at alarming rates, everyone is jumping in and working towards learning social media marketing and how it can be used to their best use. Learning to harness the captive audience that is out there right now actively searching for what you have to offer can be tricky at times, but has its finer points (like being low/no cost); however, I don’t want to over look one key point…

Social Media Marketing is not complicated. However, when approaching this type of marketing, you absolutely have to make sure you’re not spamming people. You have to build a certain trust with people and make them believe that you’re not a robotic poster that is just looking to cash in. This is a bit hard, but if you’re sincere and personal at many points, you’ll move forward fast with this type of marketing.

There are a lot of people working on social media marketing, and what separates the success stories from the failures is the sincerity and honesty of some users. Put yourself in the shoes of your audience for a moment. If you would feel comfortable with the information you’re passing to people, then continue, but if you find that the information doesn’t really excite you on a personal level, you should definitely not continue with that promotion. Social Media Marketing isn’t too difficult to jump into; however, to be a success at it, it’s going to take some work. Once you’ve established a following, you’re going to see relevant interest like never before.

Remember, people buy people… so use it for business by all means, but be yourself!

Personalized Search Results, What Does This Mean for You?

By now I’m sure you’ve all heard the buzz about Google’s new personalized search results (although not really new, they have been beta testing for a while). So what does this mean? It means, that Google will now start delivering results to their users based on sites previously visited. This means that while Coke may have previously come up #1 for “soda companies,” if you are used to ordering online from your local market, that may come up instead.

So how could this change affect your online traffic?

Here’s a great article written by a friend of mine (and the “Glazer- Kennedy’s Secret Weapon”) @brianhorn that does a wonderful job of describing what to expect.

Check it out the full article here: Google’s Change That Will Rock Your World in 2010

But here’s a snippet from the article and what to expect:

The Big Players Will Get Even Bigger
Those at the top of the search results for their industry’s most popular keywords are likely to benefit the most from this change. The longer tail queries that would once have shown more alternative sources will now bring up those "previously visited" sites when previously they wouldn’t have earned a top position.

This will likely contribute to some lowered diversity in the results, but can also help fight against spammy results from low quality republishers.

Paid Traffic Could Boost SEO

If Google is tracking what websites a user has visited before, and using that data in their search results…it makes sense to get as many people to your site ASAP, right?”

To Your Success!

Lessons from a friend about Personal Branding

I was speaking with a friend the other day, and we were laughing over something he said in passing that was taken a little deeper than it should have been. What he meant by it was nowhere near what the other man took it as… in this case, profound… but, it got me thinking…

What is the language we use everyday to show who we are, both verbal and nonverbal. How does this message correspond with our business? Does it relate or is their a disconnect in what you are saying and in your actual message?

This thought is where Personal Branding comes in… where people buy in to what you are saying, simply for who you are…. People buy people.

Take a look at how you are portraying both yourself and your business in not only the way you speak but also your marketing and certainly in your social media. Make sure all of them are accurately portraying the message you want to come across… and control your media! ?

To your success!

People buy People- please don’t forget your picture in your marketing!

So, it’s that time of year again… we all start receiving massive amounts of both Holiday cards in the mail as well Holiday emails. Today, I was reminded about the importance of a picture.

I, like you, are undoubtedly on countless mailing lists. Way too many to keep up-to-date with them all. So the easiest way to remind me of who you are is with your picture. I may not remember your name, or even what you do necessarily, but if I see your bright and smiling face I’ll probably recognize it. And if I do, I’ll probably listen to what you have to say.

Unfortunately, this afternoon I got a Thanksgiving “greeting card,” which was really just an HTML email- and although it was written well, I have no clue who this person is. There are two very valuable points to make. One, the person does not stay in the forefront of my mind with continued drip pieces and two, no picture.

I encourage you all when sending out not only your Holiday emails and direct mail pieces, but also the typical ones in your business, to include your picture. No, this is not because Nick and I love the way we look :), but rather we know that it builds recognition with who we are and what we do!

Happy Thanksgiving!

To your success,

Social Media: Frequently Asked Questions from Small Business Owners

I came across this article today that I found interesting and thought I would share: “Social Media: Frequently Asked Questions from Small Business Owners”.

In this article they discuss frequently asked questions that I think every business owner has asked himself/herself at one point in time, questions like ” have a smalls staff. How do I find the resources to keep up-to-date with content on social networks.”

Click Here to check out the article

25 Social Media Sites for Entrepreneurs

I was monitoring my Google Alerts this morning and I came across this article that I thought I would share with everyone.

Check it out: 25 Social Media Sites for Entrepreneurs

5 Things you MUST have in your Twitter Profile!

A friends and client emailed me the other day about out Twitter designs that we have done for ourselves and some other clients… which got me thinking about this blog post.

People buy people… right? And by now, everyone should understand the power of twitter… so, are you putting your personality into your twitter profile like you would your website?

Here are some things that your twitter profile SHOULD have it in…

  1. Your picture
  2. Your logo
  3. Short bio
  4. Contact information
  5. he current branding that your website or other promotional items have.

Take a look at some examples that we have done and I think you’ll have a better idea of how this can be useful.

And to take it one step further, you can also carry these designs through to your YouTube Channels:

If you have a web designer, just give ‘em the things mentioned above and tell ‘em to get to it! And if you don’t Click Here for Twitter Designs and Click Here for YouTube Designs and we’d be happy to handle it for you quickly!

To your social media success!

Social Media Revolution

Nick (@nicknanton) came across this GREAT YouTube video about the “Social Media Revolution” and I thought I would share it with all of you.

It definitely shows the power of social media and what it has already done to revolutionize the way we do business, search for products and communicate.

Check it out…

“Skip Intro”

As I am writing this blog, I am on the plane heading to NY to join the rest of the America’s Premiere Experts for our Celebrity Branding Experience.

Since I travel quite often I usually try to save some business reading (various Dan Kennedy books & publications, Stompernet’s Net Affect, etc) that I have accumulated over the past couple of weeks for the flight. Today is no different (@davidbullock and @jwest5150 thanks for the material this time!).

This trip I’m also flying with my father, who is sitting next to me reading “Understanding Digital Marketing” by: Damian Ryan and Calvin Jones. As we both come across interesting tid-bits we can use not only in our own businesses, but for our clients as well we interrupt each other to share.

My latest: a horrible use of advertising space and an almost non existent headline because it was so small…

Dad’s: a statistic- the most widely clicked on button on the Internet: “Skip intro”

So what does that tell you?

STOP selling before you build the relationship!

Unless you have caught people specifically in the buying mood (not likely) then you are there to educate and build the relationship. Once you do that, they will THEN buy from you when they need your particular products and services.

Think of how many times you “skip intro” so you can get to the “meat” of what you’re looking for. I know I do all the time. So “skip intro” by just not putting it there! 🙂

(By the way, don’t confuse this with not putting video on your site…that’s a whole other article!)

To you Social Media Success!

GREAT use of Social Media to get customers in the door!

While updating my Facebook profile today, I was prompted with an event that Starbucks was putting on. The event was for a free pastry on July 21st.

Here’s what the event details said:

"Celebrate our simpler, more delicious recipes. Bring your invite to Starbucks for a free pastry with your drink purchase"

So- they made an event around their promotion date and advertised it using Facebook ads to get customers in their door.

Starbucks is the first I have actually seen to do this, but I have heard that several of major companies using Facebook (and other social medias) to get customers in their doors, try something new and even are enticed to bring friends.

Great use of social media and yes… I RSVP to attend!

Subway’s New Cell Phone Policy

So I’m at Subway the other day… a pretty regular part of my routine and I see the message below. Do you think they meant me?

Subway, Eat Fresh! 🙂

Google’s New First Page Ranking Criteria

Last week Google announced that they are once again changing their ever mysterious, ever changing, "algorithm " by which they assign their top rankings.

The change in the algorithm places significant weight on new information. So what does this mean? Those outdated, static, brochure-looking websites will be just that… outdated!

This is why, as the Wall Street Journal reported, " A search for a celebrity would show recent news about the person as opposed to their website."

So how do you stay with the trend?

Dynamic content: blogs, articles and press releases.

All of these content driven systems can be updated regularly. Not only do they help to show your expert status, but they give Google the new content they’re looking for. You can also take these posts one step further and book mark your blogs through social media sites, syndicate your articles through article syndication sites and submit your news to press release syndication sites automatically creating links backs to your site, as well as traffic, and of course, ultimately converting them to a signup on your mailing list, which you can then market to later. But that’s another conversation for another day!

Either way, with Google’s recent announcement it is imperative that you stay with the trends and have one, if not all, of these features on your site. If you’re looking for a great blog platform, checkout WordPress, it’s the best blog platform out there and has a ton of capabilities. To see some examples of some of full websites built on wordpress and all it’s capabilities visit http://www.celebritysites.com/portfolio/.

“Where Everybody Knows Your Name”

Each month I try and share with you the latest tips and tricks for SEO, online marketing and promoting your business. This month, at the urging of my father, I decided to share with you a story instead…

You always hear us talk about "people buy people" and while many of your accept that fact solely on face value, I believe it whole heartedly because I live it each and every day.

My reminder comes from a well know little coffee shop named Starbucks (ever heard of it? ?). And while the media, without fail, promotes our failing economy and $2 cups of coffee will no longer sell… I think quite the opposite. Sure sales might be down- but I believe that is a part of what we call a business cycle.

With competitors like McDonalds and Dunkin Donuts now coming up with their own version of the Mocha Lattes and Frappuccinos (and at a fraction of the cost, I might add) why in the world would I continue to go to Starbucks every morning, yes every morning… especially since both McDonalds and Dunkin Donuts are also on my way to work? Because people buy people… Cynthia, Jared, April and the whole rest of the crew know me by name and know my order by heart. As soon as I walk into the coffee shop my drink is waiting. I cannot say the same for their competitors, whom, quite frankly, would not care who I was and they probably would get my order wrong!

And whether they truly think about what they are doing and why, I am treated with a smiling face and a personal connection. It’s the old "Cheers" philosophy; you go "where everybody knows your name."

So yes, I spend $2.14 every day on my way to work… $556.40 per year on coffee that I could undoubtedly make at home. Why? Because people buy people…

What kind of experience are you selling? What kind of person are you selling to your customers? I am reminded every day how important personal connection is and how human interaction can affect your business. And, even if this tough economy, people WILL spend money if you make it worth their while.

List of Ranking Factors For Designing A High Traffic Website!

So I came across an article the other day that gives you an all encompassing list of SEO factors for your website and what REALLY affects your rankings and what doesn’t.

I thought it was a great list and did well at explaining what each item was, so I thought I would pass it along…

Check it out here:


To your success!

Organic or Pay-Per- Click?

There is always a discussion on which is better: organic rankings in the search engines or pay-per-click advertisements. My answer: what are you trying to accomplish? Like most things, it depends.
Although they are harder to get and will cost you more time and more money, organic search rankings do offer distinct advantages over pay-per-click (PPC) advertisement and will always be better for you in the long run.
I recently read an article that compared organic rankings to PPC advertisement rankings and which were better. Here are some of the results:

  • Searchers are up to six times more likely to click on the first few organic results than any of the PPC ads
  • 14% of searchers trust PPC ads (meaning 86% of searchers do not)
  • 29% of searchers are annoyed by PPC ads
  • Conversion rates are 17% higher for organic results

Well with stats like that, why would you ever use PPC? Here are a couple reasons:

Time. PPC can be instantaneous and can jumpstart your website traffic. Organic campaigns can take 3 months (and sometimes longer depending on your competition). So, if you have a short amount of time or a seasonal business PPC might be better suited for your goals.

Cost. If you are working on a tight budget PPC will always cost less. PPC allows you to limit your campaign to as much or as little as you want to spend. And by limiting your keyword and keyword phrases to those that bring the most qualified traffic you can operate your campaign on a smaller budget.

Testing. PPC is a great way to test headlines and keywords to see what pulls better for your niche and your market. You cannot do this with organic SEO. By setting up different ads with different headlines you can easily see in a day which resonates more with visitors and which drives more traffic to your site.

So, it really does depend what you’re looking for. For long term appeal- organic is the way to go. For short, quick tests- PPC is a better option.

If you’re looking for some resources for finding your keywords and helping develop PPC campaigns here are a couple:

Derek Gehl’s Top Directory List

I recently got my copy of this month’s No BS Report by Dan Kennedy. And as usual there was an Internet Update in there by Derek Gehl. Now- if you aren’t familiar with Derek, you should be!
In the article he gave away some good directory resources to submit your site to- now of course, most of them are not free, so he also provided a list. In case you didn’t see it- I thought I would post for you all to see.

Here is his top directory list (and their prices):

01 Web Directory- $49
Aviva- $34.95
Azoos- 489.95
Best of the Web- $69.95
Browse8- $35
Business- $199
DMOZ (Open Directory Project)- FREE (and very good if you can get it!)
Gimpsy- $40
GoGuides- $39.99
JoeAnt- $39.99
Librarians Internet Index- $24.95
Massive Links- $24.95
Rubber Stamped- $29.95
SevenSeek- $40
Site-Sift- $29.95
Site Snoop- $10
Skaffe- $39.99
Starting Point- $99
This is Our Year- $24.95
Uncover the New- $49
Web Beacon- $49.99
Wow Directory- $37
Yahoo! Directory- $299

Nick Nanton Speaks About Celebrity Branding

For those of you still not quite sure what we do 🙂 Check out the article below where Nick Nanton is interviewed by Dr. Marlene Siersema about Celebrity Branding.

Check it out!


How to Get YOUR News on the Google Radar

Google: the great search engine mystery. How do you get your news picked up by Google News? Unfortunately, Google doesn’t publish a manual on the things they look for in Google News articles (if they did, they could make a lot of money!). However, as with everything else in business, there are trends to watch out for. Below are some tips on how to get YOUR news on the Google radar.

1. Make Your Headline “Newsy”– Unfortunately, sales copy doesn’t work here. As my father always said, “If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck” it’s a duck. You have a better chance of getting included in Google News if you stay away from headlines that sound like ad copy. Instead, try and formulate your headlines so that they grab readers attention but are also newsy. To get an idea of some good headlines, take a look at Google News and see what they are currently picking up. Then, craft your headlines around those. Remember Dan Kennedy’s S & D (steal and distribute)!

2. Location, Location, Location – Each day, only the top 30 press releases are considered for inclusion into Google News. Do whatever you can to make sure that yours is somewhere within the top 30 for its scheduled day of release. To get your release into the top 30, make sure that your content is both relevant and educational.

3. Be Conscious of the Date in Your Press Release – This is something simple to look for but easy to mess up. If your press release has a date in the first paragraph, make sure it matches the date of release. Press releases that have an incorrect date are generally not considered. Fortunately, many of the press release services such as http://www.prlog.org and
http://www.prweb.com stamp the date for you, so that’s one less thing to worry about!

4. Watch the Number of Links Within Your Release – I would try to stick to 2-3 links within the body of your release. A good rule of thumb is one link for every one hundred words. If you choose to include more than that, your release runs the risk of looking like spam and will generally not be considered for inclusion.

5. Length – Keep you release between 150-500 words. Any more or less and the chances of inclusion will get even slimmer.

Unfortunately, we can’t read the Google manual, but if you follow these general rules, you’ll be better off than most!

Want people from around the world bidding to design YOUR logo?

When developing your business, one of the biggest things to consider is you brand. A brand as defined by Wikipedia is "a collection of images and ideas representing an economic producer; more specifically, it refers to the descriptive verbal attributes and concrete symbols such as a name, logo, slogan, and design scheme that convey the essence of a company, product or service. Brand recognition and other reactions are created by the accumulation of experiences with the specific product or service, both directly relating to its use, and through the influence of advertising, design, and media commentary. A brand is a symbolic embodiment of all the information connected to a company, product or service. A brand serves to create associations and expectations among products made by a producer. A brand often includes an explicit logo, fonts, color schemes, symbols and sound which may be developed to represent implicit values, ideas, and even personality. The key objective is to create a relationship of trust."

So when thinking of your business, how are you going to brand yourself? Your company? Your logo is probably the biggest part of branding so you want to get it right. I know what your thinking… it’s difficult to find a good designer and it costs a lot, right? WRONG!

This month, I decided to share with you a little secret we use for almost all of our clients- www.crowdspring.

crowdSPRING allows you to post your project (much like a craigslist or Elance), set the price you want to pay and watch as designers from all around the world actually bid for your project by submitting their designs to you! However, unlike craigslist or Elance you won’t get a proposal- you’ll actually get the logo for you to see! You can then give feedback as you go to give people the chance to tweak the design to your liking and when it’s all said and done, you just pick the best design!

Better yet, crowdSPRING GUARANTEES that you will get at least 25 submissions or you get a refund!

We have found that you can get fantastic results with as little as $300 dollars. Trust me for full rights to the design and people actually bidding to have the job that’s nothing!

You hear us talk about celebrity branding and the philosophy that "people buy people" over and over again- having a great logo is the first step…what better way to get a great logo than to let a bunch of people pitch you!

Where Do I Start When Writing Content for My Website?

Month after month we share our online secrets with you… well, they’re not really secrets, because we want you to know them, but I’ll stick with the "Former Wannabe Singer Reveals How to Create a Massive Fan Base and Increase Profits" story because it sounds better (and yes, that title is about me)!

One of the questions I get asked is where do I start? Where do I start when writing my blog… my article… my ebook? If you aren’t a natural writer (or the though of writing makes your skin crawl) it may be hard to sit in front of a computer and stare at a blank page that says "Document 1" up at the top.

To get started with any type of writing, I encourage people to write what they are thinking- don’t worry about putting your thoughts into formulated sentences or even full thoughts- that’s what editing is for! Just write what you are thinking… many times our brain moves much faster then our fingers can type (or write) so your greatest challenge, at the start, is to make sure you don’t forget any of those wonderful ideas you’re thinking about!

Writing content for the online world is very much the same- you tell a story and tie it in to a benefit for the reader. If you can’t give the reader some sort of actionable content somewhere in the article, meaning some kind of content they can go take action on right after they’ve finished reading your article, then you probably won’t get much traffic to the article. Also, with every story you have a headline (or title) and then the second most important element- the opening paragraph.

Since "where to start" is usually the most difficult thing when writing your online blogs or articles here are 3 tips for how to start your opening paragraph.

1. Ask a Question

Asking a question might be the easiest way to get your reader involved in your writing. By asking a question you engage the reader- even if it is a rhetorical question.

Although a little flippant, we have toyed ourselves with using the phrase "Does Your Website Suck?"

… well, does it?? If it does… you know where to find us…

If you can start your writing off with some sort of question it will not only involve your reader but immediately connect them to a pain they are having (and your services may just so happen ease that pain!) then you’re on your way!

This strategy doesn’t have to evoke fear or pain- it can also just be a simple rhetorical question to get your story flowing.

2. Share a Story (be brief you only have a few seconds to grab their attention!)

You have heard us say over and over again that "people buy people" well, it is no different on the web… in fact, you have to work even harder to give people that same warm, welcoming feeling that you would if they stepped into your office to meet with you. Your writing is no different and stories allow you to share a bit of you, so that your visitor can get to know you. These stories will also help to hold your reader’s attention.

3. Share a Shocking Statistic

By nature, we are curious creatures. So peaking someone’s interest with an interesting/shocking statistic is always a good way to start off. Of course, you do always need to relate that interesting/shocking piece of information to the rest of your blog/ article, otherwise you will lose your reader (and very quickly, I might add) when they discover it was only a ploy and the rest of the piece has nothing to do with that statistic- bait and switch is NOT something I suggest!

In general, the writing on your website is there to provide content and education for not only your visitors but also the search engines, so keep it interesting and always remember to add your keywords into everything that you write!

How to Blog in ANY Industry

“Blog- A blog (an abridgment of the term web log) is a website, usually maintained by an individual, that has regular entries of commentary, descriptions of events, or other material such as graphics or video. Entries are commonly displayed in reverse chronological order. “Blog” can also be used as a verb, meaning to maintain or add content to a blog. Many blogs provide commentary or news on a particular subject; others function as personal online diaries. A typical blog combines text, images, and links to web pages, including other blogs and media related to its topic.” (Source Wikipedia, June 4, 2008: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blog)

Knowing this, how does a blog relate to your business? Surely, your business cannot profit from a blog or can it?

Blogs are conversational. The best blogs are the ones that relate to people and current events (holidays, politics), and then they relate everything back to your business. To write a good blog, you need to be able to: (1) write about your business, which I know you can do and (2) be able to see if it’s sunny outside. Can you do that? You bet you can!

Why do we use blogs on business websites? Because, blogs are an easy way for your clients, prospects, and vendors to get to know you and your company. Like we have said before, people are not buying your product, people are buying YOU. Blogs are a simple way to relate to your audience and keep them up-to-date with what’s happening with you and your industry.

When writing a blog, here are some tips to keep in mind:

1. As I have said before, make entries conversational and keep them short. Nowadays, people have short attention spans and will not read long blogs. Keep entries between 100 and 300 words.

2. Watch out for industry jargon. Although you may know all of the elaborate industry terms, your audience probably doesn’t. So, make sure you write for your reader in order for them to understand you.

3. Make sure that there is always a link to your website at the end of your blog. If your blog is on your website, this strategy won’t be too effective. But, this is a necessary strategy if you have submitted your blog to a social blogging site (which I suggest check out www.digg.com, www.reddit.com, www.technorati.com and del.icio.us). When someone comes across your blog and likes what they see, they will follow you to your website.

4. Make sure to have an RSS (really simple syndication) feed attached to your blog. You can find this at www.feedburner.com. This will allow your clients, prospects, and vendors to sign up to receive e-mail updates instead of having to frequently check your website for the latest happenings. Also, this is a good strategy to attach to any articles and press releases that you post on your website.

Get out there and start blogging! It’s one of the simplest resources you can use to keep new, relevant content on your website. Best of all, it’s fast, easy, and will let your clients get to know you! As we always say: people don’t buy your product; people buy YOU!

Social Book-Marking, Does it Work?

People always ask me how syndication of press releases and book marking your blog in many of the social book marking sites can possibly generate traffic to your site.

Well, the other day I submitted a press release to thousands of online sources for a client. As part of my regular routine, I then put the release up on their web site. Not 20 minutes later they had a new comment on that press release:

"I found your site on Technorati and read a few of your other posts. Keep up the good work. I just added your RSS feed to my Google News Reader. Looking forward to reading more from you."

So do these strategies work? You bet they do!

Remember, if you don’t take the time to tell people about you and your business then no one will ever know about it.

New Press Release Format to Ponder

I met with a friend and local journalist the other day. As we do, we discussed business (for both parties), interestingly; she mentioned that journalists today are moving to different formats for press releases…

What is this new press release format?

Bullet-points. A simple bulleted list of who, what, when, where, why and how (yes- those same techniques we learned in school, now with a twist).

Her reason?

She said that each day journalists get so many press releases all they do is scan them and the easiest way to do that is with bullet-points. So often times, PR companies go to great lengths to get quotes and write lavish press releases. In reality, journalists rewrite the story and most newspapers require their journalists to get their own quote for the story.

So, if you insist on using the standard press release format, try writing simple bulleted list of the "5 Ws" before the rest of the release to help the journalist scan and then continue reading if they choose.

Remember, we want to make their life as easy as possible!

Web Site Tips for 2008

It’s 2008 and as people try to commit to their New Year Resolutions. I thought it worthy to give you some tips for you to commit to for your New Year Web Site Resolutions.

Here are 7 quick tips to give your web site a lift in 2008.

1. Make sure you have a "CTA" (call to action) on every page of your site. You can even use several CTAs on a page if you have multiple items to offer.

2. Place your company’s phone number and an "Email us" link in the top right corner of your web site. People read web sites like a book, left to right. They will look to the far left for the company and what web site they are one and the immediately look to the right for the company’s contact information should they need it.

3. Make sure to have a lead capture on every page. You will see on our pages we use both a mailing list signup as well as a free special report offer. You never know when someone will get the urge to give you their contact information and you want to make sure you’re there and ready to capture it!

4. GET MORE TESTIMONIALS! Third party verification, what someone says about you, is much better than you saying how wonderful your company is. When you can, post a picture with the testimonial and make sure to also post their name, company and position. Make the person as "real-life" as you can. Video and audio testimonials are even better if you can get them.

5. Cut the "fat," make your copy short, simple and to the point. If longer copy is necessary use headings, sub-headings and bullet points to break up the longer copy.

6. Make sure the personality you use if you were selling someone face-to-face is also on your web site. There are many ways to add personality including pictures, color, BLOGs, articles, bios and copy.

7. Make it easy for readers to get the latest business happenings and content you’ve added to your site- add RSS feeds to all BLOGS, articles and press releases you put on your site.

I hope 2008 is a successful and prosperous year for you all. Happy 2008!

5 Quick Tips to Getting Your Emails Read

#1 Release Date is Key: Studies show the Monday, Tuesdays and Weekends are the best days to send your emails to your lists. If you send your email on a Wednesday or Friday- you email is least likely to get read. The #1 best day to send email blasts- Tuesdays, they typically have the highest click-through-rates.

#2 Subject Lines Length: Keep your subject lines short, simple and too the point. As the old saying goes- KISS- keep it simple stupid!

#3 Personalize It: Studies show that if a personalization in the subject line is the best way to improve your open rate and click-through-rate.

#4 Number of Links: Again, keep it simple. Limit the number of links in your emails to only a couple. Anymore than five links, and you risk confusing the hell out of your readers (and losing their interest fast!).

#5 Text vs. HTML: People still debate whether text or html based emails are better. Studies show that text emails have only a slight advantage in click-through-rates over html. However, keep in mind that an open means that the full email has to be read, so if your email is in html and the images in your email didn’t download then although your email may have been read by your client you will not get an open stat for them.

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