Abraham Lincoln – Pop Culture and Public Speaking

I was going through my Pinterest feed and saw the Gettysburg Address(1863). While I had not read it in some time, I remain impressed by its brevity, its language and its remarkable message.  I have made this document a part of my Pinterest personal “vision board” as an example of a document that has lasting impact on me. Vision boards on Pinterest are a topic I will cover in a future blog.  Briefly, they are a collection of images that reflect your personal vision and brand.

Soon after placing the Gettysburg Address on my vision board, I saw a commercial online for the movie Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter.  Later in the week I saw another movie listed on Netflix for Abraham Lincoln vs Zombies. I also saw Lincoln’s likeness in a commercial for a scratch-off lottery the same week.  The biggest news on Lincoln is the Steven Spielberg movie slated for release on November 9, 2012 staring Daniel Day Lewis.  The trailer, one of the top on YouTube, is worth a watch.  The Civil War era is a period that is very interesting to me so this is a movie I will be checking out.

publicspeakingactivities.com/

Vampire and zombie hunting are formidable skills. I didn’t know that our 16th president had so many talents and curious attributes. It’s interesting how pop culture is presenting the image of Lincoln. I wonder how this will impact the younger generation’s perception of such an important historical figure?  Will Spielberg’s interpretation have an impact?

The way people and elected officials communicated during Lincoln’s time was different, but messaging and clarity remain as important today as it was in the 1800s. Without question, writing well is essential in communicating effectively and for developing marketing messages that resonate in the business world. According to James DeKoven of Brand Communications, it is a pity when a company has “spent a lot of time and money on their sales and marketing plans, but they didn’t value the importance of their communications. Somehow, they forgot the primary goal of marketing collateral: to generate immediate interest in their products or services.”

The way that messages are conveyed in writing or verbally, and how others interpret words is crucial.  Lincoln chose the words and phrases of the Gettysburg Address carefully. It was a short speech, but it contained all the points he wanted to convey and it evoked strong emotions. Lincoln was on and off the stage quickly, unlike Edward Everett who spoke for two hours before him, orators frequently spoke much longer than they do today.

Interestingly, “Edward Everett was quick to acknowledge the greatness of Lincoln’s brief speech. The day after the ceremony, he wrote to the president praising the ‘eloquent simplicity and appropriateness’ of his remarks. ‘I should be glad, if I could flatter myself that I came as near to the central idea of the occasion, in two hours, as you did in two minutes.’ Lincoln sent an immediate and gracious response: ‘In our respective parts yesterday, you could not have been excused to make a short address, nor I a long one. I am pleased to know that, in your judgment, the little that I did say was not entirely a failure.’ ”

Lincoln’s speech was two minutes, and was 10 sentences (or 272 words) long. But it was powerful. The advice is to capture the key emotions and ideas you want to convey in as little time as possible. If you can deliver a short, concise speech your audience will listen, and appreciate your brevity. According to 10 Tips from Lincoln on Writing a Kick-ass Speech”

While the style of Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address and other speeches seem to fit the style of the short blogs and brief messages we see posted nowadays, most would agree that blogs today, as far as content and flow, fall short of Lincoln’s writings.

Speaking, in public and on video, has emerged as a key selling tool for businesses and personal branding. It seems everyone in marketing mode has a LinkedIn profile and is an expert speaker. They may be speakers, but are they true professionals or experts?  Most are not. Lincoln, from the time of the Lincoln-Douglas debates in 1858 and throughout his presidency, was regarded as a great and eloquent speaker. The ability of a speaker to capture the attention of an audience and deliver a thoughtful, well prepared speech does count for something. The current presidential campaign and convention activities have been full of media commentary on content, quality and delivery of speeches.

It is wise to familiarize yourself with “The Basic Structure of a Speech.”  “Making an outline for a speech is a way to organize your ideas logically and clearly. Without making an outline your speech will probably lack structure, and so be difficult to understand. By using a presentation outline, you can “see” the structure of your speech. In addition, It can also serve as your speaking script.”

Everyone has their own approach for speaking and a system for picking topics. Speaking comes naturally to some people while others dread it.  Practice is invaluable and staying on message is important. When preparing to speak have a clear goal for your presentation, know your audience and be well prepared.

“Effective communication is based on trust, and if we don’t trust the speaker, we’re not going to listen to their words. Trust begins with eye contact because we need to see the person’s face to evaluate if they are being deceitful or not. In fact, when we are being watched, cooperation increases. When we are not being watched, people tend to act more selfishly, with greater dishonesty.”

Website Psychology Today: “Words Can Change Your Brain” article “The 8 Key Elements of Highly Effective Speech…and why your words barely matter!” Published on July 10, 2012 by Mark Waldman and Andrew Newberg, M.D. in the 8 key elements of effective speech.

Lincoln knew his audience and prepared for public debates and addresses, each were different in nature, but he set his goals.  He made an impression; he was liked, remembered and trusted. He won election to two- terms as president during our nation’s most difficult era. Would he have been able to create viral videos on YouTube, attract friends on Facebook and become an influencer on Twitter?  My answer is yes.  He understood his audience and had a clear goal.  The methods for getting messages across are different today, but Lincoln would have been able to adapt and without doubt achieve success.

Sources:

About Bill Corbett Jr.

This article is provided by Bill Corbett, Jr., President of Corbett Public Relations, Inc., a leading media relations, social media and personal branding consulting firm. For more information, go to corbettpr.com or to his blog corbettprblog.com. He can be reached at wjcorbett@corbettpr.com or @wjcorbett.

5 Ways to Recover from the Google Penguin Update

Google’s algorithm changes have a history of coming complete with their own warm and fuzzy sounding names. Pandas and Penguins that may inspire happy feelings in those unfamiliar with what they mean coming from Google, may not understand when SEO masters and content creators cringe and hold back tears when they hear those commonly friendly feeling terms. At the end of May Digital Ethos posted how some struggling with the Penguin update could avoid being fully penalized.

The most recent update, the Google Penguin WebSpam change, has actually been one that has been the most impatiently awaited and most expected update ever.

The Penguin is Angry

Many sites have suffered from the most recent update due to several reasons relating directly to SEO, or search engine optimization, practices. Google has warned business owners, web designers, content creators for years that while SEO can be highly-constructive and positive, it can also be very negative, and result in penalties that can be incredibly difficult to recover from.  Good SEO practices can include keyword research, high-quality and educational content, and as always, originality is vital. These are also commonly referred to as white hat techniques.

It isn’t the white hat techniques that have angered the Penguin. The techniques the Google has finally put the digital foot down on are most often referred to as black hat SEO. They include such practices as:

Google has officially classified the above black hat schemes to be Webspam and it will no longer be tolerated. Google’s own Matt Cutts has been a part of the Webspam team for a bit and has put out hundreds of videos in his own webmaster help series. This video will not contain any of his usual wisdom when it comes to good web practices, but in fact just the opposite.

 

The point here is that although these things might sound crazy, when put into actual audible language, these are exactly the same practices that the Penguin has sought out, and selectively destroyed. Matt Cutts advises watching these two videos if you’ve been hit by the angry Penguin and endorses these tips to help website owners recover as quickly and easily as possible.

There are several ways that web developers, content creators and SEO specialist have determined will help you survive the Google Penguin update.

5 Steps to Recovery

  1. Eliminate all unrelated links on your website.
  2. Generate only backlinks that are obtained organically, such as guest posting.
  3. Limit the number of ads on your site and focus on easy site navigation for visitors.
  4. Try to include only contextual links.
  5. Use different anchor text when linking to your site.

Don’t forget to check the search engine spam penalties page for more information that could be vital to the recovery of your website.

Google wants users to focus directly on white hat SEO methods that include creating high-quality and highly compelling content. They have suggested for years now that unless you are using white hat techniques, it is absolutely better to use no search engine optimization at all.

About Joy Lynskey

Full-Time Freelance Writer and Content Manager for Puglisi Consulting Group, Joy Lynskey specializes in Technology, SEM, SMM, and other elements of Digital Marketing.

Four Secrets Every Freelance Writer Should Know

Finding the right balance between writing what you want and writing for a living can be a difficult challenge for freelance writers. There may not be a good target market for the style and subject you would prefer to write about, but there is an endless supply of work for social media, technology and business experts, online. Here are four ways you can increase your chances of finding the right balance and earning enough money.

1.     Finding the right publisher

You can choose to write material and seek a publisher to sell your work to, or you can agree to write what a publisher requires. The two sets of work are often miles apart in subject choice unless you are one of the lucky writers who happens to live in an online social networking and SEO world.

However good your own work is, if you cannot find a suitable publisher, you will not be paid for your work. Your research hours may have reduced your pay per hour too far. Also, you need to consider the constant flow of rejections and your underlying stress levels.

If you are given an assignment you must complete on time or preferably, sooner, so you can guarantee payment. Of course, it must meet the brief offered and be suitable work for the personality with the check book.

2.     Finding jobs that pay enough

The jobs are out there and you need to find out how to locate them if you want to earn enough to extend your standard of living, at the very least.

Often the work offered by organizations will be mind-numbingly boring, but there is enough of it to ensure you can pay your bills. There isn’t always sufficient work in the area of your expertise, so you will spend time online researching the subject so you can write as an authority, taking care not to copy work directly from another source.

3.    The competition is fierce

You are not the only writer out there who has found they can work from home to avoid long car chases and the endless office politics that prevented real work at the office.

You are in competition with many countries where English isn’t the first language, but they can write for figures you wouldn’t dream of taking for a job. Just because others will work for the price of an expensive coffee each day, it doesn’t mean you should try to compete. You need to fight with your skills to not only write to the brief, but to ensure you meet all deadlines and are easy to work with.

4.   The editor is not always right

Editors vary in how they wish to see a finished product. If you write for several editors you will need to remember and apply each individual’s choice of style and composition. Otherwise, you run the risk of your work being returned for a re-write.

Even when editors are wrong in their choices, you must still apply to their terms and not fight an editor over your preferred alternative to writing sentences, paragraphs or layout. If they prefer short sentences while you maintain that long sentences make for better English, you will lose out in the long term. You might win the battle, but you won’t win the war which means they won’t offer you further work if you become a nightmare to work with.

Author:

Tim Brookes is the Managing Director of Storage Concepts a UK-based mezzanine floor & suspended ceiling company @storageUK

Sources:

About Guest Blogger

This article is a guest post provided by a third party, its content was added to Digital Ethos to help provide additional information for our readers and followers. While the Guest Blogger posts do not undergo the same scrutiny as Authors and lack sources, the content was reviewed and approved as valuable to our mission.

The Two Things Every Piece of Web Content Should Lead With

When you’re crafting Web content, it can often feel like there are so many factors to consider, so many things to get caught up with, that it’s hard to ever prioritize what really matters most. You think about the style of your writing, specific conversion goals you’re working towards, promotional strategies for helping you to bring more eyes to your content—and yet one of the simplest parts of writing good Web content is often one of the most overlooked: do you know what your Web content should always begin with?

The secret about good Web copy is that it should always begin by stating who should read it and why they should read it. It’s that simple.

Why You Want to Say Who Should Read It

Whatever you’re writing, start by saying whom it’s for—Bloggers? Copywriters? Business owners? Stay-at-home moms? Whatever audience you’re targeting, let them know. Here’s why:

  • Shows That You Know:  Addressing your audience builds credibility. When readers see you’ve put the planning and thought into creating content to meet their needs—and that it does—they begin to trust that you’re a worthy source of information.
  • Addresses the Right Audience: While of course you want people to be reading your content, the fact is that not everyone will find it helpful or interesting. But by stating your audience upfront, you automatically target those individuals who are most likely to find value in what you’re saying.
  • Increases Effectiveness: Here’s the biggest reason to state your audience: it makes your content more effective. You’ve got to know your audience in order to reach them, and this is true in any industry, whether construction or travel, transportation or fashion.

Why You Want to Say Why They Should Read It

The very next question in a reader’s mind after knowing Web content is for them is this: what’s in it for me? Here are the benefits of answering that question:

  • Engages Your Audience: Writing to a specific audience is only half the battle—it’s just as important that you engage with them. And in terms of Web content, when readers know what’s in it for them, they are much more interested and willing to respond.
  • Communicates Value: Saying why someone should read your content is basically the same thing as sharing the benefits it offers. Maybe your content is going to answer a question or explain a topic thoroughly; maybe it will show how to do something or provide life-enriching stories that touch readers’ hearts. Whatever the case, make the benefits clear to communicate value.
  • Sets up Expectations You Will Meet: Giving readers a reason to read your content and then delivering on that reason gives them satisfaction, as well as the sense that you are someone who meets expectations. Likewise, it helps them track with you as they’re reading, staying interested throughout your writing.

Tips & Examples for Putting This into Practice

Maybe you’re reading the above tips and wondering what this looks like in actual Web content. Should every webpage start with the same, “This page is for X and you should read it Y”? Not exactly. Here are some tips for putting the two most important parts of content leads into practice.

  • Address the Reader Early: Begin your post by talking to the audience you’re addressing, kind of like this post does by starting with “when you’re crafting Web content.”  As soon as you see that, you know this post is for Web writers and by the end of the first paragraph, you know what it’s going to give them—the two key elements to starting any piece of content.
  • Use Your Title: Sometimes you might use the title to state your audience and why they should be reading, like Jacqui MacKenzie does in “How to Write Great Web Content If You’re Not a Writer.” In it, she says whom she’s writing to and why they should care all in that initial title phrase: non-writers, to learn how to write great Web content.
  • Through an Interesting Intro: Some webpages and online articles are most powerful not through a super-direct title but through a more vague or nuanced one, used to build interest and anticipation. In Craig E. Yaris’s post, “The Need to Blog,” for example, the title alone doesn’t give his specific audience or intention away. Will this be about why people should blog? Why they need to blog? What to do about it? He opens with a story that leads into a more clear audience and purpose statement in the fourth paragraph, phrased as a question, “But, where does the average small business owner find that good information to write about?”

What other strategies have you used or can you think of for implementing these two important keys to beginning Web content? Or if these ideas are new to you, how could they impact the effectiveness of your Web writing?

Author:

Shanna Mallon is a writer for Straight North, a leading Chicago SEO firm. She writes for clients in various B2B industries, from broadcasting equipment suppliers to flame resistant apparel. Check out the Straight North blog! @straightnorth

 Sources:

About Guest Blogger

This article is a guest post provided by a third party, its content was added to Digital Ethos to help provide additional information for our readers and followers. While the Guest Blogger posts do not undergo the same scrutiny as Authors and lack sources, the content was reviewed and approved as valuable to our mission.

BlogWorld and New Media Expo 2012 NY [Event]

The BlogWorld Social Media Conference and Expo returns to New York again this year from June 5th through 7th as a must-attend social media networking and educational event. They are expecting thousands of attendees from over 50 countries with more than 200 speakers for the event. With a great trade-show planned this may be the only industry-encompassing event that will help bring together those in the content creation and publishing businesses together.

BlogWorld Speakers

There will be many notable speakers attending the BlogWorld Social Media Conference and Expo in 2012.

Greg Cargill –  VP of Client Services for Social & Media, Blitz

Greg’s professional career is focused on helping celebrities, brands, and products develop awareness through strategic and internet partnerships. Greg and his team at bigMethod have worked with some of the world’s largest brands such as City of Hope, Harley-Davidson, and Honda. They have successfully brought these organizations to the online social media marketing landscape. bigMethod was recently aquired by Blitz agency.

Greg will host a session called What Makes Big Brands Spend Money on Your Blog. He will share key points such as:

  • What makes brands decide to spend money on a blog
  • How much do they spend?

Linus Chou –  Product Manager, Google

Product manager for Google Analytics, Linus Chou focuses on social attribution as well as real time analytics products. Before arriving at Google, he was an engineer for display advertising at Amazon.com.

Linus will host a session called Measuring Social Media Using Google Analytics. His key points will be.

  • Always measure ROI
  • Understanding  how social channels are generating conversions for your business
  • Learn the difference between upper and lower funnel social channels and what that can mean for your social media marketing campaigns.

Katie Richman – Director of Social Media Strategy , ESPN / espnW

Director of Social Media Strategy for ESPN Digital Media, Katie Richman is part of the startup team that is building ESPN’s women’s sports business. Katie began her career in 2001 with MTV Networks Brand Creative and moved onto Oxygen Media in their startup days as well.

Katie will be hosting a session titled Creation, Curation and Collection: Getting to know Pinterest, Instagram and Tumblr with key points focused on providing a good understanding of tastes, metrics and segmentation options as well as information on cutting edge platforms.

Who Should Attend?

Anyone who publishes online can benefit from the knowledge shared at this event. Content creators, publishers, bloggers, podcasters, radio and WebTV broadcasters will benefit from new understanding on topics such as trending strategies, best practices, and trusted techniques to improve content creation and monetization.

Author:

@BasilPuglisi is the Executive Director and Publisher for Digital Brand Marketing Education (dbmei.com). Basil C. Puglisi is also the President of Puglisi Consulting Group, Inc. A Digital Brand Marketing Consultancy that manages professional and personal branding for Fortune 500 CEOs, Hedge Fund Managers and Small Business Owners.

Sources:

About Basil Puglisi

@BasilPuglisi is a Content Contributor and the Chairman of the Board for Digital Ethos. Basil C. Puglisi is also the Digital Marketing Manager for PMG Interactive. As the Digital Marketing Manager he provides oversight and support to Digital Campaigns, from Website Development to Search and Social Reach.

The Quickest Way to Become a Freelance Writer [Opinion]

Don’t let the title fool you even though it was intended to do just that, just to get you here. Alas, there is no speedy way to excel to lofty heights immediately in this coveted career, in fact, you better bring all of the patience you have. If you are fresh from a search engine having heard of an elusive, yet fabulously prestigious and adventurous new career that can be lovingly referred to by such titles as:

  • Freelance Creative Writing Artist
  • Independent Copywriter
  • Grammar Guru
  • Word Dynamo
  • Anything that includes the words “writing” and “consultant”

You are in luck! The first thing you should do if you are seeking knowledge on how to get started in freelance writing is to immediately have the illusion above destroyed. If you really want to become a freelance writer, you should probably get more attuned to titles such as:

  • SEO Junkie
  • Current Content Destroyer
  • Manuscript Manipulator
  • Erroneous Word/Phrase Creator
  • Deadline Breaker
  • Where the H*ll is My Money?

At least to begin with. Sorry to have been so brutal, but someone needed to tell you. Even freelance writers with a list of incredibly valid, high-quality and digitally impressive links have little choice in how and where to get started freelance writing. At the bottom. (Unless they have a super-fantastic teacher like me, of course)

Why Am I Saying This Now?

You’re right, I should have said this a long time ago. The problem is that I run into so many people, on a regular basis, who should be doing this job and I can’t help but point this out to them. (I’ve got my eye on you, Justin!) Some are struggling, some are not, some don’t realize they even have the talent or the ability. Some just have a fantastic way with words, the ability to drag a viewer in for a read, kicking and screaming and such.

At one point, I thought perhaps hoarding my knowledge to myself to be an option worth considering. Well, that lasted about five minutes before I tossed up a content writing company website, hired 50 writers, and began to train others to do just as I had done for myself so many years ago. Back in those days, content writing was a bit more like an old game of whack-a-mole. You jumped on a topic and literally beat it into search engine submission until your beater broke or the time ran out. These days, it’s a bit more intricate than that.

What Did I Do?

I worked hard. I worked myself into a frenzy of carpal tunnel syndrome. I built my portfolio. I’ve shown this here before, so if you do not have one, even better, if you feel like you don’t need one, it might be in your best interest to just stop the delusion train right this instant and step right off. Although you should begin on sites like:

You should also plan to get away from them as fast as possible. Use them to build a steady base of clients. Use the resources available at sites like Odesk or Elance to educate yourself on the many elements of freelance copywriting. (Also, expect to pay for those services with percentages of yours and your clients money going to their system to keep them running.)

I studied. (Still do, every day, get used to it)

Once you step into independent mode and begin to create your own content, you should immediately get familiar with how social media is used to aggregate your work and bring your client’s, and your own, content right out into the dazzling sunlight of social sharing. When  I try to explain to prospective writers the two most important things to do first, to get on the road to the most fantastic job you will ever do in your pajamas, I always tell them to:

  1. Get Familiar with SEO (And be prepared for what you learned today to mean zilch tomorrow. It is your responsibility as a content writer to examine all trending information when it comes to content creation. Google Algorithm Change Log is now your best friend and worst enemy.)
  2. Understand How Social Media Works for Content

I was patient.

Plan to spend anywhere from four to six months (most people who aren’t still living the illusion by this point will realize they probably shouldn’t go ahead and tell the boss where to put the old day job just yet) getting attuned to what it takes to be a:

  • Website Copywriter
  • Article Writer/Rewriter
  • Freelance Writer
  • Independent Writer
  • Other Reasonably Sounding Titles without Divatude

By now, you have probably learned very little about the mass range of intricate details that it takes to be a professional freelance writer. However, I get the sense you may still be curious about the phrase that indicated the loss of money. It’s true. Most especially when you make the final conversion from aspiring writer on outsourcing websites to managing your own rowdy pack of roving clients. For that reason I leave you with a list of things a budding freelance writer should keep in mind.

Freelance Writer Resources

c/o cupcakebusinesscards.com/

Author:

Joy Lynskey is the Content Manager for DBMEI and the owner of JRL Solutions, a copywriting and content management company based in Bedford, Virginia. JRL Solutions hosts a Freelance Writers Education Blog that is managed by direct and guest posting. Joy is the Content Manager and Editor for Puglisi Consulting Group at Digital Brand Marketing Education. Joy regularly works in SMM via freelance consulting  private clients with their social media campaigns. @joylynskey

 Sources:

About Joy Lynskey

Full-Time Freelance Writer and Content Manager for Puglisi Consulting Group, Joy Lynskey specializes in Technology, SEM, SMM, and other elements of Digital Marketing.

The Need To Blog

As you know, I write a weekly blog here at Digital Brand Marketing Education, covering all aspects of social media.  I really enjoy it, but sometimes, it is incredibly hard work.  So hard, in fact, that my blog (which is due by Thursday) is written on a Friday morning, to the consternation of our Executive Director and Senior Editor (I’m sorry).

Today is one of those days.  It’s really bad for me.  Terrible writers block.  Nothing coming out.  Even this is difficult.

So, it got me thinking that in all the classes I teach I talk about how important blogging is, and how if you really want to make use of SEO all you need to do is “Write.  Good.  SH*T.” (thanks, Guy Kawasaki for this quote).

But, where does the average small business owner find that good information to write about?

The first thing any small business should do is to write about what they know and are passionate about.  This will most likely include the business they are involved in or any topics relating to that business.

They should subscribe to blogs within their industry, comment on them, and react within their own blog.  Everyone has an opinion on something, and you shouldn’t be afraid to share it.  It is ok to disagree, even if it is with someone that you feel has more knowledge or experience.

When you have exhausted the general topics, it is time to search for things that will be of interest to your audience.  There are several sites available for content curation, but my favorite is Alltop.  They search the internet for articles covering almost every imaginable topic.

Blogging Frequency

How often should you blog?  The saying goes, the more you put into it, the more you will get out of it.  I know people who blog daily.  The more you blog, the more potential you have for Google to see your posts.  The more you blog, the more content you have to share within your social networks.

So, how often?  Minimally, you should be blogging once per week.  But it is what works for you.  I know that Scott Stratten from UnMarketing blogs infrequently.  His view is that he blogs when he has something important to say.  His last blog was April 15, 2012.  And before that?  February 11, 2012.  But they are worthwhile blogs.  Interesting and entertaining.

So, blog when you have something to say.  Blog once a week.  Blog when it works for you.

But, no matter what.  Please blog.  Even if it is hard.

Author:

Craig E. Yaris is the owner of EsquireTech Solutions, which helps small business get found on the social web, whether through Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn, he can both teach you the effective use of any social network or act as your social media manager, enabling you to reach your clients where they are and when they want to hear from you.  He can teach your organization the social media best practices that can help you use the tools of today to cost-effectively increase your bottom line.  EsquireTech Solutions brings the social web to your business.  Visit EsquireTech Solutions or call 516-495-9107.

Blog Resources:

About Craig Yaris

Craig E. Yaris is the owner of EsquireTech Solutions, which helps small business get found on the social web, whether through Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn, he can both teach you the effective use of any social network or act as your social media manager, enabling you to reach your clients where they are and when they want to hear from you. He can teach your organization the social media best practices that can help you use the tools of today to cost-effectively increase your bottom line. EsquireTech Solutions brings the social web to your business. Visit EsquireTech Solutions or call 516-495-9107 .

Do You Need a Blog? The Personal Branding Perspective

Why should I have a blog?  This is a question many of us in the marketing arena are often asked.  From the personal branding perspective the answer is absolutely.  A blog is where your personal brand is shaped.  Unlike a static website or social media profile, a blog is where an individual’s personal brand comes to life.  It’s where you can express your opinions and passions and demonstrate your experience.  It’s where people get to know you, what you are interested in and what you are about.  Your blog creates the narrative for your brand and allows you to express yourself how you want to in the way that you want to.

Image c/o kathybackus.files.wordpress.com/

From a business perspective, why should a person blog?  Besides creating a brand narrative, blogging helps to build relationships.  Writing timely, topical, fun and informative posts builds a following.  Have you seen Amy Adams and Meryl Streep in the movie Julie & Julia?  The film demonstrates the power of blogging, and how it can impact an individual’s life or business.  I won’t give away the plot, but the main character played by Amy Adams follows her cooking passion and writes about her struggles and successes.  Her creativity, writing ability, emotion and content slowly began to resonate and attract a following, media attention and much more.  Social media expert Seth Godin said, “It doesn’t matter who reads your blog.  What matters is the humility that comes from writing (a blog)….the meta-cognition of thinking about what you’re going to say.  How do you force yourself to describe in three paragraphs why you did something, how do you respond out loud?  [Blogging] forces you to make yourself part of the conversation.”

What Will You Blog About?

What should you blog about?  There are no rules here, but certainly something you’re interested in, an expert on or something you are passionate about.  If you have trouble coming up with blog post ideas then maybe you should look to another subject for inspiration.  A blog does not have to be all about business.  Watch Julie and Julia and you will see what I mean.  If you are looking to grow your personal brand and build relationships with people, post what you are passionate about and interested in.  Readers will connect and engage with you.  If you build your following and readership with content that you enjoy creating, then blogging will be a joy instead of a chore.

Be Consistent

Consistency matters when blogging.  Some may find that once a day or once a week works, while others determine twice a month works for them.  No matter the schedule, stick to it.  Consistency is vital to maintain reader interest.  According to Jane Sheeba, author of Pro Blogging Success, “choosing a blogging frequency depends on various parameters for different people.”  She emphasizes that blogging frequency is dependent on many factors including the blogger’s goals and preferences, the type of blog, and how new the blog is.

Time Limitations

We are all pressed for time in our fast-paced world.  Many of us have limited time to read and research topics we are interested in.  We want information in a short and concise format.  Susan Gunelius, author of About.com’s Blogging Guide says, “Most people who read blogs don’t have a lot of time or patience to read thousands of words of content. They’re looking for quick access to information or entertainment. Therefore, you should try to write succinctly and use headings to break up long blocks of text.”  Blog posts should be a reasonable length that allows information and messages to be conveyed.  For blogs that provide how-to or do-it-yourself advice, the length may be longer, but consider using bullet points. This will allow you to get the same message out but with fewer words.

A personal brand focused blog needs to be promoted in order to attract followers, subscribers and readers.  Besides including keywords, tags and categories in and with the blog specifically, the following are several simple strategies for getting the word out:

  • Post a link to your blog on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter (use a shortened link)
  • Use Facebook applications such as Networked Blogs to allow your blog to also reside on Facebook
  • Send your blog link to your contact list and ask people to subscribe
  • Ask friends to share and recommend your blog on social media and directly
  • Put the link to your latest blog in your email signature – highlight the topic
  • Each time you blog, ask 20, 30 or 50 or more people what they think of it? Share their comments and ask them to follow.

There are literally millions of blogs.  According to Hat Trick Associates there may be as many as 450 million English language blogs as of 2011 and possibly close to a billion if you count all languages.  Many of these blogs have virtually no readers.  These brands aren’t growing they are stagnant.  Become a successful blogger and create a brand that reflects you and your passions in life and business.  Start by determining what you will write about, find the platform that works for you and start posting.  Remember to be consistent and proactively promote your blog.  To grow your brand and blog you need to tend to it, nurture it, create content for it and build relationships with it.

Author:

This article is provided by Bill Corbett, Jr., President of Corbett Public Relations, Inc., a leading media relations, social media and personal branding consulting firm.  For more information, go to corbettpr.com or to his blog corbettprblog.com.  He can be reached at wjcorbett@corbettpr.com or @wjcorbett.

Sources:

About Bill Corbett Jr.

This article is provided by Bill Corbett, Jr., President of Corbett Public Relations, Inc., a leading media relations, social media and personal branding consulting firm. For more information, go to corbettpr.com or to his blog corbettprblog.com. He can be reached at wjcorbett@corbettpr.com or @wjcorbett.

Copywriting Tips to Become an Effective Copywriter

Are you cutting costs by writing your own marketing materials? Many business owners are writing their own copy for direct marketing programs and online advertisements.  It’s challenging to be creative and come up with new taglines and copy.  If you are not a pro at copywriting you will be after following the tips below.  Anyone can become a good copywriter if they follow the most important rules and practice writing.  The more you do it the better you get at it…just like most things in life!

Writing good copy is a technique that can be taught to business professionals in any industry.  However, it takes time to produce copy and you need to be able to focus without interruptions.  Here are some tips to help you produce fabulous copy for your marketing materials:

  1.  Personalize your message – Try writing to a single person rather than a mass audience.  Visualize your prospect and speak to them in a way that they understand.  Make sure you know your target audience. Smart companies should write copy that makes the reader feel as if they are speaking directly to him/her.
  2. Don’t come on too strong – Less is more….most readers have a short attention span.  Don’t hit them with too much information or too many offers. Keep it simple. It should focus on the benefits and not all about your PITCH.
  3. Use a compelling offer – Make sure you have a compelling offer to get people to respond.  It should be relevant to your audience.
  4.  Create a sense of urgency – Make sure you give prospects a feeling of urgency.  They should want to contact you now to grab that special offer or time will run out.  Keep them on their toes.
  5. Use Clear Qualifying Language – Make sure you use language that is clear and easy to understand.  For example, Engineers would need technical copy and terms…but a normal business person may not be as technical.

Types of Campaigns

Depending on the type of campaign, you will need to fit your copy to the medium. For example, when writing brochure copy, people have the tendency to write a book.  You need to keep the text short and to the point.  Most people have a very short attention span and will only look at the bulleted or highlighted items.  Same holds true for an email campaign or direct mail postcard.  Keep it simple…..

If you can’t adhere to the tips above and don’t have the time to focus on writing, then you should outsource to a professional copywriter.  Professional copywriters are available on a freelance basis and can be hired for specific projects.  You always want to keep your copy fresh and new ideas flowing! Happy writing!

Author: 

Monique Merhige is the President of Infusion Direct Marketing & Advertising, Inc.  She has over 15 years of marketing communications experience with technology companies ranging from small service firms and equipment manufacturers to a 1.5 Billion dollar division of Motorola.  Infusion is a marketing consulting firm that specializes in the security industry and delivers marketing solutions that include Public Relations, Direct Marketing, Branding, Collateral Development, and Social Media Marketing.  Visit:  www.infusiondirect.com or call 631-846-1558

Sources:

About Monique Merhige

Infusion Direct Marketing's founder Monique Merhige has over 15 years of marketing communications experience with technology companies ranging from small service firms and equipment manufacturers to a 1.5 Billion dollar division of Motorola. Monique is an Adjunct Professor of Marketing at Dowling College in Oakdale and Brookhaven. She holds a Bachelor Degree in Marketing and an MBA in General Management.

Funding Your Freelance Writing Business

The greatest aspect of funding your freelance writing business is that you are only as limited as your ambitions, creative talents and the time it takes you to complete writing projects. As a freelance writer you likely have already gained some knowledge on what it takes to win larger projects as well as specific knowledge different clients seek.

It is imperative to create a business plan and set aside some of your income from freelance writing projects. Once you begin building it, funding a small online business will be as easy as paying writers as they complete projects.  When considering funding your freelance writing business, realize that it is a distinct possibility that others may not have the ethical practices you have. Clients have been known to run off without pay, so be prepared emotionally and financially for that possibility as well.

The Basic Requirements

Before you delve into creating a small online business of your own in the writing niche, you need a reliable internet connection, an up-to-date computer and the willingness to work longer hours than you would as a part-time or even a full-time freelance writer. You will likely need at least two to four hours per day to have enough success to ensure your failures are not ‘end-alls’ for your company.

Build on Your Good Name

Outsourcing clients who are happy with you and your team may need larger projects completed. They could also have other affiliates that do. As your own writing career becomes more lucrative, improve upon the portfolios and profiles of your writer-base. Once you have a steady amount of work on your own, strike out from the freelance employee niche and become a freelance employer. Make sure that prospective employers understand you may be a part of a writing group or small online business that caters to clients with larger content needs.

Outsourcing Ethically

Never mislead a client if you are outsourcing jobs they give you. This is not only unethical but can end up costing you your reputation. If a client has agreed that your work is up to their standards and you turn in work from another writer who did not meet those standards, the client will assume you lack consistency and may decide to terminate your contract. Fair assumption, you didn’t supply consistent content, regardless of who created it. On many freelance work sites, the client would win that disagreement in a moderation process.

However, once you have clients with whom you have made clear you will have a group of writers on their project, make sure that each writers work lives up to the standards that you originally provided. This may require that you spend less time writing and a bit more proofreading the work of others. Be financially prepared with a bit of overhead from your own completed assignments in case the proofing or approval process takes a bit longer with larger orders. It will. Expect to spend at least a couple hours per day doing not much else for even the smallest projects.

Don’t Multitask Too Much

The freelance writing world is full of competent writers and websites that clients can be fully satisfied with. For this reason it will become your personal responsibility to see that your freelance writing business stands out among others. Before you go from employee to employer, you may also want to consider building up some funds to invest in marketing. Without a bit of help, the time you spent hunting, managing, and completing projects, will go from around two hours per day to ten. You can not add the much needed element of marketing on top of your many other responsibilities and expect any of them to be highly-effective. You can also expect to find yourself failing at both ends if you do. Certainly be hands-on when it comes to learning how the marketing process works. You will eventually have the time to give that area of your business far more consideration.

Funding your freelance writing business will become much easier if you demand high standards from your employees and perhaps even set up a series of rewards for consistently meeting those high standards. This will return your own private working time back to you, which you can turn over to completing the projects that will be funding your freelance writing business.

Get Started Here @DBMEi

There may be no other place better to start than right here on DBMEi if you are searching for some free freelance writer education as well as practices that you should inject into your own Freelance Writing Business.  Currently we have Megan Campbell, Vanessa Canner,  Leigh Egan, & Megan Harriswho, along with me, all write on Freelance writing  topics here @DBMEi.
Sources:

Author:
Joy Lynskey is the owner of JRL Solutions, a copywriting and content management company based in Bedford, Virginia. JRL Solutions hosts a Freelance Writers Education Blog that is managed by direct and guest posting. Joy is the Content Manager and Editor for Puglisi Consulting Group at Digital Brand Marketing Education. Joy regularly works in SMM via freelance consulting  private clients with their social media campaigns. @JoyLynskey

About Joy Lynskey

Full-Time Freelance Writer and Content Manager for Puglisi Consulting Group, Joy Lynskey specializes in Technology, SEM, SMM, and other elements of Digital Marketing.

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