A Day at Google New York & Seth Godin [OPINION]

Google started a pretty amazing program called “Google Engage for Agencies”, while it’s a great outreach program to help generate brand advocates that act as a sales team for low to no cost, it’s much more then that!

Google has generated a program that has done a few things, but I want to center on two, Content and Education!

1) Google Engage is a program that is producing content for Google.  Agencies are now telling stories for Google about Google and tying it directly into local communities! The Engage program has agencies and consultants that now have stories that tie back to their community, ones that give all the recognition to Google and the AdWords platform.

2) Google is flooding the market with the correct information and empowering agencies and consultants through education to provide the correct and effective services. In a time period where consumers distrust agencies and digital marketers (and they should) Google has decided to empower those that want to learn, want to provide value making it much harder for those that are not genuine to survive.

The Engage program has provided others, like myself with direct education and training. The information that I now have as a professional has been advanced by the support of Google, both in a distance education program and done in conjunction with Dale Carnegie trainers at Google.

I made a comment earlier that consumers distrust digital marketers and agencies and that “they should”. I stand by that statement, in fact,  I started blogging because of that very fact just a few years ago. Walk into a small business owner these days and don’t be surprised when you get a question like “what makes you different then the other 100 sales people before you” and it’s a great question, in fact if business owners and organizations had asked it sooner we wouldn’t have the distrust that the marketing industry has earned.

Google made a commitment to provide a service that they believed helps connect people on the web to solutions providers and services. That incredible tool has been defiled by digital marketing consultants and agencies. As Seth Godin has explained, marketing had it good until the illusion vanished. Out of fear and greed the economy was destroyed overnight by those that worked to game the system, be in PPC, SEO or just selling products, services and solutions that they didn’t care if it worked as long as they got paid.

Google had another great surprise for those of us in attendance, a LIVE Google Hangout with Seth Godin, “America’s Greatest Marketer as claimed by American Way Magazine. Seth’s presentation was excellent and while he did a great job sharing information with us, the Q&A was a treasure. Seth’s message is that success comes from being genuine and often takes a long time, in fact Seth admitted it took his blog three (3) years to gain traction.

A day at Google confirmed one thing, the world is full of fraud and the marketing industry has a disproportionate number of contributors. The bright note is that for those of us that take the time to genuinely try solve problems and not just generate sales or revenue, we can and will be successful. In this case, Google is genuine about wanting to connect people with what they are actually looking for, be it through organic search or paid search. Google is acting like a leader, providing the right and accurate resources to the community. The Google Engage program is just one of the resources that Google has invested in to empower the professionals that are trying to do the right thing by their clients, customers and business.

In the end, Google was impressive at every turn. Google New York had Food, Fun and Value! The information was only surpassed by their commitment and methods to deliver it! A methodology that I feel is worth any successful business or corporation pursuing.

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.

SEO2012: A Visual Look at Search Engine Optimization

First, note that the article starts with “opinion” and the truth is that all content related to SEO is exactly that, opinion. Any representative or person that claims to have “facts” to back up their SEO strategies has discredited themselves. This is not to say that professionals can’t produce data that shows results, but simply put no one outside of Google really knows what drives Search Results in a manner that can be supported by fact. If you then take into account the fact that SEO has changed so many times in the last two years, one could argue that the industry has removed itself from the categories that allow for the titles guru and expert.

Search Engine Optimization

The chart is meant to be a tool, one that business owners should find useful as a roadmap for talking points with a SEO Professional or Agency. While there are finer points and details to contend with, you’d be hard pressed to find a real professional in the industry that could argue about the basic premise here and how important quality SEO is derived almost equally between each of the three sections. As such you should expect and anticipate that your SEO strategy should touch on all three, or spend your time and money somewhere else.

Onsite, represents the structural design and make up of your website. The structural design is a crucial component to how the site is crawled and MORE importantly will allow your users to interact with it. Engagement which is the perceived value to the user or visitor, is believed to have direct value correlations to onsite structure. Things “onsite” like Meta descriptions will affect things like CTR (Click through rates) which is one of the values we believe Google uses to determine if the placement is justified. Followed closely by bounce rates and time on site, which again we believe are all indicators to your sites value in relation to a topic or keyword. The Offsite refers to things like Social Signals, which once heavily included Twitter, but now seems most influenced by +1 activity from Google+. Geo references and Google Local are also factors in the search results both as an independent source and as part of traditional organic results. While backlinks are frowned upon in the perspective of buying links, you’d better believe that it’s going to continue and finding strategies that are genuine in nature are crucial to you survival on page 1.

There is no cookie cutter for SEO, anyone that walks up claiming they have the package for you is full of it! Genuine SEO strategies take time and must evolve, you can start with a budget but what you get as a report at the end of each month can be completely different, types of content, links, social outreach/bookmarks will all change over time and the SEO strategy should reflect that approach and not a useless plan that says $800 you’ll get 50 links, 3 articles and # # # #. That’s a big red flag.

In the end, SEO is part of a business. The Search Engines want to put people in touch with the service they are looking for and you should only want to spend time and money on strategies that place genuine search results that you can benefit from. In the end it’s all about connecting people with the content, product or service they want or need.

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.

Social Media and the Non-Profit

On Thursday, June 21, 2012, I was one of the panelists at Hofstra University, discussing the use of social media for the non-profit organization.  I was joined by some great minds in social media, Jerry Allocca, from Core Interactive (author of Connected Culture and SEO expert), Donna Rivera-Downey from the Girl Scouts of Nassau County (Chief Social Marketer), Ellen DePasquale, Regional Development Director for Constant Contact, and our host, Debbi Honorof, Senior Director of Marketing and Communications Coordinator for Hofstra University.

Some of the things discussed included choosing where and how to engage, how to use Google search and their keyword tool to help improve visibility, and best practices for event marketing.

What information came from the panel?  Here are five tips to get your social media moving in the right direction.

1.  Pick the Right Social Network

The first step in becoming a social non-profit is to decide which network(s) will give you the engagement and results that you are looking for.  As discussed during the panel, the best way to determine this is to ask.  That’s right, go ahead and poll your users by sending out a survey through e-mail, using the polling function on Facebook, and asking Twitter.  If you are not on any of the networks yet, send out an e-mail and ask.  Your donors and participants will drive your engagement, so you are best served by being where they are.  And, it may not always be the network or method that you think it is.  Don’t just choose networks based on size.

2.  Ask your Personal Friends for Help

Once you have decided where you will be engaging, do not be afraid of asking for help in sharing your messages.  Your cause is one that is a passion for you, and you should be willing to share that information with your friends and family.  As they begin to share your posts and information, people will begin to gravitate towards you and naturally share information you provide.

3.  Don’t just take your Traditional Advertising and Make it Digital

Digital and social marketing are inbound marketing strategies that require a different message and different tone.  Traditional marketing is outbound, and directly asks for the donation or action.  Inbound marketing causes donors to participate because of who you are and what you’ve shared.

4.  Incorporate Social into your Website and Traditional Advertising

Make sure that your potential donors are able to donate on their terms.  This means having the ability to donate through Facebook.  Make sure your website/blog is your home base, and that all information leads back home.  Help your potential donors connect with you wherever it is easiest for them.  Utilize social plug-ins on your site, so that they can connect without any extra effort.

5.  Have a Social Media Policy

People make mistakes, and those handling your social media will, at one point, do something you wish they didn’t.  That’s ok.  What’s important is how you handle it, and a good social media policy will help you do just that.  Check out the social media policy of the U.S. Army for a well-written policy, and see how you can implement it into your organization.

Now that you have some basic tools to begin the social media process, the most important suggestion is:  Jump in and get your feet wet.

Really, the only way to determine if social media is for you is to begin.  Take a chance and begin to experiment where you are comfortable, and then jump into the deep end.  Take on Facebook or Twitter.  Connect.  Engage.

How is your non-profit using social media?  What, if anything, have you found works well?  What doesn’t?  I’d love to hear from you!

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.

Sources:

Photo courtesy of Hofstra University

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 .

What Digital & Social Media Marketers Can Learn from Business Consultants [Opinion]

In the last five years I have heard some wild claims about who makes the best marketer – those claims have ranged from PR professionals, who ‘should be the only people to do it’, to Social Media, to ‘it takes a Sales Professional to provide the best internet marketing.’

I’d like you to think of Digital Assets in the form of a building:

  • The windows are Social Media – transparency of course
  • The walls are the advertising efforts – the place to display and show
  • The doors are the PR – as media attention helps get people to walk through the door
  • The shelves, displays and racks are the event planners – presentation and onsite execution
  • The Roof is the website – it covers everything else

However, the missing element is the foundation or the business itself. The digital and social media industry has gotten a lot of bad heat on not being effective and I would argue that has happened because the keystone has been missing, the Business Consultant.

I warn almost everyone that I interact with to look for the red flags when meeting a PR, Web, SEO, Social Media, Event Professional, etc. The best way to know if that have any clue what they are talking about will come with the first interaction. Do they start talking to you about their business and products, or do they ask you about yours?

The world is filled with overnight talent and businesses that offer these services and I say talent because most are very good at their niche, unfortunately it seems to end there. Think of it like a great marksman sent off to war to be a sniper without any military training. The ability to hit a target does not translate to being an effect solider, especially in terms of the bigger picture.

The transformed business consultants that are working as project managers and on the rare occasion can provide Web Development, SEO, Social Media and more are carrying with them the greatest lesson the marketing industry can learn, success goes beyond the view, comment and call!

Traditional marketing and advertising was all about visibility and the connection point, the advertising was a success when the consumer connected with your name, product or service.( i.e. someone visited the website, opened the email, opened the text message or called your phone, that is marketing success in the traditional context). The ability to convert that experience into a sale was the business owners problem. This is the reason businesses fail continuously and why corporate leadership is completely in the dark with the digital environment.

How Can We do Better or Demand Better?

Take the Business Consultant approach, inquire about the business model, the products or services, why the target market is the target market. Take the campaign backwards, go from the conversion or sale to the campaigns and tools to reach consumers. Build the model on the business and remember the best in any industry become the best from exploring. Sometimes it’s easier to create new then fix broken.

Why “NO” is so important to the Profession of Digital & Social Media Marketing [Opinion]

The overnight rush of Web developers lead to overnight SEO providers and then the flood of Social Media Marketers. Which in turn lead to every PR, advertising and marketing agency claiming to offer services they knew nothing about to save their revenue streams. The industry changed so fast that quantity quickly overtook quality.

“NO” is crucial to not just the digital and social industry but the recovery of our economy! I was sitting in a session at BlogWorld, it was about monetization, each of the three presenters had the same story the “advertisers found us” and “I spent nothing on advertising”.

I had to go to the mic, this is such a common carless comment that I had an ethical obligation to set straight.

The question: “You said that advertisers found you and that you spent nothing on advertising, but I want you to think of what the cost was… you might not have purchased advertising but clearly you spent time and money to build your…”

All three faces quickly had a look that you couldn’t quite place, perhaps it was horror? Then Lou Mongello of Walt Disney World Radio jumped to answer, “Oh it was so expensive, it cost me time, I had to sell my house and I spent money on all sorts of things”.

Lou Mongello then went on to explain that part of his success came from having his families support and the understanding of sacrifice to accomplish the long term goal.

Don’t Go In Unprepared

Here is the crucial point of this article, because so many enter into digital and social media services unprepared with misrepresentation of their own business model, they are ill equipped to help their clients with the same problem. In the need to create profits they become like AOL, they leap into every adventure without any thought of their clients business model or worse their own long term business model.

Learning to say “NO” allows you to take on clients that will be successful with your talent or service, it garnishes long term revenue for your business and a reputation for growth. It’s not easy being picky in the beginning, or when times are tough, but it is successful! Even more importantly, it keeps others from wasting their life savings on an idea or business that they are underfunded, underequipped or worse ignorant about from losing their time and money. It also prevents the overwhelming false, false from becoming the digital and social media industry. The Social Media Marketer did not intentionally fail you, the web developer did not build a crappy website or fail to generate valuable SEO, the business was flawed and directed to fail from the beginning and the digital and social industry should not take the blame for that.

Pick your clients carefully, for the benefit of them, yourself and our industry.

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.

Favor Facts over Frills in B2B Copywriting

Platitudes and empty promises go over like lead balloons in the B2B world, where people expect results. While emotion can often play a key role in turning prospects into leads – after all, the customer has to like you – B2B customers are visiting your site with an objective. Too much fluff can end up burying the sale. Effective copywriting delivers a message that lets customers know exactly how to meet their goals and compels them to take action.

Image c/o masstransmit.com

Here are tips for persuasive B2B copywriting without the frills.

Know Your Audience

The tone, style, language and vocabulary you use depend heavily on the people who are using your site. You may have a typical clientele, but you must still narrow your audience down to the actual person who is making the online search, ending up at your website and taking action. This person could be a business owner, a product manager, a VP of marketing, a buyer, a salesperson or an assistant. Identify your users and write content that speaks to them. Using the word “you” helps you further communicate directly to your readers.

Headlines, Bullets and Menus

These areas of text may have the smallest amount of content, but they play an important role and require powerful language. Strong headlines are brief and to the point – don’t waste space with language that leaves readers wondering what the page is about. Use bullets to outline the benefits of your products or services, making it easier for users to find what they’re looking for without having to comb through heavy text. The content on your site’s menu bars must navigate users to where they should be on the site; if they get lost, they’re likely to give up and move on.

Ask Questions

Asking your users questions helps them identify their needs and even discover challenges they weren’t aware of. Just be sure to provide solutions. For example, a marketing agency that provides digital display advertising services might ask “What Makes an Ad Effective?” in its headline. This gets readers wondering if their current advertising campaign is as effective as it could be, and compels them to read on for the answer.

Call to Actions

One of the main goals of a B2B website is to convert leads into sales. A successful call to action creates a sense of urgency and value that triggers an immediate response from the user. Vague call to actions, such as “Buy now” or “Click here” lack the detail required for an appropriate response – buy what now? Click here for what? Write call to actions that have a clear, concise message: “Sign up now for a 30-day free trial!” or “Contact us today to make an appointment!”

Case Studies and Testimonials

Rather than make promises and guarantees that aren’t for certain, tell your readers about true success stories. Testimonials help to build your company’s credibility. With case studies, you can highlight specific challenges and how you worked to meet them – proving to your readers that you have the resources and expertise to walk the walk.

Do you have any other tips for B2B copywriting that really works?

Author:

Jacqui MacKenzie is a writer for Straight North, one of the leading Web development companies in Chicago that specializes in Internet marketing, social media and SEO. She writes for a wide range of clients, including audiologist website providers and companies that help book a tee time online. 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.

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.

Google Places for Your Service Industry

An innovative business known as PlumberSEO.net has found a way to use Google Places for service industry networking. While they specialize in working with HVAC contractors and Plumbers, PlumberSEO helps those in their industry take their businesses to the next level with effective online marketing with social media, SEO, map optimization and many other internet marketing tools.

Find a Plumber and More

It used to be that when you were looking for a plumber, electrician, roofer, or any other type of service contractor, you picked up the yellow pages and almost always went with the one that had the most impressive ad, the most credentials, and the most well-known company brand name. In today’s world, very few people still use this traditional method of printed resources, instead, they head to the web to look for the best options for service contractors in their area. One of the ways in which Google has made this search easier for consumers is by adding Google Places.

Check out this quick video to get familiar with Google Places if you require a bit more in-depth understanding.

Now when people look for service contractors in their area, they commonly head to Bing, Yahoo, Google, or other favored search engines as well as to social media sites where they may ask friends or family if they can suggest a contractor in the area.

A recent survey of 2,000 consumers revealed the 86% of the surveyed use the internet to find local business, 74% of those cited search engines as where they go when seeking a local retail or service industry contractor.

Local businesses that are not showing up on page one of search engines are missing major opportunities to grow their business as most people tend to decide their choice in contractors from page one of search engine results.

How to Manage Google Places

Google Places isn’t without its own flaws. However, most of these are user related and may just require a bit more of an in-depth understanding of how Google Places works. If you have had any issues you may want to check out this video for some helpful tips if you find you need help troubleshooting.

In addition, be sure to check out how to Optimizing Your Google Places Page to get the best results for your business.

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.

Surviving the Google Penguin Update

Penguin Rescue_020

Penguin  (Photo credit: iliveisl)

Google’s April 24th update – codenamed Penguin – seems to have had some seriously adverse impact on many sites. Google has said time and time again, that SEO can be very constructive and positive. They have pointed out that effective SEO can make a website more accessible and crawlable. Basic SEO includes techniques such as easy keyword research conducted to help ensure that you are embedding the best and most attractive words for your industry, product or services.

Since good search engine optimization can equal good marketing, being creative and using a variety of ways to make your website’s content compelling is also key. This can also be beneficial on your social media networks, great content will be shared, and that is always a plus. Those who use suggested white hat, or organic, techniques as opposed to black hat, or more nefarious methods, do not usually experience some of the devastating problems that are common with big algorithm changes such as the one with Penguin and the previous Panda change.

Penguin Eats Webspam

Sites that pursue black hat techniques, or Webspam, may use shortcuts that can help to raise their page rankings quicker than the organic white hat methods. Anything from link farming to keyword stuffing can help to temporarily boost rankings, but then Google always seems to find a way to punish those who do. It is simply not worth it any longer to spend time looking for loopholes when organic methods continue to stand up to even the strongest test in Google’s content updates.

Penguin specifically focused on penalizing sites that utilized:

When Penguin was rolled out it was referred to as the ‘webspam algorithm update’ for this reason. It intentionally targeted those sites using black hat tricks to bump themselves above those using good wholesome white hat organic marketing methods.

Be sure to also check out the search engine spam penalties page for more information that could be helpful in helping you to remove issues from your site that Google’s new update is now frowning upon.

Google says that they want people to focus on white hat SEO methods such as creating compelling websites and creative content, or even no search engine optimization at all, before considering using any black hat methods. Although some of the webspam techniques they have been eliminating in recent algo changes are more than ten years old, Google has warned repeatedly about practicing bad SEO methods and admit that they are continually improving on ways to make sure their next releases find the other black hat needles in the haystack that is the internet and swiftly penalize them too.

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

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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.

How to Write Great Web Content if You’re Not a Writer

We’ve all heard it before: Content is King. And your website needs it. Your site’s content is what tells your customers who you are, what you’re offering and why your business is better than the rest. It tells them where to go, who to call and what the next step is. It drives traffic to your site from Google. Your business cannot afford poorly-written content, but unfortunately, not everyone can afford a professional copywriter to convey their message for them.

There’s good news: Writing great Web content, even if you’re not a great writer, is not impossible. Here are several tips to get you started.

Less really is more.

Yes, your business is awesome, and you want everyone to know it. Yet there’s also something to be said about the guy who talks way too much about himself. Be brief with your website content. This can be tough when there’s a lot to say, so the first step involves understanding what your audience needs and giving it to them. No more, no less. If your company offers credit card processing for non-profits, outline the best services for accepting donations, but don’t go into too much detail. Long chunks of text that are loaded with jargon can get confusing and turn customers off.

Use call to actions.

A call to action gives your visitors direction and encourages them to take that next step to connect with your company:

  • Call now to speak with a representative.
  • Download our PDF to learn more about vehicle tracking using GPS.
  • Make an appointment to start improving your smile today!

Call to action text is usually linked to another page that brings visitors to a contact form, or it can be a single-word phrase within a button that downloads a program or PDF. Don’t hide your call to actions within the copy – make them clear and easy to see so your visitors know exactly what to do next.

Subheads and bullet points are your best friends.

While content is king, your website visitors probably aren’t spending too much time reading every single word. Instead, they’re scanning the copy to find what they’re looking for – benefits, product details, services, rates. Make it easy for them by breaking up your content into short paragraphs with clear subheads, as well as bullets that outline key points.

Add keywords with caution.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is crucial to helping your website get ranked and found through search engines. Optimizing your content with relevant keywords will help drive users to your site as they search Google for certain products and services.

However, it’s not as simple as stuffing your headlines and body copy with keywords and calling it a day. Your visitors can tell when you’re adding keywords just to add them, especially when you put no thought into how the keywords affect the flow of copy. More importantly, Google values quality content and penalizes keyword stuffing. Your site will rank higher when your content provides truly valuable information to your visitors.

Do you have any tips for writing great Web content?

Author:

Jacqui MacKenzie is a writer for Straight North, one of the leading Chicago Web design companies specializing in Internet marketing, social media and SEO. She writes for a wide range of clients, including providers of vehicle tracking using GPS and credit card processing for non-profits. 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.

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