Archive for December, 2014

What are the Four Ps of Content Marketing?

by Chris Martin on 12/31/2014

Sure, you’re a busy person. You’ve probably got a dozen items on your to-do list at any given time. So it’s completely understandable why you haven’t taken the time to formulate a cohesive content marketing strategy. You just kept putting it off again and again.

Well, guess what? The calendar says that 2014 is done. That means another year has passed without you making any headway on this essential task. Time to step up and take charge of your content marketing. How? By learning the four Ps.

Planning

Content marketing isn’t one of those areas into which you should jump blindly. It’s imperative that you identify what your goals will be for the coming year (such as lead generation, engagement, or brand awareness) and choose which metrics you will monitor to determine how successful your initiative is (like conversion rates, website traffic, or SEO ranking).

How can you achieve success if you don’t even know what success is?

You should also spend some time planning your tactics. Some of the most popular content marketing avenues include using online videos, appealing to smartphone and tablet users, and targeting small niches of key demographics. Finally, consider allocating a certain number of man-hours per week or month specifically toward achieving your content marketing goals. (more…)

10,000 Hours in 10 Minutes: Geralin Thomas on Organizing Your Business

by Susan Jennings on 12/29/2014

As business owners and freelancers, we all understand the importance of tending to our digital life – whether it’s through blogging, social media or email.

But online tasks have the uncanny ability to take over our days. To manage digital creep, professional organizer and consultant Geralin Thomas suggests asking yourself if you’re contributing or contaminating your brand by logging on to any particular platform. Don’t be afraid to disconnect for a few days and enjoy your life.

“I believe social media is most effective when it’s social, which is why I’m not the biggest fan of scheduled tweets,” she says. “When you’re available to socialize, be present and engage with your customers – they’ll appreciate the genuine interaction.”

The founder of Metropolitan Organizing recently checked in with us to share more advice on organizing your business life while building your brand.  (more…)

10,000 Hours in 10 Minutes: Jamie Teasdale on Reaching Your Business Goals

by Susan Jennings on 12/24/2014

Jamie Teasdale grew up with business on her mind. Her parents were entrepreneurs who started several successful businesses and inspired her to become a business professional. Now, Jamie shares her skill set with business owners of all types to help them reach their goals.

Been in business for years? That doesn’t matter; Propel Businessworks has clients that are just starting out and those who have been in the game for the long haul.

Jamie is passionate about growing businesses and helping business owners realize their full potential. She shared with us some of the ways Propel Businessworks helps individuals achieve these goals in the interview below. (more…)

eBooks: Are They Right for Your Company?

by Chris Martin on 12/22/2014

Okay, one more time: an eBook is not just your weird cousin’s self-published novel that he couldn’t get a literary agent to look at. When utilized correctly, eBooks can make up a key aspect of a company’s marketing strategy.

What’s an eBook?

As the name implies, an eBook is simply a book that is published solely in an electronic format instead of being physically produced, bound, and distributed. Though some eBooks are as short as 2,500 words, the vast majority start at 10,000 words and go up from there. There are two common types of eBook formats: PDF, a common file type found on all computing devices; and EPUB, which are specifically designed for tablets (like the iPad) or electronic reading devices (like Nook.)


You can put all of the words in these books into a single eBook that can be viewed on this tablet.

What’s In an eBook?

In terms of content marketing, eBooks generally cover one or more topics on which a company, group, or person is an expert. Because they are produced in an electronic format, eBooks can include videos, animation, audio, and links to other online content; thus making a more substantial impact on the reader than printed material can. The most effective eBooks provide a healthy dose of information and/or entertainment to the reader; and in doing so disguise the fact that they are used primarily for content marketing. (more…)

10,000 Hours in 10 Minutes: Grant Johnson on Digital Marketing

by Susan Jennings on 12/19/2014

Grant Johnson has studied and applied his theories in marketing for years as the founder and leader of Johnson Direct, a marketing and branding agency. Here, he discusses with us the new frontiers of digital marketing, and how to pick the right marketing technology for your business.

What’s new in digital marketing that we need to be aware of?

The use of Smart Zones, a cookie-less platform that does not get blocked by browsers, is new, as is programmatic advertising that becomes smarter the more you use it.

The ability to target into very niche segments, both online and offline, is also a growing trend because it works; the use of analytics and testing is becoming more common.

The importance of great (relevant) content is becoming more critical today. (more…)

10,000 Hours in 10 Minutes: Shawn Collins on the Essentials of Affiliate Marketing

by Susan Jennings on 12/17/2014

Shawn Collins is the man who brings the marketers together; he and his partner, Missy Ward, run several conferences on online and affiliate marketing a year, which you can book a slot in at their site Affiliate Summit. Shawn spoke with us about what goes into getting a conference up and running, and how marketing has changed.

How did you first get into affiliate marketing?

In 1997, I was newly married and buying my first house. I was also under-employed and trying to get out from under credit card debt and student loans. I stumbled on the Amazon affiliate program and put together an awful site on AOL about things to do in NYC. It was slow going for a while, but over time I tested things and learned HTML, got my first domain, and many more after that and have been creating affiliate sites ever since then. (more…)

10,000 Hours in 10 Minutes: Denise Brosseau on Becoming a Thought Leader

by Susan Jennings on 12/15/2014

One of the surest ways to increase your ability to sell is to increase your strategic visibility – i.e., your visibility and standing with the people who matter, says Denise Brosseau, CEO of Thought Leadership Lab.

“I’ve seen thought leaders become rainmakers who attract customers for their products, clients for their services, partners for their companies, followership for their blogs, readership for their books and funders for projects they have underway,” she adds.

Thought leadership can give your ideas exposure both inside and outside your company – especially with journalists, analysts, event organizers and conference hosts. And it will give you access to people who can help you make things happen – leaders in your organization or community; innovators in your profession or industry; or influencers in government or regulatory circles.

Still need more reasons to grow your impact and influence?

Denise says recognized thought leaders have the power to persuade, the status and authority to move things in a new direction and the clout to implement real progress and widespread innovation.

And because people want to affiliate with those who are well known and in the know, thought leadership leads to invitations to join corporate boards, serve on government commissions and participate in industry-wide committees.

If you’re ready to step up and take ownership of your big ideas and become an insurance sales innovator, read on as Denise shares more about the good and bad habits of thought leaders and who to follow for inspiration: (more…)

10,000 Hours in 10 Minutes: Tristan King on the Abilities of eCommerce

by Susan Jennings on 12/12/2014

As the founder of and chief developer for Shopify Ninjas, there’s little Tristan King doesn’t know about eCommerce. He was recently kind enough to share his perspective with us in an interview about how to set up your website to sell.

How has eCommerce changed since you’ve started working in it?

Three major changes are coming to mind. One: It’s becoming easier to get started. Two: More big names are advocating the movement. And three: increase in importance of mobile.

New features are being added all the time, as the larger and best eCommerce systems are all trying to out-do each other. This is making it better, easier and more fun for store owners. (more…)

10,000 Hours in 10 Minutes: Ivana Katz on Building Better Websites

by Susan Jennings on 12/10/2014

According to Ivana Katz, owner of Websites 4 Small Business, The most important components of the modern, user-friendly website of the future include:

  • Responsive design that works well on mobile devices
  • Use of video instead of just text to showcase products and services
  • Large, beautiful background images
  • Design where less is more (i.e., clean layouts with lots of white space)

We recently asked Ivana for more of her insight on best practices building websites for small businesses.  (more…)

10,000 Hours in 10 Munutes: Don Dulin on the Power of Positive Thinking

by Susan Jennings on 12/08/2014

Don Dulin is the first to admit even he doesn’t feel like a big ball of sunshine all the time, but he says when he puts the effort into staying positive, he reaps the benefits not only in his personal life, but professionally as well.

Most of us not only deal with criticism from others, but also the criticism we dole out to ourselves, he says. We all need to become better at lifting ourselves up and staying positive.

So he started his blog, Breath of Optimism, to share the power of positive thinking with others.

“From the moment we wake up, we set the tone for our day,” he says. “If we start off with negative thoughts, we will subconsciously focus on all of the negative things around us. Even when a great thing happens, we will find that sliver of negative.”

But Don says life is precious and we only get one shot at it, so why not take control of and live the best one ever?

Amen, Don.

Here, he shares how positive thinking has affected his life and how it’s allowed him to build his audience and his brand. (more…)