Category Archives: Uncategorized

How to Start Video Blogging

Grab a phone, find something you want to say, and take ten minutes to go do it!

For example:

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4 Art Forms Necessary to Deliver Your Marketing Messages

Video Courtesy of Rachel Lee Davis of Frame Charlotte. Follow her on YouTube and Facebook.

Every day that I am on this journey of learning and teaching the art of marketing, I learn and am inspired by the work of those around me. Rachel Lee Davis, my wife, is a great inspiration. She incorporates various art forms in her marketing and daily life, including painting, drawing, singing, dancing, and creating videos.

Video

Video is essential to any modern marketing system. While reading is not going to go anywhere, anytime soon, video is essential to presenting a full brand to your potential customers and current customers. Creating this is an art that can be very time consuming, but for an avid DIYer, using a simple screen recording software  joined with integrated video/audio from your laptop or mobile phone is often adequate to create good video.

I know, many video editors are going to jump on me with a list of the reasons that you need this, that, or the other, but learning an art you always start with what you have and grow as your skills grow. Yes, you should get professional artists to do your videos when you can, but do not let the lack of funds or tools keep you from using video to increase your marketing brand.

Also, if you are using a dinosaur of a desktop, like myself, you can still incorporate other people’s videos in your marketing mix. This blog is a case in point.

Here are some useful tools for doing video production for your business:

  • YouTube – The second largest search engine, a Google product, and the internet’s largest collection of cat videos, why are you not on YouTube yet?
  • Screen Cast O’Matic – Great free tool for creating videos from your desktop (you can remove the watermark by paying a monthly fee.
  • Adobe Creative Cloud – There are many free software packages for editing videos, but I am not familiar with them because most of the video editing I have done is with the software in my Adobe Creative Cloud subscription (Premiere Pro, After Effects).

Images

I have covered and will continue to cover images as part of the art of marketing, but here is a quick bullet point list of useful tools.

  • Canva – Useful tool for finding and limited editing of photos.
  • Pixabay – Great online community for uploading and downloading high quality photos. If you are a photographer, this kind of community can be a great place to get your name known and recycle photos you don’t use for other clients.
  • List of Tools from Sarah Arrow
  • Microsoft Snipping Tool – If you use Microsoft products, you have access to the snipping tool, a wonderful resource for taking images off your desktop and incorporating them in documents, blogs, pages, and more. Be forwarned, the resolution will not be as high as a camera.
  • Adobe PhotoShop – Photoshop is a huge program that can crash your computer if you are not careful. Photoshop is the standard for editing photos and a savvy business owner can easily cash-flow the $10/mo starting costs to get started with PhotoShop. Take it or leave it, I use it almost daily for resizing photos, editing out backgrounds, and more.

Writing

I hear from someone every day about how the internet is overwhelmed with writing (true), and how no one wants to look at writing anymore (false). I remember hearing in years past about how Jeff Bezos, Amazon, and the Kindle were going to be the end of physical books, but this February 2017 Financial Times article shows how wrong the people who called for the end of paper were: even Amazon is now investing in physical book stores.

Reading and writing has changed from THE method of communication 100 years ago to one of four methods that have all been in use in one form or another since the early 1900’s: audio, visual, video, and written. All four of these mass communication mediums have gone through major changes with the invention of the internet, social networks, and hand-held computers, but they are all still strong methods of communication.

Useful tools for improving and managing your online writing:

  • Workflowy: Great resource for taking notes.
  • Microsoft Office: Front of the pack since the 90’s.
  • Grammarly.com: Great tool for reviewing your grammar, spelling, and other technical writing issues. More than your typical grammar and spell check, Grammarly is constantly developing their algorithm to look for best uses of English, not just simple rules.

Audio

Video killed the radio star, and the internet killed the radio station, or so  most people think. Just like written content, audio is an essential part of the art of marketing, even in a completely online marketing platform. Just think, how many people listen to music, podcasts, and other audio systems (including local radio) while working.

When I am working, I do not have the time to watch video, and images are often distracting from my focused writing. But, I can quickly browse a written blog to determine if I want to use it as a resource and music, podcasts, or radio live-streamed online help me focus on my writing and ignore my coworkers.

Here are some useful tools for creating audio files and publishing them online.

  • Soundcloud: Sound Cloud is a great tool for publishing music and artistic audio.
  • Spreaker – My favorite podcast tool because of its easy price-point and live broadcasting features.

What are some tools you use for creating video, audio, visual, and written art in your marketing endeavors? Leave a comment letting me know some good tools!

 
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Saturday Book Review: Entreleadership

EntreLeadership was a great book to read the second time around, and I learned more now than I did then. I marked it up thoroughly so that I can use it as a reference guide for building Paul Davis Solutions, and hope to give you enough of an idea in this review to decide whether you want to buy it yourself.

Good Content for Various Stages of Business

In fifteen chapters, Dave Ramsey covers everything from defining a term he coined (combining entrepreneur and leader) through all the fundamentals of running a business. It is an ambitious project to include sales and marketing, accounting, human resources, strategic planning, business launching, decision making and more in one book, and Dave Ramsey does an admirable job.

Whether just starting or celebrating 30 years, EntreLeadership is a great tool for refreshing your understanding of the fundamental principles to running a business. If you have ever listened to Dave Ramsey’s radio show, you might have heard he gives the same advice your grandmother would give you, he just keeps his teeth in.

This book is no different. It has some solid, common sense principles for running a business and these are 3 key takeaways I got from the book (that will probably change the next time I read it).

Total Surrender

“My total surrender following my failure is at the root of our tremendous success today.” – Page 2

Personally, this was a significant quote for where my business is at right now. I find it comforting, because PDS is being built on the backs of many part-time businesses. In the first two chapters, Dave Ramsey offers his significant history as a business person as the reason and the method behind writing this book. The sub-title gives it away: 20 Years of Practical Business Wisdom from the Trenches.

This is one of the most inspiring parts of the book for a business person facing tough times; it reminds us that we are not alone and in every failure is buried the seed of success.

Selling Matters

Chapter 8, Death of a Salesman, is Dave Ramsey’s explanation on sales. Knowing his history with and love of selling from the introduction and chapter 1, I am surprised he waits until Chapter 8, but he had many prerequisites to cover. This chapter has some excellent points including the fact that everyone is in sales.

If you are asking someone out on a date, you are selling your prospect as a suitor.

If a child tries to convince their parents to buy something, they are selling the need for that toy to their parents.

This is a good reminder for any business person or employee: if you are not actively involved in getting and keeping customers for your business, there will eventually be no business.

Another good point to remember from this book is the sales cycle. Different from the inbound marketing cycle, the sales cycle involves qualifying a lead, building rapport with the lead, providing education/information to the lead, and closing the lead to a customer. As Dave Ramsey points out, if you have done the steps properly, people tend to close themselves and at that point you will be merely an order taker.

I would recommend this book just for the chapter on selling.

Back to the Basics

In 305 pages, Dave Ramsey “spanned high-level leadership philosophy all the way to the daily mechanics of starting a business in your living room.” In order to cover so much in one book, he has to provide basic, common sense answers to most people’s questions. If you want a primer on the different types of social media, their market demographics, and how to reach them, this is not the book for you. If you want a reminder on how to find that information, this book is right for you. If you want a legal primer on contract law and human resources, you should not be reading a blog on marketing, AND this book is not right for you. If you want an overview of all the aspects of your business that you might be overlooking, including contracts and human resources, this is the book for you.

EntreLeadership provides some common sense thoughts and guidelines to grow a business by and helped me remember some areas in my business that need improving.

So, on to the next step!

If you need help with your basics in marketing, creating content, or building inbound funnels, please contact me today to see if we would be a good fit.

This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on some of the product/service links, I will earn a referral fee. 

Experiment #1 – Twitter Conclusion

After a year of creating content and posting it to Facebook and Twitter, I have had hundreds of clicks on Facebook and 2 from Twitter.

One of the most important parts of learning marketing is to listen to the stats and respond to them in a way that is consistent with your inner ethos and aesthetic.

Reasons for so little leads for my business are possibly: I don’t understand it well enough, I have not identified my target market on there, and I don’t spend enough time on there.

That said, I am now going to experiment with LinkedIn, which has had one referral per post in the last year.

4 Content Habits To Develop To Improve Your Sales

The art of marketing forms good habits by practice, practice, and more practice. While many non-creative or want-to-be creatives think that improvisation requires acting according to how you feel, a good artist knows that any art takes focus, it takes discipline, and it takes the habit of practice.

The following are ways that you can increase your habit of practicing marketing and develop life-long skills of successful content marketing.

Practice Talking With Your Audience 

Have you identified your target market yet? In inbound methodology, they are called the buyer persona, in other marketing circles they are called avatars.

I call my customer personas M, B, and D, after specific customers of mine who shall go unnamed. If like me, you are too imaginative to create non-real personas or avatars to define who your target market is, or not imaginative enough, it helps to look at your customers and see if they follow a pattern.

You cannot know who they are and what their needs are unless you actually sit down with them and ask them how their business is going. Listen to them.

If you target consumers with your marketing, find consumers who love your product and sit down with them. Ask questions about them, about their needs and how your product or service helped them.

Practice Writing

Writing is a skill that takes practice.

Editing takes practice.

Creating an idea for a piece of content takes practice.

I have written and published over 700 blogs on over 100 platforms, as well as newsletters, brochures, web pages, legal forms, and books. Writing takes practice. Here are some ideas for content practice:

  • Rewrite words you misspell 10 times. I was made to do this in high school and I do it still if I contantly find myself stuck on a spelling mistake. Spelling takes time: save yourself by spelling right the first time.
  • Buy Easy Grammar Grade 8: 180 Daily Teaching Lessons and go through the lessons. I just finished teaching some students through that book and it improved my grammar.
  • Write often about many different topics. A violinist who cannot improvise a fiddlist who cannot read music, and a ballerina who cannot dance jazz are all lacking in their artistic abilities. You do not have to be great at many writing styles, but you should understand them.

Practice Sharing Your Writing

Sharing writing can be as difficult as writing it in the first place. That is why the reward for Young Authors is to have them listen to a professional author read her work. We learn best by teaching others, and in writing, you cannot teach if you do not share.

Practice sharing on social media.

Practice sharing on a blog.

Practice talking to your wife, children, of if you are very introverted, a friendly dog, about your writing.

Practice Research

Content marketing requires research. Lots of research. I read blogs, I read news articles, I read books. If you want to be able to market your business, you need to research your business, your industry, your competitors, and general market trends.

Sign up for a basic history course at a local community college, and practice research papers.

Research Shakespearean sonnets and try and write an original piece in the style of Shakespeare.

These exercises will help you find your voice as an author and as a marketer.

Hire Another Artist

And finally, if you do not have time to practice and develop your skills as a content marketer, that is great, too!

I can do that.
Please contact me to find out if my practice can help your business succeed!

This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on some of the product/service links, I will earn a referral fee. 

 

Experiment #1 – Leads from Twitter

When you are planning content marketing, understanding where your market interacts online is one of your first goals. Do they hang out on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, or Instagram?

Sometimes the only way to get an accurate portrayal of this is to try out different publishing platforms, and for this reason, I am planning a month away from my Facebook business prospecting so that I can focus on Twitter and see whether the leads increase or decrease.

More information shall be forthcoming.

Starting Stats: 529 Tweets, Following 205, 198 Followers

No measurable traffic coming to www.thewriterscue.com from Twitter.

Is Your Site Ready for Google’s Pop-up Penalties?

You might have heard about the upcoming changes to ranking a site on Google: popups are out, they say! What is an enterprising list-builder to do?

Do Not Fear

Google likes to award user-friendly sites. Does your site’s popups interfere with a reader’s ability to get a feeling about your site? This is your biggest question to ask. If a user can land on your site and read text before the popup engages, then you should be OK. Also, if you are really nervous about the ability to gather leads from popups, you can follow the advice of Hubspot, which suggests focusing on embedded signup forms and CTAs within great content.

Babies and Bathwater Proverb Here

If you are tempted to just throw out your popups entirely but want a balanced counterpoint to that, then read Sarah and Kevin Arrows’ great examples of poor popups on their blog. They show what a poor user experience is and give tips on how to set your website up well.

Finally, Pop Up Ally Pro, the great WordPress plugin, understands the need to meet your customer’s goals and gives you the opportunity to disable popups or otherwise change them for mobile screens that will be negatively affected by the intrusiveness of a popup.

In Summary

In summary, these are the things you need to remember about your popups:

  • The negative Google response is focused on mobile sites, if your popup or “interstitial” makes it difficult to read your site on a mobile device, this is bad.
  • People need to be able to read your content before receiving a popup. Whether on mobile or desktop, give people a chance to get to know you before you ask for their email address.
  • Whether you are going to keep popups or not, you need to focus on continuing to provide great quality content for your customers and website readers.
  • Go and try out your website on a mobile device right now. If your popup annoys you, delete it.

Update On My List-Building Challenge

Starting multiple challenges for multiple sites is crazy, but also necessary for this month.

So, week 1, I have taken time to write down my goals, write down who I need to be in order to achieve my goals, and created tracking solutions for both Aletheia Christian and The Writer’s Cue.

I am starting with 2 subscribers for The Writer’s Cue and 117 subscribers for Aletheia.

Come back here every Sunday in September for more updates on my list building challenge.

Why Hire Someone Else To Write Your Content?

I just came across an excellent article by Bright Orange Thread, 4 Reasons to Hire an Expert Writer and thought I would share a recap for you.

  1. An Expert Writer understands content on the web. Do you engage the audience in 5 seconds or less? Do you understand how to break up the content to make it scannable? These are all things Bright Orange Thread states an expert writer understands about web content. It’s true.
  2. Expert writers make jargon understandable. You understand your industry. Do your customers? Potential customers? The general public? If you are writing marketing materials for any of those audiences, you need a writer who understands the audience, not just your industry.
  3. What do the search engines want? SEO is serious business. Do you have the time to research Panda, metatags, page performance, and white/gray/black hat SEO techniques? No? These are the technical aspects of web content that expert writers understand.
  4. Time Management – It takes time to craft and write a piece of content. Even something as simple as this recap takes time. Do you have the time to focus the majority of your time on writing content for your website, or do you need to do other things (meet with clients, manage employees, plan, budget, etc)?

These are the 4 reasons Bright Orange Thread give for hiring an expert content writer. If you want more information, go read their blog here.