Jim's Marketing Blog

Marketing ideas to help you grow your business

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The secret to becoming a prolific blogger!

blogging, copywriting, content marketing

Image: Maria Reyes-McDavis

Do you find it a little challenging, writing regular content for your blog or newsletter?  If you do, here are a few ideas to help you increase the quality and volume of your creative written output.

Is the 15 minute blog post a lie?

Most of the prolific bloggers I read, state that it takes them around 15 or 20 minutes to write a blog post.  When I was writing half a dozen posts a month, I found those claims a little hard to believe.  Today, I write posts every day and tend to get posts written in around 20 minutes myself, sometimes half that.  This glass half full post from Monday took less than 10 minutes to write up.

So, what’s the secret behind prolific bloggers?

It’s simply this: The more you write, the easier it becomes!

Getting ideas for blog posts

As blogging became a regular part of my life, I started getting ideas for blog posts more and more frequently.  It’s a little like when you buy a new red car and suddenly start seeing new red cars everywhere.  The cars were always there, it’s just that you never noticed them before.  When you start blogging regularly, you begin to notice ideas for blog posts that would have passed you by, before you had an outlet for them.  Currently, I have over 200 ideas waiting to be turned into posts.  I capture these ideas using a digital voice recorder.  It’s faster and a lot more practical than using a pen and pad, as I tend to get my best ideas when I am out walking or cycling etc.

Turning your ideas into blog posts

Here’s how I do it.  I tend to write early in the mornings, before my wife and son wake up.  I start by listening to the audio notes I have and find a topic that feels right.  Then, I begin writing.  My posts tend to start by asking you a question, occasionally they begin with a statement.  I then write the core points that I want to share with you.  Next, I flesh them out a little and then place them into order.  I usually end a post with either a question or a suggestion.

Like many people, I have found that the actual writing process speeds up, the more often I write.  I didn’t try to write faster.  It just happened naturally, as I wrote more and more often.  I’m not talking about my typing speed, that’s always been pretty fast.  I’m talking about the time it takes to get an idea out of my head and into readable text.

The mechanics of blogging

I tend to keep things really simple.  I use the WordPress blogging platform and find that it is extremely easy to work with.  This means that once I have a post written, it usually takes just a minute or two, to get it formatted and ready to publish.  I write posts in advance and then use WordPress to schedule when they are published.  This post was written on 11th November.

It’s a fact: Some people are better writers than others.  In my opinion, your task should always be to become the best writer or blogger or content provider that YOU can be.  By studying the craft, practising it regularly and seeking to improve all the time, you can make amazing progress.

So, what tips or suggestions do you have, for people who want to increase the quality and / or the volume of their blogging output?  Any thoughts you’d like to share?

Let’s work together and grow your business. To find out more click here!

Here’s a quick way to improve your decision making

marketing focus, business development, professional development

I love to start the day with a brisk walk around the beautiful village where I live. This morning was a great morning for a walk. The sun was up and there was a heavy ground frost. It looked beautiful and the leaves were crunchy under my feet.

Anyhow, as I walked my usual route, I bumped into 2 people who were also taking a morning walk. The first person commented what a beautiful, sunny morning it was. The second person complained about how cold it was, pointing to the white sheet of frost covering the fields around us.

The same situation… different perspectives!

Both the people I spoke with were 100% correct in what they said. It was a beautiful sunny morning, but it was also frosty. What changed was THEIR interpretation of what they saw. Their perspective. One focused on the sunshine, one focused on the frost.

Having worked with thousands of businesspeople, here’s what I have found: What matters most is not what life throws at you, but what you decide to do with it.

It’s what you do, with what you’ve got, that will determine how happy you are and how commercially successful your business will be.å

The unhappy 2%!

I was recently reading a post over on Seth Godin’s blog, where he talks about the 2% of people who will complain or disagree whenever you do anything that gets their attention. Now, I’m not sure that number is 2%, in my experience it’s a lot lower than that, but Seth’s point is correct.  Whenever you make any change, even a vast improvement, there will be people who complain and these people are usually noisier than the other 98%.

As a small business owner, it’s important not to make the mistake of allowing the noisy 2% to stop you making decisions and taking action. You see, as soon as you make that 2% happy, the changes you made to appease them, will often cause a different 2% of people to complain!

Even those well known brands, which you LOVE and tell all your friends about, will have people who vocally dislike those same things that you think are great.

By perfecting what you do, you may get that 2% down to 1%, but there will always be people who disagree with whatever it is you do.  If you introduce a new service and 2% of people tell you it’s stupid, but 98% love it, go with the 98%!  Even if that 2% is vocal, and it often is, listen to what they are saying, learn from it, but allow it to influence your decision making by just 2%.

As Jim Rohn used to say; “Don’t major on minor things!”

The bottom line: You can’t please everyone, every time, with everything.  Don’t allow the noisy 2% to stop you making progress.

Let’s work together and grow your business. To find out more click here!

Internet Marketing for Smart People

Very rarely, something comes along that I absolutely have to share with you.  I’m delighted to say that today is one of those days!

Internet Marketing for Smart People Radio

brian clark, copyblogger, radio showToday, I want to recommend you go and check out Brian Clark and Robert Bruce’s new Internet radio show: Internet Marketing for Smart People.  The show is just 2 editions old and the content is, as you would expect from these guys, marketing gold dust.

If you click the link above, there’s information on how to subscribe to the show on iTunes and also a link, so you can download the mp3.

When you’ve done that, I strongly suggest you take a look around the rest of the site!

Brian Clark & Copyblogger

In case some of you don’t know who Brian Clark is, Brian is one of the best in the business at what he does: Content marketing.  Brian’s blog, copyblogger.com, is best in class, in my opinion and contains regular posts from the extremely talented Sonia Simone, as well as a variety of guest contributors.

I have been a Copyblogger subscriber for years and strongly recommend both the blog and the new radio show.  It’s essential information for anyone interested in marketing, copywriting and how the two work together to create results.

Let’s work together and grow your business. To find out more click here!

A new look at Jim’s Marketing Blog!

Image by: Juhan

As part of my ongoing effort to make this site as easy to read and navigate around as possible, I have made some subtle changes to the overall look and feel.

The main content area is slightly wider than before.  The light blues have been replaced with less distracting shades of grey, to make it easier on the eyes for those who read lots of content here.

As is always the case with design, some will like the changes and others will not.  The focus for me is to ensure the site is easy to read, easy to navigate around and fast to load.  From the testing I have done over the past 2 weeks, it seems that the new design helps with the first two, whilst the recent investment in a super fast dedicated server helps with the third.

I’ve actually invested thousands of pounds in the hosting and development of this “free” blog over the past 12 months alone, and I will continue to invest whatever is required, to help you and your business with practical, effective marketing and business development ideas and advice.

Thanks for your continued support, your comments, emails and for sharing what you find here with your friends and helping me grow our community.

Let’s work together and grow your business. To find out more click here!

The secret to getting your marketing messages understood

Today’s post can help you improve the effectiveness of your marketing so that you achieve more of the bankable results, which your hard work deserves.  I want to start by telling you about one of the best kept secrets of the world’s most effective copywriters and marketing experts: Frequency!

With marketing, there are 2 main types of frequency:

  1. The frequency with which you do something.  For example, how frequently someone should publish blog posts to get the best results.
  2. The frequency of your marketing message.  For example, being on the same wavelength as your prospective clients.

It’s the second type of frequency I am going to share with you in this post.

Copywriting and frequency

copywriting, content marketing, marketing messagesIn order to make your copywriting as powerful and persuasive as possible, it needs to be written on the same frequency as it’s intended readership; i.e. your prospective clients or customers (herein called clients.)

When I am explaining the concept of frequency to young entrepreneurs, I use the analogy of a radio station.  A radio station transmits on a set frequency.  The only people who can hear that station, are those tuned into the same frequency.  For the message to be sent and received, both the transmitter and receiver need to be on the same wavelength.

The same is true with marketing messages and copywriting.  For your message to be received correctly, they need to be written on your prospective client’s wavelength.  This means using the language they use, and references that will resonate with them etc.  It’s why we need to use a different approach when selling to different age groups, for example.  If you look at the marketing, which phone companies use to encourage teenagers to buy the latest devices, it’s very different to the way those same phone companies target business users.

In each case the company is selling a phone, but they use different images, words, references, motivators and even different age actors in their ads.  Everything is tuned into the correct frequency, so their message is received and understood.

Copywriting on THEIR wavelength

So, here’s a question for you:
When you develop your marketing, do you produce content that YOU find appealing (on your frequency) or content that’s written exclusively to appeal to your ideal client?

I often find that small business owners base their marketing on what THEY think is most important and they deliver that message, on THEIR frequency, not their prospective client’s.  This means they are emphasising the wrong benefits AND failing to get heard!

Here are a few ways to get your message on the right frequency:

  • Identify exactly who your ideal prospective client is.  Yes, their may be lots of different types people who could become a client, but focus on what constitutes an ideal client for you.  If you don’t know what makes an ideal client, try this.  Imagine you could hand-pick your next 100 clients.  Who would they be?  Get specific.  Market to these targeted people.  That’s where the gold dust is for your business.
  • Learn what is going on in their world right now.  Most accountants, web designers, trainers, coaches, lawyers etc, know all about what’s happening in THEIR industry, but very little about what’s happening in their client’s world.  If you want to be completely relevant, you need to keep an ear to the ground.
  • Listen to the kind of phrases and terminology your clients use and when appropriate, integrate it into your marketing.  I use very different language when I am marketing an accountant’s services, than when I am promoting someone in the music industry.  This is essential if you want to be on the same frequency as your prospective clients.
  • Learn what 6 or 8 things your client’s find most valuable about your services, then integrate them, in order, into your marketing.  This way, you will be selling based on the benefits your users find most attractive and compelling – Not what YOU think is most important.  Remember: It’s always about them!

I hope this has given you a few actionable ideas, which you can use to get your marketing on the same frequency as your prospective clients.  Even if you find that just one of these ideas gets you better tuned into their frequency, it can make a big difference.

Do you have any tips to add to that list?  If so, please share them with your fellow readers!

Let’s work together and grow your business. To find out more click here!

I want to help you achieve your best marketing results ever, which is why I spend thousands each year hosting and delivering this blog for you.

The 4 step process behind every commercially successful site!

No matter how wonderful your SEO is or how much you spend on advertising, great content is essential if you want to transform your site’s traffic, into commercial success.

Why is content so important?

When people find interesting or valuable information on a site (great content), they are likely to take 4 steps.  These 4 steps are what’s needed in order to develop a commercially successful site.  Here’s what they do:

  1. They look around the site for more things to read.content marketing, copywriting
  2. They return to the site regularly / subscribe to it’s RSS feed; so they don’t miss any new posts.
  3. They recommend the site to their friends and share it via social networks.
  4. Over a period of time, they will make an inquiry, information request or purchase (depending on the site’s business model.)

SEO & Content

No matter how great a site’s SEO is or how much traffic it attracts, it will not cause people to take any of the 4 steps above, unless the content of the site is powerful.  SEO will help people find you, but when they find your site, it’s the quality of your content that will cause them to keep reading, revisit regularly and recommend you to people.  Before someone will click your links, call you, email you or place an order, your content needs to inspire, compel or motivate them into action.

I described the importance of site content recently, by comparing it to what you find, when you check out a new TV channel that you see advertised.  If you tune in and quickly see that the programming is dull.  What do you do?  You go and find something interesting to watch.  You don’t simply keep watching just because you landed on that channel.  Equally, you don’t set your DVR to record it’s shows and you don’t recommend the channel to your friends either.

The bottom line: No matter how well content is advertised or optimized, it’s what people find when they arrive that determines whether it succeeds or not.

If you are getting targeted traffic from your SEO, but these are NOT converting into customers / clients / inquiries, it’s time to rethink your content strategy.  Spend some of that SEO time, or your SEO budget, on either hiring a local copywriter or learning how to write compelling copy yourself.  Of course, as the quality of a site’s content improves, more sites are likely to link to it, which helps enormously with your SEO anyway!

The balance we are always looking for, is to be as easy to find as possible, by people with a need for our services; whilst ensuring that when they arrive, they value what they find enough, to take those 4 steps.  Don’t be like the majority of small business owners, who focus most of their efforts on chasing traffic, retweets, diggs, stumbles etc – Whilst neglecting their content.

It’s all about getting the balance right, with effective SEO and great copy.  That’s how you transform your site into a business generating machine.

What is your opinion on the kind of content you tend to find on small business blogs?

Let’s work together and grow your business. To find out more click here!

Here’s why I don’t give reviews, but why you may want to

I have had many people ask me why I don’t provide book reviews here, so I thought I would quickly answer the question in this post.

Like many well read bloggers, I was sent a review copy of the excellent, new Tony Hawk book a few weeks ago, along with the opportunity to interview Tony, which I certainly would have done, if I had decided to write a review.  The book, How Did I get Here? the ascent of an unlikely CEO, is a great read and I have no hesitation in recommending it to you (look, no affiliate link!)

I am extremely happy to personally recommend the book and I will be sharing some ideas inspired by Tony’s book with you in future posts, but as a marketing guy, writing book reviews is a very low leverage use of my available blogging time.

Equally, it’s my experience that this is not the best way for YOU to discover the best new books either!

Here’s the simple 3 step process I use, to discover great new books:

  1. I look out for recommendations, especially if they come from people that are not being paid, directly or indirectly, to recommend the book.  I have already bought 2 copies of Tony’s book for Christmas presents.  That’s a powerful, unpaid recommendation.  If I saw an endorsement like that, I would go to step 2.
  2. Because these are business books, I always look for 2 or more reviews from professional book reviewers / literary critics.  I’m talking about the kind of highly skilled people, who have the ability to read, digest and communicate the REAL core of a book, without missing a thing.  These guys have read everything and usually specialise in books within a certain business niche.  Yes, some may be biased pro, or against, certain authors, but that’s the reason for checking out several professional reviews and for taking the next step.
  3. Finally, I check out independent reader reviews on sites like amazon.com.  Time and time again, independent reviews are cited by people as one of the most influential motivators, when researching a purchase.

By running a book purchase via those 3 filters, I have discovered some amazing books and missed a lot of the crap, that paid reviewers often rave about.

I am a marketing professional and not a literary critic.  As such, that 3 step process is just my way to discover the gold dust on the bookshelves.  This is not the right way and it’s not the best way  – It’s just the way I filter out a lot of the cleverly marketed dross.

As a result, it would be wrong for me to offer book reviews, knowing that I myself wouldn’t be swayed by the kind of reviews that I would be writing!

Yes, I could be a hypocrite and pump the blog full of reviews (and money-spinning affiliate links), but that’s not part of the business plan here.  This blog’s business model is to offer you free access to marketing and business development ideas and thus position myself as a marketing resource, when you need professional marketing help.

By the way, if you have an affiliate business plan, then there is a solid business model behind joining the review circuit; so long as you have the targeted traffic required.  Affiliate income can be very significant.  Just because this does not fit into my business model, does not mean it isn’t a great idea for others.  I know of people making thousands a month, working the affiliate income model (yes really!) It’s about deciding what you want to achieve and allowing that to guide your decisions.

Let’s work together and grow your business. To find out more click here!

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