Tag Archives: Lisa Raymond

Blogging Strategy: Consistent Frequency

blogging layoutBusiness owners sometimes struggle with their blogging strategy, specifically with frequency and quality of their posts. They know blogging should be an important part of their marketing strategy, but they don’t know how much time should be committed to this process. Some don’t stay with the process because the ROI takes time to surface. Others don’t want to sacrifice quality for urgency.

I teach my clients to go for consistent frequency. This can be done in 3 steps:

  1. Write what you can support. If your business is low on active clients, the tendency is to “ramp up” your blogging efforts. This can become a difficult strategy as you start picking up clients and running low on time. Start out with what you can do when you are busy and build on it; in other words, start with that end in mind.
  2. Use an editorial calendar. Scheduling your posts ahead using an editorial calendar will help you see on what topics your articles are based, potential article overlaps, articles that can be expanded on, and upcoming holidays (if your blog is more B2C or retail-based). You can also see on which social media channels you have scheduled each post, for which day(s) and time(s), thus avoiding unplanned overlaps.
  3. Use a social media scheduling tool. Not every social media channel has a built-in post scheduling tool; this means you have to post your articles natively on the day and time you have on your editorial calendar. Using a tool such as Hootsuite (this has a mobile app!) or Social Ally USA will help you schedule your posts to the appropriate social media channel(s), for the day(s) and time(s) outlined by your editorial calendar. BONUS: Both Hootsuite and Social Ally will allow you to keep track of activity on each of your channels, and suggest content for posting.

If you find your active client base is shrinking, don’t react to it. Proact to it, strategically.

Be strategic. Be visible. Be found.

Ready to start using content marketing in your business? Contact me for a complimentary consultation!

Commitment: What It Really Means

First article in a series

Happy New YearIt’s the New Year! As per usual, we’ve made our list and checked it twice, and now we announce to the world our resolutions for this new year. Again.

Resolutions don’t work well. It’s taken me a few years to figure this out for myself. Here’s why: every year we state what we’re going to do. It’s a decision, or set of decisions, we’ve written down and shared with family, friends, and, if we’re lucky, a mentor or coach, and voila! We wait for the instant change we’ve come to expect and largely ignore one simple fact:

Change takes work.

A resolution, by one definition, is merely an intent to do something; a decision or determination. [source: Dictionary.com].

What’s stronger than a resolution? A commitment. One of the definitions for commitment includes involvement, engagement. [source: Dictionary.com]

What does commitment mean to you? Would you rather make another resolution that, although the intentions are good, you will never follow through on, or a commitment to that change, and work at it all through the year?

During the month of January, I’ll explore some thoughts on “commitment” to ourselves and our businesses. I welcome your thoughts for these articles, and I’d like to know what your committing to do this year. My only request: please keep your feedback clean and non-political.

Happy New Year everyone!

Be strategic. Be visible. Be found.

Lessons Learned From Traditional Book Publishing

First article in this series, as I’m sure I’ll learn more!

love of booksAuthors marketing themselves has taken a turn I didn’t see coming. How many of you thought that, as an author, if you were published “traditionally”, 1) you made it, and 2) they handle all your marketing and PR? I also thought this would be the case, and in the higher, higher ends of publishing this may be the case, but from what I’ve learned so far, definitely not the case.

I’ve been working with a self-published author on his book series marketing since September 2014. He needed a website, branded social media channels and a branded hashtag, timely press releases, and some print marketing materials — including copies of his book(s). In June 2014, before I started his marketing, my team and I built his website and social media pages. We built his business card, a bookmark, and a postcard for handing out during book signing events, speaking gigs, and expos/seminars. We built and maintained his author pages on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and goodreads.

My goal from the beginning was to get him in front of a traditional publisher. True, marketing and selling his ebook was taking longer, and his editor and I arrived at the intelligent conclusion that, if we were able to land him with a publisher, his book would have a better chance of being sold to more people.

Not necessarily the case.

Through the entities my author was following on his Twitter account, around August 2015 I was notified of a publisher accepting submissions, with or without agent representation. I quickly looked up the publisher’s contact information and called, only to find out she was in a meeting and would call me back. Thinking this was pretty typical, I left my contact information and updated my author and his editor. I was surprised and very pleased when the publisher called me back same day and asked about my inquiry. One month later, my author signed a contract with this publisher.

What was inside the contract surprised me.

My author was expected to have a website, a social media presence, and author pages on both Amazon and Barnes & Noble; printed marketing could be built around the new cover design. What I and my team did as a normal course of our marketing business was now a necessity — imagine that!

The story doesn’t end here, however. The publisher’s contract also stated the expectation of him to help market his new book series on the local level. That includes appearances/speaking gigs, book signings, seminars/expos, timely press releases, and social media postings. This helps what marketing the publisher will handle on the national and international levels.

What were my lessons learned up to this point?

  1. Follow my marketing gut. We knew building his presence was necessary for his success, particularly in the channels we decided to use. This gave my author a “thumbs up”, basically; he appeared more prepared for the coming marketing challenge.
  2. Read the contract. One of the jobs of a literary agent is to act as the go-between for the author and pubisher. Once we had a copy of the contract and expectations, not only did I read through it and ask questions, so did my author’s lawyer. This completes the team cycle for my author, and he was able to sign his contract with confidence.
  3. Be a social media coach. My author hired my company for his marketing, both offline and online. That meant posting and engaging on social media as well. In part of my commitment to his success, I am also coaching him on a couple of the social platforms and how he can use them from his mobile device. He is now empowered to take control of some of his social media and be an active partner, helping his own cause.
  4. Question everything! Even though he has signed a contract with a publisher, my author is still my client. He still needs the marketing and has retained me now as his agent. This allows me to contact the publisher on his behalf and ask questions that will help us both market him more effectively.
  5. Communicate often. This may be a d’oh! type of statement, but you would be surprised at how many book marketers don’t communicate often with either their author or the publisher. When I schedule my author for a local appearance or expo, I tell the publisher everything. This lets her know what we are actively doing on the local level and how well it worked. I also keep two lists in Excel: one for bookstores requesting an advance copy to read (this is typical, folks) and one for local book reviewers. At the end of each month the publisher gets an updated copy of both, so again she can see and measure our efforts.
  6. Capture the info! We built a landing page just for the new book and included a short capture form link. When visitors click the link, they are asked to give their name and email, as well as a human verification. That’s it! Now we can build a newsletter that lets these followers know when his book is ready to purchase, as well as in-person events and advance notice of future works.

More lessons will be coming soon, and I’ll post as I learn them. If you are an author or book publisher and would like to share what you have learned, please add your comments below. Thank you!

Be strategic. Be visible. Be found.

7 Tips To Pump Up Your LinkedIn Profile

Connecting To Everyone On LinkedIn?Your LinkedIn profile has to truly stand apart from the competition in order to gain that visual edge you need for either a project or job. The big question is: what should be improved about your profile to gain that edge? A new photo? More keywords? Here’s seven tips to help pump up your profile.

  1. Professional photo. The worst thing you can do, by far, is to not have a photo on your LinkedIn profile; the second-worst is having an unprofessional photo. Remember, LinkedIn is a more professional social media channel than Facebook. Pay a photographer and have a good photo taken.
  2. Keyword your header. What do you want to be known for? Let these keywords shine in your profile header! Don’t stuff keywords — don’t use the same word over and over, such as “social media marketer”, “social media consultant” and “social media mentor”. Find a way to express these in one keyword or phrase.
  3. Write to your expertise. Got something to say? Write it out! LinkedIn Publishing Platform is a blogging platform that gets your posts in front of all of LinkedIn’s six million (or more) members. This gives you a professional, warm ground by which to verbalize your thought leadership. TIP: Post no more than once a day to keep the notifications to your network down. I prefer 2-3 times a week max.
  4. List your interests. There is a section you can add called “Additional Info”. List your interests here. What do you like to read or collect? This brings a human element to your profile, and also introduces potential common ground for visitors/prospects.
  5. Projects and Slideshare. Don’t underestimate these powerhouse sections. Listing your projects demonstrates what you are currently working on, which can help if you are experiencing a gap in employment. If you are a speaker or presenter, do you use PowerPoint presentations in your speeches? Get a free Slideshare account and link them to your LinkedIn profile.
  6. Endorsements DO matter. Endorsements are just as powerful as recommendations. Here’s why: when someone endorses your skills, they are putting their credibility on the line by saying you DO have that skill. The two best (and easiest) ways to get your skills endorsed: a) ask your 1st connections to endorse you; b) endorse your connections’ skills.
  7. Certifications, Awards, & Volunteering. You might have gaps in either employment or education, but, did you earn any certifications? These demonstrate continuing education. Did you receive any industry or scholastic awards? List these to show your credibility. Do you enjoy volunteering? OK, it may not always pay, but it does show prospects you care about your community and choose to get involved in what matters to you.

After you’ve pumped up your profile, join a couple of groups within industries you want to work with and participate in conversations. A better strategy: reconnect with your network first. Congratulate folks who are moving up, having anniversaries/birthdays, or who have also improved their profiles. Show you truly care about being connected to them.

Want more help with LinkedIn? Email me with your questions – I’m ready to help!

Be strategic. Be visible. Be found.

6 Tips For Branding Your Business In Print

The corner where Marketing Ave. meets Strategy St.These days a business owner has so much work, both in and on their business, on their plate, it is nearly impossible to keep up with it all! “Who cares what my brochure looks like, or that I printed myself; I just have to get the word out about my business,” or, “Nobody cares if my business card was printed off my inkjet, everybody’s doing it,” become common thoughts. Yet this is the one area a business owner should pay strict attention.

Each printed marketing piece is like a receptionist for your business. Each piece is a “leave behind” to remind your contact of your conversation and offering. These pieces need to outshine your competition’s marketing to keep you and your business top of mind. All pieces need to be coordinated (not cookie-cutter!) and pulled together by one very important element: your logo.

Branding your business, in print or online, does not start and stop with your logo. Your logo is absolutely an important identifying mark to your clients, absolutely. This is where most business owners stop. Color, your choice of fonts, the style and voice of your copy, and images used — all play an important role in creating, positioning and maintaining your branding message, and should be considered carefully.

Here are my 6 tips for branding your business in print:

  1. Logo matters. Use your logo to identify your business but don’t stop there! Use the colors in your logo to play up prices, headlines, and important call-to-action areas. If the font in your logo is a serif, consider using it in headlines and switch to a sans-serif for body copy. This reinforces what people see visually: this marketing piece comes from your company and not your competitor’s.
  2. Style matters. If you are known to your clients as somewhat formal, keep this consistency in your blog and other marketing materials. If you use contractions, write with contractions. If your presence is a bit laid back, be less formal. Also, be very aware of your target market and audience. What do they normally see from your industry vs. what are they expecting to see from your industry? For example, if you are a marketing company, create something professional that demonstrates both creativity and confidence; don’t settle for a template that may look cool but may not truly represent your business.
  3. Images matter. Be picky about the photos and artwork you use to associate your audience with your business. If you don’t have pictures you own, hire a photographer or graphic designer to create pieces you can use in all your marketing. If you choose to buy photos and artwork, pay close attention to the EULA (end user license agreement) and the repurchase information. DO NOT just right-click on an image you see in Google Images and take it; this is not a good source for 3 reasons: 1) low resolution; 2) did the poster have permission to post the picture you are taking; 3) taking without permission is theft. If you are buying a font, again, read the EULA and follow the rules on using your new font.
  4. Image matters. Take pride in how your company is viewed. If you participate in an expo, ask the organizers if they have a page on their website that advertises your company. If they do, ask for the link and find out what they are saying about your company. Make sure what is used you can live up to and is current. If the expo offers visitors to scan a QR code, scan it yourself and find out where the code takes the visitor. Keep your marketing materials and personal appearance professional at all times.
  5. Marks matter. Your logo is not your only identifying business mark. A QR code and hashtag can also identify your business, both online and offline. Create a QR code that leads to an action, such as filling out a short form. For a hashtag, avoid acronyms unless it makes sense for your business. Focus on using your business name, whole or in part. Consider using your business name as initials and combining with a product or service you offer.
  6. Paper matters. The paper stock you use for your marketing materials leaves an impression. Make sure it leaves the right impression. It’s okay if you have to print a small run of business cards onto Avery perforated paper stock — just don’t do this in place of quality printing. VistaPrint is a good substitute for a local printer. Check with your local chamber of commerce for print shops, and ask which one they would recommend. Ask your colleagues where they get their printing done. The advantage to using a local shop is in the potential for a discount with an established relationship, and the ability to do a press check during the printing process.

Remember: the single most important element in branding your business is people. Think about it. Do you shop at a certain store because of the brand’s name, or because you like to say hi to your favorite clerk? People do business with people, not brands or logos. Forge relationships with people, and encourage your employees to do the same.

Be strategic. Be visible. Be found.