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Chicago Freelance Copywriter

Archive for December, 2010

Content Marketing Works – It Did For Me…

content_marketing_worksFolks, today was a weird day.  It was the first day in my life that I accidentally found myself on the Internet.  Let me tell you how it happened.

I was taking a break from work (I had just finished a case study and was starting in on a website – busy day), when I decided to check out one of my favorite blogs – Copyblogger.  Their post for the day was:  Top 10 Blogs for Writers 2010.

I am always looking for new blogs to read and learn from, so I clicked on the third one, Make a Living Writing.

I started reading the first post on the site, which was titled: Top 10 Articles for Writers – December 2010.
Guess whose article was number 2?  Mine!  I actually refreshed the page to make sure I wasn’t hallucinating.  The cold Chicago air can do that to me.  But I wasn’t.  So I showed my husband, and he smiled, and then I wrote this post.

I just thought I’d share because it proves a few things:

1.) Content marketing works.  The more content you put on the web, the more QUALITY content you put out there, the better the chances of you being found by people who want to hear what you have to say.  I didn’t write that article as an advertisement, I wrote it because I thought it was useful.  And apparently others did too.  If I was able to find myself by accident, how many other people are coming across what I wrote as well?

2.) I’m excited!

3.) For my fellow bloggers, it just goes to show that guest posting really does work.  I doubt if I had put that same exact post on my website it would have been picked up.  Make connections with other bloggers and it will take you a long way.

So that’s my short post on how I accidentely found myself.  I wasn’t supposed to post this week, but I’ll wish you a very happy new year once again and see you in 2011.

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Coming at 2011 with a Vengeance

Coming-at-2011-with-a-VengenceMy dear readers, I apologize for the past week and a half of radio silence. I was on vacation and thanks to an awful CNN story I read right before I left, I was too paranoid to announce I was going to be gone. You see, after reading the CNN story there seemed to be a very real chance that a horrible and nasty criminal would read my blog, realize I wasn’t home, break in and steal my things, which, quite frankly, aren’t really worth the effort. I believe this is what some may refer to as the “culture of fear”. It worked on me.

As of yesterday I am home and starting to get back in the groove of things. However, I am still not going to post any new blogs this week (besides for this one), and will return in 2011 with a bang. New posts, great posts, and a lot of advice on how to use copywriting and social media to promote your business and make you soar.

I am also working on some exciting new changes for my business, which I will keep you posted on as they happen. I think 2011 is going to hold some great things for me, and hopefully for you too.

For now though, it’s back to work, back to reality, and I’ll be back in 2011.

Happy Holidays and Happy New Year!

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Social Media Sharing is Caring

social-media-sharing-is-caringI apologize for my lack of post on Monday.  It’s the first time I’ve missed a regular posting date in six months, and it felt bad.  However, the end of the year is always hectic, and trying to finish up a ton of projects has left me with little time or energy to write posts for my own site.

I’m also in the process of trying to get a portfolio of some of my past work added to my site.  Now that I’ve completed a lot of projects that I’m really proud of, it’s time to start showing off.

So please excuse the absence of post Monday, and basically today as well, while I focus on getting my clients the quality work they deserve, and work to update my own site.

In order to make up for a post that really does not add any value to your life of business, here are two articles that I really enjoyed and I hope you will as well.  This is the sharing portion of the program:

One article is about the small business secret holiday weapon.

The other is about Built in Chicago, a new site that aims to bring Chicago’s entrepreneurial and tech community together online.

If you’re in Chicago, I hope you’re surviving the cold.

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5 Tips for Writing a Successful About Page

5-tips-for-writing-a-successful-about-pageI bet you never thought about the fact that an About Page could be unsuccessful. It was just some facts about you, your business, and what you do. No big deal, nothing to stress out about.

The thing is, humans are naturally curious creatures. That’s why there’s such a gapers delay on the highway when we see flashing lights ahead. It’s why I know things about my next-door neighbor’s grandchild that I don’t care about, but asked about anyway.

Which brings me to the point that when someone is visiting your website they are going to your About page not just for your credentials, but to learn more about you, to assuage their curiosity.

With that in mind, I give you 5 tips for writing a successful About Page:

1. Find the right mix of business and personal

As a small business you want to talk about your business, but you also want to give readers a taste of the personality behind the business. An About Page isn’t business writing 101, give the cold, hard facts with personality.

2. Tell a story

Explaining how you, or your company, got to where it is today is very important. If you give this information in story form, people are going to connect to it more and stick around for longer because they’re interested. Make it the difference between reading a textbook and reading a creative non-fiction book.

3. Lead with the interesting parts

Start out your About Page with the personal stuff, the story, and the interesting tidbits. Even if you have a ton of awards and qualifications you want to mention, don’t start with those, push them to the end so that a.) you don’t look arrogant and b.) people stick with you for longer because you’re entertaining them at the beginning.

4. Make it about your customer

Sure it’s an About Page, and that means it’s about you, but if you can make it so it’s also about your potential and current customers, you’re going to really wow. Writing the page in a way that connects what you do, your skills and talents with what customers need from you is a great way to up the ante.

5. Be relevant

This kind of goes against some of the above, but it’s really just an addendum to the first 4 steps. Tell a story, but make sure it’s relevant to your business. Put in the personal stuff, as long as it has some sort of connection to what you do. If you sell paper, don’t go on a fly-fishing tangent, but you can tell a story about the first time you saw The Office (since they sell paper at Dunder Mifflin).

An About Page is a tricky thing to write. It needs to walk a fine line between being too personal and too business-minded.

What is your About Page like? Does it follow any of these rules? Are you going to re-write it?

If you realize it does need a re-write, feel free to contact me for some help. I’d love to make your About Page shine.

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The Secrets of Inbound Marketing

the-secret-to-inbound-marketingDid you know that social media is basically just inbound marketing?  Social media gives companies the tools they need to get interested potential customers to come to them, rather than spending their money on trying to reach them with traditional marketing.

I’m not going to say that traditional marketing is dead, because it’s obviously not, and probably never will be, but nowadays, inbound marketing is the way to go.

The idea of inbound marketing is to “get found” by those who are looking for exactly what you do. The way it works is to set up your website and social media sites in such a way that it naturally appeals to those who would want to hire you.

So if you were going to stop putting time and money into traditional marketing and instead go the route of inbound marketing, where would you start?

1. Content

You need to set up blogs, videos, ebooks, an amazing website, etc. By putting all of this information into the Internet, there’s a larger chance those who are looking for you will actually find you.

2. SEO

Making the investment to hire an SEO firm and doing what is necessary to get you on to the first page of the Search Engines will pay off tenfold. However, it is an investment. SEO doesn’t come cheap.

3. Social Media

Encouraging people to connect with you on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn means you will be in their face every day. Most people check their Facebook accounts before even their email. Being in those people’s faces with daily updates is a great way to remind potential customers that you exist.

In the end, Inbound Marketing is less expensive than traditional marketing, and targets better. It’s definitely worth the switch. Do you already practice Inbound Marketing? Do you have any tips for those just starting out?

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