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Chicago Freelance Copywriter

Archive for 'Social Media'

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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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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A Week of Opinions: Ghostblogging is Smart

a-week-of-opinions-ghostblogging-is-smartGhostblogging is the process of paying someone else to write blog posts for you. There has been talk in the blogosphere about whether or not this is ethical. I say blergh to those people who think it is not.

When businesses blog as a part of their company’s marketing campaign, hiring someone to write the posts for them is not unethical. In fact, it’s smart.

Understanding the importance a blog has on a company today is essential. This ties into to Monday’s post so I won’t go on a big long soapbox again, you can just scroll down to read it. But I will say that one of the most common excuses I hear from companies on why they are not blogging is they just don’t have the time.

I understand that sentiment, I really do. There is hardly enough time to get work you get paid for done, so how are you going to find the time to blog?

That’s why ghostblogging is so smart. If you didn’t have time to finish a project for a client, you’d call in a freelancer, so why is blogging any different?

What a lot of people don’t seem to understand is just because someone else is writing your blogs that doesn’t mean it can’t have your voice, your opinion, and your content.

Developing a relationship with a ghostblogger and working with them in the beginning to make sure they understand the tone you are trying to set will ensure that you get to kick blogging off your overly crowded to-do list, while still getting the end product you want.

As a ghostblogger, I know that listening to a company and delivering blog posts that reflect their voice can be done and done effectively. It just takes some time in the beginning to get to know each other, and the rest is smooth as silk pie.

While this opinion may be more controversial than some of my others, I stick by it. Blogging is too important to a small business to not be able to delegate.

What do you think? Do you agree that ghost blogging is ethical?

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A Week of Opinions: Why Your Thoughts Matter

A-Week-of-Opinions-Why-Your-Thoughts-MatterI was talking with a friend the other day about how I come up with my blog posts. Any blogger knows that it’s not an easy feat to put out many posts a week. My friend is thinking of starting a blog and her biggest concern is whether or not she would be able to come up with enough topics to sustain a 3-5 posts a week schedule.

I understood her apprehension and didn’t sugar coat things. It’s difficult. At times it’s a task that seems impossible, but I gave her a piece of advice that I am sharing with you now.

Use Your Opinions

What is going to set your blog apart from other blogs? It’s most likely not your topics. Most blogs about blogging cover the same few main ideas over and over. Most blogs about graphic design say the same things over and over. What is going to set you apart is your voice and your opinions.

In the spirit of this advice, which seemed to strike a nerve with my friend, and therefore, I hope one with you as well, I am starting off a week of opinions! I am going to write all my posts this week on an opinion I have about my industry. Let’s get started.

I think blogging is the most important part of social media.

I’ve gotten so good at giving this lecture that I basically have it memorized. However, I still find a lot of resistance to it. Small businesses I talk to want to get on Facebook and Twitter and use the “popular” platforms. Everyone is doing it and they want to do it too!

That’s not a good enough reason. Unless you know how to use Facebook and Twitter to increase your reputation and build your business you could just come off looking like an ass.

Using FB and Twitter for business isn’t about posting any post, it’s about posting deliberate and targeted posts. And that can be very difficult if you’re not a restaurant announcing a special or a clothing store announcing a sale.

That’s why I always suggest that small businesses use blogging as a way to increase their social media effectiveness.

It works like this:

You write a blog post that shows you know your business, you’re an expert, and you deserve to be thought of as among the best of the best. Then you send that blog posts out to your customers using Facebook and Twitter.

It’s so much more successful at showing people why they should be following you.

You have accomplished the following:

– Proven yourself an expert

– Used Facebook and Twitter to disseminate real information and opinions rather than just little blurbs about how you’re feeling or what’s going on that particular day

– Increased your SEO

– Added value to your readers and customers

Blogging really is an important part of social media. There are obviously companies that use FB and Twitter without blogging to great success. And there is obviously a chance that you could do that too. But I also truly believe that adding a blog to your business will only help your social media efforts – not hurt them.

What do you think? Do opinions matter? Are blogs as important as I make them out to be?

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The Follow Up

the-follow-upThe reason so many of us blog and are on social media is to make contacts for our business. Yet so many of us have trouble following up after an initial contact. A colleague may tell us to connect with a person, and so we friend them or connect on LinkedIn, but then forget about the important part — following up with this person.

There are many reasons people don’t follow up:

Don’t have time

Don’t recognize the opportunity

Simply forgot

Don’t think it’s worth the time

Here are some ways follow-up can really help:

It keeps you in the forefront of your customer and potential customers’ minds. Anytime anyone shows any interest in your product or service, make a mental note. Then a real note, and finally, follow-up. Not just by connecting via social networking, but by sending an email or making a phone call.

Listen to your customers and follow-up with their words fresh in your mind. If someone mentioned they need a certain service, and you follow up informing them you can provide that service, not only have you proven you should do business together, but you’ve proven you’re a great listener.

Unfortunately, there’s a flip side. You also need to know when to let potential leads go. It won’t do any good to seem desperate or keep trying to fan a fire that is already dead.

My favorite form is follow-up is email. It’s easy to keep track of, and also, email allows you to use templates.

What are your follow-up rituals?

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