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Anne McAuley Lopez

Anne McAuley, founder of McAuley Freelance Writing, is a freelance writer specializing in websites, blogging and content marketing strategy.
best times to post on social media

My Experiment on the Best Times To Post on Social Media

Written by Anne McAuley Lopez on . Posted in Social Media

My social media strategy was stale. I needed to revamp and refocus my efforts.

Since 2010 I’ve been researching and experimenting using social media for business. When I began, the strategy was simple – have a presence on social media – but it has gotten more complicated, not to mention more crowded. While Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn remain my steadfast platforms, there are a lot more players on the scene that need consideration — Pinterest, Instagram, Periscope and more.

best times to post on social mediaOver the years, I’ve studied the return on social media investment, target marketing, and best times to post. While I’ve dabbled in the latest news on these topics, I’ve primarily stuck to the beat of my own drummer.

I post what I think my social media communities think is helpful, amusing, or engaging and it’s worked to get me visibility, networking contacts, leads, and clients.

BUT

The landscape of social media is changing. It’s significantly more crowded, making it more challenging than ever to get my brand’s voice heard.

I suspected my content was not the problem but  rather it was the times of day I was posting – Monday through Friday, primarily during business hours. That’s when I came across the Co-Schedule download called The Ultimate Best Times to Post on Social Media and confirmed my suspicions.

Rather than paying attention to the day or time, I was posting whenever the mood struck me. That’s not necessarily when my community was online so even if the content was good, they weren’t seeing it or paying attention to it.

What did I do to adjust the times I was posting to social media?

For the better part of the year I was paying for the Awesome access on social media scheduler Buffer but I wasn’t always using it consistently. Even when I was, I hadn’t adjusted the time zone or posting times in months. That alone could help me but I decided to follow CoSchedule’s guidelines for time zone and best times to post on social media for Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, my primary social media platforms.

When I started my experiment I had:

Twitter – 2880 followers

Facebook Blogging Badass Page – 620 likes

Facebook Blogging Badass Group – 107 members

LinkedIn – 718 connections, 802 followers

Goals of the Experiment

  1. Schedule one month of posts on Buffer.
  2. Add live posts at various days and times.
  3. Use the same posting times for Facebook page and group.
  4. 3,000 Twitter followers
  5. Increase engagement in the Blogging Badass Facebook group.
  6. Engage with target market on LinkedIn.

Honestly, I am surprised at the results of the best times to post on social media experiment. By the numbers, here’s where I ended the month:

Twitter – 2975 followers <+95>

Facebook Blogging Badass Page – 619 likes <-1>

Facebook Blogging Badass Group – 114 members <+7>

LinkedIn – 728 connections <+10>, 815 followers <+13>

Overall I feel like I spent less time on social media and got better results

but

the numbers aren’t the whole story of the best times to post on social media.

There were two surprises.

The first was the increase of 95 Twitter followers with little effort. The newest followers are aligned with my target markets of SEO and marketing companies, content creators, digital marketers, and fellow bloggers. I think that the times and consistency of tweets has helped as well as participating in twitter chats with complementary businesses, retweeting, live tweeting, and making strategic connections.

The second surprise was on LinkedIn. Not only did the number of connections and followers increase, there was more engagement on my posts. It is worth noting that along with adjusting the times, I made an effort to comment on posts by people in my target market. That got me seen by more people including two new clients.

Interestingly, during this experiment I didn’t publish on LinkedIn or my blog. I only recycled content I had already created and shared the best of what I found from others.

What can be learned from this experiment?

I learned that with focused effort and strategy I can grow my business and increase engagement in my online communities – and you can too.

  • Identify your target market.
  • Choose social media platforms where your target market spends time.
  • Create and share your own content.
  • Share the best content from others.
  • Post relevant content at times when your community is most likely to see it.

Was the CoSchedule guide the key to the success of my experiment on the best times to post to social media? Yes but…. so was Buffer …. and so was the kickass content I created ….and so was the kickass content I found and shared. The real lesson is realizing that while I’ve learned a lot about social media in the last five years, there’s a lot more to learn.

Are you interested in learning how to use social media as part of your blogging strategy? Join the Blogging Badass Facebook group

Source: The Ultimate Best Times to Post on Social Media

blogging for free

I blogged for free and it sucked. But that was my fault.

Written by Anne McAuley Lopez on . Posted in Blogging for Business Owners

Over the last year I’ve received requests to write for other blogs or to mention other brands in my blog posts. None of them had ever been the right fit until recently.

I was asked to write a post about staying inspired when your freelance business is slow. It seemed like a good fit for my project site The Solopreneur Blog. They agreed.

blogging for freeI wrote the post.

I seamlessly weaved mentions of their brand into the post.  

I included their infographic as they had requested.

I blogged for free and it sucked. 

But that was my fault. 

I forgot to ask, “What’s in it for me?”

I never negotiated payment.

I didn’t ask for a certain number of social media mentions.

I asked for nothing and I received pretty close to that.

Since the post was published, I’ve received one mention on Twitter. That’s it.

I tweeted a link to the post out more times than the brand I wrote the post for and that sucks.

I had faith they would do what lesser brands have done for me which is to promote the post but I never explicitly asked for that.

Thanks to my experience I am now a better negotiator.

And I won’t blog for free anymore.

I emailed them this morning to let them know I am writing this post. Without a response, I will remove the post from The Solopreneur Blog. I am waiting to see how or if they respond to my email. 

Are you receiving requests to write articles but you’re not a writer? Contact us and we can help!

Your Business Needs a Blog

Why Your Business Needs a Blog

Written by Anne McAuley Lopez on . Posted in Blogging for Business Owners, Start Blogging

If you have a blog on your website and aren’t adding content on a consistent schedule, you’re missing a piece of your marketing plan and an opportunity to speak to your target client and your business needs a blog. A blog is the most affordable way to establish yourself as an expert and distinguish yourself from the competition.  Not to mention that Google loves new, relevant content; it helps the site get ranked higher in searches.

When was the last time you added content to your website?

Many businesses have websites designed only to leave it hanging on the internet. We don’t have time or don’t know what to write for the blog. It’s overwhelming and with all of the other hats we wear as business owners, blogging often falls to the bottom of the list. And we never reach the end of the list.

What kind of content should be on a blog?

When I think of blogging, I think about adding written posts but in an age of insta-technology, many people don’t want to read a long written article.

The goal is to connect YOU to your target audience.

Videos, podcasts, infographics, news about your business, community events (if you’re targeting a particular geographic area), links to guest blog posts or media clips all make for effective content for your business blog.

Often we share other people’s content and while that’s a good idea, there is great opportunity to share your own products. Make a video about how to wear the scarves you sell. Write about tips for decorating and include your products in the post. Make your target clients want to buy your products.

Don’t stop when you hit publish.

Share blog posts on social media and in e-newsletters. Share the link to the post more than once and across social media sites using a different message each time. Not only will you drive traffic to your website, you will be establishing yourself as an expert in your field.

It’s time to start blogging for business.

If you’re not sure how to get started or continue blogging, join the SEO Blogging for Badasses Facebook group.

How to Use Your Blog for Business

How to Use Your Blog for Business

Written by Anne McAuley Lopez on . Posted in Blogging for Business Owners, Content Marketing

How do you use your blog for business?

If you’re like a lot of business owners, you’re not using it at all. Stop whatever you’re doing and start thinking about creating content right now.

  • 55% of websites with blogs get more visitors
  • Blogs are rated the 5th most trusted online resource.
  • 61% of consumers have made a purchase based on a blog post.

How to Use Your Blog for BusinessBlogging needs to be part of every business marketing plan because of the value it brings to your business. It’s a commitment that can pay off by establishing you as the expert, creating a voice for your brand, and getting your business found online ahead of the competition.

How to Use Your Blog for Business

Blogging is a commitment that begins when you:

  • Identify your blogging target market
  • Create a Content List or Editorial Calendar
  • Schedule time to blog (and actually do it)

Blogging and Social Media

If you’re just sharing other people’s content on social media, you’re just wasting time.

To create value for your community, you must have your own content.

How will your community get to know you and your business?

How will you establish yourself as an expert?

You won’t or it will be a longer road to meet your marketing goals.

Don’t have enough time? Outsource blogging and social media management.

Get Your Business Found Online

Google loves when we’re adding new content to our website.

With just one blog post per week, you’re adding 52 engaging and relevant pages of new content to your business website each year.

Generate keywords for your blog posts and website content using a WordPress plug-in called Yoast to get your business found online ahead of the competition.

Use for Customer Acquisition

Businesses with blogs on their websites are more likely to generate leads on their website because they are establishing a relationship with their community.

Customers are likely to view you (and not the competition) as a source of reliable news and information about your business or industry. They will buy from you before someone else.

Affordable PR

Don’t save the news for press releases!

Use your blog for business news and information related to your industry and community.

Have you added employees to the team?

Did you move to new office space?

Are you rolling out a new product or service?

Share the news on your blog and social media. It’s affordable PR and good for business.

Branding

A business blog provides an inexpensive platform to create a voice for your brand to reach your target market. Tell readers how your business can help them. Whether you’re a young entrepreneur or an established attorney, tell a story and create a voice for your business.

If you don’t have the time to blog, hire a professional blogger to create a voice for your brand. Call me, Anne McAuley Lopez, at 480-206-6452.

blogging target market

Why You Need to Identify Your Blogging Target Market

Written by Anne McAuley Lopez on . Posted in Blogging for Business Owners, Start Blogging

Back in 2009, I began blogging for fun. While I didn’t realize it at the time, I had a clear target market for my blog — updating friends and family about my life in Arizona.

As the blog developed into a business blog, it became a hodge podge of personal, business, blogging, and social media posts. I just didn’t want the trouble of running more than one blog and it became a problem.

Colleagues began asking me what my blogging target market was and I had three all crammed into one blog.

Once I realized I had three target markets, I knew I needed a change. I couldn’t continue to dump everything in one place. It was too confusing. It was time for a change including a website re-design and refocus for the business:

  • Blogging Portfolio and Business Services → This became the updated McAuley Freelance Writing website and blog you’re on right now.
  • Entrepreneurs, Solopreneurs, and Freelancers → This became The Solopreneur Blog in partnership with my blogging and social media colleague Robbi Hess.
  • Personal → That’s the as-yet-to-be-launched McAuley Musings blog.

You need to identify your blogging target market to focus content creation.

It’s challenging to develop a content strategy when you’re not sure who you want to reach. That goes for blogging, podcasting, videos, infographics, and social media.

It’s overwhelming when EVERYONE is your target market.

By identifying your blogging target market, you can eliminate ideas and focus on what matters to your audience.

Let’s take real estate as an example.

Anyone who wants to buy or sell a house is as non-specific as a skincare representative saying anyone with skin is their target.

  • Do you want to build a commercial or residential real estate business?
  • What city or neighborhood is your focus?
  • What kind of client do you want?

If you’ve selected investors as your focus, you may write blog posts about how the recent mortgage rates impact buying or selling investment properties or how school districts impact the value of your home and type of renters. You would shy away from posts that talk about packing and moving tips, for example, that would speak to a different target audience. Each of your posts would be relatable to your target market of real estate investors.

Whether you’re in real estate or another industry, it’s important to identify your blogging target market so that you can focus your efforts. Remember, EVERYONE isn’t a target market.

Need help identifying your target market and creating a content strategy? Call 480-206-6452. 

Blog Editorial Calendar

Why You Need a Blog Editorial Calendar

Written by Anne McAuley Lopez on . Posted in Blogging for Business Owners, Start Blogging

It is becoming more and more clear that my clients and I need to have a plan bigger than “I will blog about your business for you.” We need an editorial calendar of topics and sources from which I can work. That way they know what I am writing. I know it’s approved by them. And it saves time for both of us.

Why You Need a Blog Editorial Calendar 

  1. Mapping your blog. Whether you have a ghostblogger likeme writing for you or you’re writing your own posts, an editorial calendar provides a roadmap of topics on which you’re writing.
creating content

Tips for Creating Content People Want to Read

Written by Anne McAuley Lopez on . Posted in Blogging for Business Owners

Just because Google wants you to add content to your website, doesn’t mean you should hit publish after every phrase you write. People want better content. They want content that helps them in a meaningful way or makes them feel something intense or creates a better life for them or their family.

When we’re writing for the sake of writing, no one cares.

  • Lots of content is a recycled and less effective version of what’s already available.
  • The content is being created for the sake of SEO and nothing else.
  • You aren’t solving a problem for your readers.

When we’re writing for the sake of telling a story, solving a problem, or sharing how our business helps people, we are creating content that matters. We’re creating content people want to read and that sets us apart from the loads of crap that is available. [Tweet “Lots of content is a recycled and less effective version of what’s already available. #NoOneCares”]

Who is your target audience?

A key to writing content that people want to read is to identify your target audience.

As I began my journey as a freelance writer, I went out to the community and began networking with other women in business. We went around the room saying our name, the name of our business, and described a good lead. The idea was that we could refer clients to each other as we were networking in various circles.

HINT: Everyone is NOT your target audience.

The woman who represented a large cosmetics company stood up, gave her name and business, and said, “A good lead for me this week is anyone with skin.”

Even as a newbie to networking I knew this was bad. It was too broad.

A better response would have been, “Women ages 35 to 55 who are seeking solutions to aging.”

Take time to figure out your target audience, not just for blogging purposes but for an overall marketing strategy. You can’t market to people you don’t know.

It’s okay if the target audience changes over time as it most likely will.

What pain point(s) does your business solve for clients?

Now that you know your target audience, you can create better content. Answer questions your clients are asking you. Tell your audience how you help them solve a problem.

Not enough time to blog? Great. Hire me. I am a professional blogger.

Know you need content on your website but aren’t sure what to write? Call me. I can help.

You might need to step outside your business to see the problem that you solve.

When my accountant asked me what problem he solved, I said he took the weight of tax preparation and planning off my shoulders. I guess that makes him a weight loss coach!

What problem does your business solve for your clients? Answer that in each blog post or piece of content that you create. You will soon become a valuable asset to your clients and they will refer you as a trusted source.

It isn’t enough to just be creating content. We have to be sharing it.

Often I meet with a prospective client who wonders what we will do with blog posts once we create them. It’s a great question that I love to answer! In fact, I am working on a book on the exact subject. The short answer is that we never want to let a blog post just sit on a website. It needs to be shared.

In my blog post You’ve Written a Blog Post Now What, I address the importance of sharing content on social media and in a newsletter. While these are both effective ways to share content, I’d add that sharing content goes beyond sharing on your own social media accounts.

Join groups where your target market is spending time and engage other members of the group. Ask and answer questions. Make yourself a valued member of the group. When appropriate, share content from your blog, a link to your website services, and links to your social media accounts. The best groups I’ve found have been on Facebook and LinkedIn.

As you’re developing content ideas, I encourage you to stop writing crap and start creating content people care about and that is different than other content we’re seeing.

If you’re overwhelmed at the prospect of blogging for business, I’d love to chat with you about creating content that speaks to your target audience. Call me at 480-206-6452.

Start Writing Blog Posts for Your Business Website

Why You Need to Start Writing Blog Posts for Your Business Website

Written by Anne McAuley Lopez on . Posted in Start Blogging

If I had a dollar for every time I’ve said, “Stop overthinking and start writing blog posts,” to business owners, I’d be close to retirement. Over the last few months I’ve learned there are an infinite number of distractions that prevent us from blogging or doing whatever it is we need to be doing for our business. Focus, managing priorities and time, and having a simple, executable plan are keys to making blogging a priority.

My Biggest Challenges

Event marketing for entrepreneurs

Event Marketing Ideas for Solopreneurs

Written by Anne McAuley Lopez on . Posted in Solopreneur Ideas

Event marketing for entrepreneurs is an art form. To effectively promote, whether an in-person or online event, takes creativity and planning. If you’re not willing to invest time and resources, you won’t see the payoff in leads generation, increased brand awareness, or other ways that you’re measuring event success.

Begin by having a clear vision of the purpose of the event. Identify your audience so you can market specifically to them. Hosting a business expo isn’t as specific as hosting a small business expo targeting local small business owners seeking to grow their business through marketing. In the former, you could have a variety of speaker topics and vendor industries. In the latter, the expo has a specific target for speaker topics and vendor industries. You’re attracting a specific audience to your event.

Time to Redesign Your Website

5 Signs it’s Time to Redesign Your Website

Written by Anne McAuley Lopez on . Posted in Projects & Press Releases, Solopreneur Ideas

Time to Redesign Your Website

The Old Website

If you’re like a lot of business owners, you created a website when you started your business and haven’t changed it much since that time. I can relate. The McAuley Freelance Writing (MFW) website was originally a blog-only site that was (slightly) updated over four years. Those first versions were created without real focus on who my target client is and the story I wanted to tell.

I started asking colleagues what they thought of my now-old website and they gave honest feedback.

  • What do you DO?
  • How can you help my business?
  • Who is your target client?

It became clear the design was outdated, the content needed to be updated, and a clear message needed to be articulated. It was time for a website redesign.

[Tweet “5 Signs It’s Time to Redesign Your Website”]

Here are five signs it’s time to redesign your website:

Let’s Talk!

480.206.6452

info@mcauleyfreelancewriting.com