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choosing the right social media

Choosing the Right Social Media for Your Blog

Written by Anne McAuley Lopez on . Posted in Social Media

choosing the right social mediaWhen it comes to choosing the right social media for your blog, there are two things you need to define: your target market and your social media goals. That gives you focus to create and share content exactly where your readers are spending time.

Define your target market. Who do you want to read your blog? Who do you want to buy your product or service?

EVERYONE is NOT your target market. Once you get clear, you can focus your social media efforts based on that demographic or interest group.

In their simplest form, there are three primary social media goals:

  1. Find your target market.
  2. Engage your target market my creating and sharing relevant, useful content.*
  3. Provide opportunities for engagement.

A secondary social media goal is to use social media for lead generation and sales. Ideally, leads and sales happen organically as you’re building trust with your online community. That’s not to say using ads to promote products and services is a no-no; only that sales shouldn’t be the primary goal.

*You don’t have to reinvent the wheel when it comes to content. If you see content that is useful to your community and couldn’t create a better version, share the content. If you think you could create something better, create a better version and share that.

LinkedIn: What used to be a resume and job seeker website has become a social and publishing platform for corporate types as well as entrepreneurs. Not only can Google find your profile, your LinkedIn community can find and connect with you using keywords. That makes it especially important to keep your profile up to date. Pretty cool if you’re looking to connect with people in a particular industry or at a particular company.

My favorite feature? LinkedIn Publishing. Unless you’re in a visual business, you should probably be publishing on LinkedIn. Be careful not to publish the exact same content in two places. (Publish on your blog and the exact same post on LinkedIn, for example) Google frowns upon it.

Facebook: Gone are the days of paying for likes on your business page. While it is still important to share relevant content on pages, the real interaction is happening in private groups. Check out my group SEO Blogging for Badasses and experience for yourself.

Twitter: I LOVE Twitter for networking and research. I’ve met some of my best business friends through Twitter. When I attend events, I follow the event hashtag, make a connection, and then meet in real life. I’ve gotten referrals for business through Twitter contacts. When I am researching a topic or looking for the latest news, I check Twitter, often before a newsfeed or Google. I find the most up to date information is here.

Pinterest and Instagram: If your business or blog are visual (graphic designer, website designer, photographer, artisan, etc.), I recommend Pinterest and/or Instagram. Because I am more written than visual, my strategy is to have a presence on these sites but no dedicated time for posting; it just happens when it happens. That could change in the future but for now that’s how I use these sites.

Bottom line is that you don’t need to be on every social media site every day if you know your target market and define your social media goals. Create kickass content and share where your readers are spending time.

If you’re not sure which social media sites are right for you, call me at 480-206-6452 and let’s chat about how my team can help your business.

Social Media for Business

The Truth About Social Media for Business

Written by Anne McAuley Lopez on . Posted in Social Media

Social media isn’t for sissies. There’s a lot of competition to get your voice heard.

The truth about social media for business is that you need an executable plan to make it worth your time, effort, and resources.

Be clear about why you’re on social media, who you want to reach, and the message you want communicated about your brand. Most importantly, you must be consistent.

Here’s the truth about social media for business.

You need to identify your target market. Choose social media platforms where you are most likely to find your target market. Just because everyone is talking about Instagram, it doesn’t mean you need to be there. If your target market is 18-34 years old, you need Instagram for your brand. Otherwise, stay away.

You must choose your social media platforms wisely. You cannot effectively manage a social presence on every site or even the main sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Pinterest.

Social media consultant and fellow badass Stacey Harris suggests (and I agree) that time is best spent on two primary and two secondary sites. Facebook and LinkedIn as primary and Twitter and Pinterest as secondary, for example. Spend a few minutes each day on your primary platforms and once a week on the others. If you don’t have the time, hire a social media manager to help you provide consistent messaging and relevant content to your community.

You must have a consistent social media presence. Posting only when you have a house for sale or a special isn’t going to get you the traction you want. You’re just spinning your wheels and should quit or hire someone to help you. When you hire a social media manager, they provide consistency. You can then post videos and other relevant and engaging content when you’re able to do so.

You must have a social media strategy. Back in 2010 when I started in social media, the strategy was “have a presence” but oh how times have changed. If your messaging isn’t focused, you won’t see the same results as when you focus on your target market and social media strategy.

You should be concerned about social media engagement not the number of followers. No one and I mean no one should be buying followers. That’s so 2010. Social media is about meeting your community and letting your online community get to know your brand. Trust me when I say that you’d rather have 1,000 followers and engagement than 10,000 followers and no engagement.

You must create and share your own content to share on social media. If you’re not creating your own content, then why are you on social media? Sharing other people’s content is good but to build a community, you have to establish yourself as the expert by creating content on your own blog and as a guest blogger on other people’s blogs.

Creating Engaging Content

Begin Creating Engaging Content

Written by Anne McAuley Lopez on . Posted in Start Blogging

creating engaging contentCreating engaging content begins with making a commitment to creating content and then following through.

It’s that second part, that follow through, that is challenging for many of us. It isn’t for the faint of heart, that’s for sure.

Next you need to identify your target market and why you want to create content. Without these two pieces, you won’t build content that is focused on your goals.

Identify Your Target Market

If you don’t know who you’re talking to or want to be talking to, then how do you know what to say? You don’t. You have to identify your target market so you know who you are reaching or who you want to reach so you can build a content strategy that speaks to them. 

Know Why You’re Creating Engaging Content

Knowing why you’re creating content will keep you focused on the goal. In Ken Blanchard’s book One Minute Manager, he writes about goals being like bowling pins. If you don’t have the pins to knock down, then how do you know when to celebrate? You could be rolling bowling balls all day and not know if you’ve hit your target. The same is true for content.

Reasons to create content:

creating a badass blog post

Three Tips for Creating a Badass Blog Post

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

ekp-mcauley-0803-2Creating a badass blog post doesn’t have to be complicated.

Many of us are reading your post from a cell phone or tablet and don’t have time to read hundreds of words formatted in paragraphs with no end in sight. We have time for a quick read while we’re sipping a cup of joe waiting for our next appointment. Simplicity is key.

Three Tips for Creating a Badass Blog Post

  1. Keep it Simple: You’re giving a few tips about your topic not writing a dissertation. Keep your blog posts simple and to the point. Your readers have short attention spans.
  2. Bullets and Bold: We’re all short on time and attention. More than likely your readers are skimming for useful information rather than reading. Include bullet points or numbering and bold for the things you want readers to notice.
  3. Words Matter: More specifically, word count matters. If your post is more than 350 words, it’s too long to be a blog post. Break it into smaller ideas and a couple of posts.

On behalf of fellow skimmers around the globe, I want to thank you for keeping you next post short and to the point. Cheers!

Business Website Content Tips

Struggling for content ideas for your site? Business Website Content Tips

Written by Anne McAuley Lopez on . Posted in Content Marketing

 

What’s the reason you have a business website? For most of us, it’s to give our business a presence online, like the yellow pages of the past. While I may have just dated myself with the yellow pages comment, my point is made.

Marketing your business isn’t just about social media, it’s about a brand story that’s told on your website. It’s about connecting to clients and prospects.

How do we attract clients and prospects with our story?

With engaging content. The best business website content tips include answering the most commonly questions asked by your target client, sharing your WHY, and using proper grammar, spelling, and punctuation.

[Tweet “The only rule of writing effective business website content is to make sure it doesn’t suck.”]

Who are you trying to reach and what problem does your business solve for them? Identify your target client. You have to know who you’re talking to so you can create content that helps them solve their problem. 

Take your time. It’s challenging to talk about our own business. I should know. It took me twice as long to write for my own website as it ever has for a client. That’s because I wanted the message to be perfect.

[Tweet “The message can be re-crafted as you become more clear on the focus of your business. #ContentRocks”]

While the content can be re-crafted, you should not hit publish without checking grammar, spelling, and the correct use of apostrophes. Walk away from the content after your write. Return with a fresh set of eyes a few minutes or hours later. Use spelling and grammar check. If needed, hire a professional proofreader.

[Tweet “Don’t forget to tell clients and prospects about your professional accomplishments and portfolio. #ContentMatters”]

Are you a badass blogger? An attorney who get sh*t done? Don’t be afraid to tell your clients and prospects about your accomplishments and portfolio. Often what we see as bragging on our own websites is just good marketing.

[Tweet “Tell your story to connect with clients and prospects. Write like you’re talking to them. #ContentRocks”]

What’s your WHY? Tell visitors to your website why you’re a passionate [fill in the blank] professional. Telling your WHY connects you to your audience.

And let’s not forget the power of design. Without our designer friends helping us with user friendly and mobile friendly designs, our content would sit on a white page and do nothing. Or worse, confuse visitors with poor navigation.

Business website content tips go beyond creating content for basic home, about, and service pages, and tells a story about your business.

How to Blog When You Have No Time to Write

How to Blog When You Have No Time to Write

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

We each have 24 hours in the day but I have days that feel a lot shorter. I make excuses for not focusing on my own writing projects but it boils down to how I manage my time. To blog when you have no time to write means thinking ahead about what, when, and how you want to organize your content.

Before quitting the idea of creating blog posts for your brand, consider these:

  1. How to Blog When You Have No Time to WriteGet into a Routine. My blogger pal Robbi Hess has been telling me, for way longer than I care to admit, to block time for my own writing. It wasn’t until recently that I made it a priority. Each morning I start my day by writing a blog post for one of my websites. Just that simple act focuses and inspires me to write.
  2. Plan Ahead. Spend time creating a list of blog post ideas that includes links to related articles, notes of what you’d like to include in the post, and a focused theme or category. I am not an outliner but I know bloggers who outline posts as they get ideas, filling in the blanks when they have time to finish. I tend to outline in my head and then start writing. There’s no right way to blog so find what works for you and do that.
  3. 80/20 Rule. 80% of your results come from 20% of your efforts. There’s a large amount of activity that you can delete because it’s not helping your business. If you’re going to coffee meetings with people who aren’t colleagues, masterminds, or prospects, cut those meetings from the schedule. This creates time for blogging.
  4. Create in Batches. Be ahead so you can take time off to spend with family and friends or focus on other business activities like networking or business development. Write a few posts and schedule them to go live over a longer period of time. I recommend four posts a month for most businesses. Write two posts a week for two weeks and a month of blogging is done!
  5. Set Reasonable Goals. I don’t know about you but I am an overachiever that struggles when it comes to goal setting. Take my blog challenge as an example. When it started my goal was 12 blog posts in six days but I soon realized that I only had time for one post. Instead of feeling like a failure, I reset my goal to 12 blog posts in 12 days. This is the fifth of those posts. The lesson? Set reasonable goals for blogging and track results. You might be surprised at what you can achieve.
  6. Hire a Professional Blogger. If you’re overwhelmed at the thought of creating content or have ideas and no time to write, it’s time to hire a professional blogger.

Sometimes 24 hours isn’t enough time to get everything done. That’s where I can help. As a professional blogger, I work with my clients to create content that speaks to their target audience and would love to help you get started!

share on social media

You Need Content to Share on Social Media (and other reasons your business needs a blog)

Written by Anne McAuley Lopez on . Posted in Content Marketing, Start Blogging

share on social mediaAs business owners we’re often too focused on building business and serving customers to see the value in expanding our digital marketing presence. Social media is effective and grows brand recognition in the community but there’s more to marketing.

You have to create your own content to gain the love of Google, establish yourself as the expert in your industry, and share more than other people’s content on social media.

All too often I hear the concern that blogging and (other content like live streaming, videos, and podcasting) will give away too many secrets about a business but it’s the opposite. You will attract your ideal clients because you’re illustrating you’re knowledgeable about your products and services but that’s not the only reason your business needs a blog. 

Let’s not forget the value of blogging when it comes to search engine optimization (SEO).

Google loves when we add new content.

Don’t create a website and let it sit untouched. The key to being noticed by search engines like Google is to create engaging, relevant content on a regular basis. Blogging is one of the most affordable and efficient ways to add content to your website.

Think of it this way. Each blog post is another page, another way for visitors to find your site.

One blog post a week adds 52 pages to your website every year.

The more frequently you do this, the more likely search engines will visit and rank your site higher in search engine rankings.

Combine consistent, relevant content using keywords and you’ve got a winning combination for your brand.

Establish yourself as the expert.

A mechanic who creates a video of how to change oil in a car isn’t going to lose customers because he shared how to do it. He’s more likely to attract new customers because they see him as the expert. They don’t want to change the oil in their car because they can see how much work it is; they’ll take their car to the mechanic who knows how to change the oil. It’s the same for your business.

If your competitors aren’t creating content, they’re missing an opportunity to grow their business and get noticed (in a good way) by prospective customers. That’s your opportunity to gain a share of the market. Even if they are creating content, it’s not the content you’re creating.

Your brand is unique.

Create content that connects to your target audience. You’re the expert, not your competitor.  

You need content to share on social media.

Think about the content that you’re sharing on social media. It’s probably articles from other experts in your industry that drives readers away from your site. It’s like you’re marketing for the competition. (ouch!) That’s why you need to create your content to drive traffic to your website.

Sharing the content of others is a great way to build community but be picky about what you share and from which sources. Ask yourself these questions before sharing an article on social media:

  • Is this from a reliable source? You might rethink sharing if it’s from a direct competitor.
  • Is this article relevant to my ideal client? If it’s not, don’t share it.
  • Does this article represent my brand voice? Just because it’s a cute kitten and its puppy BFF doesn’t mean you should share it on the social media for your business. It might be better to share on personal social media or not at all.
  • Could I write a better article on the same topic? If you could write a better article, save the link for reference and write your own blog post.

Share your blog posts, videos, podcasts, and links to downloadable content on social media in addition to content from others and those cute cat memes you just can’t stop posting.

How often should you blog? For most businesses, once a week is a reasonable frequency and attainable goal.

Content Creation

Don’t be Lazy When it Comes to Content Creation

Written by Anne McAuley Lopez on . Posted in Content Marketing

New ContentCreating content takes time and energy….and lots of it. All too often I hear business owners say they don’t have time or resources to write on their blog or post to social media. When I ask why, they say they just don’t see the value. Many say they get clients through referrals and they don’t need to be found online.

Creating content is essential to your business being found online, and ahead of your competition in search engine results.

What happens when the referral pipeline runs dry?

Building a business based solely on referrals means relying on others to send you leads. While that is good, and is how I built my business, there comes a time when we have to generate our own leads.

For me, generating my own leads means creating content for my blog while also ghostwriting for client blogs. It keeps the business moving forward while creating opportunities for attracting my target market. [Let’s be honest, by “moving forward” I mean ongoing client work and income.]

What is the value of creating content?

social media strategy

Is your social media strategy like throwing spaghetti at the wall?

Written by Anne McAuley Lopez on . Posted in Social Media

When I started my business in 2010, social media strategy was relatively new for business marketing. We thought we knew what we were doing; by today’s standards we were just throwing spaghetti at the wall to see what stuck. There wasn’t a plan except to have a social media presence.

Today businesses need to have a clearly defined target market, marketing plan, and social media strategy. Without these, you’re still throwing spaghetti at the wall.

As I grow my social media consulting services, I have observed:

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info@mcauleyfreelancewriting.com