Learn How To Master Facebook Marketing

Facebook Success Summit 2012

I wanted to let you know that Social Media Examiner has announced its newest online summit. It is the Facebook Success Summit 2012Act now and save 50% (offer expires on Thursday, September 20, 2012).

This is a fully online conference designed to help your business quickly implement effective Facebook marketing strategies and tactics so you can gain more exposure, build a more loyal following and grow your business.

The lineup of instructors includes the world’s top Facebook marketing experts and authors such as:

  •  Mari Smith (co-author, Facebook Marketing),
  • Dave Kerpen (author, Likeable Social Media),
  • Amy Porterfield (co-author, Facebook Marketing All-In-One for Dummies),
  • John Haydon (co-author, Facebook Marketing for Dummies),
  • Brian Carter (author, The Like Economy),
  • Mark Schaefer (author, Return on Influence),
  • Chris Treadaway (co-author, Facebook Marketing),
  • Jesse Stay (author, Facebook Application Development for Dummies),
  • Andrea Vahl (co-author, Facebook Marketing All-In-One for Dummies),
  • Phyllis Khare (co-author, Facebook Marketing All-In-One for Dummies) and
  • Experts from Campbell’s Soup, Intel, 24 Hour Fitness and Autodesk.

JUST SO YOU KNOW —–

These events bring the best of physical conferences (great learning and networking) directly to your computer.

  •  This means no travel and none of the expenses you’d expect with most events.
  •  We spread the live event over four weeks (to accommodate your schedule) and
  •  You’d get all session recordings AND transcripts.
  •  And the cool part: These summits are very affordable!  You can get in on the 50%-off sale if you act now.

Here’s what Facebook Success Summit 2012 will cover:

  •  Facebook marketing strategy
  • Growing and managing a Facebook following
  • Generating leads and selling with Facebook
  • Newsfeed optimization, metrics and analytics
  • Facebook promotions and advertising
  • And much more!

Go here to see all the details.  . Get a free sample class from our last summit by clicking here and looking for the yellow box in the sidebar.

Remember,

 You can get in at half price if you register early.

This event does not require any travel.  You simply attend sessions and network with peers from the comfort of your home or office!!

REGISTER TODAY!

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Upcoming Business Blogging Workshop

Heads up!  Here’s info about an upcoming, informative workshop: Blogging Fundamentals for Business

This fully online event will help you master the fundamentals of successful business blogging and is taught by the founder of one of the world’s largest business blogs — Michael Stelzner of Social Media Examiner, author of the book Launch.

He will cover a broad range of topics, including:

•How to implement a blogging strategy that helps you attract quality prospects, elevate your industry prominence and improve your sales

•Creative ways to craft content that your readers will love to share and you’ll enjoy creating

•Unique tactics to launch (or re-launch) your blog with the support of industry experts

•How to leverage social media to maximize the reach and influence of your content

•How to track, monitor and enhance your blog for a unique competitive advantage

Plus, you’ll learn in a live environment with the support of your peers.

If you want to make blogging work for your business, this hands-on course is just what you’ve been looking for. Click here to register at a 50% discount (this is a limited time offer!).

The workshop starts on July 10, 2012 and it is spread over two weeks to improve learning and accommodate your schedule.  All attendees will get recordings and transcripts of all live sessions.

Registration is limited. Click here to secure your spot at the limited-time 50% discount.

Best wishes for your continued success.

Curiosity Feeds The Freelancer

You’ve probably heard the saying “curiosity kills the cat …” You probably know the etymology of that saying.  I know parts of it – but that’s for another article.  For now, I thought I’d put a positive twist on the old adage.  Curiosity does not kill; it feeds!

Take the National Geographic (Nat Geo) network.  If any organization knows about the positive side of curiosity, it is Nat Geo, which makes it apt that their slogan is LIVE CURIOUS.  Those wacky Nat Geo explorers sure know how to do it well.  They know how to transport you to exotic places and surround you with fantastic information about our wonderful universe.  Looking at the hardships they often endure in the process, it might appear that curiosity indeed kills.  But what stories and adventures these explorers unfold, and with what flare!

Through indulging their curiosity, Nat Geo explorers let us into the mysteries of the deepest oceans, share panoramic views from the highest peaks, unearth wonders from ancient places and newest finds.  We get to marvel at the grandeur and depravity of humanity, and the miracles embodied in all things great and small.  In short, these curious explorers stretch our view and expand our knowledge of the world, one adventure at a time.

And so it could be for us freelancers.  We could do well to adopt the LIVE CURIOUS motto and see what unfolds.  It might not transform us into wacky Nat Geo explorers, but I think indulging your curiosity could spice your work and business in three fundamental ways.

  1. Boost your competency:  Indulging your curiosity means working outside your typical comfort zone.  It means doing that extra bit of research — more than the project scope calls for.  Yes, you may be pressed for time.  Yes, the client may have given you “all” the material you need for the piece you’re working on.  But by doing a little more research, you stretch your thinking on the subject-matter.  More likely than not, that extra knowledge will show through in the quality of your writing and presentation.  That extra oomph is your competence fueled by well-channeled curiosity.  Before you know it, each project is no longer just about work scope and fees; it is becomes a true learning experience.
  2. Reinforce your status as a resource person.  Personally, I think it’s a mistake for a freelancer to see herself simply as a “hired hand”.  That type of thinking is demeaning and limiting.  I like to see myself as a valuable resource to my clients.  I market my services as such.  With every project, I help them meet a need that is vital to their business success – and ultimately mine.  However, to be a resource person, you have to live curious.  You have to build your knowledge base consistently within, around, and beyond your niche.  In short, you have to become a perpetual student.  The great thing about learning is that it can be fun.  It can make your work that much more enjoyable and your skill much more versatile.  It is essential for establishing yourself as the go-to person for your clients, which is a great way to grow your business.
  3. Open up new opportunities.  Many of us freelancers chose the solo path because we wanted more freedom – flexibility in our work life and more control over our personal time.  It means freedom to explore new options.  For the lucky few, opportunities seem to come to them effortlessly.  For the rest of us, doors open when we go looking and knocking.  The great thing about being a freelancer is there is no need for committee or employer approval before you go exploring.  You just need to be curious, think curious, and go for it.

There’s more that can be said about curiosity, but I hope the foregoing makes the point.  A curious freelancer stands to enhance her competency, secure a strategic position as a resource person, and uncover new opportunities to grow her business by.  Curiosity may kill the cat.  But properly channeled, curiosity can feed the freelancer.  So, I’d say THINK CURIOUS; BE CURIOUS.

What do you think?

© Copyright Rachel Agheyisi and Report Content Writer’s Blog, 2009-2010.

If I Only Knew Then What I Know Now

Sidebar:  We all know about nurturing – the benefits of caring for and educating one’s self or another person or entity.  The problem is we might not be consistent in applying that knowledge to our personal and business lives.  Well, the following article might just help change all that!

Heather Lloyd-Martin, author of SEO Copywriting Success: How to Profit from Writing for Search Engines, has put together a list of timely reminders.  I hope her insights spark your nurturing vibes and move you to great accomplishments.  While you’re at it, don’t forget to be gentle with yourself!

Here’s Heather —-

You want to know my favorite thing about “living the writer’s life?”

It’s freedom.

I’m the kind of gal who jokes that she could never have a “real job.”  Being a self-employed SEO copywriter has allowed me to travel the world (often on someone else’s dime), work the hours I want, and make some pretty good cash.  For a self-described “highly stubborn” woman who requires total flexibility, I can’t imagine doing anything else.

At the same time, living “the writer’s life” has its own challenges.  You will realize your greatest strengths and discover your greatest weaknesses.  You will hit incredible, exhilarating highs as the clients and cash flow grow.  And, you will hit incredible, devastating lows – many of which can be minimized.  After 15 self-employed years (12 of them in SEO copywriting), here’s what I’ve learned …

  1. Find a mentor.  I used to be a “go it alone” kind of gal.  Now I know that having a business mentor is an incredible experience.  Not only can you ask them administrative-type questions like, “How do I set up my books,” and “How should I plan next quarter’s goals”, but you can also crawl to them when you’re insecure, frustrated, and need someone to give you a fast boost of self-esteem.  If I could do it all over again, I’d find a mentor much sooner than I did.
  2. Know that failure is, actually, okay.  It doesn’t feel good.  And it’s not fun.  But, if you’re not failing, you’re not trying new things.  Heck, I’ve failed (sometimes, in a very public way) and survived.  At the same time, I think I would have launched more products and done more things had I been less afraid of failure.  Having said that …
  3. Keep looking forward, not back.  So you lost a bid that you “should” have gotten.  Or you made a mistake with a client.  Big deal.  We all make mistakes.  Ruminating on them, wondering, “what if” and rewriting history won’t do anything but spin your wheels and drain your energy.  Besides, you’ll need that energy for …
  4. Exercise.  Seriously.  Do it often – every day if you can.  I wish someone had told me 10 years ago that my writing would be sharper, better, and faster after just 60 minutes of Pilates and cardio.  Instead of the time-suck I thought it was, I actually have more time in the day – and my brain doesn’t have that “foggy feeling” at 5 p.m. Plus, my back doesn’t tighten up after eight hours of typing anymore.
  5. Plan your vacation time – and actually take it.  Doing what you love can be highly addictive … and that addiction isn’t always healthy.  A huge trap as a self-employed copywriter is thinking, “I can work from anywhere – so I can mix business and pleasure.”  That’s nice for most vacations, but know that you’ll need time (gasp) AWAY FROM THE COMPUTER.  Why?  Because your revenue depends on your ability to stay creative, mentally alert, and calm.  If you fall into the trap of “working all the time”, you will start resenting what you do.  Getting away from the office gets harder.  And, the work becomes much less fun.  Schedule your vacation three (or more) months out and take it.  Don’t let anything stand in your way (especially clients with last-minute deadline requests).  I still don’t take vacation time as much as I should, but I’m getting better.
  6. Take supreme, selfish care of you.  About five years ago, my doctor said, “You can take a week vacation, or you can go into the hospital.  Pick one.”  Prior to that, I had no idea that my go-go-go lifestyle was as harmful as it was.  If a client needed me, I was there.  If there was a new speaking opportunity, I was on a plane and crossing multiple time zones.  No matter what, it catches up with you.  Remember, YOU are your business, so taking care of yourself is crucial.  Eat well.  See friends.  Work when the Muse strikes you and your energy levels are good.  If you burn out, your writing will suffer – and so will your mental state.  Remember that no one can take better care of you than you can.
  7. Take care of your finances.  It’s easy at the beginning of your copywriting career to leave financial planning on your “to-do” list.  Wrong!  I wish someone (like a business mentor) would have sat me down 12 years ago and prepared me for some harsh financial realities.  In any business, there are months when you’re making money hand-over-fist … and months when the phone barely rings.  It’s natural and normal and predictable – but for goodness sake, make sure that your financial rear is covered.  Set aside money for taxes.  Open a savings account.  Plan for your retirement.  Getting a firm grip on your finances now will help prevent (expensive) mistakes later – and you can start acquiring wealth rather than accumulating debt.
  8. Listen to your gut.  Ever think, “Hmm, this client seems flaky.  Maybe I should pass on the gig?”  Yeah, so have I.  And I lost about $7,000 when the client didn’t pay me.  Sometimes you won’t have any idea why an idea seems “wrong” or a client “just isn’t right.”  Know that you have an intelligent inner voice guiding you – and all you need to do is listen.
  9. Get (legal) help.  I skipped this step for years figuring I could “evaluate my own contracts.”  Yeah, right.  That worked really well until a client cancelled a gig and I was stuck with no recourse.  Just know that clients will throw the darnedest things in their contracts.  I’ve seen a bad contract cost someone tens of thousands in legal fees – almost bankrupting them.  I’ve seen writers get stuck in an endless revision loop because the client wants “just a few more changes” – and nothing in the contract specified how many revisions the client could ask for.  It may seem “too expensive” to hire an attorney.  At the same time, I don’t know what I’d do without mine.  It took me five years to find him, and he’s worth every penny.
  10. Form a network of people who “get you.”  Ever have friends with “real jobs” say”, It must be nice to stay home all day and watch television.”  Being a self-employed SEO copywriter means that you’re doing “stuff” every day that most people don’t “get” (and yes, that unfortunately includes our spouses and partners).  Make friends (either online or in-person) with copywriters, designers, and other creative folks.  During the times you need to blow off some steam – or share your successes – your professional posse will be there for you.
  11. Experience extreme gratitude.  I used to think that “anyone” could do this.  Now I know that those of us living the writer’s life are a special breed.  We can work from home and enjoy our families.  We can decide to work a little harder for extra vacation money.  And, we can live the life we really want to live.  This has been an amazing journey and I’m grateful for it every single day.

 

End Note:  This article appears courtesy of American Writers & Artists Inc.’s (AWAI) The Writer’s Life, a free newsletter for learning how to effectively write online copy and market products on the Web.  For a complimentary subscription, visit http://www.awaionline.com/signup/the-writers-life.

© Copyright Rachel Agheyisi and Report Content Writer’s Blog, 2009-2010.

3 Things That Don’t Belong In A White Paper

How is it that as writers we start out with the right subject matter and focus (squarely on our target audience), but somehow (sometimes) end up with content that serves only our egos (a.k.a. off target)?

As a white paper writer, I’ve asked myself that question more times than I care to admit.

Speaking as someone who’d been there and done that, I can truthfully say that a common thread in my less-than desirable outcomes is failure to keep an eye (unwaveringly) on the primary purpose of my content.

In other words, I lost sight of the right answer to the question: Why am I writing this stuff?

White papers are stellar marketing tools used primarily (though not exclusively) in the B2B arena.  Companies that sponsor white papers use them to inform and educate their prospects, while building rapport and credibility.  For these reasons, effective white papers are distinctive marketing publications.

Successful white paper writers know this and apply the necessary discipline to develop persuasive content with superior marketing appeal.  To achieve that goal, it is imperative that the interests of the intended audience drive each project.

In addition to maintaining a clear focus on the target readers, it is important to omit anything that might act as a “turn off” to the audience.  The truth is, there’s no shortage of potential distractions.  This article discusses three distractions that don’t belong in a well-written white paper.

  1. Hyperbole

We recognize it when we see it and know it when we use it.  Hype is exaggeration.  While rhetorical language may sometimes help us make a dramatic point, an unbridled use may undermine the information value of a white paper.

How?  The simple reason is that by definition, hype often stretches the truth and lack full proof.  However, truth and proof are two essentials that enhance the marketing appeal of white papers, particularly white papers that target tech audiences.

So, if hype is a no-no, what helps?  Fortunately, what helps is also simple.  It requires straightforward and factual language that addresses the interests of, and proposes options for the target audience.

The good news is that factual language often is the best way (successful way) to provide useful information, to connect with the reader, and to encourage specific response from her.

2.      Sales Talk

For many (prospective) buyers, a sales pitch conjures up the image of a loud person wielding a high-volume megaphone.  Not a welcoming picture.  It is definitely not the type of image you’d want associated with your marketing effort.

Intrusive sales language has the potential to turn an otherwise informative white paper into a direct mail copy.

If no sales pitch, what helps?  What helps is a more subtle pitch that works from the point of view of the prospective buyer.

One way to create a powerful stealth-style pitch is to include a list (a pseudo- guide) of what to look for in a solution/provider in the white paper.  It is effective because it provides actionable tips that anticipate the needs of a prospect in the buying process.

Without overtly asking for it, the guide has the potential to pull prospects back to your solution when they are ready to buy.  Meanwhile, it reinforces your credibility as a provider.

No megaphone necessary.  Instead, amplify the benefits a prospect might reasonably expect from using your product/service, and make it easy for her to reach the purchase point.

3.      Glitz and Fluff

Viewed in the context of traditional marketing publications (brochure, magazines, etc), white papers are not glamorous.  Slick, colorful, and flashy packaging are typically unnecessary in white paper production.

This is good news.

It means that the cost of producing white papers is concentrated on developing the proven characteristics of effective white papers, namely informative, persuasive, and targeted content.

While glitz looks at exterior packaging, fluff tends to obsess about space – the filling-up of pages.  The downside is that fluff, such as unsubstantiated factoids, does not facilitate the pre-sale affinity-building process.  Fluff does little or nothing to enhance the education value of a white paper.  More importantly, savvy readers/prospects see right through fluff and are not impressed by it.

Leaving out fluff is consistent with creating white papers of desirable length (typically 6-10 pages), with right focus (that respects the time constraint of readers), and tight narrative (appropriate to the profile of the target audience).

No major production required; just good planning and diligent follow-through.

Conclusion

It’s easy for ego and distractions to get in the way of good marketing content.

If your goal is to use informative, credible, and viral white papers as part of your marketing program, leave out distracting hype, overt sales pitch, and unnecessary fluff.  Keep the focus on connecting with the reader, not turning her off.

© Copyright Rachel Agheyisi and Report Content Writer’s Blog, 2009-2010.

How to Take Somebody Else’s Good Idea and Make it Your Own — Legally

Get your "Mo"Sidebar:  Here is an article I think we all can relate to as professional writers.  It was written by Jennifer Stevens, a master copywriter for American Writers and Artist Inc. (AWAI).  If you’ve ever had periods of creative inertia (a.k.a. writer’s block), you might learn a thing or two.  I hope Jennifer’s suggestions help to re-ignite the flow and keep your pages filled consistently.

Here is Jennifer’s take—

 Recently I read an article with somebody else’s name on it that sounded an awful lot like something I’d written.  Most of it had been lifted word-for-word.  The writer apologized profusely.  Case closed.

Still, it got me thinking about the ways you can successfully approach a topic when lots of folks have written about it before.

Penning articles can be a great way to build your credibility, promote your expertise, and woo clients.  But, copying somebody else’s text — in addition to being illegal — makes you look lazy.

Lifting ideas, though … that’s a different matter.  Ideas cannot be copyrighted.  When you pluck one — and you make it your own — you look enterprising.

It’s not that hard to do.  The trick is to “cook” an idea your own way.  Think about it like this.…

Say you go to an orchard to pick apples with a couple of friends.  Baskets full, you each head home to whip up a dessert.  One friend makes an apple pie.  The other makes an apple tart.  You make an apple cobbler.  You all start with the same raw ingredients: those apples… plus sugar, flour, butter, cinnamon.  But, you each make something unique.

You can do the same thing with ideas.

An easy, surefire way is to draw on your own experiences.  Here are four ways to do that:

Come up with an appropriate analogy that’s all your own.  My apple-picking analogy here?  It came to mind because some friends and I recently took our kids to Happy Apple Farms.  I had apples on the brain.  Lots of people have written about plagiarism, but I seriously doubt any have discussed it in the same breath with apple cobbler.

Peg your ideas to a recent experience you’ve had or to a current news item.  An easy way to freshen a “classic” idea is to relate it to something you just did or read or to some recent newsworthy event.

For instance, if I were to pen an article titled, “How to Write Good Descriptions.”  I could begin by referencing a piece I read recently in The New York Times.  The descriptions were particularly strong.  I’d explain to my readers why they’re so engaging.  I could talk about what that writer did so well — and show my readers how they could do the same thing.

Often you’ll find great jumping-off points in the news.  Say, for example, that you want to write an article about how best to handle a public-relations challenge.  You could open your piece by referring to the recent Toyota scandal.  What lesson would you have your readers learn from the way Toyota handled their crisis?

Aim for a fresh audience.  An idea that might feel pretty standard-issue to a certain group of readers can be truly eye opening to another.  So, think about the ways you can take the know-how you use every day in your own area of expertise and find new folks to share it with.

For example, take an idea like using “picture, promise, proof, push” in a promotion.  That’s not new to you if you’ve studied copywriting technique.  It’s a “classic” idea to an audience of copywriters.  But if you’re a travel writer, in all likelihood that’s new to you.  So, I could write about how you take this proven copywriting technique and apply it to travel articles.  And, that would be a whole new take on the subject.

Start with somebody else’s idea, say it’s their idea… and then refute it, agree with it, or build upon it.  Start with an assertion somebody else makes and react to it.  Say you read an article about how to use vinegar to remove laundry stains.  The author asserts that there’s no more powerful natural stain-fighter.  You could agree, maybe even quote the writer and send your readers to her piece.  But, then your piece might continue, “But vinegar is good for a whole lot more than laundry.  Here are five household hassles vinegar takes care of instantly … ”

Have you ever found yourself reading an article and nodding vigorously in agreement?  Well, begin there.  Tell your readers that you just read this piece, and it’s spot on.  Tell them they should go read it, too.  But then explain why you feel that way.  Use an example from your own life.  Share a story that further supports that other author’s idea.

My point, finally, is simple: You don’t need to copy somebody else’s words.  Even if the idea you want to write about has been written about thousands of times before.  Look to your own life.  Look to what’s going on in the world around you today.  Share your reactions.  Your opinions.  That’s how you take a “classic” idea and make it your own.

End Note:   This article appears courtesy of American Writers & Artists Inc.’s (AWAI) The Golden Thread, a free newsletter that delivers original, no-nonsense advice on the best wealth careers, lifestyle careers and work-at-home careers available.  For a complimentary subscription, visit http://www.awaionline.com/signup.

© Copyright Rachel Agheyisi and Report Content Writer’s Blog, 2009-2010.

Social Media Success Summit 2010

BulbHere’s a true story that shows that social media works and that it’s here to stay …

A few months ago, Michael Stelzner founded a site called Social Media Examiner.  He relied 100% on social media tactics to drive traffic to his site.

In less than 5 months, he was declared the #1 small business blog in the world by Technorati, added more than 13,000 email subscribers, brought nearly 100,000 people a month to his site and is ranked as one of the top 4700 websites in all of America by Alexa.

Perhaps the more remarkable aspect of this success story is that this all took place via social media.  Mike didn’t advertise, didn’t rely on the press and almost none of his traffic is coming from search engines.  Nearly overnight, his site has become a top destination for businesses.

He simply leveraged the power of sites like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn to deliver the kind of results that would’ve cost him a fortune in the past.  He didn’t spend a dime on marketing, just his time.

Clearly, social media is the new marketing frontier because it bypasses all the costly middlemen and allows you to rapidly connect with your customers and prospects!  And this presents an enormous opportunity for you.

HOW CAN YOU TAP INTO THIS OPPORTUNITY?

Michael (and his team) have been working for months to bring the best minds in social media marketing together in an event called Social Media Success Summit 2010.

Last year, nearly 1000 marketers and small business owners from around the world attended the summit.  It was a smash hit.  Businesses were transformed.  In fact, 97% of attendees said they’d attend again.

This year’s focus is to empower you to build social media marketing plans, track your social media results and learn from other successful businesses.  You’ll also discover how to use Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Foursquare and Groupon to attract high-caliber customers and grow your business during this economic slump.

Not only can you gain amazing exposure for your business with social media marketing, you’ll also generate traffic, increase sales, gain qualified leads and build new partnerships.

Twenty-four of the world’s leading social media superstars will be summit instructors.  Join:

  • Guy Kawasaki (author, Art of the Start),
  • Chris Brogan (author, Social Media 101),
  • Darren Rowse (author, ProBlogger),
  • Mari Smith (author, Facebook Marketing),
  • Steve Rubel (Edelman),
  • Ann Handley (MarketingProfs),
  • Brian Clark (Copyblogger),
  • Greg Jarboe (author, YouTube and Video Marketing),
  • Kim Dushinski (author, Mobile Marketing Handbook),
  • Jason Falls (Social Media Explorer),
  • Jay Baer (Convince & Convert), and
  • Ramon De Leon (Chicago Domino’s Pizza)

In addition, experts from Best Buy, Home Depot, Whole Foods, Foursquare and Groupon will be there to expose practical social media marketing tactics.

Visit the site now.

Social Media Success Summit 2010 will help you discover the best ways to market your business using social media.  You’ll also learn how successful social media campaigns were executed and how you can achieve similar results.

This summit is fully dedicated to empowering you.  You’ll discover how to grow your business using no-cost social media tactics.

P.S.  As a way of saying “thanks” for checking out the summit, there’s a gift just for marketers called “How to Grow and Engage an Audience on Twitter” (valued at $42) waiting for you here.  Go get it.

Here’s to your continued success!