Category Archives: Blogging
I travel several months a year, speaking to business professionals about networking. When traveling (especially internationally) I try very hard not to forget important items I need for meetings or speaking to groups of people…but I am only human and – as often as I try to get it perfect – I admit it’s hard to remember everything all the time.
A few months ago, I was invited to speak with a reporter working on an article for an international magazine on this very topic. The reporter asked me, “What should business people think about taking with them on business trips that they might not normally think about?” As I began forming the list, I found myself adding more and more things that are vital to ensure a successful business trip.
And here are some of the less obvious things you don’t want to forget when heading out of town on business.
No. 1: Plenty of business cards. It is never a good idea to run out of business cards while traveling. Tuck extras in your suit pockets, wallet/purse, briefcase, luggage, etc. I put stacks in many places to ensure I always have extra.
No. 2: A name badge. If you do any networking while traveling on business, have your own professional name badge. Don’t rely on the hosting organization to do your name badge and do it right.
No 3: Extra pens. Make sure you have a pen with you while you are doing meetings. I always find that I need to write some reminders down while I’m talking to people. It’s troublesome to track down a pen while you are busy networking.
No 4: The contact information (or business cards) of all your referral partners. I sometimes find that having that information at my fingertips allows me to give referrals to people while I’m out networking.
No. 5: Hand sanitizer. I know this may sound a little bit like “Mr. Monk”, the germ-a-phobe title character of a television series. However, I have found that since I’ve started using hand sanitizer after shaking many, many hands, that I have been getting far less colds than I used to get. Just be tactful about the way you use it. Don’t desperately and obviously spray your hands every time you shake someone’s hand!
No 6: Breath mints. As obvious as it may sound – I can assure you from experience that many people have no idea they need them!
No 7: A memory stick. Many times I have either needed to get a copy of something or give a copy of a file or presentation to people while out networking. Having a memory stick handy has been very helpful on several occasions.
No 8: A camera and/or video. A camera is great if you want to memorialize some occasion or a meeting with someone important to you. A video is important for anyone that blogs. It gives you a chance to interview someone during your travels. I do this almost every time I travel.
No. 9: Tools for your business. For me, that includes many copies of my bio for introductions whenever I speak. Despite the fact that my team sends the bio in advance, there are many times when I arrive and they don’t have the bio handy.
Another tool for me is a PowerPoint remote clicker. This is really important for me because I don’t want to rely on someone else to move the slides forward as a I present. Also, you know that memory stick I mentioned earlier? I have copies of my talk(s) on there just in case the group I’m speaking to has misplaced my presentation material.
Extra Odds and Ends
When I asked some colleagues and other business travelers what they would add to the list, they added some that I hadn’t thought of! Here are some of their suggestions:
No. 1: A phone charger. I agree heartily, especially seeing how much these items cost in an airport, or in another country. And you certainly won’t want to forget your laptop power cord – besides being expensive it’s often impossible to be able to get the right one easily, if at all. Also, you should write a “note to self” to fully charge all of your electronic devices the night before you leave!
No. 2: Power adapter/converter. Though it’s usually easy to pick up a “universal” adapter at airports or stores in heavily populated areas, in this electronic age you would hate to need one and not be able to find one, so it’s best to have one (or two) packed and ready when you need it!
No. 3: The right clothes. Most of you have experienced differences in temperature and/or weather from one town to another, so you can imagine how different the conditions could be across the country or around the world! It’s never been easier to plan what clothes to bring, thanks to online weather forecasts for every region of the earth. (Of course, there are no guarantees where weather is concerned!)
No 4: A good book. Oh yes – a most important item to include! Those airport layovers, delays, and long flights can seem even longer without something interesting to read. Here’s something to consider, if you are an avid reader who uses an e-reader or other mobile device to read books: You might want to also include a “paper” book and/or magazine for those take-offs and landings where all electronic devices must be turned off, and in case you actually do run out of battery power on a long trip!
Called the “father of modern networking” by CNN, Dr. Ivan Misner is a New York Times bestselling author. He is the Founder and Chairman of BNI (www.BNI.com ), the world’s largest business networking organization. His book, Networking Like a Pro, can be viewed at www.IvanMisner.com . Dr. Misner is also the Sr. Partner for the Referral Institute (www.ReferralInstitue.com ), an international referral training company.
Peace & Shout out to Dr. Misner who told me personally when I met him at a BNI Convention in St. Louis last year that he uses SendOutCards.com as a tool to keep in touch with his network. He loves the fact that everyone can read his handwriting when he uses SendOutCards.com. SOC’s spell checker is an added bonus. Go to www.sendoutcards.com/128092 and try sending your own free card.
As all bloggers know, blogging doesn’t only come down to just writing your post,
publishing it and waiting for reactions.
It is much more than that, but let’s focus on the post-publishing stage…
You have finished writing. You have also come up with a compelling title. What else needs to be done? Which are the steps you need go through after having published your new blog post?
The following article is a simple blog checklist to some of the more important, but often neglected blogging tasks that will ensure maximum exposure for your newly written article:
Have You Added ALT Tags to Your Images?
As you probably know, ALT tags actually the only way of telling the search engines that you have an image in your blog post. If you don’t add an ALT tag, describing what’s in the image you’ve uploaded, then the crawlers will see the post as plain text and nothing more. Having the tag and of course using it properly by adding relevant keywords can help you improve rankings. It doesn’t take more than two minutes, so just fill in the blanks after adding the images!
Further reading: “4 Reasons Why You Must Add Images to Every Blog Post You Publish“
Did You Choose a Category for Your Blog Post?
That is probably the one I forget about the most. Adding your posts to categories is a great way to organize them so that they are easy to find.
The best thing to do would be to get that one sorted out right from the start. Choosing a relevant category before even starting to write will ensure that you don’t forget that step. It’s good for search engines, it’s good for poeple, so make sure you get it done.
Did You Notify Your List Subscribers?
What about the ones who have signed up for email updates? Your list subscribers are the ones who have the highest chance of taking action. These are the folks you can really count on.
Email lists are mostly there to provide subscribers with exclusive content. That does not at all mean that you should not keep them informed about what’s going on with your blog.
Connecting an RSS feed and following the required steps doesn’t take more than ten minutes and it’s well worth the effort. I would advice you to use your post title and a prefix such as “New article” or “New blog post” as a subject line.
I discovered that messages like “New Content from *blog name*” don’t work that well. It is a bit annoying when the visitor needs to click on the email and wait for it to load in order to see the title of the post.
Did You Share it on the Blogging Networks?
The good old blogging networks are still worth submitting to. The concept behind such sites is voting on blog posts also known as stories. The stories that reach a certain threshold of votes get featured on the main page thus receiving additional exposure.
All in all the traffic you can get is not huge, but submitting takes no more than 15 minutes so it’s not a big deal. The 4 blogging networks I submit every one of my articles to are BlogEngage, Blokube, BizSugar and Inbound. The process is straight forward, you just need to paste the story’s URL in the desired box and fill in some additional details.
Did You Add a Keyword or Two to Your Title?
Catchy titles are a must if you want high click-through rates on your tweets (see “Titles that Get Retweets“), Facebook and all kinds of other shares. However you should also always think form SEO perspective.
I myself never put too much weight on SEO when creating content, but a keyword or two, clearly showing the direction of what you are going to present won’t hurt at all. After having finished with the writing part, check and double check if your title follows some basic SEO rules. Best, especially for longer headlines, would be to include the most important keyword right in the beginning of the title. Don’t aim for too generic terms such as blogging tips or social media, but rather try some more long-tail phrases.
Have You Pinged it?
It is always a good idea to ping the post after publishing it. This is a sure way to let search engines, RSS feeders, etc. know that you have new content ready for them. Pinging immediately updates such services so your have a better chance of your new article getting indexed faster.
This is also good if you have published the post, and done some modifications to the title. If you don’t ping it, it might take a ton of time for RSS feeders to update to the new title, while doing it will update it instantaneously.
The service I recommend is Ping-O-Matic. Once you set it up to work for your site, you can just save the link as a bookmark and click on it whenever there’s new content to be pinged. Super simple! Pingler (download as Firefox or Chrome add-on) is another great tool I use after editing an already published post.
Did You Share Your Post on Facebook?
An obvious one. What I do is share the post both on my personal wall and on my fan page right after publishing the article. I used to do it with Buffer (see “5 Great Twitter Tools“) but now I switched to just copying and pasting the link manually. The thing I didn’t like about the way Buffer does it is that the footer of the message is modified with some elments being placed differently.
For the two months of using that approach, I came to the conclusion that people don’t want posts from 3rd party apps on Facebook.
There is also something else you can do to get more attention and likes on your fan page. Clicking on the date of the post will load it separately from your stream. That way you can copy that link, shorten it with bit.ly and post it on Twitter. Doing so will get people to first visit your Facebook page rather than your blog.
And What About Twitter?
Apart from tweeting the post on your Facebook page, the best way to get initial retweets on your new article is to be the first to tweet it. Add something like “New blog post: *Article title and link*” and tweet it. Doing that once doesn’t cut it though.
If you want to get as many visitors as you can, you need to tweet the post throughout the first day of publishing it. That doesn’t mean bombard your followers with hourly tweets. However 3-4 times in the span of 24 hours definitely won’t be a problem.
StumbleUpon is Also Worth a Try!
I have been using StumbleUpon for almost two years now and I have received thousands of visitors throughout the months.
My advice after submitting there is to tweet the post from within StumbleUpon’s toolbar. Doing the tweeting from StumbleUpon will post the tweet with the su.pr shortener, which is a good way to get additional visitors. Then you need to share the post (again via the toolbar) with your mutual followers. Make sure to write a message, encouraging poeple to like, share and retweet the post. Keep in mind not to sound too promotional.
Hug and Peace to Reviewz & Tips.
With so many social media platforms, it’s easy to get bogged down in the details. Keep a clear head by following these five steps.
A social marketing campaign is a pretty simple concept:
Use social media to promote an offer and encourage people to perform a certain action. Yet while simple in concept, it’s easy for marketers to get mired in the details and lose track of what matters as they jump from Pinterest to Facebook to SlideShare and Twitter.
At its core, any social marketing campaign boils down to five key elements. Follow these steps to tackle your next social marketing campaign with more confidence and success.
1. Set your goals
Any successful campaign begins with a goal. Before you even think about diving in, focus on what you’re trying to achieve. Do you want to increase sales, generate sales leads, or get feedback on a new product? Understanding the goals for your campaign will help you make the right offers, capture useful metrics, and determine how your campaign performed.
It helps a lot if the goal has a quantifiable business objective that you can track. Number of generated qualified leads is a great metric because they can later be tied to sales.
2. Develop a valuable offer
Most people don’t like to give up their email addresses or “Like” a brand of Facebook without good reason. That means for any campaign to be successful, you’ll need to provide real incentive. Your offer doesn’t always have to be free, but it does need to useful, valuable, engaging, and/or entertaining. Some common offers include:
•Information about something your audience is interested in
•Sneak peak at a new product or product video
•Social media contest
A key to developing worthwhile offers is having a tieback to your product or service, either directly or indirectly. You might get a lot of social love for providing a link to a free movie pass, but if it’s not related to the software product you sell then what’s the point? In and of itself, the movie pass does nothing for brand loyalty or generating targeted sales leads.
Make the offer valuable to people who would also be interested in your products or services. For example, if you sell social marketing software, consider offering a downloadable guide to social marketing. The people who will convert will be much higher qualified leads.
3. Create a landing page
A landing page, where people arrive after clicking on a campaign link, is arguably one of the most important, and frequently neglected, parts of a social marketing campaign. A landing page is where you encourage people to sign up, register, download, or make a purchase. The landing page lets you capture a visitor’s information, while the visitor downloads your campaign offer (downloads coupon, free trial, etc.). A social marketing campaign can drive traffic to your landing page, but it’s up to the landing page to convert those visitors into qualified leads for your business.
There are two common options for creating a landing page: Make it yourself on the web or use Facebook. Creating a web-based landing page offers more control over the page and its analytics–making it easier to test page variations and optimize the content.
Whatever method you choose, your landing page needs to have a clear call to action, a form to collect information to qualify a lead, and an explanation about what someone will receive after submitting their information. Before launching a landing page, you may want to create at least two versions with different headlines, graphics, or text. This lets you run A/B or multivariate tests to determine which one converts the best.
You may also want to create specific landing pages for each of the social communities that you are marketing. For example, a landing page that converts well for Twitter may not be optimal for your Facebook or blog audiences. The point is that you should always be sure to optimize the landing page for the highest number of conversions.
4. Launch the campaign
With a nice looking landing page (or two) created and an offer tied to your campaign goals, your social marketing campaign is ready to be launched. Decide how the campaign will be promoted. Just because it’s designed for social media, doesn’t mean it can’t be promoted using other channels such as email lists or offline. Work the hype machine.
Often, social marketing campaigns will be spread across several networks. In most cases, it’ll be Facebook and Twitter, but there are dozens of other social networks that can be embraced. For example, use Foursquare for location-based offers (i.e., coupon for a restaurant chain), or LinkedIn to promote an enterprise white paper.
If you run your campaign on multiple networks, repackage the message for each network to avoid being annoying or repetitive. Mix it up, and test out different posting styles and times. By creating more variations, you can get insight into what worked and what didn’t.
Don’t forget to use your email lists to promote your social media marketing campaigns. Many companies have nice email lists but only want to use them to put out a boring newsletter. Try to remember that email is one of the most useful social networks you’ll ever use. Don’t believe me? Put a shortened link to your website in your signature and see how much traffic it drives. You’ll be surprised.
5. Use shortened links
Since links are what send visitors to your campaign landing page, they can give you essential information on how various elements of your campaign are performing. Shortened links should be able to tell you what campaign the person interacted with, and which social property was used to promote the link. This info is usually hidden in the form of a browser cookie, which is activated when the link is clicked on. Once the cookie is in place, tracking code on the landing page will tell you if someone took advantage of your offer.
Use generated shortened links that let you track activity in real time and make changes on the fly. For example:
•Scheduling posts: Which post times drove the most conversions?
•Message creation: What combination of words and graphics attracted the most attention?
•The Medium: Which social networks are converting? Is anyone coming to the campaign from your non-social promotions?
Shortened links also solve the problem of “first touch” versus “last touch” attribution. Since social marketing offers often get cross-posted onto different social properties, the cookie generated in the shortened link will always be able to tell you what the true origin of your leads are and from which campaign and on which social properties they have responded to.
After your social marketing campaign is a success, the obvious question is: What do all these signups really mean? Now that you’ve brought leads to the door, you have to offer more value, in addition to what attracted prospects in the first place. Don’t just carpet-bomb them with information. These leads are the most valuable data your brand will encounter: You need to treat them with the utmost respect and strategically lead them through your sales cycle.
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Peace and Love to Scott Lake.
He is the founder and CEO of Source Metrics, a social marketing optimization platform focused on ROI. He is the cofounder and former CEO of Shopify. You can find him on Twitter.