Want Free Press for your Startup or Small Business? Join the workshop!

Screen Shot 2015-07-15 at 7.48.33 AM

 

 

Join me on Wednesday, July 29, for an informative, fun and jam-packed two hour workshop on how to get your business free press. I’ll be presenting this popular workshop as part of the festivities kicking off Alaska’s Entrepreneurship Week, put together by the Anchorage Economic Development Council (AEDC) and other great sponsors.

This workshop will be held at the Alaska Small Business Development Council (SBDC) offices and starts at 3pm. Registration is $20 for the event and can be paid online, in advance, through the SBDC’s website. Can’t attend in person? No problem! The workshop will be live streamed as a webinar, as well.

See you at the workshop!

Entrepreneur.com — Follow This 5-Step Process to Create Your Own Free Press

Screen Shot 2015-07-15 at 8.04.42 AM

Back in April I had my first article published on Entrepreneur.com about my 5-step process for getting free press by creating your own thought leadership content. It’s a simple concept, it just requires consistency and follow-through to keep at it and slug through the rejections until you get an acceptance.

The reality is that editorial pieces written and pitched to the press will be far more effective for garnering attention than journalistic coverage alone. Other entrepreneurs want to know what you know and you’ll gain credibility in the eyes of your customers. Getting media coverage will mean more eyes on your content and by default, your startup. You and your experience are the real goldmine that will translate from the press into increased sales. Oh, and the best part? It’s free.

Read the full piece HERE on Entrepreneur.com.

5 Simple Practices That Will Make Your Writing Better

shutterstock_155271827

There’s something a little bit mythical about being a writer. When your profession is actually, “writer,” as mine has been for the past few years, people will often sigh longingly and say, “I’ve always wanted to be a writer,” then ask, “What’s your best advice for someone to get into writing?”

 

The best advice I can give any aspiring writer is to write.
That sounds so obvious but people tend to try to find all manner of hacks to improve their writing skills without doing this simple, most obvious practice. You can be a great writer, if you will take the time to write every single day. That’s it.

 

People will then ask, “What do you write about?” or “How do you come up with ideas?” There are ideas everywhere! Take a cue out of James Altucher’s advice and try to write down 10 ideas a day for your business, for someone else’s business or even just about writing prompts or stories you could write. Journaling is a great entry point to writing, too, by the way.

 

If you want to be a good writer, write.

 

From there, I can give you plenty of other advice that’s specifically related to business writing, or rather content writing, for your marketing and PR efforts.

 

While taking the time to write blog posts, editorial pieces, articles, reviews, white papers, and guest posts may just seem like just one more thing you have to do in your busy day, the reality is that creating this kind of consistent presence within your industry can become invaluable for you. I often advise my clients to go this route for two reasons; one, you create really great content to promote your business and two, you get in the habit of writing which in turn, makes you a better writer.

 

And when you’re a better writer, you’re frankly better.

 

You communicate better, you read more, you look for stories, and you notice life around you more – always looking for the opportunity, idea or angle to create a great piece of content.

 

Developing your writing skills will make you a little more awesome.

 

Aside from your general personal awesomeness, here is a look at a few other tips and tricks to establish yourself as a leader, promote your brand awareness and craft unparalleled content.

1. Deliver On the Title
Click bait titles have become all too common in the online publishing atmosphere and readers are slowly beginning to catch up to this trend. While a catchy title will bring in more traffic in the beginning, it is not going to result in long-term leadership. While lists do very well, you need to deliver on the list and provide real value. Provocative and controversial titles are a great way to get people to engage with your content, but ensure you’re delivering what you promise, in fact over deliver on your title and promise and don’t be controversial just for the sake of a hook. Really put the meat behind your hook or you’ll lose traffic, and credibility, quickly.

 

2. Make Your Writing Actionable
Fluff is great on a bunny, but bad in a story. That sentence right there was fluff. People will pick up on worthless filler content and stop reading your work if you don’t deliver the goods. We live in a share economy now. People and businesses that thrive are based on sharing, i.e. Uber, Airbnb, even Tesla share open source information about the engineering of their electric car. The new medium in today’s share economy is give more than you take. Don’t hoard your knowledge or insights, give them away freely. Your readers want information that is actionable and applicable to their life. Giving them the story and the solution, along with something to do at the end of the articles will engage them on multiple levels, which means a more powerful message. Share what you know and you’ll be a better writer and create more valuable content.

 

3. Be Accurate with Sources and Statistics
Many people writing content are making the mistake of blatantly, or inadvertently, plagiarizing. When you wrote papers in school, you had to cite sources. The same goes in the online world. Even if it’s easier to get away with stealing other people’s ideas, quotes or research, it’s the wrong thing to do and it weakens your credibility. The great thing about the online arena is you can simply hyperlink or mention sources, no bibliography or references section necessary. It’s far too easy to be so lazy that you plagiarize. You have the power to check on facts, numbers, and statistics. If your information is not backed up with hard facts and linked to them, you’re making a mistake and missing an opportunity to provide some real value. Back up your writing with relevant sources and statistics.

 

4. Make the Information Easy to Digest
Information is all about aesthetics. The human eye tends to naturally move about the screen looking for visual clues on the overall goal of the page, and this means that information must be broken up to become digestible. Anything that breaks up blocks of writing such as subheadings, lists, quotes, numbers, and media will liven up the page. Take the time to organize your writing accordingly.

 

5. Tie Your Writing Together
Finally, it is important to think of your content as an ongoing storyline. The more you can reference your own writing, the more engaged people will be with your website. Stick with the theme, brand and voice of your site and your culture overall to keep thing cohesive. Another important part of your writing is to keep not only the tone and voice consistent, but the timing, too. Get yourself on a regular posting schedule so readers know when to expect another great piece from you and your site.

 

3 Tips For Creating Better Content That Will Drive Better Leads and More Sales For Your Business

shutterstock_139548959

 

Want to attract new customers, make more money and strengthen your retention rate for your business?

Obviously, yes!

Ensuring that you have exceptional content on your website is key to ongoing marketing success today. Content that provides real information and value for your prospects and your customers will establish your brand and set you apart from the competition. You have to think of yourself like the ocean that’s generating the waves of information, and not like the wave itself that’s coming ashore. If you only give a little, your competition will woo your customers with better content and you’ll lose out. If, however, you have in-depth, interesting content, your customers will keep coming back for more.

Here are 3 simple ways you can make your business more successful with stellar content.

 

1. Know Your Audience
Entrepreneur.com says 62% of millennials surveyed agreed that the content that they read and see online…makes them feel more connected and loyal to a brand.

Regardless of whether or not your customers are millennials, they need to feel connected to your brand through highly relevant content that’s actionable and helpful. You have to write or curate the best content on the web in order to establish trust with your clients and you have to make sure it’s what they want.

What’s relevant to your market?

Can you poll existing clients to see what they want to know more about?

How can you mine your analytics to see what content is going viral, being shared the most, discussed the most?

Which links are people clicking on and what stories from your newsletter is your audience responding to the most?

Look at your data to help glean a story about the type of content your audience is responding to the best. Then get or make more of that content.
2. Be Sharable

Social media sites and blogs reach 8 out of 10 people browsing online and account for 23% of their connected time according to Kapost.com. If you need a PR solution for your business, you don’t have to outsource and pay crazy money to get exposure. Great, viral content is one of the most effective ways to get the word out. Work with what you’ve got. Get on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest. Tap into the vast customer base that needs your product or service.

How do you create really great content that goes viral?

Follow some common tips laid out in an interview on HubSpot by Neetzan Zimmerman (@Neetzen), the previous top content writer for Gawker. With tips like, #3) Aspire to Inspire and #5) Study the data and analytics, there are a lot of tips that are common sense, but a good reminder that some elbow grease goes a long way in getting things accomplished, even in content writing.

 

3. Customers Love Freebies
You should always have your content be available for free. Well, almost always. Consistent, valuable content should be a part of your regular posting schedule to earn trust and credibility in your space. However, there are times for creating special reports, releasing studies and providing super impactful content that you’ll want to ask for something in return, like contact information. Exchanging incredibly valuable content to one of your website viewers in exchange for their contact info allows you to have a way to reach out to them again in the future and provides them with something of true value. It’s the essence of an effective marketing funnel, which is a whole other topic.

There’s a great OpEd by Kate on Entrepreneur On Fire’s blog about the value of free content, and what’s the right blend, or if you’re giving away, “too much.” If you have a few minutes, I highly recommend you read (or listen) to, How much content should you give away for free?” It’s a great place to start.

The important thing to remember is that no one is going to give you their email and contact info without already knowing that you give good content already. Establish the trust, provide loads of value and then you can work out an information exchange that will benefit your business and your audience.