Archive for Blogging

Why and How to Clean Your LinkedIn Connections

If you’re like most early adopters of LinkedIn, you may have utilized the platform for your job search, recruiting or connecting with old coworkers. Over the years, the platform has changed quite a bit, evolving into a robust professional networking and social selling machine. You may find yourself connected to people that no longer serve you and your objectives. Examples include:

  • People you’ve worked with in the past that aren’t relevant to your current situation
  • Other people in the same industry that could be viewed as your competitors
  • Recruiters for an industry which you are no longer a part of
  • Colleagues, suppliers, partners or competitors from an industry that you are no longer a part of

Whatever the case is for you, in order for LinkedIn to be a valuable networking and selling tool for you, you’ll want your first level connections to be high quality and relevant to your objectives.

Here’s how to evaluate a connection to see if you should remain connected at the first level. Ask yourself:

  • Can I be of service to this individual from a professional networking standpoint which will benefit both parties?
  • Can he/she be of service to ME from a professional networking standpoint?
  • Do I compete with this person for business?
  • Does this person want to sell me something that I’m not interested in?
  • Do I want this person to see what I’m doing to market myself or my business on LinkedIn?
  • Can I learn from this connection and if so, what?
  • Can they introduce me to someone of value to my network and business?
  • Is there a personal reason why I want to stay connected to this person?

Answers to these questions will be the determining factor for your decision to remain connected or not. I suggest removing connections that are not serving your higher purpose. This is NOT personal. You can always connect with them on any of other social networks, such as Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. Always keep in mind that LinkedIn is for business networking, not socially hanging out.

Once you’ve cleaned your LinkedIn connection list, you can now build it with the type of network that WILL serve your higher purpose and help you grow your business.

To learn how to remove unwanted connections, watch this two minute video I made for you, and be sure to check out our LinkedIn Lead Generation services to help you generate more business! (link to LinkedIn services)

Six EASY Steps to Creating A Blog

Get Your Blog Up and Running with Six Easy Steps

Consider this:  companies that publish new blog posts just 1-2 times each month generate 70% more leads than companies that don’t blog at all (source: www.business2community.com).

If that doesn’t make you want to start blogging for your business, then you may as well not continue reading this BLOG post.

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But if it does interest you, then you may be wondering where you should start?  Here are six steps to help you get going.

1.    Determine Your Platform

There are ways to get a blog up and running with little or no cost.  How fancy you wish to make your blog is up to you.   There are free options, such as www.wordpress.com or www.blogger.com.  You can use a generic template and focus your efforts on the written material.

If you already have a website and someone to maintain it, then you could ask that person to add a blog feature.  Believe me, they will know what to do!

Or, if you are starting from scratch and want a full fledged website that includes a blog area, you may need to hire someone to create a WordPress site for you (ask us!).  Or you could learn how to do it yourself.

2. Create a Plan

While you are getting your blog set up, you should take some time to plan out your blogging topics and a schedule.

Before you begin, ask yourself the following questions:

  1. How often can you (or one of your team members) realistically write a blog article?
  2. Whom do you wish to reach?
  3. What do you wish to communicate?
  4. What does your target audience wish to know or hear about from you?

3. Create a List

Once you’ve answered these questions, brainstorm on article ideas. Brainstorm on as many ideas as you can during this phase.  You can always add or remove ideas as you go.

Break up your ideas into common topics.  For example, if you are an Insurance Agent, you could break the topics up the following ways:

  • Home Insurance
  • Auto Insurance
  • Health Insurance
  • Life Insurance
  • Disability Insurance
  • Long Term Care Insurance

Depending, of course, on which areas are your specialty.

A word of caution:  when you are writing your list of topics, steer away from those which are self-serving.  If you only write about your business and how awesome you are, your readers will not stay on your site long, nor will they be back.  Consider what your reader wants to know about, not what you want them to know about you.

4. Create a Schedule

Since you asked yourself how often you can realistically write, plot out the dates on the calendar and assign blog post topics to each entry.   If you’re worried about not getting around to it, also block out a couple of hours on your actual calendar that you will dedicate to writing your blog posts.  I find I am much more productive when I have a plan AND a schedule before I write one word!

5. Writing Blitz

It’s also helpful to block out a few hours each month to write 3 or 4 blog articles to publish during that month.  If you can write more, great!  But tackling several articles at one sitting checks it off the list until the next month.

Be sure to include your key words in your article titles so that you can rank higher in the search engines (SEO).  Also, by naturally using your key words throughout your blog post, you will rank higher.

6. Share it!

Now that you have a blog set up and you’ve begun writing, be sure to share it!  Even though you will get organic traffic to your blog post when people run a search on your key words, you still want to get it out to your audience.  Post a link on all of your social media sites.  Tweet about it and schedule additional tweets for the rest of the week.  If you belong to any groups on LinkedIn or Facebook, be sure to post a link to your article there as well.

Put sharing options on the actual blog so that others can share it too.  You can also set up an RSS feed whereby others can sign up to receive notification automatically whenever you write a new post.

Hopefully you can see that while maintaining a blog can be an effort, it is completely possible to break it down into 6 steps in order to get started.

Happy Blogging!

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Why Blog? Three Reasons to Get Your Blog On

Blog, Baby, Blog!

Someone recently told me that blogging is “so last year”. Well, not so according to the Social Media Examiner’s 2013 Social Media Marketing Industry report.  It reports that 70% of small businesses and 58% of large businesses intend to increase their blogging activity in 2013. Why? Because of the tremendous value and power of blogging. 

Here are three of my personal reasons for getting your blog on:

Build Your Brand Having a great brand doesn’t do anything for you if no one sees or understands it. Blogging gives you a free platform to showcase and promote your brand and what you’re all about. You can share your blog on all of the social media platforms, through email campaigns and newsletters.

SEO Visibility Ah yes, that popular little word acronym for Search Engine Optimization or SEO. Google loves and rewards websites that continuously offer new and relevant content. It’s no longer just enough to stuff keywords into your website. You need to change your content regularly to get to and remain at the top of the page on Google searches. Blogging is the perfect way to do that AND to please your visitors. Additionally, if you link your blog to your social media accounts, you get links back to your site AND it is all searchable!

Industry Thought leadership when you provide thought provoking, quality, information to your target audience you begin building yourself as an industry thought leader. If a potential client is considering you or your company this could put them over the top to actually reach out to YOU. It’s an easy and cost effective way to gain loyalty and build your business. 

If you think about it, you could write a book. You could travel about speaking and sharing your knowledge about your industry. You could make videos showing who you are and what your company offers. You could offer free advice once you get a potential customer interested. Or you could do all of these for FREE and on demand. Blogging, in my book, is a terrific use of resources and gives back way more than you put in.

For additional, more detailed information about blogging, pick up my book “How to Become a Social Media Content Machine – Wordflirt’s Guide to Cranking out Killer Content”.