Archives for November 2014

Thanksgiving 2014

Another Thanksgiving Day. This is usually a good day, when we get ready to visit family or have them over for dinner. Today my husband and I go to visit his family. We’re looking forward to it but not with the same feeling of lightness and joy that usually accompanies this day. Today we’re thinking of Ferguson and the sad events that put a damper on America again. Another Black man shot in the streets with not justice for his murder. Another show in this nation of the inequality of citizens based on the color skin alone.

The World Remembers Ferguson

The World Remembers Ferguson

There is a deep sadness that comes with this truth.

* It hurts to know that certain citizens of a a nation are not safe, that just living can be a dangerous activity in some neighborhoods.

* It hurts to know that the act of walking home from the store, buying a package of candy and talking on the phone could open you up to being shot dead, just because someone felt like killing you.

* It hurts to know that being 12 years old, alone in a park by yourself means opening you up to being shot dead within 2 seconds by a police “just because.”

* It hurts to know that you can be talking about Jesus to people in your neighborhood in the morning, then shot dead and left to rot in the street like an animal even though you had your hands up in surrender that afternoon.

* It just hurts to know these things as facts of life in America.

My mother marched with Martin Luther King, Jr in Selma Alabama back in 1965. My sister, brothers and I were raised fighting for civil rights and freedom of ALL people, despite, race, creed or color. Yet, today, I know the fear of consistent worry that a member of my family could walk down a street and be shot, killed, and forgotten like nothing ever happened.

This morning, my daughter in law helped relieve some of the pain by sharing a picture she found of people from around the world who are seeing what’s happening in America. They too are people who know pain of being hurt and having lives that don’t matter – just because. It helped.

It helped to remind me that there are people from all walks of life that actually do care, that honestly don’t agree with the atrocities that are happening, that they really stand in unity with this fight for equality.

The most important thing to remember is that in all of this, while families are getting together to celebrate, there are families that are missing loved ones this Thanksgiving because they were shot dead – just because. We must remember those families in our prayers – remember that despite it all, God is STILL in control. Remember that most of those killed knew the Lord and are with Him this Thanksgiving. They are not being judged by earthly mistakes but by the condition of their heart towards Him. Remember that God has not left or forsaken ANY of His people – we have to remember this, through the pain, through the fear, through the reality of what we live in.

Twelve WordPress Plugins That Boost Your Content Marketing Efforts

If you use WordPress (WP) for your website and blog, then you know how powerful it is when it comes to SEO right out of the box. But, thanks to plugins you can extend the functionality of your WP website easily. It just takes a few clicks and some easy set-up that simply requires that you can follow directions and click a few buttons.

The following plugins are great recommendations to add to your blog. Don’t add all of these at the same time, though. Read about them and determine what you need, and add only the plugins that you really need to help you boost your content marketing efforts.

1. WordPress SEO by Yoast – This is a plugin that helps you optimize every page you create on your site quickly at the time of creation without having to understand anything about code. It even makes suggestions for you.

Link – http://wordpress.org/plugins/wordpress-seo/

2. AtContent – Helps you grow your audience and blog traffic by letting you share your content with other bloggers to help increase your readership.

Link – https://wordpress.org/plugins/atcontent/

3. Inline Tweet Sharer – Allows your site visitors, or you, to easily tweet a quote directly from your site that you choose to highlight with the code.

Link – https://wordpress.org/plugins/inline-tweet-sharer/

4. Custom Content Shortcode – You can use this plugin to develop pages with certain content based on keyword, type of post, category and other custom fields on a particular page, or to provide deeper links after certain content.

Link – http://wordpress.org/plugins/custom-content-shortcode/

5. Content Aware Sidebars – This is very helpful because your sidebars can now change based on what your audience is reading and viewing. That way they won’t see the same thing on every page.

Link – http://wordpress.org/plugins/content-aware-sidebars/

6. Google XML Sitemap Generator – Sitemaps help search engines find your content and will increase your page rank. This generator creates and updates your site map fast.

Link – http://wordpress.org/plugins/google-sitemap-generator/

7. Disqus Comment System – Help control comment spam and let others know about your blog at the same time by adding subscribe and RSS feed options.

Link – http://wordpress.org/plugins/disqus-comment-system/

8. Slick Social Share Buttons – Making it easy for your audience to share your content is one of the ways in which you can practically put your marketing on autopilot.

Link – http://wordpress.org/plugins/slick-social-share-buttons/

9. Add Link to Facebook – This plugin allows each post you make to automatically be shared with your Facebook page.

Link – http://wordpress.org/plugins/add-link-to-facebook/

10. Pay with a Tweet – This plugin is interesting in that it lets your visitors to your website “pay” to download something by tweeting it out first to their followers.

Link – http://wordpress.org/plugins/pay-with-a-tweet/

11. Tweetily – Send out automatic tweets of every new blog post that is published on your website. That allows the schedule function to work as a sharing function at the same time.

Link – http://wordpress.org/plugins/tweetily-tweet-wordpress-posts-automatically/

12. Editorial Calendar – Keeping track of your content will help you boost your content marketing efforts by keeping it all organized.

Link – http://wordpress.org/plugins/editorial-calendar/

Setting up as much automation as possible will help you boost the traffic to your website through content marketing quickly and easily. What’s more is that most of the plugins are free or have free versions that you can use.

Secrets to Niche Selection

Choosing your niche is often the first thing you’re advised to do by Internet marketing gurus. The tighter the niche, the more effective it’s supposed to be.  But when choosing that niche, you need to be sure you find one that appeals to a profitiable target marke, not just one you love.

Believe me, I know as I’ve tried running through multiple niche ideas before finding what makes my heart pound, which is writing on the web. With selecting that niche, I had to be sure there could be nough people interested to make it worthwhile.

AS you select a nche, study to see how profitable the niche can be. Some niches are more profitable than others because they appeal to more people or because the product or service is more excusive and more expensive. Some aspects of supply and demand fit here, but that’s not all there is to it.

Questions to Consider

In order to choose a popular niche, you should go through a few questions before making your decision:

1. How much money do you need to make?
2. Is the niche large enough to support that amount?
3. Can the numbers support the fees?
4. Are there sufficient products to support the niche?
5. Do you have your own products you can sell?
6. Who is your competition?
7. How can you differentiate yourself from the competition?
8. Do you have the budget to reach the audience?

Why People Start Niches

There are two different reasons why people start niches.

1. The first way is the hardest; it’s when you’ve already created a product and they’re trying to find customers.

2. The second wasy is easier to market. That is, studying different niches until one if found with enough customers, money and desire to buy, and solve a problem the people in this audience have, and then enter that niche.

It’s very important that, whatever method you choose, you are educated about how much you can potentially earn. The way you study the niche depends on the niche in questions, but you would essentially determine how many potential customers there are who would be interested in your niche, and how much you can devote to marketing.

If a niche is really awesome but there are only 100 people that you can reach who can afford the product, you’d have to charge $1000 each just to make six figures before expenses. This doesn’t mean it’s wrong, but can the audience you attract support that cost? For some people and businesses there are actually customers who can happen that price range. But you really need to know the strategies to find and convince them to bite.  You might try:

  • Keyword Research – One of the best places to start is with keyword research. Choose a few keywords that you think that your audience will use and start from there. You are looking for high demand, low supply keywords.
  • Determine a Monetization Strategy – How can you earn money in this niche? There are plenty of niches that will have high demand, low supply keywords, but that have no discernable way to monetize the traffic.
  • Find Affiliate Programs – If your niche is in high demand, there should be some product already created for your niche. If there are no products created for your niche yet, you may want to reconsider the niche.

Keep in mind that in business school they teach students that the best business to open is one that already exists and what’s more, open it across the street from the other business. They use a Coffee shop as an example, but the same example can work for online business.

Choosing a niche that is already popular that you can serve in a new and more creative way will be easier than starting up an unheard-of, brand new niche. But, it’s up to you how to proceed. The point is, it takes research and understanding of the research to identify a profitable niche.

Create Your Own Newsroom

get-involvedYou may or may not have heard of a newsroom for a business as a great marketing tool for your business.  It’s a great place to develop social media attention, list events, press releases and other news journalists and thoses interested in your business can learn more about you.  Traditionally, a newsroom was the place where journalists, reporters, editors, staffers and others worked together to craft the news. Today, social newsrooms work about the same except they are designed to work online instead of a physical location.  A web based business has often built a media page or prepared a media packet. Now, it’s a bit more extensive. To stand out in the competition and display your entire range of assets, create your online social newsroom as your media center.

Design your social newsroom to help people find information about you that can be used to craft their stories about you and the business or to know if you meet their criteria to be a part of their media story.  Your  newsroom will have a distinct personality and set-up to reflect who you are and your business in the best light.  Generally, you should offer a variety of information to answer questions from a diverse audience. You can visit newsrooms or create one of your own to help people find your information to use in their stories.

Here are elements that you could include in your social newsroom:

1. “One Sheet” Information – Speakers use these; if you are open to speaking at events, it’s good to have one so that they know what subjects you speak about and how to contact you.

2. List of Press Releases – Use this area to make a repository for all your press releases. This is a good way to keep it them all organized and to let the media see the news that’s out there about you.

3. Event Lists, Past and Future – Not only should you keep a list of your past events, it’s important to slip in announcements for future events too. Of course, link to pages with more information about these events.

4. Images the Press Can Use – Headshots, product shots and more are good to be housed here too in downloadable form, with permission to use for the press.

5. Collection of White Papers – White papers are most commonly use in larger businesses to help customers understand a topic better.  They are becoming more popular with entrepreneurs and can be displayed here.

6. List of Publications – Great place to list anything you’ve published, including links to articles off site such as guest articles, books, kindle books, information products and so on.

7. Links to Videos – This can be videos that you’ve produced, interviews you’ve done, or those related to your content in some way.

8. Streaming Related Content – Your Twitter feed, blog feed, and other related content will work to help disseminate information about your topic.

9. Other Items of Interest to Insiders and Outsiders – Anything that can work to educate both insiders and outsiders about your business will be useful to put in your social newsroom.

10. Social Media Share Buttons – This is the start of what makes your newsroom social; the ability for others to share what they find.

11. Discussion Forum – Engagement is an important component of a good newsroom. Starting a discussion forum for those who might be interested can help improve engagement.

12. Contact Form – Even if you don’t want a forum, having a way for people to easily contact you, such as a special email address that you check often, is needed in your newsroom.

13. An Organizational Chart – If you have employees, this is good to have. It is similar to what any larger organization should have listing the people who work with you, their position and line of responsibility.

This new concept of a social newsroom is something for every savvy business woman to consider as a part of her website.  It doesn’t have to include all of the listed elements or be too elaborate. You want to be sure to give journalists and those interested in your work a sufficient amount of information about you and your business. It’s another place to house all the information in one place for easy distribution for you and the media. It provides for even more content for your website and no one will have to ask you for the information unless they want a special quote. They can just write a story based off the information they find on your social newsroom.

What do you think about this concept?  What elements would you include your Social Newsroom?

Too tired to sleep

UGGGGH! One great thing about being a writer is that you can write anytime of the day or night. Hurrah for the Blog that stands ready to receive the midnight posts from an insomniac writer.

Are you ever up late at night wondering why you are the only one in the house that’s NOT snoring? When you have insomonia

  • What do you do?
  • Do you get up and write?
  • Do you toss and turn?

Write about that for the next 20 minutes.

If you are too tired to sleep, writing about this might be the sleeping pill you need to turn over and drift off to dreamland.

Daylight Savings Time

I’m still sleepy from the time change. I can never adjust to daylight savings time. The switch gets to me all week. I was up at 6 a.m. (PST) this morning trying to do my writing practice. My intention was to get my writing work done early today but I’m falling asleep at the keyboard. Why do we switch times like this anymore? It’s dark in the morning and dark when you get home.

I guess the different perspectives on this have to be noted. I talked to a young person Sunday; a high school student. He loves daylight savings time. Guess being in the dark is more fun than being in the bright light all day —for some high school students. He did have an interesting point that football games just seemed more “right” in the dark stadium with the big lights glaring.

What do you think? Write about the switch to daylight savings time if you experience it. Do you like it? Is the adjustment quick and smooth or are you sleepy for a week like me?

If you live where you don’t have to switch the clocks, what do you think about this? Would you prefer to be forced to switch the time on your clock due to some antiquated rule on the government books?

Meanwhile, I’m going to catch a quick nap before my first teleclass at 9 a.m. this morning.