Networking and connecting in business are super important. Just as in life, you can’t go it alone. It’s said that none of us are islands, but if we were, each of us would form a vast and interconnected archipelago. Bridges and boats would stream traffic between all these islands and that traffic is largely information. If you cut yourself off from this flow of information, either purposely or by mistake, you do so at your own peril.
Why is it so important to make connections with other business owners? This topic of networking and connecting comes up often so why is it so important?
Here’s one reason why. If you don’t, the island next to you is going to make those connections you’re making and the information they provide and use it to his or her advantage. What are am I even talking about? Let me explain in further detail below.
Why You Should Network
Networking is an essential element of every successful business. It provides you with contacts, leads, clients, partners, suppliers, and much more. It will carry your name and your business reputation farther and more efficiently than most advertising will. Most importantly, it is an endless source of profit, ideas, collaboration, and support.
The IFS and the BUTS
If you are networking, you should do more. If you’re not networking, you need to start. If you don’t network, your business will stagnate and die. But why should I do this you might ask? Aren’t people just going to find me online searching for me? After all, I have a website! Ha…so does everyone else!
When you’re networking you need to keep a couple of important points in mind.
First, every social or professional engagement can provide you with an opportunity to network. There’s often nothing more formal about it than an exchange of information and follow-up connection. Remember, as a business owner you’re always “on the clock”, so to speak. Be ready to take advantage of a potentially lucrative networking situation should the opportunity arise.
Second, when you are networking, treat people naturally, the way you’d want to be treated. Offer no-strings advice. Often solving a problem for free generates more long-term profit than the cost of the advice or service. Also, listen more than you talk. Silence really can be golden when you take the time to hear what another person is saying.
Finally, always remember that honesty is the best policy. Don’t promise something that you cannot produce. Don’t be someone you’re not in order to close a deal. Be yourself and watch those connections grow!
Connections & Business Collaborations
Networking and connecting with other business owners gives you the opportunity to collaborate with others also. You never know what you might teach each other or you might just find someone you can partner up with. Some of the most interesting aspects of your business might be just around the corner. So, remember that when you’re connecting with others.
Planning Your Content
Continuing on with our Content Marketing Plan, this time we are discussing how to PLAN your content. One thing that’s very important, if you plan to leverage the power of audio, video, and text, is to have a comprehensive content marketing plan.
Here’s a little checklist that might help you do that.
Setting Your Goals
All your content creation should have a purpose and that purpose should not only benefit your readers but benefit your business as well.
Some purposes might be:
- Search engine traffic
- Word of mouth and viral effect
- Pre-selling and warming up the audience to a product
- Establishing credibility and authority
- Reader satisfaction
- Boosting your opt-in list subscribers
- Boosting customer relationships
- Selling your products
Just remember, the goal or purpose of each content piece is aligned with your overall marketing strategy. This may also help you decide whether content should be in audio, video, or text format. For example, if your goal is to boost customer relationships, you might choose a video of yourself to do that.
When you do your content marketing plan, make sure your content includes a call to action that supports your goal. For example, “For more information about how to manage debt, grab our free report 12 Steps to Eliminate Debt in 12 Months.” – tell them what you want them to do next.
Carving out time for research is very important. From brainstorming topic ideas to finding supporting information for those topics, there is plenty to be done. You also want to research potential places to distribute your content as well.
Here are some things that will make your research easier:
- Keep a list of content ideas throughout the month.
- Use the following to generate content ideas/topics:
- Social networking
- Keyword research tools
- Blog comments
- Client interaction
Review the analytics and results of last month’s content and evaluate which pieces generated the most interest or results. Know which pieces your audience responded to and use that information to create content topic ideas for this month.
While you’re researching topics, take note of interesting articles, statistics, and other items you might reference later as you’re creating your content.
Keep your eye out for places where you might publish your content. Connect with other website owners who might publish for you. Connect with them by subscribing to their sites, on Facebook, Twitter, and more.
Creation and Distribution
Here are some things to plan and keep in mind, so your content gets out there to your audience.
- How much content will you need? Will you write it all yourself, hire a writer, or use PLR? If you’re using a writer, ensure they have all the information they need well ahead of time, so they can meet your deadline.
- Have you created your content publishing schedule? Plan ahead, so that you can match content topics with products you’ll be promoting. Decide where each piece will be published and which pieces will be published in multiple places.
- Guest blog
- Social networking page
- Article marketing site
- Video sharing website (ex. YouTube)
- Audio sharing website (ex. iTunes)
The best way to make the most of your monthly content is to find ways to reuse it and repurpose it. However, when creating your repurposing strategy make sure that you’re still focusing on your goals. Each repurposed or reused piece of content still needs to serve a purpose and support a goal.
- You’ve created a plan to reuse or repurpose some or all of your content. For example, an article published on your blog can be rewritten and published on an article marketing site. Or an article that resonated with your readers, could be made more visual and viral by turning it into a video.
- Each piece of content that is repurposed or reused content has a goal/purpose. You should always keep benefiting your business (and your audience, of course) in mind.
It may seem overwhelming to have to plan all this content in a variety of mediums, but over time you’ll learn what your audience responds to and where you should focus your efforts.
And remember, quality is more important than volume, so focus on delivering quality.
This ends this series on Content Planning. Hope you enjoyed it and found it useful.
How to Create a Content Marketing Plan
It’s hard to believe that not too long ago, the information presented on the Internet consisted of nothing but plain text. Eventually, HTML came about as a way to format text, and then graphics were added, but even those innovations were nothing compared to what you can find on the web today. The following information can help you create a content marketing plan that will help you communicate with your audience.
The Internet as we know it is still evolving, but it is full of pictures, sounds, and motion. Even the most inexperienced novice can design a web page using current technology and make it full of animation, funny videos, and his favorite songs.
New technology is being developed continuously, and webmasters are often quick to adopt it.
But these fascinating new aspects of the Internet are not only for fun and games. They provide marketers with plenty of new ways to inform and engage their visitors. No longer do we have to rely on the written word to get our point across sufficiently. We can also communicate with our site visitors through audio and video.
Why Use Audio in Your Marketing Plan?
Did you know that a large portion of the population retains information better when they hear it than when they read it? This is one of the many reasons that it pays to offer audio as an option for your site visitors. Here are some more:
* Audio can inject personality into your website in a way that text and graphics can’t. There’s just something about hearing someone’s voice that makes site visitors feel welcome.
* Audio is convenient. Those who want or need to multitask can listen to audio while doing something else. They do not have to be right in front of the computer screen to use it. You can also make audio available for download to an iPhone, iPod or MP3 player (if people still use those things!), so your visitors can take it with them wherever they go.
* Using audio can separate you from the competition. Many sites do not utilize audio, and if yours does, those who enjoy it will be likely to come to you instead of your competition.
Ways to Use Audio
There are plenty of different ways that you can incorporate audio into your website.
Here are a few to consider:
- Record a podcast. This is similar to blogging, only it is done in audio form. Users can subscribe to your podcast so that it is automatically downloaded to their feed readers or iPods.
- Do a streaming talk radio show. This is a great way to get targeted visitors to your website, and it allows you to interact with your audience by accepting calls or answering emails while you’re on the air.
- Offer recordings of online conferences or presentations for download. This gives visitors an incentive to come to your site as well, and it may entice them to participate in future conferences.
- Record a message for site visitors. Tell them a little about yourself, suggest areas of the site to visit first, or just welcome them. This adds a unique personal touch.
Making Your Audio Accessible
There are a number of file formats that you can use when saving audio, but it is important to use popular ones so that your users will be able to listen to them. The most popular format for most types of recorded audio is MP3. It offers great file compression while preserving the quality of the audio. Virtually every computer has an application that can play MP3 files. The Windows operating system comes with Windows Media Player, which will play these and several other types of audio files.
Another benefit of the MP3 is its versatility. It can be easily converted for burning on a CD with most CD burning programs. Users can also put them on their iPhones or just about any other type of portable music player.
Delivering the best content you can to your audience is so important to get you recognized in whatever industry you’re in.
Stay tuned for Part 2 of this series.
How to Boost your Productivity
First, quiet your mind and focus on How to Boost your Productivity. We need to be more proficient in our work to accomplish more. In many cases, people fail to be productive because they lose focus and let their minds wander, leading to a loss in productivity.
The key is to focus your mind on the task at hand. Block out all other distractions and thoughts that are unrelated to the task at hand.
• Failure to put aside thoughts unrelated to the task at hand will only slow you down and lead to a higher probability of mistakes.
• Get a good night’s sleep every night to boost focus and productivity, reduce mistakes.
• Don’t let other issues or problems bother you.
Basic Ingredients Of Productivity
There are three basic ingredients to productivity:
Without all three of these ingredients, your productivity will be lower than it can be. And then you won’t achieve the amount of success you are expecting.
How To Measure Your Productivity
Dictionary.com defines productivity as “the quality, state, or fact of being able to generate, create, enhance, or bring forth goods and services.”
Boost Your Productivity
• In other words, its the amount of effort and time that the worker puts in and how many units of production he/she produces in that time span.
If a worker produces one unit (say, one ebook) an hour and another worker produces two units (say, two ebooks) in one hour, then the second worker is two times more productive than the first worker.
Being more productive means being better able to manage one’s time. Focusing one’s attention on the tasks required. And/or utilize the energy necessary to complete the tasks required in the same time period as another worker.
In order to boost your productivity, you need to be able to produce more of the product. Or provide more of the service you deliver in the same amount of time or less than you have before.
When it comes to businesses, it’s not just your production. It’s the production of your subcontractors who work for you, that account for your total productivity.
Start Laying A Productive Foundation
First, you need to eliminate all distractions from your work area and clear your mind of any doubts and/or worries you may have.
You also need to be totally focused and invested in the working process. This allows you to produce the maximum number of products/content and/or render the most services within a specific time span.
Have A Plan
Have a clear plan of what needs to be done in terms of tasks and projects and how to go about best doing them.
• In regards to subcontractors, have an agenda of tasks and projects to complete. Also, a time table on which you can expect them to complete them.
• Then lay down the ground rules on what needs to be done and how quickly they should be done.
Boost Your Productivity
Implement simple time management techniques. You must manage your time as efficiently as possible in order to be as productive as possible. And, monitor your time very carefully. Ensure that you are working efficiently during the times you are working. This will enable you are utilizing your time to the best of your ability.
• Note how long you think it will take you to complete a project on a piece of paper, in a text file, or in a spreadsheet file.
• Time how long it takes you to complete specific tasks.
• Time how long your work periods are, your breaks are, and how long any distractions are.
Try using the clock on your computer and/or mobile device. Or use an online timer to record the respective time periods. Then compare the time it took you to complete the project versus the time you expected. If you met or beat that time, reward yourself.
If you took longer than expected, review what slowed you down. Was it distractions, lack of focus, the task was more difficult than expected- then make adjustments.
You can make this into a game or challenge to where you challenge yourself to get more done in less time to improve your productivity.
There are online timers that have bells or other sounds that can help you use the Pomodoro Technique. This will allow 15- to 30-minute work periods. It will be followed by 3- to 5 minute rest periods three times. Then after the fourth 15- to 30-minute work period, a 15- to 30-minute rest period.
Removing The Unimportant Tasks
It’s vital that you prepare for work ahead of time so minor/menial and repetitive tasks don’t slow you down.
Consider what tasks are actually important to your business and which aren’t.
• Tasks such as email and social media should be done during break periods, lunch periods, and/or outside-of-work periods, not while the main work is being done.
If you run a business, only do the tasks you are proficient at and enjoy; send all other tasks to subcontractors for maximum productivity and profitability. This will solve a lot of time for you in the long run.
Pursue An All-Around Productive Life
Having an all-around productive life means that you are productive in all facets of it, not just in business.
• Increased productivity can include assembling items, grocery shopping, etc.
• Productivity means doing any task in the most efficient manner possible. This will help you maximize the value of every minute and every second so that you get the most out of them as possible.
Free Marketing Tools
Free Online Tools For Entrepreneurs
Most entrepreneurs realize the enormous amount of effort to put ahead for their ventures while thinking about their limited financial resources. In my own case, I must admit it stressed me out, especially because I would have to do it all by myself. Yes, and most of us start out this way.
At the beginning of any entrepreneur’s journey, you can rely on key digital marketing tools that make your life easier. I can attest to that. It’s what makes ya or breaks ya!
And, you can do this without investing a single cent. There are plenty of online tools out there in the virtual world. Do your due diligence and do some research to find the ones that suit you best.
Below is a list of some useful tools that some entrepreneurs use
This by no means is a complete list of the excellent ones on the market these days. But they allow me to keep up with my own lifestyle while keeping my business at the top of the wave. So to speak!
This is one of my favorite entrepreneur’s tools when it comes to Social Media management. The free version allows you to sync three accounts.
Hootsuite allows you to execute your social media marketing strategy literally from your smartphone. You develop posts and schedule them as needed, and interact with others directly from their app or website.
I really like the fact that the tool helps you to determine the best times for postings according to how active your audience is. In simple words, I don’t need to wake up at 3 am to post on Twitter to target a market that is active on the other side of the world while I am sleeping.
Or when I’m at the beach soaking in some much-needed rays of sunshine!
This one I absolutely love! The Grammarly tool, allows you to improve email writing and keeps you focused on writing your blog posts without the constant hassle of knowing if you’re using the right word in your content.
Great when you’re on a time crunch and for when working on your website. The free version has a plugin that can be installed in Chrome and you can also use it in all the applications you use like Word, Excel, and others. You should really check this one out.
Another favorite entrepreneur tool is Canva. Visually attractive content on your website is a must these days.
Businesses need to show a professional and credible appearance, so potential customers want to your website and read more interesting articles from you.
With Canva you can create booklets and banners to be used on different social media channels. And, as creative blogs post images with text and even business cards.
Their stock of templates, fonts, and illustrations plus the intuitive drag and drop functions allows anyone to create the most amazing visual content.
It’s simple to use also, but eventually, you’re going to want to get the pro version of this because it has SO many more features. And the cost is priced right for the beginner also.
Imagine yourself receiving 50 messages from prospective clients at a time when you are a solo business entrepreneur. Chattypeople is an excellent solution to that problem, as it will answer queries automatically.
It allows you to intervene, via Facebook Messenger to push customers through the sales funnel. Such a great idea to automate some of the simplest of tasks so this would be a great service to investigate.
E-mail marketing remains an essential way to generate leads by moving consumers through a funnel for conversions.
People who are interested in your business and who provide their email are allowing that intimate experience where you can show why you are the best in your industry.
MailChimp has a free version that effectively allows you to make that happen without you even noticing through their automated features.
So, those are just some of the tools you can use to start on your entrepreneur journey
With an automated approach, your business can grow by leaps and bounds. Or, wave by wave to use a beach phrase, which I am quite fond of!
Reaching your audience effectively without compromising quality, while giving you the chance to focus on other aspects of your business.
Submit your comments below so I can help you grow. Go to my contact form to schedule a chat with me. It’s easier than you think.