Wednesday

2014 Coming to a Close – 2015 Just Before Us, Bright and Shiny

Tomorrow is a New Year that brings amazing things: opportunity for a fresh start, renewed hope, possibilities, and even new beginnings.

Mark Twain said, “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do, so throw off the bowlines, sail away from safe harbor, catch the trade winds in your sails.  Explore, Dream, Discover.”

Make 2015 a year of action rather than procrastination.

To start the New Year, I tried to find quotes I haven’t shared before, or at least ones I haven’t shared recently. Below are 10 I find inspirational. Hope you do to.

“Yesterday is not ours to recover, but tomorrow is ours to win or lose.”
~ Lyndon B. Johnson

“You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” ~ Wayne Gretzky

"For every minute you are angry you lose sixty seconds of happiness."
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Remember, today is the tomorrow you worried about yesterday."  ~ Dale Carnegie

“Even if you’re on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there.”
~ Will Rogers

“You can never cross the ocean until you have the courage to lose sight of the shore.”
~ Christopher Columbus

“I am not a product of my circumstances. I am a product of my decisions.”
~ Stephen Covey

“Someone is sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago.” ~ Warren Buffet

“If a man empties his purse into his head no one can take it away from him. An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest.” ~ Benjamin Franklin

“You’ll never change your life until you change something you do daily. The secret of your success is found in your daily routine.” ~ John C. Maxwell

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To add to these motivational quotes for the New Year, I have a powerful goal setting and achieving ebook for you. It's free and you can (and should) share it. It’s absolutely worth reading. Here's the link:

A Simple System to Achieve Your Goals

Stop on by tomorrow also. They’ll be another gift for you!

~~~~~

Monday

Why You Absolutely Need a Website as Part of Your Content Marketing

Before I get into why you absolutely need a website as part of your content marketing strategy, according to TechTerms.com, the definition of a website is:

A Website, or Web site, is not the same thing as a Web page. Though the two terms are often used interchangeably, they should not be. So what's the difference? To put it simply, a Web site is a collection of Web pages. For example, Amazon.com is a Web site, but there are millions of Web pages that make up the site.

BusinessDictionary.com describes a website as a “virtual location” that’s accessible via unique URLs and an internet connection.

It’s kind of like your house. It has a street address that people can find using roadways. If they have a GPS, they simply plug in the address and are given a direct path to your house.

Your website is your virtual home. Rather, it’s your virtual place of business and must be ‘findable’ and accessible. The URL is your address. And, rather than physical streets, people find you through virtual roadways in cyberspace. And, they find you within seconds.


The website is a critical part of every online platform. In fact, it’s fundamental to your platform and your content marketing (and inbound marketing) strategy.

Because of this, you need to generate visibility and traffic to that site.

Why?

Well, there’s so much ‘noise’ (competition) in cyberspace it’s very, very, very difficult to cut through it.

To give you an idea of the magnitude and power of the internet, here are several statistics:

•    Worldwide internets users have reached 3,035,749.340, as of June 2014

*Source: Internet World Stats

•    1.8 Billions are on Social Networks
•    North America has 81% Internet Penetration
•    Top Social Networks added 135 Million users in 2013
•    Facebook now has 1.184 Billion Users
•    There are 6.5 Billion Mobile Subscriptions globally

*Source: The 2014 Global Digital Statistics, Stats & Facts SlideShare presentation from the guys at We Are Social

•    There are over one billion active websites (1)
•    There are 347 WordPress blog posts added each minute (2)
•    Google processes over 40,000 global searches EVERY SECOND (1)
•    Google processes over 3.5 BILLION global searches EACH DAY (1)
•    81% of businesses consider their blogs an important asset (3)
•    Of all internet users, 82.6% use search (3)
•    Studies found that online searchers are more likely to buy

(1)  http://www.internetlivestats.com/total-number-of-websites/
(2) http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2381188/Revealed-happens-just-ONE-minute-internet-216-000-photos-posted-278-000-Tweets-1-8m-Facebook-likes.html
(3) http://www.searchenginejournal.com/24-eye-popping-seo-statistics/42665/


The internet is teeming with websites, information, and searches. And, if you’re promoting or offering anything, you must have an optimized platform that includes an optimized website. There is no way around this fundamental fact.

To get your small or home business moving in the right direction, you also need to take advantage of inbound marketing. This marketing strategy includes: content marketing, email marketing, and social media marketing.

I’m offering a NEW 4-week, interactive e-class for 2015 through WOW! Women on Writing, GET TRAFFIC TO YOUR WEBSITE WITH INBOUND MARKETING: Website Optimization, Blogging Smart, Email Marketing, and Social Media Marketing. It's priced right, so be sure to CHECK IT OUT TODAY (just click the link right above).














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MORE ON CONTENT MARKETING

Content Marketing and Animation – A Successful Combination
Content Marketing – Just How Fast Can You Write an Article? (8 tips)
Blogging and Conversion – How to Get More Juice Out of Your Efforts

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Friday

Self-Absorption, Reflection, and Giving (moving your marketing goals from you to your audience)

There’s a great article at Boost Blog Traffic. It’s by Jon Morrow and it’s on unleashing your power.

The article was posted on Thanksgiving and what grabbed me about it was the words ‘gluttony’ and ‘selfishness.’

I’ve long been concerned about today’s ‘me’ attitude.

I know people who consider their birthdays a week-long event. Who even take off from work on their birthdays. I know a high-school boy who’s allowed to take off from school on his birthday.

Interestingly, the Bible (at Ecclesiastes 7:1) says that a man’s death is of more significance than his birth.


Why?

Possibly in part because his life would have dictated what kind of person he was, how he lived his life. Life isn't supposed to be about self-absorption.

When did the individual become so self-important, so self-absorbed?

According to his article, Morrow has a similar concern about our society and its self-absorption focus. Speaking of Thanksgiving, he said, “It’s becoming more and more about gluttony. Not just sharing a meal with your family, but eating until you put yourself in a turkey-induced coma, waiting a few hours, and then doing it again.”

So, what has this to do with marketing?

Simple, it’s about how you view your business, your marketing, and your goals.

Yes, everyone needs to make a living to survive, but how do you strive to make that living?

Think about it.

Is your business goal to earn $100,000 annually? To reach $500,000 annually or be in the millions? Is it to become a Fortune 500 business? Maybe, it’s to create a business that will allow you to buy a new home, a vacation home, and/or a new car. Maybe it’s to put your kids through college and still be able to afford food. Maybe it’s to afford medical care for you and your family.

All that’s fine, but what’s the thought process on reaching your goals?

Are you at all concerned about helping your customers, clients, audience? Or, are they simply a dollar sign to you.

Is giving to others a part of your business strategy? Is actually helping those you’re involved with a concern?

Check out Morrow’s article. It’s a very interesting read:

On Gluttony, Selfishness, and Unleashing our Power Within

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MORE ON MARKETING

3 Power-Packed Elements to SEO Ready Content
Are Long Sentences in Your Blog Posts Good or Bad for Your Rankings?
Don't Make These Landing Page Mistakes and What to do If You Have




NEED HELP MOVING YOUR ONLINE PLATFORM FORWARD OR GETTING STARTED?

I have a new e-class with WOW! Women on Writing just for you:

GET TRAFFIC TO YOUR WEBSITE WITH INBOUND MARKETING
Website Optimization, Blogging Smart, Email Marketing, and Social Media Marketing

It's a 4-week in-depth and interactive class - click the link to see all it includes.


~~~~~

Wednesday

Happy Holidays

Tis the Season!



WISHING ALL A HEALTHY, HAPPY, AND
SAFE HOLIDAY SEASON

Below is a little video I created for you from all of us at
Writers on the Move.

(For those who don't already know, I'm the founder and manager of Writers on the Move. We're a marketing group using cross-promotion, content marketing, and social media marketing to increase our visibility, authority, and conversion.) 






LIKE THE VIDEO? PLEASE SHARE IT!


Monday

Website Optimization – What Colors Should You Use to Evoke the Visitor Response You Want

Colors are all around us. They inspire us, they sooth us, they motivate us, they can even anger us. They can even be healing.  Colors can be viewed as non-verbal communication.

According to Psychology.About.com , colors are “a powerful communication tool and can be used to signal action, influence mood, and cause physiological reactions.”

So, it’s easy to see that colors are a critical element to an effective website. While it may not influence your search engine optimization, it will have a direct influence on those who visit your site.

Put this knowledge into action.

The first thing to do is take into account is the purpose of your website.

  • Is it an action gaming site?
  • Is it a food site?
  • It it a writing site?
  • Is it a business site offering products – if so what kind of products?
  • Do you offer services - if so what kind of services?
  • Do you want to evoke action?
  • Do you want to evoke trust?
  • Do you want to evoke relaxation and calm?

You get the idea. You need to know exactly what the purpose of your site is before you decide on colors.

Another factor to take into account is ‘color’ visibility. Like fonts, computers may not display (read) the colors you’re using as they appear on your website.

Be sure to use colors that are web safe.

Sites like Techbom.com offer a ‘fixed’ color palette that you can browse through.

What colors should you use?

Because of the importance of colors in your website design, it’s essential to know what colors cause what reactions. Below are five basic colors and how they can make a visitor to your site feel.

Red is an action color. It’s a color that can motivate us to take action.

Yellow evokes feelings of lightness and cheer. It’s an uplifting color.

Orange is another uplifting color. It evokes warmth mental energy.

Green is soothing color that evokes a feeling of balance.

Blue evokes feelings of trust and loyalty.

Take the time to do some ‘color’ research. It will help you decide which colors will work best for your site.

My website color scheme.


I’m still in the process of deciding which colors to make my brand. My current colors are blue and grey. The blue works, but grey is an unemotional color. Although, it does evoke a sense of stability.

My website color scheme is a work in progress. As a marketer and writer who offers services, I’m leaning toward a blue. Having visitors perceive my site (and me) as trustworthy is an important factor to consider.

References:
http://www.empower-yourself-with-color-psychology.com/meaning-of-colors.html

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NEED HELP WITH YOUR CONTENT MARKETING?



I have a new e-class through WOW! Women on Writing, Get Traffic to Your Website with Inbound Marketing.

It's a 4-week, interactive, and in-depth class that covers website optimization, blogging smart, email marketing, and social media marketing. IT'S PRICED RIGHT, so be sure to check it out. Just click on the link above.





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MORE ON CONTENT MARKETING

Basic Twitter Terms and Definitions
5 Power-Packed Email Marketing Strategies
Content Marketing - Are Long Sentences in Your Blog Posts Good or Bad for Your Rankings?

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Friday

Social Media Marketing and an Unethical Twitter Practice

I’m not sure if this has happened or is happening to others, but on a few occasions, I’ve found my Twitter account associated with a post, page, or product I've never heard of. My immediate impression is this is an unethical social media marketing practice.

Now I may be mistaken, but it seems to me the accounts connecting ‘my account’ to promotional material is doing it purely to make others think I’m promoting that post, page, or product.

Not sure if I made that clear.

What I mean is, say Twitter Account “JonesSkyFuel” posts a tweet that says:

@KarenCV “LinkTo SalesPage” (a clickable link to some service or product I’ve never heard of).

Or, a tweet that says: @karencv Thanks for the interest in XXXXX (with a clickable link to their service that I never had interest in or had shown interest in).
(Both scenarios actually happened to me recently.)

Okay, I will say I’m a New Yorker, so naturally skeptical and leery.
But, why else would a marketer mention my name in connection with a post, page, or product I’ve never heard of, or if I have I heard of it, never endorsed or promoted it?

In the most recent post that mentioned me in connection with something I never heard of, I tweeted back and actually said, “I never heard of this product, please don’t use my twitter account for your promotion.”

After doing this, I began to wonder if that marketer wanted me to check out the product. Then I thought if they wanted me to check it out, why not direct message me.

It would be like me using Hubspot’s (a heavy-hitter) Twitter account handle and connecting it to one of my posts or services. That would be super-unethical.

So, my guess is, marketers using this particular social media marketing strategy in connection with my Twitter handle are also being unethical.

Anyone else have this experience? If so what did you do?

LIKE THIS POST? PLEASE SHARE IT!

~~~~~
MORE ON CONTENT MARKETING

Social Media Marketing and Time Management
3 Power-Packed Elements to SEO Ready Content
Blogging - 4 Major Mistakes to Avoid When Writing Blog Posts

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NEED HELP MOVING YOUR ONLINE PLATFORM FORWARD, OR GETTING STARTED?

I have a new e-class with WOW! Women on Writing just for you:

GET TRAFFIC TO YOUR WEBSITE WITH INBOUND MARKETING
Website Optimization, Blogging Smart, Email Marketing, and Social Media Marketing

It's a 4-week interactive in-depth class that's priced right - click the link to see all it includes.


~~~~~

Wednesday

Get Traffic to Your Website with Inbound Marketing - New eClass

I'm offering a NEW online marketing e-class.

As valued readers and visitors to this website, I want to keep you in the loop.

Just like the marketing arena is ever changing, so are my classes. The reason is to keep up with all those changes.



Website Optimization, Blogging Smart, Email Marketing, and Social Media Marketing


This 4-week, 4 module interactive class will be conducted through a Yahoo group forum. Each week’s lesson is uploaded into Files then we go over any questions, problems, and so on.

Screen-sharing webinar replays are included to help with understanding. There are also assignments with each lesson – I give feedback on all completed assignments.

Get Traffic to Your Website with Inbound Marketing covers all four fundamental elements of an optimized platform. And, it covers them in-depth.

If you’ve been struggling with these marketing strategies or just want to take things up a notch, this is the class for you.

For all the class details (what will be covered in each lesson) and to sign up, please go to: Get Traffic to Your Website with Inbound Marketing

This class is priced right, so be sure to check it out today!

Hope to see you in one of the classes!

Karen 

Monday

Twitter as Part of Your Social Media Marketing Strategy – Process, Tips, and Benefits (A Case Study)

Information is all around us. And, that information can help us create, build, and tweak our marketing strategy.

In a recent article (I can’t remember where I read), it talked about social media marketing. In particular, it gave tips on using Twitter. The one tip I remember is to tweet eight to 10 times a day.

I put this strategy to the test in two ways:

1. I created a new Twitter account and posted about 8 tweets a day.
2. I increased my primary Twitter account (@KarenCV) tweets to about 8 a day.

Note: The tweets were focused primarily on #contentmarketing and #socialmedia. And, they linked to ‘valuable’ content (blog posts).

The Process

  • The process was random.
  • I would tweet one or two posts each morning.
  • I checked my Notifications.
  • I created a list of those who Favorited my tweets.
  • I thanked those who favorited my tweets in a Thank You tweet.
  • I would randomly throughout the day post another of my blog post links to Twitter.
  • I would randomly retweet or favorite posts of others.
  • I would tweet blog posts I read on other websites.
  • I stopped posting tweets around 7PM.
  • If I was busy on particular days, my tweeting decreased those days.

The Results

This process worked.

The new Twitter account quickly grew. It got lots of Favorites and Retweets. It even got on other Tweeters marketing and social media Lists. Along with this, I got New Followers every day.

The same thing happened to my primary account. In fact, that account got anywhere from 2 to 18 Favoritings a day, along with Retweets.

Fine Tuning the Process

I decided to handle the process in a more business-like manner with my primary Twitter account.

Using SocialOomph.com, I now prepost my tweets at two-hour intervals from around 6:30AM to 2:30AM the next morning.

I still randomly go into Twitter and retweet or favorite the posts of others (I need to tweak this process). And, I still use Thank You tweets for those who favorite my tweets.

This was a very recent revision, but I’ve already seen lots of activity. My Favoritings have increased to 5 to 22 a day and I'm getting more retweets and on more Lists.

Worthwhile Mention

I engage other Tweeters by retweeting and favoriting their posts. Along with this, I Thank each of those who Favorite my posts by mentioning them in a Thank You tweet.

I offer useful information through links in my tweets.

My next step is to find a program/service that will allow me to automatically retweet or favorite tweets of some of the tweeters I follow who always offer useful information.

6 Benefits of Using Twitter as Part of Your Social Media Marketing Strategy   

1. It offers great visibility.
2. It increases website traffic.
3. If helps boost your authority status.
4. I helps boost search engine ranking.
5. It has the potential to boost conversions, including mailing list subscribers.
6. It has the potential to generate sales (customers / clients)

Note: If the number of valuable tweets were increased, I’m sure the engagement and benefits would increase.

If you’re not on Twitter yet, get started today. If you’re on it, ‘take it up a notch.’ I’d love to know your results with it.

Let’s connect: http://twitter.com/karencv


For definitions of some of the terms used in this post, check out:
Basic Twitter Terms and Definitions

~~~~~
MORE ON CONTENT MARKETING

Social Media Marketing and Time Management
3 Power-Packed Elements to SEO Ready Content
Content Marketing - Are Long Sentences in Your Blog Posts Good or Bad for Your Rankings?

~~~~~
NEED HELP MOVING YOUR ONLINE PLATFORM FORWARD, OR GETTING STARTED?


I have a new e-class with WOW! Women on Writing just for you:

GET TRAFFIC TO YOUR WEBSITE WITH INBOUND MARKETING
Website Optimization, Blogging Smart, Email Marketing, and Social Media Marketing

It's a 4-week in-depth and interactive class for only $97 - click the link to see all it includes.




~~~~~
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Friday

Social Media Marketing - Basic Twitter Terms (including Favorites and Twitter Analytics)

I've been using Twitter a lot lately as part of my social media marketing strategy. Thought I'd shed some light on some of Twitter's terms.

Basic Twitter Terms and Definitions

The most common term on the social network is “Retweet.”

This is the process of clicking on the ‘retweet’ button of a tweet you like or find valuable. By clicking on that button, you are sharing that tweet with your followers. Retweets appear on your Home page as part of your tweets list. In other words, others can see what you retweeted.

The individual you retweeted will get notified that you retweeted his tweet. It’ll specify which tweet got retweeted. This is good information to know.

This strategy has been used just about since Twitter was founded in 2006.

The purpose: to share valuable or entertaining tweets with your followers.

The shorthand for Retweet is RT.

In the example below, you can see that I retweeted Jeff Bullas’ tweet about Facebook. He had 13 retweets for that particular post (tweet) on that day:


The Retweet icon is initially grey. When you click on it, it turns green.

Closing in on the Retweet popularity is “Favorites.”

Favoriting a tweet is kind of like highlighting or making a tweet of someone else (or your own) special. Interestingly, this tweeting strategy started to pick up speed in 2013, especially with small businesses.

When Twitter rolled out their new Twitter Analytics in 2014, favoriting look a giant leap. In fact, I get more favorites than I do retweets.

When you favorite a tweet, it doesn’t appear on your Home page list of tweets.

The purpose:

To make the author of the tweet aware of you and let her know you liked the tweet
To save the tweet so you can click to the information later
To save the tweet in order to remember to thank someone who mentioned you
You can also favorite your own tweets for emphasis

The most popular shorthand for Favorites is FAVs.

In the example below, you can see that Jeff’s tweet got 5 Favorites on that particular day.


The Favorite star is grey until you click on it then it turns gold.

Mentions

Mentions are when someone adds your twitter handle (your username) in a tweet.

The purpose: to bring that person to the attention of your followers.

No shorthand that I’m aware of.

In the first example below, you can see that the user (Paradiso Presents) simply mentioned me in regard to content marketing. In the second example, the user (Gavin Head) mentioned that I was a part of “The Inbound Marketing Daily.” 




Notifications

Favorites, Mentions, and Retweets are visible on your Notification page. Just click on the Notifications icon at the top of your Twitter page.


In the example below, I was able to see that 5 people favorited that particular tweet on that particular day.


You’ll also get notified of favorites, mentions, and retweets in emails from Twitter.

Twitter Analytics

The bare-bottom basics of Twitter Analytics is to keep track of the interaction or engagement your tweets have on Twitter.

In the example below, it shows me how I did over the last 28 days.


Aside from the number of impressions, it lists your tweets, along with the impressions and the engagement of each. It also includes an engagement rate.

The engagement rate is the ratio of the number of impressions for a tweet to the number of engagements. So if I had 100 impressions and 20 engagements on a particular tweet, my engagement rate would be 20 percent for that tweet.

This knowledge gives you power . . . social media marketing power. It lets you know how many users are able to view your tweets and which tweets are working, get engagement.

Impressions are the number of times users saw the Tweet on Twitter. Crazy that Twitter can determine this stat.

Engagements are the number of times a user interacted with a Tweet. This includes clicks anywhere on the tweet (link, hashtag, username, etc.), retweets, favorites, following, replies.

Why does ALL this matter?

Simple: visibility, authority, traffic, conversion.

Aside from Twitter keeping track, Google does also. This in turn can affect your rankings.

The powers-that-be are watching every move you make!

Note: I also have a post scheduled for 12/15/14, explaining the testing I've done on Twitter. It includes the process and results.

Reference

https://www.americanexpress.com/us/small-business/openforum/articles/favoriting-new-retweeting-twitter/

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MORE ON CONTENT MARKETING

Website Ranking – Basic Metrics (Elements)
Blogging – The 5 Most Popular Blog Post and Article Formats 
Do You Still Need a Website as the Core of Your Online Platform?

 ~~~~~

NEED A CONTENT WRITER?

Visit: Karen Cioffi, the Article Writing Doctor

Wednesday

Writing Books and Making Money – 7 Must-know Strategies of Successful Authors


I listened to a teleseminar by Steve Harrison of Quantum Leap recently. He has helped a number of heavy-hitters, such as Peggy McCall and Guy Kawasaki.

The focus of the call was on the differences between ‘rich authors’ and ‘poor authors.’ 

Of the differences Harrison gave, below are some of the most important.

7 Strategies and Tips that Successful Authors Use and Unsuccessful Authors Don’t

1. Plan it out

Of the differences between rich and poor authors (and marketers), the single most important factor is a focused plan. If you’re planning any journey, you can’t reach your destination without first planning how to get there.

Authors who achieve their goals have a plan, and it’s focused.

2. Exposure

The second most important success factor is exposure. Successful authors know the importance of generating visibility. You need to have an effective platform from day one. Your platform includes your website, your niche branding, your marketing efforts, joint ventures, and so on.

3. The subscriber list

Third on the list is to create and build a subscriber list. Successful authors know they need a list. It’s the people on your list who will most likely buy what you’re offering. You in turn need to provide ongoing and helpful information to your list.

4. Model strategies that are proven to work

Fourth up is to use what’s already proven to work. There really are experienced writers and marketers who have developed strategies that are proven to work. Those who are successful know they need to model those strategies or learn from people who are more experienced.

Take courses, classes, and workshops. Attend webinars. Listen to teleseminars and podcasts. Learn, learn, learn. Model, model, model.

5. Seek help if you need it

Authors and marketers also know the value of having a support team and learning what they need to know to move forward.

This can be an overwhelming business and it’s oversaturated. It’s nearly impossible to do everything yourself. If you try, something will have to give – no one can do it all.

Finding competent and reliable help when needed is important. It may be getting help with your marketing plan, or maybe help putting your book together, or maybe optimizing your website, or maybe learning how to write effective content to bring traffic to your site.

6. It’s not about the book

Successful writers and marketers need to realize they will most likely NOT get rich from writing books. It’s the doors books can open that can lead to success. You might go on to give workshops. You might go on to become a coach in your niche.  You might go on to do presentations and seminars. The idea is to know you need to create and sell higher-end products or services to make money.

Along with this, you need to make these offers visible. One of the best places to do this is at the end of your book and in your subscriber welcome message.

7. Walk-the-walk

And finally, you must take action. Your plan needs to be executed. You need to take calculated actionable steps in order to achieve success.

A successful author doesn’t necessarily sell lots and lots of books; she knows how to make the system work. She knows it’s about making your book be a platform for making money.

Use these tips and make your book writing become a profitable business.

~~~~~
MORE ON MARKETING

Content Marketing – Add Screenshots to Your Blog Posts to Increase Reader Engagement and Understanding
Selling Online – Ecommerce Shopping Carts Basics
Book Marketing – Effective Back of the Room Sales




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Monday

5 Power-Packed Email Marketing Strategies

If you haven’t noticed yet, the world is wired (and wireless). Just about everyone is online.

Seriously, ‘the proof is in the pudding’. Numbers show that 90% of all adults are online.

So, how do you get noticed by all those possible leads?

Well, the first step is inbound marketing strategies. And, within that strategy, you should be utilizing you subscriber list. To do this, you need to send emails on a regular basis. This is email marketing.

Warning: subscribers don’t want to be bombarded with emails, so make sure when they sign up you let them know how many emails they’ll be receiving on a weekly or monthly basis.

Email marketing is an essential part of your marketing strategy and those emails need to be powerful. They need information-content that is effective . . . that works.

What is an effective email?

An effective email is one that will help you establish a relationship with your subscribers. It will help make you an authority in your industry/niche by providing needed, valuable, and doable information.

It will motivate the reader to click on your links and even more importantly, say YES to your CTA (call-to-action).

Tip: Effective emails don’t oversell. The content to promotion ratio is 80/20 or 85/15, but I like to follow the 90/10 or 95/5 ratio.

I offer information content that will help my subscribers. At the end of the email, I include a brief CTA to my services or an affiliate product. It depends on what’s relevant to the content.

Okay, I laid some important ground work here. Now, on to the six powerful and essential elements you need to make your emails motivating - powerful. In other words, that will get the reader to click on your links.

The 5 Power-Packed Email Marketing Strategies

1. Don’t make it too long.

To keep your subscribers happy, keep your emails relatively short, very focused, and super helpful. Everyone is busy, so don’t send long sales letters. Make every word count.

2. Keep it conversational, personal.

Part of email marketing is to develop relationships. Keep your emails conversational, as if you’re talking to a friend. In addition, your subscribers appreciate tidbits of personal information. Obviously, don’t give your home address or phone number, but occasionally add bits of your hopes and dreams . . . your successes, your failures.

3. Give your subscribers a ‘golden nugget’.

Make your content, the information you’re offering, valuable. Offer a tip or strategy that your subscriber can apply immediately. It might be:

  • A marketing tip
  • A writing tip
  • A strategy to reduce stress
  • A workplace tip
  • Tips on a healthier lifestyle
  • Tips on buying or selling a house
  • Links to more actionable information

You get the idea. No matter what the industry or niche, offer a ‘doable now’ tip.

Jeff Herring, the Article Marketing Guy, says to give your prospect “one actionable gold nugget.”

I try to do this in at least 95% of my emails. Even in those that are more promotional, I find some tidbit of value to give my readers.

Tip: Again, don’t oversell. If you do it right, the ‘nugget’ will speak for itself. Your subscribers/readers will want more from you.

4. Add links here and there.

Keep in mind that readers may not read to the end of your email. Because of this, add two or three links within the content that will send the reader where you want him to go.

5. The essential CTA (call-to-action).

Every email you send out MUST have a CTA. The CTA should direct the reader to a landing page, a product page, a service page, an affiliate product, an offer, a blog post, a survey . . . you get the idea. You must direct the reader to take some kind of action.

The CTA can be in the form of anchor text, a URL link, an opt-in box, or other.

If it’s an opt-in box, make the copy effective. It should be the answer to the readers’ questions, the solution to their problem. And, keep the copy stress-free. You might use:

  • Yes! I Want It
  • Find out how
  • Instant Access
  • Get It Here
  • Start Now

The reader must think that by clicking that CTA there will be a valuable benefit with NO CATCHES.

Bonus Tip: Use qualifiers.

Qualifiers allow you to connect with the reader. They show that you were once in their place. This is a ‘kind of proof’ that what you’re saying is doable.

You can add the qualifier in a postscript as a P.S or PPS, or in a separate email of its own.

Summing it Up

These six email tips will help you create powerful emails. So, get started using them today.

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MORE ON INBOUND MARKETING

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Friday

Life and Marketing are Like Riding a Bicycle


"Life is like riding a bicycle.
To keep your balance,
you have to keep moving."

I love Albert Einstein quotes. He was such a brilliant man.

This particular quote is pertinent to everything in life, including your marketing efforts.

In fact, the marketing arena is ever-changing. What worked yesterday may not work today. What didn't exist yesterday, may very well exist today.

Marketing is what most of us online are bicycling after - striving to keep our balance with.

Think about the last 10 years or so.

Social Media - networks have popped into existence, changing the way we plan and execute our marketing strategies.

Here is a brief list of just some of those networks:

  • LinkedIn 2003
  • Delicious 2003
  • Vimeo 2004
  • Digg 2004
  • Flickr 2004
  • Reddit 2005
  • YouTube 2005
  • Twitter 2006
  • Tumblr 2007
  • Pinterest 2010
  • Google+ 2011

Next, think about the marketing strategies that have come and gone:

  • Writing content that was keyword focused (keyword stuffing)
  • Linkbuilding strategies
  • The shift from outgoing marketing (push marketing) to inbound marketing (pull marketing)
  • The shift from 'it's all about the company' to 'it's all about the buyer'
  • The shift to flying with minimal analytics to monitoring every move you make
  • The shift from traditional book publishing to self-publishing
  • The use of permission-based duplicate content to now having to avoid it
  • Having the option to use social media marketing to having to use it
  • Panda, Penguin, rankings, YIKES

The list could go on and on and on and . . .

You absolutely have to keep moving, not only to keep your balance, but to keep your head above the murky marketing waters.

Keep on ridin'

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References:

http://www.mediabistro.com/alltwitter/social-networks-timeline_b19497
http://blog.raincastle.com/bid/94018/Four-Signs-Your-Marketing-Strategy-is-Outdated

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MORE ON INBOUND MARKETING

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Wednesday

Even Tiny Action Steps Can Produce Huge Results



"Someone is sitting in the shade today because
someone planted a tree a long time ago."


This Warren Buffet quote inspires me. It 's simple, yet so amazingly powerful.

1. A tiny seed can create something as massive as a tree, even a sequoia tree.

Think of the giant sequoia tree in California, USA. It averages around 26 feet in diameter, weighs around 4,189,000 lbs. and reaches heights of 275 feet. According to Wikepedia, "Record trees have been measured to be 311 feet in height and over 56 feet in diameter. The oldest known giant sequoia based on ring count is 3,500 years old."

The seed of the sequoia tree is 0.16–0.20 inches long, 0.039 inches broad, and 0.039 inches wide.

Hard to imagine, isn't it.

Well, this can easily relate to writing, to content marketing, to business . . . to just about everything in your work and life.

Small positive actionable steps, no matter how tiny, can create massive results. You may think your writing and marketing efforts aren't moving you forward, but think of how long it takes that tiny seed to grow into that tree that gives shade.

2. What you sow today can have benefits for many tomorrows. 

Time will pass whether you take action or not. If you have an idea, take action now. Don't wait for tomorrow or until you have more time or until you have more money. Take action now. The benefits may turn out to be bigger than you could possibly imagine.

You may reap the benefits of your writing or content marketing or business efforts far into your future, so take that initial step. Or, maybe it's expansion that you're thinking about, or a new strategy.

Keep in mind though that every living thing needs sun, water, and food to grow. So, when you take that step (plant that seed), be sure to give it the nurturing it needs to become what you believe it can be.

Plant that seed today!

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I can help. Check out The Article Writing Doctor.



Monday

10 Must-Know Tips on Creating a Search Engine Optimized Website

There needs to be at least 10 of me to keep up with all the great information online. I just read an infographic from QuickSprout.com on structuring a search engine optimized website

Having been affected by both Google Penguin and Panda, I look out for SEO strategies from reliable sources.

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So, here’s a breakdown of Neil Patel’s post:

1. Your URL matters

I’ve known this for a while, but it’s good to be reminded. You should have a keyword extension, not numbers. (The infographic over at QuickSprout will show this - see the link above.)

2. Titles count.

I’ve been writing about creating optimized page and post titles for a while now. Make it powerful, be sure to have your keyword in it and keep, it under 55 characters.

3. Visuals are a must.

I just wrote an article that will be posted early next month including the importance of using visuals. Add ‘optimized’ images, videos, animations, and so on to your pages and posts.

Optimized in this case means to “fill in all the blanks:’ Have a keyword effective title, fill in the ALT text, fill in the description, and even the image file URL should be keyword effective.

4. The link element.

Link to high-quality websites. This type of link is outbound or external.

According to Patel, links “to related pages is a relevancy signal that helps Google figure out what your page’s topic is about. It also shows Google that your page is a hub of quality info.”

5. Input your keyword in the first 100-150 words in your post.

This I didn’t know. I just write. I strive for clarity and don’t really pay attention to where I’m dropping my keywords. I know this has to be a mistake. I’ll be paying more attention to this element.

6. Use related keywords.

This one I knew and do incorporate it into my posts.

Instead of using the same keyword, say “baking cakes,” mix it up.

You might use, “vanilla cake,” “baking a cake,” “baking cookies,” “cake mix,” “baking.” You get the idea.

Just be sure whatever words you use, they’re relevant to the post and your post is readable and easily understandable with them in it.

Don’t ever force keywords into your content. Your content needs to flow naturally.

7. Website loading speed.

Yes, even how fast your site loads is a ranking factor. The infographic gives a tip on how to hack a faster load time.

8. It’s all about shareability.

Be sure to have your Social Share buttons front and center.

9. Give your post a high word count.

Patel noted that “pages that ranked on page 1 of Google have a word count above 2,000 words.”

Boy, that’s a lot of writing.

And, I recently read conflicting advice that said to keep each page around 400 words. According to that article, Google likes shorter content.

I read so much, I forgot where I read that.

So, I did a Google search for this information. I found that 400 words is mentioned a few times, but not recently. The thing with marketing strategies and Google is it’s always changing. It could very well be that longer content is now perceived by the search engines as providing more value for the reader.

I think I average between 400 and 800 words for my posts. I write till I think I’ve gotten my point across or explained something so it’s easily readable and understandable.

10. Use a responsive theme.

A responsive theme is one that appears on digital devices, such as your iPhone or iPad. Why is this important?

Tablets, smartphones, and other digital devices use is steadily increasing. According to PewResearch Internet Project, “As of May 2013, 63% of adult cell owners use their phones to go online.”

That was over a year and a half ago. Guaranteed, that percentage has grown by leaps and bounds since then.

Summing it Up

There is so much involved in keeping up with SEO. And, once you get a handle on it, Google changes the rules.

One of the tidbits of information in the infographic is that Google ranks more than 200 elements on your website. It would take a team to keep up with that.
So, for now, try to tweak your website with these 10 ranking elements and it should make a difference in your search ranking.

If you missed the QuickSprout link above, go here to read the infographic:

How to Structure a Perfect SEO Optimized Website

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NEED A CONTENT WRITER?

I can help - visit: Karen Cioffi Content Writer

Friday

Social Media - Should Facebook be Worried About the NEW Kid on the Block, Ello?

As someone who’s not a huge Facebook (FB) fan, it will be interesting to see if this new social media platform gives Facebook a run for its money.

According to an article at Forbes, “The platform, which is still in public beta (meaning invite-only), has caused quite a stir; dubbed by some as the ‘hipster social network’, Ello offers a forever ad-free experience and promises to never sell its users’ information to third parties.”

The landing page for Ello says, “Simple, beautiful, and, ad free.

So, there is one element that it will have over FB.

Another element of their campaign, according to Forbes, is they will actually respect your privacy.

Imagine that!

No, unwanted ads, no privacy invasion, no disrespect and unethical practices.

If Ello does take off and they indeed make good on their promises, FB better watch out.

A side note: What I find super-interesting is Ello isn’t even open for business yet and their Alexa rankings are 1,819 (I think from India) and 1,255 U.S. Apparently, the buzz is working.

Should Facebook be Worried?

Statistics are in FB’s favor.

According to PewResearch Internet Project, last year 71% of online adult users were members of Facebook. This is compared to 22% on LinkedIn and 21% on Pinterest.

According to OurSocialTimes, “over 80% of ‘other’ social network users also use Facebook.”

That’s pretty impressive. Even if someone uses Twitter or Pinterest or GooglePlus, they are very likely to be using FB also.

Summing It Up

Okay, Facebook seems to be pretty solid. They seem like a very strong pillar - one that will be difficult to knock down. But, I do believe people are becoming more and more annoyed at the lack of privacy and intrusive ads, as well as FB’s unethical shenanigans. So, you just never know.

What are your thoughts?

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Wednesday

Have More Than One CTA Link in Your Emails (to make sure it’s seen)

This power-packed marketing strategy involves sprinkling links throughout your emails.

The idea is to make sure your CTA link is not just at the end of your email. You need one or two earlier on, for those readers who don’t read to the end of the content. It’s important to give them the opportunity to see your links by having another one or two within the email.

A lot of readers are ‘skim readers,’ or get distracted, or realize they don’t have time to read on. They may save the email to read later, but that never happens. So, your CTA never gets a chance – that email didn’t have a chance at conversion.

To remedy this scenario, have one link within the second paragraph of the content and maybe another one in the fourth paragraph. This of course will depend on the length of the email.

The reader will have amble opportunity to see the link and if your content is motivating, opportunity to click on the link.

Using this email marketing strategy will definitely give your click-through-rate a boost.

Check out email from ‘heavy hitters’ to see how it’s done. Or, you can subscribe to my list and see how I do it. The opt-in is at the bottom of this post.

Get started today!

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Monday

The Google Panda Algorithm, Your Website, and Duplicate Content

Although Google’s newest algorithm update had to do with Penguin (website links), Panda is something you should also be paying attention to.

Panda was developed to make sure sites produce high-quality content aimed to benefit the reader with new or fresh information. ‘Poor’ (fluff or no-value) quality content will cause a drop in search ranking for the site.

This ‘poor’ quality content includes duplicate content – using reprints (even permission-based reprints) and even if it’s ‘new’ and ‘fresh’ to your audience.

If I hadn’t been hit with dropping search ranking because of the Penguin update, I wouldn’t have paid so much attention and I wouldn’t have researched more about all the Google algorithms.

As little as last year, it was okay (at least I thought so according to a video by Google’s Matt Cutts) to use reprints as long as you included the “original article source link.” Meaning, as long as you linked to the source, you were ‘good to go.’

Being a rule follower and ethical marketer, I took care to do what was needed. I used permission-based reprints to help lighten my work load and save time. I may have used them once a week or less.

BUT, it was always information relevant to my site and information my readers would find valuable. It worked.

THE HUGE PROBLEM

Unfortunately, Google considers this blogging practice “scraping.” And, per the Google Quality Guidelines, scraping should be avoided.

This “scraping” practice pertains to a wide variety of content:

  • Articles
  • Blog posts
  • Videos
  • Web copy
  • And, so on

If you copy and republish content from other websites without adding any original and substantial content or value of your own, you could (most likely will) be penalized with a hit to your search ranking.

This holds true for all content on your website. If you have duplicate content on your webpages, aside from blog post reprints, you could be penalized.

Not Looking at the Whole Picture

I do get that Google wants to ensure a valuable experience for their searchers. They want to provide them with the best possible results to their questions. But, the company is not looking at the whole picture.

I mentioned I would use relevant permission-based reprints that were helpful and informative and FRESH to my audience.

I do lots of research – most of my readers don’t do the same type of research. So, I’d share some of that information to give my audience a broader reading experience and bring in new and different perspectives. It worked. My audience appreciated my efforts.

While duplicate content is “duplicated content” to Google, IT’S NOT TO MY AUDIENCE.

The other element in the mix is that many bloggers like having their content reprinted because it broadens their visibility to new audiences. It’s just good marketing.

It really is a win-win situation.

But, none of this matters to Google.

My Dilemma

It’s obvious I, along with every other blogger out there, need to be in Google’s good graces, so I have to decide what to do.

Do I rewrite the blog post reprints I have on my site or do I just start from this point forward with NO permission-based reprints?

Not sure what I’ll do yet.

Update: I've decided not to rewrite or delete the reprints I have on my site. I've seen some 'high quality,' high-ranking sites that have reprints with NO additional content. This makes me think it's not that big a deal as long as the bulk of your content is original.


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Friday

The Shotgun Social Media Strategy

Convince and Convert (Digital Marketing Advisors) had an interesting article by Jay Baer on how to create a more effective social media strategy.

Most marketers know that the majority of social media channels don’t send (share) your posts to everyone on your list or to your connections. So, if you post something to Facebook, the majority of your FB connections won’t see your post. We’re talking about at least 98% of your connections will never see that post. Pretty dismal, right?

And, the same holds true for most of the other channels, including Twitter.

This obviously affects your marketing reach.

Baer explains that there’s something called ‘reliable reach’ and social media doesn’t make the cut.

“Reliable reach is the ability to send a message to a person who has asked to hear from you, and for that message to actually reach that person. Email has reliable reach. So does direct mail. And the telephone. And even fax. Social media does not have reliable reach, which is what makes it so challenging for marketers.”

If you’re like me, you spend time and effort on working the social media channels. And, you’ve established connections on each channel who want to hear about your posts. BUT, the majority of those connections aren’t getting the opportunity to receive what you’re posting.

So, say you have 5,000 Twitter followers. This now becomes your “theoretical reach.” Your reliable reach is only 2% or less of that number which is about 100 followers.

The reason given for this lack of fulfilling the ‘promise’ social media channels give to their members of offering great marketing reach, is because of too much noise . . . too much information being posted and processed.

Sounds convincing, doesn’t it?

Well, if you want to cut through that noise, all you have to do is pay. If you pay Facebook, your posts will reach a lot more of your connections. Hmmmm.

But, what if you don’t want to pay or don’t have it in your marketing budget?

How do you compensate for this highly unreliable reach?

Baer recommends putting down your marketing ‘rifle’ for a marketing ‘shotgun.’

Let’s break it down:

The rifle approach according to Baer is based on producing great content, have a specific plan for each channel, and strive for a large following on the channels your working.

But, for the rifle approach to work, you need reliable reach. But, that’s not happening. So, your efforts won’t be fruitful.

The shotgun approach according to Baer is based on using a large target.

The theory is if you send more posts in more places, you’ll reach more connections. It’s more important to actually reach your realistic number than your theoretical number.

Summing it Up

The shotgun approach makes sense to me, as long as it’s not used abusively. People don’t want to be bombarded with your content, or sales pitch for that matter. You’ll need to fine the “magic point” for the number of postings that enable you to reach more of your followers, but not so much that you put anyone off.

As with everything in life, moderation is best.

References:

Why It Might Be Time to Completely Change Your Social Media Strategy
Theoretical Reach - On Anti-Social Social

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Wednesday

Content Marketing - Are Long Sentences in Your Blog Posts Good or Bad for Your Rankings?

I’ve been getting more involved in my website analytics lately. Due to this, I found an interesting ranking element I didn’t know about – sentence length.

I know about sentence length in regard to writing for children, but had no idea it was a ranking element for your website.

Apparently, long sentences reduce content clarity.

This has me thinking and editing as I’m writing – adding more time to my schedule.

As an example, I wrote the following sentence in a recent blog post:

“If you copy and republish content from other websites without adding any original and substantial content or value of your own, you could (most likely will) be penalized with a hit to your search ranking.”

Hmmmm. Thirty-five words. Oops.

According to Clarity Grader, a free website analytics tool, your sentence length shouldn’t be longer than 20 words. You should aim for less than 5% in this area. I’m at 14.9 percent.

Again, OOPS.

Rewriting for Clarity

Going back to the long sentence example above, how would I rewrite it to create shorter sentences and boost clarity?

If you copy and republish content from other websites, you must include original and substantial value to your reader. If you don’t, you’ll be penalized with a hit to your search ranking.

There you go - two sentences both under 20 words.

Here’s another way to reduce the sentence length:

Republishing content from other websites without adding original value of your own will get your rankings penalized.

But, having to worry about sentence length with clarity in mind, along with every other ranking element, certainly puts a damper on creativity and writing time.

It really feels like bloggers have to jump through hoops just to keep their heads above the marketing waters.

Summing It Up

It’s a good idea to think shorter sentences. If you think you have a run-on sentence, check the word count. If you’re over, rewrite it into two or more sentences.

On a brighter note, my readability score is 63 percent. Anything 50% and over is pretty good.

NOTE

Another caveat is the length of your blog post. I just read it should be at least 400 words.

This post was under that count at 384 words, so what should I do, rant on and on, even though I’ve made my point and given my readers valuable information?

This will be the topic of another post. Keep an eye out for it.

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It's interactive, in-depth, and priced right. Check it out today. Just click on the link above for the details.


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Monday

3 Power-Packed Elements to SEO Ready Content

There is much to know about SEO ready content. The most important thing is to create content that search engines will find valuable enough to use as the results of a search query.

Below are three power-packed elements needed to create this type of content.

1. Create ‘shareable’ and keyword optimized content.

The ‘old’ SEO involved optimizing keywords that search engines would find, categorize, and index in order to place that content as results based on search queries.

Today, it’s all about providing quality content that readers will find valuable enough to share. You want readers to share that post with Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, StumbleUpon, Google Plus, and other social networks.

While you also need to provide keywords for the search engines to find and categorize your content, the key to blogging is now to provide quality content that’s shareable.

SEO is now kind of like a popularity contest. The more people who like and share your content the greater value your site has with Google and other search engines.

2. Use original content as much as possible.

A while back, it was okay to use reprints (duplicate content) on your website. You might get reprints from other bloggers who want to share their content or from article directories. You simply add the content to a post, add the attribution (the author’s byline), optimize the post, and you’d be good to go.

NOW, Google wants fresh content. It wants high-quality and original content. So, it’s advisable to keep the reprints to a minimum, if using them at all.

I usually have original content on my site here, but I’ll be striving to make it at least a 98-99% reprint free site.

NOTE: Duplicate content also include content you have duplicated on webpages. 

3. Fill in all the blanks.

Just about all websites provide tags, categories, and description features for your blog posts. It’s critical to fill these sections in. The more information you provide for the reader and search engines to find and categorize your post, the better.

Tags are an effective way to group related content. It tells readers and search engines what the post is ‘specifically’ about (e.g., dog allergies, dog dander).

Categories are a bit broader than tags. Using the tag examples above, the categories may be: allergies, pet allergies.

Descriptions are a brief synopsis (one to three sentences) of what the post is about. This snippet helps the search engines and is usually what they use if you’re post is used as a search result.

There you have it, three power-packed elements to SEO ready content that will get your posts doing what they should be doing: getting read, being shared, bringing traffic to your site, building your authority, and boosting conversion.

Definitions:

Conversion - the process of a visitor moving to the next level by taking an action you want. It could be opting in to your email list or buying your product.

Search query – when a person uses Google (or other search engine) to find what he’s looking for. He inputs a ‘keyword’ into the search box and Google will provide those posts that it thinks is the best results in response.

As an example, I input “article marketing” into Google’s search box on November 15, 2014. Google provided answers to that post. The first SERP included my post:


SERP is an acronym for ‘search engine results page.’ It’s the pages google provides for a search query. Have your post as the results on the first SERP is what you should be striving for.

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Friday

Social Media Marketing and Time Management

There’s a great quote at BufferSocial, “Social media shouldn’t be a time waster. It should be a money maker.”

I absolutely love this quote.

If you’re like me, you spend time and effort keeping up with your social media channels. Post to Twitter. Post to GooglePlus. Post to Facebook. Post to StumbleUpon. Post to Pinterest. Post to LinkedIn. Post to . . .

Then analyze what’s working and tweak when and where needed. Then wash, rinse, repeat.

And, along with posting to these social biggies, you need to keep track of which posts and strategies are bringing in traffic – which posts are converting.

It’s a lot of work.

Along with the work, there's the time element. According to Business Insider, “Americans spend more time on social media than any other major Internet activity, including email.”

More than email? Wow. That’s a lot of time.

To get an idea of just how much time we’re talking about, a PDF Industry Report from Social Media Examiner demonstrates that 36% of marketers spend 1 to 5 hours per week on social media marketing. Twenty-six percent spend 6 to 10 hours. Eleven percent spends 11 to 15 hours per week.

I probably fall into the 26% of marketers, but want to get those hours cut down.

3 Tips on Streamlining Your Social Media Marketing

1. Get automated.

It’s essential to have your posts go out automatically. I use SocialOomph.com, but not regularly enough.

When not using automation, I share each of my posts manually to my accounts. I use: Twitter, Facebook, GooglePlus, LinkedIn, and StumbleUpon. Yes, there are lots of other ones, but it’s impossible for me to include more. And, these are the ones I’ve found to work best (for me).

I also go to each network and find posts of others that I think my ‘followers’ will like and share those.

Automation streamlines this process for you.

2. Limit the time you spend looking for content.

Aside from using your own content to post, BufferSocial recommends you limit yourself to 30 minutes of scoring the internet for content.

So far, I’ve never had to scour the internet to find content. It comes right to me in my email. Subscribing to lots of business and marketing sites, I get fresh content every day.

It is important to limit your time on this strategy also because you can end up going from link to link to link, reading more and more and more.

I also find content by going directly to my networks, as mentioned in number one, above. I skim for titles I think are valuable - click on the link to make sure the content's worth sharing, then share it.

3. Analyze your efforts.

This is another of those must-do elements. If you’re spending X amount of time engaging in social media marketing, you should make sure it’s working. And, you need to know which of those efforts is actually creating a worthwhile ROI (return on investment).

The BufferSocial article on time-saving strategies goes into more details on these strategies and more.

I hope this helps you get a better handle on the time you spend ‘socializing.’

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