Archives for April 2012

How does a blogger think? [infographic]

Ever wondered how a Blogger’s brain works?

Source: pic.tuoboo.com via Nikki on Pinterest

Blogging: Lack of time, lack of ideas, lack of proof

Those were just 3 of the reasons I was given as to why small businesses don’t blog last week.
 
I was presenting at one of Steve Clarke’s Platinum Mastermind Groups in Stansted and it was a great day. A group of small businesses all focused on one thing – building their businesses in the best way they could.
 
I was there to talk about blogging, and the three points in the title of this email came up time and time again.
 
  • They KNOW they should blog, but they don’t have the time
  • They KNOW blogging will build credibility and search engine positions, but they can’t think of things to blog about
  • They KNOW that people say blogging is good, but they can’t quite get their heads round why.

After a quick demonstration of how a blog post can be indexed and on the front page of Google within 15 minutes (phew! It worked!), and some searches to show how well blog posts do in the search engines, they were well on the way to getting the answer to the last point.

 
That’s the easy part 🙂 Proving blogging can work for pretty much every business isn’t rocket science after all.
 
After a quick session on title writing and writing for your readers as well as search engines (a little secret I shared saw more than one light go on), we tried to address the first two concerns.
 
How do you make more time? Well simply put, you can’t. What you can do is MAKE the time for blogging. Like anything else, at first it will take longer and be more difficult, but after a while it becomes second nature. Something that took an hour or more in the beginning will take ten minutes or so once you’re used to it.
 
As for things to write about, there are infinite possibilities! I covered 21 Things You Can Blog About Today  – and there are more ideas in The 30 Day Blogging Challenge.
 
The thing that enlightened most attendees was the fact that your blog shouldn’t be all ‘me me me’ – yes it’s nice to share news of your new clients, your best products and your latest achievements, but then your blog just becomes a news repository, not a promotional tool.
 
A well written blog generates:
  • Credibility
  • Loyalty
  • Community
  • and obviously leads and sales

 I know it’s not an easy step for a lot of people, as it’s a different way of ‘advertising’ to that which has been used previously.

 
But it works, and it works well – is it worth investing a few hours of your time this week to kickstart your blog?
 
Of course, you may decide that you don’t want the hassle, and you’re happy for your competitors to take over the search engines and the social media for your target market. I’m guessing not though.
 
I’d guess that you don’t want the hassle but still want the benefits (in the same way I’d like to eat all the pizza I like and still be a size 12 😉 ), right?
 
In that case you’re lucky that one of the attendees asked me over the weekend to leave my recent Bonkers Blogging Offer open for one more day to give them the chance to sign up at the offer price. It’s here. If you don’t have the time, the ideas or the inclination to keep your blog updated, then this may help.
 
If you decide to do it yourself, then please remember I’m always available on nikkipilk@gmail.com for questions and advice – and you can get me on Twitter @nikkipilkington too.
 
Happy Blogging! Let me know how you get on!
 
 
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Happy St George’s Day!

The flag of England is the St George cross.

The flag of England is the St George cross. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Forgive me for straying away from my usual topics a little in order to wish everyone a Happy St. George’s Day.

The following poem made me smile and I hope it will make you smile too, and be taken in the spirit it is meant.

No one calls it racist
When the daffodil’s worn in Wales
Or is offended by their dragon
With its forked tail and scales

When St Patrick’s day comes round
And the shamrock’s being worn
The Irish are not treated
With insult or with scorn

If a Scotsman on St Andrew’s day
Hoists his flag aloft
He’s not proclaimed a fascist
Or ridiculed or scoffed

So when St George’s Day arrives
We English men wont hide
For Elizabeth, England & St George
We’ll wear our Rose with pride

From http://www.verses4cards.co.uk/st-georges-day-verses-poems-quotes.html

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How do I delete or remove myself from a board on Pinterest?

I wrote a little while ago about the latest trend of adding people as collaborators to a Pinterest board and how annoying it was, not to mention spammy.

It’s still happening with alarming regularity to lots of us, judging from the emails I get!

One of the most frequent Pinterest questions I’m asked at the moment is ‘How do I remove myself when someone adds me to a Pinterest board?’

So here’s how to do it.

First of all navigate to the board you’ve been added to. The example I’m using below is a board I’m actually happy to be a part of, as I’ve removed myself from those I’m not!

Once you’re on the board, you should see the edit button (click on image to enlarge):

Once you’ve clicked on the edit button you should see a list of the board’s contributors / editors – in the image below I appear at the top, which isn’t always the case, so you may have to search for yourself. (I’ve removed the details of other contributors.)

Simply click on ‘remove’ to start the process of removing yourself from the board.

Now comes the important bit – I missed this out at first and became really annoyed when I was still getting alerts that people had added to the board!

Scroll right to the bottom of the page and click on the ‘save settings’ button – it looks like this:

Once you’ve clicked that you’ll be removed – simple!

Why should I remove yourself from a board?

It may be flattering that someone has added you to a board called ‘Best pinterest Users’ or ‘People of Importance’ but you have no control over it. You don’t know whether the other contributors to the board are people you would want to be aligned with, or what content they’ll post.

It’s also pretty odds on that you don’t really know the person who has added you, have no idea of the reason for the board, and will never post to it anyway!

And remember, every board you are a contributor to, whether one of yours or one you’ve been added to without asking, shows up on your profile. When someone adds you to a board think “Do I want this on my Pinterest profile?”.

If the answer is no, then remove yourself as soon as possible.

Have you been added to boards without your permission? Did you remove yourself or did you just say nothing and try to ignore it?

 

Eureka! I’m training on blogging at a Eureka Platinum Mastermind Group

This is an example blog for a training sesion I’m running at a Eureka Platinum Mastermind Group

Blogging can be hard for some people, and successful buiness people are no different – some of the issues I’ve heard about today include:

  • I don’t have time to blog
  • I can’t think of anything to blog about
  • My website doesn’t have a blog
  • I can’t blog because I’m confidential
  • I used to blog but gave up

Today we’re going through how to blog, why to blog and where to blog in the hope of getting that Eureka! moment that will help them go away loving the idea of blogging.

If I’ve done this properly, this blog will be the thing that proves to them the power of blogging and I’l be saying Eureka!

64 Marketing Strategies for Pinterest

Another great infographic from SocialMediaOnlineClasses.com – if you’re new to Pinterest or thinking of trying it out, then this is worth a good read.

Want to give Pinterest a go? If you’re not sure where to start, my Pinterest Management Offer may help set you on the right track.

Practical Technology for the Growing Small Business

A guest post from @hfitzy34

Today’s small businesses can’t afford to overlook the tools and opportunities created by tech and Web advancements. More than ever before, new technology is making it easier for small businesses to compete with larger companies through software and services that reduce overhead while making business operations more efficient. A host of tools and applications can be used by a small business to drive various business functions, including payroll, contact management, and human resources work.

Of equal importance are the marketing opportunities provided trough social media. With social media profiles, businesses can engage both local and non-local consumer bases, expand their audience, build brand trust and loyalty, and gather consumer data that can guide the company’s marketing efforts — all at a cost much lower than what would have been the standard a decade ago.

To put it simply, small businesses now have access to a virtual buffet of practical technology tools and solutions designed to help their business flourish and grow. By identifying your business’s most-pressing needs, you can target the technology solutions providing the most value to your company, increasing profits as you cut out the fat and become more efficient.

Tech Products & Services

Most small businesses can’t afford to employ full-time human resources staff. But the services provided by this department are vital to any business. Fortunately, newly developed software tools like applicant tracking and staff management systems enable you to track and organize a variety of functions. Exact Hire is one of a growing sprawl of companies catering to the massive growth of online job seekers with software designed to streamline the application process for both the employer and the to-be-employed. Through software products like these, you can convert numerous business functions to paperless organization, helping you track applications,interviews, employee onboarding, training, and assessments for all of your employees and position candidates, saving time and resources while doing all the organizing for you.

Other contact management and customer relationship software and services, such as Microsoft Outlook, can help you track your customer interactions, sales histories and contacts with ease.

Harness the Power of Social Media

Cloud computing services are rapidly gaining popularity in business circles. The ability to purchase computing work as a service stored virtually through a shared network known as the “cloud” has created a bevy of opportunities for businesses. But perhaps the greatest benefit of cloud computing are the applications and services provided through the cloud that allow businesses to gather unprecedented amounts of information from various social media profiles. Small businesses can use cloud-based products and services to manage social media profiles, evaluate the efficacy of those profiles, gather data and analyze that data to learn more about consumers and their satisfaction with your business. Information has never been more available, nor more valuable, to businesses than it is now, and a smart small business owner will take advantage of the tools and applications created to process this information.

Where to Find Solutions

Product and services claiming to be essential to your business’s success can be found in every direction. But the margin of error in small businesses is so small that investing in sub-standard services and products can be a dramatic setback. Stick to companies with a proven track record and a strong reputation from past clients. If certain functions of your business reside outside of your strengths or comfort areas, you can also consider outsourcing some of these functions — such as payroll services and social media management — to third-party companies that specialize in these services.

Ultimately, today’s small businesses are poised to benefit in numerous ways from the abundance of technology at their disposal. Position your company on the inside track by investing in these new technologies and getting the jump on your competitors.

Henry Fitzgerald is a technology consultant based in Seattle. When not geeking out over the latest tech gadgets, he spends his time cooking, playing soccer, and sailing. Check out his tech blog here or follow him on twitter:@hfitzy34

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A quick cheat sheet to Google Plus [infographic]

Need to know more? then grab a copy of the Google Plus 30 day challenge 🙂

Cloud Computing Strategy for Small Businesses

A guest post by @hfitzy34

Cloud computing can be an incredible tool for a small business, or a business of any size, really, but let’s pause a moment to consider what this tool really does for you. The cloud can increase storage space and provide backup and support for your company, but if you don’t have a plan, then what’s it worth?

Developing a strategy is necessary to make the most of your cloud computing options. Here are a few ideas to develop a working cloud strategy:

Determine Your Reason for Moving to the Cloud

What is the primary reason you decided to get into cloud computing for your business? Was it the convenience of having everyone working on the same system? Was it the lower cost of installing the software on only a single license? Did it free up your IT staff to work on more important issues? Cloud computing can really increase what your business is able to do and production without requiring you to purchase new infrastructure to keep up with all the changes.

Whatever end goal you had in mind when you began using the cloud, this is going to help determine what sort of strategy you apply to making the most of it.

Prioritize Your Needs

The second step is, of course, prioritizing your needs. Stay focused and keep in mind why you really started using the cloud. If, for instance, you wanted the extra storage space, then clearly, a top priority is going to be getting more storage space and improving efficiency around the workplace, getting rid of bloat, deleting those ancient backups that you’re never going to need ever again, and so on. Using the cloud is the main thrust of your strategy, but changing behavior and tactics around the office will help you towards your ultimate end goal, whatever that may be.

Use the Cloud to Make the Most of the Cloud

Part of the appeal of the cloud is that you really don’t know how much it’s going to change when you first begin using it. You may have begun using the cloud so that you could improve communication around the office, but the added mobility, the fact that your employees can access the cloud from their phones and other connected devices, means that communication is even easier than you thought it would be.

Nobody has to send somebody an explanation of the new software interface, they can just show them the interface right on the cloud. In order to make the most of the cloud, explore it, play with it and encourage your employees to do the same so that you can all have a firm grasp of what the technology is and what it can do for you.

Developing a strategy around your cloud computing capabilities isn’t difficult—it’s really just a matter of using the technology as intended whenever you need it, and playing with it and exploring its features and possibilities when you don’t.

Henry Fitzgerald is a technology consultant based in Seattle. When not geeking out over the latest tech gadgets, he spends his time cooking, playing soccer, and sailing. Check out his tech blog here or follow him on twitter:@hfitzy34

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