Think Social Media needs to take up all of your time? Think again!

One of the things I hear the most is how people stay away from social media because they think it will take up too much time, or they stopped ‘doing it’ as it sucked up their time.

This great infographic from Dendrite Park shows that this needn’t be the case. In just an hour a day you could:

  • Curate content
  • Write blog posts
  • Manage Facebook
  • Deal with Twitter
  • Explore Linkedin
  • Add to Google+
  • Use Social Bookmarking
  • Track and measure through Analytics

The accompanying article is well worth a read and might help you to get a handle on the time social media actually takes.

social-media-thirst

How do YOU get inspiration for blog posts?

(This blog post was originally written in 2011 so some of the information is out of date, but the principles are still valid)

wordpress-premiumthemesIt’s interesting to see the reactions when I tell people that I write upwards of 20 blogs per day – not for myself, but for clients.

Some think it’s not possible, some think it’s crazy, and others think ‘ghost blogging’ is wrong.

Now I’m not going to go into the rights and wrongs of ghost blogging, because it’s a whole other post, but I’m going to tell you how I manage to write so many blogs, and where I get my inspiration from.

Firstly, let me tell you the kind of people I write blogs for – it’s pretty varied:

  • a handbag website
  • a kiddie’s clothes website
  • a cosmetic surgeon
  • a hotel
  • an accountant
  • a company specialising in interactive voting
  • 3 web designers
  • an SEO and Adwords company
  • a wedding organiser
  • a fireworks company
  • a security marking company

This is not counting writing for my own blog, for Birds on the Blog and for guest slots in other places. It all adds up to a lot of blogs!

So how do I do it?

Firstly it helps that I’m a pretty fast typist – and the words come out of my head and onto the keyboard pretty quickly, so most blog posts take very little time to write, once I have the idea.

How do I get the ideas?

Inspiration strikes in the strangest of places – for example I thought of this blog post while sitting on the pation drinking a cup of tea and watching my chickens :)

I get blog ideas all the time, from things I chat about with friends and family, from watching the TV, from reading and more. Whenever I get an idea I jot it down either in a notepad file on my PC, or a ‘real life’ notepad in my office. If i’m out and about I’ll put it into my iPhone.

If I’m actively looking for blog ideas then I’ll start by reading the online newspapers:

Yep, even the tabloids – always great fodder for lifestyle type blogs.

I’ll look through the papers and see if anything takes my fancy, or if a news story is related to an industry one of my clients is in.

Then I’ll look through industry type sites, depending on which industry I’m writing for.

Then I’ll do a Google search for the keyphrases my client is focusing on to see if I can pick anything up from there.

Usually by now I have 2 or 3 ideas.

Write the headline

Once I have the idea for the post I start thinking about headlines. Is it going to be a ‘top tips’ kind of post? Or maybe a ‘answer the question’ type? Or just a simple opinion piece on the latest related news item?

Once the headline is written then the blog pretty much writes itself – thankfully!

400 words later and either the post is posted, or scheduled in WordPress, or it’s winging its way to my client for approval. All that’s left for me to do is source pictures, and promote the post if necessary.

I’m lucky that I enjoy writing blogs, and can write in different styles, to suit each client – and I’m lucky that I find writing 20+ blog posts a day a pretty fun task :)

How do you decide what to write about?

Like this post? Don’t forget to check out the 30 Day Blogging Challenge, and kickstart your blogging in just 30 days!

 

Stuck for blogging ideas?

blogging

 

Like this post? Don’t forget to check out the 30 Day Blogging Challenge, and kickstart your Blogging in just 30 days!

How calls to action work on Social Media

A while ago  I wrote about having a call to action in all blog posts, yet it’s still the number one piece of advice I give out to all mentoring clients.

So it was nice to come across this handy infographic from Dan Zarella showing how a decent call to action can affect all aspects of your social media marketing.

See below how:

  • ASKING people to comment on blogs gets you more comments
  • ASKING people to retweet your Tweets gets you more retweets
  • ASKING people to share on Facebook gets you more shares

Comm0n sense really, but so many people forget their call to action and are missing out on valuable eyeballs because of it.

Your challenge today is to use a call to action in every aspect of your social media marketing, and report in the comments below as to how well it worked for you!

social-calls

 

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7 Things You Can Do To Make Your Content Social Media Friendly

socmedfpWhen marketing your website online through social media channels you need to do things a certain way. It’s a bit like redecorating your house; you could do it quickly and as cheaply as possible. But will it look good, and will it last?
In this article we’ll cover 7 things you can do to make your website content social media friendly. If you follow all the steps listed below you should stand a great chance of scoring highly with social media sites as well as effective search engine optimisation.

Let’s get started:

1. Include a picture
If you’re going to bookmark your blog or content, but it doesn’t have an associated picture with it, it’s not as attention grabbing. Think about it; when you’re on a social website and you see a picture next to text; you’re drawn to it.

2. Title tag
If you bookmark your content to a social site; your pages title tag is often used as the title. If your website has the title “My Amazing Blog | Updating daily with super cool content” it’s not going to grab the attention of others. Give each page on your website a unique and grabbing title.

3. Social media buttons
They’re so simple to install and most blogs come with them pre-installed! The buttons next to a blog that allow users to instantly add your website to their favourite social media sites are a great way to help your visitors help your online marketing.

4. Allow comments
Many website owners disable commenting on their blog posts. However, it makes your site interactive. It allows your visitors to talk to you personally. Even more so; it adds more unique content to your website. By enabling comments on your website you might get more people returning to check if their comments have been replied to.

5. Controversial comments
If you do enable comments, do you allow the negative ones? Not everyone is going to agree with what you say and debate sparks interest. If people disagree or even get angry over your content, allow others to read. You’ll soon have many comments and conversations going on.

6. Title for tweets
If you’re tweeting your updates; make sure your titles aren’t too long. Twitter has a 140 character limit on its tweets so just keep an eye out for titles that are too long. Sometimes you can still have an effective, attention grabbing title but without the length.

7. Easy to read
With modern communication channels such as Twitter and FaceBook people don’t always have enough time to read a long article. By making some of your content short but sweet you may engage more readers

If you can implement all of the above tips into your website or blog you’ll be well on your way to social media friendly content. You can expect to see more visitors to your website and an increased client database too.

Need more advice? Check out my Social Media Marketing Mentoring from just £25 a month!

 

Get the 30 Day Blogging Challenge for free!

bloggingchallengeLooking to make more of blogging in 2014? Then the 30 Day Blogging Challenge is for you – and for the next few days it’s FREE on Amazon!

Find out:

 

  • How to write headlines that do well in search engines
  • What to blog every day for 30 days
  • How to vary your blogs and increase your audience
  • How to increase comments and interaction on your blog
  • Why adding a picture to your blogs is vital
  • How to make your blogs look better
  • How to track which blogs are doing the best
  • How a call to action can increase take-up by 65%
  • Why guest blogging is vital
  • How to use tags
  • and more!

This vital guide gives you a great grounding in blogging if you’re a newbie, and some great ideas if you’ve been blogging for a while – and it’s FREE on Amazon right now!

What are people saying about the 30 Day Blogging Challenge?

Here are just some of our Amazon reviews:

I signed up for Nikki’s blogging challenge a while back because I was a little frustrated at the lack of movement I was getting in any of my social media efforts, and was aware that I was writing easily, but with little direction.

Her challenges are brilliant – if you’re a person who needs to be nagged then getting one tiny task a day is perfect. They’re like mini-homework-bites – you have only one task to do; you are told exactly what that is, so for example it might say “Today you are going to choose one of your products/services and blog about why it would benefit someone”. She always gives a few examples, some hints, some important things to remember, and is available for help if you get really stuck.

Alternatively, if you actually like to sit down and study, then you can get her Challenges in book format. What is really clever, in particular about her Facebook, Twitter, and most certainly her SEO Challenges, is that they build over time – so whilst you can dip in and out (and I do every time I write a blog post, so I keep it fresh, stay disciplined and don’t fall back into bad habits) you are also building on solid foundations – many tasks build on previous tasks. She also helps not only with content and context, but the technical stuff too – such as how to add Facebook comments to your blog, or to do important search streams in your Twitter account. She also gives you tips on good apps/online resources out there we should be using to help achieve our social media goals.


I’ve been blogging for over 4 years. I have 3 blogs. BUT Nikki’s reputation was such that I checked out her book.
If only I’d had the benefit of her advice when i started.
But even now there are some wonderful nuggets and ideas. She explains things in a very simple to follow way and has inspired me to try out many of her ideas.
Highly recommended!


Nicky Pilkington’s #30Day Challenges are the best available about professional use of social media. The first I did was ’30 Day Blogging Challenge’ which not only got me writing substantially but with purpose for my catering company, MoreSouth. It was not just informative but interactive and social. I furthered my own skills and got to know many other business bloggers.


The 30 Day Blogging Challenge helped me at a time when I was flagging. Constantly worried about content or ideas for fresh blogs, I turned to Nikki’s challenge and found myself inspired. I would seriously recommend this to newbie bloggers or those that have found their established blogs have gone “stale”.
Thanks Nikki.

But don’t take their word for it – go get the book for free now! (And don’t forget to leave your own review!

 

67 SEO Pointers for Blogging Beginners – a free guide

3D Team Leadership Arrow ConceptLots of the questions I get on Twitter and Facebook relate to blogging and SEO, and as I was typing up a quick and dirty guide to SEO Blogging for a client, I mentioned it to someone else and they asked for a copy. Then I mentioned it on Twitter and others asked. So I tidied it up a (little) bit, put it in PDF format and here it is 🙂

It covers:

  • Thinking of what to write
  • What not to blog
  • How much should I write?
  • How do I get people to comment?
  • Should I tweet and facebook my blogs?
  • Blogging for SEO – a quick and dirty guide
  • Making sure Google knows about your blogs

It’s not an advanced guide, it’s not rocket science and hopefully it’s not full of jargon.

I’m offering it free – all I ask is that if you like it, you drop me a line in one of the many places you can find me, and then direct someone else to this page by either Tweeting about it, Facebooking it, mentioning it on Linked in, writing a blog post about it, or shouting on the High Street with a megaphone (special kudos to those of you who do the latter!).

Get it free now by subscribing to our Blogging & SEO Newsletter below:

Would you like an hour of a Social Media Marketing Specialist’s time?

Telephone

Telephone (Photo credit: plenty.r.)

*** STOP PRESS *** First 10 places gone – price now increased to £50 for next 10 places!

I ran this service a while ago, and it went really well, but time constraints and lack of internet stability meant I had to stop – but I’m back!

Nikki’s Social Media Marketing Telephone Mentoring

It’s easy to read generic information, advice and tips about Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Blogging, SEO, Pinterest etc, but it’s not so easy to apply this specifically to your own website.

And while you’re spending all of your time learning and practising the new skills you’ve learned, who is running your business?

While I fully believe it’s possible to learn everything you need to know just by reading, sometimes you need a little extra help.

Imagine if someone could advise you:

  • How many times a day to post to Facebook
  • How to get interaction on Twitter
  • How best to direct people to your blog
  • What could be improved in your SEO
  • What you’re not doing with LinkedIn that you could be
  • When you should be posting to Pinterest
  • as well as answering any questions you have
  • and more!

Well that’s what this service is for!

In a one hour phone call with me, Nikki Pilkington, you’ll learn all the above and more. You’ll also get a follow up email detailing everything we’ve spoken about, as well as suggesting 5 blog post titles you should be writing.

In addition you’ll have email or Facebook chat access to me for 2 weeks afterwards.

OK, I need your help, how much?

In the future I will be £75 per call for this service, but as I’ve not offered the service for a while, the next 10 people to sign up and book their call will get this fantastic service for just £50.

£50 for 19 years of internet marketing knowledge.

£50 for a personalised plan of action.

£50 for 14 days access to me.

£50 to find out where you’re going wrong, and how to put it right.

You’ve probably spent more than £50 of your time just reading and testing the things you’ve read, right?

I’m in – how do I book?

Using the Paypal link below, you can book your session. Upon completion of payment, you will be returned to our calendar where you can book your call at a time of your choosing.

Remember, the next 10 only will be £50 – after that the price will revert to £75. So book now and let’s get your social media marketing and SEO back on track!




Why Small Business Should Start Taking Blogging More Seriously

 

mappa_blog

mappa_blog (Photo credit: francescopozzi)

Do you blog?

Back in 2010, I talked about why small businesses should blog more, and since then I believe it’s become even more important.

If you started blogging in 2010, the chances are that you were pretty early on in your industry (unless you’re in SEO or Social Media) and so you should be reaping the rewards right now, getting more visitors, more comments and more sales than your competitors who came to blogging later (or maybe still don’t blog!)

If you’ve still not got around to starting a blog though, all is not lost. Make 2013 the year that you really start to explore how blogging can work for you and your business.

Why?

Businesses that blog get:

  • More pages in search engines = more chances for potential customers to find you
  • More traffic = more chances for you to prove to your potential customers that you are credible and here to stay
  • More comments = more chances for you to interact with your potential customers
  • More credibility = more of a chance that potential customers will come to you rather than your competitors

What’s not to like?

Setting up and customising a blog isn’t difficult, and you could be up and running within a couple of days.

Writing isn’t as hard as it sounds, there are plenty of articles out there to help, and of course you could ask me about my Blog Mentoring Package.

So here are 5 blog posts you should read if you’re looking to kick start your blogging in 2013:

  • 5 Reasons Your WordPress Blog Should Be Self Hosted
    While it’s not a bad thing to start with a freebie blog, if you want to be taken seriously you really need to look at self hosting, and this blog post tells you why. Need help with self hosting WordPress? Drop me a line to nikkipilk@gmail.com
     
  • 21 Things You Could Blog About Right Now
    Often people put off blogging because they think they won’t have anything to say; this blog post talks you through 21 different things you could blog. Even if you post one a day that’s 3 weeks worth of blogging! No excuses now!
     
  • 67 SEO Tips for Blogging Newbies
    This title is a bit of a misnomer to be honest; even if you’ve been blogging for a while, this handy guide will more than likely tell you somehing you didn’t know about how your blog can help you to be found in search engines with very little effort.

  • Tips for Landing a Guest Post Every Time
    Guest blogging is one of the best traffic generators you’ll find, and if you’re not doing it yet, you should be! This post talks you through how to become the perfect guest poster and have people lining up to feature your posts.

  • Bloggers Have You Established Your Route to Fame?
    Once you have written a blog, how do you go about promoting it? If you feel as if you’re talking to yourself at times, this post will walk you through how I promote a blog post – it may help you to promote yours.

So, blogging; it’s not as hard as it may seem, but trust me, you will reap the rewards.

 
If you’re already blogging and think you’re making the most of your blog, check out our 30 Day Blogging Challenge ebook, as a kick up the bum and a good solid workout for your blog and you.
 
I’d love to know more about your blogs – post a comment below with your blog address so I can have a look!
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50 things you could do today to promote your website…

… or 50 Shades of Yay!

If you can manage to put down Mr Grey, and drag your mind back to your business ;) let’s take control of your website.

twitter logo map 09

twitter logo map 09 (Photo credit: The Next Web)

For any small business owner it’s easy to feel shackled to your website, chained to Google, and to tie yourself in knots worrying about how to bring in the traffic.

My 50 Shades of Yay will give you release from all of that frustration, allowing you to fulfill your potential and giving life to your website.

50 Shades of Yay!

50 Shades of Yay is an ebook split into 5 different areas of promotion. This blog post aims to give you a sense of each section, but you’ll need to download the ebook to get the full 50 (don’t worry, it’s free).

Yay! 1 -SEO

1: Check your page titles

Your page titles are the words that appear at the top of the browser window. For example on the front page of my website, mine says ‘Social Media Marketing Support – NikkiPilkington.com – Internet Marketing Expert UK’. Titles are one of the most important aspects of SEO, as they tell Google where to put you. Change yours to describe what you do, not just to say ‘MyCompany.com’. Make each page’s title different. You should be able to do this in your Content Management System.

2: Work on your META descriptions

Although general theory says that the description tag isn’t used in determining where a website is placed in a search engine, it is still an important part of SEO. Your description is the thing that will make people click through to your site – if it’s dull, people won’t click. Again, every page should have a different description tag, and you should be able to do this through your CMS.

Want the other 8 Yays in this section? Download the free ebook now and please share with other people!

Yay! 2 – Blogging

1: Sort out your tags and categories

Tags are like keywords for your blog – you should add 4 or 5 to each blog post. Let’s say you wrote a blog post about children needing sunblock in the summer – your tags could be: children, kids, summer, sun care, skincare.

Categories are there to help you and your readers, so use them. They’re different to tags in that they can be more generic, and relate to areas of interest, topics, rather than specific posts. So, a telemarketing blog may use categories such as these: telemarketing, telesales, appointment setting, business development, lead generation. All related to telemarketing, but in different areas.

Tags and categories help search engines and readers – use them!

2: Write an editorial calendar

If you’re rubbish at blogging, the best thing you can do is put together an editorial calendar. This is a document that plans your blog posts for the next month, 3 months, however long you want. It not only makes you think about what you’re going to write, it gives you a sense of resposibility to then write it :) WordPress has a great plugin called Editorial Calendar  that allows you to look at each month at a glance and enter topic ideas for the future. Or just make your own in Word and stick it above your desk!

Want the other 8 Yays in this section? Download the ebook now and why not mention this blog post in your next blog?

Yay! 3 – Twitter

Image representing Twitter as depicted in Crun...

Image via CrunchBase

1: Ask for the business

We’re so bombarded with people telling us that we shouldn’t use Twitter to sell, and social media is about being social, that we’re scared to put a foot wrong.  I’m not saying those statements are wrong – anyone who has known me for any length of time knows I’m a great believer in the ‘Social’ in social media.  However, most of us are there to build our businesses – we’re not just in it for a laugh. So I’ll be interested to see how many of you take up my next challenge – which is to ask for the business.  Not from your followers, but from people they know.  In the true spirit of networking, ask your followers if there’s anyone they could refer you to:

–       Who do you know who needs xxxx, I’d love an introduction

–       If anyone says they’re struggling with xxxx pass them my way, I may be able to help

–       Do you know someone looking for xxxx, please introduce me to them

No hard sell, no desperate please, just straightforward networking. If you see others posting this kind of thing, think about who you’ve seen or know who has been saying they have that particular problem recently, and introduce them.  I get a lot of my suppliers from Twitter, but I also post Tweets looking for suppliers that get no response – one of those could be one that may bring you business.  So go on, ask for the business – I dare you ;)

2: Track your results

As in anything, it’s nice to see how well you’re doing on Twitter. There are many tools out there to measure Twitter impact, both free and paid. Twittercounter www.Twittercounter.com will track the amount of followers you have, predict how many you’ll have in X days and allow you to see how many Tweets you’re sending a day. Tweetstatswww.Tweetstats.com – this is an amazing free application that will graph your Tweet stats for you.  Tweetreachwww.Tweetreach.com – will tell you how many people your Tweets reached, counting reTweets – well worth playing with.  SocialMentionwww.socialmention.com – allows you to track mentions of your name in various social media and is very addictive! There are many paid Social Media tracking systems out there – of these, in my opinion, Sprout Social is the best – www.sproutsocial.com. Pricing starts at $39 per month.

Want the other 8 Yays in this section? Download the ebook now – then please pay it forward by Tweeting about this post.

Yay 4! – Facebook

1: Update your description

I see many Facebook Business Pages not using their description effectively. The ‘about’ description is the text that will appear when someone shares your page on their profile – use it to fully describe your page so people will know what it’s about. Change it regularly and track what works best.

2: Highlight a post

Once you have written a post on your Facebook page, if you hover next to your name and click the star, this ‘highlights’ the post. What this means is that the post is made double width and thus gets more attention from visitors to your page. I’ve used this to good effect to promote my 30 Day Challenge books, so it’s well worth doing for important posts.

Want the other 8 Yays in this section?  Download the ebook now – please consider posting this to your Facebook wall and share the love 🙂

Yay 5 – Extras

1: Pinterest – rename your boards

When you first start with Pinterest, it’s tempting to give your boards funky and funny names – but that’s going to do you no good in search. Look at your boards and give them names that mean something and are likely to show up in a search. As an example, my board called So True is never going to turn up in a search (which doesn’t matter because it’s only quotations and funnies) but my board named Business Blogging Beginner To Pro, and the one called Facebook for Business, does show up. Don’t just give your boards generic names such as ‘blogging’ and ‘telemarketing’ – think this through as an SEO exercise and use your keyphrases where you can.

2: Forums – change your signature

Often when you sign up to a forum such as UK Business Labs, you’re entitled to use a signature file with links. You set it up, include a bit of HTML to create a signature, and Bob’s yer uncle, your signature is set in stone, to be appended to any post you make. If you’re like most people your signature will stay as it is for months, maybe even years, with no change. But if you regularly change your forum signature you not only create interest within the forum itself, you’ll be developing varied links into your site (which Google loves).

Want the other 8 Yays in this section? Download the ebook now and consider sharing this post on Pinterest, in forums, LinkedIn etc.

Bonus Yay!

1: This post – share it on your networks ;)

Yes, that benefits me, of course. However it also benefits you. Why? Well, for one, your networks will appreciate the share and probably remember you for it, making them more likely to recommend your content in future. Secondly, if you tell me that you’ve shared it, *I’M* more likely to promote your content and share your Tweets etc in future.

So, go ahead, Tweet, Facebook, LinkedIn, Stumble, Digg, Pin, Blog and more – and if you’d like to offer ebook as a free download on your own website please drop me a line on nikkipilk@gmail.com

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