Promoting your Website: Stand and deliver – your money or your time…

highwaymanThese days, if you have a product or service to sell, you need to own a website. But there’s no point in having a website if people don’t visit it and if they’re not finding you online, then you aren’t going to make any money. Yet, there’s millions to be made out there for those smart enough to effectively promote their website. So, what should you do?

The key to successfully promoting your website comes down to a very simple choice. Do you have the time and/or the money to promote your website? If you want to promote your website, you must find either the time or the money to make a success of marketing.

If you have no money, then you need to find the time to do the work for yourself. If you have the money, then you can save yourself the time by investing in the work of experience Internet marketing professionals. Of course this in turn produces more money, so it’s a worthwhile investment in the end.

Quite simply, if you really don’t have the money, then you need to find the time to do the job yourself. You need to find the time to do the job of promoting your website, the time to learn about how to promote your website, learn through doing, learn from your mistakes (no matter how costly) and learn the best ways of promoting the site, which may take considerable time.

The trouble is that whilst you can always make more money, you can never make more time. Can you afford to squander your time in trial and error activities? Meanwhile the competition marches on ahead of you. If you aren’t willing to invest money in the future of your organisation by effectively promoting your website, then you’ll have to do all of the work yourself. The trouble is that if you don’t have the skills, you may do more harm than good.

But what if you simply don’t have the time?

Then it’s time that you reconsidered your budget and placed the responsibility for the promotion of your website in the hands of someone else. For some people, that might be an existing member of your staff, or if you don’t have anyone with the prerequisite experience and expertise, it may be that you look for an external professional, an expert in website promotion that will stop you from wasting your time and also help save you money.

If you don’t have the budget for it, then you’re going to have to find it. These days, more and more people are turning to the Internet for a product or service just like yours. If you don’t have adequate marketing in place, they just won’t find you and your competitor will reaps all the benefits of marketing in the Internet Age.

So what should you do? Well, it’s not rocket science. If you don’t have the time to promote your website, then call in an expert. To find out more visit www.nikkipilkington.com or email Nikki on nikkipilk@gmail.com

What You Didn’t Do Yesterday Online That Lowered Your Rank [infographic]

A guest post by Tasty Placement

When I first started writing online, I really only thought about my interests and what I wanted to share while hoping that those were the same interests of others. If all went well, someone saw the post, linked it to someone else and a kind of web wildfire would spread throughout the virtual lands. However, it’s a little bit more complicated than that. Those who write for a living online and depend on a high search engine rank are always looking for ways to connect better to their readership while also bringing in tons of new readers. I heard about this new study that looked at the importance of “Testing Social Signals,” which came in a neat little infographic by Tasty Placement. The infographic poses a simple question, “Can social media activity boost organic search ranking?” While that seems certain, there are some factors that actually make this more complicated than most would think.

The infographic details how six websites were created in similarly populated US cities with websites focused on the same niche. The domain name included the city name and a specific home service. Tasty Placement took it a bit further by promoting websites each through different social media like Google+, Twitter and Facebook. While promoting, they did what we do: follow their rankings in search engines with eager anticipation.

For those of you who love Google+, the infographic details how one targeted website generated more than a 100 Google Plus followers and raised considerably upward in its search engine rankings. Another website targeted specifically to Google Plus One yielded a slightly lower rank but overall still much higher the websites targeted to Facebook or Google. Is it any surprise that Google would favor its own social media?

All of the sites yielded some results, except for the one which was left to its own devices and had no social media promotions. While the study proved something that we have come to suspect, it was nice to see which social media connections really improved the ranking. Obviously, websites owners and bloggers are rewarded for using Google’s own system with higher rankings. Still, I was also wondering what would have happened if one website had been connected to all the social media. I can only see that being a rocket of high rankings.

This infographic was designed and developed by TastyPlacement, Inc. Click here to visit their site.

Click on image to see full sized version.

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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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So you’ve written a blog post, now what? [infographic]

Another great infographic from Unbounce with a fab checklist on what to do once you’ve published your blog post. Do you do all these things?

 

5 Ways NOT To Market Your Services On Twitter

Follow me on Twitter logo

Image via Wikipedia

If you are a business owner who needs to learn about marketing, it’s important to learn how to Tweet for success. Like any other matter in marketing, there’s a right way to do things, and then there is the wrong way to do things. Those who want to market their services on Twitter should learn how to gain followers, but not by being these five marketers.

The Internet Explosion – Above all, this is the #1 thing you don’t ever want to do. Some very, very foolish business owners don’t know when to step away from the computer when they are angry about something. Once in a very blue moon, a Twitter marketer will post a rant about customers, or something along those lines, in a very unflattering light. If you ever post a rant about a customer, you can bet that people will always think twice about choosing you as the business they want to go to. Should you get the feeling that you need to do this, just back away from the computer, and get a cup of tea. You don’t need to sacrifice your business for a 5 minute revenge.

The Spammer – You have probably seen this one on Twitter. Constantly posting links without any information is a great way to get people to filter out your tweets at the blink of an eye. Customers won’t know whether you are a virused user, a business with a really terrible marketing approach, or a spam bot. For their own computers’ sakes, users will quickly stop following you if they feel this is what you’re doing. Actually put some effort in your Twitter marketing! Come up with real content that isn’t a pile of links or repetitive phrases, and your Twitter following will blossom.

The Trigger – Similar to the internet explosion, the person who posts something very controversial or incendiary will probably find a drop in their sales. Topics that could trigger a nasty backlash include politics, anything that could be considered racism, or anything that could be related to religion. Your customer base could include anyone. Why alienate them? Why alienate yourself? If it’s a really bad gaffe, your company could be faced with protesters and boycotts. Natural food megastore recently had an entire Twitter following devoted to boycotting their products after unsavory staff relations had come to light. Do you really want to be the one to spark your own Twitter boycott?

The Strong, Silent Type – Some people simply feel strange talking about their Twitter accounts off Twitter. And, it’s understandable. It can be awkward. But, if you don’t advertise your Twitter account, you won’t ever see enough followers for it to become a substantial part of your marketing campaign. The point of marketing is to get people included in your company, and to develop a better community around your company. Not telling them how to be a more active part of that community keeps that community from growing.

The Pre-Packaged Dealer – People can smell out fakers a mile away. You want to appear like a human being to them, which means that any message or following that appears to be manufactured will quickly be disregarded by most people. No one, but no one, wants to feel like they are talking (or listening) to a robot. This is why formula invites, tweets, and messages don’t work. Believe it or not, an organic approach with one or two tweaks might be the best approach that you can have on Twitter.

Done ‘properly’, Twitter can boost your web traffic, increase your sales, encourage referrals and build relationships – surely that’s what every business owner on Twitter wants?

What puts you off following people?

Still finding your way with Twitter? Need a helping hand? Check out my 30 Day Twitter Challenge to kickstart your Tweeting today!

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An SEO offer you can’t afford to miss!

Google Search homepage
Image via Wikipedia

We have our office internet connection back at last, and to celebrate we’re making a very special offer to all of our followers / fans / contacts – but only until the 4th of March!

Our Bronze SEO Package with no set up fee!

If you’ve been considering SEO for your website in 2011, but were put off by set up fees or the overall cost, then this offer could be for you!

What do you get?

  • Initial keyword research
  • Initial optimisation for 10 phrases
  • Ongoing optimisation when needed
  • Google Webmaster Tools account
  • Google Local submission
  • 1 article per month written and submitted to 5 article sites for incoming links
  • Submission to Google and ODP (Open Directory Project)
  • Weekly reporting of placements via Sheer SEO
  • Regular ideas, hints, tips and recommendations
  • Promotion on Twitter & Facebook via our accounts reaching over 18,000 followers / likers

Not bad, eh?

How much?

Usually this would cost £499 setup fee and then £100 per month, but as this is our celebratory offer, we’re waiving the setup fee and just charging the monthly fees! Wow!

What’s the catch?

There isn’t one! We ask you to sign our usual 6 month contract, pay via Paypal subscriptions, and allow us to tell the world we’re working with you – does any of that sound like a catch?

How do I sign up?

Just use the PayPal Subscription button below to pay your first month’ payment. Ongoing payments will be taken automatically, and if after the 6 months you don’t want to carry on, you simply stop the payments!

So what are you waiting for? Sign up now and let’s kickstart your website in 2011!


Are you in one of these categories and want some free promotion?

A Christmas market in Clifton Mill, Ohio, Unit...
Image via Wikipedia

The fantastic Ezine Articles has added more categories to it’s article website – we’re big fans of article marketing here at NP, as they’re a great way to increase credibility and backlinks, and spread the word about your business.

So, if you’re in one of these categories, get writing over the Christmas break and start 2011 with some great free promotion!

(Can’t / don’t want to write your article yourself? Let us write it for just £30!)

ARTS AND ENTERTAINMENT

  • Arts-and-Entertainment: Body-PiercingsArticles about/concerning Body Piercings, Earrings, Nose Rings, Belly Rings, Body Piercing Materials and Tools, Body Piercing Shops, Piercing Prohibitions and Taboos, Body Piercing Jewelry, History and Risks.
  • Arts-and-Entertainment: Filmmaking-and-Film-Editing – Articles about/concerning Filmmaking, Cinematography, Movie Making, Audiography, Filmmaking Schools and Courses, Film Production, Film Editing and Directing, Screenplays, Development, Pre and Post-Production, Independent Filmmaking, Tools and Equipment, History, Sales and Distribution, Cameras and Popular Filmmakers.
  • Arts-and-Entertainment: Painting – Articles about/concerning Painting, Painting Techniques and Guides, Painters, Oils, Watercolor, Acrylic, Brushes and Canvases, Elements, Media, Digital Painting, Styles and History.

AUTOMOTIVE

  • Automotive: Buying-Selling-AuctionsArticles about/concerning Auto Auctions, Local and International Auto Auction Dealerships, Repo and Police Auctions, Salvaged Auctions, Repossessed Auctions, Pricing, Condition and Inspection.
  • Automotive: Car-Detailing-Customization – Articles about/concerning Auto Detailing, Car Valeting, Body Kits, Interior and Exterior Detailing, Cleaning, Polishing and Protecting, Restoration, Engine Detailing, Car Accessories, Auto Detailing Supplies, Tips and Service.

CANCER

  • Cancer: Brain-CancerCancer articles pertaining to the brain. This may include: Brain Tumors, Metastatic Tumors, Uncontrolled Mitosis, Anaplasia, Invasion or Infiltration of the Brain, Metastasis, Medulloblastoma, Ependymoma, And Low-Grade Glioma, Glioblastoma Multiforme, Oligodendroglioma, Diagnosis and Treatment and other related medical terminology.

COMPUTERS AND TECHNOLOGY

  • Computers-and-Technology: ProgrammingArticles about/concerning Computer Programming, Coding, Designing and Debugging/Troubleshooting, Programming Language, Software Engineering, Modern Programming, Programmers, Requirements Analysis, Software Architecture, Software Testing and History.
  • Computers-and-Technology: Registry-Cleaners – Articles about/concerning Registry Cleaners, Windows Registry, Advantages and Disadvantages, Registry Damage, Recovery Capability, Utility Software and Best Registry Cleaners.
  • Computers-and-Technology: Spyware-and-Viruses – Articles about/concerning Spyware, Computer Viruses, Anti-Virus Software, Anti-Spyware Software, Adware and Malware, Scareware, Keyloggers, Privacy-Invasive Software, Spyware Effects and Behaviors, Computer Surveillance, Cyber Spying, Employee Monitoring Software, Remedies and Prevention.

FOOD AND DRINK

  • Food-and-Drink: BBQ-GrillingArticles about/concerning Grilling, BBQ Grilling, Broiling, Electric Grills, Gridironing, Charcoal Kettle-Grilling, Sear Grilling, Charbroiling, Sauces, Marinades and Rubs, BBQ Grilling Tips and Techniques.
  • Food-and-Drink: Cooking-Supplies – Articles about/concerning Cooking Supplies and Cooking Utensils, Baking Supplies, Outdoor Cooking Supplies, Cookware, Bakeware, Pots and Pans, Ovens, Microwaves, Toasters, Dutch Ovens, Griddles, Pressure Cookers, Kitchenware and Cutlery.
  • Food-and-Drink: Vegetarian-Recipes – Articles about/concerning Vegetarian Recipes, Vegetarian Cuisine, Vegan Recipes, Veganism And Fruitarianism, Tofu and Tempeh.

HEALTH AND FITNESS

  • Health-and-Fitness: EczemaArticles about/concerning Eczema, Psoriasis, Dermatitis, Dry Skin, Skin Rashes, Atopic Eczema, Behavioral Approach, Infantile Eczema, Eczema Diagnosis, Therapy, Treatment, Inflammation, Prevention and Cures.
  • Health-and-Fitness: Hemorrhoids – Articles about/concerning Hemorrhoids, Piles, Stools, Bleeding Hemorrhoids, Internal and External Hemorrhoids, Hemorrhoids Symptoms and Causes.
  • Health-and-Fitness: Holistic – Articles about/concerning Holistic Approach, Holistic Healing, Holistic Healing and Medicine, Confirmation Holism, Gestalt Therapy, Synergy, Holistic Healers, Ayurveda Medicine, Chinese Medicine, Herbal Remedies and History.
  • Health-and-Fitness: Nursing – Articles about/concerning Nursing, Pediatric Nursing, Optimal Health and Quality of Life Recovery, Nursing Science, Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN), Registered Nurse (RN), Nurse Practitioner, Clinical Nurse Specialist, Registered Nurse First Assistant, Practice and History.
  • Health-and-Fitness: Spa-and-Wellness – Articles about/concerning Spa and Wellness, Spa Health, Spa Fitness, Bathing, Sauna, Steam Bath, Body Wraps, Facials, Waxing, Manicures and Pedicures, Best Spa and Wellness Resorts and Hotels, Destination Spa, Hot Springs Resorts and Day Spas.

HOME AND FAMILY

  • Home-and-Family: Adolescent-CareArticles about/concerning Adolescent Care, Pediatrics, Pediatrics Medicine, Pediatricians, Children’s Hospitals, Child Life Specialists and Neonatologists.
  • Home-and-Family: Woodworking – Articles about/concerning Woodworking, Woodworkers, Cabinet Making, Wood Carving, Lath Art, Saw Pits, Woodturning, Fire Hardening, Woodworking Projects and Supplies, Tack Cloth, Woodworking Benches and History.

INVESTING

  • Investing: Gold-Silver – Articles about/concerning Investing in Gold and Silver, Gold and Silver Coins, Prices, Stocks, Bullion, Gold Bars, Exchange-Traded Products, Investment Strategies, Technical Analysis, Taxation, Derivatives, CFDs And Spread Betting.

PETS

REAL ESTATE

  • Real-Estate: Agents-Realtors – Articles about/concerning Real Estate Agents and Realtors, Real Estate Brokers, Landlords, Commercial Realtors, Buyer’s Agents, National Association of Realtors (NAR), Certified Residential Specialist (CRS), Trade Associations, Code of Ethics, Buyer Brokerage, Agency Relationship, Listing Contracts, Real Estate License and Training.

RECREATION AND SPORTS

  • Recreation-and-Sports: SquashArticles about/concerning Squash Sport, Squash Racquets, Fives, Handball, Professional Squash Association (PSA), Popular Squash Players, Squash Courts and Equipment, Strategy, Tactics, Rules and History.

REFERENCE AND EDUCATION

  • Reference-and-Education: Standardized-Tests – Articles about/concerning Standardized Tests, Design and Scoring, Educational Assessments, Norm-Referenced Tests, Evaluation Standards, Preparing and Studying for Standardized Tests, Advantages and Disadvantages, Different Types and History.

TRAVEL AND LEISURE

  • Travel-and-Leisure: Hiking-BackpackingArticles about/concerning Hiking, Backpacking, Tramping, Trekking, Bushwalking, Hiking and Backpacking Gear, Travel and Food, Winter Backpacking, Flashpacking, Hiking Trails, Geocaching, Orienteering, Long-Distance Trails, Scouting, River climbing, River Trekking or Mountain Stream Climbing, Skills and Safety.
  • Travel-and-Leisure: Staycations – Articles about/concerning Staycations, Staycationers, Stoliday, Holistay, Daycation, Day Trips, Vacations Close to Home, Staycation Ideas and Tips, Benefits and Risks.
  • Travel-and-Leisure: Travel-Planning – Articles about/concerning Travel Planning, Green Travel Planning, Workplace Travel Planning, School Travel Planning, Road Trip Planning, Travel Planners, Transportation Planning, Travel Behavior, Personalized Travel Planning, Travel Blending, Travel Tips and Advice.
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Should I retweet / Facebook / promote my competitors?

Let's get ready to rumble...I’ve been asked this question a couple of times recently and my answer is a resounding YES!

Sounds a bit odd, doesn’t it? Why on earth would I be recommending that you promote people you’re supposed to be in competition with?

Well, to my mind, retweeting (or promoting on facebook, your blog, etc) something that your competitors have written that may be good for your potential clients makes good business sense.

I often forward on articles from competitors, tweet them out to my ‘followers’, post them on my Facebook page, etc, because I feel it shows that:

  • I care about my potential clients – this info is good for them even if I didn’t write it myself
  • I’m not afraid of a bit of healthy competition – I’m a great believer that there’s enough business out there for everyone
  • I’m keeping up to date in my industry – by reading what others are putting out

In addition it fosters a certain sense of loyalty from those that I help to promote – if they get too much work, or have clients they can’t deal with, they’re more likely to think of me, as I’ve been a supporter of theirs, than someone who they’ve never interacted with.

I learn from my peers and competitors every day, and I hope that they learn from me. I repay that by retweeting and helping to promote them. Are you brave enough to do the same thing?

I’d be interested in your thoughts on this one as it can be quite an emotive subject 🙂

Creative Commons License photo credit: law_keven

7 ways to get Bloggers to review your products or services

Need a thumbs up from bloggers?As a blogger with a good amount of followers (thank you all – I don’t want that to sound smug!) I often get approached by people to review their products or services. I have no problems doing reviews, whether it be for books, products or services – but I want to share with you a few of the rules *I* think are important when pitching your products to bloggers in order to get reviews.

1) Make sure it’s relevant

This is obvious to a lot of people, but not so obvious to sooooo many more! Think about it; I’m a Mum, I work in Internet Marketing and you could probably pick up from my various social media profiles that I love my Wii Fit, am trying to lose weight, live in France and love movies and jewellery (oh and handbags – I’m a woman after all!)

Therefore I’m happy to review baby stuff, marketing books, products and services, stuff to do with losing weight or keeping fit and products or services to do with films, and have done across various blogs and review sites (some as me, some anonymously as requested).

In my business life I promote websites in various ways – so ebooks and services related to marketing and online marketing are always good, online courses and training that i can recommend even better.

The PR company that approached me to review a football DVD could easily have found out I don’t like sport. The person who approached me to review his series of ebooks on the Law of Attraction should have known it doesn’t fit in with what I do (or what I believe, but each to his own on that score!).

I’m not saying that you have to know the ins and outs of the bloggers you’re asking to review things, but it does help to do a little research. If your product isn’t relevant, then even if the blogger DOES agree to review it, it’s probably pretty pointless as the people reading their blog probably won’t be interested too.

2) Ask nicely

This may seem obvious, but I get a lot of pitches telling me how good it would be for ME if I review this or that product. Let’s be honest here, if a blogger reviews your product, THEY are doing YOU a favour. Yes, they get a free product or service, but at the end of the day, the blogger is the one sharing details of your company with his / her audience – which could be considerably large. A personal review from someone a person ‘follows’ will often hold more sway than any PR piece.

Ask nicely, and don’t badger if the person doesn’t get back to you within an hour 🙂

*** EDITED TO ADD***

Thanks to Gareth for his comment below about how to approach a blogger. PR companies that simply send random Press Releases to bloggers are more than likely to be deleted before being read. You want a blogger to promote your product? Do your research, tell them why you want them to, ask them nicely and explain what you hope to achieve. Think personalised not generic. Yes, it’s harder work – but your client will thank you for it!

***

3) Establish where your blogger is based

If your product is physical, this could be quite important. I’m based in France, a fact that I don’t hide, and is easily found out by looking at my website and most of my social media profiles. Yet I get asked quite frequently to review something physical and when I mention I am in France, the PR company (it’s usually a PR company, sorry!) suddenly realises that having to send this item to France is a bit of a hassle and perhaps they’ll not bother.

So, be aware of costs if you have to ship something to someone (and bravo to HP who couriered a rather large printer to me via Arrow Light Haulage for me to review).

4) Accept that a review can be good or bad

This is the one that seems the hardest to get across. See, you’re not ‘paying’ (as some people see it when giving a product or service for review) for a good review, you’re offering your product or service in the hope that you’ll get a good review.

In order to remain true to their followers, most bloggers will give an honest review of what you have sent to them – this doesn’t always mean glowing praise.

Accept that a blogger will flag up the good and the bad of your product. Personally if a product is really bad then I will let the person know and ask them if they would rather I don’t review it – other bloggers would print the bad review as that is their agreement with you – an honest review.

If you want a 100% positive review, either have a 100% perfect product or service or send it to your mum to review 😉

5) Realise that full disclosure must be given

FTC guidelines for bloggers state that full disclosure should be given for gifts or items received for review. Most bloggers will abide by this and you should expect that they will say in their blog post that you gave them the product or service, for free, to review.

They’re not going to pretend it’s a service they’ve bought and are just sharing with their readers, or that this fab product was a gift from a friend – the majority of bloggers will either open or close their blog with the disclosure that they were given the item in return for a review. Don’t insult them by asking them to hide this fact 🙂

6) Agree the rules

If you want a review of a specific length, or a specific part or function of your item to be talked about, agree this in advance with your bloggers. It’s not the start of a beautiful friendship if your blogger lovingly crafts a 1000 word review and all you wanted was 400 words, or reviews your service in general but you wanted them to focus on a specific part.

Also, agree whether you get to approve the review before it goes live – although you won’t be able to change it, there may be some things that the blogger hasn’t understood, and you could straighten them out. And of course if it’s a bad review you could agree in advance that you get approval and can ditch it if it’s negative.

7) Send the product in good time (and, send the product!)

I get asked to review a fair amount of baby stuff for various sites, but as well as that, I obviously buy a fair amount of baby stuff for Baby O. In the case of actual items that I would have bought anyway, there’s nothing more annoying than being asked to review something, waiting for it to arrive, and… nothing. I’ve also been asked to review cameras, business card scanners (yeah, that was a while ago 🙂 ), graphics tablets, gardening stuff, some fitflops, and jewellery, all of which I was happy to review on various blogs (not this one, obviously as this one is more business focused) but never turned up. It’s not the blogger’s job to chase you for the item – if you change your mind, or can’t be bothered, be polite and let them know.

Incidentally this doesn’t just go for physical products, I’ve also been offered ebooks, subscription services, marketing services and more ‘non-physical’ products / services that haven’t materialised. I’m not moaning, because if they don’t get to me I don’t have to review them, but it is something to be aware of.

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Whether you’re a PR company looking for ‘blogger outreach’ for your clients, or a company hoping to get reviews from bloggers, and whether it be a product or a service, the above points should help you.

And here’s the mini plug: If you’re looking for bloggers to review your products or services, no matter what they are, drop me a line as I can probably find you one or more to help; it’s something we’re doing a lot more of, so watch out for our Blogger Review matching service coming soon 🙂 nikkipilk@gmail.com

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Creative Commons License photo credit: seeveeaar

Are you focusing on the correct keyphrases?

So you’ve done the optimisation and you’re sure you’ve done the right things to your website to ensure that the search engines know exactly which keyphrases you’re targeting, right?

This little gadget will tell you if you’ve got it right by generating a ‘cloud’ based upon the phrases and words it thinks you are targeting. The larger the text, the more you are targeting that word or phrase.

http://www.seochat.com/seo-tools/keyword-cloud/

Here's my front page cloud:

cloud

If you've got big bold phrases in your cloud that are nothing to do with your site or the phrases you're targeting, then you really need to rethink your copy! Drop me a line if you have any questions, I may be able to help!

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