There are hundreds of social networks out there. You can’t be everywhere and we all need to focus our efforts and time on the most effective social networking sites. Here are the social networks I would recommend most for entrepreneurs.
Looking for a job? Consider creating your own. There are a number of social resources to help you connect with other entrepreneurs and get your business ideas off the ground.
Here are the top 5 social networks for entrepreneurs. Each helps entrepreneurs succeed by providing them with the guidance, tools and resources they need to setup their company and gain exposure.
Nothing compares with the brute force horsepower Inbound Marketing engine that comes free with Markethive, but we need to build alliances among our peers and this list is the top 10 of other Entrepreneurial social nets we recommend you frequent as well.
I am putting Markethive as number one for many reasons, including a serious case of bias. I built it, aside from that. Markethive is a traditional easily navigated and profile oriented network similar to Facebook, oriented like LinkedIn but unique in that it's engine is a multimillion dollar Inbound Marketing platform. As entrepreneurs, we invest (spend) millions on autoresponder systems, capture page systems, blogging platforms, broadcasting technologies, known as Inbound Marketing today. Markethive's founder is the same man the developed Veretekk and invented Automated Marketing, auto responders, capture pages basically what has become today known as Inbound Marketing. There is no other Inbound Marketing solution on the Internet that comes close, has the level of integration found on the Internet at any price and the other systems cost upwards of $10,000 per month. Markethive's Inbound Marketing platform is free included and built into the social network.
Most social networks neglect the content aspect that makes StartupNation so useful. With articles, forums, blogs, on-demand seminars, and podcasts, entrepreneurs will be better prepared for their ventures and have the resources required to make better business decisions.
There are a wide range of topics being discussed on StartupNation right now, including business planning, marketing and web-based business. The site also offers a series of competitions, such as a dorm-based 20 contest and an elevator pitch competition. If you're an entrepreneur or hope to become one, this site is definitely one you can’t miss out on.
It’s difficult to leave LinkedIn off of any social networking list because it’s so useful for anyone who's either searching for a job, is trying to network with like-minded individuals, or building a company. LinkedIn offers many resources for entrepreneurs, such as groups, including the very popular “On Startups” group that has over 54,000 members.
Entrepreneurs on LinkedIn should brand themselves properly so they can attract the right kind of business opportunities, and perform searches to find service providers or partners. As an entrepreneur, you should also be looking to participate in LinkedIn Answers, events and applications to spruce up your profile and become a valuable member to your community.
If you want to meet thousands of serious entrepreneurs, experts and investors from a variety of industries, then Perfect Business might be the perfect social network for you. The type of people you’ll find are potential business partners, potential clients and advisers. Additionally, the site has leading business partners like Entrepreneur and Virgin Money.
From business networking to a video center where you can learn from successful entrepreneurs, a business plan builder and even an investor center, you’ll have most of the resources you need to create or regenerate your business. There is a free basic membership and a gold membership that costs $29.99 per month.
The Funded is an online community of entrepreneurs who research, rate and review funding sources. Entrepreneurs can view and share terms sheets to assist each other in finding good investors, as well as discuss the inner workings of operating a business. General benefits of this site include viewing facts, reviews and commentary on funding resources, and accessing RSS feeds of the most recent public comments by members.
By joining the site, you have access to detailed fund profiles with specialty, reference investments, and investment criteria, in addition to accessing partner vCards that have full contact information of all partners at venture funds. In order to get any value out of this social network, you pretty much have to become a member.
Different teams are going to have different solutions for who does what when it comes to inbound marketing. At a smaller company, inbound marketing strategy may fall entirely to one person to create and execute. A larger team may have more specialized positions in content, social, brand, etc. or really any combination of the above tasks among any number of people, depending on the company’s needs an the team’s strengths.
So where does SEO fit in to all of this? Is search engine optimization as we know it being absorbed into other marketers’ jobs?
Rather than being threatened by other disciplines’ encroaching on our territory, or overwhelmed by the volume of tasks that go into a robust inbound marketing strategy, modern SEOs should be embracing the rise of inbound as a holistic approach since it allows us to do better marketing. The days of being handed a blog post and told to add keywords to it are coming to an end, and that’s a good thing!
What happens when a company has a lot of employees with SEO knowledge, but no SEO? I learned what that looked like when I started at SEOmoz. Obviously, lots of folks at SEOmoz understand SEO strategy and why it’s important, but it had been several months since an official SEO had worked at the company.
The result? A lot of elements that were important to SEO had fallen through the cracks or been back-burnered. Content producers knew that keywords were important, but didn’t know which ones to be using and where. New features had been added to the website in ways that were great for users, but created unnecessary headaches for search engines. Even though a lot of people on the marketing team understood the basic tenets of SEO, it was nobody’s job to make sure SEO was taken into account; they all had their own jobs to do. It’s one thing to know that SEO is important – it’s another to know what to pay attention to and look for, especially if your core competency is in another field.
The SEO as Inbound Marketer
Even at a company whose internal education around SEO is top-notch, it’s still vital to have someone to be a steward of the site’s online presence and search performance. SEOs need to take a “the buck stops here” attitude toward ensuring
that our designers, content creators, social media managers, PR representatives and the like are working together on a search-engine-friendly strategy that encompasses all of their efforts.
An SEO should be continually helping a larger inbound marketing team do better marketing in the following ways:
Analyzing keyword data and trends, and tracking traffic and links per content piece, to help the content manager create compelling, keyword-rich, linkworthy content.
Working with the dev team to keep the site fast, crawlable, error-free and trackable.
Building relationships with influencers in the space, and leveraging those relationships for links and shares.
Syncing with the Director of Marketing and PR contacts to enact a solid, consistent brand strategy, then making sure it’s seeded to the right places for maximum authority and impact.
Diving into analytics to support conversion rates; sharing analytics data with business development and account management teams to aid retention of search-driven customers.
Collaborating with the UX and design teams to make sure a site that’s a lovely experience for users is also a useful experience for search engines.
Consistently evangelizing SEO internally through ongoing education, and being a staunch advocate for SEO best practices in every meeting – the buck stops with you.
By starting to view SEO as a series of collaborations with more specialized colleagues, we can build inbound marketing programs as a team effort.
From Keywords to Sessions
One thing I’ve heard Duane Forrester from Bing speak on several times recently is the search session: the idea that people aren’t using search engines to make one-and-done searches, but rather to make a series of searches over a period of time that could be anywhere from several minutes to several days, before arriving at a decision that might result in a conversion. An example might be a user who starts with “honeymoon destinations” and searches for “beach honeymoon,” “romantic beaches Hawaii” and “Maui vacation packages” before finally searching on “cheap flights to Maui.” That keyword might be the one that gets the conversion, but each search is an opportunity to build brand relationships and influence the final purchase.
Even when consumers aren’t actively searching for things, they’re still building opinions about and relationships with brands via social media – not only through the conversations they’re having, but also through the content they consume. People spend a ton of time on the internet, and most of it isn’t on Google.
A robust, marketing-team-wide inbound marketing strategy is perfectly positioned to market to this new breed of searchers. In order to really start some next-level, better-than-ever organic search marketing, SEOs need to be cognizant of the fact that organic search is just part of a larger experience. To ignore inbound marketing in favor of tunnel-vision focus on SEO means fewer opportunities to engage with customers (not to mention fewer opportunities for links, shares, and other awesome SEO benefits).
We’re all in this together. Let’s get out there and make inbound marketing better.
5 Tips For Improving Your Site’s Search Engine Positioning
Almost all webmasters or website owners are looking for ways to get better results from their websites. They wish to improve their site’s standing and get better rankings in search engines. This quest for improved results, known as search engine positioning, can be satisfied by following a few basic procedures.
Before you even begin, you have to realize that you are competing against hundreds, and in some categories, thousands of websites offering similar products and services.
In the case of affiliate marketing, many of the competing websites may even be identical! If you want to get the edge over these competitors and improve your search engine positioning you have to fine-tune your website and actively work to make it better.
1. Make Sure that your design is search engine friendly:
Your design may look good to your eyes, but it may also be the cause of your present difficulties and poor search engine positioning. How is that possible? Look at your web page using a text editor or in an html viewer of popular editors such as Dreamweaver and Editplus. On what line does your first line of copy begin? If your actual copy is pushed far down the page, it is more difficult for search engines to pick up the crucial information that would have helped you to improve your web page ranking.
If you have this difficulty, first take out all unnecessary spaces in the html code. If there are long strings of java script, put these in external files. Similarly, put style information in external Cascading Style Sheet files. Simplifying your table structure may also help. If this starts getting too complicated for you, then consult with a professional search engine positioning specialist or your web designer.
2. Make sure your keywords are strategically placed in your copy:
It is not possible to improve web page ranking if the readable copy on your web page does not contain the words you wish to be found by. Many people erroneously think that just putting your important keywords in meta tags is enough. This is not true, some search engines hardly use the meta tags and look more to the copy on the page. Make sure that your important copy is in the first paragraph of text, in headlines (using headers such as H1, H2, H3) and in the active or clickable portions of link text on your page.
3. Use a site map and text link navigation on your pages:
If you want to improve your search engine positioning for all the pages of your website then you have to be sure that these pages actually get indexed or included in the search engines. You can help this process by making a site map, a web page that has text links to all the sub pages of your site. Another good practice is to include a text link navigation system on your web pages, even if you already have a graphics based navigation bar elsewhere on these same pages. Remember, search engines follow text links more easily. A robot that lands on your main page or site map page will follow the text links and then visit and index your lower level pages.
4. Increase the quantity and quality of inbound links:
In fiercely competitive categories it will be difficult to improve web page ranking without obtaining a good number of links to your page from other websites. If you have very good and valuable copy, other sites may link to you because you are a valuable resource. However, if you want to speed this process along you will have to actively request links from other websites, either by trading links or by getting your content (with a link back to your site) placed on other websites.
When it comes to links you should keep in mind one important principle: it is not the quantity of links that is important, but the quality. One good link from an authority site such as CNN or Wikipedia is worth more than dozens of links from other sites. To get these quality links, there is no short cut. You will have to earn it by having a site that provides a lot of useful information.
5. Keep up with Search Engine Developments:
The challenge of improving your web page ranking and search engine positioning is dynamic. Search engines are not static. Most of the big search engines of yesterday have disappeared or are only minor players today. You should keep up with changes in the world of search engines by taking part in online forums or subscribing to newsletters which deal with topics such as Search Engine Optimization (SEO), web ranking, and general webmaster related issues.
If you do not have the expertise or the time to tackle these matters by yourself then you should take advantage of skilled professionals who can help you to improve your site's performance in search engines. Whether you rely on professionals or are able to do it yourself, these five tips can provide a good point of reference for starting the work.
Physician, small business owner, budding real estate/land investor, & educator on MarketHive, a social marketing platform for entrepreneurs that has the combined power of Facebook and LinkedIn.
I think of myself as just a regular guy who is passionate about those issues I believe affect us all. Those matters include (but are certainly not limited to): LGBT equality, healthcare reform (which would include health information technology reform), education reform, prison/criminal justice reform, politics, government, business/investing, and more.
MarketHive is a multi-million dollar platform which evolved from Veretekk and offers the following features:
auto-responders, virtual conference rooms, blog casting, blog sharing, campaigns/press releases, capture pages, email plugins, daily live workshops, and lead generation exclusively for entrepreneurs.
In essence, MarketHive is all about empowering entrepreneurs through social engagement and marketing.
What are some of the things that hold you back from succeeding? Could it be the time factor? Or perhaps it’s that you don’t have the necessary financial resources. Maybe it’s your personality . . . you set up barriers to success even before starting something by thinking it’s not in your nature or you don’t know what to say or do. Perhaps you’re not technically savvy!
Think about it! If you had the opportunity today, to make a huge difference in your life tomorrow or even in the coming months, what would it be worth to you? How much effort would you be willing to put into it? How much time would you devote to this effort?
In today’s hustle and bustle world, with economic uncertainty all around, wouldn’t it be nice to have more time to devote to family and the things in life you truly enjoy? If you were financially secure, wouldn’t that make life so much more enjoyable?
What if there was something that you could do about it? Would you follow through? If push comes to shove, could you overcome your objections and leap over the barriers holding you back from success? How motivated are you to change your situation?
In order to have success, you must know, choose and be who you are. In other words, success is finding who you really are, your core values, then consciously choosing which of these things you want to keep and which you will change or discard. Then let that “you” be present all the time, every day, in all that you do.
The habits you form go hand in hand with success. It’s essential that you form habits that align with your values for you to be successful in whatever area of your life you wish.
Have you assessed the areas that might be holding you back?
Here is a list of potential areas that might be holding you back:
Waiting for the right moment — this could be disguised as procrastination or even fear. There never really is the right moment so it’s pretty much a waste of time to wait for one. If you are living true to your values, every moment should be acted on within the best of your interests. Be aware and take the opportunity and run with it.
Needing approval from others – If you understand you are responsible for everything past and present in your life, you will understand that you will be responsible for your future. Taking action and having faith in your own decisions will make you a leader, and you will not need the opinion or approval of others.
Perfectionism — The need to always be perfect is almost a form of self-harm as it will never happen because perfection does not exist. If you think about it, when is anything ever perfect? It will be much better to be happy and proud of the achievements that are already made, rather than be unhappy when there is always “something else to do”.
Not apologizing for making mistakes – Admitting when things go wrong is something we are not too comfortable with. The people that you have the best connection with and value the most are ones who are open and honest with you. People respect honesty. If you want to be respected, in business and in life, learn that apologizing for your mistakes is imperative.
Too stubborn to let go – Nothing lasts forever. Ideas come and go, so will good people, employees, partners, business associates. Learning to let go will allow you move on. You need to find a way to allow things to leave your universe as easy as they came in. It is helpful not to create an emotional attachment to things as they will become harder to let go. You will make way for the new when you lose the emotion and lose the stubbornness. Know that whatever you are holding on to does not define you so no need to cling to it.
Not willing to do something beyond your duties – As the saying goes “you get out what you put in”, a little more effort goes a long way. The super successful do not sit around reveling in their accomplishments. They are thinking of how they can do more and continue to excel. Step out of your comfort zone and try something you don’t usually do. It may just become addictive!
Comparing yourself to others – Looking at others and measuring whether you have achieved what they have achieved, or comparing what you own to what they own is unnecessary. Success is a personal matter so find what’s important to you, what success looks and feels like to you, and be in control of that feeling.
Not assessing your mistakes – we all make mistakes. However, if you repeatedly make the same ones over and over, then it’s time to assess. Ask yourself honest questions. Why the mistakes are happening and why you didn’t act differently from the last time. This assessment will help you find better solutions in the future.
Spending too long worrying about the outcome – we all worry from time to time. If you let worry take over, this will hinder your success. Realize there is only so much that you can control and many things are out of your control. Continue putting in hard work, relax, and what will be, will be.
Not working on your weaknesses – We all have weaknesses and it’s a good thing because, for every weakness, you have a strong area. Identify your weak areas and then spend a bit of time daily to work on improvement in these areas.
Taking life too seriously – We have a lot more on our agendas as adults compared to when we were kids. Life can get you down, but when you feel that way, remember how wonderful life is and think about all the great people and great moments that have helped to bring you to where you are today. Set a goal for yourself. “At work, I’ll always stay focused and think of what to improve.”
Your success is important, but you have full control of making it what you wish.
Pipeline marketing is a term that many in the marketing industry, even those heavily engaged in digital marketing, are not entirely familiar with.
It may go by other names; math marketing or revenue marketing, for instance, but the idea is the same: using data strategically to critically evaluate the effectiveness of online marketing efforts.
ClosedOpp was a very early adopter of this concept. A small paid search agency founded in 2007 that is breaking new ground in PPC marketing, ClosedOpp has been able to improve lead attribution by integrating all of its clients’ AdWords and Bing data with their CRM records.
The process of pipeline marketing is unique and innovative. ClosedOpp ties paid search data into clients’ Salesforce opportunity and lead records. This provides the ability to track leads from the point they were created, to closure. It also allows marketers to analyze the paths that resulted in the new business wins, to compare paths and to identify best practices to leverage in the future.
Pipeline marketing is a powerful tool to help businesses better understand their customers, how to segment customers into more high-performing groups, and how to identify the sales approaches that achieve the best results. Customer better, how to segment, and how to attribute successful sales approaches.
Rich Norwood, co-founder of ClosedOpp, describes how they developed this approach: “We realized early in 2012 that many digital marketers didn’t trust AdWords conversion data and were looking for a new way to track SEM performance.
We ran countless regressions identifying whether or not there was a correlation between AdWords conversions and Salesforce leads, AdWords conversions and Salesforce opportunities, and AdWords conversions and Salesforce wins. Once we determined there was a low R-squared correlation, we began looking for a better solution for our clients…”
The Power of Pipeline Marketing
The result was the new approach of “pipeline marketing,” which lets businesses focus less on lead gen and more on what they really care about, results. From Bizible’s website: “If your intention is to grow your business, shouldn’t you want to focus on generating customers and revenue, not leads?”
Lead gen, developing new contacts in hopes of increasing sales, has been an important marketing metric for decades. However, as Bizible states, “even as marketing has shifted to digital and analytics systems have been able to capture more complex data and insights, far too many companies are using legacy ways to measure their performance.”
Norwood asks the $64,000 question: “Do the clients care about leads or do they care about opportunities?” It boils down to this: do they want contacts, or do they want customers? Norwood says, “This may throw some people off. However, we’ve… proven that all leads are not created equally, some keywords drive larger opportunities, some keywords convert to opportunity at a much higher conversion rate. This is what Pipeline Marketing and Account-Based Marketing is all about.”
How It Works
The beauty of it all is that pipeline marketing allows marketers to be able to evaluate, in real time, exactly what keywords are driving visitors to their site, where they’re entering and what actions they’re taking. It’s a powerful analysis tool that requires careful consideration up front to realize the full promise of the technique.
Here’s how it works:
Define campaign goals. The first step to embracing this new approach is for businesses to define their campaign goals in detail. And one of the most important goals is, as Norwood explains, to “focus on their sweet spot first. Start with the keywords that are must-targets.”
Determine, specifically, the type of leads you’re looking for and where in the sales funnel you hope to initially engage with these leads. For instance, Norwood asks, “Do [you] want to buy top of funnel leads, leads looking for resources, checklists, and guides? Those leads tend to convert a lot… but [few] convert into opportunity. This can be a great strategy if the company is at scale and already has a successful nurture program. On the other hand, clients may decide it’s best to start with bottom of funnel leads that want a quote and pricing information and to talk with someone from sales.” It’s clear to see that engaging at the bottom of the funnel can yield better, and less expensive to convert, opportunities.
Focus on Cost Per Opportunity. Norwood explains: “Because the opportunity has a high correlation with wins, and pipeline is defined as the total amount for all open opportunities, it makes sense that Cost per Opportunity should be the focus.” Simply put, you’re looking for the best outcome. This should be the main metric you focus on, according to Norwood. What keywords drive the highest ROI? “We need to create pipeline and wins. Period,” he says.
Monitor and measure. Because they are tied in so closely with their clients’ CRM records, ClosedOpp is able to be extremely responsive and nimble, receiving feedback daily about what is and isn’t successful. Shorter timeframes allow quicker course corrections, as well as more rapid expansion of a campaign to leverage big wins.
Adjust, and reap the rewards. Based on the feedback received, marketers are able to adjust their budgets based on real data related to ads, channels, keywords and audiences.
Access to Salesforce records powers the potential of pipeline marketing and provides a unique approach to business development. Norwood says, “[W]e actually measure leads, opportunities, wins, and Average Revenue per Unit (ARPU) daily, in real time. Our access to Salesforce allows us to monitor paid search so that we can see problems before they affect revenue.
We literally have our fingers on the pulse of the company. We often share data with our clients that cause them to pivot their whole strategy or completely redesign their landing pages.”
Pipeline marketing provides the ability to take a very focused, outcome-based approach to campaign analysis Norwood explains: “Our system creates an instant feedback loop between sales and marketing with the simple action of converting a lead to an opportunity and adding the amount to the opportunity.
We see this instantly and take action [often] days before the director of marketing suggests that we do so, because we’re looking at the data in real time and the director of marketing is in meetings.”
What pipeline marketing boils down to is using your Salesforce records to figure out where your opportunities are coming from. Norwood clarifies: “Traditional PPC companies care about AdWords conversions. We don’t. We care about getting to know what campaigns, ad groups, keywords, landing pages, ads, countries, cities and devices result in opportunities and revenue.”
Businesses that are able to tie marketing attribution to their CRM can get to market more quickly, spend money more wisely, and out-market their competitors. Pipeline marketing offers a unique competitive advantage, and gives business owners and managers an enormous amount of insight.
When you know where your best customers come from, it makes sense to invest more paid search dollars toward finding them. Pipeline marketing leads the way.
In the 1990s, real estate agents posted ads in the newspaper and slapped their faces on the backs of benches. In the 2000s, agents still put ads in papers and spruced up bus stops with their smiles, but began shifting their operations to the Internet – promoting themselves on websites and, later, social media. In the 2010s, ads in papers and on benches still exist, websites are still a staple and social media has exploded, but in the Internet age agents must continue to diversify their marketing strategies. One crucial medium is video.
Every month, YouTube receives more than 1 billion unique visitors. The platform has offered major exposure for real estate businesses around the globe; in fact, the Australian Real Estate Group reported listings that include a video receive more than 400 percent more inquiries than those without.
But the medium is versatile, and as such, requires a strategic approach. Here are a few ideas for agents looking to harness the power of online video in their marketing:
Serialize – A weekly “top listings” list or a monthly dive into market stats (or any other topic your clients will want to return to on a regular basis) is a great way to establish a branded video product that will continuously engage viewers (and potential clients) with compelling content. Keeping potential clients engaged with regular video content will help you stay top of mind for when viewers are ready to buy or sell.
Establish authority – It isn’t fair,but it’s a reality in the lives of agents that their value is often questioned. People forget to ask the question of “what can you do for me” because, in many ways, they feel they already know the answer – which is to say: nothing the Internet can’t already do. Agents know this to not be the case, but someone whose real estate experience is limited to lackluster showings and HGTV series will have a skewed perception of the profession. Video allows agents to look buyers, sellers and hopefuls in the eye and give them a glimpse of the benefits a helpful, professional agent can provide.
Promote your personality – Video is the perfect way for you to show potential clients your personality in action. It answers the question of “what’s this person like” before the initial meeting, giving them a sense of who you are and how you’ll handle their business.
You’re sitting in front of your laptop, staring at a blank screen.
The deadline for the article you need to write is approaching, and you’re struggling to get started when you should be in the final editing stages.
As you sit there trying to put your expertise in writing, a strange insecurity creeps up your spine. You see yourself changing before your own eyes, transforming from a confident expert into a self-conscious amateur.
It’s your own Dr. Jekyll to Mr. Hyde transformation experience.
I’ve been there.
I used to hate writing
Well, actually, it was more like loathing than hating.
Anytime I needed to write anything I’d procrastinate, pretending that avoiding the project would make it go away. Needless to say, the procrastination led to a flurry of rushed writing at the last minute to meet my deadlines, resulting in less than my best work.
But my real problem wasn’t the act of writing. It was fear. Fear of making mistakes, fear that what I wrote would sound stupid, fear that my writing wouldn’t make sense to the reader, etc.
My insecurities were turning me into a monster
So there I was, a guy with more than 15 years of experience, who has won some awards and is even a judge for three international design competitions, worried about sounding stupid.
It sounds ridiculous, but my fear of screwing up made writing a miserable experience for me.
I even used to try to compensate for my fears. I’d use stiff, formal sentences and large, important-sounding words to try to “prove” I knew what I was talking about. Unfortunately, all that did was make me sound like a pretentious jerk.
It was like I was changing from Dr. Jekyll into Mr. Hyde anytime I had to write something.
Then one sentence from my college professor changed everything
I had a job that offered tuition reimbursement benefits, so I decided to take some college classes. One of my classes was a composition class, and the professor gave me the best writing advice I’d ever heard.
“Write the way you talk.”
It can’t be that easy! Seriously? What a liberating idea! That one piece of advice helped me break free of my fears and relaxed my writing style. No more procrastination. No more using large, unnecessary words to try and impress the reader. I could just relax, be myself, and write.
Now before you get the wrong impression, let me explain something: writing the way you talk does not give you permission to write poorly, or to publish content that sucks.
What it does is help break down the mental barriers of fear and procrastination that keep you from being a more engaging, and more productive writer.
Here’s how to use “write the way you talk” to squash your insecurities and avoid sounding like a pompous idiot:
1. Imagine yourself having a chat with a trusted friend
Good writing is like a conversation between the writer and the reader. So when you’re writing, think about how you would explain your topic to a close friend who was sitting next to you.
If you were having a conversation with that person, what words would you use? What would you talk about first? What examples would you give to help them understand your topic? What questions might they ask?
Approaching your writing this way will help you write copy that’s more informal and conversational in tone, that better engages your audience. As it happens, it’s also the best way to write sales copy.
2. Record yourself talking about your topic.
Not sure what you sound like in a conversation? Try recording yourself talking about your topic.
This is especially helpful for people who have clients they talk to on the phone regularly. The next time you’re explaining something to a client on the phone, record the call and listen to it later (Be sure to check the laws in your state first. Some states require you get the other party’s permission before you record). The easiest way to do this is with one of the many available plugins for Skype that do call recording.
3. Take a deep breath, relax, and just be yourself
By writing the way you talk, you can’t help injecting a little of your personality into what you write. After all, you’ll be writing in your own voice, using plain English everyone can understand, and a tone that makes you seem more human than textbook.
Combine that with a few relevant, well-placed personal stories and you have the makings of some irresistible content.
4. Use the same words that you do in your everyday life.
If you write the way you talk, you’ll be more inclined to use common, everyday words that you would normally use in conversation.
This prevents you from sounding like Captain Jack Sparrow using (in my best Johnny Depp impersonation) obtuse and generally confounding speech that makes your readers wish they were drinking rum.
So keep your writing simple and clear without artificially inflated language. A good rule of thumb is: if the average person would need a dictionary to know what your word means, then you need a different word.
5. Toss out the rule book and just start writing
If all the rules about grammar, writing styles, active versus passive voice, and punctuation are adding to your insecurities about writing, toss out the “rule book” for awhile and just write.
Focus on getting the main points of your idea down in your first draft, and don’t worry about anything else.
Once you’ve done that, you can go back and edit the heck out of what you wrote.
Do you notice any obvious errors? Is there anything that could be rearranged to bring more clarity to what you wrote? If so, now’s the time to fix it along with any grammatical, spelling, or other writing problems.
After you’ve made those corrections, leave the article to sit overnight and look at it again in the morning with fresh eyes. Is there anything you can do to make it even better?
6. Enlist the help of a close friend to keep you honest
Want to make sure that what you write actually sounds like you and not someone else?
Enlist the help of a close friend. Have them read what you write, and tell you if it sounds like someone else wrote it. This will help keep you true to yourself, and will force you to be authentic with your writing.
7. Read what you write out loud
One of the first editing tests I put my writing through is reading it out loud. Doing that makes awkward sentences and bad punctuation become obvious, because as you read, you’ll naturally “stumble” over the parts that need to be fixed.
So as you read your writing aloud, pay attention to those places that tend to trip you up — they may need some additional work.
The moral of the story
Get over the fears of messing up or sounding stupid. Just write the way you talk and you’ll be able to knock out your first draft in no time.
If you’re willing to do that, you’ll find that you’ll dread writing a lot less and be able to get more writing done because you’re working on it instead of fearing it.
I’ve been using these tips to guide my writing for several years now, and today I got the best evidence yet that they work.
I was talking with one of my clients on the phone about blogging, and as we were discussing the content for her blog she told me, “Whenever I read something you wrote, you always sound like such an expert. Like you really know what you’re talking about. ”
Need I say more?
So go ahead. Dive in. Who knows? You may even start to like writing.
Recently, I came across an article written by Mamta Chhikara (http://hive.pe/eC), which goes on to list and describe specific qualities that a genuine person possesses:
*They don’t seek attention = Modest
*They’re not concerned with being liked = Confident and Authentic
*They can tell when others are full of it = Intuitive (a good judge of character)
*They are comfortable in their own skin = Self-assured and confident
*They do what they say and say what they mean = Integrity
*They don’t need a lot of stuff = Simplicity
*They’re not thin-skinned = Easy-going
*They’re not overly modest or boastful = Humble
*They’re consistent = Dependable
*They practice what they preach = Genuine, Honest
Always keep these traits in mind not only as business but also as an individual. As entrepreneurs seeking to gain trust, authority, and a growing customer base, we should always be cognizant of the foundation of inbound marketing, which involves:
*Performing due diligence for you and your company
*Performing due diligence for your targeted audience/clients/potential customers
*Engaging with your targeted audience/clients/potential customers
During the process of engagement, we should always be aware of the above traits of genuineness. Your future colleagues and customers will be looking for these traits and will likely have the following thoughts/concerns:
*They want to know if you are confident in your company and/or product.
*They will likely be more concerned about the content/effectiveness of your product and/or character more than shiny “bells and whistles.”
*You should be able to eliminate illegitimate leads or potential colleagues within minutes of engaging
*Your customers and your colleagues want to see that not only do you use the product in question, but also that you use the product well and are able to demonstrate the product’s effectiveness to your colleagues and potential customers
*Most of us can eventually “smell” an inferior product or individual within a short period of time. A usual warning sign is too many “bells and whistles.” Simplicity is the name of the game. If it’s too complicated or if it feels like the product (or individual) is too flashy, then it may be perceived as ineffective or disingenuous.
*Your customers and colleagues want to know that they can reach you during tough times or emergent situations. Are you easily accessible via multiple modalities of communication (i.e., phone, text, email, Skype, etc)?
Now, I am not one who typically needs validation in anything that pertains to who I am as a person but I felt markedly refreshed after reading this article. Am I a genuine person? Hell yes!
Depending upon where you are or whom you are conversing with, we may describe a genuine person as either "the real deal" or "being real." If you are a fan of Larry Wilmore on Comedy Central, then you are already familiar with his catch phrase "Keep It 100." It's the same concept and I believe being genuine is parallel with having integrity as well as the other above traits.
Not only does a genuine & authentic person display his authentic self at all times (obviously with some adjustment for discretionary purposes), but he also "says what he does and does what he says." He is honest about who he is and his actions reflect his character regardless of the setting.
At one point the decision or revelation became the foundation of the Markethive blogging system. Markethive would make WordPress better.
Let me explain. At one time we considered creating a blog software solution, (Blog Press) with templates that would compete with WordPress. I know, stupid. But at the time, there were many who thought it was a good idea.
The argument went like this, “Joomla, Drupal, Blogger, Typepad, etc.” offer others options so we should too. OK, I said, but then the list of competitors grew from WordPress to a much larger list, and not only did it make us another “ME TOO” company instead of an innovative cutting edge customer centric juggernaut.
I made the decision to “not” jump in as yet another standalone (CMS) blog platform like Word Press, but rather to create a powerful system to make Word Press and other CMS far more manageable, with the goal to make them better. Particularly functioning on making the world heavy weight Word Press even better by enhancing the WP platform with a supporting blog platform so multiple content could be constructed with partner contributors, so we could build a Broadcasting system utilizing literaly millions of members social networks, so we could build massive WordPress sites by many members in collaboration producing powerful SEO campaigns.
The whole idea has manifested as one of the most powerful blog collaboration Inbound Marketing systems ever devised, and that is Markethive.
Our roll being to fuse a powerful vertical targeted social network of Entrepreneurs, thereby making the Word Press and other CMS system powerful by the very spirit of the Rise of the Entrepreneur!
The following lists have become our goal to support the top contenders with plugins, widgets and collaborative power and function.
But the video tells it all.
Choosing blogging software can be a scary process, especially if you are new to blogging. There are many different types of engines and content management systems (CMS) that could be used. Picking the software that you’ll need is not an easy task, given the wide variety and types on the Web today.
There are many different aspects to consider when choosing which blogging software to pick. For instance:
Many blog platforms run on either PHP or Rails, but you can find just about any flavor of programming language you are looking for.
What features you’ll need.
The type of software you might choose is very dependent on the type of blog you are going to run. Some blog software is geared more towards new users, while others are more developer and designer-friendly. It’s a matter of finding software based on the features you need.
The size of the software’s community.
If the software community is larger for one blogging system and much smaller and less active than another, the more active community is usually a better choice for software. More active users within the development community means more improvements on the code base, in a faster time frame.
The age of the software.
The age of the software shows the maturity of the blogging platform. Young projects are more unstable, and are more likely to have bugs.
If you are planning on extending the blog.
If you are thinking about adding things like forums, a store, or some other feature to your blog, some blogging software will be more suited to fill that need than others.
The blog software that you choose can have a big impact on your blogging. It’s important to choose the right software in the very beginning, so you can avoid the hassle of migrating to different engine later on. Here are the pros and cons of the 10 most popular blogging systems.
Here is the list of the top 10 blogging CMS solutions:
Alexa Rank (276)-45
WordPress is the most famous and widely-used blogging platform. It features a very intuitive web-based installer so anyone from skill level novice to expert can quickly install the software without any hiccups.
The WordPress community is a major asset to the blogging software. It has one of the largest and most passionate communities of developers and users, so one could find just about any theme or plugin imaginable. The possibilities for extending the software are endless, and many web sites and services have used the WordPress code base to build entirely different applications. WordPress also features integration with Akismet, one of the most effective spam protection systems for blogging software.
WordPress makes it easy for new bloggers to not only install the software, but also to download and install automatic upgrades to plugins with only one click. The learning curve for WordPress is fairly minimal, and if a new user runs in to problems, they can always check the extensive documentation. WordPress is perfect for the new blogger who wants to get his feet wet installing their first blog software, or the advanced developer who’s looking to extend the stable code into something entirely different.
If you are wanting to start a multiple-blog site, you can also check out WordPress MU. WordPress MU is the same code base as the mature WordPress single blog code base, with some added functionality.
Alexa Rank (2,497)-17
Drupal isn’t your typical blogging software. While it has an incredible community behind the code and many blogs use it for blogging software, it’s not just blogging software. Drupal is community software.
Drupal really shines as blog software for a blogging community. Performancing is a great example of using Drupal as a community of blogs. Whether you are wanting to power one blog to a 100, Drupal is an excellent choice.
Another strong point about Drupal is the versatility of the software. It comes packaged with a robust user system, but also a lot of community-friendly features like forums, books (for creating documents in a “book” structure) and a tracker which allows you to follow updates and content that other users have published recently.
Drupal also comes with a large community of developers and modules. With these modules, one could build any type of site or add nearly any sort of functionality to their Drupal installation. Many top-notch sites use Drupal to publish their multiple blogs and user communities. Performancing, Spread Firefox, The Onion, and Ubuntu and others.
Drupal is the perfect blogging software for anyone wanting to add a community to their blog with forums and extensions.
Alexa Rank (2,689)-570
Joomla is a CMS that is similar to the community-friendly Drupal, and gaining traction every day. While Drupal is geared more towards developing community-flavored sites and blogs, Joomla seems to be geared more towards ecommerce (you can read more about the comparison between Joomla and Drupal here).
Regardless of their differences, Joomla is very much like Drupal in the fact that it’s easy to get anything from a simple site to a community blog in minutes. Joomla has a vibrant development community which has created many extensions.
Joomla is perfect for anyone wanting to build a blogging community site, or add ecommerce functionality to a blog.
Alexa Rank (12,422)-2,466
ExpressionEngine is a very robust blogging platform, but isn’t free. The best feature about ExpressionEngine is the feature to publish multiple websites, either using different subdomains on a single domain, or across multiple domains.
You could use one code base to power multiple sites across multiple domains. The software features an extremely clean and simple backend that shouldn’t confuse the blogger. Designers and developers love ExpressionEngine for the fact that it’s quite easy to hand over a site and have the client update his own blog. It’s a solid all-in-one package.
ExpressionEngine is really geared for people who are trying to start a multi-blog site, but anyone can use the software quite easily thanks to its thoughtful and elegant design. A single license costs $99.95, but if you’re running a personal blog you can download the core version of EE.
Alexa Rank (26,959)+3,284
Liferay Portal is a free and open source enterprise portal written in Java and distributed under the GNU Lesser General Public License. It allows users to set up features common to websites. It is fundamentally constructed of functional units called portlets. Liferay is sometimes described as a content management framework or a web application framework. It comes with certain portlets preinstalled. These comprise the core functionality of the portal system.
The reasons to use Liferay Portal for your website are simple: it provides a robust platform to serve your site to all clients, be they desktop, mobile, or anything in between; it provides all the standard applications you need to run on your site; and it provides an easy to use development framework for new applications or customization. In addition to this, Liferay Portal is developed using an open source methodology, by people from around the world. The code base is solid, and has been proved to be reliable and stable in mission critical deployments in diverse industries.
Alexa Rank (32,058)-238
DotNetNuke is an open source platform for building web sites based on Microsoft .NET technology. It is written in VB.NET and distributed under both a Community Edition BSD-style license and a commercial proprietary license. The Community Edition is a popular web content management (WCM) system and application development framework for ASP.NET, with over 6 million downloads and 600,000 production web sites as of October 2010. More than 8,000 DotNetNuke apps are available for purchase on Snowcovered.com. DotNetNuke.com has over 800,000 registered members as of October 2010.
Distinguishes between community (common features) and enterprise (full set of features) editions.
Various modules, and data providers.
Provides language packs for about 60 languages.
Customizable through skins and templates.
Alexa Rank (32,333)+1482
As with Joomla, modx officially supports only MySQL database.
Not just CMS but a PHP framework for Web.
Supports PHP 4.3.11 and above.
Complete control of all metadata and URL structure for SEO (Search Engine Optimization).
Unlimited hierarchical page depth.
Can create custom fields and widgets for templates.
Role-based permissions for the Manager.
Ability to customize the Manager on a per-deployment basis.
Ecommerce integration via Foxy Cart.
Extensions: 622, also known as add-ons.
Alexa Rank (33,631)-292
Concrete5 is an open source CMS started in 2003 as a rapid-design approach to building the now-defunct LewisAndClark200.org, the official site for the Ad Council's National Council for the Lewis & Clark Bicentennial. Concrete5 is developed in PHP and is distributed under MIT software license.
Concrete5 features in-context editing (the ability to edit website content directly on the page, rather than in an administrative interface or using web editor software). Editable areas are defined in concrete5 templates which allow editors to insert 'blocks' of content. These can contain simple content (text and images) or have more complex functionality, for example image slideshows, comments systems, lists of files, maps etc. Further addons can be installed from the concrete5 Marketplace to extend the range of blocks available for insertion. Websites running concrete5 can be connected to the concrete5 website, allowing automatic upgrading of the core software and of any addons downloaded or purchased from the Marketplace.
Alexa Rank (36,110)-8,334
TYPO3 is a free and open source CMS released under the GNU General Public License oriented to small to mid size enterprise-class users. TemplaVoila is an alternative template engine extension for TYPO3. A graphical mapping tool for creating templates is included, an alternative page module, the ability to create flexible content elements and an API for developers. New content element types can be created without programming. TemplaVoila facilitates more flexibility for maintaining web pages than TYPO3's standard templating, while making it possible to enforce a strict corporate design and allowing editors to work with content more intuitively.
Delivered with a base set of interfaces, functions and modules, TYPO3's functionality spectrum is implemented by extensions. More than 5000 extensions are currently available for TYPO3 for download under the GNU General Public License from a repository called the TYPO3 Extension Repository, or TER.
Alexa Rank (36,854)+2,483
Alfresco is an open source enterprise content management system for Microsoft Windows and Unix-like operating systems. Alfresco includes a content repository, an out-of-the-box web portal framework for managing and using standard portal content, a CIFS interface that provides file system compatibility on Microsoft Windows and Unix-like operating systems, a web content management system capable of virtualizing web apps and static sites via Apache Tomcat, Lucene indexing, and jBPM workflow. The Alfresco system is developed using Java technology. John Newton (co-founder of Documentum) and John Powell (a former COO of Business Objects) founded Alfresco Software, Inc. in 2005.
Alexa Rank (80,628)-14,427
b2evolution is another blogging platform that allows for a single installation of a blog, or a whole network of blogs, right out of the box. b2 probably has the weakest developer community behind it, with only a 200+ plugins (compared to Joomla’s 3,400+).
The software features a very easy-to-understand backend, ideal for beginners. b2 also has has a built in stats feature, which is something most blogging platforms don’t have out of the box. The software also features a post editor with a very minimal WYSIWYG editor, which is perfect for a beginning blogger.
While the b2 developer community may not be very large, it has a very promising code base and many people still use b2evolution to power their blogs and blogger communities.
The Irrelevant Others
Alexa Rank (102,395)+10,174
Alexa Rank (104,671)-32,048
Alexa Rank (116,439)-16,212
Alexa Rank (154,173)-43,687
Alexa Rank (174,802)-9,166
Alexa Rank (187,704)-45,048
Alexa Rank (8,419,219)-2,169,053
There is no other blogging platform, that integrates support for all Blog CMS systems, engages social networks so reaches high into the stratosphere, nor institute a learning environment so building competent content teams is easily achieved.