Why Creating Quality Content is so Critical to Marketing Your Business Online?

10 Tips for Creating Compelling ContentThe internet makes it possible for you to reach people anywhere with your marketing messages. However, some of the benefits of old-fashioned marketing where you could look people in the eye and agree on a handshake are just not possible on the internet.

You need to build relationships with prospects and customers in a different way. The content on your website, Facebook page, YouTube videos, webinars, etc., let people know who you are and how you can help them. It lets your prospects sample your products.

For more about this topic, you may want to read:

Website Content: What to Put on Your Small Business Website.

You Need Lots of Unique, Quality Content to Succeed With Content Marketing

The most surprising thing about this kind of marketing, is how much quality content you need to create to be visible on the Net.  When I first started article marketing a few years back, I thought I could just write a few articles on topics related to my business, post them on article sites and that would be enough. Boy was I naïve! Then I realized that some people were posting hundreds — even thousands of articles on those same article sites. My few articles needed to compete with the prolific authors who knew what they were doing. By posting so many articles, they were viewed as experts. There articles were indexed by search engines and showed up more readily than my few entries.

Your Content Needs to Be in Varied Formats

Article marketing is not so popular anymore. Many people who want to know how to do something prefer a video on YouTube, a slide show or an Infographic. So now it’s not only necessary to create lots of content, but that content needs to be in different formats.  You have to satisfy the different learning styles of your prospects — while some people still prefer to read, others are auditory or visual learners. They want to put your information on their iPods or smart phones and listen on their way to work. Or they prefer a video or webinar that provides a visual and auditory experience.

Well, if you’re anything like I was, having to produce all of that content in varied forms, seems overwhelming. I was baffled until I started to learn some of the tricks and tools these master marketers used to fulfill their content needs.

In my search to solve my own need to create lots of quality content, I discovered a lot of tools you might find just as useful as I did. I am sharing 5 FREE article templates that should make it easier for you to create great content faster.

Download your free 5 Article Templates here.

This is enough information to get you started. And by joining my list, you will continue to receive great information about content marketing as the Internet continues to evolve. Well get ready, 2014 promises to be an exciting year for marketing your business online.

Infographics – One of the Hottest Ways to Share Information

Everywhere you look these days people are sharing content in the latest format — Infographics. They are fun, colorful and popular. So I thought I would share one that is particularly appropriate for the readers of this blog. Leave a comment below to let me know if you find this one helpful. Also share what you think of Infographics in particular. Here goes . . .

Anatomy of a blog post infographic

Don’t forget to leave a comment! And share this with your blogger friends.

10 Ways to Create an Effective Online Brand

10 Ways to Create an Effective Online Brand

If you are a struggling solopreneur working from home, you may think branding has little to do with your business. You probably see business branding as something only major corporations with big ad budgets can afford to do. Think again.

If you’re not actively branding your business, you are passing on a wonderful opportunity to strengthen your online position — especially in your niche. And this is a major point that some small businesses don’t get. But before you can create your brand you need a uniform goal and plan to help you keep your  business branding efforts on target.

Here are at least 10 different ways you can help your brand stand out.

1.  Identify your brand clearly. People should be able to tell at a glance what your business is all about the moment they land on your website. Show (don’t just tell) your visitors:

  • What you do
  • Who you are
  • how you can help or even just entertain them

Letting people know what they can expect from you and your business and what they can trust you to deliver , as celebrity Jackie Chan demonstrates here, is what branding is all about.

Business Branding forCelebrity Jackie Chan

2. Pay Attention to Voice. No, we’re not back in your high school English class. And Yes, your business needs to have a clear and distinctive voice for your branding to work. “Voice” is the personality you project across all your websites, social media and other forms of contact.

You control the voice you want to project, but it should fit your mission and your target market consistently, like a favorite pair of slippers.

One of my favorite examples is Nicole Dean, who quickly establishes her humorous voice on her website and doesn’t disappoint later.

Nicole Dean

3.  Know when to get help.  Using the right help at the right time can actually improve your branding. Trying to do it all yourself leads to overload and overwhelm. You’re too close to it which can cause you to lose track of your business and your brand.

As a true CEO, you should build the type of support that will leave you free to focus on customers, clients and your branding.

4.  Manage your Online Reputation.  One negative comment – deserved or not – can really affect your online reputation. Check comments and feedback regularly to see what people are saying about you.

An easy way to do this is to set up a Google Alert for your name and business name. More important than monitoring your reputation online, is making sure you don’t give people a reason to badmouth you in the first place. Stay in touch with your clients and notify them when there are glitches or problems. Process refunds promptly when asked and thank people who do you favors or submit work.

5.  Tell your Brand’s Story. Use your online footprint to let people get to know your brand by showing them where you’ve been, your mission and where you are headed. Your “About Page” is a great place to provide a brief history of your business. What inspired you to start your business? How old is your company? How did it look in the beginning? How has it evolved and how do you serve your customers?

You can all share your brand’s story in your newsletters and press releases but keep in mind that everything you do should be geared to your customer — to help them connect better with you and your business.

6-burts-bees-multi-media-platforms as an example of consistent business branding6.  Consistency is the key to business branding. Interact regularly and consistently:

  • Across all your social platforms
  • In the type of material you share – flyers, surveys, prizes, emails, newsletters, etc.
  • With your unique voice

7.  Use Templates. One way to make it easy to create consistency across all of your marketing venues is to use:

  • Email templates featuring your colors, logo, headshot and signature
  • Flyer templates
  • HTML templates for your newsletter
  • Html templates for your landing and sales pages
  • MS Word templates for business correspondence
  • And for anything else you reuse frequently.

With a template, you don’t have to second-guess things like what your exact shade of sub-head red was. Templates save time and help you instantly brand your business without effort.

8.  Go Visual. What were the hottest trends in 2012? Pinterest and Instagram. I admit that I haven’t done this yet, but be sure to put creating a profile on these two sites on your to-do-list.

To do this effectively:

  • Create more than one pinboard
  • Check out your competitors
  • Develop an overall plan for how you will include these social sites into your marketing
  • Make your pinboards interesting and visually dramatic
  • Trigger emotion when possible
  • Remember to reflect your branding consistently and pin customer content that fits your brand onto your boards as well.

QR code created by Unitag qr code creator9.  Don’t Ignore Mobile. 2011 saw the introduction of QR codes to the western world. Now they’re everywhere because at least one-third of all web viewers are accessing the Internet from a mobile unit. When customers use your QR code, reward them with coupons, discounts or even just great photographs they can share.

Don’t just use a plain, generated QR code:  Have a custom QR code designed containing or incorporating graphics such as your logo – one that makes people instantly think of your business.

10.  Optimize our Signature. Don’t miss the opportunity to make the most of your signature. Include anchor text to your blog or website as well as your tagline. Here’s a good example. . .

QR code created by Unitag qr code creator

I have to admit that I’m not doing all of these things yet, so join me as we continue to fine-tune our business branding online. Leave a comment below to share how you have implemented one of these ideas.

Here’s to your online branding success,

Marcia Ming

Virtual Book Tours are One of the Hottest Ways to Promote Your Book

Savvy Marketing Secrets is participating in two Virtual Book Tours this month for Gina Akao, author of Tales of a Law School Dropout and Connie Dunn, whose most recent tome is “Press Releases Made Easy.” Connie also writes books for children.

I’m still working on my book which I will tell you about when it is completed, but I wanted to encourage you to check out the guest posts these two women have published on this site, and take the time to visit some of the other sites on their virtual book tours.

All of us have been learning about virtual book tours from D’vorah Lansky, publisher of Digital Publishing Café. Whether you are publishing a Kindle book, a hardcover book on Create Space or another self-publishing site, or you’re working with a traditional publisher; you need to know how to host a virtual book tour. And you’ll find no better source than D’vorah, who holds workshops, courses and resources to help you promote your book.

By the way, D’vorah recently published “21 Ways to Launch a Successful Virtual Book Tour.” You definitely want to check that book out if you’re an author preparing to publish a new book.

You may be wondering what is a Virtual Book Tour?

A virtual book tour is like a guest blog post where you develop original content that appears on other blogs. On a specific day, the guest blogger or author appears on the blog to communicate with site visitors, to share information and answer questions. Connie Dunn will visit this blog on July 13th, so mark your Calendar and be sure to check in on that day to learn more from her about press releases.

Gina shared an especially valuable spreadsheet to help you break even on your book marketing efforts. I’m going to hold on to her spreadsheet to use when I promote my own book. She is also featured on D’vorah Lansky’s Virtual Book Tour Hall of Fame. Are you beginning to see how this works?

As a writer, it has been delightful to join this exciting new community of writers who are taking charge of their projects and making them successful.


My own experience with Kindle to-date was to publish a Kindle version of Gloria Hendry’s autobiography — “Gloria; Bond and All.” As some of you may remember, Gloria played Rosie Carver in “Live and Let Die,” the 1973 Bond thriller featuring Roger Moore, and a soundtrack written and produced by Paul McCartney. We are planning a special virtual book tour this month to highlight Gloria’s book, so stay tuned.

If there’s a book in your future, you should definitely take time to check this group out.  It’s an amazing time for authors because you are no longer dependent on publishers to get your book out. So go forth and publish!

Marcia Ming

P.S. You can click on the book covers to purchase any of these books. You should know that Ming Communications Inc., is an Amazon Associate and could benefit from your purchase.

Press Releases: Marketing Secret Still Good in the Digital World

Guest Blog Post

by Connie Dunn

Connie Dunn, authorPress Releases are a “Marketing Secret” that is still good in the “Digital World!” The Press Release is a tool to use for most anything that is happening in your business, such as new programs, product releases, and book launches. While you used to have to snail mail your Press Release to everyone on your news release mailing list, these days most publications accept them via e-mail.

While the Who, What, Where, When, Why, and How are the basics of any press release, there are ways to enhance your release. The way to get your press release noticed is to make it stand out.

Yes, you could use wild colored paper to make it stand out, but since you are no longer snail mailing the paper color won’t matter. Sending it out through your e-mail, you could add a “stationary” background on some e-mail clients. However, this simply makes your file bigger and it could get deleted instead of read!

Press Releases Made Easy: Using News Releases to Market Your Business

What a publication will notice is the words on your press release. Your Headline needs to be clear, yet grab attention. Using a few storytelling techniques, such as creating a good hook, can help your press release get read. Depending on the publication and the reason that you are sending a press release, writing your story within the press release can help get the message in print.

Newspaper journalists normally have a lot of articles to write. However, if they are also in charge of the whole page, which is often the case, they sometimes find the page needs more copy. They are not so likely to go out and do another story, but grabbing your well-written press release means they can just pop it into a blank spot with just a little editing for length.

Sending out press releases does not guarantee any publication will run it, but it may get it to the top of the stack! Then when there is opportunity, it may get printed! With news releases that are hooked to events that will pass, make sure to get them out well in advance. Sending one at the last minute or after it has passed will almost always guarantee that it ends up in their “circular” file.

Connie Dunn is taking a Virtual Book Tour promoting “Press Release Made Easy” (www.conniedunnbooks.com/books/press-releases-made-easy). Visit her Blog at www.conniedunnbooks.com/blog/ or Events Page at www.conniedunnbooks.com/events/.  Follow Connie on her tour from July 1-21. On the 21st, a Trivia Quiz will be posted to her Blogl Prizes will be awarded for the first six people. For details see www.conniedunnbooks.com/events/trivia-contest/

Connie's Signature

5 Brand Centers Your Business Needs, Part 2

Last time we started a discussion about the 5 brand centers your business needs to be successful. Here are the final two centers for you to consider as you build your brand online.

4.  Your Information Products

Information Products like this cover Wine for DummiesCreating information products and not branding them is like throwing away advertising you’ve already paid for. Branding your information products makes them – and you – stand out.

It’s not a question of a good product standing out from bad ones or an exceptional product standing out from good ones:  It’s usually a question of a good product standing out from other good products.

What makes one eBook on wine hit the Amazon best-sellers list and another lurk in limbo, so far back in the search results it remains unseen?

One major factor is branding.

Take the “Dummies” books, for instance.  Seeing the words, “For Dummies” on a book – backed by that distinctive yellow-and-black background – immediately tells people they are getting a useful guide on a topic (in this case, wine) that is going to be easy to understand, broken down into nice, bite-sized pieces.

“For Dummies” has become synonymous with not just easy, but “easiest”.

Notice how “Dummies” brands each information product with:

  • A relevant, appealing tag line that sums up their main mission (“Making Everything Easier!”)
  • Their colors and “header” design
  • Their unique Title fonts

So simple, isn’t it?

And what you don’t see – but everyone knows – is that the “Dummies” books are presented as a series.

Creating a series is a great way to start branding your information products from the word go:  You can use the same elements in Title fonts, header backgrounds, colors, taglines and logos for every single information product in your series – changing only the specific topics.

Naming products allows another opportunity for branding.  Again, the “Dummies” series is a perfect example of this.  The company can now produce any type of “how to” book in the world… and simply by adding “For Dummies” at the end, each book becomes instantly branded and searchable, not only by its own topic keyword (.e.g. “Wine”) but also the keywords “For Dummies”.

Keep this example in mind when branding your books.  Use it as the ultimate example.

5.  Your Social Media

Yes, you can – and should – brand your social media.  Use the same colors, logo, signature, and above all, Profile photo (preferably a recent headshot).

Social Media Expert Mari SmithUsing your company colors even in your headshot is a simple strategy that helps cement in peoples’ heads the fact your profile is related to your company.

Example: For years Facebook and social media expert, Mari Smith always wore turquoise clothing and even accessories in every headshot. Recently she has relaxed this rule – but her trademark turquoise color still appears in the background of her latest Profile photo on her Facebook Page.

Most important, however, in social media:  Creating business pages and branding them with your logo, colors, Profile photo and custom backgrounds.

If you are unable to use the exact same background in each network because of size differences, as with Twitter and Facebook, decide on key graphic elements from your website colors or photos that will carry across all social media backgrounds.  (For example, the gold color and little bee graphic that always appear in Burt’s Bees social media pages.)

But all the branding in the world won’t help if you don’t regularly interact via your social media pages and feeds.  A Facebook page never visited by the owner is less than useful.  In fact, you can turn people off, if they take the time to comment or (especially) ask questions and never receive an answer.

Build these five brand centers into your daily life.  Interact often and let people hear your unique voice.

And that will be your strongest social brand reinforcement strategy of all.