Where did I put that idea?

When managing a business, blogging may be the last thing on your mind due to the massive list of responsibilities you have with day to day operations. Many businesses choose to hire professional bloggers to assist with their blogging efforts while others face the challenge head on with hopes of growing their audience. Chances are, if you started your own business, you probably have a creative streak that makes occasional appearances. The key to growing your audience is partnering that creative streak with what your audience needs. Ask yourself questions such as: What information can my audience benefit from? What type of free tools could help them grow their business or brand?

What you are writing should offer some benefit and potentially solve a problem for someone in your audience. Here are some ways that you can keep track of what you want to write while offering help to larger audiences of people.

Evernote

Evernote is a great tool to help your store your blogging ideas while you are on the go. You can create notes with info, links, etc.  These nice little notes can be used to outline your next big blog idea and help you prevent forgetting the idea. Big ideas, little details, and everything in between. Anything that matters to you can be captured in a note, ready for when you need it. The tool is free with upgrade options.

Evernote

Trello

Trello can be used to categorize your ideas using lists on boards. As creative ideas pop in your head, you can add “cards” that have a variety of features to help you stay organized and assign deadlines. These cards can even be placed under categories.

Trello

Typed Doc

If you want to keep it old school, you can use a plain Word doc to type up your creative ideas as they hit you throughout the day. I would suggest creating folders on your desktop for categories and saving the Word docs in folders based on topics. This may be an easier way to ease into writing blog posts for new writers. The process is a little less intimidating.

Blog Journal

Do you love going through the stationary section of office supply stores? Maybe you spend 30 minutes or more looking at journals in TJ Maxx or Michael’s. If you love being able to keep a journal with you, using a journal can be a great way to capture your Blog posts. This is for the person that does not mind retyping things after they have written them.

Now that you have a few ways to keep track of your Blog ideas, don’t forget to plan your Blog posts. Here is a free Blog Planner from Designer Blog.

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Marketing Starter Steps

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Hey! You just developed a new product or service right? Now what? You think that you don’t have time to focus on your marketing but you actually do! Here are a few steps to get you headed in the right direction.

* Identify the Top 20 blogs with content that connects with your target audience. These will provide inspiration and help you better understand preferences of your target audience.

* Create a blog. I would suggest using WordPress. The blog can act as an informational source of supportive content for your product or services.

* Write a brief 200 word or less blog post about subjects related to the product or service twice per week. When you write blog posts, place hyperlinks to websites with supportive content within select words or phrases that are key words related to this content as this will help establish backlinking and associate your Blog content with like posts. ( Go to http://www.eventsforlessllc.com) and read the most recent blog post. You will see words highlighted and those are the ones with hyperlinks to sites with like content) Select the same day and time when you post to your blog so that your audience knows when to expect the posts.

* Create a Twitter Page for the product or service as well as a Facebook page.

* Repost Blog posts on Twitter and Facebook and utilize hashtags related the the product’s content and target audience. If you want to take things a step further, attach  Buffer to your blog and it will post to your Twitter and Facebook for you all at once. You can also sign up for the Hootsuite to help preload posts in advance and engage with your audience when you do not have time.

* Follow the Top 20 Blogs that you identified above on Twitter and Facebook. @ all of your Twitter posts to those blogs and people, products and companies related to the content of your product or service.

* This will boost the Search Engine Optimization of the offering over time and help you gain more awareness at a steady rate.

In addition to the steps outlined above, I would eventually have a Press/Media Kit designed and submit it to media sources aligned with your product or service. There is a step by step guide on how to make a press kit that I wrote at http://www.eventsforlessllc.com

Get to work! Make your offering a success!

10 Warrior Strategies Using Links & Hacks to Grow Your Business

Warrior

When you’re in a service-based or consulting business, having robust processes in place is the key to growing your businesses. There may be several businesses that offer the same service or product but the key to success is being able to differentiate yourself in the marketplace. The following are useful materials that will assist you with staying abreast of marketing techniques as well as ways to differentiate your business. These tools will also help you build your skills while crafting a successful image of your personal or professional brand.

A Complete Checklist for Social Media Managers

This guide by Social Times shows you how and when to engage with your audience.

How to Make More with a Social Media Plan

This post by Events For Less helps you understand your target audience, where to potentially find them and the best times to reach them.

Social Media Marketing Cheat Sheet

This guide by 360i uk shows you how to best utilize each social media platform.

7-Step Social Media Marketing Plan

This guide by Sprout Social shows you how to maximize your social media strategy.

The Beginner’s Guide to Social Media Marketing

This guide by Juntae DeLane helps beginners navigate their way through social media

5 Tips to Improve your Content Marketing Strategy

This post by Business 2 Community outlines how to set realistic goals for your Content Marketing strategy and how to measure for success.

How to Get Better at E-Mail Marketing

This guide by Monique Malcolm helps you craft professional and creative e-mail marketing campaigns.

How to Boost Your Email Marketing Open Rates

This blog post by Force Marketing helps you understand how to maximize your content when utilizing e-mail marketing campaigns.

How to Get Word of Mouth

This post by Referral Candy gives awesome real life success stories of businesses that creatively applied strategies to grow their brands.

How to Build a Reputation When You’ve Just Started Your Business – Five Simple Steps

This entertaining video from Marie Forleo is very helpful with explaining how to get your business off to a great start!

The posts listed above are just some of the many great tools that can be used to assist with growing your business. For more helpful ideas around how to grow your business using digital marketing and events, check out Events For Less!

HOW TO REACH MORE USING A PRESS KIT

pRESS KIT PIC

If you are a start-up champ, broker, personal consultant, or large commercial company, you need a press kit. It’s great if you have implemented a solid marketing campaign. However, you will eventually want media coverage and you will need a press kit in order to properly connect with media.

WHAT IS A PRESS KIT?
A press kit is like a resume for your company. It simply provides an informational layout of your business. This layout can be used to best address questions of potential investors, clients, and media sources. Your press kit should reflect the spirit of the company and or your product or service as well as be engaging to your audience.

WHAT DO YOU PLACE IN A PRESS KIT?
You press kit could vary based on your audience. However, you will want to keep good samples of company materials, articles, interviews, statistics, client testimonials, philanthropic projects, etc. readily available for your press kit. Your kit for potential investors should look different than you kit for potential clients.

In order to be ready for press kit preparation, make sure that you have the following items prepared:

  1. Pitch Letter: Your pitch letter should be no more than a page long and it should grab the attention of your readers. The letter should outline what the press kit includes as well as include your company contact information. Make it easy for the press to find you.
  2. Stats & Facts: Outline your company’s story, history and mission. You should also include brief bios of founders and or chief officers. Also include success rates if applicable.
  3. Financial Statements: If you are meeting with potential investors, you should include quarterly financial reports, applicable analytics, and future projections.
  4. Product or Service Review: Briefly explain the product and or service that you provide along with features and benefits. Don’t be afraid to spice things up by adding digital media to this portion of the press kit.
  5. Recognition Pieces: In this area you should include interviews with media sources, articles or write ups in local and or national newspapers or magazines, press releases, online interviews, Issuu magazine articles, video of your company in action, and or media placed on YouTube.

HOW TO STAND OUT:
If you are mailing your press kit, be sure to place it in a nice folder and have the contents professionally printed. Use photos and pops of color to best connect with your target audience. If sending electronically, include media on the intro page to catch the attention of the reader. Also, remember to follow-up within a week of sending a media kit in order to ensure it’s arrival as well as answer any questions.

HOW TO MAKE MORE WITH A SOCIAL MEDIA PLAN

Social Media Plan Pic

Do you want to do more with your personal or company branding? This post will walk you through how to develop and implement a social media strategy that best works for you.

DO YOU KNOW WHO YOUR TARGET AUDIENCE IS? DO YOU KNOW WHERE TO FIND THEM?

It is important to understand who your target customers are by effectively developing customer personas for your target audience. Spend some time focusing on understanding your audience’s generation, social media usage, interests, hobbies, etc. as it will assist you with understanding how you want to effectively market to each segment.

DO YOU KNOW THE SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORM THAT BEST ALIGNS WITH YOUR TARGET AUDIENCE?

With understanding your target audience, you will also want to know where to reach them. For example, LinkedIn is great for reaching business professionals, and Pinterest is a great platform for reaching your female target audience. However, when posting on LinkedIn, make sure you have set-up a business page for your company unless you want the company branding and messaging directly associated with your personal profile. When posting on multiple social platforms such as  Facebook and Twitter, you can also apply helpful apps such as Buffer to help you post content at the same time on multiple platforms.

DO YOU KNOW THE BEST TIMES TO POST?

Creating content can be time consuming and you want to make sure that you catch up with your target audience at the right time. The following are the best times to post by site:

Facebook: 1pm-4pm

Twitter: 1pm-3pm Mon-Thurs

LinkedIn: 7am-9am, 5pm-6pm

Google+: 9am-11am

Pinterest: 2pm-4pm, 8pm-1am

STEPS THAT YOU CAN STICK TO:

1) Carve out time to research the content/topics that will connect with your target audience.

2) Think through the type of content that will best connect with you audience. Infographic, Article, You Tube Video, etc.

3) Research content on Twitter and Pinterest. This is a great way to find inspiration for your next post.

4) Understand how to apply hashtags when posting on TwitterInstagram and tags when blogging.

5) Apply social media ad campaigns effectively to build awareness around your brand.

6) Analyze your website statistics using Google Analytics in order to see if your social media posts drive traffic to your website.

Have fun with your published content and continue learning! Being able to effectively connect with your audience using social media will be a key component of driving more traffic to your site for increased conversions.

Hack for Portable Desserts

Cupcakes done

After posting my luxury Events For Less cupcakes on Facebook, many people asked: “How did you make your cupcakes portable?” The following are steps for ensuring your cupcakes get to their destination safely while looking great!

You will need the following materials:

  • Bouquet of silk flowers-Pull the blooms off of the stem
  • Roll of Shrink wrap-Cut 6″X6″ squares
  • One pack of clear plastic cups-Make sure they are large enough to fit a cupcake
  • Tissue Paper in your color of choice-Cut 3″x3″ squares
  • One pack of clear or patterned treat bags
  • Ribbon-Cut into 7″ strips
  • Cupcakes that do not have frosting on them yet
  • Pastry bag loaded with frosting of your choice and tipped
  • Clear tape

Supplies

Step 1: Crumble tissue paper and place at bottom of plastic cup.

Step 2: Sit Cupcake in cup

Step 3: Ice your cupcake. Make sure to leave 1/4 inch space at top so that you can cover.

Step 4: Place shrink wrap square on top of cupcake cup

Step 5: Blow dry so that wrap shrinks around cup

Covered Cupcakes

Step 6: Place cup in treat bag

Step 7: Twist bag and tie ribbon at base of cupcake cup top

Step 8: Spread out the bag at the top

Cupcake Wrapped

Step 9: Double side tape silk flower to top of cupcake top

Step 10: Place in a decorative basket or on decorative tray

For more supportive event planning ideas, visit the Events For Less.