My Guest Post is Up

This is a quick note to say that my guest post at #customerlove went live yesterday – and was quickly superceded by two others! Hey, you’re only at the top of the heap for a while!

You can read my guest post at the #customerlove website so do pop over and do that. It was a great experience writing a guest post and the layout of the website was very familiar to me as it was a WordPress site just like this one!

I didn’t choose the picture, LaVonne did and I think she did a great job. The challenge is nearly over now and things have not gone quite as planned for me, but I am hoping to get something up and running before the end of November.

If you have any questions that you would like me to answer on business writing or even starting a small business, then let me know either in comments or on the contact form.

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Writing a Guest Post

Photo on Flickr by schmorgie13

In a few days’ time, I shall be guest-posting on the #customerlove website! I have finished my post and just need to proof-read it before sending it over. Guest posting is a great way to bring more exposure to your blog.

What is a guest post? It’s when you write the equivalent of a normal blog post but you write it for someone else. It’s not always easy, but you open yourself to another blogger’s audience and it is a great way of bringing your website to the fore.

So here’s a few tips on guest posting.

– Make sure that the website that you want to submit a guest post to will accept them.

– Read the guidelines before submitting. Some websites just want an outline of what you are going to write about. Others will want the full post.

– When submitting to the really popular websites, try and make your post stand out. Use popular references and aim your post at the target audience of the blog

– Share real experiences and make sure that the message is clear

– Proof-read several times through before hitting ‘send’.

There are benefits to the website receiving the guest post too. It can give the writer of the blog a rest or a chance to guest post themselves. It offers another point of view or it may even offer information that they themselves are not expert in. Guest posts are a great idea for all concerned and they can be a great way to bring your blog to the fore.

If you are unsure on how to write a guest post, then there are some really fantastic post-writing tips from James Chartrand at Men with Pens which you can find here.

If you want me to guest post for you, or if you would like to guest post for this blog, then email me at sarahthecreativewriter@gmail.com or fill out the form on the contact page.

Photo Link: Pencil in Hand

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Marketing Through a Recession

http://www.flickr.com/photos/martinlabar/2730350289/

I don’t know what it’s like where you are, but here in the UK, we appear to have a bit of a Recession!

Government cuts are biting, public services are being reduced and people are losing their jobs. None of this is a good thing for business confidence. Businesses everywhere are looking where to cut costs, keep finances trim and avoid waste. Everyone is looking for the green shoots of recovery.

In order to aid the recovery of the economy, all businesses need to generate new customers and bring in new business. If you are a business and you are relying on your usual customers, then you not in the right position for growth. Usual customers and their circumstances can  change. In looking inwards at cutting costs, companies can forget to look outwards for new business.

T

ake all new ideas on board when you are looking for new business. Network regularly, meet with people face to face and use social media to make new contacts.

Keep your website regularly updated with new Search Engine Optimised content which will enable it to rise to the top of the search rankings. Remember that older sites have more currency with Google. Keep the content fresh and interesting, even adding videos, podcasts and graphics to show off your company in a new light.

Don’t neglect traditional forms of marketing either. Brochures and newsletters are attractive ways of introducing your company to potential customers and last longer than an email. However collecting email addresses does enable you to introduce short term offers which may entice new custom.

If you are a services-based company, then re-contact old clients and see if there is anything they need. Solving other company’s problems is an age-old way to encourage new business but it works.

Five Signs of Growing Businesses

1. They are continuing to invest in marketing and sales. Keep marketing, even when business is good because you never know what is around the next corner.

2. They value their employees. Offer your employees incentives to bring in new business.

3. They are open and transparent with new clients. If new clients can see how you operate then this is much more confidence-building than secrecy and refusal to share how you do things until the contract is signed.

4. Flexibility – the companies that are best placed to ride through a recession are those that are able to offer what the client needs. Every client is different and adapting to suit are the marks of a company that will survive.

5. Accountability. Not only to the client, producing work that is fit for purpose and on time, but also to the finance department. Stay on top of tax bills, VAT and invoices and your company will thrive.

A recession is always good news for some and bad news for others. Keep investing in the right things like marketing and the new business will help you to survive the recession and perhaps even thrive.

Photo Link: Blueberry Flower Buds Against the Sky

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Promoting Your Blog

Photo on Flickr by theparadigmshifter

So, you’ve got a blog.

You’re way ahead of many other companies in your niche who do not yet have a blog. Congratulations!

Now for the bad news: there are lots of other companies out there in your niche who not only have a blog, but they are managing to build whole communities out there. People are reading their blog regularly and commenting on them rather than trying to sell them blue pills!

How do you get there?

There is no quick fix to this. A brand new blog is not taken much notice of – it’s something that happens every day, every hour, every minute, even every second. There are steps that you can take to bring your blog and therefore your company website to the attention of the world.

1. Tell everyone about it. Friends, family, colleagues, employees and particularly customers.

2. Invite comments. Start a discussion, ask a question, even run a poll.

3. Post regularly using relevant content

4. Post comments on related blogs

5. Guest post on related blogs.

Those last two are some of the most important things you can do. If you can post comments on related blogs which feature highly in the search engines and leave a link to your site, then quite often these are the first pages that Google will feature.

BUT just leaving spam links is not good Netiquette!

Actually read the article, comment on an aspect of it and make a salient point. That way you are seen as someone who is able to make a contribution to a conversation rather than just spam and leave. Do it regularly, every time you have a new post up if possible.

It will still take time.

The next step is to guest post on somebody else’s blog. Most blogs accept guest posts. Check out their guidelines for what they are looking for, then consider what you could write for them. Choose a subject where you are confident, knowledgeable and can offer information. Wrap it up attractively with an attention-grabbing headline and offer an outline to the blogger.

They can only say. ‘no’.

They might say, ‘yes’.

And if you get accepted, then you will bring a whole host of new readers to your blog, hoping to find a similar mine of great information.

Don’t disappoint. Make sure that your blog is up to scratch too. Put just as much effort into your posts as you do your guest posts and your blog will soon be on the way up.

By the way, the irony of this has not escaped me! This is a fairly new blog, clawing its way up through the ranks of millions of business writing blogs. I’m in it for the long haul. I’m always delighted when occasionally blogger heroes come to call, but I’m still developing my regular community. Bear with me and we can do great things together.

And if you need any little blue pills? I get offers every day!

Photo Link: Suession Megaphone

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Finding Photos for Your Blog

Photo on Flickr by mochida1970 (Highly Honored Photographer)

A picture is worth a thousand words….as a writer maybe I have to disagree with that!

There’s no doubt, however that finding a great photo to liven up your blog entry can improve your blog.

So, how do you choose and find photos that suit what you are trying to say through your company or business blog?

The picture is the last thing I choose before posting the blog entry to the site. The post is written and edited before I even think what kind of picture I am going to use.

In the beginning, I fell back on using my own photos. I enjoy photography and have quite a nice range myself, but it wasn’t long before I wanted photos of things that I had not thought to take photos of: a handshake, a work bag and fireworks. Well, I had taken pictures of fireworks, but they hadn’t come out too well because they were taken on a small snappy camera as opposed to a big digital SLR!

Finding Photographs on the Internet

It’s easy to find photos on the Web, but it is important to make sure that you are allowed to use them on your blog. Many are available for use on blogs, but you need to find out whether you can use them on a commercial blog. Never use a photo without making sure that you have tracked down the owner and checked that it is OK to do so.

I use Google Images, the Advanced Search to find a photo. Enter one or two keywords to help you find what you are looking for. Then use the drop down menu by Usage Rights to select labeled for reuse. There is also an option to select labeled for commercial reuse but this returns far fewer results. I think it is better to find a bigger selection and then ask the owner’s permission.

Look through the photos. The best ones tend to be on a Flickr stream or Creative Commons licence. When you find the one you want, you may have to contact the owner if you will earn money using the photo.

Credit Your Photos

For my blog, I tend to link back to the original photo with a credit. I also leave a comment under their photo with a link so that they can check it out for themselves and correct me if I have got anything wrong.

The final thing I do before posting the photo to the blog is to ensure that the image quality is low to avoid using too much space on the website. Pictures can take up a lot of room.

It is also a good idea to keep a list of photos and the links on a spreadsheet so that you know where to find them should you need to.

Choosing the right photo is an important part, even of a writing blog. Getting it right helps your blog to stand out from the others in the same niche.

Photo Link: The Photographer

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