The Cobbler’s Kids and the Blog Post

I ghostwrite blogs for other people. It is safe to say that since I wrote my last blog post, in the summer of 2012, I have written close to 200 blogs…just not for my site. The main reason I don’t write blogs is I am a solopreneur and I often have as much business as I can handle from referrals. But it has dawned on me that since I’m explaining to my clients how having a blog is a crucial way to get attention from search engines, now that original, valuable content has become the highest standard, I should maybe have a little of my own. I also explain to my clients that if their blogs have fresh, relevant information and are funny, insightful, revelatory, they’ll get shared on social media and attract other prospective clients. And that’s true too. So then, what if they looked at my blog? I would come across like a thrice-divorced relationship expert, or like someone who teaches you organization and her closets are a death-trap. Sigh. So 2013, one of my many resolutions is to blog again. Here we...
Responsive Design Provokes Content Controversy

Responsive Design Provokes Content Controversy

I went to a meeting yesterday of the Austin Web Developer Lunch where the discussion was Responsive Design.  In other words, how do you make a website that somebody can happily look at on his big screen TV and also on his iPhone? It was kind of cool, the way the right coding makes things disappear from the screen as it shrinks…goodbye big photo! Goodbye advertisement! Smaller, smaller, until there’s just a strip of content in the middle, like a runway for a toy plane. But these guys were mostly concerned about the coding. I was thinking Wait a minute, how is that advertiser going to feel about his ad disappearing…pop! Right off the screen? And if you are shrinking the screen, do you reduce the written content as well as erase photos or videos? And for heaven’s sake, what will the SEO guys say about that? They didn’t have answers, of course. Their job is to make stuff shrink and grow without winding up with half a photo of someone’s face.  But it’s something content providers and customers need to think about. If your content is shrunk down to the smallest format to fit on someone’s smart phone—and we all know mobile is the wave of the future–what must be there if the page is brought to its most Lilliputian dimensions? I know we’ll be thinking about...

Is SEO Dead?

This is a Fabulous article about the perennial death of SEO…which isn’t really dead. And the importance of great content. Great stories. They need to be great stories to be shared on social media…which is the new bearer of SEO. From...

Another Big Change From Google

When Google + came out, a lot of people said…yeh, who needs it? We’ve already got Facebook, Linked In and a bunch of other social networking sites. Well, Google, as the big kahuna of search, will decide who needs what. Here’s another change from the company that will mean if you want your business found, you’ll sign up for an active spot on Google +. …You don’t have to thank them. Check out this article from Search Engine...
The Problem With Self Conscious Marketing

The Problem With Self Conscious Marketing

Recently I wrote a website for a client who creates data solutions for big manufacturers. During one of our meetings, the execs started to just gab about their relationships with clients. How they helped clients push themselves to the next performance level. And how the clients, wanting even more and better data, pushed them to develop new tools. It was like athlete buddies spurring on each others performance on the field. The notes I took turned into the company’s About page. Almost verbatim. Because that IS what this company is about. What’s your company about? Over more than 20 years writing about businesses and organizations, I’ve discovered that the best nuggets of information come after you’ve been talking for a while. I’ve learned to help people drop their guards and their posturing and all the messaging they think they’re supposed to get across, and just start talking about this business that they are passionate about–even if they don’t feel passionate all the time. People respond to what is genuine. Get past all the self conscious marketing and you wind up with a person or a group of people who genuinely care about their customers, about being better, about being innovative and providing a valuable service. But the minute they start using all the buzzwords that mean that, they become part of the noise. Marketing tools like persona development and lead generation and conversion funnels are actually there to make people who really could benefit from your company easier about making a decision. They’re not there to force round pegs down your square hole. Next time you’re thinking about your...

Google Penguin Rewards Great Content

Some website owners still think it’s a good idea to stuff their content with keywords. But Google has an ongoing campaign to get rid of “stuffed” content. Its latest update, Google Penguin, penalizes excessive keyword usage and gratuitous linking. So forget trying to game the system and focus on creating worthwhile information. That’s what you want from others’ websites, right? Check out this article by Content Marketing Institute: How to Survive Google Penguin...
I Love John Moe and Other Content Topics

I Love John Moe and Other Content Topics

I’ve been putting off blogging. Because with everyone spouting and respouting the same ideas it just felt like word pollution–blogging because Google likes new content or people will drift away if you cease to spew for even a few weeks. So for God’s sake, put words to paper—metaphorically speaking. Yuck. So from now on, I’m going to write about what I love. And all of it is about content. Because your content should be about what you love. I am a writer, because I love words. When someone writes something powerful, I literally get a thrill. When someone writes something true or surprising, I feel noble. I just heard someone say what’s true. And I connect with it. Some days, let’s face it, you feel like you’re alone in the universe of people whose highest goal is to be “hot.” So when someone says something distinctly true, without regard to hotness, it’s just so refreshing. My love of words is not limited to one genre. I love the children’s stories of Rudyard Kipling because he makes up words that are better than real words. Words like “Patchy-blatchy” to describe shadows. I love listening to John Moe of NPR’s Marketplace Tech Report because he describes the mechanism that makes a robot jellyfish move and concludes with:  “And that is neat.” Nothing all cool and techy. He’s like a really smart kid let loose in NASA’s gadget room. I also love old literature with words like “whereupon.” I love asking clients what their favorite part of what they do is. Their passion, their favorite client, their dreams…and having them look surprised,...
Why A Unique Brand is So Hard

Why A Unique Brand is So Hard

A friend of mine who is also a content person recently told me all of her clients want their new websites to look like Apple’s. And, she informed me, they all think they’re being innovative when they say that. It’s not easy to be original. Heck it’s not even easy to copy people who are original, ask John Moore of Brand Autopsy who coaches people on how to do it. When you think about how each of us is unique–the fingerprints and all–the question arises, why is it so difficult to have a business that reflects that uniqueness? I think it’s because it’s scary to actually present what is original about us. We want to copy some other original business owner who tried to do something different and succeeded. It’s the old conundrum of “I thought I knew the answer and I almost raised my hand….” We know how to be ourselves, to be original. But we’re afraid to try out in public, where our businesses are on the line. And then somebody else does something really fresh and gets credit for brilliance and starts making millions. And we kick ourselves, again. I’ve been struggling on what to blog about in 2012 so as not to just be churning out the same old crap many blogs do, repeating the same information and making everybody crank the volume higher and higher just to be heard. So I’ve decided some topics I’m going to cover. The premier topic is this: Your content is your canvas. Your business is an organism. It must be constantly evolving to survive. That’s how things go...
One True Sentence

One True Sentence

It’s cold and gray in Austin, which it almost never is and I’m reading A Moveable Feast. Hemingway wrote that it was cold and gray in Paris and he couldn’t get started writing. It happens. He admonished himself to write one true sentence. That’s been my problem. There’s so much emphasis on publishing lots of fresh content that a lot of junky words are being flung into the atmosphere with the hope of attracting customers. Like throwing fish heads into the water as bait. It has made me not want to write. Why should the interwebs be burdened with more fish heads? Besides, I’ve been writing for clients and not for myself and that’s the truth of it. But here’s something valuable. What if we all started 2012 with one true sentence? And what if we made that sentence about the thing that we really love about our businesses? Besides getting paid. For example, I know an HR expert who just loves finding the absolute right employee for her clients. I know a consultant who just loves giving her clients a piece of information that unlocks scary puzzles about how to do their business. I love writing something for clients that they love because it was just what they wanted to say. What is your one true thing? If you don’t know, you need to find out, or remember, or switch jobs. Figure it out and put it in plain language. “This is what I love about what I do……” Blog...
24 Blog Ideas Every Business Can Use

24 Blog Ideas Every Business Can Use

Blogging’s not easy. Don’t let people tell you different. It’s not just spitting out words. It has to be relevant, interesting, full of your personality and grammatically clean. Misspellings and other grammar mistakes are worse that a giant mustard stain on your tie. Here’s help to get started at least with the ideas part. What follows are 24 blog ideas that can be adapted to any business: artists, retailers, manufacturers, construction, you name it. Think about the questions, answer them in a blog. See what you can do with them in your business! 2012 Trend Predictions in Your Industry What was the most popular product or service you handled this year and why? What is the biggest change that is taking place in your industry? Who were some customers who made your year? What’s the handiest gadget in your office? How is social media changing YOUR business? What do you perceive as clients’ biggest issues right now? What events impacted your customers the most over the last year or few years? How can you save clients money? Blog it, do it. How can you make clients lives easier? Rinse, repeat. What are five new apps that would really help your clients or customers? Are there any tax breaks you know of that your clients or customers could take advantage of? Are you planning any major sales or are there seasonal fluctuations when they can expect deals? Are there upcoming events, festivals, etc. that you and your customers specially support? Are you planning any changes to your business model or brand and why? What’s unusual about the culture of your...