16 Dec

3 LinkedIn Tools to Help You Become a Rockstar

So You Want to be a LinkedIn Rockstar?

LinkedIn Rockstar

Not nearly as popular as Facebook, Linkedin was launched nine months prior to the social media giant in May of 2003. Currently, LinkedIn boasts 313 million members. Although not near as many users as Facebook, LinkedIn reaches out to an entirely different target market – mainly, business professionals.  And of their 313 million members, most of them are still not sure how to use LinkedIn effectively.

Are you one of them? Are you using LinkedIn to its fullest potential?

I’m going to tell you about 3 LinkedIn tools that will help you reach that rockstar status on this power-house social network. They are:

  • Publishing Platform
  • Groups
  • Showcase Pages

Let’s take a closer look…

Publishing Platform:

Consider this as similar to a blog post. This is where you can feature your articles, and build your authority as the expert in your field. Share your articles with your LinkedIn network. Find this feature in the Share / Status Update box. Look for the pencil icon, click it and you’ll be brought to a page where you can write, format, and publish your articles.

Groups:

Groups have been around from the beginning (well, at least as long as I’ve been using LinkedIn). Members join groups where everyone have the same interests. They share content, information, ask questions, make professional contacts, and even post and look for jobs.  In groups you have the opportunity to share your expertise by building relationships with colleagues and potential customers; and by participating in discussions. You can further your expertise by creating your own group which focuses on your niche.

Showcase Pages:

This little known feature extends upon your Company Page. Showcase Pages were introduced in November 2013, and they enable brands to showcase a particular product, service, or campaing within a business. With Showcase Pages you can target your specific audience more effectively.  Find this feature in the Edit section of your profile. Click the blue Edit button and select “Create Showcase Page”. You can create up to 10 of these specialty pages.

LinkedIn may not be as popular as Facebook, or even Twitter, but it wasn’t meant to be popular — it was meant to be an effective business networking tool for business owners.

Do you think these tools can help you rock LinkedIn? I challenge you to chose at least one new tool.  Look at what’s happening in your LinkedIn account right now – then monitor what happens over the course of 30 days. Bookmark this post, and after 30 days, come back here to share your findings in the comment box below. What has changed? Were you able to reach out to new connections and build a relationship with them?

Tell me all about it…

Eydie :)

 

09 Dec

How to Publish a Successful First Book

Janice ReedMany of my readers and email newsletter subscribers ask me how to publish a book. Since I haven’t written one, except for e-books, I’m not the authority on how to publish books. However, one of my loyal readers of Ask Eydie in the Press Enterprise, Jan Reed, author of Sitto’s Kitchen, has. I’ve asked Jan to give us some tips. Let’s take a look at what Jan has to say about writing your first book….

So, you have a book in your head and wonder how to get it published!

You may have had that book idea in mind for ages, but the whole project seemed overwhelming!  And you may be puzzled about how to go about publishing your book.  An intimidating project begins with small steps in order to take that big leap into publishing your first book.  Let’s tackle that!

Traditional or Self-Publishing?

This organized approach to publishing should help you decide whether to go Traditional Publishing or to go “Indie” and do a Self-Published book.  You may have read many books, checked many more on Amazon or other book sites and thought it daunting to publish.  Actually, my first tries at traditional publishing helped me prove it was possible, although the self-publishing route turned out to be much more within my reach.

How Did I Begin?

After getting my project together, I started with the traditional route first.  I wrote letters to editors of traditional book publishers, but only in my genre, in order to target the right ones.

Job One:  Research the publishers in your particular style, be it fiction, biography, novels, whatever. This will save time by targeting only those publishers who produce books like the one you have in mind. It also helps scope out your future competition as well!  When you have that list, get a current address list of editors working for those publishers.  Then prepare a good Query Letter before you contact them.

So, what’s a query letter? Think of it as a tease…a way to give the editor a taste of what your book will be about.  Many publishers will have information about presenting your query to their editors on their websites. This request or query letter is traditionally a way to convince the editor to consider your book.

After preparing and re-reading the letters to make sure they’re perfect, (an imperfect one will be instant rejection) send them out and wait.  I can even remember being excited by receiving rejections because they made me feel like a big-time would-be author!   I discovered that a couple of editors showed interest and in fact, one asked that I contact her within a year because the publishing industry was in a downturn and could not take on new projects at that time.  That bit of information prompted me to consider self-publishing.

I know, what you’re thinking….self-publishing, vanity press, all of those distasteful words make it sound like a bad idea.  But, as with any new direction you take, explore your options! I began researching my category (cookbooks) and looked for the publishers’ names.  Many were published in the Far East in order to keep the cost down. It occurred to me that this was a prime reason for some of my rejections, as cookbooks are more expensive to produce.

Job Two: More research!  I checked out all of the Self-Publishers and then seriously considered “Going Indie.”  Thanks to the internet, I was able to compare publishers’ services since they spelled out every bit of what they would or wouldn’t do for me.  Herein lies the risky part…I needed to pick one!

Job Three: I started by comparing my favorite self-publishers’ books and authors.  I realized I had to offer color photos of the foods in my cookbook, which led me to consider this cost.  I soon realized that I’d only be able to afford color photos front and back with black and white shots inside.  In the case of a novel, this may not be a prime consideration, but look at what types of novels they favor or publish most.  How are they illustrated or formatted?

Let’s Get Started!

These first three steps are so helpful in giving you a direction or goal and are the beginning of your relationship with your self-publisher.  My publisher had concise requirements on their website, completely spelling out what they expected of me, as an author. I checked examples of their format, photo requirements, author services, etc.  In fact, if possible, research and compare publishers while writing your project.  It’ll help provide a more complete project when you are ready to publish or even before that, as you begin to put words to paper!

Are you planning on publishing a book?  Already have a project?  Ready to get started?

I would love to hear about your experiences or answer any questions you may have, or leave your questions in the comment box below.

Sitto's Kitchen, Janice ReedJanice J. Reed
Author of Sitto’s Kitchen
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02 Dec

Business Growth: Do You Want it Bad Enough?

Taking care of 2015

I trust that you all enjoyed your Thanksgiving Holiday and that you’re all sufficiently stuffed with turkey and all the trimmings. With Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday behind us – we now move forward into the Christmas and Hanukkah season. But – before even thinking about running out to buy those gifts for your loved ones – there is one “loved one” that you should also be taking care of before 2015 rolls in….

Your business!

Responsibilities

How Bad Do You Wan tItThroughout 2014, I’ve had business owners – particularly new business owners – call me for help. They talk about needing a new website, starting email marketing campaigns, and even begin to blog. During our consult, I tell them about the responsibilities that come along with the things they need.
What? Responsibilities? YES! You, as a business owner have responsibilities when it comes to marketing your business. Sure, I can build your website, but YOU need to provide the content. When it comes to social media, YOU still need to be active and present on the social sites. You still need to commit to the time and effort it takes to promote yourself on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, or any of the other social venues. Oh, and blogging, yup – YOU DO need to write your articles. Hiring a copywriter or purchasing PLR (public label rights) are fine and dandy, but a copywriter could really get costly, and PLR articles aren’t written in your words – with your passion for your business behind it.

So, how badly do you want it?

How strong is your passion and dedication to your business? If you don’t want to do the things you need to do in order to grow your business, why then ARE YOU in business in the first place?

What to do?

  1. Figure out what it is you want. Set your goals. Write them down, as well as how you’re going to reach them.
  2. Commit yourself to those goals. Oh, and make sure your goals are attainable. If not, you’re setting yourself up for failure.
  3. Create a calendar to help you stay on track.
  4. MOST IMPORTANT PIECE OF ADVICE: Hire someone who can help you reach your goals. Most of us can’t build our businesses alone. We all need help in one way or the other. But please – hire a professional. That teenager looking for a few extra bucks just doesn’t have the business skills and know-how that a professional has (I’ve run into this more often than not. It totally scares me that a business owner would trust a non-professional).
  5. Listen to that professional. He/she has been around the block a few times before.
  6. If you are passionate about your business – then do the things that need to be done. Don’t whine about it being too much work. If it’s too much work, then you’re NOT passionate about your business. Get the heck out – and find a job!
  7. Don’t procrastinate. Just do it!

How passionate are you about your business? What have you dedicated yourself to in order to make your business successful? Share your experiences with us by using the comment box below.

Eydie :)

25 Nov

What’s New On The Net!

The Internet: Change is inevitable

I can’t believe that we’re getting so close to winding down 2014. Have you reached the goals you set for yourself? Have you tried new marketing methods? How have they worked for you? I’d love to hear from you on how you’ve moved your business forward – and what tools you used to get from point A to point B.
Change on the InternetThroughout this year, we’ve seen a number of changes on the Internet, as well as new online marketing tools. These changes happen so quickly that half the time it’s difficult to keep up. Well, 2015 won’t be any different. I’m sure that as I write this newsletter new and exciting Internet changes are in store for us next year.

Before 2015 pounds us with new technology and tools, let me share with you a few things that have happened in the recent past.

  • Amazon Teams Up with Twitter….Again. Back in May of this year, Amazon released the #AmazonCart. This allowed their customers to add items to their Amazon shopping cart by using the #AmazonCart hashtag when tweeting on Twitter (providing an Amazon product link was included). This new collaborative with Twitter now allows customers to add items to their Amazon Wish List without even leaving Twitter simply by using the #AmazonWishList hashtag when responding to tweets.Is this a tool you’d use? Personally, I’d probably order my Amazon products directly from their site…but I have a feeling that there are enough Amazon shoppers who find this an attractive option.
  • Facebook Goes Local. Facebook’s new  Local Awareness offering is making it easier for business owners to connect with their local audience. This new format allows businesses to deliver targeted messaging to groups of people who are within a certain proximity of a company’s brick-and-mortar store.  Even a “Get Directions” option can be added.Now THIS is a tool I get wrap my head around. How about you? Have you tried Facebook Ads yet? Share how they’ve worked for you.
  • Eye-Tracking Study. Whoa – what’s that all about? Well, the search engines are realizing that our viewing behaviors are changing, and they’re trying to stay one step ahead of us. It’s been found that due to an increase of mobile devices, “users spend less time viewing individual search results than they did a decade ago and tend to scan pages vertically rather than horizontally”. Read theentire article on Website Magazine. You might have to subscribe to their website, but it’s worth it.
  • Bing cracking down on keyword stuffing. Google isn’t the only search engine who dislikes bloggers who fill their blog titles and posts with keywords just to get their attention. Search engines (including Bing) use numerous factors – hundreds in fact – to determine where a page/site deserves to be ranked. Check out the entire article to find out more.
  • Top Email Marketing Service Provider is….Voted by Website Magazine as the #1 email marketing provider, Constant Contact is also my #1 choice. I’ve been using Constant Contact for close to 10 years – and they’ve never let me down.Email marketing has become a much stronger and much needed piece of your marketing strategy. Marketing professionals understand the value it has when it comes to building relationships and generating conversions. Using a service such as Constant Contact gives you the power to know who is really interested in what you have to offer. It gives you a higher return on investment than social media which, although a wonderful marketing tool, it can be a less reliable when it comes to who sees your messages.If you’re not using email marketing, sign up for Constant Contact’s free trial. And if you use my link - there will be a special treat for you once you begin your paid package.
18 Nov

7 Tips to Make Small Business Saturday Work for You

Small Business Saturday is just around the corner…

In 2010, American Express started Small Business Saturday to encourage holiday shoppers to shop at their local small businesses.  Held on the Saturday after Thanksgiving, this year on November 29th, small businesses across the nation will be offering special deals for those who shop with them.

Let’s take a quick look at some of the things you can do to kickstart your own Small Business Saturday campaign: 

  1. See what American Express has to offer

American Express is giving small business owners a whole lot of perks – even logos and customizable graphics, post cards and window posters.

  1. Attract customers into your business with special offerings or events

Whether you own a brick-and-mortars business or an online business, you can benefit from hosting and event. Don’t wait too long, though. Planning and promoting does take a bit of time.

Attract new customers by offering them special pricing on your most popular products or services. Don’t forget your current customers – offer them something special as well.

How about holding a contest? People love the opportunity to win something. Keep it simple, though, and make sure you understand the guidelines of the social sites you’re using to promote the contest.

  1. Talk about your small business Saturday specials online

Because you have American Express helping you promote Small Business Saturday, it’s not difficult to become part of the conversation. Use #ShopSmall in your Facebook and Twitter status updates and tweets – and you’ll be part of the event! Don’t forget to use the free graphics that American Express has provided for you. Start Here – https://www.americanexpress.com/us/small-business/shop-

  1. Send Some Emails

Email marketing is still a necessary piece of your marketing toolbox.  Send emails to your customers encouraging them to shop small. Remember to give your subscribers VIP treatment – offer them something they can’t get elsewhere.  Also remember to invite them to your event or enter your contest.

  1. Buy something special from another small business

Be part of the shop small celebration. Support other small business owners.

  1. Partner with other small businesses

Do you think you’re the only small business owner who might be struggling? Like you, the may not have the resources to create their own Small Business Saturday event. Team up with each other. There is power in numbers – be smart and work together.

  1. Promote, promote, promote

Get the word out NOW. Of course, without over-selling yourself, let people know you’ve got something special for them – and that NOW is the time for them to get it. Between email marketing, blogging, social media, and on-site posters and flyers – share the news of Small Business Saturday.

What Will You Do? What ideas do you have for Small Business Saturday? Please share them with us by using the comment box below.


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