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Steps to List Building

As I am always saying, it is important to build a list of subscribers in order to be successful online. And when I say be successful, I mean regularly serving your clients and generating an tidy income from your online business whether you sell e-books, MP3s, videos, coaching, or tele-classes.

So what are the 5 important elements required to begin list building.

#1 – Autoresponder. It is vitally important that you have some kind of software mechanism that will maintain your list and send out regular communications to your list. When I first started online I tried to maintain a list manually but it was a lot of hard work and headache. You must sign up to an auto-responder account online in order to create an automated online business.

#2 – Squeeze page. A squeeze page is a web page that the readers of your articles will visit in order to sign up to your list and opt in. Once they have given you their name and email address, a squeeze page will usually send the subscriber to your special free gift or giveaway. One thing I notice with a lot of newbies is that tend to add other links to their squeeze pages. But by doing so you diminish the success of the squeeze page. Every time you add an additional link to your squeeze page you dramatically reduce your chances of signing up a new subscriber. The purpose of your squeeze page is to sign up subscribers – nothing more, nothing less.

#3 – Giveaway. Of course you are going to have to ethically bribe your readers to sign up to your list on your squeeze page by offering some kind of freebie such as an e-book, an mp3 or a video product. If you are new to this I would suggest that you create an e-book as this is one of the easiest and simplest methods you can use. If you have written several articles, choose 5 or 6 of your best ones and use them to form an e-book. Add a table of contents, page numbers and a link to your website.

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Using PowerPoint To Create Dynamic Article Videos

Article video marketing is a new and upcoming trend which involves using short videos for online advertising and marketing purposes. Typically, the videos last for two to five minutes, and focus upon specific topics using contents available in articles, blogs, and other online sources. The videos are first created using specialized software, using which special effects and content topics are carefully incorporated in the “story.” The videos are then required to be uploaded to video hosting sites such as YouTube. The sites make it possible to host your videos, and make them available to your target audiences. In most cases, such hosting sites are free, and you don’t have to pay to upload and host your videos. One of the biggest advantages with article videos is that they help to market your products and services at almost no extra cost, and you can also save upon promotional expenses. They are fast becoming very popular since the visitor does not have to spend time reading an eight hundred word-count article, but instead “see” the message conveyed by the same article. There is a lot of potential with article videos.

How to convert content articles into videos

There are many ways in which you can convert content-based articles into videos. One of the most widely practiced, and common way, is creating good quality PowerPoint presentations using the points available within the articles. One of the biggest advantages of PowerPoint slides, which make up the video, is that they support “Alt tags” which are great for optimizing slides and videos for online presentations. Many SEO marketing companies extensively use PowerPoint presentations to promote the keywords linked with their products and services. The slides are arranged in a sequential manner after which they are linked together using an animated interface. One can also decide upon, and set up transition effects to make their presentations more appealing and acceptable. Alternately, you can also embed your voice along with the presentations to make them more dynamic and powerful. There is a great potential in using PowerPoint presentations.

Advantages offered by video articles marketing

In many ways, video marketing is an extension of article marketing, since the basic concept of promotion remains the same. You need to create good quality contents, and subsequently optimize them for online marketing purposes. You have to post them on hosting sites having a good page rank and popularity so a large number of visitors can find your contents. However, compared to article marketing, video article marketing scores big points since they are more popular and the visitor has to spend less time reading the text, unlike article marketing in which lengthy contents often score less in keeping the visitor interested with the subject matter. It is far easier to “see” than to “read”, and this is the biggest advantage video articles have in promoting your product and services.

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Article Writing For Money

If you’re really good at writing articles, you can make money from the comforts of your own home. Right now, article writing services are very in-demand in the online arena. This is because content remains to be the king in the World Wide Web. Thousands of internet marketers are willing to spend good money as long as you can offer them with great articles that they can use in generating traffic and leads for their ebusiness.

Here’s how you can get started:

1. Be the best writer. You’ll most likely to attract more clients if you’re considered the best article writer in the online arena (or at least one of the best). Develop high level writing skills and understand how online articles are exactly written.

2. Develop your online portfolio. Let me remind you that you’re going up against a lot of people who are also offering the same writing services. To get ahead of the pack and to increase your chances of getting potential clients to choose you over your competitors, create a jaw-dropping online portfolio that will speak volumes about your skills and capabilities. This must include the articles, blog posts, and ebooks that you have previously written.

3. Sell your writing services. It’s not enough that you have great writing skills; in order to attract more clients, you need to know how to properly market your website and your writing services. Learn the ropes of article marketing, social media marketing, video marketing, blogging, and other effective internet marketing tools that can help you get the kind of attention you need online.

 

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Article Marketing – Article Writers vs Article Marketers

Article writing and article marketing go hand in hand in my mind. In fact, when I talk about great article marketing, in my mind this phrase includes article writing.

At the same time, a very good discussion occurred recently on the Ezine Articles blog, entitled “Writers vs. Marketers, Who Should Win?” I made this a mandatory reading assignment for my mentees in my Article Marketing Mentor Program, because this is a discussion to which any serious article writer and marketer should contribute.

My take on it is that it does not have to be either or, though it often is with most writers and marketers. Since I am both, I know that you can be a writer and a marketer.

The question I ended up asking on the Ezine Articles blog was which one is more powerful, a writer that knows how to market or a marketer that knows how to write?

My answer is the marketer that knows how to write wins every time. Why? If you use one of the definitions of marketing that says marketing is simply letting others know what you do, then you can see how the marketer will be better able to get the word out about his or her article than the writer who writes an article and then tries to figure out how to market the article.

In addition, a marketer that writes will know how to leverage an article into many different consumable forms of content, while the writer typically falls in love with his or her writing and just expects other people to show up and read their article.

Would you like free access to two of my Article Writing Templates? You can download them by going to

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News Releases – Writing to Get Noticed

Forgive me for starting with a not-very-clever rewording of an old saying, but today “almost all news is good news” when you are trying to generate visibility for your company or organization. I’m going to tell you how to create valuable news releases from information that you might not think has value and get it published.

What do I mean by “almost all news is good news”? That just about any news can be turned into content for online and offline publications, gaining valuable visibility for your business or organization.

Traditional news releases — or press releases as they used to be called back when real presses were used by real news organizations to print news – had to vie for limited space on a printed page. Typically, that limited newsworthiness to stories about new products or services, new technologies, or major organizational news.

Today, however, the concept of “news” has changed dramatically. Publishing space is virtually unlimited and publishers hungry for content. The lines have blurred between so-called “real” news organizations such as newspapers, magazines, and broadcast news outlets and “new media” such as online citizen-journalism sites, blogs, e-letters, and news aggregator services. Today, many of the stumbling blocks have disappeared that were once between people generating news and the outlets that published it. It’s easier than ever now to get your news published in a variety of places. The trick is writing something that will be of enough interest for someone to pick it up and publish it.

Picking a topic

There are more things to write a news release about than you might think, starting with the obvious: a new product or service, openings and closings, restructurings (partnerships, mergers and acquisitions), and employee/staff news. These topics generally can be considered “hard” news and worthy of broad distribution, when possible.

There are a host of other topics, however, that many people don’t think to promote with a news release, but that make ideal “soft” news releases. These topics include trade show and conference appearances, awards, business anniversaries, new client wins, capital equipment purchases, and new capabilities. While a business publication editor may consider these topics too self-serving to warrant publication, there are still good reasons to write a release on them, as you will shortly see.

Creating your own news.

Don’t think you have enough news, hard or soft, to write about? Then think about creating your own news. Develop a simple industry or customer survey, publish the results on your website, and write a news release about it.

Write a report. Interview key personnel in your organization and your industry trade association about your market or industry and publish their insights. Then write a release about the key findings, announcing the availability of the report for download on your website. With a little thought, you should be able to come up with several ways to create your own news.

Writing a news release

Now you need to write about your topic. Remember that this is news, not advertising, and an editor is going to judge whether it’s worth publishing. Avoid jargon and using phrases such as “industry leading”, “number one”, “unique”, and any other terms that smack of self-serving advertising.

Lead with all the important information in the first paragraph, starting with the topic, the company, and why your news is important. Traditionally, this is known as the “five W’s and the H” – who, what, where, when, why, and how. Keep sentences simple and paragraphs short.

Add the details to the middle portion, or body, of your release and finish with what’s called the “boilerplate” – the standard information about your company or organization, including basic description, locations, and web address. If your company is big enough it can even include the number of employees, subsidiary information, and stock ticker symbol if it’s publicly traded.

 

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Christian Vocation – Exercising the Charisms (the Gift That Keeps On Giving)

Exercising the charisms is a vital part of living an adventurous faith. There is something deep in the human consciousness that finds great joy in giving and receiving gifts. This joy goes deeper than materialistic gain. Think of the joy that a child can bring by giving you a simple picture she has drawn or colored. Beyond being “cute,” such a gift touches us to the depths of our being. Why? Perhaps it’s because God created us to give and receive love, and gifts are a sign of our love for each other.

God gives us many gifts – our very life, all of creation, every good thing we experience – these are all gifts from God and signs of his love for us. But even more powerful are the gifts that we call “grace.”

Grace refers to the gift of God’s presence within our souls. Both terms – gift and grace – imply something that is given freely and not earned. But grace is even more powerful because it is given to us as a sign of God’s love when we are in a condition that is quite unlovable. In our sin, gifts of grace are completely unfathomable.

There are two kinds of grace – sanctifying grace and actual grace. Sanctifying grace is God’s presence in our souls that destroys Original Sin and reunites us to God, making us once again members of His family. The theological virtues of faith, hope and charity are part of sanctifying grace. They work to directly give us a relationship with God.

Actual grace is God’s help to live our relationship with him and to grow in holiness.The term “actual” comes from “action.” Actual grace helps us to act as sons and daughters of God.

Charismatic grace is a subset of actual grace. Charismatic graces are graces that we are given as a gift so that we can in turn give gifts of love to others. That’s part of what makes these gifts so special. They empower us to become more than just beggars before God (though we could never stop considering ourselves beggars). We become participants in God’s divine life. We become his agents, spreading his goodness throughout the Church and the world. Saint Paul teaches about the different “charisms” that Christians are given. Let’s take a closer look at these gifts from God. Here are some important points to remember.

 

  1. A Charism is always given for the sake of others, not for our own sakes. God wants us to become people of love. Love means to will the good of the other. So God gives us the gifts of the charisms so that we can serve others.
  2. Charisms may complement and enhance our natural gifts, but they are not the same thing. I have a natural gift for writing, but not a charism for it. However, my charism of teaching complements my natural ability to write.
  3. When we exercise our charisms, Jesus really and truly acts through us. That means that charisms allow us to do more than we could through our natural ability. We are acting with God’s power.
  4. As Saint Paul teaches us in 1 Corinthians 12, every Christian is given a unique set of charisms. Our charisms add to our natural uniqueness. But they also add to our unity with other Christians, because we all receive our charisms from the same Spirit.
  5. We are uniquely and variously equipped, and we are uniquely and variously called. We are given our charisms for the sake of fulfilling a unique part of Christ’s mission in this world.

 

And that last point is very important. How would you respond if someone opened a Christmas gift from you, then set it aside and never looked at it again? Wouldn’t you feel that the recipient never gave your gift a chance, that the receiver never really received your gift, that the potential joy that you intended went wasted and unrealized? What is true of us reflects is true of God to an even greater degree. God gave us the gifts of charismatic graces because he intended us to use them. Using them means participating in his divine life by allowing him to work through us to share his love and goodness with others. That in turn means growing in intimacy and love with God as we work “by his side” to do good in the world.

Are you using your charisms? Have you discovered – or even sought – the mission that God has equipped you for? Or is your gift left under the Christmas tree, forgotten and neglected? It’s time for us to rediscover the adventure that God has invited us to.

Bottom Line: It’s not how holy you are now that matters in your spiritual growth, it’s how committed you are to growing in holiness.

And a great way to commit yourself to growing in holiness is to establish habits that open your heart to what God wants to do in you through his grace. And an easy way to develop those habits is to use a proven behavioral template.

 

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Social Media Marketing, Truth and Lies

Social Media Marketing seems to be the latest buzz word for anyone looking to increase their online presence and sales, but is Social Media Marketing (SMM) all it is cracked up to be?

S.M.M companies are now springing up all over the place these days and they are telling anyone that will listen about how incredibly important social media like Facebook twitter and YouTube are to your business but, celebcrunch for the average small to medium sized business, does marketing to social networks really live up to all the hype? Is spending a small fortune on hiring a SMM company really worth it? And has anyone really done their research on this before they hired someone to set up there Facebook business page? Some SMM companies are setting up things like Facebook business pages (which are free) for $600 to $1,000 or more and telling their clients that they don’t need a website because Facebook is the biggest social network in the world and everybody has a Facebook account. Now while it may be true that Facebook is the largest social network in the world and yes, Facebook’s members are potential consumers, the real question is are they actually buying? Social media marketing companies are all too happy to point out the positives of social media like how many people use Facebook or how many tweets were sent out last year and how many people watch YouTube videos etc. but are you getting the full picture? I once sat next to a SMM “expert” at a business seminar who was spruiking to anyone who came within earshot about the amazing benefits of setting up a Facebook business page for small business (with him of course) and selling on Facebook. So, intrigued by the aforementioned “experts” advice I looked him up on Facebook only to find he had only 11 Facebook friends (not a good start). So being the research nut that I am, I decided to take a good look into SMM in regard to selling to see if it actually worked, who did it work for and if it did why did Social Media Marketing work for them? And should business rely so heavily on social networks for sales?

As a web developer I was constantly (and now increasingly) confronted with several social networking challenges when potential clients would say that having a website sounds good but they had a Facebook business page and had been told by various sources (the ever present yet anonymous “they”) that social networks were the thing to do, but after discussing their needs it became quite clear that those potential clients didn’t actually know why they needed social networks or SMM to generate online sales, They just wanted it. For small and medium sized business I always recommended building a quality website over any type of social network, why? Well it’s simple really because social media is Social Media, and social Networks are Social Networks they are not business media and business networks (that would be more like LinkedIn). I know that sounds simple but it’s true and the statistics back it up. The fact is that social media marketing fails to tell you that Facebook is a social network not a search engine and despite the number of Facebook users and Google users being around the same, people don’t use Facebook in the same way that they use a search engine like Google (which has around half the search engine market), Yahoo and Bing to search for business or products. They use it to keep in touch with family and friends or for news and entertainment. In a recent study done by the IBM Institute for Business Value around 55% of all social media users stated that they do not engage with brands over social media at all and only around 23% actually purposefully use social media to interact with brands. Now out of all the people who do use social media and who do interact with brands whether purposefully or not, the majority (66%) say they need to feel a company is communicating honestly before they will interact.