Blog Posting Mantra No. 1 – Write the Blog Post

Writing

Many sit and stare at the keys, thinking about what to write. Yet writing is the movement of pen-to-paper, fingers-across-keys.

There’s a scene in Finding Forrester, perhaps you’re familiar with it. Sean Connery’s character is teaching his young student to write, “Write your first draft with your heart – then, you re-write with your head.” [Watch the scene from Movie Clips]

It’s really more simple than many of us make it out to be.

If you listen to your day, you’ll never run dry. Just Spill. Edit later.

A sentence standing alone stands out in a crowd of words.

There are pieces of advice that will tell you your posts have to be a certain length or have so many keywords bunched up at the top. Those guidelines (not rules) can be helpful in the long run and overall – but doesn’t need apply to every post. Sometimes, you just need to display your words so your readers – your customers – see them.

A sentence standing alone stands out in a crowd of words.

If you must prepare prior to writing your post, we’ve devised a worksheet to help you get started, but once you find a flow for writing, the worksheet will probably be discarded.

As a guideline, I shoot for somewhere between 200-400 words per post. Sometimes the posts are longer, and other times shorter. Most of the folks I write for don’t have a lot of time for lengthy posts. You know your business – and your customers.

Write for them.

Note: When I drafted this post, the opening sentence originally sat in the last paragraph. Just Spill. Edit later.

Photo on Flickr by jjpacres

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Levels of SmallBizTracks – What Kind of Hungry are You?

Duece in the Dining CarThere are three project “levels” of SmallBizTracks. The “tracks” are the type of work for a project, while the “levels” are the depth or scope of the projects.

The “levels” we work with are Basic, Advanced, and Master.

If we were to imagine “levels” of SmallBizTracks: Building a Better Presence for Your Business as going out to grab a bite to eat, the three levels might look something like this:

Basic – Fast Dining, which could be anything from Wendy’s to Panera. Very basic order your food and take it to your table.

Advanced – Family Dining, casual dining with friendly service which could be a Cracker Barrel or an Olive Garden.

Master – Five-Star, Fine Dining. reservations recommended. Consider The Sardine Factory in Monterey, CA or Vinifera in Reston, VA.

Having three “levels” for projects, and delivering a Scope Document prior to starting a project, allows for a better understanding of what’s best for your business and your budget.

We try always try to begin discussions at Basic and see if we need to consider a higher level based on your wants and needs.

At times, there is a desire for a Master job to fit in a Basic budget. Please keep in mind you won’t find Wellington at Steak ‘n’ Shake. We can do Master-level work, but not at Basic-level prices.

Photo on Flickr by Simon Pielow using cc

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Blog Posting Mantra for Small Business Owners

Blog Posting Mantra for Business OwnersSeveral years ago, most of my time was invested with business owners and leaders in teaching them about “blogging” as a way to augment their voice and extend the reach of their business.

We came up with a “Blog Posting Mantra” – a short list with each step an easy-to-remember phrase. This was before Facebook and Twitter. What was a 7-step exercise back then (2006) is now an e-step list with a few changes.

Blog Posting Mantra for Small Business Owners

  1. Write the Post
  2. Title the Post
  3. Image Above the Fold
  4. At Least One Link Out
  5. Add Eye Rests
  6. Choose Category and Tags
  7. Check SEO
  8. Share Your Post

The Mantra Remains the Same

The first two items, Write the Post and Title the Post, still sit atop the list unchanged in order.  Image Above the Fold moves up several spaces as image use has become more important. At Least One Link Out still remains important, though largely a forgotten practice.

Changed Since the Original Version

Add Eye Rests is a new (and important) addition from the original. Providing Eye Rests are easy on your readers’ eyes and slows down their scroll. Choose Category and Tags morphed into a single step, though it’s multiple clicks. Check SEO is a new step, and relies on plugins. Share Your Post is also new and relies on tools such as Buffer, Hootsuite or Co-Schedule. I’m a fan of scheduling your sharing, not so much a fan of automatic publishing to many platforms at once.

As with the original mantra as written in 2006, this process is for the small business owner who isn’t a professional writer. I’d rather have someone write in Just Spill mode and come back to edit and title. Don’t get stuck before you get started.

3 Coaching Sessions in One Track

 

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Set Your Talents Free

Girl Dancing on the BeachSome business owners are creative types,
Not always behind a counter or desk.
Wanting to show their talents and tools,
Needing more than simply words to express.

Maybe it’s the sound of four-on-the-floor,
or how to put pencil to card
Sometimes it can be a project really super duper big
Which for most of us could be quite hard.

There are voice-over actors who use audio,
And chefs teaching us how to cook and shop,
Crafters who craft, and accountants who count.
And yoga instructors I could listen to, non-stop.

Hey, it’s your business, they’re your customers
And you know what they like to read and see
So create your message by using a tool
And set your talents free

Photo on Flickr by mikebaird w/ cc

Flashlight Optional with Imaginosity (Thoughtography)

A Quiet Dock with a flashlight

Occasionally, I would climb under the wharf docks. Found there was a labyrinth of planks and wooden walkways above the water and beneath the wharf. The only sounds were splashing water and an occasional skiff banging against the pillars. Lots of imagination mixed with a bunch of curiosity.

I still find places to go where I can exercise the muscles of Imagination and Curiosity together (“Imaginosity“) and come up with new or remixed ideas.  I’ll bet your have places and muscles like that too.

Find those places. Exercise your muscles. Flashlight Optional.

Photo found on unsplash w/ cc0

The Future of Google Things (Saturday Clips)

A recent interview between Charlie Rose and Google Co-Founder Larry Page leads off our weekly look at clips on how are present and future are coming together with invention and story.  It’s apparent that many stories of Google’s rich history are still yet unfolding …

Here’s a short video looking at Google’s history

 

Opening Day, Opening Weekend, and Launch – Friday Flutterings

A Fan Keeps Score at a Baseball GameIt’s almost Opening Day, and I agree with Ozzie – it should be a National Holiday. It has been a day of celebration for me for decades. (Please make it official, sign the petition)

… It’s opening weekend for Divergent and while I won’t make it opening weekend, I look forward to seeing it. The book was great. I may go see Noah next weekend at the theater. It’s about the experience.

… Launching a new product/process is exciting. I’ll be announcing an add-on product at the end of the month. Still on track, and great for the DIY business owner.

Content Curation continues to be heavily talked about with in discussions with business owners who understand their business and have confidence in their own knowledge. They know they can add a voice to the discussion while sharing resources.

… A look at the number of recent books, movies, small screen series shows an enormous production of dystopian and biblical storytelling. Random dots or connectable?

… Play Ball!!  (and Beat ‘em Bucs!)

Previous Friday Flutterings:

Photo on morguefile by kakiski

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Fix the Part to Fill the Whole

Single Puzzle PieceThe look of horror washes across the faces when they hear the recommendation: We should probably change or improve part of your  ______ (fill in the blank with design, process, routine, etc.).

No matter how much emphasis is put on the phrase PART OF, the WHOLE is often what appears in the mind’s eye.

Picturing fixing the WHOLE is a tough ledge to talk many small business owners down from. Everyone is different, so a blanket statement to how such perceptions develop probably wouldn’t be accurate, but here are a few possible reasons:

  • Fear – Change is difficult for many, especially when the vision of the outcome isn’t clear.
  • Pride – Maybe the part that’s getting tweaked originated in the creative mind of the owner. Twenty years ago. And it worked for a long time. Pride can choke the life out of a business or process.
  • Cost – Perhaps there was an incident with a previous vendor or experience where change was costly. They got burned and the experience still stings.
  • Loss – Whether it’s loss or toss-away, the investment in every piece of a business is part of the whole.

We often recommend making changes by taking small steps towards improvement. Even if multiple parts need attention, attending to them singularly is often smart. Your risk is lowered and returns get measured more accurately. Small Steps Leading to Big Outcomes.

Fix the part, fill the whole.

Photo on Flickr by trombone65 w/ cc

BuzzSumo – Search Engine for Finding Content, Keywords, Influencers, and Social

Screen Shot of Buzz Sumo Front pageBuzzSumo new search and save feature has made it a go-to tool for finding content, keywords, influencers, social sharing, and more.

The search and save feature, a close proximity of our old Search Once and Subscribe mantra, helps you save time and stay on top of topics that are important and relevant to your business.

There are many ways you can filter a search for subject matter, domain name, type of content and social platforms, including:

Filter by Type: Article, Infographic, Guest Post, Giveaway, Interview, Video

Filter by Date: Past 24 hours, Past Week, Past Month, Past 6 months

Filter by Content or keyword phrases

Influencers: Bloggers, Influencers, Companies, Journalists, Regular People

Platform: Sort by “shares” on Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, or Total Shares

Share it as you find it: You can share right away via Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, Buffer, Pocket

You can also export a report of your findings and as mentioned above,  save your search.

Each of these features offer a combination of doing search that offer insight

  • into what’s being said (or not) about your business or of your competition,
  • what your intended audience is talking about and sharing,
  • who are the most influential resources on a particular topic or platform
  • what topics you can share, so you can be the resource

BuzzSumo is a tool we’ll be recommending a lot to small business owners. It certainly fits our E.A.S.Y. model. You can find a few more screen shots ind ideas on how to use Buzz Sumo in this Digital Information World piece.

Sample BuzzSumo Search

Click the image above to go to this search and begin your own search.

 

Music is a Teacher (Thoughtography)

I’m getting used to the quizzical looks when I ask a small business owner this question: “If we put music to the best part of your day, what would I hear?”

It doesn’t always need lyrics, it might not even be a particular song. Would I hear percussion? Strings? Would it compel us to sway or tap our toes?

When you want to get to your best flow, find that music. In your ears, your feet, your spirit. Let music lift you to another level.

Dancing on Air

There is a song The Jacksons recorded years ago on their Goin’ Places album, Music’s Takin’ Over. The opening lyrics have always stuck with me:

Music is a teacher
That can teach you right from wrong
If you listen closely (well)
There’s a lesson in the song

Music is a doctor
That can cure a troubled mind
Listen to the music (say it again)
The rhythms and the rhymes

What music would your “best flow” sound like? Can you hear it? Are you a hummer? Or does your music play on Pandora?

photo credit: istolethetv via photopin cc

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