15 Grammar Goofs That Make You Look Silly, from the fine folks at Copyblogger

I love it when I find an Infographic to embed on my site that speaks to something near and dear to my heart — and this is one of  ’em.

The English major in me loves these quick and easy grammar lessons from the good folks at Copyblogger.

Enjoy!
15 Grammar Goofs That Make You Look Silly
Like this infographic? Get more content marketing tips from Copyblogger.

Five Female Marketing Mentors Who Can Help You Crush It in Your Small Business

Female Marketing Mentors

When you’re just getting started in business, it helps to have mentors.

Especially when you’re trying to do something no one in your immediate circle of friends or business contacts has done.

You know, the ones who look at you quizzically when you try to explain your plans for creating a digital empire where you get to express yourself, help others achieve something positive, and get more clients, customers and sales, all at the same time.

“You’re going to do what, now?” Yep, I’ve been asked that a few times.

But I didn’t let it stop me.

I went online and found biz and marketing mentors who were doing what I wanted to do, and started learning and implementing what they taught me.

The following five marketing mentors are the ones I follow consistently, and whose blogs, newsletters, webinars, free reports, videos, and in a couple of cases, paid programs, have been the most useful and actionable to me as a small business owner.

They’ve taught me plenty about marketing online and business in general (and life too, yeah), and I bet you can learn heaps from them as well.

LAURA ROEDER

Laura RoederI’ve probably learned more actionable, immediately implementable online marketing strategies from Laura than from anyone else to date. She’s one of two people on this list whose paid products I’ve purchased. (So far.)

Laura offers accessible, practical, easy to understand and simple to implement social media marketing instruction. Both her free content and paid programs are full of real-world strategies and techniques that work.

As she says, “I make technology, specifically social media marketing, dead-simple to understand and implement.”

Agreed.

If you want to learn how to market your small business with Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and a whole lot more, and you like your advice straightforward and uncomplicated, then Laura’s your go-to girl.

My biggest takeaway from Laura . . . technology and social media marketing do NOT have to be difficult or time-consuming. You can get results and have fun – yes, fun! – by doing a few things consistently and well.

Laura’s site: http://lkrsocialmedia.com/
Follow Laura on Twitter: @lkr

MARIE FORLEO

Marie ForleoMarie is a goddess of holistic business and life advice. You’ll get guidance on everything from “How to Transition from Your Day Job to Your Dream Business,” to combining multiple passions in your business, to “What to Do When You Doubt Everything + Just Wanna Stay in Bed,” and lots more besides.

I love her combination of real-world life advice and implementable marketing strategies, with a whole lotta keepin’- it-real and hip hop sensibility & fun tossed into the mix.

Marie calls herself a “multi-passionate” entrepreneur and tells us we can be the same and still have a business and life that works. God love her for that.

She walks her talk when it comes to this – she’s a living example of it – as you’ll see when you watch her videos.

My biggest takeaway from Marie . . . it’s entirely possible – and recommended – to bring your multiple passions into your business and use your unique talents to change the world – and achieve massive financial and life success in the process.

Marie’s site: http://marieforleo.com/
Follow Marie on Twitter: @marieforleo

DANIELLE LAPORTE

Danielle LaPorteDanielle offers a kick-a** combo of poetic and writerly, yet realistic and straightforward, guidance. There’s no b.s. in her digital domain. She’s smart, helpful and direct, and the well of her emotional intelligence seems bottomless. Think a whole lot of practical with a huge helping of spark-inducing, inspiration-generating business and life advice rolled into an outspoken package.

Two of my favorite things she says: “there is no such thing as life balance,” and “your mantra of choice is ‘you’ll figure it out.’ ”

Go to her site and watch the 1:46 minute video, “A Credo for Making It Happen” for some instant inspiration. And for the stuck full-in experience, check out her book, The Fire Starter Sessions.

My biggest takeway from Danielle . . . it’s possible to be your most authentic self online and still be uber-successful – without selling your soul to the online devil and writing the same stuff in the same way everyone else in your niche is doing. Be an artist, a poet, a writer’s writer, if you want. It’s all good.

Danielle’s site: http://www.daniellelaporte.com/
Follow Danielle on Twitter: @daniellelaporte

NAOMI DUNFORD

Naomi DunfordOh, Naomi. Love her. In fact, I read all her emails, even the sales & offers emails, with great joy. She’s a terrific communicator, whip-smart and funny.

And she tells it like it is. Her marketing advice is of the cut-the-b.s.-and-just-tell-me-what-works-variety, delivered with a healthy dose of tough love, all wrapped in an officially licensed warm fleece Snuggie of wise and witty writing.

She describes her site, IttyBiz, as “a place to get tips, advice, motivation, and support for your very small business. If you’re working from home or just thinking about it, come and hang out here for some great ideas and bad jokes.”

My biggest takeaway from Naomi . . . how to prioritize business activities, especially when you’re not swimming in clients and cash and you need to get some money rolling into your business pronto. In that case, thing #1 you have to do is get real and focus on the activities that are “closest to cash.”

This piece of advice literally changed my business. When there’s an 87-item to-do list and the hours are slipping by, the directive to focus on my “closest to cash” activities brings me instant clarity.

Naomi’s site: http://ittybiz.com/
Naomi on Twitter: @NaomiDunford – I don’t believe Naomi is active on Twitter at the moment. Our loss.

ASHLEY AMBIRGE

Ashley AmbirgeI’ve only recently discovered Ashley Ambirge and her site The Middle Finger Project, and when I did I thought, “Girlfriend, where’ve you been all my life?!”

I somehow stumbled onto her brilliant post, “The 67 Emotions of Online Success: My Story,” and nearly wept with soul-sister recognition. I’d never read anything that made me feel better about the many – and I do mean many – twists and turns and moves and passions, and you name it, she nailed it – steps along my own path.

It actually made me cry. More than once. So, I find her utterly beguiling.

Ashley is a copywriter who also sells online programs and products. The freebie on her sight is called “The Definitive Guide to Getting Off Your Butt, Finding Some Focus and Jump Starting Your Biz,” which I promptly downloaded and thoroughly enjoyed.

And with blog post titles like “How I Plan on Making $97,000 while Traveling Latin America. Bitches.,” and “Being Fat, Getting Robbed + Some Shit You Won’t Want to Miss,” at the very least you’ll be entertained by her content – well, maybe shocked – but also entertained.

My biggest takeaway from Ashley . . . even if you were once gloriously disappointed, lost, frightened, unsure, and defeated, you can still come out on the other side wildly happy, successful and doing what you’re meant to do – and make bank doing it.

Ashley’s site: http://www.themiddlefingerproject.org/
Follow Ashley on Twitter: @TMFproject

And there you have it. Five women doing great things online and off, whose knowledge and business advice you’re sure to benefit from tapping into.

How about you? Who are your business and marketing mentors? Online or off – please share! : )

 

[Hey there, gorgeous. Did you know you can get my FREE weekly newsletter, with actionable tips, techniques, and how-to’s for marketing your business online, delivered straight to your email inbox each Tuesday? You betcha! Go ahead and enter your name and email address at the top right hand side of the blog now, and let’s get you glowing online.]

How to Up Your Business Visibility Without Spending a Dime

DIY PR using HARO If you’re a creative small business owner or solopreneur on a budget, no doubt you’re already using no-cost and low-cost ways to market your business.

For example, you know that consistently publishing high quality content to your blog, in your weekly newsletter, and on your social media accounts is one way to up your exposure so that when a potential customer goes online to search for that thing you do, they find you.

But there’s another way to gain exposure that doesn’t cost a dime, and can seriously propel your business visibility to the next level, and that is some good ol’ fashioned media coverage.

Getting quoted or profiled in a local, regional — or heck, even national — online or print publication confers the kind of third party validation that money can’t buy.

Anyone can pay for advertising, but getting coverage in a publication read by your target audience puts you on a whole other level, one that carries a lot more weight than a big, pricey ad could ever do.  You’ll simply never get the same kind of credibility from paid advertising.

Media coverage can raise your profile, create awareness around your products and services, build credibility for you in your niche, get more traffic to your website or bricks-and-mortar location, and ultimately get more sales in your business, if done correctly.

The best thing is, you don’t have to have a big PR budget, or any PR budget at all, to do this; we’re talking DIY PR here, and today I want to share a great resource to help you get started.

This resource is HARO, and it can help you get press for yourself.  You will have to learn a few things about media relations protocol and etiquette, but you’re a smart cookie, so no worries there, am I right?  ; )  Plus, I’ve linked up a couple of articles below that will help you in that department.

What the heck is HARO, exactly?

HARO is an email list you sign up for to receive queries three times daily from reporters who need sources for their stories.

HARO gives you real-time media opportunities, straight from journalists on a deadline needing a source.

There are advanced and premium versions of the service, but the no-cost option is perfect for getting started, and includes dozens of queries each week from reporters looking for expert sources on a variety of subjects and topics.

Simply identify the queries that are appropriate to your products and/or services, choose queries to which your knowledge and expertise are an appropriate and exact match, and reply.

(It’s critically important to give the journalist precisely the kind of information they’re asking for, and well within their stated deadline.  No off-topic or late pitches – take it from someone who used to pitch reporters on a regular basis!)

Sharing your knowledge and expertise using HARO queries can be a powerful marketing tool for your small business.  You’re in business to serve a specific audience and need, so there’s no point in hiding in plain sight waiting for someone to discover you – get out there and make some noise about your awesome business!

You’ll find all kinds of helpful information on how to make the best use of HARO queries and the ins and outs of media-pitching etiquette in a good ‘ol Google search, but in a nutshell , you’ll want to keep these helpful hints in mind:

Pitch on topic, respect the deadline, and be brief/don’t waste the reporter’s time.  (Also see the articles I’ve linked up below under “More Resources” for help here.)

Visit the link below and click the “Become a Source” button to start receiving your own daily HARO queries:

http://www.helpareporter.com/

More Resources:

Here’s a terrific article called “How to Pitch HARO Successfully”

http://www.bloggingprweb.com/how-to-pitch-haro-successfully

And here’s an example of how an educator – not a professional marketer or PR pro – replied to HARO queries and got hundreds of media interviews (you read that right – hundreds).

http://www.bloggingprweb.com/tips-pitching-haro

 

[Hey there, gorgeous. Did you know you can get my FREE weekly newsletter, with actionable tips, techniques, and how-to’s for marketing your business online, delivered straight to your email inbox each Tuesday? You betcha! Go ahead and enter your name and email address at the top right hand side of the blog now, and let’s get you glowing online.]

How to Generate Blog Post Ideas, Part 2

Last blog post I talked about my system for consistently generating dozens of ideas for blog posts and weekly newsletter content, and shared three resources you can use to find kick-butt ideas of your own.

This time I want to talk about three other good resources for idea-gathering:

1. Google Alerts

Google Alerts will allow you to monitor any topic or search term you choose; when results are found for that search term, Google sends them to you in an email.

You choose result type:  “Everything,” or, news, blogs, videos, discussions, books, etc., frequency:  once a day, as they happen or once a week, and how many: “only the best results” or “all results.”

This is a great tool for generating content ideas, but you can also use it to gather market and competitor intelligence, and who doesn’t want that?

Go here to set up your own Google Alerts.

2. Blogs in your niche

I love this as an idea generator, because it’s essentially killing two birds with one stone – you’re likely reading the blogs in your niche anyway, so why not gather some ideas while you’re there? Just pop over to a few of your favorites and note what’s being written about.

But don’t stop there – you’ll also want to pay attention to which blog posts get the most interaction in the way of comments and social shares.  This will give you an idea of some of the hot topics in your niche.

You’re not going to copy these ideas verbatim, of course, but use the material to spark your own ideas, and add these to your Ideas File.  You can then write about these topics from the opposite viewpoint, or go deeper into them for a more nuanced view, etc.

3. HARO Queries

HARO is an email list you sign up for to receive daily queries from reporters who need sources for their stories; it stands for “Help A Reporter Out.”

There’s a whole other blog post waiting to be written about how to mine HARO for sharing your expertise and getting publicity for your business, but today I simply want point out what a great tool it is for generating blog post ideas.

Why is this a such a great short cut for getting content ideas?  Because each HARO email alert will have several queries in multiple categories, and since journalists are looking for sources for these stories on a deadline, you already know they are super hot, timely topics.  Just a little tip from me to you.  ; )

Sign up for your own HARO email alerts here.

 

There you have it, 3 more excellent resources to add to your blog post idea generating toolkit.  And for still more idea gathering, you might want to check out forums in your niche, Tweetmeme for trending Twitter topics, Google Trends, or simply address questions your customers frequently ask .

So tell me, what are your go-to tips for coming up with blog post and newsletter topic ideas?  Please share in the comments, I’d love to know your tricks!

[Hey there, gorgeous. Did you know you can get my FREE weekly newsletter, with actionable tips, techniques, and how-to’s for marketing your business online, delivered straight to your email inbox each Tuesday? You betcha! Go ahead and enter your name and email address at the top right hand side of the blog now, and let’s get you glowing online.]

Getting Your Small Business Found Online: Local Business Directories

Biznik Local Business Online Directory

If you’ve been paying attention to what’s new in local marketing, then you’re likely already using online directories to get the name of your small business out there.  You may be using Google Places, Yelp, and Merchant Circle, etc., but did you know there are a slew of other online directories you can add your business listing to as well?

With more and more people going online to seek out business recommendations, it makes sense to be in as many places as possible to up your chances of being found online when someone searches for that thing you do.

At the end of this article I’ll share a link to where you can find 50 more online business directories, but first I want to focus on one in particular that I find pretty impressive.

It’s called “Biznik,” and it bills itself as “an award-winning community of entrepreneurs and small businesses dedicated to helping each other succeed,” whose motto is “Business Networking that Doesn’t Suck.”

What I love about this particular online directory is that it feels much more like an actual community than it does a straight up directory.  Created specifically for indie business people, solopreneurs, and micropreneurs, Biznik’s overall feel is collaborative and helpful, with a strong whiff of “we’re all in this together, so let’s be supportive of one another.”

Biznik Local Business Online Directory

What’s different – and cool – about this community of independent business owners is that it blends online social networking with local member-driven in-person events.  And yes, there’s a Biznik community right here in Wilmington, NC!  (This is a big deal, because we didn’t even have Yelp here a couple of years ago.  Being at the very end of the road and all that . . . )

Basic membership at Biznik is free, pro membership is $10 per month, and ProVIP is $24 per month.  It couldn’t hurt to sign up for a free basic membership to get a feel for the community and what it has to offer, then upgrade to enhanced membership if basic membership gets you results.

Go to Biznik’s About page here to find out more.

Check out Hubspot’s list of 50 local business directories here.

[Hey there, gorgeous. Did you know you can get my FREE weekly newsletter, with actionable tips, techniques, and how-to’s for marketing your business online, delivered straight to your email inbox each Tuesday? You betcha! Go ahead and enter your name and email address at the top right hand side of the blog now, and let’s get you glowing online.]