Archives for March 2012

How to Get Juicy Content Ideas

Staring at your computer screen, stumped for great blog post ideas?

It’s a frustrating place to be, because hey, you’re a smart cookie, you know that content marketing is one of the savviest things you can do to grow your small business.  But to market with content, you gots to have ideas, inspiration, vision of what that content should be — or at least a few good blog topics up your sleeve.

If you want to get your creative sparks a flyin’, then check out this handy-dandy infographic from the fine folks at Copyblogger, and get your inner content marketing genius on.

22 Ways to Create Compelling Content - Infographic
Like this infographic? Get more content marketing tips from Copyblogger.

What Would You Like to Stop Doing?

You might want to ask yourself that.

I am, as prompted by The Burning Question this week over on Danielle LaPorte’s blog.

Every week Danielle posts a “Burning Question” on her site, which people then answer on their blogs, and that’s what I’m doing here today.

(If you don’t know who Danielle is, I highly recommend you get over to her site pronto and check her out.  You know, after you finish reading this post.  ; )  I think she’s amazeballs, and I’m not alone.)

So here’s what I’m going to stop doing:

Thinking small, dreaming small and playing small when it comes to my business.  Undercharging for my services. Worrying that everything has to be “perfect.”  Being afraid to tell that client I want to get paid – now.  Changing up my informal, approachable writing & clienting style to a more corporate, play-by-the-rules, inside-the-box experience so I can be “taken seriously” by corporate types. ( I have nothing in common with those types and don’t want them as clients, so why do I care?) Hmm, what else? Participating in idle office gossip.  Reading and/or watching the (bad) news.  Feeling guilty about loving The Real Housewives of Orange County.  And watching it.  Regularly.  (So there. )  ; )

And here’s what I’m going to start doing:

Celebrating my creativity, ingenuity and resourcefulness.  Holding myself accountable.  Talking to my girlfriends more often. Taking big crazy chances on opportunities that light me up and stretch me.  Blazing into tomorrow and next week and next month on fire with faith, belief and knowing.  Giving compliments to strangers.  Believing,  even more than I do now, that helping other people shine a light on their awesome talents and gifts is significant and necessary work, and matters in the world.

That’s my (short) list.

What’s yours?

[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, and let’s get you glowing online.]

How to Tap Into Your Inner {Bakery} Marketing Genius

Last blog post I talked about an effective problem solving technique I recently discovered to help generate ideas, come up with solutions to business and life challenges, and gain insight.  (Read about the “Sentence Stems” technique here.  Big ups to Rich Schefren, who I first learned about this technique from.)

At the end of that post, I said I’d take you through some ideas I generated when I applied this exercise to a friend’s dilemma of getting more customers into her bakery (mostly cupcakes) using no cost or low cost marketing methods.

Keep in mind that when you’re completing the sentence stems daily, not everything you write will be worthwhile, or even doable, and that’s OK.  The idea is to step outside your limitations, think big, and just write whatever comes to mind without censoring yourself.

If you work on your sentence stem exercise daily, at the end of a week or two I guarantee you’ll have at least a few really good, workable ideas.

The sentence stem I constructed for my friend’s bakery was this:

“I could get more customers into my bakery using no or low cost marketing if I  . . .”

. . . partnered with other small businesses in my community to tap into their audiences.  I could approach caterers, wedding planners, event planners, etc. and offer to do joint promotions with them.

. . . hooked up with a local florist and offered to do “a dozen cupcakes with a dozen roses” kind of delivery, or similar.

. . . dropped off samples with a business card and price sheet/order form to offices in my area for their employee birthday celebrations and other office parties where food goodies are needed.

. . . came up with something no one else is doing to set myself apart from other bakeries in my community, like offering  special order baked goods with free delivery or similar.

. . . offered customer loyalty cards where after the 10th visit, the customer gets a free cupcake or similar.

. . . partnered with another small biz owner to cut costs and rented booth space at a high-traffic bridal show.

. . . participated in the local farmers’ market weekly.

. . . offered to provide goodies for a local biz networking event (along with plenty of business cards and order forms!).

. . . offered to sponsor or host a local business networking event in my place of business.

. . . went to one local business networking event per week.

. . . offered to speak to a local networking group about how I started my dream bakery business.

. . . partnered with a wine bar or similar to do a monthly cupcake and wine tasting. We both send out invites to our email lists and invite our local Facebook and Twitter following as well.

. . . did cupcake decorating lessons to get peeps into my place of business – they pay for the class & supplies and get to keep the cupcakes.

. . .offered a Mother & Daughter cake decorating or cupcake decorating class to celebrate Mother’s Day, and other similar holiday-themed classes.

. . . provided baked goods to realtors for their open houses.

. . . did daily Facebook and Twitter promos:  Do a status update in the a.m. with the flavors that will be running that day, then as the flavors start selling out, highlight this fact on Facebook and Twitter to build excitement:  “Key lime custard almost gone, 6 left, come in and get yours!” etc.

. . .did a “question of the day,” where I post a trivia question or similar first thing in the morning to Facebook and Twitter, and the first person to come in and answer it correctly gets a free brownie or cupcake, then announce the winner on Facebook and Twitter at the end of the day.

. . . donated a beautifully decorated gift package of baked goods to a silent auction once per quarter.

. . . placed an email opt-in form on my website and collected email addresses.  Then send my email list special promotions, coupons, flyers, info about baking classes, recipes, etc. etc. to build customer loyalty (and collect email addresses in store, during baking classes, at trade shows and any and every other appropriate time and opportunity, because an active email list is one of the very best business assets you can have – but that’s a sentence stem brainstorm for a whole other post!)

. . . started a blog about baking.

. . . submitted guest posts to local food-related blogs.

. . . pitched a story to my local newspaper’s food section about my awesome local food-based business.

OK, there are 22 ideas.  Mind you, some of them might not be workable, but many of them are.  And these 22 things I came up with in one sitting of around 20-30 minutes.  If I had done the sentence stems exercise every day for a full week or two as suggested, the list would obviously be way longer.  But you get the idea.

Sometimes it’s just about giving yourself permission – and time – to get really still and brainstorm.  And doing this regularly will loosen up all kinds of ideas for you, I just betcha.  : )

Now you give it a try, and let me know how you do in the comments!

[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.]