Do you struggle with writing captivating content in a timely manner?

I recently asked my Instagram community to share what they struggle with most when it comes to writing. The challenges they shared were all too common and ones I witness business owners fighting every day.

One day the struggle is not being able to think of anything to write, other days it’s spending way too much time editing. Some of these struggles, especially when experienced over and over again, make us feel like writing content isn’t worth it. But it is.

Are you getting the most out of your blog?

The thing is, blogging takes a lot of time, brainpower, and creativity. Those resources are in high demand as a small business owner, and frankly, I don’t want you to waste them! When you think about your blog, are you doing it just because you feel like you have to? Or do you have a clear strategy that guides you on what you need to do to make your blog work for you and boost your business?

As you read through this blog post, take an honest look at your blog. Ask yourself what you could be doing to leverage your blog to leverage your business. Not only will it help you get a better ROI, but it will help you serve your customers more effectively!

Your business can’t do it all. You may want to offer all the services your customers are looking for, but that’s not the best plan for you or them. What ends up happening is that you offer mediocre services you don’t love providing.  

Instead of trying to offer everything, consider refining your one area of expertise and partnering with other companies that specialize in the other services your customers need.

A couple of weeks ago, the Michigan Business Rap had me on their Lunch Break radio program. I thoroughly enjoyed meeting local business professionals and sharing my insight on content marketing! The other participants couldn’t have been more welcoming and gracious.

So what is the Michigan Business Rap? According to their website, “Michigan Business Rap is a daily radio show hosted by Michael Patrick Shiels and Tony Cuthbert. Every weekday afternoon from 12-1 p.m. on The Team 92.1 FM the show is live. The hosts engage a panel of local business experts in a roundtable discussion, which is designed to break down hot topics and timely news stories from the perspective of business owners. The show opens the microphone to the business community, resulting in informative, interactive and entertaining discussions.”

By now, as a business owner, you’re probably well aware of the benefits of blogging. But do you realize the harm you may be doing by NOT posting consistently?

The thing is, humans are creatures of habit. We like to have routines. We want to know that the businesses we choose to work with will deliver on their promises consistently. And frankly, grabbing the attention of your readers is hard enough. If you succeed in capturing their interest, you better not push them away by only posting interesting content once in a blue moon.

If you blog every week for a month, and then disappear for six weeks, your customers are going to wonder what happened. If you post sporadically, your customers won’t make it a habit to check your blog every week. You want to make sure you deliver content to them when they are looking for it! You want your readers to get used to coming to your blog every Wednesday, or whichever day you post!

While I’ve been an Instagram-addict for well over three years, I just began using it for business in August. As an Instagram-for-business-rookie, I’ve learned a lot in a short period of time.

Last week I participated in my first “Instagram Challenge.” If you don’t know what that is, don’t worry. I felt the same way when I decided to participate in The Rising Tide Society’s challenge, but thanks to their helpful guide, I knew what to do and quickly started seeing traction.

I want to share a bit of my experience and encourage you to join in on the next Instagram challenge you come across!

Starting a company from scratch isn’t easy. Trust me, I’ve been there.

When you first begin, it can be frustrating. You don’t have the money to create big, extravagant advertisements or campaigns to get people’s attention. You don’t have the online presence with your website or social media to direct prospective clients to your company. You don’t have the help of a full-time marketing staff. But there are still affordable things you can do to raise awareness about your business! 

Business owners are some of the busiest people in the world. It’s no secret that you’re juggling a million things. Often, writing content for your website, blog, newsletter, and social media platforms probably isn’t high on your priority list. But if you’ve been around here very long, you know how vital content is in enriching your customer's experience.

The truth is, as business owners, we have the tendency to put too much on ourselves. This isn’t because we don’t trust our staff or don’t know how to prioritize. It’s because we want to do the best we can for our business. But if you’re anything like me, you need to remember you can’t possibly do it all and it is okay to get help.

Do you ever wish you could hire someone to write blog posts for your business and still get the credit?

Kind of feels like cheating on a test, right? Thankfully, it’s not. In fact, it is a recommended practice that will not only save you time but provide value to your customers.

A ghostwriter is someone who will take on your tone, style and persona and use it to write content for you, under your name. Not all successful small business owners are skilled writers, nor do they have an abundance of extra time. A ghostwriter can write your blog posts and newsletters, giving you the freedom to focus on the work you love and need to do.

As a small business owner, your biggest concern is probably not your blog. You’ve got clients to please, products to produce, services to refine, and a whole lot more. And yet, blogging is vital to the growth of your business and the support of your customers.

Your to-do list may seem endless, but you cannot afford to ignore your blog.

If you’re disenchanted with writing for your business blog, it’s important to refocus, shake things up, and find your mojo again.

Recently, I've heard a few people say email is dead. They are wrong.

Even in the world of overflowing inboxes, it is still worth your time to reach out to your customers through email.

Email campaigns are an effective way to provide value, connect with your customers, and share more about your business. With an email campaign, you are sending out marketing content on a specific schedule with the intention of increasing your customer’s awareness, trust, and interest in your business.

If you’re a small business owner, content marketing needs to be a part of your daily business strategy.

Still scratching your head and wondering what content marketing is exactly? 

oe Pulizzi defines the concept in his book, Epic Content Marketing, as “the process of developing and sharing relevant, valuable, and engaging content to a target audience with the goal of acquiring new customers or increasing business from existing customers.”

Pulizzi further explains, “Content Marketing is about delivering the content your audience is seeking in all the places they are searching for it. It is the effective combination of created, curated and syndicated content.”

Who doesn’t want their blog to be more successful? Nobody.

As business owners and marketers, we are all looking for ways to increase readership, enhance engagement, and ultimately, get more mileage out of the blog posts we write!

A couple weeks ago, we published a short video “4 Ways to Make Your Blog More Successful.” We totally appreciate all of the wonderful feedback you gave! We wanted to provide a more in-depth look at these tips and share a few more tips we think you need to take your blog to the next level.

These are the tried-and-true strategies we have been using for the past year. Enjoy!

Public speaking is one of the most critical forms of communication in the business world. It comes in all shapes and sizes, from introducing yourself at a networking event to being the keynote speaker at workshops and seminars.

Whether the speaking engagement is small or large, it can cause us to feel extremely nervous.  According to Psychology Today, most people fear public speaking more than death! That is a lot of fear.

Sometimes we put so much pressure on ourselves to speak perfectly that it causes us to overthink things. 

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Most of us recognize when it is appropriate to write emails in a formal or informal tone. At work, we are told to error on the side of being too professional when communicating with coworkers, our boss, and our clients. We’re given the impression that it’s better to be safe than sorry and to be careful not to come off as too casual or worse, disrespectful.

But once you’ve formed strong relationships with coworkers and clients, wouldn’t it feel weird to be strictly professional in your emails? Shouldn’t your communication style reflect the connection and trust you’ve built over time? So, how do you walk the line between being professional and personable in your emails?

I may be a little late to the podcasting craze, but I’m hooked. I recently got a new phone because mine jumped off a cliff (figuratively, not literally). When I got my fancy-dancy new phone,  I got a free pair of Beats Wireless headphones (sadly, not sponsored!). New gadgets = revolutionized morning routine.  

In the world of small business, we must take ownership of our story. We must speak out, share our experiences, and open up about our struggles. By doing this, we can inspire and encourage one another to keep the dream alive. We are continually inspired by the hardworking business owners who are bootstrapping it and making things happen!

This week we’re interviewing our very own Amanda Washburn, the owner of Rough Draft Solutions. We hope it gives you a bit of insight into our company and why we’re committed to empowering other businesses to communicate with their customers! So, grab a cup of coffee and stay awhile! 

We are excited to welcome back our guest bloggers content strategist, Allison Spooner and tech enthusiast, Jesse Flores. In today’s blog post, they will explain the steps your business should take to create a customer persona. This is an important step to take to not only improve your business and marketing strategies, but to also truly get in touch with your customers needs.

We are confident Allison and Jesse will help you master the process of creating the perfect persona for your business! Read on!