Don’t Get too Content with Your Content

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Don’t get too content with your content.  You always need to be in tune with what’s trending in your niche or you become b-o-r-i-n-g.

And here is something you really need to think about – most people do not know how to write good content.  Sorry – I am a writer, I don’t play the piano understand?

Where to start then?  Look at your competitors content.  I did not say steal or borrow it, I said look at it.

We do not steal or borrow, do we?

We do not steal or borrow, do we?

You can check out other blog posts, do searches on YouTube, and re-think what you thought you knew about content.

Did you know one of the best ways to develop new business is to solve a problem for people?

Back when the housing boom tanked a good friend of mine almost lost everything.  He installs swimming pools.  He was down to his last dollar.  Then he had the brilliant idea to take every question anyone had ever asked him about swimming pools and he turned each question into a blog article.  He began with writing about people who had pools and these people had asked about issues they were having and he wrote every day.  He solved problems and as the housing market turned so did his business.  More than that though was the fact that because his blog became so popular advertisers came on board and he was making money on his content.

Yes, solve a problem.

However you still need to have some talent in creating content.  Let’s explore some ideas.

  1. Find the company with the best content in your industry, the most read, the top company in a Google search.
  1. Read these articles closely, really think about what was written and look for what is missing.  You will find it, no one knows everything.  Now write about what was missing.
  1. Promote your content like you are the top ad company in the world.  How?  Well here is a tip.  Get on Twitter (stop groaning) and hashtag the company that wrote the spectacular content.  Now you will see the names of those who re-tweeted it or commented on it.  Make a list of these names and reach out to them with your content.

The more you write, the better you (should) get.  Write on and use spell check – no one will read you if your grammar and spelling leave a lot to be desired.

I give a talk on how I never get writer’s block.  I just don’t.  I can find something to write about very easily.  I know many people can’t do that.  You can get better though, and you will get more business if you start following the tips I wrote about here.

When all else fails there are people (pick me, pick me) that will write for you.

In closing don’t get too content with your content, ok?

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Filter? Yes or No? Do You Have a Filter?

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Filter? Yes or no? Do you have a filter?  Or do you just put together a bunch of words that you could possibly regret later and slap them up, sit back and smoke a cigarette?  Of course you don’t smoke a cigarette, the thought just seemed to fit.

Of all the social media platforms Facebook gives us an opportunity to filter our thoughts.  We can create lists and we can use these lists to distribute our updates to people whom we want to reach.

Recently someone told me I should filter my Facebook thoughts because “I am in business and people might not appreciate my updates.”

Really?

First of all most of my FB posts are delivered by me using lists.  Friends see the real Carole, other people see a more professional Carole,   I have a breast cancer list, guess what they see.  I have a list of people who see exciting ideas I have, I have a list of people who see my family pictures (family), I have a list for real estate because I still work in that field, I have a list that excludes clients, and a helluva lot more lists.  I even have a list for the county I live in, for my high school, and my favorite list is where I share secrets and that list is for true, loyal friends.

I do take extra steps to filter my thoughts by using FB lists and yes if you are a “fringe friend” meaning you are living on the edge with me, you don’t see everything I post because you do not deserve to see it.  You did not earn the right to see what I share with those closest to me.  The “problem” with social media is that people just post without thinking.

I like using lists and it only takes me 15 seconds to make a choice when I post on FB.  So shut the heck up about me needing to use a filter.  Guess who is now on a different list?

I always think when people tell you that you need a filter that they believe your “finger pointing” post was about them.  Let those with a guilty conscience raise your hand.

I realize not everyone uses lists so yes I would say some people need to filter their thoughts more often because mean and ugly doesn’t win friends and it could hurt your business.

I don’t post anything political (although I did share a great Donald Trump meme).  I don’t fight with people regarding their beliefs.  Hate is everywhere and I avoid it..

I think about every post.  Obviously many people don’t know how to use a filter, they need to zip their mouths and try using distribution lists.

I do filter my updates.  Do you?

Zip it or Use a Distribution List on Facebook.

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Free Advice on Not Working for Free 2nd Opinion

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Last week I wrote a blog titled Free Advice On Not Working for Free and today I am writing my own rebuttal to that – let me call it a tiny rebuttal because I would never tell anyone to work for free.  We do need to have basic necessities BUT what if I told you that there are things you should give people, things that could improve your life and your business and that you should be giving these things for free?

Let me take you back to a conversation I had earlier this year in which I was told I needed to stop giving work away for free.  I was guilty of doing that.  I think we all feel we need to do free work to grow our businesses.  I had moved past the point in my business of needing to do that, but I kept doing work for free and it was ticking me off.

I stopped.

Today though in researching and reflecting upon an interview I am about to do with the world famous author and speaker, Bob Burg, I re-read his book The Go-Giver and I am a true disciple of his beliefs.  There are things we all should be giving away for free because these are the very things that will bring us more success.

Do you know what the 5 Laws of Stratospheric Success are?  You can find them on Bob’s website and this is the link to get directly to these laws:

http://thegogiverway.com/the-go-giver/

When I was told I should never give anyone anything for free I felt it was extremely hard-core and a militant statement.  After re-reading The Go-Giver I found many reasons to give things away for free because being a giver can bring you tremendous rewards in life.

In following the principles of Burg’s book, it isn’t about giving work away for free at all.  It is a philosophy and it might mean throwing away some of the hard-core militant thoughts you might have been taught or told and really reaching deep into yourself to achieve stratospheric success.

There will always be people who don’t get it.  There will always be people who don’t believe it.  There will always be takers. There will always be people who do not understand that serving people well will result in better sleep at night.

We will be taking Bob Burg’s podcast interview live soon.  You will find it along with show notes and more great advice on http://thecrazymarketingladiesshow.com and it will be Episode 38 I just don’t have a title yet.

In the meantime, I highly encourage you to read The Go-Giver and learn from it, embrace the philosophy, put it into practice – it’s a super feeling to do the right thing with people.

 

Buy it, read it, give it to a friend, or someone you know who really needs it.

Buy it, read it, give it to a friend, or someone you know who really needs it.

 

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Free Advice on Not Working for Free

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Yes, it’s Friday and a good day to stop readers in their tracks by giving out free advice on not working for free.

This is something I had to learn to stop doing.  Free doesn’t pay the bills.  Late payments don’t pay the bills.  I work on a retainer basis – I get paid upfront.  If/when a client is late they get no grace period.  Work stops.  Work begins again when payment is made.

It took a strong stomach to do it the first time, then it got easier.  Does free fill your gas tank?  Does free fill your belly?  You know the answer.  Stop being nice.  Nice doesn’t fill your gas tank or your belly either.

Now just to play with your minds let me tell you what you can do for free but remember time is money so you have to really limit what you are going to do for free.  If you can give something away that guarantees a lead or business in the future then do that.  A free e-book, a free white paper, something of value that doesn’t take a lot of time to create.

I have a software program that can tell someone in less than a minute how their web presence is – and I have bo problem sending out a free report because at the end of the day if your web presence is lousy fixing it could bring you more customers.  It’s a win/win.

Yes, this is the day I have to let a client know all work stops till I am paid.  Bet your bottom dollar they stop work to their clients when they don’t get paid.

Stop working for free - it doesn't get you anywhere but on the road to being aggravated.

Stop working for free – it doesn’t get you anywhere but on the road to being aggravated.

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You Have a Personal Brand, Right?

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You have a personal brand, right?  That’s the topic for today.  If you don’t then you need to fire up your branding iron now because you need to leave a personal mark.  It’s not like you can lift your leg and mark your territory like a dog can.   You need to leave your mark, your personal  brand in the minds of those you want to do business with or receive referrals from on a regular basis.  This is different than your business brand.  Chances are most people know what you do – this is all about your personal brand.

You have to have a personal brand.  It represents what you stand for in a way that defines you and sets you apart.

You exist on two tracks today.  There is you in the real world and you in the digital world.  You have to manage both areas.  It’s critical.

A lot of people do Google you before they meet you.  This is why your online presense needs to match who you are when people meet you in person – this is why you need a personal brand.

Don’t think of personal branding as bragging.  I know some people do, but you can put yourself out there without looking like a narcissist.  Start by being genuine.  When your personal brand is a genuine expression of your core values, it focuses your attention on actions you should be taking – and it also makes it very clear on what you should avoid.

Let’s talk about what your personal brand is not about:

  • your job
  • your elevator pitch
  • your LinkedIn profile
  • your Google search results
  • how you look
  • your way of relating to others
  • how you decorate your office

What is your personal brand?

  • what you believe in
  • your reputation
  • what others say about you when you leave the room

Think about it this way – your personal brand tells people what you stand for – and stand up for, so make sure your behavior emulates this.

Why should you brand yourself?  It will give clarity on what your contributions can be in a situation.

How about knowing with a good personal brand you will get new opportunities?

Who are you?  Not what is your business but who are you?  What's your personal brand?

Who are you? Not what is your business but who are you? What’s your personal brand?

Then there is this – a brand increases your influence, your ability to persuade and make things happen for yourself and others.

Personal branding is not easy for everyone and I will be bringing you more information on personal branding soon.

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Launching A Successful Business

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Launching a successful business is your dream right?  You want to be your own boss.  You have an entrepreneurial spirit.  You work well alone.  You have some money in the bank.

Whatever – if you want to launch a successful business here are some tips for doing that.

  • Pick a name that will live longer than you will.  What if your business becomes publicly traded some day?  You need a great name.
  • Now that you have the idea you have to have a plan.  If you need capital you seriously need a plan.  The SBA offers a lot of help on their site. www.sba.com
  • Take some courses in your dream – and if what you want to do involves accreditation – get it.  That certificate on the wall is extremely important.  If you need a license, get that.  Do NOT fake it till you make it.  That’s BS and will not work – you will be exposed and risk losing all you worked for too.
  • Know your competition.  Why do you think Lowes builds near Home Depot, or Walgreens near CVS?  Research shows that inter-connected industries all do better when clustered together.
  • Have you considered Kickstarter?  Do you know women meet their goals there better then men do according to a study from the University of Pennsylvania.

By all means you should follow your dreams of launching a business.  Don’t spin your wheels, don’t waste time.  Get assistance and advice and go for it.

Follow your dreams - do it!

Follow your dreams – do it!

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Damage Control Part 2

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After I wrote yesterday’s article about the fact that doing damage contol immediately is of utmost importance, I realized that I needed to write a damage control part 2 blog.

The reason for writing it is because I truly believe from both personal and business experience that people do not realize that there are steps they need to take.

Hey it’s your reputation – if you don’t give a you-know-what about your reputation stop reading this right now.  If you do give a you-know-what then you are reading the right blog.

We all make mistakes.  We all screw up.  Many times a sincere apology will be the fix that is needed and we move on hopefully with our bruised feelings bandaged and we heal.

Quick apologies work.  They work especially well when the infraction isn’t detrimental to someone’s well being both emotionally and physically. If you forgot your best friend’s birthday you are probably in the dog house.  You can get out of it – best friends can move past it.  Now if it is your spouse’s birthday that might be a horse of a different color.

Move on – that’s the next step.  That waiter that did not take your order quickly apologizes, you get served no one is hurt, we all move on – it works.

BUT……………..

What if what you did or what someone in your company did caused someone else a much more serious problem?  What if what you did could seriously damage your reputation?  What if what you did hurt someone deeply?  What if…..what if……what if…..there are more – we both know that.

The first thing you absolutely must do is own it.
Playing the blame game or dodging responsibility is only going to make it worse. Instead, admit your mistake and face up to the consequences.

Why?  People want to see you own it.  They want to see you admit you were wrong and they want to hear your apology.

Guess what comes next – the apology.
If you’ve caused pain or headaches to the people around you, they’re going to want an apology—and not one of those fake, “I’m sorry if you were offended,” BS statements that sounds like you are putting the responsibility on others.  Be specific in your acknowledgement so that people know you really understand the problem.

Now it’s time to figure out how this happened and how to keep it from happening again.
Once you’ve owned up to the mistake and apologized, try to figure out how it happened and how such errors can be avoided in the future.  It’s important to consult other people who were affected by the mistake (if any) and look for ways to make things better.

If you don’t give a hoot and your actions were deliberate then you need to be on a psychiatrist’s couch because malicious behavior has a diagnosis somewhere and you need help.

What happens next is usually we beat ourselves up.
Mistakes can be embarrassing, and it’s easy to get stuck in the groove of beating yourself up. It does no good to throw yourself at your victim’s feet over and over again. You admitted it. You apologized. You tried to make it right and ensure it never happens again.  Apologizing repeatedly can be a sign of weakness and actually hurt your credibility,

Your job is to learn from it.

And then grow better from it.

All of these steps are very important.  Don’t ever think that just walking away will work.  Walking away is stupid.  Your reputation will suffer.  People will talk.  You will be the subject of their talk.  Don’t ever think you can do this and it won’t matter.  People’s feelings matter a lot.  What was it that Maya Angelou said?

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

I like this quote but I am going to say it my way:
“If you do something to someone – make it better NOW because people will accept your apology, they may not forget what you did but they will move on, forgetting how you made them feel though will always be there.”  – Carole Sanek, 2015

But are you really?  Hey it's your life, your reputation, your loss.

But are you really? Hey it’s your life, your reputation, your loss.

 

 

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Damage Control Cannot Wait

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Damage control cannot wait.  The minute you have a less than favorable situation you have to take action.

I have been working with someone for the last two days who had damage done 4 years ago and it is preventing people from doing business with them to this day.  They did not do damage control when they should have and it is costing them.

The nature of the complaint against them, while personal and probably at the time thought of as trivial, is anything but that because it is on Google and guess what?  Google doesn’t care and Google will not take anything off their site without a court order.  Think I am kidding?  I am not.

Do you know how much money that can cost?  Think of all those attorney fees to start with and then add up the time you spend when you could be doing things that make money.

I started digging today into this a little more since I knew I was going to write about damage control.  The first thing I found was written by someone in the hospitality industry where you know testimonials go viral.

Sharlyn Lauby said this:

I spent many years of my career in the hospitality business and the first rule of thumb when dealing with customers was, “if a guest had a positive experience, they’ll tell 3 people and if they had a negative experience, they’ll tell 10.” That same idea holds true in the new media world, except the numbers have grown exponentially. Instead of it being 3 people – it’s 3,000, or instead of 10 – it’s perhaps 100,000. The numbers aren’t meant to scare you. But what should you do when something goes wrong?

Sharlyn is right – many people will see an online complaint and you end up running around with a big fire hose trying to put out the flames.

That hose can get very heavy - and tiring in the case of putting out damage control fires.  Help prevent them- be proactive and do the right thing.

That hose can get very heavy – and tiring in the case of putting out damage control fires. Help prevent them- be proactive and do the right thing.

This is why it is essential to handle all issues immediately.

This link takes you to a site with really good advice:

http://www.mrmediatraining.com/2013/02/07/the-ten-commandments-of-damage-control/

One more piece of advice – if you suspect that there could be an issue heading your way, get in front of it.  Do the right thing.  This is a very small world and social media has made it even smaller.

If you get in front of it you won’t need the fire hose.

 

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In the LOO Moment

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Yes, an in the LOO moment and it’s not that loo either.

I was given an assignment this past week to ask people I know to tell me what I do.  This is a great exercise and can yield some great responses. Some of my more clever friends got cute with their responses.  I got some “duhs” and then I went for a session with my healer/massage therapist/Reiki master/energy restorative friend, Jackie.

I asked her her what I do – she gave me a “duh” reply and kept working on my sore spots.  Then she said ” you seize opportunities”. I was puzzled at first but then she said “you don’t create opportunities as much as you seize them and act on them” .

I laid on her table and thought about this.  I have been thinking about this for 24 hours.  I traveled back in time and thought about it and realized that I am always on high alert for seizing the opportunity. It’s a skill.  It might also be a talent. It can be learned – you can do it too.

First of all you have to listen to people.  Just like SEO and keywords go together you have to have LOO (not that loo either or in that loo).  LOO stands for Listening Opportunities Optimization.  I can hone in on several conversations at the same time and I listen for keywords in those conversations.  Maybe it is a talent of sorts and maybe it’s because I have ADD and my senses bounce around a lot – whatever it is, my ears are almost always in LOO mode.

Next comes getting yourself into the LOO conversation because in order to be in control of seizing the opportunity you have to jump on it and ask for it. Remember being in school madly waving your hand in the air shouting ” me, me, me?” Well you need to be able in a very short period of time, to ask for the opportunity.

Some opportunities come with time periods.  If you have to fill out a form and mail or email it somewhere you have time (and competition).

Way back when big hair was in style (yes I know in some places it never went out of style) I saw on TV that The Wheel of Fortune was holding live auditions  where I lived.  I had to write in my reasons for wanting a spot at the auditions and wait to hear if I was accepted.  I was accepted for the audition but now I had to figure out what would make me stand out.  What did I do?  I watched every show I could and listened to what the chosen contestants said when they were introduced.

When it was my turn to introduce myself I clearly said I was the married, had 3 children and that I was a nurse in the ER of our county hospital.  Sure enough I heard other contestants mutter “she’ll get picked, they always pick nurses”.  I did get picked – they were right.  At that time they picked teachers, nurses and flight attendants.  I had used my LOO!

There many perfect LOO moments.  I was sitting at a table waiting for a class to start at a conference and this lovely woman was walking my way.  She is a red-head (like me) and she was wearing a bright sunshine yellow dress.  As she got closer I told her how stunning she looked in that dress.

She stopped to thank me, I did not know her from Adam.  We started talking and one thing lead to another thing and before long I was blowing off the class I intended to take and heading to her discussion on women in film.

We started to walk together and we were joined by two more women, one was her manager and the other her director and they started to talk about an award show that was happening the next evening.  She introduced us and told everyone I was a podcaster.  It seemed the issue at hand was that someone had backed out of doing interviews from the red carpet.  Big LOO moment and I seized the opportunity.

I just asked – I asked to be on the red carpet to do the interviews.  And they said yes.  I solved a problem for them.  LOO moments often are about a situation/issue/problem.

It helps to be bold but if you don’t ask, the answer is always no right?

Not my first red carpet rodeo, and I used LOO to get there - not talking about the bathroom either.

Not my first red carpet rodeo, and I used LOO to get there – not talking about the bathroom either.

When you are asked to work the red carpet you go shopping!

When you are asked to work the red carpet you go shopping!

Our IT Dude, Lawrence and the one and only top podcaster in the world, Daniel J. Lewis.

Our IT Dude, Lawrence and the one and only top podcaster in the world, Daniel J. Lewis.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Mind Mapping, Who Me?

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Mind mapping, who me?  That was my reply to my fabulous massage therapist today – she is a holistic practitioner and a healer and so much more.  She suggested I try it and I did not have the heart to say I had tried it before.

On the drive home I thought hard about my last trip down the highway of mind mapping and I just remember I gave up.  I have an “oh look a squirrel” brain so when I tried it I felt I would need a white board bigger than my house.

Mind mapping requires you to make a diagram to visually organize information.  I visualize squirrels.  It did not work well for me.

 

All day every day I am distracted by squirrels.

All day every day I am distracted by squirrels.

My fabulous massage therapist told me to Google Tony Buzan and follow his directions – she swears I can do it.

This is what Buzan says to do and he left out paper or a white board:

  1. Start in the center with an image of the topic, using at least 3 colors.
  2. Use images, symbols, codes, and dimensions throughout your mind map.
  3. Select key words and print using upper or lower case letters.
  4. Each word/image is best alone and sitting on its own line.
  5. The lines should be connected starting from the central image.  The lines become thinner as they radiate out from the center.
  6. Make the lines the same length as the word/image they support.
  7. Use multiple colors throughout the mind map, for visual stimulation and also for encoding or grouping.
  8. Develop your own personal style of mind mapping.
  9. Use emphasis and show associations in your mind map.
  10. Keep the mind map clear by using radial hierarchy or outlines to embrace your branches.

I keep seeing squirrels so I dug deeper and came up with this great link:

http://lifehacker.com/how-to-use-mind-maps-to-unleash-your-brains-creativity-1348869811

I will try it – I feel it might give me some clarity with some issues I need to put to rest.  Coming from “BIG PHARMA” sales though I know all about giving fair balance.  I looked for opinions that were not favorable to doing a mindmap.  I did not exactly find a big “Don’t Mind Map” article, I did find this:

http://www.lifehack.org/articles/productivity/5-reasons-stop-mind-mapping-immediately.html

This article doesn’t say to not mindmap, it says when to stop.
I do intend to study it more because in business I think mindmapping can definitively set all of us on the right path if do it as Buzan suggests.  Being married to an anal engineer I am going to have him do one right along side me – love will keep us together.

Have you ever done a mind map?

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