Tag Archives: blog

A Quick Thought on Blogs

Blogs don't have to be scary.

Blogs don’t have to be scary. They don’t have to be long or long-winded. They don’t have to lecture or be too nice. And blogs certainly don’t have to be time consuming.

Seth Godin writes about a blog a day. Most are about a paragraph long. And most of his blogs are good.

That’s the key to writing blogs. They just have to be good. They have to add value to someone’s life.

Oh, and they don’t have to be for everyone.

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I am My Worst Customer

I often joke that marketers – especially those who are also small business owners – are our own worst customers.

During the course of any given week, I give my clients all kinds of marketing and sales advice:
– Post daily on social channels. Post content that is valuable to your followers, not you.
– Have a marketing plan.
– Set sales goals.
– Be consistent.
– The list goes on…

Funny thing is, I am terrible at taking my own advice. In fact, I am my own worst customer.

I like to tell myself that I’m too busy to do certain things, like blog regularly, but the truth might be something scarier. Maybe I’m afraid. Afraid that my advice won’t work when applied to my own business. Afraid it will work and I won’t know what to do when it’s time to expand Tinderbox Consulting.

Those things you aren’t doing in your business, are you not doing them because you’re afraid? If it’s because you’re too busy, that’s a good thing. Find someone to do the things you’re too busy to do. Even if it means you hire an employee, or contract with someone like me. Just don’t sacrifice best practices on account of being cheap, lazy, or afraid.

 

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For the sake of clarity…

Just because someone writes a blog offering advice, perspective, or tips doesn’t mean they’re perfect. In most cases (especially mine), it is quite the opposite.

I offer advice because I’ve made mistakes – as a business owner, husband, father, friend, Christ follower, etc. My goal is to use my gifts, the few I have, and what I’ve learned from the mistakes I’ve made, to help others.

Sometimes the best learning comes from making mistakes. It is possible, though, to learn from “case studies” and advance your situation without making too many missteps. However, it takes a special kind of courage to admit when you’ve made a mistake, to admit that you need help, or to seek knowledge in areas where you are inexperienced.

As for me (and this blog), I enjoy taking the time to share what I’ve learned, the mistakes I’ve made, and the obstacles I’ve had to hurdle. I’d share those things even if no one read my blog. It’s part of who I am.

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Stories

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My wife is brilliant:

“I think people like reading stories, as long as it doesn’t turn out to be a waste of time. You want to leave them happy and/or satisfied that they spent time reading your story (blog, status update, tweet, etc.).  They are reading it trusting that you aren’t wasting their time.  If you waste their time this round, they may never return.  Just my two-cents.”

Thanks Natalie!

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Do Better Part II

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Part I received some (well deserved) criticism for identifying a problem without providing solutions. So, here are a few quick tips to help small business owners do better when it comes to social media and blogging.

Tip #1: Post frequently. Here is a simple set of guidelines to follow (at a minimum):
Facebook: Post at least 1x daily, Monday through Friday.
Twitter: Post at least 3x daily, Monday through Friday.
Blog: Post a blog at least 1x weekly, preferably on a weekday.

Tip #2: Post quality content. Don’t be in such a hurry to post frequently that you throw up garbage. Think of ways to add value to your customers’ lives. It doesn’t have to be groundbreaking, just useful.

Tip #3: Fill out all the information. Facebook, more than other sites, provides several places to put company information. Fill out every bit of it. Then do this on every other site your company is on.

Tip #4: If you don’t know, ask. If you don’t know what kind of content will add value to your customers, ask them. I promise they’ll tell you. If you don’t know how to use Facebook or Twitter, Google it or consult with an expert. The internet makes it more embarrassing and difficult than ever to use the excuse, “I don’t know.” You can’t just throw up your hands and go home. So, ask. The answers are there just waiting to be found.

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Do Better

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Will tools like Facebook, twitter, LinkedIn and a Blog drive thousands of people to your site or to your business? Maybe, maybe not. But that’s not why you’re using them. You’re using them because they are free (from cost but most likely not time) and because you don’t have the big marketing budget for tv, radio, or billboards.

However, just because Facebook, Twitter, etc. are free-ish doesn’t mean you should approach them haphazardly. Think of a restaurant that spends tens of thousands of dollars on remodeling their dining area. New booths, new silverware, new paint, the whole nine yards. But then they cheap out on the menus. There are typos and grammatical errors, and overall it seems as if the owners couldn’t care less about what the menus look like. Patrons might find themselves asking what else the owners don’t care about, like the food.

You can do a million things right every day in your business, but if you’re bad at something as public as social media (or menus) it’ll be noticed more than anything you’ve done well.

Edit: Due to some constructive feedback, I’ve posted a Part II of this blog where I’ve addressed what small business owners can do to be good at Facebook, twitter and blogging. 

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