The Latest

Writing for SEO – How Important Is It For Your Small Business?

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Writing for SEO remains somewhat of a mystery to many, despite the number of articles, webinars, Twitter chats and workshops available on the topic. In fact, a study found that one in four businesses say they’re not at all or only vaguely familiar with SEO.

Let’s start by saying that no matter who you listen to, they probably don’t have all the answers. And if you ask a different “expert,” you’ll probably get a different answer.

If you’re paying someone to provide SEO services, the proof is in the pudding. If you’re getting results (i.e., ranking higher), their approach is most likely working.

But, for the rest of us, who may be trying to figure out how to write in a more SEO-friendly way without hiring an SEO expert, what should we be doing to help optimize our copy?

The Truth About Writing for SEO Continue reading Writing for SEO – How Important Is It For Your Small Business?

Why Small Businesses Need to Invest in Their Digital Presence

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For years, small businesses have asked the question – do we really need a digital presence? The answer is – yes.

Research shows that much of our audience was already online before the pandemic. Studies conducted before March 2020 reported that 70 to 80% of people research a small business online BEFORE visiting the business or making a purchase from it[i]. Yet, according to research conducted in 2019, 40% of small businesses still don’t have a website. Further, 28% say it’s likely they won’t build one in the future.

It’s time for that to change. Continue reading Why Small Businesses Need to Invest in Their Digital Presence

Why Clear Communication Matters Now More Than Ever

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If there’s one thing we can agree on right now, it’s that messaging and communication over the past few months regarding COVID-19 has been anything but consistent.

As a professional communicator, it can make you shake your head.

Let’s take the messaging regarding wearing a mask to prevent the spread of the virus as an example. When all this started back in March, we heard from the CDC that it wasn’t necessary to wear a mask.

Somewhere along the line, that message changed to, “Yes, you SHOULD be wearing a mask when you go out.”

Has this caused confusion? (Yes.) Does everyone understand what they’re supposed to do? (No.) And even if the directive has now changed, does that mean that everyone will adhere to the new guidelines? (Definitely not.) Have some people – because of the confusion and mixed messages – simply given up on even trying to figure out what they’re supposed to do? (Undoubtedly yes.)

What’s the point, you may ask? Continue reading Why Clear Communication Matters Now More Than Ever

How Can Small Businesses Prepare for the Recovery? Nine Marketing Pros Give Their Best Advice

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Marketing during a crisis can be a challenge. As small businesses struggle to get their bearings, many wonder how to market themselves.

More than 60% of small and medium business owners surveyed said they felt their revenues would shrink for the next six months.  Given the shaky economic conditions, they want to retain current customers and appeal to new ones, but how to communicate without sounding opportunistic can be tricky.

So what can they do to market effectively now and as we move forward? To provide some help and direction, I asked nine marketing and communications pros for their best advice.

I asked: “If you could give one piece of advice to small businesses as they prepare for the recovery, what would it be?”

How Can Small Businesses Prepare for the Recovery?

Continue reading How Can Small Businesses Prepare for the Recovery? Nine Marketing Pros Give Their Best Advice

14 of the Best Budget-Friendly Tools to Help You Master PR, Content and Social Media

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With the new year well underway, many small business owners and freelancers may be looking for ways to streamline projects and squeeze more productivity out of the workday.

As a public relations consultant and freelance writer who sometimes dons a reporter’s hat, I’m always interested in trying out tools that allow me to get more done — but as a solopreneur, I’m also cost-conscious.  I’m often asked what my favorite free or low-cost solutions are to accomplish communications-related tasks.

Here, I share 14 of my top picks. Continue reading 14 of the Best Budget-Friendly Tools to Help You Master PR, Content and Social Media

Freelancing in 2020? Here Are 11 Valuable Tips from the Pros

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The freelance businessperson faces many challenges. As a long-time self-employed consultant – or freelancer, as it’s sometimes called – I know what it’s like to struggle with the questions that come up when one is trying to run one’s own business. So, I started #FreelanceChat in Sept. 2018 to help bring together freelancers interested in supporting each other as we address some of these challenges.

Over a year later, the Twitter chat is going strong. In 2019, we had a number of guests join us to chat about topics ranging from how to find clients to how to market yourself to how to get paid on time.

I asked some of these experts what advice they’d share with freelancers as we head into a new year. Here’s what they said:

Continue reading Freelancing in 2020? Here Are 11 Valuable Tips from the Pros

How Social Media Lurkers Can Boost Your Business

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Tracking the effectiveness of social media has caused many a marketer to shake his or her head in frustration. How can we PROVE it’s effective so that clients will see the value?

While much has been written about tracking its value, I’m going to make another argument – maybe the most significant benefit of social media comes from the views we CAN’T track. I refer to these as “lurker” views. Lurkers – you know, the people who see and read your content – they just don’t like it, comment on it or share it.

While that can be frustrating, its benefit still needs to be taken into account. Why? Because the lurkers may be the ones hiring you or buying your products or services.

Why should we care about social media lurkers?

Continue reading How Social Media Lurkers Can Boost Your Business

You May Not NEED a Press Release – But Here’s Why You May Want to Write One Anyway

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Here’s a question I see A LOT in the public relations industry. “Are press releases still necessary?”

Now, if you follow me, you’ll know I’m a fan of press releases. My first guest post ever was for PR Daily on this very subject (Enough with the death of the press release already). So, when I hear talk of their demise, I always feel as if it’s coming from someone who’s just tired of writing press releases.

While I DO believe in the value of press releases and reports of its death are greatly exaggerated, the truth is, you don’t always need to write one whenever you have news to announce, as my recent piece for Muck Rack discusses.

But, even if you don’t really need one, it can be valuable to write one anyway. What do I mean? Let me give you an example. Continue reading You May Not NEED a Press Release – But Here’s Why You May Want to Write One Anyway