The better you write, the more you save.

February 16, 2010 at 7:08 am | Posted in social media | Leave a comment
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Use a specialist. But only for the bits you can’t do.

I strive to improve my clients’ writing skills by imparting my expertise where possible.

One client has followed my advice and assembled a team of friends to vet his draft blog posts.

If his posts do start coming to me error free, their upload, tagging, hyperlinking and image sourcing should only take me 15-20 mins per post.

That’s around $30-40 per post.

And if it takes me less time, I’ll pass on the savings (as I only charge for time I actually work).

With this method, everyone’s a winner:

  1. My client improves his writing and saves money.
  2. His friends feel useful.
  3. His readers benefit from regular posts.
  4. His blog moves up Google’s food chain thanks to fresh content updates.
  5. I get regular small fees, instead of just a few (or even no) big ones.

So you see, there’s more than one way to flesh a blog! 🙂

Paul Hassing, Founder and Senior Writer, The Feisty Empire.

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What does it cost to set up a blog?

January 30, 2010 at 10:47 am | Posted in social media | 6 Comments
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You need to know what you’re doing.

A client asked what I’d charge to set up a blog.

By the time I laid it all out in my email, I realised I had another post that might interest you.

Here’s what I wrote (with confidential details suppressed).

‘A blog for your firm and sector would be fabulous.

The topics would never end.

You could cover design, products, materials, trends, pitfalls, overseas directions, govt initiatives, case studies, happy campers – the works.

And every time there’s a media item about your sector, you’ll have another  blog post topic.

The way to go is to just make a start.

It takes me around 13 hours to set up a blog. This comprises:

  1. Naming.
  2. Registration.
  3. Template selection and configuration.
  4. Banner design.
  5. Welcome content.
  6. Tags.
  7. Avatar (profile pic) optimisation.
  8. Links.
  9. Amazon shop (optional – for passive income).
  10. Online ranking.

Each draft post you send me will take about an hour to optimise, illustrate and load on the blog.

So, you’d be up for around $1,560 + GST for setup.

Plus $120 + GST for each post (assuming you give me a reasonable bit of content to work up).

If you wish to proceed, we just move carefully through the ten-step setup process described above, ensuring you’re happy with each step and paying as you go.

If you have the time and inclination, I can train you or your representative to take over and run the blog at any time.

There are no software or hosting costs (unless you want to get fancy).

Even the pics are free, as I’ve started using Flickr. And I know you’ve got some killer photos in your kit bag.’

I hope you found that helpful or at least interesting.

Let me know!

🙂


If you found this content useful or entertaining, you may wish to:

Even a buck or three will keep me in the hunt. With many thanks, Paul.


 

14 MORE blog improvement ideas!

January 11, 2010 at 12:50 pm | Posted in social media | 8 Comments
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Pic by ME! 🙂

By Jove, I just did another blog analysis! (Earlier analysis here.)

Once again, many of my ideas were client specific (and of course confidential).

The rest are yours.

  1. ALL CAPITAL LETTERS in the banner is harder to read than Title Case and looks like ‘SHOUTING’ to some readers.
  2. The pic of the tree is pretty, but it doesn’t suggest a benefit for clients or a link to you. How about a pic of your products in action, in situ?
  3. The headers for the articles have varying capitalisation (Title Case and Sentence case). While this is a minor point, highly educated clients may find it distracting.
  4. Australians may prefer a Day/Month/Year format to the current American one.
  5. ‘Comment’ is simpler and shorter than ‘Add Your Comments Here’. The fewer words we use, the more info we impart.
  6. A relevant image at the top of each article would showcase your gear and make the blog much more interesting to readers.
  7. I had trouble understanding your company’s structure due to the varying names. It’d be good to have one long version and one short version and to use them consistently. Failing that, spell out what’s what at the start, so readers like me don’t feel stupid or waste time trying to figure it out instead of reading your content.
  8. Body copy capitalisation is also highly irregular. Unless corrected, this will erode your brand in the minds of some readers.
  9. Clichés kill interest faster than a road train wipes wabbits. Therefore, use your ‘natural voice’ to replace phrases like ‘110% effort’, ‘our dynamic team’ and ‘all this and much much more’. Doing so will make you appear human (and therefore, by implication, reasonable and trustworthy). And if your competitors don’t follow suit, you’ll open up an important point of difference in a homogenous market.
  10. I can’t see any tags, categories or keywords. You said your main site SEO gives you Google Page 1. What about this blog?
  11. A Bolded Subtitle doesn’t need a colon too.
  12. ‘Single quotes’ do the same thing (in less space) as “double quotes”.
  13. The wind energy article is great. This is another point-of-difference opportunity. Especially these days.
  14. YouTube is now massive. Some embedded videos of your products in action would be great. Especially for Gen Y and younger audience members.

Hope you dig. Let me know! 🙂

Paul Hassing, Founder and Senior Writer, The Feisty Empire.

Business Blogs

17 Blog improvement ideas

January 9, 2010 at 1:38 pm | Posted in social media | Leave a comment
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Small changes can make a BIG difference. Photo by rwpeary.

A while ago I was asked to critique a blog. While many of my suggestions were client specific, there were some I thought you might find useful.

This list shows the sort of feedback I can give on your blog.

  1. Changing/rotating banner pics are a nice touch. A small explanatory caption for each would be even better. Especially for first-time visitors.
  2. Once you delve into older posts, it can take time to get back to the start. It’d be nice if clicking the banner pic returned readers to the home page.
  3. Captions on post images would satisfy scanning readers, intrigue deeper readers and generally draw more people into each post.
  4. An avatar (profile) pic of unusual dimensions makes it hard to use in other social media applications (which will crop it).
  5. Clicking your avatar should lead to your bio.
  6. Inconsistent capitalisation may distract some readers from your message.
  7. Responding swiftly to comments can elicit others and build readership and community.
  8. Clicking the post photos makes them much bigger than expected (or needed). This could disadvantage readers with slower internet connections.
  9. Given this blog’s many components, a three-column design like this could work better than a two-column design.
  10. ‘Rollover’ comments (which appear when you put your cursor over a link – see my blogroll on the right of this page) let you know what you’re getting into before clicking through. Some people prefer this.
  11. Are you on Twitter? I couldn’t find a way to follow you. How do you announce new posts to the world?
  12. One post had two hyperlinks. One was embedded, the other wasn’t. The former is neater and should be used consistently.
  13. One photo acknowledgement took two lines, where one would suffice.
  14. Abbreviations (it’s, we’re, don’t) would make the tone friendlier (and the writing shorter and easier to read).
  15. Many of the photos are so beautiful, it’s a shame to have them so small. Putting them above the text would solve this problem.
  16. Some posts contain many passive constructions. The active voice is shorter and more ‘up’.
  17. Bullets are great. If you can left align them, they’ll remain distinct without looking cramped or consuming too much white space.

Was any of that useful? You can probably see I’m bringing my copywriting expertise to bear on the content.

And why not? Blogs are just another vehicle for interesting, relevant messages expressed in perfect English.

Did you want anything explained more fully? Just leave a comment; I’d love to hear from you! 🙂

Reach out

January 2, 2010 at 10:50 am | Posted in social media | 4 Comments
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Photo by Janesdead

If you find a blogger who mentions your products or services, leave a comment or get your representative to do it.

Most blogs let you add a link (also called a URL – short for Uniform [or Universal] Resource Locator) back to your site when you comment.

This is good for creating fresh visitor traffic and improving your online search ranking performance.

It  also shows that your organisation is active in the social media space (and therefore ‘switched-on’ in the minds of Generation Y and younger audiences).

Better still, if your competitors don’t follow your lead, you may open a point of difference that they can never close.

Your social media participation may also prompt blog owners to ask you or your representative for content – or even an interview.

At this point, you can start steering the conversation your way.

Finally, consistent online participation by you or your rep provides a contact name for anyone with good or bad news to impart.

Thus, each blogger your cultivate is like a listening post in no-man’s land. The more you have, the better your field intelligence – which is vital for the battles ahead.

By promoting good things and resolving bad, you build and optimise your brand many times faster than has ever been possible.

Business Blogs

How do I measure blog success?

December 29, 2009 at 1:37 am | Posted in social media | 4 Comments
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What gets measured, gets done.

Blogging has yielded some spectacular corporate successes, which are detailed in the seminal book Groundswell.

I strongly recommend you read this book.

I currently use six ways to measure blogging success:

1.  Site statistics.

I check my stats several times every day to see which blogs are sending traffic to which websites. I can even see which blog posts are performing better than others.

2.  Blog ranking.

I register my blogs with a ranking site that shows how well they’re performing relative to other blogs in their topic. This info is updated hourly.

3.  Comments.

When people leave comments, that means they’re visiting and reading. The more comments the better (though I do have to weed out spammers and ravers).

4.  Subscriptions.

Even better than comments are subscribes. When a person says YES to an email or RSS (short for Really Simple Syndication) feed of your blog, you know they’re digging it.

Building a subscriber base is the holy grail of blogging, as you can use it for a host of permission marketing initiatives.

5.  Sales.

Several new clients have approached me saying something like, ‘I found you via your blog, read your stuff for a while and decided you were the sort of person I wanted to do business with.’

For me, this is the acid test of a blog’s success. After all, that’s one of the main reasons we’re writing the damn thing!

6. Vibe.

In a few short months, my horse breeding client has reported a very positive reaction from clients and industry people.

She’s also feeling freer, as she’s getting prospects to read the blog before asking her questions.

She used to have to spend hours repeating herself to each inquirer.

She’s loving the process of decanting her wisdom to a blog that people can read without bothering her.

It’s much easier for her to fill in the gaps once people have some idea of what she’s on about.

And those who don’t like the blog’s style or content can deselect themselves (as they’re not the sort of people she wants handling her beloved horses anyway).

I’m heading up there for another overnighter soon, collecting photos and stories to keep feeding the blog.

🙂

Brought to you by The Feisty Empire.


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