You Clean Up Nice; What About Your Content

In the past year the phrase which keeps being repeated to me when I am seen in a dress & make-up, “You clean up nice.”

Is this suppose to be a compliment?

Does your content clean up nicely?

Since my teenage years I always chose jeans, t-shirts or shorts to wear. Hair in a ponytail, thanks to Shirley Temple curls and I was never into make-up or trying to impress others. Spending most of my childhood up on a stage where I dressed in costume and globs of make-up was applied to my face as I gracefully danced around definitely had something to do with not wanting to add fakeness to myself as I grew older. With the addition of always ending up with some skin irritation and eye infection, putting make-up on left me with a bad experience.

Up to age 25, it never bothered me till my wedding day. I walked over to my grandmother (Pearl) during my wedding reception where she said the most sarcastic thing to me, “You clean up nice.” My mouth dropped open, I smiled, hugged her and said, “I love you too grandma!”

Since I always felt living a natural and an organic life also included natural beauty, why did I have to “dress” up for others?

Then I realized what my grandmother was trying to say that day. It wasn’t so much about the make-up or hair but the way I held myself like I used to up on stage during all my solo dance performances. The confidence which shined through that day because I was “put” together from hair, make-up to the wedding gown and my ballroom dance placed me back up on that stage ready to perform.

When approaching brainstorming sessions with my team, before the content creation process, there are a series of questions we ask ourselves. These questions are focused on the presentation of the content and how others will perceive it. Another way of saying, “you clean up nice” but focused on the production of content.

If a piece of content isn’t formatted in a way that is eye pleasing or easily understood to your target audience, then why bother to write or even create the piece? Taking all the time to create with no real reward, what is the reasoning behind this?

To relate this idea back to being told that I clean up nicely, I am guessing the effort to be presentable, to each individual, have different “clean up nice” levels. A lot of my reasoning of why I choose to dress the way I do is I am a shy person and getting attention from others has always been an internal fight.

Could this also be a reason why some pieces of content that are created are not overly driven by data and promotion? Does the creator not want the attention for their piece?

As I have grown into a “mature” woman, I am getting more used to “cleaning up nicely” but the internal struggle will always be there. When it comes to content, I’ll always make sure it is presentable and as my grandmother said to me it will “Clean up nicely.”

Follow Lisa on Twitter. Connect with Lisa Weinberger on Google+.

When second choice grows a business

Although many people know us as PearlyWrites, the history of how we became PW needs to be shared. In 1994, I started as a freelancer where I consulted small businesses on how to be found in the search engines like Ask, AOL and Netscape. My father is the person who got me interested in search engines, thanks to his engineering and government background, he was on the Internet, even before AOL! (Yes the Al Gore Internet…)

So when my parents launched their housecleaning business website and I saw how using keywords brought in traffic to the site, I wanted to learn more. My thirst for knowledge about search led me to finding mentors in Internet marketing and learning more technical items like back end coding and how search engines work.

Jump ahead to 2002, while completing my Masters degree in education, I decided to start PearlyWrites. I began transitioning from individual freelancer to business owner. Although I was already a business owner of a private tutoring service, the new venture was a business which was based on gaining exposure online and through referrals which was different than the tutoring service where we were the first choice by 4 synagogues in Northern New Jersey and was referred new business every week due to my reputation of “being able to teach a bear to dance”.

And PearlyWrites.com was born and we were the second choice of many of the proposals we sent. It was a different world for me; from being first choice to now fighting to create a reputation in a whole other field. BUT the cool thing was the new business was virtual which meant business could come from anywhere! No longer did I have to be marketing just to the local market, I could market all throughout the world.

While based in New Jersey, our first client was based in the UK which was awesome! Our second client was based in Australia where we provided all their web copy, marketing collateral and email campaigns for UnlocktheGame.com. Ari Galper was great to work for and very innovative. Then we signed our first client in the mid-west who we signed a contract for a year. Within 3 months of officially launching the business, we set a year goal which we hit 3 months later.

Now in month 6, it was time to bring on contractors to help with the client work and I went from freelancer to project manager to business owner. Although we grew by yards quicker than we planned, many of the clients who signed with PearlyWrites, we were actually their second choice. The first few times got me aggravated and then I realized, “Who cares! They want PW to do their work.”

Thanks to my earlier years of SEO experience, when Google came into the search world, understanding the algorithm was easy for me to connect it to content development and promoting to gain the most exposure and engagement which today is considered social media. So when PearlyWrites started we may have been the second choice for many of our first clients, but without them we wouldn’t be where we are today. We wouldn’t have gained the experience or even walked through the doors that have opened for myself and our team, would have never been possible without taking those first steps and taking the chance of being the second choice.

Going from a business where we were the first and only choice to a new business endevour and being the second choice allowed us to realize that sometimes a different approach and change is good. From the beginning of PW, we have relocated 3 times thanks to the lessons the business has taught us.

Change is good! Change lends itself to the continuation of learning!

So if a client comes back to you and you are their second choice, if the project is something that benefits you or your business, don’t say no right away. It may surprise you 10 years later when you look back and see how far you have come.

Follow Lisa on Twitter. Connect with Lisa Weinberger on Google+.

Scheduling content can help your SEO

Do you ever wonder why certain blogs are more successful than others? Or why some show up in the search more times than you think they should? What about being in Google News? Have you ever wondered why some content will get more exposure than other pieces?

If you have decided to start a new blog or get serious about your present one, a key item which should be on your to-do list is creating a schedule for your content. This not only helps you as a blogger to map out your editorial calendar but it trains the search engines to know when your site posts new content and about which topic. Establishing a publishing schedule also helps your readers to know what to expect on Tuesday morning at 10:30 as you want to become an authority voice in whatever genre your blog is about.

An example of how scheduling content can help your SEO is let’s say your site gives information about coupons. You provide your readers exclusive details about sales and a head’s up about unadvertised specials. Your competitor gives the same information, has been online for less time and is always outranking you in the search. What do you think the first steps are to figuring out what the competition has over you?

First we suggest reviewing the competitor’s site from the technical items to the design, usability, link ratio, social media and content. The only real way to figure out and create a strategy for your site is to see what the competitor is doing. Once you have researched and reviewed your competitor, now it’s time to review your own site and compare your present game plan with your competitor findings.

In this particular case, the competitor’s content publishing is a daily cadence and some days they publish two times a day. Also, on each of their days, they have a theme so Monday’s are Moo Moo Monday’s and Tuesday’s are Toddler Tween Tuesday’s and all their content for that day are centered around that theme, as well as the keywords they decided on from their research. By scheduling their content and deciding ahead of time what they will be publishing, it not only keeps their editorial efforts in line with the entire team BUT it tells the readers as well as the search engines that every Tuesday, the content will be focused on toddler products in the morning and tween products in the afternoon. The established schedule also allows their social media and promotion efforts to always be working simultaneously.

Both sites post daily but just posting the coupons or deals on your site with a once a week blog post is showing you from the search results, that this technique isn’t cutting it like it once did when the competition was low. It is now time to establish your editorial calendar, and content strategy and decide on the topics and cadence you want to publish content around to get back up in the SERP’s and play with the competition.

Follow Lisa on Twitter. Connect with Lisa Weinberger on Google+.

SEO Editing and Strategy

In all the years I have been involved in this industry, I never really considered part of my job to SEO edit but the more I looked back at the work I have done and the projects I have managed, many of them required SEO editing.

What exactly is SEO editing?

Many times when we get into writing, our minds are so focused on making sure the point of the copy is easily found. Usually when copy is produced, once it is written, it is also edited and goes to a copy editor for any mistakes which may have occurred during the writing process. Well there is another step which some copy editors may be reviewing for which is called SEO editing.

When a piece of content is created, each part or person’s job has a focus to complete their job correctly. The same goes for SEO editing. Without SEO editing, or a person who reviews the content for specific SEO items, how do you know if your content will appear in search or if it even has a chance to optimize in the search engines?

Content is created to inform your readers but if it cannot be found in the search, then the information being shared will never get into the hands of your potential readers.

Content Promotion

To follow up to a comment we received about content promotion, I was asked about what doing offsite content promotion did for a reader’s energy efficiency blog.

They created a link wheel aka “Linkie” or “Super Duper Wheelie”, posted content on some directory sites, did a PR or two and received 50 back links to his blog from these efforts. If you figure from writing a few articles, making sure each are different and posting the articles throughout the Web to build your offsite links, the time you spent completing these efforts will help not only promote your content but also help with increasing your SEO ranking.

 

What other items have you found helped your content promotion efforts?

Content Promotion and Syndication

Are you aware that once you publish your content onto your website, blog or a directory that you have an opportunity to now promote and syndicate your words of wisdom? For many, the challenge is to write a daily blog, hence why we are in business providing this service, but once the blog is posted, now what?

What is next in the series in the big bad world of online content promotion?

Do you expect anyone to just find your posting?

Do you think the Google trolls will just choose your content because it is so amazing that no one else has EVER written about that exact topic? (sense some sarcasm…)

No matter how large or small your website is, once you post content whether it be copy or media, you should have a plan of action on how to promote or market your content. Whether it be through directories, links, press releases or emails, unless you have a HUGE subscriber list, we all need some push to get people and search engines to read and view our content.

Social media has been a blessing for content producers because with all the social networks focused on specific niches, it has now allowed promoters to promote their content directly to the audience who may be interested. Through social media, between groups and lists, customizing which piece of content you want to share with a specific group of people has now made it easier than the earlier days of content promotion.

For example, you are a hospitality ezine whose focus is on helping the hotel owner by giving online marketing tips and insights to users online behavior. The challenge is what will make you stand out from the crowd? Are you trying to capture visitors searching for lodging within your city or town? The content should be focused around these answers so you know the audience to target and where to promote.

What are some other techniques you would like to share that you use to promote your content?

Online Content Publishing & Marketing

In the past few months I have been fortunate to work with a few amazing minds in a full time capacity focusing on SEO and online marketing. I guess I never thought of a formal name of what PearlyWrites provides but we do provide online content publishing strategies and solutions for all sized businesses. Not only do we provide this service but add in the 12 years of online marketing and SEO experience and no wonder we can rank our clients websites so strongly in the search engines.

I am also realizing as a business owner I need to be more verbal by sharing the accomplishments we have had. As a person I have always been hidden in a sense that what I do is not shared by me to many people and in the online content creation and publishing world, I DO need to share. I need to share online!

Yes, I have been involved with social media and SEO since 1999 but never overly pushed my name or the business name. Of course PearlyWrites is our branded name on all the social media networks but then I realized when I meet many of my followers in person and we start discussing things they are always surprised with the amount of knowledge and experience I have.

So with all this information I have buried deep inside my brain from 11 years of being in business and working in the online publishing and marketing field, I am going to put my best effort  forward into making it more known the amount of experience PearlyWrites has. When clients increase their revenue by $150K per month from strategies that I created and executed or a client increases their revenue by $50K a year, these are all accomplishments which I am realizing I need to be sharing with others.

Til next time…

SEO and SMM

There has been a lot of talk about SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and SMM (Social Media Marketing). The talk has been going on for a few years but working in my new job, I find it quite amusing when people think they understand what SEO is as well as SMM. Throw out a few words which you think you understand and keep repeating them but honestly, that doesn’t help the fact that SEO or SMM are real items and driving forces in business revenue today.

Placing keywords into content is SEO. Yes. BUT that is not the only SEO strategy, there is so much more to organic SEO than this.

SMM is chatting on Twitter and Facebook and posting links. No, eerrr wrong! It’s about engagement, connecting and having a conversation with people, not talking at them.

To continue on my quest to get people to understand about these two ways of online marketing, I will continually create real life scenarios and for some reason love using the word puzzle. As the conversation begins, I already know and get excited that I will be able to use my favorite puzzle analogy! For those who understand SEO understand why a puzzle analogy works so well.

When wanting to hit each outlet and grab the most from your SEO efforts, each piece of the puzzle needs to be in place. If not, then you will not see the results you want. SEO takes time and many people think, Poof! I did it now where’s my money!?!

Social Media Marketing also takes time. To create a following, to get the visitor to trust you, everything takes time. If it was that easy then don’t you think everyone would be engaging each other? Throwing links out into the Twitter feed doesn’t engage anyone but yourself…maybe. (I mean some people do talk to themselves, I don’t know, just sayin…)

In the perfect world, both SEO and SMM would work simultaneously but we don’t live in a perfect world. Some people feel they get more business through SEO, others SMM and some feel both work. I have experienced both for my business where SEO has worked well and for many years SMM worked amazing. What I found was it didn’t make a difference which I focused on, just that both strategies needed to be worked on a daily basis. Once you stop, so does your inquiries and engagement.

Assumptions and Social Media

I am all for social media obviously but when connecting to old “friends” through Facebook, why do the assumptions begin? Many have not been in face to face or phone to phone contact in over 14 years and they assume and act as if they still know you.

They speak aka type toward you versus speaking to have a nice conversation and learning about what you do, your life, and your family. Is that what connecting is to old friends and acquaintances mean in social media? Live in the past and assume you know the person without even taking into consideration the past 15 years of their life? Even the past 5 years or 1 year of an individual’s life!
Seriously, there are many people’s life’s who have not changed either because they do not like change, are content where they are socially and financially, or don’t see a reason to venture out into unfamiliar territory. BUT just because these “old friends” aren’t does not mean you have the right to assume my life and my inner being hasn’t changed.

All you need to do is type in my name or our company name into a search engine and you WILL see how my life has changed for the better. You will see what doors have been opened as well as the person I have become.

When being involved in Social Media, there are certain items we choose to share and put out into the public view and other parts of our lives we don’t. Some social media dominators do share every item with their followers while others keep a low profile. Social Media plays a strong part of any SEO/SEM campaign and acceptance and open mindedness is suggested.

Has social media caused assumptions in your world from your “BI” (Before Internet) life?

Do you only share parts of your life while keeping other parts out of the public social media eye?

How do you handle the assuming people of your past life?

Website Design from the Past

WOW! Wow! WOW!

I can’t believe I just found a Website for a brick and mortar business in New Jersey that has the most horrid Website! I mean the Website looks like one of my first attempts at Website building back in the 90’s! Yes, that is how bad this is AND the business caters to high-class, high-end celebrities!

What type of message are you showing to a visitor when your services are costing easily a few hundred up to a few thousand a spa session and then you visit the Website and it’s just horrid! Don’t you want to show how you take the money you are making and put it back into the business to portray your upper class services? Isn’t that the first rule of being a business and having an online presence?

With the branding that Josh Gilmore did for PearlyWrites, everything from our print marketing collateral to our Website is all cleanly designed. When pictures and links are thrown about, it doesn’t help the visitor, no matter how well known you think you are.

Remember you have a few seconds to keep your visitor on your site and direct them with call to action statements and guide them to contact you via phone or email. BUT only a few seconds! I guess from having celebrity pictures all over the pages, visually they are trying to show they have famous clients and I get that BUT the site isn’t optimized or even ranking! Could you imagine what an amazing amount of more potential business could come if this celebrity spa actually got found in the search engines organically?

The copy on the site which is non-existent could be such a great push for this spa. SEO friendly copy targeted for their keywords would be the basics of Organic SEO that they can do. Maybe one day when the celebrity pull seems to slow down business, they will look at their unoptimized, badly designed Website and realize it’s time for an upgrade.