Remember the other day when I was talking about Twitter? Well if you want to check out the fun, I’m going to be a special guest at a “Twitter Party” Wednesday June 3rd at 8:00 EST. (It’s a virtual thing so all you need is a computer) There will be prizes and games and stuff. This is my first one, so I’m winging it just like you. Here are the details: http://www.thoughtfullysimple.com/june-birthdays-and-bbq-celebrations-fbtbash/
Well summer has officially kicked off with this past weekend being the Memorial Day holiday weekend. The days of sweet tea, lemonade, burgers and potato salad are upon us. I just love summer for so many reasons. I’m not quite sure why but I’m in a bit of a reflective mood. I’ve been on the market a year and half now and as I sit here in the parking lot of the ballet studio with bags of fast food for the girl’s dinner tempting my every thought, I find myself looking at where I am, and where I thought I would be. (It’s rehearsal night for the big recital on Saturday) To be really honest with myself (and with you) I thought I would be farther along by now. I thought I would be paying myself by now and possibly even be on my way to paying back my debt. Until you actually start your own company, it is impossible to predict how things will go. A business plan backed with solid research is a great place to start, and if you are a serial entrepreneur, then you certainly have a lot more accuracy but as a first timer, the learning curve is STEEP! Having just admitted that I envisioned myself being in a different place 1.5 years into this, by the same token now that I have been around the block a bit, I am extremely proud of what I have done in the past 1.5 years. I think I might have had unrealistic expectations, even as much “homework” as I did. Being an entrepreneur for the first time is A LOT like having your first baby. Everyone will tell you what it’s like, you’ll read every book known to man, you’ll take classes and get as prepared as you could ever possibly be, but NOTHING can truly prepare you for the real life experience. It’s important to have lofty goals when you start out. That’s what keeps you going; however if you fall short of where you think you ought to be, take a moment (like I am now) and look at where you are, where you’ve been and what you have learned and be proud because it’s harder then you think.
Leslie Haywood, Founder and President of Charmed Life Products, Inventor of Grill Charms™ www.grillcharms.com
Hello fellow Mompreneurs!
First I’ll introduce myself — I’m Nancy Cleary, proud mom of Wyatt and MacKenzie, and founder of Wyatt-MacKenzie Publishing, Inc., the leading publisher for mom writers. We’ve been empowering women for over 11 years with a great publishing experience. I can offer advice on everything from self-publishing to traditional publishing (and which option is best for you!), book marketing, publicity, distribution, and author branding. If you’d like to send me your publishing questions, I’ll answer them here.
Next — I am so excited about the unveiling of the Espresso Book Machine today in New York at the BookExpo! This is an ATM for books…you walk up to the machine, type in the title of the book you want to purchase, and, in the time it takes to make an espresso, it prints, binds, and spits out the book.
The EBMs will be located in bookstores and libraries around the world, it may take a while, but it’s happening. This means books by moms like us can be distributed anywhere on earth, instantly…no shipping costs, no carbon footprint, no more huge expense, waste, and financial risk to put books (on consignment) in bookstores and fight with mega-publishers for shelf space.
If you ask me, it’s a better time than ever to publish! Here’s an interview I did with Mom Writer’s Lit Magazine which will tell you more about me, and about the new opportunities opening for moms in the publishing world.
When I talk to mompreneurs about marketing, most remark that if they had more cash, they would buy more advertising to promote their business.
It’s actually rare that moms or other entrepreneurs mention getting PR in terms of growing their business. However, both PR and advertising are important in the marketing of a business, depending on what stage your business is at.
PR builds awareness of your product or service, and advertising supports the brand when it gets known.
With PR you get:
• Free Placement
• A Journalistic Slant – a journalist can write what they want no matter how you position your story
• A story that usually runs only once or twice (exceptions are when a newswire picks up the story)
• Credibility because it’s viewed as a third-party endorsement
• No guarantees and it can be time-consuming
With Advertising you get:
• Paid Placement
• Complete creative control
• Visibility and ads will run as often as you’re willing to pay
• Media-savvy consumers know it’s an ad, and tend to be skeptical
• A guaranteed date the ad will run and it’s easy if you have money to spend
PR builds credibility, Advertising builds visibility.
Let me give you an example regarding PR and advertising. An editor at the New York Times wrote over a quarter page plus a photo for a client. That article garnered lots of inquiries from customers and distributors wanting to carry their product. Another side benefit was that other reporters became interested in writing about the company.
That’s what’s cool about PR. Because it’s written by a journalist, there’s instant credibility and other people become more interested. If my client had taken out an ad of that size, it would have cost them, oh about $25,000. That’s a lot of money for something most of us wouldn’t even notice. That’s a lot of money for most of us, period.
So, although PR may be time consuming with no guarantees, it can also be very powerful especially for small businesses and mompreneurs with limited promotion budgets. If you can’t afford a professional publicist, don’t be afraid to learn how to do PR yourself. It’s one of the most cost-effective and credible ways to build a business.
Practical Publicity for the Time-Strapped Mom Entrepreneur
Often, small business owners who have a presence on Facebook ask me for tips about what else they could be doing to create visibility for their blog on the site.
There are two primary strategies I always recommend: adding both the Notes and NetworkedBlogs applications.
The Notes application is used to import your blog posts into your profile. After you have set the application up, anytime you publish a new blog post the post will then appear on your profile automatically. Here is how to configure the Notes application to do this:
In the bottom left corner, click on “Applications.” If you don’t already see Notes in your list, choose “Browse More Applications” and search for it. Add it to your profile, then go to “Notes Settings” and then “Import a Blog.” You will then be able to add the feed address of your blog. (A feed address will look something like http://feeds2.feedburner.com/Communicatevalue)
Once you have Notes installed, you can go to the settings page and adjust how your posts show up on your wall.
The other application which can help create visibility for your blog is NetworkedBlogs. This lets users add their own blog, favorite their friends’ blogs and encourage the large number of Facebook users to visit your site. It’s worth noting that many people still do not understand or utilize RSS feeds, so this is a nice way to introduce a more mainstream audience to your blog.
Additionally, NetworkedBlogs supplies a widget you can add to your site that allows visitors to follow your blog on Facebook.
To configure this application, search for it within Applications as you did above. In order to claim your blog, you will need to add some HTML code to your blog temporarily. When it has been confirmed that you are the owner, you can start inviting friends to join your network.
Once your blog has 11 readers, you can have your posts automatically show up on your Facebook profile. If you are already using the Notes application to do this, you can still use NetworkedBlogs to interact with your readers and drive traffic to your site.
The great thing about importing your blog posts with NetworkedBlogs is that they also show up in the News Feed of your friends. Your posts then take on a viral quality, adding to your credibility and expert status and driving traffic to your site. This traffic can result in more email and RSS subscribers as well as clients, customers and sales.
Try these strategies and start building your community of raving fans of your blog—and your business!
I am so sorry I have been away for so long. My wonderful husband who does almost anything for me was reformatting our computer system and with one wrong click, wiped out all of my work for the past month. We periodically back up our stuff and by periodically, I mean the last time was April 16th. Everything I have done since 4/16 was wiped out. Needless to say, I have been lost and devastated, but I’m starting to recover. He felt so bad, I couldn’t get mad at him. If it weren’t for him, I’m not sure I’d know how to operate. He’s the IT guy and I basically know how to turn things on and off. He updates our firewalls, removes all the spyware, periodically reformats the computer when it starts acting up. He really keeps the technology up to snuff, so I can’t get too upset at 1 mistake, regardless of how big it is. There are emergency recovery services, programs and software, but without spending a few hundred to a thousand dollars, we couldn’t get it back. Lesson learned… we are buying an external hard drive and will have it do an automatic back up every night. It could have been a lot worse. Instead of the past 4 weeks being gone, it could have been EVERYTHING. That’s a terrifying thought. That is one reason why this week’s press and blog mentions aren’t what they usually are. I had all that information saved and now it’s gone.
On a personal note, my sister got home from the hospital today. She had a prophylactic bilateral mastectomy and reconstruction. She didn’t want to wait for the big “C” to get her, so she took care of things before hand. She is 33 now and I was 34 when I was diagnosed and my mom was stage IV by the time she was 39. She didn’t want to wait around and I can’t say that I blame her. She did really well.
At the moment I’m at the public library because the hubby is flying and so he has the lap top and it’s a Monday, so the girls have ballet. Right now, I’m working every spare second I can, anywhere I can to catch up from “the big OOOOOPS!” Business is really “heating” up (sorry… I couldn’t help myself). With grilling season upon us, I’m adding 2-3 stores a week. I’m hoping for a good season. Okay, enough chit chat, back to work!
Leslie Haywood, Founder and President of Charmed Life Products, Inventor of Grill Charms™ www.grillcharms.com
As I am sure you have noticed, social media is one of the hottest topics out there right now. Google the phrase “social media” and you will find many definitions. It is described as web-based tools for sharing and discussing information, websites where users create the content with a strong emphasis on user participation, online platforms where people communicate and connect….and on and on.
But I like to describe it as one giant conversation without borders.
As entrepreneurs, we’re interested in how we can use social media to market and grow our businesses. Social media marketing can be described as businesses having conversations rather than in-your-face promotions. It’s participating in online communities where your customers hang out.
The most crucial thing to understand about this type of marketing is that it’s never about a hard sell, or “pushing” anyone to do something. Rather, it’s about connecting, building relationships and word of mouth.
Traditional marketing still has it’s place, for sure. But people are becoming more and more immune to advertising. Online users want to participate, share and give their views and opinions. The internet has allowed us to shift from being passive consumers to more actived, involved ones.
I still hear plenty of people refer to these social sites as fads or only for teenagers or college kids. I have to remind them of the fact that our now president, Barack Obama, raised a large portion of his funds through social networking–including social sites, social elements on his blog and email marketing. Definitely something to think about.
What are some examples of social media platforms? There’s video (YouTube), micro-blogging (Twitter), imagery (Flickr), as well as RSS, blogging, widgets, chat, forums, poscasting and more.
But one of the biggest is networking and it’s what you would consider two of the largest social media sites–LinkedIn and Facebook. These sites are also two of the most popular among business owners and professionals.
A common question I’m asked is what is the difference between them. I like to say that LinkedIn is more a business network with social aspects whereas Facebook is more a social site with business aspects. I’ve also heard them compared as “button-down” vs. “t-shirt and jeans.”
How to make sure you are getting the most out of social media? First and foremost, you want to be authentic and real. Fill out your profiles thoroughly and aim to be consistent across different networks where you have a presence.
Balance out any promotion you do with genuine, useful conversation and relationship-building. The important thing is to be seen as engaging and helpful and to participate regularly.
Results won’t happen overnight–but you are planting the seeds and growing relationships that can pay off significantly for you in the future.