Jennifer Jacobs

How to Blog When You Don’t Have Time

Guest post by Patricia Redsicker

Do you wish to blog but find that you have no time to do it?

Did you start a blog with good intentions but quickly realized that you just couldn’t keep up?

If so, then this article is exactly what you need! If you find that you have too much to do and blogging doesn’t seem to fit into your hectic schedule, allow me to share some tips (and yes tricks!) that have worked for other insanely busy people (myself included).

Here are 5 true, tried and tested techniques to get you back onto a consistent blogging lifestyle.

Make a reasonable commitment

Look, if you have a crazy schedule, there’s no point in adding more ‘hectic-ness’ to your life or making unreasonable expectations of yourself. You can’t blog everyday – that’s clearly out of the question.

But can you blog once a week? Of course you can, especially when you consider how you’re missing out by not blogging. Once you make that commitment, then cultivate the mental discipline to do it. Take action don’t make excuses. If something is important enough, then you will make time for it. You know this is true.

Write short, concise articles

Blogging doesn’t have to be a time-consuming, gut-wrenching experience. You can write articles that are short in prose and big in meaning. Seth Godin does this very well. Each week for example, you can share one idea about something significant you learned that will help others solve their problems or do their jobs better.

Become a content curator

Some have argued that the world doesn’t need more content creators but rather content curators. There’s already an overwhelming amount of information on the internet.

There is a growing need for people who organize and present information in a relevant, and orderly system so that consumers with specific interests can find what they need in one platform. The Business Communication Blog does this very well. By writing a short (two or three sentence) introduction to an article and then linking to the original source of content, they’ve become expert content curators in business communication.

Enlist the help of others

There comes a time when we recognize that we cannot do it alone – that we need others to help us if we’re going to succeed.

Blogging isn’t different. If you have employees, find out which of them enjoy blogging and encourage them by offering meaningful incentives (e.g. ‘blogger of the month’ gets a day off). Southwest Airlines does a fantastic job with this and their employees are literally nuts about them. However if you’re a freelancer, a consultant or just short on human resources, check out Blogger LinkUp, a free service where bloggers help each other out with guest blogging opportunities.

Outsource your blogging efforts

Last but not least consider hiring an outsider to blog for you. Let me say this though. I really think that the content creation process should start with YOU. That is because YOU are the voice of your organization. You understand the vision of your blog and how you want to build a community around your content.

But if you’re not able to be a part of this process then it is certainly better to outsource than to do nothing. But be careful. Make sure that you read and approve each article before it is posted to your blog (you want to ensure that articles posted represent your organization in a positive light).

Consistent blogging is not easy. It requires courage, character and workmanship. It is not for the faint of heart. But there are many people just like you who have experienced unimaginable blogging success and proceeded to enjoy amazing professional opportunities. Here are five of my favorite ones. I’m not saying that you’ll have overnight success or become an internet sensation. But you’ll certainly find more professional opportunities in your niche if you make time to blog.

Over to you: Have you tried any of these suggestions? Do you have other blogging tips to share with us?

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Patricia Redsicker is principal of WordView Editing, a copywriting and social media consultancy in the Baltimore area.

Put In Your Personality

Personality is a big factor in business. People work with you for your personality.  It’s important that you have the skills or product they need but your personality is another huge factor.  Often people look for personality over price. If they like your personality most times they will buy from you instead of from someone else with a lower price.

Some reasons they will choose you for your personality is if you are:

  • Fun
  • Honest
  • Trustworthy
  • Ethical
  • Excited about your offering
  • Upfront about your policies
  • Making it easy for them to decide to buy
  • Making it easy for them to return something if they need to

People want to relate to you so show them you’re a real person.  Find a way to connect with people by building a rapport based on something you may have in common such as kids or pets.  Most people can relate to those stories.

Your social marketing is a great place to show people who you really are, but remember you want people to get to know you, like you and trust you.  Don’t be posting negative comments or complain all the time.  People don’t want to hear it.  Show the great things that are happening to you and point out wonderful things that are happening in the world as well.  Give great tips that people can implement in their lives right away.

Don’t hard sell your followers and friends on social media all the time, this will only push them away.  If you are giving valuable content and building a personality based campaign then posting from time to time about a sale you are having, an opening for new clients, a product launch etc. will not be taken as offensive.  NEVER spam your followers.  That is the quickest way to get people to stop following you.  People don’t want to go on their facebook page and find a ton of messages in their inbox about your latest offering!

If you market using your personality you will be in a position where your followers will naturally want to buy from you because they relate to you.  Most times they will come to you and ask how they can work with you or buy from you.  If they like your personality and what you are offering on your page they will want to know more and that is where you nicely give them contact info and set up a time to talk.  Then when you have a conversation be yourself and have fun.  If you are all stiff and proper they are not going to see the same you they liked on social media.

Have fun and be true to yourself.  Remember, your personality is one of your biggest assets.  Use it to your advantage and enjoy your business and new connections.

 Put In Your Personality

Grow Your List With A Free Call

You want to continually grow your list in order to grow your business.  A great way to do that is to hold a free teleseminar.  This is a way for you to allow people a chance to get to know you and what you are like.  This will lead to more people in your marketing funnel and hopefully new customers/clients for your business.

You can do this in a number of ways.

  • Hold an information call given by you
  • Have a guest you interview
  • Have a few guests on a telesummit

You want t o make sure you always give useful information that people can use right away on your call.  Content is king. If you are giving people a lot of fluff that is not going to make them want to hear more and they will probably hang up early.  You want to keep them on the line so don’t give out your offer until the end and make sure that they know you have a special offer for them if they stay on until the end of  the call.

  • Have 3-4 points you make
  • Give useful information
  • Tell about yourself and how you are qualified to give this information
  • Share your story (yes, people do want to hear it!)
  • Tell how you have used this information yourself
  • Give a soft sell offer at the end of the call with a time frame for listeners to accept

After the call if you are offering a recording of the call, when you send your email to the people that signed up with the recording make sure the email says that there is a special offer that has to be taken advantage of by a certain date, and give them the date.  This will ensure that they listen to the recording right away if they weren’t on the call live.  This is something you want them to do because many people will just wait for the recording and listen to it when they have a chance.  That results usually in people saving the recording and never listening to it or listening to it after your offer has expired and they can’t get it anymore…which is frustrating.

A teleseminar gives people a chance to get to know you.  Once you have them on the phone you can let your personality shine through so you have a better chance of having a follow up call with them if you can be of service in any way.  Relax when you are on the call and pretend you are talking to just one close friend.  That way you will be true to who you really are and have fun…which  everyone listening will really enjoy!

 Grow Your List With A Free Call

Do You Know How To Work With A Virtual Assistant?

300px Clock1.svg Do You Know How To Work With A Virtual Assistant?

Do You Know How To Work With A Virtual Assistant?

You have a business and as an entrepreneur your dream is to watch that business grow.  The problem is that you don’t have enough hours in the day to do all the menial tasks as well as get out there and get known so more people want to work with you or buy from you.

You have probably heard of a Virtual Assistant and wondered if that is the way you would need to go to grow your business.  I would have to say yes, that is the best way for you to expand.

Maybe you are ready to hire a Virtual Assistant but are not really sure what questions to ask.  You may have even had a few virtual assistants already that just didn’t work out for you.

You will find the perfect VA for you but you need to ask the right questions and make sure you’re a good fit.  You need a VA with both the skills and personality that work for you. 

When you book your free consult be sure you have this list of questions ready:

  • How do they work? Do they accept projects with less than 24 hours notice?  If this is something you often do make sure you have a VA that doesn’t have a problem with this.  There are a few VA’s out there that will do rush jobs but more times than not you are going to find that a rush job will cost you extra.  Make sure to be prepared with what you need done so it doesn’t end up costing you extra in the end.
  • What hours do they work? If your hours don’t match up and you need them at the same hours you keep they won’t be a good fit.  See what they say, maybe they don’t work those hours but they have an assistant that checks their emails and can assist if they are not available.
  • What skills do they have? Make sure what they know is what you need or they have someone they subcontract out with those skills.
  • How do they charge?  Is it a monthly retainer upfront or at the end of the month?  Make sure it fits your budget.

As you talk you will get to know their personality and if they are a good fit for you.  Make sure you are comfortable with them and give it a trial period if you want to make sure everything works the way you anticipated.  Ideally you want to have a long term relationship with your VA and continue to pass on more of your daily operations as you grow so they can take over a lot of the administrative work and you can continue to grow your business which only you can do.

 Do You Know How To Work With A Virtual Assistant?

Do You Want Your Business To Grow?

300px Day 42 Overwhelmed Do You Want Your Business To Grow?

Do You Want Your Business To Grow?

Do you want your business to grow more every year?  Of course you do!  As an entrepreneur you are focused on starting and growing a business.  Are you trying to do everything yourself but you’re getting overwhelmed?  Probably!  Most entrepreneurs starting out think they can do it all and do it better than anyone else.  All that does is overwhelm you, lead to burnout and make you want to quit all together and go back to having  a J.O.B. that you can leave at night and on the weekends.

What you need to do is make the decision to hire a VA to help you.  A VA is someone that owns their own business helping yours grow.  They are not an employee so you don’t pay for their medical or other benefits.  They take care of their own taxes so you only have to worry about paying them not all the things that go with having an employee.  They work on their own hours so make sure it works out with your hours you need them available.  Remember they are not an employee so you have to be clear on what and how you want things done.  They are also virtual so that means that your conversations will be on the phone or skype and you will communicate a lot through email and fax.  They will not be in the office with you to do the work as you have it so make sure you plan ahead as often as possible for what you need done and when you need it by.

Delegating can be hard sometimes especially if you think no one can do what you can.  Find someone you trust and are comfortable with and understand that even if they aren’t doing things the same way you do they have a system, it works and your time is freed up.

Building a business takes time and effort and only you can get out there and get known so you gain people’s trust and they both buy from you and refer you to others.

Growing your business is important.  Keep your “funnel” full of prospects, customers and clients and keep in contact with them so you are top of mind when they need what you offer.

Grow your business to what is comfortable for you and having a VA to help you is going to make things so much easier for you.  It will free you up from doing the tasks that are needed but that you dislike so you can do the ones you do like.

One last thing…while you grow your business enjoy it.  Remember you are doing what you love!  This is what you dreamed of so be grateful for it and make the most of it!

 Do You Want Your Business To Grow?

How To Initiate a Successful Product Launch

Guest post by Patricia Redsicker

With the year coming to an end, many organizations are making or have made plans to introduce new products or services in 2011.

Launching a new product is an exciting enterprise that requires vast research, planning and promotion to guarantee its success. In the first place a thorough understanding of your customer needs and your target market is critical, as is the aggressive marketing campaign needed to get the word out. Assuming you have a ‘dream team’ or a V.A. to make this process come together, the actual product launch doesn’t have to be a headache.

Here is a step-by-step guide to help you successfully launch your new product:

  1. Have your final product tested and reviewed by third-party experts to ensure that it is complete, functional and appealing to the consumer. You will also need to establish how your new product will be distributed to consumers and if a shopping cart needs to be set up on your website.
  2. Create a powerful marketing and promotional campaign to ensure that your target audience receives compelling information about the product. Your campaign will utilize both traditional and social media marketing efforts.
  3. Get the word out with an integrated communication system that employs both on and off-line channels. On-line channels include a website with a dedicated landing page for the product launch, a Facebook page and Facebook Ads., promoted tweets, email marketing and a photo-sharing system. Off-line channels might be TV and/or print campaigns that include press-releases, newsletters and brochures. An open-house is also a smart and elegant way to meet and greet interested prospects whose contact information is then captured during the registration process.
  4. A post-launch strategy is critical to ensure that the initial buzz does not die down. You might want to organize contests and giveaways around the new product. This will keep people engaged and excited about your product. You may also use your Facebook page to keep the conversation going and to respond to comments, feedback and testimonials from those who have purchased or are thinking about purchasing your product.
  5. Last but not least, it is essential to conduct a critical assessment to evaluate the strengths, weaknesses and lost opportunities of your entire product launch process. After all, even the most successful product launch is not perfect.

A new product is evidence that your business is growing and that your hard work is producing tangible results. It is an exciting season for a business organization. While it is also exhausting and time-consuming, there are many resources out there to help you manage the process and make sure that your chances of success are enhanced.

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Patricia Redsicker is principal of WordView Editing, a copywriting and social media consultancy in the Baltimore area.

Do You Have The Right VA For You?

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Do You Have The Right VA For You?

Having a great partnership with your VA is extremely important!  You want to make sure that you both are:

  • Comfortable…
  • Trusting…
  • Able to be relied on…
  • Excited to work together!

If you aren’t all of the above it is either time to switch VA’s or have a serious talk so you can change the things that you or they aren’t happy about.

A great partnership is important for both your piece of mind and business growth and having the right partner to help you reach your goals is a must!

A VA can help you with your:

  • Shopping Cart
  • Website
  • Blog
  • Admin work
  • Bookkeeping
  • Writing
  • Business Management
  • And much more

A lot of times it is easier for your VA to determine if they can help you if you give them a list of tasks you need done so they can tell you what they can do, if their team can do it, or refer you to someone they know that can help.  It is best to do this in the beginning of your relationship and then as you want to add more work do periodic updates like this so you can both decide on the best plan of action for your business.

It’s hard for many VA’s to tell you exactly everything they do or know because they do such a wide variety of tasks for all their clients. If you ask them their skills on the spot they may forget some because they have so many.  Instead find out from them what skills they have but also what they enjoy doing.  I know a VA that has a graphic design degree but hates creating websites.  She would rather have a tooth pulled then use the degree.  So great example…she has the skills but doesn’t enjoy the task.  You want to make sure your VA enjoys the task as well otherwise you may not be as happy with the result and they may get frustrated and decide to quit.  Don’t let this be a reason to part ways and don’t underestimate your VA.  The more you give them is not going to be too much for them.  Put your faith in their skills and keep moving forward.

VA’s have a lot of resources and many times can get the work done that you need or refer you to just the right person to help you.  This is a good process as well because if your VA has a relationship with the person they are referring you to they know the personality of that person and your personality and can have an idea of how well you would work together before you spend any time on a consult.

Take your VA’s advice and referrals to heart.  They understand you and they understand what you need.   They may be just the right person to tell you things that you may not see yourself!

 Do You Have The Right VA For You?

Virtual Assistance for Your Virtual Events

Virtual Assistance for Your Virtual Events
Guest post by Patricia Redsicker

Virtual events are hot, and they’ve quickly become one of the trendiest tools for business marketing! Large and small businesses alike are relying more heavily on virtual interactions. Platforms such as WebEx, GoToWebinar, Adobe Connect and various Cisco programs have provided a timely and much needed resource for insanely busy professionals who cannot spare the time to travel to meetings and seminars.

A Virtual Assistant’s administrative and organizational skills provide the perfect solution for overwhelmed and time-challenged clients looking to market their services by hosting virtual events! Perhaps you can relate.

Here are some benefits of Virtual Event Marketing:

  • Generate qualified business leads;
  • Build your client list;
  • Introduce new products and services;
  • Establish you as an expert in your field;
  • Develop strategic partnerships with other colleagues.

Planning a virtual event:

The planning part is the toughest part. But if handled correctly it will result in a successful live event, a satisfied host, and happy end-users. Your VA can help you to:

  • Shop around and select an experienced virtual service provider;
  • Identify and take advantage of free-trials commonly offered by vendors to ensure best service;
  • Create a clear strategy and effective goals for the event;
  • Find sponsors for the event;
  • Promote the event;
  • Perform a test-run of the planned event to ensure that the ‘live’ environment will be successful;
  • Prepare for your event by:
    • preparing presentation materials (slides, info-graphics, etc);
    • checking system requirements for host and end-users;
    • tracking sign-up information;
    • communicating and follow-up with registered end-users;
    • Anticipating technical difficulties and make provisions for them.

During the event:

Your blood, tears and sweat have been poured into the planning process of your virtual event. By the time the ‘live’ event rolls around, you’re a nervous wreck, probably just one beat shy of a heart attack! Here’s how your VA can help you to relax and actually enjoy the experience:

  • She will ensure timelines as far as start-time, session length, Q&A time, and end time;
  • Keep track of number of attendees/end-users;
  • Resolve sign-in or technical problems promptly;
  • Keep track of questions coming in from end-users;
  • Act as moderator of event if needed;
  • Attend to any other issues that you need;

Remember, virtual events can be a planning nightmare, time-consuming, hectic and riddled with technical issues! Asking for help from a VA is a smart and easy way to lessen your burden. Your time is best spent on finding prospects and closing sales. So as far as virtual events go your VA is your best bet!

(Please read the original article at http://www.selfgrowth.com/articles/are-you-hosting-virtual-events-for-your-clients-yet )

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Patricia Redsicker is owner and principal of WordView Editing, a commercial writing business in Baltimore. Her job is to help entrepreneurs to write more compelling business documents and to sharpen their communication skills. She authors a blog called the ‘Content Cheerleader’ a platform that is highly resourceful in business writing and communication advice.  Please visit her blog space for more resourceful articles.

How To Shop For a Shopping Cart

Guest Post by Patricia Redsicker

Shopping cart is simply the software on your website that allows you to manage your online store. It enables:

  • Your customers to search for and select products in your catalogue;
  • Customers to add product(s) to a ‘basket’;
  • Customers to place an order for the product(s);
  • Customers to make an electronic payment.

Some business owners are intimidated by technology and prefer not to get involved in shopping cart research. They permit their web developers to make that decision for them.

The problem with this approach is that web developers do not understand your business the way that you do. They are not familiar with your marketing strategy and they certainly are not acquainted with your customers. The only person that can make the best decision for your shopping cart service is you.

Here are some points to think about and help you to make the best decision:

  • Will you have an affiliate program? If this is high on your priority list, then you need to make sure that your shopping cart can support your affiliates.
  • What kind of incentives do your customers need? If your customers like to get product information and special offers through a newsletter, then your shopping cart service will need to support that and facilitate some kind of customer registration process. You will also need to figure out if your customers will respond to discounts, freebies and special shipping rates. Again, your shopping cart program must reflect and support all these features.
  • The cost of the service must be justified by the volume of online sales
  • If you have a sophisticated inventory system with a large volume of sales items, then you may want to consider a feature-rich shopping cart that can handle taxes, shipping information, inventory control etc.

Be sure to plan and write down your shopping cart requirements based on the following:

  • Customer needs (gift certificates, product reviews, shipping rates etc.);
  • Your needs (reports, automatic email notifications, secure online credit-card processing etc.);
  • If you have an existing website, your shopping cart must work within your site and integrate with your ISP’s server;
  • Google some well-known or suggested services (including shopping cart services offered by your internet provider);
  • Narrow down your search to two or three services;
  • Review your list of requirements to see which service is the best match.

A shopping cart service is a critical part of your online marketing strategy. It is important to acquire the information that will help you to make the best decision. Reviewing your requirements and researching your shopping cart options is the most significant part of your decision making process. Be sure to contact your internet marketing consultant to discuss your needs and ensure that you’re receiving professional guidance.



Patricia Redsicker is owner and principal of WordView Editing, a commercial writing business in Baltimore. Her job is to help entrepreneurs to write more compelling business documents and to sharpen their communication skills. She authors a blog called the ‘Content Cheerleader’ a platform that is highly resourceful in business writing and communication advice. Please visit her blog space for more resourceful articles.

 How To Shop For a Shopping Cart

What’s Your Google PageRank: Lessons from American Idol (In plain English)

Guest post by Patricia Redsicker

A lot of small businesses are so busy trying to compete that they don’t realize how close they are to getting fried! Typically small businesses struggle with limited resources to expand their marketing budget. Therefore it should be their top priority to invest heavily in internet marketing, a platform that has enormous potential and is practically free of charge!

Why is this important?

Well if your prospects are online, then it goes without saying that ‘online’ is where you’ll find them and – more importantly – where they’ll find you. But finding you is not that easy. In the midst of tens of millions of similar competitors scattered around the world you’re not likely to be found unless you’re in-front of the line!

So how in the world do you get in-front of the line?

Well, that’s where Google PageRank comes in. You need to make it easy for Google to find your website and push you further and further up the line until you’re at the top – where the big boys and girls are!

This effort to get in-front of the line is called ‘optimizing your website’. It’s like being on ‘American Idol’ with tens of thousands of other idol wannabes. You have to get the judges’ attention!

Throughout the ruthless elimination process of ‘Idol’ your job is to figure out how to stay in the game, get noticed and finally get Simon to like you. Because if Simon doesn’t like you, you aren’t going anywhere (no disrespect to Randy and whoever…). Simon is Google PageRank and your job is to get his attention. Because if he likes you, you’re going to Hollywood baby! It’s that simple.

Now there are two ways to get ahead with Google:

  • Pay them: Paid advertising like Google Ads, pay-per-click etc.
  • Impress them: Organic (free) search

If you’re like me, you probably don’t want to part with your money not knowing what you may or may not get for it. So let’s talk about the second option.

Supposing you’re a commercial business writer whose specialization is writing white paper for IT companies. You decide to test and identify a number of search phrases that your prospects might use to find you on Google. You determine that prospects might use the search term ‘white paper writer for IT industry’ (this is highly specific and not likely to be used by many prospects) or they might use the search term ‘white paper writers’ (this is a more common search term and might be used by more prospects).

You want to make sure that your website pages contain many references to the search term that your prospects are most likely to use (Use Google AdWords to play around with different terms and find out which ones are more popular).

Either way, Google has a formula that figures out which websites should be displayed (in order of rank) on the results page. Your goal is to make sure that you rank highly on these results.

The formula is simply: SearchRank = Relevance X PageRank

Relevance means how closely content in your website pages matches the search phrase that the user entered (how you bond with the crowd). PageRank is Google’s (Simon’s) personal impression of your web page in terms of quality, integrity and authority. Google randomly gives you a rank ranging from 0 – 10. If both you and your competitor have equal relevance, then the one who will be first in line is the one with a higher PageRank. So it goes without saying that what you really want to focus on is your PageRank!

How do you get a high PageRank? PageRank is determined by how many other websites link to yours! As far as Google is concerned these links are a vote of confidence in your favor. However, it helps if the websites that are linking to yours have authority and credibility in their own right.

How do you figure out your PageRank? By installing and using Google Toolbar.

Let’s review. Unless you want to pay Google to get in-front of the line, try to get higher ranking for your website by:

  • Posting relevant content (relevant to the search terms that your prospects might use to find you)
  • Try to get as many in-coming links from credible websites as possible (not easy but worth a ton of gold!)

To read more details on this subject, go here.

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Patricia Redsicker is owner and principal of WordView Editing, a commercial writing business in Baltimore. Her job is to help entrepreneurs to write more compelling business documents and to sharpen their communication skills. She authors a blog called the ‘Content Cheerleader’ a platform that is highly resourceful in business writing and communication advice.  Please visit her blog space for more resourceful articles.


 What’s Your Google PageRank: Lessons from American Idol (In plain English)

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