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Reality Doesn’t Always Look Like the Map You Have for Your Business

Reality doesn't always look like the map you have for your business

I study maps before I travel anywhere. I have a huge atlas that I take with me on road trips, plus I pick up local maps, and there is always my iPhone. I love maps; seeing the endless possibilities, orienting myself with directions, things I want to see and do.

For as much as I love maps, they are no substitute for reality.

Maps can show me where I’m going, but the best discoveries are unexpected gems right around the corner. When the light is hitting a scene just right and it is truly breathtaking. No map will ever compare to that.

I am in Acadia National Park right now, and I can’t stop thinking about this. For as much as I studied the maps, I still was not prepared for the reality.

We do this in our businesses as well. I talk with a lot of people that want to outline every last detail before they launch their company. Being prepared is a great thing, but at what cost? Are you sitting at your kitchen table relentlessly going over your map, without ever heading outdoors with it? Are you so focused on the perfect business plan that you simply can’t launch right now?

Go and DO. Launch your business. Try things. Adjust. Try new things. Adjust again.

For as much as you study those maps, the reality of your business is very different. Sometimes your plans will go out the window – and what you discover instead will be where the magic lives.

In case you wondered, this is what the map of Frenchman Bay, featured in the photo above, looks like.

Map of Frenchman Bay and the Porcupine Islands, Acadia National Park

Make Your Blog Posts Pinterest Friendly! 30 Days to Awesomize Your Blog

Make Your Blog Pinterest Friendly!I have a whole process that takes place now when I blog and by far the MOST effective, beneficial, OMG it drives traffic part of that that you should be doing?

Make your blog posts Pinterest friendly!

(My blogging checklist is a bonus if you purchase the October 15, 2014 Get Fully Booked – Joy of Marketing webinar! Listening in is free and the registration bonus is awesome too, so you should be sure to register!)

For every blog post I create I make sure that I have a graphic with the post title on it along with my URL. For this series, as you can see, I’ve also included the series name so that people know there are many posts about blogging on my site. These drive a TON of traffic to my blog!

As soon as I hit publish on every post, I immediately Pin that graphic over on Pinterest as well. It is my way of alerting my followers over there to come see my latest post, no different than sharing it on Facebook or Twitter. The bonus perk? A lot more people will see it on Pinterest than will ever see it on Facebook! (Unless I was willing to pay. Sorry, Facebook, not paying for every post.)

You can find tons of information online about what makes the best Pinterest friendly graphics. They should be vertical, long and lean, so that they show up more visibly. Reds & oranges are clicked on more often. Photos with faces aren’t viewed as much. In all of that, I have to tell you … find what works best FOR YOU. Because you just might break all of those rules. I see photos with faces go viral and appear everywhere, and I’ve had red graphics barely get a single pin.

The essential part is that they coordinate with your branding on your blog. Make a visible statement. Work on creating graphics that as soon as someone pulls up Pinterest, they will know that it is yours. Stand out.

If your blog posts are photograph intensive, use BlogStomp to create collages of your work quick & easily. That way, it is easier for people to pin a whole cohesive set of images and not just one photograph at a time. They make a great impression and really stand out on Pinterest too! I love BlogStomp for this because it is a quick, easy to use, stand-alone app. No extra software required! Get stomping!

No matter what you use? Make sure your blog posts are Pinterest friendly. It is the best way to draw visitors to your blog!

30 Days to Awesomize Your Blog is the process I’m going through myself to make my blog more awesome, and I’m sharing with you the tips & things I’m doing along the way! I’ll be sharing even more about Pinterest, along with editorial calendars and other goodness, so be sure to join the email list to be notified of all the latest happenings here!

Don’t forget to go and register the October 15, 2014 Get Fully Booked – Joy of Marketing webinar and get to listen to the registration bonus interview!

Create a Call to Action! 30 Days to Awesomize Your Blog

Does your site have a call to action? 30 Days to Awesomize Your Blog!Yay! Someone has found your website! A new reader, happy happy joy joy! They read your latest post, and maybe – if you’re lucky – they even left a comment. Great!

Uhm… now what? What do you want them to do next?

Does your site have a clear call to action?

I’m not talking yellow highlighter graphics and big red arrows. Flashing, blinking animated GIFs are out too.

Just words. Clear, plain, simple words. Guide people and tell them what you want them to do next. “Enjoy this post? Be sure to sign up for my newsletter.” or maybe “Interested in booking your own session? Contact me here to set yours up today!”

There are three key things you want to do with your call to action:

  • Tell people what to do next. Click the button below. Contact me here. Clear, concise, action.
  • Encourage them to do it right away. Once they leave your site? It is harder to bring them back.
  • Depending on your call to action, a statement that removes or reduces risk. A free trial, no obligation.

Give them a reason to stay, and they will keep coming back for more!

You should have a call to action at the end of every single post you write. It does not have to be the same thing every time, as your goal with each post may be a little different. Or it can be the same thing every time if that fits you best. For example, I want you to sign up for my newsletter – so that is what is at the end of every post. Think about what you want them to do next – and tell them.

One more tip – if you want them to contact you? Put the link to your contact page right there in your call to action. Don’t make them scroll back up to the top to find it in your navigation menu. The easier you make it, the more likely people are to do it!

I am walking through the 30 Days to Awesomize Your Blog steps right along with you as I work on my own websites as well! Join me in the journey to grow our traffic and get our blogs in top shape! Sign up for the email list below and receive notifications of all of the latest posts! Thank you!

Look Outside Your Industry for Inspiration! 30 Days to Awesomize Your Blog

Look outside your industry for inspirationWhen you’re building your website or your blog, do you just look at what other people in your industry are doing? What about when you’re writing your blog posts? Are they the same as what everyone else is writing and saying?

I get it. When you first start to plan out your website, you look at what other successful people are doing and you try to emulate it. That is how people have been doing things for hundreds of years. Apprentices did things the same way their mentors did. Changed things up a bit, but that is where they started.

That is all well and good, but the Internet? It is a wide open frontier. You want to stand out. You want to be seen as unique. You want to be memorable!

You’re not going to do that if you’re doing the exact same thing everyone else is doing.

Go outside of your industry to look for inspiration and ideas. For example, as a boudoir photographer – I still read Copyblogger regularly. I look at fashion & travel magazines. I study websites of car companies. None of them are in my industry – but inspiration can be found on all of them!

If you look at what others are doing, you can find things that you can do that will be unique to you and that will set you apart. Viola! You stand out. You get the attention you deserve!

Where do you go to look outside your industry for inspiration? Please share in the comments – I’d love to hear your ideas!

Help Build Trust for Your Blog by Using Social Proof! 30 Days to Awesomize Your Blog

Help build trust for your blog by using social proof!Whenever I discover a new blog or business, one of the first things I do is look for social proof about the business. Are you sharing your social proof with your readers?

With the option for smart buttons on your blog, people can now see how many people have shared your post on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Google+. You’re surfing the web, you come to a post that seems cool, but then you notice that 37 other people have shared it — and before you know it? You’re sharing it too.

Did you know that there is Psychology behind why we share with others?

“People’s behavior is heavily influenced by what others say and do. Whether you are a company trying to get people to talk more about your brand, or a public health organization trying to get people to spread your healthy eating message, these results provide insight into how to design more effective messages and communication strategies.”

There are a number of WordPress Plugins that you can use that will help show off the Social Proof on your blog posts:

  • Social – One of my personal favorite plugins, this gem will broadcast your latest post out to Twitter and Facebook, and then whenever people comment on those posts it will bring the comment back in to your blog. Permanently. Right there with your other comments. Such a great way to keep the conversation all in one place!
  • Jetpack Sharing – From the team behind WordPress is this great plugin that gives your site visitors all of the social sharing options, along with keeping count of all of the previous shares.
  • ShareThis – Another very popular plugin is ShareThis, which allows people to share your post to all of their social media accounts, in addition to sharing via email and so much more. Lovely options of where to place your bar of sharing icons as well.

Share Client Reviews on Your Blog

After each client that you work with, make a point to request from them a review of your services. Personally, I prefer to send them a pretty straightforward questionnaire. Once they respond, look for sentences that you can use, with your client’s permission, to create a review page on your blog. Try to include photos of the clients and their full names. This further helps your reader trust what they are reading and the person that wrote it!

Are you building trust for your blog? What steps are you taking – or do you have in place already – to help build trust using social proof?

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