Monday, May 24, 2010

10 simple Google search tips

Google has become a verb when we're talking about searching the Web.

Here's an informative column from The New York Times with useful tips on how to get more out of your Google searches. It includes info on site specific searching, using the site as a calculator, using "or' when you aren't sure of the right key words and other helpful news.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Make every word count in your blog posts

Everybody's talking about blogging, and my colleague Karen Smith at Professional Networking Women of Racine is working to make her blogging time pay off.

Karen, who is affiliated with Send Out Cards -- a online  service that sends out greeting cards by postal mail for about $1 each -- asked advice about how to make the best blog for her business. Her business focuses on the importance of sending messages of appreciation to family, friends and business contacts. She's taken inspiration from the movement dubbed "appreciation marketing," after the book Appreciation Marketing by Tommy Wyant and Curtis Lewsey.

Like most bloggers, she has a tricky challenge -- to provide interesting content without sounding the sell-sell-sell shriek that is a big turn-off for most people.

Here are my suggestions:

  • Make every word count. Identify who your ideal blog readers are -- they should also be your  ideal customers -- and what they will find valuable.
  • Tell stories about the cards you've created with this online service and how they've been received by recipients.
  • Consider cute, interesting or poignant stories about your clients' experiences – but they should give you permission first to share these stories. This is a great reason to get back to your clients and appreciate their successes and good ideas.
  • Tell stories of your own appreciation of others and how it enhanced personal and business relationships.
  • 10 tips for expressing customer appreciation
Finally, keep posts short. Most people don't have time to read long posts – and they take time to write anyway. Often longer writngs can be broken into two or three posts, which gives you more posts to spread out over time. Your time is valuable too.

At some point you’ll have to evaluate if the blog is getting business or helping you in other way – getting supporters, contacts, encouragement and the like.

Here's Karen's blog, a work in progress. She may appreciate your comments, too.