How to Build Authority with Your Blog

One of the best in-house marketing techniques you can take advantage of is a blog.  A regularly updated blog full of high-quality content is a great marketing resource for a whole bunch of reasons. 

For one, blogging is still one of the most effective SEO tools in your personal arsenal of digital marketing tools.  Google Webmaster loves having new pages to index on sites they are already familiar with.  The logic behind this is quite simple: the more new content a page has to index, the more relevant it is deemed by Google in their optimization rankings. 

You can change content on a service page, but realistically, how often are you going to be changing this content? Probably once a month, at most.  With a blog you can literally post as much as you deem necessary.  As long as you optimize each post with a few SEO basics (which you can learn about here), the blog post will help your organic search ranking and provide valuable insight for your customer base. 

For another thing, a blog is a great way to connect with your customer base in a genuine, ‘non-advertising’ kind of way.  A lot of digital marketing can fall into the trap of generality and mass-communication.  With a blog, you are essentially providing free insight into your industry (and your business) without asking for anything from the visitor.  It goes beyond advertising and offers a behind-the-scenes look at what differentiates your brand.  That’s a huge intangible value.  Gary Vaynerchuk refers to this as a “jab” in his book “Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook”.  Give value, and then give some more. Earn the right to make the pitch.

Techniques for Building Blog Authority

Focus On Content – There is nothing as valuable as writing engaging content.  Find your voice and style before you start blogging so that your words remain familiar to readers.  Check out sites like Alltop, Google Alerts, or Feedly for inspiring topics to riff on. 

Start Guest Blogging – You want to get your words in front of as many readers as possible, and that means guest blogging.  A lot of the biggest aggregators of traffic do not generate their own content – they allow others to post on their site and thus generate traffic for them.  Scroll through Huffington Post and to get an idea of how posts should look, and then reach out with your own unique list of blog post ideas. 

Invite Guest Bloggers – An effective way to get your blog off the ground is to invite a guest blogger to write a few months of content.  Pick a writer with a large built-in audience of readers who would be interested by your brand, and track the changes in site traffic to see just how impactful it can be. 

It’s a Long-Term Investment

It’s important to take a long-term approach to blogging.  Always remember that you can run tests on what works, and adapt the content accordingly. 

In running tests of your blog content, you might be surprised at how much ‘traditional’ blogging advice simply does not work for you.  A case in point is the clean-cut layout most web designers recommend.  Sharp lines, simple black and white color scheme, few distractions – what could be more appealing?  It’s only appealing if it draws traffic to your site, and you should experiment with various layouts to see what most people prefer. 

In developing blog authority it’s important to rely on intuition and experimentation instead of spending excessive amounts on banner advertisements (to give just one example).

Build Authority in a Unique Way

It’s an exciting prospect to plan a year’s worth of blog content.  With the right kind of digital marketing consultant, a lot of research and a bit of soul searching, before too long it will be your name at the top of Google queries in your niche. 

Goal Setting 101: How to Scale the Mountain On Your First Attempt

We all have goals – in personal life and for our business. And many times, our goals can seem so large that we aren’t sure where to begin.  I want to share with you a simple “mind-hack” that my team and I use to accomplish some pretty epic goals!

Set an end goal, and imagine it as the peak of a mountain.  You have to scale the mountain, and you need to take incremental steps to get there.   

Maybe you could draw a mountain on your office board, give the project a name like ‘Mount BigDeal, or just imagine each micro-goal you achieve as taking you one step higher in the chain of goals. 

Thought experiments like this help to break down complex, often long-term goals.  As you probably know, achieving long-term goals requires a number of short-term micro goals.  It’s not hard to grasp in theory – but in practice it takes a lot of diligence and focus.

Zig Ziglar said, “A goal properly set is halfway reached.”

Maybe you are looking to get an X% increase in sales, or an X% growth in Facebook conversions over a 12-month period. 

Whatever the goal, what matters most is the procedure you follow to get there.

Here are a few tips from experience that will help you scale the mountain on your first attempt, each and every time:

Tip #1 – Start Slow

Many people in business try and get things done too quickly.  Want an example? 

Say you are looking to increase Facebook conversion rates by 10%.  To achieve this, you decide Facebook ads will be the key. 

It’s in your best interest to learn everything about Facebook ads before starting a campaign, but often in the haste of business you just go with what you know. 

Do you know how Facebook defines ‘engagement’?  If you do not, then take the time to read up on it.  It will help.

DON’T FORGET: Facebook has many different types of advertisement platforms.  Do the research into each of them to get an idea which one works best for you.

Developing Facebook ad campaigns can be broken into 6-10 incremental micro-tasks that build on each other.  Write them all down so that you remain accountable to them!

That’s how you get to the peak of the mountain – but you have to build on what you know. 

Tip #2 –  Make A Daily Routine

One of the best ways to scale a mountain is to hike at a consistent pace the entire way up.  That way your body gets used to the exertion and can ensure you have enough energy to reach the end goal.

It’s exactly the same in business.

If you put 60 hours a week into achieving a long-term goal for ONLY 2 WEEKS, how can you expect to achieve it? 

More importantly: how can you expect to have the motivation to continue working on it after 120 hours in 14 days. 

SOLUTION: Make it a daily routine to accomplish one micro-goal a day.  It could be as simple as scrolling over competitors Facebook ads to see what you like. 

It might not bring results overnight, but it will harness all your capability to write engaging copy and give you industry insight that you would have overlooked otherwise.    

Tip #3 –  Use Software Like BaseCamp is a great resource to keep every project organized and on schedule.  It’s especially effective when working on a large-scale project with a number of participants, as the user-friendly interface keeps track of all tasks, deadlines, and goals. Basecamp is a fantastic alternative because it tracks everything on one central page. It doesn’t matter which program you decide to use, as long as it works for you & is something you can stick with.

Structure Is Key, Not Energy

The final thing to say about goal setting is that it’s all about building AND maintaining a structure around your goals. 

You have to make sure to maintain a pace which will leave you with endurance near the end, to actualize your goal and enjoy the fruits of your labor. After all, you want the energy to celebrate a job well-done with your team!

5 Effective Time Management Strategies

It’s crucial to manage your time – even more so than your finances. Both are important, but think about it – you can make more money. You can never make up for lost time.

In regards to business, time is one of the most essential components. It’s a large part of the business life cycle and should be a consideration as you plan each project. 

The incremental stages of a business plan are always built on a 6-month or 12-month timeline, for example.  Without this structure in place, it would be hard to analyze data and mark improvements year-over-year. But using time as a measuring tool is the easy part.  The challenge with time is on a personal, day-to-day level. 

We’re talking about how to make the best use of time every day, for both you and your business.  We’re imagining creative approaches for increasing the quality and efficiency of your work.  We’re thinking about the strategies you can use to feel accomplished after a work day, rather than swamped in deadlines and full of stress. 

Don’t Overthink It

High functioning business folks often get stuck on the little details.  This is good on one hand, because it’s the small things that make it possible to maintain a strong business platform in the long run.  But when it comes to efficiency, sweating the small stuff can get in the way of focused and productive work.

Here are 5 of the best tips for time management that will come in handy the next time you catch yourself staring out the window all morning.

Plan, Plan, Plan

Organization is the key to focus.  You have a goal for the day? Put it down, and make sure you achieve it.  You have a plan for the week? Make a schedule of tasks to ensure you don’t forget anything. These are relatively simple tasks that should be taken care of at the beginning and end of a work day.  Much like a professor prepares a lecture for the following morning, you should spend the last 15 minutes of your day planning the next one.

Don’t Multi-Task

Maybe the most common productivity issue for entrepreneurs is multi-tasking.  It’s a bad habit to get into because though it might seem like so much is happening, fewer meaningful things actually get done. 

It’s best to follow your daily schedule and allocate yourself hourly blocks of time for specific tasks.  If it takes longer than the allocated time, don’t fret: just come back to it the next day. 

Delegate Wisely

This applies whether you are a freelancer or the head of marketing at a company.  There is a lot to say about delegation, but for now let’s just leave it at this: proper delegation is the structure that allows efficiency to flourish.  Why? Because it accounts for all the pieces of the puzzle, and ensures they are completed in a timely fashion.

Eliminate Bad Distractions

Bad distractions are all around us.  Procrastinators will literally find anything to do other than get their work done – and let’s be honest, we all procrastinate in one way or another.

The best strategy is to isolate yourself until the work gets done.  What does that mean?  It could mean blocking yourself from social media platforms, putting a “Do Not Disturb” sign on the door, or turning your phone off until you complete the task at hand. 

Introduce Creative Distractions

Going back to the issue of focus and productivity, many people need to do something to get into a routine.  That’s why Google has a workout gym and a bunch of other free perks – they know it helps employees stay focused.  Creative distractions like making a coffee or doing drawing in a sketchbook gives the brain a little break during a long work week. 

Efficiency Breeds Success

Effective time management is one of those intangibles that make a huge difference to the bottom line.  It’s the secret ingredient to running a successful business, no matter what the budget is. Indeed, if these 5 strategies are followed up on, that yearly status report will look far more impressive than it did before. 

BONUS TIP: One of the most effective time management strategies is to ONLY spend your time on the things that need your attention. If it can be outsourced or delegated, consider doing so. Speaking of which, check out our programs including Done for You team who can handle your digital and social media marketing for you, so that you can leverage your time even more efficiently.

10 Ways to Avoid Burnout

We’ve all done it: you jump into a project head first and double your hours. Then you skip sleep, forego the regenerative “me” time that keeps you sane, and start taking out your frustrations on loved ones.

Maybe you find yourself sluggish, dragging yourself to the computer or workplace in the morning with a sense of dread.

Or, just as bad, you’ve been procrastinating and putting off all the tasks.

According to the Asscociation for Psychological Science, burnout comes in three varieties: overload burnout, boredom burnout, and worn-out burnout.

Statista reports that 65% of the people who are at the beginning of a burnout situation frequently felt run down or drained of physical and/or emotional energy.

Yep, I’ve been there. Recently, in fact.

Sometimes, you can nip it in the bud and keep the big “B” of burnout from getting control of your life.

Other times, it would have been better to just avoid the situation altogether.

Here are my top ways to avoid burnout and stay motivated in your work.

Plan your day AND write it down.

Write down everything you need to do. This will keep you focused and on track.

I use a bullet journaling system that I continually modify and adjust. When I went “backwards” from a completely cloud-based back to a paper-based system a few years ago, I expected to encounter some problems.

What I found, though, was that I was able to focus better and even remember things. It was like what I learned in college, taking notes during lectures and then studying by rewriting them, was still relevant.

Turns out research supports what I’ve experienced. So not only will you have a plan of what’s ahead, you may find yourself thinking more clearly and remembering better.

Then again, you might just have a handy place to doodle. 🙂

Sever the tether.

With 77% of Americans owning a smartphone, it’s no surprise that, in addition to crushing candy and obsessively checking Facebook, we’re also working longer hours.

It. Never. Ends.

But it can.

Set working hours and stick to them. And, my TOP advice? Turn off notifications.

Make your time intentional. Not only will it free you to enjoy your off hours, it will also help you focus during your on hours.

Do the tough stuff first.

Confession: I don’t always follow this advice. Sometimes, I need to do the opposite of eating the frog; I need to butter myself up and get ready for the tasks I’m not so fond of.

But when you’ve done the tough or unsavory work first, it’s out of the way. It’s done. It’s not hanging over you all day long.

Have a hobby.

Give yourself something to look forward to outside of work…and then make time to do it!

There are all sorts of reasons to have a hobby (Psychology Today lists six), but mental health tops my list.

When I curl up with a book or grab my husband for a round of golf, the working part of my brain can relax…and I come back refreshed and ready to dive in.

Say no.

You can’t do everything…and you shouldn’t.

But often, once you start saying yes, you get asked to do more. And more. And more.

Saying no doesn’t make you a jerk (though there’s something to be said for tact). And it may not be easy to say no, especially if you’re a people pleaser or talking to someone you don’t want to disappoint.

Do a quick search online for “benefits of saying no” and you’ll find a trail a mile long. This is its very own challenge, but one that is important to embrace and pursue.

A well-placed no can help you in many ways, not least of which is to keep you from the brink of burnout!

Take breaks.

Go outside. Enjoy nature. Meditate and/or pray.

You’re not made to be glued to a computer screen or a task for long amounts of time. A change in scenery, even if it’s just to stand up at your desk, can make a huge difference in your mentality.

Years ago, in my first job after college, I noticed that the only people who seemed to take a sanctioned break during the day were those who smoked.

Rather than start a habit that could lead to your death, why not set a timer on your phone or computer so that you take a break? Neil Patel recommends no longer than 90 minutes of work at a stretch before you take a break.

Whatever it is, make time throughout the day to stop and pause. You’ll be better for it.

Avoid perfection paralysis.

Done is better than perfect.

I know, I KNOW. It’s hard to say and even harder to accept. But the truth is that most of us aren’t doing life-altering jobs.

Usually, we need something done more than we need it to be completely 100% perfect.

I’m NOT advocating a half-way job or doing less than your best. But your best and what’s needed often — usually — isn’t perfect.

And besides, perfect can be a subjective term. Let go of it and let yourself move forward.

Take care of your body.

We aren’t just intellectual beings; we’re physical beings. That means we need to take care of our bodies, too!

Eat right. Sleep well. Exercise. Drink lots of water. Research whether some vitamin supplements would be appropriate.

Get up and move around during the day (while taking one of those breaks I recommended earlier).

Add beauty.

Beauty comes in many forms, and it will change the atmosphere for you.

Listen to music; add some flowers; put on a diffuser with bergamot or peppermint.

Make your work environment a place where you are inspired and that makes you smile. There are many factors you can’t control, true, but you can stack the deck in your favor.

People time is a must!

Even if you’re an introvert, you need loved ones and support. What people in your life give you energy?

66% of people categorized as being at the beginning of burnout stated that “stable family life is one of the best ways to avoid burnout.”

Whether family means your closest friends, the people you live with, or some other group, make time for them and with them.

Humans are social beings.

How do you avoid burnout?

What tips do you have to share? Or, if you’ve battled with burnout in the past, what helped you?