Blog Hop: Social Media Hot Tips for 2018

It’s the year to own your destiny. Heck, if you need even another reason, how about this: YOLO! You only live once, so why not make the next 365 days the best ones to come?  If you are on social media, then here are a bevvy of hot tips for 2018. Buckle up because some of these may surprise you and others, of course, you’ve seen them coming.

SOCIAL MEDIA 2018 TIPS

Video, Video and More Video

Fact: Forbes says, “Nearly half of businesses are already implementing social videos, with another 26 percent planning to implement in 2018.”

BlogPaws Hot Tip: Know how and why you are producing videos for social media, if they make sense for you, and invest in the right equipment to make them happen. (Note: the investment need not be large scale).  Are you making these social media video mistakes?


Robots Are Taking Over – AI Style

Fact: Artificial intelligence will tell you which media ads in which variation perform the best. Forbes says that users can automate campaigns so that your best-performing posts boost to the biggest audience.

BlogPaws Hot Tip: You will still need to spend on much of social media in order to seek the desired results. Automation is here. Here’s why you should consider Facebook advertising.


The Rise of Instagram Stories

Fact: Instagram Stories will continue its upward ascent across the social media landscape. Consider that an account with 10,000 followers or more can also add links to their stories.

BlogPaws Hot Tip: If you follow this blog or do a search of this blog for “Instagram” or “Instagram Stories,” you will note we were ahead of this trend as it becomes a permanent part of social media domination. Here are some Advanced Tips To Drive Blog Traffic Using Instagram Stories.


Virtual and Augmented Reality Comes to Social Media

Fact: The folks at ImpactBND share, “While augmented reality’s initial impact will be on mobile gaming, it is likely that social media platforms will find more ways to incorporate the new technology as well.”  They share that Facebook, has been working on a project called Spaces that is designed to allow friends to connect in virtual reality.

BlogPaws Hot Tip: This truly gives new meaning to “face to face” and that’s a cue to snag your BlogPaws 2018 Conference ticket now.


Influencer Marketing Plants Its Flag

Fact: According to Entrepreneur.com, “Companies like North Face, Hubspot and Rolex use social media–based influencer marketing strategies to connect with new audiences and improve engagement with existing audiences.”

BlogPaws Hot Tip: BlogPaws has long been ahead of this trends and envisions influencer marketing to finally gain the respect it so rightfully deserves.


The Wordless Wednesday Blog Hop

BlogPaws offers year-round interaction, activity, community and more to learn, earn, and connect. Visit and leave comments on other blogs to make some new buddies and maybe some new followers. You can add the button to your post and/or to your blog sidebar, either by cutting and pasting the image or using the HTML code below. Need help? Here it is:

How to Join a Blog Hop – BlogPaws Tutorial Video: Step by step help to get you started:



Image:  garetsworkshop / Shutterstock

 

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A Year’s Worth of Social Media Improvement Posts Blog Hop

As we move towards 2018, we look back fondly at 2017. With all of the uncertainties in the world, one thing is for certain: Changes in social media are constant. Instead of fearing change, here are a year’s worth of social media improvement posts in this week’s blog hop.

Over the holidays or in your spare time, we encourage you to embrace these posts and apply the knowledge from each to your own social media presence and goals:

social media improvement

January: “You’re a high achiever. You’re running a successful blog. You might be working a day job or taking on a side hustle to support your blogging efforts. And you’re probably constantly raising the bar on yourself,” says Maggie Marton, BlogPaws’ Director of Content. Learn how to Celebrate Your Wins: How to Enjoy Your Achievements Before Moving onto the Next Task.

February: “Could your Pinterest images use a little invigorating jump start? Maybe you’ve been pinning for a while with no clear strategy, or with all the changes on Pinterest, you need someone to guide you with the best way to create a Pinterest image. There is a way to make your Pinterest images rock…it just take some planning and a little insight,” says Carol Bryant, BlogPaws’ Marketing and Social Media Manager.  Learn How to Make Your Pinterest Images Rock here.

March: Video integration is a necessary part of a social media and blog strategy. If you are growing your blog as a business, video should be one of the tools you call upon regularly. Of course, anyone can pick up a camcorder, use an app, or shoot a video segment using a phone. Here are five advanced video tactics, and stay tuned for the bonus tips, too!

April: It makes sense to embrace a post about social media at live events, considering the BlogPaws 2018 Conference is in April of 2018.

May: “Repurposing your older work–blog posts, social media shares, video and even print (gasp!)–is the way to save yourself from writer’s block and frustration from trying to get everything done,” writes Nancy Hassel. Here’s How to Re-Purpose Content and Market it Consistently Online.

June: Twitter hacks to the max: Imagine getting some insights into how to grow a Twitter account beyond the basics. Here are 8 advanced Twitter tips to start using right away.

July: Gone are the days of posting content on Facebook and hoping people see it. Here’s How to Boost a Post on Facebook.

August: Here are 5 popular Instagram tips you must ignore (or suffer the not-so-pleasant consequences).

September: Love them or hate them, hashtags are a way of life on Instagram. Do you have a hashtag strategy for Instagram in place? Here’s How to Develop a Hashtag Strategy for Instagram.

October: Discover How and Why to Start a Facebook Group.

November: Take the BlogPaws’ 2017 Social Media Holiday Challenge, which is great for ANY time of ANY year.

December: Dive into advanced tips and techniques to drive blog traffic using Instagram Stories.


Don’t Forget

Get the Latest in Social Media, Pet Blogging and Pet Influencer Education at the BlogPaws 2018 Conference in Kansas City, Missouri.  If you want the early bird rate before a sell out, claim your BlogPaws 2018 Conference tickets here.

The Wordless Wednesday Blog Hop

BlogPaws offers year-round interaction, activity, community and more to learn, earn, and connect. Visit and leave comments on other blogs to make some new buddies and maybe some new followers. You can add the button to your post and/or to your blog sidebar, either by cutting and pasting the image or using the HTML code below. Need help? Here it is:

How to Join a Blog Hop – BlogPaws Tutorial Video: Step by step help to get you started:



Image:   Monkey Business Images/ Shutterstock

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Blogging 101: What Social Media Platforms Should You Use

“In order to know what social media platforms to be active on, you need to know where your audience (aka your demographic) congregates.”

This is all well and good if you have an audience and if you have an idea who your demographic is. What if you’re just starting out? Your audience might be your significant other, your mom and your pets. Are they your ideal audience/client?

WHO is your ideal audience and HOW will you reach them? It’s not an easy question for a long-time business owner to answer and is daunting to a start-up.

I believe that your blog should be the hub of your online activity, and the spokes are the social platforms you choose to interact on.

Sure, you might know who you want to reach:

  1. People who will buy your products
  2. People who want to hire you for your services

The question, though, is how do you get those people (your ideal client) to know where you are and to trust that you are the ideal person to deliver those goods or services? It’s not an exact science, but you can narrow down where you should devote your social media efforts and perhaps where you can stop stressing if you’re not as active as you want to be.

Blogging 101: What Social Media Platforms Should You Use

 

At one point, popular wisdom pointed to the idea that you should “claim” your business name or your personal name on all social platforms even if you didn’t use them. This may still hold true, but you need to consider: “Will potential clients/readers be searching for me on Instagram, for example, and they see a page but tWhat Social Media Platforms Should Bloggers Usehere’s no activity… what will they think?” Some people may think, “Oh, they’re not posting here, they must be out of business.” I opt for the latter of at least “claiming” my business name. Hey, if you get rich and famous, you don’t want someone else to snap up your name and ride on your fame, am I right?

Here are questions to ask yourself when you’re putting together your social media strategy.

What are your business goals? Do you have a business plan? What are your sales goals? What kind of goods and services will you offer? At first blush where do you think your ideal client interacts on social media? Is your ideal client a business person? If so, you may want to be on LinkedIn.

Is your ideal client a mom or a DIYer? He or she may be on Pinterest or Facebook. Is your business photo-centric? Then Instagram might be where you need to be.

Do you love to talk and be on camera? Consider vlogging and working a YouTube channel.

Twitter is popular (close to 200 million unique users a month) and if you’re good at sharing a message in 140 characters or fewer this might be the ideal platform to build your community. That word, “community,” that is what your social media efforts should be about — building a community — not simply selling your goods and services.

Where do you believe your ideal potential client is? You must have some idea where they’re gathering, right? Use that as your jumping off point. If you have interacted with like-minded pet business professionals on Instagram about photos you’ve posted, perhaps that is your ideal client. What groups do you interact in and where are they hosted? Do you interact more on Twitter than you do on Pinterest? Build your audience there. You need to be comfortable on a platform if you’re going to interact on it regularly.

Check out the competition. While every business owner and every business offering is unique simply based on the individual who is providing it, chances are there are others offering the same type, or style, of product or service. Where are they? Scope out all of the social platforms and see where your competition is most active and engaged. When you’ve done that research does it help you pinpoint where you should be?

How many social media platforms do you (truly) have time for? Look at your schedule with a critical eye. If you only have fifteen minutes a day to devote to your social media, how can you use it to your best advantage? Let’s say you only have fifteen minutes, you could break it down like this (and this is figuring you’re going to try a lot of social media platforms until you narrow it down.) Here’s my Rule of Three for social media. You’ve decided to work on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Here’s your fifteen-minute-a-day breakdown Rule of Three for your three chosen social platforms. In order to make the most of your limited time, you need to have a plan in place (ie your editorial calendar) to help you knock out your fifteen minutes and feel successful.

  1. Spend five minutes posting status updates.
  2. Spend five minutes commenting on the posts of others or connecting with those who have commented on your updates.
  3. Spend five minutes sharing the content of others. Social media needs to be just that — social — and you can amp up your visibility by sharing relevant content from other sources to your followers.

Whew! For example, choose to do Facebook on Monday, Twitter on Tuesday, Instagram on Wednesday then circle back to Facebook on Thursday, Twitter on Friday… you see where I am going with this, right? OR if you’re really dialed in you can post to ALL of your chosen platforms daily. You could spend five minutes of your fifteen minutes performing each of these three activities so that you’re posting on every platform daily. The way in which you spend your fifteen minutes is your choice, but know that even if you only have that small snippet of time you can make a difference.

Bottom line: I’ll bet you have an intuition for where your ideal clients are or where you feel most comfortable interacting online. Go with your instincts. Once you have either mastered the three social platforms you’re going to focus on OR if you realize that one or two of those three just aren’t working, you can focus your efforts on the platform that is working and change your strategy and incorporate another social platform.

Above all it’s about your social media strategy and how it connects with your business WHY that will help you connect with potential clients and grow your business.

If you’re a new business owner, do you struggle with which platform to focus on? Is finding the time to do social media interaction a barrier to success? If you’re a long-time business owner what advice can you offer a newbie to help them navigate social for their fledgling business?

Robbi Hess is an award-winning author,  full-time writer, newspaper columnist, writing coach and time-management guru. She works with bloggers and solopreneurs and blogs at All Words Matter. If you’re interested in learning about my new 30-Minute Writing program, email me, let’s talk. (Robbi AT PositivelyWoof DOT COM)

Image: daizuoxin/Shutterstock.com

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How to Be a Successful Guest Blogger

Why, you’re probably wondering, should you be a guest blogger? You’re hard-pressed to carve out enough time for your own blogging, right? Consider this: When you’re a guest blogger, you will be given a deadline. Not an “artificial” deadline that you’ve given yourself, but a deadline that the blog owner has set that you’ve agreed to. This blog-owner-set deadline could just motivate you.

Deadlines aside, why should you be a guest blogger? In many cases there is no pay, so you might be asking, “What’s in it for me?”

Here are a few reasons to consider guest blogging:guest blogging how and why

  1. Try out a new area of expertise. If you’re known for Topic A and that’s what you blog about, but you really want to test out Topic B, but don’t have a space in which to do it, guest blogging could be the ideal space.
  2. Be introduced to a new audience.
  3. Create new backlinks to your site.
  4. Build relationships with key influencers with whom you want to connect.
  5. Explore a new passion project.

How To Be A Successful Guest Blogger

Before you start researching places to guest blog, I urge you to know your WHY behind guest blogging. Just as you need to know your WHY for having your own blog, so too do you need to have a reason for adding “guest blogger” to your portfolio.  Look for guest blogging opportunities that align with your goals.

To find guest blogging spots you will need to prepare a pitch. Here are ways to make your pitch stand out.

  1. Read the guidelines
  2. Personalize the email. Don’t send it to “Dear Blog Owner.”
  3. Show that you’ve read their site
  4. Explain who you are, what your social media numbers are and why you should be a guest blogger
  5. Offer potential blog titles and a one sentence description for each

Read more: How to Write Pitches Editors Can’t Ignore

Once you score the guest blogging gig, make the blog owner want to offer you a guest blogging spot for the long-term (if that’s part of your WHY, of course).

It’s not about you. When you submit a guest blog post, the reason you’re doing this is, first and foremost, to offer valuable information to the reader of the blog on which you’re guest posting. Your blog content should be valuable and useful, not salesy.

Adhere to the guidelines. If the guest blog requirements are for a blog post of 500 words with two links and one royalty-free image, that’s what you need to submit. Read a few posts before you submit yours: Do they use bulleted or numbered lists? Do they use subheads? Emulate the format.

Don’t forget a Call To Action. Spur the reader to action or to comment on what you’ve written. Don’t just sign off at the end of your post without prompting an action.

Read more: How to Create a Call to Action That Gets Readers Clicking Through

Deadlines matter. Don’t miss deadlines. This is amateurish and doesn’t put you in a good light with the blog owner. The offer to guest post may be rescinded.

Include both internal and external links. If the guidelines say you can link back to your site, then do so. Include internal links as well to drive readers back to content on the site on which you’re guest posting. This will help the blog owner with time on site and will also show him or her that you’ve taken the time to read their content.

Edit. Edit. Edit. Enough said.

Promote the post. Just as you’d promote a post you’d written on your site, so too do you want to promote the guest post. This will help that site’s analytics and when you promote your post and link to the site, it could just amp up your expertise among potential new clients.

guest blogging tips

Write a wildly successful bio for your guest post.

If you’re writing a post for free on a site, it’s generally understood that you will be given the opportunity to craft a great bio for yourself. Make use of this bio and all of the words allocated for your use.

Goals matter. If your goal for guest blogging is to drive traffic to your website, link there. If you want to grow your social media followers, link to your social sites. If your guest blogging goal is to get newsletter sign-ups or to give away a lead magnet-type product, set up a landing page and drive readers to the landing page.

Focus. Don’t try to fit in all of your work experience into a brief bio. Add highlights that you want to target. If the readers are interested enough, they will click through to find out more about you.

Keep it relevant. If you’re guest posting on a dog website and you write about dogs, it doesn’t make sense to fill your bio with your high school accolades or the fact that you’ve just penned a pirate romance.

Be persuasive. It’s no secret that when people guest blog, they are looking to build their own readership, to sell products or to get people to sign up for their newsletters. Make sure you have a goodie to give away to those readers who click through to your site.

Food For Thought

Does guest blogging fit into your business mission and vision? Would guest blogging help you explore new niches? Are you looking to become an expert in a new, different field and are looking at a guest blogging gig to help you build your expertise and following? I’d love to know.

If you’re a blog owner who accepts guest bloggers, do you have any tips to offer a potential guest blogger?

Robbi Hess is an award-winning author, full-time writer, newspaper columnist, writing coach and time-management guru. She works with bloggers and solopreneurs and blogs at All Words Matter. If you’re interested in time blocking, email me and I’ll send you a sample page. (Robbi AT PositivelyWoof DOT COM)

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How Part-Time Bloggers Can Get More Done

You don’t have to be a part-time blogger to want to get more done, but if you ARE a part-time blogger because your blog hasn’t made it possible for you to give up your day job, you need to discover ways to get more done in less time.

How Part-Time Bloggers Can Get More Done

When you’re a part-time entrepreneur you have the best and the worst of two worlds – you are earning a paycheck and that affords you the opportunity to pursue your pet blogging passion. But, you’re working full-time, and that means you have to carve out pockets of time to pursue your true passion – to be an entrepreneur.

The secret to getting more done in your limited hours includes:

part time bloggers get more done Know how you spend your time.

If you want to know where your money is going, you prepare a budget, correct? If you want to know where and how you’re spending your time when you’re not at work, you need to track your hours. It’s easy to say, “I don’t have any time to write a blog post,” but if you look at your “time budget” you may notice you’re spending six hours a night watching television. Hhhmmm it’s hard to say you have “no time” if you’re spending that much time staring at the TV. This was my biggest downfall when I started my business. I’d been working my writing business as a side gig for close to a year and bemoaned the fact that I had no additional hours to devote to it, but when I looked at my schedule, I found I watched a LOT of television. I cut back and got a lot more done and my business went from side hustle to full-time entrepreneur.

ACTION STEP: Use either high-tech or low-tech to track your hours. Write down what you do in a 24-hour day. From the hours spent at your job, to walking the dog, to grooming the cat, to cooking dinner, doing laundry, watching television, spending time with friends and family and the hours you’re devoting to your business. Track your hours for a week. It could be very eye opening.

Use time-blocking for critical tasks.

If you have tasks for your business that you have to get done every day or every week, you need to block that time in your calendar and make that a non-negotiable block of time.

ACTION STEP: Create time blocks for your high- and low-priority tasks, for client phone calls, for blogging tasks, to create images for your blog posts, to post, share and comment on social media… and write it down. A Harvard study showed that of 100 people, 84 of them didn’t write down their goals, 13 of them kept their goals in their head and three of them wrote down the goals. The three who wrote them down were more successful than the 97 who didn’t. You’re more likely to complete a task if you’ve written it down.

Plan your day the night before.

When you know what you’re going to do the following day, you save valuable time. When you go to your workspace without a plan or a time-blocked schedule, you are more likely to “stare into space” or poke around on social media than you are to jump right into a necessary task.

Start your part-time day by knowing what you need to accomplish in the hours you have set aside. Doing this will help you more consistently meet your goals and complete your tasks.

ACTION STEP: Get into the habit of planning your day before you leave your office that night. Time-block your priorities so you work more productively.pt blogger to ft entrepreneur

Routine matters.

Do you notice how some people: do laundry on Monday, vacuum on Tuesday, run errands on Wednesday, go to book club on Thursday, etc.? This is because routine is a powerful tool. When you know when you’re going to do something and it becomes habit, your mind will begin to crave the routine. Your routine could be: write blog posts on Sunday, create images on Monday, fill in your editorial calendar on Tuesday, interview sources for a post on Wednesday, schedule your social media on Thursday, etc. Time-blocking will help you build routines and get more done.

ACTION STEP: Batch your tasks to get more done. Don’t write part of a blog post on Monday, then finish it on Tuesday because you have phone calls to make on Monday as well. See where I am going with this? Batch like tasks and work through them without interruption. Interruption is the productivity killer of the part-time (and full-time) entrepreneur.

Give yourself grace.

When you’re working outside of the home and then coming home and working on growing your passion project, you need to give yourself the grace of knowing there will be weeks that–no matter how well you have blocked your time–you just won’t get to it all. Don’t write off the whole week just because you have one day that gets away from you. Chalk the “lost” day up to life happening and get back into it the next day.

Talk with any pet blogger who went from full-time employee to full-time entrepreneur and they will tell you they had to make sacrifices, but that it was worth it. I hope these tips will help you get more done in less time so you, too, can be a full-time entrepreneur.

I’d love to know – if you’re a full-time pet entrepreneur, how you made it happen. If you’re still struggling to make it to being a full-time entrepreneur, where are your challenges?

Robbi Hess is an award-winning author,  full-time writer, newspaper columnist, writing coach and time-management guru. She works with bloggers and solopreneurs and blogs at All Words Matter. If you’re interested in time blocking, email me and I’ll send you a sample page.  (Robbi AT PositivelyWoof  DOT COM)

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5+ Ways To Make Money From Your Blog

You blog because you have a passion for pets. You blog because you have a message to share. You blog because you’re a writer at heart. You blog because you want to make money, right? After all, your passion won’t keep your pet in holiday clothing and new toys.

5+ Ways To Make Money From Your Blog

ways to make money with your blog There are bloggers and writers out there who say they feel “icky” when they consider monetizing their blog. They feel they are exploiting their pet and their lives with their pets. Unless you want to continue to keep your blog at “hobby blog” level, you need to look at ways in which to monetize your blog so you can afford to share your passion, your message and your love of the written word. Let today be the day you become part of the “gig economy.”

Whether you want to quit your full-time job and make a living from your blog, or if you want to keep your blog as your side hustle to help pay for “extras,” here are five (plus some bonus tips!) for making money from your blog to help you turn it from hobby blog to money-maker.

Create your own products

Are you crafty? Sell products that you make. Do people come to you for help and advice in a particular area? Write an eBook (it doesn’t have to be long, it just has to be useful). Put together an eCourse. Are you a whiz at social media? Write a course that shows others how to benefit from your talents. Are you a writer who offers editing services? Put together a course on “how to edit your own work.” Are you a time management and productivity guru? Create a course to teach others how to get a handle on their time. Write an eBook that provides tried-and-true time management tips.

Be an affiliate

Yes, you need to be up front about the fact that you are using affiliate links and that you will benefit monetarily if someone makes a purchase through your link, but if you are passionate about a product and use it regularly, why not benefit from sales of it? Be judicious in the amount of affiliate links you use. Just as you don’t want to keyword stuff your posts, neither do you want to have every other sentence be one that has a “buy me” mentality.

Sell ad space

If your blog has the traffic, sell ad space. You may need to pick up the phone and reach out to brands you’d like to see featured on your site, but if you want to be in business for yourself and turn your blog from a hobby to a money-maker, you need to know how to sell yourself, your blog and its benefits to a brand. If you have a large local following, reach out to local businesses that make sense for you. Put together your press kit with the numbers and potential benefits the business would reap and why. Run a banner ad on your site. Be aware though, that your readers come to your site for the content, so don’t make them wade through too many ads before they get to what they really want from you. Use ads judiciously.

Write a sponsored post

If you’re part of the BlogPaws Influencer network, you may have the opportunity to apply for, and perhaps get chosen, to write sponsored posts. The money paid for these posts vary, but it is a way to bring in additional income from the work you’re putting into your blog.  You can also reach out and ask another blogger or a brand or even a local business if they’d like to post on your site, and pay you a fee for the privilege. You will need to have traffic and numbers to show why there is a benefit for them to post with you, but if you have the numbers on your blog and/or social media, people may pay you to post on your site. If you’re blogging about business-related topics, perhaps a Chamber of Commerce would want to write a business-centric post for your site. If you blog about traveling with your pets, there might be travel accessories for pets businesses that would benefit from paying to guest post on your site. Before you take on guest bloggers make sure you have a set of writer’s guidelines in place as well as a list of the types of businesses you will take posts from and those that you won’t. You don’t want to dilute the mission and vision of your blog simply to make money, nor do you want to publish a guest blog that goes against your ethics and morals.

Email marketing

Are you “growing your list”? What does this mean? When people come to your blog, what are you doing to capture their names and email address so you can keep in touch with them if they don’t come back to your blog? Put together a “lead magnet” or “ethical bribe” that entices a reader to want to give you their name and email address and access to their inbox. Your lead magnet should be related to your blog topic. For example, if you’re passionate about cats, offer a one-page lead magnet entitled, “Fun Games For Your Cat” or “How To Introduce A New Kitten To The Family.” Give them a one- or two-page downloadable product in exchange for their email address. Email marketing is a long game when it comes to making money from your blog, but if you keep in front of readers, aka potential customers, they will think of you when they’re ready to buy what you’re selling.

Sell your services

What do you do that you could teach others? What is your area of expertise? In which niche do you focus? Are you great at coming up with business taglines? Offer coaching services for that. Do you have enough time and knowledge to write blog posts for pay for others? If so, offer that as a “Blogger for hire!” service. Are you fabulous at DIY projects? Instead of, or in addition to, making and selling products why not teach others how to make their own DIYs? Teach a class focused on your area of expertise.

Take any one of these ideas and see if you can find a way to make money with it. If it works, great! If it doesn’t try another. If you get more than one of these ideas to boost your income from your blog, congratulations! I’d love to know what works, what you’ve tried that didn’t and where you’re getting stuck.

Robbi Hess is an award-winning author,  full-time writer, newspaper columnist, writing coach and time-management guru. She works with bloggers and solopreneurs and blogs at All Words Matter. I spoke at BlogPaws on: Overworked & Overwhelmed? The Four-Step Process for Reinventing Your Writing. If you couldn’t attend, email me for free a copy of the e-book I offered. (Robbi AT AllWordsMatter DOT COM)

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Stay Motivated During The Dog Days Of Summer

Aaaahhh summer. Time to kick back, take time off and enjoy. If you’re an entrepreneur, solopreneur or petpreneur, you may want to rethink that.

Imagine this scenario: You “take the summer off,” you stop marketing, you don’t attend networking events and you stop posting on your own blog. You reason that  “everyone is taking summer vacation” so you can relax as well. What if your competition isn’t taking the summer off? You may want to rethink your dog days of summer plan.

The urge is strong to slip into summer vacation mode, but as an entrepreneur, your business is 24/7. This isn’t to say that you need to work 24/7, but if you want to run your business like a business you need to treat it as one. Not many business owners that we know take the summer off. They may have shortened work schedules. They make take half-days on Fridays. Entrepreneurs may not work on Saturday and Sunday in the summer, but they are working and nurturing their business.beat dog days of summer

Stay Motivated During The Dog Days Of Summer

How can you resist the lure of the pool and the urge to take the next two months off? Here are my best tips.

Power through. It is so tempting to take the summer off, but consider this: Someone out there wishes he or she were in your shoes, being an entrepreneur. They may be working on the “next big thing” and you don’t want to lose your edge… or your clients. Keep working. Stay focused. Remain at the top of your game.

Lethargy breeds lethargy. Taking the summer off won’t necessarily help you recharge your entrepreneurial batteries. If you take the summer off, you may find it difficult to even get back into the groove once summer’s over. Stay focused on your business growth. There are times in the winter here in New York where there are days of no sun, frigid temps and mounds of blowing snow, and I simply don’t want to get out of bed, let alone get dressed to face the day. I have found that if I let “getting dressed” slip for a few days, it’s easy to not want to “get dressed” at all. It’s a bad path for the work-at-home entrepreneur to slide into.

Set “summer hours.” I am not saying you need to continue to put in the hours that you do when it’s not summer. You can certainly set summer hours. I currently take Friday afternoons and Sundays off. I work a half day on Saturday if I have tasks I didn’t get to. I look at Friday afternoon and Sunday as a reward for a job well done! Look at your schedule and see if you can batch tasks, batch write blog posts, arrange your client calls and meetings so they can all be done in one or two days rather than spread out over the entire week. Give yourself some grace and take a half day when you can.

Make an attainable to-do list. Is it possible to do fewer tasks during the summer while still keeping your eye on your business and your clients? If that’s possible, make your to-do list or schedule your time blocking at a less frenetic pace than you would in non summer months.

Embrace the summer sun. Get out of your home office and work in a coffee shop on the patio. A small change in your routine can lift your spirits. There is no law that says you have to toil away in your office, right? If you have a portable business, grab your laptop, order a cup of your favorite summer drink and embrace the vibe of working outside of your home.embrace dog days of summer

Take a day off. If your friends are heading out to the beach or to an amusement park, join them. No one says you can’t take a weekday off. Sure, you may need to work a few additional hours either before or after your day off, but that day off will bring such joy that it won’t matter. Schedule one full day off a week and indulge in a fun summer activity.

Slip on your “thinking sandals.” As a blogger I spend quite a bit of time pondering client blog posts and developing marketing strategies and implementing social content. My pondering typically includes making notes and lists. In the summer, though, I gather Henrietta and leash her up, slip on my sandals and grab my phone. I think much better when I am walking and my phone allows me to either jot down a note or record a message that I can transcribe when I get home. The pleasure of getting exercise and spending time with Henrietta in somewhere other than my hot, humid office gets my creative juices flowing.

Remember why you’re on this crazy entrepreneurial ride. Some days when you’re distracted and feel like you’re getting off track you need to look at your vision and your mission and your WHY. A quick review just might energize you.

Fifteen minute sprints. Okay. Okay. You’ve tried it all and just can’t stop staring out the window and the bright sunny day. I get it! Grab a timer, grab your to-do list. Set the timer for fifteen minutes and work diligently. Once the timer goes off, get up and take a sunshine break for a few minutes then come back, set your timer and repeat.

How do you stay motivated during the dogs days of summer? Share your best kept secrets!

Robbi Hess is an award-winning author,  full-time writer, newspaper columnist, writing coach and time-management guru. She works with bloggers and solopreneurs and blogs at All Words Matter. I spoke at BlogPaws on: Overworked & Overwhelmed? The Four-Step Process for Reinventing Your Writing. If you couldn’t attend, email me for free a copy of the e-book I offered. (Robbi AT AllWordsMatter DOT COM)

The post Stay Motivated During The Dog Days Of Summer appeared first on BlogPaws.

Three Keys To Creating Engaging Social Media Content

What? There are only three keys to creating engaging social media content? I hear you saying that through the Internet! There are myriad ways in which to create engaging social media content, but I wanted to give you three so you can go forth, implement and conquer.

Three Keys To Creating Engaging Social Media Content

blog is marketing hubYour blog is the hub

Chances are you have heard this before. Your blog is the hub and everything else you do/share are the spokes. When you’re a blogger, your posts are the greatest source of your social media power! Writing a blog post is not a one-and-done task. Your blog post can and should be repurposed more than once and shared on your social platforms more than one time. Don’t share the same info every time.

Pick and choose salient points and share on social. If you have a bullet-point list, each of those bullets can be a different, unique social share. Sure, you may have to, or want to, find a graphic or make that bullet point into a graphic image to share. When you do that, you can use that blog for weeks on end on your social.

Strategy is key

Sure, you can just throw social content at the wall and see what sticks. Wouldn’t you rather know that your followers are engaging with you on Facebook at 8:05 am, your LinkedIn connections engage at 2 pm and your Twitter followers engage more often at 9 pm? If you know you have “eyes on the page” at a specific time then schedule your content to go live at that time. Be online during the times your followers are — within reason — so if they like, comment, share or RT — you can be there to interact.

Do you have more readers for your blog posts when you post on Sunday afternoon than you do when you post on Tuesday morning? If that’s the case, switch your blogging strategy to accommodate that uptick in readers on Sundays.

Look at Google Analytics and Twitter and Facebook insights and make note of when people are interacting, what type of posts they’re interacting on and any other behaviors that can help you craft your social media and blogging strategy.

Be a good listener. If your ideal customer is talking about a particular topic, make sure you’re listening. If they’re asking questions, give them answers. When you listen, you just might be rewarded with higher engagement.

create engaging contentWhat’s your CTA?

Do your social posts and blogs have calls to action (CTA)? When a reader finishes your blog he or she should be prompted to so something… whether it’s signing up for your newsletter, joining your Facebook group, answering a question you’ve asked or taking some other action that you’ve determined is part of your social media and blogging strategy.

When a blog post ends, it shouldn’t just trail off with a feeling of, “that’s all folks.” Keep your reader engaged by offering him or her a “task.” Don’t leave them wondering, “What should I do now?”  You don’t want to be like late night television infomercial with your CTA, but you do want to move the reader forward to another action. Only you can determine that action, but it needs to be part of your overall strategy.

Download this “creating engaging social media content” worksheet to use with your next blog post and social media post.

What are your struggles with creating engaging social media content? What strategy have you implemented that you can share with others? Let us know in the comments.

Robbi Hess is an award-winning author,  full-time writer, newspaper columnist, writing coach and time-management guru. She works with bloggers and solopreneurs and blogs at All Words Matter. I spoke at BlogPaws on: Overworked & Overwhelmed? The Four-Step Process for Reinventing Your Writing. If you couldn’t attend, email me for free a copy of the e-book I offered. (Robbi AT AllWordsMatter DOT COM)

The post Three Keys To Creating Engaging Social Media Content appeared first on BlogPaws.

Three Keys To Creating Engaging Social Media Content

What? There are only three keys to creating engaging social media content? I hear you saying that through the Internet! There are myriad ways in which to create engaging social media content, but I wanted to give you three so you can go forth, implement and conquer.

Three Keys To Creating Engaging Social Media Content

blog is marketing hubYour blog is the hub

Chances are you have heard this before. Your blog is the hub and everything else you do/share are the spokes. When you’re a blogger, your posts are the greatest source of your social media power! Writing a blog post is not a one-and-done task. Your blog post can and should be repurposed more than once and shared on your social platforms more than one time. Don’t share the same info every time.

Pick and choose salient points and share on social. If you have a bullet-point list, each of those bullets can be a different, unique social share. Sure, you may have to, or want to, find a graphic or make that bullet point into a graphic image to share. When you do that, you can use that blog for weeks on end on your social.

Strategy is key

Sure, you can just throw social content at the wall and see what sticks. Wouldn’t you rather know that your followers are engaging with you on Facebook at 8:05 am, your LinkedIn connections engage at 2 pm and your Twitter followers engage more often at 9 pm? If you know you have “eyes on the page” at a specific time then schedule your content to go live at that time. Be online during the times your followers are — within reason — so if they like, comment, share or RT — you can be there to interact.

Do you have more readers for your blog posts when you post on Sunday afternoon than you do when you post on Tuesday morning? If that’s the case, switch your blogging strategy to accommodate that uptick in readers on Sundays.

Look at Google Analytics and Twitter and Facebook insights and make note of when people are interacting, what type of posts they’re interacting on and any other behaviors that can help you craft your social media and blogging strategy.

Be a good listener. If your ideal customer is talking about a particular topic, make sure you’re listening. If they’re asking questions, give them answers. When you listen, you just might be rewarded with higher engagement.

create engaging contentWhat’s your CTA?

Do your social posts and blogs have calls to action (CTA)? When a reader finishes your blog he or she should be prompted to so something… whether it’s signing up for your newsletter, joining your Facebook group, answering a question you’ve asked or taking some other action that you’ve determined is part of your social media and blogging strategy.

When a blog post ends, it shouldn’t just trail off with a feeling of, “that’s all folks.” Keep your reader engaged by offering him or her a “task.” Don’t leave them wondering, “What should I do now?”  You don’t want to be like late night television infomercial with your CTA, but you do want to move the reader forward to another action. Only you can determine that action, but it needs to be part of your overall strategy.

Download this “creating engaging social media content” worksheet to use with your next blog post and social media post.

What are your struggles with creating engaging social media content? What strategy have you implemented that you can share with others? Let us know in the comments.

Robbi Hess is an award-winning author,  full-time writer, newspaper columnist, writing coach and time-management guru. She works with bloggers and solopreneurs and blogs at All Words Matter. I spoke at BlogPaws on: Overworked & Overwhelmed? The Four-Step Process for Reinventing Your Writing. If you couldn’t attend, email me for free a copy of the e-book I offered. (Robbi AT AllWordsMatter DOT COM)

The post Three Keys To Creating Engaging Social Media Content appeared first on BlogPaws.