Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Free Social Media Icons Font and Images

I have blogged about the importance of having social media links on your blog. Mainly, you want repeat business, and you want numbers on your social media. Here's some freebies if you need them... These are free for any use (personal and commercial), but in accordance with the trademarked use of the images. For instance, you can use Facebook wherever Facebook will let you use their F.

Basic Black Social Media Font

I've put the basic black images as a font together. Half of it is the black images on a clear background, and the other half are black circles with a clear social media image in the middle.

Pink Watercolor Social Media Icons

These are pink watercolor spots with social media icons on them. I did the spots by hand in Photoshop. Provided are the images as jpg's already optimized; however, the file complete with a Photoshop file with layers of all the social media icons is also provided.

There are two sets of pink because some blogs are more red pink, and others are more purple pink, and I made both because I didn't like the first pink I did on my blog, but you can see them used on michellegrewe.com 

Free for personal or commercial use; wherever the icons will let you have them. 


Retro Red Social Media Icons

Social media icons that look like a red pillow with social icons on top for a different looking texture perfect for retro sites and those with a red color theme. 

See where I used it on Crumpets and Bollocks


Get the Font and Source Files for the Social Media Icons



Happy Pinning

Remember, the individual pictures of the watercolor social media icons and the retro social media icons are below. 



Sunday, August 14, 2016

How to Provide Downloads on Your Blog


I keep wanting to give out free downloads, but I have struggled finding a way to provide downloads on a blog. I've tried several plug ins for Wordpress, but every time Wordpress updates, they stop working. Not good. I also tried downloading from Google Drive, but they changed that so all my old links no longer work. That's the problem with depending on other places. They change things. Stuff stops working when they do.

Downloads I want to provide include photoshop elements, fonts, word documents, pdfs, music, video, etc. This is for any of these things where it actually downloads as a file into someone's computer.

Note: for Wordpress, you can upload a PDF into your media library and use the link in its URL to send people to a pdf as a web page from where they can save to their computer. You can link to text or link an image the way you would any link.

So, I'm finding a new way to provide downloaded content. It requires coding, but it's not too complicated, and it's basic html. Don't be too intimidated by this post because I'm providing some more complicated means of doing this as well as the easy way.

MAKE SURE you name your file in your hard drive something that is internet friendly. Use underscores instead of spaces, avoid any characters besides text and numbers, and use all lower case.

The EASY WAY

Follow the steps for Open Drive, and then enter the code provided at the end.

STEP 1: Get your File on the Internet

This step is to move the file to your computer directly to the internet. Whatever file you want to provide for download, whether it's a word document, a pdf, or mp3, you upload the file to a server.

You want a web address that starts with html:// and ends with a file like .jpg or .mp3 or .docx. There are two ways to do this.

FOR ALL BLOGS including BLOGGER AND FREE WORDPRESS

This method is the easiest, but the files won't be stored on your server if you self-host, but it's easier than moving files to your server if you aren't familiar with the process. 

A: Find an online drive. 

I have found Google Drive and Microsoft's OneDrive to be difficult to obtain the address of the file. My best place I've found is Open Drive.

B: Upload your File

Follow the instructions on the site to upload the file.

In OpenDrive, you can choose the folder you want the file by clicking on the options on the left. Then click the upload button (the line with the arrow pointing up) to upload. You can also move this to different folders, but pick something you're happy with because changing the folder later may interfere with your link.

C: Get the Address

Again, you want to find the address of the file where it starts with http: or https: and ends with the file name like .jpg or .doc...

In OpenDrive, scroll over the file, and in the hover options that appear, click on the 3 horizontal lines. Click the Links option on the list, and a pop up should occur. Choose the Direct Link option for download. 

FOR SELF HOSTED WORDPRESS 

Definitely make sure here that the file you wish to upload is named something internet friendly with no spaces. It's best to keep it to lowercase letters, numbers, and underscores. 

A: Install Filezilla 

For Self-Hosted Wordpress blogs, the best way to handle a means to upload and edit your website's direct files is through an FTP so that the file is stored on your server or hosting service. I use Filezilla

B: Connect Filezilla

Once you've installed Filezilla, you may have to call your hosting to find out how to obtain the information you need to connect Filezilla from your computer to the files in your site. 

The Filezilla program wants to know a few things (right under the toolbars before the status box)

  • Host
  • Username
  • Password
  • Port
In GoDaddy, I had to go to Gateway, From there, I click on my wordpress site's settings, from there, I click the tab SSH & SFTP, and there it lists those things. You have to click the toggle button to turn your password from stars/dots to an actual password before copying and pasting. Then just copy and paste the information to the right places.

Once you have the information in place to connect filezilla, click the QuickConnect button.

You should then get four window boxes underneath the status box. The two on the left is your hard drive on your computer, and the two on the right is the drive on your web site. This kind of works like file explorer on your computer. The top windows are file folders while the bottom windows give actual files.

In navigating through Filezilla, double clicking on the folder with three dots/periods will take you back a folder. You can also single click the folder on the top box to open the contents in the bottom box.

C: Back Up your Files

Before you engage in playing with your directories, it's wise to back up files in case you make a mistake.

In the top box on the right, click on html and drag it over to the folder you'd like to put it in your hard drive on the top left box. This may take several minutes (more like 30) depending on the size of your site.

If you want to back up the important stuff faster, you can just move over the folder that says "wp-content." With that, your hosting server can fix just about everything else that you are about to touch. The other important item is your database, but you won't be near it to hurt it; however, if you want to take a minute to go ahead and back that up as well to back up the most important things of your website, you're more than welcome to it. You'll probably have to call your hosting provider to learn how to do that (I can't even remember where to start with mine). Most hosting services already back up your information to where a system restore can fix almost anything you do, but you want to make sure that is covered in your plan.

D: Upload File

I'm not sure if it really matters where the folder is, but I like it here... Double click the folder for html, then double click the folder for wp-content, and then double click the folder for uploads.

The first time you do this, you probably want to create a Downloads folder that you can use in the future. Right click anywhere in the bottom right box, and choose "Create a New Directory." Name your file (maybe "downloads" all lower case, think html address). You do not have to create a new directory for each file you want to upload. This is just for the first time. After this, you can upload the file to this folder. If you plan on providing a lot of downloaded material, you may decide to make additional directories to organize your files, such as a directory for music and one for documents.

The next step is basically to drag the file into the folder. Open your destination folder on the right side. Find your file you want to upload in the bottom box on the left. Drag and drop that file from the left (your hard drive) to the right (your site).

E: Get File Address

I can't find an easy way to copy and paste your file address completely from filezilla, but here's how to obtain the file address.

The address will start out with http://www.yoursite.com

Then forward slash all the file folders (AKA Directories) to your document/file.

Under where it says remote site in the top right hand of the boxes, highlight wp-content and all the information after that in order to get all the folders to your destination file.

Then forward slash and type in the name of the file.

So it would look something like this: http://www.mysite.com/wp-content/uploads/downloads/file.jpg

STEP 2: Create Code for Download

Wherever you want the download to appear, go the html or text of the post or page.

Manually type out <a href="paste location of the file.jpg">TEXT YOU WANT LINKED FOR DOWNLOAD</a> or copy and paste this snippet for editing...


If that doesn't fully work, you may need to add the word Download to it after the file as W3Schools suggested, but I haven't had to do that with any of my files yet.

Manually type out <a href="paste location of the file.jpg" download>TEXT YOU WANT LINKED FOR DOWNLOAD</a> or copy and paste this snippet for editing...


Here's an example of a music file.

DOWNLOAD MUSIC FROM FILE

Do you want it to have a pretty Download Button? 

Create a Download Button

Draw a picture of a download button or find one on the web that you are allowed to use. Upload it to your pictures in your media gallery or insert picture on blogger. I'm going to use this picture from wikimedia commons....


That one shouldn't download anything.

To get the address of the image file... 

You can get that on Blogger by uploading the image, and then insert it into your post, and then right click and choose copy image address, and then delete the image from your compose area.

In wordpress, you can upload the image to your gallery and if you look at the details on the right, find the address after URL.

Code for Image and Download

Manually type in this code...

<a href="https://MyFileForDownload.mp3"><img src="MyImageURL.jpg"></a>

Or copy and paste and then edit this snippet


It should look like and behave like this...




Thursday, August 11, 2016

10 Newish Trendy Commercial Free Fonts

10 Newish Trendy Fonts that are Free for Commercial Use


It's hard to find free fonts for commercial use, so here's a list of some of the best free fonts from befonts.com.

1. Mugemini




 2.  Playlist

3. Solmet


4. Coco




5. Debby



6. Firefly




7. Keisatsu




8. Sophia



9. Waterlily




10. Ginebra





10 Newish Trendy Fonts that are Free for Commercial Use

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Amazing 10 Blogging Pinterest Profiles to Follow

Amazing 10 Blogger Pinterest Profiles to Follow. Get some of the best information on the web about blogging.

Did you know Pinterest is a great place to find resources on blogging? Some of the best articles I read are articles I found on Pinterest.

Learning about blogging is a lot of work and takes a lot of time. You can google specific topics, but you miss out on some of the best advice from real bloggers who blog more than just about blogging. Learning how to blog and improve your blogging methods is an on-going process, and it's really easy to follow some Pinterest boards on the topic and let the pins sporadically appear and choose titles that suit your fancy for that moment.

Here are some of the best boards for blogging and all things blogging.

My Boards: Basic Blogging


Of course I'm going to put myself on the top of the list, but I do pin a lot of blogging related articles. Most of them, I do read before repinning, so you know it's not useless. For once, I act as a filter.

My top boards for blogging include:




I also have other boards for things like graphic inspiration, inspirational quotes, and a board for most major Holidays (on account I do write DIY Holiday Books).

Neil Patel: Content Marketing

One of the most popular and most informative voices on the web is Neil Patel. His Pinterest, of course, is geared to all things related to blogging. 

Some of his blogging boards include:

CoSchedule: Social Media

CoSchedule is a company like Buffer who helps people schedule social media posts for a monthly fee. I highly suggest following them on social media and signing up for their emails. They have some of the best articles on social media. As of now, they only have 5 boards, but it isn't quantity that we need. It's quality we are looking for.

Tailwind Team: Blogging, Design, and Social Media

Tailwind is a company that helps you schedule Pinterest posts. Their Pinterest is a great place for resources on many aspects of blogging and Pinterest. 

Some of their best boards include:

Other board topics include Pinterest, Social Media, and SEO.

Beyond Your Blog: Freelance Writing

Susan is one of the best providers of information to get published on other sites, which brings more traffic to your blog and possibly an extra income. 

Some of her best boards include:

She has quite a few other boards on blogging, freelance writing, and writing. 

Imka Web: General Blogging

She has so much on blogging and owning your own business on her Pinterest, and most of them are in lady like Pinteresty colors. 

Some of her blogging boards include:

She has many more blogging boards and blogging community boards. 

Summer Tannhauser: Pinterest and Female Entrepreneurs

While focusing on Pinterest and using Pinterest to your advantage, she has many other boards for social media and women in business.

Some of her best blogging boards include:


She also has a board for every social media and some general business boards such as branding, email and blog tips. 

Uncork your Dork: Increase Blog Traffic

Everything blogging and nerd, in pink. Her primary focus is on increasing blog traffic.

Some of her best blogging boards include:

Other boards include small business, organization, blogging and inspiration. 

Olyvia: Business + Blogging

She has oodles of blogging boards and pins frequently.

Some of her best blogging boards include:

She has a board for each social media outlet, female entrepreneurship, and more. 

The Graphics Fairy: Vintage Graphic Design

One of the best websites to find Vintage art free to use is The Graphics Fairy. As a graphic designer, she cleans up the images and provides them for free. 

Some of her best blogging boards include:


Her Pinterest also features a lot of DIY, crafting and decorating. 

Pinterest is a great place for resources beyond DIY perfect motherhood. Most bloggers who blog on blogging, especially those with a female demographic, have some sort of Pinterest profile to promote their posts, and the information they share is often priceless and sometimes necessary. Men, don't  be afraid of the girlyness of these posts. The information is even helpful for you.

Go ahead and Pin This:

Amazing 10 Blogger Pinterest Profiles to Follow. Get some of the best information on the web about blogging.
















Friday, May 27, 2016

How Do You Make People Feel?

Think about all your content on your blog and social media. What overall feeling do you think people feel with your content as a whole?

Summary:

  • People like to feel
  • Positive emotions are shared more frequently than negative emotions
  • People don't remember what you say as much as how you make them feel

How Do You Make People Feel?

This is a question we should all frequently ask ourselves now and then.

Take a look at your overall pattern of behaviors with feelings you convey in your work. You can probably almost make a text cloud of words that describe the emotions you convey, or words you wish to convey, or an automatic generation of used words from your domain, and if you like that, you have a great picture for your About Me section.

Tag Crowd will make a tag cloud based on word usage from pasted text or a web address. This is a great tool to find out what you are conveying right now on your blog.
Word it Out is a great one if you don't have a lot of words and don't want them repeated.
Image Chef will repeat words into a shape like, "Love You."
Word Clouds gives you more control over the font, shape, colors, size and file type.

Positive Emotions Get Shared More

Research in my post on Market Analysis showed that OKdork took a look at 100 million shared posts and labeled the types of emotions the pieces conveyed.



Awe, laughter, amusement and joy covers a little more than half of the pie graph of the results.

I think the reason for this is
  1. People like to feel good. Feeling good feels good. Logical.
  2. People like to make others feel good too, especially when they feel good.

How To Write More Positive

People also seem to like a balance of positive and negative emotions within a story. Too many bad things happening to you or a character without much good can leave the reader feeling sad, unmotivated, and tired. However, they do like the emotional roller coasters that, when finished, leaves them feeling something positive.

Think of it like math. You have negative numbers (anger, hurt, sadness) and positive numbers (happiness, awe, laughter). You can have negative numbers in your equation, but if you add your equation together, an answer with a positive number will leave people walking away with a feel-good vibe.

It's hard to remember to make a conscious effort to be more positive on the internet, especially when negative emotions make it really hard to see how negative we really are, nor at that point do we really give two sh.....

So I made this little FREE printable thingy to hang near my computer.

How will that make people feel. What are the overall feelings you are leaving readers with your blog?

Things to Remember

A lot of it isn't the topic. It isn't in the perspective or other writing concepts you see taught in textbooks and college. But it is in the way you say it. For instance, there's a huge difference between, "I bit him," and "He got injured."

These are things I'm trying to remind myself...
  • Instead of saying things like YOU SHOULD, I need to be saying things like YOU CAN.
  • Instead of saying THIS IS AWFUL, I should be saying THE OPPOSITE OF THIS IS AWESOME!
  • Don't tell people what to do; instead, tell them the benefits of doing something.
A perfect illustration by 


Ways to convey emotion without saying the emotion:

You want to be careful conveying too much emotion without flat out saying it. The internet is different than print in many ways including how you write. On the internet, people speed read and peruse more than not, so you want to make things as obvious as possible in as few words as possible. Some people also read word-for-word, and those people are more the type to follow someone who impressed them with their writing, so you also want to have some literary devices (like metaphor).
  • Use physical symptoms the emotion leaves behind--"His palms were sweaty, knees weak, arms heavy..." Eminem
  • Use dialogue--Instead of Donald Trump is racist, Donald Trump said, "Our great African American president hasn't exactly had a positive impact on the thugs who are so happily and openly destroying Baltimore."
  • Describe a setting that would invoke emotions--"Mr. Blue Bird on my Shoulder... " or "I had 3 minutes to find those car keys."
  • Use metaphors--The sky falls on me
Communication is a two-way street: Speaking and Listening, but really, communication is about both the Speaker and the Listener. Many times, you probably leave out certain information assuming whoever you are talking to doesn't want to hear that part. Asking yourself "How do I make people feel?" is another way to consider the reader's needs when writing. The emotions you convey also defines you to your reader.

Exercises

  1. Make a text cloud of feelings you convey for your About Me section of your blog.
  2. Take this Quiz, most importantly, the question, "What is your favorite animal and why?" This is much more profound than a quiz from Cosmo, and it's short (3 questions).

Go Ahead and Pin this

How do you make people feel? Is your blog conveying positive emotions? Free Printable!




Friday, May 20, 2016

WAKE UP YOUR BLOG: Marketing Plan

Are people missing out on you? Maximize your writing potential by creating a marketing plan designed to reach out to people who want to read your blog. In the sea of blogs on the internet, you need to market your work or people are not going to be able to find it. A marketing plan will help you come up with a good strategy to best utilize time and money. This is part of a series on how to prepare a Business Plan.


All the textbooks say there are 4 P’s in Marketing: Product, price, place, promotion. The product is what you are selling. Price, obviously for how much. Place is how you are getting your product to the person buying it. Promotion is getting people to want your product, awareness and engagement. A marketing plan should cover all of these concepts.
Keeping the following in mind while developing a marketing strategy will help you stay focused and consistent:

Product

In most marketing plans, the product is the thing that you sell for money. In blogging, there are usually two types of products we offer: products for readership, and products for purchase. The products for readership also often act as a distribution channel (otherwise known as place).  Make sure to differentiate between what you offer your readership in your website as a product, and what you use to get that information to your readers as your place.
List out all the products you do offer and are planning to offer. Tell us where it is in the product cycle(Introduction? Growth? Maturity? Decline?). How do your products fill a need for your customer? What are the benefits of this product to a consumer? What are the competitive edges to your product?
This is also the place to mention intellectual property including things you plan to file a copyright or patent, and mention if it is classified as a trade secret.
When you are developing a business plan, you should stick to the business you are planning; however, for many writing at home, our income sources are all over the place. If your plan is about yourself at all, the product list is also a place to write out income sources because those are products you offer.
In the planning process, review your industry and market analysis, and ask yourself if your products fit well with where the industry is going and what your customers want. You may decide to eliminate some products or maybe alter some. You may decide to add products. But the point is to plan out your products you do offer and create a plan for the products you will be offering.
In your marketing plan, list out all the major products you offer, and decipher which big ones you plan to market most aggressively.

Price

This is where you discuss your pricing strategy, and you should work on this section as you work on other sections, in particular, branding and distribution.
First you want to compare your pricing with competition. Are you offering premium services? Or an existing product at a lower price?
  • PREMIUM. Generally, you want to charge more (15% above average) if you are offering top-tier, premium products in a place that has a solid demand (it doesn’t change much).
  • AVERAGE. Aim for average if there’s a lot of competition and you are slightly better than average. This strategy should focus on sales campaigns and differentiating  your product for bigger prices. Eventually, this strategy can also offer premium services.
  • LOWEST PRICE. If the product is viewed more as a commodity, you want to price lower than average. Here the strategy is to consistently offer an existing product at a better price.
The second thing you want to do is define your costs. You want to make sure your pricing exceeds the cost, but also, consider if you have a limited inventory if the pricing meets your needs to make a profit AND is positioned properly for value. Generally, high inventory, lower costs. You may decide to increase inventory so you can price something lower.
Third, determine “price modifiers,” for things like discounts, rebates and fees. Also consider if you have a resell program the percentage paid to the person who sold your product for you.
For many things in blogging, price might be an email address or “free.” Try to use “free” to your best interest and explain how pricing that piece in particular for free is advantageous (such as the purpose is to create a higher email list).
As you do this, consider changes you can make to get you into the value bracket you desire. For instance, if you currently are priced low yet offer a premium service, you may decide to up your price; however, if you are priced low and offer an existing service you can get anywhere else, then you may want to position yourself in a campaign somewhere else on that totem pole to offer higher prices, or you might offer a different product by changing some aspects of it (like adding an additional service to the overall product).
You also want to consider how much you make per transaction, and compare with competition. For instance, are they upselling a basic product with accessories? Do they offer bundles that entice people to buy more at a perceived savings? These are things you might be able to do as well, or instead, but the point is to think about maximizing each purchase and develop a product, promotional and pricing strategy for such things.
In your marketing plan, you want to list out the prices for each product you offer and discuss your strategy behind those amounts.

Place

Place is the easy P-word for Distribution: how you plan to get your product to your buyer. Today’s marketing focuses heavily on being at the right place at the right time, so you want your site and location to be incredibly convenient, popping up exactly when people are looking for you or what you offer in particular.
If you were selling T-shirts, you’d have to decide your storefront, and if you are selling them wholesale, factory direct, or retail. Distribution gets more creative than that. Radio Stations with Advertising Salespeople. Avon with Avon Ladies. Amazon with an affiliate program. Victoria Secret and their catalogs. Did you know most doctors’ primary place to gain information on the drugs they prescribe comes from the pharmaceutical sales reps?
But there is much more to place than just that, especially for blogs where the blog’s distribution channel can also be a product to companies.
Place covers:
  • Location of your business or website
    • Do you want to go from Name.blogspot.com to Name.com?
  • Location and how to reach your target market
    • In what ways does your site reach your target market? Promotions? SEO?
    • How convenient are you to your customers?
    • Is there a market offline you’d like to reach? How can you make your place accessible to them?
  • Site design and functionality to appeal to target market
    • Is your site easy to navigate? How do you think your target market is thinking for site design? For instance, if your target market is very Pinterest oriented, maybe a Pinterest looking site might do you better.
    • Are you users using phones and tablets? How does your site operate on those?
    • Does your site load quickly?
    • What sharing methods do you have for your site?
    • Is your site SEO friendly?
    • Do you have amazing content?
  • Affiliate programs
  • Partnerships: Finding people who already reach your target market and teaming up
  • Call to Action
    • Is it clear and concise on all your web pages?
    • Do you make it easy for your customers to purchase?
    • Do you make it easy for your customers to find the purchase page? With the least amount of clicks possible?
    • Is it spelled out so easy your customer can find it drunk?
  • Value Proposition
    • Do you have a value proposition page?
MarketingMo advises to evaluate the following:
  • How and where they prefer to buy
  • Whether they need personalized education and training
  • Whether they need additional products or services to be used along with yours
  • Whether your product needs to be customized or installed
  • Whether your product needs to be serviced
Providing easy, convenient distribution is a huge part of the marketing process. Think of ways to improve access to your product and incorporate it into your marketing plan.

Promotion

Promotion is about getting people hear about your product and want it. Advertising campaigns, guerrilla advertising, public events… all contribute to the promotional aspect of the business plan. Find audiences bigger than yours and establish a positive emotional connection with trust and dependability, asking questions and actively listening, empathy and shared experiences, and respect. Make sure your customers and readers know they are your top priority.
When deciding on promotional avenues, you have two choices. Take one pace and penetrate it aggressively, or barely touch multiple places. Find a balance between the two. You only have so much time to spend on promotion, so don’t give yourself too much to do. Penetrate each area and market just enough as too much marketing in one location can annoy people, and choose places you think will be most effective. The key is to find your market, not just anyone.

Free Promotion Ideas

  • SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
  • Social Media
  • Create an email list and send newsletters and emails
  • Guest Write on bigger sites (establish credibility in your industry)
  • Syndication (submit for republishing on things like Upworthy and Huffpost)
  • Submit for Publication New Content (check out Beyond your Blog for Places to Submit)
  • Speak at events
  • Find a tribe: comment, share and thank those who comment and share
  • Create a Tribe of a handful of bloggers your blog’s size, and all dedicate to share each other’s work aggressively
  • Leave comments on other blogs
  • Good headlines
  • Publish consistently
  • Host a Q&A or Podcast
  • Guest on a Podcast or someone else’s Q&A
  • Incorporate Sponsorships and Let them Know how to easily share the work
  • Find Influencers with the same target market as yours and establish a rapport with them by commenting on their posts and social media, and then tweet your work their direction.
  • Find people who write about your thing, who do round-up posts, and let them know about your work
  • Press Releases for Newsworthy Events
  • Facebook Groups designed to share work (but only when invited to share work, no link dropping)
  • Forums in your Niche to share work (but only when invited to share work, no link dropping)
  • Give away an ebook or infographics or printables
  • Offer an online class
  • Create a Webinar
  • Blog Hops and Link-Ups (join one or host one; temporary seasonal or long-term)
  • Offer coupon codes to give that extra nudge and entice people to shop now before it expires
  • Write for SEO companies and link to your own posts when applicable, and get paid to promote
  • Host a blogging contest or awards
  • Answer Questions on Quora and Yahoo Answers (throw in shameless self-promotion when applicable, answer questions that will improve your branding as an expert in your field)
  • Host a Challenge (blogging challenge, weight challenge, charity challenge)
  • List yourself on directories
Make sure 
  • Everything links back to you on your profiles
  • Call to action on all your blog posts and emails
  • Social Media Ratio: 1 call to action, 3 original contents, 6 others’ content
Social Places to Post Work
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Plus
  • Pinterest
  • Instagram
  • Linked In
  • Blog Lovin
  • Ello
  • YouTube
  • Tumblr
  • Friendster
  • MySpace
  • del.icio,us
  • Stumble Upon
  • Digg
  • Flickr
  • Quora
  • Foursquare
  • Polyvore
  • Reddit
  • Diigo
  • Blogger
  • Postach.io
  • SlideShare
  • Picasa
  • Photobucket
  • Hacker News
  • Storify
  • Contently
Syndicate and Press Releases

Paid Promotion

Two major types of paid promotion:
  • Cost per click
  • Cost per Impression
Choose carefully between which is right for you. Use of banners and ad squares should be aimed specifically at the target market, especially if you can find a place where the users are already interested in your product such as advertising your blog on another blog in your niche (going directly to people who like to read blogs) or maybe showing up under specific search terms in Google.
Places for Promotion:
  • Google
  • Facebook
  • Linked In
  • Stumble Upon
  • Bing and AOL
  • Yahoo
  • Bigger Blogs and News Sites like The Bloggess or BuzzFeed
Giveaways
You can host a giveaway on your own, or you can find a group of 10 people who all donate toward the prize and decrease cost while increasing promotion of the giveaway.
Conferences
BlogU and BlogHer are great places to connect with other bloggers and find opportunities. Even better if you can be a sponsor at these events plus attend them.

Offline Promotion Ideas

Some of the bigger blogs’ biggest traffic comes from people in the community excited to read about a local’s perspective on the internet. Your local culture also shines through your work, and local people might find it more relateable and up their alley than people on the other side of the world.
  • Print a magnet for your car
  • Print business cards or promotional post cards and place them in area businesses and libraries and hand them out to people you meet
  • Print Flyers to hang around your community
  • Send press releases to local news sources (television and print)
  • Join your Chamber of Commerce and be involved in their promotional events
  • Create a Relay for Life Team and obtain emails for raffle tickets
  • Purchase radio advertising or try to guest on a local radio show
  • Host a promotional event or charity like a 5K
  • Get involved with the community; attend events and festivals geared up with promotional material
  • Host a Food Drive outside a store and offer free promotional materials or flyers as well a branding sign
  • Team up with local pizza and tape mini flyers or coupons to pizza boxes
  • Print up promotional door hangers and place them door to door
  • If you are published in a book, do book signings and readings, join book clubs, and donate your book to the libraries
  • Find your niche and join their community (like parenting blogs? Guest speak at a MOPS meeting).
  • Direct Mail and Face-to-Face Sales Calls to area businesses for B2B products (such as advertising on your blog)
  • Expand to other major cities near your area or in your state
  • Blog about Fashion? Host a fashion show. Blog about Beauty? Have make-up parties like Avon or Mary Kay. Blog about crafts? Go to craft shows and sell your products, or host arts and crafts time at your local seniors centers. Blog about parenting? Try getting a company in your niche like diapers, bottles, formula to give you products to give away through income-based charities.
  • Print some blog posts in a newsletter and leave in strategic areas like doctor waiting rooms (parent blogger? Aim for pediatricians).
  • Create partnerships with area businesses who have your target market or do something similar to what you do. For instance, if you write a lot about weddings, get involved with local wedding dress stores. Food blogs? See if you can get a grocery store to place your flyers at the end of the checkout or near their flyers. Write about finance? Maybe have a postcard mailed out with W-2’s for local businesses.
  • Hop into other people’s direct mail. Anyone mailing things to your target market might be interested in adding some of your promotional gear.
In your marketing plan, list out promotional events you plan to do, but also narrow down your social media strategy to where you visit a handful of sites daily and aggressively seek to build a following to one outlet at a time. Set goals such as, “Would like to increase Facebook Page to 1,000 followers by May.”

The Marketing Plan

So now we have defined Product, Price, Place, Promotion, Branding and Positioning. The next step is to put all this information into one place, all organized like.  The planning process of any business facet involves setting objectives, planning out steps, implementing steps and monitoring results.
Objectives: Use your SWOT Analysis, Market Analysis, Industry Analysis and Value Proposition defined earlier to define concise, detailed objectives for your marketing strategy. Ask yourself where your customers or readers are currently going, and what got them there. Bloggers can ask other bloggers about their experiences.
Steps: Plan steps you need to take to accomplish your objectives. In many cases, more than one way can create a need to make decisions. Take note when you see that happening so whichever way you go, when you monitor results, you might replan with the other option on the next go at it. Make sure to plan for random giving room to adjust your strategy to the room’s temperature.
Implementation: Do the steps. Get excited about doing them, and be in a good mood for it because your mood always shines through your words, art, and endeavors. Do the things that require concentration when you’re most alert, and save things you can do tired for when you are tired.
Monitor Results: Many promotion opportunities and ideas are out there, enough to keep you busy for a few lifetimes. Focus on the effective techniques for time conservation by making sure you monitor results and stick to what is working and adapt what isn’t working.
In monitoring results, make sure you are receiving a return on your investment (ROI). If you spend 60 dollars to advertise and only make 30, then you probably need a new strategy; however, keep in mind, some things need to be nursed to see a ROI, and others won’t produce a real ROI unless you invest the right amount of money into it.
The internet makes it really easy to monitor results with insights and statistics. Pay attention to the following:
  • Page Views
  • Unique Visitors
  • Duration
  • Return Visits
  • Bounce Rate
  • Average pages viewed per visit
  • Social Media Shares
  • Referrals
  • Calls to Action (email sign ups and purchases)

Some Tips

Make sure to hit all major aspects of the marketing cycle: reaching out to new people, engaging people with calls to action (comment, purchase, sign up), and retention. Make sure to hit each step as they are all crucial, but you can also identify which objective you are trying to achieve within this cycle as you look at various steps, at least in the back of your mind, so that you don’t lose sight of what you are really trying to achieve specifically at that point in the game.
Consider your objective with your marketing plan. The marketing plan section is really dependent upon your needs for the business plan. If you are using the business plan and/or marketing plan to seek funding or sponsorship, or to give to any 3rd party, you really want to inform in great detail of what you are already doing and follow professional templates; however, if you are creating a marketing plan for your own guide, what you are already doing is a guide to helping you decide what to do, and the final product should focus on what you are planning to do and what you need to do. Also, if you are doing this just for yourself, something quick and easy to read will be more apt to be referenced later down the road again; however, the specific details of each step should be considered at some point in the game. You may have a lot of worksheets to help you decipher things as an appendix to a summary or To-Do list.
Do not spend more time than what you need. This is a lot of information for an in-depth marketing plan. If you don’t need to do something, don’t do it. Time is money, and the more time you spend chasing rainbows, you have an opportunity cost to better use your time (such as networking). Only hit the things that are important to you and your business goals. If you need to add to it later, then add to it then. You can also copy and paste parts of this article (or the whole thing) to save in your computer to reference later.
Are you a visual person? You may find it easiest to create a marketing plan on one sheet of paper. You can go by hand, utilizing visual elements like thought bubbles connected by lines and other mapping techniques, or maybe a computer print-out utilizing colors and font size. Then you can pin the paper next to your computer to reference regularly like a motivational picture.
Organization of Results. While a marketing calendar and to-do list is important, you may want to incorporate the aspects of your marketing to-do list into whatever method you use for a to-do list and calendar to mark important deadlines. You don’t want other projects interfering with your marketing objectives, so working on timing with your marketing objectives might be a give and take situation with other projects you have going.
Think about Holidays and seasonal aspects. Try to think the best time of the year to do different projects such as promoting a book on blogging might best be done between January and May when the winter/school months have everyone at the computer more often; however, promoting a book on DIY might be best during the Holidays when everyone is more apt to do extra crafts and decoration projects. Summer is a great time to do more offline promotions.
Be consistent with your Brand and Company. It’s one thing to say you are cutting edge, but if you don’t show cutting edge in your marketing, it would send mixed signals to your readership. Your brand, positioning, mission statement, and value proposition should shine through all your marketing endeavors.

FREE TEMPLATES & PRINTABLES

Marketing Planning Per Product


Promotion Cheat Sheet



CLICK for Informal Marketing Plan

An informal marketing plan. One Page. Brand. Positioning. Target Market. Value Proposition. A place to highlight to-do, strategies, and objectives. Hang near your computer for easy reference.

CLICK for Formal Marketing Plan

There are occasions you may need a Formalized Marketing Plan, so I ganked the sections and information fromForbes and created a template for that which you can fill out by itself if you have a general idea of what you want, or you can base it off the information you use in the printables.

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