Content Is Queen

Don’t Sell Yourself Short

(This post first appeared on my blog, Content is Queen Blogger)

Who doesn’t love a good bargain?

I think most people enjoy the idea of a great deal. But what is a bargain worth?

It depends which side you are on.

If you are the one seeking a bargain, is a bargain worth losing out on quality and reputation?

If you are the one providing a bargain, it is worth selling yourself short, is it worth lowering your price, making your service/product appear cheaper?

The answer is a simple no, regardless of which side you are on.

Why?

I always believe in quality over quantity. And a low price does not necessarily equate to a great product or a great service.

An acquaintance provided my number to someone she knew who was looking for social media services and for SEO services along with a website overhaul.

He contacted me right away, asking for a quote for services. He emphasized that he wanted to use me in particular because I have a B.A. in English and I write. He was interested in a content writer and someone who has great writing skills. Of course, this was very flattering.

I explained that I can provide a proposal with my business associate who provides SEO services, website designs and we can bundle our monthly services together and provide a competitive price. He gave me a very generic overview of his business and very little to work with. One website was down, the other website was poorly constructed, missing information and the content was sparse.

We decided to contact this potential client to clarify what was needed. It turns out the first site was designed and is managed by the son of one of his biggest clients (Red Flag #1: low price alert!). We were able to pull out the information we needed from that conversation eventually…but we did of course receive the greatest comment of all – ” I am not looking for a bargain- I have never negotiated a day in my life” (Red Flag #2- serious bargain hunter!).

We let that comment slip by and came up with a proposal nevertheless to see if we could come up with competitive prices.

The proposal we came up with was for a new website for one of the domains, SEO services for both sites, social media for both sites and I provided prices for content reviewing and content writing on a per page basis. It was very clearly laid out (each page even had its own title).

Or so we thought. The potential client didn’t quite understand why I charged separate prices for content reviewing/editing and for content writing (writing “fresh content”, developing new content) or why my price wasn’t simply $60 for content, which I apparently quoted him (Red Flag #3- putting words in my mouth).

Note- I did not quote him any specific price, neither did my colleague. My colleague taught me a lesson in managing client expectations and we were reluctant to even put prices in the proposal because we had concerns with the “negotiation” comment, but we figured we’d give it a try, and the experience is always worth a lesson- or a good story to tell.

The best part of the email response to the proposal was the comparison of our services to “HP selling a printer for a low cost and selling the cartridges for a really high price” or something to that extent – apparently, this is called theModern Marketing Strategy (Red Flag#4- Rude Comments).

That was it for me- I was positive I did not want to take this client on and my colleague felt the same way. We suspected he was out for a bargain and this confirmed it.

This printer comparison was rude, ignorant and, really, modern marketing strategy? Come on!!!!

(I really do have the best potential client stories don’t I?)

I wrote back and said that I found this comment to be inappropriate, explained our prices are competitive and essentially, “Thank you for your interest, but no thanks” (In a really nice and professional way).  I also cautioned him and said if you are receiving services for such a low price, consider what you are getting for that price, how many hours per month he is receiving from that service provider and the quality of work/quality of services performed.

His response was that he had no reason to switch from his current provider has no compelling reason to use us.

My question is, why waste our time? I think he wanted validation of his great bargain with his current provider!

Another great lesson learned- don’t sell yourself short- not worth the hassle!

Your prices are your prices are your prices.

If someone doesn’t want to pay your prices, then he or she clearly doesn’t understand the service you are providing, the amount of work it takes to do what you do and doesn’t appreciate you.

And if you sell yourself short- you aren’t appreciating you!

Inspired

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Content Is Queen

Update on Life

(This post first appeared on my blog, Content is Queen Blogger)

“If the facts don’t fit the theory, change the facts” – Albert Einstein

Sometimes, in life, we just need a change. We need to take a step back and think of what is and isn’t making us happy in our lives, what causes us stress, what the “toxins” are in our lives.

As I mentioned in a previous post, I was involved in a brain injury association. Well, it turned out to be a great experience, for a brief period of time. Do you ever just do something, with the best intentions in your heart, and realize that you are a good person, but sometimes you are so generous, too generous that you don’t realize how others are taking advantage of you?

I’ve been told numerous times by my friends, and by my mother that I am too giving of myself and that it’s going to get me in trouble. Well, this time it really did. And it took a bit of burnout to realize it.

I’m not putting down anyone in the organization or putting down the great work the organization does, I am just saying that my youthful energy, I felt was going to waste and at times, my voice wasn’t heard, I volunteered myself for one, two, three, four, too many tasks and of course, everyone thought I was super duper for it.

And why not? If someone is willing to do most of the work, why not let them do it??? I’m not saying others didn’t do anything, but let’s just say the board’s work was not evenly distributed. Maybe it has to do with the make up of the board. I don’t know.

So, after a very busy Fall 2011-Winter 2012-Spring 2012 and slow Summer 2012 I had enough. The idea of putting myself out there, attending more meetings, doing extra work was not me anymore.

If I can’t be true to me, I feel sick. I felt really tired. I was spending about 2 hours of my time to commute to meetings. I was the only one coming from that distance.

I spoke to my boss about how I felt. He reiterated what others said about me giving too much. He said “You are the type that gives 150%, instead of 100% or less”. Yeah.. well.. guilty as charged. He said he supported my decision. I spoke to my parents and boyfriend, decision was supported. It was time to send in a resignation and resign from the Board of Directors. So I did it.  The reaction was sheer disappointment all around. Well, did I really expect that anyone would feel sorry for how I was feeling? Nope, they were disappointed.

I ran into a fellow board member this past week at a conference. He told me there is no bitterness, just disappointment and that they miss my creative input and ideas. Sorry to be self-serving here, but DUH.

I said one of the reasons I had to leave was that work itself was getting very busy, I wanted to focus on my career and my business, which I really do. How am I going to get where I want to be in life if I don’t do what’s good for me?

I am not by any means a selfish person. I am a giving person. But sometimes giving too much is exhausting. I am compassionate. Right now though, I have to show myself compassion.

My mom and I have this saying we text each other when we are having a day, that we love, we found it in the book, “The Help”: “You are kind. You are smart. You are important.”

Tell yourself this every time you are down, you are in doubt and you need a pick me up.

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Content Is Queen

Wordplay and 10 Reasons to Blog

(This post first appeared on my blog, Content is Queen Blogger)

I think now and then, we can all appreciate a little wordplay.

I was thinking about weblogs and weblogging and blogging and having fun with these words.

Originally, blogs were called “Weblogs”… we-blog. We blog. Weblogging- We are blogging!

Or Web log. A log of your thoughts posted on the web. Weblogging- logging your thoughts on the web (literally and figuratively).

Blogging- Be logging- be logging your thoughts, be keeping track of your thoughts!

Regardless of your interpretation, blogging is beneficial for many reasons…

Whether you are an aspiring writer, looking for a way to start being published, it is a fast and easy way to “self-publish” and put your name out there on the vast World Wide Web…

or a savvy entrepreneur looking to expand her business, it is a great way to interact with potential customers and current clients by showcasing your thoughts, business ideas, and give your business a personal touch…

or a corporation looking to add a more human edge to its marketing platform…

or a law firm looking to interact with the general public, without always using legalese.

10 Reasons to Blog:

A blog is the place to be:

  1. Authentic- throw away an facades and use your most natural voice, you want your blog following to like you for your voice and writing, so don’t pretend to be someone or something else.
  2. Build credibility if you are consistent and provide good advice and tips, people will see you as a resource and keep coming back to your site, repeat visitors are always welcome!
  3. Build trust- becoming a trusted resource is ideal, once you become a trusted name, you will receive referrals from other bloggers and visitors as your blog is seen as valuable and informative.
  4. Establish your brand, your name- Blogging will help to add an extra layer of credibility to your brand and name. It is that extra layer behind that “About Page”, it will answer all the questions as to who is really behind the company.
  5. Establish community- blog readers and contributors become part of a community, as well as other online users. Having a blog will help you interact with this community. You want to become part of the online community in order to receive honest feedback and comments about your company.
  6. Build a following- part of establishing a credible, authentic blog and blogging voice is building a following. You will have repeat readers, and readers who recommend your blog to their friends. You can share your blog posts via Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn as well. The more people are reading your blog, and the more hits you get… (see #7)
  7. Drive hits to your website – this is the result of #6. After successfully building a following and establishing a web presence, you have managed to steadily drive hits to your blog site and regular website. These “hits” actually help you establish a better ranking in Google Searches, meaning you are more visible to search engines and internet users.
  8. Be different- Blogs help you to distinguish yourself from the rest of your competition. Not every writer has the same style or has the same insights. Hire a writer with a lot of creativity, and a diverse background, or find someone on your team who can write in many styles and is open minded. That is really the key to blogging- be open minded in terms of what to write about, and style of writing.
  9. Provide insight to your particular industry- How does your company see the industry? Do you have specific tips, top 10 lists, industry news that you want to share with the online community? This is the medium to display this material. Blogs are quickly becoming a popular source for news.
  10. Provide insight to your particular company- Finally, in line with #9, what does your company do to distinguish itself within the industry? Special tips? Certification? For example, does your company have ISO Certification? Provide a behind-the-scenes look at who your staff are and their specialties, a day-in- the- working-life-of series, etc.

Happy blogging everyone!

 

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Content Is Queen

I Once Was A Shy Blogger

(This post first appeared on my blog, Content is Queen Blogger)

I got my start in blogging while working at a personal injury law firm in Toronto. It was a great addition to my role as a law clerk. At first, I limited myself to blogging about events the firm was hosting or conferences we were sponsoring. I would post about the different lawyers in the firm.

We hardly had any hits in that first little while.

I also hadn’t discovered “site stats” at that time (which is of course, the greatest tool).

I soon realized that this conservative approach was not going to help us gain a following. I had to stop obsessing over making every blog relate perfectly to our firm. And stop blogging only when told.

I began paying more attention to the news, to the legal blogs feeds, to legal newspapers, and realized there is so much material out there that people want to hear about.

From winter and summer safety tips, to driving tips, the writing possibilities are endless. I would write about construction and traffic alerts, road rage, brain injuries and such.

The key is to have the right categories (but not too many) and the right post tags.

Every industry has news. There’s seasonal news, top 10 lists, recommendations, reviews, a plethora of topics to choose from.

Open your mind to where you can find information.

I check blogs’ site stats often to find out which search terms are the most frequently used. It is a great indicator of how users land on your blog.

Which posts are the most popular? Which sources is your biggest referral source?

Make use of your site stats page that WordPress has to over and you will come up with even more ideas.

Don’t be a shy blogger…the blogging community is waiting for you!

Afterall,

BLOGGING IS BENEFICIAL

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Content Is Queen

Why We Need Social Media

(This post first appeared on my blog, Content Is Queen Blogger)

Competition. The driving force of business. We’re always in competition with someone, be it a sibling, co-worker, or another business.

The real question is, what makes you stand out from the rest?

Many businesses are turning to Social Media and the world of Web 2.0 because it adds a personal touch to businesses.

How?

Well, I know it sounds odd, that through computers and through computer generated conversations, we can showcase company personalities, but that is the trend nowadays.

If you polled the people you know, the vast majority of them would know the words “Twitter” and “Facebook”.

Not everyone is receptive to jumping on the social media bandwagon, but that’s where people like me come in.

Why Social Media???

Global conversations. Friendly way to introduce your business and company. A great way to establish a web presence. It’s fun, it’s addictive and you can find out what your clients and customers want.

You don’t have to be anyone but yourself.

As a consumer, I follow my favourite brands and businesses on Twitter and Facebook. I find it helpful: I find out when sales are happening, when closures are happening, new products are launching etc.

Twitter and Facebook easily synchronize with blogs so you can publish a blog post and have it appear in your news feed simultaneously. How great is that?

Twitter in itself is microblogging. A text messaged sized statement to get a thought across. Brilliant.

Blogging, Twitter, Facebook…all ways to interact with the public and socialize your business.

Welcome to the year 2011 everyone…this is where it is at….

Your clients want to contribute and participate and these mediums will allow them to do so!

Start establishing your web presence everyone!

These products only help boost your rankings!

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