Content Is Queen

Reflections on the Social Media Journey

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

Does anyone else find that this time of year is particularly exhausting? Maybe it’s the shifting weather, the shorter days, nighttime appearing sooner, whatever it is, I am tired.

We are all getting a break soon with the Christmas Holidays and I hope everyone gets a chance to revitalize and refresh themselves then.

No new news here in blog land sadly. I thought I had a potential opportunity again, but that didn’t pan out. I still have 2 loyal clients, which is great in today’s tough economy.

I realized that I am really tired of people telling me they are interested in using me i.e. my parents’ friends, friends of friends, friends telling me of opportunities etc. I am so tired of putting myself out there, writing these mini proposals and nothing. Why am I wasting my time. I know, I know, networking is great and you never know when you need these connections.

Nevertheless, stop disappointing me!

Life is full of disappointments but there are only so many a person can take. On the other hand, this is all part of the starting your own business learning curve- right? Right?

Maybe.

If you want quality content, if you want your website to stand out, if you want a great blog, twitter and Facebook Page, a Pinterest account, a Google+ Page and Business Profile- I do it all. I don’t just set it  up, I write the content. It’s a very attractive deal.  There is a reason why content is what gets you noticed on the World Wide Web.

Content is what makes you sound authoritative, knowledgeable, makes your services sound more attractive than the next guy’s, and puts you ahead of the rest. Fresh content is what keeps you on top and relevant.

If you want your business to be relevant, produce fresh content. The question is, do you have the time to be relevant? Many small business do not have the time, and that’s why I offer reasonably priced packages and services.

What most people fail to realize is that social media is a journey, it’s not a race. Quality will trump quantity when it comes to content.

Social media marketing is still a relatively new sphere for businesses and it is still hard for certain generations to grasp what it is exactly.

That is why you hire a social media consultant.

I know it’s hard for business owners to trust certain aspects of their business to an outsider. Maybe that’s why they meet with me, and “lead me on” and then decide not to use me. Or forget to get back to me.

I understand where the reluctance is coming from. I really do. But what business owners fail to realize is that if you don’t have a website, if you don’t get with the social media program, you will be lost in the wind when it comes to your competition.

And what is business about: customers & competition.

So those are my thoughts of late regarding people leading me on and why business need to reconsider taking a social media journey with me.

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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

Maintaining my Dignity

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

I have been a bad blogger. I have neglected my personal blog since November. Funny thing is, last time I posted a blog was while listening to my former boss give a presentation at a seminar I was attending. Ha Ha. Long live the iPad! (I hope he doesn’t read this!- doubt he will!) And long live free speech!

Why have I neglected my own blog? Well, my new clerking job is super busy- yay! It is really a great job, I am grateful for it and of course, my own clients for my Content is Queen business keep me busy after work. And of course, I am involved in a brain injury association and that turned into me being elected Board Secretary. So there goes most of my time.

I am so busy blogging for everyone else, I don’t have the time to blog for me. I think of things I want to say, and I never write them down! Oh- those poor words lost in the abyss! I actually do keep a couple of notebooks and my Moleskine (love those) journal lying around so I do write down my ideas in a half-hazard attempt to never forget them. One day, one day I will write an award winning autobiography, or novel, or just a book about the things I have seen and experienced. Whether or not it acquires a readership- who knows? But believe me, it would be an entertaining read!

Alas, I have digressed from my subject: Maintaining my dignity. So, in an attempt to boost business, I had the opportunity to do work for a former high school friend, and a lady and her husband I met from a women’s group I used to be a part of. You know how they say don’t mix business and pleasure? (Who “they” are I still want to know!) Well, don’t, honestly, just don’t.

Luckily, the former friend paid my invoice and we ended the business relationship amicably but it was a short lived one. Apparently funding was an issue. Yet, a few weeks later, he posted pictures on his Facebook of his new Cadillac.

Next new client, there was a serious lack of communication and I had a lack of material to blog, tweet, and in general, not enough material to promote. I e-mailed and contacted them to discuss this and there was no response. I politely ended the business relationship, after spending hours and weeks on trying to promote the business, developing not one, but two blogs, twitters, FB pages etc…and to this date have not been paid. At this point, I don’t care anymore. I will just chalk it up to bad judgment. Sometimes overly nice clients are the ones you have to watch out for.

I am very fortunate to have the clients I do have. They appreciate and compliment my work, give me feedback and we communicate regularly. Payment is never an issue and there are never a lack of ideas to develop content around.

I have to say it is a very frustrating experience to find quality clients. Of late, I have had a few very negative experiences. I am sure many entrepreneurs and self-employed people know what I am talking about when it comes to “quality clients”.

When you are prospecting new clients, you are in a vulnerable position. You feel as though you are being judged, perhaps your product or service is not good enough, perhaps you are not experienced enough for them, perhaps you are not what they are looking for, perhaps you can’t perform fast enough etc. What about price point? There are many things to consider.

Scenario 1: Personal Injury Law Firm

This law firm requested a price list and summary of services. I sent it over. A few weeks go by and the partner goes on vacation for a few months, but her assistant emails me a letter to ask for samples of my work. I sent over the best possible samples of my work, in PDFs, (yes I take the time to PDF them), including articles I have written, not just blogs. I never hear back from them. That was in April.

Scenario 2: Boutique Gift & Accessory Store

This was a store I used to buy gift items at regularly. One day I bought I present for my boyfriend’s Mom and I asked if the owners would be interested in providing a donation to the brain injury association’s silent auction. They said yes and I mentioned that I would promote their donation on the brain injury association’s social media. That sparked a conversation about social media marketing and my services. We exchanged contact information and they said they were very interested in my services. A few weeks go by and they were apparently very busy due to Passover. I follow up via email and we can never seem to set up a meeting. I call and it’s never a good time to talk. Mother’s Day goes by and I still haven’t received the donation for the event, which is occurring on May 24th. I follow up to ask when it will be ready and never hear from them again. That was the end of it. I continue to receive their e-mail updates but have not heard from them since. I was very disappointed in this as my Mom and I were regular customers, they promised a donation and they kept telling my Mom how they wanted to work with me.

Side note: price did seem to be an issue for this client and the store was always in disarray. Hindsight is always 20/20 and I think this would have proven to be a headache client.

Never believe anything, unless it’s in writing. Lesson learned.

Scenario 3: Referral from old childhood friend

A friend from the past who is into marketing and PR contacted me a few weeks ago with a prospective client. She was contacted to manage PR and branding and needed help regarding social media and blogging. After a lengthy discussion about my experience, she determined I was the right person for the job. She explained the client’s need and we determined a price point. She explained that the client was trying to promote his website, which was an online dispute resolution centre and needed our combined services.

A price was negotiated and everything seemed to be peachy. Then, I find out I have to deliver social media reports in advance of the following week’s posts, with pre-determined FB and Twitter posts and blog topics to be pre-approved by him. I was a bit hesitant as this was not how I am used to operating, but you know, you have to do what makes the client happy. So, I prepared one for the first week and as it was a short week, right after Canada Day, I just wrote the one blog post.

The result, my work was torn to shreds and I was very very agitated and unimpressed with this client.

First of all, the Twitter password given to me was changed on me before I could even log in. I was not given access to post to Facebook or to post to the actual blog.

He literally re-wrote the entire blog post and was highly critical of everything. Yes, as a business owner I can understand the reluctance to hand over control of any part of your business to people you don’t know but if you are seeking PR and social media services, you have to understand how they work and if you want an explanation, ask, don’t shred someone’s hard work into bits and pieces.

It turns out he did the same thing to my friend’s work. I began to question if I could work with someone like this and quickly realized I couldn’t. Not if I wanted to maintain my dignity!

I told my friend that I was not in high school or university, did not need my work graded or audited, I am experienced, my work is appreciated and liked by my clients, and whoever I worked for in the past, I provide quality content services and social media services and I have a strong background.

That was the end of that..

So, my loyal readers, you can see that being an entrepreneur is a struggle, but if you are operating a business, it’s for you and not for anyone else to decide who your clients are and remember, you are the boss in your business and don’t let your clients boss you around to the point where you don’t know who’s boss anymore!

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Content Is Queen

Give Yourself a Try

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

I apologize for my lack of blogging lately. The last couple of months have been spent giving myself a try.

I left my law clerk position of two years at the beginning of September and found happiness with a more challenging position at a firm closer to home. It definitely is an added bonus that I have my own office to work in, I feel more productive!

At the same time, I launched my new company, Content is Queen, a Social Media Marketing company (website coming soon). This has been really exciting for me! I have been networking every opportunity I have, be it at work conferences or on the weekends whenever I meet other small business owners. My services appeal to lawyers and other businesses who want to increase their web presence. I am a content writer and I provide content and set up all your social media accounts and blog, and run them for you. That is my pitch, essentially.

We all want to have a successful web presence and increase our social media footprint. I can help you do that.

Anyways, back to giving yourself a try. I have been thinking lately about going back to school, learning, seminars, etc. While theory and education is always helpful, I have been realizing more and more that practical experience is what really will get you where you need to be.

I learned about blogging and Twitter in my capacity as a law clerk in my last position. The more I blogged, the more I learned what works and what doesn’t work. When I started using Twitter, both for myself and for business purposes I was pleased with how easy it was to find users with similar interests, how Twitter suggests who to follower, and how much information you could gather from tweets.

And so the learning began. And I gave myself a try. I learned, and I soaked up as much information as I could over the past year and a half, and here I am today, well on my way to a bright future as a blogger and social media marketer.

Don’t let anyone tell you what you can and can’t do. Take advantage of all the free resources out there. Twitter can be your friend. Find other bloggers whose blogs can give you wonderful, authentic advice. Join LinkedIn and follow the latest discussions in social media and blogging.

My best piece of advice is to be yourself, be true to yourself and know that you can become a success if you are willing to put in the time it takes to believe in yourself.

You are your best investment and if you sell yourself short, how will you appear to others?

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Content Is Queen

Interesting Reads Part 3

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

Welcome to the next installation of Content Queen’s Interesting Reads.

Tech Republic.com- “Five Tips for Weeding Out Potentially Bad Clients”:

Potential clients are important to entrepreneurs. We know they visit our websites to find out about us to see what we can offer them, but what can they offer us? The consultant-client relationship should be mutually beneficial.

Read this helpful article for useful tips you may want to consider before signing up clients.

PC World: “Google+1 Now Links to Google+ Profiles: Let the War on Facebook’s ‘Like’ Button Begin”:

Google+ and Google+1 have garnered much attention recently. Oh how much fun it is to visit a website and endorse a website using the+1 button and have those pages appear on your Google+ profile. It is faster than sharing a link and makes recommending pages that much easier.

Tech Republic.com- “More Managers Value Emotional Intelligence Over IQ”:

In recent times, emotional intelligence has become a popular topic in the work force. While having a reasonable IQ is appreciated, office managers and supervisors are recognizing the importance of EQ. Personality is important. How you interact with your coworkers is very telling.

For those of us who still work in an office environment (while trying to make it on our own), this article is worth a read!

HubSpot- “Free eBook: Introduction to Search Engine Optimization”

Here is a free e-book for those who want to learn about SEO and learn about the process. Learn how search engines work, how to rank in them and how to develop your keywords.

Marketing Sherpa Blog- “Content Marketing: Focus on value, not length”:

How long should a blog post be? How important is content? The Marketing Shop Blog answers your questions: There is no set rule!

Quality over quantity.

SocialMediaOptimization.com- “How Professionals Use LinkedIn-Social Media Optimization”:

One of the most popular social networking sites, LinkedIn is a popular choice for Professionals to create conversations, make connections, share news, articles, blog posts and information. Learn how professionals are interacting with the network and how to make the platform work for you.

Tech Republic- “Most Unusual Resume Mistakes”:

This is a fun read- ever wonder what not to put on your resume? Look no further!

One example given was “Candidate listed her dog as a reference”. (We all love our dogs…but …).

And finally…

Blog Technical- “Germany bans Facebook ‘Like’ button”:

The data protection commissioner from the Schleswig-Holstein state in Germany has declared that the Facebook “like” button violates German and European data protection laws. He is ordering all government agencies to close down their Fan Pages and all owners of websites based in that state to immediately remove their like buttons from their pages or face legal action.

Earlier in 2011, the German government forced Google to blur out residential homes from Street View and eventually Google discontinued the project and removed the country from the Street View database.

Stay tuned for the next installation coming up next week!

 

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Content Is Queen

Social Media Lingo in the Dictionary?

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

Dictionaries have always been seen as a trustworthy reference source. Have you ever wondered how new words become part of the English language, officially?

Social media lingo has definitely penetrated our language. The Oxford English Dictionary added the words “tweet”, “retweet” and “sext” last week. In 2009 the OED added the word “Twitter” as a verb and a noun.

What does this say about today’s society?

I personally am not quite sure what it says about the quality of words that are being added to our dictionaries. Can you use these new words in essays? In serious research papers and dissertations (besides those that are on the topic of social media).

Today, the Merriam-Webster Dictionary added the words “tweet” and “social media” as part of their 150 additions.

The dictionary’s editor said that the new terms are decided upon in an informal manner. Apparently it is just a process of seeing a word used frequently and in many different sources.

I personally am still a skeptic. I am coming from an educational background where I majored in English and History and I just can’t wrap my head around subjectively adding words to a dictionary based on public usage. Maybe I am biased…but what words will we possibly see next?

What words will our kids grow up with? What will their vocabularies be like?

I grew up in suburbia where the girls and teenagers used the words “like” in-between every other word…you know the type. What will the next generation sound like?

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Content Is Queen

More Interesting Reads- Chock Full of Tips!

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

Yes, Twitter is a great way to find out about web news, marketing news and technology news.

I have organized my Twitter so that I have different lists in order to easily access the posts of the different groups I want to follow.  Wow! Lists make it so much easier. Once you have set up your lists, you will be glad you did!

But, I will admit, it is still even easier when someone, say a fellow blogger is kind enough to post a blog entry about the most interesting reads of the recent week in one entry…

And so fellow bloggers and readers, here is the second installment of Interesting Reads 2011:

The Next Web: “When and how often you should be posting on Twitter and Facebook”

Is there such a thing as posting too much? Do your followers feel overloaded?

A couple of interesting points from this article include:

  • Most Facebook shares occur on Saturdays.
  • The highest percentage of  retweets occur around 5pm EST and the highest click through rate occurs between noon and 6pm EST

The Washington Post: “OED now includes retweet, sexting and cyberbullying”

The Oxford English Dictionary has been adding new words to keep up with the times. As seen by the title of this piece, further technology lingo has been added.

Retweet is now an officially recognized verb and noun:

Retweet (verb): (On the social networking service Twitter) repost or forward (a message posted by another user): tweet the URL of your posting: people love to retweet job ads. Also: (noun) a reposted or forwarded message on Twitter: traffic spiked quickly and contained a mix of retweets and original posts

Fast Company: “NeuroFocus Uses Neuromarketing to Hack Your Brain”

Intel, PayPal, Pepsico, Google, HP, Citi and Microsoft are spending millions to understand your mind. NeuroFocus, a science-based consumer research firm in California, wants to send its product, Mynd into your home. Mynd is the world’s first portable EEG scanner that rests on the subject’s head (without the messy cold gel!). It reads the brain waves while consumers watch TV, go to movie theatres or shop and helps scientists collect valuable data.

The goal is to find out what customers truly desire.

Fast Company: “The Rise of Social Advertising”

Many brands are developing a social media presence. This article has many useful infographics and statistics about social media use. The article features a great discussion about “banner blindness”. Where do clients look when they are reading? It turns out they are reading content. and not focusing as much on the banners. In social networks, content populates the streams of users’ profiles.

Tech 18: “15+ Killer SEO Tips to Optimize Twitter Tweets”

Find great tips for Twitter here. Learn about the importance of url shorteners and hashtags. Learn how to gain targeted followers!

All Twitter: “The Psychology of Twitter- Infographic”

This infographic answers questions like “Am I tweeting too much?”, “How can I get more retweets?”, “What makes people retweet?’

All Twitter: “Twitter Facts and Figures- Infographic”

This infographic provides the latest Twitter facts and figures from around the world. See how many Twitter accounts are opened daily!

Mashable: “How are people using Twitter?”

This detailed infographic breaks down how Twitter uses put Twitter to use worldwide. See what’s trending @ Twitter. How many times does the average user log on, and from what platform?

I hope you enjoyed this post and look forward to Interesting Reads Part 3 next week!

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