Industry

Posts about Online Content

Screw Your Hack, I’m Trying To Work Here!!

Yesterday I wasted 4 hours trying to optimize my online business. It was supposed to be a simple upgrade. I wanted to customize my desktop, background and create a custom start menu on my Firefox browser.

What happened next was a disaster. First my Firefox froze, so I CTRL-ALT-DEL it. Then it refused to open, so I reinstalled it, losing all of my bookmarks. Finally, my in-house tech guru gets me back online and I happily install the plugins of my dream and get on with my day.

You would think that would be the end of it, but sadly, it is not.

The next day, after working seamlessly for a full 4 hours, my Firefox refuses to open again. I refresh it again, only to lose all of the customization I did the day before.

Now I am staring at my screen, wondering if I should bother with customizing my Firefox again. If that was supposed to be a productivity hack, it sure backfired.

How Does Anyone Get Anything Done?

The Internet can be frustrating. With all of our advancements, it seems like we’ve only made it more confusing. One example of this is blogging which started in the 1990s as a series of journal-like entries shared over the Internet. A blog was somewhere you could go to read people’s opinions, learn new things or connect with others. It wasn’t a sales tool.

My, how things have changed. ..Now every business needs a blog if it wants to survive online – but what do they write about, and best of all how do they find the time? Enter the copy blogger – a professional blogger that specializes in writing sales-oriented business blogs.

No longer is it about sharing opinions and connecting with others. Blogging has become about word counts, keywords, engagement, call-to –actions and readability. As a result, countless blogs, all saying the same thing (absolutely nothing) pop up repeatedly all over the Internet.

It’s no wonder many people have given up reading them.

Is There Even a Solution?

I gave up trying to hack my Firefox into optimized productivity. Yeah, I’m missing my colorful tabs, and screen grabber – but I know it’s for the best. My system is running smoothly, and I can function without an add-on.

Businesses can do the same thing when it comes to their business blogs. It doesn’t have to be rocket science. It doesn’t have to be bells and whistles. It doesn’t have to look like everyone else.

In order for a business to use the Internet to their advantage, they don’t need another copy blogging hack; they need some straight up common sense.

It’s simple actually. Share what you know and love. Do so on a regular basis. Make sure you use good grammar and spelling. Show some pictures if they are relevant, and most of all… have some personality.

You didn’t build a successful business based on shortcuts. Don’t use a content marketing strategy that does.

The Blue Pill or the Red Pill …

So what are you going to do? Follow the masses of websites running behind the Google train or jump into the great unknown of the Internet without guarantee of reward?

You know, it doesn’t have to be one or the other.

There was an internet before search engine optimization, and there will continue to be one if search engines suddenly stopped existing. Will people still find you if that happens?

The copy blogging formula says I should end this blog post with a call to action, but I’m not going to. I will, however, say that I offer services for businesses who seek to be different, and who aren’t afraid to say: screw your hacks. I do this because I remember when the Internet was worth a damn, when I wasn’t constantly afraid of ‘hackers’, Big Data harvesters, and fake friends trying to sell you something.

To survive online nowadays, you need to keep it real while still understanding the ultimate game.

Your future customers are out there, you just have to work a little harder to find them.

On Writing Online for a Living

Yesterday I received congratulations on LinkedIn from a classmate from middle school.

“Happy 6 year work anniversary!”

What? Has it seriously been 6 years? In Internet years, that’s almost a lifetime.

I thought about my work anniversary the entire day. I was surprised to discover that freelance writing had been my longest running gig, beating out promotional modeling by one year. It happened so quickly- one day I was working for pennies writing articles about everything under the sun, and now I was running an agency of online writers looking to build their own careers.

It’s hard to imagine how I was able to maintain and grow through years of self-doubt, other careers, and ignorance, but what small business owner doesn’t have those moments?

I still remember when a colleague (during my modeling years) laughed at my idea and said there was no money in writing online. I am so happy to have proven her wrong.

For me, writing has always been my preferred means of communication, and at first, the Internet thrived on written content. When I discovered the Internet, it was like showing up in a candy store- there I was in a world full of people looking to read what I had to say.

In the past 20 years, the number of people coming to my ‘candy store’ grew, and I found it harder to reach the gummy bears. But, I stuck around, convinced that this is where I belonged, continuing to find job after job from the Internet until I could eventually make it my home.

I’m telling you, there’s some durn good candy here.

So my six year anniversary is less of an indicator of how long I’ve been online, and more about how long I’ve had a business online.

When I think about my online business ventures, which currently include a freelance online staffing agency and writing and marketing, I feel like they don’t even fully explain what I do.

I feel like I am an Internet Ambassador. I mean, I’ve been here long enough, haven’t I? Is there a special group for people who’ve added content to the World Wide Web prior to 2000?

Can I get a badge that says: “Netspeak Early Adopter?”

Anything to give me some clout in this crazy world that is growing online. ….

In the meanwhile, if you are looking for an online guide for your business contact me; I know my way around these parts.

Is Your Business Self Absorbed?

Hold on; let me take a selfie…..

We all know them- the over obsessed teens and adults who must always take a picture of themselves. It defines the latest generation, one I’ve nicknamed the selfie generation. They are the groups of people who are desperately searching for someone that cares about their lives. They are the ones that take selfies while putting on makeup, dancing at the club or just because they are bored.

Don’t let your business become one of them.

As I planned out this post, a remembered something my dad used to say to me.

“Always get in the picture so people will believe you were there..”

For him, selfies were a form of marketing. See, my father has a business degree and a preoccupation with all things marketing, so it didn’t surprise me when he said it. Naturally, you want people to connect you with the image you are sharing..

What is surprising me is seeing that concept go completely out of control. People are no longer self-branding their experiences.. they are branding themselves. Their selfies are more about them than they are the experience taking place. They’ve completely removed the message they were trying to share and replace it with “look at me!”

Not surprisingly, people are tired of looking- it’s simply the same stupid faces with different backgrounds.

How does a business slip into this? It’s simple; create a social media strategy based on self-promotion. Your post will get ignored just as quickly as the teenage duckface poses.

Ask yourself, is your social media content all about you? Then you are probably no better than the 15-year-old. Most people do not care about your business if they don’t know you. You are just another business selfie. Instead of obnoxiously promoting yourself to strangers, give potential fans (and customers) something to like you for.

Create useful content.

It’s really not that hard; unless your business isn’t useful.

Give potential customers something to laugh about, learn or love. Let them know you aren’t using social media to post your latest selfie, you are using it to spread information. If they like you, they’ll help you spread it.

A long time ago, that’s what the Internet was about.

If you need any help creating a social media content strategy, contact me at letswrite@jennmariewrites.com

I can help your business not look like a 20-something year old girl that is begging for attention.

#twitter: Too much of a good thing

I’ve posted before about the weird environment that is Twitter, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that there are a ridiculous amount of tools to help you sort through the platform. There are tools to help you find people to follow, there are tools to help you find people to tweet to, and there are tools to help you find interesting content to read…

My favorite tool so far has to be the twitter publishing tool, paper.li.

This tool takes a snapshot of the linked content your twitter friends are sharing. It’s like a Who’s Who of the Internet, but for websites. Linked content that is most popular is highlighted on one page for easy access.

Why is this significant?

Well, it gives the everyday online user, the power big sites use every single day. What many people fail to realize is: you don’t have to create content to be significant online. You can simply collect the best content to grow a following. Paper.li does this through Twitter, and even lets paid members completely brand their content aggregation for their own profit-making ventures.

Not a bad deal, huh?

Look, the truth is everyone cannot create great content. Even with an expert content writer, if you aren’t doing something new, you are simply re-writing what’s already published online somewhere. How about, instead of copying each other, we acknowledge each other? If both of us gain by sharing the same content, why waste everyone’s time with copy-cat content?

So, I’ve jumped on the content aggregation bandwagon, and have created my own twitter-paper.. it’s a collection of links that are passed around from the people I follow.  All of the links are curated by me, and double checked to make sure they are reputable sources. It is also updated daily, so subscribe if you want to be kept updated.

I can’t promise to make Twitter less crazy, but I can help you dig thru the noise.