Twitter and Coffee and Feeds

During a meeting over coffee this morning, a very wise businesswoman stopped in the middle of our conversation about twittering, retweeting, social marketing and creating virtual networks of friends for her product.

“Nothing will ever replace face-to-face contact,” she said.

And darned if she isn’t right.

That doesn’t mean I’ll slow down on all the fun e-marketing we’re doing, but it does speak volumes on the need for balance. Time to leave the screen and head for the garden.

-yours, Judith

Excellent Advice from Rhonda Abrams

Rhonda Abrams is my hero. And today’s column, Small Business: Pull up your Pants! struck a sharp note with me. We’re all going through tough times, but does it help to bemoan that fact? To whine about it? To blame and complain? (Couldn’t resist the rhyme there.)

For a pick-me-up and a kick in the pants, read today’s column. I’m lucky enough to have it run in my local paper, the Reno Gazette Journal. If you’re not, check out her website. She rocks.

(My only complaint: wish I could get a feed off her site on those columns. I’d have the latest here for you every week!)

yours, Judith

Integrated Web marketing

Integration begins with content.

What you say in your permission marketing (e-newsletters) links back to your Website landing pages, which link to your online optimized press releases and paid advertising, which link one to the other in consistent messaging, which link to your hardcopy branding, signage, and even in-store or in-office merchandising. And if you have a company blog, this is part of the mix, too.

The power is in your message, your words, your content.

And that’s the thought for the day.

Yours with Website Words that Work! – Judith

DIY – Bloggers Shift Content to Top Spot

DIY (Do-It-Yourself) – A movement? A good idea? What got me to thinking was an article I read recently in on the benefits of designing your brand yourself. The author is talking about logos, that foundation of branding, but logos are just a piece of the DIY “movement” in today’s small business world.

There’s also the somewhat sacred cow of the business world, the business card. Though most businesses are still tossing money into the coffers of printing presses, creating whole boxes of business cards every time there’s a new employee or promotion or website addition, some of the new generation, I’d argue, are rethinking this old habit of pricey business cards. Boosted on by the availability of home office printer-ready business card stock and the ease of setting up cards on blank templates, these do-it-yourselfers are forging ahead on their own.

And now, Enter – the Blog.

The blogosphere is surely a do-it-yourself world! From the setup to the assumed authorship of the blog. In fact, the blog is based on a very personal, DIY premise, the assumption that you, the business owner, are there making a connection, that you, yourself, are the writer.

And with blogs the focus on on the Web shifts to content. People care more about what you say than the color of your font or the choice of your graphic. They want to know what you’re saying, what you’re thinking, and how they can be part of this conversation. They want to respond, to engage.

This is the part that, as a writer, I love!

Blogging doesn’t allow us to hide behind the shield of our logos, at least not much. Bloggers have forced us to shift our attention to our online content.

Speaking of logos, though, here’s mine,

Harlan Editorial Logo

designed by a pal of mine, Teri Rose:

yours, Judith

Cautious Blogger – An Oxymoron?

Blogging is the big, open forum. A place for transparency, for company presidents and owners to relax and let their customers get to know them – the personality behind the brand.

So, cautious blogger? I don’t think so. Open the windows, throw wide the doors. Let the folks outside your company get to know you. That’s how relationships are built; that’s how Web 2.0 works – with open dialog and personal connections. Not reckless blogging, not cautious, but some smart (professional?) region in between.

yours, Judith

Blog – The Biggest Misconception

I’ll blog in my spare time. After work; after I close the doors for business that day; on my way home from work; my son (daughter, wife, husband) will blog for me; I’ll blog whenever I get the urge. I don’t like to write but I’m sure I can pop off a blog every coupla days.

If you’re blogging for fun and frolic, then all of the above works brilliantly and you can share your day’s log with the world: nothing wrong with that. But if you’re blogging as part of your business e-marketing plan? Different ballpark.

Here’s the great misconception I hear – have heard – several times. I can build my blog in wordpress and that’s the hard part. (No, I must tell you, that’s the misconception: creating the blog is the easy part.)

The time, effort and expertise goes into turning that pretty blog into a business tool.

yours, Judith

Fear of Blogging

I respect it when someone tells me they are afraid to respond on the blogs they read. What sane business-person isn’t? Blogs are public forums. You say it; it’s written on the wall forever. It’s so much safer to just lurk.

This morning I responded to one of the blogs I admire and learn from, the Search Engine Optimization Journal, and as soon as I pushed that “submit” button, I wanted to edit my words. Suddenly, those words sounded pompous, maybe amateurish, or somewhere, some dark no-man’s land, in between. I’m a writer who loves to edit, and I’m a relentless rewriter. Blogs work against that never-ending urge to rewrite, pushing us to share our thoughts, not necessarily our polished prose.

So, it’s safer to lurk. But the blog conversation demands interaction. It’s not a conversation if it’s all one-way. So, fear or not – jump in on the next interesting conversation and blog through the fear. I’ll look for you there.

yours, Judith



Remember the People?

A big part of blogging for small businesses is linking up with the blogging community, plugging into that viral marketing that all of us Website managers love to bend your ear about. Everyone I talk to these days is tuned into the fact that blogging boosts your SEO (search engine optimization).

But in their all-out quest for SEO, some are forgetting the real audience for a Website — the customer, your reader, us (the people).

So, today I just want to plant this one tiny seed: small business blogging is only one piece of a larger Website content puzzle. And the entire puzzle must be pleasing to the eye and ear not just of spiders and robots, but of real people, too. Your readers. Us.

Then when you go viral and we visit your blog and your Website, we’re all yours.


Keyword is Optimize

As the world of marketing changes, so does a writer’s life. And mine has changed in some exciting ways over the last six months as I’ve embarked on my blogging journey.

At first, I thought, but wait! Magazines are my life, always have been. And my goal: blogging for magazines. Imagine my surprise when I began to have SUCH FUN working on clients’ Websites, creating their flow, their content, the sites themselves.

Content Optimization

And then: the real fun, the puzzle of optimizing content!

I’ve launched my professional writing services into SEO over the last couple of months. What I love about content optimization: the collaboration.


It’s all in the teamwork and the sum is greater than the parts.


If anyone tells you that Website writing is loner work, give them the big raspberry.

It’s all about teamwork.

Yours in SEO, Judith


Free Blogs for Small Businesses

Can a free blog do all you need it to do for your small business? I’d say, yes, but.

(Since you asked!)

Yes — if you’re a solopreneur or a small business without the need for paypal or a shopping cart on your blog; if your branding is such that it can be imposed over an existing template (most are); if you’re content to have your blog live on Google or WordPress or one of the free Web 2.0 sites that exist; if, in some cases, you do not mind having ads on your blog.Price TagPrice TagPrice Tag

But I’m not convinced that free is all it’s touted to be, not when you can download blog software to your server or to a server you subscribe to for 8 bucks/month. And, once setting up your blog on your own server, then you are flying solo, your own pilot.

You can’t get more free than that!