In Part One of this article, I explained my transformation from floundering business newbie to focused marketer.
Now, I’d like to share specific techniques.
The amount of free content on the Internet is overwhelming, and the majority of it isn’t so great. How do you find the good stuff and use it wisely without paying for your own business mentor to guide you?
Here are 8 game-changing business strategies that I’ve learned from studying writing blogs everyday.
1. Rock a Routine
When you’re a small business owner or entrepreneur it can be difficult to prioritize your tasks. Everything is important, and everything needs to get done now.
I’m a firm believer in a starting place—a routine to get you on track. I begin the day with blog reading. I think of the articles as my personalized newspaper that only contains useful information.
Pick five to 10 exceptional blogs in your niche, and subscribe to them in a reader or through email. If you’re a writer, check out the Top 10 Blogs for Writers 2011 list.
As Stanford Smith of Pushing Social wrote in 7 Secrets of Spectacular Bloggers, “Good habits are incredibly hard to break [too]. Our minds are wired to maintain the status-quo. Once a habit has taken hold, your own body will conspire to turn your habit into a lifestyle.”
The next 7 strategies are a direct result of a disciplined routine.
2. Priceless New Resources
Blogs in your niche keep you abreast of everything going on in your industry. What are your competitors doing? Are they having better results than you? Can you learn from them?
Studying blogs regularly helps you discover other must-reads to put on your list. Awesome posts link to other noteworthy sites. Pay attention, and make your blog reading routine your own personal business education.
3. Authoritative Guest Posts
Many top blogs will have regular guest posts from authors who also manage their own blogs. After reading a guest post that I find helpful, I’ll often check out the author’s blog.
Have you considered guest posting? What expertise or knowledge of your field can you share with a broader audience? What juicy free information can you give away that will make your product or service irresistible to potential new customers?
If you’re not sure how to get started, check out Jon Morrow’s Guest Blogging site.
4. Unexpected Inspiration
Don’t take any form of communication for granted. You’ll soon find yourself studying all types of writing, marketing, and advertising.
The other day, I saw a television commercial for Sleep Number Beds. An overlay on the screen said, “No back pain. Fall asleep faster.” It was a perfect example of displaying the benefits of a product instead of its features.
The text promoted benefits that will ultimately make a customer purchase the bed. Only listing the product’s features won’t make the sale.
Keep a file of outstanding ads and motivational quotes. The excerpt in Tip #1 from Stanford Smith was in a Write to Done post that I read in September 2010. Since I store inspirational ideas in a notebook, I was able to use the advice in this article.
5. The Power of Selectivity
You’ll learn to swiftly identify information that is relevant to your business versus content that you can skim or skip. I carefully study certain articles like a college reading assignment—taking notes and pondering my own interpretations—while I confidently ignore other articles (either for now, or indefinitely).
You’ll also examine writing styles. Long blocks of text, rants, and incoherent tangents are major blog reading buzz kills.
If you read headlines, sub-headlines, or bullet points that turn you off, eliminate the same mistakes in your writing. Why didn’t you want to read an article? What can you edit or revise while proofreading to make your content more compelling?
There are clear benefits of effective writing and negative consequences of sloppy writing.
6. Experiment with eBooks
Through my trusty blog network, I found resources about creating and selling ebooks.
In September 2009, I launched my anti-grammar ebook Revision Fairy Tales: 21 Writing Mistakes You’ll Never Make Again. Yes, the result is the effortless use of proper grammar, but as Mary Poppins sang, “A spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down.” Everyone wants to write better. No one wants to read a book about grammar.
What additional products or services can you offer customers to expand your business?
7. Valuable Free Reports
Free reports, white papers, and tutorials show what your business is all about. Prospects become anxious to hire you and watch you work your magic on their projects.
My free report gives clients business proofreading tips.
8. Exclusive Premium Members
What deals can you offer a special group of people?
Growing your business requires a lot of work, and it’s easy to get discouraged. Don’t underestimate the power of a seemingly innocent blog post to completely alter your attitude and keep you moving in the right direction.
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Stefanie Flaxman created Revision Fairy® Small Business Proofreading Services with your editing needs in mind.