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4 Marketing Benefits of Social Media

June 15, 2012

By Nick Stamoulis (President and Founder of Brick Marketing)

Social media marketing is not a fad. If that’s the excuse you’ve been using to avoid developing a social media marketing strategy it’s time to find a new excuse or finally build that Facebook page. Social media marketing can be as simple or as complex as you want it to be (or as you have time for), but you get out what you put in. 90+% of Americans have at least one social profile, meaning your target market is online and engaging in social networking. Marketing 101- fish where the fish are!

What are some of the benefits of social media marketing?
1. Build brand
Social profiles can rank on their own in the search engines, increasing your online presence. Social profiles are also one more place for you to develop your messaging strategy and connect with your target audience. It’s a place to inject some personality into your brand and let your target market engage with you on their terms. Social networks are the perfect place for breeding brand ambassadors and building lasting relationships with repeat customers.

2. Drive targeted visitors to site
You never want to treat your social networking profiles like the final destination of a potential customer. Your social profile is more like a filter, attracting targeted traffic (that identify themselves as you target audience because they are interested in your brand) and then pushing them over to your actual site/blog. The more targeted visitors your site has, the better chance you have of pushing them to act and increasing your conversion rate.

3. Promote content and get more links (social signals)
The more times a piece of content is shared on a social networking or social bookmarking site, the more valuable it becomes in the eyes of the search engines. From an SEO standpoint, these social signals can impact how well your piece of content ranks in the SERPs. From a more general marketing perspective, the more people who share your content the greater potential reach it has. The average Facebook user has 130 friends which means that if just five people post your content to Facebook it has the potential to be seen by 650 of their collective connections!

4. PR
Twitter has become many people’s go-to source for breaking news. Twitter even created this clever commercial demonstrating the power of “real time” sharing. Social networking has practically revolutionized the way news information is shared. So what does this mean for brands? Social networks allow companies to connect with their audience as a situation develops, meaning you have the chance to tell your side of the story as it is happening. Social networks are also a great place to interact with members of the press. You can connect with journalists and local news sources directly, giving them instant access to a story.


Why Read? 20 Reasons…

June 4, 2012

I enjoy reading a lot such that I sometimes read more than one book at a time. It is therefore not surprising that I find it weird when someone tells me they do not enjoy reading. For those who fall into this category, I have found 20 reasons for you to start the habit of reading. Happy reading!

1. Reading is an active mental process – Unlike TV, books make you use your brain. By reading, you think more and become smarter.

2. It is a fundamental skill builder – Every good course on the planet has a matching book to go with it. Why? Because books help clarify difficult subjects. Books provide information that goes deeper than just classroom discussion

3. Reading reduces stress – When reading a book, your mind shifts gears. If you have had a stressful day, a book can easily distract you – Fiction in particular is fantastic for this.

4. Improves your vocabulary – Remember in elementary school when you learned how to infer the meaning of one word by reading the context of the other words in the sentence? You get the same benefit from book reading. While reading books, especially challenging ones, you will find yourself exposed to many new words you would not be exposed to otherwise.

5. Improves concentration and focus – Reading books takes brain power. It requires you to focus on what you are reading for long periods. Unlike magazines, Internet posts or e-Mails that might contain small chunks of information. Books tell the whole story. Since you must concentrate in order to read, like a muscle, you will get better at concentration.

6. Builds self-esteem – By reading more books, you become better informed and more of an expert on the topics you read about. This expertise translates into higher self esteem. Since you are so well read, people look to you for answers. Your feelings about yourself can only get better.

7. Improves memory – Many studies show if you don’t use your memory, you lose it. Crossword puzzles are an example of a word game that staves off Alzheimer’s. Reading, although not a game, helps you stretch your memory muscles in a similar way. Reading requires remembering details, facts and figures and in literature, plot lines, themes and characters.

8. Learn anywhere – Books are portable. You can take them almost anywhere. As such, you can learn almost anywhere too.

9. Gives you something to talk about – Have you ever run out of stuff to talk about with your best friend, wife or husband? This can be uncomfortable. It might even make married couples wonder if their marriage is in trouble. However, if you read a lot of books, you’ll always have something to talk about. You can discuss various plots in the novels you read, you can discuss the stuff you are learning in the business books you are reading as well. The possibilities of sharing are endless.

10. Improves your reasoning skills – Books for professionals contain arguments for or against the actions within. A book on cooking argues that Chili powder goes well with beef and goes poorly with ice-cream. A book on building a business argues that testing an idea for profitability before setting up is a smart strategy and argues against just barreling forward with the idea without testing.

You too will be able to reason better with the knowledge you gain. Some of the arguments will rub off on you. Others you will argue against. Regardless, you’ll be reasoning better.

11. Builds your expertise – Brian Tracy has said one way to become an expert in your chosen field is to read 100 books on the subject. He also said by continuing the same for 5 years you’ll become an international expert. With the Internet and blogs, you could hone that time down to 2-3 years if you follow through.

12. Saves money – Apart from saving money on entertainment expenses. Reading books that help you develop your skills saves money. Reading books on how someone went bankrupt will be a warning to you against repeating their mistakes. Reading a book on how to build your own backyard deck saves the expense of hiring a contractor.

13. Can help break a slump – Being in a slump is uncomfortable. If you are a writer, you call it writer’s block. If you are a salesperson, it’s called – not making a sale in 23 days. But a slump can be a crossroads. It might be you are wavering on your commitment to a particular project or (with marriage) person. Or a slump can be simply a lack of new ideas. Books are a great source of ideas, big and small. So if you find yourself in a slump, pick a book on the portion of your life you are slump-ing and get to reading!

14. Gets you away from digital distractions – If you, like many others, feel overwhelmed with the flashing lights, beeps, boops and ring-a-dings that burn up our computing lives, then give books a chance. When you find some good books, you’ll find yourself drawn into the subject matter. You’ll want to spend more time reading. By spending more time reading books, you’ll have less time for the plethora of the digital gadgets begging for our attention.

15. You’ll make more money – If you make a serious effort to read in your chosen career, your expertise in that specialty will increase. As you become more specialized and learned, you join a smaller group of more qualified people. By being part of the small few with the highest level knowledge your pay will increase. It’s simple supply and demand.

16. The book is always better than the movie – What are some of the most important books you have read? What is the title that changed your life? If you have found a book that made a major change in how you work, live or love, please tell us about it in the comments below.

17. Gives you a glimpse into other cultures and places – What is your favorite vacation spot? I would bet you read a lot about that destination. The more information the better. Books can expand your horizons by letting you see what other cities and countries have to offer before you visit them.

18. Improves creativity – Reading about diversity of life and exposing yourself to new ideas and more information helps to develop the creative side of the brain as it imbibes innovation into your thinking process.

19. New mental associations – As you read more books the depth and breadth of your knowledge expands and your ability to form new associations increases. In reading a book to discover the solution to one problem, you find the solution to others you may not have considered.

20. Improved writing skills – This isn’t much of a stretch, considering that reading improves vocabulary and critical thinking. The more you read, the better of a writer you’ll become.


Refs: Life Dev, Persistence Unlimited

The Art of Writing Catchy Articles: 11 Simple Tips

April 20, 2012

By Rajat Bhadani via DailyBlogTips

1. Content is Important:

If people cannot write well, they cannot think well, and if they cannot think well, others will do their thinking for them – George Orwell

It’s like good storytelling – your writing needs to guide your audience into what you want them to think/perceive or they will create a picture on their own which might not be necessarily what you originally wanted.

2. Read Well:

If you don’t have the time to read, you don’t have the time or the tools to write – Stephen King

The more you read, the more ideas gets generated in your mind and you should also focus on reading from the competition to know what they are writing so that you can find a way to stand out from the crowd.

3. Eliminate the Unnecessary:

The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak – Hans Hoffman

My most important piece of advice to all you would-be writers: when you write, try to leave out all the parts readers skip – Elmore Leonard

A sentence should contain no unnecessary words, a paragraph no unnecessary sentences, for the same reason that a drawing should have no unnecessary lines and a machine no unnecessary parts – William Strunk Jr.

Don’t just write for the sake of filling up, eliminate whatever you think will bore your audience.

4. Be Passionate:

This is the challenge of writing. You have to be very emotionally engaged in what you’re doing, or it comes out flat. You can’t fake your way through this –Gordon Atkinson

You should write on a topic you are passionate about as unless you are excited about what you are writing how can you expect the reader to be thrilled while reading.

5. Paint a Picture:

The skill of writing is to create a context in which other people can think –Edwin Schlossberg

To create a powerful emotional response, your writing needs to spark the same thoughts in your reader’s mind as with which you started writing in the first place. So don’t just simply state.

6. Use Images & Typography:

Typos are very important to all written form. It gives the reader something to look for so they aren’t distracted by the total lack of content in your writing –Randy K. Milholland

Ideas are refined and multiplied in the commerce of minds. In their splendor, images affect a very simple communion of souls – Gaston Bachelard

Visual sometimes better expresses the writing or at least complements it. So it’s advisable to use images and good typography.

7. KISS (Keep it Short & Simple):

Vigorous writing is concise – William Strunk Jr.

The finest language is mostly made up of simple unimposing words – George Eliot

Simple words are more easily understood and communicate your thoughts better. So use simple words and write only what is necessary to communicate to the audience.

8. Accept Criticism:

Don’t mind criticism. If it is untrue, disregard it; if unfair, keep from irritation; if it is ignorant, smile; if it is justified it is not criticism, learn from it – Unknown Author

Pay attention to what others had to comment and learn from it and if you are just starting then again try to grasp from other successful writings (similar) and know why their audience (perhaps the same as yours) appreciated it and what they liked about it.

9. Keep Writing:

Quantity produces quality. If you only write a few things, you’re doomed – Ray BradburyYour

How true – the more you write the better you become.

10. Be Unique & Unpredictable:

Consistency requires you to be as ignorant today as you were a year ago –Bernard Berenson

Consistency is the last refuge of the unimaginative – Oscar Wilde

Experiment and be creative and your audience will like you more.

11. To Sum it up:

Make it simple. Make it memorable. Make it inviting to look at. Make it fun to read – Leo Burnett

Copywriting: Writing To Sell

December 20, 2011

Copywriting is a form of writing, which is in a separate world of its own and requires certain skills set in order for it to be effective. Copywriting is essentially the use of written copy to promote a business, entity or product, and its main aim is to expand the client base of a business, or attract consumers to a product or service, such that they would have no choice but to buy the product or use the service. The success of a well written copy does not stem purely from how the copy is written but from studying consumer behavior before writing, as well as combinations of keywords, quality content and their associated rankings in order to avoid junk content, a feature known as Search Engine Optimisation (SEO).

I worked in an e-commerce company for over 4 years, and part of my role within the company was to write copy for every product the company had to sell on its website, work on SEO’s, pick and use attractive product photos and upload the finished work onto the company website. Writing copy is an exciting thing to do as it involves putting into consideration what consumers would think or how they would feel about a certain product or service. I was usually given a few pointers on the specifications of the product and what it is supposed to do and my task in terms of copywriting was to use these points and specifications to get the attention of customers. I have written copy for items ranging from beauty products to industrial grade steam cleaners, from highly technical items to straight forward non-techie items.

Working on SEO’s happened in the backroom of the website where it was of immense importance to use certain keywords or keyword combinations such that the product would have a high ranking in every search engine one could possibly think of. The company aimed at ensuring that the product appeared in the top 5 suggestions provided on the first page of the search engine whenever its category is searched; this is of great importance due to the competitiveness of the market, people are more likely to click on the first few suggestions given by a search engine and cannot be bothered to hold off to page 3, 4 or 5 of the search.

As of 2009, many businesses were not aware of the importance and power of good copywriting; now however, its potency is very apparent and most businesses cannot do without it. I am a strong believer in writing copy that produces the desired effect, whatever it may be and I’m readily available to write such copy for you.

Contact me via and let’s get to the nitty gritty of the matter.

Web Content Writing

December 2, 2011

A few years ago I was given a web content writing job by a freight company based in London. It’s a memorable job because of the complete freedom I had working on it. I met the client at their office very early on a cold Saturday morning as this was the only time he had to brief me on the job. The client immediately told me he really did not have much in terms of exactly what he wanted on the website content-wise and as such trusted my instincts fully (no pressure!).He provided details on the company, what they do and how they do it, mentioned the fact that they wanted me to provide content for 5 pages on their website, and that was it.

I had never written anything on freight companies or shipping; however, it was an excellent challenge and great fun delving into the world of freight forwarding. On finishing the job, the client was very happy for me to pass the content I had written on to the web designer without having a look at what I had done – he trusted my work implicitly. Needless to say, I heard back shortly from the client about another job he had for me to work on.

Content is key and it takes mere seconds to make an impression using written words without being there to defend yourself. My job is to make that possible for you. Whatever the subject area, I can help make the words count.