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Online Branding, using social media,  is now a necessary part of building a successful online and off line  business.   It’s a necessary step in getting folks to know you, trust you and buy from you.

“Branding is all about signaling a power-packed and consistent message to your target audience.”  Melanie Keissell

As Melanie suggests, building a strong personal brand includes: reputation, trust, attention and action.

Internet Branding Hits Home

Yesterday, I pick up my teenage grandson from a friend’s house and gave him a lift home.  I ask him what fun things he had done over week-end.

“Oh the usual, we played a few video games,  fooled around on Facebook, took the four-wheelers out and drove around.”

He’s a typical technology driven teen, which includes an ipod mic in his ear, fingers that fly across his cell phone keypad, and visiting with friends on Facebook.

And, whether he’s aware of it or not… he… like me… is building an “Online Brand” by using social media.

Having easy access to a cell phone and a computer is awesome but along with this compelling technology comes responsibility… no matter who you are or your age.

Feathers On The Wind

How he builds his “Personal Brand” now, will impact his life later.   How he draws attention to himself now, shapes his reputation and creates or reduces trust.  His “Online Branding” will either strengthen or limit his future opportunities and actions.

Once posted on the Internet, either by computer or phone… photos and words are like feathers scattered on the wind from a broken pillow.  You simply cannot get them back!

It’s important for teens to realize that a poor “Personal Internet Brand” can prevent them from attending a particular school, becoming elected to an office, being recruited into the armed services… or a sport.  It may decrease or the eliminate the chances of getting a desired job.

I read that over 50% of all employers are now looking at Facebook and other social media formats, reviewing prospective employees, before deciding on who to hire.  That statistic will only increase.  Old, as well as current posts and photos may be the deciding factor whether one is hired or not.

I recently read about a young lady…  who was fired on her first day… before she even reached the parking lot.  She “Tweeted” a negative comment about her new employer on her way to work.   Word travels fast and is permanent.

Law enforcement is also using social media to track suspected criminals, viewing their habits, and locations.   Forget privacy laws…. there is no such thing when it comes to social media.

How Will I Advise My Grand Son And My Other Grands About “Online Branding?”

1. Never, never, post inappropriate photos of yourself, loved ones, or friends online by way of phone, or computer.   (Trusting a “friend” not to pass along a phone photo is like asking snow not to melt.)

2. Never post photos of any kind that the subject of the photo is not aware of.  You may open yourself up to a law-suit if you do… even in the future.

3. Never make negative or humiliating comments about friends, family, coworkers and  employers.  (For some reason, unfavorable talk always comes back to bite you in the fanny.)

4. Don’t post videos of fights or unbecoming behavior on YouTube.  In fact… don’t participate in fights or unbecoming behavior… you never know who may be filming you.  (Good reason to say away from risky parties )

5. Be selective about the friends you accept or invite.  It’s alright not to accept every invitation you receive.  (Every Tom, Dick and Harry will not always have your best interest in mind.  Don’t be afraid to “unfollow” someone who does not have the same values you do.)

6. “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”  And if that doesn’t work…  Don’t post words or photos that you don’t want your dad and mom or your nana to see. lol

7. Bottom line! Remember… the minute you get on the web or on you phone… you are building a “Internet Brand” that will live long into your future.  (Your “professional future” will come quicker than you think.)

“What Advice Would I Give My Kids With Respect To Teaching About “Internet Branding.”

1. Be smart… not every technology out there needs to be provide for your kids.  Use good judgement.  It’s okay to say “No.”  (Don’t be intimidated by whining, rolling eyes, sighs, guilt trips or the like.  As a kid… I tried that kind of intimidation and so did you.  Sometimes it worked and sometimes it didn’t.)  This is the time to stand firm.

2. Talk with the kids and let them know what is appropriate and what you expect.

3. Put “Privacy Settings” in place… but don’t count on them.  You are the best “Privacy Setting.”

4. Monitor their phones and computer use. You’re a parent first and then a friend.  (Refer to number one.)

5. Above all… remind them that they are building an “Online Brand” that will extend way into the future.

6. You’ll have to repeat the above frequently…. because nearly every child thinks they are an exception to the rule… invincible… and will never get old and “out of touch.”   (Remember?)

7.  Bottom Line! I know you’re aware of all this… but… all of our voices are better than one.  Besides…”I’m your mom!”  lol

And… as a Internet marketer… a mom and nana…  all this advice applies to me too.  Never to old to take advice… especially my own.

Online Marketing and Promotion!

Til Later,

Kathryn Griffiths

P.S.  Did I miss anything?  If you have additional “Internet Branding” advice… leave comments.  We need to support each other in this area!

What's your opinion on this?

Categories : Promotion
Comments (6)

Should you set up a WordPress blog using WordPress.Com or the WordPress.Org format for your online or offline business?

Let’s put a few of the facts into place and you decide which platform is best for for your needs.

WordPress.Com is very much like the other well know blogging formats, such as Blogger, and Type Pad.  They are all blogging platforms that are owned by blog companies.  Blogger is a free blog platform that is owned by Google.  Type Pad is owned by Six Apart Ldt., and users are charged a yearly fee to use the system.

WordPress.com is a free format that owned and operated by Automattic, which is the team that discovered and developed WordPress in the beginning.  WordPress is initially free, but there is an extra charge for some upgrades and advanced features.

WordPress.Org is a blog platform that was built by Automattic but you own it.

Common Features of WordPress.Com and .Org

1.  Both platforms are based on the same basic software.  The look is the same and they have many of the same features.

WordPress.Com Advantages

1.  It’s free and very easy to set up.  Everything is taken care of, spam, backup, security etc.   You don’t even pay for hosting from a separate company.  In other words, it’s all encompassing.

2.  One of the best features is that fact that no one can get into your account by hacking it because of the security that’s in place.

3.  Your posts are backed up automatically so there is no need to purchase an extra back up system in case something goes wrong.

This system is superior if your want a carefree blog that requires very little of your attention to maintain and operate.

WordPress.Com Cons

1.   There are  hundreds of free themes are available for you to choose from.  However, you cannot run a custom theme.

2.  The code is set.  You cannot change any of the code behind your blog.   In other words, you cannot customize any of the code to make your site look or operate differently.

3.  You cannot customize your site by using additional plugins above and beyond those that are already set into the platform.

4.  WordPress is owned by Automattic.  Which means there are a set of definite standards and agreements you must abide by.  Any violation of these agreements may cause your site to be shut down.  Such is the case with Blogger and Type Pad.

WordPress.Org Advantages

1.  It’s free. It is a very basic shell of WordPress… which allows you the freedom to customize your blog for your particular needs and look.

2.  You may put on any theme you like.  There are hundreds of themes to chose from.  Many are free.   Pro Themes range in cost from fifty dollars to several hundred… depending upon the theme features.

3.  You may upload any plugin that is available.  There are thousands of plugins so you can customize your site to your exact needs and desires.

4.  You have complete control of the code behind your blog.  (I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been behind the scenes changing a few things around… and I’m not a tech. wizard.)

5.  Biggest plus!  You own the site and have full control!   Another company does not set rules and regulations.  You can never be shut down by not conforming to the company’s policies.

WordPress.Org Cons

1.  You will need purchase the services of a good web host.  The cost will run from about seven dollars to twelve dollars per month.  Made sure your chose a large reliable host that can handle a high volume of traffic.

(I highly recommend Hostgator or BlueHost. They are both large companies and their customer service is excellent.  (I can’t tell you how many times I’ve called customer service and had them handle a problem kindly and efficiently.  Those folks are smart)

2.  It requires more technical knowledge to set up and run.  (Once you get the swing of things… it’s a breeze.)

3.  You are responsible for stopping spam.  (There is a wonderful free plug in that handles this for you.)

4.  You have to handle your own backup.   (There is a plugin that will back up your wp blog system.  However, I recommend Mozy which backs up all of your computer files along with your WordPress blog.)  I once lost 4 years worth of artwork because I didn’t have a good backup system in place… but that a story for another time.

Which Do I Suggest?

I think it’s obvious which I prefer.  I use WordPress.Org because I have a business and want full control.

1.  As my blog grows and evolves, I want to be able to make the changes and upgrades necessary without limitations.  With the availability of plugins… that option is always open to me.

2.  I enjoy the flexibility of choosing and changing themes as I wish.

3.  Yes, there are a few costs involved… but the expenses are far below the real value.  I find the cost minimal.  All businesses have operating expenses.

4.  Setting up a WordPress.Org site is not has hard as one may think.  If you need assistance, here are many folks out there willing to help… including me.

5.  Again… because my blog is an vital part of my business, I want full control.  I don’t care to be at the effect of a company who has the option to shut down my blog… for what ever reason.

There you go… Of course you can choose which once suits your needs the best.  Which ever you choose… I have to say the WordPress is the finest blog and website platform out there.

Til Later,

Kathryn Griffiths

P.S.  If you need assistance setting up a WordPress Blog… just let me know.  I’d be glad to help!   Go to the bottom of my About page for my e-mail address.

Categories : WordPress
Comments (11)

If PT Barnum were here today, I wonder what persuasive online strategy he would use to promote his circus, “The Greatest Show On Earth.”  Whatever he would come up with… you can bet it would be bold.

Barnum was one of the greatest promoters the world has ever seen.  His marketing and promotion strategies are still studied  by marketers today.

Barnum Was “Bold”

He used promotion methods that set him apart from his competitors.   Barnum use an old marketing strategy called… ” A Circus Barker.”  That’s the guy who stands and shouts out the benefits of purchasing a ticket to see the circus.  His job was to  “Call The People To Action.”  He had to  persuade folks to purchase a ticket and go through the door… then it was up to the performers to deliver.

Years ago, I traveled with a craft wholesale company to trade conventions.  We had our own “Circus Barker.”  It was the father of my boss, who was quite a large man full of energy and vinegar.  He stood right in the middle of the jam-packed isle, with a funny tall hat on, and called the crowd to action.  His job was to persuaded buyers to step inside our booth to see what we had to offer.  Once in the booth, it was up to the sales force to make the sale.

He was very successful.  Our booth was always over flowing with craft buyers.

What Was His Secret?

Before I tell you how he got them into the booth… I’ll tell you what he didn’t do.

He didn’t suggest.   “You might want to step into our booth to see the new products we just brought in from China.

He didn’t ask.  “Will you please step into our booth and take a look at the the new Halloween and Christmas stickers we are featuring this season.

Now… Exactly What Did He Do?

First, he first drew attention to himself by getting out there in the isle, wearing a funny hat and got the crowds attention.  No sitting in a chair in the booth hoping someone would walk in…  like so many of our competitors.

And more importantly… He “told” the buyers what to do.

“Place your Christmas ornament order now because we’re not going to take any more orders after this convention.”  (Which was the truth because we had to get our numbers in to our China factories.)

“Go into our booth right now and place your Christmas ornament order.  They’re the most unique ornaments you’ve ever seen and they are going to sell like hot cakes for you.”   (And he was right… the ornaments were unique, clever, and the price was right.)

What Can You Do?

In online marketing…we can’t wear a funny hat and stand out in the middle of the isle and be a “Circus Barker.”   However, you can “bark” your message on all the social media sites.  You can “bark” your message to your list.   You can “bark” your message to Google by using powerful keywords.  You can “bark” your message when you write articles.

When you have their attention…  you must bold in your “Call To Action” when directing folks to your opt-pages, sales pages and blogs.  “Tell“, (not ask or suggest), your prospective customer exactly what you want them to do.  And, be “Bold” about it.

Til Later,

Kathryn Griffiths

P.S.  Go immediately and purchase the most fantastic WordPress Plugin ever built.  It will make your WordPress life a piece of cake.  Do it now before the price goes up… and… let me tell you… it will.  This guy doesn’t mess around!

Your thoughts?

Categories : Promotion
Comments (5)


Featured Author:  Yvonne Jones

The guest author of today’s post is Yvonne Jones of “My Success Circle Online.”  She is a Solo Entrepreneur who teaches Relationship Building and Marketing skills to entrepreneurs and small business owners

4 Effective Ways to Attract Traffic to Your Online Business

All businesses, online or offline, have a common need.  Traffic.

If you have a beautiful brick and mortar store or office that is well-stocked, or offer services but few people, if any, ever walked through your door or inquire about your service, it would be catastrophic to your bottom line and you’d soon be out of business.

The same principle applies if your business in online.  To be successful you must be able to attract traffic or visitors to your online business.  Listed below are four ways you can do this effectively.

1.  Set Up a Blog:

a.    Your blog can be the central point of your online business around which the other aspects of your business revolve.

b.    Your blog allows people to get to know you.  They can leave comments and through your answers you can build a relationship with them.

c.    As a blogger you will visit other blogs in your market and leave great comments.  Many of these bloggers will reciprocate by visiting your blog and leaving comments as well.  Other readers will be attracted to your blog because they found your comment on other blogs helpful and want to learn more about you.

2.   Visit Forums:

Identify forums in your market and without spending too much time, visit some of these and read the threads.  For most forums you must be a member in order to leave a comment.  When you decide to join the forum, set up your profile with your ‘signature’.  Make sure to include the URL for your website in your ‘signature.’  When you post a question or reply your website address will be shown.  Your thoughtful comments and answers will attract people to click on the link and get to your website.

3.   Social Networking Sites:

Twitter and Facebook, as well as other social networking sites allow you to connect with people with similar interests quickly. Through keywords and interests listed in Profiles, you can identify people who are marketing strategically online in your niche.  It’s important to learn the correct techniques for effective use of these sites so that your friends and followers can be attracted to your website.

4.   Article Directory Submissions:

Write articles that are rich with keywords and submit these to the various article directories.  My favorite directory is ezinearticles.com. Because your article is optimized with keywords, people will likely find your articles.  In addition, there is a Resource Box at the end of each article which allows you to tell mostly about what you do and have to offer in connection with your topic.  This information in this box should attract your readers to your website – whether it’s your blog or a landing page with a special offer.

It’s important to have a plan so that when you attract visitors to your online business you know what your next step will be to continue to build the relationship.

Yvonne is an Internet Marketer who works with new Entrepreneurs and Direct Sales professionals who want to create an online presence and build their own brand.   She is also a Skin Care and Image Consultant who works with women to help them feel better about themselves by developing a skin care program to meet their specific needs.

Yvonne can be found at two locations:  http://mysuccesscircleonline.com and  http://yvonneajones.com

Categories : Marketing
Comments (10)

If you’ve been in Internet Marketing for very long, I’m sure you’ve come across the term PLR rights.  When I first looked into PLR products, I wondered how they worked and if using them was ethical.

Perhaps you have few of the same questions.

How Do PLR Products Work?

Someone creates a product, and decides to offer it as a PLR product. You determine that the product works for your market, and you purchase the product, along with the private label rights.  You then make changes to the product to make it uniquely your own, and then you sell it…. or give it away.

It’s as simple as that.

Most PLR Allow You The Following Rights.

1.  Put your name on the product as the person who created it.

2.  Sell the product for any price you choose, or give it away.

3.  Make any changes to the product to give it your own flare.

4.  Package the product with other products.

However, make sure you read the PLR file or License that comes with the product.  Sometimes they vary a bit.

Here Are 2 Valuable PLR Tips.

1.  A good PLR product is one that is limited.  In other words, every Tom, Dick and Harry  will not be able to purchase the rights because only a certain number will be sold.

2.  Purchase your products from reputable sellers.  Not all Private Label sellers and products are equal.

Is Using PLR Ethical?

The answer is yes… most marketers use PLR products for free giveaways and bonuses to products they are selling.  To better answer that question… watch the following video where Nicole Dean of Easy PLR will give you some insight.

Happy Marketing and Promotion!

Til later,

Kathryn Griffiths

P.S.  For this particular blog post…I used bits and pieces of a  PLR product.. to show you it can be done.  Bet you didn’t know it.  I used PLR information and changed it to suit my style and liking.

Even though you don’t have too….I recommend that you change the product to make it your own.

Here are three PLR resources I highly recommend because of their great content and selection.

EasyPLR – Nicole Dean

PLR.Me – Ronnie Nijmeh

DIYplr Alice Seba and Mila Sidman

Please comment.

Categories : Copywriting
Comments (6)

You can use search engines to your advantage if you understand how their “Spiders” or “Web Crawlers” work.   Learning how to use the search engines to get greater visitor visibility to your blog or web site is called Search Engine Optimization.    SEO is the skill or process of improving the visibility of your web site by natural or unpaid methods.

Algorithm:

The search engines use precise mathematical formulas or programs to process data.   These formulas are called algorithms.

Web Crawlers – Or Spiders:

A “spider” is an automatic program (algorithm) that is run by a search engine system that crawls your site for information.  A very simple explanation of how it works is:  A “spider” visits your site and crawls your pages, reads your Title Tag, the content of your post, looks for keywords, and follows the links your pages contain.

It then returns all that information to a central depository, where the information is stored and indexed.

Indexing:

An index is almost like a huge book that contains a table of contents.  When some one searches for a particular word or term or phrase… (which are called “keywords”), the search term is looked up in the index and the information is delivered to the searcher.

Millions of pages are indexed every day and you want to make sure your blog pages are indexed with a high ranking so readers can find you easily  That is the reason you need to be SEO smart.

Web Crawler Are Smart:

Spiders or Web crawlers (algorithms) are really smart.  They not only can crawl your page and see your title tag, content, and links… they scan for relevant keywords, their frequency and location in the content of  your pages.  They can also detect artificial “keyword stuffing”… or spamming.

Revisit Schedule:

A spider can also detect how frequently you post on your blog.  After they visit your site numerous times, an algorithm sets up a “revisit” schedule.  This is the reason, it is wise to be consistent in the frequency of your posting.

If you post 3 times a week… it’s best to post on the same days and about the same time.   The spiders will be by to check on your site based on your “revisit” schedule.

When your posting is erratic and not uniform, many of your pages will not be indexed because your “revisit schedule” or the web crawlers have been disrupted.

There is no SEO benefit to blogging everyday for 30 days when you have been posting three times a week.   The search engine will not index many of your blog pages during the 30 days because your “revisit schedule” will not change unless the blogging pattern remains the same for some time.

If you’re into “30 Day” blog challenges… evaluate your goal.  Are you blogging for SEO, networking or social reasons?  If you’re trying to build your SEO… you need to continue blogging everyday… even after the challenge if over for optimum SEO results.

Forming a blogging frequently pattern and being consistent with that schedule will bring you the best SEO benefits.

Happy Marketing and Promotion!

Til Later,

Kathy Griffiths

P.S.  The reason I love WordPress is that so many SEO advantages are already built into the system.  If you utilize the plug in… All in One Seo… you are far above and beyond most bloggers who don’t take advantage of this fantastic plug in.

Categories : SEO
Comments (14)