Stepping Outside Your Comfort Level

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I have been traveling a lot for work and it reminds me how important connecting with people in real life is – and how it has really become a long lost art. It also reminds me how I got into blogging in the first place, and how it seems a lot of bloggers have lost their voice, their authenticity.

Example 1: Do Something that Scares You

This week I brought a client from New Jersey to Virginia to hold her hand through her first conference. She is excited and yet scared to do something she would never have done in the past – and needed a little help from me to show her the ropes. It also has been empowering to me to realize how well I can manage these things – take charge, have everything organized and completed flawlessly, how to connect with people naturally and not be afraid.

Remember yours? The first time (or maybe you haven’t yet!) you went to a blogger or social media conference and were so excited – and then were too afraid to talk to anyone? You played on your phone. You stood in the corner. You left without saying goodbye to anyone, but then Tweeted them from the train on your way home.

Stop. Turn around. Go back.

Homework:

I want you to do something that scares you this week. I want you to go to an event and talk to a stranger. I want you to finally try that aerial yoga class you saw someone take on Facebook. Then I want you genuinely write about it – from your heart – and tell me what happens.

Example 2: Yorgo’s Bageldashery

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Irene Weinberg with Rodney at Yorgo’s Bageldashery

I walked into a bagel shop this morning in Norfolk, Virginia with a client and honestly fell in love with the place. It had a warm, welcoming vibe, the workers were friendly, and before I knew it – we were chatting with the owners over bagels and coffee about the history of the area, sailing, bagels and more.

I felt an honest connection, and wanted to share the love on social media to promote them – not for money, not out of obligation, but out of genuine want to help them and let my followers  know where I was. Just sitting with them reminded me why I do what I do – to connect with people, the learn the scenery an experience the world – oh, and just bring you along on my journey.

Homework:

When was the last time you wanted to actually TWEET about something cause you loved it – and weren’t getting paid to say it? I want you to remember how social really works – but BEING social. I want you to engage your audience with something that is fun and happy to you – just because. Then tell me what happened.

Example 3: Speak Your Mind

Maybe it’s just me, but I am getting bored of reading paid reviews and see your “ads” on Twitter. *Yawn* When I first started blogging, I would write about all the crazy things that happened to me when I was pregnant. I would speak my mind about breastfeeding in public, or why I choose to be a co-sleeping parent. But more and more, I see myself getting “too busy” to write about the really cool things that happen to me that people would find interesting and instead writing about yet another product or event. I’m even bored with myself.

Homework:

Find a new way to inject life into your words. This doesn’t mean you can’t write about products, or events or food. But give it LIFE. I want to hear the story behind it. I want to see the how the commute was a nightmare, and how you spilled it all over your shoes. Or how your toddler almost pulled down the step and repeat. I want the raw, honest story of life that happens. That’s what is interesting – your life. Don’t be afraid to show it.

I want to authenticity back into our writing before I tune out blogging all together – who’s with me?

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5 Essential Business Books for Bloggers

When is the last time you actually sat down and read a good book. I mean, put your phone down and laid in bed and read a real, hard copy piece of work? Even though we work mainly online, I think it’s important to still hold on to tangible items here and there – like a book. People laugh that I still use a daily journal to keep my schedule, but I feel (and see a lot of other bloggers) it helps keep me more grounded and organized.

So this week, I am giving you some homework. I want you to take a step back from blogging so much and stressing yourself out, and I want you to read. Blogging and small business is just like any other profession – you need continued education. Doctors do it. Lawyers do it, and now I want you to do it. Here are five outstanding books to choose from to get your started.

I think it will recharge you and give you better inspiration to keep going for the year as a successful business owner. The best part? You can get these all on Amazon (hard copies!) for around $1-2 each! It’s like a yard sale for your brain! Enjoy –

1. UnMarketing

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I will just say this. I. Love. Scott. (maybe he’ll read that and be flattered). He honestly changed my life when I met him because he’s honest, raw and real. He’s one of those guys who will feed you no bull shit and call you out on all the things you’re doing wrong that are making you (and us as an industry) look bad. If you want a dose of reality, this is the book to read – because it will honestly make you a much better marketing person.

2. The Art of Social Media

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This is all the rage these days – if you don’t know the name Guy Kawaskai – order this book asap. He’s the new guru of social media, and he spells it all out for you here in this book. It will give you a lot of great tips to revamp your social media strategy, and hopefully even free up some more time to read TWO books on this list.

3. Good to Great

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The original must-read book for any business owner or someone striving to be. I read this in grad school and it had molded the pathways to success. It basically says, do what you are good at, and stick to it. Stop trying to do a little of everything and focus on your talents. Today, bloggers spread themselves too thin over a wide range of areas when they can be successful focusing on what their best in.

4. Nice Girls Don’t Get Rich: 75 Avoidable Mistakes Women Make With Money

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If you need some tough skin, pick up this book. It’s still a man’s world out there, and if you act like a girl all the time, you aren’t going to reach the financial success you’re destined for. This book reminds us how to get what we want by being a lady, but a bitch at the same time. And to STOP killing yourself and business by drowning in debt from things you aren’t even aware of! You might even want to follow up with her first book, Nice Girls Don’t Get The Corner Office. That’s the book that started me on my journey to being my own boss.

5. 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

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Another oldie but goodie. If this hasn’t crossed your path yet – you’ll want to pick it up. This was also a great book I read in grad school because it talk us about morals and ethics, and how to be genuine in a journalist world. As a blogger, let me as you – have you ever done a post or taken money to talk about something that wasn’t exactly what you believe in? Well, your readers probably also noticed. This book will teach you how to still be successful without jeopardizing your brand. ** The forward is by Jim Collins – the guy who wrote Good to Great, so you can see these authors actually work together and believe in what each other is saying – maybe you should, too!

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Get Mobile-Friendly Now, and Why You Should Love Meerkat

I had an interesting conversation yesterday that started like this, “When is the last time you read an entire paragraph on a website?” Rarely, right? Most of us skim, look at photos and/or want to get right to business – the giveaway, the price for the product, the sign-up, etc. And here I go on and on in a paragraph….

My point is this: the digital realm is ever changing. If you’re writing novels and have low traffic, you might want to shorten those bad boys up. Can’t bring yourself to do it? Maybe you should put together an e-book for download. Wonder why Instagram is so hot? Because it’s MICRO BLOGGING. People get what they want in just one photo or video. Which leads me to:

Google will penalize you if your site isn’t mobile-friendly by April 21st

If you don’t know what mobile-friendly means, you better just give me a call. You can tell by browsing your own website on your mobile phone – does it fit your screen or do you still have the shrink and stretch to read it? If it doesn’t auto fit, you have about one month to find a new theme (or reach out to your developers) and get that fixed.

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You should be using RESPONSIVE WEB DESIGN. What the heck is that? It means that the page uses the same URL and the same code whether the user is on a desktop computer, tablet, or mobile phone – only the display adjusts or ‘responds’ according to the screen size. Google recommends using RWD over other design patterns.” This last sentence is Google’s emphasis, not mine.

Usually when you go to get a new template for a blog these days they will be responsive, but MAKE SURE.

Why? Because the majority of internet users are browsing from their phones more than ever, and Google wants the information that they find to be relevant and responsive (aka easy to read and navigate).

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Read Google’s Guide to Mobile-Friendly Websites here. You can also drop in your website and see if Google ranks it as mobile friendly or not.


Facebook cleaned up fake and dead likes

You probably saw a drop in your Facebook likes yesterday. Just like Instagram did a couple months back, Facebook went through and removed all the fake/dead accounts (and likes). If you commited the sin of buying likes, you might have seen a huge drop (and so did your followers), so I hope this is finally a a great reminder to STOP THAT. Enough with the like wars – get out there and start ENGAGING your communities!


 Meerkat/Periscope War

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There’s a major storm brewing on Twitter, and for good reason. If you didn’t know – just a couple weeks ago this incredible new app called Meerkat came out. It lets you live stream from anywhere directly into Twitter with a link. Think Google Hangouts on Redbull. You can get lots more engagement, viewers, and more just by hosting and giving a sneak peek into your business. Well, Twitter wasn’t too happy about it, so they came out with their OWN live streaming app – Periscope.

So the big question – which one is better? That’s going to be something we have to follow and find out. What team are you on? Currently we’re still #TeamMeerkat.

Curious to see how it will work? Watch our LIVE Meerkat broadcast from our Coffee Chat on March 31st at 9am! (PS we literally have ONE SEAT LEFT – who wants it??)

If you need more info – you can always email me 🙂

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Social Media – You’re Doing it Wrong

A lot happened last week in the world of social media. First of all, it was #SMWNYC 2015 – a week of everything social media including top tips, trends and setbacks by industry leaders like Mashable, Martha Stewart and the New York Times. Yes, Facebook is still here to stay, and your tweets are still relevant, but here are few key takeaways I thought were worth passing on to you, as well as well, the word on the street here in NYC. It’s pretty chatty if you listen –

1. You’re showing your age.

I hate to tell you guys, but the younger crowds are eating it up on SnapChat. If you’re still scratching your head wondering how brands are connecting with a private image app that you thought was only used for cheating husbands and wives – think again. SnapChat isn’t private anymore, you have the ability to make your profile public, and view public posts as well. Check out how this guy turned his account into a virtual resume for a JOB at SnapChat! Did he get it??? Your audience is here – just how are you going to reach them?

2. Video Video Video.

Now don’t freak out if you’re not ready to swallow the audio voice over pill. While YouTube is king, it’s not the only video options out there. But if you want to keep up on social media, you’re going to have to start adding some video to your life.  As mentioned, Vine is making a huge comeback and is really popular with fans if you can make witty six-second videos. Another cool trend? Fast-motion video. Check out Beyonce – and of COURSE there’s app for that – in fact there are a few. Here’s a list to get you started.

3. Watch this movie – Chef.

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John Favreau brilliantly incorporated the magic of social media into this super cute movie about a chef stuggling with his life’s passion and connection with his son. You’ll see some great Twitter references, as well as – wait for it – VIDEO! His son uses an app on his phone to take one second of film everyday for their entire trip across the country and then turns it into one amazing, tear-jerker video for his dad. Now, how cool would it be if you did that for your brand? Of course it’s a real app! It’s called 1 Second everyday. The movie is available now in Netflix.

4.  YouTube Kids and Google +

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Google has been making a lot of serious changes this week. For one – they launched their first-ever app just for families from the ground up – YouTubeKids. Brilliant. Yes it does exactly what you think it does it corrals all the stuff you want your child to watch in one safe place (and keeps the bad stuff out). It also has cool features like a timer (so you don’t have to be the bad guy!), and pre-set search settings. It’s free and available right now for iOS and Android.

With the addition of one thing, something else has to go, and we’ve all seen it coming. Say goodbye to Google+. Now before you freak out and worry about photos, those Google Hangouts and beyond – don’t worry, they’ll still be around, but they are going to break up. Tear.

Until next time –

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Photo credits: Chef the Film; YouTube