Filtering by Tag: business

Content – Are You Sure You Can Handle It?

I WANT YOU to write blog posts! by Search INfluence on Flickr

You get it!

Adding quality content to your website is the best way of moving up through the search engines – whether it’s text, video, audio, images – whatever – so long as it is relevant and interesting – the more new content you add the more likely it is that people are going to talk about you.

So why do the vast majority of people find it so hard to actually follow through and do this?

Producing Quality Content Takes Time

The majority of our clients are small to medium size businesses – if you’ve got less than ten employees it’s unlikely that you have the budget for a dedicated online marketer – so – whose job is it to write the copy for the website?

We can guarantee that the person with Marketing in their title is rushed off their feet with traditional channels - the longer term ROI of online / social media marketing just doesn’t stack up in the short term; phone a client or write a blog post – guess which one loses?

Writing Quality Content is a Skill

We’ve written this before but it’s worth repeating: just because you watch House religiously doesn’t mean you can diagnose your own illness and a passion for the Practice doesn’t make you a lawyer. Sure you’ve been writing most of your life but it doesn’t mean you’re any good at it.

Writing for the web is different than writing a letter or an essay or even a marketing brochure – there is a structure and an underlying logic to writing a blog post – it isn’t hard to learn but like the professions above, you have to practice it to get good.

Setting Yourself Up to Fail

As a small business owner myself I think the reason people struggle with producing copy is that they don’t allocate a significant value to it. Because they’re smart and capable individuals they look at the act of producing web copy and assume that they can do it themselves - why pay someone for something that you’ve been doing since you were three?

Of course what happens next is that life gets busy, time gets short and if they do actually allocate time to write they suddenly find that it’s hard to convey what they want in an interesting way. Be honest – if you have ten things to do – which do you do first – the ones you know how to do or the ones you have to work at?

Outsource the Writing of Content

We’re working with a couple of different clients who have some copy for their sites but need it optimized for SEO – keyword phrases researched, text tweaked, re-presented and organized. Good copywriters can charge anywhere from $35 an hour up to the $100+ - we tend to work with people in the $50 to $75 an hour range and are delighted with the quality we receive.

If you can establish a relationship with a writer who over time gets to know your business – where you can have a 15 minute Skype conversation with them where you relate the idea of what you want to get across – maybe provide a couple of links to sites – have them produce the copy, tag it and then post it to your site – how much is that worth to you?

This of course has sparked the idea for the next post – which will talk about online marketing spends shifting – I wonder what companies are doing with the hundreds of dollars a month they were spending on “SEO” – link building, multiple sites, etc – do you think they’re now spending it on copywriting?

Image Credit: I WANT YOU to write blog posts! by Search INfluence on Flickr

Last Man Standing…

..or Woman It has been an auspicious month for Kilted Chaos – Alex and I met for the first time – our articles of incorporation finally arrived, signed by Wyoming’s secretary of state – we’re delivering on 3 major corporate projects across three different countries and we have a kick ass creative genius that we’re nurturing. An overnight success that took 3 years!

Over the next month we will be re-branding Kilted Chaos, we won’t be losing the chaos sphere or our rather irreverent approach to business, but we will be making it easier for companies to understand what it is we do. We’ll be taking the lessons that we have learned while working with clients big and small over the years and applying them to ourselves. It’s the words – “lessons we have learned over the years” - that form the basis of this post. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a small business or an independent band – it is the lessons you learn by actually doing it that eventually shape what you become.

Alex and I first met online 3 years ago, I can’t remember the community – could have been Craig’s list, could have been a Wordpress message board, but he delivered a solution to a problem I had and did it in a way that made me want to engage back. Over the years we have built a relationship based on the equitable delivery of work product – we have learned how to communicate using email and Skype, we know how to disagree with each other, how to motivate each other, we’ve educated each other in new areas and as a result, we have a company that solves problems for many different types of organizations.

Over the years we have watched people and companies come and go – we’ve seen “Gurus” rocket to stardom for a couple of months and then just as quickly disappear – we’ve watched the aggressive self-promoters last a little longer but ultimately suffer the same fate – and yet all the while – we’ve been getting better and better at what we do.

The thing is – at some point – you have to actually deliver – or as Seth Godin says – you have to ship. Your sites have to work – your product has to actually rock!

We love this paradigm – both in business and in music – sure, right now – there’s a million different things competing for attention – but eventually – the wannabees, the poseurs, the douches, the people who are in it for the fast buck – they’re going to die out because they can’t sustain. We’ll be left with the people who kept at it – who did it – who didn’t give up, who learned from their mistakes and got better, who actually know how to make shit work and to make shit rock.

Casa Victoria

Casa Victoria is a funky furniture shop in the hip Silver Lake neighborhood of Los Angeles. With inventory ranging from 1930’s art deco pieces through to matching President Lincoln book ends – they have a lot of stuff to show off and were looking for an easy way to do it that didn’t involve trekking to a “web guy” every week.

Casa Victoria La - by Kilted Chaos

The approach here was to make the site as image heavy as possible without slowing it down. Use of CSS image sprites add interest while keeping page loads light and a cunning twist on category management allows the owners to easily arrange their inventory while maximizing visibility.

To keep server space down, product images are stored on Flickr and to ensure maximum visibility have a creative commons license – increasing the possibility that Casa Victoria inventory will be seen on other sites. To add a new item the owners simple create a new blog post – paste in the id of the product image on Flickr and the Flickr product set into the shortcode and bam – a new product is listed within the right category – couldn’t be easier.

Add to that a simple styling job on the Casa Victoria Twitter and Facebook pages – hook everything together and you have a super easy to use and incredibly effective approach to promoting a local business.

  • PLATFORM - Wordpress
  • Theme - Thesis 1.6
  • Key Plugins: Flickr Gallery (Easy images + added SEO)
  • Price point of Site: $550

Adding Your Business To Yelp Is Easy

What kind of a business turns down ½ a billion dollars?

For local business owners who think that social networking is a fad and that sites like Facebook and Yelp are childish nonsense that have nothing to do with their business, this is your wake up call. Last week Facebook beat Google as the number 1 most visited website and back in December Yelp turned down a Google buyout of $500 million (and apparently later rejected another offer of $750M from a different party.)

The success of these sites is the clearest indicator yet that if you are not actively working the online space – you losing out. Yes we know there are only so many hours in the day and yes we know some of you can barely type, but to be in business in 2010 means you need these skills.

A while back we did a simple walk through on how to add your business to Google Local Business and we thought it might be fun to do the same for Yelp. Of course you can have us do this for you, we’ll work with you to get the right language, imagery, etc, etc – but if you’ve got the time – it’s pretty easy – here you go:

So first off - get yourself to the Yelp Business Home Page - you'll find it right here - https://biz.yelp.com/ - and it looks like this. Watch the video if you have time or go ahead and click "Get A Business owner Account"

Yelp Business Owners - Find Your Business on yelp

Here's where you type in the name of your business and the city - if you're well established it is likely that someone has already entered your business into Yelp - at that point you can "Claim" your business - but that's a tutorial for another time (it's pretty much the same as this though!) Anyway - go ahead and see if you're already in there

Yelp Business Owners - Find Your Business on yelp

If Yelp can't find you they'll suggest a few options - I kinda like the idea of tilted chaos - still - if nothing recognizeable appears - then click on the "Having trouble finding your business?" link

Yelp Business Owners - Find Your Business on yelp

..and you'll arrive on this nice entry form - enter your details using your business email address

Yelp Business Owners - Add Your Business on Yelp

And voila - you arrive here and your Business page is almost ready to be published, but Yelp needs to confirm your email addresss but this part of the process is pretty quick so by the time you go to your inbox you ashould already have...

Yelp Business Owners - Business ready To be published

This email - click the link and you arrive back at Yelp and your page has been created. But what next?

Yelp Business Owners - Verify Your  Email

If you read the above email again you'll see that the Yelp customer support team has to review your submission before you can claim your page and start editing it. So - you have to wait.

If you're lucky the following email will arrive within 30 minutes - but it can take longer - the last two we set up took 5 minutes.

Yelp Business Owners - Claim Business Page Email

So - having clicked on the link - you arrive here. In order to edit your Yelp Business page - you need a Yelp Business Account (it's free) and takes less than a minute to set up.

Yelp Business Owners - Set up Your Yelp Business owners Account Page

It's quite simple - you fill in the following form using your business email address and once again Yelp will send you a confirmation email which will take you to..

Yelp Business Owners - Set up Your Yelp Business owners Account Page

Ta Da! - You've created the page and now you have access to it. So it's time to get busy adding your information

Yelp Business Owners - Congratulations Page


Next comes a series of 6 screens where you get to enter information about your business, your logo, descriptions of what you do and how you do it as well as some info about you - the person behind the business. Seeing as business is all about time it seems fitting that the first screen is about your opening hours....

Right - we'd love it so that business hours are only 9 to 5 - hell - if you can get away with it - good luck to you. The strange thing about this page is that even though you will enter them here - for some reason the system doesn't take it and you will need to enter them again at the end of the process - so - don't worry too much about getting them in here - move on...

Yelp Business Owners - Business Hours Page

This is our favorite part of the whole Yelp business page - you can put an offer right in front of your reviewers - how cool is that. If you can - make it special to just your Yelp customers - i.e. - if you're reading this on Yelp and you come in and say the magic codeword (which today is Bananas) you'll get 20% of your check - try it out - you'd be amazed at the loyalty this kind of tool creates.

Yelp Business Owners - Offer Page

This is your elevator speech - you know - the one where you have a couple of sentences to say really succintly what it is you do and how you do it. Don't be over the top - you are writing for one person only - the person reading this page - you may be the best but really - there's so much over exaggerated crap that nobody is believable anymore - write the basics and let your customers and reviewers say that you're the best - capiche?

Yelp Business Owners - Business Specialties Page

You need a Square image - any size will do - but it has to be square. Load up as many as you like - maybe a few shots of happy smiley customers or you handing a big check to charity - that kind of thing.

Yelp Business Owners - Business Photos Page

Does the President use your services? This is where you choose to share that (or not!) make it relevant and avoid the hyperbole - write as if you were speaking to someone face to face - and for god's sake be honest!

Yelp Business Owners - Business History Page

Here's where you get to upload your smiling face - and yes - we strongly recommend that you have a picture of yourself. Icons and branding are great for business identity but this bit is about you and you have to appear human (even if you're really an evil cyborg.) Whatever your personality is - make sure it comes across in the text - if you're not a big talker - leave it very business focused - what skills have you learned along the way that will influence a reader to use your services - if you're a crazy gregarious person - let it rip - share as much of yourself as you are comfortable with.

Yelp Business Owners - Business owner's Bio Page

You will finally arrive on the following page. Annoyingly enough it isn't quite 100% complete - for some reason you have to go back and add your hours again. Not quite sure why it doesn't take it earlier - but there you go!

Yelp Business Owners - Summary Page

So - having added your hours - you can finally go and check out your new Yelp Business owner's Page:

Yelp Business Owners - Complete Business Page

Awesome!

Not exactly rocket science but it helps if you have all your information ready and in one place. And of course, if you're thinking strategically - you will be using the same information and visual branding across all of your social media sites.

having set up your Yelp page you now need to make an active effort to check it regularly and to respond to customers - again - more on that another time.

Kilted Chaos - Colorado

Kilted Chaos - Los Angeles

Digital Music News

If you’re thinking of your band as a business – (which we sincerely hope you are by now) then there is another read that you might want to incorporate into your daily routine: Digital Music News.  Written by Scion of the business Paul Resnikoff and his team out of Los Angeles, the Daily Snapshot is delivered to 20,000 subscribers every morning around 5 AM and has everything you need to negotiate that fat 360 deal with the label.

Let's not allow the fans to kill the music

I met Paul at the 2nd Bandwidth conference in San Francisco a few years back; for a journalist who operates in such a turbulent market he was one of the most positive and enthusiastic guys there – you can tell that he eats, sleeps and breathes the music world.  I’ve been reading DMN for 4 years now and if I had to choose one industry publication over all others – this would be it.

Aimed at Industry executives – the snapshot’s content tends to be data driven (which is reassuring!) backed up with thoughtful analysis in digestible bite size paragraphs.  Relevant ads from companies whose services you might actually want to use as well as the latest conference dates and industry jobs makes it a great top level start to the day.

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