Archive for May, 2013

Top 30 Ideas for Content Publishing

Top 30 Ideas for Content Publishing

Most people get stuck when it comes to content publishing ideas. More than likely, the only content they can think of is “blog posts. But did you know there are at least 30 types of content you can publish online?

Here they are.

1.  Blog Posts

We had to say it.  But take note that short blog posts are going out of fashion again.  Google has let it be known it will penalize blog posts that are so short, Google feels they are nothing more than excuses for ads and affiliate links.  Their emphasis on “quality, original content” has all the top bloggers writing posts over 500 words long and very often, twice that number of words.

2.  Infographics

Still at the height of popularity, the latest trend is to impart information in visual format people can absorb with a single glance.

    infographic example

This works so well not so much because many people are visual learners, but because all of us internet-and-mobile age denizens have trained our brains to scan-and-glance digital content, to see if it’s worth spending time exploring further.

3.  Slide Presentations

Social platforms such as SlideShare make it easy for people to share slide presentations.  You can create these as stand-alone information modules… or as accessories for webinars you are holding.

slide presentation content

Plus you can have people follow you from SlideShare – and share your work across other social networks.

4.  Media Page

Every online entrepreneur should have a Media Page (section) on his or her blog or website.  Within this tab, radio hosts, news reporters and readers should be able to find:

  • Photos they can use (including your headshot)
  • Archived newsletters
  • Archived Press Releases
  • Bio information
  • The latest news about you/your business

And anything else you’d like them to share.

5.  Skype Chat Text Interviews

This is a brand new, dynamic and interactive way to present Skype interviews – a live link for people to join in and a blog transcript for those viewing the post after the call has completed.

Skype interview as content

Again, you can generate shares and follows for this type of content – as well as sharing your interviewer/interviewee’s website link, as Vera Raposo of Creative Biz has done with Kristen Eckstein’s Ultimate Book Coach site.

6.  Landing Pages

Short pages you send people to so they will sign up – either for your newsletter, a “freebie”, your website or blog – or a paid product.

7.  Sales Pages

Not-always-longer versions of Landing pages, promoting your paid offer.  Sales pages can come in many formats:

  • Traditional long letter format
  • Short landing page format
  • Horizontal
  • Vertical
  • Video
  • Audio

Pick the format that best suits your audience’s engagement style.

8.  Podcasts

You can make your website more interactive by providing Podcasts — .MP3 audio files your visitors can listen to (or download, if you let them).

podcasts as content

They can listen in real-time, if you provide a teleseminar phone link – and then enjoy the recording in podcast format on your blog.

9.  Newsletter Archives

Everyone who owns a blog or website should have a newsletter – and archive old newsletter editions either on a Media page or in an Archives page.

Newsletters provide an instant history of your business.  People can go through each newsletter, from your very first one, and see where you started out – and where you are now.

If your newsletters are high enough in value you can even choose to keep them in a hidden section for paid members of your membership site.

10.  Templates

People will return again and again to your site if they know you have great resources such as templates at your site.  These can be blog post templates, review templates – even HTML templates.

11.  Tip Sheets

This is another desirable type of content to offer as a sign-up incentive on your blog or website.  The key is to make it highly specific to their most pressing interest at this time – or to new technology that is affecting their niche: (E.g.  “30 Tips For Making the Most of Facebook Changes”).

12.  Images

We don’t just mean “stick a picture in your blog post”.  Image use should be an integrated strategy you use to brand your business and tell your story.

They should consistently support your online identity and “voice”.

13.  Animated Gifs

There’s been such a prejudice against “distracting” animations; this is not a method most people think of, when it comes to content creation.  Yet under the right circumstances, they can be used effectively.

There are two keys to creating a positive rather than a negative effect:

a)    Choose a “loop” that looks natural repeating (e.g. a candle flame flickering, water gently tossing in a bay), rather than a moment in time endlessly replaying.

b)     If you just want to catch attention, simply set the animation to repeat only once, as laid out in this Yahoo answer.

Yahoo Answers

There are many free sites that allow you to create animated .gifs.  Two that are easier than most are Lunapic and  Makeagif, with tutorials and wizards respectively.

(Click on this link for an example of the sort of thing you can do.)

14.  Video

Every online entrepreneur should make videos and share them across platforms like YouTube, Pinterest and Vimeo.  The real issue is what type of video best supports your business?

  • “How to” demonstration
  • “Talking head” update from you to your followers
  • Animation
  • Recorded webinar with slides
  • Video blog entry

15.  Downloadable .PDF files

You can offer eBooks and reports in .PDF format as sign-up incentives for subscribing to your blog or website.

16.  Checklists

Another great sign-up incentive – or bonus.  People love checklists – it helps make them feel organized in a world of chronic digital overwhelm!

Checklists as content

17.  Google Hangouts

You can host a meeting, interview or seminar by creating a “Hangout” within your Google+ account.  Ask fellow Circle members to join you.

Better yet, choose the live streaming option to help it go viral, if it’s something you want everyone to see, and it will automatically be recorded and uploaded to your YouTube channel.

18.  Logo

A Logo that captures in a blink the essence of your business (and helps people instantly think of it) is essential, if you’re branding your business rather than you, yourself.

19.  White Papers

A “white paper” is much like a report, but is usually a formal presentation of statistics or a document analyzing something of great importance to your website visitors.

If your target market is corporate-minded, white papers are usually deemed of more value than “reports”.

20.  About Page

This is one of your best pieces of online real estate.  While you are talking about yourself, you are doing so to build identification and rapport with your ideal visitor, so even when talking about yourself, it should really be all about her.

Use your top keywords in your About page contest.  And it’s a great spot to put a headshot, if you haven’t done so anywhere else on your site.

21.  Bonuses

Bonus downloads and perks add value to your offers, blogs and websites.  These can take any format – video, .MP3, tip sheets, reports…

And they can be created by you… or by a JV partner. (Pick the format your target customer or client would love best!)

22.  Coupons

A coupon can also add value to your offer or website.  You can make them printable, if you have a local business… or give a coupon code at checkout to sweeten an offer.

Just be sure to set a start end date (and limit the number), to keep your ROI in the black!

23.  QR Codes

Are your best paying customers avid Smartphone users?  Then put QR codes on your website, blog, business cards, flyers, merchandise – and more.

You can also set this digital bar code to take people straight to:

  • A telephone call (your number)
  • A text message
  • Your website
  • A coupon or special offer

24.  Cartoons

You don’t often see cartoons  in digital marketing – but that’s all the more reason to consider using them, if your niche members are highly visual-oriented.

cartoons for content

25.  Statistics

Sharing statistics can be a huge draw for many business niches.  You can share them in:

  • Chart format
  • Graph format
  • Tables
  • Lists

26.  FAQ Pages

Having a list of Frequently Asked Questions on your site is a great way to please visitors – and cut down on repetitive emails.

A FAQ page is also indispensable in your Affiliate section, if you have affiliates.

27.  The Legal Stuff

If you are an affiliate marketer, you’ll know you need to provide a Disclaimer or Disclaimer Page, stating that you may receive compensation for recommendations.

Other types of “necessaries”:

  • Terms of Service
  • Privacy Policy (this one’s a “must” too)

28.  Maps

Indispensable, if you’re a local business and want people to either visit your premises or see your range of service.

maps content

29.  Reviews

If you are recommending products, use a review template to provide consistent reviews.

Your aim should be to become a trusted resource for people in your niche, so that yours is the site they turn to first, when looking for product information.

using reviews as content

30.  “How to” Tutorials

These can be in video, diagram, audio, graphic or written format… or a combination of any of these.  (An added bonus: “How-tos” turn your site into a resource.)

how-to content

There are many more content types you can use on your website and/or social media properties – but whichever you choose, be original, unique – and tuned in to your visitors.

Ten Tips on How to Create an Editorial Calendar

Ten Tips on How to Create an Editorial Calendar

The best way to avoid random content publishing is to create a publishing calendar. This is a standard practice in the offline world. Think magazines and other regular publications. If magazine editors waited for inspiration or for free time, no magazine would ever get published.  So how do they churn out high quality content, month after month?

By using an editorial calendar.  And top bloggers have learned this secret too.

An editorial calendar is a plan for producing regular written or media content, at regular intervals (e.g. monthly) at a perfect pace.  It leaves you with deadlines you can use as a roadmap. You won’t have gaps in your postings and there’s no chance for people to forget who you are or give up on your blog.

And it can help eliminate writer’s block and reactivity – the sort that leaves you realizing you forgot that your readers and subscribers were expecting Part Three of your series… yesterday!

1.  Use the Method that Works Best With Your Learning Style

An editorial calendar is only useful if you use it.  And if you set up a physical calendar that doesn’t work with your natural learning style, you’re more likely to forget to use it… or even, ultimately, abandon it.

a)    If you are a kinesthetic learner who likes the hands-on approach, a paper calendar may be your best option.  (Tip:  You will most likely to be able to find plain desktop calendars with large enough slots to be useful in your local Dollar Store.)

Just be sure to put it in a place where you are likely to see it, rather than hiding it away in a desk.

b)    If you are an aural learner, make an audio recording of your upcoming schedule.

c)    If you are a visual learner, paper or digital will work – it’s just a matter of preference.

d)    If you are a read/write learner, a dated, chronological list format will probably work better for you than a graphic calendar format.

If you want to find out or confirm your ideal learning style, try one of the free online questionnaires or quizzes, such as the VARK model.

VARK

 (No sign-uprequired for the basic assessment.)

2.  Create and Coordinate Monthly and Annual Calendars

Many people find that two versions of their editorial schedule work best:

  • A monthly calendar (e.g. WordPress Editorial Plugin)
  • An annual calendar (manual or digital)

The reason for this?  On your Annual Editorial Calendar, you can enter important posts to tie in with events scheduled far down the road; or with seasonal events.

annual editorial calendar

 

Then, every month when you sit down to fill out your monthly Calendar, a quick visual check with the Annual Calendar will allow you to transpose these events onto your monthly Calendar before you input new posts for the current month, making sure nothing gets double-booked – or missed.

(If you like the format in the example above, download it by going to  Angela B.me.)

3.  Use the WordPress Editor Calendar Plugin

If you use WordPress, then the free WordPress Editorial Calendar  plugin can be your best post-scheduling friend.  So do install it.

wp-editorial-calendar

 

While you’re writing your posts or maintaining your blog, you have access to the Editorial Calendar at a click of the button.  And you can log in and glance at your Calendar to see what you have to do today before writing a word.

4.  Use MS Excel to Create Your Editorial Calendar

If you are more comfortable using Microsoft Excel or you are a text-based learner, you may find Excel the best tool for creating your Editorial Calendar.

Another reason for using MS Excel:  If your business is highly fluid, and you know you are going to be tweaking and adjusting your Editorial Calendar perhaps more than the average blogger.

In fact, there are many MS Excel templates for doing precisely that.  (You can download – without signing up; just right-click and save – a very nice template courtesy of Vertical Measures.)

MS Excel for calendars

 

5.  Use Color Coding

If you are a visual or kinesthetic learner, try color coding the different cycles – then highlighting scheduled posts according to each cycle color.

This is also a fabulous trick if you have learning disabilities or any other form of cognitive impairment, as the visual stimulus and cueing helps you mentally “sort” and remember better.

You could also designate cycles by creating a Category field in your Calendar, along with corresponding two- or three-letter Category codes… or combine  both categories and color coding.  (Tip:  Include a Legend at the top of your chart-style annual Calendar or beginning of your multi-page or monthly Calendar.)

color coding

 

6.  Include Your Calls to Action in Your Editorial Calendar

Write down the call to action (CTA) for each item on your editorial calendar.  Not only will this ensure you remember to include it in your blog post, but you will be able to more objectively judge the level of engagement your post is likely to create.

call to action

And yes:  You could designate a color and highlight your CTAs too, if you wish

7.  Learn to Think in Cycles

No matter what your learning style, one of the biggest mistakes you can make is to think in a linear fashion – I. E.  A B C D E F G.

Your blog will feel fuller, richer, more organized and more enjoyable to your readers if you learn to schedule your blog in multiple cycles.

cycles

 

Take your Annual Editorial Calendar and go through using the following “cycles” (and any others unique to your business), one after the other:

  • Seasonal cycle (Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter)
  • Holiday cycle (Christmas, St. Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day, etc.)
  • Events cycle (e.g.  Annual Cycling Workshop, Victoria Day Race, etc.)
  • Contest cycle (e.g.  Summer Photo Challenge, Christmas Giveaway, etc.)
  • Fiscal Cycle (e.g.  .  Your annual business quarter-years, from beginning to end)
  • Product Cycle (All your scheduled, upcoming product launches)
  • Sales Cycles (High and low buying trends – base these on previous sales metrics)

Learning to plan your editorial calendar in this fashion will really help ingrain your business’ “big picture” in mind – and make much better business (and editorial) decisions.

8.  Formalize Your Editorial Calendar Management Protocol

It really doesn’t matter whether you alone update the calendar and distribute information, or your authors or staff are allowed to cross things off and add them – the important thing is a clear understanding of the ground rules – and a clear chain of communication.

communication

 image source: pixabay

So decide on…

a)    Who will update the Editorial Calendar(s)

b)    How the Editorial Calendar(s) will be updated

c)    Who will notify the rest of the team of necessary changes or completions

d)    How they will do this

Making sure everyone understands the system is the best way to avoid scheduling conflicts or omissions.

9.  Create Other Types of Editorial Calendar too

Consider adding social media coding – or a separate Social Media Editorial Calendar.  If you don’t coordinate your social media campaigns with your posts, you could be missing opportunities to allow each platform – blog and social media – to enhance the other.

Plan on the keywords you are going to use in your social media posts, as well as in your blog posts. Align these with ad campaigns, if you are planning any.  (Yes.  Have an Advertising Editorial Calendar too.)

social media calendar

 

You can download the Social Media and Blogging Editorial Calendar template illustrating this tip simply, without sign-up, from Eydie’s Office.

And if handling multiple versions of Editorial Calendar seems too overwhelming – start off with just one, for your blog.

10.  Consider Publishing Your Upcoming Editorial Calendar

Not only will it inspire you to meet your own deadline (since there is nothing more lame than not following through to your readers) but you may attract quality submissions – leaving you with great content to use for your blog and the time to plan next month’s editorial calendar in comfort.

You don’t have to publish it in full Editorial Calendar format:  You can simply make sure you create a section of upcoming stories (with Submission Guidelines) on your website or blog, just as many online magazines and publishing companies such as Chicken Soup for the Soul does.

publishing editorial calendar

 

But when all is said and done, remember that Editorial Calendars are simply tools:  Only you can decide what type works best for you.

And, of course, they’ll be no use unless you use them!

How To Create An Investor Ready Business Plan with LivePlan

How To Create An Investor Ready Business Plan with LivePlan

You have your excellent business idea ready to go. Now you need funding. So the next step is to create an investor ready business plan. There is the hard way to do this and there is the easy way. You’ve decided to make things easy and sign up for LivePlan.  This guide will walk you through quickly setting up your account and creating your first investor ready business plan.

LivePlan is safe and secure.  There are over 500 sample plans and templates. You can access it anywhere, from any device (as well as allow your team to work on the plan with you).  You can also integrate your LivePlan business plan with QuickBooks, for really easy financials.  And Tim Berry’s “Plan-As-You-Go Business Plan” ebook is included with your subscription.

Step 1.  Signing Up

  1. Go to LivePlan.  Click on either the green “Start your business plan” button or the “Sign Up” link. Fill in your contact information.

Sign up on LivePlan

  1. LivePlan will confirm that your data is not a duplicate of someone else’s as you enter your information.

enter your data

  1. Enter your credit card information, including your zip code or postal code, and your three-digit security number (found on the back of your credit card).

enter your cc info

  1. Press the green “Get Started” button in the next screen that opens up.

get started button

  1. Download your free ebook (bottom right corner):  Then make a note of the Help phone number and times, and finally click on the green “New Plan” button.

download LivePlan ebook

Step 2. Preparing to Build Your Plan

You’ll build your plan around what author Tim Berry calls the “core” – market, identity and focus. This will help you create a dynamic, active plan – not a “ponderous document” that is guaranteed to put your investors to sleep.  Yet it will contain all the hard data you need.

You will love planning with LivePlan, whose aim is to help you “keep it simple and practical”.

Before you go any further, take the time to read Berry’s ebook.  If you’re in a hurry, go to Page 14 and treat the three points he makes as an exercise:  Brainstorm and write down your core competencies and focus.

the core strategy

Step 3. Getting Started

Once you’ve read through the book (which is not a long read at all) and done your preliminary brainstorming, return to your LivePlan screen and continue creating your first Business Plan, using the easy Wizard.

  1. Name your plan, indicating whether or not it is for a new business.

start a new busines plan

For our purposes here, we are going to create a simple Start-up Plan.

  1. You may find it easier to start by selecting “Strategy” – though jumping immediately to your financials is also an option.

select strategy first

  1. The next frame that opens up presents a myriad of options. Don’t let this throw you.  What the Chapter Set-up Page does is allow you to work organically.

You can add, remove, re-order or rename the sections shown on the Chapter Set-up page.

This interface allows you to work in whatever way works best for your methods of processing information.  It also allows you to organize your chapters.

You can jump straight to:

  • Your Pitch
  • Your Plan
  • Your Schedule
  • A Scoreboard – all using the horizontal tabs at the top of the interface.

If you want to manage your Users, simply click on the anchor text at the top right.

manage LivePlan users

  1. We are going to create our sample Start-up Plan in a chronological, linear fashion, beginning at the beginning.

Select “Cover Page” up in your horizontal menus:  Then click the green “Get Started” button.

cover page get started

  1. Enter your contact information and other cover page data; then press “Save Changes”.

enter contact info

Be sure to keep the radio button checked in the yellow Table of Contents box, if you want to include a fluid TOC, which will grow or shrink as your document does.

  1. Once you’ve saved your changes, you won’t see any sort of prompt as to what to do next.  Simply go up to the top-left area of your screen, and click on the “Plan” tab, to return to your Chapter Set-up overview.

plan view

  1. Next, write your Executive Summary.  Remember Chapter 14?  It’s broken down, section by section, into an easy-input Executive Summary creation tool here.  If you made any notes, now is the time to copy-paste them into your sections.

executive summary section

Just click on “Go to this section” within the “Who We Are” field

  1. Confirm your selection.

who we are

  1. Type or copy-paste in your data.

enter who we are data

It’s a good idea to open a simple text-editor such as Notepad, and copy-paste sections back and forward to your business plan Wizard entry fields.  Keep referring to the left-hand menu for prompts as to what information should go in each field.

who we are

Don’t worry about putting the “wrong” information in each field.  You can always move text around by copying and cutting your text, selecting sections in the left-hand, vertical menu; then inserting your clipboard text.

You may also decide – at any time – to include a section detailing what your business is not, in order to narrow the focus for your market.  These differences should be limited only to key discrepancies that might affect your investors’ decisions; not minor ones.  They should dis-qualify specific elements in your potential target market.

Don’t be afraid to use specific industry terms – this shows you know what you’re talking about – but do avoid jargon and “filler” phrases, whenever possible.

Be clear and direct.

Also be sure to proof carefully as you go. While LivePlan will underline obvious spelling mistakes, just as MS Word does, it doesn’t catch such errors as a missing initial capital letter in titles.

spelling error

  1. Once you’ve finished, pressed the green “I’m Done” button.  You’ll immediately be able to see how your text will look as a finished product.

Note you can easily edit anything you want to check, simply by pressing the “Edit” button. (Tip:  Single-space your sentences to avoid unwanted indents.)

edit section

  1. When you’re finished editing (or if it’s fine, the way it is) press “Go to Next Section”.

next section button

Repeat this process with the next section; and the next – all the way through the left-hand vertical menu – to complete your Executive Summary.

what we sell

Pay particular attention to the tips contained within the “Instruction” area above the textarea box (highlighted in orange).

Note also that you can apply common formatting commands to your text from the format bar – as well as add images.

formatting commands

Step 4.  Adding Images

You can go back to any section at any time and add an image as easily as you add them to Facebook posts, or to your blog – in much the same way.  Simply press “Add an image” in the formatting bar above the textarea box…

add an image

You’ll be prompted to upload your image.  You can either do so from your hard drive, or simply drag-and-drop your image from an open file or from your desktop into the image area.

upload image

Resize or align your image as you wish.  Click the green “Insert Image” button when you are satisfied.

resize image

Once you press the button, you’ll see your image nicely positioned within your document.

image inserted in doc

As you go through each section, be sure to pay attention to the “Instructions” box.  In addition to tips for creating the most effective text, you will sometimes also find helpful video instruction from Tim Berry.

Step 5.  Your Progress

Every section is as easy as the one before – even the financial data (which many people dread tackling).  LivePlan does all the calculation and formatting for you.  All you have to do is input your raw data and add it to your forecast or chart, one piece at a time.

financial data

Notice you can check a preview at any time.  (Remember to press the “I’m Done” button when you’re finished entering data!)

It’s painlessly easy to create charts, tables and forecasts. You can even connect directly to QuickBooks to integrate your data without having to manually input it.

connect to quickbooks

Scheduling – This is a wonderful feature, of which you can take full advantage.  Your LivePlan Business Plan is a fluid, active document; and as your business progresses, you can refer to your Schedule and add achievements and Milestones.

Your schedule can be a wonderful tool for making sure you proceed on track and on time.

sheduling in LivePlan

You can create as many business plans as you like, as well as returning to them any time to update, edit or even delete plans, simply by clicking on “My Plans” in your top menu bar.

my busines plans

And that’s really all there is to it – everything is made easy as clicking a button.

Step 6. Extras and Resources

But wait, there’s more… Specifically, a Resource section.

help and resources

Here you will find the Sample Plan Library, the Help Center, LivePlan’s toll-free Help number, an email contact link and a section packed with free resources such as:

  • Industry research data sources and authority sites
  • Legal resources and advice
  • Legal forms
  • Startup advice
  • Funding sources
  • Financial management instruction
  • eBooks and reports
  • Planning Tutorials – and many more resources and options

sample plan library

You can also send feedback to LivePlan.

send feedback

Finally, be sure to read the instructions above every textarea box in your planning Wizards.  Not only do the instructions tell you specifically what to do and how to do it, you’ll also sometimes find helpful video links.

video advice

LivePlan is much more than a piece of Business Plan software – it’s a resource kit, mentor and business education course, all in one go.

Canceling Your LivePlan Account

You can cancel your account at any time… but with all the resources and its ease of use, you may find you don’t want to.

When you do cancel your account, you retain access for the rest of your paid month.

After that, your data is deleted.

A Viable Alternative – What do you do, if you don’t want to lose all that data, but you’re pretty sure you’re not going to access your account for several months (or even a couple of years?)

LivePlan has one more gem of a solution up its sleeve:  It allows you to place your account “on hold for  however long you want, for a nominal monthly sum ($2.99 at time of writing).

That way you retain all your data and archives – and you can restart your monthly subscription any time you like.

LivePlan is a superb example of good business planning and growth – and that’s just one more reason why you will find it exceeds its monthly value.