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My Top Blog Posts of 2009

I looked at my stats for the year 2009 on Newspapergrl and OnlinePRBook. Sometimes I’m surprised but here goes

NewspaperGrl blog

  • Most of my traffic comes from Google (34%)
  • The next biggest source is direct (typed in – 22%)
  • One link from The Pioneer Woman’s Blog gave me 13% of my traffic for the year!!
  • Twitter gave me 5% of my traffic (surprising since I invest most of my time on Twitter)

Lessons learned: a link from a big name blogger can inject a TON of traffic. I need to work on getting links from big names in my industry though. I imagine most of those readers didn’t become regulars. Twitter isn’t a great place to get traffic for my blog.

Also, I must have some high ranking reviews on Google. It shows that SEO is better as it ages because posts that I wrote 2 or 3 years ago are still sending me a lot of traffic today. I’m not very deliberate in my SEO because this is a business journal of sorts. My other blog is more business.

Most popular blog posts (most traffic) for 2009

  1. Me, the Pioneer Woman, Dooce & Jason Gough
  2. Drop Ship Access – Not Worth the Price (from 2007)
  3. Blocked by CraigsList?! (from 2006)
  4. The First Business Book to Make me Cry (linked to from Gary Vaynerchuk’s Wall on Facebook)
  5. 4 Tips on Getting Followers on Twitter

Top 5 blog posts on OnlinePRBook Blog (started in July 2009)

  1. 5 Killer Press Release Examples
  2. Example of an SEO Press Release
  3. 7 Killer Online Press Release Tips for Small Businesses
  4. 102 Headline Ideas for Social Media
  5. Free Press Release Sites

What I Want For 2010 – The Year of the Tiger

2010 is here and it’s the year of the TIGER. According to Chinese astrology: The Tiger is said to be lucky vivid, lively and engaging. Another attribute of the Tiger is his incredible bravery, evidenced in his willingness to engage in battle or his undying courage.

chinese-year-of-the-tiger-2010-thumb7885615So I will keep these 2 things in mind: courage and good luck. I will be courageous and lucky this year!

For my online business this year I want to accomplish the following (maybe you can help with some of them!):

  • Sell out of my first run of online PR training DVDs and start streaming them online.
  • Get an article about online PR in Entrepreneur Magazine (I noticed two people I know were in the last issue, so I should be able to swing this).
  • Set up my affiliate program. Then find at least 10 joint venture/affiliates  to sell my DVD and make a commission of $75 a sale on each.
  • Finish my SEO press releases ebook and start producing one per quarter.
  • Start an online store for my online PR products at www.OnlinePRBook.com. Challenge: what platform to use? Cost? I want it to be like an ecommerce store rather than spread in random places throughout my site.
  • Get my email list up & going!!! This sounds so easy but it’s been stopping me for a while now. It’s almost embarrassing that I’ve never done it.
  • Find newsletters to put content in in exchange for a mention of my DVD (this is the biggest investment I’ve ever made in my business, besides my book and of course I want it to be very successful. It’s 3 hours of content.
  • Become a better speaker – join Toastmasters and look for new opportunities to do both in-person and webinars. (Is there a list of webinar hosts??)
  • Write press releases about the DVD, important webinars, etc.
  • Update my blog with a real photo of me, widen the main section, underlined links (I’ve tried), remove ads except for my own (since they mysteriously stopped making money when I redesigned my blog), font color = black, fix background colors on sidebar to white, add Facebook & Twitter Connect, remove dates & make comments link larger, any other suggestions for me?
  • Get banner ads made for the DVD.

What about you? What are you looking for in 2010?

Gorgeous Letterpress Christmas Card

My former husband is a letterpress printer – his wife is an artist. She designed and printed these Christmas cards. They are my favorite cards. I wish you could feel them. They’re luxurious.

I’m not good at scanning the colors, but this is how I wanted to say Merry Christmas and thank you for reading!

letterpress-christmas-card-front-small

Merry Christmas Happy Holidays 2009

Here’s my life in Facebook updates:

facebook1

Highlights of 2009:

I made my own products, which I should’ve done sooner! Since writing a book I’ve written more about other authors and bought more books myself.

  • My book, I Need a Killer Press Release, Now What??? was published and is selling on Amazon and Happy About! (what, you haven’t seen it yet? what are you waiting for)
  • A companion DVDKiller Online Press Releases was produced (and it was a LOT of work, tons of hours but it’s for sale!)
  • I’ll soon be selling the audio and transcripts of my webinar with Joan Stewart

I partnered with amazing people & organizations this year:

I also blogged a lot and started a new online pr blog

Next up for 2010:

  • Developing my email list – yes it’s amazing that I haven’t done this yet!
  • Finishing the update to my SEO press release ebook
  • Some book partnerships?
  • Create an online store to sell my products

To do on the break

On a personal note, I haven’t taken so many vacations or learned as much and worked as hard on my business as I have in 2009.

What was significant about your year? What is in store for 2010? Share in the comments.

Peace, prosperity and fun to you all! Let’s Crush it in 2010!

How NOT TO Fire Someone

This is an email sent to someone I know this past week, firing them while they were on vacation (not that there is ever a good time to fire someone). Read on for my comments [in brackets] and advice…and you might want to play this song as you read.

SUBJECT: Updates and changes

Hope your vacation is going well. I feel bad that I am writing you an
email to give you this update but due to the nature of the contract I
feel it is imperative to contact you now.

[First, let me tell you about your replacement]
Over the past 6 months, I have been in touch with a past colleague
that I have been “courting” to join ____ and me with our [what we do so well].

We both worked with him in the past and know his
abilities. Well, earlier this week he notified me that one of the two
contracts he has been working on dried up. As a result he is available
and willing to work with us. I can’t be more excited to have him help
out. [and to get rid of you so I can hire him]

His expertise and experience is very comprehensive and has made me
reevaluate our current structure and set-up [yours is not]. This evaluation, and
financial assessment, has led me to conclude that there is too much
overlap with what I am going to have him do and what you are doing for
the project [he's taking your place].

The bad news, and again I am sorry for sending this email [NOT REALLY!!]
rather than calling or waiting until you return [That would take some courage I don't have], but as he is joining
right away, I am, effective today, terminating your contract with [name of company].

I debated on calling you but thought it best to not bother you with
your family time today [besides, I'd rather ruin your vacation than tell you the day you return]. I welcome a call and hope to talk with you
upon your return [not really, but it makes me feel better to say that]. That said, please transition your work to _____ straightaway and provide me with your final time sheet.

Thanks for all of your work. I am happy to provide you a reference if
you so desire. [but it won't be a good one!]

Regards and best wishes,

JERK

———————————–

NOTE TO JERK: first, this person should thank you – you did them a favor. You saved them from working together any longer. But maybe you could’ve handled this better.  Contractors can be let go of by either side without notice or reason. Make it a business decision rather than bragging about the person you got to replace the person you just hired.

Firing someone is not easy or fun. Neither is telling someone they didn’t get a job (especially in this economy when people and families are hurting.) I’ve had to do it. I’ve had it done to me. I didn’t like doing it but I always tried to show compassion.

Here’s what I suggest –  you email something like this: We had a change in the business and I regret to tell you that I’ve decided not to hire you on. So effective today[insert date] I’m ending your contract. Thanks for your work.

If they asked why I’d give them a short but truthful response – like this – we found someone else who we thought would fit the position and our company better.

I also have some more free advice for employees: most businesses don’t want to hear your real opinion about their ideas if they are bad ideas. If asked stick to the facts about your reservations. Don’t get yourself labeled as a complainer or someone who stops projects.

My husband taught me this – he will not complain or try to change a lot of things about where he works. He’s on a committee that gives feedback. The boss appreciates that he’s not taking up a lot of his time with things and that he’s producing (his numbers are great). I used to be more free with my opinions and I’ve found most of the time it doesn’t work. Plus, if you I had that many complaints either I needed to change my attitude or look for another job.

It’s always best to keep to the facts and leave the other person out of it.

What do you think?

MarketingSherpa Email Conference in Florida this January

Email Conference from MarketingSherpa

January 20-22, 2010 in Miami, Florida

Email Summit ’10 from MarketingSherpa offers proven tools, tips and strategies to help you avoid common email mistakes.

7 top Email marketing challenges:

1. Delivering highly-relevant email content to recipients
2. Competing with social media for recipients’ time and attention
3. Measuring and proving email marketing program ROI
4. Getting people to opt-in to email lists
5. Integrating databases with email systems
6. Reducing the amount of legitimate emails perceived as spam
7. Increasing email deliverability

Here’s a video link to give you a feel of the Marketing Sherpa Summits: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v6ew0GM_aTU

I haven’t blogged as much about MarketingSherpa but I’ve been a fan for years. They do research and testing so their advice is not guessing, it’s backed by real data. Also, they are professional and you can count on the content being top-notch.

Email marketing is inexpensive compared to other forms of marketing. You can see how many people opened your email and track what is most effective. I need to ramp up my email marketing now that I have a book and a DVD (coming next month).

You can try to learn yourself, or attend and learn from pros. There are duel learning tracks: B2B and B2C. They’ll focus on practical and specific Email tactics and strategies. You can choose either learning from reviewing case Studies, the latest research on email marketing, or one-on-one clinics.

Save $200 until January 8, 2010 by using the link below.

Sometimes the Internet Leads me Astray

I was listening to a beautiful concert with my parents and husband when I started jotting down ideas for our family Christmas card. I was reviewing the past year and the accomplishments. We also try to make it funny and entertaining. Stephen took my notebook and drew these 2 things.

I decided to label it

Two Ways the Internet Led me Astray this Year

#1 way the Internet led me astray: pruning our new peach tree:

pruningatree

We had a tree (not quite that productive) that had some peaches and I went to YouTube to learn how to take care of it. What happened is I butchered it and no more peaches!

Then there was a time after I was first married. I read on a blog that you could cure acne with toothpaste (in a crunch). I tried it. My husband still laughs about this one. I tried it before going to bed, woke up and it was all over my face (like Santa Claus or a clown). Here is the drawing of

#2 Way the Internet Led me Astray: Fixing Blemishes

crest

Gary Vaynerchuk Mentions Newspapergrl Post on Facebook

Thanks to Vicki’s comment on this post about Gary Vaynerchuk’s book Crush It! I saw this on Gary’s Facebook page today (how cool is it that his Facebook URL is www.facebook.com/gary)

garyveecrushit

The First Business Book That Made Me Cry

I’ve read inspiring books – many of them. But none has been so powerful that it has made me cry. I’ve cried at the end of novels or in biographies but never before in business. But I did cry when I read this line, and I’m admitting to it.

I’m on an airplane back home and reading Crush It on my Kindle (see my first review of Crush It here). Here’s the part that made me cry:

“Making connections, creating and continuing meaningful interaction with other people, whether in person or in the digital domain, is the only reason we’re here.”

Did you get that?? Does it feel as true to you as it does to me? That is a bold and a spiritual statement because it honors each person we share this planet with as having worth. Not because we earned it, but just because we are.

Why is this so powerful? It’s a rare and radical concept. I see people declare war on their inbox [on Twitter]. Generally speaking, the bigger someone gets the less accessible they are. It’s moving to me, that this is not Gary’s intention because his values dictate his business. No wonder people are willing to go out of their way to help him sell books. This transcends marketing.

His message gives a sense of accountability to everything you do because in essence he’s saying that the Internet captures you forever. That is, there is a record of you that is permanent (whatever that means) and searchable and that people will be able to see who you are longer than you are alive. Once we’re in this conversation, we’re each writing our biographies in scattered pieces around the web.

“No matter how big you get, every email, every customer, every friend, every single person whom you come into contact matters and deserves respect and attention. “

Gary tells the story about how he heard that his company had lost an order for a case of wine days before Christmas. It was too late to ship it so it would arrive in time, so at the busiest time of year, he got in his car and drove 6 hours round trip to deliver the wine to his customer personally. And she was an old lady with no particular influence in society or online. He did it because of his belief in the value of each person. Would I think of doing that? Hell no. Would I now after reading this book? Yes!

This inspires me and though I try to argue with myself I admit that I concur. And I remember that when I spoke at the American Muslim Consumer Conference, I asked the audience to connect with me. I listed my Facebook, Twitter and email accounts. They saw my slide that showed I had 200+ unread messages on Facebook. And that diluted my message. Because what I was really saying is that I might connect with you if I find you relevant to me. And that’s not quite authentic.

Want to know what is? Look at my comments…I’m sure that one day there will be one from Gary. I want you to look for it. I’m going to be.

Surprise Endings
You know how movies capture our attention by having something unexpected at the end – clips of actors goofing off or a joke? I love how Gary does this in his book. After the credits have rolled (and Harper Collins is very tersely forbidding sharing ANY of the content of this book which is about people letting their people openly talk about their own brand) there is an unexpected closing remark that just makes the book.

Another favorite quote from “Crush It!”

The internet is only 14 yrs old or so. It hasn’t even had sex. It has already Crushed It & it’s not done yet.

People still underestimate the reach of this thing [speaking about the internet]. So if you want some inspiration mixed with some practical formulas for crushing it online, this is your book. Maybe it will inspire you too.

Killer PRWeb Webinar with Janet Thaeler and Bill Stroller

So here it is!

*****        You’re Invited to attend a No-Cost Webinar from PRWeb with Bill Stroller, Janet Thaeler     *****

***   “Creating a Killer Publicity Strategy with Online News Releases”   ***

****       When?  Wednesday November 18,2009  from 2:00 – 3:00 EST        ****

Creating a Killer Publicity Strategy with Online News Releases

Wednesday, November 18, 2009
2:00pm – 3:00pm Eastern Time

Register for this free webinar today

Learn about the:

* Time cycle and strategy to help generate buzz
* Newsworthy topics to grab the attention of your target audience
* Publicity resources you haven’t even thought about
* Latest trends and techniques to create publicity
* Do’s and Don’ts for creating a “killer press release”

As a special bonus, all webinar attendees will receive Publicity Insider’s e-book on Press Release Secrets and a copy of the latest online newsletter. Plus, three attendees will get a complimentary copy of “I Need a Killer Press Releases – Now What?

Register for this free webinar today – you don’t want to miss it!

Yes, this is very exciting news (if I had time I’d send out a press release!). I’m a huge fan of PRWeb after seeing the results I got as an online marketer for a B2B firm. I took the traditional press releases from our PR firm, optimized them and sent them out through PRWeb. I couldn’t believe the results!

You know that this is my niche and my passion too. So please join me, Bill Stroller, the Publicity Insider, and PRWeb for a free webinar next week. I was introduced to Bill when I saw his ad in a HARO email. I’ve spoken to him a few times on the phone and hoped to be able to work together.

Thanks for the well-wishes, and if you’re going to be on the call and want to give your input, please leave a comment. Ask a question, let me know what you need most help on, etc. I want this to be packed full of value for you.