A client, Bob, said to me the other day: “Oh, no, I don’t want to get involved.”
Involved with what?
I am not talking about people's personal affairs (although I think that occasionally we should get involved).
No, I am talking about business groups, charities, chambers, city life.
They could… no, they WILL grow your business.
Because you make connections. Either with your future customer or someone that can lead you to your future customer.
There is usually business development and training thrown in.
What kind of groups are there out there?
Here are just a few genres and ideas:
Networking Groups.BNI, RBN, LeTip, etc are great networking groups. Places to give and receive referrals and grow your business with other like-minded people. You have to be very committed but the payback is worth it. (http://www.bni.com/)
Chamber of Commerce. They are not as intense as a BNI, but a great place to get to know local people (advise joining one close to your office or home). I thoroughly enjoyed my time with the Irvine Chamber of Commerce and now serve on the board at the RSM Chamber of Commerce. Love the family feel at our chamber and the local knowledge. http://rsmchamber.com/http://www.irvinechamber.com/
Women's (and Men's) groups.For example the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO - https://www.nawbo-oc.org/) is a great organization that encourages and builds women’s businesses. Highly recommend them along with other similar enterprises.
Charities and Non Profits.Great place to connect with like-minded folk and make connections. Remember a lot of your business will come from your more ‘social’ side. And, the added bonus to this group, is that you are giving back to the community.
Global Groups.Some of the groups above can be seen around the world, but others are focusing on trade or the globalization of companies. I belong to an organization called the British American Business Council OC (BABC - http://babcoc.com/) Amazing people who do business together and have the most marvelous social events. In May there is an event on the Queen Mary with the Chef to the Royal Family. You should all come!
NO EXCUSES!Don’t tell me you don’t have time, or don’t like getting up early, or are too shy. Do you want to increase the profitability of your business? Then … GET INVOLVED!
Now, I have to confess, I am not an expert blogger.
I am a wannabe blogger. I have done some blogging.
I love words. I love conveying information that might help. I love musing.
But, I can research and ask other bloggers, so here are Ten Tips:
You have to love what you blog about, or you will give up after a few months. Find some topic that just excites you, one you love to research, talk, read about and then start writing!
I tell clients this all the time with social media – be consistent. Even if it’s only once a month, just do it regularly. If you don’t, people will think you are a flake, changed direction or died! Just decide on how often (start small), and stick to it.
3. USE CURRENT CONTENT
Nothing bugs me more than reading peoples blogs and it’s not current. Either they are pulling information from people from years ago (research changes), or their stats are not current. This also applies to current events – comment, commiserate, congratulate on current events, even if it’s a one liner.
4. BE EASY GOING
We are done people with the ‘professional’ speak (unless you are a lawyer). Talk in the everyday ‘chat’. Be conversational. You want your blog to be you and your reader sitting with a cup of coffee (or in my case tea!) and just yarning about your subject. Don’t try and be someone you are not. Just be you.
5. VIDEO & PICTURES (are you bored yet?)
I love words, but personally my brain goes like jello if I don’t have some pictures or a video. Its BORING without visuals. Graphics help the readers memory and stimulates the brain. Video is the new marketing tool, so pull those in from YouTube or from your own repertoire.
(Now to stop the boredom, here is a random 1min video!)
6. SHARE THE WEALTH
Share your blog with others. Ie. Get guest bloggers on, share other bloggers content (with permission). This way you help others, and you both get different audiences – win win.
7. RESEARCH OTHERS
Find out what other bloggers are doing – it’s a great community out there.
As I look at this particular blog I am writing, I realize its too long (for this time, too bad!). Unless you are writing a piece of news, you want it to be fairly short and easy to read.
Not too long paragraphs. Not too many pages. Don’t use too small a print (if people have to squint, they are gone and remember, most people view the internet from a mobile device).
9. A QUIET SPOT
Find your creative space. Richard Branson, of the Virgin Company, says that even just being in a different room, maybe out in the garden, or for him, on a hammock on his private island (invite please!), can create that place to write. You see things differently. Your brain thinks creatively. Also, allocate a time every week/2 weeks/month/daily that you are going to blog and calendar it in.
(An actual office, made into a library, for the sole purpose of creativity - fastcompany.com).
10. WRITE IT DOWN
Often I can be sitting with a client, hanging out with a friend or even just driving and a brilliant blogging idea comes to me. By the time you get back to the office, its gone! So write it down (although not recommended while driving!).
So that’s it. Just a few easy tips to get you started in blogging.