Saturday, December 29, 2012

It Was a Very Good Year

Wow, I've been so busy this fall that I did not even realize more than six weeks have scooted by since I last posted here (before Thanksgiving--and now it's nearly New Year's Day). I will never set any records for number of blog posts in a month or a year (never my intention) and really only write when I am inspired by something: a trend, an event, news, etc. My inspiration tonight, as 2012 comes to a close, is the busyness of my freelance copywriting business, and the appreciation I feel for all the clients--companies and agencies alike--that entrusted their wildly diverse copy needs to me this year (as well as in years past and, I hope, in the years to come!).

Like the shoemaker whose children have no shoes, I suppose I am the writer whose blog has no entries because of my workload. I haven't had time to think about a topic because I was blessed with a very full plate in that department. The months of November and December were a "be careful what you wish for" kind of time frame (you know, one of those "gee, I wish I had more assignments right now" times).

Before we close the door on 2012, I want to express a few things that have nothing to do with helpful tips or industry insights. They are just tidbits I want to share here.

Sincere gratitude
I was quite industrious writing website copy, press releases, and brochures; I edited a book of spiritual poetry and a proposal for a new cookbook for kids; and I'm looking forward to some new assignments already on my to-do list for January: expert byline articles, a community newsletter, more news releases, more websites. I am grateful I have the ability to do so and even more grateful that people want to hire me to do these for them.

Great connections
Another blessing for me is to be surrounded by so many smart people who are experts in their fields, from whom I learn something new every day about marketing, SEO, and various industries on the client side. To my colleagues, thank you for being more active bloggers, social network posters, and public speakers than I am, so I can continue gleaning useful information that makes me better at what I do.

Excellent opportunities
As an active member of NJAWBO (NJ Association of Women Business Owners), I have been given opportunities to share my expertise with others as a seminar presenter, as a contributor to the marketing of statewide and regional events, and a roundtable facilitator. Thank you to my sister members of NJAWBO for supporting me and recognizing that I actually know what I'm talking about sometimes!

Lots of fun
I love what I do--even on those stressful days when I'm not quite feeling the love. My job is perfect for me: it's never boring, there's always something new to work on every day, I get to learn lots of interesting things along the way, and I get to help other people build their businesses in some way (anyone who knows me personally knows how important it is to me to help others). Sometimes there's strategy involved, or I can get creative in the real old-fashioned ad agency type of way. Aah . . .

That's it. Nothing fancy or thought-provoking. Just appreciative and reflective.

I'm glad I'm me and that I do what I do.

Maybe we'll get to do some of that together in 2013.

Friday, November 16, 2012

New (or Not-So-New) Media as the New Newsroom

Hurricane Sandy turned the social networks into virtual, 24-hour, non-stop newsrooms for many people. Whether or not you had power, whether you checked your pages on a desktop or mobile devices, it seemed everyone everywhere in affected areas (and beyond) were communicating, updating, and commiserating on the social networks.

I will freely admit that although my home was unaffected by the weather, I became utterly obsessed with checking in with followers, friends, and fans on Facebook, which became the visual ground zero for me for all things Sandy. I shared and soaked up countless compelling, frightening, and sad images posted by everyday people, news organizations, and bloggers. I posted updates, news, announcements on my wall for people to see. I got hooked on a newfound page, Tri-State Weather, where a lot of my weather-related posts came from. From the devastation on the Jersey Shore to the decimation on Staten Island, Queens, and other areas of New York, I and so many others came together in a newly formed online community that rallied 'round the storm victims (human and animal) to create a new kind of news organization.

Many people took to tweeting constant updates using various storm-related hash tags and I did follow the headlines there, and shared some updates throughout that first week. But for me, the double-whammy of existing relationships and all those photos and videos on Facebook truly became the newsroom of the moment. One friend created a new group page devoted solely to post-hurricane news: a place where people can share volunteer meetups, donation drives, tips on how to get to badly hit neighborhoods to deliver goods, who needs what and where and when. I was thoroughly gripped by this, actually unable to focus on my work that week as I was driven to be part of the breaking news. 
I believe that this large-scale disaster has ramped up social media's place in news reporting . . . not journalism per se, as I am not stating that good, authentic, in-depth news reportage has been replaced. But it certainly was pushed aside a bit to make room for all the ordinary and extraordinary people who were reporting from the field in a way not seen before. We have all grown accustomed to local newscasts running video that was sent in by viewers, and I've noticed Twitter handles and hash tags in bugs on the screen during news programs more and more.

Ted Turner's visionary idea decades ago for a real-time, worldwide, 24-hour news station has given birth to a whole different way to do breaking news on social networks. I would never have thought, as a young copywriter working on the launch of CNN in the early 1980s, that I would be part of the news cycle in some small way during a natural disaster years later. The experience was absorbing on a level I could not have foreseen and I was gratified to hear that people who were following me were getting useful information. Now that the initial wave of Sandy has passed and the long, hard work of reconstruction begins, I hope I don't ever have the "opportunity" to feel compelled again to become a citizen journalist in times of struggle and darkness. I'd much rather stick to informational posts, newsy tidbits about advertising, marketing, or public relations, and promotions for my clients on my Facebook business page, my LinkedIn profile, or on Twitter or Google+.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

You Get What You Pay For

Why is it that plumbers, electricians, and handymen are not questioned about their fees and consumers pay them handsomely for their services?

How is it that lawyers charge several hundred dollars an hour to share their expertise, and clients pay for that without querying the attorneys about their qualifications that support this rate? (Dear Esquires, I am not picking on you, really - this is just to make my point.)

What is it about freelance copywriters that makes everyone think they can bottom feed and get away with it (or at least try)?

Can you hear me sighing now?

This issue has popped up on several LinkedIn groups that I'm a member of so I know I'm not the only one confronting this (although I am happy to report it is not a frequent problem at StarrGates Business Communications).

When it comes to your company's communications, don't you want a professional to help craft your message, write your copy, position you with crisp, polished text that sells? In our field, you most certainly get what you pay for. The range of fees copywriters charge is pretty broad and somewhat informed by geography. But all things being equal, a seasoned pro will work with you to deliver well-written copy in your brand voice, in ways that are meaningful to your audience.

You might be able to get this for $25 an hour or even $35 when you hire a junior copywriter but please understand that experienced professional copywriters charge more than this and will deliver a lot for the money and therefore are worth more. I am shocked that placement firms that specialize in creatives (such as copywriters and art directors) are offering these low rates to independent contractors (like me) --all the more so because this is what I was getting DECADES ago. This is not good for the industry and brings down the whole earning curve. Toss in the bloggers who will accept $10 or $15 to write blog posts and now we're really sinking low. Welcome to the "new economy?" I say to hell with that!

Freelancers rely on billable hours to earn their livings, just as attorneys do. Freelance copywriters must be mindful of the time they spend servicing their accounts, just as your mechanic does when he's  installing a new transmission (and bills you for time and materials). Freelance copywriters pack a lot into their hourly rates or their flat fees for your project. Our rates are not strictly for the time it takes to write or for the actual finished product (if billing a flat rate) but for all those ancillaries clients don't always think of.

As a professional freelance copywriter, I have to factor in:
  1. Client meetings. Our time is valuable, people--every bit as valuable as yours. If I am not sitting in front of my computer writing but rather, am sitting in meetings going over your copy and discussing revisions, I am not creating (and therefore, billing). Although I do not charge for an initial client meeting/call to discuss copy needs, copy direction, etc., I have to be compensated for the time I spend servicing your account. I think I'm pretty generous with my time and I don't nickel-and-dime anyone (and in fact, I give away quite a bit of time). You might not see this should-be-billable time broken out on an invoice, but it's in there. If you want me to sit through four hours of meetings to go over the copy again, or you want me to travel several hours round trip to visit an account, I have to be paid for this!
  2.  Research. I think I'm pretty smart . . . but not so smart that I can whip out website pages, blog posts, or brochures about industries I know nothing about until I do the research. I have been hired numerous times as a ghost writer to produce expert byline articles about fields in which I am not an expert at the outset, and am delighted to learn about during the writing process. I like researching and learning and becoming a pop-up expert about a diverse array of topics and industries. Even if I am writing about something I already know, I want to research what your competition is doing or look for something new in your field to talk about if it's relevant. This takes time.
  3. Scope creep. This is the bane of all creatives, when clients go around and around with more revisions than the original contract calls for. I'm not talking about a minor tweak here and there after copy has been approved, or discovering a typo that was missed during proofreading; what I refer to here is more involved rewrites or, after approval, several requests for revisions that require more than a five-minute change. Again, I am generous with my time and will often overlook minor "violations" but if the contracted fee includes one round of revisions, after that you're on the clock for an hourly rate. So why are you complaining when you get the final invoice? You signed the contract!
  4. Continuing education. Even if it's not formal such as taking classes or going for certifications, a good copywriter must always be learning, especially in today's quickly changing world. Copywriters who want to stay relevant must stay abreast of the latest trends, the new media platforms, the shifts in business, corporate, and marketing communications. We read a lot, we pay attention to the world around us, we figure out how to incorporate what makes sense for our clients into our work (and help them build their businesses which is what we are hired to do!). 
  5. Experience. I've written for a lot of different types of accounts. I have worked with all sorts of people. I can handle account management as well as creative concept and execution. I can write for advertising as well as public relations which are two different disciplines. I understand how to work with art directors and graphic designers. I have developed a level of diplomacy and professional tact that most 20-somethings simply do not possess yet. This is my experience. And you get what you pay for.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

When Good People (?) Say Bad Things Online

I have witnessed some serious downward spirals in interpersonal communication on social networks and it's quite disturbing.

And many of these are from so-called communications professionals, copywriters, and marketing experts.

I'm not talking about the lewd, crude comments the general public posts to YouTube videos and other shared media. Those are for another conversation. I'm talking about the way professionals snipe at each other on LinkedIn or bash each other on Facebook fan pages. Perhaps because there is room for more characters on these networks, people feel the need to show the darker side of their own character.

In short, their shit comes out all over the place and it's really ugly.

Do they really want to be known or remembered in this way? Uh, I guess so, because they can't seem to stop. As someone who writes for a living, and helps businesses and entrepreneurs spit-shine their image and their marketing message to the best of my abilities, this trend horrifies me!

I have seen this ugly devolution several times on LinkedIn when someone has posted that he/she is looking for a copywriter or art director. People respond with their contact information because they're looking for work. OK. But God forbid the seeker of professionals does not post an update publicly right away, or respond to each and every respondent--people immediately go on the attack and start saying some very ugly things about other professionals they don't even know! Then they start feeding on each other's posts until the conversation gets downright wicked. And they wonder why they are still looking for work?

How about when someone posts a question or opinion to a group and members actually mock them "in public" through their responses? Really? Did you not get the memo that social networks are for sharing ideas, resources, and opinions that will make a positive difference for others? Can't you take your nasty, petty, childish screeds offline and spare the rest of us innocent bystanders who must now delete these so-called discussions?

What you write on social media is forever, you can't really take it away, and your online reputation is how many of your friends, fans, group members, and followers will remember you.

A Sad Example
Last spring a marketing manager posted a simple call for freelance copywriters in one of my LinkedIn groups. People responded. A lot. I chose to respond to her post privately as I often do. It's an easy option and keeps you out of the comments fray.

Some group members checked out this person's profile (which is not related directly to her current position). These group members made an assumption about her present job and her needs, and those whose work history aligned with that background gave some more targeted responses. OK, so far, so good and on point. Until they encountered the response vacuum and did not hear back from this person about their sterling credentials.

Other group members started to get antsy when a couple of weeks went by and there was no further communication from the marketing person who needed to hire a freelance copywriter. The mob started to gather its verbal pitchforks and rakes and really went to town, bashing this person publicly--on LinkedIn, among each other--for not responding to them in what they deemed to be a fair amount of time. Yes, these copywriters publicly demeaned her and anyone who would dare to post a possible job opening. Accusations of phishing abounded!

I sat on the sidelines in horror as I watched fellow group members devolve into a mob mentality of permanent, negative, self-defeating written communication. I also followed up privately and politely to the woman to  see if she'd made any decisions yet. I also gave her a heads up on the ugly slander-fest going on in the LinkedIn group at her expense.

She posted a polite update to everyone assuring them she received everyone's contact information and was holding on to it for any future needs.

Oh - and I got the assignment.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Say It, Don't Spray It!

Why is it that so many advertisers feel the need to cram every single message they have into one ad? I'm sure someone told these businesses that with their limited advertising dollars, it's best to use the shotgun approach, put all their selling points out there, and see what people respond to.

Uh, not a great idea. Really, I would not give you a bum steer here. Keep your ad copy simple. If you cannot afford to run more than one ad for something, resist the temptation to squish every sales point into the piece. Save it for your website where you can break down your message into distinct pages.

These best approach is to really hone your message, cough up the money to run enough ad insertions or radio or TV spots to drive home what you are trying to say. You can say it in many different ways - that's the beauty of an ad campaign. But you simply cannot sell your audience on more than a point or two within one piece of (well-written) communication. No one will know what you are really trying to say if you spray them with too many messages. Especially in this age of over-communication, media barrages, too many emails, etc., now more than ever, simplicity is golden.

In a print ad, the headline and leave-behind line, coupled with a strong visual, are what will grab readers' attention. These need to be short and to the point and speak to your readers' needs or, as some marketers put it, their pain points (in other words, how are you solving their problem). If you are a financial services firm that specializes in a niche investment product, and cater to a certain segment of the investing population, you have to distill your message to the one thing these potential clients need to know; don't waste their time with lots of ancillary information that has nothing to do with "here is this great product you need to know about ... and here's why." The ad copy can provide more detail but the headline and leave-behind line really need to sum up why the audience needs to contact you for more information or to open an account.

The challenge is greater in radio, where people are not leisurely reading, stopping to rip out an ad or jot down a phone number. They are driving, or listening while working, and might not have the chance to stop everything to fully grasp your vital statistics. As "the theater of the mind," radio spots must paint a clear picture of what you are selling in a very different way. The spots must be uncluttered in order to grab attention, maintain attention, and eventually lead to the desired result. Screaming announcers, too many sound effects, boring announcer reads, too much rambling copy ... these all invite tuning out, not tuning in. Keep the message simple and clear, make it fun if that's appropriate, and give a clear call to action. As with any kind of media buy, the spots need to not only be well written but also be well placed (buy the right programs, time slots, frequency) to make an impact.

It's not always easy to key in on just one message but if you think about the ad campaigns that are not only memorable but also effective, you'll find a common element among them: one clear message conveyed in different ways, across different media perhaps or over the course of many years. You can only effectively sell one quality at a time through your advertising copy: quality, social responsibility, saves money, saves time, builds wealth, nurtures problem students, pamper yourself or others, feeds the soul/spirit/belly, adventure, fun, family (and on and on).  Working with a professional copywriter or a marketing expert can help you figure out what you need to communicate and help you avoid spraying your target audience with too much extraneous information.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Ghostwriting for Fun and Profit

I am now a  published author, with the publication of a new book from Woodpecker Press titled, "Jersey Women Mean Business! Big Bold Business Advice from New Jersey Women Business Owners: Practical Pointers, Solutions, and Strategies for Business Success." The book is a compilation of business how-to chapters by 72 individual women entrepreneurs from throughout New Jersey, who have contributed insights and helpful tips about their particular areas of expertise. Mine is chapter 45, "How to Get Free Publicity for Your Business in an Increasingly Crowded World;" it's about, well, ways to get free publicity, through the use of social media and public relations vehicles to garner earned media placement (as opposed to paid advertising).

As many of you know, although my background is in advertising (print ads, radio and TV spots, print collateral) today I write a great deal of materials in the areas of public relations and, now, as a ghostwriter for people whose skills lie elsewhere but have the opportunity to contribute articles to various print outlets.

As the authors were signed on to the "Jersey Women Mean Business!" book, I also was fortunate enough to be asked to help six other contributors write their chapters on a broad array of topics that, before writing, I knew little about. It was fun! I got to research topics that were new to me and was able to bring salient features, selling points, and pithy pointers to light through my copy. (I won't give away which chapters I wrote and you'll have to buy the book to get all the great information in there; you won't be disappointed!).

Being a copywriter today is vastly different than when I started out as a junior copywriter in Atlanta so long ago (a shout out to anyone who used to work at McDonald & Little and is reading this). The media landscape is constantly changing and so are the opportunities. Writers who are flexible, have good research and interview skills, and who are able to write in a variety of voices will always be able to apply those skills to helping clients market themselves through well-written copy, whether it's in the form of an article, book chapter, press release, or website content.

Just as with all the website copy I write every week--about industries or fields I knew nothing about before starting--or the news releases positioning companies and service providers as go-to experts and resources, ghostwriting byline articles can be a very interesting way to make a living. I learned a lot through my participation with "Jersey Women Mean Business!", got to flex my writing muscles in new ways, and I'm looking forward to reading the entire book. The chapters cover dozens of business topics and are geared to business owners and professionals at various stages of their careers and in all lines of work.

I have some books you can buy, so contact me at for information; or you can order them at

Friday, May 25, 2012

What the Heck is a Copywriter Anyway?

A blog post by a fellow copywriter from the U.K. inspired me to write this entry today. The questions of "What do you do?" or "What is a copywriter?" are not unusual.

First of all, I am not a lawyer who works with copyrights. Copywriters work with copy--with text that promotes and sells in some fashion. They come up with concepts to convey the sales message, in tandem with the art director who conceives the visuals that complete the website, TV commercials, or print project. Then they write the words that speak to that concept. It used to be that the term "copywriter" implied "advertising" but this is not always the case anymore (although I got my start in ad agencies).

So what does a copywriter do? As a freelance copywriter I write: tag lines, print ads, headlines, and online banner ads; in-store signage, table tents, and other point-of-sale materials; other people's blog posts, websites, white papers, and articles--and more. (I am standing by for TV and radio spots.) If the medium has words that sell, promote, educate, or inform, it requires a copywriter to put virtual pen to paper (and sometimes a real one to get the creative juices flowing). Sometimes I get to brainstorm the concepts with an art director or hash out layout ideas with a graphic designer (like the old days) but often I work solo, writing to a website design or creating headlines that will inform the layout. I work with a rich assortment of accounts and the people behind them, and flex my writing muscles as the brand voice behind these accounts.

I had a wonderful career in ad agencies, first in Atlanta (long ago and far away, before there were word processors and the World Wide Web, and cable TV was an emerging media outlet) and then in New York. I had the opportunity to flourish creatively writing print ads, radio and TV spots, concept ads for consumer package goods, and print collateral. I got to work on a broad array of accounts. It was a blast. I still have two hand-rendered animation cels from a children's cereal commercial I wrote hanging over my desk.  

I still write the words that inform, promote, and ultimately, sell products and services. But in today's incredibly diverse communications landscape, copywriters must be more versatile to meet the demands of the marketing domain . . . and many small businesses are not putting their money behind paid advertising in the historic sense. Today it's about being able to cross over into other marketing arenas such as public relations or corporate communications. Whichever route clients take to market their messages, copywriters will be there to guide them.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Copywriter as Jigsaw Puzzler

It occurred to me the other day, as I was writing what seemed like gazillion little press releases from mere snippets of information, that writing copy is often like putting together a jigsaw puzzle.

I love jigsaw puzzles. I have been known to complete a 1500-piece puzzle over a weekend in my spare time. It requires focus, an attention to detail, and an appreciation of order. The puzzler must be able to visualize the end result in her mind's eye and keep working toward that goal. The same can be said of copywriting in many instances, especially with long-form marketing materials as opposed to ads.

Fitting together all the puzzle pieces to create content that reads well, flows smoothly, and tells the client's story is a mind game I play every day--and love. It's stimulating, creative, and challenging, and in the end, produces something that helps businesses market their messages. It also satisfies my inner organizer.

For example, I am often hired as a ghost writer to create byline articles for clients. The material I am given is often fragmented and incomplete. I must see the end result in my mind and map out my path to achieve it. This usually means interviewing the client, doing some research to flesh out the details, compiling and rearranging my notes (several times); putting together the puzzle border (outline, and then filling in the middle with all the copy pieces. I read it and rewrite it, fitting the pieces together in different ways until the flow of information is just right and the puzzle is complete.

Creating website content is every bit as puzzling (in a good way!). First comes the border, or site architecture, which can be put together in myriad ways to best convey, display, and deliver the content. Then it's time to write all those pages, each one a piece of the larger story, developed from notes that are sometimes sketchy (time for more research) or more ponderous (time to take out the virtual knife) -- all ripe with potential internal links just waiting to be interconnected, each one a space in which to slot in copy that promotes a product or service. Love it!

Press releases pose an interesting challenge to the puzzler, who must showcase the lead, select the puzzle pieces that best support it, toss aside the pieces that distract rather than add to the story, and put it all together in an order that tells (and sells) the story. Sometimes the writer must sift through too much information to pull out the right nuggets; other times it's a scavenger hunt for the pithiest details needed to create a cohesive and compelling press release.

Bring it on!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Why Can't They Just Say What They Mean?

Somewhere along the line, people have forgotten how to use simple, clear language in their business communications and insist on falling into a big bucket of jargon-y goo. Marketing-speak and consultant-comm are creeping into the common lexicon like boll weevils in a cotton patch, changing how we talk to each other. It would really be terrible if this problem extended into private, personal, informal conversation and I am thankful I have yet to hear this.

My rant is against using terms that are substitutes for more common everyday words. Here is a short list of my least favorite, commonly used terms:

1 - Leverage. When I was growing up this was a noun; now it is used frequently as a verb, "to leverage." Instead of people having leverage against a competitor or have the leverage to make something happen, now they leverage things, including money. You can read what says about it here. That's fine, except I am hearing the word used somewhat incorrectly over and over again and it's quite annoying. If you're using a resource, use the resource. Keep your levers out of my office.

2 - Analytics. Analytics is "the science of logical analysis" but it is now the ubiquitous term for analysis and reports, data and results.

3 - Metrics. Another annoying use of a word that began its life meaning something else --the metric system, metric tons . . . not measurements or data. See Analytics above.

4 - Client-facing. Oh, you mean the customer service and sales people? When I hear that all client-facing employees must do something, I cannot help but conjure up the image of too many people squished in an elevator or in a small office being forced to stand face-to-face trying to have a conversation. Perhaps I've just stumbled upon the concept for a new mouthwash commercial.

5 - Onboard. I don't mean vacationers who are on a cruise ship. This is used when a company brings a newbie on board . . . that person is "onboarded" which I take to mean acclimated, welcomed, oriented. But I don't really know; being a freelancer, I haven't been onboarded by a company lately. Not sure I want to be (sounds like waterboarding, no?). Alternate usage: to garner support for a project (getting people on board with you). I guess five or six words just sends some folks over the vocabulary edge.

6 - Stakeholder. Who has a stake in the company? Senior management, the owner, perhaps the board of directors if relevant. But this term has now extended to employees, clients/customers, the public. Of course, it is always better to have a stake in a company that a stake in the heart (any Van Helsing fans out there?).

Oh, I could go on but I won't. Maybe I'll rant about overused phrases such as "at the end of the day," or "off the hook." I just miss the days of saying what you mean in more than a word, using a full phrase, a long sentence -- just saying it! There are loads of really fun phrases that will keep you chuckling at the website, I found it recently and really enjoy reading what contributors submit. Some are ultra-clever, some are quite snarky, many are graphic in a good way. Check them out alphabetically at

Send me some of your least favorite newer terms that are tearing up our conversation and reducing modern discourse to a lot of words that used to mean one thing, now mean another, and others that just seem silly.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Boosting Your Online Presence

There are plenty of tactics you can take to gain more visibility for your business. Paid advertising is the most obvious—trade or consumer journals, newspapers, radio or televisions spots, billboards (you get the idea)—but in today’s tight economy many businesses are cutting back on that route and seeking less expensive or free alternatives.
Free publicity is earned when you or your company is mentioned in the press as part of a story (for example, when an event is being covered or a new product is being launched). In addition to placement in traditional media (print and broadcast outlets), free publicity is also attained in the social media world, where everyone can be a citizen journalist. It’s also a great place to boost your business exposure if you do it right and often.
As a disclaimer I will say that just because social media is a popular platform does not mean it’s for everyone; nor are all of the networks appropriate for everyone. But if you feel it is appropriate for your business and you will be able to maintain it on a regular basis, set up your accounts and take it from there.
·         A LinkedIn profile, Facebook business page, and/or a Twitter account are great ways to engage your audience—share interesting commentaries, blog posts, and articles from other sources, and provide information about your area of expertise (without selling—just sharing).  
·         Search LinkedIn for good connections in related industries or for those who could become good referral sources and vice versa. Send an invitation to connect and start the conversation.
·         Create a well-written branded profile or description. Make sure keywords are there that potential clients or employers would use to find someone with your skills or background. Use your profile to position yourself as an expert in your field, a valuable resource, a smart addition to a team. Change it up now and then to refresh your online presence—your followers will get a notification that you’ve changed your status or profile and the right person might be interested enough to check you out anew. Think of it as a different kind of resume.
·         Use your social accounts to engage your audience in a number of ways: announce promotions and run contests, or inform your followers about your company’s good news or your personal accomplishments. Post links to videos on YouTube or Vimeo, or to photos on Flickr or Pinterest.
·         Respond to discussions on LinkedIn or other companies’ Facebook pages, or to blog posts and articles you read that are related to your business. Work in something about why you are responding that identifies you or explains why you would be responding if this is appropriate.
Don’t overtly promote your own company—that feels spammy and we all hate that! Rather, respond to the post thoughtfully from the standpoint as an expert or helpful and interested reader. This is also a way to develop positive relationships over the internet with others in your field or area of interest. Others will start to recognize you, connections can develop, a future client, colleague or employer might start an online conversation with you … who knows where it will lead!?
·         Feeling bloggy? Go ahead—write about your area of expertise and be sure to tell your social network connections that a new post is up (love those links).
Don’t worry, you don’t have to do all of this and you certainly don’t have to do it all at the same time. Try out a few things that are comfortable for you and see how it goes. Work with a marketing consultant who can help you frame your activities or work them into a marketing plan so you don’t fall prey to a scatter-shot approach. And make sure your marketing materials reflect your brand and are professionally written and designed; when all those new audience members, blog subscribers, or social network followers ask for more information, they’ll be directed to a website or receive a brochure or presentation kit that shows off your business to its best advantage.