Category Archives: Blogging

5 Ways to be a Social Media Rockstar

I am a big advocate of professional development and I love to attend industry conferences.   I find value in numerous ways such as learning new and relevant information to enhance my business skills which has a direct reflection on how I serve my clients.  Networking with colleagues and speakers also offers opportunities to learn more.

I attended the Social Media RockStar event September 17th in Willmar, Minnesota.  In my opinion this is becoming a must attend yearly event.  The founder Sarah Kuglin and her team are bringing in top nationally recognized industry speakers such as Jason Falls, the SVP of Digital Strategy at Elasticity, Lee Odden, CEO of Top Rank Marketing, Adam Dince, Director of Earned Marketing at Deluxe Corp, Alex Houg and Dennis Yu of Blitz Metrics/Portage.   In addition there were many other great speakers from the Twin Cities digital marketing arena.

Photo from Sarah Kuglin, Founder Social Media Rock Star Event
Photo from Sarah Kuglin, Founder Social Media Rock Star Event

Here are my 5 big takeaways from the speakers:

1.  Opening the conference was a welcome video from Mari Smith, Nationally renown social media expert. Mari suggested we focus on the “metric of meaning” and produce engaging content and remember this is a people to people exchange rather than a B2B or B2C ideology.

2.  Jason Falls suggested there are no new answers to the same social media questions we keep asking. For digital marketing success he recommends the following blueprint:

  • Know your audience so you can then deliver relevant content
  • Search is still a priority – people are looking for a reason to buy from you, you need to rank in search
  • Social and PR converge to elevate search results. Relevant content is what is key, also getting good reviews on sites such as G+
  • Without content you do not exist, more content you have the better chance you have of being found
  • Measure metrics for the future not the past. You must measure toward your goals.
  • There is no “Easy” button – you know your audience better than anyone else, dig in and do the work

3.  Lee Odden shared his 7 Lessons that teach us blogging is still a great marketing tool.  I wrote a separate blog post about that juicy content you can find HERE.

4.  Adam Dince talked about the 5 social strategies that will rock your marketing

  • Build a relevant audience, no point in attracting people who have no use your your products or services
  • Nurture your audience – talk WITH not AT your people, read what your followers are posting
  • Create audience profiles – so are your social network connections similar to your customers? Are you sharing the right content?
  • Leverage competitor audiences – Use Facebook graph search to find your competitors, create custom audiences in Facebook and target ads
  • SEO matters – Google is personalizing search so whenever you sign in to your Gmail account for example and your search you will not be
    retargeted with ads based on your search, so this is how you can use it to your competitive advantage. Tip you can compete by ranking for images so be sure you have descriptions on all your images.

5.  Alex Houg and Dennis Yu talked about marketing on Facebook for a $1 a day!

 Big takeway is that your website must be working with your social media channels and in the case of Facebook you should focus totally on advertising to custom audiences. Start by uploading your segmented  emails lists to your ads platform in Facebook. This way you will target your exact audience with ads vs the spitting in the wind technique!  Thus is a somewhat confusing strategy until you understand how to do it.  There are are many tutorials on Facebook and well as other resources. The bottom line is to budget for a digital ad spend and start targeting your ideal audience.  It is totally doable!

Learn from experts, follow their blogs and social media sites.  These folks are such great givers I encourage you to connect and maybe next year add Social Media Rockstar event to you calendar!

What conferences have you attended this year?  Please share in the comments below your big takeaways-

7 Lessons teach us blogging is still a great marketing tool

Are you writing a blog for your business?  With over 42,000,000 blogs reported back in 2012 with an average of 25 billion pages viewed per month hard to imagine that most established businesses aren’t writing content for a blog.

It’s fascinating to me that people blog for all sorts of reasons and topics. Some blog as a marketing strategy to build relevant content about their business and brand and some blog for a cause they care about and some blog for a passion – do you know how many food blogs are out there??  (Psst, let me share a secret, I’d love to start a food blog for fun because I love to talk about all things food related! …well, maybe when I retire).

From a business perspective blogging is the easiest way to tell your story, let others know what’s important to you, your brand and more importantly to educate your audience with relevant content they come to YOU to learn about.

This week I attended a one day conference called Social Media Rockstars where I had the opportunity to listen to a handful of the best speakers in the business.  One of the rock star presenters was Lee Odden, CEO of Top Rank Marketing, a major digital marketing agency in Minnesota.  Lee shared with us the top 7 lessons he has learned relative to blogging that are worth sharing here.

Lee’s 7 Lessons

1. Stand for something specific!  Focus attracts attention and builds your authority and credibility.

2. Know your customer.  Learn to listen and be empathetic as that drives relevance. Know what kinds of offers get them to take action.

3.  Connect online to offline and back. 

4.  Great content isn’t great until it’s discovered, consumed and shared.  Tip:  use photos you took vs stock photos as they are more personal. –>> example: Lee Odden at social media rock star event

5.  Everyone has finite topic ideas, look beyond yourself for content writers.

6.  Interact and create value.
      – Interview thought leaders
      – Mention peers, co-workers, customers
      – Make lists and recognize talent
      – Crowd source content with your community
      – Cross post discussions
      – Highlight comments
      – Call out contributors on social channels

7.  Evolve & optimize.  Capitalize on opportunities to grow continuously.
Check out the amazing  Top Rank Blog and learn from example of how one of the top marketing blogs in the country publishes relevant content.
Do you have a favorite blog?  let me know below. – JoAnne

How To Easily Add A Photo To Your Blog Post

Images now dominate the social landscape, particularly notice the change to increased image size this past year on Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+.

WHY?  We are drawn to images, and images tell our story. So how can you easily add photos to your blog posts?  Check out these simple steps.

  • Choose a Photo

You can either use your own original photos or you can buy a photo from a stock photo site where you are granted permission to publish stock images in exchange for a fee.  I discourage you from grabbing photos off the internet that you do not have permission to use, first off it is illegal and second just so you know, you are infringing on intellectual property through copyright.

Here are a few sites I recommend for getting some great stock images:  Always acknowledge where you got the photo in the “caption” section after you upload your image.

Generally these companies offer a discount the more images you purchase so if you buy a pack and if you plan to blog with consistency which I recommend you do, than buy a package. When you actually download an image, only download the “web” version.  It is less expensive and a lower resolution image which is all you need for the internet.  Higher resolution images are for print materials. Once you purchase that image you can re-use it if you wish, so for example you may want to add text on a previously used image if it applies to another post or use it on your social media sites.







This example shows the caption indicating where the photo came from and the image size is a “Thumb Nail” sized at 150 x 150 pixels.


  • Upload Image & Choose Size

After you purchase your photo and have saved it to your computer,( I suggest you keep a folder called Clip Art Purchased or something like that) than you will want to choose a size that will work best in your blog post.  First step is to use the “Featured Image” button to place your primary image at the top of your post.

featured image

You can adjust the size if you want by grabbing the corners of the image and making it larger or smaller, but using this function placed your image in the exact place you put your cursor before inserting the image.

You can choose a thumb nail size (which is in the example above) at 150 x 150 pixels
which is a pretty typical size in most posts. Second option is to choose a medium size which usually is 300 x 200 pixels, or the full size of whatever you uploaded your photo as.  Sometimes it takes some playing around with to get the size that works in your post.   If you are using wordpress as your blog platform, then you will see how easy it is to delete or edit your image in the illustration below. You can also drag the corners of your image to increase or decrease the image size.

example of editing photo


  • Add Text To An Image

Adding text to an image can enhance your message and is simple if you know the tools to use!  I like to use a free photo editing tool called “Pic Monkey”.  This tool lets you edit the size of the image and add text as well as other embellishments to your image.  You easily upload your image from your computer into the Pic Monkey editor and away you go with creating custom message for your image such as you see in the image below.  If you have graphic skills you may have graphics programs such as Photoshop or Illustrator that will allow you to edit your images.









Typically adding one photo to your blog post is enough but it also depends on the business you are in.  As an example if your business is filled with visuals such as fashion or food than it may take multiple images to tell your story.

 So go out and create your perfect blog post and share it with me on my Facebook page or send me a link on Twitter!


How Blogging Gets You Noticed

Blogging is a form of content marketing that helps you gain exposure online and attract your target audience who wants to do business with you.

When you write content about a topic you are passionate about generally this is fairly easy, well that is as long as you remember to be authentic and share your expertise. I see people get stuck in writing on their blog when they try too hard to make sure every topic and word they write is perfect.  When we are passionate about our business just let it flow.

Here are some tips on how to create interesting blog posts

1. Think about what people most want to learn from you, what are the most frequently asked questions you get asked and then create a post around each of those questions.

2. You can create an article about should ask questions, this way you are educating your reader about things they should be asking about something

3. Remember, you are the expert in your business – create an informative article with stats and other interesting information that your target reader would find interesting

4. Always help your reader solve some problem they may be having that you can solve. Example: “How Blogging Gets You Noticed”

5. Latest news & current events – any time you can tie your topic into a current event will attract attention


I want to say something more about sharing your passion because I think this will help your content flow versus the writer’s block I so often hear about. Personally my mission is to inspire and empower people to success, I can do this by providing content that my readers will find useful to gaining that success.  When I keep the reader in mind and how I can solve their marketing problems than I can easily write content to my blog.  So think about your reader and how your expertise can benefit them.

“Creating Good Content Attracts Business” {Tweet This}

6 Ingredients To A Blog Post

1.) Create an attention grabbing headline, preferably with a keyword for your business

2.) Be sure your first 2-3 sentences offering compelling information, then your readers will most likely to read the entire article

3.) Create a sub headline with a promise or benefit of what is to come

4.) Make your content relatable, if we can connect with our reader on an emotional level of understanding than they will keep reading

5.) Create another sub headline and then share a “how to section”

6.) Always end with a call to action. Tell your reader what you want them to do next. Example: Subscribe, Share, Buy

So go out and create your perfect blog post and share it with me on my Facebook page or send me a link on Twitter!