What’s Happening With @Soulati?

Jon-Buscall.jpgHas anyone missed me? I know a few have and thanks for the well wishes. But, guess what? I’ve not been sick; thank my fortunate stars.

Where I have been is under a rock in the dark trying to muddle through an intense time at my blogging house and for my brand. It’s what every company must experience. You can call it transformation, and it’s a journey that takes awhile…a long while, with lots of introspection and grappling with the demons of the past that form you into today’s persona.
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As a result of this experience, my blog has been basically dark since prior to January. I can’t say I’ve missed worrying about what to write on a near-daily basis, but I’m feeling the absence of expressing myself and communing with you, too.

Today, I can honestly say, I see the light. It’s just around the bend, but
having brand new digs is making the light waves brighter.

I need to give my second child (to be born in my next life) to one astonishing businessman, friend, colleague, and partner by name of Dr. Jon Buscall of Jontus Media. Jon is the consummate digital marketer, a brutal editor, and a whiz at website design. His team, anchored by an adorable man named Juanjo, made my new website and me simply gorgeous.

Hire Jon Buscall of Jontus Media

Please hire Jon Buscall for ALL your digital marketing needs and to assess your future journey with digital. Better yet, hit this landing page and schedule a free Marketing Intensive with him!

Essentially, long story short, the lights are back on.

  • I have a new website — it’s all mobile, responsive and built for conversions.
  • I am doing digital marketing the right way because I hired Jon Buscall.
  • I have a project manager on my team who is also the consummate writer and knows my fears and challenges about failure in Jenn Whinnem. Tweet Jenn @TheJenn, but don’t hire her, she’s mine.
  • I give a mega shout out to Cathy Tetrick for spending a Saturday as my photographer.
  • I have a new auto-responder series I wrote all by myself, and you can sign up for it via my blog page right here in the sidebar. (That was an astonishing feat, mind you!)
  • I am building my email list because the experts said I have to; so, if you don’t mind, sign up and see how it’s done!

I’m so happy in my new house that just launched not even 24 hours ago!!

Find any kinks? Please do share. It’s always great to have fresh eyes on a labor of love. And speaking of love, I have missed you and love you to pieces.

In gratitude…

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Digital Marketing Kicks My Ass

soulati-kick.jpgNo one said life was easy, and if it were we’d be at the beach partying all day. But, you’re not, nor am I, and that’s why you haven’t seen me here in awhile.

I’ve been in a rut as digital marketing has been kicking my ass, and it’s doing it so royally I had to put that A-S-S word in the headline. BTW, is A-S-S even a cuss word any more? I know no five-year-olds are reading this blog, so maybe I’m safe.

Meanwhile…

How do you feel when completely out of your element? Here are a few emotions I can share from first-hand experience – humility, humbleness, embarrassment, frustration, annoyance, anger, fear, and tears. Then comes the resignation that all these emotions are purely obstacles to success.

Indeed.

We (that means I) are our own worst enemies. If anyone is somewhat of a perfectionist (gulp, I’ve never admitted that even partially to anyone and I know it’s not true) who likes to be in control because that’s a true comfort zone, then things we don’t know are addressed with obstacles.

And, so, I found out right quick I don’t do digital marketing and to overcome my fear of it, I would just toss bricks in my way. I did, I am, I was.

I recently hired an expert to help me elevate my business to a new level. I had hit a brick wall on my own trying to grow my business online.

In the past I’ve worked with some really good people, but everyone reaches a point in their knowledge where there’s a deficiency; I had hit mine.

Digital Marketing Struggles

Digital marketing is a tough nut. Who are the people doing it well and making money at it?

It requires huge analytic thinking oriented to testing, sorting, list building (gah, my least favorite thing of all) and development of landing pages with calls to action and the software platforms to make it all work.

How copy is written is so different than a blog post and it requires short and punchy quip that entices but doesn’t sell.

Digital marketing is not for the feint of heart. You need to be trained as an expert to master it and you have to live it every day to know what the heck.

Here’s what happened:

  • My fear of failure put me in a deep, dark hole. I was unable to write like I was supposed to. I did not want to be judged. I did not like to be edited. The style of writing was foreign to me.
  • I wrote and it stunk.
  • I was edited brutally and hated it.
  • I wrote again and it stunk more.
  • More brutality and people totally rewriting my work.
  • I ignored everyone.
  • I tossed bricks in my way and cried about it. I whined some more.
  • Then I took a deep breath and finally wrote again.
  • It flowed and was acceptable to my utter shock and amazeballs.
  • The brutal editors and experts said they loved it, high five. (I secretly didn’t believe them.)

I wanted to quit, fire everyone and walk away from the challenge; exactly like I feel in Taekwondo every Tuesday and Thursday.

It’s a slow boat to China, and no one reaches it in a day. Yeah, Jayme, so get on a plane.

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I Married My Blog

wedding-bouquet.jpgThis is a true story. I finally found my soul mate, and it wasn’t the opposite sex or even the same sex for that matter. It is my blog; hands down.

This blog, named ever so rightly as Soulati-‘TUDE!, is approaching a birthday in March. It is turning the big 4, not the big 4-0, but the big 4. I’d hasten a guess that four years of straight blogging as a professional is akin to the big 4-0. You know, something like cats have nine lives or dog years are longer than one human year.

My blog has become:

  • My obsession (it tells me to write without even speaking)
  • My OCD (I have to write or else I succumb to the next bullet)
  • My guilt
  • My happiness (I’m thrilled when I know I’ve written a winner)
  • My sadness (I’m gloomy when I need a break and then force myself to write)
  • My investment (Uhmm, yeah, time is money)
  • My professionalism (It defines my read next bullet and competency)
  • My brand marketing (Indeed)
  • My influence building (Writing gives me influence, right?)
  • My authority (The content I write builds authority, authenticity and thus creates influence)
  • My emotion (Agony, pride, laughter, happiness as above)
  • My daily activity and neglect (It’s a totally consuming)
  • My love (Right?)

I am totally immersed eye-deep in this blog after 650+ posts, 10,000+ comments and four years of lessons to navigate the complexity and rewards of professional blogging. Add all the guest posting I’ve done and NOT captured here, and that post tally is likely up to 700 now.

Is It Time For A Divorce?

Do you think all marriages end in divorce? There’s a great piece of data somewhere that supports something like that, I’m sure. For a blogger to divest herself from blogging, the outcome would be much like a divorce – extreme sadness, too much time on hands, where to write and about what, how to keep the brand front and center and alive, and how to share with a community that’s invisible yet not.

After four years of blogging, I’ve learned this:

• I have mastered the content strategy – my content is my craft, and it’s NOT an echo chamber at all, ever.
• Data and analytics continue to plague me because I’m a creative, presenting creations via words for everyone to see.
• Digital marketing is more challenging than one thinks, and I’m unhappy having to make it happen.
• I write my best work for others and love guest posting for the ability to showcase talent in another’s house or use a different voice than how I pen for me.

Rocky Start to 2014

I’ve not been posting much; first time ever, and can’t say the guilt has consumed me…yet. This break was unplanned and it was necessary. As I continue to ponder what it means to be married to my blog, I came to the understanding that MY BLOG OWNS ME. It is in charge, top dog, drives the ship, dictates decisions and eats my money. But, with every unbalanced marriage where one partner holds the upper hand, there is some balance of give and take and partnership, too.

In this partnership of four years that is truly 10, I married my blog and continue to work through the kinks and experience every growing pain and emotion, whether happy or sad. One day soon, we will make money together (we’re already making music) and add more variations of bread for the table loaf by loaf. As blog and blogger continue to evolve, inspiration comes from bread crumbs and eventually loaves are baked until it becomes a bakery.

You know, If You Give A Mouse A Cookie.

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Your Blog, You and 2014

Confidence-Thermometer.jpgBet you didn’t notice this blog had nearly a two-week hiatus, or maybe you did. There wasn’t a day that went by I wasn’t guilty to not be writing despite the lowest-trafficked periods of the year.

What I continued to tell myself is that this holiday break was critical for my need to rejuvenate and refresh my moxie while getting inspired to write about a whole bunch of new topics.

You see, blogging becomes part of you; it gets under your skin, and courses through your blood. There’s never a conversation or interaction in which I don’t identify a topic or two to write on. It makes me a better listener; it’s inherent now with easy thought to add to the endless stream of ideas.

How about you?

If you’ve been blogging on nigh a year, perhaps this sort of topical instinct isn’t happening yet; no worries! Trust me when I tell you it will!

If you’ve been blogging three years, you should absolutely have blog topics written all over the place on scraps of paper. Maybe you’re truly an electronic wizard (which means you use the other side of your brain a tad more than creatives), and you can organize your thoughts into a list. Does List.ly have private list-building?

It’s A New Year

What I’m trying to say is that a new year is always psychologically, well, new. You know? The ball drops at midnight, and the pressure is on to be more…you know, more.

Let me try to explain.

As the years go by and blogging becomes part of your inner psyche, you want to grow. Your blog has to change with the times and become more exciting in parallel to your own growth journey.

As you transform, so, too, does your blog.

This morning, I just read a friend’s post about taking a huge hiatus and coming back to find fewer folks who’ve stayed the course, fewer comments, and fewer success stories with nil banter. Indeed. Bill Dorman is right; it’s a tough road blogging. That’s why you need goals and aspirations.

Have you thought about how you want your blog to grow and what you’d like to see happen in your house? Do that; it’s time.

Used to be we blogged more for the fun of it and to have a party in the comments; maybe a good old Team Blog Jack, too. Now, though, that’s pretty much dried up; you’re gonna need to reach deep within and find the divining rod into your heart. Then? Let the floodgates open and turn it up a notch; pour out your passion like never before aligned so closely with your business goals. You need your blog to make that happen; it’s the only steady you have on the social sphere.

Blowing Up Your Business

In 2013, I successfully blew up my business. I’m told that’s what entrepreneurs do; they reach a brick wall and rather than go over, they dynamite. Perhaps they get to the other side, or perhaps they drown in TNT. I’m the latter, and here’s the good news. I KNOW IT. I know I blew up my business (and only I can define internally what that means), and I also know that 2014 is critical to regroup and rebuild.

What that also means is the blog is part of the larger plan, too.

Want to know something really simple? There’s nothing like blogging to showcase smarts, expertise, personality, and to give gifts.

Soulati-’TUDE! Is Turning Four!

My blogging birthday is coming up; we’re gonna be FOUR! That is HUGE! It’s so #RockHot I can’t even tell you.

I’m seeking ideas for how to celebrate Soulati-’TUDE! IS FOUR.

Perhaps I’ll plan a virtual party; perhaps I’ll launch 4 guest posts on the same day, perhaps I’ll donate to four charities, or…what? What shall I do to celebrate?

My journey has been so rewarding, and here’s a secret. Without this blog and you, I never would’ve made it (I am not kidding).

 

 

PLEASE SUBSCRIBE TO MY BLOG!

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Content Marketing Needs Mobile Publishing Apps

Soulati-Media-mobile-marketing.jpgWhen you say and see content marketing touted all over the Interwebz, it’s more about blogging, right? But what about the other pieces of content so critical to attaining goals and objectives? The white paper is one of the most important documents a business can include in its content marketing strategy; yet, few engage with white papers?

Why?

The first reason there are fewer white papers is obvious – they are more challenging to write, right?

Secondly, if a business does not have a solid inbound marketing strategy to use white papers as a lead generator for sales, then companies merely rely on blogging.

Revisiting Inbound Marketing

As a digital marketer, the goal for inbound marketing is to feature content as the lure, if you will, to generate leads from external audiences which turn into conversions.
Think of a funnel when considering what inbound marketing looks like. At the top of the wide open funnel is a wide berth of content ideas e.g. 10 reasons why you need a certified plumber; 25 social media tips from an SEO consultant; 7 critical mobile apps to fuel your mobile marketing strategy in 2014, and more.

These pieces of content can be blog posts, lists, tip sheets and even broader white papers on related topics to these respective themes. They are offered to interested prospects via a call to action in a sidebar of a website on a website page and even more pertinent – on a specialized landing page.
Once the individual indicates they want to download the content, they are asked for their email via a form and the free content is made available.

Publishing Formats for Content

Because a white paper is lengthier than a page; they’re often about 2000 words, give or take 800, the immediate format consideration is a PDF. Think about PDFs a moment. This file format is ubiquitous, and everyone relies on it. However, is it the best file format for your content marketing strategy?

No, and here’s why…PDFs are one dimensional without hyperlinks and without the ability to convert leads, without SEO, and basically, they are DEAD!

Now think a moment about your company newsletter (yes, there are still b-to-b companies publishing newsletters). Typically, it’s posted in a news center as a PDF or sent as a PDF in an email marketing campaign, right?

New Mobile Ways To Publish Pieces of Content

The proliferation of mobile marketing is the biggest trend since sliced bread. I’m not kidding. There are data galore shoving businesses to responsive mobile marketing, and your company needs to get there, too.

The first step is to make your website mobile responsive. You want the pages and elements of your site to scale to any portable and mobile device. Just last weekend, I sat in the movie theater during the pre-movie junk surfing sites on my iPhone, posting to Twitter and resharing content plus commenting on blogs. Look around the movie theater next time and see if others are doing the same? Then, think about your company’s website and worry that it’s responsive for this mobile audience.

Secondly, explore mobile publishing platforms. I recently explored a web app that makes publishing live content, such as white papers, magazines and newsletters, a breeze. Check out this demo of Readz right here. What you’ll see is the ability to scroll pages, click on hyperlinks, enlarge images, and simulate reading a document page by page – from left to right (unlike a PDF that is up to down in a vertical orientation).

You may use the cool iPad apps like Flipboard or daily newspapers and magazines? These apps make the user experience way more intensely entertaining. It’s time for you to do the same with your mobile- and-inbound marketing strategy. Eliminate the dead PDF file format from your content marketing and put in a live publishing platform for all your documents; your audience will thank you.

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