I hope you find my writing and business tips and observations useful. My business and blog are dedicated to helping businesses communicate clearly and reach their potential. Read, subscribe to my newsletter, enjoy!Tash

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Ranking for childcare?

You have to laugh really – I mean, how can I take people seriously when they send spam that is so off target?

Let me share the laugh with you!

I received an email from someone who tried to be my friend and show how good he is at internet marketing – mind you, he isn’t good enough to find my name on my website and use it in an email! He does point out that he has my contact details, including phone number, from my site though.

This email was about word constructions – a professional writing service in Australia and his email includes the following (in blue – the black text is my response!):

I see that you’re not ranked on the first page of Google for a childcare centre search. And this is a problem for me why? 

I’m not sure if you’re aware of why you’re ranked this low but more importantly how easily correctable this is. I’m guessing it’s because I don’t have a childcare centre or use that keyword? If he found me through that keyword, it says a lot for my childcare articles though!

There’s no reason you can’t have a top three ranking for the keyword childcare centre based on your site structure and content. You have a very nice site. Perhaps the fact I don’t have a childcare centre (or a website about childcare) is a good reason not to rank top three? And if you don’t know that, I have no reason whatsoever to believe you have looked at my site to know it’s good!

I didn’t send this email out to very many people (oh please!) but I am currently reaching out to a list of your ‘keyword competitors’ (If their keyword is ‘childcare centre’, they aren’t my competitors at all) as well. But I do favor your website because I can see your website monetizing the targeted website traffic the keyword childcare centre can deliver. If you truly believe my site is best placed to maximise this keyword, you REALLY have no idea about relevant content and keywords – and I REALLY don’t want to make use of your ‘help’ and ‘skill’.
He followed this up with four requests to call me, and one to call him. Sure, Jason, call me so I can tell you how little you really know, at your long distant phone cost!
Hopefully that gave you a laugh, too.
If you want a serious message from this, here are some real marketing tips:
  •  be relevant – don’t contact a business about something they don’t offer
  • be honest – adding blatant lies makes it likely you’ll be caught out and lose whatever credibility you may have had
  • if you claim to have viewed my site, then have the courtesy to find and use my name
  •  don’t overstate your importance – if Jason is so successful and owns the 1,000s of sites he claims, why does he need to spam people around the world to get further business? Again, it just destroys your credibility if your claims and behaviours don’t match

Here’s to lots of laughs and very little spam in our lives!

What is a review?

Looking through some blogs recently, I have discovered some unusual interpretations of what a review is…

The online Oxford Dictionarydefines it as a formal assessment of something; a critical appraisal of a work; or a report after the event.

It seems simple – a review is a report about a book, course, website, blog or whatever to help others decide if the work is of potential use/interest/value to them. A review is not an ad (“this product has these features and is available only from us”) or a list of facts (“this website has 10 pages about getting fit”).

If you are writing a review, the following points may help:

  • include all relevant details so someone can find the item easily if they want to. This includes the author and publisher for a book, product name and supplier/manufacturer for a product,  name and URL for a website or blog, and so on
  • give a summary of the item so the reader understands what you are reviewing, but don’t try to include everything – remember, no one wants to hear the punchline before the joke.
  • be honest – that doesn’t mean only list bad things or be nasty, but don’t say it is wonderful if it has some faults or problems. If I write a negative review, I always try to include something positive as well
  • give an assessment, such as ‘thoroughly recommend this book’, ‘great value for money’ or ‘not as good as their previous model’. This helps the reader decide whether they want to know more or not.
  • qualify the work if required. For instance, a book or movie review may state ‘entertaining for the under 10s but tedious for adults’ or ‘thought-provoking but not suitable for teenagers’ so parents can choose not to allow children to read/see it
  • be impartial or upfront about any connections as this builds trust and your credibility – a rave review about something you profit from may damage your reputation

Reviews are a great way to give value to others, but only if people can trust you to give honest, genuine reviews.

Happy writing!

Blogging skills

I found a post  about developing your skills at blogging which I thought worth mentioning. It is also relevant on the whole for newsletter writing.

It doesn’t mention ‘be yourself’ directly, but I think that is the only major point I would add to the list.

In summary, Chris Garrett gives 10 points that lead to successful blogging:

  1. blog by example
  2. blog with passion
  3. be organised (well, I can’t always get 10 out of 10!)
  4. delegate
  5. take ownership & responsibility
  6. communicate effectively (hopefully, that’s where my tips come in handy!)
  7. be brave & honest
  8. listen
  9. know your readers
  10. be a reader

I found number 7 interesting – I am always honest in my blog but don’t feel I am particularly brave as communications isn’t usually very controversial 🙂 But then I read Chris’ comments about this to find him saying pretty much the same thing and suggesting there is bravery in choosing and presenting topics.

Which of the above points do you find most challenging in your blog writing?