Personal Marketing | Jenn Lisak

How to Start a Personal Blog

How to Start a Personal Blog

Posted by | Internet Marketing, People, Personal Branding, Personal Marketing, Personality | 4 Comments

I was just asked by a client what types of considerations they should take into account when starting a personal blog, and I realized that it would make a great blog post for aspiring bloggers!

I think it’s a great idea to start a personal blog. It’s a place for you to share your thoughts and experiences in our your own voice, aside from the brand that you might work for or any other publications you might write for. Plus, it’s fun!

So, you want to start a blog? What’s first?

1. Decide on a topic or theme.

How to Start a Personal BlogIt’s your blog, but people are drawn to blogs that have a certain theme or niche. It could be anything from something you do for your career to a hobby that you’re very passionate about. Either way, make sure to make that theme clear and promote it as such.

2. Buy a domain name. 

Depending on the topic or the purpose of the blog, the domain name should be thought out carefully. It shouldn’t be too long, and it should be relevant to the topic at hand. You can use a catchy phrase, or you can use your own name. Up to you!

5 Best Domain Name Registrars

3. Pick a Content Management System (CMS).

I might be a bit biased here, but I will always recommend WordPress. It’s easily optimizable, there is a huge development and support community, multiple add-ons and much more. There are two types of WordPress sites: WordPress.com, which is fully hosted by WordPress, then WordPress.org, which is a self-hosted version. Check out this post for the main differences:

Differences Between WordPress.com and WordPress.org

Between the two, I definitely recommend a WordPress.org site, but, unfortunately, if you don’t know what you’re doing (like me!), you’ll need help from a developer to get your site staged and set up. For cost effective option, I’d recommend having a developer friend do it for you or post your job on Elance.*

However, there are a couple other options for easy to setup personal blogging sites, including:

*For some tips on how to use Elance, check out the second section of this infographic tips post

Hosting

If you do decide to go the WordPress.org route, you’ll want to think about hosting. For all of our clients, we use WPEngine, which has 24 hour support and backups. But, if you’re looking for something a little cheaper, here’s a great post from Lifehacker:

5 Best Personal Web Hosts

Site Theme

With a WordPress.org site, half the fun is being able to pick your website theme! One of the greatest places to find WordPress themes is Themeforest, a repository a themes for all types of sites.

When picking a theme, keep these things in mind:

  • Make sure that you pick a theme that will be supported by your CMS platform. A WordPress theme won’t be supported on a Tumblr blog.
  • To avoid the headache of optimizing for mobile, tablet and desktop, select a responsive theme that will adjust for all three.

So, there you have it! Have you ever wanted to start a personal blog, but haven’t?

Content Calendar Workshop

Posted by | Art, Email Marketing, Infographics, Internet Marketing, People, Personal Marketing, SEO, Social Media | No Comments

One of the biggest problems my clients have is time when it comes to content production. We’ve found that it’s best if you have a planned strategy to get things done. That’s why we’ve developed the Content Calendar Workshop.

Tomorrow, I’m giving a presentation on Content Calendar Workshop: Tips, Tools, and Timesavers. The presentation is embedded below.

If you’d like a free content calendar template, please click below to download the Excel file.

  Download the Content Calendar Template

Enjoy!

Confessions of a Project Manager

Posted by | Internet Marketing, People, Personal Branding, Personal Marketing, Personality, Random, SEO | 2 Comments

The day in the life of a project manager is crazy – emails and calls, meetings and conferences, assigning tasks internally, marketing efforts, content production, strategy consultation, managing timelines and priorities – the list goes on and on and on. My bossman, Douglas Karr, always says that my job is literally “herding cats.” Trust me, he’s not far off.

While there is a lot to do on a day to day basis, I absolutely, positively, without a doubt love being a project manager for a number of reasons. You get to be involved with every aspect and individual within the business, you meet new people everyday, you get to become a “voice” for the company, and you are constantly challenged to learn more and be better at what you do. But being a project manager isn’t all cupcakes and rainbows. It’s actually very humbling.

Why Project Management is Like Serving Tables

When I was applying for jobs after I graduated from Butler, within my portfolio, I created a short article on why being a project manager is like being a server. Waiting tables for almost 4 years through college, I learned a thing or two about customer service and managing multiple projects at once, which I thought would help me in my quest for project management glory. Granted, serving tables is a shorter engagement and has more clear cut responsibilities, it has similar concepts. Think about it – if I have a section of 10 tables on a busy Friday night, I have to prioritize the tasks at those tables to make sure that my customers are happy and that, ultimately, I get a good tip. If I can’t do that efficiently, I’ll be left with 10 dirty tables and nothing to show for it.

project management and communication tipsDo all the tables have their drinks? If a drink takes time to make, does that patron have water in the mean time? Did I let a parton know if a specific dish takes longer to make than others? Did I ask them if they’d like their side salad with their meal or as an appetizer? Did I ask them if they’d like an appetizer? Did I try to up-sell with a desert or after-dinner coffee? If they had a problem with their food, did I fix the problem in a time efficient manner? These questions are not far off from what I have to ask myself on a daily basis with clients – just switch out food for project tasks.

Let’s compare scenarios, shall we?

  • Theoretical Problem: Customer waits 10 minutes for their drink. Client waits a week for an email response. Outcome: Both are unhappy with the timing and expectations have not been met. Their trust has faltered.
  • Theoretical Problem: Customer receives a dish that wasn’t made properly. Client receives a strategy document with recommendations that do not make sense for their business. Outcome: This shows incompetency and the incapacity to do one’s job.
  • Theoretical Problem: Customer waits 40 minutes for a dish that takes 40 minutes to make, but was not told. Client requests a task that takes two weeks to complete, but wants it within an unrealistic timeline and was not notified. Outcome: Both are not aware that their expectations are not realistic from an internal timeframe and are dissatisfied with the timing.

Overall problem in these scenarios: lack of communication. 

Overall outcome: opportunity loss of tips and a client account.

A business relationship should be mutually beneficial, but it cannot be if realistic goals and expectations aren’t communicated on behalf of both parties. A customer or client can’t respect you if you don’t tell them what to expect and when to expect it. Even if you are scared of upsetting you customer/client, letting them know that you can’t get a task done until X time is better than promising something you can’t deliver in their timeframe.

Being a project manager is not just about doing your job. It’s about being able to take the heat when things get messy. You’re the main point of contact for your clients, while you’re also the main point of contact for your internal team. You’re the middleman between the client and your colleagues. If I don’t gather enough information from my clients in order for my team to do their respective jobs, then I’m not going to be able to provide enough information for my team to get things done. And I’m going to feel the pressure. Just like I would if a customer’s sandwich came out with tomatoes when they specifically said “no tomatoes.”

But enough with the analogies. Let’s get to the good stuff.

Being a “Team” Project Manager

When you’re in an uncomfortable situation with a client, it’s tough to not get defensive and emotional, not taking the complaints personally, and the worst of all, blaming it on someone else. This is a team effort – we are all responsible for the outcomes. We all have to look at the bigger picture and make sure that things are communicated properly and look at where we can improve workflow.

<rant> And that is why, as a project manager, there is one underlying truth that I believe you have to respect in order to be successful:

Everyone on your team is your colleague and your equal. Treat them as such.

how to be a good project managerJust because you get face time with the clients doesn’t mean that you’re better than anyone else on your team. My developer, Stephen, is capable of things that I can’t even comprehend or ever be able to do. My designer, Nathan, creates beautiful designs that I could never come up from scratch or even begin to conceptualize. Marty, our social business strategist, understands the depths of how content and social play together in ways that blow my mind. Nikhil, our SEO analyst, provides these complicated and intricate SEO audits with findings about things I didn’t even know existed. And of course, my bossman, Dougie Fresh, has by far one of the most complex and best grasps on search engine optimization in the industry (and that’s an understatement). Respect, appreciate, and praise them for what they do on a regular basis. You are not capable of doing your job without them.

I don’t care if you’re the CEO or on the support team. Every position within your company is needed and viable. That’s why they exist. Fancy titles aside, respect the people you work with. We’re in this together! Your success is my success and vice versa.

When things get messy and heated, a project manager’s true colors come out. A project manager’s job is to handle the situation the best they can. A good project manager will do this by putting their emotions aside, finding the best possible solution for everyone, and fixing the problem as quickly as possible without placing blame. </rant>

Words I Live By [Part 2]

Posted by | Art, Infographics, People, Personal Branding, Personal Marketing, Personality, Writing | No Comments

As humans, we face a lot of negativity each and every day. I find that having personal sayings that you live by really help. Here are a couple of personal mantras, or “Words I Live By,” that I’ve come up with, and in case you’re interested, check out part 1 as well.

What are some of your personal mantras? Seriously – I want to know. Affirmations really help our psyche and it’s important that we have self-reassurance, as well as reassurance from others. This is about empowering – not promoting.

Words I Live By: Part 1

Words I Live By [Part 2]

Words I Live By

What Works for Social Sharing [Infographic]

Posted by | Infographics, Internet Marketing, Personal Branding, Personal Marketing, Social Media | One Comment

I really enjoyed working on this infographic with the team at Compendium, our content marketing platform client. I worked with the team to create an infographic that highlights the data they gathered during social sharing activities. For the full guide, you can download it here:

Download B2B and B2C Social Sharing Guide

The team gathered data from over 200+ organizations sharing habits to put this infographic together. This includes best times, best click throughs, and content tips for best performance. It’s interesting to see what works best for social sharing…some things confirmed what I already knew, and some things, I found really surprising. What works best for your organization? While this is an average, I find that most organizations have their own best practices that work specifically for them. For example, some organizations really thrive when they post during the late hours of the night (like bars and nightlife related topics). However, based on this data, most organizations thrive when they post during work hours.

Either way, it’s important that you look at and track your social data to see what really works for you. Not all social sharing best practices are alike. It just depends on what your target audience is really looking for.

Social Sharing Infographic Findings

After completing the infographic, I really took the time to read the data, which presented some interesting findings:

– Including a question mark with a link negatively affects click throughs for both Twitter and LinkedIn.
– Using an exclamation mark increase click throughs for LinkedIn, but decreases click throughs for Twitter.
– Using a number in your Twitter messages increases click throughs by 50% for B2B.
-The best social sharing days for Twitter (both B2B and B2C) tends to be Wednesday.

What did you find interesting about these social sharing statistics? What do you already incorporate in your social sharing practices?

B2B-and-B2C-social-sharing-infographic

Edge of the Web Radio: Content Marketing

Posted by | Internet Marketing, People, Personal Marketing, Random, SEO, Social Media, Writing | 2 Comments

I had a great time on the Edge of the Web radio with Erin Sparks and Jon Thompson of Site Strategics, an Indianapolis SEO company. The focus of the conversation is what’s hot in the marketing tech world, and specifically, what kind of content marketing is being shared on the Marketing Tech Blog. I always believed that content marketing is more about creating valuable content – it’s about telling a story and using that content to personalize a brand.

However, it is important to note that valuable content isn’t always about telling a story. It could simply be a blog post about optimizing a landing page. There isn’t necessarily a story with that. It might just be a simple “how to” guide. But either way, you need to create something that people will want to read, and moreso, appeal to the different senses. Content marketing is about creating multiple forms of content so that you can reach a variety of your target audience. This can mean email, blogs, social media messaging, whitepapers, ebooks, and more.

What have you seen changed with content marketing? What do you think is important? What kinds of content are your producing for your company? These are the things I’d love to learn more about.

Edge of the Web Radio: Content Marketing

This episode dives in to some of the changes going on in the SEO industry, as well as what is changing with visual marketing. I loved having a candid conversation with these guys, and they have some great insight into the business with their own experiences. But don’t take it from me – learn more by watching the show!

Looking for someone to speak on content marketing or infographics for your next event? Book Jenn