Three weeks into the New Year, and I know that the idea of setting New Year’s resolutions has been beaten into the ground. So forgive me, because it’s time to look at making those commitments one more time, but this time with your blog. If you set realistic goals for your blog in 2011, you will accomplish them, which is more than can likely be set for your other new resolutions (gym, eating, time off the computer...need I say more?) So what should those blog goals be?
By Beth Graddon-Hodgson
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Most businesses use blogging as a marketing tool, and that’s the way it should be; but people are uncertain exactly what that means. Do you use traditional rules of marketing when you’re writing your blog posts? Write for a target audience? Try to sell a product? Include a call to action? Well, those are more questions than I can answer here, and I’ve answered many of them before. But to summarize, yes to be an effective marketing tool you do have to think as you would when writing marketing copy (identify your target audience, make statements that are appealing and capture interest, and she some light on your business). But the similarities end there.
I love this topic but thought I'd take a little twist on it today. After 16 years of a successful career in technology, I left corporate America in 2001 feeling stifled, sad and beaten down by the mini-recession that followed the tech bubble. Although we were a young, vibrant company I realized that the larger we got, the less creative we became and the less willing we were (or our lawyers were) to think outside of the box.
Since then, I've begun to work in a much more creative industry and I love it. I've had a few larger corporate clients but usually if I suggest something creative, it gets shot done because it might interrupt the process - I get that and I respect that. However for most bigger companies to continue to succeed, they will need to inject tolerance if not encouragement for creativity on the job. And cherish that creativity when it happens.
I worked for a start-up in the early 1990's and we had some really creative thinkers on our team. These were guys who were technologists, but were able to think with both sides of their brain. So for me, creativity in a corporate sense always makes me think of Paul, Shankaren, Ken, Salli...and many others. We got the job done, but got it done in a new and fresh way. I've realized over the years it's easy to be creative in a creative profession, but to be creative in the corporate world takes real talent.
Here's how we defined creativity back in the day:
These days it seems like you need to have a bumpit to create new words. Sarah Palin might refudiate that remark but I think Snooki and her guidos feel it's high time to get some Jersey Shore lingo into the Oxford English Dictionary. Personally, I told someone I had spent considerable time catharterizing this weekend - not to be confused with being catheterized or jazzercizing - after getting dumped unceremoniously by a friend. (Note to readers - at this point I do not have a bumpit)
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It made me wonder how words evolved in the first place. How did certain words become accepted into normal use and eventually accepted in the main dictionaries we all use? Like humongous. Or ginormous, or a zillion. For example, Humongous is in the Random House Dictionary as
Occasionally I get a pitch from an Internet retailer asking me to write about their site. Usually, it's some poorly designed site that survives on tiny affiliate commisions, with barely any added value to the customer who shops there.
But Market America, the online retailer that recently bought shop.com, seems to be a new type of shopping site - one that incents its customers by offering considerable cashback opportunities, often highlighted on the Market America Blog. The Greensboro-based retailer is banking on the newly-created frugal shopper by enticing what looks to be mainly baby boomers with "MA Cashback" ranging from 8 to 35%. Looks like the strategy is working - Market America just announced it will be hiring 40 new staff members in 2011.
So just how does this work? A page called Market America Facts indicates the company is a direct selling enterprise that sells a range of products, from supplements to home decor through partners like Walmart. More than 3 million "preferred customers" make commissions and 180,000 distributors make retail profits based on the use of this retail portal. The company is growing rapidly with more than 500 employees currently - it's one of the success stories of the true "new economy" - a rapidly growing business that exists solely because of the Internet.