Author: Bonnie Harris

By Beth Graddon- Hodgson All bloggers, whether business or casual use a statistics measuring tool with their blog, after all, it’s pretty cool to see just how many people are interested in what you’ve got to say, no? The complexity of the tools varies, with the most basic allowing you to simply see the number of page views for each blog post. The more complex ones can tell you everything from how readers came across your blog, to the countries that your readers live in.

[caption id="attachment_1337" align="alignright" width="222" caption="Oh my god we can market in a NEWSPAPER"][/caption] I've been hopping into the internet marketing forums to learn more about SEO for blogs lately. Suddenly I started seeing all these online gurus touting the benefits of making loads of money in "offline marketing". Huh?

[caption id="attachment_1284" align="alignleft" width="150" caption="(MICHAEL ROZMAN/WARNER BROS.) "][/caption] After the success of my last blog post on pitching freelance writers I decided to start a weekly feature called "How to Pitch". I'd like to encourage readers to comment with their own tips and ideas. Also, please let me know if there is a specific show you'd like to pitch. I'll try to interview one of the producers to get the inside scoop! ( If you're curious about being a good TV guest, here's a post on that I did a while ago.) First let's start with basic stuff. Although social media is the craze (and it's cheap) it's still building fans one to one. Although TV numbers continue to decline the medium provides  a huge opportunity to deliver your message one to many.  But for most people regular press releases and pitches probably won't get you in the door unless there is a show already planned -  that your message or back story fits perfectly. That can happen, but then you're depending on luck. It's better to create your own pitch, which means thinking like a producer and coming up with a compelling segment all your own. (At the end of this post I've included an actual pitch that got my client on Montel, just to show you a successful sample.)  Here are the steps for creating your own pitch - whether it's local or national, this is really how it works on most talk shows. Authors, it works the same for you. Unless you're already well-known, you need to come up with a unique idea to help sell your book.

By Beth Graddon- Hodgson Once you have a focal point for your blog and have decided whether you’re going to focus on writing your blogs in a topical or personal style (or combination of the two, it’s time to actually sit down and start blogging. If you think making those decisions was a challenge, then you’re in for what’s the hardest and most essential part of creating an effective business blog. After all, some of those elements are decisions you only need to think about once; choosing a specific blog topic has to be on your mind whenever you sit down to write on a weekly or daily basis. This is one topic that’s a bit harder for me to write about, because there are endless examples, so it’s hard to put a specific guide in place. What works for one company also won’t necessarily work for another even in the same industry either.  Since I can’t tell you WHAT you’ve got to write about, I will provide you the process I go through with my clients  determine which direction I should go with each of the posts.

By Beth Graddon-Hodgson Once you’ve chosen a focal point for your blog – your vague subject area on what you’ll focus upon, the next step is to start making more specific decisions about the writing style. When writing each blog post you can make them personal or topical – or any combination of the two. In order to get a feel for what might work best for your blog, I’m going to provide you with some basic guidelines about what each of those categories mean. With this post, the focus will be upon personal business blogs. A second related article next week will discuss topical blog posts.

Marketing and PR today rely heavily on technology, but often finding the right person or firm to handle your IT needs can be challenging. Mike Holley from Chicago-based Switchfast Technologies provides some excellent advice in this post. Switchfast provides IT solutions uniquely tailored to the needs of small business. Outsourcing is one of the fastest growing trends in the small business world today, and for good reason. By outsourcing parts of their operations, small businesses almost always save money and often end up with higher quality service than they’d be able to afford otherwise. When one considers overhead and training associated with internal hiring, the amount of expertise that can be had for a given budget is much greater with an outsourced partner than a full time employee or team of employees. This is especially true in the field of IT, where quality technicians are paid high wages and it’s nearly impossible for an individual to be an expert in everything.