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Why it’s worth paying someone to do the job

25 Mar

Last month I met with a company that was interested in my services. I gave them a layout on what I could do for them. They said they’d think about it. A few days later I noticed that they started becoming more active in their social media. As great as that is, they were doing it all wrong. For one they were using their own personal profile to promote their business, secondly they fizzled out after 2 days.

In my experience, I’ve learned that companies will try and do their own social media after speaking with me because they think it sounds “easy” enough.” Unfortunately, they find out it’s not as easy as they think. It’s more time consuming than they realize, which means they end up abandoning the effort.

Fortunately for them, they did come back and asked me to manage their social media efforts. The moral of the story, I’m a professional. I’m good at what I do, just like how you are good at what you do. Whether you sell doo-dads or nick-nacks, you’re great at it and that’s why you have your business. But for stuff like social media, blogging and email marketing, leave that up to me so you can focus on your own day to day efforts.

Shirts, Stickers and Signs

24 Apr

A while back I had a friend who was interested in “branding” his new found business idea. Keyword is IDEA. He wanted to sell products to a certain clientele. But he hadn’t lined up his vendors, website and products. But he already wanted to come up with all sorts of marketing collateral such as shirts, stickers and even signs to help gain some exposure for his brand. But when I heard this, one thing came to mind…don’t count your chickens before they hatch.
chickens_hatch

Though I completely understand what he’s trying to do, but I tried to explain to him that there’s stuff he can do that won’t actually cost money. I told him about Blogging and Social Media, but he just couldn’t see the vision for it because he was too focused on wanting to get stuff to pass out to people.

You see, if you start blogging you’re basically building a buzz about your product, services and company. Besides it’s free and it has the best return for your work. If you have good content on your site, search engines will find you and that means when someone is Googling a product or service you offer, your chances of getting found online goes up.

Don’t get me wrong, I think branding is great, but it’s better when you have already established yourself as a company. Besides, all that branding stuff isn’t cheap, shirts can cost as much as $8 a piece with a minimum order of 100. So all that adds up. My suggestion is after you start making sales and have replenished your overhead, any surplus you have can go towards branding.

What’s the best way to get more readers to my blog?

19 Apr

I recently had a friend ask me that question above since she just started a blog. There’s so many ways to answer it. But in my opinion, fresh content is the best way to get more readers on your blog. What do I mean by FRESH CONTENT? Basically it means articles and more articles.

If your blog is all about cats and kittens, then make sure you publishing out as many cat/kitten articles as often as you can. Oh but there’s a catch to all that. The content you push out has to be substantial, meaning it has to have some sort of value to your readers. That way you’ll retain them as a reader and they keep coming back to see what new stuff you’ve posted.
LOL-Poor-cat
Just think of it for a minute. You find a great blog, you follow it, but the Author doesn’t regularly update it. Maybe they’ll update once or twice a month. What eventually happens is you stop going back to the site and you forget. Well…do you want your readers to forget about you? No? Then make sure you have good articles that keeps them engaged and coming back!

A few years ago there was a blog that I followed because I loved how he wrote. He was funny, witty and his style was so unique. Then something happened, he just stopped writing. Eventually his blog failed to exist! I was actually pretty bummed out because I felt the guy had some great stuff. So if you didn’t what I’m trying to say, post articles. Preferably your own and not some sort of regurgitated news that other blogs have already posted.

Get your brand involved

12 Apr

One of the things I love to do on my mountain biking website is create projects or what we call “builds.” For the last 6 years that I’ve had that line of business open, we’ve created at least a dozen bike projects. Some of them are basic builds and others like the tandem is pretty complicated.

When doing these builds, it does cost money. The website does pay for much of the expenses. But often times I’ll partner up with a brand who will donate hard goods to the cause. Doing this helps off set any costs that I may incur from the project. Besides, it’s a great way for the brand to further get their name out there on a grass roots level.

Take for example this stuff you see below. That was donated by a company in SoCal called Serfas. They make quality bicycle parts and accessories. We’ve had a great relationship with Serfas for the last several years. But this was actually the first project they jumped on board with.
serfas

Why do you think Serfas donated products? There’s a few reasons why they did it. For one, it’s cheap advertising. Another reason is that it’s CHEAP ADVERTISING. Third…do I dare say it again? CHEAP ADVERTISING! Yep, you guessed it, cheap advertising. How cheap? Let’s look at that picture again. I’m guessing that items that Serfas sells is marked up to 50-80% from the landed costs. Let’s pretend that a seat that retails for $50 has a landed cost of $20. If you didn’t know, LANDED COST means the total cost to you, the company of everything included. That means, “the end cost of an internationally shipped item. This includes purchase price, freight, insurance, and other costs and may sometimes include duties and taxes.”

Ok now that we have that in mind, let’s look again at that photo. There are other items in it such as tires, grips and the already mentioned, seats. Once more, we’ll pretend the landed costs for all those items hover around $100. Now take that $100 and see if you can buy any type of advertisement online or on a print publication. I’m sure you’ll find a few deals here and there. But what you run the risk of is an un-targeted audience (more on that later). I also doubt you’ll find a place that will take your $100 so you can run a full campaign for over a month.

On the tandem project that MtnBikeRiders.com has, they(as is me and the guys) are planning on doing multiple articles, multiple rides, races and events with the finished project. So this means, what ever they do with the tandem, Serfas will get some sort of exposure…to a TARGETED audience (more on targeted audience later). Why does that matter? Just look at that $100 investment they made. It will now become a permanent part of this tandem project. Every time these guys do anything with that tandem, Serfas products will be seen in photos, articles and videos they create. Given our history at MtnBikeRiders.com, anytime we do a project, we post tons of articles on just that project alone. I’ll give you an example. Here’s a project I took on, I called it Burt Reynolds. A simple search on the site will yield over a dozen articles on that bike alone.

Back to the title. Get involved! Make a bold move like Serfas did, get involved with bloggers and see what you can do to assist in their next project/activity or event. But make sure those guys have some sort of credibility on projects so you don’t waste your time and money.

Should you sponsor a team?

22 Feb

Sure why not?! Well here’s a few things to think about before plopping down money towards a team. Let’s start with this, does this team have the ability to provide you some “exposure?” The E-Word seems to be the very thing soliciting teams often use to entice their potential sponsor to go with them.

To get the most out of your sponsorship/advertising money, the best thing to do is make sure the team you’re sponsoring has some sort of Social Media presence as well as blog. Part of your agreement with them is that they will always address their team your brand/company name. Here’s what I mean. A while back my websites, MtnBikeRiders.com and BikeCommuters.com sponsored a mountain bike race team. But they were also sponsored by a bicycle manufacturer called Airborne Bicycles which provided them free bicycles. The race team called themselves the Airborne Rangers. Since Airborne was the bigger sponsor, they got the title name. One of the agreements the race team had with it’s sponsors was to help promote the brands as often as they can on their website, race reports, at the venue and on Social Media.

airborne

If your sponsored team has some sort of Internet Marketing in place, then this will help stretch your reach further because you’ve got a bunch of people pushing out your brand to avenues you may not have had access to. It’s actually a great way to get into grass roots/guerrilla marketing.

Another thing to consider when you sponsor a team is the relevance of your brand to the sport/team your sponsoring. If you sell computer software and you sponsored a Men’s Slow Pitch Softball Team, what kind of exposure are you really getting? Unless the team uses Social Media and Blogging, then this might work, the key word is might.

If you sponsor a team, does it necessarily mean you give them free products or pay for their expenses? Nope. If you offer goods, then you can provide the team a Pro-Deal. Basically you are selling them your products at your cost. In this arrangement, you’re not really losing money, plus you’ve got some loyal fan-boys pushing your stuff.

Make sure you have some sort of agreement with the team that if they carry themselves unprofessionally, or inappropriately while participating in the event/activity you are sponsoring them for, that you could pull out of the deal. Just use Lance Armstrong’s example. Once the stuff hit the fan about him doping, all of his big sponsors pulled out.

So let’s recap:
1. Make sure you ask the team; “what’s in it for me?”
2. Ask them if they have at a minimum, Social Media in place to help promote their team as well as your brand.
3. Sponsor relevant teams and activities. Don’t sponsor a bowling team if you’re brand sells women’s underwear or something that has nothing to do with bowling.
4. Code of conduct. The team you sponsor needs to carry themselves in a professional manner at all times.

Now if you’re a food company, heck you can pretty much get away with sponsoring all types of sports teams.

Content Should be Fresh, Not Duplicated.

17 Jan

We’ve covered Content Marketing and Blogging before. These two things are pretty much similar but different in their own ways. Think of it like milk and chocolate milk. Essentially both are milk, but chocolate milk is pretty darn yummy…

Chocolate_Milk_by_hutchess
Before I get carried away on why chocolate milk is fantastic, let’s go back to content and blogging. You see content can be the stuff you put on static pages on your site. For example, if your website talks about your services, that text you have is content. Then there’s something called a Blog. I’m a huge proponent to this because of the fact search engines love fresh content or in other words, new material. With a blog you can update it as many times as you want, preferably 3 times a week and that triggers the search engines to start crawling your blog for info which then presents it to people looking for those keywords you have on your article.

So here’s where we have to talk about being fresh and not duplicated. There are MANY “content providers” that will sell you articles as cheap as $.03 a word. They’ll include 2 keywords and a 250 word minimum. Sounds like a great deal right? Well no it’s not. What you’re getting could be of two things. 1. Content from overseas writers that don’t speak English and use some sort of translator program. Thus the stuff don’t make sense! 2. Copied or duplicated content. This means the person you bought the article from Googled your competitors and hit copy then paste and emailed it to you. This is bad because Google will see that your content is duplicated and you can face repercussions that will greatly affect your traffic.

The bottom line here is, when you are going to pay for someone to write content for you, make sure you get a guarantee from them that it’s fresh/new and never duplicated.

My service provides content creation as well as editing existing content. All of my materials are guaranteed to be original. You may pay a bit more with RLPolicar.com, but my quality of work will outshine my competitors.

Should you be doing Content Marketing?

13 Dec

Not sure what that term means?

Content marketing is an umbrella term encompassing all marketing formats that involve the creation and sharing of content in order to attract, acquire and engage clearly defined and understood current and potential consumer bases with the objective of driving profitable customer action. Content marketing subscribes to the notion that delivering information to prospects and customers drives profitable consumer action. Content marketing has benefits in terms of retaining reader attention and improving brand loyalty.

To answer the question above, Yes you should be doing content marketing! Why well for the very same reasons it says in the definition above, but summarized; “get people to like you, your brand, keep them loyal and make money.”

One of the best ways to generate Content Marketing is to create a blog, update it with relevant articles to your audience (customers). For example, if you’re a Mountain Bike Website, then having articles on how to fix bicycles or the latest product reviews would definitely fall under the category of Content Marketing. But if the mountain biking website only posts videos of talking cats, which can be cute, but are not relevant to their audience, then you’ll lose them as readers.

Now the problem with most businesses is that they either don’t know how to write well or they don’t have time. I’ve spoken to 2 owners whom one of them has so many ideas in his head that he’s confident that he could come up with an article a day for his blog, but he’s so busy running his company that he doesn’t have time. Then another owner I spoke with just this week said he wants to get a blog going and start getting some content on his site, but he HATES writing.

One of the services I offer is Content Writing for ANY business. I’ve published over 2000 articles in last few years and I’ve covered things from Real Estate Investing, Bicycles, Retail, Women’s clothing and even Rugs…yes Rugs, like the kind you put in your living room that can cost thousands of dollars. Another thing I need to mention, Content Marketing is really inexpensive to do. If you write the content yourself, then it’s free! If you can’t do it yourself, then I can help you (for a small fee).

Anyhow, I can could literally go on for hours on why and how Content Marketing Works, but I won’t. However, if you’re interested in further discussing it, feel free to contact me via email: RLPolicar@gmail.com

Why helping the needy is good for your brand

13 Dec

Have you ever considered having your company/brand contribute to a non-profit or help out in some sort of charity or noble cause? If you have, ever consider the societal implications it could have on your image?

Before I get started, I want to make it a point that I do not believe that people/companies/brands should only help out the needy in order to bolster their image. But they should do it because they can and that they want to make a difference.

One of the brands I represent is BikeCommuters.com. Recently I spearheaded a new initiative with the website to start helping out the local bicycles who had needs. I contacted one of the site’s advertisers whom they’ve had a long standing relationship with, to see if they’d be interested in helping out with some product donations. We also started helping out with Operation Feed The Homeless, a local non-profit that aides the homeless of Santa Ana, Ca. While they are out there providing food, clothing and other needs, I’ve gone around as a representative of BikeCommuters.com and would hand out bicycle lights and locks to people who I saw needed it.

We didn’t do this to make BikeCommuters.com look good, though it dos help, but because there are good hearted people that run the site as well as the generous donations, they were able to pull this off. In fact they’re going again with more support from another company that wanted to donate their time and products to the cause.

So here’s the thing, when your brand does something good like meeting the needs of the less fortunate or help build a house and etc, your brand will automatically touch a nerve with your audience. Not only does it show that the brand is conscientious of the needs around them, but it helps give the brand a humanistic touch that may never been seen before. When this happens, it tends to build brand loyalty, thus repeat customers.

I don’t know about you, but I’m more willing to shop at an establishment or online retailer who commits to some sort of advocacy or community service. It even helps when I read about their projects on their blogs or on Facebook. If anything at all, look at it as this…It makes for a great marketing opportunity for your brand. You’ll have tons of content for your site, it gets your employees excited and it’s also a great team building exercise.

Why you shouldn’t neglect your Website and Blog…or both

5 Dec

With Social Media growing as form of reaching out to customers, many people/brands have neglected their own website or blog. Heck sometimes they’ve neglected both and started using Facebook and Twitter more. Some think they are getting more out of Facebook and Twitter than their blog or website. Though that may make sense, there’s a few things wrong with that picture, let me explain.

If you neglect your website you’re taking chances on not being relevant. Out dated photos, stories, customer testimonials as well as company info gives a really bad impression. I’ve been to so many sites where their content is not only stagnant, but it’s pretty darn old. Here’s what I mean by old, my rule of thumb, anything older than 6 months or a season is considered old. For example, if it’s Winter but your content shows “hot deals” or “beat the heat” then that means it’s old.

The same goes for Blogs. Some companies have altogether got rid of their blogs. I met with 2 potential clients last week where they deleted their blog because they didn’t think it was doing anything or it wasn’t as important as Facebook. Don’t get me wrong, Facebook is a powerful tool, but it works better when you have a blog to work side by side or at least they work together much like and Officer Bill Gannon Sargent Joe Friday from Dragnet.
as-frank-gannon-with-jack-webb-dragnet-1968

But then again there are some legitimate reasons why people neglect their website, blog and social media all together. They’re just too busy. I had lunch yesterday with my Daughter and while we were paying I noticed they had a sign that said, “Like us on Facebook.” So I asked who handles it and the nice man told me he did it but he’s so busy that he doesn’t have time for it at all. This is where someone like me can provide my services, I told him what I can do for them and how it can help him focus on the things he needs to do for the restaurant while I do all the other stuff that he didn’t have time for.

So to make this long story short, don’t neglect your site and or blog. If you don’t have time to do it, let me handle that stuff for you.

Here’s my contact info:
RL Policar
RLPolicar@gmail.com
714 519 6661
Social Media, Content Writer, Blogger, Email Marketing

The Importance of Product Reviews

27 Nov

Have you ever gone shopping for an item and once you got it home, it just wasn’t as great as you thought it would be? What about that restaurant you ate at, the food kinda sucked? If you’ve ever had a similar situation like that happen to you, then you may want to consider reading product reviews before you spend more money on anything.

I’ve been in the Product Reviews business for the last several years. I own and operate 2 bicycle websites, one is MtnBikeRiders.com and the other is BikeCommuters.com. What do my sites do? We provide product reviews, news, articles, How To’s and provide our readers any relevant information they might find useful.

When I first started my websites, there were other sites that offered product reviews for free, but they did offer a package where you pay them a certain amount of money, then you’re guaranteed a great review. Those sites are no longer around and for good reason. My sites offer FREE PRODUCT REVIEWS, why? For one, my self and the rest of my staff are consumers just like you. We shop for the same things you do and why not share the info we discover about product that we test to others.

The way it works for my sites and I’m sure for other sites is a company contacts myself asking if we’d test out their products. We don’t say yes to everything, but as long as the item is relevant to my readers, we’ll consider it. Once we get the product, we typically will do a First Impression of the item. Basically we’re telling you what we thought of it during our first few uses of it. Then we’ll publish a formal review a few weeks later with photos, videos(if applicable) and links back to your site.

The Formal Review consists of a more in-depth look at the company’s product and we test it against the claims they make as well as look at the overall quality, workmanship and ease of use. There are more factors we throw in, but it all depends on the item we’re testing.

So why is it important for companies to have independent websites test out their products? Mainly it’s for exposure! It’s basically free publicity on your company and products. Here’s the thing, if your gadget, apparel, device or doodad claims it’s going to do A,B,C and D, then make sure it does all those as you describe it. But if it fails to do any of those and the review finds flaws, then you’ll be hit with a bad product review.

I’ll give you an example, a few years back I met a guy who had a magnetic bicycle pedal company that wanted MtnBikeRiders.com to review his product. He said the magnets on the pedals would keep a rider’s feet on the pedals. But during my review, that never happened. The magnets were weak and it just didn’t work they way he said it would. This was the last line I put in the review: “Truth be told, I was really disappointed in how these pedals performed. “

Let’s say you’ve got a stellar product review from an independent site, heck share all that on Social Media! Push it out on Facebook, Twitter, Blog about it and even include in your next newsletter.

Now that you have that in mind, start reaching out to independent websites and have them test out your products, c’mon, it doesn’t really cost you anything and it has a reach greater than you may think.

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