Preface By Kerwin McKenzie
I’m a firm believer in doing everything myself. Well, I was until a few years ago when I needed to re-design my website; Passrider.com. I tried, it took me forever and still I had no results. So then I hired a guy from the Philippines to take care of it and in about a month or so he was done. And so I was launched into using virtual assistants to take care of the repetitive stuff I ad as well as the stuff of which I know little. This frees me up to do other more important tasks.
The company or personal blog is one of the most important aspects of the business for an online entrepreneur. It is where you can interact with your followers and build trust with your readers. When you become a recommended resource for knowledge on a particular subject, the chances of you selling a product or service becomes much higher. People buy from those who they trust and having a personal or company blog is a great way to promote yourself to potential customers, and give them an idea of who you are and what your business is about. Here we will address the issues surrounding blog management & social media with the help of a virtual assistants.
In today’s society, maintaining online sites is not only a savvy business practice but rapidly becoming an obligatory part of running a company. Ask anyone who has a blog, it is a time consuming process! Regular tasks include updating the website, writing content, editing images, SEO, promotion, WordPress management and replying to comments.
As entrepreneurs, time is our most valuable asset and should be valued as highly as currency. It is admirable to spend hours upon hours working on your first blog or business, crawling the internet looking for SEO tips and solutions to WordPress problems, but in all fairness you should be looking to outsource all of this as soon as you can. Why spend hours trying to fix issues that someone else can fix in a matter of minutes? Why do the slow stuff that someone else can manage just as well as you? That is just bad for business.
Virtual assistants are a convenient way to help business owners maximize their internet presence and therefore, their marketability. Lets begin with blog management.
One of the first jobs that many business owners will outsource is their blog management How can a virtual assistant help you to manage your blog and become more efficient?
- Your assistant can draft posts and research topics. This allows you to log in and elaborate on the headings and information they have gathered therefore saving you time and effort
- If you have hired an english proficient VA then they can also do jobs such as correcting grammar, proofreading and spellcheck
- Adding links to relevant posts on your site and elsewhere on the internet, as well as repairing any broken links on your website
- Uploading images to WordPress and adding images to posts with ALT tags and descriptions for seo
- Fill in tags and seo Yoast details to improve search engine rankings
- Updating plugins and WordPress when necessary. (Always backup WordPress!)
- Set featured image
- Run GT Metric scan to check site speed
- Edit and update old posts (Google appreciates this!)
Do you see how much is involved in managing a blog now? This is only scratching the surface as now the post needs to be promoted. This is another instance where a virtual assistant can be a great asset for a company leaving you the time to create quality content while removing the monotony of tasks associated with blogging.
Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Tumblr, Flickr, G+ and Instagram are only a handful of the sites that are popular nowadays. People have been seized with the desire to share things with friends and associates every moment of every day. As a business, you need to evaluate where to put your energy and focus. You do not need to be on every site and for hours every day, but alas, you must embrace and become proficient at social media if you wish to succeed in today’s online world.
The demand for a continued social networking presence can become overwhelming, tiresome and downright timewasting. It is a good part of your business to outsource, so that you do not become distracted by all that goes on in the virtual world. Creating a social media plan for your assistant to follow is an essential part of handing over the reigns, where you detail the posting schedule for each channel of social media during the week and what to post.
You can use plugins such as Jetpack, which will automate social media posting as soon as the article goes live on your website, but this may not always be convenient or the best way to promote. Putting a personal touch can be the difference between using social to have people engage with your business or avoid it. Some tasks for a virtual assistant who is managing your social media include:
- Have your VA connect your social media accounts in WordPress – if you have not already done so.
- Have your VA verify Google Plus Authorship
- Using a social media plan – have your assistant source images, posts and come up with questions to share on your accounts
- Connect all accounts to Klout
- Depending on the scale and size of your business there may be repeated updating profiles on a vast array of social media accounts and it is important to keep on top of this.
- Engage with people on social media
- Keep customers up-to-date about upcoming events.
- It is important to know your customers – Create a poll to ask questions about what your customers want
There are many ways outsourcing blog management & social media to a virtual assistant can prove a beneficial arrangement for both parties. By removing mundane tasks made necessary by the constant demands of blogging & social media, the virtual assistant will give you back your ability to focus on creating killer content and moving the business forward. Who really wants to be the person who ends up wading through mountains of material for their blog, editing all the content and then promoting it? Does it not make perfect sense to hand over these tasks as soon as you can and give yourself some virtual freedom!
About the Author:
Chris Ducker is a successful entrepreneur, blogger, and podcaster known for his thought leadership about building businesses and lifestyles that thrive with virtual teams. His highly-anticipated book—Virtual Freedom: How to Work with Virtual Staff to Buy More Time, Become More Productive, and Build Your Dream Business—comes out April 1 and is available for pre-order now.
I constantly see travel bloggers in the online forums and in person asking “how is so and so convention or show, should I go and is it worth it?” So that has inspired me to write this post after my visit to The Los Angeles Times Travel Show. Here are seven reasons why I attended The LA Times Travel Show.
- Curious – I never know whom I may meet or what new technology I will learn about at this show. As it turns out, Alyssa Milano of “Who’s The Boss” fame was giving a talk on her involvement in UNICEF. I’ve wanted to do some stuff with them, so it was great to listen to her experiences.
- Market Research – Yup, this is our play ground. If you are a travel blogger, travel conferences is a great place to do research. You get to meet real travelers, people who are clueless about travel and those who are experts. I love research so this is my playground. I watch what people do, which booths are crowded. I also watched people as they took notes as this tells you what they are interested in. I gotta tell you; they all want to save money so are looking for ways to do so.
- Networking – I met old acquaintances and a few new ones at this year’s event. I got a chance to press the flesh with Jen Leo from the LA Times Apps for the Year and This Week in Travel, Johnny Jet, Eric Rosen from The Points Guy. Plus representatives from The Parking Spot, Fiji Airways, Singapore Airlines, Turkish Airlines, Guam Tourist Board just to name a few. I also talked with travel experts on Africa, Nepal, and Turkey. As you can see the networking opportunity was tremendous. And local fellow travel blogger Arnette from RTW Girl stopped by to say hello and enjoyed a bit of the conference as well. I could not do all this sitting at home, wherever that is :-). And neither can you.
- Education – I learned so much about new destination, new technology and new travel services. Arnette and I spoke to Ari guy who books award travel for his customers at AwardMagic.com and does a fine job that he makes a living from it. So you can see that the show is like going to school except on the weekend.
- Trends – It’s always good to listen to the speakers as they talk about the hottest destinations and where is trending for travelers. Looks like Asia is the winner this year as its cheap and has fare sales often. And just like at CES, looks like Wellness Travel is the next crazy thing out there. You get to hear people like Arthur Frommer speak, which is always a thrill. He’s still going strong after all these years. Now they also have a Trade Day; Friday, but I did not make it out there for that. Michael Hodson of Go, See, Write, spoke on PTBA’s behalf about how to work with bloggers.
- Innovations – Sometimes you see how something is done and it triggers ideas for product creation and product differentiation.
- Content – You get so much content for your blogs as you learn about new destinations. At this show Jennifer Leo did her annual Travel App Review so I learned about some new apps I can try out. Plus I learned a bit more about Turkey and was able to record the presentation. In addition, I recorded some dance moves from the folks from Guam. More unique content, further differentiating my brand from the crowd.
- Travel – Duh! :-). It’s an excuse to visit Los Angeles. I did not do much in that area as I’ve been to LA many times as I have family living out here. But I did take the public transportation extensively, particularly the train. So now I have a better knowledge of how it works.
We do have a list of conferences here for your review. If you’ve attended conferences, do you think its worth it? Please leave a comment below.
One day I got an email to help beta test a piece of software. I did not hesitate to say yes as I love testing software. It’s what I did for years. It was a fun test and the software actually works well.
Now, its ready for you.
The software is called “Simple Video Press.”
Learn more about Simple Video Press here: http://simplevideopress.com/.
Basically the software is designed to save you a ton of time & make publishing your videos on your WordPress site easy! Not only does it accomplish this it does a bunch more.
– Automate the posting of your new videos
– Easily increase YouTube subscribers
– Grow your email list on auto-pilot
– Import comments from YouTube to your site….
And a bunch more..
It’s really a pretty amazing piece of software!
They are releasing it on a limited basis – so they can make sure everyone gets the support they need. So if there are still copies available, I can’t recommend it enough!
If you like simplicity & automation – go here and pick up a copy of
the software before they run out: http://simplevideopress.com/.
You can see how I use it on two of my sites:
- the home page on the right of http://www.KerwinMcKenzie.com and
- a site entirely devoted to my Travel Tip Tuesday videos at http://www.TravelTipTuesday.com.
I learned this technique from Amy Porterfield; listening to her webinars as well as reading a bunch of Facebook forums and Web pages. Then I tried it, then tried it again and again, with good results as I combine it with other interests for the fans I’m looking for.
So how do you find the page you want to target? Well, it depends on what you want to do, so here goes:
Start with your own page as this will tell you what pages your own community members also Like. This is big as you will see that they usually like pages that are similar to yours; typically your competitors. Its interesting as this helps you to also figure out what services to offer your users. Once you’ve figured out a page to target do the following:
- Go to https://www.facebook.com/ads/manage and click the “Create an Ad” button
- Determine the type of ad you want to run; I chose a Page Like Ad
- Choose the page for which you want to run the Ad
- Choose an image for your Ad
- Choose a headline for your Ad
- Choose a Call To Action text
- Scroll down to the Create Your Audience Section
- Choose your Location, Age and Gender you wish to target; these are the most powerful metrics of the Facebook Ad platform
- Under the Precise Interest field type in the name of the Facebook page you are targeting. Not all pages will show up as Facebook has not indexed all the pages just yet. So if the page you want is not shown as you type it in, then just try another page. The page name will show under the Precise Interest section of this dropdown.
- Now you can add other interests to further tailor your audience.
- Under the Bidding and Pricing Section, choose Optimize per clicks, manually bid for clicks and then choose your Pricing. use CPC and not CPM, so you actually pay per click, not per impression.
- Review and then Place Your Order. Facebook will then advise when the order is approved and it starts running.
Here’s a video to help you:
You can see my results so far of my current campaign.
Have you used this functionality before? What have your results been like?
I was just at World Travel Market (WTM) and prior to that TBEX, so I’ve had a chance to refine my in person pitch. It’s really tough when you have to basically walk the pavement and sell your services. Blank stares are usually a good indicator that you’ve lost your intended audience. Or sometimes, they start looking around waiting for an excuse to leave your presence.
As such, I’ve come up with ten tips to help you win over your potential partner. Feel free to add additional ones in the comments section below. Here goes:
- Dress smartly. Yes, most people do judge you by how you look. It’s how we are as humans. You have one chance to make an impression, don’t waste it. With that said though, dress as the conference dictates, don’t over do it.
- Do your homework. If possible, do a little homework about the partner before you approach them; check their web site, magazine, etc. You are looking for what are they working on, what’s coming up in the future, etc. The thought here is that you have a potential solution for them.
- Have a proper greeting. Say Hello, with your name and add “I’m a travel blogger,” extending your arm for a firm handshake; not too firm now. Look them in the eye and don’t get distracted by what is going on around you.
- Exchange business cards. If the potential partner offers a card, do the same at the same moment or as soon as possible. If they don’t ask for yours at the end of the conversation, say something like, “if you have additional information, here’s my card, feel free to let me know.” At this point, they may also hand you their card. Don’t feel intimated to ask for their card by saying, “Do you have a card? I’d like to send a followup email with some additional details about my travel business.” They may at this point say, I’m out of cards. That’s O.K., say thank you for their time, offer your hand, shake and depart.
- Use both hands if appropriate. If cards are exchanged, note how they are giving you their card; if two hands are used do the same. But don’t be clumsy as I did at a booth at WTM as I had hot tea in one hand and my bag in the other. I had to put everything down, which was a little awkward. It was a good thing the potential partner really wanted to talk to bloggers.
- Keep the pitch short. Deliver your 60 second pitch ending with “How may I help you with your marketing goals?” then wait.
- Get it together. Based on what you say/propose they may have additional questions; answer directly and professionally. No need for the extra stuff that adds no value to the conversation.
- Be respectful of their time. The worst thing you could do is to waste the time of your prospect. Have your ducks in a row.
- Be genuine. Look for an avenue to genuinely comment about their appearance, their culture, etc. don’t over do it though and don’t get too personal.
- Talk about a common bond. If during the conversation, you find you have a common bond, talk about it, but don’t for too long unless the conversation warrants it.
- Move on. If nothing comes of your interaction, that’s O.K., you did your best, move on thanking as you go and being polite.
- Review and Improve. Go over the conversation you just had in your head and see how you can improve it for the next encounter.
There you have it; good luck in your pitching. Like most things, it takes practice. Press on.
Leave a comment below to let me know about what you’ve experienced in your encounters and additional tips you have for your fellow travel bloggers.
So what is your elevator pitch for your travel blog business?
Here’s a template to use. Please leave a comment below with your pitch; this way we can help you refine it if necessary.
Hello, my name is __________________.
I help __________________ be/do/have (insert your target audience)
(The expected results)
So here’s mine:
Hello, my name is Kerwin McKenzie.
I help travel bloggers to
create an online presence
they will attract their intended online audience.
Everyone knows how to hold your camera right? Well not really. In this video from the TBEX Dublin 2013 Photo Walk, Daniel N shows you how. Our other instructor is Laurence N. How do you hold your camera when you shoot? Do you hold your breath like I did?
Let me know by leaving a comment below.
At TBEX 2013 in Dublin, Corey Taratuta of Irishfireside.com and I spoke about email marketing and how to build an email list as well as its importance.
We’ve loaded our presentation below for your review. In addition, I did an audio recording and am in the process of reviewing it, here’s hoping it was a good one.
If you have any questions at all leave a comment below and/or drop Corey or myself an email.
Please leave a comment and let us if you are currently building a list in your business. If not, why not? What is holding you back at this time? If you are already building a list, please share some nuggets for your fellow bloggers and travel industry professionals.
Here are the Action Steps for the Slide of the same name. These are the things you should do once you have finished the presentation. Do them this week please:
- Set Your Goals
- Choosing A Service
- Decide which fields to use
- Setup the opt-in forms on your blog
Leave a comment below and let us know how you got on.
- Words not to use in your email subject line
- Open Rates
I recently attended a Photo Walk held by Laurence N and Daniel N in Dublin, Ireland. They did a short talk on how to shoot a water fountain. Watch the video to see what they had to say. Here is my image of the fountain. It was taken with my iPad, which means I have to go back and use the DLSR and practice some of the techniques covered in the video.
Please leave a comment below and let me know what you think. Have you shot a fountain? Do you agree with what they had to say?