Library · Small Business

A Helpful and Enjoyable Read: The Huffington Post Complete Guide to Blogging

I recently came across The Huffington Post Complete Guide to Blogging at the library. I always enjoy reading the Huff Post articles that show up in my newsfeed on Facebook, so I was curious and checked the book out. It’s a bit dated as it sometimes mentions MySpace or the 2008 elections, but once you get past that, it can be a pretty helpful resource. This book includes lots of fascinating input from Huff Post bloggers on why the blog, Q and A’s, important posts, and tips.

This book starts at the very beginning explaining the history of blogging, the anatomy of a blog, and even tips for picking a title for your blog. It doesn’t leave anything out as far as the blogosphere is concerned. It even explained blog awards including the Webby Awards, Bloggies, and Blooker Prize. I didn’t even know those existed.

This book has lots of good information, however, I found Chapter 4: Finding Your Voice to be the most helpful. This chapter includes The Huffington Post Rules for Great Blogging as well as a list of sources for inspiration, both of which are going on my office wall.

The final section of this book is for resources. It includes the Huff Post blog roll, a glossary of blogging terms, and – for even more inspiration – the best of Huff Post.

I enjoyed The Huffington Post Complete Guide to Blogging and recommend it to anyone interested in blogging. It’s a quick read and definitely helpful.

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Library · Small Business

Book Review: Free Marketing 101 Low and No-Cost Ways to Grow Your Business Online and Off

I love this book! It’s an easy and sometimes eye-opening read. Jim Cookrum writes confidently, and his advice is bold, practical, and maybe even unconventional. The book consists of 102 short and straight to the point chapters. He’s a big fan of videos and email marketing, and lists tons of helpful websites and tools.

marketing book

Some of my favorite advice:

  • The “irrational habits” outlined in chapter 6 are awesome, and are definitely not what you would think of as great marketing; or at least I didn’t at first.

 

  • Be authentic and transparent, because customers want to buy from a   person.

 

  • Be over the top and go out of your way to please customers, because with the internet, “every customer has a megaphone and an audience”.

 

Even though this book is from 2011, I believe most of the information is still relevant. It’s definitely worth a look for any entrepreneur wanting to grow their business.

Library · SCORE · Small Business

Small Business Marketing Kit for Dummies: My Introduction to Marketing

Small Business Marketing Kit for Dummies by Barbara Findlay Schenck is easy to read with simple explanations and practical advice. I picked up this book at the library after my SCORE mentor suggested I concentrate on marketing for my business. Go over to the Dummies website to check out this book’s cheat sheet at www.dummies.com/cheatsheet/smallbusinessmarketingkit and see a small preview of all the great information available in this book.

book

In chapter 1, Schenck gives a simple definition of marketing: the process through which you win and keep customers. Marketing is such a broad topic, so as a person with no formal business training, this straightforward definition helped me understand what it’s really all about. I had assumed marketing was the same thing as advertising, but I now know it’s so much more than that. Also in Chapter 1, the “marketing wheel” explains how marketing affects every aspect of your business and the entire process of making sales. Schenck says in marketing the whole is greater than the parts, and it’s a never-ending process.

This very thorough book gives lots of advice on research including product, market, competitor, and customer research, as well as covering all the details of developing your brand.

My favorite quote from Schenck has to be, “Your product is what Google says it is.”

The book goes on to explain how to develop goals and strategies, and how to set a marketing budget outlining to use of your time and money. I never really considered budgeting my time before, but as Schenck points out, most businesses use social media as part of their marketing efforts. Social media can be very effective, and while it doesn’t cost money, it does take a lot of time.

Schenck gives good advice for getting your message out both online and offline. This book is actually the reason I started my blog. Schenck suggests blogging on a regular basis as a way to create engaging content for your social media outlets. I’ve learned from this book that it’s important to interact with customers instead of just trying to sell.

This book is full of resources providing the names and websites of helpful organizations and services. It even comes with a CD packed with useful forms and checklists to accompany each chapter. I printed them out and put them in a binder, and I continue to work on them as I develop my marketing plan.

Over the past couple months I’ve read several marketing books, and I’m always at the library looking for more. This was the first book I picked up, and I’m really glad it was. It gives an excellent overview of marketing, especially for someone like me who is new to running a business. I highly recommend it!

Library · SCORE · Small Business · Toledo, OH

10 Things I Learned at the SCORE Marketing Training

Placeholder ImageOn May 4th I attended SCORE’s marketing training at the Kent Branch Library. Lately I have been reading just about any marketing book I can get my hands on. It’s now very clear to me that marketing is crucial to success as a small business owner. Marketing is everything! Here are 10 things I took away from the training.

  1. Marketing is such a broad topic. There’s so much to it and my hand hurt from taking so many notes!
  2. You must have the courage to ASK for the sale.
  3. Have an elevator speech prepared, and remember KISS.
  4. If your prices are too low you’ll disturb the market. New businesses suffer the most in price wars.
  5. Remember, “Who’s going to write the check?” That’s whom you are really selling to.
  6. Don’t coast. Once you are making sales, you have to stay on top of your game.
  7. Know your strengths.
  8. Know your competitor’s strengths.
  9. Engagement is important for keeping customers and gaining new ones.
  10. And finally, SCORE is popular! The training was well attended!

 

Library · Toledo, OH

Discovering the Toledo Lucas County Public Library

I am learning so much more about the Toledo Lucas County Public Library through my involvement with SCORE. We have all of our one-on-one mentoring sessions at the main branch downtown, and we utilize many of the resources available there. They have a great selection of business books. They also have business technology specialists on hand ready to blow your mind with the library’s research databases. They’re such a valuable resource for all small businesses.

I can’t wait until our daughter is a little older and we can take her to the library more often. We took her to the children’s floor at the main branch and got some adorable pictures. In one of them she is sitting at a computer in the toddler room.

We also get children’s books from the nearby Washington and Sanger branches. The Sanger branch children’s section is beautifully decorated with the work of local illustrator and author Denise Fleming. We also got a picture of Karly at the Sanger branch.

sanger branch

I also learn about the library’s events through their Facebook page. The last event we went to was the Glass City Black Comix Fest. There were a lot of kids running around, playing games, and having a good time. The artwork was amazing, and Jason and I both bought comics.

I am attending a marketing training with SCORE at the Kent branch on May 4th, and I’m excited to see what that will be like. I look forward to continue using SCORE and the library as resources for my business, but I’m even more excited to see my daughter’s future involvement with the library.