Making a Website

I’ve been so lucky to get so many professional referrals for so long that I have put off a lot of the basic “I’m running a business” tasks. An important, but annoying, task I finally tackled was building a website.

It’s not so much that it’s difficult to make a simple website, but it’s the creative planning and thoughtfulness that it requires. So I dedicated a weekend to putting together the bare minimum for what I need.

  1. Shopping around WordPress Themes. This bit of research included looking at features, design, and basic functionality. I ended up with a free theme that suited my needs.
  2. Connecting my domain name (BeckmannCollaborative.com) from GoDaddy to WordPress.
  3. Customizing my WordPress Theme – site name, layout options, etc.
  4. CONTENT. This is the animal I didn’t want to tackle, but decided was absolutely necessary. My final decision was to keep the content very simple – home page with intro information, an about page, blogs, contact, and partners/collaborators.

It took me about 10 hours total over 2 days, and now I have my framework for a functioning website.

Other factors to consider:

  • Contact Form. I recommend using a plugin to a email platform. Almost anything is better than the free contact forms that come with WordPress. This is important for your lead generation plans as well as developing drip content (if you so choose).
  • Blog Plan. To have a blog or not? I just about always choose to have one because I love great content and sharing stories. If you hate writing and know that you will not keep up with a blog, then don’t bother setting one up. An empty blog looks like you don’t care enough to try.
  • Images and Brand. Something I have yet to address for my own business is branding. While I have a ton of ideas about what I think it should look like, few decisions have been made. At minimum, I knew the ascetic that I wanted for my website and the kinds of images I prefer to get my point across.
Advertisements

A Routine of Gratitude

A Reflection on Gratitude from a Teenage Mentee

CEO Candi, Gratitude, Thankful, RoutineSince it was a rainy Saturday morning, my will to get out of bed was less than usual. The calming sound of rain kept me in that wonderful in between lull where my brain is the most creative and open. I pondered what we would talk about and if this 14 year old boy would be judgmental of my professional decisions or any advice I would offer. During my sleepy entrancement, I imagined the various conversations we might have.

Once 9:30am rolled around, I was forced to get out of bed and on my way to meet with my new mentee. The drive to our meeting spot – a cute little cupcakery and coffee spot – was quick despite the rain. And as I entered the shop, I could see that he was already there patiently waiting for me (luckily I wasn’t late).

The conversation was supposed to be about his personal and professional goals, but I didn’t know this kid beyond the brief conversation we had over a month ago. We talked about movies, books, society, debate, and psychology. I forgot how awesomely open and curious teenagers are about the world. It was such a refreshing conversation. Most adults I know are terribly boring – they talk only talk about work, love, and money.

At one point in our conversation, we talked about gratitude and the discomforts of one’s teenage years. It may just be due to the upcoming holiday or the many changes happening in my life right now, but I felt required to emphasize the importance of gratitude in our conversation.

As I look back at the meeting, I know that he didn’t need to necessarily hear all about the importance of gratitude. We expect a lot out of teens today – work hard in school, get a job, act like an adult, stay innocent, be polite & grateful, and so on.

This young man is grateful for his friends, his family, and his life.  That’s more than I can say for myself on a regular basis. It takes effort for me sometimes to feel gratitude and recognize it.

Create Routine, Routines, Gratitude, MarketingCreating a Routine

I will always preach to my clients the importance of creating a positive and consistent routine for their marketing. Things like posting a blog the same time and day every week, checking social media regularly, and creating fluidity to the voice of the story across all channels.

Routines work best when they flow from your personal life to your professional life. When my mentee told me that his goal for the next 8 days is so write 10 pages of narrative every day, I realized that I haven’t been doing something so regimented to practice my own skills.

 

My Vision as a Marketer:

To create beautiful expressions that tell the story for each company that I provide services to.

Goals Toward that Vision:

Spend 1 hour each day coming up with a new way to reach people with that story. It will look like mini-marketing campaigns.

What is a positive routine you are keeping to grow or improve yourself?

Why I Love Content Marketing

Content Marketing aka “Corporate Storytelling”

Many people are buzzing about content marketing as if it is a brand new concept. Really, it is just a new title to a long running concept of telling your company or brand story through your marketing campaigns.  Some people have called it Corporate Storytelling or “Old-School Marketing” content. This is the oldest form of marketing after all.

In 1900, Michelin Tires released the first Michelin Guide, which is now the oldest European hotel and restaurant reference guide. It includes the Michelin stars – the awards given to select establishments for excellence – as well as some car-focused tips and tricks. When they launched the Michelin Guide, it was intended to boost the demand for cars (and thus for car tires). The content they were delivering was for a specific and targeted audience – French Motorists. The company was providing valuable information that is of high caliber and a reflection of the company’s brand value – this is great content marketing.

Why Content Marketing is Great

There are so many ad agencies out there that preach about repetition of the brand message being the key to success, but I genuinely believe that the greatest value a company can get from marketing is when there is strong content for it to sit upon (and repeated in different ways, of course). The information you offer provides value in several ways:

To Customers

Companies that offer useful content such as a restaurant guide (like Michelin), tips, how-to videos, and other information that is related and complementary to what the company does represent a brand that I want to be loyal to. A company that cares enough to know what I want and need is one that I will associate with trust and comfort. Great marketing content can naturally create loyalty and brand trust.

For SEO

When the content of your website is consistent and repeating similar/related concepts through the words you choose in blog posts, news releases, social media, and metadata, then search engines can trust your website is not a spammer. If done right, great content marketing can have a very positive impact on your website’s SEO.

For Social Good

Even those people who have no need for your product are likely to come across your company at some point. If your content is valuable, and perhaps offers ancillary information, then you are providing a sort of social good to the world. As a marketer writing about ways for small businesses to do marketing for themselves, you are offering a free service of sorts.  As a software company, you may provide some how-to videos that help people better understand the technology that you offer and its impact on the world.

I implore you to take the time and really think about your company’s story. Ask yourself about the solutions you offer to customers and how that impacts their lives. Your story lives in there somewhere. Or ask me! I’m always open for a meeting or chat to support businesses in writing their corporate story.

 

Enjoy this cool infographic showing a history of Content Marketing

Content Marketing, Corporate Storytelling, Marketing strategy

From the Content Marketing Institute