Content Marketing

Creating high-impact content for business entails an array of elements. First, there is the INFORMATION VALUE. This means giving the reader information that is either new, interesting, educational, or unique. For those products or services that are more common and established, interesting content provides new insights into an established product or service.

The second most important element is ENGAGED READING. This marries good writing skills with formatting and easy reading. Breaking large content down into nuggets of information helps to engage the reader and leave a more lasting impact.

AUDIENCE RELEVANCE is another component that we strive to achieve with each piece of content, whether it’s website copy or content for a digital marketing deck. Adding audience relevant phrases, images or information resonates with readers.

Online Content That Builds Traffic
If you’re are preparing any content that will be viewed online, work to make sure each headline, sub-head, or decking content is KEYWORD RICH. This brings the search engines to your websites, blogs, or other online marketing tools.

Keyword-centric writing is, many experts say, on the way out. Google has shifted to a discovery engine which focuses not just on keywords but on well-written and information content that people will want to read. Google gathers information from everywhere. So, this means that they are not only using their own data to determine who makes it big in the rankings, but they are crawling sources such as social media. So, even if you hate the idea of spending time writing or preparing a video for social media, it makes good sense to invest in the effort if you want to be noticed online.

A FUSION STRATEGY may offer the best way to become visible and one of the latest recommendations is to combine keywords and interesting topics. As the search engines get smarter, they are looking for stronger content, not just keywords. Now, many successful SEO programs are blending quality content that is keyword-rich. The content must still be well-written, informative and easy-to-read, but if relevant keywords can be built into this, then all the better.

Until next time–– keep writing, keep creating.


Is It Time To Consider Marketing Management?

Are you ready to abandon REACTIVE marketing practices and move forward faster with a PROACTIVE Marketing Plan?

In today’s world, entrepreneurs and business owners try to save money by doing as much of their own marketing as possible. Inevitably, there comes a time when both the marketing effectiveness declines as the manager’s attention is drawn away from other aspects of the business.

Balancing effective, regular marketing with filling orders, managing employees, coordinating with vendors, tracking sales and the many other duties of a business owner or manger is a difficult act to maintain.

If yours is like most enterprises today, you are engaged in some form  of marketing.

You may have a full blown advertising campaign going or just promoting your business through social media, a website and listings in directories.

No matter the size of your marketing efforts, all have two elements in common, including:

• An investment of time, money and knowledge to recognize a return; and

• The loss of valuable sales/management/operations time if you’re  actually running your marketing program.

  What if you could have an experienced marketing professional to create, manage and coordinate your advertising, marketing, web and social media?

The Role of Marketing Management

The purpose of marketing management is to develop, establish and maintain marketing  strategies to meet your practice development objectives. This also includes the effective on-going management and analysis of all marketing, advertising and promotional activities.

For a medium-sized enterprise already engaged in active promoting, a good marketing management program should include the following:


​- setting and meeting growth goals 

​- establishing a marketing budget 

​- optimizing marketing expenditures  


​- coordinating marketing with sales persons and vendors 

​- provide liaison services with web hosting firms ​

​- identifying, negotiating and placing 

​ paid advertising in publications, TV, 

​  radio and billboards 

​- coordinating digital marketing  

​  programs such Pay-Per-Click and 

​  social media advertising 


​- logos and branding 

​- copywriting, slogans, press releases 

​- graphic design, graphic themes  

​- creative services to develop radio and  

​  TV ads 

​- content development that is informative, 

​  persuasive and consistent across a ​ 

​  range of media 


​- website creation and management (for those with ​​   their own sites) 

​- creation of custom pages for Facebook, Twitter and other ​​  social media 

​- creating and posting of relevant social media posts 

Increasing Cost Efficiency

Most important of all, a solid marketing management plan will reduce waste from impulse spending and create a cost-efficient, cohesive program that builds you brand and increases opportunities.

The Four O’s In A Successful Start Up

Many of us like to have our business advice compacted into easily remembered information nuggets. You know, things like The Five Rules of …. , Ten Ways To Improve Profits… etc. So, here is one more to add to your list: THE FOUR Os.

When contemplating a start up, or in making market plans for an existing enterprise, there are four essential ingredients in structuring the marketing of products or services. These elements are common to most successful marketing strategies.

And they are neatly packaged into memorable nuggets as they all begin with the letter O.


Business ideas often begin with an observation. Some might also call it inspiration. In fact, it’s the simple act of noticing a need that is being filled or not being filled. Once you observe this need, it’s important to look around, investigate, speak with those in the same area to determine the specifics of the need.

Example: In the early 1950s, the McDonald brothers of San Bernardino CA observed a need for a no frills, high quality/low cost source for hamburgers and were inspired to create a highly efficient system to deliver such product quickly, thus pioneering the fast food concept.


Once you have identified a market need via observation, you must then assess the scope of the opportunity. This means that you need to perform your due diligence on the potential of your observed need to be sufficiently successful to support operations and produce a profit. You must research the potential size of the opportunity to make sure that it’s success is sustainable into the future.

Example: Entrepreneurial salesman Ray Kroc observed the McDonald Brothers’ marketing phenomenon and recognized the enormous opportunity inherent in franchising this idea. We all know the rest of the story.

Example: Or perhaps I should call this Examples, as I’m talking about the numerous .com enterprises launched in the 1990s and early 2000s. Many of these were inspired ideas that attracted investors aplenty. Many also crashed and burned. A famous example is that of an online grocery store (I’ll omit the name of this venture) with enormous selection, high quality products and low prices–– plus your order was delivered to your doorstep! Sounds great now, right, and there are numerous versions of this idea floating around today, not even including Amazon, which is similar in basic concept.

The lesson of these two OPPORTUNITY examples is in the old adage: Pioneers get slaughtered, settlers flourish.

Open Mindedness

This is another way of saying “eyes wide open” when venturing into a start up. The lessons of being a pioneer in your niche needs to considered. True, some pioneers make millions: Jobs, Gates, Musk, Edison, Ford, Kroc, but there are hordes of truly inspired enterprisers who had great ideas that either didn’t come to fruition or failed to thrive.

We enterprisers tend to fall in love with our business visions–– starry-eyed, we sometimes only see the positive and overlook or minimize the negatives.

To be successful, you must perform a a truly objective risk analysis and understand that all business is risk. You must be ready to walk away or consider a new configuration if the facts point to increased risk of failure.

Example: There are too many to single out any one example here. I suggest you search the topic: business startups that failed and why.


The last “O” in this list, obtainability, refers to the potential of your enterprising idea to be brought to life. If you’ve made it through the first three Os and you’re still optimistic about the viability of your start up, the next question is focused more on you, now that you think the business idea sound and sustainable.

Here are some of the questions you need to ask yourself:

  • Do I have the skills to make this enterprise work?
  • Do I have sufficient capital to launch and if I don’t, can I raise it?
  • Do I have the temperament, attitude and personality to take risks?
  • Will my current life situation and status support an entrepreneurial venture?

Example: Ted (last name removed for privacy) came to me for consultation about two years ago. He had a been a strategic analyst but couldn’t stand the big corporation culture. He had an idea to start a strategic marketing consulting firm for smaller businesses. He failed miserably and here’s why:

  • His OBSERVATION of smaller businesses using such a service was faulty and his due diligence inadequate. 
  • Ted failed to research the scope of OPPORTUNITY for this service. Many small businesses practice “grass roots” marketing and don’t utilize tools such as strategic and/or market analytics. Ted’s lack of OPEN MINDEDNESS let him mistakenly see a “market niche” for these services. He was blinded to the fact that there was an “opening” in this market because very few businesses in this segment were buying such services.
  • Lastly, Ted also failed to honestly asses whether he had the means to OBTAIN this business. He did not. He had little experience with smaller businesses, lacked tenacity and life experience to wade into this market, and then make adjustments.

If you’re out there getting ready to launch a startup, or you’re in the early days of your first enterprise, remember it’s not about U. Remember your Os.

The Five Ws of Building Identity For Your Enterprise

As you formulate your new enterprise, you should be concerned about creating the right identity for the business. Here’s a handy cheat sheet: use the old reporter’s rule of the 5 W’s: 

Who?  What does the market see when it see you or your business?

What? Do you explain well what your enterprise offers? Do you have a clear and unique identity for your offerings?

Where?  What is your market position relative to the competition?

When?  How do want your potential customers to view your products/services in terms of presence in the market? Do you want to tout that your offering are new and unique, or do you wish to play down the fact that you’re a new player?

Why? Have you isolated the reasons why your prospective customers should buy your products or services?

The Balance of Customer Needs With Customer Wants

The concept of building a business identity is inextricably tied to the practice of addressing both the needs and wants of the marketplace. We wear a particular brand of pants because they fit in with our image of ourselves, and our lifestyle. The same can be said for the cars we drive, the homes we live in, the foods we eat, the beverages we drink. In all these cases, it is the wants side of the marketing formula that drives the initial purchase. However, many a product or service has successfully enticed a customer to make an initial purchase, but failed in its attempt to obtain a repeat buyer, or to maintain an ongoing practice relationship. Why?  Because the product or service successfully addressed the wants of the customer, but failed to deliver on the needs.

Give the customer what they want and they’ll let you sell them what they need…. So goes the old adage.

Every successful enterpriser needs to understand the balance between these integral elements. Consider these points:

If NEED alone prompted purchases, then people would just buy basic automobiles. No luxury brand. No high performance cars. Just basic transportation to go from point A to point B.  Similarly, clothing would simply be utilitarian in nature. Function would definitely trump fashion in goods and services, if the WANT side of the buying formula was left out.

It is the WANT that makes the economy go, and that creates wealth and establishes brands and customer loyalty.

Consider This Example…

Not so long ago, a beverage brand spent millions to establish itself in the marketplace. The product was not particularly flavorful, but what it lacked in taste, it made up for in advertising alchemy. The company launched one of the most successful brand building campaigns in advertising history and, within two years, you could find this beverage in clubs and restaurants everywhere. Clever advertising made it a popular choice at parties and picnics, as well as other venues. It seemed that, overnight, the brand had penetrated the market to nearly incredible levels. Yet, within three years, the brand was on the downslide, and within five years, you were hard pressed to find a bottle of this product anywhere. So, what went wrong?  Nothing, really. The market just corrected itself. The product was not particularly good to begin with, and so it failed to address the basic needs of the customer for a good-tasting, satisfying beverage. 

The preceding story illustrates how the wants/needs equation plays into the building of a successful brand. The brands that endure are those that blend savvy marketing with solid value. 

Doing your marketing homework up front will save substantial amounts of money and effort in the long run. Find a need and fill it is still the mantra of good marketing, but creating a strong brand for this need-filler will lead to success. Two things you should do include:

Develop a Customer Profile or Avatar – This is a person or persons who typify the type if client/customer/buyer of your business offerings. If you’re selling consumer products, find out where your customers work, where they live, their typical income and what they buy. If you selling to other businesses, you’ll want to identify the correct  person/job title in your target market and then find out what these prospects look for in the products/services you provide.

Assess Your Market Position – This process is typically defined as being an effort to influence customer perception of a product/service brand relative to the perception of competing products or services. The goal of positioning is to situate your enterprise offerings (or brand) in a clear, unique and advantageous position in the perception of your prospective buyers. 

To accomplish this you should do the following:

A) look at the competition, see how they are perceived relative to their market.

B) analyze the factors that affect positioning: quality, price, experience, reliability, etc. 

C) Looking at the competition in your target market,  where does your enterprise fit (or could fit, when launched)? Do your offerings/pricing put you in the premium category, a value brand or middle tier?

 I understand that market position is relative and their are many factors that define it. However, it’s important early on in your enterprise to try and position your enterprise where others will see

Focus on Niche Marketing. 

Once you have defined your market(s), it’s essential that you find a niche for your enterprise. Put simply, niche marketing is all about value and uniqueness. You want to offer products/services that no one else is offering, or to offer established products/services in a new and better way. In addition, take this a step further by developing a secondary or tertiary niche, which will provide you with an even better chance of ongoing success. Here is a hypothetical example:

An accounting practice with five CPAs is looking to specialize, so it launches a niche marketing program, including:

  • Niche 1 – specializing in smaller enterprises 
  • Niche 2 – further specializing in smaller commercial enterprises
  • Niche 3 – specializing even further by offering services tailored to the accounting needs of smaller insurance brokerages and real estate brokerage

If you perform your due diligence when developing an identity for your new enterprise, you will be adding an important component to your blueprint for success

Coming in February 2019! Small Business Marketing Content

There have been many requests from our readers who have already started their own enterprises for more information on marketing and communications for solo enterprisers and smaller businesses.

So, I will be adding this content beginning in February 2019. Until then, there will be a brief hiatus with no new postings. Hang in there with me, a more diverse range of content will be forthcoming.

If course, there will still be content for those looking to become self employed. Your stories resonate with our audience and will continue.

Tips For Managing Self Employment Anxieties

Believe me, I understand.

If you’re considering the self employed life, or if you are newly self employed, then I’m sure many of you are experiencing both the satisfaction and the fear of being out on your own.

I have been self employed for more than four decades. I’ve managed to raise three children, send them all to college, live(d)in a large lovely home with my family, take them on regular vacations…and I’m still looking over my shoulder, awaiting a new catastrophe.

The truth is that most of us entrepreneurs, or enterprisers, as I call us,  never really feel completely secure. And you know what, that’s a good thing. The smart enterpriser never wants to get to too comfortable with any situation and needs to keep their foot on the gas as much as possible.

Common Concerns. Managing Techniques.

Here are a few very common concerns that most soon-to-be or newly self employed experience.

Fear of the Unknown: For many of us the unpredictably of self employment can be taxing. No one tells us each morning what work we have to do today. If we want to work, we’ve got to make things happen. The problem is that sometimes things don’t happen when we expect. This is the “boom and bust” aspect of self employment.

How to manage this? Two suggestions:

  1. Try to contain the anxiety and keep selling/networking. 
  2. Make short term plans. The planning process helps to re-focus the anxious energy. Reshuffle goals. Get proposals out.

Learn The Art of Being Patient: Business/practice development is something that takes time. Having started and rebooted three enterprises in my lifetime, I know that it can take one to three years to really get your business into solid territory.  Remember, while this one project or new relationship is of utmost importance to you, to the client it’s just one of many things on their plate. Maintain a presence but don’t be a nag.

Working When There’s No Work: A dry up of sales can be paralyzing, forcing a halt to your desire to work. A successful indie novelist recently advised new authors that he kept writing even when he hadn’t sold a single book. There is a lesson in there and that is to keep working at your enterprise, even when sales are non-existent. Of course, this assumes you have some source of income. However, if you’ve done your homework, are sure of the viability of your enterprise, then keep plugging away.

Get Out And Network: If things are quiet at work, use the opportunity to go out and network. You’ll find that mingling with other business people — whether they are potential customers/clients or not —will help to reduce anxiety and brighten your outlook during a sales slump

As a veteran of more than four decades of the self employed life, I realize that fear is one of the most potent obstacles to our ultimate success. In my experience, those that can master the uncertainties of working for themselves will go on to reap the many rewards of entrepreneurship.

Organizing Your Enterprise Identity: Originator or Emulator?


Brand Building:       Part One of Two Establishing Identity

Building identity is the process by which you let people know what your organization does. Identity building is an elementary process: you develop the tools and means to convey a simple message to your market that says This is who we are and what we offer.  Before you can construct this message, though, there are a few questions that you need to ask and answer.

Are you engaged in a new market, or an established one?

Originator or Emulator?
All enterprises can be boiled down to two simple core business ideas: is yours an original or innovative enterprise, or is it an emulating enterprise, using the platform of an established market?
An originator creates a completely new product or service line. For example, the development of the first personal computer or the first service company to market retail products online. The originator enterprise takes on a lot of risk but has the chance to make sizable earnings.
An emulator is a business that uses an established business model. The foundation for this type of business has already been established, and the entrepreneur’s major goal is to find his or her own niche. These types of businesses may not be exciting, but they incur less risk to start up.

The purpose here is to determine the strategy and resources needed for your identity-building. Identity-building for a new product is very different from marketing an established line.
If your organization markets a product or service that is generally recognized and understood, then identity-building is a matter of clearly illustrating the value of what you offer.  If you are selling in an established market, you need to:
• create a marketable identity via advertising, promotion, or word-of-mouth; and,
• demonstrate value.

If your product or service is a new offering, or represents a new category of product or service not previously available, then building identity for your business is a more complicated matter. A situation like this calls for a marketing program that educates the market to the usefulness of the product or service, and demonstrates its value. Being the first in a developing market is a more time-consuming and costly enterprise, but it can yield big dividends. Consider those brands that were among the first in their markets and have now become synonymous with their product area, such as Kleenex™ tissues, Scotch™ tape, and Xerox™ copiers, to name a few.


The Why To of Choosing Self Employment

Choose something that you love to do and you’ll never have to work a day in your life. This ancient proverb, which has been attributed to Confucius (although this is debated), reverberates into the 22nd century and was the epiphany for my choice to hire myself at age 28. In a 2009 study by the Pew Research Center, it was reported that

“Self-employed adults are significantly more satisfied with their jobs than other workers. They’re also more likely to work because they want to and not because they need a paycheck.


The Pew study shows that nearly four-in-ten self-employed workers (39%) say they are “completely satisfied” with their jobs, compared with 28% of all wage or salaried employees.

Here are some of the reasons why the self employed are happy.

Work Style and Life Style .                                                                        Live While Working. This is an interesting phrase. When I was in my early teens, my father sent me to work on a farm one summer and I discovered that life and work intertwined daily. Life didn’t stop at 7 AM and then restart again at 5 PM. This epiphany of an idea led me, before age 30, to start my own enterprise and, to then fine-tune this business model into one that gave me a great deal of flexibility. I took my core skills in writing and design and joined them with a newfound ability to sell, forming my own small ad agency in the process. For nearly 40 years, I was able to grow my business, support my family and still have time during the work day to spend with the kids, go running or otherwise participate in my personal interests. Life didn’t just happen on weekends.

Crafting Your Career, Sculpting Your Life                                                 In the modern American workplace, especially in white collar jobs, people seem consumed with work. Many large corporations build attractive work campuses to encourage people to spend longer time at work. Exercise centers, team building outings and off-site activities are all designed to increase your sense of belonging to something bigger than yourself: i.e. belonging to the company. In fact, you already do owe your time to something bigger than yourself and that is LIFE!. Your family, your friends, your life interests should all take precedence, or at least equal measure, with your work life.

Focus on Opportunity, not Security                                                       ‘Get a good job with good benefits and you’ll have no worries.’ Well, that just ain’t true anymore. Job security went out the window years ago and employee benefits are being trimmed. Want job security? Hire yourself, create an enterprise that is determined (for the most part) by your own wits, skills and determination. For those truly interested in self employment, the first task is to retrain your brain. Forget job security and start thinking about opportunity. Is there a way you can use your skill set to make money? You won’t really be losing all that much as various studies show that the self employed and employed earn about the same annual median income.Where it really varies is in the long term, where the self employed tend to out-earn their employed peers. The difference is in the freedom to capitalize and build on opportunity.

Determine What You Want From Your Work                                 Over my many years of speaking in front of businesspeople, and working with smaller businesses and professionals, I have seen how making the decision to be self-employed, for the wrong reason, can come back to haunt you.  There are many ways to be self-employed, successful, and happy.

Find a work-style that works for you, for example:

• You like structure and organization at work, but you don’t want it to be someone else’s idea of structure. Then choosing to start a traditional business, perhaps with employees, may suit your life style.

• You like to have direct contact with customers/clients, and enjoy doing the work or creating the product with as little outside interference as possible. Then, perhaps you should consider being an independent contractor or running a solo enterprise.

• You’re interested in wealth accumulation and retiring early enough to enjoy it. Then you’ll probably want to focus on an enterprise that offers passive income potential, such as selling products which offer an ongoing return.

For many self-employed people, success is not only measured by money brought in, but by freedom of ideas, of creativity, and of time to live life.


Tips For Cultivating A Successful Work At Home Career

Successfully working from home is a skill that requires planning, discipline and practice. For the 1099er, especially someone who has always worked at an office, manufactory, retail store or other brick and mortar location, this new work style may be daunting a first.

In this blog, I’m going to share some tips and advice from someone who has worked this way for more than three decades.

But first, let me tell you a little story.

My Early Day’s in the Netherworld

Way back when, on a September morning some 30+ years ago, I found myself unemployed for the first time since age 13. 

I had launched my little ad agency just two months earlier. The first few weeks in this new enterprise were a strange, netherworld time.  I felt a bit lost and directionless, while simultaneously rushing about trying to set up the new business.  There were business cards and stationery to do, a brochure to create and print (remember this was back before the impact of the digital age–– no internet, websites, social media). There were also all the administrative tasks of setting up a basic enterprise: tax ID, business banking account, mercantile licenses, etc.

It was also the summer and my new life had not yet impacted me. The coming of summer in the colder climes of the northeast always brought with it a sense of relaxation, so the impact of going solo had not yet hit me. I was getting free lance work from my former career as a magazine features writer, and had landed a plumb assignment in June that paid most of my bills for the summer. I kept working at the business, writing free lance and even took a long motorcyle adventure with a friend that August, riding from Pennsylvania to the northern tip of Maine.

Then summer ended, my well-paying free lance article was finished and published and I had completed most of the administrative and operational side of the business. I realized there was a rather large void in my work life. As I had done since college days, I began each day at 6AM and went to my desk. Only this time, there were no articles to write, no deadlines from my superiors, no interviews or appointments.

It was a little bit frightening. 

To fend off the panic, I did something that had always worked to calm my uncertainties: make plans. I methodically worked through a marketing plan, a business and home budget and, most importantly, a structured way to go about selling my services. So, I began making a daily schedule.  If there was no external force (bosses, deadlines, etc.) then I had to impose my own structure.  Days were parsed into segments:

• Early morning was dedicated to developing creative materials, improving my portfolio

• Mid-morning was dedicated to going through business directories and creating a call list

• Mid-day was my exercise and fresh air time

• Afternoons were spent in presentations to prospective clients, making cold calls to get presentation appointments, delivering project materials to various vendors (remember, no web, no ftp) and, doing free lance article interviews

• Evenings were spent doing research or writing the occasional free lance article, or when the  opportunity presented itself, making free presentations.

At first, this self-imposed schedule felt a little like wearing someone else’s coat. It seemed to be something that I just put on for protection, After several weeks, however, this schedule created the structure and discipline I needed to keep me motivated, focused and soon, successfully bringing business in the door.

By the end of November, I had two small clients and some sub-contracting copywriting/design work for another one-person ad agency. The latter was excellent experience for me as my only prior advertising position had been as an intern with a major Philadelphia agency. Here, I got to see a small business person operating within my chosen area. I learned what to do and, more importantly, what NOT to do as a solo enterpriser.

Working From Home: Tips for You

The freedom of working from home can also be a curse. If you will not, or cannot, cultivate a disciplined or structured working style, then this may impact your ultimate success. Here are

three essential areas to address.


Planning, in this 1099er’s opinion, is the key to ultimate success for a work from home business. Here are some examples:

  • Develop a solid marketing plan for your enterprise.
  • Plan your day. Get up at the same hour, have a start time for work. Schedule in some outdoor time–– whether that time is used for exercise, outdoor chores, running errands or just fresh air–– breaking at mid-day helps maintain maximum output.
  • Set daily goals and do your best to meet them.


A plan is all well and good, but one needs the WILL to implement it. If you’re the kind of person who is a disciplined self-starter than this should be fairly easy. If you’re not, here are few tricks to help you acquire the needed work discipline.

  • Learn to master distractions. Cultivate the will to pull yourself back into the task when you find your mind drifting.
  • Set deadlines. Create an imaginary boss that wants a particular task done in a set period of time, then go and do it.
  • Organize distractions. Even if you manage to avoid family or household distractions, there are going to be emails, texts and phone calls. Put these into a time slot each day. So that you’re maximizing output of your income-producing tasks.


“You have a routine, until you don’t”, said a celebrity forced out of a job after many years.

Implementing your daily planning faithfully and building your discipline will result in the development of a work at home routine. No matter how technology continues to change the way we work, a solid work routine can serve you for a lifetime–– as it has done for me.