entrepreners (5)


Have you even spoken with one of your clients or customers and gotten an earful of how amazing you are? Have you asked them to email you a testimonial or requested that they give you a linked -In recommendation only to find it never happens?

You probably already know the importance of featuring testimonials on your website.

Testimonials are an important part of your content mix. They can be used to provide proof and convince prospects to buy from you.

But, they can be hard to get if you don't have a process that makes it easy.

People get busy and forget. So, the best way to make it easy to get testimonials for your products and services is to automate the process.

testimonial form

#1. Create a Testimonial Request Template

The best way to get a testimonial is to ask. But, having to write a request every time you get a customer can feel like a lot, especially if you're super busy.

So, I recommend creating a standard template you can just copy and pop into an email to send to your client.

After you complete a project, simply send this email to your client. Here's a template you can use:

"Hello [client's name],

It was a pleasure working with you.

Your satisfaction is extremely important to me. Plus you're feedback is valuable in helping to ensure we provide the best results possible.

So, if you would take a few moments of your time to give us feedback on your experience, I'd greatly appreciate it.

Simply complete this short form here; {insert link to your form}.

Thanks again!

Your Sign Off"


#2. Create a Form Using Your Favorite Form Creation Tool

Now, you can easily have clients simply respond to your request by sending you their feedback via email. The problem with doing it this way is, you may get a "lazy" testimonial. A lazy testimonial looks like, "Working with you was great!".

That's a warm and fuzzy compliment, but it really doesn't communicate results. That's what you're going for. Feel free to use or tweak the questions I use on my testimonial form.

The best way to get a powerful testimonial is to have them answer a series of questions.

To create your form, you can use any form creation or auto-responder you have or check out the options below:


#3.Create a Thank You/Gift Page

testimonial-thanks.jpg?width=229After you create your email request and form, create a thank you page. Your thank you page can be as simple or complex as you like.

If you want to make it a sweet deal you can add a free gift as an incentive for them taking time to give their feedback.


One Last Thing...

After you've set this up you'll have a repeatable system that takes seconds not minutes.

But, I would recommend after you get your testimonials creating a swipe file for storing them. Choose the best ones and archive them. If you have a virtual office, that would be the place to store them it. If you use Google Forms, it's okay to just leave them there .

Select the most compelling testimonials and feature them on your website as proof you rock!
Kenya Halliburton

Get This Done!

Kenya Halliburton helps busy entrepreneurs who hate to write create compelling content and install proven marketing systems that win clients and cash. To learn more about how to get the content marketing systems featured in this article set up in your business, visit http://bit.ly/ccmjs .


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Top 10 Tips Every Busy Entretpreneur Needs to Know About Creating an Editorial Calendar

Is Creating an Editorial Calendar the Secret to Marketing Success?

If magazine editors waited for inspiration or for free time, no magazine would ever get published. So how do they churn out high quality content, month after month?

By creating and using an editorial calendar. And top bloggers and savvy entrepreneurs have learned this secret too.

An editorial calendar is a plan for producing regular written or media content, at regular intervals (e.g. monthly) at a perfect pace. It leaves you with deadlines you can use as a roadmap. You won’t have gaps in your postings and there’s no chance for people to forget who you are or give up on your blog.

And it can help eliminate writer’s block and last minute marketing sabotage. – the sort that leaves you realizing you forgot that your readers and subscribers were expecting Part Three of your series… yesterday!

1. Use the Method that Works Best With Your Learning Style

An editorial calendar is only useful if you use it. And if you set up a physical calendar that doesn’t work with your natural learning style, you’re more likely to forget to use it… or even, ultimately, abandon it.

a) If you are a kinesthetic learner who likes the hands-on approach, a paper calendar may be your best option. (Tip: You will most likely to be able to find plain desktop calendars with large enough slots to be useful in your local Dollar Store.)

Just be sure to put it in a place where you are likely to see it, rather than hiding it away in a desk.

b) If you are an aural learner, make an audio recording of your upcoming schedule.

c) If you are a visual learner, paper or digital will work – it’s just a matter of preference

d) If you are a read/write learner, a dated, chronological list format will probably work better for you than a graphic calendar format.

If you want to find out or confirm your ideal learning style, try one of the free online questionnaires or quizzes, such as the VARK model.

vark questionnaire

(No sign-up required for the basic assessment.)


2. Create and Coordinate Monthly and Annual Calendars

Many people find that two versions of their editorial schedule work best:

  • A monthly calendar (e.g. WordPress Editorial Plugin)
  • An annual calendar (manual or digital)

The reason for this? On your Annual Editorial Calendar, you can enter important posts to tie in with events scheduled far down the road; or with seasonal events.

Then, every month when you sit down to fill out your monthly Calendar, a quick visual check with the Annual Calendar will allow you to transpose these events onto your monthly Calendar before you input new posts for the current month, making sure nothing gets double-booked – or missed.

Sample Yearly Editorial Calendar

(If you like the format in the example above, download it by clicking here: http://bit.ly/yrlyeditorialcal)

3. Use the WordPress Editorial Calendar Plugin

If you use WordPress, then the free WordPress Editorial Calendar plugin can be your best post-scheduling friend. So do install it.

While you’re writing your posts or maintaining your blog, you have access to the Editorial Calendar at a click of the button. And you can log in and glance at your Calendar to see what you have to do today before writing a word.


4. Use the New CoSchedule Plugin for Wordpress to Create Your Editorial Calendar

They call it “The Better Editorial Calendar for Wordpress”. And it totally is!

CoSchedule is a new plug-in (currently free and in beta) for wordpress that allow you to create and manage blog and social media content all in one place.

This plug-in eliminates the need for having a separate social media editorial calendar, which can add extra work and be completely overwhelming, especially for a busy entrepreneur.

cschedulelogo coschedule editorial calendar

If you don’t coordinate your social media campaigns with your posts, you could be missing opportunities to allow each platform – blog and social media – to enhance the other. This is what makes this plug-in so powerful.

5. Use MS Excel to Create Your Editorial Calendar

If you are more comfortable using Microsoft Excel or you are a text-based learner, you may find Excel the best tool for creating your Editorial Calendar.

Another reason for using MS Excel: If your business is highly fluid, and you know you are going to be tweaking and adjusting your Editorial Calendar perhaps more than the average blogger.

In fact, there are many MS Excel templates for doing precisely that. (You can download – without signing up; just right-click and save – a very nice template courtesy of Vertical Measures.


6. Use Color Coding

If you are a visual or kinesthetic learner, try color coding the different cycles – then highlighting scheduled posts according to each cycle color.

This is also a fabulous trick if you have learning disabilities or any other form of cognitive impairment, as the visual stimulus and cueing helps you mentally “sort” and remember better.

You could also designate cycles by creating a Category field in your Calendar, along with corresponding two- or three-letter Category codes… or combine both categories and color coding. (Tip: Include a Legend at the top of your chart-style annual Calendar or beginning of your multi-page or monthly Calendar.)


7. Include Your Calls to Action in Your Editorial Calendar

Write down the call to action (CTA) for each item on your editorial calendar. Not only will this ensure you remember to include it in your blog post, but you will be able to more objectively judge the level of engagement your post is likely to create.

And yes: You could designate a color and highlight your CTAs too, if you wish.



8. Learn to Think in Cycles

No matter what your learning style, one of the biggest mistakes you can make is to think in a linear fashion – I. E. A B C D E F G.

Your blog will feel fuller, richer, more organized and more enjoyable to your readers if you learn to schedule your blog in multiple cycles.


Take your Annual Editorial Calendar and go through using the following “cycles” (and any others unique to your business), one after the other:

  • Seasonal cycle (Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter)
  • Holiday cycle (Christmas, St. Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day, etc.)
  • Events cycle (e.g. Annual Cycling Workshop, Victoria Day Race, etc.)
  • Contest cycle (e.g. Summer Photo Challenge, Christmas Giveaway, etc.)
  • iscal Cycle (e.g. . Your annual business quarter-years, from beginning to end)
  • Product Cycle (All your scheduled, upcoming product launches)
  • Sales Cycles (High and low buying trends – base these on previous sales metrics)

Learning to plan your editorial calendar in this fashion will really help ingrain your business’ “big picture” in mind – and make much better business (and editorial) decisions.

9. Systematize Your Editorial Calendar Management Process

It really doesn’t matter whether you alone update the calendar and distribute information, or your authors or staff are allowed to cross things off and add them – the important thing is a clear understanding of the ground rules – and a clear chain of communication.

So decide on…

a) Who will update the Editorial Calendar(s)

b) How the Editorial Calendar(s) will be updated

c) Who will notify the rest of the team of necessary changes or completions

d) How they will do this

Making sure everyone understands the system is the best way to avoid scheduling conflicts or omissions.


10. Consider Publishing Your Upcoming Editorial Calendar

Not only will it inspire you to meet your own deadline (since there is nothing more lame than not following through to your readers) but you may attract quality submissions – leaving you with great content to use for your blog and the time to plan next month’s editorial calendar in comfort.

You don’t have to publish it in full Editorial Calendar format: You can simply make sure you create a section of upcoming stories (with Submission Guidelines) on your website or blog, just as many online magazines and publishing companies such as Chicken Soup for the Soul does.


But when all is said and done, remember that Editorial Calendars are simply tools: Only you can decide what type works best for you.

And, of course, they’ll be no use unless you use them!



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What the Heck is Content Marketing?

What the Heck is Content Marketing?

So, you learn email marketing, then comes social media marketing, followed by video marketing and the "fill-in-the-blank" marketing trends just keep coming, don't they?

Just when you thought you had it figured out, here comes Content Marketing.

I mean, we know we need content to communicate with potential and existing clients online, right?

But, what is it really? And more importantly, how can it help you grow your online coaching, consulting or speaking business?

Is it copy-writing, SEO or blogging?

Is it video marketing, article marketing and mastering social media or headlines?

Just what the heck is it and why should you care?

Content Marketing Demystified for speakers, authors and coaches

It's like the new "fill-in-the-blank" marketing term that makes you sound all smartish.

Yes! Content Marketing is all of that and more. But, mostly it's about strategy.

You'll find a lot of definitions of content marketing and pretty much all of them will center around the idea of creating quality content with the purpose of persuading a defined audience to buy from you - without being annoying and salesy.

Yes, you need good content, but there is something that most personality entrepreneurs (i.e. speakers, authors, coaches..etc) like you aren't told.

Newsflash! Most of the content marketing advice, articles and tips aren't for you...

Okay then who is it for?

It's easy to Google content marketing and find all kinds of eyeopening articles that show you how to grow your business with content.

But, it's also easy for busy entrepreneurs like you to get overwhelmed and confused by information you don't have the time, or resources to put into motion.

Much of the information you'll find is designed for content marketing nerds like me - content creators and strategists.

Breaking The Curse of the Busy Solo-preneur

Content Savvy & Successful Tip! Don't invest in copy-writing courses and templates if you know you hate to write.

It's just a waste of precious time and money.

I see this a lot. You become desperate, because your business is stalled due to lack of communication. You need to blog more and communicate with your list more.

You hate writing, but you know you need content.

So, you purchase a bunch of PLR and copy-writing products that aim to help make writing easy and fast. The problem is you still hate or lack the time to write, so that stuff you bought is just collecting dust on your hard drive.

As a result, many of us spend most of our time building million dollar hard-drives versus million dollar businesses.

It's really not your fault. You're just doing what you gotta do to move your business forward.

The key to breaking this curse and bad investments is to always keep a high level view of your business. Don't get lost in the details that matter, but you're not good at. This will help you to stay focused and keep you from burning out in areas you're passionate in, because you've over indulged in other stuff.

Trying to become an expert copywriter or marketing strategist when your gift is in teaching people public speaking, will undoubtedly have you feeling like you don't know what business in anymore.


What You Need to Know About Content + Marketing to Make Your Marketing Easier and More Effective...

Many entrepreneurs get caught up in trying to write killer headlines and cookie-cutter templates. But, in the hands of the busy entrepreneur it's just a recipe for overwhelm & mediocre pie.

I read this somewhere, and I can't find the post. But, a mantra you'll hear me talk about a lot is this...

Basically your content needs to do two things to be worth the time and resources you invest to create it.

If your content doesn't do these two things, you're wasting time & $$$

1. Provide the most relevant answer to the question your target audience is asking

2. Tie back to some clearly defined business objective

Content + Marketing is a formula that helps you master and monetize your message in a way that serves both your business and the informational needs of your target audience. It's not just about writing articles, its about creating the right content, for the right audience, in the right place at the right time.

Interested in Experiencing Content + Marketing in Action?

Content Creation and Marketing Jam Sessions


What questions or challenges do you have about growing your online business with content?

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Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy. ~ Dale Carnegie


Not knowing what to say or how to get marketing messages in front of an attentive audience  are common reasons entrepreneurs cite as reasons why their marketing content isn't done or performing

well.Speak your mind even when your voice shakes by Maggie Kuhn

But, I've found that it's not that we don't know what to do or even how, It's being too afraid to do it in the first place.

If I told you it took me 3 years to get up the courage to hit send on my newsletter without being anxious or posting an article and looking forward to the comments, you might hesitate to believe me.

But it's true! As a former introvert, standing out in front has always been a battle for me.

However, I learned early on to do it afraid. Now, for me that often meant taking time to find the courage to do the thing. But, I always did it... eventually. There is a lot less anxiety in being in front of the computer screen versus a room full of people.

However, the vulnerability you feel is the same in both cases. It can be a scary thing to release content on the web. For some, writing something crappy, hearing our own recorded voice  or seeing ourselves on camera for the first time makes us cringe and hide in our cushy little home offices stuck in our brilliance. Still, there are other reasons people get stuck in fear of creating content like...

  • You don't want to give away too much
  • Can't keep up with the demand of a content publishing schedule
  • Not enough ideas
  • Too many ideas and not knowing where to start

But, I have seen the light and I want to share with you some principles that helped be shake my fear of sharing my content with the world.

Focus on your passion for helping others through your knowledge and expertise. The advise you often hear for public speaking is if you know what you're talking about, it becomes easier. And, the more you do it the easier it gets. The same is true for stepping out online. I credit Kathy Brandon, the Happiness Chick and CEO of R4H Group for helping me realize I was playing small. She told me I was "shadowboxing". I was hiding my greatness by working for great people and not stepping into my full potential. So, a new website went up with my face plastered all over it and now I'm saying to the world "This is me, this is what I know and I want to share it with you!". Thanks Kathy!

Practice imperfect action. If it's crappy let it go. Another Achilles heel is trying to make it perfect before releasing it.  I can't tell you how many emails I've gotten from some of my favorite internet marketing "cool kids" with errors and mistakes. And you know what? They send a correction email to follow up their error and keep it movin'. I just love that! Maybe for you the design isn't quite the way you want it, or you want to add this or that. Just let it go. Perfection is a fantasy and a success killer. Practice taking imperfect action and tweaking things for improvement while in motion. You'll find that people want you to succeed and are more than willing to give you feedback on how to better your communications with them.

Believe in yourself, no matter what. Don't get lost in other people's disbelief. Think of how many successful people you admire had doors closed and were told they could not do something. Now consider yourself one of them and keep it movin'.

Trust yourself more that you trust the advice of others. It's easy to look at the outside trimmings of someone's success and think they know more than you and choose what worked for them versus what's best for you. Trust your instincts and your vision. Try your way. If it fails tweak it, if it fails again try plan B and keep it movin'. If Steve Jobs would have followed conventional wisdom and chose not to drop out of college. He would have missed sitting in on a seminar that opened his mind to think different and the world may have never known iPods, iPhones and personal computing as we know it. Think about it! Trust Yourself!

Focus on making meaning not money.Okay, I am not saying money is not important. But, when your focus is on money, that comes through in your marketing and prospects can smell it a mile away. Their buyer's objection goes up and sales fly away. Focus instead on providing value that makes people's lives and business better and they will reward you with your business and tell others. These are some of the ways I've been able to push past fear and live out my passions. I hope they inspire you to step out and play a bigger game in your life and business.

What are some ways you've been able to increase confidence in your content? What advice can you add to help others shake off fear and step into their greatness?

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Do you find yourself frustrated that you’re not communicating with your audience consistently or effectively enough to get their attention or business?  Do you feel like your are missing something, like there's some magic trick to success no one is telling you?

For years, I struggled with this same problem. And regardless of what some of these tools and products hype you up to believe, there's no "abracadabra" to marketing with success online.

How do you serve clients and still have time to market your business? Most entrepreneurs wrestle with this same dilemma. But, in this article I’m going to share with you the key that unlocked this mystery for me and how you too can use it to make your business grow. The key is called Content Marketing Strategy.

What is a Content Marketing Strategy?

“Content strategy is the “planning for the creation, delivery, and governance of useful, usable content.” ~ Kristina Halvorson, author of Content Strategy for the Web and founder of Brain Traffic.

It’s the process of identifying both your business needs and your customer’s so you can create content that delivers on both. I know it doesn’t sound all that sexy. But, developing a content marketing strategy is the best thing that will happen for your business. A solid content marketing strategy will drive sales and amplify your brand’s web and social media presence. So, before you create any content you need to first develop a content marketing strategy.

What does Content Marketing Strategy Look Like?

Here’s an example of Content Marketing Strategy gone wrong. “Everybody is talking about Content Marketing is hot right now. Let me start blogging every day, posting stuff on social media and emailing my list to let them know about my products. One of these efforts will generate some business.”

Here’s an example of Content Marketing Strategy Done right. “I’d like to be seen as the “go-to-expert” in my niche. Let’s figure out what business goals I need to set and what kind of information my audience wants and needs to make that happen.

Content Marketing Strategy is not about creating content for content’s sake. There is no shortage of content available to your audience and, if I may be so frank to say, most of it is crappy. You want your audience to feel and be smarter than they were when they found your information.

How Do I Start Creating My Content Marketing Strategy?

It’s important to understand that Content Marketing is a process. And, in order to be successful you need to commit to the mindset. Here are three steps to get you started building your content marketing strategy.

Step #1 - Create Your Brand Story.

Many so called “experts” are advising people NOT to tell their story. But, your story is important. It’s not all about you. But, your story is what helps people remember and connect with your brand.  What does your brand stand for? Why do you/ your product or service exist?

Step #2 – KNOW Your Audience.

Create a buyer persona or narrative about your ideal customer. What are their day to day challenges? What’s important to them? What type of lifestyle do they live?  Paint the picture and speak to them when you create your content.

Step #3 – Create an Editorial Calendar.  

And editorial calendar is simply a calendar that identifies what topics you want to create content around and when. I advise clients to identify what products or promotions they plan to roll out each month, and then identify content topics that educate their audience around each product. This helps you to hit both the money and meaning goals of creating content that matters to your audience and your bottom line.

Whether you’re a busy entrepreneur who hates to write or doesn’t mind it that much, having a content marketing strategy will help you to stop spinning your wheels online. Don’t waste time and money creating content you hope will bring you clients and cash…take time to create the right content and get it to the right people at the right time. You’ll be glad you did, I know I was. :)

Do You Need Help Creating a  Content Marketing Strategy for Your Business?

I'd love to help you. Just visit http://mycontentplanner.com/  to check out my freeing solutions.

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