I have gotten sick more in the last two years than I have in my whole entire life. I moved to Atlanta and have been getting beat up by ear infections, sinus infections, colds, flus, a red ant attack (I wish I was kidding) and quite a few sore throats. When the Staples Business Advantage program asked me to partner with them to bring you guys tips for cold and flu season, I jumped on it, because nobody knows cold and flu like this girl right here.
This is you: you have been creating amazing content for your blog for quite a while now: months, maybe even years, but you’re still clueless on how to make that a viable business. You don’t know what to sell, and you aren’t even sure if you want the responsibility of selling anything at all. You’re a content creator. You want to write, make YouTube videos, teach courses, design shirts etc. without the hassle of having to constantly market yourself and hustle for every dollar. You my friend, want to make passive income.
You can’t believe everything you read on the internet. The internet is inundated with (inaccurate) information and Google is a black hole that will suck the life out of anyone. The one trusted source that (for the most part) won’t steer you wrong are good old-fashioned business and blogging books. The strategies, tools and advice that are printed in plain black and white are unmatched. Whether you decided to overcome fear, stop doubting yourself, or alter your mindset this year, I have curated this collection of the best business, career and blogging books that you should read in 2017. Enjoy! ( Oh, by the way, you can read most of these books and magazines for *free* with Amazon Prime. Click here for a free 30 day trial.)
Since I’m now officially a full-time entrepreneur, a lot has been going on. I’ve been traveling, booking speaking engagements, and building out #HustleHackCo. As I was traveling this week and getting my coins together, it made me realize how important it is to have a strong social media presence. When life got real with my job (I got laid off if you haven't heard), my Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and Periscope accounts helped me land profitable opportunities. If you haven’t figured it out already, it’s time to kick your social media into full gear. The more your social media aligns with your personal brand, the more opportunities will come your way. Since you’re a hustler on the go, below is a checklist to give yourself a social media audit.
Growing your social media following can seem daunting if you aren't a celebrity, a reality show cast member, or an IG model. You probably don't have an ass like Serena, Trina or Gina-fer Lopez. (If you don't know this reference, refer to Kanye West, Gold Digger) Even if you did, you probably don't plan on propping it up on a sink anytime soon and if you are, reconsider. I can't wait until being like Ayesha Curry is back in style. Phew! Now that I got that out my system, let’s get to the tea. In a world where likes and follows can largely be a result of your sex appeal or fame, what can you do to build your own following? There are two easy ways to grow your social media following: increase exposure and optimize for engagement. This means you need to get more eyes on your profile and do it at the right time. There are many things that you can do on platforms like Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest to increase exposure. Some things include giveaways, collaborations and features, advertising, twitter chats, hashtags, and post optimization. Let's dive into each one and how you can use it for your brand.
When you think of website mistakes, you think of poor color schemes or difficult navigation. The last thing you think about, but one of the biggest mistakes is ignoring your website’s search engine optimization (SEO). 60% of my traffic comes from search engines and about 70% of my traffic is comprised of new visitors. What that means is, more than half of my audience has never come across me or my site before. They don't follow me on social media or knew I existed before stumbling across my site after a Google search. If that isn’t an easy way to grow your audience organically with minimal work, I don’t know what is.
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Unfortunately, this isn’t the case for everyone and it might not be the case for you. You or your website designer made a huge mistake when you developed your site: You didn't build it with search engines in mind. You designed the site for visuals and not value. Before you come up with a rebuttal, can you name 3-5 keywords/phrases you are actively trying to rank for on Google? Do you know the search terms that your customers use to find you online? Do you know how much of your referral traffic comes from search engines vs. social vs. direct traffic? (If you are already confused, you needed to join Passive Playbook, like yesterday. These are things we go over during the 30 day challenge.) Not optimizing your site for search engines is a huge mistake, because you limit the amount of people you can reach. You are confined to traffic from your brand channels, but you aren't expanding your reach beyond that.
How to pick keywords for your site or blog
In order to take advantage of search engines for your site, you need to have some keywords in mind. For example, if you’re a branding coach, you don't want to optimize your site specifically just for “branding coach”. That is too general and will prove difficult to rank for. What you need to optimize for is the niche, city or industry that you operate in. Are you a branding coach for women entrepreneurs, for African Americans, for natural hair bloggers, for Latina bloggers etc.? Whoever you serve, you need to be very specific around their needs in order to be successful with your search engine optimization. The same rules apply for brick and mortar businesses. Pizza shop is not going to be a great search term for you. What you want to try to identify are key phrases relevant to your location or unique value proposition. Here are some examples of good search terms:
- Pizza shop in West Harlem, New York
- Pizza shop in Camp Creek, Georgia
- Vegan Pizza in Atlanta
- Natural Hair Salon in the Bronx
You need to think about what your audience is looking for and what are they going to be typing into Google to find information about your product or service. Whatever you determine those words are, you need to sprinkle them into your blog posts, pages and other key areas of your website. (I share what those areas are during the Passive Playbook challenge.) The most beautiful website is not as valuable as a website that is easily found and navigated. Be very specific and strategic in your search engine optimization, in order to be competitive in the online space.
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You should consider doing some work on search engine optimization. As the space gets more competitive and social media gets more crowded, you're going to need to be found in a more organic way. I've noticed that search engine optimization for new bloggers and business owners isn’t prioritized, because it just seems really overwhelming, when it actually isn’t. It's all about putting the right keywords and phrases in the right places so that Google can understand what your website is about. Picking the right keyword doesn’t need to be rocket science either. It's just knowing who your audience is, and what they will be most likely to plug into a search engine.
If you want some extra insight on making your website a better sales and marketing tool, I will be doing a free webinar and Q+A this Tuesday the 15th at 9PM EST. I will be covering the Top 5 Things Your Website Needs To Do To Convert Customers. To register just complete the form below.
Originally published on Her Agenda
I have always wanted a little sister, someone I could blindly love, trust, and support, because there are so many women who have been that older sister for me. My prayers were finally answered my senior year in college when I joined a mentoring program for women of color.
At the welcome dinner, where the mentees and mentors would meet for the first time, it was love at first sight. This vivacious young lady with a huge smile captured my attention immediately, and when she told me she wanted to major in communications I was sold. She’s it! What would bring an “urban” Latina from the South Bronx and an African southern belle from Dallas together, the world may never know. What I do know is, she taught me more than I think I will ever be able to teach her, but I am grateful to still have her in my life.
Later that year, I had the honor of winning the mentor of the year award. It was an out of body experience to have a relationship that I valued so much, be recognized with such a high honor. I guess that makes me a tad bit qualified to talk about this right? Mentorship means a lot of things to a lot of people, but in my experience the best mentorship relationships are built out of love and genuine interest in the success of the other person. Here’s what being I learned being a mentor.
Common sense isn’t so common.
Don’t feel as though you aren’t qualified to give advice because of the restrictions that have been put on us throughout college and our young adult life. The whole idea of paying our dues and starting from the bottom doesn’t apply in mentorship, because you are more than capable of helping others due to your unique set of experiences, accomplishments and skills. Anyone can be a blessing to someone else. Share those things that may feel like common sense to you. Whether they are a reminder about spell checking, offering to look over every single cover letter or using your dating mistakes as examples of what not to do, those words and actions mean more than any scholarly advice from a professional coach.
You’re a shortcut.
I finally learned to play the game my junior year at Syracuse, and by play the game I mean survive with limited resources. I met the Chancellor, built relationships with everybody in financial aid, and figured out the opportunities on campus that made had the highest return on investment. Instead of letting my mentee figure that out on her own, I gave her a list during her freshmen year of the things and people she needed to know to thrive at Syracuse, and my God did she hit the ground running. She’s traveled the world, secured amazing internships and really took Syracuse by storm. I might even go as far as to say that she worked the system better than I did, and I’m glad I could make life better for her. Being a mentor is about helping your mentee get from point A to point B in half of the time it took you.
You have a responsibility.
You should be invested in your mentee’s success, because every time they succeed, you do too. Although that might not be obvious right away. As your mentee grows her network, builds her brand and rocks her career, she won’t forget about you and the sharing of resources will become mutual. She forces me to be better, because I don’t want to disappoint her. That pressure to be great for her and the other women who consider me a role model holds me accountable each and every day. You have a responsibility to be more to others than you ever thought you could be for yourself.
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Relationships are gardens. You reap what you sow. If you plant that seed with an ounce of optimism and love, you will be surprised what can come from it. Soon your mentor/mentee relationship will blossom into a supportive friendship (if you both are genuinely invested) and you will find yourself asking for the advice you once gave. Because let’s be realistic, we all don’t have it together all of the time.
P.S. I love you Maliz!