Triancular_red_flagIn my eBook, The RFP Transformation – Take Your Virtual Assistant Proposal From Blah to Bling“, I offer a list of RED FLAGS and Tips to be aware of when vetting potential RFP Clients. This the fourth RED FLAG in the 10-Part weekly series.

Substitute a requested resume for a New Client Welcome Packet.

Often traditional job sites such as Jobster, CareerBuilder and Monster will advertise for virtual assistants as employees as opposed to contracting opportunities.

Traditional jobsites often ask for resumes.

Virtual Assistants are business owners and not employees so we do not offer resumes.

I suggest that you create a New Client Welcome Packet and send this document in lieu of a resume.

I have been able to turn a traditional job posting into a virtual opportunity with a well-crafted proposal supporting valid reasons why a VA is the better choice. Attached to this proposal is a copy of my Welcome Packet that details my business processes and policies.

My Welcome Packet is geared precisely for traditional job postings for virtual assistants, which includes specific details regarding the benefits of working with a VA as opposed to a working with an employee.

More on New Client Welcome Packets in my eBook, Chapter Eight, Preparing for the Client Consultation.

Download a free chapter www.WinningRFP.com

Triancular_red_flagIn my eBook, “The RFP Transformation – Take Your Virtual Assistant Proposal From Blah to Bling”, I offer a list of RED FLAGS to be aware of when vetting potential RFP Clients. *RFP is Request for Proposal

When responding to an RFP where the client is requesting software you may not be familiar with, consider letting the client know that while you do not have the knowledge, you are willing to learn the process on your own.

Use your good judgment if you decide to make this statement. There are a few conditions to ruminate.

While you never want to tell a client you have experience with software that you do not; consider suggesting in your proposal that you will self-teach for those processes that are less-technical.

Some software use requires advanced technical training and experience, which clients will expect you to know. However, for some less technical software programs, consider offering the service on the stipulation that you will self-teach in a reasonable, specified period of time. Consider stating this intention IF the client shows an interest in you AND the main skill requirements are met.

  • A willingness to learn a new skill can show a client your enthusiasm for partnering with them.
  • Offering this suggestion may cause your proposal stand out from all others.
  • Further, if you are prepared to use your own time to advance your own education this is a win-win for the VA..he/she secures a new client and new skill that can be marketed in the future.

Bonus tip: Make sure your contract states that you will evaluate the account in three or six months. Once you have mastered the new software, you would then be in a position to raise your rates to a level that compensates you for the additional, self-taught knowledge and value you bring to the client.

Download a free chapter by leaving only your email address:  www.WinningRFP.com

 Click here to download 10 Free RFP Tips  http://bit.ly/10FreeRFPTipsVAS

Click here to download 10 Free RFP Tips http://bit.ly/10FreeRFPTipsVAS

The answer is an emphatic “Yes!”.

There are three largely used Request for Proposal (RFP) form styles available for potential clients (PC) when requesting the services of a virtual assistant.

One form-style is ‘freeform’ and the other is ‘check off’. The third, which is less common is a combination of both freeform and check-off.

Freeform or freestyle refers to RFPs which require a PC to type in the description of services required.

Freeform written RFPs can be useful to a VA when he/she is creating a personal and professional connection with the PC when writing that proposal.  The freeform style allows a VA to read between the lines to determine if a PC is a good fit. Careful attention by the VA to notice unique adjectives and nouns to describe the services needed assists in determining if the PC is (or is not) a good business match.

Freeform also allows the VA to utilize similar words in his/her proposal that the PC uses in the RFP to make the all-important connection. Finally, freeform permits the personality of the client to come through the RFP particularly when the PC describes the character preferred along with the type of work desired of a particular VA.

The check-off version of an RFP can be a speedier system for the PC when submitting an RFP to a VA-centered website.  Check-off RFPs list a general selection of service and skills that the PC may desire of the VA, which are simply checked-off or ticked as needed.  In my experience check-off is a less creative format to connect with a VA as this limits the PC to only those services described in the RFP list. In some cases a checked-off RFP is useful for the PC if the services required do not require a complicated or detailed explanation. (Note, there is typically an area in the RFP check-off form for some creative description but not as much space as in the freestyle format.)

Sometimes a PC will tick off more skills required than initially desired using the check-off form because it suggests skills that a PC might not have thought of when composing the RFP. For example, the PC might check-off ‘social media’, believing this might be a VA service that might be useful in the future.

And thus, a lengthy list of skills required appears in the RFP after the PC has checked-off  a laundry list of services.

This long list of skill requirements can create a concern for the VA as too many requests may appear overwhelming and thus the VA can feel under-qualified for the opportunity.

RFPs which itemize a huge list of service requests should not be entirely discounted, though. Often a potential client with a lengthy list who has not worked with a VA does not understand that:

 

Thanks for joining us in our very first Hangout of 2015! You can watch this, anytime, on YouTube, here: http://youtu.be/3vJsSTZld78
Our special guest today was Janine Gregor, seasoned Virtual Assistant and author of “The RFP Transformation: Take Your Virtual Assistant Proposal From Blah To Bling”. You can find her at YourVirtualWizard.com and on Twitter @UrVirtualWizard

Free offers for all HOW Mad Mimi watchers!!
Get a FREE chapter of her book, by signing up at VATransformationSeries.com
AND go here: bit.ly/10FreeRFPTips to get 10 Free RFP Tips
AND use code RFP20 to get 20% off her book!

We talked all about what Request For Proposals (RFPs) are, and where you can find them. Janine talked about the top three reasons why you might want to use the RFP and Proposal system, whether you’re new, or a veteran to the business.

1. if you’re looking to change your target market
2. building new business, and gaining new clients
3. to network, and keep your funnel full

Janine mentions many more in her book, but highlights the following 3 sites as great places to find RFPs, shares examples of RFPs from each site, and explains how they are best used for gaining clients…

Thrive (free): http://thrivehiringsystem.com/hire/
Offers potential clients a more check-box system for creating their RFPs, and includes Janine’s favorite question: “What’s your favorite type of person to work with?”.

Virtual Assistantville (nominal charge): http://www.virtualassistantville.com/rfps
Offers potential clients a more free-form approach, and offers users a listing complete with profile and blog page. Also, the owner is very good at publicizing on Virtual Assistant Forums and social media.

Virtual Assistant Forums (free, but minimum posts required to view RFPs):http://www.virtualassistantforums.com/ and on Facebook, here:https://www.facebook.com/VirtualAssistantForums
Membership site where RFPs are shared, and provides a directory of VAs for potential clients. Also, with many discussions helpful to new and experienced VAs and freelancers, alike.

She also tells us all about how she has taken regular job postings on careerbuilder, and monster, for example — and turned those into VA relationships for herself. And how you can, too.

Janine suggests spending about 2 -3 hours per week on RFPs, EVEN IF YOUR CLIENT ROSTER IS FULL. This is the best way to keep your skills sharp, and always provide yourself with networking and referral opportunities. She provides us with tips on prepping and creating a brilliant proposal.

Be sure your online presence is neat, orderly, and professional — you will be googled, and it’s important to appear the way you would want to, when meeting a potential client, in person.

And follow-up is key! If you haven’t heard from a potential client, reach out to them! Janine suggests each week, reaching out to them, to get a follow-up response. Even if they aren’t going to hire you, t’s good for closure, and for honing your proposal approaches.

Janine’s secret Mad Mimi tip is the icing on the virtual cake, here, folks! She’s created a newsletter that she invites ALL her potential clients to sign up for, whether or not they’re going to work with her. She provides useful information in her short, but consistent emails. Things like free software opportunities, software use tips, social media strategies, etc.

By collecting an email address (with valuable content offered in exchange), she not only gets contact information to use in following-up, but also keeps her top-of-mind with these clients. You also establish yourself as an expert. She’s gotten offers a long time after initial contact, and even referrals via people on her list. She’s had potential clients that never hire her, write to her to say how much they appreciate the newsletter. Networking gold!

And thanks for all the great questions! We had wonderful submissions that helped us clarify the discussion, and provide more detail to Janine’s tips.

If you have any other questions for Janine, you can email her at Janine@YourVirtualWizard.com or connect with her on Facebook, here:https://www.facebook.com/YourVirtualWizard
And you can always reach either one of us at mira@madmimi.com and becca@madmimi.com

Stay tuned to all HOW Mad Mimi news, here: https://madmimi.com/signups/112223/join
And we’ll see you next week!

Testimonials from clients and customers are one of the finest tools a virtual business owner can use to promote a service or product.

Testimonials increase a business owner’s credibility. Period. You can buy your own ad and create your own business card and tell everyone how wonderful your service or product may be but it means so much more if a third party is offering that same message.

A testimonial offers ‘proof’ that what you say about your product or service is really true!

Many business owners have website pages devoted to testimonials while other business owners dot their web pages with quotes from satisfied customers.  Most business owners simply copy in quotes from satisfied customers and include a link back to the clients’ web pages, however, another more interactive means to get the word out is through the use of audio and video testimonials.

We will discuss audio testimonials in today’s post.

I believe that offering both textual and audio testimonials offers a varied experience for the website visitor. While reading a testimonial uses the visual sense; listening to an audio uses another human sense. An audio testimonial allows the listener to hear fluctuations in the voice and if spoken well, an audio can allow the listener to conclude whether the words are pure and honest. Reading a testimonial does not dig quite as deep into the human psyche.  So I recommend using both audio and textual testimonials on your website or blog to allow the listener to have a heightened experience.

Audio testimonials not only help to personalize the individual behind the website but it tends to keep the user parked on a web page much longer than if they were to simply read a text testimonial and then move on.

An audio testimonial is easy to create using Google Voice.  Once the call-in numbers are established, customers simply dial the number and speak into the telephone verbalizing words of praise.  Once recorded in Google Voice, the audio files are then copied, saved and uploaded to a website where they can be heard by anyone who simply clicks the designated blue ‘start button’. Refer to this blog post for how-to set up and use Google Voice to create an audio file.

Once the audio files are created…now is the time to circulate the good news on the social media sites. Placing your audio on your site or blog is wonderful…if someone is perusing your site. But using social media to get the word out will attract many more interested parties.

Facebook: Update the status area with a link to the audio testimonial. Announce your good news to your fans and friends.  In the status area type in, “I am proud to have received an audio testimonial from XYZ. Click on the link to hear my good news!”  Then provide the link where the audio is located.

Twitter: Use similar verbiage as you would for Facebook. You may need to shorten the link to the audio testimonial using an online link shortening program such as bit.ly.

LinkedIn: Update your status and announce to your business associates that you have received an audio testimonial.  Provide the same link back to location of where your audio testimonial is stored.

Quick tips to remember when creating an audio testimonial.

1) Ask your clients early into your relationship to provide an audio testimonial.  Once you have Wow-ed! them with your good work, provide the phone number they can call to leave their good news.  It is important to ask while enthusiasm for working with you is high.

2)  Provide a short outline as to what a client should say in the testimonial.  Have the client state their name, their business name and their relationship with you.  Ask them to provide an example of how you solved a problem for them. An uninteresting example of a testimonial might be, “Janine Gregor is my virtual assistant and her work is wonderful”. A better example of an engaging testimonial might be “Janine Gregor has been my virtual assistant for two years and without her encouragement, I would not have entered the world of social media marketing.” An even better testimonial might be, “Janine Gregor has helped me to grow my customer base by 50%.”

Providing numeric results in a testimonial speaks volumes!

3)  People are busy so offer to write the testimonial for your customer and ask them to call in and just repeat the words into the telephone. Ask permission to use their name and company name along with a photo. Overall, this should take your customer about 2 minutes of their time since most of the work will be done by you!  The results are quite effective.

4) Ask your customer who will be providing the testimonial to include a headshot that can be used alongside the testimonial link. Seeing a real face instead of a company logo will make experience much more personal for the listener.

When posting the audio link on Facebook, include the headshot of the individual using the Facebook link ‘photo’ feature. When you update your status announcing the new audio testimonial the individual’s photo appears alongside the link. Quite effective!!!

5)  Before posting the announcement on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, if you are not already networked with the customers who will be offering the audio testimonial make a point to ‘like’ their pages first then add them to your network and send friend and follow requests.  When the time comes to post the audio testimonials on your social networking pages you can:

Facebook: use the @name within the status update so that your good news appears in the customer’s news feed.

Twitter: use the @twittername in the tweet so that the individual’s followers can receive your tweet

LinkedIn: use the customer’s name in your status update so he/she can view their name if they are in your network

Ask for audio testimonials regularly and update the page where you store them.  Listen to the files when you are having a bad day as surely they can be a great pick-me-up!

Feel free to Tweet this post below or Share on your Facebook page!

 

If your marketing strategy includes a newsletter or any type of email marketing always, always include a CTA or a Call-to-Action within those materials. It’s the Golden Rule for all marketing plans.

Never expect that people will automatically do anything without being prompted to doing so.

People must be ‘told’ to do whatever action you want them to take.  They must be solidly informed in a very short period of time WHY they need to take action. This is a difficult task to accomplish given the small envelope of time and space in which to get that message across.

Remember that you can send out marketing materials until you are ‘blue-in-the-face’ expounding all the great features about you and your business but if you don’t get people to ‘do something’ you are throwing your time, energy and money into a bottomless pit.

Know the Audience

If you want your audience to ‘do something’ useful such as leave an email address for a monthly newsletter then you need to offer something your own audience will desire.

You wouldn’t necessarily offer tips to upstart a lifestyle coaching program to an accountant.

So know who your market is and then gear your offering toward that audience.

If you have more than one target market such as in my case, coaches, speakers and authors, you can offer more than one ‘freebie’ geared to that audience or find one common denominator such as ‘small business tips’ to offer to your entire audience.

On the backend, your social media marketing, your printed materials and your website should all be geared toward your chosen audience.

  • Add your CTA to your Facebook page which directs people to the sign up page either on Facebook or on your website.
  • Add your CTA to your LinkedIn profile in the website area. LinkedIn offers 3 places to input your linked URLs. You can use one of those links to direct people to your CTA page.

Use Powerful Verbs

Your CTA needs to direct people to do something in one or two words. Make a list of powerful, leading verbs that will get people to take action immediately.

Such verbs may be:

  • Click
  • Read
  • Call
  • Act Now!
  • Do
  • Sign
  • Enroll
  • Register (although not so powerful)

Make Your Offer Easy to Understand

If you have a CTA that tells people what to do, you want them to have all the information they need to act at that moment. For example, if you want them to sign up for a newsletter in exchange for their email address, make it short, but clear what the newsletter will be all about.

Sign up to receive useful social media marketing tips which will help to increase your fan base.

Or

VA’s – Want to land that job you saw in a Request for Proposal (RFP)? Sign Up to learn how you can bag that opportunity.

You may need to play with these sentences, which should be kept to one or two simple statements. Don’t provide links to other pages (for an explanation of what you are touting), which gives a description of what you will be sending them. Once they leave your sign up page, they may never come back.

Use a fancy button image such as ‘Click here’ instead of providing a link (above for an example).  Buttons almost always get the better responses over providing a link. Search around for ‘free CTA images’. www.Hongikat.com often gives away free Photoshop images that can be used for this purpose.

Statistics

Try to use statistics in your short pitch to get people to do something. Never make up a statistic but see if you can find a statistic you can use. Take a survey of your customers using your product using www. Surveymonkey.com and see if you can create a statistic you can use.  For example, “97 percent of my customers who have signed for my service state they are very satisfied with my services”.

Use common terms

Nothing galls me more than when people use industry-specific acronyms expecting everyone else to know what those acronyms mean.  (An acronym is the first letter of a string of words used to shorten the way the word is stated. In some cases, the acronym becomes the word if commonly used such as DMV, FBI or DUI.) However, never assume that everyone that comes to your website will know what industry words you may be referring to. So always spell out all words and place the acronym in parenthesis. By doing so this gives you leeway later to use the acronym in your text safely.


Test

So you have your call to action up on your site and you notice no one is signing up for your freebie.  Your marketing is good and you have provided good advertisement on social media for the freebie.

So change the words around. Instead of ‘Click here’, use ‘One Click Sign Up’ or ‘Act Now to receive…’. Then see how that campaign goes.  Stick with the terms that work for you and for your targeted audience.

If you spend any time or money at all on your business, invest in a CTA that works consistently!

If you have ever written a blog post and would like to receive more mileage from the content consider repurposing that post into a video.

I’ve created a video below to show you the process in action.

Here’s a brief overview…

We will use Microsoft PowerPoint, the TechSmith’s Pro version of Jing ($14.95 per year) and a prior post to create a cool video that can be uploaded to YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, your blog or your website.

Download Jing here www.techsmith.com/jing . It is important to note that the free version of Jing captures video in the swf format which is not uploadable to YouTube. You can use a free video converter but the quality lacks and most imprint a watermark when converted. The $14.95 version is a steal and will convert video to MP4 easily.

Let’s use last week’s social media post,  Super Event Woman’s Quick Tips for Using Social Media to Promote Your Next Super Onsite Event as an example.

Begin by opening PowerPoint to create a few slides…let’s say 5 slides to keep this short.

Slide #1 – Return to the post you have already written and extract the main topic for that post and create a title slide.

Slide #2-3 or 4 – Next, extract 3 or 4 bullet points from your post and copy that to a slide.

Slide #5 – Closing points – wrap the show up!

Open Jing, run your slide show and record the show using Jing. Plug in your microphone and narrate.

Now you have reused your prior blog post in a new way!

Here’s the video:

 

Facebook QR code If you are a virtual assistant and looking for another innovative means to promote your services and those of your clients’ then QR codes may be useful to your quest.

What is a QR code?

A QR code is a two dimensional matrix code that has embedded data, text or a URL designated with in the code itself.  This code can be read by a QR reader device or by a Smartphone using a QR Reader application.  Many Smartphones have QR reader apps installed at no charge.

Once the codes are created, downloaded and embedded into a website or printed materials, the possibilities for promotion are limited only to the VA’s imagination.

Why use a QR code?

Anyone who owns a Smartphone (with installed QR reader) can take a picture of the coded image and be directed to an exact location that the virtual assistant has designated.

This is both direct marketing and permission marketing…the best of all marketing worlds! The user wants to see what is behind the code (permission) and the virtual assistant who has created the code points the user toward whatever needs to be marketed (direct).

A combination of marketing motivations most traditional advertisers can only dream of implementing!

How can a virtual assistant use social QR code effectively?

Let’s say that a virtual assistant has a Facebook business page and wishes to direct potential customers toward this page to gain more ‘Likers’. The virtual assistant can write a blog post and use the Facebook URL and only hope that people will be interested in ‘fanning’ the VA’s page.  The virtual assistant can also use the Facebook URL in her signature which again means those who are interested in ‘liking’ can click on the URL to be directed to the landing page.

Using QR codes: The VA can do perform both of the above described options (to share the Facebook link), however, using QR codes can take that same initiative (to gain more ‘likers’) and reach more people; and better yet, reach a much more targeted audience.

What to do with a QR code?

So the virtual assistant creates the social QR code and embeds her Facebook business page URL in the code.  This image is now printed on the back of a VA business card or on a flyer and then passed out to a number of potential clients who might not have ever seen the VA’s blog post with the ‘regular’ URL in the signature.

The virtual assistant might embed the code into her blog or better yet, upload as an image on her website instructing folks to take a photo thus directing the potential client to the business page.

If the VA uses the Facebook feature on SocialQRcode.com when the potential client takes a picture of the VA’s QR code, the LIKE button appears right on the user’s Smartphone!

I created (below) a tutorial entitled, “Social QR Codes for Virtual Assistants” which reviews three social QR code generator sites and I offer a tip as to how to use the lightbox feature in the Facebook business page photostrip as yet another marketing tool for promoting to the page audience.

If you have a Smartphone with a QR reader, scan the coded image above and it will take you directly to my Facebook fan page. Like the page, please! You will learn from the video how to use QR codes for social media and I also give a little tip as to how QR codes can be used as part of the Facebook business page photostrip to promote a product or service.

Note that the Facebook feature on SocialQRcode.com as mentioned in the video is not functioning at this time however, the Facebook code in this post (above for scanning) which was generated from Beqrious.com  is functioning properly. You will be directed to my Facebook Business page.

Update on the Social QR code for Facebook Business page as featured in the video should be input with only the page name…no www.Facebook.com needed – so for my example only input YourVirtualWizard in the SocialQRCode.com website under Facebook. Email me if you have any questions – Janine@YourVirtualWizard.com

Please Don’t Take My Email Away

Have you heard the latest on the demise of email? Sheryl Sandburg, COO of Facebook says, “Email is probably going away.” Here’s the YouTube video clip.

Ms. Sandberg states, “If you want to know what people like us will do tomorrow, look at what teenagers are doing today.” She continues, “…only 11 percent of teenagers send daily emails while text messages and posts on social networking sites have become the norm.”

This is quite a monumental prediction…

Email is THE communication mode that I use for my virtual assistant business. I also conduct personal correspondence through email. This medium, of course is not the same as a phone call or a face-to-face meeting rather, it is the next form of communication in which I can create a meaningful message from afar to be re-read, sorted and acted upon. I could not conduct business through text messages nor could I tell my friend Julia about my weekend in 140 words or less.

So I am not sure I buy Ms. Sandberg’s forecast of the demise of email.

But then I noticed a news item on BizReport, Ben & Jerry’s drop email in favor of social media marketing announcing the decision to eliminate its email campaign and newsletters in favor of text messages, social networking posts and use of an iPhone app called ‘Scoop of Happiness’.

Hubspot also posted on the Ben & Jerry’s decision remarking, “This is the first major corporation to completely discontinue email marketing, a mainstay of internet marketing since the 90’s, for other internet channels. Ben & Jerry’s customers had indicated that they disliked the email despite loving the brand, which means that it wasn’t building the positive relationship that the famously brand-conscious ice cream company wanted.”

Read more: http://blog.hubspot.com/blog/tabid/6307/bid/6217/Ben-Jerry-s-Drops-Email-Marketing-In-Favor-of-Social-Media.aspx#ixzz0uAMPBiFX

Let it be known, I received both referenced reports via email…I must have missed it on the social sites!

I still do not buy it…

Email and social network marketing have always worked together.

Diverse audiences receiving the same message…this is a marketer’s dream! Although many marketers use Twitter and Facebook for posting messages, it is easy for a recipient to miss a Tweet or a Facebook post. Volumes of information are passed through social media at any given moment that it is impossible to read everything on the social sites. And for this reason, email picks up where Twitter and Facebook may wane.

An email can sit in an Inbox until the user is ready to open it.

Email can be flagged for future use or downloaded at anytime in the case of a coupon or sale announcement. This is not the case with Twitter or Facebook. Links to sites where pages can be downloaded and printed are offered on the social sites but this can be a hassle to ‘get to’ particularly if the marketer requires the use of a coupon; ultimately depending upon the use of a computer and a printer. While mobile coupon applications such as Groupon may be the wave of the future, the cost is still prohibitive for small business retailers.

Social sites create the buzz while emails promote the details.

There is no getting around the fact that if a marketer sends an email which the recipient wants to read, email is the bonafide tool to securing uninterrupted message-reading time. While the social sites are certainly significant in the promotion of marketing information, user attention spans are much shorter. This leaves retention of details at risk. Pertinent marketing information is more likely to be overlooked or scanned without fully grasping the entire message. Emails can be re-read while social marketing messages move to the bottom of the page as other messages take their place.

Ben and Jerry’s brand does not need email to promote its product…but not every brand is as ubiquitous.

It is true that a quality product like Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream does not need an email to remind me to purchase their brand. Just walking past the ice cream case and seeing the adorable cartons sells itself. Think Cherry Garcia and Chunky Monkey and the shopping cart traverses on its own…

But for small business owners who do not have the same brand recognition, email in conjunction with social sites and texting is still the best way to reach a captive audience.

Certainly food for thought…anyone have a spoon? I’ll send an email.

 

I posted a question on Virtual Assistant Forums asking,  “What’s Stopping You From Starting a Blog?” . Some responses were expected and one was rather interesting.

In summary, the obstacles for starting a blog were:

1)  Not enough time
2)  Not sure what the blog topics should be about
3)  Not sure what the blog itself should be about
4)  Topics are overdone – not much more can be said

I will answer all of these concerns, however, it is the 4th obstacle addressed that actually was cause for pause. It surprised me was that some VAs felt that blog topics had been covered over and over and that little more could be written.

As a blogger myself, I do get what the VAs are saying!  The respondents felt that there are so many VA blogs out there covering every conceivable topic that they did not see how their blog posts on said topics would matter.  It’s a concern I had not thought about but ventured to explore and explain.

VAs who believe that a topic is overdone need to know that as each VA is unique, consequently so will become each completed blog post; no matter what topic is offered.

Every VA has her own perspective based upon personal and professional experiences. So while your topic may be,  for example, ‘How to Find Clients’, which has indeed been written about a thousand times over,  it is YOUR view point that would make that topic different.

Perhaps you found a client on Twitter…well, your blog post would educate other VAs how you found that client on Twitter. You can blog about the conversation and what might have prompted an interest in your services.  Your blog post would encourage other VAs to use Twitter and you may explain what led you to Twitter to use as a source for finding clients. While I might have found a client on Twitter, my experience is quite different from your own. So while the topic, ‘How to Find Clients’ might have been previously addressed, it is your blog post expounding up how you find clients and what advice you can give to other VAs that makes the post distinctive.

So my advice is not to worry about a topic being ‘overdone’, rather take a topic that is of interest to you and put your own spin on it.

Back to the original objections – Obstacle #1 – Not enough time – Like anything else, you find the time.  You set up a social media calendar and make an appointment with yourself to write a blog post. This particular blog post is being written 2 days before the publish date. I started thinking about this post last week, jotted down some notes and started writing a few sentences here and there.

It’s not so overwhelming if the task is done in smaller chunks.

Nike said it best, ‘Just Do It’.

Obstacle #2 – Not sure what the blog topics should be about – Change your mind! Think of LIFE in terms of blogging. While you are cooking dinner, think about what you are doing and how this action could this be relative to your blog. You can use cooking as a metaphor for starting a business. For example, you can write about creating a business plan which is much like using a recipe. Talk about how you change that recipe to meet your tastes and how to modify a business plan as the business progresses.

If you are exercising at home, use that activity to tie into a topic that you want to write about. For example, you found a new WordPress plugin that you would like to share on your blog.  Start your blog post creatively by stating that while you were exercising and suffering during a round of abs crunches (that would be ME!), it occurred to you that you needed to solve a problem on your WordPress site.  Explain how exercising gets your creative juices flowing. Then write about the plugin.  End your post with advice to VAs how to make time to exercise and that the benefits of this plugin allow you more time to exercise.  Viola! You have a fun, educational, interesting and unique blog post.

Take a picture and ask yourself, “Can I use this picture in my blog?” So write around the photo and use it for inspiration.

Obstacle #3 – Not sure what the blog itself should be about – The blog should be targeted toward the customer you are trying to reach.  If your target market are real estate agents, then your blog should contain topics geared toward the interests of real estate agents.  You can blog about ‘the market’, real estate trends, tips for selling, tips for buying, how to run a brokers’ open house, how to attract other agents, etc.

However, let me also state that while your blog should be targeted toward your customer, you do want to infuse a little of ‘who you are’ into the blog.  So, it is OK to write about ‘when you purchased your first home’ or ‘funny things you found in your home when you moved in’ or, ‘improvements you made to your home’, for example.

You want your blog to reflect who you are as a virtual assistant while writing for the customer you are trying to reach.

A few extra blogging tips:

  • Use shorter sentences when possible
  • Break up the paragraphs so there is white space between paragraphs
  • Use bold and italics to stress important words
  • Use your keywords in the title of the blog posts
  • Use your keywords in the first paragraph of your blog post
  • Use bullets to list important features of the post
  • Ask people to share your posts – go ahead, use this post as a blog post and write a little something in the first paragraph from you. Now you have a blog post!
  • Add share buttons to your blog so people can share your posts
  • Did you know you can Pin a blog post to your Pinterest board? Do that.
  • Create a graphic that can be pinned – and be sure to include your website address to the image as I have done here. Pin the post!

So go ahead and share this post on your blog and/or in your newsletter.  Be sure to pin the graphic and change the link so that you can share this on your Pinterest board.

Let me know what you think and if my post can help you get started with that blog.

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