Posted By Cynthia Hartwig on December 19, 2013
Of all the reasons to start a business blog, establishing authority is the most important.
1. The number one reason to start a blog is that it’s in your self-interest.
A blog does great things for your reputation, your brand, and done consistently, it will increase your value in the marketplace. With almost three years of blogging under our belts, Emily and I have experienced so many benefits, we decided to give you an early Christmas present: a recap of why you should start a blog so doing that will be your number one New Year’s resolution.
Posted By Cynthia Hartwig on December 9, 2013
Just get it down and we’ll work with it.
Business people in our classes don’t just want to know how to create a blog—they want to know how to blog fast. Time is short. Writing something worth reading can be a long process.
Our advice to writers is to multiply by two.
Don’t go solo. At Two Pens we believe using two heads rather than one is more efficient and effective.
Two heads are better than one in blogging. Emily Warn and Cynthia Hartwig share editing duties on the Two Pens blog because it makes our content better and more distinctive. Sculptural heads shown are by Seattle artist, Patti Warashina, from the Bellevue Art Museum retrospective of her work. Photo copyright 2013 Cynthia Hartwig; shot at BAM’s kiddie play wall of Warashina cut-outs.
When Emily finishes a first draft of a blog post, I review it and suggest edits. We go back and forth until it’s got the Two Pens’ zing. When I’m on deck, Emily does the same for me. (more…)
Posted By Emily Warn on December 5, 2013
One winner of 37Signals “WorkCanWait contest in which they invited people to lampoon a recent Microsoft marketing campaign. Guess which company won and why?
Imagine Clark Kent ripping off his business suit and walking out of the phone booth wearing jeans and a t-shirt with a tatt on his bicep.
Hip, approachable smarties are the superheroes of social media. They work at your front desk or test software in a cubicle in the back or are out planning a company event. Put the right ones to work on your business blog and your social media presence will come to life—the life of your company’s. Here’s how one company is building its business through a home-grown blog.
Posted By Cynthia Hartwig on November 26, 2013
When you’re stuck for something to write, the quickest and easiest post to write is a round-up. Photo Copyright Cynthia Hartwig 2013
As a blogger, sooner or later you’ll run into a roadblock–you’ll have no idea what to write. Naturally, drawing a blank happens most when you HAVE to meet a deadline.
Rather than wringing your hands and whining, try writing a round-up post–a simple list on one topic. (more…)
Posted By Emily Warn on November 19, 2013
If anyone tells you blogs are going the way of pay phones, tell them to read this post. Photo Copyright James Hamilton.
(This is part two of a series on starting a blog for your business. We weigh in on this topic on a random basis but we think it’s worth the wait. Part one offers you Five Tips on How to Start a Business Blog.)
Lots of people thought social media would make blogs go dark the same way cell phones made pay phones obsolete. Just the opposite happened. Blogs can expand your social media circle more quickly if they’re designed to join the conversation on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and any other social network that makes sense for your business. (more…)
Posted By Cynthia Hartwig on November 13, 2013
People in our classes get all in a twist when we turn on our timer and ask them to do blog writing exercises in five minutes. Creativity on demand? Churn out a headline?! The horror! The horror!
The trick is to make the headline forecast what the reader will learn. Today’s 42-second video features Emily Warn talking about why telling people what they want to know works. And it shows three stellar examples of blog headlines we like from Gawker.com and LifeHacker.com.
Posted By Emily Warn on November 5, 2013
Everything you need to know about blogging starts here–with greeting every customer who walks in the door whether it’s online or on the street.
I assumed the woman behind the cash register was talking about a birthday cake. “I want red letters with a squiggly line under them,” she insisted. She was–I soon found out–talking about her blog to a marketing company rep who had promised her social media stardom if she bought the company’s social media package—a new blog built by them and content writing services for six months.
I kept my mouth shut and didn’t tell the toy store owner she’d thrown her money away. I also resisted my impulse to fix her problem for free over lunch. I did offer her a few tips on how to start a business blog that would help her–and you–up your presence on social media. Here’s what I told her. (more…)
Posted By Cynthia Hartwig on October 29, 2013
Social media may be the marketing darling of the moment but email is what drives decisions and to-do lists in business.
I have taught a class in How to Avoid Business Email Train Wrecks for the past couple of years. Corporate types from Daimler Trucks USA in Charlotte and Starbucks global headquarters in Seattle are happy to learn from my common sense approach to writing effective emails.
You can listen to me expand on the “one subject per email” rule on video for around one minute.
Posted By Cynthia Hartwig on October 24, 2013
The problem with a generic thank you, like this one from Nordstrom, is that it feels both bland and fake.
Your mother taught you to always write a thank you, right? So why is “thanks for the follow” little more than digital wall paper on social media?
The Nordstrom’s tweet above feels automated. There’s no clue that it comes from a real human being. And so no way forge a connection with the person you’re thanking.
Posted By Emily Warn on October 16, 2013
Study yourself as you read online. Count how often you read beyond the first sentence. Then how many times beyond an opening paragraph before you start scrolling and scanning and skipping away. The problem behind your back-button trigger-finger is often not the writing but the formatting.
FORMATTING = ONLINE READABILITY VELCRO
Cynthia is cringing. How could I create such an ugly, loud header? I did it so you’ll SEE why formatting your blog matters. Your readers will snap to it.