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Author: Don MacIver, RPA, Freelance Editor, Writer, Poet
A resident of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada since 1987, I am located on the southwestern coast and immediately north of the Washington state border.
I hold a lifetime Real Property Administrator (RPA) professional designation in the property/facility management industries spanning over thirty years. My studies were administered by the At the end of 2012, I retired from the industry to pursue other opportunities.
Canadian and International Building Owners & Managers Institute with formal examinations through the Simon Fraser University of Vancouver, BC, Canada.
In 2001 I came to realize that life fulfillment meant so much more than just income and having enjoyed a successful 28-year career in property management services, I looked internally to explore and discover through creative writing, specifically poetry, prose, and lyrical verse.
This newfound love of writing was a natural progression for me as I had spent my entire career writing professionally to engage, inform, inspire, and move client groups to responsive action. With poetry, reader engagement and response has been a tremendous part of my life, unimpeded by any sort of mental block at any stage of the creative process.
The focus of my writing leans strongly to the romantic side while also very strongly influenced by my love and connection with nature and the stunning beauty of so much of the planet. Most often, I incorporate high-resolution photographic images to enhance the reader experience.
I am also a freelance editor, proofreader, line editor, grammatical and structural editor of author book manuscripts and publishing services.
Friends, I discovered Lynda Filler years ago through literary channels and here she is today publishing beautifully crafted contemporary works in her own distinct styling of poetry and prose. If you’ve read her novels (and you really should) you will find the same edgy, sexy emotions flowing through her words in each of these three exceptional publications. These are NOT the kind of books you’ll read once a shelve. Check out ‘love’ in all its many shapes, colors and fragrances today!
write of the essence of life, our yearning for connection with the one and the One. The poetry is contemporary without rules, guided by a searching heart. The words are at times gritty, always thought provoking and timeless. An intimate view of passion, cyber sex, obsession and death fill the pages. Black and White photographs tell their own story, complement the poetry–or not. I give you my naked heart.
In a world of shifting business marketing metrics, discover the one thing that has become increasingly clear; business networking has become one of the most cost-effective and productive means to foster new business relationships and potential new opportunities within the context of product or services marketing today.
Here in this article I will explore the potential for inherent value discovered through networking and expert tips on best practices for optimum results.
Whether your company’s marketing focus is near or far, professional networking with those identified as clearly possessing similar business interests and objectives has become one of the most powerfully responsive approaches to acquiring new people to partner with in terms of association and/or as newfound customers or clients. Networking today is essential; it opens doors to new friendships, opportunities, expands personal knowledge and helps to establish one’s level of expertise and authority.
The enormous audience reach through the global internet community has expanded our opportunities tremendously and let’s not forget the critical importance of finding new relationships and business opportunities right in our own communities through personal networking.
Many individuals today loathe the process of direct business marketing, especially when it comes to personal appearances at local networking venues. There is a multitude of highly negative personal perspectives associated with networking that holds business professionals back from embracing the many opportunities that networking affords. Even those in executive positions with exceptional experience and achievements harbor such negative perspective; they feel awkward, nervous, anxious, stressed, and even dirty as though they are being intrusive by networking.
Often, business professionals have a very uncomfortable networking experience because of their own perceptions of the legitimacy of networking today. Maintaining positive and realistic expectations about what can be accomplished through networking and its vital role in today’s product or services marketing environment is essential to successful networking.
Networking affords us far-reaching opportunities in addition to establishing new friendships, business associations and opportunities through online professional networking through social media and professional networking websites/networks as well as personal appearances at venues tailored specifically for networking purposes.
In her July, 2016 article on social networking sites for business professionals, Amber Leigh Turner writes on the topic and shares twenty social networking sites that fit the bill for effective professional networking practices and finding new opportunities.
What it all comes down to is a concerted, self-assured, confident and friendly perspective about networking activity and just how much opportunity can be realized through effective approaches to those in the business community with common interest and objectives. Quite simply, networking meetings are a great opportunity to meet other like-minded people who have something to offer and share, taking the time to get to know them, to establish and nurture friendships and trust and to experience discovery of opportunity through comfortable conversation.
Find out through referral and advance online research where within your own community or city you will find organized business networking events/venues. Determine ahead of attending such events which ones will be the most relevant to you in terms of what you offer and seek to gain by your personal appearances.
Look to venues where attendees will most likely share common interests and business objectives as your own. The local Chamber of Commerce is the perfect place to start for networking as their organizations hold regular weekly/bi-weekly/monthly meetings and special events including those dedicated strictly to professional business marketing. At the networking events you will find a large group of business professionals there with the very same objective; to meet new industry professionals who offer their company products or services and want to share proudly through common goals. What better, more comfortable meeting environment could there be when attendees are there specifically to network with others like yourself who seek to develop new professional relationships, associations, networking and referral channels!
Dan Klamm, Outreach & Marketing Coordinator at Syracuse University’s Career Services co-wrote ‘5 Rules for Professional Social Networking Success‘ with Alana Edmunds, an IT Project Manager and Social Strategist for Recruiting & Staffing at GE Energy.
There are often numerous local organizations for business professionals to attend with the objective of meeting new contacts including men’s and women’s organizations, local networking groups, associations to join, special interest groups and more.
The Right Expectations
Networking may sometimes bring almost immediate results but generally speaking you should anticipate that it will take time to find those who share the same mutual interests. It is a process of building a comfortable, friendly relationship, establishing mutual interests and eventual trust before any attempts should be made for gainful business relationships. Do NOT come out of the gate attempting to sell!
Dress for Success
An age-old marketing technique is to come to the occasion ‘dressed for success’. That is not to say arriving looking like a high-priced fashion statement. Arrive in comfortable yet businesslike attire rather than jeans, tie dies and cutoff shorts casuals. You are there to talk and attract business! You want to ensure that first and ongoing impressions are favorable.
Arrive fresh, alert and with forethought on those ideas you wish to share during the networking session; don’t improvise! Bring along business cards but use them sparingly; hand them out to those who, in your estimation, show genuine interest and have potential as newfound associations or customers/clients.
Arrive prepared with a brief one or two sentence introductory greeting which clearly identifies what you do or have to offer; don’t be ambiguous or evasive. Share that information in a timely manner following an introduction and handshake.
Success through Networking
Your success with networking will rely on and vary significantly depending on how effective you are with one-on-one networking. If your perception of networking activity is highly negative you will most assuredly be less effective in the process.
Overcome an Aversion to Networking
Be sure to maintain a ‘promotion’ mindset with a focus on company growth, personal advancement and key achievements to share while networking. Get excited about potential new opportunities and outcomes with genuine curiosity and an open mind about those potential outcomes of newfound connections and associations. Go into networking venues with anticipation that it will be an interesting, informative and even fun experience…and make it so!
Research individuals you want to meet; understand what they do, discover mutual areas of interest and similar business goals and objectives. Advance knowledge will build upon a sense of genuine interest.
Be Keenly Aware of What You Can Offer
Consider carefully what it is that you offer relative to how it will benefit new contacts or associations the most; new information, shared tasks, technical support, appreciation, recognition and exposure through networking referrals. Show appreciation to those who share beneficial information with you. Public expressions of gratitude can advance a professional’s reputation in the business community.
How to Connect
People appreciate those who share similar interests, business objectives and values. Make new contacts feel welcome and encourage their participation in conversations. Show leadership by offering to organize an event. Be acutely aware of your knowledge, insights and perspectives that others respond to and value.
Define Your Purpose
Determine in advance what your primary purpose is for the networking event individually as you attend. Reinforce those objectives in your own mind. Where possible, present your purpose in ways that will define how others can help support ‘your company’ and/or ‘your clients’ rather than a more personal focus like only helping ‘you’ to benefit directly.
Avoid Only Self-Promotion
Refrain from coming straight out of the gate with a sales pitch. Networking events are NOT intended for overt sales or marketing activities. Show mutual interest in others, ask genuine questions and be attentive to their responses from which you can formulate touch point areas of mutual interest you can talk about further.
Meet New People
Each time you attend the same venue again, be sure to meet new people, especially anyone you see standing alone. It’s fine to mingle initially with those you have met previously to exchange pleasantries but as opportunity affords, respectfully excuse yourself by indicating that you wish to meet someone nearby that you have not yet become acquainted.
Some individuals are quite reserved, even shy about approaching others. Put their mind at ease by making the first move to say hello and start up a friendly conversation. By the same token, don’t be shy to introduce yourself to an individual or group. Remember that they are ALL there for the very same reason; to meet new business professionals to share with and expand through potential new business opportunities or referrals.
Listen for ideal opportunities to share referrals to the benefit of those you are speaking with. This is critical to establishing credibility and genuine interest that you have in the benefit of others and not just for yourself and/or your company.
Reciprocate Through Mutual Benefit
As with the referral process, be sure to reciprocate with those you speak to by giving what you get out of conversations in return.
Exchange business cards and follow-up after the meeting i.e. the same or next day via telephone call or email expressing your appreciation for the opportunity to meet, converse and especially for any referrals or other beneficial exchange that arose from that meeting; share information of benefit to the other individual promptly i.e. articles, website URL’s, contact information and more.
Arrange to Meet Again
Where conversations go well and your new acquaintance appears to be a potential source of new business or referrals, follow-up by further contact with the individual. An invitation to meet at a public coffee house is a great way to get together again in a comfortable, non-threatening and non-pressured environment with the intent of getting to know each other better.
In conclusion, focus on the following for best results with your business networking activities:
Overcome feeling that networking is self-centered, tacky or abhorrent. Overcome those negative feelings or perceptions about networking by always shifting your thinking to a ‘promotion’ mindset.
Focus on how beneficial networking will be for your business through personal visibility in the business/professional community and its higher purpose.
As a result of newfound, positive personal perspective about networking your attitude will become much more positive and you will even get excited about forging new relationships and business associations that will bear fruit for years to come!
Are you having difficulty achieving reader responsiveness? Your audience connection seems at risk or doubtful because of a lack of commenting and sharing of your content with others?
You’re not alone in the frustration of attracting and building on a readership or subscribing audience. The huge volume of internet users today has increased exponentially in recent years whether for personal, social or business purposes. The technologies and applications of our online presence has changed dramatically as well over time demanding our awareness and application of such new innovations and how we can utilize them to our best advantage.
Our website and blog content needs to be highly informative and useful to our targeted audience. When our readers find our content engaging they are most likely to return for more. In terms of business and marketing conversion to sales or new clients that reader engagement is critical. Another powerful tool in the engagement arsenal is the sharing of relevant content from external sources as I often do here with my own posts. What better way to support our own content than to share the resources, experience and successes of others!
One of the most successful ways to build a following today, whether to promote business products or services, published works of authors, poets, writers and journalists is through distribution of subscriber email newsletters likeConstantContact, MailChimp, VerticalResponseto name just a few mailing hosts. Having subscribing (opt-in) readers for a newsletter is a powerful way to establish a more personal connection given the very nature of direct mailing to individuals or businesses who have made the choice to connect to our content. Statistically there is a greater response in terms of new business and sales.
Social & Professional Networking
These networks, such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, to name but a few, continue to grow steadily in user base numbers, a substantial addition to our marketing and audience connection arsenal. If used in a well-designed social and marketing strategy such sites can attract a substantial following through which traffic generation back to your main website or blog hub is critically important.
Essential to that audience connection is in being interactive on a one-on-one basis. Don’t just concentrate all your efforts on the socials with getting ‘follows’ and ‘likes’…that is only the starting point to establishing relationships, making essential connections. We need to be responsive in today’s social and professional networks whether our purpose for being there is personal, business and/or product/service centric. When someone takes the time to comment or compliment on your social pages you must respond! Failing to respond tells people you don’t care, that you have ulterior motives for your ‘connections’ and that turns people off fast. After all, it IS a social or professional networking site! Keyword Usage
Keywords have become a critical factor in capturing an audience through search engine visibility. The dynamics of how the various search engines evaluate the relevance, ranking and search results positioning is varied between today’s search engines as is their algorithmic configuration but the bottom line is that careful and strategic application of keywords within our online content is essential to the mapping framework for our online presence…or lack thereof. When using the various social and professional networks make sure that you are adding keywords within the context of your profile content and bios as well as in your content body AND in your site headings and titles. Best keywords are also essential in the context of site meta tags and title descriptions. Google continues to be THE granddaddy of internet search engines today and I utilize their various applications found at GoogleWebmastersTools to help ensure that my online visibility is optimized.
The Google Adwords Keyword Planneris an excellent resource tool to determine the best possible keywords that apply for your particular service or product niche. Google provides plenty of reference and resource material to help users familiarize themselves with this indispensable resource base. I can attest first hand that applying these tools does indeed make a difference. Most search engines today provide the how-to’s for implementing their various resources.
It takes time and following the learning curve to get positive end results but this is a key step in developing audience engagement and site traffic…without which you have no customer base to speak of. Understanding and accepting such applications as essential to the process will lead you through the discovery phase.
Keyword implementation is not an exact science yet by using such tools as the keyword planner and testing different keywords to find which ones are most effective for site traffic generation and your business or sales needs and objectives you should see positive results. My web traffic has increased considerably through keyword application and adjustment to the extent that my site traffic is now doubling every month consistently…that’s powerful! Mobile Responsive Websites & Blogs
Internet users in today’s busy lifestyle are carrying their mobile devices in ever-increasing numbers today and a large segment of the population now use their mobiles for internet browsing on the run. That means that a critical segment of our potential business or reading audience is locked in through their various mobile devices during key portions of the business day. That means in a nutshell that we MUST use websites and blogs that are formatted as mobile responsive. Refer to your own services provider to verify whether you do have your online websites or blogs configured for mobile devices.
Engage! The bottom line is that once you engage, once you make those essential connections with your following or subscribing audience, then you will start to see results. Engaging in organic, genuine conversation and support builds confidence and trust in what you have to offer. The results will follow.
I’ll share with you an article posted by Debbie Hemley onreader engagement strategyin which the writer shares great tips for targeted audience connection at Social Media Examiner. I have been following this site for several years now, an excellent resource and information site on current trends in online presence, marketing strategy through social media and much more. Host Michael Stelzner also broadcasts regular podcasts through the site which are outstanding with powerhouse guest speakers. The site’s following is huge.
Wouldn’t it be nice to see your website or blog show up in the Top 10 positioning on search engine results pages?
Top 10 is the ultimate gold when it comes to where our web pages are going to show up when people are searching for our products or services and if we want to see meaningful results for all of our tireless efforts to get our websites or blogs seen we need to make sure that the content we create for our sites will be highly visible to search engines.
That all seems pretty daunting and for many a frustrating part of online website marketing. The thing is that we simply cannot aimlessly practice online website content writing without including keywords and keyword phrases that will be recognized by search engines AND commonly used words and phrases that are most often used by people when they do online searches.
Online document and website content strategy is a critical part of increased reader engagement and web traffic. We may have the best products or services available today but if we don’t understand search engine optimization and social media optimization our sites will never be seen by the majority of those searching online. As equally important is writing high quality, clean, concise, informative and compelling content that will thoroughly interest and engage our readers and leave them with an immediate desire to find out more.
Search engine visibility and website or blog site ranking by the search engines is extremely important for anyone marketing their products, services or non-commercial sites online today. Without being an expert in SEO practices there are tools available online to help find the best words and phrases to use in our web content. Google continues to be the largest search engines by far and our ultimate goal is reaching that Top 10, page 1 search results positioning on Google as well as the other major search engines.
Google.com Webmaster Tools: Start off by registering for Google tools and resources. I signed up for a Gmail account and have access to Google’s powerhouse webmaster tools that help guide website owners through their various tools and resources for search engine optimization and more.
Google Adwords Keyword Planner: Once you have access to Google’s treasure chest of resources go the the Google Keyword Planner tool site linked here. If you want to use Google Adwords there is cost involved but to simply research keywords and keyword phrases the keyword planner tool itself is free. The tool landing page shows a number of options to choose from and you want to go to the first option provided which is “search for new keyword and ad groups ideas.”
Next you will see a search campaign box where you need to enter what product or service (or type of site content) you are offering. Think carefully about the commonly known names or phrases that most people would use to search for your site…never use highly technical jargon/language…keep it simple. Then enter your full website address ie http:www… followed by entering your product, service or website/blog content category. Again, think in terms of the most commonly known terms for the category that would best describe what you offer on your site.
What follows those first three primary fields is ‘Targeting’ and ‘Customize Your Search’. In these two sections you want to focus carefully on geographic regions you are targeting an audience in, their language, search engine options and keyword search filters. There is a small question mark icon located just above these two fields for brief helpful information on what you need to focus on here.
Once this form is completed click “Get Ideas”. What you will see on the results page that follows are a series of keyword or keyword phrases which are the most commonly used terms used by people searching on the internet, a count of the number of searches made for each keyword or phrase, a competition rating and more.
Important: From the results described above, you want to choose keywords and keyword phrases that will serve your own objectives best. If you are a new business startup (just getting started with a new/first business) choose the keywords and phrases that are medium competition and number of searches. Choosing higher competition ranking and the highest number of searches produces search results to highly established and ranked websites that place them in the Top 10 or 20 (Page 1 and 2) search results positions and even if you have a small search engine visibility, because of the much higher ranked sites for the chosen keywords/keyword phrases your site will never get seen (because your site is listed a multiple of pages deep in the search results). Remember that most people only click on sites listed on Page 1 of search results and a very small percentage will ever go into Page 2 results.
Keyword Density: How many times you include keywords and keyword phrases (collectively) within each paragraph or web page is somewhat subjective but very close attention needs to be taken here. Google is frequently changing its methods and tolerances for acceptable use and volume of keywords within our content. If overused, and when identical keywords or phrases are repeated, Google now looks upon that practice in a very negative way, commonly referred to as “keyword stuffing” and you can expect that in doing so Google will penalize your site ranking heavily or render your site essentially invisible through poor ranking and search visibility.
There was a period of time where volume of keywording on a website was acceptable but NOT anymore…do so at your own peril. Search engines establish ‘algorithms’ for search ranking and visibility criteria which are essentially the rules that must be followed if we want people to be able to find us in search queries. Ignoring such rules is very risky and will most likely eliminate any chance we have of getting noticed, gaining a following, achieving reader engagement and ultimately our targeted new clients, customers and sales.
Keyword Density Target: To ensure that your website stays in the ‘safe’ zone for search engine visibility and ranking you should target a keyword density of approximately 1% – 3% of your total article/web page content. In other words, for every 100 words of content, use a maximum of 3 keyword or keyword phrase applications. To easily calculate this density, while your MS Word document is open, look in the lower left area of your system tray at the bottom of your monitor screen. You will see a page count ie ‘Page 1 of…’ and then ‘Words‘ which tells you how many words there are in your open article.
To calculate the percentage of keywords and phrases that occur in the article, count those keywords/phrases in total and then divide that count number by the total number of words in the article. If you have more than the recommended 1% – 3% keyword density, remove some of those keywords (or other content reworded) until you are back to the density limit suggested.
There is more to website ranking and search engine optimization for increasing search visibility and website traffic results than can reasonably be covered in this article but the essentials outlined above will give you a good start at improving how visible your website or blog will be in search engine queries and help those sites begin to establish ranking by the search engines. The key to establishing best results is to make sure you stay current on the methods best applied for your site as time passes and search engines change their algorithms and rules of engagement.
Test Your Search Results and Ranking: Remember to frequently monitor your website/blog search results by running your own organic searches on Google, Yahoo, Bing and other search engines. For myself, I would use search terms like “website editing, Peachland, BC” or “document proofreading in Peachland, BC” or “social media optimization in Peachland, BC”. When you see your own site search results placed on Page 3 or higher you know you’re on the right track. Always use ‘organic’ search terms like I have illustrated here for my own searches. Don’t use your site title as the vast majority of people searching don’t know you or your site title and they won’t get results that include your site. Keep tweaking your keywords and phrases and other relevant content wording until you succeed in Top 10, Page 1 search results position…and celebrate! Now you’re talking!!
Social Media Optimization: Similar keyword and phrase practices apply to social media posts. It’s easy to forget keyword content in social media site posts (Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LiveJournal, Tumblr, Pinterest etc.) and professional networks like LinkedIn but optimizing our social media content is equally important for generating website and blog traffic. Also make sure that your profile on each of those networks has keywording because it helps users of those networks to find you (and your related website/other locations) in their searches online. When you connect or get followers make sure you interest with them individually through post comments, sharing, Tweeting and private messaging.
Resources: As a website or blog owner or administrator/marketer, make sure you do research on all aspects of writing website and online document content by doing internet searches. Find the experts online that can help guide you through the processes. Emulate success…do what successful people do. Don’t try to reinvent the wheel. Find others who are successful on the internet, learn their methods and apply those successful methods for best results.
For years I have consistently referred to two highly successful websites to learn current best practices and I have seen very positive results with my own website, blog and social media presence. SiteProNews is an excellent resource for breaking technology, social media and search engine news. SocialMediaExaminer is an outstanding resource for social media marketing, newsletters, events, networking tips and resources and live podcasts hosting interviews with many of the social media and business marketing giants of today who share how they have achieved lofty heights and their methods. Practice what these successful folks have done and you will save yourself an awful lot of wasted time attempting to get it right.
Ultimately you need to decide whether to apply keyword and keyword phrase content on your website or blog yourself or hire an expert in that service discipline to do it for you. It will take some time to achieve best results on your own. Remain patient and focused! Monitor your website or blog data through analytics as you make changes to keywording to see what positive or negative affect new (or eliminated/updated) keywords have on your website’s visitor traffic and engagement and search visibility.
In a world where time and money are perhaps the single greatest motivation for engagement of a critically productive day whether in our personal lives, on the job facilitating a process in the blue collar sense or at a desk where every word must be palpable and every decision a manifest component of a recipe or equation for success, demands upon our efforts for perfection were never more evident than they are today.
For anyone whose written presentation or proposal demands a concise, tangible engagement of its reading audience, the demands for a message that consummates flawless conveyance and its delivery cannot be understated. Ironically, it would seem, our educational system leaves many individuals ill-prepared to face the demands of our current day business/corporate environment.
There are fundamental elements of education that should never be left to chance or elective choosing when it comes to our preparedness to meet the demands of today’s workplace. The very nature of cognitive functionality as cogs in the wheel of that process is ever-evolving and the roles we play in the professional world are changing dynamically.
In simpler terms what does all this mean? Well, in terms of the composition of important documents, our level of preparedness for writing that all-star paper, document, proposal, presentation, promotion, intern/external business communication and even that single page composition or book of creative writing, will be the determining factor as to whether we create that piece as a stand alone author or team up with someone who can help bring it all together in a conveyance that is centric to its targeted audience.
Targeting….yes, most of us have heard and are very familiar with that word. Its connotations are open to interpretation depending on its application but much of today’s work world revolves around this word, this process predicated on the business objective or corporate mandate. The ‘targeted’ individual or group/business type of interest are the critical focus of a business campaign. The centric conveyance of our approach to that targeted audience is equally critical in their engagement.
As a professional editor it is paramount that we apply the highest of editorial standards having acquired a critical understanding of its process and the role we play in the pursuit of the client’s objectives. Initiative and flexibility are key elements and our adaptability to fulfil the needs of each individual project. We need to be illustrative, constructive, and at times, cosmetic in our analysis of client projects, receptive to their learned opinion while skilled in the process of communicating clearly any recommendations for a written project’s revision.
Where an individual may possess great skill sets in terms of the story or message they are conveying they may not have the critical knowledge needed for the mechanics of that document conveyance. Often times the delivery of an important message is lost in its conveyance. The metrics of the delivery falls flat on its target audience by virtue of its grammatical misgivings, stuttering flow, poor or inappropriate word choice, its language in terms of its intended audience, ambiguity and lack of logical connection start to finish.
Today’s editor must be cognizant of the substantive applications within a document, again as centric to the intended audience. We need to make a document functional for its reader in addition to ensuring the message and its delivery are consistent and correct in conveyance. We’ve all heard that ‘content is king’ at least from an author’s perspective and that has critical bearing in the business, corporate and marketing world as well. Document organization, design and style are essential elements in a document’s success formula and that’s where the professional editor comes in.
In a world where we seldom get second chances, the professional editor is a natural and fundamental extension of the developmental aspects of a written project where close scrutiny and engagement of the targeted recipient are critical elements in meeting the client’s objectives.
The editing process is a consultative and constructive analysis and application of the highest level of fundamental editorial standards pursuant to the client’s goals and objectives and in no sense adversarial. When the process and conveyance must be perfect, editorial considerations are paramount.