Thursday, January 29, 2009

Working Together

"Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success."
~ Henry Ford

Monday, January 26, 2009

Creating the Perfect Profile or "About Me" Page

[Continued from last week...]

To ensure that you write the best “About Me” or profile page, follow these guidelines:

- Briefly describe your education and relevant experience. This section shouldn’t reiterate the specifics of your resume, but should highlight the projects, jobs and coursework that pertain to the work, clients, or customers that you seek.

- Devote a small portion of your text to who you are outside of your career. Are you a parent, volunteer, community leader, wine connoisseur or weekend hobbyist? Do you fish, scrapbook, or collect first edition books? It is important to include items of interest that will show to your reader that you are relatable and approachable.

- Add a picture of yourself, preferably close-range. Avoid pictures that have distracting backgrounds, large groups of people, or are not in focus.

- List items that set you apart from your competitors. Do you have special qualifications, certifications or affiliations that will enhance a client’s work? Have you landed an easily recognizable client like Microsoft, Starbucks or Google?

- Be consistent with tense and person terminology throughout your paragraph. I like using present tense where appropriate (e.g., Virtually Yourz offers writing, editing and marketing services to small businesses and nonprofits throughout the United States.) I also prefer using third person (Virtually Yourz instead of I or we)

While the “About Me” page of your website is intended to be personal in nature, maintain your professionalism. Use proper grammar, spelling, punctuation and complete sentences throughout to prevent the section from becoming too casual.

Above all, keep in mind that this section should be about YOU, and it may be your only opportunity to impress the reader with the person that they will hire, so use it wisely.

Virtually Yourz,
Dana Blozis

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Using Your “About Me” Page as a Marketing Tool

Clients are more likely to commit to a purchase if they can relate to a real person, so make the most of your website’s “About Me” page or your blog’s profile. This is your opportunity to introduce your true self to potential prospects.

Of course, many people are reluctant to write about their successes because they don’t want to be perceived as braggarts. However, if you write your “About Me” page in a factual manner, it is the perfect venue to describe your professional and to tell potential clients more about the person behind the product or service.

See my next blog posting for tips on writing the ideal “About Me” or profile page!

Virtually Yourz,
Dana Blozis

Monday, January 19, 2009

Article Marketing - The Value of the Resource Box

While the quality of an article is critical to proving the expertise of an author in a given subject area, the accompanying resource box serves to further anchor the reader’s interest. The most persuasive resource box will explain how the author has become knowledgeable in a given field, providing information regarding experience, business pursuits and contact information.

As article submission and distribution sites typically limit the number of characters available to 500 or less, it is best to avoid résumé duplication and provide two or three sentences of information including the author’s name, website URL and business experience.

Inclusion of a free product (ezine, newsletter, quote or video) will also provide an additional incentive for the reader to visit your website, leading to a meaningful increase in traffic and potential sales.

Examples of resource boxes:

- Marty Marketer is the owner of ABC Marketing Services, a firm representing a combined total of 37 years of marketing experience. For more information regarding our services and how we can help your business grow and succeed, sign up for our free monthly newsletter at (301 characters)

- With 20 years of professional experience and a degree in business administration, Dana Blozis is the president of Virtually Yourz, a Seattle-based firm specializing in writing, editing and marketing services for small businesses and nonprofits. Visit to sign up for our free marketing newsletter. (341 characters)

Virtually Yourz,
Dana Blozis

Saturday, January 17, 2009

The purpose of marketing

The aim of marketing is to know and understand the customer so well the product or service fits him and sells itself.
~ Peter Drucker

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Elements of good writing

On Linked In, I responded to a post from someone who wanted to know how to benchmark his own writing. Here is my response, which can apply to just about anyone and almost any type of writing:

"When I write anything whether it is for a client or for publication, I concentrate on the following:

1) Quality content: Content should be clear and concise, or "tight" as our editors like to say. In other words, say what you need to say and make it interesting, but avoid unnecessary words that don't add to the story.

2) Grammar, spelling and punctuation: If something is poorly written, I won't read it, so I won't ask my readers to sift through mistakes. After you've given a piece your best proofreading eyes, ask a friend or colleague or hire a line editor to give it a look.

3) Flow: This is an element of writing that is hard to teach, but when you read your work, you'll know if it flows. For example, does each sentence seem independent of all the others, or is there a nice transition from one idea to the next?

4) Read it aloud: I always test my work 3 ways: I read it on screen, I print off a copy to read and make editing notes on, and I read it out loud. Each perspective, no matter how minutely different, gives me a different way to look at and hear my words.

5) Sleep on it: Whenever time allows, I like to sleep on a particular piece or project, particularly if it is for publication. Sometimes I'll notice things on day 2 that weren't readily apparent to me the day before, and sometimes I realize that I conveyed exactly what I intended to, so I feel more confident in my work when submitting it to a client or magazine.

6) Fact check: Make sure your basic facts are correct. I like to follow up on key information such as dates, spellings of proper names, geographical facts, etc. This may be as simple as double-checking your typed version against your notes, or it may involve a little more research to confirm your data. Also, because it can be edited by anyone, Wikipedia sources are helpful for general background, but I would always fact check that data with another reliable source. For example, if quoting the population of City A in Country A, Wikipedia might give you a close enough figure for you to start writing, but before publishing or posting, I'd go to the country's official census source. In the US, for example, I'd go to the U.S. Census Bureau website to double-check a fact.

I hope that helps. Good luck with your project!"

(first posted 12/26/08 on Linked In)

Virtually Yourz,
Dana Blozis

The marketing and PR solution for small business

Monday, January 12, 2009

Boost Newsletter Subscriptions with these Quick Tips

Does your newsletter database need a boost? Here are some quick tips for growing your database of prospects and subscribers:

1) Offer a free report or gift for everyone who signs up in the next 14 days.
2) Give a $10 gift card to Starbucks to current subscribers who get 5 friends to subscribe.
3) Add your special offer to the signature block of every e-mail you send out.
4) Add a simple sign-up form on your website and/or blog to make subscribing easy.
5) Include your offer in the resource boxes of your online articles.

Virtually Yourz,
Dana Blozis

Friday, January 9, 2009

Why do I need a press release?

I am often asked why press releases are important. In my experience, they are a fantastic (and affordable) opportunity to shout your business news to the world. There's no guarantee that the news will get picked up by the media - that's a blog post for another day - nonetheless, you can increase your exposure online and with your customers.

Some reasons for a press release:

Business launch or anniversary
New product or service launch
Key hires
Nonprofit work or donations
Remodeling or expansion
Significant earnings or growth announcements

Have you issued a press release lately? If not, add this to your marketing plan for 2009.

Virtually Yourz,
Dana Blozis

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Customer contact is key

In the New Year, particularly in the current economy, it is more important than ever to retain your clients. Make sure you connect with them regularly to let them know you appreciate their business. By creating this open dialogue, you increase your top of mind awareness and develop open communication which customers want and need.

Fortunately, connecting with customer doesn't have to be costly. Try these affordable tips to show your customers you care:

- Mail them copies of their press clippings with a handwritten note
- Send monthly e-mail blasts with special offers, discounts or promotions just for subscribers
- Treat your top customers to lunch or host a client appreciation event
- Send a personal e-mail or call them when you add a new product or service of interest
- Create a customer referral program

Virtually Yourz,
Dana Blozis

Friday, January 2, 2009

The power of the written word

"The written word is the strongest source of power in the entire universe."
- Gary Halbert