Archive for the ‘Tips for Clients’ Category

Why Hire a Ghost Blogger?

Wednesday, September 9th, 2015

Ghostwriter_2It’s easy to decide to start a blog—but not so easy to execute. Many writers or marketers underestimate the work involved. Not only do you have to create a content schedule, but you have to research and generate each individual blog post. This may involve finding pictures, sources, and quotations, or even interviewing industry experts yourself. Add the need to design, market, and manage your blog, and the workload can quickly become overwhelming.

Fortunately, there are other options for those looking to start their own blog, including hiring a ghost blogger to create the articles for you. Ghost bloggers are freelance writers who can research and write blog posts on just about any subject imaginable. Professional ghostwriters are highly devoted to their craft, ensuring that you start your blog off with the right words. Read on for a few of the benefits of hiring a ghost blogger.

Quality Control

It can be tricky to nail the right content and tone for your blog without relevant audience insight. Most ghost bloggers have years of experience writing for blogs, so not only can they target their writing toward your demographic, but they can also incorporate strong headers and quality content that will engage, inform, and captivate your readers. When you hire a trained professional, you can rest assured that the writing will be error-free and tailored to your specifications.

Fresh Eyes

Giving your ghost blogger a set of guidelines to follow is a great way to ensure that your content is consistent and genuine. However, one of the main reasons to use a freelance writer is for the fresh perspective they bring to the page. This writer may look at your core message from a different angle, and propose helpful tips on how you can get the most out of your blog. With experience and analytics backing their opinion, a talented freelance writer will be a valuable tool as you build your audience.

More Free Time

It seems there’s never enough hours in the day—but with a freelance ghost blogger in your corner, you’ll free up a few. Not only will you receive quality work, but you’ll have more time to devote to other interests and initiatives, and to focus on the design and marketing of your blog. With the ghost blogger taking care of the content itself, you’ll have the opportunity to read what others are writing about and create a relevant, reader-friendly content calendar for the writer to follow.

Whether you specialize in eCommerce, accounting, or animals, starting a blog is hard work. You have the ideas and inspiration—now hire a ghost blogger to put your vision into words. With quality content and more free time on your hands, you’ll be better equipped to build your brand and draw a larger audience — ingredients for a successful blogger.

Content Marketing vs. Copywriting: What’s the Difference?

Thursday, April 23rd, 2015

content marketingIt’s happening more and more often lately: a client will contact me with what’s purportedly just a simple writing project… but then as the specs and goals unravel, it becomes clear that she’s looking for more than just a copywriter: she needs a content marketer.

But wait — aren’t they the same thing? Not exactly. Some copywriters stick strictly to wordsmithing (and there’s nothing wrong with that!), while other writers are more marketing-minded and enjoy incorporating their writing into the overall package. Many writers are somewhere in the middle.

And, of course, not all content marketers are copywriters.

Definitions of Content Marketing & Copywriting

If you think of content marketing as a house, copywriting is like one of the support beams. Could the house stand without the beam? Most likely, but it wouldn’t be nearly as strong or sturdy.

The Content Marketing Institute defines content marketing as “a marketing technique of creating and distributing relevant and valuable content to attract, acquire and engage a clearly defined and understood target audience.” Whatever technique is used — from email campaigns to text messaging to online display ads — the objective is to get customers and prospects to click, convert, share, or do SOMETHING that contributes to a healthier bottom line.

According to Wikipedia, copywriting is “written content conveyed through online media and print materials, primarily used for the purpose of advertising or marketing, often used to persuade a person or group as well as raise brand awareness.”

What Does Content Marketing Look Like?

There are countless types of content marketing pieces. Below are just a few:

  • Infographics: As the name implies, these are attention-grabbing graphics that present any kind of information, usually statistics or compelling facts, all presented in a highly visual — and usually very colorful – way. Here’s a link to some of the most popular infographics of 2014.
  • Podcasts: Anyone selling a product or service can use podcasts to distribute value-adding audio content to their audience. Podcasts can include entertainment, guidance, information, interviews, or anything that supports the publisher’s goal. Here are a few examples of high-impact podcasts.
  • Whitepapers: Wikipedia defines a whitepaper as “an authoritative report or guide informing in a concise manner about a complex issue and presenting the issuing body’s philosophy on the matter. It is meant to help readers understand an issue, solve a problem, or make a decision.” Not necessarily sexy or entertaining, but definitely value-adding when presented to the right audience.
  • eBooks: Electronic books can be written about any topic, product, service, or industry. For instance, a personal trainer might hire a freelance copywriter to write an eBook with fitness and nutrition tips, and then incorporate a “soft sell” driving readers to his website to learn more (and to ultimately book training sessions or purchase his other products or services). Check out some examples of effective content marketing eBooks.
  • Videos: Justin Bieber isn’t the only one who got rich through YouTube. Modern companies recognize the power of online video content. And it’s easier (and more affordable) than you might think. You don’t necessarily have to hire an expensive production company to create a compelling, useful video that highlights your product or service.

There are plenty more examples, from case studies and product guides to interviews and how-tos. Anything that can be distributed to a target audience — with the goal of persuading them to act — is a form of content marketing. Some types, like business books and whitepapers, obviously require copywriting. But for other types, businesses may attempt to forgo hiring a writer and produce the media in-house.

So, you may be able to produce content marketing pieces without copywriting — but they won’t be nearly as effective. After all, given the choice, you’d never leave out that support beam when building a house… so don’t skimp on well-crafted words when investing your time, money, and energy in a content piece.

“Who Will Be Writing My Content?”

Friday, April 10th, 2015

ghostwriter1I get this question a lot from prospective clients. They visit my website, see “Words by Melissa & Associates,” and wonder “Who are these mysterious ‘Associates’?

I don’t blame them. After all, they have a right to verify that their content will come from a professional, trusted source.

When I started my Cincinnati freelance writing business back in 2007, I was a one-woman show. From technology case studies to articles about potty training to descriptions of Santa figurines, I wrote every word. Over the next couple of years — as my client roster, workload, and family all continued to grow — I realized I was approaching a line. And once I crossed it, I simply wouldn’t be able to keep juggling without dropping something important and breakable.

That’s when I began experimenting with hiring backup writers to handle some of the overflow work. I had mixed feelings about it at first. After all, the quality of my content was a source of pride to me, and the foundation of my business. It was a little scary to give up some control and put my trust in third parties. But every reward starts with some element of risk. This strategy seemed to be a viable way to cultivate as many client relationships as possible, while boosting productivity.

Over the years, I’ve worked with a handful of writers. I carefully hand-pick them to ensure optimal quality and precision of the finished product. I still do a large bulk of the client work myself, but during those periods when projects are coming in fast and furious — and the line between “writer” and “mommy” becomes blurred beyond recognition — I may leverage one or more writers to assist with initial drafts and research. All content is funneled through me for final review, editing, and any necessary rewriting before I submit it to the client for review.

For the projects where I’ve outsourced at least some of the content, the clients have reported that quality was not compromised. To the contrary, it’s often improved by the benefit of having multiple people’s eyes on the content. Plus, if a project calls for a specific type of knowledge or experience, I can tap a writer with that particular specialty. And if any revisions are required (which is rare), I personally handle them.

I’ve also found that working with other writers has made ME a better writer. I’ve honed my editing chops, learned to effective manage people and projects, and become a stronger communicator — all important traits for any successful freelance writer.

Ultimately, my freelance writing business is only as successful as my clients’ satisfaction levels. If they are receiving engaging, well-written, and fully researched content — along with my stamp of approval and quality guarantee — then I’ve done my job well. Just as a surgeon needs help prepping her patients before the main event, I believe there’s no shame in a busy copywriter enlisting some help in crafting an early draft.

Nothing trumps quality — regardless of who’s holding the pen.

How to Sell Without Selling

Sunday, December 14th, 2014

Used-Cars-trailer-still

It’s right there in the name: The purpose of SALES copy is to sell something to the reader. But, as you may have heard, today’s potential customers don’t want to be sold to. So how are you supposed to write sales copy that doesn’t sell…but still sells?

Fortunately, it’s not as confusing as it sounds. Here are some tips to help your copy stop selling to your customers, and start making sales.

Don’t be “salesy”…

Shouting from the rooftops about how amazingly mind-blowing your product or service is, and why people need to buy it right this second, simply doesn’t work. An overly salesy approach makes grand promises (you’ll make a million dollars overnight!), pushes a lot of hype (this product will literally change your life!), and stresses urgency and fast action (act now, or gremlins will eat your grandmother!).

Aside from the wording, another popular “salesy” technique is to use big, bold font, colored type, capitalized words or phrases, and far too many exclamation points. This simply makes you look like you’re on the other side of the screen, jumping up and down and shouting at your potential customers like a stereotypical used car salesman.

…but don’t leave out selling entirely

Under-selling can be just as damaging to your marketing efforts as over-selling. It’s a tough balance to strike, but don’t tone down your sales copy so much that you forget to actually sell.

For example, let’s say that it’s National Hand Washing Awareness Week (which is a real thing—it’s the first week of December), and your company sells handmade soap. So you decide to write a sales email for your mailing list. You spend a lot of time putting together an informative piece with current hand washing statistics and interesting information, you send it off to your list—but no one orders any soap, because you didn’t mention selling it.

Even when you’re avoiding the selling tactics that turn customers off, you need to include a call to action. It can be something as simple (and non-salesy) as a sentence at the end of your email: “In celebration of National Hand Washing Awareness Week, we’re offering 50% off our most popular handmade soap bundle. Click here to get your discount and enjoy clean, fresh-smelling hands.”

Focus on their needs—not yours

You need to sell a lot of homemade soap. But your customers aren’t interested in helping to increase your profit margins—they just want clean hands. The best non-selling approach to sales is to identify what your customers want or need, and appeal to those desires in your copy.

One great way to do this is to identify your Unique Selling Proposition (USP)—the aspect of your products or services that set you apart, the benefit you can deliver to your customers that no other company can. This USP should be tailored to your target audience. For example:

  • If you have frugal customers, point out that your handmade soap is the most affordable on the market and offer to beat any competitor’s price
  • If you have customers looking for luxury buys, emphasize the heavenly scents of your soap and the all-natural ingredients that leave skin softer
  • If you have hard-working customers, explain how the scientifically proven formula of your soap removes the toughest grime

Find out what your customers want, and use your sales copy to meet those desires in a logical way that’s easy to envision. They won’t feel sold to—they’ll simply want what you have, and be willing to pay for it.

Reasons to Write Your Business Book Now

Friday, October 31st, 2014

2401674702_8d2928ec1cMany professionals have enough expertise to write a book, and most are planning to do it…someday, when they have time. But why wait, when there are so many benefits of writing and publishing a business book?

If you’ve been looking for a reason to get started on your business book, here are ten of them:

1. Get quality leads without trying

A book is a powerful sales tool for your business. When you have a book published, you’re differentiated from the competition—and big name clients can find you. People who read your book are pre-sold on your business, making them more likely to hire you based on the reading.

2. Become a thought leader

When you have a business book out, you’re viewed as an industry expert or guru. In addition to your personal status boost, your entire company can be seen as a thought leader in your industry.

3. Have instant credentials

In any business, the experts bring in the best clients. When you’re the author of a business book, you have demonstrable expertise and extensive evidence to back up your claims—within your field, you “wrote the book.”

4. Generate unsolicited business

Having a book out can bring unexpected and positive results—such as when business leaders read your book, and then call you up to say how much they enjoyed it, and ask how much you charge. Suddenly, picking up clients becomes a lot easier.

5. Open more doors

Whoever you may be interested in talking to, whether it’s a fantastic prospective client, a powerful investor, or an industry expert who could help you further your business, the ability to send them a copy of your book can substantially increase your chances of arranging a meeting.

6. Close more deals

Service industries, consultancies, and other client-oriented business owners can take advantage of having authored a book during client negotiations. Your prospective clients are likely to ask why they should work with you—and you can answer by explaining that you wrote the book on your field of expertise. It gives you immediate credibility and helps close the sale.

7. Amplify your sales force

Although you will benefit directly from writing a business book, others in your company can also use your book as leverage. This is especially true for your sales team, who can hand out copies of the book to top clients and leads—which lets executives and VIPs view them as problem-solvers instead of money-grabbers.

8. Boost your client caliber

A business book can position you as an industry leader. When you’re viewed as the expert or the guru, you’ll find larger and more high profile businesses willing to work with you and benefit from your proven expertise.

9. Strengthen existing relationships

You can also use a business book to impress (and cross-sell to) your existing clients. There are many ways to do this, from offering a copy of the book as a bonus with the purchase of services, to sending out copies as gifts, to simply offering books for sale at client functions.

10. Make more money

Everyone wants to earn more and work less, and that’s what a business book helps you do. By positioning yourself as an in-demand expert with your business book, your clients will be willing to pay more—since they can clearly see the types of results you can achieve, spelled out in your book.

Business books are powerful tools for professionals in any industry. Have you started writing yours yet?

Have You Fallen For These Sales Email Myths?

Sunday, October 5th, 2014

email-iconEmail marketing is one of the oldest tools still used by online sales pros—and it remains one of the most effective. You can find plenty of advice out there about writing a great sales email, from broad how-to suggestions right down to the optimal number of characters in the subject line and the best times of day to send a campaign … but not all of that advice holds true.

Here are three myths about marketing emails that you can feel free to purge from your sales writing rules to engage your email subscribers.

Myth #1: The subject line must state your deal

The point of a sales email is to sell, so many marketing pros believe that the subject line should always be what you’re offering—a discount, a freebie, a great deal on whatever. But while this approach can work, it’s not always the best approach.

The only cardinal rule for a sales email is to engage your audience. This means your subject line—as well as the contents of your sales email—should appeal to what your audience wants. If you’re operating a list that subscribers joined specifically to get discounts and freebies, it makes sense to advertise the deal in the subject line.

But if you’re selling to people who are already familiar with your products or services, a better approach is to address a pain point in the subject line, and then answer it within the body of the email. The opening tease, such as “Want to…?” or “Wish you could…?”, can increase click-through rates more than percentages or prices.

Myth #2: Your call-to-action must link to your sales page

The call-to-action is the golden rule of email marketing. If your subscribers don’t know what they’re supposed to do, they won’t do it. Therefore, it’s widely repeated that you should link your call-to-action directly to your sales page—so all a reader has to do is click through and make a purchase.

But the truth is that most of your audience is tech-savvy, and customers no longer need (or want) to be led by the nose to a checkout page. They want to learn more about you’re offering, whether it’s through reading your sales email or clicking a link to an informational page on your website. Informational links give subscribers the option to either read your sales pitch or click straight through to learn more—which they’ll do if they’re interested and likely to buy.

Myth #3: Scannable means using bold text and bullet points

“Scannability” is an important concept to email marketers. After all, no one’s going to read the entire email—so you need to make your main points stand out with bolded phrases and exclamatory bullet points. They won’t pay attention to the rest of the text…or will they?

It’s true that the most effective sales emails are scannable, and that bold subheadings and bullet points are valuable. But there are a few other areas of your message that deserve some extra attention:

  • Your opening: The first sentence, and even the first word, of your sales email should instantly engage your audience. Start with the strongest possible verb—for example, instead of leading with “Have you ever wanted to…?”, cut straight to the chase: “Want to…?”.
  • Your left margin: When reading in English, the eye is drawn to the left. Scannability is about short paragraphs and bullet points, but the important point is to begin each line with an attention-grabber, not simply to break up the text. Start each of those short paragraphs with a strong phrase, and you’ll see better results.
  • Beginnings and endings: People who are reading fast tend to skip the middle. This makes the end of your paragraphs and bullet points just as important as the beginning, so close out your statements with strong wording choices.

What sales email myths can you remove from your email marketing strategies?

Why the World is Tuning Out – and How You Can Get Them to Pay Attention

Wednesday, October 1st, 2014

megaphoneThe digital age may seem to be in full swing, but the Internet revolution shows no signs of slowing down. What was once a flood of content is now a constant deluge, and people are increasingly tuning out to avoid the bombardment.

Just how much content does the average user take in, and how does it affect customer behavior? According to recent statistics from KISSmetrics:

  • There are 1.2 zettabytes of information online (a zettabyte is one billion terabytes; a terabyte is 1,000 gigabytes). By 2020, there will by 35 zettabytes.
  • There are 5 billion mobile subscribers, with an estimated 50 billion by 2020.
  • There will be more data generated in the next 4 years than in the history of the world.
  • People see more than 34 billion bits of digital information every day—the equivalent of two books online.
  • People spend less than 6 minutes a day shopping—an amount of time that hasn’t changed in four decades—and less than 3 percent of waking hours actually buying.

Considering the sheer amount of exposure generated by this information explosion, it’s no wonder people are tuning out. Machines can transfer data at a rate of 2 million bits per second, but the human absorption rate is only 126 bits per second. For online marketers, the problem becomes: How do you get people to take in your information over all the other content that’s available?

Here are some tips on getting attention in an impossibly crowded online world.

1. Build a quality mailing list

Email marketing may be one of the oldest online strategies, but it’s still one of the most powerful and effective. With a high quality, permission-based email subscription list, you gain access to an established customer base that is already interested in what you have to say. Rather than trying to get your content noticed, you’ll attract people who are waiting for your content to arrive.

2. Publish only good content

This seems like a given, but many marketers still subscribe to the idea of quantity over quality. They may post the occasional piece of high quality, well-written or well-produced content, and then use not-so-great filler just to “keep the search engines happy” or ensure there’s something new to read. Or they may farm content out to the lowest bidder—and get exactly what they pay for.

The problem here is that if your visitors or social media followers keep getting poor quality or useless content, they’ll tune out fast.

Engaging, quality content is far more important, especially when there is so much competition. It’s a much more effective strategy to focus on producing one high quality piece of content per week, or investing in a skilled freelance copywriter to provide you with great content that will keep your audience coming back.

3. Write to your audience

There is a tendency among online marketers to go for broader appeal, whether that is writing on irrelevant yet interesting topics, or making weak (or even ridiculous) connections to trends or current events. This may get eyeballs on your content, but the majority of those viewers won’t translate into qualified leads who want to buy what you’re offering.

Rather than increasing page views, focus on increasing the appeal for your target audience. You need to have a strong understanding of your market demographics, and to know things like where they spend time online, what topics are important to them, and what kinds of problems your products or services can help them solve. Publishing targeted, relevant content is more effective than jumping on bandwagons.

4. Make it easy to share

Once you have a built-in audience that looks forward to reading your relevant, high quality content, you can enlist them in helping to spread the word. Online consumers place exponentially more trust in peer reviews and recommendations than marketing material—so the more customers you can get to generate positive conversation about your business online, the more people you’ll reach.

Make it easy for them by posting social share buttons (including email sharing links) with every piece of content you publish—whether it’s to your social networks, as a guest writer or blogger, or on your own blog posts and foundational web content.

You don’t need millions of followers and page views to get attention in today’s crowded online marketplace. With a targeted approach and a focus on what matters to your audience, you can gain higher quality views that lead to more sales.

5 Things Successful Bloggers Do (That You Should Too)

Tuesday, September 9th, 2014

blogIf you’re actively running a blog, whether it’s to promote your business or support your personal passion, chances are you want it to be successful. You want a high search engine ranking, a loyal readership, and some return on your investment—whether that’s increased visibility and profits for your business, or a revenue stream that buys you more than a cup of coffee every month.

While there is no “secret” to being a successful blogger, there are common habits shared by every blogger who’s living the dream. If you emulate these habits, you’re likely to find yourself with a growing blog that’s on track to reach your definition of success.

1. Successful bloggers love what they do

The idea that being passionate about your particular subject fuels success is such a cliché that many people have stopped considering it. Passion is supposed to be a given—of course you’re passionate about your business (or you wouldn’t have started it) or animal shelters, or vinyl records, or nanotechnology (or you wouldn’t be blogging about it). But do your readers know how passionate you are?

For successful bloggers, that passion shines through in every post, on every social media account, and with every guest blog or article. Your core readers will share your passions and love coming back, again and again, to find out what else you have to say.

2. Successful bloggers blog a lot

Once again, this “secret” should be obvious—but many bloggers don’t realize just how important it is to be prolific. The first benefit to writing a lot of blog posts is that the act of writing makes you better at it. The more you write, the more your craft will improve, and the higher quality of your writing draws in more readers.

Another advantage of prolific bloggers is on the search engine front. The more content you have, the more frequently your blog is indexed by search engines—and a continual supply of fresh content also gives more algorithm weight to your posts. Every time you post something new, search engines consider it more important. It’s a cumulative effect.

Finally, regular blogging—whether your schedule is daily, Monday through Friday, or just one or two posts per week—tells your readers that they can expect new content at certain times. This makes them more likely to come back and find out what’s new with you.

3. Successful bloggers are concise

With this habit, keep in mind that “concise” doesn’t necessarily mean “short.” You don’t have to restrict your blog post length to tweet-sized comments in order to be successful—in fact, long-form content can boost your search engine rankings and conversions (or subscription rates).

So, what is concise? It means making every word count, leading with a killer intro, and arranging content in an easily digestible format.

Successful bloggers mix long-form and short-form content, and break up longer content with short paragraphs, intriguing subheads, and bullets or numbered lists. Concise content delivers what readers are looking for without the fluff, in a way that keeps even 1,000-word blog posts engaging and fast-moving.

4. Successful bloggers stick to the plan

Blogs that are scattered, random musings on whatever the author happened to be contemplating that day rarely succeed—unless it’s the blog of a celebrity or notable industry guru, who can get away with saying anything because people will hang on their every word. For the rest of us, the path to success involves choosing a topic and sticking to it.

The best bloggers will relate everything to their core topic, even if it seems to be about something completely unrelated at first. What’s more, successful bloggers have a long-term plan, and they don’t let minor details get in the way of the big picture.

5. Successful bloggers are always learning

The biggest reason there are no secrets to blogging success is that things are always changing. There are always new rules, new formats and platforms, changing audience tastes, new SEO strategies, and myriad factors that grow and evolve along the digital frontier.

Successful bloggers love to learn and try out new things. It keeps things fresh for their audience, and interesting and challenging for them. They’re always on the lookout for the next big thing—and they’re willing to evolve with the times.

So if you’re passionate, willing to work, and ready to plan for now and the future, you can be a successful blogger. What habits have you found most effective for growing your blog?

Why You Don’t Necessarily Need to Hire an Industry Expert as a Writer

Wednesday, September 3rd, 2014

gandhi_writing_1942In an increasingly crowded online environment, content marketing is the most effective (and trendy) way to draw attention to your business. Of course, you want to maintain credibility and deliver rock-solid content through the articles and blog posts you publish to various channels—but you don’t have time to write them yourself. So you should hire experts to provide the content, right?

The truth is, working with experts in your industry is not always the best means of getting great content. You’ll often fare better hiring a well-rounded freelance writer with great research skills, who can become an impromptu expert in your field and deliver accurate, engaging content your audience wants to read.

Writers do it more

The main reason to opt for a skilled freelance writer over an industry expert is the quality of the writing. Experts certainly have in-depth knowledge and a nuanced understanding of what you do in your business—but not all of them can articulate their expertise in writing. Some very smart people are actually terrible writers, simply because they don’t write regularly.

Freelance copywriters, on the other hand, live and breathe writing. They understand the craft, the process of engaging readers, and the strategies that help you increase traffic and boost search engine rankings—such as how to incorporate SEO keywords naturally into the flow of a piece. Readers won’t realize they’re seeing strategically placed keywords, and search engines weight content with natural keyword placement higher than blatant keyword stuffing.

Writers don’t need credit

Often, the “cost” of hiring an expert includes attributing your content to the expert, along with a bio and back links to their personal or business website. While this can give you a slight boost in name power, it doesn’t help to establish you personally as an expert in your field.

When you hire an experienced freelancer, he or she typically works as a ghost writer. You’ll receive high quality, well-written content, and you become the owner of that content. You can add your own name, bio, and website link, and benefit from increased visibility, recognition, and traffic.

Writers are fast learners

Experts might know every last detail about an industry or subject, and they can be excellent resources if they’re willing to share that knowledge. However, if an expert doesn’t already know how to write, you can’t teach them.

Writing is a unique skill in that the underlying craft can be applied to virtually any subject matter. Regardless of topic, the same techniques can be used to achieve great results. Strong writers can research your industry or topic and get a handle on the subject matter, so they can produce credible, relevant web content or blog articles.

Do you have experience working with experts or freelance writers for content marketing? Share them in the comments!

Spring Cleaning for Your Social Media Presence

Wednesday, April 9th, 2014

Spring cleaning isn’t just for your house, home office, or business location. Whether you’re a freelance writer in Cincinnati or a bicycle shop owner in Poughkeepsie, your small business can benefit from a good spring cleaning of your social media presence. It shouldn’t take much time — and when you’re done, you’ll have bright, shiny social media profiles that are ready to work for your business, make an unforgettable first impression for your brand, and keep you connected with your audience.

So set aside a dedicated day, or an hour a day for about a week, and implement these spring cleaning tips for your social media.

Delete social channels you don’t use (or need)

There is a prevailing idea that when it comes to social media marketing, the more channels, the merrier. Combine this with constant introduction of “the next big thing” in social media, and many small businesses end up signing on to every social channel available in an attempt to increase their potential audience.

The problem is, it’s impossible to keep that many social profiles active and up to date, especially for a small business. You often end up with a trail of half-finished, rarely used pages across the Internet that reflect poorly on your business.

With social media, the most effective marketing plan is to concentrate on the few networks that bring the best results, and to delete the rest. Focusing your efforts on select social channels will give you a stronger brand, and a higher ROI, than diluting your business with multiple, weaker social outlets.

Freshen up your profiles

It’s easy to think that once you create a business profile or “about” page, you’re done with it for good. But your business is always evolving—and social media is evolving even faster. When’s the last time you updated your social profiles?

Now is a great time to review each of your profiles, and make sure they accurately reflect your business as it is today. Look at your business descriptions from a customer’s point of view—do they accurately convey who you are and what you do? Can customers tell from your profiles what kind of value they’ll get when they engage with you on social media?

You should also review your visual assets on social profiles, and consider updating aspects like header and cover images to give your pages a fresh, new look.

Check your links and content information

Just like business profiles, links are not necessarily a set-it-and-forget-it task. The Internet is in a constant state of change, and if something you’ve linked to has vanished, you might have dead links lying around that can annoy your customers and negatively impact your business image.

Take some time to check your website, email signature, and cross-promotional social media links. Prune out links to any social channels you’ve deleted, and replace dead links with correct, working ones. Finally, make sure you double-check your contact information and mail-to links on all your social media pages, especially if your business has moved or you’ve changed email addresses.

Spring cleaning your social media channels is a great way to keep your small business brand fresh and effective online. How will you spruce up your social media for spring?