Blog Visitors – Just HOW Engaged Are Your Top 10%?

Blog Visitors - Just HOW Engaged Are Your Top 10%?

Pt 2 of ‘Blog Statistics – A Guide for Small Business Owners’. Lynn Serafinn shows how statistics can shed light on whether our readers like our blog content.

In Part 1 of this 2-part series on blog statistics, we looked at a few of the most fundamental types of statistics that can help you understand more about your blog, your content and your readers. If you missed Part 1, you can read it by clicking here.

In that article, we defined ‘visits’ (or ‘visitors’) vs. ‘unique visitors’, and took a look at page views and bounce rate. We discussed how it is not uncommon for the majority of your visits to be ‘bounces’, i.e. visits that resulted in only one page view before the visitor clicked away. Finally, we performed a few calculations and came to the conclusion that only 10-20% of your reading audience are likely to be engaged with your online content.

An ‘engaged’ reader is someone whose behaviour demonstrates a genuine interest in what they find on your blog. While there is no way to peer into people’s minds, what we can do is measure the amount of time people spend on our site and how many pages they read while they are there. Thus, in Part 2, we’ll be looking at the parameter ‘Time Spent on Site’ to see how the information it give us, in combination with the other statistics we’ve already explored, can provide us with a much more accurate picture of the success and breadth of our blog marketing efforts.

As in Part 1, the ideas in Part 2 are taken from a much more detailed discussion you’ll find in Chapter 16 of my book The Social Entrepreneur’s Guide to Successful Blogging (coming January 2016).

Time Spent on Site

As the term implies, this parameter measures the average time your readers spend on your website. This statistic can be one of the most informative, if not occasionally disconcerting! Why? Because studies have shown that, in this information-saturated world, people don’t tend to spend a particularly long time on a website – ever. Somewhat depressingly, one study looked at 2 billion visits across the web over the course of a month and found 55% of visitors spent fewer than 15 seconds on a page.1, 2, 3

If that makes you want to throw in the towel, it might be a consolation to know that this study mainly examined news sites, rather than content-driven blogs like yours. The point made, however, is valid:

Human beings tend to make snap judgements.

This truism does not merely apply to web browsing, but to our behaviour in general. In fact, author Malcolm Gladwell wrote an entire book, entitled Blink, on this very topic. While we might like to tell ourselves we are considerate and thoughtful entities, all human beings evaluate what is happening around them within seconds (or micro-seconds) of its occurrence. It doesn’t mean they won’t rethink their evaluation later; that’s where being ‘considerate and thoughtful’ enters the picture. But long before we reach that thoughtful stage, we’ve already made many measurements and judgements. This doesn’t mean humans are inevitably prone to bigotry, prejudice and close-mindedness; to the contrary, it means we are adaptable. The ability to make snap judgments has been vital to our survival as a species.

This is why I have always stressed the importance of having an effective blog title and including a ‘teaser’, summarising the article, at the beginning of every blog post. These two elements help your readers make a more accurate snap judgement. Without these elements, people might dismiss (and click away from) your article within those crucial first few seconds, solely on the basis that they cannot evaluate it. Rather than complain about this human tendency to judge, we have to learn how to work with it and make it easier for our readers to come to their own conclusions.

Different analytic tools will provide different levels of detail regarding the amount of time your readers have spent on your site. For example:

  • Alexa and Google Analytics give you only the average visit duration of all your visitors.
  • Piwik gives you the average visit duration, as well as the total time your visitors have spent on your site.
  • AWSTATS gives you the average visit duration time plus a detailed breakdown of how much time your visitors spent on your site. I have found this to be a fantastic resource that can provide you with a much better picture of how engaged your readers actually are.

Here is an example of an AWSTATS ‘visits duration’ table for this site back in 2014:

Number of visits: 476,576 – Average: 707 s Number of visits Percent
0s-30s 328,537 68.90%
30s-2mn 10,690 2.20%
2mn-5mn 8,864 1.80%
5mn-15mn 16,367 3.40%
15mn-30mn 20,360 4.20%
30mn-1h 42,112 8.80%
1h+ 49,517 10.30%
Unknown 129 0%

The ‘bounce rate’ for the site during this period was about 70%. That is consistent with the information we see in the first two rows, and possibly a portion of the third row. Things start to turn around in rows 4-7, as people who stay on the site for more than 5 minutes are likely to have viewed more than one page.

While the ‘bounce’ figures might seem really high, take a look at the people who stayed on the site for 30 minutes to an hour or more. You can safely assume that 20-25% of the visitors to this site do read the content. Not only do they read it, but they really read it. Clearly, these people are actively engaged.

The Shape of Our Stats

What I find so fascinating about these statistics is that they form an inverted curve:

Chart - Time Visitors Spent on Site

While perhaps not a true bell curve, it’s a curve nonetheless, with a dip after a sharp decline, and then a significant rise at the end. What is interesting is to see how the largest percentage of visitors are those whose opinion of the site is clearly obvious:

  • 70% are definitely disinterested (leaving the site within 30 seconds)
  • 25% are definitely interested (staying on the site for 15 minutes or longer)
  • Only about 5% could be classified as ambiguous or undecided, (staying on the site between 2 and 15 minutes)

To me, this demonstrates something I would call the ‘Marmite Factor’: most people either LOVE or HATE the site when they come to it.

Let’s look at these figures another way. If we ignore the 70% who are definitely disinterested – who are either spammers or people who are clearly disinterested and unlikely to return another day – and subtract them from our monthly total, we are left with a total of 137,349 visits. Of those 137,349 visits, 111,989 of them (about 82%) are comprised of people who stayed on the site for 15 minutes to over an hour. This shows that an overwhelming majority of people who actually READ our content are very engaged. In fact, among those engaged people, the LARGEST percentage of spent over an hour on the site.

In my eyes, if you’re a small business owner, WHO CARES if you have a 70% bounce rate when nearly 50,000 of your readers spend over an hour per visit to your site, and over 100,000 stay more than 15 minutes (and obviously read multiple articles while they are there)? The important thing is to maintain this level of high engagement, while steadily increasing your overall traffic.

Always remember:

Statistics aren’t just about quantity.
Their ultimate purpose is to help us understand the quality of your audience’s experience.

The Bigger Picture

I say this many times in Chapter 16 of The Social Entrepreneur’s Guide to Successful Blogging: to understand your statistics in context, you have to watch how they change over time. Look for improvements in how they work together. For example, since these stats were taken, the bounce rate on our site has decreased by 4% and the average time on the site has increased to 2.33 minutes. Even if the quantity of visitors had not increased (which it did), it shows a significant improvement in the quality of audience engagement. Better engagement is a sign that we are reaching the right audience with the right content.

I hope these two articles have given you a new perspective on the value of statistics when it comes to blogging success. If you liked them, I invite you to register for a reminder for when The Social Entrepreneur’s Guide to Successful Blogging comes out in January 2016. When you do so, you’ll also get instant access to a free 5-page blog article template, with many tips to help you structure your blog articles so they become effective marketing pieces without actually marketing.

As always, I value your comments and questions about this article below, and invite you to drop me a line via the contact form on this site if you’re interested in working with us on any aspect of online marketing for your ethical business.

Warm wishes,
Lynn Serafinn
2 October 2015

References

  1. Haile, Tony. 2014. ‘What You Think You Know About the Web Is Wrong’. Accessed 22 September 2015 from http://time.com/12933/what-you-think-you-know-about-the-web-is-wrong/
  2. Soskey, Ginny. 2014. ‘55% of Visitors Spend Fewer Than 15 Seconds on Your Website. Should You Care?’ Accessed 22 September 2015 from http://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/chartbeat-website-engagement-data-nj
  3. Haden, Jeff. 2014. ‘2 Web Metrics You Should Be Watching All the Time. What’s more important: average session length or repeat visitor ratio?’ Accessed 22 September 2015 from http://www.inc.com/jeff-haden/web-metrics-average-session-length-vs-repeat-visitor-ratio.html

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Find out more about how changing the paradigm can help make the world a better place:

The 7 Graces of Marketing BOOK COVER The 7 Graces of Marketing: how to heal humanity and the planet by changing the way we sellby Lynn Serafinn, where you can learn how the 7 Deadly Sins and the 7 Graces impact the world through media and marketing. Brit Writers Awards Finalist eLit Book Awards Silver Medal in Humanitarian & Ecological Social Issues

 

Tweep-e-licious: 158 Twitter Tips & Strategies for Writers, Social Entrepreneurs & Changemakers Who Want to Market Their Business Ethically by Lynn Serafinn, which can help you learn how to create meaningful collaborations through Twitter and other social media. eLit Book Awards Bronze Medal in Business and Sales.

Get instant access to a free 90-minute Twitter marketing class at http://tweepelicious.com

The Social Entrepreneur's Guide to Successful BloggingComing Jan 2016

The Social Entrepreneur’s Guide to Successful Blogging: An Effective, Creative & Ethical Way of Marketing for Visionaries & New Paradigm Business Leaders. To receive an update when that book is available, just click here. As a thank-you gift for showing your interest, you’ll get instant access to an exclusive, free 5-page PDF revealing the exact same blogging template we use with our clients and we teach to participants on the ethical marketing training courses at the 7 Graces Project.


Lynn Serafinn, MAED, CPCCLYNN SERAFINN, MAED, CPCC is a certified, award-winning coach, teacher, marketing strategist, social media expert, speaker and author of the number one bestseller The 7 Graces of Marketing — How to Heal Humanity and the Planet by Changing the Way We Sell and Tweep-e-licious! 158 Twitter Tips & Strategies for Writers, Social Entrepreneurs & Changemakers Who Want to Market their Business Ethically. She is listed in the Top 20 of the Top Marketing Authors on Twitter by Social Media Magazine and was a finalist for the prestigious Brit Writers Awards. She also received the eLit Book Awards Silver Medal in Humanitarian and Ecological Social Affairs, as well as the Bronze Medal in Business and Sales. Lynn’s eclectic approach to marketing incorporates her vast professional experience in the music industry and the educational sector along with more than two decades of study and practice of the spirituality of India. Her innovative marketing campaigns have produced a long list of bestselling non-fiction authors through her company Spirit Authors.

Lynn is also the Founder of the 7 Graces Project, an independent marketing consultancy created to support, mentor and inspire independent business owners to market their businesses ethically, serve society and planet, and restore all that is best about humanity.

7 Graces Project CIC7 Graces on Twitter: http://twitter.com/7GracesMarketng

Lynn on Twitter: http://twitter.com/LynnSerafinn

7 Graces Group on Facebook: http://facebook.com/groups/7GracesGlobalGarden

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Blog Statistics – A Guide for Small Business Owners (Part 1)

Blog Statistics – A Guide for Small Business Owners (Part 1)
Lynn Serafinn explains how a deep analysis of your visitors, page views and bounce rate can help you understand the effectiveness of your blog marketing.

One of the business and marketing services we offer our clients is blogging support. As part of that service, we review their blog statistics every six weeks, to get a better idea of how well our marketing efforts are working. While just the WORD statistics can make many business owners’ eyes glaze over, I find them fascinating. I like to look at them from different angles, and try to understand the underlying picture they are painting.

For statistics to be genuinely useful business tools, they cannot be examined solely on a quantitative level. You have to know how to get the ‘juice’ out of them, and how to turn numbers into qualitative information that speaks about how your audience is engaging with your brand. So, in the next two articles, I’ll be taking you on a whistle-stop tour of some of the basic statistics for your blog, and what they can tell you.

The ideas I’ll be sharing are taken from ‘Chapter 16: Pay Attention to Stats’ of my upcoming book The Social Entrepreneur’s Guide to Successful Blogging, which I am aiming to launch in January 2016 (you can get a sneak peek of it if you click the link). While abridged from what I share in the book, these two articles will hopefully provide some useful tips and insights.

Analytic Tools

To monitor and review your blog statistics, you have to start by choosing the right analytic tools. While I talk about these in the book, for the purpose of these articles, I don’t want to launch into a comparison of the various tools available. Rather, for those of you who do not have one in place, below are three free analytic tools that can perform the functions we’ll be examining. Of course, there are many others from which to choose.

Visits (or Visitors)

Depending on which analytic tool you use, this parameter is called either ‘visits’ or ‘visitors’. This refers to the number of times people have come to your website (per day, month or year), regardless of how many unique/individual people it represents. For example, if one person comes to your site four times over the course of a month, it counts as four visits. Simply landing on your website qualifies as a ‘visit’, regardless of how much time they spent on it.

For this figure to have any meaning, it has to be evaluated in conjunction with the next four parameters – unique visitors, page views, bounce rate and average time on site.

Unique Visitors

The ‘unique visitors’ parameter is the number of individual people who visit your site during the selected time period. Well, technically, it is the number of IP addresses (individual computers or mobile devices) that have accessed your site. ‘Unique visitors’ differs from ‘visits’ because one person/computer might log into your website multiple times on the same day/month. Conversely, one person might log into the same website from multiple computers or mobile devices. Here are two examples demonstrating how these two possibilities might show up in a site’s statistics:

  • A public computer at a cybercafé counts as one IP address. If 100 people a month view The New York Times online every day for a month on the same public computer, it would count as one unique visitor, but 3,000 monthly visits.
  • Let’s say you regularly read a specific blog once every week, sometimes on your home PC and sometimes on your mobile phone. On that site’s stats, it would show up as two unique visitors, but four monthly visits.

Page Views

As the term implies, pages views represents the number of pages people opened during a selected time period (per day, month or year). Notice that I said ‘opened’, not ‘read’. Just because someone clicked on a link does not mean they actually read the content. (We’ll come back to this very important point in Part 2 of this article series.)

The ratio between page views, visits and unique visitors can tell us a lot about how our readers are consuming our content. For example, if your stats reveal you have had 1,000 unique visitors, 4,000 visits and 8,000 page views over the past month, it would tell you that – on average – each of your readers comes to your site four times a month, and reads two articles every time they are there. Of course, averages never tell the actual story. What is more likely true is that about 70% of your 1,000 unique visitors viewed your site for less than a minute and then clicked away without returning, and a small percentage (10% or less) consumed several articles in one sitting, or perhaps bookmarked an article to reread it later that month.

The only way to get a clearer picture of what might actually be happening is to look at this ratio in the context of two more parameters – bounce rate and time spent on site.

Bounce Rate

Years ago when I first heard the term ‘bounce rate’, it scared me. I thought it meant something was wrong with my site, causing people to receive an error page. Fortunately, ‘bounce rate’ doesn’t mean your site is broken; but a consistently high bounce rate is still not something you want to see in your stats.

‘Bounce rate’ refers to the percentage of your blog visits in which only a single page was viewed. In other words, if someone comes to your site, looks at one page and then leaves without checking out anything else on your site, that’s called a ‘bounce’.

Analysts frequently make a big deal about bounce rate, saying that a high bounce rate is always a sign that visitors are not interested in your content. But, again, without context a bounce in and of itself doesn’t tell us much. Here are a few different scenarios, ALL of which would show up as a ‘bounce’:

  • A visitor landed on your site, took one look at it and clicked away without bothering to read your article.
  • A new visitor read one of your articles from beginning to end. They didn’t feel the need to read anything else during that visit, but they liked the article so much they ended up subscribing to your blog so they could get future updates.
  • One of your regular blog visitors came to read your latest article. They didn’t read anything else because they’ve already read it all!
  • A new or returning visitor checked out one of your blog posts. They were on their way to work and didn’t have time to read it, so they bookmarked it to come back to later.

As you can see, not all ‘bounces’ are created equal. In my opinion, only the first of these examples is an actual ‘bounce’. While, as a rule of thumb, you want to see your bounce rate go DOWN over time, you cannot really evaluate the impact of this figure without considering the other statistics, including ‘average time spent on site’, which we’ll look at in the next article.

SOMETHING TO BEAR IN MIND: There is another possible cause for pages to ‘bounce’ – comment spammers. Most comment spammers use robots that simply land on your site, leave a spam comment and leave. While that might be a relief to know, you should also bear in mind that comment spammers are probably also responsible for a certain percentage of your other statistics, e.g. unique visitors, visits and page views. While many analytic tools are able to tell the different between a legitimate viewer and a robot, your stats may include visits from these insidious invaders.

A Few Calculations

All of these statistics must be looked at collectively to get a feel for their possible meaning. For example, let’s say your stats for last month looked like this:

  • Unique visitors = 5,000
  • Visits = 10,000
  • Page views = 20,000
  • Bounce rate = 75%

Now let’s see how these stats work together to form a clearer picture of what’s going on:

  • How many times did our visitors come to our site last month? Statistically, we can see that on average, each of our unique visitors visits our site twice a month (10,000 divided by 5,000) and views a total of four pages per month (20,000 page views divided by 5,000). Most analytic tools will calculate this figure for you. However, it doesn’t tell the whole story.
  • How many times did our visitors REALLY come to our site last month? Going deeper requires looking at the bounce rate. A bounce rate of 75% means that only 25% of our 10,000 visits resulted in more than one page been accessed. 25% of 10,000 is 2,500. Thus 2,500 visits resulted in more than one page view.
  • How much content did our visitors REALLY look at when they came to our site? To get a better idea of what that means, we could then subtract all the visits that contained only ONE page view (7,500) from the total page views (20,000), giving us a remainder of 12,500. That figure represents the number of pages accessed on those 2,500 visits where more than one page was accessed. If we then divide 12,500 by 2,500, we can estimate that an average of five pages were accessed on each of these visits.
  • How many people does this REALLY represent? The answer to that question is more difficult to pin down. As we said earlier, due to fact that people access our webpages from so many different points of origin these days, the ‘unique visitors’ figure probably does not give us an accurate picture of how many people are actually viewing our site. But if we were to ignore those inevitable discrepancies and take them at face value, I would be inclined to subtract the 75% bounce rate from the unique visitor total, leaving us with a figure of 1,250 unique visitors who viewed more than one page that month.

Putting all that together, we might estimate that about 1,250 individual visitors each came to our site on two separate occasions last month, during which time they accessed a total of about ten pages.

In real life, however, it is far more likely that a small percentage of these 1,250 individuals were significantly more engaged than the others. And as we said, many of those ‘unique’ individuals are likely to be the same person, accessing your site from different locations. Thus, your 5,000 unique visitors might actually boil down to about 500 – 1000 (5% – 10%) actively engaged readers.

Admittedly, I am being intentionally conservative with those figures. Many modern marketers talk about an ’80/20 principle’, meaning that the top 20% of your audience are the most likely to be the most engaged.

So that leads us to the next logical question:

Just HOW engaged are our visitors in that top 10% to 20%?

To answer that question, we’d need to look at another set of statistics, measuring the amount of time our readers spend on our site.

That’s what we’ll be looking at in Part 2 of this short guide to blog statistics. I think you’ll be fascinated by what the actual numbers reveal. I know I was…but I confess I’m geeky that way.

If you’re not already subscribed to this blog, I invite you to do so, so you will be sure to receive Part 2 via email when it comes out in a few days’ time. I promise it will give you a real feeling for that ‘juiciness’ of your blog stats, which I mentioned at the top of this article.

And, hey, you just might learn to love statistics.

Update 6 October 2015: Here’s the link to Part 2: “Blog Visitors – Just HOW Engaged Are Your Top 10%?”

Warm wishes,
Lynn Serafinn
24 September 2015

P.S.: If you’re thinking you’d like to get some help in creating a blogging strategy that can help grow your socially-conscious, independent business, have a look at our Platform Building package and other services on our ‘Work With Us’ page. Then, drop us a line via the CONTACT form on this site to request a free 30-minute Skype consultation.

Like this blog?

Then please subscribe using the form at the upper right side of this page, so you can receive our articles to your inbox.

OR… US and UK readers can get this blog delivered DIRECTLY to your tablet, smartphone or Kindle device for $0.99 a month. Take a 14-day free trial at:

Amazon US: http://amzn.to/1LWU95X
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Looking for a Tribe?

Come join our 7 Graces group on Facebook.  This is NOT a “business group” but an active community where people actually know and support each other.

Find out more about how changing the paradigm can help make the world a better place:

The 7 Graces of Marketing BOOK COVER The 7 Graces of Marketing: how to heal humanity and the planet by changing the way we sellby Lynn Serafinn, where you can learn how the 7 Deadly Sins and the 7 Graces impact the world through media and marketing. Brit Writers Awards Finalist eLit Book Awards Silver Medal in Humanitarian & Ecological Social Issues

 

Tweep-e-licious: 158 Twitter Tips & Strategies for Writers, Social Entrepreneurs & Changemakers Who Want to Market Their Business Ethically by Lynn Serafinn, which can help you learn how to create meaningful collaborations through Twitter and other social media. eLit Book Awards Bronze Medal in Business and Sales.

Get instant access to a free 90-minute Twitter marketing class at http://tweepelicious.com

The Social Entrepreneur's Guide to Successful BloggingComing Jan 2016

The Social Entrepreneur’s Guide to Successful Blogging: An Effective, Creative & Ethical Way of Marketing for Visionaries & New Paradigm Business Leaders. To receive an update when that book is available, just click here. As a thank-you gift for showing your interest, you’ll get instant access to an exclusive, free 5-page PDF revealing the exact same blogging template we use with our clients and we teach to participants on the ethical marketing training courses at the 7 Graces Project.


Lynn Serafinn, MAED, CPCCLYNN SERAFINN, MAED, CPCC is a certified, award-winning coach, teacher, marketing strategist, social media expert, speaker and author of the number one bestseller The 7 Graces of Marketing — How to Heal Humanity and the Planet by Changing the Way We Sell and Tweep-e-licious! 158 Twitter Tips & Strategies for Writers, Social Entrepreneurs & Changemakers Who Want to Market their Business Ethically. She is listed in the Top 20 of the Top Marketing Authors on Twitter by Social Media Magazine and was a finalist for the prestigious Brit Writers Awards. She also received the eLit Book Awards Silver Medal in Humanitarian and Ecological Social Affairs, as well as the Bronze Medal in Business and Sales. Lynn’s eclectic approach to marketing incorporates her vast professional experience in the music industry and the educational sector along with more than two decades of study and practice of the spirituality of India. Her innovative marketing campaigns have produced a long list of bestselling non-fiction authors through her company Spirit Authors.

Lynn is also the Founder of the 7 Graces Project, an independent marketing consultancy created to support, mentor and inspire independent business owners to market their businesses ethically, serve society and planet, and restore all that is best about humanity.

7 Graces Project CIC7 Graces on Twitter: http://twitter.com/7GracesMarketng

Lynn on Twitter: http://twitter.com/LynnSerafinn

7 Graces Group on Facebook: http://facebook.com/groups/7GracesGlobalGarden

Posted in 7 Key Relationships, Blog, Blogging, Business Tips, Lynn Serafinn, Marketing Tips, Platform Building Programme, Relationship with Audience, Relationship with Our Audience, Tech Tips | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

10 Ways Technology Can Create and Grow Better Relationships

10 Ways Technology Grows Relationships
Lynn Serafinn looks at how modern technologies have helped businesses grow, reconnected families and enabled many to express themselves who otherwise could not.

This week I read an interesting article by blogger Bryan Kramer entitled ‘How Technology Affects Human Relationships’.1 Kramer’s main point was that ‘it’s great that we have the technology to connect with people across the globe instantly, but there’s also a sense of disconnection’. He went on to cite many ways in which technology often fails us in our relationships. Among other things, he talks about how difficult it is to bring tone of voice into our online communications, and how technology can lead to ‘cocooning’, which can develop into social isolation where we don’t actually make an effort to meet with people face-to-face or speak with them in ‘real time’ (such as over the phone or Skype). Kramer’s concluding thoughts were: ‘I guess the best approach is to make yourself available through technology only when appropriate, so that it supplements our relationships rather than replacing them.’

For the most part, I agree with Kramer’s points. I confess that I am prone to being a real ‘cocooner’, and his point about how people can misinterpret ‘tone’ in online communication is spot on. However, as someone who grew up around technology and who has used it to express herself (and help others do the same) since the late 1980s, I see things a little differently. I believe, like any other human innovation, communication technology is what you make of it. In other words, it has as much potential to CREATE and/or RECONNECT relationships as it does to destroy or disconnection them.

Here are some of my own thoughts on the subject. I’d really love to hear some of your own, so please DO add to the discussion in the comments thread at the bottom of the page.

Ways I Have Seen Technology Help Connect People

ANGLE 1: Many of my relationships with both colleagues and closest friends started out – either directly or indirectly – through my blog, Twitter or Facebook. We started our communications online, and then gradually moved them to a real-time environment (e.g. speaking on Skype or the phone). Eventually, if we lived close enough to each other, we arranged to meet in person for coffee or lunch. Over time, we became friends and now we just like to hang out.

ANGLE 2: Since the ‘economic downturn’ of the mid 2000s, more and more people have turned to self-employment as a means of supporting themselves. Many of those businesses are operated from their own homes, often with an online presence. These factors can create a ‘cocoon-like’ existence. Going to work is not like a day at the office. For me, if not for technology, I probably wouldn’t communicate with anyone during the day (nor would I have the business that is keeping me alive!).

ANGLE 3: I was born in America but now live in England. Social media and Skype have increased the frequency with which I communicate with friends and family back in the US. They have also helped me find and reconnect with dozens of people with whom I grew up but had lost touch.

ANGLE 4: I am the daughter of an immigrant father and a 1st generation American mother. For decades since my parents died I have felt a massive gap in the fact that I had no knowledge of, or family connections to, my ancestral home. A plethora of technological resources have not only enabled me to trace my ancestry, but also to FIND, meet and build deep, meaningful relationships with my long-lost cousins, both in Europe and in the United States. I cannot tell you how much that has done for me. My life would be empty without this. (As a side note: a former client of mine was recently reconnected with her long-lost father within 48 hours of posting her search on social media).

ANGLE 5: Technology has also enabled me to GIVE something to my extended family. Using Facebook, Ancestry and YouTube, I can share facts, old photos, videos, etc. Sometimes, through Ancestry, complete strangers contact me via my online resources, thanking me profusely for the media of their great-grandmother or long-lost aunt, or whomever we happen to be mutually related to. Thus, technology has enabled me to help other people establish relationships with their family – past and present.

ANGLE 6: In 1965, when I was 10 years old, my dad Ralph Serafinn (born Romeo Serafini), an electronics engineer for Bell Telephone in New York, invented the very first telephone device for the deaf and deaf-blind. Called the ‘Sensicall’, it was very simple compared to today’s technology and was eventually surpassed by personal computer systems. However, at the time, we received many letters from grateful people around the world who said my father’s invention had changed their lives completely, as it enabled them to connect directly with their friends and loved ones like everyone else could.

ANGLE 7: As a parent and educator, over the past 15 years I have repeatedly witnessed how technology (first with chat rooms and forums; later with social media) can often provide a means of communicating for naturally ‘introverted’ people who otherwise find it difficult to express themselves and connect with people in social settings. Some might misinterpret this behaviour as ‘hiding away’, but sometimes, it is the very thing that draws people out of their shell.

ANGLE 8: Back in the 1980s and ’90s, I was an electronic dance musician – composing, recording, etc. Technology enabled me to create, perform and sell music in ways that were never open to me before those technologies existed. It also enabled me to experiment with ideas that were more ‘outside the box’ compared to any other musical mode I had utilised in the past. While technology helped me build relationships with my listening audience and my retail network, it also helped me build the most valuable relationship there is – the one within myself.

ANGLE 9: From 1999 to 2007, I taught music technology to hundreds of students in Britain. For most of them, technology was the only way they could find their voice and express their creativity, as they weren’t all performers, or even ‘musicians’ in the traditional sense of the term. Again, I have personally witnessed the power of technology as a means of connecting with oneself, but also with the wider world.

ANGLE 10: Over the past decade, I’ve worked with hundreds of small business owners to develop their businesses – and their business relationships – through technology. I have done this primarily by helping them learn how to express and market themselves through blogging and social media. I’ve also helped dozens of authors launch their books by building a network of allied business colleagues. Many of these connections evolve into friendships and/or ongoing business collaborations.

Closing Thoughts

I confess that some days I have a love-hate relationship with technology. I especially get annoyed when software gets a glitch or my Internet goes down. But even if technology can sometimes feel like the ‘lemon’ of modern existence, I always think it’s better to make lemonade than simply have a sour face.

It’s true that technology might, in some ways, distance us. But it also has great potential to help us connect, express ourselves and grow together collectively. That’s the world I’m trying to create through my work.

I guess I inherited that gene from my dad.

I’d love to hear your thoughts below. What are YOUR thoughts and stories about technology and human relationships?

Warm wishes,
Lynn Serafinn
17th September 2015

P.S. If you’d like to explore how to use technology to create better relationships in your business, take a minute to read my article Deepening Our Relationships with Clients – An Invitation, and then drop me a line via the contact form on this site.

REFERENCE

  1. Kramer, Bryan. 2015. ‘How Technology Affects Human Relationships’. Accessed 15 September 2015 from http://bryankramer.com/how-technology-affects-human-relationships/

Like this blog?

Then please subscribe using the form at the upper right side of this page, so you can receive our articles to your inbox.

OR… US and UK readers can get this blog delivered DIRECTLY to your tablet, smartphone or Kindle device for $0.99 a month. Take a 14-day free trial at:

Amazon US: http://amzn.to/1LWU95X
Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/1NhOmJU

Looking for a Tribe?

Come join our 7 Graces group on Facebook.  This is NOT a “business group” but an active community where people actually know and support each other.

Find out more about how changing the paradigm can help make the world a better place:

The 7 Graces of Marketing BOOK COVER The 7 Graces of Marketing: how to heal humanity and the planet by changing the way we sellby Lynn Serafinn, where you can learn how the 7 Deadly Sins and the 7 Graces impact the world through media and marketing. Brit Writers Awards Finalist eLit Book Awards Silver Medal in Humanitarian & Ecological Social Issues

 

Tweep-e-licious: 158 Twitter Tips & Strategies for Writers, Social Entrepreneurs & Changemakers Who Want to Market Their Business Ethically by Lynn Serafinn, which can help you learn how to create meaningful collaborations through Twitter and other social media. eLit Book Awards Bronze Medal in Business and Sales.

Get instant access to a free 90-minute Twitter marketing class at http://tweepelicious.com

The Social Entrepreneur's Guide to Successful BloggingComing Jan 2016

The Social Entrepreneur’s Guide to Successful Blogging: An Effective, Creative & Ethical Way of Marketing for Visionaries & New Paradigm Business Leaders. To receive an update when that book is available, just click here. As a thank-you gift for showing your interest, you’ll get instant access to an exclusive, free 5-page PDF revealing the exact same blogging template we use with our clients and we teach to participants on the ethical marketing training courses at the 7 Graces Project.


Lynn Serafinn, MAED, CPCCLYNN SERAFINN, MAED, CPCC is a certified, award-winning coach, teacher, marketing strategist, social media expert, speaker and author of the number one bestseller The 7 Graces of Marketing — How to Heal Humanity and the Planet by Changing the Way We Sell and Tweep-e-licious! 158 Twitter Tips & Strategies for Writers, Social Entrepreneurs & Changemakers Who Want to Market their Business Ethically. She is listed in the Top 20 of the Top Marketing Authors on Twitter by Social Media Magazine and was a finalist for the prestigious Brit Writers Awards. She also received the eLit Book Awards Silver Medal in Humanitarian and Ecological Social Affairs, as well as the Bronze Medal in Business and Sales. Lynn’s eclectic approach to marketing incorporates her vast professional experience in the music industry and the educational sector along with more than two decades of study and practice of the spirituality of India. Her innovative marketing campaigns have produced a long list of bestselling non-fiction authors through her company Spirit Authors.

Lynn is also the Founder of the 7 Graces Project, created to train, support, mentor and inspire independent business owners to market their business ethically, serve society and planet, and restore all that is best about humanity.

7 Graces Project CIC7 Graces on Twitter: http://twitter.com/7GracesMarketng

Lynn on Twitter: http://twitter.com/LynnSerafinn

7 Graces Group on Facebook: http://facebook.com/groups/7GracesGlobalGarden

Posted in 7 Graces, 7 Key Relationships, Business Tips, Connection, Invitation, Lynn Serafinn, Relationship with Audience, Relationship with Others, Relationship with Our Audience, Relationship with Self, Social Media, Tech Tips | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Writing for The Huffington Post – Yes, No or Maybe?

Writing for The Huffington Post – Yes, No or Maybe?
Marketer Lynn Serafinn shares practical tips on how to become a guest blogger on The Huffington Post, and turn it into an effective marketing tool for your blog.

One of the world’s most popular blogsites is The Huffington Post (HuffPost). Modelled on traditional print newspapers, its articles cover world news, politics, business, entertainment, tech, media, healthy living and comedy, as well as special sections for black voices, gay voices, sports, crime, science, religion, horoscopes and other things.

According to a blog by HuffPost founder Arianna Huffington, this megasite was recognized as the largest publisher on Facebook and had over 115 million global unique visitors back in September 20141. I do not doubt this figure has steadily increased since then.

Publishing over 100 new articles every day, their writers are all freelancers. In spite of the fact that the vast majority of their contributors are unpaid (only a few professional journalists receive monetary compensation), thousands of bloggers aspire to write for HuffPost, hoping their business will benefit from the massive traffic the site receives. HuffPost has kind of become the X-Factor of the blogging world, where getting a ‘gig’ on HuffPost is seen as the key to hitting the big time. Many opportunistic Internet marketers exploit this, selling (allegedly) sure-fire strategies to become a HuffPost author.

But can writing for HuffPost truly benefit your business? More specifically, can it be used as a marketing tool to drive traffic to your blogsite, hopefully resulting in more business? And if so, how do you do it? These are some of the questions I addressed this week when I was writing chapter 14 (‘Promote Your Blog Effectively’) of my upcoming book The Social Entrepreneur’s Guide to Successful Blogging. I thought you might like a sneak peek at how I answered.

A Statistical Snapshot

While their US site (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/) is their most highly-trafficked, HuffPost also have 15 country-specific (or language-specific) sites, including the UK, Canada, Australia, Italy, Germany France, Spain, Greece, Brazil, Japan, Korea, India, Maghreb and Arabic.

As of this writing, the US site has an impressive PageRank of 8 (PR8). It also has a global Google rank of 107 and US rank of 31.

Although still highly respectable, the stats for the HuffPost sites in other countries are somewhat lower. In terms of PageRank, the Canadian site is PR7 and the UK site ranks only PR6. Most of the non-US sites have Google global ranks ranging between 2,000 and 5,000. As of this writing, the Australian site is less than a month old and is already ranking globally at about 67,000 and 371 in Australia. I suspect those figures will go up significantly before the end of the year.

Getting in the Door

HuffPost has a contact form on their website where you can ‘pitch’ your article idea(s) to their editorial team. While some authors are accepted via this method, the majority I have researched were not. Rather, most HuffPost authors were invited to write for them via one of two doorways:

  1. They were referred/introduced to the editor by another contributing HuffPost
  2. They were directly approached because a member of the HuffPost editorial team read and liked one of their published articles.

This information was corroborated by HuffPost in a comment they made on the Quora website in March 2015:

‘…it’s helpful to have a relationship with a current blogger; their recommendations mean a lot…our editors often reach out to people with smaller blogs to see if they’d like to crosspost a piece on HuffPost.’ 2

In an article from 2014 entitled ‘How I Got on Huffington Post: 5 Bloggers Tell All’3 we can see a recurring theme. Some of these authors were approved directly because they wrote an article on their own blog that, for one reason or another, was going viral, sometimes receiving hundreds of thousands of shares on social media. Two others approached editor-in-chief Arianna Huffington directly. ALL (except one, who didn’t mention it in the interview) had previously been rejected (or ignored) via the online submission form.

As disheartening as this might seem, this scenario is not very different from what you would encounter in the book publishing world or music industry. The simple truth is that the supply (i.e. the number of authors seeking to get published) exceeds the demand (i.e. the number of articles they actually need). Because of this, it is important to do your homework before approaching them. In this case, ‘doing your homework’ means studying and networking.

‘Studying’ means reading their website to see how other authors in the same niche have written their articles. Every blog has a house style, and the closer you can emulate that style in your article, the better your chances of being accepted.

‘Networking’ means spending time developing a rapport with someone connected with HuffPost. In an article from December 2014, author Steve Gilman4 says most of the HuffPost authors he has interviewed spent time cultivating a relationship with the editors or other authors before they sent in their pitch. Some had commented on The Huffington Post Facebook page until one of their editors extended an invitation to them. Others had developed a relationship with a current HuffPost blogger by commenting on his/her posts (and eventually asking for help submitting a piece to an editor). Then, when they sent in their pitch via email, they made it short, emphasising the most interesting aspects of their proposed article, and included an author bio and headshot.

What’s the Real Value?

But how valuable IS it to have an article on The Huffington Post? Is it worth all the time and effort? Naturally, the answer depends on what you hope to gain from publication:

  • If you’re doing it mainly for the prestige of saying you’re a HuffPost author, it might be worth it.
  • If you’re looking to get paid specifically for your writing, that’s probably not going to happen. If, however, you’re hoping it will make you some money in general, some authors say it’s possible. Steve Gilman from the above article said his revenue came from an increase in Google AdSense sales, NOT from direct sales or new client acquisition.
  • If you are hoping to get a high PageRank backlink to your site, that may or may not happen. Furthermore, the PR of your article is likely not to rank at all (i.e. it will return a rank of ‘Not Available’).
  • If you are hoping your HuffPost article will increase traffic to your own blog…well…maybe yes, maybe no. Read on….

I want to be open and say that I myself have never written for HuffPost and have never sent in a pitch. However, several of my clients are HuffPost contributors, and I have seen markedly different results from their efforts.

One client, a well-established doctor of alternative medicine, was invited to write for the health section of the US site. We have been developing her blog for about two years, now; it has a respectable PR3 and a global Alexa rank of about 500,000. These kinds of stats are what I would normally expect to see for the blog of an active sole-proprietor business. Over the past year, she has published several articles published in HuffPost. While they typically only receive a few comments (fewer than 10), she does receive several hundred Facebook likes/shares and Tweets. For some strange reason, however, HuffPost does NOT appear in her backlinks on Alexa.

In contrast, another of my clients was invited to write for the business section of the UK site, having been referred by another contributing author. This client’s blog is not terribly active; it has a PR0 and no Alexa statistics. So far, two of her articles have been published on HuffPost. Both have received a handful of Facebook ‘likes’ and Twitter shares (fewer than 10); neither has received any comments. However, Alexa DOES show HuffPost as one of four sites linking back to her.

The sad truth is that ‘small fish’ articles can get lost in the big pond of HuffPost the same way lesser known authors and musicians get lost within big publishing companies and record labels. In an interesting blog post written in 2011 by Nate Silver5, he estimates that while popular HuffPost articles can generate tens of thousands of views and comments, the median blog post (of those he analysed) ‘received just 11 comments, which equates to only about 550 page views’.

Without knowing other details (such as how pro-active each author was about promoting the article on social media, and how GOOD the article actually was) these statistics are a bit naked. But taking them at face value, I get far better results on my own site. Most of my articles receive several thousand views per month, and they continue to receive traffic as long as I recycle links for older articles on social media.

Based on all this, I would guess the HuffPost articles written by my business client who had a PR0 received practically no traffic, and have done little, if anything, to help promote her blog. On the other hand, I believe the alternative medicine doctor may have received at least as much attention as she does on her own blog.

Whether or not it leads people back to her blog is another question. We’ll come back to this in a minute.

Looking at the Variables

So where does this leave us? Can guest blogging for The Huffington Post be a viable and valuable part of your blog marketing strategy? While I can only answer this question by dint of having observed the results of others, logic tells me the answer to this question is dependent upon several factors:

  • How targeted your article is for the specified audience
  • How interesting and relevant your article is for your intended audience
  • How unique and well-written your article is
  • How pro-active you are in promoting it
  • Whether HuffPost put your article on their front page
  • Whether you give your readers a compelling reason to click AWAY from your HuffPost article to visit your website.

As a marketing strategist, I am continually astonished at how frequently people forget this last point. Unless your readers feel inspired and motivated to find out more about you and your business, your articles on HuffPost will fall flat on their faces as marketing tools. How can you do this without coming across as a schmoozy Internet marketer? Well, you could reference (and link out to) another article you have written that goes more deeply into the subject. Or, you could mention (and link out to) a free resource that underpins the topic. Whatever strategy you use, make sure it integrates seamlessly with the content of your article, as HuffPost have their own house rules about links, and they are likely to delete them (or reject your article altogether) if they think they are too self-promoting).

But even the inclusion of good links cannot guarantee your article will generate traffic to your blog. The Huffington Post has a LOT of content. Getting seen is the first challenge. Then, even if people find your article, there are so many other links they could click when they are reading. And in this era of sensory over-stimulation, by the time people have clicked around, they might not remember where they started.

A Question of Relationships

To me, beyond all the statistics, there is one final – and perhaps the most important – question we need to ask before we can evaluate the effectiveness of using HuffPost as a marketing tool for your blogsite:

Will writing for The Huffington Post help create new, meaningful, long-term relationships between you and your reading audience?

Relationships, not statistics, are the key to any successful business. Arianna Huffington is a perfect example. As chair, president, and editor-in-chief of The Huffington Post, she communicates with her readers on a weekly basis, keeping them informed of what is going on behind the scenes. There is a natural ease in her rapport with her audience. This, I believe, has played as great a role in her success as her business savvy.

Can writing for The Huffington Post help you create those kinds of relationships? Possibly – if you are prolific, provocative and pro-active. Contributing regularly and frequently is one of the keys to blogging success, whether on HuffPost or on your own site. Being provocative, especially on HuffPost, is another. Your ideas and personal style need to stand out from the crowd. A humdrum article will receive a humdrum response. The way to ignite a relationship with your readers is to trigger their brain cells and strum their heart-strings. The final piece is to be pro-active in promoting your own content and in engaging in discussion with your audience. Remember that relationships are always a two-way arrangement; if you are not participating, there IS no relationship.

I would also like to touch upon one other important relationship – your relationship with The Huffington Post itself. Those who seek to exploit others solely for their own gain are not forming relationships. Instead of thinking of how you can ‘get noticed’ by HuffPost so they can help your business, take a moment to think of whether YOU can be of benefit to them. What unique angle do you bring to your niche? How can this bring true value to their readers? What would make people remember YOUR article amongst the thousands that are already there? In other words:

How can YOU make people want to come back again to THEIR website?

That is, in 7 Graces lingo, marketing with ‘The Grace of Collaboration’.

The Final Verdict

Taking everything we’ve looked at today into consideration, my personal opinion on whether or not writing for the Huffington Post is a valuable marketing tool for your blog and your business is:

  • Even if you were to be invited to write for HuffPost, it is not going to magically catapult your blog up in the Google rankings UNLESS you have already spent time cultivating solid relationships with your readers via other methods (social media, SEO and other things I discuss in my book The Social Entrepreneur’s Guide to Successful Blogging). Spend time building your own house before trying to move into someone else’s!
  • But if you are already an established blogger with a loyal reading audience and a solid, online network, go for it. It will be another feather in your cap and might open up new doors to you. Your article might even become one of ‘those’ success stories to which so many authors aspire.

I hope you found this article informative and useful. I would love to hear your comments below, especially if you have written for The Huffington Post.

If you enjoyed this content, I also hope you’ll register to receive a reminder when my book The Social Entrepreneur’s Guide to Successful Blogging comes out. When you do, you’ll receive a free 5-page blogging template as a special ‘thank you’ gift from me. Close to 500 pages in length, this book is my ‘bible’ of new-paradigm marketing strategies, as I’m sharing in it virtually everything I know about brand, audience, business, marketing and blogging.

Lastly, just a reminder that September is our ‘deepen relationships’ month here at the 7 Graces Project. That means I’m offering some special, extended-length free consultation to 10 individuals this months who want to deepen their relationships with their online reading audience and/or potential clients. If you’d like to read more about that and apply for a free session, see my article from August 28th entitled ‘Deepening Our Relationships with Clients – An Invitation‘.

Warm wishes,
Lynn Serafinn
9 September 2015

REFERENCES

  1. Huffington, Arianna. 2014. ‘100 Million Thank-Yous to HuffPosters Around the World’. 15 September 2014. Accessed 8 September 2015 from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/arianna-huffington/100-million-thank-yous-to-huffposters-around-the-world_b_5822998.html
  2. Huffington Post. 2015. ‘How Do You Become a Writer for the Huffington Post?’ 18 March 2015. Accessed 7 September 2015 from https://www.quora.com/How-do-you-become-a-writer-for-the-Huffington-Post
  3. Maccarelli, Susan. 2014. ‘How I Got on Huffington Post: 5 Bloggers Tell All’. 7 September 2014. Accessed 7 September 2015 from http://www.beyondyourblog.com/how-i-got-on-huffington-post-5-bloggers-tell-all
  4. Gillman, Steve. 2014. ‘How to Write for The Huffington Post and Earn Money for Your Work’. 1 December 2014. Accessed 7 September 2015 from http://thewritelife.com/how-to-write-for-the-huffington-post/#.7giwdr:kdvb
  5. Silver, Nate. 2011. ‘The Economics of Blogging and The Huffington Post’. 12 February 2011. Accessed 7 September 2015 from http://fivethirtyeight.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/02/12/the-economics-of-blogging-and-the-huffington-post/?_r=0

Like this blog?

Then please subscribe using the form at the upper right side of this page, so you can receive our articles to your inbox.

OR… US and UK readers can get this blog delivered DIRECTLY to your tablet, smartphone or Kindle device for $0.99 a month. Take a 14-day free trial at:

Amazon US: http://amzn.to/1LWU95X
Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/1NhOmJU

Looking for a Tribe?

Come join our 7 Graces group on Facebook.  This is NOT a “business group” but an active community where people actually know and support each other.

Find out more about how changing the paradigm can help make the world a better place:

The 7 Graces of Marketing BOOK COVER The 7 Graces of Marketing: how to heal humanity and the planet by changing the way we sellby Lynn Serafinn, where you can learn how the 7 Deadly Sins and the 7 Graces impact the world through media and marketing. Brit Writers Awards Finalist eLit Book Awards Silver Medal in Humanitarian & Ecological Social Issues

 

Tweep-e-licious: 158 Twitter Tips & Strategies for Writers, Social Entrepreneurs & Changemakers Who Want to Market Their Business Ethically by Lynn Serafinn, which can help you learn how to create meaningful collaborations through Twitter and other social media. eLit Book Awards Bronze Medal in Business and Sales.

Get instant access to a free 90-minute Twitter marketing class at http://tweepelicious.com

The Social Entrepreneur's Guide to Successful BloggingComing Jan 2016

The Social Entrepreneur’s Guide to Successful Blogging: An Effective, Creative & Ethical Way of Marketing for Visionaries & New Paradigm Business Leaders. To receive an update when that book is available, just click here. As a thank-you gift for showing your interest, you’ll get instant access to an exclusive, free 5-page PDF revealing the exact same blogging template we use with our clients and we teach to participants on the ethical marketing training courses at the 7 Graces Project.


Lynn Serafinn, MAED, CPCCLYNN SERAFINN, MAED, CPCC is a certified, award-winning coach, teacher, marketing strategist, social media expert, speaker and author of the number one bestseller The 7 Graces of Marketing — How to Heal Humanity and the Planet by Changing the Way We Sell and Tweep-e-licious! 158 Twitter Tips & Strategies for Writers, Social Entrepreneurs & Changemakers Who Want to Market their Business Ethically. She is listed in the Top 20 of the Top Marketing Authors on Twitter by Social Media Magazine and was a finalist for the prestigious Brit Writers Awards. She also received the eLit Book Awards Silver Medal in Humanitarian and Ecological Social Affairs, as well as the Bronze Medal in Business and Sales. Lynn’s eclectic approach to marketing incorporates her vast professional experience in the music industry and the educational sector along with more than two decades of study and practice of the spirituality of India. Her innovative marketing campaigns have produced a long list of bestselling non-fiction authors through her company Spirit Authors.

Lynn is also the Founder of the 7 Graces Project, created to train, support, mentor and inspire independent business owners to market their business ethically, serve society and planet, and restore all that is best about humanity.

7 Graces Project CICTwitter: http://twitter.com/7GracesMarketng

Facebook: http://facebook.com/groups/7GracesGlobalGarden

 

 

Posted in 7 Graces, 7 Key Relationships, Blog, Blogging, Business Tips, Collaboration, Invitation, Lynn Serafinn, Marketing Tips, Relationship with Audience | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Deepening Our Relationships with Clients – An Invitation

Deepening Our Relationships with Clients – An Invitation
Marketing strategist Lynn Serafinn is offering free consultations to 10 special business owners who want to deepen their relationships with their clients.

Throughout most of August, I was on a journey – physically, emotionally and spiritually.

First I spent three amazing weeks in Trentino in northern Italy, the land where my father was born and where my paternal ancestors lived for many centuries (possibly millennia). I hiked through the Dolomites in the Alps. I explored ancient forests to trace the glacial source of the life-giving River Sarca. I gazed with amazement over the bleak expanse of a two-million-year-old rockslide at La Marocche. I experienced a 4.1 earthquake in the mountains around Riva. I walked through medieval villages and visited more historical and legendary sites than I can count. I saw an incredible performance of the opera Aida at the 2000-year-old Arena in Verona. I researched more deeply into our family history in Trento. I met many new cousins and, most importantly, I deepened the relationship I have with the cousins I already knew.

Lynn hiking in the Brenta Dolomites

Lynn hiking on top of the world in the Brenta Dolomites in Trentino, Italy.

When I came back to Britain, I spent a week with my daughter and her family. I took my nine-year-old grandson to the Tower of London. I taught him how to play Chopsticks on the piano. We played Battleship. We played make-believe with his cuddly toys. We took long walks through the woods and found treasures at the local market. We ate more cake and ice cream than we probably should have.

Something changes within us when we spend time away from the office and then have to return to ‘real’ life. For me, connecting with family and my heritage is especially soul-shifting. It takes me closer to who I really am and what is really important.

Coming back to work after such an experience can be a challenge, especially because we tend to ‘compartmentalise’ our professional and personal lives. We have told ourselves they are two different things. Without this distinction, we fear that our professional life will start to bleed into our personal life and we will never ‘switch off’ from work mode.

While I was away, I was well and truly ‘switched off’ from work. I was so switched off that Monday, when I came back to my desk, I found myself at odds with how to switch back on. My mind and heart were both still in that wonderful place of connection I felt with my family, when I was immersed deeply within myself and my precious relationships. I found myself wondering, ‘Why do we have to switch on and off all the time? Isn’t there a way to make my work feel more like how I felt when I was on holiday with my family?’

For many years, I have considered myself fortunate to have a business in which I can express my values and passions. But while values and passions are important, I’ve reached a point in life where I want to go deeper. Work is not just about doing and achieving; it’s about people and relationships. I want to make relationships the focal point of my actions; I want to deepen my relationships with my clients; and I want to work with clients who want to make relationships their focal point, too.

Changing the World by Putting Humanity in the Centre

The underpinning value of our team at the 7 Graces Project is to help honest, self-employed people make a better living in a people-focussed way. At the foundation of the 7 Graces philosophy are the ‘7 Key Relationships’. Of these, the relationships we have with ourselves, our business and our clients/customers are most influential in creating the character of our brand. Everything that is WRONG about business in today’s world stems from focusing on numbers instead of people. If we really want to change the world through our work, we need to start by turning that focus around and putting human beings at the centre of everything we do.

For this reason, during the month of September, I want to deliver free 45-minute consultations to 10 remarkable business owners who are interested in working closely with our 7 Graces team to deepen their relationships with their clients and customers over the next six months.

Normally, I only have time for a maximum of five free consultations each month. My usual intro sessions are only 30 minutes in length. They are not ‘advice’ sessions; rather, we talk about if and how our team can help you with your specific business and marketing needs.

But in these special 45-minute sessions, I will dedicate up to 15 minutes to answering your specific questions about marketing, business, technology, book publishing, blogging, social media – anything you feel I could help you with. I will do my very best to answer your questions (or refer you to someone else who can), even if it does not relate to a service we offer.

Who We Would Like to Invite

This offer is open to people who have not worked with us as private clients within the past two years. To make sure we are a good match for each other, we request that you only apply if you meet most of these criteria. If you’re not 100% sure whether you ‘fit’, drop us a line anyway.

Types of Businesses We Work With

  • Alternative health/therapy
  • Personal development
  • Any business owner whose ‘bigger vision’ is about making a positive social impact

About You

  • You want to enrich and grow a business you have run for at least the past two years
  • You have a strong service ethic in your business
  • You are not just in business for yourself, but for the people you serve
  • You want to deepen relationships with your clients/customers
  • You want to reach and expand your online audience
  • You are open to using social media and blogging (even if you don’t have any/much experience with it yet)
  • You are interested in developing new service products, especially those that can be delivered online, via Skype, etc.
  • You enjoy expressing yourself through writing – you don’t have to have written a book, but may be thinking about writing one (not mandatory)
  • You understand that business growth is a long-term process
  • You see working with a consultant as a business investment (not an ‘expense’)
  • You have time to work with Lynn (on calls and between calls), and are willing and able to commit to that time

How to Apply for One of Our Free September Sessions

Drop us a line via the contact form on this site: http://the7gracesofmarketing.com/contact. On that form, check the boxes that say, ‘Lynn Serafinn,’ and, ‘I’d like to discuss how you can help me/my business with marketing.’ Then, in the box that says, ‘Tell us more about why you are writing today,’ please tell us:

  1. The name and main purpose of your business
  2. How long you have been in business
  3. The three biggest problems/key issues you currently face
  4. Why you are interested in having a session with Lynn
  5. What ‘deepening relationships’ means for/to you

TIP: Please don’t just give us a link to your website and say ‘look me up’.

Please understand I only have time to offer 10 sessions in September, so I cannot guarantee that everyone who requests a session will be given a booking. Be assured that attending a consultation does not in any way obligate you to commit to working with us. However, we do ask that you only submit a request if you are seriously considering hiring us.

If you’re unfamiliar with the work we do here at the 7 Graces Project, please peruse the materials on our ‘Work With Us’ page. If you’d like to ask a question before you make your request, feel free to post it to our Facebook group at http://facebook.com/groups/7GracesGlobalGarden, or send it to us via the contact form on this site.

I can’t wait to meet these 10 new, remarkable people! Let’s set the intention to make the world a better place by deepening our relationships with the people we serve, so our businesses become more like ‘real’ life.

Warm wishes,
Lynn Serafinn
28th August 2015

Like this blog?

Then please subscribe using the form at the upper right side of this page, so you can receive our articles to your inbox.

Looking for a Tribe? 

Come join our 7 Graces group on Facebook, and join us at our monthly meetings. They’re free to attend and we have them both in person and online, so you can participate from anywhere in the world. This is NOT a “business group” but an active community where people actually know and support each other.

Find out more about how changing the paradigm can help make the world a better place:

The 7 Graces of Marketing BOOK COVER The 7 Graces of Marketing: how to heal humanity and the planet by changing the way we sellby Lynn Serafinn, where you can learn how the 7 Deadly Sins and the 7 Graces impact the world through media and marketing. Brit Writers Awards Finalist eLit Book Awards Silver Medal in Humanitarian & Ecological Social Issues

 

Tweep-e-licious: 158 Twitter Tips & Strategies for Writers, Social Entrepreneurs & Changemakers Who Want to Market Their Business Ethically by Lynn Serafinn, which can help you learn how to create meaningful collaborations through Twitter and other social media. eLit Book Awards Bronze Medal in Business and Sales.

Get instant access to a free 90-minute Twitter marketing class at http://tweepelicious.com

The Social Entrepreneur's Guide to Successful BloggingComing in 2015

The Social Entrepreneur’s Guide to Successful Blogging: An Effective, Creative & Ethical Way of Marketing for Visionaries & New Paradigm Business Leaders. To receive an update when that book is available, just click here. As a thank-you gift for showing your interest, you’ll get instant access to an exclusive, free 5-page PDF revealing the exact same blogging template we use with our clients and we teach to participants on the ethical marketing training courses at the 7 Graces Project.


Lynn Serafinn, MAED, CPCCLYNN SERAFINN, MAED, CPCC is a certified, award-winning coach, teacher, marketing strategist, social media expert, speaker and author of the number one bestseller The 7 Graces of Marketing — How to Heal Humanity and the Planet by Changing the Way We Sell and Tweep-e-licious! 158 Twitter Tips & Strategies for Writers, Social Entrepreneurs & Changemakers Who Want to Market their Business Ethically. She is listed in the Top 20 of the Top Marketing Authors on Twitter by Social Media Magazine and was a finalist for the prestigious Brit Writers Awards. She also received the eLit Book Awards Silver Medal in Humanitarian and Ecological Social Affairs, as well as the Bronze Medal in Business and Sales. Lynn’s eclectic approach to marketing incorporates her vast professional experience in the music industry and the educational sector along with more than two decades of study and practice of the spirituality of India. Her innovative marketing campaigns have produced a long list of bestselling non-fiction authors through her company Spirit Authors.

Lynn is also the Founder of the 7 Graces Project, created to train, support, mentor and inspire independent business owners to market their business ethically, serve society and planet, and restore all that is best about humanity.

7 Graces Project CICTwitter: http://twitter.com/7GracesMarketng

Facebook: http://facebook.com/groups/7GracesGlobalGarden

 

Posted in 7 Graces, 7 Graces Project, 7 Key Relationships, Blog, Business Tips, Invitation, Lynn Serafinn, New Paradigm, Platform Building Programme, Product Development, Relationship with Audience, Relationship with Our Audience, Relationship with Our Business, Relationship with Self, Strategy Packages | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

TIP: How to Fix Outlook if It Doesn’t Work With Windows 10

TIP: How to Fix Outlook if It Doesn't Work With Windows 10
Ethical marketing consultant and former Microsoft Innovative Teacher of the Year, Lynn Serafinn, offers ‘calm’ and practical advice for upgrading to Windows 10.

It’s August. In Europe, that means one thing: summer holiday. Here in Britain, most people go away for at least a couple weeks during August, usually to get away from the ambiguous British summer (which, this year, was been grey, chilly and damp) so they can get to the heat of European holiday destinations like Spain, Greece or Italy. I myself just returned from three sunny weeks in northern Italy, where many businesses had closed shop for the month and residents complained about the heat on an almost hourly basis (it was about 35C / 95F every day I was there). It seems we humans are never satisfied with the weather.

While the rest of have been using August to ‘recharge our batteries’, Microsoft have been busy using the month to roll out its latest operating system, Windows 10. What is most remarkable is that Microsoft are offering this upgrade free to all legitimate users of Windows 7 and 8. If you haven’t yet upgraded, you might have noticed the little Windows notice on the lower right-hand side of your screen, prompting you to reserve your upgrade. Not all computers will be upgraded at once. For example, I have already received my upgrade for my newer PC (a Microsoft Surface Pro 3 that was using Windows 8.2) but not for my older ‘dinosaur’ (a 2010 Lenovo ThinkPad laptop operating on Windows 7).

In spite of this unprecedented free offer, I’ve seen many people on Facebook and other networks saying they are afraid to download Windows 10, lest it either a) send them into technical overwhelm or b) ‘break’ their computer completely. Hence, many people are holding off on the upgrade, preferring to see how others fare with it before they take the plunge. I have seen dozens of posts on Facebook where wary PC users are asking others about their experience with Windows 10. Here are some examples of answers I’ve seen:

  • I downloaded it and nothing works on my computer anymore.
  • I’m too afraid to try it.
  • Downloaded it and everything’s fine.
  • My speakers don’t work anymore.
  • Don’t do it!
  • Have you considered a Mac?

(Apple and PC users simply cannot resist digging at each other when given the chance!)

I’ve always considered myself to be an early adopter, especially when it comes to technology. I was an electronic musician for decades and taught music technology for eight years. Additionally, in 2005 I was awarded the ‘Microsoft UK Innovative Teacher of the Year’ (for Further Education). Thus, I figured (rightly or wrongly) that if Microsoft has been preparing for this massive upgrade all these months, it was worth giving it a shot and seeing what bugs might need to be worked out. So, when I received the notice that my upgrade was ready for my Microsoft Surface Pro 3, I upgraded immediately.

Did it work seamlessly? Almost. I like the new look and it seems to be must faster (unless I’m imagining it). I am also happy to announce that all my programmes work as they used to (Photoshop CSS, Audacity, Skype, Microsoft Word, Excel, etc.) except for ONE small thing:

Microsoft Outlook would no longer SEND email.

I could still receive email, but anytime I tried to send, the message would just get stuck in the outbox, unsent. Of course, that was going to present a major problem, so I wanted to find the solution right away.

When I researched the problem, I found that many other Windows users were experiencing the same issue. That’s usually a GOOD thing because it means there is more likely to be a known solution. And, lo and behold, I found one pretty quickly, which I’ll share with you here (in easy ‘non-geek-speak’)

What to Do if Outlook Won’t Send Emails in Windows 10

  1. CLOSE all other programmes (including Outlook).
  2. RIGHT-CLICK the Windows Start icon (in the lower LEFT side of your screen).
  3. LEFT-CLICK the option that says ‘Command Prompt (Admin)’
  4. A black box with text writing will appear. This is the ‘command prompt box’.
  5. In the command prompt box, type the following command: sfc /scannow. Don’t worry about what it means; just type it in.
  6. Hit ‘Enter’.
  7. Sit back and wait a few minutes. Your computer will now check your system files and REPAIR them automatically, if necessary.
  8. When this is finished, close the command prompt window and re-open Outlook. Send yourself a test email and see if it works.

This immediately fixed the problem for me. If it doesn’t work for you, try rebooting the computer after steps 1 – 8.

If you still have problems, you might need to check your outgoing settings. There are easy instructions at this link: http://www.inmotionhosting.com/support/email/email-troubleshooting/invalid-helo-name-email

If THAT doesn’t work…well…try the Microsoft forums, telling them what you have already tried.

Speakers Problems

Except for the stray comment on Facebook about one user’s external speakers no longer working, I haven’t seen anyone else report this issue. It certainly didn’t happen to me.

In my experience as a sound engineer, most speaker issues (both PC and Mac) have to do with settings within a specific programme. For example, in the audio options of programmes like Skype or Audacity, you need to select whether you want to use the built-in speakers or external speakers. If your speakers or microphone suddenly disappear, it is most likely because your audio preferences have inadvertently changed (something that can easily occur with a software update or operating system upgrade). Before jumping to the conclusion that Windows 10 ‘broke’ your computer, check your audio settings for both your main system and individual programmes.

Another thing you could try it to go into your Device Manager and update your drivers. In some cases, you might need to delete the drivers, and allow them to reinstall completely.

Enjoy August

That’s it from me, for now. Technically, I’m still on holiday (I’m babysitting my grandson this week and will be back in the office on 24th August), and I hope you are taking time out for ‘life’ too. If you work from home, don’t put off upgrading Windows 10 until you get back to the office. If you download now (or as soon as it is available for your computer) you can use this slower season to iron out any bugs you might experience with it, so you are fully up and running when it’s ‘business as usual’ in September.

And if you’ve been thinking of working with a team of ethical marketing experts who can help you with online marketing and business development this year, have a look at our services on the ‘Work With Us’ page on this website. Then, drop us a line requesting a free 30-minute consultation to see how we might be able to help your business and/or non-fiction book project grow.

Warm wishes,
Lynn Serafinn
20th August 2015

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Looking for a Tribe? 

Come join our 7 Graces group on Facebook, and join us at our monthly meetings. They’re free to attend and we have them both in person and online, so you can participate from anywhere in the world. This is NOT a “business group” but an active community where people actually know and support each other.

Find out more about how changing the paradigm can help make the world a better place:

The 7 Graces of Marketing BOOK COVER The 7 Graces of Marketing: how to heal humanity and the planet by changing the way we sellby Lynn Serafinn, where you can learn how the 7 Deadly Sins and the 7 Graces impact the world through media and marketing. Brit Writers Awards Finalist eLit Book Awards Silver Medal in Humanitarian & Ecological Social Issues

 

Tweep-e-licious: 158 Twitter Tips & Strategies for Writers, Social Entrepreneurs & Changemakers Who Want to Market Their Business Ethically by Lynn Serafinn, which can help you learn how to create meaningful collaborations through Twitter and other social media. eLit Book Awards Bronze Medal in Business and Sales.

Get instant access to a free 90-minute Twitter marketing class at http://tweepelicious.com

The Social Entrepreneur's Guide to Successful BloggingComing in 2015

The Social Entrepreneur’s Guide to Successful Blogging: An Effective, Creative & Ethical Way of Marketing for Visionaries & New Paradigm Business Leaders. To receive an update when that book is available, just click here. As a thank-you gift for showing your interest, you’ll get instant access to an exclusive, free 5-page PDF revealing the exact same blogging template we use with our clients and we teach to participants on the ethical marketing training courses at the 7 Graces Project.


Lynn Serafinn, MAED, CPCCLYNN SERAFINN, MAED, CPCC is a certified, award-winning coach, teacher, marketing strategist, social media expert, speaker and author of the number one bestseller The 7 Graces of Marketing — How to Heal Humanity and the Planet by Changing the Way We Sell and Tweep-e-licious! 158 Twitter Tips & Strategies for Writers, Social Entrepreneurs & Changemakers Who Want to Market their Business Ethically. She is listed in the Top 20 of the Top Marketing Authors on Twitter by Social Media Magazine and was a finalist for the prestigious Brit Writers Awards. She also received the eLit Book Awards Silver Medal in Humanitarian and Ecological Social Affairs, as well as the Bronze Medal in Business and Sales. Lynn’s eclectic approach to marketing incorporates her vast professional experience in the music industry and the educational sector along with more than two decades of study and practice of the spirituality of India. Her innovative marketing campaigns have produced a long list of bestselling non-fiction authors through her company Spirit Authors.

Lynn is also the Founder of the 7 Graces Project, created to train, support, mentor and inspire independent business owners to market their business ethically, serve society and planet, and restore all that is best about humanity.

7 Graces Project CICTwitter: http://twitter.com/7GracesMarketng

Facebook: http://facebook.com/groups/7GracesGlobalGarden

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