A Thank You to My Followers

I have to admit, the title for this article “A Thank You to My Followers” sounds a bit, “how shall I say”, narcissistic. While writing it I immediately got a mental picture of me standing atop a grand balcony, my arms stretched out in an “English Queen” wave.

 

I’m looking down on the millions of my followers crowded into a courtyard just to be as near to me as possible. Somewhere in the distance the soft sounds of “Don’t Cry for me Argentina” are floating in on a soft spring breeze.

 

Too far, you say?

 

Yes, I do have a vivid imagination, however, I hope that made you laugh. I enjoy making people laugh because when they’re laughing, they don’t have time to think about harming their fellow man/woman.

 

My actual intent for this article is to thank all of the people who have taken time out of their hectic, busy life, just to read one of my articles. And if that weren’t enough, those who have found my content so engaging that they felt it necessary to join the conversation, I thank you.

 

You see, I’ve been a professional writer for over 10 years now. Even though I do this for a living, I am still humbled when I see people appreciating my work on my site.

 

Even though it’s my job to draw in as much traffic as I can for my clients’ site. I’m still humbled when people come to my site and “Like” an article here and there, and join a conversation because I presented my writing in a way that engaged them.

 

These are the people I want to offer a very sincere and humble, thank you.

 

I give the example of people taking time out of their busy day because I know what “Busy” means.

 

I’ve raised four children and tried desperately to hone my skills, so I could put food on the table. I’ve made mad dashes across town so the two of my children competing in a sport in those opposite destinations could say “Dad came and watched me play … “

 

At many stages of my life if I turned on a computer it was to work. I rarely, if ever, have time to read a site that has to do with one of my (non-existent) hobbies. So, I do understand “Busy” and that’s why I appreciate it when I see how my content, educates people, entertains people, makes people happy, makes them sad, but most of all makes people think.

 

Taking all of that into consideration, I am truly blessed. So thank you, my friends, my brothers and sisters, my readers, I do appreciate you taking the time to read my humble blog.

Does Auto Detailing Increase the Value of a Vehicle?

Does Auto Detailing Increase the Value of a Vehicle

 

The average person keeps their vehicles a lot longer than they have in years past. People are hanging onto their vehicles for 5 – 6 years before trading it in or selling it to replace it with another one. This is 18 months longer than the average amount of time people held onto their current vehicles, before replacing them, back in 2006, and that time frame is expected to keep increasing.

 

The reasons for people hanging on to their vehicles much longer than they used to is because vehicles are being built much better than they ever have, most car loans are for 60 months so the payments can be kept lower and to account for the expense of new cars, as well as the shaky job markets in current years.

 

Since people are keeping their vehicles longer they are exposed to increasingly more wear and tear. This means 18 months’ worth of door dings and scratches picked up in parking lots, rust caused by road salt and other chemicals used during the winter months and the sun’s damaging UV rays. Most people aren’t aware of the gradual decline these elements cause to the shiny appearance of their vehicle.

 

The sun’s damaging UV rays

The largest contributor to vehicle damage are the Ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun. Your vehicle’s paint job has UV inhibitors that absorb the harmful rays to help extend the life of your paint job.

 

However, over time these inhibitors get used up and cause your paint to become cloudy or hazy. This is most notable in headlight lenses. Over time you’ve noticed that your headlight lenses become yellowed, hazy or cloudy.

 

As the UV inhibitors fail, the surface goes from clear to oxidized and cloudy. Commonly, UV inhibitors in automotive paint has a half-life of 5 years. This means that, in five years, half of the UV inhibitors have been used up.

 

Prevention

This severe damage to your vehicle’s paint job can easily be prevented and slowed by having the professionals at Car Care give your vehicle a proper detailing by applying quality wax, sealant and coatings to your vehicle’s finish at proper intervals.

 

Professional grade waxes, sealants and coatings are a layer of protection that bonds to the surface of your paint. They include UV inhibitors that protect your paint and help extend the life of your paint’s own UV inhibitors by absorbing the UV rays. They also add more shine and gloss to your vehicle, which greatly improves its appearance.

 

Whether you plan to keep your vehicle till it’s very last leg is outside the grave, or you’re planning on selling your it within a specific length of time, your vehicle’s appearance is extremely important.

 

It’s a proven fact, the better your vehicle looks the more money you’ll be able to get out of it when it does come time to sell it and get a newer model. Along with looking good, keeping your car a clean as possible helps all the components work better.

 

So, whatever your plans having your car detailed every so often is a great idea.

 

Thank you for taking the time to visit my blog. If you enjoyed this article, let me help you with any of your professional content needs. Including professional and original blog articles, website content and all forms of content marketing. Please contact me at michael@mdtcreative.com and I will put my 10+ years of experience to work for you.

6 Reasons You Need Content Marketing TODAY

6 Reasons You Need Content Marketing TODAY

 

When it comes to marketing a startup on the internet, many people are already aware of the tools needed to succeed. These can be website, social media and even local marketing. True, these will align your company on the right path to enter the business world, however, there are other factors to consider when it comes to making an impact online.

 

One of the main factors that needs consideration is the proper use of content marketing. Not everyone is aware of how important content marketing is. That is why I have come up with these six important reasons how a well calculated content marketing campaign can improve your chances.

 

It Builds Brand Awareness

People today look at businesses as much more than a company name. They look at the company as an entity, as an institution. While the Internet has brought a slew of benefits to startups, it also means that a new entity has to be fully aware of the modern marketing tactics that are currently being used.

 

Content marketing allows a business to truly promote its company to customers while educating its users with relevant content. May people will be influenced to try out a new company based on its current efforts, while others might be enjoying a good reputation currently circulating the Internet.

 

Builds Customer Relationship

Along with brand awareness a person begins to develop a good relationship with a company. This however, isn’t the end, more people will return to a website that offers valuable content as well as a service or product, and they maintain that relationship moving forward.

 

Content Marketing is Affordable

One of the great things about content marketing is how affordable it can be. Whether you’re looking to make a global impact, or a local one, content marketing can open up a whole new world of marketing that is both, effective and affordable compared to other marketing options.

 

It’s Widely Used

While it may be easy to assume that your company has a great marketing plan in affect, it’s worth noting that an impressive 89 percent of all startups have a content marketing campaign as a part of their plan to grow their business. This is proof that the old marketing adage still holds true “content is king”.

 

Determine Your Target Audience

Although many users, within your target audience will already have their own regularly visited site they go to for information, there are several online tools available for you to use to discover how to tailor your content to reach your audience.

 

This allows you to continue posting the content that’s reaching your target audience while adjusting the content that’s falling short so it does reach more of the people you’re focused on.

 

Maximise Your ROI

One of the main concerns companies have when considering a marketing plan is their available budget. This isn’t as big a concern with content marketing as it is for other forms of marketing.

 

Content marketing is an estimated 62 percent cheaper than traditional marketing. This means more for your bottom line while achieving better marketing results.

 

There are several different reasons to implement a content marketing plan for your business, whether you have a startup or a business in need of a fresh approach.

 

However, as with any other marketing medium, you need to implement a content marketing plan that will work best for your specific situation.

 

Thank you for taking the time to visit my blog. I sincerely hope that my blog entertains, helps and gets you thinking. Please take a minute to leave a comment to start and interesting conversation, or add your interesting thoughts to an existing conversation.

 

For more thought provoking articles please check out:

The Secret to Successful UX Design

The Importance of a Responsive Website – Mobile Industry Trends

Why Are Many Google Analytics Keywords “Not Provided”?

How to Develop an Effective Business Signage Plan

The Mini Balance Bike from PUBLIC Bikes

Edgar Allan Poe: The Master of Mystery and the Macabre

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You would be hard pressed to find anyone, especially among our fellow lovers of horror stories and tales of terror, who doesn’t know who Edgar Allan Poe was.

Best known for his poetry and short stories, Poe was also highly regarded as the leading author of Romanticism in American literature and he was one of the earliest American authors of the short story.

Poe’s themes and genres

Edgar Allan Poe’s best known fictional works were in the Gothic genre, which was very popular at the time and the main reason he wrote the genre. The main, recurring themes of a several of Poe’s works dealt with the questions surrounding death, fear of premature burial, coming back from the grave and mourning.

Several of Poe’s works were considered to fall into the dark romanticism genre, which focused on human fallibility and being prone to sin and self-destruction and also the difficulties with adjusting to social acceptance.

Not just another horror story writer

Aside from horror, Poe also wrote satires, humorous stories and hoaxes, which may be a little hard to believe considering the bulk of his other works. Poe was known for using irony and ludicrous extravagance for comic effect. Often times, Poe would use these characteristics of writing as an attempt to liberate the reader from cultural conformity.

Creator of detective fiction

One thing many people don’t realize about Edgar Allan Poe is that he was considered the undisputed “Father” of the Detective Story. Poe literally created the template for all of the great detective fictions to follow. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle who was the creator of one of the greatest detective fictions of all time, Sherlock Holmes, once said that Poe “was a model for all time.”

Edgar Allan Poe only wrote three “true” detective stories, which included, The Murders in the Rue Morgue, The Mystery of Marie Roget and The Purloined Letter, however, in these three stories he created the standards that have been the foundation for all of the detective stories that followed including:

  • The concept of hiding clues in plain site, so they are overlooked by everyone who is searching for them.
  • The planting of false clues by the criminal.
  • The concept of observation and deduction.
  • The criminal ultimately being the least-likely person

These are only a few of the concepts used in today’s detective stories that Poe created. Poe also wrote other stories that did feature crime and/or mystery, however, they weren’t considered “true” detective stories because they don’t lay out all of the clues for the reader to solve the crime, so they were considered not “playing fair” with the reader even though they are excellent mysteries in their own right.

Poe the literary critic

Aside from his famous and extremely popular short stories and poetry, Edgar Allan Poe was also recognized for his work as a literary critic.

In fact, Poe was mainly recognized as a literary critic during his lifetime. He has been called the most discriminating, philosophical and fearless critic of American literature. Because of his sometimes abrasive reviews, Poe has also been said that, at times, to “use acid instead of ink” when writing his reviews of works in literature, which also gained him the reputation as a “tomahawk man.”

Many people only think of Edgar Allan Poe as the author who wrote The Tell-Tale Heart and The Raven, but he has done so much more to entertain, enrich and even teach.

How do Great Writers Come up with Brilliant Ideas?

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As a writer, I’m sure you have struggled with how to come up with a great idea for a story. You aren’t alone, it happens to all of us. Some writers will assume that since they aren’t coming up with a good idea they have writer’s block. This isn’t the case because writer’s block usually has more to do with discounting your work as not being good enough.

 

Coming up with an idea might seem like a random process. However, there are a few simple ways to increase your chances of creating great ideas for your writing. Every writer wants to come up with a great idea every time they start a book but many don’t consider what an idea really is.

 

An idea is a connection, even the simplest idea is a combination of ideas you already have. We are constantly forming these connections spontaneously and unconsciously. It should also be noted that an idea will form when two different thoughts combine in an unexpected or unusual manner.

 

Here are a few tips that will help you develop a reserve of ideas to draw from.

 

Be confident and open minded

Stop thinking you’re not a creative person, or that only a chosen few brilliant minds can create brilliant ideas. You are a writer, no matter what you write you have and can create more ideas.

 

Investigate all ideas, even the ones you think are dumb

Never focus on only coming up with “great” ideas. At first, focus on quantity rather than quality. Most people have trouble coming up with ideas because they’re worried their idea will be “dumb.”

Be open minded

The more exposure you have to different situations, people and places the more options you give your mind to form connections. Try new things, travel, read different books, don’t be afraid to do the things you normally do in a different way.

 

Immediately save all your ideas

Get into the habit of recording all of your ideas. Write them down in a notebook, type them into your tablet or add them to a voice recorder. The way you record them isn’t important, just make sure you always have the ability available. If you don’t record your ideas the minute you get them you may forget them. Having an idea and then forgetting it is worse than not having an idea at all.

 

Never assume you need not record ideas, because you’ll remember them. Many ideas will come to you while you’re resting or asleep. Keep a notebook by your bed and get into the habit of recording your ideas as soon as you wake up.

 

Be grateful for the ideas you receive

Whenever you come up with a great idea for writing, be thankful for it. This will create an additional positive reinforcement that will encourage the creation of more new ideas. This may seem strange, but try it, it works.

 

Don’t sweat it

If you find yourself not coming up with any useable ideas for a few days, don’t sweat it, it happens. Ideas will come to you when you least expect them and you will find out when you’re on a roll, the ideas come rolling in.
When the ideas are coming in nonstop, that’s the time to record them and bank the ones you don’t use for when you have a dry spell. You will build up your reserve of ideas, which you will add to in spurts.

What Are Calls to Action? Strategies for Placement

Content is King! This statement was never more true than it is today. Along with the internet came content marketing. For any business or organization to survive in this new world they must have a website and that website has to have a call to action. Now a Call to Action isn’t a new approach, it has been around for as long as people have wanted to entice others to do what they need them to do.

A new visitor to your site, most likely will not know the main purpose of your website or what you want them to do “buy this product”, “sign-up for my service or newsletter” that is where Calls to Action come in. You need to tell your visitor why they need to do what you are asking them to in a very subtle, yet powerful manner.

Calls to Action that are well-placed and well-designed are critical to successful internet marketing. Calls to Action are a crucial tool used to turn a new visitor into a new lead or a paying customer. There is an art to writing effective Calls to Action, what works for one website or action most likely won’t work for another for a lot of different reasons. Testing is the best way to find the right calls to action for your target audience. The best method is to create two versions of the same page with different Calls to Action and gauge which one works the best for the desired result. This method is referred to as A/B testing, and it is a cornerstone for Call to Action creation and optimization. A/B testing is the idea of offering product A and product B, then monitoring how many people choose one or the other.

Factors to Determine the Correct Call to Action to Use

When deciding what kind of Call to Action to use on your website it is important to take the following considerations into account:

  • Where does the visitor fit in the sales funnel?  A new visitor isn’t in the funnel yet. A repeat visitor is already in the funnel. So you will need to customize a Call to Action to each type of visitor.

  • What are your visitors interests?  The topic of the page that the visitor entered your website on will tell you what information they are looking for. The Call to Action on that page will need to form a connection between the page content and what you want the visitor to do.

  • What type of offer will work best for your customers?  This takes some experimentation. Some websites are more effective with webinars and others get more traffic with e-books and white papers. With a varied approach, you will be able to come up with the right content mixture for your website.

  • What form of Call to Action will gain the most traffic?  Calls to Action can take the form of videos, contact forms and photos. Again, experimentation will help you discover what works best for your target audience.

Where You Should Place Your Call to Action on your Website

The placement of your Call to Action on your website is crucial. The call to action should be obvious to the visitor without being overbearing and its placement should make sense so it flows with the site’s content.

In most situations your Call to Action should be placed “above the fold”. This term comes from the newspapers and it literally means above where you fold a newspaper in half and create a fold. In regards to websites, this term means keep your Call to Action at the top of the site so the visitor doesn’t have to scroll down too far to find it. Again, without being overbearing, you want visitors to your website to see your Call to Action and be able to take advantage of it, without having to work too hard for it.

Another important consideration is to make sure that your Call to Action will deliver the visitor to the correct destination, where they can then be converted to a lead or customer. This destination is referred to as a Landing Page. Why would anyone want to buy your product or service if you can’t even get them to the correct page to do so?

Call to Action Optimization

When you have your Call to Action in place, you can then optimize it so it can obtain the highest click-through rates possible. Keep your Call to Action clean, simple and efficient. Creating a button or link with overbearing fancy fonts or several colors and a jumble of words is only going to turn your visitors off and drive them away rather than achieve your intention. A perfect visual to this theory is a garish blinky neon sign that says “Buy This” The last thing you want to do is come across as a desperate salesperson. A clean, concise message, that is well designed is much more effective and professional, not intimidating.

  • Your Call to Action should match the headlines on your landing page. Tests have proven that the more consistent you can keep the two, the higher your landing page conversion rate will be.

  • Include Calls to Action for different stages of the buying cycle. Different offers will appeal to different segments of the traffic visiting your site. In order to capture the maximum amount of traffic hitting your site you need to cast a wide net. It’s a good idea to include three Calls to Action on your website to capture an early, a mid-point and a late sales cycle visitor.

  • In addition to placing your most relevant Calls to Action on your homepage, also place them on every other website page and any blog posts you have. For example place them on any page that visitors will have access to including whitepapers, advertisements and any other pages on your site.

  • You should constantly test and monitor the efficiency of you Calls to Action to see how well they are accepted by your target audience. Test different messaging, colors and placement on your pages and see if you can get more pageviews on your landing pages.

Ultimately, you may need to play around with different calls to action before you find the one or two that work best for you. Remember to craft your call to action based on your target market and what you sell. Clearly outline what you want customers to do. If one call to action doesn’t provide the response you expected, try something different. Just like any marketing technique, trial and error may be your best guide for finding the perfect call to action for your business and target market.

Writing an Eye Catching Book Description

I’ve said it before, publishing is a business, you have created a product that you want to sell. How do you go about drawing the most attention to your book that will get people interested enough to want to buy it?

The answer to this question is, you need to tell people they want to buy your book and they will, it’s as easy as that. I can’t help but envision some new authors taking this information literally and posting a description for their book that states “You want to buy this book, you want to read this book, you want to kiss me…….” I have a vivid imagination.

What I mean to say is you need to draw people’s attention to your book over all the others that are listed with it, then you need to convince them that your book is the one they want to buy and read. This is accomplished by, among other things, writing a great description which will not only grab their attention but also keep them interested enough to read it all the way through and then close the deal.

What will the reader gain by reading your book
With a non-fiction book you want to tell the reader how they will benefit from reading your book. The reader needs to know they will walk away with something from this transaction, not just another book but knowledge that will benefit them. In the case of a fictional book, you need to tell the reader how the book will make them feel and entertain them.

Say what you need to say
The length of the description doesn’t matter, make it as long as you need to get your point across. People today skim or speed read just about everything so you need to keep that in mind when writing your description and get your point across without extra babble.

Keep it interesting
The minute your description falls flat and you begin to bore the reader, you’ve lost them and subsequently you’ve lost the sale.

What do others have to say
Testimonials are great for a book’s description but they need to be believable and from real people who aren’t related to you or your friend. The quickest way to turn off a potential reader is to add a testimonial that is obviously from your mom. Don’t include a testimonial that goes something like, “Johnny’s book is the best book in the world…..” trust me people will know. Validate the person giving the testimonial by stating their name, where they are from and if they are connected to your book’s niche, then state that as well.

You are a writer, this is what you do, with a little bit of research you can write a killer description that will tell people they need to buy your book.