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Topic: virtual assistant

Marketing with Virtual Assistants

If you have ever tried working with virtual assistants, you know that it is hit or miss.† You have to treat it just as carefully as hiring an actual employee.† You also have to cut the relationship if your gut tells you that things are not going to your liking and you have provided clear directions and expected outcomes.

Getting a marketing Virtual Assistant – a VA that has been trained in Internet marketing will increase your odds of success.† Here are 7 tips for better web results with a Virtual Assistant.† You will not like these, because they all involve more work for you.† But get over it and get your marketing plan done in advance of hiring your Internet marketing Virtual Assistant.

  1. Hire 2 or 3 Virtual marketing Assistants for small projects and test which one does the best job.
  2. Either write a detailed, step by step description of how to do the tasks you want done, or provide a video that serves as a† virtual assistant training video.† There is no arguing with clearly documented directions.
  3. Set specific deadlines.† For example, do not say you want the Virtual Assistant to write 5 unique blog posts in May.† Instead, state that each Friday the Virtual Assistant needs to mail you the link and keywords targeted for that particular blog post of the week – by noon your time.† Also include a summary of how the last weeks blog post is now ranked for the keywords targeted.
  4. Keep talking to your Virtual Assistant.† Do not set them loose and forget about them.† If you want to keep them you need to make them feel like an important part of the team.
  5. Do not believe Virtual Assistant resumes – Just like job applicants, people often exaggerate skills and likely outcomes.† If the Virtual Assistant does not live up to how they sold themselves, move on quickly.
  6. Expect to get what you pay for.† More than any other position, Virtual Assistants pay rates vary from a couple of dollars and hour to several hundred dollars an hour.† If you go for a cheap virtual assistant, be ready to do more training and management.
  7. Treat exceptional Virtual Assistants like gold.† Just like any profession, you have some people that are far and away better than average and if they are motivated, making you money and exceeding your expectations, show them you care.† Send them a gift certificate, a bonus, a card, flowers – and if you are sure you are not going to need them full time, send your exceptional virtual assistant referrals.

Find exceptional Virtual marketing Assistants.

Basic, No Cost Marketing

I just did a post over at the Virtual Buzz Assistant blog.

Marketing your Virtual Assistant Business – This article is for virtual assistants that are trying to market their business with no money for marketing.† However, the marketing tips work well for any freelancer or independent consultant.† You may want to go over and check it out.

Internet Marketing Assistant

I just wrote a post over on the Virtual Buzz Assistant blog called Internet Marketing Assistant.

It is very relevant to this group as well and includes a link to John Cow, where they are discussing the virtues of using oDesk to hire virtual assistants – and the challenges that it poses.

Go take a look

Quick Marketing To Do List

So you have some time to come and read a blog?† How about I give you a quick marketing to do list.

Your Quick marketing To Do List

  1. Leave a comment on this blog and at least one other – and be sure it links back to your site.
  2. Email 3 people you have not talked to for at least 3 months to touch base.
  3. Post a message with a link on twitter.
  4. Add a friend to facebook
  5. Add a connection to LinkedIn
  6. StumbleUpon 3 Things Not Yours, and one thing yours† (Maybe this blog, hint hint)
  7. Sign up for the free buzz marketing course if you have not already done so.
  8. Set up a blog and start publishing.

Hmmm, ok that last one will not be quick if you have never done it before.

Why not develop a quick marketing to do list that you will do every week at the same time.† This is exactly the kind of thing we do with virtual buzz assistants.† They develop a list of quick online marketing activities that help you keep your profile high and they do the activities for you.

Then you can evolve this group of marketing activities into a social media marketing plan once you start measuring the results.

Social Media Manager or Virtual Assistant?

A Virtual Buzz Assistant can easily also be called a Social Media Manager.

What are the differences?

  1. A Social Media Manager is full time and explores all kinds of ways for developing relationships and great information online.† A Virtual Buzz Assistant focuses on the specific social media tasks as defined by their client.
  2. A Social Media Manager can handle complaints, bad reviews or negative comments.† A Virtual Buzz Assistant will point these items out to clients and the client should act on them.
  3. A Social Media Manager is doing many social networking tasks.† Virtual Buzz Assistants focus on fewer high value tasks and leave experimentation up to the client.
  4. Social Media Managers need to create great original content about the business.† Virtual Buzz Assistants might create content, but rarely are they the main messenger of the organization.
  5. Social Media Managers monitor the web for information EVERY DAY.† A Virtual Buzz Assistant can, but rarely do clients schedule enough hours to include the service.† It is time intensive.
  6. If you employ a social media manager, they should go to all kinds of conferences and group meetings, because those online relationships actually get stronger when you meet people face to face.† A Virtual Buzz Assistant can do that for you, but it is unlikely you will want to send a VA.

This post is not to say that Social Media Managers are better than Virtual Buzz Assistants.† It is a budget issue.† They are both great options.† If you cannot afford a full time social media manager then a Virtual Buzz Assistant, with some great involvement from you, is the next best thing.

Read: Example of what a Social Media Manager would do

Monetizing Your Blog – Why you owe it to your readers

Books in my OfficeImage by Josh Bancroft via FlickrThere are standard ways to make money from your blog.† Basically, there are three monetization strategies.

1) Advertising

2) Affiliate Links

3) Sell products

If you are just starting a blog, you do not want to implement monetizing it because you cannot get advertisers or sell anything until you have an audience.

But you do owe it to your readers to make money from it if you become passionate and good at it.

I have seen several very popular authors do a great job of blogging, only to post less and less frequently (although still occasionally.)† There are exceptions to this, such as Seth Godin, but many people become victums of their own success.†† They become popular, sought after speakers and they focus on that and leave the blogs for slow days.

I do not think you have to post every day.† I prefer quality over quantity. However, it is really good to know how your blog effects your income.† Is it creating buzz for you?† Is it generating income?

I wish that a few of these bloggers would generate income directly from the blog and hire a virtual assistant to help them write more frequently.† I do not mean creating the content from scratch, but instead taking their ideas, doing additional research and writing up the article for them.† I know it is a point of pride that the authors can say they write every word, but as long as they are steering the ship, I don’t mind them getting some help and monetizing the blog.† Just don’t turn off the great information spigot.

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Secret Quality Inbound Link Generation

My Live EarthImage by NoŽl Zia Lee via FlickrThis is less a sneaky tactic and more of an accidental discovery.

If you want really good inbound links from popular sites, you can develop content with links on many of them.

If you are a regular reader, you know about Squidoo, Humpages and Gather.

But what about an expert site that lets you build html into it?† For example, I recently set up a virtual assistant job board at Jobamatic.com.† I did it because I thought it would be another source for leads for my Virtual Buzz Assistant Network.

I customized the header to look like the site and added some important links.

The end result is that it is a link to my sites from powerful domain that is updating the page constantly with fresh content.† While it does not have page rank yet, it is a quality link that makes my sites have more credibility with certain keywords.

I am in the process of setting up a Virtual Assistant Radio Show – and guess what, another set of links that come from an expert site that should add some great juice to my site credibility over time.

Too often we are looking for those big publishing places or little social bookmark places – but this is an example of great in between opportunities.

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Auto Posting to WordPress

Recently I was interested in building a larger network of blogs that my Virtual Buzz Assistants could auto post to.

It seemed like a simple thing, but with a lot of research I found that remote submitting to a WordPress† blogis tricky.

There are several reasons that auto posting is not super easy.† One reason is that it is a security hole – if you made it easy to submit data to wordpress, it could be exploited to wreck someone’s blog.

Next, there are a lot of ways to do it but no standard, best way that is easy to set up.† I am going to post my findings and an explanation of my solution to help those of you that are looking for information about auto posting to WordPress.† Just keep in mind this is not the only way.

Why auto submit posts to WordPress?

The first thing you may be wondering is why?† Well, in my case, I have paying members of the Virtual Assistant network I run.† I wanted to set up some industry specific blogs and let these trained people write blog posts to these blogs to help them generate more buzz and inbound links for their clients.† No, it is not the only tool and technique they have, but it is one weapon in their buzz arsinol.

Submit Posts to WordPress Via Email

The first solution I came up with was to set up a form that would then (hidden) submit an email to the blog.† The blog would then pick up the email and post it.

While this technique should work, I spent several hours trying to get the wordpress plug in to work and I finally gave up. † It was also going to be tricky to set the whole thing up and get it to post into the correct category.† Plus, there was always a chance that spam filters could filter out some of the posts or mess them up with the parcing.† Ultimately, I just stopped trying because it did not work.

Then I discovered WP-o-Matic.† This plug in posts rss feeds to your blog on a regular schedule.† I suppose a lot of people use it to import data from other sites, but it is a very useful tool for taking your RSS stream and posting it.† It only took me a day to build an interface that stores the articles people write in a database and output it in RSS format via a secret rss link.† The WP-o-matick plugin then checks the rss feed every few hours and posts new posts.† I even added some things like delays on posting, by making the articles date adjustible up to one week in the future.

Once this was figured out for one blog, it was super easy to do for all future blogs, taking less than an hour to set up and configure a new blog with this capacity.

The key to auto-posting in WordPress turned out to be not posting in WordPress at all.

Other Advantages to this WordPress Strategy

There are some other advantages to this strategy.† If I want to allow other people to have their blogs in our network to recieve auto submitted articles, it is simple.† I simply send them instrcutions on how to set up the wp-o-matic plug in and the links to their rss.† They do not have to give me access to their blog at all.

Also, because RSS is a simple stream of data, I have a lot of flexibility with it.† For example, I could later put summaries up of all posts in another blog automatically, if I so chose.

One Disadvantage

The one big disadvantage I see in this auto posting strategy is that I cannot confirm that a post has happened.† I could maybe scrape the site and check later, but that is more work than I want to do.† So right now, you just have to check the blog later and see that the post has happened.

Non-technical people

I know there are some non-technical people out there that will not like this article because any coding is a barrier.† In your case, you may want to keep playing with the email feature to get it to work.† However, if you have some basic coding skills, it is easy to add data to a database and create an RSS feed that you can then import for auto posting into WordPress.† I am getting glowing feedback from the users and it has been a great tool for distributed publishing.

Interview with Jill Lublin


Jill Lublin Questions & Answers for Buzzoodle – Jill has a new book about referrals.

Q: Jill, please tell us how you got into helping people build their
personal brand?

A: I got started because I was in the music business and discovered
that publicity and promotion was really my true talent and the
music business is so powerful because it’s all about branding and
imagine.† I worked for an underdog record label that didn’t have
large budgets.† We had to figure out very creative ways to gain
visibility.

Q: What roll does social networking now play in building exposure?

A: Social networking is huge right now in terms of promoting
yourself through the networks. I’m still a believer in the
traditional role of publicity to help build a brand.† People
still read newspapers, listen to radio and watch TV.

Q: If someone wants to start building their personal brand but only
can do it 30 minutes per week, what would you recommend as the
best things to do with that time?

A: I think they should write an announcement that specializes in
something good that’s happened to them.† Do that every 60 days.
Also look for trends that are happening right now and see if your
story can fit in.

Q: Tell me what would surprise me from your book.† I know† about
blogging, press releases, etc.† Do you have an unexpected secret
you can share?

A: The most obvious one is get back to Belly to belly marketing
which is about leveraging your circle of influence.

Q: What roll can a virtual assistant play in helping someone build
visibility when they are too busy?

A: A VA can stay on the phone and on the internet one hour per day
by creating desire in the community so you have more exposure in
the market place.† A VA can also facilitate in networking
opportunities because they connect with so many different circles
and clients.

Q: Can you give me an example of someone you have worked – along
with their success story?

A: Ryan Yee – Ryan is an instructional designer. He needed to get
noticed as an instructional design; that subject wasn’t
interesting.† I listened to his story, a story about being fired
from his job, about the fact that him and his wife were pregnant
with their third child on the way, that he had just bought a big
house with a big payment; and was unemployed.† I recreated his
story into him being a virtual office warrior, taking a VOW (The
acronym for being a virtual office warrior- never to work in an
office again).† That story got him into multiple national
magazines like Entrepreneur, Home Office Magazine, and multiple
daily newspapers, radio, and television. It also landed him a
book contract. Recreating a story is sometimes what will get you
your best success by using everything you’ve got.

Q: Who should buy your book and why?

A: Anyone who owns a business and wants to “Build your client base
and your business by making a name for yourself should by my
book.

Thank you for visiting with Jill today. We invite you to visit her on other days of the tour. For complete details about the tour and her full schedule, visit http://virtualblogtour.blogspot.com/2008/06/jill-lublin-author-of-get-noticed-get.html. For full details from Amazon, visit http://www.amazon.com/Get-Noticed-Referrals-Business-Yourself/dp/0071508279. Jillís website is www.jilllublin.com .

Starting a Business?

I am copying over my article from the Virtual Buzz Assistant Blog.† You might want to follow the link for two reasons -

#1 – If you or someone you know is thinking about starting a business, that Free Business Launchpad eBook will help.

#2 – To download the eBook, you sign up for an email tip list on creative ways to use virtual assistants to enhance your buzz marketing.† Now all the visitors here should be interested in THAT.

30 Day Virtual Assistant Business Launch Pad

Business Launch PadThinking about launching a Virtual Assistant Business?

I started out writing this eBook as a members-only kind of resource.† Then I realized it could be very valuable to anyone starting any kind of home-based or small business.

People were getting lost in what seems like overwhelming issues, so we lay it out day by day and make it easy to move from idea to income in 30 days.

We are giving it away.† Click here to get your copy.

Since we have launched several ventures, we know the basic stuff you need to get in place, and how important it is to focus on generating revenue quickly.† If you are thinking about starting a business or are trying to figure out what things need done for a business you recently started, this resource is for you.

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