50 Blog Topics to Power Your Posts

Dec 18
Category | General

50 Blog Topics to Power Your Posts

Want to generate more interest in your blog? Keep coming up with interesting topics:

  1. Your latest thoughts about your business.
  2. Top 5 questions from clients and prospects.
  3. Download a stock photo and write about it.
  4. What went through your mind on a morning walk.
  5. A local event.
  6. Your hobbies. (Relate to client needs if you can.)
  7. 5 important things you've learned in business.
  8. A supplier or marketing partner who did a great job.
  9. Traps to avoid in your field.
  10. An unusual situation in your business.
  11. Top 3 things people neglect in working with you.
  12. Your take on some industry news.
  13. 4 hoaxes and scams to look out for.
  14. Did you ever notice...?
  15. 3 key things you learned from someone in your industry.
  16. The best way for a client to work with you.
  17. A review of a business-related book.
  18. New legal issues impacting your business.
  19. 3 opportunities clients shouldn't miss.
  20. Comments on relevant public policy.
  21. A client who was terrific to work with.
  22. Take a picture of something that interests you and write about it.
  23. 8 fascinating statistics about your business. (Especially in your area.)
  24. What it's like to do your job.
  25. What you learned in a workshop or seminar.
  26. Comments from clients or prospects.
  27. Something funny. (Keep it tasteful!)
  28. Top 2 challenges of a demographic segment you target.
  29. A recent "aha!" moment.
  30. Trends in your industry.
  31. Review relevant websites.
  32. The range of different client concerns.
  33. Advice to people who try to do without your services.
  34. 9 business terms clients need to understand.
  35. Observations about a client's challenges.
  36. Interview someone interesting.
  37. Local trends, issues, observations.
  38. Report on an industry event you attended.
  39. Issues clients and prospects need to consider now.
  40. Review apps clients and prospects can use.
  41. 3 ways to get the most out of working with you.
  42. How to avoid being overcharged in your industry.
  43. What you learned from your pet.
  44. What you've done to stay ahead of the pack.
  45. 5 ways to simplify your life.
  46. Your favorite gadget.
  47. Tips on how to do something you're good at.
  48. One thing you're going to focus on in the next month.
  49. An experience that made you a better person
  50. 4 things clients should pay attention to this time of year.

Pick one of these topics and get started on a post. Or write on something one of these topics inspired. Here's to your continued success building blog followers and clients, as you keep putting together your best year ever.... Enjoy a great month!

Here are four things you can do to get more from your money.

1. Create a budget. Making a budget and sticking to it will save you a ton of money over time. There are also free budget spreadsheets and budgeting apps you can download from the Internet. Focus on the necessities – mortgage/rent, food, utilities. Set an amount to save each month, and then gradually increase it. Use any money left over for extras, like fun purchases and entertainment.
2. Review your debts. Credit cards, loans, and anything you pay for in installments can start small but wind up as big problems in the future. Check all of your interest rates. Pay off the debts carrying high interest rates as fast as you can.
3. Trim your bills. There are lots of ways to reduce almost every monthly bill you get. Turn off lights, take shorter showers, only run the dishwasher full. When leaving the house, lower the thermostat in winter to save heat, and raise it in summer to cut air conditioning costs. Have the phone company check your bill to see if you could be on a cheaper plan.
4. Track what you spend. Each month look at your credit card statements to discover areas where you could be spending less. Can you cut down the number of times you eat out? Can you skip going to the movies one night a month and watch at home instead? Record the cash you spend each day in a notebook and check it once a month to see what you could save.

These moves can eventually save you a surprising amount of money – so get started now!

Change Before You Have To

Dec 1
Category | Mortgage Speak

QUOTE OF THE WEEK... "Change before you have to."--Jack Welch, retired American business executive and author

INFO THAT HITS US WHERE WE LIVE... GE's former CEO is basically saying it pays to anticipate the changing needs of your business, and that's always a good idea in real estate. Those who are dealing well with change have no doubt benefited from October's 0.7% rise in New Home Sales, now at a 458,000 annual rate. This figure was a little lower than expected, but these sales are still up 1.8% over a year ago and are tied with last May as the highest level since mid-2008. New home sales are certainly below where they should be now in the recovery, but there has been a slight shift by buyers to multi-family homes (urban condos), not counted in the report.

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) reported a tiny decline in their Pending Home Sales index for October. But this measure of contracts on existing homes is 2.2% ahead of where it was a year ago, above year-over-year levels for the second month in a row. The NAR's chief economist commented, "Despite October's modest decline, contract signings have remained at a healthy pace now for six straight months." That may be because monthly median price growth is averaging 5.8% this year, versus 11.5% in 2013. The NAR economist sees this as, "...a healthier pace that has kept affordability in check...while giving more previously stuck homeowners...the ability to sell." 

5 Kinds of Content That Pulls Readers In

Content marketing is more important than ever. Emails, blog posts, social media posts, web page content and downloads are all helping to grow all kinds of businesses. But generating leads and then customers takes content that pulls people in. The important thing is to write like you're talking to another human being. Here are five kinds of content that do just that.

1. Content That's Relevant. Know who your content is for, meaning understand your audience's desires and needs. Then write in a way that addresses how you fulfill those desires and meet those needs. Find out where your targets hang out online and what they search for. Best of all, collect as many of their email addresses as you can, because email still gets the highest rate of response of any online marketing tool.

2. Content That Sounds Honest. If your content sounds honest and well-balanced, people will be more willing to trust you. Nobody wants to be marketed to. A great example of honest content is providing links to expert opinions and customer reviews on third party sites. When you're not the one saying how great you are, it's a lot more convincing. If you don't have online opinions and reviews available, the next best thing is including customer quotes. Naming the source is best, but first get permission.

3. Content That Presents Evidence. When talking about the benefits of working with you, present hard proof. Your content arsenal should include some solid case studies of what you've done for people in key segments of your business. Show the reader how someone else with similar challenges used you to reach their goals. Again, try to get permission to use the customer's name, but if you can't, an anonymous case study is better than none. Also use overall performance benchmarks if you can. These can be based on how much money you saved customers overall, or where you rank in terms of sales volume or some other measure.

4. Content That Has Value, With No Strings Attached. Always think of your content as something that gives value to your audience. Information, insights, advice and help are what people want. Give those things freely, no strings attached, and you'll be amazed at the response.

5. Content That's Free of Jargon and Highfalutin Language. Even when you're talking to other professionals familiar with your business, avoid using industry jargon. And don't make the mistake of thinking that sophisticated language makes you come off like an expert. It could just sound pretentious. The fact is, people don't have the time for complicated communications. They want content that's easy to understand. You'll do a better job getting your message across if it's friendly and accessible. Also, be concise - try for 150-300 words for an email, blog post or landing page; 300-600 words for an e-newsletter or secondary information page; up to 2,000 words for a download. Always KISS your content: Keep It Simple and Short!

All these approaches can result in content that gets read and, most importantly, wins people over. Here's to your continued success building content and customers, as you keep putting together your best year ever... Enjoy a great month!

With Wi-Fi enabled smartphones, tablets and laptops everywhere, free Wi-Fi hotspots seem to be everywhere too. Free Wi-Fi saves you from drawing on your mobile data plan limit, but there are security risks. Hackers on the same free hotspot can make all traffic flow through their computers. They can access websites you visit, your unencrypted passwords and more. They can gather information to use for identity theft and fraud, with severe consequences.

1. Don't use free Wi-Fi unless you absolutely have to. Use your mobile network's data service and pay for higher digital limits if need be. Spending a few more dollars per month for your data plan is cheap insurance for the money you could lose from fraud or identity theft.
2. Use a secure VPN service. A VPN, or Virtual Private Network, encrypts information going from your computer to the Internet, so hackers can't access it. You can surf the Web securely and your personal info is safe. Just double-check that your VPN service is reputable.
3. Don't use free Wi-Fi for anything important. If you want to use free Wi-Fi for some harmless surfing while sipping a latte, fine. Just don't do any online banking, don't use a credit card and don't go to any site that asks for a password. Yes, that includes social media!

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