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Entries in holiday gift guide 2012 (9)

Tuesday
Feb262013

Content Tips for Your Site or Blog

By Shara Lawrence-Weiss

It seems everyone is talking about “content marketing” now doesn’t it? However, not all site owners feel comfortable creating their own content or writing their own articles. For those people, sitting down to type something out is likely a daunting feeling. Where to begin? What to say? That’s how I feel when I open a Chemistry book. Huh? Writing comes easily to me but Chemistry – not so much.

Here are a few ideas for the people who feel a little nervous about writing content:

Spin-off Posts

Read up on various topics of interest, at the blogs and sites you most enjoy. If something sparks your interest, write a spin-off post. For instance, if you love gardening and you read a fun post about gardening tips, consider planting your own garden. Track the progress, week by week, and link over to the original post that got you started. I often write spin-off posts from articles that really peak my interest. I enjoy carrying on the thought process and pulling my own readers into the fun.

Ask a Friend

Do you have writer friends? Ask them to write a post for your site to give you some quality content. Perhaps they can write a post about “Writing tips for beginners” or “The best apps to use for content ideas.”

Guest Authors

Many people go looking for guest author opportunities. Add a menu tab to your site/blog and let people know that they can submit articles for review and possible posting. Do not accept all articles. Be choosy and wise about the content you post and share.

Pay a Content Writer

Locate a trustworthy writer who can cover content for your blog or site. It is especially helpful to find someone who already understands your niche.

Buy Articles

There are plenty of sites Online that offer articles for sale. Be careful not to buy articles that are being re-posted on multiple sites/blogs. You’ll want unique content, any time possible. How much does unique content matter? Watch this SEOmoz whiteboard to find out:

Go Outside

Head outside for a walk. Explore nature and be watchful of what you see, hear and find. Use that data to create a post or photo gallery.

Go to the Mall

Do you enjoy people watching? There’s no better place for it than the mall, right? Take your time strolling around, looking for funny or interesting stories to elaborate on.

Visit the Zoo

Have you ever been to the Zoo and NOT had something silly or funny happen? Every time I’ve gone to the Zoo something nutty happens; either to my own family, to an animal, or to another Zoo visitor. This could make for an interesting post.

Write About How You Dislike Writing

A lot of readers really enjoy reading a heartfelt post that digs into a fear you have. Do you fear writing? Do you fear the rejection of a post? Open up a little and let it out! You may even help someone else, in the process.

Write a “Top XYZ” Post

Write a funny top ten list about things your kids say or funny things you’ve heard at the store. Take a pad and paper (or iPhone, etc) with you to the store, just in case you overhear something comical.

Interview People

I offer a free interview option on one of my blogs for small business owners. They can fill out the form and request a “free small business feature.” This is a nice way to get some fresh content while helping someone else gain free promotion.

Fall Back On Expertise

If ever in doubt, fall back on your area of expertise. What is your background? Can you draw from that to create an article, webinar, photo gallery or another form of content? Can you offer video tips or training clips on YouTube? How about offering your readers/viewers a series of videos on “How to _____”? This could generate some helpful and useful content. I once saw a video series on crafting: “How to create your own crafts with kids.” The craft company generated multiple do-it-yourself videos for their consumers to watch and learn from.

What NOT to Write About

Stay Away From “Best Bloggers!” Lists

In my opinion, these lists were never all that helpful, as most of the lists were generated by people who named their own friends or colleagues. Or the lists were created by algorithms that told us the bloggers were the ‘best’ based on high traffic stats - when in fact, having a favorite blogger is a rather subjective thing. Some bloggers create fantastic content but have very few readers. I suggest you steer clear of “best” lists and focus more on linking to a blogger you love, who wrote a wonderful article. Carry on the thought process and keep the conversation going. A lot of bloggers who see that you linked to them will be highly professional and will pop over to thank you for the mention.

Stay Away From Trashing Other Bloggers By Name

I’d highly recommend staying away from this rich content area, unless your goal is to tick people off and generate angry comments. If that’s your goal, fine. If not, don’t write about how much you hated a post or another blogger’s point of view. Don’t mock others or belittle people or name call. The backlash likely won’t be worth the reader stats. Being mean is never a professional way to behave.

Shara Lawrence-Weiss has a background in education, early childhood, special needs, freelance and marketing. She owns various websites including: Mommy Perks, Personal Child Stories, Early Childhood News and Resources, Emergent Literacy and Weiss Business Solutions (co owner). Shara actively assists with children’s charity events and will soon be returning to a primary school Para position. Learn more about Shara and Rick. You can view additional Guest Posts here.

Friday
Dec072012

2012 HGG:: For Kids

Born to Love Clothing:: Use the code WINTER12 to save 20% on goodies from Born to Love Clothing. They have the most adorable hats and accessories for your little guy. You just might find something cute for your little princess, too!

Smilegram Paper:: Smilegram Paper offers cute, personalized stationery and gifts for kids. You can choose from a variety of gifts filled with bright colors and whimsical designs. Use code smile20 to save 20%. And, be sure to check out Pink Lemonade, the self-confidence building book for girls, while you’re there!

Dhana Eco Kids:: Dhana EcoKids offers apparel for earth conscious kids. Their We’re Wearin’ the World™! premier collection celebrates what eco-savvy kids ages 4-12 already know: connection with nature is a common element shared by every culture on the planet, and we must cherish and protect the gifts the natural world offers us.

Santa’s Secret Elf:: If you’re looking for a way to help your kids celebrate the magic of Christmas while teaching them about the real reason for the season, Santa’s Secret Elf Merryam is for you. The book is great, but the website is also full of interactive games and activities for kids.

Invitation Suite:: Invitation Suite offers invitations for any occasion along with digital holiday cards and personalized gifts. The online boutique is sure to have something for everyone on your list. And, orders over $100 receive free shipping!

Cuteheads:: Cuteheads is a line of adorable, comfy clothing that both parents and children will love! Made in the USA, the shop offers  great gift ideas for the little ones on your shopping list. They also feature baby gift items.

Strawberry Monday:: Strawberry Monday is an award winning destination for quality name brand boutique women's clothing resale , children's boutique clothing resale and custom hair flowers, hair clips, and other accessories at affordable prices. They offer quality name brand items at resale prices in new and like new condition.

The Boy’s Store:: Ever feel like it’s easier to find cute items for the little girls on your list? Not at The Boy’s Store. They offer the best boy clothing selection you can find. They offer a variety of brands for boys of all ages and sizes. And, they even offer organic items!

Shnoozles:: Shnoozles are soft and cuddly creatures that help little ones to fall asleep faster. Made with a patented sleep plush and “Shnoozle” eyes, the relaxing creature and rhyme book will put little ones to sleep in no time!

Better Baby Bums:: Better Baby Bums has worked to find all natural products for your entire family and put them under one roof. They are passionate about finding safe, healthy practical products for the ones you love.  They test-drive and stand behind all the items in their shop.

 

 

Friday
Dec072012

2012 HGG:: Stocking Stuffers

 

TJJ Sews:: TJJ Sews offers a wide variety of hand sewn key fobs, lanyards, e-reader cases and much more. There are a wide variety of quality fabrics available to choose from. Key fobs and lanyards make great stocking stuffers for any age!

Thursday
Dec062012

2012 HGG:: For Home

Polish Pottery Garden::  Beautiful, handcrafted pottery would make the perfect gift for almost anyone on your list. Starting out as users and collectors of the charming stoneware, Lorrie and Tammy opened The Polish Pottery Garden to share their finds with you.

EatSmart:: The EatSmart Elite Precision Digital Kitchen Scale makes a great gift for anyone trying to weigh foods or monitor caloric intake. It’s simple enough to use every day, yet sophisticated enough for the pickiest chefs.

Add More Color:: Add More Color offers a great selection of unique, colorful gifts for home. Items are inspired by nature and many can be customized. Several of the products are photographic and one-of-a-kind. Visit and browse today!

Scentsy:: Visit Wendy Kinkle and shop Scentsy today. Your home will smell great and there are many buy-one-get-one specials this month. Whether you are shopping for yourself or that special someone on your list, you won’t be disappointed!

Thursday
Dec062012

2012 HGG:: For Her

Young Living:: Young Living Essential Oils champions nature's living energy—essential oils—by fostering a community of healing and discovery while inspiring individuals to wellness, purpose, and abundance. Young Living succeeds by providing real wellness solutions, not side effects.

 Lilla Rose:: Lilla Rose offers hair accessories that are elegant, beautiful and unique. There are a range of products from the  flag ship Flexi-clip that comes in seven sizes, to our hair bands, bobby pins, you pins, and badge holders! Shop now for you or a gift.

Body By Ace:: Appetite Control and Energy dietary supplement is a synergistic blend of ingredients including Dark Cocoa and Natural Caffeine, plus additional key ingredients. One or two capsules will turn-off your hunger switch and kick you into gear! Makes a perfect gift for yourself or someone you love!

Corky Kouture:: Corky Kouture™ luxurious, eye popping, show stopping presentation bags are designed to dazzle and delight even the most demanding Diva! Save and get your own for $25 by using code CK25!

SharQui:: SharQui – The bellydance workout® burns up to 350 calories in one hour! This power packed dance workout fuses the body-loving and soul-stimulating elements from the art form of bellydance with the fat blasting burn of a cardio workout. SharQui is the exciting way to get fit and change your body.

Be Healthy Be Happy Wellness:: Learn the secrets to healthy living! Ready to make 2013 the healthiest year of your life? Check out “New You for the New Year,” a fun, interactive, life-changing group program that starts January 7th. Visit their website for details!

Origami Owl – Life in a Locket:: Visit Barbara Bennett at Origami Owl and find perfect, meaningful gifts for all of the women on your list. Create a unique and personalized gift that will highlight her life story, likes and dreams. Every locket tells a story, what’s yours?

N-fini Shapewear:: N-fini offers a wide variety of shapewear products for every woman. Bras, bottoms, slips, camis, strapless, plus sizes, and much more are available. N-fini offers seamless designs that are contemporary and attractive.

Lily Brooke Jewelry:: Order by December 10 and get free delivery for Christmas! Lily Brooke offers a wide variety of jewelry and birthstone bracelets that any lovely lady on your shopping list would adore!