A lot of good blog posts this week that should interest consultants and other small-business owners. For the most part, I’m going to assume that consultants who come to this post from a Tweet will pick up the serious technology-oriented posts and articles from their own Twitter streams or other similarly themed posts. So I’m going to focus primarily on posts and articles between Oct. 3-9 that provide actionable tips for consultants and small businesses or directions for building your online (digital) presence. Let me also reinforce something for the bloggers among my readers that I first read in a Jay Baer post: Headlines draw readers, and most of these start with either How or a Number (X Ways To Do…). Just something to think about if you’re trying to drive traffic and new prospects or customers to your site. If you’re new to this feature, click on Must Read and take a look at my first few.
How Scott Stratten Kicked My Ass. This is my favorite post of the week. Anytime you have a post that combines the talents of two passionate people like Amber Naslund and Scott Stratten. This post is about being authentic, about being yourself. I’m not going to spoil it by saying more, but if you’re starting to worry that you’re getting away from the reason you started your consulting business and doing things that aren’t really you, read this post.
How To Get More Followers to Your Blog. There was a lot of blog traffic this week on Search Engine Optimization and other ways to drive traffic (more on that a bit later). This is a bit different take on the issue. I’ve got to tell you: This guy (Single Dad Laughing) gets it and he lives his philosophy. A testimony to passion driving interest in your blog (professional or personal). And the picture he uses to illustrate the post is a case study in how to do it right.
How Small Businesses Use Web Apps — And What to Look For. Jumping off from a speech by Google CEO Eric Schmidt (who’s made news this week for a series of bizarre recent statements–and this link to 7 Creepy Faux Pas could easily have made this week’s list ), this post argues that we’re moving toward a cloud-computing model for small businesses and consultants and offers tips for what to consider when choosing a cloud app. This post almost didn’t make the list because it was “sponsored” by UPS with UPS ads surrounding it. I’m not sure why, but I was vaguely uncomfortable with this approach, but the post didn’t actively promote UPS services so I include it because it had good information.
How to Build a One-Person Sales Force. I like these Inc. Small Business Guides because they provide actionable tips in a fairly short piece but also give you the opportunity to “dig deeper.” This is a great look at ways to avoid the time suck that can be business development — time spent away from actually doing consulting projects that will earn you money.
7 Things You Must Do To Make Your Product Launch Easier. Dave Navarro is The Launch Coach and he has a simple tagline: Get more people to buy what you’re selling. This is a great column — actually Dave has a great site — if you’re thinking about online sales. If not, well maybe you can move on to the next link.
Make Money By Not Spending. Great reminder of things I know you know but may not think much about from Chris Brogan, who has helped me so much on my journey with his posts and his personal support. The guy is amazing. This is also a way to introduce you to his new website, Escape Velocity, which houses some of the best bloggers on the planet. Once you click on this link, wander around a bit on Escape Velocity!
5 Sales Closing Techniques. A guest post by Rob Krekstein on Michael Brenner’s terrific B2B Marketing Insider blog. I believe that the more you can simplify things, the more effective you’ll be and thinking in terms of using one of these five techniques may well help you close a deal in the next few weeks.
7 Places to Find Free Legal Images for the Web. The title from this guest blog over on Blogging Pro says it all. This provides some good alternatives to pay sites like iStockphoto.com. My friends, Barrie Hopson and Katie Ledger did a similar posting on this with a few different sites over on their And What Do You Do? blog about portfolio careers.
Forget About Your Process. Some great advice about how to sell what you’re offering prospective clients. Forget about how you do it; focus on the outcome, how what you do for the client is going to impact their business. Another great reminder, from an interesting blog sponsored by How, a magazine for designers. Parenthetically, I’m a big fan of looking at publications that don’t have a lot to do with what I do — just to get a different perspective.
And the download of the week comes from Keith Ferrazzi, author of Never Eat Alone and Who’s Got Your Back. Keith posted his Executive Relationship Management Blueprint, which is basically a “cheat sheet for everything Keith teaches.” As someone who participated in Keith’s Relationship Management Academy, I can tell you that Keith’s teachings will indeed change the way you approach relationship-building. A very useful document, and you can get more on Keith through his core blog or this new Business Relationship Mastery blog.