The Streak Begins Now

Watched an AMAZING video last night on "How to Become a Writing god", and it's a fantastic video. It shows you how to become a great and prolific writer, but what makes this HubSpot presentation really awesome is that the overall message can apply to anything.

The overall message is to do it (whatever you IT is) everyday. Write blog posts every day. It doesn't matter if they are crap as long as you write every day. Change your definition of a blog post so that you can write one every single day. Once you get started, the goal is to keep the streak alive. Do it every day for as long as you can.

Writing two in one day doesn't mean you're off the hook for the next day. You have to write one for the next day anyway.

The point is that if you write every day (or run, or design a coat, or sing a song, or whatever it is), even if it's crap, then you will get better. You will not simply get better at writing crap. You will get better, period. And it will no longer be crap.

I Begin the Streak Today

I will begin my own streak, my own path to writing greatness, or immortality, or religious doctrine, or whatever "god" means. I am restarting my blogging challenge from over a year ago. I will write one blog post per day, even if it is crap, but I will write one blog post per day. What better day to embark on a fool's errand the day after April Fool's Day? This way, all the jokes and pranks are out of the way first.

One major difference this time around is that there will be no time limit. I will not end the streak in a year and evaluate my blogging, which was the plan for the previous blogging challenge. Keep the streak alive! The streak will continue as long as I am willing and able to continue it.

Changes to the Blogging Challenge Rules

Okay, there will be several changes and differences to this blogging challenge. The rule changes and differences are outlined below:

  1. There is no limit or minimum to the word count of an individual blog post. Part of this journey and project is to enable myself to write one blog post every day here on this blog, which means altering the definition of a blog post to make that happen. After all, Seth Godin blogs every day, and some days he might not even write more than 100 words. But, he write every day and each of his posts are very poignant and worthwhile.
  2. There will be a daily word quota, which is set at 1,667 words per day. This daily quota ensures that I write 50,000 words per month. Why do I want to write 50,000 words per month? Because 50,000 words is enough for one novel, and it would be cool to write the equivalent of one novel each month. I also want to do this because I can.
  3. The 1,667-word count is not exclusive to the words on this blog, meaning that I can meet the quota by writing for other sites (including LinkedIn with their new publishing tool), by doing client work, or by other writing other materials that will be posted online (eBooks, white papers, email newsletters etc). My quota cannot include social media updates, updates written for, journal entries for my business coaching, journal entries in my journal, or any handwritten work that has no intention of being published online or in-print.
  4. All words and blog posts must be original. No republished work will be counted toward the daily word count or toward the daily blog post. No previously unpublished works, which weren't written on that day, can count toward the quota.
  5. All other rules that were outlined for the old blogging challenge still apply.

The streak has officially started! Where will this streak take me?

I Passed My Inbound Marketing Certification Test!

success stories of the weekEven though I'm moving away from the inbound marketing/content marketing business, I started my inbound marketing certification from HubSpot way back in April. It's a program where you watch a series of nine webinars, or classes, on the various topics. Once you finish the classes, you can then take the test for the certification. I've finally completed the classes and took the test today. I'm excited to say that I passed, and part of my reward is that cool little badge to the right there. It's one of my several successes of the week.

Other Success Stories of the Week

Opportunity International

Last night, I attended a neat little networking event with Opportunity International and the Young Ambassadors for Opportunity St. Louis chapter. The chapter is new, and the organization is about economic empowerment and providing micro-loans, both of which I am all about. I do like that the organization also works on building savings and providing insurance, instead of just funding loans and getting people to start businesses. Sometimes, getting the loan and having the successful business isn't enough because factors outside of the control of the owner can cause the business to fail.

Since the chapter was new, part of the point of the event was to have some sort of a meet-and-greet and to do something to build awareness for the chapter and the organization. When we think of micro-lending organizations, we think of and the Grameen Bank. However, Opportunity International was one of the first organizations to work on this issue, and it's great to encounter an organization that's actually working on some of the issues featured in Half the Sky. Up until now, it seems like these groups existed by were located somewhere other than St. Louis.

Speaking of the which, what's also great is that this chapter and this organization are going to partner with me on showing a screening of the Half of Sky documentary (of course, it would be a screening of the economic empowerment section). It turns out that Opportunity International is a partner organization of the Half the Sky movement, so this upcoming screening should be a huge hit.

Although, part of the success of last night was the peppermint patty cocktail, which was absolutely delicious. It had brownie batter vodka, peppermint schnapps, something else, and the glass was lined with chocolate sauce. The drink was absolutely amazing. Since the event was at Cafe Napoli, I recommend asking for the peppermint patty cocktail the next time you visit.

Amazing Pizza!

A brand new, very tasty pizza place opened up down the street from me the other day. It's called Papa Murphy's, and they make the pizza in front of you and then you take it home and put it in the oven. We tried it today and it's absolutely fantastic pizza! I ate the gourmet vegetarian, which included neat toppings like zucchini and artichoke hearts, and the entire thing was yummy. Fortunately, I have a whole bunch of coupons, so next time I can get their Hawaiian pizza, or their smores pizza for dessert, or their normal vegetarian pizza (the gourmet one has creamy garlic sauce instead of normal tomato sauce, and has a different combination of vegetables on it). I'm excited about it, and especially like the idea that you can buy it and you don't have to eat it right away.

It's Friday

It's always a success if you can make it until the end of the week without dying, or having a total meltdown, or losing everything you have. Cheers to that! I'm going to spend my night playing a little bit of Wii, reading a little bit of book, playing with the kitty, and perhaps getting some work done. There's always fun work to be done.

Why We Use HubSpot (and Why You Should Too)

HubSpotWe have been using HubSpot for much of our marketing for almost 18 months know, and we don't regret the decision one bit. In fact, we wouldn't be where we are today without HubSpot, and we wouldn't be able to provide the services that we provide, with the knowledge that we have, without their previous experience and knowledge in inbound marketing. If you have no idea what marketing software or HubSpot could do for you, then learn why we use HubSpot. If you want what we have, then you'll want HubSpot too.

Impressive Improvement

When we first got HubSpot in November 2011, we were getting a whopping 93 visitors a month! We weren't blogging regularly. We didn't have much of a social media presence, and we didn't understand how to use lead generation content and landing pages to turn our website into something that actually generates leads. Fast forward 18 months, and we average 1,500 visitors a month, we blog three times a week, we have 12 landing pages/lead generation offers (and counting), and we're actually generating a few solid leads each month. There's still plenty of room for improvement, but we have made leaps and bounds over the past 18 months, and we think that they are leaps and bounds from which  every business could benefit.

Robust Analytics

Inbound marketing is all about, and HubSpot shows you data about your website that similar tools don't. Sure, nearly every tool shows you how many visitors you received today, but only HubSpot shows your visitors for this month versus last month, or versus your three-month average, or versus this month last year. Sure, almost every tool has something that tracks sources, but HubSpot also tracks your competitors, showing you how your inbound links compares to theirs, how your traffic compares to theirs, and how your overall online marketing compares to theirs. Nothing feels better than knowing you're marketing yourself better than your competitor.

Comprehensive Online Presence Management

It's all-in-one marketing software for a reason. It has a great email tool (which they just updated, by the way) that is not only easier to use than before, but is much easier to use than email marketing tools like Constant Contact. The templates are ready to go, so it doesn't feel like you need to find an awesome design template or need to do anything extra to make your email marketing effective and professional. The social media publishing is also comprehensive, allowing us to publish for our clients as well as ourselves and even suggesting times that would be best for publication.

However, our favorite tool in HubSpot is the keyword tool. Not only does it offer up suggestions and show competitiveness like Google Analytics, but it shows you how you rank for keywords that you want to rank for. This allows us to know which keywords we're solid on, and which ones could use additional work (improved pages, a blog post or two, maybe an offer etc.) As a compliment, if we find out in our Source section that we are getting traffic for certain keywords, we can add them to the keyword tool to find out how we rank and what pages are ranking for that keyword. This is valuable for any business, not just a content marketing firm like ourselves.

They Don't Leave You Hanging

One of our favorite things about HubSpot is that they do more than sell inbound marketing software. They don't just make the transaction, say "thank you very much", and leave you hanging to perfect your business blogging or your sales funnel or your lead generation content on your own. They have a TON of resources, everything from product training webinars to white papers, from eBooks to their blog that designed to help you use their product better and to do your best inbound marketing. These resources cover everything from social media marketing to search engine optimization, from writing great lead generation emails to developing your marketing personas. The best part about these resources isn't that they are incredibly helpful, but that you get them at no additional cost.

Are you ready to find out what HubSpot is all about? Fortunately, they have a free demo. That's how awesome they are.

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