#WOOF Round-Up: The Saloon Smasher

prohibitionThis is your weekly #WOOF Round-Up! Every day, we give you a word of the day, from the dictionary of the day. In case you missed any during the week, we compile them every Friday.

On Tuesday, we highlighted the prohibition activist, Carry Nation, who was famous for her “hatchetations,” in which she would enter saloons and singlehandedly smash them with her hatchet. She performed her first hatchetation field trip in 1900 — 20 years before the Eighteenth Amendment enacted the prohibition of alcohol consumption in the United States.

Regardless of whether you enjoy imbibing a little bubbly once in awhile, what are your thoughts on Nation’s activist strategy? Is is true that you’ve got to break a few eggs in order to make an omelette, as they say?


 

carry nation

Carry Amelia Nation, with her saloon-smashing hatchet in hand.

Monday: Robert Lowell (1995 Webster’s Dictionary Of American Authors) — (b. 1917 – d. 1977). American poet noted for his complex confessional poetry. He won the Pulitzer Prize in 1947. His activities in the civil-rights and anti-war campaigns in the 1960s lent a more public note to his poetry.

Tuesday: Carry Amelia Nation (1994 Larousse Dictionary of North American History) — U.S. Temperance advocate. She gained notoriety as a prohibitionist following her numerous saloon-smashing expeditions. She was a large and powerful woman who wielded a hatchet to destroy bars and the alcohol they contained. (b. 1846 – d. 1911)

Wednesday: Winslow Homer (1878 American Painters) — One of the most famous American painters of his generation, he was born in 1836 and died in 1910. Known for his exceedingly simple works of people at leisure, his paintings have a certain noble simplicity and quietude.

Thursday: 38 (1988 Dictionary Of Ages) — “By the bye, as I must leave off being young, I find many Douceurs in being a sort of Chaperon for I am put on the Sofa near the fire & can drink as much wine as I like.” (Jane Austen, on being 38, in a letter to her sister Cassandra, 6 November 1813)

Friday: Xanthic (1978 Roget’s College Thesaurus In Dictionary Form) — Yellow, yellowish, fulvous, tawny

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Four Benefits Of Blogging For Your Small Business

There’s no getting around it: starting a small business is difficult. Amidst establishing a small business blogginglocation, managing staff, producing a product, and dealing with customers, it can suddenly feel as if there’s hardly any time left over for essentials, like eating and sleeping. With all of these responsibilities vying for your attention, it’s safe to assume that blogging for a small business is probably fairly low on your priority list. To help you make the decision to start blogging, we’ve compiled our top under-appreciated benefits for small business blogging.

Benefit #1: It shows potential customers what you’re all about. Through short blog posts, you’re showing the world that you do more than just provide a service. Regular, dedicated blogging allows you to show that you’re smart and passionate about what you do. Give customers and potential customers an idea of who you are and why you do what you do.

Benefit #2: It opens up a wider client base. People who might never visit your physical store will be able to find you online through your blog. If you have an online store set up, so much the better! Your business has suddenly gone global.

Benefit #3: It’s a great (free!) form of advertising. If you’re already paying for an online presence, it’s a cinch to add an extra page.

Benefit #4: It’s how you’ll get to the top. Statistically speaking, blogging is essential to getting your website to the top of Google’s search results:

Companies that publish at least 15 blogs per month get five times more traffic than those that don’t blog. Small businesses with 1-10 employees see the largest gains by posting more often. I know what you’re saying. 15 blogs per month? Way too much… According to the HubSpot study, companies that blog once or twice per month generate 70% more leads than those who don’t blog at all (Scott McKelvey).

Even if you don’t maintain your own business website, there are still a wide array of free blogging sites available from which you can choose.  A few minutes of set-up, and a world of opportunity and growth is available to you. To talk more to us about this or anything else, please feel free to contact us.









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Financial Planning vs. Portfolio Management: An Example Post

Getting the word out about your portfolio-management company in a unique and interesting way can be a challenge. Content marketing through blogging is one of the best ways to educate potential customers, attract attention to your company, and boost your bottom line. Here is a financial-planning and portfolio-management example post.


 

Financial Planning Vs. Portfolio Management: Three Key Differences

financial planningIt may seem like financial planning and portfolio management are the same thing, since both deal with investments and other finances. However, there are three distinct differences between the two, including their positions within the asset management field, what their objectives are, and what tasks they perform.

Position is everything.

One way to differentiate portfolio-management professionals from financial planners is by the levels that they have achieved within their organizations. Portfolio managers are in the top tier, and considered upper management level, as they generally work with mutual funds and pensions. Portfolio-management professionals have a wide array of experiences, with positions as research analysts and junior portfolio managers.

Financial planners, on the other hand, are considered mid-level players in asset management. They usually have a minimum of five years of experience in investment planning and allocation of assets, and work in institutions, such as banks or brokerage houses, although they are also often independent small business owners.

It’s all about focus.

Perhaps one of the biggest differences between financial planners and portfolio managers is what their objectives are. A financial planner, for example, helps his clients achieve their own personal objectives. Financial planners also help clients reduce taxes and choose investments that will achieve the clients’ future income needs for retirement, travel, education, and so forth.

A portfolio manager, on the other hand, is focused on generating the highest possible return on investment  for the mutual fund or company that he works for. This is done by procuring stocks, bonds, and other financial assets that are believed to be able to fill the objective of making profits.

Main functions.

Financial planners answer questions and make suggestions based on what the clients’ needs are. Things that financial planners deal with every day include questions like: Will I be able to afford to retire? How much will I have to live on if I retired now? How can I reduce my taxes?

Portfolio managers both set up portfolios, as well as practice tax gain / loss harvesting (selling securities at a loss to offset a capital gains tax liability). Again, the portfolio manager’s primary duty is to assure that there is a return on investment for the organization that they work for.

If you want more information about financial management, contact us, one of our investment experts will be more than happy to assist you.


 

As you can see, a blog post for a portfolio-management firm need not be promotional in nature. It can be informative and helpful to prospective clients. You may not have the time to create such posts, but our writers do! Contact us us to find out how your company can benefit from blog posts written for your audience.









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For The 15,976 Who Weren’t Picked By Amtrak

Last December, Amtrak announced open applications for its residency program. Through the program, selected applicants would ride Amtrak to destinations of their choosing, and during their tenure, would write. Almost immediately, seemingly every amateur and professional writer in the world received phone calls from all of their family and friends, informing them of this exciting opportunity, and demanding that they apply.

And they did apply — in droves. Out of 16,000 applications, Amtrak chose 24 writers for amtrakthe program. That means that literally thousands of writers found themselves contemplating new vistas of literary rejection. But it’s not like rejection is anything new to the writer. But still, sometimes the sting cuts deeper than anticipated.

For the 15,976 of you who weren’t picked by Amtrak, we offer the following humble advice:

  1. Write every day. In his book Education of a Wandering Man, bestselling author Louis L’Amour encourages writers to write something every day. Coming from a man who produced over a hundred published works during his lifetime, this advice seems to carry some weight. Whether you journal, add to an ongoing work of fiction, plan your memoirs, or produce freelance articles, be sure to write every day.
  2. Join a critique group. At some point, every writer has to let someone besides his mother and his best friends critique his work. Joining a writer’s critique group provides a safe space and allows opportunities to gain helpful insights and glean feedback from others who are sharing the same struggle.
  3. Experiment with new forms. If your novel-writing attempts always seem to start strong but then peter out around the 5,000-word mark, perhaps it would be wise to try your hand at short stories. If you like to write but have difficulties plotting creatively, perhaps narrative nonfiction may be right for you.

One of the most lucrative avenues of writing self-improvement is to spend some time working for a content-writing company. Not only will you have the chance to write about something different every day, but you will also be able to learn to take criticism lightly, face rejection without dying, and make requested edits with cheerful quickness — three traits absolutely required of all writers.

Looking to get paid to expand your writing horizons? Please feel free to apply as a writer with us.

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Blogging For Contractors: Be Creative!

The best way to attract a new customer is to give them useful and timely information that caters to his specific interests and needs. Blogging for contractors is a great way to improve your company’s online presence while reaching your target market. Below is one example of a creative and helpful blog entry, that gives the reader DIY information. Informative and useful posts are sure to catch a customer’s eye.


 Interior Window Washing 101: Simple Tricks To Get It Done

Let’s face it, window washing isn’t the most fun activity, but it has to be done. Clean blogging for contractorswindows let in more light, and they look great, too. These simple tricks will help you get the job done quickly and inexpensively. Plus, your windows will be so clean that your friends and family will wonder if the windows are even closed.

Window Cleaning Solvent

First of all, let’s dispel the myth that you need to buy an expensive window washing spray to get your windows really clean. The fact is, you can make a window cleaner better than anything you can buy. Simply follow the recipe below to prepare your own powerful and streak-free cleaner.

  • Start with a clean spray bottle. You can purchase an inexpensive spray bottle at a local discount store for a couple dollars. Alternatively, recycle an empty window cleaner bottle (you can’t beat free!). As long as it’s clean, it works.
  • Use isopropyl rubbing alcohol. This key ingredient helps the windows dry quickly, which helps reduce streaking.
  • Use dish detergent. Just a drop or two is all that’s needed to break the surface tension of the water and get between the dirt and the window.
  • Use white vinegar. Not only is vinegar good on salads, it’s also excellent on windows. This is where the true cleaning power of your window washing solution is going to come from.
  • Use distilled water. You can use tap water, but using distilled water will prevent any buildup of minerals. Using distilled water will also help keep your windows cleaner for longer.

Now that you have your ingredients together:

Mix your ingredients.You’ll want to add just a drop or two of the dish detergent to your spray bottle, but no more. Next, add about a teaspoon or so of the rubbing alcohol. Be sure to do this away from any open flame and never while smoking.

Next, add about half a cup of the white vinegar, then fill the rest of your bottle with the distilled water. Replace the spray cap and shake the bottle vigorously until it’s mixed. If you like, you could even add a drop or two of blue food coloring to make it look just like store-bought window cleaner.

Clean The Windows

The best way to avoid the lint left behind from using paper towels or rags, is to use newspaper or coffee filters for a lint-free shine. Although newspaper may leave a little of the ink on your hands, it’s easy to wash off when you’re finished. Plus, as an added bonus, you’ll be recycling.

You should perform a thorough interior window cleaning at least once every season. It’s a good idea, though, to touch up your windows in-between cleanings. For that, use a clean and dry chalkboard eraser. It does an amazing job of removing lint and dust.

All in all, washing windows isn’t as hard as most people think. These simple tips and tricks from the pros will help you get it done so you can get back to doing the things you really enjoy.

As you’re cleaning your windows, you may notice that some may be in need of repair or replacement this season. Contact us for a free estimates. One of our professionals will be happy to help you.


With the creativity and talent of our professional writers, BlogMutt can help service contractors capture the attention of homeowners. Contact us today to find out how you can continue to grow your business and maintain a strong and professional online presence.









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#WOOF Round-Up: Bibliophilia!

This dictionary monolith is just a small portion of our dictionary collection here at BlogMutt.

This dictionary monolith is just a small portion of our dictionary collection here at BlogMutt.

This is your weekly #WOOF Round-Up, in which you will find a word of the day for each day of the work week, from one of our fabulous dictionaries of the day. Use these words to collect writing and usage tips.

Did you demur in conversation about going to the movies tonight, or did you hesitate?

Isn’t there a better way to say that you’re not a morning person? Of course there is! It’s not that you don’t like to get up early, it’s just that you’re not matutinal.

At BlogMutt, we’re all writers, so we take pleasure in choosing the right word for the right occasion. Do you ever pick up a dictionary or a thesaurus and read through it, just to learn new words?

We do, too! BlogMutt HQ proudly houses a portion of Scott Yates’ awesome dictionary collection, for perusing and researching words. Do you have a favorite dictionary you like to go to? We took an off-the-cuff office poll, and found that Scott prefers The American Heritage Dictionary, while Grace and Courtney like to use the Oxford English Dictionary.

If you’re a writer, let us know what your go-to dictionary is, especially if it’s an online one.


 

Monday: Demur (1917 Crabb’s English Synonymes) — To pause. From Latin demorari, to keep back. Demurring is a matter of prudence from doubt or difficulty. It is different from hesitation, which comes from an undecided state of mind.

Tuesday: Lilith (1987 Eerdman’s Bible Dictionary) — According to rabbinical tradition, the first wife of Adam who left him because she was not granted full equality.

Wednesday: Superman (1987 Encyclopedia Of Pop Culture) — Based on the hero of the sci-fi novel, Gladiator, Superman is a friendly being from another planet, who uses his power to assist humanity. In 1938, Detective Comics (DC) bought the Superman idea for $130. Before Superman was famous, the name was generally associated with German racism, and Nietzsche’s Übermensch (“over-man” or “beyond man”).

Thursday: In the morning; early (1977 Bernstein’s Reverse Dictionary) — Matutinal.

Friday: Flosculus (1971 Dictionary Of Word Roots And Combining Forms) — Little flower (Latin).

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Finding The Right Warehouse For Your Business Needs: An Example Post

Every business can greatly expand their web presence with content that is custom written to speak to its clients’ interests. The best way to do this is by blogging for B2B markets. The following is an example post of an informative blog entry that a business serving potential small commercial clients would add to its website.


 

Is A Public Warehouse Right For Your Small Business?

Sometimes, trying to find the right solutions for your new business can make you feel lost at sea.  We’ll throw you a lifeline and guide you towards finding the right warehousing solutions that work for your business needs. No matter what kind of business you are in, if you need warehouse space, you should consider using a public warehouse for your products for a couple of reasons.

warehouse business needsFlexible Accommodations

Public warehouses are set up in such a way as to allow a business only to pay for what is used. Say you have 100 pallets of product to store this month. You’ll only be charged for those 100 pallets, and no more. However, when the season changes or your business grows, you may need more space. A public warehouse will be able to accommodate your needs so that your business can continue to grow.

Additionally, public warehouses are usually set up to handle on-demand storage. So, if you need less storage for a month or even a whole season, there’s no need to pay for the space. However, with some warehouses, you may need to pay a small retainer so that they keep your account active for your off-season.

The Right Kind Of Storage

Many public warehouses offer a variety of facilities including climate-controlled units. This is beneficial to businesses that need more than one type of storage for different products. Some storage units are suitable for goods like frozen foods, another warehouse will be set up to handle cold storage for food and other goods. Other facilities are better suited for storing non-perishable food products in an ambient temperature facility.

Perhaps your company doesn’t deal in food goods. The best public warehouse providers will also be able to accommodate products like bundles, rolls, foliage, machinery, and other equipment. Very often these types of facilities are used for pallets full of product. There is a myriad of other types of products that can be stored until shipped to your distribution points, wholesale, or retail outlets.

Storage On Demand

As you can see from these examples, public warehouse spaces are a blessing for new businesses that need additional space for product storage. Like many businesses, you may not have the room for expansion, or the capital available to add to your current facility. With a public warehouse, your business can rise to meet your market demand, control costs and grow, all at the same time.

For more information about how public warehouse space can help your business, contact us. We will be more than happy to help you find the perfect warehouse solutions.


With the diverse talent of our writers, BlogMutt can help you capture the attention of your target audience with interesting and helpful information. Contact us today to find out how you can grow and maintain a strong and professional online presence.










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B2B Content-Marketing Trends For 2015

More and more companies are beginning to understand that traditional advertising, such as television, radio, and website banner ads are easy for consumers to ignore. Since these traditional marketing techniques so easily interrupt the activity in which the consumer is engaged, those ads become little more than annoyances to the consumer. Content marketing, on the other hand,  grabs the attentions of those people who are actively seeking information, as long as that information is relevant and genuinely helpful. If the consumer find what she needs, she will make her way into the sales funnel by her own accord.

content marketing trends

Content creation is no longer just a burgeoning trend. It has become necessary for all businesses, regardless of industry.

There’s a lot of talk about content marketing these days, and just about everybody’s doing it, from the largest of corporations to the tiniest of small businesses. According to the Content Marketing Institute (CMI) and MarketingProfs, in their 2014 Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends – North America, 93 percent of B2B marketers are using content marketing. Following are some other interesting statistics gathered from the report:

Increased Content Creation

Marketing professionals who understand how important content is, are making sure that they stay ahead of the competition. Consistently creating new content is a priority for roughly 78 percent of the top B2B marketers who, according to the CMI report, are creating more content than a year ago. The report also goes on to say that only 57 percent of the less successful marketing peers are doing the same. This trend is likely to continue well into 2015 and beyond.

Spending On Content Marketing

The average B2B company will spend around 30 percent of its marketing budget on content marketing in the coming year, but the best companies will spend a little bit more, right around 39 percent. Furthermore, 52 percent of B2B marketers plan to increase their content marketing budgets over the next 12 months. The reason for this, according to Kapost, is that the ROI or return on investment for content marketing produces three times more leads than other marketing channels.

Content-Marketing Challenges

Being prolific in producing content as well as creating quality content that engages potential customers are two challenges facing companies today. Finding the time for content creation is also a problem for roughly 69 percent of businesses. No matter the size of the company, the answer to both of these dilemmas is outsourcing at least part of the work. CMI says that, currently, 64 percent of companies who utilize content marketing outsource the writing, 54 percent outsource design and 22 percent outsource content distribution and syndication. In future months, the number companies outsourcing content creation, management, and distribution is expected to continue to increase.

In today’s content-hungry world, there is no substitute for information that solves a problem, gives advice, or adds some value to the reader’s experience. In order to stay competitive and capture a larger share of the information marketplace, a company must be in the content-creation business, no matter what product or service they sell.

If you’d like to learn more about content marketing and how you can benefit from outsourcing, contact us. We have content-creation solutions that fit any size business in any niche market.










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Why The Competition Is Outsourcing Its Content Marketing Operations

In a 2014 content marketing study, it was discovered that B2B-oriented marketing platforms are increasing their budgets to provide high-quality blog content. This demand for high-value content has led to a marked increase in the outsourcing of content creation.

content marketing

A smart content-marketing strategy that includes dedicated blogging will lead to an increase in both traffic and sales.

The Modern B2B World Is Hungry for Content

Nearly two-thirds (63 percent) of business-oriented marketing firms are allocating a greater portion of their marketing budgets towards content marketing in the upcoming 12 months. Research goes on to justify this influx of demand by reporting that 90 percent of companies have blogs and are utilizing the blogs as a strategic resource in demand generation. The blogs with good content marketing strategies gain more traffic, increased sales, and even become thought leaders in their industry.

While it was generally considered standard practice to have a small in-house team to generate content, companies utilizing such a business model in the modern content paradigm are finding themselves left behind by competition that is willing to outsource and thereby publish more targeted content. Data goes one to show how 68 percent of companies surveyed had outsourced some of their content development needs in the past 12 months of operation.

The Demand For Content Solutions Is Forecast To Increase In The Next Year

Fifty-one percent of marketing firms and company advertising divisions reported that they are planning to outsource demand generation, and 27 percent of those reported that they planned to outsource their content writing. Many of those choosing to do this have encountered roadblocks, as coordinating content strategy and demand generation can be challenging when operating with two separate third-party solutions.

Overcoming the difficulties associated with outsourcing content strategy and creation are companies like BlogMutt, a one-stop solution that provides articles written on a weekly basis to stay ahead of the competition. One of our hundreds of talented writers will create fresh, niche-specific, and brand-driven content pieces for your company’s blog. Contact us today and watch your visibility and authority grow, as we work like a dog to fill up your blog.










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HubSpot Is Doing The Right Thing, But Can’t Tell You

I got a lovely personal email this morning from none other than Brian Halligan, CEO of HubSpot. (OK, maybe it wasn’t too personal, as it went out to all BlogMutt staff with a HubSpot account, and all the other agency partners who work with HubSpot.)

The email started with what everyone knows, that HubSpot is going public. The whole “marketing automation” world is absolutely exploding. Marketo already went public, Eloqua was purchased by Oracle, Pardot/Exact Target was purchased by Salesforce. SilverPop was acquired by IBM. There are tons of companies in this space, and for the most part they are all growing like crazy because people are figuring out that the old style of advertising is withering.

So, what was the heart of Brian’s note to me?

He said that if I wanted to, I could purchase shares of HubSpot before the IPO. Now, I will say right here that I am not a securities lawyer, and it’s clear that this email had been carefully combed over by securities lawyers. It even said:

“Should you choose to forward this email to your employees, you must do so without changes, in precisely this form (only by email, so hyperlink to the prospectus is active, and only to US residents).”

Clearly Brian and everyone at HubSpot is working under some pretty strict rules. I don’t work for HubSpot, however, and I have not talked to anyone at HubSpot about this post. Also, I’m an American and I have First Amendment rights, so I can say whatever I want!

(Just as an aside, my personal opinion is that the SEC rules are in serious need of updating. Remember when Reed Hastings, CEO of NetFlix, got in trouble with the SEC for making a “private” disclosure on his Facebook page? Nevermind that he had 244,000 followers. Nevermind that many of his followers are reporters. And nevermind that it also wasn’t even really news, just a vanity metric. He was right when he said making the “disclosure” in an obscure form to the SEC is way less public than putting it on Facebook.)

I wish that HubSpot could talk about what it is doing publicly, because what the company is doing is a great thing, and I know it must not have been easy. I know, because I did a similar thing.

What HubSpot is essentially doing is saying that the agencies who work with HubSpot have been a part of the success of the company, and so if the market rewards that success, the agencies should share in that.

We came to a similar realization a while back. We realized that the writers who create posts for BlogMutt customers are a huge part of our success, and if we get acquired someday we want them to share in our success, too. So we created “Writer Shares” and made history as the first crowdsourcing company to ever give any kind of equity in the company to members of the crowd.

It wasn’t easy. Securities laws are antiquated, so we had to thread the needle very carefully, but it was worth it. Now we have all the paperwork done to issue those special shares to writers as soon as they hit a certain level within our internal ranking system. When a writer gets to that level, we send them the paperwork, and a certificate. We’ve done that 53 times now, and it’s a great day every single time.

So kudos to Brian and all the team at HubSpot for doing that work behind the scenes, and recognizing that sharing success is a great way to help build on success.

-Scott

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