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Inspired by a Saturday morning conversation, I’ve decided to start a weekly newsletter. You can sign up to receive these regular updates to your inbox HERE but I wanted to post the very first edition, in case you’re not yet on the list. (*Wink wink, nudge nudge.*) The plan is to send these messages out every Monday morning. Here’s the first one, reposted on the blog …

My week began somewhere along the twisty bends of the coastal highway up to Carmel, Calif. and ends in my office, where I’m writing to you now. If you ever find yourself in need of a road trip, I highly suggest this one, as the road that coils around the Pacific is on one edge a study in the exquisite stillness of redwoods and on the other, a wild ride lapped by untamed waves. Like salt and pepper, calm and unrest, the juxtaposition of the two extremes creates a perfect balance as you ride.

The journey was something of a slight vacation for me, after months of working on my business and also planning for an annual charity event I throw each year on my birthday to raise money for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation (CFF). This was my third consecutive year organizing the event, which only costs $20 to attend but in total has raised more than $10,000 for CFF. We even received a post-event write-up in the L.A. Times, which I hope brought some more awareness to this devastating disease.

Following the brief Central California hiatus, it was back to writing in Newport Beach, specifically for a wine company that (when you do the math) donates almost $1 from every bottle sold to the Green Beret Foundation and SEAL Legacy Foundation, helping our nation’s heroes heal. Some of the most rewarding projects I work on are for companies with altruism at their very core, and I feel fortunate to be able to give voice to a brand with selflessness pouring through every sip. 

Finally, just about an hour before I sat down to compose this note, I had my weekly coaching session with Gino Blefari, CEO of HomeServices of America, Inc., a guru on leadership and business growth. 

(Oh and somewhere in between the road-tripping, writing and coaching, I did a whole lot of cleaning in my apartment, but you can read all about my Marie Kondo-esque efforts to remove whatever didn’t spark joy in this post.)

Finally, for the marketing mind …

… I want to offer three big takeaways from my week that you might find useful as you promote and expand your own business:

LinkedIn text-only posts perform better than posts with links, pictures or videos. 
Unlike image-focused platforms like Facebook and Instagram, which reward a user for publishing visual content, LinkedIn favors the bold (type). For instance, this text-only post I published on LinkedIn received 2,269 organic views to date. The next time you post on LinkedIn, (and you should be posting on both your personal and professional pages at least twice per week), consider updating with just text. Copy and paste an excellent testimonial; post a quote and explain how it applies to your business; or, simply write a summary of key points from a motivating sales meeting or industry event you attended. Posts should be no longer than 250 words for maximum organic reach. Also of note: The engagements you DO receive on LinkedIn are more meaningful than those received on other platforms like Pinterest or Twitter because the average LinkedIn user is more likely to convert to a potential customer. According to a January 2018 LinkedIn study, 44% of LinkedIn users earn more than $75k per year and 41% of all millionaires worldwide use LinkedIn. For more advice on the voice you should be using in your social media copy, refer to this Forbes article I contributed to recently.

If writing a newsletter makes you sweat, double down and sign up.
In Forbes article, I shared this tip: “Sign up for as many company newsletters as you can, especially for businesses that seem wildly outside your own industry. If the newsletter isn’t good you can always unsubscribe, but chances are, if it’s a quality email, you’ll find inspiration in the news they’re sharing and how they’re sharing it.” (For more ways to get inspired when crafting long-form content pieces like newsletters and blog posts, refer to this post I wrote: Creative Sources of Inspiration.) 

Add an invisible hashtag to your Instagram story.
Like Harry Potter’s magical cloak, invisible hashtags can vastly broaden the organic reach of your Instagram story without anyone knowing they’re there. To use one, (and I suggest trying a general term like #realestate, #food or #motivation), take a photo or upload a picture from your camera roll to your Instagram story … but don’t press send yet! Next, type your desired hashtag and position it in the background of your photo. For instance, if your photo is the exterior of a home, position it in the sky. Then, tap the pen tool and tap the button at the bottom-left corner of your screen; it looks like a small, black-and-white medicine dropper. Click on a space somewhere near your hashtag and this will match the color of your pen to that exact color you’ve clicked on in the photo. Finally, color over your hashtag using the pen tool until you’ve completely erased the word. (Don’t worry, it’s still there and working to help you out, although now it’s invisible.) Finally, post your story and like magic, you’ll get a whole lot more views on that specific piece of content.  

So, that’s my advice and a rundown of a pretty fulfilling albeit busy week. I hope you also enjoyed yours, and are looking forward to the brand-new one up ahead. 

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