Creating Web Content, Blogs, Articles
Whether you’re looking for a versatile blogger, journalist, or website copywriter, I can provide you with the professional writing services you need for your business, organization, school, or government agency.
With 36 years of experience in everything from writing newspaper articles and press releases to business proposals and website content, I can help you communicate effectively with virtually any internal or external audience. Email me, today!
Examples of My Work
- Alternatives to Retirement are Becoming Increasingly Popular
- How to Be an Entrepreneur
- Business Contract Tips
- What is a Tax Audit?
Blog Posts I Wrote for Coffee Lovers:
- Good News About the Benefits of Coffee!
- Top 5 Reasons to Buy Coffee Online
- Caffeine Content: How Much Caffeine is in Your Coffee?
Miscellaneous “Ghost Written” Blog Posts (uncredited)
- Turkey Trot Marathon race raises money for the homeless in Austin, TX
Five blog posts I wrote on business and homeowner topics :
Why Every Company Should Have an Online Presence
by Joel Sussman
One of your biggest challenges as a small business owner is overcoming competition. If you were the “only game in town,” then the job of attracting customers would be a whole lot easier! However, that’s rarely the case. In most businesses, competition is a fact of life, so it’s essential to stand out from the crowd, present yourself in a professional way, and continuously make yourself known to your target market.
Smart consumers have always comparison-shopped for the best service, quality, and value for their money, but their methods for gathering information have drastically changed over the past decade. Many of your potential clients, for example, are turning to the Internet as their main source of information on companies they’re considering doing business with.
For that reason, having a strong online presence is no longer a luxury or an advanced marketing technique that can be postponed indefinitely. In today’s digital world, it’s essential to be easily and quickly found on the Internet, to have a highly functional business website, and to interact with clients via social media. A sketchy or nonexistent online presence undermines your credibility and plants seeds of doubt in the minds of potential clients.
Gaining Customers in the Digital Age
An important question to ask yourself periodically is “Why would people choose my services over the competition?” While there are a lot of variables, factors like online visibility, favorable customer reviews, and a professionally designed, interactive website can easily tip the scales in your favor.
One of the first steps to creating a strong online presence is to make sure you have a professional-looking website and that it’s “search engine friendly.” Unfortunately, a lot of small business owners are in denial when it comes to setting up a website that’s simple to navigate and easy to find on Google and other search engines. Not only do you want potential clients to easily find you on the Internet, but you also want their first impression to be positive and memorable.
Are you familiar with the concept of “Top of Mind Awareness?” Simply stated, it’s a company’s effectiveness at being remembered or thought of first when customers are in the market for their products or services. Being on a customer’s “short list” is the first marketing hurdle businesses face in the quest for revenue growth.
Building Your Reputation Online
Word-of-mouth advertising has always been considered one of the most powerful and cost-effective forms of marketing. However, with so many conversations now taking place on the Internet, that form of communication has taken on a slightly different name. Now, it’s jokingly referred to as “word of mouse.”
If you have a method of engaging your prospective customers online, like social media, an active blog, or online reviews, then their awareness and appreciation of your company will tend to be higher. As online reviews and social media continue to impact customer buying decisions, more businesses are recognizing the importance of maintaining a favorable online reputation.
For those who are new to Internet marketing, establishing an effective online presence can be a bit overwhelming and somewhat confusing. Chances are, the demands of running your business occupy most of your time and make it impractical to adopt a do-it-yourself approach to website design, ecommerce, and cultivating “top of mind awareness.”
While it’s not necessary for you to be an expert in Internet marketing or website development, it IS to your advantage to understand the basics of growing your business online.
If you’re looking for ways to either create an Internet presence or make it more effective, don’t hesitate to call or email me. I’d be happy to answer any questions you have and provide tips and ideas about website development, ecommerce, Internet marketing, and expanding your company’s online presence. [NOTE: This blog post was written for a client who is a website developer.]
How to Make Business Meetings More Productive
by Joel Sussman
Business meetings can either be a frustrating interruption to everyone’s workday or an inspiring, idea-filled conversation that identifies opportunities and solutions. If you or members of your team are responsible for running meetings, here are several ways to make meetings more productive, interactive, and interesting.
Create an Agenda
The video conferencing company High Five says that barely 37% of meetings in the US use agendas. That’s surprising and may be the reason your last meeting was unproductive and seemed endless!
By setting aside some time to create an outline of the projects and issues you need to discuss, you’ll accomplish several things. You’ll not only clarify in your own mind the important topics that need to be covered, but it will make it easier to keep participants on track.
If you circulate the agenda in advance and invite input on agenda items, you’ll make sure important topics don’t slip through the cracks. It will also give everyone a “heads up” about the upcoming meeting and get them thinking about projects they’re involved in and contributions they could make.
Effective Leadership is Key
Everyone has attended meetings that seem to go on forever and fail to resolve problems, set goals, or serve any useful purpose. Meetings like that can undermine employee morale, thwart company progress, and waste staff time and resources.
In most cases, the main ingredient of productive meetings is the leadership and presentation skills of the person running the meeting. Not only is it their responsibility to set a meaningful agenda and make sure everyone knows their role, but it’s also up to them to serve as moderator, keeping discussions on track.
Clear Communication Prevents Snafus
When staff and colleagues know their roles, then the direction and tone of the meeting will be more professional and productive. Although the meeting leader bears most of the responsibility for the efficiency of the meeting, each participant is a vital link in the process.
While planning and running business meetings is an acquired skill, there are many steps you can take to improve the productivity and success of future meetings. By seeing to it that your team is available, prepared, and familiar with current priorities, you’ll accomplish more, get sidetracked less, and address important issues and opportunities on a timely basis.
Stress Reduction Ideas for Commuters
by Joel Sussman
Many house hunters are so focused on finding the ideal house, yard, and neighborhood, that they sometimes sacrifice one of their top goals: a short commute to work. At first, a long drive to the office may seem like a small price to pay for finding a great house, but your outlook might change when the tedium of commuter gridlock starts to become a burden. Fortunately, there are ways to ease the stress of being stuck in rush-hour traffic twice a day.
Car pooling: By sharing driving responsibilities with one or two other people, you can reduce the overall stress of your daily commute. You can also save money on gas, highway tolls, and parking fees. Assuming you find carpooling companions whose company you enjoy, time will seem to pass a lot faster. Then, of course, there’s the advantage of less wear and tear on your car. Although carpooling isn’t as ideal as living 15 to 20 minutes from work, it can be an effective way to ease the burden of a long commute.
Telecommuting: As technology advances and more and more people are adapting to it, the option of working from home is becoming increasingly popular. When you consider the many options there are for document sharing and communicating remotely, you may have a strong case for proposing a work-from-home arrangement with your employer. Even though it may be necessary to meet face-to-face a few days a week with coworkers, colleagues, and clients, the ability to split your work time between home and your office can save you time, money, and aggravation. As long as you can maintain your productivity working from home, it may turn out to be a life-changing arrangement. Granted, it doesn’t work for everyone, but it may be well worth looking into — at least on a part-time basis.
Public Transportation: If you happen to live close to a train station, then public transportation might be the perfect solution to a long, tedious drive into the city. Instead of concentrating on road signs and traffic conditions, you can read a book, listen to your favorite music, or prepare for a meeting or presentation. You can also check your email, get a head start on your work day, or even sneak in a few minutes of sleep or meditation.
While the best option for many people is to buy a home that’s within 30 minutes of their job or business, that may be difficult to accomplish for couples working in different locations. Long commutes can infringe on important aspects of your life, though, including family time, relaxation time, and being able to get things done around the house. Not having enough time to “recharge your battery,” every day, can eventually take its toll on your health, your relationships, and your outlook on life.
Many Advantages to Retiring in Florida
By Joel Sussman
Although several areas of the United States are considered desirable places to retire, Florida continues to be one of the leading choices among retirement age couples.
While the most obvious reasons relate to its warm climate, a vacation-like atmosphere, and proximity to the beach, there are also some distinct financial advantages to living in the Sunshine State.
According to Kiplinger, “Florida has no state income tax, estate tax or inheritance tax, and it doesn’t tax Social Security or other retirement income, either.” While those advantages certainly wouldn’t be the only reasons to settle down in Florida, those features could favorably affect your overall financial security and quality of life.
Since government and business leaders in Florida have long recognized the positive impact seniors have on the local and state economies, there are a lot of policies in place that are supportive of retirement-age residents. In addition to Florida’s massive tourism industry, the state’s retirement community plays a major role in helping to make Florida a vibrant and thriving place to live.
While the cost of living and health care varies from one Florida city to the next, those expenses are typically considered “average,” as compared to other parts of the country. Whether you’re in the market for an economical condo or a luxury mansion on the beach, you’ll have access to a variety of appealing and affordable choices in Florida.
The starting point for finding a home that will meet your budgetary and lifestyle goals is to select an experienced and knowledgeable Florida real estate agent. Ideally, that person is someone who’s responsive, proactive, and service oriented. Since you’ll probably be spending a lot of time with them and communicating frequently, you’ll also want to pick an agent with whom you feel comfortable and compatible. Although it’s not always essential to interview multiple candidates before choosing one, it can be helpful to have points of comparison.
Another element of a successful search for a Florida home is your own level of clarity. The more details and specific information you can provide to your real estate agent, the greater your chances for finding the ideal Florida home. While it does pay to have a little flexibility, there are certain things on which you may not want to waiver. If you need a certain number of bedrooms, proximity to the beach, or first-floor laundry, for example, those items would be included on your “must have” list. Access to quality health care, convenient shopping, and social activities might also be near the top of your priority list.
Why Good Neighbor Relations is Worth the Effort
by Joel Sussman
Whether you’ve just moved into a new neighborhood or have lived there for decades, there are advantages to maintaining friendly relationships with neighbors. If, on the other hand, you adopt more of an isolated lifestyle, then the experience of home ownership may end up being a lot less fulfilling. Taking the time to have a friendly chat with your neighbors, every once in a while, can produce both immediate and long-term benefits. While not everyone has a gregarious, outgoing personality, making the occasional effort to say hello can open the door to a variety of advantages.
Home Security: The best neighborhoods are those in which everyone looks out for one another. When you know your neighbors on a first-name basis, they’ll be a lot more likely to keep an eye on your house and let you (or the police) know about any suspicious activity. In also nice to feel comfortable asking your neighbors to watch your property while you’re away for the weekend or on vacation. Even in low-crime areas, burglaries and vandalism has been known to happen, so it’s to everyone’s benefit to know your neighbors and be ready to help. Although Neighborhood Watch groups are not active in many communities, there’s no reason why people can’t be alert and responsive to loitering, trespassing, or any other questionable activity.
Networking Benefits: You may not need a plumber, an electrician, or a reasonably priced HVAC technician, right now, but sooner or later, that need will arise! There may also come a time when you need emergency child care or fast help jump-starting your vehicle. You’re probably not going to approach your neighbors for help if you don’t know them, but there’s a good chance you will if you know and trust them. By sharing information, resources, and recommendations with neighbors, you’ll be paving the way for a mutually beneficial relationship. While you may or may not become best friends, it’s nice to know that there’s someone nearby you can count on for support and help.
Feeling of community: Although some neighborhoods have a more friendly, close-knit feeling than others, it’s often easy to break the ice when your doing yard work, walking your dog, or going for a family stroll. By taking the initiative to welcome new people into the neighborhood, you’ll not only have a positive impact on their lives, but you might even forge a new, long-term friendship.
Striking the Perfect Balance on Instagram Posting
EXAMPLE OF AN INSTAGRAM POST: 200-word social media caption (w/hashtags)
If you’re trying to grab the attention of #foodies on Instagram, you can boost your chances of success by following these guidelines. While there is “wiggle room” when it comes to frequency of posting, three times a day is a good goal. If you post more than that, you risk giving the impression you’re too “self promotional” (“smammy”), which can negatively impact your reputation and result in a loss of followers. However, the quality of your images can sometimes override the three-times-a-day rule.
Cautionary note… Don’t forget the “ice cream analogy”: Most people love ice cream, but if they indulge in it two or three times, every day, it will no longer be appealing — not to mention the havoc it would wreak on your waistline!
Another strategy for keeping your visibility high without overexposing your followers to your brand is two create a buffer of time between posts. In other words, avoid posting several pictures at the same time. By staggering your posts, you’ll increase the chances that one or more of them will be seen and appreciated. You’ll also decrease the possibility that your followers will feel like they’re being “flooded” with too many pictures from one source!
Contact me if you need help effectively communicating with any group or individual you need to inform, persuade, enlist, network with, or otherwise favorably impress. Your target audience may include current or prospective subscribers, customers, clients, students, attendees, patients, voters, donors, vendors, participants, government officials, or the general public.
Work With Me
My skills include blogging, content development, editing, copy writing, journalism, interviewing, public relations, media relations, video script writing, proposal writing, newsletter editing, article writing, search engine optimization, basic HTML, content management systems, and WordPress.
My portfolio showcases various commercial and personal projects created throughout my career. Subscribe to my site to get updated when I add new stuff.
My experience runs the gamut from blog writing and website copy writing to journalism, proposal writing, media relations, newsletter editing, and press releases. I’m also familiar with basic HTML, SEO, and content management systems.