Is Oatmeal that interesting? (Why you should own your digital footprint)

Quaker Oatmeal Picture

I share a last name with a famous brand of oatmeal, and my initials DQ are also the initials for Dairy Queen a chain famous for its calorific deserts found in America (particularly the Midwest).

Maybe it’s because I’m a little vain sometimes I Google myself just to see what is out there. I don’t know about you but I sometimes like to Google people I come across (you’d be amazed at what you find) and recent events in my personal life have made me wish I had started this habit earlier. When I started this blog, I barely came up on page 2 near the bottom; page 1 was other websites posting stuff that involved me, a parrot forum (Yes, I was bewildered too) and the aforementioned oatmeal brand.

This bothered me a little because I wanted to come up for my name, and better yet I wanted to have a say in what results were placed at the top of Google. I believed that in a search for my name, the researcher would for sure find me more interesting than the oatmeal brand.

Like it or not, everyone is increasingly having their own digital footprint. Whether it’s your social media profile, a random article you submitted on a site, a government record of land or marriage license, or even a random news article that comes up. Traces of things you touch are filtering through to the online world which as we know lasts a lot longer than human memory, and thanks to increasingly more efficient search engine results, can be pulled up instantaneously.

Why you should build your online brand

The other day Google placed me on top of my LinkedIn profile. Which is a personal an accomplishment for me because I think it has more authority in general than I do. But therein lies a great reason to start your own web space in my opinion.

As more and more things are posted online wouldn’t it be great that the first results when someone looks you up are your own? Think of it in any part of your life, from job interviews, to potential romantic partners to even applications to rent

or potentially get a new roommate. It is increasingly important to show some sort of credibility online and if you cannot control what others post at least you can control what you put out there.

The thing that surprises me is my generation is not always out there on LinkedIn or Google+ or blogging, or Tumblr or Quora. And that is a –OK, but in a world that is increasingly digital with instant searches and now Google Glass shouldn’t we extend the time we put into creating great first impression in the real world to our persona online?

There is always something you are an expert in, whether it’s crocheting, sticking to a fitness program, healthy lifestyle choices, ideas to beat kids boredom or pursuing a dream of travelling, why not share it. Not because you have to but because if someone Googled your name wouldn’t you want the first thing that comes up to be about something you are passionate about? Wouldn’t you want to give them a great first impression both online and off?

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About the writer: Daisy Quaker is an Internet marketing consultant. She loves helping small businesses grow through marketing and by telling their unique stories online. She writes about various Internet marketing tactics and strategies on this blog sporadically. She loves meeting new people, say hi to her on Twitter, Google+ or LinkedIn.

10 Blogging Lessons from Street Performers

Blogging Lessons from Street Performers

Blogging is an art that can be learned and perfected. Street performing or “busking” is also an art, you either entertain or amuse passers-by or you don’t make money.  In both situations people are busy with their everyday lives and probably on the way to one thing or another and there you are trying to catch their attention. One is tougher than the other but I will let you decide.

It’s not that hard to get started in busking because, after all, anybody can hit the streets and put on a show. It’s not that hard to start a blog neither. What separates the successful buskers and bloggers from everyone else s they perfect their craft.

So here are 10 Lessons Bloggers can learn from the hardest job in showbiz –street performing:

1. Put together a great act

In busking this happens even before you get out on the streets to perform you figure out your act and practice, practice, practice. In blogging these goes on before you have the material on your blog by figuring out what to write, what is already out there on your topic of interest and what people are really interested in. It ranges from doing Google searches, listening in on forums or even the most popular blog posts on successful blogs or websites. What do the people want? And how can you deliver in a way that is unique?

2. Find a place to perform

The ideal busking spot (or pitch) is a fairly quiet place with plenty of foot traffic, for bloggers it is your means of spreading out your content. What spot has the most foot traffic than the internet after all? Will you focus on growing an audience through a blog, or e-mailing list? How will you get yourself on social media sites, what will your purpose be? Think carefully about where you place your content from your blog name, to its look and feel. Street performers need to find a pitch that suits their act, bloggers need to find a medium that can help them scale and grow their audience.

3. Gather a crowd

Just like in blogging, in street performing, “the art of getting people to notice you – the build—is fine art in itself” The basics to attracting attention might be promoting your blog on social media, and content. But consider off the beaten track methods like commenting on forums frequented by your target audience, or reaching out and doing guest posts for different websites or publications, all with the intent of drawing them back to your blog, and once there, encouraging them to sign up for mailing lists or subscribing to your blog.

4. Keep your crowd interested

Ideally you will find a niche, street performers usually figure out whether they will do music, dance or magic early on. The goal here is once you focus on one thing, you can improve with each post. Find creative ways to share your story. Street performers try to make each new tricks more amazing than the last, so build a content plan that starts off with relatively simple posts and gets into progressively harder posts as your audience grows. These can be your cornerstone subjects; if your blog is about Arts and Crafts what basics do people need to learn before you get into otherwise difficult projects? E.g. setting up a craft space, where to get supplies, safety concerns, DIY Hacks, quick fixes to common DIY problems. Think of it as creating a beginners class, so that even after hundreds of posts, people can still come back to the basics on how to get started, or your cornerstone categories.

5. Interact with your audience

In the beginning comments may be few and far in between, get in the habit of replying to every comment. Go out of your way to interact with your audience whether on your blog or other channels. If you send out e-mails encourage feedback or replies and respond in turn, it will go a long way to creating that connection with your content.

6. Build audience participation into your act

In busking audience participation makes the crowd happy. You may not have cute kids help with your blogging content, but encouraging guest posts, or even feedback in the comments or minimal effort feedback like reader polls can add the feeling of others paying attention to your content.

7. Sell merchandise

Blogging Lessons From Street Performers
Maybe you are blogging as hobby, or as just a way to let out steam, but consider ways that can help your audience and earn something from your blog –even if it’s just pocket change. Take a step back and look at your blog as more than just an outlet for your thoughts. Once you have built an audience figure out what you want to sell. Seth Godin advocates that bloggers or content marketers should build an audience before they start selling products. Look to make your reader’s lives easier, they will reward you with their loyalty.

8. Keep track of your results

How many site views a day, do you get more traffic on certain days than others? Or what about certain topics? How do people arrive at your site, where are they coming from, what do they click on? Start early by keeping a record of all the blog posts you’ve written it can even be in something simple like an excel spreadsheet. The better you can track your results, the better you can get at fine-tuning your performance.

9. Learn everyday with every post

It’s not enough to learn from which posts do not receive any feedback. Sign up for creative and related email lists and read what others are writing about. Inspiration comes from many sources. This post for example was inspired by an old post on the PureDriven blog (an internet marketing company I work for). Pay attention to what works, but also what inspires. If after several attempts you are audience is not buying into your ideas, then change it up.

10. Keep at it

Street performers do not expect overnight success, neither should your blog. If you plan on generating some money from it then take it seriously and put your efforts into building your audience. Don’t think of selling to them right away, but establishing a connection and trust. Join other support groups to motivate you, print and keep this PDF poster somewhere visible. The rewards may not be immediate, but whatever you do keep writing.

All the great bloggers started out in the same place,, by writing and building their audience one reader at a time. Anybody can start a blog and build a big audience, but if you have a great show you could join the ranks of successful bloggers who turn their passion of writing into a career or side business. If you can entertain, inform or educate people on a continuous basis you can gain exposure and build your brand or business.

So after reading through all these tips and seeing the parallels which act is harder busking? Or blogging?


Image Credit: Flickr-Bondidwhat and Rrrrobie

Follow me via Twitter or join me through E-mail to receive your fresh copy of helpful small business online marketing strategies.

About the writerDaisy Quaker is an Internet marketing consultant. She loves helping small businesses grow through marketing and by telling their unique stories online. She writes about various Internet marketing tactics and strategies. Connect with her on TwitterGoogle+ or LinkedIn.

How To Stop Interrupting and Start Connecting (in your Marketing)

There’s an old-school communications concept that explains how we connect. It’s pretty simple, it’s old, and it’s still relevant. What’s more, is it can have a powerful effect on your business marketing if done right.

This model communicates a powerful message to marketers and business owners looking to connect with their customers. It can help business owners create strategic internet marketing plans.

It basically looks like this:

So on one end is the Sender and on the other end is the Receiver. The message goes through a channel whether it’s in person, through writing, video, audio or through signals. The Sender creates the message (encoding) and the receiver takes in the message (decoding).  And along the way is noise which can interrupt the message, change it, or affect how the receiver gets the message.

Business owners need to figure out if they are the sender, or the noise.

Is Your Marketing the Noise?

You can use this model in your business and how you communicate with your audience. Are you directly communicating with your customers who are getting the message or are you the noise that is distracting them from what they want to hear? Are you that annoying pop-up, or banner ad that they shut out to focus on what they are actually reading or watching online, or are you the direct message that their eyes focus on?

Think of it as a bad cellphone connection. You’re business is either the voice one on the other hand that I’m straining to hear, or the annoying static and interruption that cuts through the conversation. Change that.

Marketing Noise vs. Marketing Messages

A quick way to figure out if you are the noise or the real message is to look at how people receive your message. Are they in the middle of something else when you pop up, or are they already looking for what you offer whether it’s a product or service when your name pops up?

The right Google ad for example can be the message because I’m looking for a service that you tell me you offer. The wrong ad, say in the middle of me reading something, well that’s just a distraction.

The right e-mail message or blog post when I’m looking for say fun sweaters or great holiday gifts can be a welcome message. The wrong e-mail or blog that talks exclusively about your stuff and how I need to buy it can be, well, annoying and quickly ignored or deleted.

It’s all about how you market your business and what you offer.

How to become the Sender

1. Stop sending noise

The problem with being a distraction is everyone attention goes to biggest and loudest. Most adverts just pass me most of the time. The old model of advertising (or as I call it: Spend, Spend, Spend and Cross Your Fingers) might still work but it’s not the most effective model especially you’re your small businesses.

2. Find a channel that connects you to customers

If you look at it a lot of the new technology is about connecting people. We live in an connected world and getting your voice out through a channel like social media, blogging, video or even online advertising (Pay-Per-Click). There are more opportunities to find a channel that communicates to your customers directly. Find a method that works for you.

3. Start sending messages your customers want to hear

If it’s on a social media network post pictures or links that they would find interesting. If it’s through a blog or e-mail list, write or produce fresh content that they would gain from reading. Writing just about your products is boring. Produce work that centers around the reader’s eco-system. Do your customers watch certain shows? Or maybe follow trends? Or have particular hobbies and interests? Offer to write guest blog posts on blogs in your target market. Consider producing material that talks about things other than your offering.

No one wants to hang around someone who talks all about themselves, nor do your customers or audience. Like I said earlier, it’s really great what your product can do, but talking about it non-stop will bore your readers out. So be interesting.

Spend your efforts wisely, and think of yourself and your business as the sender. It will bring you closer to really connecting with customers.

Image credit:

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About the writerDaisy Quaker is an Internet marketing consultant. She loves helping small businesses grow through marketing and by telling their unique stories online. She writes about various Internet marketing tactics and strategies. Connect with her on Twitter, Google+ or LinkedIn.

Dear Blogger, It’s me your reader

Image of young child looking up-Understanding blog readers

Quick, what 3 things do your readers care about?

Sure you have blogging strategy, an elevator pitch on what you write about, and a blogging schedule to get you publishing. But can you describe who reads your blog the same way you can describe your friends?

Talking about your friends, in real life, is easy. These are the people you go through life with. In blogging, your readers and subscribers are your friends, but understanding them is often skipped in favor of just writing fresh posts.

Great friends help calm fears, address concerns, amuse or solve a problem for each other. Poor friends just ramble about things their lives, events, opinions, business, leaving the other friend unfulfilled or dissatisfied, or worse feeling like they just consumed a load of junk food.

As a writer the challenge is to write good healthy stuff, that your reader will enjoy, and cater to their sweet tooth every once in a while. That is the type of content that gets shared, because it speaks to what your reader is all about. It’s the good healthy writing that spreads.

First, understand your readers

(aka The Good Healthy Stuff)

Who are they? What do they like to read? What do they do in their spare time? What magazines, articles, blogs do they follow? What kind of work do they do?

It can be as simple as taking a closer look at who is following your blog, by looking at your subscribers, or going on Google, Quora or LinkedIn, and looking up group discussions that talk about topics or groups you write for. What do your readers care about?

The best thing you can do for your writing is to understand what motivates people to read your work, and what motivates them in general.

Blogging benefit: You’ll be able to sprout off more topics that your readers will care about or genuinely want to read because it is content that speaks to their needs, and it adds value to their lives.

Second, write for your reader’s ecosystem

(a.k.a. The Sweet Tooth)

OK, so you understand that your reader care about “a” that’s why they read about it on your blog. But what else do they care about?

In my case, I care about internet marketing, so naturally I read on topics like copywriting, blogging, social media. But the interesting part is figuring out what else I care about. Since I care about Internet Marketing, then I am slightly above the average internet user, in that I look for ways to help market stuff online, so naturally I would know about internet memes, trends, and tech gadgets. I would also, for example, have some curiosity about reading so I would enjoy new books fiction or non-fiction, and news related to the internet marketing industry, like Google’s latest search engine update.

ANother example, if you write about home decor services, then your audience would be people who want to make their homes better. My guess is the bulk of the audience would be homemakers or stay-at-home moms. These moms, might also have kids,  so enjoy planning kids activities, favor a healthy active lifestyle, look for bargain travel options for the family, and also enjoy gardening and such. So writing about topics in this ecosystem would be enjoyed by your audience.

Marketing benefit: Breaking out of the rut. There is only so many things you can talk about when it comes to one topic, but finding ways to creatively tie it in to topics your audience already cares about changes it up a little every once in a while. This can be applied to blogs, Pinterest or even tweeting with your audience.

Do you know your audience? Do you write for your audience’s eco-system?  Your writing can only improve if you know who you attract, and what that person cares about. So write the healthy stuff that leaves the reader feeling better for reading, and every once in a while spoil them with a treat for their sweet tooth.

Image credit: Flickr- LstCaress

This post is part of a series that will get published every Monday on Content Marketing or Blogging, follow me via Twitter or E-mail to receive your daily copy of helpful small business online marketing strategies.

Daisy Quaker is a freelance internet marketing consultant, specializing in social media strategy, content marketing, e-mail marketing and internet marketing strategy, find her on Twitter and tell her what strategies work for your business.

FISH! A New Way to Spark to a Better Social Media Presence

Do you like the smell of fresh fish? How would you feel about working at a fish market where that, and dealing with slippery fresh fish greets you everyday?

I would certainly end up crabby (no pun intended), but the good people of a popular Seattle fish market turned this dynamic around.

They made their fish market a pleasant, welcoming, and fun, place to be (check out this video). Now I think going to a fish market like that wouldn’t be so bad.

And so because of this fun-loving bunch, the FISH! Philosophy to customer service was born, and has become an approach to creating a positive and engaging customer service experience that is part of customer service training.

How FISH! can help you in social media

The FISH! philosophy is about dealing with people, coincidentally so is social media. Applying this approach can have a wonderful effect to your social media presence whether it’s for small business or your personal brand. The 4 elements of can help create a more meaningful presence on the various social media networks out there.


How many of us have liked a corporate company on say Facebook, when all their posts or statuses lack energy? Or the connection is so focused on promoting their work that the account becomes a soapbox.

FISH! Philosphy-Play

Some companies are so focused on having a clear and consistent (safe) voice that makes their posts dull to read. While other businesses have found a way to sound like a person, and bring some fun and energy to their page. The results? Their connections or followers respond!

PLAY is about bringing energy, and can be applied to your own situation, whether it’s creating awareness for a bog, business or product. Bring energy and fun to what you post, and your community will play with you.


You do not get to choose how people receive or approach you or your business on social media, but you do get to choose how you respond.

FISH! Philosophy -Choose your Attitude

For example, I recently put together a short beginner’s guide to social media. Towards the end of the project I was exhausted, frustrated and just wanted to be done with it. So I skipped a few grammar and spelling errors in my last review. A reader came across some grammar and spelling errors and decided to contact me. I could have been defensive (which I was at first) but then I decided to change my attitude, and welcome criticism, and hopefully that reader will stop back again in future.

Being on social media you will meet either complaints, criticism or negative feedback choose your attitude in how you respond. A lot of companies big and small have had scandals where they mishandled social media and it came back to bite them: Volkswagen, and the Ocean Marketing scandal spring to mind. Bring positivity to how you respond in comments, tweets, or Facebook statuses it helps reinforce positive associations people have with your brand.


I believe it’s Plato who once said, “Be kind. For everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.”

FISH! Philosophy -Make Their DaySo make someone’s day today. Find people on social media you want to connect with or that follow you and comment on their work. I don’t think there’s anyone out there who does not like receiving a compliment or just simple recognition. Try and apply this by following up to every other Twitter follower you receive. Take a peek at what they are working on and comment. I don’t do this as often as I would like but think about how great is when people acknowledge your efforts.

This also applies to newsletters; instead of having some “donotreply” address why not put one that people can respond to? Every once in a while I will read something in one of the newsletters that would really spark my creativity, being able to reach out and say a simple thank you or just my response would make me more likely to read future newsletters I receive from the writer.


Be engaged, be present, and be responsive.

FISH! Philosophy -Be ThereFor a small business or a personal brand you don’t have to be on every social media channel out there, but you should try to be engaged and active on the one’s you do join, otherwise what’s the point?

Social media is an engagement tool, and if you have Likes, followers or connections and you fail to respond, then you miss out on the potential of deepening these bonds. Many people think social media is killing the quality of human interactions, but I think if used correctly it can create an extension of it. So be there, where your customers or audience is, and be engaged in the conversation.

Have some thoughts? Share them below, I’d love to hear your feedback.

Featured Image credit- Flickr-David L.

Daisy Quaker is a freelance internet marketing consultant, specializing in social media strategy, content marketing, e-mail marketing and internet marketing strategy. In her spare time she writes a personal style blog. Find her on Twitter and Google+ and tell her what strategies work for your business.