Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Original Content is Critical: What to Do When Someone Steals Your Work

Today has been a roller coaster ride. I added a cool, new client that needs a revamp of their website. I received an email asking if I would write an article for a popular SEO website. And I got blatantly plagiarized. By someone who claims to be a friend, and does not understand Google and duplicate content!

This is not the first time plagiarism has happened to me; I consider it an unfortunate fact of the free nature of the Internet. However, this time was different. It was not some nameless, faceless person in a third-world country snagging my post for their blog.

This time, it was far more personal. The work stolen was a page from my website, and this copycat was someone in our social circle. This was someone that has had trouble finding work, and that I have tried to help get started with writing for a living. I have pointed out on multiple occasions the importance of improving skills, and given her links to spelling and grammar checking sites. I have edited work for this person and pointed out weaknesses-- (hint, f-en hint!) Sorry, can you tell I am just a wee bit perturbed?

Sunday, November 2, 2014

5 Tips for Making More Money with Pinterest

Pinterest is no longer just for pinning recipes; a quick look at the numbers proves that ignoring it means turning your back on buyers! Today, Pinterest has over 20 million active users, and those users spend an average of over an hour per visit to the website. Even more important for marketers, look at these stats--81 percent of online consumers say they trust information they find on Pinterest (BlogHer stat), 69 percent of those consumers have found something on Pinterest that they have bought (Bizrate stat), 20 percent of social referrals to ecommerce sites come from Pinterest, people spend more on average (All Facebook stat) and more than 70 percent of Pinterest users are right here in the United States(Business2Community stat.)

It is pretty clear that Pinterest users are looking for more than cute puppies and pictures of desserts. Pinterest users are extremely receptive buyers as well. Make the most of Pinterest with these tips:

Saturday, November 1, 2014

November is Writing Time: NaBloPoMo Here I Come!

Maybe it's the weather getting colder (did I mention I saw little chunky pellets of ice/snow/yuck today?) or the fact that so many cool writing events take place in November-- whatever it is, always makes me want to write more, and more often. Of course, this is a good thing-- I have several books in various stages of completion, and my goal is to have three of them published by year-end. While that may seem like pie-in-the-sky, the fact is that I am pretty close with all of them and just need to buckle it down and "get 'er done" as Larry the Cable Guy says.

This might seem counter-intutive, but I also joined NaBloPoMo for this month as well. For someone with adult ADHD like myself (I linked to my book about how I deal with it, naturally, in case anyone needs that help) structure is paramount. So, the fact that I have to sit down and write a blog post each and every day is a big. flippin. deal. for me! It's not that I am lazy, but I get know, squirrel! Seriously, once I start working, I am a machine...but I can honestly say that I work best with a deadline approaching...under pressure. So this actually helps!  

NaBloPoMo is a takeoff of national novel writing month (Nanowrimo) and means National Blog Post Month. If you have a blog yourself, you can join as well. If you don't have a blog, start one-- seriously. If you ask me nice, I will probably help you set it up. There are also prizes-- you can win tickets to BlogHer Pro '14 Conference in San Francisco! Click here to sign up for NaBloPoMo and be eligible for prizes.

This is my (short) blog post for today. I have spent most of the day getting WordPress set up locally so that I can work on multiple websites "behind the scenes." I can tell you that I got a crash course in mySQL, PHP, WAMP, MAMP, XAMPP, and AMPPS today--- and finally found the proper combination to get things functioning exactly the way I need them. But my head is aching and I am ready to watch my Buckeyes finish
off Illinois!  

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

These Two Simple Things Will Keep You Out of Google Jail

  •                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              We've seen lots of Google smackdowns over the last five years...first there was Panda in 2011, then Penguin in early 2012...since then, there have been a number of smaller algorithm changes.

Last week, we saw a Penguin "update" which targeted spam links and junk websites. On this one, I say more power to them for taking out the trash! 

Google is trying to make everyone play by the rules, and where there are rules, there are always rule-breakers!  However, we need to keep in mind that 

"He who has the gold makes the rules."

Monday, October 27, 2014

Are You Doing it Right? SocialSEO for Businesses

I have always been a strong believer in the power of social media; to me, it is the equivalent of word-of-mouth advertising on steroids. I realize not everyone shares this view, and until recently it was hard to prove that social media was so effective. Indeed, social media professionals were often looked down upon by SEO gurus who thought that only their work was the secret to online riches. In many years doing marketing work online, I've come to realize that the only thing that is constant is change-- and now those same SEO people are singing the praises of social media! The fact of the matter is, you can no longer separate the two, they go together like peas and carrots. (In my best Forrest Gump voice.)

New reports show that combining social media with organic (non-paid) search engine optimization results in higher search engine rankings 58% of the time.(I'm going to go out on a limb and say those that don't see results aren't doing it right!) In a nutshell, SocialSEO works. Further, the same report, which was done by Social Media Examiner, pointed out that smart marketers focused on providing unique content and value to their readers; meaning that the original content we are populating websites with both keeps web properties fresh and draws more traffic! Win-win for everyone, right?

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Local Marketing for Small Businesses

Do you have a brand-new business or one that needs some help in the marketing department?

Chances are, some local marketing would be helpful, regardless if your business is a mom and pop restaurant, a family-owned pressure washing business or a computer networking company. Because our world today is so small, some business owners overlook their own backyard. That is a big mistake!

We all know that people do business with other people that they like. Think about it--- if you walk into an establishment, and they are rude-- are you going to spend any money there? Chances are you will not, unless it's a government office like the DMV! On the other hand, if you get a warm welcome, and great service, won't you be inclined to return frequently? I love our local hardware store for this exact reason. Sure, I could go to one of the big stores and save a few pennies, but I prefer to give my business to the kind gentleman that finds me the exact doohickey I need.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Twitter Marketing that Works

Twitter has been around since 2006, and started out as a simple text messaging service that allowed small groups to easily communicate. Since 2006, it has grown globally to the point where there are now 974 million Twitter accounts, and while not everyone is active on the platform, it is still an important one for businesses. Like all social media, success is based on the right strategy. How can you use Twitter to benefit your business?

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Three Taboos: Horrific Events Get People Talking and Writing

It seems that the news has been full of horrific events the last month or so-- the suicide of Robin Williams, the shooting of Michael Brown, and most recently, the abuse suffered by  Janay Rice at the hands of the man who professes to love her.  

Horrible and heartbreaking stories, all three.

However, these events have the power to shape our future by opening the lines of dialogue on three previously taboo subjects-- suicide, race and domestic violence. There is no doubt that people are talking about these things now-- the challenge is to harness all of our collective energy and thoughts to pave the way!

Wordless Wednesday

That is our big yellow dog, Max at his favorite hangout. He's an 85 pound Labrador that gives you an idea how big that Great Dane (yes, it is a dog, and not a horse) is on the right.

My Captivating Life: Wordless Wednesday - #7 - Backyard Beauty

Friday, August 22, 2014

Children of the 70s: I Want YOUR Stories

Hello friends! This post is a plea for stories...stories about growing up. If you can name most of the things in the picture below, you are a part of a fabulous generation of people that is now hitting Chapter 2, and I want to share your special stories. Though we have some things in common, we have a wide range of experiences that sets us all apart as well-- and that is what I want to showcase.

Specifically, if you grew up in the 1970's, I want to hear what you remember and loved about it. What you think was better about that time period...and things that you believe have changed for the better now. Stories about family, about friends, about your first love, school...anything that helped make you the amazing person that you are today!

I am writing a book...and want lots of varied stories, and pictures too if you would care to share! Everyone that is included will have their own chapter to tell their stories and share photos, and each will be named as a collaborator on the book-- so if you have a great story to share, here is your chance to get publishing credits with no risk.

I have a publishing date goal of December 15, 2014.

Interested in submitting your story? Please email a brief summary of what you would write about to me before September 30 at I will respond to every submission, and I thank everyone in advance for the amazing stories of our formative years that are coming. 

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Author Blog Hop

As I mentioned yesterday, I am thrilled to be part of a blog hop with two other awesome authors-- Sheila Kell and J. Nichole Parkins. Each of us answered four tough questions about our writing, our process, and where we are headed. Here is a little about each of them, and links to their blogs and their responses. Please visit them both and give them lots of love and support! 

Scroll further down for more info about me and my interview! 

Sheila Kell’s bio

Sheila is a disabled veteran who has been an avid reader since she was a teenager reading Nancy Drew mysteries. She’s currently writing the H.I.S. series about the super-hot Hamilton brothers. When she’s not writing, she’s drinking coffee or diet coke, eating chocolate and rescuing cats. No, she’s the not the crazy cat lady yet but give her time. Sheila’s interview is on her blog at You can also connect with her on any of the links below.

Sheila’s website         Sheila on Facebook              Sheila on Pinterest

J Nichole Parkins’ bio

J. Nichole Parkins writes new adult and urban fantasy. She is currently working on Burned, the first of an urban fantasy trilogy of the same name. Wife, mother of three, and constant daydreamer, she is never without a story floating around in her head or a book or two in her purse. A Florida transplant, she can often be found writing poolside with a cup of Chai Tea or reading her Kindle way after bedtime. Nichole's interview can be found on her blog at J. Nichole Parkins 

You can connect with her via facebook, twitter, her website, or email.

Denise Gabbard Interview
What am I working on? What am I NOT working on would be a better question! Hence, the reason that my first published book was about my adult ADHD. (It is often available on Amazon for free, and I actually wrote it as a freelance assignment. See—I need many kicks in the butt to finish things.) I have four books in various stages of non-completion...there is a real-life romance novel, one is a nostalgic look at growing up in the 70s, another is a no-nonsense book for writers to earn money with their craft (while they are working on their first novel, of course), and the final one is a marketing book for small businesses.

I am using this opportunity to put my goals for my books in writing. My birthday is in July, so I intend to have my writing book completed and published by then. That 70s Book will be next, and I am going to shoot for September with it and the marketing book, which is close to complete. My first novel I have tentatively titled Real Simple Romance-- and it will be finished and published before the fireworks on the beach for New Year's Eve!

How does my work differ from others of its genre? With the novel that I am writing, the difference is that it shows real and passionate love in everyday life. I think a lot of us (myself included) read some romance books and wonder why our husband, and our life, is not so romantic. Reality can be a bummer, until you realize how much love you do have all around you. My writing and marketing books will be very straightforward, with advice that novices can easily follow, but with tips that will also help seasoned writers and business owners.

Why do I write what I do? Haha! Why not? The writing book is a natural extension of my Writeand Get Paid blog, which I started in 2008 and just finally jumped to self-hosting on WordPress this year. I started the blog after I began earning a living as a freelancer the year before; there are so many things to learn for freelancers, and many pitfalls to avoid—so passing along what I had learned made sense. That 70s Book is probably my yearning for those simpler times, and my way of engrossing myself in it all---and I know that so many people my age feel the same way. Real Simple Romance is my guilty pleasure --some taken from my real simple life, some from friends, and some totally fiction, but all fun!

How does your writing process work? Process? What process? I force myself to sit in my chair and type. I have to shut off the internet while I'm writing most times or ---SQUIRREL! So many little time! Seriously, I use what I learned in my sixth grade advanced English class ...decide basically what I want to write about, jot down an outline, and get busy! (That last bit is the part where I need the kick in the pants, generally! Please wish me luck, and KICK ME! You can reach me at any of the online links below. See 'ya in cyberspace!)

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

How to Write Content that Grows Your Business :Content Marketing 101

There has been so much talk about how valuable content is for marketing purposes over the past year--everywhere you look online, you hear about it; I've even heard radio and TV ads about content marketing. Experienced online marketing professionals know that content marketing is vital for business success--because it works! However, that does not mean that you must pay thousands of dollars to anyone--you can do it all yourself, get a little bit of help, or outsource it completely-- without breaking the bank!

Monday, February 24, 2014

Win $100 and an Awesome New Book-- FREE Entry!

 I am happy to be involved in helping market this book for Phillip Michael Cash with this giveaway. Not only can you win a copy of his latest, but you can win $100 in PayPal instant cash! You cannot beat that-- and it costs you nothing to enter!

On the planet Darracia, an ever-widening social gap between its inhabitants is causing turmoil that is fracturing a once peaceful world. Struggling with his identity, nineteen year old Prince V'sair must harness the power of the elusive Fireblade, the secret to a warrior's heart, in order to overcome his uncle Staf Nuen's lust for supremacy. Will the energy of the Elements guide the young prince to his true destiny or will Staf Nuen conquer Darracia? 

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

No Budget Marketing for New Businesses

You finally have your new business open, all your sweat and tears paid off and you have hung up your sign and thrown open the doors (even if only virtually in the case of an online business) and....crickets. Where are all the customers?

Likely, they are at your competitor's business or website-- because they do not know you exist. Time to change that! It does not have to be expensive, and you can do a lot-- in fact all-- of your own marketing--if you have the time and patience.

So what can you do without spending money that will help drive people to your door?

First, make a huge announcement! 
Open for business-- and tell people what your business is about. Do this physically at your location if you have a brick and mortar business, as well as online. If you have social media accounts, like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter-- shout it to the rooftops and ask all your friends to share it for you.

Grand Opening Events
Yes, even online businesses should have grand opening events and invite everyone you know to your event. Offer a special discount or perhaps put together a contest to generate excitement and get people talking about your business.

Determine your Strategy
Where do your customers and prospects hang out online? That is where you also need to be. If they are Tweeting, it won't do you much good to hang out on Facebook. Figure out where your target customer is, and go there!

Set up Processes 
Social media marketing can feel overwhelming without a process in place. Further, it will often get put on the back burner if you do not schedule it into your important tasks for the day. Use inexpensive, and sometimes free, tools like Buffer, Hootsuite and Twuffer to help manage the process and set up a lot of posts at one time, but be sure to personally respond to likes, follows and comments-- your customers are reaching out to you, so respond!

Create Great Content
Unless you live under a rock, you have probably heard that in 2014, content is King! Writing compelling content for your business profiles is critical, and it goes far behind just writing a short blurb. People today expect good writing along with videos and images as well. If you don't have time to do a
ll of this-- it might be something to consider outsourcing, but there are great images to be had from many sites online-- just be sure that you choose those which are "free to use and share". You can add your own touches with image editing software. Be sure to include blogging in your content creation activity-- you will be happy with the traffic it generates, believe me!

Network, network, network
Networking with potential customers in groups they belong to online, or connecting with related businesses to work together can help get the word out about your business. Also be sure to ask family, friends and employees to help you launch your marketing efforts. Be sure to connect with influencers and thought leaders in your niche as well. 

Testimonials for YOUR Business

In the brave new world we live in, where everything and everybody is Googled-- it is critical that prospective customers can find you online, and that they can see at a glance why they should do business with you. Testimonials and online ratings are a great way to showcase your skills, services or products. 

Just Ask! 

So how do you get these testimonials, you say? Why, you simply ask people for them-- as simple as that! Clients that you have done a good job for will be happy to write a few sentences about your work. Here is one that Chris Hobson, the CEO of BIOBLISS, wrote for me after I setup their social media marketing for the company: 

"Denise has been phenomenal in helping us engage with our audience through all social media tools, including our blog, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and beyond. We would highly recommend her to anyone looking for an expanded social media presence."

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Comprehensive Weekly Social Media Checklist

In my quest to get super-organized for the New Year, I set about searching for a social media checklist that I could use to track all my activities for each of my client's social media pages. I found lots of awesome material, but not one editable checklist that could do all that I wanted it to do, which was this:

Social Media Weekly Checklist

  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Google+
  • Pinterest 
  • Instagram
  • LinkedIn
  • YouTube
  • Blogs
for all of my different clients. A tall order? No doubt-- but doable for sure.