Category Archives: Blogging

2013 Audi A3 Sportback

You Have $15,000 In Cash, Do You Buy Or Lease A Car?

Some of you may know that I’m the creator of BostonAutoBlog.com, and if you’ve followed me for a while you also know that marketing, social media marketing, and business are topics that I discuss quite a bit on my own personal blog. I’m going to combine both of my interests into one article, asking a financial question that I don’t want a quick answer to in return, but rather the most logical solution to a problem many consumers who are in the market for a car face everyday. If you have $15,000 in cash, do you buy or lease a car? Actually, I’m going to make it more interesting. If you have $10,000 in cash would you buy or lease a car?

Having scanned through forums and Reddit, there are many young, and even older consumers, who ask the same question, usually with the same amount of money in hand asking for car buying advice. Now, if your commute to work and weekend trips make your annual mileage higher than 12,000 a year, then buying is the better option. But what about those who are driving around 8,000 – 10,000 miles a year. Would you still be so hasty to buy instead of lease?

Most people feel that leasing costs you more in the long run. But does it really? True, your car payments could be higher per month, but because it’s a new car, you won’t have to factor in major maintenance costs. At $10,000 – $15,000, you’re not going to end up with what you want. Certified pre-owned, you’re looking at the Honda Civic, Hyundai Elantra, or Toyota Corolla to name a few. Used can be a case of trick or treat. There’s always diamonds in the rough, but more often than not, you’ll end up with someone else’s problem. Mechanical failure is likely, factoring into the overall cost of the car, while it’s aging, and every year the resale value is slowly tanking. You either wind up with a money pit, or a decent car that will last you a few years before maintenance issues could arise.

Now let’s look to leasing. You have $10,000 – $15,000 in hand and you’re visiting local dealership websites comparing lease offers and deciding which one works best for you. You stumble upon a great deal. Your local Ford dealership down the street has a lease offer for a new Ford Escape SE; $4,173 due at signing, $159 a month for 24 months. If my math is correct, for those 2 years it will cost you a grand total of $7,989, not including oil changes and annual maintenance. You’re saving $2,000 in the long run, which will be two grand more saved up for your next lease. If you buy a $10,000 car, you’re looking at a world of unknowns.

So the choice. A new Ford Escape SE or an 8 year old car with 50,000+ miles on it. $8,000 overall in 24 months, or $10,000, plus maintenance that will inevitably happen sometime during your ownership of the car.

Another example; this time you have $15,000. Now I’m sure you can find some sweetheart deal for a 6+ year old Infiniti G35 or G37 or an older BMW 3 Series, but again let’s factor in unforeseen maintenance. But you decide, “I’ll lease instead because I want to drive a new car”. Here are the potential options you have. Let me just say this is all predicated on what the dealerships in your area are offering. Here’s a few from my neck of the woods.

Audi A3: $2,694 downpayment, $299 a month for 36 months = $13,458

BMW X1: $4,000 downpayment, $239 a month for 36 months = $12,604

BMW 320i X-Drive: 4,000 downpayment, $239 a month for 36 months = $12,604 (Same offer as the X1)

Infiniti Q40: $1,499 downpayment, $229 a month for 39 months = $10,430

Lexus IS 250: $1,599 downpayment, 349 a month for 36 months = $14,163

These are just some of the deals that are out there. They all cost under $15,000 within the three year window you have the car. Most come with leather seats, heated seats, bluetooth, navigation, and electric sunroof. So think about it for a minute. You can have a luxury car for the same price, or less than if you bought a certified pre-owned Honda Civic. There are even better offers out there if you don’t want to spend $15,000.

After seeing this, would you still buy or would you lease?

Valuable Original Content

Lack Of Value Given In Blog Posts By Companies Is Absolutely Shocking

Blogging was once used exclusively by many people to get their voices heard and to give their 2 cents on any subject, business, product or sports team. Today with the continuous evolution of social media and the Internet, businesses of all sorts have hopped online to start distributing content of their own to either reach out to customers or inform them about the company, product, or industry news. What’s surprising is that 15 years into the new millennium, businesses of all shapes and sizes are still not putting out content that adds value to the consumer, nor does it draw them into buying the product they’re selling.

On numerous occasions I’ve seen company’s blogs either being used as a voice for an individual who works for the company, or they use blogs as a platform to distribute content that would have once been in a magazine that no one ever read. I might be coming across as harsh, but this is business, and without valuable and informative content that draws interest from consumers, there are no sales.

It’s shocking to see content being posted that is completely irrelevant to the current product these companies are selling. One article could have easily been written by an independent blogger, but I highly doubt they would have wasted the time to put out content that wouldn’t drive any sales, views, or subscribers. That’s what is so dangerous about lackluster content from all platforms by these companies. As a consumer, I see no value, and therefore I skim over it and continue scrolling down my Twitter or Facebook timeline.

Most people think it’s just Facebook ads, Google Adwords, or throwing money into some other Internet marketing tool that drives sales. In today’s economy people want something with substance, information they can believe in and trust, that assures them that they are making the right decision. It’s amazing to see that the leaders who oversee the distribution of content by these companies don’t see that. Independent bloggers who are close to the product, the company, or have a passion for the industry the business is in, are more likely to post quality content that brings value, than if these companies found somebody in-house. They may also know more about the product in some cases.

Whether it’s Facebook statuses, tweets, or blog posts, businesses and stores need to start putting out better content. Most are doing a great job, but in some industries there aren’t many who are outshining the competition. It would also be wise for these companies to start following and building some form of a relationship with the bloggers who are in someway driving sales and traffic to their websites. These bloggers have an extensive knowledge of these products, and their reviews and content that go along with that knowledge is invaluable.

Also in the age of social media, blogs and the influence that they have on their followers could lead to sales directly to the company because they’ve built trust. Businesses have a harder time building that trust, whereas content from fellow consumers is easier to believe and sympathize with.

It’s 2015. It’s time to start marketing and distributing content like the year we’re living in.

Instagram Login

Effective Social Media Marketing Starts With the Person Behind the Account

Instagram Login

Instagram Log In

Effective social media marketing all comes down to the level of intensity, passion, and love for the product, business, or service your company is offering. If you don’t believe in the product, are unsure whether it will sell, or have very little interest in what you’re selling, I can guarantee you will not see the results you are hoping for. A business owner, Youtube vlogger, blogger, or social media manager’s passion for what they’re selling, talking, or writing about is present in their work. If they love what they’re doing, it will be shown through the quality of their work.

The person behind the social media accounts, whether they’re the marketer or the business owner, take on the business’, blog’s, or website’s brand. That brand is constantly being shared through the statuses, pictures, and tweets, and the passion that the social media manger has for whatever is being sold or shared will ignite others to respond and take a closer look at what your company does or what your website talks about. Social media has become the face of the company’s brand. While you, along with what you post, is the heart and soul. If you write or share content that comes directly from the passion you have for the subject, you will get noticed.

This coincides with the amount of times you should post on your social media pages. People always ask, “How many times per day should I post content on my accounts?” My answer is, if you truly love and believe in what you’re selling, the number of times you post no longer becomes an issue because you’ll always find interesting content to share with your followers.

On Twitter, why are some entrepreneurs better at maintaining their large group of followers while others become the occasional tweeter who just shares content but nothing more valuable? Some would say lack of time, but if you truly love your business you most likely want to talk about it to anyone who wants to engage in a conversation. Who knows, you could learn something from your followers by listening to them and engaging in two way conversations.

Social media marketing really does come down to the passion you have for your business, service, or product. Being apprehensive and shy towards reaching out to potential clients and customers becomes less of a problem when your truly believe in what you’re offering to make their lives and businesses better. Just as when we were in school, we never put in the effort to do better in the subjects we hated or had no interest in. But those classes that made us think, be creative, and formulate new ideas were what got us through school.

Whether it’s a hobby or the line of work you do, social media is the tool that helps us reach out to like-minded individuals, clients, and customers who will walk into your store’s doors or buy your products online. It’s imperative that we use social media to our advantage and see a ROI that you’ll never get from traditional forms of marketing.

Reddit logo

Reddit: Are You Willing To Take A Journey Into Uncharted Waters?

Reddit logo
Kinologik / Foter / CC BY

Recently I’ve been experimenting with Reddit, which I will now refer to as the site where SEO gets a dose of steroids. What is a combination of social media, and as Reddit describes themselves “The front page of the Internet”, I’m a little leery of using this site on a daily basis until I fully understand the ins and outs. However, if you’re willing to take the plunge into uncharted waters, at least prepare yourselves for what could either be the greatest thing you’ve ever done, or something you wish you never experimented with.

Reddit frowns upon self-promotion by posting content that you’re directly related to, and for good reason due to the possibility of spamming. But there is another good reason for this that may not have been the initial intent by the site’s creators. When you post your own content, you’re fully exposing yourself to the elements and the community that Reddit has. This isn’t Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, this site is everything your parents or elders told you about the real world, it can get very cold and hostile. You risk the chance of being eaten alive, and it’s not because of the content you post, but because Reddit reaches 10 million people a day, there’s the possibility that you get viewers and readers who are not part of your niche market.

As a blogger of another site, I posted a few older articles for testing purposes to see what the response would be, and whether I’d gain more traffic. I got traffic alright, a few hundred views within an hour, but unfortunately it didn’t reach the people I really wanted. When you post a link, you have to submit it to a Subreddit, which is similar to a category, Google Adword, or hashtag, but these Subreddits are communities. There’s no way around them, you have to send your content to one of them. And this is where the problem lies.

Despite what I had read before signing up, it’s not as easy to curate your content to niche markets depending on what you write. Business, marketing, and economy related content works great, however these Subreddits have strict policies on self-promotional links. Other topics such as hobbies can easily be placed in the wrong categories and Subreddits that reach people who are not in your target audience or niche market. Unlike Twitter and Facebook, the Reddit community is a completely different group that can either be your best friend or worst enemy.

From a business standpoint, I’d stick with SEO and social media marketing, excluding Reddit, unless you’re going there to be part of a community. I’d be very careful as to what I’d post when it comes to your specific business. Back when MySpace first came out, parents were very concerned about kids exposing themselves to the Internet to a bunch of strangers, and while we can all laugh about it now, I as a millennial am concerned about Reddit because it’s so different from Facebook and Twitter.

I’m not writing this to completely discourage you from joining or giving you a false impression of Reddit, but there does need to be a warning label that comes with it when you’re trying to grow a following or sharing your own content. For some of you, it might be the best experience and decision you’ve ever made and some people are thriving off it, but if you’re trying to target a specific group of consumers or audience, there is nothing wrong with sticking to Facebook, Twitter, and SEO.

In conclusion, if you’re a blogger who is trying to reach a big audience, you can see exponential growth and notoriety within a day, but if you’re a niche blogger you risk having your content being read by people who you have no interest in reaching. It all depends on what your objective is when using Reddit. Personally, I will stick with more conventional forms of marketing and content sharing until I fully grasp Reddit and it’s community. Again, I’m not saying it’s bad, but just be careful if you are interested in joining. It’s powerful and I saw an increase in exposure, but not all of the results were positive.

Social-Media-Campaign

Social Media Is So Much More Than Likes, Retweets, and Endless Statuses

For us millenials, social media can have many different meanings. It could be used for keeping in touch with friends, chatting with other people who share our interests who may live across the country, or marketing for our own businesses or companies we work for. But when it comes to how we use these platforms universally, we’re cheating ourselves out of growing as individuals, maybe not in a social sense, but in a business and career sense that can propel us to levels previous generations could only dream of.

Most likely you’ve had a hobby or passion, but never made it into something more, such as a career. For instance, being from Boston I was an avid Boston Celtics fan, and some of my friends described my fanhood as unhealthy. For years I watched basketball, constantly learning every aspect of the game which made me grow as a fan to a journalist. After starting my first ever blog, Bostonbball.com, I began writing constantly and growing a following that eventually led me to an editor job at HardwoodHoudini.com, which is a blog on the Fansided Network.

Eventually it was time to move on and that’s where my passion for marketing grew as I picked up experience from running social media accounts for my own blog and the blog I was an editor for. The path that lead to me to marketing, and later starting a business, wouldn’t have been paved for me had I not used social media to my advantage.

Some of you may be reading this who have a hobby or passion, and speaking from experience, I say start writing about whatever it is that makes you happy. Become the guru, a leader, the go-to man of your hobby and begin to acquire a following. Make yourself an expert in your field and people will notice.

With social media, your articles and small blog posts can be shared across the globe, reaching people that would have never heard your name otherwise. We have an opportunity, more than any other generation, to make a passion into a career, as long as it can be sustainable and profitable in the long run. Sites such as Medium, WordPress, and Tumblr can help distribute your content, and don’t just rely on one site, use them all! Someone who read your article on Medium may have never heard of your blogs on other sites, and right there you may have just acquired a reader and follower for life.

As an entrepreneur, and someone who wants to help others pursue their dreams and goals, I share this info because as a generation, we don’t use social media correctly, or in reality we use it selfishly. If you want to be selfish, share the content from your blog posts and start showing your friends, co-workers, and followers that you have experience in your field and that you are worthy of their attention!

Francis M. Drexel School Interior

How College Students Can Get Ahead In Their Careers

Francis M. Drexel School Interior
John Trevor Custis / Foter / Public domain

 

I’ve been asked many times by college students, both my age and younger, how they can stand out from their classmates when it comes to finding a job and starting a career. A few months ago, Bentley University released a study suggesting that many college students aren’t prepared for the corporate world. Because of this there has been mounting frustration by recruiters, as they are seeking young professionals who are ready to contribute to a company.  So how can the next generation of workers get their feet in the door to kickstart their careers and be ahead of their peers?

1. Create a blog

It can’t be reiterated enough; starting a blog is the first step in getting exposure, readership, and notoriety. Too often college students assume that no one wants to read, or cares about what they have to say, whether it’s their career field or hobby. Recruiters are frequently searching for young, bright talent who have knowledge in a particular industry or career, but most students don’t meet them halfway through a blog or website. A blog is the internet version of a resume, and all the articles you write and share add up to being a treasure chest that shows your value.

2. Start a YouTube Channel

When it comes to students of any age, many never look to YouTube as a form of getting themselves out their and sharing the knowledge they have with the world. There have been a few successful YouTubers who have become young entrepreneurs and creators, one of which is Bethany Mota, who has her own clothing line with Abercrombie & Fitch and has been mentioned by websites all across the business sector. This girl started making videos about her passion which was clothing and fashion, and over time gained thousands of subscribers which got the attention of multi-million dollar companies.

Another YouTuber, one who I had followed in my teenage years, is the musician Dave Days. This former high schooler who created parody songs and covers of hit songs in his basement, with a small group of friends, became a sensation. This later gave him the opportunity to move to Los Angeles where he recorded videos with other YouTubers. He’s also made a video with Miley Cyrus, who at that time wasn’t at the center of controversy. Now Dave Days has albums that can be bought on iTunes, has gone on tour with other YouTubers, and has a following of 268,000 people on Twitter and 1.6 million subscribers on YouTube.

While both Bethany Mota and Dave Days took different paths and have reached different levels of success, they both have one trait that got them where they are today. They never stopped making videos, and continue to post on a weekly and monthly basis.

For college students, talk about your passion, whether it’s a hobby or the major you’re taking. Your passion and love will be noticeable, as those YouTubers who stopped after 10 videos, lost interest or never really had a fire for the topic to begin with. Inform, persuade, and most importantly, answer questions viewers might have, as this shows your expertise, experience, and knowledge of the career field or hobby you have.

Also have fun while making these videos; no one wants to watch five to ten minutes of someone talking while being completely stone-faced with no emotion. Those two YouTubers above attracted subscribers and viewers because of their personalities and their friendliness. Your passion and knowledge will show, and with perseverance you’ll get noticed.

3. Get Linked on LinkedIn

LinkedIn is known as the Facebook for adults, but it can also be a great outlet for college students to connect and network with people who can possibly help them later on in their careers. What is not advised is to connect with strangers, although many young students and even adults do this. Start with your friends and family, and move up from there. You can join groups that share content that is definitely worth reading and discussing with professionals who are in the career field you’re working towards joining after graduation. Very few college students take advantage of the tools that are at their disposal, and by connecting with experienced professionals, you’re much more likely to get that job and learn from others who are in your profession.

Tying these three outlets together, creating accounts on all social media platforms is a must, as this will add to the effectiveness of your blog, YouTube channel, and LinkedIn profile. Remember, you’re  college students and most of your aren’t getting paid yet or have families of your own. Be bold, take the first step now and get yourself out there. You have the opportunity to show the entire world what you know and that you’re worth hiring more than the kid sitting next to you at a lecture. There is nothing to lose, and taking this initiative now will pay off in the future as long as you persevere, are consistent, and always work hard.

 

 

 

Getting Ahead in the Sports Journalism Industry

The Coal Face 2007
jontangerine / Foter / CC BY-NC-SA

 

Having been an editor for HardwoodHoudini.com and writer and creator of Bostonbball.com for over three years, I’ve picked up and learned a few things about the sports journalism industry from a blogger’s point of view. In those three years, changes in the way sports news was being distributed really evolved into something more, as Twitter became the best way to report trade rumors, free agency signings, and injury updates. While social media was a godsend for smaller blogs and websites, it did hamper the effectiveness of the individual blogger and diminished his or her chances of being noticed.

For those of you who blog about your favorite team or sport, you’re competing with news outlets, bigger blogs, and the other individual blogger or writer who is following you on Twitter. You’re just one in a million and can easily get lost in the crowd as there will always be someone who can write better than you and post more articles in a 24 hour timespan. The biggest challenge that you face is standing out and getting ahead of your competition. But how can this be accomplished, especially when you’re dealing with hundreds of other bloggers just like you?

Had I known about the power of social media and it’s ability to reach a broader audience, I would have employed a marketing strategy. Yes, marketing isn’t exclusive to business, advertising, and commercials; we constantly market ourselves, our brand, and who we are as a person on a daily basis. So let’s start asking ourselves a few questions. Why am I not standing out or getting noticed? How can I be seen as an experienced professional, one who knows the sport better than any other blogger on the internet, and show news outlets such as Bleacher Report that I’m the real deal? What must I do to make my dreams to become a reality?

Most bloggers stick to what they know, which is writing. While the safe road can lead to bigger and better opportunities, it’s always the ones who innovate and think outside the box who do something special in their lives. What form of sports journalism hasn’t been exploited yet by small blogs? Video content and podcasts.

Think for a second about your favorite sports writer. Being from Boston, writers such as Bob Ryan of the Boston Globe and Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald come to mind, but they do more than write articles. They appear on radio talk shows and local and national television. So how can you replicate them on a smaller scale? The answer lies within YouTube and podcasts.

Creating a YouTube account and posting a weekly video is enough to attract viewers and readership. Not only hasn’t this been used by many freelance bloggers, but this gives your current reader base an opportunity to see you and understand you more than if they just read your latest article. Appearing in front of a camera and talking about your favorite team or sport isn’t a skill many bloggers in the sports journalism industry have, leaving the door wide open for someone like you.

Start a podcast. This can be your radio show; once again giving you another avenue for attracting potential readers and lifelong followers. Some of the bigger blogs have already ventured out into this sector of social media, but it still hasn’t caught on to the point that you’re competing with hundreds of other individuals and bloggers.

When it comes to sports journalism, don’t be a carbon copy of everyone else. Readers and viewers want someone who is not only unique, but very informative and down to earth. There is no better way to accomplish this than by going the extra mile and posting weekly videos and podcasts. This is the best way to be found, and the more you post on all social media sites, create videos and podcasts, and consistently post on your blog, the higher you’ll be on all the search engines.

Remember, make yourself irreplaceable and valuable. Blog sites and news outlets can always find another person like you, but if you stand out and do what no one else is, you’ll reap the rewards.