Archive for the ‘Web Directories’ Category

How to Make Your LinkedIn Profile More than Just a Resume

As you work through completing your LinkedIn profile, it’s important to remember your ministry business plan.  Your ministry business plan should include several objectives that will help you meet your ministry goals, your vision, and your mission.  Just knowing why you are participating in social media and how it will benefit your ministry is a great start.  Keeping those things in mind as you complete (or remake) your LinkedIn profile will help you stay on track and build your ministry brand that will help you accomplish your goals.  Here are a few things you might want to consider:

Photos – A photo on your LinkedIn profile helps you appear more ‘real’ to people viewing your profile.  Does your photo represent who you want to be?  Is it too casual?  Do your clothes and the background appropriately represent your ministry?  If you want to present yourself as approachable, are you smiling?  Do things in your photo belong in your ministry (cars, pets, etc.)?  Logos are nice, but the LinkedIn rules say they can be used on your company page, but not your LinkedIn personal profile.  The best photo is a professional head shot that flatters but does not mislead.

Key Words – Key words help people find you on LinkedIn, as well as the web search engines like Google.  Key words should describe what your ministry focus is (i.e. evangelism, counseling, deliverance, etc.).  You can use the Google AdWords key word tool, you can see who other similar ministries use, but the best method is to use words that have significant meaning to your ministry function.  Use key words that will attract the broadest audience, as well as very specific people.  For instance, in my deliverance ministry I might use “spiritual warfare”, “freedom”, as well as “demonic oppression”.  Your most important key words should be used in your headline (see below) and the first sentence of your summary.  Other key words can be used to replace vague words in the rest of your summary, as well as your specialties, skills & expertise, experience, education, and interests.

LinkedIn Headline – Your LinkedIn “Headline” is found directly under your name and to the right of your photo.  Your headline is commonly mistaken as your job title, and if you don’t enter one, or add a new position, LinkedIn will use your most recent position title as your headline.  Since this is the first, and sometimes only thing LinkedIn users will see, it should describe your job, indicate why others will want to contact you, and cause others to view your profile to learn more about you.  This might take some thought, and probably several revisions until you find the best headline.  After several revisions, I settled on “Anothen Life helps you eliminate things you thought you had to live with – Linked4Ministry extends your ministries reach” to represent my two ministry focuses. 

Websites – LinkedIn allows you to include direct links to three websites.  If you don’t have three websites, you might include a blog or even your LinkedIn groups like I do.  Remember to keep your business plan in mind when you select which websites to include, and be cautious about including overly personal websites, facebook pages, twitter accounts, etc.  You can rely on your LinkedIn profile as your web presence, but an actual website is much better.  There are several free websites that have limited features and functionality, or consider web hosting sites like Network Solutions or 1&1 that cost under $150 a year for hosting and an editing package that is almost as easy as a word processor.  To maintain your “ministry” image and brand you should avoid web hosting services with names or advertising that might detract from who you are.

Experience – Your professional experience should include your most recent positions, as well as a description of what you accomplished at each position.  If you include other jobs that don’t relate to your current position and goals, keep your job title and description brief so they don’t distract from your current brand.  Eliminate brief positions and experiences that detract from your current brand.

Recommendations – Recommendations are often overlooked by ministries, but they can be as valuable as a personal testimony when witnessing to someone.  Recommendations should be from a variety of people and dates.  Don’t seek gushing recommendations, but focus on those that tell others what to expect when they use your ministry.  The best way to receive recommendations is to send 2-3 a week to your current contacts.  They will love receiving unsolicited recommendations, and LinkedIn suggests they will want to send you one.

Keep Your Personality Visible – In most ministries your personality will matter to potential clients, partners, and contacts, so be sure you still represent yourself as warm, caring, confident, and personal.  Include how people benefit from working with you, what you want to accomplish, why you love what you do, and what keeps you energized in your ministry.

Misspellings and Grammatical Errors – Misspellings and grammatical errors in your LinkedIn profile can present a negative image to viewers that don’t know you.  Misspellings and grammatical errors can lead people to think you are either careless or may not have the intelligence, education, or qualifications they believe they need.  Since LinkedIn doesn’t include a spell check, and it’s not one of my strong points, I type everything in my word processor and then cut and paste it in LinkedIn.

 As always, thank you for reading Linked4Ministry.  If you are new here, the best way to receive all the new posts is to subscribe for e-mail updates at the top right.  If you have been following Linked4Ministry and find it helpful, please consider sharing it with other ministry partners that it could benefit.  It’s easy to do by clicking on the following buttons, and it’s OK to click more than one !

Blessings,
Bill Bender
Linked4Ministry & Anothen Life Ministries

12 Ways to Promote Your Ministry or Business with a Web Presence

In today’s world, a business or ministry must have a “Web Presence”.  Not necessarily a web site, but a web presence.  A web presence simply means you, your ministry, or business can be found by an online search.  You don’t have to be active on the internet to have a web presence, you might just be listed in an online membership directory, or you might have a website, and a full array of social media profiles.  The best way to be found is to be listed in as many things as possible, and include key words that you want to be identified with.  See What Gets You Found for additional details on key words.

Your web presence certainly includes a website, a LinkedIn profile, a facebook page, and a twitter account.  Those might currently be the “big four”, but there are many other ways you should consider.  Here are a few suggestions:

Website – A website doesn’t have to be expensive, I’ve used Network Solutions and 1&1 for under $150 a year.  Although they can take a while to set up, it’s not much more complicated than using a word processor if you use their templates and backgrounds.  Keep in mind, the most important thing is to make them appealing and compelling (both visually and content) so visitors will stay there to read a bit, before moving on.  If the home page isn’t captivating, I move on in 5-20 seconds.

Blog – A blog can give you great exposure, and keep readers tuned in for more.  A blog can build your online trust, credibility, and reputation, as well as build your brand.  Several to consider are WordPress, BlogSpot, or Blogger.com.  They are free and offer ready to use templates, or you can build your own.  You can have a free standing blog, or incorporate it into your web page as a link or a tab.

Email newsletters – If you already have a big following you might consider an email newsletter.  There are several services that automate them like constant contact for a small fee.  The fee includes maintaining your mailing list and allowing readers to subscribe and unsubscribe without you having to maintain the list.

Video newsletters – With today’s society that loves to ‘watch’ rather than ‘read’, a video newsletter can be very powerful if it’s consistent and professional.  It doesn’t have to be expensive with flip type camcorders that make it easy to post a YouTube video.

LinkedIn profile – I’ve written lots about LinkedIn, but having a detailed profile not only gives you a great reference site, and search ability, it can be used as an additional resource on business cards, emails, and correspondence, by including your LinkedIn Public Profile (your LinkedIn profile’s URL).  Be sure to customize it first, so it will look professional, and be easy for readers to enter.

Business Cards – Everyone needs a professional looking business card with your contact information.  You should give two to everyone you meet (one for them to keep, and one to share).  Check out VistaPrint.com for low cost or free cards if you pay the shipping, or search for “free business cards” to find other options.

Facebook – Facebook isn’t only for reporting what you ate for breakfast, you can build a fan page or business page.  There’s lots written about facebook, and I’ve included several great guides in the “Linked4Ministry” LinkedIn group.  You can also see LinkedIn vs. Facebook Business Pages for additional details.  Just remember to keep your facebook page totally professional, or remember to keep your personal page and contacts separate.

Twitter – A Twitter account can help followers keep up with you, your blog, newsletters, etc.  Twitter doesn’t have to take much time, with one click you can have your LinkedIn Status changes automatically post in your Twitter account.  Twitter done right can greatly add to your exposure.  You need followers, so you will need to invite them to get started, then add a suggestion to “re-tweet” at the end of your posting. 

Referrals – Having your clients and ministry receivers recommend you is huge, but sadly widely ignored in ministry.  Consider it akin to witnessing to someone with your testimony; it adds believability and reliability to your witness and your ministry.

Liking & Sharing – To increase your exposure, you will need help.  Today’s term is ‘going viral’, or spreading your message like a virus spreads.  The easy way is to get your friends and readers to “Like” or “Share” your content with their friends.  See The Reality of Liking and Sharing for additional details.

Business (Ministry) Plan – Have a clear (written) business plan including your target market (watch for future articles on this).

Other Ministries – Look at other websites and social media pages to see what they are doing.  Don’t forget to check out what your competition and companion ministries are doing for additional ideas.  Check out How BackLinks Help for more info.

As always, thank you for reading Linked4Ministry.  If you are new here, the best way to receive all the new posts is to subscribe for e-mail updates at the top right.  If you have been following Linked4Ministry and find it helpful, please consider sharing it with other ministry partners that it could benefit.  It’s easy to do by clicking on the following buttons, and it’s OK to click more than one !

Blessings,
Bill Bender
Linked4Ministry & Anothen Life Ministries

 

What Gets You Noticed (found) in LinkedIn and the Internet?

The answer to this question is easy, it’s “key words”.  A key word is a word that the people you want to be found by might use when searching for you.  It might be your name, but more likely it will be a product or service you can provide.  The key words you choose will be part of your ‘brand’, or what you are trying to be recognized by.  Your business/ministry plan should include those key words, as well as everything you do on the internet, in print, or video.

I’ll use my deliverance and inner healing ministry as an example.  My key words will obviously be deliverance and inner healing, but also might include spiritual warfare, spiritual healing, demonic warfare, demonic oppression, deliverance training, as well as any specific ministries I’m involved in (Restoring the Foundations, Ellel, Elijah House, Cleansing Stream, Freedom in Christ, Theophostic, Sozo, etc).  My key words would also include my own ministry names, including Anothen Life Ministries and Linked4Ministry.

In LinkedIn, there are two places those key words should go.  You will want to include them in your “Summary”, preferably in sentence form so they look nice and make sense, and under your “Specialties” section, listed as a series of words separated by commas, dots, or symbols.  The Specialties section is found at the end of your Summary.  The same key words should be included on your facebook page, the homepage of your website, and any other social media you are using to be found.

Other key words you might consider are the words that your competitors (or complimentary ministries) use, words used in your marketing materials, seminars, and schools, words that describe your personality (Compassion, Kind, etc.), words that describe your ministry (types of counseling like sexual healing, temperament counseling, abuse, etc.,), certifications, skills, languages, courses, honors and awards should also be considered.

The key words you use, and where you place them will determine where you will fall in search results when people search for you.  Having the right key words is critical and something that you should continue to build.  Looking at competitive or complimentary ministries will give you some ideas.  Searching for each of your own key words will give you more ideas.  Looking up your key words in dictionaries and online references will also help.  If your ministry needs to be found, this is something that you simply cannot take lightly.

As always, thank you for reading Linked4Ministry.  If you are new here, the best way to receive all the new posts is to subscribe for e-mail updates at the top right.  If you have been following Linked4Ministry and find it helpful, please consider sharing it with other ministry partners that it could benefit.  It’s easy to do by clicking on the following buttons, and it’s OK to click more than one !

Blessings,
Bill Bender
Linked4Ministry & Anothen Life Ministries

Hitting the Target with Persuasive Copy!

My last posting was about getting your e-mails read.  Now it’s time to talk about getting the content to deliver the results you want.  This post focuses on the first key factor from last week, “The Message”.  Whether you recognize it or not, even though most of us are in ministry, we’re always selling ourself, our products, and our services. 

Writing a persuasive message is the key to achieving the results you want.  Whether its for e-mails, letters, newsletters, blogs, website content, web directories, book introductions, facebook fan pages, twitter, conventional advertising, or even your LinkedIn invitations, you are selling, and your message must be persuasive to get results!

Here are five easy steps that will help you get the results you desire:

  1. What do you have to offer?
  2. What will it do for your readers?
  3. What does it contain?
  4. Who are you?
  5. What are the next steps?

 

  1. What do you have to offer?  The most important thing to getting results, and for that matter, getting the reader to keep reading is to capture their attention.  Tell the reader what your message is about in the first or second sentence.  What is your product or service?  What does it do?  Who is it for?
  2. What will it do for your readers?  The second step should tell the readers what the benefits will be if they take action on your offer.  Put simply, what it will do for the reader?  How will it make their life better?  Examples might be; “you will have less stress”, “you can eliminate bad habits”, or “you can overcome fear”.
  3. What does it contain?  This is about the features of your product or service.  What’s in the box?  The benefits in #2 are the most important, but telling the reader what’s involved builds trust, and helps the reader justify the expense.
    a.  Some examples of features might be:
         i.   3 hours of teaching and 2 hours of personal ministry
         ii.  10 hours of MP3 or DVD teaching
         iii.  275 pages of information packed pages and 10 action plans for bringing blessings and favor
    b.  Compelling “teasers” can create a curiosity to encourage action, some examples might be:
         i.   The three most damaging actions and how to overcome their results
    c.  If possible, attach a benefit to each feature, some examples might be:
         i.   Each lesson comes with prayers (or action plans) to break curses and achieve life changing results
  4. Who are you?  This step is for those without an established following or those trying to reach a new target market where establishing your trustworthiness and credibility are key to your success.  A great LinkedIn profile with a photo gives you an element of trust to new contacts.  Including your training and education is important to show your expertise.  Recommendations tell new clients what they can expect from their involvement with you.  Including your payment options, return policies, cancellation charges, shipping and handling charges, and other policies “up front” can eliminate any reluctance to proceed by cautious readers.
  5. What are the next steps?  Call this a “call to action”.  What do you want your target contacts to do next?  It might be order your product, contract your services, or fill out an interview form.  Tell your reader (don’t just suggest) the exact steps you want your contact to take.  Most people like to get a bargain, offering a limited time discount or suggesting scarcity can encourage quick action.  If you are offering a “free” product or service, don’t overlook the fact that you will have to “sell” those as well.
     

Bullet points work well because they allow you to highlight information in a powerful skimmable format that focuses the reader’s eyes on exactly what you want them to see. 

Don’t forget to use the suggestions from “Get Your Emails Read: from my October 22nd posting.

 As always, thank you for reading Linked4Ministry.  If you are new here, the best way to receive all the new posts is to subscribe for e-mail updates at the top right.  If you have been following Linked4Ministry and find it helpful, please consider sharing it with other ministry partners that it could benefit.  It’s easy to do by clicking on the following buttons, and it’s OK to click more than one !

Blessings,
Bill Bender
Anothen Life Ministries

Can your Blog bring Profits into your Ministry?

Research on Iran. by Negar Mottahedeh Social M...

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That’s a great question.  The answer is, it depends on how you define what “brings” your ministry profit.  A blog rarely brings in revenue by itself.  Even the largest blog writers say revenue directly from their blog doesn’t represent the bulk of their income. 

So, why do so many bloggers equate blog success with their financial success?  A blog makes them popular, and brings fame, more correctly called “expert recognition” or “authority status” for a Christian.

If it’s purely a sales tool, it probably won’t have many readers.  If it’s a “sharing”, “teaching”, and “informing” tool, then it will attract more attention.  A blog should give value to the readers so they will keep coming back, and hopefully even subscribe.

A blog can be a great marketing tool for a ministry or church.  A great blog will be shared by readers to friends they believe will find it interesting or helpful.  A ministry or church that is helpful will usually have more visitors, clients, and referrals.  That’s where the financial benefit lies, in being valuable to others.

This Linked4Ministry blog is a little different, it’s not tied to any revenue seeking venture, except in the eternal kingdom benefits realm.  My motivation for Linked4Ministry began with the Holy Spirit’s leading to help other ministries reach more people for the kingdom.  It has evolved into research for my Master’s thesis and I suspect that was also part of His plan!  No matter what the goals for a blog are, it’s important to not only keep current readers, but to increase the number of readers.

Keeping current readers is easiest done with subscriptions.  WordPress offers e-mail subscriptions and RSS (really simple syndication) subscriptions.  E-mail subscriptions send your readers an e-mail copy of your new blog additions shortly after they are posted.  RSS feeds usually go to a RSS Feeds folder in your e-mail program (like Outlook), and are not as obvious to unfamiliar users.

Since we all know only so many people, we must rely on our current connections to share our blog with others.  WordPress just introduced several ways to make that much easier.  You can now add buttons at the bottom of a WordPress blog so readers can easily share your blog with their Twitter, Facebook, Press This, Digg, StumbleUpon, and Reddit connections, or just e-mail it to a friend or print it to share personally.  If you use WordPress, you can add the buttons to your blog on your dashboard by going to Settings > Sharing.  You can choose which of those services you want to display in a range of different formats. 

If you are new to this blog, please consider subscribing to e-mail updates at the top right.

As always, thank you for reading and I pray that this information blesses you and your ministry.  Please consider sharing this ministry with others you think it might benefit.  I’ve made it very easy to do with all the “share” buttons at the bottom!

Blessings,
Bill Bender

Anothen Life Ministries

How is Your Ministries Web Exposure?

Is your ministry easily found by those searching for you on the Web?  It’s a challenge to get your ministry listed in all the right places in the right ways so you will be found, but it’s critical to your ministries success.

Here’s some tips to get you started:

Go to http://getlisted.org and enter your ministry name and zip to see your ministry’s “Listing Score”, and get help in finding new places to increase your exposure.

Here’s a couple you will definately want to sign up for:

Google Places: http://www.google.com/local/add 

To find out more about Google Local Business Center that has now become Google Places go to: http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2010/04/introducing-google-places.html

Hotfrog: http://www.hotfrog.com

The “Get Listed” page will also give you links to list your ministry on:

  • Yelp
  • Bing
  • Yahoo
  • Best of the Web

It’s sometimes tricky to get through the hoops but well worth it.  These are all free and offer exposure to your ministry and links to your website.

The goal is to expand your reach into the kingdom!

Thanks for reading this blog, please share it with others that might benefit.

Blessings,
Bill

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