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31 Days to Build a Better Blog

31 Days to Build a Better Blog

 

 

 

I have been digging through the archives of some of my favorite blogs recently. Today I came across a series of posts from August 2005 written by Darren Rowse over at ProBlogger.  I am not sure how the month will go, but I am going to start the series ’31 days to building a better blog’ on some of my other sites.  

No I will not tell you all the sites I am testing this out on.  However, I will tell you that some of what I read will start to show up in practice on this site.  One of the sites that will be thrust into existance while following this post series is G3 Show. This is an old idea of mine that failed due to a business fallout.  Hopefully it will be able to make a safe transformation with some solid advice.

 

If you haven’t read through the series yet, check it out! 31 Days to Building a Better Blog

Feel free to leave me comments and advice!

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“Is it just buzz?  Some still feel this trend won’t last, and as technology advances and changes today’s social media tools will be yesterday’s news.  Do I feel this way?  Absolutely not.”

 

Guest Post by Shane Haggerty

I read some of Shane’s work over on his site, and he knows his social media.  The last guest post went so well that I couldn’t help but ask him to write one as well.  There are a few sites he mentions that I have not visited before reading this, which I am thankful for finding.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

 

Web 2.0/Social Media are the buzzwords of the day, especially in the industries of marketing and communication, as well as information technology.  Talking Twitter and forcing Facebook down people’s throats is easy to do when there is so much word-of-mouth out there about the shift in communications to web-based tools.  So is it just buzz?  Some still feel this trend won’t last, and as technology advances and changes today’s social media tools will be yesterday’s news.  
Do I feel this way?  Absolutely not.  I am convinced that web 2.0 is just now positioning itself as mainstream, and while most utilize these tools for personal reasons, it gives those of us in marketing, communications, and honestly any profession the opportunity to engage massive and targeted audiences in an authentic, transparent, and simple way.  
So what are the practical uses of social media and how can we engage consumers and communicate with our audiences with these tools?  Here is a look at the ways you can use some of the tools and also how some companies and other professionals are currently use it:

  • Facebook: This social utility is now the largest social community and one that businesses and individuals have taken to in order to engage and do outreach.  I work in educational public relations and have seen a major move by universities and colleges to use Facebook to connect current students and alumni.  In the October issue of the Public Relations Society of America’s Tactics magazine, TheAmerican Cancer Society and General Motors are both featured and showcased for how they utilize Facebook.  For the American Cancer Society, their director of web, film and interactive strategy David Neff communicates that Facebook is a place where they find current and on-going conversations already taking place and join them in-progress, as well as beginning new conversations.  They have also developed their own Facebook application that people can add to their blog or website.  This app allows people to share tips on cancer prevention and also give out cancer ribbons.  They are also using Facebook to raise money, something that has become big with other non-profits through Facebook’s Causes program.  For General Motors, they use Facebook for conversational purposes, according to the article in Tactics.  Their coordinator of social media communications, Adam Denison, will join different groups and engage in one-on-one conversations with members of the groups, as well using discussion groups to create conversation and get feedback 
  • Twitter: This microblogging phenom has truly proven as useful of a tool as anything else I’ve used.  I am using it not for two-way conversation at this point, but rather for a tool that allows me to keep our audiences and stakeholders updated through my tweets.  This offers me the opportunity to also drive more traffic to our website as my organization’s strategy is to allow our website to become the central zone of all our communications and information, thus saving us dollars on print materials and direct mail, which also ties into our school initiative to “go green.”  Beyond the strategy I use Twitter for, it has also become a bastion of pitching stories to media types: reporters, assignment editors, producers, and bloggers.  Other ways it is being used?  Southwest Airlines, an innovator in social media tactics, uses it to update customers of flight statuses (same goes for JetBlue).  For CNN’s Rick Sanchez, the anchor of the weekend primetime edition, recently used Twitter to update people on Hurricane Gustav and this year’s political conventions.  It can be used to simply create and build awareness, to post job opportunities, create a live event experience by tweeting frequent updates, and for reputation management and crisis communication 
  • YouTube: The last time I checked, YouTube garners 10% of all online traffic with over 100 million views per day.  That’s quite the audience so it would be ridiculous for any online social strategy to not include this tool in the discussion.  Many universities and colleges, once again, build their own unique and branded channels to host video.  Many companies throw videos on in the hopes of creating a viral sensation.  Have you seen the “Will it Blend” YouTube commercials?  This is one of my favorite practical examples of using YouTube to build awareness and increase sales.  It is quite the success story, how this company, Blendtec, created a YouTube campaign with their CEO showing the true power of their industrial-strength blenders by blending just about anything, including an iPod, a barbie doll, a rake.  And they were produced with little or no budget in a “cheesy,” and “campy” way.  They became a viral sensation!  A huge amount of visitors increased sales of their blenders for this small company and generated brand awareness.  It also generated national media attention and the product was featured on Good Morning America and CNBC, for instance.  Certainly not everyone has the success of Blendtec and there is truly no magic formula to create a viral video.  It just happens with little rhyme or reason.  But YouTube can also be used to respond in crisis situations and to allow customers to create their own commercials, for example
  • Issuu: This little know web 2.0 tool allows anyone to upload PDF files and create digital flipbooks.  Now, instead of linking PDF files to your website, link digital flipbooks that people can read online in the same fashion they would read a book or magazine.  We are planning to use this tool to replace direct mail.  Instead of mailing out to everyone, we will utilize an email database to mail-out the link to our digital course catalogs.  PDF’s are nice, but are an outdated way to share information on a website or blog, in my opinion.  Issuu allows the publication to truly look like a book or magazine and allows the reader to read the document in the way it was meant to be read
  • Finally, I would encourage people to explore and adopt social media tools for their individual uses and create new practical ways to make the most out of this amazing shift in the communications model.  Some other tools to explore for practical use include: 
  • FlickrFriendfeedPlaxoDeliciousStumbleUponDigg
  • PitchEngineNingPlurk, LuluSocialVibeWetPaint
Shane Haggerty

 

Okay lets try this poll feature from Polldaddy with a poll that I really like.  What do you call your twitter followers.  I have heard many different names, so I’ll put the most common ones on the poll.  If you have another one, leave a comment and fill me in!!

If you use twitter and you like this, re tweet it, I want lots of votes on this poll!

No not THAT personal branding! Lets all put the irons and needles away.  Personal branding is the idea that you should market yourself like an actual brand….

 

Personal Branding

Personal Branding

Personal branding has become a popular idea in internet marketing, or marketing in general.  It seems that people feel that they need to market themselves as they would a company.  Personal branding is an interesting idea… and a concept that I am not sure I aggree with.

 

To get some information on it. Click the image, it links to Nirav’s original article.  When your done there, head over to 1938 Media and see what he has to say on it.

 

 

I personally love the idea of making a name for yourself.  I don’t mind setting that situation up to fit your goals.  For example: I named this blog SEO DAN.  If I was REALLY against this kind of thing I would never have dreamed of that.  On the other hand I also named the blog THE SEO REVIEW.  Because No one cares about the DAN COUTURE blog.  If they wanted that, they would just follow my twitter.  If you want seo advice, then why not the SEO REVIEW.  Pick a brand, you have choice over that!

 

Personal Branding is a good concept.  But to me it just feels very egocentric.  Go online, make a portfolio, keep your twitters up.  If people like you and respect you than good for you.  If not…. don’t go around telling people how great you are to try and make up for it. If you have a contagious personality then that will translate in your brand anyway!

 

It’s what people say about you, not what you say about yourself.  If you are all about personal branding, maybe consider what the public is branding you first.

WHAT ARE PEOPLE SAYING ABOUT YOUR BRAND?

 

Screenshot Mashup

Screenshot Mashup

The search terms that I originally started this long journey trying to be found on were “seo review” (yes, I was aiming for a search that required quotes)  I have just reached the last position on the front page.  That may change if my updates are reduced in frequency, so I took a screenshot 😀

 

It only gets about 11 searches a day, but I wanted to get onto that front page for it as a beginning project.  The journey so far has been great.  I have met quite a few very educational contacts, and I have learned more that I thought I would.  In midst of all the confusion, this has resulted in an seo consult for myself on another website.  I am going to track the changes they go through and we will see how well these principles will work on an established website.

 

By the way.  For those asking.. I am still on page 4 if you remove the quotes.  Did I say I was going home yet? lol /cry

Until next post.. see you on twitter!

 

Gold Rush!!

Gold Rush!!

I have been looking through available domain names lately and I have noticed that nearly every simple phrase has been bought up in bulk.  Any site that exists seems to have been bought up with the word top in front of it, and any word in the dictionary is purchased.  Common items that people actually buy or search for have been bought up in any possibly attractive combination of words.

 

 

In short.. Anything you would actually use is either hard to find, or you will end up buying it as an aftermarket domain name off of someone.  

 

I am opening comments up on this one…. enjoy.

What domain would you buy if you could have ANYTHING. (if nothing was already taken)

Tags: ,

Your years experience on a job mean absolutely nothing.  Your accomplishments on that job mean everything.  Why does ANYONE care, that I have six years of experience in computer programming.  They do not ask me what I have done in that six years.  Yes I have learned quite a bit during that six years, but is that the right way to measure it? NO

Measure someones knowledge of a subject by their experiences not their experience.  If someone has worked five years in sales it doesn’t matter.  If they have worked two weeks and they have closed a $10,000 order.. I am listening.

To give you a short story as an example:

James has been working in high end electronic sales for 17 years…. SEVENTEEN YEARS!!!!

Clint has been working in high end electronic sales for four years.  Who would you hire?  Why would you hire them?  Most people given only these two statistics would hire James.  In this example this is a terrible decision.  Let me add some additional information.

James sold $200,000 in the last quarter of 2007.  Clint sold about $300,000 in the last quarter of 2007.  That should be all that mattered.  Knowing this you would be more likely to hire Clint.

If you were looking at ‘years of experience’ you would have just lost yourself about $100,000 of revenue!!

Other examples of why accomplishments are more valuable than experience.  I could be working in a major retail store for five years and only take care of point of sale, take with purchases.  However, I could work one month in a high profile sales department and have an invaluable amount of experience. Five years in a low profile, low product knowledge area (like clothing sales) means basically the equivalent of being good with people, (maybe) and the knowledge of that particular point of sale system.  One month in a high profile sales environment would mean weekly if not daily review and input from management or their management,  meaning advice from people with A LOT of accomplishments and experience.  It would mean learning a wide variety of marketing strategies and sales strategies, meaning the equivalent of maybe 2-5 GENERATIONS of a low profile sales environment.

So potentially… If you work as a sales agent for a small start up company for just ONE MONTH, you could be a better fit for a job than someone who has been going through the motions at their mall’s clothing store for the last thirty years.  Seems obvious?? Tell me how many businesses bother to look what each person applying has done during their career.

I personally know a few people that pale in comparison to the average in their industry ..on a job application.  This is because they are only listing how many years they have been on their job.  In reality, I would choose some of these people HANDS DOWN over 99% of the people in the industry.

Sorry for a shameless plug, but Matt Froese of Addicted Gamer is a MUCH better web developer than most that I have seen.  His experience?  Unofficially I believe it is about eight years.  I can name over fifty people that have more experience than this that are GARBAGE and I would NEVER hire.  A quick scan of the internet would dig up at least another 1000 I am sure.

READ: Ask what their accomplishments are, and throw out the resume.