Earlier this week an old friend expressed confusion about how to start blogging. It was suggested to him that he should start a blog as part of his professional development. He doesn’t have business, nor does he do sales or marketing, but his advisor simply told him to better position yourself for your future, you need to start blogging. Build a brand, create an online identity and start blogging.
I told him not to worry about any of the technical aspects, designing the website or creating a logo. All that type of stuff is incidental.
To get up and blogging in like 5 minutes, all he needed to do was:
A. Register his domain at a registrar like Godaddy.com (Normally $8-12/year)
> I recommended just using his name; ie. ArvellCraig.com. No catchy or cool blog name is necessary now.
B. Choose a free, self-hosted blog platform like WordPress.com or Tumblr.com ($0)
> He’ll have to connect the domain to the blog… Hopefully he could figure that out. Or I’d help.
> With a “self-hosted” platform, there are limitations the functionality and control, but it would be free.
C. Start Blogging!
> But what should he blog about??
He told me he regularly reads and shares articles on Linkedin. Ah! That’s the key if you’re struggling to blog.
DO YOU READ?
If you do read, and especially if you ready articles online, here is how you start blogging.
1. Read the article
2. Write up a 1-2 paragraph commentary or opinion of what you just read.
3. Link to and possibly add an excerpt of the article in your blog post.
4. Hit the publish button!
Yep, it’s that simple.
There’s no excuse why he can’t start blogging a few times a month or week.
Does this help you? I hope so.
Create a Great Day!
Becoming a blogger and becoming a writer are entirely different.
Yes, it is possible that your blogging will entail writing, but it doesn’t have to.
Blogging entails a whole number of intentions that go beyond writing, for instance:
1. Building community.
2. Educating your customers.
3. Providing product updates or support information.
4. Snagging Google traffic.
5. Becoming a thought leader.
6. Curating industry news.
7. Keeping your website updated with fresh information.
In addition, you can of course blog without writing.
Personally, I recently realized that I had two purposes confusing my writing goals with blogging goals.
My writing goals relate to products and publications that I hope to release, as well as building my writing chops via a 500-1000 daily word count.
Alternatively, my blogging goals relate to thought leadership, curating industry news/tips and educating my customers. I desire to post at least one post every day, but sometimes simply tweeting something I found can accomplish the same thing.
So, for business blogging, I don’t always to have write long posts. As a matter of fact, I don’t even have to do anything if I don’t want to! I have an assistant who has done a wonderful job writing her own educational posts.
*Note, I highly recommend business owners have assistants, sales people or interns help with providing content.
If you need help planning or strategizing your social media or content marketing — let us know.
I just set up a SpeakPipe account which allows visitors to record an online voicemail.
As I’m getting more into creating content — mostly informational, educational or inspirational — I’m looking to receive suggestions or questions from others, which I’ll use to help create new content here.
So please don’t be shy! Send me any web/strategy/marketing/social media/SEO/business start up question and I’ll create some content to address it.
(Photo: Wes McGowan)
Have you ever wanted to rank high in Google? Most people see SEO as a dark art, nerd skill or a scammer’s snake oil and thus keep it at a distance. But of course, it’s essential to have high rankings in Google, so we all want it.
The confusing thing for me has always been the difference between what Google says we should do and what actually seems to work.
My company has helped many clients all across the country – with local, regional and national campaigns – climb up the rankings. I was even able to outrank in both Google and Apple for very competitive keyword phrases.
I learned the simplest way to SEO and it worked wonders for almost 4 years. This “minimum effective dose” (using the language of Tim Ferriss) for ranking in Google was making just a couple of priorities: (a) Putting the keyword in the Title, H1, first paragraph, and two or more places based upon how your competition optimized their page; and (b) snagging as many back-links as you can — from pretty much any source possible.
In 2013, SEO is a lot different.
I admit that it has had my business scrambling for over a year to determine what the best methodology is… Luckily, I’m not alone and my favorite resource for staying current on SEO has just released their latest report on what is actually working to rank websites in 2013.
Look over the report here to get a heads up on what’s working now in SEO: http://moz.com/blog/ranking-factors-2013
It’s July 17, 2013.
I’ve been hustlin… I mean, hard at work, building my business for over 12 years.
Yes, I’ve had a few jobs throughout the years, but through them all, I’ve steadily worked in design, web development and marketing.
I recall when I use to roam the streets of Kalamazoo, Michigan, doing all-nighters in coffee shops and freeloading internet at Kinkos. I was half trying to finish my computer science degree while also caught up in the hype and possibility of building my own business.
(Now, when I say “half trying” to finish my degree, that’s no exaggeration. My half efforts caused me to take most classes two times before completing them!)
Anywho… ever since I was a child, I’ve found ways to make money by helping people with my talents. I never really thought of entrepreneurship as a profession until I went to the National Society of Black Engineers Convention and met a lady named Melanie Mosley. She explained to me how she was her own boss and told me approximately how much money she was making.
I was astonished about the possibilities and haven’t looked back.
So, today while I’m feeling all nostalgic, I just wanted to extend some encouragement to you.
No matter where you are in terms of your business or life goals — I want you to keep your heart and head in the game. In other words, make a decision to never give up!
Go with the flow of change, evolution, seasons and cycles. Marriage, divorce, bankruptcy or unexpected triplets. It doesn’t matter what the excuse is, or what the setbacks are – you are on the right path. You just have to stay on it!
Have you ever wished that you had an application that could do several things for you at once? For instance, email you if new Craigslist listings appear under a particular category, or email/notify you through one of your social platforms that it was supposed to rain tomorrow? These are just a couple of things that this powerful application can do. IFTTT, also known as, “If This, Then That” was created to make the internet work for you.
One unique aspect about this program is that it has over 60 channels/sites you can monitor, such as Facebook, Pinterest, Linkin, Craigslist, Date & Time, Gmail, Twitter, WordPress, and more.
If your friend Bob posts a new picture on Pinterest, you can choose to be emailed, tweeted, texted… the possibilities are endless. For each task, the IFTTT application allows you to select a channel, then pick a trigger. When that trigger happens, you can then choose to be emailed, be sent a text message, have a status message created on Facebook… and much more.
What a powerful application! I believe whoever created this masterpiece of a program is truly a genius…
You can watch this video for more details and examples of what this application can do:
-written by guest blogger Rian M.
My personal perspective and strategy regarding social media marketing, content marketing and personal branding centers around two important principles:
1. Consistency and 2. Authenticity
This post focuses on the side of being authentic.
To be who we are and present our business convincingly, we have to find a way to get comfortable with being honest and vulnerable.
But this is not something that comes naturally to most people. It is very easy to hide. It’s almost expected that we will not be entirely truthful; rather, we are trained to express the most likable sides of ourselves to others.
This is especially true when you’re in the business of persuasion or marketing.
When we are a business owner or are employed in sales, we want to impress people. Our livelihood is based on continuously projecting a likable personality. We may learn NLP skills of modeling or Napoleon Hill techniques to be influential – neither of which is wrong in itself. But what can be wrong is to totally bury our true selves in order to win another’s business or trust.
This type of compromise will eventually weigh on us.
This type of compromise can become a habit that leads us to totally forget who we really are.
My personal goal is to steadily remove layers of learned behaviors that mask who I really am.
I also want to help my readers and clients do the same thing, because I truly believe it will unlock unimagined potential within our personal brands.
I’ve spent years trying to separate my personality from Design That Speaks… and things have gone okay, but I’ve always felt I was limited.
I thought my limitations were based on:
(a) I didn’t go to business school.
(b) I’ve never worked in a traditional job.
(c) I don’t come from a family of successful business owners.
(d) I started out with tons of school debt that had me at a disadvantage from start.
Blah, blah blah.
It all may be true. But they are all just excuses. They are not the limiting factors.
The real limiting factor is hiding behind a mask; trying to be something that we’re not.
Everyone comes with deficiencies. But everyone also comes with individual qualities that only we possess.
Our message, service or product should be colored, shaped and presented within the transparent packaging of our unique selves.
A book can teach you how to resonate best with the masses, but no manual can reveal who you really are.
Good content stands on it’s own.
But great content not only stands, but runs.
My business has always been about promoting the content of others. In that context, content is the products and services; the expertise and supportive information about the client.
Via online marketing, brand management and development, we help the world engage with another’s work. We don’t create the content, but rather enable and enhance the experience.
Content often needs an experience or delivery system that helps an audience engage with it. In addition, there is sometimes a promoter or producer helping to market the experience.
Overall, there are many moving parts that make it all work.
But the content is the focus, so the promoter and the experience should only enhance it, not hinder it.
What I’m starting to realize is this: if the content is good and if the audience is ready — the two should meet with the least amount of distraction.
Imagine a celebrated actor, starring in an award winning film, but over dramatizing lines and drawing attention away from the story. In this situation, the content is being distracted by the person expressing it.
Technology can create wonderful experiences. It also can bring previously ignored content to people’s attention. But the technology and the experience should never get in the way of an audience truly receiving the message from the content itself.
Think carefully about what you need when you hire a tech or marketing company.
Make sure they don’t try to steal the limelight when your story or product speaks well enough for itself.
But if things still go sour, the issue may not be your site or the campaign, but rather your product itself.
Not every successful business or person integrates their private lives, values or interests with their company, but some of them do.
And it often works for them.
So if it can work for them, why can’t it work for you?
Today’s culture seems to want to see and know all about you personally. Thus the popularity of social media is not just for friends and families, but for businesses as well.
A common temptation is to shelter our personal lives and make our business persona strictly professional. Perhaps that is required if you work for a traditional corporation or are employed by someone. So I’m mainly referring to people who don’t report to anyone else, except perhaps their own conscience (and perhaps a spouse and some key clients or stakeholders.)
I just read an amazing article written by Perry Marshall, but it was an only an email and therefore I cannot link to it. In his message, he described how to ensure that your audience will read your message (email, blog, story, etc).
He says the key to almost guarantee grabbing the attention of people is to open up and share personal stories.
Here’s a snippet from the email:
“The stuff everyone REALLY wants to hear about is vulnerable. It’s edgy. It’s embarrassing. It’s scary. A student at my retreat wrote about the day she got drunk and broke her ankle… and realized she had an alcohol problem… But by telling her story, she took her audience to a deeper level. She established a permanent bond.”
I like it.
Did you see those last four words? “established a permanent bond”.
These texts talk about how you can do very well by not trying to be loved or liked by the masses, but instead cultivating your true self, networking to and establishing a tight relationship with a narrow audience.
Let me mention two of my heroes in this regard:
Every Monday, Roy releases a written and audio (podcast) article entitled the Monday Morning Memo. As far as I know, he’s been doing it since before the web. Back then he used a fax machine or direct mail.
Now, what I like about his integration is that from time to time, he tells stories from his life. He will also bring up religion or politics or whatever is on his mind. He acknowledge that he might be treading on controversial territory, but he states his opinion anyway.
When I hear him quoting a scripture or dropping an expletive, I feel free to do likewise – just be myself – even in a business environment.
To most people – Gary needs no introduction. He spent a few years putting out daily video posts and reviewing various wines for his business WineLibrary.tv. His personality was more than boisterous and he was consistent when speaking live in conferences or when dictating an audio version of one of his books.
His style is somewhat the opposite of Roy Williams.
Roy is polished, scripted and executes a rehearsed production.
Gary doesn’t seem to use much help — he doesn’t worry about manicuring his content; Rather he just shows up and puts himself out there.
Yes, they both put themselves out there. And that’s just what I’m gearing up to do.
I’m a strong believer in the value of consistency and frequency when it comes to building brand awareness. I’m currently in experimentation mode when it comes to daily blogging. For this site, I’m trying to post something of value every weekday for my audience.
Because my company keeps me busy most days, I haven’t been much of a regular blogger. I don’t like wasting time, so I often only invest energy where I can receive immediate feedback.
However, since my company serves its client base with online branding, design and content creation, I realize that I need to do these same things for myself. If I didn’t like to write or speak, I’d probably find a way to outsource myself. But in actuality, I really enjoy these things. Therefore, I’m taking time away from client work to practice what I teach and sell in order to be more authentic and get an insider’s view of the value.
So, it’s been about 3 or 4 weeks of daily (weekday) blogging; Here are some initial observations:
1. Teaching Posts – (a) they take longer and (b) to be thorough I need to use additional media – video, screenshots and screen casts.
2. Ideas – After 2 weeks or 10 posts, it became harder to come up with new ideas without any preparation.
3. Traffic – It’s still early… so I haven’t yet seen significant traffic impact.
4. Referrals – Top sources are Google and Facebook, then my personal blog, and lastly LinkedIn.
Main Takeaway: Do a little planning in advance
1. Write a post the day before you plan to put it up and have someone edit it.
2. Have predetermined content types – i.e., Mondays’ posts can be personal/general, Tuesdays – teaching/educational, Wednesdays – New Product/App/Service review, etc.
3. Take one day to do either an audio post (via Soundcloud) or Video (via iphone, youtube or screencast).
4. SEO – I’ve purposely pulled back from posting a lot of “seo-ing” content; however, ignoring SEO isn’t getting any organic traffic. So I’m going to start adding SEO strategy to posts after I finish the first draft.