Want to get more attention from blog posts? When you share in social media, lead with images instead of links. Want a quick way to do this? Scroll down to heading “Lead with Images Instead of Links.” Here is a little background: [Read more...]
Features instead of benefits. People instead of stats.
Benefits. Make what you do about building relationships. Think of it like Chris Brogan,
I’m grateful that 265K or so people follow me on Twitter. That rarely helps me when I really need it. What helps me is that I take the time to talk with and stay connected with people as often as possible.
The connection is where it is at. Specifically helping other people connect helps you connect.
Be helpful + meet helpful people + connect really helpful people = potential for future amazingness.
These quotes come from Chris Brogan’s newsletter.
So if you want to connect what do you do?
Read blog posts on the best 100 tools for connecting with people online? Or look at the core tools you already use, look at the people you already know and make connections right now. You have what you need right now to do the same thing Chris Brogan is doing.
It is about the core and keeping things simple.
Connecting with Who You Know Right Now
Go to your LinkedIn profile right now and look at your connections. Chances are there are a number of people you could connect together. Same with your Twitter profile and your Google Plus account or many other social media accounts. Ok so it takes time so do one a day, do one a week, any amount to start making connections that help other people.
It is simple and yet profound at the same time. That’s what using core strategies is all about. Keeping things simple and at a human level. Then you can beat Hubspot at it’s own game. They have tons of content resources for every part of their customer funnel. They have deep pockets to create all the content they could ever need. What do you have?
Relationships. Work alongside other people and create content both of your audiences want. Partner with other small website owners to tag-team visitors. You don’t need to do it alone. In fact, you are better off when you do it with others.
There are many best practices for creating social and website content and there is always something new. Like people who obsess about having the next best iPhone, there are website owners who obsess about the next best practices. The best practices for blogging, social media, and connecting with people online, with having a steady stream of content. This drives a lot of energy and money around but leaves most unsure of what to invest time and effort on.
This isn’t sustainable, at least not for the small businesses.
The larger business websites with deeper pockets create epic content, push it to go viral and are able to eat up the next best practices for breakfast. The rest of us go through content shock with a website we hope doesn’t drain our main business.
Obviously what small business owners fear most is a website that takes over their time and resources without any return. The more best practices are flown around, the more fear grows turning into the realization there is no way to “get” what it takes to run a website and social.
It doesn’t have to be this way. There is a way out with key strategies. [Read more...]
Content strategies are all the rage because the right content at the right moment is what drives visitors. That content has to be created and there is one essential element to make that all happen: creative habits.
Essential Creative Habits
Throughout 2013 the need for quality content has become essential for websites to succeed. Various updates from Google made it essential to put out content that people want to share. The way to make 2014 strong is by continuing strategic content creation. Strategic in that it is geared towards your niche audience at the right time and just how they like it. You aren’t catering to the masses, you are creating to your audience. [Read more...]
Content fuels your website by delivering solutions, ideas, and inspiration to a target audience or the “right people.” Creating content all of the time can be a drain or a source of daily inspiration. The following habits ensure you have content to create and are inspired in the process.
It is about finding a blend of discovery, note taking, and creation all in one. Why not make it much easier to spend a little time here and there rather than sucking up a whole Sunday afternoon?
When it comes to tools for content you need tools to keep your pulse on everything. You need a way to skim, monitor and collect, to curate ideas together to help towards the spark of creation.
Collecting content all day is a trick between finding good content and letting it go. Your mind plays like you are starving and this content might be your last meal. You resist this by collecting moving on.
Collect using tools such as Feedly, Scoop.It, Flipboard, Springpad, and Zite just to name a few. Each one does a great job covering how to use them so I won’t do that here. Which one is best? Some people are partial to one particular tool, others use a combination which I find works well. It doesn’t matter what is best for everyone else but what works for you. You have to experiment. Start by checking out this awesome article on content curation from the experts. That way you still can experiment but start with a solid foundation. Of course, tools are only as good as the habits established around them.
Habits are the cornerstone of life and what can make the difference between getting stuff done and frittering your day away. The following are habits to prevent content collection from being another time suck.
- Time yourself. This one is critical, you have to decide how much time you are going to use before you start and then stick to it. Just stop when the time comes and trust that if you miss something, there will be other even better content to take it’s place.
- Use buckets. You need a place to throw content you find and want to review and organize later. This can be something like Pocket or Evernote.
- No interruptions. Make sure you are not interrupted because then it will become more difficult to time yourself. You also may become less likely to put in the full time as you get swept away by other duties.
- Learn to skim. Look for key points that really grab you and make you want to tell someone about. If you are compelled to share any part of it when you skim, then throw it in a bucket for later.
- Alternative. See something while doing other work, quickly throw it into Evernote using the browser tool and review it all later.
Once you collect then you need to review. The review process is where you actually read what you collected. This time you need to have somewhere to throw quotes and jot down ideas as you go. Write ideas down as soon as you have them, you won’t always remember later and this way your brain isn’t taking up energy keeping it in the back of your mind.
You could use a regular notebook and that might work well in some cases but otherwise use Evernote. Evernote has plenty written about it for example here or here. Some review habits to consider:
- Have an organizational system. This could be tagging, folders, whatever will work well for you to find the ideas later.
- Carve out time. Reading what you find takes time so be ruthless about reading only the good stuff while also making sure nothing else gets in the way. Reading is often seen as a luxury that few allow themselves. Make time for a complete read not just a skimming, if you are really just skimming, maybe it isn’t worth reading?
The best planning is done through a content calendar. Start small if you have to but decide on content as far out as you can. Having some ideas in place beforehand also helps feed your content collection. Your mind starts thinking about future content and often be unconsciously collecting. The habits to consider:
- Try to incorporate different media, not just blog posts but images, video, and podcasts too.
- Instead of doing it alone find other people through tools like FollowerWonk and try co-creation projects
- Have extra backup content you can always use anytime for just in case
- Use your full team for creating content.
Content ideas come from keeping this process consistent. There is never a shortage of ideas when you make the process a regular habit. Extra bonus: switch up where you read to cross pollinate your ideas from other niches.
One day it is Jeff’s turn to change his newborn named Google and this time there is a major blowout (Jeff Goins has a great blog here on writing and inspiration and none of the following is true but I know that he has a younger kid and likes to connect life moments on his blog). Poop is everywhere, clothing, changing table, wall, on him, and it isn’t pretty. It is so bad he nicknames the blowout “Not Provided.” What can he do? He can’t walk away from his newborn, he has to deal with it, he has to clean up the poop even if it is the nastiest, vilest thing he has ever seen or smelt. [Read more...]
Want to know an essential trick to learning SEO and content marketing? Applying and testing what you read about from sites like Copyblogger, Moz, Problogger, SEOBook, etc in an ok-if-you-fail sandbox. You need to have websites to practice ideas on, do testing, and generally get dirty with. The problem is that takes a lot of time and resources and you don’t want all that to effect your regular site, but there is a solution. Niche sites.
Niche Sites as SEO, Content Marketing Learning Tool
A general definition of niche sites are small websites targeted to a specialized topic subset. Niche sites generally get deep with answering geeky questions on a subject. An example would be a site about a particular model of handheld radio. Some people have negative thoughts on niche sites since there are some who produce a ton of them full of ads and designed to make a quick buck. Despite this they can be also used effectively for delving deeper into SEO and content marketing. [Read more...]
Content marketing has certainly taken off in a big way but at the end of the day despite all the buzz there are still the same barriers to content creation; time, money, resources to get it all done. A content marketing strategy seems great for those large sites with lots of staff to deligate responsiblities to but what about the little guy? If you are a small business owner or are an individual with a hobby site then you might want to create blog posts, video, images, podcasts, and ebooks but who has the time? Most who attempt massive content creation strategies eventually succumb to content creation burnout. Well, there is a better way and it is what marketing guru Michael Adams (recent winner of Launch VT contest) does and what our mutual friend and Project Management Wonder Chef James Tourville calls beast mode. [Read more...]
You have to try this, it works, don’t believe the words, put it into action and see the proof then. People want to share good stuff (part of the 80/20 rule) especially those tasked to work the social media angle. Those are the skimmers looking for a great line to fit into 140 characters or less. This isn’t necessarily news however below are actions you can take to capitalize on this information and make your blog posts irresistibly tweetable.
Don’t believe me, check out what Slate said about visitor analysis from Josh Schwartz a data scientist at Chartbeat. Data suggests many people tweet articles they haven’t fully read. (Tweet this!). People are skimming to find something interesting to support their audience. When they find it, they use it and move on. Make it easier for visitors, bold sharable sentences and provide a contextual tweet link. (Tweet this!) You can even use those same tweets to resurface your content over time to your audience. Let’s back up and see how this works. [Read more...]