April 24, 2017

Get a Blogging Buddy


It might sound a little corny but having a blogging buddy is a great strategy, especially if you can find one that serves the same target market as you. Why?
  • You can plan and generate ideas together.
  • You can write series of articles that intertwine, linking back and forth to each others blogs.
  • You can edit, proof, check each other's work.
  • You can be accountable to each other, especially if you have an agreed upon schedule.
  • You can motivate each other when you're stuck.

photo by mailliw / Flickr

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April 18, 2017

Super Easy Screen Recording


For a long time, I've been meaning to research and find an easy free screen recording application. It just never made it up very high on my to-do list. A few days ago I had an urgent need to explain something to somebody and words weren't cutting it. I needed to record my screen while I did something but I sure didn't want to spend a bunch of time researching and installing and learning.

Saying I am really impressed with Screencast-O-Matic (aff) is an understatement.

In only 5 minutes I had recorded a 30 second video, signed up for a free account, and sent a link to the video off by email. Seriously, 5 minutes... my first time using it!

As an example, here's another short screencast I made just prior to publishing this post, which was easy to share to my YouTube channel. It's about how to check your iContact statistics.

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April 12, 2017

Brief is the New Black


There is so much information available online that it's hard to even give it away. If your content is top notch and needed by your target market, you still have to get their attention... before you get a chance to make the sale.

The competition for attention via email has increased... a lot. Starting fresh is more difficult now than it was when I started - people aren't as apt to subscribe to *anything*. It means that giving away amazing value is even more important... and the bar for what constitutes valuable content continues to rise.

Just because it's hard to do, doesn't mean you shouldn't do it.

People appreciate good information but they also appreciate brief. Your readers can avoid the fear of missing out (#FOMO) if you give them small snippets of your own or others' content. 'Brief and useful' is a great way to start thinking about your content, especially if you are just getting started. Don't be fooled, though, because brief and useful is not simple to do.

photo by Idhren / Flickr

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April 5, 2017

Jumping Up and Down, Waving for Attention


Can you remember your first really big concert? For me it was The Rolling Stones in 1989 at CNE Stadium soon after I moved to Toronto.

We had seats about mid-field and, when the concert started, it was a great spot to be. And then everyone stood up... and up onto their seats. Now I'm game but I'm also short. Standing on my seat up on tippytoes, I could just see the big screens... no stage, no Mick. Eventually my tippytoes got tired, so I sat... and suddenly the music was unrecognizable, muffled by all the surrounding bodies. I remember feeling a bit overwhelmed by the sea of people.

Online marketing reminds me of that feeling, of being surrounded by many different people deeply interested in something other than me. Shouting over the noise to be heard, waving arms or grabbing people to get their attention.

When you're not Mick Jagger, it's not easy to get people's attention. In fact, it's darn hard work trying to stand out in a sea of other people trying to stand out in a sea of other people.

So, if we're jumping through hoops to get attention, we better be prepped and polished when attention comes along, right?

When was the last time you audited your website?

This is serious; don't hmph and click away. If it's been more than 6 months, it's time.

photo by Incase. / Flickr

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April 1, 2017

Marketing is About Making Money... Right?


Recently I told a small business class that their marketing should be earning them money, not costing them. Pens went to paper like I had just said something completely unheard of.

Making money is usually the point of small business marketing but... it can become a BIG distraction. Sometimes we even forget why we're doing it.

Imagine you send out an interesting and much anticipated monthly newsletter. And every time you send it out, your phone rings (or your email pings) with new business. Or when you go networking, people are drawn to you because they read your newsletter - a common point of interest to start a conversation that leads to more. Or someone phones and says, "I've been getting your newsletter for 5 years now and it's time."

That is how your marketing needs to be paying off... with tangible experiences building to long term success. If what you're doing is not making you money, change the way you're doing it or start something new instead.

originally published in the Work Better, Not Harder newsletter March 30, 2017

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