Chris Garrett on New Media http://www.chrisg.com Build your business by sharing what you know Mon, 11 May 2015 23:29:06 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.1.5 3 Essential (But Often Missed) Elements to Growing Your List http://www.chrisg.com/vital-list-building/ http://www.chrisg.com/vital-list-building/#comments Fri, 24 Apr 2015 20:03:22 +0000 starbucker terry some epically deep episode photograph partly dominate elements http://www.chrisg.com/?p=2097
  • Grow Your Authority With Your Geekiness
  • The “Simple” Secret Behind Copyblogger’s 8 Figure…
  • Why Even a Big List Won’t Save You from Bad Strategy
  • The Secret Element of Successful Marketing Campaigns
  • 5 Essential Skills for Today’s Online Marketer
  • ]]>
    Photograph of Terry Starbucker and Chris GarrettWhy do some people with so-so content seem to easily grow their community, while other much better writers seem to struggle to get a few opt-ins? I believe there are three factors that set a growing list apart from a struggling one, and many people either overlook the necessity or are unaware of it.

    When we talk about list building and growing your audience, two topics always seem to dominate. Those are traffic and conversion. Yes, they are important. If you only focus on those two elements, and ignore these three others, then you are going to be in for a very hard time.

    What are those elements? Let’s find out …

    See that photograph up there? That’s Terry Starbucker. We don’t get together often but I always look forward to seeing him and thoroughly enjoy any time we get together. I am sure everyone who knows him thinks the same.

    Why am I telling you this? Because that’s how you want your audience to think of you. As a valuable person who they enjoy being around and look forward to hearing from.

    This breaks down into the three elements I mentioned:

    1. Connection – First … Are you reaching the right people? In advertising terms you could think of this as “audience targeting” or “qualified leads”. Second, are you giving these people an opportunity to feel connected to you as a person. Geek it up and use your nerd powers! Be approachable, friendly, vulnerable, inclusive, and generous.
    2. EngagementOnce you have someone’s attention you need to reward them for that attention. Give people the value you promise but in a way that is interesting, genuine, entertaining, or at least easy to understand and put into action.
    3. Loyalty – What makes me think of Terry even though I haven’t seen him in a while? Partly because he has always been a brilliant human being, he would never betray his positive reputation. Partly because we have had some epically deep conversations (value, experience). Partly because I know next time I see him we will catch up and then he will say something that makes me smile, think deeply (anticipation). Again it is about feeling good as a member of an inner circle combined with the expectation of future reward. You have to treat your audience well, while giving them something to look forward to. At the end of each episode of the Mainframe we will refer back to the past episode, give the key takeaways from the current episode and let people know what they will get out of the next one. It’s very simple but necessary.

    Think about the great lists you are on. How do they make you feel? Can you replicate some of those positive feelings in your own content and sequences?

    Don’t just build a list, nurture your relationships with the people on it.

     

     

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    Grow Your Authority With Your Geekiness http://www.chrisg.com/authority-geeks/ http://www.chrisg.com/authority-geeks/#comments Thu, 16 Apr 2015 19:48:17 +0000 pratchett geekiness passions mainframe terry tony muzak nerdiness http://www.chrisg.com/?p=2093
  • 3 Essential (But Often Missed) Elements to Growing Your List
  • Why New Products Fail
  • The “Simple” Secret Behind Copyblogger’s 8 Figure…
  • How to Grow Your Long-Term Authority
  • How to Make Your Site the Destination for Your Market
  • ]]>
    Terry Pratchett SignatureHow do people really connect and build friendly relationships?

    What is it that causes people to want to hear from you more than anything else?

    In marketing we talk about “value” a lot. Value is important, but I feel value often speaks to need more often than it does want. Serving needs is a minimum requirement. We want to stand out and be seen as more than that. We have to attract people who want to read our content, who are happy to work with us.

    While you can certainly attract a lot of people by solving their problems and helping them achieve their goals, if you can add the “know, like and trust” factor then you elevate the experience of dealing with you to a much better place.

    It’s the difference between being on hold listening to muzak and looking forward to a concert by your favourite band. Both are music, but the experience is clearly different.

    The Geek Intersection

    All of us are geeks. We all have the capacity to be passionate about something peculiar to our individual mixture of experience and interest.

    I’m blessed to be geeky about probably too many things. If you see Tony Clark and I interacting on Twitter, yes it could be about work, but it is just as likely to be about Star Wars or gentle banter with Chris Brogan about how much Batman is not the world’s best superhero (that would be Spider-Man or Iron Man, IMO). People walk up at events, or in social, and ask us about content marketing, conversion or social media all the time. Will we answer? Probably. Want to get us really engaged in conversation? Have something real to say (don’t fake it) about something fun that we share.

    You might not yet have found the thing that makes you light up so much that you can’t stop thinking or talking about it. Whatever your interests, when they intersect with someone else’s that is a powerful way to make a connection.

    So why do people keep their passions buried? Why do we hide our nerdiness from the world?

    We need to connect as humans. Your shortest route to connection is from your passions to theirs. The internet is a geekiness delivery system, so use it! Every topic imaginable has a community. When you can combine the things that make you you, with your personality, your valuable content, and your audience, that is when you really start to attract an engaged audience of people who like you.

    Tony and I weave the interests we have in common into our podcast, The Mainframe. It’s about creating and launching products, and will expand into many more areas of marketing technology, but if that was all it was then it wouldn’t be us.  Over the years I have mentioned comics, Terry Pratchett, Star Trek, robotics, retro computers and prog rock into most of my talks. Want to guess which pieces of my speeches people bring up years later? The only time I have had a bigger response is when I have talked about the birth of my daughter, but I can’t really go and cry every time I give a presentation.

    Find what you have in common with your audience. What makes you light up outside of work, family and business. Find how that intersects with your community and your topic. See how it allows more people in. Then let me know how it works out for you :)

     

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    How to Grow Your Long-Term Authority http://www.chrisg.com/long-term-authority/ http://www.chrisg.com/long-term-authority/#comments Fri, 03 Apr 2015 16:42:22 +0000 generosity honesty term selfish mainframe liar unresponsive unwelcoming earnestness http://www.chrisg.com/?p=2087
  • Why New Products Fail
  • Is it Just Business? How to be Professionally Human
  • 3 Essential (But Often Missed) Elements to Growing Your List
  • Grow Your Authority With Your Geekiness
  • Your Best Foundation for a Sustainable Business
  • ]]>
    Longevity and Authority

    Why do some people manage to stick around forever, while other people and brands seem to be here one day and gone the next?

    What is it about some people that makes you warm to them, while others give off a dodgy vibe that repels even the most tactile extroverts?

    As mentioned earlier, Tony and I have been creating this new podcast called The Mainframe, and so far we have focused on launches. If you listen carefully, though, there are some themes that go way beyond just selling products and services to something deeper.

    What I think it comes down to is two fundamental aspects of being a good person

    • Generosity – Not just giving away “stuff” but generosity with your time, your experience, your advice, patience, humour, positivity and support. Actual generosity comes from wanting the best for the people you are serving, not a trick to get what you want down the line. If you are truly generous then you don’t need to put on an act. People can tell.
    • Honesty – Real honesty not the fake it till you make it faux earnestness that some social media gurus advise you to paint over your true character. Again, if you are liar then you had better have a good memory. Honest people don’t have to pretend or remember the stories they told, because they lived them.

    We often say that online business is all about answering “What’s in it for me?” but it should always be on behalf of the other person! It should be top of mind what the other person is getting out of their connection to you, the relationship, the transaction, even your content or copy. Why should they care?

    When it goes wrong is that short term selfish thinking. When the business wants to make a quick buck. When you short change the customer. When you are unresponsive or unwelcoming.

    It also goes wrong when your communication or behaviour is incongruent. Consistency of brand, behaviour, message and interaction is paramount.

    Note at any time I have not said long term authority comes from million dollar launches, awards, qualifications, top 10 lists, or venture capital rounds. Real authority comes from positively impacting everyone you meet. That’s hard, and we will never get it perfectly right, but it is worth striving for.

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    Why New Products Fail http://www.chrisg.com/why-new-products-fail/ http://www.chrisg.com/why-new-products-fail/#comments Wed, 25 Mar 2015 16:09:18 +0000 mainframe itunes podcast movie refunds cinema narrative episodes http://www.chrisg.com/?p=2080
  • The “Simple” Secret Behind Copyblogger’s 8 Figure…
  • How to Grow Your Long-Term Authority
  • Grow Your Authority With Your Geekiness
  • 5 Essential Skills for Today’s Online Marketer
  • How to Go from Author to Successful Online Business
  • ]]>
    pre-sell-your-productWhat is the difference between new products that take off in popularity and those that essentially get ignored?

    How do you know when your new product is ready to sell?

    Today I would like to share with you the key strategy that will allow you to not only sell more of your products and services to more people, but will also reduce refunds and improve your audience’s relationship with you.

    In The Mainframe podcast, Tony and I have been covering the MVP (Minimum Viable Product) process for creating products and moving into how to simply and successfully launch those products.

    One of the most vital aspects is the “pre-sell”. What does that mean?

    The pre-sell is where you warm up your audience. You need to get them thinking about the problem before they start to understand how the solution would help them. They need to imagine the outcome or relief that would come from implementing the solution.

    Too many people drop new products onto the market and hope that people will understand right away that they need to buy it. It would be like a new movie coming out at a cinema but with no trailers, no posters, just the movie title. Would you be excited about going to see that film?

    Check out the podcast to learn

    • How people really buy
    • The best way to communicate your launch narrative
    • What marketers can learn from Star Wars
    • Why you need a waiting list

    .. and if you like it, subscribe for future episodes via iTunes!

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    The “Simple” Secret Behind Copyblogger’s 8 Figure Business http://www.chrisg.com/copyblogger-8-figures/ http://www.chrisg.com/copyblogger-8-figures/#respond Mon, 16 Mar 2015 14:21:46 +0000 podcast secret episode itunes freakin fatal forgotten scary http://www.chrisg.com/?p=2076
  • Why New Products Fail
  • 3 Essential (But Often Missed) Elements to Growing Your List
  • Grow Your Authority With Your Geekiness
  • How to Go from Author to Successful Online Business
  • Why Even a Big List Won’t Save You from Bad Strategy
  • ]]>
    What is the secret behind Copyblogger’s 9 straight years of growth? How has it been achieved without any outside investment, without sales people, and with close to zero advertising?

    The Mainframe PodcastJoin Chris Garrett and Tony Clark as they talk about:

    • The simple secret to success (and why it is not easy)
    • What you need before you create your product
    • The truth about real Minimum Viable Products, and the fatal trap too many people fall into
    • How you can use this process to build your organization
    • Why doing what is indicated will save you time, make you money, and keep your customers happy

    What, what?

    Yes, after months of not blogging, I am back. And we launched a podcast!

    In fact, we launched a whole freakin’ podcast network.

    Now at this point I realize that many people have forgotten who I am or that they subscribed to this blog, which I fully understand, but I would love it if you let me know your thoughts about our first episode. It’s scary starting a new podcast so I want to know if it is on the right track and if the content is valuable to you :)

    Check out the episode here and if you like it, please subscribe in iTunes and share with your friends?

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    How to Go from Author to Successful Online Business http://www.chrisg.com/author-business/ http://www.chrisg.com/author-business/#comments Wed, 11 Jun 2014 05:55:18 +0000 http://www.chrisg.com/?p=1972
  • How to Get Paid for Free
  • The Secret Element of Successful Marketing Campaigns
  • Your Best Foundation for a Sustainable Business
  • The Simple Route to Generating Sales Leads with Your…
  • 29 Blogging Business Survival Tips
  • ]]>
    http://www.chrisg.com/wp-content/uploads/2014-06-07-13.48.03-1.jpgSince I let slip that I was a wannabe fiction writer, a few people have asked me questions about the modern author/publishing business:

    “Can you make a full time living as a writer, without being freelance?”

    “What should a modern indie author do to maximise their business?”

    “For successful self-publishers, what would we do differently?”

    I’ve answered these questions and more in various comment areas, forums, and social media. In fact, I am going to be talking about this subject on the SPP podcast/Google Hangout on Friday. I thought I would expand my answer to put my thoughts in one place.

    I love the second question above in particular because while obviously I am not (yet?) a successful fiction writer in the Hugh Howey league, there are things that worked for me and others in the non-fiction world that are ripe to deploy in the fiction space.

    If you are in non-fiction, even easier – the tools now exist for you to go beyond the usual model of publishing a book in order to have something to talk about on the speaking circuit, rinse and repeat!

    Why is this strategy capturing people’s imagination?

    Many people are making a good go of selling on Amazon and other related sites. My concept is to change your relationship with Amazon. To sell and promote on those platforms, but use them as a lead-generator.

    I’ve seen too many people have great businesses that relied on a powerful third-party, such as Google or Facebook, only to see the rules change and their business to flatline. You don’t control Amazon, they can change anything they like without consulting you. Your best defence is to use them, but build your own assets.

    It’s not just that the strategy would probably (properly executed) make you more money, but it gives you more control as a writer business.

    Benefits of controlling your platform

    Instead of being a Kindle sharecropper, insulate yourself from Amazon’s changes (revenue split, visibility, pricing, etc), plus …

    • Boost your profile as a “real” author and build a true fanbase “platform”
    • Build a customer list and prospect list so you can sell future books more easily, with or without Amazon
    • Endless bundling and packaging capability
    • Get sales commissions by referring related books/products that your customers would enjoy
    • Grow your own community, with more interaction and engagement
    • Business model testing and optimisation flexibility (sponsorships, patron funding, Humble Bundle “pay what you want” approach)
    • Increase customer lifetime value (loyal customers, share of customer)
    • Premium/enhanced versions of your work
    • Provide DRM-free rather than DRM-crippled downloads to treat your customers as friends and not potential criminals
    • Sell spin-offs and merchandise
    • Know where your fans are based so you can book better signings and speaking, plus get more people to turn up
    • Find out what else your fans would like from you

    There are probably more advantages, but you get the idea :)

    Cross-promotion of uses of your intellectual property

    Once you have experimented with the packaging options you now have complete control over (singles, serials/series, bundles, audio), consider how you might expand the use of your intellectual property. Opportunities exist for translation into other languages, or licensing your work to gaming companies (board and video game licensing). You never know, there might be possibilities for film/TV/radio play licensing, graphic novels, and so on.

    For non-fiction it is tough to get a film deal, but repurposing your content, serials, chapters, slide shares, infographics and excerpts can be a great outreach approach.

    Even though you licensed to another party, you still need to do your promotion work, and these partners are going to be far more eager if you can show you have grown real demand for your world and characters.

    For non-fiction authors, it’s possible companies might want to license your intellectual property for training and education materials. This fall I will be teaching at a local university, based in part on my online profile, business background and experience.

    Paid Subscriptions

    Where it gets really exciting is if you consider moving to a subscription! Many authors are doing well with series and serials, so why not allow someone to subscribe to you like they would a series on iTunes, or even everything you do in the style of HBO or Netflix?

    They could binge-read or get each episode “dripped” into their download area and email, the same way non-fiction membership sites, interview series, and online seminars work.

    How your funnel might work

    1. You start where most indie authors are now. Use free and paid catalogue of books on Amazon and associated sites as lead-generator and source of reviews, in addition to your blog, podcast, social media, appearances and guest writing.
    2. Build your list with a call to action in your books, but rather than just an email list, consider a free membership model, giving fans greater access and value (forum? downloads?) – this way downloads don’t get lost in inboxes, the member can set their own profile/forum signature/avatar, and you get useful usage/engagement stats.
    3. Get the opt-in in return for a sense of community, higher perceived value freebies, and interaction.
    4. Immediate ability to up-sell to bundles (only pay merchant %, no Amazon fees) – with the added ability to base the recommendations on previous purchases if they have already bought direct from you (“we see you own episode 1, buy the remainder of the series for x”, “you might also like …”)
    5. Up-sell to Premium/membership model (audio version, print-collectors-edition, early access to new releases, beta readers, “DVD-style” behind the scenes extras, maps, novellas/short stories, events, signings)
    6. Non-fiction authors can run online courses, coaching, events and masterminds – same platform, different products and access levels.
    7. Create follow-up sequences and themed funnels so that you can nurture new free and paid people to keep them happy and sticking around
    8. Once you have your funnels optimised and revenue is increasing, experiment with
      • collaborations and multi-author bundles
      • allowing partners to refer customers for a commission
      • advertising

    Can you see how after #1, it doesn’t really matter what changes Amazon makes? For your customers you can add a great deal of value that is just not possible in a Kindle ebook. You have a direct communication channel with your fans. Everybody wins :)

    Bottom Line

    Amazon is great, I love Amazon, but they are a business that has already moved the goal posts a couple of times, with charts, with free versus paid pricing, and with royalty percentages. They are still the biggest game in town but you don’t have to make your business 100% or even 50% reliant on them. In what little spare time I have I am slowly writing some stories. If I ever finish something worth publishing I will let you know how these ideas work for me :)

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    Join Darren Rowse and Chris Garrett in Portland Oregon: Thursday 10 July 2014 http://www.chrisg.com/join-darren-rowse-chris-garrett-portland/ http://www.chrisg.com/join-darren-rowse-chris-garrett-portland/#comments Tue, 03 Jun 2014 16:22:36 +0000 chris guillebeau 2014 portland july goins – from goins academy and  author and podcaster chris guillebeau 2014 portland july goins – from goins academy and  author and podcaster chris guillebeau 2014 portland july goins – from goins academy and  author and podcaster chris guillebeau 2014 portland july goins – from goins academy and  author and podcaster http://www.chrisg.com/?p=1965
  • How to Go from Author to Successful Online Business
  • 3 Essential (But Often Missed) Elements to Growing Your List
  • The “Simple” Secret Behind Copyblogger’s 8 Figure…
  • Want to Know What Makes Content Truly Successful?
  • Why Even a Big List Won’t Save You from Bad Strategy
  • ]]>
    This post is left for archive purposes, the event was July 2014

    Want to join Darren Rowse and me for a day of blogging talk?

    Or maybe going to World Domination Summit and getting in a day early?

    I’m thrilled to be able to share that Darren Rowse and Chris Guillebeau have arranged a ProBlogger training day in Portland Oregon on Thursday 10 July. They invited me along because I guess Darren would be lonely or something?

    Darren rowse chris garrett

    The day will be called the ProBlogger Academy and it’s being run as part of Chris Guillebeau’s World Domination Summit.

    This will be a rare opportunity for people outside Australia to see Darren in action – he was a huge hit last year at WDS and this year at Authority Intensive – plus you get both Darren and me in the same room at the same time!

    Tickets are limited and given their price they could go quickly. If you’re a WDS attendee they are just $29 USD and if you’re not a WDS ticket holder they’re still a bargain at $49 USD!

     

    Breaking News

    Now with extra special guests!

    We can now announce that joining us on stage will be some of our favourite people including:

    I am sure you will agree this is fantastic value, which begs the question …

    Why so inexpensive?

    No, there will be no pitches:

    1. we wanted to make this as accessible for as many people as possible (well, people who can make it to Portland)
    2. we’re doing this as a part of the larger WDS event and they’re a non-profit (crazy, but true)

    Darren and I are involved simply because we love WDS, we love Chris Guillebeau (don’t tell him, he has a big enough ego as it is, ha!), and we want to give a little something back. Also it’s a nice way to hang out with friends and meet new ones.

    The day runs from 9am-4pm (although we’ll stop for breaks along the way) and we hope to have a couple of special guests along to be involved in the teaching.

    We’ll cover our main 4 ‘pillars’ of blogging:

    • Creating Killer Content
    • Finding Readers
    • Building Community
    • Monetization

    We’ll cover the all of this in a practical, “do this because it works” way rather than rah rah motivational fluff. You’ll come home with a head full of ideas. There will be plenty of time to explore other topics as we always include opportunity for Q&A. We have both learned a great deal in the last year that we can’t wait to share with you.

    Looking forward to seeing you in person. Darren has promised a free hug to the first 400 attendees …

    This post is left for archive purposes, the event was July 2014

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    Why Even a Big List Won’t Save You from Bad Strategy http://www.chrisg.com/big-list-no-sales/ http://www.chrisg.com/big-list-no-sales/#comments Thu, 08 Aug 2013 22:42:59 +0000 sequence goodwill magic preeety compounds cornflakes aaaand dany http://www.chrisg.com/?p=1943
  • How to Use Your Website to Get Clients Offline and Into Your
  • How to Get Paid for Free
  • The Secret Element of Successful Marketing Campaigns
  • How to Make Your Site the Destination for Your Market
  • 3 Essential (But Often Missed) Elements to Growing Your List
  • ]]>
    A big question I get asked all the time here and on Copyblogger webinars (right after how to generate traffic or build a list), isengagement from scratch-1

    “How can I get more people to respond/buy/subscribe?”

    In my previous post, I talked about what makes content truly successful, and I gave a big answer, but for this particular issue, great content is only part of the solution.

    What more do you need?

    I will tell you now, it’s not just a big list. In fact, a lot of seemingly successful people are not doing that great and only look like they do because of the size of their list. Smaller businesses are doing much better than they seem because they have a missing piece of the puzzle that makes all the difference.

    What’s that piece?

    To answer that we have to step back …

    The Sequence

    Your typical visitor is not going to buy your stuff right away. Enough people do that some advertising-driven businesses can do well, but the vast majority are not going to take your action as soon as you ask, and the higher price point the more you should not rely on the first click leading to a sale.

    Rather than try to make a first impression AND get a transaction, we suggest you …

    1. Attract
    2. Engage
    3. Convert

    … in that order.

    The Magic

    When you get this right, magic happens.

    You know how little I have posted to this blog in the past year? Not a lot. But people keep signing up to my lists, people buy my ebooks.

    That’s got to mean I have a lot of goodwill built up. Obviously this posting schedule (or lack of) would not work for someone just starting out, and my click through and conversion rates are not what they were, but they are still preeety nice.

    All this goodwill came from valuable content followed by engagement.

    How do I do it?

    To simplify things, let’s ignore my Copyblogger work I do and the smaller historical stuff, and focus in on the two big chunks of chrisg.com and Authority Blogger. Just remember that everything you do contributes and compounds your reputation.

    1. chrisg.com = Attraction – If I am doing social media, public speaking, being interviewed, then chrisg.com is going to be the next step. For many people it is the first step. They find me in search or via a referral link. They sign up for blog updates or the free ebooks.
    2. Authority Blogger = Conversion – When the time is right and people want to take the next step, particularly the people in the subset of my audience who want or need to earn a living from their knowledge, skills or experience, you are going to end up at Authority Blogger.

    Straightforward? Simple? I would say so.

    BUT, it’s not that easy in practice is it? It never is!

    Authority Blogger is not just a sales page. It actually has its own, separate list. It has it’s own sequence. I don’t just say “interested in having a blog to market your business? Pay here!” :)

    Know, Like and Trust

    Of course you will have heard this before, but it’s worth looking at correctly.

    Out of know, like and trust, “Know” is the easiest part.

    Yes, I am saying it is easier to get attention than it is to be liked or respected.

    Think about it.

    You can buy exposure and attention. I could strip naked and run into the street. But that doesn’t mean you will like me (probably the opposite) and sure doesn’t mean you will buy from me.

    So you need to do the other stuff …

    • Educational auto responder sequence
    • Webinars, teleseminars
    • Answer questions

    And you have to be approachable, available and personable when you do.

    Next Step

    Normally I would write another thousand words or two, but it turns out Dany Iny has a resource that will go into much more detail for you. As an affiliate I get to offer you his Amazon Best-Seller book (he is offering to you for free in return for your email address).

    It’s actually very good – Aaaand, obviously, he is using the strategy I just outlined!

    The process starts with a nice video explaining how you don’t need a massive list, and then he gives you an ebook featuring wisdom from big names like Brian Clark, and popular sales guys like Derek Halpern. He will also invite you to a webinar, and after that will tell you about his program that goes into all this stuff in detail.

    Regardless of if you are ready to buy anything, I recommend you check out his sequence. See this stuff working in practice.

    Click here and check it out

    Feel free to delete my affiliate cookie after you sign up, I won’t cry into my cornflakes if I don’t get sent a commission! Just make sure you observe every step and ask what Danny is doing, why he is doing it, how he positions each part. Compare it to my own sequence if you have been through it.

     

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    Want to Know What Makes Content Truly Successful? http://www.chrisg.com/successful-content/ http://www.chrisg.com/successful-content/#comments Wed, 10 Jul 2013 19:52:45 +0000 hot potato at potato hot potato at potato http://www.chrisg.com/?p=1919
  • How to get 80% of the results with 20% of the content
  • How to Make Your Site the Destination for Your Market
  • How to Avoid Cold-Feet Killing Your Progress
  • The Simple Route to Generating Sales Leads with Your…
  • Course-Correction and Your Half-Year Resolutions
  • ]]>
    Don't blog thisWhat is the secret to getting your content read, shared and acted on?

    Is your content really useful versus just well-written?

    Why do some writers get real results from their articles, while other writers work just as hard, or harder, and don’t seem to get noticed?

    Of course there are many reasons, but a key reason that I see over and over again is what I call the “Hot Potato” effect.

    Before we get into what that is, let’s talk a little bit about what good content is, and what kind of content you might want to aim to share …

    What is good content?

    For me good content is useful content.

    I’ve sat in lecture halls and conference rooms listening to fantastic speakers … only to leave no better off than when I walked in. I have read books cover-to-cover and been entertained, but not been given anything I could use.

    Even worse, there are some best selling authors and speakers giving people really fun BAD advice. Advice that sounds good but which if implemented would cause problems rather than solve them.

    Good content works for the reader and the author. It’s not just about laughs for the audience and attention for the creator.

    People will disagree with me, and that is good. That said, I have a simple definition of useful content that has served me well:

    Good, useful content is content that helps you meet your goals.

    It’s simple and it works.

    How can you help improve your chances of getting results?

    • Word count – Write enough to get your point across but no more. Very often you can reduce your word count and improve impact, but there is no “correct” word count to work towards. See what works for you.
    • Topic – Of course in most cases the topic has to be interesting to your audience, otherwise it would not work to meet your goals, and therefore wouldn’t meet the criteria. A big tip for business is to write about what will help your audience in some way, rather than focusing on what feels good to write about. For a personal blog your goal might just be the fun of writing, in which case write about whatever you like that makes you feel good.
    • Grammar/Spelling – A big name British journalist once took me to task for being a content marketing consultant when my grammar is often not perfect. I told him the same as I would tell you. My goal is not perfect grammar, it is to get results. My results have proven time and again that the people who can not see past a few  grammar mistakes are not my customers. Seeking perfection can often work against your goals. That said, I do get my articles proof read when I can.
    • Readability – Where grammar, phrasing and spelling really hurts is if your content mistakes are so distracting people quit reading. Making your content easy to consume is super important. If people can’t skim, consume, and act on it, then you won’t get results. Break up long articles with subheads, use images and illustrations, bold, formatting, etc. Use short sentences and read your content aloud to see where you stumble or ramble.
    • Language – Writing in a way that your audience will understand helps a great deal toward being successful, but some times it takes a while to find your voice, and to research the phrasing of your audience, so work with what you have and improve as you go along.
    • Tone – You can be successful being positive, negative, attacking, contrary … personally I aim for positive, but do what works for you!
    • Citations – Your blog is not Wikipedia or a college paper. Citations help but don’t hold off posting just because you can’t cite experts.

    There is something more important than all of that, however. It matters in writing, in public speaking, in podcasts, videos, and interviews.

    What is that most important thing?

    Have something to say.

    Sounds simple, but as I say (too often), common sense is seldom common practice.

    People post to their blogs, forums and social media all the time when they don’t have anything meaningful to share. You have seen it. Maybe they have a calendar to hit, or maybe they like the attention, but it hurts their brand.

    You are only as good as your last post.

    People remember! Do you want people to remember you as the loud mouth with nothing to contribute or the person who shows up with consistently good stuff?

    Get out there and experience things, meet people, ask questions, combine ideas, try new experiments, then report back.

    That’s where great content comes from.

    Don’t Wait for the Perfect Time

    This is part of the reason why I haven’t posted on this blog for months.

    Analysis paralysis was a big part of it.

    A dramatic drop in writing confidence another :)

    Not having time to think was a big part too …

    Don’t wait. The perfect time will never come. It’s a mistake I have made a lot since I started writing online in the 1990’s.

    Oh, I had stuff I could write about. People ask me questions all the time, I answer as many as I can humanly get to.

    I see interesting stuff happening and I could comment on it. But I wanted to wait until I had time and energy to contribute properly, and it never seemed like that time was going to arrive.

    Yup, I was out doing stuff, as I mention above, so much stuff I couldn’t write about it! I was working on some stuff that I wanted to share, but I wanted to dig into these experiments properly so I could do more than skim the subjects superficially.

    One of which I’m pretty proud of and can talk about more now it’s out there in public  …

    Free My Copyblogger Membership

    Free My Copyblogger Membership

    We turned the Copyblogger email subscription into something far more useful, valuable, sophisticated and just plain cooler :) Please check it out and let me know what you think.

    The results have blown me away, by the way. Because of the results, and the cool factor, you will be seeing this approach pop up on a lot of other sites soon.

    And this brings us to the “Hot Potato” factor.

    Are you flinging a hot potato at your audience or are you contributing something real?

    One of the reasons I am not sad about Google Reader going away is the feeds I subscribed to had turned into an echo chamber of me-too writing.

    Instead of having something meaningful to add, instead of doing interesting work and then talking about it, people were just regurgitating what other people had taught, or recycling the same news story everyone else was writing about.

    Every social media blunder was a new reason to write “Ten things we can learn from ____ mistake”. All that has its place, but it seems a lot of people think that is the winning move, the gold standard, where if anything it should be just one tool in your kit bag.

    Don’t just pick up a new thing from your feeds then fling it at your audience. Don’t read an ebook then immediately barf it back up onto your blog.

    If you are doing meaningful stuff then you will have something meaningful to write about!

    For sure, learn everything you can from people you respect. But then internalise it. Put it into action. Try stuff out. Did it work for you?

    Disagree! Make mistakes!

    Don’t be the person who writes about making money online before they make a cent. By all means write about what you are learning, just be honest about your experience and definitely write about stuff you have done and tried, not just something you heard from someone else.

    It’s sad when I see obviously parroted content from people who I think have superstar potential. You are better than that.

    So if that’s what NOT to do, what SHOULD we do?

    Go out there and do stuff, even if that means failing. Read. Listen. Discuss. Sure … But make sure you are not just consuming but experimenting and implementing.

    Bottom Line

    I wanted to get this out to you, imperfect as it is, to show that what really counts is giving something to your audience that you hope will help in some way.

    In summary, don’t tell us what someone else said, tell us what you have done and what you learned from it. Something that is worth reading, sharing, linking to, and learning from … and don’t wait for it to be perfect!

    What do you think? Am I being unfair? What is your definition of good content? Please share in the comments …

     

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    29 Blogging Business Survival Tips http://www.chrisg.com/29-blogging-survival-tips/ http://www.chrisg.com/29-blogging-survival-tips/#comments Tue, 26 Feb 2013 21:54:13 +0000 managing revenue managing revenue http://www.chrisg.com/?p=1891
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    What does it take to be successful in blogging as or for a business?

    blogging for moneyMy friend Al from Coolest Gadgets contacted me for some quotes to use in a presentation he has coming up, and as usual, I gave him way more material than he could use. Rather than let it go to waste, I have written it up here as an article.

    These aren’t the only lessons, but they are a start. If you like them, check out my article from 2008 that has 41 tips about the blogging side of things.

    Revenue generation

    1. Don’t put off the revenue side of your business. I was known as the “free guy” for too long, and that meant when my articles contained $ signs people started getting angry.
    2. Let people know you are in business, and don’t apologise for that!
    3. Once you have started making revenue, don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Diversify revenue streams.
    4. And I don’t mean having two different advertising networks.

    Networking

    1. I have come to the conclusion the biggest factor that has contributed most to my career and business has been my network. A network can be your most powerful asset, but even more importantly, will play a greater role in coming years as the world economy changes.
    2. One of the worst mistakes I have made (a few times) is thinking I can do everything solo. We are not superheros.
    3. Who you know is increasingly more significant than what you know, but more important still is who knows and trusts you.
    4. I didn’t set out to “build a network”, but my network grew anyway by being friendly. Through my network I have learned about breaking news and industry changes, discovered new tools, tactics and techniques, gained opportunities, job offers, partnerships, and experiences, attracted introductions, referrals, traffic and links, and have received valuable advice and coaching. And, of course, made great friends.
    5. Make nurturing and attracting network relationships a priority, it’s one of the best investments you can make.

    Social Media

    1. Social Media is not new, so don’t treat it as something special and different. It’s just accelerated human interaction. Yes, the tools have changed since the days of modem BBS, IRC and Usenet, but the same mistakes and same challenges are there.
    2. Remember that there are human beings on the other end of your updates. Don’t treat people like numbers in a spreadsheet.
    3. Nobody owes you anything. Being approachable, generous, useful and fun will go a long way.
    4. Don’t worry about the people who don’t get you, focus on those you do connect with.

    Managing time, money and resources

    1. I tried all of the productivity systems and they didn’t work for me until I realised that managing my energy levels was more important than managing my time. If I get a good sleep, feel good, and am motivated, I can get more done in the same time. In fact, when our energy levels are low, it can take everything just to get started.
    2. Aim for progress, not perfection.
    3. If you are procrastinating, try to understand why. What is it about the task or project that you are resisting. A lot of the time it comes down to fear. Fear of failure, for sure, but also sometimes fear of success.
    4. We have to push the boundaries of our comfort zones to achieve anything substantial.
    5. Managing money has been a thorn in my side because I grew up with some pretty bad money mindset issues. Remember that money is not good or evil, it just is what it is.
    6. Debt is not inherently bad, but spending loaned money on liabilities is not especially smart.
    7. Just like on the airlines, put your own oxygen mask on before trying to assist others.
    8. If you give to charities and causes that you really believe in then you are more motivated to really help rather than handing over cash out of guilt or a sense of obligation.
    9. Remember it’s ok to get a second opinion on anything financial or legal!

    Building the business

    1. Sales and customer service are as important as having a cool product. Yes, a great product can seem to practically sell itself, but I have seen many cool products go unsold because of lame attempts at marketing.
    2. How you treat people will go a long way to determining if you ever get referrals, reviews, testimonials and repeat business.
    3. Remember that everyone in your business is in sales, everyone in your business is in marketing. We judge your whole business on every interaction, large or small.
    4. Run your business like you would want to be treated.
    5. Having worked on both bootstrapped and funded businesses, I would rather bootstrap. Grow revenue creating assets, and have the business fund expenditures (and fund itself) rather than take outside money.
    6. Sometimes it does make sense to take outside money, just remember that gaining investment usually means giving up control.
    7. Know the numbers and challenges that drive your business and build systems around those metrics and constraints.

    Bottom line

    You will notice I don’t talk about tools or technologies in the lessons above. There is a good reason for that. The tools change but in general, people don’t. Back when I started writing online articles in return for hosting space, I used HTML, FTP, and GIF images … but it was the content and relationships that made them succeed or fail. When I got advertising revenue from my programming articles, and later consulting and freelance leads, it wasn’t because of the word processor I used or my photoshop skills. When I run an online course, nobody asks if I am using Premise versus Amember before purchasing :)

    Which all makes me realise, these lessons could easily apply to a brick and mortar business, or an ecommerce business, just as easily as one based around blogging.

    Got any lessons to share, or anything you disagree with? Please share in the comments …

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    5 Essential Skills for Today’s Online Marketer http://www.chrisg.com/5-essential-skills/ http://www.chrisg.com/5-essential-skills/#comments Tue, 19 Feb 2013 18:15:05 +0000 born entrepreneur realised fold skills communication fail marketer http://www.chrisg.com/?p=1886
  • Your Best Foundation for a Sustainable Business
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  • ]]>

    Skillz. I haz em.

    What are the most important skills for an online marketer, blogger or professional?

    I am going to list my response to that, but I would be interested in hearing your thoughts in the comments. I’m intentionally keeping this one short so you can dive in and tell me where I am wrong!

    This post came about because I was just asked this question in email, and after responding briefly, I couldn’t get the question out of my head. After pondering on it, I realised it’s not quite as simple as it first seems.

    I realised that some of these are traits you are born with, but can develop, and others you can simply learn and practice.

    Although I often say I am not a natural born entrepreneur to excuse myself of deficiencies in certain areas, it makes me think that perhaps nobody is particularly born with entrepreneur DNA. After all, I haven’t added “natural risk-taker” or “born with wads of cash” to my list!

    Enough preamble, here is my top 5 list:

    Top 5 Most Essential Skills for Online Business:

    1. Empathy and understanding – If you can’t understand the people you are hoping to serve, then you won’t be able to deliver what they really want and need, in the way they want it. You need to be able to solve real problems, you need to get to the root causes, and communicate in language people understand.
    2. Communication – You need to be able to communicate (as mentioned in the previous item), especially written, but speaking too. It doesn’t matter if you are an entry-level employee, a solo entrepreneur,  or a CEO of a large corporation, clear and compelling communication is vital. The days of having a room full of typists is gone. Nobody will be able to escape email, but of course there are all the social networking tools too.
    3. Networking, relationship and people skills – So I mentioned networking in the previous point. I mean actual networking, not spamming Facebook and Twitter with your links! Human interaction. Building relationships. Getting to know people, and having them get to know you. It’s difficult to get anywhere without other people around to help you. People who can build and grow teams will have an advantage over people who burn out relationships almost as soon as they connect. I realised you don’t need technical or craft skills yourself if you can partner and communicate effectively. Let me know if you disagree …
    4. FailureThe willingness and ability to fail repeatedly is an odd one but I really believe it. I was talking to Ben last night and he was telling us about a talk he gave at a school where he said it was one of the most important things to learn. Ben is an engineer and inventor but I think it applies to everything. See projects as experiments, not pass or fail, and you will have a much better time.
    5. Stamina and staying power – A lot of people give up too soon. Seth Godin calls it “The Dip”. When it gets difficult is often right before you succeed. Of course, you also need to know when to give up. Know when to hold ‘em, know when to fold ‘em, as the song goes.

    OK, that was my list, what do you think?

    What skills do you need to succeed today?

    Please share in the comments …

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    Is it Just Business? How to be Professionally Human http://www.chrisg.com/just-business/ http://www.chrisg.com/just-business/#comments Tue, 05 Feb 2013 19:09:34 +0000 more professionally human bully professionally aggressive greatest more professionally human bully professionally aggressive greatest http://www.chrisg.com/?p=1860
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  • ]]>
    Play nice to winHave you ever worked with someone who uses the phrase “It’s just business“?

    Or played a game with someone who, after cheating, back-stabbing, lying or just being a jerk, said “It’s only a game“?

    How did that make you feel? Did you respect the person more, or less? Did you trust them more afterwards?

    When someone is an aggressive, shouting, mean bully, do you say “Well, that’s just how they are. A straight-talker!“.

    Last night I wrote and re-wrote this post in my head.

    I wanted to rant. It’s not my style. But woah … I wanted to. Instead I want to turn my anger into a positive and show you how you can forge better relationships and be more professionally human in your interactions.

    Canada’s Greatest … What?

    I’m angry right now, but not angry for myself. I am feeling upset on behalf of my friend Ben Eadie, one half of Mechanical Mashup, and all round top bloke.

    Ben is currently appearing in a Canadian TV reality show called Canada’s Greatest Know-It-All, on the Discovery channel. Judging from their apparent behaviour, a couple of contestants think the show is called Canada’s Greatest D-Bags.

    Rather than demonstrating their brain power, two of the contestants have taken to back-stabbing, aggressive behaviour, bending the rules, and other associated d-baggery.

    Now, the thing is, these reality shows always have to cast a villain or two. The only way you are going to root for the good guy is if there is a bad guy for the good guy to go up against. We know this. There is no shortage of people willing to take on the role with gusto.

    In the short term, they might succeed. They might even win the whole thing. It would reflect poorly on the show and the Discovery Channel, but they might.

    The problem is, after the show is over, people still remember who was a jerkface, and who were the nice ones.

    I don’t think they got up each morning thinking “I get to be the bad guy today, yay! Let’s go bully a contestant!”.

    Those lapses of judgement, visible for the world to see, however, will stick.

    How does this apply to your blogging and business?

    People Don’t Always Remember What You DO … But …

    Have you heard the phrase “People don’t always remember what you do, but they always remember how you make them feel”?

    These guys on CGKIA now have to live with the fact that thousands of people in Canada will remember how they made them feel. This will be further amplified and distributed by social media.

    I nearly named them in this article, but then what if I started ranking in search for their names? That would compound the issue and make my behaviour appear just as bad as the bully behaviour they demonstrated, but longer-lasting (the internet never forgets).

    Of course, Canada gets to see what a great guy Ben is too, which has kind of a nice karmic balance to it.

    Business is Business, But …

    Business is business, yes, but business is also personal.

    I am repeatedly accused of being too nice. Being too soft. I can’t count the number of people who think that my wife and I should “just toughen up”.

    Bull-hockey. 

    There is nothing wrong with being sensitive. It’s people who lack empathy who are the problem. People who think treating others badly is just “straight talk”. People who think being tough as nails is somehow professional.

    But the good news is people remember how you make them feel.

    You know what happens when people make a habit of being a jerk? Well, I am not sure, because people don’t associate with those people for very long, so they fade into obscurity when nobody is willing to prop them up any longer.

    We want to work with people we know, like and trust.

    Not jerkfaces.

    Bad actors shine brightly then fizzle out as people detect their true nature. The nice people win in the long term:

    • More referrals.
    • More links.
    • More shares.
    • More traffic.
    • More engagement.
    • More opportunities.
    • More friends, business partners and contacts.
    • More fun.

    Just think of the people you enjoy following and keeping up to date with. Do they seem like nice people for the most part? Could you shake their hands without needing a shower afterwards?

    But it’s not pretending to be nice, it’s being a genuinely good human being, because faking it can only last so long.

    Who would you rather work with after the show ends, the mean bullies or super nice and resourceful Ben? Even if the folks with the bad behaviour wouldn’t act like that in normal life?

    Five Elements that Make You Professionally Human

    So, if it’s not about being a hard as nails super-competitor, what is it about?

    1. Empathy – Start by seeing things from the other person’s point of view. Consider other people’s feelings. What will be the consequences of your actions.
    2. Vulnerability – It’s ok to not be perfect, it’s ok to have feelings, and it is ok to show weakness.
    3. Balance – That’s not to say you turn up every day an emotional wreck, and get people down the whole time. Don’t go on constant outbursts. Nobody wants to be around that.
    4. Compassion – You know not everything has to be a win-lose equation, right? You don’t have to grind competitors into the dust? You don’t have to win at all costs?
    5. Character – Do you see yourself as trustworthy? Ethical? Likeable? Approachable? Do other people see you that way? Do you demonstrate it through your actions?

    Bottom Line

    What do people say about you behind your back?

    That is your brand.

    What are you doing about it?

     

     

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    The Secret Element of Successful Marketing Campaigns http://www.chrisg.com/secret-element/ http://www.chrisg.com/secret-element/#comments Tue, 29 Jan 2013 19:18:28 +0000 goodwill friction wheel goodwill friction wheel http://www.chrisg.com/?p=1847
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    Remove friction from your marketing campaigns

    Remove friction from your marketing

    Why can Brian send one email from the Copyblogger email list and make 6 figures?

    Is it list size? Yes, scale obviously comes into it, but  if someone else had Copyblogger’s list they wouldn’t necessarily get the same result.

    So what is the crucial factor that makes the difference?

    Is it Authority?

    Yes, of course that’s a factor, but there is more to it.

    More than seven years went into that one email.

    Think about it:

    • Experience.
    • Knowledge.
    • Audience insight.
    • Reputation.

    … and one more thing, probably the most important, and what I want to tell you about today …

    Momentum

    What is momentum when it comes to marketing?

    1. Goodwill – Goodwill is when your audience wants to hear from you, it’s when they grow to know, like and trust you. On the negative side, when you are constantly asking instead of giving, your goodwill goes down, and you lose your audience’s attention.
    2. Consistency – People want you to be predictably reliable. It’s a big part of your brand. You expect service providers that you enjoy to be pretty similar from year to year, there is a comfort in that. Think about if you are overseas in an unusual place, you might not be the biggest fan of multinationals like Starbucks and McDonalds, but you certainly know what you are going to get when you walk in. On a blog that means nice guys writing positive articles most of the time, even when they really want to go on a three day rant.
    3. Expectation – As well as having expectations in terms of consistency, your audience also expects good, valuable things from you. They know, even if they don’t have perfectly complete information, that they can trust what you deliver.

    You can’t buy it, you have to work at it. Every day.

    Buying momentum

    Some things you can buy unseen

    Sales Momentum

    Are there things you will purchase as soon as you hear about them?

    I do this all the time with movies, music, books …

    I pre-order the next book of a series without knowing the plot, reviews, even the title sometimes. After a decade or more of reading the Wheel of Time series, was there any doubt I would buy the last book in the collection?

    When I finish reading it I will be getting the next “Wool”/”Silo” book from Hugh Howey (if I could just subscribe, I would).

    I can’t go to see Marillion live any longer, but I buy every album they record without hearing anything from it first.

    This is momentum at work. Not just “buying momentum”, it’s the true fan. The person who has so much built up goodwill and faith in you, that they will buy everything you put out.

    Obviously there is a lot of responsibility built in to that.  So often this is abused, or the goodwill is broken accidentally.

    A lot of the risk is in the need for consistency. Artists want to keep moving, changing, adapting, and they want to keep the inspiration alive. Fans often want the artist to remain static, stick to what they fell in love with. It’s a tricky tightrope to walk.

    Remove Friction

    Encouraging momentum is also about removing friction.

    • Unnecessary hurdles – Are there any barriers in the way? One of the major frustrations with the Wheel of Time book I mentioned above is there is NO digital version. The publisher so wanted to get to the top of the best-sellers lists, they held back the ebook so that people had to buy the print version. I can’t get the next season of Game of Thrones on TV without buying an expensive movie package that I will never watch, just to get the HBO channel, just to get that one show. So instead I have to wait a year for the Blu Ray. While the internet is full of spoilers (I read the books, but there are still differences). I’m not the worlds biggest HBO fan at this point.
    • Confusion – Confused people don’t buy. Confused people are difficult to even get interested enough to listen. You need to stay on message and make that message crystal clear.
    • Suspicion – It happens to many big companies or well known individuals. People start suspecting ulterior or sinister motives. In IT the world was dominated by IBM, but then they were the bad guy, and plucky Microsoft took over, then Apple, then Google. Who next? The more visible you are, the more people will analyse your every move, … and see things in the shadows.
    • Doubt/Risk – As trust goes up, the perception of risk goes down, but this doesn’t mean you get a free ride. Sometimes the bar is raised unrealistically high because you did such a good job. Think the Star Wars prequels. In fact, in the middle of that Wheel of Time book series there was a fan revolt. People said the author had lost his way. The author was actually really ill, and had built an epic storyline that anyone would struggle with. Many fans refused to buy anything else because they were afraid the decline was never going to be turned around.
    • Boredom/Distraction – That consistency thing? Sometimes predictability is a bad situation to get into. Or people get distracted with other shiny stuff. Sometimes it happens just because you have your head down working that you don’t pay enough attention to your audience. People are defecting from the iPhone to Android partly just to get something cool and new.
    • Negative social proof – Bad reviews, bad word of mouth, seeing the fans defect to another provider … you have to plug the leaks early and often, and keep communicating so you are the first to know about bad rumblings.

    Bottom Line

    Success doesn’t come overnight. What looks like overnight success has had a lot of work behind the scenes. That said, when you start to see progress, get behind it, remove any obstacles, and keep your customers happy, then you will see that compounding “snow ball” effect you are looking for!

    What do you think? Are there people who you will buy everything from? Are there companies you once bought from but are wary about trusting any longer? Let me know in the comments …

     

     

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    How to get 80% of the results with 20% of the content http://www.chrisg.com/80-20-rule-content/ http://www.chrisg.com/80-20-rule-content/#comments Mon, 14 Jan 2013 18:35:57 +0000 http://www.chrisg.com/?p=1829
  • Want to Know What Makes Content Truly Successful?
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  • ]]>
    The One Percent Cat - i should blog

    • When should you write?
    • How often?
    • How long should your blog posts be?
    • Should you have a schedule?

    I get asked these questions and similar every week, between emails, Q&A calls/webinars, and clients.

    Content is becoming super important. We used to talk about if content was king or not. Now, I see a shift.

    The content creator is now king.

    (click to tweet)

    Keeping the crown is getting tougher than ever, though.

    The problem is, people get caught up in thinking they don’t have time, are not good enough, not creative enough. People who have a lot to share are giving up out of frustration, feeling like they are just not cut out for this whole content business.

    And that’s not true in almost all cases.

    Business as usual is not helping. The old dogma is causing frustration. There are a few challenges here.

    1. First, while there are standard answers that have grown around the blogging world, that doesn’t mean those answers are right for you.
    2. Next, it could be that giving yourself a bit of flexibility means you are more likely to succeed, and too rigid an approach causes you to be less productive.
    3. Finally, it’s really not about the writing, but about what the writing does that counts.

    Let’s start with a discussion of the options …

    The benefits of more content, more often

    It’s fair to say, if you can, then producing more content has certain advantages.

    Each piece of content is potentially another soldier in your promotion army. More content, in general, means more traffic, links, engagement, opt-ins, and so on.

    Posting more articles, more often, also sends strong signals to your audience and also search engines that you are still around. When you don’t hear from someone for a while, you forget or wonder if they are still relevant. I know I have had questions about if I am still blogging here or not!

    Writing schedule

    In some niches the expectation will be that not only do you have something new daily, but maybe multiple times per day. I am thinking niches such as tech and gadgets.

    If you write about breaking news then you need to get your content out immediately, because the early bird catches the worm. If, though, you write editorial, how-to, or anything not on a super strict timescale, then take a pause. The second mouse gets the cheese.

    So does this mean you should write on a schedule? Perhaps starting with weekly?

    Not necessarily, but we will get to that in a moment. There can be a significant audience benefit if they can start to anticipate new content on a regular basis, however.

    The benefit of fewer articles

    If you have to write less often then you can spend more of your time on those few articles to get them just right.

    • You can spend more time researching.
    • You can polish and edit more.
    • You can source better graphics and links.
    • You can repurpose your content into different media.
    • You can spend more time promoting your article.

    What about content length? If you write less often then you can write longer articles, right?

    It’s difficult for me to tell folks to write short articles because I tend to write quite long.

    In fact, in this article, I made an effort to write less than I ordinarily do, but it still ended up over 1,000 words.

    There is no right or wrong answer about content length. Write as much as it takes, and then stop!

    Usually an article will benefit from editing. Trimming down will aid consumption, especially in these distracted times. Attention spans are stretched, but that does not mean you can not write in-depth articles. They just have to capture attention and be worth it.

    Which brings us to the main point.

    Don’t judge content on length or frequency!

    when to write a blog postThe most important question is not “when” or “how much”, but “what”.

    Only write when you have something to share (click to tweet).

    If you have to force your writing, because you haven’t written enough, or you have a schedule to keep, then your writing will suffer.

    It’s more important that you have impact than a tick in a box.

    Agree? If you write for people and not page views or search traffic then you should at least consider it.

    So how do you write with impact?

    Writing for impact rather than page views

    Writing for impact is an art rather than a science, but there are certain things that you need to do:

    1. Write with a goal – what is the outcome you intend to create? If your writing does not have a purpose then it is difficult for you to know if you have succeeded or not. Can you guess the intention behind my previous article about cold-feet? There were a few goals with that one.
    2. Mine the emotion – if you want to get people to think a certain way or do a certain thing then you need to move them. Inspire, motivate, tell emotional stories, reveal your inner truths and vulnerabilities. Share your challenges and struggles.
    3. WIIFM – most of human interaction has an element of “What’s In It For Me?”. If the reader doesn’t grasp what’s in it for them right away, well, then you have failed.
    4. Consumption – I am not super strict on grammar (as you can probably tell), but I do attempt to edit. Editing for brevity is great, but also edit  to make things crystal clear and remove any road-blocks to consumption. If your audience doesn’t consume your message all the way through then they won’t take action on it, and they won’t spread it. Make it skimmable, engaging, and easy to get through. Take a look how I formatted this article, can you understand why?
    5. It’s not what you mean, it’s what they understand – Closely related to the last point. I know for a fact there will be people who read this article and will take away a message I never intended. It always happens. Sometimes people take what you say out of context intentionally. Sometimes people hallucinate whole phrases you never wrote. People will second-guess your intentions. You can’t help that, but you can work on your message to get it across as well as you can. It’s your responsibility to communicate with as few chances of distortions as possible.
    6. Get agreement – If you want to persuade then you need to be on the page. Get agreement early and often. Build up to your main point with sound arguments. Don’t just bludgeon people with ideas or facts. Can you see where I asked questions in this post?
    7. Link back – Linking to your older articles gives them new life and also gives strong hints to search engines. If you do nothing else, make sure you always link back to your older gems from your archives.
    8. Link out – Not only will linking out help your audience, but it is great for search engines too. It might get you noticed by other bloggers if you are lucky.
    9. Images – You must have noticed with Facebook and Pinterest that people LOVE images. I like to use my own photographs because they add some unique personality to my pages, but you don’t have to be an artist or photographer, as the images on today’s article prove!
    10. Call to action – Go back to your goal. Tell people what you want them to do, what’s in it for them, and what to do next. Make it easy to share. Make headlines and URLs work in social media.

    Best of both?

    Now you know why so many sites like Copyblogger, Social Media Examiner, and so on are multi-author blogs. It’s difficult to sustain quantity, schedule and quality on your own. For the solo operator, you will probably have to make a choice.

    What you have to keep in mind if you go the team route is the audience still needs you to captain your ship. Don’t lose your voice by creating a crowd.

    Bottom Line

    What do you remember from this article? What would you take away?

    If I have done my job correctly then you ought to remember that it is the impact you have that counts, not how much you write and not how often.

    There is a good reason why my list has continued to grow despite not writing for weeks!

    That said, you have to take into account …

    • Niche expectations
    • The kind of content you are creating
    • Your intentions behind the content
    • What you are capable of

    I write in order to gather a smaller audience of people who grow to want to hear what I have to say, not for page views, ad clicks, or to break news. It’s better for me to write a few more impactful articles than try to write four times a day, even if I had time and energy for that.

    You need to look rationally at what you can produce, and what you are likely to be able to produce in future, and keep the quality and impact of your content top of mind, as well as things like traffic and search results. If you can post four top-quality articles per day and keep that consistency, then go for it. I know I tried before and nearly burned out.

    What do you think? Feel free to disagree or share your thoughts in the comments ….

     

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    How to Avoid Cold-Feet Killing Your Progress http://www.chrisg.com/cold-feet/ http://www.chrisg.com/cold-feet/#comments Mon, 03 Dec 2012 20:32:51 +0000 zones feet cold fear risks fears comfort spotlight http://www.chrisg.com/?p=1820
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  • ]]>

    Cold Feet Can Kill Your Productivity

    Today, I want to talk about what happens when you give in to your fears. I want you to learn from my mistakes so you can have the courage to do what you need to.

    I have a lot of fears. That’s just part of who I am. I’m risk-averse, and I tend to focus on mitigating the risks I perceive as a priority, rather than focus on potential gains.

    (I’ve written about fear before, check out this post in particular where I tell the story of nearly drowning. It’s a fan-favourite).

    My dumb cold-feet mistakes

    Sadly, I have a long list of times when I chickened out. When I gave in to my cold feet. I did ok despite these events, but every time I say no to something I should do, or want to do, it makes it that bit harder next time, and the more you say no, the more chance people will stop asking.

    Here is a small sample:

    • Back when I first started out writing tutorials in the ASP programming space, I nearly quit when a popular community member slammed one of my articles. He pretty much tore it apart, not because it was inaccurate or badly written, but because he felt threatened.  My wife talked me down from that one.
    • I stopped guest posting at Copyblogger, despite my Copyblogger articles being my best source of leads. Say it with me … Stupid, stupid, stupid. There were two reasons:
      1. Negative feedback from people who, looking back, were either trolling or I should never have listened to in the first place. Most notably several people who said “Who the heck do you think you are”, or words to that effect.
      2. Fear of not being good enough a writer to appear on a top writing blog (even though Copyblogger wouldn’t ever publish something that was not good enough. I never said fear was rational!).
    • History repeated when I stopped writing for Social Media Examiner. Yeah, I got busy, but mixed in there were similar fear reasons to what had come before too.
    • I’ve turned down multiple speaking opportunities in exciting far-flung countries, because I didn’t feel up to the spotlight or the “exotic” location, only to see other speakers step up who I thought were great, but no better than me.
    • TV scares me so much I have never accepted a single opportunity. Not even pre-recorded shows.

    Why did I chicken out from these valuable opportunities, when I have taken risks and big leaps elsewhere in my life and business? As anyone who knows me could confirm, my family and I have been through some pretty white-knuckle stuff. What was different here? What did all of these have in common?

    Know your comfort zones … and challenge them

    I am going to give you some advice then immediately contradict it, but stay with me!

    Your rewards will directly relate to how far you push your comfort zones.

    OK, that’s the advice. And I really believe that.

    So why do I allow myself to wimp out from stretching my own comfort zones?

    Because I can.

    If you are always pushing your comfort zones then you will not have a very enjoyable life. It’s about finding a balance.

    Some comfort is a good thing! Plus, as you stretch your comfort zones, they can become the new normal for you. When you don’t stretch, you actually shrink.

    That doesn’t make it right, however. Just because my business hasn’t fatally suffered from turning down or walking away from opportunities, doesn’t mean it was the correct decision.

    You have to work out your comfort zones and either face them or work with them.

    I know where my anxiety comes from in the above examples. All of the experiences above come from two fears that I have always had to work on:

    • Over-emphasising what other people who don’t know me think.
    • Being over-exposed and shunning the spotlight.

    It comes down to “Who the heck do you think you are?”. 

    The answer should be “Good enough for this”, but if you let doubt creep in, it becomes “Not up to the task”.

    I don’t just fear the spotlight, I really don’t like it. I’d much rather be the song-writer than the rock star.

    Strangely, once I got over the worst of the initial fear of public speaking, I found I love to teach. I just don’t like the feeling of people looking at me, or noticing me much for that matter. While I can focus on the content, I am ok. Once I feel like people are taking notice of me rather than the content, that’s when I pull back.

    I’ve been able to work around it, and work on it. You can do the same, I am sure:

    1. Why the fear? – Work out when you feel resistance where that resistance is coming from.
    2. Identify the risks and mitigate them – Lower the risks and downside as much as you can to make sure you are as confident as you can be.
    3. If you can’t face it right now, work around it – there are usually multiple ways to get the same or similar results. For example, I do webinars rather than streaming headshot video.
    4. When you can work on it, work to improve – Since the age of 16 I have devoured many self-help books. Some actually helped.
    5. Pick your battles – We are not all great at everything we are expected to do. Some things I turn down, other things I partner for. Some things I tell myself “suck it up princess, we have work to do”. Your mileage may vary.
    One of the best things I have learned has been to make sure my email lists are set up in Aweber with my real email address. That means, even though negative types can hit reply, so can the nice folks. I can save the compliments for when I am feeling down or not good enough, and that can give me a bit of added fuel to get the necessary work done.

    Bottom Line

    I nearly didn’t post this article for all the reasons I mentioned above. But I have, and will take any negative comments on the chin, because I need to follow my own advice :)

    Over to you. What do you fear? What holds you back? How do you manage that, or intend to in future? Let me know in the comments …

     

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    Your Best Foundation for a Sustainable Business http://www.chrisg.com/assets-foundation/ http://www.chrisg.com/assets-foundation/#comments Fri, 23 Nov 2012 19:30:42 +0000 assets sharecropping assets sharecropping http://www.chrisg.com/?p=1808
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    Would your business survive burning down?

    What would you do if your business burned to the ground? If you had to literally start over, would you be able to cope? What would your approach be?

    I have been falling behind with my workload lately. You just have to look at my posting frequency to see that I have been dropping as many plates as I manage to keep spinning.

    I’m busy. That’s a great problem to have, so long as it does not impact my commitments and customer service.

    My first act has been to cut back on any new commitments. You may have noticed I have suspended offering consulting and coaching. I just don’t have capacity to take on any new clients. Even critiques now will only be offered as part of the Authority Blogger monthly mastermind calls.

    This is a difficult reality to face, but it made me think about what it means to have a business that sustains itself even when you are so busy you find your business with nobody at the wheel …

    It also got me thinking about if I had to start over again, what elements of my current business would I need to recreate to know I had good foundations?

    What are the essential foundations?

    What does a self-sustaining business look like?

    Of course the first definition we need to agree on is that a business that is going to function long term must make more income than is spent in expenditure. Seems obvious, but there are a lot of businesses not in that situation.

    How does a business get to that place? A business that can support itself is built on assets.

    Assets are the foundation of a healthy business.

    We often get confused about what that really means.

    Your equipment is not an asset, because, while you could sell it to solve some short-term cashflow issues, it depreciates in value, and once you have sold it you can’t make income that depends on it.

    There are also a lot of things that are not strictly assets – things you don’t have ownership over, but that you can influence:

    • Traffic – Ashkan recently moved to a new domain for his app reviews site and found his traffic disappeared. It’s still a good site, but Google needs time to rediscover the content and start trusting it again. Even though many websites are sold based on traffic, it doesn’t mean that you own it. You are at the mercy of outside forces. At best, you borrow or rent traffic for a while.
    • Reputation – We build our reputations but can slip up and destroy it at any moment, and we see in the media all the time how even innocent people can have their reputation destroyed by a powerful story.
    • Relationships – Relationships are a partnership, all you can do is your best to hold up your side.
    • Market – Even the goliath companies that seem to be able to steer a market ultimately fall from grace.
    • Social media accounts – I don’t need to tell you how little control you really have over the accounts you get from Twitter and Facebook. I have the same name as a USA politician and a Canadian Football player. Some day they might decide I don’t deserve to have vanity URLs that match my name. I don’t have a vanity URL at Google+ yet. With these accounts, at best you are a tenant, at worst you are the product that they are selling. Copyblogger calls this Digital Sharecropping.
    • Third-party tools, such as gmail, hosted video platform, backup solution – Outside of the excellent spam team, Google is renowned for not exactly putting customer service as a priority. I know very few people who have managed to speak to a customer service person there. Even when you are paying a lot of money in advertising.
    • Influence – You might have influence today, but who will say how long it will last? Stars rise and fall.
    I’ve said in the past that I think a network is one of your key assets, but by my above-mentioned standard, I think we only have partial influence over our network because it depends on relationships and reputation.

    So … What DO you own?

    Your real business assets

    I had to think long and hard about what are actual assets were (I would love your input into this).

    What we really own are the things we have built ourselves and have complete control over.

    • Your content – Even if people rip you off, copy, and the like, your content is still something you own that has value, even if you don’t sell access to it.
    • Your list – You don’t have complete control over the response from the list, but you do own that list of names while ever the people on it continue to give you permission to contact them. This is why I always encourage my clients to start an Aweber list as soon as possible and to start email marketing.
    • Your knowledge and expertise – Nobody can take what you have learned away from you, and the more you know, the more useful you are to other people. I have always tried to keep my knowledge and skills expanding. Just this week I have been learning Adobe InDesign, not because I think I can be the new Rafal (if that was even humanly possible), but because it will make me more useful on the projects I work on.
    • Customer experience – Things can go wrong with anything, and a lot of events are beyond our control, but the ultimate customer experience you provide is down to you. Part of that is how you say sorry and correct problems. The better your customer service, the better your long-term business prospects.

    Why my business survives despite being too busy to promote it

    Now we get to the whole point. How can you make your business work even when you can’t be 100% present in it?

    1. Build useful skills. Educate yourself as much as you can. Start with free material (try your best to sort the signal from the noise) and when you can afford the premium information and training, start investing in it.
    2. Grow your network and show your value to the people in it. Part of that value will depend on your character, another part will be the knowledge, skills and experience from #1.
    3. Build systems that attract leads without your constant, direct input. (As I said above – Get Aweber. Build your list) – Part of that is giving the people who do buy from you the best possible customer experience so they will advocate on your behalf (see above).

    Why does my business survive despite me neglecting my marketing? Because I am fortunate that my foundations are in place. People reach out to me to help them, they know where to find me, and I have systems in place that help people 24/7 without my direct involvement.

    Over to you, I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments! 

     

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    How to Get Paid for Free http://www.chrisg.com/get-paid-for-free/ http://www.chrisg.com/get-paid-for-free/#comments Tue, 23 Oct 2012 20:28:40 +0000 humblebundle humblebundle http://www.chrisg.com/?p=1785
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    Browsers to buyers

    How do you convert browsers to buyers?

    One of the key ideas behind being an Authority Blogger, or “Content Marketing”, is that you put out lots of educational material that ordinarily people would be willing to pay for.

    How do you turn that free stuff into profit?

    The thing is, while we KNOW this works, a lot of people get stuck on the HOW. They put out tons and tons of free material and never quite reach the “getting paid” part.

    I was toying calling this post “Thriving With a Delayed Profit Business Model“, because really, at some point you do need to get paid, and hopefully make more than your costs so you turn a healthy profit.

    Let’s take a look at how this approach helps you, where it goes wrong, and investigate how that getting paid part works …

    Giving to Get

    Public speaking

    Public speaking is a great way to share your expertise and grow your network

    Being generous with your knowledge, ideas, experience, and advice is the cornerstone to the Authority Blogger strategy. It’s not just about writing on a blog either, although that is of course hugely popular now.

    Consider public speaking, being interviewed, writing books, and podcasting as other complimentary approaches also.

    When you share your content this way, you get to …

    • Attract attention and increase visibility – People have a reason to listen to you, other than hear your pitch.
    • Differentiate from the competition, build brand and reputation – By giving helpful tips and stories you separate yourself from the pack and stand out.
    • Build an audience – As more people get to hear about you and from you, and find you useful, they will want to hear more.
    • Grow a connection – In networking and in your audience, people will want to be more connected to you because they see your value.
    • Establish trust and credibility – People can see how you can be valuable, and can try out your work. Your content establishes proof.
    • Encourage sharing – When people like what they see they will share, tell friends, and give you testimonials.
    • Educate the prospect – The more informed your prospects are, the happier and more confident they are in taking action.
    • Turn leads into customers – … Which leads to more prospects becoming customers, with less “selling”.
    It’s not only online. Some musicians are finding they can give their music away and even turn a blind-eye to piracy if they can get enough fans to sell out their concerts. Book authors are testing out free books to attract readers, then leading free readers to their paid work. Even “pay what you can” models, such as HumbleBundle.

    Where Delayed Profit Goes Wrong

    As I was putting the finishing touches to this article, Apple announced their new iPad Mini tablet computer. It’s going to compete with the Kindle Fire, which is $130 cheaper. A lot of people are complaining about that price gap.

    Don't wait

    Don’t wait too long before turning a profit.

    Thing is, Apple is running their device business differently to Amazon. Apple makes a healthy margin on every gadget sold, Amazon does not. In fact, Amazon makes littler or nothing per device sold. Both are in the business of selling devices that consume media, but to gain market share and get more people into their ecosystem, Amazon is giving away the razor and selling the blades.

    Loss-leaders and freebies can be fantastic, it’s not like Amazon is hurting particularly, but they can also kill your business if you are not careful.

    It’s one thing to grow an audience and gather insights before developing your offering, quite another to just be losing money. Consider the amount of cash tech startups burn through while looking for a business model. That is a gamble that does not always pay off.

    The problem is, if you are not making money on the “front end” (the razor), then you have to make money on the “back end” (the blades).

    Many direct advertising campaigns make a loss based on the marketing costs and the low margin of the initial sale, but make it up on the lifetime value of a customer. I have a product where affiliates get 100% of the sale price, but I pay things like PayPal costs, so I actually lose money when I pay the affiliates, but enough of my customers go on to buy more things that I come out ahead long term. You have to know your numbers. If the lifetime value drops, or the advertising costs go up, you can quickly find the math breaking down.

    A lot of bloggers don’t even get that far – we get into the free rut. You do have to break out of it eventually. It’s a comfort zone. Blogging is hard work, and only ever giving stuff away can lead your audience to assume you are not in business at all. When you finally do start to suggest they pay money you can get a lot of push back. I have been there! Just remember there are always going to be people who think everything you do should be free, but there will also be people who are willing to pay a fair price for your work too.

    Turning Your Free into Profit

    Working for tips

    You can do better than working for tips

    As you will be painfully aware, it is possible to wrap all this free content in ads and make some money. The more traffic you get, the more money you can make. That’s not my preferred priority, however. I am not very keen on getting paid to send people away!

    I’m not keen on working for tips either. There are better, more congruent approaches that enhance your visitor experience and lead flow, rather than hurt it.

    Check out Pat Flynn. He writes epic posts like his podcasting tutorial, and instead of charging for it, he makes a TON of money through affiliate links to things like Aweber and web hosting. Why? Because his content attracts people who grow to know, like and trust him. They take his advice.

    Obviously the majority of Authority Bloggers go beyond affiliate commissions and develop their own products and services. It doesn’t take many sales of your own coaching or online course to completely dwarf what you can make from ads on the average blog.

    If you can attract an audience of people who want to hear from you, who have a problem you can help solve, and especially if they are willing to invest in the solution, then you do not need anywhere near the traffic or content output to be more profitable.

    Back when I was a computer programmer, I discovered this by accident. I was putting out tutorials and tips to help people in the programming community. To begin with it was just easier than repeating the same answers, plus it was helpful to me to have my notes somewhere easily accessible. I started writing for communities like ASPAlliance and ASPToday.

    A weird thing started happening. People started asking how they could pay me to help them out, teach their team, fix their code. I didn’t make any pitches, they just started enquiring. Of course, when I did start offering my services, more people made enquiries. Had I continued in the programming world I could have made a very healthy and fun living traveling the world and providing that training.

    The key is to have an offer that the people you are attracting want to pay for, and to tell people about it. Let people know that you are in business and how you can help them.

    Summary

    Giving free content is a great way to get noticed and establish yourself in your niche, but don’t get stuck in free mode. Share solutions that people can invest in, things that will truly help, and are set at a fair price. Ignore the naysayers who think you should give everything away, and be as charitable as you like after you have paid yourself and your family!

    When you focus on the people you can most help and who are most motivated to take action, then you can get paid for all the free work you do, and everyone wins :)

    Go ahead and check out Authority Blogger right now for videos and tips for how this all works in practice.

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    4 Pieces of Advice to Help Your Small Business http://www.chrisg.com/small-biz-articles/ http://www.chrisg.com/small-biz-articles/#comments Mon, 24 Sep 2012 18:32:55 +0000 grandma maintain relationships bank lessons networking articles learn http://www.chrisg.com/?p=1768
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    You might have noticed a bit of a gap in posting here. Well, I have still been writing, just over at the BMO Bank’s Small Business site:

    I am writing about how online tools and techniques can grow your business.

    Check out my most recent articles and let me know what you think!

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    How to Solve the “Creativity Problem” and Stand Out in a Crowd http://www.chrisg.com/solve-creativity-problem/ http://www.chrisg.com/solve-creativity-problem/#comments Tue, 24 Jul 2012 18:09:16 +0000 creativity creativity crowd a creative creative giants monomyth downplay http://www.chrisg.com/?p=1759
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    I think everyone has the capacity to be creative, but if you listen to some pundits it seems creativity is something only bestowed on an elite few.

    The fact is, the word “creativity” itself can cause a lot of creative resistance, and make people feel that the bar has been set too high for them.

    Relax. Being creative does not mean you have to be the next Shakespeare or Leonardo Da Vinci!

    In fact, I imagine you don’t have a creativity problem at all.

    Creativity is not scarce

    What does creativity mean to us in this context? For most people the goal would be to create something that is …

    • New
    • Original
    • Interesting
    • Remarkable

    When talking about apps, content, and media, of course creativity is rewarded. We absolutely want the new and the shiny.

    This does not mean, however, that you have to be a creative genius, just that you have to deliver something (hopefully of value) that your audience has not seen before.

    In the new media world you don’t even have to be entirely brand new, just different enough that people find it worth looking into.

    How to make something original

    At this point you might be thinking how difficult it is to come up with something that has not been done before, but the key part is it only has to be new to your audience. So, first, if it is new to your audience then it is new enough.

    Most of my best content ideas come from my customers, directly or indirectly. This article came out of a conversation with Robert (you should check out his blog, by the way) where we were talking about SEO. In most cases if you can answer a question that someone has emailed you, asked in a Q&A or posted to a forum, then there is sufficient desire for an answer and they haven’t been able to easily find the answer in Google. So go for it!

    The second point is probably the most important for how you are going to stand out it a crowd. Nobody else has your experience, your personality or your stories. They are unique to you. Globally unique.

    Lastly, most creativity is built on the shoulders of giants. Many creative works that we admire are actually based on older ideas combined with something else to make them new. Your favourite films and novels are most likely based on the Monomyth, for example.

    Bottom Line

    I’m not writing this to downplay the importance of creativity but to encourage you to not hold back just because you don’t think you have ideas that are creative enough.

    When you  combine your unique stories with a point, fact, news item or lesson that your particular target audience might not have heard before, then you have something interesting and original to share.

    Of course then when you package that all together with great visual or copywriting techniques, such as a compelling headline, then you can really help your ideas spread.

    I’ve never met anyone yet who couldn’t be sufficiently creative, so don’t doubt yourself. Get out there and create! :)

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    Course-Correction and Your Half-Year Resolutions http://www.chrisg.com/half-year-resolutions/ http://www.chrisg.com/half-year-resolutions/#comments Thu, 05 Jul 2012 18:41:47 +0000 resolutions measurable correcting acceleration correct overcoming failure failure resolutions measurable correcting acceleration correct overcoming failure failure http://www.chrisg.com/?p=1750
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    Course-Correct

    We are half way through the year. How are your new-years resolutions working out? Are you closer to achieving your goals?

    A lot of my coaching clients feel bad when I ask this but I want to encourage you to not feel like a failure if you have not achieved all that you had planned to do by now!

    Course Correct

    You will have heard the phrase “a pilot is off-course 90% of the time“.

    I’m not sure if that is strictly true but it helps illustrate that you can still get there if you allow yourself to course-correct back on track.

    Once you start course-correcting you will realise there is another factor you need to take into account …

    Measure Progress

    My new years resolutions centred around using Chris Brogan’s concept of three words.

    I chose

    • positivity,
    • tranquility,
    • and implementation.

    But, oops, there is a problem! Only one of those words is really measurable.

    More positive than what? More tranquil than what?

    And even implementation, while obviously having a measurable outcome, doesn’t indicate what I should be implementing. It could be “implement more”, but how will I know?

    The idea was to become more calm, more positive, and focus less on analysis paralysis and more shipping. Good goals, just hard to track.

    OK, that’s the bad news, but the good news is I can fix this and I HAVE made progress. In fact in the last month or so I made a lot of progress due to some advice from Mr Tony Clark to get (and implement) certain books. The best one is Search Inside Yourself (not an affiliate link).

    With this in mind, I am switching tracks and am going to set the intention to write more.

    • At least weekly here (moving to twice-weekly as a stretch goal).
    • At least one guest post per month (twice per month as a stretch goal).
    • At least one Copyblogger post per month.
    • At least one paid writing gig.

    What are your 2012 goals and what measurable tasks do you need to implement to achieve them? 

    Focus your efforts and track your progress. You will get where you work towards.

    Accelerate

    Once you are course-correcting and measuring progress, then you can put effort into acceleration.

    This is the correct order, and a place a lot of people go wrong.

    We look at super-productive people and think it’s all about massive energy and action. But what happens if you tread on the gas with your eyes closed and your hands off the wheel? Are you heading towards the finishing line or a brick wall?

    In business, acceleration comes from three places:

    1. Doing more of what works – To do more of what works you need to know what is working. That means measurement, and it means experimenting.
    2. Using systems – I have a programming and IT background so I naturally think in systems. For example Authority Blogger is the outcome of developing a system for effective blogging for businesses. Systems help you create consistent, predictable progress, to a certain level of quality, and allow you to optimise.
    3. Overcoming constraints – Discover where your bottlenecks are and either remove or work around them.

    Bottom Line

    Most of the people I know who are successful (in whichever way you regard success) have had to work hard to get to where they are, and work hard to stay there. Luck does factor in success, of course it does, but also being prepared, knowing where you want to get to, and daily focused effort all play a major part.

    It’s not a good idea to rely on happy accidents to get where you need to be. Decide what you are working towards and work out how you are going to get there!

    Most of all, don’t be afraid of “failure”

    Everything is a work in progress, and we all have some things work out as planned and others that don’t. We all make mistakes, every single one of us (me more than most I expect). Not getting the desired results is an education not a failure.

    So … what are your half-year resolutions going to be now?

    Please share your thoughts in the comments …

     

     

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