Spreading yourself too thin

January 27, 2013 at 12:00 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 7 Comments
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Blue Balloon

How to make social media ‘pop’.

It’s hard to pop a balloon with open hands; the force dissipates over too great an area. A pin in two fingers gives a dramatically superior result.

When you focus all your energies on one point, you all but guarantee success.

This post shows me using both methods. As we go, you’ll see some Web 2.0 jargon – all of which I’ll explain in detail down the track.

For now, just watch this crazy, new-fangled social media stuff in action.

Wrong way

Here’s me spreading myself too thin (i.e. using the open-hands balloon-popping method):

My Squidoo lenses are here.

When I started Twitter, I sent my followers to this lens in particular.

This was to create custom for my REMO T-shirt site (now defunct).

I got some sign-ups and sales and was particularly happy to connect with a clairvoyant in Washington (I’m in Melbourne, Australia). She was attracted to my palmistry T-shirt. We’d never have ‘intermet’ otherwise.

Then, the founder of REMO joined Twitter. I gave him some tips. I followed him, he followed me.

He found my Squidoo lens, liked it, retweeted it, then made me Featured Customer in his weekly newsletter to 38,500 people in 125 countries!

I got traffic spikes galore.

I was so elated with all this action, I blogged about Twitter here.

Big smiles! Fantastic fun! Wall-to-wall warm fuzzies!

Alas, despite having spent hundreds of hours on these exciting, new activities, I didn’t make enough actual cash to buy one soy Frappuccino (even if I’d wanted to).

It was at this point that I began to wonder – to my wife’s profound relief – whether I should focus on my ‘real’ job of writer, editor and proofreader.

Harnessing the web’s fickle and elusive power to this specific activity (the ‘pin’) is the subject of the next section.

Right way

So there I was, simultaneously promoting free T-shirts and $120/hr copywriting on the same Web 2.0 channels.

Visitors to my websites must have felt like they’d entered a dentist’s surgery, only to find themselves in a jumping castle.

I ignored all I knew about conveying a constant, relevant and significant message to a target audience.

I vainly chased the holy grail of passive income (which has been beautifully defined as ‘working 18 hours a day to make money while you sleep’).

Finally, I woke up and went back to my main game. The game I’d spent 22 years and two degrees honing. I started writing about copywriting, and sending people to my copywriting site.

I soon caught the eye of Anthony, a web template designer who was rebuilding his own website.

When he questioned me about copywriting (and I didn’t try to flog him a T-shirt) he asked me to quote on optimising his words.

Anthony liked my proposal and gave me a trial job. Though it took several hours to get a grip on the open source world of Joomla and its bewildering jargon, I did the job to his satisfaction.

Anthony told me to bill him. He paid the next day. $363 cash.

That’s a lot of T-shirts.

A few days later, Anthony asked if I’d like to do an interview for his onsite blog. No payment, just my logo and URL prominently displayed.

Free from my monetarised mentality, I said yes.

The result is now seen by many daily visitors to Joomla Bamboo (prospects I’d not have encountered otherwise).

Twitterers from Anthony’s world are now following me, and vice versa.

When Anthony asked for a second article, I put everything I had into it. The result was so pleasing, I asked if I could leverage it with MYOB. He said yes.

I was back on song. Instead of spreading myself thin, I was making the same call on every channel. The web had ballooned, but I had my pin.

My visitor statistics jumped so much, I realised it was time to upgrade my own website (stay tuned for that one).

Each day now connects me with more of the people I want to learn from and do business with. It’s only a matter of time until I gain my next paying client from Twitter.

I’ve even been approached to tell my story in a significant print publication (stay tuned for THAT one).

If the open-handed approach isn’t popping your balloon, focus your energies on one point:

the pin is indeed mightier than the broad!

🙂

Brought to you by The Feisty Empire.

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Necessary evil

January 24, 2013 at 6:19 am | Posted in social media | 1 Comment
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Google Evil

Google’s informal (infernal?) motto is ‘Don’t be evil’. Opinions vary as to how well they’re doing.

Though this benevolent dictator has deemed me terminally evil for one purpose (AdSense), I’ve lately found I’m not too evil for another (AdWords).

Like Dante, therefore, I’m qualified to give some morality tips.

Google AdSense comprises ads you permit on your blog or website. When a visitor clicks one, you get a tiny commission. LOTS of clicking makes you modest money.

I was so entranced by this passive income concept, I exhorted friends and family to click themselves numb on the ads assigned to my Surreal Short Stories blog.

This was unwise. It was also prohibited by the Google rules I didn’t read in my excitement.

Revenge was swift and total.

Just as I reached Google’s US$50 revenue payment threshold, my account was cancelled.

For life.

My subsequent confession, apology, blog rework and entreaties for Google mercy came to naught. I was officially evil.

No more would my three years of blog content generate AdSense loot.

Fair enough too! Each time someone from my mob had clicked an ad to glean me a cent or two, some poor AdWords punter had to pay up to several hundred times that amount for the faux visit.

I was most surprised, therefore, when Google approved my AdWords account (and stopped addressing me as Paul ‘Significant Risk’ Hassing in their emails).

AdWords are phrases you ‘bid’ for to make your ad/URL appear prominently in Google searches.

Keen to galvanise sales of my job ad writing ebook, I set bids of up to $1.24 for ‘job ad’, ‘perfect job ad’, ‘can’t find good people’, ‘attract and retain staff’ and many more.

Within an hour, my Google account was reeling from deductions that would take decades of AdSense action to recover.

I paused the campaign to learn that my words were too generic and my bids too high.

I’m now working my way very carefully though the help system and running a very very timid campaign.

I’ve had clicks, but no sales.

I plan to report further findings in a later post.

For now, if you plan to sortie in Google Land, ALWAYS read the instructions.

And if you’ve already been deemed evil, don’t despair.

With Google, it’s better the devil you know!

😐

Brought to you by The Feisty Empire.

Social media ain’t for the faint hearted

March 7, 2011 at 7:30 am | Posted in social media | 12 Comments
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social media

It takes wisdom to conquer social media.

Recently I was asked to meet an entrepreneur who wanted to ‘do’ social media.

On the phone, it soon became obvious he had BIG expectations of the outcomes, but no understanding of the process.

This was fine: I don’t know how to run multi-million dollar factories. It was wise for him to seek advice.

However, as we’re both very busy people, I didn’t want to waste our time. So I composed the frank (nay, brutal) email below.

To his credit, this man is now working through my documents and preparing the answers I seek.

When I do meet him, I expect we’ll proceed in leaps and bounds.

‘Dear Fred,

Betty tells me you wish to harness the power of social media to promote your new products.

This is doable, but not easy.

In two years of studying social media daily, I’ve learned that it’s a demanding, fickle, content-hungry, slow-burning beast of a strategy.

When it works, it really works.

But you have to put in.

To this end, I must see if you can give me what I need to help you.

If you can deliver, we can do business.

If not, it’s best we don’t waste our precious time.

Here is your mission, should you choose to accept it:

  1. Cast your eye over the following blogs and tell me which one/s (if any) you like and why:
  2. Complete the attached blog post questionnaire.
  3. Read the other attachments and tell me what you think of how I operate.

Being a writer, I need your responses in writing.

I can then review them carefully to ask you intelligent, relevant questions when we meet.

Naturally, refusal won’t offend.

Better a clear NO now than a fuzzy future MAYBE.

I look forward to your frank response.

Best regards,

P.’

Watch this space!

Paul Hassing, Founder and Senior Writer, The Feisty Empire.

Blog visitor traffic report

December 19, 2010 at 11:02 am | Posted in social media | 4 Comments
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blog visitor traffic spike

Last week we smashed our visitor record by 240%!

A colleague wrote to me today. She’s been blogging her heart out, but not getting many comments. So I offered some advice:

‘You certainly have been faithful with your blogging.

It’s such a slow burn.

But the search engines are going to love you for it in the end.

The number and scope of your posts is amazing.

You deserve a lot more comments.

I can’t find you on Twitter.

I promote each of my posts several times on Twitter.

This has been key to building visitor traffic.

It has also helped to be mentioned in several blog lists:

http://bit.ly/eG9tOh

http://globalcopywriting.com/my-favourite-blogs

We’ve also had some comments from Seth Godin and Penelope Trunk.

These blogging heavyweights add massive cred; just check the traffic spike from Penelope’s last visit! (See above.)

Another way to galvanise your readers is to guest on other blogs.

If you can think of a topic or three that would appeal to our readers:

http://mybrc.myobnet.com/

I could ask MYOB if they’d like to have you as a guest poster.

You’d look jolly good in our Hall of Fame:

http://mybrc.myobnet.com/about/

With best regards and many thanks for your update. P. :)’

Paul Hassing, Founder and Senior Writer, The Feisty Empire.

The better you write, the more you save.

February 16, 2010 at 7:08 am | Posted in social media | Leave a comment
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Use a specialist. But only for the bits you can’t do.

I strive to improve my clients’ writing skills by imparting my expertise where possible.

One client has followed my advice and assembled a team of friends to vet his draft blog posts.

If his posts do start coming to me error free, their upload, tagging, hyperlinking and image sourcing should only take me 15-20 mins per post.

That’s around $30-40 per post.

And if it takes me less time, I’ll pass on the savings (as I only charge for time I actually work).

With this method, everyone’s a winner:

  1. My client improves his writing and saves money.
  2. His friends feel useful.
  3. His readers benefit from regular posts.
  4. His blog moves up Google’s food chain thanks to fresh content updates.
  5. I get regular small fees, instead of just a few (or even no) big ones.

So you see, there’s more than one way to flesh a blog! 🙂

Paul Hassing, Founder and Senior Writer, The Feisty Empire.

What’s a good, inexpensive blogging option?

December 29, 2009 at 2:47 am | Posted in social media | Leave a comment
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WordPress offers functionality, ease of use and value.

If you’re a sole trader or a small to medium sized enterprise, a blog like the one I did for my horse breeding client could work for you  

Or you may be more drawn to the blog created by another (very savvy) client of mine, thinkGROWTH.

When you go to their site, click the far right Blog button. This cleverly leads to an inexpensive external blog that didn’t require them to redo their entire website.

I could set up a blog like this for you, after which I, you and/or your team could publish posts, handle comments, promote the blog and track stats.

Perhaps you’d like to read Groundswell, check these links and have a think before I throw any numbers at you.

Failing that, I could strip the identity from a comprehensive social media proposal I recently did for a large client.

This would give you some idea of the tasks and costs involved (though you may wish to start more modestly).

Business Blogs

How do I measure blog success?

December 29, 2009 at 1:37 am | Posted in social media | 4 Comments
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What gets measured, gets done.

Blogging has yielded some spectacular corporate successes, which are detailed in the seminal book Groundswell.

I strongly recommend you read this book.

I currently use six ways to measure blogging success:

1.  Site statistics.

I check my stats several times every day to see which blogs are sending traffic to which websites. I can even see which blog posts are performing better than others.

2.  Blog ranking.

I register my blogs with a ranking site that shows how well they’re performing relative to other blogs in their topic. This info is updated hourly.

3.  Comments.

When people leave comments, that means they’re visiting and reading. The more comments the better (though I do have to weed out spammers and ravers).

4.  Subscriptions.

Even better than comments are subscribes. When a person says YES to an email or RSS (short for Really Simple Syndication) feed of your blog, you know they’re digging it.

Building a subscriber base is the holy grail of blogging, as you can use it for a host of permission marketing initiatives.

5.  Sales.

Several new clients have approached me saying something like, ‘I found you via your blog, read your stuff for a while and decided you were the sort of person I wanted to do business with.’

For me, this is the acid test of a blog’s success. After all, that’s one of the main reasons we’re writing the damn thing!

6. Vibe.

In a few short months, my horse breeding client has reported a very positive reaction from clients and industry people.

She’s also feeling freer, as she’s getting prospects to read the blog before asking her questions.

She used to have to spend hours repeating herself to each inquirer.

She’s loving the process of decanting her wisdom to a blog that people can read without bothering her.

It’s much easier for her to fill in the gaps once people have some idea of what she’s on about.

And those who don’t like the blog’s style or content can deselect themselves (as they’re not the sort of people she wants handling her beloved horses anyway).

I’m heading up there for another overnighter soon, collecting photos and stories to keep feeding the blog.

🙂

Brought to you by The Feisty Empire.


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