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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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.

Blame the bogeyman!

January 13, 2010 at 10:10 am | Posted in social media | 8 Comments
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This is how some marketing managers see me. Photo by bbaltimore.

I’ve long found that when it comes to (internal and external) communications, fortune truly favours the brave.

Most clients take my advice to do bold and exciting new things. Yet some worry about their team’s reaction.

The most common backlash sources are:

  1. Fear of the new (by inflexible or incorrectly skilled staff).
  2. Loss of power or prestige (by letting a freelancer do the work of permanent IT, OD, QC, HR, PR, admin or marketing professionals).

To counter these anxieties, I tell my clients to blame the ‘copywriter bogeyman’. Something like:

‘If you think these ideas will meet resistance, put my name at the bottom of the page. That way, staff won’t resent you and I can duke it out with the naysayers for the entertainment of the go-getters.’

Some clients prefer to blame the bogeyman when change is needed.

Others involve their workforce from the outset.

Though I realise not every team is full of bright sparks, I naturally prefer the second approach. Especially if the client wants to get into something as people-centric as social media.

Consultation and collaboration also mean you get more brains working on this pivotal area.

And grass-roots movements have much greater force than top-down directives.

The bottom line is, I can work any way you want.

BOO!

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

14 MORE blog improvement ideas!

January 11, 2010 at 12:50 pm | Posted in social media | 8 Comments
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Pic by ME! 🙂

By Jove, I just did another blog analysis! (Earlier analysis here.)

Once again, many of my ideas were client specific (and of course confidential).

The rest are yours.

  1. ALL CAPITAL LETTERS in the banner is harder to read than Title Case and looks like ‘SHOUTING’ to some readers.
  2. The pic of the tree is pretty, but it doesn’t suggest a benefit for clients or a link to you. How about a pic of your products in action, in situ?
  3. The headers for the articles have varying capitalisation (Title Case and Sentence case). While this is a minor point, highly educated clients may find it distracting.
  4. Australians may prefer a Day/Month/Year format to the current American one.
  5. ‘Comment’ is simpler and shorter than ‘Add Your Comments Here’. The fewer words we use, the more info we impart.
  6. A relevant image at the top of each article would showcase your gear and make the blog much more interesting to readers.
  7. I had trouble understanding your company’s structure due to the varying names. It’d be good to have one long version and one short version and to use them consistently. Failing that, spell out what’s what at the start, so readers like me don’t feel stupid or waste time trying to figure it out instead of reading your content.
  8. Body copy capitalisation is also highly irregular. Unless corrected, this will erode your brand in the minds of some readers.
  9. Clichés kill interest faster than a road train wipes wabbits. Therefore, use your ‘natural voice’ to replace phrases like ‘110% effort’, ‘our dynamic team’ and ‘all this and much much more’. Doing so will make you appear human (and therefore, by implication, reasonable and trustworthy). And if your competitors don’t follow suit, you’ll open up an important point of difference in a homogenous market.
  10. I can’t see any tags, categories or keywords. You said your main site SEO gives you Google Page 1. What about this blog?
  11. A Bolded Subtitle doesn’t need a colon too.
  12. ‘Single quotes’ do the same thing (in less space) as “double quotes”.
  13. The wind energy article is great. This is another point-of-difference opportunity. Especially these days.
  14. YouTube is now massive. Some embedded videos of your products in action would be great. Especially for Gen Y and younger audience members.

Hope you dig. Let me know! 🙂

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

Business Blogs

On a roll

January 1, 2010 at 7:30 am | Posted in social media | 6 Comments
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The nice lady who blogrolled me. I’m on the right, third from the bottom. The listing is alphabetical.

I keep a series of ‘Google Alerts’ (which I’ll describe fully in another post).

One of these alerts lets me know if the phrase The Feisty Empire appears anywhere on the internet.

Last night, in the dying hours of 2009, this alert emailed me.

It said The Feisty Empire been ‘blogrolled’ on the MarketCopywriter Blog.

I clicked the link and there it was: my company name – right next to Seth Godin’s blog!

This was an amazing coincidence, as I’d only recently learned of my inclusion in Seth’s book Purple Cow.

MarketCopywriter Blog’s author, Lorraine Thompson, is a New York Hudson Valley freelance copywriter who writes print and digital copy for corporate, small business and non-profit clients.

I’d ‘known’ her for a few months via Twitter as a smart, kind, switched-on lady who wrote excellent copy and was generous in retweeting my content.

I never suspected she’d put a link to my site on her blog. Especially as we’re technically competitors!

Perhaps Lorraine, like me, believes in making the work ‘pie’ bigger, rather than fighting for pieces.

Apart from the social validation, I knew from reading ProBlogger and Copyblogger that being blogrolled would trigger a fresh stream of visitors to my website.

It’d also improve my online search ranking.

So, with half of Melbourne pouring into town for the fireworks, I dived into WordPress to learn how to blogroll.

I got a bit confused by the blogroll jargon before realising that Links, Add New was where I needed to be. Once I knew what I was doing, it was easy.

I sent Lorraine a direct message (DM) via Twitter, thanking her and letting her know I’d returned the favour.

Then, still possessed by the positive vibe, I set about blogrolling the blogs and websites of my other online ‘friends’ (see below).

I enjoyed blogrolling those I admire and respect. See them at bottom right.

It gave me real pleasure to inform each person – especially when one replied with the same surprise and delight I’d felt.

I’d heard about the Law of Mutual Reciprocity – where you have the urge to help someone who’s helped you. But I’ve seldom felt it so strongly.

Anyway, that’s how I ended 2009. Not a bad note to finish on at all! 🙂

It’ll be fascinating to see what benefits flow to everyone involved in this blogrolling process.

🙂

Brought to you by The Feisty Empire.


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