Posts Tagged ‘advice’

blogging

blogging (Photo credit: Sean MacEntee)

Oh Twitter. I went without you for 90 days (sort of). And now I’m back on and following all my old peeps and remembering just how hyped so many things are in your little echo chamber of a text land.

For instance, I saw a tweet with the headline from a recent Social Media Examiner piece, it read: “Research Shows Blogging A Top Focus For Marketers.” That’s great news for writers and bloggers alike. It means if you’ve been trying to make your living off of blogging, soon you might just be able to do it! Blogger for XYZ company could actually be a thing.

The crappy part about the Twitter echo chamber and a lot of online advice is people often forget to tell you how much damned work it is to get that blog up and running, get people reading it, get your company all on the same page of what’s actually going to go up and what’s going to be helpful. Big business gets it. But little mom and pop shop may very well just read the headline and think it’s time to get a blog!

And just like they got a Twitter account, a Facebook page, a Pinterest page, an Instagram account, a Tumblr and a YouTube channel, it too will sit empty.

The long and short of it is, all this content creation stuff… you know, the fuel you need to fill your online pipeline… it’s a shit ton of work. Remember how much it took just to get your business off the ground? Yeah. A full and robust online presence is like doing that all over again.

So while it’s nice and fluffy to think a blog is going to solve all of your problems, get more traffic through your door and more money into your cash register, it’ll be about as successful as opening your store before you’ve even shopped for your product if you don’t approach it with a long-term vision.

But if you insist on doing it anyway…

  1. Decide how often you can blog WITHOUT taking away from your IGA, no not the grocery store, your income generating activities.
  2. Decide what you’re trying to accomplish by publishing and keeping up a blog. Are you educating your customers? Sharing company updates and news? If you can’t figure this out, please for the love of all things holy, don’t start a blog. If some brainiac told you it would get you to the top of Google, don’t start a blog. If you think it’ll make you look cool and with it, don’t start a blog.
  3. Before you start publishing, make an outline of posts and topics you can create for the first 4-5 posts.
  4. If you can afford it, hire an SEO person to do some research for you on some likely keywords you can target. Give him or her bonus points if they can teach you how to research these yourself over the long-term.
  5. DON’T pay a web designer to make you a website for $5,000. Just open a free Blogger, TypePad, WordPress, etc. site, grab a template and get going. If you want a custom template, spend $80 on one. That’s all you need.

One more thing… if nobody reads your blog, it’s ok. They don’t read mine either. The first month I wrote Spirit of the Wench, I had 1 unique visitor. Yep. 1. Just keep at it. Consistency is key.

Good luck!

Chinese shoes for bound feet, The Children's M...

Chinese shoes for bound feet, The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Don’t put it on!

There are  plenty of tips and tricks and best practices out there. And they come from very well-meaning people who’ve likely had some rate of success with them. But here’s the thing, just like we tie our shoes differently, whip up our favourite guacamole with different ingredients, or communicate with our friends, relations and customers in different ways, so to should we each be finding our own way to flex our social media muscles.

So, tip #1: It’s good to try out new tactics and strategies, but if it just doesn’t feel right, it’s okay to abandon it. It doesn’t matter who the tip is coming from.

Social media users from any network are pretty savvy people. They can smell a fake from miles away. And they’ll be the first to notice  if you’re doing something that’s just not natural for you. So if the shoe don’t fit… go try on a different pair.

Screenshot from Asif Premji's Tumblr. Click on the photo for the original.

Screenshot from Asif Premji’s Tumblr. Click on the photo to link back through!

This advice… It could turn out to be the best thing you’ve ever done… or it could be the worst. Or, and this is far more likely, it could very well be not that big of a deal.

The number one rule of the internet is that there are no rules. Always. Never forget this. Print it out in gigantic big letters and plaster your office with it. The same applies to online social media tools. With the exception of legalities and terms of service, there are no actual rules.

What you’re better off doing is adapting and applying your style of communication to the tools. If you’re the type to dip your toe in the water and slowly ease yourself in, do that. If you like taking the risk of not knowing what you’re getting yourself into… then do that!

Where you don’t want to be is so paralyzed with fear or indecision that you make no movement at all.

But otherwise, your evolution into the online realm of connecting and communicating is only as fast or slow, easy or difficult as you make it. Take your time. Don’t let fear motivate you. That’s never a good place to be coming from. Instead, build your confidence. And enjoy the journey!

I’ve been at this social media thing for awhile.  I’ve read many articles, I’ve tried a variety of different tactics and I’ve come to my own list of the 10 things to follow in any social media attempt.  In no particular order, they are:

  1. Don’t try too hard.
  2. Be yourself.
  3. Don’t try too hard to be yourself.
  4. Don’t be something you’re not.
  5. Be everything you are and more.
  6. Be open to connection.
  7. Take a break when you feel overwhelmed.
  8. Don’t take the ‘rules of social media’ too seriously… as the pirates say.. they’re more like guidelines anyway.
  9. Follow the natural ebb and flow of any relationship.
  10. Have fun.

That’s it.  For me, if it’s not about the stuff above first, I’m doing it wrong.