Archive - October, 2011

Guest Post Guidelines

Update for 2014: Guest blogging is still a hot topic, though as much for the negative as positive. I have new guidelines for 2014.

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Guest posting is a hot thing right now, and I occasionally get offers to put up a guest post.  Years ago, “No” was my automatic and reasoned response.  Now, I’m a “You Bet” guy with guest posting, for several reasons:

  • If my site can spotlight someone else’s work, fantastic – especially if it helps them be more findable
  • Folks might get tired of my voice and style. A new voice is always welcome
  • There’s Always Room For One More Good One

Here’s the crux of the email I’ve been sending out to the requests I receive:

I’d be glad to post contributions that would inform or educate small, individual, or startup businesses or educational organization grow and improve. Any submission would be gladly received.  A couple of thoughts:

  • The piece should have an ample amount of “eye rests
  • I’d think anything on how blogging (or social media use) assists in building business or a student’s learning would be grand.
  • If you have links to promote (yours business, affiliates, etc), I’m cool with that as long as they point to a resource that would be helpful for the reader.

It would be helpful to have a bio to plug at the bottom.  I’d prefer to start with your sending the piece and I’ll post.

Simple right? I don’t think most folks I send this email to read it. Eye rests folks. Eye rests!  And please, no dental hygiene or gambling smarter posts. So here’s the new email I’ll be sending out:

Guest Posting Guidelines for ConverStations

Thanks for your interest. I’d be glad to post contributions that would inform or educate:

  • Small, individual, or startup businesses
  • Educational organizations.
  • Non-Profit organizations or associations.

Any submission would be gladly received.  But before you begin, a couple of thoughts:

  1. First, read this post on Eye Rests (I’ll know if you haven’t, and if you haven’t your post will not be published)
  2. Keep your post to 400 words or less. With Eye Rests!
  3. I’d think anything on how blogging (or social media use) assists in building business or a student’s learning would be grand. Include Eye Rests
  4. If you have links to promote (yours business, affiliates, etc), I’m cool with that as long as they point to a resource that would be helpful for the reader.

It is a requirement to have a bio to plug at the bottom that includes your page on at least one of the following (best case: all) – Google+, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or your blog.  I’d prefer to start with your sending the piece and I’ll post.

Thanks:-)

 

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8 Spokes on a Social Media Dial: Spheres of Influence

Quick review from the introduction to the 8 Spokes on a Social Media Dial:

  1. Your blog is the hub ad foundation of your social media play
  2. The tools in the social media landscape are still launching at a frenzied pace
  3. You don’t want to get caught up in the frenzy
  4. Rather than focus on the individual tools, we focus on the 8 spokes

Clicking on the Dialing 8 image will take you to a fuller explanation of each spoke.

Our hope, our goal is to simplify things as new tools come our way. Overwhelm comes quick these days – and just wait until day after soon, because the pace will continue to rise. Some tools become yesterday’s news lickety-split.

By having a sphere at the end of each spoke, we can quickly ascertain which spheres we’ll invest most of our time. When a new tool comes out, we decide which sphere it would fit in if we use it – and go from there. No overwhelm.

Eight Spokes on a Social Media Dial.

So the dial was the bird’s eye view.  The map, but not the terrain. Here’s the side view:

To review the 8 spokes:

  • Streams – Includes Twitter, Facebook, some of what Google Plus does, a bit of LinkedIn, Blip.fm, etc
  • Video & Audio YouTube (yours and your favorites), UStream or LiveStreamSlideShare, Blog Talk Rado, etc
  • Images – Flickr, Pinterest, Photobucket, Fotobabble, some of what Google Plus does
  • Networks - Most of LinkedIn stuff, Ning, Active Rain, some of what GooglePlus does w/ Circles
  • SoLoMo – your Mobile app, Foursquare and other LBS, Groupon, some of what Google Plus does
  • Resources – Delicious, Diigo, StumbleUpon, Google +1, RSS subscriptions, Your Kindle page
  • Bio/Hire – Your about page and your profile pages on Facebook and Google+, etc., a Hire You menu or page
  • Products – Your ebooks, whitepapers, newsletter, Speakers media kit, membership site, books, etc.

Every profession is different. Most companies within a profession are different. Goals are different. So let’s acknowledge this is a framework, not a blueprint.  A real estate agency or restaurant is probably going to invest more time into the video/audio or images spheres, whereas the accountant or business coach is going to be more text heavy.  Just as you are unique, so is your Dial of 8.

The Dialing 8 framework also relies on solid time-management within each sphere. You might invest three 12-minute chunks daily into your Streams and a just a weekly single 12-minute session into your Social/Local/Mobile (SoLoMo). Got 12 minutes?

Your blog is the centerpiece, the foundation, the core of your social media presence. It’s the one space you own. Everything else is borrowed real estate on the web. All this other stuff we do – while very important – should act as a feeder into your blogsite.

These spokes and spheres are places to engage and amplify relationships, build credibility and findability, and feed leads into your blog to generate new and better customers. This model also acts as a funnel, each sphere feeding into your blog. On the blog is where you have your products and services and events.

The reality is, change – improvements – are happening fast and the rate-of-improvement is changing. It’s getting faster. It’s not just new tools and stations, but changes to the tools and stations as well. The spheres help you keep things calm and in order.

As an example. I just heard about Flipzu, a mobile, real-time record-and-publish you voice app. As Robert Scoble said recently on Google+: “I love that I have a radio station in my pocket.” (context).

I can hardly wait to try Flipzu. Another tool? Well, I can throw it on a list with dozens (hundreds?) of other cool tools, or . . . or, I can simply place it into the Video/Audio sphere and give it a go during my time working on that sphere.

With this framework, you can bend and benefit from these rapid-fire improvements rather than break. No overwhelm. Anticipated additions.

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8 Spokes on a Social Media Dial

If you’re among the camp that’s thinking there’s just too much social media – you may be in the majority. If one more tool or update comes out next week . . .

Before you pull out all your hair or start deleting your accounts, let’s look at things a bit differently. (And I agree, there’s a whole lotta tools out there and it can get confusing, but we’re gonna calm this storm, okay?)

I’m of the belief that your blog is the hub and foundation of your social media toolset. Ideally, it’s on a domain and space on the web that you own. And if you’re smart, that content you’re producing elsewhere is either also being published in your blog posts or being backed up.  So, the blog is your centerpiece.

Everything else is part of the dial. And to keep things simple, eight spokes on the dial:

  1. Streams – Includes Twitter, Facebook, some of what Google Plus does, a bit of LinkedIn, Blip.fm, etc
  2. Video & Audio - YouTube (yours and your favorites), UStream or LiveStream, SlideShare, Blog Talk Rado, etc
  3. Images – Flickr, Pinterest, Photobucket, Fotobabble, some of what Google Plus does
  4. Networks - Most of LinkedIn stuff, Ning, Active Rain, some of what GooglePlus does w/ Circles
  5. SoLoMo – your Mobile app, Foursquare and other LBS, Groupon, some of what Google Plus does
  6. Resources – Delicious, Diigo, StumbleUpon, Google +1, RSS subscriptions, Your Kindle page
  7. Bio/Hire – Your about page and your profile pages on Facebook and Google+, etc., a Hire You menu or page
  8. Products – Your ebooks, whitepapers, newsletter, Speakers media kit, membership site, books, etc.

First, a bird’s eye view:

8 Spokes on the Social Media Dial

Those are the eight spokes. Of course the Streams are going to get most of your attention, and then time investment drops as you go clockwise around the dial. If one were to invest disciplined chunks of time in each of these spokes, success is much closer and we get to keep our hair.

 This is a map of your social media play – but it’s not the terrain. This is the side view of the dial.

We’ll look at the terrain of these spokes and how they stack up in the next post.

Dialing 8 – Staying Strong and Lasting Long in Social Media

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Kung Fu Panda on Social Media: There is no Secret Ingredient

Just be yourself.  As there is no single way to do social media . . . as there is no immutable law of social media . . .

Take the wise words of Mr. Ping in Kung Fu Panda:

Mr. Ping: The secret ingredient is… nothing!
Po: Huh?
Mr. Ping: You heard me. Nothing! There is no secret ingredient.
Po: Wait, wait… it’s just plain old noodle soup? You don’t add some kind of special sauce or something?
Mr. Ping: Don’t have to. To make something special you just have to believe it’s special.
[Po looks at the scroll again, and sees his reflection in it]
Po: There is no secret ingredient…

As an aside, guess who I’m coming to Halloween as:

Hey, wanna go get something to eat?

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Why I Nominated Triberr on Mashable (Even Though I Don’t Use Triberr)

Mashable Awards

The first time I recognized the wide-spread use of Triberr, I was a bit annoyed. In my Twitter stream one early morning, 4 of 5 consecutive tweets were RTs of the same tweet. Word-for-word. Verbatim. By clicking on the time-stamp, I saw that each of the four were using Triberr.

I had kept up a bit on the back-and-forth on whether Triberr was a noise generator or clique, but I didn’t pay much mind because it hadn’t bothered my signal-to-noise filter. But that 4-out-of-5 thing.

So I visited the site and immediately saw many familiar faces. People I either follow or list on Twitter, and many of whom I subscribe to their blog. Credibility gained.

I clicked through a couple of the categories I have interest in. Like Hollywood Squares, a box for each person offering a headline, snippet, and link to their latest blog post. Signal delivered.

But wait, what about the noise? The automation? Two things:

  • Repetition helps the learning. Do you click on that video the first 3 or 4 times you see it? Right. I’m not watching Twitter streams all day, so Triberrs actually help me in finding signals
  • There are many who use Triberr that don’t automate (Kristi Hines shares a great practice for using Triberr)

Triberr isn’t just a join and you’re in. It’s by invitation only, though here are a few ideas on how to get an invite.

So how does one gain value from Triberr if you’re not in a tribe? A couple of ways (Full disclosure: I’m not a member of Triberr):

  • Connect: Especially if you are new to blogging or on Twitter, browsing through the categories and blogs allow you to find top-notch folks in your category of interest. Remember, these tribes are by invite only. That means everyone in that tribe has given each other a thumbs up on quality.
  • Research: If you’re writing about something outside of your normal comfort zone (e.g., for me it might be Fashion or Photography), a run-through the category listings will give you ideas and potential sites to link to in your piece.
  • Other ways are to find other Twitters that are “triberred” with someone you already follow, or simply study headlines and get ideas to burst through your writing block.

I still shake my head sometimes when I see 3 or 4 tweets bang-bang verbatim, but it’s not that often. And if it’s spreading a good article (and they usually are), it’s worth the minimal repetition.

The folks I know that use Tribber love it (Many say it allows them to engage in more and deeper conversations). And now you’ve heard from the other side of use.

While I am not a Tribber, I’m a fan and active reader.

Here’s how you can vote for Triberr to win a Mashable Award this year.

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Comparing Apples to Oranges, Google Plus is the Grocery Cart

Questions and opinions are still actively volleyed around whether Google Plus or Facebook (or Twitter) is going to be the best Social Network.

Let’s not be to quick to call an Apple an Orange (sometimes our own reflection can deceive us).

I’ll go out on a limb here (after all, that’s where the fruit hangs):

If Facebook is an Orange and Twitter is an Apple, Google Plus is the Shopping Cart

Please notice that I don’t hold either Facebook or Twitter in less favor. Not in comparison to each other (Apple-to-Orange) or to Google+. From my perspective, Google Plus is a forest to a Facebook and  a Twitter tree. Granted, Facebook may be a mighty large tree, but . . .

Everyone is using Google in some form or fashion. Search or Gmail. Reader or YouTube. Analytics or AdSense. Maps or Docs . . . or Voice, or Blogger, or Chrome, or Calendar, or . . . Maybe all the “or” separators are actually “ands”.

We’ve only seen a glimpse . . . a glimpse of what’s possible.

I would suggest that folks who aren’t yet on Google+ to enter with an open-mind and find a reason for it to make meaning. Because it will.  Eventually. And then you’ll believe too.

Photo on Flickr by Automania.

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Dialing 8 Softly Launches This Weekend

While we continue to build the membership site for The Dialing 8 Project, a soft launch will happen this weekend.

By using Google+ for a platform and as an example of how G+ might be used for businesses and organizations, we’ll use the Google Plus until mid-November. What that means is the content, conversation, and both the individual and small group coaching sessions will be available for those that have signed up for Dialing 8 and have access to the private D8 circle.

Thus far, we’ve scaled up the entry fee and it’s almost at its ceiling. Even if you missed those days that the yearly access was 5 or 8 dollars, it’s still a great value at $271 for the year (That’s about 74 cents a day).

We’ll also have a monthly rate available for $34 per month. The yearly rate has a great savings, but its more of a reward for making the commitment to yourself and your business. Here’s a portion of what Dialing 8 members will get:

  • Live one-on-one coaching using Google+ Hangouts with Extras (doc sharing and screen sharing available)
  • Small group coaching session (Google+ Hangouts w/ Extras) multiple members
  • Dialing 8 Forums: member-to-member coaching and commiserating
  • HOW-TO articles: In-depth articles with screen shots (and sometimes screen videocasts) of tips, techniques, and tools
  • Video Views: short tidbits of thought and motivation
  • Free Downloads of ConverStations e-books. In December, I’ll be publishing a Kindle e-book every 60 days. Members get a complimentary copy
  • Affiliate program: Still working out the kinks, but members will receive a higher percentage
  • Discounts on more complete coaching packages

This project is great for the small business owner, especially rural small businesses. It can also be a fantastic boost to the solopreneur and independent contractor. We’ve already built a good foundation of membership – I hope to see you there too. The Dialing 8 Projectis about Staying Strong and Lasting Long in Social Media. All Aboard.

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4 Steps to Getting Started with Google Plus

This is meant to be a nudge to getting started on Google Plus. The Dialing 8 Project will use Google Plus quite a bit.

Google Plus (or Google+ as you will often see) is building up to be just that. Google (as we’ve always known it) Plus (a whole lot more).

While many are calling it a “social network” – that may be falling short of what G+ really is and can be, especially for business use. But all that might be for a different post.  Let’s get started.

If you haven’t yet signed up for Google+, you can easily start by getting your account on the Google Plus page. If you have a Google account, “Sign In” and if not, create a Google account

And there is always the “+” link on the top left of any Google product page you are on. If you’re signed in, it will say “+Mike” (or your name in your case) and if not, simply “+You”

I’m going to share a few “HOW-TO” guides and starter kits with you in a moment, but there are some suggestions I want to make:

  • About your Profile: Be personable, but leave the Facebook-ish stuff on Facebook. (Or a Circle, but be presentable on your Profile – it may be the first impression of you people see on the web).
  • Realize that Google+ can be so much more than a “social network” – so think things out before putting things together
  • We’re all rookies here – Google+ launched a short few months ago, and just recently to the public. The closest thing to “wrong” is probably doing nothing at all.

Step 1: Fill Out Your Profile – Here’s a sectional guide in filling out your profile.

Step 2: Write a short “Public” post – Might consider your introduction.  Something short to get started is all you need.

Step 3: Create a Few Circles - Here’s a good way to think about the taxonomy of your Circles set-up.

Step 4: Populate your “Circles”  with people you know –  You can search their name in the search bar, choose people, and “Add to Your Circles”

One thing to keep in mind (here on Google+ and everywhere else too), Don’t Let it Become a Numbers Game. There’s no reason to go importing all your friends and contacts (yet).

Here are some great links to help continue your initials journey (more to come):

 

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Share the Space We Share Share Share

I can’t stand it when people . . . oh wait. I was just about to do it, huh. We still hear about the “echo” chamber that social media might be.

Nonsense, isn’t it?  Let’s consider the intended audience.

We share these streams with each other. Yet, each of us have our own audiences, and many times shared audiences. Even with Circles and Groups and Lists, we are going to see repeats of repeats of information rinsed and repeated., aren’t we? And it’s okay.

Are these shared audiences our intended audience when sharing a resource? Maybe, but probably not.

Two things to remember:

  • Repetition is the mother of learning
  • Your target audience should come first

Repetition is Good

How many times did you see that viral video go through the stream before you eventually clicked on it. Six? Nine? It usually takes me seven times before I click through. Thank you whoever passed it through one more time.

Who’s your Target?

It is likely that the people you serve most (your customer?) aren’t connected with all these social media-folk, so they probably aren’t seeing it come into view over-and-over-and-over.  And if they have . . . Repetition is Good.

Bottom Line

If you don’t share that resource with your intended audience because your peer-based audience has already shared it a dozen times, are you really being a resource to your customer?

To the complainers:

Every grocery store you go into has broccoli – and maybe you pass that broccoli every time. Aren’t you getting sick of seeing it? Does it have to be in every store? Have you complained to the manager that you are just sick and tired of the echo of broccoli?

I didn’t think so.

Photo on Flickr by mafleen

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Live Web Conferencing for Dialing 8 – (Almost) Anytime

One of the tools that will be used in the Dialing 8 Project area will be the Google Hangouts conferencing. Rather than having to set up a time (or try to find me at a local Panera), when I’m not in a meeting or on the road I’ll have a Google Hangout available.

I’ve already done this a couple of times and it works great.

This is only for Dialing 8 members

Here’s a brief look at Google Hangouts (w/ extras):

We’ll start this up later this week. Look forward to seeing you soon.

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