Porch Your Elevator Pitch

When it comes to building a team of contagious customers, don’t expect them to sneeze out your Elevator Pitch. Give them a Porch Pitch.

These days, elevator pitches are long-winded (see Wikipedia’s definition). They’re rarely transferable. If you’re going to build an army of contagious customers, you need to equip them with something they can remember.

Example:

Last year, on Brian Clark’s post How to Sell RSS (Or Where the Feed Fanboys Drop the Ball), I left this comment:

Elevator Pitch: If Knowledge is Power and Time is Money, think of Content Feeds as a way to gain Knowledge without wasting Time.

Porch Pitch: Gain Knowledge. Save Time.

Yesterday, I heard someone turn my porch pitch for RSS back into an elevator pitch – but that the length didn’t matter. What matters is he remembered it and delivered a rock-solid pitch on the benefits of Search Once and Subscribe.

Guy Kawasaki prefers Mantras Over Missions. Anita Campbell asks Can You Describe Your Business Strategy in Two Words? Your customers and prospects would probably applaud both articles.

Can you deliver your pitch on a porch? Can visitors to your blog or website immediately pick up on your porch pitch? Is your pitch something your customers and "sneezers" can redeliver to their audience?

 

New RSS Users Ask: “What’d I Touch?”

Scream I’ve seen the look of fright painted on the faces of people clicking on RSS links. It’s not pretty. They hesitate from then on – IF they try it again.

One of our mantras is Search Once and Subscribe. We even offer hints on How to Subscribe to Feeds and Getting Started Reading Feeds. But until we can stop showing the code beneath the link – I’m not sure it’s going to hit a tipping point.

Google News Search – American Idol. Here’s what I get beneath the RSS Link:

Googlerss

YIKES!  Who wants to try that again?

Technorati offers up similar hyroglyphics in a blog search for Idol posts. Topix.net does a nice job of making the feed legible on a search for items about the show.

Quick tip (and a note to my web developer friends): If the feed link on your blog brings up code, go directly to FeedBurner and publish your feed there. You come up with a nice page like this one. Isn’t that better?

Photo on Flickr by eternal_exemption

Hold That Train!

Missedtrain_2 Do you ever get the feeling you’ve missed the train? No worries, there’s another stop ahead – another train coming.

Great thing about blogs: the conversations are living documents.

A few extensions of conversations we’ve been part of over the past few days:

Hey!  Hold that Train!

Photo on Flickr by yangtzebu

Iowa Business Blog Workshop – NEW Time & Location

Blogwrkshp_11_1_2 We’ve found a new time and a new location for our Show Me Your Commitment Blog Workshop.

Where: Dahl’s Community Room, 156th & Hickman, Clive (map)
When: Thursday, Feb. 22, 7:00 – 8:00 AM (yep – you get to sleep in a bit)

Dahl’s is a locally owned grocer who offers a community room for meetings and workshops just like ours. They also have a breakfast buffet, so we might start at 7:09, giving everyone a chance to grab a cup and a bite.

This week, during the first 30 minutes, we’ll be talking about "the fringe" – how to extend your voice, find new customers and why you should pay attention to blogs on the fringe of your niche. After that, the floor is open for your questions.

It’s a big room, so bring guests, colleagues and customers. The Community Room is near the Pharmacy (blogaceuticals?  nah).

Surf Smarter with These Buttons

A good portion of my work is coaching companies on how to listen to the blogosphere, paying attention to what’s being said and how users are sharing information that is important to the company.

There are three buttons I use often when visiting a company site or a blog that mentions the company I’m working with:

  • Google Blog Search This
  • Technorati This
  • del.icio.us History

Researchbuttons_2

As an example, let’s look at KitchenAid (random choice)

There is another button I use when we find a blogger talking about a company:

  • Technorati Blog Info

Bloginfo

When we find a blog post about a company, this button gives us a bit more insight into the frequency and popularity of the blogger writing the post.

I have these buttons on both my Explorer 6.0 and Firefox browsers. The links below are the scripts that create the buttons mentioned here.

For Firefox users, simply click and drag the link into your Bookmarks toolbar.
For IE 6.0 users, right click and Add to Favorites in the LINKS folder.

Google Blog Search This
Technorati This
del.icio.us History
Technorati Blog Info

Here’s to smarter surfing. Remember to Search Once and Subscribe.

UPDATE 02/06/08: On occasion, I lose the bookmarklets in my Firefox. Because of this post, I regain the ‘Surf Smarter’ buttons. To make things complete, I’m also adding a link to the other delicious bookmerklets I use for easy reference:

Psst II: SOBCon 07, May 12th – Chicago

I’ve been privileged to work with some great folks in putting together the first SOB Conference – SOBCon07, coming to Chicago on May 12, 2007 at the Hotel Sofitel at O’Hare.

Many blogging events are to introduce blogging, but this one is different in two ways:

  1. Relationships: It’s taking the relationships being built across the blogosphere – and in particular, around Liz Strauss’ Successful Bloggers community to a deeper level. It’s about connectivity, collaboration, and creating stuff together.
  2. Blogging: It’s about taking your blogging (business or personal) to another level. Some fantastic speakers and sponsors are offering it up for this one day event. There is a party on the eve of the event, including a live Open Mic Night.

There are only 250 seats available so pre-register as soon as you clear your calendar for the weekend of May 12 (heads-up: it’s Mother’s Day weekend).

We hope you can make it to Chicago and join in the fun. If you’d like to post about the event, here’s a SOBcon07 button (for your post or sidebar).

Disclosure: ConverStations has volunteered its RegOnline account for registrations and banking needs, and I’m scheduled to do somethin’ or another during the event.  Hope to see you there!

12 Topics Exercise

Glenn Ross has a great theme (beme?) starting up, "12 Topics I’d Blog On If I Owned a <business type>."

He’s already offered 12 Topics for a Jeweler (Mark added another dozen) and Maria’s post followed-up with one for an Art Gallery. Meikah then deposited 12 Topics if I Owned a Bank.

I’m game:-) Let’s do….9 Topics If I’d Blog About If I Were a Financial Advisor (a heavily regulated profession):

  1. Planning Ahead: I’d offer examples in history to show where planning ahead was profitable and where lacking a plan proved unwise.
  2. Balance and Foundation: Sharing stories and metaphors (sports, dance, architecture), I’d show where Balance and Flexibility are important to sustaining what you build.
  3. Book Reviews: With so many books on personal finance, I’d want to make sure my customers were reading solid content. This might also keep us on the same page.
  4. Web Tools: I’d share valuable tools and web sites with notes on why I think they have value.
  5. Blogs to Read: There are plenty of great sites on the fringe of the licensed profession of Financial Advisor. The Frugal Village is one I’d point customers to often.
  6. Getting Things Done: Everyone could use some assistance here, right? I’d offer tips on staying organized, collaboration, mashups…or maybe I’d just point folks here.
  7. Personal Stuff: I’d post about my family, my hobbies, and things that interest me. I’d make sure to bring it back to having balance, flexibility, a strong foundation. Why? We do business with people we like.
  8. News: I’d point folks to important news stories that may hold importance in their lives – whether it be a local company layoff or an article in a national magazine.
  9. Ask Questions: Rather than give advice, massage the conscience of your reader. Here’s a good example from Money $mart Life.

I’m not a financial advisor. The Sarb-Ox stuff is heavy. But, if I were in this profession and I wanted to blog – I don’t think I’d be breaking rules with generics and metaphors. Maybe some folks more knowledgeable in Sarb-Ox than I am can share their thoughts.

People Are Not a Tool for the Web

The Web is a tool for people. A tool for people to use to research, learn, build, create…connect.

During the dot.bomb, I heard sighs of relief as dot.companies folded. "Now we can start using the web as a tool rather than a destination."

I find some are trying to recreate the dot.boom. Their theme song may be "Let’s Hang On to What We’ve Got." Old-style thinking. Time to rethink a few things.

Caught this via Scott McLeod at Dangerously Irrelevant. A video from Michael Wesch, Assistant Professor of Cultural Antrhopolgy at Kansas State:

RSS Readers click for video

Pssst…Just One More Day

Happy Bloggiversary, ConverStations

A year ago today, ConverStations launched with this post. It didn’t kick into high gear for a few days, until I posted I Hear a Train a Comin’ – still one of the most-read posts on this site.

Since launching, I’ve met fantastic people with generous hearts and brilliant minds. I’ve built profitable business relationships coast-to-coast and across borders.

Some of the numbers after a year of blogging:

Biggest Surprise: Google ranking on (links go to search pages – ranks my vary)

Converstations_3
So, let the party begin. As blogs are extensions of the people that write them, I’ve included the Soundtrack to My Life (Thanks Tim and Hannah for prompting this)

Soundtrack of my Life

1. Theme From The Magnificent Seven – 101 Strings Orchestra
2. On Your Face – Earth, Wind & Fire
3. I Don’t Care Anymore – Phil Collins
4. You’re Only Human (Second Wind) – Billy Joel
5. I’m Gonna Live Till I Die – Frank Sinatra
6. Goin’ Places – The Jackson 5
7. Put On A Happy Face – Dick Van Dyke
8. Hide Thou Me – Brian Free
9. I Just Want To Celebrate – Rare Earth
10. As Long As I’m Singing – Bobby Darin
11. Seasons Of Love – Jonathan Larson

UPDATE: Many thanks to Wendy for the fantastic party decoration above!

Google