Blogs

Seth Godin’s Latest Book, Tribes

In his latest book, Tribes, Seth Godin refers to a post, “1,000 True Fans,” that Kevin Kelly wrote on his blog, The Technium.  It’s a classic post, a must read for marketers and business people, encapsulating a notion that is so relevant and timely in the age of social media.

As Seth says in Tribes about this post…

“A true fan, he [Kelly] argues, is a member of the tribe who cares deeply about you and your work.  That person will cross the street to buy from you or bring a friend to hear you or invest a little extra to support you.”

“An individual artist needs only a thousand true fans in her tribe.  It’s enough.”

“It’s enough because a thousand fans will bring you enough attention and support to make a great living, to reach more people, to do great work.  It’s enough because a thousand fans, true fans, form a tribe.”

Of course, that’s one of the reasons for the existence of this blog, Internet Marketing Strategies and Secrets.  We’re forming our own small tribe.  Yes, through this blog, not to mention all of our other social media activities (Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, etc.), Nowspeed is going a long way toward making even more true fans out of each and every one of those who discover us.

What about you and your organization?  What are you doing to form your own tribe?  There are many ways to go about it, of course, but publishing your own blog would be a natural first step. Blogging is a great way to build deep, mutually-beneficial relationships with each and every one of your constituents, those who are capable of following you till the end of time as long as they can trust you for your transparency, authenticity and ability to lead them in the right direction.

For more social media strategies, check out our webinar, “How to Build your own Blog and Social Media Marketing Strategy”

The Six Fears of Facebook and Other Social Media Channels

 

 

Given my entrepreneurial, extroverted and — some might say — experimental personality, it’s only natural that I started blogging in 2004 and have enthusiastically embraced Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, to name just three of the many social media communications channels and tools that are so wildly popular today.

I enjoy the free exchange of information, knowledge and opinions.  And I’ve never been shy about opening myself up to others.

Yes, like a kid in a candy store, I’m enamored with the Internet, giddy and practically overcome by the extraordinary power it gives me to make new friends and business contacts so easily and quickly.

I admit it.  I can’t get enough of it, this life in a post-Cluetrain Manifesto world.  To me, it’s intoxicating and addictive.  It’s fun, not work.

But despite my passion and partiality for building community — and striking up new relationships — online, I realize there are still many detractors and holdouts, those who would rather shake hands and swap business cards than trade tweets, pokes and links.  Some may be technologically challenged.  But most seem to be uncomfortable with the notion of complete and utter transparency, stuck on the same, old questions about what to say in such a public forum and how others will react to their communication streams.

I understand.

After all, no one wants to embarrass themselves — or worse, jeopardize their career over something they said.

And besides, those who have not yet jumped on the social media bandwagon are right on at least one account.  No online tool will allow for the intimacy and authenticity of face-to-face conversation.

But I still think the pros of using social media far outweigh the cons.  And so does my wife, Barbara.  Yes, even though she wondered aloud for months why literally millions of users — including her husband — were so smitten with Facebook (we’re talking over 150 million active users, in fact, according to this January 7 announcement by founder and CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, on the Facebook blog), she’s now singing this social utility’s praises for having connected her with dozens of friends and opening up a whole, new world of communications with them.

The truth is that the reason Barbara hesitated to take the plunge and sign up for Facebook until just a few weeks ago is pretty much the same one that others — especially business people and corporations — are taking so much time to dip their collective toes in the social media waters in general.

Fear.

That’s what I learned from my wife about Facebook and social media…and that’s what I would like to share with you here.  Most people hesitate to join the online conversation for fear of the following…

The Six Fears of Facebook and Other Social Media Channels

1. Fear of the Unknown.  It’s only human nature to be afraid of the unfamiliar, to cling to routine and status quo.  Barbara knew about the popularity of Facebook for a long time.  But the mere thought of it was daunting to her.  It was overwhelmingly new and different, a strange, distant world.  And that’s the same feeling I sense among many of my colleagues, peers and clients.  It’s fear bordering on paralysis.

“Sure there are success stories among the big companies that have dipped their toes in the social-media water,” writes blogger and social media strategy consultant, B.L. Ochman, in this recent AdAge article.  “But the vast majority of giant companies are still absolutely terrified of social media.”

Yet everyone I know who has joined the social web, feels remarkably at home there, comforted by the fact that they are surrounded by like-minded friends who understand what it means to reveal some of this and share some of that, building trust, goodwill and a warm, fuzzy feeling that we are indeed all in this together.  The outcome of all of this activity is new and improved relationships that we might not have had otherwise.  And not just with former classmates and old flames, either — with valuable, new contacts, leads, business prospects and clients, too.

2. Fear of the Loss of Privacy. I can’t tell you how many times I hear others cite confidentiality issues or just plain shyness as their reasons for not adopting social media.  On the one hand, I’m deferential to those who prefer discretion to transparency, independence to community.  But I also think any fear of going public on the social media circuit is unwarranted and misguided. In many cases, you are the gatekeeper to information you post about yourself or your business.  As Barbara quickly learned, you don’t have to connect with someone you don’t know or anyone you don’t like.  And you don’t have to share anything that is, in fact, privileged information.

But perhaps more important to note is just how many others — young and old alike, working professionals and homebodies (all of whom might be classified as members of Gartner’s Generation V, by the way) — have already jumped on the social media bandwagon.  Who wants to be left behind?

3. Fear of Having Nothing to Say.  Like me, Barbara always has a lot on her mind. But for some reason she was concerned she’d have nothing to say on Facebook.  That’s preposterous, I told her, knowing that her free spirit, sense of humor, interest in popular culture and knowledge of current events would play well in a virtual community.  And it has.  She just had to wait until she was ready to put herself out there.

As it was for my wife, that’s how it is for many business folks, too.  They may have tons of experience, expertise and news about everyday endeavors to share with others.  Not to mention all that good personal information about themselves that uncovers the emotionally endearing, refreshingly human side of business.  Yet many still hem and haw over taking that first big step.

In a recent post on his blog, Chris Koch (who writes about B2B marketing in the technology industry) said…

“Indeed, the only thing scarier for marketers than being responsible for a corporate blog where people can say anything they want about you and your brand is the prospect of having to sustain it — to keep coming up with smart, thoughtful things to say. Forever.”

4. Fear of Rejection. The bigger the organization, the bigger the fear of negativity and criticism, of naysayers and competitors taking shots at the brand. Barbara had such trepidation concerning her own personal brand identity before joining Facebook.  What if she was called out for saying something silly?  What if none of her friends connected with her?  But just as Sally Field once exclaimed on stage, my wife was soon shouting, “you like me, you really like me!”

Sure, the stakes are much greater when stock prices, sales and jobs are on the line.  So not everyone — or more to the point, every conversation — is suitable for social media.  Obviously.  But what most constituents find after a short time spent immersed in these new online communities is that the atmosphere is invariably civil and chummy, almost quid pro quo-like.  As long as you’re truthful and trustworthy.

For some excellent ideas about “Conquering the Fear of Blogging,” check out what Chris Brogan wrote on his own blog here.

5. Fear of the Time Commitment.  Yes, it takes time to write a good blog, to share a link on Facebook, or to answer a few questions in a LinkedIn group.  Sorry.  There is no automatic pilot in social media.  Like any worthwhile endeavor, you get out of it what you put into it.  But that doesn’t mean you have to give your life over to it.  Few of us can be as active, prolific and visible in this space as the likes of Chris Brogan, David Meerman Scott, Guy Kawasaki and Joseph Jaffe.  But like any good relationship, if you’re going to be social, you do need to touch base regularly.  Barbara, for instance, checks Facebook for a few minutes several times a day — to connect with close friends, to post comments, ask questions, update her status, etc.  That’s all, though.  Slow and steady may not win the race, but it will put you in the middle of the pack.  And from a strategic point of view, that’s not necessarily a bad place to be, given how new this is to most participants.

For a great, step-by-step guide on how to get the most out of your social media efforts, check out Dave Evans’ book, “Social Media Marketing: An Hour a Day.”

6. Fear of Failure.  Have you ever played in a golf tournament?  If so, then you know what it feels like to tee it up in front of a gallery, all eyes on your attempt to drive the ball long, straight and clean.  Like speaking in public or, yes, hitting a golf ball in front of a watchful crowd, contributing original content online — coupled with the thought of, yikes, baring one’s personality — strikes fear in the hearts of even the most intrepid professionals.  After all, we’re talking history here.  What happens on the Internet, stays on the Internet. So obviously, no one wants to risk looking bad.  But that’s just the point:  Human beings, by nature, are imperfect and flawed.  So theoretically, we shouldn’t be afraid to adhere to perhaps the most important principle of the social web, which is to keep it real, always.

In a recent guest post (“Generation Y in the Workplace Explained”) on Chris Brogan’s blog, Teresa Wu wrote…

“While Generation X continues to emphasize the importance of maintaining a professional online image, we who grew up using Facebook and MySpace as places to share our photos and lives with our friends don’t want to turn it into a purely professional arena. I’ve found that the most meaningful connections I’ve made were when I’ve exposed the more personal aspects of my life.”

So remember, it’s not just okay to be transparent and authentic, open and honest on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and wherever else you may be on the social web, it’s imperative.  Take a lesson from Teresa Wu.  Or from my wife, Barbara.  To face the six fears of Facebook and other social media channels, just be yourself.

For more social media strategies, check out our webinar, “How to Build your own Blog and Social Media Marketing Strategy”

15 Types of Posts to Make a Blog Easier to Write and More Interesting to Read

Despite the many benefits of blogging, there are still a number of reasons why someone might not want – or be able – to establish a presence in the blogosphere.

First of all, you have to have the time.  After all, most blogs take at least a few hours a week to write and maintain, the best among them much longer.

And if you’re writing a blog, you have to have at least a modicum of talent.  Sure, you’re not writing the great American novel, but you are putting words to computer screen over the course of a long, indefinite period of time. To build and hold an audience, you need to have the gift of gab and be part correspondent, critic and commentator. To write a successful blog, you really need to be as prolific as you are informed, repeatedly producing fresh, new content that your readers will find interesting and worthwhile.

Finally, not every wannabe blogger knows what to write about or, even if he or she does have a topic, what type of post to write.

The truth is that a post can be as short as just a sentence or two or as long as a full, feature-length, 500-word article.  It doesn’t have to be perfectly written, either, as the main attributes of a prototypical post are mainly that it’s somewhat conversational in tone, timely and, most important of all, engaging.

There are many different types of blog posts.  I have listed 15 below, but the possibilities are almost endless.  So if you can think of any others, please don’t hesitate to share with us all by leaving a comment at the end of this list.

15 Types of Blog Posts

1. Instructional – Write about your specific area of expertise and, ideally, include a few outbound links to corroborating material found elsewhere. Chris Brogan does a great job of this on his post, 50 Ideas on Using Twitter for Business.

2. Informational – If you have any news to share, whether it relates to the organization you work for or is just something you’ve heard about in the industry, blogging about it is a great way to spread the word. Read the blog, Groundswell, for many good examples such as this one here.

3. Entertaining – All work and no play can make yours a very dull blog.  So every once in a while, find something amusing or even comical to feature in your posts.  Here, B.L. Ochman posts about the extremely entertaining – and effective – viral video from J.C. Penney entitled, The Doghouse.

4. Reviews – Whatever books, magazines, articles and, yes, blogs you read…if they could be of interest to your constituents, they’re worth your candid critiques. For instance, in one of his regular Book Review Friday posts, Michael Hyatt reviews Seth Godin’s latest book, Tribes.

5. Analysis – List the pros and cons of an important industry trend or development and give readers your take on its merits (or lack thereof). Here on the Habitually Good blog, the pros and cons of Google Chrome are discussed.

6. Opinion – Express your honest feelings about a topic or issue that would be of interest to your colleagues, clients and anyone else who is reading your blog. One of my personal favorite bloggers, Steve Rubel, almost always has an opinion worth considering on his popular blog, Micro Persuasion.

7. Diaries – Give readers an idea of what you do during a typical day on the job.  Or tell them how you and your team pulled off – from start to finish – a successful initiative.  Authenticity and transparency will add to your credibility and help build your own personal brand. Here are two refreshingly personal posts, one written by Todd Defren just before Thanksgiving 2008 on the blog, PR Squared, and another one written recently by C.C. Chapman.

8. Findings – If you have numbers, charts, graphs or any other information that will help your audience develop and fine-tune their respective skill sets and “best practices,” don’t hesitate to share. On Dianna Huff’s B2B Marcom Writer Blog, the author provides some interesting YouTube survey findings here.

9. Interviews – Put on your journalist’s hat and pose a few questions to a notable industry expert, then post the Q&A on your blog. Yvonne DiVita, founder and president of Windsor Media Enterprises, regularly interviews others as part of her blog’s Smart Woman Online series.

10. Accolades – Offer kudos to award-winners and knowledge leaders, even if they’re competitors.  Flattery will get you, well, maybe a new friend in the one who you praise.  For example, check out this list of the Fifty Most Influential Bloggers compiled by blogger, Leo Babauta (which I’m sure resulted in countless, and well-deserved, backlinks for Leo).

11. Questions – Take a strong position on a hot topic or issue and ask your readers whether they agree. Some bloggers, such as SMM king Chris Brogan, frequently close their posts with a question or two, which invariably results in a number of good comments.  Here, he closes by asking the question:  So what do you think makes a speaker into a rock star?  Yes, I was one of the 72 readers who answered.

12. Case Studies – Real-world examples, whether your own or not, help illustrate and reinforce your blog’s value proposition. David Meerman Scott uses the Barack Obama presidential campaign to illustrate 10 good marketing lessons.

13. Multi-Part Articles – If one post alone won’t do your topic justice, consider breaking up your thoughts into a series of posts, bringing readers back for more time and again.  That’s what my colleague, Justin Barton, has done with his thoughts on website optimization and demand generation.

14. Polls – Conduct a survey on something topical and reveal the results down the road. For instance, take a look at the results of this poll on the top Internet marketing tactics here.

15. Lists – Finally, you can simply add up all the reasons for doing something – anything – and turn your list into a long post like this one, the one you’re reading now.

So there you have it…a total of 15 different types of posts to help you overcome writer’s block and turn your blog into a better read.  Of course, there are many more, the number of ways to approach writing a blog really only limited by your own imagination.  What types of posts might I have overlooked?  If you have any other ideas, please don’t hesitate to share them with us all here by leaving a comment below….

Internet Marketing Insights

After working on Internet marketing programs for over 12 years I’ve learned a lot about using the Web to effectively achieve marketing goals.  In this Blog my goal is to share these learnings and interact with other’s experiences to make this a powerful resource for any marketer who wants to improve their marketing results.

This Blog is a team effort featuring the many talented marketing professionals at Nowspeed and others that care to contribute.  I hope you’ll check back often to benefit from our ideas and experiences, as well as give us your feedback.

Dave Reske