Archive for December, 2010

How to Make Time to Blog: 5 Ways to Ensure You Write Blogposts

Wednesday, December 22nd, 2010

This has been a banner year. Flyte’s been busier than ever, and it’s been great. But that comes at a price…I haven’t had as much time to blog as I’d like.

According to Rich, it’s BS when you say you don’t have time to blog. He takes a business owner’s standpoint on the subject: you’re investing in your business every time you write a new post. Sounds a little more worthwhile after hearing that, huh?

But from a logistical standpoint, though, sometimes you just don’t have the time. Never fear, there are ways around that.

1. Take advantage of a creative moment

I know and love these moments – those moments that tend to happen at the most inopportune times (you know…in the middle of the night, in the middle of a conference call, in the middle of breakfast…).

Here’s the thing: take advantage of those moments by at least getting your ideas down on paper, or recording on your phone. (If you have the time, write a quick draft.) You’ll be happy you did.

2. Take the easy way out

Sometimes, it’s OK to write an easy blogpost to get something out there. As long as you don’t lean on these type of posts as a crutch every time you write, you’re in the clear. Here are some ideas:

  • Find a Wall Street Journal article, copy and paste part of it, then write your .02.
  • Update an old blogpost you did.
  • Do a top 10 link list of interesting posts in your niche.
  • Write a Dear Abby letter to yourself and answer it.
  • Create a list of your favorite Tweeps in your niche or region.
  • Take a photo or video you found online, embed it, and write a few sentences about it. (Better yet, take your own photo or video.)

3. Two (or three or four…) heads are better than one

Lean on your coworkers, staff, family, and friends for post ideas. Ask staff and coworkers what kinds of questions they’ve been getting from customers lately. Ask friends and family how your business relates to them and what they’d like to learn about it.

4. Relate it…somehow, anyhow

For many, business isn’t personal. Though to others, it is. I’m the latter. So take an interesting story that happened to you over the weekend and use it for an analogy – or even just a fun post.

5. Allow guest blogging

What better way to save time blogging than to have someone else write for you? Accept guest blogposts from the community, or even better: from your coworkers and staff.

When it comes right down to it, it’s about doing what works for you. What ways do you manage your time to write blogposts?

Nicki Hicks
Time Manager

The Scientific Method for Social Media (Webinar with Tamsen McMahon)

Thursday, December 16th, 2010

The following is a recap from a webinar with Tamsen McMahon (@tamadear) from Sametz Blackstone Associates and Brass Tack Thinking, monitored by Mike Lewis (@bostonmike) from Awareness Inc.. Be sure to follow the conversation on Twitter about the webinar.

The Scientific Method for Social Media

One-way communication used to masquerade as two-way communication; but it’s really multi-way communication – with amplification.

Social media is a madhouse. You might feel like you’ve lost control…of your brand, of your message. In other words, the inmates are running the asylum.

Some say it’s an art (and navigating it is an art.) Tamsen says it’s a science. There’s a way to make social media approachable, doable, documentable, measurable, and repeatable. How, you ask? By separating truth from belief using…

The scientific method

1. Define the Question

How can we best use social media in our business? Is podcasting an effective way to generate prospects?

Answer the question: What am I trying to figure out about social media?

Be specific about what you’re trying to figure out. That’ll be the right place to start.

2. Observe

In order to understand the question, you need to observe the environment you want to work in.

  • Listen: if, what
  • Watch: where, how

What people say and what they do isn’t always the same.

Tasks:

  • Run searches for relevant keywords
  • Establish accounts on major social networks (if you’re new)
  • What’s the nature of the conversation?

3. Investigation

How can you start to meet the needs of your audience from your listening? Defining and documenting the parameters of

  • Scope – providing clarity about where it makes sense to get started. Answer the question:
    • What’s the scope?
  • Audience – what audiences make the most sense? what tools are they using? what are they saying about you? Answer the questions:
    • For your scope, which audiences make the most sense?
    • What do they care about?
    • How do they perceive you?
  • Content – all the social media tools in the world mean nothing without content. Answer the questions:
    • For your scope and audience, what’s the best content?
    • What already exists?
    • What doesn’t?
  • Resources – resources make or break what you’re trying to do, but rarely do we take them into account in the beginning. Answer these questions:
    • For your scope, audience, and defined content, which tools are most appropriate?
    • What resources do you need?
    • How will you get them?
  • Outcomes – Answer these questions (choose one):
    • Are you trying to achieve awareness?
    • comprehension?
    • participation?
    • loyalty?
    • support?
  • Measurement – Answer the questions:
    • What does success look like?
    • How will you measure it?
    • How will you tie  it to concrete business goals?

4. Hypothesize

Social media AdLibs: For [scope], [content] from [sources], used across [tools] will produce [measured] [results] with [audiences].

5. Experiment

This is fact finding, not an end all be all. It’s going to be about continuously improving. Focus on:

  • Design
  • Execution

Observation is not participation. Planning is not execution.

Document the steps as you take them. If you take a step before or after it happens, document it. If something that isn’t supposed to happen or isn’t planned, make sure you document it.

Tasks:

  • Outline the steps of your experiemnt with sstart and end dates
  • Execute your plan, while documenting specific events, and what is working as well as what isn’t

6. Analyze

  • Numbers
  • Sentiment
  • Actions

Tasks:

  • Collect metrics
  • Overlay results onto experiment steps and significant events
  • Note alignments
  • Draw a conclusion

7. Retest

It takes practice. If you confirm a hypothesis, then go back to the beginning and start with a new question.

Hypothesis confirmed?

  • Define a new question and start over

Hypothesis disproved?

  • Start with a new question
  • Define a new experiment
  • Retest

Conclusion

Everything changes, so you need to be on top of things so that you can flex and change with it.

Q&A

Take a look at the content you have out there. Sometimes we forget about what you’re already doing. (e.g. record a conference you’re putting on. Take advantage of the content you’re creating and share!)

Best way to measure for your biz? Measurement is entirely dependent on what you’re trying to achieve. Asking “what’s the best way to measure social media?” is like asking “what’s the best book?”

How to Get Customized Text Links from your LinkedIn Profile

Wednesday, December 15th, 2010

Did you know you can customize the links from your LinkedIn profile? Don’t worry, a lot of people don’t. It’s just one more way LinkedIn helps with SEO.

First, go to your LinkedIn profile and click “Edit” by your websites.

By default, LinkedIn gives you an option to choose Personal Website, Company Website, Blog, RSS feed, or Portfolio. Those are all well and good, but why not add something a little more descriptive?

Change the option to “Other”, then add the name of your business or a keyword rich title.

Save your changes and you’re all set! Now get out there and customize your URLs.

Nicki Hicks
Connect with me on LinkedIn

How to Optimize for Your Own Name: SEO for Personal Branding

Thursday, December 9th, 2010

I talk a lot about optimizing for your business, but don’t spend a lot of time on optimizing something equally important: your own name. Let’s face it…business is personal, and personal branding is one way to start the conversation.

Why would you need to brand for your own name?

First things first. There are a ton of reasons – above and beyond owning Google for a search for your name – to use SEO to increase your personal brand, including:

  • Interviewing for jobs
  • Increasing your personal brand
    • For your own business
    • To increase the number of speaking engagements you get
  • Improve online reputation

1. Brand yourself

If you have a name like John Smith, you’re going to have a tough time ranking well for it. So, brand yourself. Like choosing a company name, make sure you choose a name wisely – it’s what you’ll use everywhere on the web.

Deb Micek, who has a relatively hard to pronounce last name, decided to go with CoachDeb. It’s memorable, and gets at what she does.

Rich Brooks, the president here at flyte, has the same name as a former football player and coach. What did he do? Branded himself as therichbrooks – TRB for short.

I’ll admit…I’m lucky. I spell my first name very unusually – Nicki (short for Nicole), no double-k, no y. So, I’ve been able to brand nickihicks and own the first page on Google for it:

2. Create a profile…everywhere

Social profiles and publishing platforms are great because they’ve built up a huge presence online. The bonus? You get the benefit of how well these sites rank!

So…create a profile and, most importantly: make sure (when you can) you get your brand name as your username and/or vanity URL.

Social media

Social sharing

Publishing platforms - Get free accounts and hook them up to auto-publish your Twitter and/or Facebook posts.

Other profiles

…well, you get the idea. And this is just the tip of the iceberg - remember that anywhere you sign up for an account is an opportunity to get your branded username and vanity URL!

In many cases, you probably won’t be publishing to a lot of these networks on a regular basis, but try  to post a few things and you’ll be able to own yet another space in Google!

3. Blog, then blog some more

I’ve talked a ton before about why blogs are great for SEO – and they’re great for personal branding, too!

On your own blog, link (where applicable) to your social profiles. Like Rich and I do, you can also sign your name at the bottom of each post and link that to the social profile of your choice.

When you guest blog, do the same thing: make sure the blog in question will link your name back to your Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn account. (Bonus if they’ll link to your company website or blog.) If you become a regular contributor, many blogs will organize all of your posts under your own account page.

Comment, comment, comment. You won’t get link value from commenting on blogposts, but depending on how well the post itself and blog rank, your comments could show up in a search for your name in Google!

4. Try some less traditional tactics

We’ve touched upon some more traditional tactics and – last, but not least – I’d like to mention some less traditional ones:

  • Forum posts and profiles in your industry
  • Bio page everywhere you work
  • Optimized headshots for Image search
  • Mentions and (hopefully) links from speaking engagements
  • Testimonials for your work on your website and/or blog

What about you? Where have you seen a lot of bang for your buck with online personal branding?

Nicki Hicks
THEnickihicks

Webinar About Webinars: The 6 P’s of Hosting a Successful Webinar (with Rachel Levy and Mike Lewis)

Wednesday, December 1st, 2010

The following is a recap from a webinar with Rachel Levy (@bostonmarketer) from WebinarListings.com and Mike Lewis (@bostonmike) from Awareness Inc.. Be sure to follow the conversation on Twitter about the webinar.

Key #1: The Presenter

  • Possibly the most important P
  • What to look for:
    • Are they engaging?
    • History of speaking?
    • Understand how to work a ‘virtual room’ (they may be able to work a live room, but can they work the virtual room?)
    • Are they an expert in your topic?
  • Evaluate and Qualify
    • Ask tough questions

Managing webinars at Awareness

  • Map a content plan 2-3 quarters out (focus on key topics and messages)
  • Identify 2-3 speakers for each topic a minimum of 1 quarter in advance
  • Lock in; set rehearsal and event date

What do they look for?

  • Authors – partnered with Wiley and McGraw Hill
  • Experts who may not know they’re experts (blogs, etc.)
  • Unique case studies

Though leadership content

  • Top speakers/industry experts
  • Interesting and relevant topics

Important takeaway: Don’t focus on demand generation, focus on thought leadership

(more…)



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