Content curation - what it is, and how to do it well

sharing content

If you have been sharing actively on Facebook, you already understand what content curation is all about. In a nutshell, content curation is sharing content.

Me too. I don't get why experts have to use big words, when "sharing content" will do. Anyway...

Incoming traffic

magic well

I only started sharing this site's links on reddit about two weeks ago. When I checked in on Google analytics, reddit is now the number two source of traffic for this site.

tuesday

I have been adding RSS feeds left and right. Knowledge is practically at my fingertips that I don't have to go to the library anymore.

New! Commentluv

Almost all my clients for SMM prefer commenting on blog sites that have commentluv in them. Frankly, I was impressed at how commentluv can help bring traffic to a website, even if these comments were self-serving.

comment plugin

Google plus - how to outshine Facebook

I like Google plus' hangouts feature, but at the moment, no one in my personal circle of friends are using it. Even the people I work with on social media, when there is a need for a teleconference call, we use skype.

notification bar

Klout - mine

logo

True Influence

I don't get what this is for and how it works in my favor. If Klout rates my social media influence from 1 to 100, then 25 is not healthy--is it?

I guess I am spending way too much time running social media campaigns for my clients that I've been neglecting my own social network. But then again, I have a healthy emotional bank account with my network. That's one thing that Klout will never be able to measure.

I see what's important for me now. This is why I write.

Bogart the Explorer

Here's a great way to annoy visitors to your site

First, use an effective link bait that will surely catch their attention and make them visit your site. This website promised six tips. Watch what happens next.


Headlines--how to get attention


Ads like these will yield poor response rates. Here's why.

WANTED: 1,900% more subscribers in 12 months


That's 15,833 new 'Likes' to your fan page each month! If anyone can do this for you, they are not just going to settle for AU$300 per month. Both employer and potential contractor are living in a fantasy world.

Social Media Guru

12 Most Creative Ways to Engage Friends and Fans on Facebook


1. The fill-in-the-blank

Make a statement, but leave one part of the statement blank, allowing your friends/fans to complete it. Why do people bother to comment on it? It’s because the statement is about THEM, and not about ME. The “fill-in-the-blank” is so powerful (and I use these once a day), because it enables your audience to share something about themselves. Experiment with this: use humorous subjects and thought-provoking ones. Trust me, it’s often hard for your friends and fans NOT to comment.

Facebook updates that work--here's an example

This is what a good social media campaign will look like:

Bucket list: One percent days

I found this on facebook.

pythonista wannabe

The Official web2py Book

This is my pet project. I am learning web development using web2py. I do this a minimum of one hour every day. At times I have to force myself to take an hour off from work. Other times, I have to force myself to get off my butt from doing nothing and do the tutorials.

New label: Weekend

I am starting a new label for this blog, and will call it "weekend". It gets stale just writing about work all the time. It feels too restrictive for me, always being in work mode.




27 Thoughts On Blogging For The Artist

I found this post off problogger. This so resonated with me that I just had to share it.

  1. There’s never been a better time to be a working artist. Ever.
  2. There’s never been a worse time to be a working artist (if you’re not truly dedicated to your craft).

Even bible people use Like-bots

Launching a Bible Based Multimedia Children's Website. We want at least 100,000 Facebook likes and 100,000 website visitors by December 14th. Tweeter, and all relevant social networks and blogs. Job also requires identify and recruiting at least 100 social newtork volunteers.

Job pays. $600.00 plus bonus if job is performed well. Will also discuss full-time Social Network Marketing Director. By Jan 1st if we have 200,000 Facebook likes and 200,000 website visitors. $1,000 bonus will be paid and a full-time salary will be discussed at that time.

Note: We are only interested in our niche market, we do not want useless traffic! Must have proof of experience and verifiable success.
Here is the actual job posting from oDesk -- Social Media Marketing Director / SEO/ Blogs - Sales & Marketing Jobs - oDesk

Spam only costs US$1 per hour

This site is losing traffic--find out why

The link bait read, 'Top 10 mistakes to avoid in social media'. But when I clicked on the link, the site only gave me item #9 of the top 10 list. I couldn't find the link for the rest of the list. Click on the image below and see if you can find them.

10 reasons consumers Like fan pages on Facebook

1. To receive discounts and promos.
2. To show support for brand to friends.
3. To get a freebie.
4. To stay informed about company activities.
5. For updates on future projects.
6. For updates on upcoming sales.
7. Just for fun.
8. To get access to exclusive content.
9. To learn more about the company.
10. For education about company policies.

source-- Likeable social media, Dave Kerpen

Common website errors you should avoid

What is wrong with this website's title?

Me-time and writing

I signed up for gym early this morning. I work too much and don't get to play anymore. Soon after the kids left for school, I hopped on my bike and pedalled all the way to the AUT fitness center and signed up for a 12-month membership. Benefits for such membership include use of the weights room and group fitness classes.



Social media marketing for local bicycle shop

I enjoy riding my bike. It's an All-terrain clunker that has seen better days. I keep 'her' in good shape so I can be in tip-top shape. While waiting for service in a local bike shop, I was having small talk with the shop owner. As usual, things got around to the question, "what do you do for a living". I told him SMM, blah, blah blah.

Joe (the shop owner) asked me, "if I were your client, how would you market my bike shop, whose customers live in the nearby suburbs?"



How fast does your site load?



According to this video, the new Google search algorithm factors in loading time. What this means for us noobs is that, the faster your website loads, the better it will rank on Google's search results.

square peg in a round hole

A few months back, I chose to walk away from an interesting project. The client was a great person and I enjoyed working with him. I quit my position because my methods did not jive well with the client's vision for his project.

Let me use a metaphor to give you an idea.

7 Tips To Maximize Shares of Your Facebook Posts [Repost]

Facebook recently changed the way users interact with content on fan pages: any user, including non-fans, can now post on fan page walls and like/comment/share fan page content. In other words, a Facebook user does not have to first like your fan page before they can interact with your content. This is a good thing!

Why you don't see fancy widgets on my site

A friend of mine recently asked, "How can people follow your blog if you don't have any of those fancy, eye-catching widgets?"


First of all, I reminded her that I don't give a heck if only my mother follows my blog, or a thousand. I write what needs to come out of me and that's the end of it.

Quality SMM Campaign ?

The employer posted (rephrased) --
Are you this person?
I can write up a well articulated, highly optimized post in 5 minutes (140 characters or less), then spend an hour finding 100+ places/people on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube or wherever to post/send to. These are qualified folks meaning if my subject is cooking, they LIKE cooking. Most often, they liked us or followed us quickly. I was building up 100+ likes or followers per week on FB and Twitter. I did this in about 5 hours per week.


Kids, writing and getting in 'the zone'

My youngest son, Marcus, did not go to school today. He had asthma last night. I have four kids, three girls and one boy. You can imagine how noisy this home can get when everyone is in the house. To top that, every now and then, they bring their friends for a sleep over.


How would a non-optimized site outrank a site which has done SEO?

New direction

I have been seeing a lot of blogs about social media marketing and it sickens me that mine reads a lot like theirs--pitching, preaching, and they all sound alike. It's like one idea rehashed in a thousand different ways.


Gary Vaynerchuk

Mike Stelzner, Social Media Examiner

UST Alumni group in LinkedIn


This is one of the groups I manage on linkedin.com, the University of Santo Tomas Alumni Group. It's got more than a thousand members, and still growing. I'm going to come up with a plan to leverage this somehow.

How to measure ROI on social media

A social media campaign is like a campaign for public office. With a social media campaign, we are out there to win your target audience's vote: your brand vs brand B. You will know that your campaign is effective when, over time, the people are voting for your brand instead of brand B.


The next question now is, how do we win this election?

Outsourced?

A friend of mine thinks this article was outsourced to a non-english speaking ghost writer. What's your opinion?



Stalking in Facebook -- in a positive way

Sometimes, there are people on facebook that we want to connect with. They have great ideas, you like the content that they share -- but they don't have a subscribe button. It may not be proper to simply send them a friend request. They don't know you and might decline or ignore your request. So how do you connect with them?



How to make new friends on facebook

Growing up, I was very shy and did not have a lot of friends. When I went to college, I decided to overcome this and become a more outgoing person. Working as a Facebook power-user, the same approach I used in meeting people in the real world also applies in social media.


Here are a few tips to get you started making new friends on Facebook:

1. Find something in common—work, school, location, friends, then introduce yourself using that thread.
2. Add a short message to your friend request, like, "Hi Jim, I see that you are also (common thread) and into (interest). I too, am (use common thread/interest). May I keep up with you on Facebook?" With a short introduction, 9 out of 10 times, they will confirm.
3. Join Groups and Like Pages on Facebook and connect first with the Administrator/s. Like a cocktail party, you first tune in to what's going on. Post comments on the Wall either in response to questions or just for helpful links to share with the others in the group. Make yourself a valued member of their community.
4. When you confirm the friend request of others, visit their Wall and thank them for the connection request. Find something in common and build rapport with your new friend using that thread.

As a business person, I build my network in facebook using this method. It's fun and it's easy. It's like fishing. You put your bait out and see how many bites you get.

This marketing copy no longer works in Web 2.0


* I couldn't get a good screenshot of the whole page, and decided to chop it up into small pieces so you can see them.



You probably noticed it too -- the copy is hard sell. Website copy like these no longer works in Web 2.0. It doesn't hold credibility, even if it claims to give you money back guarantee. People today know that there will always be a loop-hole preventing them from getting their hard-earned money back.

"So Jim, what will work?", you are probably asking now.

If this was a product that I am sharing (not selling), I'd do things differently. First, do what apple did in the early days of the macintosh. Find a small niche of users that will embrace your brand. I'd give these people a free copy of the product to play with. If the product works as I claim they will be, this select community will be my advocates in the bigger community.

Now for the website. I will gain more credibility points by making a blog. The point of the blog is not to sell the product, but to document process. I'd blog about how I am constantly working on the program, improving it. I'd blog about how I use the product live, in real time. To gain credibility (this is important), I will highlight the downside of the product, but elaborate my efforts on how I am improving them.

I will join different forex communities, offering solutions while making myself a valued member of their community. Again, no hard selling. No spam.

Another reason for the blog is to publish "question and answer" posts on a regular basis. Posts like these are great for SEO (search engine optimization), as well as SMO (social media optimization). This means that a lot of keywords will automatically be included in the site, and people will find content that is relevant to what they are looking for.

Take the blog you are reading now as an example. Imagine if I created a website like the one above. It will be full of sales and marketing catch-phrases. "Buy now!" "Money back guarantee!" "Here's what other people are saying!"

Next time you come across my URL http://jimsyyap.com, do you think you will click on it again? Probably not. Why? Nobody wants being sold to. I had a relative who was into MLM once. Every chance he'd get, he will talk to me about joining his business. I wouldn't want my site to be like that.

Instead, I offer information on my blog. I write about my thoughts, and opinions about a lot of things. A number of times, I'd get into trouble for them, and it's fine with me. The site gets publicity.
"Jim said that? Where? In his website? Holy shit. He did! Let me share this with my friends on facebook..."

See what I mean?

ahem...


:-)

huh...?

They toiled on their baby project for months, investing capital to get it up and running. "We are going to be the biggest ___.com the world has ever seen!" they exclaimed.

12 months later....

This is where they fumbled.

Does Google consider SEO to be spam? - YouTube



Does Google consider SEO to be spam? - YouTube

Social Media Interview: Alfred Marcaida

Are you not curious as to how other people use social media in their work environment?

I am. Whenever I spend time with friends, I make it a point to ask them how social media fits in with their work. One such friend is Alfred Marcaida, who has agreed that I share this interview.

Alfred is a sales & marketing professional, specializing in training and development in one of the leading Pharmaceutical companies in the Philippines. I have known Alfred since 1991, and we have been in touch through facebook.



Jim: Can you tell us a little about yourself and your business?

Alfred: I worked in the pharmaceutical industry for more than two decades and facebook became an essential platform to reconnect with friends.

Jim: How would you describe how you use facebook (personal or business-wise)?

Alfred: Focusing on Facebook, most of my materials are spontaneous and from the heart, but you have to be aware most of the time when you post, as readers can involve friends from the company and industry; and here you make editions.

Jim: Aside from facebook, what other social networking sites do you frequent?

Alfred: While Facebook is for friendship and close family connections, LinkedIn serves me in my professional life particularly increasing connections.

Jim: Everyone has a favorite/least favorite post. Name yours and why?

Alfred: My favorite posts are witty ones and i love the ones from Coelho.

Jim: If someone was interested in using facebook to improve their business, what would be a few things you would suggest?

Alfred: I think a dedicated page should be made for any business as a platform for promotions. But just like what the old adage says, "don't mix business with pleasures/friendship".

Jim: Do you use facebook to promote your business? If so, in what way?

Alfred: In my Industry though, we cannot utilize Facebook for promotions because of the ethical nature of our business, but we can make consistent contact with our customer friends through it.




* Alfred Marcaida on LinkedIn.com

Everything you need to know about social media in less than 5 minutes

How NOT to find community managers

You will find ads like these on oDesk where the employer has a client and wants to subcontract work.


How do I know?

The employer only wants to increase the number of likes for their facebook page. It doesn't matter to them where the actual Likes are coming from. They just want that number to go up.

Big "Like" numbers can hook casual facebook users to click on the like button as well. Social proof. If the posts and content is not something they were looking for, they start looking for the "Unlike" link. After that, it's going to be that much harder for you, the facebook page owner to get them back.

Also, keywords such as marketing "guru, expert, ninja, rockstar" and anything similar to these are dead giveaways. If an employer wants to hire such, that employer doesn't understand the underlying principles at work in Web 2.0.

If this was my own business, I am NOT going to look for community managers who will do the job for the lowest price. The lower the price, the lower the quality of work.

This person that I am hiring, his/her task is to engage my audience. If hiree doesn't do a good job, it reflects on my business. I save money paying for hired hands, but lose business at the end of the day. That's not a winning proposition for me.

I'd rather look at their portfolio. I will also consider how their cover letter is crafted. Resume's are boring. Everyone is a super hero in their resume. If they pass that hurdle, I go chat with them on skype in real time. Community managers engage people with written words. The skype chat interview is better than talking to them. This way, I will see how they structure their words to convey meaning.

I shared an article recently on this site, "How to find good talent." The article explains why good writing is important in today's social web.

Background contrast


If your site has a lot of written text on it, use backgrounds that contrast well with your font color. Almost everyone these days work off their computer. People want to minimize eye strain. Make it easy for them to read what you have to say.


Studies show that a light background contrasts well with dark text. This is because we were trained since childhood to read this way. This is why books, newspapers and magazines are printed using this contrast. They want to make sure it is easy for us to read their material.

Tips on writing


This is the first paragraph taken off a website I found on facebook. What can you say about it?
Visa Free for Pinoys.
If you’re a Filipino and a holder of Philippine passport who likes traveling and exploring the beauty of the world, but hates the visa requirement to some countries, frown no more for you can still go to wonderful places without hassle-visa-appointments.

After the title of the paragraph, 'Visa for Pinoys' the next sentence is waaaayyy, too long. People these days have shorter attention span. Unless you have something that they were looking for, people not going to continue reading hoping your writing will get better.

Use short sentences. Let the reader's mind catch its breath. Spend more time editing and polishing your work. When I edit my work, I make sure that my 12 year old daughter can read and understand what I have written. If she gets it, the average reader will understand what I am saying.

Creative process for a new campaign

* Below you will find the "spaghetti technique" in action. Throw enough spaghetti on the wall and something is bound to stick. This is how I generate ideas. This post is raw and unedited to illustrate how I think.

First, I write anything and everything comes to mind. When I have nothing more to write, I take a break. I get back and write some more. Only when I have nothing more to write do I begin editing/polishing the material for posting.
*

TODO:
- market this as if it were my own.
- google analytics
- define Maya (target audience). Working Maya or Family Maya?
- find Maya's communities
- define keywords for google alert/social media mentions
- how am i different? why should you buy from me?
- perception/motivation?
- how to generate publicity?
- set up targeted facebook ads
- activate angela profile to blog about Maya issues, Q&A format.

I was brought in to the team this morning. The websites were launched two days ago. Here is their facebook fanpage Insights. I am posting this here, together with a few other stats to set a baseline and fine-tune the campaign over time.


I am also going to need access to wlr's google analytics site. I wonder if they already have this set up. I sent a message to one of the team mates. I think he's in charge of generating traffic.

Target market?
- it's a she. For convenience, I am going to call her Maya. Maya is at least 30-years old, and has a weight problem that she has been struggling with for some time.
- Maya lives in the US, but that is only to narrow down her location. Maya can be living anywhere in the world.

These are still too broad. I need to narrow down. Should I target Maya's work community, or hobby community? Most Maya's who will have weight issues have their own families. They have kids. I will then find a richer field looking for Maya in a family-related community.

On second thought, for SEO purposes, better to promote website. I can base SMO tweaks from there.

I am going to promote the facebook page instead of the official website. Why? It is easier to look for information in facebook where feedback is easily given. The website URL is going to be available in the fan page.

The facebook fan page can serve as microblog for wlr, and i think there should be a few third party blogs that write about losing weight following this method. or maybe a teaching blog, which then addresses common issues that the Maya profile might have.

Get some ideas here.

Why facebook ads and not adwords? adblockers

10k followers in 7 days...?


Twitter is going to improve its algorithm to discount effects of such a practice. Imagine that -- 10,000 followers in a span of seven days. I must admit it's not easy. For tech-savvy web programmers, there's always a way to get this done. But for $50?

I am thinking that this person is handling the campaign for a client and has over-promised to get the job.

You can tell if someone on twitter has fake followers, specially that many. There's not a lot of interaction going on. If there's any, it's usually a one-way, announcement type broadcasts. Tweeters like these might hook me to follow them because of social proof. Short term, they will get real followers out of curiosity. Long term, it is going to be that much harder for them to get followers to stick with them.

How would I do it then, get 10,000 followers?

I can't. Not in a short period o

What are the best books to learn social media marketing?


The best books to learn social media marketing (SMM), IMO, are not books about SMM. It's about copywriting and public relations. Almost all the books you will find about SMM are derivatives of these two fields of expertise.

Here are two books that will get you started in the right direction:

The Fall of Advertising and the Rise of PR by Al Ries and Laura Ries


Tested Advertising Methods (Prentice Hall Business Classics) by John Caples and Fred E. Hahn

Wordpress for the last time


I finally settled with blogger.com. I tried wordpress because of the feedback I have been seeing with my social network, but it's not for me. I spend more time working on the site instead of blogging.

I decided to get a domain name for this site. I was thinking of using that for the wordpress site I had. Problem was, there was barely any documentation from the web server that hosted my wordpress app. On godaddy.com's side, the documentation read like japanese to me. I couldn't understand it.

Searching for solutions, I found a tutorial for blogger. It was easy and they had specific instructions on how to configure godaddy. Following the tutorial, I had the domain name pointing to my blogger site. Less than an hour later, the domain name worked.

There were other small things that counted against wordpress for me. Plugins. It takes a lot of effort to look for one that I will suit my need, then I have to configure them to make it work. Most of the time, the plugin did not work and it's back to square one for me. All that time, I could have spent better blogging and building my business.

For some people, they love wordpress. This is the nth time that I've tried wordpress and it did not work out for me. I am going to stick with blogger, until I finish my flask web app and move everything there. You'll know when that happens when jimssyap.com suddenly has a pythonic look and feel to it.

Getting clear about what you want

Q: I have a certain program that I would like to sell over the Internet. Unfortunately, my country is not supported by PayPal when it comes to getting paid. I can only buy with PayPal. I am aware that there are other sites that let you charge credit cards from your customers and get paid, but I would really like to know what is the legal procedure here (besides opening/registering your company).

What works best in practice?

Maybe I should try selling the program over some company, to let them do the selling for me. In that case would I leave them a percentage?

I am not seeking legal advice, just an experience of people who are freelancers and are selling their software over net.

To get better answers, I think you need to rephrase your question to "How can I best market my product over the internet?"

Here are your answers--

http://www.google.com/search?source=ig&hl=en&rlz=1G1GGLQ_ENPH264&q=how+to+market+a+product+online&oq=how+to+market+a+prod&aq=1&aqi=g10&aql=&gs_sm=c&gs_upl=1056902l1065444l0l1067142l20l14l0l0l0l0l525l3432l1.7.2.2.0.2l14l0

In order for you to market your brand (product or service) on the internet:
- get a website
- build a team around you

It's never a good idea to worry too much about the details. The details will take care of themselves when you see the big picture. If paypal wouldn't let you accept payments from where you are, use something else. Soon or late, either paypal will lift country restrictions, or you will find a better alternative. If you are concerned about the legal structure of your company, then incorporate.

The point I am trying to get across is that these issues will take care of itself when you are making money. If your brand fails, then getting these details ironed out will not make sense after all. Don't you agree?

Getting upvotes

You will find these often at odesk--


Instead of spending time, effort and budget on getting likes (which only inflates the ego), why not concentrate on engaging your target audience, and generating content on your website?

1000 likes (hits, +1's, whatever) will not add anything to your conversion rate. It's like the popularity game kids play in high school. Everyone else wants to be popular, but when you look inside, it's empty.

When I am looking for something I want and stumble upon a facebook page with 10,000 likes, I get curious. I click on like, and see what kind of interaction there is on the page. 8 out of 10, I unlike the page right then and there if the page doesn't give me what I was looking for.

In the end, the profitable websites are popular not because of the number of up-votes they get, but because they offer us something that we want.

Focus on what won't change

A lot of companies focus on the next big thing. They latch on to what's hot and new. They follow the latest trends and technology.

That's a fool's path. You start focusing on fashion instead of substance. You start paying attention to things that are constantly changing instead of things that last.

The core of your business should be built around things that won't change. Things that people are going to want today and ten years from now. Those are the things you should invest in.

Amazon.com focuses on fast(or free) shipping, great selection, friendly return policies, and affordable prices. These things will always be in high demand.

Japanese automakers also focus on core principles that don't change: reliability, affordability, and practicality. People wanted those things thirty years ago, they want them today, and they'll want them thirty years from now.

For 37signals, things like speed, simplicity, ease of use and clarity are our focus. Those are timeless desires. People aren't going to wake up in ten years and say, "Man, I wish software was harder to use." They won't say, "I wish this application was slower."

Remember, fashion fades away. When you focus on permanent features, you're in bed with things that never go out of style.

source:
http://www.amazon.com/Rework-Jason-Fried/dp/0307463745/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1319870984&sr=8-1

Decommoditize your product

If you're successful, people will try to copy what you do. It's just a fact of life. But there's a great way to protect yourself from copycats. Make YOU part of your product or service. Inject what's unique about the way you think into what you sell. Decommoditize your product. Make it something that no one else can offer.

Look at zappos.com, a billion dollar online shoe retailer. A pair of sneakers from zappos is the same as a pair from Foot Locker or any other retailer. But zappos sets itself apart by injecting CEO Tony Hsieh's obsession with customer service into everything it does.

At zappos, customer service employees don't use scripts and are allowed to talk at length with customers. The call center and the company's headquarters are in the same place, not oceans apart. And all zappos employees, even those who don't work in customer service or fulfillment, start out by spending four weeks answering phones and working in the warehouse. It's this devotion to customer service that makes zappos unique amonth shoe sellers.

Another example is polyface, an environmentally friendly Virginia farm owned by Joel Salatin. Salatin has a strong set of beliefs and runs his business accordingly. Polyface sells the idea that it does things a bigger agribusiness can't do. Even though it's more expensive to do so, it feeds cows grass instead of corn and never gives them antibiotics. It never ships food. Anyone is welcome to visit the farm anytime and go anywhere (try that at a typical meat procesing plant). Polyface doesn't just sell chickens, it sells a way of thinking. And customers love Poluface for it. Some customers routinely drive from 150 miles away to get clean meat for their families.

Pour yourself into your product and everything around your product too: how you sell it, how you support it, how you explain it, and how you deliver it. Competitors can never copy the YOU in your product.

source Rework by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson

Q&A: I am looking for people to invest in building houses with me

I am a builder in Canada. I am looking for people to invest in building houses with me. How do I find investors?

You are looking for big fish. Big investors like that wouldn't look for opportunities in newspapers. They'd look to their social network for recommendations. Family, friends, industry affiliates, get the picture? The question you should be asking then is, "How do I get in that circle?"

Join communities, organizations, clubs, online or not. Find where the big fish are and make yourself a valued member of that community. Don't sell. That's a big turn-off. When you introduce yourself, simply mention that you are into ___. This method will take longer, but will pay off in the long term. And you make good friends in the process.

Try it.

Use reciprocity to build your business



Reciprocity is one of the more effective tools that I use, not only in business, but in real life as well. I'm sure you use this yourself, but some people, like this person from yahoo answers probably forgot how it works.

Don't outspend. Out-teach.

When you build an audience, you don't have to buy people's attention—they give it to you. This is a huge advantage .

You can advertise. You can hire salespeople. You can sponsor events. But your competitors are doing the same things. How does that help you stand out?

Instead of trying to outspend, outsell, or outsponsor competitors, try to out-teach them. Teaching probably isn't something your competitors are even thinking about. Most businesses focus on selling or servicing, but teaching never even occurs to them.

The Hoefler Type Foundry teaches designers about type at typography.com. Etsy, an online store for things handmade, holds entrepreneurial workshops that explain best practices and promotional ideas to people who sell at the site. Gary Vaynerchuk, who owns a large wine shop, teaches people about wine online at Wine Library TV, and tens of thousands of people watch every day.

Teach and you will form a bond you just don't get from traditional marketing tactics. Buying people's attention with a magazine or online banner ad is one thing. Earning their loyalty by teaching them forms a whole different connection. They will trust you more. They will respect you more. Even if they don't use your product, they can still be your fans.

Teaching is something individuals and small companies can do that bigger competitors can't. Big companies can afford a Super Bowl ad; you can't. But you can afford to teach, and that's something they will never do, because big companies are obsessed with secrecy. Everything at those places has to get filtered through a lawyer and go through layers of red tape.

Teaching is your chance to outmaneuver them.

Source Rework, by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson

Google: how to build quality sites

What counts as a high-quality site?

Our site quality algorithms are aimed at helping people find "high-quality" sites by reducing the rankings of low-quality content. The recent "Panda" change tackles the difficult task of algorithmically assessing website quality. Taking a step back, we wanted to explain some of the ideas and research that drive the development of our algorithms.

Below are some questions that one could use to assess the "quality" of a page or an article. These are the kinds of questions we ask ourselves as we write algorithms that attempt to assess site quality. Think of it as our take at encoding what we think our users want.

Of course, we aren't disclosing the actual ranking signals used in our algorithms because we don't want folks to game our search results; but if you want to step into Google's mindset, the questions below provide some guidance on how we've been looking at the issue:
  • Would you trust the information presented in this article?
  • Is this article written by an expert or enthusiast who knows the topic well, or is it more shallow in nature?
  • Does the site have duplicate, overlapping, or redundant articles on the same or similar topics with slightly different keyword variations?
  • Would you be comfortable giving your credit card information to this site?
  • Does this article have spelling, stylistic, or factual errors?
  • Are the topics driven by genuine interests of readers of the site, or does the site generate content by attempting to guess what might rank well in search engines?
  • Does the article provide original content or information, original reporting, original research, or original analysis?
  • Does the page provide substantial value when compared to other pages in search results?
  • How much quality control is done on content?
  • Does the article describe both sides of a story?
  • Is the site a recognized authority on its topic?
  • Is the content mass-produced by or outsourced to a large number of creators, or spread across a large network of sites, so that individual pages or sites don’t get as much attention or care?
  • Was the article edited well, or does it appear sloppy or hastily produced?
  • For a health related query, would you trust information from this site?
  • Would you recognize this site as an authoritative source when mentioned by name?
  • Does this article provide a complete or comprehensive description of the topic?
  • Does this article contain insightful analysis or interesting information that is beyond obvious?
  • Is this the sort of page you’d want to bookmark, share with a friend, or recommend?
  • Does this article have an excessive amount of ads that distract from or interfere with the main content?
  • Would you expect to see this article in a printed magazine, encyclopedia or book?
  • Are the articles short, unsubstantial, or otherwise lacking in helpful specifics?
  • Are the pages produced with great care and attention to detail vs. less attention to detail?
  • Would users complain when they see pages from this site?
source
Official Google Webmaster Central Blog: More guidance on building high-quality sites.

What No-Bullshit SEO is about

NON-Bullshit practice of "SEO" is about--
  • adding value to the web
  • creating unique and engaging content
  • improving traffic and conversions (not just rankings)
  • understanding web-site technology (html/css, programming, .htaccess files, site architecture, internal linking structure, anchor text, how search engines crawl websites, page speed, etc etc etc)
  • understanding the bigger picture - how web optimization fits into different business models, how it should integrate with other marketing channels
  • understand how search engines judge backlinks (linking c-blocks, linking root domains, historical backlink acquisition, link velocity etc etc etc)
  • understanding the concepts of other inbound marketing channels
  • the art and science of keyword research - search volume, rankings, competitiveness, search intent
  • an understanding of social media, how it improves not only rankings but trust and authority for a business and how its another effective inbound marketing channel
  • use technical knowledge only to serve the greater good of valuable content
  • testing, measuring and tracking everything
  • being completely transparent with their clients about everything they do
  • does not claim to know secrets about Google
...and brings a measurable and substantial ROI for their clients over the long term

"Bullshit" practice of SEO is
  • gaming the system to get good rankings for the short term
  • spamming the web with links, duplicate articles/content, blog comments
  • submitting to 300 directories and calling it "linkbuilding"
  • buying links
  • writing content only for the sake of "SEO" full of typos, useless information, and no value and calling it "copywriting"
  • only measuring "rankings"
  • will not disclose everything they do with clients
  • trying to game the system in any way
  • gets them hundreds of spammy, low quality backlinks, leaving the client screwed in the long term
  • claims to know secrets about Google or can guarantees #1 rankings
....and then charging people for it, in effect ripping them off

source
To what extent is SEO a bullshit industry? - Quora.

Naming your blog something very specific that could change?

I want to start a blog and wanted it to be something about being in your twenties and traveling. It would be something like "twentysomethingtraveler.com"

What happens when I turn thirty and it no longer applies? Is there a way you can change this when that day comes or is it best not to name it something that could change? I mean, I might be traveling differently once I become thirty that might not apply to young twentysomethings.

It doesn't matter what your blog title is about. www.example.com is one of the more popular domain names in the world but nobody knows what that website is about and couldn't care less, don't you agree?

The point is, people don't care what your domain name is, or what the title of your website is. All they care about is this -- "what's in it for me?"

Focus on the fundamentals. Post quality content. Make it easy for people to share your blog's content with their social network. I have a number of websites on my bookmarks that have the most obscure titles. I go back to them time and again because of the content. I find something I want whenever I visit their websites.

This site's URL is a constant "http://blog-now0pen.dotcloud.com" -- it's a mouthful, I know and it's not that easy to remember. What's worse is that the title will always change to whatever suits my mood.

I have considered getting my own domain, like "jimsyyap.com." It's great for the ego, but it wouldn't add value for my audience. They come here for the content, not the URL. For my audience to remember my site, they bookmark with a click of a button. To share that link with their social network, they click on a different button. If they want to find my site, they Google "Jim Syyap". Except for the blog's owner, who cares what the title is?

Your blog and its audience will change when it needs to change, and everything is going to be all right. Stop worrying about the little details. Start writing!

How to find good talent

social media marketing

If you are trying to decide among a few people to fill a position, hire the better writer. It doesn't matter if that person is a marketer, salesperson, designer, programmer or whatever; their writing skills will pay off.

Why?

That's because being a good writer is about more than writing. Clear writing is a sign of clear thinking. Great writers know how to communicate. They make things easy to understand. They can put themselves in someone else's shoes. They know what to omit. And those are qualities you want in any condition.

Writing is making a comeback in our society. Look at how much people email and text message now rather than talk on the phone. Look at how much communication happens via instant messaging and blogging. Writing is today's currency for good ideas.


Source -- Rework, by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson

Addthis

Social media is about sharing, right? AddThis is a firefox add-on that I use often. When I find content that I want to share with my network, I simply right click on it and select facebook, or wordpress, or any other social platform. AddThis then opens a new browser tab where I can add more details to post on the wall (if it's to post on facebook). One more click, "Submit" and I will find the content shared on facebook.

Here's the link -- AddThis :: Add-ons for Firefox.

Michael Wesch - PdF2009 - The Machine is (Changing) Us



Michael Wesch - PdF2009 - The Machine is (Changing) Us - YouTube.

Pentadactyl

Here's a tool that helps minimize use of the mouse to navigate/surf using the firefox browser. Pentadactyl works like the text editor vim (my favorite). This is the description from the developer's site --
Pentadactyl is a free browser add-on for Firefox, designed to make browsing more efficient and especially more keyboard accessible. Largely inspired by the Vim text editor, the appearance and finger feel of Pentadactyl should be familiar to Vim users. Additional web-specific features, such as our ‘Hint’ mode, command interface, and key bindings to automatically follow back and forward links, make it easy to navigate without touching the mouse and give Pentadactyl a habit forming nature of its own.



Pentadactyl is more than just a simple command interface to Firefox—it is completely customizable and scriptable to the core. Not only can you easily define new commands and key mappings, but Pentadactyl also makes it easy to write scripts as powerful as any Firefox extension, but orders of magnitude simpler. Combine this with powerful JavaScript completion and evaluation from the command line, and you have a complete extension and web development platform that can be customized in every particular.

I am a writer. My system is wired differently in such a way that when my thoughts need expression, it goes directly to my fingertips instead of going to my vocal system. I express myself better when I write instead of when I talk. I have more space between stimulus and response enabling me to choose a better response.

* (This is why I do not fare well during interviews. Hmmm, that just gave me an idea.)

Pentadactyl makes it easy for me to surf the Internet while minimizing the use of the mouse. My hands are kept within the keyboard and within home row. It's my experience that when my hands need to move away from the keyboard to use the mouse to navigate, my concentration is broken. My mind goes from channeling into edit mode. Not good for keeping myself in the zone.

Here's the link -- Pentadactyl :: Add-ons for Firefox.

How To Optimize Your YouTube Video for SMM

1) Add Keywords to Your Video Title

By adding relevant keywords to the beginning of your video title you actually assist search engine spiders to find your video and rank it higher in search engines. Remember when someone searches in YouTube for a video they are entering keywords and having your keywords in the beginning of the title helps.

You do this for your website pages then why not for your video campaigns ? Same principle applies.

2) Add a Reason to watch the Video in the Title Image

Think about it, if the image you see is not appealing would you yourself click to watch the video? Probably not. So why not make the image appealing, to make the person want to click on the video to see what it is about.

What you can do is use Windows Movie Maker ( imovie for Mac owners ) which is free with windows XP and add an appealing Image at the beginning and at the end of the video, enticing them to wanna see the video.

3) Add an Informative Description for your video along with Contact Info

You already have a great image and you can take it further. Add relevant description for the video letting viewers know what the video is about and how they can benefit by watching it. People need a stimulus and you need to provide it to them.

You may also want to provide a URL and an Email for people to be able to contact you in case they want to. Always make it easy for viewers to reach you.

4) Add a Reason to Visit your Site at the end of the video

Now that they’ve watched your video and liked the information you had to share, don’t leave them hanging. Entice them with a reason to visit your site for even more information. Add your site URL preferably a deep link to the relevant page letting them know how to reach your site. Whats better is if they hear you speak your reason to visit your site spelling out the site URl helps !

Dont just ask them to visit your site for more information, give them a reason to visit your site. Clarify what other information they can get at your site. If you can add a free offer.

source -- How To Optimize Your YouTube Social Media Marketing Campaign for Maximum Traffic For Your Site « Ramit Narang Online Marketing and Data Security Consulting

SMM in three minutes

Robert Cialdini - Tools for Influence

Six tools for influence:

Reciprocity - People tend to return a favor, thus the pervasiveness of free samples in marketing. In his conferences, he often uses the example of Ethiopia providing thousands of dollars in humanitarian aid to Mexico just after the 1985 earthquake, despite Ethiopia suffering from a crippling famine and civil war at the time. Ethiopia had been reciprocating for the diplomatic support Mexico provided when Italy invaded Ethiopia in 1935. The good cop/bad cop strategy is also based on this principle.

Commitment and Consistency - If people commit, orally or in writing, to an idea or goal, they are more likely to honor that commitment because of establishing that idea or goal as being congruent with their self image. Even if the original incentive or motivation is removed after they have already agreed, they will continue to honor the agreement. For example, in car sales, suddenly raising the price at the last moment works because the buyer has already decided to buy. Cialdini notes Chinese brainwashing on American prisoners of war to rewrite their self image and gain automatic unenforced compliance.

Social Proof - People will do things that they see other people are doing. For example, in one experiment, one or more confederates would look up into the sky; bystanders would then look up into the sky to see what they were seeing. At one point this experiment aborted, as so many people were looking up that they stopped traffic.

Authority - People will tend to obey authority figures, even if they are asked to perform objectionable acts. Cialdini cites incidents such as the Milgram experiments in the early 1960s and the My Lai massacre.

Liking - People are easily persuaded by other people that they like. Cialdini cites the marketing of Tupperware in what might now be called viral marketing. People were more likely to buy if they liked the person selling it to them. Some of the many biases favoring more attractive people are discussed.

Scarcity - Perceived scarcity will generate demand. For example, saying offers are available for a "limited time only" encourages sales.

Source-- Robert Cialdini - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Got milk?

I read this from the book, "The Fall of Advertising & The Rise of PR."

Over the years, no advertising campaign has attracted as much attention as the milk mustache "Got milk?" program run by the National Fluid Milk Processor Promotion Board.

Such celebrities as Bill Clinton, Kelsey Grammer, Naomi Campbell, Joan Rivers, Christie Brinkley, Jennifer Aniston.... have been shown with milk mustaches. Just about everybody who is anybody has appeared in the campaign.

As part of pop culture, the campaign has been endlessly lampooned. It has been spoofed, parodied, and copied on everything from Leno to Letterman, sitcoms to movies...Ballantine Publishing Group even issued a book on the subject, The Milk Mustache Book by Jay Schulberg.

If the milk mustache campaign is America's favorite advertising campaign, why isn't milk America's favorite beverage? Per-capita milk consumption continues to decline, reaching its lowest level last year?

Source -- The Fall of Advertising & The Rise of PR. Al Ries & Laura Ries