map of Treasure Island, from the first German ...
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You can’t get there without a map.  And even a poor map is often better than no map at all.  The map DOES need to be accurate enough to show you where things are in relation to one another… but the scale can be off.

Maybe you can think of your blogging/social media map as a kind of treasure map.  At the end, you will get the desired outcome from your efforts.

There are a few steps that you have to go through to get there.

  • Figure out what you want.  And “money” is not the right answer.  That is a byproduct.  Some examples might be finding new business or expanding market share.
  • What is the best path to take to get there… work the path backwards.
  • If we are looking for new clients, maybe we would get them from marketing to an expanded email newsletter list.
  • In order to expand the email list, we need people to opt in
  • To get the opt-ins, we need to have compelling content with a clear call to action.
  • Since we have compelling content, we need to make sure that we are getting it in front of people that have an interest.  That would likely be through SEO and Social Media.

That is a pretty broad, unfocused view…  And several of those steps might actually involve a map of their own… or several steps.  The important part is to take a little time to think about it, and maybe even draw a map.  Mind-Mapping software is a pretty cool option.  I often use FreeMind, which is an Open Source option.  But a sheet of graph paper and a pencil might be just the set of tools to capture what you need (you can concentrate on WHAT you are doing rather than on HOW to do it).

The important thing is to actually do it…

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There are three tools that will do more to promote your website than ANY other.  And they are WAY under-utilized by the vast majority of bloggers.  They are simple, inexpensive and almost everyone has them already.

smile, business cards and a hand to shake
The right tools...

 

Did you find them?

  • Your winning smile
  • Your firm handshake
  • Your business card

Yep, 20 million tech tools out there, and most of them are free.  Some of them are even viral, but the absolute best ways to promote your blog are probably right there with you, right now.

For most of us, the people we want to read our blogs the most are actually the people we might interact with “in real life” (IRL).  They are local and you might even see them daily or weekly or monthly.

Walking up to a person, flashing your winning smile, shaking their hand with your firm handshake and handing them your business card, with a short explanation of what your site is about is WAY more likely to create a new reader than almost any other marketing you can do.  But there is another benefit, as well.  The cool side benefit is that the person you meet is also more likely to share your site with their friends… if they find compelling content.

I guess it often comes back to that compelling content, doesn’t it?

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Yes… I am a little buried with the upcoming rebarcamp Atlanta event on 10/28/2011.  And while doing a little research, I ran across this really cool infographic.  As a Real Estate Agent, I’m only marginally interested in how teens are using their phones… they aren’t buying houses.  I only llook at their usage to see if I can get in front of trends.  But adults… THEY buy houses.  They have my interest.

by Flowtown via
no spam!
Image via Wikipedia

Big question in the blogosphere…

Should blog comments be open or closed?

The argument for open comments is basically that it allows consumers (readers) to interact with you through your blog.  It is a very strong and compelling argument.  And while most blogs will NOT get an abundance of comments, tossing them without deep thought would likely be a mistake.

The argument for closed comments revolves around spam prevention and keeping undesirable commentors at bay.  And I have had my share of both…  In fact, on my Active Rain blog, Gwinnett Garage Guy, I have been closing comments for the last few weeks.  And I maintain a spam detection service for my WordPress blogs.  Active Rain has internal monitors to detect and kill spam.  There are also issues that can arise with negative comments.

 

 

Symbol comments
Image via Wikipedia

Personally, I fall on the open comments side of the debate.  I think it is very important to allow readers as many avenues as possible to interact.  However, I am beginning to close comments on old posts that get spam comments.  I have had negative comments, and find that transparency is the best option…

 

 

What do you think?

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Turbo Beetle
Image by kenjonbro via Flickr

Back in the mid 1990s, people started to say that you HAD to have a website.  So, you hired someone to code up a few pages and it was good…  You were done. 

Ten years later, those same people were telling you that you HAD to have a blog.  The cool thing was that you didn’t necessarily have to hire anyone, you could just toss one up.  So you did it… and then it kind of languished after the first couple of months because you didn’t get any direct business from it.  You were done.

A couple of years later, you finally started hearing from some of your peers that that blogging thing actually worked… so you dusted it off and started posting.  You were done. 

Seemingly, 30 minutes later, the consensus was that you needed a Twitter account.  But before you could call it done, you needed a FaceBook Fan Page… then you needed a YouTube Channel… and a Yelp presence…

 

Now, if you aren’t on Google+, you are just wasting time with the rest of your internet program… or so say “the people”.

When does it end?

Does it end?

Vector C6
Image by TheMBG via Flickr

Nope.  It doesn’t.  Technology and “what’s cool” keep marching on.  There is always a new site and there is always a new way to engage consumers.  There are always new channels and there always will be.

What’s worse… or better… is that they are unfolding faster than EVER before.  Newspaper dominated for centuries.  Radio dominated for generations.  TV dominated for decades.  Websites dominated for years.  Now we are down to weeks…  Maybe days.

 

But that doesn’t mean that you have to try to ride EVERY wave that breaks on the shore.  In fact, it means that you shouldn’t.  A hundred years ago, you couldn’t go big if you weren’t in the newspaper.  It would take a while before the next wave came in.  Now we have waves breaking constantly.

Pick your battles.  Figure out what you are going to be able to do… alone or with your team.  Learn ways to automate without destroying engagement.  Aggregation and Syndication can be your friends.  Link and leverage your networks.  Pick your battles. 

Vector Twin Turbo W8 at Auto- und Technikmuseu...
Image via Wikipedia

You aren’t done.

But you never really were…

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