•on March 16th, 2010
What can I say about Chris? The guy is honest, returns emails quickly (I was rather shocked about that), and he is very friendly to talk with. Chris Garrett has no ego and he communicates what he is trying to state without any effort. He really is a classy guy who just wants to help. Though i shouldn’t be surprised, as this is the guy who helped co-author the “Problogger Book” with Darren Rowse from problogger.net. The very first blogging book i read and learned my skills from. Reading that book opened my eyes to a whole new online world. The book is a bit old now (I think it was published in 2008) but it is still extremely valuable.
Watching what Chris was doing was one of the reasons I wanted to get into the online world. I was thrilled when i saw in my in-box his short and to the point response to my request for an interview “Fine with me “. I might have jumped up and down for joy, when i saw that email response.
Below is the interview I had with Chris Garrett:
I have had a website on that domain since the late 90s, but I only put the current incarnation of the site up in early 2007.
Tell us a little bit more about chrisg.com. Why did you start it?
For a while I had been associated with all the joint venture projects I was involved in and I needed to bring my own identity out a bit more. Be me rather than just “Chris from …”. People did know who I was, but always as part of something else, and I needed the freedom to write about the topics without stepping on toes.
You write very long articles on your site chrisg.com, do you feel this benefits your community of readers?
Partly it is just my style, but also I try to give a lot of value. The articles are not always extra long, but I do advise people to make their articles long enough to get the point across. Seth Godin can do it in a couple of paragraphs, but it takes me 4,000 words, ha!
I don’t post as often as some people but I think I probably spend more time. It’s important to me that I give people something they can’t find anywhere else, otherwise what is the point?
You recently mentioned you were thinking of stopping your consulting work, why?
It is getting really hard to keep juggling all the clients, projects, products, teaching, and so on. Lately I have got back into a lot of travel now also. Plus we are planning to move to Canada, so my UK clients will obviously not be seeing me face to face quite as much! We have to work out how we can serve people best with the resources we have and right now, time is my scarcest resource. I can’t keep putting my prices up, at some point I have to get out of the game!
What is your favorite blogging platform?
WordPress, by a margin. I have used a lot of platforms and am not ultra-religious about it. Drupal is a fine platform, for Microsoft folks there are a bunch of .net platforms, but WordPress is the one I focus on.
Tell us a little bit about Authority Blogger and Business Blogging Made Simple.
Authority Blogger is my system for getting folks from zero audience through to growing trust, traffic and subscribers, having fans, and launching products and services that people are happy to buy. The business blogging ebook is for people who have a business, or who work at a business, and want to use blogs as a powerful marketing tool.
Do you have any people helping you create all this content and consulting work or is just you?
Just me. My schedule is insane as you might imagine, heh.
Any tools you can suggest?
Other than WordPress mentioned above, this list is getting pretty old but it is a start, click here for the list.
I still rely on Skype, but TweetDeck on my iPhone is pretty important now, plus webinar services like GotoWebinar are a significant part of my business.
How can people find you?
Any helpful tips for beginners?
The biggest tip I can give is to focus on your audience. Who are you serving? What do they most want? How do they want it? People blunder in without thinking about who they are trying to attract, then wonder why they get no visitors and make no money
•on March 8th, 2010
If you are involved with social media and you are involved with business, you are probably a little disappointed with some of the more “unprofessional” aspects of these networks. Facebook and Twitter can be powerful business tools, but there is a lot of un-businesslike “noise” in them.
Fortunately, there is a network that is more oriented toward business. It is called LinkedIn.
What is LinkedIn?
LinkedIn is a social networking site that is fully focused on creating and nurturing business relationships. Like Facebook, users create profiles and make relationships with other users. On LinkedIn, these relationships are called “connections.” However, unlike Facebook, the information that people provide on a LinkedIn profile is similar to what they would provide on a resume: education, work history, training and recommendations.
After users have made their profile, they connect to the profiles of colleagues and business associates. Former colleagues can also write recommendations for one another. The point of all of this is to create an accurate snapshot of your professional credentials, and to provide context for outsiders to know who you’ve worked with.
LinkedIn is big and growing: it has approximately 60 million users and they are getting a new user every second. It also has plenty of important people on it. Executives from every Fortune 500 company are on LinkedIn. If you aren’t already, you might want to consider the opportunities you might be missing.
What Are the Benefits?
The primary benefit is obvious: employers can use LinkedIn to find new employees, and people looking for work can use it to find job. For employers, the fact that they can see how people are connected to one another means that they don’t have to hire someone who is completely unknown to them, or at least unknown to their trusted business connections. For job seekers, the network means that they can apply for jobs where the employers will look more positively on them.
Beyond looking for a job or an employee, LinkedIn can help users with all of the soft aspects of their business that require business connections. For instance, users can try to scout out funding for a new venture capital project, sell products, discuss projects with like-minded people, get PR or channel traffic to their blogs. All of this and more can be done through LinkedIn.
Starting a Profile
One of the biggest mistakes that users make when they start using LinkedIn is by only going halfway. Unlike Facebook and Twitter, LinkedIn doesn’t work very well with a bare profile. And this makes sense: in business, you need to provide all of your relevant details, and any gaps that appear in your professional background make you appear less professional and somewhat untrustworthy. With that in mind, remember these tips when building your profile:
1. Ask yourself: what exactly do I want to get out of LinkedIn? Unless you have a clear idea of how or what you want to leverage LinkedIn, your profile will look very haphazard. Present yourself as a coherent whole, and make it easy for your connections to know what you stand for and what you want.
2. Add connections. The more connections you have, the more you are going to get out of LinkedIn. It’s as simple as that. Communicate with your friends connections to see if they want to connect with you. They’ll probably appreciate the chance to expand their networks as well.
3. Get recommendations and give them to the people in your network you feel deserve them. If you aren’t getting any recommendations, request some trustworthy connections to provide some. Although employers won’t necessarily trust the recommendations, the people who don’t have any on their profile are at a definite disadvantage.
4. Join Groups. This will help you make more connections, particularly with people you have lost contact with or met in a very limited context. They will also help you branch out to find new people to make contact with through the group’s discussion boards.
5. Update your status regularly. This is particularly important if you have left your previous job and you are looking for new work. But don’t make your status updates personal. Only update it with relevant information that a potential employer might find interesting, such as when you attend seminars, or when you receive new training.
6. Communicate! When you join groups, post replies and start discussions. Answer people’s questions, and ask your own. If you are active on LinkedIn, people will start adding you as a connection, and your network will grow.
7. Go beyond the ordinary. Have selected Twitter status updates added to your linked-in profile. Add applications, such as a WordPress application that publishes your latest blog entries to your LinkedIn profile. Use the polling application to perform market research. Find out what the buzz is about your company on Twitter. You can see a full list of the available applications here.
LinkedIn can be a powerful tool for your business. Make sure you are using it to its full capacity.
•on March 3rd, 2010
Daniel Scocco has content and plenty of blogging content. DailyBlogTips.com is one of the original blogging websites for bloggers that is still around today. Everything a blogger needs to know about or even is thinking about Daniel has written about it. His audience is as passionate and driven as Daniel. As I am writing this, Daniel just published an article and literally in 10 minutes has received over 11 comments on that one article. DailyBlogTips.com is among the 100 most popular marketing blogs in the world (according to AdvertisingAge)! Clearly, Daniel knows what he is doing. Lucky for us, we were able to grab him for an interview and tap into his brilliance.
Daniel: I started the blog back in 2006.
Q: Tell us a little bit more about Daily Blog Tips? Why did you start it?
Daniel: I started building my first websites and blogs in 2005. Initially it was just a hobby, as I doubted very much that people would end up visiting them….
After a while the traffic started picking up, though. One of my sites started getting over 500 visitors per day. That got me surprised and excited at the same time. In 2006 and I decided to quit my full time job to dedicate all my time to my blogs and websites. I also wanted to share the tips and tricks I was learning along the way, and that is when Daily Blog Tips was created.
Q: Blogs have become more influential every year, do you see this continuing and why?
Daniel: Yes I believe this trend will keep going, for several reasons. First of all more and more people are discovering blogs every year. Second, they are realizing that writing a personal diary where you talk about your cats and dogs is not the only thing you can so with a blog. In other words, blogs are just a type of website. The content that you put inside them is up to you. It can be a personal diary but it can also be highly influential tech news like the guys from TechCrunch do.
Finally, the user generated content as a whole is getting more and more established on the Internet, and blogs are part of that.
Q: What is your favorite blogging platform?
Daniel: Definitely WordPress. It is open source, easy to use, fast, and reliable. What else could you ask?
Q: You literally run a massive website, do you have any help?
Daniel: On Daily Blog Tips I pretty much do all the work. Writing content is the bulk of it, though, and I have a lot of fun publishing posts there and interacting with the readers. So it doesn’t feel like work at all.
Q: Any tools you can suggest?
Daniel: Some that I use regularly: Google Webmaster Tools, Aweber, Google Analytics and Gmail.
Q: How can people find you?
Daniel: I also have an account on all major social networking sites, but I rarely update my profile there or interact with other people. It would consume far too much time.
Q: Any helpful tips for beginners?
Daniel: If you are just getting started with your blog, focus on creating outstanding content (stuff people will read and want to share with their friends) and on promoting that content to as many people as possible.
Once you reach a good amount of traffic (i.e., over 1,000 daily uniques) you can start thinking about monetization and other aspects.
•on March 1st, 2010
If you pay attention to social media trends at all, you’ve likely heard of Twitter.com. The LA Times uses it to send updates about wildfires; the NY Times uses it to track Washington politics; celebrities use it to tell their fans about their latest projects. But if you don’t have a Twitter account, you are likely wondering what all the fuss is about. Specifically, are there any benefits to using Twitter for your business?
What is Twitter?
In brief, Twitter is a free social networking and microblogging tool. It enables users to send small (140 character) messages called “tweets” to the group of people who follow them. In return, users can see the tweets of everyone they follow. Twitter only started in 2006, but its strong growth in popularity has been because the 140 character limit enables users to easily update their Twitter accounts through text messages over their phones.
Although exact stats by Twitter are not released, Alexa.com ranks it as one of the top 50 sites on the Internet. And as mentioned, it is also growing quickly: Neilson.com says the site grew over 1000% between 2008 and 2009.
How to Leverage it for Business
Like any social networking tool, Twitter`s power comes in its ability to develop and deepen relationships. But as a business person you first have to decide: are you creating relationships at the individual level, or at the brand/company level?
“Social Media is about the people! Not about your business. Provide for the people and the people will provide for you.”
- Matt Goulart
The ideal way to use Twitter is as a fully-rounded individual. Ashton Kutcher is the most popular Twitter user because people like him and his tweets. It’s as simple as that. If you are working in any sort of business where personal connections are key (which is most businesses these days), Twitter can be a great way to build those personal relationships.
The benefits are obvious. If one of your clients follows you on Twitter, they are more likely to want to do business with you or to recommend you to friends. Instead of always talking to hundreds of clients, you can stay in touch with all of them at minimal time expense to you. And if you have important news about your business or a press release to share, you have a ready audience.
But how do you build those relationships? There are two key things to keep in mind:
1. You should be seen as a source of important information that your client can immediately and freely use. For instance, interior designers use Twitter to pass along great home decorating articles to their clients. This isn’t about selling your product or service. It is about giving useful stuff away and selling you and your expertise.
2. Don’t forget to have fun with it. You don’t want to seem like a robot. Pass along a link to that hilarious dog video every once and awhile. It will give your followers warm feelings towards you. After all, people follow the Twitter users they like.
Brands and Companies
For brands and companies, it is a little harder. Since Twitter is a social networking tool, users can feel strange if a brand or company is talking to them and not a person. Brands and companies also have to maintain tighter boundaries on what they can or cannot say.
Twitter works best with lifestyle brands and companies (Apple, American Apparel), brands and companies that have ethos or philosophies behind them (Dove, Whole Foods), or brands people just think are cool (Marvel). Since viewers are engaged by their wider brand personality, the brands have more things to tweet about. Dove, for instance, tweets about many great ways to keep your skin healthy.
But if you don’t have a wider brand or company personality, you still have something to offer of plenty of interest to your followers: special offers, news about new products, freebies and coupons. Jet Blue has one of the biggest corporate followings on Twitter, and it is because its followers are hanging on for new flight deals.
As well, since Twitter is about building relationships, it helps give companies a friendly face. Smart corporations and brands use Twitter it to handle customer service problems quickly and easily.
In fact, the smaller your business, the more appropriate Twitter might be for you. A local pizza shop, for instance, can tweet about special deals and contests. Without the pressure of a giant multinational brand behind you, you can develop a more fun and zany personality on Twitter. And of course, it’s a great way to do marketing at a small business level because it’s free.
How to Get Started
It’s pretty easy. Go to Twitter.com and start up an account. Since this is a business account, you’ll need to provide as much relevant information on your profile as possible, such as your corporate address, phone number, and any of the blogs or websites you might run. People also like a picture, so it is recommended to upload one.
Start building your network. To do this, you can quickly import your contact information from your gmail, yahoo or aol account. Or you can just start looking for people by name using the search feature. With these tools, you can begin to follow people.
Getting followers is a little harder. To do that, don’t hesitate to tell everyone and their dog your twitter address. Put your Twitter address everywhere: on your business card, on your blog, on your facebook profile.
If you are running a blog, you can add some Twitter plug-ins like Twitterfeed.com to make all of this a little easier. Twitterfeed automatically pushes new blog posts to Twitter. As well, the Tweet This plug-in for WordPress lets readers of your blog easily tweet about your blog posts. There’s a whole array of other plug-ins here.
And the rest is up to you! As mentioned, the best way to leverage Twitter for business is is to be informative and interesting. People will let others know about you and will pass along your messages (retweet) if they are of value. And interact! If other users notice that your conversations are funny or interesting, they’ll want to follow you, too.
Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter!