WordPress.com versus WordPress.org

Ive recently been looking into the difference between the two platforms, as I’m interested in upgrading this website.

I’ve found a great resource called WordPressBeginer.com which has a ton of resource for us bloggers, and maybe even has some value for those of us wanting to branch out a little further into the big bad world of ecommerce!

Long story short, these guys say that you are better to start off with a WordPress.org site as you get to have complete control over your site from the start.

While WordPress.com is free, its limited in what you can do. As as you grow as a blogger, or online entrepreneur you’ll quickly outgrow it.

Then again, if all you want is a powerful, fairly flexible blogging platform, WordPress.com is perfectly fine.

There are a load of great articles on WordPressbeginner.com, but as you know, I love a nice infographic, so here is the question answered, in graphical form. Click the infographic to go through to the original article.

Enjoy!

platformcomparison

How to Fail at Advertising

I’ve had some nice feedback from the last post on this theme, How to fail in three easy steps. Its a nice format, a short and hopefully punchy few paragraphs of advice, and its inspired me to write maybe a couple of others on this theme.

It amazes me how many businesses get even pretty simple ideas so wrong. Size isn’t everything in this area, as Ive seen everyone from Global brands to local shops make the same basic errors.

There is of course a lot to think about when it comes to advertising, from the channels you need to use to the creative treatment. And maybe we’ll get onto some of that in the future, but for now, here are three things you absolutely need to get right, or risk failure…

1. Fail to target

Your advertising should speak to one person. OK, one market if you must go for scale, but under no account should you aim to talk to more than one segment per campaign. I have lost count of the times Ive heard the client (or agency) answer ‘Everyone’ or even worse, ‘Adults 15 plus’ in radio language, in answer to the question, ‘who are you talking to?’

Recipe for disaster. How hard is it to talk to two of three people at a party? Or how confused do you get when your boss is asking you for something, and wants it right now, while you’re talking to a client on the phone?

Your advertising is the same confusing mess of noise if it tries to capture too many targets at once. If you are aiming at men, aim at men. Don’t aim at men, and women who buy for men. Geddit? Good..

2. Fail to ask for action 

‘I didn’t get a response’ says the client.

‘What did you ask people to do?’ says I.

‘What do you mean?’ responds the client…

Always ask the receiver of the advertising message to ‘do’ something. Call, or visit your website or buy now, and pay later – whatever, make sure there is a call to action.

The only time you can get away with less explicit requests is when you are brand advertising, or awareness advertising. The idea here is to make sure people are aware of your offering, or understand your specific position in the market. But even then you can think in terms of asking people to be aware of you, or asking them to think of you in a certain way.

3. Fail to provide a compelling reason to respond

I’m not sure which of these three points are the biggest sin. But for sure, I see this one A LOT! And as the great copywriter Mike Bersin once told me (Once!? Who am I kidding!) lots of small reasons don’t make one big one.

Why should people respond to your campaign if you don’t give them a good reason to? Why should they rush to your websites, or over to your shop, or pick up the phone to talk to you unless there is an absolutely compelling reason for them to do it?

And if you don’t think you have one you’re not alone. Many of the people I’ve worked with have struggled to come up with one big reason, luckily there is a lesson to be learned from big brands.

Big brands know they need to ‘own’ certain attributes in their customers minds eye. What brands fit these attributes?

Cool…

Sexy…

Reliable…

Timeless…

Fun…

Healthy…

And so on.

If you’re not cheaper, or faster or more reliable, or more trustworthy or whatever, or its difficult to demonstrate that you are any of those things, then its time to think of ways to inhabit one of those attributes and communicate that attribute to your customers.

But make it one really important attribute to one customer, and tell them why its important!

What do you guys think? Anything I’ve missed? Or anything you would have put in place of numbers 1,2 or 3? As ever, please leave a comment below.

 

 

Confidence on Tap!

My friend Sean's new website
My friend Sean’s new website

I had a great letter from a good friend of mine the other day. He has been working on his business for a while now, and is really starting to make some head way. Over the last few years we have tried to help each other. Me with the old marketing advice, and he has tried to help me overcome some of my sports psychology issues with golf!

If you’ve ever seen me play golf, you’ll know the cause is hopeless! But Sean really seems to be making progress with his business at least.

Here is his (edited) note;

Hi Tony

It’s a long time since we spoke! I have to ask . . . how is your golf?

 I thought I’d give you an update on what I have been doing – inspired from that day when you created a word press website for me and showed me Mark W Schaefer’s website. Ever since I have been striving to create a similar platform for myself!

 I have a new website: www.confidenceontap.com and have just published my second ebook: ‘Freedom from Exam Stress’ The book includes chapters on how to help students deal with such challenges as: Procrastination. Pre-Test Anxiety, Feeling Overwhelmed, Perfectionism and many more. The book also includes ten custom made audio downloads that students can use even as they walk into the exam room to help keep them calm and a ten minute video explaining the technique. 

I would we be great if possible I you are able to advise me on how to market this book. I do feel approaching some newspapers and radio stations would be a good idea. 

This link is for my sales page. http://bit.ly/1zILnBq I look forward to hearing from you.

Best wishes

Sean

My reply – and its helps if you pop over to Seans website for a look first, might make more sense!

Hi Sean

I have just two main points to make. 

I would definitely get some of the testimonials you use more developed. Try and use pictures of the people featured, and even better, video if you can. You use video brilliantly on the site, and I think some video testimonials would fit in really well. 

And then get these on the home page so that they are easier for people to see. Don’t just list them on the testimonial page. Its a bit flat and not at all attention grabbing. 

Maybe have a carousel with testimonials rotating in the middle of the homepage? Do you know what I mean? Your web developer can help with this. And pictures at least, if not video of the real people you’ve helped. 

The other point is the blog. 

This is the chance you have to really make this website sing! 

There are two reasons to make sure you post more regularly. 

One is that it makes the website look like a current, modern place to visit, and means the reader thinks its more likely there is a real person the other side.

Two is that Google loves fresh content. Publishing to your blog regularly means Google is more likely to point people to your site in answer to their questions. So if people are online line searching for the answers to the questions you are able to help them with, it makes sense to make sure Google knows about you and is happy to send you traffic. 

In terms of promoting your book and the site, there isn’t a better thing you could do than to blog on a regular basis!

Think about writing everything from in depth articles to interviews with your own sporting or musical heroes, maybe updates on the latest in EFT or even just great stories from the world of high performance. And don’t limit yourself to writing – you can also do podcasts and even better, and really in keeping with your website, videos blogs.

Don be afraid to ‘give away’ answers to the questions you are often asked. Don’t ever be be afraid to help people. It actually just makes them even more likely to buy the books. Mark Schaefer will tell you that everything he has ever published in book form is available for free on his website.

What should you post about?

Try thinking of the top ten questions people have about EFT and try to answer those? One question per blog and don’t be afraid to repeat topics with different types of answers.

Also, invite your readers to ask you questions that you can then use to create blog posts! Its a great way to create a helpful website that people find really credible.

PLUS like I said, Google loves blogs. It likes sites that have fresh content that people find useful. Sites that people comment on and link to.

This is the main objective for you now, to create a living breathing website, rather than a brochure type flat website that feels like it hasn’t been updated for a while – even if it has been.

Mark Schafer’s site is obviously a brilliant one to emulate, but here is another great one for you to look at…

http://www.marksdailyapple.com

This is a ‘Paleo diet’ site, but the guy sets out with the magic ingredient front and centre. He is trying to help. I read the site and I believe he is there to help people. And thats the trick. Only its not a trick! 

Being authentic and helpful on the web is a great way to build your community and your business. And you’ll see that in action on ‘Marks Daily Apple’ and very much so on Mark Schaefer’s website also. 

Don’t put too much effort into the traditional PR route for press and radio just yet.

There is no harm in getting featured of course, and it even adds a bit of credibility to say that you have been published and interviewed and what not, but all that effort results in very fleeting coverage – and one thing you need to be successful in the tradition media market place is a consistent presence.

Your time in the short terms would be better spent creating a regularly updated blog that encourages your readers to comment and ask questions of you, and the others in the community, Traditional PR certainly has value, but its a tough slog for minimal return compared to the return you would get from a regularly updated blog.

Screen Shot 2015-01-06 at 16.53.51

ANOTHER THING….

Have a think about using PPC / Facebook advertising? 

PPC or pay per click is a way to pay Google (or other search engines) to send traffic to your website. The idea is that you select the sort of person you are interested in reaching – say for instance, people searching for information about driving tests? Or exam stress? And the search engines send the person to you, and you pay each time some one clicks.

Do a quick search to have a look at the pros and cons for yourself.  But in theory at least, its a very cost efficient way to advertise, as you only pay for what you get, plus you set the budget up front and budgets can be very small.

You can do exactly the same thing on Facebook and Twitter and the platforms will direct your ads, or sponsored stories (there are other ways to do it) directly at people you have pre selected. You can target by age, or demographic or location or behaviour. 

There are drawbacks – Just because you get clicks and traffic, doesn’t necessarily follow you will get people buying from you. You could get some clicks made in error, or people don’t think they have found what they were looking for on your site and quickly click off.

But with a bit of research into what works and how to do it, you’ll be well away. Im convinced this is a very valuable way to build a web business – But caution needs to be applied. 

So there you go, so advice for Sean than I hope you find useful too. And what about you? Have you guys got any advice for him? Anything Ive missed out, or any issue you’d take with whatever I’ve said?

Feel free to comment below!

Dear Twitter, I’m Breaking Up With You…

mentwitter
Pics of us together in happier days

Its not you, its me..

I still love you. I’ll always love you. I’ve loved you since we first met all those years ago. Our eyes met over that crowed (even then) newsfeed, and nothing was the same ever again!

You were pretty and quirky and no one understood you like I did. We clicked immediately and began the torrid affair that’s lasted all this time. You were always there for me, whatever time of day or night, you entertained and educated me in equal measure. We went everywhere together, all over the world.

Through personal triumphs and local national and international news, elections, major sporting events or natural disasters, we’ve been enraptured with each other. We’ve been inseparable, we’ve celebrated and raged in equal measure. We grew together, but now I’m afraid we might be growing apart.

We’ll still have all our friends – though you insist on calling them followers! The Americans, The Irish, the Swiss, the Indians, the Canadians – friends from all over the world that we met at parties or just hanging around. Friends that I’ve been lucky enough to meet in real life on occasion, and because you’d brought us together, those friends I’d felt I’d known for ever.

I love how you have kept trying so hard to keep me interested. You new look is great! I still love finding someone or something I could never have ever hoped to discover before you came into my life.

And I know I don’t pay you enough attention. A quick flick through each morning has replaced the in depth conversations we used to have.

Instead of long nights burning the midnight oil together, lost in connections and talking and sharing, its now all I can do to make sure I’m not missing anything that appears in my ‘@’ feed.

I don’t take you out as much as I did. I used to love showing you off to my friends. Teaching them about how important you are to me, and how much you can offer them too. Nowadays, the familiarity has bred a sort of contempt. A sort of dismissive acknowledgment of how influential everyone (still) believes you are.

I still can’t shake you off completely, but its as much habit as desire isn’t it?

I had a number of the ‘Twitterarti’ RT my last post. I felt that familiar thrill! I’d connected once gain. we’d created something people loved, we’d sent the inter-webs spinning away and were reaching out to new and exciting people all over the world.

But something strange happened.

Its not very scientific, but I counted up all the followers of all the people that had shared that last post. The total came to around 140K. One hundred and forty thousand! Impressive – and I’m very grateful, as always.

But the impact on actual traffic to the blog was VERY little. Literally a few. Maybe 20 views.

A conversion ration of pretty much zero.

And I’ve noticed that in work, on our company websites, you don’t have the influence you once did. All my new visitors come to me through someone else these days. There. I’ve said it.

Facebook does more for me than you do. Professionally and personally.

But its not just that. I’m also a bit worried about the people you introduce me too these days. Everyone is selling something it seems. No one wants to ‘just’ interact like before.

You used to connect me to people that wanted to talk to me! They’d be interested in who I was and what I had to say for myself. Just as I was interested in them.

No they are just as likely to want to ‘sell’ me followers. That makes me sad, its tawdry and cheap, and your better than that.

I don’t want an automated DM, I want you to talk to me. I don’t want to download your book, or like your Facebook page. I just want to be friends… Like we used to be.

I sorry, maybe I’ve grown up or moved on. Or maybe you’ve changed and I’ve stayed the same. But it isn’t what it used to be. I don’t suppose it was ever going to stay the same for ever.

And it does make me sad. And I’ll keep trying.

But I think we might be over.

 

 

Social Media v. Being Social?

socialantsI’m talking about the difference between a company or brand or even a person being ‘social’ and simply using ‘social media’? Is there a difference?

I think so.

And I think that this is the lastest struggle brands face in ‘modernising’ their approach to interacting with their customers. It’s not now unusual to find a brand on your social networks, but it its still fairly unusual to find one ‘doing it’ well.

It wasn’t all that long ago that you wouldn’t find your favourite national or even global brand on Facebook. Nowadays its seems even the laggards,  like those local businesses that never even had a website before, are all over the place. Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter, you name it, they have an account there.

But what are they doing there?

Broadcasting, it would seem.

I mean they are telling us stuff about themselves.

Talking AT us. Not conversing WITH us.

Telling us what they are selling or where to find them or many other mind numbingly boring details about their business. To be fair, their business is their pride and joy, and I do admire people that love what they do. But generally, I’m not interested in whether or not there is ample free parking available at their store.

I am interested in the people that work there, the great things I can do with their product, or learning about how they can solve my problems – I’m interested in seeing them demonstrate that they are listening to what I’ve got to say and hearing them respond accordingly.

I’m not interested in the structure of the business of how long they have been in business or the benefits of buying from them.

I want to know how it works, or how it can help me, or how I can otherwise be entertained by hanging out with them in their social spaces.

I’m not interested in why it is you’re better than your competition or how much advertising budget you’ve got.

I am interested in how you deal with the real life people that have done business with you and maybe were not satisfied first time round. How have you looked after them?

I’m not interested in how clever you are, or how far ahead of the game you are or how shiny your website is.

I am interested in how ‘human’ you are. I’m interested in the community of customers and employees and anyone else that’s associated with you.

I want to know that I can trust you. I want to engage with you, yes, but I want to also to feel like you’re engaged with me in return. I know you’re a big organisation and we are not really having a 1-2-1 relationship, but I want to know its important to you to try!

Over time, we will have lots of small interactions and gradually we will develop a trust, I will feel more like a fan than a customer and I will advocate for you. I will sell on your behalf.

And I want to know that you won’t betray that trust. I want to know that you’ll be there for me in the same way I am there for you.

It a strange thing in a way. But that’s the way this stuff goes. There is so much competition out there, so much clutter. There are some many businesses that make me feel defensive, like I should be cautious about using them. I don’t want to fall into a sales trap and get caught out or give my details over only to have a multitude of sales calls off the back of it.

There won’t be many brands I engage with on this level, but the ones I do will be the ones that are social. And they are the ones that will survive and even win in this, the new way of working, the new way of existing alongside your customers. As part of the same ecosystem as your customers.

Not apart, not different, the same.

The days of big faceless corporations getting away with taking my money and doing little except disappointing me in return are limited. We are getting more and more used to this stuff yes, but the revolution hasn’t played out fully yet. There is more to come.

There are more traditional businesses that will go the way of the old style bricks and mortar operations eviscerated by the Amazons of this world. The way of the Kodaks of this world.

Those that saw the change coming too late. Those that were blindsided by their newly powerful customers. The new choices abounding, and the new way the choices were being made.

The power of the social web.

Broadcasting on social media channels isn’t enough. Just doing what you’ve always done but doing it in Facebook won’t cut it. Regurgitating someone else’s insightful content maybe a starting point, but its not the be all and end all.

Asking me to ‘like’ your pictures without a pay off for me won’t cut it. And I’m not going to share your content unless there is a lot of value in it for me too.

You need to finally start to listen, to get to know your customers, show that you care. Put you customers at the centre of what you do.

Be more social.

Be. More. Human.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Extending Your Reach and Influence

I was really lucky to be asked to speak at this years Lead on Wales event, Leadership in a digital age. I was asked to run a session on reach and influence, given my interest in social media!

Before I share the slides I have to say I made a schoolboy error on this one. Pushed for time, I managed to write and edit the presentation, but didn’t get a chance to run through it to rehearse. The event was made up of some opening remarks by Dr Jonathan Deacon of the University of South Wales and then the keynote by the brilliant Barbara Chidgey. By the way, you must read Barbara’s blog, its excellent.

Following Barbara’s keynote, I, and the speakers, gave the first of our talks. I had 40 minutes allocated and managed to get only half way through the presentation!

Apologies to the first audience, I didn’t get to tell you about the second half at all! I did manage to make the points I’d wanted to, but at the expense of half the content. Maybe there is a lesson in brevity there!

People were very kind however, and said that they’d enjoyed it in any case. Lucky me!

The second run through was much better paced. Though, a little secret between me and you? I still didn’t finish the presentation! There was one more page to go when I had to wrap up – still at least this one made more sense!

I kicked off with a video from Eric Qualman to set the scene. Eric is now famous for those little ‘social media videos’ and I love them for the impact they have on an audience. Eric stuns us with information on things like the very latest statistics about mobile take up and the size of the leading social media networks.

The main inspiration for the presentation however was the recent talk given by Mark Schaefer in Swansea. Mark took us through some of the lessons in his new book Social Media Explained (not an affiliated link)  And some of the ideas from that book have made it into this presentation.

Especially Marks ideas on what he calls the social media mindset

1. Targeted Reach

2. Meaningful Content

3. Authentic Helpfulness

Mark has always inspired my journey when it comes to his understanding of social media, and I strongly recommend any, and in fact all of his books.

Anyway, without much further ado, here is the presentation, using the rather fab platform Slideshare for the first time. Looks great embedded in the post I think!

Enjoy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Guest Post: The Thing We Call Social Media

Nicholas Fearn is a regular contributor to this blog and a good friend of mine. He has been kind enough to submit another post for you dear reader, and I find his insights fascinating, so am more than happy to share them with you 🙂

Nicholas (17) is an aspiring journalist and blogs about technology at South Wales Evening Post among other titles. He also supports a wide variety of charities and good causes, and his mission is to show that having Autism can be a positive.

Over to Nicholas..

The world has changed dramatically within the past few years. Technology has advanced, and social media has grown into a revolution, as opposed to just a phase of human existence.

But the idea of communicating with other humans is far from a new phenomenon; humans have operated in groups for millennia and have always found updated ways to connect with others – from chalk and slate to the printing press of the 16th century.

Based on this, smart social interaction isn’t at all new. We have just developed it into a craze of mass communication combined with modern technology. You can’t go anywhere without seeing individuals with their iPhones out, tweeting and messaging their friends and family. It’s a huge part of the human social life.

People use it for so many different purposes, reflecting on the uncountable number of applications and services that can be accessed via the internet.

You’ll find that the average person uses it simply to stay up-to-date with friends and family (i.e. chatty mothers and curious fathers), while business and enterprise users tend to use it as a way to pool creativity and sell their products. But idea of interacting with others remains concrete.

It can be dangerous, however, in the sense it can create a barrier between reality and the virtual world. You just have to remember that you as the user are responsible for how you use social media services and if you’re excluding yourself from society.

Also, things can easily can be taken out of proportion, and personal opinions can turn into controversies that create death threats. A great example of this is who posted a questionable and controversial tweet about AIDS and landed to discover it had trended around the world and made the headlines. Several hours later, she lost her job and was offline completely.

This goes to show there is a darker side to social media. But isn’t that life anyway? The positives outweigh the negatives in so many different ways, like how people can maintain friendships and continue to communicate with family and friends who live on the other side of the globe. It’s such a useful and powerful tool to have access to, if used sensibly

Predicting the future of social media is virtually impossible. However, new social trends will surely appear, and the current ones will eventually fade out. But their core function will remain the same – a way to digitally connect people and enable communication in a way that was previously impossible

English: Infographic on how Social Media are b...