Archive for June, 2012
The Almost Timely newsletter is the weekly summary of everything interesting that’s caught my eye over the previous week, 20-25 items that were worth your time. However, sometimes we miss things. Sometimes the day gets by us, or sometimes we just take some time off. Sometimes the mail doesn’t get delivered, and we fall out of habit. Or sometimes we just delete stuff accidentally.
Well, now you can get caught up with this new publication. It’s a play off of what the Federal Reserve Board calls their quarterly report, which is their Summary of Commentary on Current Economic Conditions, and it fulfills a similar role: a look back at the quarter that was, all of the highlights, all of the news, all of the premium content, bundled together for your review and safekeeping.
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As Ash explained in her post today, using blogging as a platform from which to sell consulting services can be effective and lucrative.
Blogging has long been respected as a method for supporting offline businesses, but as the potential of blogging in general has evolved, so too have the options for those using blogs to sell services.
If you’re interested in finding out more about this business model, have a look at these articles:
- 9 Critical Tasks Before Launching Your Small Business Blog, by Mark Hayward, takes those creating their first business blog through the essentials. He asks the crucial questions business bloggers will need to answer if their blog is to be a success—and helps them find the answers.
- From hobby blog to business blog: a plan of attack is a post I wrote to help those who want to turn their hobby into a business smooth that process.
- How I got two job offers and a $200 an hour consulting gig from blogging explains how blogger Joe Bunting landed two job offers, consulting gigs and other paid projects from his blog. The strategy he sets out here is a solid blueprint for those who want to do similar things with their blogging.
- How to find readers for a business blog is a post I wrote specifically to help those just starting out building an online presence for their offline business. If that’s you, you might find this post a good starting point.
- How to use LinkedIn to create unique opportunities for your blog business, by Farnoosh Brock, provides targeted social media advice to those supporting a professional services business with their blog.
- Build brand awareness and business with creative video blogging, by Ryan Chritchett, gives plenty of advice to help you harness services like YouTube and Vimeo to help establish a strong presence for your offline business, online.
- 7 Ways to rescue your business blog from the blahs, by Jennifer Brown Banks, talks about content creation for business blogs, with tips and advice that she’s used herself.
- 5 ways your blog is undermining your business, by Georgina Laidlaw, points to some of the common errors that reduce the impact of business blogs—they’re important tips to improve your blog’s quality and your business’s perception within your audience.
Also, don’t forget our series, Build Blog Products that Sell, and ProBlogger’s Guide to Blogging for Your Business—these resources are detailed practical guides that will really help those looking to sell consulting and other services through a business blog.
What other resources and articles do you know of that can help those trying to sell consulting services through their blog? Share them with us in the comments.
Originally at: Blog Tips at ProBlogger
Instead of prepping your vegetables before each meal consider doing a weekly batch prep where you get all your vegetables ready for the week in an hour or less. More »
Here’s my roundup of the best search/marketing posts I found and read during June. If you’re new to this blog, this is a monthly feature that began way back in 2007. You can find earlier “Best Of”s for each month in the Link Roundups category archive. I never include my own posts in these end-of-month recaps.
(Note: This month’s list is a bit shorter than normal due to the fact that I was traveling almost half of the month.)
- David Mihm/GetListed.org: Best Local Citation Sources by City
- Mike Blumenthal: A Step By Step To Recover Your “We Currently Do Not Support This” Location in MapMaker
- David Mihm: Local Search Ranking Factors, Vol. 5
- Mike Blumenthal: Local SEO Blocking and Tackling for Siri & Apple Maps
- Glenn Gabe/SEJ: 6 Months with Panda: A Story of Complacency, Hard Decisions, and Recovery
- Everett Sizemore/SEOverflow: Dealing With The Increasing Complexity and Volume of SEO Tasks
- Ben Fisher/Inman: Real Estate Link Building: Post-Penguin
- Steve Webb/SEOmoz: How to Perform the World’s Greatest SEO Audit
- AJ Kohn/Blind Five Year Old: The Best Way To Get Links Is By Reducing Friction and Destroying Inertia
- Danny Sullivan/SEL: Link Building Means Earning “Hard Links” Not “Easy Links”
- Maile Ohye: SEO tips for e-commerce sites
- Carrie Hill/SEM Clubhouse: From The Ground Up – SEO-Friendly Site Construction – Part 2
- Mitch Joel: To Thine Own Self Be True
- Rich Brooks/Flyte: Is Your Business Ready for the End of Facebook?
- Greg Shuey/SEO.com: Secrets To Launching Successful Pinterest Marketing Campaigns – The Experts Weigh In
Blogs & Blogging
- Adam Singer/Future Buzz: Why Blogging Gets No Love (And Why You Shouldn’t Care)
- Stanford Smith/Pushing Social: How to Write Your First 10 Small Business Blog Posts
Design & Usability
- Arienne Holland/Raven Tools: Ultimate list of online content readability tests
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Who knew that the iPhone would start it’s own camera trend, fondly known as iPhoneography? It’s the art of using your iPhone and apps to create amazing photos. These images are often comparable, and sometimes better, than pics taken with a DSLR. It’s become an art form and ultimate goal for Instagram users and there’s no sign of things slowing down. In fact, Emmy award-winning producer Richard Koci Hernandez is adding fuel to the fire with a free course on iPhoneography available at Lynda.com!
Find Your Shooting Style
“Just this little tip of knowing, [...] your photos are going to improve greatly.” – Koci Hernandez
Koci also touches on lighting during the course, a very important part of any shot. Even if you’re familiar with basics of lighting when it photography, this section is worth watching to understand how to stay with a light and work with it, especially in public areas. If you’re shy about taking pictures of people in public Koci shares his own clever tips to blend in with the scene and still get the shot.
Review And Edit
“It’s not about technique anymore. It’s about following that muse, following that creative idea to shoot no matter what.” - Koci Hernandez
You’ve taken your photos and now you need to sort through them all. How do you sort hundreds of photos without feeling overwhelmed by the process? ”I’m going to find things that speak to me,” says Koci. There may be a shot that looks bad now, but may look better after editing. Koci recommends adding the photos you want to work with to a new folder rather than deleting them. This makes it easier to keep track of what to keep and dismiss after you’ve spent some time working with several shots.
Once you’ve found the images you want to work with, there are a ton of editing apps that will take your photos to the next level. I’m a fan of using Snapseed for fine-tuning images without adding a filter and I love the filter options in Camera+. If you need an app with a little more power Koci has a few recommendations in the video.
In the Instagram community, stacking – combining filters from various apps – is a really popular way to enhance your photos. Koci goes through this process with several photos in the course to give you a feel for the results of stacking. This technique can bring new life to your photos or help you create the look you really want. Don’t be afraid to experiment. Koci stresses that you “edit by feel” instead of worrying about technique.
Final Touches: Sharing Your Story With Intent
Post a picture and they won’t come. If you really want to draw a conversation around your photos make sure there’s a story in them. Koci dedicates a portion of the course to talking about telling a story with your photos. This is a key part of taking great pictures that can be easy to forget. What’s the point of your photo? What are you trying to share with your community? Koci shares a vivid story of LA using the photos from the very beginning of the course. If your photos are lacking context that people can engage with, this section of the course is for you.
Keep in mind there are millions of iPhoneography tips floating around the web. Some are general camera tips and others are specific to apps like surefire photography tips for Instagram here on SheGeeks. Koci Hernandez’s free iPhoneography course is a must add to your list and is available right now on Lynda.com. Enjoy!
If you’re a startup aficionado, you may be getting tired of the same old launch pages. You know, the ones with a big, splashy image, a message about how something awesome is coming soon, and a box where you can enter your email address. If that’s the case, then you’ll probably get a kick out of the sign-up process at HackerRank.
The team behind the site plans to start sending out beta invites next week for “a fun social platform for hackers to solve interesting puzzles, build quick hacks, code game bots and collaborate to solve real-world challenges.” In the meantime, it’s doing something a little different with the launch page — the page features an interactive terminal, where, yes, you enter your name and email address, but then you’re invited to participate in a sample challenge, facing off with the computer in a candy-grabbing game.
There’s no coding required, just a taste for logical puzzles — and clearly some users have that taste, since the leaderboard shows players who have won the game more than 1,000 times. (I got a bit hooked this morning, but sadly I’ve only won twice.)
HackerRank comes from the same Y Combinator-backed company that’s behind InterviewStreet, which holds CodeSprints for programmers can solve coding challenges and earn the attention of potential employers. Co-founder Vivek Ravisankar says he realized that there was an opportunity to “build something bigger” here, because programmers weren’t coming to the site just to get a job. They were having fun too, as indicated by the fact that they were spending an average of two hours on the site. So the team decided to build something more fun and social, where programmers solve challenges, collaborate, and see how they rank.
Ravisankar emphasizes that HackerRank is going to be very different from InterviewStreet: “It’s not going to be a jobs site.” The only way companies are supposed to get involved is by providing data sets and problems. (Y Combinator backed another hacker ranking startup called Coderwall, but Coderwall’s more about aggregating accomplishments from other sites, not providing the challenges itself, and its planned business model will be related to recruiting.)
Oh, and if TechCrunch readers want to be among of the first to join, you can send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with your biggest hack, and the 50 most interesting ones will get access next week.
Need some Tumblr love? Got $5? You’re good to go.
Tumblr introduced a new feature Thursday called Pinned Posts that gives members the option to pin one of their status updates — be it a text, photo, quote, link, chat, audio, or video update — to their followers’ dashboard for a 24-hour period.
The option, available for purchase during the post creation process, costs $5 and gives you a way to ensure that your super important, must-read updates don’t go unnoticed. Of course, if you want instant fame and a gazillion views, you’ll need to build up your follower base. This paid-for-exposure tool only shoves your content in front of the people who already follow your updates.
Pinned Posts aren’t really a part of Tumblr’s official suite of advertising products, and are instead a self-serve way for users to pay for additional exposure. The option compliments Tumblr’s Highlight offering, which lets user pay $2 to add custom stickers to their status updates to make them standout on followers’ dashboards.
Still, with more than 55 million users, Pinned Posts will help the five-year-old company bring home some bacon while it works to perfect its real money-making products. Radar and Spotlight, Tumblr’s two advertising products, are still only available to select advertisers for a minimum $25,000 package commitment.
Filed under: social
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Is there one link, story, picture or thought that you saw online this week that you think somebody you know must see?
My friends: Alistair Croll (BitCurrent, Year One Labs, GigaOM, Human 2.0, the author of Complete Web Monitoring and Managing Bandwidth: Deploying QOS in Enterprise Networks), Hugh McGuire (The Book Oven, LibriVox, iambik, PressBooks, Media Hacks) and I decided that every week or so the three of us are going to share one link for one another (for a total of six links) that each individual feels the other person "must see".
Check out these six links that we’re recommending to one another:
- The Food Lab: A New Way to Cook Pasta? – Serious Eats. "Scandal! All those rules of cooking pasta in huge tubs of furiously boiling water are a lie, apparently. Turns out you can simmer pasta in a little water just fine. But that takes all the bravado out of it." (Alistair for Hugh).
- The 350-Year-Old British Post Office Is Leading The Mobile Payments Charge – Fast Company. "When I was in England recently, I visited the Post Office. It wasn’t what I remembered. It’s a modern place for all sorts of transactions, from on-demand payment cards to identification. And it occurred to me that, in the future, we’re going to need an Internet Embassy. We’ll require a place to connect our online and real-world lives. Here in North America, that could be the bank or the DMV. But the Post Office was my first view of what, I think, will be a cornerstone of lives lived both online and off." (Alistair for Mitch).
- Superweeds: A Long-Predicted Problem for GM Crops Has Arrived – The Atlantic. "This week, two lefty ‘I told you so’ articles. The first one is from The Atlantic: environmentalists have long argued that genetically modified crops, and the heavy use of weed-killing herbicides they are designed to withstand, would result in superweeds, resistant to those same herbicides. Looks like the superweeds have arrived." (Hugh for Alistair).
- Mother Jones article from 1999: Repeal of Glass-Steagall will ‘create too-big-to-fail institutions that are someday likely to drain the public treasury as taxpayers bail out imperiled financial giants to protect the stability of the nation’s banking system.’ – Reddit. "The second ‘I told you so’ article is from Mother Jones, about the 1999 repeal of major banking regulations in the USA. This Reddit discussion thread points out that just about everything in that article came to pass (too-big-to-fail, financial disaster, taxpayer bailouts etc). The original article is a sobering reading, and the Reddit comment thread, as always, is filled with good stuff as well." (Hugh for Mitch).
- When "Creative Destruction" Destroys More than It Creates – Harvard Business Review. "Whenever someone says that they’re in the business of ‘creative destruction’ or that they have penchant to ‘cannibalize’ their own business, it always gives me pause. Is the ability to know what to destroy or what to cannibalize a learned and scientific skill or is it a gut reaction? The more I think about business philosophy – in particular when I look at people like investment advisors and those who play the stock market – I think that they are (more or less) gamblers. Yes, some use data, but the majority are working off of their own gut. That could be good. It could be bad. I’m apathetic to sides. I’m more curious about topics like this: when things are destroyed or cannibalized, does anyone ever take stock to see what value of the things that were destroyed along with it?" (Mitch for Alistair).
- Recipes – IFTTT. "I always frown upon those brands who are looking for shortcuts. In particular, the brands (and individuals) who are looking for ways to automate their social media experience. It’s screams of being inauthentic but it also undermines the entire point of what makes social media so great (in my own, humble, estimation): the real interactions between real human beings. That being said, I could not help but smile and be curious about this site: If This Then That (IFTTT). What is, ultimately, a huge, long list of social media macros to make it look like you’re sharing and thanking a lot of people can now be automated by following some of their recipes. Check this out, you may well soon find yourself automating your own social media experience to make it look like you’re doing a whole lot more than you truly are." (Mitch for Hugh).
Now it’s your turn: in the comment section below pick one thing that you saw this week that inspired you and share it.
The SoLoMo Show is a weekly podcast hosted by Adam Helweh and Cory OBrien. Each week they discuss topics, trends and tactics related to social, local and mobile marketing. Every weekend we will publish the latest episode, related show notes and links to all of the topics discussed on the show here on Social Media Explorer
Adam and Cory take a deep dive into Twitter for brands and marketers, looking at how you can take advantage of recent changes, and what the future looks like for the network, including Twitter use statistics for 2012, new hashtag pages and how they will focus branded conversation around the hashtag, Twitter’s first TV commercial and why it means the company is ready to take the network to the next level, turning off replies for larger brands and why this will free you up to have more conversations, expanded Tweets and how they will bring images, videos, blog posts and other media into the Twitter experience, deeper Facebook integration to bring your Twitter communication into other networks, suggested followers that will help you build a relevant audience and start meaningful conversations, tailored trends and why you no longer need to chase after unrelated topics, unlimited retweets and how you can use retweet counts to spy on your competition, Toyota’s Tweets for Sweets campaign and how you can easily bring Twitter rewards to the offline world, a review of the Hibari Twitter app and how you can use it as a secondary app to find valuable opportunities for engagement, interviews with Di-Ann Eisnor of Waze and how Waze builds a mobile-focused product and an incredibly strong and dedicated community, and Kipp Jones of Skyhook Wireless and how internal location will change the way we think of geo-location services, Oreo’s pride image and how taking a stand on controversial issues can help you develop passionate and loyal fans, Carly Rae Jepsen’s Call Me Maybe meme and what it looks like when a video truly goes viral, Square’s new rewards platform and how it will help businesses retain their most valuable customers and find new ones, and more.
- Twitter Use 2012
- Non-Official Twitter Clients Still Widely Used
- Off To The Races With #NASCAR
- Twitter: #NASCAR
- Twitter TV Commercial: Brad’s View
- A New Way To Experience Profiles: With or Without Replies
- Experience More With Expanded Tweets
- Twitter: Yes, We’ve Added Photos, Hashtags, Usernames and More To Our Facebook Integration
- Di-Ann Eisnor
- Kipp Jones
- Skyhook Wireless
- New Tailored Suggestions For You To Follow On Twitter
- Tailored Trends Bring You Closer
- Twitter Finally Ditches “50+”
- Tweets for Sweets
- Oreo Pride
- Meme Alert: Call Me Maybe Lip Dub
- Pay With Square
Connect and Subscribe:
- SoLoMo Show on iTunes (For those that prefer their Podcasts straight up) –http://linkfrom.co/AvNgOH
- SoLoMo Show Blog (For show notes per episode and to subscribe to episodes via RSS or email) –http://linkfrom.co/zYlOrE
- SoLoMo Show on Facebook (LIKE us and join the discussion) – http://linkfrom.co/wRjP0x
- SoLoMo Show on Google+ (For the hardcore geeks and those who want to “Hang Out”) –http://linkfrom.co/wufUGF
- SoLoMo Show on Pinterest (Each video episode available for your repinning pleasure) –http://linkfrom.co/Hx219T
- SoLoMo Show on Twitter (Tweet us before, during and after the show and contribute to the discussion) –http://linkfrom.co/wo5igw