Archive for the ‘idea’ tag
Well, maybe that’s not ALL you need. You need to be able to execute on that idea. And, you need a network of resources and supporters to help you along the way.
But, if you want to be a successful entrepreneur, it starts with a great idea. A way to meet an unaddressed need. A product nobody’s produced yet. A role as a new intermediary.
And you don’t have to be a fountain of dozens of business ideas. You just need one.
An idea + courage + a great network is a wonderful formula for success.
What’s your idea?
Oh it’s been damn hard to keep this a secret for so long! Anyone that knows me and that has followed the progression of the Think Like a Rock Star concept over the past 3 years knows that Kathy has had a bigger impact on my thinking than anyone else. She’s just unbelievably brilliant when it comes to teaching brands how to create passionate users/fans/customers and what’s so awesome about Kathy is that she makes everyone else feel like they are smarter. There are so many people that you read their writings and think ‘Wow that guy/gal is pretty smart!’ With Kathy’s writings, you read them and think ‘OMG she just connected the dots for me and now it all makes sense!‘ I am over the moon excited and cannot tell you how proud I am that Kathy will be involved with this book.
So when I asked Kathy if she would write the foreword and she told me she would be happy to review my manuscript and give me some advice, I was thinking that she had no idea what she was getting into It turns out *I* was the one that was in for a surprise. Over the next month, Kathy must have written me 20 emails, each one probably 2,000 or so words with insanely helpful advice on how to structure the book. In short, it all went back to this bit of advice: On every single page, ask yourself ‘Is this going to help the reader kick ass?‘ Classic Kathy Sierra
Before talking to Kathy, I thought Think Like a Rock Star could be a very good book. Thanks in large part to Kathy’s tremendous help and advice over the last month, I now know Think Like a Rock Star is going to be a great book. And Kathy deserves a lot of the credit for that because she’s really helped me flesh out and structure my ideas, and present them in a way that will help the reader grasp the core lessons…and help them kick ass.
BTW if you aren’t familiar with how awesome Kathy is, here’s some of my favorite posts that she’s written:
And finally…here’s the cover design for Think Like a Rock Star! What do you think?
The official on-sale date is April 19th, 2013, and Think Like a Rock Star is slated to be available for pre-order on sites like Amazon and Barnes and Noble later this month!
Pic of Kathy via Flickr user dottavi
PS: Kathy I apologize for the amount of !!!s in this post, but as I said, I overuse them when I am excited about something
BONUS! Here’s a talk Kathy gave last year on how to write a book that helps readers kick ass. If you are considering writing a book PLEASE watch this.
James Cooper is a strategist on the Content and Community team at Social Media Group (SMG). Follow @jamescooper
You’re probably familiar with and may, at some point, have used air quotes. But have you heard of an air hashtag?
A few weeks ago, I thought I was quite clever and original when I crossed the index and middle fingers of my left hand over the index and middle fingers of my right hand to form what I called the “air hashtag” for my colleague, Karly Gaffney. Karly seemed to like the idea.
However, I soon suspected that something so simple must already exist in the vast web of ideas. Sure enough, after asking around the office here at Social Media Group, my suspicions were confirmed. Maggie Fox, SMG’s CEO, shared a picture she snapped of Stowe Boyd doing the four-fingered air hashtag at the Defrag Conference in November 2009.
(Needless to say, it seems I’m a “bit” late to the air hashtag party.)
Through a more thorough investigation, I found that, in addition to the four-fingered sign, there is a hand gesture version of the air hashtag, which Neil Patrick Harris’s character, Barney Stinson, so dramatically demonstrates in the CBS series How I Met Your Mother.
Earlier this month, The Guardian Short Cuts Blog made a post about finger hashtags and, in June, A Librarian’s Guide To Etiquette also posted on the topic. Both blogs call out the need for an air hashtag standard. I agree with them.
I’m in favor of the four-fingered sign because it lends itself to photographs, whereas Barney Stinson’s gesture clearly does not. However, Stinson’s gesture does have the advantage that it can be done with one hand.
So what do you think? Should the four-fingered sign become the standard? Or should it be Barney Stinson’s flamboyant air gesture? Or should we scrap the idea altogether?
Cast your vote.
Hey Minneapolis. We’re coming. It’s this week! We can’t wait. In fact, I’ll be there tomorrow getting ready for Thursday and Friday’s Explore Minneapolis.
I know some of you haven’t registered yet. I’ve got a pretty good idea you’re going to enjoy the event. And I need you to register by end of day tomorrow so I can order the right about of food (and drinks … including cocktails) for everyone. So, if you’re on the fence or you just have put it off until now, I really need you to register!
And I also need you to tell your friends, colleagues, co-workers, vendor partners, clients and customers. In fact, if they register and use your name in the “Who referred you?” question in the registration process, your name is entered to win a Kindle Fire. We appreciate the pass-along and want to reward you for doing so.
Why come? Here’s some reasons:
- Jay Baer will unveil a brand new presentation called, “Youtility.” His talks are awesome. This will be no different
- Friday afternoon I’ll have an intellectual sparring match with The Ad Contrarian, Bob Hoffman. He’s been mightily critical of social media marketing in the past. We’re going to arm wrestle a bit about it, which is sure to be fun.
- You want measurement, analytics and research? Chuck Hemann, Nichole Kelly, Jeff Rohrs and Tom Webster are speaking.
- You want smarts for your internal and strategic use of social and digital? Jennifer Kane, Tamsen McMahon, Jolina Pettice, Nick Westergaard and others have you covered.
- You want mobile brilliance? Tim Hayden is there.
- You want email marketing ideas? DJ Waldow will deliver.
- You want brand-side expertise, not just consultants or agencies talking? Scott Gulbransen (H&R Block), Kevin Hunt (General Mills), Adam Kmiec (Campbell’s Soup), Greg Gerik (3M), Jamie Kennedy (O2 Media), Bridget Jewell (Mall of America) and more are all there.
- Our awesome sponsors are buying you drinks Thursday evening with our Sponsor Cocktail Reception from 4:30-6.
- You’ll be invited into our private Yammer community for ongoing learning, resources and networking.
- It’s the place to be this week.
So here’s the registration form. Fill it out. Get fired up and come get your learn on Thursday and Friday. We kick things off Thursday afternoon at the DoubleTree by Hilton Park Place. See you there!
Explore is a five-city conference event series from Social Media Explorer and presented by Expion and Raven Internet Marketing Tools. Learn more and sign up for email updates for the city nearest you at GoToExplore.co.
As you know, Wikipedia nofollows all their external links, so links from Wikipedia should have no impact on your rankings – be it positive or negative.
A WebmasterWorld thread have some SEOs disagreeing with that.
Some are saying because there are so many Wikipedia scrapers out there, when you get a link from Wikipedia it can hurt you.
A Junior WebmasterWorld member explained his case:
My recently relaunched website has been featured in Wikipedia as a ‘resource’ on a very relevant page. I have no idea who did this but I was obviously thrilled at first that somebody felt my website was relevant enough to appear there.
This seems to have caused no end of problems on Google, however. Because my website’s brand name is also a popular keyword in its niche (it is an EMD, but a short one) that is the keyword that this indivudual used on Wikipedia. My problem is that there are dozens if not hundreds of websites that scrape Wikipedia and now my keyword appears as anchor text on those websites.
It seems that Google has penalised me for this because from their point of view they see dozens of links with the same anchor text. Because my website is relatively young this makes up a large proportion of the link profile and I don’t think this looks natural.
I guess if the scraper remove the nofollow and if the site has very other links to it, outside of the scrapers, I guess it can hurt.
But this all seems a bit farfetched and I suspect there is some other issue.
Forum discussion at WebmasterWorld.
This article is by Dan Norris of Web Control Room.
As an active blogger, I’m always looking at various stats to help me understand how well I’m doing. I’m not particularly fond of the idea of blogging for years without knowing whether things are going in the right direction. I’d rather know as I go whether my posts are having an impact and whether things are travelling in the right direction.
Luckily, one of the best things about being a blogger is that pretty much every stat you want to look at is available online and not stuck in outdated offline software programs. And better still, most of the tools are free!
The challenge is that, with all of the information out there, it’s difficult to know what stats to keep your eye on. In this article we’ll look at the top ten ways bloggers can measure their efforts.
1. Revenue and profit
While writing is fun, I’ll assume you are trying to earn some money at the same time. One of the best ways to have easy access to your financial data is to use an online accounting program like Xero, Saasu, or Wave Accounting—I use Xero, and it rocks.
These programs make it very easy to capture all of your financial data in the one place.
In addition to that you can look at the various ways you monetize your blog by reviewing the information available from these sources (PayPal, Adsense, Clickbank, etc.). The best part of having a central system for the accounts is that you can aggregate all of the revenue streams in the once place, to give you a whole picture.
2. RSS subscribers
Hopefully you’re using Feedburner to manage your RSS feeds—if so, you’ll have a clear idea of how many people are subscribing to your blog via RSS.
I like to keep an eye on these stats particularly after I release a post, publish a guest post on another blog, or have a guest poster on my blog. Often, their sharing of the post and the content reaching a new audience will cause a bump in subscribers. Showing the number of RSS subscribers on your blog can also be great social proof of your blogging chops.
3. What are others talking about?
One of the most important strategies for bloggers is engaging with other people (bloggers and others) online. This is a measure of performance, because if you are doing the right things then people will be talking about you. There are four ways I do this.
- Comments: An excellent way to see if you are having an impact is to look at the comments on your site. Are they genuine? How many comments are posts getting? This gives you a good idea of what is hitting the mark and what isn’t.
- Trackbacks: If these are turned on in WordPress, any time someone links to one of your blog posts (i.e. not to your homepage) you will see the link in your comments list—and then go back to their sites and engage with them.
- Google Alerts: With Alerts, Google will email you every time someone mentions your brand, product, website, and so on. I like to get them via RSS instead of email, so I check them in Google reader each morning.
- Twilert: This service does the same thing as Google Alerts but for Twitter. You get a daily email that lists every time someone mentions your site or brand or your Twitter handle you’ll get an email.
All of these are great ways to engage with your audience, but also to measure the impact you’re having, and which posts are having more impact than others.
It’s a good idea to monitor both your monthly rolling traffic (last 30 days) against the previous month, as well as traffic peaks around the release dates of your posts. The former figure will give you a good idea of overall recent trends, and the latter will give you immediate feedback on specific posts.
For this I, like most others, use Google Analytics. If you do notice changes that you didn’t expect, it’s time to delve further into the tool to see what has caused those changes—it may be something related to search rankings or referring sites (which we’ll look at separately in a moment).
5. Google ranking for keywords
Most of the time, bloggers get a significant amount of traffic from Google. You can either sit back and hope for the best or you can actively try to rank for different keywords.
Unfortunately, visiting Google and searching for your keywords doesn’t work! Google knows which websites you have visited and puts them higher up the list just for you, so this won’t give you an accurate rank for your keywords. This is a mistake made by almost everyone with a website at one time or another (including me).
Particularly if you are trying to rank for certain keywords, it’s a great idea to use a tool to monitor where you are ranking on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis. Using the new incognito window in Chrome will also provide a more accurate ranking, but rank-tracking tools will show you rack-tracking from different countries, for instance, and many keywords at once.
6. Other referring sites
In Google Analytics, you can also check out your top referring sites. This can give you great information about a number of things. For example, if you are active in social media or a particular forum you can see if these efforts are resulting in extra traffic to the site.
Similarly, guest posts on other sites would be expected to bring some traffic, so you can monitor whether these sites make it into your top referring sites list.
Pretty much every marketing push you make online should show up in your top sites list, so it’s a good place to look particularly for things you aren’t specifically tracking as campaigns in Analytics.
There are two types of keywords to look at in Analytics. You can look at your top keywords—these would generally be big-ticket keywords that you are trying actively to rank for. If they are ranking in Google and your keyword research was sound, then it will be validated with traffic.
It’s also a good idea to keep an eye on how many keywords are bringing you traffic. This is a simple measure of how effectively you are targeting the long tail. The more you write, particularly if you deliberately target long tail keywords in your posts, the more keywords will bring you traffic. Looking at the number of keywords is a quick way to get some sort of idea of how well it’s working.
8. Email newsletter info
Getting an email opt-in is still one of the main ways bloggers engage with their audience. Tools like Mail Chimp and AWeber will give you some great information on things like how effective your site is being in converting visitors to opt-ins, how big your audience is and how engaged they are with your newsletters (unsubscribe rates, opens, clicks etc).
It’s also a good idea to measure opt-ins as goals in Analytics so you can look at more information about the origins of those opting into your list.
9. Server uptime
Having your server go down is kind of like having a power outage at a traditional business. You can’t do business without your website, and all of the effort you have put in to generating traffic is wasted every time there is an outage. For this reason, make sure you are notified whenever there is an outage and you monitor it each month to ensure uptime is reasonable.
Unfortunately hosting companies often don’t provide this service, however Pingdom.com does, and it’s free. Once you sign up, the site will notify you of any outages, and provide reports on monthly uptime percentages and so on.
10. Social media measures
For bloggers more so than any business, social media is critical. A lot of relationships with readers and other bloggers, guest blogging opportunities, JVs etc come through relationships facilitated by social media. A few things I like to keep an eye on are:
- Klout.com, which gives you an overall idea of how you are influencing others via Twitter, Facebook, and so on. You can also use Klout to give you an overall summary of figures from the major social networks (Likes, shares, +1′s etc).
- If you are active on Twitter, you can keep an eye on your number of followers, your ratio of followers to people that you follow and the number of interactions.
- For Facebook pages, Facebook insights are there to provide useful information on likes, reach, who’s talking about the page and more.
So how are you progressing—and how do you know? I’d be interested in knowing what you like to keep an eye on to track how you’re going. Let me know in the comments.
Dan Norris is the founder of Web Control Room a free tool that enables bloggers to understand their data and make better decisions. By talking to the sources you love (MailChimp, Xero, Analytics, PayPal etc) it provides a scannable 1 page chart showing what is going well and what isn’t so you can understand your performance in seconds.
Originally at: Blog Tips at ProBlogger
Here’s what we included in this week’s One Social Thing daily email. Scroll to see the social media and content marketing articles you need to know.
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About the Jay Baer:
Getting stuff to go viral is sexy. It’s a miracle when it works. It makes you famous.
Everyone wants to get tweeted, liked, mentioned on a blog, spread by email and watch the numbers go up and up and up.
The thing is, drive-by viral traffic doesn’t convert. 50,000 visitors might end up buying just 23 items.
Ultimately, if you want to get elected, make a sale or even change minds, you can’t survive on viral traffic, no matter how big the tsunami is.
After I started talking about permission marketing, the question readers wanted answered was, “how do I get permission in the first place?” The answer was to create an ideavirus, an idea that spreads. And then, as it spreads, don’t try to make a sale, merely work to earn the privilege of a follow up, the opportunity to reconnect over time. By email, sure, but phone or reputation are fine too.
Ten years later and the ego pendulum has clearly swung in the direction of the virus. That’s what we brag about and what is too often measured.
How many eyeballs are passing by is a useless measure. All that matters is, “how many people want to hear from you tomorrow?”
Don’t try to convert strangers into customers. It’s ineffective and wasteful. Instead, focus on turning those momentary strangers into people eager to hear from you again and again.
Yes to spreading ideas. Two yesses to using those ideas to earn permission going forward.
Sometimes an idea is so simple and perfect, you wonder how no one thought of it before. Today's case in point—the bad-breath flipbook. JWT Hong Kong created a bunch of them for Listerine, shows an attractive woman who appears to be speaking as you flip the pages. But before long, the smell of onions comes wafting toward you. At the end of the piece was a coupon for Listerine. The brand saw a staggering 66 percent redemption rate, according to the case-study video below. My suggestion for a follow-up: Go to summer festivals and give out free fans that smell like gorgonzola cheese.
We recently came across listening posts on the streets of New York that showcased new music to passersby, but a more recent innovation sees a novel take on the age-old art of busking. Just as the Stanley Piano project encourages users to choose its repertoire, now videomakers cdza have come up with a similarly inventive way to make money for buskers with its Human Jukebox.
Operating out of New York, the group behind the idea headed out onto the streets of Brooklyn with a violin and a double bass, along with a handful of melodies ranging from Bach to Lady Gaga. Each song was designated its own labeled jar and passersby could change what the duo played by placing change into the corresponding receptacle. In order to make things fun, every time someone donated the duo instantly changed track. There were also jars offering ‘fast forward’, ‘slow down’ and ‘a capella’, while a mystery option labeled with a question mark brought out a saxophonist for a surprise performance. Audience members were also encouraged to suggest their own ideas for the pair. The video below shows the jukebox in action:
The session raised over USD 70, which the group donated to Wingspan Arts, a non-profit organization that engages New York City’s youth population with the arts.
Although a small operation, the Human Jukebox is another example of an enterprise enabling customers to interact with and customize the content they are receiving, to great effect. Offering greater audience interaction and engagement, there are plenty of lessons to be learned here for businesses both big and small.