Posted by Mitch Mitchell on Oct 30, 2014
This is something different. I’ve created a video offering 5 tips on creating videos based on what I’ve learned over the past year in creating my own. Trust me, I’ve made some mistakes, mainly because I’ve been spending time trying to get used to the idea of making videos in the first place.
I’ve talked about how it could be a benefit to either your website or blog to help show people what you can do for them. Since that time, I’ve actually had people subscribe to my main YouTube channel, something I never even considered before because, well, I’d never thought about it. This is something else you could look forward to if you have enough people that decide they like your videos and thus want notification whenever you add more.
You might as well get used to the reality that video is not only big right now, but it’s getting bigger. There are more than 3 billion views of videos every single day on YouTube alone; imagine how many there are if you include the other video services, including independently produced videos.
What’s the appeal for a video? Pretty much like audio you can just listen to it, or you can watch and see content you might not see anywhere else. When I do my videos I’m much more freeform than I am when I write, and that’s saying a lot if you’ve seen a lot of things I write on this blog.
There are people way more creative than I am when it comes to doing video. I’ve never learned editing, so when I do a video you get what you get. Other people’s videos might be constructed better, but if I say so myself I think what I have to say most of the time can equal what you’ll see on other people’s videos if we’re speaking on the same topic.
Of course the major thing about videos is that it brings a personable presence that writing can’t do all on its own. It probably explains why TV captures the lives and imagination of so many people, because there’s something intriguing when you can get involved in someone else’s lives and thoughts, even if on TV much of it is fake.
In your own videos, you can do things you can’t do just by writing. There are people who show you how to exercise, how to eat, how to fix things, even how to score high in your favorite video games (I don’t play any lol).
And, as you see here, I’ve written a lot about some positives of video and yet I still have the video below offering even more on the subject. I’m thinking you’re getting double your money for today’s post, and since you’re not paying me anything for this stuff, that’s real value!
So with that, I present these tips to you, and hope you enjoy the video as well, and if you do don’t forget to subscribe or go back through previous videos and see what I’ve been sharing, since I’ve been doing these things for a few years now.
Posted by Mitch Mitchell on Oct 27, 2014
Last week I wrote a post addressing the topic of being controversial when it comes to a business blog, and how you might not always want to go that route depending on what the topic is and how it might impact your business. I’m realizing that I should have taken that further because it’s not only a blog that you have to worry about.
Back in 2008, I was new to Twitter. It was a presidential election year, and emotions were running high. Early on I wasn’t sure who I was supporting for president, but I did know one thing. I was ecstatic about Barack Obama having the opportunity to win the Democratic nomination for President; in my mind, having a truly viable black candidate was something I never expected to see in my lifetime.
He won the nomination and got to run against John McCain. Then the hate started against him, and it wasn’t pretty. Being against a candidate with different political views is one thing; you always expect that, whether you want to get into it or not. But things went way further than that. It got racial, hateful and ugly. I know because I saw a lot of what was streaming on Twitter at the time. I hadn’t really gotten to the point where I was perspicacious in who I was following; I was trying to build up numbers.
The thing is that on Twitter, at some point it’s not just the people you’re connected to, but the people they’re connected to as well. And things blew up. I started deleting people from my stream, not because they had a different political point of view than mine, but because of what they were saying about Obama in racist terms; have to call it out as I see it.
What was shocking to me was that some of the people saying these things were fairly well known in online circles. This was before celebrities had embraced Twitter, so the big names were all internet people, some people in other fields here and there, but mainly internet stars. These were people who taught others how to behave in their own space, and here they were, failing in public.
You know what happened? A lot of those people went away in 2008 because of their hateful words. People saw what these people were really made of and decided they didn’t want to work with these folks or buy products from these folks. The internet celebs said that they should have the right to their opinion, but you find that every time you decide you should have the right to your opinion, no matter how hateful it might be, you forget that others have the right to their opinion as well, and their right comes with the option of spending their dollars elsewhere.
At this point in my life I’ve decided I don’t want to deal with that kind of controversy. Therefore, I remove anyone whose political positions are against mine in all social media spaces. I don’t swing too far when it comes to things I believe in either, so I sometimes kill my connection with them also. I’m a fairly balanced guy who doesn’t like extremes unless I’m pulling for my favorite sports teams.
What this means is that there are business opportunities I could be missing, but it also means there are business opportunities those people could be missing as well. Almost no one gets to spew vile things in one minute and conduct business as usual in another once word gets out.
Case in point as a closer. There was a guy I knew some years ago who used to like to make videos to express his point of view on things. The topics weren’t extreme but his language was. He did this on a personal blog, and to him it was just a bit of fun.
Until one day one of his clients came across it and didn’t like the content that was on the blog. He immediately closed his account, and as people who are upset with things often do, this guy called a few other people and told them about the blog. Two others decided to disassociate themselves from this guy because they didn’t want to take the chance that one of their customers might come across it and think they approved of this behavior.
The guy immediately tried to fix things but it was too late. He shut down his blog, removed all his videos from all the places he had them, and worked for the next year trying to replace the business he lost. I lost track of him after a few months as he ended up shutting down his website as well, so I never got to talk to him again, and had to rely on someone else to give me an update.
Cautionary tale that I wanted to share here. As I always say in many places, if you’re not ready to back up your position for everything you might want to say, you just might want to keep it to yourself, or at least don’t let it get onto the internet.
Posted by Mitch Mitchell on Oct 23, 2014
7 Certainties Of Blogging
My name is Mitch Mitchell and I’m many things. Today, I’m a blogger. I have 5 blogs of my own (soon to be 4) and have written for many others; still do in fact. I’ve been blogging since 2005 but for my most popular blog, I’m Just Sharing (which is this one of course), I’ve been writing for nearly 7 years.
Over the course of all that time I’ve come to realize that there are some things that are certainties when it comes to blogging. Those are the things I’ll talk about in a minute.
What I want to get out of the way is that there’s no one way of doing anything. Everyone ends up having their own style and that’s pretty cool. Some people have multiple styles depending on what it is they’re writing about or who they’re writing for. Some people hate writing, others like it and some just dream about it. I’m of the opinion that if you’re reading this you actually want to write and are most probably writing.
This post is geared towards people who are fairly new at blogging, or are considering it.for the most part. Some of you will have seen some these tips before; it never hurts to have them reinforced.
However, as I get to the last 3 I can honestly say that you’ll find bloggers who have been writing for years who haven’t learned these lessons, which means if you do them, you’ll be way ahead of those people and your readers will thank you for it; trust me on this one.
Are you ready for the journey? Here we go:
1. Don’t start if you don’t think you can keep it up
There are more than 350 million blogs on the internet, and there are thousands that start anew every day. The overwhelming number of blogs you come across have fewer than 5 posts on them; that’s just a shame. More than 70% of all blogs you come across haven’t had a new post in at least a year; that’s a shame as well.
Truth be told blogging takes dedication. Some people find it a chore. Some people find it intimidating. Some people think they have nothing to say. Some people are too finite in what they think they want to write about. Some people lose the thrill because they want more comments, more participation on their blogs, and can’t figure out where the readers are.
There are lots of posts that will tell you how to drive traffic to your blog; I’ll leave you to find those. What I will say is that blogging takes courage, imagination and, as I said before, dedication. If you’re thinking about blogging but don’t think you have all 3 of the above, don’t even start, especially if you were thinking about doing it for business purposes. The world doesn’t need more clutter on the internet.
I’ll offer you a caveat though. If you’re unsure and want to give it a try then set up a blog in a free space and give it a shot. When you get serious about blogging you should at least buy a domain name and pay for hosting, but to see if you think you can do it, try one of these places. These last two tips I’ve mentioned often here.
2. You can get better if you care
I read where people say “I’m a terrible writer” or “my grammar is horrible” or “I make so many typos” or… well, you get the picture. You want to know a truth? Every great writer started out just like you somewhere along the line. Some get it sooner than others, but no one starts out like whoever your favorite writer happens to be.
Not only that but almost every great writer had someone who initially thought what they’d written was awful, even when it wasn’t. What this tells you is that no one is perfect, not the writer, not the reviewer, and not the reader.
Still, if you want to get better you can. Here are some simple steps:
* turn on spell check
* read what you’ve just written out loud
* if you use certain words too often remove some of them and try to find a different way of stating your case or use a different word
* just start writing
That’s it; not too hard to do is it?
3. Write about what you know
There are a lot of people who write about how to make money online. The overwhelming number of those people have no idea how to make money online. Some actually do make money, but not a living wage. I don’t mind there being so many people writing on the topic; I do mind people writing about things they know nothing about.
I hear some voices now saying “But no one would be interested in the things I know”. Says who? Here’s a few truths about this type of statement. One, it’s never the topic but how you write about it. Two, every niche has someone who wants to learn more about it or comment on it. Three, depending on why you’re writing, even if you only end up with 100 dedicated readers that’s much better than someone with 10,000 visitors a day who don’t engage with you.
When you write about what you know, and when you can show passion about what you write about, it attracts those who care about the same thing. If you decide you want to try to market based on what you care about, those visitors are more apt to buy from you if they can identify with you, definitely if they care about you and what you’re writing about.
Earlier I mentioned that I have multiple blogs. Someone might ask “how can you know something about multiple things”? Are you kidding me? Who among us only knows one thing? For that matter who among us only knows one thing well?
I don’t recommend that everyone have multiple blogs though; it’s hard to keep that sort of thing going. I do recommend that you write about what you know, and if what you know doesn’t always work for one blog, then think about a second blog if you believe you have enough to contribute.
4. Length means nothing; content does
I sometimes write some very long posts; this one is going to be long like my post a month ago offering 55 blog tips. Most of my posts come in around 500 words or so. To some that’s too long; for me, it is what it is.
There are lots of discussions as to what the proper blog length should be. There is a reality that if search engines can’t figure out what your blog is about it’ll be hard for them to rank you and log you on a consistent basis. And yet, there are some pretty cool blogs out there with a nice following that are mainly images.
In those instances it probably comes down to how they promote their blogs and to whom. Some fancy bloggers will tell you to write for search engines so that they’ll rank you higher. I’m not going to say that SEO isn’t important, but I will say that offering compelling content is way more important than SEO for blogs. After all, do you want people coming back or search engines?
It’s up to each blog owner to determine what they think is compelling content. If you as a blog writer believes that writing a quote a day as a blog post is compelling, then go for it. However, that probably will only be compelling to the you. If you want more you’re going to have to write a little bit more and more often.
The “how much more” depends on you, but I will add this. Just like good stories you need a beginning, middle and end. I know people who write 2,000 word posts that could have been written in 400 words if they had stopped repeating themselves over and over. I’ve also known people who stick to 250 to 300 words that leave so much out that it’s frustrating to read. Try to go by the Mozart principle; write what you need to get your point across, then end and move on.
5. Diversify every once in awhile
My business blog is on the topic of leadership, though I touch upon other business issues that involve people. To some, leadership can be a boring subject, tough to stay interested in and even tougher to make interesting. Yet I’ve written posts comparing leadership to Cling Wrap, discussed the leadership styles of Charlie Brown, Kermit the Frog and Harry Potter, talked about leadership lessons by taking piano lessons, written multiple series posts, etc.
Every once in awhile I’ve gone off topic as well. I talked about why it’s smart to always have an emergency bag packed in case you have to leave town in an emergency. I’ve talked about tragedies that have happened here and there. I’ve done book reviews, and every once in awhile I answer questions.
Diversification gives you a lot of things to talk about, overcoming the worry that your niche might limit what you can talk about. Always remember that it’s your blog, and even if you’re trying to show your expertise, it never hurts to show people a positive side of your personality; just make sure you don’t make yourself look like a jerk. lol
6. Be a gracious and a discriminate host
If people take the time to comment on your blog the best courtesy you can offer is to respond to those comments. No one says your response has to be War and Peace, but it certainly needs to be more than “thank you for your comment.” What is that anyway? Whenever I see that I’m mad at myself for wasting my time and I never go back. Is that how you want people to see your blog? Do you want to waste all that time promoting your blog (if you are promoting it) to get people to come and leave comments and then give them that? Really?
At the same time you need to remember that your blog is representative of you, and that includes comments. Very few people want to be associated with a blog that allows a lot of bad language, hate speech, or spam in the comments. I write often that the concept of free speech doesn’t apply to you if you’re paying for your space.
Don’t ever censor someone’s opinion that doesn’t agree with yours; use your skills in responding to those who disagree with you. But make sure people behave in your space; deleting comments isn’t always a bad thing, especially if it’s spam. How do you know it’s spam? If the comment doesn’t address what you’ve written about in some fashion, it’s spam.
7. Have fun
When all is said and done blogging is supposed to be a fun venture. Unless you’re being paid to write and manage a blog for someone else’s business, what’s the point of doing it if you can’t get some enjoyment out of it. Even if you’re trying to promote yourself, if you really can’t stand blogging then find other ways to promote yourself.
Blogging is the best way to have your say without it being filtered by someone else. It’s the best way to promote yourself or your product. The two things that get shared the most on other social media spaces are blogs and news stories. If you write content that’s compelling enough to get others to share it… well, you can’t pay for that type of thing. At the very least you’ll have something to promote if that’s what you want to do.
Let blogging be a positive outlet for you. If it can’t be that, then just sit back and enjoy reading blogs and get your fun that way instead. Oh yeah; and sometimes add a picture of you, or multiple pictures of yourself, so people feel like they know you.
Posted by Mitch Mitchell on Oct 20, 2014
One of the best things about advertising and working online is that if something isn’t working, you can change it pretty easily. Testing can take some time, but it’s less expensive than printing $10,000 worth of material, mailing it out to thousands of people, getting nothing in return and having to do it all again.
One of the worst things about advertising and working online is when you get things so screwed up that you lose any business credibility you might have had. Sure, many times you’ll get another shot at making a go of things, but you’ll probably never get any of those people back that stopped by, disapproved of what you did, left and talked about it later on.
One Sunday last year I did a Google Hangout with my Hot Blog Tips crew on the topic of writing paid posts and blogging credibility, which I’m sharing below. It’s my position that if people do things that are unethical just to make money that eventually it will kill them and their business prospects. There are a lot of bloggers who write paid posts, or put up posts with someone else’s words, and say a lot of glowing stuff about something they’re not familiar with. Some will be promoting a product using an affiliate link that they know nothing about and writing something overly positive without knowing if it is or not.
When it comes to your business and advertising it online, I feel that what you don’t want to do is say you can do things that you can’t do. At the same time, overstating your capabilities doesn’t do you many favors either. I remember having a conversation with someone a couple of years ago where he said that if you’re asked if you can do something or provide something you always answer “yes”, then you go out and find the person who can really do it. To me, it might be true that you can find someone who can do the work, but if you don’t know that person and they do the work badly, you’re the one who’s going to suffer.
There’s nothing wrong with self promotion. There’s really nothing wrong with a bit of hyperbole, although if you say you’re the #1 whatever in your market I tend to believe you’d better be ready to prove it by showing me something, since I might not even allow you to work with me unless I get testimonials. These days people are more savvy than ever, and they can check everything online. Try to fool someone and it will come back at you eventually. Nothing disappears online; remember that.
By the way, you need to know that if you happen to use words that aren’t your own, sent to you by a marketer that they believe will help you sell their product, that it’s a violation of FCC rules and it could result in both fines and losing your domain; just thought I’d mention that.
Check out the video below, as it addresses this topic with a few more ideas on the subject than just mine:
Posted by Mitch Mitchell on Oct 16, 2014
We have another Blog Action Day upon us, one where I get to share in my little space my opinion or story about the main topic of the day. I hope some of you are writing and participating as well on this day, though I know it’s not going to come true because it never has before. Oh well…
Today the topic is inequality; where do I begin? There’s so much of it and so many levels of it that if I tried tackling it all I’d either go nuts or wouldn’t be able to finish writing this at all. And since some of my posts are overwhelmingly large I don’t think we want that for this one.
The thing about inequality is that, for the most part, it’s not the majority that’s actually in charge. When first reading that it might look strange until you remember that the top 1% as far as wealth is concerned has more wealth than the combined wealth of the remaining 99%.
What this means is that if I just said, as I could, that white people have all the money and all the benefits in this country, I’d be wrong. Some of the poorest people in this country are white. Poverty doesn’t know color, it only knows inequality and limited options for getting out of it.
It also knows limits apply to women, who are 54% of the population and yet make 68% of what men make (or something around that figure; it’s always changing but it’s still low), which, though higher than minorities across the board, still isn’t fair.
And it’s not just in this country. Every single country has the same thing going on, where the elite are drastically in the minority but have all the power. Some might think that politics could change that but when it comes to who gets in office in those positions that really matter it’s all about money. The number of people in every country who are in top positions are all rich. In the United States, I don’t think there’s a single senator now who’s not a millionaire, or pretty close to one. You just can’t get there nowadays without lots of money. I’m sure it’s the same everywhere else, even in Communist countries.
There’s even inequality when you look at the critical jobs that our countries need and the money they make, although there’s really nothing one can do about that and, overall, I don’t have a major issue with it for reasons I won’t get into here. Law enforcement, teachers, people in the military, fire fighters… find a position that’s critical and also needs a lot of people and you’re going to find low pay and long hours and no possibility of getting it all done, let alone getting it all done properly.
For once I’m not sharing a story from my own life, although it would be easy to do. Have I seen it? Yup. Have I experienced it? Yup. So I could go down that road. Instead, I’d like to offer 3 ways to try to end inequality, which will never happen but I can dream right? Here we go:
1. Level the playing field. What the world needs is more fairness, not necessarily equality. In essence, people need to get the same education, have the same chances at jobs, and have the same possibilities to live a better life. How does one do that? Raise the poverty level to a living wage, more training programs so more people have skills that don’t require full school educations, still work on creating better education based on real world needs for the majority of people and of course feed the poor so it’s one less thing they have to worry about. All this costs money, lots of it; ain’t happening is it?
2. Put a cap on yearly wealth for individuals and spread it around to others. This isn’t me hating on anyone but does any one person really need to be earning $10 billion dollars a year? For that matter how about $500 million a year? Put a cap on wealth with the caveat that if anyone reaches that cap and the rest is distributed, that person doesn’t pay any state or federal taxes, and if they use any of their faithfully earned income towards charitable causes they still qualify for refunds. What cap would I put on? No idea, though it would still be pretty high, and it doesn’t matter because it’s not happening.
3. Any company that has a salary difference between men and women or the majority within a country and its minority population of more than 15% has 3 years to reduce that or gets fined heavily, with half of that money going to the disenfranchised within the company and the rest to the country to fund diversity programs or things such as feeding the poor, funding bad schools, etc. And those fines have to be heavy so it behooves companies to get it done. I would make slight allowances for companies that employ a lot of mothers if they create daycare with medical benefits so that a big chunk of their income isn’t going to pay for those things.
As I said, none of this will happen, and I’m not even sure if it’s feasible, but it would go a long way towards reducing inequality all around the world. For now, I’ll say that I hope more people will do their part with the people they know and those they don’t know that live in their community to see what they can do to help. I’m on the board of an organization that works to protect the rights of the disabled and helps them live independently; that’s how I help, as it’s a group that definitely suffers from inequality in a major way.
What are you doing to help?