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Product Creation, Marketing, Promotion And Sales

Posted by Mitch Mitchell on Feb 8, 2016
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Last night was the 50th Super Bowl where the Denver Broncos beat the Carolina Panthers 24-10. It was a mild upset because all year long Carolina had pretty much been the premiere team while Denver kind of shocked the world by beating the 2nd best team in the league thanks to their great defense. It wasn’t close to a pretty game but winning beats pretty any day.

Clothes Sale
David Tan via Compfight

Since my routing interest most years, including this one, was fairly minimal (I have my annual pizza bet with my friend Scott; this year I lost… heck!), it means I’m always more interested in the commercials than anything else. As usual, there were some hits and some misses; also as usual, there were a few commercials that garnered both like and dislike, depending on the person in the audience.

There was also one other difference in the commercials. At least half the commercials were by companies that showed more than one commercial for their products. I think Hyundai, Jeep and Acura ran at least 2 commercial spots, and at around $5 million a commercial… whew!

I’m talking about commercials because during the game I was talking to my friend Kelvin about product creation. As y’all know, I’ve created a few products over the years. To the left there you’ll see 3 products I’ve created, two books and a webinar. I’ve also got another book, a training manual, an employee evaluation manual and a seminar series I can count among products I’ve created. I’m thinking that’s not so bad; who knows, you might even click on a link or two here just to take a quick look. :-)

I’ve sold a few things here and there over the years, but never quite sustained anything or actually done the push towards selling any of my products. That’s a major failing on my part yet something I can now talk about… how much marketing and promotion are we willing to do, and what type and how much will we do so that we have the opportunity to make sales?

I’ll tell you the truth, I’m not the worlds best marketer. I know what I’m supposed to do; after all, I’m the guy who wrote about Yosemite Sam marketing after all. I’m also the guy who wrote a post giving folks definitive marketing rules to follow, which I do… kind of…

If I know all this, then why am I not doing it as much as I should or as good as I should? Is my reason the same as yours?

I have two reasons… neither of which I’m sure are very good, but I’m willing to share them.

The first is that I’m more of a creator than a marketer. If I’m not creating products I’m creating content. I spent hours reading and researching and evaluating and then writing about things I learn. After that I promote what I write in a few different ways and wait for you folks to stop by, read, offer your opinion, hopefully take a bit of knowledge with you, and move to the next project.

Hamburger/Sausage/Corn Dogs
Kevin Harber via Compfight

The second… overall I hate marketing! lol I don’t like bothering people, indirectly or not. Sure, I do some promoting, but I’m not close to doing it as often as I should. I might market my products 3 times a week on Twitter if I’m lucky. I might market my products on Facebook every once in a while, maybe every 5 or 6 months. Once I stopped writing articles for LinkedIn I stopped marketing there at all. Even when I’ve written about a product and created a sales page, most of the time I’ve forgotten all about it & don’t mention it all that often. I don’t have any email lists, don’t write anymore newsletters, won’t pick up the phone… whew! I’m thinking it’s hard to make any sales when I’m not doing any marketing or promoting. I’m sure you’ll agree.

I’m also betting that for most of you who are hoping to make money online or offline, your issue is one of the two issues I mentioned. It’s why most of us make little to no money, get little to no calls for consulting or training or project work, and don’t get as many comments on our blogs or even visitors.

I often ask myself “is it hard or do I just perceive it’s hard?” I think it’s a little of both. As much as I hate popups (see #8), it’s depressing to have to acknowledge that some people increase their lists and possibly make money because of them… though I’ve never signed up for anything a site has because of its stupid popups. I’m betting a lot of you have though; come on, admit it.

In this year of focus, I’m determined to figure certain things out and address them as well as write about them. With the acknowledgment that one can’t make money without marketing, no matter what it is, I’ve actually started a campaign on LinkedIn for my main profession, which I’ll talk about at a different time. I’ve made some contacts and good connections, which proves that it can work if you’re willing to do the work the right way.

Now all I have to do is figure out what my trigger point is going to be in marketing my products and services. Sure, I can do it on my blogs, but there are other ways of getting it done. I’m going to figure out something I can live with; I challenge you to do the same if you haven’t figured it out.

Then again, there’s always Adrienne:-)
 

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“Giving Up” Isn’t Always A Negative Thing

Posted by Mitch Mitchell on Feb 4, 2016
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A couple of days ago I shared a blog post from the consultant’s group I’m a part of, as I’m the main writer there. It’s titled Are You Doing What You Want To Be Doing?, and it asks an important business question; are you doing what you want to be doing, which I guess makes sense. Anyway, go check it out after you finish reading this article… yes, I want you to read this article. lol

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Creative Commons License Malcolm Slaney via Compfight

Anyway, I posted it on Twitter and got a response back from someone I know saying “not even close”, or something to that effect. Since it came back pretty quickly, I had a feeling he hadn’t actually read the article, so I asked if he was commenting on the title or the article, and he admitted it was just the title, and that he’d read the article when he had some free time. I said he should because there was a question at the end of the article that possibly needs to be addressed: What is it you want to do?

He came back with a response that what he wanted to do wasn’t possible at this moment because of a physical issue. I asked him a question that I see on Twitter on a regular basis: “what are you willing to give up.” He said he didn’t have anything he could give up; I challenged that based on what he’d originally said.

At that point I used my own tale, a very shortened version of it. One of these days I’m going to tell that long tale… somewhere. Anyway, I said I had to come to an epiphany 19 months ago about my health & what I was willing to give up. That was after I’d had a very bad and serious thing happen to me while I was out of town, by myself, that could have been way worse than it already was… that’s all I’m going to say for now.

Anyway, at that point he said he understood, and he had made an appointment to meet with a fitness consultant. I applauded him for taking that first step, and trust me that’s a major step for anyone to do.

When I was growing up, I played a lot of sports. The concept of “giving up” was the worst thing anyone could do. Only losers gave up; I was never a loser. Even when there were things I couldn’t do well, such as stupid soccer (did I just say that out loud? lol), I’d keep playing, trying my best, but hating every minute of it. I wasn’t ever giving up; not in my vocabulary.

As I get older, I’m learning that I have to give up a lot of things, or at least modify them drastically. I give up some of my time to exercise. I gave up some of the foods I eat because my body can’t take them anymore. I gave up some of my time to participate on the boards of a couple of non-profits, one of which I was extremely proud to have been a part of. Sometimes you have to be willing to give up something so you can either make progress, help others, or just save part of your sanity.

Sometimes that thing you have to give up is a limiting belief. This is one I suffer from here and there. The problem with it is that you have to stay on top of it consistently, like you were a former drug addict or alcoholic. The feeling always comes back, and each time it comes back you think “I’m not breaking it this time”… yet most of the time we do, thank goodness.

Since this blog mainly talks about blogging and writing, let me ask a question this way – what limiting beliefs do you have about blogging or writing that might be holding you back? Have you given any thought to it?

The way I see it, there are only two things to consider. One, do you really want to blog and all the other stuff that comes with it? Two, if so, what are you willing to give up to do it?

I’m not giving you any help on this one. Heck, I gave a freebie in this post that I’m not sure if anyone even downloaded because no one’s mentioned it or thanked me for it; sniff! So, you’re going to have to do your own work this time around.

I am going to make this question more broad though, in case blogging isn’t your issue. You don’t necessarily have to tell me what it is you’re looking to achieve if you don’t want to. However, I’d like to know what you’re willing to give up to achieve… whatever. Go on, I won’t laugh… unless I have to. πŸ˜‰
 

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Bloggers Are Leaders Because…

Posted by Mitch Mitchell on Feb 1, 2016
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Since today is the beginning of Black History Month, and I’m sharing a picture of Frederick Douglass, I’d like to share this with you… but I’ll be coming back to Douglass later on.

One of my biggest commenters on this blog, who I call Uttam, wrote me an email asking me some questions about blogging when he was starting out. Believe it or not, I don’t get a lot of email asking me questions like this, even though I always offer to answer questions, whether it’s on this blog or a question here and there via email. When I sent him my response he asked if he could put it on his blog; this is the link to that post which he titled Most Common Questions Of A Newbie.

Drederick Fouglassssss
chriswatkins via Compfight

Some of you know that my main career is as a health care finance consultant. My secondary career isn’t actually blogging, but the topic of leadership. I’ve written two books on the subject, the first of which is over there to the left, and it’s the main subject of my business blog, Mitch’s Blog. Based on my knowledge and dedication to the subject, as well as how long I’ve been in leadership, I like to think I know a little bit about it.

I started thinking that a majority of bloggers are actually pretty good at leadership… at least in their own way. Some have large followings, some small. Some are niche; some are all over the place. Yet, there are a lot of bloggers who, even if they have an ulterior motive (money, influence, consulting etc), are in the long run trying to help people do whatever it is they’re writing about.

For instance, our buddy Adrienne Smith has changed the tenor of her blog this year and is writing more direct posts with the intention of helping others become able to be monetarily successful at blogging. Her first post of the year started that trend, How to Improve Your Blog With This 90 Day Plan. That’s taking the lead at the beginning of the year and her writing has continued working towards that theme. Sure, she’s doing it for business, but what leader doesn’t have a secondary goal of financial independence in this world?

Recently I discovered a young lady (yeah, I’ve reached the age where I’m calling people “young lady” and “young man”; sigh… lol) named Kim George who also writes about blogging and has some fascinating articles that are aimed at helping people become better business bloggers. One of her recent posts was titled 15 Ways to Get Serious About Small Business Blogging, which I thought would be a nice compliment to a post I wrote titled First Seven Steps To Small Business Blogging. Take a look at it and tell me you don’t think it’s very helpful; I dare you. :-)

You may ask “why is Mitch talking about leadership and blogging”? I’m talking about it because last week I came across another article asking Is Blogging Dead where the writer asked two big name bloggers that question. Both said no, but one of them, Mark Schaefer said these two things:

for most people it’s becoming harder to maintain their audience and community

blogging is not dead, although it’s different and is probably less important than it was a few years ago… blogging will continue to evolve with innovations and ways to connect to people with long-form content

That’s kind of scary isn’t it? Well, yes and no. The good part is that blogging isn’t going away any time soon; the bad part might be that it’s harder to connect with others these days, for multiple reasons. These include:

* more bloggers and blogs
* more large blog communities
* fewer people commenting or sharing links
* more places for people to get their information from on social media
* video, podcasts, new communication platforms

Goodness; that’s quite a list of competition isn’t it? It’s one of the reasons I wrote the post telling people to try something different on your blog last week. I caution that there are so many people writing and saying the same thing that we all need something that helps us stand out from the crowd some way. It’s one of the reasons I have two video channels, so I can offer advice on some of these same types of subjects in different ways, like this video I did talking about creating products by talking about cookies (one of my favorite subjects lol):


https://youtu.be/3SBBhLHISS0

A quick sidebar. I add the link after the video because some people subscribe to this blog by email and not only can’t they view the videos there but if I don’t add a link they don’t know where to go; see, I’m teaching again. :-)

Leaders innovate. Leaders educate. Leaders stimulate the minds of others. If you blog you’re probably some type of leader. Embrace that, use that to help stimulate your mind to write more, write better, rinse and repeat. Oh yeah; share others content, either via Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, other social media or… lo and behold, your own blogs!

Why? Because leaders also embrace the thoughts and beliefs of others, take in what makes them stronger, and then helps others learn some of those extras they might not have shared before. That’s what Frederick Douglass did with Abraham Lincoln (see #2); that’s what bloggers do for others (I bet you didn’t think I would come back to Douglass did you?).

Be proud of yourselves. You’re bloggers… you’re leaders… you’re the best! πŸ˜€
 

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None Of Us Is Great At Everything

Posted by Mitch Mitchell on Jan 28, 2016
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A couple of weeks ago we had a major windstorm and turned into, for us, a minor snowstorm. At one point I was having a conversation on the phone with that woman I’m married to during the blackout the storm caused that went exactly like this:

20160111_095713_resized

Me: It seems that one of the siding panels, the one at the very top next to the roof, has broken off and is dangling by a thread from the top of the house.

Her: Oh no, that sounds bad.

Me: Yup. Because there’s no lights and the storm I can’t get the ladder to climb up to see what I can do. Not that I like ladders in the first place but in the dark and storm I’m thinking that would be a bad idea.

Her: You on a ladder is always a bad idea.

Me: Someone’s got to do it so I’ll wait until morning and see what I can do.

Her: You can’t; we don’t have that ladder anymore.

Me: What do you mean we don’t have that ladder anymore?

Her: It’s not there anymore. I think Roger took it.

Me: Roger took our ladder? Why’d he do that?

Her: Roger had a pattern of taking things from people’s homes he was working on that he didn’t think they needed. He took Sue’s paint without telling her. That’s why we haven’t used Roger for anymore projects at the house.

Me: I didn’t know that. So, no ladder?

Her: Nope.

Me: Well, I guess there’s no way for me to get up there then.

Her: Trust me, it’s for the best.

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Isn’t her concern for my safety touching? She’s also pretty funny wouldn’t you agree? lol

The truth is that not only was she right that night when she said it, but she was right when it was finally completed… for multiple reasons.

One, I’m scared of heights. I’ve only been on 2 ladders my entire life, and neither of them the large ladder I was thinking about climbing.

Two, I wouldn’t have had a spotter which, for someone who pretty much can’t do many things would have been imperative.

Three, you see the result; there’s no way I could have done anything to make it look that good.

Four, although I have some tools (my wife calls it my toy toolkit; she’s so mean…), I didn’t have the right equipment to do the job.

I put in a call to the company that replaced my roof. The guy who came over turned out to be a guy I’ve known for 35 years, who did some work on the roof 12 years ago and now works for this guy, his son-in-law. It took a guy with his kind of skill 45 minutes, which not only consisted of his fixing the initial problem, but he then shored up the entire front of the house because he said more than half of the siding sheets were loose, and that accounts for some of the rattling I’d been hearing whenever we have high winds (which we have often, along with the snow).

For all the work he did, it ended up only costing me $75, which I gladly paid. In my mind, this was a job that I was going to get charged something like $300, which would have been hard to deal with at that time, and which explained why I was willing to give it the ol’ college try. I’d fallen into a couple of old mind traps, which is going to lead to the point of this story (hold on it’s coming…).

The first trap was my thinking that something was going to be easier than it turned out to be because I have a faith in myself that, in this particular case, was unwarranted. Ladders, tools, nails… I was definitely kidding myself that I had the qualifications and talent to do this kind of work on my own.

The second trap was assuming something was true without actually checking to see if it was. Most of the time people either assume things cost more or less than they actually do. This leads to us not verifying things up front and then getting burned on the back end. Trust me, I’m in health care, and it’s amazing how often I hear people complain about how much their medical bill turned out to be, only to find out they didn’t even think to call ahead of time to see how much it would cost and, if they had insurance, how much they would cover.

(200/365) Shhhhh
Creative Commons License Sarah via Compfight

Can I tell you a secret? Other than the fact that I write because I must, I write this blog, and this blog, and this blog, and this blog because I recognize that none of us is great at everything. Many of us have multiple skills, lots of things we can talk about that hopefully can help others.

Maybe it’s motivational; maybe it’s technical. Maybe it’s conceptual; maybe it’s thought provoking. Truth be told, I do a lot of writing because I do a lot of reading and I do a lot of thinking and then I do some doing and… then I share.

I visit the blog of every person who leaves a comment on this blog and some of my other blogs. I do this not only because it’s the courteous thing to do, but because I’m eternally curious and always looking to learn something new; I like being entertained also.

I also recognize there are times when I see something and my mind gets boggled, even if I’m interested in it. Sometimes I’m thankful that it doesn’t impact me. Other times, I just might need to ask that person a question to gain a little bit more clarity. Sometimes we need to reach out to someone else to get what we need.

Early in 2014 I wrote a post telling people how they can make their blogs successful is they were ready for the work. Today I’m asking you what you’re ready to do to be successful blogging, on social media, and by extension life. I’m asking you to “think”, and think hard.

What are you thinking about? Let’s start off with what do you want in your life. Then let’s go to what do you want to do with your blog. Then we’ll go to what are you hoping to accomplish via social media. Finally, what are you willing to do with, or for, any of these things?

Are you willing to pay for the knowledge you need? Are you willing to invest the time to learn what you need? Are you willing to pay for someone to help guide you? Are you willing to pay someone to provide services for things you either can’t do or don’t like doing? Are you willing to take a chance to achieve what you want for any of the things I mentioned above? Are you ready to focus?

Balancing Sunlight
Creative Commons License Pink Sherbet Photography
via Compfight

Here’s a little offer for you, a freebie if you will, and at the end all I’m going to do is ask you to share this post with as many people as possible so they can take advantage of it if they wish.

I’ve put together a package of sheets that can help you evaluate what you want out of life. None of the sheets are specific to blogging or social media, but it’s possible that they might end up being something you put on the sheets. These are sheets for self evaluation, goal setting and dreaming; hey, if you’re not dreaming of things you’re not really living right?

Just right click on this link and save it to your computer. It’s a zip file about 8 MB that you can open and check out when you have time. It even includes a copy of the book The Synergy of Business And Blogging, which most people don’t even notice is over there to the left as a free download. I’m including it here as the only thing talking about blogging because I’m in it. :-)

If you find any of these things useful, I hope you share some of what you discover about yourself here or on your own blogs. Of course I want you to share this post everywhere you can think of because I’d love a lot of people to take advantage of this free deal. All this and I’m still not ready to collect email addresses; Adrienne’s going to fuss at me. lol

There’s my contribution for the day; now find out what you want and what you’re good at and let’s conquer the world! For good reasons of course. πŸ˜‰
 

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Try Something Different, Say Something Different On Your Blog

Posted by Mitch Mitchell on Jan 25, 2016
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Yesterday was a sad one for me. I went to the funeral of a young man who I actually held in my arms as a baby. That was a first for me, as I also took the picture you see here to make it the only 2 pictures I have with him in it, the first being me holding him & my niece Krystal as babies, him just over a month old and her 2 weeks old.

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Ryan, the young man in back

The funeral was held at a church that’s morphed over the years I’ve lived in this town from a tiny traditional building into what I’m calling the central New York version of a megachurch. It won’t hold anything like 10,000 people like you have in the south but yesterday it easily held over 300 people, and could have held a lot more.

To say that the service was nontraditional would be an understatement. The ceremony began with 3 songs, two by a band and one solo; no choir whatsoever, although I thought it was coming. There were basically 4 presenters as pastors, and even that was different because each of them has other jobs; two are lawyers, one is an accountant (who was also the father of the young man) for the church and the other… well, I never figured out what he does except play the piano, which he did a couple of times.

At one point there was a 2-song period while pictures of Ryan, the young man I’m talking about, were shown from infancy up to holding his baby niece just a few months ago; that was something new as well. The pastor who opened things up was the brother in law of Ryan, the pastor who spoke the most was the brother of the brother in law, and the pastor who gave the most impassioned presentation was Ryan’s father. Also, something else I wasn’t used to was the saying of “amen” as a question rather than a statement.

Later on, after I had some time to break the ceremony down in my head, I was thinking how different it was than anything else I’d ever gone to. Then, as I thought more about it, I realized that in actuality I’ve been to way more nontraditional ceremonies, at least in my mind, than traditional ones.

My dad’s funeral was traditional, even though it was only the 2nd I’d ever been to. So was his twin brother’s, my wife’s father’s and my grandmother’s. All the nontraditional ceremonies were for folks closer to my age or, in this case, much younger.

I thought about it some more and realized that what seems to be taking place is that as time passes and audiences change these religious institutions start changing to appeal to their audience. They’re not afraid to take risks and they’re not afraid to possibly alienate older members, many of whom will either go to another church or go ahead and adopt the new ways because, when all is said and done, they may hear the same message being delivered yet in a more upbeat and challenging way.

Over the years I’ve read probably thousands of blogs. I’ve read many blogs on blogging, social media, writing, making money… you name it, I’ve probably read it. I see so many blog posts these days that emulate what I’ve seen previously, say the same thing almost word for word, recommend the same staid things like “write high quality content” without telling anyone what they actually mean (if you’ve read some of my posts you know this one’s a pet peeve of mine lol), “write compelling titles“, “don’t be controversial“, “don’t write or comment on blogs outside of your niche“… ugh.

Me Ryan Krystal
Ryan’s on the right,
Krystal’s on the left

I’m not saying those aren’t necessarily good recommendations, although I’m also not saying they are. What I’m saying is that seeing new blog posts quote the same thing over and over, almost in the same language, gets boring and tiring to read all the time. I know, most of you probably aren’t seeing it as much as I do because of how many blogs I visit (I also see a lot more blogs these days because I’m on Flipboard) but I’d be hard pressed to believe that you’re not visiting blogs because you see certain titles that attract your eyes and, somewhere in your belly, you’re not saying “that sounds familiar; I wonder where I’ve seen that before…”

Last week my buddy Adrienne wrote a post titled 5 Reasons Your Blog Will Fail This Year, and I made a general comment to two of her points, #2 & #3 (in case you go to read it, which you should) by saying that I wouldn’t want anyone to refine their writing so much to their niche or those they’re hoping to reach that, in their minds, they can’t figure out what to write about. That might seem like an apocalyptic statement, yet there are thousands of people every day who hit that wall and stop writing their blogs… I find that pretty tragic.

That’s why I recommend trying something different and sometimes find new ways of saying something or making a point that someone else might have already made. For instance, if you’re going to tell people that they should try to write blog posts as if they’re telling a story, try doing it by telling a story, or linking to a story, or telling people the components of writing a story.

In other words, if you’re going to talk about a specific topic, find ways of saying it differently, or presenting it differently by trying to be more colorful. You can stay on topic, or you can even stray off topic and come back to the topic… like I did with this post. Goodness, I can’t think of how many times I’ve found something to compare blogging to and come up with at least 5 points about blogging by using those comparisons. Truthfully, all of them haven’t worked great but then even Shakespeare has a couple of plays that are dogs. lol

Not being religious, most of the time I’m hard pressed to find a good reason for someone passing away as a lesson for the rest of us to learn something new, or learn to appreciate something we either already have or need to find a way to get there. This time, in saying my final goodbye to my young friend Ryan, I hope I’ve passed on a little bit of wisdom in his honor. Please comment and share this one if you found it useful or compelling of even a little bit controversial; thank you.
 

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