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?
Posted by Mitch Mitchell on Oct 13, 2014
Often on this blog, and in comments I make on other blogs, I talk about the concept of engagement. I use this term when I’m talking about meeting people and networking on social media because I tend to believe that it’s the most important thing anyone could ever do online.
What do I mean by engagement? Overall I believe it means that you have to either talk to somebody every once in a while or actually comment on something so that if either the person who generated a topic of conversation responds to you or possibly someone else sharing that information responds to you, that other people who may see it after the fact might respond to you.
This doesn’t mean that if you put something out first that you have to actually add something extra to it to get people to talk to you. As a matter of fact, other than blogging, even though you’re hoping that people will respond to things you put out that are original, the reality is that, for the majority of us, more people will respond to things that other people initially put up that we share.
Let me give you some examples.
On Twitter, I like to share different things that people post. Sometimes those things are a retweet from someone else. When it’s a retweet, I try to do what I can to get the name of the person I’m connected to who is retweeting the item into the tweet. If there is no room for me to make a separate comment then at least I’m acknowledging the person who I’m connected to and in my own way thanking them for sharing that information.
Also, at least half the times that I retweet something I will add a / and then comment after it. The person I’m retweeting will definitely know that I’ve commented on what they shared, and it’s my hope that other people will recognize that extra comment as mine.
By doing each of these actions, every once in a while someone will start talking to me. Whenever someone talks to me first I always respond, although I don’t get that back all the time. Still, at least the attempt has been made to get to know someone better and to generate conversation. Thus, the beginning of engagement.
As it regards Google Plus, I try to do the same type of thing even though it’s slightly different. Sometimes I just comment on what someone puts up. Other times I’ll reshare it, and when I do that I always have a comment before I share the item.
What sometimes happens is that people will come by after seeing I shared their item and give me a +1. Every once in a while they may thank me for sharing the item. Most of the time if I at least comment on the original they may just say thank you or they may start a conversation with me. That’s actually what I’m shooting for because, once again, I tend to believe that engagement is the key to getting to know one another. That’s what true networking is all about.
The last one I’m going to touch upon is blogging. If you read this blog often enough you know that I am always saying that you should respond to comments. I also say that there are times when people leave lousy comments, or comments that there’s really nothing to respond to.
There’s someone who’s been leaving comments on this blog that, by the time this article goes live, I’ve either started to delete or the types of comments have changed, where the words “thanks for the informative post” are in every single comment. Even though my name is used, since there’s never anything else that’s new it looks like a spam type of comment.
Engagement begins when someone leaves a comment and mentions at least one thing in the article or addresses at least one thing that was in the article that either they want to agree with, disagree with, or specifically say whatever they want to about it. Without addressing anything that’s either in the post, or give a point of view on something that’s related to the article, or even telling a story that the article reminds you of, you have lost your opportunity for any kind of engagement and look like you’re just trying to get a backlink.
Maybe I’m just being a bit pigheaded when it comes to this concept of engagement, so I’ll ask you. Do you write your blog, or produce anything else that you send out to the masses, hoping for engagement, or just because you want to talk to yourself out loud and hope others will check it out? If you don’t want to engagement, then how do you know they’re even reading anything you put out? If you don’t care then it’s no big deal. If you do care, then you have to follow the concept of giving to get.
Let me know your view on this topic.
Posted by Mitch Mitchell on Oct 9, 2014
I’m so glad I’m in SEO to a degree. If I weren’t, it’s possible that I could be one of those people who falls for those emails that show up saying “I found your site and noticed that you’re not ranked on the first page of Google. We can take care of that for you with a free assessment.” Maybe those aren’t the exact words, but I’m betting most of you that have a website have seen something like that here and there.
Or maybe you see something like this in your comments if you have a blog: “Wow, you’re really smart and this post is amazing. I’m going to subscribe and read everything you write from now on.” Tugs at your ego in a positive way doesn’t it?
One of the major problems in being online is that people come up with unique and sneaky ways to either take your money or get information from you so they can take your money in a different way. Many of them have learned that flattery will get them far, but if that doesn’t work then worrying you into thinking that you’re not doing enough will. And they don’t care if everyone doesn’t jump on the bandwagon; they trust that enough people will and they’ll make their money.
The other problem is that those people ruin it for the rest of us who try to market or do business online. For instance, I’ve never told anyone that if I did their SEO I would get them to the first position on Google; I don’t even promise them that I’ll get them on the first page for their search term.
Those are impossible things to promise without doing some fairly nefarious stuff that might not be considered nefarious by all corners. I’m using the term because Google, the top search engine that everyone knows about, believes it’s gaming their system, and they’ll penalize you for it and then what will you do with the SEO company that may have gotten you there but not has gotten you banned?
B. T. Barnum said “There’s a sucker born every minute.” You know what? He never said it; no one’s sure who said it, though there are some postulations, but we now know that he never said that. Were you gullible enough to believe that one? What about the lie about the Harvard graduates who supposedly wrote down their goals and how those that did it achieved great things while those who didn’t write them down failed in their careers? Sorry, that wasn’t true either.
Many people tend to believe things without trying to confirm them. It’s in our nature to trust people, even if we’re not all that trusting. We trust when we don’t know, but we always have the ability to research and find out for ourselves what’s true and what’s not. I always tell people what I’ve done as far as services I offer and what I’ll do for them. I never say they’ll be “here or there”; I always say they’ll be better than they were. To date, that’s always come true.
I don’t want to have to fool anyone into using my services, reading my blog, buying my products. Those folks will never be repeat customers, and will never refer me to anyone else. I also will never fall for anything that anyone tells me, even friends of mine.
As Mad-Eye Moody said in Harry Potter, “constant vigilance“. Never let yourself be fooled by anyone on anything. Don’t be gullible, and don’t count on the gullibility of others for your benefit. We can be better than that, and we should expect those who market to us to be better as well.
Posted by Mitch Mitchell on Oct 6, 2014
In the past I briefly talked about the controversy surrounding Chik-Fil-A. I’ve talked about controversy and having to deal with it often. I figured this was as good a time as any to talk about freedom of speech and controversy as it pertains to business blogs as opposed to general blogging.
When businesses are thinking about being controversial, they shouldn’t be thinking about being controversial on social issues such as politics or religion. Those types of things can take away from the reason you created the blog and your business as well.
Unless those issues are what your blog is about, it’s best to stay away from them; at least on your business blog. If you feel the need to express your opinion about other things, it’s best to create a personal blog, whether you use your real name or not, and go that route.
However, negating the benefits of going against the grain, which is what controversy is all about, as it pertains to your business, means you’ve giving up an opportunity to stand out from the crowd. For instance, on this blog, I’ve taken some contrary views to the norm as it pertains to backlinks. All that does is set me apart from others who do some of the same type of work I do and starts a discussion point. In a way, it also establishes me as a free thinker, someone who sees things from a different perspective, and potentially helps me get clients who have some thoughts that lean my way.
Using another example, let’s say that I do kitchen remodeling. Most people in that industry recommend granite counter tops because they’re sturdy and pretty, and they come in multiple colors. If I wanted to be like the majority, I’d also advocate granite counter tops.
However, I’ve seen a few people that advocate slate counter tops, saying they’re also sturdy, easier to clean, won’t stain and that you can even cut on them without worrying that you’re going to cut them up. So, maybe someone else starts writing about the benefits of using slate instead. It goes against the norm, but you can bet that someone out there doesn’t like granite and likes reading something where an expert in the field has a much different opinion. And let’s face it, even those that advocate using granite can’t say slate is horrible, even if it wouldn’t be their first option.
Now, I don’t know whether slate is popular or not; I’m just using this as an example of how it might be controversial within the remodeling industry because everyone else goes in a different direction. As long as it’s related to business, controversy could end up being a good thing. Now, if you were advocating paper counter tops, that wouldn’t be controversial; it would be crazy, and you’ll never work. So you have to pick your options based on your own business.
Final point. Freedom of speech means that everyone can say anything they want to, no matter what or where it is. It also means that others can disagree with you however and wherever they feel as well. Hopefully it only stays at a verbal level but that’s the thing about some controversial topics. You’re probably never going to have two social media consultants coming to blows over whether Twitter is better than Facebook, but social issues are a much different animal. That’s why it’s best to avoid those topics where your business is concerned.
So, have you started blogging yet? Come on, be controversial, say something!