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Your Business Credibility

Posted by Mitch Mitchell on Oct 20, 2014
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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.

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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.

On Sunday 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 do 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:


 

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Why Do You Blog?

Posted by Mitch Mitchell on Aug 7, 2014
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Why do you blog? You know, I’ve kind of broached this subject in the past but I came at it from different directions. First, in 2008 I asked the question Why Do You Write Your Blog, which was based on a couple of articles I’d read on the subject of using one’s blog to make money. The second, in 2010, was part of my Sunday Question blog series asking specifically Why Do You Blog, and in this case I was asking people what they were hoping to get out of their blogs, whether it was business or pleasure.

06-08-10 And With Heart Shaped Bruises And Late Night Kisses
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Goodness, it’s been 4 years since I talked about this subject? Time to broach it again, but I’ll tell you why I’m doing it this time. If you’ve noticed, over the past couple of weeks I’ve put up some posts here that relate to business blogging. Although I talk about blogging often, specifically talking about blogging for business isn’t something I’ve spent lots of time on. Sure, I’ve talked on the subject of trying to make money blogging and why it’s more difficult than people think but that’s not quite the same topic.

In this vein, it’s talking about having some kind of business and using blogging to either help promote the business in some fashion, show expertise or actually using the blog as the business, not specifically a make money blog but making connections so you can sell product or services.

I’ve made no secret of the fact that I use my main business blog as a way to show my expertise on certain subjects and, hopefully, to get clients of some kind from it. I haven’t talked as much about this blog and how I work on using it for business but truthfully, one speaking engagement I got locally came mainly because of this blog. Nah, I didn’t get paid, and I didn’t even get a nibble for business, but it was still fun being seen in a professional light by some folks in my area, since more often than not I work out of town or my clients are out of town.

Over the next few months, I expect to have more articles on this blog about business blogging in the vein I was talking about above. However, I know that there are a lot of people who don’t see that type of thing as the reason for why they write their blogs. So, I’m throwing the question out there, asking what I asked in 2010 and seeing if some of the responses are different.

See, I think it’s an important question more for you than for me. The one thing I get asked over and over is how do I come up with so many ideas to write about, especially after I passed 1,500 posts back in March. One reason is because I have a passion for the topics I write about. The other reason is because I do market some of my writing services, I charge a pretty nice dollar, and I like to be able to show someone just how proficient I’ve been in my own space, and then possibly point them to other spaces. In the end, even though this is my “fun” blog, it’s also my portfolio of diverse topics; wouldn’t you agree?

This should be fun; let’s see what you have for me. :-)
 

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Why CEOs Should Blog

Posted by Mitch Mitchell on Jul 31, 2014
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Thomas Quinn is the former CEO of Community General Hospital in Syracuse, NY. For 4 years he had a personal blog where he talked about community developments his hospital was a part of, highlighted positive things employees and physicians did, and talked about philosophical and health care issues such as compassion.

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When he was needed the most was the final year he was CEO, which was also the final year that the hospital was a standalone, before it merged with University Hospital in the same city. While many hospital executives might have tried to keep news quiet for fear of what the community might think about them, Quinn was front and center in talking about what was going on with the merger, with the unions, about the employees and how they were trying to save all jobs, and of course with his personal thoughts about why the hospital needed to move in this direction.

When the merger was complete he wrote his final post and moved on, but many people who followed his blog thanked him for keeping them in the loop; communities with hospitals feel a very close connection to them

While there have been some reports of more corporate CEOs stepping away from blogging, it’s interesting to see the names of people who are either continuing blogging or are just getting started. On August 1st 2012 the President and CEO of CLIA Cruise Lines, Christine Duffy, announced that she had started a new blog in June so that she could stay connected with customers, travel agents and others in the industry who she felt would be interested in the plans her company had and share some of the events that have taken place. You can imagine the openness of what she has to share and how people who visit her blog would feel both a connection to her and the company.

She’s not alone in the belief that CEOs can bring a different perspective, especially in today’s world where many people believe top executives in many companies are heartless monsters who only care about how much money they and their companies can make. Some of those names include: Bill Marriott, Marriott International; Mike Critelli, Pitney Bowes; Mark Cuban, Landmark Theaters and the Dallas Mavericks; and John Mackey, Whole Foods.

CEO blogs are very popular, especially for big name companies. They drive traffic to the blog, which means traffic to the site. The more traffic the site gets, the better it ranks in search engines, and thus it achieves search engine optimization principles by content, which is the way search engines want to see it. All it takes is a little bit of time and effort, and it’s free. Right now, your voice would be unique, and you’ll get a jump on your competitors.

You’ve probably heard how popular the TV show Undercover Boss is; CEOs that blog are in that category. I’m in that category as well. You can’t afford to pass it up.

By the way, this isn’t just for CEOs. Those of you hoping to get business or publicity of any type via social media should be blogging. Most of you who visit here are doing that; I just wanted to clarify it.
 

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The State Of Blogging

Posted by Mitch Mitchell on Jul 18, 2012
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Is blogging dying? It is if you read some posts by those people who consider themselves pundits. They say that people have so many other options these days that many people are dropping the concept of blogging in favor of all these other ways of connecting with their potential clients.

That’s convoluted thinking for two reasons.

One, even though a study from last year indicated that major companies have cut back on their blogging by around 45%, small and independent business blogging has actually grown 72% since 2004. And just how many more businesses do you believe there are that are small or individual businesses as compared to large businesses? There’s no valid figure but it’s estimated that for every large business with at least 500 employees there are 5,000 smaller businesses; at least a 10 to 1 ratio.

Two, if you’ve ever been on Twitter or Google+ or LinkedIn, what do you see being shared more often than anything else? Blog posts, that’s what, and usually not the blog posts of that person, which is a strange conundrum if you ask me. I do share links to other blog posts that I like, but I also make sure I’m putting my own links out there for people to see. I’d be an idiot if I didn’t take advantage of a little bit of self promotion here and there. Still, those who don’t blog, or even those who do, are sharing a lot of blog posts, moreso than news posts. Only on Facebook do you see sharing of a different sort as the norm.

My belief is that blogging is changing for some entities, which is where the belief that it’s dying is coming from. As more companies try to get into social media, where they feel they can present their marketing message better, the largest companies believe that blogging in their own space doesn’t help them as much. I don’t believe that’s true, but that part has certainly happened. It’s too bad since studies have shown that companies large and small that have the CEO or a top company representative with a regular blog are trusted by more customers and thus have a positive impact on the minds of those consumers.

Blogging is the best way to get your message out the way you want it to be. And if you have any kind of audience that respects what you have to say, that audience is probably sharing your message with someone. Blogging dying; in your dreams!
 

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Why Do You Write Your Blog?

Posted by Mitch Mitchell on Jul 21, 2008
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Why do I write this blog, or any other blog? Why do you write a blog? What are you hoping to achieve? Are you trying to inform? Are you trying to make money? Do you have something you need to get off your chest?

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I ask this question after reading what can best be called a couple of rants by different guys. One guy, Merlin Mann, wrote a piece called Blog Pimping, and actually used a lot of the original rant, written by a guy named Jack Shedd, called Tacky. Both posts are pretty much against what they consider as the blatant marketing of blogs to make money by the professional bloggers, and what they perceive as what’s been created because of them, the professional commenters, whose only purpose is to try to hopefully drive traffic to their sites by commenting on these big time blogs.

Of course, one of these guys is marketing things in his own right off his blog, whereas the other guy, Jack, doesn’t seem to be marketing anything, so we can take each for what it’s worth. It still begs the question for most of us as to what our purposes are for writing our blogs, and whether we end up staying true to our souls more than our goals.

I don’t think I’ve hidden my goals for this blog; I want it to make money. So I write about topics that interest me, hoping they interest others enough to want to come back often to see what I might have to say. I like to think I’m not a one trick pony, though, as I slide from topic to topic and, occasionally, post something to entertain myself more than I’m probably entertaining someone else (remember the Yoda video?). This is a blog to make money, but it’s also a blog to have some fun with. I don’t see myself as one of those guys who’s ever going to make blogging a 24/7 job; could happen, but I doubt it. I have way too many interests for that sort of thing.

And of course there’s my other blog, the professional one, Mitch’s Blog, whose purpose isn’t necessarily to make money (though I do have Adsense on it; I’m not a fool after all), but to inform and show people that I have some competence with my main career as a consultant. Maybe indirectly it’ll convince someone to request my services, and I may make money that way, but it’s intention isn’t to do it straight out.

Still, a good question to ask is why it seems to matter so much to someone else why a person is writing whatever it is they feel like writing, and why it’s disturbing them so much. Truthfully, I read a lot of blogs, but there’s many more that I’ve taken a look at and decided I don’t want to read for one reason or another. It’s just like television; if you don’t like the program, turn the channel and watch something else. Not that I don’t find a blog post every once in awhile that gets on my nerve, but to rant against someone because they happen to be successful sounds like the people who gripe against musicians who allow their music to be used in commercials; life was never that pure to begin with, and it’s certainly not going to be that pure now.

For the moment, I have another career, so I’m sorry if I can’t put together 1,500 word tomes on my blog just to pad the stats. But I’m near 600 words; that has to count for something. And people, if you want to comment on my blog to try to drive traffic to yours,… by all means!
 

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