All posts by Mitch Mitchell

I'm an independent consultant in many fields, so I have a lot to share.

The 5 Lies Of Guest Posting Requests

I allow almost no guest posts on this site. In the 4 1/2 years I’ve had this blog, and almost 1,300 posts (I’ll pass that moment next week probably), I’ve had 14 guest posts on this site. Some of the people who’ve written guest posts I’ve asked to write them, and I love that they did and appreciate those folks. The rest asked me, and here’s where I’ve had some kind of issue for the most part.

Why you ask? Well, let me name them and tell you something brief about them:

Diego Norte – actually wrote 2 guest posts, but never came back to respond to any of them and has never come back to the blog again. Heck, he never even left a comment on any posts previously.

Barbara Whitlock – She wrote a post supporting Helium, whom I later trashed, after seeing one of my posts talking about some early problems I was having trying to figure them out. She never responded to any comments on the post and obviously had never read anything else.

Christian Arno – Another one and done who reached out to me to write a post on language translation services. I thought it was a cool topic so I went for it. It only got 2 comments but he never responded to either of them and I’ve never seen him again.

Tom Walker – wrote a post on a topic I knew something about and he also reached out to me. But he’d never commented on anything previously, never responded to any of the comments on his post, and never came back.

Wes Towers – Wes used to comment often, disappeared, then showed up one day asking if he could write a guest post, which I went for because he’d been a contributor. He wrote is his piece and, to his credit, at least responded to the comments on the post. But he’s never come back.

Murray Newlands – Murray had done an interview with me years earlier and even though I was reached asking to write a guest post for this blog, the person who wrote me had no idea who I was, nor had known that I’d even been on his blog. Still, I allowed the post to come through as a sense of obligation, even if I wasn’t so sure of the topic. Murray also responded to one of the comments, which I appreciate, but overall he’s never come to the blog before or since.

Do you see a pattern here? Sure, I understand that everyone has their own goals in mind, and for some those goals are to help spread the word about what they do, or try to drive traffic to their websites. I also understand how, in many cases, guest posts can help a website or blog to grow, as is the case with my finance blog. Still, even with my finance blog, I have as a criteria that people must respond to comments left on their post, otherwise I will remove all their links and contact information.

Why do I do that? Because often people write guest posts on a topic that I don’t know all that much about, and thus I can’t respond to the comments with any real knowledge. As we all know, the best way to grow a community with a blog, which helps to keep regular visitors, is to respond to them when they write a good comment. If guest posters don’t respond, they don’t deserve any boost their guest post was supposed to give them. And that’s why I almost never accept guest posts on this site unless I ask people to write one.

IMAG0364

Having said all of that, I still get a lot of requests to write guest posts on all of my blogs. And I’ve noticed there are 5 main lies that these requests have that immediately let me know that there’s a major problem with their request. Here they are:

1. They’re a long time reader of the blog. That’s a lie because they can never tell you anything about the blog. Often they’ll include a link to a blog post that’s a new link, and not have a comment on that particular post. It’s because they didn’t read it; they’re just trying to flatter me.

2. That they’ve read my guest posting policy. I know that’s a lie because at least half the requests I get don’t have my name on them; this is for my finance blog. That’s actually a qualification for me to even read the email, so if I don’t see my name on it I immediately delete it.

3. That they’ll “write” a quality guest post. Truth of the matter is that most of the people who contact me aren’t writing the articles at all. I know that because most of the people reaching out to me are actually advertising people trying to get their clients links on my blog. Come on, I’m not an idiot; if your email address or company name is different than the link you’re showing me that you’re going to link to, I know you’re not the one writing the post.

4. That it will be a quality post. If you saw some of the email I get, even when they put my name in the email, you’d shudder. The language is horrible, and I know these aren’t all foreign writers. If the email is written poorly then I’m not even going to bother looking at any kind of guest post.

5. That they love my writing style. Remember how I mentioned earlier that some of these people will put a link into the email from a post on the blog? Often it’s a link from a guest post, which obviously means I didn’t write it.

By the way, let me quickly thank those people whom I’ve asked to guest post here; and yes, they’re getting their names bolded:

Sire

John Dilbeck

Connie Baum

Carolee Sperry

Scott Thomas

Rachel Lavern

Mitchell Allen

I’m certainly not trashing the concept of guest posts. I just want to see more honesty, better writing, and of course responding to comments. For this blog, if you’re going to ask me if you can write a guest post you’d better have a history of some kind with either the blog or with me. That’s how I roll; how do many of the rest of you see guest posts on your site?
 

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Social Media Marketing Has Its Limits

This past weekend I went to a local seminar on motivation. I don’t get to things like this all that often, but every once in a while it’s a good thing to go hear someone else talk on a subject that you also talk about because, when all is said and done, even those who motivate others sometimes need a bit of motivation as well.

It wasn’t a bad turnout, but the group was very diverse, to the point that I’m not exactly sure the presenters got who they hoped to get to come. Still, it was an interesting day, and I got out of it what I think I needed to get out of it. I knew one of the presenters, and had seen enough pictures of the other presenter that I felt I knew her as well.

During the seminar, when it was my turn to speak the lady that I knew threw out a statement saying that maybe I hide behind my social media activities when it comes to doing business. I agreed with her on that, although in my mind I was thinking how I have so many more connections through social media than I do live. But she continued by saying that we should talk after the seminar and I quickly agreed.

When it was over she and I walked across the street to a park and sat down on one of the stone benches. She then told me that out of all the people that had shown up, I was the only one that had come because of social media. She had put out the event on Facebook, and out of the nine people that said they were coming, I was the only one that actually did. Everybody else who was in the room was the result of either a book signing that she did or came because of a couple presentations she had put on locally and mentioned it.

In one way I was shocked, but in another way I wasn’t. I ran into the same thing last year when I tried to promote a local four hour seminar that I was going to put on. I reached out to all of my social media contacts, and I reached out to an overwhelming majority of other people through e-mail. In the end, I had to cancel because I only had one person who had signed up for.

At the same time, there was another event last Friday I found out about that was being held at a hotel about 10 minutes away from me. The guy who worked at the hotel had put it up on Facebook, but really hadn’t invited anybody. So I went through the process of inviting a great number of people who I knew lived in the area, many of whom I knew wouldn’t be able to come but I wanted to give them the opportunity. Just by doing that at least 9 or 10 people showed up that wouldn’t have if I hadn’t reached out to them on Facebook.

Still, her point was valid. Even though social media is the fastest growing medium for people to connect with each other, there’s still something about face-to-face communications that seems to help to encourage people to interact more with you. It might be because, though social media is easy to say something to make someone feel good, just as it’s easy for people to say bad things because they’re hidden, they can say something and not have to follow through. In being truthful, I hadn’t decided I was going to the seminar until the Monday before, even though I had known about it for three weeks. I had put a “maybe”, which is mainly a noncommittal way of saying no, before changing my mind.

Social media marketing is definitely an important thing that all of us need to get used to. But at this point in the decade it’s still not strong enough to really get people juiced up to do anything. You might be able to get people to come to your website, or to read an article or blog post you’ve written, but getting them to take action is still going to be really tough to do. We all need to acknowledge that in order to figure out ways of getting people’s attention, especially if we have as an intention the hopes that we will possibly generate some kind of income from our actions.

How do you see your social media marketing initiatives going?
 

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Why I Tried To Delete My Technorati Account

There are a lot of articles out there where someone’s always telling you that the way to increase your blog presence is through one of these social bookmarking sites. Technorati is always one of those sites listed, and it was one of the few I ever joined. The other two went away on me, and I haven’t looked back on either of them; not that I had much choice anyway.

For me, Technorati is no more now, and I’m going to tell you why.


via Geek Revealed

First, I have never really trusted their ranking system to begin with. Back in the day when you saw certain numbers, they were easier to track because they were closely associated with traffic numbers. You knew better where you stood with those numbers.

Then they changed things up, and suddenly you had no idea what any of those numbers meant. I had only listed 3 blogs there, and only one of them was ranked higher than 120, that being this blog, which was ranked 418. I had no idea what that meant, nor how to affect it so that the ranking could go up.

Second, supposedly they ranked you only off your last six months. This means that having a blog for years meant nothing to them. If you decided to slow down for a short period of time, they didn’t take the blog as a whole; that’s tough to deal with, but so be it.

What finally got me to decide to just kill the entire account happened in the last couple of days. Actually, I tried to delete my account and I can’t figure out how to do it. Instead, I deleted all my blogs. Why?

I use this plugin on Firefox that allows all my bookmarks toolbar items to show. Technorati was one of them, and on a fluke a few days ago I clicked on it and it took me to the site. I saw how my blogs were ranked, lousy of course, and decide to look at the account setup.

What I noticed is that for all of the blogs they were using the RSS feed that came with them and not the RSS feeds I created through Feedburner, which is what I use to have people subscribe to. I decided to change the feed on all the blogs to see if maybe that would affect how they’re ranking.

I did the first one and it said it had to send me an email with a code in it. Turns out what you have to do with the code is create a post, pop this code in, then make it live, which is irritating because it even if you tell your blog not to send it to Twitter, some people have automated software that retweets your post, and I noticed that blog posts popped up on Twitter; ugh.

Once Technorati finds the post with the code in it, the process of which you start by telling it to check your blog for the code, it tells you if it’s found the code or not, and if it has then it tells you that it’s evaluating your blog, whatever that means. There’s also nothing saying how long you’re supposed to leave the code there, or if you’re supposed to leave the code there. I left the code on all 3 blogs for about 3 or 4 hours, then removed those posts.

Late yesterday afternoon I decided to see if Technorati had approved my blogs. What I got on all 3 was this message:

May 18, 2012. This site does not appear to be a blog or news site. Technorati does not support claiming of forums, product catalogs, and the like. You can review our site quality guidelines at http://technorati.com/blog-quality-guidelines-faq/

What the heck was that? This blog doesn’t appear to be a blog? The other two blogs don’t appear to be blogs? Y’all tell me; when you look at this site, is it a blog?

Obviously its automated process is incorrect. I decided to try to contact support. Guess what; they don’t really have a support to contact. There’s nothing that addresses your issue; instead, they have this thing you can sign up for that you have to pay for so you can contact them; what the hey?

At that point I decided I was done with them, so I went in and deleted all my blogs, which were still listed and still ranked. If they thought all my sites were news sources, then why were my blogs still sitting there being ranked as blogs? While I was there I deleted any other information I had on my profile; I wanted to be gone for good.

That brought me to my next problem; no idea how to delete my account. There’s nothing on the Technorati site that I could find to delete it. I went to Google, and even there I couldn’t find a way to delete it. Supposedly you could send them an email, but when you go to the support page there’s no option for that; actually, no option for anything where they might actually contact you back.

Enough said. The only thing I have there now is my username, password, and email address, which it wouldn’t let me delete, and that’s all. I’m done; not going back. I’ve removed the bookmark from my toolbar, and that’s that. I sent them a tweet telling them I was done with them, and I don’t expect a response, but at least it’s out there, as this post will be as well. Horrible system, and now I’m put off all social bookmarking sites. Figures, I kind of signed up for a different type of one a few days ago that’s already irritating me as well, but I’ll give it a few more tries before I decide what to do about it.

I guess it’s back to just trying to write compelling content and doing it on my own, with some help from those of you who decide any of it is good enough to share; sigh…
 

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Black Web Friday – 5/18/12

Greetings, and welcome to the next to last installment of Black Web Friday. It’s been an interesting ride and it’s almost over. I hope some folks have gotten out of it what I hoped for. But when it’s time to move on, then it’s time to move on. With that said let’s get right into it.

Black Web Friday

Evelyn Bourne writes The Productive Pen, and she writes about writing, marketing and personal development. She’s been writing about these things for 3 1/2 years now and she’s got a lot of great information there. It’s a standard WordPress commenting system blog.

Denene Miller writes the blog My Brown Baby, and she’s, in a much different way, a mommy blogger if you will, but only in the sense that she’s a mother that writes a blog. She writes about parenting, entertainment and politics from a black woman’s perspective, and it’s really entertaining, even if I skip the parenting stuff, not having kids. She also has a few other contributors that bring a different feel to the blog, each person having their own unique voice. It’s a standard WordPress commenting system blog.

Ponying off the last one, Lamar and Ronnie Tyler both write Black and Married With Kids, and most of what they write concerns raising black children in this world and looking for positive role models, as well as all the things that parents go through anyway. A post that really caught my attention in the last couple of days was their decrying the show Basketball Wives, something I’d never seen until I was changing channels the other day and stopped on for a brief moment, and thought exactly the same type of thing they’re talking about. It was a horrible example of what many people think black people are, and they captured their frustration well. It’s a Typepad style commenting system, which means your gravatar might not show up.

Walethia Aquil writes the blog Grace and Charm, and this isn’t a blog about etiquette, but about marketing, organization, business and working together in positive ways with others. In essence it’s a business blog and that’s what’s impressive about it. She’s an entrepreneur helping others grow, and that’s kind of what I try to be about as well. There’s a lot of great information here if you’re looking to grow your business either online or offline, so if you’re looking for different types of business tips, you should check it out. It’s a standard WordPress commenting system blog.

That’s it for this week; one more to go!
 

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What Do You Do When You Don’t Want To? You Just Do!

All of us fall into a malaise here and there. Sometimes it’s called depression. The general feeling is that you don’t want to do anything, nothing at all. And yet, nothing at all is sometimes something as well; it can get confusing.

You folks who read this blog and maybe some of my other blogs see how much I write. Sometimes I think that I might just up and stop writing altogether, one because I may not be in the mood, two because I sometimes wonder if it makes a difference, and three because I wonder if I write for me or for others and can’t really answer the question.

Do you know what I do when I don’t want to do? I just do, plain and simple. By the way, that’s not grammatically correct on purpose, in case someone wants to bring up my post from two days ago. It is a type of speech I’m used to, and thus I decided to use the phrase.

Getting back to the post, as I said, I just do. When I question my writing I just write more. I change topics and write on it. It’s lucky to have 5 blogs, and it’s lucky to write some blogs for other people. It’s lucky that I’ve started the second edit of what I hope will be my next book. It’s lucky that I have a detective story that I can work on here and there. It’s lucky that I have other writing projects that I’ve started that, when I really need something else I can work on.

Something else about writing is that, when I’m in the mood when I don’t want to, I can take a break, read, walk, or just lay down and do nothing for some time and think or rest. When I do any of these other things, it gives me time to think, time to explore, and inevitably I come up with more to write about.

Of course I don’t only write for a living, and yet I find that the same processes work when I’m doing pretty much any other project. The things I mentioned that I do are, in essence, their own way of doing something. Even on those days when I feel like I’m having trouble focusing, which does happen, I can find a way to “do”. I might grab the smartphone and work the crossword puzzle if I need to stimulate my mind. I might read the comics and laugh at that. I might check on my chess moves on one of the two chess sites I’m a member of. I might go through email. I might leave the house, go to the gym, a restaurant, the lake…

But I “do”. I know that everything I do might eventually become an inspiration for something to write about. I know that I must “do” because if I don’t, there’s no reason to stick around and live. I know that I must “do” because one never knows what’s coming later in the day, or the next day, or the next week or year.

As I acknowledge the 15th year that I’ve been married today, I recognize that it might not last the day, it might not last the week, it might not last the year, it might not last years. So I have to “do” today, “do” now, because now is where I am; now is where you are.

So if you’re thinking about doing nothing, if you’re depressed and not feeling the urge to do anything, just “do”, and “do” with a purpose, even if it’s just to sit down and cry. By having a purpose, “do” always inspires.
 

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