All posts by Mitch Mitchell

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

5 Things You Should Do Before Commenting On A Blog

In March of 2014 I wrote a post titled 5 Commenting Courtesies. That post talked about some things that are fairly common that people who aren’t used to commenting seem to miss. Well, those people and spammers, but we’re not going to change them any time soon.

Mr & Mrs WordPress
Nikita Kashner via Compfight

This time around I’m looking at the process before you comment, not necessarily being courteous, although it’s in the same vein. In essence, I’m going to teach people how to leave a blog comment. This comes from when I wrote a post about blogging 10 years on my business blog at the same time I was part of a blog carnival. A lot of the comments I got were… well, they just weren’t all that good (our buddy Troy was a part of it and he’d agree).

So, my intention is to hopefully give 5 nice tips on how to address the process of writing better comments on blogs. You don’t have to write War and Peace, but if you want people to take you seriously and decide to visit your blog you’re going to have to put forth a little bit more effort. Here we go!

1. Try reading the article.

You wouldn’t think I’d have to say that but I know I do. I get lots of comments to posts where I’m doubtful that the person read the post at all. I mean, one or two lines addressing a post that ran close to 1,000 words, even 500 words, is kind of disappointing, especially on those posts where someone has taken the time to explain something. So many comments could pertain to almost anything someone writes; I delete a lot of those here.

2. Find something in the post that you liked and mention it in your comment.

This is a great way of making sure your comments have at least a modicum of respect for the writer. For instance, if the article points out 5 things, 9 things, 20 things, finding something you believe has touched you in some way and mentioning it works wonders in boosting a writer’s mood. Try not to always make it either the 1st or last point; that’s so passΓ©.

3. Don’t tell people what the article means in your comment.

If I write an article about good SEO principles, your comment shouldn’t say something like “following good SEO principles is crucial to a blog’s success.” Really? Didn’t I just say that? Maybe you didn’t read the post; see #1. Maybe you’re trying to help reinforce what the article meant; trust me, it’s not needed.

4. Offer an opinion on the article when you can and not the author so much… unless the article is about the author.

On the article I linked to about the 10th anniversary of my business blog, many of the comments said something like “there are some valuable lessons here that will help me blog better.” Really? Like what? One in particular? All of them? I know I gave you #2 above, which is pretty good advice, but how about some feedback on it, whether you agree with it or not?

5. Read the comment policy.

Not just my blog, but a lot of bloggers who’ve had blogs for a long time add some kind of comment policy to their blog. Mine is just above the box where people can leave their comments, and I even made the text a pretty dark blue and bolded it.

Although there are a few people who end up going to spam because of some kind of conflict between Chrome and my blog (odd thing, but it’s not only happening to me), a lot more end up there because they violated one of the principles contained within the comment policy. Of course, these days the majority of first time commenters end up in the spam filter because they haven’t added a gravatar to their email address, but that’s also in the comment policy.

Here’s the overall thing about commenting. People do it for 3 reasons. One, because they have something to say. Two, because it’s part of their strategy of either getting links or trying to get people to come back to their blogs. And three, because they like the person blogging and want to offer some encouragement.

If your reasons are #1 or #2, then you should be taking more time and devotion in leaving your comments. If it’s #3… well, we all forgive our friends and are just happy they stopped by, because most of our friends and family don’t read what we have to say… come on, we all know that’s true! πŸ™‚
 

Are You As Popular As You Think You Are?

Of course I’m starting this with a link to my latest book, Leadership Is/Isn’t Easy, because it leads into today’s topic. That and I’m hoping you’ll at least go check it out.

Picture 86
I’m so tired…

One of the things that got me to release the book when I did is that in many ways I have been enjoying and bit more popularity than I had been for a while. Once I started traveling for work, I stopped commenting on as many blogs as I had been previously, and even though I still spent a lot of time on Twitter, I’d start sharing my blog posts there or pretty much anywhere else. I had been sharing them on Facebook, but no one reads blog post on Facebook for the most part.

I’d also been writing articles on LinkedIn, and for the most part did in generating a lot of publicity as well. And, because I’d figured out new ways to get more attention on Facebook, I was thinking that it was time to strike while the iron was hot and releasing my new book. However, I didn’t just release it as a book, but as a package of goodies as I’ve mentioned previously.

I then went on a major marketing push in all these different places, which I wrote about a couple of articles ago. Truthfully, it’s not like I expected a whole bunch of sales. After all, my general belief was that it might only attract people who are already leaders of some kind in their job to think about purchasing it as an entire package is to adjust the book.

I figured that I might sell a few packages, and that a few people might take me up on my special coaching offer that’s listed on the package. In that instance I would’ve had to make a full bunch of sales just a couple of quick ones, and a cash wouldn’t be so bad in the long run.

You know what I discovered? I basically discovered I’m not as popular as I thought I was. Sure, the pages actually gotten a lot of visits, but nothing commensurate with the number I had thought might visit. And strangely enough, not all that many people from LinkedIn came by, and that was initially surprising based on how well I’ve been doing there.

That is, until I actually went back to look at things. Three weeks ago I had a post on their that had almost 700 readers. However, since that post it’s been hard to even get close to 100, and my last article I didn’t even reach 40 readers. Since I thought I had a formula that could get me a lot of readers, I have to admit that brought me down a little bit.

What Google Analytics tells me is that, for the book, the majority of traffic has come from Twitter. I only received one visitor from LinkedIn; isn’t that a shame? That’s from the social link that shown on Analytics. As it pertains to source, the majority of traffic has actually come via this blog; I’m not overly upset with that. Goodness, I got more traffic from Facebook than I did from LinkedIn, and I know those people aren’t even reading my blog posts.

By the way, an article I had written just a couple before the one they got almost 700 readers had 1,300 readers. So, I pretty much figured I had to be good enough to at least get one or two buyers that way.

It’s somewhat disappointing to realize you’re not as popular as you think you are. One would’ve thought that I would have been prepared for that one I look at the figures for this blog in general. At one point a few years ago I was ranked in the top 70,000 by Alexa, and now I’m sitting around 304,000.

At least half my visitors use to be returning visitors, and now that percentage is around 37%, which is still actually considered pretty good. However, after people from the United States the biggest group of people who are supposedly visiting the blogs are from Russia. Frankly I’m doubting that greatly, which makes me start to believe that may be I’m not even getting close to the visitors I think I’m getting, that instead it’s some kind of bots visiting the site and building up the numbers.

I don’t know. What I do know is that as a package the book didn’t sell, so tomorrow I will officially start selling it as a standalone product. It will be on the same page as the package so that people can make a decision as to which one they want once they see the pricing of it.

Once I officially launch it, I will be adding new marketing processes along with keeping the same marketing processes I did before in trying to get to by the book on its own, in .pdf form in case I haven’t mentioned it previously. And then we’ll see what happens, and I get to see if I really know anything about marketing or whether I’ve just been talking nonsense all these years; sniff! lol

How many of you have struggled with this idea of wondering how popular your blogs and websites are? I figure I might as will put the question out there and see what others have to say about it. Have a wonderful Thursday.

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Flipboard – Check Out My Magazine, Make Your Own

I have some pretty good friends. In this case, my friend and fellow consultant Jesan Sorrells introduced me to Flipboard… even if it took me a couple of months to go back to. I’m not sure why I was curious, but eventually I was, and man, I’m glad I went to the site, set up my account, and them added it to both my smartphone and my Nook.

flipboard03

In essence, Flipboard is kind of a news aggregator and RSS feed reader. When you sign up, it already has a couple of things for you to look at, such as news stories. You get to select specific subjects, some which the program will recommend to you once you select a couple of things, and then you’re pretty much ready to go.

Once you start reading different stories, if you want to share them in different social media formats you can set up your devices with your usernames and passwords to those sites you want to share to. If you use an alternative application to access those sites, you have the option of selecting them without having to worry about signing in (I use different apps to access Twitter for instance), but you can go either route. After that, the process is easy to do.

For the longest time, that’s all I was using it for. Then I was talking to my buddy Yasmin Shiraz, and she clued me in on many other uses for the program.

For instance, the RSS part. I now follow a few blogs, including my own (I want to see what others see), because you can add the RSS feed on either your devices or the Flipboard website. If you wish, you can also comment via the platform, although when you’re done you’ll have to back up a couple of times to get back to Flipboard if you’re on your device. No biggie there.

It’s the magazines feature that makes you a publisher of another kind. Not only can you decide on subjects you want to read, but you can decide to create what they call “magazines”, which are categories of things you’re interested in that you either want to share with others or save for yourself to access whenever and wherever you wish. You can always delete what you decide you don’t want anymore, which is a handy feature if you put it into the wrong magazine. You can also leave a note on whatever you save in a magazine. Why would you want to do that?

Because you can subscribe to other people’s magazines, and they can subscribe to yours. That’s the fascinating part if you ask me. I’ve subscribed to Yasmin and Jesan so far, and as I find other people I’ll probably subscribe to them as well. If you look to the right —-> you’ll see where you can subscribe to my magazine. That gives you access to any magazines I’ve created, and then you can set up your own magazines as well.

You can also comment on whatever I share on my magazine, which is pretty cool, which includes my own blog posts if I happen to pop something in one of my magazines. I won’t abuse it, and so far I haven’t seen many other people abusing it also by putting all their own content into a category. But I will do it from time to time; after all, I write most posts about things I’m interested in, so why not share more right? πŸ™‚

One last thing to share is a link to a browser plugin they call Flip It, which gives you the ability to add any article you see to your magazines by clicking on an app that you can have located on your toolbar. I believe it works for all browsers, but you can check it for yourself; it works great on mine, as I’m on Firefox.

The best way to show you how this stuff works is to share a couple of videos with you. The first is a very brief introduction of what it’s all about:
 


 
https://youtu.be/OMCl3bCYe7s

The second is how to create and use magazines:
 


 
https://youtu.be/c0PeBt1S3w4

Trust me, this is pretty cool. Now I have something to do if I’m away from home and have some time to kill. Check it out, check me out, and create your own magazines.

By the way, you didn’t think I was going to forget to pimp my latest book Leadership Is/Isn’t Easy did you? If you haven’t heard about it, check out the link. If you have, check out the link and think about buying the package… πŸ˜‰
 

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The Early Marketing Of My Book Leadership Is/Isn’t Easy

This is the second post in my mini promotional series about my latest book. This one was titled The Process Of Writing Leadership Is/Isn’t Easy, and I think the title is self explanatory; I could be wrong though. πŸ™‚

Tim Lawson in front of Rocky Horror Show billboard in Singapore
Toby Simkin via Compfight

So, check that out, then come back and check out my latest book, being served on a silver platter with a lot of goodies, Leadership Is/Isn’t Easy. This post is what I’ve done in marketing it to this point, and it hasn’t been easy. Y’all know I’ll be plugging that book for at least a couple of weeks don’t you? lol

If you do click on that link you know that’s my attempt at a squeeze or landing page. It was crucial that I create that before I started any marketing. Truthfully, I spent time trying to get it mobile friendly but that got irksome; I mentioned that last time.

Marketing started around 1:30 Tuesday morning when I wrote the blog post that was going to announce it first. I gave it the title of the book with the addendum my latest book is here to let people know it was a new book and not a rehashing of my previous book on leadership. I talked a little bit about the process of writing that book, which I followed up here on Wednesday; I’ll come back to that.

I knew the first post was going out around 9:30. I also knew it would hit Twitter with that title. I knew I wanted to advertise it multiple times on Twitter but I also knew that you can’t use the same exact words more than once every 12 or 24 hours; I’m not quite sure which one it is but I never take any chances.

I didn’t want to overdo it so I ended up creating 7 different phrases, some where I put the hashtag on the first word of the book, some where I added the word “leadership” with a hashtag afterwards, and a few with words either leading the title or after the title. You don’t have to do a lot since you only have 140 characters to keep the same message while making it different.

I wanted to space out my message every 2 hours, and that worked with what I’d created. But I wasn’t done and I knew I’d be adding some other things here and there in other spaces, but would still be able to add one more thing to Twitter.

Lists Of Note
Garrett Coakley via Compfight

Next on the list was writing an article on LinkedIn. I took a major chance and decided to make the title of the article the same as the title of the book, only I used “and” instead of “/”. Then I wrote an article talking about why leadership is easy for some people and hard for others. At the end of the article I wrote a short bio mentioning the book and adding my link. Not only that but I knew that my business blog goes to LinkedIn so I was hammering the name home. Savvy?

Next, I went to Facebook and added the sales link to my business page. I couldn’t add the link to the blog until it went live and I was scheduling the post on Facebook ahead of time. I mentioned when I added the link that I’d be adding the blog post about the book the next day. My intention there was to hope to build up a little bit of suspense, though I also know that few people from Facebook actually visit either of my blogs.

Later on, I decided to break ranks a little bit and put the link to the book on my personal page as well. I wasn’t sure that anyone would think about buying the book who’s in my personal space, but I figured they might be intrigued to see that I had put together a second book and might either look at it, like it or share it.

A few hours later I added the blog post to a group I’m in for local bloggers. I figured they might be intrigued a little bit also, but the site offers everyone who’s a part of it to share their blog posts there. I don’t do it all that often but I thought this was a day to do it.

I have two Google Plus pages, one that’s more personal and the other for my business. I added the blog post from my business blog to both pages and then I added the link to the book on my personal page and the community I run there called the Leadership Cafe. What I’m now realizing is that I didn’t add the link to the book on my business page, but I’m only connected to 10 people on that page, which I created so I could have a business video channel (which you don’t have to do now but did when I wanted the 2nd channel) so that’s not a big deal.

However, as I was adding the link to those pages I realized I was forgetting something… the video! I quickly made a short video using the Google Hangout way instead of doing it on my own computer. I did that because I thought it’d be easier to add annotations to it that would link to my blog and the book. Here’s that short video:
 


 
https://youtu.be/M5FZ__XXEck

I shared that video on both of my Google Plus channels. I’ve also added the link to that video to the other messages I’m posting on Twitter, along with the link to my LinkedIn article. That means I’m up to 10 messages I can rotate on Twitter. But there’s more. πŸ˜‰

Wednesday I wrote the first part of this two part series about the book, the process of writing Leadership Is/Isn’t Easy, which mentions the name of the book in the link as you see, which gives me an 11th message. With this article I’ll have a 12th message; I keep hammering the title! I’ll be writing one more article on my business blog that mentions the book in the title in some fashion for next week; I’m just not sure what it’ll be at this moment.

This is my first real shot at marketing something a lot. The fear is that it might be the wrong topic. Some people think leadership books are kind of boring and dull; truthfully, a lot of them are. I’m not a “system” guy when it comes to leadership; I tell people what it is and I give straight advice, recommendations and tales that I know every leader’s going to have to deal with at some point.

So there you are, an idea of how social media marketing works. It takes a lot of work and a lot of repetition.

I hope you at least check out the link to the book, even if you’re not a buyer, and if you see anything from me mentioning the book, please share it; I’m not ashamed to ask that of you. lol If you think I’ve missed anything, let me know.
 

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The Process Of Writing Leadership Is/Isn’t Easy

Let’s get this out of the way first: I’ve just released my newest book on leadership, Leadership Is/Isn’t Easy, as part of a big package deal of goodies and such, and for the next two weeks that’s the only way it’s going to be sold. If you’re into leadership, or even if you’re only interested in marketing, go see the types of things I’m offering. This is one of the ways of internet marketers these days; instead of just selling one thing, package a bunch of things in there, set a big discount price off its value, and see where it goes. I just launched yesterday, so I have no news to share with you as far as sales and such. πŸ™‚

BookCover03

This is my second book on leadership. I finished writing my first one in 2002, Embrace The Lead, which is over there to the left, and in the first link I talked a little bit about the process of writing it. At this link I gave the outline points of the book (it’s on my business blog) in case you’re interested in seeing what it’s all about.

Back to this book. I first thought about putting it together in 2012, after I’d been sitting at home for a long time, making my living as a writer for hire and just feeling kind of bored. At that time I had two newsletters I was writing, one on leadership and one on health care. I gave up the health care newsletter around the time I started thinking about putting the leadership book together and hadn’t thought about giving up the leadership newsletter then, which I eventually did in 2013 before I started traveling again.

My idea… take some of my earliest newsletters and some of my earliest blog posts from my business blog, which celebrated its 10th anniversary this past December, and create a book out of them. I ran the idea by a few people they all liked it, and off I went.

I had a lot of articles to go through on both fronts. Luckily, not every newsletter was specifically on leadership, but I still had to look at all of them, and all of them were in HTML format so I had to keep pulling up files online instead of just keeping articles on my computer; I still haven’t learned that lesson with blog posts. At least the blog posts were fairly easy to go through.

I worked a list of 65 posts down to 31, based on the topics I wanted to show. At that point I actually thought I was 90% done; oh, I was so wrong!

What I discovered, at least on the newsletter, is that my writing style had drastically changed, luckily for the better. My early newsletters were all over the place. I found myself with a nice idea and then spent a lot of time trying to make it a long newsletter instead of getting to a point and then leaving it. These days I call it the “Mozart Principle”; write until you’ve said all you wanted to say.

Now I knew this was going to be a daunting project; or was it? I thought about putting it out the way it was, telling my hoped-for audience that I wanted them to see the progression of my writing from the early days until 2008, which is where I stopped; I figured 5 years worth of articles was enough. I shared it with my buddy Mitchell Allen and he told me what I’d already figured out: if I couldn’t stand to read them what made me think anyone else could stand reading them? Ugh!

Thus, I had plans to rewrite… and then I didn’t… and didn’t…

Blind Date/Just Friends with a Book
Pioneer Library System via Compfight

I just couldn’t get myself to start on it. This was around March 2013 and my mind wasn’t into it. However, it turns out I should have started when I had the chance.

Because in April of 2013 I started negotiating what eventually turned out to be a long term gig in Memphis, TN; 18 months in fact. Suddenly, flying back and forth from New York to Tennessee and then working as I was pushed almost all thoughts of the book into the background.

It sat in Dropbox for a year, then additional months. Every once in a while I’d open it up, change a few words, and close it back up. I was a mess! lol

Then I had an ending date for my gig and realized I had to get back to it. Thus, I finally opened it in early September while I was in Memphis and finally went to work. Man, those early posts were depressing, and I just wanted to write every person who’d ever subscribed to that newsletter and apologize for all those horridly written early newsletters.

In essence, it was like how some people take an article off the internet and rewrite it to make it seem like an original. I didn’t quite have to do that… but the new versions looked nothing like the originals. Heck, two of the articles were so unwieldy that I ended up turning them into two articles, and each one was over 1,000 words.

I finally finished the entire book last November, the first week I was home for good. Luckily, since my style had gotten better, the last 10 or 11 articles hardly needed any work at all; whew! Then it was time for the first edit, then the second edit… I’m not saying it’s perfect even now, but I tried.

When I had it set, then I sent out a request for readers. I had 7 people say they’d read it and let me know if they understood the concepts. This is something I’ve written in the past; if you ever ask people to review something you’ve written tell them what you want them to look at. I didn’t want people arguing with me on my concepts of leadership; I wanted to know if they understood the language I was using, if any sentences were confusing… grammar!

Then I waited… and waited… by New Years Day, all of them had said they would be done. Not one of them got back to me. I followed up with all of them via email; nope, nada zip. Sigh…

What to do? Nothing. I did nothing.

Once again, it was sitting on the computer as I worked on getting my next contract. I had lots of nibbles but wasn’t landing anything. It was another cold winter and I just rolled with it.

A few weeks ago I lost out on another contract that would have paid exquisitely; I was irked. And then I remembered I had the book sitting there in Word and decided it was time to put it out. One night, just before I fell asleep, I remembered an article I read back in 2002 by Paul Myers talking about “thud factor”, that being to pack a lot of related things into a package to show how much value was there, then market it at a price higher than the product would go as a standalone because of all the extra stuff, and at a later date you could offer the product on its own for the normal rate.

Thus, the book package idea was born. The steps…?

62:365 - Concentration
phil wood photo
via Compfight

First, I ended up having to reformat the book twice because there was some kind of error in the original file. When I tried a trick that normally works, copying the book into Notepad and then into a new Word document… it taunted me for my stupidity. What finally worked was copying each article individually into Notepad and then copying the entire thing into another Word document.

Then I had to reformat the entire thing, but I’d messed up and forgotten what I’d done the first time around. Suddenly, the book went from 157 pages down to 127 pages, and I couldn’t tell you how. Still, I printed a few pages to see what it looked like in print, because at some point I hope to have it in print also, and it looked… like a book. πŸ™‚

I don’t want to tell you everything that’s in the package because I want you to go check out the product page. However, I put all the files into one folder so I could compress them into a .zip file. That bad boy still came out to 442MB; ouch! But it’s the best I could do; value is big!

Next, I had to write the sales copy. I wrote 3 different versions of it, then ran it by my friend Kelvin because he had some knowledge of how to market via sales copy. He made a few suggestions, I implemented them, then created the sales page, coding the entire thing; yeah, some of us still write code.

Next, I tried to get it to fit under Google’s stupid mobile friendly rules… oy! I spent about 90 minutes on that, going back and forth with numbers. At one point it looked like it was pretty close to Google’s standard on mobile but it looked horrible on a browser. That wasn’t going to work for me so I decided to just format it so it looked good to me. I got that, and when I checked Google gave me 87 out of 100 for user experience and 97 out of 100 for speed; good enough for government work.

Once I set up Paypal, which also meant creating a “thank you” page with a link so people could download the file, I was set. All I had to do was wait until my business blog’s post went live Tuesday; whew!

I’ll save how I’ve worked on marketing it for the next post, which will probably be on Friday. Normally I only have two posts a week but since this is for a special event you’re getting three; how special you must feel! πŸ˜€ I hope you’ve stuck around to read this, and I hope you check out the product page. More on Friday!
 

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