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Topic: knowledge

Demonstrate Your Knowledge

Blogs are a great way to Demonstrate Your Knowledge.

In fact, outside of becoming a regular guest on big TV shows and writing columns in a newspaper, I would say that it is the next best way.  And the blog can certainly land you those kinds of opportunities in the future.

Many people think they have to come up with new, creative articles for their blog every day.  Instead, you have to remember that the people that are reading your blog probably know less than you and are looking for insight into your topic.  All you need to do is demonstrate your knowledge on the topic by writing good, informative posts about thing you already know.  You may even find it a bit boring, but your readers will not.

By demonstrating your knowledge in a clear, professional manner, you will be building your visibility and personal brand.  The result will eventually be:

  • Sales
  • Invitations to speak
  • Partnerships
  • Job Offers
  • Other writing opportunities
  • And many other things

There are a huge number of opportunities to build your personal brand online.  However, if you want to build expert status, a blog is the best way to demonstrate your knowledge and expertise, coupled with email integration. (You want to build your list as well as build blog traffic)

Don’t get hung up on writing.  Just look around at what you are currently doing and write about it for someone that has never done that before.  Your blog will be packed full of valuable information in no time.  To demonstrate your knowledge you only have to be consistent writing the things you already know.

Melody Campbell interviews Ron McDaniel

Melody CampbellMelody Campbell, the Small Business Guru, just published a podcast interviewing me on Get More Business Podcast.

She works with a lot of small business owners and we covered a wealth of knowledge on how small businesses can generate buzz with activities, both online and off.

Even though we initially had some technical difficulties, she was a very positive and fun person to talk to.   She is just one of those people you know you would like to know – right away.  I am glad we had a chance to meet.

How Employee Ambassadors have transformed Kodak

Employee Brand Ambassadors

Read More About Employee Brand Ambassador Programs

I had the pleasure of seeing Jeffrey Hayzlett speak a few months ago.  It was especially impressive to me because Employee Evangelism is something I usually have to dig for, and here was a CMO talking about how Employee Ambassadors are a huge part of their growth.

I got the chance to ask Jeffery some questions about how it works for Kodak and how they implement it.  Be sure to check out the link to their Print Ambassador program.

1) Question:  Kodak has gone through some major changes in the past few years. How has your employee-base changed?

Jeffrey Hayzlett: Kodak has gone through an historic transformation from a vertically integrated manufacturer to a diverse supplier of digital and conventional solutions. That transformation was successful due to the enormous talent of the Kodak employees. Now a horizontally lean company, the Kodak employee remains one of the company’s greatest resources…that has not changed.

2) Question: With so many newer employees, has it been easier to encourage Employee Ambassadors?

Jeffrey Hayzlett: I’m proud that two of Kodak’s strongest assets are our people and our brand. Employees have long been ambassadors of the brand. In fact even after retirement, former employees continue to support and tout Kodak solutions. While there have been many change in the past few years, I think one of constants has been both the employees and the public’s desire to see Kodak succeed in its transformation. That support was one of the factors in the success of the transformation to a new Kodak.

3) Question: Can you give me one or two examples of non-sales staff that have been successful ambassadors? What impact did they have on the organization?

Jeffrey Hayzlett: We have recently implemented a program called FAST here at Kodak. FAST is set of operational guidelines designed to drive sustainable, profitable growth.

FAST stands for Focus, Accountability, Simplicity and Trust.

In short, the FAST behaviors require us to treat everyone — internal and external — as a customer.

If we treat everyone as a customer — by delivering as promised and making no excuses — the company prospers.

Another initiative is our new BOOYAH Recognition Certificate. It’s a fresh way to recognize individuals at Kodak for exceptional on-the-job performance, dedication, and commitment. Too often we forget to recognize and thank an individual’s contributions – this certificate provides the opportunity to signal our appreciation in a very visible, upbeat way.

The term “booyah” is a spontaneous expression of passion and joy, usually brought on by victory, success, or some other significant accomplishment. For us, it represents the acknowledgement of a job well done – a great idea, an outstanding attitude, or an obvious effort above and beyond the call of duty.

4) Question: How do your encourage active ambassadorship? Is it required or optional?

Jeffrey Hayzlett: I believe Gandhi said it best. “You must be the change you wish to see in the world.” People tend to model the behavior of those around them. As the Kodak leadership team models the behavior of an ambassador, it fosters that behavior in the Kodak community. Conversely, the leadership team learns from employee ambassadors as well. It is vitally important to the company as it keeps all levels of the organization in true communication.

5) Question: Overall, how has this program of actively cultivating a culture of employee ambassadors helped Kodak?

Jeffrey Hayzlett: The Kodak brand continues to grow stronger, both internally and externally as our employees hold themselves personally accountable for achieving the corporate goals. My overall observation is we have happier employees. As we continue to develop an environment that fosters a personal sense of ownership and commitment, we build company based on pride. The result is a company with a brand that each employee can call their own, a company of employee ambassadors.

Who is Jeffrey Hayzlett?

Chief Business Development Officer and Vice President,

Eastman Kodak Company

Jeffrey Hayzlett serves as Chief Business Officer and Vice President, Eastman Kodak Company. He has responsibility for Corporate and Product Public Relations, Communications and Public Affairs, Brand Management, Corporate Sponsorships, Market Development and Corporate Relationships and Partnerships. Mr. Hayzlett reports to both the CEO and COO of the company.

Mr. Hayzlett joined Eastman Kodak Company in April 2006 as Chief marketing Officer and Vice President, Kodak’s Graphic Communications Group (GCG), leading all marketing activities for GCG. Mr. Hayzlett has nearly 25 years of international marketing, sales and customer relations management experience.

Mr. Hayzlett is currently a member of the board of directors of the Business marketing Association (BMA), the Electronic Document Systems Foundation (EDSF) and is on the advisory board of the CMO Council. He is chairman of the Sales and marketing Executives International (SMEI) Foundation for marketing Education, and is a permanent trustee to the SMEI Academy of Achievement Hall of Fame. He is also a two term past chairman of SMEI. Mr. Hayzlett remains a trustee of Pi Sigma Epsilon National Education Foundation.

Mr. Hayzlett has received numerous honors and awards, including the 2007 Lifetime Achievement Award from Frost & Sullivan, a global business research and consulting firm. He was recently named one of BtoB Magazine’s Best Marketers of 2007. He was awarded the International Business Person of the Year Award by the International Printers’ Network (IPN), received The British Association for Print and Communication (BAPC) Honorary Life Member award in 2004, and the National Association of Quick Printing (NAQP) Industry Award of Distinction in 1997.

Mr. Hayzlett speaks frequently around the world on graphic communications and marketing, including presentations in 2007 at the Canadian marketing Association’s National Convention and Trade Show, “THE Conference on marketing,” the Direct marketing Association Leadership Forum, Print Oasis, and the National Postal Forum.

To find out more about Kodak, visit www.Kodak.com and don’t forget to check out that Print Ambassador program to see some examples of Ambassadorship in action.

Business Rich Boot Camp

A good friend of mine, Ralph Berge, has teamed up with some of his collegues and are doing a two day Business Rich Boot Camp.  I have attended a one day boot camp and came away with a great 90 day plan that helped me improve the business.  If you are in the NE Ohio area, check it out.


Business Rich Boot Camp

Do you ever catch yourself saying, “I don’t know what I don’t know”? And you do know that it’s impacting your business…

Action Coach of Akron-Canton is working with business people to answer that question and more at its Business Rich Boot Camp on November 15th and 16th at Firestone CC in Akron.

At this intensive two day workshop, you will learn the fundamentals of building a successful business model. This #1 business coaching firm will teach you the business foundation of knowledge required to outperform your competition. It’s not just theory, its hands on, hard hitting, business education that can be implemented in your business.

Here’s a link for more information:

http://www.actioncoach.com/ralphberge/events.php

Do not read this post…

Creating buzz with your workforce is a radical idea that many people bulk at.  This post is even more radical, and you should not read this post unless you are capable of thinking beyond the entire concept of employer/employee.

DollarIf you have a good job, you probably have a 401K or some other type of retirement plan.  You may have financial training and services available to you.  You may even belong to an investment club with people from work.

This is great.  You invest money and it usually grows and eventually you have enough to retire and stop working.

Don’t you think it is odd that your employer ever wants you to stop working?  What is in it for them?  They lose your many years of experience and get nothing in return other than the hassle of hiring some green employee and training them, and crossing their figures that they are 10% as good as you were.

New Retirement

The fact is, retirement is not in the best interest of the business, other than an argument being made that new blood and new ideas keeps the business growing.  It is a perk that is expected by employees and businesses have grown used to the idea.

So if a business is going to consider asking every employee to create some buzz, why not add the training and skills to generate online reoccurring revenue to the mix.  Think of it as an addition to your other retirement plans.

People are already doing this on the side anyway.  Why not help them get there?  Why not provide the stability of a regular paycheck along with the training and knowledge of buzz and online income?  Wouldn’t an employee be that much more loyal to an organization that has helped them build an extra $500 monthly residual income (Essentially a free car)?

And employers can do a lot to help ensure that most of these people are more likely to stay vs. more likely to see an opportunity to leave. 

Here are some ideas on what organizations can do:

  • Hosts the websites, blogs, etc.  Employee gets it free, but cannot take it with them
  • Pay for regular classes, newsletters, resources
  • Honor and recognize monthly best buzz creator
  • Form an after-hours online revenue group
  • Pay for editors to help put together great eBooks, books, etc.
  • Provide access to legal resources

This is a much bigger win for the business than typical retirement.  It is like getting free advertising in the 401K.  The entire time an employee works building their online visibility, expertise or business, the employer can set some - very un-intrusive - requirements.  Things like sponsor links, access to audience for special announcements, etc.

I strongly believe that as we live more and more of our life online, the physical location we are at will matter less and less.  So we will be interacting personally at work, and doing work tasks outside of normal locations and times.  Instead of seeing this as an intrusion, why not build a win/win for everyone and lets break down the barriers a bit.  Online Buzz - and how to monetize that - will give every employee the opportunity to secure faster and better financial independence.

Which direction? – 7 Tips to Not Be Invisible

One Way SignWhen I look at this sign, I see two things that I try to apply to my business.  You should too.

#1 – Always move up
Keep moving in a positive direction.  Sometimes that may mean retreating or quitting some things that are not working, but only because that affords you the time to focus on better, more positive things.

# 2 – Be a rebel
Stop looking for the one right way to do marketing.  Forge new ways and you will stand out and create more buzz.

With those thoughts in mind, lets get to the list of 7 tips for not being invisible.

  1. Unexpected Web Element- Are you working hard to make your website look super professional and just like your competitors?  Consider this a slap down.  Many studies have shown that people’s eyes go to the unexpected on a web page.  It could be an image, it could be a misspelled word.  Put something out there that grabs the attention. (but not misspellings – that was just an example)
     
  2. Be the Brand – If you are not a big corporation, maybe the best thing to do is stop trying to act like one.  Give your company some personality and make part of your personality your business.  The work/life balance applies to people that hate their jobs but want a check… not to people that are passionate about what they do.  Are you passionate?  If not, quit.
     
  3. Act like you own your industry – Be knowledgeable about your industry and own it.  Inside you may know that there are bigger players and other experts, but unless you start acting like the leading expert now, you never will get there.
     
  4. Have the courage to be wrong – You simply cannot be right all the time and stand out.  If you want to be right, you have to take safe, blah positions on issues and cover all possible exceptions.

    I got a lot of attention when I said – “If an employee is not passionate about the business and willing to create buzz, fire them.” – Many business owners liked the idea but did not find it practical…. they could not fire otherwise good employees just because they did not want to create buzz. – If they want to have a sucky half business that is their problem.
     

  5. Build value engines – If you try to make everything one to one personal, you will find you spend all day answering emails and talking to people.  Create avenues where more than one person can get to know you without needing your individual attention.

    Blogs are one way to do this, and designing an auto-responder course such as mine on buzz marketing is another.  You would be surprised how many people feel like they know me even though I have never met them.
     

  6. Lurkers are Losers! – Lurkers are those people that read blog posts, message boards and other online community sites but do not participate.  I am going to expand this to also include people that read books, magazines and newspapers but do not email or send a letter to the author, reporter or editor.

    If you are investing time to read, why don’t you invest a few moments more to add to the discussion and create some visibility for yourself?  It gets easier the more you do it and people appreciate the participation.

    Are you going to comment on this blog post or are you a loser?
     

  7. Don’t Alienate People – If you go around calling people losers or acting like you are too important, people will ignore you instead of care about you.  There is a delicate balance between being different and an expert vs. being obnoxious and annoying.

    I know very high profile people that do a great job of replying with personality and humor to emails and inquiries, even though they are busy and very successful. Make every communication an effort to win fans.  You cannot be invisible if you have a fan club.

Bonus Tip #8:  NEVER SLEEP Lastly, you can take naps from time to time, but never sleep.  Your visibility depends on a consistent, long-term commitment to creating more visibility and buzz.  You can only become a celebrity in your industry if you start thinking like one.

Dean Hunt – Buzz Marketing Guest Post

Exactly How I Got a Stampede of Web Traffic

Dean here from www.deanhunt.com – Today I will show you exactly how I milked an article to get a stampede of web traffic.

Today I am going to show you a step by step guide on exactly how I got a random story onto the Digg.com main page LAST WEEK.

Here is the back story: My biz partner bet me $1000 that I couldn’t get a random article onto the Digg.com main page.

He found 3 random articles:

1) A self help article

2) A gadget review article

3) A religious article

He game me a time limit of 3 weeks to transform one of these articles and get the new version on the Digg.com main page. I could modify the article, but couldn’t do a complete re-write:

Spoiler Alert: I got the self help article onto the Digg.com main page 48 hours later. I didn’t even need to use articles 2 and 3.

I took a few screenshots, and I am going to show you the EXACT tricks and techniques I used to do this.

Here is the article that I had to transform into viral gold: http://www.procrastinationhelp.com/humor/procrastinators-creed

Here is my version of the story: http://retiredat21.com/10-step-guide-to-thinking-like-a-loser/

Here is my version at Digg.com: http://digg.com/offbeat_news/10_Step_Guide_To_Thinking_Like_A_Loser

I thought that the original article was pretty good, but there was no way it was going to get on the Digg main page. So I knew I had a lot of work to do to create some viral content.

The Dilemma

Many people contact me and say “Dean, I would love to get some viral success for my site, but I don’t have your creativity”. My answer is that ANYONE can get millions of visitors for ANY article. But 99.99% of marketing experts prefer to talk the talk instead of walking the walk, so the only way I could prove just how easy it can be, is to use an EXISTING article and transform it.

My dilemma was that I was technically using someone else’s content. This was a catch22 for me. If I create an article from scratch, people will just say it was my creativity that did it, if I use someone else’s article, then it is not morally correct.

However, this case study should help thousands of webmasters achieve viral and buzz marketing success.

To be honest, the content in the original article is nothing new, but I have credited the original article anyway.

Below are nine of the main techniques and tricks I used to transform the article into a buzz article. Remember, this mini-series is not just about Digg.com, if you create buzz with your article then you will be mentioned on authority sites and powerful blogs.

Trick 1: A Global Appeal

This trick is based on the law of averages. I am sure you are all familiar with the term “niche”, well here is the trick… niche-focused articles often aren’t as successful with viral content as content with a global appeal.

Here is an example: Let’s presume that 100 people see the original procrastinator’s article. Of that 100, 40 of them have never heard the term “procrastination”, so they are not going to enjoy it. Let’s also assume that another 20 are not going to fully understand or appreciate the humor in the article. Finally, let’s presume that a further 10 people don’t understand the word creed.

Note: Don’t make the mistake of presuming all your readers speak fluent English.

So from this example we have alienated 70% of all the readers.

An article simply cannot go viral with ease if 70% of all readers are not going to understand it.

So clearly I had to make it have a more global appeal.

Step one was to change the focus from procrastination to not being a loser. What % of people are familiar with the term loser? I am guessing close to 100%.

In one simple step I have increased the probability of this article being a success by 70%, simply by changing the focus/topic.

Trick 2: The Negativity Slant

This is an area I have studied a lot over the past few years. Here is how it works:

Content with a negative slant will get discussed more than a positive slant.

“Bad news travels faster than good news”, and we can use this knowledge to our advantage. Have you noticed what % of the news is bad news? It is a HUGE %.

Look at the buzz stories of the past month and here are some of the articles you will see:

  • iPhone disappointments
  • George Bush (almost always negative)
  • Paris Hilton prison stories (mostly negative)

Did you know that Paris Hilton created an official petition to prevent her from going to prison?

Did you know that there was also a petition at http://jailparishilton.com/ by some entrepreneur that claims: “She did the crime, she should serve the time, no special treatment!”

The “Jail Paris Hilton” petition got more than three times as many names as the official one, and the site has had millions of hits.

Trust me, a negative slant will ALWAYS have more chance of going viral.

I personally saw the effects of this phenomenon with the “Bizzare Google request” blog post that was described as the “viral marketing success of 2006”: http://deanhunt.com/bizzare-google-request/

So here is what I did to the original article… instead of saying something positive like “How to procrastinate less” or “How to succeed with procrastination”, I made it negative with my title “10 Step Guide to Thinking Like a Loser”, you can see my version here: http://retiredat21.com/10-step-guide-to-thinking-like-a-loser/

Trick 3: The Killer Headline

Unlike the other two tricks, this one is common knowledge…

You can have a great piece of content, but if your headline sucks, your content will NOT get seen.

ORIGINAL HEADLINE: “Procrastinator’s Creed”

Do you think this is a good headline?

I have already shown you why around 70% of Internet users will NOT like this title. So let’s look at my headline again:

VIRAL GOLD HEADLINE: “10 Step Guide to Thinking Like a Loser”

Which do you think will grab people’s attention?

Below I am going to show you in detail why this headline is an absolute killer headline.

Trick 4: 10 Steps to Viral Heaven

Ok, here is the trick… people love lists! There have been many discussions about why lists are so powerful in Digg.com, but we can save that for another time… all you need to know is that Internet readers LOVE lists. Anything in list format is a surefire winner with the Digg crowd.

Note: Apparently “top 7” is the magic number: http://www.webpronews.com/topnews/2007/05/22/top-7-lists-lead-the-pack-on-digg

This was another killer mistake that the original author made. He ALREADY had the content in list format, he just messed up the headline by not including a top 10.

So to improve the original article I simple added a number to the headline. Easy!

Trick 5: Stand out from the crowd

This trick applies to both your headline and your content. The Internet is a VERY crowded place, and there are millions of webmasters who are trying to grab some attention. So if you want to get noticed then you MUST stand out from the crowd.

Seth Godin uses this as the focus of his “Purple Cow” book http://www.sethgodin.com/purple/

There are hundreds of thousands of articles on procrastination, and I knew that I had to stand out from the crowd with my version, so I created a headline that would achieve that.

I guarantee that my headline really stood out from the crowd at Digg.com

If you are struggling to think of ways to be creative with your content, then grab a pen and paper and just start writing as many wacky ideas as possible. Be creative, controversial, edgy, wacky, unique… try it all.

You can never be too creative!

Trick 6: Curiosity Killed The Cat

Curiosity may have killed the cat, but with buzz marketing it is a killer technique.

The key to this is to create a headline that raises people’s interest. You can do this by giving a teaser in your headline.

Looking at the current Digg.com frontpage content, there are some articles that attract curiosity:

Gas consumption per day: U.S. vs. Rest of the World
Thanks for dying Jesus! [PIC]
The 9 Most Meaningless Corporate Slogans

Wouldn’t you want to read those stories?

Note: The gas consumption article breaks my “Global Appeal” rule, but they get away with it because the vast majority of Digg readers are American, and a decent % are America Haters (ouch).

Trick 7: Image Is Everything

This is one of the easiest tricks. All you have to do is simply add an interesting photo/image to your story. It is that simple!

I don’t know the exact reason for why this is so effective. Personally I feel it helps with the packaging (See trick 8), and it helps present the content in a superior manner. I actually did an article recently that got on StumbleUpon simply because the image I added was so amusing.

So here is what I did for the procrastination article: I added the following image to the article:

Trick 8: Perfect Packaging

Packaging = website template.

If your site looks crappy then you are reducing your chances of going viral. There are some exceptions (Craigslist), but generally you will get more attention if your site looks great.

I recently posted part one of this buzz marketing study on my personal blog: http://deanhunt.com/my-buzz-marketing-101/

Then I was asked to guest blog for a major web development portal. So I published the same article here: http://fadtastic.net/2007/07/10/a-buzz-and-viral-marketing-case-study/

Guess which article was featured by Darren Rowse at the hugely popular Problogger.net?

You guessed it, the awesome web template at fadtastic meant that the case study was packaged much better there.

Tip: Ensure your site looks great, also try and make it look like an authority site (add a feed, contact-us, disclaimer etc…)

Trick 9: Shifting the Focus

This is a powerful trick that I used to great effect on the procrastination article. What I did was shift the focus of the article from first person “me/I” to second person “you”.

In the original article the tips were in this format:

ORIGINAL: “1. I believe that if anything is worth doing, it would have been done already.”

I simply switched this tip to second person:

VIRAL GOLD: “Learn that if anything is worth doing, it would have been done already.”

So why is this trick so powerful?

There is a reason that Internet Marketing experts talk in second person in their sales letters… example: “Do you want to know how you can make $1000 per day?

By focusing on the reader you make them seem more involved in the story. It also helps keep their attention.

Have you ever been chatting with someone who is talking constantly about themselves? Boring isn’t it!

I re-did the article and switched the focus on the reader. This was very powerful, and helped ensure that people left loads of comments both at the blog and at Digg.com.

SUMMARY

Above are 9 of the tricks I used to transform a decent niche article, into a global viral success.

I don’t know how many visitors the original article got, but mine has had over 65,000 unique visitors thus far.

Please note that these tricks will require some practice and patience. But with time you will be able to master them.

Personally I have used these techniques to get over 2 million unique visitors to my articles for FREE.

I hope you have enjoyed this chapter, as always I welcome your questions and feedback.

The next chapter will expose some of the myths about viral marketing.

Dean

Note: I was recently asked to compile more of my tactics and tricks. So I am busy working on that right now. If you would like to be kept informed of any updates and tips from me, then send me a blank email to: contact@deanhunt.com

If you want to read more from Dean then see his straight talking business advice and the non profit young entrepreneurs portal for more tips and tricks.

Josh Hinds – Networking Guru

Josh Hinds of Business Networking Advice sent me a very kind email that requested an interview opportunity.  What kind of a buzz marketer would I be if I said No?  But instead of just saying, “Sure, I will impart my fabulous wisdom to you.” I did a little research and asked him to answer some Networking questions for you readers as well.

Josh regularly does interviews on his blog.  This is a technique we suggest people use to create more content and build your network.  My first question was about that.

1) Does doing interviews help you expand your network? Tell me the best example of something that came out of an interview.

Josh Hinds Answer:

Without a doubt doing the interviews has been beneficial in strengthening my existing network and meeting new people.

It’s interesting, when I started the site (BusinessNetworkingAdvice.com) I originally envisioned it as a way to strengthen my existing network as I would be interviewing folks I already knew and giving them an opportunity to share their insights with the BusinessNetworkingAdvice community.

What’s been particularly interesting is that often the people I’ve interviewed tend to refer people they know or have connections with to read their own interview, as well as share the resource in other places. I certainly don’t expect them to do it, but it seems to be a natural occurrence.

Another rewarding thing that happens is the interviews I’ve done in some instances have been good sources for connections — from people in my own network as well as folks I have never met before. Occasionally I will get a note from someone that was interviewed on the site saying they were contacted by someone who learned about them from their particular interview. The opportunities that open up are almost infinite.

Effective networking in my humble opinion is all about creating, win, win, relationships. What I particularly like about doing the site is that through the interviews it’s an opportunity to add a third win to the original win, win. In that the person who happens to read the advice shared also gains valuable insights, and in some instances can use it as a chance to reach out and connect with someone they might not have been able to otherwise.

A long time ago I made the commitment to being a life long learner. While one of the topics I speak on professionally is effective networking — I’m not above learning something new (hopefully everyone reading this agrees) and doing the interviews on the site is the ultimate opportunity to learn from others in a wide variety of industries and varying backgrounds. I learn as much from each interview as my readers do.

2) It is easy to network in your region. What are the best techniques for expanding your network to other regions?

Josh Hinds Answer:

If you’re starting out fresh you’d want to identify the people you already know who are connected in some way to the group it is that you want to make a connection with.

Once you’ve identified those people before you jump out there and start asking others to recommend you, you’ve got to remember a golden rule in networking… always put in way more value then you expect to get in return (especially at the front end of the connection/relationship).

If you’ve got a strong relationship with a person in your network already, certainly you can ask them for ideas on making connections, but you want to be very careful so that you aren’t putting them in an uncomfortable position. Some would read this and take issue with the fact that it might be uncomfortable to refer another person to those they know.

Even still suffice it to say, it pays (literally) to give people an easy out if they aren’t able to help. For example, when I’m asking for potential interviews for the site, I’m always aware of people’s time. Time is an invaluable asset.

That being the case most of the time I will include a little mention saying I certainly understand if they’re not able to do the interview, because of time restraints or for whatever reason, but that I did want to ask them about it. Most of the time folks are more than happy to participate, but at least I’m giving them the opportunity to decline if need be.

Again, the point is you want to communicate to people that you’re going to make it as convenient for them as possible to work with you or be associated with you. Remember, always give more than you expect to receive. As the saying goes, givers receive (but only when they’re giving genuinely without giving only because they think they’ll benefit as a result of doing so).

If you are looking to expand your network in areas where you don’t have any existing connections a great place to start is by doing a google search. Say for example you were looking to network with people involved in a particular industry. What you could do is search for sites or blogs that deal with the particular interest and participate in the community. After you’ve taken the time to get to know the people in the community, or the particular site owner you might consider dropping them a message. Focus on them. I can’t stress this enough. Focus on the other persons wants and needs first — in doing so you’ll build rapport and avoid doing what 95% of the other folks who write to them do by focusing on how they can help themselves first.

Along the same line you could also search for and participate in forums or message boards which target the particular group you want to network with. You could do a search for magazines or trade publications which would be of interest to the particular types of people you want to meet and connect with. Often the publications website will have an area on it that outlines how you can submit articles for review to be used on the site or in the magazine or publication. If you have truly valuable knowledge to share you might find yourself getting exposure that way. This can go a long way towards positioning yourself as an expert in the minds of the very people you want to grow connections with.

You could also search directly for industry associations and focus on making connections that way. At the risk of sounding like a recorded message it’s worth stating again that you want to focus on how you can help the other person first. It’s very unlikely that you’re going to be the first person to ever try any of the ideas I’m suggesting, yet if you focus genuinely on giving value to the other person first the results you receive will go a lot farther than approaching the connection from a “what can you do for me” approach.

Consider the following two very different approaches…

1. You drop a message to the editor of a particular magazine that caters to an industry you are interested in networking in. You say, “Hi, I enjoyed the visit to your site. I’m interested in connecting with your readers. Would you mind referring me to anyone you might know who would have a need for what I have to offer?”

Perhaps you’re not saying it exactly like that, but you might as well be if you’re focusing on your needs first.

Now consider the second example.

2. You drop the following message to an editor in a given industry you have an interest in making connections in. “Hi, I enjoyed my visit to your site. I do a lot of networking and plan to expand my focus on meeting people within this particular industry. Could you e-mail me or send me back some information about your magazine which I could use to recommend to anyone I come into contact with in the future that might have a need for the resources you have to offer?

Notice the difference between the two approaches. The second one focuses on helping the other person. This approach is obviously two parts, where the second part is ongoing. Each time you connect with someone that might benefit from what the editor that you contacted has to offer you simply make the connection on their behalf. What’s interesting is that while the two people you connected will likely benefit, you will benefit indirectly as well because you’ve positioned yourself as someone whose genuinely interested in offering valuable resources. You’ve put the focus on others before yourself. In doing so you’ve also positioned yourself as a genuine giver. When you make the connection you should also give the person you’re recommending to the given resource the opportunity to mention that you sent them their way (if they choose to do so). One final point here is that you don’t want to go about connecting people just for the sake of connecting people. There should be a genuine potential synergy that could develop from your having connected them.

3) How would you define a great network? When does someone know enough people and need to focus on those relationships and stop growing the network?

Josh Hinds Answer:

Ron, that’s a great question. I define effective networking as creating win, win relationships. It sounds a little cliche’ and simplified perhaps, but it’s the simplicity of it that makes it right on target if you ask me. A persons network can encompass both personal and professional relationships, and in some cases it’s certainly the case where the lines between purely professional and personal cross each other.

I would feel my network is moving along in the right direction if I can honestly look at its members and say that no one is falling between the cracks. Am I able to give the individual attention and follow up necessary to stay connected with each person to the level that the particular relationship warrants.

A mistake some people make is thinking that after an initial meeting with another person they’re a member of their network. In fact, what they have is a new acquaintance. When in fact It’s the time and investment they’re willing to put in to further developing the connection with the particular person which determines whether or not they become a trusted and valued member of that persons network.

Sometimes we think of networks in terms of contacts or prospects only. When we do this we run the risk of thinking it’s about quantity versus the quality of the connections we have in our network. Anyone can focus on going out and literally building a vast network. But having large numbers of people you are loosely connected with doesn’t necessarily make a person adept at networking (and even if they met with some success, couldn’t it be multiplied by focusing on quality of the relationship?). So rather than focusing on the quantity of people you connect with, focus instead on developing relationships and becoming valuable in the eyes of the other person.

There’s an interesting thing that happens when a person goes from simply attempting to sell them on their wants and needs to first focusing on effective networking, whereby they create value in the eyes of the other person. The entire dynamic seems to do a 180 degree turn. Because effective networkers position themselves as the person that others seek out and want to do business with. They want to become friends with these people. They want to be associated with those who understand the law of giving first. If you doubt that, be honest with yourself for a moment. How did you feel the last time someone came to you with a proposition that was clearly about what you could do for them?

Essentially what I’m saying is rather than deciding on a set number at which you will stop developing new connections, instead make a commitment to serve those who are already in your network, while at the same time developing value among the new people you meet. Making the decision to serve others is a long term commitment. It takes effort, but it can also be a lot of fun along the way. It’s a commitment worth making and you simply can’t believe the opportunities that will come your way as a result of first making the choice to lead by serving others.

In closing I’d like to finish up with the following thought.

Above all, the members of your network are people. People who have wants and needs of their own. Strive to be the type of person that others enjoy being associated with. If you will do that you can’t imagine the benefits that will come your way. It’s an enviable place to be in the marketplace, and the reality is it’s not all that hard to achieve.

Thanks Josh.  Visit his blog for all kinds of great interviews and networking advice.

Business Mantras

Shawn Hessinger over at BootStrapMe wrote a post about Business Mantras and references Guy Kawasaki.  He is discussing if business plans are a thing of the past, (see my post here) as well as your business mantra.  I got an email forwarded to me challenging people to post about their business mantra and thought I would participate.

I have run several businesses.  All the earlier businesses started with technology ideas and none of them were huge hits.  Then a few years ago I got upset about employees not creating more buzz, and I started a business to help people get more people involved in creating a little buzz every day. 

It is not technology.  It is not the book. It is not the blog.

It is a Mantra:  Everyone is a Buzz Marketer

We help companies discover new ways to share the passion they feel about their products and services with the world.

Our business plan is simply to make money while striving to help people be more successful creating buzz and become better at promoting themselves.

I must say that it is far more fun to have a company based on a philosophy than it is one based on a product or service.  If a philosophy defines you instead of a product, you can:

  • Discontinue or change products and no one will care (We found a better technology to achieve success…)
  • Develop more revenue channels (Books, training, speaking, consulting…)
  • Become a leader in your industry (via innovation and knowledge)
  • Create a stronger team (everyone understands the cause)

That is just a few of the advantages.  Feel free to add your thoughts in the comments section.  Do you work for a product or a philosophy?

Z-List Update

A while back I wrote about the z-list, which has vastly improved my technorati ranking.

Chris Brown did a new version of the list with descriptions and I thought it was simple yet valuable, so I am reposting it here.  Thanks Chris.

—————————————

Thanks to Gavin Heaton, Sharon Sarmiento and Becky Carroll for creating the full Z-list as a Download Zlist-categorised.doc or Download zlist_by_category.xls.

Calico Monkey
Focuses on the ToonBoom software to create animation.
Women, Art, Life: Weaving It All Together
Art-focused, including thoughts on the art that Tammy produces.
Woolgathering
Looking, thinking, drawing, being
World Blog Collection
Blog listings categorized by type; goal to add 1000 links in ’07.
Blogging Secret
Part personal but mostly blogging related site.
Blogging to Fame
All aspects of online business from SEO to usability and blogging.
Blog-Op
How to improve your blogging by Chris and others.
Daily Blog Tips
Tips to improve your blogging from tools to design.
Mike’s Money Making Mission
Making money using free blogs.
One Reader at a Time
One blogger’s experiment in building and engaging with online communities.
Ruminate this site
Reviews blogs and sites so that we don’t have to.
SMogger Social Media Blog
The ethical use of social media for bloggers and other web users.
SuccessCREEations
Blog Consultant bringing the twin passions of business and blogging together.
Successful Blog
The legendary Liz Strauss, blogger extraordinaire and creator of the SOB award.
Troy Worman’s Blog
Focus on writing, ideas and connections
Copywriter’s Crucible
The importance of copy in corporate blogging
Copywriting Tuneups
How to measure reading effectiveness and why it is important in the blogosphere
Dipping into the Blogpond
Blogging about starting an Internet company in the Sutherland Shire.
BrandSizzle
Broad and deep insight into the branding process.
Own Your Brand!
Blog to help businesses re-imagine their brands.
The Emerging Brand
Corporate branding blog focused on leadership.
The Engaging Brand
Using technology and marketing knowledge to improve business communications.
What is Brand?
Japanese readers/speakers? Anyone?
Presentation Zen
(Site in English) Tips for great presentations, marketing, and business communications.
Bob Sutton
Discussions of “jerks” in business.
Perspective
Health, wealth and the freedom to choose. Archived blog. New one is jugaad (http://www.nitibhan.com/jugaad).
Ramblings from a Glass Half Full
Views on business life.
Simplicity Mary’s Blog
Business development, marketing troubleshooting
Funny Business
Wide ranging discussion on business with a funny and pictorial approach.
Creative Think
Fun Ideas to stimulate your creativity.
The Copywriting Maven
marketing and SEO copywriting tips.
Brain Based Biz
Tips for stirring creativity in business.
Experienceology
How to create great customer experiences on the web and in the “real” world.
QAQNA
Business blog on call centers, quality assessment, and customer service.
Shut Up and Drink the Kool-Aid!
The irrepressible Tim MasiGuy Jackson and Co’s slant on bicycle marketing.
MineThatData
Tips for database marketing from the viewpoint of a DM wiz.
Design Sojourn
How to do good design and create clever products.
aialone
Design, innovation, as well as Jon’s cartoons!
Frozen Puck
Making cool stuff with expensive toys
Africa Unchained
Discussing issues and solutions in Africa.
Energy Blog
News, information and updates on the Energy generation industry.
Movie Marketing Madness
Marketing with a focus on Hollywood. No info on About page.
gDiapers
Corporate blog discussing environmental issues.
Time to Budget
How to gain financial freedom by controlling your finances.
Soloride
A project raising awareness and funds for children with dyslexia and learning differences
Girls Swimsuits
The name says it all, new site, small archive.
Home Business Wiz
Collection of resources about home business.
Working at Home on the Internet
Home business entrepreneurs and making money from home
Kristie T
Fun, mom-geared work-at-home tips and advice on making money on the net.
Asia Inspection Community
Blog for Inspection Engineers based in Asia. Includes job board.
Employment Law Colorado
Resource for employers and employees on Colorado employment law
Leading Questions
Real life leadership, organisational tranformation and practical tips for leaders of all kinds.
Steve Olson
Chronicling one family’s quest for personal freedom.
Make It Great!
How to take your life from good to great by focusing on relationships.
You Already Know This Stuff
Reminding us all that what we need to know is already in our minds and hearts.
HolyMama!
Funny perspective on life from a stay at home Christian mom.
My Marrakesh
Expatriate American with an eye for style, architecture and good living
Gangster Sonny
Fascinated with all things mafia … from movies to weapons.
Talking Story
Management and leadership, Hawaiian style.
AENDirect
Freelance art director’s view on creativity and advertising
Being Peter Kim
Personal insights from the depths of Forrester (note: this is his personal, not Forrester, blog).
BizandBuzz
Brand building and marketing from an Italian perspective
bizsolutionsplus
A passionate and respected author, marketer and activist.
Blog Till You Drop!
Marketing, advertising, branding, blogging
Branding & Marketing
Designed for business professionals with an interest in branding and marketing.
Business Garden
French readers/speakers?
Buzz Canuck
Passionate exponent of word of mouth from Canada.
Buzzoodle
Creating buzz with word of mouth marketing.
Christine Kane
A recording artist, Christine harnesses the power of community to reach her audience.
CKs Blog
Clever strategies, the new best practices, and the smart marketers behind them.
Conversation Agent
Connecting ideas and people—how talk can change our lives
converstations
Known as the blogging yoda (for insight not looks), Mike is a conversation generator.
CrapHammer
Marketing using new media.
Customers Rock!
Marketing the customer experience; its importance for businesses.
Diva Marketing
The Diva herself, aligning technology, marketing and branding for businesses.
Dmitry Linkov
Everyday and business issues
Drew’s Marketing Minute
Where strategy and passion collide
eSoup
Productivity, marketing, web media, small biz development and other stuff entrepreneurs ought to know.
Flooring the Consumer
Improving the consumer experience, particularly in flooring (carpeting)
Get Shouty!
Digital strategy and thoughts on blogging.
Golden Practices
Thoughts on marketing for professional services firms, including lawyers and CPAs.
Hee-Haw Marketing
There is no box. New media marketing strategy thrown together with a few cuss words and a dash of panache.
Hola! Oi! Hi!
Thoughts of a Brazilian newly arrived in the US with a marketer’s point of view.
Jeremy Latham’s Blog
A marketing-business oriented blog on website development.
John Wagner
News and views on marketing, advertising, media, PR and grass-roots communications
Kinetic Ideas
Marketing tips, ideas, strategies, and musings for small businesses.
Logic + Emotion
The intersection of marketing, brand engagement and experience design. How to turn your passive consumers into active brand participants.
Marketing Hipster
Online oriented blog on marketing and web 2.0 tools.
Marketing Nirvana
How corporate marketers can leverage the web & social media for better results
Mindblob
Using alien intelligence to follow the path of ideas as they come to life.
Multi-Cult Classics
Musings on Multiculturalism in the Ad Industry and Beyond.
Nick Rice
Marketing strategy combined with creative thinking and design.
On Influence & Automation
A marketing and technology blog
OTOInsights
Corporate blog focusing on using technology to create and sustain customer conversations.
Pardon My French
Online strategy and marketing with great case studies of real projects.
Pow! Right Between The Eyes!
The importance of surprise in business
Purple Wren
Tools and techniques for communicating life through print and images.
Servant of Chaos
Gavin’s rant on the world of branding and storytelling.
Shotgun Marketing Blog
Musings on marketing and related ideas.
Small Business Blogging
Using web media to market your business
Tell Ten Friends
Marketing using new media to make connections.
The Branding Blog
Branding principals, opinions and prejudices he’s developed
The Experience Curve
Social media and marketing from an experiential point of view.
The Instigator Blog
Entrepreneurial focus on marketing, ideas and building your business
The Marketing Minute
Expert insight into marketing and branding. And Drew loves Disneyland.
The Viral Garden
Mr Community leads the way in using technology to create conversation.
Two Hat Marketing
Views on targeted marketing.
Unconventional Thinking
The art and science of growing businesses
Viaspire
Marketing and Communications consulting firm blog
Popcorn n Roses
Movie industry blog with reviews and musings.
Current World news
“Breaking” news across a couple of categories. Small archive.
Choice at Your Fingertips
News and tips for making money blogging. No archive.
Blogtrepreneur
How to be an online entrepreneur and also build community!
Can I Make Big Money Online
Tips for making money online including research, design and blogging.
Dosh Dosh
Trying to source legitimate methods for making money online.
Internet Bazaar
Tips and ideas for making money online.
Kumiko’s Cash Quest
Trying to make money online and sharing the experience.
Million Dollar Experiment heads Down Under
Can thinking positively make you a cool mill? Rob hopes so.
Quest to make money on the internet
Currently up to £128, this site makes money by letting out its posting space.
Above Popular
Motivated to make the world a better place.
Critical Fluff
Ranks various things in life with mulligans, crabapples, and pineapples.
Forged Euphoria
Some sponsored links.
OrbitNow!
Miscellaneous musings
The Sartorialist
Photos of fashion on the streets, geared to inspire designers.
Bullshitobserver
Politics and commentary.
New Millenium PR
Bringing business, branding, marketing and PR together.
The New PR
Public relations in the online world.
Carpe Factum
Blog that focuses on the things you need to do to accomplish things. Especially big things.
Work, in Plain English
A design and marketing focused blog on project management. Interesting mix!
turned out
Minister blogging to connect everyone with a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
Evolution…not just a theory anymore
Creation vs evolution, commentary and archaeology by an independent scholar.
SEO Blog
New site on SEO and use of blogs to improve rankings.
Flee the Cube
Starting up a small business in web design.
Community Guy
Online and offline community building tips and tricks.
A Free and Decent Blog Host
Technology news focusing on blogs and blog software
Billions With Zero Knowledge
Changing the world with little bits of knowledge
Connected Internet
All things to do with technology, mobile phones and gaming.
darrenbarefoot.com
Tech news, writing and marketing
Deepak
Focuses on the technology of the Internet and loves Google.
MapleLeaf 2.0
Tech news stories relating to Canada
Scott Burkett’s Pothole on the Infobahn
Musings on technology, IT management, and online community.
Small Surfaces
Interaction design, user interface design, user experience, usability and social trends related to mobile devices.
TechBuzz
Tech new and reviews written by 17 year old in India. Awesome.
Masey.com
Design and photography blog.
Through the Lenses
Travel/photography blog includes stunning shots and photography tips.
Travel And Vacation On Blog
Lightweight travel guide/destination information on selected cities. Needs more.
The Best Guides to eCommerce with Favor
Viral marketing tools, memes and SEO tips.
Web Metrics Guru
Web analytics, in particular for blogs
The Future of the Web
Use of new technologies for the web.
Social Media on the fly
Learning social media on the fly
http://asyuu.asablo.jp/blog/
Japanese readers/speakers? Anyone?

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