Email Management Tips

I am literally swimming in tech stuff, domain management and site development right now, and yesterday’s WordPress upgrade couldn’t have come at a worse time for me. Anyhow one thing I thought I’d share with you are the changes I’ve recently made with how I manage all the emails across dozens of domains. I think I’m just avoiding my disaster pile of work that’s waiting for me ;). But I had to hunker down and nuke my past email setup (email client was wonky) because it wasn’t as efficient as it could be. First here’s a bit of backstory:

  1. I don’t allow my domain emails to pass through a third party (like gmail, yahoo, whatevs).
  2. I’m a Microsoft fan, but not Outlook. To me–it’s a magnet for virus disasters IMO.
  3. I’ve used a few different email clients through the years, namely Pegasus and Foxmail (can’t find the non-chinese link). Too limited though when things got complicated (ie. bunch of email addies per domain) and some features just aren’t there that I’d like.
  4. I have a couple (or a few–depending on the domain) email addies per domain. Such as one for site contact form, one to use when making comments on other blogs, one for article/directory/whatever submissions, etc. The method to my madness is that when one gets picked up in the spam train (and when using them ‘out there’ for whatever reason–they will), I can just delete it and start with a fresh one. This keeps my main email addresses mostly out of the spam loop.

Since I am working with several live domains, with each domain having at least two email addresses, and download all the emails locally to my computer every few minutes rather than have an online third party handle them–things got a bit heavy and clunky. I have been using Foxmail for a few years now, but I seemed to have broke it with all my accounts and the megs of stored emails (it constantly drops the stored passwords).

I recently made the switch to Thunderbird and although I still need to figure out a few tweaks for personal preference, overall this email client is “The One” for me!

First, a new trick I figured out for domain emails: And this one may make your eyes roll since it’s *always* been available to do, I just never picked up on it. In the past I always created a new account in cPanel for each email address. Hello! Just create one email address and then go into “Forwarders” and create all the aliases you want to send and receive mail for and then forward to the one main email address. You can forward all emails from one domain to another domain’s email account too–I haven’t looked into that at all though since it’s not something I’m interested in doing atm.

What Happens: It saves your email client from logging in and checking dozens (maybe hundreds) of email accounts. It just has to log into the main account for the domain and grab all the emails including ones for the aliases.

Here’s where things get interesting with Thunderbird: You can create an account for the main email, then add a bunch of Identities to that account. What happens then is that you can create emails or respond with the “email alias” you are working with instead of your main email account showing up in the headers as “to” and “from”. I won’t get into the details of how to do that, it’s laid out very well here: Web Worker DailyThunderbird

Get Smarter – Life And Business Lessons

We’re a product of our environment. What our parents taught us, what our education stamped into us, what our experiences and interests have introduced us to. We simply can’t know what hasn’t been exposed to us in some way–no one is born with knowledge of anything. So we can only know what’s been put in our world in some way or another.

If you’re in the mood for an easy read that you’ll not only learn from but be inspired by, this is the book for you–Get Smarter – Life And Business Lessons. Think of it as a chat with a wealthy older uncle who wants to share with you what he’s learned. It’s written by Canadian self-made billionaire Seymour Schulich who has an obvious desire to leave a real legacy: sharing what he’s learned through his rich and full life with those who want to learn.

Here are some of the takeaways I got from the book, some are my own summaries, some are quotes:

The Decision Maker: A Tool For A Lifetime

Gah! I wish I had known this technique years ago! I have made some fat, messy decisions that have been life-changing and oh-so-wrong. Sure I’ve learned a lot from those mistakes, but in some cases they were painful and took quite awhile to correct and get back on course. The Decision Maker is simple:

  • Make a pro and con list as you may already do, but enhance that by setting a non-emotional based value beside each item (from 1 to 10). If the “Pros” are at least double in value of the “Cons”–go for it. If not, be very very careful.

Track The Cash

  • The most important thing to monitor is the trend of the cash levels in your enterprise. Simple but true, other metrics can reveal interesting things about your business, but can muddy the waters. The most important metric to monitor is the cash level–if it’s healthy and rising–your business is on the right track.

Investing In Foreign Countries

  • I find the information on China, India, Asia to be very interesting because we are a global market like never before. Not only as it applies to our lives, but when trying to guide our children into their future. This is serious stuff to consider IMO and for those in India (my personal interest is drawn here)–I think you’re in the midst of an amazing and phenomenal time right now for business and personal financial development, lucky you! πŸ™‚
  • Quote: “Roger Rosenblatt’s Rules for Aging says that if you want to live a long time, avoid swinish people. I’d expand this to include swinish countries where the rule of law is absent, property rights are questionable, and governments expropriate without compensation.”
  • A few of his experiences with investing in foreign countries is nightmarish and a definite piece of wisdom to put in your “Must Know” file. Some countries he’s had trouble with are parts of Eastern Europe, South Africa and South America. It’s so shameful because there is so much money in the world just waiting to be invested and put to good use that isn’t because of sheisty leaders or short sighted governments–what a waste of much needed job and business opportunities.

Don’t Let Cash Burn A Hole In Your Pocket

  • Don’t pay excessively for anything–a house, a stock, a piece of land–just because you have the money and the popular wisdom is that it can only get more expensive. The popular view is often wrong. The biggest opportunities come to those who can write a cheque when assets go on sale at knockdown prices–often during a period of economic turmoil or recession.
  • There is plenty of discussion in the book about storing up cash and holding onto it. Being patient–very patient–and being very picky and choosy about where to invest your cash. The rich get richer, why? Because they have the cash on hand to grab or take advantage of juicy opportunities when they arise.

The Oil Industry

  • Oil is entering a golden age of shortage of supply. Very tight oil markets will last for the next thirty to fifty years, until fusion power becomes commercialized. Fusion power will drive all cars electrically and power all homes. Oil may still be used for chemicals and flying planes. Its age will end as did the ages of wood power and coal power.

On Buying A Business

  • Remember: Ability is the poor man’s wealth. Don’t pander to the establishment looking for a break; they didn’t get where they are by giving things away or helping people like you. “Nobody sells a good, growing business.” (some exceptions: poor health, but for the most part it’s true).

Advisors/Consultants

  • Keep away from advisors/consultants. If they knew how to make money, they would. These folks are like the fellow who knows a thousand ways to make love but doesn’t know any women. (lmao).

Be The Promoter, Not The Promotee (Or Patsy)

  • Every profession is a conspiracy against lay people. Touches on credit cards, franchises–but see how easy it is to apply to the net marketing world. I kinda envision the world as a ‘pyramid’ with the very wealthy or successful at top and the masses (lay people) filling out the bottom. The lay people are NEEDED to support the top in their position. In an equal opportunity environment–that’s not a bad thing since it motivates the ‘lay people’ to strive to reach up. But keep that in mind for every song and dance that comes your way–we see it over and over again here in net marketing and right now there’s a big new rush being promoted. Look at it with fresh eyes, recognize the promoters and don’t be a patsy (or a promotee). You can choose to grow your own business or grow those above you.

Gold

  • It’s easy to print money, it’s not easy to find and produce gold economically. Gold is a “store of value” — an asset that, unlike cash, holds its real worth generation after generation. Keep at least 10% of your financial assets in Gold.

Home Buying

  • Get the well-located house that needs some fixing rather than the best house in a problem neighborhood. Me–I learned this the hard way. Your investment grows to much higher levels if the property is located in a desirable neighborhood rather than a not-so-desirable neighborhood.

The Law, Lawyers, and The U.S. Tort System

  • Advice to Canadian entrepreneurs: Until there is real U.S. tort reform, do not list or raise capital in the United States. Canadian, European, and Asian capital markets are large enough for virtually all capital needs. He discusses the lawsuit happy and lawyer-heavy country that the U.S. is. It can devour anything you develop in the states–total wipeout.

I haven’t heard much about the book but saw it rising in the ranks on Canada’s Amazon best seller list, so I had to give it a shot. And I’m so glad I did, I found it incredibly interesting. The book is 49 chapters that are packed with wisdom, but easy to follow and read. I read this book in one night and couldn’t put it down.

BTW, at the beginning of the book he talks about reading and how much he’s read in his life. Setting aside time to read one book a week is a recommended habit to get into.

Book Title: Get Smarter – Life And Business Lessons
Author: Seymour Schulick

ETA: Update – There’s a free Get Smarter Preview Chapter available to download in pdf.

Revenge of the Blog Muse

Writing a blog with original posts and ideas has always been more appealing to me than just running around with whatever everyone else is writing about. For one thing, others have probably said everything really well already. But by staying out of the loop in terms of the ‘current noise’, you miss out on the community chatter aspect (bloggers linking back and forth if your post is really good regarding the particular hot topic of the day). Overall though, I think your blog will benefit since you end up building a port for your readers where they know they’ll find something fresh.

The problem with writing a blog containing ‘original ideas’ is that the blog tends to be tagged as a “muse” by others. That doesn’t mean a “blog muse” is cranking out exceptional writing, ideas and content–it just means the blog content provides a flash point for other bloggers. It gives them ideas for things to write about. Sometimes that means an almost identical mock up to your post (boo!), other times it’s taking a single point raised in a post to write a new post on another blog.

Anyone with a sense of blog or net ettiquette would think being a blog muse is exactly what you want to be. Bloggers finding inspiration with your posts, that means lots of inbounds–right? Things like:

“Terry over at SuperAff wrote about targeting ads the other day, and one thing I think she missed that is important to note is …”

However, the reality is different. Many times the blog muse isn’t mentioned at all. When it happens here on SuperAff, I basically just operate with a ‘two or three strikes’ and you’re out kinda thing. I stop linking to their blogs, stop commenting, stop reading their blog, the “your blog don’t exist to me” goes both ways.

But when it happens “out there” on my other web properties, I made a change. This time I’m running with it and having some fun–with surprising results.

First example:

I wrote a killer piece for one of my blogs that was picked up and linked to by several blogs. Within 48 hours or so, another blog took the post and ran with it–without acknowledging my other blog at all. Their post wasn’t a copy and paste, but you know how it works.

The sucky thing was they had a wider audience and it got more love from the social bookmarking scene and all that jazz. That’s how things can go and it’s happened several times with SuperAff so I should have a thicker skin already, but I was a tad bittercakes about it.

So I did the same thing back. Except this time I ran with a week’s worth of posts (ideas taken from their blog), as well as a killer post linking to all sorts of resources in their niche. I linked to puh-lenty of their competitors–not only did I send some new readers to those competitors, but they’ll also enjoy a boost in the serps.

  • Result: My posts are outranking theirs in Google AND I got some juicy link love back from the bunch of competitors I linked to.

Second example:

I came across a blog in one of those ‘blog networks’ that had pretty much modeled a month’s worth of posts from past posts on my blog (not SuperAff, a different one). Of course, no link love. More bittercakes. Learning from the first example, I was determined to write plenty of posts that would outrank theirs in the SERPs, as well as send some love to their ‘competitors’.

  • Result: Before I could finish my plans for a spanking (I only got about 5 posts in), they suddenly linked to my blog a few times. Truce, and I accept it.

When you’re taking from a blog without giving a smidge back, things can backfire elsewhere.

Over the years here, there’s one big blogger that I’ve sent a few links to from SuperAff, I’ve sent in some content ideas to him (hey, I think this would be something your readers would like to know about), left some comments, the whole deal. He’s taken twists of the suggestions and wrote about them–without acknowledging me. He’s also written plenty of posts modeled after ones here on SuperAff. And yet never once has he tipped his hat to SuperAff.

Bittercakes on my part? Maybe, although I don’t really dwell on it–his blog just doesn’t exist to me now, remember :P. Anyways, he has other blogs out there and I noticed one of his other blogs making the rounds, links pointing to a post of his. A note hits my inbox (on another blog) that my blog readers might find his post interesting. My blog readers surely would–I wrote a similar post months before, and it purposely excluded his blog and focused on links to his competitors (because I don’t forget). Dingbat.

Cluetrain:

  • Links are probably the #1 most valuable thing to help blogs grow, and yet they’re so hard to pluck out of fellow bloggers. Why screw that up for yourself? If you’re musing from a blog that’s a heavy linker–don’t screw them over by not acknowledging them.
  • If you’re musing from a blog that could outrank you in the serps–don’t inspire them to do so.
  • Remember that no matter what size a blog is, their links matter. Why not do your best to see that they link to you rather than your competition?
  • And … you might think you’re messing with a blog that has no voice or no way to fight back, but you never know what tools they have at their disposal ‘out there’ that would benefit you.

Stop Being An Ass: Pretty much sums things up. You can’t tell who’s behind a blog and what other places they’re blogging at. You might get away with ripping from someone today, but what happens when they decide to work on outranking you or push up your competitors or kick your butt elsewhere? Isn’t it just a whole lot easier being open and give credit where credit is due?

In the meantime: New content ideas for my blog, new google traffic I wouldn’t have gotten otherwise, and new inbound links and subscribers from blogs I would have never thought to link to in the first place. Revenge really can be Sweet! πŸ™‚

Grasping The Concept Of Online Targeted Advertising

Knowing your audience is crucial in the online world of money making. Traditionally that meant real world marketers focused on demographics such as:

  • What is the age group? Male or Female? Income bracket? How many kids? Home owners or renters? Working or retired? yada yada.

Companies spent a lot of money to find out statistically what group their product appealed to and experienced greater success with. Those numbers can play a part in successful branding online (think: banner imping and text links), but I propose looking at things a little differently for monetizing your web properties:

  • Who’s visiting your blog or website? How are they finding you? Why are they coming back? What are they looking for? What need are you fulfilling?

I’m not saying forget about age, sex, income brackets. But let your primary focus be to drill down and understand what the intent or motivation is of your visitors when they choose to visit your website.

Here’s a theoretical blog with monetization examples from the two different perspectives:

Blog Topic: Stay At Home Moms Resource & Discussion

Demographics: Female, 24 years old – 45 years old, college education, household annual income $75,000+, two children (preschoolers), home owner, credit card debt.

I polled my visitors and studied the above numbers then carefully picked a variety of advertising and affiliate products to display on my blog. An assumption of a few good picks that would fit with those demographics would be:

  • Online cosmetic shopping, designer handbag coupon codes, mortgage offers, credit card deals, online toy catalogs, shoe shopping, candle sales, discount perfume.

Women in that demographic bracket buy those things all the time. They have mortgages. Credit cards. Wear clothes and makeup. Light candles. So it makes sense that they would visit my SAHM blog, see the ads for those things, and happily click thru and buy buy buy. That’s how targeted advertising works online…errr…Right?

Looking at the other perspective:

Visitors Intent: The motivation for women to visit this blog daily is to share ideas, tips, fellowship with other women in their situation. Discussion of raising happy and well adjusted children, learning new ways to run a home productively, and somehow be organized and effective with days that are hectic and full.

If I focused on the intent of my visitors and readers, the monetization methods chosen would be a whole lot different than the first example. I’d realize that women are coming to my blog for a variety of reasons, but mainly they’re visiting because they want to enhance their life (and their family’s) as a SAHM. They want ideas and discussion that pertain to being an effective, fulfilled, SAHM. What can I present to them, what products will provide solutions to their problems, what services will make their lives easier, what items will help them stay on track and be successful in their chosen lifestyle?

The monetization methods might be:

  • Products and services that *WOW* make a difference or provide a way that makes things easier for them at home (I’m not talking about a Kitchen Aid people), a fantastic deluxe planner that will help keep their lives organized, a set of DVDs about yoga for moms and tots (to tighten up the tummy and have bonding time with mom & tot), a special report on 101 ways to use a crackberry for everything from meal planning to grocery shopping to keeping track of the soccer schedule (including aff links to the crackberry).

Looking at the two different angles when approaching monetization methods, what are the visitors going to “click into” immediately and be tempted by the benefits? What’s going to make them pause for 5 seconds and imagine that product in their lives? Which focus will provide results? The visitor demographics or the visitor intent? Test and see.

Placing targeted ads on a blog or website does not mean: Women = Perfume, Shoes, Cosmetics, Handbags, Mortgage Offers, Credit Card Deals.

Placing targeted ads on your blog or website does mean: Targeting the intent of your visitors.

The easiest intent to convert to sales? Shopping traffic. But that traffic is getting a whole lot harder (and expensive) to find. If you want to successfully monetize “info seekers” or “blog readers”, find products and solutions that are tempting and hard to say no to for the particular motivation of your visitors. They’re subscribing and reading your posts for a reason. Find out why and model your monetization methods around that.

PS: If you respond to this post with “Well, Duhhh”, check out the monetization methods on 90% of blogs–grasping the concept of targeted advertising doesn’t come easy.

Developing The Art of Detachment To Increase Results

What I’ve been trying to accomplish this summer and build a little bit of muscle on is: Detaching. What I’m finding is that my results GROW the more I disengage online.

Yes I’m still blogging and churning out new content daily. I just do it in a more time efficient manner (timestamping & pre-publishing). But I’ve cut way back on emails, blog/forum reading, stats checking and overall fooling around.

By decreasing my online time to eliminate as much ‘noise’ as possible, here’s what’s improved:

  • More purposeful, more focused, more results oriented
  • Goals are clearer, less fuzzy
  • Content quality and visitor response (more subs, more links, more traffic)
  • Picked up offline hobbies that are satisfying and give me pleasure (remember those?), yet haven’t done in many moons
  • Time to read more books and gain a wider perspective on a variety of issues (for all kinds of areas: marketing, online business, and other interests)

Believe it or not, you don’t have to follow every blog in your niche. You don’t have to stalk competitors to see what they’re up to. You don’t have to hang out and chat on forums, blogs, emails, IM. You don’t have to know every new SEO tidbit. You don’t have to invest your time into every latest and greatest.

By detaching and removing myself from the online world, I find myself blossoming :shock:. I’ve stopped talking talking talking and absorbing all the noise and tossing around what ifs and ideas, and am now just *performing*.

Here’s the game plan:

Figure out what you want. What you really, really want. Is it money? Is it freedom from a job? Or is it freedom in general? A lot of people dream of owning their own business, but what they don’t realize is that many times the business they’ve bought or developed is just another job. Except with longer hours, more responsibility, less benefits (medical/dental, paid vacation, pension, etc.) and a financial stress that you would not believe. I’ve been there and done that and I’m not interested.

So what do I want? I want to earn money online in a manner that’s as hands-free as possible. If I’m not plugged in, I still want to earn. If I don’t touch a webpage in 3 months, I still want to earn.

Realistic? Possible? The bulk of my online earnings is doing it already, so I’d say yeah :P.

What I Know Isn’t Working Right Now (for me):

Affiliate product sites. Actually I’ve known this for well over a year or so (maybe even two) and that’s why I haven’t developed any new ones. All that’s been happening is a steady culling, flipping sites to SEDO (parked domains) or replacing product pages with actual content (original and on theme). These can sit and age until I decide to use them for some other project. Or flip in the future and earn a buck or two.

I do have some steady performers on hand and they’ll sit and ride it out until the bitter end. I know they don’t have a future, but I’m happy to keep them going until things change.

Aren’t affiliate product sites best suited for my goals? Not really. Links die and expire regularly and need to be checked constantly to be effective. Organic search results are harder and harder to come by. Add to that a new(ish) policy by Commission Junction to kill accounts that don’t remove expired links fast enough, cookie blockers and wipers and adware–it all adds up to too much hassle (for me).

What I Do Know Is Working (for me):

Developing content that people find value in. I know, blah blah blah blah blah. But it’s true for me and this is what I’m riding everything on. Reader loyalty development (ie. subs), linkability, timeless content choices (content that is interesting today as well as 10 years from today), originality.

Long Range Plans:

A mix of monetization methods that include affiliate products (as advertising, not main content) and other ad serving methods.

Product creation and development. This is something I’ve talked about here before and it’s something I’m still very much interested in. Unfortunately it seems I work in negatives, I always know what I *don’t* want rather than what I *do* want. Meh. But I know to suit my goals best, I don’t want to develop:

  • Software (far too much involved with customer support)
  • Web Dev Services (hosting, web design, scripts)–again far too much hands on is needed
  • Blogging (err? Right now I’m using blogging as a platform or stepping stone, but it’s not long term for me)–too hands on again
  • Service Based (paid memberships, etc.)

Product creation doesn’t mean you have to step into shady circles. You don’t have to create and package dated information to be consumed by those who just don’t know any better or those you seduced into a trust relationship. But at the same time, there’s nothing wrong with recognizing that there are many different levels of knowledge out there and serving well a less knowledgeable market is perfectly kosher.

Steps To Take (Suggestions):

  • Figure out what you want. Do you enjoy working with people, blogging hourly or keeping busy with customer support and interaction? Or do you prefer a more removed and detached presence online? Then map out your plan accordingly. Build toward that goal.
  • Set an amount of online time (daily) and stick to it. If you give yourself two hours online each day, you’ll be sure to work effectively. If time needs to be stretched, allow it only for critical situations (like new product development, new site development, etc.).
  • Set email filters. Check emails daily for the ’emergency’ folder. Things like site monitoring notices, affiliate accounts, Paypal notices, blog comments. Inform friends that you’ll be checking emails weekly.
  • Remove instant messaging services or only logon weekly or 1/2 hr per day.
  • Detach from forums (posting and reading) and blog reading.

And the big one: Stop working on sites that don’t have a future or don’t show any promise for monetization or serve a purpose for long range plans. Stop fiddling and creating work for yourself and just do what’s necessary to keep things growing.

This isn’t going to work for people just starting online or who don’t already have a base to work with. Everyone has to put in the 8hr – 12hr days to learn the ropes (both the good and the bad). But for the rest of us, learning to work effectively, fine tuning our goals and training ourselves to always ask: Is what I’m doing going to improve my results, get me closer to my end goal? may just be the ticket to get us there.

If what I’m saying here resonates with you, and you enjoyed the books Go It Alone and The E-Myth Revisited, you’ll definitely find some great direction with The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich (not an aff link).

The New Rules of Marketing & PR – David Meerman Scott

New Rules of Marketing & PRI got a nice surprise when David included me in his thanks and sent me a proof copy of his new book: The New Rules of Marketing & PR along with an audio seminar Online News Releases. Sweet Stuff!

I’d like to share juicy tidbits of the book with you, but also talk about some things that I’ve learned as a marketer/blogger that correlates to what David has written. I hope it will be interesting, and be warned: this is a long post ;).

If you liked the Cluetrain Manifesto, you’ll like this book. Message: If you have something to sell–you need to understand, and respect, that consumers are now plugged in and connected like never before. Companies are slowly beginning to realize that building relationships and communicating with consumers is the fast track to manna.

David provides plenty of examples and actionable steps that can help expand your online reach–this book isn’t marketing theory and fluff, it’s all laid out with examples and steps to make. And HELLO! we could all benefit from that info. You don’t have to be big business to benefit from what he’s shared, there’s some great stuff in the book.

If you’re a company and you’re not trying to figure out how to connect with your customers online or how to generate buzz and work with bloggers, ***You Are Late***. Because some of your competitors already are, and the number is growing by the day.

Buyer Persona Profiles

David talks about developing “Buyer Persona Profiles”: Who are you trying to reach? What are their goals? Problems? What’s important to them? What are they doing online? What are they attracted to? and on and on. Flipping this to online marketers and bloggers, I’ve found that I have applied this with great success to one of my blogs.

You have to drill down and figure out who is that person you’re trying to reach–and then create content just for them.*

Although David provides examples and ideas for multi-Buyer Persona Profiles for companies and organizations to use, this is a tricky thing for bloggers because you know the “unsubscribe” notices are going to hit your inbox occasionally. And you know it is probably due to the fact that you are presenting a vibe or two that just isn’t “resonating” with a more/less sophisticated crowd. BUT if you stay focused on the “Buyer Persona” that you’re aiming for, instead of trying to kick it with everyone–you’ll see more chatter, more links, more comments, more subs. More blog stalkers. Guaranteed. It’s called tightly targeting your content.

David even goes so far as to suggest naming the persona and clipping a representative picture of one from a magazine and having it in your face when trying to develop the message to reach them. I found that to be really powerful stuff.

I found a vocal blog fan and focused on her (she commented and linked a lot). Carefully chosen, she seemed to fit what I had in mind of the type of reader I was trying to reach. What would she be interested in reading? What would she like to see on the blog? What would she link to? It’s working to the point that another blogger linked to the blog with a blurb along the lines of: this blog is like a crack addiction, can’t shake it. And that’s TRUE for a lot of readers on that blog.

Is your blog crack to someone? Would they miss it if it disappeared in some black hole? If that’s not the case, read what David suggests about developing Buyer Personas and develop one. Because it really does work.

*The best persona would preferably be one that compliments what you can offer and is true to you (as a blogger). It’s no use being fake and trying to attract vegetarians to your blog if a) you think they’re silly or misled for cutting out meat, and b) you don’t have a clue about the lifestyle, benefits and the choice. Your vibe will be ‘off’ and will have a hard time connecting with that persona–never mind driving yourself crazy trying to be something you’re not.

Page 135 (softcover, uncorrected proof version):

Often times, marketers and PR pros are amazed at the transformation of their materials and programs as a result of buyer persona profiling. “When you really know how your buyers think and what matters to them, you eliminate the agony of guessing about what to say or where and how to communicate with buyers,” says Revella.

and then:

“And of course, they’re wasting budgets building programs and tools that don’t resonate with anyone. It’s just so much easier and effective to listen before you talk.”

Key word: Resonate. Or how about: Grab them by the throat. And to do that–you need to be quiet and pay attention to that persona. When you know who you’re trying to reach and what they’re about–it’s so much easier developing content to attract them.

More sections to read:

How To Create Thoughtful Content (page 155)
How To Write For Your Buyers (page 159)
An Analysis of GobbledyGook (page 160)
Poor Writing: How Did We Get Here? (page 161)

It comes down to: Write for your customers/readers/visitors. Don’t make it “all about you”. Skip the promo language and the “trying to impress you” stuff that means nothing to anyone but you. Again: Know your buyer and what she’s interested in and write for her in her language.

(page 215):

Blogs and Media Relations

Getting your organization visible on blogs is an increasingly important way to not only reach your buyers, but also to reach the mainstream media that cover your industry, because reporters and editors read blogs for story ideas. Treat influential bloggers exactly as you treat influential reporters–read their stuff and send them specifically targeted information that might be useful to them. Offer them interviews with your executives and demonstrations or samples of your products. Offer to take them to lunch.

The blog of mine mentioned above is not a highly influential blog, but it does have some interest. It’s within the top 5,000 in Technorati and for the niche that it’s in, it’s doing great. And I’ll tell you this: Companies ARE going after bloggers. Mmm Hmmm. Even here on this little blog (SuperAff), I get proposals–but not very many are worthwhile because they’re just not handled right or the product isn’t right.

The key to best success for buzz is to make it EASY for a blogger to write about you, and the best way to do that is to make it mutually beneficial. Free products to try, exclusive freebies for visitors (without the lame s&h charges), free content like reports and white papers and little-known hacks (that a blogger can do with what they will in their own way/words).

David’s approach with his new book is a PERFECT EXAMPLE on how to do this well. He wrote up a big blog post linking to a group of bloggers and thanking them, then offered to send them the book for free (along with other goodies).

This gave bloggers a few different things: Flattered the ego (:heart:); Provided content ideas (book review and commentary); Freebies & Goodies (he even autographed the book).

Here’s the buzz that single page of his that I linked to at the beginning generated: Technorati. Over 100 blog links and growing, and if you have a website at all–you know how difficult it is to get 10, never mind 100+ freely given links. Then add all the rest that linked to his main page instead and all the book reviews that are yet to come.

That’s exactly how you connect with bloggers and get them to talk about you, and with great energy too.

It’s *INCLUSIVE*. Look at the people he linked to. All kinds of various blogging personalities. Some big wigs. Some smaller bloggers. And everyone in between. He reached out to a wide spectrum of people, and he was genuine with his outreach. He really did embrace and thank a bunch of people. That makes it so easy to respond to!

Big business, small business, small time online marketer or big time blogger: the book does provide a lot of food for thought, a deeper understanding of what’s happening online as well as actionable steps to take that will help your online presence grow. And David fully demonstrated with his book launch that he knows what he’s talking about ;).

Congrats David, the book’s a hit in my eyes! And it helped me too, thank you for the copy πŸ™‚

PS: Chapters not mentioned that were big hits with me were the podcasting and news release sections. I’d love to delve into those areas, ack! I need more time!

Pick up your own copy: The New Rules of Marketing & PR *Not an aff link. His blog is pretty cool too.