When I started this blog I promised to be transparent and share my experience with you. My goal has always been to build an active online community to foster relationships and foment opportunities, but to also share the journey with you so you can benefit from my successes and avoid repeating my mistakes.
What are the metrics? TurkelTalks has been active since 2007 and has published more than 630 posts. As of last week, 20,167 of you have signed up to receive the posts and thousands more of you read the blog online and repost it on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and other social media sites.
What has TurkelTalks accomplished? This blog has been the most successful new business tool we’ve ever employed, bar none. True, it didn’t happen overnight but now that we’ve established critical mass, the blog has become a treasure trove of invitations and opportunities – the digital goose that continues to lay the golden egg. In fact, it was this blog, read by a senior producer at FOX Business that facilitated my first invitation to be on the network – an opportunity that has resulted in more than a year’s worth of weekly appearances (over 65 at last count).
And it’s not just me and my blog that have flourished. Since starting this experiment in social media I’ve counseled at least four other people on their blogs and three of them have also reaped great benefits (the fourth simply doesn’t post often or interestingly enough to move the meter).
Because I’ve been asked a lot of questions about what I do and how I do it, I thought it would be productive to answer some of those queries here. Of course, if you have other questions you can fill out the “comments” link at the bottom of this blog and I’ll be happy to answer them for you.
What Software Do You Use? I write the posts in Word and then upload them to the ‘net in WordPress. I use Listrak to manage my readership database and distribute the emails directly to you.
How Do You Come Up With Ideas? I run. Seriously, I spend most of the 25 or so miles I run each week thinking of blog post ideas. Sometimes I write the text in my head while I’m running even though by the time I get in front of a word processor I’m pretty sure I’ve forgotten the best parts.
But there are two ways I can avoid forgetting the good parts. One is to respect the muse enough to sit and write a post whenever the inspiration hits me. To that end I’ve written posts on airplanes, in waiting rooms, and even popped out of bed at three in the morning to capture my ideas. I’ve learned that great ideas are very fragile spirits and if I don’t grab them when they show their sparkly little faces they may never come back. When I’m out running I just repeat my prose over and over again until I get to my car where I can record the ideas on my iPad or my phone.
The second way is to always write down partially formed ideas regardless of how good they seem at the time. Right now my Evernote blog file has 12 nascent ideas that might become great posts. Evernote is an incredibly powerful cross-platform app that allows me to record and organize my thoughts on my desktop, laptop, phone, and tablet wherever I am. If you’re interested, check out the videos on TheSecretWeapon.org for a foolproof way to organize yourself on Evernote.
How Do You Get People To Read Your Posts? Each week I strive for three outcomes from my posts: I want them to be enjoyable, useful, and valuable. I figure if they’re fun and interesting to read and provide you with something you can use, you’ll read them and also pass them on to your families, friends, and online audiences.
Because I enjoy writing the posts I try to make them as engaging as possible. And since I believe the most important part of writing is editing, I try to write them with enough lead time to read them over and over and over – and craft them a little tighter on each pass. I’m even editing this post while I’m uploading it into WordPress.
But the most important thing to generate readership (after my relationship with you) is the title. And so I often spend as much time writing the five or seven words of the heading as I do writing the entire post.
I’m sure there’s a lot more I could share, so feel free to send your questions. And by all means, consider writing your own blogs. I think you’ll be thrilled by what it will do for you.
Gutsy marketers spend into the teeth of a recession. Several of BusinessWeek’s 100 Best Global Brands are doing exactly that
by Burt Helm
Every time a recession threatens, executives glare at the balance sheet and wonder aloud about one particular expense: brand building. Trimming the marketing budget can seem eminently sensible. After all, doing so won’t hurt product quality or, most likely, next week’s sales. As the business climate has worsened in recent months, a number of blue-chip companies have announced plans to cut marketing costs, including Coca-Cola (K) and Visa. U.S. automakers have already done so. As have several hard-hit banks.
Then there are the other guys—companies that refuse to let tough times distract them from their long-term brand-building efforts. Sometimes they see a recession as the perfect moment to get a leg up on a weakened rival. Others strengthen their brands to ward off discount competitors. Still others feel they have a knockout new product that requires support. In BusinessWeek ‘s annual ranking of the 100 Best Global Brands, several are keeping their U.S. marketing budgets steady, as a percentage of revenue. Among them are American Express (AXP) (No. 15) and Diageo (DGE) (owner of Smirnoff, No. 89). Others are going further. Louis Vuitton (No. 16), Kellogg’s (K) (No. 39), Accenture (ACN) (No. 47), and Kleenex (No. 74) are all aggressively boosting their marketing expenditures as a percentage of expected sales. “There’s always pressure to cut,” says Jez Frampton, chief executive of Interbrand, a brand consultancy, which for the eighth year crunched the numbers for our ranking and typically advises clients to spend harder during a recession. Consumers, he argues, “are more conscious they’re spending their hard-earned money. It increases what they expect they should receive in return.”