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.
6. All Five Senses.
Human beings are hard-wired to respond to visual and verbal stimuli. But human beings are also armed with three other senses (taste, touch, and smell) that can all be called upon to evoke an emotional response. Perhaps a certain color or phrase will provoke your consumer to recall a memory that they could associate with your brand. There is more than one way to become part of the consumer’s memory bank. Find the key and put it to work for you.
7. Repeat, Repeat, Repeat…
The wrapper that you create around your brand should (1) be consistent and (2) touch your consumer in ALL points of communication—letters, business cards, brochures, give-aways, speakers videos, websites, etc.
Make sure that your brand talks directly your consumer in a style and language that they understand. Remove any information that doesn’t help get your single message across. Make sure that your design helps to draw attention to your key point and doesn’t reduce the clarity of your message. Finally, make sure that your brand is relevant to the wants, needs and lives of its intended audience.
Then toss your brain dart and stand back while it does its magic.
Your consumer is your first priority. What do you know about them? What don’t you know? What motivates them? What keeps them up at night? The answers to these questions all come from understanding your consumer—their motivations, their lifestyle, their values, their concerns—everything in fact, that could effect their purchasing decisions.
Once you understand your consumer you can create a brand message that they will respond to. By being clear about how your brand can affect and improve their business or their life, you can get meeting planners, event managers and other potential customers to sit up and pay attention to your message. But only if your message is about them.
2. Hearts. Then Minds.
People make decisions based on their emotions. Then they justify those decisions with the facts—price, location, dimension, etc.
For example, when you think of buying a home the first thing that comes to mind is the kind of house you imagine yourself living in—Mediterranean-style perhaps, with a big yard so the kids can play outside, or maybe with a kitchen that opens up to the family room for entertaining. Next, you may think about the neighborhood in which you want to live—on the beach, close to work, downtown, in a good school district. These are all emotion-based considerations. They are based on the kind of person you want to be—how you perceive yourself and how you want others to perceive you. Your home simply becomes a mirror of who you want to be. Once you make these emotional decisions, then the rational ones—price, square footage, property taxes—become very important. But they don’t matter at all until you envision the kind of house you want to live in.