Andi is a dabbler and a lover of electronic music. He loves writing and in his words he is ‘pretty good at it’. You would have thought he could have written something slightly more inspiring! :-) He has several years experience working as a paid writer, blogger, social media manager and WordPress specialist for one of the UK’s top internet marketers and also has skills in copywriting and using Facebook/Google advertising. He writes regularly for several blogs, some his own but mainly for Self Publishing Journey.
One thing we bizzebee’s have noticed is the increased popularity of the .gif image being used on social media. For those of you who are not aware what a .gif image is look below and you will see what appears to be a video playing on loop.
What Is A Gif Image?
Well that is not a video it is in fact an image file, pretty impressive isn’t it? These moving images are great for businesses who want to stand out in a busy news feed on Google Plus. These moving images sat surrounded by many static images and text posts stand out and catch the eye of the viewer.
Unfortunately Facebook do not yet support .gif images but I am sure that must be their next move when you consider the increase in popularity of the gif image. Twitter allows very small .gif image files to be used as profile images and they stand out against the rest. It makes sense for Facebook and other social media networks to follow Google Plus’ lead otherwise they could soon be losing a lot of users.
How To Create A Gif Image For Free
What I found out recently by accident is that they are pretty easy to make using a free software. This software is an online vide tool that I love and regularly recommend for newbies to use when creating video tutorials.
There is a paid version that allows you to record longer videos and access editing tools for only $15 for a whole year. That is an incredible price however you do not really need to use the paid version if you are happy for your .gif images to have their watermark across your images.
Ideally I say spend the $15 and invest in the full software licence for the year and avoid having their watermark on your videos as it will detract from what you want to use .gif images for which is marketing and branding.
You do not want to make a great looking moving image designed to drive traffic back to your business or website which has another website written all across it no matter how subtle it is.
I see a lot of potential for .gif images for businesses, most people use them to create short funny clips of people falling over or of cute animals doing something even more cuter.
The adult industry was one of the first to start using .gif images in their marketing to drive people to buy memberships to adult sites because they could see the power and potential of having a small video clip playing without the need of a large video file.
It is this power and potential that I think will mean more businesses will be using .gif images on their social networks like Google Plus. As you can see, they work brilliantly in WordPress sites too and they add a whole new dimension to a post.
In the video below you will see what .gif images look like in Google Plus and I also show you how I made the .gif image above using a series of slides and using the screen capture tool from Screencast-O-Matic.com. Enjoy 🙂
How To Create A Gif Image For Free
Have any thoughts and opinions on this post? Please share them with us below 🙂
If you are a small offline business and you are building up your online presence with a blog and a social media campaign you will know that it isn’t easy unless you are creating and sharing content.
Creating fresh content isn’t particularly easy either especially if this is all new to you or creating digital content is not the nature of your job. I am a writer and content creator and I knew that I had to write a post today but I was struggling to think up what to write about, and I write regularly so for someone who is new to all of this it can be a real nightmare.
I looked through a few of the last posts I had written recently for numerous projects and found some inspiration for today’s post. For a new website owner you might not even have much to go back through to help inspire your creative side.
Well today I want to share with you the best and fastest ways to create content for your website and social media campaigns and that is to curate content from the web. Content curation is a newish term that describes basically what newspapers have been doing for years now.
Papers need to sell papers for their businesses to survive and to keep people buying those papers they needed to fill their pages with good content. If there were a big event happening like the tragedy of September 11th 2001 then there is a lot of content for them to fill their paper with but if it was a quiet week for news and they needed to fill out their pages they would source interesting news stories from around the country and often the world then re publish them.
There would be a specific journalist who would look for these stories then re write them to go into the paper and include all the relevant and important source credits. The people who read the paper would still keep on buying it even if a lot of the stories were sourced from other papers.
They very rarely went out and changed their daily paper for those where the stories came from, mainly because they were too numerous to mention and often small regional papers. They preferred to have all of the interesting news and stories delivered to them in one place.
When you have a website and a social media campaign you can do the same as long as you give the right source credit and play fair. For example, if you ran a local Cup Cake Bakery and you had a blog that you were building up, you could do a post that included the ’10 Best Cupcakes We Have Ever Seen’ and include 10 pictures of cakes you have seen in magazines or on the web.
You write a little blurb about the cakes then add any relevant source links to the image/cake owners etc and then you are good to go. You might see in a magazine an article with images about a cup cake bakery in Australia and decide to re write the article in your own positive way re using the images.
Again you make sure you have the right credit links in place, if you do then most people would be flattered that you have featured them or their work on your website. After all it is free advertising and exposure for them.
Some people may ask you to remove their images or stories from your site but it isn’t personal, just remove them if you are asked. It is unlikely though, if they do then they are seriously missing the big picture. As I said it is free advertising and exposure for these people.
Now you are beginning to see that you can mix up your website content with your own images and content with content you have found and enjoyed that is other people’s work. This is actually good for your social media campaign because it can do two very important things..
Your followers will not get fed up if you share content that is interesting and not just yours. If you posted on Facebook & Twitter everyday your own images with a dull ‘Like My New Cupcake Picture’ style posts people will get fed up. Sharing other interesting stuff and other people’s work shows that you are an interesting person and not just out to ‘Constantly Sell & Push Your Products’.
You can start to build a network of likeminded friends, you may not be able to meet up with or work with your fellow cupcake bakers in Australia but you can share ideas, chat work and share each other’s videos, pictures and articles. You might make friends with bakers in a neighbouring city which might lead to some work or at least a great friendship.
It is building up a network of like-minded friends that led to this bizzebee site being developed.
Curating content is big business and yes there is some work involved especially when re writing the content or adapting it into a series of fun images but there is no big thinking needed or planning required. You have access to all of the information right in front of you and usually all of the images you need just require you to download them to your computer and upload them to your site.
If you want to add more content such as a YouTube video or more images you have all of the details you need to do a search for more information. For example if you were recreating an article on the ‘10 Best Cupcake Shops In England’ and you were writing about the shop ‘Cupids Cupcake’s’ in Colchester (Fictitious example). But the article you were using as your base only had 2 images for this shop yet it had four for the rest, you could easily do a Google search for more because you have the exact keywords to find out more information and images for ‘Cupids Cupcake’s.’
Curating content is not theft if you correctly use source credits and links to the places where the images and content come from. You might not have permission to use them and if you really want to be all above board then shoot off emails to the right people asking for permission but usually it is seen as ‘fan advertisement’.
There are millions of websites online run by fans and they often write about the things they love like films & TV, books and sports, they would use images of the actors/sports people but rarely get sued because they were generating free advertising which is good for these industries. In fact when blogging by fans became huge with many websites having millions of regular visitors big companies took notice and now regularly send fan writers free stuff to review or just to say thank you.
When you curate content you are not using those images for commercial gain in its truest sense, yes you are using it for site content to help grow your business but you are not using their images as your own or recreating them within a book that you plan to sell.
They can ask for the content to be removed but if you have done your work properly then the chances are they will be happy that you have shared and featured their work or they will ask for the content to be removed in a friendlier manner than they would if you had stolen the work for your own use.
So if you have a website and growing a following on social media but struggling to think up or create content then why not look at the things you are reading and enjoying online then curate it into your own relevant content? It can be done while relaxing at home in the evening in front of the TV because it does require less thinking than creating your own unique content.
Today I wanted to share some fun Facebook tips that I believe most small businesses should try and incorporate with their Facebook marketing.
I am going to use one wonderful example by showing you what Mark the Van Man Lincoln regularly does and I can tell you that many of his posts have me and my better half laughing.
Unlike other local businesses like Cake Makers or Furniture makers Mark cannot share pictures of recent products he has made or has for sale because what he has to sell is his service of van hire and delivery.
Sharing pictures of your products is a great way to get people to know more of what you do but what do you do if you do not have any products to show? You need to become more creative and have fun.
I can tell you that we have used Mark to deliver a couple of sofas for us which we bought on eBay and he will be our first choice if we need anything big delivering again and that is because we ‘Know of him’. Yes we now ‘know him’ from using him but what I mean by ‘know of him’ is that his name and services are securely ‘lodged in the front of our minds’ because of his Facebook posts and interaction.
If anyone asked me if I could recommend someone who can move furniture or deliver large items I would point them towards Mark Van Man Lincoln because he is the first person I would think of, I know him, I know what he does and I know how I or anyone can get hold of him easily.
Mark has fun with Facebook and he engages with people in fun ways and he has also shown me a great way to use business cards today. You might think that business cards are last year’s business accessory that are no longer viable today and that Facebook and Twitter are the way forward and they are to a degree but Mark has gone one step further and created a guerilla marketing approach to using both business cards and social media with the strategies from https://the-indexer.com/digital-marketing-agencies/.
As you will see from these images Mark places business cards in the strangest places and sometimes popular places, he then takes photos with his smart phone and uploads them to Facebook. Often they will have a funny comment attached or maybe he will ask people to ‘Spot the card?’
Cards appear on buses, in shop windows and even supermarket bunting.
I love this one of his local shop keeper; he has appeared more than one.
Supermarkets and shops are his favourite targets. It took ages to choose the pictures for this post as there are so many great examples and I apologise if I have gone overboard with them but I need to share this great idea of business card bombing. You can see more of his marketing style here Facebook/VanManLincoln
Mark has posted cards and gone back days later to see that they have been untouched and still where he left them. This is good because the person buying a burger at Burger King, chicken and fries from KFC or anything from Tesco might see his details and that is great exposure for a local small business but even better it gives him another fun photo opportunity.
Mark also uses Facebook’s Place’s system to ‘check in’ and post status updates saying where he is going and what he is doing which shows how far he is prepared to travel and I know that he travels the whole of the country.
This bit is very surreal; when he delivered the sofas to us and we got chatting he told me that ‘tomorrow’s job’ had him driving down to the south coast of England towards Portsmouth. The following day on his travels down south he ‘checked in’ on Facebook that he was at Farnham Castle in Surrey, I lived and worked in Farnham and had only recently moved back from there, I know it very well and was just a little surprised at the connection. It is nothing I know but as they say… small world.
Anyway, Mark often shares status updates which show that he will travel the country and that he isn’t just locally based. He will also share photos of some of the items he delivers and where they were bought from so people can get an idea of what he is prepared to do. As you can see in the image below Mark delivered a motorbike which was brought on eBay.
Mark also adds some fun to his page by sharing part pictures of music album covers and asks people if they can guess what the album and artist was. This gets people replying and often chatting with each other.
I recently sent him a message on Facebook saying that I loved his pictures and was planning on writing an article about him; part of his answer was that he just wants to have fun with his posts.
This I believe is needed today; too many people are posting ‘woe is me’ style posts which are depressing and moaning. Many are posted simply in the hope to solicit compliments or the offer of help or company from friends. This usually works for a few times then just gets plain annoying with friends eventually ignoring these types of ‘Bat Signals’ as I call them and in some severe cases people will hide the posts from certain friends or even unfriended them.
Mark knows full well that fun and helpful is the way forward, we got to know about his Van Man services when my better half was looking for a sofa in the local Facebook ‘things to buy and sell’ groups. Mark often goes in and comments on the bigger items that are being sold. For example we saw him commenting on a sofa saying that if anyone needed it being delivered then he was your person.
Sofas are big and not everyone has a vehicle that can take big items. I myself have a Fiat Doblo which has a big boot, it can take so much but we certainly cannot fit a large sofa in it. We eventually found a great deal on eBay and bought two 3 seater sofas with a large pouffe. We just knew who to contact to arrange collection and delivery of the item from Lincoln to Gainsborough which is roughly 16-18 miles away.
Mark is pretty busy in these local groups, he will share posts that he thinks he can help with such as larger items and he will also share things he sees when out and about. For example he has taken pictures of furniture in shops that are drastically reduced to clear.
People may want a new wardrobe and cannot afford the full asking price but if it has 75% off then they might be interested and if they do not have a car big enough to collect the item… who posted the information? Van Man Lincoln… and what does he do? He has a van which will easily accommodate a large wardrobe. What a great way to drum up possible business.
Mark has embraced the modern mobile phone, we can take pictures and uploaded them to social media networks within seconds which is fantastic and something many smaller local businesses should be utilising. I have taken a leaf out of Mark’s book and recently took photos of my uncle and I fitting some doors. As I am a trained carpenter and joiner I gave him a hand for the day and I took pictures of various stages as we worked.
I cannot say whether this will result in generating more work for my uncle but it took me a few seconds to do and it is free advertising, why would we not want to utilise that? The post resulted in getting likes and comments from friends and family living overseas within minutes. I don’t need to tell you how powerful that is.
Only last night I was asked if I was back in the building trade because someone had seen that I was working with my uncle. That conversation had come about from those pictures. It works and again I must stress it is free to do and takes only a few seconds to share pictures from a phone.
Remember Facebook is ideal for creating local networks as it is Geo specific, it gives us a fantastic free tool for networking with people allowing us to show what services we offer, why would you not want to utilise that? Doing it in a fun and light-hearted way just like Mark the Man with a Van from Lincoln does will benefit you greatly.
Mark appears to always be busy, he doesn’t just rely on social media, he does use flyers and business cards as you can see but I am sure his use of Facebook helps him a lot. Especially to connect with clients, that is one thing you cannot do very well with a business card unless someone rings you.
One thing I will say as I draw this to a close, Mark will reply and contact you if you contact him and that is what social media is about. Last week I contact our local vets through Facebook and have so far not had a reply, if you insist on using Facebook use it properly. Do not post pictures of your business services or products without any fun, personality or more importantly… any response to people who comment or contact you otherwise you will cause your business a lot of harm.
If you have a small local offline business then I suggest you start to use Facebook the same way Mark does and embrace the free advertising it can offer in a fun way.
After sending Mark a copy of this post and telling him I was going to publish it I got this excellent reply in seconds which I think just sums up Mark, social media, mobile phone technology and what a great age we live in today! 🙂
If you do implement any of the things you have read here today we would love to hear from you if you had any benefits and successes from it.
Where does the time fly? This week’s roundup is a few hours late which I (Andi) apologise for that and yes we did miss one out last week due to everyone being so damn busy we didn’t get to read anything so we collectively apologise for that too. When you have so many tasks on the go as we do sitting down to read stuff sometimes just doesn’t happen.
Anyway, this week we did manage to read a few posts and here are this week’s offerings for you to read this weekend. We have some interesting ones this week and I hope you enjoy reading them.
The first article was put forward by Clair and is an incredible article about Podcasting. Mike Stelzner interviews Mike Wolf all about podcasting for marketers and also business owners. We all know podcasting is something we should all do, but getting round to it is a problem for most. Having listened to the points this article / podcast raised it has motivated Clair to want to get on with working this out into our own bizzebee schedules.
There is also a great reference to our friend Pat Flynn too who is a legend in the Podcasting world. Podcasting can be pretty cheap and easy to do too so get over and give this great post a read.
This next post suggestion comes from Matt and it is a fantastic list of 25 blog post ideas for the content marketer by John Paul Aguiar. If you run a blog like we do and try to keep adding content regularly it can sometimes become hard to think of what to write about next.
You can get a kind of writers block and blindness, having this list of ideas at hand can help to set those creative juices and ideas flowing again. All 25 ideas are great and you should know them, trust me, it will make your life as a content creator and writer a lot easier.
This post was put forward by John and is by Rand Fishkin over at his excellent Moz Blog. Rand is famous for his Whiteboard Friday sessions and today he discusses that we as marketers and business owners need to move away from thinking about transactions and conversions and focus more on long term marketing plans.
Instead of just simply seeing each person as a transaction worth a few dollars we should be nurturing relationships with them to create long term loyal customers who will have far more benefit to our businesses than a short term one off buyer.
This post has been out forward by Clair our social media lover and is on the AllFacebook.com site which is, if you haven’t guessed it yet, is all about Facebook. 🙂
Today they report on the decision by Facebook to allow people to assign a custom gender to their profiles. They want people to be their authentic self and we live in a different world these days, we may be born male or female but some are born both and some chose to live differently to others.
Take the Ladyboy phenomenon in Thailand, physically they were born one way but mentally they are leaning towards another way and sometime not enough to be the complete opposite so they are often happy to be both. Life is not about judging but living and Facebook has recognised that and decided people should be able to say they are something which is not simply male or female. A controversial move maybe, but a very interesting one.
The last post of the week comes from Ramsay over at his excellent blog BlogTyrant.com. I love Ramsay’s blog and I love his approach to blogging and writing. He writes epic posts and I don’t just mean seriously long and epic I mean they are full of great content and information. It is all epic really.
In this post Ramsay talks about the best way to grow your blog quickly… I was going to copy and paste the sub heading which gave away that one secret but I decided not to, you need to go over and read his post yourself and while you are there keep looking round and reading. It is a great site and Ramsay is living proof of what the one secret to growing a blog quickly is all about. He has a huge following and a lot of respect within the industry.
So that is it for this week, 5 very interesting articles covering several different topics and today we also have an interesting wildcard bonus post.
An artist has been recreating popular children’s cartoon and TV characters as evil people. I think TinTin is my favourite, this version would have made a big difference to the books I read as a child, there would have been a different ending if he was a gun carrying and petrol bomb throwing Tintin in Tibet!
These images are pretty special and I love them. 🙂 You can see more of those brilliant images by clicking the link below.
Enough is a great word isn’t it? It means not too little and not too much. We say things like, “just enough for…” or “make sure there is enough” We the bizzebee team talk regularly about how great social media can be for small businesses especially for building brand awareness and informing the local community of what you do, where you are and any special promotions you are running but we also must warn of the dangers of overdoing it.
If you look closely at Facebook and Twitter you will see that there are all sorts of people and groups bombarding their followers constantly with pictures and messages, some are interesting but most of the time it is just ‘chatter’.
If you imagine social media is a huge football stadium full of shouting people, all shouting different things, it is believed that you need to shout louder to be noticed. This might work to a degree, but in truth, you are doing nothing more but adding to the annoying and undecipherable noise pollution.
The reason many people/businesses post a lot is that these social media networks are huge resources of free traffic, they are also social so fun and interesting stuff can be shared potentially leading to some posts going viral meaning more traffic. Also more importantly these newsfeeds are fast, they can soon be filled up with new stories and status updates meaning yours could soon be lost in the ‘chatter’ and pushed further down the feed with very few people actually seeing it.
Again it is assumed that most people have a fairly big list of Pages or people they follow so their newsfeeds are soon filled with new information and all businesses and people need to be seen. With Twitter people follow thousands of people so it doesn’t take long before a Tweet is replaced by another.
Facebook is slightly different to Twitter, they do not show you all of the posts that are shared from the Pages you follow, they generally show those you interact with more but again these posts can soon be lost so it has become common practice for many to share a new post, Tweet or status every hour or so. This is ok but it can soon ‘cheese off’ a lot of people.
For example, my better half is a keen ‘pruner’ of stuff on Facebook, more so than the average person but she can soon become fed up with the constant posts by Pages of ‘nothing’ as she calls it. She has Fibromyalgia and M.E. and once followed a Page dedicated to the subject mainly to get new information. It wasn’t long before she hid it from her newsfeed due to the constant posting of images with quotes on them and the constant complaining and moaning from other sufferers.
She doesn’t like to complain and would rather find a solution or soldier on with a smile but even the constant sharing of positive and uplifting images and quotes becomes annoying when your news feed is awash with them.
Imaging if you liked only 80 Pages and Facebook with their odd system showed you the posts of 40 of them, those 40 Pages posted a new status update every hour over the 8 hour working day. Your newsfeed would be filled with 320 images and posts about ‘stuff’ each and every day. And then there will be all of the posts from your friends and family.
The problem gets worse when you realise that Facebook is open to the world and Page owners know this so they schedule posts to go live every hour of the day to cover different time zones. That would be 960 posts over the period of a day if those 40 Pages all posted every hour!
Your newsfeed will be crammed with images, videos and texts from around the world and it won’t be long before you start ‘pruning’ your list of Liked pages. And to be honest who can blame you?
Building a company brand, building exposure and trying to keep in the ‘limelight’ is ok but do it too much and it can be very damaging.
Twitter is often used to share news, articles and inspirational quotes by others which again is fine but these will soon be lost in all of the chatter. I at times get fed up with social media because when you are working with it daily you get exposed to a lot of ‘noise & chatter’ and it can be very off putting and depressive.
I have often finished a week thinking I could just walk away from it all and never look back.
So I advise you to think carefully about how much you post and what you post, many of the bigger reputable marketers and small businesses use Twitter more as an international text message service where they will broadcast some news of a promotion and then interact and chat with people.
Some companies use it as a service help desk, I have chatted to my broadband provider over Twitter and had issues sorted by them there and then. I have chatted to friends and fellow bizzebees using Twitter, people start worldwide debates using Twitter and the #hastag system.
The screenshot above is from the national Australian political debates known as #qanda (Questions and Answers)
Twitter is a great tool for conversation and interaction and using it correctly in my opinion is often down to ‘less is better’. My only big issue with Twitter is I say a lot or at least have long worded sentences and need more characters; I never have enough which is why a lot of people use Twitter to post a lot of one liners and quotes due to character restraints.
It can be annoying seeing Tweets and RTs of articles or quotes that are shared for the sole purpose of trying to ‘be seen’.
I have started to play the ‘Hoax Quotes Game’ on Twitter these days just to see if a quote I have made up gets shared by someone who has only half read it. Just today I shared a quote by cartoon character Stewie Griffin to see if anyone notices.
Believe me when I say it is likely people will not notice it because it has become the norm to share pap that people simply ignore, it blends into the rest of the chatter.
Facebook allows more words and characters with a comments system that in my opinion is easier to follow conversations with however Facebook have a terrible system of deciding what posts are seen and by whom based on who has interacted with each other.
If you have Liked a post, shared a post or commented on a post from a specific Page or person then you will more likely be shown more by them because Facebook deem it to be more relevant to you. If you Like a page or make a friend with someone but do not do any interaction then eventually they will stop showing you any posts they make which is just crap in my honest opinion. I often like to see stuff without having to like, share or comment. I know it is hard to believe but I am actually quite a quiet and reserved guy with little to say. 🙂
However even with Facebook’s terrible system I would still advise that you try and not share too much too often and I would limit the images and positive quotes to a few now and then because people will get fed up of seeing them. (If they are the lucky few who see them!) And instead of your business or website name being etched on the back of their brain as you first hoped with your branding attempts you will instead be seen by eyes suffering with the Facebook equivalent to ‘snow blindness’ or even worse, be un-Liked or hidden from view.
I think personally the motto is share less, share quality, and converse more. These tools are free; they can be very powerful and have saved many local businesses from going bust. Use them wisely and try to remember, sometimes ‘Less Is More’
Another week has flown past and boy was it fast. Another weekend is about to start and it feels like the last one has only just finished. When I was employed working in a joiners workshop I couldn’t wait for the weekend but now that I work for myself and enjoying what I do the weekend comes around way too fast. I still have soooooo much to do. 🙂
Still I am going to kick back a bit and do some reading I think, and talking about reading here are our five best articles on the web this week (or ones we have read this week 🙂 )
But just before I get into the list I want to quickly say that if you missed yesterday’s post please take a read of it now “Win Lifetime Membership To The Hive! GIVEAWAY” We are giving away 3 lifetime memberships to the Hive worth $399.99 each so if you want to learn how to build a website, manage social media better and a whole lot more please enter our fantastic competition HERE. The closing date is 8th February which is two weeks from now, good luck folks.
I do love a headline that gets your attention, I also love an article that stops you in your tracks and gets you thinking. This is exactly what this article does, Glen Allsopp of ViperChill fame has interviewed the 3 men behind the StackThatMoney forum who made an impressive $10 million last year without using any SEO.
These guys are paid advertising specialists and they are still very young, reading their background stories, their failures and euphoria moments is truly inspiring! Pop over and take a read of this badboy of an article. Trust me when I say you will need a brew, not just for while you read but for the several hours of thinking and contemplation that this article will evoke.
I love Pat Flynn, if you do not know who he is let me quickly tell you that he is a blogging legend, a very transparent and open fella who is also a very nice guy. His blog is similar to Glen’s ViperChill site where he will tell you stuff that works or doesn’t work in epic length posts. He does not scrimp on information as you will see when you watch or listen to his videos and podcasts.
In this post Pat gives us an update on how his new website is doing after two months since its inception. Pat has started a website in the food truck niche and he is recording its progress as he goes along in a kind of ‘learn as we go along case study’ This post is full of useful information and ideas too. Who would have thought a podcast about food trucks would be so popular? Well I guess Pat did! 🙂
This post was put forward by one of our more technical minded bees Mizanur and I am happy to say that he is on the road to a full recovery after his horrific accident last year as well as becoming a dad, so big welcome back and congratulations to you Mizanur.
This post is for those who are more technically minded and do not mind tinkering around with the WordPress coding. This article will show you how to create a useable page template without sidebars ideal for those all-important sales pages.
For those who are not really up on WordPress it might seem a bit complicated but read it and you will see that WordPress really isn’t as big or scary as you might think. We all once thought it was frightening but now we duck in and out of WordPress with no problems.
You can do it too, remember we have a full video course on WordPress in the Hive so if you want to master WordPress we are giving away 3 life time memberships HERE.
Sticking with the technical and WordPress side of things we have another post put forward by Mizanur our WordPress developing specialist. This post on the SitePoint.com website is written by Kerry Butters and talks about the things you need to know before you even attempt to start writing the code.
With over 65 million websites now using WordPress which is an impressive 52% of the world market being able to create your own WordPress themes to sell is a great way to make money. This great article is like a ‘before you start’ check list all potential WordPress theme developers should read.
The last post of the week comes from one of our close blogging friends. Fabrizio Van Marciano over at his excellent blog Magnet4Marketing.com. In this post Fabrizio discusses the latest SEO announcement by Google’s head of spam Matt Cutts about guest blogging.
Google are planning to tackle the amount of bad and poor guest blogging that has been happening recently for the SEO method of generating backlinks. Google does not allow the exchange of links to simply manipulate their search results and since the recent Google updates more and more people have been forced to generate links by doing guest blogging.
Unfortunately this has led to a lot of low quality content being offered in exchange for a backlink. Google are going to tackle this head on and Fabrizio has some strong advice to help you make the right decision when it comes to accepting guest posts for your site.
So that is it for this week, 5 very interesting articles covering several different topics.
But Before You go: This week I wanted to bring back the fun wildcard post and share this with you.
An artist in San Francisco called Andres Amador does some seriously amazing beach art with just a rake. The pictures are unbelievable, you have to see them. That is all I will say. 🙂 You can see more of those images by clicking the link below.
There are unfortunately a lot of dubious people in this industry who try their hardest to sell you products you might not want and they will do it anyway they can. There are also quite a few honest and decent people out there who will sell you products without all of the unethical bulls**t and hype.
I wanted to describe the 3 main types of marketer who you will no doubt come across in your quest to learn more, to make more money or find a system that might just change your life. The 3 types are
The Real Deal
Let’s take a look at them in more detail, as you can imagine the first 2 appear to be the people you want to pay attention too and the 3rd one is to be passed over as quick as possible. The big problem comes from the types of sales letters and marketing methods they use, for example the Real Deal will tell you about the system he used and how it made him a success however the Bulls**tter will also say the same when it is not true. How do you tell who is who? Unfortunately that is the hardest part but anyway let’s look at the 3 types in detail.
The 3 Types Of Internet Marketers
1 The Real Deal
As the title suggests this is the type of person who has done what he says and talks about. His knowledge in a subject is from experience and that experience can be very successful or simply ok. What matters is how he sells himself, his products or services.
In no way will they try and sell a product or information by telling you that it made them a success or a lot of money if it hadn’t. These people will tell you what they know, what they did and not what they think you want to know. If they see another product that they know worked for someone else and decide to promote it too, they will say it worked for that person and not try to convince you that they had success with it.
Some successful people will promote the system that made them a success themselves but usually these people will first go to a publishing company or be approached by one who ask them to share their system. They usually create the product which could be an eBook, written manual and/or training videos, the publishing company will then publish, promote and market it. Both parties will share the profits often on a 50-50 basis after all the costs are covered.
The people who spring to mind when we talk about the real deal are George ‘Google Sniper’ Brown, Patrick Meninga, Pat Flynn, Zac Johnson, and Yaro Starak. Each have had success in their own way, they have been open about it and they will not pretend to be anything other than what they say.
2 The Publisher
The publisher is simply a business person or company that sells information products, systems or software but do it by selling the product or the person who had success with it. The internet marketing and direct mail marketing industry has been plagued by people pretending to be an expert or a success when in reality they were not or that they hid behind a pseudonym creating another false success.
The important thing to remember is that you do not need to be a success or an expert to sell systems or products that work as long as you openly admit it isn’t you or focus on those who are the success. The Dummies books cover every topic imaginable but the publishers and company owners are not experts in the information or topics they publish.
Papers are full of articles and information written by journalists who have done some research but not necessarily had the experience. Writing information and giving tutorials about things that work by someone who has never used them is ok. Most of the eBooks and guides you get from internet marketers are written by people from outsourcing sites like Elance and Odesk, very few marketers write them themselves and very few have actually done what their eBooks are about.
As for the example of the Dummies books, the publisher will often approach experts in a field and ask them to write it for them. It has a win win situation because the popular publishing company lends its name to the expert which helps sell the book and the expert in the field lends his name to the publishing company which also helps sell the book.
We encourage people to write eBooks or create products that they can sell but a lot of people are fearful because they feel that they are a fraud if they have not experienced first-hand the information they are sharing. This shouldn’t be the case, you cannot copyright fact and if something works and you know it works then you can share that information whether you have used it or not, that is what publishing houses have been doing for centuries.
You should never dismiss someone who offers information because they have not used it themselves or their product, the information could be seriously good and very useful. What really matters is how they market and sell the information. Publishing companies include those that publish the ‘Dummies’ and ‘Idiot’ guides.
3 The Bulls**tter
This one is self-evident but unfortunately for the newbie it can be quite hard to tell if the person claiming to be the successful self-made millionaire is telling the truth or just another unethical bulls**tter.
They will do anything and everything to convince you that the product they are selling works and that they have a made a lot from it or that it will be the next big thing. It can take some serious research to uncover whether the person is real or not or if their story is true.
These people genuinely do not care about you or your money and will do anything to get it from you. These are the scammers and the people who give the industry a bad name. (Along with a few other issues)
The sales copy will have all of the copywriting tricks and they will not be subtle, they will sell the dream to a point it will be so sugary sweet even Disney would want to vomit.
I don’t know if anyone remembers Riplin but they promised to be the next big thing in social media, they didn’t say they wanted to be but that they WOULD be. They said their mobile app system would be worth billions and to be an early part of it was a way to guarantee success along with a lot of wealth.
It had an MLM feel and to be part of it you had to apply to be a member then after that it was invite only and to get an invite you had to contact a team leader, someone who had already become a member. They had some seriously professional looking videos created along with flashy animation (see below) to get people excited and interested leading to many to sign up.
Was it a game or a social media network? Was it a mobile app or not? Most people wasn’t sure what it was or what it actually did. I cannot remember whether people paid an initial up front joining fee as a lot of it was done behind doors and in secrecy. Apparently that was to make the whole thing exciting and mystical for marketing reasons but what is interesting is that it has just suddenly disappeared into thin air.
When I last went to the website I was still none the wiser, there is a 14 minute video explaining that Rippln will be the next big thing but it doesn’t explain how nor is there an ‘about us’ or ‘how it works’ page.
The website is still there but doors are closed and I believe that includes the invite only set up. So have they run to the hills with hundreds of thousands of dollars or more in their bank accounts or did they just amass a huge list of emails which they then either sold to other marketers or rented out for email broadcasts? Having a lot of hot targeted emails is a commodity and worth a fortune, it is possible the scam was nothing more than an email harvesting ploy.
Whatever happened these people sold the dream and said that they had had the next billion dollar industry, sucked loads of people in and the disappeared, they simply bulls**tted their way to wealth and back to their secret hideout.
This, my friends, is the thing you need to be very careful about, if the product sells the dream but hardly mentions what it is or how it works or what you get for joining/buying then the bizzebee rule of thumb is to stay well clear.
Welcome one and all back to the Weekly Round Up. We have had a couple of weeks off due to us all being serious bizzebees. Well we are back and we have5great posts for you this week, we have dropped the number to five for a couple of good reasons.
10 seems like a lot for you to read in one sitting and it could bore you and we certainly do not want that.
We have realised that we are so busy crafting content like blog posts, videos building websites and generally learning new stuff we do not read the same amount of blog post as we used to.
I know myself and John have probably not read one business related post this week due to focusing our time on creating content and as we often encourage people to focus what is important it would seem wrong for us to not do the same and just sit around in our under crackers reading all week. 🙂
I hope you still enjoy the more streamlined weekly round up and if we do read a lot of great posts one week that we feel needs sharing then we will share more. 🙂
Today’s first post comes from our friend Catherine Holt, Catherine runs a successful blogsite dealing with all things parties and cakes for children of all ages, even those over 40 🙂 Recently she has branched out and started a blogging website where she shares all she has learned and knows about blogging and social media.
Today we share with you a great post she has written highlighting 5 important tips to help you use social media effectively. Pop over, say hello and leave a comment. Oh and tell her Andi @bizzebee sent you. 🙂
The next post is offered up from Clair and comes from Koozai.com. The post was written by Cat Fyson and is an epic post about how to create a better looking blog post. She covers all the important things like font format, image placement including, as she calls it, ‘pimping your visuals’ as well as the alignment of your content.
Anyone wanting to create eye catching content and great looking blog posts you really need to give this article a read.
This post was put forward by Matt and is a fun but serious article written by Has San Khan over at the popular BloggingMatters website.
Most bloggers experience these types of questions when they tell people what they do. I still get funny looks when I tell people that I get paid to write and they just cannot understand it. It is about education and this post aims to do that.
We have the second of our three offerings this week by Matt our resident SEO specialist. This post is one of Rand Fishkin’s popular Whiteboard Friday sessions and today he discusses why he thinks guest posting is a slippery slope for many bloggers and marketers.
Guest blogging is a popular way for bloggers and websites to get natural looking backlinks but recently Google have discussed their dislike for the practice and Rand discusses what he thinks the future is for guest blogging. If guest blogging is something you do or plan to do then you should pop over and watch this video.
Our final post and the third one from Matt’s offerings is this excellent article by Nicolette Beard over at the popular TopRankBlog.
This is a great round up of news from the internet including short summaries and links to articles cover topics like Google’s $3 Billion Nest which talks about their acquisition of a company that makes smoke alarms!?!?!? And the article Online Content Videos Hit 52 Billion Monthly Views! If there was ever a reason to start creating online videos today is the day.
Anyway this post on the TopRankBlog has links to around twenty great articles. Showing that content curation is where it’s at these days. 🙂
So that is it for this week, we didn’t have a wild card post for you either but if you missed it please leave a comment below and we will make sure we have one for next week. All there is left now is for me to say enjoy your weekend and have a great week ahead.
I have wanted to write this article for a while now to help people understand what copywriting is and what it does.
In a nut shell copywriting is the art of persuading people to take action by using well-chosen words creating emotionally charged and well-crafted sentences. It is an art form and a science but it is also often frowned upon, sometimes with good reason may I add.
As business owners we all want to be able to sell bucket loads of our great products and services and it is true that if a product is great it can sell itself or rather it should however many of the products you see these days online associated with the internet marketing and ‘make money’ industries are often poor or the greedy owners simply want to charge a lot more for them than what they are really worth.
Copywriting. The Art Of Persuasion Through Words
To maximise their profits and to sell more they create long form sales pages full of copy that is written to persuade the reader to buy. This is often criticised because it appears people are manipulated to buy a product they really do not want.
In many ways this is true, people are made to believe that they should buy the product and that it would change their lives but how does that happen? How does someone who is not interested or vaguely interested in a product can go from non interested into getting out their credit card and spending several hundred or even several thousands of pounds/dollars to buy a product they are not even sure what it does?
The AIDA Principle.
Copywriters and internet marketers use what is called the AIDA principle. AIDA stands for…
All long form sales letters, which can be up to 32 pages long, that fall through your letter boxes by the Direct Mail marketers to the very short adverts you would see in the back of newspapers and magazines a few years ago use this principle.
The headline of the copy must capture attention. “Full Time Policeman Pays Off £120,000 Mortgage in Just 4 Weeks By Doing Less Than 10 Minutes Work A Week…”
“… & Adds Further £5,000 To His Bank Account”
That headline and sub headline will get people’s attention, it has a hard working person with little or no time to spare who has managed to pay off his big mortgage after getting a commercial cash out refinance within a fast time frame by doing what appears to be very little easy to do work once a week and also adds more money into his bank account.
In this day and age of austerity, cut backs and recession, who would not want to know how to generate over £120,000 in four weeks for what appears to be less than an hour’s work?
Within the copy of a sales letter the reader is taken on a rollercoaster ride where they are told a story about a struggling hard working desperate person who probably had large debts and who was tired of life and looking for a big change. The type of person that the general public can identify with.
The sales letter will then tell how this person changed his or her life in a “small time person done good” type of story. They will now be living a lifestyle that the reader would like or desire. The sales letter will then tell you to imagine that it was you and ask if you would like that kind of lifestyle. The sales copy will then talk about how you too could achieve that same level of lifestyle by copying what this person did. They normally tell you this without giving much away about what it was that the successful person actually did.
This successful ‘rags to riches’ story is to raise the interest in the reader, “yes I do want to learn how to sell your home quickly to pay off my mortgage and have money in the bank, I am also struggling for time/lazy and want to do little work, I am interested, please tell me more”
Rather than sell the product most sales copy sells either a lifestyle or desire. The copywriter focuses on an end result or benefit that the product COULD deliver.
This isn’t all bad as most people would really prefer to know what they will get from having a product than what the product actually does, for example someone who suffers from spots and acne wants to buy a product that gets rid of spots for ever and leaves them with smooth fresh looking skin, how it works isn’t really that important to the user. So it would be madness to not mention the lifestyle benefits in the sales copy if your product could deliver those results.
The issue comes when people write copy full of benefits which are generally unlikely to happen or unattainable. This happens a lot, usually the sales letter is full of benefits which can only be realised when you either…
Buy the more expensive up sell which the sales copy forgets to mention
Invest a lot more money which you now may not have after paying thousands for the information
Follow a very hard and often unworkable work plan.
Selling the Benefits.
As a product owner you must sell the results and benefits and in the world of real products like those found in shops this is often done more ethically and is more accountable. Generally real world products do not need to over sensationalise its sales copy because people see it and buy if they decide they want it or not. The products are easier to buy as many more places generally stock them.
Think of shampoo, the sales copy and advertising material prefer to baffle their customers with science and talks more about the chemicals in them that do wondrous things with your hair. They work on the ignorance of people who have no idea of what a ‘pemptiwhattide’ is or what ‘whatdoyoucallitites’ extract does but because they have been told and shown that it nourishes hair to a natural shine it must be good.
These products are available everywhere and are generally sold at a reasonable price. After all the only benefit you get is clean hair, it will hardly change your life whereas the information product that is sold online or via direct mail long form copy are often priced a lot higher because they could change your life for the better. Supposedly.
People are becoming more aware and many of these products are deemed to be cons which is not always the case, but they have had a period where they have been over priced which just adds to their own problems.
I can tell you this in confidence; the older style direct mail marketers prefer to sell these items at higher prices because it means they do less work, they cut down on their overheads by paying for less DVDs and fulfilment costs while keeping incredibly high profit margins. They get rich quicker.
Many marketers will use the analogy of owing the winning lottery ticket, the actually value of the paper and the ink is probably less than a penny but if it is the winning ticket worth £10 million the value is far more than the price of the materials or the money you paid for it.
Imagine you owned that winning ticket but you were leaving the country and unable to collect the money so you decided to sell the ticket. Theoretically you could sell it for £1 million in cash; if anyone could get their hands on that amount of cash they would be stupid not to buy the ticket for one million if they could instantly make a life changing £9 million profit.
Even the people who think information products are scams would think a person was stupid for not buying a £10 million pound winning lottery ticket for £1 million. This is how information marketers see their products and price them. If a product they are selling has made one everyday person £120,000 in 4 weeks then surely it is worth £12,000? The answer is yes and no.
It does increase the price slightly but the problem is that unlike the winning ticket which is an instant result, the information product has too many variables and hidden issues that make the product hard for most people to master.
The fact some people do not make the promised £120,000 is because they do not follow the information correctly which, as I mentioned earlier, to do so would need more time and money invested than first realised due to the sales letter selling the dream instead of the reality.
With so many people seeing information products as scams the copywriter works hard crafting his or her sales letter to convince the reader otherwise. ‘This is a genuine man, a real product, with real results that you too could achieve…’ then the letter finishes with the usual legal requirements, everyone’s results may be different etc etc.
The reader is drawn through the letter by grabbing their ATTENTION, they then are made INTERESTed in what the letter has to say by telling the story of the ordinary person doing well and then they have their emotions stirred with images and fantasies of living a millionaires lifestyle. This creates a big DESIRE on the part of the reader and that desire to become wealthy and live that lifestyle along with the ‘true’ story of the person who was successful then drives them to make a decision to take ACTION.
Should they carry on ambling along in debt or get the credit card out and spend several thousand pounds/dollars on learning a system that generated over £120,000 in four weeks. I mean, the guy made £120,000 in four weeks that means in a month I should have made my investment back and more right? So what is £12,000 ticket price when I could be mortgage less and wealthy in four weeks? This time next year I will be mega wealthy, right?
These questions are the ones being asked by the reader who then convinces himself to take action and buy, it is very easy to make that decision when the sales copy has impregnated your mind with answers that will cloud your judgement when you come to ask yourself, “Is this product worth £12,000?”
You are made to see key phrases which lead your mind to make the decision to buy; these key phrases are written in different colours, highlighted, made bold or underlined and sometimes made to lean like italics, these tricks make them stand out more and become more noticable over the rest of the copy. Words like ‘Secret’, ‘Revealed’, ‘Never seen before’ and a whole host of powerful words are interwoven into the copy to affect your decisions as if you were sharing a flat with Derren Brown and Paul McKenna. ‘Look into my eyes, not around the eyes but into my eyes…’
The desire is so strong many people say yes and then buy a product which when arrives is a lot more work than what was portrayed and also comes with a refund policy that was ‘hinted at’ but most people fail to understand which is, the product cannot be refunded unless you have used the system unsuccessfully for one whole year and followed the plan to the letter.
By opening the parcel and deciding that the product is not for you often will start that refund policy which means you have now lost £12,000 (whatever the cost is) or you have to work hard for the next year following the unworkable plan before you can even attempt to ask for a refund.
Internet marketing systems that are delivered online and not as DVDs usually have a 30 day money back guarantee because many of the online affiliate networks like Clickbank insist on them. Online systems are generally cheaper mainly because the way they are shown is either online or a digital download. They do not send out expensive postal mail shots which can cost tens of thousands of pounds/dollars.
Also the digital way that online systems are delivered and seen means they can be sold and accessed for many years to come with very little extra costs. An off line marketer would need to send out a new expensive mail out if he wanted to re sell the DVD course to new people, internet marketers do not have that issue but many do still use the long form style of sales letters on their websites. Many now use video these days because they do convert really well but they still use the AIDA principle.
Some videos that were created by people like Anik Singal were very professional, they were mini Hollywood movies designed to get your ATTENTION, to get you INTERESTED, to create a DESIRE in you and to finally drive you to take ACTION. The same principle, just a different media.
The worst trick, which is nearly stamped out now, was to create a scarcity feel to the product. Unscrupulous marketers would say things like “Only 500 available, hurry now before they are all sold out and you miss out on this once in a life time offer” Often they would sell as many as was ordered and if they flew past 500 they would still sell and then re promote the “once in a lifetime offer” a few months later.
Another trick is that copywriters would add a ‘price hike’ after a set time, for example a product is for sale at £$47 but after 24 hours the price will jump up to £$197 so you need to act quick to get your discounted deal. Sometimes the price hike is affected by sales numbers so the first 50 ordered are at £$47 then after that the price goes up.
This is done so that you do not doubt your decision and buy. If the price was not set to go up after 24 hours you might not buy straight away while you ponder on it for a while and then you might either decide not to buy at all or completely forget about it. Marketers have lost a sale and they do not like that so they try and get you to buy fast.
Fortunately much of this has been stamped out by the affiliate networks who insist these tactics can only be used if you are only selling a set number of products or if the price will increase after 24 hours. However in my experience I still see sales letters discussing time and sales related ‘price hikes’ 6 months or more after the product was launched which to me means the trick is still being used in a not so ethical manner.
Whether you are reading the sales letter online or one that has come through the letterbox please read them careful and see what the sales copy actually says. They do their best to be as vague as possible about the product itself.
Try and ascertain what the product actually does, do a Google search on the product name or owner to see if you can find more information. After receiving a sales letter through the post by a UK company, using Google I found the same product had been sold in the US for several months, the UK company had doubled the price, used the same sales copy but just changed it from dollars to pounds and increased the price. I doubt the product would have be much use here in the UK.
Make sure you read a sales letter understanding that they are designed to sell a dream or series of benefits and not what the product does. They are written to evoke an emotional response in you strong enough for you to want to buy. In reality they are trying to cloud your judgement and get you to buy, as the old saying here in the UK goes, “Bulls**t baffles brains”
Happy Saturday everyone, I say happy Saturday as it seems every weekend in December is a happy something so why not have a happy Saturday between Christmas and New Year. We hope you have had a great Christmas and prepared for 2014 which is just upon us. I hope you are looking forward to the New Year as much as we are here at bizzebee.com
We hope you will join us to make 2014 the best year yet. This is our year; say it out loud to yourselves… “2014 is my year!” Yes it is, it is going to be our year and it is going to be your year. We the bizzebee team are going to be with you every 365 days of it 🙂
So let’s get back to this week’s New Year special round up with 6 articles as written by or featuring members of the bizzebee team.
This next post comes from John Banks and is on his own excellent blog. John is not only a dabbler he is a doer, he plans his ideas out, implements them and works with them until they are working nicely.
He locks himself away in his little bunker and doesn’t emerge back into the daylight until he can happily say in a Gordon Ramsay fashion ‘DONE’. In this post John will show you how he created a Facebook page and made it into a money spinner. To make it a lot easier to understand he has created a video for you to watch.
This is not just a good post but it is one that could have you making some extra pocket money from Facebook once you have finished reading it. That would be a great start to the New Year wouldn’t it?
This excellent motivational post comes from Clair and I here on our bizzebee site. Clair has written an excellent motivational post here about the choices and decisions we all have each day. Clair has pointed out that many of us live life taking each day for granted
This is a powerful post and should hopefully create that light bulb moment you need, not everyone realises the truth, we can only live today. We need to make each day worthwhile and special.
People act from habit, habits they have learned from their parents, the people around them and what they see on TV. Apathy and taking today for granted can be learned behaviours and once you understand this they can be changed.
If you want change in your life then you really need to read this post and become more aware of the choices you have and the decisions you make.
I Andi Leeman chose this post by Mizanur, it might not be the post he would have wanted but I think it is brilliant because I love travel, I love to learn new things and this post not only tells me all about the area not far from where Mizanur lives in Bangladesh it also shows another side to his creative writing.
There is 125KM of unbroken sandy beach at the Cox’s Bazar and in this post Mizanur lists many of the must visit local attractions and islands, Mizanur also gives a few addresses for accommodation should you decide to visit.
As a lover of Buddhist philosophy I fancy taking a trip to the Buddhist village or Ramu just one of the many tourist places to visit in that area. This is an informative post and I suggest you pop over and take a look.
This post is by me Andi, I have been a huge fan of the spiritual style books like Napolean Hill’s ‘Think and Grow Rich’ and Wallace D. Wattles ‘The Science Of Getting Rich’. These books are about making money but they are more to do with the spiritual side of life, your thoughts and attitudes to life.
I love them and in this post which I wrote over at TimsMinions.com I discuss the history, science and philosophy behind these books and I have also included an eBook version of the book that readers can download for free.
Many if not all of the wealthy people in the world will tell you that making lots of money has more to do with the way you think and your attitude to life and work than the work itself. I have read this book many times, I love it and I love the message behind them. I would love it if you read this post and took away the same message and philosophy that I did. I hope you enjoy the article. 🙂
The last article this week comes from Sam our own marketing and sales expert. Sam has been involved in the corporate world of selling for a few years and knows a thing or two about it.
This article is over at his own ‘TheSocialYeti’ blogger site and he discusses what you need to know in order to become a good salesperson. Sam used the IFNOC principle when he was selling and you can get to understand what it means here.
If you need to become a better salesperson or just want to know some powerful sales tips then I suggest you pop over to this post and have a read.
Ok so that is our final 6 posts that we wanted to share with you and we at bizzebee would like to wish each and every one of you a great New Year and we all look forward to working with you in 2014. – Andi Leeman & the bizzebee team. 🙂