As the co-founder of PodCamp, it was interesting to participate at the most recent PodCamp Pittsburgh (this is their tenth running of the event). I was nearly surprised that nine years later, we’re still talking about which microphone to use and how to monetize a podcast. But that’s technically WHY we still run PodCamps. Because people still have that question. It made me think, though.
The Next Event I Might Run
I spoke with Carla Swank from Nashville a few times. She’s part of the team running Craft Content, which is their own project but that follows the BarCamp/PodCamp/other similar events legacy. It was exciting to see the new brand, the new ideas, the different spin on what is out there.
I’m a big fan of the work of Dr Nick Morgan. In my circles, when people ask me advice about how to be a better professional speaker, I tell a somewhat backhanded and loving story about how I paid for a day of Dr. Morgan’s time, hellbent on having him make me a much better speaker. I loved everything he had to say. It was brilliant, full of really important details and ideas. And I couldn’t really make good use of any of it.
Dr. Morgan mentions it in this post. For instance, “The good news for you conference organizers, then, is that if you hire Chris you’ll get something largely new each time. In spite of my best efforts.”. (emphasis mine)
A Peek Into How This All Threads Together for ME
I’m sharing MY personal setup. You can do yours any which way you want. But There’s some method to the madness, and it’s all contained in that picture above. I wanted to show you how it works for me.
My mom (and sometimes my dad) blog quite regularly on a site called Mom Pop Pow. I can’t post the link, because it’s thrashed with spam right now. The site was hacked. Last time Mom checked, there were many WordPress plugins that needed updating. Those might be the culprit, too. WordPress maintenance can be a part time job, I swear. And even if everything were 100% buttoned up, there are still malicious people out there looking to take over your site. It’s happened to me. Twice. Expensively.
So Now My Mom and Dad are Drug Dealers
You’d think that if you visited their site on the day I wrote this. But they’re not. Mom writes book reviews. She writes about trips to museums. She writes about things that face the Boomer generation. It’s a pretty awesome blog, says her biased and overly proud son, because it’s about what SHE wants it to be about.
A friend recently emailed me and said she was having a crisis of faith, that her attempts to work with people weren’t going especially well, that she felt a bit lost in it all. I gave her some fairly harsh feedback, but all in the service of love. The shortest version of my response to her? “You have a white truck, not a business.”
Define Your Business As Clearly As You Can
When I talk about a “white truck” business, here’s the thing: if you buy a white truck like the one in the picture above, you CAN do pretty much anything with it. You could be a landscaper. You could haul stuff. You could help people move. You could start a logistics and delivery organization. Whatever. There are LOTS of ways to use a white truck.
The folks at Blendtec sent me a Designer 725 super duper high tech smart blender. As a fitness and health guy, it’s a pretty cool thing to own. My parents own a competing brand of blender, and I’ve owned a much less expensive blender that I used to use to make smoothies until it died after about a year. So it was neat to get the chance to try it out.
Blendtec Designer 725
For those of you who ask such things, I was not paid to write a review. They didn’t even ask me to write a review (which was weird, because they sent me a pretty expensive blender to mess around with). Yes, if someone is given something, it means you probably have a little bias towards saying something nice. No, I never just say something nice. It’s not worth it for either of us. Finally, these words are all mine, because someone asked if they were. Yes.
First off, I should be honest right up front: I lied. I’m definitely NOT going to give you 37 blog posts to stop writing. Instead, stop writing list posts just because you read somewhere that they’re good.
We are TRASHING the opportunity to create great content marketing
Attention gimmicks are just that. They earn us attention. Briefly. And then what? If you’ve got no “next,” then you’ve just wasted it. Your “71 productivity tips” post is like Stewie (and all children):
17 years. That’s how long I’ve been blogging (as of the moment I’m writing this post). I started in 1998, before there was blogging software, back when it was called “journaling.” A lot has changed in my life since then (two major relationships, 4 companies, the birth of my children), and obviously even more has changed with the world.
Has Blogging Changed Much Over the Last 17 Years?
The short answer is yes. The tools have changed immensely. My first “blogging” was really using a WYSIWYG software called Trellix (I’m stunned that they still have a basic web page up). I then dabbled with lots of tools, some of which included Blogger when that came out, a few short forays onto less successful platforms that later died (and ate my posts) until finally landing on WordPress in one form or another. I regret that the Wayback machine really only captures a few iterations of my site starting in 2001, because of course, I changed URLs at the drop of a hat and can’t really even remember some of the others (remember Angelfire? Livejournal?).
With well over a billion users, Facebook must easily rank as most people’s “where I see interesting stories and click” tool of choice. Sure, us nerds might point to Feedly or Flipboard, but that’s not “most people.” That’s the enlightened. Some of us get our favorite sites to our inbox. But that’s more rare than not.
What seems most true, however, is that hardly anyone stops by someone’s actual blog any more (or say “site” in case you bristle at the word “blog.”) If people aren’t visiting blogs directly any more, what do we do? How do we earn that attention? And what matters most in the equation.
I can count on one hand the number of times that something I’ve tried to sell has been well-received by the people I serve. You know how some kids are a late bloomer? That’s me with most of the things I sell. People buy them years later sometimes. But this time, I really struck gold.
How We Write Our Sales Letter Sequence
I learned a lot while putting together the now-defunct webinar version of Online Course Maker. (Let me reiterate: the WEBINAR VERSION IS GONE). First, I learned that there’s such a thing as too much information for a format. I tried to cram way too much information into a one-hour webinar, which led to me rushing, skipping over important details, and more. I basically had to take down the webinar after giving it to people who registered and paid for it because it just wasn’t the right tool for the job. Instead, I had to break it into a course-style product so that I could give more breath and air to what needed talking about.