Archive for promoting yourself

29 Nov 2009

Your great idea for a web start-up

5 Comments Featured, promoting yourself, Stand Up for the Little Guy

I get pitched a ton of ideas and most of them are pretty good. No doubt, it’s a GREAT idea! Odds are that it might not be truly unique, as is typical in web entrepreneurship. However, the prize-20winner in the space is the first to properly execute. No experience founding a company before, don’t have a lot of money, need engineering expertise? Have no fear. My advice for you is to go out and buy “Founders at Work”– which has interviews with a dozen web entrepreneurs who went on to found Yahoo!, PayPal, and other ventures. Find out what it’s really like in taking something from concept to a multi-billion dollar reality– it’s probably not what you think.

Already have in mind an agency you want to pay to develop your concept? Don’t do it. That agency likely has solid experts in PHP, Facebook development , WordPress, or whatever,— but if you look at the stats, rarely does a tech startup succeed by having agency development resources. Unless you have a TON of cash and don’t need inspired engineering, the odds are not in your favor going this route. The catch-22 of agency work is that if these folks were so great, why aren’t they building their own ideas? Analogously, if you’re such a great stockbroker, then why aren’t you building your own portfolio? Great tech startups need a technical co-founder. If you’re paying a contractor or worse– an agency– you’re not getting someone who is sleeping, dreaming, and eating your idea, 24×7.

42-18277423Ideas are a dime a dozen– execution is everything. And rarely can one person summon the energy needed to pull it off, even if you have all the skills needed. You might also read “Hackers and Painters” which goes into detail on how great builders, innovators, and engineers in the web space are the same thing.

So first order of business, before you’re looking at hiring other people or spending money on marketing is to find others who will join you in the cause. Let those other guys spent a year chasing those VC dollars, while you focus on execution, are absolutely frugal with every dollar, and have a lean, hungry team looking for results.

hubspotEarlier this year, I had the good fortune to meet Dharmesh Shah, founder of HubSpot. His tips, while seemingly anti-VC, are right on target. Fail quickly by releasing early– then you can suck less faster. Don’t release your product for free– charge for it. Start demoing on real customer, not your friends who will say what you want to hear. Focus on results, not on powerpoint presentations. Don’t go pitch everyone you know– you’ll end up spinning your wheels. And ignore those naysayers (often friend and family) who mean well, but serve only to pull you down.

Good luck on your idea!

30 Sep 2009

$100 million for Yahoo’s new ad campaign– it’s about YOU!

No Comments promoting yourself, search engine marketing

3 months ago Microsoft spent $100 million to launch BING search.  And now Yahoo! has followed suit, spending another $100 million for their own branding campaign.  All the while Google and Facebook are laughing at the big company mentality for marketing– to spend money on traditional advertising.

If your search quality hasn’t changed, then invest the $100 million to build a better product, not to just advertise.

Yahoo’s new ad campaign is called “It’s You”, which harkens back to the Life Engine campaign of several years ago– lots of purple.  What I want to know is– how is the new Yahoo! about me, as they claim?

lolyu

03 Sep 2009

Want to be a well-known affiliate blogger? My interview with Murray Newlands

9 Comments affiliate marketing, Guest Posts, promoting yourself

murrayheadI was able to catch up Murray Newlands, a famous blogger. We were able to have nice about his work in affiliate marketing, and the secret behind site, Murraynewlands.com, an affiliate blog that came from nowhere and is now everywhere in Google and twitter. Not only has he some great content on his blog, but is getting picked up and noted all over the blogosphere. Google Famous Blogger and you will see his name, I even hear he is working on Celebrity Blogger!

Murray, what ideas are interesting to you at the moment?

Chris Brogan’s writing on Trust Agents hit a chord with me. I have been very successful as a blogger since launching my blog earlier this year. My SEO is great, and a large reason for this is the links that people give me. I put this down to the content which people do like, yes, but there is more to it than that. I get lots of links from some great people I know in the industry become they want to help me. I always try to help other and I have found that truly what goes around in the blogosphere comes around. You want to connect with people who will engage with you and you soon learn who can fulfill that need with you and who will not. Once you get a reputation being engaging and helping others, you are soon introduced to more people who will also interact with you. It is a virtues circle of people who help each other, and these people swim in schools.

Who are some bloggers I should be trying to connect with?

Greg Rollett http://www.rockstarlifestyledesign.com

Drew Benskpark.com

Heather Smith boatinginbeautifulbritishcolumbia.com

Joetech Joetech.com

Steve Hall Adrants.com

Shawn Collins blog.affiliatetip.com

Connie brainfoggles.com

Chris Brogan ChrisBrogan.com

Eric Schechter www.ericschechter.com

Missy Ward www.missyward.com

Rax www.raxraxrax.com

How does blogging fit in with your affiliate marketing work?

Well, I blog about my work, and writing is a great way to explore ideas and concepts as well as share industry news. It is also a good means of making new contacts within the industry many of whom I now do business with.

What fears do you have with blogging?

When I first started I was worried about what people would say about my blog, my writing, MY SPELLING. Now I am not so worried about that, what I do worry about is the people who I forget to say thank you too and the missed opportunities. There is so much going on and so little time. I also have other projects which are getting more demanding and taking me away from my blog. I am not giving up.

Footnote: Murray knows how to draw positive attention. He ranks on Dennis Yu via just one interview with me.

29 Aug 2009

The Twitter and Facebook Highway

1 Comment facebook marketing and advertising, promoting yourself, social media

TFBHW

You may have heard the phrase “Kill two birds with one stone”, regarding taking one action to produce two results. Twitter and Facebook have teamed up to create a highway directly to one another, allowing users to update one status and be published to both sites. Most people are aware of how you can have your Twitter updates post to your Facebook status. Some people know that you can hide people who spam your stream, but not many know you can post your Facebook statuses to Twitter.

Would you like to talk about efficiency? This productive measure comes at no cost, sending your statuses via fiber optics at “status per 100 milliseconds”. The highway is perfect for users with high social networking priority that would like to save time and have more flexibility.

One AWESOME example:

StatusUpdatesYou may have Facebook mobile, but you do not receive status updates via text message. This is where Twitter has an upper hand; those subscribed to a “tweeter” via mobile device will now be notified of posted Facebook status. This is a win-win situation, because this highway has two lanes and can also travel the opposite direction. For example, you text your tweet to the designated number registered with your phone, and it shows up as your Facebook status aswell. This is perfect for non-internet browsing mobile devices.

StatusUpdates2Looking for customization? Feel free to share everything between Facebook and Twitter, but lucky for us picky folks you can choose what information you would like to share. You have options to share status updates, links, photos, notes, and event creations. Statuses and updates via Facebook and Twitter are very important to keep your friends, clients, fans, and coworkers informed. Hop online and buckle up (for safety), because you’re about to experience the smoothest and fastest ride social media has to offer.

Businesses can benefit from this, too. Online sites like BidFire, a Real-time auction website like eBay, are primed  for these quick transactions. Twitter allows access to their APIs that can be used to post messages when a user does something Like buy a Nintendo Wii for $10, which then can be automatically posted to Facebook with a neat URL to your website. When users link to their social network accounts, you can dramatically increase visibility just by simply offering a way for people to tell what a great deal they received. People like to brag to their friends, so why not tap into that?

14 Aug 2009

Social Media is a Lie We Perpetuate

8 Comments promoting yourself, social media

I started and completed a 260 page book in my 4 hour flight between Washington DC and Phoenix today.  It’s Trust Agents by Chris Brogan and Julien Smith.  I average a page a minute for light content—half a page per minute for dense, textbook-like content.  The lie is explained later in this post, by the way…

open_bookDo you read books?  If you don’t, you’re not building your knowledge as completely as possible. Blog posts are great for little tidbits, but deeper knowledge takes hours and is usually the area reserved for books.

Odd that Brogan would write a book about social media, any more than you’d create a painting about English literature or write in Braille about how to dance. The links in his book were footnotes—as opposed to clickable blue anchor text.  Weird.

That aside, it’s a good primer should you want to learn the basics of social mediaNothing shocking— write about what you’re expertise is, develop real friends online as opposed to a ton of auto-followed friends, your reputation is built upon trust as opposed to auto-dispensing business cards, set up monitors such as Google Alerts for your name and business, customer service on twitter is another helpdesk, and so forth.

It’s basic networking tactics with an online twist, which I believe are better-stated  in books such as “Never Eat Alone” (Keith Ferrazi), “Think and Grow Rich” (Napoleon Hill), “How to Make Friends and Influence People” (Dale Carnegie), and “Swim with the Sharks” (Harvey Mackay).  If you haven’t read these classic books, you should.

However, Brogan is a top 100 blogger, so he’s doing something right. And he does admit that publishing a book is really just a 2 inch thick business card—something to give you instant credibility.  And I did read it word for word, start to finish, so it did keep my attention.

It was also free, by the way.  All attendees of Affiliate Summit East got a free copy.  I almost didn’t grab a copy, as I was laden down already with free T-shirts, squeezy balls, and other conference schwag.

The lie of Social Media

crossed-fingersWhat I’m afraid will happen is that people will read this book and believe that if they start blogging about what they passionately believe in, plus start going crazy twittering and Facebooking all day, that they, too, can become popular bloggers.

He references Michael Jordan, who says that his secret to being so good is to keep shooting.   I could shoot baskets 18 hours a day for 10 years and still get my ass kicked by some teenager who never practiced.  Like the movie “Rudy”, the lie is that anyone can make it with some hard work.

The latest Malcolm Gladwell book talks about the 10,000 hour rule—that if you look at people who are at the top of their game, it took them 10,000 hours of practice to become pros. Somehow having put in the time would lead to success—although correlation is not causality, for those of you who remember first semester statistics.

Not denying the value of hard work.  Look at Robert Scoble, who is arguably one of the most popular bloggers—part of the “bloggerati”.  He became a famous blogger while at Microsoft because he openly denigrated Internet Explorer in favor of Microsoft.  Thus, an authentic voice—a guy at Microsoft willing to say a product sucked.

However, were Scoble not at Microsoft and wrote the EXACT same posts, his voice would be unheard among the thousands with the same opinion. Think about it.  Change one variable and the “success” goes POOF.  Thus collapses a whole string of further successes that stemmed from that initial lucky break.

The biggest factors in success are being lucky and well-connected. If you know me, you’ll know that I’ve been fortunate in several instances not because of my skill, but because I was in the right place at the right time—a great situation with a great network.  And if you look at the others who are successful in Internet marketing, you’ll see the power of their network—how they leveraged those connections to the max.

If you don’t have a network of powerful friends that will promote you and link to you, your blog could be the most informative site on the planet and still get no traffic.

I’d place that sentence right at the beginning of the book, were I the author and dispense with all the stuff about making sure to make eye contact with people you meet, to smile and say thank you, to try to be helpful to friends, or to use PPC to drive traffic to your site.  I am not kidding, each of those points are whole paragraphs or sections in the book.

On page 256, they list 5 reasons why people might trash the lessons in the book- that the lessons are not implementable, not that simple, not measurable, amateurish, and time-consuming.

draft_lens2365301module13389380photo_1231547514dr_laura_feather_pillowReason #6, which is mine, is that most of the 260 pages are fluff—almost no actionable content for someone who wants to earn a living as a professional blogger—or to even make enough money to pay for their hobby.  The exception is page 12, where there are 2 pages on how to set up “listening posts”, which are alerts on yourself.

On page 117, they mention how Donald Trump made money in on-line real estate (he actually went bust a couple times) to then leverage that fame into “The Apprentice”.  The success of that program, he used to do Trump University—a series of online course and then a conference circuit with Robert Kiyosaki (the “Rich Dad, Poor Dad” guy)

It’s like those people who are famous for being famous—or make money by selling books teaching other people how to make money. Well, I did get a $24.95 book for free, so I am grateful for that.

If Chris Brogran or Julien Smith ever read this post, I’d be curious to hear their opinion about whether I should express honestly (as I have here), give faint praise (as most book reviewers do, as most have never read the books of their friends), or not say anything at all.  You’ve elevated Scoble for his honesty in calling out Microsoft’s weak IE browser, so my post is either on target in that respect or perhaps ill-informed.

My other feedback is that the scope of this book  (“using the web to build influence, improve reputation, and earn trust”) was too broad, at least not without more focused examples, far less pedantic advice on how to be friends with people, and reciprocal promotion of friends that promote you (consider multiple over-the-top references to Beth Kantor and Greg Cangialosi).  By putting forth an honest review, whether informed or not, may burn bridges should I ever need a stunning review from these guys when my book comes out.

But who will read a sycophantic (ass kissing) positive review? And, to the book’s point, will your colleagues trust you when you’re shamelessly promoting something that you don’t believe in?

Mark Twain once said that the key to success is to be genuine—fake that, and you’ve got it made.  That’s one of my favorite quotes.  Hence the inherent lie of Social Media based on principles in this book.

If you want to actually see steps on promoting your brand and to drive traffic, I’d recommend checking out the guides at Blitzlocal.com.  They are on-line and also free.

04 Aug 2009

Who says twitter is a waste of time?

No Comments facebook marketing and advertising, promoting yourself, social media

A few days ago, I posted a Facebook status message, asking “Who wants a free SEO analysis?” 23 people responded and I chose one winner. Yesterday, I chose the winner and posted the analysis here.  And now, not even a day later, I do a search on Twitter and see pages and pages of people re-tweeting the blog post.

dennis_yu_seo_analysis_twitter

Funny thing is that I never promoted this on twitter to begin with. It started from just a Facebook status message and then a post of my blog.

You should search on your name to see what comes up.

You might be surprised.
You might learn something.

For example, look at who is mentioning me by typing this:

http://twitter.com/#search?q=dennis%20yu

Given the popularity, I think I’ll probably offer on free SEO analysis weekly. If you want one, just fan me on Facebook at facebook.com/dennisyu, then add your site to the list.

Update:

I now do a search on my name on twitter every few days to see what’s happening.  Now I see 100 mentions every time I do a blog post, even though I don’t mention it on twitter.  That means bloggers like us have to pay attention to twitter whether we like it or not.  At conferences, we get to see the live twitter feeds to get a sense of audience interest.  Quite lively!

22 Jul 2009

Facebook Post Quality Score

2 Comments facebook marketing and advertising, promoting yourself, social media

icon_facebookThis morning, Shoemoney put up a guest post by me covering Facebook Quality Score. Because we manage a few dozen fan pages, as large as a quarter million fans, I wanted to lend insight into what the metric is and what it may mean to advertisers and affiliates in the future.  Let me clarify a few points:

  • As far as we know, Facebook isn’t using the Quality Score to ding or help you in any way– but they may later.
  • They’ve stated the score is based on percentage of fans who have interacted in the last 7 days. I’m guessing that the Post Quality score is like a batting average: the number of fans who have interacted in the last 7 days versus the total.  Therefore, the theoretical max should be 1,000.  Using this calculation across most of our pages gets us close, but not exactly to the number Facebook lists.
  • Keith Wilcox’s score is now 250, which is the highest I’ve seen yet– it will be easier to get a high quality score on a smaller fan base. Getting 25% of 30 fans to participate over 7 days is easier than 25% of 3,000 fans.  Someone should experiment here.  Because of his Facebook page– his top source of traffic– he is now ranking on Google for “getting fit setting goals“.

If you have any questions about Facebook promotion, whether their self-serve PPC platform, creation of pages/groups, building/monetizing applications, just put your question in the comments and I may write a post about it.

15 Jul 2009

Target Facebook users on their birthdays!

7 Comments affiliate marketing, facebook marketing and advertising, promoting yourself, search engine marketing conferences

Facebook keeps releasing new features to their self-serve PPC platform. It feels like Google from 2003– are you keeping up?

Did you see that you can target people on their birthdays, in addition to your existing fans, as well as being able to select multiple countries?happy_birthday_cake

  • If you’re selling gifts of any type– this is your chance to do something.  Cards, flowers, T-shirts, silly items… Doesn’t even have to be birthday related– you could even promote a little cosmetic surgery to older women– Imagine this ad:FacebookAd
  • If you’re a brand, you can pay to hit your fans when they’re elsewhere on Facebook– think Generic_Cola_Cans_1980sof this like the old days of Paid Inclusion on Yahoo! or perhaps like today’s brand bidding.  The point is there is some level of cannibalization to pay for people that you already “have” as fans.  Yet if this drives incremental traffic, you can price in that overlap to make sure it backs out.  And if you have less than 100 fans, who cares.  But if you’re a brand like WWE and have over 250,000 fans, it would be a great way to drive marginal revenue. Now it’s too bad you can’t target OTHER people’s brands and fan pages.  That would be like Coke bidding on Pepsi.  What would you pay to be able to target your competitors?  Oh, wait– I forgot.  You can do that all day long on PPC.
  • pimp-c-715217If you just want to be a pimp: Some people just don’t have a good reason to market.  But maybe if you get to 100 fans on your page, you can then register your page’s vanity url here.  Even if you have no fans to start with, if you’re paying 30 cents a fan, it’s only $30 to get to 100 fans, and then you can grab a name like facebook.com/toiletpaper or whatever you fancy. Many generic names are still free.

If you’re making profits via these new tactics, however small, it’s time to scale them up. If you are a non-spammy growing_070813advertiser, then I welcome you to sign up for our automated Facebook ad posting platform, which automatically multiples variations of ad creatives and landing pages, then reports back with the best performers.  If you’re selling weight loss, get rich quick scams (also euphemistically called “BizOpps”) or products that auto-renew at insane rates (called “negative option”), then don’t bother, since your ads won’t get approved by us or by Facebook.

But maybe you’re a stay at home dad filming how to home school videos or perhaps reviewing top 10 kids movies, in preparation for the upcoming Christmas shopping season.  Don’t laugh– if you’re an affiliate and you aren’t starting now, you’re late to the game.  Then it makes sense to start promoting your wares.

I’m presenting on Facebook advertising at Affiliate Summit East in 2 weeks, and again, at HostingCon 2 days later.  Come join me!

12 Jul 2009

“Get Found” on Facebook

3 Comments promoting yourself, social media

getfound

Remember a few weeks ago when Facebook allowed everyone to grab their own vanity url? Now they’ve just opened up the ability for you to choose a name for your pages, too.  You just need 100 fans to be eligible.  Just like you’d see in the domain grabbing world, the same thing is happening on Facebook.

dennisnotyu

Wow, someone created “Dennis NotYu” under our company name.  I’ll take that as a compliment!  At the same time, you can report folks who infringe on your brand or company name.

funerals

We were too late to get this for a client that did funeral planning.  Morbid that this girl’s personal profile name is “funerals”– I would have expected her to dress in all black.

So get your fan pages each up to 100 fans and start grabbing names– there are a ton still available.  Go to facebook.com/usernames.

03 Jul 2009

Famous or Infamous? Shoemoney and strip clubs

9 Comments affiliate marketing, promoting yourself

img_0975A couple weeks ago, Jeremy Shoemoneycame to visit BlitzLocal and we headed to a Denver strip club with Scott Richter and other folks in tow.  Here’s the shot we took outside the club which you can also see in today’s shoemoney.com post.  Tell me, is that a good or a bad thing to be seen outside a strip club, even though we’re there to play the awesome beer pong, for which they have tournaments on Tuesday and Thursday nights?

Will this help or hurt our image with our Fortune 500 clients or professional service firms looking for small business advertising or social ad serving on Facebook?

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