Press Pause to continue

Dear John,

It’s not you it’s me. I’ve just got too much on the go at once. Between work, Chords 2 Go – my guitar side project, building websites, family, and sleeping it doesn’t leave much time you.

I need to step back for a while and think of me, so I’m going to be putting this blog on pause for a while until I can properly devote enough time to it.

Thanks for spending time with me. I’ve learnt a lot from you, and I’ve enjoyed getting to know you. Hopefully we can pick up again sometime in the near future. In the meantime I’m sure you’ll find someone else.

talk soon,
Matt

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Thank your Customers – Day 23 of 30 days of blog post ideas

Welcome to day 23 of my 30 days of blog post ideas series. Today we focus on counting things…

Everyone loves a good list. Something about bringing order to an unruly set of data makes us all breathe a sigh of relief.

Look a popular checkout aisle magazines for how to create a list. They have it down to a fine art. ’25 ways to lose weight’, ’15 secrets of successful people’ ’99 signs you may be a genius’. They offer specificity (a finite number) along with promising to give something very concrete. If it works to sell magazines, it will work for your blog.

Pick a topic and create a list. Decide if your list will ordered or unordered and write it up. Don’t dwell forever on arranging the list or wondering what to include and what not to include. People may always disagree with your list – and that’s what you want. Hopefully they will do so via comments and you can start a c conversation.

  • Make sure your headline calls out specifically how many items are in your list.
  • Don’t try and include the world in your list – keep it small and specific.
  • The list doesn’t have to be static, you could build on it every few months. E.g. a list of useful software. Given the nature of software it’s always changing, you could revisit and update the list once or twice a year, getting more bang for your buck.
Posted in blog content, blogging | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Thank your Customers – Day 22 of 30 days of blog post ideas

Welcome to day 22 of my 30 days of blog post ideas series. Today we focus on getting back at it…

Wow! What happened there? Day 22 a week late?!?! :) Oops! Last week got away from me. I blame staying out till midnight on Sunday – that’s not a good way to start the week…but I did have fun which makes it worth it. I’m not giving up though – I’ll carry on with the remainder of the 30 days posts – just a week later, hopefully you’ll stick with me, only 9 more posts to go.

Being British means saying thank you is second only to saying sorry for me. It’s such an easy thing to forget, but it’s so powerful. Those two words are all that’s needed to acknowledge someone has done something for you. It lets the person know you are aware and thinking of what they’ve done for you. That’s all that’s often needed to make it worthwhile for the person you’re thanking.

You might think that your customer’s owe you a thank you because, let’s face it, you’re busting your butt to help them out. And they do, but you also owe them a huge thank you – without them you’d have no business. Hopefully you enjoy your business – your customers are responsible for allowing you to live your dreams. That’s definitely worth a thank you.

There are two ways you can use this idea, either think about specific things you’re thankful to your customers for. Write them up in a blog post addressed to all your customers. Or, think about specific things you’re thankful to one or a few customers for. Write them up in a blog post addressed specifically to them. (Make sure you thank them in person or via email first).

  • Be sincere.
  • Make sure you get permission before mentioning any customers by name in your blog.
  • Don’t be stingy with your thanks.
Posted in blog content, blogging | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Advertise an Event – Day 21 of 30 days of blog post ideas

Welcome to day 21 of my 30 days of blog post ideas series. Today we focus on events…

Events are a means of bringing people together. To talk, connect, network, schmooze, hangout, look at each other and generally be social. Did you know that 40 million americans attend 500,000 conferences and trade shows every year. But that the US only accounts for 26% of exhibition space in the world. Europe leads the way with 49% of exhibition space. That’s a lot of people attending a lot of events.

Advertising an event that may be of interest to your readers is a great way of helping them. If you’ve attended a particular event before you can tie this in with a report from a prior year, or just general information about how useful and beneficial attending the event is. You should only be recommending the best events to your readers.

A great way to tie this in with other marketing and relationship building is finding out which of your readers are attending the event and either host a meeting (either formal, or informal, like a coffee shop) or tell your readers where you are going to be and invite them along. This is easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy marketing. You have your audience, and you have a direct connection with them – all for the cost of a cup of coffee!

Your readers will get a kick out of meeting you face to face and getting to talk to you and you may find some new customers, or learn a little about your readers.

Determine which events you are attending through the year. Plan them into your Editorial Calendar. Write a post 3 months before advertising the event, and telling your readers you are attending. Write another post a few weeks before reminding your readers about the event and providing more details on where you’ll meet with them.

  • Advertise other events you’re not attending, but know are good. Remind readers of the benefits they’ll receive if they attend.
  • You don’t have to turn into a car sales rep and give them the hard sell – just provide the information to your readers.
  • Advertise the little events too. E.g. local meetings in your town.
  • Don’t attend events? Then start attending them! It’s a great way to meet people.
Posted in blog content, blogging | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Make an Infographic – Day 20 of 30 days of blog post ideas

Welcome to day 20 of my 30 days of blog post ideas series. Today we focus on making data fun…

Infographics are everywhere these days. If you haven’t heard the term before, Wikipedia defines it as follows:

Infographics are graphic visual representations of information, data or knowledge intended to present complex information quickly and clearly”

Infographics take boring data and facts, and spice them up by displaying them graphically as a diagram, or chart. Often they are adorned with other graphic elements that help tell the story of the data. They’re a great way to provide the content everyone talks about in content marketing. There’s even an infographic about what infographics are!

ThreeFortyNine, the co-working space I work out of just released their own funky co-working infographic today. It’s a great marketing tool. It creates something that educates readers, entertains readers (through nice design) and begs to be shared with others.

Now, you may think ‘I don’t have any interesting data or facts that I can share. I work in the plumbing business!’ But you’re wrong. Think about it more. I bet there are lots of surprising facts about plumbing you could include in an infographic:

  • The first flush toilet was invented in 1596
  • There are 350 million toilets in the US – one for every citizen.
  • The toilet is flushed more times during the super bowl halftime than at any time during the year.

Just search Google for ‘plumbing infographic’ and you’ll find tons of examples, and tons of ideas for creating your own. Don’t worry – this post is not just for plumbers. Everyone else with a blog can do the same thing, and find some good material to use in your infographic.

It would be even better if YOU provided the facts and data yourself – something new that hasn’t been around the internet ten times already. That, is the real meaty stuff that will get your blog read and shared. If you can mine your own business for data and share that with the world you’ll be rewarded in blogging heaven.

Come up with a theme for your infographic. Find, or build data that supports your theme and that others will find interesting. Sketch out a design for your infographic. Create the final infographic and post it.

  • Make it interesting. Make is surprising. Make it educating. Make it fun. Make it engaging. Imagine you were telling these facts to someone at a party, you really need to engage readers with interesting information first and foremost.
  • Run a survey of your readers or customers to capture data for an infographic.
  • Make sure the facts are accurate, and how you are displaying the data graphically is accurate otherwise readers will tend to trust the data less. (E.g. if you are using two pictures to compare two pieces of data, make sure the size difference of the pictures accurately reflects the actual size difference of the data)
  • Keep it simple – don’t go overboard on the graphic design. Less is more they say when it comes to design.
  • It doesn’t have to be serious. Check out the silly infographics I created: A hierarchy of blogging needs and If blog posts were food, what would yours be?
Posted in blog content, blogging | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Future Event Teaser – Day 19 of 30 days of blog post ideas

Welcome to day 19 of my 30 days of blog post ideas series. Today we focus on generating excitement…

An easy way to create a little excitement on your blog is to release a teaser, or a series of teasers about some upcoming event like a product launch, conference, release of some important research etc.

Hollywood uses this to great effect with movie trailers. It seems more and more they are releasing small teasers even before they release the main movie trailer, which itself is a teaser for the film. You can learn from the masters and do the same. You may not be releasing a multi-million dollar blockbuster, but if your blog has a following your readers will be interested in a new product launch or an event. Creating a teaser gets the word out early, builds anticipation and can also help readers through change (positive only – I don’t recommend this for negative changes – readers need information or they will experience anxiety: ‘What do you mean this product is being discontinued in 3 months! Tell me more. What do I need to do now?’.

Teaser’s don’t always need to talk about the new product or event. 37Signals, the company behind Basecamp did a series of posts before they launched the new version of their product. Each post talked a little about the design process that went into the new version, they gave readers a behind the scenes view of the thought, care, and attention that went into the new version they were about to release. This hyped the quality of the product and set expectations of what it was going to be like.

Using your editorial calendar plan out a future event like a product launch. Work backwards and plan to release one or a small number of teasers posts beforehand. Teasers should not reveal everything but little nuggets of info should be dripped to readers with each teaser culminating the actual launch or event.

  • Don’t hype it up too much – you’re not releasing a Hollywood blockbuster! If you set expectations too high then readers may be disappointed when they finally reader about the product or event.
  • Make sure you leave enough time before the launch or event for readers to build anticipation, but don’t do it too early otherwise they may lose interest. Unfortunately there are no rules around time so do what feel right.
  • Make sure each teaser builds on the last and gives them a little more information.
  • Make the teasers count: don’t just tell readers: ‘something good is coming’. Give them some real chunky, tasty info. For example, talk about the problems with the current version and how you’re solving them in the new version.
Posted in blog content, blogging | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Share some Pictures – Day 18 of 30 days of blog post ideas

Welcome to day 18 of my 30 days of blog post ideas series. Today we focus on eye candy…

A picture is worth a thousand words, as the old cliché goes. It’s a cliché for a reason though – because it’s so true. People love looking at pictures. Pintrest and Instagram are perfect proof of this.

Creating a picture post every now and again for your blog will inject some interest between all those word heavy posts that you normally write. If your pictures contain people all the better – people love to look at faces.

Take some pictures of an event, a client meeting, a celebration, or just some pictures of your team (if you run a business). Create a post that contains the pictures along with some explanation of what they show.

  • Practice taking good pictures! The better the pictures, the better the post. The most important piece of photograph advice I know is: get closer! Make your subject fill the frame.
  • Make sure you get permission from the people in the photographs before you publish them.
  • Don’t make the photos too big otherwise they will take a long time for users to download. Resize them before you upload them, or resize them in WordPress.
Posted in blog content, blogging | Tagged , | Leave a comment