What Well Over 10 Years Of Blogging & Consulting Have Taught Me

Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote, “The purpose of life is not to be happy.  It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you lived and lived well.”  That provides strong principles and values, a useful framework, to live by but is it a useful definition of purpose?  I offer a simpler take:

The purpose of life is to find your true purpose.

This article will explore my journey, not for the sake of mere self-indulgence but for the purpose of helping you on your own journey and perhaps getting to know each other better.  I hope that, by the end, you’ll realize just how valuable and accomplished you are.  If you’re at a crossroads in life, this may be the article for you.  If you have any thoughts to share, please don’t be shy.  This one will be quite the journey!

This epic collection of stories and scattered thoughts will cover a lot of things, including, but not limited to:

  • How writing can be a tool of self-discovery and self-improvement
  • What I’ve learned through running Y3B as a vehicle for consulting
  • Going beyond establishing expertise and credibility
  • Toxicity and the dangerous brand of knowledge (i.e. bad advice)
  • Why culture/personality fit trumps technical knowledge and experience

Tomorrow, on April 6th 2017, Y3B turns 11 years old and it will mark an over 20-year journey.  While I’ve dabbled in just about everything and worn many hats, writing and technology have always been passions.  The challenge is translating those passions that into what Mark Schaefer calls sustainable interests, a concept that I have long taught and believed in before the book “Known” was published.  That said, you really should read “Known” and check out the discussion groups on it.

known-book-mark-w-schaefer

I believe blogging is still one of the most powerful tools for those wishing to be known.  On a greater scale, if you wish to establish credibility and visibility, the written word is still one of the most compelling ways to do so.  Writing forces you to really think through your ideas in a way you may not do on a podcast and certainly not video, where you may be more preoccupied with production quality instead of the relevant, uniqueness, and importance of your message/stories.  Writing is easily the most powerful form of communication and it is something everyone should strive to improve upon, if for no other reason than to structure your ideas and self-identity better.

 

I’m Not A Blogger, This Is Not A Blog

When folks have asked me over the last few years what it is that I do, I never answer with blogging.  It’s not my focus or core competency.  I believe that calling yourself a blogger diminishes the value of what you do; furthermore, your blog should be a catalyst for bigger things.  The term “blogger” has become synonymous with hobby or passion, not profession or purpose.  That’s fine if your blog is truly a labor of love but, if it can be so much more, why wouldn’t you develop it as such?

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An Internet Buffet – Satire, SEO, and SoMe

Hello and welcome to my brand-spanking-new weekly blog and social media round-up, tentatively branded as the Weekly Internet Buffet!

NOTE:  Due to my work over at Geeky Antics Network Global (GANG) and HorsePLAY! LIVE, I will not be continuining my weekly round-up..  At least for now!

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Special thanks to DonasDays on BlogSpot for the neat image and San Faryna for the blog soup idea!

This is similar to what I have done before with the previous #supportathon and comment brigade campaigns but with a greater focus on curation. I believe that the most successful, accomplished, and fulfilled marketers embrace and live out the 3Cs of online business and conversions (a’la CRO, networking, and lead nurturing). Consumer, Curator, and Collaborator (more on that at another time). The 3Cs remind us that wearing different hats is okay and, more importantly, they help us appreciate the value in all [content] marketing.

With this ongoing initiative, I hope to support lesser-known thought leaders and content marketers while curating some useful, if not fun, tidbits from around the Internet. Of course, this will make it much easier for me to keep up with all the sites I maintain. Everyone wins!

In this manner, I hope we can become collaborators and support each other in more meaningful, consistent ways. So, without further ado, here are my picks for the week!

Stan Faryna is an old friend and I always admire his passion and poetic expression. Each of his pieces always seem to balance philosohical, philanthropic, and practical perspectives. In this continuation of the long-running Social Media DOHs series, Stan revisits favorite themes in value and self-promotion. His creative style will have you quite contemplative and perhaps introspective, too.

http://stanfaryna.wordpress.com/2013/08/22/self-promotion-value-and-other-social-media-dohs/#more-5274

Tim Haverford at NISM (National Institute for Social Media) Online shares five simple reasons why every professional should invest more time in their online presence. Truth be told, I usually skip list-based posts but this is a solid, concise article. For me, the main take-away here is protecting your brand. If you don’t build up your online reputation, someone else will.. And that also leaves your intellectual property at great risk!

http://nismonline.org/five-important-reasons-why-professionals-should-invest-more-time-in-their-online-presence/

Twitter IPO speculation has been quite pervasive in the last month or so and with good reason. No other social network has the global reach, cultural adaptability, and accessibility that Twitter does. My pal Christian Hollingsworth compares Twitter with Facebook and, clearly, we see his social media preference. I am with him, too!

What will the Twitter IPO bring or take away? It is really anyone’s guess. I just hope they have a sustainable revenue model in place. My concern is that Twitter will start to scale back features and kick third-party supporters in the balls, much like Facebook did when they went public…

http://smartboydesigns.com/speculation-surrounds-twitters-ipo/

Obligatory SEO-related content? Absolutely!

The next three links revolve around Google Hummingbird for the most part. First off, SearchEngineWatch (that’s right: not Moz) explains what “Not Provided” means in Google Analytics.. And how we, as small businesses and solopreneurs, can brace ourselves and adapt better.

http://searchenginewatch.com/article/2298881/What-Not-Provided-Google-Hummingbird-Mean-for-Small-Business-SEO

Queries/keywords Not Provided? No problem!

Note the evolution of SEO in just five years or so, as visually represented there. The HubSpot “Evolution of SEO” infographic is fantastic. In fact, if you struggle getting clients to see the value in your SEO services, this is a great tool. We see that a variety in content and creativity have more value now than ever before.

SEW reinforces what many of us veteran SEOs already knew and have advised for close to a decade: breadth of content is the key. This means casting a wider net while listening and measuring more. See what works for you and try new things. In short, keep content fresh and don’t force/spam niche or specializations just to rank up. Yes, that means you can’t just produce lists every day, though those have their place.

http://www.searchenginepeople.com/blog/what-programmatic-marketing-is-all-about-and-why-it-matters.html

Speaking of breadth of content, SEP sure has a wide variety of content. I trust the Search Engine People.. And Ruud Hein is also quite awesome and entertaining! I appreciate that they tackle all facets and tangent issues in SEO and Inbound Marketing. The above link will make a little sense of new marketing buzz words. WTF is programmatic marketing, anyway?

Back to this Not Provided business, KISSmetrics provides three great work-arounds for uncovering queries/sources which revolve around user behaviors, CPC/SEM, landing pages, and less traditional SEO tactics. Clearly, we can’t rely on Google or even Bing for our analytics and webmaster tools, so here are some ways we can be more self-sufficient and aware of how our content really performs.

http://blog.kissmetrics.com/unlock-keyword-not-provided/

“Recognize your influence. Recognize timing. Be intentional with your words.”

This powerful quote comes from former Navy enlistee and present-day Qualatech team leader/trainer, Matt Law. The next link goes to his article, which digs deeper into what leadership really means.. As well as the power our words really have!

Qualatech is an IT firm that seems to be very principle-driven.. In this article, they put the technical and tactical stuff aside to get to the root of what makes organizations thrive. While IT as a whole is struggling, this a Washington DC consulting firm thrives. My good friend James St. John pointed me to this article but I can see why Qualatech has thrived in what is a very saturated and underappreciated industry: they recognize the importance of true leadership, not mere management, and empowering others

http://www.qualatech.com/the-fishing-trip-that-started-qualatech

I love the narrative element here. A simple fishing trip becomes a life-changing event. The Navy Lieutenant could have easily served his own purposes and tell Matt to re-enlist but, instead, he tells him he has a greater purpose. Certainly, anyone that started an IT firm and stuck with it before the dot-com flops of the late nineties can tell you that was the way to go.

Sidebar: This article also makes a strong case for the power of storytelling and the influence the right words have.. And y’all know how passionate I am about such topics!

Today, Qualatech is a muliti-million-dollar operation and they continue to grow while others close doors and venture into more viable fields. I absolutely love this inspirational story. Thanks for sharing, James and Matt!

http://osakabentures.com/2013/10/startup-founders-who-give-back-in-listly/

There’s a quickie from another friend and collaborator of mine, Saul Fleischman. If you are looking to network with other startups and collaborate, add your name into the peer support list[ly] cited there. As Guy Kawasaki would say, it’s better to share a bigger pie than to desperately hold onto a tiny little slice. Saul is a big fan of give-and-take/reciprocation. He is also based out of Japan, which may be more convenient for those of us not in the Americas. Saul is as authentic as they come so, if you seek honesty and objectivity, he is your man!

…and now for something completely different…

http://www.wisegeek.org/what-is-satire.htm

Satire and irony may be two of the most misunderstood literary devices out there so, when my son asked for help with his lit project, I thought it would be prudent to make sure I explained things properly. WiseGeek is one of those sites I enjoy when I feel like brushing up on my knowledge, or just reminding myself that I am a geek, above all. This is an informative read, even if you do not consider yourself a writer.

Did you know there are three main types of satire (and apparently a fourth and fifth kind)?

These describe the tone and style of the satire, rather than the subject matter. Interestingly enough, all I could think of was political satire at first.. I am now informed!

Hope you all enjoyed this week’s picks!

If I missed your submissions, feel free to post on our SEO Facebook group or email me.

Staying On Spec & Other Consulting / Subcontracting Tips

Thanks to Triberr, Twitter, StumbleUpon, and Google+ (okay, sometimes LinkedIn and Facebook too), I have gotten to know many of you in the blogosphere and B2B space. I don’t need to tell you how hard consulting is, especially if you work from home. Understanding our collective challenges and drawing from our discussions and collaborations together, I have compiled some handy-dandy tips and insights. Today, amidst all the buzz about Valve announcements and SteamOS, I’d like to take a look at a subject that I can (and will) write a book about:

Consulting & Subcontracting Tips: How to Play Nice with Cients and Their Contractors / Coordinators

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Subcontracting is probably the easiest way to bridge the gap between major projects and supplement our existing revenue streams. Consultants and agencies almost always will take help if they have overflow work and feel overwhelmed. The risks and challenges I have experienced firsthand are as follows:

  • Less opportunity to build a relationship with the client.
  • Usually more about tactics than strategy and creative control.
  • As a result of the aforementioned, you essentially have to be a hired monkey.
  • Chances are your relationship will be short-lived regardless of value added.
  • More taking orders than providing proven strategies and complete solutions.
  • Keeping the relationship going usually means stroking several egos.
  • Essentially becoming a ghost or uncredited entity.

In short, you have to do as you’re told even if you have a better, more cost-effective solution. You have to swallow your pride and realize a subcontractor relationship may only serve as a brief income source and, if you’re lucky, it will translate into referrals and full-time roles.

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Support-A-Thon: The Power Of Collaboration & Engaging

On Tuesday August 16th, I embarked on a journey to develop more social proof and expand my influence, bringing change to the interwebz and fighting the good fight, thanks to Guy Kawasaki’s powerful message in his “Enchanment” book.  (BTW, the guy really shares some neat stuff on Google+)

My current Support-A-Thon mission consists of the following:

  • Get more active on my social networks.
  • Offer my help and free advice.
  • Expand my networks and engage each and ever person.
  • Support and share the content of others.
  • Simply ask that others do the same.

This campaign has been successful thus far but the marathon continues. As I promote my article on adaptive SEO, inbound marketing, engaging your audience, and converting traffic, I am making a deliberate effort to provide a strong CTA (Call To Action) and be helpful.  The discussions we’ve had publicly and privately have been BRILLIANT! Continue reading