Digital Content

Are you providing any kind of value?

 Image credit: @gapingvoid

Image credit: @gapingvoid

I have a love and hate relationship with funnels. I can see and love the fact that they could be of benefit to my business and at the same time I hate being in a funnel myself. 

I will share a recent experience with, let's just call him Nigel B. of 'Entrepreneur's Circle' and 'The Best of' fame. UK can probably guess who this person is.

Nigel is a very famous UK multi-business entrepreneur and has a huge amount of knowledge in this area, I have no doubt.

I was persuaded to trial the Entrepreneur's Circle a few years ago for a few months. But what happened was truly astounding, I was bombarded with not only emails, also loads and loads of paper through the post. There was just no way I could absorb all the data that was being pushed through to me, it was totally overwhelming to say the least. This was the biggest mega-funnel I had every experienced and this is quite a few years ago.

I realised I had made a massive mistake and cancelled my trial subscription, unsubscribed from all the emails and thankfully it all stopped.

Phew!

Until...

On the 24th September 2017, I received an email from Nigel, well not him personally of course, it was from support@entrepreneurscircle.org. It read as follows.

Hi Michael I put something very exciting in the post for you yesterday. It's going to your address: ...and should arrive tomorrow! Make sure you take a look. Nigel 

Actually, it is a very enticing email and maybe quite exciting, don't you think? Trouble is I had unsubscribed years ago, so how did I get resurrected? I certainly didn't remember downloading something from him recently.

Sure enough stuff arrived in the post the following day, it was totally ridiculous and over the top, loads of #fakenews claims from a bunch of his friends etc. No I don't know if it was actually fake, but it just felt like it. It went straight in the bin. I unsubscribed from the email and declared my feelings in the text box on the unsubscribe page.

I know he uses Infusionsoft and I could very clearly see that my unsubscribe was indeed successful.

Screen Shot 2017-10-06 at 09.33.49.png

Then...

On the 5th October 2017, I received a text message from him, see below screenshot, I was blown away and fuming, #WTF, how did he get my number, plus I'm on telephone preference service (UK based service to stop spam calls and text messages), so he wasn't allowed to be doing this at all and definitely should have known better.

IMG_4315.jpg

And it didn't stop here...

On the 6th October 2017, I received another email, titled, "personal message..."

It was one of those video emails via BombBomb, some of you will have seen them. Believe it or not I was first introduced to this kind of video email back in 2005, even before we had broadband, needless to say it died a death then, so I'm pleased it's back, but I was not so pleased to have received this message considering I had actually unsubscribed from his database.

Screen_Shot_2017-10-06_at_09_01_58.png

Well of course it was obvious that they had transferred my details to a different database, the BombBomb database. I was not pleased. It felt like throwing a BombBomb towards Nigel that's for sure.

Screen Shot 2017-10-06 at 09.01.41.png

Now you can probably understand why I say that I have a love and hate relationship with funnels. By the way full declaration here, I use Mailchimp automation, but in a very very different way. My objective is to add value to my network, not drive them into a funnel of any kind. 

AAIA_wDGAAAAAQAAAAAAAAzrAAAAJGIzODM2OTk1LWE2NjktNDJhMy04MDU3LWEwYmVmNDJjNTAzMw.png

I have learnt from others like Nigel that this is never the right approach and when people unsubscribe, that's it, nothing again ever!

As I'm writing this, I am also familiarising myself with the new EU General Data Protection Regulations update due on 25th May 2018.

Here's a link to learn more about that for EU and soon to be ex EU citizens. Yes it will still apply even after Brexit.

https://ico.org.uk/for-organisations/data-protection-reform/overview-of-the-gdpr

This will mean changing all funnel approaches by all marketers in the UK (and EU), including my own little 'value automation' and I will for sure be adopting the new guidelines, I promise.

RIP The Funnel.

@stayingaliveuk

Is your Intention purely Self-congratulatory or is it Selfless?

 @LinkedIn & @gapingvoid

@LinkedIn & @gapingvoid

When browsing the internet, my apple news app and the social media networks, the content speaks volumes.

The content largely is self-congratulatory, especially on Facebook. There is very little value in the content that gets posted whether by the news media, your friends, colleagues and the hundreds of strangers that you are connected to. 

Everyone is trying to distract us from our attention in the moment and engage with their story, bring us into their world view and opinions. Mostly it's #fakenews and sucks us in to express a like, heart, laugh, cry, wow or mad, and if we can be bothered, write a comment. 

 

Whether you believe the research or not, they say it takes you 25 minutes to return to the original task after only an 11 minute interruption. That is an absolute age, have you ever tried to sit still for 25 minutes? It's impossible and lasts a very very long time. 

So why do we do this to ourselves?

Don't get me wrong, I like social media, I really do, well maybe I did and I am starting to wonder how much time I have actually wasted on social channels, whereas I could have been creating some fabulous stuff and change my life for the better?

Realising that social isn't going away soon I have started to re-assess my activity there. I used to post 3 times per day via my favourite scheduling app, Buffer, but now I only post once per day. I paid for the 'awesome plan' so that I could have all my channels there and post to all of them and now I just have the free plan with only a few channels to post to. I continually had to search for new and interesting content from other channels, I even have a feedly account to locate all that content. The stress of having to keep finding content was crazy at times, when I saw my buffer of content emptying, I panicked and had to spend a few hours to find more stuff to load it up. I am feeling like a massive weight has been lifted from my shoulders by not having to do that any longer.

But did it actually work and did I get a return on my investment. I never truly know whether it did or not and my hunch is that it probably didn't. My engagement is no better or worse as a result of reducing my content sharing. 

So what about the way forward? Pretty much as the image says really.

  1. Be impartial.
  2. Inform next steps and offer guidance.
  3. Answer questions.
  4. Solve problems.
  5. Listen, respond and be helpful.
  6. Make people smile, laugh and sometimes give them pause.
  7. Design engagement and customer journeys across screens, platforms and networks so they are seamless.
  8. Create experiences that are delightful, memorable and shareable.

How about you, what have you noticed?

@stayingaliveuk

Are you aware how disappointing you are?

 @LinkedIn & @gapingvoid

@LinkedIn & @gapingvoid

As a consumer, I genuinely want to help the companies I buy from. Sometimes it comes out as criticism, but there is always a genuine intention to assist. Sometimes they just don't listen until you give them more direct and sometimes hurtful feedback. Take LinkedIn for example. I have been giving them feedback for years now on their customer service. I have even resorted to writing about it. You can find my articles here and here.

When you want to give feedback to brands and companies and nobody takes you seriously your love for them dies a tiny bit every time until one day you may turn around and say enough is enough. It's like the whole world falls in all at once, but it never did happen all at once, it happens a little bit at a time, usually over a long period of time. 

My wife and I stayed at a recent venue for a short retreat and when checking out, I wanted to give the receptionist, whose sole duty there was to check people out, some feedback on a couple of things during our stay.  Her answer was not unsympathetic but she answered by saying to include our comments on the feedback form, which would be emailed to us. Needless to say the feedback form was very impersonal, no place to add your own personal details and just one generic box to add comments. My love for them died a tiny bit. Not huge but it did hurt a little and whilst I could have been a raving fan, I'm now just a fan. It won't take many more incongruent experiences for me to no longer be a fan.

Brands and companies across the board struggle with this. I do understand, nowadays comments can be flying in from all directions. In the old days the only way you received customer feedback was when they were directly opposite you or you received a letter of complaint.  There was no mistaking how that feedback would be received. Now the comments can arrive in at least a dozen different ways and actually they will never find their way directly to you. They just exist in the cloud and potential customers find them, read them and decide their action. 

We are wired to think negatively or rather we have a survival instinct. This means that when we read negative reviews about a brand or company, we take them seriously. Even if it's just about food, which as we all know is highly subjective. Our primitive brain assumes that if the food is bad we could die, so we will avoid it at all costs. Yes people can get food poisoning however, I personally don't see that many stories of people dyeing in restaurants. When we absorb reviews about places to sleep, we too believe that we could end up feeling threatened in some way. Our physical or mental health could be under threat. 

I do get it, brands and companies lose customers every single day and it's natural to do so. You buy your loaf of bread from one outlet one day and then maybe some other outlet the next. And this is because very few brands and companies really think through the whole buyer's journey, from reading reviews, seeing their network's comments, adverts, the physical buying experience online and offline and the follow-up. How many times do you get a call from your baker to ask you if you were happy with your loaf today?  Not that many right?  It's just an extreme metaphor to make the point.

As the image suggests, true engagement is something you feel!

What's your view? Answers on a postcard or in the comments field below will do nicely!

LinkedIn created a brilliant eBook with my favourite illustrator. @gapingvoid (Hugh Macleod) creates the most amazing messages through his illustrations. Read more about him and @gapingvoid here: (http://www.gapingvoid.com/blog/team-members/hugh-macleod/)

Regularly I will share one of the articles and illustrations from the eBook and give you my opinion, interpretation, insight and my meaning.

@stayingaliveuk 

#contentmarketing #content #socialmedia #engagement #marketing #socialselling #sales #empathy #distraction #purpose #relevance #customerservice #help #feedback #reviews

Online is great and talking is even better. Everyone's ultimate goal in business and life is to make real connections, where you meet someone face to face. Before that meeting a conversation is the ultimate icebreaker. I value my LinkedIn connections and realise that I don't really know you or what your goals are and how I might facilitate or support those goals.  Feel free to click through and book a call with me http://styin.me/discovery-call-20mins.

Are you guilty of using the ‘sheep dip’ approach?

FullSizeRender.jpg

 I am sorry to say, I'm guilty!

It's not that I'm not wishing to be super personal and to engage with one person at a time and appeal to their specific goals and aspirations.

The truth is there are just not enough hours in the day to engage with every new connection request and every new follower at a level that I would ideally like. So some automation is inevitable. I'm still experimenting too and have already adjustedsome things.

I'm not using autobots as such, but I am manually adding new connections to my CRM and an automated process and messaging them with the same template message. And no, I don't feel great about it, but it's working at the moment.

My goal is to be engaging and strike up a conversation, share some valuable content and information that is free and at the same time being careful not to pitch anything. Its totally not my intention to do any kind of pitching. Eventually I'd like to have a conversation, which I call a discovery call. And that again is to provide some value, not to pitch.

I have carefully designed this process after weeks of testing it and receiving some deeper level of engagement with new connections, especially on LinkedIn. Anywhere else it's much harder to do. Email is still one of our default go to apps each morning. I know it's Facebook for most too.

I state very clearly in my auto emails that my purpose is to engage at a deeper level and invite recipients to unsubscribe if they wish to and indeed some do, but not as many as I had originally expected. Maybe one every 2-3 weeks.

I do receive a fair bit of engagement from these new connections and I also notice a lot don't. I'm surprised because they asked to connect with me in the majority of cases, at least 95% of them are incoming requests. Usually with no reason given for wishing to connect by the way.

The real engagement occurs when after a few touch points, which are a combination of engaging with their profiles and sharing some content and information, you manage to get agreement for a discovery call. When you are able to engage in a conversation with your connections, more clarity about who they are and what their goals are means that you can start to look out for clues and understand better how they'd like you to engage with them in the future. Over the years I've come to realise that this is by far the best method.

The goal always is to end up having a conversation. I believe by phone and usually Skype with video is best. I'd like to try other methods too, like Facebook messenger with video, although having tried it twice, it's still a bit unstable.

If you'd like to skip all the automation and go straight to a discovery call then by all means go for it and head over here,

http://www.stayingaliveuk.com/lets-talk

in the meantime let me know how you're feeling about my automation and by all means share your ideas and strategies that are working for you? 

LinkedIn created a brilliant eBook with my favourite illustrator. @gapingvoid (Hugh Macleod) creates the most amazing messages through his illustrations. Read more about him and@gapingvoidhere: (http://www.gapingvoid.com/blog/team-members/hugh-macleod/)

Occasionally I will share one of the articles and illustrations from the eBook and give you my opinion, interpretation, insight and my meaning.

@stayingaliveuk



#contentmarketing #content #socialmedia #engagement #marketing #socialselling #sales #empathy #distraction #purpose #relevance #trust #love #mastodon #why #linkedinlectures

Online is great and talking is even better. Everyone's ultimate goal in business and life is to make real connections, where you meet someone face to face. Before that meeting a conversation is the ultimate icebreaker. I value my LinkedIn connections and realise that I don't really know you or what your goals are and how I might facilitate or support those goals. Feel free to click through and book a call with me (https://www.stayingaliveuk.com/discovery-call/). I have blocked out only Fridays each week, excluding holidays, for calls. Hope to speak with you soon.

How do you know if your content is any good?

And how do you know if your content is appealing to the correct audience? Data suggests that there are around 200+ million blogs in the world. I researched some data up to 2011 suggesting 181 million, so I've conservatively increased it. 

Can you imagine just for a second that all these bloggers are looking for eyeballs to engage with their content and in some cases its advertisers. That is an awful lot of competition!

Then add to that the amount of social media posts and sound bites in the form of likes, shares and comments that are also competing for eyeballs.

As of April 2017, there are 2.907 billion active social media users in the world of which Facebook owns 1.968 billion active users. All these active users are engaging with content in one way or another and that makes the job of content marketers even tougher. 

Facebook spotted the trend for companies needing to get more eyeballs on their content and that organic engagement was declining rapidly. Therefore low cost advertising is growing allowing many small businesses to get into the advertising game and getting involved with the chase for more eyeballs on their content and products.

Now big and small business are competing with each other for eyeballs like never before.

But how do you know whether you are targeting the right audience? Well advertising nowadays is so sophisticated that you are able to target every single aspect of that prospect's life! This is why Facebook ads are probably the most popular advertising platform around. 

Facebook will make nearly $61 billion per year from just mobile advertising by 2021.

Whether you are targeting Millennials, Baby Boomers or Gen X you can now do this with super laser accuracy. And you thought the ads in your Facebook newsfeed were random!

As a consequence the amount of Facebook ads consultants are expanding rapidly. Not that it's difficult to master the ads platform, the trick is to know how to write the copy, choose the right images that will appeal to that Millennial, Gen Xer or Baby Boomer and know the right keywords and all the other multiple targeting options. There is a lot to consider for sure and in the process of learning and failing you will make Facebook a little richer in the process.

Personally I would recommend that if you are serious about getting closer to your target audience, that you plan a better and more personal engagement plan. Yes it might be slower but it will potentially develop long term raving fans one person at a time. 

Experiment, experiment, experiment with ads, with email, with calls, with meetings and develop an understanding of what your audience engages with the best. 

I would love to hear what's working for you today or what you are experimenting with currently to ensure more eyeballs on your content.

Success!

LinkedIn created a brilliant eBook with my favourite illustrator. @gapingvoid (Hugh Macleod) creates the most amazing messages through his illustrations. Read more about him and @gapingvoid here: (http://www.gapingvoid.com/blog/team-members/hugh-macleod/)

Regularly I will share one of the articles and illustrations from the eBook and give you my opinion, interpretation, insight and my meaning.

@stayingaliveuk

#contentmarketing #content #socialmedia #engagement #marketing #socialselling #sales #empathy #distraction #purpose #relevance #trust #love #mastodon #why #linkedinlectures

Online is great and talking is even better. Everyone's ultimate goal in business and life is to make real connections, where you meet someone face to face. Before that meeting a conversation is the ultimate icebreaker. I value my LinkedIn connections and realise that I don't really know you or what your goals are and how I might facilitate or support those goals. Feel free to click through and book a call with me (https://www.stayingaliveuk.com/discovery-call/). I have blocked out only Fridays each week, excluding holidays, for calls. Hope to speak with you soon.

Is ‘WHY’ really the best question to ask yourself?

 @linkedin & @gapingvoid

@linkedin & @gapingvoid

We have Simon Sinek to thank for making this word famous, very very famous and now many trainers, coaches, digital marketers incorporate this question in their discussions with clients. Me included of course. It's almost like we have been infected by it when we realised that actually ‘WHY’ haven't we been asking that question of ourselves.

Simon made us realise that we spend more time promoting what and how we do things and we forget about the ‘WHY’ completely. 

‘WHY’ do you think that is? 

Well, maybe it's because it's easier to answer what and how and much and much harder to answer ‘WHY’.

I don't know about you, but I witness many things in the world, whether it's in the news, on social media, in the things that people say, their presentations, their social media posts, all the content that's floating around, the faults and strange decisions that social networks like LinkedIn make and the one word that always comes up in my head is ‘WHY’. 

I often wonder now that when I witness that something, I realise they never asked themselves the question ‘WHY’, before they shared their content. 'WHY' would anyone want to know or care about this content that I'm sharing right now?

Of course now you are wondering whether I always as the question ‘WHY’ before I create and/or share anything. And the answer?

Of course not! I rarely do, but I can tell you now, after writing this article, I will be making sure to do so from here on in.

To be true to my word, let's discuss briefly my ‘WHY’ for writing this article, specifically featuring the image that's in this article.

A number of years ago I came across @gapingvoid, the handle for the artist Hugh McLeod and was totally inspired by his drawings. I had never seen anything like it and to this day I still haven't. I subscribed to his daily newsletter, which has a new drawing every single day. I then came up with the idea of saving the daily drawings to Pinterest and now I have over 800 pins of Hugh's art. But also his cultural ideas. I'm such a big fan I even purchased some business cards through Moo.com with his art on it and some cool messages on the back. My business card is always a big hit when I hand it over. 

Then LinkedIn came out with an eBook, which contained all his art and some appropriate messages in connection with content marketing. I loved it so much and decided that each page in the eBook would lend itself brilliantly to me writing some articles and blogposts with my thoughts about each of the messages contained within it.

That is my ‘WHY’ for this article.

I'd love to hear your 'WHY', will you?

LinkedIn created a brilliant eBook with my favourite illustrator. @gapingvoid (Hugh Macleod) creates the most amazing messages through his illustrations. Read more about him and @gapingvoid here: (http://www.gapingvoid.com/blog/team-members/hugh-macleod/)

Regularly I will share one of the articles and illustrations from the eBook and give you my opinion, interpretation, insight and my meaning.

@stayingaliveuk

 linkedinlectures.com

linkedinlectures.com

#contentmarketing #content #socialmedia #engagement #marketing #socialselling #sales #empathy #distraction #purpose #relevance #trust #love #mastodon #why #linkedinlectures

Online is great and talking is even better. Everyone's ultimate goal in business and life is to make real connections, where you meet someone face to face. Before that meeting a conversation is the ultimate icebreaker. I value my LinkedIn connections and realise that I don't really know you or what your goals are and how I might facilitate or support those goals. Feel free to click through and book a call with me (https://www.stayingaliveuk.com/discovery-call/). I have blocked out only Fridays each week, excluding holidays, for calls. Hope to speak with you soon.

Have you changed your behaviour on social yet?

 @linkedin & @gapingvoid

@linkedin & @gapingvoid

Not sure what is meant by the question? Let's explore.

You are currently in one of 2 camps. Either you're in the massively active camp, social has become a 3-5 hours per day work and leisure time or you you're in the ‘I need to spend less time on social and I'm monitoring my own activity there’.

Spending time away from social media, in particular Facebook is becoming one of the top New Year resolutions, right up there with weight loss, stopping smoking, going dry for a month and of course more exercise.

And every time we feel compelled to move away, we are pulled back by feelings of FOMO, ‘fear of missing out’ and international events, liked POTUS (President of the US), political drama, terrorist incidents and many other ‘I must way in with my opinion’ events.

The fact is, you were never able to contribute your opinion in the past, but now kids have never known anything different have they?

They ALL have an opinion now and sometimes it's not that great either.

And if you are in the 3-5 hours a day camp, well, you're either really, really enjoying it or need to do it because it's your job or you're trying to get noticed or you have a need for more love.

After all we all have a massive need to feel loved. And this love is felt when many friends, family and yep strangers engage with your posts, your content, your shares and your opinions. That's the addictive bit by the way, the content is actually of no consequence, really it isn't.

Inevitably, and it is possible that you may have heard this prediction before, this route to feeling loved will reduce and reduce and eventually you will not feel anything any longer about social media. The next big thing will then take your gaze, your attention and your time. It might be Virtual Reality, who knows!

The engagement on social is changing, mass engagement will continue to reduce, that's why Facebook is upping the advertising game. If you have a business page, have you had the $10 voucher yet to try their adverts?

The only route left is building relationships on a one to one basis, one person at a time. No blanket emails, no massive advertising campaigns, no autobots on Twitter, LinkedIn or Facebook messenger. They are all interesting time saving tools but they will be easily overlooked, ignored and deleted.

So, let me ask the question again.

Have you changed your behaviour on social yet?

I'd love to hear from you and how you are changing your behaviour on social. Use the comments section below to share your thoughts on engagement and content strategies.

LinkedIn created a brilliant eBook with my favourite illustrator. @gapingvoid (Hugh Macleod) creates the most amazing messages through his illustrations. Read more about him and @gapingvoidhere: (http://www.gapingvoid.com/blog/team-members/hugh-macleod/)

Regularly I will share one of the articles and illustrations from the eBook and give you my opinion, interpretation, insight and my meaning.

 http://linkedinlectures.com

#contentmarketing #content #socialmedia #engagement #marketing #socialselling #sales #empathy #distraction #purpose #relevance #trust #love

Online is great and talking is even better. Everyone's ultimate goal in business and life is to make real connections, where you meet someone face to face. Before that meeting a conversation is the ultimate icebreaker. I value my LinkedIn connections and realise that I don't really know you or what your goals are and how I might facilitate or support those goals. Feel free to click through and book a call with me (https://www.stayingaliveuk.com/discovery-call/). I have blocked out only Fridays each week, excluding holidays, for calls. Hope to speak with you soon.

Why is Storytelling so important? Chapter 4 - The END

 @stayingaliveuk

@stayingaliveuk

Now you know that everyone thinks in stories and that we all love them too. What do you think a marketer should be creating when they are promoting their product or service?

Correct! You guessed right... they tell stories.

Then there is just one final thing you need to be aware of and that’s ‘VAK’.

V stands for Visual

A stands for Auditory

K stands for Kinaesthetic

When you listen to or watch a story you are either taking in visual cues from the story or you are literally creating your own visual representation of that story. You will often relate it to yourself, i.e. you put yourself in the story as if you were experiencing it.

If the story has any audio, in the case of, say, a radio programme, a movie (video) or a podcast, then you’ve got an additional way to absorb the story more meaningfully. When you are reading a book and they describe sounds, then more than likely you will create that sound in your brain without actually hearing it. Do you ever wonder when you read a book, whose voice do you actually hear? In fact whose voice do you hear right now when you are reading this? Okay, I’m probably getting a bit deep now, let’s move on.

Kinaesthetic refers to learning something by doing it or feeling it. When it comes to storytelling it refers to how it makes you feel after hearing or engaging with the story.

Take all three together - Visual, Auditory and Kinaesthetic - and you have the best possible formula for the viewer to engage with your story. Tell an engaging storythrough visual graphics, add a voiceover with some music and ensure the story itself leaves them feeling an emotion and the story will literally wire a new neural pathway in their brains.

The END

Do you have any great examples how storytelling has won you business?

You can download the full story by clicking HERE.

#storytelling #content #socialmedia #engagement #marketing #socialselling #sales #empathy #digitalmarketing #storyteller #visual #auditory #kinaesthetic #nlp

Online is great and talking is even better. Everyone's ultimate goal in business and life is to make real connections, where you meet someone face to face. Before that meeting a conversation is the ultimate icebreaker. I value my LinkedIn connections and realise that I don't really know you or what your goals are and how I might facilitate or support those goals. Feel free to click through and book a call with me (https://www.stayingaliveuk.com/discovery-call/). I have blocked out only Fridays each week, excluding holidays, for calls. Hope to speak with you soon.

How do you really know that your community is engaging with you?

 @LinkedIn & @gapingvoid

@LinkedIn & @gapingvoid

In June 2013 I wrote an article for ‘The non-significant journal of business & consumer psychology’.

The title of my article was ‘Do Social Networks Sell Drugs?’

Nothing has changed, we’re more addicted to Social Networks then we were in 2013. Sure, you do hear about the odd unplugging campaign and of course the Mindfulness movement, but it’s not really working is it? The overwhelming addiction is very well established and will only grow to mammoth proportions in years to come.

See image below for the forecasted growth of social network users by 2020.

Okay, so it's here to stay and you want to maximise your presence for business reasons. After all everyone has told you for years that you can promote your services for free. But really is it? Seeing as Facebook is by far the biggest social network on the planet, more businesses are using Facebook advertising as a method to get in front of their ideal buyers. So something that has been free for years, getting noticed means you now have to pay. Just have a look at how much Facebook is going to earn from mobile advertising in years to come. Breathtaking!

 

And all to get more engagement with your content. Is it worth it? Making Mark Zuckerberg the wealthiest entrepreneur on the planet might make you feel a tiny bit sick in your stomach. 

Is the answer coming off Social Media altogether? Well, maybe!

Watch the TEDx talk by Dr. Cal Newport called ‘Quit Social Media’.

 

Many of us believe, really believe that having thousands or maybe even millions of followers is the answer. Some of us are made to believe that receiving likes, comments and shares are social proof that you or your business is popular, appreciated, meaningful, ahead of others and beating the competition. 

In truth what you believe is that you are being ‘loved’.

After all this is what you crave the most. 

So how do you create engagement that means something, really means something?  At any stage of the buying process nothing happens until the person trusts you or your company. Your work is only ever about developing trust, nothing else. And trust can not happen unless you touch your buyer at a very deep emotional level.  They literally need to feel loved by you. Instead of you needing to feel loved by them.  Do you get the difference?

 Infographic shared with permission from  www.nallure.com

Infographic shared with permission from www.nallure.com

I'd love to hear from you and how you are making your buyer feel loved, totally, completely and unconditionally. Use the comments section below to share your thoughts on engagement and content strategies.

LinkedIn created a brilliant eBook with my favourite illustrator. @gapingvoid (Hugh Macleod) creates the most amazing messages through his illustrations. Read more about him and @gapingvoid here: (http://www.gapingvoid.com/blog/team-members/hugh-macleod/)

Regularly I will share one of the articles and illustrations from the eBook and give you my opinion, interpretation, insight and my meaning.

@stayingaliveuk 🚀

#contentmarketing #content #socialmedia #engagement #marketing #socialselling #sales #empathy #distraction #purpose #relevance #trust #love

Online is great and talking is even better. Everyone's ultimate goal in business and life is to make real connections, where you meet someone face to face. Before that meeting a conversation is the ultimate icebreaker. I value my LinkedIn connections and realise that I don't really know you or what your goals are and how I might facilitate or support those goals. Feel free to click through and book a call with me (https://www.stayingaliveuk.com/discovery-call/). I have blocked out only Fridays each week, excluding holidays, for calls. Hope to speak with you soon.

Why is Storytelling so important? Chapter 3

 @stayingaliveuk

@stayingaliveuk

It is said that narrative thought creates stories that are coherent of particular experiences, temporally structured and context sensitive (Baumeister & Newman, 1994).

On a day to day basis you take in millions of bits of data and in order to make sense of it all you literally develop your own daily story with all that data. 

You are actually the biggest storyteller yourself.

This means you are already very accustomed to stories and therefore anything that comes your way in the form of a story, you will accept quite readily and weave that into your own story with its own characters, outcomes and timeframes.

Let’s take your trip to the gym. Some of you go daily, 3 times per week or just at the weekend and some of you may not have made it yet.

However, we all have a picture of what a gym looks like. Lots of exercise machines, weights etc., maybe a pool, a cafe and many other amenities.

When you think about going to the gym you almost certainly create a short story in your brain. You see yourself getting up, doing whatever you do, changing into your gym wear, travelling there and doing whatever you like doing the most and travelling back.

You may not include the travelling part, you may just see yourself doing the exercise. Just enough to get you motivated to follow through.

Everything you think about, well nearly everything, develops in the form of a story.

What have you been thinking about lately? Share your answer in the comments below.

You can download the full story by clicking HERE.

#storytelling #content #socialmedia #engagement #marketing #socialselling #sales #empathy #digitalmarketing #storyteller

Online is great and talking is even better. Everyone's ultimate goal in business and life is to make real connections, where you meet someone face to face. Before that meeting a conversation is the ultimate icebreaker. I value my LinkedIn connections and realise that I don't really know you or what your goals are and how I might facilitate or support those goals. Feel free to click through and book a call with me (https://www.stayingaliveuk.com/discovery-call/). I have blocked out only Fridays each week, excluding holidays, for calls. Hope to speak with you soon.

Do you clearly articulate your purpose in your content?

 @LinkedIn & @gapingvoid

@LinkedIn & @gapingvoid

In the image above, the part of the sentence that grabbed my attention is ‘we stand for something meaningful’.

Deciding what content to write and publish is the easy bit. Seriously it is becoming easier, because there are so many great content writers out there, which means our subconscious is absorbing it and eventually this comes out in our own content.

The tougher part is making it connect to your purpose, your passion and making it meaningful. 

Most content nowadays is forgettable, even the headlines are so sensational that they are becoming a massive turn off. The professional media is trying desperately to get our attention.

Whether you are in employment or running your own business, you have a desire to feel valued, for your contribution to be meaningful and deliver something that will have an impact on people’s lives. Most of us have those desires. And even if we don't have those desires for our business, we will have those for our family. 

There is a meaning, a purpose to all our lives and maybe you are not fully aware of it yet, it is vital that you understand what it is when you are writing content.

If your content is just about what you do and how you do it, i.e. selling yourself then you are, sorry to say, going in the wrong direction.

Simon Sinek is a master at teaching us how to become better at defining our purpose, our WHY? I have included his best video to explain this below. It's only had 30+ million view so far, so he must be on to something right?

Our ‘why’ has to be evident in what we say, what we write and how we market. Basically all our content.

The reader has to feel a connection with you beyond the words, the facts and the content. She needs to be convinced that you are congruent with your content and have written it with the right intention and with purpose and meaning.

If you are not clear on how to do this, start with thinking about why you do what you do? What you love about what you do and how you would like to make an impact in the world or maybe closer to home in your community. Once you start getting clarity about this and portray this through the content you write or share, your audience will feel a closer connection to you, a deeper feeling of trust will develop and a greater connection will emerge.

Defining yourself by metrics alone is never enough. Awards and league tables are the result of ego and self congratulations. You can only ever measure yourself, your business, the impact on your community, by the amount of change that is taking place as a direct result of your purpose.

How are you articulating your purpose in your content?

I'd love to learn and I am sure others would to, so help us out and share your answer below.

LinkedIn created a brilliant eBook with my favourite illustrator. @gapingvoid (Hugh Macleod) creates the most amazing messages through his illustrations. Read more about him and @gapingvoid here: (http://www.gapingvoid.com/blog/team-members/hugh-macleod/)

Regularly I will share one of the articles and illustrations from the eBook and give you my opinion, interpretation, insight and my meaning.

@stayingaliveuk 🚀

#contentmarketing #content #socialmedia #engagement #marketing #socialselling #sales #empathy #distraction #purpose #relevance

Online is great and talking is even better. Everyone's ultimate goal in business and life is to make real connections, where you meet someone face to face. Before that meeting a conversation is the ultimate icebreaker. I value my LinkedIn connections and realise that I don't really know you or what your goals are and how I might facilitate or support those goals. Feel free to click through and book a call with me (https://www.stayingaliveuk.com/discovery-call/). I have blocked out only Fridays each week, excluding holidays, for calls. Hope to speak with you soon.

Why is Storytelling so important? Chapter 2

 @stayingaliveuk

@stayingaliveuk

Telling stories isn’t always that simple though is it? Let’s take the scenario of a product or service.

This is what most people believe.

  1. You have to share what the product/service does.
  2. You must share how the product/service performs.
  3. You’ve got to demonstrate, through testimonials, how the product/service has helped others.
  4. You’ve got to give people an incentive to purchase your product/service.

Wrong! Your buyer will think, ‘so what? My problem is unique, nobody has my problem, I am the only one with this problem and I can’t see how your product/service will help me.’

The reason they come up with these objections is the fact that they haven’t emotionally connected with your company or product yet. The only way you can create emotion in anyone is to have them buy into your story first. This could be about you personally, your company or your product.

How interesting would it be if you told the story of how your product was created and road-tested. Even more powerful would be to share who was involved in the product creation and how long it took you to come up with the idea, prototype it and then manufacture it. How you got consumers of the product involved in testing it and giving their feedback. How the feedback made you shape the product/service and made it even greater.

You may remember Apple’s iPhone 4 ‘Antennagate’ a few years back where consumers had reported that the signal was poor when your hand obscured the antenna. In the end only 0.55% of buyers complained but Apple gave everyone free bumpers to stop them from obscuring the antenna. In an unprecedented move Apple showed us a strange room where the iPhone was tested. Not everyone will have seen it but it’s the only internal room that I have seen in Apple. It gave me a fabulous insight and increased level of trust in them. Apple never shared how the product performed, they just shared with us a story of how it was tested. Do you get the difference? 

You can download the full story by clicking HERE.

#storytelling #content #socialmedia #engagement #marketing #socialselling #sales #empathy

Online is great and talking is even better. Everyone's ultimate goal in business and life is to make real connections, where you meet someone face to face. Before that meeting a conversation is the ultimate icebreaker. I value my LinkedIn connections and realise that I don't really know you or what your goals are and how I might facilitate or support those goals. Feel free to click through and book a call with me (https://www.stayingaliveuk.com/discovery-call/). I have blocked out only Fridays each week, excluding holidays, for calls. Hope to speak with you soon.

So how do you create more relevant content?

I really and honestly haven't got the answer, if I did I'd probably be on a beach somewhere during the freezing winter months.  Are you feeling cold right now?

If you do think you can answer my question, please skip to the end and I'd love to hear your perspectives and of course we all need to know, urgently.

What I will do is share what content personally turns me off and what attracts me. And in the words of Tony Robbins we are either 'moving away or moving towards something', this could be pain or pleasure and in this case content.

Turn-offs (no way a complete list, but what comes to mind for now an I may continue to add as they come up in the future).

  1. Too many adverts saying 'buy me'.
  2. Self congratulations, which portray a message to say, 'aren't we clever?'
  3. Newsletters, I just don't get those anymore, they're such a complete and utter waste of time nowadays.
  4. Repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat and even more multiple repeats of the same content.  I'm guilty of this too!
  5. No context around someone else's content you are sharing. Just sharing for sharing's sake. Ouch!
  6. Live video here, live video there, live video here, there and everywhere. Too many notifications to suggest that everyone is joining the bandwagon. Although I have to say the Instagram version is attracting me a little!
  7. Autobot messages via 'commun.it', oh dear what is everyone thinking?  Autobot messages are so 2014.  Stop them, stop them now!
  8. Articles with the top 5, top 10, top 25 and even the top 50 of suggestions we really never take action on. Do share if you ever have please.
  9. Adverts that have animals starring in it to jolt our emotional brain neurones into saying awwwwww and apparently remembering the product for longer.  And now even giving away toys of said animals if you purchase the product.  Readers in the UK, will know exactly what I'm talking about.
  10. Re-marketing ads.  They are really, really doing my head in, because unfortunately you can't get them out of your head. I bet a very clever psychiatrist at Google suggested this one.  Aaarrrggghhh!

Okay that's enough for now, turned out to be a bigger list than I had expected.

Attracts

  1. Videos that are educational.  Ted-talks and Ted-Ed are brilliant and I could watch them all day long.
  2. Content that answers my question when I search on Google for the answer to a problem I need to solve.  Thank you to all those amazing trainers, coaches, educators out there, we appreciate you! 
  3. YouTube. For making my home feed relevant to what I like watching, coming up with new suggestions or ideas and allowing me to scrap them if I wish. Also making the list of new videos from my subscribed channels easy to navigate around.  I love YouTube, it's visual, engaging and quick.
  4. Animated GIFS, as long as they're funny and clever.  I've even started to have a play with producing them myself.  Great fun!
  5. Comedy.  Who doesn't like having a good laugh, there isn't enough laughter in the world and social media can be a real tonic for the soul.
  6. Real-live stories.  In the last year I have seen more real people stories coming through even on LinkedIn and as you would expect they are stories of overcoming adversity in some way.  They are hugely motivational and at the same time make your so-called stresses seem so small.
  7. Content that provides great learning for where you are in that moment and time, whether it be your personal or business life.

Right then do you have the answer?  What content inspires you?

I'd love to learn and I am sure others would to, so help me out and share your answer below.

---

LinkedIn created a brilliant eBook with my favourite illustrator. @gapingvoid (Hugh Macleod) creates the most amazing messages through his illustrations. Read more about him and @gapingvoid here: (http://www.gapingvoid.com/blog/team-members/hugh-macleod/)

Regularly I will share one of the articles and illustrations from the eBook and give you my opinion, interpretation, insight and my meaning.

@stayingaliveuk 🚀

#contentmarketing #content #socialmedia #engagement #marketing #socialselling #sales #empathy

Online is great and talking is even better. Everyone's ultimate goal in business and life is to make real connections, where you meet someone face to face. Before that meeting a conversation is the ultimate icebreaker. I value my LinkedIn connections and realise that I don't really know you or what your goals are and how I might facilitate or support those goals. Feel free to click through and book a call with me (https://www.stayingaliveuk.com/discovery-call/). I have blocked out only Fridays each week, excluding holidays, for calls. Hope to speak with you soon.

 

 

 

Is ‘Empathy’ a thing that you can measure?

 @LinkedIn & @gapingvoid

@LinkedIn & @gapingvoid

Unfortunately most of us are in a flight and fight status. This means we come from a place of needing to be heard instead of a desire to listen.

True empathy will only arise when you place yourself in selfless position to listen.  When you are an active listener you learn things you would never have learnt if you remain in a position of needing to be heard.

An example I share often is the first meeting at a networking event or maybe even a party. Almost in the first sentence spoken is the question, ‘what do you do?’. My advice always is to avoid answering the question and instead say, ‘why don't you go first?’.

And when they do go first, you follow it up with more questions, placing you in a great position to listen and learn. Often the speaker will even forget to ask you again what you do. They are so wrapped up in the moment of sharing their own story, loving talking about themselves and appreciating you for asking inquisitive and probing questions. Just nod knowingly and avoid responding. The speaker will feel listened to and you come across as having empathy.

The same approach is advisable for the social web.

Listen and ask more questions rather then transmitting your stuff in order to be heard.

Twitter is losing its shine and I wonder why? If you look carefully it's all about transmitting and needing to be heard. The social web has had enough of being transmitted to. We are naturally curious beings and as such the platforms, which have moved towards stories are on fire, because when your stories are being appreciated you feel that your viewers are displaying empathy towards you.

And actually ‘empathy’ = ‘love. 

What we want more than anything in the whole wide world is to be loved.

I wonder if you could answer just one question in the comments below please?

What's the one thing you love about being on the social web?

LinkedIn created a brilliant eBook with my favourite illustrator. @gapingvoid (Hugh Macleod) creates the most amazing messages through his illustrations. Read more about him and @gapingvoid here: http://www.gapingvoid.com/blog/team-members/hugh-macleod/

Regularly I will share one of the articles and illustrations from the eBook and give you my opinion, interpretation, insight and my meaning.

@stayingaliveuk 🚀

#contentmarketing #content #socialmedia #engagement #marketing #socialselling

Online is great and talking is even better. Everyone’s ultimate goal in business and life is to make real connections, where you meet someone face to face. Before that meeting a conversation is the ultimate icebreaker. I value my LinkedIn connections and realise that I don’t really know you or what your goals are and how I might facilitate or support those goals. Feel free to click through and book a call with me. I have blocked out only Fridays each week, excluding holidays, for calls. Hope to speak with you soon.

Originally published on Medium

Do you contemplate and consider carefully the content you create, curate and share?

Social Media encourages all to be spontaneous, to share something instantly and above all to be expectant of the reactions that we may receive as a result. 

So why do we need to contemplate and consider carefully the content we create every single day?

Because in doing so you are sharing with the world who you are, what you believe in, how you wish to be seen and above all how you wish to be judged. When we decide to be active on Social Media, we are developing and portraying ourselves as a ‘Personal Brand’. Yes indeed all of us are now ‘Brands’, so you better take that responsibility seriously.

As most of us on here (written for LinkedIn) are business professionals, either employed or running our own businesses, our companies are using marketing strategies and tactics to be seen and to encourage buyers to purchase from us. You know the saying, ‘buyers buy you first’.

This is where ‘Content Marketing’ as a strategy comes into play. If ‘Content Marketing’ does indeed cost 62% less than traditional marketing then this must be very attractive to all of us. I've never done any traditional marketing, as I've always believed it was too expensive for a very small business like myself. And maybe I'm not that good yet at ‘Content Marketing’ either as I haven't experienced the true benefits yet. But then again how do I truly know, because I'm not measuring it that well either. I must do more on both fronts. 

There are so many platforms these days to publish your content to.

I'm experimenting by using the following channels.

  1. My own blog. Receives very little interaction, although It’s a must these days, everyone needs to have their own hosted blog with its own domain.
  2. LinkedIn Publishing. A feature that was started for business influencers and then rolled out to the majority of members. Had massive traction in its early days and nowadays publishers hardly receive any likes or comments, unless you send your article to your contacts and ask them to like, comment and share. A strategy being promoted by many LinkedIn experts.
  3. Medium. Personally I believe the most exciting platform around today.
  4. Facebook notes. Only in the past few weeks have I started to experiment with it.
  5. Apple News. Publishes directly via my blog.

These channels are probably more than enough to be sharing original content on. And yes I do duplicate and no I'm not al all worried how I may get penalised by Google as a result, which some SEO professionals might suggest. 

How about you? What are you using to create, curate and share content across the Social Web?

LinkedIn created a brilliant eBook with my favourite illustrator. @gapingvoid (Hugh Macleod) creates the most amazing messages through his illustrations. Read more about him and @gapingvoid here: http://www.gapingvoid.com/blog/team-members/hugh-macleod/

Regularly I will share one of the articles and illustrations from the eBook and give you my opinion, interpretation, insight and my meaning.

@stayingaliveuk 🚀

#contentmarketing #content #socialmedia #engagement #marketing #socialselling

Online is great and talking is even better. Everyone’s ultimate goal in business and life is to make real connections, where you meet someone face to face. Before that meeting a conversation is the ultimate icebreaker. I value my LinkedIn connections and realise that I don’t really know you or what your goals are and how I might facilitate or support those goals. Feel free to click through and book a call with me. I have blocked out only Fridays each week, excluding holidays, for calls. Hope to speak with you soon.

Originally published on Medium

Do you really believe you’re getting better at it?

 @LinkedIn & @gapingvoid

@LinkedIn & @gapingvoid

Depends what you’re talking about right?

Well, I am talking about the quality of your content. If the stats are right and I have no reason to believe they are not, then you and me are checking our phones 110 times a day.

I seriously can’t think of 110 things that I have looked at on my phone, can you? I certainly haven’t shared 110 things. The other day my darling wife Clair received her year in review by Facebook. I don’t get one by the way, because I’m not active enough there! Anyway, her most interesting stat was that, over the year, she had liked 13,500 posts. Averaged out over 365 days, that is 37 posts each and every day and that means some days she will have liked much more and some days much less.

If you are a Marketer, a Social Seller, a Writer, a Digital Native, a Coach, a Trainer and more, you undoubtedly be looking at the Social Web to get noticed, to be heard and be searching for engagement.

Just consider the attention span of your readers. They essentially have about a split second, like a ‘Formula 1’ racing car split second to make up their minds, whether your content is worth engaging with.

I bet you haven’t even read this far. And if you have do tell!

I’m wondering if you’ve even realised how quick you check your phone and ‘thumb’ through the content. How much do you actually retain and what grabs your attention to want to engage with it? Not much right? So have a think, what does actually make you stop and read further. Is it a video, a great image, the crafty and sneaky headline, the compelling question or the incredibly useless tip list? Or maybe it’s just good old regular dogs, cats and food. Yep food is a strange one, really it is, but obviously it’s something we’re totally consumed by, food!

Right then did you get the answer yet? What engages you?

I’d love to learn and I am sure you would to, so help me and all the other marketers out there, share your answer below.

LinkedIn created a brilliant eBook with my favourite illustrator. @gapingvoid (Hugh Macleod) creates the most amazing messages through his illustrations. Read more about him and @gapingvoid here: http://www.gapingvoid.com/blog/team-members/hugh-macleod/

Regularly I will share one of the articles and illustrations from the eBook and give you my opinion, interpretation, insight and my meaning.

@stayingaliveuk 🚀

contentmarketing #content #socialmedia #engagement #marketing #socialselling

Online is great and talking is even better. Everyone’s ultimate goal in business and life is to make real connections, where you meet someone face to face. Before that meeting a conversation is the ultimate icebreaker. I value my LinkedIn connections and realise that I don’t really know you or what your goals are and how I might facilitate or support those goals. Feel free to click through and book a call with me. I have blocked out only Fridays each week, excluding holidays, for calls. Hope to speak with you soon.

Originally published on Medium

Is anyone in love with Your Brand yet?

Shakespeare was way ahead of his time and he was maybe and probably THE best storyteller that ever lived. He didn't focus on his brand, maybe he didn't even know what his brand was. 

But he knew that people loved stories.

You may not even realise it, but you are the biggest story ever told. Everything about you, your journey, your experiences, your challenges, your failures, your successes and breakthroughs, your experience of love and of not love. All of it has made you who you are today. One BIG story. You are your own biggest brand.

I have a phrase that goes something like this. 

With the advent of Social Media you have now become a personal brand. You'd better take that responsibility seriously!

And why wouldn't you take that seriously? The way you show up on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc. tells the viewer a story about you. One thing's for sure, they will judge you in an instant. Some positive and of course some negative.

It's no surprise therefore that every Social Network is focussing more and more on STORIES. 

Why?

Because they know that every single one of us crave stories. We search for them every single day and you don't even know you're doing it. We're literally hard-wired to look for stories. Not sure? Okay, this is what you might be doing every single day:

  1. Wake up and pick up your smartphone. Look for any news, check-out Facebook, Twitter and maybe even LinkedIn. It's not that much will have happened overnight, it's the stories that are breaking first thing in the morning. And guess what, all the news media have been working the previous day and also through the night to make sure that fresh news is there for you to satisfy your daily appetite.
  2. Some of you, although it's becoming less, will pick up a newspaper that the paper girl or boy left in your mailbox in the morning. Or you pick one up on your daily commute to the office.
  3. Even before that, you may be eating breakfast or drinking your daily fix of caffeine whilst watching the news on your TV news channel of choice.

On average you are spending one hour per day on Social Networks. You may be sharing your stories through photos, videos, live transmissions and on top of that you are reading even more stories. Stories that inspire, stories that make you laugh, cry and feel disgust, stories that will make you unfriend someone, stories that will make you judge. 

And all because you LOVE stories.

To be a great storyteller you need a great canvas. Your canvas are the Social Networks that you are part of and appear on. To begin with you can do a quick self audit with these key areas and ensure some consistency across all of them:

  1. Are your Social Network handles all the same?
  2. Is your profile photo the same across all of them?
  3. Is your strap-line or headline the same across all of them?
  4. Is your long description broadly similar, I know they all have different allowable character counts.
  5. Is your header or banner image the same across all channels, I know they all need different sizing, but the same is always best.

Whether you run your own business or whether you work for a great organisation, developing yourself as a great personal brand is the best story you can create for yourself. Success!

LinkedIn created a brilliant eBook with my favourite illustrator. @gapingvoid (Hugh Macleod) creates the most amazing messages through his illustrations. Read more about him and @gapingvoid here: http://www.gapingvoid.com/blog/team-members/hugh-macleod/

Regularly I will share one of the articles and illustrations from the eBook and give you my opinion, interpretation, insight and meaning of the words and illustrations.

@stayingaliveuk

Have you been on a 'CONTENT' diet yet?

If you haven't already, I am sure you have contemplated it.  The name has a nice ring to it as well 'Digital Detox'.  There are now millions of self-proclaimed addicts to digital content. Soon to be billions.  And there are plenty of us that are in denial as well.

I want to make sure you have some facts to begin with.

Brandwatch shared some mind-blowing stats in March 2016. Here are just a few.

And you can find even more stats here: 

https://www.brandwatch.com/2016/03/96-amazing-social-media-statistics-and-facts-for-2016/

In years to come, all those content spewing platforms will be asking us our preferences.  Once they know our preferences they will only serve up those bits of content we have asked for. No more no less.  Unfortunately this means that we have to make a decision.  What do we really need to see on a daily basis?  Not what we want to see but what we need to see.  

There is a big difference, because as an addict we have many wants and we have to slowly wean ourselves off a lot of the content that we are already addicted to.  

The trouble with all of us, we are constantly in FOMO, 'fear of missing out'.  That's why we are addicted.  If you want to learn why, read my article, 'Do Social Networks Sell Drugs'.

By watching the video below you will also learn what the Internet is doing to our brains. 

LinkedIn created a brilliant eBook with my favourite illustrator. @gapingvoid (Hugh Macleod) creates the most amazing messages through his illustrations. Read more about him and @gapingvoid here: http://www.gapingvoid.com/blog/team-members/hugh-macleod/

Each week I will share one of the articles and illustrations from the eBook and give you my opinion, insight and meaning of the words and illustrations.

@stayingaliveuk