February 21, 2009

Gone Skiing

October 14, 2008

Find us over at InternetBrandingStrategy.com

After a year producing the Internet Branding Strategy blog on Blogger.com, I've decided its time to integrate the website and blog over at InternetBrandingStrategy.com.

I look forward to seeing you there - come and say hello!

A curious penguin's guide to social media (video)

Two hundred and sixty-eight penguins lived in the colony of beautiful emporor penguins in Antartica. Only Fred was curious and observant enough to discover a potentially devastating problem threatening their home - and pretty much no one listens to him. Its a problem shared by marketers and communicators today, whether we have realised it yet or not.
This 6-minute video - marking the first anniversary of Internet Branding Strategy - shows the three easy steps that I took, and showing in which direction you should start swimming (if you are not already doing so!)

I was thrilled to hear this morning that this, my first video, won a prize in a For Immediate Release contest designed to encourage business communicators like myself to experiment with video. My prize is tickets to attend Web 2.0 Expo Europe in Berlin, Germany, on October 21-23, 2009. Many thanks to FIR hosts Shel Holz and Neville Hobson for selecting my video to win the European prize. Its also quite a relief as, due to the short timeframe, I've already signed up for a few side-events and let clients know I'll be in town - could have been embarassing!

October 12, 2008

The 3 things to make you money from your blog

1. Know your niche audience
2. Know what they want online and give it to them again and again
3. Know how to learn from your successes and failures

This weekend I’m at Barcamp Munich. Two of the sessions on day one were devoted to this topic, and I’m sure it has been widely discussed elsewhere as is often the case at such events where bloggers get together.

For those that want to make a direct income from their blogs – and for many passionate bloggers this just isn’t the point, and others they profit indirectly from opportunities supported by their blogs – there is no getting around understanding who your audience is and what they want.

You need this information to create your own products and services to fulfill their needs, as in a traditional internet-based business. You also need it to attract or target sponsors, affiliate partners, advertisers, etc. I’d argue you need to know this information before you create your blog or internet business and define it accordingly.

I’d like to share with you three resources that have helped me in understanding the theories and techniques that lie behind these points. I’m a member of their communities, a satisfied customer of each, and as such an affiliate of each (so if you buy any of their products or services you’ll be helping to make my blog pay!) As far as I am aware, all of these is available only in English – perhaps translating and marketing key products into German would be a potential business idea for one of my fellow Barcampers. If so, I’d be happy to provide some introductions. If other good resources are available in German, I’d love to hear about that too.

Insider Secrets is the best-selling resource from the Internet Marketing Center. This is the best introduction that I believe I could have had into understanding internet marketing and, for example the principles of how to create a blog that will pay. Insider Secrets is comprehensive, well-written, and explains its concepts and techniques in an easily accessible way. It’s particularly good at understanding how to do and use research and set up and learn from web analytics. Insider Secrets consists of two ring-binders full of data, plus multiple CDs. One word of warning: I find the very American get-rich-quick hard-sell very annoying, and you may too. In my experience, once you get through the sales process this is a very professional organisation.

Internet Business Mastery Academy is currently my favourite resource. I’ve listened to the Internet Business Mastery podcasts for years, and by the time Jeremy ‘Sterling’ Frandson and Jason ‘Jay’ Van Orden launched their subscription-based community site, I really wanted to give them some money for everything I had already learned from them (as I had never got around to using their Paypal donate button). Not surprisingly, the subscription site is more comprehensive than the free resources. Internet Business Mastery Academy consists of a series of learning courses using video, audio and text, detailed resource lists and ‘how to’ videos, and has an active forum, including links to internet business mastermind groups.

Teaching Sells is a subscription-based community created by Copyblogger.com founder Brian Clark and his partners. While I don’t believe it is open to wider subscription at the moment, it is definitely one to watch.

Do you know of any other resources or suggestions that would be useful to those trying to make their blogs pay? I’ll respond to comments in English or German.

July 23, 2008

Twitter Secrets: How short messages can make big differences to your business

Are you still struggling to understand what all the fuss about Twitter is all about? Or perhaps you get it, but can't quite articulate to colleagues and clients why they should be building an online presence through Twitter. Why do we need a virtual water cooler any way?

If so, there's a great new Twitter Secrets report over at JoelComm.com (not quite 140 characters, but 30 pages of tips, examples, and resources). The report is free of charge following registration. I've already started sharing it with some colleagues and clients.

July 18, 2008

Think Global, Act Local

I'm currently reading Groundswell, which as well as laying out a sensible approach towards social media decision-making, has lots of great international case studies of what mainly well-known brands are doing. It's giving me lots of great insights.

But, perhaps as a European working in a second language outside my own country, I'm always more intrigued by examples from 'my own backyard.' So I was pleased to be invited along yesterday to Weblounge in Nuremberg, Germany, to meet more of those in my area who are interested in, active in, or even better willing to share their experiences in doing social media. This view was shared widely as the cool venue at b2 was a packed house. Attracting so much interest was a great result for the organisers, Publicis Corporate Publishing and NIK, the association for the IT and communications sector in Nuremberg.

The theme was corporate blogging, and with an audience of very mixed experience levels, German blogger Robert Basic kicked off getting everyone acting out a minute in the life of the internet, a sort of 'chinese whispers' demonstration of how uncontrollable the blogosphere is. 10 out of 10 for interactivity and chaos factor, Robert, and 3 out of 10 for chosing me to represent the face of German mainstream media, Bild. Publicis director, Olaf Wolff then picked up the topic with an overview of some of the trends and challenges. Frozen goods firm Frosta, or rather its director, Felix Ahlers, then gave some really interesting insights on how it is using its respected corporate blog as a central part of its ongoing marketing and communications to promote the value of natural ingredients, and to compete as a relatively small German player in an extremely competitive market.

So while you may feel you need to jump on a plane to San Fransisco to find out the latest in social media (and I do wish I were at BlogHer at the moment!), often there's value to be got nearer to home. As is often the case, the biggest advantage of these types of events is having the chance to talk to other people about what they are doing (or trying to do), and to learn from each other. So I am hoping that future Weblounges will be more interactive, and less powerpoint presentation (a view shared by the back-channel on Twitter, and in chatting to other attendees).

As I write this, my London friends are enjoying a much more informal chance to meet up and discuss issues at the Tuttle Club (wouldn't mind being there either!), and it would be great to see this sort of format in my back yard too (if it doesn't already exist!)

June 30, 2008

Are you qualified to start an Internet business?

If you're like most people, you probably measure your qualifications by your technical skills...

Your ability to design a web site...

Your ability to write sales copy...

Your ability to drive traffic...

But the reality is, NONE of that matters.

Building a business is a FORMULA. If you can understand instructions and follow the formula, you WILL make money online.

So if it's that simple, why do SO MANY people fail at it?


See, there are certain personality traits -- inherent in some, but LEARNED by others -- that allow people to easily succeed, and other traits that cause people to constantly FAIL.

If you could identify those traits, wouldn't you have a better chance at being successful?

Well, here's your opportunity to find out...

... because I've been authorized by none other than Derek Gehl of the Internet Marketing Centre to offer you a FREE copy of his brand-new report, which lays out the exact traits necessary to succeed online.

The report is available now, and is based on Derek's personal observations following a DECADE of working with thousands of successful Internet entrepreneurs from around the world.

And like I said: he's allowing me to offer a copy to all of my best customers for free... no strings attached.

When you get it, you can do one of two things:

1. Nothing... which is definitely an "unsuccessful trait".

2. Study it and figure out if you have the inherent prerequisites for success, or if you need to LEARN them.

So if you would like a copy of this report, for FREE, go here and just follow the instructions.

Personally, I spent over US$12,000 and passed one of the most professionally fulfilling (but hardest working!) weeks of my life in Vancouver, Canada, last year learning these lessons directly with Derek and his team. I rate his company extremely highly.