Posts

A Mental Laxative for Bloggers

get past writers block

Listen to this post! Click a player to hear George & Mary-Lynn on The BIGG Success Show Podcast (Duration 4:33)

Here I sit all broken-hearted; tried to write, but can’t get started.

If you’re a blogger, do you ever feel that way?

You sit down to write. You feel ready. You know you have stuff in your brain that wants to come out. But it just won’t.

We’ve felt that way too many times to count. How do you rid yourself of the mental constipation we all occasionally experience as bloggers?

We’ll start with prevention. That’s the best cure after all! Here are four areas to check.

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Are Twitter Retweets Authentic? Which Content is King?

mistakeWarning:
The names in this post have been omitted to protect the guilty (i.e. we didn’t see any value in revealing the people who inspired it).

Disclosures:
(1) We are not without blemish. However, we strive to live up to the ideals expressed here. (2) We love Twitter, the sharing that occurs and the great people we follow.

We recently saw a tweet and a series of retweets that made us question Twitter’s value. The tweet was about social media and small business so it grabbed our attention.

It was retweeted a number of times in a very short period of time. In fact, this tweet soon got retweeted enough to be designated a “Top Tweet”.

There was just one problem – the link didn’t work.

Are retweets recommendations?
We often hear about the importance of authenticity. Heck, we talk about it ourselves. So here’s a question …

If authenticity matters, aren’t retweets recommendations? Aren’t our names, our reputations and our goodwill attached to every retweet?

Is it authentic to recommend a post you haven’t read, a podcast you haven’t listened to or a video you haven’t seen?

Admittedly, we don’t know what actually happened to garner the retweets mentioned above.

People may have copied the url in the original tweet.
Once at the site, they may have watched the 37 second video.
And then, they retweeted it.

However, there were 3 retweets within a minute of the original tweet. Maybe we’re just slower than most…

Which content is king?
It raises a question, though. What are retweets based on – the information in the Twitter stream or the quality of the piece to which they refer?

If content is king, which content is it – the keyword-rich headline in Twitter or the underlying post? Should people spend time trying to craft a meaningful post, a quality show or video? Maybe not … maybe there’s a better way… (we say sarcastically)

Is the underlying content even needed?
If the underlying content doesn’t matter, why not just focus on just writing great tweets?

We don’t even need websites.
We don’t need to write blog posts.
There’s no need to make videos.
We can stop doing our podcast.

Think of all the time we could all save. And we can take that same time, effort and energy and just spend it on Twitter.

We can tweet and retweet to our heart’s delight. It doesn’t matter that there is nothing behind it all.

Is the conversation about nothing?

When we have conversations with real world entrepreneurs who are trying to get social media, they often say, “I don’t care what you had for lunch. It’s conversation about nothing.”

We tell them social media is more than that. But is it?

If the quality of the content underlying the tweet hasn’t been reviewed, how can it be recommended? Is it of any greater quality than a conversation about lunch? If we follow the logic, isn’t the conversation about nothing?

Isn’t this how we create value?
If we want to have conversations that add value, don’t we have to consume the underlying content?

Don’t we owe it to this great platform we call Twitter?

Don’t we owe it to our profession as bloggers and podcasters and new media creators?

Aren’t we obligated to our followers to actually filter the content we retweet? Isn’t this how the truly great content rises to the top?

The value lost in retweets about nothing
Shouldn’t we highlight the newbies of our trade who are doing great work? We can’t if our streams are cluttered with retweets about nothing.

Shouldn’t we give notice to the overlooked people in our profession putting out quality content? We can’t if we’re busy retweeting about nothing.

Shouldn’t we continue promoting the A-listers who don’t rest on their laurels? It’s hard to do if we constantly retweet about nothing.

The correlation between value and success
We realize we’re taking a risk with this post. We may piss some people off. We may lose some tweets or retweets. So be it.

We plan to continue putting time, money, effort and energy into creating content. We hope it makes an impact on your life and business. We hope you find it worthy of a tweet or a retweet.

We plan to follow others who do the same. We plan to tweet and retweet them so their great work gets the attention it deserves.

We still believe authenticity really does matter. We still believe in the power of quality content. We still believe that BIGG success is directly correlated with the value you create for other people.

That’s what we think … how about you?

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Direct link to The Bigg Success Show audio file | podcast:
http://traffic.libsyn.com/biggsuccess/00684-032911.mp3

Image in this post from StillSearc

Idols are Not Idle

american_idol.jpgLast night was the Grand Finale of this season’s American Idol. Once the votes were counted, Kris Allen was crowned the new Idol.

He’s a great singer and seems like an all-around nice guy. He really came into his own over the course of this season. There were so many really good singers in the group, including Adam Lambert who seemed to be the odds-on favorite.

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The ten-year rule

One of the challenges we have in reaching bigg success is thinking that it happens overnight. American Idol certainly gives that impression. After all, how many people had heard of Kris Allen five months ago?

Not many. However, he did a lot of work out of the spotlight to get to this point. He’s had formal training and been singing for about sixteen years.

So although it may seem that he’s an overnight sensation, a lot of blood, sweat and tears led to his crowning achievement.

That’s usually the case in any field. In fact, psychologists talk about the ten-year rule: it takes roughly ten years to develop the skills needed to reach bigg success in any endeavor.

The cost of thinking it’s a gift

While the debate rages on – is it natural talent or developed skills – there’s more and more evidence that hard work, with focus, over a span of time, is what usually produces the extraordinary successes we see.

In our culture, we see people like Kris who become media darlings overnight. So there’s a tendency to think he just has that certain something.

The problem with buying into that thought-process is that you lose your resiliency in the face of adversity. If you think that bigg success just happens, you’ll be more likely to give up when things don’t come easy. And you know it don’t come easy!

There’s more than one 3 o’clock in a day

We recently attended SOBCon, the business school for bloggers, and met Jon Haydon. Jon had a great blog post about seeing his social media idol, Chris Brogan, speak at the conference. Chris is an idol to a lot of people including us.

For those of you who don’t know who Chris is, first of all – he’s a super person. Second, he has reached the heights of influence in social media circles everywhere you look – from Ad Age to Technorati and beyond.

Jon’s post was fantastic. He got a number of great comments. We found one particularly revealing. It was by Lewis Howes, who we also met at SOBCon. Lewis commented about a conversation with Chris, who said that “he stayed up until 3:00 every morning for four years to get to where he is!”

At SOBCon, we heard Chris asked about how he got started. He said it goes back ten years to the early days of chat rooms.

Lewis added in his comment, “He didn’t just pop up out of no where and ascend to the heavens … No! He worked his butt off every day and didn’t let others hold onto his string.”

Well said! Bigg success takes time and hard work. It doesn’t just happen overnight. It won’t be easy. Just keep the faith and keep on plugging … you will be a bigg success!

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Get the tips and tools you need to be a BIGG success.
Subscribe to the Bigg Success Weekly – it’s FREE!

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Please join us next time when we discuss a fun way to clear out the clutter. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

Subscribe to The Bigg Success Show in iTunes. 

Subscribe to the Bigg Success feed.

Direct link to The Bigg Success Show audio file:
http://media.libsyn.com/media/biggsuccess/00399-052109.mp3

Related posts

The Power of Defining Your Terms

Make the Grass Greener on Your Side of the Fence

We Need It But Not Too Much of It

(Image in today's post from American Idol)

Apologies – The Good

interactiveamy_dominos_crew.jpgToday on The Bigg Success Show, we were thrilled to welcome Amy Ravit Korin, also known as interactiveAmy. She’s a social media consultant to individuals, local businesses and Fortune 500 companies. We met Amy at SOBCon, the business school for bloggers. Amy has so much personality that, once you meet her, you’ll never forget her! So let’s get to the conversation …

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marylynnAmy, you told us this incredible story that we want you to share with our whole community. You recently ordered some pizza from Domino’s. But it took an hour to get the order to you and, when it arrived, it wasn’t right. What happened next?

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amyI called the store and they said they would send over another one. I’m also very active on Twitter – as a social media consultant it is one of my preferred methods of communicating. So I tweeted what had happened. I was just venting my frustration.

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georgeAnd that's when Ramon De Leon, who is the owner of the local Dominos stepped in, right?

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amyYes! He twittered me right away and asked which location I ordered the pizza from.

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Get in on the conversation

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marylynnThis is a good thing for local business owners to understand. Since you are a social media consultant, Amy, how did Ramon know that you had tweeted about him?

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amyThere are great tools out there that allow you to monitor the real time feed of what's being said on Twitter. Ramon probably had an alert set up for the word “Domino’s” or “Domino’s Chicago.” You can use any term that's relevant for you. In addition, you could also set up a Google Alert, which will alert you whenever your name, brand, or company is mentioned on the Internet. So Ramon said that he would remedy the situation and be back in touch when he had more information. I figured I was going to get a credit for free cinnamon sticks the next time I placed an order. Imagine my surprise when I woke up the next morning, logged onto Twitter, and saw a tweet from @DPZRAMON. It said, "Amy, we want to make it up to you, please click on this link." The link took me to a video apology from Ramon, who is the owner of six Domino’s franchises in Chicago. He was standing there with Junior, who is the General Manager of the store where I ordered my pizza. They were offering an apology for what had happened that previous night.

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The buzz begins

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marylynnLike a lot of people, we've watched that video. I really liked that the apology was very sincere!

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amyYeah, what's so crazy is, just this morning, I actually got a tweet from Ramon. He said that video has been embedded on over 30,000 websites! And this is not just 30,000 watching the video; this is 30,000 people who think it's noteworthy enough to feature on their website.

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Wow!

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marylynnAnd in this video, not only did Ramon apologize to you – and promise to make it up to you – he said that they were going to wow you! Now that's more than cinnamon sticks. So what did they do to wow you?

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amyFirst of all, I was totally wowed by this video apology. I had never seen or heard of anything like it. Well as it turns out, I'm also involved in the Social Media Club of Chicago. We hosted an event on Thursday, April 30th – the kick-off to SOBCon. It was a great event where we had all kinds of Chicago social media minds in addition to friends from all over the country. Independently of this video apology, Domino’s was already secured as an event sponsor. So if that wasn’t enough, Domino’s showed up with over 100 pizzas for our club. They also brought a personal pizza for interactiveAmy, with my name all over the box. Ramon delivered it himself.

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george
So he didn't delegate this!

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amyNo, he didn't! Not only was he there, he was really excited about it. He couldn't wait to meet everybody who had heard about him after the video apology. But he was most excited to come and meet me, which was really cool.

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george
And who can blame him, Amy? We know you!

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amyHe also brought some members of his team including Junior. And it was his day off! In addition to the personalized interactiveAmy pizza, Junior also brought me a dozen roses in my favorite color, fuchsia. See video of interactiveAmy with DPZRAMON and Junior.

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marylynnHow on earth did he know your favorite color? He must have visited your website where that color is so strong.

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amyThat's true. I don't know if he did his back end research or if he just took a guess that women like bright pink.

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marylynnWell, I am just wowed by all of this. It’s just incredible!

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interactiveAmy and DPZRAMON

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The conversation begins when a mistake is made

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amyI thought so too. Ramon and I are still in touch. He has become an example of what great customer service is and can be – how to take steps to forge relationships with your customers which is a huge opportunity. When somebody makes a mistake, it doesn't have to be the end of the conversation. It really should be the beginning.

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georgeThat's a great point, Amy. But you could have just said nothing and not gone back to Domino’s. Instead you said something – not even expecting a response – but he responded in such a magnificent way that you've talked about it ever since. Plus 30,000 bloggers have talked about it too!

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amyExactly. As the owner of my own social media company, this is definitely something I try to advise business on, from small mom & pops all the way up the Fortune 500 ladder. Take any opportunity to engage in a conversation about your brand, product or service. And listen – especially when someone says something that might not be the most flattering. It’s a great way to get insight and take steps to remedy the problem. So first you have to listen. Then you can engage. You can become part of the conversation and take the necessary steps to forge your relationship going forward.

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georgeThose are great points, Amy. Here’s what I’ve learned – if you need a case study for your social media consulting business, just be your own.

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amy
I think that's a lesson to all of us … go out there and make things happen!

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Get the tips and tools you need to be a BIGG success.
Subscribe to the Bigg Success Weekly – it’s FREE!

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Thanks Ramon for being a shining example of great customer service.

And thanks Amy for sharing your story with us.

And thank you for reading our post today.

Bigg Question

Have you been impressed with the response to a complaint? Share that with us by leaving a comment below, e-mailing us at bigginfo@biggsuccess.com or calling us at 888.455.BIGG (2444).

Please join us next time when we’ll continue on this thread. We’ll discuss bad and ugly apologies. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

Subscribe to The Bigg Success Show in iTunes. 

Subscribe to the Bigg Success feed.

Direct link to The Bigg Success Show audio file:
http://media.libsyn.com/media/biggsuccess/00392-051209.mp3

Related posts

Apologies – The Bad and the Ugly

Relationship Building Blocks

Failure to Do This Harms Relationships

Creating Wealth in the Next Generation Economy

(Image in today's post provided by interactiveAmy)

70,000 dollars feeds 5,000 families

How $70,000 Delivered 5,000 Families from Drought and Hunger

70,000 dollars feeds 5,000 families

Bloggers from all over the world wide web are discussing poverty today in the hopes that conversation for a cause will lead to a cure. We’ll share how $70,000 had an impact on drought and hunger.

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marylynnWe chose to participate because we believe in the cause and we believe in the power of people working together with a purpose.

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georgeWe remembered an inspiring Wall Street Journal article [pdf] written by Roger Thurow. It highlights how seemingly small things can make a bigg difference in the developing world. We love success stories and this one is awesome!

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$70,000 feeds 5,000 families

A group of farmers in Ohio raised $70,000 and sent it to another group of farmers in Kenya. The project is part of the Foods Resource Bank, an organization that fights hunger by connecting churches here with groups in need around the world.

The Ohio farmers decided to send money, rather than food, so the farmers in Kenya could decide how to use it best. They spent the money to build a number of small dams and retention ponds to catch water in the rainy season so they would have water year-round. With that water, five thousand families have been delivered from hunger.

Everybody wins

Here’s an example of the impact made by just one project. The farmers in Ohio sent $3,000 to the farmers in Kenya, who hired an engineer. With the plan in hand, the Kenyan farmers built the dam with their own labor and materials.

Now their village has water – for themselves, for their cattle, and for growing crops. The women of the village used to walk about ten miles to get water. Now their time is being used much more productively.

With the water problem solved, the village switched its focus to better roads. These roads are the link to nearby markets where the farmers can sell their surplus produce. But they had deep ruts which made them nearly impassable.

It used to take two hours to get to the market by bike, which is the main form of transportation there. Bikes cost $6 to rent. With the improved roads, it only takes a half-an-hour now to get into town and bike rents have fallen to $3.

Talk about win / win! The farmers are paying 50% less to rent a bike. But the person who rents the bikes is making 100% more, because the bikes get returned so quickly. Everybody wins!

Farmer increases income over 400%

The article also highlights one Kenyan farmer. With the water nearby thanks to the dam, he was able to dig his own water retention pond, which he uses to irrigate his crops. His income has grown from less than $100 a year to $500 per year!

That’s an increase of over 400%!

Now he’s plowing his extra profits back into his business. He bought a generator and mechanical pump to double his cultivated land. He also planted 400 mango trees.

Entrepreneurship at its finest!

How it started

All of these wonderful things started with the vision of one man – the pastor in the village. Originally, he reached out for food from the large international agencies. But he feared that his people would become dependent.

So he formed a development group that created a list of needs – water was number one on the list. He sent that list to a number of organizations, including the Foods Resource Bank. They got the farmers in Ohio involved.

Takeaways

We found this story so inspiring because it shows that a small amount of money with a large amount of focus can accomplish bigg things.

We liked how farmers here supported farmers there. We can all use our passion, knowledge, and skills to help people like us in other parts of the world.

It also shows the resourcefulness of people. Get resources to people on the scene. They will find a way to overcome their biggest obstacles with their ingenuity and industriousness. The accomplishments can be phenomenal!

You, too, can make a difference. Donate money or make microloans to people in need with good ideas. Reach out to organizations that have the infrastructure in place to help people in need.

It only takes one person.
Each of us can make a bigg difference in helping other people around the world be a bigg success.

Next time, we’ll talk with a man who left a high-paying job with a prestigious law firm to do his own thing. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

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how $70,000 saved 5,000 families|Blog Action Day 2008

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