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13 How and Why I Still Use Delicious

I know, I know, what, del.icio.us is so old school. And didn’t they get bought and killed off by Yahoo? Well, actually all Yahoo really did was make it Delicious.com, but fortunately they sold the technology to AVOS, a company founded by YouTube founders Chad Hurley and Steve Chen.

Delicious Stacks

But, that’s not really what this post is about.

I still use Delicious every day to bookmark and automatically publish content to the web via RSS and I think you should too.

At the root, Delicious is a social bookmarking site, which means you can use it to find and bookmark and tag stuff all over the web. I use it to create collections that I then post in my Saturday Weekly Favs post. I use it to curate collections of things related to marketing topics. I use it for research and I use it to publish filtered content to a number of pages.

Basic bookmarking

Bookmarking is a pretty basic skill these days as you must be able to find and aggregate large amounts of information of risk drowning in the virtual sea of stuff related to your chosen field.

Even the simple act of blogging requires the ability to find and sort various sources and few things are handier than a site like Delicious that is both discovery engine and reservoir of other people’s discoveries.

I use the Firefox addon that allows me to right click and add any page to Delicious, but you can find bookmarklets and other browser tools here.

Content discovery

I’ve also long used Delicious as a content inspiration source. I find that the users of Delicious are some of the old Internet souls that know quality from viral and I can always count on a romp through my favorite tags to produce ideas for my own content production.

The new Stacks feature brings a bit of a visual element, but you can still find the basic text links here too.

Auto publishing

One of the most underutilized features of the Delicious technology in my opinion is the ability to grab tag specific RSS feeds. Any tag you create produces a unique RSS feed. What this means is that you publish a dynamic feed of content related to a subject to simply publishing the RSS feed to any page. I bookmark lots of tools that I find to a resource page on my site by simply using Feedburner to create HTML code to publish a Delicious RSS feed to a page – you can view my resource page here.

All I have to do is find a new tool, right click and hit Save to delicious and tag is as “favs” and the link publishes to this page.

Custom filtering

You can take this a step further and use Delicious to help you create custom content feeds for things like product mentions, news stories and even social media mentions.

All you need to do is add Google Alerts to the previous step.

So, let’s say I want to track and publish mention of my book Duct Tape Marketing. All I do is set up a Google Alerts for the term Duct Tape Marketing and have it sent to my email inbox.

Then, when I spot a positive news mentions of Duct Tape Marketing (I mean, they’re all positive, but hypothetically speaking) I can visit the page, bookmark what I want to publish in Delicious and tag it DTNews or something like that and then it publish the mention automatically to a page or widget called Duct Tape In the News (bottom left on this page)– all without leaving my surfing.

Delicious, paired with RSS is a powerful way to create content on the fly while cataloging and categorizing the kind of stuff that helps you learn, teach and be a filter for your clients.

13 How and Why I Podcast

I have produced a weekly podcast for about five years now. It started out as one of my content creation tactics but quickly became an important way to gain access to leading authors and marketing professionals. In fact, I’ve often referred to it as my secret weapon.

I’ve developed a pretty stable following and the show generally ranks in the top twenty on iTunes for the marketing and management category, but I would do it even no one listened because of the doors it has opened.

Podcasting isn’t the red hot trendy topic these days, but it’s still a very solid tool to put in your content bag. Every now and then I get asked what tools I use to produce my show and so I thought I would write a post to spell my routine out.

My shows are all interviews done via a phone line

  • To capture the calls I use SkypeIn line so guests can call from a landline but I capture the call on Skype (Obviously Skype to Skype calls work well too)
  • To record I use a Skype plugin called Call Recorder (Pamela on PC) – this plugin has feature that also allows me to split the tracks so my guest and I are can be edited separately.
  • For my sound I use a Sennheiser USB headset – a little pricey but always a great place to spend your money.
  • To edit the show I use Garage Band on a Mac – you can also use Audacity on a PC
  • I purchased intro music track from iStockphoto
  • To host the show I use Libsyn – I don’t use all of the features from this tool but the hosting and streaming bandwidth is inexpensive
  • I use this WordPress blog to publish my shows so I use Feedburner to make the category feed podcast and iTunes friendly
  • Occasionally I’ll transcribe an episode using Casting Words

You can listen to the show by subscribing the feed in iTunes or a variety of other free services such as Google Listen (Use this RSS feed) or you can buy the Duct Tape Marketing iPhone app. (iTunes link – Cost is $2.99) or Android app and listen to the show as well as about ten past shows on your phone.

11 How to Create a Content Lead Generation System

Content RulesEveryone’s talking about content these days and like it not you’ve got to get in the publishing game. (Content Rules – great book on the subject just out.)

Of course this doesn’t mean get the game just to play. The idea behind all of this content creation you’re being asked to do is to use it to build your business in the long term – to get more leads and sales.

The following systematic approach to content creation will help guide you in the most effective use of your limited time on the way to creating a momentum building content lead generation system.

Content Creation Strategy

Like all good systems and processes, your content lead system must start with strategy. With that in mind there are three very important concepts to consider

  • The total body of work – think big picture when you think content. Pretend (or for real) that you are outlining a book about your entire subject of expertise. Now, as you think about content work through the outline and remember that are creating a body of work that may take months and years to finish.
  • Purpose and repurpose – As you create content always think about the purpose you have in mind – drive traffic, get links, draw reaction – and the repurpose opportunities – blend several posts into an article, use it as seminar, create an ebook from a category of blog posts.
  • Medium diverse – One great way to get more bang for your buck is to republish your content in various forms. Record and archive seminars, transcribe audio and video and offer multiple forms of the same content.

Tools – Moleskine notebooks to capture ideas, Dragon Dictation or Casting Words to transcribe audio and video to text, Audio and Video capture tools such as iPhone or Flip Camera

Content Inspiration

Even with a big picture body of work approach you can get blocked when it comes to creating fresh and frequent content. It’s a good idea to have ready made sources of inspiration to turn to and help keep you up to speed on all the real time happenings in your world.

  • Questions – make a note of all the questions that prospects and customers ask and get in the habit of posting answers to these inquiries.
  • Delicious – use bookmarking tool like delicious so you can mark things you’ve found for later reading and so you can see what other people are bookmarking for categories you need to keep up on.
  • Google Reader – Subscribe to and browse 50 or so related blogs – you can do this on your phone while you stand in line at the coffee shop.
  • Alltop – Convenient way to see lots of blog posts sorted by countless topics
  • StumbleUpon – Unique way to find of the beaten path stuff about topics you choose
  • Google Keywords – Sometimes you just need to write about what people are searching for and using a keyword tools helps you know the best way to say it.
  • SmartBriefs – Daily digests of some of the best of the web on a variety of topics.

Content Automation

Few people are still as geeky about RSS as me anymore, but I still love what you can do with it. (Back archives and tutorials on RSS use)

My favorite use is to create content automatically or on the fly by installing a bit of RSS magic. Using this approach you can create fresh content for your own site or even custom filtered feeds just for your best customers.

Here’s a quick tip: Bookmark mentions of your company in delicious using company name tag, grab the RSS feed from the tag on delicious and take it Feedburner and use the Buzz Boost feature to create HTML code to publish this info to your “In the news page.” The page updates automatically every time you bookmark an news mention.

Tools: Google News, Feedburner, Delicious, Yahoo Pipes

Advertising Content

If you want your advertising to be more effective and your content to generate leads don’t sell your stuff, advertise your content.

Use your Facebook and other PPC advertising to point to your valuable free ebook or upcoming online seminar and past seminar archive. Turn your advertising into a trust building platform rather than an expensive turnoff.

On Demand Content

One of the most dramatic advances in the communication of sales messages has come in the form of presentation platforms.

With today’s low cost and easy to use video tools you can create full featured, highly engaging sales presentations and host them online to effectively generate and nurture leads night and day.

Using a tool like SlideRocket allows you to also easily embed forms in your interactive presentations and receive alerts when people view the show and complete the form.

Content Partnerships

And now for the big payoff for all your content creation.

Once you create a blog, ebook, white paper, podcast, videocast, online and offline educational seminar you can take these proven and practiced bits of content and start offering them to your strategic partners.

Let them cobrand your ebook and offer it to their clients. Invite them write guest blog content and interview them for your podcast. Offer to provide your awesome seminar free of charge to their customers.

While content creation may seem like a lot of work, using even a fraction of the ideas contained here you can make the ROI of content creation crush just about any other form of lead generation today.

If you liked this post, check out our Guide to Building a Small Business Marketing Consulting Practice.

13 Bringing the Twitter Conversation to Any Web Page

Twitter is very hot right now so why not take advantage of this new found buzz by tapping the twitter stream and selectively publishing twitter content on your web site or blog to enhance and link to the conversation.

wboxIt’s pretty simple to re-post what’s being said on twitter on your web site because of the built in use of RSS technology. (Don’t worry you don’t even need to know what that is.)

First off, why would you want to republish twitter content? Here are couple pretty good reasons.
1. You want to publish everything that is being said at the conference you are hosting and run it as a live stream on your site.
2. You want to publisher your last five tweets on your home page to help people follow your twitter activity
3. You want to create a company-wide #hashtag and publish all the great finds your people are bookmarking in one place. (quick overview of the hashtag on twitter)
4. You want to publish all the great brand mentions your organization is getting on twitter.
5. You want to publish your replies to common customer service requests as a growing FAQ and demonstration of great service kind of thing.

Continue reading

25 Mining twitter for Leads

Getting leads and business by participating on sites like twitter is a very intriguing notion. Now I’m not talking about barging in and hocking your wares to anyone with an @ – you wouldn’t do that in an offline setting, say at a cocktail party, would you? But, think of that same cocktail party, you’re having a chat with someone who is going on about how they can’t get good help to staff their business, and you just happen to have the answer for them. You might suggest a great solution and viola, land a nice piece of business.

Well, that virtual cocktail party in going on all day long on twitter. The problem is, it’s a bit like a party held in the Rose Bowl, if somebody in section 101 needs what you do, but you’re in section 334, you’ll never meet each other.

This is where some powerful twitter and 3rd party tools can come to help you make sense of it all.

Meet twitter Advanced Search – the basic twitter search function is a great time saving filter and allows you to set-up searches on your name, company name, brands, competitors, all the basic stuff, so you can monitor your business and reputation and even know when people are replying to your tweets.

Advanced search, however, is where the real data mining comes to life.

twitter advanced search

Advanced search allows you to filter everything that’s being said for your keyword phases in your town, for example. Think that might be useful? Let’s say you are a network server specialist in Tucson, AZ – if you set up an advanced search for people in Tucson, AZ complaining about their server – and you got those complaints in real-time – could you develop some hot leads? – here’s the search for that

Creating advanced searches around topics that would identify someone as a hot lead is really pretty easy using the form on the advanced search page or you can use a host of operators in the basic search page to create some interesting searches. For example, want to know if anyone in Detroit is asking about marketing – your search would look like this – near:Detroit within:50mi marketing? Note the question mark after the word marketing.

People are asking questions, complaining, and searching for stuff in every corner of the world on twitter and these people are often more than happy to hear from someone who can provide an answer locally. With a little practice you can set-up a series of tweets that might turn up leads for your business every single day.

Again, this is not an invitation to spam people, but with a little care and the fact that you can identify people through the flood of tweets, people expressing needs and wants, you can proceed to target and educate these folks by starting a conversation and answering their questions thoughtfully.

Build your network – you don’t need to stop at leads, you can also turn up some great potential strategic partners locally using this same approach.

Using the RSS function – because every search produces a unique RSS feed you can subscribe to all the searches you set-up and determine useful and that way you can get them in your RSS reader. I like this because it allows you to keep your searches sorted so you can respond and follow-up appropriately when you have the time.

Another great RSS trick with twitter is to republish search results. Let’s say you are hosting a conference and you want to publish all the buzz in and around your conference or webinar – you simply create a #hastag unique to your event and then search that tap, grab the RSS feed and use Feedburner’s Buzz Boost feature to easily post the dynamic feed on your site – I used this during Make a Referral Week – see the Make a Referral Week on twitter example on the left sidebar.

You can also set your searches up in a twitter client such as tweetdeck so you have desktop view of searches as they come in.

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11 Republishing with RSS

It’s been far too long since I’ve allowed my geeky passion for RSS to spill forth.

As a reminder, let me say again – anything that throws off an RSS feed (oh, and that’s just about any online tool) presents some interesting republishing opportunities.

The republishing of RSS feeds for you own content creation purposes involves two steps 1) locate or generate the RSS feed, 2) produce the code to publish the feed as HTML somewhere.

Some example of RSS producers – blogs, online calenders, blog categories, and custom searches for starters.

So, let’s say you are way keen on all things to do with, I don’t know, referral marketing. You simply go to Google News and create a search for “referral marketing” (use the quotes) and copy the RSS feed URL. You can do the very same at search.twitter.com and capture the RSS feed for all tweets that contain that search term.

Or, let’s say you created a twitter #hashtag for an event, that’s right, a search for said hashtag produces an RSS feed and can be published as streaming content anywhere you can paste the code.

Producing the RSS feeds of course is only half of the equation in the republishing scheme. There are many ways to publish the RSS feeds, but here are two free and simple ways.

1) Widgetbox – simply take the RSS URL to widgetbox and create stylish widgets that can be massaged in many ways. (This tool deserves a full post as you can do some very cool things with widgets and gadgets.)

2) Feedburner – take your RSS URL to Feedburner and use a feature called BuzzBoost to produce the HTML for you – this service gives you full CSS styling capabilities if you care to create your own style.

Here’s an example of a widgetbox widget for the search referral marketing on twitter.

Let your imagination run wild with this one!

4 RSS Plug-ins Do Some Lifting For You

Many bloggers have found ways to add some functionality and bling to their blogs with plug-ins – little add on scripts that extend a platform like WordPress.

Some of these such All-in-One-Seo Pack are under the hood tools helping with search optimization, some are on screen, like the Top Commentator Widget, extending commenting functions.

One neglected area of plug-in functionality is that of plug-ins designed to enhance the RSS feed. You blog’s RSS feed is very important to the overall health of the blog, but because most bloggers don’t experience their blog that way, the way that a majority of reader may, it mostly stays “right out of the box” vanilla.

Here are some practical suggestions for giving your RSS feed a makeover with your readers in mind.

1) Use Feedburner (now a Google property) – you can add some great things to your blog feed using FeedFlare so your readers who use a tool like Google Reader can use social bookmarking tools right in your feed.

All of these type of social media links can appear in your blog feed:

2) RSS Footer – this plug in lets you add some copy only to your RSS content in the header or footer of each post. There are several reasons you might do this, but the reason I do is it allows me to add: This content from Duct Tape Marketing with a link to my site so that all the folks that simply run my blog feed on their sites don’t have to go to the trouble to add my credit line – if you know what I mean

Here’s a shot of how this plays out on a blog running my content as it were their own:

Supplement – this plug in allows you to add all kinds of content to your feed. This might be useful for folks who want to encourage subscribers by offering premium content that non-subscribers don’t get to see.

Include pages in feeds – more and more folks, myself included, are adding pages as WordPress calls them, to add static type content or even build entire sites pages. This plugin allows you to include those pages in the rss feed instead of just blog posts. I’ve seen some nice uses of this where a blogger posts on a subject and then builds resources pages, for example, to support the topic in greater detail.

16 Blog and Ping Facebook Style

When blogging first got going the idea of writing a blog post and then pinging the RSS and blog directories to notify them of your update was standard operating procedure. Fact is, it still is, but it’s become automated by services like Feedburner.

FacebookNow that social networks like Facebook have begun to enter the small business mainstream, users are looking for practical ways to extend their conversations and open up new access points through the many features and functions available. Part of the trouble with this is that it can be a bit overwhelming. The cool thing about Facebook is that it can do so much. However, lots of choices can also lead to paralysis for the newcomer.

One very simple and powerful way to get more mileage out of your Facebook presence is to note and tag. (The blog and ping equivalent) There is a default Facebook application simply called Notes that is terribly underutilized. The Notes application allows you to write a note. There’s nothing too sexy about that, right? Here’s where I think it gets interesting. You can also automatically create notes using any RSS feed. So, if you have a blog (please tell me you do) you can republish your blog content right into your Facebook notes application. (Of course you can also add a delicious feed or a custom RSS news feed of any sort.) This does several things. You get automatic content creation for your new outreach and your profile gets updated with every new blog post or note. In addition, Facebook friends can comment on the notes much as they might on your regular blog posts.

One of the core marketing strategic objectives of social networks is to expand your reach and open up new avenues of networking. Adding tagging to the above Notes strategy really helps this objective along. Once you post a note you can tag anyone on your friend list in the note. This causes them to get a notification that they were tagged in a note and it posts the fact that they were tagged into their profile for all their Facebook friends to see. Now, first the disclaimer: Don’t use this as a way to spam your friend list. Write legitimate blog posts and notes that have some relevant or direct mention of your friend and then tag them. Pointing to their blogs posts or media mentions of them and writing a note is a fine use of this tactic. (Tagging photos and videos in this manner has the same impact)

Of course one of the keys to making this work is that you have people in your network that you have reason to tag in a blog post or note. Reach out to journalists, authors, speakers, and other industry and hi profile folks and send them friend requests so that you can utilize this powerful feature. They won’t all accept, but many will and if you then start utilizing this practice in a sincere and meaningful way you will find that your network will begin to respond to your communications. If you’ve been holding back because you didn’t know why you would do this, now you do.

By the way, here’s my Facebook profile, send me a request if you would like to get started. Of course, then you can write a blog post mentioning some brilliant marketing point I made and then well, tag me in your post on the Notes application. You know, just as an example!

38 The Hierarchy of Social Marketing

I think one of the things that small business marketers struggle with around the entire topic of social marketing is trying to jump into the new new thing without enough analysis of what they should focus on. I happen to think this is an important, evolving and essential area of marketing for small businesses, but there’s a hierarchy to it. In other words, there is a logical progression of utilization that comes about much like Maslow’s Hierarchy of Human Nature.

Social Marketing HierarchyAs Maslow theorized, the ultimate potential of your marketing or human self-actualization couldn’t be achieved until the most basic human psychological needs – breathing, eating, sleeping, sex were first met. (Yes, I’m about ready to compare blogging to sex.) In fact safety, love, and esteem all come before transcendence. Now, before I edge too close to the deep end here, I’m simply comparing what I think is a bit like progressing up the social marketing hierarchy.

Most small business owners should look at the following progression or hierarchy as they move deeper into social marketing tactics. So, jump in, but do it in this order and don’t move on until you have the basics of each stage down and working for you.

Blogging – the foundation of the pyramid – read blogs (Google Reader or Bloglines), comment on blogs and then blog. This is the doorway to all other social marketing – WordPress, TypePad, Blogger

RSS – aggregate and filter content around subjects and use RSS technology as a tool to help you repurpose, republish and create content – Some tools – Feedburner, Google News and mysyndicaat

Social Search – this is often ignored in this discussion but I think it’s become very important for small business owners. Directories that publish reviews from customers – good and bad. You can participate and should stimulate and manage your reputation here. Insider Pages, Google Maps, Yahoo Local, Local.com, Judy’s Book, Yelp

Social Bookmarking – tagging content to and participating in social bookmarking communities can be a great way to open up more channels to your business as well as generate extra search traffic, but it takes work – del.icio.us, Digg, StumbleUpon, Reddit, Mixx, Small Business Brief

Social Networking – branching out to take advantage of the numbers of potential prospects that you might find in sites like Facebook or MySpace will frustrate at least as a business tool if you don’t have many of the above needs met. These networks take time to understand and thrive on ideas and content. You’ve got to have much to share if you wish to build a business case. The good news is that industry and idea specific sites for everything from book lovers to green living are springing up every day. Here’s an enormous list of social networking sites from Mashable

Micro – I’ve lumped some of the more experimental social tools into the edge trend of micro, social, real-time communication that will likely only confuse most small business owners. The confusion is not because they can’t figure out how to make them work, it’s just not obvious why they would spend the time. I think Maslow suggested the self-actualization was a place that most might never reach and in social marketing terms Twitter, Thwirl, Plurk and FriendFeed might be some sort of sick transcendence.

All the evidence that we have indicates that it is reasonable to assume in practically every human being, and certainly in almost every newborn baby, that there is an active will toward health, an impulse towards growth, or towards the actualization.

Abraham Maslow

9 Automatically adding content with bookmarking

In another installment of what I might call “Fun with RSS,” I’ve created a video that will show you how to automatically post any content you want to your web site or blog using bookmarking.

This is a great little trick for creating “In the News” pages or for scraping company or industry mentions to re-purpose to a web site. I use it to post news mentions I get and mentions of my book from around the Internet, but you could easily use this technique to create custom content pages for search purposes or even create highly personalized newspapers for customers and prospects. Once you get this set up anyone surfing the web for you can build these highly personalized pages.

The video shows you ways to find the content you are looking for and then use a bookmarking service called delicious to tag the content and create an RSS feed that you then take to a service called Feedburner to create the code to easily publish the content to your site. Once you do this you can add content by simply bookmarking it on delicious using the tag that corresponds to the content and it will get posted automatically to your site.

Video: Adding content with bookmarking