Discover Which Of Your Products Attract Customers

This idea (quoted below from Society6) is smarter than it appears on the surface. I would not suggest Facebook as the only (or best) option to place the survey. I would not pay for boosting the post or using Facebook services to create the poll either. You can do it yourself, without spending anything but some of your time.

    • Create this as an image file with a few of your art creations displayed. (Come up with a few unique, different from each other creations).
    • Write up the information about this being a survey to measure the saleability of your artwork. Keep the explanation simple, short and readable.
    • Play with the image sizes for your artwork. Not too small and yet not so big people will be happily making copies rather than spending something to buy your original images or product.
    • Combine the explanation text and your images into one web graphic which you can post to Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, the sidebar of your website, anywhere…

You get to promote your work, your site and get information from the survey itself. Promotion without feeling like you’re selling anything is brilliant and works much better than straight sales promotion people are trained to ignore due to overkill.

What other ways can you create a promotion like this? Contests and giveaways, but those require more organizing and a prize to be sent. Simple is better.

2. Run a very simple survey on Facebook

A quick and easy way to survey is to setup a 4-design block of artwork and ask people to rank them in order of favorite to least favorite. Repeat as many times as necessary and narrow down to the most purchasable artwork. While a quick test of likes & comments is a good indicator of interest, you may discover differences between something people love and something people would actually hang in their homes. You want to lead with compelling work that is also likely to be purchased.

 

Five Types of Content Curation

In a nutshell, content curation is about gathering information, formatting it and adding your own editorial, comments, or something to it. The point is, you add something to the collection of information. This is what makes it curation instead of just a collection. It is a planned collection, with a purpose and information to (at least) explain why the information was collected, a point to it all.

Five types of content curation:

Aggregation – Aggregation can be a top ten list. Often information collected this way uses software of one kind of another. Too many people pull together information this way and dump it in a pile, without adding anything to it. Don’t do it this way. Add something of value to the collection of information. You could just explain why or how you collected the information.

Distillation – Planning a collection involves deciding what is and is not important or relevant enough. Taking a collection of information and filtering through it for the best resources helps build a better resource. Likely your readers could search Google themselves, so planning and condensing information, with your own added thoughts, saves readers time and gives them better insights.

Elevation – Adding something to a collection of information to make sense of it all. This could be in how you present the information, the formatting, or information you add to make the collection of information a resource for readers.

Mashups – A combination of anything and everything with a less organized format/ presentation. The real point to a mashup is the information you bring to it yourself. The resources are quoted but the real point of the curated collection are your own thoughts, opinions, discoveries, reviews and etc.

Chronology – Information presented in order of timelines, presented by date from start to finish or from the end result going back to how it all began. This requires research and filtering and planning the format. Keep it tidy, easy to read and navigate.

Can you think of other styles or types of content curation?

Write About the Same Stuff in a New Way

Writing about the day to day things and creating reports about things going on in your niche are not written about enough. You can read the full list on the original post. But, consider tackling the topics you write about over and over in a new way.

Write about how you write and research the topic and give sources for more information (the places you find your information). Write about something you did, outside of the Internet: an event you attended,  someone you met, something you left the building for.

From Copyblogger:

6. Behind the scenes

11. Field reports

Find Fresh Ideas in Social Media

Copyblogger wrote this about keywords mainly. You may find some new ideas to add to your keywords list but, better yet, watch for topics you haven’t written about yet, or new topics coming up.

Search social media for your keywords. Find others who talk and/ or write about your topic and keep track of them.

Give credit to the source for the information and ideas you find. Let them know what you liked about their post and tell them how you were inspired to do more with it yourself. This is a great way to make contact and use social media to meet people you may not have approached usually. Don’t stick to just people who are authorities in your same topic. Branch out, find connections and bring old information into new uses.

From CopyBlogger:

Write down, word for word, what people are saying about your topic. You might find a phrase, a sentence, or a full paragraph … you never know what’s going to show up on a given day.

You’re looking for:

  • Frustrations
  • Rants
  • Questions
  • Irritations
  • Failures
  • Embarrassments
  • Triumphs

Marketing Headlines

I don’t like the trend to write sensationalist headlines. They over promise, over dramatize and disappoint. Headlines all about marketing are too common and just add to information overload. People can only read so much in a day. Too often these marketing based headlines lead readers in but don’t deliver any real information, nothing fresh, relevant or important. Fluff!

Headlines like those do not build you as an authority on your topic. Traffic to your site may pick up but, especially if you are running a business, trust in your business will go down. You don’t deliver as promised.

100 Great Tips for Whitening your Teeth your Dentist Doesn’t Want you to Know…. 

Sure there are 100 tips but most of them are things you already know and a lot of them are things the author has not tried themselves, so chances are they don’t work. As for the element of things being secret – that’s just hype.

How many of these headlines will people read before they go blind to them? How much mistrust will you build trying to get people to come to your site?

Propaganda and sensationalism are fragile shells to walk on. Once the shell breaks it is very hard to rebuild trust with customers, readers or the public in general. 

This post was inspired from Copyblogger’s Content Excellence Challenge suggesting people write headlines as marketing propaganda. I don’t think they thought the idea through.

News Posts Need Dates

I wanted to read about a building project ongoing locally. I found a post about it on the website for the local newspaper. But, the post did not have a date. So, I could not tell how relevant the information was. The post mentioned the years the project had been going and how much time it was expected to continue. Without a date to reference however, the information was not useful.

Not only news posts need dates. Anything which relies on being current should have a date (when it was written about) for reference. Software comes to mind. I’ve started looking for software reviews or information with the current year added to my search terms. It helps eliminate the older posts and those without dates, which may or may not be older.

News needs a point of reference. Any post providing information should really have a date. Information becomes dated. Readers need to know the information they are reading is still valid.

There’s a Word for That

Haughty and fastidious.

I read a post about feet. I didn’t read it for the information, but the attitude of the writer. There seems to be a common attitude which (to me) is overly fussy, disapproving and expecting approval. I wanted to find a word for it. I still haven’t found just one exact word but I’ve come close. (Peevish, fussy, censoring, and others).
I found a reverse lookup for words. A handy tool for word lovers, or Scrabble players.
A great site to have bookmarked for those days you know there’s a word for that… if you could just think of it.

Please Login or Register to Leave a Comment

I really dislike logging in or registering with a site in order to leave a comment.

If they don’t collect and sell email addresses and the other information they gather from you… there is still the lovely newsletter they will assume you want sent to your email inbox, regularly. Even if they say they do not sell or give away your information, that doesn’t mean they don’t.

Registering for a site also means, not only do they now have my email address but in their database they also have my standard password, the one I try to use almost everywhere, for every site and online service. Don’t think that sort of information is not being kept track of by someone, somewhere. I am so fed up with registering and logging in for sites I am going to begin deleting my accounts at any site I go to. (Other than those I really do use daily).

The really interesting thing, is how damned hard you have to look to find a way to delete those accounts. In some cases I have to email for help – assuming I can find any contact information. But, never fear, Twitter is here. If you can not get a site to remove you from the database send an aggressive yet polite note to them on Twitter. That way a lot of people will read it and be aware of the problem. You may never hear anything back from the site. I would say I only get any help deleting my account half the time.

The real solution is to be careful and ultra conservative when it comes to registering for anything on any site. Just say NO!

Start an Online Advertising Agency?

There are times when idea people get in their own way. Or, they at least need to take a step back and see what it is they really are thinking. Pulling it all together, from a distance. This happens to me. This has happened to me, today.

I’ve been making a web directory. But, I keep changing my mind about details, adjusting for new ideas and just generally fumbling around – knowing what I want but not getting it done.

Then, while looking at another site, I understood that I’ve been misleading myself. I don’t want a web directory, I want an online advertising agency. I want to be my own public relations business, online.

The funny thing is… although I feel like a fraud, I actually do have the background for it. Corporate Communications (my college education) included PR, writing and publishing. In actual experience I have been online since 1996 building my own sites, maintaining, managing, promoting, writing and publishing other sites. I’ve been doing it all, all along. But, mostly for myself or as a contracted employee (contributor) for others.

Am I rushing into this? Quite likely, I tend to jump in when I think I have a good idea, before I have the plan all sorted out.

But, it does feel right. It is what I’ve been trying to build without really putting a label on it.

From Entrepreneur:

Online Advertising Agency

Startup Costs: Under $2,000
Home Based: Can be operated from home.
Part Time: Can be operated part-time.
Franchises Available? No
Online Operation? Yes

Not only will you be providing a valuable service for site visitors, but you will also be establishing your own potentially successful business. The business concept is very straightforward. Start by designing a website that features information about various advertising mediums including rates, contact information and any special promotions or discounts in terms of advertising rates. Business owners who visit the site simply locate the type of advertising that suits their marketing program and budgets. Income is earned by charging the advertising companies a fee to be listed on the site, as well as by selling advertising space featured on the site.

I think I have start up costs covered, one way or another. I know how to put things together, free, online. I’ve been working that way for twenty years.

Resources for Starting an Online Advertising Agency:

I’d start with an ad exchange. I already have all the links saved to become a directory. This would be a simple way to build the directory, see which sites want to be part of exchanging ads (which would help me eliminate those who are not active, don’t want to mess with code to make ads for themselves, etc.). The sites which want to exchange ads would have a fancier spot in the directory of links. I can give them an image, a larger description, and so on. All of that I can do with what I have now.

The next step would be finding outside advertisers from related businesses which would pay for ads (without being part of the ad exchange network). I’m not really confident/ bold when it comes to approaching people to ask for anything, but it could be done. I might even find someone to help me at that point.

That’s how I see it, for myself.

I do have the niche – urban exploration.

I have found a few ad exchange software possibilities, for free, just having a quick look this afternoon. I may be missing something but I am wondering where the people at Entrepreneur found a need for $2,000 start up costs? I guess I will find out along the way.

Software (RTB – Real-Time Bidder):

Have you Experienced Pareidolia Today?

Pareidolia is the ability to find pictures in inanimate objects like rocks, potatoes, linens, the moon, inkblots, and anything else. Most often people will see faces but it can also be whole bodies, animals and cultural icons. You could look at dots of this and that on the wall and find an image represented in them. No one else may see it the same way you do. Overall, it’s one way to pass the time while waiting for the bus, doctor, etc.

Another form of pareidolia are sounds heard and attributed to mysterious sources, like ghosts. Some ghostly noises could be explained as our own perception of the noise/ sound.

What have you seen a face in lately? Think about the idea today and see what you notice in a different way.

The word is derived from the Greek words para, meaning something faulty, wrong, instead of, and the noun eidōlon, meaning image, form or shape. Pareidolia is a type of apophenia, which is a more generalized term for seeing patterns in random data.

faceclock facetub Sources for more information: