Are Email Marketers all Smoking Crack?

I had another email from someone selling me a newsletter/ campaign about building up my email marketing plan. (You know the drill). I’m not in the least interested in any email marketing. I don’t see the sense of it.

First, email is far too cluttered to be reliable as a method of communication.

Second, and more to the point, hasn’t texting pretty much replaced email these days?

Writing from the point of view of someone who does not own a mobile phone or do any texting, even I can see that a plan to market via email is something of a dinosaur. So why haven’t all these ever so savvy marketing people?

Where are the texting marketing plans?

Where are the sploggy newsletters being sent to everyone’s mobile phones?

Why don’t I see people complaining about the marketing they get via text?

It’s a mystery to me. But, those still selling email marketing are working from old technology and should really move on and stop beating the same poor, old, dead horse.

 

Content Curation Makes a Better Web Directory

The first two points are the best, I think.

A niche has a better chance these days. Think content curation. Actually, think content curation for the second point too. You should build more than a bundle of links. Content curation is about showcasing great links and adding more to them. Create a whole package presentation around the niche. Don’t stop at listing sites.

Write about the niche. This could be interviews with the very people who run the sites you want to list in the directory. How smart is that? Not only are you building your authority, learning more about the niche but you are far more likely to sell links (or make money from ads) if you have something people actually want and can’t find elsewhere.

  1. Start with a Niche – Find a topic you’re seriously passionate about, from birds to routers to online clothing merchants.
  2. Don’t Just Make a Directory – Put great content about your subject on the site: blog posts, articles, tools, resource lists, charts, diagrams, investigative journalism, etc.
  3. Offer to Review Sites in Your Niche – But, for goodness sake, only include them if you’d really, honestly endorse them.
  4. Provide a Reason Why They’re Listed – Imagine a fellow hobbyist or researcher in your topic of interest in real life – if you couldn’t sit down with that person at a table and show them on your laptop why you included a particular site, DON’T include it.
  5. Don’t Offer Gimmicks or Link Juice – Offer listings on a site that real people who are really interested in your topic read and use and enjoy. If you start down the path of selling links for search engine value, you’ve lost your way. It can always be a secret side benefit, and plenty of folks who’ll come to you for links will be thinking about it, but if you want to be truly immune to any future penalties or devaluations, you can’t make it a focus.

Source: What Makes a Good Web Directory, and Why Google Penalized Dozens of Bad Ones – Moz

A 5-Step Plan to Become Seriously Influential Online

This post about building authority online is good for beginning bloggers but also those who have burnt out and want to try again. Do try again. Don’t expect instant success.

Step 1: Narrow your focus.

Step 2: Stop reading just blog posts.

Step 3: Write authoritative articles.

  • Answer specific questions.
  • Quote other authorities in your industry.
  • Don’t be afraid to take a contrarian view.
  • Use stats and detailed case studies to add substance.
  • Repeat your ideas.

Step 4: Build an Audience.

Step 5: Build a Fan Club.

Real authorities solve their audience’s problems. Consistently. Repeatedly.

That’s why people listen to them. And spread their ideas.

via –No Authority Yet? Here’s a 5-Step Plan to Become Seriously Influential Online – Enchanting Marketing.

If you start with the first three steps you’re on the right track. Work on building an audience and fans once you have a body of work to present to them. It’s not true that once you build it they will come. You do have to reach out there and let people know you are there. Too much information overload with repetitive and sub-standard content has created a lot of stuff no one wants to read. So, you do need to shine your own light to help people find you and show them you actually have something worth the visit to your site.

Narrowing your focus or deciding on a niche is not as easy as it seems. I have so much I want to find out more about and then so much to share once I do get information and resources. I end up being all over the place when it comes to my niche and focus. There is also the problem of spreading yourself too thin and burning out. So, getting and keeping a focus early on is good for your site, your authority and yourself. It gives you authority and keeps it all sustainable.

Reading just blog posts for our information and sources for interviews does limit us. Don’t forget there is a lot you can do offline, contact local people directly, read books from before the Internet and find information which hasn’t made it out of print books yet. Build a history of information with various sources – that is the area to grow and evolve and find contacts in which will also give you knowledge to share.

Writing articles we tend to fall into standard post formats and get comfortable there. Evolve with post style to have variety in your niche. Read about other post formats and when you read other blogs look at what they do and think about your own reactions to it. What kind of posts work best for you as a reader in your niche? Use this research about post style when you write your own blog.

Get in the Road Trip Mood

Find a vintage motel or hotel postcard on eBay. Pick something from your local area so you will know the streets, more or less. Use Google Street View (find the location on the back view of the postcard) see if you can find the motel now. Is it still there at all? If so, is the name the same? Spot the differences between then and now.


Source: Caribou Motel Barrie Orilla Ontario ON Canada Vintage Chrome Postcard | eBay

Take it on the road and visit the site. Get a photograph and (if you have a site) post the then and now images. Find some history, if you can. Or design a history for the motel yourself. Who owned and operated it over the years? Did they love it, grow too tired to keep it going, run out of money? What changes happened around them in the local area?

I found the Caribou Motel in the present, it’s gone. Replaced by a new gas bar. Nothing left of the old motel and diner except the space around the new building. You can see some curb out by the road and the parking lot is bigger than the current commercial business would need. Small hints at what once was.

caribounow

You can see what became of the Caribou in urban exploration photos from CopySix and other explorers who posted to Flickr and Ontario Abandoned Places. Note: the CopySix post has a comment from the original owner’s family.

#Apartment Life

#ApartmentLifeFound on Twitter: #ApartmentLife

Most of us have lived in an apartment at some time in our lives. I have, a few times and places. It is a good experience in spite of small things like limited space, smells from other people living in the same building, old buildings which could use more TLC and so on. My only real problem with apartment living was knowing it was all temporary, eventually I would be moving again. I came to need the feeling of having roots in one place and knowing I had some say in what happened with the place I hung my hat.

Have some fun on Twitter (or just make a few up without posting them) and come up with thoughts on your own difficulties with #ApartmentLife.

Bring Back The Equalizer

The EqualizerOne 80’s TV show they should make over is, The Equalizer. Does anyone else remember that one? Edward Woodward starred in it. He was an older man, retired from the CIA or something. Kind of a crusty, grumpy old guy at times but he would take up a cause from the little guy and fight for it. But, he stayed on the straight and narrow, if someone lied or became dodgy he didn’t just meekly accept it.

At least that’s how I remember it. The actor, Edward Woodward, died in 2009. (I looked it up). So they can’t bring him back as his Father or Grandfather or anything else like that. It would have to be a new character without links to the old Equalizer, which would work just fine really.

I remember my Dad watching the show. I didn’t usually like all his cop shows, but The Equalizer was different. That show had a personality of it’s own.

I’ve been watching the remake of Beauty and the Beast, based on the 80’s show which starred Linda Hamilton. I’m really disappointed in it. The new show lacks all the romance and poetry and the world building fantasy of the old show. The very things that worked so well have all been stripped away. Instead they have tried to go for a newer angle, newer urban legends. Instead of people living in home made communities under the city they have governments creating super soldiers.

What old 80’s show would you like to see remade and what kind of spin would you put on it to make it new, for this century?

Snip.it Dumps it’s Content Curators in One Swoop

snipit

Snip.it may be excited. I feel used and tossed aside. Yes, it was a free service so I should appreciate what I had. But, that’s just it. I did appreciate it. I went out of my way to promote Snip.it and I did give suggestions for making it better. I was really happy and feeling good about the community there and the content we were building. I invited friends to join. I was banned from a forum on another site because I tried to encourage more people to join Snip.it.

I noticed things were quiet on Snip.it for the past couple of months. It was unusual, but I didn’t really think about it. Then, out of  the wild blue today this notice came up when I tried to add a fresh link to my account. I had already added several links just hours ago. So, this really did happen without warning. In spite of the words they say I feel betrayed and shocked even. I’m kind of angry.

My traffic was building, I had over 5,000 subscribers to my topics and I was able to see what was bringing traffic and what wasn’t. Now I have no way to keep in touch with my subscribers or ask them to follow me to a new site, nothing.

In the end, Snip.it is dumping us all for some mystery Yahoo! thing. What does that leave us with? A job curating content at a new Yahoo site? No. It leave us with absolutely nothing. But, we can take our links (which aren’t going to mean much stuck in bookmarks) and quietly get lost.

I made the Snip.it Hall of Fame. I didn’t look until I read the post Snip.it Snaps on Kitsch Slapped. Somehow it doesn’t seem to mean all that much. It would have meant a lot more when there was a Snip.it and I felt a valued part of the site and important to it’s growth. Now I wonder what Yahoo actually bought. (Our content collections and mainly, our subscribers? What was Snip.it if not a place for snipping content and sharing it with subscribers and those who wandered in from links we posted to social media?) I heard Yahoo paid $10 million for Snip.it. They say thanks for being a part of Snip.it, but I get no part of that. I’m left with far less than what I put into the site and I feel burned, really burned. The Hall of Fame thing is like getting a gold watch out of a bubble gum machine.

halloffame

Do Not Fear the Linux

I wrote this originally in March, 2012. It didn’t get finished but I’m posting it anyway now. It’s become a bit dated when it comes to what I’m working on and what I’m working with.

Why do people stick with MS Windows? I understand the fear of change, the lack of ambition to move from the status quo when things aren’t “all that bad”. But, Linux is free, it doesn’t get attacked with malware, worms and etc. I run Ubuntu Linux which is updated more often than Windows. Ubuntu puts out two new major upgrades (new versions) each year. They have a schedule for them. Plus, it’s free, did I mention that? You can reinstall Linux, you can try other versions of Linux from other companies and decide which suits you as a user of the OS.

The only downside I have found after 2 years of running Linux is not being able to use some of my old Windows based software. But, that’s my own laziness. I could use a Linux add-on called Wine. I’ve read a bit about it. You can somehow use all or most of your Windows software, run on Linux with Wine as the intermediary. Free too, of course.

I haven’t touched Wine though. I only miss the games once in awhile. If I really craved them I’d do something about it. Meanwhile, all the software I like for building websites, creating graphics, etc is available from different sources. Free too, as open source most often. I do find Ubuntu Linux is picky about letting me download software from the web. If I work within Ubuntu’s Software Centre we all get what we want. But, downloading from the web doesn’t always work. Ubuntu will, now and then, deny me the files I want to load up. So sometimes I’m running an older version for awhile, until Ubuntu’s Software Centre catches up and sends me the update in the auto updates from the Update Manager. It does keep track of the software I’m running, without me having to do anything.

I really don’t miss MS Windows at all. Ubuntu Linux looks like Windows. My web browsers run the same as ever, look the same as ever. However, MS IExplorer won’t run. But that shouldn’t be a surprise, right? I just thought it was funny at the time. I had seen a post about the new features for MS IExploer and thought I would take a look. I forgot I was running Linux; forgot or just didn’t think about it being the ‘enemy’ OS.

I thought I would make a list of some of the software I’m using these days. Mostly for myself. Likely I won’t think of a bunch of them until later.

KompoZer – Instead of MS FrontPage (I had an old version of FrontPage which I still like and will keep the CD even though I can’t use it).

KSnapshot

Shotwell Photo Manager

Filezilla – Which is the same program I was using for FTP before I changed to Linux. So no real adjustment there. It runs and looks just the same for either OS.

LibreOffice – I’ve only used it once. I’m just not that into huge Office software. I end up using a plain text Notepad file when I write. Most places I post my writing have an automatic spellecheck to give me that feature. The other Office features I just don’t use, never really have.

HubPages Apprenticeship Program (My Application v.2)

This is a copy of my second application. The first one was messed up. I wish I had kept a copy – it would have been simpler to repost than start over. But, I also like to read over what I sent and judge what worked and what might not have (especially if I don’t get accepted).

It turns out the error is something at HubPages and they can’t find me there when it comes to joining the program. But, I get paid and my articles appear, so I am just going to leave it at that.

HubPages Apprenticeship Program Application

* Required

 

Final Details

We’re looking for committed, consistent, passionate writers, so please share with us any samples of writing you have already published online, as well as your interests.

I’m a dedicated blogger. Since starting online in 1996 I have run several of my own sites and written for others. There is nothing as great for inspiration and building enthusiasm as being part of a group project or blogging network. This is the main reason I am applying for the Apprenticeship. I could use some fresh input, the group feedback and better ideas for some of the blogging skills I haven’t fully explored while working on my own.

They asked for any others you cared to add, up to 3 all together.

Word Grrls
Green Living History
Squidoo

Creative writing, ASCII Art, urban exploration, rural ruins, abandoned houses, crochet, holiday crafts and traditions, dragons, text art, coffee, web publishing, writing online, Ubuntu Linux, Movable Type, being Pagan, visual arts, art journals, creating web graphics, local history, local paranormal stories, odd art, being a plus sized woman, digital photography, creative photography…

Corporate Communications – a 2 year program at Centennial College in Ontario. – The course was geared to writing in-house publications and included public relations. The focus was on writing in the news reporting genre.

I’ve been writing online for writing networks, other sites and creating, maintaining and promoting (producing) my own sites and blogs since 1998. I work on my own mainly. But, I enjoy working with a group too. In the past I was a member of BackWash.com, HerPlanet.com, BellaOnline, Suite101, LockerGnome and Wz.com – some of these are no longer available.

 

Zombie Scenarios from the Zombie Safety Guide

From the Zombie Safety Guide

Zombie Scenario # 7 You find yourself holed up in an abandoned building in the middle of the night. You were forced to take shelter because there are Zombies crawling all around the street. You hear a peculiar banging coming from deeper within the abandoned building. You’re armed with a handgun, and only 12 rounds of ammunition left, What do you do? Do you investigate the sound, and chance being infected or attracting more by using your gun? Or do you ignore it and sleep the night away.

What would you do?

I’d create sound in some other area (away from myself) so that anything creating sound would be drawn there, away from me.  Then I’d hide in a closet until daylight.