How to use the YouTube Editor

What’s the YouTube Editor about? Inside YouTube is a special editor that’s got a few more bells and whistles than the Video Manager. It offers free features like the ability to add text overlays, cut videos, add music and harvest creative commons material. In this video I show you how to harvest other people’s videos to take as your own.

Below the video we talk about why you would use this tool.

Which Social Media site do I concentrate on?

This is a chapter from our Marketing Calendar Blueprint product (which I’ll also be talking about at the SMAC event you see above in the blog header). The Marketing Calendar Blueprint teaches you how to strategically plan your year so you always be providing to your audience what they are looking for.

The idea is simple . . . and so is the execution. One of the chapters is about deciding which social media site to work on. . . there are so many, aren’t there? Here’s a sneak peek:

SEO of WordPress Categories and Tags

We recently did our weekly call on the SEO of WordPress Categories and Tags. This is a recap of that call, but not the transcript. If you’d like to listen to that and all our other calls, you just have to register to get in at http://FreeWeeklyMastermind.com

Anyway, we covered three basic tenets of WordPress Categories and Tags. We spoke about the duplicate content issue, Google indexing issues, the compelling need to use every feature and the SEO benefits of categories.

So what are WordPress Categories and Tags? Well WordPress is content management software. The categories and tags are two of the bells and whistles that were designed into the software to make it easy to organize your content. But like a TV remote control, you don’t have to use all the buttons.

Community Building Mistakes: Don’t make them ever.

I got asked today if I’d made any mistakes in building my  FreeWeeklyMastermind community. The answer to that is yes.  Darren and I have definitely made mistakes.  I wouldn’t even say their obscure mistakes – but probably common marketing mistakes many people make.

The first mistake we made was altering the schedule. I made the mistake of switching nights for the weekly webinars.

Some of our audience was also pretty active in another community that met Wednesday nights. It never bothered me that some of ourcalls would be lightly attended because they attended the other call that night. It didn’t bother me because not everyone needs what we’re talking about right now. Maybe the other subject was more appropriate for them. Besides ours are recorded.

In all fairness, how can you expect to maintain a community if you are commanding them to be present? Their presence and attendance should be because they really, really wanted to be there, right?

Anyway,  I got asked by the other community’s leader if I’d switch to another night (because it bothered him that sometimes the audience was on my calls that night). I decided to be neighborly and do that.
Well that was a mistake.
Sticking to one schedule that fit into the lives of my community members was the best. Their having a choice was good for them as well.
But more importantly I couldn’t make any other night a regular occurrence.  Without my 100% dedication and sticking the schedule, how can I expect the same from others?
So I’ve moved back to the original night and am rebuilding that momentum.
That was clearly a mistake. I need to focus on the needs of my community, my ability to dedicate time to it and not worry about others. I thought I was. . . but I wasn’t.
Lesson learned.  Can you think of any other community building mistakes? I know I can. Feel free to share here or at http://FreeWeeklyMastermind.com

5 Steps to Making Repeatable Progress Online: Repeatable is the key

Whether you’re just starting out or have been trying for some time, if you’re not making money then you’re frustrated. Now there’s no shame in making money online. You don’t have to be a spammer or a shark. All you have to do is provide what people want, when they want it with a design they like and trust. That’s it.

So if you’re frustrated I want you to do these 5 things to make concrete repeatable progress online:

1. Google Analytics. Get Google Analytics and Google Webmaster Tools on your site. Don’t worry about setting up the Analytics goals and funnels yet. Just make sure that you’ve got visitor and keyword tracking on your site. If you use WordPress get the Google Analytics and Webmaster Tools plugin and add them both to your site.  That’s not too difficult, is it?

Should You Start Another Site?

How many times have you gotten an idea and thought you should take what knowledge you’ve gained and start another site? If you’re like me and you continually renew domain names just because you have a good idea for them, you know what I’m talking about. So many ideas, so little time.

The question is should you start a second site?  I believe the answer can be derived quite easily.  So let’s talk about the pro’s and con’s as it pertains to branching out and starting anew.

Another Fork in the Road

Work Load

It’s not easy building a website that makes money and is profitable. It’s not hard to drive traffic to one coupon, one affiliate deal, one promotion or even a monetized lead capture page.  In fact there have been cases where people made money on their very first tweet.  But that’s not a business.

A profitable website is one where you’re making more money than if you were to have spent your time working elsewhere. If you would make more money as a clerk at Walgreens,  I would submit that  you’re losing money working online.

But that’s not necessarily bad.

The question is how long must you be “building” your business before you reach the profitable point? And what amount of content, links, pins, videos and tweets will get you there the quickest?

Let’s use some math as an example (oh no! not Math!!!):

For the purpose of this example, let’s say it takes 500 hours of work to make a profitable website from scratch. If you have 20 hours/week to work on your site it would take approximately 25 weeks of work to get there. Make sense?

What happens to that time if you add a second site? Even if it is in the same general niche, you become less efficient. If you divide your time up evenly, it now takes at least 50 hours of work to get there. But being less efficient, I would say that it will take a bit longer.

Can you afford to not be profitable for that period of time? Do you have the stamina to continually be encouraged throughout the duration? And will you get burnt out without seeing the joys of good income sooner?

Family Sacrifices

Do you consider your family’s sacrifice when you’re spending time on your business? Every moment you toil away is a moment away from helping your kids with flash cards, spending time with your spouse, or making your home a more wonderful place. And every moment they spend without you, they are agreeing to the sacrifice and are equally dependent on its rewards.

Think of them when you’re considering starting a second site. Will you and your family’s sacrifice be better spent on a new idea or diligently working to make your current site profitable?

Expert Status

Much of what you bring to the table is bound up in your expert status. Some would call it your brand, others your reputation. But it all boils down to whether people perceive you as the expert or not.

Once your expert status is known around the world, doors open up. Rarely do large organizations hire non-experts to speak. Rarely does CNN interview generalists on a topic. And rarely do the big brands ask weekend hobbyists to be their spokespersons.

Are you that expert now? If not, can you afford to divert your attention to something else while you become that?

If your new idea doesn’t directly tie to your current site, enhance your brand or reputation in your field, should you really take on the burden? Think of Bob Villa, the home repair expert. If Bob Villa were to start something new, should he take on the role of Dancing with the Stars host? Or do you think his empire would benefit by becoming the host of Extreme Home Makeover?

Empire Building

That leads me to the overall empire. If you currently run a wedding site and are thinking about starting a Bahamas Travel site, will you be building an empire?  Will you be able to cross sell the two sites? If you develop a good relationship in the wedding niche, will you be able to email that to your Bahamas list?

This idea you have should both support and be supported by your current site. In building your list, your relationships and your cheerleaders do you really want to start from scratch on idea #2?

Remember Grey’s Anatomy and the TV spinoff Private Practice? Can you sense the synergy that came from moving one audience to the next?  Do you think they would have received funding if they had proposed a car racing spinoff show? Probably not – the built in synergistic empire is not there.

Some people suggest that once your site has become profitable that you first clone yourself in that niche before branching out. That idea makes a lot of sense but for me doesn’t sound like a lot of fun. However there is definitely rewards to be reaped when you rank #1 and #2  for your keywords with two different sites.  You truly do have an empire then.

If you’re at the  point where you really just want to start something new, write a book. There’s a ton of credibility provided by a book. Your audience will love you. You’ll have a new product from which to derive income and you’ll have reached a new rung on your Empire ladder.

Podcasters will tell you differently as I learned at BlogWorldExpo. If you’re interested in their opinion, read this post.

Dan R Morris

(Photo Credit: Ali Shevlin)

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Strategically use testimonials

No one ever asks how to use testimonials. Instead most do it the way everyone else does it. They create a testimonials page and they hope you go read them. But is that the best way?

Let’s establish some criteria to measure our use of testimonials. Has the use of testimonials in your marketing enabled you to

  • Increase your income?
  • Reduce your working hours?
  • Increase your conversion rate?

If you have some other measure of criteria, please share below.

So what are testimonials?

Well they’re not just the emails you get that say how great you are. Yes, those are testimonials but you have more powerful ones at your fingertips.

A testimonial is any third party tool that lends proof to your claim. That means a retweet is a testimonial if you’re claiming influence among your audience members. Retweets, repins, and shares show that what you’re saying is resonating with your audience.

Your Amazon Sales spreadsheet showing you made 51 book sales from a book you blogged about last week is a testimonial. Not only does it show your influence, but your ability to get people to open their wallets.

Pictures of smiling people at your coupon workshop is a testimonial without any words. Not only does it show that your content is pleasing, but it also shows that real people do attend your workshops. It shows someone new that they are not alone in their interest. Very powerful indeed.

Not every testimonial supports every claim. Kind words from someone who attended your workshop do not support a claim that you’re influential in your community. It does directly support the claim that the workshops are valuable and informative, but that’s likely it.

Showing that you have 400 unique visitors per day does not support the claim that people love your website. You may be able to use a “returning visitor stat’ to do that, or blog comments, or mentions in the social universe. Just make sure that the testimonial itself adds value to the goal you’re trying to achieve.

How do you use testimonials?

Your business is no different than George Lucas’s, Sam Walton’s or John Grisham’s. They are basically the same but in different forms. You provide products and/or services to an audience who, in return, pays for them. Sure Adsense income and coupon prints are a bit different, but those aren’t the only sources for sure.

Ever pick up a John Grisham novel in the airport bookstore? What’s the first thing you do when you pick up a book you’re considering purchasing? Look at the back cover for the synopsis, right? And what do you find along with the synopsis? Yep, testimonials from people they hope you respect.

How about a movie trailer? They never ask you to visit StarWars.com/testimonials to find out what the critics say, do they? Nope. They feature the good reviews right in the ad, after one explosion and before another.

In both of those cases the testimonials are used directly in the buying process. No extra page, no extra website. The buyer doesn’t have to do anything extra to benefit from the fine words of others. Not only that but the testimonials directly support the goal of buying the book or the movie ticket.

Another influential part of testimonials is the author of such. Movies look for reputable movie critics. Books look for newspaper reviewers. Businesses look for stereotypical customers. Facebook uses your friends faces along with ads to show that your current community already likes that company. Infomercials look for celebrities. The best testimonial is the one that resonates with your audience from both a content and origin standpoint.

Where do you put testimonials?

Without knowing it your readers are probably benefiting from the testimonials in your blog comments. When people comment on a blog post sharing their own experience, validating the ideas in the post, responding with their own results. . . those are testimonials working for you. And they are right in line with the buying process. Blog comments are social proof that the topic is being enjoyed by others. They also make it easy for others to comment, follow and heed your advice.

What about your media kit? Are the testimonials separated from the Media Kit or are you using quotes directly in the explanatory paragraphs? In the “Online Reach” section, are you including links to your most commented blog posts? Repins? Retweets? Are you using natural social proof, or have you decided that telling them you have 3,200 followers is better?

One of the great things about the online world is the ability to take screen shots. Actual complimentary tweets, emails and Facebook updates show the reality of the comment and instantly dispels any disbelief the reader may have. Lots of people make up testimonials. Screen shots used throughout your content dispel the belief that you do too.

No one wants to be first. Whether we ask for it or not, we want proof that someone else has done it, survived it and is better for it. We don’t want to be sold, we want to be educated. Instead of telling someone how great you are, just pop in a testimonial and you never have to broach the subject.

Dan R Morris is the author of LettersFromDan, a marketing strategy program dedicated to improving your revenue stream from online efforts. Dan is an infomercial producer, niche website owner, product developer, author and Mastermind leader. Dan actively encourages marketers to take that extra step so that “Hope” doesn’t become the marketing plan.

How to prove your ideas will work

Got an idea you want to try, but you’re just not sure? How about an e-book you want to write? (or read why you shouldn’t write an ebook) How about trying to figure out what product or video to make or sell? Or even something simple like which photo to use on a post.

1. How to pick a photo for your blog post

So you make the green bean casserole, get the camera out, put the red linen underneath it, wait for the perfect sunlight. and shoot 26 pictures in 3 minutes. (It would have taken you 13 seconds, but that one crunchy onion didn’t look right). So which one do you use now? The landscape one? The portrait one? The one with the glistening green bean?

With Pinterest, you don’t really have to choose. Well it’s best that you slap one of the images on there temporarily while you figure it out. Take the rest of the images and load them up to Pinterest. Edit the link to go to your one post and see which one gets the most repins. Then replace the image in your post with the winner.

2. How to prove your video idea before filming it

There’s more video being uploaded to YouTube every hour than there is video in the Smithsonian. Which means if you have a good idea for a video, someone else probably already made one. Scour YouTube for something similar and look at the “likes”. Then right below the “likes” there’s a stat button. See if it caught on right away or if it took a while. Somewhere in the middle is validation that you have a good idea.

3. Presell a book, video, product. . . doesn’t matter

Before you even write the book, create the printable, schedule the webinar or build the class, pre-sell it! Ever see the option to buy a “Lord of the Rings DVD” before it even comes out? Yeah, that works. Not only can you gauge interest but you get paid to create the product.

4. Sell someone else’s

Got an idea for a product? Find someone else’s product and start selling that. Whether it’s an affiliate through clickbank or through Amazon, it doesn’t matter. If you can find evidence that your audience is buying someone else’s product from you, then wait no longer. Make it and replace the product in the exact sales funnel you had created for the first one.

5. Create your FAQ Page

Want to make sure you’re putting the right questions on your FAQ page? Well first of all scour all your emails for the topic and find out what people have been asking you to date. Then go to WikiAnswers.com and YahooAnswers.com and see what questions the general public is asking the general public. Scours those for themes and you’ll have the best FAQ page on the block.

6. People who bought this also bought. . .

Amazon has a pretty stout recommendation engine. Based on all the things people buy, Amazon is able to tell you what you might want to buy since you’re buying that. For example if your buying a Raw Foods Diet book, Amazon will suggest you might also like a Zyliss vegetable slicer. So look at all the things you promote and see what Amazon says people will also buy. Steal that knowledge and start recommending the related products as well.

If they’re going to give us the information, we might as well use it.

Dan R Morris is the founder of LettersFromDan.com, a website dedicated to improving your revenue stream from online efforts. Dan is an infomercial producer, niche website owner, product developer, author and Mastermind leader. Dan actively encourages marketers to take that extra step so that “Hope” doesn’t become the marketing plan.

The Case for a Housekeeper

One common mistake small business owners make is failing to outsource what isn’t aligned with the goals of the family and the business. While that often means accounting, legal and things like fulfillment, it can also mean domestic duties.

What I found most interesting at conferences I’ve attended lately is that talk of hiring a housekeeper is akin to killing one’s identity. Somehow our ability to maintain our own homes ourselves is part of our pride, it’s part of what makes us who we are.

But I argue that’s the wrong way to think about it:

Now you’ve heard my case for a housekeeper. What’s yours?

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