Making The Big Time on Lee Odden’s Search Marketing Blog Big List

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Entertainment award season is here, and as any aspiring actor would say, “It’s an honor just to be nominated.”

I can totally relate.

Lee Odden's TBest Search Marketing  Blogs

On Friday Lee Odden published the BIG LIST Search Marketing Blogs Update, and yours truly made the cut. This is a big compliment for me, since I am pretty prolific when it comes to admitting that blogging is _work_. But to share company with my SEO and marketing colleagues on this list is an honor for me.

So I would like to thank Lee, all of my followers, and the Academy for such generosity (and good taste).

You like me! You really like me!

Beyond Inspiration: 5 Ideas for a Successful Blog

I started blogging haphazardly last year in Blogger simply because I thought it was something I needed to experience hands-on. I wanted to capture my thoughts on merging content development and online marketing for a previous employer, and realized blogging was one way to do it. This was something completely new and intimidating for me (while I have no trouble speaking in front of a large audience blogging seems overwhelming – I think it’s the permanence and competition out there). I haven’t blogged as much as I hoped, but did manage to put my domain to use and gather some rudimentary WordPress skills (with help). Not a bad start.

Since then I have come across many inspiring bloggers that I try to regularly follow. After some news about SEO Smarty becoming an SEO Mom hit Twitter, I came across her blog post on advice that helped her when starting out.

1. Turn your weak points into the strong ones. Ann Smarty blogs in a foreign language, so as a result, she writes short posts, provides lists and specific action items. This has become her selling point, and as a result has been published in many newsletters. I struggle with finding a) time and b) the challenge of providing something useful in the realm of experts. Because of this I am diligent to learn, and have overcome the anxiety of asking questions in fear of losing face. Through networking and organizing myself, I can provide insight and resources that can give back. Which transitions well to the next thought …

2. Organize yourself, your work process and your resources. I use delicious to organize posts, tools and resources to refer to on a regular basis. I certainly could improve my blogging process, become more diligent, post to Sphinn and YouMoz, outline steps to syndicate my own content (in other words, take my own advice). But for me, this is a work in progress. I have a creative background, and if the process gets to rigid, it’s likely I’d lose interest. Ann has her own method of organization. Find what works for you, and stick with it. It could be a combination of methods, but it needs to fit your work-style.

3. Openly share all your knowledge. As SEO Smarty states, “It is dumb to think that once you share some piece of knowledge, someone can turn it against you or become your competitor.” There’s a good chance it won’t happen. The blogging, SEO and internet marketing communities are a generous bunch. They will share what they know, provide help when they can, and hold you accountable. I have learned more from networking and hands-on experience in the past 6 months than I could have sitting at a trade show conference. It is only fair to give back, and provide feedback when you can. I’m actually a believer in this method, and it has been successful for me.

I’ve also added a few more ideas to added to SEO Smarty’s list:

4. Be transparent. Nobody wants to read about how awesome you are, or how you never say or do the wrong thing. Share what you can, be honest, and ask for help when you need it. I’ve mentioned this before, and have admitted openly that my CSS skills are lacking. In fact, if it weren’t for Dan Freeman, another Mainer who I only know through Twitter, this blog would still look like a mess of code.

5. Participate and comment in other blog discussions. I try to find one blog post or article to comment on each day. Just one. Obviously this builds links back to your blog, but it also forces me to think constructively on a topic or theme that I may not know much about. It also provides another way to give back when I can contribute a tool or resource to add to the conversation.

I would like to hear more how people are inspired and motivated to blog. What drives you to start writing?

The Technical Struggle of Converting to WordPress

I was reading SEOBook’s post on how to migrate blogs from Blogger to WordPress , excited to see a step-by-step process for something I really need to get on since WordPress provides a lot more flexibility and customization. But once I saw the first step, I started to panic:

Step 1: Download and install WordPress (also requires setting up a MySQL database).

Umm, I don’t have a clue on how to set up a MySQL database. Or hack CSS by hand, or create conditional php statements, or rewrite .htaccess files. So how am I supposed to take advantage of the SEO benefits WordPress provides when I’m technically lost?

I consider myself technically-savvy, many colleagues and friends can attest to that. But after I read that blog post I started thinking of the value of marketing vs. technology. Where does search marketing really fall? If I had the best, most up-to-date technology, will search follow? It’ll help I’m sure, but unless I create value, fill a need, and engage with community, does it really matter?

So I’m still considering WordPress because it really is better. But what I may just do is just provide a static link back to Blogger. That sounds nasty, it won’t be well-optimized, but I just don’t have time to learn php. I could always just stick with Blogger and forget about WordPress altogether. Unless someone out there feels generous and wants to help – I’ll be happy to reciprocate.

How to Be Creative and the Social Objects That Get People Talking

Many folks know I come from a creative background, I studied painting in college, and first got into marketing via graphic design (back when it was called “desktop publishing”). So when I came across this blog post by Hugh MacLeod on how to be creative, of course I stopped and pondered a bit. First, I thought there was a bit of irony that there’s an organized list on how to be creative. But I liked the list, so I’m posting it here. But take a look at the last item when you get to the end of the list:

So you want to be more creative, in art, in business, whatever. Here are some tips that have worked for me over the years:

1. Ignore everybody.

2. The idea doesn’t have to be big. It just has to be yours.

3. Put the hours in.

4. If your biz plan depends on you suddenly being “discovered” by some big shot, your plan will probably fail.

5. You are responsible for your own experience.

6. Everyone is born creative; everyone is given a box of crayons in kindergarten.

7. Keep your day job.

8. Companies that squelch creativity can no longer compete with companies that champion creativity.

9. Everybody has their own private Mount Everest they were put on this earth to climb.

10. The more talented somebody is, the less they need the props.

11. Don’t try to stand out from the crowd; avoid crowds altogether.

12. If you accept the pain, it cannot hurt you.

13. Never compare your inside with somebody else’s outside.

14. Dying young is overrated.

15. The most important thing a creative person can learn professionally is where to draw the red line that separates what you are willing to do, and what you are not.

16. The world is changing.

17. Merit can be bought. Passion can’t.

18. Avoid the Watercooler Gang.

19. Sing in your own voice.

20. The choice of media is irrelevant.

21. Selling out is harder than it looks.

22. Nobody cares. Do it for yourself.

23. Worrying about “Commercial vs. Artistic” is a complete waste of time.

24. Don’t worry about finding inspiration. It comes eventually.

25. You have to find your own schtick.

26. Write from the heart.

27. The best way to get approval is not to need it.

28. Power is never given. Power is taken.

29. Whatever choice you make, The Devil gets his due eventually.

30. The hardest part of being creative is getting used to it.

31. Remain frugal.

32. Allow your work to age with you.

33. Being Poor Sucks.

34. Beware of turning hobbies into jobs.

35. Savor obscurity while it lasts.

36. Start blogging.

Uh, start blogging?

Well, his point is that blogs help make things happen indirectly. In a world driven by statistics and ROI, blogging can be a creative marketing tool, you just need the time. And eventually, if done well, your blog, or product, will become the “Social Object” – the reason people talk to each other in the first place. And then – voila – the “Social Object” becomes a “node” of your social network.

I think what I like the most is his approach: blog for yourself. I’ve found blogging a daunting task, although I really want to keep up with it. Why? It’s because I think people care, and so it has to be perfectly informative and useful. I don’t want to embarrass myself. But if I remember these tips on How to Be Creative, it really shouldn’t matter, right?

Anyway, it’s heady stuff, and I find it fascinating, and intend to keep plowing through.