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How Dealers United Is Using WordPress to Run A Multi-Million Dollar Online Business

In this episode we interview Pete Petersen, the CEO of Dealers United, and dive deep into the details of how they use WordPress to manage their multi-million dollar web based business.

Follow These 5 Steps to Design the Perfect Sales Process

The 5 steps to a perfect sale, and how to bake them into your next digital product. #SalesLife

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The Future of Sales: Understanding Information as a Currency [video]

Watch a passionate presentation that outlines the 5 steps to every sale and explains how social sales will evolve over the next decade.

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7 Simple Steps To Help Grow Your Blog Traffic

This post is part of my 30 day creative writing challenge. Click here to learn more about the challenge or here to explore the other posts in this series.

So, you’ve been writing for a while now, maybe even started your own blog, but no one is reading what you write…

This article is going to help you fix that!

Highlight any text in this article to share it directly.

You’ve tweeted your post, Facebooked it, hash-tagged it, and even spammed your friends and family with emails linking to your work. You know the world would love what you have written, if only you could get them to read it. But how the heck do you get people to notice your work online?

First, it helps to put yourself in the readers shoes. Think about how you browse the net. Think about how you skim articles, scroll through social feeds, and engage with the content you enjoy.

Once you do that, you can see how easy it is to have people skip right over your work. People are impatient online so it’s up to you to snatch their attention whenever you get a chance.

Don’t take it personal if your writing doesn’t go gangbusters as soon as you hit publish. Writing and articulating your thoughts is an important part of the process, but it’s just the beginning. If you want to get people to consistently read what you write then you have to promote your work and give it the best chance to get noticed online.

There are specific ways to do this right, and blasting your Facebook feed with the same link 10 times a day is not the way to do it. If you’re serious about getting people to read what you write, then here are a few tips to help you attract those eyeballs on a consistent basis.

1. Writing compelling titles

You should spend as much time on the title as you do on the article itself as this sets the expectation for the reader. Everyone online judges book by their cover. 80% of people decide whether to click on a link based on the title alone.

Most of my articles actually start out as an idea for a compelling title. I have a blog concepts folder in my Evernote that is full of ideas and titles for articles that I would like to write. Usually it’s just a concept for the article, some ideas on the title, and a sentence or two about what I would like to delver with that particular post. Then whenever I want to write something, I can just go into that folder and go from there.

Want to read more about how to write compelling titles? Click here

2. Formatting. Formatting. Formatting.

Seriously, if your post is just one long paragraph, I’m gonna click the back button before I read the first sentence.

Short paragraphs work best online and using headings to split up the post is always a good idea. You can also use things like block quotes, call outs and images to break up your content and make it easier to read.

Want to read more about formatting the perfect post? Click here

3. Always deliver value

If you want people to read your words, then you have to give them a reason to do so. To do that, each article should have a specific take away. This also gives the reader a reason to click on your link the next time they see it in their news feed.

Writing personal posts can be empowering, but most people don’t want to read your frivolous rants about life.

However, people love a good story. So if your writing skills are strong enough, then you can definitely deliver a compelling personal story that people will love to read.

Just make sure you write it in a way that allows the reader to place themselves inside of your story. Let the reader connect with you emotionally and you will quickly find yourself in front of a growing audience.

Want to read more about delivering value and blowing your readers minds? Click here

4. Connecting with influencers

Influencers are people who have large online audiences. People who can share a link to your work and help you gain exposure.

All traffic on the internet comes from links. Whether it is a link on a Google search result page, another blog, or social media, the only way to get people to your site is by having other people to link to it.

You can do this by connecting with influencers in your industry and sharing your post with them directly.

How do you do that? Find out where they are and start engaging with them. They are more likely to notice you if you notice them first. Quid pro quo is a perfectly acceptable strategy when it comes to sharing content online and growing your audience.

Want to read more about how to get influencers to share your work? Click here

5. Asking for the share

I always ask for a share at the end of my posts. It usually goes something like this

“If you enjoyed this post, I would appreciate you sharing it with a friend. It’s the biggest compliment you could ever give me! Thanks.”

Adding something like this to the end of your posts is not spammy and is a great way to build your social shares.

Think about it, they just read your entire article. And presumably, we only read things we like, so asking someone to share something that they just read and liked is a pretty logical progression.

Not everyone will share your work, but every extra share means extra eye balls on your post and that is the overall goal.

Want to read more about how to ask people to share your posts? Click here

6. Posting at the right times

Knowing when your audience is most likely to engage with your work takes time but it is something you should think about when publishing on your website or on social media.

For me, I have the most success when I post articles in the mornings, around 8:00 am to be precise. Additionally, Mail Chimp tells me that the best to send my emails is around 10:00 am. But that is all based on my particular audience.

The best times to post for your particular audience may vary, and probably will for most of you. If you want to give your content the best chance at being read, then knowing when to post it is pretty important.

Want to read more about proper post timing? Click here

7. Publishing Consistently

I don’t mean to tell you that you need to publish your posts at the same time each week, or even that you need to publish something new every day. What I mean when I say consistency, is that you have to constantly produce high quality content in order to build credibility with your audience.

Publishing on the same day each week and having a consistent schedule is not going to hurt, but regularly producing great content is more important than posting each article at a particular time.

But remember, frequency is nowhere near as important as quality. Regularly posting crap content is a sure fire way to train people to ignore your work.

Set a standard for the quality of your posts and do not publish anything until you think it meets those standards. It’s hard to gain credibility online but it’s really easy to lose it.

Want to read more about how to publish consistently and not get burned out? Click here

In Closing

These are just some basic guidelines to follow. There are a ton of other things you can do to get your work in front of a larger audience, but the tips in this article are a great place to start out as a beginner. You won’t be held back by a bunch of technical hurdles, and it’s the easiest way to quickly grow your online audience.

Got any tips for growing an online audience or getting people to read what you write? Leave them in the comments below!

And of course, if you enjoyed this article, please share it with a friend. It’s the best compliment you could ever give me!

Is Medium Trying to Steal Your Blog?

Is Medium Trying to Steal Your Blog?

Because it kind of feels like it to me.

 This post originally appeared on Medium

Medium-trying-to-steal-our-blogsContent, content, content…

It’s probably one of the most overused marketing buzzword of the last few years. And as far as I can tell, it will continue on that trajectory into the foreseeable future. Especially as businesses, marketers, writers and other individuals look for ways to stand out among the noise, and rush to claim their piece of online pie.

The online new media machine is devouring old media at an alarming pace. It seems that everyone is in a hurry to share their deepest, darkest thoughts online. Over the last 10 years it has become increasingly easy for individuals to build an online presence, but it has also become increasingly difficult for them to actually stand out from the crowd.

In this epic race for online space, businesses are building platforms with the intention of easily aggregating high-quality, user-generated content. Content that provides value for the reader and engagement (think advertising opportunities) for the site owner. Something Facebook seems to have perfected, even if their recent profits come at the cost of their credibility. However, no one has been able to replicate that process for long form content. That is, until Medium.

Businesses and online entrepreneurs have understood the value of blogging for a while now, but the average individual is discovering that it is also a great way for them to build their personal brand. As the freelance economy gains traction and remote workplaces grow in popularity, the importance of setting yourself apart online continues to increase. A robust website is no longer optional, and will soon be the ultimate 21st century living resume.

This is where Medium comes in, at least from a bloggers perspective.

Medium has built (in my opinion) one of the simplest, most user friendly, publishing platforms in existence. They have made it easy for anyone to get online and share their story. No need for any of the other trouble associated with building a website, just “here’s your digital notebook, hit publish whenever you have an idea worth sharing!”

However, what many do not realize is that the importance of building your presence online revolves around your ability to control not only the message, but the platform as well.

The purpose of having your own website is so that you can control how it looks and feels. You do it so that you can have control over how the user interacts with your story and hopefully to take them from one action to another.

Another reason for managing your online presence independently is that there is a growing need to own the search results for your name. You want to build your own individual presence because in a world where Google is the arbiter of information, you want them to know that your website is the bastion for everything you. Not your profile page on Medium.

Additionally, what if you want to monetize your presence? What if you decide to start selling a book or other product? What happens when your presence is on Medium and there is nowhere for you to insert a form, build a landing page or otherwise engage the audience you are working so hard to build?

You are after all trying to build YOUR presence aren’t you? I hate to imagine the thought of you working so diligently, only to end up helping some guys in silicon valley build their website instead of yours. And when you focus solely on a single social outlet as the hub of your online presence you are doing just that.

Now, I am not saying that publishing on Medium is a bad thing. Quite the contrary, I think it’s a great tool to use as you grow your presence, and considering I have had great success with Medium, it would be hypocritical of me to do so.

What I am trying to say, is that you should not (exclusively that is) build your brand around Medium or any other social publishing platform for that matter. You should build your presence around your own website and then use outlets like Medium as channels through which you drive traffic, grow engagement and build influence.

You need to build a content engine for yourself as opposed to feeding their future advertising machine. A machine they will eventually attempt to monetize and potentially leave you looking from the outside in at an audience you worked so hard to build.

They will use your content as the foundation from which fund their revenue model, drive advertising dollars or otherwise modify the platform in a way that will be beyond your control. (Facebook pages anyone?) What happens when it cost you money to publish or when they start letting people pay to get to the top of those subscriber emails?

I am not certain this is the direction they are taking the platform, but they have already made fundamental shifts in the way they share and allow you to curate content, and they continue to make changes that lead me to believe that they are moving towards a platform that might leave your wallet a little lighter if you wish to continue using it to share your message in the not too distant future.

Sure their subscription tool is great and their interface is clean but watch out, they might just be trying to back door their way into stealing your blog.

Wouldn’t it be a beautiful thing if I was wrong about all of this. Only time will reveal their true intentions, but I cant help but think that they are making their way towards a viable revenue model. Even if those movements are subtle.

I’m not certain about any of this, And I won’t tell you to stop using Medium, but I can tell you that if you are serious about building your blog, or any substantial online presence, you should be doing it with the fundamental understanding that it needs to be yours.

Medium should definitely be a part of your strategy but honestly, your website needs to be a platform which you can control. Something that you own. Not something that leaves you as a tenant to the fruits of your own labor.

So what do you think? Is Medium trying to steal our blogs? Or do I have it all wrong?

P.s. My entire argument presumes that you are using the web as a means to an end. If you just like writing for writings sake and just want a simple platform from which to publish your miscellaneous thoughts then Medium might be the perfect place for you.

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The New Economics of Demand; Convenience Over Cash

 Movement over money.

Sean Smith explains why connecting with your consumer is important in a digital economy and why customer convenience is more important than price.

Read the original article on Medium

It used to be an age old solution in business to build a bidding war with your competition.

The lowest price would win, because convenience was on a level playing field.

Price is not necessarily obsolete now, but it matters far less to our inter-connected society than it used to.

Businesses like Amazon are putting others out of business left and right. Most people point at their prices, but that’s not really the case. When you look at the ease of convenience their services like Prime bring — giving next day or same day delivery for any of their products while also being cheaper than most of their competition — the competition doesn’t stand a chance.

People don’t have to leave their house to shop. Think about that. That’s an insane notion that only became possible in the last 5 years.

People care more about their time now more than ever, because now we see the possibilities of the things we can do with our day. Our days are getting longer, because things are getting easier due to technology.

Businesses that understand this will thrive, those who don’t adapt or find their niche in this new age of convenience and demand will dwindle.

No longer does price dictate the outcome of our pocket, we decide based off of our time.

“People don’t buy products, people buy better versions of themselves.”

As Belle Beth Cooper said best,

Ev Williams even mentioned that the best way to build a billion dollar business now is to “find a business vertical that hasn’t changed in 50-100 years and find a way to make it easier using technology.” This could be applied to hundreds of verticals, even online publishing, which is far from an ancient medium. Take Medium for example, this lovely online publishing tool you’re reading right now. I write here because it’s incredibly easy, it’s beautiful, it’s interesting, and the exposure makes it easier to reach my audience.

Uber took the cab industry and turned it on its head, starting with a simple app and some part-time cabbies running on their system. Now it’s worth billions of dollars with no signs of slowing down. SpaceX obviously didn’t choose an easy vertical, but they were able to achieve what only government associations were able to do to date, to dock a cargo ship to the international space station. This gave SpaceX billion dollar contracts from NASA to keep their astronauts supplied on the ISS.

There are “disruptions” to be made in thousands of verticals, you need only find that unique approach, take out the steps for the customer, and innovate.

In an environment where people are trying to “optimize” and automate as much of their life, and success as they can, those who help them succeed in this ambition will succeed in business.

This doesn’t bode well for business reluctant to change, but for entrepreneurs ready to build better services, this is a ground breaking time to live in.

“We help take the pain away” — this may be one of the best selling lines I’ve heard in a pitch for content marketing. It’s honestly what people want, whether you’re doing marketing for a business, or easing the pain of people dealing with a cable company to cancel their service.

People want their pain to go away.

The supply and demand curve has warped, it’s been turned on its head.

We’re all better for it too, because when people stop thinking about money, and instead think about what they can do with their time, we all move forward.

Movement over money.

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How To Build A Viral Presence Online – A Detailed Audio Walk Through

A comprehensive guide to creating, sharing and nurturing viral content online.

Listen and read along as we teach you how to build a strong organic online presence.

People ask me all the time…

“How do you get so many people to your website?”

They want to know what I have done to increase my online exposure and how I get such got such a large audience in such a short amount of time.

Most of what I have done has been trial and error and even now we are constantly experimenting with different formats of content in an attempt to perfect our art, but there are a few things we have learned along the way that can definitely help you reach your online goals.

In this podcast…

We talk about the process of creating, sharing and nurturing viral content in some serious detail.

I invited Sean Smith to join me in this episode of RayDO (pronounced Ra-di-o) Uncensored. Sean is a prolific writer and you can find his work on a number of national publications including the Hufington Post, 99U, Moz and Medium.

I suggest you take notes along the way, as we dive deep into the process of creating, sharing  and nurturing viral content. You should also listen to the entire podcast for a deeper understanding of our entire content conversation, especially since the notes below are just an overview of everything we talk about in the podcast.

As always, if you find value in the podcast, please be sure share it with a friend, subscribe and grab us on Stitcher. That way you can get all of our newest content first.

2:50 – Skip the audio intro

I always like to let you skip the intro so if you don’t want to hear the lead-in to the podcast just skip to about the three minute mark. Just remember, a baby squirrel will get run over by a car every time someone decides to do this.

In all seriousness, the beginning of these podcasts is where I briefly explain what the show is about and I also give occasional updates on what we are trying to build here at Raymmar.com. If you are interested in getting involved or want to know more about what we are doing then I suggest you listen all the way from the beginning.

4:00 – A quick intro to Medium

I have enjoyed some recent success on Medium (especially when my article reached #1 on their top 100 list) but I think they are changing some of the things that made them great. I am working on on article about why I think they might have messed up big time but I have also had some great success by sharing some of my posts on Medium.

I am not sure whether the changes they have made recently will affect their long term viability as a social sharing platform but I think you should know about it as a content creator because after all, finding new places to showcase your work is a big part of increasing your audience and building a viral presence online.

6:15 – Starting a blog

The race to stand out online is on in full force and most people are doing it all wrong. At this point in the podcast we start diving into the theory behind creating, sharing and nurturing the content in an attempt to create a continual viral presence online.

These strategies, although helpful when creating any content online, are not intended to help you get one specific article to go viral. The internet is a finicky place and you should worry less about creating individual pieces of viral content and instead focus your efforts on always putting your best work out there for the world to see.

Once you start driving enough traffic (assuming the site is interesting) people will start spilling over into the other sections of the website. What we are hoping to teach you on Raymmar.com is how to build a consistently strong arsenal of quality content and how to elevate your entire blog  so that everything you do has a chance at going viral.

8:05 – It starts with a title?

For me it all starts with the title. I get an idea and then it evolves in my head as a theory but I am never fully inspired until the title hits me. Sean and I both agree on the importance of the headline as well as why it is so important to think about getting the readers attention early on. On the internet, many people do judge a book by its cover so be sure that your blog titles are as thought out as the content inside of them or in the end you re really just wasting your time.

It would be like throwing a huge party and then forgetting to send out the invites. Not the proper way to plan a party right? So why would you take the same approach to creating your online content?

9:30 – The evolution of an article

Most great content is not a one and done proposition. In this part of the podcast we talk about letting the content sit on the shelf and why you should let your stories and simmer. I think it is important to throw down all of your thoughts and then sleep on your idea for a few nights. Then you can come back and clean up the content to make sure you are always delivering your “A” material. I do not know many people who do everything perfect the first time around so if you really want your content to go viral then you really do need to take your time and make an art out of writing your articles.

11:30 – The structure and flow of the article

Sometimes you should just spit out all of your thoughts and then look at them on the screen and work on the structure and flow of the article. Then you can start moving pieces around and assembling the article in the way that makes the most sense. The structure of your article is important and you need to hook the reader early, especially online.

Blogging Tip:

You should be telling two stories through the course of the article and also make sure you are formatting it properly for online distribution.

Story one: Should be told in the headlines and subheadings. Consider this the top level story. A fly by of your high level ideas if you will. People are really impatient online so you need to make your article easily skimable while also trying to suck the reader in and get them to commit to reading the entire story.

Story two: Should be the article itself. This is the long form version of your story. This is where you can dive in and let your work shine. The other benefit to formatting your content like this (besides the value that long form content brings you in the sense of SEO) is that it makes long form content digestible. You can deliver more information in one place and not overwhelm the reader with a page that looks like it was copied and pasted from an encyclopedia.

15:05 – Delivering value to the reader

In order for your story to have a chance at going viral, there has to be a strong story line. At the end of the day, if your story sucks then no one is going to listen, read, watch, etc. You should make an attempt to educate and entertain your reader while telling that story. Think about the stuff that engages you online and then try to mimic and copy that approach but be sure to make it your own along the way.

You can use metaphors and other creative writing practices to give the reader some creative liberties while reading your work. This allows the reader to make your story their own and it allows them to create the environment in which the story takes place inside of their own head. You allow them to paint for themselves the vision that you are trying to share and then you put yourself in the perfect place to entice the reader to actually share your story.

17:06 – Leave the story up to the reader

The point that we are trying to make here is that getting something to go viral online becomes more about getting the reader to attach their emotions to the blog than just writing something interesting. Most businesses, entrepreneurs, etc. just want to pitch their products on their blog, but they forget about connecting with their audience in an emotional way. They forget to give something to the reader in the form of digestible value before asking for the sale.

Business blogs would be well served to understand the concept of connecting with their readers and should strive to turn their website into a place where their customers come to not only hang out but learn from you. Think of it as if you were building an online lobby for creative thought.

19:33 – Reading is the ultimate virtual reality

People can immerse themselves in your words. When they watch video they see the exact vision of what the person who created the art wanted them to see. But, when you are reading someones words or listening to their voice, the reader gets to become the artist. This leaves you with a beautiful opportunity as the author, to connect on multiple levels with your audience. It allows you to reach directly into the heads of your readers and paint with your words.

You also have to remember that it takes time to build an audience and a following online. You have to be willing to invest the time and hone your skills as not only a writer but a self promoter of the things you write. No one is going to read your early articles so don’t feel bad when you publish something and no one reads it. It happens to all of us when we first start out. You should use this early part of your online development process to test your writing style and keep experimenting with different techniques in order to find out what is going to work best for you.

23:25 – Building Credibility online

You can expect to spend as much time online building credibility in what you do as you do creating and distributing your content. In order to have the best chance to stand out online you need to find people in your area of expertise and start sharing content, connecting and engaging with them on their websites, blogs and social platforms. You need to connect with your readers, not only through your writing, but inside of your interactions as well. Building real relationships with your readers is important to maintaining a viral presence online and you should make it a top priority to respond to all of the comments made on your website as well as the social media sites that you are active on.

24:50 – Become an expert

You have to know what you are talking about before anyone is going to listen to you online. It is easy for anyone to start a website but that does not mean that everyone with a website is an expert. You should make it a point to become the best at whatever it is you are trying to explain to your audience. You have to prove to them that you know what you are talking about by being able to do what you are telling them to do for yourself.

If you doubt yourself or are making things up as you go in an attempt to fill up space, then your reader will not only know that you are faking it, but you will also destroy any small amount of credibility that you might have built up until this point. You must believe in yourself but that does not mean you need to be a tyrant when talking to your audience either. You need to know that what you are talking about is right and then find creative ways to relay that to your reader.

26:15 – Having actual authority vs. thinking you have it

Finding credibility online and building an overall viral presence on your website becomes a process of getting involved in the existing conversations online. This is a piece that many people forget about when trying to build their own blog from the ground up. Whenever you want to get other people involved in your conversations, then you should look for places where people are already talking about the things you are trying to talk about and find a way to get involved in their conversation. Do not be so naive that you think people are going to rush to your website when to talk about what you want when they are already in the middle of that discussion somewhere else. Instead, you should learn how to hack those conversations and become someone that they look to for advice on the issue. Then you can start funneling that conversation to your website and separate yourself as a thought leader in that category.

34:30 – Getting involved

If you are a regular listener then please join the conversation. We have a lot of people who come to the site more than 5 times a month and I would really like to get to know those people better. I want to know why you come to the site so regularly and what we can do to make that experience better for you. Please take a moment to reach out and leave me some feedback about your experience on the site and with this podcast, etc.

We are really trying to make this about the consumer experience and we want to build it into something beautiful for our readers and listeners.

37:05 – Remaining a student

Make sure that you are always learning. You should always think that other people are smart too and that other people can teach you something you mifht not already know. You should become a sponge and then regurgitate that info to your audience in a way that they can relate to or understand. The best teachers are always learning and the beauty of the internet is that it can easily become a medium by whitch information can be passed from one person to another and that is helping all of us learn at a really fast pace. More so than ever before.

Podcast correction – In the podcast I mention that we have shown up more than 100,000 times in Google search results but that number is actually closer to 1.3 million. Turns out I had some filters applied to the webmaster tools and that was restricting the results. Talk about a great mistake! 

38:25 – A few final tips

Here is a link to the Gibbon.co learning platform that Sean was talking about at the end of the podcast.

As we wrap up the podcast, here are a few final thoughts from both Sean and I that will help you take some steps towards building a viral presence online.

Get in the habit of reading your writing out loud.

Seriously, this has been one of the best things I have done for my writing. It allows me to write as if I was actually speaking to someone which is important because when someone reads your work, the concepts could be entirely new to them. You cannot assume they know the things you know, or that they are thinking like you are thinking. It is up to you as the author to make sure that the flow of your work makes sense and reading your work out loud is one of the best ways to do just that.

Leave internal cliff-hangers.

When you tell your story, leave something for the reader to discover later in the writing. This will ensure that they remain engaged throughout the entire post. It can be difficult to learn at first but as your writing style matures you will get better at teasing out the hooks of the articles early on in the content and use them to drag the reader throughout your work in the exact manner which you intended. When you learn to do this then you can really have a chance at building something special online because it really does become about more than just reading a blog article at that point.

Get creative with the article structure.

Start from the end and then bounce around. Or in the middle then to the beginning. Don’t just think that your story has to go in chronological order. A little confusion for the reader is a good thing. Again, this is like leaving little hooks throughout the article. Things that draw the reader in and keep them around until the end.

What Is A Content Engine?

Explaining The Importance of Content Marketing

A content engine is a website that drives web traffic by delivering quality, easily consumable content, on a regular basis. Many new-media websites like the Huffington PostUpWorthy and BuzzFeed could be classified as content engines, and almost all of them are driven by advertising revenue.

Most commercial content engines drive revenue from selling advertising, sponsored posts and other advertorial content. They often employ a number of staff writers but also drive a large amount of traffic from content contributed by independent bloggers, journalists, etc.

While the content contributor gains credibility for having such a large site link back to their website, there is little compensation for contributing to these larger content engines. Sure, the exposure is good, and yes, it might make you feel good, but at the end of the day ask yourself this, “What do the content creators come away with?”

Corporate content engines?

Many businesses are adopting a formalized content marketing strategy in an attempt to build a larger online presence. It’s really the best way to stay competitive online anymore, and the content marketplace is only getting harder to penetrate.

Actually, thanks to the proliferation of concepts like inbound marketing, and companies like HubSpotMozCopy Blogger and others, having a content marketing strategy is no longer optional. It’s almost as if content marketing has become a mandatory part of having a real chance at competing online. And the more it evolves, the more difficult it will become to stand out from the crowd.

Preparing for the Future of Sales

Companies who can build the best corporate content engines are going to become the new leaders in the world of digital sales.

In a world where information is the only currency that matters moving forward, it becomes imperative to start thinking about how you can effectively leverage your personal story in order to grow online sales.

The problem for most companies is that it becomes quite a challenge to create enough content to make an impact online. After all, how is Bob the plumber going to compete against Business Insider when it comes to telling stories about building a business. Even if Bob has a better story to tell, he just stands no chance against a publishing house of that size.

The truth is that it takes a concerted effort to build a content engine, and most business just aren’t up to the task. Not because of a lack of effort, but because of a lack of understanding.

Many businesses simply do not understand how specialized an art getting noticed online has become, and they often underestimate its importance to the future success of their digital sales strategies.

Why is content so important?

Google and other search engines are getting smarter every day. Search engine optimization has changed completely and now revolves around the contextual and social relevance of your content as opposed to the number of keywords you can stuff into the post.

This empowers the individual content creator because it give them an opportunity to leverage their online influence in ways that were never before possible. It allows creatives to leverage their content as a currency of online influence. Something that will gives creatives a leg up in a world dominated by corporate agendas.

Which is exactly why we are building a collaborative content engine here at Raymmar.com. Something we are calling a Circle of Influence.

What is a collaborative content engine?

A collaborative content engine is basically a content collective. You might even say its like communism for online capitalist.

It is a website where content creators come together to share their work with the world as well as each other. A place where competition for quality content is intense and creativity is considered a Currency.

Think of it as an online art gallery for digital entrepreneurs.

By pooling our creative resources in this manner, we can create a powerful Circle of Online Influence which will then work together to cross-promote each others products and services inside of an inbound marketing masterpiece.

“Think Yelp meets Medium. With a Chamber of Commerce and a Mall of America mixed in.”

Because of the demand for quality content, a marketplace like this would allow the individual content creators to connect with consumers who are searching specifically for their solutions.

Imagine if, instead of just blogging for yourself, you joined a network like this, and took those powerful posts and put them to work for you and a community of collaborators? What if the content creators could then be compensated directly based on the quality of their individual content as a percentage of the overall influence of the entire network.

What if we created a place where content could finally be king, and the creatives were the true commanders of credibility. What if we just cut out the middle man and empowered the creative entrepreneur?

How can I get involved?

Right now we are in early development and planing phases of building this collaborative content engine.

We are looking for early adopters to help shape the future of this online Circle of Online Influence.

We need producers and curators, commentators and maybe even a few player haters.

ray.do is going to be a completely collaborative project, built around the idea of exploring the power of our combined creativity. We’re looking for people who are interested in helping us conceptualize and test the concept, and then to come together and execute on those ideas.

So. What are you waiting for?

 

9 Common Collaboration Mistakes That Could Cost You Big

The Collaborative Conundrum

It seems like these days, everyone wants to collaborate. The problem with collaboration is that people often mistake it to mean that you are willing to work with them for free. They think that collaboration means you are going to set your ambitions aside in order to help them achieve their goal. The truth about collaboration is that it is more difficult to pull off than people think.

I have collaborated quite a bit over the last few years. Some of those collaborations have been quite fruit-full and others, not-so-much. I have, over time, compiled a list of common collaboration mistakes and thought I would share them with you. They were initially published as part of another article I wrote on collaboration but I thought they were worthy of their own post.

Got any crazy collaboration stories? Leave them in the comments below. 
 

Avoid These 9 Common Collaboration Mistakes:

Before you begin your next collaborative project make sure you keep away from these major mistakes.

1.Terrible communication:

All parties need to be on the same page in order for effective collaboration to take place. You can use a note sharing app like Evernote or google docs to share ideas and work through the planning stages together. Whether you use software, note sharing or paper airplanes to stay connected you must have some established form of communication in order to collaborate effectively.

2. Failing to plan:

Collaboration is fun when it is spontaneous and you just happen to stumble across it but planning a meeting at least a week ahead allows people to better fit it into their schedule. Considering participation is key to collaboration, giving people a real opportunity to participate is vital to doing it right.

3. Selfish Collaborators: 

You must be willing to let people show you how they can contribute. It is impossible to discover anyone’s hidden (or not so hidden) talents if you don’t provide an environment for them to freely express and explore their creative faculties. Collaboration should not be sidestepped due to ideological interjections. People need to be free to explore the collaboration in whatever method makes them most creative. Judging books by their cover is a good way to miss out on a great collaboration experience. Do not let any insecurities prevent you from opening doors in life wherever you go. You never know who might be standing behind it.

4. Loud Mouths:

You know who you are. I am not talking about the guy in the corner who knows what he is talking about and interjects with useful contributions. I am talking about the ignorant tweedleberry who just likes hearing the sound of his own voice in a room with more than just himself sitting in it. Please know what you are talking about or don’t talk about it. Nothing will strip you of your credibility faster than bloviating on a subject on which you have only a marginal understanding. Shut your mouth, take a few notes and go Google that shit. Then maybe next time you can contribute something meaningful to the conversation instead of wasting everyone’s time.

5. Participation Trophies:

If you say you are going to do something or be somewhere or get something done, then do it. It is that simple. Do not expect the other collaborators to cover your quota. You must be engaged and willing to deliver on your word. You do not get credit just for showing up!

6. Keeping Quiet:

If something is bothering you then speak up. How is anyone supposed to fix anything if they all think its working fine. Leadership means speaking up. You might be surprised at who stands with you. This doesn’t mean you throw a creative coup, just that in order for this to be a meaningful collaboration you have to feel satisfied as well. In order to make sure this happens please refer back to miscue number one!

7. Too Much Structure:

It is important to guide the collaboration but not necessarily to control it. Too much of an effort to control the collaboration can result in an unhappy group. Also, be flexible with how people are compensated/rewarded for their efforts. Some people might need to make money from their collaborations and others might just be looking to pad a resume, gain a little experience or build some new relationships.

8. Political Posturing:

I am not talking about Washington DC politics. I am talking about back office, highschool clique style politics. You are not the only person with good ideas and there are often many solutions to every problem. Just because the collaboration is not taking place around your personal idea does not mean you get to run away from the table. You can’t run off to mommy every time someone gives you some harsh criticism. Learn to delegate and step back once in a while. One of the hardest lessons for a leader to learn is that in order to lead you must first know how to follow.

9. Sabotage:

This is the worst of all of them and is the only one that involves malicious behavior. Do not take advantage of someone under the pretext of collaboration. Do not steal an idea from your fellow collaborator only to pass it off as your own. Do not waste the labors of others with tedious repetition or futile propositions. You are hated amongst all of us in the creative world who would share our trust and knowledge with only the expectation of reciprocation, only to be slapped in the face by a sneaky saboteur. This is not cool and might even call for public humiliation. Maybe a titty twister in times square or an indian burn by Chuck Norris. Either way, it should hurt because you make it infinitely more difficult for the rest of us to do our thing.

Did I Miss Anything?

I am sure there are a number of other collaboration mistakes being made on a regular basis. Feel free to let me know what I missed in the comments section below.

Image Credit: https://hdl.handle.net/2440/51125

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