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It’s time to app-ify your content

Imagine a world where there are less than a million websites, and the internet is easily categorized by the type of content each site covered.

That would put most of us in a pretty sweet spot.

Alas, the internet has billions of sites. So good luck with that.

But there is a world out there that most of us don’t dare go near it because the costs seem prohibative. Of course I’m talking about mobile apps.

Recently JoeMobi.com launched a service that turns any WordPress blog into an app for the Android, Blackberry and Playbook.

Combined these app stores have less than 500,000 apps.

That sounds like a lot. But imagine if there were only 500,000 websites to choose from. And a good chunk of them only made fart sounds.

There are currently 1.8 billion smartphones floating around, and by 2014 Pew Research predicts web traffic from mobile devices will overtake desktops.

So this if there was ever a right time to get into this space, it’s yesterday. But if you want to take advantage of this exploding opportunity you can still get in on the action.

Here are a few tips that I’ve come up with.

Choose a name for your app that is keyword rich and descriptive. Nobody cares about your company, they care about what your app will do for them. If you are an expert in management and team development – don’t have the same name for your app as your URL or company name. Give it something snappy like The Management Toolbox.

My app is called Web Marketing Tips (and it’s available on the Android store here). The description is about what the app will do – which is provide tips and articles like this one to help small businesses market themselves more effectively online.

  • If you’re a realtor in New York, call your app New York Real Estate. You can use the app to showcase articles or new listings in the market.
  • If you’re a retailer, use your app to focus on new products or discount coupons.
  • If you’re a recruiter in Edmonton, call your app the Edmonton Job Board and have all your positions pushing out.

For your description, use the Google Keyword Tool to find words folks might search for.

An unintended consequence of having an app like this, is the focus it brings to your writing. If somebody downloads an app they don’t want it to be overly promotional – which far too many blogs tend to be. This is your opportunity to break open a completely new channel to market your expertise by creating quality content for millions of people around the world.

Once you’ve created your apps, submit them to the Android Market and Blackberry App World.

 

Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.

Everything is connected.

The tools are out there to have all your social media update like a fine tuned machine.

With very little effort you can set yourself up so that each time you update your blog or post a new video to YouTube, it automatically goes to Twitter, Linkedin, Facebook or any of the other half dozen social media hubs we’re all encouraged to join each week.

But just because you can, doesn’t mean you have to.

That’s right. You don’t have to connect everything.

A few years back when all this was very new, I had a guy I barely remember from high school “friend” me on Facebook.

Within minutes I was getting information about his catering business. Needless to say, he didn’t last very long on my feed.

At the time it got me thinking about why I’m on Facebook and what the expectation of my friends are.

While I’m sure at the time they were bored silly of pictures of my newborn baby, even that was probably less irritating than the business-related tweets and Linkedin updates that were also going to my Facebook account.

So a decision was made. I severed my Facebook account from Twitter and Linkedin. I then tweaked the security settings so that only real friends were welcome in my digitally walled garden.

This allows me to separate the personal from professional.

Now when I get a Facebook friend request from a potential business contact, I politely refer them to my Linkedin and Twitter accounts.

That doesn’t mean you can’t use Facebook for business. You just have to be smart about it and create a Facebook business page, so that folks who are interested in you as a professional, continue to get what they need, while your friends and family aren’t turned off by your latest blog posting on “Leadership.”

Quick tips to improve your marketing

Back in December, I was an exhibitor at the CAPS Conference  in Montreal and as part of my follow-up, and as a thank you to everyone who attended, I’ve been reviewing sites and passing along recommendations to help folks improve their online marketing efforts in 2011.

I’ve noticed a lot of speaker sites need exactly the same things and so I’m putting this out there to help everyone in the group kick-start their marketing in 2011.

The first thing I’ll tell you is that I’m not recommending anything you can’t do yourself. I’m even including links to help you access the tools I’m talking about.

Obviously. I’m hoping you’re far too busy and you’ll hire me to do the work. But if not, at least you’ll have a pretty extensive to-do list .

The first thing I noticed is folks aren’t maximizing all the free Facebook integration tools.

There are 500 million folks on Facebook and it is one of your best opportunities to find more clients.

To do this you can:

  • add a Facebook “Like” button to every page on your site. This allows folks to share your site with their friends.
  • create a Facebook Fan Page that integrates your Linkedin profile, Twitter feed, blog and e-newsletter feeds, and display that fan page box on your homepage.
  • replace the default comments on your WordPress blog with Facebook Comments. This will eliminate spam and comments will appear in visitor’s status, so all their friends will see a link back to you site.

If you’re currently you’re using a profile instead of a Fan Page –  it’s a mistake I’m seeing over and over again as I do these reviews. There is a key distinction. With a profile page, you never know who is going to see your updates, but with a Fan Page everyone gets a notification.

Here is a link to grab the Facebook code:

http://developers.facebook.com/

Your books and audios

I recommend setting up an account with LightningSource.com and moving them to Print on Demand. Lightning Source is owned by Ingram, so your books will be available around the world through their catalogue as well as Amazon.com – USA, Canada, UK, EU.

Why POD? Very simple. If you are taking care of fulfilment yourself, Amazon is probably only taking 5 or 10 copies at a time. This means your books are probably showing as “Usually ships with 3-4 weeks.” With Lightning Source your books are always “Ships within 24hrs.” And that’s in Canada, US, UK and EU!

PDF e-books are great – or at least they were 3 years ago. Have you thought about offering your books as e-books for the iPad, Kindle and other readers? All you need to do is set up an account at Smashwords.com. Did I mention it’s a free service? In addition to being able to sell your books on your own site, your ebooks will also be available on the iTunes store, Barnes and Noble and Amazon.

As for your audios, if you sell cds, why not create downloadable MP3 versions? Are you selling them on iTunes? Why not??

Videos/podcasting

As a speaker, you probably have boxes of videos you aren’t using. Why not chop them up and create a custom YouTube channel? Or use them for a Podcast distributed through iTunes. All you need is an xml file and some content!

Quick onsite changes:

Have a look at this tool and see what keywords you should be using in your copy to get more visits: https://adwords.google.com/select/KeywordToolExternal

Set up a Google Webmaster (www.google.com/webmasters)  account and submit your xml site map. –

There’s obviously loads more, but if you just get the Facebook stuff done, you should see some real benefits.

Send me a note if you want a more personalized free consultation.

Some completely attainable goals for 2011

Whether you do it yourself or hire someone else, here are ten completely attainable marketing goals for 2011 that will help you take your business to the next level.

  • Take a look at your site from the viewpoint of a visitor. What is it you’re offering them? That’s the reason they are there and that’s the only reason they will hire you.
  • Invest in a bit of SEO (Search Engine Optimization). How much is your time worth? Should you really be the one looking for keywords and trying to figure out how to get a better placement on Google?
  • Install Analytics on your site. Find out how many folks are actually coming and set a realistic goal for improvement.
  • If you have videos, create a custom YouTube Channel. How many folks come to your site compared to YouTube? Build the channel bring your content to a whole new audience.
  • Link all your social media together. Whenever you send out a newsletter, publish a blog post or update your status – let it show up everywhere automatically.
  • Create a podcast and update it once a month. You’re a speaker. Speak.
  • Try a webcast.
  • Look into POD (print on demand) services that will get your books onto Amazon sites across the world.
  • Turn your books into ebooks through Smashwords.com. They now provide content for the Amazon Kindle, Sony e-reader and Barnes and Noble Nook.

These are all perfectly reasonable goals to get you charged up for success in the new year.

As I said, you can do all this yourself. But it makes much more sense to have a professional do the job. Click here and see what I can do for you.