Apr 142013
 

In my last post, I focused on my clients who know what tools to use to communicate, but don’t know what to say. This post I’m going to focus on the others:  those who know exactly what they want to say, but don’t know how.

There are two possible reasons for not knowing how:

  • The technology confuses them, or
  • They’re using the wrong words.

Let’s focus on the latter for a moment. Even the most proficient of wordsmiths can get their messages in a twist using blogs and social networks. Why?  Well it’s all down to the way we interact.

Consider this scenario: you walk into a business networking meeting and introduce yourself. Do you:

  1. Loudly tell the first person you meet what products or services you produce, and then without waiting, move onto the second person and do the same until you’ve shouted at everyone and then you leave.  OR
  2. Introduce yourself to the first person you meet, ask their name and what they do and see what common ground you have and wait for an opportunity to meet some of their friends or colleagues.

boringIt’s obvious isn’t it?  But why do people always assume that blogging and social networking is just about the first option and get pissed off when they’re not famous in five minutes?

Just like the world of physical networking, you need to set your expectations correctly. Sometimes potential clients will show no interest in what you have to say.  At other times you may have a seemingly great interaction that peters out and goes nowhere. Sometimes it’s only after you’ve shown up at a networking meeting for the 4th time that someone recognises you and says ….”Oh yes, you’re that guy that does…… I was thinking about that just the other day….”.

So think about these hints and tips:

  • Don’t aim to sell any products or services. Just aim to have a good conversation.
  • Don’t hog the limelight. Shins some light on your customers (or potential customers).
  • Listen to what your customers are saying.  Ask questions to make sure you understand. Repeat what you think you know, just to make sure.  You should be actively learning, not selling.
  • After reflection, comment on what you’ve learned.  Show how you’ve adapted an idea or a product specifically to solve a customer’s problem.  More than often, you’re solving other customer’s problems at the same time, and it shows you’re a trustworthy partner.

Think about it. Are you more likely to get work if you’re the sort of person that asks questions, tries to solve customer problems and actually listens to what they say, or if you’re the person that just sells, sells, sells.

Apr 092013
 

My clients often fall into two categories:

  • They know exactly what they want to say, but don’t know how, or
  • They know what tools to use to communicate, but don’t know what to say

In this post I’m going to focus on the latter.

Blogs are awriters-blockbout telling stories.  Stories about you.  Stories about your business, your products and your services.  Stories that will engage people, stimulate them, annoy them, entertain them and inform them.  But it’s not just about telling and selling.  That’s what your website may be for in the long run, but your blog is that opportunity to tell people about you.

How you came to be in business itself may be interesting tale. Perhaps one you’ve told at a business meeting, or down the pub?  What was the moment you’d decided to take the plunge and start your own business?  What was the catalyst? What has kept you going?

These stories are gold dust. They are the foundation of your business, the reason behind your passion, the thing that drives you on.  You’ve told them before, but probably only in a verbal setting. You’ve never written anything other than a shopping list, but yet you know one of these stories that clinched a sale, built a friendship, or launched a new product range.

Blogs are also about opinions.  Your opinions.  Your customer’s opinions.  Competing perspectives, debate and discussion.   Blogs ask questions.  They don’t just tell and sell, they should solicit feedback.

So think.  Do you have a well worn dinner party story that still has some legs?  Do you have a drastically different viewpoint than your competition that won a customer over?

Now do the following:

  • Keep a notBlank ringbound notebook and pencilebook handy.  Start making a list.   You wouldn’t expect a novelist to be too far away from a pen and some paper would you?  Well you’re a blogger now and the same is true for you.  Write down any ideas you might have, no matter how crazy they may be.
  • Once you have a list of 10 topics, prioritize them in terms of importance to you, what’s in the news,  what you’ve just read on another blog or what’s going to happen in your business sector in the next quarter – you decide, but draw up a top 10.
  • Starting with topic 1, write a short piece.  500 words or less to begin with.
  • If you are responding to another blog post then cross-link to it.  Remember the old adage:  if you quote one source its plagiarism. If you quote two sources its research.  Go and leave a comment on the other blogs and leave the URL of your post as a calling card.
  • Remember to ask questions.  This significantly improves your chances of feedback.
  • Go back to the beginning and re-prioritize the list.  Write your next blog post.

Tell me how you got on.  Did this help you, or was it a load of rubbish?

Have your say. Leave a comment.

Apr 062013
 

Blogging

To me, blogging is at the heart of a good media strategy for any business.  It’s the online version of going to a business networking meeting, having a chat with someone for the first time and handing out your business card.

Sometimes you establish a great relationship with someone who you look forward to meeting regularly. Sometimes it’s just a one-off conversation and sometimes you just know it’s not a relationship you want to pursue.

I see blogging as the written form of having a conversation.  You can just talk and hope someone listens (although I really wouldn’t advise that unless you want to be “that person” who people avoid at parties). You can ask questions. You can start a debate. You can involve other people. You can inflame, annoy, flatter or persuade people, just as you do in real life.

Social NetworksSo what about social networking?  Isn’t that where this conversation takes place?  Well yes, and no. I always encourage my clients to write a blog first and automatically post that blog into social networks.  It’s like handing out your business card to someone, knowing they’re going to pass it on to someone else.  The distribution channels change. The message is consistent.

Your blog (ideally part of your website as a whole) is where you want people to end up.  If you have a conversation in Twitter then your followers on Facebook are probably missing out.  If you use your blog as the heart of your media strategy then everyone can join in, whatever their social network preferences.

If you use social networking automation tools then every link created on Twitter or LinkedIn will be a link back to your blog; the place where your products and services are available to see, not some random advert that Facebook or Google have decided you may like.

In the next few posts I’m going to share my blogging hints and tips. Whether, you see this message on Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin or Tumblr, I don’t mind. But it’s my blog you’ll be reading.

Apr 012013
 

Suffuse Solutions is one year old today. Like all new offspring making their way into the world has been challenging, been fun, and there have been some obsticles.  I have some very happy memories:

  • Shooting videos at shows in Liverpool, Birmingham and London
  • Seeing behinds the scenes at Tower Bridge in London and a Castle in Sussex
  • Being part of a mammoth charity Zumbathon
  • Meeting famous architects, health experts, business leaders & politicians
  • Being MC for a haloween quiz
  • Working with some amazing teams to deliver on some awesome projects

But most of all, my memories are about the people.  Having spent 30 years working inside big corporations, for people with big political agendas and small hearts, it is so inspiring to be part of a community of people that are open, genuine and big hearted.

If I’ve worked with you in the last year, I’d like to say thank you. I hope to work with you and many new inspiring people in 2013/14.

 

Happy Easter

 Social networking  Comments Off
Mar 312013
 

 

 

 

 

Whatever your religion, faith, class, colour, gender, political persuasion, or Social Network preference, I wish you a very Happy Easter.

Mar 172013
 

RSS FeedsWhat is RSS? Well, aside from that friendly orange logo that you see on many websites, it would appear that many people do not know. Yet, RSS is one of the most important building blocks of the internet.

For me, it’s part of the internet plumbing, as I use it regularly when I create my podcasts over at petecogle.com. Without RSS my podcasts would not be syndicated to iTunes, or read by news readers such as Google Reader. But wait!  Google have just announced the closure of Google Reader in their second spring of cleaning a few days ago. So why did they do this?

In their press release they said the usage of the product has declined over the years and so will be shut down on 1st July.  Should we care? It’s not like RSS will go away, but did anyone use the Reader service. It appears that many people do and Feedly have announced that over half a million people have registered for their service in just two days. Me being one of them.

Last year there was a bit of a scare when Google shut down the API for the Feedburner service that they bought in 2007. Were they planning on removing the service altogether?  It has never been further developed by Google after the purchase and some of the glitches (such as the 512k limit on input feeds) remain to this day.

Yet Google hasn’t created new products to replace either of these technologies to consume or create RSS feeds. Should we care?  Maybe the average internet user will never care about these things, but to professional bloggers, website developers and people who don’t have the time to read everything will mourn the loss of Google Reader. There is more information available that we can possibly decipher. At least Google Reader helped me do that.

Google: 0, Feedly: 500,000 (and counting)

 

 

Mar 042013
 

Pete Cogle, founder of Suffuse Solutions

It’s been a long time since I wrote one of my own blogs.  It’s been rather crazy here at Suffuse Solutions since August 2012 and I’ve hardly had time to stop and think.  But enough is enough, so I’m back with the first of what I hope will be a regular blog about the things I care about: Video Production, Website Design and Social Networking.

So what has been happening? Well I’ve spent a lot of time shooting video in shows in London, Birmingham & Liverpool, for all sorts of clients, ranging from Pharceutical companies, Architects, Surveyors. Musicians & Nutritionists. Then there’s been an influx of websites from the local area here in mid sussex. And, or course, I’ve setup some social networking campaigns for therapists, fashion retailers & a PR company.

In another month, Suffuse Solutions will be one year old. My how the time has flown. It’s been such fun!

So, as the anniversary approaches, I decided it was time for a new look, using what I’ve learned over the past year, and so the website is reborn. I hope you like it.

Why not leave a comment, come and like the facebook page, or tweet us over at twitter.

Jun 272012
 

I love parody and self deprocation.  It’s what keeps me grounded, so I don’t go off and start believing a load of BS.  This video was sent to my by a friend, and it makes me smile.   But here’s a warning. Don’t watch it, if you’re an easily offended German, work for Myspace, have a child called @nnabel, you worry about the over-use of LOL, or your name is Erik Qualman.

 

 

Jun 262012
 

It’s no secret I’m a great fan of Pinterest. It really appeals to my visual thinking portion of my brain.  But is it just about pinning pictures to pinboards? Of course not.

Take Jetsetter, for example. They encouraged their members to become Jetsetter Curators,  by creating their own “ultimate pinboard” of locations on Pinterest. Each participant had to incorporate the word “Jetsetter Curator” in the title and they had to use the hastag #JetsetterCurator.

Winners won a three-night stay in a Jetsetter destination relating to their pinboard.

The program encouragd 1,100 pinners to take part, with 50,000 pins added. Referral traffic from Pinterest to Jetsetter increased 100% and pageviews increased 150%.  Followers of Jetsetter on Pinterest increased from 2,000 to 5,300.

It’s clear Pinterest has so much more to offer. Follow me at Pinterest.com/petecogle or, better still, start your own pinboards!

 

Jun 192012
 

So, for today’s blog I’ve decided not to offer some advice, or show you some of my work. Instead I want to take you inside Mission Control here at Suffuse Solutions. It’s a hive of activity in here at the moment!

1 – My Video/Podcast Editing PC
2 – My Portable PC
3 – Another Screen for my Portable PC
4 – My Mac (you can’t be in media and not have a Mac can you?)
5 – My Notepad (even I scribble occasionally!)
6 – My Mobile Phone
7 – My Digital Video Camera (ready for action!)
8 – My Digital Audio Recorder (for those audio soundscapes!)
9 – My European Podcaster of the Year award (pride of place)
10 – My biggest fan (this is what I use to make things really cool!)

If you liked that, then have a look at Inside The Podcasting Factory!