How to Evangelize a Blog: Guy Kawasaki

Guy Kawasaki basically created the term “evangelist” in the business world- as the original Macintosh Evangelist for Apple. He’s written books on it- and become a serial entrepreneur. I remember a quote from one of his books- “Advertising is the plastic surgery of business, it makes the old and ugly new and pretty.”

He posted tips on how to blog a long time ago (2006)- I prefer to not even think of a blog as a blog anymore- it’s just a website using a great easy to use Content Management System that happens to put things in reverse chronological order by default (you can change almost anything you want about how your site displays in WordPress- so don’t get hung up on this).

Here are a few that I really like:

1. Think “book” not “diary.” First, a bit of philosophy: my suggestion is that you think of your blog as a “product.” A good analogy is the difference between a diary and a book. When you write a diary, it contains your spontaneous thoughts and feelings. You have no plans for others to read it. By contrast, if you write a book, from day one you should be thinking about spreading the word about it. If you want to evangelize your blog, then think “book” not “diary” and market the heck out of it.

2. Answer the little man. Now that you’re thinking of your blog as a product, ask yourself if it’s a good product. A useful test is to imagine that there’s a little man sitting on your shoulder reading what you’re writing. Every time you write an entry, he says, “So what? Who gives a shiitake?” If you can’t answer the little man, then you don’t have a good blog/product. Take it from someone who’s tried: It’s tough to market crap, so make sure you have something worth saying. Or, write a diary and keep it to yourself.

3. Collect email addresses. The first piece of advice that I give authors who want to evangelize their book is to accumulate email addresses. (The second piece of advice is to start blogging before the book comes out.) When I launched The Art of the Start, I sent out email to 95,000 people who had made contact with Garage in the past nine years by attending our conferences, submitting business plans, … whatever. Also a team of student interns compiled a database of every entrepreneurial organization on the planet for me.

5. Scoop stuff. There’s a very interesting honor system in blogging. Suppose Blogger A finds an obscure article and posts it to his blog. Blogger B reads about it on Blogger A’s blog and links to it. However Blogger B doesn’t link only to the article; she also links to Blogger A to give him credit for finding the article.

6. Supplement other bloggers with a followup entries. Read the blogs of the top fifty or so bloggers (using Technorati’s ranking is fine) and see if you have in-depth knowledge about their topics. Then instead of leaving the typical, dumb shiitake comment (“I think you’re an orifice who shouldn’t make money recommending products that you’ve invested in.”), craft a real essay that complements the blogger’s entry.

7. Acknowledge and respond to commenters. Only good things can happen when you read all the comments in your blog and respond to them. It makes commenters return to your blog. This, in turn, makes commenters feel like they are part of your blog’s community which makes them tell more people to read your blog.

(I’d like to do this better, but I’ve created a monster. I don’t have any quantitative evidence, but it sure seems like a I get large volume of comments to my entries. There are days that I simply can’t keep up, so forgive me.)

8. Ask for help. If you are providing value in your blog, don’t hesitate to ask for your readers to help. If you don’t ask, you don’t get. You don’t have to be as blatant as I am in the desire to climb Technorati’s ranking, but in a perfect world, you provide something in your blog and your readership will want to reciprocate by helping you spread the word.

9. Be bold. I’m not saying you should intentionally piss other bloggers off, but if you can’t speak your mind on your own blog, we might as well all give up and stay on the porch. This is a fascinating thing about blogging: Even when people torch you, they link to your site. I would have thought that you don’t link. My logic was: Why give someone you torched any exposure?

via How to Change the World: The 120 Day Wonder: How to Evangelize a Blog.

Of course, since I provide a link- you can go read the others.

Here is a link to the Blogstarter Squidoo:

Of course, we give you an awesome start to this in the Websitetology seminar. So we hope you internalize all this- then join the world wide web and let your voice be heard.

Evangelize something- a cause, yourself, your business. It pays off.

And- make sure your passion comes through, because, if you love it- others will too.


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Using Twitter to engage in the classroom

At geek tech conferences, there is almost always a “backchannel” going on these days over twitter. Audiences are sharing their thoughts in 140 characters or less, in real time about the speaker using a #hashtag.

In fact, almost every sporting event, television show, mass audience, now has a mass conversation tool. But, typically- its only for people “in the know.”

Now, we have teachers utilizing the hashtag to engage a classroom- with the conversation projected on screen in the classroom:

Teachers are always trying to combat student apathy and University of Texas at Dallas History Professor, Monica Rankin, has found an interesting way to do it using Twitter in the classroom.

Rankin uses a weekly hashtag to organize comments, questions and feedback posted by students to Twitter during class. Some of the students have downloaded Tweetdeck to their computers, others post by SMS or by writing questions on a piece of paper. Rankin then projects a giant image of live Tweets in the front of the class for discussion and suggests that students refer back to the messages later when studying.

via How One Teacher Uses Twitter in the Classroom.

I’ve started using twitter to take notes when at events, coming back to a tweet stream that captured in realtime not just what I was thinking- but feedback from my followers.

Watch as social media and  social networking in realtime and in real space becomes normalized behavior in more places over time.

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Posting Usable Code in WordPress With No Plugins

Due to the fact that Worpress decided to get rid of the “Press It” function until 2.6, I have recently had the need to post the code that will allow you to use the “Press It” feature on your own.

As it turns out, it is supposedly very hard to post code in WordPress. If you just copy and paste your code in, WordPress will turn your quote marks into “Smart Quotes”. They look pretty, but do not work with code. So I set about finding a plugin or some other method to correct this.

Everywhere I looked people were recommending different methods. From using plugins and custom fields, to manually editing, and to online converters. I tried them all, but they either didn’t display the code correctly, or messed up my formatting site wide.

So here is my solution, it may have been suggested before, but I sure couldn’t find it with hours of searching and testing. Simply insert this code into your style sheet:

pre {
width: 95%;
overflow: auto;
padding: 10px;
margin: 1em auto;
font-family: "Courier New", Courier, mono;
background-color: #ddd;
color: #555;
border: 1px dotted #999;

Now, when you paste your code into the WordPress editor, highlight it, and select the preformatted option from the “Format” drop down menu.

location of the format menu in the wordpress post editor

The pre tag will preserve your quote marks, spacing, indenting, and other elements.

And thats all you have to do. Your code will work when copied and pasted from the browser. If you have a long line of code, instead of running over everything, this will make a horizontal scroll bar to contain it.

Note: WordPress may apply separate <pre> tags to each line when you select it from the drop-down menu. (I have no idea why, it defeats the whole purpose of <pre> tags) To get around this, either manually add <pre> and </pre> before and after the text under the HTML tab in the edit screen, or apply the formatting with the code all as one line, and add the line breaks in afterward.

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