Know your audience

This week if you follow Premier League football (soccer) here in England you will not have been able to avoid the Diego Costa situation. For all those that don’t follow the Premier League or know Diego Costa, he is one of the top strikers in the world and plays for Chelsea. Diego is a player who plays on the edge and plays the game in an aggressive manner. Last weekend he hit an opposing player twice in the face, was not sent off and in the aftermath managed to wind up an opposing player enough to get that player sent off.

Match of the Day

One of the biggest TV shows about football in the UK is called Match of the Day and it is broadcast on the BBC, which the UK population funds through a licence fee. Match of the Day is a TV programme that is an institution and is one of the oldest shows still running about football, it is a show which is broadcast on Saturday nights and Sunday mornings, it is a show watched by children and families.

When the pundits on Match of the Day had their say on the incident involving Diego Costa they basically passed it off as part of the game. I ask this week – what kind of message is that to send to children? I think this programme has completely forgotten it’s audience; it’s place and who funds it. It has got caught up in trying to create controversy for social media and needs to take a long hard look at itself.

It’s about reaction

It is not Diego Costa’s job to be liked or to play within the rules. He is paid to win football matches for his team. It is up to the referees and media to decide how they are going to react to it. One BBC radio station said that ‘Costa needs referees to keep him in check.’ Again I think this is wrong, it is up to Diego Costa to play the game in the way he wants, it is the referees job to apply the laws of the game.

I have no qualms with late night football shows or football shows on commercial channels and subscription channels reporting on the incident in anyway they see fit as they are trying to get viewers to make money, but the BBC shouldn’t be hunting attention in the same way.

Media

Media is one of the most powerful influencers on society, especially young people so we need to be careful about how we report things. How the media treat the game today will impact on how youngsters watching the game now will play the game in 10 and 20 years to come, it will shape the next generation of British footballers. This is why not just for today but for the future we need to think long and hard about the way we represent the game.

The best marketing is free

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Over the last couple of months I have been doing something I have always wanted to do and that is working for a Professional Wrestling company. It has only been as a volunteer but I have had an absolutely awesome time doing it. The company is called Plymouth Wrestling Association and they are a fantastic group of guys.

I felt really passionately about helping a local promotion out as I want to see more quality live wrestling happening in my local area and I want more people in my area to get in to wrestling. I may not have the ability or the desire to become a performer myself but I have skills in media, PR and communications so I was determined to use those skills to help them. So many people these days either hire their own marketing staff or outsource to a marketing company but me personally I would prefer to see those funds used to improve the product and the company, not to market it.

Unfulfilled promises

When you have something you want to advertise it is tricky to know where to begin. It is so easy for companies to plough money in to advertisements, gaining email addresses for leads etc. etc. etc. but in many cases these will not lead to increased business at anywhere near the rate of investment splashed out. There are too many media organisations making promises to businesses that they can’t keep and sadly too many people getting suckered in by them.

There are so many ways to get attention to your product or business that don’t cost a single penny, which so many people are not exploiting. The best return on investment is when you see increased business from doing something that cost you nothing. So before you think about investing in marketing, why not invest some time and energy in activities that don’t cost anything and see what response you get.

Think creatively

At Plymouth Wrestling Association we had to think a bit creatively this week but because of a bit of creativity we have had a daily feature on the biggest commercial radio station in the area on their breakfast show, we have a slot on the local BBC this Saturday the day before the big show and we are all over social media and the internet. All of this activity has led to us nearing a sell out of tickets before doors open which is an incredible achievement.

Your audience has never been closer and easier to get in direct contact with so lets use these opportunities. Why pay someone to do something you can do yourself. At the end of the day that is what marketing is, I don’t know of many people on this planet who don’t have the ability to let someone else know about something.

Ideas

You don’t need to be a marketing guru to have a good idea of how to get the word out. Ideas aren’t linked to experience or intelligence. So if you are trying to promote something stop and think to yourself, who are your audience? Where are your audience? And how can I reach them?

There is nothing more rewarding than seeing your own hard work pay off and if your willing to work hard at marketing your product you will see the rewards.

Where is the positive news?

Why is the news always filled with such negativity? I think negativity breeds’ negativity and I think if the news industry as a whole covered more positive news stories or covered news stories in a more positive way, the population of the world, as a whole, would be more positive and optimistic.

It seems that regardless of the state of the world, it is the news companies that decide how we feel about it. There seems to be a message, that negativity sells and that people want negative news coverage.

Consequences

Take charities in the news for instance. This week in the UK a big charity has been in the news for negative reasons and I totally agree that this needs to be covered and if something is bad it needs to be reported as such, however it can have consequences for other charities.

Sadly many of the viewing public just want quick and easy news to digest and don’t do any research around it. Worse than this, they will use one news story on a specific case and then start lumping everything in that sector, in the same boat as bad. It’s like you never hear in the news of great things charities are doing day to day across the globe, because it isn’t deemed newsworthy but some how a negative story is? It’s like everyone is ok, until they do something wrong or something perceived to be wrong and then the media are interested. After one negative news story about a charity, some members of the audience will start thinking every charity is like that, which is not the case.

Responsibility

The news has no responsibility to be balanced but I think we all should have as human beings, the sad thing is that the news doesn’t help. The news plays a part in affecting how we think and that is why I think it is important that we are mindful of how it is affecting us.

I do think the news industry is in a hard spot though, as it seems these days that any news story can be twisted to support any argument and with more people consuming news than ever before, the global impact a news story can have is mind boggling. A perfectly innocent intended article can be latched on to, shared around the world and copied, before a news company knows it and can cause unintended damage and by the time it has been removed it is too late.

Power

With the changing face of news, news companies have evolved from print to now being digital content providers and I think this has changed how articles are written and the subjects they cover. I hope that the industry doesn’t lose sight of their place, the power they have and how they can affect the world for good and for bad.

How Clickbait has made the world focus more on headlines than quality content

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It seems we are a generation that are a sucker for a headline and will click links based merely on what they say. We get overexcited about what we are about to click through to and then 9 times out of 10 are left disappointed.

Viewing statistics are King

In today’s world no one seems to care about content and brand, all people care for is views so that they have impressive figures to boast to potential advertisers and sponsors. If I were running an organisation that created content I would want my brand to be known by what it provided, rather than how they sell what they do.

If something is being heavily promoted it is usually because the company behind it isn’t confident enough in the product. As a world we need to become a more discerning audience. I hope that one day that instead of being guided towards things by well-worded links that instead we go directly to the content providers that we value and that we think provide great content.

Sharing content has never been easier

I think because sharing content is so easy these days, there is so much out there and everyone is fighting to get noticed. This isn’t the only problem, one thing I notice on my social media feeds is that someone has been duped in to watching something through clickbait and then it then shows up in all their friends newsfeeds, so they in turn have a look and not before long the video, article or media has spread like wildfire. Hitting a share, retweet or like button I think at times has made it too easy for people to share things and has contributed to the clickbait world we live in.

The biggest and most successful companies in the world are the ones that provide the best service or product. If you are a growing company that wants to be big then you need to act like a successful company in the way you deliver your product, brand or service.

Engaging an audience

As a company you surely don’t want an audience that clicks through once and then never again, you surely want to be a company where your audience continues to engage with you. If you have to hide your brand to get people to clickthrough because you are regularly clickbaiting, then what is the value of clickbait?

You know you are a successful company when people are talking about your organisation without you having to use clickbait. There is more value in your audience posting things online off their own back, than there is in you posting things talking about how great your own company is.

100 and counting

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Last week WordPress sent me a notification to let me know I had just posted my 100th blog. I have achieved this in a little over a year and the great thing is that I don’t think subjects to talk about are drying up.

That means on average, I have shared my thoughts on a subject in the form of a blog every 4 days. When I started this blog, I didn’t know how long I would keep it up for or how regular it would become. I started with one blog a week, but found I had lots more to say than one blog a week, so I upped it to 3 quite quickly and since then I have kept it up. Without fail every Monday, Wednesday and Friday I will now post a blog here.

Understanding the world around us

I think the world evolves faster than we can think about it at times and there is so much going on, that you will never be able to have an opinion or thought on everything. That being said however I am a huge fan of people sharing their thoughts and experiences and it is only by people doing, this that we can try and understand the world around us.

Through my blog I have been able to talk with some very interesting people and I have seen my blogs read in countries, that I might never get the chance to visit. That’s the great thing about a blog, it may not change the world but it can impact lives around the world. We all possess enormous power to influence people for the better and I for one am determined to use it to its fullest.

Your opinion matters

For those that have never blogged or too worried about what people may think if they did – I have one thing to say to you – your opinion is no less valid than anyone else’s and by voicing your opinion, you might empower others to do the same.

No one has to listen to what I say, but no one has the right to stop you from speaking. So many people would love the opportunity to speak their mind and speak up, but because of their situation they can’t, so don’t let your opportunity go to waste.

There is an audience out there for you

People out there want to read other peoples stories and thoughts. There is an audience out there for everyone and the Internet, social media and blogs have made it easy for bloggers, to reach an audience and for people to find blogs, which interest them.

So thanks to everyone who has joined me on my blogging journey so far. I hope I have entertained you or inspired you in some way. Here is to the next 100 blogs.

Pride

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A big way to drive traffic to a blog, is putting a link to your blog posts on your social media feeds. Last year when I started the blog I did that for every blog post, publicizing every new blog post on my Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Tumblr. This helped me attract a lot of traffic to the site, with Facebook being my biggest driver of traffic.

Last year I however stopped publicizing my blog on Facebook. I kept publicizing it on all the other platforms but not on Facebook, after I saw friends posting negative things about my blog. After reading the comments my pride was hurt and I didn’t feel confident sharing it on that platform any more, as my blog was all about trying to do something positive, so I wanted to shield myself and the blog from anything negative.

Missing out

My pride and confidence took a bit of a hit, my opinions and my blogs didn’t change but I was missing out on a huge market for my blog. My pride was hurt. I talk a lot in my blogs about stepping out and being confident, but sadly I fell short of what I blog about.

In my blog I stand for a lot of things and am outspoken because this is the way I like to live. I would rather be standing for an opinion and speaking my mind rather than standing against something or hiding my thoughts. I don’t quite 100% agree with it but I do like the quote “if you don’t stand for something you will fall for anything.” I would also rather try and fail than fail to try.

A few weeks ago I got brave and posted a link to one of my blogs on Facebook:

https://adamsibley.wordpress.com/2015/07/08/kingdom-building-not-church-building/

I was blown away by the amount of positive feedback I got and the amount of traffic that came to my blog because of the link. It built my confidence so much that I will now be putting more blog links on my Facebook. It is strange what a bunch of people clicking a like button and typing on computer keyboard can do.

Affecting people

If I was outspoken in an outrageous non-politically correct way, I would understand the negative response but I just never thought I would get any negative feedback from trying to do something positive. I will learn however, that whatever response I get positive or negative, that responses mean I am affecting people and that is a good thing.

I think we are all very prideful people at heart, but a key thing I am looking forward to master is how to take a comment and use it to help educate me, drive me and improve me. You may not agree with everything I think or believe in, but if you don’t I would be more than interested in hearing what you think and believe in. If we all instead of reacting with negative comments, used social media and the Internet to share our own thoughts and beliefs I think the world would be a better place.

A thought and opinion has more chance of impacting the world if it is shared and if you believe in that opinion enough, what people say about it shouldn’t matter.

Promotion

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If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?

When I think about my blog and my current book project, that old philosophical question above always comes to my mind.

I started this blog and my book because I wanted to create and share high quality content with the world, which would impact and influence it in some way. The further I get in to these projects, the more I feel that creating the content is only a very small part of the battle. In a world, which is over-saturated with content, getting people to view your content, over others is a very hard battle.

Wishing content was king

When you start off on projects like this, you have no reputation and it is only by sticking at it that you can build a reputation. Reputation is what leads many people to your work and without it convincing people to view your content is very hard. You can have the greatest content, a great life-changing message but that has no bearing on how many views it will get, which I find sad. I wish people searched out blogs, articles and books based on the content, not on who has written them or who recommends them.

I believe there are millions of gems hidden all over the internet but just haven’t be viewed yet. I don’t think quality of content should be judged on the amount of views it has had, but if you goal is to impact the world then the number of views is hugely important.

Writing in hope

When you create content for the Internet you can normally see how many people have viewed it but you will never know how many people it actually impacted. Some people may read your content and forget about it in a heartbeat, but some will have a reaction to it and it may change their way of thinking. I think as a writer online you keep writing in the continual hope that you are affecting someone somewhere with the words you write.

Knowing that writing the content for my blog and book was only part of the battle, I have been working hard in recent months to promote both. It is important to remember that if you don’t promote your work then who will? I wish the world was more organic and I hate self-promoting with a passion, but if I want to keep to the reasons why I started both projects in the first place, I have to do it.

A snowball

I see self-promotion as a snowball. I tweet, email and post about things in my blog and book, in the hope that the people I connect with will be impacted by it and then promote it to their friends. I’m the one gathering the first few snowflakes in my hand but come a few months, I hope there will be a group of us pushing a gigantic snowball down a hill.

Writing something online and expecting people to read it is the equivalent of just talking at someone and not having a conversation. When we promote our work we can help build that conversation and it is that conversation that helps give our content meaning and attention.