All-caps, all-me Twitter accounts! A fabulous police department Facebook page! It’s time for Things I Love / Things I Hate.
This week I’m launching a new regular mini-series on things I think are awesome and … the other stuff. Let me know if you find it useful!
I’ve found it’s often easier to see a principle when you can work from examples, so that’s what this series is intended to do.
In this 20-minute episode, I talk about:
- Finding the right self-promotion balance on your Twitter stream — without turning into a shouty bore
- The key factor that I think makes the Bangor PD’s Facebook page works so well
- Thoughts on creating engaging content that isn’t stuffy or fluffy, but focuses on goals
- My advice on choosing and working with editors and copyeditors
- Letting you know about a place to find super-qualified professional writers and content marketers
Note: February 29 will be a special Q&A episode — drop a burning content, business, or work/life balance question in the comments below, or you can grab me on Twitter @soniasimone.
The Show Notes
- The Bangor, Maine PD Facebook page
- A bit more on Sgt. Tim Cotton
- A link to the individual Bangor PD post I read on the podcast
- Our Certified Content Marketers listing (there’s also a sign-up box if you want to join the waiting list for the course)
Sonai Simone: Greetings, superfriends! My name is Sonia Simone and these are the Confessions of a Pink-Haired Marketer. For those who don’t know me, I’m a co-founder and the chief content officer for Rainmaker Digital.
I’m also a champion of running your business and your life according to your own rules. As long as you don’t lie and you don’t hurt people, this podcast is your official pink permission slip to run your business or your career exactly the way you think you should.
I have an idea for a regular series here in Pink-Haired Marketing Land, and that’s “Things I love and things I hate.” I think it’s easier to learn by example, so I thought I’d come up with just one or two things that I think are fairly disastrous, and then balance that with something fantastic that I think is hitting the exact right notes.
All Me, All Caps
In order to protect the pathetic, I’m not including this person’s Twitter handle, but let me just read to you from a Twitter stream that I ran across:
People can’t stop talking about my podcast!
I only have worlds BEST entrepreneurs on live.
People tell me they learn more from my podcast than they do from expensive colleges!
People say [another podcaster’s] podcasts are boring and stuffy — They are all switching to [my podcast]!
An added bonus is how many of these words are in all caps. The person best known for this style is Donald Trump, and let’s just say … if you aren’t Donald Trump, just don’t. Maybe even if you are Donald Trump, just don’t, but that’s a matter of opinion.
This person literally posts nothing else on Twitter but shouty bragging about his podcast and the occasional story about his business. No one else is successful. No one else is worth listening to. No one else has a book worth reading or a podcast worth listening to. It’s the All-Me, All-Caps show. There’s one volume: high. There’s one topic: How awesome he is.
The only reason it isn’t boring is that it’s kind of hilarious — and not in a good way.
By the way, someone on our team met this individual at a live event, and he did the exact same thing in person. So.
It’s ok to toot your own horn — intelligently
I have no problem with letting people know you have good stuff. You need to do that. But when you’re coming across as a parody account of yourself, you may have a problem.
For one thing, let’s talk about the exclamation points. As Terry Pratchett wrote, “Multiple exclamation marks are a sure sign of a diseased mind.” Cool your jets a little there. More is not better.
There are a lot of good ways to use social, but every good social account is in some way part of an ecosystem. You’re sharing something that has value for others — insights, links, cute pictures of baby animals, whatever it is. An ecosystem of one is not a healthy ecosystem.
I don’t mind some bragging, if you have real accomplishments! A lot of folks listening to this show need to brag a little bit more. But that shouldn’t be the only thing on your stream.
A constant stream of I CAN’T HEAR YOU OVER THE SOUND OF HOW AWESOME I AM is not going to help you meet your goals, because it just isn’t convincing. Show people how awesome you are, don’t just shout it.
Again, there are a lot of ways to use social media. You don’t have to spend hours every day having in-depth interactions with strangers. But you do have to deliver some kind of value. This ain’t good.
Things I love: The Bangor, Maine Police Department Facebook Page
Because I’m so awesome (see what I did there), I was a somewhat early adopter to this page. In other words, I found out them before the page got featured on NPR and The New York Times. Go me.
Anyway, Sergeant Tim Cotton of the Bangor, Maine PD writes a completely amazing Facebook page that really shows someone using content in a way that’s very fresh and very different, and at the same time very sustainable, at least until he retires.
There are about 33,000 people who live in Bangor, and more than 100,000 fans of the page.
The page works mainly because it has a very, very distinct voice. The writer is a veteran cop, and the page isn’t a LOL-fest, but it always features a nice dry humor from someone who you can tell has seen a lot.
I’ll give you a link, but sometimes the links go south for specific posts on Facebook, so let me just read you an example.
This year the heavy snow and cold, winter weather seemed to avoid hitting our little piece of paradise.
But, like an attractive young lady tries to avoid the kid with the Rubik’s Cube at the dance right up until he mentions that he was accepted at MIT and received a 911 Carrera 4S for his 8th grade graduation, things can change in a moment.
If you want your Porsche to be located in your parking space tomorrow morning, we suggest that you move it to a safe location that does not include a City of Bangor street.
That’s correct. From 11 pm tonight until 6 am tomorrow morning we are under a parking ban on ALL CITY STREETS.
There are no exceptions. We do not want to tow your car. We do not want to ticket your car. We do not want to plow your car under a snowbank. We want you to be happy. Really, really happy. That is exactly why we warn you in advance in several different ways.
The men and women of the Bangor Police Department will be here. We do not have a Porsche.
Sergeant Cotton is a great example of letting a writing voice develop from real experiences, a real point of view, and a willingness to not be super stuffy. The page isn’t “professional” in the sense of being dry or official sounding. But it’s not clowning around — he’s just added in enough personality that you’ll actually read it and get the information. It’s relevant, it’s interesting, it’s engaging. It’s really nicely done, in a space where you don’t get a lot of excellent content happening. Bravo.
One of the things I love is answering questions from folks like you. 🙂 Leave me one at PinkHairedMarketer.FM so I can answer in a future show!
This one is from Bruno Winck, who has a very nice presence on Twitter, might I add:
If you had to find someone to edit/copywrite your writing, how would you choose between several?
Just off the bat, one thing I’d recommend is that you want to have a few people that you can tap for any critical business function. So don’t find one editor, maybe have two, and split the work. That gives you bandwidth if people take a sick day or go on vacation or just get really busy.
To quote super old-school grumpy marketing cat Dan Kennedy,
One is the worst number in business.
Always make sure you have backups in place for people or processes that are critical to your business.
Editing is a real blend of talent and practice — and of course there are editors at all levels. In my experience, with anything along these lines there’s one way to find out how good they are, and that’s to give them some work. The person with a monster resume may or may not be the most excellent.
Don’t ask people to work for free, that’s lame and all the good people will tell you to go away. But take 3-5 out for a spin by assigning them a piece at their requested rate and seeing what comes back. Obviously this is a process that will happen over time, unless you want to write 5 pieces and do a trial all at once.
Pay attention to:
- How are they to work with? If the person is talented but they get on your nerves, or skilled but flaky about deadlines, you’ll want to keep looking. They’ll be on their best behavior with this sample piece, so if they’re not good to work with now, they never will be.
- Do you like the writing you get back? How much transformation are you looking for? Do you want help just catching errors, or do you want someone who can help you sound just better? The latter will cost more.
- Have they left a typo or some other outright error? This for me would be a cardinal sin. It does happen in day-to-day work sometimes, no one is perfect. But in an “audition” piece they should be a little obsessive, IMO. Good editors are usually perfectionists.
As far as where to find this person, one place to look is our community of certified content marketers. They’re not going to be the cheapest option, but if getting a pro isn’t the cheapest option.
You can go to Copyblogger.com, and under products we have an option for “Certified Writers.” That’s both a list of the folks we have certified and a box where you can sign up if you happen to be a content marketer or writer yourself and want to go through the training and then apply to be certified. Some of those folks will also do editing and copyediting.
If you do want to get on the waiting list to sign up for the program, just realize it’s not a given that you’ll pass — a member of the editorial staff looks closely at a selection of your work and ranks it on a 100-point scale. It comes down to, Would we feel professionally comfortable staking our own reputations on recommending you.
By the way, to be clear on our financial relationship with those folks, although it’s in “Products,” we don’t receive any cut of the fees from the certified writers — they just pay the cost of the course they take to be certified. They’re just people who have elected to get more advanced education on content and then have applied to be certified. They also need to stay current in our Authority community, which has an annual membership fee, so they stay up to date on the latest information on topics like SEO, content strategy, and the other stuff that they need to do a really excellent job for you.
Ask your own question!
February 29 is going to be a QA podcast, so let me know your thoughts in the comments or on Twitter! I’m @soniasimone.