Wednesday, June 23, 2010

16 Ways to Be Interesting Online, Lady GAGA Aside

We've all heard this before. If your business is boring, no one will talk about it. If no one talks about it, you might not get referrals, even if you are really great at what you do. And you certainly will not get "buzz." So, how to be interesting online, which is the way most folks will meet you? You don't have to be Lady GAGA, but a little flair now and then won't hurt. Here are some quick and simple ideas to get you rolling:

1. Take a break from your own content and comment on other people's posts, blogs, photos, and videos. A little goes a long way.

2. If you've  been posting text for a while, why not make a change and post a photo or video?

3. If you've never published a blog post series, try it. Start with 3 or so related items, like books by the same author, social media tools, movie reviews, whatever. It's good experience, you can link back to your previous posts which is great for SEO, and you can reuse the content for an e-newsletter, screencast, or e-book.

4. Write an e-book. Just a short one, to start, on a topic that interests you, or maybe an extension of a blog post you did a while ago. If you can't think of an idea, take some popular blog posts you published previously, edit them, and rework them into a book format with a good progression of topics. Start with a 12-15 page book to start. Then you are in a good position to write a longer book people might actually pay for.

5. Attend an interesting event, and cover it in a new way. For example, if you've never live tweeted before, try it out and practice on the spot tweeting, it's really a lot of fun. Tip: use Tweetchat if you don't want to keep retyping the hashtag. If you want to try video but find it easier to just take photos, try a program like Animoto, which is a lot of fun and free for a one-minute video.

6. Experiment with sound. I just found a new resource called Tubeminator, thanks to a tweet by Timothy Ferris, that converts videos to sound. Cool! I haven't tried it yet, let me know if you do.

7. Find new ways to stay organized and tell people about it. Readers love productivity tools, and anything that makes their hectic online lives easier. I have blogged before about my own online discoveries, like Boxnet, Evernote, NutshellMail, and others.

8. For that matter, find ways to do anything better, and tell people about it.

9. Use the most interesting graphics possible in your posts. I liked how blogger Julie Roads, (Writing Roads) recently used paintings done by an artist friend of hers to illustrate her blog. Some bloggers also take a technology break now and then, and use simple handwritten lists to make their point.

10. Compare things. Tech Crunch and Mashable always have comparison of popular programs, like Wordpress vs. Typepad, or Tweetdeck vs. Hootsuite. I'm getting ready to write a post comparing some online video tools.

11. Increase reader involvement in your blog posts, e-newsletters, or social networking, by running a contest. Ask readers to post their opinions, feedback, or reviews for one of your products, and offer prizes in return.

12. Think you can write like Seth Godin? Change your writing style around a bit by trying a post in someone else's style. Give whoever it is credit, and link to them.

13. How To's are always of interest, but make sure it's a hot topic. Check what's trending on Google or Twitter to see what folks are talking about, and if it matches up with something you're good at, explain away.

14. If you have an interesting hobby, don't be shy about sharing it, it adds depth to your brand. Peter Shankman, (HARO), has had some great skydiving videos over the years!

15. Promote something cool you have coming up in advance. If you're planning a great giveaway, webinar, or product launch, post a mini announcement ahead of time, and it will get people interested.

16. Tell a great story. Many write about the importance of authenticity and transparency online, and a good way to show this is by telling a terrific story that reveals the true you. Don't be afraid to admit to a weakness you might have, or a recent fear or failure. Chances are, most readers will identify with you in some way, and want to connect further. One of my weaknesses is that I am now hungry and therefore just shortened these tips to 16, from my original plan of 21, but I may write another installment if you would like.

Is anyone going "Gaga" over you? Please feel free to comment and let me know ways you have found to be interesting online, and it's OK if, for now, you're the only one who thinks so. As long as you can keep a "Poker Face" about it. (Ha!)

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