For two and a half years, every two weeks I sifted through over 140 blog posts and podcasts that talk about how to build successful online businesses. I found the best content, summarized it, added a bit of my commentary, and delivered it to the inboxes of entrepreneurs around the world…for free. I’m no longer writing Signals in the Noise issues (because my business partners and I are focusing on other parts of Clarity Lab), but please enjoy these archived issues. There’s a ton of useful information in them!
1. Launching metaphors.
“In the quest for meaningful innovation, let’s not get lost in the literalness of our endeavors. It’s the feelings, not the facts that count most. After all, everyone knows that ‘all the world’ isn’t really ‘a stage,’ Facebook isn’t actually a book, and there are probably more interesting people in the world to have a beer with than that man in the Dos Equis commercials.” That’s Douglas Van Praet on of my favorite topics: the power of metaphors in our businesses. From naming products to writing sales page copy to creating compelling email subject lines, metaphors play a huge role in whether or not your venture will be successful. Ignore their power and your business will most likely start taking on water. (See…metaphors are everywhere! Your business is like a sailboat, yo.)
+ If you want to geek out into an amazing work on cognitive science, cognitive linguistics and metaphor theory (because I know you’re all sitting there wanting to take a deep dive into this topic), I highly recommend Lakoff and Johnson’s seminal work in this field: Philosophy in the Flesh. I’ve read it three times and will probably read it again. Soooo good.
2. Snooze button or send button?
Ever wonder why you’re not getting as many responses to business emails you send? It might be that you’re sending emails at the wrong time of the day. Here’s Forbes on when to send your business emails. (hint: it’s when you’ll likely be in stage 4 sleep). “Because the bulk of emails are sent during the workday, it’s easier for someone to reply to you in the early hours of the morning (like 6 a.m. or 7 a.m.) or after work hours (around 8 p.m.), regardless of the day of the week. It comes down to the simple theory of competition: Fewer emails are sent at off-peak hours, which means someone will feel like he or she has more time to read what you said and respond accordingly.”
I’d like to see some stats of email habits of online entrepreneurs who run their own businesses. Because everyone I know of in this space? Doesn’t start their day until about 10 am.
3. Homeward found.
“MoneyTips, an online community and information resource, recently surveyed 592 small business owners and telecommuters—and managed to reach some sound conclusions about their lives and experiences.” The Observer, on the hidden realities of people who work from home. Things are looking up for us work-from-homers looking at these stats. We are happier, more productive, have good financial realities, work around 25 hours a week, and often conduct business in our underwear. I’m sitting on a beach next to Lake Michigan as I’m working and writing this newsletter. Their research seems to have gotten one detail wrong: I’m wearing a swimsuit, not underwear.
+ From another behind-the-scenes angle comes a podcast from Darren Rowse, at Problogger, about what professional bloggers are earning from their blog businesses. The answer? Not as much as the Observer’s stats above are showing.
“Businesses are also waking up to the fact that if you want to get people to visit your site, then it’s best to present them with well-written and useful material. However, that doesn’t always mean that they’re willing to increase budgets in order to employ skilled SEO copywriters, instead, many just create content themselves.” That’s Kerry Butter, from Xen, on who ends up doing SEO copywriting for small businesses. He’s got a great beginner’s guide to Search Engine Optimization copywriting if that someone is you in your business. My default setting is to write for humans first but to not ignore the basics of SEO writing for the Google Bot. All kneel before the Google Bot.
5. Elon Tusk.
You’re an entrepreneur. You wouldn’t be reading this if you weren’t one. This means that you’re probably a bit competitive, or, at the very least, that you compare yourself to other entrepreneurs. Like Elon Musk. Here’s Brian Sack, with brilliant advice about how to talk to your child about Elon Musk, because if you haven’t yet compared yourself to him, your kids will soon compare you to him: “If your child asks why you’ve still failed to build a toolshed in the backyard while Elon Musk creates multiple corporations with the snap of his fingers: Make sure your child understands that Elon Musk is an abomination created in human form — the love child of two ender-demons, Gorshak and Melkanor from the seventh circle of Hell. Tell him/her that he was born specifically to make everyone else in the world look like serial underachievers and feel bad about themselves.”
6. Change of seenery.
“Right off the bat, the Facebook algorithm change gives priority to content that is directly posted by friends. According to Facebook’s blog, ‘content posted directly by the friends you care about, such as photos, videos, status updates or links, will be higher up in News Feed so you are less likely to miss it.’” Small Business Trend’s Michael Pegg on what the latest change to Facebook’s algorithm means for your business. He has some great advice on how to use Facebook for your business that’s important to be aware of, even if Facebook hadn’t (yet again) changed something major about what you see in your feed. I think Facebook’s algorithms are engineered to decrease productivity, because I’ve noticed an uptick in the amount of funny cat videos showing up in my feed lately, like this one, which nearly made me pee my pants from laughing so hard.
Maybe it’s just me, but I’ve trained myself to ignore any products, programs, or emails that use overhyped copy. Much in the same way that I ignore ads on websites, even when they are flashing and blinking, I block hype copy from getting into my consciousness. I bet you’ve trained yourself to do the same thing when you see a headline like “Five secrets to becoming a superhero copywriter… you WON’T BELIEVE number four! Blech. (No, I probably would believe number four. What I can’t believe is that you’re writing a headline like that and expecting it to work.)
As Peter Boyle, from Crazy Egg, says, “Hype lowers trust. It’s as simple as that. We know that people buy from those they trust, so over-hyping your copy is a major no-no. Instead of taking the easy way out and creating hyperbolic copy, you need to create copy aimed at helping your prospects whilst using the language they want to see.” A big +1 on that.
8. The death knell of email.
Here’s Christian Renella and Hernan Amiune, from the startup MT Online, on why they killed email and meetings in their company, and how they have thrived as a result: “Since 2007 we have analyzed in detail each one of the tasks we carry out with the goal of scaling our earnings exponentially while keeping our number of work hours the same. As a result, six years ago we eliminated email, three years ago we eliminated meetings, and now we work without project managers and have a four-day work week. Here’s why we implemented these three changes and how we did it.” I’m starting to feel that the only way to solve the email overwhelm crisis we all deal with is to stop emailing each other so much and to keep our emails crazy short.
+ That’s what Ash Ambirge is doing. Waging war on it: Email is a disease and why my new email policy is going to piss the world off.
+ And here’s what Ash seems to be experimenting with: a little email signature that explains why your email is only three or five sentences long. I think I might need to start with a ten sentence long version and work my way down.
9. Write it like you stole it.
Pablo Picasso said that “good artists copy, and great artists steal.” If copywriting is an artform (and it is to me), here’s a great place to steal copy from (I mean, “get inspiration” from): Swipe Worthy.
“Podcasting has experienced a renaissance in the last couple of years. According to RawVoice, which tracks 20,000 shows, the number of unique monthly podcast listeners has tripled to 75 million, up from 25 million five years ago.” Kyle Racki, co-founder of Proposify, on why now is one of the best times in the history of the internet to start your own podcast. This post goes into great depth on how to go about launching your own podcast. From how to script to how to interview to recording gear, editing software, and ways to publish your podcast episodes, this is an incredible overview. If you’ve been thinking of starting your own podcast as a way to do your content marketing (and, therefore, increase your businesses revenue), start here. Podcasting is the new blogging.
+ Want a little one-on-one coaching to help you start your podcast and make sure you knock it out of the park? Check out my friend Doug Foresta’s coaching services for coaches, authors, and speakers. Doug is the bomb.
As always, thank you for spending a little time with me in this newsletter today! I hope my hunting and filtering of content on the web over the past couple weeks has given you some great resources to help you move something forward in your business (or at the very least, given you a little laugh for the day.)
I’m taking a gander at my tracking stats, and it looks like it’s been awhile since you’ve shared something about Signals in the Noise with your friends. (I’m kidding. I can’t see that kind of data. Only Facebook can.)
Seriously, though, if you enjoyed today’s issue, I’d love it more than 10 pounds of fresh-picked Michigan blueberries if you shared a little something about it with your peeps.
Thanks in advance if you do, and here’s some links to make it easy for you:
Until next time, may you make kick ass progress on growing your business and helping more people in the world.
Signals in the Noise
p.s. You can find the archive of past issues of this newsletter right here.