Who Is Your Accountability Partner?

Author: Mic Johnson, talking about the importance of accountability.

Over the nearly 9 years that Blue Gurus has been helping companies share their stories through blogging, better leverage LinkedIn, and create websites they can be proud of, I’ve come across several instances where organizational accountability issues have occurred.

Here are a couple of real world examples we’ve seen too many times over the years:

Accountability Example 1 – LinkedIn Training

We train employees on how to create a great LinkedIn profile and how to better leverage it for sales and content marketing. Companies pay us to do this and give their employees the opportunity to participate in the training.

But sometimes some of the people who went through the training never update their profiles. Even worse, they go back to not using LinkedIn effectively/regularly.

accountability

I often joke during the sales process, “Look, if you aren’t going to implement what you’re paying us to teach your employees, then just cut us a check and save all of us the time.”

Obviously it’s said in jest, but I want to get the point across. If you’re paying for us to train your employees on LinkedIn, then it’s important to hold them accountable once the training is complete. I’ve yet to hear a good reason to do otherwise!

Accountability Example 2 – Blogging Clients

We’ve been working with clients for years to help them share their stories and execute a weekly blog strategy. When we start working with a new client, the process is designed to be as simple as possible.

Here’s how it works: We meet with clients monthly to brainstorm ideas and topics. Next, we assign people on the team to write the posts (and they have an ENTIRE MONTH to write those posts). Finally, the content is due when we get back together a month later and repeat the process all over again.

The goal is simple: Give us four rough drafts a month, and we’ll do everything else. We edit, proof, come up with titles, publish the posts to their website, and then share them on their social media accounts.

Even though the process itself is simple, we’ve still had clients who struggle to get four rough drafts written per month. Sure there are legitimate reasons sometimes as life and business get in the way, but a big part of our job is to hold them accountable every month.

I often say “I’m a personal trainer for your blog.” Why? Because most of the companies we work with have told us that they know their blog wouldn’t get done if we weren’t their accountability partner. We don’t drop balls. And our job is to make sure you don’t either.

It’s easy to put it off or not do it when you’re trying to hold yourself accountable. But when we’re showing up every month, and you’re paying us to do what we do, then you’re going to feel more of a responsibility to get it done. That’s just human nature.

But again, I’ve yet to hear a good excuse why companies wouldn’t want to share their stories on a regular basis. How else will people know what you do, how you can help them, what you do in the community, etc?

What About You?

Do you do a good job of holding yourself accountable or do you need an accountability partner to make sure you do what you say you’re going to do? What other examples do you have of accountability issues? Leave a comment below or drop me an email at mic@bluegurus.com.

As always, thank you for taking the time to read. We appreciate it!

Everyone Loves a Good Case Study

Author: Mic Johnson, talking about the power of a well-written case study. 

One style of writing most people like to read is a well-written case study. Ironically, I’ve been blogging for the better part of the last eight years and I haven’t written many case studies myself.

Leave it to my wife Missy to “one up” me and write one for her business, MJMeetings. While I’m her “blog coach”, she came up with the idea all on her own and wrote a very effective piece. I’ve included her case study below. Here are a few things I really liked about it:

  1. Formatting

    I loved the simple layout of the post:

    -Challenge/Opportunity
    -Response/Solution
    -Outcome/Results
    -Observations from the Client

    It makes it very easy for the reader to know exactly what they’re in for.

  2. It Educates People About How She Helps Her Clients

    Without bragging, the case study educates people about how Missy was able to help one of her clients. In addition, one of the challenges for many businesses is educating people on who their target clients are. I can assure you that many people had no idea that Missy worked with nonprofit events in Kansas City or that a nonprofit could even afford to use her services.

  3. The Case Study Serves as a Marketing Piece

    Now that she has a case study about how she helped a nonprofit client, she can share it with prospects who may have similar types of events. The pictures in the post also provide a visual representation of some of the work Missy did. Finally, the case study will be one of several featured on her new website in the months to come.

  4. You Just Can’t Beat a Great Client Testimonial

    Missy can talk until she’s blue in the face about the value she brings as a 20-year meeting and event planning professional, but when a client is willing to share their hands on experience in working with her, it’s worth it’s weight in gold.

Take a look at the case study below. What do you think? Have you or your company written case studies? I’d love to hear what kind of success you’ve had with them. Leave a comment below or drop me an email at mic@bluegurus.com.

Missy-and-Melissa-450x600Post written by Missy Johnson, Principal, MJMeetings, LLC | Meetings Consultant | Gourmet Food & Wine Enthusiast | Sports Fan

Challenge/Opportunity

The World Outreach Foundation Kansas City (WOFKC) is a non-profit organization whose mission is to provide healthcare services to the homeless of Kansas City and in underserved developing countries.

Established in 2014, the main annual fundraiser to support this mission is a black-tie gala called Dancing with a Mission (DWAM). Approaching the fourth year of the event, MJMeetings was brought onboard to professionalize the event planning and elevate the overall attendee experience.

Planned mostly by one full-time staff and volunteers in the past, the organization realized that while their event had built momentum, in order to keep attendance and revenues growing, it was necessary to bring in the experience of a professional event producer.

Response/Solution

The event had typically attracted around 450 people but the goal was to reach 500 while also elevating the overall experience for an audience that comes back year after year.

MJMeetings worked with the Executive Director and the Gala Chair (a volunteer) to create several strategic documents and elements that had never been used before:

-A comprehensive planning timeline which highlighted all tasks, vendor deadlines and details to keep the project planning moving forward proactively.

-An itemized budget document that allowed for tracking all revenues and expenses in real time and allowed the planning team to make decisions affecting the budget more effectively.

-A reimagined stage and room set for enhanced audience enjoyment and overall improved look-and-feel which gave the attendees and participants something new.

-A focus on expert negotiation of all expenses and analysis of overall spend to keep expenses within budget and revenues growing, thereby allowing for net financial gain even AFTER paying for consulting services provided by MJMeetings.

Outcome/Results

The event goals were reached…attendance increased by 15% and the net financial gain was $70,000 over the previous year, almost a 50% increase in fundraising to support their important mission.

Feedback from attendees, sponsors and other stakeholders continues to be positive and the organization is once again partnering with MJMeetings on the 2018 DWAM gala.

Observations from the Client – Jerry Smith, Executive Director

“The main fundraiser for WOFKC has been, since 2014, Dancing with a Mission. The event has grown over the years and the amount of work needed to coordinate and plan the event has increased exponentially.

In 2017, for the first time, we decided to hire an event professional to oversee and manage the event. This was a major step for us as previous events had all been managed “in house” but we chose Missy to be our event planner and the results were transformational.

We anticipated that the planning would be more effective under a professional, but Missy’s expertise also allowed us to extend the boundaries of the event itself. Her ideas and suggestions greatly improved the event on the night and her diligence and timely management on all the vendors and performers meant the stress on the committee members was far lower than previous years, and the results better.

It can be a difficult decision for organizations to take the step of hiring a professional organizer. Some may be, as we were, concerned about the cost but I can assure anyone thinking of hiring Missy that you will get more than your money’s worth not only in the increased efficiency of your planning efforts and the new ideas she will bring to the table but also in her skill as a negotiator that will yield you better pricing in many areas too. The feedback we received from our vendors, donors and participants was uniformly positive and all appreciated having a professional in charge of the event this year. I highly recommend Missy for any event you are planning.”

If you’re looking for expertise to elevate your next meeting or event, you can reach me at missy@mjmeetings.com or 913-645-6649.

Blogging 101: Having trouble figuring out what to blog about? Start with a picture.

By Jason Terry, talking about blogging and using pictures as the starting point for your next blog post.

Something everyone struggles with when it comes to blogging is finding inspiration for your next great story. A story that’s heart warming. Or scary. Maybe chuckle inducing. But most importantly, interesting.

Blogging 101: Start With a Picture

We set up blogging teams at the companies we work with. And one of the first things we teach the blog team is that a story needs to start with a picture. Or if the idea is already there, they still have to figure out a featured image that represents their story.

As I sat down to write my blog post for this week, I opened up my iPhone photo gallery. I wanted to see what’s been going on over the past couple of weeks that would be worth talking about. And because I take pictures often to capture interesting moments, I had a bunch to choose from.

LinkedIn Training at TPP

Pictures Tell The Story: TPP Being Prepared for Training

Pictures Tell The Story: TPP Being Prepared for Training

I was recently at TPP for a second round of LinkedIn training. I was so impressed that every single person came to the room with pen and paper, ready to take notes, that I had to take a picture. I was impressed with their professionalism and that they came to the room prepared to learn. I could have written an entire blog about fostering a company culture of being prepared based on this picture.

Lenexa Public Market Ribbon Cutting

Pictures Tell the Story: Lenexa Public Market Ribbon Cutting

Pictures Tell the Story: Lenexa Public Market Ribbon Cutting

My wife and I recently attended the Lenexa Public Market ribbon cutting event. If you weren’t aware, there’s a bunch of development happening in Lenexa at 87th and I-435. It’s called Lenexa City Center and it’s basically in our back yard. I’m excited because more businesses and restaurants should be within walking distance over the next couple of years. (Fingers crossed for a Chipotle.) I have a dozen pictures I could have used to talk about the Public Market opening and the anchor tenants like Roasterie Cafe, Chewology, Topp’d Pizza and more.

A Random Act of Kindness

Pictures Tell the Story: Shelly Edwards at Panera and her Random Act of Kindness

Pictures Tell the Story: Shelly Edwards at Panera and her Random Act of Kindness

I was meeting someone at the Panera at College and Metcalf. I think about a thousand people have their satellite office at that Panera. When I walked up to the register and ordered my coffee, Shelly Edwards told me that it was on the house. And that she wanted me to have a great day. #payitforward

That random act of kindness really surprised me and made me happy. I could do an entire blog post on why Random Acts of Kindness often come full circle, especially in business.

That’s a Wrap

Pictures Tell The StoryI had three more pictures I wanted to share. They were more examples of how to use pictures as anchors for a great story. The problem is, I didn’t want this blog post to be too long. If I’d included more, there’s a good chance you wouldn’t have had the patience to get through all of them. Heck, you might not be reading this part because you’ve already moved on.

If you did make it this far, thank you so much for reading another story from your friends at Blue Gurus. We do our best to educate you, make you think, and hopefully make you laugh. Oh, and if you’ve been following my fitness journey, here’s a quick update…

Fitness Update

I’ve been walking at least 10,000 steps a day since May 1st, 2017. As of today, I’m down 28 pounds. Last week, I walked over 40 miles, more than 95,000 steps. An unexpected benefit is that there’s been a ripple effect. Quite a few people in my personal and professional circles have joined me in walking to improve their health. And that’s an awesome combo for me… helping others while helping myself! If you have a FitBit, let me know so I can invite you to the party.

Social Media ROI? Here’s how we found our newest blogging client.

Author: Jason Terry, talking about Social Media ROI.

Our audience regularly asks for real world stories about social media efforts turning into measurable revenue. In other words, is it worth the time to connect with people on social media sites. And then tell them stories (through blogging) to stay top of mind? The answer is yes.

I’ve mentioned it before, but I’ll say it again. Every single dollar that we’ve earned since 2009 is the result of a referral. And just about every business we talk to gets more than 70% of their new revenue from referrals as well.

Blue Gurus - Kansas City BloggingKnowing this to be true, we should always be connecting to the people that are likely to refer us to our next customer. And that’s just half of the social machinery required for success when it comes to generating revenue. We have to stay top of mind by telling them stories about our team, our clients, our community and our passions.

An Example of Social Media ROI

So here’s the example. Mic and I did a website for Vince & Associates Clinical Research about three years ago. During that project, I connected with an IT professional named Matthew Hornung, the Owner of Blue Wave IT. The funny thing is that I only talked face to face with Matthew for about 15 minutes. I needed him to make some technical changes to their domain so that the new website we had built would go live. I loved that his company name was Blue Wave IT (the common color Blue in our company names.) And we ended up connecting on LinkedIn.

Fast forward to June, 2017… it’s been almost three years since Matthew and I have talked or emailed each other. That said, we have mutual friends in the IT community (Trent and Heath at Umbrella Managed Systems for example) and Matthew has seen our blog updates on LinkedIn off and on over the years.

Matthew Hornung Refers Us To Our Next Blogging ClientMatthew called me out of the blue (pun intended) and tells me that he’s working with a large physician group in Lee’s Summit. He goes on to tell me that they’ve been talking about updating their website and getting their arms around their blogging and social media strategy. He was reaching out to see how we could help.

A conference call and then a face-to-face meeting over the course of a week, and we now have a new blogging client that’s going to be a lot of fun to work with. The thing to remember here is that the ONLY way this happened was because Matthew and I connected on LinkedIn. And we stayed top of mind with him for three years with regular status updates about our work, our clients and our passions.

This is another example of social media ROI that keeps us blogging every week for ourselves and with our clients.
It just works.

If you or someone you know needs help getting the storytelling process off the ground, give me a shout! It would be ironic if this blog post turned into another great referral… I would need to do a Part 2 telling that story as well. :)

Here’s an easy way to turn your weekly blogging efforts into an email newsletter.

Author: Jason Terry

Hello friends! It’s Jason with another thought provoking story from Blue Gurus. (I hope I don’t fail you!)

The majority of our clients are telling stories on a weekly basis. Updates are pushed out to their social media sites that link back to the stories on their website. Through this process they’re staying top of mind with their most trusted relationships. It’s an effective way to market.

But what if your client or prospect is not connected to you socially?

Send an email newsletter.The answer is to send them an email newsletter. But that takes time and resources to create and deliver each month, right? If you’re coming up with stories every week and then have to create a monthly or quarterly email newsletter, it can become time consuming. Even worse, it can feel like a tedious chore.

What if I told you that you could have a weekly, monthly or quarterly email newsletter that pulls in your blog posts and is sent automatically?

Our clients have already spent time and energy creating stories about their people, their customers and the community… why not leverage that content for their email newsletter? We’ve been doing this for years and it works really well.

Mailchimp RSS-to-Email Campaigns

We leverage an excellent feature provided by MailChimp to make this happen. It’s called an RSS-to-Email Campaign.

What is RSS?Your first question might be, “what is RSS?” This stands for Really Simple Syndication and it’s a technology that’s been around for a long time. Most websites have an RSS feed built into them. Usually, this feed is a list of recent blog posts.

To see an example, the Blue Gurus RSS feed is https://www.bluegurus.com/feed.

If you click on the link, your results may vary. Depending on the browser you use, it might look like a bunch of weird code (Chrome, if you haven’t installed a feed reader) or you might see a cleanly formatted list of the 10 most recent blog posts that we’ve written (Firefox, Opera.)

If you have an RSS feed set up on your website, you’re telling the world what your most recent stories are any time someone checks your feed.

Back to MailChimp.

MailChimpMailChimp can be set up to automatically pull your most recent posts from your RSS feed into a pre-formatted email template. It can then send the email out to your list of subscribers. This can be scheduled to happen any time a new story is found or on some other time based schedule like weekly or monthly.

If you sign up for the Blue Gurus email newsletter, you will see exactly how this works. Our newsletter is set up to deliver daily if a new story is found… and since we do a blog post every week, the email newsletter goes out weekly.

Some of our clients don’t want to send too many emails, so they’ve opted to send a monthly digest instead. Their campaigns are set up to pull new posts since the last time a newsletter was sent. Then an excerpt of the story is included with a Read More link that goes directly to their website. (Yes, this helps with SEO.) Usually their monthly email newsletter has 4-5 stories in it and it looks great.

The best thing about this solution is that you can focus your time and energy on weekly stories knowing that your email newsletter will happen automatically. Sure, you have to do some initial setup to make it all work, but once it’s up and running, it just happens!

So was I successful? Was this story thought provoking? If not, shoot me a question that you would like me to answer and you may end up highlighted in a future blog post with my answer. Have a great week!

Three Good Reasons You Should Be Writing Your Own Stories (According to Avid Communications)

Author: Jason Terry

Dave Scott and David Hollingsworth BloggingA couple of weeks ago, I was working with Avid Communications (one of our blogging clients) and particularly loved one of the stories they wrote. The title of their blog post is, “three good reasons for writing our own blog posts instead of curating content or hiring ghostwriters.”

This picture shows the founders (Dave Scott and David Hollingsworth) working on their stories. :)

Three Good Reasons to Write Your Own Stories (According to Avid Communications)

  1. It helps us reflect on what we’re doing as a business
  2. It helps us keep in sync internally
  3. We want to communicate in our own voice

Be sure to check out the full article on Avid’s Blog here.

Curating Content

Re-posting content from other people might be better than nothing. It’s not nearly as engaging as real stories about your people, your company, your clients and your community.

People want to read about what’s going on in your life. The difference you are making. They want to see your passion for supporting a local charity. Or learn that you play guitar in a band. I think the reason for this is that they care about you to some degree, or they wouldn’t be connected to you on social media or doing business with you.

Ghostwriting

GHOSTWRITER: A ghostwriter is a person who is hired to author books, manuscripts, screenplays, speeches, articles, songs, blog posts, stories, reports, white papers, or other texts that are officially credited to another person.

We’ve seen plenty of companies that outsource their storytelling to ghostwriters. The end product is professional and well written. I think the risk here is team engagement.

The employees on the blog teams at our clients are more engaged because they write the stories themselves. They don’t have to worry too much about form, grammar and flow because we clean that up for them. Once their story is done, they love seeing it on the company blog and often share it with everyone they know, especially friends and family. They’re proud of their work!

Bonus Tip: LinkedIn Headlines

Your LinkedIn profile headline is a great way to start being social with people. What you type in that section shows up in search results and is prominently displayed on your profile. We recommend having not only your current position, but a couple of business things and a couple of personal things you are passionate about separated by the “vertical pipe” symbol. Here’s and example:

Principal of Blue Gurus | Entrepreneur | Web Developer | LinkedIn Trainer | Scuba Diver | Guitar Player | LEGO Collector

Some people can’t find the “vertical pipe” separator symbol on their keyboard… it’s the key above the right-hand Enter key on your keyboard… so hold shift and click that key… Shift+Backslash.

I hope this article was helpful! Let me know what you think in the comments. Also, if you think of someone that would benefit from the original stories we tell every week, please forward this along. Thanks!

We’ve Been Doing THIS For 7.5 Years Because It Works.

Author: Jason Terry (with great help from Mic Johnson!)

BloggingThe very first blog post for Blue Gurus was an article I wrote and published on March 18th, 2009. That was the month Blue Gurus first opened for business. The title of that first post was “The Power of LinkedIn.com” and what was true then is still true today.

That story went live seven and a half years ago, and we’ve been putting out a blog post just about every week since. To date, we have 347 blog posts published between Mic and I. Mic’s first post was published March 30th, 2010 and the title was “Social Media – The Only Thing You Have To Fear Is Fear Itself.” Amazingly, it’s an idea and perspective he continues to share to this day.

Now I’m not sure if you find any of that background particularly interesting. You might be thinking to yourself, “Self… these guys have been telling real world stories for a long time. Cool.” Or you might be thinking, “Who cares?”

No matter which side of the fence you’re on, here are some thoughts that any business who is blogging (or even those who haven’t started yet) need to consider:

Your blog is the living history of your company.

As I was paging through the history of Blue Gurus blog posts in preparation for writing this story, it turned into a virtual walk down memory lane. It was actually a lot of fun. Sprinkled throughout the pages of our posts are pictures of ourselves, our clients, our peers, the nonprofits we’ve adopted over the years, and more. It was amazing to see all of the people we’ve worked with, the inspirational stories, the technology tips, the ups and downs, and how our perspectives have changed and grown over the years.

In case you missed them, here are a few of my favorites: 

So what is the ROI of blogging?

This is a question we still get today. (even though blogging has been around since the late 1990’s!)

For starters, we’ve grown every year since the doors opened through word-of-mouth referrals. There’s NO QUESTION our blogging has earned us business. To this day, it’s still the only formal marketing we do… and that’s by design. Being able to say we grow every year using our own best practices is a great selling point when talking to potential new clients.

Blogging accelerates growth through referrals. The benefits far outweigh the costs.

We’ve educated people on social, technology, and great local businesses. We’ve put a lot of time and effort in trying to inspire people with the thoughts and ideas that matter to us. And we know it’s been working because rarely a week goes by where someone doesn’t tell us that they enjoyed a post, put one of our best practices to use, tried out a local restaurant we mentioned, and more. Just recently I had someone tell me, “I loved your blog article about hand writing letters and wax stamps. I’ve been doing that since college!”

DON’T MISS THAT. The majority of traditional marketing efforts don’t get people actually TALKING about what you’re doing in your business. When you make a consistent effort to create quality content on a regular basis via your blog…people will start talking. We’ve lived it ourselves…and we’ve lived it with our clients over the last several years.

THANK YOU for reading and sharing our blog. Whether you’re reading it for the first time or have been following us for awhile, we appreciate it more than you know.

I hope this post encourages you to keep blogging at your company… and if you haven’t started yet, it’s time. Believe me… it’s definitely time.

3 Easy Ways to Give Your Employees A Voice

Hello Blue Gurus blog readers…It’s Mic here with something that’s been on my mind for…well…the last 20 years or so!

It’s a story I’ve referenced countless times to clients and it goes back to my junior year in college at The University of Kansas.

post it notesOur Organizational Communications professor was telling us how the company 3M had specific time set aside for employees to brainstorm on whatever they wanted to…improving processes, new product ideas, etc…and how the Post-It Note was invented by accident.

The thing the professor said that day that has stuck with me ever since (and I sometimes joke it’s the one thing I remember from college) is the following:

EMPLOYEES WANT A VOICE MORE THAN A VOTE. Click To Tweet

For those of you that know me, I’ve always had a voice and I have no problem expressing how I feel. It’s not because of my ego. It’s not because I want to draw attention to myself. It’s not because I think I’m smarter than everyone else. It’s because I want the best solution…and the only way to get there is to get input from people who have a vested interest in the problem or solution.

In my experience, too many organizations are top-down, with the owners, management team, etc. making decisions and then everything flowing down to the people who are actually doing the work, interacting with clients, etc. I’ve never thought this made sense.

Of course there needs to be higher level strategy and decision making among people in leadership positions, but why not include the people who are on “the front lines” who will be responsible for implementing the strategy?

With that in mind, here are…

#micdrop

#MicDrop

3 Easy Ways to Give Your Employees A Voice

1.Have Regular Meetings.
Depending on your situation, weekly, monthly or quarterly meetings where information is shared, employees are given a platform to ask questions and hear the direction of the company…should be standard practice.

If it’s not possible to get everyone together, utilize technology (conference calls, webinars, Skype, etc) to get as many employees engaged as possible. Or have team or department-specific meetings where two-way communication is encouraged.

2.CEO’s (and other C-Levels) MUST Make The Effort To Interact With Employees.  
I have a client whose CEO has quarterly coffee with select staff where they sit down and can ask her whatever they want. Not only does this give employees visibility to the CEO, but it also lets them know that she cares about their opinions and that she’s approachable. This type of informal and human interaction is good for the employees, good for the CEO and good for the company.

The worst thing a management team can do is to be seen as unapproachable. It’s not that hard to take a little time once a week or once a month to get out among employees and see how they’re doing, what’s working, what’s not, etc.

3.Encourage Employees To Write For The Company Blog.
Smart companies have a blog and share that information with their social networks (Yes, this is one of the services we provide for clients, so this is a bit of shameless promotion…but, ask yourself, doesn’t it just make sense?) Even smarter companies use their blog as a way to engage employees in sharing their stories about business and life.

I have one particular client who I told years ago “You never know…your employees may be blogging one day!” One of the senior leaders said, “Our employees will NEVER blog.” Today, the majority of the blog posts from that company are from, you guessed it….EMPLOYEES. This is an amazingly easy way to give your employees a voice and increase employee engagement.

These are just a few ways that employees can be given more of a voice within an organization. There are countless other ways to do it. If your company isn’t doing these things already, it’s easy to get started. In fact, why not pull a few employees together and ask them for their ideas on how they would like more of a voice in the organization?

I promise you this: Many of your unrealized, best ideas are sitting within the walls of your company right now. All you have to do is ask. It’s really not that hard.

To learn more about how we can help your employees get more engaged through the power of blogging and storytelling, call or email me at 913-645-6650 or mic@bluegurus.com

Blogging Success Stories and You Gotta Try CamelCamelCamel.com!

Hello friends! It’s Jason with this week’s blog post.

Real World Stories of Blogging Making Things Happen

One of our goals for our blog this year is to tell more real world stories about the work we do. Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve heard some great stories from our clients about things that have happened because we are blogging together.

DurvetWe’ve been blogging with Durvet for a couple of months now and they are already seeing great results. One of Durvet’s challenges over the years has been that a lot of people in Kansas City don’t know who they are or what they do. (They supply animal healthcare products on a massive scale out of their warehouse in Blue Springs.) Mark Niblo wrote one of the articles in their first month of blogging and somebody from the Kansas City Star saw it on LinkedIn. They contacted Mark to ask more about Durvet and they’ve decided to write a piece about Durvet for the Star.

Straub ConstructionWe’ve been blogging with Straub Construction for over a year. In last month’s blogging session, Ernie Straub mentioned that someone from the Kansas City Business Journal had recently given him a bunch of kudos for their blogging and social media efforts. Their impression was that Straub has really ramped up their presence on social media over the past few months and they’ve been seeing their stories on LinkedIn.

These are just two examples. Who knows what an article in the Star or visibility with the Business Journal might do for Durvet or Straub Construction. What I do know is that it makes conversations happens. It raises awareness. And it happens on a consistent basis.

CamelCamelCamel.com

CamelCamelCamel.comDo you love buying stuff from Amazon as much as I do? If you shop there often and haven’t heard of CamelCamelCamel.com, you’ve gotta check it out. Did you know that Amazon changes their price on items multiple times a day based on purchase volume, number of views, etc.? CamelCamelCamel.com can show you the price history for any item. You can see the highest price it ever sold for, the lowest price, and get a feel for what a good deal would be for an item. It’s amazing!

Our free Amazon.com price tracker monitors millions of products and alerts you when prices drop. Click To Tweet

I use the site in a couple of ways:

  • The easiest way is to click on the Popular Products tab. This will show you pages of products that are being bought the most by other shoppers. It also tells you if it’s a good deal or best price based on past pricing data. It’s a great way to browse current deals on Amazon.
  • The other way I use the site is to monitor the price of an item over time. For example, if I want to buy a 4K television, I find it on Amazon, copy the URL and paste it into CamelCamelCamel.com. I can then set up an alert to happen if the product drops below a price threshold (basically if it drops to a price I would be willing to pay for it.)

Try it out… you will love it.

Shameless Call to Action

We do three things really well:

If you or someone you know could use our help, I would love to talk to you about it!

iPhone User? You’re Going To Want GBoard

Post author: Mic Johnson

micanddougI recently received a tweet from my good friend Doug Seaberg with a link and the words…

“I installed it and it is terrific.”

When I clicked the link, it took me to an article with a video that talked about a sweet new keyboard called GBoard for iPhone users. In short, GBoard:

-Allows you to easily glide across the keyboard to type.

-Provides a Google Search bar right above the keyboard that lets you search for restaurants, pictures, GIFs and more. And you don’t have to leave whatever app you’re using to do it.

-Let’s you easily share your search results with people you’re texting or chatting with. This is particularly useful when you’re wanting to share an address, an article, video, etc.

Personally, I’m a big fan of sending GIFs and images when I’m communicating with others via text, social networks, etc. I think it’s just a fun way to humanize interactions…and this app makes it super simple to do.

Major kudos to Google for doing what they do best…finding a way to save people time and make something that already existed even more functional and easy to use, all while incorporating what they’re best known for (SEARCH). Now if I could just get them to abandon that darn Google+ experiment.

Watch this short and simple video to see how GBoard works and, if you’re an iPhone user, you can download it here.

{P.S. – This is a perfect example of what we talk to our clients about all the time…Thinking Like A Blogger. This was a simple scenario from my daily life that provided value for me. Doug took the time to help me by sharing the article with me on Twitter. Then I turned around and wrote a blog post about it because I thought it may help some of our readers. This is what social business is all about. Consistently providing value and HELPING PEOPLE. If you and your company are blogging, you should be thinking this way…ALWAYS. If your company isn’t blogging yet but thinking about it, this is the mindset you need. Finally, if you want an accountability partner to help you get your blog up and running like a machine, email me at mic@bluegurus.com.}