Archives for November 2009

Why I finally got around to a Facebook Fan Page

fbDespite setting up and running numerous Facebook Fan pages for various clients, I had always said that NikkiPilkington.com had no need for one.

In my eyes, in as much as we ‘have’ a brand, that brand is me – and I like to think the fact that I’m fairly open has helped people to learn more about me, to feel that they know me, and to trust me with their internet marketing and promotion.

If I’m having  a bad day then in general people know about it – and by the same token if I’m having a fab day then I shout about that too.

My Facebook profile page is a mixture of interesting (to me at least!) links, funny clips, the odd quiz I found amusing, messages from and to friends and clients, and more.

And it has worked well for my business.

However, as is the way with Facebook, more and more old schoolfriends have connected to me, family members have ‘hooked up’ and people who have no interest or knowledge of the Internet Marketing world are now on my friends list. As I used my profile to promote my business and my clients quite a lot, the amount of  ‘Nikki, what the heck are you talking about?’ messages was getting to be more and more, and I spent more and more time explaining to friends that ‘this is what I do and why I do it’.

Not that I begrudge explaining my business and my life to people, but it started to feel like every day I had to justify a link I’d placed, a status update I’d made, a comment I’d posted.

So I gave up and gave in, and we now have a Facebook Fan Page. That’s where you’ll find links to clients, blog posts, trade and industry links and news I think is interesting to clients and contacts who are looking to promote themselves online. It’s new, and it’s not fleshed out as yet, but it’s getting there and it might be interesting to you to see the things I add as we go along.

You’re more than welcome to stay friends with me on Facebook too, but my main profile will now be a lot more personal, as I remove the feeds and items that have been bothering the ‘less commercial’ of my contacts, who I love dearly and really don’t want to lose contact with on Facebook.

So please, become a fan of the NikkiPilkington.com fan page, and help to spread the word – and of course, feel free to leave comments and links on the page itself!

What to do when someone steals your copyrighted material?

Bortusk Criminal SwagI write a lot of articles, contributions and blog posts, and nothing annoys me more than finding those posts elsewhere without credit. It doesn’t matter whether it’s taken me a few minutes to write or hours to research, the fact is that it’s MY hard earned time and property that someone else is stealing.

I use Copyscape to track down offenders, and usually I drop them a line first, before outing them on Twitter or in their blog comments if they don’t remove or add my credit to the posts.

But the more it happens the more fed up I get, so I turned to Janine Hughes, an Intellectual Property lawyer with LimeOne to ask the question a lot of us want answered:

What can I do if someone has stolen my website content?

Her answer is below:

ENFORCING YOUR COPYRIGHT


Intellectual Property (IP) effectively means a creation of the mind, an idea that takes a tangible form.  The owners can obtain certain formal rights over those, such as trademarks, patents etc. The copyright, however, is theirs as soon as they commit their idea to a medium which makes it ‘tangible’. This may mean a sketch, drawing, outline, written text, audio recording or model, including all electronic versions of these.


Now picture the scenario – you are browsing the web when suddenly you come across an interesting looking article about importing leather handbags. As an importer of leather handbags you are naturally curious and read on. Two lines in, this seems familiar. A paragraph further in you realise that it is VERY familiar. It should be, you wrote it and it is already on your own website!


So what can you do about it?


If you find yourself in the position that someone has used your copyrighted material without your permission, this is what you can do


(1) Make sure that you actually own the copyright


This may sound a lot easier than it actually is in reality. Usually copyright is automatic for the original author of original tangible work and in the UK you don’t even have to use the © symbol with supporting details (some countries do require this) although it is advised because it serves as a visual reminder to users.


If, for example you produced something at work as an employee, your employer will  probably own it (unless you have already agreed something different).


Are you the original author? If you commissioned someone to write an article for you, unless you actually got the copyright transferred to you, then the original author will still own it.


If you produced it with someone else (and the word ‘produced’ can be loose here, it doesn’t necessarily have to be a 50/50 joint effort) then you jointly own it with them so they have to be taken into consideration.


Are you sure you haven’t, no matter how casually (not even your friend Laura over a nice Chablis!) given anyone else permission to use it?


(2) Assuming that you do own the copyright, the first thing is to write a stern e-mail to the “user”


Keep it simple. Tell the user that you own the copyright and that if they don’t stop using your copyrighted material and remove it from wherever it is displayed within a given time period (14 days is very reasonable) then you will take further action under Copyright legislation.


(3) No reply to your e-mail?


Check whether the copyrighted material is still being used by that user.


(a) If not, just send a follow up e-mail letting them know that they have complied with what you asked but that you will be monitoring the situation.


OR


(b) If it is still being used then you have 2 options


(i) send the same e-mail in a more formal letter


OR (if (i) doesn’t produce results)


(ii) get your legal representative to send a formal letter outlining the problem. and making it clear what you will do. Your legal representative may advise you to include a retroactive licence where you charge the users for their use to date by providing then with a licence going back in time.


(4) No reply or no results?


What happens next really must be discussed with your legal representative. Pursuing copyright actions can be very costly and your legal representative will help you take a business and economic view (rather than concentrating on the “it’s not fair” view) and help you decide whether it is worth pursuing.


SOME OTHER INFORMATION TO TAKE INTO ACCOUNT


Copyright is usually a civil law matter. (It can be criminal offence if, for example, large scale pirating of DVDs is involved etc). Therefore the remedies available to you, as a copyright owner, include


ü Injunctions – to stop the user using your work

ü Damages – money by way of compensation because of the use without your permission


Remember that there are defences to using copyright items which include


ü Fair dealing – research (but will only usually apply in this context to making one copy for non-commercial use)

ü Fair dealing – criticism, review and reporting

ü Not a substantial part – including just a very small part of your work in a larger project

ü Implied licence – where circumstance suggest that the copyright holder expected it to be used in the manner in which you have used it


© Lime One Ltd 2009  – all rights reserved

Creative Commons License photo credit: bixentro



My blog needs more traffic!

It’s the cry of blog owners everywhere – “I need more traffic to my blog!” – so what can you do to make it happen?

To post a full blog on this would take ages (but it’s in the pipeline!) so I was thrilled to receive a great little video from 60 Second Marketer in my email this morning, and thought I’d share it with you:

|| 5 Ways to Get Traffic for Your Blog ||.

The basic premise is:

1) Don’t always talk about yourself

2) Stay focused

3) Have a personality

4) Include search terms in copy

5) Post regularly

Check out the video, and let me know your thoughtsm and if you’re struggling with number 5), check out our small business blogging offer for new clients!

E-mail Marketing – 7 Ways To Fail

A Guest Post:

E-Mail Marketing is often championed as a wonderful opportunity because of its negligible cost, but the fact is that it has one of the lowest success rates there is – so low that it has a special name which has passed into folk-lore, Spam. The simple fact is that even the mails that pass through the software spam filters tend to fail in delivering their message. Now as an expert in avoiding reading the message I’ll give you my top 6 tips for how you can get me to read your mail.

1. Don’t assume that I want to read your mail just because I subscribed at your website. Really – it sounds daft, but it doesn’t work like that!

2. Give me something that I want. I’ll gladly accept that a sales pitch comes with the mail if there is something else in the mail that I want. Some advice, an expert opinion, some statistics, a report. I’m a Landlord with a Website, so I’ll gladly read about house prices, rental values, how my website ranking has changed, tips on maintenance. But I can’t emphasis enough how important it is that it has to be something that I want, even a well disguised sales pitch behind the information won’t necessarily keep you off my blocked senders list.

3. You only get one chance. Once you’ve disappeared onto that blocked senders list, you’ll never make it out again, so really – don’t take the risk. Never let me recognise that you are selling, the consequences are too serious for you. So best of all – don’t sell, just be there for when there is a sales opportunity.

4. Ignore the Internet Marketing Experts They tell you to call to action, and god knows what else. All their websites look the same, all their mail looks the same. I’ve recognised it before they’ve finished their 1st sentence, and I can’t even tell you what it is. A bit like scammers come from Nigeria!

Some samples from my Junk Mail folder:

a. You are receiving this email because you have shown an interest in Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Search Engine Marketing.

b. URGENT: I’m offering a very special $4580 bonus package

c. THE USE OF CAPITALS

d. ESPECIALLY IN CONJUNCTION WITH THE WORD “FREE”

e. AND A TIME LIMITED OFFER

f. SIGN UP TODAY TO DOMINATE

g. Words like Massive, Early Bird,

5. Make friends with the Junk-Mail Filter OK – it’s a bit of a no brainer of me to say “get past the junk mail filter” but I am speechless that a lot of professional marketers make no effort to convince the filter that their mail is ordinary & wanted. If you can’t get past it, you may never be seen, but worse than that – the Junk Mail filter isn’t just a faceless piece of software, she is my friend and key influencer. She does so much good work for me that I listen to her opinion with respect. If she likes you, then you stand a chance. If she took against you, then you face an uphill struggle.

6. Minimise Linked Graphics. Really – I know linked graphics seems a great idea, but it’s a straight out of tip 3 – it’s one of the ways I recognise spam. There are 3 practical reasons why linked graphics are a key route to failure:

a. It’s one of the ways that the porn and Viagra merchants try to get their words past the Junk Mail filter

b. It’s just plain typical of the messages that I don’t want

c. Mail readers block picture links and ask the recipient if they want to download the graphics. I am now deciding whether to put you on the block senders list without being able to see what you probably would hope is the best bit of your mail.

So if you really must link graphics, try to ensure that your message from tip 2 (why I want to read your mail) is clear in the text.

7. Don’t look like a Phisher. I wouldn’t ordinarily think of giving this as a tip but a big professional company actually did this last week, and it is what gave me the idea for this article. Do not use some HTML in your mail like – <A HREF=http://www.yourwebsite.php>http://www.yourwebsite.com</a>

There you are – 7 tips to get you read, try it – mail me at spam@pimlico-flats.co.uk I’m sure I’ll read it.

This Guest Post was by Nick Parkin of Pimlico Flats a Private Landlord active in Social Networking and Renting Flats in London.

It's not how *I* see me, it's how *YOU* see me…

When someone unsubscribes from my newsletter, the system I use automatically gives them the option of saying why they have unsubscribed. Luckily it doesn’t happen often, but when it does, this feedback is great because it allows me to see what I’m doing that ‘turns people off’ as it were.

Today I received the following feedback:

I tend to buy from those that I have a synergy/relationship with; I understand that you probably have zillions of paying customers and must focus your energies on your ‘qualified leads’ but don’t forget the little guys who retweet your stuff, give testimonials and recommend you to others.

A thank you here and there wouldn’t go amiss and may convert us into paying customers.

Please note – this is neither a rant nor a moan, just feedback as requested!

At first I was angry – I wouldn’t say that I ‘focus my energies on qualified leads’ – I am lucky enough to have Shaun and Bob to do that, sales is their job, not mine.

I focus my energies on putting out free articles, news, tips and hints that hopefully help ‘the little guy’, even if they will never become a client. I always thank people for referrals and testimonials (don’t I?), and although i don’t thank everyone personally for retweets (I sometimes get hundreds a day and it would take forever, as well as tying up a lot of Twitter streams!) I do post regular thank you’s and ‘kudos’.

So yes, I was pretty miffed – how dare this person say I wasn’t helping ‘the little guys’, how dare they say I don’t thank people, how dare they say I focus all my attention on qualified leads – don’t they know how hard I work to help out other people, give away free advice, promote people who aren’t my clients etc etc?

And then I stopped. And then I thought….

This isn’t about how *I* see myself, it’s about how this person sees me. And if she sees me in this light it’s because of the picture I’ve given her of myself. Maybe she hasn’t noticed the freebies I give out. Maybe she missed my ‘Thank you’ tweets. Maybe she has recommended me to someone and I don’t know about it so haven’t been able to thank her?

It was a great reminder that no matter what image or ‘brand’ you try to put out, you’re not going to please all of the people all of the time.

I don’t recognise her description of me, but it’s right for her – and if it’s right for her, it could be the same for other people.

It’s certainly made me think more about the image I portray.

So my tip to you today is to have a think about the image you think you portray, and then accept the fact that it might not be the same as the image others see. Harsh feedback is brutal, but vital for stopping bad habits and instilling good ones.

We still love our cartoons :)

Another great cartoon for our November newsletter, from the fab Mike Flanagan of Flantoons – this time to promote our Facebook Business Fan Page Offer!

You can sign up to our newsletter via our website – see the box top right here!

30oct09

"I want a blog that's at the top of Google before I do any work on it – and I want it to be free"

I received the following request this morning:

I am looking to start a blog that is free (or very cheap) to run, is easy to edit and write on and add photos etc.

I want this blog to be fully search engine optimised, so it comes up close to the top of google for all relevant search terms as well.  I also want some ad space on the site so I can start earning straight away.

How much would you charge for this?  I just want to be handed a blog that is at the top of google and is ready to go when you are finished…
I don’t even know where to begin with this one without seeming rude….

This person wants a free or cheap blog that is at the top of Google before they even do any work on it, for all the relevant search terms (without mentioning the niche or search terms they want) and wants to be earning ad money from it.

If anyone is handing these kind of blogs out, let me know please. If you have a spare Johnny Depp, I’ll have that too 🙂

The simple facts are:

– blogs may be free or cheap, but they still need work

– a brand new blog won’t appear at the top of Google for ‘all releveant search terms’ until it has some content

– most ad revenue is earned on affiliate schemes or page views – a new blog needs traffic to provide either revenue

– starting a blog is not an eay way to financial freedom – it’s hard work and requires thought, planning and lots of attention

There are too many blogs languishing around with no visitors and no point – don’t make yours one of them!

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