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January 2013

10 Reasons You Should Have a Company Blog

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Are blogs just for the big brands, or do they have benefits for you? Here’s a look at 10 reasons it makes sense for your company to be blogging!

1. SEO

Say you’re a new restaurant in town—by blogging regularly about community and about your cuisine, you increase the ways you can be picked up by search engines. What’s more, as you build valuable content, you build your authority in your industry and gradually rank higher and higher online.

Why This Matters: Higher search engine rankings mean more visitors, and more visitors mean more opportunities to promote your company and what you sell.

2. Authority

Building authority online is more than beneficial for search engine rankings; increased authority also increases your influence with users online. Creating regular content that demonstrates expertise in your industry builds your credibility in the minds of users.

Why This Matters: People are more likely to buy from brands they trust, so when you build your ability to be trusted, you build your opportunities to make sales.

3. Distinction

You want your audience to think you’re different from the other guys? Show them, by blogging. Regularly posting high-quality content that provides genuine value to readers establishes you as a unique player in your space. What’s more, your competitors might already be blogging, leaving you behind.

Why This Matters: Let’s start with what happens when customers don’t see your distinction—they confuse you with other companies, don’t know why to buy from you, and end up going with someone else. Communicating your brand to readers means showing them why to give their business to you instead of someone else.

4. Connection

The key to social media is connection, and that’s as true for blogging as it is for Facebook and Twitter. By blogging regularly, you provide one more way for readers to connect and communicate with you and your brand. They can share your content easily. They can stay up-to-date on your news.

Why This Matters: The more connected users are with your brand, the more loyal customers they become. Plus, when people are sharing your content, they’re essentially marketing for you.

5. Long-Term Results

Blogging is more than a one-time magazine ad or a two-week promotion—it’s the kind of consistent, helpful marketing that brings in new business for years to come. That’s because blogging pushes for what’s called organic growth, forged through natural relationships and increased audience trust.

Why This Matters: Long-term results mean greater sustainability. The longer you blog, the more valuable your site becomes, bringing in payoffs far into the future for quality work today.

6. Relevance

Today’s marketing world is increasingly about inbound marketing (marketing methods that attract customers to you and your content) rather than outbound marketing (marketing that goes out to where customers are and tries to sell to them).

Why This Matters: If today’s audiences respond better to blogs than to direct mailings, why waste your time? Instead of going to more trade shows hoping to make new sales, try blogging, which brings the customers to you.

7. Conversion

According to Forrester Research, before making their purchases today’s customers are doing more online research than ever before. Blogging influences customers—especially in terms of whether or not they’ll choose to buy.

Why This Matters: By amplifying information on your company and what you sell, your company blog could be a key factor in determining whether or not a customer chooses to purchase your product.

8. Improvement and Growth

The fact is, regularly blogging about your industry can do more than benefit your client base—it can benefit you. You might find that doing research on new topics teaches you a few things, even as you aim to teach your Web visitors. Maybe writing a post on “5 Ways to Boost Sales” helps you articulate the key areas on which you want to focus your business goals. Maybe interviewing one of your company execs reveals new ideas or strategies to implement. Whatever the case, blogging helps you stay up-to-date on your industry.

Why This Matters: Growing professionally is always a good thing, especially when it means improving the way you’re able to do business.

9. Convenient Setup

Starting a blog is not hard—in fact, the process is fairly simple to set up and manage. What’s more, whether you set it up yourself or hire the project out, it’s fairly inexpensive.

Why This Matters: If cost or lack of tech knowledge is an excuse keeping you from starting a blog, it shouldn’t be.

10. Customer Insight

Wouldn’t it be great if there were a way to tap into your customers and gain knowledge about what they like and respond to? There is, and it’s called blogging. A business blog allows customers to easily comment on your posts as well as to share your content—and simply by observing what your customers say and do, you’ll be able to learn a lot.

Why This Matters: One of the greatest keys to reaching your customers is knowing them. By observing them online and by engaging them in your content, you gain a powerful way to learn what they need.

Image Credit: Bigstock

Is Your Online Reputation Being Left to Chance?

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Photo Credit: relamark.com

Photo Credit: relamark.com

Business owners can usually tell when something is wrong.

Among the telltale signs is a drop off in business, employees suffering from low morale, and the competition growing by leaps and bounds.

So, do you ever stop and wonder if business owners care about their online reputations? Should they care about them to the extent that they focus regularly on them, or should they just do so every now and then?

As some who run companies have seen over the years, a damaged online reputation can lead to the above-mentioned signs of trouble at work, none of which a business owner wants to stomach.

In a day and age when online information travels in just seconds, it behooves those running businesses to check on their online reputations from time to time, making sure there are no skeletons in the closet to potentially bring their companies screeching to a halt.

Some of the ways to maintain a solid online reputation include:

1. Check your online footprints

Whether you go online to use social media, post videos and podcasts about your business, shop for goods and services to improve your own business or network with others, it is a good idea to trace your steps. Have you gotten into an online disagreement with a customer? Have you posted a comment or image that would be offensive to some? Have you had a verbal disagreement with a
competitor online at some point and time? All of these scenarios can lead to a damaged
online reputation–something that can sidetrack your business.

2. Be social and professional

As more and more companies delve into social media, it is important that they do so in a professional manner, especially with all the eyes that are watching. In the event a customer posts something controversial regarding their experience with your company, respond promptly and professionally. If the conversation becomes contentious, take it offline immediately. Also make sure that any of your employees authorized to speak on behalf of the company on social media follow the rules and regulations in place. Since they are representing your company, they are an extension of you. Should they post questionable remarks or images, it could look bad for the entire business.

3. Don’t bite off more than you can chew

As a business owner, customers expect nothing short of excellent service and quality products, not to mention deals and specials. Yes, it is at times a lot to deliver, but it is part of running your own company. Your online reputation can take a hit if you do not deliver on your word. Set realistic
expectations as to what you can and can’t deliver, this while always thinking about how
you can grow your business without compromising its integrity.

4. Don’t assume

Finally, never assume that your online reputation is spotless. Doing a Google search from time to time offers you the opportunity to see if private and/or damaging data is floating around about you and/or your business. While certain information ultimately becomes public record, you don’t need a messy divorce or legal battle you had with a customer coming to the top of search engines when people research your business. If such a scenario is happening, promote the good things about your business so that they work their way to the top of the search engines. If need be, look to a company that provides reputation management services to assist you in cleaning up your online reputation.

If you have been leaving your online reputation to chance up to this point, make 2013 the year you take control of it.

The Top 10 Funniest Podcasts

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Not only are podcasts a great source of information, they also provide lots of entertainment options. I wanted to share with you the top 10 funniest podcasts out there, so I went to comedian Jordan Cooper of Blenderhead Media to get his recommendations on the best comedy podcasts.

Here’s Jordan’s take:

1. Bill Burr’s Monday Morning Podcast

Comedian Bill Burr rants and rambles Monday mornings via cell phone for cynical insights into the world of comedy and touring.

2. Penn’s Sunday School

Examining religious news, talk about monkeys, and anything else that seems funny or makes Penn Jillette mad.

3. WTF with Marc Maron

Marc tackles the most complex philosophical question of our day – WTF? He gets to the bottom of it with help from comedian friends, celebrity guests and the voices in his own heard.

4. The Blenderhead Podcast

A dark, cynical and humorous take on the week’s news in technology, business and media with rants from the warped pessimistic mind of stand-up comedian Jordan Cooper.

5. The Nerdist

Comedian Chris Hardwick talks about all things nerdy with someone typically more famous than him.

6. Comedy Cellar Live From The Table

A weekly peek into the happening at the Comedy Cellar’s comedian table.

7. You Made It Weird

Comedian Pete Holmes asks other comedians to reveal and talk about their weirdest secrets.

8. No Agenda

Hosted by Adam Curry and John C. Dvorak, the show is a free-flowing conversation that deconstructs recent news and media memes.

9. Never Not Funny

A party conversation with comedian Jimmy Pardo as he shoots the breeze with guests from the world of comedy, share stories and laugh at life.

10. Doug Loves Movies

Taped regularly at the UCB Theater in Los Angeles, comedian Doug Benson’s sits with guest comics to talk movies and play movie-themed games.

Have you listened to any of Jordan’s picks? If not, what your favorite comedy podcast?

Is Your Body Image Secretly Crushing Your Blogging Career?

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Raise your hands: Who wants to be an uber successful content creator?

I am going to go wild and guess your hand shot up like a rocket. Yours and those of thousands of other content creators in the online business world.

Competition? You bet.

In order to stand out from the crowd, you’ll have to have a rock solid foundation of knowing who you are.

You have to be transparent, authentic and, well, you. Flaws and all.

Blog superstars like Jon Morrow show us clearly that annihilating inhibitions and writing from the heart will shine a light on your blog, your podcast or your online business where others may forever stay in the dark.

That’s easier said than done though.

Portraying emotions or admitting to being human and anything but perfect takes a lot of courage and an intimate, loving relationship with yourself and your body.

Yes, that’s right, your body image plays an essential role in your entire online content strategy and your future success.

I learned that lesson the hard way.

I went from hating my body and being a nobody to loving my body and being, well, a somebody: a well-respected and well-known writer and podcaster.

My life had changed at the age of 10. I had developed anorexia nervosa to somehow deal with my psycho brother. I began to obsess over my weight, my body and ran down the road to caloric hell.

I was terribly ashamed of how I looked: my body felt too big, too present, too much. I needed to lose more, be less, become invisible. I needed to be gone.

My work was a picture perfect reflection of my self-hatred. My writing voice sounded stale, hopeless, empty. I wasn’t ready to experiment or take risks. Not even Sherlock Holmes could’ve detected a hint of emotion, vibrance or life in my writing.

At 23, I was a mere skeleton and escaped death by a few weeks.

That’s when I turned everything around: I started therapy, gained weight and stared my biggest fears directly in the eye.

My body turned from being my worst enemy to my best friend. Instead of showering it with hatred, abusing it and killing it, I was now nourishing it, working with it and taking care of it. I opened doors to emotions I thought I had long lost. With every pound I gained, I walked a bit taller and spoke a bit louder. My eyes began to sparkle and my smile returned.

Miraculous, really.

At the same time, another seemingly magical thing happened: my blog started to grow frighteningly fast.

Suddenly women and men from all over the world wrote to me telling me how much my writing touched their hearts and impacted their lives.

I was shocked, confused. I had been writing for years, but never received a single word of praise.

Now, I received hundreds of them every week.

What had changed?

I had let go of my inhibitions. I had begun to write confidently, authentically and without the physical and mental limitations forced upon me by my body. I had tapped into an inner power that transformed my words and portrayed a self-confidence that clearly transported an emotional charge reaching people from Timbuktu to LaPaz.

My writing had begun to truly reflect me.

Readers notice that. They respond to authenticity and vulnerability more than they respond to facts, numbers and lists.

They yearn to get a feel for the person behind the words. They want to have the illusion of reading an email written by a good friend. They want to tune in to a conversation with a buddy and not listen to a bore rattle of stale points, no matter how accurate and thoroughly researched they may be.

In short, they want your raw personality.

By falling in love with your body, you can give them what they want. Instantly.

Sold?

Let’s start working on improving your body image and your connection with your inner core then.

Today, sit down with a sheet of paper and write down all the limiting, destructive and most intimate thoughts you have about your body.

Are you ashamed of your muffin top? Do you fear people are making fun of your short legs? Do you fire off a round of despicable comments the moment you see your face in a mirror? Are you convinced that your butt has screwed up major business deals? Do you resent your kids because your body has never been the same since you gave birth?

What do you really believe about your body? What are your deepest issues when it comes to your appearance?

Write everything down. Don’t hold back. This exercise is for you.

Prepare yourself for tears, anger and resentment.

Prepare to strip away the false pretension and finally dig up raw feelings again.
This is a powerful exercise that’ll help you access a deep emotional well: a brilliant tool in your content creation work box.

Right after putting down your issues, write the blog post you have been holding off for too long or record that podcast episode you’ve been wanting to do for weeks. You don’t have to hit publish if you’re not ready yet.

If you keep an open mind and slowly chip away the inner restrictions, you will surprise yourself with a fresh, more vulnerable and sincere writing or speaking voice.

The more often you do this exercise, the deeper you dig and the more vulnerable you make yourself, the better your posts will be.

Soon, readers will shower you with love, retweets and likes and your blog or podcast will take off like mine.

Image Credit: Bigstock

Ten Reasons Your Blog Needs a Podcast

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Okay, I have to admit it: After attending NMX 2013, I kind of want to start a podcast. About what, I don’t know, but the podcaster presence there rocked, and the Podcast Awards was one of my favorite parts of the whole show. I’ve been involved in podcasts in the past, but I never realized just how much I miss it.

I think that many bloggers out there could benefit from and would really enjoy having a podcast – and I’m not the only one with this opinion. At NMX 2013, Peder Aadahl, Dustin Hartzler, P.J. Jonas, and Jenn Swanson spoke on this very topic, with their panel presenting ten reasons why every blogger should have a podcast. Here are their ten reasons

  1. Podcasts can help you attract a new type of follower, expanding your audience beyond your current community.
  2. Podcasting often helps you improve your speaking skills, which allows you to get more speaking gigs and opens other opportunities to you.
  3. You can build loyalty with your voice that you don’t get with text, as it makes it easier for people to connect to you and trust you.
  4. Podcasting is not as hard as you think!
  5. With a podcast, you get the opportunity to talk to others in your niche, which helps you become a master of your subject.
  6. Podcasts are easy to consume, since you can listen in the car, at the gym, etc.
  7. You can recycle some of your best written content ideas by recording a podcast about these same topics.
  8. Podcasts allow you to tap into a new community.
  9. Having a regular podcast helps you improve perceived credibility.
  10. You can make money with a podcast.

To their reasons, I would add one of my own: podcasts are fun! When I used to be part of a video game podcast with a few friends, recording together was one of the highlights of our week.

If you still aren’t convinced, I recommend checking out the entire presentation at NMX University via our 2013 Virtual Ticket, which also gives you access to this and dozens of other sessions, including a number of presentations that will help you get started podcasting.

Bloggers, have you ever considered podcasting? Podcasters, what reasons can you add to this list?

Why Your Blog NEEDS to be Different: Tips from Patrice Yursik at NMX

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“Strong, original, consistent content is your surest way to build a big brand from your little blog.” – Patrice Yursik

At NMX 2013, Patrice Yursik (a.k.a. Afrobella) spoke about one of the biggest challenges for bloggers: How to take your little blog to the next level where you’re actually a big brand. Patrice has serves as a spokesperson for national hair and beauty brands, has worked the red carpet, and consistently gets opportunities most niche bloggers only dream about.

And for Patrice, her success started with a single decision. Back when she started her blog, Patrice made a conscious decision to be different.

Filling the Void

Patrice has been blogging since 2006, when starting a blog about a topic no one else was covering was a much simpler task. Today, however, it seems like there’s a blog about everything. That doesn’t mean you can’t fill a void, though, because what you have that other blogs don’t have is YOU. What experiences do you bring to the table? What unique interests do you have? Think about the demographic you want for your community, and find a way to talk to these people.

Being True to Yourself

One of the decisions that Patrice says has paid off for her big time is the decision to be herself online. In the new media industry, there are lots of “rules” that top bloggers say you have to follow in order to be successful–but rules are made to be broken. Says Patrice, “Mainstream needs to embrace different. Whatever makes you different also makes you desirable.”

People respond well to an authentic voice. And brands want that too. During her session, Patrice talked about all the opportunities she’s had with brands, in part because they appreciate her authentic voice and the community she has built around it. Had she followed the “rules” and done what other bloggers told her to do, she wouldn’t have been able to build a community around her identity as a natural-haired, plus-sized, fashion-obsessed woman of color.

What Are You Offering that Others Don’t?

Every piece of content you write should be unique. Be proud of everything you write, so you can offer your readers something different than what they can get from other bloggers. That’s what will keep people coming back.

Give them weekly features to look forward to. Write content with your own twist. Remember, everyone in your niche is getting the same review products, the same PR pitches, and the same news stories to cover. Be different and you’ll stand out.

Want to learn more about what has made Patrice a successful blogger with a big brand? You can check out her entire NMX 2013 session at NMX University with premium membership, which gives you access to our complete 2013 Virtual Ticket. Learn more here and get your virtual ticket today!

Online Membership Communities: Success is About Service

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Recently, NMX launched a brand new online membership site, NMX University. Premium members have access to our 2013 Virtual Ticket through NMX University, but there is also a basic membership area of the site where people can access a handful of virtual sessions, our library of ebooks, and other content for free. Yours truly is managing the content on NMX University (with tons of help from the rest of the NMX staff).

I’ve run and been involved in membership communities in the past, and what I’ve found time and time again is that success hinges on how well you provide service to your members. Content might still be “king” online, but even the best content will fail in a membership community without great customer service.

The VIP Mentality

Members of a community are all VIPs, whether they pay for premium content or not. People are quick to complain and because everyone is used to getting so much free stuff online, there’s a real sense of entitlement online. I don’t say this to complain. Frankly, I think people should feel entitled. Whether we pay for something or not, we are all entitled to be treated with respect. So if you aren’t treating all of your members like VIPs, you’re missing the boat.

Now, this certainly doesn’t mean that you should bend to every demand. What it does mean is that you should promptly respond to questions, apologize for problems, and take everyone’s suggestions into account. When you give someone the option of being a member of your site – even a free member – you have an obligation to provide customer service. If you don’t want to service non-paying members, don’t have a free membership option.

At NMX University, whether you are a free member or a paid member, I will respond to your emails within 24 hours. If I don’t, that’s an indication that I haven’t received it. Everyone is a VIP in my book.

“Prompt” has a New Definition

It used to be that a prompt reply was six to eight weeks. You had to write to a company and wait for a response (if you got one at all), and often your problem was a moot point by the time a solution was proposed.

Today, people have a new definition of “prompt.” That’s why I do my very best to respond to all customer service emails for NMX University within 24 hours. Even that much time – yes, less than one day – can seem like a long time when it comes to online content, so I try to respond even faster when at all possible.

People have short attention spans, so you have to help them quickly if you want to maintain a good relationship. A response within the hour will get a much more positive reaction than the same response three days later. Not only that, but people aren’t afraid to complain in a very public way (on Twitter, Facebook, etc.) if they think they are being ignored.

Your Definition of Clear isn’t Everyone’s Definition of Clear

“User-friendly” means something different to everyone. What might seem really clear to you might not be clear at all to your members. That’s why I’m constantly tweaking the usability of NMX University (without making drastic changes that confuse people) so members have the best user experience possible.

People will have suggestions for you. Some people will not be nice about these suggestions. I’ve been called stupid, ignorant, and a host of others things from people who don’t like the design and usability of membership sites I’ve helped create. Don’t take it personally. I actually keep a folder of the emails I get from people praising sites so I can read them whenever I get the occasionally mean or critical email. You can’t please everyone, but what is important is that you set aside your ego and take others’ suggestions into consideration. Already, NMX University is better thanks to user suggestions and we’re only getting started.

You’ll Catch More Flies with Honey

Lastly, I’ll leave you with a piece of advice my mother gave me when I was young: You’ll catch more flies with honey than you will with vinegar. That is, even when people are being complete jerks, the situation will turn out better if you’re as nice as possible instead of mean or aggressive.

Even when your membership community is loved by 99.99% of people, there will always be that .01% who send angry emails for some reason or another. It’s easy to be angry right back, but remember: You set the tone for your company. If your reply is apologetic and sincere, you’ll be surprised at just how many people change their tune and even apologize for overreacting in their previous email. Because I listen to people, address concerns politely, respond quickly, and apologize for their frustration – even when they are in the wrong – over half the time, I get much happier email responses the next time around, even if the problem hasn’t been solved yet.

I hope you’ll take some time to check out NMX University and put my customer service to the test. For those of you out there also running membership communities, what are some of your best tips for success? Leave a comment below!

Photo Credit: Bigstock

How to Create Podcast Artwork – and Why it Needs to Be Good

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photoshop

You shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, and you shouldn’t judge a podcast by its artwork—but you know what we do all the time? We judge books by their covers and podcasts by their artwork. We do it so frequently that we actually had to come up with a cliché bit of advice about not judging things by their visuals. Books, podcasts, albums, magazines, even entire websites. We almost always base our very first decision completely on visuals: the decision to read, listen, or check the thing out further.

You wouldn’t read a single word on a site that used this.

Sorry about that. I just got back from visiting 1996. I’ve got a Collective Soul song stuck in my head now.

We judge websites by their visuals before we start reading their content and we judge podcasts by the artwork that we are presented with in the iTunes podcast directory, the Zune marketplace, in our mobile podcast apps, and everywhere else podcasts live. Make yours good.

How to Make Yours Good

First of all, your artwork needs to be square. Why square? Because square is a good shape. You can’t argue that. Try it, I dare you. You’ll lose. Your podcast artwork needs to be square because… well, because iTunes requires it to be square, really. That’s what it comes down to in the end. iTunes is the 800 pound gorilla, and as such, gets to set standards for these kinds of things.

The current recommendation from Apple is for your artwork to be a JPG at 1400 x 1400 pixels. Let’s talk about what that means and why you shouldn’t do it that way.

Format

This is pretty simple. JPGs are generally better for photo-based artwork or art with many gradients. PNGs are generally better for line art, non-photo graphics, and images with few gradients or colors. What we’re concerned about here is file size—not the dimensions, the amount of space it takes up on your hard drive. We’re looking for the smallest file size with the best quality. Sometimes, that’s a JPG. Sometimes, that’s a PNG. So, what does that mean for iTunes’ recommendation about using JPG?

Use whichever one makes your art look its best. iTunes accepts both. Create your art, save it as a JPG then save it again as a PNG. Your eyes won’t lie to you.

Dimensions

Once upon a time, the recommended dimensions for podcast artwork were 300 x 300 pixels. Then, Apple raised it to 600 x 600 pixels, and everyone freaked out and had to redo their artwork because they didn’t save it in a larger size to begin with. Okay, not everyone. But a lot of people. That wasn’t the end, because Apple raised it yet again… and naturally, a bunch of people freaked out and had to go back and redo their artwork. Let’s futureproof your artwork a bit, shall we?

Create your podcast artwork at 3000 x 3000 pixels, and then save it off at varying sizes depending on your needs.

Even better, create your art as a vector image. But that’s a conversation for another day.

I created a checklist of sizes that I find handy, and when creating artwork for a new show, I start large. I create the base image, then I save it at the largest size I need. I reduce the image size to the next on the list, then save it again. I reduce the image size to the next on the list, then save it again. I reduce the image size… you get the idea. Here’s my list:

  • 3,000 x 3,000. Excellent for t-shirt printing and most print-on-demand items you find at places like Zazzle.com.
  • 1,400 x 1,400. iTunes.
  • 1,000 x 1,000. Not super handy, but a nice round number in case anyone asks for it at that size.
  • 600 x 600. I’ve used this sparingly on web projects, it’s also great for Twitter and Facebook profile pictures, if you want to use show art for that purpose.
  • 300 x 300. This is an important one. It gets used a lot in ad spaces on sites.
  • 250 x 250. Same as the 300, this gets used in ad spaces.

The next set of sizes are somewhat less important to me for show art, but I have my QAQN logo art sized to all of these because they’re all used on one site or another for profile pictures, category images, forum avatars—all kinds of web work.

  • 200 x 200
  • 150 x 150
  • 100 x 100
  • 80 x 80

So, yes, when it’s all said and done, I have ten separate files for my show’s artwork. Better this than to have only “large” and “small” and let the various web services handle increasing or decreasing the dimensions depending on their needs. That rarely works out well.

Aesthetically speaking…

Calling your show’s artwork “art” is actually a little bit improper. Art is subjective, can mean different things to different people, and it’s been said that all art is valid. Not so with podcast artwork. Podcast artwork is far more like an advertisement than art—if you can’t convey what your show is about, your artwork fails. It has also been said that there is no wrong way to make art. This is definitely not the case with your show’s artwork.

If your artwork does not incorporate the name of your podcast, you’ve done it wrong. Aside from that one hard and fast rule, I have a few guidelines that I suggest considering.

  • Don’t crowd the image. Try to leave as much whitespace around text as possible while still keeping text large and legible.
  • Speaking of text, try not to have too many words in your artwork. Remember that it needs to look good at 100 x 100 pixels, and more words means less legibility at small sizes.
  • Don’t overcomplicate the image. Too many graphical elements fighting for attention is bad.
  • You can add a lot of fine detail at the 3000 x 3000 pixels size that will be completely lost when the image is shrunk down.
  • Unimportant words can be small, important words should be larger. Think of the covers of books with titles like “The Fate of Kings”. The words “the” and “of” are always very small next to “Fate” and “Kings”. You can use that same trick with your show’s name if necessary.

Lastly, the most important thing to be said about your show’s artwork must be this:

Your artwork should generally match the tone of your show. A podcast about My Little Pony should not have artwork inspired by H.R. Giger. Unless that’s the tone of your show, in which case, let me know because I would totally listen to a Giger-inspired pony podcast.

Rainbow Dash? Is… is that you?

Dana White Shares Social Media Success Secrets at NMX

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I have to admit: when I heard that Dana White would be keynoting at NMX 2013, my initial thought was, “Who?”

Our co-founders, Rick Calvert and Dave Cynkin, were extremely excited, both being huge UFC fans. But as someone who is not into UFC or other fighting sports, the name was not familiar to me. It is now, in a huge way.

With over 2.3 million fans on Twitter and a complete sports empire built on social media, anyone in the social space would be shooting themselves in the foot not to listen to what this guy has to say. After his keynote at NMX, Dana sat down with Rick and Dave to talk about Twitter and dish out a little general social media advice to anyone smart enough to listen. How did he grow his personal following and his business using social media? Check out what he has to say:

You can see Dana’s full keynote at NMX University, where you’ll also find access to more keynotes from our 2013 event, bonus interviews with other speakers, and more.

Social Media Success Secrets with Dana White Transcript

Rick Calvert (0:05): We are backstage in the green room, here with Dana White.  Dana I know…

Dave Cynkin (0:10: At New Media Expo!

Rick (0:11): At New Media Expo.  And I know you get this, I mean, as Dino said earlier, was talking to you.  I don’t get star struck either.  I’m freaking star stuck, man.

Dana White (0:21 :) Thank you.  I’m honored.

Rick (0:23):  I mean, we’re huge fight fans.  Thank you so much for coming to the show, we really appreciate it.

Dana (0:26):  Pleasure.

Rick (0:27):  You said something in the keynote that you love Twitter.  Why do you love Twitter so much?

Dana (0:33):  I love Twitter because, first of all, it give me the ability to cut out all the middle men.  Meaning the media or whoever it might be.  And I can talk directly to our fans or whoever wants to talk to me.  You know, you’d be surprised how many, you know, how many amazing things that I’ve done, you know, real time with our business through Twitter.

Rick (0:56):  By the way, is this the strangest place ever don an interview before?

Dana (0:59): No, actually it’s not.  Funny you should ask.

Rick (1:01): What is the strangest place?

Dana (1:02):  I’ve literally done one…I did this interview one time in the bathroom at the Hard Rock.  Because the guy liked the tile in there, so we did it in the bathroom.

Rick (1:11): And were people coming in and?

Dana (1:12):  Yeah, people were walking by us and, whatever.

Rick (1:16): Very good.  So, Google+, you haven’t used Google+ yourself, but I was talking to your content guy earlier, and I know you said you weren’t using Instagram.  But as an organization, you’ve got people on almost every social channel.

Dana (1:28):  Every platform.  Every platform or social media that has ever been created, we’ve been on and we’re engaged in some way.  But me, personally, Twitter is for me.  It just works a lot easier for me.  Twitter is…Twitter is what I’m into.

Rick (1:43):  Do you think it’s important to pick one platform and just kind of live there?  Or can you do two or three different things good?

Dana (1:49):  I think you can do two of three things good if you’re really into it.  I’m really into Twitter.  It’s easy for me, it’s fast, it’s simple.  You know, it’s what works for me.  And that’s the thing.  When I talk about social media, whether your thing is Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, whatever it might be.  Whatever works for you, you absolutely 100% should do it and figure out what does work for you and what works for your business or your brand or whatever it is you’re into.

Dave (2:19):  What about control?  I mean, you, I don’t want to say let things get out of control, but most companies are so shielded and so guarded about what they say.  They don’t let people from their company speak without following a specific legal policy.  And you let it fly, and it’s great because everybody…all these fans feel like they’re like you, and you’re like them.  You’re just another fan.

Dana (2:37): It’s what’s made us unique and makes us different than every other sport.  You know, I’ve been the way that I’ve been day one, since we started this company.  And it has allowed me more slack than some of these other guys have or will ever have.  But I think that it’s…The way that I run the business, the way that I interact with the fans and the way that the UFC does things.  I think it’s the future. I think you have to be this way, you have to be.  The younger generations, they live on social media.  This is where these kids live.  They live on the Internet. They live on YouTube, the Internet, social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter and Instagram and all these others.  That’s where they live.  If you don’t go meet these people and engage with them where they live…I don’t know.  It’s not good for the future of your business.

Rick (3:31): So, one of the questions I was going to ask is if you think the UFC is particularly positioned, you know, in the world that you’re in makes social media easier for you?  And, say, maybe a Fortune 100 company, maybe Ford, can’t be as transparent as you because their business is different than yours.  Or do you think they should be just as transparent as you?

Dana (3:50):  No, it’s not about being as transparent as me but, I don’t care if you’re Ford or Microsoft or whoever.  You should live where your fans are.  You have to get in there at some point and live where your fans live.  You have to be there.  Or your customers, or whatever you want to call them.  You don’t have to be like me.  I would never recommend going out and acting like me on Twitter or any other place because that might not work for you.  But it worked for me.

Rick (4:18):  And, when I hear you talk about the UFC, and you said you’ve been a fight fan since you were a kid.  We were talking about that a little bit before.  Do you feel like you have a responsibility to fight fans?  Not just UFC fans, but fight fans in general with the way you guys direct the UFC and where you’re taking it.

Dana (4:35):  I think so, yeah.  You know, at the end of the day, the way that I Iook at the business and the way that I look at my job and what I do is; I’m asking you to stay home on Saturday night and sometimes put down 45, 50 bucks, watch these fights.  And, yeah, I think that it’s my job to give you the fights that you want to see.  To give you as much access to the UFC as we possibly can.  That’s another thing that we’re really big on, is giving the fans as much access as they can possibly have.  Looking behind the curtain, getting behind the scenes.  And really making them feel like a part.  Because I remember being a kid and what a huge fight fan I was.  And, for me, and I keep talking all this stuff that shows how old I really am, it’s like, all I had was the newspaper.  Every Sunday, they would come out on the back page and it was all boxing.  It’s the only thing I read.  I wouldn’t read any other part of the newspaper except that boxing section.  And I remember how engaged I was, how…I just couldn’t consume enough information about the fights.  And I told you guys earlier, I knew everybody, man.  The guy over here that rang the bell.  I knew the guy who, you know, the cutmen.  I knew everybody.  And that’s what’s really, you know, the way that the UFC was built and designed is that fans who are really, you know, into it…everybody is interactive.  You can interact with everybody from the octagon girls to the cutmen, the referees, I mean everybody.

Dave (6:07):  You know, the fighters, the businesses, now, that came to this conference that are learning from you.  Is there anybody that you see using social media, where you watch what they do and you say, “That’s really a good idea, I didn’t think of that,” and you learn from them?  Is there anybody that you kind of…?

Dana (6:22):  You know, I follow a lot of different people on there and everybody has their own unique style of tweeting.  And, you know, putting out whatever message it might be.  I can’t stand people who keep constantly tweeting ads.  Or always pitching or selling or doing something like that.  It drives me crazy.  I block those people.  And I don’t block many people.  I like people…I follow people that are real.  I like people who talk real.  I like people who are interesting, and will tweet interesting things.  But I don’t know if I’ve ever seen anybody that was like, “Wow, this guy has really got it on lock down.  I gotta do what this guy is doing.”  And not to sound like a cocky idiot, but a lot of people follow what we do and start, you know, doing the stuff that we do on Twitter.

Rick (7:15):  It sounds like you’ve learned some things what not to do by seeing what other people do.

Dana (7:19):  Yeah, and that’s…I’ve done that my whole life.  I look at what people do that I don’t like and making sure that I don’t do that.

Rick (7:27):  You mentioned that about boxing earlier, you don’t want to be like them.

Dana (7:28):  Yeah, that was our model.  Is to do the exact opposite of what those guys have done over the last 35-40 years.

Rick (7:34):  So, you guys do this amazing job engaging with your fans in social media and giving us access to things that we wouldn’t get in other places.  How’s the culture inside the UFC?  Do you guys use, you said earlier, if anybody wants to know what’s going on with the company who works there, watch your Twitter feed.  You guys talk to each other on Twitter?  You send direct message to people in the company?

Dana (7:55): Yeah, I’ll see people in my company that pop up on my Twitter and say stuff.  You know, we do things, you know…we let the fans see a lot of personal stuff through Twitter.  At our Christmas party, we were Tweeting, you know, pictures of, you know, we had the Red Hot Chili Peppers play at our Christmas party.  And people were sending out pictures of that.  I was on stage drunk; I saw a few of those pictures out there.  There were a lot of things going on.  So we let people in.  We let them deep in.  And that’s part of the fun of being a fan of the UFC.  There’s nothing that we don’t let people see.  We let them see everything.  We let them see behind the curtain.

Dave (8:34):  You know, something that you mentioned today; you don’t like it when the athletes think they’re comedians and make mistakes.  And I’ve seen those things and…

Dana (8:42):  I’ve made mistakes too.

Dave (8:43:  I just going to ask.  You’ve done a lot of great things.  What you done anything that you thought, “Wow, that was a real mistake,” and what did you do about it online?

Dana (8:52):  Yeah, I mean, you know, to say that I’ve never tweeted anything stupid would be stupid.  I have tweeted some dumb things myself.  That’s always my philosophy.  When somebody does something wrong, the world freaks out.  Like, “Oh my God, how could this happen?”  Because we’re human beings.  And we’re all going to make mistakes, and we’re all going to do stupid stuff sometimes.  Everybody’s had that tweet that they wish they could reel back.  But, you know, once it goes, it is what it is and, there’s, you know, you have to deal with it here and there.

Rick (9:24):  Own up to is, accept it.

Dana (9:25):  Yeah, it is what it is.  It’s going to happen.  It’s going to happen.  If you consistently keep tweeting stupid stuff, then it’s a whole different level.  You know.  Then we’ve got to talk.

Rick (9:38):  Dana, thank you so much for all the time.  We’re honored to have you with us.

Dana (9:41):  Pleasure, thanks for having me.  I appreciate it.

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