Eye Contact

Capturing and Holding the Attention of Your Audience

 

In a recent blog post, Seth Godin talks about the value of subscribers and states that 1 subscriber = 1,000 surfers.

In the traditional sense, a subscriber is someone who pays to see your content, someone who is committed to interacting with you. In today’s world, with limitless information available at any given moment (and for free), that definition has grown to include anyone that commits any amount of time to your content. We live in a world of surfers, making the value of that committed viewer nearly priceless.

How this changes what we do

For anyone that publishes content, you understand that Search Engine Optimization (SEO) has been the go-to strategy for attracting new viewers and customers online. This approach is geared towards the reaching the masses. It’s an attempt to snag surfers anytime they’re looking for anything even remotely relevant to you. This is not a bad thing. But it’s not the best thing either.

The times are a changin’ and it is now imperative that we spend more of our time and energy investing in our “subscribers” than trying to preach to each and every surfer that comes our way. Making the effort to engage with and build relationships with those that already like what you do, publish, or sell will yield more fruit than just holding a sign by the side of the road. By the way, this whole relationship and interaction thing is made simple, efficient, and rewarding through social media. [Check out one of my posts on social media here]

These ideas are not just for those that have things to sell. I am talking about creating valuable content, building relationships, and telling stories which apply to everyone, whether you are a housewife, blogger, business owner, or college student.

Duck Hunting

When I was in college, I helped run a leadership development program on my campus. We brought in guest speakers, held conferences, and hosted retreats that taught leadership principles to students. One of those speakers, Dr. Tim Elmore, has written some great material on leadership and communication. One of his fundamental points was the idea of Duck Hunting.

In duck hunting you wait for a flock to approach, fire, and gather up the birds that fall. It’s impossible to gather up the ones that don’t fall; yet, every day we try to do this with the content that we publish and products that we sell. We become fixated on telling as many people as possible about everything we do. Instead, we should focus on those that respond, build relationships with them, and allow them to share our story with others. Because, when you think about it, who do we generally trust more, our friends or an advertisement? Unless you have terrible friends, I think we are all on the same page.

Am I suggesting we abandon all traditional advertisement and marketing strategies? By no means. What I am suggesting is that we put more effort into our subscribers than we do the surfers. If we commit to those that respond, we will see them sharing our story, products, and services with others. At that point, it becomes more about a story than a business. And, in case you can’t see it, that is a very good thing!

Whether you are an online retailer, a blogger, or a stay at home dad, think about who you are talking to, what you want to say to them, and spend time interacting with them. It isn’t always easy. It isn’t always quick. But it’s always rewarding.

 

For more amazing info on communication, marketing, and leadership, check out the guys I referenced in this article.

Seth Godin

Dr. Tim Elmore

yankey

Good Times!

When I am an old man, these are the days I will look back upon fondly. Every day seems to be an adventure. Since my relocation to Oregon in early April, an adventure in and of itself, I have had the opportunity to shape the vision of what I want to work towards and how to do it. To catch y’all up, I have made a list! (I like lists)

1. Pork and Company As many of you know, I am starting a new company! It’s called Pork and Company. The goal is to create valuable content and help promote small business owners from around the country. Each day I get closer to the launch, I get more excited about what’s in store. Pork & Co. will be writing articles, publishing images, making lists (of course), that help people engage with the world around them. Topics covered will include Art/Design, Lifestyle, Business, Tech, Music, and Travel. I mention this venture because in order for Pork & Co. to be successful, I can’t go it alone. I am looking for people interested in contributing articles, photographs, videos, illustrations, etc… to this new media outlet. If you have a story you want to share and need a platform or know of something we can write about, send me an email and we’ll get to talking. I am developing compensation packets for people interested in helping out with this project. I have got some amazing people on board right now and would love to have more talented individuals join the team. Hit me up at chris@porkandcompany.com if you’re interested in joining the team or have some ideas to share!

2. Chris Yankey (the website) I started this blog a few weeks ago and have been overwhelmed by the response. It has been awesome getting to have conversations with friends, family, and others about things that came up on here. I am excited to continue working on this site and posting on relevant topics (always game for suggestions as well). I am about to embark on some adventures and will be sharing some cool stuff on here and through Pork and Company (links to come). Thank you so much for engaging with this content and for the many shares I have received as well! I am glad that I am able to bring something valuable to the table. Also, I will be getting into a schedule here pretty soon, so you can expect to see a little more consistency in the posts (trying to take my own advice on productivity). Thanks again for the warm welcome to the blogging world. I look forward to many more conversations in the future.

3. Life, in General It is pretty crazy to think that in just a few months I went from working part-time at a grocery store in North Carolina to starting my own company in Oregon. This is not a testament to my own awesomeness by any means. It is a testament to the graciousness of my family, friends, and Creator. God has given me so many amazing opportunities and my family has been nothing but supportive. Though there will always be struggles, I have so much to be thankful for.

4. Travels As I mentioned previously, I am embarking on an adventure in a few weeks with my friend Jordan. We will be traveling from Portland, Oregon to Kansas City, MO, making stops at National Parks, craft breweries, coffee shops, and anywhere else worth stopping. We will both be documenting the journey and writing about some of the places we visit. Follow the journey on Twitter and Instagram to keep up with us! I am excited to share images, stories, and reviews for y’all on the new Pork and Company site (opening before the trip) as well. Also, if you know any places in Oregon, Idaho, Utah, Colorado, or KC that we should check out, leave it in the comments below! I am always up for recommendations.

5 Apps You Will Actually Use

The world of apps is tremendous… and murky. With what seems like 12,000 options for an app that manages to-do lists, it can be a daunting task finding ones that are actually useful. Many apps are extremely well-designed, useful, and powerful, but that doesn’t mean you will actually ever need it. If it’s not something you open almost without thinking, chances are it won’t prove very useful. Thus, it can be very difficult to find apps you will actually use on a daily basis.

Below are some of the apps that I use continually. This list may not cover the wide range of things you can do with your phone (I am not a big gamer), but for me it covers nearly all the bases.

 

1. Twitter (social media)

Twitter is an information superstore! If you follow me on Twitter, you know that I am not a prolific tweeter. However, almost all of the information I receive on current events, the design world, art news, and breaking news all comes from here. I realize this is not a recent development; Twitter has been this way almost since its birth. I bring this up because I am surprised how many business owners, creatives, housewives, and college kids are not on Twitter. I don’t think everyone in the world should be micro-blogging about their day but there are numerous ways to use your Twitter account and I encourage everyone to give it a shot.

 

2. Oyster (reading)

If you have talked with me recently, I have probably mentioned this service. Oyster provides unlimited eBooks for a flat rate of $9.95/month. It has now been nicknamed the “Netflix of Books”. I have to say, this is right up my alley. They have over 500,000 books to read, ranging from classics and poetry to bestsellers and business books. It’s great for anyone who loves to read. For those that aren’t avid readers, Oyster provides spot on recommendations and posts regularly about books their staff is reading to help give you a place to start. Their incentive program is very rewarding as well, giving new subscribers $15 towards their membership and the one giving the referral $15 too! Here is my link that will get you, and me, that free money. Utilize their free trial if you like. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

 

3. Simple (banking)

Simple is a new way to bank. I have been using them for my primary account for about 4-5 months and have been nothing but impressed. It works just like any other online banking service provided through your typical bank, but better. Simple was designed specifically for mobile, giving you more control from the app than any other banking service I had used previously. Send checks to friends, create savings goals, track expenses related to a specific shopping category or budget item, see the location of purchases, and many other awesome things. Their desktop experience provides even more tools, allowing you to track your savings, create budgets, and analyze your spending habits (a frightening thing at times). It may not be right for everyone, but Simple provides a unique and powerful service that everyone should take note of.

 

4. Medium (blogging… sort of)

I don’t know how I missed its release a couple of years ago but I am totally on the bandwagon now. Medium is a blogging service started by Twitter cofounders Evan Williams and Biz Stone and provides a platform for professional and layman contributors as well as paid writers. It hovers somewhere in between Twitter and a full length blog service like WordPress or Blogger. Its clean design, stellar content, and phenomenal reading lists combine to create an incredible user experience. One neat feature on the site, and on the app, is the icon that indicates how many minutes it will most likely take to read any particular article. This helps you prioritize what you can read at the moment and what you need to save for later. Medium is really a platform for social journalism and, I think, is a powerful new tool that writers and readers alike should check out.

 

5. VSCO Cam (photo editing)

If you’re an Instagrammer, you already know what I am going to say. VSCO Cam is the best. While not everyone will agree with me, its popularity on the photo sharing platform is an indicator that most people do. Before downloading the app, the day it was released, I had been using VSCO presets for Adobe Lightroom. VSCO (Visual Supply Co) has been churning out amazing presets, mimicking classic film types, for a long time now. VSCO Cam brings that same experience to the mobile platform. By providing great filters that are great at making your pictures not look chintzy, awesome editing tools (like the skin tone slider), and a community of users (VSCO Grid), this app has proven it has got what it takes to stick around. I use it every day and haven’t found a better app for what I want to do. Whether or not you’re an Instagrammer, you should check this app out and use it all the time, your slideshow of photos from that camping trip will be better for it.

Know. Think. Post.

Or Why I Love Social Media.

This, unlike many articles on social media, isn’t some post about how terrible it is or how we are all turning into mush. In fact, it is quite the opposite. Because, although that mush theory may be true to some extent, there are so many awesome things happening right now that it seems foolish to only dwell on the downsides of this new social landscape. It’s a bit like complaining about the seats at a Beatles concert.

Social media has completely changed the way we interact with one another (this is not news) and has created an entirely new system by which to meet, date, and connect with others. The ability to talk to anyone at anytime creates equal potential for good as it does bad. I’m gonna focus on what is awesome about this.

Like any good thing, it’s only good if done properly (ever tried a Totino’s Pizza that’s been cooked in the microwave? Not good). Social media gives us the opportunity to connect with any number of people at any given time. This grants each and every one of us tremendous influence. Hundreds, or sometimes thousands, of people see every thing that we say, post, or like. Take a moment to think about that… It really is an awesome power we yield and one worth taking a moment to consider.

Social media has brought about dramatic cultural change, funded countless humanitarian efforts, and helped the dreams of small business owners come true. It’s tremendous when you think about how influential a simple video posted to Facebook can be.

So take it seriously…. kind of.

By take it seriously, I do not mean you should retweet CSPAN (please do not retweet CSPAN). I mean you should seriously think about what you want to get out of social media. For many, it is about keeping in touch with family. For others, it’s about sharing your lifestyle with others. For some, it’s just a nuisance. Whatever your opinion, you’re there so you might as well enjoy it.

Taking time to think about draws you to social media will help you decide what you should and should not post. Face it, we all know that one person that posts each and every thing they read, see, or hear about. No one wants to be that guy. Don’t be that guy.

I am not here to tell you what to post or or tell you what not to post. I just think we all need to take a big step back from the computer screen and maybe think twice about sharing that BuzzFeed quiz that told us which Disney Princess we are (I am Ariel).

All that said, don’t take it too seriously. After all, memes are what feed our souls and I can’t get enough of those Fast Company infographics (nerd alert).

Embrace it. Use it to build friendships. Use it to share ideas. Use it to influence. Use it to make connections.

Whatever your goal with social media, always remember that it’s not about you. It’s about community. It’s about starting a conversation that we all get to be a part of. It can be extremely valuable and it’s time we treated as such.

 

*stay tuned for a post about everything wrong with social media.