Talking “The Lead Machine” on 207


Rich Brooks Talking About the Lead Machine on 207

At this point I’ve been on 207, the evening news program on the NBC affiliates in Maine, at least 50 times, talking about everything from online safety to smartphone photography to best recipe sites. 

And under my name, in the byline, they’ll often say “Tech Guru,” “Tech Expert,” “Area Man,” or “Call Police – Do Not Approach.”

But never has it felt as sweet as when they used the simple word, “Author.”

I had the opportunity earlier this week to go on 207 and talk about my new book, The  Lead Machine: The Small Business Guide to Digital Marketing, which was a blast. I even got a shout out for my editor, Lisa Canfield, at the very end. 

Lisa, I hope you’re listening!

How Long Does it Take to Write a Book?


The Lead Machine BookHow long does it take to write a book? I can say it took me sixty hours, or ten months, or six years, or twenty. Depends how you look at it.

Sixty hours.

 
I had heard from countless people that writing a book was the most difficult thing they ever did. That it was an absolute grind. That it was as painful as giving birth. 
 
Based upon what my mother has told me about about my own birth, I knew this couldn’t be true. First of all, she was in labor for twice as long as it took me to write the book.
 
Regardless, I actually enjoyed the process. Because I work better with goals, I started a spreadsheet that tracked my progress. It included five columns:
  • Date
  • Hours Spent
  • Total Words
  • Words Written (that day)
  • Words Per Hour
Having the date in there was a clear reminder—and visual reprimand—if I missed a day. 
 
I had promised myself that I’d work at least an hour a day on the book, and for most days I did. 
 
I wrote the first draft in Google Docs so it was easy to get a total word count at the end of each session. I then set up a formula to compute and enter the Words Written for the day. 
 
Finally, the spreadsheet calculated the words per hour I was writing, and also totaled my average, which turned out to be just over 1,000 words an hour. This kept me motivated to keep my head down and focus on my writing during these sessions.
 
Having the spreadsheet definitely held me accountable and was part of the reason I was able to write the first draft in sixty hours. (Fifty nine point five, if you want to be exact.)

Ten Months

Of course, the writing is the fun part. Editing is the work.
 
At least it was for me. When I completed the first draft, about a month earlier than I had expected, I followed the advice of my friend, my book coach, and author of The Profitable Business Author, Julie Ann Eason, who told me to take two weeks off from the book. Get some space and let everything settle.
 
Fourteen days later I walked into Staples, printed up the manuscript and put it in a blue binder. Per Julie’s recommendation, I read the book out loud to myself, marking it up with a red pen. 
 
I killed that red pen.
 
There were parts of the book that were unclear, repetitive, or just didn’t make any sense. There was bad English and worse puns. There was grammar that didn’t look, act, or smell like grammar. 
 
There were also some nice surprises. A number of times I read a passage that I didn’t remember writing and it made me laugh out loud. 
 
That wasn’t the last time I had to read the book. Once I completed it and made the changes to the digital file, I handed it off to an editor who reviewed and marked up the file. I then had to read the book again and agree or disagree with her changes.
 
Once I got the book professionally formatted I had to read it again, to pick up additional mistakes. That process actually took five iterations, but I can promise you I didn’t read it through each time. 
 
I also went through a process getting the cover designed. The designer I hired created three versions based on my input, each with a unique piece of stock illustrations that was meant to represent the idea of the book. Only after seeing them did I realize that I wanted an original illustration that would represent the book and no one else could use. 
 
So, I turned to my friend Josh Fisher, who had done the designs for the Agents of Change as well as some other art for me over the years, and he came up with what can only be described as a Lead Machine.
 
Once that was completed, I uploaded everything to CreateSpace (to turn it into a paperback that can be sold on Amazon) and KDP, which turns it into a Kindle book.
 
Because sometimes the upload gets wonky, you’re supposed to read through it again to find mistakes, both for the paperback and Kindle version. I skimmed. 
 
They never tell you how often you’re going to read your own book before publication.
 
Funny aside: I was using CreateSpace to upload my paperback to Amazon, but it was taking too long and I was getting distracted, so I decided to come back when I had a bigger block of time.
 
Two days later I returned, only to find out not only had I completed the process but I’d sold two copies! Perhaps not the most auspicious of beginnings, but it was cool to see that two people had already purchased copies without me promoting it.
 
When I told my younger daughter, she immediately told me that it was she and Grammy Mar who bought them. (She was kidding.) (I think.)

Six Years

Ever since 2010 I’ve included “writing a book” on my annual goals list. Usually right at the top. 
 
Why it took so long I can’t say. I got busy, things came up, I spent my time working on other projects. I’ve got plenty of good excuses, and even more poor ones.
 
When I finally realized that not having a book was holding me back professionally, I decided to get serious. For me, that meant hiring a coach. I’ve found that often it’s important to have skin in the game. Once I started paying Julie for her one-on one-coaching, something clicked inside me and I got to work. 
 
I’m not suggesting that everyone needs a book coach to get the work done, but sometimes making a personal investment is the motivation you need to move forward.

Twenty Years

That’s how long I’ve been doing this. Or more specifically, it’s been twenty years since I started building websites and marketing businesses online. Hundreds of clients, over a dozen employees, and countless hours blogging, podcasting, optimizing, and marketing later, I had enough experience to take the book that was in my mind and bring it into the world. 
 
In that time I’ve worked with so many people, businesses, and organizations. Each one different, each one unique, and yet there was one thing that seemed to connect them. The need to generate leads online, whatever “leads” meant to them. 
 
By working with such a wide variety of businesses—boat builders to business consultants, furniture makers to dentists, innkeepers to authors—I started to see a framework that almost every business could use to make sense of their digital marketing. What I call the BARE Essentials of Digital Marketing:
 
  • Build – How to build a platform where you can turn visitors into customers
  • Attract – How to drive qualified traffic to your site, with a focus on search, social, and digital ads
  • Retain – How to stay in touch with people after they’ve left your site
  • Evaluate – How to measure and understand your site traffic, social engagements, and other marketing campaigns to determine what’s working and what’s not
 
What happens now
 
The Lead Machine - How Long Does it Take to Write a BookThere’s still work to be done. The promotional push (of which this blog post is part.) The launch party, where books will be signed and bourbon will be consumed. An attempt to get the book into local bookstores. And a whole lot more. 
 
It turns out writing is the easy part when it comes to authoring a book. 😉
 
If you’re looking for a good read (he says, biased,) and want to generate more leads from your website, consider grabbing a copy of The Lead Machine from Amazon.
 
If you have any questions about the book, or about the process of birthing a book, please let me know in the comments below. 
 

3 Key Places On Your Website that you are Forgetting to Optimize for Local SEO


3 Local SEO Tips

Ranking well on a local search is important. Here are three places on your website that you are forgetting about that will increase your Local SEO.

You know how important showing up in search results is for your business. When someone Googles you, your products, or your services, you want to be found by them.

You also know how showing up in local search results can drive local customers to your website and your location. If someone is looking for your services or products in your area, you want to show up in the “snack pack”: the local results that appear highlighted on the map at the top of the search results page. If done well, you can show up in the map and in the organic listings below it!

(more…)

What is the Cloud? (And how do I store my stuff there?)


What is the cloud?What is the cloud and what is cloud storage? If you’ve ever had a computer die on you or lost an external hard drive, you may have wondered if there’s a better way to backup and store your data, photos, and files.

My dad, Dr. Robert Brooks, was asking me about the cloud and cloud storage over Thanksgiving (anyone else the default IT guy in their family?) as a way of backing up some photos and being able to access them over multiple devices. I’m not sure if it was his idea or mine that this would make for a good 207 segment (my brother’s father-in-law is an excellent mixologist) but I shared it with the good people over at WCSH 6 (the NBC affiliate here in Maine) and they gave it a big thumbs up. 
 

(more…)

9 Tips to Get Your First Podcast Guests


9 Ways to Attract Your First Podcast Guests

Are you looking to attract podcast guests to your brand new show, but not sure how to nab those first few interviews? In this post I’ll share some tactics to attract great guests to your show even if you haven’t published your first episode.

Interview-style podcasts are popular these days for a number of reasons:
  • The give and take of an interview makes for interesting listening. Of course, this is dependent on the interviewer and interviewee, but it can be more dynamic than just listening to one person read from a script.
  • It takes a lot of the pressure off you. If you’re asking open-ended questions, your guests will be doing most of the speaking.
  • You can learn a lot. Experts may charge hundreds of dollars an hour for consulting, but they’re sharing all their best content with you for free!
  • You can extend your reach. Most interviewees will share your podcast with their audience as it helps build their own authority.
However, getting guests when you’re just starting out can be a difficult hurdle, based on an email I recently received from a client:
Rich,
 
I need some advice. For someone who is new in the podcast world, how do you market yourself for new interviews…before you have an audience or a big email list to offer in exchange?
 
Podcasting in Portland
 
Dear Podcasting,
 
Here are a few tactics that have worked for me to get some big name guests on The Agents of Change podcast. (more…)

How to Create Google Analytics Goals


How to Set Up Google Analytics GoalsWhy should you set up goals in Google Analytics? Goals give us better information and feedback on how our website is performing and how our best quality visitors are finding our site.

Previously we’ve talked about how to set up Google Analytics and how to create Google Analytics filters. Today, we’re going to focus on goals. If you’re interested in generating more leads online, than you’ll want to setup goals in Google Analytics…here’s how.

Halloween Tips and Tricks from the 207 Tech Guru


Rich Brooks talking Halloween on 207Are you responsible for the Halloween party this year?  Do you have the playlist set? Ideas for spooky decorations? How about some creepy snacks for the trick or treaters? 

Those were the questions I set out to answer recently on the evening news program 207, which airs on the NBC affiliates here in Maine….

(more…)

How to Setup Filters in Google Analytics


Google Analytics FiltersGoogle Analytics collects a lot of data on the visitors on your website. Sometimes you might want to look at just some of that data to get a better understanding of how people are using your site. To do so, you’ll want to set up Google Analytics filters. In this post (and video!) we’ll look at using Google Analytic filters to remove your own company’s traffic from your reports.

A lot of us spend a lot of time on our own website. We could be looking for relevant articles to share with our customers, or just reviewing the content on our site. Unfortunately our own web activity can wreak havoc on our data that we are depending on to determine how people got to our site and what they did once they were there. The good news is Google Analytics filters provide a way for us to remove all of our own website activity so we can keep our reports clean.

  (more…)

The Best Mindfulness and Meditation Apps


Best Mindfulness and Meditation Apps

What are the best meditation apps? Which apps will help you become more aware, more mindful, and 10% happier?

Those were the questions I set out to answer recently on the evening news program 207, which airs on the NBC affiliates here in Maine….

In today’s busy world we’re constantly being distracted by our many devices, so its ironic that the solution to this problem may come in the form of our smartphones!

Yet, if a mobile app can help us balance our bank account, get us a mortgage, or measure how many calories we burned running around the track, why can’t it help us find inner peace?

There are many different mobile apps that overlap with each other and can possibly overwhelm the average smartphone user. I tried many different meditation apps to save you some time. (You’re welcome!) Here what I found:

headspace

Headspace is a guided meditation app, perfect for beginners. This app dubs itself as the “gym for your mind” with your own personal trainer to help fine tune your brain.

Headspace on the go allows you to download these sessions and listen to them offline. Headspace also offers a free 10-day trial and monthly fees from $8 to $13. This app is designed for you to lead a happier, healthier, and more enjoyable life. You will sleep better, eat better, worry less, and smile more. Headspace is available in both the App and Google Play stores.

 

MindBody

MindBody takes a different approach. This app helps users find nearby practitioners and providers for massages, meditation, acupuncture, nutrition, and many more specialized providers. MindBody integrates your schedule that a user keeps on their phone and lets you know if you have time for a quick yoga session.

Think of it as Yelp for mind/body providers, it even allows users to get discounts and deals similar to Groupon. This is a completely free app, so if you are starting to get serious about creating serenity in your life and need some help, MindBody may be the solution.

 

buddhify

buddhify was my favorite overall app. It has a beautiful interface that is very colorful and uplifting. This app asks what you are doing, whether it’s going to sleep, on break at work, or waiting around. From there, buddhify will give you the most appropriate meditation to pursue at that time.

Most apps that I explored were about mindfulness…buddhify is more about meditation and the relaxation of the mind. This is a paid app with no free trial, but it’s only $5 in the Apple Store and $4 in the Google Play Store, so skip your cup of coffee tomorrow morning and purchase buddhify if you are looking for peace of mind.

Have you ever used a meditation app? Which one do you like and recommend? Let me know in the comments below so I can check it out!

Rich Brooks
Ommmmm….

 

How to Set Up Google Analytics – A Step-By-Step Guide


flyte-youtube-chalkboard

Are you wondering how to set up Google Analytics? Would you like step-by-step instructions on how to best optimize your Google Analytics installation? Read on….

Google Analytics is a FREE powerful tool that shows you how people found your website and what they did when they got there. It lets you see what is working with your website and digital marketing… and what’s not.

Google Analytics can only give you this information once it has been installed on your site so if you don’t have Google Analytics set up on your site, let’s do that right now!

  1. Set up a Google Analytics Account. If you have a gmail or YouTube account, you might already have a Google account but we recommend you set up one specifically for your business. Something like yourbusiness@gmail.com will work just fine.
  2. Log in to Google Analytics. Once you create your google account, you want to go to www.google.com/analytics. From there you can Sign Up and set up a new Google Analytics account.
  3. Give your account a name, we recommend your business name.
  4. Name the website you will be tracking. This will be very important if you have different websites for your business.
  5. Put in the URL for your website.
  6. Choose a category like healthcare, beauty, and fitness etc.
  7. Pick your Timezone.

  8. Then you need to choose what data are you willing to share with Google. We feel the more information they have, they more it helps them develop new features for reporting.
  9. Agree to their terms of service.

  10. Go to the page where you get your website tracking code. This will need to go on every page of your website. For this reason we recommend putting it in the header of your website.
  11. You will need to add this tracking code to your website. If you are not comfortable doing this, you can take the snippet of code and send it to your developer to have them add it.

Once that is installed, Google is going to start recording all of the activity on your website. It can take a few hours or up to a day to start seeing data in your new account.

There are lots of ways to optimize your Google Analytics installation, we will talk about those in another video.

This is part of our How To Set Up Google Analytics Correctly series. If you missed any of our other videos check them out now:

If you need more help with setting up your website’s Google Analytics, leave us a comment below and we will try to help!

Happy Tracking!