Quick Twitter Bio Tip: Utilise Returns for a Better Layout

Twitter bird imageTwitter addict? Personal branding important to you? Then this might be of interest…

I made a cool discovery the other day. You can use returns in your Twitter bio, which some third-party apps will honour. While it’ll look exactly the same in Twitter itself (as if it’s ignored it) and therefore seem like a completely pointless exercise, other apps show them, which means that you can spread out your Twitter bio across multiple separate lines.

This is especially handy for me as my Twitter bio looks a little messy because it contains a lot of brief one-liners with @mentions:

Twitter profile with no returns screenshot
In its default form it looks a little higgledy-piggledy, especially on Tweetbot for iPhone:

Tweetbot (iPhone) bio, no returns screenshot
As you can see, it looks like I talk about being a freelance SEO consultant, then something about MOM and Welsh ICE, and then I’m a member of something, and then State of Digital… You get the idea. It feels a little disjointed and hard to read, as the parts that are connected are on separate lines from one another.

Enter the ‘Enter’ key

But fear not, my friend, for you can add enters/returns to the bio of Twitter. Go to your Twitter profile, hit ‘Edit profile’ on the right, make your edits in the box on the left, hit the ‘Save changes’ button on the right, and you’re done. Nice n’ easy, no?

(Pro tip: I suggest using an enter and a space each time, just in case places that don’t honour it don’t show a space after the full-stops, therefore looking like this: “@Welsh_ICE member.@stateofdigital…”)

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Guest Blogging? Routinely Check Old Posts for Bad Comments

Little screaming dude image
If you’re doing SEO, you’re probably doing link building, and if you’re doing link building, you might be doing guest blogging as a tactic. Despite Google saying that it’s done as a tactic a while back, I think it’s still a good, viable strategy – if you’re doing it properly, of course.

When it comes to comments sections, the issue with guest blogging is that you’re relying on someone else to manage and administrate the comments for you. On your own blog, you may choose not to have comments on blog posts at all, but if you do, you’ll probably check them and approve/deny them before they go live – and even so, you’d probably get a notification if a new comment is pending. If it’s a guest blog post then you’re leaving that process in the hands of someone else. Some of them actually notify you as the author (e.g. I get notified of comments against my posts on State of Digital), but not always…

I had a heart attack when a client’s guest post had a negative ‘troll’ comment against it. For six months. Neither me, the client nor the blog owner spotted it until I happened to check something on the post and caught it then.

The nightmare moment

Ironically, I discovered the troll comment because I was contacting another blog about a guest posting opportunity and they wanted to see other examples of the writer’s work, so I went onto the site to dig it out. It was only then that I discovered the offending comment (…and obviously I didn’t share it with the person who wanted to see examples – for obvious reasons, heh).

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A Year of Award Submissions – A Freelancer’s Experience

Award statue imageIn the three years I’ve been running MOM, one of the things I’m proudest of is the fact that I’ve spent very little on marketing. As the majority of enquiries come to me via SEO (fittingly!), social media and word-of-mouth, I don’t spend any money on advertising, except for business cards and Cardiff SEO Meet (which I run and pay for all myself, but put MOM as an event sponsor in return).

The only other exception? Award submissions.

Over the past year I submitted an SEO/content campaign that I created last year to multiple awards organisations. All of them operate a ‘pay-to-enter’ type model, so none of them were free to submit to. This is fine for fancypants agencies who can quite readily and easily splurge, but for a li’l solo consultant like me, it’s a heck of a business expense – especially if it doesn’t end up paying off.

In this post I talk about where I submitted the campaign, how much it all cost, what it amounted to in the end, where I went right/wrong, and whether it’s put me off or encouraged me to do this all again…

Awards of every type…

I was darn proud of CR 25. In the process of putting it all together, I thought to myself “ooo, this could be award-worthy” as it showcased lots of different types and styles of content, ranging from expert roundups and infographics to interactive timelines and multiple-choice quizzes. And we did it all really cheaply, too.

Once the dust settled, I eyed up all the potential awards that were applicable:

  • Canmol Wales Marketing Awards 2015
  • UK Search Awards 2015
  • Recruiter Awards 2016
  • EU Search Awards 2016
  • The Drum Search Awards 2016

There were two others as well (Content Marketing Awards 2015 and The Drum Content Awards 2016), but I eventually decided against them.

As you can see above, the list of organisations was a nice mix of local (Wales-focused), industry-specific for the client (recruitment), and industry-specific for me (SEO).

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Why Radiohead’s Marketing Campaign for the New Album is Pretty Genius

I just wanted to type up a quick post talking about what Radiohead have been doing recently to promote their new album – A Moon Shaped Pool – and why it’s awesome. I’m not even a massive Radiohead fan (don’t get me wrong, I like their albums, but they’re not one of my favourite bands), but even so, you can’t help but admire their marketing approach. There’s two sides to it that I want to talk about: going against the social media grain, and not making the album easily accessible…

The social media disappearance

I didn’t even realise that Radiohead were releasing a new album until a couple of weeks ago when half my Twitter feed shared articles about Radiohead’s social media disappearance, i.e. keeping their profiles/pages but deleting all old tweets and status updates.

Radiohead on the Guardian screenshot
At first, I think a lot of people thought “what the hell are Radiohead doing?”, like it was a bad thing to do, because it goes against the typical social media way of thinking – the fact that you should use those channels to talk about yourselves, not simply be mute. But that’s exactly why it was such a smart thing to do. Everyone talked about it. EveryoneThe Guardian. Vanity Fair. Pitchfork. NME. Mirror Online. The Telegraph. The Independent. Mail Online.* Mashable. Fortune. ITV News. Daily Star. The Huffington Post. I could go on…

* …Who I’m not going to link to, because… it’s Mail Online. I mean c’mon… this blog publishes some really stupid stuff, but I’ve gotta have some standards…

Then, a few days later, a whole bunch of the biggest news publishers in the world wrote about them again, when Radiohead broke their social media ‘silence’ by releasing one of the songs.

From what I could see it was one of the most talked about, widely reported – and therefore highly anticipated – album releases I’ve seen this year so far.

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3 Things I’ve Learnt 3 Years Into Self-Employment

Three coffees imageIt’s been a month of birthdays…

In addition to this very blog turning 5-years-old very recently, on 7th May my freelance business – morganonlinemarketing.co.uk – reaches its 3rd birthday.

Way back in 2013, only a mere 3 months after taking the plunge, I wrote a post titled 3 Things I’ve Learnt 3 Months Into Self-Employment. 33 months later, I wanted to pass on 3 more things I’ve discovered now that I have a longer-term view of freelancing life, and I also thought that it might be interesting to revisit the initial 3 things I blogged about – to see if they’re just as true/more true/less true – now that a whole bunch of time has passed…

3 Things I’ve Learnt 3 Years On

Alrighty then… Let’s go.

1) You can’t say “yes” to everything

As you’ll see below (or here), the #1 of my original ‘3 Things’ was also about saying “yes” – but it was from the other person’s perspective. This time it’s about me saying yes.

You often hear the common wisdom that is to “say yes to everything.” A guy I know and look up to on the Cardiff entrepreneurship scene admitted to me that he follows this course, saying yes to absolutely everything/anything that comes his way and never turning anything down.

But you know what? That’s borderline foolish. (Sorry person-referenced-above-who-I-have-now-insulted…)

Because when you say yes to something, you could be saying “no” to something else.

So while you can say yes to everything, you probably shouldn’t. Our time is finite, so if you agree to do something and it takes x hours to do, you can’t save or reuse those hours on something else (unless you sacrifice time from something else, such as time spent on a hobby, with family/friends, or sleeping). What if you say yes to something good, but then something great comes along, and you can’t do the great thing because you’re busy doing the good thing? That would suck, wouldn’t it?

You have to be careful about what you choose to do and not just say yes to things willy-nilly. It may seem harsh and even cruel to say no to certain things, but you have to be careful and tactical with your time.

I certainly feel like I’m getting better at this, especially in the past year or so.

2) Do away with distractions

Early on in my freelancing career, I was a moderator for Inbound.org for a time. I took to the moderating quite obsessively, upsetting some people in the process (but that’s a whooole other story…!), before quitting for good. While I was doing it though, I noticed that I was doing it a lot. To touch upon the above point, our time is finite. I could’ve spent that time differently – especially in the early days of freelancing.

I don’t regret it too much though. The whole upsetting-people thing aside, I made a lot of great contacts and friends in the SEO industry while I was living and breathing Inbound.org, and it helped to get my name out there. Hell, I’ve not contributed on there for years and yet I’m still in their Top 50 all-time members as I type this, hah!

…But at the same time, it wouldn’t have helped with sales or client acquisition, at a time when that was absolutely crucial to focus on. Obviously I did ok in the end (otherwise I wouldn’t be writing this!) but it might’ve been a much smoother ride if it’d been distraction-free.

So, if you’ve got any distractions in your life, try and put them to one side. (He says, still absolutely obsessed with Twitter… We’ve all gotta have at least one vice, right? Right.)

3) The community around you is so, so important

I harp on about them all the time (most likely to the point of causing boredom and sickness), but I love Welsh ICE more than I can explain. The coworking space and startup community just outside Cardiff has been pivotal to my freelancing success.

When I first looked into coworking, I thought it consisted of just three things: a desk, coffee, and WiFi. Oh and I knew that I’d go stir-crazy it I worked from home all day everyday, spending every waking minute talking to my cats. But there’s been much more to it than that: I’ve had support from members (whether it be dedicated mentoring sessions or a simple pick-your-brains moment with someone who’s been-there-and-done-it); I’ve networked with members; members have passed on referrals to prospective clients; members have become clients (including the space itself!); I’ve hired members to do things for me; we’ve collaborated on projects together; and so on. I’ve also made a bunch of friends up there (aww).

I’ve read (well, listened to) quite a few books recently, and most of them have said that you need to surround yourself with positive people and not negative people. Places like ICE aren’t perfect for sure, and I don’t get on with absolutely everyone (because life just ain’t that perfect), but there’s certainly more of the former than the latter. And their on-going support has been really important to me.


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