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10 Sites I Can’t Live Without

By James Plouf

Last time I posted this list Facebook was around 100 million user. They are now close to 750 million and will probably make their next official announcement at the 1 billion mark. Many of the top 10 are the same with a few new ones. Anyway… here goes.

1. Facebook
Not only does this stay at number one it’s probably more important than all the other 9 combined (slight exaggeration). Facebook is a gold mine for marketers. Facebook can make anybody famous in their field. If you are a business and you don’t have a fan page, well, you are missing something huge. Then there is Facebook advertising which I find much more exciting than Google Adwords. It really depends on what you are selling/marketing. A couple of years ago I used to give anybody that wanted to listen the “He who knows Adwords best will win speech.” Now I insert Facebook instead of Adwords. The ability to target by interest is extremely powerful.

With a Facebook IPO on the horizon early 2012, my prediction is that Facebook will be larger than Google in less than 5-years. I’ve been saying this for some time now but it seems clear now that this will happen.

Facebook’s asset is the Social Graph that you give them and that they know your interests. When they get into search and sprinkle some social aspects on the results that’s going to change everything. Brands are now sending traffic to their Fan Page instead of their corporate site. Why? Because it gives them the ability to continue the conversation. Ad spending has a much longer life cycle.

2. WordPress
You’ve heard people saying: “There’s an app for that.” In WordPress there is “a plug-in for that.” For less than $10 a month (for a Godaddy account) you can have a blogging empire. But, vanilla WordPress won’t get you far. You have to learn about the plug-ins. I’ll save that for a separate post. If you want to expand your skill set then try and setup a Wordpres blog.

3. Mailchimp
Email marketing. List building. Whatever you call it, Mailchimp has won my heart. I was a big Aweber (and Infusionsoft) fan for setting up mass email and autoresponders until I discovered Mailchimp. It’s super easy and has tons of powerful features. Plus, you got to love their monkey mascot.

4. Bit.ly
For tracking clicks and shortening URLs bit.ly is still king. It’s free. It’s easy and it’s real time. I use it about 10 times per day.

5. Passpack
Still the best free online password manager.

6. my iPhone
I am so dependent on this device that I am scared to go anywhere without it. I used to leave my cell phone at home and not worry about it. An iPhone is like a Swiss Army knife. Yesterday my mouse broke and I was unable to use my computer. Not a problem. I downloaded an app that allowed me to use my iPhone as a mouse. My addiction is so deep that I bought an iPad just to see if I was missing out on anything.

7. Youtube
Youtube is now the second largest search engine. Google is obviously number one and it owns Youtube. The reason Youtube is so important is that Google search results really like putting video near the top of any search. I highly recommend Youtube for anybody doing marketing. It’s like free advertising.

8. Gmail
This just keeps getting better and better. It now lets you make free calls, has a to-do list built in. Google calendar is the bomb and integrates with my iPhone. I’m actually getting kind of organized.

9. Twitter
Twitter is not easy to get. But, once you do it’s addicting. My wife is the one who actually showed me the proper use of Twitter. The reason people love it so much is that it’s real time. It’s like working a cocktail party. If you want to get serious with twitter don’t use the website. Use tweetdeck or any of the top twitter clients. Without this the site is difficult to use.

10. Hulu
This is an interesting company and one to watch. You’re going to see a battle between Netflix and Hulu and Youtube in the next few years. I love the on demand aspect of watching just about any show you want. I just wish they didn’t charge for viewing stuff on the iPad.

Social Networking Explained

This is an important video to watch…

Listen to Gary Vaynerchuck. He gets it. Lots of good stuff.

Local Business Internet Marketing

By James Plouf

It seems no matter where I go I see a sign at the check out counter that asks me to “Join Our Facebook Fan Page” or ”Follow Us on Twitter.'” Some of the places I have seen this are:

The liquor store
My massage therapist
the bakery
the coffee house

The old web was about links from one web page to another web page. Web 2.0  is about linking people. Facebook is all about Web 2.0. It is all about using the social graph to try and improve the relevance of almost everything we do on the web.

Google should be worried because I think Facebook is unstopable and they are just getting started.

Anyway. There is a huge opportunity for those interested in social media to make a killing helping these local biz develop an online presence on Facebook and Twitter. They are powerful marketing tools. If you wished you had started a web develpment company 10 years-ago then you have a second chance. Start a Fan Page development company. My personal suggestion to any biz doing this is to offer a customer a discount if they sign up and join their Fan Page right then and there. Heck, you could even keep a netbook at the checkout so they have no excuse.

Soon, people won’t be asking if you have a web page. They will be asking if you have a Facebook Fan Page. You laugh but big brands are already dumping stand alone web sites and moving over to just Facebook.

Frank Kern’s Core Influence Video

By James Plouf

I have been told that no matter what we do as a profession we are all selling something. So, this video may seem a bit off topic but I still highly recommend that you take the time to watch Frank’s presentation. He is at the top of his game in the Internet Marketing space. Consulting fee is around $10,000 per day. He is a gifted communicator and could sell you anything. It’s a long video so get settled in.

Watch the video here:


The Most Ridiculous Call for Submissions Ever – $0.006/word

This is beyond the absurd. It needs little introduction. Just prepare yourself for rising blood pressure. I hate it when people ask for free writing. “You’ll get a byline, blah, blah, blah…” This insane Market News goes beyond that.


Title: $3 per article, 20 articles, Writer Needed for New York Travelling Tips

20 New York Traveling articles are needed, min 500 words for each article, all articles need to be SEO friendly. This project should be completed within 5 days. You only will be pay total of $60USD upon completion of all articles.
Job Description: – New York traveling knowledge is a must. – Have experience in using WordPress. * if you have a wordpress blog or any blog, show me. – Write articles (20 articles within 5 days) -Need to submit at least 4 articles daily – Good communication (at least 1 post at the message board to communicate a day) – Follow all requirements
Job Requirements: – Articles must be completed on time – Articles need to be put into WordPress site. * I will create a WordPress account for you to put in articles. – English should be your first language. Please do not attempt to apply for this job if English is not your first language (US English) – All external sources must be referenced!
Article Requirements: – Minimum 500 words per article Excellent written English (proper sentence structure and vocabulary use and perfect grammar) – Each articles must be well research – Articles must be at least 100% original – Articles must pass copyscape and other duplication test, no plagiarism – 100% correct punctuation and grammar! – Individual keyword density must be between 2% to 2.5% (keywords will be provided) TIP: To increase article acceptance writer should try to add your own experience talk to the article.
Payment Details: – writers will be paid $60 USD upon completion of all articles. – If articles do not pass test they will be rejected and you will need to rewrite it. – Payment will be send via PayPal within 48 hours after the whole project (all articles) have been accepted.
Copyright: We retain full ownership of all the articles with complete copyright to use, publish, etc. on any of our web sites of all work purchased from you.
*Please check with me if you have any doubts. – flarebusiness@gmail.com I am a sincere service buyer. Please send me any information about you that you think will qualify you to complete this job on time and with quality work.
Karen T. Ordonez / flarebusiness
I really like the part about copyright.

An Example of Someone Who Gets It…

By James Plouf

When I say ‘gets it’ I mean gets ‘new media’ and social media.

Earlier today I got a call from travel writer Kim Mance. Someone on the Travelwriters.com BBS was trashing her and one of the events that she is promoting (probably jealousy motivated). I rarely deleted posts because that can get you in trouble as an online publisher. I fixed her account and she sent me a ‘thank you’ email and that is when I started noticing that this writer is doing everything right.

First thing I noticed is she has her name as a registered domain name and a beautifully designed website (www.kimmance.com). That site is just for her personal brand. Gary Vee has drilled it into my head that we are all brands. Believe it people. It’s true.

Next I click over to her Twitter profile @kimmance (which is prominently displayed on her personal site). She has 7,500 followers. Now I’m the jealous one. Having this many people following you on twitter is like money in the bank. It’s like an ATM machine if you use it properly.

Next I surf on over to her video site (http://galavanting.tv)  – a must in new media. Again, gorgeous design. Great content. Tons of prompts to follow her stuff on Facebook and Twitter.

Then she has the mandatory facebook profile with Vanity URL (facebook.com/kimmance)

Anyway, Kim is on fire and probably in high demand to teach other writers how to do this. The point here is that Kim has leveraged social media to perfection to accelerate her career and brand.

10 Sites I Can’t Live Without

By James Plouf

toptenRarely does a day go by when I don’t use all of these sites at least once in a 24-hour period. I group these 10 sites into three categories: Social networks, information tools and blogs.

1. Facebook
Facebook is so useful in so many ways that it is hard to know where to start. My number one benefit from the site is in the marketing and advertising features. You didn’t see that coming did you!

2. Youtube
Again. So useful in so many ways that my head spins. Last month I used it to fix my toilet. On a day-to-day basis it rocks as a marketing and community building tool. Used properly, Youtube is like the equivalent of free advertising on television. Video is a compelling way to communicate a message to the masses. Why? Because most people are lazy and do not want to read. They would rather consume by watching a video.

3. Twitter
If you are into listing building then Twitter is like a field of gold. When I explain Twitter to people I always compare it to Facebook. Here is the difference. On Facebook you make friends. I can only follow people that follow me back. On Twitter I can follow anybody I want. They don’t have to approve me. If you are into community building you can follow people in your field of interest and then follow all their followers. Roughly 25% of them will follow you back. Keep on doing this and you can build a huge following at record speed and at no cost. If you do this on a huge scale there is software to help you with the process. This just in: You can now get paid to tweet to your followers. Check out Ad.ly. Imaging getting paid $1000 for one tweet.

4. Bit.ly
This one is so simple but so useful. Bit.ly is a URL shortener. Take any long URL, plug it in Bit.ly and it shortens it. Extremely useful for twitter which limits you to 140 characters. The other feature that I enjoy is the analytics. Bit.ly tells you instantly how many clicks you are getting to your URL.

5. Passpack
The best free online password manager. When you register on hundreds of sites per year like I do you have to have something like this to keep everything straight. It’s simple, powerful and has a great design.

6. Compete
Thank you compete.com for helping me spy on my competitors and for keeping people honest that call bragging about their site traffic and pageviews. Compete helps me sleep at night because I can see threats coming. I prefer it to Quantcast. All the other services like this charge for the data.

7. Gmail
Hands down the best online email program. And, this is only going to get better. I find Yahoo slow and cumbersome.

8. WordPress
The most extensible blogging platform out there. If you are a writer you need to start learning about WordPress. So, so powerful once you get into the plug-ins. Please: make an action plan and start a blog (if not just for the purpose of learning WordPress).

9. Delicious
Still my favorite online bookmarking site. There are other out there. I just have not explored them. Tell me if you have a better option than Delicious.

10. TechCrunch
Read this blog and learn about what is going on in the online world. I ask everyone I interview if they read TechCrunch. Huge strike against them if they say no.

Share you top ten in the comments.

JAX FAX: Africa and Middle East Correspondent needed

By James Plouf
jaxfaxJAX FAX Travel Marketing Magazine, a monthly travel trade magazine, is seeking a writer who focuses on travel to Africa and Middle East to take on newly created Correspondent position. This is a non-staff/freelance position.

Responsibilities include at least one destination article monthly and attending press trips, events and conferences for JAX FAX that pertain to this region. What I am really looking for is someone to become the “Editorial Face” of the magazine for this region.

Compensation is on a “per article” basis.

Please email me and include relavent travel experience and writing samples. Looking to fill this position by Jan.1, 2009

Doug Cooke / JAX FAX Travel Marketing Magazine

The Power of Social Media (my story)

By James Plouf

In March 2009 my wife Amy and I decided that we wanted to share our passion for Days of Our Lives with the world. I had been watching Gary Vaynerchuk’s Wine Library TV Show and was thinking that a daily recap and analysis of each Days show would be a natural way to reach our audience. A video blog (vblog) in combination with a regular blog sounded like the formula. Gary V says that if you got the chops for your subject and you want to reach the world then go out and get a cheap video camera and get started. Don’t worry about the details he says. Just start spreading the word.

Gary V also goes into great detail on how to leverage Facebook, Youtube and Twitter to build up your audience. So, with those fundamental principles and a video cam from Best Buy we got started. Basic principle is that all social media should funnel traffic to your blog.

A couple of pointers. Do not heavily edit your vlog. Try to do it in one take. This makes it seem real. If you get a call in the middle of the video just work it into the show. People love this. The easiest way to shoot is with a video cam connected directly to your computer. Some laptops already have this built in. There are vlogs on youtube that get 1 million views and are shot with nothing more than a laptop.

Anyway. Fast forward 8 months. We now have 18,000 followers on Facebook, 300+ people watch our video each day on Youtube and we have about 1,000 followers on Twitter. Our twitter play was probably our biggest mistake. It should be close to the Facebook number. We are working on correcting this situation.

So, last weekend we flew to Los Angeles to attend the Day of Days fan event and to get a chance to meet the actors from the show and to talk to other fans. Here is the scary part. Lots of people at the event recognized us and stopped us and told us how much they like our show and could they get a picture with us. It is a strange but good feeling to be recognized 3,000 miles away from home by complete strangers. Now the big shocker. Some of the actors recognized us and admitted that they watch our daily recaps on Youtube.

We followed Gary’s formula and it worked.

crush it coverIf you are interested in learning more about Gary Veynerchuk and his business tactics of using social media then order his book: Crush It! It’s a good overview — not tons of detail — but it will give you the big picture of what you can do and he’ll give you lots of encouragement to quit your day job and follow your passion (whatever it is).

Here is a link to his book:


note: This is not an affiliate link. I gain nothing if you buy his book.