TCOBag: Johnny Cash and Marketing?

Johnny Cash, The Man in Black. Capital “T” for “the.”

What made Johnny Cash so memorable?

I’ve seen photos of him when he was a young man, I suppose he was sort of handsome in a rugged way.

Frankly, though I enjoyed his music (8-tracks 🙂 from the pickup truck rides with my dad, I didn’t think of him as a great singer.

The songs were catchy, easy to remember, but there has never been a shortage of those kinds of singers, those kinds of songs in any genre of music, now has there?

So, what made Johnny “Johnny”?

We’re always being told to find your angle, you way, your USP. Separate yourself from the pack, the herd, do something everyone else is doing, but do it differently.

Johnny Cash was a perfect example for me.

Think about it.

He was a big guy, well over 6 feet tall, 200 pounds. Rugged, tough, low voice.

Guys liked that. Not the wimp.

But he was also very, very popular with women (fans that is, he was also famous for his devotion to his wife June and their family, another part of his persona).

Why? What was he doing? Was he the king crooner? Great moves like James Brown? Cutting edge of the country music world?

I say, no, no, and sort of.

Here was a man, talented man, yes, who sang about life, little things in life, and how life and love were bigger than any man, and doing it in a very straightforward, honest way that appealed to both men and women.

Men thought, hey, this is sooooo true, and I feel like this, but I often can’t just say that, or act like that. Kind of the ‘thanks for saying that for me’ and ‘thanks for the validation’ so I know I’m not alone.

Women thought, hey, this is sooooo true, and good to hear that men, even big, rugged ones, have big hearts, can hurt, know the value of love and life and family.

Then, he added that extra little bit, that rebel, Highwayman side and the black clothes.

No country singer had ever, still hasn’t unless you include someone like Garth Brooks who used much of this same ‘everyman’ approach to be one of the top selling artists in all genres, done that.

Marketing yourself, your site, your product, doesn’t need to be any different than this.

What you’ve got, others are offering, but they can’t offer it in the exact same way as you as an individual can.

Think about that. Find your ‘man in black’ angle, and you will find success.

3 Simple Ways to Boost Your Business

For all those who still think internet marketing is rocket science, it isn’t.

Back in the middle of October in 2004 I decided to do these 3 things. (I’ve always ‘done’ them, but not as consciously or on as regular a basis.) I had big plans that were stalling, sites that had leveled off, and was feeling a bit overwhelmed. I’m sure lots of people can relate to that, eh?

I’m also not sure exactly what or who made these things come to me. I read a lot, so I’m sure it’s not an original idea, just one that finally hit home with me and I implemented.

(Note: These are things outside of the add content, test headlines, etc types of things, that well, frankly, you just have to be doing on a regular basis.)

Here they are:

1. Do something every day that will make you more money or grow your traffic and business.
Just a few examples:
– add incoming links
– add a few more words to your PPC
– buy an ezine ad
– do a thank you exchange
– raise your daily limits for a campaign that’s successful
– add a new source of revenue to a content site
– from whatever the last resource you purchased, read/listen and implement one strategy

2. Do something every day that will save you time or money.
A few of my own examples:
– automate something
– add a new FAQ and answer to your site
– turn off your email software during your ‘working hours’ or at least for a while
– same for IC software
– set aside a limited time for your general email reading/answering
– unsubscribe from a newsletter that you’re no longer reading or finding helpful
– cancel recurring payments on a program you’ve been promoting unsuccessfully, or that you keep saying “I’m going to have to cancel that . . ”
– get software to do the stuff you’re spending too much time doing, ie link exchanges, AR, formatting etc
– make some ‘template’ emails for answers to your most generally asked questions
– make a notepad or text document containing linking information for your sites so you can quickly cut and paste from that when exchanging or requesting link exchanges with someone not using a script or not using the same script as you
– before you buy something, look at the folder full of ebooks you already have and see if you might not already have something similar, or maybe even the same one that came as a bonus with something else you bought
– pause or delete a PPC campaign that isn’t working

Okay, this could be a book by itself, but maybe you get the picture.

3. Help some one, any one, when there’s nothing in it for you but good karma. (This doesn’t have to be internet related.)
– give a thoughtful reply to a post asking for suggestions or help (leave out your affiliate links, cloaked and uncloaked/redirected whatever)
– answer (kindly) one of the many emails you get asking for information that’s clearly posted on your site, or that anyone with half a brain should know the answer to. Thank them for asking. (Limit one for sanity’s sake)
– help your neighbor fix his garage door
– email a webmaster with a piece of patched script or html code that you found broken on their site
– or a dead link

The key here is to do at least one from each of the three, trying to do them all will just put you right back where you were, overwhelmed, stalled, or worse hiding behind the excuse that you’re busy, you’re working all the time, but your business just isn’t growing.

I start the day with 1 and 2 and ask myself “What can I do today that will/should/could make me more money, increase my traffic, or help my business?” — and — “What can I do today that will save me time or money?”

I like to do these first since it makes the rest of my day Gravy.

Do Number 3 whenever the opportunity arises. It makes you feel good, trust me, and how you feel is directly related to how successful you are, especially in the eyes of the most important person you are dealing with, “you.”

I still have days, sometimes, where I don’t hit all three. But more often than not, I get them all, and the results have been great.

I also end my day by asking which things on the list I did for that day. A great re-enforcement and encouragement for continuing to follow through.

If my examples don’t fit your situation, you shouldn’t have to think too hard to come up with something that does fit.

Be well, live well, die last.

Allen Williams

The author is a professional educator, speaker and writer. You can see some of what he is up to by visiting : Personal and Professional Growth

TCOBaG: Do You Know a Shortcut?

What’s the fastest way to get where you want to go? Save time? Save money? Make more money, more sales, get more leads for your business?

This is something I deal with on a daily basis. The shortcut. Marketers ask me, customers ask me, my wife asks me, my students ask me: Isn’t there a faster, ie shorter, way to get what I want?

Just what is a shortcut anyway? My quick definition: the fastest way I know to get to the destination I have in mind.

Now, the key here, is the ‘way I know.’

The way that is known is always the ‘shortcut.’ Period. There’s no arguing this point. It’s a fact. Yes, I know that if I turn off two streets earlier there’s a street somewhere there that if I find it, if I turn the right way, it will get me home, or to work, or to my meeting a little faster.

But what if I’m wrong?

I don’t see the road, have to backtrack and end up doing what? Taking more time, spending more money to get to the destination.

So, Allen, are you saying, “Don’t look for or try shortcuts?”

No. I’m saying, that when you have time, or your current path to success isn’t getting you there as fast as you would like, then experiment.

Make time to try a different route, a different way to convert your prospects, to set up your linking campaigns or whatever it is that you are trying to do.

Then if it works. Congratulations! You just found a shortcut.

If it doesn’t, you still have your old path, the one that was working for you, that you can go back to until you’ve had time, asked a few more questions, learned a little more, and can try again.

I was just listening to Gary Halbert who was doing an interview with Michel Fortin. He was talking about something along this line. He defined it as the difference between being effective and being efficient.

My way works. It’s effective. Is it always the most efficient? Probably not.

But for me the way I know, the one that works, that is always the shortest, fastest, most effecient way to go to get where I want to go.

I used to play golf more regularly than now, not any better, but more often 🙂

One of my friends was always ‘cutting the dog-legs’ because he could hit a fairly high ball on his drive. He saved a stroke, sometimes 2, on every dog-leg on that golf course.

He knew the course, he knew his swing, and his ability.

It was his golf ‘shortcut.’ It worked for him.

My drives tend to be a little flatter. I ‘knew’ the path, the way to get there was shorter over the trees and across the dog-leg, but I would more often than not just end up with a 2 stroke penalty for landing out of bounds.

My score was the same as before, the same as the times I took my safe drive toward the corner of the dog-leg and then on up the fairway.

Sure, I’d get lucky, yes, only lucky since I never worked on that part of my golf game, and save a stroke now and then.

But for me, the shortcut, the most efficient and effective way to get to the green, was to follow the path I knew, and that my skills allowed.

Now, stop looking for the easy way, the shortcut, and work on making the game you play more efficient, and effective.

Be well,


The problem with teaching math

The problem with teaching ‘math’ is much like the problem with teaching any ‘subject’
Originally posted – August 6, 2008, 9:09 pm

So some of you know, I have 2 boys, and they’re being raised in a trilingual household.

How’s that relevant?

Glad you asked 🙂

Since I work mostly from home while living in Japan, I am also mostly responsible for the English education of my boys. I am charged with teaching them all kinds of things outside of their regular Japanese public school curriculum.

I am a professional educator, so you’d think that wouldn’t be so hard, but I also am used to teaching university students (who, quite frankly, don’t differ much in their enthusiasm levels most of the times from my boys who are 8 and 6). It becomes paramount for me too that the ‘lessons’ be more than a classroom lecture.

NOTE: I also still teach English, mostly writing and advanced communications skills, to non-native English speakers.

Math is very similar in this way to learning English, or any language, first or second.

Without understanding ‘why’ the student is learning, or how it applies, or if it even really does, there’s no motivation to learn. (okay, to get a good grade, or avoid being in the doghouse – people still have those, right?)

Math, and language, are tools. Not ends.

Sitting around and learning (by learning I’m mispronouncing ‘parroting/memorizing for later regurgitation) rules and formulas is just not interesting, or engaging.

Using those things, math and English for example, as tools to do something else should be the ultimate goal.

If students can see and practice applying the things they are learning in an atmosphere or situation that doesn’t involve a test or score, they’re more likely to find it interesting and later retain the information.

The recently departed Randy Pausch termed this the ‘head fake’.

Good teaching should always incorporate the head fake.

Use money for counting.
use a variety of wooden blocks
use license plate numbers on passing cars
give them sets of numbers and ask them where the pattern is
use the clock (great for introducing base number systems, counting by 5’s and 10’s and also introducing fractions

Use math to play games, to shop (pretend shopping is easier on the pocketbook 🙂 ) or figure out how to build something fun.

Ask questions about how to get the information they need. Then just ‘do the math’ to get it. Maybe check that or test your answers as review, then get to the ‘doing’ part.

The same is true for language learning, or most learning for that matter. It’s always much more beneficial, interesting, and yes, fun, to be ‘doing’ than aaaarrrggghhh! studying something.

So, get to doing something now, ok?

TCOBaG returns, sort of

I have let this go for too long, but for now, a quick, hopefully, update on what’s going on here.

My old dedicated server, was dedicated, but outdated, and well, it died. I had an old backup, and lost a lot of other content as well, but didn’t have the heart to rebuild things. Time was also a problem.

I’ve done a lot of things with some of my other sites instead, but I have missed having a place for the more random and odds and ends things I have I want to post and talk about.

So, I’m starting over. I have some old content (not much) I will be putting back up here, but I’m also hoping to do some more things here as well.

Anyway, come along for the ride…