HBM Introduces Country Music Life

Introducing my latest venture: Country Music Life.

Guitar

Image courtesy of keela84

With $75 and 2-months I was able to create a site around one of my passions: country music.

If you’ve been following Hunting Business Marketing for awhile now you’ve probably realized my passion for country music.

As a reminder, here are a few posts I’ve written that have included a country music twist:

Don’t Rock The Blog Title

What Do Hunting, Country Music, and Your Hunting Blog have in Common?

10 Inspiring Country Music Videos for Hunting Businesses

Lessons From Crazy Heart

10 Country Song Lyrics to Inspire Your Hunting Business

Staying Power – Why Some Businesses (Like Classic Country Songs) Have It and Some Don’t

The Best Country Songs You’ve Never Heard – A Lesson in Marketing

The Merle Haggard Guide to Everlasting Success

The George Jones Successful Career Guide

The George Strait Guide to a Lifelong, Fulfilling, and Successful Career

Red Light! Something Different, Second Chances and Persistence

Albert of The Rasch Chronicles correctly noted my music passion as he mentioned that I must be an audiophile.

Well, after some thinking and encouragement from those close to me I decided to start experimenting with a country music site.

Country Music Life

Country Music Life

Country Music Life provides the products country music fans need to live a quality life.

My vision for CML is to write about the news and happenings in country music and relate it to the everyday lives of country music fans.

The categories you’ll notice on CML are:

1) Music

2) Shoes & Clothes

3) Home Décor

4) Electronics

These are the basic categories any country music fans needs in their lives – music being one of the most important.

To start, the individual category stores are setup through Amazon Associates. In the long run, if traffic grows and demand for sales grows, I’d look to move into drop shipping, fulfillment, and warehousing inventory to sell.

That’s an extremely long-term vision and lots can happen and change on the site in the meantime.

Strategy

The strategy for CML is to build an audience of dedicated country music fans that are seeking quality content relating to their favorite passion: country music.

As a way to connect their lives with country music – the music and the artists – CML will provide the products necessary for a quality country music life.

The blog posts on the Country Music Life Blog will be either Latest News or Top Stories. The latest news posts will be short highlights of news from around the Web. Top stories will be in-depth articles covering various topics including new music, music reviews, lists, and artist exclusive stories.

This strategy is built on providing quality long-form content to please the most passionate country music fans while providing the latest news for fans seeking quick content throughout the day.

Traffic

In the coming months, I’ll continue posting articles on CML while also looking for opportunities to guest post on complementary blogs.

Any traffic from search engines usually takes 3-6 months (probably closer to 6) to start for a brand new site.

A few of the terms I’ll be targeting include:

Country Music Life

Country Music

Jason Aldean (other artist names as well…)

Country Merchandise

Country Music Blog

Along with the blog posts, I’ve also setup a format for Country Artists pages. Take a look at the page for Jason Aldean. The page includes a short biography, music info (with links to Amazon), and a few of his most popular videos.

Design

The design of the site is a work in progress.

To allow for ease of launch, I used the same free template I use for HBM and made a few slight modifications to the CSS and PHP.

The logo was made courtesy of the wonderful Sarah of Sarah Lynn Design.

I’m still working on adding an introductory image to the home page while cleaning up a few other things, but for the most part I’m happy with where CML is at right now.

Summary

It’s been two weeks and $75 since I decided to start Country Music Life.

I’ve been working hard to get some content created to make the site presentable and I’m excited to share it with you.

Note: The $75 was for domain and hosting expenses.

I’ll continue to write about the progress of CML as it pertains to the interests of you at HBM: Marketing, SEO, Blogging, etc.

I hope you take the chance to visit the new site and share it with your friends that enjoy country music.

It’s expected that CML will take time away from HBM, but my hope is to continue providing valuable content on HBM while providing marketing consulting as well.

Take care and thanks for continuing to support HBM. J

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10 Awesome Hunting Blog Designs

Design is important for success.

I’ll often write about design and inspiring images, art, and photography here at HBM and try to relate it to success in the hunting industry. I’m a big fan of interesting design that captures attention.

Looking at collections of photographs or Website designs helps to inspire new ideas and to continue to strive for improvement.

I think the visual aspect of hunting blogs is just as important as the content included on the site. Your readers not only want to take in the content, but they want what they’re looking at to be visually appealing as well. It’s an important part of Website development.

I won’t say that design is lacking in the outdoor blog world, but let’s just say that there is always room for improvement.

Here are 10 of my favorite hunting blog designs…

10) Wildlife Callers

Wildlife Callers Blog

Website: Wildlife Callers Blog

The subscribe call-outs are right at the top right to put importance on acquiring new names for the list. The text is black and the background is white. A great design for a store blog.

9) Hunting Life

Hunting Life Blog

Website: Hunting Life Blog

The page is simple in design and not busy. There isn’t much distraction from the content in each post. Images are used to enhance almost every post. I also love the rotating images at the top of the site.

8) Bowhunting.com

Bowhunting Blog

Website: Bowhunting Blog

The entire Bowhunting.com site is one of my favorites. The stuff surrounding the blog content gets a little busy, but that doesn’t take away from the good use of red, black, and gray in the blog design. It’s easy to read and comprehend.

7) Bulls and Beavers

Bulls and Beavers

Website: Bulls and Beavers

I really like the big image that previews the headline story on Bulls and Beavers. Using images is a great way to encourage visitors to your home page to visit your individual blog posts.

6) Wired to Hunt

Wired to Hunt

Website: Wired to Hunt

A great use of white space on this site (which I love). The main focus is the content. The search is also visible and easy to use at the top right.

5) Native Hunt Blog

Native Hunt Blog

Website: Native Hunt Blog

The site has a wide format with an appealing, outdoor feeling look. The design matches the business site – Native Hunt. This is a great way to allow readers to visit the two sites seamlessly.

4) Whitetail 365

Whitetail 365

Website: Whitetail 365

A classic hunting and outdoor publication gets it right with the design of their site and blogs. I love the use of white space on this blog. The three-column layout highlights all of the important content above the fold while allowing the main blog content to take center stage.

3) Muskoka Outdoors

Muskoka Outdoors

Website: Muskoka Outdoors

I’ve always loved the design of this site. A nice, big picture promo area on the home page to highlight the top or most recent posts. The whitespace is great. It’s a clean and crisp site that is all about focusing on the ease of absorbing the content.

2) Michael Waddell’s Blog

Michael Waddell's Blog

Website: Michael Waddell’s Blog

This is a great contrasting color blog and site design. It seems like a lot of outdoor-related sites like to use dark and bold colors in some way. I prefer white space with some dark, gradient colors. Michael’s blog uses a black border/background, but utilizes whitespace effectively for the blog. It’s easy to read and comfortable for the eyes.

1) New Archery Products

New Archery Blog

Website: New Archery Blog

This is a favorite design of mine overall for hunting sites and the blog matches the site so I had to include it. It has a nice wide format. The font is read to read against the white background.

Blog Design

If your blog is need of a design tune-up, there is no better place to turn to than Sarah Lynn Design.

Sarah and her team will create a customized blog design to match your needs and the visual needs of your readers.

Website: Sarah Lynn Design and Sarah Lynn Design Portfolio

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You Are Defined By Your Success (despite your failures)

People reflect on your success and the failure you overcome

A hang-up with entrepreneurs and other adventurous individuals is often the fear of failure. Some strategies, tests, and new ideas are often thrown to the wayside due to what the perception would be if there were to be a failure in the attempt to improve a product, service, or process.

However, successful businesses and individuals are often defined and remembered for their successes, not for their failures.

By focusing on the fact that people will perceive you in the light of your success rather than failure, you can take down a common artificial barrier and focus on your next great success.

Selective Memory for Success

Family Success

I was thinking the other day about a few examples of people I believe to be successful business leaders. My uncle is one of those folks. He started a screen printing business over 35 years ago and the business is still going strong.

I’ve always enjoyed my uncle’s stories over the years. He’s willingly shared his life’s lessons over a campfire at his farm were family and close friends would gather to deer hunt each fall.

Occasionally he would bring up a few of his business blunders. In fact, he seemed to treat them as a nuisance to his business history. There was the adventure into cattle farming at the same hunting farm and a few other examples.

These business blunders, however, don’t spoil the successful career of a great businessman. Any failure he has had over his life is overshadowed by his success, those close to him see him for his success, and failures are simply taken with a laugh or brushed off as unimportant or simple speed bumps in his road to success.

Something I realize about my uncle is that the failures he’s had over his career seem to only bother him and I’m sure that some bother him more than others, but to hear him tell stories it seems like he is more focused on the successes he’s had.

And the people closest to him only focus on the success he’s had.

Success and Failure in Big Business

Most folks are familiar with the LL Bean story. The retail and catalog giant built a successful brand around the initial failure of the business (90 of the first 100 pairs of Maine Hunting Boots were returned due to defect). The founder promptly fixed the issue and returned quality boots back to the customers. This customer service and guarantee is what drives the loyalty at Bean today.

Most companies would falter under such failure, but LL Bean didn’t let it get to him and he continued on with his vision for success. Today people remember the initial failure, but they remember the failure in the light of the success it lead to – one of the largest and most successful companies in American history.

Aim for Success

The oldest cliché for career advice is to shoot for the highest level of success because even if you don’t reach your ultimate goal you’ll end up somewhere that is highly successful.

The worn-out clichés often reach the saturation point because they hold a level of truth and this one seems to fit that description.

The most successful people I know seem to understand that they will be defined by their success. The often don’t reach the level of success they set as goals for themselves because they set their sights so high, but their failures along the way aren’t seen as failures by others and their success in the eyes of others is the focus.

It seems that people often lose sight of the success they could have even if they often have failures in the beginning of their business careers.

A difficult, but artificial barrier people often face comes from family and friends. Early on in most ventures, people will ask you questions about how your business is going. People will phrase their questions like, “How are sales? Strong?” or perhaps, “Making any money yet?” It can be difficult to field those questions, but remember that you’ll ultimately be recognized for your ultimate success and while lots of folks will disregard you early on in your career they’ll be there to give you praise when you become successful over time.

Summary

Fear of losing respect and being judged by failure is a common artificial barrier that most people put up for themselves when contemplating a new business launch.

After reflecting on the success of business leaders around me I realized that they only focus on their failures as learning (and sometimes expensive) tools for future success. Sometimes poor investments in business are made and sometimes they’re costly. It’s a chance for people to correct their approach and focus on the things they really excel at.

Ultimately it seems that people reflect on the lives of others in a generally positive light. Success is often remembered no matter how much a person has in their lives. Failure is not often a focus when people discuss their lives.

This understanding is a chance for folks to take down the artificial barrier of self-doubt and fear of failure and focus on the impact they’ll have over the long term.

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Image courtesy of alpha du centaure

Lessons From Crazy Heart

It’s funny I’ve fallin’/Feels like flyin’/for a little while

Note: This post contains some spoiler content…

A few weeks before I went to the theater to see Crazy Heart I saw the trailer. I instantly became interested in the story of the movie. The setting of country music instantly attracted me. I was also intrigued by the soundtrack – it had a ’70s outlaw country music vibe. I’ve always been a fan of Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, Steve Earle and others.

After seeing the movie I have to say that it is everything and more than I built it up to be.

It’s a great story for viewers to connect with. Music fans can connect with the outlaw country music. The themes of the songs on the soundtracks cross musical boundaries (I think it was Willie Nelson who said, “There are only two kinds of music: Good and Bad.”). The story of a hardened outlaw singer and songwriter connects well with young and old alike.

The best part of the movie and the biggest lesson I was able to pull out was how the story related to entrepreneurship and life in general. The setting and circumstances may vary in detail, but the ups and downs and unexpected turns are what connects us all as humans.

Let’s take a closer look at the Lessons from Crazy Heart

The Ups and Downs of Life and Business

Crazy Heart opens up with the sight of Bad Blake traveling the American Southwest in his ’78 Chevy Suburban. He’s getting by day-to-day living on the cash he makes playing at small bars and even bowling alleys. His devoted fans remember his hits from 30 or so years ago and come to see him stumble through drunken performances to get a taste of nostalgia.

Bad’s his own business. He sells what his fans are still willing to buy and he puts on the best show he knows how.  He is able to get by in life by drinking and treating his body like a dumpster. He has the perception that his fans want a hard-drinking, fun-loving outlaw and that’s exactly what he gives them. It pays enough to just get by, but the business model doesn’t pay nearly as good as it once did.

Just as Bad found in the movie, most businesses find  that the typical model has a lifespan. Businesses reach a peak of profitability and then ride out the lifespan as long as they can. If the concept doesn’t change much profits will slowly diminish. New models will come along and slowly the demand for products wears off.

The successful businesses are those that adapt to change and have a progressive nature.

Bad knows that his old business model of touring is what pays his bills. He just doesn’t know how to reignite the excitement in himself and his music to get more people to come to his shows. He also doesn’t know how to broaden his audience and expand his fan base.

There are two interesting points in the movie where Bad discusses songwriting.

The first has Bad talking with his agent about new albums and new songs. The agent wants Bad to write some new material (update his business model) while Bad wants to remix his old hits and repackage them for fans to purchase (old business model).

Bad and his agent both have the feeling that Bad’s career is going nowhere. They both work hard to make a few of the remaining bucks Bad is worth. They keep fighting and hoping for some inspiration to strike and one day it does.

Bad’s agent is able to work with rising star and former Bad disciple, Tommy Sweet. Tommy learned how to play, sing and entertain from Bad and now is seeing his own success. Tommy gets Bad to open up for him at one of his shows. Just before the show the two have a chat about business and Bad is eager to get together to record duets on his old songs. Tommy says he loves working with Bad, but that such an album is not in high demand.

Tommy offers Bad the opportunity to write songs for his upcoming solo release. Bad brushes off the idea and the two go about their way.

Eventually Bad is able to find inspiration (love interest) and writes a great song. This song reignites his star and he finds a new business that he can sell. Over the next 18 months or so Tommy takes the song to the tops of the charts and Bad is bad in demand as an entertainer. His old music is finding new ears and new folks are coming to his shows as a result of the new song.

All businesses that expect to continually succeed need to be progressive in nature. Business leaders can work a successful formula to death, but to expect to have it ride a peak forever is signing a death certificate for the business.

People involved with kick and scream at the suggestion of change, but for the sake of continual growth and prosperity it’s necessary to find new models and new products that consumers demand.

The Impact of a Soundtrack

Lead actor Jeff Bridges credits Ryan Bingham with saving Crazy Heart. The importance of soundtrack in movies is understood by all involved. For this movie, Ryan Bingham was able to take the script and capture the mood in the song The Weary Kind.

The song became the theme during production. The mood of the song is perfect for setting viewers up to understand the life of the lead character.

The songs in the movie parallel the life and business model Bad Blake follows. The songs he wrote that made him an outlaw country music star take him through ups and downs and as we first see him the songs are finding their last bit of interest with Bad playing them in broken down venues.

Then Bad finds inspiration and pens The Weary Kind and interest is renewed in the entertainer.

The soundtrack of Crazy Heart sets the tone for the movie. As a viewer, I was captured by the authentic sound of the “classic” Bad Blake songs. I was also swallowed up by The Weary Kind as the song connected me with the story of Bad Blake.

Credit goes to T. Bone Burnett, Ryan Bingham, and Stephen Bruton for putting together the Crazy Heart soundtrack.

Summary

Crazy Heart, the story of Bad Blake, parallels the life of a business.

Business models go through their life cycles and it’s important for business leaders to be progressive focused. People involved with the business will want things to remain the same, but without change there cannot be growth.

Successful leaders push through the resistance and change their models to give consumers something they demand.

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How Influence Shapes Your Marketing Strategy

The people that influence you affect the way you perform marketing

Think of the folks in your life that most influence your decisions.

Who comes to mind?

Parents?

Older siblings?

A star athlete?

Your boss or mentor?

There are lots of people that influence the way we are, the way we lives our lives, and the decisions we make – professionally and personally. The people we look up to as role models are typically the same people who inspire us to succeed and do good in the world.

Let’s take a closer look at the impact of influencers in our marketing lives…

The Origin of Influence

While I was growing up the people that influenced my life the most were typically older brothers of friends, professional athletes, and men in my family (not my Dad in my younger years since immature kids typically don’t look to their Dad for influence).

As I grew up, the people I looked to for guidance changed to more meaningful influencers. These were people such as my Dad, business leaders I both knew and didn’t know, and a few actors and musical artists.

Looking to my Dad for personal advice and insight seems to make sense since he was very successful at being a father.

Looking to business leaders for insight into business success makes sense for me since my long-term goal is to become successful in all aspects of entrepreneurship.

The Sociology of Influence

It’s logical for people to take inspiration from those that are successful in the fields we want to be successful in ourselves.

Those that are driven to succeed in their professional lives in various fields will seek out the insight of successful people in the same industry. It’s common for influence to come from the leaders we work with at our daily jobs. These folks are successful and are usually willing to comment on their own path of success. Seek out the most articulate leaders you work with directly and ask for their continuing stories of what it takes to become successful in your chosen field. It’s likely these folks will still be driven to a higher level of success and they may even discredit the amount of success they have had up to the current point in their professional lives.

In today’s world of information, there is a easier access to the success stories and blueprints with the Web.

Business leaders often have their stories published online. Some leaders maintain their own blog where they share their insight on a regular basis.

It’s easy to find interviews with influential business leaders with a simple search. Favorites quotes from interviews and articles can often provide the inspiration to take our own success to the next level.

There are sites dedicated to finding the best of Inspirational and Motivational Quotes and using images to share their meaning: Slice Quotes.

In a connected world, influence is infinitely available.

The trick is filtering out the noise while paying attention to the people and insight that can have the most impact.

How Influence Shapes Marketing Strategy

Something I struggle with almost daily is the balance of Influence and Marketing Strategy.

I read hundreds of blogs and articles each week. I like reading about marketing strategy as it relates to direct marketing.

I work both in the direct to consumer marketing industry as well as in the business to business industry. It’s even difficult to understand the various needs and wants of each type of customers (consumers and businesses).

The insights I read from business leaders that blog do shape my marketing strategies and decisions. I look for case studies and examples of success in various industries and try to relate the stories to strategies I can utilize for my own growth as a business professional.

I think the most important thing to note about influence is that all actions should revolve around focused strategies.

I’ve done things in the past where I’ve read something insightful in a blog post from a marketing industry leader and have jumped right into implementing the strategy. Sometimes it’s worked and other times it hasn’t.

There is nothing wrong with experimenting and I think it can actually be positive. But to save time and effort, I’ve found much better and more effective (and efficient) success by always asking the question: How does this influential insight relate to the overall marketing strategy?

Having the focus on the defined marketing strategy has allowed for more growth and impact on the businesses I’m involved with.

Influence has been great for me and I continue to seek out the advice and insight of the leaders in the world. Having a focused strategy and vision has allowed me to better utilize the influences in my life.

Suggestions for Influence

Here are a few suggestions for seeking influence and using it to further your strategies and visions:

  • Seek influence from family and friends
  • Seek influence from industry leaders
  • Recognize influence from unexpected sources
  • Form strategies
  • Apply relevant insight to your business strategy

Influential People in My Life

  • Parents
  • Uncles
  • Business associates
  • Co-workers
  • Marketing leaders (typically those that blog)
  • Successful CEOs and business owners
  • Experiment

Who are the influential people in your life?

Have the people with the most influence on your life changed over time?

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Images courtesy of Filtran and OakleyOriginals

5 Business Mistakes You Can Learn From

Learn from the mistakes of others to find success

Rainbow

Image courtesy of Nicholas_T

What is arguably the most crucial key to success is to learn from your mistakes as you test and innovate with strategies that aim to improve the connection you and your business have with your customers.

While it’s to your advantage to be aware of your own mistakes, it’s also important to be aware of the things your competitors and other businesses are doing on the Web that lead to testing mistakes.

Now, the way I use the word ‘mistakes’ in this article should be put in the context of performing tests with your business with the ‘mistakes’ being unanticipated outcomes.

Let’s take a closer look at how you can from business mistakes…

1| Failure to Address Customer Concerns in Comments

Singing

Image courtesy of Solitaire Miles

Say you have a strategy to read quality articles about your industry. There is much to learn from the articles themselves, but one unanticipated outcome of quality articles is found in the comments.

Your customers are likely expressing their frustrations in the comments of quality articles and blog posts throughout the Web on your competitors’ sites.

Are the competitors addressing these customer frustrations?

If not, perhaps you could leave a comment (not spammy, but helpful) or better yet you could see how to potentially get in contact with the commenter/customer.

2| Full Contest Participation

Silence

Image courtesy of circo de invierno ⑲ ~

Sometimes companies will run really great contests. Usually the contest will offer free merchandise the company is selling or services the company provides for businesses.

If the company is well-known they will likely have lots of fans who are also influencers on the Web. These folks will likely take the great news of the company’s contest and often share the news with their networks. Tools used to spread the news include, but are not limited to: blog posts, Twitter, Delicious, Digg, etc.

Company’s usually expect their followers and customers to share the news of contests with their friends on networks, but an unanticipated outcome to contests can be when a company’s followers also write blog posts about certain events.

Opportunistic companies will listen to their followers who are also influencers on the Web, especially bloggers, and reach out to make a valuable connection. A company that has strong relationships with bloggers will be at an advantage not only for spread the word on valuable company doings, but will also be put in position to acquire quality links – key for strong search traffic.

3| Responding on Twitter

Yawning Lion

Image courtesy of Reinante El Pintor de Fuego

Many companies are starting to use Twitter.

Many companies are also trying different things to build their presence on the communication medium. A few of the great companies I follow on Twitter sparingly use the medium. There is of course nothing wrong with using Twitter to occasionally share a quality link or to engage in a contest.

Something I also see on Twitter that occasionally bothers me is when companies receive @replies (from me sometimes) and don’t reply to the @replies. I also see companies being talked about on Twitter and the companies aren’t responding or acknowledging the chatter about them on Twitter or related communications mediums.

The good news is that companies are experimenting with technologies like Twitter. The smart companies will take advantage of the unanticipated outcome of Twitter – word of mouth – and interact with their followers.

4| Utilizing Reviews/Testimonials

Fire Flower

Image courtesy of Reinante El Pintor de Fuego

Customer reviews are becoming essential for any company doing business online. Reviews have always been a huge part of sales and the Web is making it easier for companies to receive and utilize awesome reviews and testimonials.

An unanticipated outcome of increasing your presence on the Web is that you now have to utilize testimonials on your Website and in other areas to stay competitive. The online world is looking for social proof and properly using testimonials is essential.

5| Showcasing the Amazingness of Customers

Goose Landing

Image courtesy of pheanix300

Another unexpected outcome of increasing your participation on the Web is the fact that you’re going to have more influence and get more dedicated customers and followers the more you highlight the amazingness of your customers and followers rather than yourself and your company.

If you write blog posts or if you share links on Twitter, highlight the things your customers and followers do that is amazing and noteworthy. Web users and influencers love reading about great things people like themselves do both on and off the Web.

You can use your authority voice to share stories of success.

One last thing – by sharing the success stories of your customers, they will have stock in your blog and will share their story with their network. It’s a great way for spreading the good word about your Web presence.

The Real Lesson

It’s important to learn from your own mistakes since you have a front row seat to the humility you put on yourself through endless testing and innovation as your work to find your formula for success.

I try to learn from my mistakes while also staying aware of the mistakes others make with their own testing. It seems to work best as long as one works to continually shoring up lessons learned from past mistakes so as not to repeat them while always working to find new ways to innovate, which will lead to new mistakes.

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50 Viral Videos (and how they spread)

This post was inspired by Adam Singer of The Future Buzz and TopRank Online Marketing. Adam’s original post 50 Viral Images (and how they spread) was a big hit and so was his follow up 50 Viral Images Part Two. Adam is one of the best sources for marketing knowledge. He’s had multiple success with successful companies in developing long-term marketing strategies.

Get your popcorn ready…

Old Film

Along with the inspiration from Adam, I was inspired to write this post also by questions from leaders in the hunting industry concerning the importance of online video for hunting business marketing strategy. It seems most people always inquire about viral videos because of the appeal of having a target audience share a piece of video content across many channels with friends, family, and peers.

As I wrote in The Impact of Online Video in the Hunting Industry:

Creating video that is shared amongst your target audience is an obvious goal for any online video strategy.

Often when we think of viral video the first things that come to mind are guys performing crazy stunts on You Tube or babies being caught saying funny things. It’s mostly America’s Funniest Home Video-type stuff.

But to create focused viral video there is a formula you should take so the results of your video going viral have the highest potential for actual return on your invested time and money.

The formula is from 3 Viral Video Ideas:

(Clever Entertainment) + (Sharability) + (Target Audience) + (Product/Service/Personal Brand Tie-in) – (Push-Marketing) = (Successful Viral Video)

As you’ll see, some of these videos have all the successful elements of the viral video formula while others are missing some of the pieces.

Let’s take a look at 50 viral videos…

Multitek North America 2040 XP2 Firewood Processor

Visit the site – Multitek North America Firewood Processors

Lion Attacking Hunters on Safari

World Elk Calling Competition

Visit the site – Hunting Life

Roe Deer Butchering Part 3 – The Hunting Life

Visit the site – The Hunting Life

P&Y Illinois Buck Hunt

Visit the site – Bowhunting.com

Carbon Express F15 Dual Blade Broadhead

Visit the site – Carbon Express

Bowhunting Ducks

Visit the site – Landslide Productions

New Mexico Bull Elk Bow Hunt

Horse & Buggy Elk Hunt

Visit the site – Two Wheel’n After Elk – Base Camp Legends

Horse & Buggy Elk Hunt from Sue Sorenson on Vimeo.

Awesome Whitetail Deer Fight

Visit the site – Stone Ledge Texas

Broadhead Test

Monster Whitetails with Double Bull Archery

Visit the site – LiveHunt.com

HuntingClub.com – Brock Lesnar Hunting Whitetail Buck

Visit the site – North American Hunting Club

New World Record Whitetail

Bow Hunting Whitetails: The Triple Beam Buck

Visit the site – Mannion Outdoors

Trophy Mule Deer Hunting

Visit the site – Carlmann Outfitting

Mulies Gone Wild Vol. 3

Visit the site – MossBack Productions Guides & Outfitters

Texas Hog Hunting

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Gun Cleaning – Properly cleaning barrels on a shotgun

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BowTech Destroyer and David Blanton

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Hoyt Web Clips – Draw Length Myths

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Buckmasters Jackie Bushman Video Mixup

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“The one that I was on was bigger.”

Moose Hunting – Female Moose Tastes Broadhead

Alaska Moose Hunting with Clearwater Alaska Outfitters

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Wolves vs. Grizzly Bears

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Ten Point Bowkill

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Deer Hunting VS-1 Whitetail Deer Scents

Visit the site – Whitetail Shopping

Drop Tine Whitetail Hunt – Saskatchewan Outdoors

Visit the site – Saskatchewan Outdoors

A 13-Foot-Long Shotgun – Clay Target Clip

Visit the site – Field & Stream

A 13-Foot-Long Shotgun – Loading Clip

Visit the site – Field & Stream

Deer Calling Tips: Tending Grunt Sequence

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Bow Hunting Boone & Crockett Whitetail Bucks

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Legendary Whitetails Monster Buck Mel Johnson

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Dan Miller Buck

Whitetail Big Bucks Only

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Deer Gets Revenge on Hunter

The Sasquatch Buck

Heart Attack Bucks

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Monster Buck in City – Des Moines, IA

Visit the site – Zach Wildlife Art

Hal and Len Go Huntin’ Giant Whitetails Part 3

Legendary Whitetails Monster Buck Mossy Horns

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Whitetail Freaks – One of the Biggest Deer in the World

Visit the site – Deer Gear

Locked Bucks – Whitetail Deer

Elk Kill Bow Hunting 35 Yards

Bow Hunting Wild Boar

Bow Hunting for Squirrels

Visit the site – Garzilla Guide Service

Deer Hunting – Bow Hunt 9 Point Buck

Visit the site – Hunting Footage

Bowhunting Pheasants

Visit the site – Parson’s Outdoors

Blacktail Bucks HawkeyeBilt Archery Bowhunting Oregon Deer

Visit the site – HawkeyeBilt

Bowhunting in Kentucky

Visit the site – Lost River Game Calls

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Image courtesy of lanuiop

The Sports Agent Guide to Marketing

“The key to this business is – personal relationships.” ~ Jerry Maguire

Sports Agent

We’ve all probably seen the movie Jerry Maguire. We know the scene where Jerry is trying to convince his client, Rod Tidwell (Cuba Gooding Jr. in his Oscar winning role), that he should stay with Jerry as his professional agent and representative.

It’s the classic and endlessly quotable Show Me the Money scene:

Rod is looking out for the best interest of his family. He feels he’s sacrificed his body and his livelihood for the team he plays for and he wants to be fairly compensated. Jerry, who found out that he’s being fired due to a recent conscious moment about his profession, is trying to save his own livelihood by retaining some of his professional sports clients.

The phone call lasts for a few minutes and Jerry loses all of his clients, but he retains Rod. This is a key moment in the movie because from this moment forward, Jerry is entirely focused on doing what it takes to please his client and to make things right for both parties.

He creates a win-win situation for both himself and his client, Rod Tidwell. He accomplishes this by highlighting the successes of his client.

Let’s take a look at how sports agents highlight the successes of their clients to find their own success while attempting to create situations where all parties (including fans and management) can feel like winners…

Everybody wants to feel the love

Sports players are often portrayed as divas or self-serving as they sometimes seek to get the most money out of their situation as possible. But in reality, aren’t we all trying to do the same? It may not always be about the money – it could be about security, availability or anything that makes us feel good in life.

Our lives are all short and we all want to feel the love. We want to feel loved by our family, our friends, our professional peers and ourselves. We all look to surround ourselves with people who will serve our best interests. Generally we seek to surround ourselves with people who make us feel good and complement our lives in a way that drives us to our ultimate goal of happiness.

When it comes to business, your clients are looking to surround themselves with someone who will make them feel the love. Your customers want to feel like somebody else cares about their well-being. They don’t even care if you are doing exactly the same. They actually want to see that you’re driven to find success and happiness in your own life. This would be proof that you’re aware of the keys to happiness.

Show your customers the love.

If you sell advertising space on your blog or Website, give your customers extra exposure by talking about the success of a particular ad in a blog post. Talk about how great they are to work with in a tweet.

Feed your customers’ ego.

If your outfitting customer shoots a trophy, be sure to submit the trophy photos to the major hunting photo sharing sites. Be sure to highlight their trophy on Twitter. Be sure to add their photo to a major spot on your site.

Show your customers the love by highlighting their success.

By highlighting the success of you customers, you’ll help them find their happiness in life and help yourself find your own profit and happiness as well.

It’s not about you

Two examples of sports agents (I’m sure there are more) that understand that their business is not about them are Drew Rosenhaus and Jack Bechta.

If you follow @RosenhausSports and @jackbechta on Twitter you’ll realize that these two businessman love highlighting their clients. They love telling the world about the successes of their clients.

Drew Rosenhaus Twitter

Jack Bechta Twitter

These agents could focus on their business and themselves with tweets about how they got their clients big contracts, but instead they congratulate their clients for the work the client did to get a contract or a playing honor.

Professional sports athletes have their best interest at heart when they play the sports they love. They realize that their team’s success is their success. They also are fighting for security in their own lives. They want to be as successful as they can be. They look to surround themselves with people who believe them and who will help them achieve greatness.

When sports agents show that they put their client’s first it proves to other current and potential clients that the agent is willing to do all that it takes to make the player successful.

What are you doing to show your customers that you understand that it’s not about you?

A way to highlight the success of your customers is to write a blog post about a successful project or a successful hunt. You could write about the success a client had while using your product. Say for example that you make tree stands. Ask your customers to share their stories of success. Then write a post about that success. You don’t even have to say that your tree stand was used. Simply highlight the customer. Other customers will see where your focus is and be drawn to you.

It’s not about you.

Summary

Sports agents sometimes get a bad rap. Fans often see all of the drama that surrounds professional sports, but from circus acts that go on throughout sports seasons there is something to be learned about the relationships between a sports agent their client.

Successful sports agents realize that everybody wants to feel the love. People want to know that those around them support their dreams. We all want to know that someone else cares about our success and our happiness. It feels good to be recognized for our achievements.

Customers of all businesses look for partners that understand it isn’t about the business at all. Customers are smart enough to choose to work with businesses that not only work at all costs to achieve strategic long-term goals, but choose to highlight the client’s achievements. Because in the end they are the client’s achievements, not the business’s.

Bonus

Here are a few extra clips from Jerry Maguire.

Enjoy.

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Image courtesy of Dplanet::

What Daylong Deer Hunting Taught Me About Blogging

It’s not easy to sit in a tree for 10 hours waiting for a deer to walk by

Oris Pocket Watch

I’ve always enjoyed spending time out in the woods, in my tree stand, with a Thermos full of extra black coffee, waiting for that trophy buck to walk past.

Recently I was out in the woods on a crisp, chilly, brisk Wisconsin autumn morning and about halfway through the day I got to thinking about blogging (there is a lot of time to sit and think out in the deer woods).

A day in the woods waiting for deer to walk by is a lot like the process of starting a blog.

Let me explain in more detail…

Initial Burst of Excitement

Hunting

Usually when I get to my tree stand (about 20 to 30 minutes before sunrise – shooting time is typically about 10 minutes before sunrise) I find that the first 45 minutes to an hour of sunlight is the best time to see deer during any hunt.

I like to hunt in travel funnels so in the morning the deer are typically moving from their evening and nighttime feeding areas and heading back to their daytime bedding areas. They typically do this right around sunrise when the temperature is cool and the daylight still low.

There is often much excitement in the deer woods in the early morning. It’s fun and thrilling and I’ve harvested most of my deer during this time.

Blogging

Starting a blog follows much the same trend of an all day deer hunt.

When you start a blog for your personal passions or for your business passions you will likely become excited during the initial days and weeks of the blog as people discover your writing, leave comments, and even share your posts on sites like Facebook and Twitter.

When you first start a blog you’re also usually excited about the new undertaking and you’re telling anybody that will listen about your new blog. You’re being more active in the various communities on the Web and you’re getting people interested.

It feels great to be a blogger who has just launched a blog.

Midmorning Lull

Hunting

After the early morning rush of deer there is usually a drop off from about 9am to noon.

Things quiet down in the woods as the deer are finding their daytime bedding areas. They stick close to their beds as they chew on their cud and rest for the morning. There is never much movement during this time.

I have seen deer during this time of course. They’re usually running, being chased, or possibly looking for some acorns very close to their daytime bedding area.

This is usually the time during my daylong hunts that I take out a good marketing book and take some time to read.

Blogging

After the initial excitement of starting a blog wears off (and it typically does) there is a lull in activity – both from you and your initial readers.

The drive and excitement from you tends to wear out as your initial rush of ideas for blog posts wanes. The traffic of curious visitors can wear off as curious hunters continue searching the Web for new blogs to frequent. It’s difficult to get loyal readers especially in the first few days and weeks of blogging.

There is typically a lull period of blogging that takes place. Don’t let it discourage you. Take this time to look back on what was successful with your blog initially and work to implement new posts and activities to build on the success. The lull is a great time to study your blog and expand on your initial successes.

Midday Uptick in Activity

Hunting

Four seasons ago I spent the entire opening day and second day of the Wisconsin deer gun season in my stand. I typically like to spend the entire day in the woods, but sometimes it’s difficult to stay out from noon to 3pm as my beloved Packers are usually playing.

Well in 2005 the Packers were on their way to a less than stellar 4-12 campaign so I knew I wouldn’t miss much if I stayed in my stand during the midday.

At about 1:30pm a nice 11 point buck walked up the logging road to my stand and I was able to harvest him. It’s been the nicest buck of my hunting career. (The Packers are struggling again this season and they play at noon next week so we’ll see how things shake out).

Deer sometimes like to move around midday. It’s nothing like the morning or evening, but there is some movement – typically by bucks. I’m not exactly sure why, but I hear stories of hunters taking deer as they walk to their trucks for lunch.

Midday is not a burst of excitement, but it’s a good time to hunker down and wait patiently.

Blogging

After you start your blog and you get past the initial excitement of launch and you make it through the lull that follows there is a time when you’ll start to see your traffic begin to increase – usually at a slow, but steady rate.

This uptick in activity on your blog usually happens because you’re starting to establish your blogging voice. During your blog’s lull you took the time to analyze a few of the trends on your blog and now you’re focusing on writing the types of posts that connect with your target audience. You’re starting to build a group of loyal readers who look forward to your posts on a regular basis and when presented with the opportunity they share the news about your blog with others.

This is a slow building period for bloggers, but it’s usually enough to keep you driven as your traffic and impact continue building.

Evening Rush

Hunting

About an hour or two before sunset there is another exciting rush of deer activity in the woods. Deer will now make their way from their daytime bedding areas to their evening and nighttime feeding areas. They’re beginning to get hungry and they’re well rested from their daylong sit.

The does will make their way to the feeding areas and if the rut is in full swing the bucks will be crossing their travel routes hoping to find Miss Right.

It’s a fun time to be in the woods as there is lots of exciting activity. And this activity seems to continue right up until it’s too dark to see your own hand in front of your face.

Blogging

As your blog slowly builds a following over the initial few months and even years you’ll start to see an increase in the number of followers and visitors. As more and more people discover and spread the word about your blog you’ll begin to see exponentially increasing numbers.

It’s a fun time to be a blogger as you seem to hit your own critical mass. This is what all bloggers dream about when they start their blogs.

However, most bloggers don’t make it to this point because they get frustrated with the time it takes to reach this point.

Conclusion

Just as with hunting all day – most hunters don’t make it through an all day hunt and as a result can miss out on opportunities.

Put in the time and effort to make it all the way through your blogging cycle.

It’ll pay off over time.

What are your stories of success in the blogging world?

What stage of blogging are you in?

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image credit: wwarby

The Songwriter Guide to Starting and Finishing a Blog Post

I’m in a hurry and don’t know why

Songwriting Guitar

Do ever listen to the opening and ending lyrics in your favorite songs?

If you pay attention to more than a few of your favorites you’ll notice that they begin and end with the same lyrics. It’s an effect songwriters, musicians, and singers use to add more depth to a song. It’s also a technique that takes the most important part of the song – the hook – and puts it at the beginning of the song to capture attention while also putting it at the end to leave a lasting mark on listeners so they’ll listen again.

This technique is used by songwriters and by blog writers alike.

The best blog writers, like the best songwriters, often hit their listener or reader with a bang by telling them the most important part of the story right away, then telling them the details, and then hitting them again with the most important part of the story again at the end.

Successful bloggers use this technique to drive home the story they’re trying to tell or to drive home the point they’re trying to make to their readers.

It’s a proven technique you can use in your writing as a way to connect with your readers while creating quality content.

I’m going to make this a short post because…

I’m in a hurry and don’t know why

Bonus

3 country songs that start and finish with the same lyrical hook…

Im In A Hurry (And Dont Know Why) – Alabama

She Wouldnt Be Gone (Album Version) – Blake Shelton

I Can Still Make Cheyenne – George Strait

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image credit: lanuiop