2011 | Unskippable - Marketing Keynote Speaker - Jim Kukral - Part 2

Yearly Archives: 2011

Four Questions for Pulitzer Prize Finalist Regina Brett

Last month at Content Marketing World in Cleveland I got a chance to see Regina Brett speak about storytelling.

If you don’t know who Regina is, she’s a two-time Pulitzer Prize Finalist, author and columnist for the Cleveland Plain Dealer. I’ve been reading her column for years, and I found her talk to be very enlightening. So I sent Regina a few questions via email last week and below are her answers. I think you’ll find her answers interesting.

1. How important is storytelling in your business?

Storytelling is still the heart of good journalism. Stories are what people remember and pass along. Statistics and data might be interesting, but a good story is evergreen. It sticks in the memory, it leaves an imprint on the heart.

2. How do you produce so much content over and over through the years and keep it fresh?

There is an endless supply of material. Life hands it to you. Everyone has stories to tell or stories they are afraid to tell. I do a lot of public speaking. Every time I talk to a group, I hear more stories which make for more columns. The way to keep it fresh is to keep an open mind and an open heart to the people who call and email you with ideas.

3. What do you do if there is no story? Move on or try to force one?

There’s always a story, it just might not be the one you had in mind. One of my lessons is, Over prepare and go with the flow. I do a lot of going with the flow. I see it like a pie: I can’t give readers the entire pie, just one slice. Sometimes the slice I set out to give them was supposed to be apple pie and I discover it’s cherry. Either way, the reader can enjoy it.

4. Will children under the age of ten today use printed newspapers like they do today in 10+ years?

It’s a mystery what we’ll all be using in ten years. The world evolves so fast and technology is changing so fast, I don’t believe we can predict that far ahead. I do believe this: children and adults will always want to read. It doesn’t matter if it’s in a newspaper or in a book or on a screen or iPhone or iPad. The words will always matter. That’s where we need to put our time, energy, focus and passion.

Uncertainty: A Book Launch To Remember

I’ve been watching my friend Jonathan Fields launch his new book, Uncertainty: Turning Fear and Doubt Into Fuel for Brilliance, with a close eye. Why? Because he knows how to do it, and do it well. So I’m very excited for this book for multiple reasons.

1. I want to see how his launch works.
2. I like Jonathan and wish him the best.
3. I can’t wait to read the book!

If you haven’t watched his book trailer video yet, check it out below.

If you want to learn more about his launch, he’s got a guest post over on Copyblogger today explaining the entire launch concept.

Now, I know a thing or two about book launches as well having done it multiple times for my own books. I can tell you it’s a very stressful and planned thing. It starts months and months before, and takes a lot out of you.

But, if done right, and done well, it can create a lot of attention and sell a lot of books (the point, right?) If you have a book in the works, or you’re thinking about writing a book, please contact me, I can help you.

I’m 40, Now What?

I turn 40-years-old today. And I’m loving it. I couldn’t be more blessed personally and professionally. I love what I do and I love my family and I’m grateful for all of my friends.

So now what?

I may be weird, but I tend to break down my life phases into 10-year chunks. Do other people do this?

1-10 – Childhood in the 70’s. Being a kid. No plan.
11-21 – Growing up. Still being a kid. No plan.
22-30 – Start a career. Figure out what I’m good at.
31-40 – Start a family. Build a successful career hopefully doing what I love.

40-50 – I think I know. I would tell you that 10-years ago the answer would have been “make a lot of money”. Today that answer is NOT the same. In fact, if I had to rank money on the list of important things to me as I turn 40, I’d put it down around number 6 or so. Want to know why? Read this.

So here are my goals for turning the big 4-0.

1. Be a better husband and father.

2. Become one of “those” fit people I see but have never been. “Those” is what people like me call you people who are always in shape and healthy.

3. Start a non-profit organization that helps people use the power of the Internet to raise money for worthwhile causes. Helping families in need financially overcome disasters. To use my skills as an Internet marketer to inspire and assist them in coming up with strategies to raise money.

4. Write about 10 books a year, at least. For the next 10 years.

Oh, and fishing. :)

Happy birthday to me. Life is short. Make it count.

Thank You, AWeber

I’d like to officially thank AWeber for pledging to be a $7,500 sponsor to one of my new books. I couldn’t be happier about this because I am a long-time AWeber user myself (paid) and I really love their service. In fact, I’ve been emailing for myself and my businesses for 10-years now, and I can tell you that AWeber is the best email marketing provider I have ever used.

And I would have told you that before they pledged $7,500. :)

I often talk about one of the biggest mistakes I’ve ever made, which is, not collecting email addresses soon enough when starting a new project. Nowadays, there isn’t a project I post live that doesn’t have an AWeber email signup form integrated.

If you haven’t started with email yet, please head over to AWeber and sign up and start using their service today. Heck, it’s essentially free to use why you build up your list from scratch. You can’t go wrong. And tell them I said hello!

Speaking at TEDx

Last week I had the pleasure of speaking at my first TEDx event. It was held in Ohio on the Bowling Green campus. TEDxBGSU was an amazing event full of well prepared presenters from a wide range of backgrounds and topics. I was impressed. If you’ve never heard about TED you should definitely go over to their website and watch some videos.

About TEDx – In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TEDTalks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x = independently organized TED event. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organized.

I chose to speak on the topic of happiness, as it directly relates to my recent story about How to Catch Happy. At TED events you get 18-minutes to tell your story. I believe I came in at 17:59 exactly. I could have gone on for another 18 for sure.

The video from the event is not available yet, but stay tuned to me on Twitter and Facebook and here on my blog as I will be posting it as soon as I get it. Thank you to all involved for a wonderful day of learning and inspiration. If you ever get a chance to speak, or attend, a TED event I highly recommend you do so.

Go Direct: Pre-Funding Your New Book

In 2010 I had my first traditionally published book published called “Attention! This Book Will Make You Money“. I can tell you now, having a “traditionally” published is both a blessing and a curse. On one hand it’s amazing to have had the experience of seeing my book in bookstores and going through the traditional path of getting a contract, with a signing bonus, all the way through to seeing my first book arrive in my hands and then into the stores.

On the other hand. A lot of it really sucked. Honestly though, it was one of the best things that ever happened to me. Because I learned that’s not the way I want to do it, and it forced me to embrace a new way to do it, come up with new ways to help you do it as well.

Let’s get this straight right off the bat. I am not writing this piece to condemn the book industry as it stands today. Plenty of others are doing that just fine without me (MUST READ). Things are changing BIG time right now in the book industry. It’s like a nuclear bomb went off, and the next few years will prove that there will be an entirely new business model arising from the ashes.

So again, I’m writing this to tell you about the future of self-publishing, book marketing and funding as I see it, not to trash the current traditional book industry.

Being a marketer and Web entrepreneur, AND an author who has published “traditionally” and self-published, I believe I have certain unique opinions and perspective about these topics. Particularly the topic of marketing.

Many will argue that one of the reasons that make a traditionally published book deal still attractive is the signing bonus. Everything else that you used to need the publishers for is gone. You can hire a proofer, and editor and cover designer (good ones) for very affordable rates nowadays. You can upload to Amazon and Nook on your own and set your own price. You can even have your book available for print on demand so people who wants printed copies can easily order them.

So the signing bonus that they (traditional publishing firms) can pay you up-front is really their biggest asset, in my opinion. If you can get it.

I got paid five-figures to write Attention! and I was grateful for it, especially since I was a first-time author. Because of the signing bonus, I was able to put many of clients on hold so I could write and finish the book on time. That was really helpful.

For most first-time authors, there isn’t going to be a signing bonus like I got. I got mine because of my years of experience and frankly, because of my reach (my blog, my social media connections, my influence with others who have the same, etc…). They (the publisher) knew that I could “get the word out” and sell a lot of books, which I have done.

So if you’re like most everyone, there isn’t going to be a publisher throwing you bags and bags of cash. So what do you do?

You could just write it anyway, which you should do, and self-publish it yourself, which you should do, and learn how to market it, which you should do. All easier said than done. Actually, the first two parts are actually the easy parts. The marketing is the real challenge.

Back to the signing bonus. It doesn’t exist. You don’t have it. So why not try something different?

Think about it. If you have a book in your head, why not pre-fund the writing of that book BEFORE you start writing it. This is exactly what I’m doing with my new book series entitled “Business Around a Lifestyle.”

Take a look at what I’ve created here. It’s a landing page where I talk about how I’m going to write these books, and how I’d like you to be part of the books by pledging early to them. It’s pre-funding. Think about the advantages of this.

1. You get proof that people want to read your book before you write it
2. You get a community of people interested and active about what you’re creating together
3. You pre-sell books
4. You can go direct to consumer (You don’t even need Amazon)
5. You get paid before you write (like a signing bonus)

So far, by just sending a handful of emails to a few people I know, I’ve raised over $450. I plan on promoting this new campaign to my email list as soon.

This is certainly not the newest concept on the block. Sites like Kickstarter offer you the ability to fund projects. But then again, Kickstarter takes their cut of the action. And they don’t allow “how-to” books. I applied to use Kickstarter for this pre-funding project and they rejected me because they said they only want “creative projects”.

Which got me thinking. Why do we really need them? We don’t. Anyone can easily sell their books direct with a little bit of effort using tools like Paypal and 1ShoppingCart or a million others.

The future is direct to consumer. Amazon is the middle-man, just like the publisher was. If you can build a community of your own, you can leverage that community. Sure, you’ll want to put your books on Amazon and other places, down the road, but again, they take their cut as well.

There’s a definite big list of advantages to being able to sell direct to your fans.

Want further proof that the book industry is imploding? Harry Potter author J.K. Rowlings has since decided to go direct to consumer. In other words, she’s building a new community where she will sell her new work direct. Nope, her fans won’t even have to go to Amazon, they’ll go direct to her, where she doesn’t have to pay the cut to anyone.

Mark my words, she will turn a one billion dollar empire into a 2 billion dollar empire in less than a few years by doing this.

Catch Me If You Can: Summer/Fall Speaking Schedule

August and September have notoriously been super-busy months for me. In 2011 it’s no different. I’ll be attending/speaking at the following events. I’d love for you to join me, or at least just come up and say hello if you see me.

Affiliate Summit East 2011 in NYC – I believe some passes are still available, but will sell out soon. After that you’ll be looking for expensive passes on eBay. Happens every year. If you’re coming, get a pass now.

Content Marketing World 2011 in Cleveland – I’m thrilled about this one because it’s being put together by my friend and Cleveland entrepreneur Joe Puluzzi. Also because it’s in Cleveland, and a ton of big names will be coming to my city. They’ll finally find out it’s not a joke and a lot of fun. Oh yeah, and my favorite Kevin Smith will be keynoting. Here’s a discount coupon code to use during registration for $100 off. “SPKRGST”

Connections 2011 in Indianapolis – My first time at this event being done by Exact Target. Which is also the company another Cleveland buddy, Jeff Rohrs, works at. I’ve never been to Indianapolis, so this will be a fun first-time trip for me. A lot of big names at this show as well. Come on out!

TEDxBGSU in Bowling Green – Ok, I know this isn’t the main TED event, but nonetheless, it’s a TED event and I’m speaking. I cannot wait to get on stage and do 18 minutes about happiness. I couldn’t be more thrilled to be ask to speak here.

Other speaking events are booking fast and furious. If you’d like to have me at your event, just contact me to check dates.

Podcast: The Changing Face of Book Publishing

The whole industry has detonated. Yes, I’m talking about the book publishing business. If you haven’t noticed, the past 12-months have seen a gigantic shift in how publishing is done, and perceived. Now anyone can publish their content digitally without gatekeepers. It’s truly amazing. And it’s going to get even better.

I’m deeply entrenched in this new type of publishing model, having put out a traditionally published book (Attention!) in 2010, and since put out three more self-published books, with at least five more to come by Christmas 2011. Yeah, it’s that fun, and that easy.

I got on the horn with Dan Pacheo, the CEO of an amazing new company called BookBrewer.com. BB is one of those companies leading the way for this new publishing model. Dan and I decided to talk about the changing face of the industry. If you’ve ever had any interest in the publishing business, past and future, then you’ll want to hear what we have to say about the future, and how it effects you and your business or brand.

Here is the podcast in its entirety. Download (MP3).

Please enjoy. And let me know what you think in the comments please.

Book Contributions

I’ve been fortunate enough to be asked to contribute to other author’s projects from time to time. If you look at my Amazon author page, you’ll see my books, plus some of the books I’ve contributed to. Most recently I’ve been included in two new books that I’m EXTREMELY proud of.

The first is a new book from Selfgrowth.com founder David Riklan. It’s called “Mastering the World of Marketing: The Ultimate Training Resource from the Biggest Names in Marketing” (aff link). I must say I’m honored to have an entire chapter nestled in between people like Chris Brogan, Tony Hsieh, Jack Trout, David Meerman Scott, Guy Kawasaki, Peter Shankman, Scott Stratten, Mari Smith, Gary Vaynerchuck, and more! Flattered to be in that list.

The second is a free eBook from inbound marketing masters HubSpot. It’s called “101 Awesome Marketing Quotes” and once again, includes insightful thoughts from a wide range of thought leaders, such as Chris Brogan, Steve Jobs, Guy Kawasaki and Ann Handley.

How do I get asked to be included in things like this? Well, it doesn’t happen overnight. My advice: If you want to be remarkable, you have to do something remarkable. Get to work. Wow people. Produce. Kick some butt. Get off your hands. Sit down and innovate. Now… go!