I am speaking at SMX WestSome good news – coming up on March 8th-10th I will be speaking at SMX West in San Jose, CA. SMX or Search Marketing Expo is a series of conferences, dealing with Search Marketing (SEO, PPC, Social Media, etc) run by the same folks that run SearchEngineLand.com. It’s a great opportunity, and I’m super excited!

There is one downside though – SMX is at the same time as the Omniture Summit, which I haven’t missed for three years. It’s a fantastic conference as well, and is full of fun activities like skiing & Karaoke as well. (Yes, the sound is bad & I look shlubby, but I’m rockin’ pretty hard :))
I am going to miss going to that show for sure.

The other negative is that ANOTHER conference, PubCon South, is the same few days. I don’t know who is picking the conference days, but this has got to stop. Two search conferences on the same days? That’s just bad business. Way to split your audience. I know a lot of search marketers will be at PubCon instead of SMX West, and I don’t like it.

Despite these conflicts, I’m excited to speak. I’ll be speaking on the panel Ecommerce & Retail Search Marketing Tactics on the 9th at 5pm. If you are going to be in San Jose for the show or any other reason – leave me a note in the comments or shoot me an email (rickgalan at gmail) and we should definitely meet up!


So I’ve come to a decision. I am going to be migrating this blog to a new domain: RickGalan.com. I have found that I simply cannot stay fully on a topic (like conversational marketing), and let slide a lot of good posts because they don’t fully align with the theme of the blog. Since I basically suck at writing here anyway, I feel like I should remove any barriers I can.

I have a few other URLs that I want to use (in conjunction with other writers) to have more focused content. So that should be a good time.

I would love some feedback… Good idea? Bad idea? Why? Should I simply start a new blog and leave this one alone, or should I migrate everything over and redirect everything (which is what I’m leaning towards)?

If you have any thoughts I would love to hear them – either in the comments or hit me up on Twitter: @RickGalan

I gave a presentation today on LinkedIn for the Social Media Club, Salt Lake City. It basically covered some best practices and tips on setting up your profile, building & maintaining your connections, and using the other features of the platform. I am a HUGE LinkedIn fan – if you are not using it much you really should take a deeper look. Here is the presentation on SlideShare. I have to warn you.. it’s a doozy (54 Slides!):

If you can’t view the presentation, here it is over on SlideShare: Using LinkedIn to Build Your Online Resume, Reputation & Connections.

What about you? Do you have any tips for LinkedIn? How do you get the most out of it?

**Quick Update – This presentation was featured on the Slideshare.net Homepage! So that’s nice..

Earlier this week I had the opportunity to attend a local mini-conference (or summit, or meetup, or something)  where 3 online business rockstars spoke. In Utah this is a pretty big deal. I was able to hear from Mitch Joel, Julien Smith and Chris Brogan. It was really, really good – the Women Tech Council did a great job putting on the event. You should buy their books and read their blogs and all that stuff. There is a reason they are rockstars.

But that’s not really my point in bringing it up. My point is that I am constantly amazed by the continual quality of work and content that these guys produce online. I mean it really baffles me. They were actually asked how they do it during the summit, and their answers boiled down to two things:

  • They make it a priority
  • They make sacrifices

These are not uncommon answers for the “how do you find time to blog” question. In fact, they are both things I have heard before. I have been giving it a lot of thought lately though, because my own writing and content creation has been seriously neglected over the last… forever, and it’s about time it stopped. Or started. You know what I mean.

As I said, I have been giving it a lot of thought. So as of about 6 minutes ago, I am instituting a “blog for at least 15 minutes a day” policy in my life. Why? How? Let me break it down for you…

“I don’t have the time” and other such nonsense

A common hurdle to get over when to writing is the “I just don’t have the time to devote to writing” problem. Well I’m solving that one first. I’ll tell you right now, I don’t have the time. I have a full-time job I spend an unholy amount of hours working at, I have a family (including a new born), a house, and a number of side projects that take up all my waking hours, and some of my sleeping ones. But I also know that creating content is important, and it’s a skill I want to improve.

So instead of doing the whole “1000 words”, “a post a day” or “3 posts a week” or whatever, I am blogging for 15 minutes a day. Now whether I can get something posted in that time frame is not what’s important. What is important is that 15 minutes is something I can plan for, schedule in, and accomplish without being pulled away to something else. You can’t really say “I don’t have the time to do X for 15 minutes every day” because then you are saying that you don’t have 15 minutes free. Which is a lie.

Why it’s not “Write for 15 minutes a day”

If you have ever blogged, you will know that it’s a lot more than writing. There is coming up with ideas, outlining and organizing them, writing, editing, revising, looking for fancy images, creating links, posting, tagging, promoting, etc. If I limited this 15 minutes to just writing, I would still never get anything posted. I would have volumes of unpostable drivel.

Now there will of course be some days that I will want to spend more time than just 15 minutes. For example, I hit the 15 minute mark about 42 seconds ago, but I’m still going. But according to my self-inflicted rules, I don’t have to. I could stop right here (.) and pick it up tomorrow, and post it then. But I happen to find myself with a little extra time tonight, so I will keep at it a bit longer.

I’m hoping that this system I have devised is going to do the trick. What’s the trick you ask? What’s the outcome I am hoping for?

The Endgame

The point of all this is to build the habit. Classical conditioning at work here. Very Pavlovian. I want to create content easier, blog more often, develop my thoughts better, share them with my peers and followers, have conversations and build relationships. All in 15 minutes a day!

I’m joking around a lot, but I am really serious. I am putting in the time. I’m getting out the laptop (not the phone or iPad or netbook or whatever – the workhorse), turning off the distractions that off buttons (Phone, Twitter, Facebook, IM, iPod, Pandora, Hulu, TV, etc.), hiding from the ones that don’t (the wife, the babies, the mom looking for tech support) and putting in 15 solid minutes of straight blogging every day.

So what do you think? I have a few questions I would love for you to answer in the comments:

  • How do you find the time to blog? What have you found that works for you?
  • Do you think my plan will work? Why or why not?
  • Do you want to join me?

If you do want to join me in the 15-a-day plan, let me know. We’ll start an awesome club or something.

****Update: State of Utah CTO Dave Fletcher reached out and let me know that they removed the document, revised and properly credited the original source, and the process has been reviewed with the staff.****

On September 29th, the State of Utah (where I reside) issued a document setting forth their guidelines for appropriate use of Social Media by the various government agencies. An article on GovTech.com entitled Utah Creates Social Media Guidelines for Employees Who Blog, Tweet, Etc. broke the story to the general masses, and so far there has been a fairly positive response. Why wouldn’t there be? What a progressive thing for a government agency to do, right?

The document entitled State of Utah Social Media Guidelines (pdf) (update – this document has been removed) was issued by the Department of Technology Services, and contains information for public officials on when to engage in social media and good advice on how to do so.  And it really is good information.. sections on Transparency and Judicious behavior, as well as being knowledgeable and how to handle mistakes show that the DTS really did their homework.

I’m sure glad Intel posted almost the exact same thing in May of this year. Continue reading

There have been tons of articles about it over the past few years – Multitasking is not as efficient as we would all like to believe. We have reached a time where it is not only common to be doing 4 or 5 tasks at once, but it’s pretty much expected. Job descriptions list it as a required skill! We are encouraged with “open door” policies to stop by our coworkers’ desks. We have opened ourselves up to phone calls, email, IM, text messages, tweets, pokes, & about a billion other ways to be distracted, and that’s even before we start working on a bunch of things at once. Continue reading

Digital NomadsFor almost the last year, I’ve been working for a company that is based in Seattle, although I still live in Utah. Telecommuting brings some interesting challenges and opportunities, and one of them is the ability (and necessity) to work wherever I am. Whether I’m in my home office, a restaurant, an airport, or the main office in Seattle, I have to have everything I need with me wherever I am. Such is the life of a Digital Nomad.

As I prepare to head to Seattle tomorrow to spend the week in the office and swing by SMX Advanced, I thought it would be fun to show how I pack for a trip such as this. So in the spirit of the recent “What’s in our Bags” series from Lifehacker.com, here is how I am preparing for the week… Continue reading

Click to see a great animation poking fun at Twitter. Let me tell you what this post is not. This is not a post about building your follower count, or using Twitter to drive clicks to your website, or fancy ways to monetize your profile. There’s plenty of that garbage out there already. This is also not a list of best practices from professional bloggers and twitterers. For that I recommend heading over to Twitip.

What this post is, is an illustration of how I have been using Twitter since I started in about July ’08. I am not trying to tell you how you should use it. That would be like me telling you how to use the telephone properly. Twitter is a communication tool, and everyone will use communication tools (email, blogs, phones, txt, their mouths…) differently for different situations.

How I have used the platform to date has really worked well for me, and since people ask me about this all the time, I thought it prudent to get it down on paper. Well… you know what I mean. Oh – if you would like to follow, here’s me: @rickgalan. Continue reading

With all the coverage on basically every marketing or SEO blog, you are likely aware of Google, Yahoo!, Microsoft and even Ask’s announcement a few weeks ago of support of the Canonical URL Tag. It was big news (well.. big news if you are an online marketer.. if you are a normal person it’s actually pretty unexciting). Rand Fishkin of SEOmoz even referred to it as the “biggest change to SEO best practices since the emergence of Sitemaps“.

Now that all the freaking out about change has died down (Holy crap! Google changed the color of their wallpaper! Quick, let’s all write 300,000 blog posts about it!), I wanted to share my thoughts on this development (go 300,001). Continue reading

At significant risk of sounding like a really nerdy James Bond movie, the title of this post is actually something that came to mind a few weeks ago when brainstorming a new project. I’ve let the idea simmer a bit, but after being present for a great Affiliate Summit session called “Managing Your Brand” I find that I can no longer contain myself. :) In that session, Andy Beal, Lee OddenRob Key & Fionn Downhill gave great advice on online reputation management as well as managing your brand (not just monitoring it but actually managing it). If you did not attend that session but have access to  the videos from Affiliate Summit West 2009, I highly recommend giving it a peek.

It’s very likely that you already know this,  but the web is becoming an increasingly fragmented space. Gone are the days of “browsing” the web – it’s “searching” the web at this point. When is the last time you used a web directory like DMOZ for anything other than building links? There is simply too much out there.

Continue reading