Letter from Phil – issue 398

Letter from Phil – issue 398 –  A quick look at Kindling – resident social media expert meeting – and a stuffup using the WordPress code editor

A quick note about a WSO I saw yesterday while lurking on the Warrior forum (I’m often there, but I rarely take part in discussions).

The WSO is for Geoff Shaw’s Kindling, widely regarded as the best training available for profiting from creating and selling books for Amazon’s Kindle ebook reader.

Geoff’s Kindling training course is extremely comprehensive and covers everything you can think of including mindset, writing, marketing and outsourcing.

Really I don’t need to say much about this because we’ve all read lots about the Kindle, and most of us probably own one, or even two.

We also know that ebooks for the Kindle are selling like crazy, and whether we like it or not, ebooks are quickly causing the demise of both printed books and bookshops.

When you can’t beat them join them, is what I say. So if you aren’t already a member of Geoff’s excellent Kindle training membership site now is the time to join.

Ebooks are now selling in their millions, and they’re mostly being read on the Kindle.

So if you have the slightest interest in writing and selling ebooks (or profiting from selling ebooks that you have written or outsourced) you should be grabbing this WSO which is at a steep discount to the regular price.

It’s also a low one-off cost, so no monthly fees. And the WSO makes it especially attractive.

For a lifetime membership to a site that already has a huge amount of constantly updated content and discussion, it’s a true bargain.

By the way, here’s a public apology to Geoff.

Yesterday I managed to insult him by calling him an Aussie when he’s really from New Zealand. It’s a bit like asking a Scottish or Welsh person if they’re English. A big faux pas!

I thought he was a fellow Aussie because he used Australian idiom in an email to me “No worries Phil, I heard about you being crook.”

Crook (for you non Aussies…or New Zealanders) means ill. And no worries is just a different way of saying don’t worry, or no problem.

Little did I know that both countries use that lingo.

# # #

I was invited to a meeting at City Hall a few days ago, as the cities resident ‘social media expert’

Not too sure on the accuracy of the label they gave me, but it felt good 🙂

Anyway, they wanted me to advise the staff and council leaders on how they could use social media to communicate better with the people living in the area.

What stuck me most (listening to the feedback about my suggestions) was the negativity and the lack of openness to change. The “things are fine they way they are now” scenario.

Objection after objection was raised.

“no, we can’t do that”

“we’re not allowed to do that”

“we can’t do things that way”

“that just wont work”

“we’re not allowed to say things like that”

“it just can’t be done”

“systems are in place, they can’t be changed without a lot happening behind the scenes”

“it’s not as easy as you seem to think”

“we havent got enough staff to do things like that”

Only the mayor, whose election I helped in a very small way by doing her website and campaign portrait, saw it the way I did.

It was all quite frustrating.

Thinking about it later, I realised that back in the days I had a newspaper job I would (and did) react exactly the same way.

“It can’t be done. We havent got enough photographers. It’s too far to drive.”

With the new boss saying “it can and will be done. It’s how we’re going to do things from now on”

Unless you’ve worked in the same place and had the same boss all your working life, I’m sure you recognize a bit of yourself in the reluctance and perceived negativity of the employees.

When its ingrained in you to do things in a certain way and you know it works then you see no need to change.

“We do it, it works, just let’s get on with it and do our jobs.”

But new and better ways always come along. It’s just that you’re so tied into one way of thinking that you can’t see it.

There were chains in place that they couldn’t see could be easily cast aside.

And the immediacy of social media for work purposes threw them. Even though they
probably all use Facebook the way the rest of us do, they just couldn’t imagine it being
used that way for work.

“Our policy is to respond to a comment on our Facebook page within 3 days.”

“3 days?” I questioned. “Why not 3 hours, three minutes even?”

“It’s not as simple as that. We often have to get permission before we can post anything. If that person’s not available we have to wait.”

and

“We have to keep records of everything we post. It’s a legal requirement.”

I can understand the legal bit, but not trusted staff having to have everything approved first.

There was quite a bit of talk among them about how they’d have to take screen shots of everything they posted on Facebook, including replies to comments, and then turn the screenshots into dated pdf’s for record keeping.

In the end the mayor made it clear to the staff that they are going to use Facebook pages in a big way, throwing resources at it, spending on Facebook advertising, and using it to keep the public informed of the councils activities.

As for me…well I was thanked for my advice, but with no budget set aside to pay consultancy fees they’re doing it all internally. So they’re on their own from now on.

# # #

Just had a bit of a scare with a new wordpress blog I’m working on. Using the code editor I made some changes to the footer in the child theme functions.php, clicked ‘update file’ and suddenly found I could no longer access the site. It vanished. Everything gone.

Went in via Cute FTP and tried to wind back the changes I’d made by removing the code I thought I’d added or changed, but nothing worked.

After a few minutes of near-panic, and self-anger, I realised the solution. It was as simple as going to my computers downloads folder, finding the zip file for the child theme, unzipping it, and then uploading the original functions.php file to replace the one I’d
screwed up. It worked and the site was back in full working order.

The moral of this story is to save a back up of any important files to your computer before you do work on them. Then if anything goes wrong you can immediately re-upload that file, and lose just a few minutes work.

Better yet, always keep a full up-to-date backup of all your sites.

I use the life-saving, low-cost Backup Creator plugin on all my WordPress blogs, but because this one was brand new and I hadn’t even added any content (but done plenty of work on modifications) I hadn’t yet installed it.

backup creator plugin

What I usually do is set it to backup to Amazon S3 weekly, or more frequently if I’ve made changes to the site or added much content. This way if anything at all goes wrong I can restore the saved version within minutes. Just seconds if it’s a small site.

Even if your site is entirely wiped out because your web host goes bust you can have your site restored to your new host incredibly quickly.

All you’d have to do in such a scenario is install WordPress on your new host, add the Back Up Creator plugin, and then restore the last saved version from your Amazon account (or a backup you saved to your computer instead).

Here’s my affiliate link to it

Make me happy, and give yourself security and peace of mind 🙂

It’s a lifesaver for just $7 for the ‘Lite” version which may well be all you need.

# # #

The article I wrote last week about publishing hyper-local blogs went down a treat.

I got tons of feedback from people saying it had filled them with enthusiasm and they were seriously looking into teaming up with people and creating one for their own town or suburb.

I think I’ve answered all the emails, so sorry if I’ve missed replying to you.

Just want to say that (seeing the articles were put up on my blog almost immediately) it’s best for both me and you if instead of emailing you comment on the article online. That way you can share in the collective wisdom of others and gain ideas from each other, rather than relying on the replies that sometimes just spew from my brain and probably don’t make all that much sense 🙂

Ok, that’s it for today.

I’m hoping to keep up this regular Friday or Saturday publishing date, so keep your eyes glued to your mail inbox next week.

phil