James Bond On Blogging: Tips Six Through Ten

What did you think of part one, The First Five James Bond Tips For Blogging? Ready to learn more about how a James Bond attitude can influence you as a blogger? Inspired by Ben Barden’s, “10 Ways Bloggers Are Like James Bond”, here is part two, James Bond On Blogging: Tips Six Through Ten.

6. Look Snazzy In A Dinner Jacket

Dress For Success: 007 says, 'I Belong Here'We might be hidden behind these computer monitors just as James was often hidden behind his deep cover missions but he always knew how to turn out for those social events that mattered. From the depth of Iraq he could brush the dust out of his dark hair, use a pen knife to shave his three-day stubble, and sequester the latest in Armani fashion. He would walk into a room and command attention because not only had he dressed the part but he had an air about him that shouted, “I belong here.”

We mightn’t have so many official get togethers, outings, or events but as bloggers it is still important to step away from the blogosphere and out into the public eye. There are many ways to do that locally and online. The important thing is to dress the part and wear the right persona. Even if initially you feel like a fraud you have to develop the mindset, declare to yourself, and everyone else, “I belong here.”

7. Know Who You Can Trust

Bond lived in a dangerous reality. He has lots of enemies and very few friends. Even the friends he had he couldn’t be sure he could trust. His agency even tried to kill and control him a time or two and he had to learn to be very aware of the nuances and hidden messages in every interaction. Body language and instinct played an important roll in keeping 007 alive and mastering the ability to read other people saved his life.

Bloggers are far more fortunate because our social sphere is friendlier and more generous in nature. For the most part, bloggers want to know bloggers, they like bloggers, and we can all work together harmoniously. However, the internet is rife with misinformation and unscrupulous behavior. It is vital that we learn to spot a fake, distinguish a lie, and avoid adding our own voice to shoddy products or people. Our lives might not depend upon learning to read others but our integrity does.

8. “Everything or Nothing”

007 plays an ‘all or nothing’ kind of game. It made an apt title for one of the 007 movies. For Bond, taking chances was a way of life. He would risk his life and the security of his nation to go after the small odds that would pay out the biggest returns.

When blogging we need to keep in mind that we live in an ‘everything or nothing’ world. We don’t need to put our lives on the line or invest the family fortune but we do have to play hard, take chances, and evaluate the pros and cons of every action we take. Being a risk-taker isn’t about leaping into every situation it’s about making preparations for the best outcome and then taking a chance based on fact and reason. Sometimes those chances won’t work the way we hoped but they will propel us into a new situation and new opportunities.

9. “Never Say Never Again”

How many times did Bond get the upper hand, only to be thrust back as his target made an unexpected move? How many times did one enemy, or James himself, fall only to rise again? When it comes to the game of spies you can never be sure that the game is over. You never say never, again, and again, and again.

As bloggers we make mistakes, fail to update, apologize profusely and what do we vow? “Never again”. Learn from the title of this 007 movie, never say never again. We are human (behind the back lights) and we make mistakes. While it would be nice to learn from mistakes and avoid repeating them you can, “Never Say Never Again”. Just as we might take an unexpected hiatus, the blogging world changes swiftly. When one blogger disappears from the scene it can be tempting to fill the void of his absence. Just because he fell silent does not, however, mean he won’t rise again so beware that you may have competition in that field again if you decide to make the shift.

10. “The World Is Not Enough”

Ultimately, the antagonists 007 faced in each adventure wanted more. They could not be satisfied with the reach of their influence or the limit of their wealth. The real world has an economic glass ceiling that enemy after enemy would attempt to breach. For these people, “The World Is Not Enough.”

How Much Blogger World Do You Want?Bloggers start with a fragment of cyberspace. A page, a handful of posts, a reader. Will what we have ever be enough? Thankfully, this online world expands exponentially in every moment. We add to content and increase storage space every second. Unlike the nemesis that plagues James Bond we are not limited by the extent of our reach and just like them the breadth of our command is in our control. There are no Bonds out there to stop us reaching our full potential. Don’t be afraid to grow as a blogger, continue to expand your reach, share your message, and develop your brand. Is your little corner of the blogging world enough for you?

Do you have tips of your own you’d like to share? Add yours to the comments or come up with your own James Bond Blogging Tips post!

The First Five James Bond Tips For Blogging

Ben Barden’s post “10 Ways Bloggers Are Like James Bond” got me wondering how we can learn from this remarkable character for our own blogging journey. What has James Bond taught you about blogging?

Part One: Tips 1 to 5

1. You’ve Got To Be Creative

No matter what kind of scrap 007 seems to have gotten himself into he always finds a creative solution. His sharp mind looks through various solutions. It turns on a pin head to come up with new ideas and evaluates the situation with razor-sharp instincts.

As a blogger you have got to be creative. Learn to follow your instincts and evaluate your ideas based on each situation. What works today mightn’t work tomorrow and sometimes you’ll have to pull yourself out of a tough blogging situation. Keep your wits about you and learn to adapt to every situation.

2. Use All The Latest Gadgets

From a sporty car to a classy watch! Use All The Latest Gadgets
He’s got an arsenal at his disposal, the latest gimmicks and gadgets at his fingertips and the best tech savvy that British Intelligence can prove. Money is no object (not like he’s footing the bill) so his car is tricked out with GPS, rocket launchers, and very cool aquatic enablers. His phone is the latest model with touch screen and Tetris. James even has a video phone in his house and a perimeter defense system.

If you want to get ahead in this technology dependent industry you have to got keep with the times. Learn about the latest gadgets and how they can increase your productivity, enhance your efficiency, and keep you in the eye of your competitors and your potential clients/employers. Don’t have RSS? Your blog is in trouble. Still using a six year old computer? I’m surprised you can even read this. You have GOT to stay up-to-date with the technology curve.

3. Always Get Your Man – Never Give Up

James Bond ALWAYS got his man. Despite the various boulders (and bombs) the bad guys tossed into his path, 007 found a way to deal with the situation. He kept after them, became an aggravation to them, dogged their steps and foiled their plans from every angle. Bond never gave up a target, he pushed through a bad day, and maintained determination.

As a blogger you need to be equally stubborn. Letting your blog flounder in the wake of an explosion such as the flu is tantamount to critical failure. You can’t let your blog be taken over by the bad guys of lethargy or silence. Like Bond, you have to keep at it, push past resistance, and always get your man. Update your blog regularly and plan ahead so that you’ll always be there when the bad guys next make a move.

4. Charisma And Charm Wins With The Ladies

Ok, so James might come across as the ultimate womanizer. He had a way with the ladies that often lead them between his sheets but his charisma and his charm teach us a valuable lesson. The women James associated with were smart, outgoing, and sure of their own minds. They were confident and knew exactly what it meant to be in the bed of Bond. His honesty, respect, and magnetism was a key to enthralling his audience.

Bloggers need to present a similar persona to enthrall our audiences. Fancy tricks and flashy gimmicks will not convert readers. By being honest, giving respect, and using the depth of integrity and you in your voice you’ll have readers willing to slip between your blogs sheets. Give them what they want when they get there and they’ll be loyal for life.

5. Do Whatever It Takes Even If It Breaks Rules

He might have had some pretty unorthodox means but James Bond was always the go to guy for the good guys. He played with a firm moral stance, knowing his limits and always making sure he was playing for the right team. When things looked askew he took chances, blew off the rules, and played the game his own way to ensure the results were worthy and admirable. When 007 got the job done he did it the best way possible, which wasn’t always the way others wanted him to do things.

Get In Touch With All The James Bond ClassicsAs bloggers we have to show the same fearless integrity. We each have our own beliefs and ideals. We know the battles we want to fight and the outcomes we want to achieve. To accomplish these results we have to have the courage to fight through the reeds that have grown in the path less traveled. Break rules and establish a new order. Innovation is vital and invention comes from doing what has never been done before or doing it differently, doing it better.

Stay tuned for part two, tips 6 to 10.

Getting Hits: “Build it and they will come”?

In the ever-expanding universe of cyberspace, one of our greatest challenges is attracting visitors. When it comes to blogging our visitors are a vital element that breathes life into our corner of the cyber galaxy. Visitors will, hopefully, turn into regular readers who comment and offer an interactivity that increases our enjoyment as bloggers. Does anyone enjoy talking to an empty room?

Creating a website or blog simply isn’t enough to carve out your own nook. These days you must get out there and spread the word. There are so many ways to attract visitors and some are more successful than others. What works?

Search Engines: Do you Google?

Search engines, such as Google and Yahoo, are overloaded with sites and web pages. From millions of results it takes a great deal of effort to ensure your site registers in the first few pages. For bloggers interested in gaining the most benefit from their search engine listings I recommend keeping on top of the latest Search Engine Optimization (SEO) techniques. Terms such as: keyword placement, meta tags, robot.txt etc. hold meanings that could equal significant traffic if you learn to use SEO techniques effectively.

Socializing, Community and Participation

Networking Is The Key To Building Dot NetCommunity participation is another way to develop inbound links. By befriending others in your sphere you can create a social circle on blog rolls, forums, groups and blog comments. It is important to be an active member online because we all learn from each other; constantly expanding our experiences.

Social Media – Connect and Interact

Social Media is one of the newer innovations to bring people together. With websites such as Twitter, Plurk, Facebook, Myspace, Digg, LinkedIn, Del.ic.ious, MyBlogLog, StumbleUpon and many more we link together as a community sharing interests, making new friends and discovering other hemispheres on the web.

Hit and Miss? No More! – Be Valuable

There Is More To Building A Dot Com Then You Might Think!These mediums can be a hit and miss experience when trying to build your brand or grow your blog community. Members are often more interested in what they can get out of their participation. It is important to offer potential readers value but it’s equally important to give value as a community member. When you give to others you’ll find you receive in return.

Never Enough Hours – Finding Balance

With the many pressures involved in ensuring your blog continues to grow it can sometimes be challenging to find the time to factor in all of these elements. Creating content should always be your primary concern because the myth, “build it and they will come” is true to some degree. Without anything other than content you will gain readers, slowly, almost imperceptibly. With great content everything else is optional. Each moment you spend in marketing however will increase the speed of your growth exponentially.

Find a balance and make sure the demands you put on yourself don’t go beyond your boundaries. There is no point treating your blog like a full time job if you already work full time, especially if you haven’t monetized your pages. It is true that with hard work and dedication you could turn blogging into a full-time career but it is often better to start slow, enjoy the process of establishing your readership and create a true bond with your visitors and your topic.

A Pirate On The Social Scene

Arr, me hearties! Send up the mainsail and draw in the anchor. All good Capt’ns, ship dogs, and wenches be casting off their harbor shackles for that thar high seas. Ahoy, matey!

Last Friday, September 19th, was International Talk Like A Pirate Day! This unique event created an opportunity for many people around the globe. For one day, differences were cast aside and a child-like freedom and joy-filled silliness reigned supreme across the world.

Did you take advantage of this jolly event to do something special?

I sure did! – Perth Pirates of PTUB

Devar aka Ben from PTUB. Photograph by Tillee aka Tracy-LeeThanks to the wonders of Plurk and Twitter, a group of Perthites got together at Little Creatures Brewery in Fremantle, Western Australia. We weren’t just the average Perthite computer geek however, we were PIRATE geeks.

From frocks to eye patches, tattoos to frills, and bandanas to booze, up to twenty men and women between twenty and forty years of age dressed for the high seas. This was one gathering more than merry enough to shiver me timbers. Thankfully, we didn’t raise too many eyebrows as even the staff had joined the fun of Talk Like A Pirate Day.

But what does a fun night out on the town really mean to freelancers?

Events, like Talk Like A Pirate Day, or upcoming Halloween, are opportunities to celebrate a social connection. For freelancers it is a fabulous excuse to connect in a diverse range of personal and professional capacities.

Pillage The Pirate Plunder

lu_lu aka Louise from PTUB. Photo by Tillee aka Tracy-LeeHow can we get the most out of social celebrations?

  • Send greeting cards or gifts.
    • Remember:
    • Keep your greetings short and simple.
    • Personalize when possible.
    • Acknowledge any greetings you receive.
  • Organize or attend parties
    • Remember:
    • Get invitations out early.
    • Respond to invitations swiftly.
    • Plan in advance to increase likelihood of attendance.
    • Send out an event reminder as it approaches.
    • Add events to your schedule.
  • Schedule a product launch
    • Remember:
    • Write High Seas Fiction or Maretine Non-Fiction? International Talk Like A Pirate Day might be your ideal launch date.
    • Horror or Supernatural? Try Halloween
    • Family and Children’s Books are great around Christmas
    • Self-Help, Finance or Health at New Year’s
    • Romance Novels for Valentine’s
    • Books with religious foundations suit Easter.

    Kitta from PTUB. Photo by Tillee aka Tracy-Lee

  • Write event specific content
    • Remember:
    • Publisher’s create their lists well in advance.
    • Pitch or Query your time sensitive content early.
    • Consider requesting a publication calendar.
  • Theme your site, blog, office, etc.
    • Remember:
    • Keep any changes low key rather than dramatic.
    • Follow standard Web Tips regarding font sizes, accessability, and color standards.
    • Back up your original so you can switch back simply after the event.
    • Sticky tape and paint are not friends.
  • Host a themed contest
    • Remember:
    • Themed contests deserve themed prizes
    • Carefully plan your deadlines
    • Keep things simple.
  • Consider, then share, the lesson
    • Remember:
    • Every experience offers an opportunity to learn.
    • Not everyone learns the same lesson.
    • It’s important to have fun regardless of the lesson.

Share The Rum With The Crew

Grum from PTUB. Photograph by Tillee aka Tracy-LeeThere are a number of reasons these actions can reap rewards but the number one is that you’re getting your name, your brand, out there. Every time you put your name in front of a friend, client, editor, etc. you’re reminding them who you are and what you can do for them.

Often, freelancers spend extraordinary quantities of time in physical seclusion. Human’s flourish in social proximity. Being able to see, smell, touch, (and taste?), other people enhances the depth of relationships. Physical contact strengthens emotional bonds. These bonds lead to personal, and career, opportunities for the future.

Also, putting an image to a word is one of the most powerful memory tools available. A face to a name makes you more memorable. Your imprint on their mind means they are more likely to think of you for future business.

Finally, lets admit it, being social makes you more human. There are some ways you don’t want to be remembered; dancing on the table, or upchucking all over the shared nachos for example, but by letting your hair down you create a depth to the persona you’ve developed in your work environment online and off. You become human, and humans always appreciate knowing they aren’t the only imperfect being. Humans are more likely to hire or recommend other humans.

Find reasons to get out there and celebrate. Give of your time freely to social situations where you can have fun and be around people with whom you enjoy spending time. Share your contact details and make yourself available to these people. Be where people can know you. Be a friend!

Ultimately, getting into the social scene is great for your own sense of self, but it’s also fantastic for your business. Do you have other tips or ideas about ramping up your social networks to enhance your business prospects? Did you have a fun night out you want to share? Please, feel free to have your say in the comments! I’d love to hear from you!

SG1 Series Part Two: Character Development

Characters are an elemental part of every story. An intriguing plot with a good story-arc is important but without approachable characters your story will never connect with an audience. Readers need characters. Characters are the socket for your stories power supply. It is through your characters that readers can plug into the plot and experience the life of your story.

The Stargate series introduces a multitude of characters in various stages and of differing quality and consideration. Some play bit parts as extras or body count but others grow into the story, we come to love them or hate them, we come to care for the part they play in the story, their injuries and deaths bring anguish and grief or heartfelt cheers.

SG1 – Jack, Daniel, Sam and Teal’c

The original SG1 is a team of four diverse characters. Their differences create an initial challenge; they struggle as a unit until they learn to use each others strengths to counter their own weaknesses. It shows the importance of bringing opposites together. These characters are unique in their own fields. It is their united purposes, each individual to their character, which brings them together. A bond is formed that gives this eclectic community a solid friendship. We see the bond develop and grow with the characters as the series progresses.

It is important to blend characters but avoid carbon copies. Each character should be unique and individual. Distinguish them with separate goals, established histories, areas of interest and technique.

The SGC and General Hammond

The Stargate Command is an entity in its own right. It is actually a collection of individuals that work in regulated ways to create a standardized base of operations. There are many faceless characters lead by the General. Most of the time we don’t connect with these individuals but General Hammond represents the unity. His personality molds the actions of the SGC.

Larger forces need a strong head character to represent their interests. Armies can seem like a long column of faceless men but a charismatic leader will show a distinguishing command of his forces. Each of his men is ultimately the voice of this man and a solid leader is one whose men will lay down their own lives to support the orders he puts forth. This is true of the ‘good’ and the ‘bad’ guys.

The Goa’uld

While the Goa’uld are a nasty bunch in their own right they are an ideal antagonist. They aren’t evil. They have solid reasoning and a collection of emotional reactions that allow readers to associate with them. The Goa’uld act entirely out of an arrogant sense of self preservation and domination. As a people (um… symbiotic race) they act with rational, intelligent thought. They are challenging but not insurmountable.

Antagonists should be normal people. You can create more impact with a sympathetic antagonist then with a diabolical freak. If a reader can see themselves in a protagonist you have a good story but if readers can see themselves to some small degree in the antagonist then you have a charged situation that will keep a reader tied to the outcome.

There are many more characters involved in the Stargate series. Each new person (or group of people) is shown in snippets. Base motivations appear and personality traits are revealed but characters always have an element that remains unseen. It is impossible to know everything and it is important that characters can still do something unexpected or unpredictable.

Over time, we get to know the main characters. Their own personal stories are revealed and delved into. The primary characters are challenged with personal situations forcing them to make choices that distinguish them. Whole episodes play a vital role in adding depth to these characters and introduce situations that push their qualities forward.

  • Use time in your story to slowly reveal your characters.
  • Allow their actions and reactions to portray the depth of their beliefs and desires.
  • Each scene should use your characters strengths and weaknesses.
  • 3D characters have sides we cannot see.
  • A characters relationships reveal vital clues to their personality.
  • Characters always continue to grow and change based on the situations that occur in each moment of their lives.

Finally, just because your story has reached ‘The End’ does not mean your characters have. Characters should still be imperfect in the final scene. Their growth remains incomplete. Some of your characters may have died but most will live on beyond your closing paragraph and while they began at one point and progressed to another in this story there should always be another world to save, another enemy to fight, another day to live and another dream to follow.

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