NPE Memphis 2012, Brian Solis, and My New Direction in Blogging

NPE Memphis 2012 SpeakerHello everyone, Grayson Carter here and back from the proverbial blogging dead.  Its been a shamefully long time since my last post and I ready to get back in the swing of things.

Luckily my lack of posts have not been from lack of enthusiasm towards you, my readers, or the subjects at hand.  Consider it a momentary shift of focus while I ramped up some other projects some of which I’ll talk about in detail in later posts.

The problem that I’m sure most of you can relate to is finding that balance between learning and doing.  I know I personally get this huge rush of energy when I’m learning just about anything new.

Lately I’ve been focused on WordPress (the structure that this website is built on) development and design.

There’s not many feelings as good as struggling with something you don’t quite understand, attempting and failing at it, working on it a few more times only to figure out the missing piece and “get it.”

When that light bulb goes on its addicting to say the least.

The trouble is that you have to put to use that new knowledge you’ve acquired.  Its time to go out and “do” something with it.  The fact that you’re reading this means I’ve put my “learning” on hold for long enough to “do” the writing I’ve been learning how to do.

If you’re anything like me, and had the chance to attend NPE, you probably still have your blue workshop folders sitting on your desk waiting to be put to good use.

With all that being said, let’s recap some of the highlights of the last few months and some of the teaching points we can pull from them.

Memphis Best Practices Roundtable
Memphis Panoramic

I must say that it was a huge honor to be asked to conduct a best practices round table on “Leveraging the Power of the Web” at the National Pavement Expo in Memphis last month.

Its definitely a different experience leading the discussion for a round table than just participating.  Besides being a huge learning experience for me, it was probably the most fun I’ve had at a convention thus far.

I think it turned out to be so fun because I felt like I was learning just as much everyone at my roundtable. I got to hear about both the victories and the struggles of people’s businesses and hear specific ways that I could help them.

Here are the main observations that I couldn’t help but notice with each group:

  • You are really close.

I mean that.  Sure there are a lot of moving pieces when it comes to running a business, trying to be social in social media, update websites, look at analytics, split test marketing efforts, and so on, but you’re just about there.

I found that most of you overestimate the amount of information you need to be a success online and underestimate the tools and knowledge you already have in place.

  • You think you need to do it all.

When the discussion turns from analytics to twitter to SEO to hosting to next-new-shiny-tool its easy to get the feeling that if you’re not doing each and every one of these then you’re an utter failure and shouldn’t do any of them.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

I will say that its important to know the tools that are available to you.  But having a holistic view of how a tool works doesn’t mean that its going to be the missing link in your business.  You’re going to find far more success to evaluate the tools out there, pick one you think you need the most, and dive in with both feet.

I know this runs counter to a lot of advice that tells you you “need” to do this or that.  The only thing I’ll tell you that you need to do is be persistent.

  • You need more thorough tutorials and learning material

Like I mentioned earlier, you’re probably a lot further along with using some of these online tools but have run into a roadblock that has put it on hold.  I hate to see one little hiccup completely discourage  your progress.

I see there is a big need for more A to Z tutorials.  Tutorials that can take a complete beginner, an “A”, walk them through the process step by step to get them to a functioning result at “Z”.  I’ll talk in more specifics later on…


Brian Solis
The End of Business As Usual

Shortly after NPE Memphis 2012 I was invited to attend Linked Orange County to network and hear Brian Solis speak about his new book [easyazon-link asin=”1118077555″ locale=”us”]The End of Business As Usual: Rewire the Way You Work to Succeed in the Consumer Revolution[/easyazon-link] (aff).  (side note: I haven’t read the book yet but its in my reading queue and I’ll report back when I have)

Brian, a published author and leading mind in new media, raised a question that I hadn’t truly asked myself lately.


Why social media? Why do we do it?

If you’re thinking, “duh Grayson, to get more customers,” you’re right, to a point.  The tangible goal may be more customers but what happens between you and that customer, because of social media is where the magic happens.

But the question was a stark juxtaposition to what I was learning at NPE which had been a very mechanical 1000 ft view of social media.  Now I was being asked to tap into that 30,000 foot view of what it meant to truly connect with another person.

The question of “why” eventually lead to what I think is a great question to ask yourself before every tweet, Facebook update, email, etc.

What experience do you and your company give people?”

And with that…


My New Direction in Blogging

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about my discussions in Memphis and what I heard from Brian so I decide to commit to answer those same questions for myself.

What experience do I want to provide with this blog?  I’m determined to provide a safe haven for business people to learn about new media and technology judgement free.  I know what its like to try to learn something new, have somebody tell me that step 1 is X, and having no idea how to do X.

Its intimidating and discouraging to not understand and to not want to ask for help.

I’m here to help and I’m going to do my best to prove that to you.

With that being said, I’m going to spend some upcoming posts focused on a thorough understanding of the basics.

We’ll cover topics like:

  • Google Analytics, Adwords, and Adsense
  • How to get started with Email Marketing
  • How to Blog even if you don’t have a blog
  • How to set up and optimize your twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn Accounts
  • Outsourcing Basics – How to Hire contractors to do the work you can’t or don’t want to do yourself.
  • Search Engine Optimization basics and how to get your company found online
  • How to build a website for you company with zero programing experience
  • And… You tell me…. what do you want to hear about?

My “why” is to sincerely help you succeed with your technical endeavors and business as a whole.

So if you could do me a small favor before signing off, leave a comment below and let me know what’s one sticking point you’re having right now that I might be able to help you solve.

Thank you, you’re the best.

2 Responses to “NPE Memphis 2012, Brian Solis, and My New Direction in Blogging”

  1. I would be very interested in learning more about website optimization. This is something that we are going to be looking into this month and I would like to know more about it. Thanks!

    Nice blog by the way!

    • Thanks Jeremy! You’ve got some great stuff on your site so lets make sure the search engines (and your customers) are finding it when people are searching. I’ll be sure to cover that topic soon.