The Bezos Letters – 14 Principles to Grow Your Business Like Amazon

For just over ten years I’ve been writing TechTips as a way to share websites, tools, gadgets, books, and basically anything I find that will help you (and your organization) increase revenue or reduce expenses — in other words, I’ve shared with you the best ways I’ve found to grow your business.

Toward that goal (and as many of you know), I have written a new book — The Bezos Letters: 14 Principles to Grow Your Business Like Amazon.

The print book comes out on September 17. My publisher, Morgan James, released the ebook and audiobook early and I’m excited to let you know that as of last Friday, The Bezos Letters debuted on both The Wall Street Journal and USA Today best seller lists.

Quite frankly, I’m a little stunned and extraordinary honored. On top of that, a few weeks ago, Morgan James sold the Foreign Rights (for international translations), and so far, six countries have bought the rights: Korea, Japan, Russia, Taiwan, Indonesia, and India. I have to say we’re super excited and a little stunned!

How to Turn Every Website Article into an Agency Podcast

This issue of TechTips is the last of what has turned out to be a three-part series on how to use the Amazon Polly WordPress plugin to add various types of additional content to your website – automatically.

agency podcast

In Part 1, I showed you how to Automatically Add Audio to Your Website with Amazon Polly.

In Part 2, I showed you how to Automatically Translate A Website Page with Amazon Polly using multiple languages.

In this last part, I will help you understand how you can use the Amazon plugin to automatically add a published article to an agency podcast.

Creating an Agency Podcast

Podcasting is big. I listen to about 10 to 12 different podcasts for entertainment and education. Your agency should consider this medium to help your clients better understand insurance and how it affects their everyday life. And, I know it is hard to get started.

An easy way to dip your toes into the podcasting pool is to use the audio files created from the Amazon Polly WordPress plugin (using the AWS text to audio service) to automatically add to your podcast. Now, I do understand that this is not a perfect solution. Here are the problems I see:

  • It is not personal
  • It is not conversational
  • It may sound like an automated robot (which it is!)

And yet, it is still better than doing nothing.

The first step is to create a Podcast account on the iTunes Podcast Store. The details of how to do this are beyond the scope of this article. You can find the details for how to get started here.

The next step is to connect your Apple Podcast feed with the Amazon Polly plugin. The screenshot below from my account shows the information required.

Amazon Polly Podcast

Getting all the pieces in place is not simple but very doable for anyone with a bit of technical skill and who is willing to learn the steps.

I suspect there will not be many agencies that will take the time to set this process up. I decided to include this last piece to help you begin understanding the power of audio and voice. I believe adding voice capability to how you interact with clients and prospects is a trend we will continue to see.

Does your agency have a podcast? If so, leave a link so I can share with everyone.

Automatically Translate A Website Page with Amazon Polly

A few weeks ago, my TechTips highlighted the ability provided by a new WordPress plug-in supplied by Amazon to automatically add audio to your website with Amazon Polly.

In this TechTips, I want to show you how you can use the same WordPress plug-in from Amazon to translate the English text on your page to one of 23 different languages.

The plug-in uses an Amazon Web Services machine translation feature. According to Amazon, native English speakers make up 26% of the total online audience. For many agencies, being able to make their website multilingual will be a significant benefit to attract a non-native English-speaking population.

Refer to my previous article to understand the necessary components to use the service on your website.

Translate Configuration

Amazon Polly Translate

Clicking three boxes on the Translate Configuration page is all it takes.

  • Enable translation support—Checked.
  • Enable audio for translations—Checked.
  • Pick the target languages—Check as many as you want out of the language options.
  • Click Save Changes.

It is that easy.

Creating a WordPress Post

Translating a post is not currently automatic, which I like. It gives me the flexibility to choose specific pages to convert.

  • To translate the page, navigate to the Amazon Polly section in the post, and click the Translate button.
  • Depending on the length of the post, the translation will be completed in less than 2 minutes.
  • Once done, make sure to save and update the post.

A couple of caveats:

  • This is an automated translation.
  • I don’t know Spanish, so I am not able to comment on the quality of the resulting translated article.
  • You might want to have someone check the quality before using it on your site.

The ability to quickly, easily, and very inexpensively translate content on your website will help your organization be more visible to a much larger audience. It likely will also help increase your on-line presence.

What do you think? Is this just a gimmick or something that would enhance the capability of your website?

Send Personal Handwritten Cards at Scale with Handwrytten

There is something special about receiving a handwritten notecard. It communicates that someone took the extra time to acknowledge you. I love sending notecards because I know how special they can be.

Handwrytten Platform

Unfortunately, I seldom actually send one out. It is worth the time to do, and it’s hard.

My first psychological barrier is that I believe my handwriting is terrible! Next, making sure I have cards and postage available, and then getting the note to the post office seems like an insurmountable problem.

Because of this, I’m always looking for technology solutions that help me actually send out thank you notes. Over the last few years, I’ve explored various options and platforms, yet none have quite fit my needs.

In my continuing quest, I recently came across Handwrytten (no, that is not misspelled!).

If You Are a Victim of a Cybercrime – File this Report Immediately

Cybercrime continues to grow, and no one is immune. Insurance agencies, small businesses, and even large municipalities like Baltimore are being hit with ransomware attacks and other types of cybercrime.

FBI Internet Crime Complaint Center

What would you do if your office was hit with a ransomware attack or one of your employees wired money in response to a phishing email?

I have written a couple of articles on how to spot phishing emails that you can review here and here. The best defense against a phishing attack is to make sure all employees are trained to question any email that doesn’t “look right.”

But even extensive employee training won’t guarantee that your organization won’t be a victim of a cybercrime attack.

Fortunately, the FBI maintains a website where you can report an incident. The full name is the Federal Bureau of Investigation Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3).