Thursday, May 27, 2010

How to Set Up the New NutshellMail with Constant Contact in 5 Steps

I was excited about the big news this week that Constant Contact was integrating with NutshellMail, for two main reasons: 1. I am a Constant Contact Business Partner, so it's cool to get the advance notice and also to be able to offer e-news clients some  neat bonuses, and 2. I had been curious about NutshellMail and have wanted to try it for the last few months, so this latest news gave me an excuse to check it out.

So here's the deal: I just set up the program about an hour ago, and I can already see the benefits. The idea is that you combine all your social network info and  integrate it with your e-mail, so all the updates come in as a group, rather then having to sort through  messages, updates, posts, and replies, piecemeal. For those folks using Hootsuite, Tweetdeck, or Seesmic Desktop, you may already have gotten used to some of these automated features, but this program also allows you to integrate with Facebook, Linked In, and Twitter, making it a handy one-stop-shopping experience.

Overview: How to Set Up NutshellMail

 1. Register: Go to to set up your account, by providing your e-mail address, a new password, and the social media accounts you want to connect to. These will be the ones included with your e-mail updates.

2. Allow Access: You will need to Allow Access by granting permission to connect with your social network sites. For example with Facebook, this allows you to post to your Wall, as well as "Comment," "Like," "Share," and "Reply to Wall."

3. Confirm Registration: Go to your Inbox to confirm your registration. You will notice that on the confirming registration e-mail, your status updates and preferences already appear in the lower half of the e-mail for you to review.

4. Review Updates: Here's a screen capture of the feeds that display automatically. Notice with Twitter, here my most recent update appears, and when I continue scrolling, I get the latest direct messages, tweets, and replies from those I'm following.  I can update my status right from the e-mail, as well as direct message, follow, and delete.  I can also do a Search by clicking on the Add Search Terms icon. Haven't tried it yet, but I will. Notice there's a "Customize" option, I'm getting to that next.

5. Customize: There's a lot of customization you can do here. In the Facebook platform, for example, the user can choose from almost all the main FB features and decide which ones to filter out, if any. On mine, I decided to delete some of the notifications, such as Birthdays and Group Invitations, since I prefer handle those directly in FB.On Twitter, as shown below, you can customize according to Sections you want to receive updates on, as well as Search Terms, and Lists. I had created some lists a few months ago, and it was great to see all the latest Tweets from list members in one spot. You can also schedule the frequency you want to receive updates in your e-mail, as well as the number of updates in each category.

The pros clearly are the consolidation of updates and the level of detail you can customize and filter the information. Very impressive. I'm also assuming that when we post our newsletter links, it will make the sharing and forwarding all the easier. I can also see eliminating some redundancy that can occur when there are too many connected feeds and double or even triple posting occurs. I like the idea of disconnecting some of my feeds so that I can post my updates in a more targeted way to my social networks and see it all consolidated in one screen. Less confusing.

Cons? None so far!  Three small points though -- be sure to confirm your registration before you start any actions such as messaging or replying on that first confirming e-mail/preview, or you will just get an error message. At least, that's what happened to me. Also, when your update e-mail arrives, you may think items are missing. I'm in G-mail and Firefox, and I had to open a new tab to see the entire screen so that all my social networks showed up. Finally, based on the few minutes I just experienced with all this, I can see the need for pretty aggressive filtering. If you check yes to everything, it's a lot of updates to process.

So, that's it in a nutshell! I'm curious how other NutshellMail users are liking it so far, and how it compares with other aggregators. Feel free to post your comments here.

PS How about an advance posting/tweeting feature for those of us who sometimes work ahead? I suggested it to the NutshellMail folks on their FAN page and this is what they wrote back, so we'll see...

"Hi Caroline. At this point you cannot schedule tweets or advanced posts, but that is a killer suggestions that will be shared with the team. We can't wait to read your blog post!"

PPS Are Flickr and YouTube connections coming?

Monday, May 24, 2010

Why Great Writers Are Also Great Social Media-ists

Over the weekend, I was thinking about...well -- I admit it --my inbox. And how I should practice what I've preached in my own communications, and really pare down my subscriptions so I'm only receiving e-mails and blog posts from people I really want to.  Otherwise I will forever be reading blog posts and newsletters, and not coming up with new content for my stuff, which was one of my marketing goals for 2010. Can you relate? So this morning, I pared down my subscriptions to my favorite bloggers, some of whom are: seth godin, chris brogan, brian clark (copyblogger), men with pens, problogger,  michael martine (remarkablogger), mari smith (facebook), sharon hurley-hall,  and zen habits. I'm sure many of them are your favorites as well.

In reviewing the common denominator for most of these publishers, I found that in addition to great blogs posts, they had all written at least one book, and that in most cases, I owned and of course, loved the book! A coincidence? I think not.  Do you have to be a great writer to publish a book these days? Not necessarily, but you do have to have some pretty great content to be top rated on Amazon, retweeted a million times, interviewed by top blogs and media posts, and pursued in social media like you're going out of style. It doesn't just happen by accident.

So then I got to further thinking that not only did I like their blog posts and books, but I liked the way they used social media, and that's no coincidence either. Because great writers get online communications, and the apple doesn't fall too far from the social media tree. Here's why:

*They understand how to send powerful tweets, and that 140 characters is actually kind of a lot if you know how to compose timely and relevant posts.

*They understand that it's more about you then them, so their communications focus on solutions to your problems, and not their latest success.

*They get how to connect their products to their brand using strong copywriting.

*They use their writing as a bridge to other media, such as video, podcasts, etc., so as to further connect the dots.

*They are great aggregators, explainers, and summarizers, and they're not shy about putting together compilation posts that sing and using social media to get the word out.

*They get that maybe not everyone on Linked In wants to see their Twitter stream, so they have the courage to disconnect when it feels like the right thing to do.

*They pack a punch with their seemingly simple blog posts, and kind of leave you wondering how (in a good way.)

*They are effective list writers, and know how to make them juicy and post them on your bulletin board/refrigerator meaningful.

So where do I stand? I was excited about my first e-book, "6 Degrees of Twitteration," (and my next one coming soon, on a topic that seems to freak us all out),  and I also get it. I get how to connect the dots, and find meaningful ways to connect online. I like the social media challenge -- it provides an added dimension to communications and consulting, and I'm here for you to help you out, if you need it.

In the meantime, enjoy these books I recommend through my affiliate links,  from a few great "writers" and social media-ists.

Like this post? Please feel free to forward and share.

Friday, May 21, 2010

3 Tips for Effective E-Mail & Social Media Marketing, Plus Free Download

This is a screenshot of my Facebook FAN page, where I created a "Join My List" tab for visitors to subscribe to my e-news.

I attended an interesting webinar this morning presented by Lyris, about the intersection of e-mail and social media. There were some interesting factoids highlighted in the presentation, such as:
  • 80% of adults use social media at least once a month
  • a poll of the webinar attendees revealed Facebook as the most popular social media, with Twitter and Linked In tied at a close 2nd, and YouTube 3rd (this surprised me a bit, considering the popularity of videos and the growth in YouTube since its inception)
  • as of January 2010, Twitter has seen a 294% growth, Facebook a 95% growth, and Foursquare a 519% growth
 3 of the Key Factors in having an effective union of social media and e-mail marketing are:

1. Building your opt-in list and promoting it in key locations: Preferred areas to promote your sign-up are of course on the home page of your web site or blog, within your e-newsletter as a visible link, using Twitter to promote the latest issue of your newsletter, and your Facebook page to have a clear invitation to join your list or sign up. Be sure to include a brief description of the newsletter, and try to include a bonus offer as an incentive. Other less obvious techniques are to partner with someone else whose business is related to yours, or who has an audience that might be relevant to you, and ask them to offer your newsletter sign- up on their pages or as part of a bonus or bundle they are offering. It's great for branding, if you're partnering with the right company who already has an established presence.

2. Building Your Brand: This is most effectively done by establishing credibility online; stick to a regular publication schedule and be clear about your offers and promotions. Be sure to engage with your community using your social networks, so that when you make an offer, you have already established your online identity and purpose. You can also introduce targeted offers that link directly to your social media sites in order to encourage visitors and dialogue.
3. Evaluating Results and ROI: There are many ways of evaluating results of both your e-mail marketing and social media links. Good e-newsletter programs provide tracking reports that let  you know how many click throughs and on what pages your audience has taken action on. You can also introduce specific campaigns through social media and e-newsletters that lead to a course or product, and evaluate their success through web analytics and other metrics, as well as subscribers and conversions to sales. Click map reports also provide you with metrics on your social media sites.

At the end of the webinar, the q/a proved as interesting as the topic itself. Here's a sample of some of the questions and answers, some of which I've enriched and expanded upon:

Q: How do I know what social media sites to use to connect with prospects?
A: You can use surveys to ask this question of current clients or prospects to find out where they like to hang out online. You can also research various social media sites and find out on their profile pages who is typically visiting their site. If you subscribe to blogs and e-newsletters and want to connect with those folks, look for their social media connections and you'll see where they spend their time as well. Twitter also has tools, such as Twitter lists, and Twello, that allow you to find people according to niche areas. Also, Linked In has an advance search tool that enables you to locate individuals in specific positions, at specific companies.

Q: What resources do I need to embark on social media marketing?
A: It's fine to start out with one full-time or part-time staffer, and expand from there. You'll know when it's time to add staff or increase participation by more then one person, or if it's appropriate for several staffers to contribute. It's also a good idea to start slowly, and establish a presence on one or two sites to start, rather than trying to be all over the social media map. In terms of cost, the budget implication is really the cost of the personnel involved.

Q:  My company is resisting social media because they are afraid of negative comments. How do I respond?
A: That's the point, really. Not that negative comments are desired, but getting a dialogue going on early on and establishing mini forums, so to speak, are a great way to achieve customer satisfaction and clear the air if there has been a sensitive or controversial issue. It's also important information for you as a business owner to know. Plus, others are watching to see how you company handles these comments or complaints. If you respond directly and openly, go the extra mile to correct the problem as best you can, and show that you are paying attention to your customers, you've not only turned a disatisfied customer around, but gained some public relations points as well with others in your audience, and perhaps even among your competitors, who may not know how to handle this kind of input.

How about you? Have you discovered any tips for effectively combining social media with e-marketing? I'd like to hear your stories. Also, here's a free gift: there were about 40 slides that you can download through my Facebook FAN page that you will find useful. If you visit me there, post a quick comment so I know it's you!


Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Save Time Producing Your Communications: 5 Solutions to Common Roadblocks

In today's busy "I want it now!" environment, new demands are being placed on businesses, consultants, and entrepreneurs all the time, in order to keep pace with what customers and stakeholders want and need. In many ways, no matter what the tools, strategy, and execution are ultimately decided upon, it all comes down to content: having enough of it; having great quality; communicating it in a way your clients want to receive it (ie. newsletters, videos, podcasts, blog posts, etc.); and being timely. Not only is content king, but so are relevancy, delivery, accuracy, urgency, and "stickiness," -- the idea that people will bookmark it, share it, and come back to it a week, a month, or even a year later.

Over the last year or so, I've heard many common challenges and concerns about communications issues in particular. Following are 5 of the most common ones, and some quick "Do It Now" answers you can take with you right away:

In the category of I Don't Have Time To:

1. Engage in Social Networking:
Social Networking can be a huge time eater, and there's no direct correlation between time spent and ROI. That being said, there are real advantages to increasing your online visibility, developing communities to network and share ideas with,  and eventually sell to and buy from. If you're just getting started or have a very limited schedule, try just half an hour a day (15 minutes in the am, and 15 in the pm). Focus on 1-2 tools that you enjoy or that make sense to you, and don't try and be all over the map. Facebook, Twitter, and Linked In are of course some of the most common platforms,  but don't ignore other niche marketing sites that might be relevant for your business. If I'm short on time, I try daily to at least make one new connection, post or retweet a great resource to my community, and subscribe to a new blog, e-news, or course or webinar that look worthwhile.

2. Start a Blog:
This is a biggie. Many businesses realize the importance of blogging, but have little time to begin a blog, much less maintain one over time. Using a consultant to help set up a blog, establish strategies and goals, and even develop and outline content ideas for posts, can help launch your blog and see it through over the long haul. Consultants can even help market your posts to provide you with more visibility. To get started on your own, you might consider, which offers free blogging software and features about 10 template designs that also include navigation pages if you want to try this out as a website solution as well. Note that the free version is not as good as the paid, hosted version,, but it will get you going and you can transition into the paid themes later. Blogger, which I am using here, is also easy to get going and has many automated features for customizing your page, including widgets, links, Amazon affiliate pages, and others. Typepad, created by Seth Godin, and Moveable Type, are other blogging platforms you might try.

3. Launch an E-Newsletter:
Newsletters are great for keeping in touch with new people you meet at conferences, exhibit halls, networking events, or just everyday life. Plus, loyal subscribers are a great group to present special offers and coupons to, to survey, and to reward with free goodies. But finding a provider, planning and organizing relevant and dynamic content, and publishing on a regular schedule (at least monthly) can be daunting.
I researched newsletter delivery platforms for over a month when preparing to launch my newsletter, "The Butterfly," and settled on Constant Contact, as I found it the easiest and most efficient to use. There are many others out there to try, such as Aweber, Cooler E-Mail, and iContact, to name a few. Deciding on a program and what your typical content will be are the most time consuming aspects of your newsletter, but take advantage of trial offers to see which one you like best. Once you've chosen a program,  you can save time by writing stories in advance so they are ready to plug in when you need them. If you already have a blog, you can link to your best posts for your newsletter, and turn them into features. Try featuring guest writers, which will also encourage reciprocal links between their website and yours, and you can also try quick interviews as great ways of getting content. An e-mail interview, for example, can include 5-6 questions that your chosen candidate can answer at their own pace and you can plug it right into your newsletter. Include a head shot of your interviewee, and if they are an author, a link to their new book, or even a book review.
When starting out, don't try to publish weekly, but rather monthly, until you get used to creating content on a regular basis.

4. Create Videos:
This is a tricky area. Everyone knows that video marketing is hot right now, so they are rushing on the video bandwagon without necessarily knowing what they are doing. I've seen a lot of folks create videos that are not great quality, and this doesn't do much for their  brand or credibility.  I had always regarded videos as highly specialized, and probably would not have even begin making them if not for 2 crucial factors: 1. I started experimenting with iMovie and got addicted! 2. I won a Flip at YouTube at a developers conference they held last summer, and got equally enthusiastic. I found that, as a writer, launching a YouTube channel and finding new ways to tell stories was a great addition to skills in print journalism I already knew. And I had fun.
For those of you looking to save time in video creation, I suggest Animoto, which I also learned about at my day at YouTube. Animoto takes your photos and now video clips, and creates special effects that make them look like a polished video, plus you can easily add royalty free music.  An account is free for a 12 second movie, otherwise a $30 annual account gives you longer options. When I don't have time to use iMovie and create films, I use Animoto. Another great item is the Flip camera, which comes with movie making software which is fairly easy to use and works fine if your computer is new or purchased within the last 2 years or so. If you have a 4-year old computer, the files will take forever to load and you will encounter other problems, so don't try it. Also, many smart phones have video and direct to YouTube programs. I recently won a Palm Pre, and find the video capability and quality impressive. Plus, it only took a nano second to upload a video straight to YouTube.

5. E-books, Educational Courses, and Content Creation Overall:
Many marketers come out with new e-books, courses, webinars, and ezines all the time, and it can seem overwhelming to receive it all, much less produce it.  If you like what they are doing but just don't have the time yourself, consider becoming an affiliate. Typically, the only criteria are that you like the product, and that you take the steps to set up the affiliate code and links on your web site or blog. Look for affiliate links and instructions from the Publisher, and feel free to ask them questions about how their affiliate programs work. I am an affiliate with Amazon, which makes sense for me since I write about books and authors so much. I am also a Constant Contact Business Partner and affiliate. Remember that if you are advertising an affiliate product, you need to disclose that you are an affiliate and that you profit from readers clicking on the affiliate link. Another tip is once you've signed on, don't just embed affiliate code, but also an image of the item you are referring to. Research has shown that items with corresponding graphics and images have higher click-through rates.

A great example of deciding on an affiliate program and evaluating its content and merits, is Chris Brogan's blog post from today, where he discusses signing up for Chris Guillebeau's Empire Building Kit affiliate program, and I may do the same shortly. You might also be interested in Chris's latest book, The Art of Non-Conformity: Set Your Own Rules, Live the Life You Want, and Change the World. (affiliate link.)

So there you have it, 5 time-saving solutions to common communications projects we all need and want for our businesses and projects.

Any time-saving solutions you'd like to share here? Feel free to post a comment, and good luck on your communications projects!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Having the Time of Your Life in Business: 6 Tips from the Film We Can't Forget

Over the weekend, I happened to catch one of my favorite movies, "Dirty Dancing," which is all the more poignant in light of  the still fairly recent death of actor Patrick Swayze. Although I've seen the movie many times, I was struck in this most recent viewing by the intensity with which Johnny teaches Baby the infamous dance routine that she performs to replace Penny. In a heated few days (I read up on this - the film was shot in Virginia under such high heat that several cast members apparently passed out), he teaches baby about balance, how to do lifts, feel from the heart, take flying leaps, and how not to look down.  She struggles, but in the end accomplishes the moves well enough to pull off the performance, and do even better in the grand finale "Time of My Life," sequence that has become a hallmark of the film.

So maybe you see where I'm going with this. I got to thinking about how not only that sequence, but so much of this movie surprisingly is a great metaphor for life and business. Here's my breakdown:

1. Don't freak out if you have to learn fast.
In the film, Baby only has a few days to get her routine together. While at times frantic, she maintains her composure pretty well, and actually enjoys herself. So if you have something suddenly fall into your lap that you have to master pretty quickly, concentrate, take a deep breath, practice over and over again, and don't beat yourself up if you're not perfect. The main thing is to get through it and try. Others can tell when you're genuine and make the effort. It counts for a lot. If you make a mistake, learn from it, and fix it for the next time.

2. Don't let anyone put you in a corner, and while you're at it, dazzle the audience:
OK, it's a corny line, but it works. There's no greater moment then when Johnny issues that famous line, "no one puts Baby in a corner," and then whisks her onto the stage, which she certainly seems to own once she's up there.  So, take the spotlight if you feel it's yours, and don't let anyone take it away from you. That means: make that speech, presentation, or pitch. Move if you have to, stay up all night if you have to, make 50 phone calls or send 500 e-mails if that's what you need to find your place in the sun. After all, if you don't claim your space, someone else will take it. And while you're at it, you might as well be dazzling.

3. Realize that things are often not what they seem:
Much of the plot of the movie and its twists and turns (no pun intended) has to do with false perceptions.  Baby's father (Jerry Orbach) thinks mistakenly that Johnny has gotten Penny pregnant, when in fact it was Robbie. Johnny is mistaken for a thief, until Baby clears up that it could not have been him, as they were together all night. Johnny thinks of Baby as fearless, when in fact she admits, "I'm afraid of everything."  Baby's father at one point tells her, "you're not who I thought you were."
In business and in life, we need to be super aware of everything. Do your peers and associates meet deadlines, be where they say they are going to be, produce what they are accountable for? Do you? Beware of agendas, and be ready to straighten out misconceptions before they get out of hand. 

4. Stand up for what you believe in, and believe in change:
One of the themes of the film is standing up for your beliefs. Johnny is so impressed and moved that Baby admitted to their relationship to everyone, that he returns to Kellerman's for the final dance of the season, newly invigorated.  Baby sees herself as a bridge between cultures and people, and wants to be a part of both the working class world of the Kellerman's staff, as well as someone who uses her economic advantage to do what she considers the right thing. We end up routing for her because she seems classy even in her flawed moments, such as failing to do the infamous "lift" in the first dance show, and running to get her father in emergencies.
The lessons in this movie ring true - evil gets punished, and change is inevitable.  The terrible Robbie finally gets exposed for being rotten, and the thieving couple get put in prison, and those who resist change and the new way of covering the dance floor, will surely  "sink like a stone." Watch the last scene of the movie --there isn't a single person who isn't dancing "the new way."
So if you're not sure what you believe in, do some soul searching, and start speaking out. The right people will follow.

5. Keep your sense of humor:
The movie has more then its share of tongue-in-cheek moments. There are great scenes when Baby and Johnny are mimicking the voices on the soundtrack and are playful with each other. And who can forget Lisa, Baby's sister, rehearsing her goofy "Hoola Hana" song for the big end of season guest show.
When times get tough, let loose a little and try to laugh...things will seem better in the morning. 

6. The actors' lives beyond the film - you're only as good as now:
Paradoxically, the huge popularity of the film (it's been deemed one of the most watched movies ever), had a somewhat dooming effect on the actor'  lives, and seemed to typecast them for years later.  While Swayze went on to gain popularity with "Ghost" and other films, Grey changed the way she looked and became so unrecognizable, her roles seemed few and far between. Many other characters retired early, or disappeared completely.
This is itself is the lesson of carpe diem. Place the greatest importance on what you are doing now, because tomorrow, or the next day, you may show up at Kellerman's only to find the place has shut down.

And now, for those of us like me who can't resist, here's a clip from the infamous final scene, which by the way, has  a whopping 194,676 views. Enjoy!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Candace in the City: Bushnell and "The Carrie Diaries" at Silicon Valley Reading

 "When You're working on a book, that's all your lives with you!" commented Candace Bushnell, at a reading of "The Carrie Diaries" she held at the Menlo Atherton Performing Arts Center on May 12. The event was also a fundraiser for the Global Fund for Women, and organized through Kepler's Bookstore. I thoroughly enjoyed the reading and am looking forward to starting the book, which chronicles Carrie's early life, before Big, the "girls," Manolos, and other complications. It was also great to see a writer with so many "glam" credentials in television and movies, to be so earthy about the writing process and work just as hard as others less known. It was juicy to learn that Mr. Big really does exist, and they are friends now but both married to other people. Life does not always imitate art.

Other interesting factoids: Candace decided she wanted to be a writer at the age of 8, came to New York when she was 18, got her start writing for magazines and even wrote about microwaves, ("I know everything there is to know about them," she said.) She totally loves Sara Jessica (who wouldn't), and felt the "Lipstick Jungle" faced different challenges, as it was a network situation, very different from HBO and more pressure forf audiences/viewers. She tries to write at least 4 pages a day, and tends to write as many as 24 pages a day when she gets close to the end of a book.

Best quote of the night: "Carrie is a person who really really gets women. But men... maybe not so much..."

Feel free to order your copy through my affiliate link for The Carrie Diaries, and share your comments on the book here. Happy reading!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Letter to Online Marketers: 6 Annoying Things You Should Stop Doing Now

Like many of you, I subscribe to quite a few newsletters and blogs, and  and overall I've been thrilled to see the evolution of online marketing grow and develop from what it was a year ago, and even six months ago.  With what might be called "social media 3.0,"  we are seeing the refinement of the sales funnel, the deluxe landing page complete with snappy videos and juicy offers, the clever blog post, the provocative Tweet, the valuable Facebook post, the super slick e-book.  As subscribers and viewers, and maybe even as publishers and entrepreneurs ourselves, we have how to's, giveaways to Pittsburgh and Paris, iPads and iPhone offers coming out of our ears.

 I've been a loyal fan of Problogger, Chris Brogan, Writing Roads,  Copyblogger, Sharon Hurley-Hall, and Michael Martine at Remarkablogger for several years now.  Why? Because they get it right.  They use photos and other multimedia well. They vary their topics and style. They offer value.  But there are also publishers who make their way into my  in box and I end up wishing they hadn't. You don't have to be a Chris Brogan or a Darren Rouse or a Mari Smith, to get it right online. When you know what makes for good, effective marketing, it makes it all the more --frustrating, shall we say - when we see folks doing it wrong - by that I mean wrong marketing approach. Here's what I suggest not doing:

1. Please do not send me an invitation to a live, in-person conference in Iceland 2 days before the event, when I don't live anywhere near Iceland and cannot in a million years envision myself hopping a plane to Iceland at the last minute for anything except a family emergency, which would never happen because I don't have any family in Iceland.  I don't care if you promise me the key to the city, a lifetime of free books,  an ongoing supply of my favorite chocolate brownies, and the internet marketing secrets of the stars...I'm not going.
Hint: Try segmenting your newsletter list so that someone who lives in or near Iceland and who has indicated interest in event there, might want to receive the information and actually attend.

2. Please do not write blog post after blog post about how you're a millionaire and you're writing this post from a Hawaiian island and how you can take six months off a year or do whatever, and then hit me up for a $30 report or webinar. If you don't need the money, why are you charging a fee? I'm not impressed that you are a millionaire, because guess what? I don't believe you. There's no way you're getting my $30 dollars and I'm unsubscribing.
Hint: Being authentic doesn't mean showing off. Maybe you should share details of your life in a different way. And if in fact you are a millionaire, how about donating your profits to a charitable cause.

3. I love writers and writing, but in this day and age, communicating only with the written word and no multimedia is the equivalent of "web no.O." There's a good chance I will get bored with you, even if you have the spirit of Steinbeck and the flair of Fitzgerald. Sorry, but I need a jpeg once in a while.
Hint: How about a video clip, or a photo upload, or even a podcast. 

4. Do not auto Tweet, and particularly do not auto Tweet literary quotes and quotes from famous people. It creates the impression that you do not get social media and that you don't care if you get it. In the same vein, do not link to a white paper PDF from a year ago and auto post it 10 times a day. I'm going to block you and unfriend you, for sure.
Hint: How about taking the time you would have spent setting up the auto tweets, to find real links to real information that your friends and followers will find valuable.  

5. A survey with no reward is just plain depressing. Please, if I'm going to go to the trouble of answering your online survey when I have 100 emails, and errands and projects to take care of, make it worth it. Offer me a free goodie, I'll take you up on it.
Hint: Offer a free goody as I said, I'll take you up on it.

6. Another Twitter note: do not follow me with the expectation of me following you back, if you have a strange icon on your profile and no photo, or no web site linked to your account, and no signs of interaction in your Tweets for days on end. Myy Twitter fraud radar goes up, and I think you're a program and not a person.
Hint: Make sure your Twitter profile includes your professional image, link to your website, and a clear business title and tag line that clearly explains what you do. You only have a few seconds to prove you're for real, don't lose the moment.

What did I miss? Tell me about your online marketing grievances and how you would make them right.

Friday, May 07, 2010

Do You Really Want to Be Everywhere Online? Think Channels

A lot of  marketers lately are talking about the importance of being everywhere online. I disagree. I think if you are everywhere, people get jaded about you, or bored with you, or overwhelmed by you, even if you have good content and clear calls to action. Imagine yourself at a party. You don't really want to spend the whole time talking to the same person, even if they are really great.

In my view, a better way to go, is to think in terms of channels.  First, be findable when people are looking for you or your area of expertise. In my case, my area is writing, editing, social media coaching, blogging, e-newsletters, (I'm a Constant Contact Business Partner), and public relations solutions.

Another way to go is to build relevant connections through content, meaning this blog and social media, and in my case, I use different tools for different purposes.  I use Twitter, for example, as an additional outpost to my main website, and as a place to build community with those in the communications sector and beyond, as well as for quick shares of  links, event information, best practices, etc. I also occasionally use Twitter to try out different fun apps, such as Twitpics, tweetchat, twitvid, tweelater, social oomph, and others. I use Linked In to network with professionals in a more targeted approach, and to use the advanced search tools to find individuals in specific capacities and roles, as well as the Groups. I'm a member of several groups, including Writers and Editors, National Association of Women Business Owners, E-Marketing Association Network, Mequoda Summit, E-Women, Oberlin College, Silicon Valley Tweetup, and several others.  My YouTube channel gives me a great place to share my videos, many of which include event coverage and interviews with folks who interest me.  Subscribers can  join in and be part of my community there.

Still another channel is to produce valuable content that readers and audiences will enjoy, which is why this year I have focused on targeted guest blog posts, a new e-book, and honing and refining my monthly e-newsletter about social media and communications trends, integrated content issues, business communications issues, and working with clients. which I renamed "The Butterfly." Feel free to join me there as well.

Trying to be everywhere is exhausting.  It's better to think "channels" than "everywhereness,"  and if you're good, they will come. Try it out, or comment here on what works for you and how you communicate online.

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Video Interview with Joanna Smith Rakoff, author of "The Fortunate Age"

I had the pleasure of interviewing Joanna Smith Rakoff, author of the bestselling book, "A Fortunate Age," which explores the lives of an artsy group of Oberlin graduates during the late ninetees in New York, who try and find their way amidst economic and personal and professional challenges. The book started with a short story Joanna was working on about ten years ago, when she realized it would be much more then that. She was also inspired by the 1960's book, "The Group," by Mary McCarthy,  which I have not yet read but now will. I was so engrossed with the book while reading it (obviously, I highly recommend it) that I contacted Joanna through our Facebook connection to see if she would chat with me. So happy we did.

It was fascinating to listen to Joanna discuss the challenges of handling multiple revisions, taking the book apart and reorganizing it, and coming up with a novel that is not only compelling, but really conveys a unique time and place with wonderful originality and control.  Although I went to Oberlin as did she, and loved the little details of college life that I remembered so well (the student union, rock night, WOBC, for all you Obies out there), the book goes so far beyond all that as well, and conveys dramatically and convincingly the highs and lows of relationships, whether they be friendships, romantic entanglements, parents and their children, and rights of passage that are universal, despite the New York backdrop of the novel. The best way I can describe this book is "juicy Victorian," with the cool juxtoposition of everything you'd want in a modern work.

I can't wait to read what Joanna is going to write next. I'm sure she will take us on another exotic literary voyage that reveals our humanism, intellect, and struggle to connect with one another.

Here's a link to the video interview. I'm also including a link (Amazon affiliate) for those wanting to buy the book. Enjoy!

Monday, May 03, 2010

You Have to Start Somewhere

In these days of accelerated communications and "everything else," when a news story or a change of opinion can spread globally  in a matter of seconds,  when we covet  the immediate download and the seamless upload, the hottest links and the most buzzworthy posts, when we covet: comments, members, friends, widgets, badges, apps, followers, subscribers, readers, audiences, affiliates, connections, networks,  resources, attendees, gadgets, navigators, aggregators, geolocators, likes, groups, compilations, goodies, gifts, credits, podcasts, screencasts, avatars,  slideshares, mindshares, tutorials, schedulers, dashboards, filters, editors, white papers, reports, radio, e-books, e-news, e-living, eco, logos, lingo, free time, free stuff, shopping carts, shipping, publishers, promoters, meetings, meetups, webinars, web 3.0, expos, transparencity, authenticity, efficiency, complicity...

it's important to remember that we all have to start somewhere.
So, maybe you haven't launched your blog yet, but you've started ideas for posts and researched what kind of program would work best for you.
That's starting somewhere.

And maybe you haven't published  a book yet, but you have a topic and some chapters in mind, and you're deciding what's the most worthwhile idea to spend time on.
That's starting somewhere. 

And maybe you understand that social networking is important for  your business, but you're still researching what platform is right for you, and establishing who your ideal client or audience is.
That's starting somewhere. 

And maybe you don't have time to read all the latest business books that have come out, but you've still made the time to read some reviews, or a chapter excerpt or two.
That's starting somewhere. 

And maybe you publish a newsletter quarterly, but are working towards a monthly or even weekly schedule.
That's starting somewhere. 

And maybe you need to reorganize your entire home office, but for now you've cleared your desk and set up the work files you need.
That's starting somewhere.

So don't feel bad that you haven't done enough yet. It's all the starting somewheres that serve as your benchmarks and highlight your progress, priorities, and brand. That makes it all the more worthwhile once you mark your path. You'll know when you've arrived.