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Create Your Perfect Business Pitch January 14th

Posted by on 12:07 pm in Communication Strategy | 0 comments

Create Your Perfect Business Pitch January 14th

The internet is great for reaching more people, but it’s also getting easier to get lost in the mix as more businesses take advantage of it. This means it’s more important than ever to sound good and look good to people you haven’t yet met. That’s why I’ve teamed up with the folks from the Language of Business TV to offer a one-day seminar to help business owners create a compelling promotional video and written profile. You will not only learn how you will actually do it. The event covers how to create a pitch, write a profile and present on camera. And, you will take away a video and written profile that you can start to use immediately. LEARN MORE You will learn how to: · Write an engaging profile for use on websites, LinkedIn, Social Media and more · Develop an elevator pitch for video · Sound good and look great on camera · How to create an elevator pitch for in-person presentations You will leave with: · An elevator pitch for in-person presentations · A video elevator pitch · A written profile of your business This event is beneficial for: · Small local business owners who are stepping up their marketing efforts · Entrepreneurs who are looking for investors or partners · Entrepreneurs who are ready to bring a product to...

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Finish the Year Strong and get set for 2017

Posted by on 8:14 pm in Communication Strategy | 0 comments

Finish the Year Strong and get set for 2017

How is your year going? Have you accomplished all of what you set out to do? Are you where you had hoped to be? Last January, I did what any good business owner should do and made plans for 2016. I drafted great dreams and wonderful goals. I broke them down into actionable items and set off for the year. Some of them happened. Some of them didn’t. Unexpected things came up, as is to be expected. Sometimes I was busier than I thought I’d be. Sometimes new priorities pushed aside my original plans. A few weeks ago, I took some time to assess where I was compared to where I’d wanted to be. I’ve done well on somethings and not so great on others. But that was then and this is now. I realized that just because I haven’t done them doesn’t necessarily mean that I can’t. And in the process, I came up with a guide to make things easier. I’m sharing it for those who aren’t ready to give up on 2016. What was on your list? Send out a newsletter? Get going on Instagram? Figure out how to update your website? There are still a few weeks left in this year. That’s plenty of time to get a few more things done. And, it’s the perfect amount of time to set things up for next year. This quick planning guide will make it easier. Just download it and fill in the blanks. It doesn’t need to take hours and hours, although it helps to set aside a block of time. Put it on your calendar. Turn off your cell phone. Ignore the email for a bit. Think of it as a gift to yourself and your business. Free shipping. Build on what you’ve done well, figure out what you can accomplish and get ready for the coming year. My goals include: blogging weekly and setting up an easy to use planning guide to kick off 2017. I’d love to hear yours....

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Thoughts on Being Thankful Specifically

Posted by on 10:26 am in Blog Writing, Writing | 2 comments

Thoughts on Being Thankful Specifically

Why did the Pilgrims celebrate Thanksgiving? Basically, it seems, they were thrilled that they had food. It had been a rough journey across the ocean and a shaky start in their new home. The holiday was celebrated generally over the years but it didn’t really become a big national thing until around the time of the Civil War. According to the History Channel, Sarah Josepha Hale, a writer and editor, advocated for a day of thanks. And, in 1863, President Abraham Lincoln declared the last Thursday of November to officially be a national holiday for giving thanks as a way to bring together a divided country. This concept of having a collective time of thanks highlights that the act of being thankful heals wounds and provides strength. It’s important for our community and for us as individuals. Of course being thankful shouldn’t be limited to just one day, but having that day serves as a reminder and provides focus. So what are you thankful for? Ask that of people around you and you will generally get a  broad answer – friends, family, work, food. All good things. But if you really want to draw on the power of giving thanks, take a lesson from writing and get specific. I mean really specific. And add in the “why.” I’m not just thankful for my dog. I’m thankful for my sweet, soft, furry faced bundle of joy with her big brown eyes that look at me so intently every morning imploring me to get my shoes on and take her for a run. And, I’m thankful for her because she pulls me out of my head and forces me to think about something other than my issues and reminds me to just enjoy this moment.  I have found that being so specific helps me to appreciate whatever I am thankful for even more. The same goes for adding in the “why.” It establishes the context of this thing and connects it to the rest of my life. To draw on the writing analogy, it’s a way of showing rather than just telling. I think it works because it sets out the story of this thing and stories are appealing. Want to take it to the next level? Be thankful for a problem in your life. I’m thankful that the car wouldn’t start after I left my key in the ignition overnight. Although it resulted in me missing and important networking meeting, I had backup to get the girls to school and it revealed a weak battery before the car failed to start on a freezing morning when help was not readily available. I will fully admit that it is easier to be thankful for problems that have already been solved. It’s much harder when you’re in the midst of them and you aren’t sure things won’t get worse. But even with troubles, being thankful can help change your perspective and attitude and give you new insights into managing or coping with them. On this Thanksgiving, I wish you all the turkey or tofu you want to eat cooked just the way you like it and just enough pumpkin pie or your alternative favorite to leave you feeling satisfied without being overly stuffed. Special challenge for my blogging colleagues: use Thanksgiving as a prompt...

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Warning: The End of the Year is Coming? Ready?

Posted by on 10:01 am in Communication Strategy | 0 comments

Warning: The End of the Year is Coming? Ready?

Just ten months ago, we were prepping to launch into a new year. We were making plans, setting up goals, and outlining hopes and dreams. How has it gone? Have you met expectations? Did things go according to that plan you so carefully developed? Often these questions aren’t asked until after the end of the year when you’re starting to a new plan. But how about shaking things up a bit? Why not start now on assessing how the year has gone and setting things up for the next one? Maybe you can still make changes to improve this year and looking ahead now will give you more opportunity to strategize. As with any strategy process, it’s good to look at your success and make note of what’s been working.  What did you do right? What have you achieved? Then look at what could have gone better. It’s especially important to look at the “why.” Why were you able to accomplish what you did? Why did the things that didn’t work go wrong? Then you can either replicate or make adjustments. I like to start with the List of 10. It’s an easy exercise to get the ideas flowing while adding some structure. Simply set up a title and make a list. Things that Went Well This Year: Launched an online program for bloggers Worked with some great clients Created a live workshop program to help small businesses plan their marketing and so on… Things that Could have Gone Better Didn’t blog as often as I’d wanted Still working on the comprehensive guide Didn’t keep up with my record keeping and so on… This can be done for specific categories such as marketing communications or divisions of the business. Or you can take a look at things as a whole. The hardest part may be finding the time. We get so busy running our businesses that it’s difficult to make the time to work on them. Set aside a day or a morning or a few hours if you can. But even a little bit can help. Don’t neglect this planning process just because you can’t devote a big block of time to it. Do what you can. Even 15 minutes is long enough for a List of 10. It’s good for you. It’s good for your business. And really, it’s good for your clients and customers. You will do better for them. Here is a List of 10 with ten options for your own List of 10 to get things moving. Please share your list ideas in the comment section. People Who Made a Difference this Year Things I Wish I’d Done and Would Like to Do in the Future Reach Goals (those that seem just beyond what’s possible) How I’ve helped my Community What I want to do for my Community Places I want to go Next Year What I learned about Running a Business this Year Advice to Someone Starting Out Questions I’d like answered (could be around a specific topic) What I want to have done by this time next year. P.S. For anyone blogging – now is a great time to write about year end/new year topics related to your subject. Please send me a link to your post if you put one...

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Ask Why to Understand Your Customers

Posted by on 3:31 pm in Blog Writing, Social Media Writing | 1 comment

Ask Why to Understand Your Customers

It’s generally easy to get kids talking when it’s near Halloween – just ask about their costumes. They’ll go into great detail about their plans, their make-up, the things they need to buy or have bought and the things they’re going to make or have already made. After all, many have spent a long time planning, some have devoted months to it. I tried this recently with my Sunday School class. The class went from frenzied chaos to focused controlled energy when I asked about their Halloween costumes. That question alone got their attention, but the what really got them engaged was when I asked “Why.” One boy is going to be a pillowcase. He was counting on getting lots of candy and wanted to make it easier to carry. He figured that he uses a pillowcase to collect his candy, so why not make it the costume. His mother was going to pin two cases together, one for the front and one for the back, and then put shoulder straps on it. That way, he could fill up the front and then turn it around to fill up the back. One of the girls was going as a superhero. She admired the character’s strength and wanted to be just like her.  Another was going as Tweedle Dum because her friend was going as Tweedle Dee. Have you thought lately about the “why” that motivates your customers? It matters because it reveals motivations, perspectives and what is important to people. Some key questions you want to know the answers to include Why does this person need your service? What is most important to them about it? How are they going to make their decision about whether to use you or someone else? This information can help in developing services and products that will interest the people you want to work with. And, it will help you develop marketing plans and create the content that will resonate with them. Getting people to talk about their why is usually about as easy as getting kids to talk about their Halloween costumes. They love their businesses, they’ve spent a lot of time thinking about them, and they want someone to understand them. You can be that person. Take your marketing communications to the next level. Contact me to learn about our hands-on planning program.      ...

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Take the Time for Your Blogging and Marketing Efforts

Posted by on 12:53 pm in Blog Writing, Communication Strategy, Social Media Writing | 2 comments

Take the Time for Your Blogging and Marketing Efforts

It was just 9 a.m. on Monday morning and now it’s noon. I meant to have this written and posted long before now. Ironically, the topic I wanted to write about was making time for blogging and marketing. And here I am, a living example of how hard it is.  This post almost didn’t exist. I have a lot of very urgent things to take care of. They are important and the people for whom I am doing them are important. But the reason you are reading this is that I made it a priority over everything else. Yes, that’s difficult. There is no deadline. It’s not billable time. And there won’t be anyone calling and asking why it’s not done if it isn’t. But, here is why I’ve made this a priority: You deserve great marketing, whether that’s your blog, your social media or sending emails to the people you met at the last networking meeting. People should know about what you do and how much you can help them. You are the one responsible for that. So how do you make something like this a priority? One way is to think of yourself as your own client – a client who needs your time as much as everyone else. Start by setting parameters – decide how much time you can/should devote to this project this week. Two hours? Three hours? Ten? Maybe it won’t be as much as you want or think it needs, but start with what you can do. Then, schedule it. Make an appointment with yourself. Try breaking it down into smaller chunks of time – 30 minutes, 45 minutes or an hour. Set a timer and do nothing but work on the project for that amount of time. I usually set the timer for no more than 45 minutes knowing that is about the amount of time I can actually concentrate without distraction. Experts might call for a hard stop at that point. I admit that I may keep going if things are flowing. Sometimes, I’ve put off getting going because I’m not sure where to start. There’s too much to do or I’m not sure what the priority should be. I’ve found it to be helpful to set the timer for a 15-minutee session to sort it out. Having that time helps me determine what’s actually holding me back and set up the steps for what I want to do next. During your time, focus on the current activity rather than the finish. It may take longer than you expected and you may not get it done. But you will be closer. When you’re done, make a note of where you’ve left off and what comes next. One suggestion I’ve heard is to leave something undone so you have a place to start when you get back to a project. Give yourself the time you’ve promised and don’t feel guilty or obliged to give more even if you didn’t finish what you want. The goal is long-term accomplishments, and if you take more time than you’ve set aside now, you may be less inclined to try this again. But, if you set aside three hours and actually give yourself those three hours, you will get something done. And you will have a better...

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Make Your Blog Work for Your Business

Posted by on 2:05 pm in Blog Writing, Communication Strategy, Social Media Writing | 0 comments

There’s a look I often  get from business owners when I tell them that I work on blogging and marketing communications. It’s a sort of guilty, apologetic look followed by, “I should be doing that.” Some tell me they’ve started a blog but haven’t touched it in weeks or months. Others say they’d like to start blogging but just haven’t had the time. I understand that. We’re busy. We have businesses to run. But if we want those businesses to grow, we need to be building the network that can make that happen. So many business owners have great things to share but they don’t because they haven’t found the time. I find that there are two common underlining reasons for this. The first is that they haven’t made it a priority because they’re not sure how to make it worth their time. The second is that they’re not sure how to get going. This is why  I’m launching “Make Your Mark Blogging.” It’s a three-month online workshop for business owners who want to get out of the “I could, should, would” trap and get moving on their blog. It’s a chance to focus on getting your message out and connecting with the people who matter most.  We’ll have weekly video calls filled with guidance, how-tos and answers to your questions. Weekly homework assignments will help you put what you’re learning into practice. We’ll talk about skills and strategies to create and implement a blogging program that fits with your business and your ongoing marketing efforts. You can ask questions and work through your challenges while hearing how others solve their problems. Not only will you learn what you need to know, you will have a sounding board to help hone your ideas. And, you will have accountability – someone to be on the look out for what you do and hold your feet to the fire to help make sure you follow through with your plans. The calls will start at 1 p.m. Eastern Standard Time on October 13th. If you want to join but can’t make the video calls, they’ll be recorded and available at your convenience. Register...

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Consumers Use Social Media to Find Service Providers, Survey Shows

Posted by on 3:39 pm in Communication Strategy, Social Media Writing | 0 comments

Consumers Use Social Media to Find Service Providers, Survey Shows

We look to Facebook to find out how our friends are doing. We turn to Twitter for news updates. And LinkedIn helps with our networking. But are these the places where we look for service providers? Increasingly, the answer is yes, according to a survey by Findlaw. It revealed that social media is playing a bigger role in our decisions about who we work with. In fact, 54 percent of consumers said they would likely hire an attorney who is active on social media. Not surprisingly, those between 18 and 44 are even more likely to do so at 69 percent. It’s an indication of just how pervasive social media has become in our lives. It’s how we stay in touch, meet new people and find out about current events. And, increasingly, it’s a way for businesses to connect with clients and customers. They won’t reach everyone because not everyone uses social media. But most do – 84 percent of American adults, the according to the survey. Facebook was the most popular at 73 percent followed by Instagram at 28 percent. Twitter was close behind at 27 percent. Does this mean small business owners should fire up their computers and set up on every channel out there? Not really. It does mean that they should consider whether and how it might make sense for their business. After all, 34 percent of consumers reported that they have already used social media to help them find a provider such as a lawyer, plumber or doctor. So there are certainly opportunities there. Social media gives small business owners the opportunity to build credibility and trust with customers and clients. It enables them to build relationships in a whole new way. Some things to consider before launching into social media: What channels are your customers using? How much time do you have to spend on social media? How can you make the best use of your time on social media?   Develop your an online marketing campaign for your business with our Get Set for Online Marketing Success seminar on October...

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Get Set for Online Marketing Success Oct. 7th

Posted by on 4:09 pm in Blog Writing, Communication Strategy | 0 comments

Get Set for Online Marketing Success Oct. 7th

Have you been neglecting your online marketing efforts because you don’t know where to get started or feel like you don’t have enough time? I’ve teamed up with Tara Gearhart at tMedia Consulting to offer a seminar to make it easier. We will show you how to turn your website, blog and social media into powerful tools to generate new business leads. We will not only show you how to develop an effective online marketing campaign, we’ll help you make your own. You will leave with a three-month plan to reach your audience. This hands-on workshop is loaded with information about how to set up your strategy, determine who to reach and how, write engaging content and connect with the people who need and want your services and products. The workshop is just $75. And, if you sign up through this post, I will add in a 30-minute free consultation. Just send me an email to schedule your time. Sign Up for Get Set for Marketing Success  ...

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Adapting to Twitter Changes

Posted by on 9:43 am in Social Media Writing, Twitter | 0 comments

Adapting to Twitter Changes

It’s especially frustrating when you thought you were finally getting a handle on the nuances and starting to make headway on reaching your best audience. This has happened with Twitter which said recently it will be making two alterations. The first is a move to reduce the number of notifications that pop up. It will be limited to those from people you’re following. That’s great news for Twitter users inundated and numb from pop-up notifications, but those who are relying on those pop-up notifications to reach people are not doing the happy dance. The second is aimed at reducing harassment. The quality filters that have been used by celebs and well-known people are now open to all. As the folks at Twitter explained: When turned on, the filter can improve the quality of Tweets you see by using a variety of signals, such as account origin and behavior. Turning it on filters lower-quality content, like duplicate Tweets or content that appears to be automated, from your notifications and other parts of your Twitter experience. It does not filter content from people you follow or accounts you’ve recently interacted with — and depending on your preferences, you can turn it on or off in your notifications settings. Change Your Tactics This is actually a positive move for many marketers. Keep in mind that this is a social platform. The goal of a credible marketer is to build relationships not to shout at people.  This will eliminate competitors who are doing just that and turning people off of Twitter. It is now even more important to consider how to build relationships with Twitter users who are or may become your fans, supporters and customers. Some things to keep in mind: Share information and media that is relevant to the audience you want to reach. Think in terms of putting out information that they can share and send to their audience. Be sincere. Don’t harass your audience. Reach out and be personable with your audience. Notice that quality filters allow content from followers and accounts that have had recent interactions. Interactions have always been good. You can still use apps to put out content and you should still monitor and analyze the effect of what you are doing, but as you build your campaign and write your content, keep in mind that there are real people on the other side of that screen.    ...

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