Monday, February 28, 2011

And the Oscars Goes To...The Best Twitter Coverage

I'm a huge fan of movies and even a bigger fan of the Oscars and Hollywood glam. I love the gowns, the red carpet hoopla and imagine what it would have been like to step back in time when the Hollywood legends like Marilyn Monroe sashayed down the red carpet.

I was tweeting with the best of them yesterday and got caught up in the Oscars social media buzz - who was wearing what and who would take home the Oscars (was pleased to see Natalie Portman and Colin Firth receive their well-deserved accolades!)

Here are some of my personal picks for  'best Twitter' Oscars coverage:

E! - They had quite the buzz going throughout the day with their Twitter coverage. They were hopping! The only suggestion I have is they should have created a Twitter "fashion" contest. I watched the live coverage on TV, and was disappointed that they didn't reach out to their Twitter followers and create a contest for us (like the one they aired during the pre-show) but other than that "miss," I give them a thumbs-up. Their website also did a great job with the latest Oscars scoop. I also like their hosts and was glued to the pre, pre-show and their live tweet streams. 

Mark Ruffalo - I checked out his tweets during the pre-show and browsed his "in the moment" fun photos before he walked the red carpet. Good job, Mr. Ruffalo! (and congrats on being nominated!

James Franco - Lots of kudos from the Twitter-sphere about James Franco and Anne Hathaway who hosted the Oscars. This was my favorite tweet I found that quoted Sandra Bullock: "@JamesFranco, you're the #1 reason moms are late picking up their kids at school, because they're watching you on #GH" That sounds about right! 

My biggest complaint was the usual meanies who felt they needed to take on Joan Rivers' role as "Fashion Police." Their tweets were catty and unnecessary. Some of the gowns were hits and of course, some were misses but that's what the Oscars is all about...and you can't please everyone. My favorite highlight was Billy Crystal's tribute to Bob Hope, thanks for the memories, Billy!

Sending congratulations to the all the winners and to the Best Movie, The King's Speech. 

What was your favorite highlight of the Oscars? Please share! 


Thursday, February 24, 2011

The Fastest Way to Lose Your LinkedIn Connections

I participate in a lot of LinkedIn groups and moderate industry groups. But there is one word missing from some of these groups lately: "help."  I'm leaving LinkedIn groups because of how many annoying sales pitches that flood the discussion groups. Believe me, I understand how competitive it is right now. But people are going about LinkedIn the wrong way. 

Would you go up to Mr. Joe Smith on the street and say, "Hi, Mr. Smith, you don't know me or know anything about my company, but would you like to buy my latest and greatest product?" You wouldn't do it to a complete stranger, so why are LinkedIn professionals using this same tactic? 

The fastest way to lose your LinkedIn connections is to directly sell to them without FIRST knowing them and building trust. Back in my fundraising days, I couldn't walk into a company and just ask them for a $10,000 sponsorship -  the big suits who write the checks would have been laughed me out of the room. These companies didn't know me nor did they know anything about my cause/non-profit. Why should they invest in my cause? Why should they hand over their corporate dollars to ME and my organization? They shouldn't. 

LinkedIn is about building solid, genuine relationships - it's not about blatantly selling/advertising your products and services. Yes, you can massage the "soft sell" pitch later AFTER you get to know your LinkedIn connections. But if you blast your groups with sales pitches 24,7 and don't actively participate in groups and engage in conversation, I guarantee that people will get turned off and you might even be kicked out of groups. Who wants to be seen as "that spammy salesperson" on Linkedin?

Do not treat LinkedIn as your personal virtual ad billboard. Think about sales basics; it always comes down to putting customers first. Why have LinkedIn users forgotten this simple fact? How can you sell to someone you don't really know? 

Research their profile and get to know more about them - ask questions, find common interests, etc. When was the last time you actually asked your LinkedIn connections how you could HELP them?

What are the 3 easiest ways to HELP people on LinkedIn?

1. Answer questions. Offer your help and expertise to other LinkedIn members. Search for topics that are related to your area of expertise/professional industry. Don't come across as egotistical or holier-than-thou. Be REAL and honest when answering questions - people can spot a fake a mile away. 

2. Participate in groups and offer feedback, advice and if you link to content, link back to your blog and not your website. People don't want to read another sales pitch on your website, but they do want to read information, articles, watch videos, etc. that will make their life easier and solve their problems. Always remember to be professional and courteous. Even if you disagree with another person's opinion, put your best "face" forward. 

3. Get to know people FIRST. After you build rapport and trust, offer them value first. Offer them a free download, report, etc. Think about the sales funnel. Even if people visit your site or blog, they won't opt-in unless you offer them valuable content FIRST.  Don't expect your LinkedIn connections to buy your product or service right off the bat. A valuable freebie allows them to learn more about your products/services. Give them value and they will come back for more (and you will probably make that big sale the next time around).

If you use LinkedIn because you think it's an easy way to sell your products and services to customers, then have completely missed the point behind LinkedIn. You will also quickly lose out on building real, genuine relationships with potential prospects. You put your company brand in jeopardy by coming across as an in-your-face salesperson, and word spreads quickly  on LinkedIn networks.

Your first step to LinkedIn success? Change your sales philosophy. Replace the word "sales" with "help." Offer your help first, and develop trustworthy, solid relationships with your LinkedIn connections. 







Monday, February 21, 2011

How to Increase Business Productivity with Instant Messaging


Instant messaging (IM) is an efficient way to communicate with your customers, clients and co-workers. You can “chat” with them in real time without leaving the comfort of your office or home. It also allows you to streamline the business communication process which saves time, energy and money.

In the past, business professionals turned to email as the fastest form of web communication. And while it is still relied upon to send long emails to multiple people at once, IM is much faster when it comes to one-on-one "fast" interaction.

There are a variety of free instant messenger programs (see list below) that offer the same service: instant communication with your contact list. However, before you rush into adding IM software to your business computers, keep these 4 tips in mind:

And remember…Do NOT share secure, confidential information via instant messenger - an easy way for hackers and spammers to steal your information. 

#1 Establish an IM program for the entire company. While most messenger programs function in almost identical ways, not all of them are compatible with each other. It’s a good idea to use one IM program within the company to prevent compatibility issues.

#2 Instant messengers are less prone to spam. If you use email, then you know what a big nuisance spam messages can be. Instant messenger programs are less prone to spam. If you receive a spam message, it’s easy to permanently block the sender on IM programs.

#3 IM conferences can sometimes be more efficient than conference calls. Most IM programs offer a conference messaging feature. This makes it easier (and less expensive) to hold online conferences or to ask "real time" questions to a group of people at once. 

#4 You can log and store every IM you’ve ever made. Normally, IM programs will store IM conversations up to one week. However, it is possible to change settings so that every conversation you have is permanently logged and stored in your computer (stored by who you chatted with and the date).

By following these 4 easy tips, your company can successfully implement instant messaging. What better way to increase productivity and communication then by using this handy online communication technology?

Free Instant Messaging Programs:

Yahoo Messenger



Google Chat



Thursday, February 17, 2011

5 Reasons Why People Drop Like Flies From Your Email List

It's a bad sign when my Blackberry sends me alerts that I'm running low on memory. I can thank my in-box for sucking up space. As a result, I went through my in-box and cleaned out old emails. Not only did I delete emails, but I unsubscribed from email lists that just didn't do it for me anymore. 

As I hit the"unsubscribe" button, I thought about why I wasn't interested in their newsletters (besides taking up space in my in-box). How did these companies lose my interest, and why did I opt-out? As a copywriter, I write email copy on a regular basis for my clients, and I've learned what "not to do" by reviewing these not-so-hot emails that flood my in-box. 

I recently unsubscribed from Copyblogger's list. As a copywriter, I felt like they were missing the mark and their content had fallen flat. It's too bad beause I was a long time fan who enjoyed reading their blog. Be careful what kind of content you include in your emails. You can't please everyone, but the last person you want to turn off or insult is your targeted readers. 

Here are my top 5 reasons why people drop like flies from your email list. When people unsubscribe from your lists, realize that you just lost a potential (or even a regular) client. It might be time to review your email campaign strategy if you are losing subscribers right and left. 

#1 - You bombard people with too much spam disguised as "specials and deals." Emails should contain 95% valuable content and 5% sales pitch. If you bombard people with a spam-a-lanche of sales pitches, you can say good-bye to your subscribers (and you will probably end up in the spam round can - a place you don't want to be).

#2 - You send too many emails per week. This is my biggest pet peeve - when companies inundate me with too many emails in one week. Less is more. If you do send emails on a regular basis, allow subscribers to make that choice when they want to receive your emails (i.e. daily? weekly? monthly? quarterly?)

#3 - Your emails contain irrelevant, useless information that does not help your target market, customers, etc. This is one of the BIGGEST reasons I opt out of email lists. I also can't stand emails that talk down to me, have too much jargon or are filled with so much copy and images that I become dizzy just looking at the email.

#4 - You forgot to include a call to action or you have too many calls to action in one email. What the heck do you want people to do as a result of reading your email? A big email faux pas is including too many calls to action in one email. Don't ask people to call you AND go to your landing page to fill out a form - pick one or the other. When you have too many calls to action in one email, you confuse people and they won't take any action at all. Give them a reason to want to find out more about your products and services.

#5 - Your email copy is boring. When I read emails that sound like a "monotone" sales letter or a PhD dissertation (i.e. lackluster headlines, bunched up, rambling copy lacking bullet points, lists, etc.), those emails are the first ones I delete.

For social media users, ASK people's permission first before you send them your newsletter or include them in an email campaign- this is just professional courtesy. I've received random emails from people that found my email via my social media accounts (those emails immediately went into my spam list). Build viable relationships with your social media connections (LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, etc.).

Don't use social media as a platform to advertise or sell - that's not the purpose behind social media. Be considerate and don't spam the heck out of everyone that you meet via social media. Spam and hard sales email blasts are a sure fire way to lose social media followers, and they will put you on their "blocked" lists.

So remember these simple email don'ts  - don't spam or push sales pitches down people's throats. DO share valuable content that will help people - emails are a great way to share your expertise and knowledge but don't use emails as your personal soapbox either. Be creative and fun - include contests and giveaways to attract and retain your email subscribers. Don't be BORING! 

What creative techniques have you used for your email campaigns? How did you build a solid email list? Please share your feedback, tricks and tips! 

Monday, February 14, 2011

Why Non-Profits Need Social Media More Than Ever

As a former non-profit fundraiser, social media was just taking off when I left the non-profit world. Whether large or small, ALL non-profits should be utilizing social media to engage their donors, volunteers and to spread the word about their events, campaigns, etc.  

If you work for a non-profit and haven't jumped on board with social media, you are missing out on potential marketing/branding opportunities. Never before was it THIS easy to create deep, engaging relationships. 

If your CEO or Executive Director still dismisses the power of social media, pass along these tips - they lose out on major opportunities with each passing day they don't incorporate social media marketing strategies into their action plans.

1. Deeply engages your volunteers, donors and sponsors and aligns them with your cause - Social media allows you to share your volunteers' stories in real, authentic ways. Social media isn't about throwing your cause in everyone's cyber face. It's about telling personalized stories that capture people's attention and makes them truly want to invest in your cause. 

2. Allows non-profits to generate and share ideas efficiently which equals high ROI and low cost - Non-profits struggle with expenses (now more than ever), so it makes sense for non-profits to utilize social media to faciliate collaboration. Not only can non-profits collaborate locally/regionally, but social media allows them to spread their message quickly to global audiences. 

3. Promote events and campaigns to large groups of supporters - Facebook pages and Tweetups are great resources to use for events and campaigns. Why spend thousands on direct mailings when you can use social media? 

Non-profit charities such as the American Cancer Society and the American Red Cross already have well-established campaigns on Facebook. They are good examples of non-profits who understand how to use social media effectively to spread their message.  

Whatever your cause, if you don't use social media to spread the "social" word, then you will be left behind with your fundraising and advocacy efforts....which could be a matter of keeping your doors open or closing them. 

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Why Professional Copywriters Are More Than Just Human Spell Checkers

I read a blog post today on Copyblogger that made me think about the "bad rep" that copywriters have received over the years, and how the craft of professional copywriting has been trivialized.

This sentence from Pace Smith's blog stood out to me in particular: "Copywriters are ridiculously expensive." Professional copywriting equals "value" - you get what you pay for and if you hire a professional copywriter, that's exactly what you will get - REAL value with real results...of the green money variety.

Copywriters go beyond just technical writing skills - they are marketing experts who help clients increase their sales. If you want fluff, then hire a creative writer. A copywriter creates no-nonsense and "right on the money" copy - literally.

As a professional copywriter, it is frustrating when non-copywriters undermine the value of my services. I wouldn't dare point a finger at lawyers or doctors (or any profession) and claim they are too expensive and charge too much money. If I receive value and see results, I have no qualms paying their rates.

My question to you - as the business owner, entrepreneur and CEO:  Do you want to stay in the dust with lagging sales, or do you want to move your business forward and increase your profits?

What do copywriters bring to your company's table?  
Copywriters bring fresh, creative perspective to the project (and to your company brand). 

Marketing/branding concepts become stale over time. As copywriters, they are able to peer deep into your business and get inside the heads of your customers and clients. Through sales and marketing-focused copy, they target the company's audience in a clear, succinct way. As a result, your customers/clients take direct action (whatever that action may be - signing up for your newsletter or buying your product).

Copywriters know their craft inside and out - that's their job. 

Just like you know your business very well, an experienced copywriter knows his/her business well - the business of copywriting. Copywriters use specialized marketing and advertising techniques and tools. That's why you need a copywriter. Copywriting isn't about slapping up flowery content on a website - anyone can do that. Yes, you could write your own copy, but why waste your time and energy (especially if writing isn't your strong suit)?

A copywriter saves you both time and money.  What would take you two weeks to write copy takes a professional copywriter one day to write. That two week window could be a matter of winnning or losing a sale - something to think about (especially in this competitive economy). Think productivity and efficiency - that's what you'll get by hiring a pro.

Copywriters know and understand industry/consumer trends. They are excellent market researchers.

What worked five years ago with your marketing and branding strategies probably won't work in 2011. Copywriters stay up to speed on the latest consumer/market trends and shifts. They are walking and talking market researchers. They are news junkies. They love to read and dig. They know how to survey and interview people. They listen and pay attention to what's going on around them in the world. They are marketing and branding connoisseurs, AND they know what makes people (your target markets) tick. Copywriters aren't just human spell and grammar checkers.

Before you jump on the bandwagon and take a similar stand like blogger Pace Smith took (she lumps copywriters into the "ridiculously" expensive category and claims that anyone can write cop), think carefully about your bottom line.

Ask yourself these questions:
  • Does your company brand look like it's stuck in 1999?
  • Is your website copy "blah"? 
  • Are your e-newsletters being deleted/ignored? 
  • Do your social media updates read stale and boring?  

It might just be the time to think about hiring a professional copywriter.
PS - I dedicate this post to my awesome business partner, Adapt Marketing & Design - who have always treated me like a pro copywriter and sees the real value of working with a professional copywriter. Thanks, Ryan! :)

Monday, February 7, 2011

Victoria Ipri Shares Why LinkedIn is Key to Freelancers' & SmallBusiness Owners' Success

I wanted to keep the LinkedIn momentum going so I invited Victoria Ipri of Modello Media, Inc. back to share her LinkedIn marketing tips. Victoria recently launched her book, Linkedin for the Clueless, which I've read cover-to-cover. I implemented her tips in my LinkedIn marketing strategy, and am already seeing results (as seen in my LinkedIn Answers success, more visits to my profile, etc.). a courtesy to my readers, Victoria is offering a special 50% discount on her one-hour LinkedIn phone consultations. Thanks so much, Victoria! Just mention you read her interview on my blog to be eligible for her special deal. This is a great opportunity to tackle your LinkedIn challenges. Read Victoria's interview below for more details...find out what's missing in your LinkedIn marketing strategy.

Why are small business owners/freelancers hesitant to even sign up for LinkedIn?  What stops them from using it?
In general, I find people are hesitant to use LinkedIn for three reasons:

1) Facebook is far more hyped (“Is LinkedIn really worth it?”)
2) Many still believe LinkedIn is primarily for jobseekers
3) People associate LinkedIn with images of stuffy-shirted corporate execs

As you and I both know, Therese, nothing could be further from the truth. While LinkedIn does impose stricter rules than Facebook, the opportunities for finding and closing business outstrip any other lead generation tool currently available.

Another LinkedIn belief specific to freelancers is that it’s impossible to get business or reach key decision makers. Again, this is a big myth. At Modello Media, nearly 100% of our business initiates on LinkedIn. ’Nuff said.

And finally, I believe freelancers avoid LinkedIn for the same reason many professionals do: it takes a consistent effort over time to achieve results. It is not an instant solution that will put fresh green bills in one’s pocket tomorrow. If I were a freelancer or business owner highly focused on my next sale, I might initially choose another channel over LinkedIn. But this is a big mistake. What LinkedIn offers that no other channel can is the rare opportunity to create relationships built on trust. People buy from vendors they know and like. People buy repeatedly when vendors they know and like also offer great value, excellent service, and affordable prices.

Where else can a freelancer or small business owner enjoy buying relationships which ensure, not just one quick sale, but long-term, repeat business and loyal customers?

What are some of the biggest issues or challenges you see freelancers/small business owners struggle with right now regarding their LinkedIn marketing?
There is a clear misconception that LinkedIn is somehow difficult or ‘strict.’

Yes, LinkedIn is not Facebook. And it’s time we stopped comparing the two. It’s the difference between public school and private school. If you’ve ever experienced private school, you get this comparison immediately!
Perhaps what we really need is a shift in mindset. Instead of repeating the misconception that LinkedIn is strict, let’s say LinkedIn imposes common rules of professional business development which ensure higher quality and better results for the user.

Having said that, most LinkedIn members are stumped about what to do on the site, beyond simply setting up a profile. I myself maintained a rather useless profile for several years before I got serious about using LinkedIn in 2010. It is human tendency to procrastinate when there is no clear path to follow. This is exactly why I wrote LinkedIn For the Clueless, because I knew more people would participate on LinkedIn (which creates a better experience for everyone) if the steps were laid out in an easy, concise way.

There is so much more to LinkedIn than regurgitating one’s resume. It’s a very powerful tool, and new features are added regularly.
My best advice is, don’t be afraid! Get on there and get going….you won’t regret it.

Besides writing a fantastic book, LinkedIn for the Clueless (which offers step-by-step LinkedIn guidance), how have you been able to help freelancers and small biz owners solve their LinkedIn marketing issues and challenges?

There is a lot of free materials available and I offer free LinkedIn reports. The ebook and its predecessor, Social Media For The Clueless, are great low cost resources (only $15.95 and $12.95 respectively).

Another valuable option is one-on-one phone consultations. The fee for this service is $150 per 60 minutes…but for your readers, Therese, I’ll provide a 50% discount for seven days following the initial posting of this interview. People love the phone consults because the entire hour is devoted to them and their needs, their questions, their concerns.

We offer full scale LinkedIn marketing campaigns as well.

Whether we’re assisting a large corporation or a one-man shop, our goal is always the same: to help people grasp this new media marketing with the end goal of achieving success. There is so much to know, and technology often changes. We understand it’s frustrating. However, one fact remains constant: using the appropriate social media marketing channel(s) is the way things are done today.

This is not going to change anytime soon. As a business owner, you have no choice but to get up to speed. There is so much help available, from me and others that there is truly no excuse. Simply throwing up a half-baked website doesn’t cut it anymore.

For those freelancers and owners who haven't done anything with their LinkedIn account and don't know where to start, where should they begin?

You might expect me to begin with the profile…but, no. The first step is to carefully consider “why”. Why have you chosen LinkedIn as your marketing platform? Why not Facebook? Why should people want to connect with you, or do business with you? It is imperative that you understand why before you type the first letter into the profile template. This step is most often avoided, and can have far-reaching consequences on your marketing success.

Once you understand your motivation and what you hope to gain from LinkedIn, you can begin crafting your profile. This is a comprehensive discussion on its own. Suffice to say you won’t get great results if you merely cut and paste your resume.
Here’s a quick exercise: Picture the wheels on a car. In the center of the wheel is the hub, then spokes coming out of the hub in many directions, then the wheel itself. Your profile is the hub. Your online activity represents the spokes. The wheel is your overall online presence. Now imagine the hub is somehow damaged. As the car travels, the hub begins to loosen and split. Soon, the entire wheel falls off the car, landing car and driver in the closest ditch.

Simply put, a dynamic, fully optimized profile supports your online marketing effort and keeps your business cruising on open roads.
But the profile is only the beginning. Your company page, group choices, inbound/outbound strategies, all count heavily in determining your success.

Any additional "inside" LinkedIn tips or tricks you'd like to pass along to freelancers and small business owners?

LinkedIn recently unveiled a host of new features, so it’s difficult to pick just one or two. Here are a few basic ‘secrets’ many do not realize about LinkedIn:

1) Google ranks LinkedIn very highly. Google yourself, and your LinkedIn profile headline will show as one of the first few results on page one. It stands to reason, then, that this area of your profile demands very close attention. Keywords count! And you should understand how to determine the number of competitors vying for those same keywords. LinkedIn For The Clueless explains this strategy on page 55, under the heading The Secret to Optimizing Your Profile Headline.
2) Another keyword-rich area of your profile is Specialties. Choose these words carefully as well, because you’ll connect in a more valuable way with recruiters and those who are seeking for knowledgeable members with these same skills.
3) Contrary to popular belief (and, perhaps, logic) the Summary does not count in terms of keywords. So no stuffing, please! However, the Summary is very important to other members interested in learning more about you…so use this area to really let your personality shine and make your skills evident.
4) When selecting Groups to join, there is a right way and a not-so-right way. What is the most important consideration when selecting which groups to join? (Hint- the answer has nothing to do with how many groups you join.) The first person to answer this correctly wins a free copy of LinkedIn For the Clueless!

I am always available to help any business owner who feels overwhelmed or simply wants to do a better job of marketing with LinkedIn. Drop me a note,, and share your concerns.

Friday, February 4, 2011

How to Syndicate Your Blog with Social Media Tools


You just spent hours re-designing your blog. You wrote one of your best posts to date – but that’s it. You didn’t do anything else with your blog. No one on the Internet will know your blog exists unless you actually promote it. What’s the point of having a blog if it floats around in the cyber ethers?

With the many social media plug-ins out there, it is very easy to syndicate your blog – an efficient and cost-effective way to market your blog. I’ve discussed the power of social media automation in my past series, How to Automate Social Media Posts in 5 Easy Steps – and automation also applies to your blog. Why make more work for yourself?

Use these social media tools and your blog will take off in no time:

HootSuite is a web-based social networking application that lets you bring together content from various online sources. Access and manage your Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and many other accounts all in one location. You then have the option of manually updating them all, or setting up an auto-update for your social sites.

RSS Graffitiis the easiest way to update your Facebook page. It takes your blog post title, a small sample, and an image from the post and updates your status.

TwitterFeed is one of the most effective way to syndicate your blog. It can update Twitter and Facebook (among a few other social networking sites) and integrates hash tags, keywords and URL shortening services.

Keep in mind that while these are helpful tools for auto-syndication, it is not a good idea to solely rely on them to market your blog. Automated updates, coupled with personalized updates and comments (mention your posts on other blogs, forums, LinkedIn, etc.), are effective channels to create buzz around your blog. Remember to create impactful content that keeps readers coming back for more!  

What other social media tools do you use to market your blog? Please comment/share! 

Therese Pope, Copywriter/Content Developer & Digital Buzz-icist

Content Writing & Marketing Tips ** Online Buzz Branding

** Digital & Social Media Strategies