Friday, November 30, 2012


During a phone call this week, blogger Michelle Bruno complained to me about the unsavory folks who copy the content of her blog, Fork in the Road, and publish it under their own names.

"I see my stuff all over the place," she said.

Michelle spoke with resignation. 

But I'll take a New York minute to call out these plagiarists.

Or, as I prefer, carpetbaggers.

You'll remember from US history classes that carpetbaggers were opportunists who descended on the vanquished South just after the Civil War. They exploited Southerners by stealing their land and businesses.

The term is synonymous with "crook," "charlatan," "plunderer" and "thief."

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Time to Quit Facebook?

Copyblogger's Sonia Simone thinks content marketers should quit Facebook.

Because you can't control what social platforms like Facebook do, she says, it's risky to build your business on another company's "virtual land."

"The minute you actually depend on Facebook for your business, they will change their terms of service in a way that causes you pain," Simone writes.

Publishing on social platforms like Facebook benefits the platforms' owners, nothing more.

They goad you to post content so you'll win a bunch of "Likes."

But that's only a ruse.

In reality, according to Simone, your publishing efforts "are helping them build an audience they can show their spammy display ads to."

Worse yet, Facebook isn't about selling.

"People go to Facebook to share duckface selfies, pictures of grandkids, and memes from George Takei," Simone says.

And while it's still possible to engage people with your Facebook posts, "'engagement' does not equal 'customers.'"

You Facebook posts will get Likes that never lead to sales.

"That’s not marketing," Simone says. "It’s an annoying hobby."

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Google+ Boosts SEO

Social media maven Courtney Kettmann, writing for Socialmouths, says that Google+, because it's owned by Google, will boost your company's search engine rankings.
"Posts and accounts will appear high in Google search results," she writes. "This is beneficial to a business, as it can help improve the SEO of a company’s Website."
The extra search-engine hits "alone make Google+ essential for a business," according to Kettman.
Google+ posts with images and videos score particularly high among visitors, she notes.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

500 Million Twits

Five hundred million. 
That's how many people now use Twitter.
Pew Research Center says that daily use of Twitter has doubled in one year.
Andamong 18-24 year oldsTwitter use has increased four times during the past two years.
The rise of smartphones and mobile apps may account for the growth.
Smartphone users are particularly likely to use Twitter, according to Pew.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Why Get with YouTube?

Are you hoarding videos on your Website, hoping someone will find them?


Get with YouTube.

YouTube's search engine will deliver new leads, according to Julie Perry, vice president, BLASTmedia. That's because:
  • YouTube includes your video in viewers' searches for related topics, including famous people and products.
  • Like Amazon, YouTube recommends videos whenever viewers log on. So It's easy to get in front of the ones who are interested in your products.
  • YouTube sends weekly emails to viewers who subscribe to your channel. So whenever you upload a new video, they'll find out. 

Many marketers don't realize the power or popularity of YouTube's search engine (second only to Google's), according to Perry.

"There are so many opportunities there for being discovered," she says. "It’s really the way of Web 2.0. You want to be where you can be findable if people want to discover you."

Andbecause Google owns YouTubesearch results on the leading search engine will turn up your videos on YouTube much faster than they will from anyplace else. 

Especially your Website.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

5 Steps to Mobile-friendly Emails

Customers are most likely to read your emails on smartphones and tablets, according to research by Return Path.

Follow these five steps to make your emails mobile-friendly:

1. Use a one-column layout. Vertical scrolling is more natural to mobile users.

2. Use larger fonts, bigger buttons and high-contrast colors. Make it easy for readers to differentiate your email's elements.

3. Include a link in the pre-header. The link should take readers to text-only orbettermobile-optimized version of your email (essential if you want to influence Blackberry users).

4. Keep emails short. Edit ruthlessley and use attention-grabbing calls to action. Your emails will be read during brief intervals of downtime.

5. Link readers only to mobile-friendly Web pages. It's futile to send readers to a Web page that can only be read on a desktop.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

The Original TED Talk

Teddy Roosevelt delivered "The Right of the People to Rule" in New York's Carnegie Hall on March 20, 1912.

Six days before, The New York Times heralded the speech through an article headlined ROOSEVELT INTENDS TO MAKE THINGS HUM.

Teddy chastised his party for its "ultra-conservatism" and ended on this high note: "In order to succeed we need leaders of inspired idealism; leaders to whom are granted great visions; who dream greatly and strive to make their dreams come true; who can kindle the people with the fire from their own burning souls."


Friday, November 23, 2012

Big Data Hurts Brands

Crossing the Chasm Geoffrey Moore thinks Web ads personalized by Big Data will harm—not helpyour brand.
In a blog post on LinkedIn, Moore says that, while Big Data and predictive analytics boost online advertising response rates a couple points, "they do not deliver a more personal, more relevant, or more one-to-one consumer experience."
"Don’t think that any of these techniques are going to create 'delight' among your target audience any time soon," he writes. "They aren’t. Spam is spam, with or without your maple syrup.  When you spam, you are consuming brand equity—not creating it. That’s what 'personalized' ads do."
If you want to create brand equity, Moore says, you have to engage your fans in a community, so they talk about you. 
Brand equity "is driven by social interactions with others in your target consumer’s community of interest," Moore writes. "By sponsoring such interactions, by facilitating them, and by (selectively) participating in them, you can indeed grow brand equity."

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Three Secrets to More Sales

Responsible for B2B sales? Here are three secrets to better results: 
1. Do your prospecting with email. Emails get far better attention than cold telephone calls and are a lot less resented. They're easier to scan and digest. But don't send blasts to big lists. Handpick the people you send emails to and personalize them.

2. Keep your pitch short and relevant. Give every prospect an urgent reason to reach out to you. Use an event in the prospect's life (an internal reorganization, a merger, a downsizing, a change in the law, etc.) to trigger that response. Refer to the event in your subject line.

3. Don't give up 'til you've touched the prospect seven times. Most emails will not get a response. Don't let that deter you. Keep sending at two-week intervals. And be prepared for the phone call from your prospect (that's how more than 90 percent of prospects will reach out to you, if they do). Make that first person-to-person experience irreproachable.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Bread and Circuses

Will games become the new social divide?

TIME reports this week that 70 percent of big companies will embrace gamification in 2013.

While most will use gamification to attract customers, many companies40 percent, according to new research from Gartnerwill embrace it as an employee-retention tool.

Endorsing the latter, 20-something gamifier Katherine Heisler recently urged readers of Forbes to gamify the jobs of next-gen workers.

Citing a new workplace survey by MTV, Heisler argues that "Millenials overwhelmingly agree that their jobs should reflect their lifestyle."

The workplace, in short, should be "social and fun."

"Some people think of my generation as lazy, good-for-nothing slackers, feeling entitled to everything and entirely lacking a work ethic," Heisler writes. 

"But that’s wrong: Millennials have an incredible work ethic. We want to work, we want to succeed and want to reshape the world in our image. We are simply motivated in non-traditional ways."

When I was young and struggling alongside my fellow Boomers for a handhold on the slippery corporate ladder, money was a pretty good motivator.

Butexcluding those at the very top of the laddermoney's in short supply today.

Will employers compensate for today's measly paychecks with "social and fun?"

Will circuses take the place of bread?

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Lincoln Would Have Loved Twitter

FCC chair and part-time historian Tom Wheeler wrote a cool book a few years ago titled Mr. Lincoln's T-Mails: The Untold Story of How Abraham Lincoln Used the Telegraph to Win the Civil War.

It attributes the North's victory over the South to Lincoln's embrace of the telegraph, the "killer app" of the 1860s.

Lincoln, as history shows, was a super-skilled telegraph user, while his Rebel foes were, well, late adopters. (They were also late adopters of civil rights, but that's another story.) 

Lincoln, Wheeler contends, took advantage of the real-time nature of the telegraph to direct the Yankees on the battlefield, enabling them to run circles around the Johnnies.

When Mr. Lincoln's T-Mails first hit the shelves, Twitter was only three months old, with hardly any users. But, had he foreseen its surge in popularity, I'm sure Wheeler would have agreed: Lincoln would have loved Twitter.

Of course, Lincoln couldn't have Tweeted top secret orders to his generals. But he could have used Twitter to rouse the troops who followed them.

It's easy to imagine some of the momentous microbursts that might have come from our most articulate president:

During the massive Union rout at First Bull Run. "Stop running! The Marine Corps Marathon is next week, you morons."  

After the Union triumph at Gettysburg. "Rebs in full retreat. Stay tuned. Speech to follow."

After Lee's surrender to Grant at Appomattox. "Mission accomplished. Ulysses, you're doing a heck of a job!"

Saturday, November 17, 2012

It's All Copy

Nora Ephron once told Vanity Fair that on her deathbed Ephron's writer-mother said, "'No matter what happens, it's all copy."

When troubles beset you, are you able to say the same thing?

Historians Rob Goodman and Jimmy Soni recently told readers of
Forbes the world is ready for a return to Stoicism, the philosophy practiced by ancient Romans.

"Stoicism tells us that no happiness can be secure if it's rooted in changeable, destructible things," the historians wrote.

"Our bank accounts can grow or shrink, our careers can prosper or falter, even our loved ones can be taken from us. There is only one place the world can't touch: our inner selves."

While the world might rob us of everything, the Stoic calmly says, "It's all copy."

"Stoicism teaches us that, before we try to control events, we have to control ourselves first. Our attempts to exert influence on the world are subject to chance, disappointment, and failure—but control of the self is the only kind that can succeed 100 percent of the time."

Got Stoicism?

It's. All. Copy.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

The Skipping Point

Malcolm Gladwell made intelligible the "social epidemic" in his best-seller The Tipping Point.

He explained why word-of-mouth advertising could elevate a product like Hush Puppies to international stardom overnight.

A lot of marketers, hoping for a Tipping Point, rely instead on a Skipping Point.

No one's talking about their products. But they believe they can convince you otherwise by using hackneyed attributes such as "industry leading" and "best of breed."

No matter how hard you try, you can't skip to the head of the class.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Perfect B2B Posts

Inc. offers these tips for publishing perfect B2B posts:

On LinkedIn, you should:
  • Use 16-25 words
  • End posts with exclamation marks
  • Avoid ending posts with question marks
  • Post between 9 am and 1 pm
  • Post at the top and bottom of the hour 
  • Post on Sundays

On Twitter, you should:
  • Use 11-15 words
  • Use numbers and numerals
  • Use hashtags
  • Avoid ending posts with exclamation marks (unlike LinkedIn!)
  • Avoid ending posts with question marks
  • Tweet between 10 am and noon
  • Tweet at the top and bottom of the hour
  • Tweet on Wednesdays

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Burned Out?

Too busy to perform your job well?

Join the crowd.
New research by Towers Watson reveals that, thanks to workforce cutbacks during the past five years, "employees feel overwhelmed by seemingly impossible workloads and endless demands on their time."
That stress is driving four in every ten employees to "disengage" from their jobs.
Towers Watson suggests that employers need to stop trying to squeeze more out of people and start concentrating on their fundamental need for down-time.
What should employers do?
Towers Watson says they should allow flexible work-schedules, encourage telecommuting, and permit workers to curtail the length of meetings and the hours during which they'll answer emails.
Ironically, while many employers promote wellness programs that offer incentives to employees who exercise, diet or manage chronic illnesses, the same employers are harming their employees with overwork, Towers Watson says.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Thumb Like It Hot

Marketing agency owner Dave Kerpen has followed his first book, Likeable Social Media, with a readable companion, Likeable Business.

The 200-page book sets out to prove Kerpen's thesis that, to run a successful business in chatty times, "businesspeople must be obsessed with their customers and prospects, and always do right by them." The book draws out eleven "principles for a likeable business" that if followed "together make for more likeable leaders and better, more customer-centric organizations."

None of the principles Kerpen sets forth are new (in fact, they've been covered ad nauseam by scores of other writers). But true to his second principle ("Tell great stories"), he includes hundreds of present-day examples that more than justify the time spent reading the book.

Typical of these is the tale of an "authentic" CEO who handed an employee $25,000 after the worker stole that amount in goods from the company, saying, "I must not have given you enough of a bonus last year if you had to steal from us" (the CEO grew up poor and understood the motives for theft). Or the "transparent" CEO who keeps open her firm's financials for every employee and supplier to see, to ensure that "the team maintains its democratic culture."

However, some of Kerpen's storiesnamely the ones about himselfmake you wonder why his clients trust him with their reputations. The author has committed some real boners. Those stories are another reason to pick up Likeable Business.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Want to Be More Productive? Sit Around.

Meditation makes you more productive, says consultant Peter Bregman in Harvard Business Review.

Meditation increases your ability to resist counterproductive urges, such as the urge to interrupt other speakers; to procrastinate; or to play office politics.

"If you can resist your urges, you can make better, more thoughtful decisions," Bregman says. "You can be more intentional about what you say and how you say it. You can think about the outcome of your actions before following through on them."

While not every urge is counterproductive, many are. Meditation helps you distinguish valuable urges from futile ones.

"Urges hold useful information," Bregman writes. "If you're hungry, it may be a good indication that you need to eat. But it also may be an indication that you're bored or struggling with a difficult piece of work. Meditation gives you practice having power over your urges so you can make intentional choices about which to follow and which to let pass."

Sunday, November 4, 2012

There's No Place Like Om

Meditation can make you a better business leader, says Harvard Business School professor and former CEO Bill George.
Meditation "teaches you to pay attention to the present moment, recognizing your feelings and emotions and keeping them under control, especially when faced with highly stressful situations," George writes in Harvard Business Review.
Pressures and the pursuit of profits turn too many managers into monsters, George observes.
"The key is to stay grounded and authentic, face new challenges with humility, and balance professional success with more important but less easily quantified measures of personal success."
If meditation feels too woo-woo, other mind-calming tools are available.
"The important thing is to have a set time each day to pull back from the intense pressures of leadership to reflect on what is happening. In addition to meditation, I know leaders who take time for daily journaling, prayer, and reflecting while walking, hiking or jogging," George says.

Friday, November 2, 2012

If You Had Only a Dollar, What Would You Spend It On?

Bill Gates once said, "If I was down to my last dollar, I'd spend it on public relations."

Were I in his shoes, I'd spend it on content.

"Content is the new black," says marketing maven Janine Popick in Inc.

Content helps you generate leads, elevate search engine rankings and close more deals, Popick says.

Content works because it positions you as an expert.

"Because you're writing (or talking) about what you know, in time, you become an industry thought leader. And people prefer doing business with those they believe are experts in their category," Popick says.
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