When Blogging Becomes a Chore

Have you ever outsourced or considered outsourcing a design or website development project to save money or time or both? Any number of portals offer us Design and WordPress Development services  that are supposed to make it easy and affordable for us less tech-savvy DIYers–but do they really when we take all into accounts?

Even Premium WordPress Themes “appear easy enough to work”  with  (or so the marketing says). BUT for some non-tech types the learning curve is steeper. Our initial investment (thinking we can do it all for ourselves) is a penny saved but pound foolish.

Trouble is we figure that out after the fact and we may opt to keep trying and throw a little more money at it.

After investing a mere $87 in a  Premium  Wordpress Theme, for the sake of launching an online business, one person I know of found it was not as easy as suggested to set up their initial site and there was no support! So a freelancer was engaged for a song and $300 was paid up front with the expectation that the website desired would now be built for them using the Theme. But no, the freelance programmer tried through email to train the client on how to do it for themselves. Even this might have been acceptable, if the site could have been created and populated with content.

Last I am aware it still doesn’t exist. So what is this person into for at this point?

$387 in cash and countless hours in email exchanges that got her no closer to what was wanted.

Efforts to communicate strictly via email with the outsourced programmer in a different time zone 12 hours away were never successful. Weeks passing and still not having the desired end product: a WordPress site that could be monetized and improved upon functionally.

Ask yourself as the business owner you are or are planning to become when is it wise to hire a professional you can work with closely and whose on the same page as you?

What is your time worth and billed at? Why are you spending money  trying to do something for yourself that is not where you earn the most bang for your buck?

We call that working in your business when we should be working on our business.  Too many a budding business owner tries to be chief cook and bottle washer, virtual assistant and bookkeeper, depleting their creative juices and energy for business development and stellar client services. Why? To have a sense of control? To save money in start up costs?

Again, what is your “sweet spot” for earning and why would you overwhelm yourself with a task that is not your strength? I know I am a strong writer and editor and creator of bog content. I am in my element doing this for others. I love doing this for my clients. I do it effortlessly and could do it for long hours and find creating blog content for a site energizing.

I have come to realize VERY quickly, that while I could be a WordPress officionado, I am not efficient beyond basic operations. And, quite frankly, if I wanted a more complex site with widgets and sliders and custom elements, I am hiring a local and reliable professional. I’ll do so for the sake of working with someone who can understand my language of my vision and my ideas. Clarity of communication saves time and money. It also assures we get what we wanted.

More power to the tech-savvy and creative sorts who can take a pre-packaged theme and make the most of it on their own but for the rest of us who will spin our wheels and grow frustrated with every plugin we attempt to discern and activate (as we hope we don’t break our site–which I have done!) I saY:

Go local. Stay local. Exhaust your local resources before you try what may be a too good to be true scenario.

Ever heard the adage, you get what you pay for?

(Reprinted after being originally published June 20121 on http://t2websites.com)

Your Job Search: Becoming the Ideal Candidate

REPRINTED from Your Professional Profile

Deborah Drake: Authentic Writing & Communications Mentor, Workshop Facilitator and Co-Author of Burn Your Résumé. You Need a Professional Profile™ – (Winning the Inner and Outer Game of Finding Work or New Business)

I believe that Authenticity in communication provokes–every time and always for the better. I believe we all will do better work and be more productive as business owners or team members when we are doing work we personally find meaningful.

I also regard myself the picture of RESILIENCE when it comes to being “let go” or “released” from work I enjoyed and was doing well and with whole heart.

Let’s just say that 20+ years in the publishing/advertising/communication arts field has given me the opportunity to be laid off “due to a lack of work” more than FIVE times! Yes, five times. Never fun to experience BUT each time it got easier for me to regroup and begin my job search. And each position I held be it in publishing, advertising, communication arts, marketing, sales, business development, training, coaching taught me skills that I carried forward with me. I AM the Sum of All I have Ever Done.  (And so are you!)

There came a a point in  my career though, that I took a deep professional and personal inventory and determined it was time for me to launch “Me, Inc.”  for I knew I would Never Fire Myself and I Do Great Work. It’s not that I didn’t want to work for a great company, really contribute and make a difference, AND earn more money year after year BUT the organizations I was part of didn’t seem to see what they had in me and they made business decisions as they had to which impacted me and my family and my future.

For the past five years my business card  has read “Catalyst.” I am told I draw out the buried brilliance in my clients (and groups I lead), that they are so close to they can’t see it (much like the nose on our face which is hard to see if you aren’t in front of a mirror.)

We must be our own best and first advocate and raving fan. How can we expect others to champion us enthusiastically, if we don’t believe in ourselves 100%? It can be done but it is tougher when we doubt ourselves somewhere deep inside.

We never forget our name do we? Imagine having an easy and engaging ability to recall of your professional story? Who would you stop in their tracks then?

Do you understand what you are best suited for and enjoy?

Have you the confidence to speak well of yourself?

Have you the enthusiasm to do so consistently?

To know who you are, what you have accomplished and be able to speak of it with ease and grace and confidence and quiet knowing is POWERFUL MOJO. Don and I are on a Joint Mission to Revolutionize through Revelation the way that people understand themselves, value their experience, honor their professional aspirations and HOW they present themselves “on paper” and “in person” when seeking work and new business.

For more on me visit Authentic Writing Provokes. I can be directly reached at deb @ deborahdrake “dot” com.

I welcome hearing from you. It would be an honor to help you achieve the professional goals you want for yourself.

To Your Confidence, Congruency, & Creativity!

Deborah Drake
Office: 425-223-5335
Cell: 206-250-1855

Is it time for you to create interview-producing Professional Profiles for YOU and your career?

© Your Professional Profile 2012. All rights reserved.

Seth Godin (demi-god) On Being Remarkable

What might it look like for you to stand out online and offline from the crowd? This is what we are tackling week after week and this will be the theme of the new series starting February 29th. And once again I return to a virtual mentor of mine whose message is always helpful to hear again and again and again. He’s as purple a cow as can be.

Purple Cows Forever

Seth Godin on Standing Out

This TED Talk from 2003 in Monterey, is for me evergreen. Technology mentioned by Seth aside, has changed SO MUCH since Seth gave this talk. He mentions getting on the home page of Google might be important, or these days first on any of the major search engines?  He speaks to the TV Industrial complex as being “dead” but the state of TV seems healthy and has healthy competition among the bevy of cable channels and distribution sources Provided you are a member…( Hulu, Netflix to name the two I access.) I still see ads. Clever. Shorter. And Frequently.

Provocative. Shocking. Different. Can you present your ideas this way, somehow?

Timely. Infused with enthusiasm. With total belief. Can you write and speak to your subject matter Just in Time and full of conviction for it?

One video or post at a time we COULD create a tipping point. One person sharing with another and being a champion or advocate, we will create a tribe that follows us with devotion, opens our newsletters, our specially time emails, BECAUSE they care, BECAUSE we speak of something that matters to them.

And, this is not to say that the random non-sequitur is not appreciated. It is. For it is surprising to a reader expecting another Power Writing Tip to get something different from time to time. As a recipient of many newsletters (for I like research to come to me) I too can fall asleep at the wheel of monitoring marketing activities of admired colleagues. (Truth be I really appreciate the Power Writing Tips! and hence they come first to mind as an example to share. Good form and great content.)

As creature of habit, we like to be soothed with what we like and expect and I propose we appreciate a shake-up every now and then. It reminds us that Change is a Part of Life.

Being Remarkable could appear as us being more transparent than normal, or sharing an extreme viewpoint we are prepared to back up; Something other than towing the line of public opinion.

Being Remarkable to me says that we are saying: “I am comfortable in my own skin. I know first my personal brand and I know when and how I will deviate from the formula.”

Take Significant Relationships (where we work, who we date, who we marry): classically it is suggested they will eventually grow dulled and grey, UNLESS, we shake it up and stay conscious/awake and try new things from time to time to mix up the mix of what works.  Surprises are always revitalizing in life and can be in business.

For example: Let me just say that there has been nothing boring about raising a child from Zero to her current age of 12 (and to think I have 6 more years officially as her “ruling parent” (smile).Parenting is my greatest teacher where it comes to writing, negotiating, marketing and politics and it is a gift I treasure daily (even when I had to restore my balance with another walk!)

If you were to think of your business venture as a relationship you wanted to stay “awake, fun, profitable, productive, enjoyable, interesting ( to you and others) and meaningful (again to you and others)”  WHAT would you be prepared to do? To create? To maintain? To keep fresh and relevant. (Or in otherwords, P.U.R.R.fect)

My mission remains to create enthusiasm for the written word, penned by us, the thinkers of the thoughts and ideas. I’ll do this one person and client at a time knowing when I do remarkable work, the impact I have is amplified. I invite you to learn to do for yourself, the same.

Why? It helps more people all around when we do so.

And if you have already read Purple Cow, Free Prize Inside, The Dip or all the other Seth Godin offerings, but not this one yet, go ahead Poke the Box and jump in.

We can’t be reminded to do the key things that are crucial to maintaining awareness where marketing and promotion are concerned. And with all the DIY ways to start up yourself, why not?

Does Your Marketing and Writing Pass The Four-Way Test?

From the earliest days of the organization, Rotarians were concerned with promoting high ethical standards in their professional lives. One of the world’s most widely printed and quoted statements of business ethics is The Four-Way Test, which was created in 1932 by Rotarian Herbert J. Taylor (who later served as RI president) when he was asked to take charge of a company that was facing bankruptcy.

This 24-word test for employees to follow in their business and professional lives became the guide for sales, production, advertising, and all relations with dealers and customers, and the survival of the company is credited to this simple philosophy. Adopted by Rotary in 1943, The Four-Way Test has been translated into more than a hundred languages and published in thousands of ways. It asks the following four questions:

“Of the things we think, say or do:

1. Is it the TRUTH?

2. Is it FAIR to all concerned?

3. Will it build GOODWILL and BETTER FRIENDSHIPS?

4. Will it be BENEFICIAL to all concerned?”

Recently, I had the pleasure of speaking to the Redmond Rousers Rotary members and it was special for it was my inaugural Rotary speaking engagement (with opportunity #2 coming soon!). It was exciting to be the program speaker and it was simply a lot of fun. The members were good sports as I took control of the literal “classroom” we occupied and they “winged it” in a writing prompt I customized for the evening (smile).

A fine curry was served for dinner and my “non-speech” went off without a hitch and we accomplished good stuff in 20 minutes. Keeping the content simple and the conversation flowing worked like a charm. Yes, I easily stayed within the time limit and facilitated a rousing dialogue. (Communicating with heart and simplicity works pretty much all the time too!) Turns out the Rousers each have a favorite story to blog about in the future and I look forward to seeing the Rouser’s Blog feature many more contributors and perspectives. (Keep me posted Kelly!)

I had been invited to speak two months back by Kelly Kyle, current President of the Rousers, who is an enthusiastic leader of a now growing chapter. Kelly has done a lot of PR in the last 18 months that has boosted awareness of the Service Projects of this Rotary Chapter via blogging and writing and social media marketing.

The most recent fundraiser, the Coupe de Cascades, (a 425 mile bike ride in a single day) even attracted the attention of Race Across America and may soon be an official qualifying race that occurs in Washington State. Here again Authentic, Heartfelt and Savvy Social Media Marketing and yes, blogging and writing, helped raised the level of awareness on what one local chapter of Rotary is up to.

How did the Rousers get so “SMART?” I happen to know this story because it was more than a year ago, Kelly also started coming (when her busy schedule allowed) to the weekly Writers/Bloggers Support group I host. I remember the day that Kelly shared how the Rousers had invested and wisely so into learning how to use blogging and social media practices to genuinely attract new members AND community support for their events.

The Rousers as a chapter agreed to “invest” in something significant. Kelly received excellent coaching and support and training from Blaine Millet of Word of Mouth on Steroids. What Blaine suggested and trained Kelly on intensively (at first) is what I suggest all my marketing and writing clients embrace as well. Some do and some don’t and frankly, “It’s Simply A Smart Marketing Strategy.” (And if your hurdle is authentic self-expression, well there is a solution for that…close at hand) Writing (for Marketing YOU) is best done with a truly authentic voice (yours~not someone who writes for you) that can also pass the Four Way Test. Yes, I know  that last statement is my strongly held opinion.

Developing that “voice” may not happen overnight but working to discover yours and refine it is worth the effort. Then with thoughtful timing of social media efforts and all other marketing, you will see positive results. And like all great relationships, it takes time to develop and may seem like a whole lot of work at first ~ and it’s worth it!

Over the next year plus, Kelly got into a writing and PR rhythm and beneficial things began to happen that were good for the recipients of the Rouser’s support and good for the chapter’s membership base.Guess what grew? (Imagine, your business and you experiencing the same kind of growth and good will!)

I’d like to make a suggestion that I hope you dear readers take to heart and put to work post haste.

Please take a lesson from the principles of 1.) the Four Way Test and 2.) the application of it through Social Media and specifically blogging about the wonderful activities supported by the Rousers of Redmond. If Kelly can do it with the right support, so can you!

Why not let the Four Way Test be a litmus test each time you consider the writing and promotions you will be publishing in the name of growing your business and creating and supporting your online presence and reputation? And let being social while marketing with bold truth and colorful story and authentic intentions be your guiding tenets.

Being Real Inspires. Telling Stories Captivates. Paying It Forward Feels Great.

May you feel comfortable in sharing YOU in your marketing message and writing and know where to go for a champion if support and a push is needed.

P.S. (Funny thing, I’ve been hoping to meet Blaine ever since I heard that story from Kelly the first day I met her and “rumor” has it we are having a cup of coffee sometime soon…I’m counting the days!)

 

 

 

 

 

 

We all need an online presence that is “about us”: Not “stealth”

In an age where you can create an online profile as easily as you can start an email account, it makes sense to me to populate your new profile with some basics–at the very least.

Ideally, your online profile tells a wonderful story about you, making it that much easier for me and others to match-make on your professional behalf.  If I know who you are before you get to my event and my room, I assure you I will create opportunities for you connect with others I know are coming.

The other day I made an introduction to a first time guest, who oversees a blog all about dogs that needs contributors, that she might be interested in knowing the writer/illustrator/artist in our circle, who is also a storyteller, creator of toys and who does custom dog portraits that are very cool! They struck me as a good a match because I knew what each did for their livelihoods. I enjoy connecting people with each other and especially when business grows out of it.

There could be a grand synergy between any two people if each knows what the other is and does and needs.

If you are seeking that next perfect client or a full-time position, doesn’t it make sense to make the effort to share the really good stuff about who you are, what you seek, what you have accomplished and give us a strong picture that is current and lets us spot you quickly at an event we are both attending?

So many seem to initiate an account, barely start a profile, promise themselves to come back to it, and never do. There is a solution to this scenario, but it involves some in depth critical work initially and gentle maintenance thereafter.

As I see it, the key is to develop your full professional profile from the ground up, fill in the stories behind your accomplishments, commit to maintaining it and then get back to working on your business, out in the world. Would you not rather be meeting new contacts online and at events that might know who you are before you get there and seek you out? Or would you just as soon tell the same story over 10+ times to those attending?

If I could ask every member of this community to do but one thing in the next week it would be:

Check your online profile for its “greatness” and a story that reflects who you are. Does it tell your story clearly, engagingly, authentically?

And if you find your canvas is pretty blank (no picture, no summary, no promotion, no involvement in discussions) there is no time like the present to make it happen. And if your profile needs a dust-off and some fresh new content be it your image or logo or links to associations and your contact information, by all means, take that on!

Who will thank you? Who is the winner? I will as one of your community members who looks forward to knowing you should our paths collide online or in person at an event. The future client who can now identify you is another.  And what about the referral partners that are in abundance that you don’t yet know. We all win when community member profiles are current, interesting, multi-dimensional reflections of who we are and what we do and what we seek and offer.

If you need a little guidance on how to go about creating a vibrant profile that showcases you, I can wholeheartedly recommend a book originally written for jobseekers. Résumés that Resume Careers byDon Burrows puts one systematically through a discovery process that yields a great final piece on Brand and Company You. Or you can repurpose your profile content for your website, your blog, or to launch article ideas or seek work if that is your goal. It may take you weeks to complete, but it is worth the sweat equity.

As I see it and experience it, Biznik, in particular, as a community is a stellar example of the hybrid use of online and in-person opportunities to connect and help each other and ourselves.

Are you making it easy for us to do so?

 

On Editing: Please Take the Kathleen Show's Advice…

As we approach February 26th and the next offering of the All Day Salon on Publishing Yourself and the Art of  Self-Promotion, I find myself again chuckling at the ardent advice of one radio show host turned internet TV host… Kathleen Slattery-Moschkau

http://www.thekathleenshow.com/2010/09/08/self-publishing-a-word-of-advice-to-authors%E2%80%94episode-1/

She is passionate about what she does and it’s clear. She shared that she gets as many as 100 books a month and many from self-published authors who want to be interviewed by her and she has this to say to many of them.

“Please, please, hire yourself a kickass editor. So as not to be insulting to the art of writing.” (her words not mine…)

February 26th marks the fourth time I and other presenters rise bright and early on a Saturday morning to paint a complete picture of what it takes to write, design, publish and promote that book that lives inside you.

Among our subject matter experts, is professional friend, author, editor, ghost writer, blogger and writing peer of mine, Kim Pearson,  founder of Primary Sources.  I suspect “Kathleen” would agree Kim is that “kickass editor” she advises writers, hire at the right time and place.

We may have a great idea for a book or a blog we wish to write and maintain. (And, we’ll need an objective reader!)

We may actually be a good writer with enthusiasm for our subject matter. (And, we’ll miss our own small errors and awkwardnesses)

Simply put, we will not catch all our inconsistencies ALL the time or have the required objectivity we REALLY need to fully edit all our own writing.

We may be a great first pass editor but are we the best to be doing every round of editing and proofreading?

At some point it is appropriate to engage an editorial expert, AND it is the best thing we can do for the health and well-being of the book and our own sanity.

A few additional thoughts on hiring an editor to assure the best writing we can muster up:

While it may be more economical,  using a friend or family member might not count as hiring an editor.

Granted, in some cases it works out fine and all the hiccups and awkward phrasing and misspelled words are caught by YOU or your “trusted” editor,  BUT more often than not,  it does not fully benefit the manuscript we are so intimately connected to.

Editorial Objectivity is a good thing for a manuscript that it might be well-appreciated and often-read by many others far beyond our immediate circles. Engaging an objective professional for editing be it developmental, or copyediting or proofreading can only be a good and necessary thing. A step wise to invest in.

I am on the bandwagon with Kathleen of the Kathleen Show because she tells it like it is. Talk about a fierce conversation in under two minutes.

To all the writer’s reading this entry who might be working on a book or even a blog, please consider the value of budgeting for working with a professional and dedicated editor–for the benefit of your manuscript, your blog posts, your commercial writing and your readers!

I’m a voracious reader who is turned away when I encounter truly challenging writing. I am happy to overlook the occasional typo for I will substitute the correction.  I am that flexible.  That being said, I hope you who have a book in you write it.

Self-publishing and blogging it (as a serial piece) makes it that accessible to you and me and others.

Stories are Gifts. Share. And…Begin with the End in Mind.

May we write both for ourselves and the readers who are glad to share us with those they know.

Authentic Writing: May the Buddha in You Shine

Please stop trying to be clever. How about being real?

I’ve got a question I’m really hoping a reader or two answers:

Where did you learn how to writing business and marketing copy?

I invite you to pause and think about the origins of your beliefs about what makes for good messaging and ask yourself a follow up question:

Does it reflect who you are OR did you borrow someone else’s specific set of writing instructions to attract so many customers you’d be making a five figure income by way of internet marketing strategies PROVEN to work by many others before you…or so they say on that website with the neverending cascading style sheet that allows for an unending page with multiple opportunities to CLICK HERE NOW to register for this SPECIAL PRICING and BONUSES…(gasp!)

Here endeth the run-on sentence and begins my attempt to make a point that I regard as extremely important.

Being a 20+ year student of marketing, and a 35+ year student of writing for both pleasure and my profession, I appreciate, cherish, study, analyse, scrutinize and celebrate language for all that it makes possible among us humans. In short, the written and spoken word and communication is dear to me.

Now,  I know that there is always going to be an attempt to crystallize and systematize writing as the creative and technical skill it is.

The point is there are two sides to the coin.  The raw, fun, juicy, heartfelt, honest, vulnerable, tactile, passionate and meaningful content deserves to be expressed AND at the same time it needs to be somehow organized into a coherent and logical format that can be read, understood, digested, integrated and acted upon–once the reader determines that the solution needed is before them–in the form of you or your service or product offering.

And the truth is, I’m not a huge fan of cookie cutter systems. I also though see the value of having a plan and sticking to it long enough to discern what is working.

I see value in systems and best practices (within reason). Yes, within reason do I myself follow the plan, with permission to go with  “plan b” in the wings  (typically based on spontaneous inspiration from a current event).

Blogging for business for example: there is a question that comes up pretty much weekly when new participants attend a group I host weekly. Can I blend personal and business? Put another way,  how much of me do I let shine in my writing?

I first heard this “true story” many years back.  And I even found “the story” and its picture today. And I hope it illustrates well what I am attempting to communicate.

World's Largest Golden Buddha

At one end of Bangkok Chinatown, in the temple of Wat Traimit, is hidden the world’s largest solid gold Buddha image. Weighing in at five and a half tons, the 15-foot tall seated image is uncountable worth.

The Golden Buddha was cast with solid gold sometime in the 13th century and is an excellent example of the gracious Sukhothai style that is still very much in favor to this day. At some point, it was covered in plaster, most likely in an attempt to hide the valuable icon from thieves or looters.

The disguise was so good that everyone apparently forgot about what was hidden beneath for more than five centuries. King Rama III had the statue moved to Bangkok and installed in a temple that later fell into disuse and was completely abandoned around 1931.

The true nature of the Golden Buddha wasn’t discovered until it was moved to its present location at Wat Traimit in 1955. When the image was being prepared for its move, some of the plaster was chipped off, revealing the gold underneath.

The statue sits in a plain building just barely big enough to hold it within the temple compound. On the terrace outside of the room housing the Golden Buddha are some interesting fortune-telling machines.

By the end of this year the Buddha image will be relocated to a newly built grand hall nearby which all people will never get too close to it.

Please don’t encase yourself in a protective coating…so that your writing is dulled by convention established by those who design one size fits all best practices.

Best practices and ideas that work deserve to be observed AND I see the value in bending the “rules” and being yourself.  For in tossing out the rules and really showing the world who lives through your writing, I have to wonder who you might catch “in your net” you might not have?

Authentic Writing Provokes: The 2am Ride of Paula Persevere (Revisited)

Albero e Luna by Francesco Marino

NOTE: This piece originates from an email sent to my still growing Writer’s Group for Reticent Bloggers at 3:03am on July 20th because quite frankly,  I was feeling DETERMINED to get the word out before we met again.

Reading it again, today, I giggle at the memory of all the teasing I get for being that nightowl from my most regular group members. Beyond being known as a nightowl, I am thankfully regarded as a good listener, and effective facilitator and that just warms this writing coach’s heart.

What reputation precedes you as the business or personal writer you are?  (I don’t mind for being known as a prolific writer between 12am and 3am on occasion. )

What are you known for  because of the copy on your website or the blog you author or that article, ebook or book you wrote?

Could you anticipate what your five closest peers might say about you? Do you even care?

To a degree I care about how I am perceived. Most importantly I want there to be a “nearly full eclipse” of who I say I am, who I know am and how I am experienced by people. Just like I appreciate online profiles with current photos that allow for immediate “recognition” of the real McCoy when meeting for the first time at a live event.

Be it that I am writing business copy for website updates, articles or a blog post or an email correspondence, or even micro-blogging on Facebook I am always alert to my underlying “voice.” And I have found that being “me” is the easiest way to get communication out in a timely, enthusiastic and meaningful way.

Can I interest you in exploring and developing your authentic written voice for your business or your creative aspirations?  It makes my heart sing to do so. For our Dharma (aka our vocation) seldom feels like work does it?

And about that late night experience that sparked this post…

*******************************************************************

At 12:40am or there about, this email was set to go, and Comcast deserted me.

Deserted me…but I am like the Captain of Galaxy Quest… I never/seldom give up and never surrender. And apparently I am willing to use the word never…

Tonight, I had the distinct pleasure of picking up my daughter from the airport, right on time, after her month in Carmel, CA with her grandparents. Her 8-day visit turned into a month when she got the opportunity to be part of the Children’s Experimental Theater group and we all said…what do we do to make this happen. We made it happen and she had a seminal summer experience. Who doesn’t want that any season of the year.

We, the dad, the mom and the kid had a catch up dinner at a nearby Neighborhood Grill and she had the AUDACITY…to ask for a play date after dinner with her best friend, Julia…I so get that she is simply glad to be home…and I would have let her go and play for two hours had it been approved… point is she was clear on what she wanted to be doing next–once she felt again in her element.

Well, I opened up a word doc, committed to write an article on behalf of Positive Daily Affirmations and figured if this email was meant to go tonight (or rather this early morning) I’d have the chance to send it before my head hit the pillow. Never Give Up….Never Surrender…or in other words cross that to do, off the list and sleep well.

Last week we had a wonderful dozen in the circle and surprise, surprise, the themes again were a common chorus.

Well, what do I have to say that people really want to hear from me?

(Hey, there, expert that You actually are with stories that span decades…I care and I am listening. And if I know you personally, I care even more…)

Can you hear/feel/sense the wisdom in this post of a friend of mine (a fantastic human disguised as a fantastic Real Estate Agent by day) that was inspired by a Copyblogger post? So much in so little a post…read on please…Go Casey, Go!

http://caseymuldoon.web864.com/2010/07/16/how-to-create-raving-fans/

I heard the request to start a Biznik Group last week! It’s done…

http://biznik.com/groups/writers-support-group-for-reticent-bloggers

You are invited to use this forum to share posts and ask questions of the resources in this growing community.

Sandy said she planned to start a personal blog.

Susan started writing creation stories for the buddies.

Pete is still committed to creating an editorial calendar.

Diane, I love your posts and your pictures.

Charles, please share those stories you have dozens of and educate by way of your 36 years of wisdom/direct experience.

Darylene, I’m writing articles as fast as I can….and hope I get found…

Blogs are living breathing entities filled with your essence, if you are okay with that. The more real you are the better. Being crafty and clever catches some but being authentic catches more people’s attentions and makes them Raving Fans.

Private blogs allow for R&D without scrutiny (go Sandy!)  And collaborative blogs allow for synergies to emerge between writers.

Favorite links found this week that made me smile long and wide:

Casey’s see above…which leads me to CopyBlogger and to this funny guy with a fabulous promo…

http://johnnybtruant.com/about/

I respect the writer’s with a willingness to really be themselves…what will it take for you to be so?

What makes my heart smile is how I see this group from week to week provide a space for the participants to get enthused and infused and inspired. For those who make it tomorrow…yahoo….for those who cannot…we will miss you.

I fully intend not only to be myself as I write and blog, and make a living doing so…how about you?  And to do so what support do you need?

Ask and you shall receive.

Image: Francesco Marino / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Sean Earley's Perspective: Avoiding the Social Media Overwhelm

Last week a “new kid” on the block showed up at Biznik.  Sean Earley who it turns out is originally from Ohio, most recently lived in Seattle, before moving to Germany.  And he is savvy and friendly and enthusiastic about his newfound community at Biznik, from the way he is posting on forums and commenting. All in the spirit of getting to know his global neighbors.

Love it when people are friendly and curious and smart!

Funny/ironic that he lived in Seattle but only discovered Biznik once in Germany? Is that True Sean?  And now we connect as the fellow Social Media enthusiasts and writers we are? I surrender…and will just be GLAD we connected thanks to the Wonderful World Wide Web and a homegrown Social Network that has members worldwide.

And about this post that I “reprint” (thanks Sean!): I really appreciate the succinct clarity of the suggested logic (from the book Groundswell) for using Social Media as the tool it is. Being strategic and on purpose while being also authentic are core values I live out EVERY TIME I write.

Except for those early morning pages of stream of consciousness that clear the cobwebs from my head…

I second, enthusiastically,  the suggested rationale and process that Sean spotlights. In fact I am curious as to how y’all make the best and the most of time spent within Social Networks? Or do you even begin?

Curious minds await your nickel on this evolving “reality” and be mindful reader, that Social Media Marketing is now part of the mix. Yes, you can put your head in the sand a while longer if you must, but really is that wise?

As it makes sense for your business–Integrate.Integrate. Integrate. In time may you feel about Web 2.0 (aka Social Media Marketing) similarly as you did about email auto responders; which is they are here to stay and just like learning to ride that first bike, there is a learning curve but once confident, we ride the bike, not the other way around.

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Before you make the decision to use any social media platform as a marketing tool, you need to evaluate it first and ask yourself how it best serves a specific purpose, otherwise there is the potential to just waste a lot of valuable time, energy and resources without gauging the results.

How, why and even if you use it can and will directly effect the bottom line.

So, before you go tearing into Twitter, or any social platform for that matter, first ask yourself a few, basic, key questions, make some decisions based on these questions and set some goals.

Basically, “how will this tool or platform help me?”

In order to do so, I suggest following the P.O.S.T acronym (originally put out by Forrester)

POST stands for: People, Objectives, Strategy, Technology.

1. People: Who are the people you want to be targeting and how do you identify them? Who is your demographic and where can you find them?

Is Twitter the best place to find them? Is Facebook? Is linkedIn? Or maybe SprouterBuzz, Etsy, Ning, Xbiz, Foursquare? Or…

Are there other platforms that might be better? Maybe there is a forum based on your niche that would be much more effective instead? Maybe a group? Does this demographic even use social networks?

2. Objectives: What are your objectives and what are you hoping to achieve?

Are you broadcasting a message or researching and gathering information? Are you trying to build a mailing list, or get more traffic to your website? Is it for education, communication, relationship building, or customer service? Is it a tool to generating leads, or to build upon existing leads?

Do you want to use it for input or output? Or both?

3. Strategy: What is your strategy? What is the ultimate goal of your efforts? How will you be using this tool to achieve your objectives?

How much time can you afford to spend with these tools in order to positively effect your ROI? How much time is too much time? Will you be in charge of this process or will you outsource?

4. Technology: Based on your plans, which platform is best suited to serve up these goals?

Once you decide on a platform, do you have a good understanding of how to use it? Are you comfortable using it or do you need training? Do you need tools or additional software?

So to summarize, Social media can be a powerful marketing tool, but it can also be an incredible time suck. Following this basic process and asking yourself some very important key questions first will ultimately define success or failure.

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And after all that is it now time push that publish button? Here is to fun and productive blogging be it micro or otherwise.

About this guest blogger: Sean Earley is a professional designer, online marketing and social media consultant, recently transplanted and currently living in Weisbaden, Germany and thanks to Biznik, For more by Sean visit his blog and comment if you are compelled! I for one appreciate his

Krysta Gibson's Perspective: Can Social Media Grow Your Business?

A Note from Deborah:

I believe, I have many things in common with Krysta Gibson, who these days publishes the New Spirit Journal and consults on publishing and businesss and more. And as a happy subscriber to her newsletter, I was struck by this recent “essay” and offering. And thank you Krysta for granting me the go ahead to post to my blog; the place I evangelize about Authentic Writing and My Personal Marketing Manifesto (yes, I have one!)

First and foremost I love Effective Communication that furthers Human Relations. I love reading, writing, speaking, writing, communicating ideas in what ever “language” is your natural form of expression. And I champion people in business and in life confidently expressing themselves be it for their business or their relationships, in the name of having a Purposeful Life Experience, while of this Earth.

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