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Thanks Amy! Thrilled to use your hot advice especially about how to choose which social media platforms you should spend your time on. As we both espouse to our clients, it all starts with defining your ideal audience in sharp detail. So many folks confuse brand strategy with marketing strategy with social media...it's why I include a whole section to demystify these terms in the book and ensure people know what they are paying for and what they need. Can't wait to collaborate with you more!

5 months, 1 week ago on Branding Basics for Small Business [VIDEO]

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You are 100% correct. Using a Gmail address cheapens the brand and makes people think you are fly by night. As I talk about in my forthcoming 2nd edition of Branding Basics for Small Business: How to Create an Irresistible Brand on Any Budget (where your fabulousness is quoted as you know, Amy!) details matter to make either conscious or subconscious impressions on people.


Often the junk mail and scams we receive are from gmail or yahoo addresses. Do you really want that to be the brand impression you leave on people you are tying to get to know, like and trust you with their money? As you said, it's not a lot of money and, c'mon people, if you could start a business completely for free, everyone would do it. You have to think of these things as "investments" not "costs!"


Thanks for this great one today. An easy fix to make a stronger brand impression!

7 months, 1 week ago on This Silly Mistake Will Make Clients Take You Less Seriously [VIDEO]

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Thanks Amy! Hilarious and spot-on as usual. Question though, do brands get annoyed if you do this? Especially if they are smaller communities?

10 months, 3 weeks ago on Facebook Trick for Increased Relevancy on the News Feed [VIDEO]

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Thanks for this one, Amy! Asking this question is literally how I've grown my business and brand the last 5+ years. Mostly just because I like interesting people and I like connecting them with resources or other interesting people if I can. I can't help it - I'm a connector., You can always tell if someone's being fake about this. And I learned in the 1st year of my business to stop accepting unpaid "Pick My Brain" sessions unless I know the person is truly just reaching out to connect and collaborate in some way.

Biggest networking lesson I've learned as an entrepreneur, that's valuable for anyone who thinks networking is a dirty word? It's not about schmoozing with people that make your skin crawl. It's about finding people you genuinely like and connect with and making them part of your network. No one says you have to network with tools.

11 months, 2 weeks ago on The Question You MUST Ask at Every Coffee Meeting [VIDEO]

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Hi Amy! I'm late to the party on this post, but what are your thoughts on a Flip HD? I've used it before but find editing with Windows Movie Maker a chore...seems to take a long time. Is it the camera that's my issue or my editing software?! Gracias.

1 year, 3 months ago on How To Make Cheap Awesome Videos [VIDEO]

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Great questions Amy. I am a brand strategist and help businesses and solopreneurs unify their ideas, passions and services under one powerful and irresisitble umbrella brand. But it's always hard to do this for yourself, even for me! I'm packaed my business and life-related passions under the umbrella of "storytelling"  - I consult, I speak, I act, I write....all of that is about telling a great story (especially my branding work for clients: that's about sharing your story, positioning and message with the right people. Like you said, there's usually one thread that ties all those passions and talents together so start with that and build the brand out from there.

 

PS, random Q: what do you use to record and edit your webcam vids? Love 'em!

2 years, 1 month ago on Building a Brand With All of Your Ideas. Is it possible? [VIDEO]

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This is great advice, Harrison. My challenge I have with my expanding community is that I can't get them to tell me what they need and want. They engage, comment, etc. but whenever I post out questions about what they want to see more of, or send survey, it's like crickets chirping. Any tips for gathering that all important feedback?

2 years, 2 months ago on How to Be the Architect of a Passionate Community

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Hey Columbus gal...just joined your tribe. I'm in the Bay Area but went to high school at Worthington. Folks still live there! Love your style...

 

Love this question. It's also another way to get at your strengths - what do you bring to the party? For me and my branding clients, I'm smart at connecting seemingly random dots, seeing a holistic story and how to bring it to life, and cutting through the extraneous messages and crap that people often get their heads wrapped around. This only serves to confuse your audience rather than make your brand and message irresistible.

2 years, 5 months ago on How Are You Smart?

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Have I been under a rock? How have I not found you, Erika, as a brand strategist, fellow Red Head AND Italian?!

 

Loved this interview and so many of the themes are what I talk to clients and groups about - and I talk about in my book, Branding Basics for Small Business. I'm glad others are beating this drum. One of the 5 marks of a power brand is that "some people won't like you" and we have to be okay with that. Small businesses especially seem to have a problem with this. They want their ideal audience to be "everyone." You can't be all things to all people, or you end up being nothing to no one - because trying to do that means you'll end up with a generic, vanilla message and personality that doesn't offend anyone - - but doesn't attract anyone either. Brands have to embrace their tribe (and as you say, you don't pick a tribe of 1, but a marketable tribe).  Clients will say, "Oh, but if I say this in that way, it will offend some people." Which people? Oh, those people who will never buy from you, never be your customers, never spread the word about you?"

 

Can't wait to check out this book! Thanks Jay, for the find.

2 years, 6 months ago on Think Narrow and Harness the Power of UnPopular

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Jay, I am so sorry for your loss and thank you so much for sharing. Sending you virutal hugs! I learned this important lesson when a freak brain aneurysm hit me in 2008 - and caused me to reframe my life for (what I hope to be) the better. Like you, I'm a Type A, "gotta do everything NOW" type of gal. I learned it's not about running, running, running. I had to literally get yanked out of my life - as you did - before I understood that this is my one life. I need to slow down a bit, focus and savor and put my priorities in order.

You can chase all your dreams. But you don't have to do them ALL AT THE SAME TIME! That was my biggest lesson. "Living your best life" does not mean grinding yourself to dust to do it "all." Take the time you need to heal, prioritize and tackle only what you can while still making time and space for all the stuff that really matters: your health, your family, your dog.

Success is not just about all the output you produce. It's about living a grateful life on your own terms, making a difference and loving those around you. The book can wait. Your life, this day, can't., PS, it took me over 3 years to write the book about my experience - and ironically, it just came out in Kindle yesterday. That's why your blog post floored me with its timing and message. I wrote it to help others avoid having a tragedy or crisis hit before they realize these important lessons. I'm so sorry that it took this tragic event for you to reframe your life, but as you said, maybe that's the greatest gift he could have given you.

Thank you for being you and sharing your work with us. And thank you for this lovely tribute to your brother.

2 years, 8 months ago on Why I’m Not Writing a Book This Year

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Great post, Jay. I'm enjoying the lively debate in the comments as well. My take:

1) I feel many agencies within the larger marketing stratosphere take advantage of client confusion about specialities, and simply scream, "Yep, we can help with that, too." Some of them indeed can do it all; most cannot. People are already confused about the different marketing disciplines and leading them astray by saying you can offer something because you know what the acronym stands for is irresponsible. Many clients have come to me saying, "My website developer said they could help me with branding and messaging and I paid a boatload for it and it's horrible." Not saying this is everyone's experience, but there are a few bad apples.

2) I agree that education does not imply expertise. Many people without the right degree are very skilled. You're not saying that . I think your point is if social business does not just impact marketing, but the fundamental culture, operations and infrastructure, then shouldn't those skills be present at the table as well?

I'm sure Edelman's folks are amazingly qualified, given their reputation. What I fear is this being one more encroachment that PR firms try to make - outside of their core competency - just to make money from the latest trends - off the back of a confused client who doesn't know better.

2 years, 10 months ago on Should Your PR Firm Be Your Social Business Advisor

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Great post! Too many biz owners try to just throw every single bit of information at people and pray that something sticks. But we need to target our communication (and product choice) to the pieces that resonate most with our ideal customers. If you are targeting your market correctly, this should not be too hard. Thanks for the post!

2 years, 10 months ago on Why All of Your Great Products, Services, and Information Are Killing Your Sales

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I absolutely think that most of the time (not all), it's empty calories. The 24-hour news cycle leaves us with false accusations, sloppy reporting and just plain bad information much of the time. How often have I tuned into a "breaking story" on CNN or what have you, only to have talking heads vapidly filling air time until they get confirmation on the real information. It's like watching the LeBron James decision. I say, talk to me when you have real confirmed news to report - don't keep me hanging outside the courtroom door for 2 hours specualting about what is happening, or critiquing jurors clothing choices just to fill air time!

Also, a side effect of the 24 hour news cycle seems to be reporters interviewing other reporters and serving that up as valid content. Sometimes, I just want to hear from the person invovled or the expert that KNOWS, not the person that covers similar stories.

And I know life moves fast for us these days and "time" is somewhat malleable, which is a good thing - sometimes. I have to agree with Ferris, though - we do need to take the time to aprpeciate the present in our fast-moving world or our quality of life will suffer. Sometimes, as humans, we do just need to unplug and unwind for our own sanity. If we don't set our own personal boundaries,we'll end up as roadkill on the info superhighway!

<END RANT> :-)

2 years, 10 months ago on We Know Faster, But Do We Know More?

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Amen, Marjorie! I blog about branding and marketing and even wrote a book titled, appropriately, Branding Basics for Small Business. Branding and marketing concepts have been around for centuries, as far back as Veuve Clicquot in the 1700's creating an internationally recognized champagne brand....and probably farther back if we talk about branding cattle from a specific ranch or traveling salesmen convicing people to buy "medical cures." After that long of a time, should I assume people would "get" it by now? Well, they don't. It's not their world, not their expertise, not their passion. And that's okay. YOU may undestand that brand is more than just a logo, but there are thousands of small business owners (and, in my experience, even CEO's and executives of large companies) who have no clue. IF I'm truly an expert in my field, than it's my job to educate others and bring them along. If you think everyone should "know what you know" then you can't really call yourself an expert, can you?! To assume everyone has mastered something you mastered long ago is, like you said, incredibly selfish and ego-centric.

Thanks Marjorie - great post.

2 years, 11 months ago on Don’t Tell Me I’m Wasting My Time

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Fantastic post! And while I'm an extrovert and love mingling, I have to say, the same things that annoy introverts about conferences annoy us as well!

3 years ago on Why I Learn Best In My PJs

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You are of course, correct Jay. But it can get really hard to do this when you're a solopreneur who barely has enough time to balance the books, update the website AND serve clients. Not to say I've given up! I'm tackling this by following my own brand advice for clients: Follow the Rule of Three. In this case, instead of trying to focus on 5 million blogs/sites what have you, focus on the three (or five or whatever) key ones that align with you the most. And get really inolved with them (PS, Convince and Convert is a go-to blog for me - mainly because you PROVIDE GOOD CONTENT!) Bloggers that provide good content are easier to follow, interact with, love, retweet and generally build relationships with.

If you are an actual PR firm providing this service for clients, then heck yeah, you need to make an investment and nurture those relationships, even if you are not getting paid for it that paritcular hour or day. Call it a "business development cost." As someone else stated below, focusing on particular verticals or segments can make this easier as well.

And don't forget about small but loyal blog communities. When I was promoting my book Branding Basics for Small Business heavily, I approached small powerful communities that were a good fit. If you have the time and energy, sometimes the smaller guys will be more receptive and you'll get more buzz going as well.

3 years ago on Blogger Outreach Changes the PR Timeline Forever

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Phil, I love this post and so timely. I'm about to revamp my company's offerings for launch on Aug 15. I wanted to go beyond just being a branding consultant, since I'm also a published author and a freelance writer. I worked to find a brand umbrella that encompasses all of these passions, and found the right solution: storytelling (for your brand, your business or your brain). And I'm now going to be focusing on the kind of consulting work I love and am best at.

Thank you for this timely validation that I'm taking the right risk. I'm doing this "tweak" after my business' most successful year, but I believe that you need to evolve and grow and doing it while you are riding high is often the best time to shake things up!

3 years, 2 months ago on Diversifying Yourself Into a Platform Business

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Excellent - and so timely as I re-do my site as more of a "digital sandbox" for discussing marketing, branding and storytelling. Thanks Jay! I think I'll include some of my reports as free downloads instead of trying to figure out who to create 5 million email sign up pages.

3 years, 3 months ago on Content Without Advocacy is Just Words and Google Bait

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Sometimes it does get confusing to understand what you want to measure because you don't know what is possible. That's why I think people tend to work backwards: they want to know what types of metrics the tools can measure and that back that into how that can help with business objectives.

I think until you know how the different metrics can ultimately lead to sales, it's hard to know what you should be measuring as it relates to objectives.

Jay, would you agree? Sometimes it's about knowing what is possible and how it links bcak to sales. Not saying it's the right way to do things, but I think that is what many company's are faced with in this unfamiliar landscape. I think that's where social media consultants can add the most value: "Tell me what your objectives re and I can tell you if you can or can't create a path via social media to get there - and what we can measure along the way."

3 years, 4 months ago on A Hammer Isn’t a House – Don’t Confuse Tools with Metrics

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