Archive for May, 2014

Breaking Through the B.S. (Brainstorming) – Some Tips for Better Results

Tuesday, May 27th, 2014

Brainstorming is one of those activities that, on the surface, seems pretty simple. In reality, though, effectively using this technique can be challenging, Why? Because we all have a tendency to want to discuss/debate and comment on the brainstorming comments of others — and even our own!The key for an effective brainstorming session is to ensure that a wide range of “top of mind” inputs can be gathered — not to dissect and discuss each point that comes up.

We work with organizations on strategic planning activities regularly. One of the keys to a successful planning effort is ensuring that all inputs are gathered and that good ideas/inputs are not “shot down” or dismissed as part of the brainstorming process.

A couple of things that we have done to help ensure that the brainstorming process works as it should: (more…)

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Selling Yourself, or Your Services, on LinkedIn

Thursday, May 22nd, 2014

Social media – and particularly LinkedIn – has emerged as THE new method of job search, providing significant benefits to both job seekers and recruiters. I’ve been a long-time LinkedIn proponent and use it extensively for my own professional communication needs. I also highly recommend it to the students I work with each semester as the “go to” resource for job search–whether looking for internships, freelance opportunities or full-time jobs.

In fact, at the beginning of each semester in one of my classes I like to use it as an introduction to “selling something” — in this case themselves. And, truthfully, the steps and process for selling yourself or your business services via LinkedIn are absolutely the same as best practice marketing for any product or service. (more…)

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No Social Media? No Way!

Thursday, May 22nd, 2014

Financial institutions are on social media. Hospitals and healthcare systems are on social media. Even law enforcement agencies are becoming engaged. While some groups have, for very good reason, been slow to adopt social media as a means of communicating with various audiences, it’s fair to say that most organizations that have an audience of some sort have found social media to be a “must do” rather than a “we need to think about it.”

But not all. (more…)

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Which Comes First: Customer Service or Customers?

Tuesday, May 20th, 2014

I saw an interesting comment on a blog site recently in response to an article about 6 effective marketing tips for small businesses. One poster noted that, among the small businesses she works with, her focus is on providing strong customer service and trusting that the rest will come. (Sort of a Field of Dreams approach I guess…)

There is, of course, absolutely nothing wrong with focusing on customer service–in fact I’m all in favor of it. But (more…)

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6000 Views and Counting – LinkedIn Authorship Gets Results!

Thursday, May 15th, 2014

LinkedIn recently added a new option for many of its members — the ability to write and publish posts that would be put before a broader audience than their own connections. If you see a little pencil icon next to the paperclip icon in the “Share an update…” box at the top of your home page, you have the ability to create and publish posts. Both my consulting profile and my freelance writing profile have these icons as do all my clients’ profiles.

So we’ve been experimenting with this option to see what kind of activity we’re able to generate.

Yesterday I posted an item on LinkedIn that I’d recently written as a blog post–“Four Little Words That Can Reveal a Lot: ‘Why Do You Ask?'”–the response has been phenomenal (at least by our standards). Last night as I was reviewing online activity for all of my accounts I noticed that I had about (more…)

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Feeding the Beast: Where Will Content Come From to Meet Your Market’s Needs?

Tuesday, May 13th, 2014

Content management and content marketing are big buzzwords these days–at least in the circles where we travel! As a writer for a number of years this is great news to me, and to the communication students I work with. The demand for quality content is arguably greater than it has ever been before–and growing exponentially.

The State of the Media Report from the Pew Research Journalism Project for 2014 reported that BIA/Kelsey estimated that native advertising revenues reached $2.3 billion in 2013, up from $1.6 billion in 2012—and projected that revenues would reach (more…)

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Four Little Words That Can Reveal a Lot: “Why do you ask?”

Thursday, May 8th, 2014

A recent experience I had, contrasted with a similar experience my husband had a few years ago, made me consider how easy it can be to not only gather key marketing research intelligence from customers but also to improve the service experience, generate positive word-of-mouth and, ultimately, increase sales. (more…)

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Yes! You DO Have Competitors!

Tuesday, May 6th, 2014

Every once in a while, we work with a client who believes that they do not have any competition–they are unique or their product is so exceptional that there is just nothing that competes. Those client conversations are always just a little bit awkward because, in reality, every organization of any size has competition of one form or another. Even an organization that is introducing a truly unique and innovative new product will deal with “indirect competition” (literally, “any other alternative” to what they have to offer). Acknowledging competition can be tough, but it’s a critical step in determining how to best “position” and sell what it is that you have to offer.

One way to think about this is to ask yourself the question: (more…)

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Best Practices for LinkedIn Groups

Thursday, May 1st, 2014
I’m a long-time fan of LinkedIn, and LinkedIn Groups, particularly for B2B marketing. I’ve used LinkedIn and groups for myself and for my clients whose goals generally include building credibility and establishing thought leadership status. A business contact recently asked me what my “top tips” would be for participating in LinkedIn and, particularly, for participation in LinkedIn Groups–one of the big benefits of this social media platform in my opinion.

(more…)

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