Choose A New S-Word: Let’s Say So Long To Sexy!

Choose A New S-Word: Let's Say So Long To Sexy!

It is a Friday. And yes, some might consider this post a bit amusing – especially some of my alliterations, so it will fill the role of a Friday Funny share. But, there’s a part of me that’s dead serious.

Sexy … BLECH!

Sometimes the use of the term, in social media and digital marketing circles especially, just sickens me.

For the most part, party peeps, no one’s thinking about how sexy your social media services are, or are not. And let’s face it, many of the entrenched faces and voices in the industry, are aging. No, I’m not starting an ageist rant. I know there are several social media hotties in our midst.

But c’mon. I’m about to turn 44. I try to take care of myself, I play tennis and lift weights, and on good days I look in the mirror and think I’m cute as a button. But, I’m certainly not the epitome of sexy. I’m middle-aged and often crabby, for Pete’s sake (I hope Pete won’t think I’m taking his name in vain).

Let me ask you a question? Is anyone labeling Ted Rubin’s ideas or articles sexy? Doubtful. Socktastic (ha ha, it’s even an “S” word)? Probably. Sexy? Not so much. Same goes for Mark Schaefer. And for that other Schaffer? Neal, that’s it!

Strive For Something BETTER Than Sexy!

I don’t yearn for sexy.

[clickToTweet tweet=”I don’t want my acquaintances, peers and clients to think of me as ‘sexy.’ ” quote=”I don’t want my acquaintances, peers and clients to think of me as sexy (actually that’s quite creeptastic).” theme=”style4″]

I don’t want my design work deemed sexy. I really don’t want sexy attributed to me by anyone other than my husband. And maybe Benedict Cumberbatch (swoon). Okay?

Can we suss out a new S-word to get all jiggy with (yes, that DID totally out me as middle-aged, and I’m fine with it) going forward?

There are ever so many scintillating (add that one to the list post-haste) S-words we could champion instead.

How about smart, special, savvy?

What about giving stellar a whirl? It comes from the stars!

We could try standup, standout, striking. Maybe test the waters with successful, stirring, smashing or spirited?

If you like to snark and sass (sound like anyone you know?), you could strive for sparkling, salty, smoking or even sizzling!

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with being seen as skillful or satisfactory is there?

You can try for stupendous heights of sublime or supremity!

You can really knuckle down and go for sesquipedalian. WHAT? But, of course, it means “given to or characterized by the use of long words.” LOL!

Are you always giving when you write and share? Then there’s no doubt you could be described as swagalicious!

Last, but certainly not least, you can go for the penultimate “S” word and hobnob with the likes of a very famous Mary! Poppins, of course. Let’s all embrace supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!

Seriously? Enough With The Sexy!

I’ve just provided you with a stunning selection (still rocking that “S”) of superior words that will mean a lot more to your audience than the smarmy use of “sexy” to describe everything from scotch tape to sugar cookies!

Who’s with me?

Aside: Why didn’t I link to any of the powerhouse fellas I mentioned above?  Because I’m not trying to piggyback off their names to get reads on this post. It was a serious question. But I didn’t reference any of their specific work, so I feel linking would have been a little shady and gratuitous.

Your Content Is The Rhythm Section Of Your Brand!

Your Content Is The Rhythm Section Of Your Brand!

I’m a big fan of music with a pounding or pulsating rhythm. My mother used to laugh about the house shaking when I ensconced myself in my room with my music. I’ve always been able to work with music playing, back to my college term paper days. I don’t go for classical or calming, I want a steady building rhythm that keeps me pepped up for productivity!

Don’t you think your readers want the same steady rhythm when it comes to your content?

Content, Like A Good Band, Should Be Tight

When you hear about a band putting out a great album, or putting on a good show you often hear that the drummer was tight, or “in the pocket.” This means the drummer’s sticks are precise. But it also means there’s some personality and finesse shining through. The drummer’s keeping everyone in the band in time, but he/she’s also laying down a killer groove.

Your content should be doing the same thing for your brand.

Your content must be tight, must be on topic and what you write has to keep in line with your brand message and purpose.

But you’ve also got to lay down a groove and make the read a good time. Writers, like drummers, must let their finesse and personality shine within the tight confines of grammar and format.

Style Drives Bands AND Brands

Your content shouldn’t overshadow your ultimate goal, which is providing a great product, service or solution to your ideal client. The same goes for a great rhythm section. The bass player and the drummer aren’t there to outshine the vocals or the lyrics. They are there to enhance it.

Your content, shared across social media platforms, might be driving many eyes to your ultimate prize … what you’re selling. But, it has to do so carefully, with nuance and subtlety. You can’t slap your readers in the face with a hard sell.

Music shouldn’t be an assault on the ears. Your content shouldn’t be an assault on reader experience, either.

Is your content subtly highlighting and enhancing your products, services and solutions? If not, why not?

Dynamics Drive The Experience

I’m a fan of the loud/soft/loud or slow/fast/slow style in song. The Pixies, one of my favorite bands, nailed this with their music.

Another great example? Nirvana.

A plodding pace, in music or in content, soon becomes background filler or annoying. At the same time, too loud with no break in the noise doesn’t work either. Yelling at your audience rarely garners great result.

Dynamics drive the brand experience. Your content must showcase these varying dynamics. From the careful and calming recitation of facts and analytics to the exuberant drive of true emotion, your content must run the gamut.

If your articles aren’t eliciting any emotion, you’ll want to take a deeper look at your content and brand dynamics, then make sure your content showcases those dynamics. Are you lulling your readers into a near doze because your content lacks the dynamics to drive results?

We Want To Feel That Content!

What you publish should be more than a read, more than a quick scan for facts and quotes worth sharing. Your content has to build up the feels, much like a great song.

Music triggers emotion. So do great stories shared. If you think of your content as stories, as the sound of your brand, you’ll better appreciate what must be done to appeal to those reading.

Is your content staying to true to your brand vision and driving it forward? Or is it out of step and possibly out of tune? Your brand can’t build momentum or rhythm if your content isn’t keeping pace.

 

Focusing On A Niche Doesn’t Make Me A Numbskull!

Focusing On A Niche Doesn't Make Me A Numbskull!

I have two reasons for writing this article.

First off, I attended WordCamp last weekend and had a fantastic time. But I also came away with an increased desire to niche-down my design and digital marketing services to best suit the target audience with whom I’d most like to work.

The second prompt was this Google Plus post, by good friend and savvy marketer, Stephan Hovnanian. Before I dive into the topic, I don’t think Stephan was calling me to task, or insinuating my preference for WordPress or Fireworks makes me a ninja or guru. As a fellow fan of pushback and discussion, Stephan will, probably, appreciate my take on the subject (fingers crossed).

WordPress Is Our Way, NOT The Only Way!

When it comes to web design, both halves of Go Creative Go choose to use WordPress.

Focusing on WordPress doesn’t make me one of the unsavory usurper experts (think guru, ninja, evangelist, etc.).

What does it make me? A web designer determined to focus my skills so that I can offer the best options for my clients. I prefer not to be a jack of all trades, master of none. To quote Seinfeld, I want to be master of my own domain. I want to focus on continuing to be a fine WordPress designer/developer.

Have I seen some fantastic sites created with Joomla or Drupal? Sure. I’ve seen some snazzy sites created with Wix, if I’m being honest. And, on the flip side, I’ve seen some utter crap designed and developed using WordPress.

That doesn’t change my choice to focus on designing and developing the best sites I can using WordPress as my weapon of choice. WordPress is my way, it’s not the only way.

Focus Isn’t Futile!

Focus increases functionality.

If I dabbled with Drupal and jumped around in Joomla, I’d probably learn how to do a few things. But I prefer focusing increasing the functionality and customer fit of the sites I design and develop based on my WordPress focus.

As a team dedicated to learning everything we can about this tool we’ve chosen to use, we can tackle almost any client want, need, even dream.

Targeting More Than The Tools!

Our business niche and focus is about a lot more than the tools we use and the finished projects we create with those tools.

Over the course of the weekend, immersed in learning about running a WordPress business, I found myself thinking long and hard about creating a client niche. A niche that would allow me to work with the very individuals I hang out with online every day.

I was already excited to be geeking out with my peers and fellow design doers. But, I’d been feeling stretched when it came to my service offerings and those to whom they appealed. I was losing my mojo, bit by bit, and feeling tired.

I’ll speak more about the client niche in another article, once I’ve made some changes to the site and sussed out my service offerings.

The point is, we can’t successfully work with a target audience that includes EVERYONE.

My Go-To Might Be Your Get Lost!

I admit I’m a Google fan girl. I love Drive, Docs, Gmail, Chrome and more. But I certainly don’t shun those that prefer Evernote for their blog ideation process. I have a Dropbox account, too. And I always have Safari open as my secondary browser.

I work with both clients and collaborators who have their own, different, systems in place. I adapt as needed.

Go-to tools simply mean you’ve taken the time to really dig into the full functionality of the tool in order to find what works best for you. What’s best for me, might not be best for you. And that’s A-OK hunky dory.

But it would be silly to turn up your nose and decide I’m a ninja, guru or evangelist (just typing that made me shudder with horror) based on my use of a tool.

Are my digital marketing strategies and practices somehow sullied by my preference for a Buffer/Tweetdeck combo over Hootsuite? Of course not!

Do Your Research, As I’ve Done Mine

I’ve spent a lot of time, dollars and effort to come up with my business focus and the tools that allow me to maintain that focus.

You must put in the same work when you choose both the practitioners and the platforms you’ll use to help your business succeed.

If you fall into the clutches of a ninja, guru or other shady dealer, it’s probably down to you failing to put in the effort to ensure that ninja was in tine with your own niche and specific needs.

The One Thing I Will NOT Do After WordCamp Atlanta!

The One Thing I Will NOT Do After WordCamp Atlanta!

Wordcamp Atlanta Absolutely Rocked!

I had a fantastic weekend full of networking and learning. From the fantastic food to the many new friends made, Wordcamp Atlanta (#wcatl) was a fantastic experience.

The day after a conference or event is often divided between playing catch-up and creating deeper connections with the awesome people you met while attending.

My rainy Monday morning to-do list includes the following:

  • Emailing clients whose projects need updates.
  • Cleaning out the email I didn’t get to read/delete over the weekend.
  • Adding some more handles to #wcatl Twitter list.
  • Connecting with a few folks on Linkedin.
  • Seeing which #wcatl attendees are Google+ geeks like me.
  • Checking out presenter and attendee websites.
  • Checking out presenter and attendee blogs (if applicable) for content to share.
  • Reviewing and setting up some of the tools shared during the weekend presentations.
  • Reviewing and setting up/revising some of the plug-ins shared during the weekend presentations.
  • Making some small tweaks to my own site, based on some of the smarts and best practices shared by event presenters.
  • Doing all of the same for Derek because he’s not the connecter/follower-upper that I am!

That to-do list isn’t complete. It’s actually about double the size, and I certainly won’t be checking off all of those items today, or even this week. But, you’ve now read more than 200 words, and you’d probably like me to make good on my title, so I’ll get to the point.

I Will NOT Be Adding Any Wordcamp Attendees to My Mailing List Without Permission!

Sadly, this is a topic I’ve written about recently, and fairly often in my content marketing past.

My email address and my inbox are sacred. I choose what enters that inner sanctum (to a point of course, I’m trying to create dramatic effect here). I choose which lists to join.

Spamming me will certainly put you on my radar, but not in the most positive of ways, In fact, I’m going to mark you with a yellow card and keep a close eye on you. A second misstep will get you ejected from the game. Yes, I’ve played quite a bit of soccer!

Permission Is Paramount!

We’ve talked briefly, between sessions or over lunch. And I absolutely do want to get to know you a little better. I took your business card or asked for your Twitter handle for that very reason.

And that’s the key. I asked. I did not assume. It’s about choice and willingness on both sides of this new relationship.

You can choose not to follow me on Twitter. You certainly don’t have to connect with me on Linkedin or add me to one of your Google Plus circles. I can follow you and even share your content without taking away your choice.

But if I manually add you to my mailing list, eschewing the opt-in process, I’m taking away your choice. I’m invading your space under an assumption that you want my email content. It’s like me walking up and taking a bite of your conference chocolate chip cookie (they were FABULOUS, BTW) without asking. At the very least you’re going to look at me askance. At worst, you may very well slap my hand or face!

My Inbox, My Choice!

Don’t assume and don’t presume. If someone wants more of your content or wants that content delivered via their inbox, they’ll take the required steps.

I’ll be signing up for a few mailing lists today. I’m also pretty sure I’ll be opting-out of some lists to which I never opted-in. It’s part of doing business the digital way. But it shouldn’t be.

Treat me with respect by treating my inbox with the same regard!

Better Brands Choose Their Words Wisely

Better Brands Choose Their Words Wisely

A.K.A. Don’t Be An Idiom Idiot!

There’s SO much more to smart and savvy brands than logos, color schemes and your font of choice.

The very words and phrases brands choose, and use/misuse, play a large role in the perception of your expertise, or lack thereof.

Per Merriam-Webster, one of my favorite go-to resources in writing and reading comprehension: An idiom is a rendition of a combination of words that have a figurative meaning. The figurative meaning is comprehended in regard to a common use of the expression that is separate from the literal meaning or definition of the words of which it is made.

Think Before You Turn That Phrase

We’ve all seen brands and individuals mangle what we call a “turn of phrase”. Admittedly, it’s often funny. But when you’re trying to promote yourself as a dedicated, dialed-in digital business marketer, certain common word choice errors, which I like to call idiom idiocy – as I can’t stop myself from employing alliteration whenever possible, might very well make you look foolish in the eyes of your potential client.

Some of these phrases may not “strictly” fall into the idiom camp – but again, for love of alliteration, I hope you forgive me!

Word Choice Woes!

Tongue In Cheek NOT Tongue and Cheek: Meaning that a statement or other phrase is made in an attempt at humor, is not seriously intended and should not be taken at face value. When I hear the botched version I immediately flash back to those horrible old Skoals commercials about a “pinch between your teeth and gum”. I don’t know why!

Bear With Me NOT Bare With Me: While you might be an especially handsome man or beautiful women, I’d prefer it if you kept your clothes on. We’re not THAT connected, OK?

“Bear with me,” the standard expression, is a request for forbearance or patience. “Bare with me” would be an invitation to get “nekkid” together.

Whet Your Appetite NOT Wet Your Appetite: While water is essential to life as we know it, it’s not the “wet” you’re looking for. Water applied to an appetite would serve to “dampen” rather than increase it. And this phrase is about more than that gourmet meal. Per TheFreeDictionary, to whet is: to cause someone to be interested in something and to be eager to have, know, learn, etc., more about it.

Pass Muster NOT Pass Mustard: You’re not doctoring up a hotdog from a sidewalk vendor! The phrase means “to be judged as acceptable.” It comes from the idea of mustering forces, militia – an army.

Tough Row To Hoe NOT Road To Hoe: I’ve seen plenty of road crews in my life – in Atlanta it seems every road is constantly in need of repair. That being said, I’ve never seen a crew member working with a hoe. That gardening implement is meant to create rows in which you’ll plant your crops (seeds). If you’ve ever gardened seriously – or farmed, you’ll know that’s pretty hard work. Hence the phrase, which means you’ve got a difficult task to carry out or a heavy set of burdens.

There you have it. Pithy phrases can draw in and entertain your audience. Or they can drive people away if you fall prey to idiom idiocy!

Smarter Marketing: Say No To Shortcuts!

Smarter Marketing: Say No To Shortcuts!

I can remember that, as a kid, whenever we got into the car with my parents, going on a road trip that was not part of our normal routine, we got ready for adventure. Why? It wasn’t so much that our destination was that adventurous. It was the trip itself. My dad was always looking for the perfect shortcut. The problem? They never shortened travel time. They either increased the time we spent in the car, or increased time spent in the car AND got us lost.

A funny family story, but it’s a whole different ball of wax if you’re constantly on the lookout for shortcuts as part of how you engage in marketing and running your business!

Marketing & Shortcuts Don’t Mix!

I often see the same thing happening with newer social businesses as they embark on their social media marketing journeys. The marketer, the driver of this social media or digital marketing vehicle, gets excited by apps, tools and other shortcuts “guaranteed” to increase and maintain their fan/follower/connection base in lightning quick fashion.

Unfortunately, many of these shortcuts lead that marketer on a merry chase full of wrong turns, detours and one way only avenues that end up leaving the marketing campaign and the company lost and unsure where they are or how to get home.

“With record speed” and “get it fast” are phrases bandied about by many an app/online tool developer. They’re ever ready to promise you a shortened journey, a shortcut that will make everything quick, easy and painless. The problem is that successful social endeavors require that you actively take part in the journey. Shortcuts, while seemingly faster, often take you in divergent directions that detract from the real reasons your engaging in social media and digital marketing.

Relationships Take Time!

Social media marketing is all about the relationship. And relationships can’t be rushed. They grow and change in their own unique time. Relationships that result in business are built on trust. You absolutely CANNOT rush the creation and maintenance of trust.

Shortcuts Ruin A Good Story!

Social business relies heavily on the sharing of stories rather than sales tactics, telling rather than selling. What happens when you speed through a story? What exactly was the point?  Key points get missed. The listener finds themselves unsure of the plot, the message. Sharing stories takes time.

While sharing is an integral part of social business, you can’t just share anything. It’s vital that you read and assess each item you think you might want to share. Rapid fire shares and retweets without reading often create bad business buzz. You might share a dead link, spam or worse. Do you want to be the marketer who shares information that is completely outdated or off base? I don’t think so!

Connections Count, So Take The Time To Connect Correctly!

Yes, it’s important to build a following – you want someone to see and appreciate that great information you’re creating and sharing. But you can’t rush. All likes are not created equal. Same goes for followers on Twitter and circles on Google+.

What’s the point in rushing to like hundreds of pages? Are you hoping to get several hundred likes in return. It really doesn’t work like that anymore. Same goes with connecting on Twitter. Are you all about #teamfollowback? What’s the end goal of following anyone and everyone? You might get the numbers, but will you get:

  • People who will actively take part in discussions?
  • Content worthy of sharing?
  • People willing to share your good content?

While the idea that you must follow to be followed on Twitter, or any other social media platform, is basically sound, again – you don’t want to just click the “follow” button without real intent.

Michael Hyatt states that “the higher your follower count, the more people assume you are an expert”, and therein lies the quandary for us. Do you want to be an “assumed” expert, that assumption based solely on one number? Or, would you rather be known as an expert based on the ideas, tips and tools shared? I’ll state openly that I prefer to work toward the latter.

Numbers for the sake of bigger numbers don’t have any real ROI. And yes, as much as social business is about the relationship over the sale, you have to consider and track ROI. There’s a purpose to the building of that relationship, one that your boss really wants to see well documented.

Shortcuts don’t build the types of numbers, the engaged and active communities, that help you put together the reports your boss, even if you’re the boss, wants to see. Careful planning, attention to detail and good old hard work build the relationships that build the numbers that net you positive ROI.

Skip the shortcuts and get busy creating that plan of action!

Say No To Marketing Shortcuts!

So now it’s your turn. We’re all looking to be more productive and get more done in the limited hours we’re allotted. We all have the same 24 hours in a given day. What marketing shortcuts make you mumble under your breath?

Personal Brands Are Different Than Product Brands

Personal Brands Are Different Than Product Brands

The concept of a personal brand is a relatively new one. Throughout modern times, we have come to generally associate the term brand with products. As personal branding gains traction, though, it requires different consideration. You can’t simply take what we know about branding sprockets and widgets and apply it blindly to personal branding and expect it to be successful.

As you devote more time and effort to your personal brand, consider these 4 key differences between a personal brand and a product brand.

1. You are on your own.

Sure, you can (and should) get help from designers, coaches, accountants, and assistants. However, when the newsletter is late, when there are issues with the presentation, when the website isn’t up to par, when the you-know-what hits the fan, you will be the one dealing with it front and center.

You can’t run from this, so use it to your advantage.

Promote the importance of the one-to-one connection and don’t be afraid to be seen as a one-person band. Use first person language in your copy. Be up front about your limitations as an individual. Your audience will respond to this, as it’s much more authentic and real than trying to make yourself look BIGGER.

2. Your personality and your brand have to mesh.

How odd would it be if you cultivated a button-down image for your personal brand when you’re more of a loose and casual individual?

Part of the job of a brand is to give people who don’t know you a blueprint for how future interactions will play out.

Imagine, then, how jarring it might be to project one persona in your website and other marketing materials, only to arrive as a totally different person IRL. Or, worse yet, how bad would it be if you had to put on an act to meet expectations? Sounds exhausting.

Be true to yourself and make sure your brand is an extension of your REAL personality. You should be so comfortable with your brand that it feels like your favorite item of clothing. If there’s a disconnect, it’s time to put your brand under the microscope.

3. You NEVER get to walk away from your personal brand.

You know and I know that there’s personal life and there’s business life. No one that I’ve ever met is the exact same persona from client to family to friends. That, though, is a tough distinction to expect potential clients to make.

Whether people see you in the setting of a ballgame or a networking event, they are going to associate you with the services that you sell. This leaves you with two options: 1) make sure all visible elements of your personal life are carefully sanitized or 2) create the kind of brand that can exist peacefully within your personal world.

In other words, if your Saturday consists of a couple pitchers of beer and drunkenly butchering it at karaoke night, you need to make damn sure that stays private (I’m looking at you, Facebook) or pick clients that are okay with handing their problems over to you, regardless.

4. Products are bought. You will be sold.

Think about the last few things you’ve bought. Chances are, you went to a store or to Amazon.com, chose the product on your own, paid for it and went on your way. In essence, a very simple transaction.

If only selling your services were so simple.

If you’re lucky, you’ll only have to convince someone that you are the right person for the job. More often than not, though, coaches, speakers and consultants have the added task of convincing someone that they have a problem that needs fixing in the first place.

For example, most people that I talk to don’t see where their website is costing them time and money, they just vaguely know that something in their business needs fixing. I have to first convince them that their website is the issue, THEN convince them that I’m the right guy for the job.

So, what do you do about this? Build qualifiers into your brand: “if your website is missing this plugin, and you do this for a living, then you’re probably losing money, and here’s a few reasons why.”

Never forget the necessary educational component of your brand materials. No one is going to buy your services solely because you’re the cheapest, the smartest, the tallest. Educate your audience. If you start by showing them WHY they need you, convincing them that they need you gets a whole lot easier.

Your Assignment!

Think about these items over the next couple weeks as you make tweaks to your website, send out your newsletter or prep materials for your next event.

Is your brand in tune or is it merely acting out the old-school tactics we’ve been taught for branding soda and vacuum cleaners?

I’d love to know if these points lead to any practical solutions. Send me an email, leave me a comment or even give me a call and let me know what you come up with. We love working with those looking to become more aware about the development of their personal brand.

4 Ways Ninjas And Digital Marketing Don’t Mix

4 Ways Ninjas And Digital Marketing Don't Mix

There are certain titles, those used in social media profiles and about sections, that make each of us cringe, laugh or even snort derisively. I’ve often admitted that the “evangelist” title, especially, makes me a little sick to my tummy.

But across the board, it seems, there’s one digital marketing title that surpasses them all as the most overused, the most silly and the most ineptly misapplied.

That title? Ninja, of course.

Today, I’m taking to Wikipedia, not my beloved Merriam-Webster, to add a little insight into the inappropriate appropriation of this profession, or calling, as a title digital marketers.

A ninja (忍者?) or shinobi (忍び?) was a covert agent or mercenary in feudal Japan. The functions of the ninja included espionage, sabotage, infiltration, and assassination, and open combat in certain situations. Their covert methods of waging war contrasted the ninja with the samurai, who observed strict rules about honor and combat.

I’m going to break down parts of the definition above to showcase the silliness of applying this title to your digital marketing expertise.

Covert

The idea that a digital marketing expert would act in a covert fashion is frightening. After all, aren’t social media marketing and other forms of digital marketing (especially content curation and creation) all about transparency and appearing as an open and honest voice for a brand or business?

Well, what do you know, it looks like I am going to get to use my dictionary love in this article!

co·vert adjective ˈkō-(ˌ)vərt, kō-ˈ; ˈkə-vərt
: made, shown, or done in a way that is not easily seen or noticed : secret or hidden

Covert acts are not avowed, which means they’re not stated in an open and public fashion. That’s the direct opposite of the way we are taught that social media marketing should be approached.

Open, honest, visible … all are important to building the trust that allows our digital marketing efforts to succeed.

Mercenary

We all know immediately if a digital marketer is all about what’s in it for them. One definition is mercenary is:

one that serves merely for wages; especially : a soldier hired into foreign service

If we look beyond the immediate association with soldiers, and apply the term mercenary to digital marketers, we’re looking at someone with no belief in the system, no real understanding of the value of the relationships developed. They’re just in it for the money, or perhaps the hopes of becoming a big name.

Is that the kind of person you’d choose to hire? Someone that isn’t going to listen to what you need, or factor in what your ideal clients are seeking? Of course not.

Infiltration

in·fil·trate verb in-ˈfil-ˌtrāt, ˈin-(ˌ)
: to secretly enter or join (something, such as a group or an organization) in order to get information or do harm

If we look at the idea of infiltration of your digital presence, it is, I hope, rather scary. Is the digital marketing professional you hired seeking to build on your current success for you, or for themselves?

Will they engage in less than smart, savvy and correct practices that will mar your brand, and the trust that brand has managed to build and maintain? Will they buy followers, spam leads, engage in link-baiting schemes?

No matter how small in scale, any of these activities do harm to your brand, to your reputation, to the trust you’ve worked so hard to create within your community.

Lacking Strict Rules About Honor

The samurai embraced honor and following the rules of honor above all else. The Ninja? Not so much. The job, for the ninja, was to get the task done, no matter the actions required.

Is that lack of code of ethics really what inspires you to hire someone whom you’re going to give access to your digital real estate? NO!

Say No To The Ninja!

Would you hire an accounting ninja? Someone who played loosey goosey with the IRS and your dollars and cents? Of course not. So, why would ever, even for one second, consider hiring a digital marketing professional that chooses to portray their expertise in such a way.

Open, honest, visible, honorable … all are terms you want tied to your brand and your business, online and off. None of those terms have anything to do with the covert operations and tactics undertaken by the too often romanticized, and obviously misunderstood, ninja.

Your Turn!

What digital marketing titles really get your goat? I’ve already stated, many times, that I find the “evangelist” title one of the most galling. Share your thoughts and title talk in the comments below!

Website Personality: Does Your Business Site Have Any?

Website Personality: Does Your Business Site Have Any?

If you spend any time interacting with social media and digital marketing experts and enthusiasts online, you’ll soon suss out that there’s an awful lot of personality bouncing around in their social media circles.

From intelligent introverts to effervescent extroverts, personalities abound across the social space.

So, I find it rather funny when I come across the websites of some positively peachy personalities – in any business, and find them antiseptic and almost clinical.

Website Personality: Does Your Site Have Any To Speak Of?

Recently saw this posted on Facebook, and immediately put on my devil’s advocate blogging hat:

A business website is all business. Your blog is where you can show the human side of your business.

While I do agree that your business website needs to put a professional foot forward, I don’t think that doing so to the extent that you completely lack personality is the smartest decision you can make.

While your website is the online premises of your business, it’s still the reflection of your brand and your brand is bolstered by your personality.

Design With The REAL You In Mind!

One of my topical categories on this blog is “Real You, Real Biz.”

Are you antiseptic, clinical, lacking color? Of course not. You’re so much more!

Are you warm and easily approachable? If so, why is your website color scheme cool and clinical? Why is the layout boxy with a lot of hard edges? Can you see how there’s a bit of disparity on display?

Forcing your personality to fit within specific boxes isn’t very genuine. Prospects and leads can smell disingenuous like something nasty on the bottom of their shoe.

Personality Beyond Your Blog!

If you only let your personality shine on your blog pages it’s potentially hidden from many site visitors. They don’t all click through to your articles.

Consider where your site visitors land? Is it your about page? Your FAQ? Your product/services page? Once you’ve figured out the point of entry you can consider how to add some professional, but still REAL you, personality.

Your bio, your about section, doesn’t have to read like a resume. While you want to showcase your expertise and your accomplishment, you can do so without boring your audience to tears.

You can share the REAL you with a photo of the REAL you. Professional head shots will always have their place, but they might not leave that prospect feeling warm and fuzzy. Absolutely use that ultra-professional image where it’s best suited, but a photo that shows who you really are as a person can absolutely have a place on your business website.

Consider Your Ideal Clients & Share What They’ll Want!

Of course you have to consider your industry and your ideal client. If your research deduces they want buttoned-up and extremely formal, then that’s absolutely the direction your site design should take.

But if your research shows that your ideal clients prefer engaging in business that shows a softer, warmer, funnier or more hands-on personality, then you need to embrace that mindset.

Professionalism doesn’t preclude personality.

Know, Like & Trust

It’s been said over and over again, by large sites like Inc. and Copyblogger, as well as the small fries like me: people want to do business with other people/businesses they know, like and trust.

Your professionalism, of course, adds to that trust. But knowing and liking you is directly tied into your brand and your business actually sharing a bit of the REAL you.

Do we tend to like those that are perfunctory, clinical, and always all about business? With the exception of the quirky and lovable Sheldon Cooper, not so much.

A little shared personality can go a long way toward creation a relationship based on prospects and clients liking the time they spend working with you, because you have allowed them to get to know you as a real person.

How’s Your Site Personality?

Do you think your site showcases the real you and gives your visitors a real idea of what it’s like to work with you, your team, your brand?

If the answer is no, how do you think you can remedy that lack of personality and create a better relationship with those looking to employ you? I’m always up for some discussion, so let’s do so via the comments.

 

Dear Big Name Marketer: Thoughts From A Small Timer

Dear Big Name Marketer: Thoughts From A Small Timer

Yesterday I received an email from a quite well known (at least in digital marketing circles) social media expert. That’s really nothing new, as I’ve opted in to several newsletters to help keep me as up to date as possible on all things social and digital marketing.

This email though, really got my hackles up. Got me feeling a little bit ranty. In fact I unsubscribed from the list.

I do have to thank this marketer, perhaps with my tongue planted firmly in my cheek, for the idea for this post, however!

So, dear big name in the biz, this small timer would like to share a few thoughts with you.

Don’t Assume I’m An Idiot!

Consider your list carefully. While you might have your fair share of absolute newbs, it’s also a good guess that you’ve got some marketers with a smaller following, who are still fairly well established in the field.

With that in mind, stop with the schoolmarm shares. We don’t need you to smack our hand with a ruler for silly infractions. Why not? We’ve been in the trenches long enough to know better and your assumption that we don’t is ridiculous.

Dig in a little and share some useful professional knowledge, something beyond the basics that showcases your unique understanding of digital marketing practices and showcases your online clout. I mean, you’re an expert, right?

Your Way Is NOT The Only Way!

And shockingly, what works for you might actually make others shudder.

I can’t tell you how many “experts” I see resorting to sharing mindless fluff like the motivational quote, ridiculously off topic question, and cute cat meme variety.

Don’t get me wrong, I engage in the occasional #Caturday post and discussion, as I love my sweet feline beasties. But every day? No way.

I’m following you to gain some insights into better marketing practices and ideas. I can get motivational quotes and silly photos anywhere.

You certainly wouldn’t create a strategy for a client that included an overabundance of cute and kitsch rather than the sharing of interesting, informative and intelligent information that might actually result in leads and prospects? Would you?

Practice What You Preach!

if you can’t walk the walk, you shouldn’t talk the talk. Cliche? Yes, but also very true. And a tenet that many a smaller marketer will hope that you follow.

Don’t boast the benefits of the 80/20 rule then let me see your Twitter and Google+ feeds full of ONLY your own posts.

If you preach the idea that you should show appreciation for shares, then NEVER acknowledge those shares? You look like an ass. There, I said it. If you’re that busy, hire a staffer to monitor your mentions.

If I share your article every day, I don’t feel that you need to thank me for each and every one, but an occasional favorite and a short and sweet “thanks for sharing” message will go a long way to keep me sharing.

Shockingly, we notice when you don’t. And then we pay even more attention the next time we share!

Embrace The Real Idea of Evergreen!

We already talked about not filling your feed with only your own articles, but I’d like to take that one step further.

If you’re going to share only your own stuff, be up front about it. And more importantly, make sure the content is still timely, relevant, and – above all, CORRECT.

Sharing old articles about Facebook can REALLY showcase your lack of effort. Facebook has made so many changes over the years that you simply can’t just set up automatic sharing of all of your archived articles.

If a newbie reads it, they might do something that at present violates Facebook terms of service. And if a smaller, but smart and savvy marketer sees it, they’re going to ding you for sharing out of date information, not-so smart automation practices, and maybe even some hubris.

With That Being Said …

Let me state, loudly and proudly, that there are plenty of big name marketers more than worth their big name. These peeps know who they are because they walk their talk daily.

They engage in conversation and discussion with the followers who seek out and share their content and do not belittle those with whom they are conversing.

They respond to blog comments with a unique reply specific to the individual commenting.

They create new, unique, and compelling content each time they publish. There’s no rehashing of ideas already well discussed and debated.

I avidly follow many a big name and do my best to read and share (always read before sharing, even trusted sources) the articles and posts that appeal and resonate with me and my audience.

But to the big names that aren’t so savvily social, won’t you take a minute to think on what I’ve shared?