The Choice Is Mine: HAVE TO Is For Hustlers And Henchmen!

The Choice Is Mine: HAVE TO Is For Hustlers And Henchmen!

I don’t HAVE TO do anything!

Well, I take that back. I do HAVE to do a few things, like:

  • breathe
  • drink
  • eat
  • sleep
  • poop

But I absolutely, positively, no freaking way, HAVE TO market my business exactly how someone else markets their business.

And neither do you!

Opinions Are Like …

You know the saying, opinions are like a**holes, we all have one? It makes a point, albeit in a crude way (which I, of course, rather appreciate). But when someone tries to push their opinion on you as fact, as the ONLY way to act or move forward, that’s when things get rather sinister.

Belligerent blanket statement utterances don’t make you better than anyone else. They don’t make you a better marketer, designer, businessman/woman or human being.

Quite the opposite actually. Blanket statements can make you appear rigid, out of sync, behind the times, even downright clueless.

The one thing REALLY good marketers know …

is that there’s no single right way to go about achieving your aims and attaining your goals, especially via digital marketing measures.

Hustlers & Henchmen?

While I do live to alliterate, there’s more to my title than word flow.

My way or the highway tactics leave me cold for a variety of reasons, but never more so than when these tactics are touted as “good as gold” go-to gems for digital marketing and design success.

Remember all the old school SEO companies promising page one search ranks back in the day? OK, a few of the really less than legit are still doing so today, but I digress. Shysters all. And it took a lot of time, effort and writing article after article for the legit SEO companies and individuals to drive this point home.

I hate seeing great people get hustled

These great people have great ideas, products, services and more. They have so much to offer. Then they fall prey to a “Have To” huckster and, sadly, they lose a little of the light that made them shine so bright.

[clickToTweet tweet=”You don’t HAVE TO do anything … halt the hustlers and hucksters!” quote=”You don’t HAVE TO do anything … halt the hustlers and hucksters!” theme=”style4″]


It’s been said many times, by MANY a savvy social media marketer … there’s no ONE-SIZE fits all solution that will reap you immediate reward and everlasting fame and fortune.

There are NO marketing gods. Every marketer out there has a few failures notched on their bedpost. Dig a little deeper into these hustlers tactics and you’ll often find they fail to walk what they’re talking.

Let’s Halt The HAVE TO Hustle!

There’s really no room for song and dance shenanigans in social media and digital marketing. That whole trust, honesty, transparency trifecta should have put the kibosh on these klutzy maneuvers. Yet, they still abide, and, in some instances, abound.

Each business has its own personality, its own story, its own voice. It stands to reason, then, that each business should have its own marketing and design style.

Of course there are best practices that we all must consider implementing. But even best practices can bend a bit, be flexible. When you design and market your business and brand with the best intent and purpose, you’re on the right path, even if you break a few “rules” and dance to the beat of your own drum.

There Are No Marketing Gods!

There Are No Marketing Gods!

When it comes to marketing, there are of course many people we look up to, from whom we wish to learn. We all have our own marketing icons, individuals we think of as influencers, even powerhouses.

But are there marketing gods? No!

[clickToTweet tweet=”Gods are omnipotent and omniscient … marketers ARE NOT!” quote=”Gods are omnipotent and omniscient … marketers ARE NOT!” theme=”style4″]


I often read articles, disagree with them, and store them for future use as article fodder. I’ve been sitting on this topic for a while, waiting for the impetus to really let loose. Today feels like the day.

Gods vs. Marketers

First things first, let’s take a quick trip to one of my favorite sites,, in order to understand two of the key words I intend to use to debunk the gods of marketing myth.

[om-nip-uh-tuh nt]

1. almighty or infinite in power, as God.
2. having very great or unlimited authority or power.

[om-nish-uh nt]

1. having complete or unlimited knowledge, awareness, or understanding; perceiving all things.

While the gods may be all knowing and all powerful, the human beings, not so much. And marketers are, indeed, human beings, no matter how often we might think that certain members of that industry are actually robots!

All Powerful? I Think Not!

While many a marketer has managed to spark lightning with an idea, to make a thunderous statement, even to create a tidal wave with a post (going viral), none have the ability to make it so every time they share a thought. You’re not Thor. You can’t actually call thunder and lightning at a whim.

While sometimes circumstances and luck work together and something we hope will go viral actually does, no marketer has the power to “make viral happen” through sheer will or intent.

Power Misused Makes For Marketing Fails

Consider, if you will, the head of the Greek pantheon, Zeus. The dude had a temper problem and his jealousy often got the better of him. Marketers aren’t immune to these failings, either.

But, because Zeus was a god, he could get away with his failings. His anger even managed to make him more powerful.

But when a marketer loses his/her cool and makes a rash decision, it doesn’t add to allure and power. It, instead, results in admonishment and even embarrassment. How many times have you seen a marketer lash out, only to be lambasted by their followers and anyone else drawn into the embarrassing spectacle.

The gods could get away with stupidity because of that all encompassing power. Marketers, not so much!

Even Experts Don’t Know It All!

It’s time now to take a look at the all knowing side of being a deity.

Let’s look at Athena as we dissect this. She was a serious bad ass. But she often had to make unpopular choices to achieve her end goal. She could do so, because of her omniscience. She knew what the end result was before she took the steps to get there.

We mere mortals, I’m sad to say, don’t have this ability. We certainly can plot out the steps in order to reach a goal, and we’re often successful. But we can’t know with certainty that each goal will be met, not at the outset. Goals and results aren’t synonymous. Sometimes they just don’t synch.

[clickToTweet tweet=”All powerful gods could get away with poor choices. Marketers? Not so much!” quote=”Gods, because they were all powerful, could get away with poor choices. Marketers? Not so much!” theme=”style4″]


When marketers make unpopular choices, even with a positive end goal in mind, we lose audience. Why? Because we’re not all powerful, and fear as a motivator just doesn’t work the way it used to. Because we can’t see the end before we’ve launched the beginning, we have to be very careful.

We’re not deities and our failures can’t be quashed so easily. Instead, they are openly discussed, often lamented, even more often lambasted, and they can follow us around forever. I don’t know about you, but I can’t throw a detractor into the sky and make them a harmless constellation. You?

No Marketer Is Immortal

The gods had one crucial weapon that we marketers simply don’t have in our arsenal. Immortality.

We all have a shelf life, especially if we are unwilling to grow, change and adapt with our environment. Marketing, especially in the digital sphere, changes at quick speed. What once worked well, is often mere months, even weeks, later a waste of time and effort.

Many marketers who were HUGE names as little as five years ago, are now hanging on to their popularity with all they’ve got, because the platforms on which they built that popularity are not immortal either.

And when a marketer, big name or small, big name or relative unknown, makes a big time mistake, there’s just not enough power or knowledge to get them through the backlash completely unscathed. Followers are lost, shares decrease, book sales drop, etc.

Fickle, Thy Name Is Human …

I’ve often said that if we all liked the same things the world would be a very boring place. Our opinions matter and those opinions help make many a marketing name popular. Those same opinions, though, can topple a one-time great to the bottom of the heap.

Marketing, by nature is fickle, as are the eyes we hope will land on our marketing prize. We can’t guarantee a win every time. Brand advocates can become brand busters in a flash.

Putting a marketer on a pedestal can hurt both the marketer and those looking up to him/her. We all wobble, sometimes we topple, and sometimes we flat out land on our ass.

We’re not all knowing, and we’re certainly not all powerful. We have to be ready to turn around on a dime. That’s hard to do when we’re atop a pedestal expecting glowing accolades and sure support.

Temper that expectation and keep learning, evolving, adapting, testing and trying.

Content Marketing: Embrace Some Noise!

Content Marketing: Embrace Some Noise!

I often get article ideas as I fly through my Facebook feed. That they’re often my most snarky reads is telling, but that’s another discussion for another time and publish.

This one really grabbed my attention, as it came from a marketer who’s coming back after a fairly long hiatus. I’ve been carefully watching and monitoring the re-entry.

The post was targeted to email marketers and email content. The premise? Losing the noise to gain the reads.

Funnily enough, the post touted creating killer titles. The title they chose? 4 Newsletter Tips. Not sure killer is the descriptor I’d use, but … again, time to get back on topic.

Content Clutter: What To Cut?

As I don my devil’s advocate horns, I say you should keep some of the clutter, some of the noise, in your content? Am I mad?

Crazy like a fox, maybe!

You Can Clean-Up Too Much!

When you take that one step too far in an attempt to create the most clear and concise content, you often end up with a canned, vanilla, or otherwise unappealing read.

[clickToTweet tweet=”Too much #content clean-up gains you lackluster content that fails to inspire!” quote=”Too much #content clean-up gains you lackluster content that fails to inspire!” theme=”style4″]

Why is this? Because you’ve stripped out all of the personality, all of the verve, all of the pizazz. When you clear out the “clutter,” you often clear out the creative quirks that help you stand head and shoulders above the crowd.

You might respond with …

But so-and-so writes like this!

And I’ll engage in some witty repartee along the lines of …

If so-and-so jumped off a bridge, would you jump too?

Some Noise Can Stand Out!

We’ve all heard about content shock and how your content, to be seen, must stand out amongst all the other noise. It makes sense.

[clickToTweet tweet=”If you never make noise, your content won’t be heard above the current sound.” quote=”But, if you never make any noise, you can’t possibly be heard above the current sound.” theme=”style4″]

Consider music. Taken down to its very core, it’s meant to be heard. Thus, if we decide to go for extreme simplicity, all music is noise. We choose to listen to the musical style that appeals to us.

It’s much the same thing when it comes to the articles we read and the blogs we choose to follow. We read what we like, what makes us think, what appeals to us.

We’re drawn to specific noise.

Voice, Style, Tone? Not Noise!

Because we’re often reading, rather than listening to the content to which we subscribe (podcasts are another issue entirely), the noise is experienced with our eyes, not our ears.

Just yesterday, I received a lovely compliment, via Twitter. The new connection told me he loved my writing style. I was flattered, of course.

But here’s the thing. My writing style isn’t clean. It isn’t crisp. It’s fairly cluttered. I’m a noisy writer. There’s a lot of me thrown into the ideas and concepts I share when writing. A LOT.

Is all of my alliteration absolutely necessary? No. Am I getting rid of it in future. Again, no.

Do my article intros sometimes ramble? Sure. But I like to set a scene. And those who choose to read what I write seem to like that scene setting.

Embrace Your Necessary Noise!

We’re certainly not saying you should cram in clutter in order to ramp up your word count. Shorter posts certainly can be sweet when they get the point across quickly and well.

I rarely publish lengthy tomes. But I still embrace the noise that makes my content my own. I refuse to set aside the very style that has gained me readers in a bid to gain different readers. That would be akin to throwing out the baby with the bath water. Silly and senseless.

Dear Marketers: Easy Does It With Easy, Please!

Dear Marketers: Easy Does It With Easy, Please!

All it takes is a quick run through my tribes on Triberr or a fast dash through Feedly and there you have it. Effusive use of “easy.”

[clickToTweet tweet=”Did you know that everything related to #marketing is easy? I had no idea!” quote=”Did you know that everything related to marketing is easy? I had no idea!”]

I was under the misconception that many of us actually work pretty ding-danged hard to gain our level of expertise in our chosen fields. Shame on me!

All of the time spent researching, testing and tweaking, keeping up with industry trends and articles … all a big fat waste of time. Because it’s all SOOOOOOOO easy.

Once again I find myself quoting the brilliant (and fictional) Dr. Sheldon Cooper. For the most part easy is no more than malarkey!

Easy Is As Easy Does!

And it often reverts back to the quote I bogarted for the heading above (in case you don’t get it immediately, think Forrest Gump).

Easy is a relative term. We all have something, or several somethings that come easily to us. Using myself as an example, most athletic pursuits come pretty easily. Reading and research also apply.

[clickToTweet tweet=”#Easy is a relative term. There’s NO one-size-fits-all EASY solution for everything.” quote=”Easy is a relative term. There’s NO one-size-fits-all EASY solution for everything.” theme=”style4″]

You might think that I’d add graphic design, blogging or social media marketing to that list. But, SHOCKER, as much as I love them, and while I do think I’m pretty good at each, they don’t always come easy.

Creativity Isn’t Always Delivered In A Consistent Stream …

When your chosen profession draws on your creative ability and also requires consistency, you’re often faced with the dreaded dry spell. Sometimes you have to power through writer’s block, the inability to come up with a killer color scheme, a lack of fresh ideas.

It’s not as simple as shaking it off. A quick walk around the block doesn’t always bring the next BIG idea or burst of innovation.

Sometimes you have to keep on keeping on, creating schlock, deleting it, starting anew … over and over again.

Does that sound easy?

Time Spent Has To Be Considered

Even if the task itself is rather natural and falls handily into your skill set, it still takes time and effort.

[clickToTweet tweet=”At what point does #easy fail to make the cut-off? Five minutes? An hour? A day?” quote=”At what point does easy fail to make the cut-off? Five minutes? Half hour? An hour? Half a day? A day?” theme=”style4″]

I could keep going, but I’m guessing I’ve made my point.

Easy Devalues Talent, Expertise & Hard Work!

And it’s this point that really ruffles my feathers. Talent is something we spend time cultivating, expertise something we spend time honing. Delivering on creativity isn’t about speed or ease, it’s about work done well.

Sure, it’s easier for some than others. But, please note I used the word “easier,” not “easy.” It goes back to that idea of easy being relative. What takes me four hours might only take you two.  But I bet those two hours were filled with your expertise, your drive, your ambition and your hard work. Much like my four.

Tools Too Often Tout Easy!

Every day we hear how a certain tool or app is going to revolutionize the way we do business because it’s going to make our daily tasks easier. From design tools like Canva to scheduling tools like Hootsuite and Buffer, everything is now easy.

To be fair to many a tool creator, I’ll use the ever awesome Buffer as an example, they don’t all tout their tool or app as the second coming of easy. In fact, Buffer excels at creating content that showcases how the tool requires some time and effort even as it makes scheduling posts something we can automate.

Sadly, it’s often users of the tools, those that readily proclaim themselves evangelists of the easy application of said tool, that muck things up.

Tools, are simply that, tools. It’s the preparation and the skill that makes the tools valuable. Preparation, research, and the expertise behind them … NOT easy.

Hate To Tell You, But It Ain’t A Piece Of Cake!

Can we please stop throwing around easy like it’s the end all be all and everything that matters to business and brands?

It’s not easy. Most of it isn’t simple. It’s certainly not a snap of the fingers, nor is it a cake walk. Most of it involves hard work, plenty of time and effort, lots of trial and error and maybe even a tear or two. If you’re not prone to the occasional angry tear, you can substitute random swearing, desk bashing, what have you!

I’ll leave you with a final thought. When you try to come across as if everything you do is a breeze, easy-peezy-lemon-squeezy, you can come across like an absolute ass.

Lording it over your peers, potential clients, current clients, even friends and family isn’t cool. Give easy a break and showcase your commitment, your excellence, your talent instead.

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.

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.


Better Blogging: Singalong With Social Distortion

Better Blogging: Singalong With Social Distortion

It appears I’m making a return to my better blogging with lessons from some of my favorite songs. This time out I’m sharing blogging (and social media marketing) lessons we can learn from longtime punk rock storytellers Social Distortion.

As I started my research for this, though, it became obvious that so many blogging lessons could be tied to the story songs written and sung by these hard living rockers. It became obvious that this would have to be a two-part article.

So, without further ado, here’s the first part!

Better Blogging With A Little Help From Social Distortion

I Wasn’t Born To Follow

The lesson learned from this song ties into another music-themed article I wrote last year, looking at the idea of standing on the shoulders of giants. If you want your blogging to mean something to your readers, you can’t simply follow the leads already left by other, more influential authors. You have to take what you’ve read, learned and discussed and then write about it with your own intent and purpose.

Simply regurgitating the ideas of others won’t make you stand out from the content marketing crowd. To lead as a blogger you have to create something new and meaningful tied to your own ideas, your own opinions, your own research, trials and tribulations.

Gonna change the world, gonna turn the page
Gonna say what I feel, let out this rage, get ready
we’re going down, down to the streets below
I said “goodbye to the masses, I wan’t born to follow.

Reach For The Sky

There’s nothing wrong with dreaming big. It’s actually rather intrinsic when you consider the entrepreneurial path. However, when it comes to your blog and your articles, are your big dreams and ideas working toward an outcome that will benefit your future?

Your blogging has to have an intent and purpose beyond being seen, beyond reaching for the sky by sharing that superb read that goes viral.

When I was young I was invincible,
I find myself now thinking twice,
I never thought about no future,
its just the roll of the dice.

Is your blogging getting in front of the eyes that will actually become leads, prospects and paying clients. If it isn’t, it might be time to craft a more considered plan for your future publishes that actually looks toward future lead generation and sales.

Gotta Know The Rules

Rules to blogging? There are a few. While there are many difference voices, many different ways to deliver your message with your own unique signature, there are a few hard and fast rules that the most successful bloggers stick to.

One of them is simple, but often forgotten. You have to give something back with your blogging. Or you must pay it forward.

Looking at your blogging efforts solely as a means to promote your personal brand, your business or your products or services will leave your audience with cold feelings (another Social Distortion song – I’m on a roll).

Loads of people go
Through life thinking
Take what you can and leave the weak behind
Never stop to think
What can you give now
Too afraid to learn what you might find, yeah, yeah, yeah

Story Of My Life

You probably thought I’d start out with this song, but I feel it’s a better closer to the article.

Yes, we’re better bloggers and our blogging efforts get more shares when we manage to tell a story. But the premise of this song is a little bit different. It reminds you that life goes by in a flash and we can’t ever get back those days and moments past. Thus, we need to live them at the time.

You’ll be a better blogger and have much more meaningful stories to share if you remember to regularly unplug and actually enjoy the life that allows for those stories.

Life goes by so fast
You only want to do what you think is right.
Close your eyes and then it’s past;
Story of my life

Hope you enjoyed that short singalong with one of my favorite bands. At the same time I hope it reinforced some ideas and tips that will remind you why you started blogging in the first place.

Let’s make 2015 the year we all stand up, stand behind and stand out with our articles and shares. Make them real, make them relatable and make them resonate!

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?

Better Blogging: Stop Being So Generic!

This better blogging series has been an absolute blast. As more and more content marketers embrace the idea that truly unique content will set them apart, there’s a need to take a deeper look at the idea of unique in order to create the articles, graphics and other types of content that will be consumed, shared and discussed.

Is anyone else tired of the proliferation of listless list posts?

Touted as top tips or best practices, these lists are so rarely enlightening, entertaining or educational.

Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing better than a carefully crafted list post. Done well they’re chock full of smarts and savvy and are often bookmarked for future reference and sharing.

But how many times do we need to see Hootsuite listed as a top social media management tool? How many times do we need to see Feedly listed as a top RSS feed/curation tool? Been there, done that and the T-shirt’s kinda boring.

What about top tips? How many times must we be told that consistency is crucial to content and/or social media marketing? Don’t put another dime in the jukebox, toots … I don’t need to hear that song again.

I know, I know, you’re about to tell me that your articles are targeting newer content and social media marketers, those that have no idea that Hootsuite is a much revered social media management and monitoring tool, those that have NO idea that consistency is a key part of any marketing effort.

Seriously? Stop!

Stop being so generic!

Maybe there are truly NO new topics to be covered. Maybe all you can do is share the same ideas as marketers X, Y and Z. But, if that’s the case, give them a little something that makes them your own.

These better blogging posts may, in fact, be sharing tips that others have already covered. BUT? I managed to share better blogging tips tied to Depeche Mode and R.E.M songs. And, in doing so, I managed to make those tips truly my own, as they featured my own unique take, my own spin, my own notes. I think that’s enough music references for now!

The point is, I added a good dose of Mallie and music to some ideas that have certainly been shared before. And adding that bit of Mallie and music made the content stand out from the listless lists and the regurgitated ramblings.

What are you doing to make the content you’re publishing sing?

Does each article you publish stand out? Is every bit of your blogging effort helping your expertise shout out from the rooftops? If not, it’s probably because it’s a little too generic.

Generic and generalized tips and lists don’t help you hop down from atop the shoulders of giants. Regurgitating the same sad facts makes for sad content. No one wants to share sad content. Very little discussion is generated by the same old same old.

How are you adding an extra dose of YOU-nique to your content?

Better Blogging: With A Little Help From R.E.M.

Better Blogging: With A Little Help From R.E.M.

A couple weeks ago I published an article with some blogging best practices that I culled from some of my favorite Depeche  Mode tunes. It was an entertaining publish and it allowed me to share a little bit of Mallie that isn’t on display every day. I thought I’d give it another whirl, this time with the tunes of another favorite band, the ever awesome R.E.M.

Let’s dive right in!

Better Blogging While Listening To R.E.M.

What If We Give It Away?

It isn’t always easy to give away your knowledge and expertise. We feel, and often rightly so, that we should be paid for that expertise and know how. It requires careful balance and writing skill to write a blog post that shares enough knowledge to showcase our value and smarts, but doesn’t give away our “state secrets,” so to speak. The best blogging creates the trust in our experience and expertise that leads our readers into our sales funnel. So, we do have to give a bit away. With intent and purpose, of course.

Perfect Circle

If we’re blogging for business purposes, our end goal is a sale, a client. Our blogging efforts are part of the perfect circle that builds trust, shares our expertise, answers the questions of our prospective clients and eventually draws them into our sales funnel. It can’t be all about the sale. The perfect circle idea requires that the expertise be shared, then the trust built, before any social selling can be even remotely effective.


We’ve long known that entertaining while educating can make a good blog post great. Sometimes we can share valuable insight with our audience by allowing them laugh with us, by sharing anecdotes and lessons learned from our own failures.


Part of building a successful blogging presence involves creating a sense of belonging for your audience. Your readers want to feel welcome, invited and part of your articles. The best blogs and bloggers invite their audience to share an experience. to belong to the discussion, to share in the exchange of ideas. When your readers feel like they belong, that they’re welcome, your blog flourishes.


Now, you might think the title of this song would lead me to write about using your blogging efforts to take a stand. While I wholeheartedly agree with that idea, that’s not why I chose this song.

Amidst the many very emotional and often melancholy offerings in the R.E.M. discography, this song is one of their silliest. Silly and fun. It’s absolutely okay to employ the occasional bit of silly in your blogging. It’s okay to have fun, show your silly side and, maybe, I don’t know … write an article about songs helping better blogging efforts!

Pretty Persuasion

It’s silly to pretend that our blogging efforts aren’t designed to persuade our readers to buy. We’re blogging for business, right? Our business doesn’t succeed if we don’t sell the products and services we provide.

However, we also know that our articles have to build trust. Our audience is smart and savvy, and they’ll see right through petty and pretty persuasions. We are not in the business of blogging to confuse, confound or put one over on our audience.

Lose the pretty persuasions and you’ll build an audience that trusts your expertise and experience. Keep the pretty persuasion and confusion tactics and you’ll come across as a snake oil seller.

I’ve actually saved my favorite R.E.M. song, King of Birds, for a solo article. I hope you enjoyed this walk through the band’s discography. Do you agree with any of the ideas shared?