Thursday, December 16, 2010

What's Your Reputation Worth?

by Olalah Njenga, Marketing Strategist & Author, owner of YellowWood Group and Carolina Business Connection Columnist
 
For several years, we were “that” house in the neighborhood. “That” house is the house where neighborhood kids congregate on the porch. Kids you don’t know show up bumped, bruised and bleeding looking for a kind word and a first aid kit. “That” house is the house where neighbors show up with dog on lease, key in hand, a feeding schedule and a sticky note of emergency phone numbers in case something happened to the dog, the house or both. How did we become “that” house in our neighborhood? Reputation!

Over the past 10 years, we’ve changed how we connect with each other, how we define friend and how we vet vendors and employees. In fact, over the past decade, we’ve changed nearly every aspect of how we live, work and play and that includes how we build our reputations. Now, more than any other time in history, our reputation is framed by more outside influences than ones we directly control. Before we ever meet people face to face, they’ve likely “googled” us to see what we look like, who we know and what we do for a living. With all of this going on in the background, have you ever contemplated whether your reputation online reflects your reputation offline?

Our offline reputation is typically comprised of the relationships we’ve built with people. Whether friends, colleagues, contacts or customers, we’ve put time and energy into cultivating relationships that allow people to feel good about being in association with us. In fact, it’s refreshing to meet someone who, upon your introducing yourself, says immediately, “I’ve heard such great things about you.” We all want that comforting feeling.

The very same people who are framing your reputation offline are also doing it online, whether you know it or not. That’s right! They are mentioning your name in online conversations. They are tagging you in blog posts and pictures. They are referencing you in articles and videos. In fact, your online reputation is equally as important as your offline one. So . . . how do you manage your overall reputation when you don’t know it’s happening in the background and you can’t control it? That’s easy . . . software!

Reputation monitoring tools are software programs that proactively find out information about you and who’s saying it. Don’t you want to know what is being said about you, who’s saying it and why? Your reputation has social and professional equity. It lingers long after you’ve left a job, a community, a group, a church, even a marriage. In fact, I would argue that your reputation, whether online or offline, is your most valuable piece of collateral. Protect it at all cost.

While I don’t have a favorite, there are several reputation monitoring tools to choose from with varying degrees of complexity. For example, on the simple end, Google Alerts will email you notifications when your word alert criteria is matched. Social Mention works similarly. Neither of these programs offer deep analytics. I’d say they function more like “listening” tools. Think of listening tools as a third ear that allows you to hear what’s being said about you online.

On the comprehensive side, there are tons of options. Meltwater, a very sophisticated system with analytics that can “learn” if mentions of you are “good”, “bad” or “neutral”. Another choice is Trackr, which offers robust analytics and detailed reporting.

The point is not to overwhelm you with software choices. The point is to stress that evolving technologies have blurred the lines between living, working and playing. Our fingertip ability to find out hundreds of pieces of information about each other in mere seconds means monitoring and managing your online reputation is just as important as the handshake relationships that we’ve cultivated over the years.

Because of my own reputation monitoring, I’ve discovered I was nominated for two achievements, mentioned in several blogs, tagged in scores of photos, quoted in an article and, if you can believe it, had a meeting – which I apparently forgot to put on my calendar. Thank goodness the woman I was meeting was so excited to meet with me that she chatted about the meeting online with a friend.

If your reputation is worth anything to you, than the notion that people will talk about you whether you are listening to them or not should make you just uncomfortable enough to take your online reputation as seriously as the one you’ve worked so hard to create offline.


Olalah Njenga, YellowWood Group, LLC

Olalah Njenga is the CEO and Senior Marketing Strategist at YellowWood Group, a marketing firm that specializes in helping companies align marketing strategies with sales goals. She is also the creator of the Marketing With Ease™ System and the author of 37 What Were They Thinking Moments In Marketing. As a member of the National Speakers Association (NSA), Olalah speaks nationally on business impacting topics, including strategic marketing, entrepreneurship, business planning, differentiation, social media and branding. In 2009 and 2010, Olalah was honored as a Stevie® Awards Women In Business Finalist in the Lifetime Achievement category. Olalah sits on several advisory boards and serves as a volunteer counselor for SCORE. SCORE, the “Counselors of America’s Small Business Owners”, is a national association dedicated to helping small business owners form and grow their businesses.
Contact Information: 
Olalah Njenga, Columnist
Carolina Business Connection
YellowWood Group, LLC
www.YellowWoodGroup.com
onjenga@yellowwoodgroup.com
919.783.4101

http://www.YellowWoodGroup.com
Thanks to Olalah  and Carolina Business Connection for okay to share this article


Saturday, November 13, 2010

Tips for Creating a Complex Password

Looking forward to your ideas and comments!!

The tough part about creating a strong password isn’t making it up … it’s remembering it. So the challenge we all face is creating passwords that are both hard to guess *and* easy to remember. These tricks are ones that security-minded geeks like me use to create effective passwords that are both memorable and strong.


Start by creating a base word by using one of the following ideas:
1. String together the first letters of a familiar group of words. Song lyrics, poems and famous quotes work great.
2. Connect small, unrelated words together.

Once you have your base word, modify it by using some of the following ideas:
  • Capitalize a few letters, while leaving the rest lowercase.
  • Substitute numbers and symbols for similar-looking letters.
  • Add some symbols to the beginning or end of the word (this can help if your word is too short to meet password length requirements).

Here’s how it comes together:
For my base word, I’ll use the idiom: “Life is not a bowl of cherries.”
String the first letter of each word together to form the following base-word:
linaboc

 
Modify it by capitalizing some letters (A and C):
linAboC

 
Make some numeric/symbol substitutions (i=!, l=1)
1!nAboC

 
Finally, add a symbol (?) to get the final password:
1!nAboC?

Here’s another example:

 
Let’s string “bat,” “toe” and “up” together to create the following base word:
battoeup

 
Capitalize some letters (O and P)
battOeuP

 
Substitute some numbers and symbols (a=@, t=7)
b@77OeuP

 
And add a symbol (!) to finish the password:
b@77OeuP!

 
If you always use consistent modifications, you’ll be able to remember how to reform the password.

For example, you could…
  • Always capitalize the third and last letter of the word.
  • Always substitute @ for a, 7 for t, ! for i and 1 for l. (Be aware that these examples are frequently used substitutions, so it’s best for you to come up with your own.) 
  • Always add a question mark at the end (or two, if that’s what it takes to get to the minimum password length requirement).
Emma

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Become A Social Media Master In 5 and 1-Half Steps

Thanks to Olalah Njenga, Marketing Strategist, Author and Columnist for Carolina Business Connection.  Visit http://www.olalah.com/  and http://carolinabusinessconnection.com/

Social this. Social that. But what does it all really mean? Here’s the short answer; to some it means absolutely nothing; to others, it means the world has changed forever. As a marketing strategist, I see the social space as a relevant environment for business growth. Varying opinions about what to do and what not to do in the social space continues to cause confusion. The truth is “best practices” for social networks are difficult to define because everyone who participates in the social space has their own agenda.

Whether you’re jumping into the social media space as a novice, or you’re a social media maven, I’ve outlined a few ways to help you get more out of the social experience. My hope is that you’ll see both the relevance and the value in the business of being social.

Here’s 5 ½ ways to master the social space:

1- Have A Purpose
If you don’t know why you’re doing something, how will you know if it’s working, or not? “What’s your purpose for using social media?” seems like an obvious question to me, but you would be surprised how many smart people look at me like I have two heads and respond “Because everyone else is”. That’s simply not a real answer. Knowing what your reasons are for having a presence in the social space is critical to leveraging a strategy and choosing the tactics to support your purpose. If you’re using social platforms for business, have a clearly defined purpose for doing so.

2- Know The Platform
Every social platform has an environment to respect. Spend a few weeks observing (sometimes called lurking) the behavior within the social networks. Watching the exchanges between people will give you insight into the environment of each social network. Observing also gives you insight into the micro-environments that exist, (sometimes referred to as cliques). Social platforms have an ebb and flow that is unique to their own eco-system (as I like to call it). When you know the platform, the nuances of it, and in some cases the unspoken rules of engagement, you’ll discover ways to add value to the environment.

3- Develop A Content Strategy
If I had a nickel for the number of well-intended business people who call me excited about social media, but don’t have a clue what they want to post, I’d have enough to buy the BMW 325i that I’ve had my eye on for months. While it’s acceptable to post to social networks ad hoc, having a content strategy gives a frame to your thoughts and your efforts. If you intend to use social platforms to support your business goals, then take the time to create a content strategy. A basic content strategy outlines which social networks you want to leverage, what the key topics are, how often you will post content and in what manner you want to post the content. If it seems like work, you’re right. It is!

4- Don’t Miss The Metrics
What’s the point in using a tool if you don’t measure the impact of it? If you’re using social platforms to support your business goals, then measuring your efforts is critical. What you measure will depend largely on your purpose for having a presence in the social place (see point #1). There is, however, some basic information to consider capturing. For example, measure the number of interactions, the number of inquiries, the number of mentions and the number of re-posts. This can help you determine which content gets the most traction. There are tons of software options to help you manage and monitor social media metrics and effectiveness.

5- It’s Called “Social” For A Reason
In the excitement (and the confusion) of having a presence in the social space, it’s easy to forget the most elemental component of the social space – they are social networks! People post. People tweet. People share. People read. People engage. People buy. If you’re going to have a social presence for the purpose of doing business, remember that people are not targets. People are people and they deserve to be heard, respected and valued.

5 ½- Keep the “social” in the social media.
When doing business in the social space, don’t make every post about your business. We’re all people and by nature we’re simply social.

About Olalah Njenga, YellowWood Group, LLC
Olalah Njenga is the CEO and Senior Marketing Strategist at YellowWood Group, a marketing firm that specializes in helping companies align marketing strategies with sales goals. She is also the creator of the Marketing With Ease™ System and the author of 37 What Were They Thinking Moments In Marketing. As a member of the National Speakers Association (NSA), Olalah speaks nationally on business impacting topics, including strategic marketing, entrepreneurship, business planning, differentiation, social media and branding. In 2009, Olalah was honored as a Stevie® Awards Women In Business Finalist in the Lifetime Achievement category. Olalah sits on several advisory boards and serves as a volunteer counselor for SCORE. SCORE, the “Counselors of America’s Small Business Owners”, is a national association dedicated to helping small business owners form and grow their businesses.

Batson Group Marketing and PR invites you to visit our website at www.BGMPR.com
 
What are your tips for mastering the social media space?

Friday, October 22, 2010

Press Releases Aren't Just for The Press Anymore

David Meerman Scott wrote the award-winning BusinessWeek best-selling book The New Rules of Marketing and PR: How to Use Social Media, Blogs, News Releases, Online Video, and Viral Marketing to Reach Buyers Directly so I thought I'd do a quick share on key take-aways from his eBook.

Read on to see how you can get your free eBook on the New Rules of PR

Why you need to learn the new rules

Today, savvy marketing professionals use press releases to reach buyers directly.

While many marketing and PR people understand that press releases sent over the wires appear in near real-time on services like Google News, very few understand the implications for how they must dramatically alter their press release strategy in order to maximize the effectiveness of the press release as a direct consumer-communication channel.

The media has been disintermediated. The Web has changed the rules. Buyers read your press releases directly and you need to be talking their language.

This is not to suggest that media relations are no longer important; mainstream media and the trade press must be part of an overall communications strategy. In some businesses, mainstream media and the trade press remain critically important and, of course, the media still derives some of its content from press releases.

But your primary audience is no longer just a handful of journalists. Your audience is millions of people with Internet connections and access to search engines and RSS readers.

The new rules of press releases

• Don’t just send press releases when “big news” is happening; find good reasons to send them all the time.
• Instead of just targeting a handful of journalists, create press releases that appeal directly to your buyers.
• Write releases replete with keyword-rich copy.
• Create links in releases to deliver potential customers to landing pages on your Web site.
• Optimize press release delivery for searching and browsing.
• Drive people into the sales process with press releases.

Want to learn more?
Get David's free ebook on the subject visit http://www.bgmpr.com/ and click on USEFUL LINKS.
 
How have press releases helped you or your business?

Monday, October 11, 2010

The Power of Social Media

I have the great fortune to live in Raleigh, NC and able to know world class professionals in a variety of industries; Deidre Hughey is one. "The Power of Social Media" by Deidre Hughey was originally posted online at Carolina Business Connection (CBC).  Thanks Diedre and Tim Moore of CBC for the okay to share.

The Power of Social Media
By Deidre Hughey - Social Media Strategist and Radio Show Host

Last week, I sat down with a client to go over a strategic plan for his social media activities. As I was going over the details, a friend of my client’s walked into the room and stated, “I just don’t get it, I mean, seriously, social media is a complete waste of time.”

It’s true. Social media is a complete waste of time… (I know, you weren’t expecting a social media strategist to say that, were you!)

Wait! Let me finish the statement.

Social media is a complete waste of time…if you don’t have a strategy in place that you’re following.

Planning for a Trip
Think about it. If you decided you wanted to drive to Encino, California, would you just hop in your car and start driving? Most likely not (unless you’re a teenager…they do some pretty crazy things). As an adult, there’s some planning involved. You need to schedule time away from work, decide how long you’re going to be gone, pack your clothes, hire a dog sitter, plan your route, pack some snacks, etc. You don’t just hop into the car and start driving because it would be irresponsible.

Planning for Trade Shows
Let’s shift gears and talk about business. If you decided that you wanted to participate in 3 trade shows over the course of the year, would you just pick the first trade show that you saw and register? No, of course not! You would want to know some things about it. Who is the trade show marketed toward? What type of vendors are going to be there? Has this been a successful trade show in the past? Does it work into my schedule? What are the costs involved?

Not Planning for Social Media
A business person is told (sometimes, over and over) that they should get involved in social media. So, they start a blog or sign up on a social networking site and start typing. Unfortunately, many people jump into social media with little thought. Before you know it, the business person is frustrated and discouraged by the amount of time spent in social media without having monetary results to show for their efforts.

They start shouting, “Where’s my ROI?”

I shout back, “Show me your plan!”

Free Still Needs a Plan
Just because it’s free, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have a plan. And, don’t get me wrong, social media shouldn’t be your marketing plan. Social media should be a strategic piece of your marketing plan.

Here are some questions you should ask yourself:

1) How much time am I willing to dedicate to social media per week? Per day?
2) Is there any part of my marketing plan that social media may be able to replace?
3) Do the demographics of my clients match the demographics of the platform that I’m considering using?
4) What would my clients and prospects want to hear from me?
5) What action do I want my prospects to make as a result of our interactions?
6) Am I ready to be transparent in an online community of people that I don’t know?
7) Am I ready to spend the time to understand the social etiquette involved in social media that will allow me to get results?
8) Am I ready to be a “pull” marketer rather than a “push” marketer?

Take the time to ask yourself questions. Take the time to map out a plan. Know what you’re going to do when you show up. If you don’t, maybe your time would be better spent elsewhere.

However, with the right plan in place, and an understanding of what your prospects are looking for with your involvement in social media, you could develop a very loyal client base over time. A loyal client base that is able to let their connections know (quickly, I might add) how great it is to be your client.

Ah. There it is.

The true power of social media.

So, go ahead.

Get a plan in place and build a BUZZ about your business!

About Deidre Hughey
Deidre Hughey is the owner of The Buzz Builder and a Social Media Strategist and Online Relationship Expert. She helps people spread the word about their business without spending a lot of money. She is also a columnist for Women’s Edge Magazine, Vice-President of Women’s Business Owners Network (WBON) in Cary, on the board for the Knowledgeable Network of Women (KNOW) in Morrisville, founder and facilitator for Triangle Women’s Connection, a trustee for inSide919.com, and an avid, dynamic speaker.
Contact Information:
Deidre Hughey
The BUZZ Builder
Social Media Strategies That Make Sense for Speakers and Authors
(919) 924-3675
Website: http://thebuzzbuilder.com/
Author BUZZ: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/deidrehughey

What's your best social media strategy?

Friday, October 1, 2010

PR – Public Relations, Pet Rock, Perceived Reality

Who are you and why are you unique?

Without PR rocks from Mexico would have remained unknown.

Rocks – yes rocks. But, not just any rocks–Pet Rocks. Smooth gray colored stones about the size of an egg. Remember them?

So if you think I have rocks in my head talking about Pet Rocks, in a blog about PR, let’s take a look at how a bunch of smooth gray rocks from Rosarita Beach made advertising executive Gary Dahl a millionaire in 1975.

It’s a simple recipe really. Dahl took one bright idea, married it with clever copy, press releases that alerted the media and a marketing plan that created want in the public that made folks part with $3.95 to buy these non-descript stones in their cute little house-shaped boxes.

You would think getting these unloved and unknown marvels of nature well known, well thought of and the must-have object to those of us wearing mood rings, dancing to the Bee Gees and wondering whose bright idea was it anyway to put the US on the Metric System, had to be a challenge. Not so much, remember Dahl knew the value marketing and PR.

Dahl introduced the Pet Rock at the August gift show in San Francisco and then in New York. Neiman-Marcus ordered five hundred. He sent out homemade news releases of himself accompanied by a picture that showed him surrounded by boxes of his Pet Rocks. Newsweek did a half-page story about the nutty notion, and by the end of October Gary Dahl was shipping ten thousand Pet Rocks every Day. He appeared on "The Tonight Show," twice.

By Christmas when, two and a half tons of rocks had been sold, three-fourths of all the daily newspapers in America had run Pet Rock stories, often including Gary Dahl's tongue-in-cheek revelations about how each rock was individually tested for obedience at Rosarita Beach in Baja, Mexico, before being selected and boxed. A million rocks sold for $3.95 apiece in just a few months, and Gary Dahl - who decided from the beginning to make at least one dollar from every rock - had become an instant millionaire.*

What are the take-aways:

1. Be or have a product or service that is unique or present it in a unique way.

2. Know your customers and take advantage of events that will move you forward.

3. The media, show bookers and producers are looking for stories, so get the word out with releases that provide info in an interesting manner and are not a sales pitch.

4. Be Timely. Reporters are hungry for information that is timely and relevant. What are the current trends in your industry? How does your product/service relate.

So when thinking about PR, remember: It’s not about the rocks, it’s the story on the box.

* Thanks to Encyclopedia of POP Culture, by Jane and Michael Stern. Harper Perennial Press 1992 for the history.
 
What successful PR capers have landed you in the spotlight?

Friday, September 24, 2010

Role of Social CRM & Its Impact on Lead Generation in B2B Sales

Thanks to Carolina Business Connecton and Michael Rodriguez, Ph.D. Assistant Professor of Marketing Elon University For access to printer friendly version CLICK HERE

Introduction – Overview of Social Media
The phenomenon of social media use has exploded in the last few years. According to the Cone Business Study 60% of Americans use social media, with 59% of social media users interacting with companies on social media sites (2008). The study also found that 93% of social media users feel companies should have a social media presence. According to Forrester Research, social media spending will grow from $716 million this year to more than $3.1 billion in 2014 (Bunzel 2010).

Social media technology, such as Linked-In, Facebook, and Twitter, has enabled customers to express their feelings of a product or service they have purchased. With this feedback, businesses can improve decisions on how to serve clients and create more informed solutions, thus increasing customer loyalty (Myron 2010). Social media, also known as Social CRM, is still working its way into business to business (B2B) sales (Lager 2009).

Results by ES Research Group (2009) show that only a small percentage of sales professionals use social media tools in their sales process.

The purpose of this article is to present some leading thoughts on utilization of Social CRM and its potential role in B2B sales. We then highlight some of the challenges sales professionals face in the current environment and discuss best practices in integrating Social CRM in a B2B sales process.

Challenges of B2B sales
Business-to-business (B2B) sales face a number of challenges in today’s environment: a slow economy, increased competition, complex sales cycles, and qualified, lead generation. The B2B sales process can be viewed as networks of relationships of both internal and external contacts (Gummesson 2004).

One of the challenges in B2B sales is not only discovering the decision makers within the network of external stakeholders, but also finding the right type of clients through prospecting efforts. In Heinonen and Michelsson’s (2010) study on creating customer relationships, their findings indicate prospect initiation is more challenging and is significantly different between Business-to Customer (B2C) and B2B relationships.

Prospecting, the first of the seven-step classical approach to sales (Moncrief and Marshall 2005), is the most important first-step of the sales cycle. Sales organizations lose customers every year for a variety of reasons and there is a constant need to expand the customer base by building the sales pipeline (Jolson and Wotruba 1992). Sales professionals need to capture detailed information on prospective clients in order to gain a better understanding of their needs, discover key buying influences, and understand their buying process.

Once all the information is obtained, the next and equally challenging step is to qualify the prospect. By qualifying prospects, sales firms can focus on ideal clients that fit their business model and, as a result, may minimize time wasted on less than ideal customers and decreasing the sales cycle time.

Sales-intensive organizations have invested in state-of-the-art customer relationship management (CRM) solutions, to help manage prospect information and improve customer relationships in order to increase sales force productivity. Though past research has supported the impact of CRM on managing client information and managing relationships, CRM technology does not assist with the first most important step of the sales process –prospecting.

Social CRM may benefit the B2B sales process because this new approach of social media seeks to route communication, influence dialogue, and connect sales professionals to firms and individual who are already interested in a firm’s product or service. In other words, using content to pull in interested parties qualifies organizations as prospects.

This new era of sharing content and creating conversations results in greater engagement with the customer and, in turn, means creating deeper, meaningful relationships with people and the community

Utilizing Social CRM in B2B Sales
Business-to-Consumer (B2C) sales is defined has being more transactional and also as having a shorter, more straightforward sales cycle (Shih 2009) as compared to B2B sales. For commoditized products many companies may focus more on marketing efforts than on a sales strategy. One thing both B2C and B2B sales share is that customer engagement first starts with mutual trust. Trust is especially important for higher-priced, more complex items. A salesperson’s relationships and expertise play a much bigger role in the B2B sales cycle. It’s important to remember that though sales people are dealing with entire organizations in B2B, these organizations are made up of individuals who are key decision makers, from the gate keeper to the end user to the person who signs the check.

With every step of the sale cycle, the sales professional must first build credibility with each of these individuals. Clara Shih, author of The Facebook Era, explains sales professionals can utilize Social CRM tools to “accelerate the process of building trust” (2009, p. 65). Similar to customers sharing reviews on books or restaurants on sites such as Amazon.com or Zagats, social networking sites are becoming a common place for business professionals to share product information as well. More professional use of Social CRM tools, such as LinkedIn to provide online testimonials and recommendations for other business professionals to review and share. Organizations can also raise brand and product awareness through Social CRM. Founders Insurance Group, a Connecticut-based insurance organization, for example launched a multipronged, social media campaign to build its company profile.

Cindy Donaldson, director of marketing and sales, started a blog, launched an e-newsletter, and created both a Facebook page and Twitter account to share information with targeted organizations. By raising brand recognition and product awareness, Founders' social media campaign resulted in a 20% increase in sales within one year (Baldwin 2010).

Wang (2008) noted that when peers and experts make recommendations it builds attitudes in consumers’ mind. Once a positive attitude is formed it will directly support behavior intent on the part of the individual. Thus, Social CRM can also be utilized in the first step of the sales process -- prospecting. Social CRM can be used to qualify leads early in the sales cycle by researching the profile of the ideal target prospect (Shih 2009). Facebook and LinkedIn provide detailed information on a prospect and enable sales to share information of their products that would greatly increase the chance of being a better fit for the prospective client. Knowing more about the prospect makes the first call less invasive since the interaction and pitch are more targeted to the prospect’s profile.

Aster Data Systems, a technology solutions firm based in Silicon Valley, for example, used LinkedIn to dramatically grow its business. Senior management asked all employees to tap their social networks for prospects by searching for the words “data warehousing” in their contacts’ title or functional expertise. Within months, Aster Data Systems was able to identify and qualify those who may be interested in their database solution and successfully signed more than a dozen B2B clients (Shih 2009).

Best Practices of Implementing Social CRM
Adding a Social CRM strategy is critical to doing business in today’s conversation-based economy, especially when prospecting for the ideal B2B customer. With the growing use and popularity of social media technology, a Social CRM strategy will become a “must-have” for many B2B organizations. Social media, as an extension of traditional CRM, requires planning in order to make it an effective part of a firm’s sales strategy.

The following are some of the best practices on how to implement Social CRM in B2B sales.

First, pinpoint where it can help improve interaction with clients. Many firms, for example, have created white papers on important topics to use as an enticement to get a prospect interested in their product or potential solution. The target here is primarily attracting new customers, therefore organizations should write about what other organizations want to know and publish information to pull in people, not intercept them as they go about their business.

Second, businesses need to think differently of how they communicate with prospects and customers. Lager (2009) suggests creating a two-way conversation on the white paper vs. mass emailing documents to a prospect database, a "pull" strategy versus a "push" strategy. For many firms, this fundamental shift away from a “resource allocation” perspective towards a “resource attraction” outlook will prove difficult, or require investments they are unwilling to make, notably time. However, organizations can accomplish this by coordinating webinars between the firm and prospects in order to share ideas on a specific topic and create a conversation. Webinars provide a means whereby customers can interact via social technology, enabling “them to feel like they have immediate and direct access to the company” (Lager 2009, pg. 32). Webinars are also a powerful tool in distributing important content and attracting prospects that are seeking specific products or services.

Third, companies can engage clients in conversations via their own websites and blogs. Firms need to be able to get out of the typical approaches and “feel comfortable with being a participant in conversations with social customers, and be ready to let them decide where the conversation goes” (Leary 2008, pg. 7). Social CRM prospecting will require posting in order to engage others and create a more in-depth opportunity for both parties. This is engagement well beyond having an email address or contact number to call. Today’s customers need to interact and engage businesses via other means of communication.

One more recommendation might include discovering what your current customers are doing in social media. What Twitter accounts or blogs are they following, personally or collectively? A firm can develop direct relationships with influential bloggers who can help share information with prospective clients. “It’s important to tap into the valuable information your best customers can provide you. Not only can they help you understand how they are currently using social tools but what they are using those tools for” (Leary 2008, p. 7).

Fourth, as with the CRM phenomenon, it is important to be patient when implementing a Social CRM initiative. When firms started spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on CRM technology, they expected increased sales, revenue growth, and market share overnight. Businesses must learn from the past and know Social CRM will take time. Firms need to understand the tools available to engage and interact with customers. Often people start out being voyeurs, looking for a non-interactive or non-personal experience because they are engaged in search inquiries. However, if satisfied, these individuals will often move towards personal and interactive communications that will facilitate education on the part of the consumer. Through interaction, organizations can provide vital information to prospective buyers and build credibility within a community. As a result, not only will the social community grow but the opportunities to generate more sales will as well.

Fifth, it is very easy to get excited about the possibilities of Social CRM and the Web 2.0 phenomenon but it is important to keep in mind that Facebook and Twitter are not replacements of traditional CRM but an extension of it (Leary 2008). Traditional CRM activities such as accessing customer information, tracking sales activities and managing sales processes are the foundation for building and managing the relationship with the customer. Social CRM adds a new dimension by recording the interaction, and conversation, with the client. Organizations need to capture the most relevant and valuable information from social media and integrate with the firm’s current CRM workflow. Companies should look to add new fields or modules within their existing CRM to track and store social media interactions such as tweets, Facebook, or LinkedIn updates. Capturing this type of information will enable sales departments to track new leads, opportunities, competitors, or key influencers, and potentially leverage these connections in creating new business.

By making Social CRM an intricate part of the marketing and sales strategy, companies will develop deeper relationships with customers, increase collaboration via the two-way conversation, gain incredible customer insight, and as a result achieve a true 360-degree view of their customer. In the end, social media isn’t about you, it’s all about them.

About Michael Rodriguez
Michael Rodriguez is Assistant Professor of Marketing and teaches Professional Selling, Principles of Marketing and Customer Relationship Management courses. He earned his Ph.D. in Technology Management from Stevens Institute of Technology, where he won Most Outstanding Dissertation Award in 2009. His research interests include Customer Relationship Management, Sales Leadership and Sales Management. Dr. Rodriguez has been published in the Journal of Selling and Major Account Management and International Journal of Innovation and Business Research. He has also developed and facilitated sales training programs for corporate clients. Prior to joining Elon, Dr. Rodriguez worked on Wall Street for 14 years selling market data and trading platforms to investment banks, asset managers, and hedge funds.

Koury Business Center 249
(336) 278-5942
mrodriguez4@elon.edu

Michael Rodriguez, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Marketing
Chandler Family Professional Sales Center
Love School of Business, KOBC 249
Elon University
Elon, NC 27244
Office: 336-278-5942
mrodriguez4@elon.edu

What is your best tip for Social Media CRM?





Article References
Baldwin, Heather (2010), “The ROI of Social Media," Selling Today. http://www.sellingpower.com/content/newsletter/article.php?ia=9078, June 14th.
Bunzel, Tom (2010), “The Best of Both Worlds: How to Effectively Leverage Social Media Relationships with Real Time Collaboration Tools," Webinar, April 14th, 2010.
ES Research Group (2009), “Survey Results: Do The New Social Media Enable B2B Selling?”, ESR/Insight, ESR Research Library, pp. 1-25.
Gartner Group (2010), The Gartner CRM Vendor Guide, Webinar, August 13th.
Gummesson, Ever (2002), Total Relationship Marketing, Butterworth-Heinemann/Chartered Institute of Marketing, Oxford.
Heinonen, Kristina and Thomas Michelsson (2010), “The Use of Digital Channels to Create Customer Relationships," International Journal of Internet Marketing and Advertising, Vol. 6, No. 1, pp. 1-21.
Jolson, Marvin A. and Thomas R. Wotruba (1992), “Prospecting: A New Look at this Old Challenge,” Journal of Personal Selling & Sales Management, Vol. 12 (4), 59-66.
Lager, Marshall (2009), “No One’s Social (Yet)," Customer Relationship Management, June, p. 29 – 33.
Leary, Brent (2008), “Social CRM: Customer Relationship Management in the Age of the Socially-Empowered Customer," A CRM Essentials, LLC White Paper, October, p. 1 – 9.
Moncrief, William C. and Greg W. Marshall (2005), “The Evolution of the Seven Steps of Selling,” Industrial Marketing Management, 34, 13-22.
Myron, David (2010), “Embracing Social CRM, Engage Your Customers, Don’t Manage Them," CRM Magazine, Webinar.
Sellingpower.com, April 2009, http://www.sellingpower.com/content/newsletter/article.php?ia=3057.
Shih, Clara, (2009) “The Facebook Era: Tapping Online Social Networks to Build Better Products, Reach New Audiences, and Sell More Stuff”, Boston, MA: Prentice Hall.
Wang, Alex (2008), “Consensus and Disagreement between Online Peer and Expert
Recommendations," International Journal of Internet Marketing and Advertising, v4(4), 328- 349.
Warfield, Bob (2009), “A Social CRM Manifesto: How to Succeed with the CRM Virtuous Cycle”, Webinar conducted by Bob Warfield, CEO of Helpstream, November, 2009.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

What Is RSS? RSS Explained

Thanks to http://www.WhatIsRSS.com/ for this info.

RSS Primer: One Page Quick Introduction to RSS

What is RSS?

RSS (Rich Site Summary) is a format for delivering regularly changing web content. Many news-related sites, weblogs and other online publishers syndicate their content as an RSS Feed to whoever wants it.

Why RSS? Benefits and Reasons for using RSS

RSS solves a problem for people who regularly use the web. It allows you to easily stay informed by retrieving the latest content from the sites you are interested in. You save time by not needing to visit each site individually. You ensure your privacy, by not needing to join each site's email newsletter. The number of sites offering RSS feeds is growing rapidly and includes big names like Yahoo News.

What do I need to do to read an RSS Feed? RSS Feed Readers and News Aggregators

Feed Reader or News Aggregator software allow you to grab the RSS feeds from various sites and display them for you to read and use.

A variety of RSS Readers are available for different platforms. Some popular feed readers include Amphetadesk (Windows, Linux, Mac), FeedReader (Windows), and NewsGator (Windows - integrates with Outlook). There are also a number of web-based feed readers available. My Yahoo, Bloglines, and Google Reader are popular web-based feed readers.

Once you have your Feed Reader, it is a matter of finding sites that syndicate content and adding their RSS feed to the list of feeds your Feed Reader checks. Many sites display a small icon with the acronyms RSS, XML, or RDF to let you know a feed is available.

The four things you need to know about RSS
by Seth Godin


1.RSS is a stream of updated information. It comes from a blog or a website or some other content application and allows an RSS Reader to know an update has occurred.

2.When the reader sees an update, it grabs the headline or the headline and some of the content, or the headline and ALL of the content and displays it for you.

3.This means that once you set up a feed (more on that in a bit), you've got a direct, permanent, updated connection to a source of content. No more surfing!

4.So, this kills email marketing and it makes it easy for you to have anticipated, personal and relevant communications to (or with) whatever content sources--like companies or people or calendars or databases--you want.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Hike for Hope - Pretty in Pink Foundation

Saturday Jon and I participated in the Pretty In Pink Foundation's Hike for Hope.  Pretty In Pink Foundation provides financial assistance and support to underinsured and uninsured North Carolinians with breast cancer.
Jon was the MC for the event and scheduled the performers. Bernadette Pickles and Penny Lauricella and all the volunteers pulled off a great event. Join them on Facebook

I was inspired to write a Haiku honoring the hikers: 
Shadows seek a path
      Fallen twigs fracture softly
Dried needles cushion.

Some pics of the event:


Book Review: Happiness Is Growing Old at Home

I had the good fortune to catch an interview on Book Watch that featured Maria Tadd.  I sent her a note via Facebook and we exchanged comm.  She asked if I would review her book and I gladly agreed.  Here is that review:
 Maria Tadd’s book Happiness Is Growing Old at Home is the ultimate manual that aging parents and their adult children should own and read.  The material in each of the six chapters addresses and answers questions I didn’t even know I had, validates the things I have done and am doing right, points to areas I need to be more cognizant of, and does it all in a warm and engaging style. Her informative, guiding words made me feel I was in a personal conversation with her traveling down a path many of us are walking. As my 89 year old dad lives alone in the home my parents shared for the past 30+ years, I am bolstered by the fact that he and his friends watch out for each other and he participates in activities that keep him young in spirit. Many thanks to you Maria for helping us all by sharing your wisdom and your heart. 

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The Media Owes You Nothing

By Guest Blogger Olalah Njenga, YellowWood Group, LLC
Courtesy of Olalah Njenga and Carolina Business Connection

Like it or not, nothing boosts business like a little publicity. Despite the swirl of information about how social media has changed business, social media doesn’t seem to quell the need for good old fashion publicity. Many of my clients understand that submitting a concept to the media does not mean it will be picked up. But every once in a while, a client will get annoyed when he/she sees a competitor being featured or quoted in a news story or publication. It is in those moments of angst I find myself gently reminding the client, like it or not, “the media owes you nothing”.

So what is a business professional to do when he/she wants to become a media darling and scoop up some well-deserved publicity? Answering that question has more to do with what not to do. Being relevant to the media requires a high level of consistency and tenacity; something that many people struggle to maintain. However, if you’re the type that likes to see things to the end, you’ll find these tips helpful as you navigate the media maze.

Don’t Get Caught Making These 5 Media Missteps:

#1 – Shopping your news to every media outlet.
It’s not uncommon for a reporter to ask you where else have you submitted your news story, if the reporter is mildly interested. If you have simply “shopped” your story to any and every available media outlet, you are not doing yourself any favors. Reporters are people. They want to feel like they are working a fresh story, not a story that has been tossed around (and sometimes tossed over) by other media sources.

#2 – Trying to disguise a sales pitch or ad as news.
Media folks are pretty savvy. They’ve seen a lot of things and they’ll quickly see through your cleverly disguised sales pitch. Do yourself a favor and stick to the story without the glossy embellishments. If a reporter wants more information, he/she will ask for it and most likely schedule a time for an interview.

#3 – Tooting your own horn. Loudly.
A little humility goes a long way, even in the eye of the media. Reporters are easily turned off by boastful rants and self-serving hyperbole. It is absolutely acceptable to share awards and achievements if they are relevant to the story concept, but a laundry list of “look how great I am” items is sure to get your story intentionally overlooked.

#4 – Ignoring lesser known media outlets.
We all want to be media darlings (Okay, most of us anyway). Who wouldn’t want to make the front cover of an industry publication, or be the featured expert on a major network’s special segment? On the road to national publicity, don’t discount the local media outlets and their corresponding social platforms. Your impetus to national media just might come via a small, hometown newspaper that no one has ever heard of. Before you ask . . . yes, it happens.

#5 – Believing that a 1 time mention is all that you need.
Eileen Batson, a local PR professional who provides publicity services for speakers, authors and entrepreneurs, and I, often marvel at the thinking many business professionals have when it comes to publicity. Despite how often we tell people that a one-time mention will not catapult their business to national stardom, people want to cleave to that expectation. I’m not saying that it can’t happen. I’m merely saying that it does not normally happen that way. For example, a Florida-based gift basket company got mentions through local and regional media fairly regularly. It wasn’t until a feature in the Wall Street Journal that she saw a significant boost in sales. When interviewed about her seemingly overnight success, she chuckled and said “It took three years to become that.”

Navigating the media maze for well-deserved publicity can be a rewarding experience and give your business or brand a boost that few other vehicles can offer. Respect the media professionals, rather local or national, and understand that it is their role to share stories and information that is relevant to their audience. The role of the media is not to make you a star, despite the fact that in many cases the impact can do just that. At the end of day, the simple truth is that the media owes you nothing and they make no apology for that fact.

About Olalah Njenga
Olalah Njenga is the CEO and Senior Marketing Strategist at YellowWood Group, a marketing firm that specializes in helping companies align marketing strategies with sales goals. She is also the creator of the Marketing With Ease™ System and the author of 37 What Were They Thinking Moments In Marketing. As a member of the National Speakers Association (NSA), Olalah speaks nationally on business impacting topics, including strategic marketing, entrepreneurship, business planning, differentiation, social media and branding. In 2009, Olalah was honored as a Stevie® Awards Women In Business Finalist in the Lifetime Achievement category. Olalah sits on several advisory boards and serves as a volunteer counselor for SCORE. SCORE, the “Counselors of America’s Small Business Owners”, is a national association dedicated to helping small business owners form and grow their businesses.

Contact Information:
Olalah Njenga
YellowWood Group, LLC
http://www.yellowwoodgroup.com/
onjenga@yellowwoodgroup.com
919.783.4101

Sunday, April 25, 2010

8 Habits of Highly Effective Bloggers by Annabel Candy blog http://ping.fm/aWjFz

Become An Expert In Three Easy Steps

Become An Expert In Three Easy Steps
by Jessica Swanson

One of the threads that ties successful small business owners together is the fact that they are considered "experts" in a particular niche of their industry. As experts, they exude leadership qualities that naturally attract a base of loyal followers.

Unfortunately, this concept escapes many business owners who are desperate for success. They feel that they either don't have an area of expertise, don't have the right qualifications, or don't possess a formal "degree" in order to effectively lead a group of people.

The interesting fact is that all experts, at one time or another, took time to "learn" their field. There are countless ways to become an expert in your field. Some small business owners go back to school for a formal degree, others attend seminars and workshops, while still others teach themselves.

Both Albert Einstein and Earl Nightengale declared that if an individual dedicates just thirty minutes each day to studying a certain topic, they will become an expert on that topic within one year's time. Obviously, if you study for an hour every day, you can conceivably become an expert in six months time. Not too shabby!

Your expertise will be one of the most important components to the overall success of your business in the long-run.

Here's a very simple three-step formula to develop expertise in your field:

1) Identify Problems. First and foremost, you must find an area within your industry that is in need of expert advice. One of the simplest ways to do this is to make a list of problems that your customers and prospects face in your industry.

What frustrates or angers your prospective clients and customers? Do they need to lose weight? Are they sad or depressed? Do they need marketing help?

No matter what small business you operate, there are problems that your prospects' face on a daily basis.

2) Research Solutions. Once you have identified problems in your industry, begin researching possible solutions. Read online articles, visit your local library, attend classes, seminars and webinars. The main goal of your reasearch is so that you can eventually offer tangible solutions to your prospects.

3) Educate Your Prospects. You can turn your knowledge into a special report, short e-book or 10-day e-course. The main objective is to offer your prospects a sample of your knowledge base. Once you begin packaging your knowledge and offering it to others, you'll be surprised how quickly you will develop a group of followers that are eager to learn from you.

If you take the time to identify the problems in your industry, research the solutions and then educate your prospects, you will soon find that you have more business than you can handle!

------------------------------------------
Jessica Swanson, Founder and President of Shoestring Marketing, Inc., has helped entrepreneurs, all over the world, explode their businesses using cutting-edge, proven and completely free marketing strategies. To receive your FREE Shoestring Marketing Kit, that has helped thousands of entrepreneurs, just like you, learn the exact techniques for marketing their businesses for no-cost, visit:www.ShoestringMarketingKit.com

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Tips for Marketing a Book through Companies and Organizations

I caught the following post "Tips for Marketing a Book through Companies and Organizations" by Lisa Tener on Tony Eldridge's blog.  Tony Eldridge is the creator of Marketing Tips For Authors http://blog.marketingtipsforauthors.com/.  Writers and Authors check out his blog!  Hope you find this useful.
~ Eileen

Tips for Marketing a Book through Companies and Organizations
By Lisa Tener

When Tony asked me to write about book marketing for his blog, I thought to myself, "It's been a long time since I've marketed a book!" My second thought was, "Lucky for me, many of my book-writing clients and students are published authors and they're all up to interesting things."

I figured I'd interview a few of them for the article, but once I interviewed Kathy LeMay, author of The Generosity Plan (published by Beyond Words and Simon & Schuster's Atria Books), I knew I didn't need to go any further than Kathy to blow your socks off with her vision, strategy and brilliance.

How would you like to have big corporations and nonprofit organizations bringing you in as a keynote speaker and buying books in bulk to give out to their customers, employees, donors or board members?

You've probably seen tons of tactics all over the internet—"Become an Amazon bestseller," "Start your own radio show,"—these tactics can work for you if they fit in with your strategy and vision and you execute them properly, but they're not a marketing plan.

We all know that the days of multi-city book tours in bookstores are going the way of the stegosaurus and that the internet provides a huge venue for book sales, but there is something about seeing people in person to get a buzz going—in the same way The Secret created buzz both through Unity Churches and other groups, while going viral on the internet.

Kathy's main strategy has been to work with corporations and organizations as a keynote speaker, have them buy books to give out or sell, raise interest and awareness in audiences about the idea of generosity—changing the world through strategic giving of time, talent and treasure—even helping folks start generosity clubs.

You've probably heard that publishers will focus on distributing your book into bookstores (and possibly some publicity) for three months and that's it—unless it hits the charts big time. One of the reasons Kathy chose Beyond Words as her publisher was that they "got" the book and were in it for the long haul.

Cynthia Black, President and Editor-in-Chief of Beyond Words Publishing, told Kathy that she and her staff anticipated that The Generosity Plan would do for generosity what The Secret did for gratitude. Cindy shared Kathy's vision that The Generosity Plan would become a movement:

  •  For all people—no matter what their income or budget or time— to see themselves as philanthropic and able to make a difference
  •  For people to be strategic about the type of changes they want to create in the world
  •  To carry through long-term on their philanthropic vision by giving generously of their time, talent and treasure
  • And to transform our world one step at a time

A big vision calls for throwing convention to the wind. Here's how Kathy and her assistant Emilia Stoneham made it happen.

Kathy said, "People have so much on their plates. It's too small a return to cold call people. Rather than cast a wide net, let's go deep into the networks I've built in the past 15 years. We went through all our nonprofit clients, donor clients and corporate clients for my business, Raising Change, and created a master list that said how we'd approach each relationship and why.

"We put ourselves in their shoes and asked, 'If I were a top executive at a financial services firm, what's the benefit for me? Given their specific responsibilities in their job—what they're trying to achieve—what can we bring them that helps them meet their goals and benefits their company?"

For financial services firms, Kathy and Emilia saw that they could help these firms distinguish themselves among their client base: not just caring how you invest your money, but how you give the money you do. By bringing Kathy in as an expert, having her share her expertise, answer questions and share the book, the financial services firms helped their clients think of their financial picture in a holistic way. This helped deepen the relationship and make their firms stand out in a competitive field.

With nonprofit organizations, such as YWCAs, Kathy asked, "How do we fit into something that's already in place: an annual dinner, luncheon, or other way to meet their needs?" Again, putting herself in the place of the organization's leaders, she positioned her services as "How does this book and Kathy's presence help you advance and deepen your relationships with your clients, donors and customers?"

It worked: Emilia and Kathy have not been turned down by anyone they've approached. In fact, every host has said they'd like to have Kathy back to do it again and, in every audience, someone has come up to ask Kathy, "Can you do this for my organization (or company)?"

Here are Kathy and Emilia's 6 Tips for Marketing a Book through Companies and Organizations.

  • Deepen your own network rather than start with cold calling people.
  • Look at the value you can bring to an organization that fits their goals, priorities and needs.
  • Make it easy and effortless to work with you. Get them what they need when they need it.
  • Have a plan and an agenda that works for you. Stick to it.
  • In your presentation, slam it out of the park. Make them look great. Your success is their success.
  • Ask folks you're working with, "When this event is over and everyone has left, what are they leaving with that they didn't come in with?"
After more than a dozen events, Kathy has eight more planned already in the next two months. As the events create buzz, she and her publisher expect the movement to grow. Generosity will be the new gratitude.

---- National book writing coach Lisa Tener helps authors write a nonfiction/how-to book and get published. Her clients have been featured on CBS Early Show, Oprah and more. Lisa has been on ABC World News with Peter Jennings, PBS-TV and interviewed in Glamour, Body and Soul Magazine, WebMD and many others. Lisa serves on the faculty of the Harvard Medical School CME publishing course. Get Lisa's book writing and publishing blog, her bi-weekly book writing and publishing tips, and her free one week e-course to get started writing your book.

Kathy LeMay wrote The Generosity Plan in Lisa Tener's 8 Week Book Writing Program: Bring Your Book to Life. Says Kathy, "My book wouldn't be what it is without the feedback I got from Lisa and from students in the course. In fact, I'm not sure I would have even finished it without Lisa's step-by-step program."

Monday, April 19, 2010

Get the Skinny on Healthy Dark Chocolate April 24 in Chapel Hill http://ping.fm/zeI9s

Monday, March 29, 2010

58% of Bloggers Say They Are Better Known In Their Industry Because of their Blog. Are You One Them?

Attend the introductory Blogging for Business Workshop with Writer/Editor Alice Osborn and Marketing/PR Specialist Eileen Batson, March 31, 2010, to learn the what, whys and hows of blogging.

Raleigh, NC, March 29, 2010 – Offering an introductory blogging workshop bi-monthly and a more advanced workshop in May, Marketing/PR Specialist Eileen Batson and Writer/Editor Alice Osborn, help Triangle part-timers, self-employeds, managers, mompreneurs and writers understand the how, why and importance of blogging to reach their goals.

When Business Week’s cover proclaimed “Your customers and rivals are figuring blogs out”; their advice was “catch up…or catch you later,” businesses large and small felt the need to join the blogosphere.

“Blogging is big!” said Eileen Batson, owner of the Raleigh based company Batson Group Marketing and PR. “Want to be seen as an expert in your field? Want to engage your customers and increase retention and sales? A blog gives you the opportunity to easily share what you know with people across town and around the world who are interested in who you are and what you offer.”

Batson went on to say “In the 2008 Social Media White Paper by New Media Lab in Austin, statistics show Blogger.com grew 68% in 2008. In the US alone 26.4 million new blogs were started, 60.3 million people read blogs, and American bloggers spend 3.5 times longer on the web than watching TV. In the 2009 The State of the Blogosphere by Technorati, Matt Sussman wrote that ‘Part-Timers, Pros, and Self-Employed Bloggers are blogging as much as or more than ever (73%, 76% and 80%, respectively).’”

Alice Osborn, an award winning published poet and creative writing instructor, advises bloggers that “while there are many different elements and components to a successful blog, having compelling and engaging content on a consistent basis is key.”

The next introductory Blogging for Business Workshop is March 31, 2010 from 7:00pm-9:30pm at Calm and Sense in the Glenwood Village Shopping Center, 2603 Glenwood Avenue in Raleigh. Seating is limited to 25 attendees and costs $30. Register online at http://budurl.com/BlogWkshpMar31/

About Eileen Batson
As the owner of Batson Group Marketing and PR for 20+ years, her clients cover a broad spectrum of industries and locations. She helps clients “think outside the box” when they want to be well known, well thought of and well remembered by providing media/press releases, marketing research, a variety of marketing collateral and help with blogging and social media. She consults, holds workshops and speaks on social networking, PR, marketing and blogging. In 2009, Eileen produced the Raleigh House Concert Series and is on the steering committee of the 2nd Annual Women Helping Women Expo in Raleigh. She sits on the Board of Directors of Women’s Power Networking. BatsonGroup@yahoo.com 919.327.5021
http://www.batsongroupmarketingandpr.blogspot.com/

About Alice Osborn
Alice Osborn (M.A., English, NC State) is an award winning published poet, creative writing instructor, seminarist and the author of Right Lane Ends (Catawba, 2006). She is an Artist in the Schools writer-in-residence for the United Arts of Wake County and is also a former Raleigh Charter High School English teacher, a freelance editor and writes for Wake Living Magazine and “Our Lives” in the News & Observer. She is currently working on her next collection of poems and her first novel. http://www.aliceosborn.com/ Alice@AliceOsborn.com 919.971.9414

Media Contact
Eileen Batson - Batson Group Marketing and PR - BatsonGroup@yahoo.com - 919.327.5021

###

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Olalah Njenga Reveals 37 Ways You Might Be Sabotaging Your Business

37 What Were They Thinking Moments in Marketing, a light‐hearted, irreverent account of Olalah Njenga’s career as a marketing professional, is now available at Amazon. Is your ‘oops’ moment here?

Raleigh, NC - March 28, 2010 – YellowWood Group, LLC announces the publication of one of the more unique and humorous business books: 37 What Were They Thinking Moments in Marketing by award-winning CEO and Marketing Strategist Olalah Njenga.

In 37 What Were They Thinking Moments in Marketing, Olalah Njenga shares moments of blunder, amusement and disbelief as she highlights the marketing missteps that even savvy business professionals have made.

We try so hard to be professional and yet we’re guilty of doing things that make us look less than professional, sometimes in front of the very people whose respect we seek to earn. said Olalah. Though we know better, we don’t do better. Regardless of how many years we’ve been in business, we’re all capable of having a ‘what were we thinking moment.’ With equal parts tongue & cheek and lessons to be learned, 37 What Were They Thinking Moments In Marketing is certain to make you chuckle, even if it's at yourself.

In her review of the book for SmallBusinessTrends.com Margie Zable Fisher, President of Zable Fisher Public Relations says, It’s hard not to take personally the lessons learned in “37 What Were They Thinking Moments in Marketing” After reading this book, I realized that it’s impossible to have a business and not make mistakes.

37 What Were They Thinking Moments in Marketing is available now at Amazon.com
Book Details
Paperback: 214 pages
Publisher: YellowWood Group, LLC
ISBN-10: 0615345581
ISBN-13: 978-0615345581
Retail: $15.95

ABOUT OLALAH NJENGA
Olalah Njenga is the CEO and senior marketing strategist at YellowWood Group where she helps growing and mid-size companies align marketing strategies with sales goals. Olalah is a 2010 Business Leader Media Top 50 Entrepreneurs award winner and a 2009 Stevie® Award Women In Business finalist. A champion for small business success, Olalah is a columnist for CarolinaBusinessConnection.com and is a proud SCORE® volunteer. The author of 37 What Were They Thinking Moments In Marketing, Olalah is also the developer of Marketing With Ease™, a marketing system designed for small & solo business owners. In addition to her efforts on various business advisory boards, Olalah speaks and provides training on a variety of business topics including entrepreneurship, market penetration, differentiation, branding and social media. YellowWood Group   919.783.4101  info@YellowWoodGroup.com http://www.YellowWoodGroup.com/

CONTACT:
For media inquiries, appearances, and bulk orders please contact: Eileen Batson — Batson Group Marketing and PR – 919.327.5021 – BatsonGroup@yahoo.com
###

Friday, March 26, 2010

Olalah Njenga, CEO, Author and Keynote Speaker Adds Feature Columnist to List of Accomplishments

Tim Moore, editor of The Carolina Business Connection, selects Olalah Njenga, CEO of YellowWood Group, to his team of business columnists for 2010.

Raleigh, NC – Carolina Business Connection is one of North Carolina's top sources for what’s happening in business. Each business day, they deliver an e-mail to their subscribers summarizing the latest business headlines and events in the area.

Published by Dancing Elephants Achievement Group, in association with WingSwept and S &A Cherokee Company, Carolina Business Connection supports business owners by providing a “one stop shop” to get the word out about what’s happening in their business, events they are hosting, and a central place to find out about seminars and workshops.

“One of the activities I most enjoy doing is passing on what I have learned with businessmen and women that will move them forward to achieving their goals. Being asked to share the Featured Writer space with business and community leaders Asa Beavers, Bill Alexander, Gary Tomlinson, Jim Vogel, Karl Murphy, and Matt Archer is a honor.” stated Olalah.

“Each week of our one of CBC’s business experts will offer their insights and opinions on different areas of focus for business.” commented Tim Moore, editor of The Carolina Business Connection. “The team we have assembled for 2010 is an extraordinary group.”

Read Ms Njenga’s recent article “Is Social Networking Influencing Background Checks And Other Vetting Processes?”

About Olalah Njenga, YellowWood Group, LLC
Olalah Njenga is the CEO and Senior Marketing Strategist at YellowWood Group, a marketing firm that specializes in helping companies align marketing strategies with sales goals. She is also the creator of the Marketing With Ease™ System and the author of 37 What Were They Thinking Moments In Marketing. As a member of the National Speakers Association (NSA), Olalah speaks nationally on business impacting topics, including strategic marketing, entrepreneurship, business planning, differentiation, social media and branding. In 2009, Olalah was honored as a Stevie® Awards Women In Business Finalist in the Lifetime Achievement category. She sits on several advisory boards and serves as a volunteer counselor for SCORE. SCORE, the “Counselors of America’s Small Business Owners”, is a national association dedicated to helping small business owners form and grow their businesses. http://www.yellowwoodgroup.com/ onjenga@yellowwoodgroup.com 919.783.4101.

About Carolina Business Connection
CarolinaBusinessConnection.com is North Carolina's source for business headlines, news and events. CarolinaBusinessConnection.com is published by Dancing Elephants Achievement Group, in association with WingSwept and S & A Cherokee Company. Each business day, they deliver an e-mail summarizing the latest business headlines and events in the area. And as an added bonus, they also deliver a weekly e-mail highlighting upcoming business events for the week. http://www.carolinabusinessconnection.com/ info@carolinabusinessconnection.com

Sunday, February 21, 2010

5 Tips for Promoting Your Book with Social Media

5 Tips for Promoting Your Book with Social Media by Jesse Stanchak on February 17, 2010 on SmartBlogs.com

In the age of the Kindle and the iPhone, text is more ubiquitous than ever, but that doesn’t mean users are lining up to pay for content. Readers often need a push, in the form of a strong personal brand, to get them to open their wallets.

Social networks can provide an ideal platform for budding authors looking to bring their brand to the masses. A recent Social Media Week panel brought together a best-selling author, a literary blogger and a pair of publicists to discuss how social networks are changing the way authors promote their work — and how writers of all stripes can use social tools to get ahead.

• Make connections before you need them. You can’t start a Twitter account the day your book launches and expect to be an instant success, said Natalie Lin, online publicist at John Wiley & Sons. You need to start developing your audience long before you have something to market to them, she said. New writers have the most to gain from social networks, said literary blogger Levi Asher, since a social presence can help an up-and-coming author prove to a publisher that their work has an audience. Asher cited author Tao Lin as a rising talent who is gaining a cult following through his use of social networks.

Join conversations that aren’t about you. You can’t build meaningful connections with fans by just talking about yourself all the time, Lin said. If you want to make authentic relationships, trying joining in conversations about other topics that interest you, she suggested. Lin also suggested using your social presence to reach out to bloggers and other influencers that you respect. Asher agreed, noting that when an author approaches him about reviewing their book, he’s more likely to consider the request when the author can send him a personal note and demonstrate a little familiarity with his work.

• Use social media to feed your work. Your Twitter account isn’t just a promotional vehicle, said A.J. Jacobs, author of “The Year of Living Biblically” and other memoirs. Your social-networking experiences can actually help you develop ideas. Jacobs recently tweeted about his wife waking up in a bad mood after she had a dream about him flirting with another woman. Jacobs told the panel that after he sent this message, several of his followers responded that they’d had similar experiences with their spouses. What seemed like a freak occurrence at first might actually be a common problem that Jacobs could explore in an article.

• Use your social presence to support other promotions. Asher said he doesn’t see social media as a platform for driving direct sales so much as for building buzz and promoting events. The publishing business is changing, and part of that transformation may mean that Web events and nonbook merchandise may become a larger part of an author’s income, he noted. Publicist Meryl L. Moss said having a strong social presence can make it easier for an author to score a guest appearance on a TV or radio program. Moss pointed out that when new authors have a strong YouTube video under their belt, it can go a long way toward allaying a television producer’s fears that they won’t be able to hold up their end of an interview. Several panelists pointed out that many of the bulwarks of traditional publishing — media appearances, live events and even books themselves — are in a state of flux or even decline. Having a healthy personal brand online may a vital part of surviving and adapting in this new publishing environment, they said.

• Stick with it. Shifting from the private process of writing a book to the public process of promoting it can be a jarring experience for a writer, said Asher. Many writers become frustrated when they don’t develop an online following right away, he noted — or worse yet, when the people they connect with first aren’t fans, but harsh critics. Developing a real following takes time, and even then, your fans may still be critical of your work. Jacobs said he routinely received notes from fans alerting him to factual errors in his books. Authors need to be willing to open themselves up to critics and trust that their fans will take care of them in the long haul, Lin noted. “You need real stamina to make it work,” she said.

ABOUT JESSE STANCHAK
Jesse Stanchak writes and edits SmartBrief newsletters on leadership, entrepreneurship, social media and other topics. Before joining SmartBrief, he worked as a Web producer at Congressional Quarterly. His work has also appeared in Slate.com, MSN.com, the Washington City Paper and other publications. http://smartblogs.com/socialmedia/author/jstanchak/

Monday, February 8, 2010

Client News Release: Has Author Lee Kessler Uncovered the Ultimate Asymmetrical Weapon in “White King Rising”?

Readers of Lee Kessler’s novels, “White King and the Doctor” and “White King Rising,” are finding the answers they seek to the question “What’s happening to America?”

Los Angeles, CA – February 08, 2010 – The concept of asymmetrical war and weaponry has been with us since before the time of the Greeks and Romans. It is a term utilized by insiders, military strategists and some media pundits to describe the assault on America by terrorists.

When asked about asymmetrical warfare, Lee responded, “It is exactly the type of warfare implemented by the real life terrorists in my novels, White King and the Doctor and White King Rising. A thumbnail definition of this type of warfare is when one side uses its strengths to overcome its opponents’ weaknesses. Such struggles often involve strategies and tactics that are unconventional and may not necessarily be militarized. The term is rarely used or even seen by the average citizen.”

She went on to say, Fourth Generation Warfare (4GW) is conflict characterized by a blurring of the lines between war and politics, soldier and civilian. It is a type of warfare that weakens one’s will to win using a number of elements including terrorism, direct attacks on the enemy's culture, and highly sophisticated psychological warfare—especially through media manipulation and lawfare. Lawfare is a type of asymmetrical warfare waged via the use of international law to attack an opponent on moral grounds, with an objective of winning a public relations victory.”

In White King and the Doctor and White King Rising, Lee Kessler exposes the fourth-generation warfare tactics and the asymmetrical weapon used by terrorist Ayman Al-Zawahiri to bring down the United States from within. Ex-CIA analyst James Mikolas and Andrew Weir, his young Grand-master chess champion partner, together with Brian Washington Carver, a star collegiate football player and computer “gamer,” work out a plan to stop Zawahiri from triggering his doomsday scenario against the United States—set to launch June 30, 2011.

For more information about Lee Kessler, read a preview, and watch the televised interview, visit http://www.whitekingrising.com/  White King Rising and White King and the Doctor are available in bookstores and online.

About Lee Kessler
Lee Kessler is a television actress, author, playwright, and stage director. Her career in Hollywood and New York spans 35 years and includes dozens of guest starring roles in episodic TV, mini-series and movies-of-the-week and was submitted for Emmy nominations for her starring roles in Collision Course and Which Mother Is Mine? She co-starred with Peter O'Toole in Creator. Her play, Anais Nin - the Paris Years was produced in New York and Los Angeles, with a subsequent tour on the West Coast. She directed the West Coast premiere of A.R. Gurney's Who Killed Richard Cory? Visit http://www.whitekingandthedoctor.com/  and http://www.whitekingrising.com/  Fan Lee at http://www.facebook.com/LeeKesslerStoryteller


Media Contact:
Eileen Batson | Batson Group Marketing and PR | 919.327.5021 | BatsonGroup@yahoo.com