What have you learned lately?

February 11, 2013

Screen Shot 2013-02-08 at 7.04.02 AMOne of the sure signs of a person who is going to be successful is that they wholeheartedly behave in lifelong learning. I didn’t say believe in life long learning because I’ve found just about everyone believes in it. But few actually act upon that belief.

If you are someone who gives lifelong learning more than lip service (waving to all the “believers” but not behaviors out there!) then I have a conference I want to tell you about.

I don’t know about you — but I learn best by doing.  Yes, I can read about something or hear a presentation — but I’m much more likely to retain the information if there’s some hands on aspect to the training.

BlogHOT (HOT = hands on training) is designed to be a very different kind of learning experience. Which you know it would be — since it is Mack Collier’s creation. Rather than two days of people talking at you — this is 2 days of people talking and doing WITH you.

Here’s how much I believe in this conference — I am speaking there on my own dime. I’m not getting paid and I am buying my own plane ticket. (I am getting a hotel room, which I greatly appreciate). You all know how busy I am. As much as I would like to, I just can’t afford to speak anywhere for free, except for college classrooms.

Mack has gathered an amazing group of people for you to learn with.  (scroll through the list here) Best of all — there not going to be there to talk at you and run.  They are there to teach/learn with you.  There will be tons of time to connect with these folks before and after their scheduled presentations and because this is a new event — the crowd will be manageable and you will score plenty of one on one time with everyone.

BlogH.O.T. (H.O.T. stands for Hands-On Training) is a conference for anyone that wants to improve their blogging efforts, especially if you are blogging for a business. The goal of BlogH.O.T. is to not only provide instruction on how to improve your blogging efforts but also show you how to be a better blogger.

Since I am speaking at this event, event management has enabled me to extend to you a special offer to attend BlogH.O.T. at a $100 discount if you register by February 15! To receive your discount, you must use this special registration link and enter the special Promotion Code BHS113. This is the only way to take advantage of this special offer. Your total savings will be $200 off the regular price – $100 savings plus $100 early-bird savings but only if you register by February 15!

I’d love to see you there!


P.S.  Nope — I am not making a dime on this conference and other than the fun of meeting you — I don’t get anything if you attend.  But YOU will get a lot.  So please consider it.

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The “how to” of business blogging

July 2, 2012

Blogs, once described as the vehicle for narcissistic over sharers and people who found cats amusing, have certainly come into their own.

Today, while there are still plenty of hobby bloggers out there, the tool is being embraced by businesses and thought leaders in record numbers.

The benefits a blog can bring to a business are multifold:

  • Blogs, when built properly, can have a significant impact on search engine results and traffic to your site
  • Blogs can establish expertise and credibility for a business
  • Blogs can drive traffic to your web presence
  • Blogs can shorten the sales cycle by establishing a relationship long before the first inquiry
  • Blogs can encourage thought leadership within your organization
  • Blogs can lead to other media interviews/opportunities
  • And many more!

Sadly, most companies who launch a blog either do it badly or don’t sustain the blog for more than a couple months. If you’re thinking of launching a company blog, here are some basic best practices that will help assure you a solid start.

Build it on a platform optimized for blogging: I can’t imagine why anyone would build a blog today on anything but WordPress. It is relatively inexpensive to use, it is constantly being improved with new updates and plugins, the search engines love it and it has a very simple interface so that anyone who can work with Microsoft Word can add, modify or remove content.

There are other blogging specific platforms out there that are also good alternatives to consider. Whatever you do — don’t let anyone talk you into building your blog on proprietary software that doesn’t allow you to change hosts, servers and control your own site.

Have a strategic plan/editorial calendar: Don’t put your first finger on the keyboard until you have thought about why you’re doing this in the first place. Put some SMART goals in place, know what audiences matter to you and map out the logistics of writing/maintaining a blog. We literally invest most of a day with clients who want to map this out properly. Don’t short-change this critical step.

Write to/for your audience: A blog is not a place for you to put your press releases, talk about what’s on sale or push your products. You need to know who your audience is and you need to know what matters to them.

Unless other marketing tactics, a blog is permission based. People choose to read your content or not. If all you do is talk about yourself, they will not choose to keep reading.

Practice before you publish: For many companies – blogging sounds great in theory but when it comes to actually having both the discipline and the desire to sustain it over time – they fall short. To blog well and right – takes a significant time commitment. Not only do you need to create the content but you also need to respond to readers who ask questions or add to the conversation.

We have all of our clients actually blog for 30-45 days “behind the curtain” so we can help them find their voice, identify potential problems and they can get a taste for what blogging is all about. That way, if they decide it’s not something they can sustain – we haven’t publicly launched something new and then have to explain why it’s already going away. Or worse – is just left there, dormant.

For many businesses, a blog should be a no brainer. But, a blog is an organic, constantly evolving marketing tool that at best, you have some control over. But by it’s very nature – it’s going to grow and change in ways you can’t imagine. So it requires some forethought, careful planning and a watchful eye.

Make it work for you by doing the work to get it right.

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How to keep writing when the well is dry

May 31, 2012

From my mailbox:

I read your emails and your piece in the Business Record. I think a gal here at my company might have heard you speak at the NAWBO Conference last year (does this sound right?) Anyway… she said one of the things she took away was that you made a comment of how no matter what you had going on and/how you felt, you made sure to be consistent with your blog posts.

Some days I’m just not feeling it… like today, but I know I have to post consistently. Do you have any tricks you do to keep your head in the game or your confidence up when you write? I tell myself I’m my own worst critic and this is just one post of many… and regardless of it being great or crappy… it’s not going to make or break me.

My reply:

Hey there —

Happy to offer whatever advice I can. There are certainly days when I feel like the tank is empty. I’m either over scheduled or over tired or just over stimulated and I have nothing to say. Or, as you say — I’m feeling like what I do have to offer is lame or expected.

On those days, which fortunately are not all that often, I do one of a few things:

I cut myself some slack. I remember that one blog post is not going to make or break my blog and that no one is paying as much as attention as I think they are.

I sit it out. If I’ve just posted something on the blog (I average 3-4 posts a week) I’ll give myself permission to take a day off with the mental promise of being back on it the next day.

I go to my reserves. I always have a few posts written and tucked away for a rainy day. If I use one — I have to replace it AND write new stuff for the blog, so I have to be in bad shape to go to this solution.

I curate. There’s lots of good stuff being written out there and most of it goes pretty unnoticed. So on a day when I am not feeling inspired…I’ll go through my robust feedreader and find a gem that I think got overlooked by many. I’ll write a little intro, add some context as to why I think it is relevant and then post the link.

I seek out guest bloggers. I don’t do a lot of guest blogging on my site. But every once in awhile, sharing a different voice is kind of nice.

I use the answers to questions I’m sent. I get a fair amount of email from the blog and I try to answer it as best as I can. When someone asks something that I think others might care about too… I use it as content. (Like this exchange)

The bottom line is — you’re right, no one is going to die if your blog content is a little light for the week.  But it can quickly become a rut that’s hard to climb out of.  So hopefully some of the suggestions above will help you avoid the rut in the first place!

So — how about it readers — how do you create content when your well is feeling dry?

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3 blogging tools worth exploring

April 5, 2011

Screen shot 2011 04 02 at 9 44 12 AM
A BackTweets’ email (click to see full size)




This handy tool (www.backtweets.com) tracks any and all tweets that drive back to your blog, whether they mention you, your blog’s name or even your URL.  That’s right — if they use a shortened URL, you’ll still get the info.

I’ve subscribed by e-mail (it was free) so that every day, I get a simple report that shows all the tweets that drove people to my blog.  I get a better sense of what topics draw more attention and sharing.

Your blog to Kindle

This is a simple and free way to publish your blog so people can subscribe via their Kindle. Just go to Kindle Publishing and set up an account.

From there, you just add some basic blog information (RSS feed, title, description etc.) and your bank information (so they can pay you when someone subscribes) and within 48 hours, you’re available 24/7 on the e-reading giant.


Zemanta is a free plugin for your browser that looks over your shoulder and as you’re typing, it’s suggesting relevant links and photos that would enhance your blog posts.   You can embed links, add a short list of related posts at the bottom of your own post and place their photos where you’d like them to appear.

Even more interesting — when you use Zemanta, it automatically puts your post into their related articles database…and offers your content to other bloggers to link to.  So it goes full circle.


These are three of my favorite tools.  What tools can you share with me and my readers that are among your favorites?

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Drew’s blog gets a makeover!

February 7, 2011

paintboy drewmclellan

For many of you, my blog comes via your e-mail inbox or RSS feed reader.  So you probably haven’t even noticed that something is looking a little different.

I decided it was time to give Drew’s Marketing Minute a fresh look and take advantage of some of the most current technology (plugins etc.) as I made the leap from Typepad to WordPress. We’re still making some minor tweaks, but for the most part — I’m excited to share it with you.

If you’re reading this remotely — give us a click and come tour our new home. As always, I welcome your feedback.  Anything you’d add?  Or miss from the old version?

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