Political Marketing: David Englin Does It Right

david-englan-letter.jpgYou may not know who David Englin is. I didn’t – until I moved into his district and received an astonishingly well written welcome letter.

Dear Andrea,

Thank you for registering to vote here in the 45th District! As your representative to the Virginia House of Delegates — the world’s oldest continuously meeting elected legislature — my goal is to provide open, responsive, energetic leadership that makes government work for you. Enclosed with this letter is a guide to some of the services my office can provide. I hope you will take a few minutes to look up my website, http://www.DavidEnglin.org, where the “Constituent Toolbox” section can connect you to a variety of state agencies and services.

While you are at my website, you can also find information about my background and legislative priorities and about my ongoing work for progress in our community and across Virginia. I believe that, whatever your background or political affiliation, we are joined together as neighbors, and I work hard to strengthen our economically and socially diverse community, to defend our community’s progressive values, and to invest in a bright and prosperous future.

It is an honor to represent you, and I hope you will always feel free to share your thoughts and ideas so we can continue down the path of progress together.

Sincerely Yours,

David Englin
Delegate – 45th District

P.S. — Also enclosed is my business card, which includes my home and cell numbers. Please don’t hesitate to call if I can be of service.  

Curious, I checked out his website and on the home page is a blog. Although he calls it “news” — it is certainly a series of short and personal posts arranged in reverse chronological order — therefore, it’s a blog.

Geoff Livingston of the Buzz Bin wrote an interesting post about the use of new media in the political arena. I highly suggest taking a peek.

This soft sell certainly made David stand out from the crowd. Always slow adopters, goverment officials are usually the last to catch on to new ways of operating. But it looks like David is pretty savvy and because of that, I like him and will most likely vote for him.

Politicians take note – we want to be treated as valued customers. You should check out Seth Godin’s take on Permission Marketing for further details.

***************************************************************************************

Andrea Morris is the Chief Idea Officer of Write Ideas Marketing and specializes in helping visionaries, entrepreneurs, consultants and small businesses use high-ROI strategies to get the right message to the right people. For more information, please visit writeideasmarketing.com

New Media Conference in Washington D.C.

If you’re in the Metro DC area, mark your calendar for the New Media Nouveaux conference July 13th. The focus of the conference will be “how to get your audience to fall madly in love with you, your message and your business” through strategic use of blogs, social media releases, etc.

Yours truly will be moderating the “Specialists” panel discussion with Alice Marshall of Presto Vivace, Qui Diaz of Ogilvy and Jennifer Cortner of EFX Media

Here’s a peek at everyone who will be presenting:

Keynote Speakers:

  • Toby Bloomberg – Author of the Diva Marketing Blog
  • Geoff Livingston – CEO of Livingston Communications and Author of Now is Gone (to be released this October)

Panelists: 

If you’re a regular reader, I’d love to meet you – so try to stop by and introduce yourself after the conference. Hope to see you there – you can get more info/register here.

***************************************************************************************

Andrea Morris is the Chief Idea Officer of Write Ideas Marketing and specializes in helping visionaries, entrepreneurs, consultants and small businesses use high-ROI strategies to get the right message to the right people. For more information, please visit writeideasmarketing.com

Myragan.com: Here’s Why I’m Totally Addicted

I belong to a LOT of social networking sites and I love it. My latest craze is myragan.com – a social networking site specifically for communicators (folks in Advertising/Marketing/PR, etc.)

What sets myragan apart from the gads of other networking sites I belong to?

1. Industry focus – Marketing folks seem to have their own crazy way of doing things (which is part of the reason why I find my job so fun.) It’s engaging to be plugged into a community that genuinely “gets” the way you operate.

2. Content Quality – Myragan is resource-rich and well organized. The forums are outstanding and the quality of the posts reflects the professionalism of the community. My favorite spot to visit is the funny pages – where I can find clips from youtube or other media to make me laugh.

3. Community Involvement – Most social networking sites are pretty laissez-faire when it comes to direct communication with users. Not so with myragan. They have a dedicated staff that reaches out and makes you feel at home – so if you’ve never ventured into the online community, this would be a great place to start.

4. Intuitive Navigation – The menu bar makes myragan easy to navigate and operate. This may sound simple and “duh”, but trust me – with lots of sites it feels like you need to learn a second language just to understand the navigation. Myragan’s simple design has me sold.

So, if you’re a member you can check out my profile. Feel free to send me a friend request if you’d like to network. Cheers!

***************************************************************************************

Andrea Morris is the Chief Idea Officer of Write Ideas Marketing and specializes in helping visionaries, entrepreneurs, consultants and small businesses use high-ROI strategies to get the right message to the right people. For more information, please visit writeideasmarketing.com

Ghost Blogging Ethics Across the Globe

The world is getting flatter – as shown by my conversation at a recent party (same one from yesterday’s post) with a German publicist named Robert. Inevitably, the topic of blogging came up and Robert gave me an interesting perspective on the blogging beliefs across the pond. He explained that in Germany, blogging is seen more as serious journalism instead of the seemingly incoherent ramblings he runs accross in the U.S.

Robert also brought up the trend of ghostblogging, stating that so many American companies have a marketing/PR/communications person actually posting the content based on the ideas of the CEO. To Robert, ghostblogging is in violation of his PR ethics (typing that out sounds like an oxymoron…but I digress).

Shel Holtz posted a well thought out commentary on the ghostblogging debate. I agree with his points:

“The best analogy for good ghost blogging is signing for the deaf, which transmits the exact words and inflection of the speaker deaf members of the audience cannot hear.”

And…

“if a business leader ultimately does opt to have someone else handle the writing of the blog, he should disclose it. What’s the harm in a statement like this on an executive blog: “Welcome to my blog. Several times each week, I articulate my thoughts to Mary Jones, who runs communications for the company, and she posts them here ensuring that I make the points I want to make. But rest assured, while Mary makes me sound better, the messages you read are mine; they come from my heart and I read all the comments myself.”

To me, this is the bottom line – to commit to a quality blog takes an investment of time. If you are positioning the blog as the voice of one person – it should be THAT person who is posting to keep the voice authentic. S/he may have a team of people gathering research and submitting ideas (similar to a speechwriter) but the ultimate delivery is the decision of the blogger.

If time does not allow for this investment, why not turn the blog into the voice of the “company” instead of just the CEO? Time could be leveraged if multiple employees were encouraged to submit their thoughts on a  particular topic. Granted – an editor would make sense for obvious legal resasons.

***************************************************************************************

Andrea Morris is the Chief Idea Officer of Write Ideas Marketing and specializes in helping visionaries, entrepreneurs, consultants and small businesses use high-ROI strategies to get the right message to the right people. For more information, please visit writeideasmarketing.com

Why Link Love is Bad for Your Blog

Fresh out of college I worked selling ad space for a regional lifestyle magazine. It was a tough sell because the magazine was about 80% advertising and 20% editorial – and people caught on. The lack of original content was ultimately what caused the magazine’s demise.

Similarly, I can predict the same fate for blogs who evangelize link love strategies. Simply creating a list of other blogs or writing a post to the effect of “Read this blog – it’s good” is an ineffective long term strategy for building a quality blog.

If you look at some of the best blogs out there – blogs like ProBlogger, Seth Godin, Copyblogger, or How to Change the World, you’ll notice they never re-hash other people’s ideas. If they do link to another blog it’s with a purpose. If they reference an article they state their opinion. If they use a “tactic” it’s subtle and buffered with mounds of original content.

Unsure you have what it takes to come up with original content on a regular basis? Maybe you shouldn’t be blogging in the first place.

***************************************************************************************

Andrea Morris is a marketing coach who specializes in helping visionaries, entrepreneurs, consultants and small businesses use high-ROI strategies to get the right message to the right people. For more information, please visit writeideasmarketing.com

Online Newsletters – Are they worth it?

I was cleaning out my e-mail inbox the other day and realized just how many e-zines and newsletters I receive. Some of them I subscribe to (like AAF Smartbrief, Lorrie Morgan-Ferraro’s Red Hot Copy, and various blogs via Feedblitz) and read on a daily basis.

Some I’ve subscribed to and wish I had more hours in the day so I could read them.

Then there are the unsolicited ones. Businesses I’ve met at a networking event who take my info and add it to their mailing list in an attempt to generate some sort of brand awareness. But sadly, this tactic doesn’t work.

The problem? Unsolicited newsletters are annoying, and repetitive. Most are regurgitating some “market trend” that doesn’t even apply to me (ex: I had 18 real estate agents sending me their newsletters – most saying the exact same thing and I’m not even in the market for a house!!)

The question becomes – how much time does it take to compile these newsletters? And if people aren’t even reading them or your content is similar to your competition, are they worth the time you’ve invested?

What if you started a blog instead so people could read your thoughts when and how they wanted to. You could track which topics get the most respose via comments and page views. If you have original and interesting content, people will read it. Then, when it becomes a good investment of your time, start your newsletter knowing you have a subscription base.

***************************************************************************************

Andrea Morris is a marketing coach who specializes in helping visionaries, entrepreneurs, consultants and small businesses use high-ROI strategies to get the right message to the right people. For more information, please visit writeideasmarketing.com

Annoying Business Buzzwords and Phrases

annoyed-woman.jpgWhen I hear one of these phrases, a part of me cringes. Are people still talking like this? Are they listening to what they’re saying?

“We offer excellent customer service” – OK, what else do you do. Excellent customer service is standard nowadays. This phrase does NOTHING to set you apart. Plus, “excellent” is such a vague term with little metric value (see post on boastful superlatives).

“We are never too busy for your referrals.” – I would hope not – your chances of closing the deal on a referral are much higher than a cold-call. Who in their right mind would be “too busy?” Are you attempting to solicit your current clients to send you referrals with this message? If so, you might want to try mentioning how your service will be different. Maybe something like, “We treat your referrals like family.”

“This is a ‘turnkey’ solution.” – Enough of the buzzwords. They are fads. They get old. They do not make you seem smarter. Check out Scott Ginsberg’s blog for more annoying buzzwords .

***************************************************************************************

Andrea Morris is a marketing coach who specializes in helping visionaries, entrepreneurs, consultants and small businesses use high-ROI strategies to get the right message to the right people. For more information, please visit writeideasmarketing.com

Web 2.0 Burnout?

squidoo-small.gifHere’s a riddle for you, what do you get when you cross a traditional website with Web 2.0?

The answer? A whole new ballgame.

Squidoo.com (a project with marketing guru Seth Godin at the helm) calls their new ballgame a lens – aimed at providing easy searches, low-maintenance and affiliate/PPC advertising incentives. According to the Official Squidoo Lens,

“We believe that when you go online, you don’t search. You don’t even find. Instead you are usually on a quest to just make sense…There ought to be a way for you to talk about what matters to you, what 10 things matter to you, without the pressure of keeping it up daily (like a blog); and you ought to be able to make some money if someone buys something because you recommended it.”

Interesting concept – I signed up for my first lens last week. Although it’s still in its infancy, you can check it out by clicking here.

Zude.com is scheduled to launch May 1st. Its main feature is the ability for users to “drag and drop” modules to create their own pages. Zude’s creators hail it as the “next generation and ultimate evolution of web interaction.”

Regardless of the tool, one thing is clear – Web 2.0 has increased the demand for user-friendly, intuitive online interaction. And yes, these sites do provide branding value and the potential for passive income.

But how much is too much? Is it possible to suffer from Web 2.0 burnout?

Personally, I think so. Between my website, blog, myspace, meetup, technorati, squidoo, dogster, livejournal, my yahoo! and the countless other sites I belong to – it can become overwhelming. And with the plethora of new tools on the horizon, users may not be as eager to jump on board as they were a year ago.

***************************************************************************************

Andrea Morris is a marketing coach who specializes in helping visionaries, entrepreneurs, consultants and small businesses use high-ROI strategies to get the right message to the right people. For more information, please visit writeideasmarketing.com

Joost.com – Inflated Viral Marketing

Joost Beta InviteLooking to build buzz about your business? Take a hint from Joost.com – a new online TV service from the founders of Skype that’s sure to knock the socks off traditional cable. Through a deal with Viacom, Joost.com offers name-brand channels like MTV, VH1, BET, and Comedy Central. And negotiations with other networks (like CBS) are happening as we speak.

In order to participate in Joost.com beta, users must receive an “invite” – which is a brilliant way to boost buzz. People will always want what they can’t have. Bloggers sense scarcity and post their desired demand.

It’s no surprise some holders are looking to capitalize on their invitation’s value by posting them on auction sites like eBay or joostswap.com (where bidders offer everything from web hosting services to Belgian chocolate and beer)

This is a similar concept to the crazes of toys such as Cabbage Patch Dolls, Tickle Me Elmo or XBox 360. Low supply + High Demand = Lots of Buzz & Inflated Value

So what does this mean for Joost.com? Blog posts are tangible evidence of demand – which is a big chip to play when negotiating with networks and advertisers.

Only question is – will the product live up to the hype? Bloggers are posting about their desire for the concept – not the product itself. This can be a risky move. It opens up the gates for competitors if Joost.com doesn’t meet the high expectations they have set for themselves. We’ll just watch (if I get an invite) and see.

***************************************************************************************

Andrea Morris is a marketing coach who specializes in helping visionaries, entrepreneurs, consultants and small businesses use high-ROI strategies to get the right message to the right people. For more information, please visit writeideasmarketing.com

Congrats Ad Man!

Congratulations to my friend Geoff Livingston of Livingston Communications who celebrated the first-year anniversary of his business!

As he puts it…

“We’ve had great experiences, from promoting Godsmack lead singer Sully Erna’s new book “The Paths We Choose,” and the Washington Nationals to well over a dozen stories placed in the top 50 newspapers in the country.

 

To celebrate our birthday, we’ve published an interview on our Buzz Bin blog with Laura Ries, co-author of the celebrated books “The Fall of Advertising and the Rise of PR” and the “Origin of Brands.” The latest in a series of interviews with great marketing minds, Laura discusses the impact new media is making on brands. You can view this interview at http://www.livingstonbuzz.com/blog/?p=246. We’ve also launched a new version of our web site at www.livingstonbuzz.com.

 

Again, congrats Geoff and may you have many, many, many more successful years to come!

 

 

To your success,

 

Andrea Morris

Write Ideas Marketing

The Secret to Spectacular Writing

Idea PaintingMany of us search for the perfect words to help sell our product or service. We tweak the recipe until we have a proprietary blend of personality and professionalism. The words jump off the page and the reader feels connected. That is great writing.

I’ve discovered a secret during my career as a copywriter and marketing coach. Toning ideas down is a heck of a lot easier than jazzing them up.

My first few projects started from a logical point of view. I wrote and edited at the same time as most people do. The words were acceptable, but they lacked that certain je-ne-sais-quoi. It needed some sparkle – but adding sparkle to swill isn’t easy.

One day I decided to give my thinking a makeover. I set a goal to find all the outrageous ideas lurking in the far corners of my brain and get them out of my head and onto my computer screen.

I decorated a piece of card stock with silly symbols and the words “JUST THINK” and covered my computer screen. Somehow the paper removed the tiny editor that sat somewhere in my head trashing ideas before they even got to the screen. Since I couldn’t see my work, all my crazy ideas (not just the logical ones) made the journey from my brain, through my fingers and onto the computer.

The result? I discovered many of the ideas that normally wouldn’t have made the cut were more effective than the so-called logical ideas. With a little tweaking and toning down I had writing that worked. The process also saved me time and was fun to boot.

So the next time you’re experiencing writer’s block try covering your screen and opening your mind. Then sit back and watch your ideas blossom.

***************************************************************************************

Andrea Morris is a marketing coach who specializes in helping visionaries, entrepreneurs, consultants and small businesses use high-ROI strategies to get the right message to the right people. For more information, please visit writeideasmarketing.com

All I could say was “Wow”

Checking my blog stats for today I noticed a dramatic increase in traffic due to a single post I wrote over a month ago titled “Could you win Richard Branson’s $25 Million Dollar Prize?”

Turns out if you Google “Richard Branson 25 Million” (w/o quote marks) my blog post shows up on the second page (#12).

I sat there starring at my screen feeling a sense of both accomplishment and disbelief. All I could say was, “wow.”

It just goes to show that you never know….

***************************************************************************************

Andrea Morris is a marketing coach who specializes in helping visionaries, entrepreneurs, consultants and small businesses use high-ROI strategies to get the right message to the right people. For more information, please visit writeideasmarketing.com