Living In Your Cobweb

Cobwebs are beautiful artworks by our arachnid friends.

They can be sticky and cloudy, they can be thread-thin and glistening, they can be huge and they can be small. They amaze me in their construction and purpose.

I often say my brain is like a sticky cobweb. It’s full of all sorts of everything in my life and it’s all combined together. It’s not a compartmentalized place or organ. It’s chock full of stuff I both want to know and remember and stuff I’d rather forget and let go.

The marketing stuff is the stuff I love and plan to do my best to keep in that web. It’s enough stuff to create it’s own sticky cobweb, really. And I love wandering through it when working with clients.

Taking a nod from our spider compatriots, I’ll continue to simply keep navigating the sticky cobweb that is my brain.

They make it work. So can I.

Mistakes Are Tuition

One of the early online influencers told me this phrase years ago: Mistakes are tuition.

I ‘d add to that: mistakes aren’t failures.

And mistakes are only failures if they are repeated. If we pay attention to our ways, our patterns, habits, ideas, actions and all the rest that comes from us, we can make productive choices and we can make mistakes. Mistakes aren’t failures though.

My Fine Husband and I were talking about this the other night. Rather, the word failure came up in conversion and I challenged that a failure isn’t a mistake. It’s only a mistake if you repeat it because you didn’t learn from the way-it-went-even-if-it-wasnt-how-you-wanted-things-to-go. That’s not even failure to me – that’s not paying attention, sometimes stupidity, blind ignorant faith or lack of recognition to return to the drawing board or conversation to course correct.

Lots of voices are crowing these days, “It’s okay to fail.” I’d ask, what is their definition of failure?

This is a success, not a failure.

If it’s that things didn’t go how you wanted, that’s not failure. That’s perhaps poor planning, incomplete vision, not getting the help you need or would benefit from. But that can’t be chalked up to failure if so.

The tuition of mistakes cements this idea in my head – that failures are only failures if repeated. Mistakes – aka what we may think of as failures – are the tuition of making that move, however calamitous or undesired it may be.

Tuition is precious – it’s loaded with our time, passion, energy and resources. If you expend tuition in this way – if you learn from your mistakes and missteps – then your tuition was worth it. 

Marketing is full of choice. You choose the avenues to communicate with the world at large. the opportunity to pay tuition as well as fail are plentiful. By the way, you’re in control; do you want to learn and pay tuition and find your successes that way – or do you want to be stubbornly holding onto what you think should work if only…?

Marketing is successful when we pay tuition. Every single entity I know has paid marketing tuition. The smartest ones see it for what it is: mistake = thoughtful endeavor that didn’t go according to plan so was tweaked and they kept moving forward. I know I’ve certainly paid tuition and I think about it daily: how do I do my best with my best? What do I get rid of – what failures can I avoid because I learned from my mistakes (paying tuition)?

If you don’t learn, that’s on you and no one else.

Make a mistake, by all means. Just don’t repeat them to failure status.

Blog Is A Verb…Or Is It A Noun?

To Blog, Or Not to Blog….is that a question?

Well, it is if blog is used as a noun. It’s not if it’s a verb, wherein the sentence would be to blogging/blogged or not to blogging/blogged…which would seem silly and most definitely is not a question.

Blogging, the act of writing an article for a website, has gone Goggle. We’ve chosen to use it as an action rather than a fact. What then does it mean to ‘go blog’? Is that incorrect grammatically?

off I go, into the wild blog yonder….

Blogging is a marketing tactic since it’s a method of communication. When blogging first took hold in the later 1990’s, it seemed pretty clear what it was (to me anyway): an online article published on a website.

When did all this blogging begin?

According to this article, the term ‘weblog’ was coined in 1997.

What exactly is a blogger?

I ask because I find that ‘blogger’ is like the word ‘art’ –  its meaning is sometimes opinion based. One time I read a post – supposedly a written blog post by a writer – which was all cut and paste of an interview with a celebrity from another publication. Wait a minute – that’s not writing; that’s cutting and pasting. Whatever you do own it, just don’t call it what it isn’t. While it may be blogging, it’s not writing. When I questioned the ‘writer’ out on it, they stood firm – claiming that they indeed ‘wrote’ the post. It’s whatever some people want it to be.

I choose to stick with the seemingly original entry: a blog being a single entry published on a website.  A blogger then is someone who writes blogs.

Glad we cleared this up for me.

Now, if you’ll excuse, I’ve got more blogs to write.

“Under New Management”

I’ve seen a rash of signs lately that state either, “Under New Management,” or “Under New Ownership.” They’re usually big banners, strung across a marquise or wall of a building on a business.

So what? What’s important or noteworthy about new ownership or new management, I ask you.

It’s only a series of three words – strung together, in a seemingly lacking sentence.

Why did someone put it up? What’s meaningful about new anything unless it’s better, worse, different or otherwise unique to what it was before. I don’t get it.

At least this sign is honest

What if new management stinks? What if the previous management turns out to be better, the newbies get down the road a ways, falter and yet another wave of ‘new’ management hits the door. What then?

I’d like to see signs that say, “Improved Service,” “Now Open Weekends,” or “We kicked out the crappy managers and got new ones – let’s see what happens!”

I mean, really. At least there’d be an attempt at humor or a campaign for (hopefully) increased hours and improved service if that’s why there’s new management.

What do you want the signs to say instead?

Developing Your Media & Press List

I started drafting an email to a colleague this morning and thought, “Wait – this would be good post.” So here it is, for everyone.

Developing your Media & Press List, with a nod to Orion.

Every business can reap huge benefits from a well-developed internal Media & Press list.

You develop one by carefully procuring contacts from outlets you find suitable; ones your ideal clients pay attention to, ones you find credible and related to your work. What you provide to them is newsworthy. They are in the business of providing useful, helpful and entertaining insights, depending on the outlet.

Kirstin O’Connor, TV reporter & Ginger.

Bear in mind: Media & Press is NOT ABOUT YOU. It’s about your M&P pros. What do they need, what can you give them to best do their jobs? It’s a gift, as Lisa so rightly states, to get media and press coverage. Never expect it, always be grateful.

1. Be mindful of their schedules, find out how they best prefer to be reached, frequency and any other pertinent details in developing the relationships that make it work for them.

2. Providing facts up front as very helpful to media and press. A fact sheet makes it easy for them to get the basics right.

3. Keep your list managed and updated. When a TV reporter, for instance, moves to another channel, make note and see if the new station is a fit for what you can provide to them there.

4. While we’re all working in our own businesses, providing your valued M&P contacts with unrelated news bits is always appreciated. When I see something happening around town, perhaps even in my (smaller) town that might go unnoticed, I pass it along to an appropriate pro. I don’t ask to be contacted about it – I simply let them know this is what I see, perhaps it’s helpful to them – and keep moving. Being a resource of all sorts of news makes you all the more valuable and appreciated.

5. Always send and say thank you, for every opportunity, regardless of end publication. It’s still worth it. Being gracious and thankful go a long way to being invited back again.

6. Be available when they need you, as much as possible. I’ve referred business to my valued M&P people before, only to find out from them (M&P) that the referral turned them down – the guest felt they had to get up too early, or didn’t know what to talk about. Suffice to say, I will never recommend someone who does that twice. They are missing a gold mine of many opportunities here and it’s my butt on the line, since I want that person to do well for my M&P pros too; it’s my reputation more than theirs. And I’ll gladly suggest someone else whom I know will find the venture worthwhile.

7. Decide the best fits and feel free to turn press offers down if they don’t fit; you can’t force or fake a fit. Be honest with M&P. I once had a writer contact me early in my career and I was so excited, I wanted to be the fit. Alas! I was not AND the writer and I talked briefly about what a fit could be and sure enough – she circled back at a later date when I did fit what she was after.

8. Smile, have fun, speak in short clear sentences, know your 3 primary talking points (And always circle back to them), be polite, don’t hog the conversation, follow their lead.

Over the years in business I have found that the media & press pros I have gotten to meet and work with, by and large, have been friendly, engaged and competent. Sure, there’s a zinger here and there – like the newspaper that got my facts from my fact sheet wrong – yet I’ve learned that’s the exception. They want to do good work, just as I do. So I keep at it. It helps them and it resultingly helps me. It’s the Givers Gain in action.

Do they then remember me when my topic and expertise is relevant to their needs, when they needs ‘news’, when they need a spontaneous source, when they need to get quotes and short video? Yes, they do. And that’s where the magic happens.

Over the years, I’ve had the good fortune to getting to know some very fun television and radio people. For 3 – 4 years I even had a few reporters show up at my home at 5 am to shoot live segments (2 – 3 sixty-second to 2 minute ) pieces, for free. It’s content they want and have found valuable and successful with their viewers.

Do I know what that’s worth?

Yes, indeed I do. And the first ‘worth’ I think of isn’t the dollars – it’s the target, ideal client exposure that comes along with such an endeavor. Year round I get comments on these segments, and I know the station re-airs them when they have need to fill time, which they always do.

Heck, I even suggest and offer to shoot some footage for their use later; ‘in the can’ as it were so they can tap it when they most need it. It doesn’t have to be live to be the best.

Kirstin, the TV pro above, and I met on the sidewalk. She was shooting footage for a festival that I was also presenting at early one morning. Seeing that she had her tripod up and was busy, I still approached her, greeted her briefly and gave her my card. “I know you’re in the middle of something. Please know you can call on me when I may be of use for you. Thank you for your time. ” And then walked away. One example of simple, efficient approach, introduction which resulted in a years+ worth of segments and a very fun friendship.

A passel of M&P colleagues and friends.

The bonus here is that a few of the pros I’ve worked with have become permanent friends; real world, off camera valued people in my life. For that, I’m really grateful. I’ve never paid a dime to be on TV, radio or other formats.

While it may be easier for me to approach M&P pros per my personality and skills, I can tell you I developed them from scratch, just as everyone can. You want something? Go make it happen. I’m proof of concept here, people.

Developing your own media and press list is fun, steadily helps progress your business when you do it right and builds gratifying relationships as well. This list gets you started. Be nice, don’t pester, stay steady and you’ll likely see progress.