Are You Human?

ice-Picabay 222709_1920It’s been quite a winter here at Vasil Media Group World HQ in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, and it’s not over yet. (that darn groundhog!) 

This week we had back-to-back storms.  One gave us a significant snowfall and it was followed by an ice storm.  A lot of friends and neighbors lost power and heat, trees are down across roads and on roofs, traffic lights are out..its a mess. Plus some utility companies say it will take them 5 days to get things back to normal. Yikes!

One thing I noticed online was several local businesses had posts, tweets, etc. that were clearly loaded up and scheduled in an automated system before the storms hit.  To be sure, social media management systems like HootSuite, Sprout Social and others are great tools for implementing your social media strategy and terrific time-savers, but I always recommend you use them lightly and intersperse a few relevant human comments, shares, etc., among these pre-designed posts, based on what's happening in real time day-to-day.

The automated posts caught my attention because I know these FB pages, twitter accounts, etc.  are for businesses affectedc by these storms and their posts were so out of touch and frankly, in this weather emergency, irrelevant. (most were in the "buy my stuff" category).  Now to be fair, maybe there was no one around who was authorized to add any fresh messages or the person with the passwords had no power.

Still, here's my tip:  designate a couple people who can post from where ever they are to keep your business online content "real" and up-to-date.  In a crisis, put the scheduled posts on hold or add some light-hearted comments. The posts don't have to be big, fact-laden entries. 

Perhaps a few posts here and there could say something like "Bad weather is keeping us out of the office today. Enjoy our regularly scheduled tips and tricks until we return."  or "We can't get into the office today and are off to make a snowman. But expect our usual great (photos, stories, quotes, recipes, whatever you usually post) to continue until we get back to work."

I know the Internet is global and not everyone is experiencing the same weather situation you are, but social is social.  It's people talking with people, not robots and even if you use a scheduling tool, you want to maintain that perception. 

It's not the end of the world that these companies dropped the ball though it may hurt their credibility a bit in the eyes of local patrons.  Just know it's possible with a little ingenuity and pre-planning, to sprinkle some personal perspectives amid the scheduled posts to give your business a human voice.

Thoughts?  Please leave a comment.

Where Are You Going in 2014?

driving_car_personSetting goals is about creating and following a roadmap or a GPS for your life and your business. 

Sure you can just take what comes and roll along, but my belief is you’ll never get where you want to go without driving directions.  If you'd rather not drive in circles, you will need to put together a plan.

You notice I don’t call goals “resolutions.”  That term seems so temporary and fraught with negativity. The conventional wisdom is that no one keeps their resolutions. Or they express the same half-heared resolutions every year such as quit smoking, lose weight, exercise more, take no concrete action and are expecting to fail. Working toward a goal is a different mind-set.

You can sit down and plan what you want the next 12 months to look like anytime, but the year-end holiday period is so much about “out with the old, in with the new,” why not make your plans now?

I promised myself I’d do more content curating this year to bring you extra value by sharing the wisdom of other authorities so here goes.

One of my favorite experts on personal growth, leadership and productivity is Michael Hyatt. Here’s one of his blog posts from just before Christmas and a podcast he did about the topic of goal setting.

Mon Dec 23 2013 – The 10 Biggest Mistakes People Make in Setting Goals

Podcast Replay – Live Q & A about Goal Setting Podcast

I’ve been writing down what I want the year to bring since I was a college girl (a long, long time ago) and when I look back I’ve ticked off many boxes on the achievement yardstick I set for myself.

Do I nail every goal every time?   Mostly yes, but not always. Life has a way of throwing curveballs when you’re making plans.  Still, even when I’ve fallen short, I’ve learned a lot and in retrospect often appreciated the process for being almost as satisfying as reaching the destination would have been.

I am sure there are apps for goal setting and tracking but my personal method is old school. I  sit down with a calendar, blank paper and my daily agenda book.  I decide a handful of big picture items I want to accomplish by Dec 31, pick one to focus on for each quarter (12 weeks) and then work backyard to list the tasks monthly and weekly on my calendar and agenda book that I expect will get me there. I make smaller goals too and map those out on my daily and weekly to-do list.

To me, the secret is setting consistent internal deadlines!  I’ve always worked from a "to-do" list every day and over the years, I've learned to be more realistic about what I can accomplish.  I don’t write down a thousand things I want to do or a thousand steps I have to take to make it happen.

That kind of list would overwhelm me before I got started. Instead I aim for the big 4, one for each quarter, and make sure I leave room for the smaller achievements so I can celebrate mini-milestones as I go along.  

I am sure some people will think my process itself is too left-brained.   Where’s the creativity and artistry in making lists and marking calendars? They'd rather just go with the flow and enjoy life.

I get that.  Do what works for you, but I’ve always looked at structure in the same way Julie Andrews does:

“Some people regard discipline as a chore. For me, it is a kind of order that sets me free to fly.

Here’s an excellent post from the Chasing Happy Blog with a worksheet.  It’s aimed at setting blogging goals but can apply to any goal.

Setting Blog Goals for 2014 [+ worksheet]

Two other resources I recommend are books.  My old stand-by is a favorite by Henriette Anne Klauser. I keep the paperback by my bedside and read it often. Now it’s also available as a Kindle book:

Write It Down Make It Happen: Knowing What You Want and Getting It

The other by Brian Moran and Michael Lennington was published in 2013 and takes its process from the seasonality of the sports world:

The 12 Week Year: Get More Done in 12 Weeks than Others Do in 12 Months

It’s available in hard cover and as a Kindle book.  It resonated with me because I break my big goals up into quarterly tasks,  so in a way, I’ve used their 12 week execution cycle for years without knowing it! 

I hope these tools get you moving toward achieving your heart’s desire in the months ahead.  Have you come up with a system that works for you? Please share and leave a comment.




The guide to shortening your execution cycle down from one year to twelve weeks

Most organizations and individuals work in the context of annual goals and plans; a twelve-month execution cycle. Instead, The 12 Week Year avoids the pitfalls and low productivity of annualized thinking. This book redefines your "year" to be 12 weeks long. In 12 weeks, there just isn't enough time to get complacent, and urgency increases and intensifies. The 12 Week Year creates focus and clarity on what matters most and a sense of urgency to do it now. In the end more of the important stuff gets done and the impact on results is profound.

  • Explains how to leverage the power of a 12 week year to drive improved results in any area of your life
  • Offers a how-to book for both individuals and organizations seeking to improve their execution effectiveness
  • Authors are leading experts on execution and implementation

Turn your organization's idea of a year on its head, and speed your journey to success.

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Happy New Year 2014!

Happy 2014

hbw | happy (custom) bokeh wednesday
Adam Foster | Codefor / Foter.com /

I hope you are enjoying the holiday season and making fantastic expertizing plans for the year ahead. I have a million things going on as the year winds down as I am sure you do.

With that said, I will take a holiday break from blogging for the next couple weeks to refresh, set new goals and strategize for 2014.

The 2014 changes I envision at Your Media Moment will result in shorter posts with more curated content to give you more value from more expert sources. My weekly email round-up of blog posts will be sent only after 8 posts have been published so subscribers will likely hear from me in their inbox monthly or less often. If you don't subscribe by email, sign up for the RSS to keep up-to-date.

I believe in consistent blogging for business and intend to continue to "walk the talk," but who knows?

"Life is what happens while you're busy making other plans." – John Lennon

The video, social media and other online content creation needs of my clients will come first, but I also want to develop a media training program or two, offer new services and write a couple more books in 2014. Clearly, I anticipate a very busy year. 

How about you? What are your media goals for next year?  Please leave a comment.

Until next time…

I wish you the Happiest of Holiday Seasons and a Prosperous New Year!

 

 

line_figure_headache_overwhelmed_overloadedI’ve been out working with clients “in real life” the past few days and did not spend much time checking emails. Naturally, my inbox imploded and when I finally looked at it all, I had an epiphany. Something's gotta give!

"One of the effects of living with electric information is that we live habitually in a state of information overload. There's always more than you can cope with.” – Marshall McLuhan (1911 – 1980)

Out of hundreds and hundreds of emails overflowing my inbox, there were only two I really needed to see and take action on…TWO! 

I set aside half a day to purge the inbox and to unsubscribe from a bunch of newsletters that I have not even scanned, let alone read in many months. I moved some to my RSS reader which I always scan at least once a week. (generally on Saturday or Sunday morning, though I gave those RSS files a good clean-up too)

I also went through my “saved” email and hard drive documents and deleted anything I could easily find again online and have not used or searched for all year. There is so much information available in a steady stream on the Internet and new inspiration pops up everyday. I have literally forgotten what I have saved and in some cases, saved it twice!  

“We have for the first time an economy based on a key resource Information that is not only renewable, but self-generating. Running out of it is not a problem, but drowning in it is.”  – John Naisbitt, Author, Megatrends (1982)

I am not disorganized and mostly live by the motto “do it now.” But in looking at these computer files, I discovered I am tucking away far too many articles and ideas for a day when I will “get around to” reading or implementing them. That day never arrives! 

Sure, there is important information we all need to keep…registration codes, health records, user names, receipts, logins, etc.  I save these types of documents in a file on my computer hard drive or an external drive and print them out for a binder on my office shelf.  But I still have let way too much virtual “stuff” pile up.  

“It’s not information overload. It’s filter failure.” -Clay Shirky

Of course, I have friends who go to the opposite extreme, deleting everything.  Too often, they wind up scrambling to retrieve important information they tossed. That’s as bad as saving everything and probably more stressful.

Year-end is a perfect time to clear the clutter and resolve to do better.  Done right you will free your time and your mind in the coming year. Work out an action-save-delete system and make a fresh start in 2014.

How do you manage information and keep overload at bay?  Please leave a comment and share your tips.




“Timely and much-needed . . . offers solid and practical advice and reminds us that the focus of our needs should be related to God’s purposes and plans for our lives.
George Gallup Jr.
“If you have the time, read this book. If you don't have the time, you really need to read this book. It will give you a precious gift. It will help you say no.”
John Ortberg, author of Everybody's Normal Till You Get to Know Them
Ever feel overwhelmed by the deluge of email, the frenzy of multitasking, the rush of things you’ve got to know and do? Then you don’t have time not to read this book---because it will save you time and lower your stress.
You needn’t read all of it---just what you need when you need it.
Email killing you? Check out chapter 6.
Interruptions ruining your focus? Tap the power of block days---chapter 10.
No time for family or friends? Try an “info-techno Sabbath”---chapter 11.
Screen out non-essential information Identify and retain what you really need
Turn information into results Deal with information clutter
Find your way through the Internet thicket Safeguard and optimize your time
Reconnect with loved ones
Surviving Information Overload will bring focus, effectiveness, and sanity to your fast-paced life. Buy it---because you’ll use it. It’s a small investment, and the returns start immediately.
Kindle Edition: Check Amazon for Pricing Digital Only

figure_no_talking_symbol_voice_speechOne of the most important bits of advice I ever received when I started my on-air broadcasting career was to lower my voice. Not the volume, but the timbre of my voice.

I had a music degree in voice and was a lyric soprano. My speaking voice reflected that. I started in radio when it was generally accepted that a woman’s voice lacked the authority that a lower masculine voice had.  That perception was changing as more women entered the field, but these women succeeded by using their voices in the mid-tone and deeper ranges, never a high or shrill tone.

High thin voice production tends to apply more to young women than men, but anyone can benefit from knowing how their voice quality comes across.  The voice you hear in your head when speaking is not the same one that others hear. That’s why nearly everyone is aghast the first time they hear their recorded voice. That can’t be me!

When you are positioning yourself as an expert, your voice is part of your image and how you sound can be just as important as what you say.  If your voice is breathy, squeaky, mumbly, monotone, or on the other hand, too unnaturally low and rumbling, your listeners won’t take you seriously. An irritating voice can kill an otherwise confident professional presentation.

A common voice trait today is for young women to affect a raspy voice, perhaps to sound older and more authoritative, using glottal fry aka vocal fry at the end of sentences or words. It’s a learned speech pattern and once you recognize it, it can be quite annoying to hear someone speak that way. 

Here’s a good multimedia article from Soulati Media about it:

http://soulati.com/what-is-vocal-fry-and-your-professionalism/

Everybody has some “fry” in their voice, but it can be overcome with proper breath support and a conscious effort (at least initially) to use a  slightly higher pitch. I am not a voice coach but know there are exercises you can do to reduce the “fry,” if you’ve fallen into the habit. The key is to learn to keep your voice “out of your throat,” what my teachers called "speaking on your vocal cords." 

The voice is a wonderful instrument. Listen to yourself and cultivate a clear, pleasing healthy voice to get your message heard.

Thoughts?  Please leave a comment.

Are You an Authentic Authority?

talking_social_media_400_clr_9159I recently listened to a new podcast from Jack Mize and Brian Horn called "Authority Alchemy."  You can find the series here:

http://authorityalchemy.com/podcasts/

And here:
https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/authority-alchemy-brian-horn/id736803076

It's all about "authority marketing."  If you're confused about what that term means, it's the kind of marketing that positions you to be perceived as the recognized authority or "go to" expert in your field.

I call it "expertizing," Others say it personality marketing. It involves taking steps to get better known and stand out from your competition, often using online and offline media strategies, to attract more business.

As is often said, people want to do business with people they know, like and trust.  As an entrepreneur or small business owner, part of your marketing job is to be seen as an expert so potential customers and clients can feel confident about working with you. When you blog, speak, write a book, do online video, appear on radio, TV and in print, etc., you increase your name recognition and show you've got the goods.

Mize and Horm calls it "manufactured celebrity" for entrepreneurs.  As a former journalist, I find that term a bit unsettling because it sounds like you are faking it. I put a lot of stock in being real and authentic in the media, especially on camera. I help entrepreneurs and small business owners enhance their business celebrity as experts with online media, but I would not knowingly work with someone who wanted a false expert status .

Still, in many ways, they are right.  All celebrity is manufactured…the Kim's, Miley's and Gaga's of the world don't miraculously appear everywhere in the media because they were born to it. They become known through hard work and the strategic campaigns their teams implement to put them increasingly and continuously in the public spotlight. Others who are just as talented don't get the attention because they don't follow the formula.

Even in the business world, projecting expert status as an authority in your field is about positioning and perception so in that sense, it is "manufactured," because who can really judge expertise in some areas?  How can you be sure you have a good dentist or brain surgeon or even hair stylist? 

Most of us cannot evaluate their specialized skills so we rely on word-of-mouth recommendations, the quality of their online presence, reviews, testimonials and/or our experience in their office or dealing with their staff. If you have a good feeling about them and/or get good results, they're experts to you. 

Give the Authority Alchemy podcast a listen and tell me what you think.  Plus get in touch, if  you need help mapping out your own "expertizing" path to business visibility and credibility.

Here's a book by Ryan Holiday that makes me a little crazy because the idea of exploiting the media bothers me, but it happens every day. The book contains some useful insights about how online media works.

 




You've seen it all before. A malicious online rumor costs a company millions. A political sideshow derails the national news cycle and destroys a candidate. Some product or celebrity zooms from total obscurity to viral sensation. What you don’t know is that someone is responsible for all this. Usually, someone like me.

I’m a media manipulator. In a world where blogs control and distort the news, my job is to control blogs—as much as any one person can.

IN TODAY’S CULTURE… Blogs like Gawker, BuzzFeed, and The Huffington Post drive the media agenda. Bloggers are slaves to money, technology, and deadlines. Manipulators wield these levers to shape everything you read, see, and hear— online and off. Why am I giving away these secrets? Because I’m tired of a world where blogs take indirect bribes, marketers help write the news, reckless journalists spread lies, and no one is accountable for any of it. I’m going to explain exactly how the media really works. What you choose to do with this information is up to you.
Kindle Edition: Check Amazon for Pricing Digital Only

getting_ducks_in_a_row_A message with a question came in on my Facebook business page last week. A woman who is considering becoming a life coach and writing a book about her life experiences asked for expertizing ideas. 

I encouraged her to take action now and not wait until all her “ducks are in a row” to start a media expert platform online.

My response:

  • Do you have a blog? Do you consistently post and promote it and your expertise on social media? These are good low-cost venues to share your knowledge and experience as a way to boost your visibility and credibility as an expert.
  • Becoming an author is an excellent authority builder, but even a self-published book takes quite a bit of time to create.
  • While you're writing the book, you can get started on a shoestring using online media – blogging, video, social media – to build an expert media platform.
  • Later steps could be launching your book through the audience you built with your platform and going after traditional media interviews, speaking gigs, etc.

###

Always begin by developing a media strategy to position yourself as an expert. Your strategy does not have to be big and elaborate. Start with baby steps and keep the plan manageable and focused so you don’t feel overwhelmed. 

For example, make a commitment to blog or video blog 2-3 times a week. It will help if you create an editorial calendar to stay on track. Then spread the word about your blog posts and offer your expert advice on a couple of the large social media platforms…Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, etc.

You do not have to be active on all of them, though a social media expert friend of mine says right now FB is a must.

Talk to the people who are attracted to your content. Listen to them and figure out how you can help them. Find the places where more of these interested folks hang out online and spend quality time there. The better you know what your audience wants, the more easily you can use your knowledge and experience to put together products and services that will work for them.

Marketing is not a once-and-done process so when your blog and social media networking are producing results, you may want to add other online and offline components to your marketing mix.

For more expert media tips, tools and tactics, stop by and “like” my FB page: https://www.facebook.com/YourMediaMoment

And here's an excellent guide book to check out:




The guide to creating engaging web content and building a loyal following, revised and updated

Blogs, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and other platforms are giving everyone a "voice," including organizations and their customers. So how do you create the stories, videos, and blog posts that cultivate fans, arouse passion for your products or services, and ignite your business? Content Rules equips you for online success as a one-stop source on the art and science of developing content that people care about. This coverage is interwoven with case studies of companies successfully spreading their ideas online—and using them to establish credibility and build a loyal customer base.

  • Find an authentic "voice" and craft bold content that will resonate with prospects and buyers and encourage them to share it with others
  • Leverage social media and social tools to get your content and ideas distributed as widely as possible
  • Understand why you are generating content—getting to the meat of your message in practical, commonsense language, and defining the goals of your content strategy
  • Write in a way that powerfully communicates your service, product, or message across various Web mediums
  • Boost your online presence and engage with customers and prospects like never before with Content Rules.
Kindle Edition: Check Amazon for Pricing Digital Only

A Thankful Thought for Today and Every Day:

bountiful_harvest_Thanskgiving

"As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them." 

~John Fitzgerald Kennedy (1917-1963)

 

It’s a busy short week at Vasil Media because of the upcoming Thanksgiving Day Holiday in the US.

Instead of an article, I am sharing a funny video I found on a healthcare communication blog that I follow. I recently wrote about how tricky humor can be and how you want to make sure you do it well. This one works.

The video was created almost a year ago for Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, but the message is timeless. I used to produce medical stories for Medstar Television at BWH, so the post caught my eye. Well done, BWH Public Affairs!

The video uses a short light-hearted story to deliver important information about recognizing patients.The producer kept the story-telling simple and fun. The characters intentionally look silly, almost like watching a live action cartoon.

But notice there's method to the madness. The video is both entertaining and educational. I am sure the "message" will stick with anyone who watches it. Hope you enjoy it.

Two Patient Identifier With Music from BWH Public Affairs on Vimeo.

 

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