1:10 Listener mail: PR agencies Isaku wrote in with advice on when (and when not) to engage a PR person or agency; Heidi talks about ROI when using service providers like PR or spokespeople; with respect to press conferences, check out Amy Gahran of Contentious blog and The Right Conversation blog, who speaks quite a bit about building relationships with reporters;
9:10 Listener mail: authentic voice Colleen Wainwright, the Communicatrix, weighs in on lending her voice to a group blog; Heidi goes on a tangent and gives advice on keeping healthy at conferences by keeping hydrated; 13:30Sallie Goetsch, a professional ghostwriter, comments as well on being a podcasting spokesperson not posing ethical dilemmas
16:45 Please visit our sponsor! Check out our new sponsor, PromosPlus.com, who is offering not only a 10% discount to Diary listeners; click here to find out how to get a free goodie bag of promo samples.
17:10 Topic: Social networking sites Isaku asks how to most effectively use social networking sites to promote their businesses; can you really use myspace to promote your business? Heidi comments on the idea of relationship-building networking
21:35 Topic: Dealing with the yeller Have you ever had to deal with angry outbursts from customers or clients? Check out this great advice from Bob Burg’s Winning Without Intimidation newsletter.
26:15 Topic: A social media experiment Instead of letting agents choose the next professional headshots, why not put the power of social media to work? So I’m laying it all out there: if you’d like to voice an opinion about which face YOU'd most like to hire for your next show (engaging, welcoming, intelligent, relatable, etc.), vote for your favorite look! Click here to find out how. Thank you!
I talk a lot about the power of social media, blogging and podcasting; it's a network; blah, blah, blah.
So to see just how powerful my network is, I'm going to try something revolutionary in my industry: I'm going to let YOU choose my next headshot--the photo that will be on my business cards, website and plastered over every promotional item I produce for the next five years!
I'm nervous. Normally, this process is industry-only. Actors and speakers take their proofs to their agents and others supposedly in the know who give their professional suggestions on what photo will best represent the most sellable aspect of the speaker's personality. But since most of my clients these days are private, I'm taking a leap and trusting y'all to know what YOU would hire, not what some agent thinks will sell.
Now, when I say "taking a leap," I mean it. It does make me a bit nervous to do what I'm about to do--post a link to all the photos from the shoot, including the ones with my eyes closed or where you can see that really big zit or the sardonic expression I was giving the photographer. But I'm determined to invest in the power of social media, so for those who are interested in giving input, here's what to do:
Click here to get to the private online proof site for the shoot.
Enter this password: eLJgmd358
There are over 250 images in the shoot. Click "Favorites" in the upper left-hand corner to see the 20 or so I've selected as the best possibilities.
We're looking for one business look and one casual look, so cast your vote for each!
1:15 Listener mail Rob Engelman comments on what to look for in a PR agency; check out last week’s Great Big Small Business Show on delegation as well.
A special thanks to our first sponsor, PromosPlus.com! PromosPlus provides all kinds of promotional merchandise to deliver your message, from buttons to business cards to calendars and "million-dollar" thank-you notes. So have you clicked here yet for your 10% Diary discount?
4:25 Topic: If you only bring ONE thing to your trade show, bring this!
No, it's not a carpet pad, bright graphics or even a spokesperson. The most important thing to bring to the show is not your booth, your employees or even you: it's a positive, energetic attitude. If you're only there "because my competition is" and grumbling about being tired or slow the whole time, what's the point?
11:30 Topic: Podcast outsourcing
How ethical is it to loan your voice to another person's or company's podcast? Would you read a script? What if the gig were less scripted and you knew the company well?
Wrap-up Email Heidi at email@example.com, call the listener comment line at 206-309-SELF, and don't forget to visit the show blog, Talk It Up! during the week, for articles and updates. Thanks for listening!
See that pretty blue badge in the upper right-hand corner? Go on; click it! You know you want to!
Plus a generous 10% discount for DSSP listeners; what's not to love?
So the shameless plug: PromosPlus has a variety of promotional items, from basic pens to calendars to thank-you cards (remember how important handw-written thank-you notes are?) to those sticky pad thingies you can put on your car dash to keep your cell phone or iPod from sliding around.
And a few ways to use promotional items:
smaller items like pens, notepads, etc. are great for keeping your logo in front of the client's eyes
thank-you cards are great for adding a personal touch and building relationships
clever trade show giveaways (blinkie balls, e.g.) help build your brand, especially if the item is tied in to your message or name
more substantial gifts (calendars, coffee mugs, mouse pads) stay on your clients' desks for longer and stay in the line of sight
How do you use promotional items? Have you had any great ideas that you got feedback on? Any particularly successful campaigns? Share the creativity!
OK, well, I did it. My new iMac arrived this weekend, and once we got everything hooked up and I stopped ooohing and aaaahing over just how big the screen is and just how bright and sharp everything looks on it, I created an avatar and wandered around Second Life.
My avatar? Maia Sucettes. I'm the one in the middle wearing jeans and a sweater.
So far, I've managed to drop a beach ball onto a table, bump my head a lot, whoosh/teleport to Podcast Island, fly around a bit, and generally be rather confused. I met the Island Manager, who was incredibly helpful and drove me in his car to go skydiving. Kinda fun! I didn't quite have the coordinates to visit Lee Hopkins' space, so I just wandered around and tried not to hit my head.
My preliminary comments:
Creating the avatar is fun. If you've played before, you probably know this. I haven't, so I didn't.
Moving around, flying, picking up objects and keeping an inventory were pretty easy and intuitive.
Finding one's way around the map is nearly impossible. I just chose random locations and teleported there until I found something interesting.
There is a surprising lack of cellulite on avatars.
My avatar is wearing more clothing than anyone else I've met!
While I enjoyed wandering, a pre-arranged meetup would probably be much more productive.
1:05 Announcement Check out Amy Gahran's pictures of Heidi, the Podcasting Princess.
1:35 Listener mail Deb Stein writes in about how she learns from DSSP and gets ideas she can try out right away; Heidi comments on that being one of the benefits of listening to podcasts on the go; 3:30 Darryl Caldwell passed on a useful link for the Podcasting Legal Guide
6:00 Topic: How to choose a spokesperson: price
In this segment, Heidi goes over the keys to getting a good spokesperson and which aspects of price should be taken into consideration.
10:20 Four Keys for a Great Demo Script
After her latest script-writing ventures for a new client, Heidi takes time to go over some basic keys to creating a great, five-minute trade show demo script that will gather people and tease them just enough to get them interested and asking questions.
17:50 Geek Girl Minute: Podcast directories
18:50 Listener question: How do you choose a PR agency?
21:45 Wrap-up Email Heidi at firstname.lastname@example.org, call the listener comment line at 206-309-SELF, and don't forget to visit the show blog, Talk It Up! during the week, for articles and updates. Thanks for listening!
1:05 Announcement Check out Amy Gahran's pictures of Heidi, the Podcasting Princess.
1:30 Listener mail Matt from Nashville is starting Artrogue.com, a podcast about the business of art; the Art Girls mentioned as demystifying art; Heidi comments that podcasting is a great medium for bringing art to a more personal level; 5:45 Tim Smith from Prague comments on fears of disclosure in a blogging free-for-all; Heidi comments on the importance of strategizing new social media use before implementing their use
11:30 Geek Girl Minute
In this new feature, Heidi geeks about about new technology. This week it's the Cordgo (for keeping iPod cords from getting tangled) and HotRecorder for recording Skype calls.
14:15 How to Choose a Spokesperson: Qualifications
Heidi discusses what to look for on a spokesperson's resume; read the full post here.
20:50 Topic: Are big conferences dead? In Robert Scoble’s blog saying that big conferences like E3 are dead—they’re too expensive and inconvenient and blogs can replace them; but Heidi argues that new media don’t replace old media (or conferences) and can be used to supplement them where appropriate; the value of face to face interaction
31:45 Wrap-up Email Heidi at email@example.com, call the listener comment line at 206-309-SELF, and don't forget to visit the show blog, Talk It Up! during the week, for articles and updates. Thanks for listening!
Have you heard about the Starbuck's free drink offer? It seems that Starbucks distributed online coupons to its employees with instructions to share with family only. The coupons very quickly went viral, and Starbucks refused to honor them, saying that they'd been duplicated beyond the original scope of the offer.
True, but there is a graceful way to deal with offers that get out of hand, and this isn't it. A graceful way to deal with this would have been to recognize that even though the offer got out of hand, both loyal and new customers still deserve a good Starbucks experience. A graceful way to deal with this would have been to put up a sign saying that Starbucks will honor all coupons; have a drink on us!
Instead, Starbucks put up signs "explaining" the situation and refusing to honor the coupons.
So Caribou Coffee stepped up. Yup; that's right. Starbucks had its chance and tripped over its own feet, so Caribou waltzed in and swept away its customers in a graceful pas de deux. Caribou will offer all the coupons that Starbucks won't, even if they are fake. Does it matter that they're fake or distributed beyond the original intent at this point? Not a bit. What matters is that Caribou is coming across as that graceful, generous guy in the exotic tuxedo, and Starbucks now looks like the dork in the ill-fitting suit with stains on the tie.
What a great example of a company seeing a misunderstanding as an opportunity, not something to be quashed or controlled. What a great example of someone saying, "How can we use this to show how cool we are to the people who don't know us all that well?" Starbuck's could've done that, but they didn't.
This week's episode is chock-full of customer service ideas! I talk about seeking first to understand and the value of listening; Steve Rucinski discusses advisory boards; Ben Yoskovitz addresses cultivating customer loyalty; Colleen Wainwright gives her favorite ticks for improving customer service; and Chris Brogan gives his thoughts on experience management.
Here is the text of my last-minute entry to Discover Ireland's contest for everyday people to tour the country and podcast their travel exploits:
This is easy! I can tell you in three words: passion,
passion and passion.
Hmmm. Maybe I should fill the other 247 words. How about “insatiable
curiosity,” “love of all things European,” or “she travels really light, I
Maybe you wanted sentences. Yeah, sentences. I can do
First, I’m passionate about European travel. I lived in Paris for a while, and on my last trip across the pond, I
split my time between Paris and Ireland.
curious about the stories and people that form the culture of this country.
Everywhere I went, I engaged in conversation; even now, I always carry my
iRiver with me to record an interview with someone interesting!
Second, I travel really well. One backpack, and I’m set. No
more than four ounces of liquids on the flight? Not a problem.
Third, I’m already a podcasting geek (see Diary of a
Shameless Self-Promoter at http://heidimiller.libsyn.com
or on iTunes), so my technology learning curve is pretty deep.
And fourth, I’d be honored to work for an organization that
GETS IT—Discover Ireland seems tounderstand that people want to hear stories and news from real people
just like them, who are exploring their world and reporting it, passionately and
un-professionally, in their own, authentic voices.
Yup. I want to be that voice!
I'm of course curious about the outcome, but mostly I'm impressed with this agency's approach. Instead of trying to create an in-house podcast and make more work for someone who is undoubtedly already got far too many job responsibilities, why not go the consumer-generated-media way? Why not search for someone with a passion who just can't help but be fascinated by every aspect of your country, people, culture and language and let him/her bring a true, authentic voice to the production?
No matter who wins the honor of creating this 'cast (and let's not forget the two free weeks of European travel that go with it!), I already can't wait to hear the final product. I'm hoping it will be engaging, interesting, conversational and, above all, authentic.
So what do you think about this type of social media implementation? Would you trust an enthusiastic, passionate amateur to podcast about your country, product or agency? I must say that I admire their openness in letting go of the message and trusting that their landscape and culture will speak for themselves. How 'bout you?
Thanks to Seth Godin for a stellar analogy explaining why it's important not to do things just like everyone else. This is what in my industry is called "phoning it in." After giving the same presentation twenty times at a trade show, it's very easy to phone it in--let the mind wander and run the talk on autopilot. As Seth points out, doing things in a standardized way is easier, so why bother to make this one thing special? Why use a cast-iron skillet, fresh herbs or extra egg whites to make a truly wonderful omelette when it's so much easier and more efficient to use a regular skillet, buy prepacked herb powder and use a standard number of eggs?
As Seth concludes,
Once you start compromising, when do you stop?
If your goal is to be remarkable, please understand that the easiest way to do that is to compromise less, not more.
What a great lesson for us entrepreneurs. I've said it before, and I'll say it again--when you're a small or mid-sized business, there is NO excuse for not doing the small things it takes to stand out. In my business, these things are the equivalent of using a cast-iron skillet, fresh herbs and extra egg whites:
handwritten thank-you notes
personal phone calls every few months
a personalized gift basket after your first gig with me
handwritten holiday card
snapshots of you and your team emailed to you after every show
attendance at any events you may have external to the show--dinners, cocktail parties, sponsored banquets--for extra face time and networking with your clients (can you believe that most spokespeople make excuses not to attend these??)
free advice on booth orientation, presentation length, giveaways
of course, free advice through this blog and the podcast
And that's just off the top of my head. So what do you offer to your clients that other companies don't? How are you showing your clients that you take pride in your work and that you refuse to compromise?