Archive for April, 2012

What I’m doing now…

I’m writing books, news releases, travel pieces and other work that gives me a nice mix of topics and income streams.

I jut finished ghost-writing the memoirs of a long-time Pensacolian who had great tales to tell about local events and money-making deals involving him and others. I also did four chapters of a history of the University of South Alabama, which will be 50 years old next year. I never realized how big it is — 15,000 students, 11 doctoral programs, a hospital and medical school — and a football team, too.

Other recent jobs included ghostwriting books on marketing and social media for consultants, a smart move because books can be easily and inexpensively published on-line today, and writing and proofreading copy for company websites. I have two more books for other people in the pipeline.

In addition, Ideaworks, a great Pensacola ad agency, keeps me busy working on public relations for some of its clients — Perdido Key tourism, which is growing rapidly; QMotion, an innovative company employing more than 60-plus people at Ellyson Park; and Overgroup, a sharp company full of bright young people in downtown Pensacola.

And once a month I get to vent with a column in Splash!, an entertainment publication put out by the Gulf Breeze News.

 

Facebook fades

Facebook is losing its luster, which is important news for marketers seeking customers.

As Peter Cohan notes www.forbes.com/sites/petercohan/2012/04/24/four-reasons-why-facebook-is-shrinking/, there are several reasons behind Facebook’s loss of steam.

In addition, here’s my suspicion: With people getting jobs again and the unemployment rate dropping, fewer folks are  looking for a cheap diversion and a great way to kill a day that should be better spent looking for work. Not that I ever did such stuff.

The lesson: Even a great phenomenom can’t maintain full momentum forever.

 

Your site isn’t all about you

Too many businesses think their social media sites are brag books for themselves or collection points for just about anything.

It’s a lot smarter to use those sites to focus on those creatures called customers – you know, the people who put money in your pocket. They want information, education, entertainment, not your self-centered, inside-baseball riffs.

As this link notes, there are effective ways to use social media, and they’re not all about you: www.fastcompany.com/1834293/4-ways-to-create-brand-content-people-actually-care-about

Pity Walmart’s p.r. department

Even the best P.R. practitioner can’t overcome a bureaucracy that won’t acknowledge a major problem.

That’s the case in the Walmart bribery scandal in Mexico, where a the multinational company lacked a mechanism — and motivation — to blow the whistle on its employees activities, as this article notes. www.businessinsider.com/walmarts-bribery-scandal-exposed-organizational-flaws-2012-4?utm_source=Triggermail&utm_medium=email&utm_term=Marketing%20Mondays&utm_campaign=Post%20Blast%20%28warroom%29%3A%20Walmart%27s%20Real%20PR%20Crisis%20Has%20Nothing%20To%20Do%20With%20Bribery

This shows why a company needs a strong p.r. person to keep messages on track and watch for possible trouble spots.

 

Social media require hands-on work

 

For someone wondering about the value of social media to his business, here’s an article that shows you how to make it work — but you or an employee will have to work on it to succeed.

www.usatoday.com/money/smallbusiness/story/2012-02-16/small-business-social-media-outreach-smachburger/531

Hang with the old and feel young

 

Here’s a column I wrote for the April issue of Splash!, an entertainment monthly produced by GulfBreezeNews.com

I want it back, I want it all back. The years – OK, the decades – misspent eating junk food, drinking beer in smoky bars, not exercising.

Sure, I heard the warnings. How could you escape them? On food, beer, cigarette containers, throughout the media, from so many people.

Hah! I said, this is so much twaddle from worry warts and the health police. Such stuff doesn’t apply to me. All those years were so much fun, but they’re gone and once again I want my full lung power, a thinner waist, more brain cells.

I want a do-over, a mulligan, yet another second chance at youth or at least a much longer life expectancy. I’ll be humble. I won’t even ask for a full head of hair again. Since the eighth grade I knew my blond locks were not long for this world. That’s when the nun at Catholic school spotted my prematurely receding hairline and cheerfully said, “Mark, you’re going to be bald someday, just like your father.” (Yes, Sister Mary Marquis de Sade, your prediction was correct, and I’m sorry I muttered all those things about you under my breath.)

I do, however, wish I put more money in a sensible retirement account and less in those stupid “smart” investments that were supposed to make me rich.

Please, give me back old friends. The good don’t always die young, but some of the best folks I ever knew are dead, and I miss them. Convince me that something pleasant awaits me “on the other side,” the end of life on earth, the big sleep, the dirt nap.

And hey, can I have just one more chance to hit a home run in Little League, or at least jog a mile without pain radiating through my knees?

Those chances are gone, all gone, you say? I realized years ago that this could happen, but I chose to ignore it. I’d never get old or even oldish. I vowed to either die young or else live as if I were always 25, except that I would dress better than the paisley shirts and bell bottom pants I wore at that age as I danced to “Disco Duck.”

I generally spend lots of time with people much younger, and I like it. I learn so much from them about technology, culture and life — and they’re so amusing when they declare vehemently at age 25 or 30, “I’ll never do this” or “I’ll never do that.” I smile and say, “Hey, check back with me when you’re 40 or 50 and you’ve spent a couple decades wrestling with children and mortgages and jobs and all those other realities.”

But now my plan is to spend more time with older folks. I’m talking about the folks who survived so far by being smart. They do sensible things like buy one-story homes so they don’t have to climb stairs. They buy long-term disability insurance before the rates rise. They worry about the need for more roughage in their diet and they take notes on the assisted-living facility where they want to live out their final years.

They’re so wise, so forward thinking. They’re right, and I want to be friends with them. I may not live any longer, but hanging out with them will sure make my life seem a lot longer.

Blogging for business made easy — and lucrative

With all the rush to social media, businesses often overlook blogs, which can be a powerful, long-term tool for drawing new customers and making current customers like you more .

Here’s a primer on why and how to maintain a blog that boosts business. And yes, I happen to know an experienced, talented writer who can write your blog in a compelling, reliable manner for you for a reasonable fee. (That would be www.markobrienwritingservices.com).

Meanwhile, here’s what Ashley Halberstadt says about the business of blogs: www.prdaily.com/Main/Articles/11349.aspx

 

Writing: Don’t overthink it

Here are some good words of advice for all wannabe-writers.

Just do it, says Nick Thacker, who plunged into the writing world and succeeded despite – or thanks to — his naivete. Sometimes, you just have to write the darn thing and then figure out what to do with it.

janefriedman.com/2012/04/10/why-its-ok-to-be-naive/

Write headlines that sell your story

The headline is often make-or-break for your story or news release, so spend time working on it. Otherwise, it’s one of those lackluster billboards that people ignore.

Here, from an experienced headline writer, are some helpful do’s and don’ts:

www.prdaily.com/Main/Articles/11276.aspx