Questions? Feedback? powered by Olark live chat software

The proper way to stalk a journalist

First off the title of this post was meant to get attention, I only mean stalking in it’s most polite form of course.

You know you need to get your story told in the media, but you can’t seem to get anyone interested. The problem is you need to look at journalists as a target market – you need to get them to know, like and trust you just like you would a customer.

Now, would you send a customer a one page flyer and then follow-up with a phone call asking them when they planned to write a story about your company, I mean buy from you. No, of course not.

Here’s how you get journalists to know, like and trust you.

  1. Build a list of journalists that you think might care your story.
  2. Read everything they write (use a Google News search by their name and subscribe to the email alert or RSS feed – you can follow a lot of journalists this way.)
  3. Find their blog and subscribe to, comment on and write relevant trackbacks to it. (Most journalists have one now)
  4. Set up a routine of sending relevant content to them that is related to articles they right.
  5. Don’t push for any stories (unless they are truly news) until you’ve done this for weeks

Here’s the thing, if you can prove yourself a reliable resource for a journalist you will be looked upon as a friend, until then, you’re just a pest to an overworked, often underpaid, reporter.

By following what a journalist writes you will often find clues to the kinds of things they really care about, how you might pitch them and what they might write about in the future. I read an article by a journalist that I was following that stated he just started using Facebook. I connected with him through Facebook and the next you know I had scheduled an interview. My guess is that he would have ignored an email directly from me.

So, it takes a little work to earn media mentions, but it can be well worth the time spent.

Reading blogs with mobiles

QRWith every passing day more and more folks are using a mobile device, such as an iPhone, to do their daily web reading. Web sites and blogs can be visited and read by any browsing phone, but the small window makes it pretty tough to navigate around a page designed for a 21″ monitor.

About a year and half ago I stumbled on a service called WinkSite that takes my RSS feed and makes it mobile browser friendly. They also have an entire social suite of services just for the mobile set. I think it has become pretty important to offer your readers these types of mobile viewing options.

Eric Kintz, HPs Digital blogger, reminded me of this in a recent post – Mobile Social Marketing – Digital Mindset Goes Mobile

You can subscribe to this blog via phone by visiting or if your phone has a QR Reader (you can download one) you simply scan that ink blot looking image in this post and you will be subscribed. You can also send my blog’s mobile link to your phone by clicking here

Two minutes with Scott Cook

Scott CookI was able to grab a couple minutes with Scott Cook, founder of Intuit, at the Conversational Marketing Summit today.

Cook is the very approachable and thoughtful leader of an organization cited by many as one of the better examples of how a company actually grows through word of mouth.

The idea that marketing today consists of having conversations with customers is one that is still meeting some resistance in the corporate and small business worlds. It occurs to me that the companies that have embraced it, are good at it and are growing comfortably inside this new way of looking at marketing, are the ones that already have an internal culture that is based in conversations rather than directives. These are the organizations that make it ok for their employees to point out and fix what’s wrong, to experiment and to take risks.

Conversational marketing relies heavily on authenticity and transparency – you can’t give those to your clients if you don’t own them in your business.

Cook talks about something he calls the “volunteer workforce” and offers some clues to the success of Intuit’s word of mouth model. Listen below.


MP3 File

Graffiti all over Facebook

Graffiti, a simple Facebook application that allows users to add quick, or in some cases elaborate, drawings on Facebook profiles and walls has been an absolute overnight success as far as applications go.

The tool gives people a fun way to communicate and offers a lesson for marketers. How can you find and create new ways to energize the ways that your clients and prospect communicate and interact with your brand and each other.

I did a quick, in the field, Duct Tape Marketing interview with Mark Kantor, co-creator of the program at the Conversational Marketing Summit in San Francisco this week. Click the player below to listen

Inc 500 companies I want to know more about

Inc 500 ConferenceI’m in Chicago this week and will be blogging while I attend the Inc.com 500 Conference

As you probably already know, Inc recognizes the top 500 fastest growing companies in America based on 3 year revenue growth. The conference, presented with OPEN from American Express, Principal Financial Group and Dell, is a celebration of entrepreneurship and recognition event for the 500 honorees.

Here are couple Inc 500 class of 2007 entries that look very interesting.

  • Bill Me Later - #6 – Bill Me Later is a convenient and secure new payment method designed for purchasing on the web or over the phone.
  • Zorch International – #28 – New approach to branded promotional products
  • Right Media – #46 – Interactive ad network now owned by Yahoo!
  • Wpromote – #62 – Search marketing firm
  • Vibes Media – #92 – Interactive mobile marketing – the phone’s the thing
  • Instinct Marketing – #199 – Doing some nice things with local search and CRM
  • AbsorbentInk – #216 – Another promotional products company
  • eROI – #402 – Lead generation firm using email and other e forms of marketing
  • DirectoryM – #458 – Local online directories

More to come!

Finally a solution for blog comment spam

This is a blog spam comment that I received and had to share – finally, a true solution to blog comment spam.

hello , my name is Richard and I know you get a lot of spammy comments ,I can help you with this problem . I know a lot of spammers and I will ask them not to post on your site. It will reduce the volume of spam by 30-50% .In return Id like to ask you to put a link to my site on the index page of your site. The link will be small and your visitors will hardly notice it , its just done for higher rankings in search engines. Contact me at (Romanian email address) , i will give you my site url and you will give me yours if you are interested. thank you

If you use the Akismet plug-in for WordPress you can block most of this kind of stuff.

Twittering the possibilities

Twitter for businessTwitter has fascinated many while disgusting as many. Some seemingly normal individuals have become obsessed with it.

In case you’re not familiar – Twitter is a micro-blogging tool that allows you to tell the world, or your best friend, what you are doing now. The most basic tweet, as it is called, is an answer to what you are doing.

I’ve been drawn to it in a curious way, but never put much in it as a business tool because I don’t know that it has any real value, particularly if it’s going to cause me to build a list of followers and then post continuously. (Although I love it for events and meetings because event participants can use it like a news flash and announcement service in real time.)

    Recent updates to the service have made it mildly more interesting from a business standpoint

  1. You can now search and find anyone you know to follow (they have to give permission, but it makes building a list easier)
  2. Alex King’s twitter plug in allows WordPress users, that would be me, to post your tweets to your blog, but, and this is the best part, it also automatically creates an alert on your twitter feed every time you post to your blog – effectively giving your followers notice.
  3. Growing list of Twitter add-ons for the twitterati

I’m still mixed on the tool for small business, but if it has a fan base and it’s really easy for you to use, what the heck, play with it.

You can follow me by going to Twitter and searching on my name.

Building Your Own Social Network

KickAppsSocial Networks such as Facebook, LinkedIn and MySpace are all the rage at the moment for the potential they offer some businesses. They do offer tremendous applications for building community and even building business but these giants also possess some real limitations for most businesses due to the overwhelming size and potentially unfocused nature of the community inhabitants. (Do you really want some creepy 16 year old reading all the private, intimate details about your products?)

So, maybe you’re like many who think that the idea of building a community with lots of tools that help them share, interact, and create content that is focused on a single, perhaps very niche, topic of interest to all the members of the network is a great idea.

If so, you could easily find a developer to spend hundreds of hours hacking together a network offering just for you or, you could look into a growing list of tools that are made for people who would like to create their own social network branded just for their business or topic needs.

The leaders in this space are Ning and KickApps, but there are others as well. Ning wins the award for simplicity and boasts over 70,000 users. KickApps offers people with just a little bit of web coding skills the best option for creating a social network that integrates more seamlessly with your existing web presence in look and feel.

I am in the process of creating a Duct Tape community offering using KickApps that will allow Duct Tape readers to submit content, including video, share marketing stories, get marketing help and basically interact with like minded small business marketers. More to come on that!

If you have an interest in this topic you might want to start your research by reading this TechCruch article titled the 9 Ways to Build Your Own Social Network