Specializing in social marketing and business communications training

The Main Reason to Ignore your Target Audience

danny-nov-2015If you’re a PR, marketing or branding professional—or you work in sales—you probably spend an inordinate amount of resources trying to “get a handle on your target audience.” It’s time to dump the demographics and toss the generational preferences pie chart.

You must drill deeper than demographics. These days, you must market—with clarity—to one person. It’s essential to create a buyer persona and profile of your ideal client. Note that “client” is singular, not a community or demographic. One human being.

A profile or avatar will provide you with a deep understanding of your prospect.

Think about it. Consumers are craving—no they are demanding—personized attention and nurturing. They want to know that brands—and the people behind them—have invested the time and energy to get more than just acquainted. For this reason, you mustn’t communicate with a mass group such as millennial women or Baby Boomers.

What can you do without a demographic? Focus on one person. Create an avatar as you have done for your own business or personal social media accounts. For example:

Who is your ideal audience? To reach young men ages 18 to 25, how would you create a social media profile for someone in this group? Take the time and energy to brainstorm and create this one avatar.

You may:

  1. Assign him an age.
  2. Determine his level of education.
  3. Think about the region and country where he resides. Does he live with others or alone? Does he own or rent? Is he a college student?
  4. Identify your person’s likes and dislikes. What does your buyer enjoy on Netflix or iTunes? Which social media channels does he prefer? Does he loathe or love tattoos and piercings? Consider his friendships, online games, favorite sports teams and foods, hobbies, clothing and political affiliations.
  5. Understand how he consumes information and communicates. Does your buyer prefer BuzzFeed, The Wall Street Journal or Inc.com? Does he favor online tutorials, podcasts, YouTube or written blog posts?
  6. Consider how he spends his time. Does your person enjoy the outdoors or a gym membership? Does he stay up late?
  7. Think about those closest to him. Is he family-minded, close with his parents, siblings and extended family? Does he have a significant other or partner? Does he have pets? Does he have a lot of friends?
  8. Get a clear understanding of your person’s aspirations. Does he work (or plan to work) in a corporate setting, remote job or part of the gig economy? Is he a spender or a saver? Is he a risk-taker?
  9. List his social values. Is he an animal lover, an Eagle Scout, a volunteer at the local food pantry, or an annual participant in a 5K race for breast cancer awareness? Does he litter? Does he vote?
  10. Focus on your person’s concerns and challenges. What keeps him up at night? What worries him? What scares him?

The next step is to give your person a first name. It’s probably Hunter, Tanner, Matthew or Quinn. (If you’ve named your avatar George or Robert, you may need to rethink some of this.)

The final step is to find a picture (an avatar!) of your person. He may be a face in the LL Bean catalog or on the Best Buy website. You may find him in your local newspaper circular. Clip the picture to the responses you’ve written above. Meet your buyer. Keep him front and center in every aspect of your marketing, PR and branding brainstorms. Think: What would Tanner do?

The real application

Now, market and communicate with this individual. You have taken the time to get more than just acquainted with your prospect. You’ve gone beyond a crowd of young males ages 18 to 25. You’ve paid attention. How can you show your buyer he’s special?

  • Market to his needs.
  • Communicate in the language, phrases and buzzwords that will resonate with him.
  • Choose images, memes and graphics with care.
  • Customize Snapchat stories and Instagram accounts.
  • Invite user-generated content from events that he can relate to, and share with his friends.
  • Use list-building and auto-responders tactics to share free content in the format HE prefers.
  • Follow him on different social media accounts and share his content when appropriate.

Compare this approach to reading one of your favorite books. If you’re like me, an author who can make the reader feel as though they are speaking directly and only to him is magical. Millions of copies of the book may have been sold but it was written in such a personal style that readers feel an emotional connectedness to the author. It’s memorable.

Is your marketing memorable?

Even Mother Teresa Can Be Newsjacked

Mother_teresa_newsjackedMother Teresa is now a saint.

Please step back with me in time to reflect on the so-called “saint of the gutters.”

Some 30 years ago, former U.S. Senator Bill Bradley of New Jersey delivered the commencement address at Montclair State University. I attended the ceremony because as a radio news reporter, I wanted access to Bradley, whom I had interviewed many times.

My plan was to conduct a quick interview with the Senator on a variety of timely topics that I could use during the slow summer news cycle. I brought my clunky Marantz tape recorder and reporter’s notebook. I came in search of sound bites. I drove to—what was then—Montclair State College.

To my surprise, it was Sen. Bradley’s formal remarks—and an informal conversation I overheard afterward—that has remained with me all this time.

In his address, Bradley spoke of Mother Teresa and all the good she had done in the world. The charity, the love, the benevolence, the impact, the caring.

He urged the graduates to follow Mother Teresa’s example and find meaningful work that contributes to the community-at-large.

The real lesson

Following the speech, I waited on the sidelines as Bradley greeted a few students. One young lady dressed in her cap and gown approached with a look of despair scrawled across her face. She politely confided to Bradley that she couldn’t fathom being like Mother Teresa. The graduate said the world is so big and I am so small. “What am I supposed to do when I leave here; what do I do tomorrow?” she wondered aloud. “I don’t know where to begin,” she admitted.

Gently, Bradley responded: “I don’t expect you to be Mother Teresa. Nobody does. You can volunteer at a local food pantry. You can be a scout leader or soccer coach. Maybe you can mentor a freshman. Maybe you would be great at organizing a fundraiser in your community or office. The point is: Find your own Calcutta.” The student’s relief was evident as her face relaxed and a slight smile pursed her lips.

Bradley used his address at Montclair State University as his own Calcutta. Today, this post is my Calcutta.

How will you make a difference? Have you found your own Calcutta? (Note: I didn’t have earbuds at the time and a story and life lesson simply came to me. Wow. )

And, for the record, if you work in PR, branding, marketing, social media, or content creation, you will see I’ve unabashedly newsjacked* Mother Teresa’s sainthood. I believe I have done so with humility. My sole intention in writing this post is to pass along the distilled message Sen. Bradley shared in Montclair, New Jersey. Pay attention. Find your own Calcutta.

*Newsjacking: Author David Meerman Scott coined the phrase “newsjacking” several years ago, but creative journalists on the hunt for a good local story called it “riding the coattails of national news.” This has been a commonplace practice throughout my career in broadcast news, PR and content curation. It required that you pay attention and find an audience-relevant angle or hook to a big news event, localizing it with an expert or connection to your community. Read one of my examples of recent newsjacking with Pokemon Go and the Summer Olympics.


(Image via)


Leaders: Do you know these 4 communication essentials?

18249893-walking-towards-the-business-solution-3d-rendered-illustrationToday’s business professionals must have skills and talents that previous generations didn’t even consider. Each of the items below is not exclusive to people working in marketing, sales, PR or HR. For example, not long ago, storytelling was integral to PR and news stories but not to HR. Now, savvy human resource professionals share employee stories about their corporate culture that is essential in recruiting and retention.

The following elements of communication are for all of us. You can run, but you can’t hide.

  1. Storytelling

Marketers must not only grab people’s attention; they must also be able to hold people’s attention.  (Seinfeld fans will remember when Jerry chastised a rental car agent at an airport for “making the reservation but not holding the reservation.”)











Today, taglines won’t work; storytelling helps consumers take notice of a brand. Greg Satell, a digital strategist, writes, “We need to shift from crafting messages to creating experiences.” Satell says to construct a compelling story that resonates with human emotions, says sales and marketing pros mustn’t get caught up with content. Instead, learn the elements needed for a phenomenal story.

  1. Live Video

By 2019, some 90 percent of web traffic will include video content. Research from Cisco reminds us that consumers enjoy recording spur-of-the-moment snippets. Author Bryan Kramer, a social media marketing pro, says:  “[Video] disrupts traditional forms of pre-planned content that get pushed towards an audience; live-video opens up a conversation and invites consumers to the party.” Think brand ambassadors and fun.

Kramer also addresses the value of B2C engagement:

Live-video invites a two-way exchange between your brand and consumers. Your audience can help you to shape your content, essentially urging a crowd-sourced approach. It’s an adaptive way to market and means that you can change the direction of your video content in response to live interaction with your audience. If something isn’t working, you can bet that your audience will let you know about it.

The spontaneity of your content creation and the rapid-fire response of your audience can help you show off your brand and let people know that you’re not faceless corporate drones. Brands can relax.

  1. Metrics and Business Outcomes

Content marketers shouldn’t be intimidated by statistics and numbers. After all, stakeholders expect leaders to connect metrics with business outcomes. Can you formulate a hypothesis about content performance and compile a report with supporting data and next steps? I’m impressed with Barry Feldman’s infographic that offers 26 ways to use Google Analytics and measure content marketing efforts. There are tips on dashboards, queries, BOT filtering, mobile, KPIs and more.

  1. Customer Service  

A marketing professional in the environmental engineering industry once told me she “doesn’t have anything to do with sales.” Really?! Likewise, if you think your expertise doesn’t involve customer service (brand ambassadors), think again.

Consider this example from event planners who manage large business conferences. Do they understand their responsibilities go beyond a comfortable ballroom and goodies at a networking reception? Kelli White, an event manager, wrote a post that included a few customer service debacles. She reminded readers that reputation management and communication on social media during programs are essential to branding and sales. For example, one conference’s transportation glitches sent attendees right to social media to complain. White says many organizers mistakenly create social media channels without a realistic plan to manage and respond to comments and criticism.

One way for emerging leaders and those new to the workforce to learn organizational cross-functionality may lie in rotational programs. That’s when employees work in at least three different departments at the same company for a designated period. “They provide the opportunity to try on many hats to see which fits best. For example, a participant may spend a year in accounting, a year in finance and a year in marketing,” writes blogger Kaytie Zimmerman on Forbes.com. Rotational programs often help companies improve opportunities for millennials, who crave learning and professional development.

In the end, effective leaders understand the overlap that we need to compete in business today.


Climbing Out from the Blogging Abyss

Patio table for 2 sunset in RehobothYes, I went there. I’m the poster child for “I swore I’d never do this…”

I haven’t posted any new blog content on my own site or LinkedIn page for eight months. I’ve been writing content and news like a madwoman, but not for myself. I fell off the proverbial wagon. How could eight months have passed so quickly?

I’ve been here. I’ve been there. I’ve been everywhere, and I’ve been nowhere.

But, I’m back.

What’s been happening?

Like you, I’m desperately hoping and praying our world hasn’t permanently gone to hell in a handbasket. (Do millennials even know what that phrase means? I may have to change my name to Mildred or Harriet.)

In the world of “SueYoungMedia,” I have spent some time:

  • Listening to podcasts for learning and inspiration. Translation: A kick in the rear end.
  • Walking a lot. Translation: Put one foot in front of the other. Stop overthinking.
  • Thinking and not doing. Translation: I need to “just be” might just be an excuse.

What’s changed these past eight months? On a personal note, my family has had some significant highs and lows. The circle of life didn’t bring surprises but still there were sadness and grief. The upside had several joyful celebrations and milestones.

When I started my blog in 2008, I committed to writing and sharing anything that’s related to communication. That covers a lot of ground, from PR, news, business, sales, social media, interpersonal and so much more.

It’s time to communicate again. What have you been communicating these past few months? Let me know what challenges or topics you’d like covered. Comments are always welcome.

I thank you for reading.




Fox Sports Throws a Curve Ball in #WorldSeries Opener

When the satellite truck lost power and the broadcast went dark, folks on Twitter started lobbing  hardballs about the tech trouble.

The fourth inning in Kansas City turned ugly—and quiet—for Fox Sports.

My Tweetdeck #WorldSeries column went berserk in Game 1 of the World Series when the Fox Sports broadcast went bust. Like so many others, I was tweeting and watching the New York Mets in Kansas City. I was horrified to see a blue screen on my TV.












Naturally, my first thought was: Which brand—if any—is going to jump all over this marketing moment, like Oreo did when the power went out during Super Bowl 48 in New Orleans?

Fox Sports’ broadcasters tried to get a handle on what was unfolding on live television, and tweeted:







When the first of the two outages hit, Peter Shankman, a New Yorker, and the founder of HARO, hit the (Twitter) roof.








When the telecast returned a few minutes later, viewers saw that play had actually been halted at Kauffman Stadium. We watched as Major League Baseball Chief Baseball Officer Joe Torre consulted with the umpiring crew and managers. The game resumed a few minutes later when officials agreed to continue without the use of replay, reported USAToday.








During the downtime, Twitter freaked out on #Fox with numerous hashtags and criticism of announcer Joe Buck.











Regardless of who wins the series, Fox Sports is the biggest loser. Can’t wait for Game 2.

As former Mets pitcher Tug McGraw said in the 1973 World Series, “Ya Gotta Believe.”

Me and Tug McGraw 2001








Back to the Future: 10 New Age PR and Marketing Insights

Visitorparking_sky_editedIn our new world of social media, fascinating things happen when Marty McFly meets brand ambassadors, bloggers and connected consumers.

Old school communication has taken the time machine south. You’ve noticed, haven’t you?

Pop culture and movie enthusiasts are marking the release of the 1985 epic movie, “Back to the Future.” The sci-fi trilogy featured a time machine that scientist Doc Brown concocted from a sleek DeLorean. The movies were packed with other gadgets and “stuff” for everyday life that seemed awfully bizarre.

Is social media our bizarre and concocted time machine?

Few of us could have imagined how the tenets and tools of communication have changed these past 25 years. Or, even 10 years.

Thanks to imaginative, edgy communicators with vision, we now have:

  • Smart companies with their own news departments that create credible brand journalism stories daily.
  • Empowered consumers who insist their voices be heard on multiple platforms.
  • Resourceful entrepreneurs who have quickly—and nimbly—built their own media empires.

These 10 quotes help us frame our modern day PR and marketing picture, and make the depiction quite appealing:

  1. “In the old world, you devoted 30 percent of your time to building a great service and 70 percent of your time to shouting about it. In the new world, that inverts.” ― Jeff Bezos, founder, Amazon.com
  2. Content is an opportunity to do something different. Tone of voice is your most powerful, gutsiest, bravest asset. A braver voice attracts like-minded, and repels the timid.—Ann Handley, author and speaker
  3. “The goal of social media is to turn customers into a volunteer marketing army.” – Jay Baer, founder, Convince and Convert
  4. “What makes Instagram such a special marketing tool is that it allows marketers to bring their companies’ aesthetics to life, visually. All of the work done during branding processes—finding the right color pallet, picking the perfect adjectives to describe a business, selecting images that embody the company’s personality—can be communicated with great detail through regular photo uploads to Instagram.”—Ted Karczewski, managing editor, the Content Standard
  5. “Social media puts the ‘public’ into PR and the ‘market’ into marketing.”—Chris Brogan, blogger
  6. “Remarkable social media content and great sales copy are pretty much the same; plain spoken words designed to focus the needs of reader, listener or viewer.”—Brian Clark, founder, Copyblogger
  7. “The bottom line is that for most companies, customer experience is not truly a priority. They manage it instead of lead it. They scale and optimize their current practices, generally focusing on some technology fixes and doing good marketing. No amount of advertising or marketing can override the effects of a poor experience with your people or products. People will talk and people will listen.” — Brian Solis, analyst, Altimeter Group
  8.  “Today’s marketing success comes from self-publishing web content that people want to share. It’s not about gimmicks. It’s not about paying an agency to interrupt others.”—David Meerman Scott, author
  9. “The New York Times says it prints ‘All the News That’s Fit to Print’ but it actually prints what fits, and what fits is what advertisers will support and readers have time to consume. Stories have to fight to get a spot.”—Seth Godin, author and speaker
  10. “A curator is an information chemist. He or she mixes atoms together in a way to build an info-molecule. Then adds value to that molecule.” —Robert Scoble, social media entrepreneur and blogger

Entertainment website IMDB.com describes the first shot of “Back to the Future”:  “The scene opens in Dr. Emmett Brown’s (Christopher Lloyd) garage/home laboratory as the camera pans over a large collection of clocks.”

Come to think of it, Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates and Steve Jobs all started their tinkering in their garages, too. Hmm.

5 Signs You Know You’re Prepared to Work in PR

IMAG0387Whether you’re gearing up for your coveted “first job in the real world” or you’ve been working in PR for a bit, we know preparation is the key to success. Well, preparation mixed with perseverance, persistence and patience. Caffeine’s good, too.

Adjectives aside, here are five ways to know you’re not only ready to work in public relations, but you’re willing to step up and blow the doors off the hinges.

1. I will always bring (tons of) value. Adding value to client relationships is obsolete. You must consistently add IMMENSE value to clients. This requires that you study, distill, learn, and have a deep understanding of your client’s niche, industry and team. When you know their business inside and out, you can head off problems in advance of disaster. Anticipate their challenges and offer creative solutions BEFORE problems arise. Don’t have panicky clients coming to you about a problem they heard in a webcast. Today’s business climate demands that you share solid and quantifiable information long before the buzz begins. Hint: This strategy goes well beyond reading trade pubs and dropping in on a LinkedIn group every few weeks. You must commit to lifelong learning, and professional and personal development.

2. I will show up big. The most successful people in business are those who focus on what they can give to others, and not what they can get, get, get. High achievers are comfortable in deflecting attention away from themselves. They have absolute faith that by helping others, abundance will find its way into their lives. Individuals with this mindset aren’t in a hurry to get the deal. Instead, their priority is to build relationships and trust. People who show up big, regardless of the scope of the task or the stature of the other person, are also flexible. They are agile workers who can course correct in the midst of a project. As a result of these attributes, they are the “go-to person” who is irreplaceable. Marketing pro Seth Godin’s book, Linchpin, talks about how to make yourself indispensable. Hint: Mediocrity is not for you. Become a person of excellence.

3. I will focus intently. Your ability to pay attention will completely change every all of your professional and personal relationships. You must be willing to fight mental distractions and enter into the deep, “in the moment sphere” of listening. This is a rare attribute in today’s world, but it is so desperately needed. Consider the practice of “silent listening.” It requires us to mentally quiet the unrelenting soundtrack that plays in our heads 24/7. Silent listening demands that we give our undivided attention, free of distractions, judgments and response planning. It calls for us to be fully present. Hint: Be patient as focus requires awareness and discipline. Meditation and yoga can help.

4. I will have a curious mind. One of my favorite quotes is from TV journalist Diane Sawyer: “Wake up curious.” Get out of bed each morning with a newfound sense of excitement of what the day will bring. This childlike trait will serve you well. People and stories are not what they appear to be. Your willingness to ask good questions and truly listen to uncover what lies beneath will bring fresh perspectives and enthusiasm for your work and life. Hint: Become an emotional archaeologist. Take your shovel to every client meeting and interaction, and dig away.

5. I will commit to communicating in new ways. These days, PR pros are communicating like project managers. You must be prepared to track the minutiae in assignments. Constant communication with team members has to be tempered with independent thinking skills. Whether you’re a newcomer to public relations or a more experienced PR professional, you must know how to use online spreadsheets, dashboards, graphics and images to track progress, next steps and metrics. Data visualization is essential. Executives don’t have time to distill reams of reports and analytics. That’s what you’re here for. Respect your manager’s time and provide easy-to-view pie charts and graphs that highlight only the most relevant business-related outcomes. They will appreciate your efforts. Hint: Communicators must be adept at this thing called communication.

Speaking of success, I invite you to visit CareerTapped.com. The site provides free educational business content to help college students develop workplace skills and connect with employers before graduation. The result is quality mentoring, internships and jobs. CareerTapped.com offers new ways for high achievers to keep up with PR, communication, marketing and business information.

The Evolving Definition of Success

Measure_success_meaningIt’s a loaded question that we often hear from Oprah: What’s the definition of success?

Strayer University has launched a formal effort to convince publisher Merriam-Webster to update its dictionary definition of success. But it’s not quite as it appears. After reading posts on Vice and Business Insider, there may be more sizzle than steak to some of their reporting.

According to Merriam-Webster, success is a noun defined as “the fact of getting or achieving wealth, respect, or fame.” This part of the definition has leaders and students at Strayer calling for the modification. However, both Vice and Business Insider didn’t mention Merriam-Webster’s second definition of success: “The correct or desired result of an attempt.” The latter, of course, has plenty of wiggle room in the word “correct.” What may be “correct” to you may not sit well with me.

I agree with Strayer University’s take that the first definition of success doesn’t truly reflect the way in which many people today think of ultimate achievement. And, of course, times have (significantly) changed since Merriam- Webster first published its definition. To me, the second definition is closer to my own belief, but it remains far off from many others’ musings.

Take It to the People

To gauge public sentiment, Strayer University commissioned a survey of 2000 people ages 18 and older. The research was conducted last year and revealed that 90 percent of respondents believe Merriam-Webster’s definition of success should be revised. Only one in five people connected monetary wealth with being successful.

Those polled say success is more about happiness than “money, power and fame.” In addition, the survey found:

  • Nearly 70 percent of people associate success with achieving personal goals.
  • More than 65 percent defined success as having good relationships with friends and family.
  • Some 60 percent said it’s about loving what you do for a living.


Welcome to a New Age

Does the definition of success change with the coming of age of different generations? Millennials have certainly had their collective asses reamed for being too narcissistic, disengaged in politics and lacking basic business and communication skills. These traits don’t exactly paint a picture of success. Still, despite all the criticism heaped on this demographic, millennials get high marks in corporate social responsibility and diversity. These characteristics are certainly aligned with Strayer University’s definition of success: “Happiness derived from good relationships and the attainment of personal goals.”

In a press release, Strayer University president Brian Jones said that Merriam-Webster’s official definition of success doesn’t reflect the reality of how Americans think about, discuss and ultimately pursue success. “If we take it literally, it would mean people who love their jobs, have happy families or help their communities aren’t successful. This is a dangerous notion as it can lead people to believe they are unsuccessful because they haven’t amassed a certain amount of wealth or fame,” said Jones. “Our belief is that there are many definitions of and paths to success and that all journeys to success are unique and should be celebrated. We believe the official definition of success should reflect that,” he said.

As publisher of CareerTapped.com, an educational business content community for college students and employers, I love the fact that one of our most popular features are the “Success Profiles.” We highlight students and sponsors who share not only their successes, but their failures and lessons learned. These candid admissions are critical motivators in professional and personal development.

Here’s a sampling of how college students in the CareerTapped community define success:

  • Samantha Pasciuto: “Success is the sense of pride one gets after hard work is completed.”
  • Kyle Beebe: “Success is achieving a long-term goal or aspiration leading to financial freedom, and business connections that last the entirety of one’s life.”
  • Makayla Smith: “Success is being able to set a goal and then achieving that goal. You aim to do the best that you can to get to where you want to be. “
  • Myles Biedermann: “Success is when you achieve your goals and daily aspirations to the fullest potential.”
  • Matthew Nesti: “Success is reached when you are satisfied with the work or job you have done and you feel a sense of pride.”
  • Lydia Snapper: “I’m an aspiring writer, so success is having someone I don’t know reach out to me and tell me that something I have written meant something to them or has inspired them.”
  • Nicholas Suriani: “Success is not a measure of wealth. It’s a measure of accomplishments. It is ambiguous, and allows for everyone to have their own interpretation of the word.”
  • Austin Ogiba: “Success is achieving a goal or task that makes oneself feel accomplished and happy.”


Here are several examples of how business professionals—most of whom work in communication, social media and education—define success. Notice their definitions aren’t exactly aligned with Merriam-Webster, either:

  • Attorney and blogger Sara Hawkins: “Many people define success by money. However, when I was very young, I learned that if you define success by the money you have or earn, you may never see yourself as successful. Success in an inside measurement. Yes, money is good, but it’s not the only metric.” @sarafhawkins
  • Small business consultant and entrepreneur Brian Moran: “Success has a thousand different definitions. It doesn’t matter how I define it; it matters that you have a definition for it.” @brianmoran
  • Ophthalmologist Dr. Robert Scharfman: “Success is doing what you like, doing it well and making a living doing it.”
  • Marketing and PR CEO Ashley Cisneros Meija: “Success is truly achieving balance professionally and personally.” @chatterbuzzz
  • Adjunct communications professor Kevin Freeman: “It’s about achieving and completing a targeted goal with results that the individual feels comfortable with at the end of the activity.”
  • PR entrepreneur and adjunct instructor Deirdre Breakenridge: “Making a difference in the lives of your family, friends and industry colleagues.” @dbreakenridge


Personally, I like actor Denzel Washington’s definition of success: “For me, success is inner peace. That’s a good day for me.”

It remains to be seen if Merriam-Webster will revise the definition of success. But Strayer University’s movement to draw attention to our changing social mores and values are important, as it goes well beyond a play on words.

(Image via)

8.5 Creative Ways to Grab People’s Attention

New research finds that we have just under 9 seconds—8.5 to be precise—to get someone’s attention. Our attention spans have decreased from 12 seconds in 2000 to just 8.5 seconds this year. No surprise here, but the culprit is external communication.

Video, of course, is the hot commodity these days. And short videos are ideal. This graph reminds us about the importance of snippets:










Based on our limited ability to focus, here are 8.5 things communicators, PR pros and entrepreneurs can do to grab—and hopefully keep—someone’s attention. Whether you’re trying to reach a reporter, your target audience or a social media connection, short form content reigns supreme.

  1. Record a Twitter video. To truly connect with your followers on Twitter, put in some extra (video) effort and you’ll both be amazed. True to his style of recording quick videos on the fly, entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk, aka @GaryVee, takes us along on a cab ride in New York and shows how easy it is to use Twitter video. A 10 second clip can truly differentiate you from others, and if you’re pitching tech reporters, this will be impressive.
  2. Nail your headlines and email subject lines. No one will read your content unless the headline or subject line is so brief yet compelling that they simply can’t resist. Choose each word carefully with a focus on a benefit for the reader. Put yourself on the receiving end and be relevant. BuzzSumo can help.
  3. Use Periscope in the morning. Interact with your morning news anchors with Periscope. The early morning news is a fabulous time to use this technology because most people are half asleep and the news anchors are more apt to interact with the few who are engaging and interested in their programs. You’ll feel like old friends in no time.
  4. Read a journalist’s last five posts. Before you pitch a new contact or reporter, read —don’t skim—their last five posts or articles. When crafting your pitch, mention specifics from their previous work. We all appreciate when our efforts are recognized by others. Let reporters know you’re paying attention.
  5. Keep an eye on trending topics and hashtags. These hints can help dictate your content. Run with it while your competition is distracted with other external noise and nonsense.
  6. Incorporate easy tools that help with micro content. Less is more in our attention-starved world. Use memes, Inline Tweet Sharer, Canva and Facebook videos to keep things brief and interesting.
  7. Consider Snapchat. According to Social Media Examiner, Snapchat is one of the fastest growing social networks, with more than 100 million daily active users. Some 70 percent of Snapchat’s U.S. users are between the ages of 18 and 34. With Snapchat, you can create a video narrative with filters, emojis, music and text that will pique the attention of your audience. You can promote a contest or offer a glimpse behind the scenes of an event or conference.
  8. Look at new ways to encourage engagement with millennials. Are you familiar with Comment Bubble? It’s a free tool that allows people to react to videos. You can specify the type of feedback you would like to receive—text, audio, video, or by clicking instant feedback buttons. Here’s an example from SocialMediaSlant.com:










8.5. Repurpose longer content into micro content on Pinterest. If you have a tip sheet-style press release or valuable piece of advice, create a visually appealing image with one or two quick tips. Post it to Pinterest, with a link to the longer content. Many businesses generate a significant amount of revenue from Pinterest. Don’t miss this easy opportunity.

The bottom line: Be brief.









Surround Yourself with Smart People

MichaelJFox_bdayLeaders are not supposed to know everything. Plain and simple.

People everywhere—whether they are employed, stay-at-home parents or retired—most often succeed when they are willing to ask for help. They are smart about what they don’t know.

Many are under the impression that asking for help or admitting you don’t know something is a sign of weakness. Isn’t it a sign of humility?

We can’t know everything, plain and simple. No one does. No one ever will.

Here’s the difference between leaders and “those who also ran the race.” Leaders appreciate and respect what they know—and don’t know. They don’t see themselves as incompetent. They use a different approach. They look for people who are experienced in what they lack.

Smart people look to others to fill the gap.

The result: New learning opportunities and creativity in business.  It’s not about someone being a threat. It’s about adding someone to the team who can complement the others.

Best-selling business author Harvey Mackay says if your house is on fire, don’t grab your family pictures or jewelry. Grab your Rolodex (or gadget with your contacts!) He’s right.

In a magazine interview, actor Michael J. Fox talks about being diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. As a result of his illness, he launched the Michael J. Fox Foundation, which is working towards finding a cure for Parkinson’s. In the interview, Fox speaks with humility about starting the organization:

“Now I look back at the foundation and what we’ve been able to do. We have certainly not met all our goals yet, but steps have been taken. When I started it, I thought, I’m not smart enough to do this. I had no experience in management, no experience in administration, no experience in nonprofit; but then this phrase came into my head: I only have to be smart enough to find people who are smarter than me; I only have to be smart enough to recognize who knows more than me.”

Consider this. When you’re home and the kitchen sink is leaking, you call a plumber. If your car breaks down, you find a mechanic. If your business is growing and you need professional accounting services, you delegate to someone who has experience in business accounting.

As long as you are willing to admit that you need help, you are on the path to success.