Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Does Your Business Need a Blog?

You are a busy business owner. Should you make time to blog? If so, what should the blog look like? And what should you say?

One of my clients is considering blogging and last week sent me to a Roundtable Discussion run by a local branding agency called 341 Studios LLC. She wanted me to report back on all that I learned. The panel consisted of Jane Pollak (author, artist, coach and one of my favorite bloggers), Mary Callahan (web specialist at 341 Studios) and Rhonda Hurwitz (341's social media expert).  

Why and How To Blog
I realized afterward that I should share key points of the discussion with my own readers. The best points of all were made by Jane: Blogging makes her feel connected, increases the depth of her relationships with readers, makes her excited about life and increases her visibility. Wow! Imagine feeling more connected with your current and potential customers while generating greater awareness. Imagine helping search engines to find your website.

What else did I learn? They recommended Wordpress as the best platform. Blogs should have good design, featuring your logo. And they should be part of your website. I break all three rules. I use Blogger and Blogger's design templates and have no logo. And my blogs are separate entities linked to my website. (Tmblr was also mentioned as a new, hot platform loved by younger bloggers.)

Blog Content
As for content, I learned that short blogs are best. If you have a lot to say, you can cut the blog into chunks and spread your content over a few days. It's also good to mix things up - some short posts, some longer, and to post photos and videos. And you can serialize content or establish content patterns with something like: "Finance Tuesdays" or "Entrepreneurial Fridays". You get the idea. 

After the presentation, I wondered what I could charge to ghost-blog for businesses? Everyone at the discussion either was already blogging or was looking to blog in the near future. What would be a fair price?

Whether you outsource the blogging or do it yourself, don't put it off. Get blogging now. It's not that hard. And you can do it for free! (My other blog is My websites are: and

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Occupy Wall Street Protesters Publish a Real Newspaper

I had to smile when I read in the New York Times that the Occupy Wall Street protesters were publishing a newspaper called The Occupied Wall Street Journal. According to the article, it is a well written, well produced four-page paper that explains the purpose of the protest. I love this endeavor for two reasons:

First, that a protest which has grown via use of various digital media is finding value in the power of the printed word in a real newspaper. They are following the traditions of upsets and revolutions of the past - put it in print. (Thanks, Ben Franklin and Martin Luther.)

Second, that in order to publish the paper, they had to raise funding (venture capital for an anti-capitalist movement). They put out a request via  and also wound up getting some of their funding from none other than Michael Moore. Even people who would love to overthrow our current system still find that money is useful, in addition to traditional media.

Read the whole article:
Published: October 9, 2011
Even in an environment preoccupied with digital media, a newspaper has gained traction as a tool of protest at the Occupy Wall Street rallies.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Contrarian Thoughts About Steve Jobs

Like most people who use technology, I keep thinking about Steve Jobs.

Partly because I didn't want Jobs to be dead, I watched his Stanford commencement address, in which he talked about how to live before you die -- and about death. Most people are posting quotes from the speech  -- death clears the way for the living, pursuing your passion, connecting the dots and not listening to what other tell you to do.

It's all great stuff, except that last piece of advice, which keeps bugging me. Steve said not to listen to others' advice because then you live their lives, not your own. Steve Jobs was one of the few people who could actually get away with living and working that way. He got away with it because he was so creative, so intelligent and had such amazing vision. He never listened to the public. He created things and told the public what they wanted. Millions are living with Jobs's visions - living the way he thought they should, using his devices to alter their day-to-day lives. How ironic.

I simply do not believe that you should not listen to advice. Advice my mom and dad, various bosses, some colleagues, my husband, my kids and many educators have given me over my life I believe have made me a better person and have enabled me to live a richer and more successful life. And I believe that some of the advice I've imparted to others has enriched them, too.

I guess you can tell that I'm a bit of a contrarian and that I've never been an Apple evangelist. But I still believe that Steve Jobs was an amazing person who truly changed the world. And I will miss him and am truly sorry he died so young.