4 Lessons Marketers Can Learn from Local TV News Reporters

This post was initially published on BostInnovation on July 28, 2011. To read the original post there, click here. Today – thanks to social media, smartphones and other new digital communications platforms and tools – what the savviest of consumers are asking of their favorite brands is almost as much as they’d expect from

The Importance of LinkedIn Recommendations

Given my outgoing personality, my obsession with the latest news and the fact that I’ve always been an early adopter of new communications tools, it’s no surprise that I’ve been enamored with social media from the get-go. I can’t tell you how excited I was to launch my own blog in early 2004, where I’ve written nearly

10 Ways to Succeed as a Copywriter, Parts 1-10

If you’ve been reading this blog for the last few months, you know I’ve been writing a series of posts on copywriting. Similar to the approach I took with my series on social media, I’ve looked at copywriting from a 30,000-foot level, focusing on the principles you need to be mindful of if you want to

10 Ways to Succeed in Social Media, Parts 1-10

If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you already know about the  “10 Ways to Succeed in Social Media” series of posts I started writing on January 13 of this year and recently concluded on April 5. But what you wouldn’t know is how much I’ve been looking forward to stringing these posts together into one

The Importance of Character in Social Media

By now, most people involved in marketing, advertising and PR have put aside any skepticism they may have had about social media and are using such online communications vehicles as blogs, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube to reach out to and engage with others. They’re finally realizing that — as I’ve said before here on this

Main Street and Social Media

Send to Kindle

What does social media have to do with Main Street? A lot more than you may imagine.

Businesses and brands need to set up shop on social media the same way they have to have brick-and-mortar storefronts on Main Street.

Do you have a presence on social media? Can your customers, prospects, constituents and contacts find you on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and other online communication channels? In this day and age, social media and Main Street are almost one and the same.

Seth Godin’s Book, Purple Cow

Send to Kindle

How many of Seth Godin’s books have YOU read? I’ve read a ton of his books, but my favorite one is Purple Cow. I think it should be required reading for anyone in business, especially for those of us who work in the advertising and marketing fields. As Seth himself says on the inside front cover of the book, “You’re either remarkable or invisible. Make your choice.” Have you read this book? Are you remarkable? Or are you invisible? Are you a purple cow? Watch. Listen. NOW.

Public Speaking and Social Media

Send to Kindle


As someone who speaks often at industry conferences and events, I know that if those in my audience are looking down at their phones, tablets and laptops, they’re probably not ignoring my presentation. They’re likely sharing what they’re hearing on social media, which is exactly what I want them to be doing on my behalf. I want them to be amplifying my message to their own networks, extending the reach of what I’m saying to a much larger number of people. So…if you’re giving a presentation and your audience members are looking down at their electronic devices, not up at you, don’t be annoyed, be pleased.


In this video, I talk about how important it is for public speakers to move away from the lectern, especially in the social media era, when the audience expects plenty of photo opportunities and an up-close and personal connection.


In this video, I talk about how important it is for a public speaker to include “brilliant visuals” and “clever sound bites” in his or her presentation. After all, this is the social media era, and you want to make it easy for your audience to share what you have to say with their own respective online networks.

Robert Solomon’s Book, The Art of Client Service

Send to Kindle

Are you a good listener? Do you listen more than you talk? Do you give those on the other side of the table the attention they deserve? It is so important to listen to others in both our professional and personal lives. People will think more favorably of you if you give them the floor. They will appreciate your interest in what they have to say. “Listening is more important than talking.” That’s just one of “54 things every advertising and marketing professional should know” according to Robert Solomon’s book, The Art of Client Service. Watch. And, yes, listen…

10 Things Wrong With Marketing Today

Send to Kindle

I have met the enemy and it is us.

Yup. Not to sound like an alarmist, but if those of us who earn our livelihoods in marketing continue down the same long, circuitous path we’ve been on since the turn of this millennium, we may as well throw our hands up in the air and cry “uncle.”

Never mind the Joneses, after all, we’re hardly keeping up with anyone anymore on the receiving end of our marketing messages.

We’re moving in circles as an industry, if we’re moving at all. We’re falling dangerously far behind.
We need to wake up and smell the cold-brewed coffee. We need to stop marketing like it’s 1999 and start realizing that it’s no longer business as usual.

This is 2017 going on a future like you and I can only begin to imagine. This is no time to hem and haw.
Please don’t shoot the messenger, either. I’m merely passing along these words to the wise not just based on my own hands-on experience, but on what I’ve been hearing through the grapevine lately.

As disconcerting as it may be to digest, here are 10 things that are wrong with marketing today…

1. Spam. What junk mail did to direct mail, spam has done to email. People are receiving far too many irrelevant emails from brands they don’t want to hear from, undermining the effectiveness of those online messages of ours that are targeted and timed so well. You know what they about a few bad apples. Read “Why Do Marketers in 2017 Still Spam?”

2. Trust. Ask around. Where do you think those of us in marketing and advertising stand in the minds of consumers? Down there with lobbyists, politicians, telemarketers and car salespeople. Ouch. Read “Attention Marketers! People Don’t Trust Your Marketing Strategy!”

3. Innovation. Ironic, isn’t it? Innovate is what we do day in and day out, yet we’re still not doing it quickly enough. Read “Nick Law: There’s a Lack of Imagination in the Advertising Industry”

4. Knowledge. We may be smart, but our knowledge as individual practitioners still pales in comparison to what members of our audience know collectively. They’re a diverse, dynamic group, constantly in motion, perpetually changing. A culture of continuous learning within the marketing workplace must be a top priority going forward. Read “Marketers Lack the Skills to Deliver on Customer Experience”

5. Technology. Ah, the bane of our existence. As soon as we catch on to one disruptive trend, another one comes along. Yikes. More changes in technology have taken place in the 21st century than most, if not all of us, have seen in our lifetimes. Read “Staying Technology Relevant Has Suddenly Become a Full-Time Responsibility”

6. Agencies. This one hurts personally, as agencies have been the lifeblood of my career. But all good things must come to an end, and the agency model as we know it needs to undergo a massive overhaul if you, me and everyone else in this industry expects to thrive, not just survive as professionals. Read Forrester: Marketers are the Catalyst to Fix the Broken Agency Model and Marketing agencies are broken

7. Quality. We can’t say we didn’t see this coming. Unfortunately, what our parents warned us about while growing up has finally come true. Call it carelessness. Call it informality. Call it inattention to grammar, punctuation, detail and accuracy. Whatever we call it, it could cost us our jobs. Read “Poor-Quality Ads Cost U.S. Marketers $7.4 Billion”

8. Turnover. A lack of continuity and cohesion among teams, especially those at the leadership level, is never good for business. So-called churn-and-burn hiring may never end, but it needs to at least slow down for not just the agency era, but for the marketing industry as we know it to endure. Read “CMO Turnover Reaches New High”

9. Strategy. Why do you think so many ads are being blocked, ignored and avoided today? Why do you think consumers have turned against us? We’re not putting enough time, effort and thought into what we do, that’s why. We’re sacrificing strategy for expediency. We’re cutting corners to cut costs. We’re being penny wise and pound foolish. Read “10 Reasons You Need a Digital Marketing Strategy in 2017”

10. Irrelevancy. Not to sound like a broken record, but we need to do for ourselves what we do for our products, services, clients and customers. We can’t be like the cobbler and his shoes. We need to not just rebrand ourselves, but literally transform ourselves from the inside out before it’s too late. Read “5 of the Biggest Challenges Facing Today’s Marketers”

All that said, this is a fantastically fun time to be in marketing. Seriously. We just need a big course correction, that’s all. We need to seize the day. Digital. Mobile. Social. AI. Augmented reality. Chat bots. Ephemeral content. Livestreaming video. You name it. There are more opportunities than ever today to take our industry further and faster than we ever could have imagined. I absolutely love my job. I love what I do for a living. I love a good challenge. Who else is in?

Note: This post, “10 Things Wrong with Marketing Today,” was originally published on the AMA Boston blog on October 10, 2017, here.

Are you a trust agent?

Send to Kindle

Thanks, as always, to my ridiculously awesome – and VERY patient – wife, Barbara, for recording this video. It’s all about the importance of trust agents in business, especially in social media and marketing. It’s my takeaway from a book written by Chris Brogan and Julien Smith. The question is…Are YOU a trust agent?

Three Problems in Corporate Social Media

Send to Kindle

There are many reasons why businesses and brands struggle with the development and implementation of a successful social media program. Time. Talent. Technology. The list is endless. In an article I read recently, however, renowned speaker, educator, consultant and author, Mark Schaefer, identified what he feels are three of the biggest problems in this area. Leadership, content shock and unrealistic goals.

I can’t disagree.

Here are my thoughts on Mark’s article and how I think these problems are reducing so many companies’ chances for success in social media.

10 Ways Public Speakers Should Use Social Media

Send to Kindle

If you’re giving a presentation and your audience members are looking down at their electronic devices, not up at you, don’t be annoyed, be pleased.

As someone who speaks often at industry conferences and events, after all, I know that if those in my audience are looking down at their phones, tablets and laptops, they’re probably not ignoring my presentation. They’re likely sharing what they’re hearing on social media, which is exactly what I want them to be doing on my behalf. I want them to be amplifying my message to their own networks, extending the reach of what I’m saying to a much larger number of people.

That’s what I would call the “socialization” of my presentation. And that’s what I would think every public speaker today would want their listeners to be doing for them, too. It may be disconcerting at first. It may even be distracting. But it’s increasing the audience for your presentation exponentially. Like the click-click-click of the cameras at a big press conference, everyone is busy capturing the moment, only in a variety of different ways unique to each respective audience member.

Of course, a speaker wants everyone in the audience to be paying attention, hanging on his or her every word. But the reality is that when they’re sharing what they hear with their own online followers and friends, they’re concentrating even more on recording just the right sound bite or image. They’re even more engaged with what you are saying as they realize the magnitude of their responsibility to report on the event accurately, informatively and entertainingly.

Here are 10 ways public speakers, instructors, trainers and anyone else who finds themselves in front of an audience should use social media to promote their own presentations…

1. Encourage social media use among your audience. One of the first things I say to my audience when I take the stage is to not hesitate to use social media. After all, I want them to share their impressions of my presentation with their own respective networks. They get the benefit of having unique, new content to distribute and I enjoy the exponential increase in reach to a much broader audience. Its’ a win-win situation that’s well worth encouraging.

2. Include your handle and hashtag in slides. If you’re going to be drumming up social media usage, it would be remiss of you not to include where you can be found there on your presentation’s slides. At the very least, share your Twitter handle on your title slide and perhaps on every other slide, too. You should also list wherever else you have a presence on social media – e.g., YouTube, Instagram, LinkedIn, etc. – on an individual slide that also includes your bio, not to mention the event’s hashtag (assuming there is one).

3. Tweet before and after your presentation. Publicizing your presentation nowadays means using social media to talk about it both beforehand and afterwards. Some of this content can be scheduled in advance to give you a steady, uninterrupted presence on these online communications channels while the rest of it should be real-time engagement with your followers and fans.

4. Record your presentation. Have someone record your presentation on video, which will likely give you some great content afterwards to share – in dribs and drabs – with your constituents on social media. If the quality is good enough, you can even upload the entire presentation to YouTube.

5. Live-tweet your gig. Having someone capture what you’re saying in the moment is an excellent way to report extemporaneously on your presentation, taking full advantage of any real-time buzz about your presentation and leveraging every little thing you are saying in the moment. Retweeting, liking and engaging with your audience is ideal, too, if you can get a colleague or friend to do this from their account for you while you’re on stage.

6. Get away from the podium. Moving around the room is a good idea for a speaker in general, as it is a much more engaging and compelling way to deliver a presentation. You don’t want your audience’s view of you to be obstructed in any way, shape or form. You want to give them as many photo opportunities as possible as well as the best chance to see you up-close and personal. You’ll make a stronger connection and better impression that way as well.

7. Include quotable quotes. Make it easy for members of your audience to provide coverage of your talk. Provide them with catchy visuals and short sound bites. Have a handful of clever, memorable one-liners rehearsed in advance and delivered at key, prominent moments. Feature this content prominently in your presentation. Create each of your slides for prime-time viewing, that is, with the intention of them going viral. Make it hard for your audience not to want to repeat what you share with them time and time again.

8. Pause on your best slides. Pacing is important. If you have a hit slide or message on your hands, pause and pose for the crowd. Seriously. Take your time on the highlights of your presentation. Take it slow. Milk it for everything it’s worth. If you have a strong point to make, or a great visual to show, your audience needs the time to capture and share the moment with their own respective audiences on social media.

9. Use gestures and props. You may be speaking to inform and educate, but you also want to entertain your audience. Accessorize your presentation with gestures and props. Not only do you want to engage and enlighten those in the audience, you want to dazzle and delight them, too. Appeal to their senses. Tease them with theatrics. Add elements to your presentation that will make it more photogenic, capturable and ripe for social media.

10. Summarize your presentation. When all is said and done, you want to review, repurpose and save your presentation for posterity. You want to summarize it for those who weren’t there as much as get even more mileage out of your efforts by reporting on it yourself. Use Storify, Twitter Moments or your own blog to recapture everything you said as well as what your audience had to say themselves on social media about the event.

Note: This post, “10 Ways Public Speakers Should Use Social Media,” was originally published on the AMA Boston blog on September 7, 2017, here.