Blah Blah Blah…Blog

For 34 days I’ve had writer’s block. There are so many interesting things happening around me that it isn’t that I lack for good topics to focus my attention on, but for some reason getting the words onto the page just didn’t happen. Maybe the learning for me (and maybe you) is that sometimes we need to slow down or jump off the daily business treadmill, in order to recharge, refocus and re-evaluate our priorities. Like every other busy business professional, I find it hard sometimes to keep the blogging momentum going, so I can totally relate to those of you who tell me you just “don’t have time” to do it. Believe me, I get it. And, frankly, I’m a little jealous sometimes that several of my blogging hero’s – Chris Brogan, Seth Godin and Paul Castain – manage to post pretty much daily despite the fact that they have heavily scheduled business days themselves.

Barb, what’s up with you, girl? That’s the question I have been asking myself off and on over the past several weeks. I finally think that I know why I’ve had writers block. What I realize is that it is all about choosing, sticking to, AND scheduling our priorities.

Ban the To Do List

Colleague Kent Gregoire, who heads up Responsibility Centered Leadership and The Alternative Board of Metro Atlanta is also the thought leader behind Living in the Now®: The Overwhelm Solution, and Kent has convinced me that “to do” lists are a waste of time, and more importantly, they often cause more problems than they solve…like adding stress to your life that is truly unnecessary. Kent advocates that we banish our “to do” lists forevermore in favor of a more effective way to get those important priorities completed.

Crazy notion, right? Banning the “to do” list. I can hear you now…”Are they nuts? If I don’t have a get it done list, how will I accomplish anything?” Believe me, I understand the reaction. We have been trained as a society to make “lists” of items to work on each day and check off as we complete them. But in my own experience, I find that often there are items on the list that just seem to get transferred from one daily list to another. Come on’ be honest…this happens to you too, doesn’t it? What Kent shared with me is an approach that is both simple and utterly powerful in what it can do for you mentally and emotionally when you apply the technique to daily life.

It Is About Completeness

If you need to accomplish a particular task…could be going to the grocery store, writing that blog post, following up sales calls or washing your car, you need to “schedule it”. In other words, don’t write it on a list. Immediately block the time on your calendar to complete the action and move on. When the scheduled time comes, complete whatever it is and move on knowing that you never have to worry about it again.

I’m starting to get in a groove with the approach, and I already feel calmer about my day. Mental traffic about what I haven’t gotten done or angst about pending things that must happen is not walking me up in the early hours of the morning. Everything that matters and is important is “scheduled in time”, as Kent says. As I get better at the process, I will schedule things in advance or at the same time that I’m scheduling another activity, perhaps a sales meeting. I already know there will be follow up, so why not schedule the follow up time on the calendar at the moment that I book my sales meeting?

A list of to do items that remain separated from your calendar means there is a really good chance that lots of other daily, mindless, non-critical stuff will impede your ability to finish what you had intended. I had blogging on my list each day, but I didn’t make a formal commitment to block the time on my calendar each day to get it done. So guess what…it just didn’t happen.

Give it a try.

The next time you say to yourself, I need to get XYZ done, stop what you are doing, and evaluate your priorities, your currently scheduled activities and then “schedule” the appointment on your calendar to complete the action instead of writing it on a list.

The end result from taking this approach is that you’ll feel less stressed. You will also be living your life in the present – living now – instead of worrying about what you should have done or still need to do. I hope you’ll give it a go, and if you do, I’d love to hear from you.


Toby Bloomberg Highlights Social Media Marketers in Atlanta

I recently met Toby when we were teamed up for the recent E.Factor event in Atlanta. She’s been a top blogger for some time and recently decided to highlight women in the Atlanta community who are involved in social media. I have the pleasure of being highlighted on Toby’s blog myself.

About Toby…

After talking about the wonders of blogs to clients and in marketing workshops it was time to take my own advice, she says. She wanted a way to share the cool things she came across that could make life easier and more fun for marketers in a casual, exciting environment. Enter stage right - (drum roll) the Diva Marketing Blog!

According to Toby, “Diva Marketing is a state of mind. It’s an approach to marketing that’s fun, bold and savvy … but always strategically aligned with your brand’s objective.”

Check out my interview on Toby’s blog to learn more about my social media marketing experiences here.

The Why of Social Media

The explosion of social media into mainstream consciousness has seemingly come from nowhere. Though it may be new to you, the social media groundswell has been building for some time, and it’s fair to say that the buzz right now is deafening.

While there is a growing familiarity with tools like LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, blogs and YouTube, here are 5 questions being asked in companies large and small about the business reasons for using social media:

1. Why should we care?
2. Where do we start?
3. What technology should we be using?
4. How do we manage the information?
5. How will we measure effectiveness?

As with any new business undertaking, questions like these (and more) definitely need to be answered. Here are the reasons that I believe it is important to pay attention.

Why You Should Care

These days your prospects are surfing the net, reading blogs, participating in forums and group discussions, asking for product and services referrals from their social networks and joining on-line communities.

Even if you wanted to “opt out”, choosing instead to use outdated approaches to sales and marketing, your potential customers - and your savvy competitors - are most definitely going to be online.

Your prospects are tuned in to what they want, what’s available, where to purchase and how much to spend. The bigger the sale, the more educated they will be.

With 66% of the 38 million LinkedIn users deemed “key decision maker”,175+ million people on Facebook (31% over the age of 35), and millions more conversing over Twitter, you can’t ignore the opportunity. The name of the game then is visibility. If you aren’t participating online, you are missing huge opportunities to reach an audience you would otherwise not be able to connect with in an easy and cost effective way.

How to Get Started

If you are just getting your feet wet with regard to social media, you are most likely approaching it backwards, as most do. Companies are typically approaching the social computing world by looking first at the nifty, whiz bang technologies available. Could be a tweet here, a blog there, a LinkedIn profile, a Facebook fan page or a few YouTube video’s thrown up on the website- to achieve their sales and marketing goal. That is a mistake! People, purpose and plan first - technology last -should be the mantra of every business interested in succeeding with social media.


As with any hot trend, people are clamoring to get on board the social media gravy train. Yet as many have already discovered, having an online profile doesn’t mean you are using social media effectively to market your business or increase your sales. People are floundering in the online space for many of the same reasons they probably flounder around with their current sales and networking approach. They don’t have a plan!

Your plan starts with “narrowing” and “clearly defining” your target audience. Here’s a hint…your audience is NOT everyone with a pulse. Though it seems counterintuitive to some, the more you narrow your market, the faster you gain traction, which then leads to more sales of your products and services.

The key with choosing the right technology is making sure you know EXACTLY what results you want to achieve. You certainly need to understand what tools are available, but that’s the last thing you really need to focus your attention on. Once you know who your audience is, where they live online and what you want to happen once you get in front of them, you are then well positioned to use an online tool best suited for your purpose.

Managing the Flow

I’m known for saying that it is up to “you” to manage technology, not the other way around. Dashboard tools like Digsby help you watch your email, Facebook page, Twitter account, LinkedIn profile and more without having to web surf the individual sites. TweetDeck gives you the ability to keep on top of all that is happening in your Twitter world. And tools like Ping and HelloText let you create a post once that updates multiple sites of your choosing all at the same time. The point is that you shouldn’t let the “fear” of too much information stop you from getting on board. There are lots of great tools to help with the information management flow.

Measuring the ROI

Like anything else in business, you need to be sure that you are measuring effectiveness and results to ensure that you get the greatest return on your effort. In the March 23rd edition of Information Week, TransUnion reported as estimated $2.5 million in savings in less than five months. Did I mention that you first need a plan? In TransUnion’s case, their cost savings showed up in a reduction of software services purchases. Using an internal social networking platform, employees were able to brainstorm ways to more effectively utilize what they already had, thus reducing the need to buy more.

Companies of all sizes will benefit from having clearly defined objectives that you can then track your progress against. If one of your goals is to increase product sales on your website, you will want to track HOW people find you. Was it the blog, Twitter, LinkedIn, a Facebook ad, or that amazing sales article your sales manager just wrote? You can use tools like Google Analytics to help you track how many visitors visit your website, as well as give you clues as to what they focused on they got there.


Remember that social media and the world of social networking are here to stay. See it as a threat or an opportunity. It’s your choice!

Is Blogging For You?

As I started dipping my toe into the social media waters, I found myself intrigued by what I observed happening. The first few years I watched people blogging, I thought “what’s the point?” Why would anyone care about my personal life, and why would I want to post it out in cyberspace anyway?

Blogging for Business

Fast forward a few years, and I began to notice how people were using it for business. Sharing their thoughts, ideas and comments about…well…about anything you can imagine. So, I tried it myself. Honestly, it didn’t last long! Deciding I wasn’t good at it, I gave it up.

It nagged at me though. Using a blog for business was still a great idea, and I knew it. But I was uncomfortable with it. At the time, I couldn’t quite put my finger on what was bothering me about the whole thing. But after watching and observing others in the blogisphere, I landed on my answer.

Be Real

In the beginning, I tried to sanitize everything. Authenticity was lacking. My voice wasn’t coming through, because I kept worrying what other people would think.What if they didn’t like me? Would I be turning off potential clients by my comments? What if my writing sucked? How could I present my message without sounding like I was trying to “sell”? And then it finally dawned on me that the way to succeed with blogging is to just be who I am. Barb, plain and simple.

Build Relationships

I’m a people person, in that I really like people! Might seem funny to say, but there are people out there not too thrilled with having to interact with the rest of the human race. Not me.

People fascinate me. I love learning about them. What makes them tick? How did they come up with that amazing business idea? Where did they come from and how did they get to where they are now? I genuinely want to know. That’s probably why I’ve always loved sales, because being a great sales person is nothing more than building relationships with people. And the best way that I know to do that, is to sincerely care about who they are. Then, do your darnedest to help them solve whatever problem it is that they have. That’s it.

More than 25 years of consultative selling confirms for me that diversity is an awesome thing. So now when I blog, I try to keep in mind that I simply want to be who I am. Barb. Sharing ideas, making connections for others, forwarding on useful business information, expressing myself AND not worrying about being perfect. That’s the business blogger I strive to be today.

What’s Your Story?

What about you? Like me, are you worried about how you’ll be perceived? Come on…what’s your story? What holds you back from either kicking off your own blog or participating in the blogs that others are writing?

Tell me. I really want to know!

BTW - that’s me with one of my darling dogs, Murphy. He was helping me write this post:)

Are You Netiquette Savvy?

As the use of social media networking tools continues to grow in popularity, understanding the netiquette do’s and don’ts of online communication is critical to your success.  A blended word for “network etiquette”, Wikipedia defines netiquette as “a set of social conventions that facilitate interaction over networks, ranging from the internet and mailing lists to blogs and forums”.

Whether you are posting in LinkedIn groups, talking to friends on Facebook, participating in blogs or tweeting on Twitter, you need to understand that netiquette covers both common courtesy online and the informal “rules of the road” of cyberspace. In this world, you must be even more conscious of how and what you are saying; otherwise you run the risk of offending people who not only won’t take it kindly, but they will vigorously pass on their displeasure to everyone they know.

Here are my 3 top tips for avoiding online communication disaster:

Tip #1: Don’t sell.

This philosophy may seem counterintuitive if you believe that using online tools is just a cheap way to market and sell what you have to offer to a large number of people. Wrong!  Nothing turns people off faster than having some “slick Willy” enter the scene, who within minutes is hawking their latest product or service. If this is the approach you take, be prepared for a community smack down that will damage your reputation.

Tip #2: Give to receive.

People will always want to do business with people they know, like and trust. That takes time! Throwing up a LinkedIn profile today will NOT mean a sale tomorrow, so learn to be patient. You must first build a relationship with others in the community by giving more than you receive. Share information; make connections, and as people get to know you, they will naturally want to know more about what you have to offer.

Tip #3: Be human.

While technology is an amazing enabler, people are still on the other side. Think carefully about what you say and do. It’s certainly OK to be yourself and share your opinions, but always treat others with courtesy and respect. If you wouldn’t say it “to their face” then absolutely do not say it online.  If you are angry or annoyed then take a breath before you type those words and push send. As many have learned the hard way - what’s said on the internet definitely stays on the internet!