Friday, June 3, 2011

Avoid Costly Advertising

Advertising ... cheap is not always good. I have had many non-clients tell me they have found a great deal on advertising with blah blah blah publication and have just signed a contract without doing their homework. There are a lot of great deals out there right now, it is true. The problem to their detriment is some people have repeat-bad-behavior syndrome and willingly sign up for the next good deal, and then the next good deal. And all of a sudden they have completely pissed away (for lack of a better word) their marketing budget with nothing to show for it because they did not take the initial research steps.

1. Is advertising a good fit for your business? Not all businesses benefit from ads - and if you do not know ask a marketing professional. I hear more often boo-hoo, "I wasted my money on X publication" than not.

2. Ask the publication for a media kit and rate card. The media kit will cover demographics (circulation, numbers, male/female readership, age, etc.). Demographics are key to determining if the publication is even a good fit for your business. Keep in mind cheap/expensive needs to result in results period. Please do not make me call you a "whambulance." Wha wha wha ( I am probably spelling this wrong).

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Atrocious Advertising

At M Communications - we recommend avoiding the following:

Size Matters. It really does. It never fails to amaze me that some people take a business card-sized ad and attempt to tell their whole life story on in minuscule writing. Come on people, as far as I am concerned, business card means business card. One other thing, if your marketing professional is not doing the research before recommending you buy the Wall Street Journal spread, you need to ask the "why's" behind it before agreeing to the purchase. Keep in mind who your audience is before advertising in a publication and ensure you have a tracking method, special offer, and/or discounted service. You will most likely be able to track results that make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside because you know your ad is working ... or not!

Paint by numbers - Oh NO. Please do not attempt to scare off your potential clients by designing your own ad. We all have our strengths and weaknesses ... please do not fool yourself into thinking you are a graphic designer. It will reflect poorly on your whole company. I have seen the whole glaring mess including bad fonts, bad colors, wrong fonts, day-glow pink (they still make that???). Hire a professional!

Tacky graphics! Please don't go with cheap, cheesy or tacky. Hire a graphic designer with class. Unless you're selling gumball machines to five-year-olds, please avoid bright colors, in-your-face star bursts, and ugly fonts.

The LOUD and obnoxious pitch!! Gosh is this a "Sham-whammy" advertisement on the Shopping Channel? If not, tone down the pitch (copy). A loud, infomercial ad appeals to a small segment of your audience and will turnoff others. Now if this is YOUR segment, go ahead and create one of those "only-scene-on TV" advertisements. If not, please go with the nice, descriptive and information-based copy.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Networking? ... Nevermind!!

Here are a couple of signs that you attended the wrong networking event:

Lady Lecturer - bad format for new business. Most people attend new events for meeting people to create new relationships that result in business. It really is not a good idea to start lecturing the event attendees about business protocol in an attempt to snag new business. Here is the deal ... I really do not need a coach, but if I wanted one I would just ask - especially since I am not new to networking. Even more annoying, lady lecturer introduced the speaker at this particular luncheon and it was quite obvious that she did not even look at the speaker bio. She instead prattled on about herself and what she does for a living. Hello? Not about you lady lecturer -- and the poor speaker looked pretty reluctant to go up to the stage after her little performance.

Schizophrenic Meeting Agenda. If you are president of your organization, you need to stay in control of the meeting or at least have an agenda that makes sense. We attended a meeting last week that turned out to be a recruitment rally for a new organization. Let's just say the meeting agenda was all over the place, and the information disseminated really did not make a whole lot of logical sense. If your agenda is not making sense, I am pretty sure you are not going to get volunteers for the vice president of craziness position. The highlight of the meeting was when a new member stood up, gave her introduction, and basically asked if she could update us on the economy during lunch. Instead of squashing the craziness, we proceeded to listen to hear about how all of the banks will be shutting down in the next three days, a new currency will be issued, not to be frightened but to liquidate everything immediately. At this point, I was absolutely about to lose it in a fit of giggles. When I am sleep deprived, it really does not help my self control ... and by this point the meeting really went way off the radar.

I pledge Allegiance to What? I am a proud American and am perfectly fine with saying the Pledge of Allegiance to start meetings. Although, I have not said the Pledge of Allegiance since grade school, I do realize some networking groups start with this. The kicker happened when everyone had to turn around and say the Pledge to something that resembled a lawn ornament stolen from some party last 4th of July - thank God someone pointed out the "real" American flag in the room. I am really proud of myself for getting through this event.

My overall advice ... be wary of new groups and try to get the inside skinny before you spend two hour of your time subjected to the craziness.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Confessions from a Hot Sauce Addict

I have a confession to make ... I am addicted to hot sauce. Each time I travel, I not only bring home hot sauce for myself, but as souvenirs for others (whether or not they even like hot sauce). Over the years, my favorites have included a habanero 3 pack from Playa Del Karmen and the Red Rectum hot sauce (mainly for the funny bottle) from New Orleans. My favorite hot sauce to date (and I am really wondering what this is doing to my stomach), happens to be the Baron hot sauce from the West Indies (see photo). I left this hot sauce on my counter for a month (as a reminder I was out) debating about ordering more, but I really couldn't stomach ordering a hot sauce from St. Lucia when shipping costs about the same as the bottle. Guess what? I caved. Not only did I order this particular sauce, I happened accidentally-on-purpose order the 28 oz. bottle. My thoughts? Yummy.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Just Because it Looks Pretty ...

At M Communications we are constantly noticing the good, the bad and the ugly when it comes to marketing. And, one thing I have noticed is that just because a marketing piece looks pretty it doesn't mean it is functional. It's kind of like those really cool nail files that are pretty to look at, but the don't really file your nails. Below is an a example of recent "No-No's":

Wonderful websites gone wrong. There are sites out there that are wonderfully designed and very esthetically pleasing. It is obvious that someone was smart enough to hire a professional graphic designer. The big oops here is that when it came to the navigation and someone decided to create a labyrinth. You have seconds to grab a visitor's attention when they stumble on their website and the more they have to click, the more likely they are going to go "bye-bye." Also, don't get me started on slow loading websites, even if the flash presentation is pretty cool. In both cases, you lose customers.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The Two Best Referrals Ever

At M Communications, we do a lot of public relations work ... a lot. I am talking about everything from authors to fitness professionals to musicians, etc. And, we only take on the fun clients and I will get to that in a later blog. The two best referrals we have ever received were from a news station and the other from another publicist. Both are a compliment. Typically, the media does not like publicists and they get bombarded by some pretty lame press releases. As for referrals from other publicists ... awesome. Another good reason to partner up with people in the same industry - you may promote books and they promote health. Why should you not have a strategic partner?

Monday, May 23, 2011

Setting the Bar a Little Bit High

Hello M Com Blog followers - I will get back to business tomorrow, but had to share. First fish: 1 1/2 pounds, 17 inches ... and this is when no one else was catching fish. My thoughts? I think that is setting the bar a little bit high for a first fish.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Time Out

Hello M Com Blog followers -

We are giving ourselves a timeout until 5/32/11 and will chat with you then. In the meantime, sign up for the M-Dash by clicking here for extra funnies.


The M Communications Team

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Dear Karma Police

Dear Karma Police,

I adore you. I know you do not always show up when needed, but when you do it is in a VERY big way. I also know that taking the high road is not always easy, but completely worth it in the end. Thank you Karma Police. I plan on sending you a very nice Christmas present this year.


A really huge fan of the Karma Police

Friday, May 13, 2011

Fake Camping

There are many signs you are a fake camping. Since I grew up with this type of camping, I took it for granted that was how everyone camped ... until I was thrown in a tent. Here are a couple of signs:

1. You are not staying a tent, but in a RV which has an ice maker, washer & dryer and stand alone shower.

2. Champagne is a staple during lunch.

3. Theme nights come with required theme attire and themed appetizers. A pig is buried in the ground during Hawaiian night (just kidding, but pineapples are cored out for the Mai Tais).

4. Televisions are present inside and outside the RV.

What can I say? I like fake camping.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Perception is Everything

Perception always fascinates me. Last night I asked a friend to bring me a stack of business cards. She brought two. Maybe she forgot I asked for a stack, but two is not a stack. (From a marketing standpoint, the cards looked great so I will not be shredding her marketing material this morning.)The same situation normally occurs when I go through a Taco Bell drive thru and ask for extra hot sauce. The Taco Bell employee will give me three, so I have one and a half for each soft taco. To me, three does not mean extra - more like 6 - 8 so I can add to my stash at home. What can I say, I have a thing for hot sauce. My real point? When you figure out what your clients and potential clients perceive you will be able to put together great proposals and deliver great service. For example, some clients who are not so tech savvy think a blog is a website, confuse media relations with written releases and so on. I recommend always over explaining and always asking the "right" questions so both parties have the same expectations.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Down With Minivan Drivers

I can't stand minivan drivers and think they are more pretentious than drivers with luxury cars. Below a couple of reasons why.

1. Minivan drivers feel the need to take over the whole road. I am not sure why this is, but I am pretty sure you should share the road and not drive down the middle. Oh, and they do not care if they are inconveniencing you and having you stop dead in their tracks with their bad driving behavior.

2. Minivan drivers brag non stop. Everyone that I know who owns a minivan brags nonstop on how it is the safest, best vehicle on the planet. Attention all minivan drivers: stop bragging, there are other cars out there with televisions for the little kiddos to watch.

3. Minivan drivers drive too slow. Now, I am all for driving the speed limit (kind of), but I firmly believe these drivers are driving 10 mph under the speed limit because they are too busy playing with all of the buttons in their vehicle. In general, I think they should all get tickets for driving too slow. Or, maybe just for owning a minivan in general.

I will never drive a minivan.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Think Big With Your PR Campaign

Most of the time at M Communications we are educating our clients on what public relations is and what it does. And, most of the time clients get fixated on the small picture, not the big picture. For example, one client recently was obsessed with a certain local radio station because it was in her backyard. What do you think will get your product more exposure, local radio or national radio?? The obvious answer here people is national. My advice for this morning? Think Big with your PR campaign and think national. You will thank us for it later.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Putrid PR Campaigns

Putrid PR campaigns stink. You may have hired the wrong publicist if you witness the following:

1. Your press release is not "newsworthy". If you are bored reading your own release, that is a really bad sign. Your release should have a hook and should be "new" information. Media typically does not want to report on "old" news.

2. You publicist has disappeared. This is also very bad. You need to have some form of contact weekly and know exactly what publications (or genre) are being contacted. Oh, and coverage is great too - be sure to put this on your website. Also, if something is not working ... you should be contacted immediately.

3. The media outlets being contacted have nothing to do with your product. If you have a make up product and you are being cc'd on emails to Sports Illustrated editors that's a big red flag.

Stay away from putrid PR campaigns.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

You Know When You Are A Mom When ...

Hello M Com Blog followers - this one is in honor of Mother's Day. Here are a couple funnies for all of the moms out there. You know you are a mom when ...

1. You are on Facebook at 5 a.m.You know you are a mom when you post a message on Facebook that you are awake and drinking coffee. Or ... why, why, why, is he not sleeping. Yes, you are a mom.

2. You are playing "Words with Friends" on your iPhone at 6 a.m. Yes, you have a baby and you are up.

3. Throw up is no longer a problem. Your child eats a bunch of gummy worms and gets sick. Your first thought is that you are not upset with cleaning up the vomit, because it smells like gummy products.

Happy Mother's Day!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Tillamook Cheese "The World's Best Cheddar"

We specialize in marketing at M Communications as a result our marketing eyes and ears are always open. Recently, I watched a commercial for Tillamook Cheese and the tagline was "The World's Best Cheddar". Now, Tillamook is a good every day cheese, but the world's best? I think not. Especially if you have had smoked cheddar in the deli section - mmmmm. My point? Chances are if you have to announce you are the "World's Best" ... you are not.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

I Love Neurotic

People are interesting, and at M Communications we only take on the interesting and different. Why? These people, products and ideas are totally marketable. It is really a publicists dream. For example, I think most people should start eating ice cream with a fork. Why? It was recently pointed out to me if you eat ice cream with a fork the ice cream melts less than with a spoon. How marketable is that concept? My point? In the end with the neurotic you have a fun client and a fun product to promote.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Why state the obvious?

I love it when people tell you something so darn obvious that you want to roll your eyes and give them a profound response such as "Really?". Chances are that if it is that obvious and you are speaking with someone who is clueless, they probably already have a pretty good idea and know. My favorites are:

1. You look tired. This is usually told to someone who has been up with a family member overnight in the hospital for two days. I am sure they did not notice the dark bags under their eyes when they got up in the morning.

2. I think you gained some weight. The person you just told this too probably steps on the scale every morning and also knows. P.S. Don't tell people this. I personally have a relative who is obsessed with weight gain and weight loss. She will tell you who has gained weight and who has lost weight. I keep telling her that it is not very nice, but she is elderly and I am thinking when you get to a certain age you can say what you think at all times. Oh, but I do that now.

My point? Don't state the super obvious.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

From New York to Chico

At M Communications (a California based company), we have clients from coast to coast. I had a meeting go over this AM, and the day plummeting on itself. Great new project in New York and now all I have is Chico on the brain. I am on aiport shuttle duty tomorrow as well. Any marketing advice in this blog? No. My only point is as an entreprenur you can play with clients in one state and stay in the next.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Hang Loose!

I had to share this picture - I am guessing his future office will be on the islands.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Good Questions to Ask a Publicist

Most people in general are clueless when it comes to hiring the "right" publicist for them. Many people do not even know what a publicist does and most people assume they are going to be put on Oprah (not happening). Here are a couple of key questions to ask when you are looking to hire someone to publicize your book/product/company.

1. What is your area of expertise? A PR company who says they specialize in everything most likely does not have coverage for every product and every start up. Also, you do not want to hire a PR company to promote your health product if they specialize in the automotive industry. Make sure you find the best fit for you.

2. What actual media coverage have you gotten for your clients? PR coverage is never guaranteed, but a PR company should be able to provide coverage lists, as well as references.

3. What does PR mean to your company? Do you want speaking gigs, book signings, social media marketing or just media relations? Look at how you want to promote your product or service and make sure the company you hire can incorporate all areas of interest.

4. Where do you get your media contact lists? Now, most people can boast they are friends with every media personality on the planet, but that is truly not the case. Most PR companies have to buy lists, and buy new ones the following year so they are updated or fresh. The best type of list subscription a PR firm can have goes by the name of Vocus and is one of the most extensive & targeted database that exists. What does that mean? I can plug in a term like "senior" and have every relative producer, editor, and online website come up in a search with contacts who cover anything pertaining to seniors. The results speak for themselves with actual media requests.

My point? Don't be afraid to ask away.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Caveat Emptor - "Let the Buyer Beware"

This is one legal definition all my fellow entrepreneurs should be aware of and I was reminded of this one while at a very nice restaurant over the weekend, specifically over what I would describe as some very overpriced shrimp. Did I mention the food server had to show me how to eat it? You have to laugh and I normally do not play with other people's food. The lesson learned here is if the product or service does not have a price tag you might just want to ask. My advice is as follows:

1. Get everything in writing.

2. Never be afraid to ask questions.

3. A signed contract is always a nice one as well.

Happy Monday!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Why Doesn't the Easter Bunny Hand out Adult Easter Baskets?

I think it would be really cool for the Easter bunny to drop of some goodies for the adults as well as for the kids. Here is what I would like to see in mine. I would like two airline tickets to travel anywhere in the world I want to go ... first class of course. I would also like ear plugs - an unlimited supply for sleeping and blocked out unwanted noise such as Scooby Doo marathons and annoying people. I would also like an I-Tunes gift card that doesn't run out ... ever. You can never have too many I-Tunes. Last, I would really like it if you could include a lobster - a live one. I haven't had surf & turf in awhile. OK that's it. And, if you want to set up an Easter Egg hunt with eggs stuffed with $100 bills ... that is fine too.

Happy Easter!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

My Cheerleading Squad

You need a cheerleading squad as an entrepreneur especially if you are not a self-motivated nutcase such as I. And, even more especially if you get the real idea of having a support team behind you. Without further adieu ... meet my cheer leading squad.

Editor Extraordinaire: Editor extraordinaire is not only super-duper talented from an editorial/ghost writing perspective, she is truly an outside-the-box thinker. I hate that phrase too ... it is way overused. I love the fact I can say what I think, and she tells me should would like to take a vacation in my brain to truly understand my attention deficit disorder in the nicest way possible. I am not being sarcastic either. She very nicely says slow down, you are all over the place and in the same breath asks me what the status of my next book is. The editor extraordinaire is friend status just like the rest of my cheerleadling team. I think if I referred to her as a cheerleader she would also vomit ... a lot.

The coachess with the mostess. I have a gal pal kicking it on the beach in Hawaii right now and she is one of the most inspirational people I know. I feel warm and fuzzy inside each time I talk to her and most conversations are coupled with phenomenal business ideas, even while she is diving for lobster and barbecuing them on the beach. I seriously think that is why she needed to get off of the phone yesterday. Anyway, if you need a truly transformational coach and there are a ton out there and all have their strenghs ... I know one for you. And, I am going to send you information her next event ... and I do not even care if my flight is at 5 a.m. and that is saying ... A LOT. I will be there or be square.

Last but not least, the terrific trainer. Personal training is almost a therapy session combined with someone royally kicking your ass. I am not kidding. I normally babble through training sessions in order to not die on my carpet in my house. Talking helps. Maybe that is an Italian thing? I am not sure. Anyway, 4 dress sizes later, great business conversations and said terric trainer on her way to being super-duper famous due to upcoming new book and all over awesome national personal training (in-home) company, well friend staus too. Today we broke into an abandoned house after working out. Am I kidding? No. Scary. I need to get the scoop from my neighbor who feels it is OK to talk to me over the fence.

My point? Have a cheerleading squad to motivate you when you are down, kick you in the butt when you are being lazy and inspire you to recycle a bad investment.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

It Never Hurts to get a Second Opinion

We do a ton of marketing projects at M Communications, as well as press releases, etc. Just like if you were having a surgical consult, it never hurts to get a second opinion. If I for one get stumped with an angle for a press release or am not sure what direction to give a graphic artist, I get a second opinion from a peer. Now, I would like to enforce the peer aspect. You do not want to get a second opinion from grandma who is going to tell you everything looks great just because you are related or ask you what a press release actually is.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The Office

Future entrepreneur and a three-year-old. Enough said.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Mind Your Time Zones

At M Communications, we have clients all over the country. With that being said, I have the time zone game down pretty well. I only call people during business hours unless it is a PR emergency, i.e. you just got television coverage for your company and I need to book the spot. Anyway, and maybe shame on me for leaving my phone on - when clients call at 5 a.m. PST, because they are already at work on the East Coast ... I am not going to answer. I do not start work at 5 a.m. and it's more like 8 a.m. So, if you choose not to mind your time zones I am A. Probably not going to pick up and B. Chances are you may be giving me a heart attack because I am thinking there may be a family emergency going on. And, do not get me started on the 5 a.m. calls ... on a Saturday.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Be Careful What You Put in Writing

Entrepreneurs beware. Always be careful what you put in writing. Email can be used to establish a contract and used for a whole bunch of other things to nail you in the rear at a later date. Also, if you are in corporate land ... most companies keep everything on their server and not just email, Internet monitoring as well. In my corporate life, I would always make friends with the ITs guys for two reasons:

1. My computer was always having problems due to too many emails (more like to much space being used up - if you are managing a 7M marketing budget that comes with a bunch of emails in the form of advertisements and graphic projects you need to approve.

2. I was able to get away with having programs my compute not corporately approved of like Yahoo IM.

Last, do not send out nasty grams ever. Although, I am not the type to forward that type of nonsense some people do. Well ... I take that back actually, I did forward an email to my manager in corporate once and let's just say a certain department head wasn't too happy with me. Happy Friday!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

The Perks of an Entrepreneur

Aside from hard work there are a couple of fun perks, I enjoy as an entreprenuer. In my opinion ... work hard, play hard is a great philosophy.

1. Have laptop? ... you can work anywhere. This is especially great if you are staying in the country, but if you leave ... you may have to check out time zones and have the added bonus of doing all of your work before everyone gets up. Quick tip: if you are taking say your iPhone only - check data roaming fee's ... I personally had a pretty ugly bill after my trip to Mexico and I was only online my last day of the trip (I believe in shutting down on "real" vacations, and this is something you can do when you have back up).

2. Pajama time. When you are not out and about networking (and you need to get out and shake hands), you do get some extra pajama time in ... which I especially like when it is pouring rain outside. Not a winter person ... can you tell?

3. Flexibility. If I tell you this is a 9 - 5 job, I would be a big fat liar. You do have flexibilty though, say when you have day care issue or you want to take a Friday off to go skiiing with your Dad. This is not to say you do not make up the time afterward, but if something comes up you have the flexibility to attend or not.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Editor, Edit Button or Both?

One question or rather statement I hear more often than not, is "I do not need an editor." My typical M Communications response? "Yes ... you do." Here is why:

1. Your editor will prevent you from making somewhat snarky comments in your newsletter. You may think you are being funny, when it may come across as the opposite. Negative is never the way to go, and what can I say? Writing is subjective. That goes the same for text messages, but that is for another blog.

2. If you stare at something long enough, you are not going to notice your own mistakes. Even if you are a professional editor, you can be your own worst enemy. Hire someone. Period.

3. Your editor will twist your words around if you are having a bad day, freshen up or ask you what the status of you next chapter is to keep you on track. Me likey on all counts.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The Best Referral Ever

Referral business is absolutley the best. You know you are doing your job and a good one when you have referral business rolling in. The best type of referral though comes in the form of someone you have not even worked with yet who offers you an intro to a new project. Me likey!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Shopping for Bridesmaid Dresses is Icky

I love my bride-to-be, but bridesmaid dress shopping is never fun (the company is fun though) for two very important reasons.

1. The stores are a huge cluster f*** during the weekend. My friend and I were crammed in one dressing room (good thing we are good friends) and most of the dresses are pretty beat up due to the 10 million women who have already tried them on. I really hope no one prior to me had a skin disease.

2. The sizes are off - big time and that is really good for one's ego. Apparently, I am a size 16 and last time I checked I was a size 8. I won't tell my personal trainer - she will be hugely disappointed I gained 8 dress sizes in one week.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Lessons Learned from the Wedding Industry

Here at M Communications we pay attention to marketing and there are definite marketing lessons learned from the monopoly that is the wedding industry. The wedding industry is one example of several businesses that drive revenue with deadlines. For example, you need to order XYZ dress, by XX/XX/XXXX in order to have it for your wedding. Also, another line a thought is that every business element that is "expected" at weddings: flowers, cake, etc. Have you ever been to a wedding without flowers? I have not. Anyway - here is my entrepreneurial line of thinking and that is not to act like a crazy bride, but maybe align your business along this thought process and generate more business as a result. Let me know how it goes.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Where Costco Sampler's Get it Right

I avoid Sam's and Costco like the plague Friday through Sunday; not just for the crowds, but those darn sample tables. You have the annoying people that decide to graze and leave their cart in the middle of the aisle in order to eat free food. Now, I avoid the sample people like you would not believe and you can only imagine the glares I receive as I push on past. Ironically, it feels at times I am the only one there to shop. Anyway, on a non-weekend night I happened to be in Sam's and they had an On The Border table there. For those of you not in Cali - this is a Mexican restaurant and I am pretty fond of their non-chunky salsa. Zero pressure to try or stop by the table and I not only leave with a gallon of salsa, but a big bag of potato chips to boot. My point? I attend a bunch of networking events and if you are offering a food/skin care sample type product have samples for people to try. They are more apt to buy. Do not shove them down their throat however. I have been to more events where people try to slap wrinkle cream on my face or give me a sample of beet juice (yuck) where I have not asked. Keep samples on hand and be passive - sales will result.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Your Marketing Should Be the Perfect Blend

We see a lot of marketing disasters at M Communications, which we will happily fix. One thing I have been seeing quite a bit lately is the lack of cohesive brand. Basically, all of your marketing needs to have the same look and feel. Your marketing all needs to match and be the perfect blend. You can have items that are great on it's own ... but if your blog, website and business card look completely different you may end up like you are running three different companies. This is kind of like drinking really good coffee. Starbucks Cinnamon and Starbucks Vanilla are great on their own but when you mix them together (which I did) the result is blech. My point? Do not blend things that are clearly not meant to go together.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Hot Sauce Help!!

Please see the photo ... this is my absolute favorite hot sauce ever. And, I mean ever. I told someone once that you could only buy this in St. Lucia without really checking out the facts first. I hate being right. Yes, you can only buy this puppy in St. Lucia or on Ammazon with shipping costs more than this yummy product. Help please. Anyone? Any ideas? St. Lucia blog followers ... feel free to chime in.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

The Best Book Review Ever

At M Communications, there are no guarantees in the public relations game and there are good days, as well as bad days. Good days include coverage in Ebony magazine, Success Magazine, ABC National News and the list goes on and on. Bad days = well, zero coverage. Attached is the best book review ever, because it contains all elements an author would ever want. Now, the review is not a perfect one, but it is very good. The Rightful Heirs review also contains the following elements (kudos to the editor): the author's website and even their video trailer of the book. Oh, and did I mention the website gets 1.75 million hits per month? Me likey and enjoy! Click here to read the review!

Monday, April 4, 2011

My Top April Fool's Day Joke

I think the picture says it all ... and the parents did not think it was very funny.

Friday, April 1, 2011

The Best Holiday Ever

In my book, the best holiday ever is April Fool's Day. Why? It is fun for the prankster and pretty much for everyone else involved. I think that it particularly brings up office morale in corporate land. Here are my top five pranks:

1. Phony press release with profanity.

2. Getting a whole department to call in sick (fake) at a Fortune 500 company.

3. Having 100 friends submit phony job applications at a security guard company (think criminals, terrorists, etc. )

4. Running into senior manager's offices and installing funny screen savers.

5. Today's big whopper. Sign up for the M-Dash for details.

Happy Holiday!

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Say Bye-Bye to Vacation Weight Gain

A couple of other tips & tricks from Monique Hollowell at LaFemme Mobile Gym (yes, it's a plug, but maybe nachos with all the trimings for lunch every day wasn't the best idea).

1. Go Fitness First. When choosing a place to stay, make sure the facility has a fitness center or free passes to a local nearby gym. This will keep you accountable to work out while on vacation.

2. BYO Snack. Pack your own snacks or stop at a grocery store to stock up on healthy snack foods in between meals. This will prevent eating candy, chips, sodas and extra calories.

3. Refrigerator and Microwave Please! Make sure you have a refrigerator in your hotel room to store fruits and vegetables, healthy snacks and any meal leftovers.

4. Menu Savvy. Always choose healthy and low calorie first! Leave the extra calories for any desserts or alcoholic beverages you may consume.

5. Your Daily Flush! Consume at least 64 oz. of water a day. While on vacation we tend to dehydrate fast from the air travel, high sodium food and increase in alcoholic beverages. Water helps your digestive system and energy levels stay on the right track.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Bad Videos Strike Again

In addition to the very special video I posted below, and by special I mean it belongs in the special file (a.k.a., garbage can), I have seen multiple bad You Tube videos where people are using them to promote their business or obtain speaking gigs. Although depending on the subject matter, I would really have to insist that professional is really only the way to go here. If you insist on doing the You Tube shoot in the meantime, take a close look at what frame is frozen on the front of your video. If you in any way, shape or form look remotely ridiculous - I can guarantee your video will not be watched.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011


Hi M Com Blog Followers ... I would like to hear your exact thoughts on this video. Click here.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Top Tips for Business Owners

Here are a couple of must-do's that we practice at M Communications on a daily/weekly basis.

1. Do one form of business development every day. This can be following up on leads, sending out proposals or playing on social media. Caution on the social media front -posting you are scrambling eggs is not a business development strategy.

2. Attend and event and network. Networking = new business. You are not going to be an effective business owner if you are staying at home and hiding behind your computer. Even though it is quite tempting when it is storming outside.

3. Have fun. Why take business too seriously?

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Why You Should Blog

More often than not I hear people whining about not wanted to blog for their company and I usually tell them to hire someone if you do not have time to do it. Below are two really good reasons why you should be blogging.

1. You will increase traffic to your website and you will move up in the rankings on the search engines as a result. This is pretty cool especially if you do not want to pay for expensive SEO.

2. A blog is a great way to build a following and launch a product/service. Popular blogs tend to gain attention and you will find that people will start subscribing to your blog and posting comments. You will have to watch out for the lamos who self-promote their own product/service, but the beauty of being the creator is that you can delete unwanted comments.

Questions? Send an email to:

Friday, March 25, 2011

Let Sleeping Dogs Sleep?

Ok - this is way to cute not to share ... no idea where she is now. Hopefully not sleeping on my bed.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Get Fit Not Fat On Vacation

Well, since I ate about a gallon of guacamole on my last vacation from M Communications, I thought I would share a couple of tips from La Femme Mobile Gym on what you should be doing to be healthy on vacation.

1. If you're on a cruise limit your eating to 3 main meals and 2 small snacks a day. This will keep your food cravings under control.

2. Drink more water and less alcohol. Drink 8 oz. of water for every alcoholic drink
you have! This will help you re-hydrate and consume less calories while your
having your vacation spirits!

3. Try new, but eat healthy. Always eat a healthy salad or a plate of green veggies before you eat your main meal. New food can sometimes cause tummy
irritation, which healthy veggies will balance out!

4. Walk at least 5,000 steps per day. Don't sit around! While on vacation, walk as much as possible to burn calories and enjoy the sites.

5. Schedule a physical activity. Whether you travel to the sun or snow always schedule a calorie burning activity! This will guarantee you to exercise and have fun at the same time!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Dear Day Care ...

This post is for all of the parents out there who fork out a good chunk of change for day care on a weekly basis. Here is a short letter I would like to write, but probably will not because I have other things to write about that have to do with M Communications and business.

Dear Day Care:

I wholeheartedly appreciate the fabulous education you are giving my son. His vocabulary has increased quite extensively and I have been wondering for quite awhile now why his requests during meals have been a bit strange and I need to address the following.

1. Goldfish. Goldfish are crackers and are not a "meal", but a snack food. Please stop confusing the children - I am sure other parents are experiencing similar requests during dinner/all other mealtimes.

2. Marshmallows. Is this a good snack? I think not. During snack time, could you maybe switch it up and consider the possibility of fruits or vegetables? Just a thought.

3. Cupcakes and frosting. This is absolutely the worst thing to teach children to make during cooking class. Not only are you abandoning the whole "healthy" aspect again, most children insist on eating what they made a school when they get home - usually for dinner. The special thing about cupcakes is that most of it gets on the floor. The ants in my neighborhood had a field day. Please consider something else to teach.


A concerned Parent

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

How Sassy Sells Yourself

Every time I send out the M-Dash, the marketing and public relations newsletter for M Communications -the feedback is always positive and completely entertaining. I wanted to share today on how to do a electronic newsletter the right way and create a buzz, as well as a following.

1. Don't be a salesperson. The worst thing you can do is send out a newsletter that is full of sales, specials and my favorite "for today only you can get this 5K program for 25$ ..." um, no. If you are sending out something that is sales only you are going to lose the people you have networked with, unless your audience is extremely targeted and buys your product on a consistent basis. For example, I open every White House Black Market newsletter - I am a huge fan and buy their clothing often.

2. Creative content. In general, keep your newsletter informative - give out free information about your industry. People will read your newsletter weekly for this and you will develop customers when a need comes up. Let your personality show here too. For example, I use my humor and wicked sarcasm ... marketing & public relations is not the most exciting thing in the world. (Well, who am I kidding ... for me it is.)

3. Track results. Use a service like Constant Contact that will track results. Obviously, you are going to want to track what is working for you in the sense of how much time you spend on your newsletter and business generated as a result. Constant contact will track opens per newsletter, forwards and clicks thrus to other websites you are trying to drive traffic to.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Why You Should Tell People What You Need

Dealing with tech issues is never fun (see lack of blogging) and although I have made a lot of new friends at the local Starbucks, who have my Zen green tea order memorized, I am missing the days of rolling out of my bed in my pajamas (when I do not have meetings for M Communications of course) and starting work. Anyway, after several days of zero Internet being down the field tech is the only one who seems to know what he is doing, figured out my phone service is connected to someone else’s. This other person happened to order a service that cancelled mine. Now still in the middle of IT problem land, this very nice technician gave me his log on info so I could do some very much needed catch up Sunday night? My point? Never be afraid to ask for what you want business-wise or explain if you are having a problem. People surprisingly able to stand up and help out when you least expect it.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

My Favorite Resource for Business Travel

At M Communications, I travel quite a bit and certain cities are a little more spendy than others. San Francisco is one of them. And, to make matters worse I do not know how to park my own vehicle, so I always have to park in the hotel parking lot (valet anyway) and always have to pay the over sized vehicle fee (LAME). When I worked for corporate, I remember whenever I had business in the city I would pay at least $300 for a night (thank goodness for expense reports). Now, I am sure this is a combo of people not traveling due to the economy but I have found that Priceline has the best mid-week deals. I have even paid on occasion $75 for a 4 star hotel. You have to love it. I know there a bunch of other travel discount sites out there and every swears by one of then, but if you are traveling to San Francisco I would like to give a big shout out for Priceline.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Why you should hire a naming specialist

Last week, I attended a great networking event where the speaker spoke about the importance of naming your business. I loved it - very interesting and very on point. She even brought up one of my favorite company names of all time Pen Island. I stumbled upon this website when I was looking for a company to order pens from and found: Are you laughing yet? Even funnier is that I spoke with the speaker afterwards and we chatted about media relations and she told me about her friend who was writing a book that she named. The book is about a really mean mom who hangs up on people among other things and she named the book Mother Fucker. I really do not remember the last time I 1. Laughed so hard and 2. Thought, can I have that project pretty pretty please? Me likey. If you have are struggling coming with something creative and keep in mind you need to be memorable. Hire someone.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

There Isn't Competition ... Period

There is one thing I come across at most events when I am networking for M Communications and that is people who are seriously worried about their competition. Here is my philosophy (and, actually a shared one by the successful) and that is: there is no competition. Even though my company offers graphics, websites, public relations and publishing many others do the same. People work with who they want to work with. It is very similar to working with a business coach - there are a ton and you work with who clicks with you. Last, worried about what the competition is doing is a complete waste of time. Understand different services and what similar companies offer, but do not sit and stress yourself out because there are two webmasters in the very same room. Last (for real this time), find out what services your competition offers ... because maybe you can partner up. I am personally collaborating with another publicist ... so again, there is no competition.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Healthy Tips for a Healthy Vacation

Here is a couple of tips and tricks to have a healthy vacation (not that I exactly followed all of this on my trip - shhhh, don't tell my trainer).

1. Buffett = Bad. Most people tend to overeat at these bad boys. Stick to cereal/fruit for breakfast. Lunch? Salads are awesome - avoid the creamy dressings. And, do not put guacamole on everything. (Again ... shhh).

2. Pool Bar. Avoid the blended mix drinks. Pina Colodas are the worst of the horrible blending concoctions. You should avoid anything that is 3 colors as well.

3. Tennis shoes. Bring them and use them. Do not be a lazy A$$ because the gym equipment is not functional. Walking on the beach is a great way to excercise as sand provides resistance.

P.S. Snorkeling is not real exercise either.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

The Potential Unknown PR Recipient

As a fabulous Public Relations gal at M Communications, I know PR in and out to a point I have been interviewed regionally, nationally and even now by colleges? Go figure. Anyway, I always have to educate clients who do not understand the process and that is fine. I don’t mind explaining because what is permanently ingrained in my brain it not in anyone else’s. Perfect example: I called my parents to tell them this stellar deal I scored on a PR database and their non – response was the perfect example of “I have no idea what my daughter does for a living, except travel around the country and go to parties.” Here is the classic response I received today: I forwarded an email from a national reporter who is still reviewing one of my client’s projects (mind you this Editor-in-chief receives hundreds of queries per day). The response from my client was that he is taking his sweet time and when is his going to be done. Um, here is the deal … and mind you I have followed up with Mr. Editor-in-chief multiple times which is borderline no-no, but I have developed a pretty good relationship so lucky me. If you have a national reporter’s attention be thankful … period. Need I explain more? Chances are you are going to get coverage despite silly question. The bottom line: this person received a full article in a National Magazine

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Play Nice in the Playground

I do not really understand why people do not play nice especially in the same networking group. First of all, if you have an ongoing attitude problem with one person or several people word tends to spread, after all gossip tends to spread more quickly than good news. Also, if you are the playground bully you are just making yourself look unprofessional and people will keep that as a mental note on why not to work with you. My advice? Play nice people.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Vacations That Rock

There is nothing better than a beach and a great view to decompress. Introducing my office from last week (see photo). Sign up for the M-Dash at M Communications for marketing lessons learned from Mexico.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Strategic Relationships Are Awesome!

Never underestimate the power of networking. Ever. I recently created a strategic relationship with someone in the same industry that I have also known for years. Now, most people shy away from forming an alliance with someone in the same industry and I have to tell you that you are missing out. Below is why.

1. You may be in the same industry but have completely different product/service offerings. What does that mean? Hello???? Referral work.

2. Shared expenses. Maybe you both want to invest in the same product that would benefit both of your companies, but cannot do so individually. What does this mean? Even more work and a less of an investment expense.

3. Different viewpoints. This will help you strategically with your clients and vice-versa. What is the end game on this one? A complete learning experience.

The M Com blog will return on Monday 3/7!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Breakfast of Champions Part Deux

You think I would learn after the wasabi peas and coffee incident (a.k.a., massive heartburn by 9 a.m.), but no. I have a new breakfast of champions: coffee and red hots. It may not be yogurt, but at least it is a fat free food. I wonder how I will feel at 9:30 a.m.?

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Are you bringing your laptop with you?

I was asked the other day if I was bringing my laptop with me when I go on vacation next week. The answer? No way. I plan on bringing sunscreen, a bathing suit and camera. That is about it. I learned a long time ago back in corporate that I am not good about the "stay-a-cations". I also learned I was even worse when I owned my own company. I tried to take time of between Christmas and New Years; but the bottom line is that I was always on my email ... and working. Now, there are some people that never shut and pride themselves on the fact they haven't had a vacation in 10 years, but not me. I think it is good to give your mind a one-week reprieve and I think the author of Achieving the Balance Dream (that would be Bo Bradley) would tend to agree with me. With that being said ... Bon Voyage and happy vacationing.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Why Online Dating is like Bad Marketing

Every week I write a funny newsletter called the M-Dash, usually full of business, marketing and publishing tips & tricks in a very sarcastic way. One newsletter I wrote last year was called "Why Online Dating is like Bad Marketing" and I received a bunch of hilarious responses to my ranting and raving. Well, recently I met someone who would like to publish an online dating book with us and we had a long conversation about profile pictures. Online dating profile pictures are very much like your professional head shot. Also, both can be considered bad marketing. In the business world you see photos taken with web cams that resemble fish bowl shots to other obvious non-professional shots. The worst of the online dating photos are usually photos taken by the user's iPhone ... in the bathroom. Do I have to explain why both of these are bad marketing? You can sign up for the M-Dash by visiting M Communications or clicking here.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Local Sacramento School Teacher Gives Back

Local school teacher, Cary Farley hosted a very unique event to give back to the Sacramento community. At his recent performance to benefit the Mustard Seed school, local musician and schoolteacher, Cary Farley performed and coordinated his very own charity concert event. On February 10th, Mr. Farley presented a check to the Mustard Seed School. The Mustard Seed School provides a myriad of survival services for children in a welcoming atmosphere of hospitality, safety and cleanliness. The Mustard Seed School, a free private school for homeless children aged 3 to 15 provides educational assessments, medical and dental screening and counseling services. The proceeds from this fundraiser are helping to cover the additional costs of vital services for many of Sacramento’s homeless children.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

I AM High Importance

Why do people feel entitled to put the high importance exclamation mark on emails when the subject matter is clearly not important. For example, I think it is OK to do this if you are one of my busiest clients on the planet and you are at your desk for a period of 15 minutes, and yes, it is important. Important would be – I need to reschedule my national radio interview or I am freaking out about my television spot and need to chat. Important is not: Hi - I just met you and would like you to look at a short video on my skin care line. P.S. And, usually I do not even know who the person is who attempts to do this. My point? Watch your explanation points …

Friday, February 18, 2011

Straw Hat Pizza Spam Email ... Now that's just plain mean

In addition to all of the other spam emails I have been receiving at M Communications, the latest of the annoying has been regarding Straw Hat Pizza. I have been on a health kick for quite some time now and really look at what I am eating. After my little dinner of salad, it is not cool to receive an email about pizza when I am still hungry number one. Number two - this is clearly an email not from Straw Hat pizza (their corporate office would be so embarrassed) and is a virus. So, obviously I have not clicked on the link for veggie, cheese or combo pizza. Either way, it does not make me any less hungry, so please go away.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Things to do During a Power Outage

There is nothing better than coming home from 2 days of traveling to a broken fence and a power outage. All I wanted to do was get online and write about my lovely couple of days. With that being said, I thought that there was no way I could ever survive pre-light bulb days, but I started thinking about things to do when there is a power outage, because there is no wireless, your phone battery is limited and there is no tivo. (Hence, not a good survival person ... can you tell? P.S. I hate camping).

1. Use your cell phone minutes accordingly. I love my iPhone despite the battery drain, but after 3 phone calls complaining to various people I decided that maybe I should start lighting candles vs. complaining. Battery suck going on big time and plus it was getting a little dark.

2. Catch up the household to-do list. Unloading dishwasher = OK. Putting away clothes under candlelight ... not such a good idea. Can you say major fire hazzard?

3. Call PG&E. They won't answer the phone, they will not tell you when the power is going to turn back on. That being said, it is the responsible thing to do ... after you are an adult and you want to know when your tivo is going to be back up and running. And, there is not point jumping up and having a tantrum because the neighbors right behind you on a different grid have all of their lights on.

Happy Power Outage!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Bad Social Media Business Behavior

I have to see I see bad behavior almost daily on Facebook and a bunch of bad behavior while out networking out and about for M Communications. The typical personal bad behavior usually are the people who post the girls gone wild photos from girls night out and the ultimate personal medical posting ... I have to have a colonoscopy. Well, the bad business behavior I have seen recently (as of this morning) is beyond ridiculous. Apparently, there are people out there who are friending people on Facebook and then adding their email addresses to mass mailing lists. Where do I get started on this one? I find this particularly annoying because recently I have been added to a bunch of different lists. In fact, I could have a personal assistant unsubscribe me from spam emails all day long. If you are engaged in this type of bad social media behavior please desist immediately. You will not get new business. You will annoy the person you friended. You will not pass go, you will not collect $200. Do you get my point?

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The Girlfriends Club

Are you in or are you out? I have to say I am lucky to have some of the best gal pals on the planet, both professionally and not. Especially, when hair-raising new situation plops in your lap it is lovely to have the girlfriend club on your side. They will always have your back and most importantly .... they will all collaborate with you on your new book project. You have to just laugh. Stay tuned!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Clueless or Avoidance

At M Communications, I refuse to work with people who demonstrate any of the above characteristics, but on the other hand ... these still people tend to pop up in my life now and then. I was recently involved in an interesting situation. And, by interesting, I mean not funny at all. Well, actually it is so ridiculous it is kind of funny and will a whole chapter in my new book. I did have several people scratching their heads over the weekend. Anyway, a normal person involved in the situation I was in would be pretty darn irritated. The other party is either clueless or is avoiding the fact that maybe some non-cool behavior took place. Either way ... I asked that my contact information be removed from their Rolodex.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Do dogs not care when they turn 8?

Meet Sierra. Sierra turned 8 in September and has decided she really doesn't care anymore. I am talking about barking at everything (unfortunately, my home has an abundance of windows). Also, in addition to the fishbowl set up, I am on a hill - so there is fishbowl backyard and wildlife. What does this mean? More barking!!! I am thinking my neighbors have got to love me at this point. Last, the new I-do-what-I-want doggie attitude includes sleeping on couches. When I catch her ... she just stares at me and has a "what are you going to do about it look?" Last, what is up with waking me up at 3 a.m. and wanting to play? Why do dogs not care when they turn 8?

Thursday, February 10, 2011


Ok. The spam emails really need to go bye-bye. I don't even have an info address at this point to avoid all of this. Here is the deal on the what doesn't apply.

1. Viagra 1/2 off. No. I am a female Viagra people. Are there a lot of Michele's out there that are dudes? Let me know. In the meantime, leave me alone.

2. Psoriasis. Is someone playing a joke? Maybe. Also, not a fit and really? I am the queen of pranks and this could be a lot funnier.

3. PR 101 training. Not elaborating on this one.

4. Retirement Advisers. Um, I have a financial advisor and if I do win the lottery you are not my first phone call.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

What Not To Forget To Bring To Networking Events

I have done my fair share of networking and event attendance over the last couple of years with M Communications. I have to be honest ... I am guilty with forgetting an item below on occasion. (This is usually is when and event is at 7 a.m.) Me no likey. Anyway, here is the list.

Business cards and pen. Now I know this seems super-duper obvious, but I have heard "I forgot my business cards" more often than not. I have also been asked by other people if they could take one of my cards, write their contact info on the back to give to someone else. Business cards are not the most expensive marketing materials, but they are marketing materials nevertheless. My point? Don't do this. The same goes for pens ... borrow and give back.

Cash and receipt books. If you are selling product, you need to have both of these bad boys. Period. I know this also seems pretty straightforward, but if you are in the last minute pack up your booth mode, it can be pretty easy to forget. My advice? Pack the night before.

A good attitude. The message here is simple ... if you are having a bad day stay home. Do not attempt to do conference calls either. Cranky comes across equally the same, whether it be phone or in person. People tend to gravitate and want to do business with positive and happy.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

I Love My Colleagues!

Yes, once again I am going to babble for 5 minutes about networking at M Communications, but I truly want to impress upon the point that it truly pays off. I have had not only business pouring in, but a bunch of phone calls asking if I needed help, support or anything else for that matter. Talk about the power of creating relationships and not just running around and collecting business cards. Me likey and Cheers to all of you out there. You know who you are.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Key Elements of a Killer Superbowl Party

I know this is not marketing related, but since my Packers are playing in the Superbowl today, I wanted to share two key elements for throwing a kick ass Superbowl party.

1. Good Football Friends. There are a couple of things I mean by good friends and not all good friends are good football friends. You do not want to invite the person who is going to sit there and talk the whole time during the game. No one wants to talk to you ... they want to watch the game. Also, it is key to invite people that will take turns filling up your beverage glass. This is important, because you will not miss the game or commercials.

2. Even better food. I firmly believe that calories do not count on Superbowl Sunday (although, that is not going to stop me from massively working out ahead of time). Preferably food are any dishes that you can make ahead of time (twice baked potatoes, cheese queso dip, etc.)and even more importantly delegate BBQ duties prior to the game. I did this weeks in advance.

Go Packers!!!!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

It's All About Who You Know

This is one thing I have learned about effective networking at M Communications (and, yes ... I am still talking about networking)and that is if you develop real relationships you have an arsenal and an amazing support system at your disposal at anytime. Recently, I have had some pretty immediate business needs and all I had to do was pop open my Rolodex. All I have to say is Wow. The next think you know I have new team members, an expert in problem solving (and, I will leave it at that) and new projects pouring in. For those of you who are still sitting at home, scratching your head waiting for the phone to ring ... it's time to get out and about!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Effective Networking

At M Communications, the one thing I see all the time is effective networking and non-effective networking. Here are a couple of pointers for those of you not sitting around waiting for the phone to ring.

1. Do not expect immediate business. networking is about relationship building. Time after time again I see people attend and never return because they did not see ROI the very same day. Really get to know the people you meet and keep in mind that they might not be your ideal client, but they might have some people in their Rolodex that are.

2. Do not run around shoving business cards or promos in people's hands. Here is one word that describes this activity: annoying. Also, when people tend to shove unwanted marketing materials in my hand they end up in the "special file" (otherwise known as the garbage can). Last, if you are participating in this activity you are killing trees.

3. Maximize your exposure. Maximize your exposure at networking events (the event's that are a good fit for your business of course). For example, speak, get a display table (not to dance on) or sponsor an event.

Happy Networking!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

ZAP Festival 2011

Now, this isn't anything remotely related to marketing and M Communications, but I wanted to share a picture of the 2011 ZAP Festival held at Fort Mason every January. My friends and I have been going for the last 8 years and if you are into Zinfandel - it is an amazing treat and probably one of the largest wine events I have ever attended.

Cheers to good Zinfandel!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

What Not To Ask

I know people say there is no such thing as a stupid question, but I beg to differ. Here is the deal - in business and networking you really should keep in mind what is coming out of your mouth. Here is a real jewel I have heard a couple of times now. The question usually goes something like, "Are you attending the Author 101 conference?" Let's see as an owner of 3L Publishing, we are more likely to speak at that conference instead of attending the 101 courses. I have even answered the question in the exact same manner much to the bewilderment of the person who asked in the first place. And, they still do not get it. Either way - this is a great example of what not to ask.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

"When you assume you make an ass out of you and me." ~Oscar Wilde

Communication is a key component when it comes to running a business. I have fallen into the trap at times of assuming I knew what was going on with a particular client or work situation and when I find out I was completely off base ... whoopsie. Never assume. Pick up the phone and contact the client/colleague and find out the back situation. Phone is always better too (and I am first to admit to falling in the easy email trap). Electronic communication unfortunately is open to all different kinds of interpretation and you don't want to come off as snarly or even borderline passive aggressive say, for example if an order was delivered/received late. Happy Sunday and more importantly, go Packers!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

My Top Spam Emails of the Week

Every day at M Communications and 3L Publishing we get inundated with email. Here are my top favorites of the week:

Viagra. Yes, I am getting sales emails for Viagra. I do not need Viagra and um, I am a woman. Talk about non-targeting spam.

You need my social security number for a college grant. This email is annoying on two different levels. First, I will never send out my social to a "mystery" person. Second, I already went to college. Non-targeted spam number two.

PR 101. I get invited to classes at the PR University daily and unsubscribe daily ... all I have to say here is really?

If you are sending me anything related to the above ... please unsubscribe me.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Dear Coffee

Dear Coffee -

I love you. I especially love you on mornings when my little alarm clock goes off unexpectedly at 6:30 in the morning. What is this morning's treat? Pete's French Roast ... mmmmm. Happy Saturday!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Oh Crap!!

Here is a reason why you have to have your elevator pitch (a.k.a., 1 minute pitch at all times) down. I was recently at an event where we were raffling off prizes on behalf of 3L Publishing and M Communications and I stood up in front of an entire room and said it is OK to put crap on a book. Well, I was referring to Vanity Circus: A Smart Girl's Guide to Avoid Publishing Crap. I meant the word "crap" whoops. I think everyone remembered our raffle item.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Alien Sighting ... Again

We have had the pleasure at M Communications and 3L Publishing to bring our project manager Malia on full-time. Yay! At her first event however, she did manage to overhear an interesting conversation between two event attendees. One attendee was talking to another about her spaceship and how she invited someone to go on a ride with her, but apparently she didn't have enough cabin space -- and left without her friend. Warning. Aliens are among us.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Attention Sacramento M Comm Blog Followers

Are you in the Sacramento area? If so, please check out the charity event tonight hosted by one of our 3L Publishing clients, Cary Farley. Local musician and schoolteacher, Cary Farley is giving back to the community by planning a charity concert event to benefit the Mustard Seed School. The concert and silent auction event will be held on Saturday January 8th starting at 7 p.m. at the California Stage located at 1723 25th Street in Sacramento. Admission is $10 and all proceeds from the event will benefit the Mustard Seed School. The Mustard Seed School provides a myriad of survival services for children in a welcoming atmosphere of hospitality, safety and cleanliness. The Mustard Seed School, a free private school for homeless children aged 3 to 15 provides educational assessments, medical and dental screening and counseling services. The proceeds from this fundraiser will help cover the additional costs of vital services for many of Sacramento’s homeless children. Tickets are available at the door.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Starting the New Year Off the Right Way

Happy New Year! Below are a couple of tips & tricks to keep your "business" in the right direction this year.

Keep your marketing fundamentals in check. Keep your marketing materials updated and make sure you have them. Yes, you do need a newsletter, blog and website at the very least. If you do not have these basic tools, you are losing out on new business and most likely looking slightlyunprofessional.

Networking is key. If your phone is not ringing off the hook you need to be out and about. Find a group that is a good fit for your company and join. Participate often and try to get a table or anything to give you additional exposure where necessary.

Do a form of business development each day. This can be sending out a proposal, following up on leads or doing a form of marketing, i.e. your newsletter. Find a way that works for you to track your leads - excel spreadsheet or whiteboard, and make sure you follow up.