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Happy B'thday Mr. B


People come into your life. Some stay for a season or two. Some stay for a lifetime. Sometimes you're extra lucky and fate deals you a royal flush. My dad (and mom) were the aces.

Today is my dad's birthday. He would have loved blogs. I figured since Doc Searls, guru of the Internet world and blogs, could blog his dad's birthday...it was okay for me to send a cyber-wish to mine.

10 Unwritten Rules for a Consultant to Live By


Came across this on the blog Scoble which linked to the blog you've been haacked which found this on the blog DonXML Demsak's All Things Techie . Enough of giving credit!

Some sound advice about consulting that reinforces consultants succeed by the credibility of their reputation.

10 Unwritten Rules for a Consultant to Live By
Way, way, back when, (when I first got into consulting), a more senior consultant taught me these rules that every decent consultant should live by:

1. You work for the client, not the consulting firm. No matter who cuts the payroll check, the client is the one paying for your services. Do the right thing for the client, not the consulting firm (or anyone else).

2. Your network of consultants is your most important asset.

3. Consultants should keep a blacklist of firms and other consultants that should be avoided, and why. Share this list with your network of consultants but not to the general public.

4. Do not make negative comments about another consultant within ear shot of an employee of a client, and especially around the sales and marketing people of a consulting firm. Negative comments are fine between consultants, but, keep it “in the family”. But, never break rule # 1. When dealing with non-consultants, do like your mom always told you, “if you don’t have anything nice to say about someone, don’t say anything at all”.

5. When your consulting firm takes you out to lunch, remember, you are really the one buying lunch. It is coming out of the consulting firm’s cut out of your rate, so just pretend you are picking up the check. Would you really want to pay to have lunch with this person? The same thing holds true for all events and gifts you may get from the consulting firm.

6. Avoid giving consulting firms information on possible leads without first getting everything in writing (especially your commission). And even then, the contract usually isn’t worth the paper it is written on. Don’t expect to get any money for info on leads, so be careful who you give them out to.

7. When referring another consultant to a consulting firm, expect a finder’s fee. $2 per hour is the minimum that they should offer. Flat fees typically benefit the consulting firm not you, so try to avoid them. Remember, your finder’s fee is coming out of the consultant’s pocket. So if the consultant is part of your network, you should waive the fee. Your network keeps you employed.

8. If you didn’t negotiate your rate starting at the consulting firms billing rate to the client don’t try to find out what it is, unless you are prepared for the consequences. That knowledge will usually just make you disgruntled.

9. Never tell the client what the consulting firm is paying you. If they need to know, it is up to the firm to disclose that info (see rules #1 and #8).

10. Avoid professional days. You don’t bill for hours you don’t work, so you shouldn’t work for hours that you don’t bill. A good project plan, with a budget to match it, is a must. Unless of course you created the project plan, then you should live with the mess that you created.

Read More
Flawless Consulting by Peter Block

NYT Markets Manhattan


nyt_82904Special section in today's Sunday New York Times all about the Isle of Manhattan. Worth saving for your next trip to the Big Apple includes lots of tips, maps and articles written New York Style. Jimmy Breslin suggests looking for the real people by sitting on an stoop and walking through neighborhoods under the el train. You won't find that in most tour guides.

Visit the homes of your TV friends
-The Ricardos (623 E 68 St)
-Friends (90 Bedford Street in the Village),
-Seinfeld (129 W 81 St)
-The Bunkers (Cooper Ave in Glendale, Queens)
-The Cosbys (10 St. Luke's Place - yeah they were suppose to live in Brooklyn but the exterior was shot in the Village.)

Getting hungry? Stop at the favorite bakery of the ladies from Sex and the City - Magnolia Bakery 401 Bleecker St. - and eat a cupcake for me too!

And if you really want to know what New York is all about glance thru Gawker.

Friday Fun


This one is especially for web and blog people, but it's so very cool that I'm including it in Friday Fun! Found on the Research Buzz. Michael Fagan has created an amazing tool - the Fagan Finding - discover lots of information about a URL including site links, cache, blog feeds and more!

Two views on political commercials.-"The idea that you can merchandise candidates for high office like breakfast cereal is the ultimate indignity to the democratic process."-Democratic candidate Adlai Stevenson, 1956
-"Television is no gimmick, and nobody will ever be elected to major office again without presenting themselves well on it."-Television producer and Nixon campaign consultant Roger Ailes, 1968

Heading into the Republican National Convention here's a site that should please both news junkies and ad junkies. The Living Room Candidate features TV commercials of presidential elections from 1952 - 2004.

I'll Take Manhattan. The NYC Host Committee has tips for folks who live in Manhattan and visitors. I especially liked this one - "All NYC subways will run, but exits and entrances might be limited." Sounds like an urban game of hide and seek...if you can find your way in you can play. And oh if you find your way out you get extra points. Jay and David...good monologue material yours for the taking!

P.s. Happy Birthday Susan!

Blogging Lessons From Ken Layne


Okay, I admit it…I have a viral crush on Ken Layne. Never met him, but I love his humor and writing.  Ken’s a journalist and picked up on blogging early in the game.

Way back in December 2000, Ken posted a piece about how online journalists could use web logs (way back in 2000 blogs were still called web logs). For marketers and business professionals, who are blogging, there are lessons to be learned from our journalist friends who have been working in the space since way back in 2000.

Ken Layne (KL) on blogs Q4 2000 and Lessons Learned Q3 2004
“But beyond the ease of blogging, why would anyone do it? I mean, unless somebody is paying you to write a Web log?”

1. KL - And in the scoop/gossip realm of Hard News, I imagine it would be unwise to post all your Web sources. Let the competition go through 187 Google searches like you did, right?
Lessons Learned: Links are a good thing. They provide credibility, value-added and build higher search rankings.

2.  KL - Is it dangerous for Corporate Media. To simply type what you think and post it for the world can be troublesome when dealing with management.
Lessons Learned:  Don’t attempt a corporate blog without the blessings of your boss and your boss’s boss. Actually go right to the top. CEOs hate surprises. It's a far, far better idea that your CEO is in on the game at the get go. They can look cool and in the groove telling friends and associates about the company's new blog rather than doing a little sidestep at the next cocktail party or golf tournament.   By the way, develop some guidelines and expectations before you make your pitch.
2 cents prediction: Blogging will be included in job descriptions along with goals and metrics especially designed for those review sessions.

3. KL - Those who regularly add comments via blogging will see a dramatic rise in traffic; my traffic jumped by 70 percent when I started daily entries - and it continues to rise as people spread the word or whatever.
Lessons Learned: Comments help develop the “corner grocery relationship” and build community. More goodies from comments....viral marketing of pass along eMailed links and comment links from other blogs.
New Challenge: Spam comments. Bloggers are beginning to turn-off comments. Can’t anyone control those low-life, bottom feeding &*(^%!  ?

4. KL For a free-lancer, or a syndicated columnist, a Web log can serve as a home base for loyal readers. Instead of searching through a variety of messy Web publications, the fan of Ms. Columnist can just regularly check the blog and be sent straight to the piece.
Lessons Learned: Especially for service or consulting firms, blogs are an excellent strategy to position employees (don’t forget your CEO) as industry experts. Jupiter.  Leverage several employees via a wiki (blog with multiple people). Nice way to spread the wealth and the work.  Worthwhile

5. KL - Journalists should blog to make Web logs better. Too many of these sites are poorly written, rarely updated and of no real interest to anyone but the author. Your Web log should at least amuse or educate your friends and colleagues.
Lessons Learned: Amen to that one! For business and marketing bloggers, credibility is also found in the details, as well as the data. We've learned this one from traditional websites. Stanford Web Credibility Research.

6. KL - What can you expect from a personal Web log? Beyond the aforementioned addiction problem, you shouldn't expect anything except a little fun, a better connection with readers, and maybe the chance to easily run off some ideas that may or may not deserve "official" treatment from a paying gig.
Lessons Learned: What can you expect from a business and marketing blog? How about  - an opportunity to form a stronger connection between brand and customer, reality check new product concepts, increase brand awareness - just to name a few? And indeed have a little fun!

7. KL - It's highly unlikely a Web log will earn any money; you can join an Internet advertising network, but don't expect more than a few bucks a month unless you're Matt Drudge.
Lessons Learned: TBD. What is the future of blogs? Your 2 cents predictions are as good as anyone’s. However, no matter where the adventure takes up, my 2 cents prediction is the heart and soul of blogs will remain “mentworking.”

"Blogging is the ultimate virtual mentworking tool, the phrase coined by Beverly Kaye , meaning “a process of giving and receiving by participating in relationships in which everyone is a learner and a teacher.” From an interview on Lip-sticking with Dana VanDenHeuvel
Read about Blurring the Lines - Diva Marketing.

Blogs 101 & A Bit More


Attended Intelliseek's Free "Blogs 101" webinar yesterday conducted by Pete Blackshaw. It was "sold out" but another session is scheduled for September 1. Well worth the time investment and Intelliseek graciously provided the deck.

Pete's presentation included information about blog analytics. Understanding that blogs can produce measurable results will certain help with the credibility and ROI concern of many companies not yet on the blog band wagon. Another aspect I found fascinating was using aggregated blog information to track consumer trends, monitor the buzz about your own company, as well as, a source of competitive intelligence. Could be a resource for our friends who are in the secondary research biz.

Speaking of buzz there's a post on Poynter online - local newspapers are missing opportunities e.g., increased content, buzz and community support by not linking to local blogs.

Most newspapers, in the United States at least, are fundamentally local, and many publishers will tell you that they believe the paper should be at the center of community life. But how many newspapers are aggregating local weblogs on their websites? Not weblogs written by staffers, but regular local people who are writing local observations about local life.

The more I learn and experience business blogs, the more I am am convinced  that although they may not be the savior of marketing...blogs will continue to impact the way we do business and how we develop communication strategies with customers, prospects and other stakeholders.

Need a little help from some friends - you dear divas.. I'm writing an article on blogs for marketingpower.com and would like to get an better understanding of the type of business/marketing blogs you're reading. Would you drop me an e or add a comment and let me know which business and marketing blogs you read or subscribe to on a regular basis? Much appreciated! Toby



Career Corner: Director of Fund Development


safepathAn Atlanta-based Advocacy Center for children is looking for an experienced (4-6 years) fund raiser.
The successful candidate will have an exciting opportunity to manage all aspects of fund development including cultivating donor relationships, corporate partnerships and special events. Strong communications skills, computer proficiency and the ability to juggle multiple tasks is what it takes to join the dedicated team of this non profit organization. And of course the salary is competitive.

Please forward your resume to: Search Committee at 2211 Austell Road Suite B Marietta, GA 30008 or via eMail
Deadline is September 10, 2004

"A window of hope to a brighter tomorrow."

AiMA - "Search”ing for Answers"


AIMA (Atlanta Interactive Marketing Assoc) presents its annual Search Marketing event. If you're in Hot'Lanta Wed 8/25 drop by. The program includes industry experts on client and agency side and the networking should be awesome..last year's event pulled in about 200 marketers.

Search marketing budgets have increased from 15% of the overall online media budget in 2002 to 35% in 2003—the highest growth area this past year. And now it’s more than just acquisitions—studies demonstrate search listings have increased unaided brand awareness by 27%. For more on SEO/M take a look at Diva Marketing post Man-On-The-Street From Search Enegine Strategies in San Jose.

Jeff Coyle, KnowledgeStorm
Ernie White, KnowX, LLC
Dan Boberg, Overture
John Waddy, TwentySix2
Caroline Ernst, 360i
Stacy Williams, Prominent Placement

Wed., August 25, 2004
6:00-7:00 pm Networking
7:00-9:00 pm Panel Discussion
84 5th ST NW
Atlanta, GA 30308
phone: 404.385.3500

More details - visit AiMA

First STG Charity - A Charley Relief Fund


charley_wideweb__430x290Strengthening The Good's (STG) first "Blog" charity is The Gulf Coast Community Foundation Of Venice Hurricane Charley Disaster Relief Fund.

100% of the donations will be directed to the agencies providing the services required to sustain and improve life for the victims. Gulf Coast Community Foundation of Venice, is matching all donations to its Hurricane Charley Disaster Relief Fund up to $100,000.

What is Strengthen The Good? STG is a network of bloggers who have joined together to raise money for micro-charities. One blogger...one dollar at a time...we can make a difference. This is the first cause marketing strategy to leverage the viral influence of blogs.

More information on Hurrican Charley Diaster Relief Fund and how to contribute at Strengthen The Good Blog.

Blogs Are Not The Savior


The prestigious Washington Post reports that blogs have entered the business mainstream.

“The group (Air Conditioning Contractors of America) is one of several businesses and organizations that are bypassing newspapers, magazines, billboards and other traditional media to take their message directly to consumers through blogs.”

I implore you not to assume blogs are the savior of business communication, marketing strategy or customer relationships.

First, I must tell you that I am passionate about incorporating blogs as a strategic marketing tactic. Blogs can help build stronger brands. Blogs can help build stronger customer relationships. Blogs can help build stronger media relationships. Blogs can help build credibility. Blogs can help build stronger ROI.

Please tell me that at least we (marketers) have learned our lessons well from the Internet crazed ‘90’s. Please tell me that we (marketers) understand blogs will not replace traditional or other Interactive tactics.*   Please tell me that we (marketers) understand blogs are one more, albeit powerful, marketing tool we can leverage in a developing a strategic marketing plan. (*As for the eNewsletter debate, they work for many organizations that also blog.)

In the blospshere, there are many smart people discussing what is a blog, why people blog, why people don’t blog, how long should a blog be, how often should a blogger post, why people read blogs, why people don’t read blogs. I applaud each and every author. These are important issues that business bloggers struggle with and must be addressed if blogs are to be taken seriously as an enterprise application.

However, it will be through integrated marketing programs where goals and objectives are defined, metrics established, customer expectations understood and “brand” execution achieved that the new kid on the block, The Blog, will be accepted as “mainstream.”

Thanks to Radiant Marketing for the links to the WP article and to the Air Conditioning Contractors of America blog. [Note: When will it be SOP for pubs to include links in online articles?]