Musings About Blog World Expo '08


Networking on iPhones and Blackberries. Networking in-person. Tweets on screens. Tweets on cells. Parties and People. An industry finding its way. New companies. New technology. New bloggers. Conference Word: Vulnerability

Last week I joined social media friends and colleagues at the seBusiness_growthcond Blog World Expo conference. Lots of thoughts swirling through my mind. One is that this industry continues to grow. Susan Getgood reminds us in her BWE post that challenges often accompany. My hopes are that the newly formed International Blogger and New Media Association (I'm on the board) will bring direction, cohesion, credibility .. and ease a bit of the pain that Susan identified.

Friday night Elisa Camahort, BlogHer, and Jen Openshaw, WeSeed, coordinated a girlfriends in Las Vegas dinner. What a great way to kick of the weekend. And what a treat to be among amazing women who are pioneers in social media. Girlfriend, I've the perfect excuse for you to visit Hawaii -- Hawaii Podcamp .. the diva making this one happen is Roxanne Darling, Beach Walks With Rox.

Last year some of my greatest learnings came from sessions outside of my comfort zone - military and sports blogging. This year I sat in on a God Blog session and listened intently to the Andrew Jones, Tall Skinny Kiwi, tell his story about faith blogs. He begin with a light hearted joke .. You might be a faith blogger if .. My favorite .. You're a faith blogger if your prayers are 140 characters or less because that's all Twitter allows.

My big take away from Andrew's talk (slides) was ~

A blog should not be a well. It should be a spring. ~

Although Andrew put it into a religious context, his concept makes perfect sense to me not only for blogs but for social media in general. Think about it .. a well contains stagnant waters. Stagnation occurs when there is no new flow of water. Blogs, social networks, wikis and all the other tools/tactics allow for and encourage fresh water or new ideas to flow.

Sidebar: I often say that the blogopshere/social media is comprised of many, many villages. There is the business blog village where Diva Marketing resides and then the mommy blog, golf blog, healthcare blog, beauty blog, race horse blog "villages" and more. The God blog/faith blog village is one of the most active. Skip over to the interview I did with Lead Pastor of the National Community Church - David Mark Batterson - for some insights into this most interesting "village."

Caught the end of a session based on enterprise case studies. Rohit Bhargava, Influential Marketing Blog, offered lessons learned from the Ogilvy Ford Taurus blogger outreach program.

1. Know your product. 2. Tap into something they (bloggers/customers) know they can do. 3. Search visibility is a valid KPT 4. Provides valid opinions from real people

Rockstarmedal It was Anne Plese's great story about how she turned a team of Cisco engineers into blogging rock stars and went from a focus on tradition marketing to social marketing that caught my interest. Goals were to grow wallet share and relevancy for a new product. The bloggers were positioned as "assets."  Wow! the light bulb went on. Although I have thought of bloggers as a value-add component to a marketing strategy, I never went as far as to use the term "asset." Brilliant.

In addition to writing their own posts the bloggers continued to actively participated in relevant conversations. Actually that's how they initially began as commenters on other people's blogs. It was Anne's vision to give them a platform (their own blogs) where they could also move the discussion into Cisco's world. In addition, the blogger relations program bloggers were given direct access to the engineers who built the product.  Results - at least $250,000 in cost savings. Watch for an in depth interview with Anne on Diva Marketing coming soon!

Jennifer Openshaw, WeSeed, and Spike Jones, Brains on Fire, spoke about reaching and connecting with women by building long-term movements not short-term campaigns. Jen and Spike reminded the (mostly women) audience that credibility comes from being vulnerable. Spike shared the case behind the successful Fisk-A-Teers ..or how an orange pair of scissors created a community of crafters. Jen reinforced that the way to a women's heart is: to make life easier, your product relevant, the experience fun. Looking forward to the innovative investment site she's about to launch targeted to women which includes her tips: easy, relevant, fun. Lesson Learned: A person with passion can be more "influential" than an "influencer."

Pink_boa Toss a pink boa to Becky Carroll, Customers Rock and Des Walsh, Thinking Home Business who invited me to share the stage with them and the talented people on their panels. Tweets of Becky's panel - Creating Customer Loyalty with Social Media (with Brian Solis, and "brand tweeters": Frank Eliason, Comcast, Tony Hsieh, Zappos)- from @pblackshaw, @dbrazeal, @beckylicious721. Tweets of Des' panel - Getting Customer Buy-in & Managing Client Relationships (with Rich Brooks and Robyn Tippins)- from @trishussey, @dbrazeal, @waderockett. Be sure to catch Becky's blog series on Customers Rock about using social media for customer service.

More pink boa tosses .. Average Jane for walking the trade show floor with me. Smiles from Glenda Watson Hyatt, whose thumbs .. right and left .. are in amazingly great shape. Dinner with Paul Chaney and his diva wife Aime while watch Las Vegas from the skies. Jay Berkowitz's "quiet" dinner which was a great chance to actually sit down & hear people talk. Geoff Livingston for including me in his video series with uber cool peeps. Finally! meeting James Andrews and Ellen Marden who is picture perfect. Liz Strauss (slides from her presentation), David Berkowitz (great A-Z wrap post of the event!) Tish Grier, Tris Hussey, Nicole Simon and Matt Dickman and well you know who you are .. but more important I do too. Thanks for a great weekend.

Oh .. the next time you see me walking through an airport I'll be reading on my new Kindle_new_york_times Kindle I won from Newstex. Sweet!

Thanks to Mike Elgan for the Kindle image.

Achieving Social Media Success With PRSA GA


Welcome PRSA Georgia Chapter's Annual Conference People!

Yesterday I had the most fun teaming with two amazing divos - Dan Greenfield. media consultant Bernaise Sauce (former vp Earthlink) and Michael Pranikoff ( director  Emerging Media PR Newswire. We were Conversation Guides for a session on social media for a great group of folks. The convo went from micro blogging to how to develop a strategy to the difference between an audio file and a podcast. Answer: RSS

As promised, we're happy to share the deck. For those who didn't attend the session there are some great resources including Twitter search engines complements of Michael and an easy to follow 10 Step Social Media how-to get started Process from Dan. Enjoy! Download the_social_media_10_step_process.pdf

From the lunch key note panel .. a few snippets

  • To celebrate GM's 100th anniversary an employees wiki has been established. As employees add their memories a unique view of the company's history will be created. For Mary Heinge, APR communications director, GM Corp., the added benefits include a viral element, a way to involve many people and no book printing costs.
  • Debra Neuman, svp external relations for Care told the group that social media gives people the ability to respond immediately and especially for a non profit ".. your content better be right."
  • Question: Who owns social media? Debra Neuman - "No one and everyone." Love that one.

Facebook_for_old_people Most controversial statement was from Jack Leslie. When the panel was asked about the skills they were looking for in new hires, Jack told us he leans toward people half his age when considering employees with social media skills since .. young people have this built into their DNA. Now perhaps Jack was trying to be funny but the buzz in the ladies loo (Girlfriend you know exactly what I mean.) was outrage that only the Millenniums are perceived to "get it." As one women said to me - Anyone can learn how to put together a MySpace or Facebook page but it takes experience to understand how to incorporate social media into a PR plan or campaign.

I would be delighted to introduce Jack to Shel Israel and Jane Genova and Yvonne DiVita and Marianne Richmond and Rick Short and Elana Centor and Anita Campbell and Merrill Dubrow and Wayne Hurlbert and Michele Miller and Jack Yan and Jeff Jarvis and KD Paine and Dr. Lasky and BL Ochman and Liz Strauss and Dan Greenfield .. well you get the picture. Update: and Paul Chaney!

Sidebar: Thanks to Seth for the graphic of Facebook for Old People.

What Happens In Vegas .. Should Not Stay In Vegas - Part 2


Notebook_coffee As promised here are my random notes from Blog World. Or at least those note I could read. I apologize for the quotes that I have not a clue who said what.

Web 2.0 does not equal community. Paul Dunay

"It's an old media concept that your audience should come to you."

Internal wikis are a great way to: share opinions, create spontaneous work groups, develop a knowledge management system.

Maggie Fox generously shared lessons learned from a MySpace campaign for Harlequin (books) that quite didn't make it. Don't treat MySpace like an ad. Authors should have actively participated in the community.

Social media networking communities don't work if you control the content. Credibility can't build from only content you put up. Think about how to create trust  online. Relevancy is key.

The Dell Story was told at least 5 million times.
How much longer can Apple afford not to get social?

How do you get marketers to get it?
1. Point to success examples.
2. Show examples that their brand / industry is in the conversation .. with or with them.
3. Try it internally first. Create an internal blog, wiki, podcast, etc.
4. Coach them through the process.

Responding to negative comments on a blog can create greater credibility.

Notes from Mil blog session. Military bloggers were amazing.
Christian Lowe Bill Riggio Uncle Jimbo Eric England Steve Schippert

  • No one can dictate the message of what is happening in the field anymore.
  • No one owns the flow of information any more.
  • Gives the troops a voice; the great equalizer.
  • Military blogs often more accurate than main stream media. Lines between MSM and bloggers are blurring.
  • How does one determine the truth? By reading multiple blogs. Trust = facts. Mil bloggers frequently check each other's facts. Posts are passed along to confirm the details. Or the community self corrects in comments.
  • Military bloggers are morphing into hobby bloggers or new media correspondences.
  • As with any community conversation and relationships are also built off-blog.
  • Mil bloggers are creating change within the military from the outside.
  • Mil blogs are read by senior staffers, generals and policy makers. Many use blogs as a source for their research.
  • When it comes down to brass tacks, the community of mil bloggers is much the same as the community of business bloggers. We both struggle with similar issues from comments to posting frequency to content direction. A defense contractor raised his hand and asked, "How do I get in front of your readers?" The response was, "Build relationship with  us." Sound familiar? That's what the biz bloggers call Blogger Relations.
  • "The power of blogs is found from their communication at near real time." Christian Lowe.

Notes From Sports Blogging Session: How To Build Traffic
Will Leitch, Larry Borowsky, Matt Cerrone, Adam Morris, Tyler Bleszinski

  • Post regularly.
  • Be predictable. Post at the same time every day/day of the week.
  • Friend other bloggers. In other words develop relationships and participate in the community conversations.
  • Post a series of Q&A on a specific topic.
  • Be the Go To person for a specific topic.
  • Develop your blog like a TV series with posts on specific topics at specific times.
  • Write well. It reinforces your credibility.
  • What emotionally connects with your readers?
  • Be honest.
  • Be yourself. Your blog is an extension of your personality.
  • Credit bloggers when you post an idea from another blog.
  • There is a difference between traffic and readers.

Sidebar: I was one of 4 women in a session of about 35 guys.

What Happens In Vegas .. Should Not Stay In Vegas - Part 1


Part 1 -- Last week was over the top bloggy Las Vegas style. I spoke at Blog World and then presenting at an AMA Hot Topic Workshop on social media .. nice complement. Big Take Away from Blog World .. there is no doubt social media is an industry! Perhaps a bebe one but still an industry.

Blogworld_2007 I have lots to share with you about the first social media convention. First, toss of a pink boa to Dave Taylor and Chris Rick Calvert (oops. thanks for the catch Jim) for their vision and dedication in bring this first show off so well.  The Blog World staff was amazing .. thank you Patti for the 'luggage help.'

I had the pleasure of sharing the spot light day one with Marc Danziger. We tag teamed the session - The Importance of Blogging and New Media In Your Organization's Strategic Marketing. For your viewing pleasure - Download blogworld_2007v7.pdf the deck. On Wednesday Amy Grahan invited me to be part of an important panel discussion on ethics. Jeremy Pepper live blogged the session. Amy's notes are extensive and include the links mentioned.

My favorite part of Blog World .. catching up with friends in the same room!Jim Turner, Patti and Denise from the Blog Squad, Wendy Piersell, Rich Brooks, Des Walsh, Maggie Fox, Rich Brooks, Marshall Kirpatrick, Debbie Weil, Cynthia Trevino, Eric Olsen, Blog Critics who was so kind to a wannabe blogger and Jeremy Wright who is still  sweet and humble even with the fast success of b2media. And more! 

It was a treat to spend time with Tris Hussey, who has been my IT savior from afar; and Liz Strauss, who after talking with her for 2.5 seconds I so got why she is the Diva of Comments. I finally met Andy Wibble who once upon a time invited me to do my very first podcast with him. Andy's posted a few recaps of the event. Larry Benet .. thanks for the chocolate surprise.  Shel video interviewed Liz and me. Note to self: change eye make when video taping. Stephan Spencer, H.L. DeVore and I played find the best blog url not taken at the fabulous party at the fabulous Wynn. Giving Glenda Watson Hyatt a hug was a special moment .. she lights up a room! I read her biography, I'll Do It Myself, on the flight back to Hot'lanta. Hint: The story of Glenda's life travels and inspirational accomplishments would make a wonderful holiday present.

One of my favorite lines came from Jory Des Jardins
"Social media is like a puppy .. it can't take care of itself."

Update: oops! going thru my note I found that it was not Diva Jory but Diva Maggie Fox who came up with this creative line.

Part 2 -- notes, random thoughts and learnings.   

Social Media Workshops & Conferences


Idea_light_bulb Several people have asked me where to find workshops/conferences on blogs/social media. If you have extra budget money for 2007 that is burning a hole in your pocket or are planning Q1 2008 and need a few ideas take a look. Please add to the list.


Houston - October 25 - DFW Interactive Marketing Association HiMA: Interactive Strategies '07
Boston - October 26-28 - Podcamp Boston
Chicago - October 26 - AMA Hot Topic Beyond Marketing 2.0: Harnessing the Power of Social Media for Marketing Campaign Results*

Austin - November 6 - Social Media Club
Las Vegas - November 7 - 9 -  BlogWorld*
Las Vegs - November 8-9 GodblogCon
Las Vegas - November 9 - AMA Hot Topic Beyond Marketing 2.0: Harnessing the Power of Social Media for Marketing Campaign Results*
Atlanta - November 13 - Atlanta Social Media Mixer - hosted by David Berkowitz (See Facebook Event) All welcome! Venue: TBD. Time: 6p -9p*
Las Vegas - November 14 -15 WOMMA

Washington DC - December 3-6 - Social Media For Government
Boston - December 5 -6 Society For New Communications Research


Miami- January 11- AMA Hot Topic Beyond Marketing 2.0: Harnessing the Power of Social Media for Marketing Campaign Results*
Miami - January 24-25 - The Woman's Congress*
Miami - January 31 - February 1 - Social Media Conference

San Diego - February 22 - AMA Hot Topic Beyond Marketing 2.0: Harnessing the Power of Social Media for Marketing Campaign Results*

March 28th -Chicago - AMA Hot Topic Beyond Marketing 2.0: Harnessing the Power of Social Media for Marketing Campaign Results*
March 31-April 3 - Seattle - International Conference on Weblogs and Social Media

Update: Speaking at a conference and need a topic? Chris Brogan has 100 suggestions! Also a great list to use if your creativity goes on the slump for blog post topics.

Sidebar: Shameless plug the * are where you can find me.
Note to Ina: Got your message but you left a wrong phone number. Please try again.

A Step Beyond Live Blogging At Forrester's Forum


Critcal_mass A heads up from David Armano - Critical Mass has a coool  live web-cam , along with a live chat, pointing to the Forrester's Consumer Forum 2007. (October 11-12 9a -5p)

Im finding the audio a little hard to understand but it could be my computer. Sure gives a new meaning to live blogging!

The Divas Of DC Put On A New Media Nouveaux Conference


A few weeks ago Geoff Livingston, The Buzz Bin, presented me with an opportunity that no self respecting Diva worth her Jimmy Choos could refuse.

New_media_noveaux_2 Geoff invited me to key note at the divine divas of Washington DC's Success In The City's New Media Nouveaux Conference - "How to make your audience fall in love with you, your message and your business." Click on to the site and you'll understand why I'm excited about talking social media with the SITC Divas.

Geoff Livingston, The Buzz Bin kicks off the morning with findings from his forthcoming book, Now Is Gone. The day unfolds with some of Metro DC's smartest marketers and bloggers -  Jill Stelfox, CEO of DefyWire Jenifer Cortner, CEO of EFX Media Sean Gorman, CEO of FortiusOne Jen Sterling, CEO of Hinge Alice Marshall, CEO of Presto Vivace Angela Drummond, CEO of Silo Smashers Brian Williams, CEO of Viget Labs Aaron Brazell (Technosailor), director of new media services at B5 Media Andrea Morris, LComm Consultant & principal at Write Ideas Marketing Jody Ruth, director, Washington, DC office of Redstones Qui Viaz, Ogilvy

A few details ..
Date: Friday, July 13 at
Time: 8a - 3p
Place: Tower Club, 8000 Towers Crescent Drive, Suite 1700, Vienna, VA

As a prelude to New Media Nouveaux Conference Geoff asked me a few questions about marketing and social media. For your reading pleasure, here's a snip from our interview.

Geoff: Why are so many businesses running towards new media?

Toby: Social media is more than a passive website strategy. The most beneficial aspect is the ability to engage directly with customers and other stakeholders. Social media opens the doors for businesses to listen to the unfiltered voices of their customers and to track those conversations.

Social media also provides opportunities for the people within the company to join in on those conversations and talk directly to customers. Taking an active role in creating a dialogue with customers about issues that they care about, at the moment in time when they care about those concerns, is the heart of new media marketing.

Geoff: What are your thoughts of the concept “participation is marketing?”

Toby: I love the concept. It adds an important dimension to an expanding, complex marketing tool bag. Sometimes it’s nice to reach for a paper sales sheet with just the facts. It’s also nice to know that there is an online communication resource: a bulletin board, blog, wiki, vlog, podcast, where additional information can be found including peer-to-peer feedback and a way to engage with the people in the company too.

So, Divas and Divos if you're in DC on Friday the 13th of July drop by .. I promise it will be very lucky day!

Summertime Marketing Conferences


Girlfriend, a little learning, a few  umbrella  drinks, a  bit  of  touring .. just in time for summer fun .. a few marketing conferences and events to add to your vacation plans. Computer_beach

May 23 - Atlanta - AiMA's Annual Spring Fling is all about rolling the dice with a night of Casino Networking . Thanks to for their sponsorship and Julia Brown for co chairing this one with me.

June 1 - London - PSFK Conference in London

June 9 - San Jose Social Media Club Starting The Conversation

July 9 -11 - Washington DC - AMA Non Profit Conference. Worth the price of admission if only to hear Sybil Stershic and Katya Andresen speak.

July 13 - Washington DC - Success in the City New Media Nouveaux. Bloggy brag thanks to Geoff Livingston for inviting me to be the closing key note.

July 27-29 - Chicago BlogHer Conference 07

July 31 - August 1 - Chicago Ad-Tech

August 2-3- Detroit - e-Marketing Insight Conference: Trends and Travel Web 2.0

August 6-9 Washington DC eTail 2007 DC

August 7-11- Seattle - Gnomedex

August 20-23 - San Jose - Search Engine Strategies 2007

August 29-30 - Atlanta - CDC Health Marketing Conference 2007

Talking Social Media With The Blog Squad & The Docs


Pour yourself a second cup of java if you're on the East coast or perhaps a first cup if you on Pacific time and join me and the Blog Squad, Divas Patsi Krakoff and Denise Wakeman as we talk Toby_blog_squad_2 "Social Media: What is It and Why Does It Matter?"
11a EST / 10a Central / 9a Rocky Mountain / 8a PST

The promo was too cool not to show you. I'm thinking holiday cards (smile).

Update: Audio/Podcast and Links To Blog Mentions

On April 30th I have the pleasure of speaking at the Second Healthcare Blogging Summit in Las Vegas. Thanks to Dmitriy Kruglyak, Trusted M.D,  where I am a contributing blogger, for including me once again in this important event. The Summit is part of the CDHCC Spring Conference.

COMP SHOW PASS - Are you interested in healthcare social media? Or you going to be in Vegas or would you like be in Vegas? I have One Free  Guest Pass to offer the first person, who is not a vendor (not my rules) to request one.

If you're not first in line but want to attend there's a 50% discount for y'all. Drop a comment and I'll work the details with you.

Remi Adams On Questions To Ask Before You Blog


New York! New York! Get ready for the women bloggers. BlogHer Business convenes Wednesday night with an open happy hour. Two days of panels and keynote speakers follow 3/22-23. This is BlogHer's first entree into the business conference arena and from the speakers the BlogHer Diva's (Elisa Camahort, Jory Des Jardins and Lisa Stone) have brought in .. seems like another BlogHer hit.

In preparing to moderate the panel "Should You Blog?", I’ve had The Best Time getting to know the amazing, and very different, women - Penelope Trunk, Remi Adams and Roxanne Darling - who will open the discussion. We call it  the “opening” since our job is to jump start the conversation opening the doors to creating dialogue with and among the people attending. 

Remi_adams_2 In the second mini interview with the panelists, Remi Adams, director of public relations for Homestead Technologies encourages you to ask a few questions before you launch a corporate blog.

Toby: We are speaking at the BlogHer Business Conference on the panel "Should You Blog?" The panel is part of the track "How Do I Get It Right the First Time?"  How can you get a corporate blog  right the first time?

Remi: Make sure that the purpose of the blog is well thought out before embarking upon it. What’s the point of the blog? Who is the audience? How will it be used? Who is writing it and in what voice? What information will be divulged and will that information need to be cleared with anyone within the company? These are just a few of the questions people should ask themselves before creating a corporate blog. Also, ask yourself a question people rarely ask of themselves: Do you have the time or resources to create content?

Toby: The blog, CEO Unplugged, is written by the Justin Kitch who is the founder and CEO of Homestead .. and your boss.  What advice would you give marketers who are considering encouraging their CEO to take a step into social media and launch a blog?

Remi: I think a good question to ask is whether or not the CEO has a clear focus, and if blogging as a medium is a good one for that person as a communicator. Some people excel at public speaking; others’ are much more interesting and persuasive as writers. Every medium does not speak to the talents of every person, and I think that since blogs are so accessible and easy to create, people don’t view them as they would any other PR or marketing opportunity. I wouldn’t encourage every CEO to act as a company spokesperson, if they wouldn’t shine in that role on behalf of their company; and the same should be true of the CEO who would like to author a corporate blog. In many cases, CEO’s divorce themselves of the corporate blog and devote their time to writing a personal blog so that they can express their personal opinion more freely.

Toby: What is your personal goal for attendees to take away from our BlogHer Business panel "conversation?"

Remi: I would like attendees to ask themselves a few personal questions before establishing their corporate blogs. There are certainly no right or wrong answers; merely questions that will help people better define their individual paths.

If you've enjoyed the interview with Remi Adams, catch the mini interview with Penelope Trunk. Penelope offers some great tips on how bloggers can create relationships with main stream media.

Party! With The Bloggers! - Hop over to CK's Blog to find out about the Happy Happy Blogger Meet-up On Friday March 23 in NYC. With CK leading this party there is sure to be more than champagne corks popping at Flutes in midtown Manhattan!