Tag Archive: WordPress


… and no one is there to read his posts, do they make any sound …

… and does anyone give a particle of bovine excrement?

Ten years ago today, Almost DailyBrett was digitally born by means of hundreds of keystrokes on an IBM compatible, WordPress and an Internet connection.

Drum roll: A grand total of seven souls (page views and/or unique visitors) ventured to read your author’s blog in the summer month of economic discontent,  July, 2009. The predictable and rhetorical ‘Why Bother?’ question was not far behind.

Your author’s life was changing. He was guided by the immortal words of Robert Plant and Jimmy Page:

“Yes, there are two paths you can go by, but in the long run, there’s still time to change the road you’re on.”  

Was my blog the commencement of my own, “Stairway to Heaven?’

Even though your author’s odometer was already showing mid-life mileage a decade ago, there was still plenty of fuel in the Miata. There was an acute need to move the personal brand to New Frontiers and yes, to decide on a new path and to change the road.

Since that pivotal day 10 years ago — July 21, 2009 — Almost DailyBrett’s 573 posts …

Garnered 520 reader comments …

Generated 162,373 page views …

Enticed 110,421 unique visitors …

Hailed from approximately 170 countries around the world.

It is humbling to contemplate the equivalent of a Michigan “Big House” with each seat occupied, spending some of their precious irretrievable discretionary time reading Almost DailyBrett.

Did some arrogant academic (redundant?) types suggest that Web 2.0 blogging is dead? Yes there are oodles of deceased blogs along the path — they all started with great enthusiasm and better intentions — but thousands of decomposing writers laying by the roadside should not be interpreted as the end of blogging, maybe just the end of the beginning.

Those Troubling Widowers

Looking back on Almost DailyBrett’s nearly 600 posts, there are wide variety of topics and themes, which constitute the Top 10 blogs:

  1. The Trouble With Widowers (This post keeps on giving each day even though it was composed in 2012), 18,990 page views
  2. NASDAQ: WEED (Predicted publicly traded marijuana companies), 14,653
  3. Farewell LSI Logic (What is and what should have never been?), 4,379
  4. The Decision to Pose for Playboy (Bared my opinions), 4,106
  5. Fiduciary Responsibility vs. Corporate Social Responsibility (Not mutually exclusive), 4,023
  6. Magnanimous in Victory, Gracious in Defeat (Easier said than done), 2,423
  7. Smile on the Lips Before a Tear in the Eyes (Joe Biden on horrific family loss), 2,247
  8. One Page Memo: Now More Than Ever (Makes more sense than ever in our digital world), 1,902
  9. Competing Against the Dead (She’s gone, and she is not coming back), 1,628
  10. California’s Rarefied Air Tax (April Fool’s blog; Don’t give Gavin any ideas), 1,050.

Your author would be remiss if he did not point out that his “About” page has drawn 1,071 page views.

Yes, a successful blog can pay dividends in terms of personal branding and the ongoing perception of accomplishment. Writing Almost DailyBrett certainly did not hurt yours truly in securing a tenure-track assistant professorship of public relations at Central Washington University at 59 years young. 

Total Douche-o-Rama

“This person is an idiot … Perfect for Ph.D candidacy.”

“This whole blog is an audition for a commentator position on Fox News.”

“Total Douche-o-Rama.”

These are just some of the nicer comments your author approved for posting on Almost DailyBrett.

After 10 years in the blogging trenches sending out rhetorical salvos and more than a few occasions receiving less-the-pleasant feedback and name calling, here are 10 hard-earned rules for blogging:

  1. No one was put on this planet to read your posts. A blog is the ultimate discretionary read. Someone is spending precious nanoseconds of their finite life to read your blog. Boring and lame does not cut it.
  2. Digital is eternal. The most important public relations is your own personal PR. Never blog when you are upset, sleepy and certainly not when you are intoxicated (Mark Zuckerberg’s character in The Social Network)
  3. Double Check and Double Check Again. The difference between “pubic relations” and “public relations” is one letter. The level of embarrassment is huge. Don’t rely on the Microsoft Spell Check. If the wrong word is spelled correctly, you are still personally wrong
  4. Employ Pull and Push (in that order) to Generate SEO/SEM. Juicy tags and alluring categories are irresistible to the Search Engine Optimization and Search Engine Marketing algorithms. Your blog should always be on page one following a Google search. Social media uploads are essential
  5. Write to Your Strength/Experience. Not everyone shares your interests. Some blogs will do better than others. Follow your passion. Accept that some blogs will barely register a blip on the rhetorical Richter Scale
  6. Be Provocative, Not Notorious. The last thing anyone wants or needs is another partisan rant on social media. Almost DailyBrett has a point of view (e.g., Buy Low Sell High),  but refrains from being another screaming talking head
  7. Avoid Overt Partisanship. In our increasingly tribalized society, your blogs are not going to radically shift public opinion.  Offer new ways to approach an issue. Who knows? You may move the dial just a smidge, and in our polarized world that is and of itself … an accomplishment.
  8. Buy Low Sell High. Offer a proven philosophy. Demonstrate through thoughts and example that economic freedom (albeit not perfect) is still the best way to provide for prosperity and in the end, the pursuit of happiness
  9. Have Thick Skin … to a Point. Don’t blog if you can’t take the heat. Inevitably, someone will not be pleased with your prose. Celebrate responses to a point. You do not need to accept slurs, profanities and name calling
  10. “Opinions Are Like Assholes, Everyone Has One.”  There are times when your personal experience (e.g., press secretary), if you are sure you want to share, maybe can help others. If so, a blog author can be closer to an angel as opposed to an ass ….

And as recommended by University of Oregon Journalism Professor Carol Stabile, write 15 minutes every day. Some days will be better than others. Blogging is a gift of the digital age. The ability to project your thoughts to all continents in mere nanoseconds was inconceivable before 1995. There is a great responsibility that comes with blogging, but an incredible opportunity as well.

Almost DailyBrett note: Even though he went to UCLA and received his B.A. in English (and eventually rose above this baby blue malady), the initial inspiration came from my forever friend and colleague Brian Fuller, editor in chief at ARM. The former editor of EE Times recommended blogging in general and WordPress in particular at a time when his advice made the greatest impact. The success of Almost DailyBrett is in part is attributable to Brian. Buy Low Sell High, my eternal friend!

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2012/04/15/the-trouble-with-widowers/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2014/01/20/nasdaq-weed/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2014/01/02/farewell-lsi-logic/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2012/01/10/the-decision-to-pose-for-playboy/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2011/12/13/fiduciary-responsibility-vs-corporate-social-responsibility/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2011/07/17/magnanimous-in-victory-gracious-in-defeat/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2012/06/02/smile-on-the-lips-before-a-tear-in-the-eyes/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2011/04/20/the-one-page-memo-now-more-than-ever/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2011/01/22/competing-against-the-dead/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2019/04/01/californias-rarefied-air-tax/

https://www.linkedin.com/in/brianfuller24/

 

 

 

 

The equivalent of one Big House filled with fans has clicked on Almost DailyBrett.bighouse

Well close enough. Michigan’s “Big House” officially holds 109,901. This blog passed the 100K page views mark Wednesday. Okay maybe not exactly as much as one Big House, but it’s good enough for government work.

Just as important, if not even more so, Almost DailyBrett has drawn more than 62,000 unique visitors, easily exceeding the 54,000 stated capacity of Autzen Stadium in Eugene. Fortunately, this blog is not as noisy as Oregon’s friendly confines.Autzenatnight

Certainly a lot of water has flowed up the Willamette since Almost DailyBrett debuted in July 2009. During that entire summer month, there were a grand total of … seven page views. Yep, there were only seven pairs of eyes that clicked on this blog. One would be tempted to ask: If Almost DailyBrett was posted in a forest and there wasn’t anyone to click on it, did it make any sound?

So what are my sentiments about having a blog, which has reached and exceeded the 100,000 page-view after 378 posts during the course of past 79 months?

Humbling, in a word.

It’s also awesome when one contemplates that Moore’s Law (number of transistors on a piece of silicon real estate doubles every 18-24 months) and resultant Web 2.0, makes online publishing possible. Are we starting to take web publishing for granted?

Image converted using ifftoany

Image converted using ifftoany

What really blows the mind of the author of Almost DailyBrett is this blog has been read in 144 or more countries around the world. There are more than a few days when every continent on the planet is represented. Try doing that in the age of newspapers. Imposible.

Some believe that blogging is dead. These poor souls are just wrong.

The largest blogging site, WordPress, hosts 74.6 million blogs, drawing 409 million readers to 16.3 billion pages. Every day WordPress features 618 million new posts, attracting 55 million daily comments. Seventy-one percent of WordPress blogs are posted in English; 5 percent in Spanish.

Any best of all: No Hyper Text Markup Language (HTML) is necessary.

And yet there are literally millions of dead blogs, oodles of morbid blogs. Almost DailyBrett could have been a deceased blog, but it similar to so many others, survived and persevered.

Seven Strategies for Blogging Glory

  1. There should be joy in your blogging. This is a tremendous opportunity to share your opinions, to demonstrate thought leadership and build your own brand. Keep in mind that digital is eternal. Follow the rule that if you are upset and despondent to stay away from the keyboard. Wait until you are in a proper frame of mood. Pathos is a key component of blogging, being out-of-control is fraught with peril._MG_1292 (3)
  2. Take Care with Your Blog Name. Your blog should afford you the opportunity literally way in on any issue. You should not paint yourself with a title that is restrictive (e.g., “At the Movies”) unless you want to be a one-trick blogging pony. Yours truly went to parochial school for 12-long years. Contemplated Give Us Our Daily Bread … Give Us our Daily Brett. Eventually the name matriculated to Almost DailyBrett, flexibility and branding at the same time.
  3. Pull > Push. Every successful blog employs “push” techniques such as headlines, blurbs, URLs and JPEGs on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter etc. (the latter imposes the Draconian 140-character rule). More importantly are “pull” strategies to attract the search engines including categories and tags. Almost DailyBrett guesstimates that for every one page view that comes from pushing out the blog to social media another eight page views comes from search engine marketing or SEM.
  4. Digital Rules; Analog Matters. There is zero doubt that attracting the digital search engines is the predominate method to attract search engines, which translates into page views and visitors, keep in mind that old-fashioned Journalism still matters. Write compelling headlines. Think What, When, Where, Who, Why, How and Who Cares in the first two of three paragraphs of your blog. We live in a 140-character Twitter and texting world … get to the point.
  5. Provocative, Not Notorious. Every one of your readers is precious. They are on this planet for only so long. Don’t be afraid of being provocative. Take a stand and defend it. Respect the opinions of others. Don’t live in a filter bubble. Engage in a conversation … but remember: Be offensive without being offensive.
  6. Think Skin … To A Point. Criticism and sassy/snarky responses are part of blogging. If you are NOT receiving digging responses from time-to-time, there is something wrong with your blog. Keep in mind there are boundaries. Just as you should never use outright profanities, name calling and slurs, you should not tolerate them either.
  7. Don’t Agonize. This point is the reciprocal of having joy in your blogging. If the topic for your next blog post is not coming immediately to mind, don’t panic. As former Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart famously said about pornography, “I know it, when I see it.” Trust me, your subject will come to you sooner or later.blog

Almost DailyBrett today sets out on the trail of another 100,000 page views, and more importantly 100,000 total visitors from around the world. Your author is proud to say that 20+ years after the onset of Web 2.0 that blogging thrives.

Demonstrate thought leadership.

Lead the conversation.

Make the world a better place.

Blog baby, blog!

 

Almost DailyBrett

Launching a Second Career?

“From adversity comes opportunity.” – Hall of Fame Football Coach Lou Holtz

“Don’t give up; don’t ever give up.” – Jim Valvano Farewell Speech

“ … There are two paths you can go by, but in the long run, there’s still time to change the road you’re on.” – Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven”

There was a real question for months-on-end about whether this particular Almost DailyBrett blog post would ever be written.

The reason is simple. It’s much more difficult than anyone would anticipate, launching a second act when one reaches the “difficult” age of 50 or above. This point is particularly magnified for the so-called “privileged” pale male of the species.

clint

No one seems to like these angry white males. Let’s marginalize this irksome demographic (e.g., put them out to pasture).

And yet there is hope for those – both women and men — approaching their Golden Years particularly those with plenty of gas in the tank with what can be called,  a sunny outlook on life.

Didn’t Ronald Reagan launch a second career at 69-years young after six years of uneventful long-term unemployment?

Aren’t the Rolling Stones touring the UAE, Japan, China, Australia and New Zealand in their 70s?

Judi Dench at 69-years of age couldn’t make the Academy Awards Sunday night because she was shooting a movie in India. You go girl!

The same is true for the author of Almost DailyBrett. Starting this September, yours truly will serve as a tenure-track Assistant Professor at Central Washington University, teaching public relations and advertising to college students.

Yes, this most likely is my incredibly satisfying encore after three decades in political-corporate-agency public relations.

For a wide variety of reasons the recession/economic downturn that stubbornly refuses to enter into full recovery mode, claimed literally hundreds of thousands of Baby Boomer victims during the course of last decade.

In many cases, their P&Ls simply collapsed. They were making five-figures or in some cases, six-figures and the first number was not necessarily a “1.” Despite their knowledge and experience …or maybe because of their knowledge and experience…they became too damn expensive.

babyboomers

It was time to cut expenses and to layoff those who were not going to be part of an organization’s dynamic future. These Baby Boomers reacted by thinking about simply landing another six-figure “position.” Surely someone would be grateful for their services…or surely, not.

After months of furtive searching, burning through inadequate unemployment checks and dipping into savings, joining the ranks of the long-time unemployed, some of these cashiered Baby Boomers came up in many cases with the wrong solution: Start their own businesses and burn down nest eggs. For a few it worked. For most it did not.

Putting out your shingle and being your own boss sounds appealing on the surface, but in most cases it’s a major pain. You have to find the business against strong competitors. If successful, you have to service the business. You have to retain the business. You have to bill…and hope that you will be paid in a timely manner, if it all.

Many took a hint and retired in their late 50s/early 60s, years before Medicare eligibility. As The Economist stated: “A growing number of the long-term unemployed find ways to qualify as disabled and never work again.” The number of DI beneficiaries in 1970; 1.5 million; 2013, 8.9 million. The disability trust fund is due to go broke in 2016.

Okay, acknowledging that an uphill climb still confronts the long-term unemployed Baby Boomer, what are some realistic strategies to launch a second career, get back into the game, and put more hop-and-skip into her or his jump?

Continuous Self-Improvement. Even though you may detest exercise, you need to dedicate at least 30 minutes daily, six days per week (one day off) for cross-training. That means reasonable resistance training with weights three days a week and aerobic exercise (e.g., running, elliptical, treadmill, spinning) another three days per week. This should be a religious experience, meaning you believe you are sinning if you miss a day. At a minimum, you will feel better about yourself and better project a more youthful demeanor.

crosstraining

Calories In; Calories Out. No one wants to hear this mantra, but that along with exercise is the solution to adipose tissue. Serve meals on salad-size plates instead of dinner plates. Think portions. Eat more veggies and fruits. Drink more water. Divide entrees with a significant other when you go out (you will still go home with a Bowser bag). Lose your convulations.

Lifelong Learning. Know what is going on in the world, even if Russia’s latest invasion or the massive U.S. deficit does not please you. Project yourself as engaged in your world, nation, state and community. Devour digital and conventional media.

Embrace Digital. That means as CNBC’s Jim Cramer would say: social, mobile and cloud. Those Baby Boomer colleagues of the editor-in-chief of Almost DailyBrett  that are agnostic to social media all have something in common: They are all unemployed. Write a blog. Participate in social media. Keep up with digital trends. Google yourself. Immediately clean up your act, if necessary.

Always Think SEO. WordPress, Wix and others give you free plug-and-play tools to build your own personal brand websites. LinkedIn provides you with the tools to incorporate your professional personal photos, presentations, glowing references and career accomplishments. Use them. And then employ social media to spread the word. Update your resume. If you don’t know what SEO stands for, look it up.

Build Your Network. Every LinkedIn connection is a friend. Every LinkedIn Group is a collection of like-minded friends. Don’t rely on the black hole of job boards. Develop relationships. Find the hiring managers. Ask for informational interviews. As you well know, it’s not what you know, but who you know.

Consider Going Back to School. It may not be easy to be a Non-Trad Student as earlier reported in Almost DailyBrett, but attaining that elusive undergraduate or advanced degree at a minimum demonstrates tenacity, dedication and commitment. As Martha would say, these are all good things. My new position would not have been possible without my recently earned graduate degree, attained 34 years after my undergraduate degree.

Put Yourself in a Young Environment. The ultimate start-ups are college campuses. No one is thinking about retirement or long-term disability checks. For students, the future is now and it is damn exciting. Think of your future that way as well. If you are 60, you should be contemplating your next three decades of so on the planet…if you are so lucky.clint1

Avoid Starting Your Own Business … unless you really want to. Burning up your nest egg on a business that fails is a double whammy. Find something different that you want to do and can do with gusto. I am really looking forward to resuming my teaching, and in particular mentoring students as they transition from graduates to professionals.

Stay Away from Federal and State Assistance. Are you really disabled? Can you volunteer? Can you take a “job” rather than a “position” to get back on track? We need more taxpayers in this country, not more of those on the dole as evidenced by the record 46 million on Food Stamps.

Find Love. Having someone in your corner supporting you and willing to listen when the storm clouds are the darkest is indispensible. Being able to check the “married” box sends a very positive message, and may prompt someone important to look at your application twice.

That may be just the break that your second career needs.

http://livingstingy.blogspot.com/2010/07/your-second-career-plan-on-it.html

http://www.aarp.org/work/working-after-retirement/info-10-2013/reimagine-your-life.html

http://www.aarp.org/work/working-after-retirement/info-05-2011/ready-for-an-encore.html

http://www.whitehouse.gov/about/presidents/ronaldreagan

http://www.economist.com/news/leaders/21597898-if-barack-obama-wants-increase-economic-opportunity-he-should-embrace-ideas

http://www.economist.com/news/united-states/21597925-want-make-america-less-unequal-here-are-some-suggestions-memo-obama

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2013/12/19/the-courage-to-succeed-as-non-trad-students/

Let’s face it: No one has to read your blog or for that matter my blog, Almost DailyBrett.

We only have so much time, just so many finite grains of sand to live on this planet.

hourglass

And yet there is so much that we have to read (e.g., work, school, self-improvement) or at least should read.

And some of us read faster than others or comprehend better than others.

Blogs are something that we rarely have to read, but we generally consume them because we want too.

A blog is the most discretionary of all reads.

Blogging came into being simultaneously with the advent of World Wide Web 2.0 way back in the prior century, circa 1997.

After the initial euphoria about web logs or blogs via digital self-publishing tools came the brutal realization that coming up and devising blog content was easier said than done.

Alas, there are literally hundreds of thousands of dead blogs out there, never to be heard from again. They started with oodles-and-oodles of enthusiasm before reality came-a-calling.

The new blog was akin to the New Year’s resolution to join a health club; the majority of these new “members” are all-but-a-memory by the Super Bowl on the first Sunday in February.

Having acknowledged what seems to be a trend, the number of bloggers and content is nonetheless, staggering.

By noon (PDT) today, there were already more than 1.5 billion blogs written and posted around the world.

There are 71.5 million WordPress blog sites (and literally counting). There are 385 million subscribers, consuming 13.3 billion pages each month. There are 35 million new posts, triggering 61.2 million comments each month.

Two-thirds of these WordPress blogs are written in English; Espanol esta dos with 8.7 percent and Portuguese is third with 6.5 percent. There are obviously growth opportunities when you add the potential of native speaking Mandarin and Cantonese bloggers and readers.

Keep in mind: These are stats for WordPress blogs alone. Based upon this evidence and more, one must conclude that blogging is alive and well.

Some contend that “tagging” key items for internet search engines, and push marketing blog posts to other social media and online groups are the essential ingredients for blogging success. Almost DailyBrett wholeheartedly concurs with these points.

Going deeper, the ultimate barometer of blogging triumph or failure goes back to the first point of this homily: A blog is the most discretionary of all reads.

No one was put on Mother Earth to read your blog. Okay, moms may be an exception.

Your blog needs to be compelling copy. Your subject matter, more likely than not, will not interest everyone, but it needs to draw the attention of someone or a host of someones.

Variety shows (e.g., The Ed Sullivan Show) are a distant fading memory, commemorating on YouTube for those nights in which the Stones and the Beatles were introduced to the world. Life magazine pops up at check-out stands with special editions, bringing back memories of the publication’s hay days in the middle of the 20th Century.

The Rolling Stones On 'The Ed Sullivan Show'

Today’s segmentation society reflects our living mosaic of specialized interests. Almost DailyBrett has found that not everyone is interested in the conflict between Fiduciary Responsibility vs. Corporate Social Responsibility, but more than 1,000 have clicked on that blog.

And what’s with all these 2,000 or more seemingly angry people reading about the Trouble with Widowers? What’s with these pesky widowers, who dare have fond memories of their deceased wives?

Should we shoot them all?

The last inflammatory question brings up the most important point.

A blog needs to be provocative, but not outrageous.

It should be infamous, but not notorious.

A blog should be Charles Krauthammer, not Howard Stern. It should be Bill Moyers, not Bill Maher. Thoughtful is a good word here.

Being provocative and controversial from time-to-time, does not mean you are a bomb thrower. When the dust settles, you should emerge with your reputation intact and your credibility unharmed.

A good blog should take a position, but be open to responses, even slings and arrows, from those who do not agree. After all, a blog is a classic example of two-way symmetrical communication.

georgewill

Keep in mind, digital is eternal. Every key stroke that is published is permanent. Every incendiary statement, slur or name calling can easily bounce back and bite the writer. Think of the internet as being radioactive. Similar to nuclear power, it should be handled with care.

And don’t worry if your online epistles do not trigger a ton of responses. Think of it this way: How many listeners actually call-in to radio talk shows? How many write (how quaint) letters to the editor? How many tweet or email (20th century technology) cable talk show hosts? The answer is not many, but that does not mean these talk shows, tactile-and-online publications and programs are not successful.

patton2

The same is true for bloggers. I can’t speak for other writers, but this is post #235 for Almost DailyBrett and so far ADB has attracted 211 comments or less than one per blog.

So go out and write to your heart’s content. Demonstrate your thought leadership about something that you know about and which is near and dear to you. There is an audience out there for you. Keep in mind, every reader has only so much time.

And remember, it is far better to be George Will than George Patton when it comes to the most discretionary of all reads.

http://en.wordpress.com/stats/

http://www.worldometers.info/blogs/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2011/12/13/fiduciary-responsibility-vs-corporate-social-responsibility/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2012/04/15/the-trouble-with-widowers/

 

 

 

magnifying-glassWhat’s the difference between pubic relations and public relations?

How about the word “ass” as opposed to “as.”

One tiny little letter in each of these cases, but a ton of difference in context and of course, raised eyebrows.

Is it me and my friends went to the movies or my friends and I went to the movies? Hint “me” is always an object of a sentence. The “me and my friends” version I hear way too many times for comfort.

Some blog posts are harder to right than others.

Make that some blog posts are harder to WRITE than others.

As I finish the process of reviewing dozens of graduating senior public relations portfolios and grading final two-page executive memos, I am constantly reminded about the vital skill associated with the attention to detail.

If you want to succeed in public relations, marketing, investor relations, brand management, advertising, events planning etc., you must sweat the details. The client’s name must be spelled write…err right.

That’s an imperative.

The Microsoft spell checker is useful, but it fails to recognize when the wrong word is spelled correctly.

Trust me the client will clobber you for even one letter being out of place or not capitalized, particularly for a proper noun. The hosting service for Almost DailyBrett is WordPress, two words jammed together with the first letter of each, capitalized. Did you note that DailyBrett is not two distinct words, but two words married to each other and capitalized?

Nike is spelled NIKE. The same is true for NVIDIA. Facebook is not FaceBook. Do you want to misspell the company’s name for Mark Zuckerberg? Trust me even after a disastrous IPO, he still has the requisite amount of nanoseconds to note the misspelling.

Did you hear about the near miss of two planes in the air over DFW?

What is a “near miss?” It’s a collision with tons of flames and falling debris.

And yet that is NOT how we think about a “near miss.” Sometimes these wrong words sound right, and yet they are still wrong.

Ever hear about an untimely death? Sure you have, but when is a death ever, “timely”?

When I was toiling in the trenches for 10 years for LSI Logic, I was once asked by executive management why we wrote our news releases, advisories, contributed articles, briefing sheets in a particular fashion. I replied that we prepared them using AP style. That answer quickly ended the discussion. AP Style is the gold standard for Journalism, whether one is enamored with the wire service’s reporting or not.

Alas, I still have to repeatedly correct the use of over ten million dollars (three AP-style errors in just one little phrase) instead of the correct, more than $10 million.

Think of it this way: the horse jumped over the fence and five is more than four. If you remember this rule, you will never get it wrong.

Who is the subject, and whom is the object. (And you thought The Who was a classic rock band)

I could go on into infinity, but I will resist the temptation.

As educators in professional schools of great universities, we are preparing our students to succeed in a brutal job environment. Public relations and advertising agencies, corporate PR shops, non-profits, events planning firms are being besieged by graduating seniors seeking out jobs, internships and even informational interviews. These newly minted graduates are looking for any and all ways to earn any amount of legal tender.

Are these students writing tweet-style cover letters? Are they writing these letters directly to the hiring manager or to a machine that will swallow them up, never to be seen again? Are they starting these letters with, “To Whom It May Concern?” Please, no.

When it comes to their curriculum vitae (if you don’t know what the Latin stands for, look it up), are students listing their academic credentials first or their directly related work experience no matter how meager? Graduating seniors need to immediately transition themselves mentally to being professionals.

resume1

Do you (student) work well with people? Are you going to tell a hiring manager just that? Please don’t with sugar on top.

What is the Return on Investment (ROI) in she or he “works well with people” statement? Why would any employer spend precious SG&A dollars for someone who works well with people? What’s in it for the employer?

A student must differentiate herself or himself. Tell the perspective employer what you have done and what value you bring to the party.

Think of it this way: the tweet-style cover letter is used to quickly (about 4.3 seconds for recruiters…but who is counting?) entice the employer to read the resume.

The resume or curriculum vita (CV) is intended to secure an interview.

The interview leads to a job offer.

The job offers lead to an HR packet being overnighted to your domicile.

Even with that plan, you still have to be ready for an employment curve ball. What if you were asked to either submit a LinkedIn URL or a CV? Which one would you choose? Think of that choice as a one-and-zeroes binary code, social media trap.

And if you don’t have a LinkedIn URL, get one pronto.

And when you do, sweat the details of your Linkedin page…err LinkedIn page.

https://www.apstylebook.com/

http://www.linkedin.com/

“If a man says something in a forest, and there isn’t a woman there to hear him, is it still stupid?” – Too Many Anonymous Authors Claiming Credit

treefalls

Three years ago today, I began Almost DailyBrett.

Should I brag or apologize?

At the end of July 2009, my blog attracted a grand total of…drum roll…seven page views.

As I was composing my first posts, I was imagining standing alone in a cyber forest making typing noises (tree falling?), and wondering if I was making any sound? Did anyone give a particle about Almost DailyBrett? Was blogging a huge waste of time and effort?

Three years later, I am happy to report that Almost DailyBrett now totals 155 blog posts and 141 comments and counting. The total number of page views is approaching 12,000. Almost DailyBrett and by extension Kevin Brett brands are being championed by means of social media (e.g., Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, LinkedIn professional groups), tag words, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) techniques, and good old-fashioned word-of-mouth.

This is not an undertaking for the humble and the modest.

It should also be noted that blogging is not for serial procrastinators or people who simply do not relish the joy of writing. For those who love words, sentences, concepts, heck even grammar, the one-and-zeroes access to cyberspace and the blogosphere is a Godsend.

In some respects, most bloggers remind me of the newbies that showed up at a health club around New Year’s Day. Their resolutions are fresh in mind. They are ready to develop a new, robust physique. Some are envisioning standing on the victory platform in their Speedos throwing muscular poses to the crowd…and then reality comes crashing down. From aerobics comes pain. From resistance training comes a form of torture. Muscles that are used to a sedentary state want to remain in a sedentary state.

As we said about these newbies: “They will be gone by the Super Bowl.”

Alas, that is the case for many new bloggers. They start with the wind in their proverbial sails and pound out their first blog; hardly anyone is clapping. And then there is the issue of the next blog…there is always the issue of the next blog. They think about their upcoming blog and no inspiration is forthcoming. Days go by. Weeks go by. Months go by. Chalk up another dead blog.

Let’s face it: Blogging requires a commitment. It demands that you can’t wait to write your next post. It means that you have to be constantly thinking about what you want to write and what your readers want to read about. So what are some hard-earned lessons about not only starting a blog, but maintaining your relationship with your readers?

● Afford yourself maximum flexibility in the title of your blog. Avoid painting yourself into a proverbial corner. If you only want to write about movies, travel, sports etc., then give your blog a name appropriate to that genre. If you want to explore a wide variety of topics, then look for an umbrella that gives you wide latitude, but also builds your brand (e.g., Almost DailyBrett).

● Steadfastly guard your credibility and reputation. A blog should be provocative and fun to read. Keep in mind that blogs are the ultimate in discretionary reading. Nobody reads your blog because they have to read your blog. However, there is a difference between being provocative and being outrageous. Maintain your professionalism at all time…and follow the “When in doubt, leave it out” rule.

● Follow the Potter Stewart philosophy of searching for a subject for your next blog. The former US Supreme Court Justice will go down in history for his famous line about obscenity, “I know it when I see it.” The public relations escapades of Tiger Woods, Anthony Weiner, John Edwards, Spirit Airlines just to name a few became instant fodder for Almost DailyBrett. Keep a close eye on the news and trendy topics.

potterstewart

● See yourself as a thought leader. What unique perspectives can you offer to your audience? For me, I have written extensively on not only widow(er)hood, but also the challenges associated with dating post-positive marriage. My “Competing Against the Dead” and “The Trouble with Widowers” blogs still receive considerable traffic. Others are in the same boat. I have also devoted considerable time to communications choreography, fiduciary vs. corporate social responsibility and other subjects close to my heart.

● Develop thick skin. Just as they nailed Jesus Christ to the cross, you are not going to please everyone. Anticipate getting negative responses from time-to-time, and don’t be afraid of publishing them in your comments section. As long as they are fair (or close to being fair) and are not nasty, racist, sexist diatribes and spam, I will allow them to be posted to my site.

● Use push marketing techniques for your blogs. What are your tags? Wonder if the words, “Playboy,” “Jenny McCarthy,” “Lindsay Lohan,” and “Pam Anderson” will attract the search engines? Once a blog is posted (including this one), market your blog subject and a related link on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook. If the subject is germane to a particular LinkedIn group(s), then post a question to the group about your blog premise. Sometimes you can really stir the pot.

All one has to do to start a blog is to establish a WordPress account. It’s absolutely free. Even the technologically challenged can figure out the software. From that point you are in business. Some contend that blogging is dead. The numbers point to the opposite: 54.1 million WordPress sites; 327 million subscribers viewing 2.5 billion pages each year; 500,000 new posts and 400,000 comments are uploaded every day. And that’s just WordPress. There are oodles of other services to host your blog.

That’s a lot of noisy trees falling down each day.

http://en.wordpress.com/stats/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Potter_Stewart

An electronic job application for a privately held, big media marketing firm offers candidates a choice: Upload a soft copy of your resume or your LinkedIn profile.

Is this a choice or a trap?

linkedinleftbehind

The candidate has to choose one or the other (assuming she or he has both a CV and a LinkedIn profile). Certainly one can opt to upload a resume and copy-and-paste a cover letter, but what signal does that send? Did we ever have to consider potentially sending a potentially fatal technology laggard message by simply submitting a cover letter and resume?

If the candidate elects to offer her or his LinkedIn URL in lieu of a resume (and copy-and-paste an obligatory cover letter), is she or he telling this future employer that she or he gets it when it comes social media? Weighing the realistic potential of a trap, I would advise job candidates to submit their LinkedIn URL and carefully crafted and edited cover letters.

You may be thinking that I am being slightly (or even more) paranoid, but let’s face it: The job market is a minefield particularly in this long-time distressed economy.

Does this mean that resumes will soon become so 20th Century? We shouldn’t be so quick to throw dirt on resumes, but their usefulness is obviously being challenged by the agility and completeness of LinkedIn.

In some respects, resumes or curriculum vitae (CV) are the equivalent of name, rank and serial number. They chronicle your career, and if you are wise you will quantify your accomplishments to help the hiring manager make the critical interview or no-interview decision. A cover letter encourages the reading of the resume. The resume encourages or discourages an interview. Interviews are either path-ways to the employment promised land or a one-way ticket back to square one.

resume1

LinkedIn URLs accomplish the basic task of the resume (chronology of career, academic degrees, awards, memberships etc.), but they do more…so much more. First, submitting your LinkedIn URL implicitly demonstrates that you get it (or at least you are on your way to getting it) when it comes to social media. A potential employer can review the number and the quality of your LinkedIn “connections” to determine the company you keep, who knows you and vice versa.

The same point also applies to your LinkedIn groups that you have joined. I am a member of 24 groups, including a wide variety of public relations and communications professional groups, and those from my present and past employers. These groups are another way of demonstrating your “online presence” as emphasized by professional branding guru, Dan Schawbel. His recent Forbes article predicted that social media will replace resumes within 10 years. He may be conservative.

In addition, your LinkedIn profile not only lists who recommended you but allows hiring managers to immediately read your praises from former superiors, colleagues and most important of all, your subordinates. Examples of your PowerPoint or Prezi presentations can be uploaded to LinkedIn, giving employers’ insights into your presentation skills, design capabilities and thought processes. Try doing that with a resume.

A huge feature for me is the automatic posting and updating of my Almost DailyBrett blogs from WordPress to LinkedIn. An employer doesn’t have to surf WordPress to read Almost DailyBrett, particularly those posts that directly apply to the practice and teaching of communications choreography.

Some may be tempted to play down LinkedIn and its reported 150 million users in comparison to Facebook with its 901 million users or Twitter with its 500 million users. The difference is that LinkedIn is focused on attracting commerce and building professional networks. LinkedIn is a quality play, not a quantity play.

Wall Street seems to be noticing the difference in business models as LinkedIn (NYSE: LNKD) was initially priced at $45, immediately jumped to $85 on its IPO date and has been holding north of the three-figure mark, today finishing at $103.84. Despite all the springtime histrionics, Facebook (NASDAQ: FB) was offered at a $38 IPO price, rose slightly and immediately plunged. Today at close of market it stands at $28.09 per share.

Maybe one of points that is becoming clear to users, employers, potential employees, investors, analysts, media and others is that LinkedIn (and potential direct competitors/successors) is changing the way that candidates are identified and hired. At the same time, LinkedIn may be shoving the resume/CV into the back seat or may even be taking the wheel.

Is it time to sing LinkedIn über Alles? It could be; it very well could be.

Almost DailyBrett note: The writer of this blog post is a subscriber to LinkedIn, WordPress, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. More to the point, the blog writer owns a low double-digit quantity of LinkedIn shares and a low triple-digit quantity of Facebook shares. It is extremely doubtful that my endorsement of any publicly traded social media site will have any impact on Wall Street. If that were the case, I would ask my readers to subscribe to my “letter.”

http://www.bond-us.com/blog/linkedin-profile-or-resume-staffing-agency

http://www.linkedin.com/answers/career-education/resume-writing/CAR_RSW/924819-5780993

http://www.forbes.com/sites/danschawbel/2011/02/21/5-reasons-why-your-online-presence-will-replace-your-resume-in-10-years/

http://blog.cgsm.com/2012/02/08/when-will-a-linkedin-profile-replace-a-resume/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LinkedIn

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Facebook

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Twitter

How many times have you heard some frustrated consumer threaten to take a vendor to the Better Business Bureau? http://www.bbb.org/

With all due respect to the triple Bees, you might as well take the complaint to the Vatican, the Kremlin and the White House as well. I have never heard of anyone securing a satisfactory result taking their case to the Better Business Bureau (maybe they can prove me wrong)…but all is not lost.

In our fast-paced lives we literally deal with hundreds of service providers during a course of a given year, some better than others. We are pleasantly surprised by those who produce great results with super bedside manner. We are mildly frustrated and disappointed with those who do not perform well. But what happens in those (hopefully) few cases where we feel that we have been downright wronged?

Well, there are alternatives to contacting the Pope, the Politburo, the President or even Santa Claus. And these alternatives are digital in nature and are becoming increasingly effective.

As we all know there are literally thousands of articles and tutorials of how digital tools can be used to build brand, promote products and ideas, and enhance reputations. There are fewer accounts as to how these very same digits…the ones and zeroes…can be used to warn your fellow consumers to stay clear of a bad actor. Think of it this way, you are providing a needed public service to your fellow consumers in our service-oriented economy.

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Without rehashing the mind-numbing detail, I went through an absolutely horrendous process in selling my home in California’s East Bay. The proverbial last straw was the agent for the buyer, Tim McGuire of Alain Pinel Real Estate, reneging on a promised $500 reduction in his commission in order to facilitate the deal. This very well may turn out to be the most expensive $500 decision in his life.

I am truly sorry it had to come to this, but I felt compelled to write about this experience last month on Yelp.com, telling the absolute truth about what happened to me. I would not wish the anguish and sleepless nights on anyone. http://www.yelp.com/biz/tim-mcguire—alain-pinel-real-estate-pleasanton. The review was written and uploaded and that was that…or so I thought.

What brought my attention back to this issue was a casual search of the McGuire’s name on Google www.google.com. My Yelp review was the number three item on the first page, right underneath duplicates of his personal website http://www.google.com/search?sourceid=navclient&aq=0h&oq=tim&ie=UTF-8&rlz=1T4ADRA_enUS373US374&q=tim+mcguire+realtor.

Not only was there my less-than-flattering, but absolutely on-target “review,” but his response…and the response that he coaxed from his clients, the buyers. Didn’t Mr. Tim realize that he was generating traffic to my Yelp review and with it more eyeballs to the page? In effect, he was doing a superb job in SEO or Search Engine Optimization, thus raising the profile of my Yelp review in the “eyes” of the Google search engine.

Being me, I decided to help him out by writing a response to his response. And hopefully, he will write a response to my response to his response of my review. And maybe, he can ask his friends, clients, neighbors and family to all write a response to my response to his response to my review? The more, the merrier…right?

Taking it a step further, I even recounted this episode on my Facebook www.facebook.com, Twitter www.twitter.com and LinkedIn.com www.linkedin.com pages and now my Almost DailyBrett blog.

So what is the point here? The point is that good customer service should be the norm. Why? Because if a job is worth doing, it is worth doing right. And if you deliberately commit a wrong and hurt your customer, well that customer has many digital options at her or his disposal. As a service provider in this increasingly interconnected and very small world, you really don’t have that much to lose: just your reputation and hard-earned brand. Be afraid, be very afraid.

pinel

Mark Twain once said something about not getting in fight with those who buy ink by the barrel. If he was around today, he would probably implore Tim McGuire to not get in a fight with those with access to a keyboard, Internet browsers, digital websites and social media. The results may not be so pretty.

Is the Pope Catholic?

Does a bear do nasty things in the woods?

Why even address the question of whether a blog is social media?

And yet a well-respected colleague, Eric Villines of the MWW Group in Seattle http://www.mww.com/, posed this innocent sounding question to the “Public Relations Professionals” group page on LinkedIn.com. http://www.linkedin.com. The answer seems obvious, but upon reflection maybe it is not.

Why? The great promoters of blogs (and you know who you are) extol the virtues of social marketing. This is a utopian, Wild-West free-flow of ideas that germinates with the introduction of a provocative subject by a blogger. Of course, the blogger is not doing this out of the goodness of her or his heart. The goal is to demonstrate thought leadership (oh how agency PR types love that phrase) in a given subject or a given market.

Does this blogger necessarily want a conversation? Now that is a different question. In some respects, a blogger may want to lecture, instruct, pontificate and maybe even, bloviate. There may be a product to sell, a cause to promote or even a trial balloon to float.

And do companies, particularly always nervous publicly traded companies, want a dialogue? Yes, they want to build brand. And they also want to expand the number of their customers and investors, but do they want input, particularly public input? Some do. Some don’t.

Personally, I led a successful campaign to convince a major Asian technology company to start blogging. What little hair that was left on top of my head is now gone as a result of this process. Since the company trades on the NYSE, they naturally have SEC regulatory concerns (e.g. Reg FD). And they are paranoid about protecting market share and that means preventing inadvertent releases of proprietary information to competitors. These are normal and justifiable considerations.

But it went beyond that. What about comments from readers? Do we allow these comments to be read by others? Yes that is the noble purpose of a blog, but still do we want to air what could be dirty laundry?

The answer in this case revolved around posting a blog link on the company’s home page that transferred to a separate WordPress site. The company was able to review the comments in response to the blog before approving or rejecting them. The company could also comment in response, keeping the dialogue going.

So the answer is a qualified yes, a blog “should” be social media. I use the subjunctive tense to reflect that blogging should encourage a conversation, and that is a great way to build brand and to demonstrate thought leadership.

And consistent with this notion that blogs are social media, let me ask: “Do you agree or disagree that blogs are social media?” An inquiring mind would like to know…and thank you Eric for the great idea.

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