Marketing Works Today

Integrated Digital Marketing & PR Consulting from Brown Ltd.

Direct To-the-Point Writing

Don’t spend 140 characters teasing a subject on Twitter and then 140 paragraphs before you get to the point when the viewer clicks your link.

I’ve been seeing a lot of links to bloated writing lately. Stop!

Don’t tell jokes, anecdotes, unrelated opinions, etc. before getting to the point. Keep it short and direct to the subject or you’ll loose your viewer.

Make your point first, then you can expand on the subject with the other stuff.

Enough said.

Filed under: Blogging, Brand Journalism, Content Development, Micro Blog (Twitter), Writing, , , , ,

8 Tips from the Twitter Superstars

Very helpful post for the inexperienced, and not so inexperienced, Twitter user:

http://www.sproutcontent.com/article/8-tips-from-the-twitter-superstars

Filed under: Blogging, Content Marketing, Micro Blog (Twitter), , , , ,

Blogging, Free Speech, the Law, and Reality

I was recently criticized by an idealist blogger about my position on blogging, publishing, and why you should be careful when publishing negative content. 

One of my specialties is Reputation Management and Crisis Communication.  I’m not a lawyer, but I have prepared Rep and Crisis Communication Strategy and Plans, and had to execute them for many companies and clients.  Plus, I’ve been on both sides of the fence as a journalist and PR pro – including communication law cases.

I’m a 30-year professional journalist and college j-school teacher.  I’ve taken and taught media law for a long time. You should know there are consequences for libel and slander.

This post isn’t a class in media law; but, it is a practical overview of the issue on the street.

I encourage you or anyone to speak your mind anytime you want. Freedom of speech is of vital importance to our country and liberty.  I get it.

Supreme Court

But the truth matters. Facts matter. So does reality.

If you purposefully lie, distort the truth, publish outright false information, and it materially damages someone or their reputation, and they can prove it, the legal action could be a real drag.

I’m not talking about opinion. That’s different.

If you want to publish that you don’t like something or someone, it’s not illegal. Most companies or individuals won’t take legal action. It’s a business decision. Cost vs. bad press, reputation, or customer relations. Public companies usually won’t take action.

Plus the burden of proof to prove libel is all on the person bringing the lawsuit and it’s hard to prove to the standards set by the law.  Congress and the Supreme Court made it that way to protect free speech.

What I’ve explained so far is the ideal world.  Now for some reality.

 

Front & Backroom Legal Action

Private individuals or privately held companies are a different matter when you attack them with a blog, especially ones with deep pockets and no board of directors to report to, when they decide they personally don’t like something a blogger publishes.

I witnessed the president of a privately held company legally and financially game and drain someone dry because of blogging.  The blogger is living with his mother now. 

Would the president win in court?  Probably not, even though the blogger was a jerk.  However, the legal amusement from a vindictive person with lots of money is endless and so is the cost – for the other party AND YOU.

The question is… as a blogger, how much time and money do you want to spend with lawyers?  How much do you have?

How much do you have?

If you turn your publishing into a full-time rant, the savvy will launch their reputation management system and make your posts irrelevant or worse – you can ruin your own reputation.

If you’re really nasty in your posts, with the sole purpose to ruin someone’s reputation, some will take legal action based on “poison pen” law. I just read that a ranter just got found guilty of that.  They’ve gone for years in the legal process. Great fun for them I’m sure.

By the way, this isn’t just about one or two court cases.  There have been many.  Most don’t make the press.  You have to read the court records.

Many posts and blogs have been taken down by an ISP or blog hosting company because of violations of terms of service.  Most article directories won’t even allow you to mention a company name unless it’s yours.  They don’t want the grief.  Censorship?  Yes.

In an ideal world, you’re right.  Nobody should censor.

Unfortunately, this is a hugely litigious country and the folks with the biggest bank account can bleed you dry.  Is it right?  No.  Does it happen?  Everyday.

Here’s how it works.

In almost all cases, lawsuits settle – you never get to court to have a “decision” based on what is right.  Most of the time there is a signed agreement by both parties – and the judge that you never get to meet – requiring you to shut up about the case.  So you won’t read much about it or the litigant that leaked will have to go before that judge and defend against contempt of court.

Usually they settle somewhere in the middle after both parties are tired of spending or the hassle.  Your time and cost will be yours – at $150-$350 per hour for your lawyer, who usually wants to keep it going, plus mediators at $750 a day.  When all is said and done, the lawyers got richer and you got poorer.  Is it worth it?

My point is: there is an ideal and purely constitutional law side to this – and there is a practical and real-world (and some would say cynical) side.

The ideal is a free flow of ideas and honest discussion, agreement, and disagreement. That exists most of the time and it’s good.

But get your facts wrong and in the process harm someone badly, or go over the top with opinion to the point that you anger someone with deep pockets, and I guarantee you’ll wish you never wrote that post.

I know: reality stinks.  You can live in an ideal la-la land in your head.  Or you can live in the real world.  It’s your choice.  The key is to pick your battles.

Sometimes, it’s just better to listen to what your mother taught you, “If you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say it at all.”

Filed under: Blogging, Crisis Communication, Media Law, Public & Media Relations, Reputation Management, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Blogger Sued for $25 Million

Truth and facts are important everywhere, especially in publishing. 

However, no matter what the legal and constitutional issues are with libel and slander, or the burden of proof for the person that sues, fending off a lawsuit costs a lot of time and money, even if you did nothing but report what you think are the facts. 

The blogger that is being sued already lost his job because of the issue. 

A former editor of mine said, “There are always more than two sides to a story.”  You better know them before you publish.

If you aren’t a media company with a staff of lawyers, and don’t have an editor and fact checkers to check your work, it’s really important to be careful… and sometimes it’s not even worth saying something negative or bringing up a fact you are not 100% sure of.

In addition, since we are responsible for creating, moderating, (and deleting if necessary) our own posts, you have to be careful about what other people comment on a post or blog you start.  You may need to fact check, edit, or delete their comments (since you are the publisher).  This is a gray area that I don’t believe has been sorted out in the law and courts yet.

So before you blog, post, or accept someone’s comments, think about what is said and the consequences. Sometimes, as your mother taught you, it might just be better to not say it at all.

See the story below:

Click Here To See the Media Report (CBS4 in Miami)

Filed under: Content Development, Media Law, Public & Media Relations, , , , , , , , , , ,

14 Secrets of Web Lead Generation that Converts to Sales

Social Networking is the latest craze; and, with other relevant websites and qualified email addresses, you can get leads and convert them into a sale.

However, belonging to social networks because you know that you need to be on them for business isn’t enough to get results. You have to do more. Here’s how:

LinkedIn is a Must Have for Social Networking. Most of my biggest deals and all of the empolyees I've hired lately have come from LinkedIn relationships.

1. Join (at least) these general Social Networking sites: LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter.

2. Join all the specific professional groups and CUSTOMER groups that are your business targets on Social Network sites and other content relevant websites. Keyword searches will help you find them.

3. Join Press Release sites, content relevant Forums, and search Google and Yahoo Directories for topic relevant sites that allow you to add content.

4. Make sure you complete your profile on all sites if they offer it, including your picture. If a big ol’ ugly guy like me does it, you should too. Visitors don’t like dealing with a logo or some goofy art. Use your picture!

5. Write content that is helpful to the group. Be specific about tips and tricks. Think: What is the best thing I can tell this group TODAY.

6. Write once, publish many. Write complete content so it can be used in many places, including press release sites. Copy the portion that is relevant to each group, forum, or site and publish.

7. Include your contact info, website, and/ or blog on every post. You would be amazed how many people forget to do this.

8. Follow up on every comment to your post… at least a thank you but hopefully more to keep the conversation and idea generation going! Over 10 comments gets double the readership. If you find that a significant influencer is commenting on your post, find out their snail-mail address and SEND A HAND-WRITTEN THANK-YOU CARD IN THE REGULAR MAIL! That’s a touch most don’t think of.

9. Make friend requests with people that make comments that have good input and add value. Send a private email to them thanking them for their comment(s). 80% will connect with you. Now you’re building a QUALIFIED LIST. Only accept friend requests that are qualified.

10. Make comments on other group member’s topics. Add value, good ideas, and compliment / thank the discussion starter. Don’t try to sell anything. Only put your name, website, and/or blog.

11. Ask interesting and thought provoking questions for posts. Shake them up! Be a thought leader! Moderate the discussion.

12. If the site has the capability to do surveys, build an interesting survey. Then publish the results in the group AND outside on relevant websites and via email to contacts that would be interested.

13. You MUST answer comments FAST. If you have a qualified lead on the web, you have to answer them immediately! Not 24 hours. Not Monday. Now! For real estate sales webleads, I gave the sales staff 15 minutes! Customers that come from web leads expect instant response. Let it go for hours and they have moved on. Get a smart phone so you can stay connected…. whatever you have to do to capture, be helpful, and convert that lead FAST.

14. This is a three-step process. First you add value. Then you soft-sell your business and gather qualified leads. Finally, you convert leads that make requests.

Remember, not everyone will “buy” but many will and almost all will appreciate the value you add and how fast you do it. They will provide referrals.

Stay tuned for the next article on Secrets of Web Ad Generation that Converts to Sales. I’ll explain what kinds of web ads work and why.

Filed under: Lead Generation, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Marketing Works Today

This blog is to help you learn how to connect with customers. The goal is to show you how to get the most qualified leads, traffic, relationships, and sales for the lowest cost/customer. I'll write and aggregate content that relates to the goal. You're welcome to subscribe, comment, and post. Send me your news tips!

What’s In A Title?

I've had a lot of titles [Director of Marketing, Communications Director, Advertising Director, Multimedia Producer, Managing Editor, Reporter, Copywriter]; but, I approach every project as a digital producer... what does the audience need and how can I deliver it most effectively and for the lowest cost?

Sometimes I write with pictures or video, sometimes with words. I always keep the goal in mind: sales, leads, traffic, a better brand image or awareness, or just a really good story, etc.

Yeah I create content for money. But you'll see from my background that I'm way better at making money for others than I am for myself.

I wish I had 1%. I'd be surfing with my kids all the time now.

Contact me and I'll make some for you.

Mike Brown
www.BrownLtd.com
MikeBrown@BrownLtd.com

Twitter Updates

Search Engine Advertising

I have 8 years experience setting up, writing, and managing small business and simple product campaigns ($100/week Google Adwords) and large business campaigns with multiple divisions and product lines (up to $20,000/week in Google Adwords – more than $1.1 billion in annual sales). Contact me to create your campaign! MikeBrown@BrownLtd.com

R. Michael Brown
Marketing Consultant, Public Relations Consultant, Freelance Writer: West Palm Beach, Florida

"I help organizations increase sales, and pump up the value of their brand, using media, for the lowest cost per customer."

Digital Marketing and Public Relations consultant, writer, and producer with over 20 years experience launching brands like DiVosta Homes, IBM Multimedia, Nextel, Motorola business and government sector, and SunFest Jazz Festival.

MikeBrown@BrownLtd.com
561-756-1674

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 28 other followers

Google

Add to Google

Share This

Bookmark and Share

My Portfolio Below

In the My Shared File Box below you will see files to download from my portfolio. Download and let me know what you think!

Flickr Photos

%d bloggers like this: