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8 Website Conversion Trends Could Transform Your Business in 2015

By Guest Blogger Marisa Murgatroyd

Blink your eyes three times.

That’s 1 second — the amount of time it takes for 10 new websites to hit the internet. (That’s 86,400 new sites each day!)

Holy Christmas! How do you compete against that?

It’s actually easy.

  1. First, stop following the latest & greatest “web design” trend articles that get put out every year. Web designers can tell you what’s new & what looks good, but they’re rarely experts in what works to CONVERT traffic into results online.
  2. Second, implement these 8 new conversion trends I’ve identified. (By sticking to whatconverts, you’re guaranteed that you’ll get a return on your investment.)

Here they are, starting with the MOST important one of all. The one trend to rule them all.

1. The World Has Gone Mobile.

Last year, mobile, cell & tablet internet usage surpassed desktop for the first time — up to 67% of people are now visiting you with a small(er) screen.

So what”, you ask? Well – think about it this way young Padawan.

If YOUR site looks craptastic on smaller screens, what do you think up to 67% of your visitors are going to do?

That’s right — they’re going to hit the back button as fast as their fat fingers can find it.

Without a great mobile experience, all of the hard work you’ve done up until now (and money you’ve spent) will be for nothing because you could be losing up to 67% of your traffic INSTANTLY.

No, I’m not trying to make you feel bad here right off that bat. On the contrary. Take this as a great opportunity to get out ahead of this huge trend and bring in a bunch of new business that are currently visiting you on their tablets from their couch.

Quick plug: I’ve got more information about how to do just that in my upcoming trainings on Jan 14 and 15. It’s free to attend and you can get more info here.

OK – so moving on to the next trends.

2. Big, gorgeous, full-width graphics and videos!

Global internet speeds have increased 2-3x in the last few years, bringing with it demand for more episodes of The Walking Dead, along with demand for more “eye candy”.

This means designers are now featuring large photos, graphics and videos that stretch full-width across a web page – expanding to fill an extra large monitor or shrinking down to fit a small handheld device.

The upside for you is that these large image areas grab your visitor’s full attention helping them focus on the thing you want them to do.

3. Modular Organization of Pages

It’s easier to scroll down a page on mobile devices then it is to click a small button. Web pages are getting longer and making greater use of full-width graphics and backgrounds to organize the page into “modules” that focus visitor’s attention on one concept at a time.

In case you’re wondering, your “So What” factor is this…

Many of us were taught to think about websites one page at a time. But website structure is evolving along with the technology, and we need to start thinking about them one section or module at a time.

(More on that in my upcoming free webinar! Woot!)

4. Sticky Nav. (AKA navigation…)

As pages are getting longer, it takes more time to scroll from the top to the bottom of the page, where the site navigation is usually featured.

Enter the “sticky nav”.

By minimizing the top navigation and allowing it to “stick” to the top of the page as a visitor scrolls, they now have access to the most important pages on your site at any moment in time.

5. Modals, pop-ups & “microinteractions.”

As we’ve already seen, pages are getting longer while attention is getting shorter.

This means it’s become more important to direct your visitors to thet one single action you want them to take at any given time — such as signing up for your email list or scheduling a free call.

For example, a single extra large button in your top banner launches a modal or pop-over focusing your visitors attention exclusively on inputting their name and email address.

Or a well-timed pop-up directs your audience to do the same.

6. Less text, bolder type

Just like it’s predecessor, the newspaper, people scan rather than read when they’re online, often consuming 30% or less of the text on any given page.

Up until now, smart designers have made use of bullet points, numbered lists, headlines, short paragraphs and other ways to chop text up into smaller and smaller pieces.

Now designers are using typography itself to draw attention to the handful of headlines & content that’s truly important.

Google Fonts plus low-to-no-cost type libraries are allowing businesses to craft custom font palettes that allow them to treat content like design – grabbing attention and pulling the reader in – while reducing the amount of text on a page for greater consumption.

7. Cleaner, fresher, flatter, simpler

Websites used to be jammed pixel-by-pixel with textures, graphics, tables and animations.

But the 80s are gone and these dense designs don’t convert well for seamless browsing on smaller screens.

The best sites coming online today make use of the full length (vertical scrolling) and width of the page (full page-width graphics & backgrounds) to create more spacious, modular designs that work on every screen and device.

They’re also making greater use of space and color to create cleaner, fresher designs.

8. Live chat

Only scammers still bury their contact information — social media has created a culture of transparency and accessibility where people demand conversations with businesses before making a purchasing decision.

Easy live chat technology now allows and encourages visitors to interact with business owners the exact moment they have a question, which skyrockets conversion.

MORE GOODIES:

Download Marisa’s 3 Highest Converting Home Pages (Yours Free!) 

PLUS: Jan 14 and 15 Marisa will give a live training on how to apply the ideas above and more to YOUR website.

Join Marisa free to learn the details, plus she’ll show you how you can actually have other people do all the work for you, leaving you free to concentrate on what you do best. (How cool is that?)

(Sign up for her webinar on January 14-15 and download your website templates now)


3 Tips to Avoid Social Media Madness

 

Social Media Tips

Social Media Tips
Photo by: deapeajay

Sometimes I’m totally obsessed with pinning, tweeting, and blogging. Then I catch myself….Whhhhaaaaat am I doing? This isn’t work.

Or is it?

Dunno. I go back and forth.

Is sharing this pic good for my brand because I think it’s funny—or cute?

Maybe.

Some things to think about BEFORE you post something on social media.

1. Does this link really represent a great article that will help my further my business or brand?

I admit I ALWAYS click through and read any article before I share because some people are fabulous at writing headlines/titles, but don’t deliver on content. Are you curating your content closely to make sure that you don’t send something that is potentially offensive or worthless? Don’t be in a super hurry to promote things just because others think it’s great. I’m not always of the same opinion.

3 Tips to Avoid Social Media Madness

Best times for social media posts
Photo by: Fey Illyas

2. Should I schedule my posts during optimal times?

Sometimes. I have discovered that, though our Sprout Social app may tell us the best times to tweet and post to Facebook, it doesn’t always predict who is online in the wee hours. I’ve had tons of favorites and retweets when I’m skimming for content ideas on those nights I can’t sleep.

Surprised? Yes, so was I. So don’t always believe the stats as when your tribe is or isn’t tweeting or Facebooking. Learn from your own experience. Those tools are great, but they aren’t God. They are algorithms, not people. The only way to find out what’s piquing your tribe is to choose things that please you or have already piqued others. (Though, neither is a guarantee). Lady luck plays a huge part in viralocity. As does timing and the tenor of the times.

3. Should I hire a social media manager?

Depends…

You want a social media manager who understands you and your brand and can sift through content quickly and make recommendations for posts, articles, pics and respond to people in your network in your voice. Sometimes this takes a bit of training – once you have the right person in that role.

Most of the time I leave all the social media stuff up to my social media manager Kayli Schattner to help me choose and post things I think you would like and share. That said, I send her things i want her to schedule AND I still want to approve most of the content before it gets posted. My VA Kelly has chastised me about this, saying it’s a waste of my precious time. But I’m super particular about my reputation. So that’s your own personal call.

For example, if someone makes a request that Kayli doesn’t know how to answer or feels uncomfortable answering, she’ll jet me and email so I can write up a response. We’ve created a bank of responses for the most frequently asked questions that she can tailor them to any request. That way I ensure that my followers are being handled in the way that matches my conversational style and integrity. And it saves a ton of time for all of us.

And, you’re in for a treat because…

Kayli has a few openings for a new client.

3 Tips to Avoid Social Media Madness

Social Media Marketing

Kayli is the most positive and optimistic person I know. She is always willing to help—and will tell you honestly when she doesn’t know something —or what doesn’t suit her strengths. I depend on her to handle all my social media and the administration of my blog. She’s a gem. Best to be fast. I scooped her up within an hour of interviewing her as she shined far above all the other candidates.

Here’s what she’s looking for:

Are you a creative entrepreneur or blogger looking to refine your web presence and generate leads through the power of social media? Find yourself craving more time to focus on what makes your soul happy rather than community building and small-talk? Social Media Strategist and Web Presence Consultant, Kayli Schattner, is taking on a couple of extra clients and would love to discuss how she can help you and your business. If you’d like a creative, upbeat and dedicated Social Media Manager for your business, be sure to jet her an email at: hello@thepassionpunch.com to discuss strategy and pricing.

Interested in more tips for social media? Try these:


3 Tips on the Power of Podcasting

 

by Kris Gilbertson

Did you know iTunes has over 1 Billion podcast subscribers?

5 Reraseons you simply can't afford not ot partner with iTunesTip #1) Podcasting Creates Leverage

With the rise of technology to the tune of over 1 Billion podcast subscribers in just iTunes alone, there is a new age of content curation available for every day entrepreneurs to position themselves in front of the mainstream with your message, programs, products, services, entertainment, and information.

More importantly, technology has allowed you to connect with consumers, and that is more powerful than any other form of marketing out there today.

Stitcher radio has now partners with major brands like GM, Ford, Subaru, Mini-cooper, etc . . . Making it so easy today to easily have mainstream consumers Find and connect with your business and your products!

So imagine this scenario:

The rise of the PodcastYour prospects wakes up, brews their pot of coffee, gets ready for work, and jumps in their car for their 30+ minute commute to work.

And before they have even pulled out of their driveway, they have already – with a simple touch of a button on their dash from Sticher – turned on your podcast to listen to for their enjoyment, entertainment and education on their commute to work.

They are looking for people to help them with problems they have in their life, or solutions they are looking for, or just plain entertainment and to better themselves through personal development.

So now you have their undivided attention.

You become the solo expert that is helping them, and that they’re connecting with and what does that mean for your business?

Reach the Global Audience you DeserveIncreased PROFITS and Revenue!

Tip #2) Podcast Create EPIC Connection

You see the real power of podcasting is the epic connection that happens for you and your business.

The top podcast providers are reporting that the average amount of time a listener will tune into a podcast is for 30+ minutes.

This creates a REAL connection with your listener and what allows you to Build TRUST on autopilot.

Be Found, Be Heard, Start leaving your impactSo how does that exactly translate into clients for your business?

We only buy from people that we TRUST. The power of the podcast allows you to create EPIC connections on auto-pilot and how you are able to turn listeners into clients from your podcast from the connection you make.

That level of connection is what allows you to stand out in this crowded marketplace – standing out as THE expert for your prospects and listeners.

There are many marketing strategies that can grab the attention of your target audience; however, are they all as effective as you think they are at holding it?

And turning the prospect into a HOT lead for your business?

The shift to Portable ContentTip #3) Podcasting Can Shorten Your Sales Cycle

Today the advertising space today is just plain loud.

As consumers, we are constantly bombarded with noise about new products and services that distract us from the last advertiser we were interested in just 30 seconds ago.

If your website does not captivate someone in less than 10 seconds, they head back into the cyber space black hole, probably never to return to your webpage again.

Audio Content: Why it works and is dominating the MarketMost squeeze pages result in less than 5 percent of buyers. A great direct mail campaign produces only about a 3 percent response rate. Radio and TV advertisements are being skipped over. Radio advertisements are being avoided all together following the birth and merger of SiriusXM and Pandora.

So, in a sea of today’s technological advancements, how do you get around that ADD consumer personality and create a loyal, tribe of followers for your brand, message, product, or service?

The answer is Podcasting.

Today’s market is driven by the consumer and in a world where everyone’s voice can be heard through social networks, having a podcast is going to allow you to connect and engage with your clients to keep them extremely satisfied, happy, more loyal than ever, and tweeting your praises to the world for you!

Be Discovered!Most importantly, a podcast is the only way to create a one-to-one relationship, with thousands of people at the same time, more than any other form of marketing.

This is exactly why a podcast is going to be your secret weapon for your marketing strategy and allow you to connect, build trust and rapport, with your consumers on auto-pilot and on demand!

Join us for a free master class webinar where Kris actually SHOW us exactly how to use these strategies to get you 5 figure clients and high-powered Lead generation with iTunes

Register now: http://bit.ly/kpodcast

About the Author

Kris Gilbertson

The power of Podcasting to your BusnessKris Gilbertson is the Best Selling Author of Podcasting for Promotion, Positioning, and Profit, Founder of the www.LifestyleAcademy.com, and host of the popular Business Lifestyle Entrepreneur Podcast.

She is a leading expert in how to create a world-class podcast. Her clients praise their podcast enables them to reach their ideal customer, create a thriving tribe, increase their traffic to their website from over 40%-5000% and do what they love by simply using the power of their voice.

To learn more please head over to www.LifestyleAcademy.com to learn the power of podcasting for your business!


5 Steps to Build Your Reputation With Publicity – When You’ve Just Begun Your Business

What do you do when you have just started your business and need customers and sales? What if you don’t have customer reviews, testimonials, biz experience or even a bio that shows you’re amazing but you want credibility… and publicity?

Imagine this: You have dozens or hundreds of people discovering you…
Even if you’ve just begun your business.

People who want to buy your products and hire you on the spot.

Here’s how.

Step #1. Shine Online.

guide

Click for a larger view

3 Steps to build a five-star online reputation infographic.

 

You want a website that’s crisp, clear and professional.

Where do potential clients, journalists and producers go to check you out to see if they want to do business with you?

Your website.

Your website should show what you do and who you do it for. Also, it needs an obvious call to action. What do you want your potential clients to DO when they visit? Make sure that they have a clear path to engage with you, your products and services. Give visitors a way to opt-in to a special report or a gift of some sort so you can stay connected.

It used to take 7 impressions before someone would buy from you. They had to connect with you in 7 ways to feel comfortable and trust you. In today’s world it now takes 10 touches to get the same results. So you have to be able to contact your future clients so they have a chance to get to know you.

When people complain that publicity doesn’t work what they really mean is that their website doesn’t convert clicks to cash. Publicity will drive people to your website – but then it’s up to your website to keep them interested enough to want to continue to connect with you and eventually buy.

Your website should also should have the look and feel of you. So a person’s instant impression gives them a sense of who you are, what you sell, and what you stand for.

Step #2. Showcase Your Skills.

Dog with bubble.cartereseContent marketing with images.
Photo Credit: carterse

The best place to showcase your skills is in your bio or about page. This is the place to tout your talents. And while you may not have much experience yet you can bridge your past experience to your present profession. For example, one of the participants in my sound bite course wrote a book on the history of adoption that covered many little known facts about how kids that are adopted don’t have the same rights as ordinary US citizens. She’s not an “adoption expert” but her job as a private investigator used the same sleuthing skills to get to the truth that she used to uncover hidden facts about the adoption industry. That superhero skill went into her bio and made the link from her current profession to her new role as author and champion of underprivileged adoptees.

Step #3. Sound Bite What You Do.

Good News.StewfFree publicity tips and training.
Photo Credit: Stwef

You want to be able to tell people how you can help them in one simple sentence.

Example: “I teach women how to achieve their ideal weight in 2-4 months with no dieting.”

(From Ann Convery’s course, “You’re So Brilliant, Why Don’t They Buy?”)

Notice that this description has concrete, quantifiable results and a timeframe to get those results. It’s not about you, but about what you do for your clients or customers. Plus, this one simple sentence is intriguing and sets up the conversation so people beg for more.

It leads your potential clients to ask two questions:

  1.  How?
  2. Can you do this for me?

Which is exactly what you want them to ask to close business on the spot or during a media appearance.

Step #4. Collect Client Raves.

One-person biz.marsmetPublicity for start-ups
Photo Credit: marsmet546

You can offer your services for free or a reduced fee in exchange for a review.

According to CompUSA and an iPerceptions study, “63% of consumers indicate they are more likely to purchase from a site if it has product ratings and reviews.”

One of the best ways to get a rave or review is to ask your client what was most helpful or what stood out – right after a successful consult, while you’re still on the phone or in-person with them. Then you write down exactly what they say and read it back to them for approval. This instantly produces natural sounding testimonials and stops procrastination pronto.

Procrastination happens because it can be hard for your clients to think, write and polish a testimonial for you. Stop Procrastination: Interviewing your customers or clients right after they’ve had a positive experience with you is effective and fast.

Bada Bing, you’re (almost) done.

According to 2012 research study adding a photo for unfamiliar celebrity names (that’s all of us J) increased the likelihood that the subjects would judge the claim to be true. So be sure to get photos of your clients and customers to increase your cred.

Step #5. Get Local Publicity.

Media Logos

Pitch your local press. Find an angle about how you’re helping or standing out in your community. Write up some tips about a topic that you know about but that most people don’t. Write a highly opinionated letter to the editor a publication whose audience you want to reach.

One of the quickest ways to get local publicity?

Photos.

Share a photo with a caption that amuses, shocks, or delights – with a short blurb.

Journalists love photos.

The other great thing about photos is that you are in complete control of your image and how you’re portrayed. Images are the sound bites of our generation and can go viral faster than any other medium.

Think visually.

BONUS!

Here’s another way visuals can help you get instant cred…

Logo-ize.

Once you get a media placement put the TV, radio or print logo on your home page or media page. You’ve seen this dozens of times on famous and up and coming people’s websites:

As seen in…

The Wall Street Journal
The New York Times
Parade
People
Real Simple

As seen on:

Oprah
Good Morning America
CNN
The Today Show

There’s nothing like the visual stamp of approval from a media interview or appearance to make a positive impression. Your visitors will automatically assume that you’re famous (or on your way to fame) if you have recognizable logos emblazoned on your website.

As Jayne Mansfield said, “Publicity can be terrible. But only if you don’t have any.”

So these are the 5 steps to Build Your Reputation With Publicity – When You’ve Just Begun Your Business. They are quick and easy and you can start with one thing today.

I would love to hear from you. Have you gotten local publicity? How did you do it?

I’m also curious: which of these 5 strategies resonated the most? Did one stand out as a gleaming jewel?

Did you like this article? If you did, like it, comment, and share it with your friends.

And remember the words of Harold Thurman Whitman:

“Don’t ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive, and then go do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”

Ready to dive into some more publicity strategies (think heart-felt stories & truth telling without schmaltz) that can start you on your way to the top? Enjoy this FREE training.

Want to see this blog post (with a slightly different twist) as a FREE 10 minute webinar? Hop on over here.

Now that you know a few things about getting publicity, make sure you’re a fabulous public speaker with these 7 inspiring tips.

 


Honoring Your Honesty: Sound Bites You Can Believe In

 

by Marcia Yudkin

Marcia YudkinDrama gets attention. The unexpected gets attention. Bold gets attention. But how can you tell if you’ve come up with a sound bite that has undeniable promotional punch yet goes over the top into hype or outright falsehood?

First, pay attention to the little voice in your head that worries or holds back when you think about using a certain phrase about yourself. After all, if you can’t wholeheartedly embrace it and say or hear it without embarrassment, others tune into your hesitation and won’t accept it, either.

Then stop and think about whether your sound bite is just harmless fun, like dressing up in a costume. Who’s to say you are not “The God of Organic Gardening” or “The Priestess of Pain Relief”? It’s perfectly valid to crown yourself with a moniker like that. No one runs a pageant for such titles, with only the official winner having the right to use the phrase. As long as you do have expertise in organic gardening, pain relief or the subject matter of your amusing nickname, go for it.

On the other hand, watch out for phrases that make a factual claim. Perhaps your little voice is warning that what you’ve said isn’t quite true. In that case, toss the sound bite or tweak it until it’s something that would stand up in a court of law.

For instance, a client once told me a branding expert advised her to say she’d gone from homelessness to a seat on the stock exchange in less than a year. In truth, it took almost three years for that journey, and people could quibble over whether she’d actually been homeless. (She had been living in her brother’s basement and occasionally sleeping in his car.) I told her it was just as impressive to know she’d gone from near-homelessness to a seat on the stock exchange in less than three years.

Superlatives in sound bites are tricky. When you say you’re the first dentist to have had a website or you own the largest accounting firm in Louisiana, you’d better not have made that up out of thin air. But if you’ve researched your claim and are 98 percent sure or better, that’s something you should be able to stand behind. Deploy it with confidence if a third party like a well-known expert, industry association or media outlet has bestowed the superlative on you.

Sheer wordplay is almost always a plus. A clever verbal twist can dance in the minds of readers and in the mouths of commentators. That might consist of a triple, like Superman’s “Truth, Justice, and the American Way,” a contrast, like “Our food is fresh. Our customers are spoiled,” from online grocer FreshDirect, a rhyme, such as Muhammed Ali’s “I outwit them and then I out-hit them” or a play on a popular culture reference, such as “Building community deep in the hearts of Texans,” from Texas Nonprofits.

Keep in mind that our culture allows even the most serious and dignified organizations and individuals, from Supreme Court justices to CEOs and companies we trust with our retirement savings, to take an ordinary idea and make it memorable. Listen to your intuition when it whispers concern about a sound bite. Yet except for the scruples outlined above, give yourself the same kind of permission.

No-Hype Copywriting: The Keys to Lively, Appealing and Truthful Sales WritingMarcia Yudkin is a copywriting and branding expert and the author of 6 Steps to Free Publicity, now in its third edition, along with 15 other books. Her ebook No-Hype Copywriting: The Keys to Lively, Appealing and Truthful Sales Writing, is available on Kindle, Nook and Smashwords. Learn more about how to describe yourself and your work both honestly and dramatically at the upcoming FREE No-Hype Copywriting Telesummit.


Messy, Gorgeous Process

 

By Guest blogger Laurie Wagner

What if I told you that it took me ten years to understand what I was teaching? It looked like I was teaching people how to write, but what I was actually doing, I realized late in the game, was teaching writers how to peel away the layers of their story and dig for something more true, more authentic and just plain honest. And while all that digging and examining is good for writing, it’s also excellent for living. When you chip away at the façade of your story, and you lay down one true word, and then the next true word you will eventually become stripped down and naked to yourself. And when you see yourself like that, there’s no turning back. You may, as many of my students have done, begin the process of changing your life.

I’m a process person. I’m all about getting words onto a page; messy, ugly, imperfect, glorious words. And to do that you need to become comfortable with being uncomfortable.

Laurie Wagner

For me, it’s not about what I’m writing or whether I like what I’m writing that’s important. That the pen inks like a river across the page, that I have the courage not to know what the next word is, or the word after that…that I keep going anyway. That’s the spirit, that’s what makes a sound turn into a song. I might only be able to hear bits at first – the merest sound of a refrain – but I’ll swirl it around in my mouth, taste it, roll it on my tongue and Wa La, I start singing. That’s how I make a song. The important part is not that I make a perfect song, but that I have created a channel for song sounds to come through – which means I can make more sounds and more songs.

It’s the same for writing. When I put these words on this page I didn’t know where I was going or what would come next, but if I’ve become a student of anything, it’s learning to not love what’s coming through me and to keep going anyway. That’s just part of the creative process. If I turned back every time I felt lost, or if I judged what I was doing, I wouldn’t make anything. I have to let go of perfection if I want to be a maker of things, because it’s not about the thing that I make, it’s about the making, and I want to be a maker for a long, long time.

Want to be a story maker this summer? Laurie’s 5-week e Course, Telling True Stories starts on June 17th. Laurie is an amazing teacher. Once you start telling the unadorned truth it changes everything. If you want to be a maker of things join Laurie in Telling True Stories – and watch your life change on the page, off the page.

FREE Publicity Sources

Publiseek connects their followers: technologists, computer/telecom experts, & tech companies, with members of the media looking to talk to sources for their articles.

Sourcebottle connects expert sources with journalists and bloggers in the UK, Australia, Canada & New Zealand and the US. They help journalists & bloggers find sources. They help businesses & PR pros get free publicity.


9 Steps to Be a Thought Leader — and Become a Media Darling

By Susan Harrow, media coach

So many people call themselves thought leaders now – but they aren’t. To be a thought leader takes some doing. It’s not so much about being original as it is about putting things together in an original way. Thought leadership marketing comes down to packaging your knowledge, skills, abilities, experiences, and yes, your thoughts in a way that makes you media worthy and worth listening to by your audience — a huge audience.

Follow these nine steps to get going on the path to be respected, heard and reverberated out into the world to become the very definition of thought leadership.

1. Cultivate an opinion.

Thought leaders have opinions. They shape a story. They position facts in a context. They make statistics come alive by interpreting them. We value people who give us perspective on things that matter most in our culture today.

Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook and their first woman to sit on their board, said of the differences about how men and women respond to taking credit for their success, “If you ask men why they did a good job, they’ll say, ‘I’m awesome. Obviously. Why are you even asking?’ If you ask women why they did a good job, what they’ll say is someone helped them, they got lucky, they worked really hard.”

To follow her lead take a look at your field or industry and find something that irks or inspires you and start to formulate some opinions about it. Folk singer Joan Baez said, “I’ve never had a humble opinion. If you’ve got an opinion, why be humble about it?” Thought leaders aren’t afraid to voice a strong opinion. The media seek guests who have opinions that help us ponder what’s important.

2. Make a prediction.

Can you see the future? Look into your private crystal ball and share it in a press release. Over twenty years ago I told my literary agent that getting on TV and grasping at fame was going to become a national obsession. I wrote up a book proposal about how to get on TV, supplied anecdotes from my own experience as a publicist and media coach, and gathered statistics to show that this was going to be a hot new trend. He pitched my idea to all the top New York publishing houses.

KentYoungstrom thought leader training

9 was you can be a thought leader

Alas, the traditional book industry didn’t buy it. It was too far ahead of its time. But guess what? Didn’t that prediction come true? Practically everyone is now scrabbling for his 15 seconds of fame. New reality TV shows are popping up every year. The Fishbowl Effect has become our current reality where your iPhone video can make national news.

Know that when you make a prediction you’re intrinsically ahead of your time – and most likely will get disapproval and pushback. No worries. Time will bear you out. The important thing is to stand by your word, continue to accumulate evidence and keep touting your prediction during your media appearances. Thought leadership marketing is a process, not a one time event.

3. Shape thinking.

Keep up on current events. Thought leaders can comment on national radio and TV and in print on events as they happen. They are the first people the media call to put a story in perspective, to help shape thinking. They are often the people who pose the questions to ponder. They don’t necessarily have all the answers.

What they have is a point of view that helps others to consider consequences, options, and directions to difficult or perplexing problems. This type of thought leadership definition is organic and evolves naturally as the thought leader continues to hone his thoughts and message.

Robert Reich, professor of public policy at UC Berkeley, often comments on political and social problems such as how public higher education is being starved which will result in a shrinking middle class. His clearly expressed and statistically well-supported opinions are regularly heard on MSNBC and NPR. He’s a great example of someone who is personal, energetic, and captivating. I’m particularly endeared by how he bounces up when he can’t contain his energy as he delivers his message.

Your delivery and demeanor is every bit as important as the words you speak and can influence people subconsciously. Thought leaders are aware of how they are being perceived and work on refining their inner consciousness and outer appearance.

How can you start to shape a conversation that’s at the heart of your business or industry and at the same time reflect who you are and what you think?

4. Have a philosophy.

Have you noticed how many people have written a manifesto? It’s kind of becoming de rigueur. But many aren’t worth reading. They are trite or light. Your audience wants to know not only what you believe, but what you believe in. They want a philosophy that dives into their deepest longings — things that they feel that haven’t been expressed directly in a way that they can understand.

Manifestos are a sort of formalized philosophy. Wikipedia defines philosophy as “In more casual speech, by extension, ‘philosophy’ can refer to “the most basic beliefs, concepts, and attitudes of an individual or group”.

I love TED favorite Brene Brown’s The Wholehearted Parenting Manifesto, her leadership manifesto and my friend, photographer/writer Andrea Scher’s Superhero Manifesto. They are heartfelt, revere beauty and are holy without pretention.

Brene Brown thought leader

Brene Brown thought leader in thoughts, words, action

During every media appearance you want to make sure that your philosophy comes through loud and clear in a story, vignette or example so your audience has a sense of who you are.

One of my favorite sayings is by Gandhi, “My life is my message.” And another one close to my heart: “Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.”

When everything you do, say, are and think from your words to your website is in alignment™ then you’re completely congruent and your life becomes your message. This is what I have my clients and sound bite course participants put into practice before ever sending a press release out to the media. Often publicity hopefuls want to rush their offer to the media before all the pieces are in place. And that’s a big mistake. A reputation is easy to ruin and hard to regain.

In her media appearance on Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday, Brene Brown told a story about her daughter, Ellen. To my best recollection she said that Ellen’s teacher called her up to tell her she could tell whose daughter Ellen was by how she handled an incident in art class. As I remember it the teacher said, “You’re messy.” Ellen sat up straight and said, “No, I’m not messy. I’ve just made a mess.”

Brown told this story to illustrate a point about self-talk and not calling ourselves names or saying derogatory things about the core of us, but to focus on behavior instead of being. It shows you that Brown is walking her talk by transmitting her values and behaviors to her daughter and it gives you a sense of who she is. Your philosophy should shine through your stories in a natural way in every media appearance.

5. Spearhead a movement.

My client, journalist and author David Sheff who wrote the #1 New York Times best-selling book Beautiful Boy, (which later was turned into a movie) and wrote his second book called Clean, Overcoming Addiction and Ending America’s Greatest Tragedy. The title itself is an opinion. Sheff thinks that addiction is the worst problem in the U.S. today. You can tell immediately that he’s serious about this topic and wants to make an impact on this epidemic.

On his website he has a link to sign a petition to send to President Obama to end the war on drugs and declare war on addiction. Right next to that he has a link to an organization called Brian’s Wish to pull people together into a national movement to end addiction.

David Sheff thought leader, movement maker

Thought leaders start movements

Sheff believes that we’re fighting the wrong war and he is making his opinion known – backed with five years of research and facts. This is thought leader marketing at its best.

When I first wrote this piece he had just started his book tour and has already been on The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell, NPR’s Fresh Air and Weekend Edition to discuss his views and to shift American opinion with the facts, stories and statistics in his book, speeches, and media appearances.

I media trained him to insure that he incorporated his most important points into every interview since he especially wanted to talk about this new movement.

We also wanted to make sure he could stand firm on his controversial beliefs when challenged. We practiced worst-case scenario questions and surprise ones too so he could maintain his equanimity and stay on point during each media appearance.

The media is interested in people who have inspired a movement. It shows that the topic has enduring value and interest if a substantial number of people have joined it. Spearheading a movement is so much more interesting than just claiming you have a big following. A movement shifts thought into action to create real and lasting change.

6. Be controversial.

Another client of mine, Dr. Sara Gottfried, a Harvard trained integrative physician, science nerd, yogini and author of the New York Times best-sellers The Hormone CureThe Hormone Rest Diet, Younger and Brain Body Diet, peaks out on the overuse of pharmaceuticals for peri-menopausal and menopausal women. She says of women dealing with hormonal issues such as depression, lack of sleep, weight gain, mind fog, low sex drive, “You won’t find the answer in the bottom of a pill bottle.”

Gottfried takes a stand against the practice many physicians have to medicate their patients to appease the problem without seeking the core issue or root cause that’s the source of the complaint. Instead she advocates lifestyle shifts: “How to think, eat, move and supplement.”

Dr. Sara Gottfried thought leader

Thought leaders invite controversy

Once you take a strong stance you can expect to be pitted against someone with the opposite view during your radio or TV interviews – because friction makes for good TV. Audiences love to see people who have opposing views that might even provoke a tiff, because sparks fly and unexpected things happen — which equal good ratings.

If you want to be controversial you also need to be prepared to be challenged and able to stay on message with equanimity and grace no matter how forceful or hostile the host or other guests become.

7. Play both sides.

While you can choose to be controversial, you can also choose to appoint yourself the voice of reason and examine both sides of an issue. Susan Freinkel, a journalist who wrote the book, Plastic: a Toxic Love Story, began an experiment that turned into an investigation of how plastic affects our behavior, our environment and our lives. The premise: To go one day without touching anything plastic. What she discovered? It was impossible — starting with her toothbrush and toilet.

Instead of taking one side to the story – plastic is evil. She explored how plastic is both a boon and a bane to the way we live in a New York Times Op Ed piece. In one sentence she played both sides of the topic: “In other words, plastics aren’t necessarily bad for the environment; it’s the way we tend to make and use them that’s the problem.”

Op Ed pages thrive on people who take a strong stand on one side of an issue as well as those who can shed light on both sides in an intelligent, thoughtful or provocative way.

In our media coaching sessions together Freinkel and I focused on stories about how certain plastics are negatively effecting our health, children, land and seas, and also which plastics are safe and useful and help save lives.

thought leadership training

Great thought leaders can mediate both sides of an issue

On Fresh Air, she discussed both sides of this fiery debate with a level head. In other media appearances she backed up her findings with solid statistics and also by moving fascinating facts into the conversation like: “The average person is never more than three feet from something made of plastic.” And, “In 1960, the average American consumed 30 pounds of plastics a year. Today, just 50 years later, Americans consume on average 300 pounds a year.” Here is something a bit startling: “Just because a plastic is made of plants doesn’t make it ‘green.’”

By moderating the positives and negatives, by sharing information not widely known and educating us, and by using stories and statistics, you can become a trusted neutral source for change.

8. Coin a term.

During her appearance on The Ricki Lake show Dr. Sara Gottfried reached into her prop basket and pulled out a gleaming diamond Tiara, put it on her head and offered it to Lake, who said she didn’t want to take it off. Gottfried called taking uninterrupted time for yourself, Tiara Time.™ It’s catchy and easy to remember. Can’t you just imagine saying to your BFF, “I need some Tiara Time™ right NOW.”

9. Declare your vision.

Your vision is how you see the world in the future. It’s what you’re aspiring to in the big picture. It incorporates how you are going to serve. For example, I’d like to see Aikido, a type of Japanese Martial Arts, which I’ve been training in for eight years, incorporated into every school in the world.

Aikido_LI

9 steps to become a thought leader is about self-mastery

The principles of Aikido, The Way of Harmony, work as a way to polish the spirit, to turn lead into gold. The founder, Morihei Ueshiba says, “True victory is self-victory; let that day arrive quickly!”

I believe that, through this practice we can eradicate bullying and practice respect, compassion, and self-mastery on a daily basis in our hearts, homes, schools, and communities.

My dream is to combine physical self mastery with verbal and emotional mastery so every child in the world can: Speak your mind. Stand your ground. Sing your song™.

Declaring your vision during a media interview moves it out in a big way into the public eye. Not only have you taken a stand but you give thousands or millions of people a chance to take a stand with you. That in itself creates powerful change.

The point of being a thought leader isn’t just to get more media appearances, more sales, more followers, or more money. It’s an opportunity to make great shifts inside yourself and out in the world.

So if you aspire to taking yourself and your business forward in small or big ways, then focus on these nine things. And even if it isn’t in your nature to be on national TV or to gain an international platform, just pondering these points will give you clarity for your business as you grow and change.


Your Online Profile: Make One Change for Big Gain

 

By Guest Blogger Nancy Juetten

Nancy JuettenHave you reviewed your LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, website/blog, and Biznik profiles lately to make sure the stories you are sharing are accurate, current, and compelling?

I changed my profiles to reflect a keyword-rich headline two weeks ago and welcomed two speaking engagements and a new joint venture conversation almost immediately. Just imagine what bounty awaits for you when you revisit YOUR online profiles.

Quick Tip: describe yourself in a headline statement with relevant key words within. “Networking Expert Brandy Mychals,” “Boston Elder Care Expert Michael Bloom,” “Business Bio Expert” and “Get Known to Get Paid Mentor” are ways to describe each expert that offer potential clients and the search engines descriptive labels that deliver impact for all.

As the New Year gets off to a fast start, this is a useful exercise, especially if you want to attract more of the right clients faster and more easily. Try it, and share YOUR successes as they unfold in perfect timing to welcome a shiny New Year.

Business bio expert and get know to get paid mentor Nancy Juetten shows mission-driven experts how to get seen, heard, celebrated, and COMPEN$ATED for their expert status. Nancy created Bye-Bye Boring Bio to guide service professionals, speakers, authors, coaches, and those serious about earning expert status to prepare and share their stories so they can Get Known to Get Paid. Nancy’s clients describe her as self-esteem in a can. She sprays it and fabulous things about you are in the air for everyone to see. You feel better, potential clients find you more appealing, and you look and sound like a professional. Just like that.

Join us for a free webinar where you can get Nancy’s help ON THE SPOT for your bio DURING this call. Be there LIVE to give your bio a quick makeover – which can lead to big results.


5 Things I learned From Jack Canfield’s Mastermind Group: To Help Make Your Book a Bestseller

 

Jack Canfield and Susan HarrowWe were all sitting in Jack Canfield’s living room on a huge couch in his home in Santa Barbara surrounded by giant gems, crystals, artwork and views into the lush gardens reminiscent of Canfield’s beloved Hawaii. Canfield mentioned that he wanted a room where diplomats and leaders of countries as well as his family could feel comfortable. I love the idea that we were sitting on the same couch where those same leaders of countries had sat before us.

Each of us in his living room had won this mastermind day with Jack Canfield for being a top affiliate for his Bestseller Blueprint Program. In the room, brainstorming about our businesses, were some of the most successful Internet Marketers on the web today.

Bill and Steve Harrison led the discussion and asked us each to share something about our business that was working well that others could learn from. A fact about ourselves that no one knew. And then ask a question about our business to get feedback and help from Jack Canfield and the group. I’m going to share with you some of the things that happened in that room that will help make your book a best-seller.

1. Speak With Authority

“I’ve got one question, then I’ll tell you what to do,” one outspoken Internet Marketer said. We all laughed. And then we listened. He had already proven himself as someone who knew what he was talking about. Earlier he had kept us all in rapt attention with the measurement tools he employed to get the highest clicks to conversions as well as his mistakes that lead him to his success. Once you’ve proven that you have solid knowledge people trust what you have to impart. Best-selling books are written by voices who have proven methods and who can impart them in a simple and direct manner.

2. Talk the Language of Your Tribe

Mike Koenigs and Susan Harrow

When one person in the room asked for advice about stopping slander many people offered solutions to help him let go of his resentment. But he would have none of it and got more and more red-faced and worked up over the unfairness of it all. He said he wanted justice as he filled the room with his fury. He wouldn’t accept anyone’s methods to make a shift until someone said about the slanderer, “F_ck him, then forgive him.”That worked.Why? He spoke the angry man’s language first. Then gave him what he needed to let it go. When you give advice speak the language of your audience so they can hear you. There’s a Sufi joke that goes like this: A tax collector fell in the river and couldn’t get out.. Many people gathered and tried to assist him. Even though was starting to drown he wouldn’t take anyone’s hand so they could pull him out. Mystified and alarmed the people rushed to get advice from the wise fool Nasrudin. He asked what the helpers were saying. “Give me your hand,” they said.

“Never ask a tax collector to “give” you anything,” said Nasrudin. Say, ‘take’ my hand,” which they did and got him safely out of the river.

The examples in a best-selling book need to address both the spoken and unspoken needs of their audience. Best-selling book authors understand the language of their tribe so they can tell them things that others can’t because they may be hard to hear or bear.

3. Tell Stories With Your Own Twist

When it was my turn to offer the factoid that no one knew about me to the group, I told a short story about an experience I had in college.When I was attending UC Berkeley I worked at Zellerbach Hall as an usher. One evening the great ballet dancer Rudolph Nureyev came to perform and, in my naivete, I thought it would be lovely to invite him to tea. After his performance I went back stage and approached him. When I asked him to tea he just stared at me. I thought, well, Russian is his first language, perhaps he didn’t understand. So I asked again. This time he smirked. Not a word, just a smirk. That was my answer. The typical saying goes: Always ask for what you want. The worst that can happen is you get a “No.”“But that’s not the worst thing that can happen,” I said. “The worst thing isn’t even a word. It’s a smirk.”Canfield said, “Good story!” This story didn’t have the same ending we’ve heard before. No one expected anything to come after the “perceived” ending: The worst that can happen is you get a “No.”

We’ve all heard tons of advice – mostly unoriginal – except in the telling and with a twist. That’s what makes you, the best-selling author a unique storyteller – and thought leader – the surprising twist.

4. Put Butt to Seat, Words to Page

Lisa Sasevich and Susan Harrow“I’ll tell you a secret to working less. Work less,” said one coach. We all sat stunned. Huh? It’s a similar statement to what made the Nike brand truly famous. “Just do it.” But how, people ask. I don’t have the time, others moan.This coach claimed that he only worked three hours a day (Less than Tim Ferriss!) by just allowing himself that time to get his work done. He then had to manage his time around those three hours instead of letting the minutiae of his day frizzle away his time.

Here is my version of his statement on how to write a best-selling book

<

p style=”text-align: left; padding-left: 30px;”>Step one: But butt in seat.
Step two: Put pen to page.
Step three: Move pen without moving mind.
Step four: Don’t stop.
Step five: Rinse and repeat.

5. Write the Worst Sh_t in America.

Yes, give yourself permission to write the worst sh_t in America, advises best-selling author Anne Lamott, who told an audience recently that her sh_tty first drafts are just as sh_tty as yours. Believe it.You first have to write something in order to create a best-selling book. Editing comes later. I was talking to my client and colleague, Sharon Melnick, Ph.D. – business psychologist and stress resilience expert who has a new book out called Success Under Stress: Powerful Tools for Staying Calm, Confident, and Productive When the Pressure’s On, and she said that to try and write and edit at the same time is at cross purposes for your brain. These are two different functions that aren’t compatible when done simultaneously.

I know how hard it is to get words on a page so I’ll share a few secrets from my writing group.

First, we all follow Anne Lamott’s advice. So write without censoring yourself. When you don’t think you access the deep knowing that is available in the unconscious. This is the same process for creating sound bites. I advise my clients to just talk without pausing or thinking. I then search for the gold, mining the best phrases that come out naturally in the uncensored talking.

Then we follow Natalie Goldberg’s philosophy not to take your pen off the page. You keep moving your pen no matter what.

To do that you can write phrases like, “What I really want to say is….” What I don’t want to say is….” What I’ve hidden from you all along is….” “I am writing the worst sh_t in America….”

I learned these phrases and techniques from my dear friend and wonderful writing teacher Laurie Wagner in her Wild Writing Course, some of which come originally from Natalie Goldberg’s book, Writing Down the Bones. This book is till one of my all time favorite writing books, along with Anne Lamott’s Bird By Bird.

These phrases will keep your pen moving on the page. And yes, I suggest that you write by hand before typing your work into your computer. There is something that happens when you’re touching organic objects like paper that allows for a deeper connection to yourself and the world.

All of the brilliant Internet Marketers in that room had written the worst sh_t in America. Then they refined it and refined it again and again. But they weren’t afraid to do it. Or rather, their fear didn’t stop them. “Better done than perfect” is a good place to start.

Editing is not writing. Some of the best “writers” in this country are perceived as such because they have talented editors.

So write the worst sh_it in America – and then edit the heck out of it.

Question for you. What’s the biggest barrier to writing YOUR best-selling book?

Join us this for a FREE teleseminar with Jack Canfield on how he sold over 500 million books.

NOTE: Even if it’s over, register anyway and you’ll be alerted to the next time it’s offered — which will be soon.

In the meantime go here for FREE training with Jack Canfield on how to write, publish and promote your book.


How a B2B business took on Black Friday deals and won

 

By Guest Blogger Lisa N. Alexander

marketing bootcampOMG.

They were everywhere.

Advertisements for Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday filled my inbox and jammed my mailbox. They were littered across my social media networks; they crowded the airwaves and even filtered into my online groups.

Everybody had something to pitch, hoping they’d end the year in the black and surely the White House said a prayer for a surge in spending to help economic growth.

As the first big shopping weekend of the holiday season drew near I pondered what I could possibly do, what could I offer with all the ads promising slashed prices and discounts galore.

I pondered.

What was a B2B to do?

I decided that I wouldn’t sell a thing. Instead I would give something away. I thought this unique selling proposition (USP) would definitely set me apart and stand out in the season’s raging sea of advertisements.

Earlier this year I hosted a marketing bootcamp; I covered eight marketing topics and decided to give away one of those sessions…Design 101. I bought a domain name, built a quick landing page and placed an ad on Facebook and put up a flyer in a few groups. This would be my test to see if this crazy idea would be worth expanding next Black Friday.

Here’s what happened

  • From November 23 to November 26 my Facebook business page saw likes increase by 5.5 percent. Not too bad given my ad’s parameters.
  • Twenty-four people signed up to receive the free session and 41 percent of those people had no previous engagement with my brand.
  • The jury is still out on conversions because those who took advantage of the free offer have a few more days to purchase the entire bootcamp at the discounted price. (It is the holidays and lots of people like to wait till the last minute.)

Experiment takeaways

Will I do this again next year? Definitely. This campaign allowed people to experience my brand in a way typically not available to prospects. Forty-one percent of the people who requested the free session had never engaged with my brand previously.

Free stuff in general. Everyone usually has something they give away for free. It’s how we build our lists right? Amazingly, the other 59 percent of the people who took me up on my free offer were people who were familiar with my brand. To be quite honest I was shocked to see some of the names of the people who requested the session.

My blog is a great source of information, I have a business event list that I put out just to subscribers and other freebies but the session pulled in a different caliber of audience. Giving away something of value hands down seems to be the best draw. So it’s not just about giving away something for free, it’s about giving away something really good for free.

Closing the deal. Next year, I’ll definitely shorten the sales window, no more than a week after receiving the free session.

So that’s it. My USP for Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday connected me to new members of my target audience and I was able to offer this group and even those familiar with my brand something they truly valued. I’ll call it a success even without my sales numbers which I’m sure will drive some in the C-suite absolutely nuts.

Known as The Marketing Stylist™, Lisa N. Alexander helps entrepreneurs and small business owners grow their businesses through strategic marketing and planning. Lisa describes this process as helping clients develop their WOW factor for their big marketing red carpet events. Web launches, advertising campaigns, social media marketing, new business launches are all big marketing events that require the expertise of a stylist and her clients love her work. Lisa is also an author, public speaker and was featured as a mom business with a “stellar” unique selling proposition.