Archive for the ‘Marketing & lead generation’ Category

12 tips for managing your online reputation

Managing your online reputation is increasingly important. You may have have heard that dates, neighbours, clients and prospective employers may be looking you up online. But what exactly can you do about it?  Maybe you’ve heard that once something is online, it’s there forever. Well, while it’s difficult to remove stuff from the Internet, you can take steps to manage your online reputation.

12 tips for managing your online reputation

  1. Use a search engine to look yourself up. Most people go to Google, so start there. Note what comes up. Identify results you’d love people to see, results you never want them to see, and results that actually relate to someone else.
  2. Set up a Google alert to scan for your name and let you know when it shows up online. You can create a Google alert in mere seconds.  
  3.  Create a professional Twitter account and tweet about your industry, profession or business activities. Interact with others. Keep it professional.
  4.  Build a LinkedIn account. Load it with information on your experience, accomplishments and credentials. Ask your trusted contacts to provide recommendations. Take part in groups, Q&A and other forums.
  5.  Establish your own website, preferably using your own name or company name. From there, you can generate new, positive content. Many people use blogs to quickly publish new information – and help push down negative search results.
  6.  Create a Squidoo lens on a professional topic near and dear to your heart.
  7.  Set up free blogs on Blogger, WordPress and other sites. Keep the content professional. It’s a great way to quickly push up positive content in search engines. While you would usually want to keep a blog fresh and up to date, you can set up “extra” accounts if you really need to generate extra positive content under your name.
  8.  Guest write. Approach a popular blog, trade journal, professional association or even your alumni association and ask if you can write a free piece for their website or online newsletter.
  9.  Take part in intelligent, lively discussions on the websites, Facebook pages or Twitter feeds for your professional association, volunteer association or relevant hobbies.
  10.  Manage your Facebook, MySpace and other social media accounts carefully. Lock your privacy settings and only allow trusted friends and family to see your profile. If you don’t want prospective clients or employers to see you partying or looking goofy, use a generic image, a landscape, or a professional headshot. Consider removing yourself from search results.
  11.  Speak and take part in panel discussions for your local trade association, university, alumni association or other groups. In addition to building your credibility, you can improve your online presence if the organizations note your involvement on their websites, Facebook pages, LinkedIn groups or Twitter feeds.
  12. If you do find negative or distracting content about you, try contacting the owners of those websites to see if you can have the content removed. Some may oblige you.
 What steps would you recommend?


Who you calling an expert?

Who you calling an expert? Becoming a small business or independent consultant may seem out of reach to some of you because you just don’t think you’re enough of an expert to be a consultant.

Let me tell you right now that becoming an expert is not as complicated as it sounds. When you’re a consultant, you are offering your clients something of value–your expertise. But expertise doesn’t have to mean that you are the world’s foremost expert in your field. No, expertise just means that you have more insights than your client does on your given area of expertise.

For example, you may be a home staging consultant. Now, you may never be called on to provide staging services for Oprah, but you do know something about home staging, right? You’re passionate about home staging, you’re up on all the trends and you’ve even taking courses on the subject. And if your client is a color-blind bachelor who doesn’t know the difference between orange shag and a neutral berber carpet, then you are by all means a total expert in this situation. So don’t feel intimidated by the fact that you may not be a home staging guru to the stars. Rest assured that you can be an expert and provide value to your clients.

In order to build your confidence and really feel like an expert, there are numerous things you can do to jumpstart your expert status, from teaching a course, having an article published in an industry magazine, or providing services to a high-profile client in your community.

Whether you’re dreaming of consulting or are already running a business of your own, you probably know that gaining expert status can help you with building client relationships. That’s why we offer Six Tips for Jumpstarting Your Expert Status when you sign up for our newsletter.

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Use 3D charts and graphs at your own risk

3D bar charts and graphs may work against you. I’m at O’Reilly Strata to learn about big data. Of the many fabulous presentations this afternoon, I chose Naomi Robbins‘s "Communicating Data Clearly". Robbins is an expert on graphical data presentation. And she’s got some vivid examples of where using graphics to convey data can go really wrong — or really right.

 "Effective is not the same as beautiful," says Robbins. She showed several examples of gorgeous graphs that do little more than confuse the audience. Of all her examples, one stand out came from the ubiquitous 3D bar charts we tend to see in business presentations.

You know how it goes. You’re pulling together a report and you want to jazz it up with some pictures, make it speak to people a little more. So you generate a pretty bar chart.

3D bar chart

Take a good look at the chart. Now do me a favour, will ya? Tell me the values for A, B, C, D and E.

This is just what Robbins asked people at the conference to do. I’ve created my own chart here, but the idea and the exercise are hers.

Then look at this chart. Again, this is my chart, but it’s Robbins’s concept. She asked us if we could tell the values for the 2D bar chart below.

2D bar chart

As she noted, a chart like this one is pretty clear. Now, having seen the two charts, which set of data do you trust? Robbins encourages us to think it over.

It’s the same data!

Robbins noted that the 3D bar chart (from Excel, but similar problems pop up in other programs) don’t touch the wall and thus the lines and bars are off.

"Don’t use 3d bar charts — I don’t care what software you use!" says Robbins.

Robbis has many other examples of good and bad chart usage. You can pick up her book Creating More Effective Graphs:


Making a great first impression

Making a great first impression can make a big difference to your career. This guest post by Tim Grayling gives you 10 tips for making sure that first impression counts in your favour.

When it comes to landing the job of your dreams, enough can not be said about first impressions. Your education and job experience are a necessity when applying for the perfect job. These two factors are paramount, simply in giving you the opportunity to show why you are uniquely fit for the job you desire. Once you have secured a job interview the position is ultimately yours for the taking. All that is left is for to make and outstanding great impression on the person interviewing you. Keep in mind a few simple tips and you can ensure that you are viewed in a positive light; positioned to be the candidate of choice when it comes to the final hiring decision.

  1. Always be prepared. Plan ahead for your interview. There is a good chance that the person interviewing you already has a copy of your resume and a list of references; all the same, bring those along yourself just in case. Plan to discuss how your formal education has helped to make you uniquely qualified for the position you are applying for. Contemplate what makes you stand out.
  2. Dress for success. When choosing what to wear for your interview keep in mind the type of job that you are applying for. Generally speaking, it is best to dress as you would if you where already an employee. While you may look amazing in a tuxedo or in a formal evening dress, this is probably not the best choice when applying for a banker position. Conversely, what impression would be made if you showed up to that very same interview wearing a t-shirt and jeans? Know the job setting, and dress accordingly.
  3. Be on time. The very first impression that you will make to your prospective employer is that of your punctuality. Plan to arrive ten minutes early for your interview. You want to be appropriately early, not too early. Showing up for an interview too early is nearly as damaging to your first impression as showing up late.
  4. Make eye contact. While being interviewed, make certain to maintain positive eye contact. This is not to say that it is a good thing to coldly stare at your prospective employer. Rather, when speaking, maintain eye contact with your interviewer. This conveys a level of sincerity behind your words.
  5. Open body language. There is far more to a conversation than the words you choose. The way you present yourself will have a huge impact on the how you are perceived. Avoid closing your body off, for example, crossing your arms or sitting turned away from your interviewer. These subtle gestures will nearly unconsciously close down any open lines of communication.
  6. Courtesy goes a very long way. No matter what happens during your interview always maintain appropriate, professional, courtesy. How we maintain ourselves during an interview says a lot about our character. Make sure that you are conveying a message of respectful confidence at all times.
  7. Take your time. When answering questions do not feel as though you have to produce an immediate and rapid response. Take a few seconds to think about the question. This will not only improve the quality of your answers and it will demonstrate that you are taking the interview question seriously.
  8. Do not talk money. When it comes to an interview, it is generally best never to bring up money. Before you stepped into the interview, you in all likelihood had a general idea of what the position would pay. Conversely, so does the person interviewing you. Realistically, no great gain is to be had when discussing compensation early on. There is a time and a place for everything. Once a hiring decision has been made, that is generally when this subject will arise. This is not to say that the subject is completely off limits during an interview; it is simply best practice not to be the one to bring it up.
  9. Do not forget to smile. Smiling is a basic human response. It generally conveys a sense of conformability. During your interview, make sure to put a little grin on your face. This shows your potential employer that you are at ease. When you are comfortable, there is a good chance that the person interviewing you will be comfortable as well.
  10. Parting words. Upon the conclusion of your interview, make certain to thank the interviewer. You have just been given a portion of that person’s time so that they could access your qualities. Thank them for this valuable opportunity and show that their gift was not wasted on you.

When it comes to getting the job of your dreams, making a lasting, positive first impression is of the utmost importance. Follow these 10 tips on making a great first impression and the interview process for you, will be one of ease.

This article was written by Tim Grayling on behalf of which serves as an online resource for those seeking the best online MBA.

Me on CBC discussing Toyota Highlander ad series

Here’s the audio for my interview on CBC yesterday. As mentioned earlier this week, I was on the air discussing the Toyota Highlander ad series.

Toyota has picked up on stats that show parents increasingly pay attention to their kids when choosing what car to buy. Whereas we’re used to parents choosing cars that accommodate booster seats, car seats, cup holders, DVD players, hockey gear, groceries and the like, now we’re seeing some marketing of cool. Of course, car companies have always marketed "cool" — it’s just that the cool of the previous generation is no longer cool. This ad, though, really picks up on the insecurities of the parents and is aimed at grabbing market share from people who’ve already decided they need an SUV — now they want something cool.

Many people are concerned that the point of this ad is to market cars to children. I’m not so sure. Toyota may be aiming for mindshare from teens here. I don’t think many kids and teens sit around watching ads — everything is on demand, PVR’d, DVD’d and so on. Maybe some teens are looking this campaign up on Youtube.. But I believe Toyota is leaving that to parents. Toyota purposefully developed this ad campaign to garner the ire of the parent bloggers who would push it out through all the social media channels and get it in front of other parents. Although those parent bloggers may not be the intended market for the campaign, they’re a key element in marketing this ad. The thing is that, if you’ve already decided that you "need" an SUV, it’s just a matter of deciding which one. If you’re struggling with the idea of a family car, this ad will grab you.  

As for me, I drive a decided uncool but very practical and fuel efficient Civic, complete with roof racks and a roof carrier. I prefer to walk when I can. And I don’t let my kids watch commercials.

Toyota Highlander ad series review

Toyota Highlander ad series — I’m posting the extended versions of several Toyota Highlander ads here.

On Tuesday on CBC Radio, I’m going to be discussing the Toyota Highlander ad series (audio link here) where the cute blond boy proclaims:

"Just because you’re a parent, doesn’t mean you have to be lame."

In advance, here are some clips of the Toyota Highlander ad series, which repeat that same tag line.

 Scatter Extended Version

Kid Cave extended version

Rolling Up extended version

Lost extended version

 Rockstar extended version


Squared Away extended version

Of course, Mazda had the "boy inside the man" thing going on seven years ago. Remember the zoom zoom boy, complete with suit and tie? Please forgive the video quality – I’ll replace it if someone sends along a better version.

Reinvention Summit & Free Ebook

I just got an email about the world’s first Virtual Summit on the future of storytelling – The Reinvention Summit. This Future of Storytelling Summit will be taking place online, November 11-22. There are 6 co-creators, 20 partners, 54 producers, and 100s of participants exploring the evolving boundaries and application of narrative. 32 hours of insights and strategies for how storytelling can reinvent the world.

Reinvention Summit

As they write:

We are gathering a new tribe of storytellers: change-makers, marketers, entrepreneurs, and creatives who see storytelling as critical to their work and mission. There’s a star-studded line-up of 25+ speakers with diverse backgrounds to lead teleseminars, interviews, and panel discussions that relate to the future of storytelling as our world goes through reinvention. All sessions are recorded for playback. The online summit includes lots of social networking, collaboration, and crowd-sourcing for those who feel inspired to play. Entry-level pricing starts at just $11.11. To learn more: visit

They’ve provided you with a coupon for $25 OFF an Activators or Explorers Pass. Use code: REINVENTION

Get your free ebook, too:

Believe Me

Have the confidence to see yourself as an expert

Have the confidence to see yourself as an expert. When thinking about whether to become an independent consultant, you may wonder whether you can really bill yourself as an expert.

Don’t get bogged down in the concept of being the absolutely best. Understand that there will always be someone who knows more than you about your industry. But you certainly know more than most people, and that’s what your clients value about you–to your clients, you are an expert. Have the confidence to see yourself as an expert.

For example, as a jury consultant, you know more about jury behaviour than almost all of the population. True, there may be a superstar jury consultant who has more experience than you, but you know a lot. Be confident and focus on what you do know.

The key is to have the confidence to see yourself as an expert by building your expert status in concrete ways. Wondering how? Subscribe to Consultant Journal’s newsletter and receive Six Tips for Jumpstarting Your Expert Status when you sign up.

Above all, you’ve got to have the confidence to see yourself as an expert. Have confidence in yourself and your clients will too.  Are you confident enough to consult?

Your confidence will grow over time. Give your confidence a boost and start building your expert status now.

Related posts:


Free tips on jumpstarting your expert status

Whether you’re dreaming of consulting or already running a business of your own, you probably know that gaining expert status can help you with building client relationships. That’s why we offer Six Tips for Jumpstarting Your Expert Status when you sign up for our newsletter.

The next issue of the newsletter is due out in the next week or so, which makes this a great time to sign up.

Marketing for counsellors – counsellors need marketing too

Marketing for counsellors may seem like an uncomfortable area for many people used to being in a helping profession. But counsellors can succeed with marketing based on their values, just like any other consultant or small business owner can.

Counsellors’ marketing needs

Counsellors and consultants are alike in that they need to determine their unique position in the market, work out the best way of connecting with clients, and then build a profitable, sustainable business. Word of mouth is key, but a good marketing plan can help you work out how to generate and sustain the power of referrals. Knowing what business would work for you and what your values are, planning your business, and setting fees are common to counsellors and consultants alike.

As with many licensed professions, counsellors also need to examine the rules and criteria set out by their professional associations. Of course, in reviewing your values, this also comes up.

If you’re looking to market your counselling business, the following articles may help:

Marketing tips