Of all of the place I travel to, Manhattan, New York juices my brain like no other city. Got here on Sunday. Traveling with my Superstar Marketing Coordinator, Lauren, who’s been with me for over a year. So needless to say we are celebrating many things, learning a ton, meeting lots of interesting folks, doing business and contributing to the local economy.
The next few days while in NYC, we will cover everything from customer service ideas, new trends and hot spots to branding hits and misses and we will introduce you to some new friends and business experts. This trip includes a lot of hospitality content because I’m finishing up our new restaurant branding course set to launch in the next 60 days.
Specifics insight will include:
- How to brand to the Elite, even if you are not a 5 star luxury property like the Pierre Hotel
- How to brand-extend and not brand-dilute from Top Restaurateur Daniel Boulud
- Sampling trends and merchandising from hip, new Indian fare restaurant Junoon
- Video branding ideas from a super cool, online entrepreneurial TV by an insurance company
- What you can learn from a one scene Off-Broadway-production and apply to marketing
- Networking in NYC, it’s really such a small world
- Book Review on Army of Entrepreneurs by Jennifer Prosek
- Marketing and launching my new book Brand Turnaround with the McGraw-Hill team
Our journey started at the Tampa Airport. Which is one of the easiest and stress-free places in the US. We flew Delta, which offers an early and direct flight that lands at 9:30. We were greeted by “Felix” who owns K&G limo. He has been my driver for over 15 years. While there are many national limo services, I’m loyal to Felix and his company because for many reasons, he’s consistent; there are no surprises. I trust him and admire his hard work and family values. Felix has 7 children. 6 by his wife and one who they adopted after witnessing a less than healthy living situation over 30 years ago. Felix and I often talk marketing and branding when I’m in his car.
Since we came in on Sunday, I didn’t have a tight schedule of meetings, I invited Felix to have coffee with Lauren and me so we could take a look at what he was doing with his website and share some wisdom. Even though I only see Felix when I come to NYC, I consider him more than a transportation vendor, but a trusted friend. Felix makes everyone feel special, like a celebrity. And he has no shortage of celebrity customers from Academy Award Winning actors and Grammy winning musicians.
Felix wanted to know what else he could do to attract even more business. His son who recently graduated from law school had set up his site. He did a nice job and K&G Limo was getting calls from their site and other online avenues. We suggested a few added methods to increase his results, which can work with many business models.
7 Tips to drive more traffic to any website
1) Felix had a blog, but it was not connected to the site. We suggested connecting it for search engine optimization reasons and as a helpful content tool for his customers. We also suggested:
2) Adding more and often keyword research and optimization in his website and blog content. And tagging all images with these same high ranking key words.
4) Add a site map, search spiders love site maps.
5) Offer a helpful safety travel tip sheet that visitors can download when coming to NYC. This will not only earn points from the site visitors, customers and prospects, it can help Felix grow his opt-in list. Plus, he can tweet and share on Facebook too.
6) Set up a Youtube account that hosts a welcome video or again, helpful travel tips videos. This will not only earn points from the site visitors, customers and prospects, it will help his search ranking, because Youtube is owned by Google.
7) With their permission, add testimonials from customers to the site, and if they are interesting, then blog about them and use them for content on social media platforms too.
Till next time, Brand on!
If you just joined in, yesterday I shared my journey of getting two book deals with major publishers. Brain Tattoos and Brand Turnaround my new title that will be out later this year. I covered what it takes, the process and outcome. In future blogs I’ll address other publishing details, but for now here are 5 big lessons straight from the author’s keyboard or pen, I use both.
Lesson #1- It’s never too late to find the writer in you and author a book.
Go figure, I owned a successful ad agency for almost 20 years and never really wrote anything. How in the heck did I do that?
I produced good creative work, developed new business, crafted and found solutions and spit out ideas like a machine, and most importantly I knew how to hire people to do things that I did not want to or didn’t know how to.
Lesson #2- Most books will not make you cash rich.
Like I mentioned in Part I, the book advance is not as important as the doors your book can open. While my current book earned me double my first book advance, I will invest at least four times that on research, editing and promotion in addition to what the publisher provides. Certainly there are unique situations like if you are a very high profile personality, or have an enormous following or are like one cool wine dude like Gary Vaynerchuk who bagged a 10 book, 7 figure deal with Harper Collins. I’ll drink to that Gary!
Lesson #3- Writing a book is a lot of work and a huge investment by most authors.
To date on my current book, Brand Turnaround, I’ve logged over 1,200 hours – from proposal writing, research, book writing, promotion and therapy. So if I earn between an average of $175 an hour, which is on the low end, do the math. I’ve already invested over $200,000 in other opportunity costs (because if I was not writing the book, I could generating other income) even before hard expenses. Expenses to promote the book can run another $50,000 for PR, web costs, bookmarks, blah, blah, blah.
Lesson #4-Writing a book takes a strong emotional skin.
Can you say rejection, rejection, rejection and then two scoops of criticism on top of that? Welcome to publishing. Seth Godin was rejected over 900 times, Adrianna Huffington at least 36, even Alex Haley The Roots author wrote every day for 8 years before finding success. And then sometimes when even great work is published, grumpy, mean people will publicly criticize your work too. And when your writing and researching at least 50 people will never return your calls. So if writing is a goal, put your big girl or boy pants on.
Lesson #5-Writing a book is a wonderfully rewarding experience.
Like MC Hammer said so well, “Can’t touch this.” Book writing is a mirific journey. It’s scary, ludic, and exuberating. You’ll learn stuff about you and other people. You’ll meet many grateful fans that will beg for your autograph and a handful of jerks that will try to rattle your soul. In the end, it is all worth it. The prize is indescribable.
Here are some excellent resources too.
The Creative Penn is an excellent blog filled with book writing and marketing tips
Chris Brogan writes a solid blog packed with insight. He recently wrote several great posts on his book writing experience.
Read. Write and have fun!
I’m sure I did not make much more than a “C” grade in any English class that I survived.
Other than writing my dad’s eulogy, I never wrote much more than a paragraph until I was 39 years old.
So how did I score my first book deal Brain Tattoos with (AMACOM) American Management Association in 2004 and a second book deal, Brand Turnaround, with one of the most respected publishers in the world, McGraw-Hill, this past year?
Here are a few of the “must have” ingredients.
o An understanding of “the find a publisher” process, standards, fruit
o Good ideas that a market will buy
o A platform and voice to sell books
o Investing the time and money to hit this goal
In 2000, after recovering from a start up meltdown, I needed to reinvent myself. As a veteran ad gal/CEO, I knew marketing and branding was my calling, but after 20 years of running a company, I wanted freedom, more creating and less managing people. So I ventured off to Tampa with my new dream and business plan to become a branding speaker and consultant. Early on, I joined my industry trade association, NSA, and through networking I connected with people that opened doors and gave me guidance. I first gave boatloads of free speeches, then starting getting the business of speaking down and soon started earning some bucks. After one of my presentations, a client said they had a newsletter and wondered if I would contribute an article. I said sure. So basically I summarized my talk and it sounded pretty good. Of course it was full of minor grammar goofs, so I found an editor to clean it up. The client was thrilled, in fact they said, “Karen, you are a great writer”. To my surprise, they were right. The odd thing was, it took learning the art of speech crafting to develop my writing skills. A part of my early years hesitation was because I was insecure, while I didn’t remember much from my English class, I did recall the times my parents were not happy with “C”s.
Fast-forward, those articles that I wrote (my ideas and stories) with the polish and help of an editor was my path to my first book proposal. And thanks to my long-time friends and mentors—Jill Griffin, a loyalty author and expert and Alexis Gutzman another business writer, who I connected with online, by complimenting her work—they were the golden door openers for me. They opened the confidence door, the book agent door and the publisher door. And those doors are very important because publishers get thousands of worthy book proposals every week.
I elected to get my book published by a major publisher rather than self-publishing. Both venues have different benefits and challenges, depending on your goals.
For me as a speaker and consultant, having a major publisher adds significant credibility, distribution and additional marketing fuel. The down side of a major publisher deal is the timeline can be 12-24 months from idea to book in the stores.
So if you have an idea for a book, then your next step is to write a proposal. If you go to any reputable publisher’s site there is a basic template to follow. This 25-30 page document should include: the big idea or book concept, who the market is, an analysis of the competitive landscape, why your book will sell, your marketing platform, the table of contents and brief snapshot of each chapter, a complete sample chapter and about the author information.
From here, you can start pitching to publishers. You build your list by finding similar titles, styles or topics that they have published. But, unless you have relationships with top editors there, or you are very high profile, it’s tough to get noticed in the stack of many.
For both of my books, Brand Turnaround and Brain Tattoos, I first pitched my proposal to a literary agent. You can find literary agents on the Internet, but again relationships and referrals from them are gold. If an agent likes your idea, they do the pitching and the contract negotiations. Terms can include a cash advance, royalty commissions on books and book rights sold, (my first book was printed in the US and Korea) and promotional considerations. My advance and royalties almost doubled on my second book, and it will be printed in hard back.
My first book was a huge spring board for my speaking career, my fees tripled, it also became my best marketing tool for consulting contracts and was the vehicle that made me appealing and credible to broadcast and print media like the CBS’s Early Show, New York Times, New York Post, Fast Company to name a few, which have all been great fun and an awesome adventure.
So this blog post doesn’t become a book on line, (it’s getting kind of long) I’m going to sign off and post the 5 lessons tomorrow.
Site for creative-minded entrepreneurs now branded under Karen Post, The Branding Diva®, author of Brand Turnarounds and Brain Tattoos
17 August 2011 – Tampa, FL – Oddpodz, LLC announces that it will relaunch under the brand of Karen Post and retire the Oddpodz moniker.
After 5 years of building a site dedicated to creative-minded entrepreneurs, Karen Post, co-founder of Oddpodz has decided the company’s base of over 10,000 professionals, small business owners and entrepreneurs could be better served by stream lining the venture with her other successful companies, Brain Tattoo Branding and speaking businesses.
“It was a bittersweet decision, but Oddpodz has less brand equity than my other companies”, explained Post. It just made better business sense to combine the venture’s identity and marketing into one. Post’s new book (Brand Turnaround, McGraw-Hill 2011), will be out this fall and includes: over seventy-five brands that have gone bad from a scandal or crisis and how they returned to glory.
The company Oddpodz LLC will remain a separate business unit, but the look and feel and content will reflect Karen Post’s high-energy, branding message and it will DBA Brain Tattoo Publishing.
Oddpodz was founded in 2006 as a basic social network for creative people. In 2008 it repositioned itself to provide digital learning content, eBooks and included three blogs.
The company will remain committed to producing and selling digital tools and eBooks and will soon be offering subscriptions products and workshops directed at niche business categories like restaurants, retail and green businesses.
About Karen Post
Karen Post is an international speaker and author. Her expertise focuses on branding, social media, marketing, entrepreneurial and women’s business issues. Throughout her career, she has worked with diverse industries, from start-ups to Fortune 500 companies including Albemarle, ACNielsen, Choice International, Cox Cable and Media, Saudi Arabian Airlines, Chevron, Johnson & Johnson, Bank of America, Xerox, Sara Lee, Pepsi, and Procter & Gamble along with many emerging businesses, trade associations, professional athletes, entertainers, and politicians.
Karen is a regular branding commentator on FOX TV and has been featured in other business and marketing print, broadcast and online media outlets, including FOX, NBC, Bloomberg TV, CBS’s Early Show, the New York Times, the New York Post, Fast Company, Miami Herald, The Boston Globe and NPR.
Her published works include: Brand Turnaround: How Brands Gone Bad Return to Glory and the 7 Game-Changers that Made the Difference (McGraw-Hill 2011) and Brain Tattoos: Creating Unique Brands That Stick in Your Customers’ Minds (AMACOM).
I’m ready to have some fun and get lots done!
(This blog was formerly Oddpodz as of August 15th it’s Karen Post’s Blog)
Wow, I can’t believe I’ve been away so long. Time whizzes by when you are writing a 300 page book on how brands gone bad return to glory, speaking on branding around the world, working with some very exciting brands and organizations, creating a new restaurant branding product and re doing your website.
I’ve learned so much in the past few months and can’t wait to share everything with you. Let me know what you think of the new site and blog look too. Does the navigation work for you? Is there some marketing, branding or entrepreneurial topic you’d like me to cover? If so, comments are welcome or follow me on twitter @brandingdiva and DM me.
I know, my elephant image in India is not the expected back in the saddle pic and there is a reason for that. I’m challenging you to surprise your customers, friends and colleagues with a little more unexpected and with a worldly perspective. This strategy will help you stand out from the herd of “boring” beings.
In the next week or so I’m going to cover:
1) “So you want to write a book” 5 lessons any aspiring author should know.
2) How to get a Website/Blog Facelift without anesthesia or pain.
3) A new book you’ve got to read, Get Rich CLICK!
4) Saturday Salute, a weekly blurb about a hero I had the pleasure to encounter.
5) Brand Bump or Bomb of the week—an unfortunate stumble that we can all learn from.
6) The mystery topic that I’ve not even thought of yet
So let’s get this new blog back on the road.
I’m out of the cave, back in saddle and ready to rock and roll again with all of you. About 60 days ago, I signed out, took a break from Oddpodz and just about everything else to finish my 2nd book Brand Turnarounds: How Brands Gone Bad Return to Glory (McGraw-Hill 2012). It was a long and arduous journey. There were many sleepless nights and days of extreme stress. There were times I questioned my writing skills, my creativity and stamina to stay in the game. There were other days that I was a writing machine pumping out words that felt like a national anthem for all small businesses and marketing pros, I felt tremendous joy.
About a week ago I sent off my manuscript to my publisher. Over 70,000 words of brand scandals, near death days for companies, people and stakeholders and the game changers that bought them back to glory. I was nervous, it’s a new publisher for me, will they love the content as much as I do? Would it pass the mustard test on tone and style and were they convinced it will be a winning book? My stomach has been in knots waiting for the word back.
Last night I received an email from my editor. Here’s what she said, “I was truly happy with the manuscript. Your tone was exactly what it needed to be for your audience. It was engaging—I found myself getting very wrapped up in all the various scandals and brand disasters—but you struck a great balance of providing great, actionable information on how to prepare for or recover from such falls from grace so that it didn’t feel like a scandal book at all but rather a truly helpful book for marketing professionals and the broader business audience”.
WOW, it’s writer’s relief and an entrepreneur’s dream, with a new chapter. All my sweat and work is paying off!!
I know many of you have thought about writing a book. It’s a project, but can be filled with many benefits. In an upcoming blog I will share all the steps I took to turn an idea into a published book. Stay tuned.
OK, back to Oddpodz.
In 2006 this small company, Oddpodz LLC, was born with its sights set on being a social network for creative-minded people. We had a business plan, raised money and were off to the races. Like with many start ups, we hit some big bumps, made some bad decisions about our technology partners and stumbled around for two years. These missteps not only cost us money and momentum, but time too. And with the loss of all, suddenly the team that started the project was reduced down to a single full time pilot, me.
Last year, the site was rebuilt and the business model changed into a publishing enterprise. The plan was to run three blogs and offer digital tools for creative-minded entrepreneurs. The new route has been successful, we sold some products, our traffic has increased almost 200%, our opt-in list has grown, our in bound links and online exposure has scored significant traction.
While that’s all good, its a giant struggle to maintain, market and brand Oddpodz and my Brain Tattoo Branding practice and speaking with a small team that ultimately want to built profits for both and create a return for my investors.
One of the lessons in my new Brand Turnaround book is about simplification, returning to one’s roots and maintaining a singular focus. So that is what I’ve decided to do. Streamline the businesses and better leverage the assets, even if this means naming a sacrificial lamb called brand Oddpodz.
So here’s the plan moving forward.
Within the next 30 days, the Oddpodz brand and name will be put to rest. This will be the last lesson from Oddpodz and the last newsletter you will receive under the brand Oddpodz name. The next newsletter will be from the brand Karen Post.
The three blogs and all of the Oddpodz offerings will re-skinned and marketed under the brand Karen Post. There will be one blog and one destination. This move will allow my team a more efficient way to give you and all the readers even better stuff, tools and resources. All social media channels will be merged with brand Karen Post too. Giving our community one easy spot to find business growing ideas and tools.
The Oddpodz LLC company 2006-2011 will not go away, just the old name. All digital products and online services will remain in that business unit. My plans are to launch our first niche market program in July that is dedicated to restaurant marketing (phase 1 is already up, see more here) and then we will add other niche programs geared to retail, healthcare and eco businesses soon thereafter.
The Branding Diva® speaking, writing and consulting will remain under the Brain Tattoo Corporation.
This news of burying brand Oddpodz is bittersweet, as it reflected the fundamental values of the brave, non conformist creative thinkers and doers everywhere. I hope that our efforts inspired many to take chances and lead change without fear.
I believe this decision to combine the sites will best serve our community and my stakeholders. Our focus will remain dedicated to providing creative-minded business leaders, entrepreneurs and professionals useful and fresh business growing ideas and information.
So stay tuned, the new and improved brand Karen Post should be back with one single source for helpful, optimistic, insightful content and tools soon.
In closing, I want to share a heartfelt thank you to the community for sticking with us and the Oddpodz team that made the company possible, especially to Jocelyn Ring, Kristen Friend, Bryan Parnell, Lauren Angrick and all of our stakeholders.
The best is yet to come!
Did you know, that as of this month, there are over 156 million public blogs in existence? And with that type of competition growing everyday, is the effort worth the prize? What makes a blog a rewarding a home run? and are you still wondering how to attract more visitors to your blog?
We are too.
I did some research regarding this matter and there’s a lot of opinion on the subject. Some say sell advertising, some say to blog every day, some say to not write more than 200 words so the audience doesn’t get bored, others suggest tightly niche your content and others say wake up the dead with extreme controversy.
I do agree with them all, most importantly I believe that businesses need to write stuff that people actually want to read!
Before you start writing, ask yourself who the target audience is and what the do they really care about. Also ask your self these questions:
- Why do you write your blog? To make money, to serve as marketing tool?
- Have you clearly identified 3 other highly read blogs in your topic?
- Can you see their magic formula? Is meaningful content – are they a rock star, have a book and/or a national expert?
- How is traffic being driven to their site? This takes some digging, but it’s important.
- Does your niche topic have a big enough audience to tap?
- Have you looked at Google analytics to see what you have written in the past that really drew readers?
- Does your content provide pragmatic advice? Is the writing original and thought provoking, Is it entertaining, or is it just sucking up your time and you should be doing something else?
If you answered NO to any of these questions, stop writing, talk a walk, read a book and start again.
Be useful. Be unique. Be engaging.
For more blogging tips, view: 10-steps to making writing your blog easier.
HeyWire, the new Facebook app for texting in one place, may be the perfect option for you.
HeyWire, a service that has been offering free SMS (short message service) and recently partnered with Twitter to develop HeyTweet, is now debuting it’s Facebook application that allows users to send both texts and tweets from a cell phone (while using Facebook, of course).
HeyTweet is free, available in multiple languages and offers free local and international text messaging from a phone number. The reason why this service is so compelling is because when users normally send a tweet though SMS text, charges would incur. But with HeyTweet, a tweet through this service has lower carrier fees internationally. As of this month, 2 million tweets have been sent around the world via HeyTweets. If you are a business owner who is Twitter obsessed, this might be exactly what you’ve been looking for – no more high priced texts and messages to people internationally. Want a convenient way to send one message out to friends via text, Facebook Chat, Google Talk and Twitter all at the same time? They can do that too.
Here’s how it works with Facebook.
Similar to other free texting apps, HeyWire users are given a phone number to send and receive unlimited texts with friends and family worldwide. Users can send messages via HeyWire Facebook App or the HeyWire applications for iOS (iOS is the Operating System on an iPhone, iPod Touch or iPad. It’s the “thing” that makes your device run) and Android devices. Texting conversations will follow you, as a user, from the HeyWire Facebook App to your smartphone application or tablet and vice versa. This app is the only Social Messaging Hub designed specifically for Facebook users. Do a lot of business via Facebook? Now you can run your business directly from your phone.
But, unlike HeyTweet, this new Facebook/HeyWire partnership comes with a small price. It’s about $2.00, or 20 credits in Facebook dollars, a month for unlimited texts on any device, anywhere.
Will you be using these applications, or will you be continue to message your family and friends with old fashion way?
Do you use texting to market your business?
Let us know!
Stop what you are doing! Take the pulse on your personal brand, today. It’s fast and painless. Add up all the No’s and then total them. If your total higher than 2 you’ve got some work to do. Earned a low score, below 2, Go Celebrate!
These tips were part of a talk I gave this morning at the Southeastern Entrepreneur Conference. Thank you University of Tampa Entrepreneurship Center for hosting such as awesome event. For a copy of the PowerPoint scroll down and download. Got a question? Post a comment and I’ll do my best to address it.
6 questions every professional to answer with Yes!
1) Have you secured your full name as a URL? (Like mine is Karenpost.com) YES OR NO
2) Do you Google search your name at least once a month? YES OR NO
3) Does your cell phone recording state your full name and sound professional? YES OR NO
4) Do you have a professional, one paragraph only, blurb of copy that can be used a byline after a blog post or article, or to introduce you to someone? YES OR NO
5) Is your Linkedin profile set up and 95% completed with a great head shot photo, concise content about you professionally speaking with at least three top three key words (that people would search for you with)? YES OR NO
6) Do you have a list of at least 4 adjectives that describe your professional personality? YES OR NO
7) Do reflect these adjectives in your social and offline? YES OR NO
8) When friends and professional colleagues introduce you at an event or party do they get what you actually do?
Download full presentation from 2011 SEEC.org, click on the image.
Need more ideas on expanding your market presence with publicity? Check out our Publicity Da-To list.
Have you ever felt like you have reached your limits? Whether it shows in your writing, business creation or time management – you are not alone! Below, learn how to develop strategies that will make you feel more productive, take your adventure to the next level and keep you in line – we’ll even tackle the stuff that keeps you up at night. Let Karen Post and the Oddpodz team lead the way.
1 – Does branding countries, government programs and leaders really matter? 3 part series that includes insight, strategy and recommendations.
2 – How to quickly sway opinion, sell product & make a point – with wordplay Metaphors can make a difference.
3 – Energize your entrepreneurial engine. Attend 3-day conference in Tampa. Engage in networking opportunities with students from all over the country as well as business professionals.
4 – Entrepreneur essentials – Bandwidth limits, saying no and time off. There are only so many hours in a day, what will you do with them?
For last weeks wrap up, click here.