Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Time for a Spring Spruce-up!



Spring has finally sprung and traditionally, it’s a time that many people think of clearing out the clutter in the garage or basement. Why not initiate a spring spruce-up of your business marketing?

The best place to start is by taking an objective look at your existing brand and/or logo. Is your logo old and outdated? Is your marketing material inconsistent? Now may be the time to enlist the help of a graphic designer to create a fresh and new image that clearly enhances the look of your business. 

When was the last time you updated the pictures you have on your social media profiles and web pages? If they are more than six months old, it’s time to post new ones. You may want to consider having your photo taken by a professional photographer.

And while you are at it, why not freshen up your data on all your social media sites such as LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter? Your business is constantly evolving and your social media should reflect those changes.

Haven’t taken the plunge into the internet marketing realm yet? Now may be the time to explore your social media options and make the commitment to maintain your internet presence. 

Is your website or blog in need of an overhaul?  If you don’t have a website, landing page or blog, this could be the perfect time to consult with a web designer to explore your options.

What are you doing to drive traffic to your website, blog or other social media sites? Do you send out an e-newsletter on a regular basis with “links” directing your readers to your website or blog?

All of the elements above can be included in a Marketing Strategy. Does your company have such a plan in place? A Marketing Strategy is a living document that changes monthly, weekly, and even daily, as your business evolves and adapts to your business environment. If you are currently without a marketing strategy or business plan, now is the time to create one.

I would be delighted to help you explore any of these options and welcome the opportunity to meet with you face-to-face to discuss new ideas and answer your questions on how to brand and expand your business.
 


Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Lunch with Two Busy Ladies



It isn’t easy getting two of the busiest women I know together on the same day for lunch. With some careful planning, long-time friends Linda Anger, Lin Klaassen, and I were able to meet last week at my home and we sure had a lot of catching up to do!

On the top of the list was celebrating Anger’s newly published, “Sweeping the Floors of the Full Crumb CafĂ©”. This book of contemporary poetry, essays and short fiction invites the reader to a “metaphorical eatery where the door is always open and the food is always fresh”.  More details about the book can be found here

She clued us in on her latest project about the secrets we keep from each other and from ourselves. What kind of secrets? She is asking us to share any secret about our self-worth, our weaknesses, and our relationships. 

Anger (pictured on left) encourages you to send your sex fantasies, porn, or any secrets that would be offensive to the average person elsewhere. Secrets that answer the questions: what are people ashamed of? What are the “…if you knew the truth, you wouldn’t want to be my friend” secrets? What have people whispered to you when they start with “Don’t tell anyone”? She promises to keep your response totally confidential, and will never reveal your name. You can contact her at info@thewriteconcept.com

When not writing books, Anger is the President of The Detroit Working Writers  and the Owner of The Write Concept

Face Reader Lin Klaassen (pictured on right) can now add “cover girl” to her long list of accomplishments. She was highlighted in a wonderful article in the September-October 2014 issue of “Women 2 Women Michigan”, written by Elaine Stenger, Ph.D., touting her expertise as one of the top face reading experts in the world and is featured on the cover of the magazine. The full article can be viewed here.

The 3,000 year old method of face reading, commonly called physiognomy, has been scientifically validated to be 92% accurate and has a wide variety of applications, such as in jury selection, law enforcement, business hiring, dating, and in playing the game of poker. Klaassen travels the country as a keynote speaker and teaches workshops on this ancient art to corporate groups or organizations.

She is currently putting together webinars to feature basic face reading to singles actively dating that want to identify compatible or worrisome characteristics of their date as well as to poker players hoping to up their game. Her website is loaded with information on everything you could ever want to know about face reading, including how to get personal reading.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Author Writes A Real Life Who-Done-It Thriller


If you were faced with having a kidney transplant, what would you do while you recuperate? If you are Carol Teegardin, you write a book.

Summoning the skills she learned over 16 years as an investigative reporter for the Detroit Free Press, Carol wrote an unbiased account of Tamara Greene, the 27-year old exotic dancer that was murdered in 2003 after performing at an alleged party thrown by former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick at the Manoogian Mansion.  Her book, “Strawberry: How an Exotic Dancer Toppled Detroit’s Hip Hop Mayor”, explores all the much publicized twists and turns of this real life who-done-it thriller that was the start of the decline of the wildly popular mayor.

The book explores the theory that Greene was killed after the mayor’s wife, Carlita Kilpatrick, came home to the mansion unexpectedly to witness the party and then physically attacked the strippers who were performing there. Investigators later speculated that Greene’s murder was a "deliberate hit" by a member of the Detroit Police Department, perhaps to cover up the fact that there even was such a party. But who ordered the “hit”?

Carol has also written “Strawberry” into a play and a screenplay is now in the works.  If you would like to purchase a copy of the book, contact the author at ctee123@yahoo.com. The cost is $10.

Now that she’s back on her feet, Carol is more active than ever before. When not promoting her book, she’s a substitute teacher, is acting in a local production of “Hairspray” at Henry Ford Community College, and is looking forward to becoming a part of the “Proving Innocence” project, a local initiative to free innocent men and women wrongfully convicted and imprisoned for crimes they did not commit. She also is making plans to hike parts of the Appalachian Trail.  

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Blaming it on Brain Freeze


Believe it or not, I’m a stickler for proofreading. And I know that spell check really is our friend. But I’m not perfect or exempt from making errors in my emails and sometimes I don’t adhere to my own rule of getting a second – and even a third – set of eyes to read my stuff before I hit send.

This past week I sent out a reminder to attend the premiere showing of our “Poetry Leaves” video. My postcard said “Thursday, February 25." I quickly received a shout out from an astute reader telling me that February 25 was on Wednesday. How embarrassing.  

So what’s this landscape company’s excuse? At a business expo, I picked up a “home-made” brochure for a local lawn maintenance company.  Now I don’t mean to imply that all marketing materials that are professionally produced are error free, but generally they are double-proofed before they are printed - by the printer and then by the customer as well.

The text in their brochure was all in caps, a pet peeve of mine as it makes the print look like an optical illusion and is hard to read. But still even that did not hide a glaring, and rather humorous, error in the text.

“Our beginnings were humble, one man, one mower, maintaining 50 properties a week. Due to our relaibilty (sic) and attention to detail, customers referred us to their family and friends.”

I’m hoping their service must be more impressive than their proofreading skills.

It can happen to the best of us but if anyone asks, I’ve decided to blame my error on ‘brain freeze’, literally as fallout from the brutal temperatures we’ve endured this winter. Or if that doesn’t go over too big, I can also say it was a test to see who reads my emails. 

And just so you know, I did have this piece proofed by two pros.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Reception and Premiere of Poetry Leaves Video

Everyone is invited to the premiere viewing of the 2015 Poetry Leaves promotional infomercial on Wednesday, February 25 from 6:00p to 7:30p at the Waterford Township Public Library. The video, produced by Maurer Marketing & Media and FX Productions, will be airing on 17 public access markets beginning March 1. 
April is National Poetry Month and this year, during the 2nd Annual Poetry Leaves Celebration, the events are spread out over February, March and of course, April. These include:
  • March 10, 6p, “Speaking Skills for Poets and Writers” presented by Linda Anger, President of the Detroit Working Writers  
  • April 1, 6p, Poet Laureate M.L. Liebler will be featured
  • April 15, 6p,  “The Music of Language” presented by Don Levin
  • April 29, 5:30p, Exhibition opens with Ribbon Cutting Ceremony & Keynote presentation with poet Thomas Lynch
Volunteers are needed to help with these events as well as hanging the "leaves" in the trees for the street exhibition. You can sign up and/or get more information at the reception.
 
All these events will be held at the Waterford Library, 5168 Civic Center Dr. in Waterford. For updated information visit www.poetry-leaves.com

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Lunch with Dr. John Telford and Collette Cullen


Several weeks ago I had lunch with long-time friends, Dr. John Telford and author Collette Cullen. John, and his wife Adrienne, welcomed us into their lovely home overlooking Lake St. Clair. With these three dynamic personalities in the same room, all I did was sit back and enjoy the repartee. 

Often called a “lightening rod for controversy” Telford shows no signs of changing his ways any time soon. At nearly 80 years old, this educator, activist and occasional Detroit mayoral candidate, has a new book coming out, “The Poet-Emperor of Earth: An In-Depth Dialogue with The Diety”, that he is calling an allegorical morality tale. And the Diety character, according to Telford, bares a remarkable resemblance to himself. 

He had this to say about his latest project. “Much of the novella features spirited debate between the Eternal Presence and the old poet-emperor regarding the comparative value of democracy vis-a-vis autocracy, with the old activist poet stubbornly seeking to gain permission from the Presence to incorporate some democratic processes in his style of imperial governance. The book has a surprise ending--in fact, it has two.” 

Currently,he is looking to meet a publisher’s agent to help him get several other projects published. To learn more about Telford,his books and his many, many community projects, “google” Dr. John Telford. 

Author,award-winning actress and veteran educator Collette Cullen walks the talk of promoting quality standards in educating our youth. She is currently touring southeast Michigan with her enlightening performance of her reenactment of Annie Sullivan, Helen Keller’s famous teacher. 

In “Annie Speaks”, the focus is to facilitate a conversation on themes in education, motivation, community and engagement. "After my decades in the trenches of education,” Cullen said, “I found myself pondering if we have lost sight of the essential questions. Helen’s quote on her teacher seemed the key, the missing ingredient of the discourse on the reformation of education. Helen said, “The day I met my teacher was the day of my soul’s birthday”.” 

In addition, Cullen is a playwright whose one-act play, “Between the Thorns”, was chosen last year to be produced by Random Acts of Theater, an organization that gives local directors an opportunity to present their work. The play is a story of Detroiters, diversity and dreams. 

Is your school or civic organization looking for a motivational speaker with a most unique message and presentation? Find out more about “Annie Speaks” at www.anniesullivanspeaks.com

Leaving a Paper Trail


With the vast use of social media and the internet, most people may consider using paper flyers as their promotional material a bit old-fashioned. But if you think of all the people who don’t use the internet or those who aren’t connected to your online social network, there is still an untapped customer base for your business. 

Let’s use a landscaping company as an example in this article. They are seasonal and travel from one side of town to the other servicing their customers. It makes sense for them to have flyers to distribute throughout the neighborhoods they are already working in to attract new customers.

 Keep in mind that a flyer is simply a call to action.  Whether you design the flyer yourself or have it  professionally done,there are a few things to keep in mind:

  • The purpose of the flyer is to educate and inform the public of what you have to offer.
  • It should be clear and easy to read at a glance. You don’t want to cram so much information onto the flyer that it’s difficult to sort the message out.
  • You need to have a specific purpose in mind. Our landscaper could offer “Spring Cleanup” as a service and be handing out the flyer in the winter.
  • To further call attention to the piece, you might offer a discount “coupon” or special price for new customers.
  • It should include your company name, logo, addresses, phone number and website address, prominently displayed in bold type.  
Before you decide to distribute the flyers in residential areas, you need to do some homework. In most areas, there are newer regulations in place prohibiting the placing of flyers inside of mailboxes or newspaper boxes at the curb. You either have to put them on the doors of the homes or hand them out to the people you encounter

The United States Postal Service now offers an “Every Door Direct Mail Program” that is affordable and quite efficient. For a fee, starting at $ 0.17.5 per piece or 500 flyers mailed for $87.50 or less, you are able to target a specific area based on your particular demographics and there is no need to purchase a mailing list. You give them the flyer and they do the work. There are more details at www.USPS.com/business/every-door-direct-mail