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

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

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

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Maximizing Your Business Down Time

Recently while I was visiting an accountant’s office, two women popped in bearing goodies. They were from an orthodontics office located on the other side of the same large office complex. Their business was slow and they were using the down time to go door-to-door, not only to introduce themselves to their neighbors in the complex but to all the other businesses within a two mile area. 

With a well-thought out promotion in hand, their message was clear. The "swag bag" was imprinted with the company logo, tag line, address and phone number. Inside were samples, most likely donated from their vendors: toothpaste, tooth brush, dental floss, a business card, and a flyer with a coupon offering a discount to new patients.

There was, however, a minor catch. In order to receive the goodies, you had to promise to “like” their facebook page. The page url address was included on the flyer. This was a clever way to increase the followers on their social media page as well as keeping their business in front of potential new patients in case the need arises to use their service.

When is your business in its down-time? Now is the time to be planning ahead with a strategy to maximize your growth potential and trump your competition. Other suggestions to use the time wisely:
  • Update your website and/or social media pages
  • Go to business networking events. Don't forget the business cards (and flyers).
  • Review your business plan and/or marketing strategy
  • Check out what your competition is up too
What is the most innovative thing you have done to move your company through the down-time? Let me know and I'll post it in a future e-newsletter.

Next post: Creating Effective Flyers