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Must Read

Weekly post roundup: Some traction for new consultants

by Peter Osborne on November 14, 2010 · 0 comments

So much good stuff this week.  I realized I had queued up a few posts from My Escape Velocity but rather than highlight just one (although I really liked Chris Garrett’s Who or What is Your Real Target), I decided to link to the entire site and recommend you bookmark it or get the feed.  One indicator of the extent to which this site — which is designed for people like you who are decided or have decided to strike out on their own  — has taken hold, this site is a top search result when you plug in Brogan’s tagline of “your second-favorite blog.”  As always, if you came across something great this week, please highlight it in the Comments.

The Reason Why Your Personal Brand Sucks.   A lot of what I do is help people figure out what makes them or their businesses remarkable and then communicate it in a simple way.  Successful consultants who have figured that out can focus less on marketing and more on delivering quality to their clients. Boy oh boy, does Chris Penn get it.  Want to start thinking about your personal brand in a different way?  Read and print out this post…and hang it up somewhere really visible.

5 Lessons Madison Avenue Can Learn from Startups.  Even if your consultancy doesn’t focus on advertising or marketing, this post from Pedro Sorrentino (the first international student to attend the Boulder Digital Works graduate school) will get you thinking about better ways to approach your marketing and growth strategies.

The Simple Way To Get Everything You Want From Online Marketing.  Do you have a great product or service? Are you still falling short each month when it comes to selling?  Have you spent a lot of time designing your website or trying to let people know what you do or offer? Sonia Simone’s post on Copyblogger addresses the challenges of simply asking for the sale.

Business Consulting Agreement.  Pure and simple, it’s a downloadable template from Inc. magazine that you can modify however you see fit. Resources like this enable you to focus on doing what you do…and that’s critical during the early stages of creating a business. 

3 Perspectives You Need for Strategic Business Success.   Mike Brown (not our co-founder) offers suggestions on who you should involve in the strategic planning process.  Great advice for consultants to make sure they maximize their results on a planning project.

Mobile Compact Office: A Tim Vinik design (which probably means as much to you as it did to me, nevertheless…) that is very cool.  Might be really useful if you’re a new consultant and aren’t sure whether you want to set up a separate home office.  A warning:  Although I clicked three times, I am still not sure exactly what it costs, which may irritate you if you decide you want one.

Google Alerts for Beginners.  The second of a two-part post (with perhaps more to come) by Dawn Westerberg explaining how to maximize the free Google Alerts service, which directs news articles, website mentions, and Twitters in your mailbox.  Part 2 focuses on your verticle/niche markets and keywords; the first (which you can find from a link at the bottom of the post) is on Google Alerts for customers.  Make sure you also set one up for yourself and your business!

Airplane Reading.  A couple of longer pieces that I chose because they’ll give you some perspective.  I suggest The Buzz on Buzz by Jonah Lehrer of the Wall Street Journal and John Sculley on Steve Jobs, the transcript of an interview conducted by Leander Kahney of the Cult of Mac website.  The Sculley interview is a great CEO interview but be careful if you’re printing it out: There are 135+ comments.

What Is Success?  Thanks to Kneale Mann, who was the first to point me toward this great 2-minute video clip of actor Kevin Spacey offering his view of success to a group of acting students.  I’m using a direct link to this clip, but Kneale argues in his post that “you could spend the rest of your life reading about the secrets of success and Academy Award winning actor Kevin Spacey sums it up in a minute and 52 seconds.”  Here’s a link to Kneale’s blog; it’s always worth a read.

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So many good posts from the past week that a few good things fell by the wayside.  I’m glad I’m now offering different links over on Bulldog Simplicity that focus on, not surprisingly, ways to remove the complexity in your business and personal life.  Enjoy these; I hope one or more have an impact on your consulting business.  And, as always, please provide a link in the Comments to posts that you found helpful recently.

Is It Stupidity or Laziness?  Who should you be focusing your marketing efforts on — new customers or prospects? Bill Kennedy has a no-nonsense answer.

15 Insights from 15 Years.   A look back at 15 years in the advertising and PR business, but most of Indra Gardiner’s observations are dead-on for consultants and small business owners too.

Arm Your Sales Team With the Necessary Tools to Grow.  You can look at this post in one of two ways — if you’re moving past the entry-level consultant point you need to be thinking about this kind of stuff.  And if you’re not, the companies that Mark Suster is talking about may need your help implementing these processes.  Go find them.

The 11 Harsh Realities of Being an Entrepreneur.  Keeping in mind that the target audience for this site are people who are new to consulting and/or new small-business owners, this list from the OnStartups.com site provides a good grounding of the challenges you face.  There’s another interesting post on this site this week called 23 Tweetable  Startup Insights from Seth Godin, where the writer says he followed Seth’s blog for the past few months and captured a bunch of thoughts that work for startups and entrepreneurs.  Also worth a click.

No, That IS NOT a Competitive Advantage.  I’m cheating here a bit, because this post was published this past summer but someone tweeted it this week.  The writer, Jason Cohen, has a blog that is now one of my favorites because it focuses a lot of attention on differentiating yourself in competitive markets.  Read this post, but explore the A Smart Bear site a bit (starting with the rest of this series). 

Top 25 Small Business Tips.  A very quick read of 25 ways to run your business more effectively from a variety of successful consultants and online marketing experts via Marco Carbajo.  There will certainly be a few you think are obvious,  but it’s worth a couple of minutes to see if there are any you aren’t doing today.

Professional Services Firms and Social Media.  This post provides a summary of some recent research (and the recommendations) around how professional-services forms are using (or are not using) social media. 

The 39 Social Media Tools I’ll Use Today.  The headline alone does not scream simplicity, but this post by Jay Baer does provide a great overview of what people use to keep track of everything they’re doing with social media.  Worth a look.  You probably won’t use all 39, but you may find a few new ones to try.  Jay also did a nice interview this week with SmartBlog on how to build a better corporate blog that’s worth a look.

22 Tips to Differentiate Your Brand Presence.  There are a lot of consultants and small businesses jockeying for position against people with similar products, services, and approaches.  Is yours differentiated from the person down the street?  Pam Moore offers some suggestions.

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“Make definite assertions. Avoid tame, colorless, hesitating, non-committal language.” — Rule 12

There’s no shortage of blogs about new and favorite business books.  In the past week, I’ve stumbled across lists from Chris Brogan (he linked this week to a number of video reviews — click on the Escape Velocity Bookshelf one on page 2) and Beth Harte (with a list of Social Media primers).  I write periodic “Must Read” posts that include my weekly roundup of great posts and there’s an Amazon affiliate link in the right-hand column to some I think are best for new consultants.

Recent (and future) inclusions to these Must Read lists include Unmarketing by Scott Stratton, Where Good Ideas Come From by Steven Johnson, Brains on Fire by the principals of a South Carolina agency, Resonate by Nancy Duarte, The Referral Engine by John Jantsch, Leadership Rules by Chris Widener, and the soon-to-be-released Content Rules by Ann Handle and C.C. Chapman.  In each case, these books will help you be more efficient, serve customers more effectively, or change your approach to marketing. 

As someone who sees a lot of writing in the course of a day, I think many consultants and small-business owners could benefit from reading a tome that was published in 1919.

Did memories of 11th Grade English just cause your heart to stop for a second?

The Elements of Style by William Strunk Jr. and E.B. White.  Buy it.  It’s that simple.

“Seven rules of usage, eleven principles of composition, a few matters of form, and a list of words and expressions commonly misused — that was the sum and substance of Professor Strunk’s work,” said E.B. White who added a fifth chapter in 1957 called “An Approach to Style.”   A student of Professor Strunk’s in 1919 at Cornell University, Mr. White eventually added four rules of usage and some “words and expressions of a recent vintage” to the professor’s original book.

Need I say more?  To paraphrase the movie Jerry Maguire, I probably had you at Strunk and White (unless you had a particularly scary run of English teachers in high school).  Between IMs and Tweets and other barriers to even marginally coherent writing, this book screams to be picked up every few months and reviewed.  A chapter here, a rule there.  Have a question?  Is it effect or affect? Its or it’s? Leave it on your desk.  And trust me, many people aren’t using it and should be.

My copy (the 50th anniversary edition) only runs 85 pages (not counting the glossary and index).  The Contents page provides the full list of “elements.”

One more thing: Buy a copy for the children in your life – regardless of their ages.  Our kids are growing up with little regard for the English language.  It would be a heckuva gift to give them — even if they moan a bit when they unwrap it.

And with that, I’ll stop.  Because, as Rule 17 clearly states, “Avoid needless words.”

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I realized this week that there are so many great writers and bloggers putting together so much good content that it didn’t make sense to just copy this weekly posting and put it on both my sites.  So I’m going to try to split some of the great stuff I see each week into two posts.  I’ll have links for one set of readers — new and experienced consultants and small-business owners — here and then ask you to consider traveling over to Bulldog Simplicity and checking out the mostly-different links there on ways to simplify your business life.  I’m making the same invitation to the readers over there.

Five Easy Ways to Gather Client Testimonials.  Found on one of my favorite sites, MarketingProfs, this actually came from e-mail marketing guru AWeber’s blog.  A short post that offers tips for pulling together praise from clients.  Some will think these obvious, but others may have an ah-ha moment. 

Four Myths About Starting Your Itty Business.  Remembering that this blog is geared toward new consultants trying to get some traction, this is a very nice post from Rachael Acklin that should remind you why you’re not a failure if you aren’t a multi-million-dollar business within six months.

How to Get the Best Deal on Business Travel.  Self-explanatory post from the always-helpful John Jantsch at Duct Tape Marketing.

57 Things I’ve Learned Founding Three Companies.  My view on lists like this one from Jason Goldberg, founder of Fabulis, Jobster, and Socialmedian, is that they’re worth reading if you can pluck 3-5 good ideas from them.  I think you’ll get more from this one.

Best Business Blogging Guides and Tips from 2010.  If you’re thinking about writing a blog to support your consultancy or small business, here’s a nice collection of advice…all in one place.  These are all great sources, but I have to admit that I’m a bit surprised that Chris Brogan and Copyblogger didn’t make the list.  Go to either site and you’ll also find plenty of great posts on this subject.

7 Simple Ways to Serve, Solve, and Delight Customers.  Jonathan Fields has a great writing style that is simple and to the point.  Another post of actionable ideas that can have an immediate impact on customer satisfaction, regardless of whether you’re a sole proprietor, small business owner, and employee in a large company.  And while you’re on Jonathan’s sites, I can’t recommend more highly his 7 Keynote MBA post, which includes seven terrific speeches that do indeed provide the viewer with a great overview of what’s important to know if you’re going to run a business.  Bookmark the seven keynotes so you can come back regularly.

How to Deal With Nightmare Clients and Projects Gone Wrong.  This is clearly a subject that resonates with readers.  Things don’t always go right and there are some great suggestions for coping with that situation.  I wasn’t familiar with the site that this post was on but TutToaster is worth a look; they describe themselves as offering free tutorials on a variety of web-based subjects.  I approached this same general subject from a bit different direction recently if you missed it the first time around.

Do Your B2B Communications Bore? If you’re doing social media, have you committed — really committed – to it?  This post by Jon Buscall highlights two people who do it right — Gini Dietrich and Mitch Joel.  You owe it to yourself to do a gut check on whether you’re demonstrating passion as you engage with prospective and existing customers by reading this post.  And then go ahead and read cartoonist Hugh MacLeod’s view of this issue over on his Gaping Void website.

And then there’s the multi-media suggestion of the week…

Game Changers.  Thanks to Mitch Joel for pointing me toward this documentary series from Bloomberg TV.  Rather than link you to his blog post so that you can link to the Bloomberg site, I’ve just given you the link to Bloomberg and you can choose between links to the 30-minute shows on Mark Zuckerberg, Steve Jobs, Jon Stewart, and Google founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page.

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Useful posts for new consultants and small businesses

by Peter Osborne on October 23, 2010 · 0 comments

Fast ride today.  As always, I’m trying to gear these links toward new consultants and small-business owners who don’t have time to surf the net and are more interested in finding ways to grow their businesses than in deep contemplation of some of the more technical online discussion points.  If I’m wrong, let me know!  This week, we add links to a couple of longer videos that are worth an additional time commitment.

Whose Permission Are You Waiting For?  Another strong contribution to the bookmarkable Escape Velocity blog, this one from Pam Slim (the author of Escape From Cubicle Nation), who talks about the anxiety that many of her coaching clients feel about launching their new businesses.  This post provides some good actionable steps for getting past that fear. 

Is an App a Tool or a Behavior?  Have you thought about an mobile-phone (or iPad) application that would be really useful AND promote your business?  Lots of people are, and this post from John Jantsch at Duct Tape Marketing could get you focused on coming up with that next, great (hugely popular) app.   And then,  a day later, comes a post from Jolie O’Dell at Mashable on how to build an application for your small business.

Just a Quick Question… I didn’t fully agree with Kim Woodbridge’s point in this posting about the issue of getting calls and e-mail questions from former clients.  But it raises an important issue and it’s worth taking a couple of extra minutes to read the comments (my own included).  Some good suggestions and it will get you thinking about your philosophy on the subject.

How to Focus on Your Ideal Customer.  Do you know the person who’s most likely to buy your services (or your products)? The more you know, the more easy it is to target them and figure out the best marketing strategy.  Maria Ross of Red Slice offers some great tips on picturing your perfect customer.

Four Easy to Use Tools to Monitor Your Brand Online.  Sure, there are great paid services out there, but for most of us some combination of these free services will let us keep an eye on what people are saying about your brand or within your industry.

Sales and Marketing Pipeline Funnels.   Focus.com went out and asked 14 experts from various industries to map their sales process as a one-page picture to help others better understand the revenue “funnel,” which serves as the basis of your sales and marketing strategy.  As Focus.com see it, once you understand your funnel, you are better informed about what metrics you should concentrate on, resource decisions and planning.  This is a download of a 20-page PowerPoint deck and requires you to provide some basic information, no doubt for future marketing.  But this is a great learning tool, so it’s your call.

And now, a few things in the multi-media category…

The cool webinar of the week comes from Michael Port, the author of Book Yourself Solid, who talked about the Seven Habits of Highly Effective Marketers.  There are lots of great tips in this for consultants and small-business owners trying to generate new business or reinforce their relationships with current or past clients/customers, but be warned: He’s also promoting a new program he’s selling so there’s some of that in this webinar.

How Duct Tape Marketing Legend John Jantsch Uses Social Media.  No, not too much pressure there.  As Trey Pennington (who conducted the interview) explains, “John has a gorgeously balanced approach” to building communities online and offline.

And my favorite video of the week…Scott Stratten’s keynote address to open BlogWorld a few weeks ago.  It’s terrific for anyone who blogs, is thinking about blogging, and/or worries about how to market.  Scott is the author of UnMarketing, which I highlighted last week as a column by Ann Handley but here’s Scott in person.  It’s long — but you can immediately advance it because all you get in the first 19 minutes is background music and a few introductions from the event’s organizers (sorry about the 30-second ad at the beginning).

Here you go.  Have  a great week and don’t forget to please–please–add your links to great stuff you’ve read recently to the comments.  Thanks.

And one more tip: If you still have the energy after looking at these, go take a look at Marjorie Clayman’s 30Thursday version.  She brings a lot of heart to her choices of 30 posts each week…and many will bring a tear to your eye or get you thinking.  Have a great week!

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10 more Must Read blog posts for consultants

by Peter Osborne on October 17, 2010 · 4 comments

I loved this great shot of Chicago on Bing this past week.

Some great stuff in the blogosphere for new consultants and small business owners over the past week, but I want to start with two questions: I’ve been focusing more on non-Social Media related posts in this roundup (i.e., things to help you build your businesses or be more effective at work) but I want to know what kind of things would be most valuable to you…and who you want me to focus on.  Other bloggers focus on the social media platforms and if you’re interested in that, you’re probably reading those posts too.  I also assume that most of you know about the Seth Godins, Chris Brogans, Brian Clarks, and other wildly popular posters (and they could dominate this post every week, their stuff is so good), so I rarely highlight those.  Instead I’m focusing more on people who may not be as well known (Good move, Peter, great way to irritate anyone I link to today).  Please let me know in the comments or on Twitter (@consultantlaunc) if that’s the path you want me to take.  Thanks.

How To UnMarket.   Lots of business books are hitting the market and the Internet enables their authors to get great visibility.  But interviews like the one that Ann Handley (@marketingprofs) did with Scott Stratten (@unmarketing), author of UnMarketing: Stop Marketing, Start Engaging, enable readers to make an informed decision about whether they want to buy the book.  I have difficulty believing that anyone who read this post wouldn’t want to buy Scott’s book.  And a lot of that is because Ann clearly loves marketing and brought that passion to the post.

7 Ways to Keep the Sales Rolling in Your Small Business.  I met Melinda Emerson (@smallbizlady) at PodCampPhilly and she’s a dynamic speaker.  How many of you are so focused on the last 75 days of this year that you’re not thinking much about next year? This will get you focused!

The Complicated Lives of Today’s Leaders.  From the Wharton School, a well-done condensation of a roundtable of participants in The World Economic Forum’s Global Leadership Fellows Program that focuses on the context in which leadership is exercised. 

Content as an Essential Strategy.  It’s simple for John Jantsch of Duct Tape Marketing (@ducttape): You’ve got to produce content with an eye on two things: educating and building trust.  Nice simple, short post that will get you thinking and planning.

23 Entrepreneurs Reveal the 3 Steps to Building a Profitable Business.  Recipe for a useful, high-traffic blog post.  Send out three questions to a bunch of successful people.  Wait for responses.  Compile them.  Publish them.  That’s what Rob Ramunny (@robramunny) — who is 16, by the way — did here.  The questions are geared toward building an online business, but many of the answers apply to bricks-and-mortar too.

Respect, Not Fear.  Anthony Iannarino makes a nice distinction between respecting your competition and fearing them, using a nice example of an accidental meeting with one larger competitor.

How You Can Execute Social Media Successfully.  Social Steve (@socialsteve) outlines an approach for executing along the “A Path,” which includes Attention, Attraction, Affinity, Audience, and Advocates.  This post includes a link to an equally interesting post on the subject that Social Steve wrote a year ago.

29 No-Brainer Tips for Quick Blogging Success.  Very actionable post from Stanford Smith (@pushingsocial) for consultants or small businesses that are trying to increase their visibility through blogging.  Just because they’re no-brainers doesn’t mean they’re not a good reminder.

Go and Listen to Teenagers.  Graham Smith judged a recent public-speaking contest for students.  He came away from it with a new-found respect for what teenagers can teach you about making your case and engaging your audience.

11 Ways To Restate Problems to Get Better Solutions.  I was looking for one thing and found this one (isn’t that the way it goes sometimes?).  Paul Williams of Idea Sandbox (@ideasandbox) provides a great list to try to get yourself unstuck.

Keep in mind that I’m posting this in two places (it’s also over at Bulldog Simplicity) because I seem to have two different audiences.   Hope that’s not irritating for those who read both. And that’s it for this week.  Now it’s your turn.  Please share something great you saw this past week.

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10 Must Read blog posts for consultants

by Peter Osborne on October 10, 2010 · 0 comments

Share these great posts with others

A lot of good blog posts this week that should interest consultants and other small-business owners.  For the most part, I’m going to assume that consultants who come to this post from a Tweet will pick up the serious technology-oriented posts and articles from their own Twitter streams or other similarly themed posts.  So I’m going to focus primarily on posts and articles between Oct. 3-9 that provide actionable tips for consultants and small businesses or directions for building your online (digital) presence.  Let me also reinforce something for the bloggers among my readers that I first read in a Jay Baer postHeadlines draw readers, and most of these start with either How or a Number (X Ways To Do…).  Just something to think about if you’re trying to drive traffic and new prospects or customers to your site.   If you’re new to this feature, click on Must Read and take a look at my first few.

How Scott Stratten Kicked My Ass.  This is my favorite post of the week.  Anytime you have a post that combines the talents of two passionate people like Amber Naslund and Scott Stratten.  This post is about being authentic, about being yourself.  I’m not going to spoil it by saying more, but if you’re starting to worry that you’re getting away from the reason you started your consulting business and doing things that aren’t really you, read this post.

How To Get More Followers to Your Blog.  There was a lot of blog traffic this week on Search Engine Optimization and other ways to drive traffic (more on that a bit later).  This is a bit different take on the issue.  I’ve got to tell you: This guy (Single Dad Laughing) gets it and he lives his philosophy.  A testimony to passion driving interest in your blog (professional or personal).  And the picture he uses to illustrate the post is a case study in how to do it right. 

How Small Businesses Use Web Apps — And What to Look For.   Jumping off from a speech by Google CEO Eric Schmidt (who’s made news this week for a series of bizarre recent statements–and this link to 7 Creepy Faux Pas could easily have made this week’s list ), this post argues that we’re moving toward a cloud-computing model for small businesses and consultants and offers tips for what to consider when choosing a cloud app.  This post almost didn’t make the list because it was “sponsored” by UPS with UPS ads surrounding it.  I’m not sure why, but I was vaguely uncomfortable with this approach, but the post didn’t actively promote UPS services so I include it because it had good information.

How to Build a One-Person Sales Force.  I like these Inc. Small Business Guides because they provide actionable tips in a fairly short piece but also give you the opportunity to “dig deeper.”  This is a great look at ways to avoid the time suck that can be business development — time spent away from actually doing consulting projects that will earn you money.

7 Things You Must Do To Make Your Product Launch Easier.  Dave Navarro is The Launch Coach and he has a simple tagline:  Get more people to buy what you’re selling.   This is a great column — actually Dave has a great site — if you’re thinking about online sales.  If not, well maybe you can move on to the next link.

Make Money By Not Spending.  Great reminder of things I know you know but may not think much about from Chris Brogan, who has helped me so much on my journey with his posts and his personal support.  The guy is amazing.  This is also a way to introduce you to his new website, Escape Velocity, which houses some of the best bloggers on the planet.  Once you click on this link, wander around a bit on Escape Velocity!

5 Sales Closing Techniques.  A guest post by Rob Krekstein on Michael Brenner’s terrific B2B Marketing Insider blog.  I believe that the more you can simplify things, the more effective you’ll be and thinking in terms of using one of these five techniques may well help you close a deal in the next few weeks.

7 Places to Find Free Legal Images for the Web.  The title from this guest blog over on Blogging Pro says it all.  This provides some good alternatives to pay sites like iStockphoto.com.  My friends, Barrie Hopson and Katie Ledger did a similar posting on this with a few different sites over on their And What Do You Do? blog about portfolio careers. 

Forget About Your Process.  Some great advice about how to sell what you’re offering prospective clients.  Forget about how you do it; focus on the outcome, how what you do for the client is going to impact their business.  Another great reminder, from an interesting blog sponsored by How, a magazine for designers.  Parenthetically, I’m a big fan of looking at publications that don’t have a lot to do with what I do — just to get a different perspective.

And the download of the week comes from Keith Ferrazzi, author of Never Eat Alone and Who’s Got Your Back.  Keith posted his Executive Relationship Management Blueprint, which is basically a “cheat sheet for everything Keith teaches.”  As someone who participated in Keith’s Relationship Management Academy, I can tell you that Keith’s teachings will indeed change the way you approach relationship-building.   A very useful document, and you can get more on Keith through his core blog or this new Business Relationship Mastery blog.

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11 great posts from last week to start your week

by Peter Osborne on October 3, 2010 · 2 comments

You’re busy and may not have had time to keep pace with some of the best posts from the past week.  Here’s a set of links to articles that should appeal to consultants and small-business owners.  This is a great opportunity to acquaint yourself with these writers and perhaps subscribe to their blogs or bookmark their sites.  As always, I’ve posted this same list over on Bulldog Simplicity.  Have a great week!

12 E-Mail Marketing Tips for Small Business.  I’m linking to the post by Chrisanne Sternal of UnderstandingMarketing.com, but it borrows heavily (and acknowledges it) from a post that Lisa Barone of Outspoken Media wrote for the Small Business Trends blog.

Social Media and the Big Conversation “Fail.”  It started with a great post by Mark W. Schaefer (he of the terrific [grow} blog) about his surprising meeting with someone who he “talks to” a lot through social media.  What put this post on this week’ list are the comments — more than 100 of them — that really highlights social media’s strengths as a place to build community. 

How to Align Marketing With Sales.   Michael Brenner’s post covers an important topic, but what set is apart was the way he juxtaposed a couple of other recent posts on the subject and provide links to those posts.  That’s what put it on this list.

Why Getting Attention Won’t Make You Rich.  A very funny post on Copyblogger from Sonia Simone, who argues that being unique and authentic and getting attention isn’t all there is to being successful.  Instead, says Sonia, the key is building trust.

Small Business Act of 2010: An Overview.  Nice summary of the new law that builds on information that MyVenturePad.com took from the White House Blog.  Good starting point for consultants who are interested in how it will impact them so you can ask questions of your lawyer or accountant or do additional research.

Time is Money, Now Act Like It.  Are you taking full advantage of your most valuable resource?  Scott Allen offers some great tips that really struck a nerve in terms of the comments on this post.

8 Bad Habits That Stifle Your Creativity.  Dean Rieck makes the list for the second week in a row in a post for Copyblogger (And this would be a good time to go sign up for the RSS or e-mail feed of their daily posts).  A nice piece that talk about the habits that “crush the creative pathways in your brain.” 

Living Self-Employed Online: The Manual They Forgot to Give You.  Glen (just Glen — no last name that I could find) is apparently a 21-year-old South African from England has written a great post that’s worth a read from every consultant who used to work in an office and now has to stay focused in a home office.

 Clever Ideas Can Sound Crazy…At First.  Just a quick post with a reminder to listen when your co-workers (or the people around you) come up with ideas.  Nice summary from Paul Williams of IdeaSandbox from the always valuable MarketingProfs Daily Fix site.

Found in Translation. In the midst of some recent online debates about who bloggers write for, here’s a thoughtful NY Times op-ed piece by author Michael Cunningham (“The Hours”) on how he learned to write for for his readers, plus some musings on the “most fundamental yet elusive quality for writers.”   A great reminder not only for consultants’ blogging efforts, but for proposal and report writing.

And in the Video/Graphic Department…

30 Conversations on Design.  Just a very cool website created last year by Little & Company to commemorate 30 years in business.  The comany asks 30 very creative people two questions:  What single example of design inspires you most (For Dan Pink, it’s the eraser) and What problem shoudl design solve next?  The 2010 videos are now up (making a total of 60 on the site).  Bookmark the site and go to it when you need to be inspired or just to get a different perspective on things.

Did I miss any?  Please feel free to add additional links in the Comments or send me your thoughts for next week’s post.

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Must Read: 9 great posts from other bloggers

by Peter Osborne on September 25, 2010 · 2 comments

The weather report is calling for rain tomorrow and I’m planning to catch up on some reading.  It seemed to be the perfect time to launch a new feature on Consultant Launch Pad and Bulldog Simplicity (yes, I’m publishing the same content on both blogs because my readerships are different) and offer up a few links to articles that are worth your time but that you may have missed over the past week as you were trying to sell more, spend less, or get more customers to like, know, and trust you.

This is certainly not a new concept and many of you may have favorite bloggers you follow who do the same.  I religiously read the links provided each week by Mitch Joel, John Jantsch, and or Gini Dietrich.  But as tweets fly by at a relentless pace, I’m finding myself clicking Favorites more often and thought I’d share the ones with tips or observations that consultants and/or small business owners could add to their Monday To Do lists in hopes of finding a new client or customer, retaining an existing one, or doing something a little more efficiently or effectively. 

Great Infographics.  Fast Company’s website searches the world looking for cool infographics that explain interesting stuff.  The aforementioned Mitch Joel pointed me toward this site with one from Newsweek magazine that explains what it’s like to be trapped in a Chilean mine, but bookmarking this feature and looking at it on a regular basis could give you ideas for your own customer communications, blogs, or presentations.  Picture an infographic on The History of Pasta for a paper placement in an Italian restaurant.  Would that be cool or what?

Getting Customers to Buy.  Sixteen simple ways to engage with customers and encourage them to buy from you from copywriter/direct marketer Dean Rieck.  I had this one queued up and then Copyblogger suggested the same one in their post today.  Which reinforces the idea that this one is valuable for people trying to figure out how to get their customers or prospects to pay attention.

B2B Marketers Must Think Like Consumers.  One of my favorite quotes of the week came from David Meerman Scott, who tweeted, “Attention B2B marketers: You are never marketing to a business. You are always marketing to people.”  This Forbes article is much longer, very thoughtful, and a terrific complement to David’s 13-word great advice.

Ways That Retailers Can Drive Traffic Using Twitter and Facebook.  Some great tips that also apply to consultants from the always-interesting Rich Brooks.  He wrote this for Social Media Examiner, but his blog is worth a look on a regular basis.

10 Ways to Use Technology to Improve Your Marketing.   Writing for the MarketingProfs Daily Fix Blog (which you should explore from this post), Michael Stibbe starts by saying, “Every day, marketing professionals are looking for a way to do something amazing, to impress their clients, to get the job done faster and to grow their business. Technology isn’t the magic bullet for all your problems but, used well, it can really help.”  Good, quick tips.

Content Lessons Learned From 25 Popular Posts.  Jay Baer is considered an icon in the field of content marketing — what you provide to readers and visitors to your site that they find valuable.  Not only does he offer links to those posts, he takes a look at what they have in common.

Exceeding Delivery Expectations as a Strategic Marketing Process.  I actually tripped over this Duct Tape Marketing post by John Jantsch; somehow I missed it on Friday.  That said, the notion of first setting expectations and then exceeding them applies to consultants and small businesses alike (and big businesses too — one of his examples is Zappo’s).

The Disease Called “Perfection.”  I’m not going to say much about this post by single dad Dan beyond the fact that he started blogging only a few months ago; more than 100,000 people have already looked at this heartfelt post from a few days ago; and you can apply its message to both your business and personal life. 

The Pattern of Business Success.   This actually passed across my screen as I was getting ready to hit the Publish button on this post, but is so cool that I “stopped the presses” to share it with you.  If you’ve ever seen Wordle – a program you see on many blogs that creates word clouds that show the dominant words and phrases in your writing (it’s also great to use on your resume) – you’ll click on this to see what happened when John Spence applied Wordle to his life’s work.  It’s fascinating. 

Well, that’s it for this week.  This is the stuff I liked and, more important, stuff that I thought you’d like.  Please feel free to post links to things you liked in the comments or tell me what kind of posts you’d be interested in seeing.  My commitment to you is that I’m going to look for some more obscure bloggers for next week; it’s not difficult to find good stuff from the people included here.  But I also suspect that many of you aren’t all that familiar with some of these people, so introducing you isn’t such a bad thing either.

Have a great week!

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