Making the Rounds

I’ve been doing a ton of public speaking lately, and I’m always excited to do so. For some reason, it fascinates me that I can get a room full of people to sit and listen to what I have to say, especially when it comes to social media, which is a topic that I am extremely passionate about.

In the interest of total disclosure, I actually love being invited to speak and have no problem doing it. When I was a teenager and frequent pageant competitor, I usually won or placed very well in speech and interview competitions. In fact, my nickname was Miss Microphone, as in, “give her a microphone and she’ll talk for hours.”

So, without further ado, here are my slides from this weekend’s presentation at Digital Media in a Social World about how to find a job using social media. Thanks to Doug Dangler, the Social Media Society and the Center for the Study and Teaching of Writing at THE Ohio State University for being such gracious hosts!

All I Need to Know About Marketing, I Can Learn From Lady Gaga

Love her or loathe her, let’s face it—Lady Gaga is a genius when it comes to marketing herself. Always relevant and provocative, she’s constantly being talked about, and isn’t that what you want for your brand, whether it’s a client or your personal brand? Here’s how you can claim a little Gaga magic for yourself.

Have an Opinion

Lady Gaga isn’t exactly shy when it comes to speaking her mind about issues she feels strongly about, which keeps her in the public eye. Don’t be namby-pamby—pick a side and speak up. This will help you focus on who you want to eventually evangelize your brand. As a freelance copywriter, this is something I struggle with – I don’t want to piss people off since I’m ultimately looking for a permanent gig.

Social Media is Your Friend

Lady Gaga has done an amazing job driving loyalty with social media—she has more than 5 million fans on Twitter and 14 million Facebook fans. Even better is the way she directly messages her friends on a timely basis. Can’t you do the same?

Be Different

Be different, but selectively so, and make sure people know about it. However, there’s an art to doing this: a writing teacher I had in high school would constantly tell us, “show me, don’t tell me.” In other words, rather than blathering on about how great you are, live it and let people discover it for themselves.

There’s Nothing Wrong with Commerce

Let’s be honest—poverty sucks. It took me a while to figure this out: making money while plying your trade is not a sin. It’s actually kind of the point of working. When I first started freelancing, I was almost embarrassed to ask for a living wage from clients because I was afraid that I would drive away clients by asking for a decent rate. Turns out I did, but I only seemed to scare off the bad clients.

Kiss Their Three Heads and Tuck Them in at Night

Lady Gaga’s fans are called Little Monsters and they even have their own official greeting/gang sign. Even Oprah knows it. So how are you connecting with your fans? What are you doing to add value beyond the initial transaction?

Don’t be Afraid to Piss People Off

You can’t please everyone, right? Someone isn’t going to like you because your rate is just outside of their price range, or they don’t like your approach to concepting, or whatever. Lady Gaga realizes that the people she ticks off probably aren’t her fan base, anyway, and she’s okay with that. Trying to please everyone is exhausting and it eats up the time you should be spending on work.

Have the Right People on Your Side

Lady Gaga has a long string of celebrity supporters. You also need your own star-studded entourage who will sing your praises, let you know about job openings, and maybe even throw some business your way every now and then. Of course, this has to be a give-and-take relationship. Very few people will flat-out worship you if there’s nothing in it for them.

Produce Great Work. Always

Even if you’re not a pop music fan, Lady Gaga writes amazingly good songs. She doesn’t produce a huge amount of them, but what she does produce is flawless. This is how you should run your business—take on work selectively and don’t take on so much that your finished product isn’t your best work.

Stop Shooting Fish in a Barrel

The Gaga brand is very calculated and deliberate, thanks to her talented team of publicists. Team Gaga didn’t do anything revolutionary – they simply took the tools that work today and used them to their advantage within the parameters that define her brand’s attributes. In other words, figure out who and what you/your brand want(s) to be when you/it grow(s) up and act accordingly.

And Here…we…Go

I’m back on the freelance trail…this time, as a freelance writer for another agency. The back story on this is simple: a friend quit her position as a copywriter at this agency and she very graciously suggested me as a replacement. So far, things are going great – I’m really busy (always a bonus for contract workers as everything we do has to be billable or else we get shown the door) and the vibe seems pretty good. Of course,I’m still learning the office culture, but I feel like I could be really happy here. My contract, at this point, only goes through next Friday, so stay tuned.

Why Can’t I be Like Carrie Bradshaw?
Life as a freelance writer is not as glamorous as I had hoped it would be. I remember watching Sex and the City and thinking about how much fun it could be to be a full-time writer like Carrie Bradshaw – having flexible hours, and making enough money to be able to meet my girlfriends for leisurely lunches at the local hot spots and possibly shop for couture every now and then. Enter reality: freelancing is work. Hard work. In addition to writing, you’re also marketing yourself, doing the books, etc. Definitely not for the faint of heart. Freelancing is especially tough for me because I have to do it with my daughter in tow, provided I’m not working a contract job. Have you ever tried to write a 1,200 word piece with a 4 year old screaming for attention? I double-dog dare ya to try!


This week, I was tickled to finally learn the name of Apple’s newest product: the iPad, which is supposed to be a hybrid between the Kindle and the iPod. I’m reserving judgement on the product itself, but I’ll be curious to see what happens with digital advertising on the thing, considering Apple’s inability to produce a mobile device that does justice to Flash.

Super Bowl Preview

Be on the lookout for an integrated Super Bowl promotion from Papa John’s pizza this year. While the chain is mum on the details, it does admit to being in cahoots with the NFL for this one. The “Papa’s in the House” promotion, so far, has gathered fan support and the Big Game promotion is meant to salute NFL fans as well as those behind the scenes at games.

Whatever the buy is, the chain has built up to it with a sweepstakes for two tickets and accommodations for the game, and related special offers, such as the “Super XL IV” (an extra-large pizza with four toppings for $11.99) and the “1st and 10” (any large pizza for $10), plus if you order a large cheese pizza for $9 during the three days after the game, you can get a free topping for every touchdown scored.

The Worst and Weirdest iPhone Apps Ever Created


I admit it – I’m a total dork when it comes to my iPhone and all of the available apps. This week, I discovered the wonders of Regator. Of course, I also came across some real clunkers that have me scratching my head.

Basically, think of this as “Am I Hot or Not” for the iPhone generation. In a sense, it’s leering (or people-watching, depending on your inclinations) at its finest.

For the man who wonders why his lady friend is acting strangely this week, iCycle allows you to track the menstrual cycle of that special lady (or up to 5 ladies) in your life.

Upon first impression, Nicado seems innocent enough – it tracks and reports your exact location and lets the world know precisely where you are. Perfect for the ultimate narcissist who feels the need to let people know where they are every minute of the day. Also helpful for stalkers and freaks to track you down.

This is an application I just don’t get. The makers bill it as the ultimate keg party where the beer never runs out, but seriously, what is the point of virtual beer? And to pay .99 for it? Why?

Offender Locator/Sex Offender Search
This handy dandy app let your inner OCD run free by letting you know when an offender has moved into your neighborhood and where they work, etc. Sometimes, I think there’s such a thing as too much information.

If you need to exact revenge on your annoying coworker, then this is the app for you. It lets loose a series of annoying sounds like a jackhammer, crying baby, siren, chainsaw, and chewing. Beats opening one of those foil packs of tuna and crackers in your cubicle, doesn’t it?

This is one of the creepiest apps I’ve ever seen. For realz, it’s a virtual voodoo doll. All you have to do is import a photo of someone into iVoodoo and then stick ’em with virtual pins. And to make it even more ghoulish, here is the description:

iVoodoo is the answer to your magical and spiritual needs. In today’s society it can be difficult to whip out a voodoo doll and stick it full of pins … That’s where iVoodoo comes in. Just launch the app and you’ll be manifesting destinies in no time at all.

To add to the creepy fun, you can customize five dolls, you can choose from seven different pins, and there’s a pin management system, among other things. Long story short, someone takes this voodoo stuff a little too seriously for my comfort level.


In case you need to step up your stalker game, check out MobileSpy. This app allows you to  surreptitiously monitor everyone who contacts you. It runs as a background app, and automatically tracks and records SMS messages, phone calls, and GPS locations. It enables the user to track down where a SMS is sent from or where a phone call is coming from. All data are automatically uploaded to a separate website where a user can access it.

If you’ve been cursed with a shy bladder, behold the wonders of iPee


Photo credits:

mww logo

Shout Out

Kudos to client mywebWOW!, who launched their sweet refurbished website last night. More things (read: BIG things) are coming for the MWW team over the next year, so please check out their site and consider them for your web needs.


Late to the Party

So I’m a little late with this, but John Hughes was one of my heroes during my teen years because his movies captured teen angst so perfectly. What you may not know is that he was a copywriter at Leo Burdett in Chicago before making his way to Hollywood. Click here for a touching tribute from a former colleague.

Please Don’t Call me a Mommy Blogger


One of the terms I hate more than anything is “mommy blogger.” First of all, it’s insulting. Yes, I am a mother who blogs and I tend to mention my family from time to time, however, the fact that blogging mothers don’t get as much respect from the blogosphere at large as, say, political bloggers or social bloggers is absurd. For some reason, there is a misnomer that mothers who blog only write about their kids and how to get their whites whiter. For the record, I manage two blogs of my own – one is a foodie blog and the other is my marketing blog, plus I write for two online magazines, and contribute to two marketing and advertising blogs. Mommy blogger, indeed!

What has set me off on this particular course is an article I read, touting the swag BlogHer attendees took home last week. Once upon a time, advertisers didn’t take us seriously because they thought our blogs were all about our kids and homes, and not especially substantive or relevant. Then, they  came to the realization that women who blog are influencers who build brand loyalty by word-of-mouth. Who are you going to trust – some guy in a suit at an ad agency who tells you that his product is great or a mom in your play group who has actually used the product?

want ads

Not Your Mama’s Phone Interview
If you, like me, are still looking for work, you’ve no doubt been through the rigors of what I like to call Phone Interview 2.0. Remember the days when you used to get a call from someone in HR and had a pleasant, but breezy conversation that ended in an appointment for a face-to-face interview? Those days have been replaced by the new breed of phone interview. Click here to learn how to survive it.


Social Media for Competitive Intelligence
One of the things I love about marketing is strategy. While your actions have to be deliberate, you also have to monitor the competition. Thanks to Webbed Marketing’s Bill Baldarraz  for this brilliant article on how to utilize social media when doing reconn.

marketers are liars

On my Bookshelf
I may be a little late to the party, but I’m finally on the Seth Godin bandwagon. I’ve just started reading All Marketers are Liars: the Power of Telling Authentic Stories in a Low-Trust World and I can’t put it down. If you want to master the art of  telling authentic stories, this is the book for you.

What Are You Doing This Weekend?

amazon-logoFor those that haven’t been following the Amazon debacle, allow me to recap: In what Amazon refers to as a “glitch,” last weekend, the online retailer removed from its listings many gay and/or lesbian-themed books by authors such as Gore Vidal, James Baldwin, and Jeanette Winterston, thus prompting a social media frenzy unseen since the “Motrin Moms” firestorm in 2008. Amazon has since responded, calling the incident an “embarassing and ham-fisted cataloging error,” but it was too little, too late. Using tags like “#amazonfail” and “#glitchmyass,” twitter users taught Amazon a valuable lesson: monitor your brand at all times, especially via social media, and especially on weekends. Had Amazon done just that, the company might have responded in a timely fashion, rather than having to do massive damage control, following a weekend of awkward silence.

Do you have a plan in place, should your brand be put in a similar situation? Here are some things to keep in mind:

  1. First of all, decide if this is a situation over which you have any control. For example, when a company is faced with content released by disgruntled employees, making a public statement could potentially draw attention to content over which the company has no control.
  2. Find out what is being said and by whom. In these types of situations, the marketer needs to know how many people saw the questionable content and how likely they are to be customers, and then react accordingly.
  3. You don’t have to have all of the answers all at one time. There is no shame in saying, “we’re aware of the situation. We don’t know how it happened, but we’re dealing with it.” It shows the brand’s human side, provided that a tone of genuine remorse is also conveyed.
  4. Don’t draw more attention to the problem than the situation warrants. For example, had  Motrin kept their statements geared toward the twitter users that were specifically discussing the campaign they found offensive, the situation could have been contained, rather than garnering national media attention.
  5. Focus on the future and what your company will do in the future to prevent the situation from happening again. Once you convey this information to your customers, learn from your mistakes and move on.

Can I Have a Side of Snot With That?
Domino’s Pizza is learning the hard way how harmful one person with a video camera and a web uplink can be to a brand. A now-former employee and his friend uploaded a series of videos to YouTube, depicting them defiling the very food products they were making for customers (though the co-hort claims they didn’t actually serve the items to customers). Domino’s is not currently planning to make a statement about the videos, however, I’m sure that after viewing a video of a Domino’s employee shoving mozzarella cheese up his nose before putting it on a sandwich will cause at least a few customers to think twice before picking up the phone.

Fast Food Frenzy
Fast feeder Burger King is taking flak for its latest print ad, which features a squat Mexican wrapped in his nation’s flag and standing next to a tall American cowboy. Cultural stereotypes aside, the company is accused of improperly displaying the Mexican flag, which is protected by law. BK plans to scrap the creative and come up with something less offensive for the Texican Whopper.
Speaking of Burger King, in case you missed my post last week, The King is now hawking Sponge Bob Square Pants-themed kids’ meals to the tune of “Baby Got Back,” complete with the creepy ruler singing about his love of square butts and his urge to “get with” Sponge Bob, while scantily-clad women are shakin’ it in the background. Parents will be thrilled to know that the spot (shown here in its HD glory) was made in partnership with Nickelodeon.

Legal Stuff You Should Know
Sure, word-of-mouth advertising and blogs are hot right now, but the Federal Trade Commission may have something to say about it. The FTC is planning to monitor blogs and viral marketing, holding writers and marketers accountable for any false statements about products. At this point, the new policy only applies to bloggers and others who are compensated to promote or review a product.

Image Upgrade

Calling all art nerds: Iconic champagne manufacturer Veuve Clicquot has released its new posters created by French artist Florence Deygas. These represent a shift from the current, more contemporary Global Light campaign for their Rose Collection. Deygas has also created promotional art for Nokia, YSL, Vogue, Fendi, and Lacoste.


I’ll Take a Side of Creepy With That Kids’ Meal

burger-kingThe gang at Crispin Porter + Bogusky is out with the latest Burger King commercial, which is sure to be a bit unsettling to the fast food-loving public. This time, the creepy King statue is hawking Sponge Bob Squarepants kids’ meals to a rewritten version of “Baby Got Back.” Is this meaningful to today’s kids? Probably not. How does this rate in terms of compelling creative? Honestly, the spot gives me the willies, but you be the judge. If nothing else, it’s memorable and will generate online and water cooler buzz for a while.

A Reason to Get More People to Follow You on Twitter

twitter-zoomed-in1Note to twitter users: DiGiorno wants you to host a tweet-up, but only if you live in New York, Chicago, or L.A. The frozen pizza giant is reaching out to influential twitter users (ie: those with a massive following) with free flatbread pizzas for their gatherings, in hopes of users spreading the word. Don’t live in one of those cities? Be on the lookout for a DiGiorno onslaught on Yelp and CitySearch starting in August, when the brand plans to target users who are searching for pizza delivery. And it won’t stop at pizza – DiGiorno is also launching a flatbread sandwich that retails for $3.49. Watch your backs, Subway and Quizno’s.

Say What???


I read an article yesterday on Advertising Age, which has me in a huff. The author states that it is a critical misstep to listen to customers too much because they always want lower prices, much to the detriment of brands. The article goes on to cite Saks Fifth Avenue as a case study – they lowered prices as much as 70% during the holiday period, and sales remained flat, anyway, thereby “proving” that the customer is not always right. Hmmmm…the customer is the one spending their money with a particular brand, thus, in a sense, signing employee paychecks, right? The way I see it is that the customer is always right since s/he can always chose to spend her/his money elsewhere. The article also makes an excellent case for perceived value and brand image. Read it here.