Saturday, August 30, 2008

Me and Debbie Weil

One of the GREAT things about social media is that being part of the conversation enables you to CONNECT on and offline with cool people far and wide. For example, earlier this month I had coffee with Avi Kaplan, recent college grad and new social media evangelist and yesterday I had lunch with Debbie Weil.
Debbie, of The Coporate Blogging Book fame, is a GREAT resource for understanding the historical and cultural complexity of the blogosphere. (She's been blogging since 2003!) She's also a wealth of knowledge on how the "big guys" - like Hewlett Packard, Lilly, and Marriott - do or don't do it well. But what I like most about her is her curiosity and interest in talking about what's next.

This meeting served as ANOTHER reminder for me of what's best about being online. Meeting and connecting with like-minded souls who share a passion for LEARNING, CREATIVITY, and CONNECTION.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Top 7 Tips for Building Your E-mail List + 1

I was VERY HAPPY to help brainstorm this list of Top 7 Tips for Building Your E-mail List with Katya Andresen at Network for Good and Alia McKee at SeaChange Strategies. Check it out!

Here's the +1. Once you've got your e-list together, keep it up-to-date with regular e-mail appends. E-mail appending is "the process of adding a consumer's (donor's) email address to that consumer's (donor's) record. The email address is obtained by matching those records from the marketer's database against a third-party database to produce a corresponding email address."

Why e-mail append? Because your donor's e-mail addresses CHANGE REGULARLY!

To learn more, read "E-mail Appends: The Good, the Bad, and the Realistic," by Catherine Algeri.



Full disclosure: I work for Triplex, an InfoUSA Group company. We sell e-mail marketing and list management services - including e-mail appends - to nonprofits.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Google Goes Mobile for Election 2008

This probably won't come as a surprise but Google has launched a mobile channel to cover the 2008 Elections. It includes links to video, maps of the convention cities, and election news for both candidates. Pretty cool!

Clearly we're going to be hearing A LOT MORE about marketing via mobile phones in the next few months. This begs the question, how can nonprofits use this EVERYWHERE, ON ALL THE TIME, PERSONAL medium to talk to donors, volunteers, staff, etc.

If you are interested in learning more about how nonprofits are using mobile to achieve their advocacy, fundraising, and marketing goals, check out MobileActive - "a community of people and organizations using mobile phones for social impact."

In particular, check out this blog post, "The Do's and Dont's of Mobile Advocacy."



Friday, August 22, 2008

Find Your Voice

"When you think of the Internet, don't think of Mack trucks full of widgets
destined for distributorships, whizzing by countless billboards.

Think of a table for two."
-Doc Searles, The Cluetrain Manifesto.

One of the toughest things (in my humble opinion) about succeeding online is BEING REAL. Why? Most of us have spent the bulk of our careers perfecting the art of "corporate speak."
  • Don't be passionate.
  • Don't be spontaneous.
  • DON'T SAY ANY THING that hasn't been approved by PR.
  • In short, don't be real.
We've let the natural tenure, tone, and passion of our voices erode.

This is a serious problem because talking like an organization is BORING at best and PATRONIZING at worst. There's simply no life to "corporate speak." No love.

If you want to succeed on the Web, and by this I mean, if you want people to
  • read your stuff
  • visit your website
  • "tell a friend"
  • "donate now"
  • etc.
You've got to find your voice - again.
You've got to BE REAL.

Like Doc Searles says, the Internet IS A HUGE INTERSTATE. There's so much stuff out here, it's AMAZING! At the same time - at it's core - it's still a one-to-one medium. Think about it. You e-mail me. I e-mail you. I do a blog post. You comment. You "friend" me. I chat back.

The Point: Talk online just the way you would with you next door neighbor. No jargon-filled messaging. No over-my-head euphemisms. Just regular, righteous, real-time SPEAK!

If you need help finding your voice, answer the questions below. I also ENCOURAGE you to to read Beyond Buzz: The Next Generation of Word of Mouth Marketing, by Lois Kelly. She's got some great tips on being interesting and finding your unique point of view.

1. What do you LOVE about your job?
2. What do you HATE about your job?
3. What is your organization's greatest failure/success?
4. What is the biggest misperception people have about your cause?
5. What does everyone need to know now about your issue?


Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Top Tips for Marketing Your Blog

Thanks to charitynet.USA for this request. Here are some top tips for marketing your blog.

1. The best way to promote your blog is to do good work. So WRITE, WRITE, and WRITE some more.

2. Next, the blogosphere is a COMMUNITY of folks who care about stuff. To get your blog noticed you must PARTICIPATE in your online community(ies) of interest by:

  • following the conversations you care about
  • reading other people's work
  • linking, linking, and linking some more
  • asking and answering questions
  • tagging and acknowledging great content
  • volunteering for on- and offline projects in your areas of interest
3. Purely promotional tactics for getting out the word about your blog, include:
  • registering it with key search engines like Technorati and Blogpulse
  • listing the URL of your blog in your e-mail signature and on your business cards
  • sending out a press release about it's launch
4. It's also VERY IMPORTANT that you choose an intuitive name for your blog and use key words in your posts so that your blog shows up in Search.

For more tips on how to market your blog, read this article by the folks at OnlineMarketingBlog.
For more on how to get found in Search, go here.


Monday, August 18, 2008

What's in Your Pocket?

Photo by Nemos' great uncle.

Did you know:

  • that over 3 billion people in the world (nearly 1/2 of us) have cellular connectivity
  • this means that almost 50% of us are "mobile"
Check out this VERY INTERESTING TEDTalk by Jan Chipchase, Principal Researcher for Nokia. He describes how mobile phones have become:

  • fixed identity points for populations on the move
  • channels for entrepreneurship amid poverty
  • pocket-sized Western Unions
  • vehicles for charitable donations in times of crisis

Do you have any experience with mobile campaigning in the nonprofit sector? If so, please let me know


P.S. I first saw the link to this video on Many Possibilities - In the beginner's mind there are...

Moi on Blogher!

This is fun! Beth Kanter just interviewed me for Blogher.

Blogher's mission is to "create opportunities for women who blog to pursue exposure, education, community and economic empowerment...It's the number-one community for and guide to blogs by women."

Check it out!

By the by, in addition to gaining exposure, there are MANY OTHER GREAT BENEFITS of engaging in social media on your own or for your org. You get to:
Dive in!


Thursday, August 14, 2008

Don't Market Like a Librarian

Photo be gwENvision.

I've been participating in a lively discussion this week about how marketing is changing in our Connected Age and how this is impacting LIBRARIANS.

I have to admit, as a kid, there was no love lost between me and my school librarian. She was:
  • A "know it all!"
  • ALWAYS TOO BUSY to explain the details of the Dewey Decimal System to me.
  • Saying SHHHHHHHH!
Librarians out there, don't kill me. I know you are not all created equal. The picture I'm painting is a stereotype. Still, it's worth noting that this caricature of the stern, perfectionist, disengaged, expert IS something that librarians and libraries have to contend with. I suggest reframing the job and adding a few new responsibilities for today.
Dear Librarians:
  • Instead of being the GATEKEEPERS of information, be a trusted GUIDE for my data collection and exchange.
  • Talk to me. Be willing and ready to ENGAGE me in dialogue via e-mail, social media, and in person.
  • SHARE your love of books.
  • INSPIRE me to share my knowledge with others and LEARN more.

P.S. These tips aren't only for librarians. They're for everyone who wants to be a better marketer, but you knew that!

What's in Your Social Media Toolbox?

We ARE Media - a project of NTEN being curated by Beth Kanter - is off to a great start!

To date, over 60 folks (from across the globe) have contributed to building a Social Media Curriculum for Nonprofits via this Wiki.

In the past 8 weeks we've had a virtual brainstorming session, if you will, on the topics below. All of this collaboration has resulted in a great list of FREE resources for nonprofits interested in using the Internet to change the world!

Social Media Strategic Track

6: Return on Investment (ROI)

Now we're diving into the tools, i.e. blogs, fundraising widgets, RSS, photo sharing, social networks, etc. that power the house!

If you have expertise in using any of these tools at your nonprofit or have a case study about how a tool DID or DID NOT work, now is your chance to SHARE THE LOVE and SHINE A LIGHT on your organization!

An official "wiki-raid" to flesh out the Social Media Toolbox for Nonprofits will kickoff in September but feel free to get a head start!


Operation Smile is the 2008 Nonprofit Organization of the Year!

Congratulations to Operation Smile, winner of the 2008 Nonprofit Organizations of the Year Award for its use of direct-response marketing to advance its' mission.

Learn more and give the gift of a smile today!


Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Send This Text to Barack

OK, I wasn't going to get political on this blog but it doesn't get much cooler (or smarter) than this.

Want to be the first to know Barack's running mate? Sign up to receive an email now or text VP to 62262 on your mobile.

Ahhh the possibilities... How are you using new technologies to change the world?


Come Chat With Me Next Tuesday!

I'm leading a workshop next Tuesday morning (Aug. 19) from 9:30 - 11:30 at the Center for Nonprofit Advancement in Washington, DC called Rise Above the Noise: Online Strategies and Tools for Success. (Don't you love wonky workshop titles?)

If you're thinking about wading into the waters of Web 2.0 by starting a blog, participating in a social network, doing online video, or syndicating your best content or just want to get better at what you're already doing - register today!

We'll have coffee and bagels (my treat) and talk about the challenges and opportunities of using the Internet to change the world!

Questions about the workshop? Email me at jocelyn_harmon (at)

Questions about registration? Contact Shaw Hipsher at shawh (at)


Monday, August 11, 2008

Someone You Should Know - Qui Diaz

If you're serious about pursuing a career in "social media" or are just TRYING TO UNDERSTAND this dense and exciting "space," there are a few folks you need to know. One of them is Qui Diaz.

Qui (pronounced "key"), my dear frolleauge (friend and colleague), is profiled here, here, and here, which is as it should be. She's super smart, creative, and soulful - great attributes of a great marketer. (She's also way into citrus but that's another story.)

The good news is her passion is social media for social change and you can hire her to think with you or read her thoughts for free.

Check her out!


Sunday, August 10, 2008

Yet Another FREE Learning Opportunity for Nonprofits

The smart folks over at Frogloop - a blog which also helps nonprofits use the Internet to change the world - are holding a FREE webinar on Aug. 21 2:00 EDT to share tips and tricks for doing advocacy and cultivating donors through e-mail. They believe (as do I) that, while it's not the sexiest online tool, EMAIL is still hands down the best way to raise money and engage folks online.

Check it out!


Friday, August 8, 2008

Search - Everyone's Doing IT

According to a new report by the Pew Internet and American Life Project, Search (i.e. asking questions of Google and MSN and Yahoo) is second only to email in popularity with online adults. Specifically, the report says,
"the percentage of internet users who use search engines on a typical day has been steadily rising from about one-third of all users in 2002, to a new high of just under one half (49%). With this increase, the number of those using a search engine on a typical day is pulling ever closer to the 60% of internet users who use email, arguably the internet’s all-time killer app, on a typical day."
If you are reading this blog, I'm sure this is not news to you. Who can live without Search? It's become a vital part of daily life. Whether we're job hunting, doing research, or Googling ourselves (I know you do it too), Search is ubiquitous.

What's interesting is how Search is changing the way we connect with others and market our organizations online. Instead of using OUTBOUND marketing techniques like sending out e-mail blasts, Search enables us to do INBOUND marketing and bring people hither!

For example, if you type "marketing for nonprofits" into Google right now, (Go ahead. Open a new browser and try it.) my blog comes up, as do links for Nancy Schwartz' blog - Getting Attention and Nedra Weinreich's blog - Spare Change. Now, if we're lucky (Nancy and Nedra and I), you will click on one or all of our links and read, comment, or hire us to provide marketing consulting for you! (Hint, hint.)

Note: I venture to guess that you've NEVER seen an advertisment or received literature in the mail from Nancy or Nedra (I know you've never seen one from me) but (and this is the cool part) we've managed to connect with you nonetheless. The point? Search engine marketing really works.

If you're interested in getting into Search, here are three great ways to get started. I'd be interested to hear other ideas re: what has and hasn't worked for you!

1. Publish new content often. This is THE MOST IMPORTANT tactic and the highest value activity you can pursue in if you want to be successful at search engine marketing. People want helpful information and frequent updating of your website or blog will increase your rankings in the search engines. Guaranteed.

2. Apply for a Google Adwords grant. Adwords are those links you see on the right hand side of your search results. Google has been giving these advertisements away for FREE to qualified nonprofits for some time now. The jury's still out on how successful Adwords are but since their FREE, I'd say give 'em a try.

3. Ask your friends to link to you! Links from other websites with good ranks and reputations will "rub off on you." In the game of Search, as in the game of life, who you know helps.


P.S. If you want to see how your website fares to date, here is a cool service which will "verify your website's placement within the top Internet search engines and directories."

P.P.S. HubSPOT has some done some great thinking on how small businesses, like nonprofits, can use search and other inbound marketing techniques to get more traffic. You can download their whitepaper for FREE. (Registration is necessary.)

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Frustrated with Flickr

Here's my beef. I LOVE FLICKR. I LOVE MANY OF THE AMAZING PHOTOS ON FLICKR. I GO TO FLICKR ALL THE TIME FOR INSPIRATION but for the life of me I can't figure out the copyright rules.

I know. The rules are listed here. But what exactly do they mean? Can I cut and paste any photo I see as long as I acknowledge the photographer or is sharing only approved for photos under Creative Commons license?

I'd appreciate any feedback. Help!

Having Faith in Strangers

I had the nicest experience today. I received a call from Avi Kaplan, a recent college graduate looking for his first "real" job and doing some networking in DC. I have to admit getting a call from a stranger who wants to meet for coffee is a little off-putting. But once we started talking it was clear that we "travel" in the same online circles and this is why I decided to meet.

Maybe this is another gift of our Connected Age - having faith in strangers.