Thursday, September 30, 2004

This month's Silicon Veggie column


Please note: the '5 Places to Love' blurb that has been under my column the past two months is NOT written by me. I have asked my editor about the placement, given that I'm a vegetarian and this blurb usually highlights meat dishes. She claims they will try to rectify t by next month.

Online Interview with the Queen Bee of Worker Bees is a great clearinghouse resource site. You can learn something about just about everything there, including blogs.

Today they published a rather lengthy interview with me, focusing on my life as a professional blogger, and how that part of my career got jump-started.

Several plugs for Worker Bees clients made it into the final edit.

All in all, this qualifies as good publicity for Worker Bees, and I hope good information for those who are intrigued by the blogging life.

Read the article here. be sure to click to the second part, and to my recommendations on how to land professional blogging gigs.

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

OK: Back to Publicity Photos

I asked you to look at two publicity stills and tell me what they made you feel and what kind of audience you thought they might pull in.

My immediate reaction on seeing the first shot, with "wacky, old man" pose, is that you're are not going to get a single person under 40 to see your show with that shot.

Tuesdays With Morrie was a very popular book. I bought it and read it. And I'm sure many other folks my age and younger did too.

But that shot makes it look like you'll be in for some bad sitcom-level humor all night long.

Meanwhile the poster show focuses on the young guy that Morrie influences, and has a more poignant, wistful feeling.

And from my memories of the book, it was much more about that kind of feeling then about watching a wacky old man be wacky.

But what do YOU think?

Letting Someone Else Do My Marketing: Seven Reasons to Blog

Great article over at Seven Reasons Why Businesses Should Blog Now

This makes many of my points for me. It validates a big portion of my own Worker Bees vision.

I think I need to send this to my LIFT boss, and maybe re-think veering away from brainstorming around blogs.

Monday, September 27, 2004

PR Photos: What do they say to you

I noticed the following San Jose Rep publicity photo in the Merc the other day:

It struck me a certain way, so I went to see what other photos they had on their web site. And I saw that the photo on their show poster was:

So, your homework is to take a look at these photos and think about what they evoke to you, and what kind of audience they might bring in.

I'll tell you what I think tomorrow.

A New Favorite Blog: Good Read; GREAT Marketing

I saw Zach Braff's writing/directorial movie debut, 'Garden State', this weekend. (Review here.

I really liked the movie, and I remembered that some weeks ago someone had pointed out to me that Braff had guessed it...his very own blog. I went back and checked it out and discovered that it is a charming and personable place to visit when you have a few moments to read someone's mundane, but charming thoughts.

Here's what makes it Worker Bees-worthy. It has become an awesome marketing tool for Braff. He has uncovered a nearly fanatical fan base. Every post he makes gets tons of comments, usually in the hundreds, but a few have gone into 4 figures. If you're not a regular blog reader let me just say that that is A LOT. Even some political blogs I read with quite high readership don't get that kind of response.

Why is that significant. Why isn't just readership enough? Because Braff is creating people who aren't just fans, but fans who feel like they have a relationship with Braff and whatever he does. I'm willing to bet these fans will buy his DVD, will go see his movie, will watch his TV show And not only that...they'll click through and buy the Songs of the Day that he recommends; they'll buy Garden State's soundtrack. I've already done both.

All because they know he cares about his fan base. He reads their comments. He appreciates their business. Sounds like the basics of good customer maintenance and marketing to me.

Great SF Chronicle Feature on "Addicted"

So today's Chronicle is all about my clients :)

This, of course, is not due to me, but my friend and fellow theatre marketeer, Carla Befera, and her PR firm.

Great story on mark Lundholm and his journey from addicition to "Addicted", his one-man show opening at the Marine Memorial Theatre on 10/2/04.

Check out the story.

And check out the show.

Great Chron Review for "A Couple of Blaguards"

Don't know if I'll be able to see "A Couple of Blaguards" myself, given my tight schedule. So, I'll substitute a glowing SF Chronicle review for one of my own.

Don't forget you can still get $10 off every ticket Wed.-Fri. at 8PM and Sat-Sun at 2PM by using promo code WBON.

Go here for more info:

Sunday, September 26, 2004

The Problems with Search Engine Optimization

Everyone talks about Search Engine Optimization (SEO.) It's the holy grail of online marketing. Although, frankly, I've seen such widely divergent statistics for how much of a web site's traffic comes from search engine referrers that I think we all might be worshipping a false God.

But the synapses in my brain have finally come together to allow me to realize that SEO is the reason blogs are becoming flooded with Comment Spam.

Not all blogs, of course. Frankly my blogs hosted by Blogger and iBlog aren't troubled by this phenomenon at all. But the blog I write for the Santa Clara County Democratic Party, which is hosted by MOvable Type, is absolutely hammered by Comment Spam every day. I spend way too much time deleting and rebuilding the site, time I could be spending blogging.

I didn't really get it at first. I thought, well, gee, why would they hammer me? I don't get that huge a readership. Who's going to see their stupid ads for various things inappropriate to mention here?

It's not about that at all. it's about SEO.

Recently I also started commenting more on blogs myself. real comments of course, not spam! And I noticed that those comments came up pretty high in the results when I ego-surfed.

Blogs in general do pretty well from an SEO perspective, because the content changes so dynamically.

So the spammers are hoping that a search on any random topic will eventually serve up references to their ads...because they are posting those ads as comments on blog entries on many random topics.

Insidiously clever.

I hope every blogger is as diligent as I about deleting their Comment Spam, but it is tedious.

And I have to say that right now I can't imagine recommending anyone to use Movable Type, as it seems clear spammers have figured out how to automate dropping their comments into Movable Type blogs and are focused on doing that.

And it never would have happened if the marketing world weren't convinced that search engine results lead to every web site click.

But it's not true on my sites. How about yours?

Saturday, September 25, 2004

Escaping Your Own Mind-set

I've been working on developing some Marketing for Small Businesses workshop content.

It's been a great way to remind myself of the basics, refreshing my perspective on the 4 P's and the like.

But I've also had to think outside my current marketing box, which is so heavily weighted toward online and viral marketing that I've forgotten about good old print advertising, for example.

Each portion of the workshop includes various exercises for the group, both individual exercises and group exercises. When working on the outline for the online marketing portion of the workshop, my natural inclination was to go right to my favorite new marketing tool...the blog. I envisioned an exercise where everyone spent time thinking about how they could blog for their business:

Imagine what your customers might want to know about the day-to-day activities in your business.
Imagine what your potential customers might want to know about your product and service and inspiration.
Imagine what related and valuable resources you could reference and point your customers to on an ongoing basis as you discovered them.

I still think it's a great idea. And I still think that every business owner should be able to communicate with their market on a regular, ongoing, dynamic and interactive way.

But, as my boss on this project pointed out, some business owners might want to start out a little less visionary and figure out how to write an effective search engine ad.

And, given the limited workshop time frame, I had to concede that was wise. If you can't articulate your value in a 3-line ad, you won't be able to articulate it in an ongoing manner. Well, not without boring people.

And that's NOT the intent.

So, I sighed and thought outside my blogging box, and came up with a different group exercise. We'll save the blogging for another time.

Thursday, September 23, 2004

An Innovation in Storage that Really Should Come in Handy

I'm as easily seduced by gadgets, especially brightly colored gadgets, as the next geek girl.

Although, sometimes, it becomes obvious that i didn't really need the gadget of choice.

If you occasionally fall in love with a concept, get seduced by the latest technological advancement, but then find you never use it, you might enjoy this post from my Personal Blog.


Extra One-Man Show from Star of "Addicted"

Just found out that the star of "Addicted", one of my San Francisco theatre clients, is doing an extra one-man show the night before "Addicted" opens.

Mark Lundholm is a local guy, and he'll be performing at the San Jose City College on Friday night, October 1st at 9PM.

Now this isn't exactly "Addicted", it's actually his more traditional stand-up act. but I'm sure he's going to traverse some of the same territory.

Tickets are affordable, from $15-$20, and you can get more info at his web site.

Don't forget you can also catch "Addicted" up in SF from the 2nd on. More info on that available at the Marines Memorial Theatre web site.

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Two New Worker Bees Productions

Well, okay, they are not my productions. But they are productions being put on by clients of Worker Bees. That just didn't fit so well as a blog entry title.

As mentioned a few days back, 42nd St. Moon has joined my client list.

Their blog is now up and running and already filled with new content, including a blog reader discount: Get all seats for $12 at four performances of their Season Opener, Cole Porter's "Can-Can."

The four performances are on 10/6-10/8 at 8PM and on 10/16 at1PM.

Go to the blog for more info. You'll see a link in the side bat that takes you to the page to order the $12 tickets. You can also find a phone number there and order via phone, using the promotion code BLOG.

Cole Porter is divine, so I think this is a don't-miss Worker Bees opportunity.

The second production soon to be underway is a production of a one-man comedy show, "Addicted." This is a local guy, Mark Lundholm, who has written a show about his journey through, you guessed it, various addictions and back. The show has played all over to rave reviews, and it sounds very darkly hilarious.

It plays for two weeks up at the Marines Memorial Theatre in SF. They have kept ticket prices really low, including $20 previews, so I have no additional Worker Bees discount. Go here for more info:
The Marine Memorial Theatre Website

Hope to see you at the theatre. I think between 'Can-Can' and 'Addicted', we can safely say we're running the gamut!

Various Opportunities Flowing In

Wow, it's been a busy week here at Worker Bees already.

Some of it I can talk about. Some of it I could tell you, but I'd have to...well, you know the rest.

I have both a potential online interview about professional blogging (with me as the interviewee) and a potentially speaking opportunity in the works.

I'm talking to LIFT about doing some workshop development for them. The subject is, of course, marketing.

And, here's one that should surprise you, I'm going to Vocal Direct a production of "Fiddler on the Roof" at an area high school!

Now that you're done with your spit-take and wondering how that relates to buzz marketing, I can tell you it kind of doesn't.

But, I am helping out my stepfather and his buddy, who lost their Vocal Director and are starting auditions on Monday.

And I do love doing it, even if it's been a while since I have.

And I'm sure I'll get plenty of good stories for my personal blog out of it :)

[Once you're a blogger, you start seeing everything through the prism of "would this be a good blog entry?"]

But mostly, one of the things I love about this life as a small business owner , well, okay two of the things I love, are the flexibility and the constant variety. I don't get bored, and I get to choose what I work on and when.

So, getting to indulge my creative side will be enriching for the soul and adequately profitable for my pocket book.

I say that now. Check back with me after I hear three dozen girls sing "Matchmaker!"

Monday, September 13, 2004

In the Merc: Making a Living Blogging

Interesting article in the San Jose Mercury [Registration required] about who is (and more likely is NOT) making a living blogging.

But here's the point that is made that is singing my tune: A blog should not be considered the end for the blogger, but the means.

Blogging is one tool in my arsenal. It's a marketing tool. It's a publishing tool. It's a P.R. tool. Well, you know, you can read my earlier posts about the various applications for blogging.

My contention continues to be that you can DO everything you do with a blog via some other method. it's just that a blog is a great method to do most of that stuff, and in fact a better method a lot of the time.

So say I!

Another LIFT workshop in the works

I just got signed up to present another LIFT workshop. It will be starting 2 days after my current one ends!

It's at another new, South Bay location the Sunnyvale Community Center.

This one is entitled: "Designing Your Career."

The details:

LIFT Workshop: Designing Your Career
A 5-week workshop
Wednesdays starting October 6th, 2004 through Wednesday, November 3rd 2004
at the Sunnyvale Community Center, in the Creative Arts Center
Click on the link to get the full schedule, information and RSVP

Remember, you can always take the first week of any workshop for free to try it out.

I am really enjoying the "Know What You Want, and How To Get There" workshop that I'm currently giving, and this "Designing Your Career" workshop take one aspect of it and focuses more narrowly on it.

Friday, September 10, 2004

Another Blogger Weighs In On Why Businesses Should Blog

Pretty good post on the Top 5 reasons any business should start and maintain a blog.

This is a new blog to me, so I'm going to do what I always do when I find an interesting post for a new blog:

I'm going to subscribe to the blog feed in my news reader application, follow its posts for a while and see if it's one I want to track permanently.

What? You don't track your blogs via a news reader application? You just bookmark them and go back to them when you think of it? You are missing out my friend. Let the blogs come to you!

I use an app called NetNewsWire Lite myself. But there are many of them out there.

It's the only way to go when you start to track multiple blogs.

Oh, and back to the original purpose of this post. Read the Top 5. Then give Worker Bees a call. We write blogs.

Thursday, September 09, 2004

How Not to Blog

Here's another article exposing a "fake" blog.

This really demonstrates how not to blog.

A blog needs an authentic voice. A blog needs to be written and compiled by real people.

I usually say Content is King, but I have to add that Authenticity is Queen then.

In the case described by the article, the blog actually had some interesting and objective content, and wasn't all self-serving marketing speak.

But finding out that the "voice" of the blog was entirely fake immediately destroys that blog forever. and good luck to the company creating another one that can get embraced by the blogosphere.

Friday, September 03, 2004

Discount to Great Theatre for Worker Bees Readers

A new promotion is up and running for Worker Bees customers:

See "A Couple of Blaguards", a rollicking Irish comedy from noted authors Frank & Malachy McCourt. (Frank wrote Pulitzer Prize winning "Angela's Ashes" and the sequel "Tis", while Malachy wrote "A Monk Swimming.")

The show will be playing at the Post Street Theatre in San Francisco (Union Square area.)

The producers are offering online folks $10 off every ticket for the following performances:

Wed,-Fri. at 8PM and Sat.-Sun. at 2PM.

The show goes into Previews September 20th and plays through October 17th (for now.) Obviously they're hoping it's a big hit and extends. And if it does I hear a rumor that Malachy himself may come take over the role of, well, Malachy.

Here's the URL for more info:

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

Another New Client to Welcome

This time it's 42nd Street Moon, a theatre that specializes in remounting concert version of "Lost" Musicals.

This is quite in vogue now, what with Encores, and the City Center revivals, but 42nd Street Moon started it first, I do believe.

As it happens I used to act with 42nd Street Moon from about 1995-1998.

In fact if you Google me, a big portion of the hits are from my days with them.

I will be maintaining a blog for 42nd Street Moon, with material flowing my way from Artistic Director Greg MacKellan, among others.

I'll post the link as soon as everything is in place.

Welcome aboard the Worker Bees Buzz-mobile, 42nd Street Moon!

Silicon Veggie Article #2

I have my own direct link now. Which is pretty cool.

This one is entitled "Currying Favor", about trying to learn to like indian food.

Cute huh? I made it up myself.

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