Saturday, June 26, 2004

Buzz Marketing or "Stealth" Marketing?

I recently read a blog entry entitled "Stealth Marketing and the Blogosphere" by a guy named Steve Rubel. Rubel works for a traditional PR company, but he keeps a blog called MicroPersuasion, which examines how blogging is impacting the world of PR.

In this entry Rubel recaps two perspectives on blogging as a marketing tool. One perspective is from a woman who feels that people are abusing the blogosphere by hiring people to pretend to be objective independent bloggers or commenters, who just happen to comment positively on a product or service.

The other perspective is that this is just the normal concern of wondering where any media outlet, from the mainstream media to a blogger,is getting its bread buttered.

My opinion? Well, I think they're trying to make general, sweeping statements about very different things.

First of all, people who pretend to be something they are not line are either spammers or creeps! So, this isn't blogging; this is spam...just like you've gotten via email, right? The email that says: "Hey, try this! I made a million dollars working from home!"

Second, I do wonder about "journalistic" or "pundit" bloggers who start to take ads. People tend to think that bloggers are somehow more independent or under less corporate influence than the mainstream media outlets. This may be true until they start taking ad dollars. Then? Well, they may not have a Rupert Murdoch breathing down their neck to toe a party line, but they've got someone paying their bills now, so there's got to be some impact.

But neither of these represent what Worker Bees does. Worker Bees is helping organizations create interesting content and offer it to people. And being affiliated directly with the clients is something that is made very very clear. We're not pretending to be objective or independent.

There's nothing stealthy about it. Just clients doing great things they want to tell their customers about!

Welcome To Two New Clients

Starting this week I will add two more theatre productions to my client list. The first is "Red"', a new drama being produced by TheatreWorks, and the second is the open-ended run of "I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change!" running at the Marines Memorial Theatre in San Francisco.

TheatreWorks is striking out into blog territory, and I think it's a bold and exciting move for them. They certainly already have a loyal following and subscriber base, but the blog will not only bring those loyal audience members even closer to TheatrWorks, but reach out to grow their ranks. TheatreWorks has a reputation for cutting edge theatre, and now they're trying cutting-edge buzz marketing techniques too!

The blog is just getting started this week, so be sure to check it out, bookmark it, or add it to your news reader:

"I Love You...etc." is a fun musical revue that hits just about every milestone in a person's romantic life from dating to marriage to kids and beyond. It's been running Off-Broadway for almost a decade now, simply because everyone can relate to it.

For this show I'll be running a search engine ad program, but also doing online community outreach.

If you're signed up for my newsletter, you're eligible for that great offer!

I'm happy to welcome both shows to the hive of activity at Worker Bees.

Monday, June 21, 2004

More info on LIFT

I promised an update after my first training, so here it is. The training really reminded me of my days as a Weight Watchers leader (a part of my life history not typically captured on my CV.)


Well, both organizations provide high-quality, well-researched workshop materials written by subject matter experts. But they get people who have LIVED it to deliver the workshops. And they focus on creating an interactive and safe environment for everyone in each workshop. I liked a term used in the training last week: individualized coaching in a group setting.

I didn't realize until the training the number of workshops being made available right from the get-go. There are 3 tracks, 'Self', 'Professional' (with both a career and a small business sub-track) and 'Financial.' And there are about 8 different workshop options within each of the tracks. That's a lot of choice. LIFT is starting in Mountain View (their initial South Bay location) on July 12th. I think I am going to be leading a Communications-focused workshop, and I'm not sure which other ones.

Some other details I learned at the training:

- Most workshops run from 3 to 6 weeks, and the 1st week of any workshop is free! So, that's a great way to see the style and methodology for nothing. (Don't you worry, I'll post my workshop details when I get them.)

- You can take as many of the various available workshops as you like per month for your $39 monthly fee.

- There are additional benefits for members, like guest speaker events and special sessions with multiple coaches and smaller groups of members.

- You can optionally sign on for one-on-one coaching (for an additional cost.)

It's a pretty impressive program, and I hope to be able to mentor people the way that I have been mentored in my career.

Friday, June 18, 2004

New Worker Bee venture: A monthly column in the Metro

I have been writing reviews over on my personal blog for the last year or so. I review everything I see (movies, music, theatre) read or eat!

It's great fun and a great way to keep your writing skills up. Another reason to blog, everyone!

Almost 6 months ago I saw that the Metro, a free weekly in the Silicon Valley, was looking for a full-time restaurant reviewer. I emailed the editor and suggested that while she might not want a full-time reviewer who was a vegetarian, it might be interesting to do periodic stories by a vegetarian getting by in this non-vegetarian world.

In particular I mentioned that I don't normally frequent vegetarian restaurants, but rather go to "normal" restaurants with my friends. It would be a public service to let veggies everywhere know what to expect and where the most accommodating restaurants are in the area.

I never heard back...until today.

Turns out she likes the idea and offered me a monthly column.

To be named, to be written, to be updated later...

Thursday, June 17, 2004

A new side venture coaching women

Last week I signed on to be one of the coaches for an organization called LIFT (Life Is For the Taking being the term behind the clever acronym.)

LIFT (check out their web site) is dedicated to providing ongoing, high quality and affordable coaching to women along three paths: personal, career and financial. And their approach really appeals to me because it's pragmatic and focused on sustained life changes, not one-time deals that are supposed to change someone's life overnight.

They already have a facility in San Francisco, just opened one in Oakland, and are expanding to the South Bay next month.

I go for my training this evening, and I'm looking forward to being around a bunch of great women!

I'll keep you posted.

Tuesday, June 15, 2004

Presenting on career advancement techniques

This morning (and quite early in the morning I might add) I spoke to a small group of folks at the monthly Product Mgmt. Round Table sponsored by the Business Marketing Association (BMA.)

My topic was personal I advanced in a technical field, despite my lack of engineering degree or background.

But given that the group was more than 50% populated with marketeers who were originally engineers, I made some slight adjustments.

We discussed developing both technical and "soft" skills, such as public speaking, time and project mgmt. etc. And we discussed mentoring and having multiple mentors to serve multiple purposes. And we talked a lot about networking, how to develop and maintain a healthy, fruitful network. Lastly, we actually discussed life/work balance and decision-making. I know so many people who are miserable where they are, but trap themselves with the decisions they make.

It was a lively, interactive discussion, aided by a 2nd speaker who represented the recruiter perspective.

The BMA holds these round tables the 3rd Tuesday of every month at the Scott's Seafood in Palo Alto at 7:30 am (now you see what I mean about early.)

Presenting on blogs to my marketing networking group

Last week I gave a presentation to a networking group to which I belong, all sales & marketing folks.

While I had been espousing my blogging beliefs for some time in the group, there was finally some critical mass of members who were hearing about it all over the place and wanted to learn more.

Here was the agenda of my presentation:

1. What are blogs?

2. Blogs vs. web sites
In other words, what's the difference between the two and why would you do one on top of the other?

3. Blog applications
I covered blogging for personal reasons, career search reasons, publishing reasons and marketing reasons (my favorite app of course.)

4. Why blog?
To me it's about engaging your audience or customer or whoever on a different level

5. What are the tools?
I covered applications for blogging, enabling commenting and site tracking

I then offered examples of all sorts of blogs out there, including my own of course.

I think everyone was intrigued, and I imagine there will be a few more blogs out there within the next couple of weeks.

If you'd like this same blogging intro presented to your group, contact me at or call me at 408-504-5708

Welcome to the Worker Bees Blog

It occurred to me recently that, with all my blogangelism, it was pretty silly that i didn't have one dedicated to Worker Bees yet.

So, voila!

Or here 'tis, as a former Kiwi colleague used to say.

While I've got other blog dedicated to my political thoughts, my personal activities and my pre-Worker Bees career, this blog will focus on what is making Worker Bees tick, or perhaps I should say buzz, on a regular basis.

Welcome...and enjoy!

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