Will 2016 Be Different? Marketing Goals & Resolutions to Yourself!

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!

If you’re like most people, you’ve probably made New Year’s resolutions in the past on January 1st or 2nd, only to find yourself giving up on those resolutions before the end of the 1st month.  Obviously, you can’t grow a business based on that type of resolutions!

But setting goals, whether for business growth or personal growth, is something different.  First of all, hopefully you have already started (or even finished) writing out your goals for the new year.  And hopefully you’ve considered those goals carefully, not just deciding in a moment of enthusiasm that you want to stop a bad habit or accomplish some challenge.

Secondly, it always helps to break down large goals into smaller chunks, with a series of action steps laid out.  That way it is easy to actually get started on the implementation of a goal by taking the first action step.  Even if that first step is something simple, actually taking action helps you to solidify your commitment to that goal and to taking ongoing action to achieve it.

There are also some “mindset” techniques I’ve learned over the years that can help to keep me on track with working toward a goal.  Often a mindset problem is preventing me from already achieving that goal, so working on my mindset — in addition to scheduling and tracking action steps — can be a powerful combination.

Some of these ideas come from the accelerated learning movement, while others are based in NLP or neuro linguistic programming.  Here are some ideas to help you activate a more energized mindset around the goals you have set for yourself for 2016new_year_goals

  • Remind yourself frequently of the goals you set.
  • Speak your goals out loud — or, better yet, sing them out loud.
  • Music, rhyming, and rhythm can all help to get your subconscious brain involved.
  • Physical movement can help too, like dancing or some other movements while speaking/singing your goals.
  • Visual images can also connect more deeply with your subconscious brain than words alone.

After an energizing session of speaking, singing, dancing, and other sensory play with your goals, try wrapping up with a few minutes of silent meditation or visualization, giving your brain time to process and store the ideas you have just reinforced.

One of the ways I like to tie all this together is by creating a personal slideshow video with my goals (or with affirmations).  Below is a sample of a video made from a looping slideshow.

Free Training Offer

You can access a free recording which I created 3 years ago to promote a virtual workshop on creating your own personal slideshow to enhance your goals.  The recording covers all the basic steps of the process.  Written instructions are provided as well.  Grab that free offer here.

I’m also in the process of updating that training to reflect changes in the newer versions of PowerPoint and to turn it into a series of pre-recorded, self-study videos.

If you would like to purchase those new training videos now, you can get them for 60% off the future price.  You’ll find more details on the page with the free video.  Grab that access at the link above.




Holiday Marketing: Creating Easy Visual Content

holiday marketingAlmost everyone loves to celebrate holidays, especially those that are tied to family and ethnic traditions like Hanukkah, Christmas, Divali, and Kwanza.

Sure, some of us have our Grinch-y moments, but overall we usually find ourselves in a good mood during the winter holidays – sharing cheer with colleagues and co-workers, selecting special gifts for friends and family, and starting to look forward to improving ourselves and our business in the new year!

Most people also love sharing holiday greetings on various social media platforms.  Here are 3 ways you can make your holiday visual content stand out in the social media feeds or streams instead of just sharing other people’s content creations.

1.  Update your header cover or profile images

One of the advantages of these updates is that your friends and followers will be automatically notified that you’ve changed your image.  So that’s an easy post that puts you in their awareness, as well as sharing your holiday greeting with them.

Be creative and original with this, choosing images that reflect your interests or your business focus.  But be sure you use very high quality images that are sized correctly for each specific social media platform.

Click here to access an updated tip sheet with all the sizes for the different platforms.  Or use a graphic design tool like Canva.com, Pixlr.com, or PicMonkey.com and use their built-in templates to get the right size.

Another option is to use a graphic image that is already sized for the platform where you want to upload it, though this may give you less options for customizing the image.

2.  Create unique quote graphics, tip memes, or holiday greetings

Chose your own favorite quotes or short tips that related to your business focus.  You can use your own photos as background (see my blog post with 7 Tips for Shooting Your Own Marketing Graphics).  Share a photo of your Christmas tree or your grandkids playing with the dreidl (get in close and just show their hands) or a closeup of baking cookies.  Take a shot of the decorated store windows or the street decorations in your town.

Or download holiday images from your favorite image source.  My current favorite is Pixabay.com and they have tons of free, public domain holiday graphics!

There are lots of easy tools to use for assembling your own quote graphics or tip graphics.  If you don’t already have a tool that you use, you might take a look at

3.  Share your own custom holiday video with one of these options:

  • Record it yourself with your smart phone
  • Use a template from an online video creation service like Animoto, PowToon, or
  • Create a slideshow video in PowerPoint or another slide software.  Add music and save as a video!

You view can my example of a holiday slideshow video below or click here to watch my demo of how to create a slideshow video.

If you have questions about how to create any of these types of visual content, please leave a comment below and I’ll be happy to respond with further help.

For more ideas, get my free e-book,  Content Marketing Strategy: Using Holiday Marketing.

Are you a blessing in the lives of others?

Thanksgiving turkeyOn Thanksgiving Day in the U.S., we often think more than usual about the blessings in our lives.  I’ve seen many friends and colleagues posting this week on Facebook about how they went around the dinner table and asked everyone to share what they are grateful for.

But have you ever stopped to think about how you are a blessing to the people in your life?  Have you thought about how you might be a blessing even to others you barely know?

I was reminded of this truth earlier this week when I checked out the Google Doodle about Lucy Maud Montgomery, author of the beloved series of children’s books that began with Anne of Green Gables”.  In a 2008 essay, novelist Margaret Atwood claimed that the books are not so much about Anne’s transformation but about the emotional transformation of her cold, stern adoptive guardians – the elderly brother and sister who take Anne in to help work their family farm on Prince Edward Island in eastern Canada.

If you’ve ever read “Anne of Green Gables” or seen the PBS special, I bet you’ll agree.  Some of the more touching moments involve the way Marilla Cuthbert’s heart begins to melt and open towards the young Anne Shirley.

Over the course of the book series (and the TV series), Anne Shirley grows up – that’s to be expected!  How Anne effects other people’s lives, from school classmates to Marilla and her neighbors, is the true lesson of the story.

How do you effect other people

How do you effect other people?

As marketers, entrepreneurs, business owners, and service professionals, we may believe that the words we teach have a profound impact on the lives of others — and sometimes they do.

But our biggest impact comes from the way we live our lives, the example we set, and just the energies we radiate to everyone with whom we come in contact no matter where we are or what we’re doing!

These subconscious effects are usually hidden from our awareness and from the awareness of those around us, but are powerful nonetheless.

So take a few minutes out of your busy holiday season to reflect on what effect you have on the people around you.  Do you have a positive effect or a negative effect?  What effect would you like to have on others?  What habits of yours can you change to produce the effect you want?

You just never know how your own growth might spark a change in the life of someone else!  Make sure you’re causing a change for the better!

Now it’s your turn:  Are you aware of the effect you have on others?  Do you notice how people’s energies effect you?  What kind of effect would you like to have on other people around you?

Gratitude for My Teachers, Mentors, and Gurus

Gratitude for My Teachers, Mentors, and Gurus

ThanksgivingAs we approach the Thanksgiving holiday in the U.S., I’ve been feeling very grateful for all the teachers, mentors, and supporters who have helped – and continue to help – me push my fledgling business slowly to the edge of the nest where it can take off and fly on its own.

My Gratitude List

First, I have to acknowledge Raymond Aaron for getting me to face the fact that I wasn’t getting anywhere “trying to start a business” on my own!  Raymond Aaron also convinced me that I should – and COULD – write a book to establish authority in my field.  (My book, “Get Your Message Into Their Brains,” will be published in early 2016.

Weekly webinars with Cliff Atkinson, consultant and author of “Beyond Bullet Points,” changed the way I presented training materials in my full-time job as a technical trainer.  Helping Cliff produce his 3-day live, public teaching event in 2012 led me to become a Certified Beyond Bullet Points Presenter, as well as nudging me into the marketing world.

My association with Cliff introduced me, several years ago, to Ellen Finkelstein and her annual online event, Outstanding Presentations.  Since then, I’ve had the good fortune of meeting Ellen in person, interviewing her for my upcoming book as well as for a recent marketing campaign, and getting to know her and call her a friend.  Her support helped me recently launch my first successful paid 4-part live training, “Free Pictures Formula.”

Master speaker trainer, Arvee Robinson’s weekly group coaching calls helped me begin to adapt my teaching skills and experience into persuasive speaking skills.

My TeachersSigning up for some one-on-one coaching with Jim Alvino (with Top One Coaching) helped me develop a lot more clarify about what services I was going to offer and who were going to be my target clients.  Though that changed a few times, I still look back to what I learned from those initial exercises.

As I was feeling my way into the world of online marketing, I was (and still am) grateful for Michelle Shaeffer’s “Launch Your Blog” course, her incredible level of personal support and encouragement, and her amazing willingness to answer questions and help her students.

Through ongoing group coaching with Steve Sipress, a business coach trained by Dan Kennedy, I began to see how much I needed to learn.  His live events in the Chicago area and his online self-study courses helped me finally understand the essentials of positioning, branding, and marketing.

Attending Steve’s monthly local networking events made me realize I didn’t know how to talk about my business, which led me to ongoing group and individual coaching with Eric Lofholm, sales coach, trainer, and author of 7 best-selling books!  Besides radically changing the way I think about sales, Eric also led me to Rick Cooper, social media trainer and coach, from whom I’ve learned a great deal and received a lot of support and encouragement over the past several years.

Tony Laidig’s weekly free webinars, “The Expert Media Show,” and many of his paid training series have inspired me with new ways to connect my visual creativity to the development of my business.  His teaching has helped me fill in digital design skills gaps and expand my vision of what I can do in the brave new world of visual content marketing – a long way from my college minor in art and major in music education!

As my full-time job brought me new opportunities to learn video editing software, Lon Naylor of ScreencastStudios and LearnCamtasia has helped me continue to build on those video marketing skills and has been extremely generous in his support and in answering questions about what he models in his own online business.

Attending several of James Malinchak’s live events, Big Money Speaker, has made a lasting impact on the way I think about speaking, writing, and marketing and on my long-range plans for my business.

More recently, Amethyst Mahoney has brought me new understanding about how to make better use of Facebook in its current environment, as well as modeling her way of integrating her personality, philosophy and spirituality into her own business.  (She is also a lot of fun to interview, in case you’re looking for guests for your radio, hangout, webinar, blab, periscope, or podcast show!)

Another new teacher in my life this past year was Donna Moritz.  Her webinar training series, “Visual Content Blueprint,” opened my eyes to a whole integration between social media visuals and basic small business marketing that I was missing!

The Grace of the Guru

There is an expression used in Eastern spiritual/philosophical traditions:  the grace of the guru.

fall harvestWhile the word “guru” gets tossed around a lot in the internet marketing community, often with implications of self-acclaimed celebrity status, the Sanskrit origins of the word reflect a more esoteric meaning.

Sanskrit words often have many layers of meaning and guru is no exception.  The most common meanings of the gu syllable include heavy or dark or difficult to understand.  The ru syllable is sometimes defined as light, but a more accepted meaning is breaking or shattering.

The breaking or shattering of heaviness or darkness – a true guru performs this task by simply being an “enlightened being” whose example shines forth to those all around.

Even when words are used to teach certain ideas or concepts, the true deeper message is often beneath the surface of our conscious awareness.

Think about this as you learn from your teachers and mentors.  What are they teaching by example – by role modeling?  Don’t just listen to the words they say, but feel deeper into how you can learn from what they do.

Now it’s your turn:  What teachers and mentors have shattered the difficulties in your life and lit up your understanding?