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    9 Tips to Get Speaking Opportunities for Women Business Leaders

    February 12th, 2013

    Women Business Leaders Should Look For Speaking Opportunities

    Having the opportunity to speak in front of a highly targeted, interested group of prospects is a very effective way to grow your personal brand and business. Even if you are speaking for free, the opportunity oftentimes outweighs a fee when it comes to the potential for new business and establishing yourself as a thought leader.

    Here are 9 personal tips to generate speaking opportunities:

    1. Start with blog

    Your  blog can become a great tool to open doors to speak. It provides a the platform to hone your subject matter, draw interest and appeal from your best agency prospects.

    People want to work with people that they know, trust and like. Your blog can become the face of your business, the gateway for  new business opportunities. It can also be a springboard for speaking opportunities.

    2. Create a Speaking Page

    Roxanne Joffe speaks on topics related to leadership, business development, and social media. She has been speaking publicly for more than 10 years and has keynoted more than 50 events.

    A few suggestions on what to include on your blog’s Speakers Page

    • Clearly define your expertise and your niche
    • Provide a description of topics and presentations you can speak on
    • Create your “speakers bio”
    • Speaking Engagement.  List events where you will be speaking, no matter how small (I would also suggest adding your speaking engagements to your blog’s side bar) Speaking Engagements
    • Provide testimonials.  I’ve discovered that LinkedIn is an excellent way to generate testimonials
    • Be sure and provide your contact information
    • Educate and you won’t have to sell

    3. Shoot Video

    Video is easily shot, embedded and/or linked through your blog.  It’s not that difficult create, and make a big difference in generating new speaking engagements.

    4. Record Audio

    You can also record video through a number of different programs to upload or link to your blog. Someone recently introduced me to a program that easily records interviews called wetoku. You can also use a service as simple as FreeConferenceCall.com.

    5. About Page

    I would suggest creating an About Page for your blog that would provide a fuller profile of your experience beyond your speakers bio.

    In addition to these tips …

    6. Make the Most of Your Presentation Time

    Success breeds success

    It goes without saying, you need to make a good presentation. Here are a few presentation tips to think about:

    • Focus on your audience. Don’t sell. Help them, entertain them, inform them and inspire them.
    • Prepare and rehearse your presentation.
    • Make eye contact and be engaging.
    • Use listening notes. Facilitate questions.
    • Make your session interactive with your audience.
    • Get a look at the presentation room as soon after you arrive as possible. It always helps to be aware of your surroundings and adjust your presentation accordingly.
    • Set-up your equipment as early as possible before your presentation time.
    • Have a back-up plan if you have technical issues. I always upload a copy of my presentation to an online source, have downloaded it also to a thumb-drive, make sure I have all my adapters, pluggins, etc.
    • If at all possible spend time in other conference sessions. Be part of the conference community.
    • Provide enlightening personal stories and illustrations.
    • If you use PowerPoint or Keynote, don’t read the slides! Instead use them illustrate your points. Nice photos/graphics.
    • Bring plenty of business cards.
    • Provide your contact info at the end of any slide or video presentations.

    7. Use Social Tools

    In addition to your blog, use social media tools such as Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn to help promote the event at which you are speaking. This will be a huge help to the event organizers, will make them even more appreciative for your participation and will be a benefit to you by the positive referrals.

    Often event organizers will also provide you with a discount for your readers.

    Also use social media, prior to the event, to meet and engage with those who will be attending.

    8. Don’t Forget to Follow-up

    Taking the time to follow-up with attendees is an important part of process of gaining additional speaking and new business opportunities. Providing a personal email to those you collected business cards from and providing a link to your presentation in SlideShare would be helpful tactic to use as a follow-up.

    A personal handwritten note would also be a nice follow-up.

    9. Enroll in a Speakers Bureau

    Many Women Business Leaders have found that  enrolling in a speakers bureau has generated a good number of additional speaking opportunities in addition to their blog, writings, interviews and referrals.

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    Grow Your Blog Traffic: 6 Tips for Women Business Leaders

    January 31st, 2013

    Women Business Leaders who blog can learn how to drive traffic to their blogs from the best and brightest minds. Social Media Expert Chris Brogan shares some of his keen insights.

    Blogs are a great way for women business leaders to establish expertise in an industry and position themselves as thought leaders.  Writing a blog is only the beginning. How do you connect with people so they actually read what you are writing?

    Here are six great ideas from social media expert Chris Brogan from his article, How to Grow Traffic to Your Blog:

    1. Great Titles Help. The first few seconds of someone’s attention are the hardest to pass. If you have a lame blog post title, no one’s going to want to read the post. For whatever reason, we react to “how to,” we react to “7 great,” we react to all kinds of things.
    2. Graphics Don’t Hurt. Graphics to catch your eye. It’s an easy way to get one’s attention. Screen captures help. Video helps. There are tons of ways to get people into a receptive space  with your material, and graphics are just the easiest one.
    3. Brevity Is the Game. Keep your posts brief . People don’t have all day to read. Keeping  your posts between  250-500 words will align with most people’s attention spans.
    4. Share Your BlogIf you don’t have easy-to-share buttons on your blog, you’re missing the easiest way for people to see your stuff on Facebook, on LinkedIn, on Twitter, and all the other sites where it would matter. Sharing out is a great way to make some more traffic happen.
    5. Guest Posts. Find someone who has a very similar kind of blog topic to yours (not sure where to start? Check out Alltop), and offer a guest blog post.
    6. Consistency Blog daily. Why? Because the more you blog, the more people subscribe. Lots of people justify once a week, or once every two weeks. That’s fine. But if you want to grow traffic to your blog, that’s a very long slow crawl towards that growth. That said, no matter which frequency you’ve chosen, stick to it. The moment you drop off the map, people who haven’t yet subscribed to you lose sight and move on.

    Summary: Women Business Leaders have a great opportunity to build traffic to their blogs by following Chris’s basic formula: write about what they need, make sure they see that you wrote about it, make it easy to carry on the relationship, make it easy for them to promote you to others.

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    4-Step Approach to a Social Media Plan for Women Business Leaders

    December 6th, 2012

    POST is one of the most effective acronyms since the four P’s of marketing. It’s a four-step approach that can help women marketers define a social media marketing plan for their business and/or clients.

    The POST method is the heart and soul of the book, Groundswell, written by Forrestter Research analysts, Charlene Li and Josh Bernoffand. It is  highlighted in Josh Bernoff’s Groundswell blog post, The POST Method: A systematic approach to social strategy. The POST Method serves as a guide to help you determine the right strategy for the right audience.

    Josh says, “Executives are going about social strategy backwards: picking technologies like blogs or communities first instead of focusing on what they want to accomplish.”

    Your purpose should dictate strategy and the tactics used for reaching desired goals. A few common outcomes for your social media marketing efforts should include:

    • Gain insight into your target audience – You can use all the qualitative data you want, but some of the most interesting and helpful market research can be found within the social communities where your prospective clients interact, share information and make recommendations.
    • Link building for traffic and SEO - According to Marketing Sherpa, 80-90% of business to business transactions begin with a search on the web. Creating linkbait and promoting it to social media news and bookmarking sites can attract a slew of links from bloggers that read them. Creating value for the community is not the only rule, creating value and behaving according to formal and unwritten rules is what sustains social media sourced link building.
    • Build brand visibility and authority - You’ve heard it before,“Conversations are happening online about your company’s brand, with or without you.” You might as well participate and do so in a way that pays close attention to the interests and needs of your prospective clients – providing them with information and interactions that further support your company’s brand.

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    Women Business Leaders: Do You Have a Social Media Crisis Plan?

    December 2nd, 2012

    Using social media to respond to a crisis is timely and effective, but your response must be deliberately managed and controlled. A well thought-out crisis plan should not only inform your audience that you care – it should also pay attention and respond to online conversations.

    As a woman business leader and entrepreneur, it’s up to you to make sure you retain control of the messaging your business puts out there. In an article by Chris Syme titled, “Got Crisis? Get a Social Media Mindset,” she outlines the three elements of a social media crisis plan:

    Transparency
    According to Chris, transparency doesn’t mean your company should expose all its warts to the public. Rather, it means making the effort to be open and show a willingness to communicate, even in times of crisis. Chris notes that “silence is a sign of negligence, whether we like it or not.” Be prepared to have an open dialogue even when you would prefer to say “no comment.”

    Honor immediacy
    Basically, you need to be prepared for an emergency or crisis so that you have a well-crafted and sensitive response to situations that could be difficult or stressful. The time to craft these statements is not when you or your business is in the midst of a crisis, however. Chris also notes that even if you don’t have all the information, it’s better to say you are trying to find out rather than offer no statement at all. A timely, “we are looking into it now,” shows that at the very least, you acknowledge the situation and are concerned.

    Remember it’s not about you
    Chris notes that this is the hardest concept for companies facing a crisis to understand. “When you have herds of media knocking at your door,” says Chris, “it’s hard to remember that the public really doesn’t care about you.” They want to know what happened and what you are going to do about it.  Think about the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and how BP mishandled the early responses.

    Planning for a potential crisis is key. Having a response ready will give you a moment to regroup while showing the online community you care. Protecting your brand requires thought and planning, especially today. Here are a few of my favorite blogs on protecting your brand: “Social Media Branding Mistakes Women Business Leaders Should Avoid,” and “6 Ways Women Business Leaders can Protect Their Brand.”


    7 Social Media Tips for Women Business Leaders from 7 Experts

    September 18th, 2012

    As I have become more involved in social media, both on a personal and a professional level, I often see the same tips and suggestions about social media in online blogs and articles. I thought this list of tips from social media experts was refreshing because it offers advice for women business leaders from real industry experts. Many of the tips are not what you would expect.

    I’ve condensed this list from an article by Amy Porterfield, author of  Facebook Marketing All-In-One for Dummies.

    1. Offer live events on Facebook
      “To provide additional value and fresh ways for your fans to interact with you, periodically conduct live chat sessions or live webinars or teleseminars,” says Mari  Smith, co-author of Facebook Marketing: An Hour a Day.
    2. Help others who aren’t necessarily famous
      “Don’t try to build your personal brand or company brand alone. Go out of your way to look for opportunities to help others and give others credit,” says Erik Qualman, author of Socialnomics: How Social Media Transforms the Way We Live and Do Business. “Easy ways to do this include recommendations on Twitter of others’ work, retweets and hot tips on the comment section of blogs,” Erik added.
    3. Don’t over-focus on marketing
      “All too often, businesses overlook the ‘social’ part of the phrase social media marketing and jump straight into the ‘marketing’ part… to their detriment,” explained Hollis Thomases, author of Twitter Marketing: An Hour a Day.
    4. Research what your customers are saying
      “Stop reading the success stories and best practices to model your social media strategy. Use them for inspiration, but my best advice to you is to go figure out what your opportunity is first,” said Brian Solis, author of Engage: The Complete Guide to Building, Cultivating and Measuring Success in the Social Web.
    5. Meet people in real life
      “You can meet people online, but solidify these online relationships face to face,” says Steve Garfield, author of Get Seen: Online Video Secrets to Building Your Business. Steve founded a networking group that meets in person each month. “What’s very important is that the meeting is free, we never cancel and everyone is welcome,” explained Steve.
    6. Invest in social media after you do your research
      Corporations should gauge their own social business maturity and prioritize spending decisions based on the industry benchmarks, according to a study by the Altimeter Group. “Just as you would invest your personal finances based on your family size, age and market conditions, you should be spending in social business with the same industry knowledge,” Says Altimeter’s Jeremiah Owyang, partner of customer strategy.
    7. Share the knowledge of experts with your audience
      “Get experts involved with your content. Determine who the experts are in your industry. Then go to them and offer to interview them about their hottest new project,” said Mike Stelzner, founder of Social Media Examiner.

    As the owner of a strategic communications firm, I was surprised to find a social suggestion on this list I haven’t yet tried. Tell me what your best social media tips are, and if you try any of the tips above, let me know how they worked for you.


    5 Ways Women Business Leaders Can Embrace Their Femininity

    July 22nd, 2012

    Women who are running  businesses should detach from feminism and embrace their femininity.

    My daughter started her career in a high stress male dominated industry. We were reflecting on how a woman can succeed in this environment  without becoming masculinised. Women who are running  businesses should detach from feminism and embrace their femininity.

    The truth is that women have been liberated. We no longer need to spend our energies proving that we’re equal. We own our own companies, we assume leadership roles and we don’t have to wear ties to work.

    Here are 5 ways to create this balance while getting respect from both males and females:

    1. Don’t pretend that you’re one of the boys – you’re not. But at the same time don’t play the “us girls” game.  Work at your individuality as a person. Use your unique leadership strengths when dealing with an issue.
    2. You shouldn’t dress provocatively but you also don’t need to wear a burka.  You have a wonderful opportunity to express yourself  and your femininity.  Make sure that you are dignified and professional and let your gender work for you.
    3. It’s OK to talk about kids, make-up and hair but please consider your audience – these discussions may be boring to whomever is listening. Be yourself but remain sensitive to the situation.
    4. Respect both male and female employees. Disparaging remarks about men set a feminist tone and put a line in the sand when there may not have been an issue to begin with.
    5. Watch out for “womens only groups” why would you want to segregate ideas and talent. Position yourself as an entrepreneurial leader rather than a proponent of  “Women rule”

    You have a real advantage as a woman running a business – don’t blow it by  wearing workboots and snarling at men, rather walk around in your stilettos with strength and conviction.

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    Women Business Leaders Can Achieve Social Good through Social

    July 5th, 2012

    Photo by IvanWalsh.com

    I just returned from the inaugural Campaign for Grade-Level Reading (GLR) Communities Network Conference where my firm was a presenter. As a woman business leader and owner of a strategic communications consultancy, this was not only a great opportunity to discuss the importance of social media for advancing a purpose … but also for something more purposeful … the greater good.

    We also attended the conference to learn and share, and I think all of us attending were moved by a staggering statistic that surprised me: 74 percent of students who fail to read proficiently at third grade falter at later grades and often drop out. This was something that stood out to me not only as a speaker, but also as a mom.

    My fellow attendees set out to learn about this campaign, which was conceived by Ralph Smith, senior vice president at the Annie E. Casey Foundation. With compelling data to back it up, the campaign focuses on closing the gap in third-grade literacy to improve education outcomes and social consequences. Data also shows minorities and low-income children are at the highest risk.

    This seems logical, but how does this impact us? How do we change these statistics?

    We presented a session on “Social Media: Fueling Modern Movements in the Digital Age.” As I sat listening to my colleagues Melissa and Sam educate a room full of conference attendees about movements, explaining the theory and methodology behind creating a groundswell, citing that passion is the primary ingredient to fuel a movement, I was struck with the passion and philanthropic mindset around this campaign.

    I heard the most inspirational speeches given by several mayors, including those leading the charge in Denver, Sacramento and Providence, who had made a leadership commitment to this campaign. I heard from cities, counties and districts committed to improving third-grade literacy rates in their areas. I heard a commitment to ALL children – a promise that the passion goes beyond caring for “my” child but to all children who are powerless and depend on the powerful to make the right decisions. I was nodding in agreement when most leaders put forth the need to collaborate, to bring the entire community together for the children.

    I was proud to attend the conference – heartened by the fact that 600 people got together to advocate for the greater good .

    I admit it. I am caught in the movement.

    What are your thoughts and what movements have you or your organization been involved in?


    5 Ways Women Business Leaders can use Content and Social to Improve their Business Blog

    June 22nd, 2012

    photo by: Maria Reyes-McDavis

    As blogging has become a mainstream communications tool for businesses, I find that the requests from clients to consult with them about creating or improving their business blogs are increasing. As a woman business leader and business owner, my blog has not only amplified my visibility on a personal level, but has also helped me develop new business alliances I would never have had the opportunity to pursue. Blogging is no longer an adjunct to an overall marketing plan, it’s an essential part of a communications strategy.

    Even though I have been blogging professionally for years, I’m always on the alert for ways to improve my blogging effectiveness. Here are five tips from Lee Odden that offer some really sound blogging basics to get you started or build on your existing blog:

    1. Customer. Problem. Solution.
      Gather information related to what your target audience wants, likes and needs are in relation to your industry, company, products and services. Other audience considerations include the people who influence buyers but may never be buyers themselves—journalists, other bloggers, industry analysts, business and marketing partners, existing customers, current employees and potential employees.
    2. Define the topics.
      Once you’ve decided on goals, audience and key value propositions the blog will communicate, the next step towards constructing a great corporate blogging plan is to identify the topics. The outcome of this exercise is the start of your blog editorial plan. In fact, any content or media produced and promoted through a business blog should be leveraging search engine optimization (SEO) best practices. Being visible through search as well as sharable through social networks is a powerful combination.
    3. What’s the story? Plan the narrative.
      Storytelling is one of the things that’s most often missing in many SEO-centric efforts towards blogging. Planning topics for specific audiences is great, but tying them together through a themed content plan, topics and keywords is even better. That means a story expressed through text, images, audio, video, interactive applications and any other content or media that can deliver the customer/brand experience in a meaningful way.
    4. Attract & grow your audience.
      One of the most effective models for business blogging and community development uses a hub. We like a hub and spoke model of content marketing and social network engagement which allows for a deep, topical repository of knowledge to be supported by a constellation of social networks and other channels of content sharing. The combination of links and off-site engagement can expose the brand’s expertise to the media as well as new audiences that are not currently aware of the brand’s blog.
    5. Set goals, monitor progress, measure results, refine and repeat.
      With any content marketing, it’s important to engage in an adaptable cycle designed to make iterative improvements to content effectiveness. That means based on goals, monitor progress through key performance indicators like  blog comments, links, mentions, referred social network traffic, referred search engine traffic and the behaviors of visitors once they arrive on the blog.

    The five tips above will help you start your blog’s content marketing strategy, but to be truly effective, you will need to continually adapt, change and restructure your social media marketing and monitoring.


    5 Ways Women Business Leaders can Achieve More Impact with Social Media

    June 17th, 2012

    photo by Marc_Smith

    Most women business leaders would agree that social media is an important component of a company’s successful marketing strategy. Many have a blog, Twitter account and a Facebook page. The paramount goal for most businesses is increased sales or a measurable return on investment. However, what can be confusing about social media participation is how to effectively maximize your time investment in these platforms.

    Here are five questions from Lee Odden that you need to ask. Your answers will help you identify your brand and achieve more impact from your social media efforts.

    1. Who are you?
      What do you want to be known for? What do you stand for? What’s unique about you?
    2. What makes you special?
      How are you incorporating your professional “unique selling proposition” into your social content, sharing, and engagement?
    3. Have you looked in the social mirror?
      Have you looked at the past 20 tweets that you’ve published? Do the same on LinkedIn, Facebook, Google+, Pinterest, or other social networks you’re involved with. When looking at 10 or 20 social content objects together, you can see what kinds of messages you’re sending and determine if those threads support your social objectives or not.
    4. Are you reactive or proactive?
      Are you thinking about the impact of your social content on others or is it mostly a form of self-expression in the moment? If you have professional objectives from your social participation, think about that each time you tweet, update, or comment.
    5. What’s it like to experience you on the social web?
      Rather than viewing each tweet, update, comment, or blog post as a stand-alone engagement effort, think about how others will view the cumulative of your social engagement. What memes can be found within your own social content streams? Do they support what you stand for? Do they reinforce what you want to be known for?

    While your messaging and content development are key to creating a social media presence, understanding and listening to your audience can’t be stressed enough.  But don’t be discouraged if you don’t have thousands of followers or “likes” immediately – it takes time and effort.


    30 Tweeting Tips for Women Business Leaders

    May 8th, 2012

    As the owner of a strategic marketing and communications firm, the biggest Twitter fear I hear as my clients pursue a social media presence is this: “What should I Tweet about?”

    Personally, I enjoy Tweeting and blogging and posting to Facebook for myself and my company. But, as a woman business leader and business owner, I’m not surprised to hear this question. One of the challenges with Twitter is the 140-character limit. Many find this to be the most daunting aspect … how do you say what you want to say in 140 characters or less? For me, that’s not a problem. But I’ve been at it for a while. If I think back to when I first started, I think it was mostly an issue of just doing it. Once you get into the habit, it becomes much easier.

    My advice is to give it a try and look over this list of “30 Things to Tweet About,” from blogger Sorav Jain for inspiration:

    1. New announcements from your brand
    2. Teaser previews of offerings you are working on
    3. Related interesting news from the industry
    4. Trivia related to your product: history, technology, anything!
    5. Ask for suggestions: people love to help someone out
    6. Events you are holding: this informs as well as gets you attendees
    7. Events you are participating in: this shows you are active
    8. Witty one-liners: this can be (appropriate) jokes, daily wisdom, or just about anything else
    9. Helping people find opportunities: Helping people solve problems is the best thing you can do to promote your brand
    10. Popular events: tweet about the upcoming sports events, festivals, etc
    11. Unexpected developments: Was Gmail down today? Tweet about it!
    12. Regular industry news: yup, this doesn’t hurt if mixed in
    13. Sales announcements: Tweet about any sales announcements you might have
    14. Job openings: Tell people about open positions, both with your brand and at other places you know
    15. Ask for customer feedback: Invite people to share their experiences with your brand
    16. Participate in the relevant hashtags, and get more visibility
    17. Set up and announce tweet chats based on brand-related hashtags
    18. Follow people and make acknowledgement via tweets
    19. Thank people who have recently followed you
    20. Post the latest updates from your blog along with the link
    21. Direct people to other social media channels you own by tweeting about them
    22. Search on your brand name and respond to tweets that are about you
    23. Create Twitter lists of industry-relevant analysts, well-wishers or customers, and announce the lists publically. This sends a positive message to the mentioned people
    24. Participate in trending topics and viral hashtags to rope in some attention. Ensure your opinions are related to your brand
    25. Tweet-greet your followers daily. Saying small things like “good morning,” or asking about their health goes a long way in forging ties
    26. Tweet and tag your best employee of the week. This keeps the staff motivated and gives them a platform
    27. Announce weekly deal, tweetpon (coupon), etc., and evaluate its viral reach to understand how influential your brand is
    28. For B2B brands, find out analysts on Twitter and build up conversations with them. Twitter is the best place for making your opinion heard
    29. Give daily twitter tips on usage of your brand’s products/service or on the basis of the industry expertise. Tips sell well on Twitter
    30. Make regular #FF Friday Follow recommendations or announce fan of the week with some incentives or freebies to the winners

    Many of these tips are extremely helpful and will provide you with ideas for months. I’m always looking for more tips, though, so give me yours and I’ll add them to the list.