On the Power of Words, Labels and Language: Do No Harm

The power of words, labels, language and frames is often a popular topic at the water cooler and lunch table here, but it has been top-of-mind lately. One reason is a recent experience I had when filling out a form to participate in an online forum with people from around the world. The gist of one of the questions was, “How would you describe yourself so other people will like you and want to interact? Explain the social psychology of your response.”  It was a daunting exercise.

Posted by Pat Heffernan on 3/8/18 10:30 AM

Storytelling Tools to Help Your Target Audience see WIIFM

Want to gain traction in the early stages of the customer’s journey? Here’s a tip: Step out of your shoes. Your audience wants to interact with someone who has walked a mile in their shoes. Add personality and customer aspirations to your product storytelling and you can unearth fresh, authentic ways to connect. It’s in there, right next to your passion, mission, and vision. Here's how two companies do just that to make “What’s in it for me?” crystal clear.

Posted by Clare Innes on 2/22/18 11:43 AM

The Psychology of Words: Revealing more than you realize

Thoughts on the psychology of words, word use, pronouns, and social issues have been scurrying across my brain lately. Not that you can’t find me obsessing about words on a year round basis, but words and their implications have been in the news recently and thus on my mind more frequently.

Language is the most common and reliable way for people to translate their internal thoughts and emotions into a form that others can understand. Words and language, then, are the very stuff of psychology and communication. – James Pennebaker

Posted by Pat Heffernan on 2/8/18 10:00 AM

Changing Minds: The science behind visual storytelling

Do you feel that?

That tugging sensation on your heart?

You’re not sure why, but as serious, and as focused, and as grownup as you are, you likely just responded to the photo of a child’s joy.


Posted by Pat Heffernan on 1/25/18 11:57 AM

What is the cost of a stunning new website?

I wrote about this last in 2010 when unemployment was near ten percent and competition for work was fierce and cutthroat. And while a lot has changed in the past eight years, the components to consider when you want to create a successful new website for your business or non-profit have not.

Posted by Dave Bowers on 1/25/18 10:00 AM

Blogging Tips for the One-Person Marketing Team

You know your stuff. You could blog about what you do ‘til the cows come home. The problem is that there's never enough time to do it all well. What you need is a simple, step-by-step process for going from idea to publishing quality content without missing a beat.
Posted by Clare Innes on 1/18/18 12:00 PM

New Year Resolutions and Inspiration for the Digital Marketer

At the beginning of a new year, it is natural to want to set resolutions both personally, and professionally for your organization. We all start out with the best of intentions, but trying to do too much too soon can set us up for failure in our marketing campaigns or outreach efforts. And while our marketing to-do lists are ongoing, it is important to review and assess our efforts so they are as effective as they can be. Here are some tips and recommendations for resolution success for the coming year.

Posted by Tara Pereira on 1/11/18 10:00 AM

Mission-Driven Marketers: Are You Focused or Fearful?

I am worried. As I wrote earlier, part of creating a persuasive change message is to document and describe the problem before offering a solution built on shared values. My fear is that the blistering acceleration of focus scarcity, or attention deficit if you will, may soon make effective mission-driven marketing all but impossible.

Posted by Pat Heffernan on 12/28/17 10:00 AM

In Marketing, Don’t Mistake a Shiny New Tool for Your Goal

One day as I flicked through a group of RSS and Twitter feeds for a client in education, I came across a sketch that made me chuckle in recognition. Bill Ferriter, a.k.a. @plugusin on Twitter, posted a reminder for educators: “What do You Want Kids to Do With Technology?” I chuckled to myself because several of the wrong answers listed for educators also regularly bedazzle small businesses and nonprofits into confusing a new tool (or shiny object) with a marketing goal.

Posted by Pat Heffernan on 12/21/17 8:25 AM

Want your social video to be thumb-stoppingly good?

"71% of internet users will access social networking sites regularly this year."  source

One of the great challenges and great truths of social media is the quick speed at which everything changes. Whether it is your Twitter feed, the social news cycle or the speed at which each network grows, we can all count on everything changing and changing often. And the latest change is the stong push and focus on native social video by major social media channels.

Posted by Tara Pereira on 12/14/17 10:00 AM

How to Optimize Your Website for Mobile


As a business owner, you most likely already know how critical it is to be active and visible online. Google prioritizes mobile friendly sites over sites that aren’t mobile friendly when listing search results. Considering the oversaturation of websites online, having a mobile optimized website can make your business stand out. Let’s look at exactly why and how mobile optimization will improve your business.

Posted by Guest Blogger on 12/7/17 10:05 AM

How to Use a Creative Brief for Effective Collaboration

Marketing, like many other worthwhile activities, is a team venture. And every effective team needs a coach, rules of the game, and a common goal. Think of your creative brief as a team playbook with a description of the goal, objectives and rules for a specific marketing project that involves more than one person. Maximizing the talents and expertise of your marketing project team will be much easier with a collaboration built on a shared understanding of the rules and a common goal. 

Posted by Dave Bowers on 11/30/17 10:30 AM

How Inbound Marketing Metrics Will Save Public Relations

Rich metrics are one of the delights of implementing an integrated inbound marketing program. Inbound’s ability to track the history of an individual’s interactions along her/his customer decision journey makes documenting the ROI for various marketing activities a possibility for small businesses and nonprofits. For years the Achilles’ heel of public relations (PR) has been its lack of metrics directly linked to business outcomes and the subsequent inability to document ROI. Inbound marketing is the answer.

Posted by Pat Heffernan on 11/23/17 10:00 AM

Design Project Management Tips and Tools to Implement Today

Time is funny. It flies. It can be saved and wasted. When you’re working on a design and content project with lots of moving parts and people, time is also money. In many mission-driven organizations, time and money are often both in short supply. In an ideal world, every project begins with a creative brief that stakeholders within your organization and outside partners have signed off on. But for those seemingly inevitable, unexpected or rush projects, here are some time-saving tips for success I’ve hammered out on the anvil of experience on both sides of the design project management window.

Posted by Clare Innes on 11/16/17 10:00 AM

Conquer Your Website Design Accessibility and Inclusion Challenge

Making sure that your website reaches and communicates effectively to everyone requires attention to many factors—design, language, search optimization, and adherence to accessibility guidelines and regulations. I’ll look specifically at website design for accessibility in this blog post and address inclusive language and other factors in a future post.

Posted by Pat Heffernan on 11/9/17 10:05 AM

Changing Minds: Frames Matter More Than Facts

Language shapes the way we think, and determines what we can think about.
Benjamin Lee Whorf

I can no longer count on my fingers the number of times I've searched fruitlessly for the perfect, convincing set of facts for changing minds to advance an issue. Really, I should know better. Facts are not what change peoples' mindsets. Frames are.

Posted by Pat Heffernan on 11/2/17 11:42 AM

Common Copyright Risks To Avoid (and Tips for Quick Photos)

Confusion about copyright law is common these days — fueled by the rise in online content and easy sharing. And the constant demand for fresh, engaging visuals to be shared drives more and more copyright confusion about photography in particular. But confusion creates a significant risk for marketers because it exposes you to copyright infringement lawsuits and fines. Let’s look at common copyright risks you can avoid, and tips for quickly and safely creating the images you need for your blogging and social media efforts.

Posted by Pat Heffernan on 10/26/17 10:00 AM

How to conduct effective video interviews


Do you know the secret to conducting a good video interview? Whether you are gathering video testimonials for your website or developing an informational video series for an outreach campaign, conducting your first video interview is about preparation and understanding human communication.

Posted by Tara Pereira on 10/19/17 10:04 AM