Dream Big; Live Bigger

Jeremiah 29:11-13

Professional Networking: Benefiting Bonuses February 17, 2013

Filed under: Personal Learning Network Project: Deliverables — Angela @ 10:35 PM

I’ve discussed a few reasons why networking is essential to today’s professionals. Closely linked to reasons are benefits. You would hope that something that requires so much effort would come with some kind of benefit. Well, great news! Networking most definitely comes with benefits!

After picking apart the myriad of sites boasting this benefit of networking or that benefit of networking, I finally chose some of my favorite benefits. It is my intention that these listed benefits will inspire you to start (or continue) your networking journey. Just to keep my sources straight, I will list the benefits under which site I found them.

1. Business Brain Storming Business Brain Storming

  • Improving Self-confidence: Meeting new people on a frequent basis allows you to grow more comfortable in your own skin and more skilled in conversing with others.
  • Finding a Mentor: Networkers often meet other networkers who’ve been in the field for many years and know what it takes to succeed. Occasionally, a bond will be form between the two, and years of knowledge will be given to the younger networker.
  • Meeting New Friends: Networking is not merely adding people to your contact list; it is forming friendships. Remember, to treat the people you meet as friends and not as a means to climb the success ladder.

2. Jimi Jones

  • Making Connections: While you will meet many amazing people you will grow to love, sometimes these people will know other people they will want to connect you with. The more people you know, the bigger the circle of possible connections grows.
  • Increasing your Internet Presence: The more people you connect with and reach out to, the more traffic is directed back to your site, product, or business. By reaching out, you are really reeling people in at the same time.


Small Business BC

3. Small Business BC [British Columbia]

  • Raising your Profile: This extends beyond increasing traffic to your site. Networking helps expand your overall knowledge and helps you establish yourself as an authority in the field and causes your customers to respect you.
  • Finding Opportunities: One networking will lead to another and another and another. Filling up your calendar with social events can help you fill your bank account down the road.

Professional Networking: Identifying Importance

Filed under: Personal Learning Network Project: Deliverables — Angela @ 9:52 PM

Most of us understand that it is not enough to have a sparkling resume to land a dream job. Landing the perfect job really comes down to networking. While landing a job is one of the most popular reasons people network, there are numerous other reasons why networking is important.

Networking Coach’s founder Jan Vermeiren lists over 20 reasons why networking is important. Some of the reasons he cited in his blog post that particularly stuck out to me are as follows:

  • “Enrichment in every possible way:” Networking provides opportunities to gain exposure to other people and their life experiences, which has the potential to enrich your life in unexpected ways.
  • “Knowing about new trends:” With how quickly our world changes, it is sometimes difficult to keep up-to-date about current affairs both in the world at large as well as specific to your profession.
  • “Getting another perspective:” As you meet new people, you are able to see things through their eyes. This may help you come up with new solutions to old problems.

This is just a few of the many great reasons Jan shared in regards to reasons to network. The reasons are truly endless, and I’ll discuss more about the benefits that accompany those reasons in another post soon.


Professional Networking: Staying Social February 14, 2013

Filed under: Personal Learning Network Project: Deliverables — Angela @ 1:41 PM

Finding ways to network online is becoming more and more popular. I realized that good ol’ Facebook is probably not the best way to network unless you have a strictly business profile (which, many people have duplicate accounts- that’s another blog post for another time). Facebook is more closed than other sites.

An example of an open site is definitely Twitter. The awesome thing about Twitter is that users can search for virtually anyone or anything on Twitter. If someone is an accountant, they can search for other accountants, accounting firms or agencies, or accountant conversations (after all, it is tax season- then again, accountants might be too busy to discuss much on Twitter!).

One of the most popular sites on the Internet currently is Pinterest. It is by far one of my favorite sites. It is similar to Twitter in that it is an open site; content is easy to search and find. It is less conversational than Twitter, opting to communicate mostly through pictures that users find and pin to various boards.

As you can see, networking and being social online is never going to fade away. It is time to join sites you never thought you’d consider. It is time to get a little uncomfortable as you reach out to other networkers. Whatever your passionate about, I can almost guarantee that there is a group out there somewhere discussing that very thing. It might require some digging, but seek out people who share your interests, hobbies, and/or profession. After all, it is always nice to have a support group in place who can understand and relate what you might be experiencing.




Professional Networking: Blogging Buddies February 12, 2013

Filed under: Personal Learning Network Project: Deliverables — Angela @ 1:29 PM

While it is true that surfing websites is not enough to be a successful networker, there are certainly websites out there that are excellent places to begin your networking journey.

sitepoint-logoOne site that I found especially helpful is called sitepoint. The actually website was a bit difficult to navigate, but I found an article posted on there a few months ago linking to 20 networking sites for business professionals. I thought this was a great read simply because I had never heard of these sites, and I was intrigued to see what resources were available for professionals to network online.

Aaccountempsnother site I found beneficial is Accountemps. Although they are primarily a staffing company for accounting and bookkeeping professionals, they also have dedicated a few pages on their website to networking.

Surfing sites is a great place to start to learn about the networking world, but bloggers have really taken the reins on this topic. Many of these bloggers are professionals who have can speak with authority and knowledge about networking and the many challenges and benefits that arise from networking.  Followimh blogs is not enough to improve your networking skills. Comment on blogs; have dialogue with the bloggers; that’s how you network and build community. It might be a little odd at first, but it will get easier. Many bloggers actually love feedback and crave comments. I’ll share a few of my favorite bloggers that I followed below and why I think they provide many insights about networking.

  • The Biz Parlor: This is a truly delightful, informative blog. Its focus is business insights and discussions, but the author, Martha Ware, also discusses social media and marketing along with her ideas and thoughts about the business world. One of her posts was especially eye-opening; she discussed the difference between networking and merely adding contacts. Networking is not just meeting peoplel; it is forming a connection.
  • Marketingfocus’s Blog: This blog is manned by Rich Lewis of Burlington Press, NJ. He described networking as a means of human contact. He expressed that human have a need and a desire for other human contact in this post. He explained that networking is simply building bridges.
  • Rachel Dorsey: Rachel posts articles about everything from inspiring stories to networking adivce. In one of her recent posts, she shared some insider’s tips into the mind of top networkers. Her main three take-aways were “ask, be there, and cards.” It’s important to network; you might as well start with your friends. Go out of your comfort zone and attend new events, mixers, or social parties. Wherever you go, have some business cards with you for connections who you want to remember you.

Rachel Dorsey

Networking can be as fun or as tedious as you make it. Start out online, but take your networking activities with you. In other words, always be ready to network- even at the grocery store!


Social Media News Release April 27, 2011

Filed under: Final Project — Angela @ 3:25 PM

People have always craved news. Each person is curious by nature and wants to stay on top of what is going on in the world around him. The first step in distributing news to society is a news release. Traditionally news releases have been printed on one side of a page and condensed to contain the bare essentials of what happened.

Recently the Social Media News Release was born, otherwise known as SMNR. So what exactly is the difference between a SMNR and a traditional News Release? According to Social Media Training, a SMNR “takes advantage of the linking,multimedia and social media capabilities of the Web to make releases more reader-friendly and useful”; a SMNR releases news via a social media site. Ian Capstick said in article he wrote for PBS, “A social media release can be broadly defined as a single page of web content designed to enable the content to be removed and used on blogs, wikis and other social channels.” Traditional News Releases tend to focus on the narrative style and are text-based. A SMNR strays away from that dull and tired approach and is more interactive.

Social Media News Releases have been around for approximately five years now. As the technicalities and terminology surrounding SMNRs evolve, so does the SMNR itself. Capstick’s article says that MarketWire, CNW, and PitchEngine are three examples of social media release services.

Like anything, there are advantages and disadvantages with SMNR. There are more advantages to a SMNR than there are disadvantages. The only disadvantage that could be possible is that sometimes all the hype of a SMNR can be distracting and detract from the actual point of the announcement. A presentation from Slide Share listed some advantages or benefits of a SMNR. SMNRs are optimized for dialogue, search capabilities and sharing via e-mail or other social media sites. Since SMNRs tell stories through both words and multimedia, more in-depth context helps explain complicated stories. Another advantage is that since so many people use social media sites, stories will spread quicker; so make sure it’s a good one.

PR practitioners should always consider using a SMNR, especially considering the fact that SMNRs get three times as much attention as traditional News Releases, according to a study done by Real Wire’s Chief Executive Adam Parker. SMNRs need to be taken seriously when they are being written. They can appear in two places: either on the company’s website or in a blog that is regularly updated.

CiscoNearly every company has some type of presence on the Internet, even it is just a phone number. Bigger companies such as Cisco have released News Release using social media sites. Cisco featured a Connected Life Contest that they released on their corporate website. This release was successful because it provided links to a YouTube video and articles on Digg and Del.iciou.us. It was thorough and to the point.

So how can beginners go about creating their own successful SMNRs? Thankfully, with the help of the Internet, it is fairly simple to get started on creating Social Media News Releases. Muhammad Saleem provides a few pointers for a successful SMNR in his article about how to write a SMNR. The headline attracts all readers, the format is attractive, and and it is to the point and straightforward. How to Create a Social-media News Release provided more tips for perfecting a SMNR. This article says that SMNRs are written for journalists, bloggers and the general public. This article reminds creators of SMNRs that it is important to choose keywords carefully and to tell a story rather than merely present informative facts. PRX Builder and Pressitt are two sites that generate SMNRs with the information that SMNR writers feed the website.

After doing research for this post and using some common sense ideas, here are some tips for creating a Social Media News Release that will be successful: (Note: some have previously been addressed but are worth repeating.)

1. Be creative. Without a creative edge, it might as well be considered a traditional (and boring) news release.
2. Be concise. Use words wisely.
3. Provide links to sources, videos, and pictures.
4. Make the SMNR easy to share and easy to receive feedback. When people share your SMNR, it creates for publicity for your story and feedback allows you the chance to make your next SMNR even better.
5. Present the information in a story format.
6. As with the traditional news release, provide quotes.
7. Resist from appearing to flashy. When too many graphics are used, the SMNR appears cheap and amateur in quality.

This being said, there is no doubt that soon the SMNR will have completely overtaken the traditional news release. In our technological world, people have no patience for mundane and boring news releases printed on paper. Rather, they want video, sound bites, and pictures to accompany the story. Social Media News Releases are not news releases of the future; SMNRs are the news releases of today and will likely be around for a while


One Stage; Two Iconic Beverages March 31, 2011

Filed under: PR Connections — Angela @ 11:04 PM

I am one of the few people who actually still watch American Idol. This week on Tuesday, the Idol finalists paid tribute to Elton John. All was going according to plan. Steven Tyler was calling everyone “beautiful.” Jennifer Lopez was beautiful herself as usual. Randy Jackson was pretty generous in his compliments. Ryan was his usual charming self. All that being said, there was one one major gaffe in the Tuesday show of American Idol.

For as long as the show has been on the air, it has had two major sponsors: Ford and Coca-Cola. All season long, American Idol shows ads for Ford. Finalists perform in weekly Ford music videos, and the final two receive a Ford vehicle. Coca-Cola is the other major sponsor. The show shows ads, has their own “backstage” Coke-themed room, and the judges, of course, drink their drink-of-choice from Coca-Cola cups.

Regular viewers know all of this. So when James Durbin finished his flaming version of Elton John’s “Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting”, Ryan Seacrest commented on the flames on stage. Durbin joked back that he had so much hairspray in his air and was lucky to not have experienced a “Pepsi moment.” (He was referring to an incident where deceased Michael Jackson’s hair caught fire on a Pepsi commercial site.) Seacrest hurriedly looked into the camera and reminded the audience that the show was “sponsored by Coca-Cola.”

I noticed this immediately and thought, “Wow. Coca-Cola must OWN American Idol.” It was entertaining to see Ryan so nervous; Randy was also shocked at the less-than-ten-second incident. Product placement is a big deal for especially prime time shows because advertisers know people will be watching at those golden hours. Coca-Cola is so successful that I highly doubt they need to worry about a innocent slip of Durbin’s stammering tongue.


Blogging for Beginners

Filed under: Topics of the Week — Angela @ 10:28 PM
1. Make it your own.

Come up with your own color scheme. Most blog sites offer users themes to choose from; employ one in your personal blog. Themes and colors make everything (yes, even reading!) more fun.

2. Do some research.

When you do research, make sure you link to where you got the information. The amount of research  you have done will be obvious; people will be able to tell if you know what you are talking about or if you are merely chicken-pecking at a keyboard.

3. Double-check grammar and spelling.

There is nothing so distracting as a misspelled word or poor grammar. Correct grammar and spelling will make your post(s) easier for people to read and understand which will reflect better upon you as a blogger.

4. Use pictures, short video clips, or other graphics.

Graphics, pictures, and videos make blogs (and other websites) more interesting. Typically, a reader’s eyes are immediately drawn to the graphic rather than the dull type.

5. Comment on other people’s blogs.

When you leave comments on others’ blogs, you in essence advertise your own blog. When you show interest in other people’s blogs, the likelihood of people becoming interested in your blog also increases.

6. Find out what other writers are blogging about.

Gain knowledge of what everyone else is blogging about, and then spin it with your own creative (yet accurate) flair.

7. Make the title interesting.

While graphics grab a reader’s attention when they have already opened  your blog post, the title is what grabs their attention to begin with. Play with sounds; make it flow; be funny; go out on a limb.

8. Speak your mind… respectfully.

When you blog, you have the power to say (almost) anything you want. Yes, Americans have the right to the freedom of speech, but be cautious to not offend anyone. Remember, there is a time and place for everything.

9. Make it lively.

Colors, themes, and graphics make things attractive, but there is more to being lively than just eye-popping features. Use descriptive wording.

10. Have fun.

The bottom line is: have fun. If your blog is just a school assignment, it can still be fun. If it is a business blog, it can still be fun. Blogging is a type of online diary or journal. You will only get out of blogging the amount of effort you put into it.