Good Community is a Timeless Social Media Value

By Communications, Corporate Strategy, Marketing, Social Media, Uncategorized

We were at a client meeting last week presenting social media strategy, and Marijean was kind enough to mention my past history as founder of a company called Rowdy.com. Rowdy was known as a “social network” and was focused on NASCAR racing. We built a platform to blog, share photos, video, comments, and observations on racing. Facebook wasn’t out yet, so we had to build it ourselves.

We produced award-winning podcasts, video, and content on our own to get the conversation started, but our primary goal was to create a place where real fans could get to know each other and get closer to their favorite sport and those involved in it. Rowdy grew very quickly primarily because we gave the fans something they could not get on their own–a singular voice that was about the real sport, not corporate spin. Our tagline was “Rowdy: Tell It Like It Is” and that’s exactly what we did. It was truly cutting edge and and was one the best examples of online community available, regardless of the topic.

One of the participants at our meeting remembered the site and was truly complimentary. I think it enhanced our reputation and credibility just a little and I was flattered to have had a positive impact on a race fan through that effort.

Cool, you say. So what? That stuff is old hat now! The takeaway is that even though that site was shut down earlier this year (after a two-year stint as a property of The Sporting News), folks still remember the quality of the content and the friendships they had there. Many fans are still offline friends–one couple who met there are actually getting married! Fans remember fondly meeting IRL at the races after friending one another at Rowdy. It was a true bonding experience because it was real people, useful and engaging content and a friendly, open forum for sharing and celebrating a passion.

So…are you creating that environment for your customers? Are you providing an open, engaging resource full of good content, friendly people, and social connective tissue? Are you using the tools currently available to maximize connection and interaction? If not, why not? Quit acting like this doesn’t matter. It does.

Business Blogging: Are you Overthinking it?

By Communications, Social Media

Blogging for and about your business is more important now than ever. And yet, businesses are still struggling not only with the execution, but the concept. 

Here are some of the hangups I hear from clients roadblocked by blogging fear or misunderstanding:

  • We don’t have a consumer project, so it doesn’t seem like anyone would be interested in reading what we have to share.
  • Doesn’t it have to be personal? We don’t really want to share our dirty laundry online.
  • What if we are boring?

Telling the story about your business and what you do is valuable to your community, no matter what that community is. They self-select into your content, so don’t pre-judge by saying that people who read blogs are only interested in consumer products. You may discover much more about your audience and your business by the community that emerges around the content you share.

Being personal doesn’t mean airing dirty laundry. Being personal means being a real person, using language that is down-to-earth and spin-free, sharing a bit of yourself that underscores the fact that you are a real human being behind the brand. (Someone just walked past me wearing swishy — snow?– pants and those awful Five Fingers shoes. Distracting! — See? I’m a real person with really distracting co-workers, just like you.)


You can’t be boring if you’re not boring yourself. If YOU find your business and what it offers exciting and you share your passion for your topics, that will be evident to your audience. Feel free to mix it up now and again — be creative — be funny — but above all, be yourself, and quit overthinking it.


Where do you blog? Please feel free to share your blog in the comments for the Change the Conversation audience to enjoy.

Publish or Perish: 5 Ways to Resurrect Your Blogging Efforts

By Communications, Social Media

Your business may have already taken up blogging efforts, but they’ve flagged, as many do, and you need a shot in the keister to get your online presence revived. 

As a reminder, small businesses that blog get 55% more traffic to their websites than businesses that do not blog.

No, silly — don’t just take my word for it — read the study for yourself.

I’m here to help, so here are five ways to get back to blogging and down to business:

  1. Feature your fans! The Charlottesville Albemarle Airport has begun a spotlight series featuring different members of the CHO family. See the spotlight on airport photographer Jack Looney!
  2. Invite a vendor or business partner to contribute a guest blog post. I was fortunate to have a great piece by Chester Hull of ProSound recently and my co-conspirator (we’re writing a book together) Ken Mueller is a regular guest on the Change the Conversation blog.
  3. Use video — seriously — videos that are a couple of minutes long, homespun (read: not professionally produced) and tell the story of your business are a fantastic way to connect with your audience.
  4. Read, read, read. Read other blogs — outside your industry. Read a newspaper (online or in print! I don’t judge!). Read a magazine. Read a book. Read with an eye for inspiration and you will find it.
  5. Brainstorm a bunch of lists. How many can you develop in an hour? 6 Ways to Bake a Potato! 3 Rules for Getting a Great Haircut! 5 Questions to Ask When Choosing  a Dentist! You can do it.
Now, get to blogging and down to business.


Take a Blog, Leave a Blog

By Social Media

My buddy Ken has a great post about taking the “take a penny/leave a penny” practice further — into small business and using social media.

Ken has great ideas for small businesses and I’m really enjoying his Small Business Tip Tuesdays.

Ken gave me a nice shout-out in the blog post for the blog carnival I held on my business Facebook page awhile ago, and so today, I’m opening up the page for you to share blogs that you like or your own blog. Just go here: https://www.facebook.com/JaggersCommunications and share the link and tell us a little bit about yourself, the blog or your business.

To take it even further, I’m closing comments on this post to get more of you to see the blogs featured on the Facebook page. Take a blog, leave a blog!

4 Reasons I Teach What I Do

By Communications

Photo credit: www.cramerphoto.com

You may have asked yourself, why is it that I teach what I do?

Why do I  give away trade secrets, processes and best practices to marketing directors, potential clients and business owners.

It’s really pretty simple, actually. I’m not crazy; I am making a living doing this, and the reason why is found in the reasons why I teach what I do:

  1. An informed client is a good client. More than 15 years of experience has taught me that a client who understands public relations, social media and communications values the service they’re engaging their firm to provide. A good client who values what you do gets results when they take counsel and pays you on time.
  2. I really like teaching other marketers and entrepreneurs and, based on all the feedback I’ve had over the years, I know I’m really good at it. It gives me a tremendous amount of satisfaction.
  3. More often than not, even while workshop participants are learning about tools and tactics, they’re thinking, great: I’d love to hire someone else to manage this for us. I have an idea of who that might be.
  4. I walk the talk as much as I can. When I talk about the element of the culture of social media that is sharing, I really believe in it. I share what I know so others can be successful.

Learn more: register for the Blogging Best Practices Workshop in Charlottesville, Va. on Feb. 24, 2011.