Perkett’s “Persuasive Women” Series Continues with Ann Handley

PerkettPR is very excited to enter 2012 with a great new interview in our “Persuasive Women” series. This new interview is with someone we truly admire, Ann Handley. Ann is a 12-year veteran of creating and managing digital content.

Ann is the Chief Content Officer of MarketingProfs, which provides marketing know-how for business people through a full range of online media, and the co-author of the best-selling Content Rules: How to Create Killer Blogs, Podcasts,Videos, Ebooks, Webinars (and More) That Engage Customers and Ignite Your Business (Wiley, 2011) (www.contentrulesbook.com).

Previously, she co-founded ClickZ.com and was a journalist for the Boston Globe as well as a writer and editor for a host of other publications, including those magazines in the back pockets of airline seats.

Currently, she writes for MarketingProfs as well as its blog, the MarketingProfs Daily Fix , a blog in the top 20 of the Advertising Age Power150. She can also be found at the Huffington Post , American Express OPEN Forum, and her personal blog, Annarchy.  She also writes a monthly column for Entrepreneur magazine. On Twitter, she has more than 100,000 followers @marketingprofs.

What motivates you to get out of bed every day?

Actually, Instagram motivates me BEFORE I get out of bed. I typically check the photo-sharing social network while I’m still lying prostrate — I love the network’s visual storytelling capabilities, which only reminds me how awesome content is, which only reminds me how awesome relationships with content creators are, which only reminds me how amazing the rest of my job is, which only reminds me that I need coffee….

What keeps you up at night?

Pretty much anything. I don’t sleep well.

But here goes….

What keeps me up at night professionally: My sincere regret that more companies don’t see the full, robust, incredible, awesome potential of content! That more companies don’t see their content and online publishing efforts as the cornerstone of their marketing, but instead bolt it onto existing efforts in a freakish, unattractive way.

Also professionally: When I have a big speech coming up — like I do now next month in Kansas City  — I’m fretting about that in the middle of the night. In a healthy way, probably (the nerves motivate me to do my best). But it’s fretting, nonetheless. (Oh and by the way, you should come.)

What keeps me up at night personally: I admit I’m a worrier. I worry about my college-aged kid, who lives in an iffy neighborhood near his school. I worry about my daughter, just because I’m a mother. I worry about global warming and the polar bears. I occasionally regret having the second burrito at dinner. How much room do we have….?

I’m kidding.

Sort of.

What’s one sentence or phrase you find yourself using all the time?

“Solve or share, don’t shill.” It’s the mantra I repeat ALL. THE. TIME. to companies looking for a bottom-line guide to their content strategy. And I like it because it sums up — in five simple, alliterative words — what should guide the content you produce. Another way of saying that, is: “Put the needs and wants and perspective of your customers first.” But that’s not nearly as memorable.

Secondly, I find myself quoting Nicki Minaj’s “Super Bass” liberally these days, just because I’ve had the song stuck in my head for weeks now. (This is what happens when you carpool teens around.) But that can get awkward in certain circles. So I don’t think I’ll mention that here.

How has your life changed from five years ago to today? Where do you hope to be five years from now?

I’m five years older. So there’s that. Also, as Content moved center stage with marketers, I found I actually had something to say! So I wrote a book, “Content Rules” with C.C. Chapman. That has been a rewarding, rich experience in so many ways: It has opened up new and interesting doors, and in it I found a great friend (and “wubby” [work hubby]) in C.C.

More generally, I also like the perspective I have now, which I didn’t have a few years ago. Despite what I said above about worrying — I don’t take things as seriously as I once did. I have more fun in my life and work, and I’m grateful for my awesome kids, my wonderful man, my rewarding social relationships, and my work at MarketingProfs for creating the path to that.

Where do I hope to be? Sheesh. I always have trouble with prognostications. But if I’m as happy as I am now… I’m good. If content is front and center for Marketing, then I’m really good. If everyone here reading this is still caring about what I have to say in five years — if I feel more connected to people and not less, so — well, that would be something, wouldn’t it? (I told you I’m terrible at crystal-ball gazing.)

When was the last time someone inspired you?

I’m inspired every day by the people around me creating and curating content via Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, and the like. I’m inspired by my colleagues at MarketingProfs to do more things, to push harder, to be more. I’m inspired by people who take chances, who try new things, who leap into the unknown — like friends who start companies and make changes and do other things than I can’t list here.

But generally, I’m inspired by honesty: People who do things that they are driven to do, that rings true for them, that they are compelled into. Relationships that are real. Companies that create stuff which is truly a mirror of the soul of who they are, or who they want to be. I love that. And I find it incredibly rewarding and inspirational. I want to steep in it. I want to fill some social hot tub with it and sit in it for a good, long time.

When was the last time you got pissed off?

(LOL — this is only time I’ve ever been asked this question — and I love it!)

I got really ticked a few hours ago at my (teenage) kids, who appear allergic to any sense of order in the family room. Seriously? That laundry basket of clothes has needed folding for a week. The bowl of grape stems on the entertainment center?!

Am I your housemaid? THAT. PISSES. ME. OFF.

I probably should come up with something more broadly appealing or more profound — certain candidates surging in the polls do not thrill me — but you asked “last time,” so parents out there: Can you relate?!?!?

What was the last thing that made you laugh so hard you cried?

Tina Fey’s Bossypants. If you haven’t read it, I can’t imagine why not. You will pee your pants. (If you’ve had kids. If you haven’t, you’ll just laugh.)

How does your personal brand influence your job? Or are they one and the same?

I can’t say I fully understand what the term “personal brand” means. Possibly I’m not sophisticated enough. Here’s how I see it: I am who I am online, and sometimes I represent the brand I work for (MarketingProfs). I don’t change who I am because of that, although I probably modify my behavior a bit (as in: I don’t swear, or I don’t get too personal). So I guess the short answer is that they are pretty closely aligned.

How do you manage your role at MarketingProfs, your personal brand and the rest of your life so smoothly? What’s your secret?

I don’t think there is a secret, really. I love my job. I love the rest of my life, too. I guess my secret is that I don’t fake it. But is that a secret? I can’t imagine so — it just is.

I think — as in most things in life — relationships are key to everything. I do well on social networks because I truly value the relationships I build there. I treasure my personal relationships. I value my friends. This isn’t groundbreaking, I’m sure. But it makes my life worth living.

Can you share your favorite work tools for collaboration, productivity, or organization?

MarketingProfs is a virtual organization. So Skype is a connectivity and productivity and collaboration tool. As is Basecamp. As is Dropbox.

I also like our Team ‘Profs private Facebook group, along with a handful of other private groups I belong to that allow me to check my sanity and deepen relationships. See above.

What’s next for you in 2012?

The paperback edition of Content Rules comes out in the spring. MarketingProfs continues to grow and morph. I’m celebrating my one-year anniversary as a columnist for Entrepreneur magazine (http://www.entrepreneur.com/author/1726). Otherwise? I think I said I was terrible at looking ahead….

Persuasive Picks for the week of 11/15/2010

How the Fortune 500 Uses Social Media
Entrepreneur magazine columnist & contributing writer, Mikal E. Belicove highlights the results of a recent report on social from the Center for Marketing Research at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth

The Real Power of Inbound Marketing
Jay Ehret from The Marketing Spot gives a brief breakdown of Inbound Marketing and shares its importance through a story of personal experience with his own business.

Social Media Responisibility
Mike Myatt shares a truly scary story about social media’s frighteningly blurred lines when it comes to online/virtual behavior versus living responsibly in the real world.

9 Must Have Gadgets for Social Media Nuts
Adam Mills provides some helpful holiday gift giving suggestions for that social media addict in your life, in this post on TheNextWeb.com.

Social Media and Blogging: The Common Sense Approach
Chris Crum shares highlights of an interview with Unmarketing author Scott Stratten, conducted during this year’s Blogworld Conference, in this post on WebProNews. The full interview is included here:

 

 

Claire Russell and Wayne Sutton at IMS10 – Gillette Stadium, Foxboro, MA – Part 2

In Part II of my interview with Wayne Sutton, we talk all things geolocation and location based services. A self-proclaimed location based services “geek”, Wayne is the Business Development/Marketing Strategist for TriOut, a location-based services application developed to help individuals explore the Triangle area and discover its cultural treasures.

During this interview, Wayne shares great insight on the location based services market landscape, how it works and what it means for consumers. And, most importantly, what retailers and brands need to think about when considering a location-based campaign as part of their marketing strategy.

Marketers – considering geolocation or location-based services as part of your future marketing campaigns? Which services are you reviewing and why? How will location tie into your online and offline initiatives? We’d love to hear from you in the comments!

Claire Russell Interviews Wayne Sutton at IMS10, Part 1

Last month I attended and presented at the Inbound Marketing Summit 2010 in Foxboro, MA. It was great to be back in Boston, catching up with friends and colleagues. But a true highlight of my visit, ironically (since we live in the same area), was finally getting the opportunity to catch up with Wayne Sutton – or SocialWayne as he’s known here in ‘The Triangle’ of North Carolina.

For those that may not know Wayne, he holds nearly 10 years of experience in technology and social media. He is the Business Development/Marketing Strategist for TriOut, a location-based services application developed to help individuals explore the Triangle area and discover its cultural treasures. Wayne is also a consultant, helping start-ups and established businesses succeed in understanding how to best communicate their brand strategy through social media, as well as location-based services.

In this first of a two-part series, Wayne shares three tips for new entrepreneurs thinking about launching in today’s market:

  • Hire good people you can trust
  • Build a revenue model that adds value and solves a problem
  • Try not to spend or take money if you don’t need it

He also gives his take on the Raleigh tech/social media scene.

I hope you enjoy the interview  – our Part II interview will feature Wayne talking about the impact of location-based services on corporate marketing strategies. What should marketers be thinking about as they plan their 2011 Marketing budgets? We’d love to get your thoughts/advice.

 

 

Doreyne Douglas – SMB Executive, Mom & VP at PlanetMagpie – Shares Insights on Tech, Design and Advice for Entrepreneurs

PlanetMagpie is a technology and design partner of PerkettPR. They specialize in delivering IT Consulting, Web Design, App Development, Web Marketing, Hosting and Comprehensive Network Support.

Where did the name PlanetMagpie come from?

Our dog Magpie, a black lab, was the company’s mascot. She embodied all the traits we believe any good business should have.  She was fun, smart, a great friend, incredibly loyal and worked really hard to please us. That’s what a true partner should be.

What do you like about living and working in the Bay Area?

I love that there are a million things to do here – plus the lack of mosquitoes and cold weather!

How did you get into tech?

My husband Robert incorporated PlanetMagpie in 1998. Five years ago the business had grown to a size where he needed additional support in marketing so he recruited me to help out. Prior to that, I was in legal marketing and recruiting for 15 years, most recently with the second largest law firm in California; Gibson Dunn & Crutcher, probably best known for representing President Bush in Bush v. Gore.

What are three things small business owners and entrepreneurs should be sure to have in place when launching a new company?

1)      A solid IT infrastructure that can grow with them

2)      An identity and brand that inspires employees, customers and partners

3)      A customized, professional website that captures who they are; custom sites are not that much more expensive than template sites and are worth the investment.

What sticks out to you like a sore thumb when you see a badly designed website?

1)      The site is disorganized and all over the place

2)      There isn’t a clear message of who they are and what they do. That is particularly frustrating to a marketer because what they don’t realize is people will leave immediately if they can’t get a feel for what you can offer them.

What are some of the pitfalls or security risks businesses should be aware of when setting up their IT infrastructure?

Be sure to consult with an expert. Just because Microsoft (or any vendor) says a certain software or system will suffice for your business “up to 50 people,” doesn’t mean it will perform equally fast whether you have 1 or 50 people using it.  We see systems meant for 50 slowing down at 20, and that can hurt your productivity.  Build your systems based on your planned growth and be sure they fit your needs for the foreseeable future.  Consulting with someone who has built/used/implemented these systems in the past is your best bet for ensuring you are set up for success.

What advice do you have for entrepreneurs starting their own business today?

After “Don’t do it?” :)

I think the most important thing to remember is what starts twisted will stay twisted. If you don’t have a vision and a plan in place to execute on that vision in an organized way you won’t succeed. Ask yourself, “What is the right way to do this?” – then plan it out from there. A lot of entrepreneurs will just take it as it comes and roll with the punches but they need to develop a plan first.

Secondly, I would say find the right employees and partners. No one gets there alone, and you need to have good people you can trust, that are reliable and loyal to move your business forward. Once you find those people hang on to them. They are the ones that will help you protect your company.

As a working mom and business executive/owner what do you find gets lost in the shuffle most?

Working on our house, which we love to do.  When the economy started taking a turn, we had to abandon our house renovation project mid-stream and devote all our attention to the company.  That was about 2-1/2 years ago.  When we start working on our house again, that will be proof positive to me that the recession is behind us.

What is your favorite tech gadget and why?

If I could only have one tech toy for work, it would be Microsoft Office Communications Server.  The “presence” and “IM” features of OCS are indispensable. My web development team’s collaboration and work efficiency went way up after we implemented those tools.  We can’t work without them anymore.

What inspires you to work as hard as you do?

I guess it’s the midfielder in me.  I don’t stop running until the referee blows his whistle … and that’s usually around 1 a.m.!  But seriously, I do it for Robert and the kids.  For Robert, because I’ve never met a harder working person more deserving of success.  For our kids, because I want to be able to leave them something tangible when we’re gone, to make their lives a little easier and to make sure they have a common place to gather and call home.

What are your favorite blogs?

I like Women on Business, The Business Insider (Silicon Alley Insider), and ReadWriteWeb.  I’m still trying to find a favorite blog on web design/development.

What would you be doing if you weren’t in tech?

If I could do it all over again, I would be a professional soccer player. I play on three soccer teams and absolutely love it.

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If you are interested in learning more about PlanetMagpie’s services visit PlanetMagpie or contact Doreyne directly at: doreyne [dot] douglas [at] planetmagpie [dot com]