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Getting Started with WordPress

You’ve heard a lot about using WordPress to create a website or publish your ideas on the blogosphere. But how do you get started?

One way is to find a free WordPress training workshop. I would be happy to give one for your organization. (Contact me for more info.)

This brief online slideshow was prepared for a WordPress training workshop for Jewish B2B Networking.

Getting in Front of Your Audience by Email

Constant Contact newsletters we’ve designed and managed recently.

Some time ago, I wrote about whether the popular online communications tools (Survey Monkey, WordPress, etc.) are as user-friendly as they claim to be.

They’re getting better, of course. In particular, Constant Contact has been making frequent improvements in their user interface, as well as adding quite a few new templates.

That’s one of the reasons I signed up with Constant Contact to be a Solution Provider. Visit the Jonathan Lehrer Communications site for the whole story and how you can sign up for a 60-day free trial with Constant Contact.

You might also benefit from my critiques of some Constant Contact newsletters. Maybe you’ll pick up a few tips for your own email marketing efforts.

If you want to chat about what your organization might do with an email newsletter, I’m here to help.

Our communications know-how and editorial experience, along with the leading online newsletter provider is a combination that will turn you into a publisher-marketer.

Core Concept: Key Ingredient for Blogs, Facebook and More

Dear Mr. Communicator: Should I blog? Should I be on Twitter? — an executive looking for inspiration

Use your Fundamental Idea as the key ingredient, whether the recipe is for a blog, a website a company brochure or a white paper. If you get this right, you deserve latkes — potato pancakes — with applesauce (lower left).

When clients ask me these questions, the answer is almost always, “do you have something to say?” In other words, if you don’t have a message — a Core Concept — it’s fairly useless to worry about how you’ll deliver it.

To the business owner who dreams of getting a lot of “likes” on his Facebook postings, the concept of a message strategy can seem a bit foreign. So I illustrate it by talking about my favorite topic: dessert.

Lately, as I have been having occasional business meetings at Baker’s Square – for their free wireless Internet, of course – I’ve been thinking about pies.

Should I have Country Apple, French Apple or Apple Cinnamon? Should I accompany the pie with a cup of apple-flavored herbal tea?

They’re all different formats of apples, and obviously they couldn’t exist without the apple.

(At about this point, it should occur to you that in my fruit-flavored analogy, the apple represents the Core Concept. Clever, no?)

Let’s expand the analogy to include just plain apple slices, apple slices with peanut butter, apple slices in a salad, applesauce (on potato pancakes, of course), apple cider and taffy apples (a favorite of both my wife, Estee, and my daughter, Lia).

Before Blogging, Know Your Basic Message

If you don’t have an apple – a Core Concept – you’ll have a hard time coming up with something to blog about on a regular basis.

But if you have a basic message, or a perspective on your business, you’ll never run out of topics.

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Business Card is No Longer the First Impression

I’m Proud of My Business Card

In the Internet Age, you need more than a nice business card to create a good first impression.

In the midst of a recent Communications Audit – that’s my term for a brainstorming session and review of marketing materials – a lively discussion developed on the topic of business cards.

In this Age of the Internet, ye olde business card remains an important marketing asset.

The discussion on this particular day was the value of embossing the firm’s logo on the card.

It’s a well-turned phrase, but also a truism, that a nicely embossed card creates a good impression.

Describing his embossed card, the client said, “When I present my business card to a customer, I feel proud about the way the card looks, and it shows that I’m proud of the business.” The sincerity in his voice and his dedication to running a customer-focused company helped me to understand why he is such a successful salesman.

Creating a Good First Impression on the Internet

But while we’re examining his embossed calling card, let’s also think about how effective it is in creating a first impression.

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New Website is Live — Now What?

Dear Mr. Communicator: We just went live with our new website. How do we get people to look at it? –a curious marketing manager

The kind of traffic your website needs

Take the right steps and traffic like this will be headed to your website.

Dear Curious:

Begin by telling the world.

  • Ask employees to link to the site in their email signatures.
  • Schedule social media posts with links to specific pages on the site.
  • Write a blog article about the business decision process that led to the new site. Here’s an example from a site I recently completed for Joseph Robertson Foundries, Limited, a Toronto company that makes brass, bronze and aluminum castings.
  • Ask your execs — lawyers, accountants, marketing pros — to ensure that their personal listings in professional organizations include links to the site.
  • Promote the site on any and all customer communications, such as billing statements, store signage, business cards and print advertising.

For My Birthday, Please Pronounce “February” Correctly

Who put the “you” in “February”?

This is my month and I wish you would pronounce it correctly.

My birthday — the first of the month — ushers in 28 (or 29) days of the most mispronounced period on the calendar. I understand that marketers are trying to personalize their message by inserting “you” in everything, but that doesn’t mean we have to accept Feb-YOO-ary.

February pronunciation

Who put the "you" in February? I don't see it anywhere in there.

Yet professional newscasters and announcers lately have succumbed to widespread adoption of this error. Given the amount of time broadcasters historically have spent in bars, you’d think they could pronounce a word that has “brew” in the middle.

In honor of poor February — short, cold (except for 2012) and mispronounced — I am declaring it National Let’s Stop the Mispronunciation Madness Month.

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Create the Perfect Blog Post

Blog articles should be short

A blog post should be 300-400 words.

A client recently sent me an article to post on the organization’s blog. Her email noted that it might be “a little long.”

No kidding! It was more than 1,300 words.

In this era of what I like to call the Internet-Induced Attention Deficit Issue, my client’s proposed blog post was about 1,000 words too long. Edit it, slice it, cut it or split it into three posts.

Bloggers and webmasters have become obsessed with SEO — search engine optimization — a collection of techniques that get your page ranked highly by Google, thus attracting visitors to your site and bringing bundles of fame and fortune. The folks at Google say the best way to get their attention is to create a page that is useful for a human reader.

The best length and format for a blog entry

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Facebook – the Ultimate Word-of-Mouth Tool

In a recent survey on synagogue marketing that I conducted, Jewish leaders said word-of-mouth is their most effective marketing technique. In the same survey, they admitted that while they have Facebook pages, they mostly can’t say whether Mark Zuckerberg’s brainchild is worth their effort.

Word-of-mouth is successful because it’s a marketing message from the most trusted source: someone you know. (Admittedly, not everyone I know carries the same amount of trust.)

Facebook, with its extensive friend networks and ability to communicate personally and honestly, ought to be the ultimate word-of-mouth tool.

If you’re a synagogue executive director or a leader of any non-profit, some of these ideas might help you get more out of Facebook. (Feel free to ask me for help!)

Make Facebook more effective in a synagogue, membership organization or non-profit
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Marketing the Shul: What’s Working and What Needs to Work

Presented to The Future of Jewish Non-Profits Summit, July 11, 2011, Chicago, Ill.

When it comes to synagogue marketing (and very possibly marketing churches, too), technology is trumped by the old stand-by: personal contact. Paid newspaper advertising doesn’t seem to work well, and the jury’s still out on the effectiveness of social media.

As a lifelong professional communicator, and former president of Beth Hillel Congregation Bnai Emunah in Wilmette, Ill., I constructed an informal survey (using Google Docs) which I sent to Chicago-area synagogue executive directors and randomly selected rabbis, as well as Conservative synagogue presidents on a national listserve.

Facing competition from the Internet, iPads, the golf course and other non-religious distractions synagogue leaders are eager to find marketing techniques that will engage current members and attract new people, without draining the temple’s resources.

What’s working and what isn’t

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Presentation: Anatomy of a Blog

This presentation was prepared specially for a training workshop about blogging at the Jewish Vocational Service of Chicago. Contact us if you’d like to have the full presentation at a meeting of your organization.

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