The power of “you”

you handUsing the word “you” can prompt action. Using the words “we” or “us” can prompt inaction or passivity.

I like how  worded it in her story at How to Kill A Persuasive Speech With One Tiny Word – Business 2 Community:

Mazur says that the the most important word in any presentation is “you” because it gets people to take action and responsibility for what you’re telling them to do.

It can also increase offenses and adds a sense of precocious demand to those who use it, but it can sure be effective!

Overexposed: The Dim Future of Photojournalism?

D. Sharon Pruitt, taking photos of her daughter Hayley, is one of a growing number of amateur photographers who earn small fees for their work. From the NYT article referred to below

I’ve written about it before, but the future of professional photography as a solo art isn’t looking any more lucrative than it did several years ago. In fact things are becoming more specialized and “good” is becoming “good enough” for cash strapped newspapers, magazines, print and web venues.

In the NY Times story, “Image of a shrinking path”, talks about how professional photographers are being overwhelmed by the amount of stock images and cheaper competition from amateur photographers who are flooding the market for weddings, portraits and even magazine and print work. The photography market has become overexposed with cheap but quality digital cameras that even those with little or no training can use to make quality images that pass for most customers.

I agree that someone who was looking for a career as a studio, portrait or even journalism photographer isn’t going to find themselves in a hot market…however someone who is willing to wade into that field, be excellent at what they do AND diversify their imaging abilities they could find themselves in a good position to grow with a hybrid industry that is still in blossom: Still/videography

Three tips for up and coming photographers:

1) Be the best photographer you can be and find ways to be better.

Devin Graham’s Facebook profile image

2) Learn and shoot video too. Check out the likes of Devin Graham who is taking YouTube videos to a new level and making money doing it. Besides even for photojournalists, this is the digital age and videos are part of image reporting now.

3) Do what you love. If you don’t really enjoy the work and toil of photography, find a way to make it enjoyable or do something else that you  do love and go be the best at it!


The Importance of Intercultural Communication Skills

Why Intercultural Communication Skills are Important to Me

I have often heard people say, “The world is getting smaller.” Yes, in a sense it is true more people are coming into contact with different people as travel and communication across the globe increases Since each of us will, no doubt, be coming into contact with someone from a culture different from our own, it is necessary for us to be able to communicate.  If we are unable to communicate with other cultures, we will become completely centered on our own culture and miss out on the blessings and ideas found in other cultures.

Intercultural communication is important to me, not only to gain from other cultures, but so I can understand others better.  Each person I meet has different backgrounds and a culture different from my own.  Whether as part of an occupation or in a friendship, understanding differences in culture helps me to be more understanding and enjoy the value of our different qualities. Continue reading

Carefully newsjacking your way into the public eye

Looking for that news hook? Newsjacking may be exactly what you’re looking for!

Read David Meerman Scott’s book…’cause he wrote the book on Newsjacking! His perspective on connecting news stories with your product or business can be a great way to get yourself in the public eye. Just be careful what news you jack or you could end up with a black eye.
On, Kivi Leroux Miller describes how how you can get yourself in the second paragraph of news stories if you learn how to respond quickly to the news of the day!

It works like this: a news story breaks. Journalists are under pressure to update that story for the next edition or broadcast. So while the core of the story (the first paragraph) doesn’t change all that much, the second paragraph does, with additional details or insights or related quotes. That’s your chance to swoop in with something a reporter can use that’s related — but not necessarily essential — to the main story to freshen it up. Then your part of the story gets repeated as other media outlets pick up the story. ~ Miller

Newsjacking can be done by commenting on the newstories and hopefully getting picked up like Remco described in the comments here.

I prefer the idea of having a relevant connection to the story that is interesting enough that it caches the attention of the reporter. It’s OK to use a bit of humor with this as long as you don’t go overboard, You can even newsjack serious stories as long as you keep them in good taste.

Here are some great examples from Scott’s book

I love how the London Fire Brigade newsjacked the story of Kate Winslet saving Richard Branson’s 90-year-old mother from a fire.

Oakley Sunglasses did a great job of newsjacking when they jumped on an opportunity to give glasses to the sun sensitive 33 Chilean miners. They each received Oakley Radar sunglasses to protect their eyes as they exited the mine after their long ordeal below ground.  Estimates say that Oakley garnerd about $41 million in promotions for the $6300 worth of product they donated.

Newsjacking  can be a great way to tie-in your organization to the latest news, but just be wise about how you use this technique. There will eventually be a news story that relates to your organization but it may be one you want to stay away from or at least be really careful how you tie-in to it. For example, if the local pound burns down, announcing your hot dog dinner to raise funds to spay and neuter dogs in the county would be less than advisable.

Have you newsjacked a story? Tell me how you did it in the comments below!

~ M


Church Bulletins: Transitioning from print to digital

Remember 1992 when Superman died in DC Comic’s #175 then re-appeared in various forms? Well, that’s kinda what we did with our church bulletin…

Old bulletin cover 8.5"x5.5" size

Old bulletin cover 8.5"x5.5" size

First off, we didn’t kill our bulletin. Some people thought we did, but that really wasn’t the case. We just changed the way we do church bulletins. In fact, the change seems to be doing a lot of good so far!

Here’s what we did.

We stopped one thing and developed three outlets that accomplish the same goal with greater efficiency, track-ability, and with huge savings in time and money.

  • NO — Big multi-page booklet bulletin handed out each week
  • YES! — Small “bullet” card with brief event info handed out weekly
  • YES! — eBulletin emailed out midweek with links to event signup and more info
  • YES! — A few copies of weekly “Info Sheets” available at Guest Services for those who don’t email.


We stopped making the 8.5″x5.5″ multi-page booklets that we were spending more than a dime apiece on each week. We reduced the size of the bulletin to what we call a “Bullet” (8.5″x3.66″). These Bullets are black/white (except for special occasions like Easter and probably Christmas) on heavy stock and cost us about a penny apiece.  The Bullet only has limited info on them and are blank on the back for notes if someone needs paper. For those die-hard fans of printed paper, we have a hard copy with an extended list of events, family info (deaths, births, & weddings) available at our Guest Services Desk…though these are getting fewer and fewer requests for theses just a month into the new system.  We also started a digital or “eBulletin” which is e-mailed out midweek each week and links people directly to more information about featured events or opportunities. See the archives here.

Continue reading

Marketing to Children

No matter the economic situation, the advertising and marketing machine rolls onward and as it rolls it is reaching a younger and younger audience. Barbie has her own credit card and Monopoly has gone away from cash to using credit card like cards. Dave Ramsey would be ashamed.

Electronic monoply

Beyond the marketing, psycologists have been taking note of how these trends to younger subjects are likely to have long lasting trends…

Advertisers recognise that brand loyalties and consumer habits formed when children are young and vulnerable will be carried through to adulthood.

via Marketing to Children.

This trend to younger audiences for marketing is not only because of the financial abilities of today’s youngsters but because they are holding onto their parent’s purse strings as well as their own. Besides that, these kids are forming habits that will last well into adulthood.

According to Direct Marketing magazine, by the age of eight children make most of their own buying decisions.[20] Modern children can often recognise brands and status items by the age of 3 or 4, before they can even read. One study found that 52 percent of 3 year olds and 73% of 4 year olds “often or almost always” asked their parents for specific brands.[21] Advertisers recognise that brand loyalties and consumer habits formed when children are young and vulnerable will be carried through to adulthood. Kids `R’ Us president, Mike Searles, says “If you own this child at an early age… you can own this child for years to come.”[22]

Via Sharon Beder, ‘A Community View’,

Kids will definitely pick up on what they’re taught whether it’s good habits or bad. This applies to lots of things including financial responsibility.

Along with the toys that teach about endless credit, there are other resources out there that teach parents and in turn kids how to be good with money.

Here’s a bank that helps kids budget from an early age. Ramsey has “cool tools for teaching kids about money”

According to a Visa survey, parents are turning their eye to the wisdom of teaching about good financial management. In fact financial topics are starting parent/teen conversations even more than drugs or sex:

Money management is a higher priority among parents, according to a new Visa USA survey. Eighty-five percent of 1,000 parents of high-school students said they will be discussing it with them, ahead of other important topics, drugs (80 percent) and sex (79 percent).

Some great advice I saw for parents was from Disney, of all places… In her article,  Laura Rowley gave some key recommendations like:

  • Create a Dream Jar for them to save up toward a goal or “dream”,
  • Start their experience with Saving, giving  and even selling (on eBay)
  • Develop negotiation skills from a young age
  • Don’t be a human ATM machine.

Make informed decisions

A simple survey rendered great data return

In her blog, Kem Meyer noted how Park Church is doing away with their weekly bulletin.

This move has received mixed reviews in the blogosphere here, here, and here, but has definitely attracted my attention since we’ve been reviewing the possiblity of doing something similar.

Here are our goals:

Connect people with what’s happening at ResLife
Give people easy access to accurate info via e-mail and our web site
Reduce expenses

So how do we go about doing moving people to our website and reducing our bulletin?

We decided to get more information before proceeding…

First I evaluated our database and found that we currently only have e-mail addresses for about 24% of our active attenders/members — not enough to make a major shift without alienating thousands. We really don’t actually know how much of our congregation is actively using the Web or e-mail.

So, we developed a little 10 question survey that we’re distributing by hand through classes, small groups, individually, etc. The purpose is to get real answers from the real people we’re trying to reach with a revised bulletin and a future digital push.

We didn’t do this as an online poll because that would have skewed the data toward tech users. There were many other questions we could have asked, but we wanted to limit it to 10 questions to get a good sampling of our congregation. We’d like to have 300-500 responses. Continue reading

Brochures or booklets?

I just had a friend ask me about how we connect people at ResLife…

How does Res keep everyone informed of all the ministries/opportunities at the church? The church I’m part of now wants to make cards for each ministry so people can choose whatever interests them but it’s too expensive to do it that way.

Do you guys just have one big brochure or do you do one for each ministry? Any feedback/tips would be greatly appreciated!

We’ve toyed with this in several ways. We’ve done the individual ministry brochures, and we’ve done the one book with everybody’s info.

Currently, we’re moving away from the individual ministry brochures because of the time, printing and effort involved with those. Using our “Get Connected” booklets we provide people with a complete list of our ministries, departments, pastors, etc. This is updated about every four months.

For our small groups we have a booklet called “Get ResLife” that has our life groups listed. We also have these listed online. Continue reading

E-mail choice and social responsibility

A recent post on Tech Scoop shows that rates of social involvement when it comes to giving donations. Check out these charts:

Number of Transactions by e-mail provider

Number of Transactions by e-mail provider

From the stats, mac users are the most active when it comes to being involved with giving donations. While they are active at giving, these active hip young users are out given when it comes to amount by the savvy trendsetters using Gmail, Yahoo, AOL and Hotmail for their e-mail services.

Amount of donations by users of specific e-mail providers

Amount of donations by users of specific e-mail providers

What’s this say about e-mail providers, users, and social responsibility? Among many things, it would seem that these leading e-mail providers have connected with a demographic that not only says they want to be involved and responsible, but actually do! I’m curious about the age range of these user groups and if this would indicate anything about a younger generation starting to be more active in giving even though the amounts may be small. A grass roots development in people connecting with causes could lead to marketing plans and campaigns based not only on ages, location, etc., but on e-mail providers.

What are some other ways we could use this info to focus on those who actually do take action?