College of Online Marketing: A Never-ending Curriculum

Posted on June 29, 2011. Filed under: Blogging, Blogs, Content, Human Business, Inbound Marketing, Marketing, Media, News, Public Relations Marketing, SEO, Small Business, Social Media, Twitter | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

No Graduation at College of Online

No Graduation at College of Online

I just spent 30 minutes getting up to speed on the Google+ Project announced yesterday – Google’s new social media network, currently in a limited field trial. It’s quite interesting and I’ll explore it further with you as it rolls out to everyone.

The point of this post, though, is that when it comes to keeping up with online/inbound marketing, we need to commit to constant and continuous education. Not a day goes by that I don’t learn about a new tool, app, initiative, issue or trend related to marketing and interacting on the Internet.

It’s exhilarating and sometimes exhausting to be part of such a rapidly evolving profession. But the benefits that Web-based technology can bring my clients – especially small businesses – make it worth burning the midnight oil or rising at summer dawn to read the latest information.

If you’re a business trying to figure out how to market your company online, it’s a good idea to get some background information – even if you are or will be working with an agency or consultant. Here’s a 101 class, a few best-selling books to read and blogs to follow – in addition to this one — that will help you understand how to best use the Web for your marketing.

  • “The New Rules of Marketing & PR,” by David Meerman Scott. Clients of mine are currently reading this and it’s fun to see the lights going on for them as they learn why we’re better off putting resources into blogging than newspaper advertising.
  •  “Real-Time Marketing & PR,” the latest from David Meerman Scott.
  • “Inbound Marketing,” by HubSpot founders Brian Halligan and Dharmesh Shah, the guys who defined and automated the inbound marketing process.
  • “Trust Agents,” by Chris Brogan and Julien Smith, the bible for understanding how and why the Web can help you build influence, improve your reputation and earn trust.

All of the above are published by John Wiley and Sons. Even if you’ve read them before, they bear perusing again from time to time.

In the blog/online media department, I regularly read:

Another important source of information for me is my online marketing community on Twitter. Follow me, see some of the people I follow, and check out my lists. You can take advantage of the news links they tweet every day.

So welcome to the College of Online Marketing, Class of Forever. Graduation day is not in the picture – unless the Big Power Outage comes. As long as it doesn’t, let’s consider ourselves online marketing lifelong learners.

What are your favorite sources for keeping up with the evolution of the Internet? Thanks for sharing!

Photo by J.o.h.n.Walker under Creative Commons License

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Writing as Conversation: 7 Do’s and 7 Don’ts to Find Your Voice

Posted on June 27, 2011. Filed under: Blogging, Blogs, Communications, Content, Human Business, Inbound Marketing, Reputation Management, Small Business, Social Media, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , |

In previous posts I’ve mentioned my daily email vocabulary builder, A Word A Day (www.wordsmith.org). It’s free and if you’re blogging and trying to spiff up your writing, I recommend you sign up. A Word A Day also includes a Thought for Today, a wise quote from a variety of sources. This morning’s quote inspired this post.

“Writing, when properly managed, (as you may be sure I think mine is) is but a different name for conversation.” -Laurence Sterne, novelist and clergyman (1713-1768) 

Age of Conversation

Writing as Conversation

I love the idea of writing as conversation. Straight from the 18th century comes a concept as fresh as though it were communicated for the first time in 2011. Contrary to the sales-y communications of traditional advertising, or the corporate-speak of the last generation (and in some cases the current generation) of company websites, or the overly-nuanced language of press releases, writing in a social, Web 2.0 world calls for a different – and conversational — style.

As I’m writing this, I’m thinking about you and wondering what you might have to contribute on this topic. Also, I’m hoping that you will add to it. We’re all learning new tools and new tactics everyday. So conversing to pool our knowledge, experience and wisdom is a very good thing.

 When we communicate verbally, though, it’s easier to have our personalities come through. In addition to the visual cues in-person talk provides, it’s somehow more spontaneous when words spill from our lips and don’t require fingers on keyboards lagging behind a thought process.

Nonetheless, we’re all communicating in writing all the time these days – especially in emails, on blogs and on social media sites. So please allow me to offer a few thoughts about finding an authentic voice for written conversation.

  • Do write as though you were speaking.
  • Don’t over think the first draft. You can – and should – always go back and edit.
  • Do share occasional personal thoughts, perceptions and experiences when they serve to illustrate a point.
  • Don’t go overboard with personal info. Learn to walk a line that offers an authentic peek at who you are, while retaining a business-like decorum.
  • Do use interesting words and turns of phrase.
  • Don’t use industry jargon — and no off-color language.
  • Do try for humor at moments that can benefit from a bit of lightening up or to poke fun at yourself for some human foible that anyone can relate to.
  • Don’t make jokes at someone’s expense – including your own. Leave sarcasm and snark out of the equation. It’s not attractive.
  • Do be polite. Welcome your readers, acknowledge them and thank them.
  • Don’t be overly-solicitous; it’s not credible. Invite disagreement.
  • Do be a cheerleader for others. Use your content to include their ideas and praise their achievements.
  • Don’t promote your own stuff exclusively
  • Do listen for what’s important to your audience/s.
  • Don’t assume you know what’s important to others. Asking questions is divine.

And so I’ll conclude with this question…

How have you found your conversational writing voice?

 

Photo by Kris Hoet Under Creative Commons License

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The Thrill of Possibility, or Why I Love the Web

Posted on June 26, 2011. Filed under: Blogging, Blogs, Content, Inbound Marketing, Jazz, Marketing, Media, Public Relations Marketing, Social Media, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , |

One of the main reasons I’ve always loved my career in public relations and marketing is the sense of possibility that pervades the practice. You start with nothing but an idea and you turn it into a campaign that can make something happen that would not have happened otherwise. Every time I’ve ever distributed a press release I’ve had the thought, “OK. Now let’s see what happens.”

Now that we work over the web, the anticipation and excitement of possibility is exponentially greater. With each tweet, blog post, social media release, Facebook post, new web page, free ebook offer, video on YouTube, each and every piece of content created, there is the possibility that life will change in some way. It’s a very motivating thought.

Here’s a short list of opportunities that have arisen or things that have changed in my life and the lives of others thanks to what we’ve created online:

I joined the Jazz in Business group on LinkedIn to connect two passions and met a business consultant/author/speaker/musician from the UK– Peter Cook. We’re networking across the web and learning more about each other’s capabilities. Despite geographic distance I believe that our friendship will lead to business some time in the future. Follow him on Twitter – @academyofrock. Or buy his terrific book on Amazon.

A friend made the commitment a year ago to blog every day. Not only did he grow traffic to his blog more than 10-fold, but last week received a book offer from a publisher who’d been reading his posts.

On LinkedIn I reconnected with a PR colleague who moved to another state a few years ago. The next week she introduced me to a business lead.

One Friday afternoon I dashed off a blog post that was selected for the WordPress Freshly Pressed home page feature out of some half-a-million posts that day. Almost two thousand new people visited my blog as a result, a number of whom became and remain subscribers. A shout-out to all of you. Thanks for reading!

A couple of years ago I created a hashtag #notatsxsw in jealousy of all those who were tweeting from the South By Southwest Festival in Austin with the hashtag #atsxsw. Immediately I got replies from a group of young #socialmedia folks in Chicago who were sitting around having a few drinks and lamenting that they weren’t there either. We began following each other. One guy @joshhersh – @joshicago – just launched an online business www.daycation.com – @mydaycation – which I was pleased to help him promote to my various communities.

Relationships I’ve built on Twitter and elsewhere have led to invitations for guest posts on significant websites – expanding my reach far beyond my own communities.

These are just a few business relationships and opportunities that have resulted from embracing the possibilities of the web. However sometimes the pay-off is REALLY life changing.

 Almost six years ago I sent a quick email to a guy who had a wonderful profile on match.com — and found Jeff Levine www.levinecounseling.com the love of my life!Jeff Levine in his Office

 Who knows what might happen when I hit the publish button for this post. But I’m excited about the possibilities!!!!!!!

What are some of the interesting things that have resulted from your online efforts?

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Your Fabulous Face! Where is it?

Posted on June 25, 2011. Filed under: Blogs, Communications, Content, Human Business, Inbound Marketing, Jazz, Marketing, Social Media, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

We wouldn’t put bags over our heads to go to a party. But those who don’t provide an online photo in their content or social media interactions are performing the digital equivalent. The nature of social is that it’s not anonymous.

Here’s what prompted this post. This morning I had a few emails from Twitter announcing new followers. Two of them had the default Twitter egg icon where a photo of the person should have been.

 Now, I always check out the profiles of people who follow me to see if their tweets are interesting to me and add to my knowledge or extend my reach to a particular community or network. If so, I’ll follow back.

 However, when the Twitter email shows an egg next to the Twitter handle, I rarely do. I like seeing who I might be creating a social media relationship with.

 After checking out the Twitter follow invitations with photos, I went over to Linked In to look at the list of suggested folks I might want to invite to connect. There were so many blank spaces next to names where photos should have been. That means that there was no photo on those people’s profiles either.  I found myself sending invitations only to people I could see.

 In one of those moments where you say, how come I didn’t think of this before, it dawned on me that lots of people still don’t understand the importance of a photo in social media – or simply don’t know how to get one up there – and maybe I could be helpful to them by writing a post about the importance of photos.

 If your fabulous face is already online, great. Please pass this along to any friends who may still be faceless. If you don’t have a photo online do it today. If you’re concerned that it’s too time consuming to upload a photo for every blog you comment on, social media site you join or the many other online activities you engage in, I’m going to make it easy for you.

 Just go get a gravatar – a Globally Recognized Avatar. Navigate to www.gravatar.com, open a free account – which takes a minute or two — upload the photo you want to use to represent you online and voila!! In a short while, your gravatar will follow you all over the web – almost wherever you go.

 Just a couple of tips – use a head shot – not a full body image. Your gravatar will appear as a thumbnail and full body shots can barely be seen. Make it friendly. Smile!! Unless you’re creating a gravatar for a business where a company logo would be appropriate, use your own face. Not a cute picture of your puppy or your favorite flower or whatever.

 Aside from being more social, the best reason to get a gravatar on line is that a picture is more memorable than an online handle. In fact, you may have numbers of online handles – but you only have one face. Your gravatar becomes your individual logo. As you leave your mark around the internet, you’ll become a recognizable Brand You!

By the way…today’s musical post is That Face, written and sung by Alan Bergman, half of a legendary composing duo with his wife Marilyn – for whom he wrote the song and won her heart!!!

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Centerpiece of a Successful Inbound Marketing Plan: A Proven Process

Posted on June 22, 2011. Filed under: Blogging, Blogs, Content, Inbound Marketing, Internet Traffic, Jazz, SEO, Small Business, Social Media, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , |

Two posts ago I promised to talk about having an online marketing plan. I got distracted but am now tracking back to this important topic. Part of the post will be about Hubspot, the Boston company that has embraced inbound marketing and made its mission to help businesses – including mine – coordinate and analyze their rather complex inbound marketing activities.

In honor of Hubspot – the centerpiece of my inbound marketing plan — I’m offering a musical post – my old friend, jazz scat singer and ‘hipster’ Giacomo Gates singing the Harry “Sweets” Edison tune Centerpiece, with lyrics by Jon Hendricks. Onward!

Centerpiece of inbound marketing: A proven process

Many small to mid-size businesses (SMSB) are confused about online/inbound marketing. They think that if they’re on Facebook and/or other social media they’re good to go. Or they’ll go out and hire an SEO agency to get them higher in search results. Let’s say that all builds traffic. Then what??

Traffic doesn’t help unless you convert it to leads and nurture leads to convert them to customers – or better, advocates for your company. Generating traffic is only the first top-of-the-sales-funnel step to building business using the web. And let’s agree that the web is our best chance for growth.

It helps to have a good strategic grasp of the big picture, a process and a plan. Or you may expend a lot of effort in online activities, but with no clear idea of how or whether it will help you get to your business goals. Even I whose business is helping others build their web presence have struggled with my own efforts. We haven’t been doing this stuff all that long, after all. Read this recent blog post and you’ll see what I mean. A process and plan definitely help.

I remember complaining to Hubspot founder and CEO Brian Halligan – who practically invented inbound marketing with his partner Dharmesh Shah – that I know Hubspot works and believe in the process, but time was so tight and I was hoping to do it soon – on and on.

Brian listened to my excuses and with a big grin on his face said, “Get with the program, girl. You just have to commit to it and do it.” Well, he was so cute and he’s so brilliant that I couldn’t argue with his advice. I didn’t even mind that he called me ‘girl’. He got away with it, I got with the program. And so can you!!!

However you decide to pursue building your business online, you have to put a plan in place that addresses the following:

  • Get found
  • Convert
  • Analyze

Each of these pieces has a number of moving parts and choices to make.

Getting Found

To get found, you have to build great searchable content. Blogging works best. You have to optimize your site and the content you create. That’s where SEO comes in as a supporting player. Not a be-all-end-all.

Convert

To convert the traffic you’ll build, you’ll want to offer useful content in exchange for contact info. At first, when a potential buyer is in the information gathering stage or they don’t know your company yet, maybe all they’ll be willing to give for your content is an email address. That’s fine. Keep cranking out helpful content and eventually they’ll be willing to give more in return.

At this point you can nurture the relationship with emails or even phone calls – more direct interactions. The better relationship you build, the better chance you’ll make the sale when your prospect is ready.

Case in point is my relationship with Hubspot. I partook – and still do — of the incredible volume of content they produce – often feeling like an absolute glutton – until I pulled the trigger and became a customer. In the interest of full disclosure, as an inbound marketing consultant, I’m also a Hubspot Partner and Reseller.

Analyze

The most critical aspect of your online marketing plan is analytics. Hopefully you use a web analytics program. Google Analytics is very robust — and free. So no excuses. Google keeps adding features so that you can track most of your online existence these days. If you don’t measure what’s working and what’s not, you can’t refine your online plan to the make the best use of your time and budget. None of us small/medium company entrepreneurs have anything to waste – so measure.

I promise you can make progress toward your revenue goals if you first understand the process of inbound marketing, choose the right tools/tactics and analyze your activities. You’ll be accountable to your prospects, customers AND your bottom line with a process as the centerpiece of your plan.

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Give Pieces a Chance: A Case for Integrated Marketing in the Digital Age

Posted on April 14, 2011. Filed under: Communications, Jazz, Marketing, Media, Public Relations Marketing, Social Media, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Here are a few disparate but related thoughts that will roll into the topic of this post – how to make integrated marketing a reality. Today’s musical post is Pieces of Dreams, a jazz standard sung by Sarah Vaughan, backed by the orchestra of Michel Legrand, its composer.

The song title connects to the post title: Give Pieces a Chance. Now, I could have selected the John Lennon/Yoko Ono hit about ‘peace’. But I really wanted to stick with the idea of ‘pieces’ – read ‘tactics’ — and their relationship to successful integrated marketing.

So, the Legrand song seemed to be a better tactical choice in support of my strategic objective – to start a useful discussion about integrated marketing. Also – I believe that true integrated marketing is sitll a dream. And – the song had double appeal because an excellent jazz band Pieces of a Dream – who hail from my home town of Norristown, Penna and used to play at our family’s parties – derived its name from this same Michel Legrand tune.

Call me sentimental! Marketing is about emotions after all! But there’s definitely an intellectual piece first…

Integrated marketing in the digital age. Here’s why I decided to write about it again. Earlier today I read and commented on a wonderful blog post by Jill Adams, CEO of Adams & Knight, an integrated marketing agency. Her post was titled “Stop Chasing Digital Crazes: Tomorrow’s Top Brands Will Be Led by Fusion Marketers – Not Social Media ‘Gurus.’”

After reading her post, what I recognized is that the integrated marketing battle is no different today than it’s ever been — except for the fact that we have many more tactical tools to choose from and that there is more of a willingness to at least consider blurring the boundaries between various marketing disciplines. Historically there have been turf wars for both budgets and bragging rights among various contributors that have negatively impacted results.

Even though I come out of PR, I’ve made it a point to understand the big picture in order to be able to support various marketing pieces with media visibility. ‘Big picture’ is the operative term here because you have to see the big view to identify overall objectives and strategy. Then it’s a question of having a big tool box. No one person can implement all of the important efforts, so we need to collaborate with trusted colleagues who can bring their expertise to bear – everyone with an eye on what will move the ball ahead to the objective.

What will work is different for every project, assignment and initiative, which takes flexibility and ever greater creativity. What’s most important for success is how we think about each effort. THINK!!!!!!! Thinking is at the root of the creative process. It’s not what we know about Twitter or Facebook or a flave of the week digital offering that will achieve success for our brands.

Yes we have to keep informed as never before because everything cycles through so fast. But we have to think about what we want to achieve, what the best tools are to get there, who else we need to collaborate with to make it happen. If we don’t think about the tactical pieces of what we’re doing in terms of the strategic whole, they’ll never have a chance of getting us to success.

Now this post has been very theoretical. Next time I’ll share some recent client projects to give you a more practical view of marketing integration.

Please jump in to share how your strategic vs tactical thinking works – whether or not you’re a marketer.

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Linked In Does Not Equal Opt In

Posted on February 20, 2011. Filed under: Human Business, Internet Traffic, Jazz, Marketing, Social Media | Tags: , , , , , |

Today’s tune – “Hearts Take Time” sung by blues/jazz vocalist and pianist Diane Schuur – refers to a romantic relationship gone wrong. This post is about the customer/client relationship online and how to begin and nurture it — starting with how not to.

Earlier this week, I received a Linked In invitation from an acquaintance who I know recently changed careers and is now in the financial services industry. I met her through someone I’m very close with and who has known her for many years.

She sent the invitation from her personal Linked In profile, which listed her by her nickname and gave her personal email address for contact. I like this person and promptly accepted her invitation.Business Relationships by Reality Quote

Later the same day I received two emails in a row from her business email address. One informed me that she had added my email address to her marketing list and that I would be receiving information from time to time. The other was a sales message offering me products and services that I had never inquired about.

Both emails did have opt-out links. But that put me in the somewhat awkward position of letting this person know that I do not want to be contacted further about business.

She made the incorrect assumption that my accepting a Linked In invitation was an open invitation to be marketed to. My emotional response to that was very negative. I felt that it was a violation.

My reasons for connecting on Linked In are to widen my network, to refresh my memory about who I haven’t been in touch with for too long, to learn and to share information. Many other reasons, too. None of them is to make myself a target for an unsolicited sales pitch. By the way, this goes for all social media I engage with. In addition to a breach of social media etiquette, this person at best showed lack of knowledge and at worst bad judgment, which does not inspire confidence.

If she had taken a different approach, there’s a possibility that we might have done business together. She could have sent me a personal email asking whether I have any current needs in her area of expertise and/or pointing me in the direction of some info about her business offerings to build credibility in the event I knew of someone else who could benefit.

If I did indicate some level of interest, she could then use the opportunity to ask me to opt in to her list with the clear understanding that I could feel free to opt out at any time – that an opt-out would not have any impact on our personal relationship.

Even though it’s well-known that permission-based marketing works best, business people regularly ignore this best practice. If you do so, recognize that you may very well permanently kill an opportunity to develop a meaningful business relationship – including ongoing referrals – over the longer term. Hearts take time!!

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It’s not Business. It’s personal.

Posted on September 30, 2010. Filed under: Advertising, Communications, ecommerce, Human Business, Jazz, Marketing, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , |

This post is about human business. The musical post isn’t directly related. It’s a song I love, Don Quixote, a beautiful song by Brazilian composer/singer Milton Nascimento. I guess I hope that the concept of human business isn’t tilting at windmills. Hope it catches on.

I want to share with you a current project of mine that will be the role model for all of my future business development. And I hope for yours, too! The project is incredibly challenging and complex from the standpoint of strategy and implementation. It is joyous from the standpoint of trust, collaboration and respect among my client and business partners.

I launched this client’s bricks and mortar business 16 years ago. Her successful business model was based on quality, service, community and charity. Since the launch we have both evolved. I am now helping her to expand a spin-off division of her company online. We’re building an ecommerce site and planning a robust online and traditional marketing kick-off.

My partners in this endeavor are Bernadette Nelson and Dave Lostracco. Bernadette is a highly talented graphic, brand identity and website designer who codes as well as designs her sites. This is pretty rare. She was born in Paris and is a fearless sportswoman and good friend. She and I co-author a monthly column, Working the Web, for the Fairfield and Westchester County (Conn, NY) Business Journals.

Dave is a Renaissance Geek. (My new coined phrase.) He is a sublime techie, a veteran high-level operations guy for Group W, a musician, a recording studio owner, an SEO and Google AdWords expert and an incredible human being.

As a marketing team we are intensely focused on creating a seamless experience for our client. We want her to feel that we have her back so that she can relax and enjoy this new chapter in her business.

Our client, who will go unidentified so we don’t spill the beans before the launch of her site, is the perfect collaborative client. She is extremely excited about the expansion of her business and the opportunities it brings – albeit with a touch of normal anxiety. She recognizes that she has a role to play in the success of this project. Certain things can only be done by her. And she does them in an engaged and timely fashion.

We vendors so appreciate that our client appreciates us and trusts that we have her best interest at heart. We do! Her overt recognition makes us even more dedicated to her success.

We have communicated to each other – client and vendors – that we feel like friends. This makes the quality of our interaction so enjoyable. There’s a lot of positive emotion that we’re all putting into this. Personal makes business so much more rewarding – and successful!

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Bury the Lead at Wounded Knee…NOT!

Posted on September 21, 2010. Filed under: Content, Entertainment, Inbound Marketing, Jazz, Marketing, Uncategorized, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , |

This post is about starting your content with the right message. Musically…Listen to jazz singer Mark Murphy tell us that “This Could be the Start of Something Big”!!!

Dear readers, when you’re creating content for your website or blog, start with what’s of most interest to your audience. This will help you win their attention and positive actions.

I just read some posts and content in preparation for a meeting with a potential client. In most of them, the prospect buried the information of greatest interest to readers below a bunch of facts that were more about his objectives.

We’re all subject to this pitfall – me included. I constantly monitor my own writing for whether I’m considering my readers more than my reasons for writing the content in the first place. I don’t always succeed. Sometimes I just want to make a point and trust the readers to trust that I have their interest at heart.

But not everyone reading our posts has enough history with us to give us the benefit of the doubt. That’s why we more often have to opt on the side of appealing to what interests them.

In the example that sparked this post, the writer, describing a seminar service, did rightly identify the audience – who it’s for – at the top of the post. However, the post then gave information about the schedule and the requirements for participating. It would have been better to first state the benefits to participants. Once they buy in, they’ll tune in to the where, when and how much!

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How to Succeed in Magazine Publishing: A Winning Formula

Posted on September 17, 2010. Filed under: Advertising, Communications, Content, Entertainment, Jazz, Marketing, News, Nonprofit, Not-for-profit, Public Relations Marketing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

In honor of Moffly Media’s inaugural A-List Awards (read on) today’s musical post is “Shaking the Blues Away” sung by Doris Day. eMail readers need to log-on to listen.

The other evening I had the pleasure of attending an inaugural awards event created by Moffly Media, a local magazine publishing company here in Fairfield County, Connecticut. It turned out to be one more step on a successful path that is keeping the company growing as other publishers are shedding titles and even closing their doors.

The A-List Awards brought back a touch of glamour that hasn’t been seen or felt around here since the onset of the Great Recession. It was done just right; not over the top. And, the awards were perfectly targeted to the advertiser and subscriber base of Moffly’s décor title, atHome Magazine. The well-produced program recognized the top area talent in interior and landscape design and architecture.

It was a great strategic move. And it was handled with sensitivity given the fact that we’re not quite sure we should be celebrating yet. But it sure felt wonderful to all who packed the landmark Westport Country Playhouse. The event benefited a fitting organization – Habit for Humanity of Fairfield County – which made us all feel better about feeling good!

The evening aptly demonstrated the concept at the core of Moffly Media’s success – local community. The family-owned operation began in 1987 when Jack Moffly retired from a 33-year career with Time, Inc. He and his wife, Donna bought the 40-year-old Greenwich Review and ran it as publisher and editor respectively.

They changed the name to Greenwich Magazine. They made it a beautiful glossy dedicated to the upscale Greenwich lifestyle and the singular people who populate the town. Most of all they contributed to the fabric of the community through their personal involvement in its life.

 

Using the same uber-local approach, Jack expanded into other towns with Westport Magazine, New Canaan-Darien Magazine, Stamford Magazine, as well as atHome. In 2007 he stepped down as publisher and turned over the reins to son Jonathan Moffly, who had joined the family business in 1998. Jonathan was involved in the expansion of titles over the years and since becoming publisher has added online, events and custom media divisions.

Moffly Media has been bold in trying new things, yet it’s grown in measured steps that maintain its basic values and leverage its capabilities. If something works, they apply it elsewhere. For instance, a larger-format private label magazine it developed for a client was so stunning that it led to a re-design of atHome in the same mold.

The company hires top people who are knowledgeable about the towns in which they work and/or their areas of specialization. For example, it tapped Camilla Herrera, longtime features writer for the Stamford Advocate, as editor of the new Stamford Magazine when she became available after newsroom cutbacks at the daily. And James M. Gabal, another Time, Inc. vet recently joined to head Custom Media.

The Moffly’s are terrific business people. They know how to add value for advertisers. The A-List Awards are a perfect example, as are the quarterly DesignDistrict evenings they run to showcase advertisers in the towns they serve. Print and online advertising and sponsorships are another way. They understand PR, too, and the behavior required to maintain a stellar reputation.

The Moffly team seems to share a sense of humanity and respect for all its constituents – readers, advertisers and the advertising/PR/marketing agencies who interact with them. They’re good folks. And it’s nice to see good people succeed!

Other publishers – even those who put out national titles – can learn from Moffly Media’s model. Each audience is, in essence, a ‘local community’. Treating them as such works in print, online and in person everywhere.

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