A glimpse into Mike's Favorites Folder
It's been a while since I've done this, so I thought I would take some time to share some of the sites that have been dominating my favorites bar lately. This week we're going to stick with blogs because, um, November has a "B" in it? Seems like rock-solid reasoning to me. Ready? Here we go!
1. Duct Tape Marketing. If you're not reading this blog, you need to start. Now. As its name suggests, the blog is all about cheap, easy, do-it-yourself marketing tactics for small businesses. The content is top-notch, full of smoothly written posts that explore ideas in sufficient depth to leave you feeling like you can take some ideas from each reading. Topics covered range from things like social networking tips, computer software and book reviews, and general marketing advice, like this favorite of mine pulled from the post, "5 Tips for Getting More Leads From Speaking:"
"3) Educate like crazy
Don't be afraid to give away all of your secrets. Some folks suggest you should just tell them what they need, but not how to get it done. I don't agree. If you tell them how, some may think they can do it themselves, but those who really want what you have will realize through your specific details, how tos, and examples that you do indeed possess the knowledge and tools to help them get what they want. Educate and you won't have to sell!"
Interesting, right? Especially when applied to our industry and if you take it out of the context of speaking engagements and think of ways to apply it to your sales pitches in general.
2. Ad Age: Small Agency Diary: A group of around 20 different bloggers, most of which are owners or creative directors for their ad agency, share this blog, which is great because it creates a nice diversity of voice and opinion. Overall the posts are very well-written, reading like short newspaper editorials. Occasionally the content gets a little inane and ranty (see "Small Agencies Make Pretty Good Dates"), but for every post like that, there are several that are insightful and well-constructed, like this recent favorite of mine, "What's the ROI of putting Your Pants on in the Morning?" (A silly title I know, but the post is great, I promise.)
3. Threadless: Okay, not a blog, I know, but I've yet to find a fashion blog that doesn't make me want to heave my iMac down 12 flights of stairs from reading sentence after sentence of, "OMG Im in luv with prada! Lol!" and I wanted to include a link for all the apparel distributors out there.*
There are a bunch of sites like Threadless on the Web (Cafepress, etc.) where users can upload and sell their own T-shirt patterns, but I like Threadless because its Web design makes browsing through dozens of shirts fast and easy. The designs presented skew a bit towards ironic-hipster styles, but a lot of the embellishments are fashion-forward, clever and eye-catching nonetheless (note the off-center imprints, like this and this, a trend known to be on the rise). If you're looking for design ideas, browsing through the dozens of tees offered here might help you design something sharp and original, while helping you keep an eye on design trends besides.
*If anyone has a fashion blog they'd like to share that's actually relevant to our industry and isn't completely annoying, please pass it my way.
Until next week,
CHARLES PLYTER FACT OF THE WEEK: I want to make something clear: I 100 percent blame Charlie's precious Yankees for the mass transit strike that is currently happening in Philly. Don't follow my logic? Just picture A-Rod and Jeter riding back to NYC, laughing and smoking huge cigars as they count huge rolls of cash and toss bottles of steroids at each other playfully. Makes more sense now, doesn't it?