Wisdom from Nora Ephron

Above all, be the heroine of your life, not the victim.

–Truth by the late, witty Nora Ephron

Your thoughts?

More about Nora:

A Nora Ephron fan,

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Say Hello: How To Make Connections With Your Social Media Profiles

Utilize your social media cover photos to share your message.

Social media is still buzzing, even as it has moved from a trend to a mainstream marketing activity. Yet so many people still overlook one of the most important aspects—the profile.

Jaime Shine | Clearly Conveyed Communications Twitter Profile

First, let’s focus on the profile picture. This is your first step to legitimacy. It’s hard to take a generic silhouette seriously. Not photogenic? Neither am I, but you need a good head shot. With today’s technology, that’s easier to obtain than ever. Some will disagree, but I see nothing wrong with cropping a candid shot or using a personal picture if it projects the image you want. You can use your company’s logo on your company account, but small business owners may want to use their photo to help create connections with their community. It depends on how you go to market, but it is nice to show people who they’ll be working with and help humanize the cold, digital world.

Contact information. It amazes me how often people list no contact information, even a website. People need to be able to contact you to continue conversations, discuss projects or partner on an initiative. Plus, there’s other benefits. Contact information gives your business or brand legitimacy and allows users to learn more about (and promote) your business. I realize that spam is an issue, and there are steps you can take to address that issue. However, it’s tough to be in business if people don’t know how to get a hold of you.

Include your contact information on your social media profiles.

The profile. This is your chance to shine. Think of it as your elevator speech in 160 characters or less. OK, that rule applies to Twitter, but keep it in mind for all of your social networks. Our attention spans aren’t much these days, so you need to be able to capture someone’s attention (in a positive way) before they jump to another profile or task.

Who are you? What do you do? Show your personality. Unless you just invented something that no one else on Earth has, you have competition. Why should a user follow or connect with you (or your business)?

This is where the magic happens. Show people who you are. Intrigue them enough to follow, like, connect, befriend. Spark an interest that makes them want to reach out and say hello. Your profile can be a great conversation starter if done right.

While I do strive for consistency across platforms, I also recognize the unique traits of each platform. As a small business owner, I want clients, prospects, fans and followers to know who’s behind the Clearly Conveyed Communications banner, so they can connect with a real person. That’s why I’ve made the decision to keep most of my social media accounts under my name (with my business noted in my profile) and utilize them for work and play. I believe in transparency, and this is the best way for me to maximize my resources.

Plus, I spent years building a professional network before I opened my own business. When I went into business, my personal brand had more value than my new business brand, so I wanted to capitalize on that. Again, it depends on your situation and how you go to market whether you should have business accounts under your personal or company name. Not sure? Leave a comment below or contact us, so we can discuss your specific situation.

Grab attention with your social media cover photo!

Last but not least, let’s look at the cover photo. More social networks have followed Facebook’s lead and maximized the cover photo on your profile. This is a chance to powerfully convey your or your company’s brand visually. Ask impartial friends or family members to take a look at your photo. What does it portray to them? Make sure you utilize a photo that displays well in the frame provided and follows the platform’s policies. The last thing you want is to have your profile or page pulled down because you’re violating terms. (Remember, it may be your content, but you don’t own your Facebook page. Facebook does.)

Keep in mind that a majority of your traffic could be viewing your cover photo and social media profiles on mobile, which affects their viewing experience. View your cover photos on different devices, so you can make sure they display how you want them to look. If most of your traffic comes via mobile, keep that in mind when designing your cover photos.  A majority of the traffic to our social profiles does come via mobile, which is one of the reasons why we decided to simplify our cover photos.

Your turn…

What do you focus on in your social media profiles?

Do your profiles accurately represent you or your company?

Do you use the same pictures and profiles across your social network or different ones?

Link to your social media presences in the comments below so we can connect, or say hi on your favorite social network.

Let’s get social!

Let’s chat (about your social media profiles, social media marketing needs or otherwise): 

Are you missing the beauty for the bustle?

How can we ever love the sea if we're always racing for the shore?

“We place such value on the noises of our lives, we glorify and exalt the over-popular art of always being busy. How can we ever love the sea if we’re always racing for the shore?” –Tyler Knott

Are you missing the beauty of life for the everyday hustle and bustle? Stop and… __________ [insert activity here]. Smell the roses. Sip some coffee. Reflect. Be grateful. Play with your kids. Talk to your partner. Meet a friend for lunch. Do yoga. Call your mom. 

It’s not too late.

Oh, and read this. You’ll be glad you did.

Photo courtesy of Tyler Knott
It’s a great day to be alive,

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Run For Boston: #BostonStrongAkron

When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, look for the helpers, you will always find people who are helping.

This quote by Fred Rogers (of Mr. Rogers Neighborhood fame) has popped up across social media networks since the horrendous news broke of the bombings at the Boston Marathon.

In the wake of tragedy come inspirational stories of courage, people rushing to help the victims in whatever way they can. At the scene. By donating blood. Financially. Keeping those affected in thoughts & prayers. 


A runner and blogger who goes by the handle Pavement Runner wanted to do something more, something he could feel. What do runners do? They run. This avid runner organized a community run in San Francisco, #BostonStrongSF, and invited runners across the world to unite and run for Boston on Monday, April 22nd. [see A Week After: A Run For Boston In Your City]

News spread. A friend of mine on Twitter created an event in Long Valley, NJ, and I noticed it in my Twitter feed. I checked out Pavement Runner’s blog post and was inspired to create #BostonStrongAkron to get a group together here.


If you’re in the Akron area, please join us at 6pm EST on Monday, April 22nd at the Sand Run Metro Park Towpath Trail (near the N. Portage Path & Sand Run Pkwy intersection). All ages and running experience are welcome. If you’re a walker, then walk! Can’t make it at 6pm EST? Run or walk on your own and chime in on the event page. Photos and thoughts are appreciated from attendees in person and in spirit.

Not in the Akron area? Check out the other 80+ events around the world or host your own. Or just go for a run with a buddy and think about the brave people in Boston who reacted heroically to this situation.

>>>Whatever you do, I’d love to hear from you.<<< Leave a comment about your run, walk or event that is honoring the victims and those who rushed to help in Boston. If you don’t have an event near you, you’re welcome to participate in spirit at #BostonStrongAkron. Jump over to our event page and say hi!

Please help spread the news about #BostonStrong, so we can invite and inspire as many people as possible. Remember, look for the helpers. You will always find people helping.

#BostonStrong banner courtesy of Pavement Runner

Grateful for the helpers,

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Mental Illness: Why don’t we talk about it?

Mental illness. Why don’t we talk about it?

There have been a number of taboos in society over the years, and one by one they have slipped (or been forced) into mainstream conversation. Sex, alternative lifestyles, birth control, racial equality, etc. But mental illness has somehow remained elusive.


I recently listened to a scary, heartbreaking, and ultimately uplifting tale of mental illness, Brain on Fire, by Susannah Cahalan. In the book, Cahalan describes her “month of madness,” detailing how she slipped dangerously close to coma and even death due to a rare autoimmune disease which caused her body to attack her brain. Although she has no memory of her month-long hospital stay, the then 24-year-old compiled an amazingly detailed recollection based on doctor interviews, family journals and medical records. Per Callahan, this illness is now considered to be the source of “demonic possessions” throughout history.


I appreciate Cahalan having the courage to write this memoir and relive this terrifying experience. It was amazing to see how much about the brain is still unknown and how dangerously close this young, bright journalist was to being committed to a lifetime of institutions and being written off as psychotic.

Reading (or in my case listening) to a book of this nature is disconcerting, because it forces you to come to terms with how precious life is. One day we’re experiencing life as usual, then suddenly we’re falling off a cliff with no parachute.

Maybe that’s why mental illness is still such a taboo subject. It makes us uncomfortable because of how little we still understand about so many mental illnesses and how quickly we could end up in an institution.

That’s why I admire people like Elyn Saks, who came forward to discuss her struggle with schizophrenia in a TED Talk. Watching Saks detail her struggles to cope illuminated just how difficult mental illnesses are to deal with, especially in a world that still shies away from the subject. (For more TED Talks that will stretch your mind on mental illness, click here.)

While we continue to research and learn about mental illnesses, we need people to continue to come forward with their stories of heartbreak and courage. They will help us all to see that mental illness can be the subject of conversation, and ultimately answers.

What are your thoughts on this subject?

Have you come across any other wonderful resources? If so, please share! We can all benefit from learning more about this subject and educating those around us.

Photo and Susannah Cahalan’s Month of Madness video courtesy of her website

Elyn Saks: A tale of mental illness — from the inside courtesy of TED Talks

Be grateful!

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And the winners are…

CCC Fan Appreciation Contest

Last week, we held the CCC Fan Appreciation Contest on our Facebook page to help celebrate our one-year anniversary as a company. (Check out our first blog post, appropriately entitled An Introduction.)

Clearly Conveyed Communications

We’re celebrating our one-year anniversary!


Thank you to everyone who entered and shared the contest to make it a success! We always appreciate you taking the time to engage with and share our content.

Drumroll please…

The winners of the inaugural CCC Fan Appreciation Contest are:

  • Rich Mistkowski
  • Eric Brooks
  • William Adair

Congratulations! Rich, Eric and William have won a $10 Starbucks or iTunes gift card.

Leg Lamps

We thought about giving away leg lamps but weren’t sure if they were just our taste. 🙂

Future Contests, Giveaways & Compelling Content

Keep an eye on this blog and our other social media platforms for future contests, giveaways and compelling content.

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Speaking of future contests and giveaways… what prizes are you most interested in? What types of contests do you like to enter? Chime in with your thoughts, so we can make our contests engaging and fun.

Speaking of compelling content… what type of content do you find most useful? We share a variety of marketing, social media, personal branding, writing and business tips with a side of personal reflection thrown in. What are we missing? What wouldn’t you miss?

Your thoughts, opinions and suggestions are greatly appreciated! Drop a comment below or hit us up on another social network.

What We Do — And Would Love to Help You With

We’d love to do business with you to help you focus on what you do best. Please keep us in mind for your marketingwriting or personal branding projects! Not sure if we handle something? Just ask; we’ll be happy to discuss a project, give you a quote or offer a tip or two.
Happy Friday!

Things I Carry: Pen and Paper

Yes, you read that right: pen and paper. As in old school, you need a writing utensil to use it effectively paper.

Sure, I enjoy my smart phone and tablet; I can be quite the geek when it comes to gadgets. But I love the feeling of actually writing things down, whether I’m feeling out a blog post, brainstorming ideas for a client or gathering my thoughts before a meeting.

mini inspirational notebooks

I always have a mini notebook and pen in my handbag, and you’ll often see me scribbling notes in a coffee shop while I’m refueling with more espresso or transferring thoughts from my brain to paper in an airport.

In my office and around my house, I have both full size and mini notebooks, depending on what I’m writing. I jotted down some ideas for this blog post on my awesome The Office mini notebook. How does that cover not make you smile?

The Office notebook

People will sometimes ask me how I think of ideas or get over writer’s block. My secret weapon is paper. A blank page looks much less intimidating to me than a blank screen and flashing cursor. Paper encourages ideas to start flowing and opens my eyes to connections between thoughts, allowing me to come up with solutions that I would have been hard pressed to otherwise.

As I’m writing this, there are 6 sources of paper on my desk: full size and miniature notebooks, a leather padfolio and sticky notes.

I <3 PaperMate Flair

In order to write down my magical ideas, I need a quality writing instrument. In my case, that’s a PaperMate Flair in a rainbow of colors. The PaperMate Flair is a felt tip writing instrument that captures my need for vivid color, dries quickly and doesn’t bleed. How much do I love these pens? I actually pulled the colors of my logo for my business from them.

Besides pen and paper, I do carry a few other things:

  • smartphone (how did we live without these?)
  • tablet (love it!!)
  • Kent State tumbler filled with water (Go Flashes!)
  • nuts, dried fruit & other healthy snacks
  • hoodie/sweater/jacket (always getting cold)
  • a book or two (certified bookworm here)
  • running shoes / workout clothes (a workout can change your perspective)

my New Balance kicks

What’s on your list? What things do you carry?

Compiling this list made me look around my office and admire a few cool knickknacks that make my office mine. Maybe I’ll have to do a separate list: Things That Give My Office Its Mojo.

What do you think?


p.s. I got this idea from LinkedIn, who asked top influencers what they couldn’t work without. Check out their (cool and sometimes unique) answers here.

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Godspeed Roger, You Will Be Missed

Thank you for going on this journey with me. I’ll see you at the movies.

Shock is the word that comes to mind when I heard the news that Roger Ebert had died yesterday. I always admired his work as a journalist, reporter and film critic. His book, Life Itself: A Memoir, is an intriguing look back at his amazing journey from growing up in Urbana, IL, to becoming a cultural icon.

Godspeed, Roger. Give us ‘two thumbs up’ when you meet up with Gene Siskel up there.

More reading:

Jumping Off A Cliff: My 1st Year As An Entrepreneur

A year ago today, I took a deep breath and jumped off a cliff. Figuratively speaking, anyway. I left my job in corporate America to start my own business.

A year ago today, I walked away from familiarity and security toward an unknown and exciting horizon. What a ride.

A year ago today, I walked away from familiarity and security toward an unknown and exciting horizon. What a ride.

I was terrified and excited, overwhelmed yet satisfied with my decision, completely burnt out but eagerly looking toward my future. In some ways, it’s been better than I expected. In other ways, I had no idea. Would I do it again 12 months later? In a heartbeat.

Venturing out on my own has taught -- and continues to teach -- me to focus on what's important.

Venturing out on my own has taught me — and continues to teach me — to focus on what’s important.

I’ve grown so much as a person and as a business owner even though there’s still so much to learn. I’ve experienced the highest of highs (tremendous opportunities) only to dip into the lowest of lows (major health insurance issues) days later. I love roller coasters, but this has been the craziest ride of my life.

While I continue to learn new things about myself, some things have become even more clear. I love to help people. Whether it’s donating platelets, helping a friend or writing copy for marketing collateral, it makes me smile. It pulls me out of bed in the morning (preferably not too early though) and gets me amped about the day.

My pride and joy, hopes and dreams. I'd love to work with you!

My pride and joy, hopes and dreams. I’d love to work with you!

That’s how it all started. Clearly Conveyed Communications. The name, the focus, the mission. Because my goal is to help others communicate. It sounds simple enough but is surprisingly difficult to do. We live in a 24/7 hyper-competitive world, so it’s tough to stand out.

Whether it’s writing copy that sells, creating marketing that brings opportunities, managing social media that sizzles or cultivating your personal brand to help you stand out and move up, I love it.

I have so much respect for others who have made this jump — successful or not. I’ve learned so much about myself and experienced so many situations because I stepped outside of my comfort zone; I’ll never regret it. No matter what happens going forward, I made the right move.

trail running

I love the outdoors. All of it, even the mud.

I’ve rediscovered who I am. I’ve reconnected with nature. I run on the local metro park’s trails and walk errands and hike to see the beauty. I’m eating cleaner and healthier than I ever have. I cut cable and read even more (certified bookworm here) and finally stopped to smell the roses (or espresso beans, whatever your pleasure).

My point is: love what you’re doing. Enjoy your life and do everything in your power to do what you love and love what you do.

I’m not a motivational speaker (a little too sarcastic) and am certainly not stepping on a soapbox anytime soon. I’m here because I’ve failed and failed and failed again. But I kept pursuing my dreams and I still am today. I’m not there yet but I’m on a much better path than I was 365 days ago.

Oh, and I’d love to work with you. Really, I would. Because I love what I do.

Photos via my Instagram account

Have faith in yourself,

p.s. If you’re new to the CCC website, come back soon and visit our Facebook page too.  We’re going to be running a few contests to celebrate our first year of existence.

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