Dear Loyal Readers, Thank You!

Danke. Grazie. Gracias. Thank you. 

They are simple words yet heartfelt.

Thank you!

When I started this blog nearly three and a half years ago, I had no idea what to expect. It was a crazy time, equal parts terrifying and exhilarating. I was starting a business, starting a blog and walking into the unknown.

The CCC blog isn’t big by any means, but I’m so grateful. We hit 230 followers recently, and I want to say that I appreciate each and every one of you. Whether you’ve been here for years or months, I hope you find our content valuable.

Clearly Conveyed Communications exists to give brands a voice, but you give me a voice. Your questions, your interest, your likes and shares encourage me to keep writing and find others who can provide a unique voice and valuable content for you. Thank you to our awesome contributors!

Lately I’ve been thinking about the future of this blog and how we can continue to provide value to our loyal readers. You may see some changes, probably minor, in the coming months but we’ll continue to give you the latest news, updates and insight in the marketing, writing and social media arenas.

Thank you, loyal readers, for sticking by my — and CCC’s — side.

Best wishes,
Jaime

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Sunshine Award Nomination From Ahh The Simple Life

Passions are meant to be embraced...

CCC is honored to accept the Sunshine Award from Ahh the Simple Life! It’s an award one blogger gives to other bloggers “who are positive and creatively inspire others in the blogosphere.” Carol Preibis, co-founder of Ahh the Simple LIfe, is a contributor to the CCC blog and also recently published an eGuide, Living a Good Life: Live a Meaningful, Happy and Fulfilling Life, which we reviewed here. Check it out!

Living a Good Life by Carol Ann Preibis

Are you living a good life?

Read Ahh the Simple Life’s nominating post (and learn more about Carol!) here.

*** How does the Sunshine Award work? ***

Upon nomination, bloggers accepting the Sunshine Award should:

  • thank the nominating blog and answer the questions it posed
  • nominate other bloggers
  • ask the bloggers you nominate the same number of questions as you received
  • notify the bloggers you have nominated

*** Ahh the Simple Life Asks and CCC Answers ***

1) Why did you begin blogging, and what keeps you going?

I started the CCC blog on April 7, 2012, during the formation of my company, Clearly Conveyed Communications. Our goal has always been to inform and educate our loyal readers in the ever-changing areas of marketing, writing and social media, although sometimes we take the scenic route.

“Where else can you read about MacGyver, Marketing and Leg Lamp Cookies?”

It’s been a strange and wild ride, but we hope you’ve enjoyed the journey. Sometimes we wonder what kind of impact we’re making, so it’s always refreshing to hear from you!

2) What is your favorite topic to write about? 

Although the diversity of the CCC blog seems to be a big draw, I love to write, even about writing. Maybe especially about writing. Our series on the writing process is my favorite series to date on this blog.

My favorite series on the CCC blog is about the writing process.

My favorite series on the CCC blog is about the writing process. Have you read it?

3) What is your favorite inspirational film? 

While Rocky’s victory over Apollo Creed is the epitome of the classic underdog story, I love Field of Dreams. (We even blogged about it, in relation to blogging of course.) Not only does this movie focus on baseball, it’s message of being selfless and following your dreams still resonates today.

Let’s face it: some people will think you’re crazy for following your dreams, and listening to a voice in your cornfield ranks right up there.

My favorite inspirational film outside of the sports world is Goodwill Hunting.

4) How would you describe your perfect day? 

My perfect day would begin when I wake up naturally, no alarm in sight. After taking in the amazing view, I’d saunter downstairs to brew some espresso for a delicious, handcrafted latte, which I’d enjoy with fresh fruit and peanut butter on toast. The rest of my perfect day would be spent reading, writing and enjoying nature, via a trail run or hike. After a vigorous swim (and maybe some paddle boarding), we’d grill some mouth-watering fish for dinner and sit around the fire, toasting s’mores and telling stories.

5) What is the greatest challenge facing humanity today?

While our challenges are numerous, so many come back to the massive (and growing) income inequality problem. It’s disturbing how quickly people label someone not firmly upper middle class as lazy or ignorant (or both). Teachers, social workers and entrepreneurs may be some of the hardest-working people you meet, but their skills aren’t valued in our society nearly as much as professional athletes and rock stars. (No, all entrepreneurs aren’t Elon Musk or Mark Zuckerberg.) It’ll be interesting to see how this issue affects all of us in the coming years.

6) If you could travel anywhere on the globe, where would you go?

I would love to travel nonstop, experiencing other cultures and traditions, although I would make Italy (or a tropical island) my home base. I’ve long been interested in exploring my Italian roots, and I love water. Someday, I’ll wake up to a beautiful water view.

*** 6 Questions for CCC’s Nominees ***

  1. What did you want to be when you were growing up?
  2. What activity makes you happy?
  3. What’s your favorite song, and why?
  4. What’s one thing that you have learned this year?
  5. Who has been a mentor, role model or hero at any time during your life?
  6. What’s something that your blogging audience doesn’t know about you?

*** CCC’s Sunshine Award Nominees ***

Seyi Sandra at seyisandradavid

Lesley Carter at Bucket List Publications

Tyler Pedersen at The ancient eavesdropper

Lyla Larimore at A Chief’s Wife’s Heart’s ‘aFire

While our nominees are under no obligation to acknowledge or accept their Sunshine Award, we’re grateful of what they bring to the blogosphere. Take a few minutes to visit their blogs and explore what makes them tick. We think you’ll be glad you did.

Congratulations to our nominees, and a heartfelt thank you to Carol Preibis at Ahh the Simple Life for the nomination. One of the biggest blessings of blogging is the fellow bloggers that you meet, and Carol is at the top of my list.

We’d also like to thank our loyal readers! Without you, we’d be writing to ourselves in a public forum. We hope that you continue to find our content valuable and take a moment to drop us a note once in awhile. In turn, we’ll keep on keeping on trying to educate, inform, entertain and inspire.

Cheers,
Jaime

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How To Earn Your ’15 Minutes’ In Business With Style & Grace

“In the future, everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes.”

-Andy Warhol (or not)

People often ask me what the hardest part of leaving the corporate world and starting my own business was. It was learning to promote myself, which may come as a surprise. Granted, I should have been doing that in the corporate world, but that’s always been an area of weakness for me.

Posing for a picture at a client conference

I’d rather run the show from behind the scenes, but I’ve had to learn to be more visible while running my business.

In the past, the old adage was to keep your head down and work hard. Today, that will get you nowhere. You need to work hard and let others know what you’re doing, in a positive way. How can you do that?

4 Ways To Earn Your ’15 Minutes’ In Business With Style & Grace 

  • Use social media to build your brand. Take advantage of social platforms’ tools, such as adding projects on LinkedIn and showcasing happy customers and successful projects on Facebook (milestones!) and Instagram. (Use a platform that your customers are on so you can tag them.) Prospects want to see and hear about work that you’ve done and happy customers are your best brand ambassadors.

Photos with faces get 38% more likes and 32% more comments on Instagram.^

  • Give credit where credit is due. If you collaborate on a project, give credit to others who contributed. When adding projects on LinkedIn, you can tag multiple people as contributors. Colleagues, customers and business partners will appreciate the recognition.
  • Be grateful. Remember to thank and recognize people who help you along the way. Whether someone acted as a sounding board, contributed to your business plan or came through in the clutch during a last minute project, let them know how much they are appreciated. Small gestures and kind words can go a long way.

Related reading: Stop Saying Thank You on Social Media & Say Something Meaningful!

  • Let others tell your story. When you follow the first three suggestions, people will be happy to spread the word about your work. Most human beings enjoy helping others, especially when they view others as deserving. Make sure you’re deserving and continue the cycle by thanking those who take the time to promote your brand. You never know when a casual mention will turn into your big break.

Related reading: How to Self-Promote Without Being a Jerk (on my reading list!)

On the topic of humble self-promotion, I’m excited that the CCC portfolio page is finally live! Feel free to browse some of our work, and let us know if you would like to discuss a project. (Perhaps how to build your brand on social media?) 🙂

Source:
^Georgia Institute of Technology & Yahoo Labs

Your reluctant self-promoter (and introverted business owner),
Jaime

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CCC Turns 3! And the Winners Are…

We’ve been celebrating all week, and today it’s official. My company, Clearly Conveyed Communications, turns 3 years old.

CCC turns 3! The swag has arrived.

The swag has arrived. How do you like the retro touch?

In some ways, it seems like yesterday that I made the leap to start my own company; in others, it seems like a lifetime ago. In 3 short years, CCC has gotten social with first responders, worked with international clients and connected with people the world over. We’ve scratched, clawed, struggled and grown, experienced the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. That’s the life of a small business owner.

And small business owners are close to our heart. While we’ve worked with companies of all sizes, we love helping small businesses succeed and realize their hopes and dreams. If you’re a small business owner, drop us a line. We’d love to hear about what you’re doing, so we can help spread the word.

We’re grateful to everyone who’s helped spread the word about us and wanted to thank you. Earlier this week, we announced a contest for those who engage with us on social media and are excited to announce the winners!

The winners of the ‘CCC Turns 3’ contest are:

  • Missy Radecki, Associate Professor of Nursing, FL *** CCC swag prize pack
  • Lyla Larimore, Blogger & Fire Service Enthusiast, IN *** CCC swag prize pack
  • David Rose, CEO at PRSONAS *** Spotify Premium gift card

Congratulations to our winners! We’ll be in touch with more information on your prizes.

A sincere THANK YOU to everyone who has helped shape CCC in any way, from clients and customers to ardent supporters to close friends who serve as sounding boards. We appreciate you!

p.s. We’re still partying! Penelope and Mojo are swinging around the office. 🙂

Grateful and blessed,
Jaime

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CCC Turns 3, And You’re Invited (To Win)!

We’re throwing a party, and you’re invited — to win.

CCC turns 3!

Clearly Conveyed Communications is turning 3 this week, and we’re celebrating with our clients, customers, supporters and fans. All week, we’ll be partying (while we work) at the office, so we’re inviting you along for the fun.

Follow and engage with us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and the blog for your chance to win CCC swag and other cool prizes. The winners will be announced right here on Friday, so stay tuned!

While you’re here, kick off your shoes and stay awhile. We’d love to help you with your next marketing, writing or social media project. Let us know your challenges, so we can help you with solutions. Have a question? Ask!

To kick your Tuesday up a notch, here’s what we’re dancing to in the office right now. Join us!

Now that you’re done dancing, here’s a chance to win.

What’s your favorite post (or series) on the CCC blog? Let us know below to be entered to win!

(New to the blog? Check out the right-hand sidebar for recent posts, popular content, categories, subject tags, archives and contributors to the CCC blog. You may be surprised at what you find!)

p.s. THANK YOU to all of our loyal readers and followers. We love to hear your thoughts and appreciate everyone who likes, comments on and shares our posts to further the conversation.

Cheers,
The CCC Crew

Jaime, Penelope & Mojo

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Spring Cleaning? Don’t Forget Your Business

Spring is in the air! Maybe it’s the rising temperatures or longer days, but optimism abounds this time of year.

Spring is in the air! CCC can add a breath of fresh air to your communications.

Spring cleaning? Don’t forget your business! CCC would love to help you freshen up your communications.

If spring cleaning is on your to-do list, don’t forget about your business! How can you spring clean your business? Try these tips:

  • Get Organized — Go through your paper and electronic files and form a system. The point is for you to be able to find what you’re looking for quickly and efficiently. Try alphabetizing file folders or creating sub-folders to further corral all of your pictures and electronic documents. Don’t forget to back up your electronic files!
  • Review Your Online Home — Take a fresh look at your website or blog, or ask an unbiased third party to help out. What catches your eye? Is your site easy to navigate? Does the look and feel still work or is it time for a change? If you don’t have a blog, now’s a great time to start one.

Related reading: A Simple Step-By-Step Guide to SEO // Do You Mow Your Blog? // To Blog, or Not To Blog: That Is the Question

  • Get Social with a Strategy — Review your social media presences. Do you like what you see? Be honest — are you providing your community with value? Are your efforts producing the results you want? If not, step back and think about what you want to accomplish.
  • The Right Fit — While we all want to grow our businesses, sometimes downsizing can help spur growth. Are you stretched too thin on social media? All platforms aren’t the right fit for all businesses. Choose your platforms wisely to get the highest return on investment. Remember, social media isn’t free!
  • First Impressions Matter on Social Too — Your profile, profile picture and cover photo are often the first impressions that a visitor — potential customer? — has of you on social media. Make a favorable first impression! Refresh any profiles, profile pics or cover photos that need it. Note that some platforms have changed dimensions for 2015.

Related reading: Have you found your social media voice? // Should You Slim Down (on Social Media)? // What’s in a social media profile? Everything.

  • Revisit Your Customers — Take a fresh look at your customers. Are you providing the right products or services to help them achieve their objectives? Do plans or strategies need a fresh look? Is your customer still a good fit for your business? Companies and brands change, so you need to be fluid too.
  • Look in the Mirror — Look at your brand: your logo, colors, font(s), name, reason for being… everything that makes you who you are. Does it still fit? Has your brand evolved but your look and feel stayed the same? It may be time to rebrand or just refresh.
  • Freshen up Your Communications — Has your message grown stale? Are you having trouble reaching your target audience(s)? Are you sending out the same emails, newsletters and blog posts? Freshen up your content to re-energize your brand and re-engage with your customers, prospects and employees.

Related reading: Why You Should Think Like The B.A.U. // Branding Is A Feeling, Not A Noun // The Power of the (Red) Pen

We hope that you enjoy the related reading links, which should help you tackle some of the aforementioned business spring cleaning tasks. Or you can search the CCC blog in 3 ways: search box (upper right-hand corner), Categories and Tags (scroll down the right-hand sidebar). If you have a question about your particular project or a subject in general, just ask! We’re here to help. Not sure how we can help you? Check out a sampling of the marketing, writing and social media services we offer.

“I always find something I’ve lost when I do my spring cleaning. This year it was my mind.”  -Maxine, Hallmark character

What part of your business are you going to spring clean?

Whistling while I work,
Jaime

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Where else can you read about MacGyver, Marketing and Leg Lamp Cookies?

As we approach the 200 follower mark, it seemed like a good time to officially welcome (or re-welcome) everyone to the blog and answer some frequently asked questions.

The doors open... come on in!

What’s this blog about? 

In a nutshell, posts typically fall into 4 main categories: marketing, writing, social media and personal reflection. As loyal readers will tell you though, we may take any number of roads to arrive at the destination. Elvis? Check. MacGyver? Yes. Leg lamp cookies. What else would you expect?

How can I check out previous posts? 

The categories and tags balloons on the right hand side of the page are great for delving into posts on specific topics — booksbranding, paying it forward, etc. If you’re looking for what others are reading, check out the popular content section on the right hand side. It changes daily based on what people are reading that particular day. The archives heading, again on the right side, is a great way to find a past post from a specific time period, say September 2013. Looking for different voices? Scroll down to the Contributors to the CCC Blog section on the right sidebar to enjoy business insight, thoughts on branding and even original poetry.

Do you host guest bloggers? 

Yes! We’ve been blessed to host some wonderful guest bloggers, including those referenced in the aforementioned Contributors to the CCC Blog section (on the right hand side). You can browse all of our guest posts here.

Are you interested in being published on the CCC blog? Click here for more information.

What’s CCC stand for anyway?

Clearly Conveyed Communications. We give companies and brands a voice by assisting them with their marketing, writing and social media needs. Wondering what to post on Facebook? Looking for some magical marketing copy? Trying to keep tabs on your ever-changing market? Give us a call (or email or tweet or message…)! We’ll be happy to discuss your next project — no strings attached. Just have a question? That’s OK too! Hit us up; we might just know the answer.

Who’s the voice behind this blog (and site)?

Me. 😉

What can we expect to read in the future?

This is where you come in! Are you looking for information on a particular topic? Would you love to hear more about something previously touched on? We love your feedback and try to use it to shape future content. Drop us a line or leave your thoughts in the comments below.

So that should just about do it. Any other questions? Thoughts? Suggestions?

–>Who’s read this blog in their pj’s?<–

Photo credit: the doors open by Torley Olmstead via CC BY-SA 2.0 // modified by the author

Cheers,
Jaime

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And The Award Goes To…

CCC is excited to accept its second award for this blog — The Butterfly Light Award — from Sage Doyle, author of The Journal of Wall Grimm and guest blogger extraordinaire.Thanks, Sage!

Image

This award is given to those who are using their blog to spread light or be a positive influence in today’s world. We’re honored to accept this award, because we’re big believers in helping others, bringing a smile to people’s faces and Paying It Forward. With every post, we’re aiming to help business professionals and small business owners with their marketing, writing and social media efforts while also reflecting on life, lessons learned and what moves us as human beings. If one person walks away from reading a post with more knowledge, an idea for her business or a smile on his face, we’ve done our job. If we’ve accomplished one of these goals with you, please chime in and let us know about it! What post(s) or type of post(s) are your favorite?

Now comes the hard part: choosing who we will bestow this award upon. We appreciate the entire CCC community for your loyal reading, continuing the conversation with your keen insights and comments and sharing our posts with your networks. When thinking about what this award stands for, one reader quickly came to mind.

Rich Mistkowski of Proforma ROI Marketing

Rich is a small business owner, volunteer firefighter, husband and dad. He and his wife, Lisa, are blessed with two great kids, including Mattie, who has Down Syndrome. The family is active in promoting Down Syndrome awareness and supporting the Special Olympics. As a volunteer firefighter of 30+ years, Rich has been involved in numerous fundraisers, charity benefits and helping out those in need. He’s truly one of the good guys, and we’ve thoroughly enjoyed working with him for the past year. Congratulations Rich, you deserve it!

Image

Rich and Mattie hang out at Mattie’s favorite place — the fire station. Mattie wants to be the first firefighter with Down Syndrome. Go, Mattie!
(Photo courtesy of Rich Mistkowski)

 

“I’m blessed to have Mattie as my son. “It never ceases to amaze me about the impact that Mattie has on people. He seems to be able to bring something out in people that I’ll never understand, but always marvel at.”  –Rich Mistkowski

Thank you to Belinda for creating this award to promote positivity and helping others.

Cheers,
Jaime

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You Don’t Know Jack About Brandjacking

In the mid-nineties, there was a trivia game called You Don’t Know Jack. As a trivia buff, I loved the game and even had it on CD-ROM (remember those?). OK, I also loved telling people, “You don’t know jack” when they answered incorrectly. Which brings me too…

You Don't Know Jack logo

Brandjacking. What is it? When someone hijacks your brand, either personal or business, in order to steal your thunder (and publicity) or to hurt your brand’s reputation. It usually happens online, especially on social media. The term is widely credited to Business Week, which used it in a 2007 article.

So what’s the problem? First of all, it’s desperate. You’re either trying to grab some cheap publicity from another brand’s (hard work &) success or trying to cause damage to someone else’s brand. Either way, you look bad.

Second, come up with your own brand. Put in the work to build your brand, formulate a strategy and put it into action. Don’t try to jump on someone else’s coattails to success without putting in the work.

Maybe I’ve just spent too much time working on companies’ brands and understand how much time, effort and money go into the branding process. As all of you fellow marketers and business owners know, it’s a lot of hard work. For someone else to benefit from that (outside of donated publicity for a non-profit or cause) is incredibly frustrating and annoying.

Clearly Conveyed Communications logo

As a small business owner, my brands (personal and business) are my everything. I’m all in, as they say at the poker table. I’ve put every last chip I have into making Clearly Conveyed Communications work. For someone to come along and hurt my brand(s) would be a horrible blow.

As Tony Zayas so elegantly puts it on the Proforma blog, trust is the new business currency. If clients and prospects don’t trust you, they won’t work with you.

So if you think brandjacking is cool (or a viable marketing tactic), then you don’t know jack about branding.

The mic is yours…

Do you agree? Or is brandjacking a viable guerrilla marketing tactic?

Are there any brandjacking examples that you feel have been a success?

Would you brandjack?

You may also like: The Art of Branding | The Olympics: A Global Brand (Kind Of)
Rage Against the Political Machine: 5 Takeaways for Your Marketing Efforts

Photo credit: You Don’t Know Jack

Your trivia (& branding) buff,
Jaime

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