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randallcraig

Testing the Social Conversation

Have you ever put your social influence to the test?  Or said another way, do others find you half as interesting as you do yourself?  If you’re not sure, here are seven ideas that might spur some different thinking. 17 Ways to Great Social Engagement: Not sure why your blog and other social media efforts […]

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Twitter Strategy, Take Three

“Blogs are like articles that people can comment on.  YouTube is like TV, but with voting.”  But what about Twitter? Many leaders are not yet convinced that Twitter makes sense to them. (Or that Twitter makes sense at all.) What are the arguments for adopting Twitter – at least at some level? Here are five […]

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Built for it

Why are some things easier to do, and others so hard?  Yes, knowledge is important – but this can be improved through training.  Yes, attitude is crucial: if you don’t enjoy doing something, there is little intrinsic incentive for doing a great job.  And since attitude is infectious, your attitude will impact those around you.  […]

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Cut Marketing Costs? Mission possible

Most entrepreneurs have a secret that most larger organizations have sadly forgotten:  Cut your costs and you’ll make more money.   And in no other area is this more true than in the area of marketing.  Why is this? 1) Momentum of the past:  If traditional advertising and promotion have always worked, then doing more of […]

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Thanksgiving sale: Get my books at a big discount

Did the headline really capture your attention?  If you are a frequent reader of my material, you probably recognize that this is not the type of headline that you will usually find. I’ve written many times about how organizations (and individuals) compete on the Price-Expertise-Trust spectrum, and that Trust is by far the most enduring […]

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Web Sleuthing and Competitive Archeology

What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas – and what happens on the web, stays there forever.  Yet even when files are deleted from the server (which they often are not) the content is always available, if only you know where to look.  Before answering the questions of how and where, consider the question why: […]

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Lipstick on a Pig: Is this the new Social Media?

You may be one of those unlucky individuals who cannot “do” any social media at work. Not because you don’t know how, or don’t want to, but because your workplace policy prevents you from doing so. Or the regulatory compliance environment means that social media is off-limits. Or you’re just too busy. Don’t feel bad […]

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Time for a Twitter Wall? (Part Two)

Looking for the fine print on successfully using Twitter at your event?  Here is Part two:  [Read part one] 1) Choose a hashtag:  Choosing a unique hashtag is critical; if you choose one that another organization is using, then their comments will be mixed in with yours.  CAFE, for example, is an acronym for the […]

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Time for a Twitter Wall?

Have you ever been responsible for a meeting and a conference, and you’ve thought to yourself – or you’ve been told – that it is time that your meeting incorporates Twitter?  Or the young keener in your office has assured you that doing so is actually quite easy – just set up a Twitter wall.  […]

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Not back to school: Lessons for every student

Just about every Friday for the last eight years and four months, I went to school – but no more.  I was a consultant to the Schulich school of business, where I gave 288 presentations, coached over 2100 students, and mentored 128 of them at 7am almost every week.  I interacted primarily with full and […]

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Ten Tests: Can Your Website Live Through One More Year?

How long do you keep your car?  Some people swap their car every 2-3-4 years, while others keep them for ten, and run them into the ground.  There are pros and cons to both strategies, and endless arguments about which is best: older cars have higher maintenance costs, sport some rust, and look dated.  But […]

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Marketing Insight: From Landing Pages to Microsites

How many websites does your organization have? Of course there is the main site. Then there is the “old” site that includes all of the archival content. Then there are specialized microsites for various products, events, and advertising campaigns. And finally, there are  all of the landing pages that support all of the search engine […]

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Marketing Insight: The Five Principles of Web Usability

Why are some sites just so frustrating to use?  To answer this question, we need to look through the lens of the user experience designer – and their cousin, the marketing director.  When sites are poorly put together, it is likely that the site has violated one of the five principles of web usability.  Balancing […]

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Protecting your Digital Cargo

Every organization owns intellectual property: in fact, this recorded knowledge is often key evidence of expertise, capability, and fit. So if it is that valuable, how do you protect it from being stolen? Before answering that question, it is useful to distinguish between content that you want to be widely distributed, and content that is […]

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Marketing Insight: Whitepapers and Inbound Marketing

Nowadays, a whitepaper can be just about anything. In the olden days of the 1980s, it typically meant a definitive exploration of a specific topic, often 20 pages or more. The author (and their organization) would be recognized for this knowledge by the marketplace, resulting in queries, and eventually, new business. While some organizations still […]

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When Sharing is not a Good Idea

If you have spent any time on Facebook (and now, sadly, LinkedIn), you may have been the victim of over-sharing. You are subjected to pointless, and often narcissistic postings, often from people and organizations that should know better. While the impact on you is wasted time, the posters often don’t consider the brand impact of […]

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Back-Stories, Lessons, Ali, and Hymie

Perhaps you know an Ali or a Hymie.  Ali is just finishing his degree in biology. Hymie is 92, and sits on a stool in a restaurant all day, watching people come and go. Both Ali and Hymie share two things: a back-story and a lesson. Each summer for the last three years, my wife […]

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Reach out and Touch Someone: Web Contact Strategies

Have you ever gone to a website, and for whatever reason, felt the need to actually contact the organization? You may have a product or service question, or you may have a technical issue that needs resolution. Or perhaps a billing error that needs to be fixed. Unfortunately, many websites have chosen to severely restrict […]

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Blog Post Magic Bullet

Are your blog posts really that effective? Do they grab the reader, and convince them to read on? And is there a magic bullet that can immediately this this so? Too often, a blog post is an outgrowth of “stream of consciousness” thinking, and rarely hits the mark.  Adding strategy and structure can make a […]

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Twitter Strategy, Take Two

Are you one of the millions who remain mystified about Twitter? While I’ve written about this before (Twitter Strategies), I thought it might be worthwhile to boil it down again, but from a different perspective. Here are five key Twitter activities that might expose a previously hidden opportunity: Monitor: Professional development, risk mitigation, or keeping tabs […]

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Social Over-indulgence

Social Media is here.  It’s everywhere.  In fact, the absence of it sends a signal that the sponsoring organization is completely disconnected, un-hip, and behind the times. Unfortunately, this zeal to include Social Media is often taken to the extreme.  There are numerous cases where “doing” Social Media makes no sense at all.  Three examples: […]

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Social Relevance: Improving Your Signal-to-Noise Ratio

No one cares about you – they care about how you can solve their problems. Write for your readers. These two expressions epitomize the most important marketing (and social media) concept: relevance. How often have you seen a post, picture, tweet, or comment that adds zero value? Or where the signal-to-noise ratio is, well, noisy? […]

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Being Real

What’s your reaction when you read a company newsletter, instruction manual, or other corporate communication?  You probably think it sounds plastic, anti-septic, and homogenized.  If so, you’re like most people – they see corporate-speak as fake, and they can sniff it a mile away.   The best communicators have always known that effective writing connects at […]

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Social Media Planning Calendar

How do you organize your Social Media activities?  Most people have a system – whiteboards, excel documents, Google Calendar, or often, scraps of paper.  Unfortunately, none of these are particularly effective, nor are they efficient.  And they certainly don’t help you share your activities with your colleagues. Our take on scheduling and planning:  Social Media […]

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Raymond Aaron

Raymond Aaron interviewed by Randall Craig on Professionally Speaking TV

Business Coach, Wealth Management

Discover “the secret” of how Raymond Aaron, NY Times Bestselling Author and Professional Speaker, turned his life around. Learn how to be successful and increase your income through branding and the MTO (minimum, target and outrageous) goal-setting approach. What are you capable of doing beyond your current beliefs?

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Low Social Productivity?

Special Note:  Join me for a full-day Social Media Master Class on March 13th.  We’ll explore Social strategy and risk management, with a focus on practical, implement-immediately ideas. Limited to 10 attendees. Are you one of “those” people who have thoroughly adopted Social Media, but have a nagging feeling that you just aren’t that productive […]

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Jim Grieve

Jim Grieve interviewed by Randall Craig on Professionally Speaking TV

Education, Full-Day Kindergarten, Children

Jim Grieve is the Assistant Deputy Minister for the Ministry of Education’s Early Learning Division. He is responsible for the implementation of full-day kindergarten for four and five year olds in Ontario. In this interview, Jim Grieve talks about his career in education and the new approach to engaging children through “purposeful play-based and inquiry learning”. This approach uses provocative questions to stimulate the child’s learning, create thinking and move them forward.

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Content Marketing and Thought Leadership

Special Note:  Looking for a deep dive into Social Media Strategy for your organization?  Join me for a full-day Social Media Master Class on March 13th.  Limited to 10 attendees. One of the most important – and one of the newest – elements of a modern marketing strategy is Content Marketing.  The idea is that […]

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Social Media Dieting

Special Note:  Not happy with your Social Media ROI?  Join me for a full-day Social Media Master Class on March 13th. Do you have a well-defined morning routine, that includes Social Media?  Tweet, Post, Check Status, Share, and Comment.  Then see who has looked at your LinkedIn profile.  Later, repeat – sometimes several times. There […]

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17 Ways to Great Social Engagement

Have you ever been disappointed with the engagement level of your blog?  Have you decided that this year something “better happen”, to make it all worthwhile?  If so, you’re not alone.  Here are 17 ways drive more users to your blog, and increase their engagement with it: Write great content.  If you write poorly, or […]

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Choosing your focus

Do you attribute your success to your focus?  Many people do – and in the spirit of “small focus – small success/strong focus – great success” many people are focused on… greater focus.  But is there a downside? Consider the following: Ignoring everything except the goal means that many data points along the way are […]

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What’s your 365?

January 11, 2006 holds a special significance.  Over a decade before then I had put the Toronto Star online, as well as completed substantive work with the Globe and Mail and several major book publishers.  I was at the vanguard of online publishing (blogging wasn’t invented then), yet I wasn’t publishing myself.  On January 11, […]

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Viewpoints and Social Opinions

During the last year, I have written a number of opinion pieces on the issues and trends around Social Media, along with the (sometimes) ominous implications.  With the fullness of time, some of these are even more important today.  A few selections… Does Free Always Mean Free?  Beyond the embarrassing photos, new found friends, professional […]

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Eight Great Social Media Reads

Out of all of the thinking, blogging, tweeting, posting, and speaking on the subject, here are some of the most practical – and thought-provoking articles on the topic. 1) When users defect:  Understanding why users leave, and what to do about it. 2) Six Steps to Strategic Blogging:  How to build an effective, focused, and […]

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Baseline Capability and Campaigns

Have you ever been in a situation where despite your best efforts, you cannot make headway?  Or where you feel like a fish swimming upstream?  This inertia – resistance to the new – is a key reason why implementing change is so difficult.  It’s also why selling new products to clients or new ideas to […]

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Social Networking Integration

Have you ever considered how some words (and technologies) are so important, yet in the fullness of time completely disappear?  Buggy whips, Barrel makers (“coopers”), and Telex machines  are but a few examples.  Not fifteen years ago, the term “ebusiness” was popular, until people figured out that there was no such thing as ebusiness – […]

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LinkedIn Crowdsourcing

Are you befuddled whenever a new “feature” gets added to your favorite Social Media site?  Or are you excited about the possibility that the new feature may unlock for you?  The Endorsement feature of LinkedIn holds fascinating possibilities, but unlike every other part of your profile, it is the one that is completely beyond your […]

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Social Media Tick Box

“We’ve got that covered” is a very satisfying thing to say when you are asked what your organization is doing in the area of Social Media. Sadly, our research, covering 400 different organizations across the country, shows this isn’t true. This year’s research on the same topic also appears to indicate a yawning gap. The […]

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Earning the Right

Have you ever felt that something was missing with your social media communications? That your Tweets, Posts, and Status Updates were being disregarded – almost as if you are speaking to an empty auditorium? That you may have lots of “friends”, but it seems that they are more absent than friendly. Sadly, this is too […]

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Viewpoint: Facebook

Facebook just announced that it now has one billion users – an astounding number. On the other hand, you (or your organization) may have but 1000 or 10,000 – hardly a dent, and at best, a rounding error. Whether your number is on the lower side or hovering at a billion, this singular measure of […]

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Landing Pages

$37 Billion:  This is the amount that Google earned in 2011, 97% from advertising. Google’s keyword-savvy Pay-per-click selling machine allows any organization (or person) to specify keywords, construct an ad, and specify how much they would pay for a click.  Google then puts the ad on a web page that contains the keywords. When a […]

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Content Marketing and the Marketing Hierarchy of Trust

“I am great!  Really.  Truly great!  Really!” How many people (or organizations) have marketing strategies that boil down to self-serving claims of greatness?  (Too many.)  How effective are these LinkedIn profiles, ads, websites, TV commercials, or billboards?  (Not effective at all.) There is a trust hierarchy of marketing strategies: the higher the trust, the more […]

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Online Customer Service

How often are you disappointed by poor service?  For most people, the answer is too often.  The reasons for poor customer service range from poor hiring, ineffective (or invisible) training, poor attitude, and inadequate resourcing.  Most customers don’t really care why – they’ll vote with their feet and leave.  They will also share their experience […]

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Rebranding Rationale: Microsoft, 108 ideaspace

Have you ever wondered why companies choose to rebrand?  During the last week, there were two notable rebrandings: one you may have heard about, and one you likely haven’t. Microsoft, after more than a decade, has changed it’s logo to one that evokes the new “Metro” look-and-feel of it’s latest Windows operating system.  Here’s the […]

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Information Thief

Are you an information thief?  Have you ever plagiarized, pilfered, or “borrowed” someone else’s knowledge or reputation?  And has someone ever done this to you? With the social web in front of us, it is too easy to use others’ information without their knowledge or permission – even if it is free.  Depending on how […]

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Social Attention Span

How long is your attention span?  How long is the attention span of your clients, colleagues, or kids?  The conventional wisdom is that it is very short – 30 seconds – the length of a typical TV commercial.  Supposedly, the attention span of a Gen-Xer is even shorter. Thankfully, both of these urban legends are […]

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Olympic Competition

Thank you for reading. In the competition for your time, the Randall Craig Tipsheet vs. Olympic Anything is not exactly a fair fight. So thank you for giving the Tipsheet a “Gold” – at least for the 60 seconds or so to read it. Here is today’s question: how can your ideas compete against a […]

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Generation Gap

Look around: who are the Social Media go-to people in your office?  Look around again, and identify the people with the strongest business acumen.  In almost all organizations, the first group is younger, with-it hipsters, while the second group is typically much older.  Getting these groups on the same Social Media strategy page  can be […]

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Crowdsourcing

How often have you run into a creative roadblock? Or you were stumped with a problem that you couldn’t figure out? When this happens, we are usually operating under a conventional wisdom that artificially closes the door to possibility. To break the block, one need only ask for help from ever-widening circles: colleagues, community, and […]

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Viewpoint: Email, R.I.P.

Picture this scene from a few decades ago: you’re working in your office, and your assistant bursts in, with an important announcement:  You’ve received… a FAX!  The correspondence was critically important – and you were too. Then a few years later, the FAX was replaced by AOL’s chirpy voice, announcing to all, “You’ve got mail!”  […]

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Attraction and Conversion

Are you one of those thousands (millions?) who build a social profile, only to find that you have very few friends? Maybe you are one of those millions (or billions?) of businesses that have built a website, but have found that no one is calling? Or no one is buying? If this sounds familiar, there […]

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The Social Bubble: Finding Your Tribe

Do you actively seek out different opinions than your own, or unwittingly reinforce your personal world-view by only consuming “agreeable” content? While we may think it is the former – who doesn’t have a self image of being open-minded – too often we live in a bubble. The promise of the social web was connection […]

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Your Daily Social Media Routine

How do you spend the first 20 minutes at the office each day? If you were in the 1970′s, you would spend the time reading the newspaper, then organizing your inbox (the box on your desk), and finally looking at your calendar before “starting” your day. In the 1980′s, you would be doing the same, […]

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Three Marketing Models

Model One: One of the most powerful real-world networking techniques is called “give-to-get”. You  meet someone, find out what they’re interested in, and then find a way to give it to them. If you do this periodically, eventually they will return the favor. Model Two: To compete, an organization must do so on Price, Expertise, […]

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Social Choice: Ignore, Listen, Join or Host

Think back to when you last bought a book – did you check the reviews on Amazon? When you last booked a hotel – did you check the hotel rankings?  There is an incredible conversation happening on the social web, and for the first time in history, there is transparency: these conversations are available.  The […]

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Is Social Networking supposed to sell?

Consider these Tipsheets: there are over 300 of them, and they certainly don’t “sell” anything.  Each week, I give away a small nugget of information, and tie it to an immediate action.  These non-salesy Tipsheets, like the vast majority of blogs, are designed to credentialize expertise and build trust, slowly over time. Interestingly, I recently […]

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QR Codes: Qritical or Qraze?

Check out the latest brochure, advertisement, billboard, or business card, and you’ll see that ubiquitous square:  the QR Code.  For those who don’t know what about them, here is how they work:  a special “app” on your smart phone takes a picture of it, decodes it, and (usually) sends your smart phone’s browser to a […]

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Viewpoint: EBook Lawsuit? Next up is iCensorship

Consider the newest words entering our vocabulary: Kindle, eReader, Nook, iBooks, and Kobo.  Let me add one more:  iCensorship. If the stats are to be believed, our eBook purchases on these devices are fast eclipsing traditional print books. This isn’t surprising, as eBooks are not bulky, don’t kill our forests, and they’re cheaper. Despite these […]

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Social Customer Service Strategy

Ever feel slighted, ignored, disenfranchised, “sold to”, taken for granted, or just plain commoditized? For many prospects, these feelings are what prevent a sale from taking place. They prevent repeat sales, prevent referrals, and encourage negative word-of-mouth. Clearly, great customer service – supported by great training and great management – are fundamental, but how can […]

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Social Media Measurement

How do you know if you are successful at Social Media?  While the answer a few years ago may have been it’s so experimental, we’ll have to see, the answer from some today is similarly dissatisfying:  Social Media ROI is comparable to computing the ROI of a telephone. We can do better than this – […]

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Corporate Success Factors

It’s always easy to look at other organizations – or other people – and marvel at their incredible foresight, acumen, and investment.  To look at some of the most successful companies and their products – Apple and Google come to mind – and say “They were just lucky” is too easy, and unlikely. Few people […]

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Social Media Carrot and Stick

While corporations are trying to figure out how to use the Social Media carrot to entice their customers to buy, their customers are using a powerful Social Media stick when it comes to expressing their disappointment and dissatisfaction. In the olden days, corporate policy may have been the customer is always right. Today it is […]

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Viewpoint: Social Censorship

No CEO wants to be known as a hypocrite.  But unfortunately, many are precisely that – here’s why. There is an interesting conundrum that many companies face when expanding beyond their borders. A key reason for their success at home has been that they could take advantage of the homegrown business environment. They operated in […]

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Three lessons from the Facebook prospectus

If you’re reading this, the chances that you are on Facebook are relatively high. And sadly, the chances that you personally will duplicate Mark Zuckerberg’s business success are relatively low. Very few of us will take our companies public, let along profit so handsomely during our careers. What we can do, however, is learn from […]

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Back to the Basics

Wake up, wash, dress, and eat breakfast. Scan the headlines, scan LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and Blog comments. Read and respond to comments in your communities. Then start the day. Check voice mail. Check email, and respond to emails from LinkedIn groups, Facebook, and Twitter direct messages. Then see if there are any comments on YouTube. […]

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Tools of the Trade

If you are reading this and profess to have some expertise in Social Media, then you may be offended by my next comment: it soon won’t matter, and your “expertise” is fast becoming irrelevant. Your long term career is in jeopardy, and your short term prospects are also questionable. Note that I didn’t say that […]

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13 Social Media New Year’s Resolutions

Are you one of those people who have given up on New Year’s resolutions?  If you are active on the Social Web, an annual review – and a few resolutions – can make a significant difference to your effectiveness.  Here’s my take on a few you should consider: This Week’s (Year’s) Action Plan: Review and […]

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All the world’s a stage

…and all the men and women merely players.  Shakespeare may have said this in the 1600′s, but it is more true than ever today. Politicians, celebrities and others have always known that an audience was watching and judging. Today, different paparazzi watch and judge us – we call them followers, friends, and connections. We narcissistically […]

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Who is your Mahamood?

Ever wonder about the impact you made with those you’ve touched? Whether you would be remembered or not? And for what? Every so often, we get a stark reminder of this: someone doesn’t remember you – but you think they should. Or someone comes up to you and reminds you about a special conversation – […]

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Repurpose or Repeat?

Have you ever considered how many ways there are to express one of your ideas? Here’s a short list: A book A whitepaper A case study A brochure A blog post A newspaper op-ed A voice message or phone call A tweet A magazine article A TV series A documentary A sitcom A news commentary […]

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