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Posts Tagged ‘network’

Blurring the lines

Posted by Vicki Moulton on January 12, 2011

Well hello there! Remember me? No? Well, I can’t blame you for that. It’s not like I’ve been using this bully pulpit regularly.

I’m the first to admit that I’ve neglected this blog over the past several months. Part of my excuse is situational–moving from one coast to the other, getting through a second pregnancy while keeping my business going and making sure my toddler didn’t get into trouble, then having the baby just before Thanksgiving–and part of it is attitudinal, meaning most days I just didn’t put blogging at the top of my priority list.

Now that the baby is giving me longer stretches of sleep at night, I’m starting to see a third reason why I didn’t keep blogging here in 2010: the lines between business and personal have blurred to the point where posting something on Facebook feels kind of like blogging. But that’s a big lie because short, pithy little FB posts are absolutely no match for original thoughts and essays carefully written and purposefully shared on a business blog with a specific goal for a particular audience.

Case in point: I met my fabulously talented logo designer, Jenny Decker, through an online communications networking group. We completed a barter arrangement, meeting once in person, and then kept in touch via email. Then we became “friends” on Facebook, learning more about each other’s personal lives through postings and photos, and comparing notes on parenting babies and toddlers. Then I asked Jenny to join a small women’s entrepreneur group, further blurring the lines between our separate businesses and our personal lives. After that, she recommended me to one of her clients, who then hired me, and pretty soon I was reading her family blog and asking what she remembered about the last months of pregnancy while sharing my own toddler-raising advice and inviting her to read my birthing story on a personal blog after calling to ask how she invoiced a particular type of client.

So is this a personal friendship or a friendly business connection? The answer is both, and it’s the inevitable merging of these worlds that has so many businesses falling behind because they don’t know how to leverage these relationship-savvy social media tools.

If you’d asked me a few years ago whether I would someday have business colleagues in my social media network and actually develop real friendships using tools like Facebook, I would’ve said hell no. In fact, I actively avoided revealing my location, profession, and everything else about myself online in any capacity for many years. (I’m still unlisted in the local phone book–but that’s another story.) But I’m noticing that the people who steer clear of social networks are the ones who aren’t connected in any meaningful way to what’s happening in the business world today.

Yes, social media can be all about personal branding and marketing, especially if you’re using these tools to get more business. But it’s also about knowing where your audience, customers, potential employers, and colleagues (past and present) are spending their time and energy.

Dropping by the social media water cooler once in a while is good for your reputation and keeps you in the loop, at least for as long as those folks are sipping water. It reminds them that you’re still there, still interested, still part of the team.

Whether these people knew you way back when or just met you last week at a networking event, they’re all part of your ever-widening circle–what some might call your sphere of influence. It’s actually smart to keep these folks informed about your activities. Just try to keep the truly personal information (the embarassing stuff you wouldn’t want publicized on the evening news) off Facebook, or else your sphere will shrink before you know it.

So, in the effort to win back some blog readers in this new year, I invite you to visit my Facebook fan page and follow my posts (Twitter account to be revived soon) as I share my thoughts and experiences with clients, colleagues, and friends. We’re all merged into one group now, so let’s have some fun while we’re at it!

Posted in communications, marketing, networking | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Getting back to business

Posted by Vicki Moulton on September 8, 2009

geometric buildingNow that Labor Day weekend has come and gone, it’s officially time to get back to work. But my summertime to-do list still has two big tasks that remain unfinished. So this week is all about getting back to business.

My women’s entrepreneur group meets next Monday, and that provides an excellent excuse for me to set some deadlines and check items off my list. (Side note: I respond well to deadlines. Give me a task without a deadline, and it will likely languish at the bottom of my priority list in perpetuity.) Our meeting topic is the elevator speech–otherwise known as the answer to the question, “So, what do you do?” I need to write an elevator speech for the group to review and hopefully help me polish.

But where to begin? To craft an entire speech (a.k.a. sales pitch) around my own mission statement is not something that comes naturally to me. Sure, I can explain what I do, what I used to do, and what I don’t do. I have no problem communicating verbally. In fact, I can keep talking until the person who asked the question falls asleep from extreme boredom. It’s saying just enough to pique the interest of the listener that presents the biggest challenge for me.

I can remember trying to craft an elevator speech when I was entering the job market right out of college. Back then it was all about what kind of job I hoped to land, not what kind of service I was experienced enough to provide. Now it’s more of a story that I’m telling about who I am, how I got here, and where I’m going.

My deadline is looming. Am I working on my speech? Not exactly… I’m blogging about how I need to work on my speech. Wow, I really need to get back to work.

Posted in communications, messaging, networking | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Working can be fun

Posted by Vicki Moulton on August 14, 2009

ferris wheelEver heard of something called “free work”? It’s a freelance-style, resume-building type of career move that is completely different from the traditional unpaid internship, according to a new eBook I came across today called “The Recession-Proof Graduate” (by Charles Hoehn).

While this is written from the Gen Y, new-grad perspective of an early 20-something who clearly had enough cash on hand to work for free that first year out of college (which most don’t, especially in a recession), I must admit that there’s something intriguing about the concept. Who wouldn’t want to do work that’s fun and interesting, on your own terms and your own schedule, without the stress of competing with the faceless masses to become the next underpaid, overworked office drone?

Been there, done that.

Here’s a good intro to this concept, along with a link to the interesting eBook:
Seth Godin’s Blog

P.S. Many thanks to my always-resourceful college classmate, colleague, and good friend Louise Griffin for passing along this great link!

Posted in freelance, marketing, networking, writers | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Building a cohesive network

Posted by Vicki Moulton on June 12, 2009

mosaic_webI’ve been a longtime member of a private, mostly virtual network of 250+ DC-area freelancers who specialize in various areas within the field of communications (writers, editors, technical experts, web programmers, designers, marketing experts, etc.). A colleague of mine from a freelance gig back in 2000 recommended me for membership, and I did the same for another colleague with whom I’ve worked since the mid-90s.

I haven’t made it to very many of the monthly meetings, as worthwhile as they are, because the location is not close enough to my home office to make it worth the commuting time (usually midday on a Friday, which tends to be deadline day). But I’ve stayed in the group because of the many virtual benefits of being an email away from a few hundred great minds with lots of great advice on all things freelance.

Today I received an email from the group’s founder and most passionate cheerleader, explaining what membership in the group means, how it works, and how it has enhanced everyone’s professional experience. I thought it was so concise and well-written that I wanted to post it here (sans identifying information, of course).

Membership can be extended to anybody any of our members feel (1) would benefit from such membership and (2) would be a benefit to the other members. 

(1) [The group] differs from other lists and online groups in that we are a community.  Some of what we share online is strictly business – rates, job leads, articles.  Much is not – announcements of personal triumphs, pleas for pet causes, the occasional bit of humor.  All is offered warmly and accepted graciously, because in [our group], everybody is somebody’s friend.

(2) [The group's] only criterion for membership is that the person being recommended be someone whose work the sponsor can vouch for.  That criterion gives us the comfort of knowing that everybody in [the group] is considered by someone else to be a pro…

We are an unusual group, and the reason we work so well is that everyone here wants to be here and wants to contribute to the group’s continued success.  It’s quality (of relationships and interactions), not quantity (of member rolls), that we’re all about.

Amen to that.

Posted in communications, freelance, MarComm, marketing, networking, writers | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Networking can be fun!

Posted by Vicki Moulton on February 4, 2009

Today I was invited to join a networking group of women entrepreneurs in my county who meet monthly to share ideas, strategies, success stories…and perhaps complain a bit about clients. I am already a member of a (mostly) virtual networking group of freelancers in the greater DC area who communicate primarily via email and Facebook. Professional in-person networking, an essential self-marketing tool for freelancers, is a permanent fixture on my career to-do list, and yet I never seem to make enough time for it. So this seems like a great opportunity, and it’s right in my backyard. I think I’ll RSVP yes.

Posted in communications, freelance, MarComm, marketing, networking | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

 
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