Setting up email newsletter

Happy New Year! I love trying new things and here I go again. I’m trying a new way to stay in touch with people: an email newsletter. Check out the upper right area of my website and you’ll see this little green form:

Now I Have a Newsletter!

Now I Have a Newsletter!

I’m not going to send out emails every day or even every week. I have one email scheduled a month, highlighting different fun activities, books and events I’m offering to kids and families. I’ve sent out a few so far in the end of 2015 and had a nice response, including book sales and inquiries from local schools about my workshops. That’s success!

I’m looking forward to learning more about what families want to hear about from a local author, about healthy eating and encouraging their kids to read.

I use social media effectively to stay in touch with readers but an email newsletter is an easy way to reach readers when social media channels change their rules. We now that not everyone reads every social media channel and it’s better to come to your readers where they are and not wait for them to come find you. It’s also a good way to catch readers when they are not skimming through their feed for entertainment.

If you’re an author or small business looking to use email newsletters to reach your audience, feel free to get in touch with me. I’m available to work with you to set up your email newsletter, write content and schedule emails.

So sign up to get my newsletter and stay in touch!

The Secret of Social Media

The Secret of Social Media

Right now, I’m working with the U.S. part of a major corporation to plan their social media strategy for the next twelve months. We’ve identified buckets of topics to discuss, like insider info on their brand, fun contests, debatable questions and lots, and lots, and lots of photos. We’ve selected people from the various departments in the company to contribute content so it’s not all one person. But after developing all that social media content, I told the client we were only half done.

“Half?!”

My client was a bit upset.

“What more do we need??”

“You need someone that you trust to listen and reply to every comment, every retweet, every mention, every question. Social media is a party. Sometimes it’s a business party, sometimes it’s a cocktail party, sometimes it’s a Sunday afternoon football watching party. When you go to a party you don’t stand there and shout out all your thoughts. If you did that, you’d be called a jerk and never invited back. You need, as a brand, to have conversations. And that’s the secret of social media.”

“What? What is the secret?”

“Listen, and then let your customers know you heard them.”

social media secret

Good listening is hard.

Why brands and businesses are like little children

This client conversation was especially important to me right now because I am having the exact same conversation with my children. I am trying to train my children on the art of conversation and building relationships with people, including their family members. And that means when someone (like Mom) speaks to you, you acknowledge that you heard (‘Yes, Mom”) and answer the question (“Yes, Mom I was the one who unrolled all of the toilet paper. I was trying to see how much was left.”).

The secret to social media is simple. Talk to your customers the way you would -hopefully- talk to people in real life. You would listen to what they say and reply.

Many brands are not practicing good listening on social media. A recent study by Simply Measured showed that 98 of the top 100 brands on Twitter tweeting daily, but only 54% replied to messages. Like my little children, this makes it seem like they are simply not listening.

Good listening is hard. Really, really good listening is a learned technique. It involves certain body postures and skills like repeating back what you have heard someone say to validate their comments. It can also involve asking more questions instead of jumping to the conclusion that you already know the real issue. Lots of adults are not good listeners.

I’m not saying parents are the best listeners. But I am saying when you’re looking for someone to manage your social media, it’s not really about whether they understand ‘the technology.’ The secret to social media is to find a skilled listener.

Twitter and Women: The Right to Vote

Before Thanksgiving, I was excited to be a panelist at a meeting of the International Association of Business Communicators of Pittsburgh. The topic was “Applying Traditional Communication Skills to Social Media.” I do love using social media and I’m a firm believer that skilled communicators of any age can be effective on many different social media platforms.

Being a panelist was fun, but I was more excited to hear the questions from the audience. Other people’s questions spark some interesting ideas in my brain. Sometimes I blurt out those interesting ideas. And I did that at the IABC event.

A gentleman in the audience asked, “What historic events would have been different if we had social media when they happened?”

Before anyone else could answer, I said, “If we had Twitter, women would’ve gotten the right to vote a lot earlier!

Here’s why I think that.

Twitter and Women

Women and men like using social media, but trends show that women use it a bit more than men. A colorful info graphic on socialmediatoday.com states that 71% of women use social media sites. 62% of Twitter users and 58% of Facebook users are female. The ladies would totally rock the vote using these platforms, but especially Twitter.

Herland feminist utopia

Imagine if women could read this as an e-book.

I’m a historian by training and the Progressive Era was the focus of my studies. I know how hard it was for women to organize, travel and communicate back then. We’re seven years away from the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment and it’s still hard for women to organize, travel and communicate. But social media makes it a lot easier for women – whether at home, at work, wherever- to share ideas with other like-minded women and to get educated. I like to think there would’ve been tweets like “Fed up with the federal gov’t! Suffrage Now! #SenecaFalls” and “The U.S. doesn’t yet include US #Suffrage.”

Twitter users tend to have higher levels of education and higher income. I’m not saying that makes them better than non-Twitter users, but I do believe it’s likely they’d have more free time and financial resources to begin the organization and advocacy for the right to vote. And women working their butts off to make ends meet wouldn’t be able to take off work for marches and sit-ins and fancy conferences, but they’d also be able to engage in the debate, send tweets to elected officials, get donations, and raise awareness through social media.

So there are a few simple reasons why I think Twitter would’ve lead to women getting the vote quicker. I also think that Twitter would’ve made it harder for suffragists to jettison African-American’s right to vote. While many women fighting for the vote back in the 1920’s argued that giving white women the vote would counteract giving black men the right to vote, 25% of Twitter users are African-American and there’s no way their equality would be undermined if Twitter was a part society back then.

So what historical events do you think would be different if social media had existed when they happened? 

 

Classroom Workshops featuring The Bumpy, Grumpy Road

DSCN0311I love visiting schools and sharing The Bumpy, Grumpy Road with kids. They all understand exactly the challenges that the main character Dylan faces – siblings who borrow their toys, sibling who don’t listen. And they all struggle with how to handle those challenges.

I recently spoke with a parent who shared that she wants to give her children good advice on handling the rough patches in life but isn’t sure how to tell them in words they can understand.

The Bumpy, Grumpy Road shows kids that life’s challenges are better handled with positive words and calm feelings. My classroom workshops give them a chance to tell their own story of challenges and solutions.

Does your child struggle with grumpiness or frustration? Is your child’s classroom looking for a great program to discuss the tough times kids face and how to handle them? I’m happy to visit and share The Bumpy, Grumpy Road and simple activities to encourage positive behavior! 

 

Review for “The Bumpy, Grumpy Road”

Is there anything nicer than a great review from a expert in the field of dealing with emotions? 

I’m lucky enough to be part of an amazing group of women as a contributor to  30 Second Mom. I found many other moms running their own businesses, writing books and dealing with grumpy kids! Dr. Christina Hibbert, a psychologist focusing on women’s health, postpartum health, and parenting issues. Her post on handling whining really hit home with me.  She was kind enough to review a copy of The Bumpy, Grumpy Road and sent me her thoughts:

The Bumpy, Grumpy Road is an adorable book that will help children of all ages learn to navigate feelings of anger, frustration, sibling rivalry, and plain old grumpiness. It not only entertains, it teaches practical skills children can apply to help them overcome their “big feelings” and find their way back to the “smooth path” of sharing, caring, and feeling happy again. I will read the book to my younger kids. I particularly loved your “signs”–what a great way to teach kids how to stop and change their behavior. A really great idea!”

Thanks Dr. Hibbert!

 

Social Media Bootcamp for Freelance Writers

How to Use Social Media to Get Freelance Gigs

If you’re looking for guidance or training on how to boost your freelance career using social media, this is the bootcamp for you. Sign up before all the spots are filled!

Zagat Rates Pittsburgh Food?

Zagat will be rating Pittsburgh restaurants in 2013. According to the Pittsburgh Business Times, “Currently, the only reviews for the Pittsburgh-area on Zagat.com are for chain restaurants that were taken from their recent National Chain Restaurant Survey.”

Why is Zagat so popular? I think it’s because people like to hear what others think is good, go try it themselves, and get in a big huff when they don’t agree.

People have a lot of opinions. And people have a lot of opinions about food.

A close friend of mine recently shared how he was having lunch at a popular new spot and the chef asked his group how they enjoyed a new menu item. Even though these people had no experience owning or running a restaurant, everyone felt they were qualified to give an opinion.

Restaurants are businesses that serve people and thrive on loyal customers. Want to build a loyal customer base that loves your services? Listen to the opinions of your customers, your audience. Show them you respect their input. You don’t have to promise to deliver everything they ask you for, but you have to at least give some time to listen.

That’s why I created My Food Notebook for my most important “business” – my family. I don’t run a restaurant, I’m not even that great in the kitchen, but I know how to build strong relationships! My Food Notebook lets my kids to give feedback on the food we prepare and serve. It helps me learn what they like so I can offer a variety of foods that are similar to their favorites. They get the comfort of familiarity and I help them learn how to tackle new things in life.

I’m launching My Food Notebook at Marty’s Market on December 8, 2012 at 12 Noon. All are welcome! We’ll be encouraging kids and adults to try some new foods and give their opinions. We’ll have some prizes, too!

Try it in your own life. No one like to have their opinions ignored. What might be easier in your life if you simply gave people a chance to express themselves?

 

Gilda’s Club Name Change?

How do you feel about the imminent change starting in the Madison Gilda’s Club organization to the Cancer Support Community? To me, it feels a little like someone not interested in explaining their brand and instead choosing a name that is more SEO-friendly. But I could be wrong.

Language and word choice is very important to the folks at Gilda’s. I worked with them for many wonderful years when I was a full-time non-profit professional and remember when they shared with me the document that explained the very specific terminology they used in all Gilda’s Clubs programs. One big difference from my employer’s terminology was that folks at Gilda’s Club staff and volunteers avoided the phrase “battling cancer.” They didn’t like that phrase because a battle implied that someone might lose.

The official explanation is that young people don’t know who Gilda Radner was and they want as many people with cancer to find them and utilize their support services.

Here’s a comment from Lannia Stenz, Executive Director:

Like many of you, I have been a fan of Gilda and SNL throughout my life. However, Gilda’s Club Madison is part of a larger organization, the Cancer Support Community. After a great deal of discussion and deliberation our local board of directors chose to make the change for a number of key reasons:

1. In 2013 we are beginning the outreach process to offer education and support programs to outlying areas. Our service area is a 14-county region in SW Wisconsin. Our new name incorporates the entire region.
2. Our parent organization, Cancer Support Community is now the parent agency of all Gilda’s Clubs and Wellness Communities. As of this year, all of the Wellness Communities have changed their name to Cancer Support Community. Gilda’s Clubs across the county are beginning to follow their example.
3. There will be no new Gilda’s Clubs created in coming years because Gilda’s Club Worldwide is now Cancer Support Community.
4. By incorporating what we do into our name we are eliminating confusion and will be able to more effectively raise awareness about our programs.

Finally, although the name is changing, our mission remains the same. The spirit of Gilda’s Club will stay alive in the clubhouse. We have one goal: to ensure that all people affected by cancer are empowered by knowledge, strengthened by action, and sustained by community.

It is my sincere hope that our community will continue to support our work through this challenging change and cheer on our efforts to provide emotional support, cancer education and hope to men, women and children who are impacted by cancer. As an organization we have a great deal to celebrate and we hope you will join us as we move forward.

Regards,
Lannia Stenz
Executive Director

Read more: http://host.madison.com/news/local/health_med_fit/gilda-s-club-changing-name-as-fewer-know-namesake/article_0893171c-53c8-50bd-900f-6381aee41f71.html#ixzz2DZKDZ7Ii

 

 

Can You State Your Business Goals?

Start today. Thanks to Runkeeper.com for helping me track my progress towards my running goals!

Early in conversations with potential clients, I ask them to state their goals for me. If they can’t state a measurable goal, I encourage them to work it out and then come back and continue the conversation with me.

It’s not that I don’t want the business. I just don’t want a dissatisfied customer. And if my customer can’t state their goals – in an objective way so it’s obvious whether we’ve reached them or not – how can they ever be satisfied?

You’ve probably heard of “SMART” goals before. If not, here’s a little tutorial from Stanford University:

A SMART goal is:

Specific (and strategic):  Linked to position summary, departmental goals/mission, and/or overall School of Medicine goals and strategic plans.  Answers the question—Who? and What?

Measurable:  The success toward meeting the goal can be measured.  Answers the question—How?

Attainable:  Goals are realistic and can be achieved in a specific amount of time and are reasonable.

Relevant (results oriented):  The goals are aligned with current tasks and projects and focus in one defined area; include the expected result.

Time framed:  Goals have a clearly defined time-frame including a target or deadline date.

This is the perfect time of year to take a good chunk of time – not a fleeting moment – and state your business goals. And if you need a writer or social media coach to help achieve some of these goals, just ask!

Fiction and Non-Fiction Creative Writer

children's book author, writer, social media coachWelcome!

I’m Elizabeth Pagel-Hogan. I’m best known as a fiction and non-fiction writer for children. I’ve written for magazines like Highlights for Children, Appleseeds and Family Fun.

Recent awards:

I love working with children and I am available for school visits, classroom and community workshops.

 

In addition to my children’s writing, I also provide freelance services including:

  • Editing and e-book production
  • Creative consultation and promotion
  • Business writing and blogging
  • Social media coaching

Creative writers get ideas from many places. As a runner and triathlete, I find that a tough physical challenge is a great way to spark incredible ideas.

As a mom, I know the value of humor and patience. My own children keep me on my creative writer toes and offer endless inspiration. Need help with grumpy kids? Picky kids? Want to dance with a dinosaur? Grab a book below!

Contact me at 412.837.9499 or onesweetwriter[at]gmail.com if you need:

I’ve written for magazines for adults including Family Fun, PTOToday, and Thrive. I’ve also written for websites like SchoolFamily.com, PopCity, Kidsburgh and mom.me. I also write for and e-newsletters like Writer’s Weekly and Children’s Writer. My poetry has appeared in Leading Edge Literary Magazine.

I have my MA in American History and have been a science educator, stage performer and worked with non-profits for over 10 years. When I’m not training for an upcoming road race or triathlon, I’m exploring the world with my husband and three children. I’ve been to 31 out of 50 states and 3 continents and counting!

I tackle each writing assignment with enthusiasm and would love to apply my skills to your project.

I encourage you to review my extensive writing samplesview my testimonials, visit my Amazon.com Author Page, and visit my LinkedIn profile.