An Evening with Chris Hadfield

Chris Hadfield in Winnipeg

I have been a fan of Chris Hadfield for quite some time.  If you are not familiar with the name, Colonel Chris Hadfield was the first Canadian Astronaut to walk in space, operate the Canadarm and the first Canadian Commander of the International Space Station.  He is also quite the musician – perhaps you will remember his revised rendition of David Bowie’s “Space Oddity”?

But even before his famous performance, I enjoyed his frequent updates from space.  His comments were funny, smart and most importantly, mind opening.  His pictures of Earth were nothing short of spectacular – how lucky were we to be able to share in his experience? I admired the way he used social media to not only educate us but also to challenge us in our thinking individually and collectively.

So when I heard that he was going to be in town for an evening, I knew it would be a treat to listen to him talk about his experiences.  Chris Hadfield in person is extremely dynamic and the evening went by so quickly as he enriched us with his journey of becoming an astronaut and later his first-hand experience of living out in space.

It had been a life long dream of his to become an astronaut.  He had decided at the age of 9 that it was his dream – and every decision he made after that brought him one step closer to making his dream a reality.  He had said something that really stuck with me.  He told us to think of our dreams, and to think if everything worked out perfectly in the next year, two years or five years, where would we be and what would we be doing? He then told us to take that dream and to ‘hang it on the wall’.  That dream, afterall is unattainable.  The journey is in figuring out what smaller steps to take in the meantime.

For him, his first step was becoming a pilot and learning how to fly. He earned his glider pilot licence at 15 and his powered pilot licence at 16.  He learned to fly various types of aircrafts which enabled him to become a test pilot.  He earned a degree in mechanical engineering from Royal Military College and later, a Master’s Degree in aviation systems from the University of Tennessee Space Institute.  He learned different languages (he was fluent in Russian during his presentation!), learned to scuba dive, and even trained as a doctor in surgery.

All those goals contributed to his dream of becoming an astronaut.  It was impressive to see how dedicated he was and how his decisions all reflected what he wanted to accomplish.

This really stuck with me – even if I have no plans of becoming an astronaut (closed and tight spaces are not for me…).  Why wouldn’t this model work for any occupation… or any goal for that matter?

As a marketer, if I wanted to become successful at what I do – I should be doing the same thing! As I go through my career, I should be collecting more skills to add to my toolbox.  With the end goal in mind, I can now make decisions and life choices strategically so they can take me one step closer to my ‘dream on the wall’.

Not only would I have to be knowledgeable with the trends and best practices of digital marketing right now, I have to continue to grow my knowledge base over the years.  I will need to master traditional media and find my way around radio, TV, and print.  I will have to learn design and typography, how to code and the difference between the different paper stocks even.  I have to refine my skills as a writer – and be able to tailor my writing for creative or technical pieces.  I will have to learn about the different industries that I want to work in – their trends, their vernacular even.  This should seem overwhelming, but instead – it was so invigorating to approach my career this way.  Each of these are manageable and attainable goals and even if my list of to do’s keep growing, I know that they will all help me mature into the type of marketer that I want to be. How exciting!

If you ever get the opportunity to listen to Chris Hadfield speak – don’t miss out!  He is full of wonderful tales that will open your mind and challenge your thinking.  As a marketer, you will appreciate his fresh approach on using social media to connect, unite and educate.  It really is worthwhile and I hope you will get the opportunity to see him for yourself!

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I am a Top 10 Finalist for the MiB Awards!

I am beyond excited to announce that my blog has been chosen as a Top 10 finalist for the MiB Awards in the Social Media and Marketing category! Thank you to those who voted for me.  Because of your votes, my blog will now be read by the MiB jury panel and be exposed to some of Canada’s most brilliant marketers and business people. That is a treat in itself! Wow!

To new readers that have come here from MiB, I’m so glad you took the time to visit. This is my second year participating in the MiB Awards and both years, the awards have given me valuable exposure and for that, I am grateful.

I am eagerly waiting for the final results in a few weeks time. Check back with me soon for the results!

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Business Blogging Tips to Help You Gain Leads

Let’s face it.  Business blogging is a lot of work.  Whether it’s the responsibility of one individual or shared amongst the team, business blogging no doubt requires an investment of time and effort.  Not only do you have to keep to a schedule, you also have to make sure the topics that you talk about are relevant to your audience and that you do it all in a voice that is authentic to your organization.

Having said that, business blogging is an absolutely essential part of your online marketing strategy.  In fact, it can even be considered a marketing channel all its own that can help you grow your business.

Blogging can help drive traffic to your website, which in turn increases conversion opportunities once they get to your site.  It also allows you to highlight your capabilities, your unique products or services, and your brand personality.  It is a way for you to build a relationship with potential customers even before you ever get to talk to them or meet with them.

Blogging can help drive traffic to your

Many businesses fail at blogging because they start out either with unrealistic goals in mind or just don’t understand how to properly utilize the platform to their benefit.  Here are some key points to help you get started:

Consistency is Key

Every blog entry you post is a new page your website has.   The more you blog – the more chances you have of showing up in the search results for search terms that your customers … or prospects care about.

Use Social Media to Distribute Your Content

Once you publish a blog entry, be sure to maximize its reach by sharing the post across your social media channels.  Every time you share, it’ll make it easier for your followers or fans to share the content if they find it useful or interesting. This means reaching more customers in a cost effective way!

Keep a Running List of Topics On Hand

For myself, interesting topics are the hardest to come by when I am on a tight schedule.  Keeping a backlog of ideas on hand for these occasions make writing less painful.  You never know when possible topics can pop up – during a brainstorm session with your team, conversations with your customers, or even during a sales pitch meeting with a prospect and you will want to collect these to use at your convenience.

Spread Your Knowledge

Useful information that is educational or interesting can help your business get introduced to new audiences.  When the information is useful and valuable, your prospects will see your organization as more of a resource than a company making a sales pitch.

Pick Blog Topics Based on Your Most Popular Products / Services / Offers

Topics relating to these products, services or offers are the ones that your audience is most interested in so it only makes sense to talk about them more!  Plus, if you are looking at things from an ROI perspective, these blogs will likely convert better than other topics.

Dare to Try Different Formats

When you have more time, you can write longer blog posts complete with graphics and illustrations.  When you’re in a time crunch, it is ok too to have shorter posts.  They can be a list, take aways, Q&A with an expert, an infographic or even a photo update from an event.  The point is to pick a format that will present your information in the most engaging and interesting way that works within your time allotment and other requirements.


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From Instagram Follower to a Real Customer

Following my last post on social media, I am going to continue on that same topic for just a bit longer!

I wandered into the cutest little stationary shop a few weeks back, while I was out exploring my new surroundings.  Turns out, not only is my new work in the heart of downtown, it is also only a few minutes walk away from the historic district, one of my favourite areas in the city filled with beautiful buildings from the early 1900’s.  Today, it is filled with restaurants, galleries, museums, and quaint little boutiques.

Instagram MarketingI was walking around when I remembered that a shop I started following a few weeks back on Instagram was located in the area.  I had found them while browsing my own feed when a friend showed off a beautiful set of prints that she had purchased from the m.  Unable to remember the address, I set out to explore and find the shop myself.  Since the area consists of only a few blocks, it was not hard to find. I walked in and the store was just as I imagined it after having seen their photos from Instagram (you can tell a lot about a brand’s personality or anybody’s personality really, just by their Instagram feed). The store was filled with beautiful leather bound notebooks, hand drawn calendars, one of a kind prints.  It was beautiful.  Unfortunately, I had not planned on spending any money that day so I walked out empty handed.  I’ve gone back to the shop twice now (I have only started working downtown for 4 weeks) and I plan on going back a few more times before the holidays to do some Christmas shopping.

And how did I become so enamoured with this little shop?  It all started with Instagram.

So there. Social media marketing does work.


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MiB Awards 2014

I’m very excited to announce that once again, my blog is competing in the MiB Awards recognizing the best bloggers in Canada.  Blogs compete in different categories like Cooking, Home Design, Humour, Travel & Tourism and many more! Of course, you will find my blog under the Marketing & Social Media category.

Writing this blog has been such a rewarding experience for me.  Each blog entry has been a learning exercise for me.  Honestly, it’s been more rewarding than I could have ever imagined.

If you can spare a few minutes, I would really appreciate your vote!  You can click here and just click vote.  Thanks in advance for your time! I hope you’ve enjoyed reading the blogs as much as I enjoy writing them.

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Why Social Still Matters

Why SocialStill Matters
I have been thinking a lot more about social media marketing lately – mostly because I’ve been able to do a lot more of it at my new job! It’s been an exhilarating experience building up our page and increasing engagement from our followers but I’ve also encountered first hand a lot of the challenges that brands face when carrying out social media marketing. How do I increase the number of followers? How can I increase impressions organically without paying for ads? How can I turn followers into consumers? What content should I post?  and finally – Is the time I spend here time well spent?

As much as experts can talk about the formulas and the science behind marketing on these social channels, there is no secret trick where you can apply ‘a’, do it ‘b’ number of times to get an increase of ‘x’ number of followers and ‘y%’ increase in engagement.  If someone has discovered that elusive formula, please tell me. I might even be willing to pay!  The whole point behind social media is that it is about the people – the connections, the interactions and… the authenticity.  Anything lacking in these three key ingredients would just be a disaster.

Social media marketing after all… is so much about the authentic voice.  The voice that people can trust, can relate to, and can remember (most preferably, at the moment of purchase!).  When you have enough people believing in that voice and will follow it – you inevitably have a ‘community’. This idea of community is so powerful – because they are made up of people that believe in your brand and can be your advocates.  What social media can offer that traditional channels can’t, is a chance to interact with these people and have meaningful 2 way conversations. The problem though, is this type of value can be so hard to measure.

Even so, I will say this.  Because of social media, I’ve had the opportunity to engage with people both online and offline.  I’ve had glimpses into their lives, been privy to their thoughts on our brand through the comments they make and the conversations that they have with their friends and family – this is the type of data that is truly invaluable.  These snippets have taught me so much – not just about what we sell, but how our products have truly changed their lives. Getting to see these moments have brought even more meaning to my job – so while it is hard to justify the efforts spent on social media, I say it is all worthwhile – if not just for these moments that help bring everything back into perspective.

What are your thoughts on social media marketing and its place in the marketing mix?


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Ideas For Your Next Video

Video Marketing

Video isn’t just for entertainment anymore.  In fact, online video is increasing in importance and effectiveness when it comes to online purchase decisions.

Did you know that 73% of  adult consumers are more likely to make a purchase after watching an online video that explains the product or service beforehand?  Web users today are hungry for information but they don’t necessarily have the time to read through pages of text to find what they need.  It is important to keep navigation easy and intuitive and your content engaging.

Lately, I have been loving videos that are able to tell a story.  I love hearing the company founder, president or executive talk about the company’s history, vision and mission.  For me, understanding their story makes their business or what they do just that much more compelling.  It reminds me of Simon Sinek’s TED Talk ‘Start with the Why’ that I wrote about last year.

Here are a few more creative ideas for your next video:

Instructional or How To Videos

67% of consumers watch instructional videos.  The best instructional videos are the one where the message is clear and delivered in a creative, engaging or humorous way.  Instructional videos allow you to showcase your product or service and appeal to DIYers who can’t wait to try it themselves.

FAQ’s Videos

Keep track of the questions that your customers ask frequently and create a video that answers each question on video – a great way to add value for your customers!

Testimonial Videos

If your customers are willing, create a video of your customers talking about their experience with your company. Let your customers do all the talking!

Keep your budgets low but don’t sacrifice on quality.  But most important of all, don’t aim to go ‘viral’.  Think about your target audience and how you can reach them and help them. You are not aiming for worldwide domination (unless that is your goal, of course…)

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