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Thankful for …

November 24, 2014
turkey cards

Photo: Vanessa (CC)

I hope you’re getting ready for a day of fun and relaxation and maybe even a little reflection. And eating, of course, mustn’t forget the eating.

I’m thankful every day for good health and many opportunities. Allow me to share a few specifics from my long list of blessings.

  • I’m thankful for my clients, sponsors, supporters and cheerleaders. You bring me new challenges and new ways to serve.
  • I’m thankful to run my own business. It has taught me so many lessons from top to bottom and put my energy and my strategic thinking to the test.
  • I’m thankful to have ideas all the time. I give most away, and make some money on the rest.
  • I’m thankful for the honest and wise counsel of friends. And doubly thankful that I listen carefully when they speak.
  • I’m thankful for the gift of self-doubt. It has kept me honest with myself and humble (mostly).
  • I’m thankful for having traveled far and wide this year to give talks and meet people.
  • I’m thankful for being able to curb my sharp tongue, but also being able to speak up when few others will.
  • I’m thankful for my daily blogging, a never-ending opportunity to be creative and to improve as a writer and a communicator.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Take a moment to reflect on what you’re grateful for, and share it in the comments, please.

Everything I would fix about your terrible restaurant website right now if I could reach through the screen

November 17, 2014
birds dining

Photo: Alexander Boden (CC)

I go through this every time I browse through restaurants online.

Terrible, outdated, incomplete websites.

I could back-date this post to 2001. And I won’t even get started on the number of places that use Facebook or Yelp as their “website.”

This is what I would have you fix about your website today. Even a simple business card page that includes all the info would be preferable to some of the lackluster sites out there. (I’ve included links to sites with examples done right.)

  1. Hours, phone number, email, address. On every. single. page.
  2. Seriously, list your email. I saw sites that list their fax number but not their email.
  3. And respond to your email (a long-standing pet peeve).
  4. Twitter icon should link to your Twitter account. Or get rid of it.
  5. Mobile version or responsive version.
  6. Menus. And not just PDFs either. Actual text on page, with prices.
  7. Want to link out? Go nuts. Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, Yelp, Urbanspoon, Foursquare/Swarm, reviews, profiles, blog posts …
  8. Photos. Fewer ones of your empty restaurant, more of ingredients and entrees and people enjoying your food. Points deducted if you use stock images.
  9. And photos sized properly for the Web. No 6MB pics, please.
  10. Or just have an Instagram feed.
  11. A couple of sentences about your restaurant couldn’t hurt. What do you serve? How formal are you? How long have you been in business? What’s the house specialty? Do you suggest reservations?
  12. If you cater, post a menu and an order form.
  13. Or just, at least, say you offer catering.
  14. Page titles still matter. I’ve seen sites with ” ” as the page title.
  15. Do you take credit cards? Checks? Cash only? Paypal, bitcoin, Apple Pay, traveler’s checks hugs?
  16. Kids welcome? Tell me about your high chairs, children’s menu and discounts.
  17. If you deliver, tell me the minimum order and show me a map of your delivery area.
  18. I have a sweet tooth. I would like to know if you serve dessert. I don’t care if you’re open only for breakfast. No, you shut up!
  19. Special event coming up? New page or blog post.
  20. New chef? New page or blog post.
  21. Seasonal menu? New page or blog post.
  22. Toy drive? New page or blog post.
  23. Do you offer gift cards? It’s when people hand you free money, and they may or may not ever use the card itself. Or they use the card and spend even more money …
  24. Daily specials. Happy hour specials. Late night specials.
  25. Will you be open on Thanksgiving? Closing early the day before? Closing Wednesday through Sunday? Leave a note on your site.
  26. Proofread it. And have someone else proofread it.
  27. Owner bio and chef bio.
  28. Parking: where and how much? Valet?

Make it easy for hungry diners to pick your restaurant. Give them a smorgasbord of relevant information on your website.

What bugs you about restaurant sites? Let me know in the comments.

• • •

Let me help you with your website and digital brand.
Contact me for a free consultation.

Contact me

Video: Boost your confidence with body language

November 10, 2014

Video: “Your Body Language Shapes Who You Are,” a TED Talk from Amy Cuddy 

Don’t fake it till you make it. Fake it till you become it.

Amy CuddyThat’s the surprising advice social psychologist Amy Cuddy, at left, gives in her 2012 TED Talk. She explains how “power poses” can inspire confidence before speeches, job interviews and other stressful situations.

I gave similar advice in one recent stress-inducing encounter.

Friday, I had to conduct a mock college admissions interview with a local high school junior. This was part of a high school speech class assignment. She admitted afterward that she was nervous, but I didn’t see (or hear) it during our 25-minute session.

I advised her to speak up. I could hear her OK, but I suggested that speaking in a louder, definitive tone would boost her confidence. I told her to try it out as often as possible: one on one, in groups, in class.

I’ve been working on my posture for 2 years, so I understand how this change in personal projection can affect others.

We can all do little things to both improve our communication and our presence. Cuddy’s talk goes a step beyond looking the part by explaining the science behind how these poses make us bolder. We’re not only changing others’ minds — we’re changing our own.

Watch the video, and try out the poses to see how they affect you.

You may become more powerful than you ever realized, even if you started out faking it.

• • •

Find more ways to communicate more effectively
in my free weekly newsletter …


AUM presentation: The absolutely essential Twitter workshop

November 3, 2014

If you came to my AUM presentation in Montgomery, “The absolutely essential Twitter workshop,” thank you. If you’re just interested in getting into Twitter for your business, you’re in the right place.

1. You can see the slides from the presentation. Please feel free to download them or embed them on your site. To download a PDF, click the “Save” button.

2. You can also download the worksheet from the presentation.

3. If you want to stay in touch

4. Don’t forget to see the videos from Y’all Connect Presented by Alabama Power, dozens of hours of expert advice on blogging, social media, marketing and more. Contact me if you need the AUM coupon code to get a free video (reg. $19).

Thanks for checking out “The absolutely essential Twitter workshop.”

• • •

If you need help with communication,
book me for a FREE consultation.

Contact me

Why the collapse of the Birmingham media ecosystem is a good thing: What you said

October 26, 2014
Why the collapse of the Birmingham media ecosystem is a good thing

Photo: Robert S. Donovan (CC)

I gave the lunch keynote at the Alabama Media Professionals’ inaugural conference, Navigating Today’s Media, last week. My topic was “Why the collapse of the Birmingham media ecosystem is a good thing.”

If you missed it, check out the tweets from my standing-room-only presentation.

My thanks to the attendees and the organizers for a fine event!

Bill Ledbetter, tweeting my presentation, won a prize for his update!


• • •

Need a keynote presenter who gets people talking?
Contact me today.

Contact me

Advanced email marketing (and more) with Ramit Sethi

October 20, 2014

Ramit SethiAuthor and entrepreneur Ramit Sethi has a great system for email marketing. He sat down with Tim Ferriss for a two-part 2-hour podcast recently.

Listen to his ideas and tips on not only putting the right message in the email, but also reading every reply (in the thousands) and responding.

(That conversation starts around the 35-minute mark.)

• • •

Don’t forget to check out my free email newsletter
for more free tips and links on better communication …


Content Curation for Smarties: What you said

October 13, 2014

I spoke at Southwired (formerly Digital Atlanta) on curation. The slides from “Content Curation for Smarties: Know Everything All the Time” are available on this site.

See all the great tweets from attendees at my hourlong presentation.

See Content Curation

SouthWired presentation: Content Curation for Smarties

October 9, 2014

If you came to my Southwired presentation in Atlanta, “Content Curation for Smarties: Know Everything All the Time,” thank you. If you’re just interested in getting into curation, you’re in the right place.

1. You can see the slides from the presentation. Please feel free to download them or embed them on your site. To download a PDF, click the “Save” button.

2. You can also download the worksheet from the presentation.

3. If you want to stay in touch

4. Don’t forget to see the videos from Y’all Connect Presented by Alabama Power, dozens of hours of expert advice on blogging, social media, marketing and more. Contact me if you need the Southwired coupon code to get videos for only $10 each (reg. $19).

Thanks for checking out “Content Curation for Smarties: Know Everything All the Time.”

• • •

If you need help with communication,
book me for a FREE consultation.

Contact me

Speaking gigs: Navigating Today’s Media, October 2014

October 6, 2014

Innovation Depot

I’m honored to be a keynote speaker at the Alabama Media Professionals’ conference later this month.

Navigating Today’s Media will have me and ABC 33/40 anchor Pam Huff as keynoters at its daylong event on Oct. 23 at Innovation Depot in downtown Birmingham. My lunchtime talk is titled “Why the Birmingham Media Ecosystem Collapse is a Good Thing,” and I’ll have quite a bit to cover in those 30 minutes.

The official description:

Poor coverage. Clickbait. A drought in a society drowning in information. Birmingham is at the forefront of a disturbing trend: media collapse. The city loses with the consolidation of corporate owners, the dumbing down of journalists and the resulting chaos.

Consultant and veteran journalist Wade Kwon sees opportunities amid the ruins, for freelancers, for PR professionals, for brand managers. Discover the hidden benefit to media implosion in his keynote presentation.

The conference is $85, and tickets are available online.

I hope you’ll join us for a provocative and meaty look at local media situation and how communications professionals can benefit.

• • •

Need a speaker for your upcoming event?
Let’s work together …

Contact me

Video: Build better landing pages

September 28, 2014


Lead generation can be tricky for companies, whether they’re brick-and-mortar entities or online only.

In this video, Diana Urban (@DianaUrban, formerly at HubSpot) and Laura Maiurano (@lauramaiurano at Bitly) share their steps on building better landing pages to generate leads. They explain how to write the headlines, how to keep the copy short, how to select the right image and button and more.

The webinar hosts emphasize testing different landing pages to achieve optimal signup rates. The more visitors taking your offer, the more leads to contact. (They even explain how to tweak your page if you have too many leads.)

Note: The audio cuts out a few times during the video.

Watch the presentation and get to work on your offers, your pages and your sales.

• • •

My free weekly email newsletter has even more tips
on boosting your marketing …



September 21, 2014
word magnets

Photo: Jason Tester (CC)

Cutting-edge communication involves a lot of gibberish. Terms I may know that you may not know. Terms I may not know but use anyway.

Terms used by the media. Terms used by competitors. Terms thrown about with little understanding and exaggerated importance.

It’s my responsibility to use easy-to-understand language and to explain terminology when asked. I should make ideas and processes as clear and digestible as possible.

I remember the first time I heard the phrase “inside baseball” in a newsroom and had no idea what it meant. I asked, because I’d rather be temporarily seen as ignorant than permanently actually ignorant.

(Wikipedia: “Inside baseball refers to a detail-oriented approach to the minutiae of a subject, which in turn requires such a specific knowledge about what is being discussed that the nuances are not understood or appreciated by outsiders.”)

(And yes, at the time I asked, Googling wasn’t a thing.)

I do public speaking regularly, and I encourage audiences to ask questions whenever I present a concept that is unfamiliar or poorly defined. People won’t always raise their hands, and I don’t blame them. I anticipate as best as I can.

Any expert in any industry knows their jargon, but their audience may or may not. SEO, retweet, trackback, moderation, affiliate marketing, curation, targeting, plugin — all terms I use and all terms I may need to explain when used.

The challenge for any client is making informed decisions. They are no more able to pick the right marketer than I am at picking the best mechanic. I can take my car to different shops, receive different estimates and review different testimonials. In the end, I’m taking a leap of faith in who will actually repair my vehicle properly and cheaply.

This blog is a way I can overcome the problem of gibberish. Answering questions from any channel (email, comments, social media, phone, raised hand) is another way.

We can all improve in our communication, and minimizing gibberish is an important step.

• • •

Need help understanding communications concepts?
Ask me today …

Contact me

Goals for business blogging

September 15, 2014
forward arrow

Photo: Bruce Berrien (CC)

Before you start blogging, you need a goal. The best goals are measurable over a period of time.

(So “Improve customer satisfaction rate determined by surveys from 60 percent satisfied to 70 percent satisfied within 3 months” is better than “Improve customer service.”)

I have suggestions for goals …

  1. Show expertise.
  2. Answer customer questions.
  3. Show products, including features, demonstrations, assembly and uses.
  4. Build a mailing list.
  5. Sell products.
  6. Establish a brand and corporate values.
  7. Humanize a company.
  8. Foster community outreach.
  9. Go behind the scenes.
  10. Help people.
  11. Collect customer leads.
  12. Conduct market research.
  13. Improve SEO.
  14. Show off company through rich media, including photos, videos, charts, infographics and slides.
  15. Promote events.
  16. Inspire people.
  17. Experiment and test hypotheses.
  18. Provide public accountability.
  19. Foster community discussion.
  20. Talk with people.
  21. Increase revenue.
  22. Promote services.
  23. Manage crises.
  24. Recruit talent.
  25. Provide shareable content.
  26. Have a blog.

Just kidding about that last one. But for most of you, it is sadly accurate.

Define your goal so your blog is focused and moves your business forward.

More posts focused on goals.

What did I forget? Let me know in the comments, please.

Speaking gigs: AUM Social Networking Conference, November 2014

September 7, 2014


I’ll be on the road some more later in the fall, this time within Alabama.

Auburn University at Montgomery will hold its Social Networking Conference on Nov. 4. I’ll be one of the featured speakers, and Y’all Connect will be a sponsor!

I’ll lead a lunchtime discussion on social media, along with a Twitter workshop. If you’re in or near Montgomery, I hope you’ll come by to say hello. (And I may have a ticket or two to give away, so make sure to subscribe to my newsletter.)

(I’ll have a specific time and date for my sessions soon.)

The full-day conference is $99 and tickets are available online.

I’ll see you in Montgomery!

• • •

Get on my mailing list for a chance
to win a ticket to the AUM conference …


Why curation? Master the tsunami of information.

September 2, 2014

Photo: Steve Corey (CC)

The peril of the modern age isn’t being cut off from civilization. It’s being overwhelmed by it.

We have information from traditional media. But instead of seven radio stations and three TV stations, we have thousands. (We won’t talk about newspapers, or consolidation of corporate ownership.)

We have information from emails, text alerts and news sites. But also blogs, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, streaming video and more.

Curation is a must for any content marketing professional in 2014. Curation is how I turned my first blog ever into a destination for readers and Google searchers.

(And curation is my topic for SouthWired in October.)

Why should you master curation?

1. Save time. Instead of hunting for blog post topics and current information in your industry, it comes to you. Set up listening posts and filters so you can stay on top of information easily.

2. Look like an expert. When you can cite data and quotes from a wide variety of sources, you look like you know what you’re doing. When you stumble for an answer, well …

3. Become an expert. You get smarter with each trip to the well of knowledge. Curation simplifies the learning process. You don’t have to know how to repair every make and model of car ever manufactured to know basic repair and maintenance. Chances are if you know how to change the oil and battery in one car, you’ll be able to do it for most cars.

4. Share with ease. Your wealth of curated info can easily be shared in media, in email newsletters, in blog posts, in presentations, in slides, in listicles, in social media and more. Build that expert reputation quickly and authentically.

5. Synthesize. Having access to the breadth and depth of news in your industry makes it possible to catalog it for others to more easily consume. You know what that makes you? Indispensable.

6. Analyze. Doing something with curated info is the most challenging, but also the most valuable. Being able to understand and forecast trends or dissect patterns of behavior can help your company outmaneuver competitors and serve your customers more effectively.

Don’t drown in information. Surf it with curation and ride the waves to new destinations.

• • •

My free newsletter gives you curated information
on communication and marketing …


Speaking gigs: SouthWired, October 2014

August 24, 2014


I’m heading back to Atlanta in October for Digital Atlanta. Except now, it’s called SouthWired, a conference in its 5th year with some 1,200 expected to attend.

My talk will be on the fourth day of this 5-day event and it’s brand new: “Content Curation for Smarties: Know Everything All the Time.”

The official summary:

Good marketers share their expertise. Great marketers share everyone else’s. Consultant Wade Kwon shows the most efficient methods of content curation. The award-winning writer and editor has made a career of gathering news from communities and sharing it with print and online audiences. Learn how expert curation actually puts you and your brand at the center of attention. Discover how to turn simple streams of information into powerful tools to dominate SEO, social and viral.

I love curation, and I’m excited to share my secrets of efficient news gathering and distribution. My talk is part of the marketing track, one of 10 tracks throughout the week. Other tracks include social media, mobile, UX (user experience), health technology and finance technology.

(I’ll have a specific time and date for my session soon.)

The session takes place at 3 p.m. EDT Oct. 9.

My friends Deb Krier and Rebecca Morrow are among the 142 speakers on the lineup. Deb’s topic is “Social Securities: How to Utilize Social Media Without Losing Compliance,” and Rebecca’s topic is “From Tellers to Technology — How to be Found on the Web.”

SouthWired runs Oct. 6-10 at Atlantic Station. Tickets are $50 and available online.

I’ll see you in Atlanta!

• • •

Book me for your event, conference or workshop today …

Contact me

WordCamp Birmingham 2014: a look back

August 18, 2014

I had a great time at WordCamp Birmingham 2014 on Saturday. My talk focused on the Super Easy Guide to Video for Content Marketing.

Thank you to the organizers and volunteers for a terrific event. And thanks to everyone who came to my seminar.

If you missed it, let me share some insightful tweets from the audience.

Watching Wade do his thing! #wpyall

A photo posted by Stephen Vinson (@whoatemyblog) on

Blogging with WordPress panel

I also participated in the Blogging with WordPress panel with Karla Archer, Williesha Morris and Chanda Temple. Allow me to share a few tweets from that session.

• • •

Need a speaker who gets attendees talking?
Hire me for your next meeting …

Contact me

WordCamp Birmingham presentation: The Super Easy Guide to Video for Content Marketing

August 16, 2014

If you came to my WordCamp Birmingham presentation, “The Super Easy Guide to Video for Content Marketing,” thank you. If you’re just interested in including more videos on your WordPress sites, you’re in the right place.

1. You can see the slides from the presentation. Please feel free to download them or embed them on your site. To download a PDF, click the Slideshare logo in the lower left, then “Save.”

2. You can also download the worksheet from the presentation.

3. If you want to stay in touch

4. Don’t forget to see the videos from Y’all Connect Presented by Alabama Power, dozens of hours of expert advice on blogging, social media, marketing and more. Contact me if you need the WordCamp coupon code to get videos for only $10 each (reg. $19).

Thanks for checking out “The Super Easy Guide to Video for Content Marketing.”

• • •

If you need help with communication,
book me for a FREE consultation.

Contact me

Adding video easily into WordPress posts (and pages)

August 11, 2014

Adding video to posts is super easy in WordPress.

Just paste the URL of the video into the body of the post, and WordPress will post the video itself.


This works for YouTube, Vimeo,, Hulu and more (see complete list).

Or you can throw in a short Instagram video …


A video posted by Tina (Fey) & Maya (@tinamayashow) on

Heck, it even works for Facebook videos.

All I did was … paste the URL of the Facebook video.

Make your posts more interesting, more sticky with videos you find that match your topic.

(And learn more at my WordCamp Birmingham talk on Saturday.)

Speaking gigs: WordCamp Birmingham, August 2014

August 3, 2014

I’m presenting at WordCamp Birmingham in a couple of weeks to talk about video content.

Come see me on Aug. 16 at the Harbert Center. My presentation will be at 11:30 a.m. CDT, room TBA. Tickets, $20, can be purchased online.

My talk is called “The Super Easy Guide to Video for Content Marketing,” a look at simple ways to include the most relevant and compelling videos in your blog posts.

The official summary:

Video keeps visitors on your site longer and helps people pay attention to your message. So why aren’t we using it more? Wade Kwon shows easy steps to incorporate video into WordPress sites. Learn how you can make your posts and pages compelling through interesting and entertaining clips in just minutes.

I’ve been a part of WordCamp Birmingham since the beginning, having only missed it in 2013. My pal Carrie Rollwagen will present on “Drive Blog Traffic Without Driving Yourself Nuts” and Bill Robbins will discuss “A/B Testing.”

I hope to see you at this conference!

• • •

I’ve got two more conferences booked for the fall,
but you can still have me at your event …

Contact me

Brands and Twitter: The limits of following

July 28, 2014
Clean up or you're out

Photo: Michael Dolan (CC)

Twitter is a pain. Sometimes, I think this channel does everything it can to be as unpopular as possible.

For instance, Twitter has a spambot problem, as automated accounts clog chats, hijack hashtags and blanket timelines with sales pitches and viruses.

But the solution is as bad as the problem.

I had no idea Twitter was limiting how many people I could follow. In theory, this keeps spambots from following everyone and inflating numbers and luring followbacks. But it punishes legitimate accounts, too.

Twitter warning

My tactic for @YallConnect was to follow as many real people in the Southeast as possible. After following 2,001 users, I saw the warning message (shown above) that stopped me cold.

Y'all Connect on Twitter

The linked policy from Twitter outlines all the following limits:

Once you’ve followed 2,000 users, there are limits to the number of additional users you can follow. This number is different for each account and is based on your ratio of followers to following; this ratio is not published.


I have little choice but to break my rule from my previous post: Brands shouldn’t unfollow anyone.

I’m using, one of many free tools that show which followers and friends are inactive on Twitter. Since following people is now a limited commodity, I must spend my follows carefully. can scan Twitter accounts for inactive followers. can show me who hasn’t tweeted in the last 3 months: 138 users. Unfortunately, they might be using Twitter every day as a news source, but not to tweet or interact. I’ll unfollow them (I could put them on a Twitter list, but it’s not worth the effort.)

Cleaning cycle

Photo: Garry Knight (CC)

Another 20 have no profile image, but most are fairly active accounts. I’ll unfollow the ones who haven’t tweeted in a long time.

Also, I canceled all 17 pending requests to follow users who have private accounts.

And I’m following 838 users who aren’t following back; of those, 78 haven’t tweeted in a month or more. I unfollow those 78 for starters. Some 70 have less than 100 tweets, so I unfollow them, too.

A few minutes of effort has freed up nearly 250 slots.

Maintaining a Twitter account shouldn’t require this much work. But artificial limits mean periodic cleaning to keep accounts lean.

Even if it means cutting some tweeps loose.

• • •

Learn more about Twitter and other social media channels
in my free weekly newsletter …


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