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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 …


Brands and Twitter: Follow for life

July 21, 2014

Photo: Tony Alter (CC)

Several thousand users follow me on Twitter. And dozens unfollow me each week.

What’s surprising is when brands unfollow me.

Having built and run company Twitter accounts has given me insight on this ecosystem. Brands can’t follow people on Facebook or LinkedIn, but they can on Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram.

People follow and unfollow all the time for all sorts of reasons. No worries there.

But I’m puzzled by brands that follow fans, only to abandon them later on. What is the upside to this? What kind of message does it send to fans?

Brands should follow lots of people as a first step in forming a relationship.

My simple strategy when building a brand audience on Twitter:

1. Follow all followers. (Skip spambots and scammers.)

2. Follow all relevant accounts. Within an industry, it could include competitors, thought leaders and trendsetters.

3. Unfollow no one.

What could be easier? This can allow brands to be better at listening, engagement, customer service, sales and public relations.

Brands: Heed my words. Be in Twitter, not above it. Treat others as equals. And work not on gaining followers but creating a community.

• • •

Need help building a social community?
Let me help …

Contact me

Bloggers to meet in Birmingham, Huntsville

July 14, 2014

Lawanda Stevenson and Wade at the Rocket City Bloggers networking event

Blogging is more fun with a friend. I may have started out on my own, but I’ve learned just about everything from other bloggers.

They know how to build big fan bases, design themes, excite readers and make money.

Let me introduce you to two groups in Alabama that bring bloggers together.

Birmingham Bloggers, Rocket City Bloggers

The first group is Birmingham Bloggers, which took off earlier this year. Beth Branch, Meredith Davis and Molly Moon feature local blogs and bloggers on their site and have held two meetups.

The group is planning a gathering for later this month: Check the event page for details soon. Follow @BhamBloggers on Twitter, or follow the Facebook page.

The second group is Rocket City Bloggers, founded in 2011. It features Huntsville blogs and bloggers on the site and holds monthly dining meetups.

Last week, I stopped by for the Connect! event, a networking event at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center for businesses and bloggers. I had a great time catching up with my Huntsville friends and meeting new ones.

The next two events are the July 22 lunch “bloggle” at I Love Sushi [Facebook event page] and an Aug. 16 social media workshop [Facebook event page]. Both are free.

Follow @RCBloggers on Twitter, and join the Facebook group or follow the Facebook page.

I hope to meet you soon at a blogger event!

• • •

Don’t miss out on great events for bloggers and marketers:
Subscribe to my free weekly newsletter …


Developing a retail content strategy

July 7, 2014
checkout lines

Photo: David Goehring (CC)

Retailers have time this summer to think ahead to the holidays. Besides inventory and staffing, it may be time to put a content strategy into place.

This will take at least 6 months to gain traction, but why not start now?

A content strategy is part of an overall marketing plan. A retailer may already have other pieces in place: signage, print ads, mailers, commercials, sales, preview parties, billboards, search engine marketing and more. Pieces of content — on a website and blog, on social media channels, in emails — can build search referrals, answer common shopper questions and bring in leads and sales.

The strategy comes from the goal, whether it’s to show off products, improve customer service, increase sales or promote branding. Remember, the goal should be measurable over a specified time period.

The content itself can be practically anything: event photos, how-to videos, case studies, testimonials, store updates, spotlights on customers and colleagues, announcements, sales, product demos, reviews, comparisons, Q&A with vendors, coupons and on and on.

Content deserves a home, and the best spot is usually a website. Content deserves a direction, one that shapes it and expands readership. And content deserves to be measured, so that its quality continues to improve.

Smart retailers can put together compelling content over the next few months that strengthens marketing. By engaging readers and customers, retailers can build a real relationship with them and understand their needs more clearly.

It starts with goals, emerges with a strategy and grows with content.

• • •

Let’s build your strategy today …

Contact me


June 30, 2014

flag hands

Independence Day arrives this week, along with an opportunity to recognize and celebrate our freedom. Let us also celebrate these digital freedoms …

Freedom to be foolish: Blogging can be fun. Social media can be fun. So can email newsletters and videos and how we interact on all these screens. I write poetry, I joke around on Twitter, I run secret contests, I make the most of my time with other people online.

Freedom to deliver for customers: I have a lot of online customers. Last week, I spent hours in meetings fighting for them to have more value for their money and better service. I ask them lots of questions in surveys and blog posts and work hard to meet their needs. That’s not just a freedom — that’s a privilege.

Freedom to protect data from prying eyes: We are being watched. By governments. By corporations. By hackers. No system is 100 percent safe, but I urge you to learn about proxies, firewalls and tracking cookies to increase your data privacy.

Video: How to use proxies

Video: The basics of firewalls

Freedom to be unique: Stop copying the competition. Assert who you are, as a person, as a brand, as a business. We have enough cookie-cutter operations. Always strive to be more you.

Freedom to experiment: The digital marketing space is one big experiment. Failure is an excellent teacher, but can be summoned only through trying new approaches. We have an endless variety of ideas on content, timing, repetition, variation, platform, voice, length, promotion, interaction, metrics and more. Let’s use them, let’s measure them, let’s improve them.

Freedom to unfollow: No longer shall we be enslaved to the musings and rantings of shrieking worms. Mute, block, ignore or unfollow at will.

Freedom to untether: Going without devices somehow became trendy of late, as if not using a smartphone nonstop were somehow noble. But chaining ourselves to technology and the always-open world of social is as unwise as it is unhealthy. We can set aside time to roam freely without devices. We can let colleagues and customers know when we’ll be offline. We can work and play in peace.

Freedom to stand against tyranny: Our freedoms today aren’t guaranteed tomorrow. Fight for net neutrality. Speak out against unethical business practices, such as Facebook’s secret psychological experiments. Never forget that other bloggers face harassment and arrest and exile.

While we celebrate our freedom, let’s work to use it and push it to the limit every day.

Happy Independence Day!

In lieu of another blog post

June 23, 2014

Wade Kwon

That’s me at Y’all Connect Presented by Alabama Power 10 days ago. I’m still neck deep in post-conference affairs.

So no blog post this week. Except for this blog post telling you what I’m doing instead:

  • Writing a guest blog post I still owe to the public library on checking out audiobooks.
  • Another guest post I’ve owed for 2 years, but will instead give this (deeply patient) blogger a how-to course on email newsletters.
  • Getting the Y’all Connect videos ready (my mantra for the past 11 months).
  • Meeting with new clients (hallelujah!).

How’s your summer going?

• • •

If you need help with marketing, blogging, social media
or other areas of communication, let’s meet …

Contact me

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