Behind-the-scenes advice for busy solo professionals courtesy of Michael Katz, Blue Penguin Development

  • I’ve had the same template for 10+ years so it seemed like a good time to give that and the associated web site a fresh look.

    Chances are, you didn’t notice. Chances are even greater that you don’t care.

    And that, my content-producing friend, is the point.

    Your readers, listeners, presentation attendees, and the vast majority of your children have little interest in your latest achievement.

    So while it’s fine to let them know when you launch the web site, publish the book, win the award, etc., just keep in mind that the more you shift the balance of what you share from what matters to them to what matters to you, the more quickly they will stop paying attention.

    (Photos of my recent vacation and what I had for lunch yesterday coming your way tomorrow.)

  • It said they were making updates to “Creator Mode,” a LinkedIn functionality which, among other things, allows users to publish newsletters on their platform.

    Fortunately, none of the changes will affect this capability.

    But what if they did? 

    What if they started charging for it, or limited the word count on an article, or decided that bald and exceedingly good-looking men named Michael were prohibited from ever using it (unlikely)?

    If the use of this tool – or any tool on any social platform – were central to your business, you’d suddenly have a BIG problem.

    That’s why I like email. Nobody owns it, nobody wakes up one day and decides to change the rules.

    Which means if you use email as your primary business marketing tool, you are never at risk of an unfortunate “update.”

  • That’s correct. Wired Magazine, the archetype of what it means to be digital, publishes a print magazine several (six?) times a year.

    It’s surprising. It would be like if the “Luddite Newsletter” was only available on TikTok.

    But the surprise – something that doesn’t fit – is what makes it interesting. It’s more or less what makes the punchline in a joke work.

    Too much surprise and you muddy your brand and confuse people. Once in a while and you get their attention.

  • She mentioned, in passing, something she read in my newsletter yesterday.

    The thing is, I didn’t publish yesterday … I published last week and resent the newsletter yesterday to those who didn’t open it the first time.

    I do this every time for my newsletter and those of my clients and see an additional 15 – 20% increase in the number of people who open it.

    Many professionals are wary that a resend will “annoy” people. But I think that’s because they believe that what they have to say is of little value.

    If, on the other hand, you think what you have to say is vitally important and helpful to your audience, well, you are doing them a disservice by not sending a reminder.

    In my experience, nobody ever complains and others often say thank you.

    P.S. The same logic applies when promoting an event or program.

  • After yesterday’s snow/sleet and last night’s cold temps, it was covered in ice when I went out this morning.

    The “trick,” as anyone who has ever owned a car in a cold climate knows, is to turn it on, blast the heat and defrost, and go back inside to finish your oatmeal. Fifteen minutes later and you are good to go.

    Professional services sales works the same way.

    You can chip away at icy prospects with cold calls, special offers, or other tactics intended to attract the attention of strangers.

    Or, you can warm up connections over time with useful content, ongoing visibility, and friendly interactions. (Did somebody say “newsletter?”)

    No chipping. No scraping. No standing around in the cold. Just ice that falls off at the touch.

    Enjoy your oatmeal.