Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Discover Compass Coaching Network -- Affordable Life Coaching for Women

By Anna D. Banks

Women everywhere are experiencing the gift of Compass. We invite you to join Kim Fulcher, CEO of Compass, to discover how Compass can help you...

Take Control of your life, Your Finances, Your Security and Your Confidence!

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Start by sharing Compass with women you know who want to live a life they love!

We look forward to "seeing" you on the call and webinar!

Title: Discover Compass Opportunity

Event Date: Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Time: 7:00 PM - 8:00 PM (EST)

After registering you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the Webinar.
System Requirements
PC-based attendees
Required: Windows® 2000, XP Home, XP Pro, 2003 Server, Vista
Macintosh®-based attendees
Required: Mac OS® X 10.4 (Tiger®) or newer

Space is limited.

Reserve your Webinar seat now at:


Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Let's Use Twitter


Monday, January 19, 2009

Social Media Marketing Beginner’s Guide

By Jon Rognerud


What is the hottest social media tool to emerge on the scene this year? It’s ‘Twitter’, and you may get hooked too…

I recently came back from a fully packed conference on social media marketing, the Danny Sullivan SMX show in Long Beach, CA, and all-the-rage was Twitter, a micro-blogging platform that many at first (typically) considered a ‘joke’ or maybe just a temporary fad. They (we) were all wrong, but most agreed that using any tool or technique without a reasonable strategy was a missed opportunity.

But, let’s not be too quick - learn how to research & leverage the social media space with planning and execution along the way.

I’ll show you that micro blogging and the other tools and platforms in this short SMM guide are things you might consider for your important social media marketing.

Furthermore, SMM can provide quality traffic, you can minimize the often laborious time by a little planning and it is possible to market into B2B marketplaces. It’s not just for kids anymore.

What is it?

Social media marketing (SMM) is a form of internet marketing which seeks to achieve branding and marketing communication goals through the participation in various social media networks”. Social Media is a shorter top level term that describes the space overall, and covers the activities around social interaction, content, videos, images and audio exposure.

Where to start?

Many of us are so excited about the technology and web (hence my somewhat trite opening), that we forget key pieces to success: definition of business goals, objectives and overall process for execution. The old “fail to plan, plan to fail” comes to mind. While you need to create the roadmap for your online business - you must certainly decide on what goals and resulting metrics you want to attain.

Social media marketing can help you increase the activity around these top goals:

  • Website traffic and user behavior (external and internal tracking)
  • Conversion and sales tracking
  • Page views, ad exposure
  • Growing brand awareness (a softer value, takes longer to build)
  • Creating a positive brand association and keeping it there (see also reputation management)
  • Business development and a broader customer reach

How can you create and convert all this activity with social media?

Since the social web allows you to interact with others, create and promote content that can get links and viral attraction, you can - with the right strategy - reach key influencers using this medium. We all know what blogs alone can do, and they are pretty search engine friendly out of the box.

Social media expansion is important because this provides foundations for broader / faster mindshare, along with supporting your search engine marketing objectives. You *can* convert traffic if you target appropriately (research needed), and do not spam. Read each point below to get a deeper understanding.

Tip #1 - Assistance:
Limit talking about yourself, at least initially - provide ways to help others instead. This is probably the most important tip in the social media workplace. Say you are building your new del.icio.us profile, make sure to bookmark other useful resources and sprinkle yourself lightly. It’s about “them”, not “you”. Don’t forget this important rule!

Tip #2 - Process:
Don’t become a “me too” - establish a process and goals for how to get there. I recommend reading 5 pillars for one, and much like SEO programs that have a process (keyword research, competitive review, content analysis, etc), build out a similar map. Too many companies dive in too fast, with no real plan and they are simply peeing in the pool, and no good results come from that.

Tip #3 - Contribute:
Be the one to create (quality) content. While community is Queen in Social Media, quality content is still King, and always will be. Studies show that people are reading much online, but a much smaller group is contributing content. This can mean good opportunities for you.

Tip #4 - Connect:
Reach out to the influencers in your niche, be polite, honest, sincere, and you’d be amazed what brand advocates can do for you.

Tip #5 - Position:
Position yourself in front of consumers’ passions. It can and will create a powerful outcome for your brand.

Tip #6 - Blog:
Make sure you have setup a blog. These numbers are not to be overlooked. I think Technorati is tracking over 110 million blogs now, and growing at a furious pace, even excluding splogs (spam blogs).

Tip #7 - Links:
Don’t be afraid to link out to other blogs and websites in general. Links are what search engines and users make good use of - and search engines would not survive without them. Give others the love too.

Tip #8 - Videos:
Video consumption is growing fast. Create a “how to…” or “top tips…” videos and submit to YouTube. It has wide reach, and you could have millions of people see it. For even wider distribution, you should try tubemogul.com or vidmetrix.com, tools to help automate. In generating all content, make sure to keep #1 rule in check. It’s fine to brand with a URL at the end of the video, but no direct selling. Humor, controversy and weird stuff works very well, keep that in mind - don’t be afraid to test.

Tip #9 - Technorati:
You said you have a blog, right? Claim your blog at Technorati. This will ensure you are indexed in their search engines for blogs and updates are broadcast across the network, along with your own blog network updates. This happens behind the scenes from automatic “pings”.

Tip #10 - Analytics:
Open an account from list below, use your brand name as identifier. This will establish your brand or company name, and not let anybody else assume or steal your personality so easily. Then, work with one or two from the list below to start, and don’t go too fast. Look at your web analytics and track referring domains and review traffic movements daily, weekly.

Tip #11 - Feeds/Research:
Subscribe to feeds, and use iGoogle, My Yahoo Web or other favorite RSS readers. Watch for changes (use Google.com/alerts also), and be the first to comment and engage in your topic. First commenters often get more visibility and traction.

Tip #12 - MicroCommunities:
Locate and join microcommunities - they are social communities that are relevant to your business. Some examples are education.com, nowpublic.com, travbuddy.com, gardenweb.com, shoetube.com, yelp.com and care2.com (non profits). It is much easier to have your voice heard in these and similar markets, than trying a post to Digg that may go nowhere. Those are the perfect places for the “big fish in a small pond” rule. Create highly relevant and linkworthy content, research what others are writing about, and connect with the top players and influencers.

Tip #13 - Submit:
Review the resources below, and consider building out profiles over time. If you submit content, make sure it’s useful, unique and that the title of your post stands out. Pick one or two resources to start, and don’t overextend yourself. Some of the top social marketers in the industry spend 10-12 hours a day, 6-7 days a week. This is a lot of manual (social) labor, but you don’t have to go at it that hard. Make sure to ask friends to vote or comment on your postings, befriend others, but no spam. Make intelligent posts and do not have your company employees post from the same location (IP Address). The submission(s) will most likely be rejected, and worst case, your account blocked or suspended.

Tip #14 - Hosting:
Have a good hosting provider. If traffic spikes come, and your server instrastructure cannot handle it, you are toast. You don’t want a Digg server melt-down (fun pic). Here’s a first hand story and how to deal with it.

Tip #15 - Monitoring:
If you want to save time monitoring across many resources within the social networks, try the new Yahoo Pipes, it’s a social monitoring desktop in a browser.

Tip #16 - Advertising:
If you are an advertiser, you might want to check out socialspark.com and socialmedia.com - they both are showing promise from what I can see.

Your Top Social Media Starter Resources (not necessarily in order of importance):

  1. Twitter *See more below - specific for twitter
  2. Facebook (download toolbar)
  3. YouTube (toolbar exists, but have not tried)
  4. Del.icio.us (download toolbar)
  5. StumbleUpon (download toolbar)
  6. LinkedIn (tip: use the Q/A section to gain readership and clients)
  7. Flickr
  8. Digg
  9. Reddit
  10. Technorati
  11. Secondlife (3D)
  12. Meneame (spanish, translate title and synopsis before posting)
  13. Newsvine
  14. Tip: Subscribe (RSS) to Techcrunch!

Twitter bonus: (Thanks GrayWolf)

Web Browser Plugin: twitterfox
Desktop: twhirl, alertthingy
Blog Tools: loud twitter
Email: twittermail ((abc…@twittermail) - cool tip: schedule to post when you are not online)
Phones: twitterberry (BlackBerry), itweet (iPhone)
Other: tweetscan (alerts, keyword, user search)
Competitor: Pownce.com - check it out along with friendfeed.com

About Jon Rognerud

Jon Rognerud is a search engine optimization (SEO) consultant in Los Angeles, and is the founder of www.chaosmap.com. His new internet marketing book was launched in April 2008, the “Ultimate Guide to Search Engine Optimization”, currently on Amazon and available in bookstores nationwide.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

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Wednesday, December 31, 2008


Saturday, December 27, 2008

How to REALLY be Successful with 2009 New Year’s Resolutions http://ping.fm/kUl9E

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

50 Ideas on Using Twitter for Business

by Chris Brogan


We really can’t deny the fact that businesses are testing out Twitter as part of their steps into the social media landscape. You can say it’s a stupid application, that no business gets done there, but there are too many of us (including me) that can disagree and point out business value. I’m not going to address the naysayers much with this. Instead, I’m going to offer 50 thoughts for people looking to use Twitter for business. And by “business,” I mean anything from a solo act to a huge enterprise customer.

Your mileage may vary, and that’s okay. Further, you might have some really great ideas to add. That’s why we have lively conversations here at [chrisbrogan.com] in the comments section. Jump right in!

Oh, and please feel free to reblog this wherever. Just be kind and link back to the original article.

50 Ideas on Using Twitter for Business

First Steps

1. Build an account and immediate start using Twitter Search to listen for your name, your competitor’s names, words that relate to your space. (Listening always comes first.)
2. Add a picture. ( Shel reminds us of this.) We want to see you.
3. Talk to people about THEIR interests, too. I know this doesn’t sell more widgets, but it shows us you’re human.
4. Point out interesting things in your space, not just about you.
5. Share links to neat things in your community. ( @wholefoods does this well).
6. Don’t get stuck in the apology loop. Be helpful instead. ( @jetblue gives travel tips.)
7. Be wary of always pimping your stuff. Your fans will love it. Others will tune out.
8. Promote your employees’ outside-of-work stories. ( @TheHomeDepot does it well.)
9. Throw in a few humans, like RichardAtDELL, LionelAtDELL, etc.
10. Talk about non-business, too, like @astrout and @jstorerj from Mzinga.

Ideas About WHAT to Tweet

11. Instead of answering the question, “What are you doing?”, answer the question, “What has your attention?”
12. Have more than one twitterer at the company. People can quit. People take vacations. It’s nice to have a variety.
13. When promoting a blog post, ask a question or explain what’s coming next, instead of just dumping a link.
14. Ask questions. Twitter is GREAT for getting opinions.
15. Follow interesting people. If you find someone who tweets interesting things, see who she follows, and follow her.
16. Tweet about other people’s stuff. Again, doesn’t directly impact your business, but makes us feel like you’re not “that guy.”
17. When you DO talk about your stuff, make it useful. Give advice, blog posts, pictures, etc.
18. Share the human side of your company. If you’re bothering to tweet, it means you believe social media has value for human connections. Point us to pictures and other human things.
19. Don’t toot your own horn too much. (Man, I can’t believe I’m saying this. I do it all the time. - Side note: I’ve gotta stop tooting my own horn).
20. Or, if you do, try to balance it out by promoting the heck out of others, too.

Want one of the best themes around?

Some Sanity For You

21. You don’t have to read every tweet.
22. You don’t have to reply to every @ tweet directed to you (try to reply to some, but don’t feel guilty).
23. Use direct messages for 1-to-1 conversations if you feel there’s no value to Twitter at large to hear the conversation ( got this from @pistachio).
24. Use services like Twitter Search to make sure you see if someone’s talking about you. Try to participate where it makes sense.
25. 3rd party clients like Tweetdeck and Twhirl make it a lot easier to manage Twitter.
26. If you tweet all day while your coworkers are busy, you’re going to hear about it.
27. If you’re representing clients and billing hours, and tweeting all the time, you might hear about it.
28. Learn quickly to use the URL shortening tools like TinyURL and all the variants. It helps tidy up your tweets.
29. If someone says you’re using twitter wrong, forget it. It’s an opt out society. They can unfollow if they don’t like how you use it.
30. Commenting on others’ tweets, and retweeting what others have posted is a great way to build community.

The Negatives People Will Throw At You

31. Twitter takes up time.
32. Twitter takes you away from other productive work.
33. Without a strategy, it’s just typing.
34. There are other ways to do this.
35. As Frank hears often, Twitter doesn’t replace customer service (Frank is @comcastcares and is a superhero for what he’s started.)
36. Twitter is buggy and not enterprise-ready.
37. Twitter is just for technonerds.
38. Twitter’s only a few million people. (only)
39. Twitter doesn’t replace direct email marketing.
40. Twitter opens the company up to more criticism and griping.

Some Positives to Throw Back

41. Twitter helps one organize great, instant meetups (tweetups).
42. Twitter works swell as an opinion poll.
43. Twitter can help direct people’s attention to good things.
44. Twitter at events helps people build an instant “backchannel.”
45. Twitter breaks news faster than other sources, often (especially if the news impacts online denizens).
46. Twitter gives businesses a glimpse at what status messaging can do for an organization. Remember presence in the 1990s?
47. Twitter brings great minds together, and gives you daily opportunities to learn (if you look for it, and/or if you follow the right folks).
48. Twitter gives your critics a forum, but that means you can study them.
49. Twitter helps with business development, if your prospects are online (mine are).
50. Twitter can augment customer service. (but see above)

Want one of the best themes around?

What else would you add? How are you using Twitter for your business?

By the way, Jeremiah Owyang has a great post on this, too.

The Social Media 100 is a project by Chris Brogan dedicated to writing 100 useful blog posts in a row about the tools, techniques, and strategies behind using social media for your business, your organization, or your own personal interests. Swing by [chrisbrogan.com] for more posts in the series, and if you have topic ideas, feel free to share them, as this is a group project, and your opinion matters.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Using Free Publicity to Build Your Web Site Links and Traffic

by Matt Hockin

So, you have a great product or service, yet your web site is not getting the high rankings and traffic you desire from the top search engines like Google and MSN Search.

You’re not alone. This scenario is playing out all across the web, yet there is a simple solution to the problem. Publicity. Publicity is the art of gaining exposure for your web site, product, or service with press releases, articles, and other promotional methods.

A consistent publicity campaign can get you links from some of the best web sites on the Net. These links provide your web site with “Link Popularity" and the Google PageRank numbers you need for high search engine ranking and traffic. Plus, the links themselves can bring you a significant about of targeted traffic.

The Top 5 Tips for Getting Publicity (and Links)

Here are a few of my tips for getting publicity and links on the web sites, AND getting news stories and articles in the newspapers, magazines and Internet radio show sites.

TIP #1: Be Consistent - Stick With It For The Long-Haul

For maximum results, use public relations as a long-term awareness and link-building campaign. This will allow your messages to be delivered to the appropriate audience and generate visibility, traffic and sales for you.

The biggest mistake I see businesses making with publicity, is they’re not consistent at all, only sticking with it for 1, 2, or 3 months. It pays to be consistent is because sometimes you’ll send out a press release and get no response back, no publicity, nothing... In fact, this is when most people quit, when they should realize that publicity is a “numbers game" that generates exposure over the long-run if they would just stick with it.

Plus, if you know where to submit your articles and send your press releases, each one that you write can generate 3-20 or more new publicity hits and new links to your web site! So, send something to the media at least every month, if not every week or two. Stay on track by scheduling your articles and news releases on your marketing calendar.

TIP #2: Offer Great News Ideas and Quality Articles

To maximize your results, don’t send corporate “flack" to the media. “Flack" is blatant advertising disguised as a press release. Instead of wasting the media’s time, be their ally by sending them real news and quality articles that help their audience.

Don’t think you have enough time or ideas for writing articles and press releases? You probably already have the content for 12 press releases or articles without having to write a bunch of new content.

Where is this “hidden" content that’s already written? It’s the content on your web site, and in your white papers, and other marketing materials. Simply “repurpose" and edit this content into announcements, articles, press releases, tip sheets, and other publicity materials.

TIP #3: Expand Your Publicity Campaign By Building A Media List

In the publicity game, your greatest assets are your contacts. Since you know your ideal customer, you can target the web sites, media, and publications that your customers use to get their news and information. Your media list should consist of the following types of media...

* Industry-specific web sites, and e-newsletters

* Internet blogs, discussion forums and discussion lists

* Article syndicators

* Trade publications

* Newspapers

* Magazines

* Radio & TV shows

TIP #4: Distribute Via E-Mail

A 2003 study by the Meta Group revealed that approximately 80% of business people say their e-mail is more valuable than the phone. This applies to media professionals as well, so send your press releases and articles via e-mail. E-mail is f*ree and easy to use, but adhere to these quidelines for e-mail press releases...

* Introduce yourself via e-mail to the media professionals on your list and start building a relationship.

* Use a compelling subject line that is personalized by including their first name.

* Never ever send attachments

* Be sure to format your e-mails in ASCII text file with hard returns at 65 characters. (Use Microsoft NotePad)

* Following up via the telephone will greatly increase your results, but never ask “did you receive my press release?" (The media hate this question since they get hundreds of press releases a day!)

TIP #5: Post Your Articles On Your Web Site And E-Mail Newsletter

Content is King on the Internet, and the search engines love web sites with great niched content. Your articles and news releases are a perfect source of keyword rich text that’s tasty “spider food" for the search engine crawlers. So, post your articles and press releases on your web site to increase your search engine traffic.

But don’t stop there. Send them to your e-mail newsletter subscriber list, you never know who might be on your list who will love your article and link to it!


As the great P.T. Barnum once said...

“Without publicity a terrible thing happens... nothing!"
Publicity is a great way to build your web site links, visibility, traffic and sales. Use these tips to maximize your publicity campaign’s success.

Promote! Promote! Promote!

About The Author

Article by Matt Hockin, of Interactive Marketing, Inc.
Interactive Marketing, Inc. assists business owners with increasing their growth and profits with cost-effective, high-ROI sales and marketing strategies.

Send Press Releases! Get the Word Out about Your Great You, Your Company or Organization

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Click this link, create your press release and send it out to several of the following distribution sites http://www.ducttapemarketing.com/Instant-Press-Release.htm

Have a Fearless Day!

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Follow me on TWITTER - www.Twitter.com/annabanks

Here's a list of 20+ sites that will help you with getting your press release out in the world for FREE.

24-7PressRelease.com - Free release distribution with ad-support

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ClickPress.com - Distributes to sites like Google News and Topix.net, Gold level will also get you to sites like LexisNexis.

EcommWire.com - Focuses on ecommerce and requires you include an image, 3 keywords and links.

Exextra.degree.effort@gmail.compress-Press-Release.com - Free Distribution Company with offices in 12 states.

Free-Press-Release.com - Easy press release distribution for free, more features for paid accounts.

Free-Press-Release-Center.info - Distributes your release, offers a web page with one keyword link to your site. Pro upgrade will give you three links, permanent archiving and more.

I-Newswire.com - Allows for free distribution to sites and search engines, premium membership differs only slightly in adding in graphics.

NewswireToday.com - All the usual free distribution tools, premium service includes logo, product picture and more.

PR.com - Not only will they distribute your press releases, but you can also set up a full company profile.

PR9.net - Ad supported press distribution site.

PR-Inside.com - European-based free press release distribution site.

PRBuzz.com - Completely free distribution to search engines, news sites, and blogs.

PRCompass.com - Distribute your press release with a free or paid version, others can vote it up ala Digg style.

PRUrgent.com - Not only distributes your release, but attempts to teach you how to write one, and even offers downloadable samples for you to work with.

Press-Base.com - Submit your release for free and get on their front page and the category of your choice.

PressMethod.com - Free press release distribution no matter what, but extra services based on the size of your contribution.

PRLeap.com - Free distribution to search engines, newswires, and RSS feeds. Fee based bumps get you better placement.

PRLog.org - Free distribution to Google News and other search engines.

TheOpenPress.com - Gives free distribution for plain formatted releases, fees for HTML-coded releases.


Have a Fearless Day!

Anna D. Banks



Follow me on TWITTER - www.Twitter.com/annabanks

Sunday, December 14, 2008

List of Social Networking Sites

By Doug McIsaac at

social marketing

When you think of social networking sites, there are some obvious candidates that may immediately come to mind. It may be surprising to know how many different social networking sites are actually out there. Here is a basic list of social networking sites online, but this list is by no means exhaustive.

Blogging - These are social networking sites that either center completely around communicating through blogging, or put a large emphasis on the concept of blogging.

- Blogger, http://www.blogger.com
- Livejournal, http://www.livejournal.com
- Twitter, http://www.twitter.com
- Windows Live Spaces, http://www.spaces.live.com/
- Wordpress, http://www.wordpress.com
- Vox, http://www.vox.com
- Xanga, http://www.xanga.com

General Social Networking - These are the core of the social networking concept, with names like MySpace, Flickr, YouTube and Facebook leading the pack.

- ClassMates, http://www.classmates.com
- Bebo, http://www.bebo.com
- Deviant Art, http://www.deviantart.com
- Facebook, http://www.facebook.com
- Flickr, http://www.flickr.com
- LinkedIn, http://www.linkedin.com
- Meetup, http://www.meetup.com
- MySpace, http://www.myspace.com
- YouTube, http://www.youtube.com
- Gather, http://www.gather.com
- imeem, http://www.imeem.com
- Itsmy, http://www.itsmy.com
- My Yearbook, http://www.myyearbook.com
- Webshots, http://www.webshots.com

International Social Networking - These sites are especially popular in international countries, or are intended to cater to residents of a specific country. Friendster, for example, is a worldwide social networking site but it is especially popular in countries other than the United States. Biip, on the other hand, is a social networking site designed for the Norwegian community.

- Friendster, http://www.friendster.com
- Face Party, http://www.faceparty.com
- Friends Reunited, http://www.friendsreunited.co.uk/
- Biip, http://www.biip.no/
- Cloob, http://www.cloob.com/
- Cyworld, http://us.cyworld.com/
- Fotolog, http://www.fotolog.com/
- Frühstückstreff, http://www.fruehstueckstreff.org/
- Grono, http://www.grono.net
- Habbo, http://www.habbo.com
- hi5, http://www.hi5.com
- Hyves, http://www.hyves.nl
- IRC Galleria, http://www.irc-galleria.net/index.php
- iWiW, http://www.iwiw.hu/
- Profile Heaven, http://www.profileheaven.com/

Niche Interests - These are social networking sites that are geared toward certain interests like music lovers, bibliophiles, coffee enthusiasts or pop culture.

- Advogato, http://www.advogato.org/
- Amie Street, http://www.amiestreet.com/
- ANobii, http://www.anobii.com/
- CafeMom, http://www.cafemom.com
- Buzznet, http://www.buzznet.com
- Broadcaster, http://www.broadcaster.com
- Cake Financial, https://www.cakefinancial.com/
- Care2, http://www.care2.com/
- Eons, http://www.eons.com
- TravBuddy, http://www.travbuddy.com/
- Travellerspoint Travel Community, http://www.travellerspoint.com/
- BlackPlanet, http://www.blackplanet.com
- Elftown, http://www.elftown.com
- Flixster, http://www.flixster.com
- Geni, http://www.geni.com
- Goodreads, http://www.goodreads.com
- Gossip Report, http://www.gossipreport.com
- Guild Café, http://www.gamerDNA.com
- Hospitality club, http://www.hospitalityclub.org
- Last.fm, http://www.last.fm
- Library Thing, http://www.librarything.com/
- Lifeknot, http://www.lifeknot.com/
- Live Mocha, http://www.livemocha.com
- One World TV, http://tv.oneworld.net/
- Plaxo, http://www.plaxo.com
- Ravelry, http://www.ravelry.com
- Sci Space, http://www.scispace.net/
- WAYN, http://www.wayn.com/

Social Media - These sites specialize in sharing media and news with other members of the community.

- Digg, http://www.digg.com
- StumbleUpon, http://www.stumbleupon.com
- Del.icio.us, http://del.icio.us
- Reddit, http://www.reddit.com
- Fark, http://www.fark.com

Younger Generation - These are social networking sites that are best suited for younger generations and students.

- College Tonight, http://thequad.com/
- Gaia Online, http://www.gaiaonline.com
- NeoPets, http://www.neopets.com
- Student.com, http://www.student.com
- Reunion, http://www.reunion.com

Each one of these sites can be a good solid way to drive targeted traffic to your articles or your website. Before you ask, yes, you have to be careful not to do and outright sales pitch on your post. But with a little thinking on your part you will be able to make a useful post that is directed to your target market, without coming across as spam.

Some of the sites will not lend themselves to this marketing strategy, unless you are very creative in your post. Consequently you will find yourself being banned and your post being deleted if you violate the terms of service of those and others reflected on this list of social networking sites.
social marketing, social networking

This post was written by:

dougmcis - who has written 43 posts on dougmcisaac.com.

I've been building businesses for almost twenty years. I retired from RMTG, Inc November 2006 and started working with coaching clients within months of that retirement.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Marketing Your Business Using Facebook

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Controlling Stress and Toxic Relationships - 10 Self-Coaching Suggestions For Surviving the Holidays

By Drdeah_Curry

It's sad but true that the season extending from Thanksgiving through New Year's is often the most stressful time of year in families and close friendships. Depressions deepen, anxieties rise, and aggressions and frustrations get unleashed, causing serious emotional frustration. It can't all be blamed on global warming, the election outcome, or seasonal affective disorder.

Some stress at this time of year is predictable. We're spending more money than is sensible in a down economy on gifts for people we may not even like. We're fighting shopping crowds and endless traffic, and waiting in interminable lines at the post office. We feel pressured to attend social functions that drain our energy, where we over-eat and over-drink to the level of feeling miserable. And we call this holiday cheer? Bah humbug.

For those who long to celebrate the holidays in the true spirit of a multi-culturally meaningful season, here are some ideas for gracefully creating a stress-free inner climate of peace and good will.

Taking Control of Personal Stressors

1. Know Your Limits and Live Within Them. Whether it's saying no more often, or setting a ceiling on spending and other indulgences, pay attention to how you use your energy and resist using it out of guilt. Do only what your heart and spirit are really joyful about doing.

2. Take Even Better Care of Yourself Than Usual. In periods of predictable stress, it's important to maintain daily health routines. Getting the rest, nutrition, exercise, and hydration the body needs strengthens our ability to tolerate small irritatants. If you have to get less sleep, or skip meals or workouts in order to have time for activities that are inherently stressful, you're not taking good care of yourself.

3. Believe in Your Essential Goodness. Many people are driven to take on more stress than necessary out of an erroneous belief that if they don't they will be seen as bad, flawed, uncaring, or mean. Allowing guilt, fear or anticipation of others' disapproval to dictate how we use our energy is an act of giving in to a tyrrany of toxic assumptions and dysfunctional expectations. If you are caught in this trap, start telling yourself that you are a good, kind, and caring person and that doesn't change if you decline an invitation, or refrain from sending obligatory gifts and cards.

4. Redefine, Reschedule, Resist, and Renew. Stress can be managed well by redefining priorities, rescheduling anything that doesn't have a critical deadline, resisting the impulse to "fix" others, and saving yourself enough time and resources for personal renewal.

5. Give in a Meaningful Way. The commercialized holiday scene pressures us into thinking we must buy, buy, buy to appropriately give, give, give. But mindlessness only serves meaninglessness, and leaves us feeling empty, dissatisfied, stressed out, or worse. Find a meaningful way to give to others that makes an important difference in their lives to connect yourself to the spirituality of the season -- the universally hoped for return of enLightenment, and peace to the world.

Ending Toxic Relationships

A toxic relationship is one in which you are continually emotionally abused, feel unsafe or discouraged in being fully authentic, or are disempowered and left unable to get your psychospiritual needs met. Attacks of criticism and ridicule that come out of the blue are difficult to defend against in effective ways, much less in a loving manner.

Toxic relationships do not have to be endured, no matter who they are with. We don't have to put up with cruel, sarcastic, disapproving, abusive behavior to keep the peace. I coach those who are in such relationships to give to themselves the gift of severing ties with such people, if not permanently, then especially during the holiday season. Here are a few ways to do that:

1. Decline to attend family gatherings that include abusive, critical, or shaming relatives. You do not owe anyone an explanation for choosing to keep healthy boundaries. Celebrate with friends or alone, instead.

2. Be clear, explicit and firm about your limits. Say "I can come to dinner only on Tuesday, and will need to leave by 9 pm." Keeping your own boundaries puts more control in your hands, and lowers stress levels.

3. Use the broken record technique to enforce your right to your own decisions. Repeat as necessary, "I'll be at Tuesday's dinner, but will be leaving by 9 at the latest...I'll see you at the dinner, and I'll be ending my evening by 9...Even though I will be leaving before 9, it will be good to talk to you at Tuesday's dinner." Resist others' attempts to talk you out of what you know is best for you.

4. Start stress-free traditions with friends, co-workers, neighbors or others who are not toxic. Traditions are just culturally laden habits that segments of society or family groups practice together. Decide with a new group of people what is meaningful and celebratory.

5. Take a holiday break; celebrate alone. When your world is crowded with toxic relationships, sometimes the best thing is to withdraw from all of them during the holidays. Spend the time exploring and nurturing your own spirit, dancing to your own drumbeat. Tune in to the natural world, journal, create, take a trip. Follow your own quest for meaning and be really conscious about what and why you are celebrating.

Controlling stress and toxic relationships at any time of year requires forethought, effort, and perhaps a bit of courage. The key is to let others own their own feelings about your need to take care of yourself, and for you to be mindful about how you manage your energy.

Get free tips for a Stress-Less Holiday Season for Singles, on my website http://www.EmotionalFirstAid-Coaching.com If you need coaching to help you get through the holidays, see http://www.DeahCurry.net for details on the coaching process and how it differs from counseling.

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