“Laws of Promotion” Helps Main Street Merchants and Local Nonprofits

I am proud to announce that I have published Laws of Promotion for nonprofits, small businesses and solopreneurs. This 50-page marketing guidebook is easy to follow, even for someone with zero marketing know-how. Since starting my business in 1994 I have encountered a long list of people who struggle with marketing and promotions. These newbies have been assigned the marketing responsibilities for their nonprofit with no prior promotional experience. Just as often, a person started a business around her passion but has no idea how to promote it. This book is for them! Perhaps it’s for you too. I used Sir Isaac Newton’s three laws of motion as a framework to outline what I call the “Laws of Promotion.” A body at rest stays at rest, and a body in motion stays in motion unless acted upon by an external force. Meaning, the businesses who can capture their momentum keep building. Force is equal to mass times acceleration. This means that you need to gauge how much promotion you need based on your size (mass) and your goals & objectives (acceleration). For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. You might remember this being quoted a few times in the musical “Hamilton.” This law applies in multiple ways. Basically, you need to keep the equation balanced. In its simplest application, if you are a seller, you need buyers. It’s important to make sure you are keeping things positive, ethical, and delivering a quality product or service that you’re proud of. If this sounds confusing, don’t worry. There’s a fictional case study showing all the laws of promotion in motion and tips to apply them to your situation right away. The guidebook is easy to follow and doesn’t take long to read. Downloads from previous blog posts give the reader a kit of tools to help them calibrate and evaluate what’s working and what’s not. It’s a marketing primer book that anyone can use! The book is available now on Amazon in ebook and print formats. Click here to buy your copy today. Just $4.99 for the Kindle version and $9.99 for print. Leslie A.M. Smith founded McCormick L.A. in 1994 offering public relations and marketing consulting to nonprofits and small...
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It’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month

It’s breast cancer awareness month. Get a mammogram! Help a patient! Make a donation! If you’ve been reading along on this blog, then you know that I get antsy when “increase awareness” is listed as the goal or the objective. Awareness feeds broader goals and objectives that determine your anticipated outcomes. Knowing about something without knowing where it fits in the scheme of things  is trivia. Breast Cancer Awareness Month does it right! However, Breast Cancer Awareness Month is far from trivial. It is probably one of the largest campaigns of its kind. Since 1985, it has educated women about the warning signs, encouraged them to undergo annual mammograms, and raised millions of dollars for breast cancer research, free cancer screenings, and support services for patients. I found this well-written, concise history about Breast Cancer Awareness Month on the website for Brevard Health Alliance in Florida. The piece includes the campaign’s clearly defined goals. Click here to read the whole story. Breast Cancer Awareness Month was founded in 1985 with an enviable combination of a well-respected nonprofit, a prominent corporation, and a familiar and trusted spokesperson. The American Cancer Society, the pharmaceutical division of Imperial Chemical Industries, and cancer survivor former First Lady Betty Ford joined forces to set the tone for a campaign that has left us in the pink ever since. In 1992, cosmetic company giant Estee Lauder began distributing the pink ribbons to help spread awareness. Breast Cancer Awareness Month Goals The campaign committee aimed to increase the survival rate among breast cancer patients. The remedy was, and still is, empowering women to take proactive measures to detect breast cancer early. They set these distinct goals to solve the problem: Educate women about breast cancer and early detection tests Empower women to be in control of their breast health Promote mammograms as an important tool to be used in the fight against breast cancer. Celebrate breast cancer survivors Raise funds for breast cancer research and other related causes. While We’re On the Topic … Note, men can get breast cancer too, so don’t ignore any abnormal lumps under the skin on your chest, regardless of your gender. Women over 40 are wise to book annual mammograms. If you find it kind of scary, then book it with a friend then go to lunch or get a massage after–celebrate your health and congratulate yourself for being proactive. I recognize...
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3 Words to Replace for Stronger Writing

Just – Do – Get – Out of the Way for Better Writing This is not a weird rip-off of Nike’s affirmative tagline, Just Do It! These are the words that haunt my writing making it slag and drag with boring words. Do you have a bad habit in your writing? The same three might plague you as well. Extraneous words make boring copy. Admitting there’s a problem is the first step. Double check your writing by reading each word in reverse order. This way you will view each word individually instead of anticipating what word comes next. You’ll also be more likely to notice if there’s a repetitive word.     Just a Minute I’ve overused the word ‘just’ for years. I use it in front of a little, a tad, a bit. I also use it instead of only, solely, and all (as in “you just need to _______”). The worst is as a qualifier—just a PR consultant or just a work-at-home mom—it never belongs in front of a role or occupation! It’s belittling and disrespectful. Let me say that again:             NEVER PUT THE WORD “JUST” IN FRONT OF A ROLE OR OCCUPATION! If you find you’ve done that, ALWAYS change it to an aspirational descriptor like fabulous, valuable, qualified, sought after, or respected as a way to support what you and others are doing and the important roles you fill every day. The truth is, the word is rarely needed and is just in the way.   That Thing You Do ‘Do’ is a general word. It works for Nike (Just Do It!) and for Mountain Dew (Do the Dew!) because everyone can internalize the statement and believe the tagline is referring to what the they do best. When I find that I am using ‘do’ instead of a specific verb, I substitute something more interesting or active—maybe something punchy–that doesn’t leave any question about what I need to do. “I just need to do a report” becomes “I only need to write/create/compose/author a report.” If you give instruction to others on a regular basis as a parent, teacher, or manager, then you know that saying, “Don’t do that,” is not nearly as effective as saying, “Stop running,” or the more affirmative “please walk.”   I Get You While we get each other and try hard not to get COVID-19 and other viruses, it is...
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Titles – CEO to Vizier

  As the US Postal Service finds itself in the news quite often lately, I was pondering the title Postmaster General. What a weird title! Silly, really. When you Google it, the information assures the reader that the postmaster general is the CEO of the USPS. Why don’t we just call it that? The first postmaster general was Benjamin Franklin. I have to assume the witty Almanac writer was great at parties making him a Toastmaster Postmaster–now that’s quite a title! An even stranger (dumber) title is Grand Wizard. That’s what a certain white supremacist organization (which doesn’t deserve to be named) calls their leader. It’s stupid enough to suit that group just fine—good branding! I can think of some other suitable titles, but I digress.   The U.S. Government is Not a Great Model for Titles The United States government is full of titles that perhaps don’t mean what they once did and don’t seem to follow the terms of just one organizational chart. President, vice president–those are fine. The term ‘secretary’ was especially confusing to me when I was learning about the Cabinet (the what? Like a cupboard?) in elementary school. My mom was a secretary. She knew shorthand and typed. Is that what the Secretary of the Interior does? By Interior, we mean outside (what?)—national parks and such. She worked at a bank, does that make her a Treasury Secretary? Hmm. Then we have a whole tier of ‘deputies’ under the ‘chief of staff’ (a normal title). Deputies? Where are the sheriffs? Did they all get shot by Eric Clapton? Is the chief of staff the sheriff? In the interest of parallelism, if that person isn’t called the sheriff, shouldn’t those under him or her on the organization chart be called ‘assistant chiefs’? Or ‘sous chefs,’ like in a kitchen?   Russian Influence Sidelining sheik and vizier, the US Presidents somehow embraced the title of ‘czar’ as the title for those who are essentially task force managers, the term for Russian emperors before 1917. How did this Russian title make it into our government structure? Aren’t we opposed to Russian influence? What’s Russian for ‘task force manager’? That might have been better. Czar was largely used as a nickname for the person in charge of a department, however the title was given out by presidential appointment starting with Franklin D. Roosevelt who named 11 czars. Topping...
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Evaluation – A Necessary Evil that I Make Easy

Evaluation is an important part of your marketing strategy and yet it is a low priority for most small businesses and nonprofits. I know ‘Eval’ is close to ‘Evil,’ but you have to do it before you move on to the next thing on the to-do list and it’s forgotten. Mostly, I find that evaluation is ignored not just because of time, but because people do not know where to start. I have made evaluation as easy as completing a form. If you keep it up you will have great data to rely on year after year. Below is my FREE downloadable Communications Assessment Tool that will help you take inventory of your promotional activities as you move forward. If you have taken my classes at The Nonprofit Partnership then you likely already have this tool working in action. “Oh yeah!” I heard you say that! I offered this way back in 2016 also. It’s simple to use and very important. If you don’t keep track, how else will you know what’s working? McCormickLA_Comm_Assessment_Tool_2020. Leslie A.M. Smith founded McCormick L.A. in 1994 offering public relations and marketing consulting to nonprofits and businesses of all shapes and sizes. Sign-up on her website today to receive helpful insights like this one in your inbox.  See how easy your promotional efforts can be here.  ...
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