Easy social media video

Easy social media video

Just do it.

When our client, Mayer Galligan Law wanted to step up its presence on social media in a way that’s cost effective and engaging, we helped Dan and Steve turn to video.

That’s not the normal answer that marketing firms give because “everyone knows” that to do video right, you have to be willing to spend… right?

Not so fast.

The problem with traditional video is that it takes so much time to script, to plan, to film and to capture audio.  But with today’s smart phones, you have just about everything you need to put together an authentic video that engages your audience.

The “trick” that makes it work (because you actually will do it) is to do what we helped coach Dan to do — namely, use their smart phone mounted in their car and simply start recording whenever you have something to say. 

The combination of being alone in the car on a drive that typically takes too long is a perfect way to get your thoughts out in the open.  Don’t worrying about production value or mistakes, because we can always edit in post, which helps make social media videos are a breeze to set up and post online.

Editing in Adobe Premier, Final Cut Pro, or just take care of it with iMovie.  Save as an MP4 file and upload it to your YouTube or Vimeo channel.  That’s about it.

Getting consistent with it helps your brand and the more you do it, the easier it becomes to add to your library of thought leadership and advice.

Interested to do this for your business? 

Just do it — give it a try… or call us in for a free lesson.

The Gill Rule

The Gill Rule

Bob Gill is an 88 year old graphic designer who’s had the kind of career most of us can only dream about.  In short, you want your work to endure as long as Bob has… and yes, he’s the guy behind the typeface.  Show some respect.

That said, Bob authored a book back in the 80’s that changed my life.  I was called “Forget something or other…“.  I don’t remember.  Sue me.

What I do remember is that the book did two things… it actually showed me HOW he thought about design solutions that he faced and I could follow his execution.  AND, he had a knack for simplifying the design process with a few clever rules, that, for the most part, hold up exceedingly well.



It’s pretty self-explanitory.  If you or your copywriter has written something truly brilliant, don’t let the pictures get in the way of these great and compelling words.

That’s not to say you should dumb anything down.  Just follow that rule.  Make sure whatever imagery you think needs to be there, take second place to the words that are driving the “sale”.

Conversely, if you have an image that blows your audience away, why would you muck it up with a bunch of copy that dilutes what they just saw.  This simple balancing act has provided my work with a whole lot of sanity and smarts when our natural tendency is to vomit on everyone.  Don’t let your client do it.  Don’t you do it.

Here are some great examples of each:



Blogging: The Unsung SEO Hero

Recently, a childhood friend of mine, Rochelle Yolanda Melander, who now runs a successful writing consultancy called “Write Now!” interviewed me about blogging’s importance for her many readers. This is the e-mail she subsequently sent out to her readers…

Note From Rochelle

Dear Readers,

Do you need a book to boost your business but don’t have time to write it? Check your computer: you may have already written it. Blog posts, articles and speeches can all be compiled into a book. If that’s of interest to you, consider attending my workshop,

Leverage Your Content: How to Create a Book from Articles, Blog Posts, and Speeches.

In today’s tip, I interview marketing expert Mike Farley on what tools can help you get known.



Writers@Work: An Interview with Marketing Expert Mike Farley

R: Tell me about what you do.

M: I run a marketing agency in Cedarburg, Wisconsin called JSH&P.  Primarily, I help small to mid-sized business brand themselves in a way that best suits their potential customers.

I’ve spent 30 years, starting out with the biggest corporations on the planet, like General Mills and Heinz, and them moved my way “down” to business owners who need to compete, sometimes with these behemoths, to improve their position in a global environment. It’s not as altruistic as it sounds — for me, it was simply a case of connection. As a fellow business owner, I gain more credibility with someone across their desk, instead of a 20-seat conference table. The work may not pay quite as well, but it’s steadier and more rewarding to know that you can have a profound impact on the health and well being of great small businesses and individuals.

R: I’ve heard lots of people say that the blog is dead or over. Is that true?

M: Not at all. Everyone should be blogging if they’re serious about getting to page one on search engines. It’s the most underrated SEO tool in your arsenal.

R: As someone who works with companies and individuals, how do you see blogs helping people attract clients?

M: “Blogging,” at it’s most basic, is not what you think it is. You see, there is someone who will read every single word of every single post that you make… and it’s not your mother. It’s Google (which handles over 75% of all search results). You may have heard terms like “key words,” “search engine optimization” and “pay-per-click.” The truth is, there’s a no-cost marketing strategy called blogging that’s very strategic and effective for anyone willing to work at it (it will cost you your time).

In essence, Google “wants to get it right” — they want match a search query with a search solution. Trouble is, that’s a very difficult job to accomplish. But everything that’s on your website helps Google categorize what it is that you do, who you work with and the types of clients you most need in your business. Likewise, Google likes new and relevant content — when most websites get launched, they stay effectively the same until a new one is constructed. However, for each new blog post on your site (and subsequently shared within your social channels) gets categorized anew. Think of it, if you added one post per week, think of all of the key words you’d use simply by writing about what you’re interested to share — over the course of a year, you couldn’t help but write about what’s important to you and to your business.

These are your key words; it is search engine optimization …and you didn’t need to pay a penny for any clicks to get it.

R: Aside from a blog, what do you see as the most powerful marketing tools?

M: Branding. Understand that a brand is not just a logo. It’s literally everything that you are and that you want your audience to experience when they spend time with you. And you want them to spend time with you, your book and your characters, don’t you?

Most of us think only in terms of a brand like McDonalds when they hear the term “branding”. But it’s for each and everyone of us personally, too. We all have a brand, even if we haven’t chosen to identify it.

Others see us however they do. Smart, sophisticated, funny, sloppy, late? What terms do your friends know you by? Branding, at its core, is your conscious decision to reflect or clarify something you want exposed to your universe of clients and prospects. When it’s effective, we decide in a matter of seconds from these “chosen” attributes whether or not we will “buy.” The speed at which someone understands who you are and what they can expect from you is at the heart of branding. Think of it, McDonalds owns a yellow “M” in your head. (Red and yellow boxes, a friendly clown, his pals and probably French fries, too).

If you have a toddler in your car (who may not even know the alphabet) and you don’t want to go to McDonalds, you better start playing the distraction game, because your child knows what the Golden Arches means… a toy! On a literary scale, think of Stephen King. His name is larger than his book title. Why? Because he IS the brand.

R: What social media tool do you think authors undervalue—and do you have any ideas for helping them improve their engagement?

M: You should, of course, have a Facebook fan page and a LinkedIn account (which is another place to re-purpose your blog post, btw). Those two are crucial. Add your blog posts. Make timely commentary about your world and how it relates to your writing. You’re working at your business in this sphere. Recognize that you’re now in charge of a global media empire — you really are! What do you endorse, enjoy, dislike and should you comment about it? Think of it, you’re now NBC. You show news, sports, movies and more on your channel. You can take a political position, or not. You may choose to edit yourself or let it all hang out. Your audience will come to see you in the light you CHOOSE to expose. You may want to think about that brand power before you make your next post. That’s your brand.

Socially, you may want to add Twitter, You Tube and Instagram… maybe even Pinterest — frankly, you want to use what your readers use. You go where they live… however, most of us don’t have the time or resources to gain traction in all of these areas. Know that the “big guys” have a team of people doing all of this in the hopes of gaining even more ground on Google — giving them a greater chance at staying on page one and making a connection. But the real secret is this: you love to write, but you have to love your business, too.  You can make “shameless self-promotional” commentary… as in, “If you’ve enjoyed my latest posts, perhaps you’d be interested to buy my book?” Don’t be afraid to ask. Maybe 1 in 5 posts can work a bit harder for you. Need better reviewers? Design how you’re going to get them. Start with your mom and brother on your back jacket and trade them up for your professor, your colleague and eventually Oprah. Want more credibility? What Top 10 list can you make? Then trade up that momentum for the next “best seller list” that you can muster. Eventually, you are that best selling author, even if it’s only in a very small niche. Decide to own it.

R: What are you reading?

M: I’m such a terrible reader. My children accuse me of reading only the first three chapters of every book. Sadly, they may be right. I enjoy reading, but my attention span wanes. I tend to like books with short chapters because I feel like I’m making progress. My favorite in this regard is Malcolm Gladwell. The book by my bedside currently is C.S. Lewis’ Mere Christianity. I am a doubting Thomas Christian and figured I could use a little support.

Mike Farley is the owner of the Cedarburg marketing agency JSH&P. He’s worked with Fortune 500 giants and Inc.500 wanna-bees, won numerous industry creative awards and currently assists small to mid-sized businesses with their brand strategy and graphic executions in print, video and web.

Write Now! Coach Rochelle Melander is an author, a certified professional coach, and a popular speaker. Melander has written ten books including Write-A-Thon: Write Your Book in 26 Days (And Live to Tell About It). As the Write Now! Coach, she teaches professionals how to write books fast, get published, and connect with readers through social media. Get your free subscription to her Write Now! Tips Ezine at http://www.writenowcoach.com.

On the blog:

You can receive more information about writing, publishing, and social media from our blog. “The Write Now! Coach Blogs” features helpful tips by the Write Now! Coach and other publishing professionals: http://www.writenowcoach.com/blog/


MacCleaner anyone?

Are your removable hard drives no longer visible to your Mac?

Fear not.  I have an answer.

But first, the day started like any other.  I had too many projects for too little time and a nice ball of stress bundled up in my belly as I raced to work through each one based on who might yell the loudest for their deadline.  And that’s when it hit me, JUST THE TIME when I can least afford it — my computer was getting slower and slower until the “gay ball of death” had taken over my life.

I cried, “UNCLE!” and closed everything up and restarted.  You know, the last resort of the truly deparate?  Only instead of making my troubles better, they only got worse by 10x.  Both of my removable hard drives had failed to mount… and a mysterious pop up appeared on the starboard side of my screen alerting me that “MacCleaner” was there to the rescue me. I’ve seen this POS before — a phony fix for Macs that installs malware only to get you to buy their “remedy” which simply means they have you for life.  Of course, I don’t bite and get straight to work within disc utility, finder mounting settings and my applications folder to look for any crap that shouldn’t be there.

I remove all that I can find.

I restart again, and one of the drives mounts! Alas, it is now READ ONLY and no longer formatted for Mac OS.  Funny, I could swear I didn’t touch anything. I have a Mac Laptop, I try each drive in it.  They mount!  However, they are now both READ ONLY and unusable.  With over 3 TB of stored files for each one of my clients within them, it’s safe to say that I didn’t really want to take the first Internet advice, which was to “simply reformat the drives to work with both Macs and PCs.”

Reformatting = Erasing.  Not happening.

The Solution:
Finally, I seek out the source, Seagate, the maker of my storage drives.  Buried in their support network is a little program that you can download for free that, once installed, performs it’s magic and your drives — and your work life — are made whole again.

Paragon Driver for macOS

You can find what I used here.  You plug in your devices, then get the download, then run the program and then re-start your computer.  With any luck, you’ll be back in business.  From start to finish, I spent two hours filled with dread and just a touch of panic.  Had I done this last bit, 10 minutes — no sweat — inner peace.

Here’s hoping this helped you get your Mac life back.

The Internet’s Dirty Dozen

The Internet’s Dirty Dozen


I just gave a keynote address to the Wisconsin Self Storage Association using this title.  


Hopefully so.

The point of the talk was simply to provide some small businesses with knowledge and access of some free tools that exist on the Internet.  I’ve attached the handout cheatsheet that I gave to the good folks of the WSSA.  You may find them just as helpful, although you won’t get my witty banter to back up why they’re on the list.

If you want greater information, just send me a note.  I’d be happy to chat.

Oh, and if you’re wondering about the rope climbing scene from the Dirty Dozen, well, it just goes to show that with the right motivation, you can do damn near anything!


p.s. > Thank you, Dawn Lambrecht of the WSSA for the invite!

We just f’d our brand

We just f’d our brand

This article first posted on LinkedIn 2/28/17

When’s the last time you screwed up in front of 33 million people? Pricewaterhousecoopers is the accounting firm, that, for 83 years has served the Academy (Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences) unerringly. Then, in one awkwardly extended presentation, PWC’s accuracy and integrity were called into question with a mistaken reading at the very pinnacle of the show.

So what happens if you make a blunder that calls your entire business into question? Here are the first 3 steps to consider and commentary on the current Oscar debacle.

Step 1: Do you recognize that you’re IN A BRAND CRISIS? Sorry that you are, but good that you’re aware. Your first reactions are crucial. As I tell my children, “When you know that you just dug yourself a hole — stop digging.” In short, don’t make the situation worse.

PWC didn’t know until Ms. Dunaway read the wrong winner, because there were only two people on the planet that knew who the real winner was supposed to be — PWC Partners Brian Cullinan and Martha Ruiz. The Academy actually had a protocol to address just such a mistake, but it wasn’t followed. The confusion that extended for nearly two minutes, could have been knocked down to just a few seconds with the use of a “panic button” or call to the stage manager… Cullinan had handed the duplicate envelope for Best Actress to Warren Beatty, instead of for Best Picture.

Step 2: Step up and honor up. Admit your mistake (if you KNOW that it’s your mistake), but you may be able to use humor or initial sympathy to your advantage. Blaming others or offering speculation are not your friends. Your audience will eventually turn on you.

For the rest of the night, people assumed that Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway has screwed everything up. Although Mr. Beatty seemed to know that something was amiss, he wasn’t courageous enough to simply ask for help. Ms. Dunaway was set up for failure by Beatty, by reading the first movie title she saw — they could have saved the night, but it’s not their fault. They did what they were asked to do, “just read the card.” Now the reputation of two Hollywood legends and the Academy itself, is forever tarnished.

The true blame lies squarely on the shoulders of PWC Partner Brian Cullinan who gave the wrong envelope to Mr. Beatty. Why didn’t PWC step up and try to mitigate that damage while the cameras were still rolling? Do you think a defamation lawsuit will be on it’s way? You can count on it. The only one who looked good in the mixup was La La Land Producer Jordan Horowitz who graciously, quickly and clearly corrected the error that had occurred. NOTE: His “brand” just rose a 1000{39d2d43da009d0c4a10d7085c374de39100bda20a3fdf9717a5356beaf449ffd}.

Step 3: Assess WHERE your public relations weakness lies. What part of your company is most at risk? With the general public? Your current clients? Or perhaps stockholders or vendors? You will need to address everyone effected, but start immediately with the greatest threat to your company. Understand that it’s your relationship that now is in question. Assume the worst and hope for the best… but get your side of the story (or apology) out there swiftly. Often, this is where having a Twitter presence is crucial — as your first responder insurance policy. With it, you can get in front of the story; not run over by a story waiting to be written by those who care nothing for your business or your clientele. Make sure you have a Twitter account and learn to use it. It might just save your business’ life.

PWC has tried to get in front of the story on Twitter, but their reaction has been tepid and slow. A lot of damage has already been done. Thankfully, for them, their trouble is not with the 33,000,000 viewers, but it is with their shareholders and more importantly, their current customers. The Oscar tabulation may be the most recognizable thing PWC does, but it is minor within the scope of their business. Understand that Pricewaterhousecoopers is a $36 billion firm, with over 220,000 employees worldwide and recognized as the most prestigious accounting firm in the world. It’s the 5th largest privately held company, too. That’s a huge plus, because no one gets to view a dramatically dropped stock price, but you can be sure that there are stakeholders in PWC who are mad as hell at Mr. Cullinan.

If you read through some of PWC’s tweets, you’ll see their apology. That’s good. But if you go back a couple of days, you’ll see images and video of all of the fun leading up to the Oscars. It leaves you feeling PWC is now hiding under a rock and makes their brand seem weak.

What would I advise? Get some video of all of the key PWC employees, especially Cullinan, to offer a real life accounting of what happened and how sincerely sorry they are for the gaff. Mea culpas work when they are sincere. People can spot a phony a mile away. Post a few video interviews of PWC clients (if you could get them) who could tell how they’ve benefitted by their relationship. It’s all part of a strategy that works to humanize an event gone wrong. Business leadership is most crucial when real leadership is called for. People will judge (and are judging now), “What kind of company is PWC?” Often, when a business follows these steps, they are strengthened, not weakened for the effort.

p.s. > If PWC can hold on to their Oscar gig for 2018, you can be sure that the host will crack jokes about it. Will PWC be prepared? By-the-way, who would you want writing the PWC zingers?

Mike Farley is the President of JSH&P, a small business branding firm located in Cedarburg, Wisconsin. He’s been a keynote speaker on branding, social media and marketing for small business. Learn more at JSH&P.com or at the JSH&P Facebook page.

#oscarsfail #pricewaterhousecoopers #fixyourfup