Introducing the SMUG Bookstore

Over the last couple of years I have done several book reviews on this site, and have typically included a link to the book featured on, so SMUGgles interested in reading for themselves could conveniently order it and get what is likely the lowest price available.

But on Saturday I got the idea of creating a virtual bookstore to go with our ethereal campus through the Amazon Associates program. It was really easy to do; the application process took just a couple of minutes, and within a couple of hours I had gotten my confirmation email that I had been accepted.

So from now on, if you click any of the links to Amazon on this site and go on to purchase those books, SMUG will get a referral bonus of 4 to 8 percent of your purchase price.

For example, if you click the link below and purchase a used copy of David Allen’s Getting Things Done for $7.20, Amazon will deposit the princely sum of 29 cents in the linked account. It doesn’t add anything to what you pay for your product; Amazon considers it part of its marketing expense.

So you’ll note there are now links in the top and side navigation to a page called “Bookstore.” That page and its sub-navigation will likely undergo some renovation over the next week or so as I organize and add links to the reviews I’ve previously done.

SMUG isn’t going to become a non-stop book review site; I’ll use this as a show-and-tell learning opportunity, though, creating a course series in the blogging curriculum on implementing the Amazon Associates program in your self-hosted WordPress blog.

Meanwhile, feel free to browse the virtual Bookstore. While we don’t offer comfortable couches or serve Starbucks coffee like a Barnes & Noble, we at least provide free Internet connectivity. 😉

Buy a Vowel?

In the past couple of years I’ve given presentations on “new media” or social media to several marketing-oriented health care organizations.

At Monday’s meeting with FSHPRM (Florida Society for Healthcare Public Relations &Marketing), I began to notice a pattern. Some other similar organizations to which I’ve presented:

  • MHSCN (Minnesota Healthcare Strategy and Communication Network)
  • WHPRMS (Wisconsin Healthcare Public Relations and Marketing Society)
  • FHS/FCBMS (Forum for Healthcare Strategists 12th annual Forum on Customer Based Marketing Strategies)
  • SHSMD (Society for Healthcare Strategy and Market Development) – that one was in my pre-blog days, and was just  a presentation on media relations.

I was struck by the complete absence of vowels in any of these acronyms, and the resulting difficulty in pronunciation.

First Rule of Word of Mouth: To have word of mouth about your organization, people need to be able to pronounce its name.

Possible reasons for the completely consonant acronyms:

  1. They were created by committee. PR needed to be included in the name. So did Marketing. With a letter to represent the state name, you have four consonants, including a P and an R that need to be together, and everyone gave up on the possibility of pronouncability.
  2. They want to keep the organization secret. Maybe they don’t think marketing, public relations and health care go together — or are concerned that other people might have that opinion. So by choosing a vowel-less acronym they are sabotaging word of mouth about their organization, to keep a lower profile.

What do you think? Is it #1 or #2, or is there some other explanation? And do you know of any health care PR/marketing associations for which the acronym contains a vowel and is able to be pronounced?

(Organizations from Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Idaho, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon and Utah don’t count, since their state names begin with a vowel. But it would be interesting to know whether they still managed to avoid a catchy acronym.)

Google Tool for Internet Marketing

Robert Scoble calls out the Google AdWords Keyword Tool and why it’s important:

What does this tool do? It helps you see the searches that people are actually doing on Google. Let’s say you had a quilting store. Do you really know what searches people are actually doing to find information about quilting? If you haven’t used this tool, no, you don’t.

This tool also is important to figure out how many people are searching for a particular topic. This helps you test your assumptions of how many people are really searching for something. This will help you choose your title tags, and, even, your content.

I look forward to checking this out and seeing what it means for search optimization of content.

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50 Ways Marketers Can use Social Media to Improve Their Marketing

As part of her homework for Facebook 107, SMUG Student Peggy Hoffman used Facebook to send me this helpful overview list from Chris Brogan. It’s worth a look.

Social media isn’t always the right tool for the job. Not every company needs a blog. YouTube worked for BlendTec, but it might not work for your company. And yet, there’s something to this. Over the last three days, I’ve spoken to four HUGE brands in America that are considering social media for one project or another, and there are many more out there working on how these tools might integrate into their business needs. Here’s a list of 50 ideas (in no particular order) to help move the conversation along. Note: I mix PR and Marketing. They should get back together again.

50 Ways Marketers Can use Social Media to Improve Their Marketing |

Chris has created a nice list of some potential ways to use social media; SMUG’s objective is to give you hands-on experience using the tools, so you can go to management with confidence both that a given tool is right for your organization AND that you know how to use it.

For example, the Podcasting curriculum, and in particular the 10 Steps to Your Own FREE Podcast post, walks you through the process to recording, publishing and promoting your own personal podcast.

So please follow Peg’s example by using Facebook to share some more of these good finds (or put them in the comments below.)

Have a great weekend. I’m hoping it doesn’t rain so we can begin painting the SMUG North Annex. Video reports about our construction process will be coming soon.

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Jeff Jarvis on “The myth of the creative class”

I’ve been a little quiet for the last couple of days, as I’ve dived back into work after a five-day family trip. I’ve been learning some really interesting things that will revolutionize SMUGs teaching methods, and look forward to implementing some of this. I’ll have a post demonstrating this soon.

But meanwhile, here’s a good read from Jeff Jarvis at Buzzmachine.

Internet curmudgeons argue that Google et al are bringing society to ruin precisely because they rob the creative class of its financial support and exclusivity: its pedestal. But internet triumphalists, like me, argue that the internet opens up creativity past one-size-fits-all mass measurements and priestly definitions and lets us not only find what we like but find people who like what we do. The internet kills the mass, once and for all. With it comes the death of mass economics and mass media, but I don’t lament that, not for a moment.

BuzzMachine » Blog Archive » The myth of the creative class.

I sometimes disagree with Jeff because of his almost religious antipathy for religion Update: frequently and caustically expressed opposition to at least “certain policies of certain churches” (see his comment below, and my clarification), and with his new book attributing deity to Google his irreverence goes too far, but more often than not he’s on target when he talks about the new economics of media.

This post is particularly good. The celebrity-oriented “creative class” is an artifact of the mass media, when access was scarce and limited by gatekeepers.

Now millions of bloggers, podcasters and video producers have access to low-cost equipment through which their creativity can flourish.

The days of moving to Nashville or LA to pursue a record deal (“Record? Daddy, what’s a record?”) are gone. Anyone can have access to the world through social media tools.

Will many make a living at it? Nope. Fewer will than did in the “old days.” Just ask the newspaper guild. When everyone can publish, and there is no monopoly or oligopoly control on the means of publication, the guilds no longer can command premium prices.

But if, as Jeff says, 81 percent of us think we have a book inside of us, we now have a chance to let it out.

You don’t need to get a book deal, and an advance from a publisher, and get permission to speak out. You can just do it. And if people find what you have to say is worthwhile, they’ll link to it. Like I just have to Jeff.

How about you? What story, or song, or book, or short movie do you have inside you? 

What’s keeping you from just starting?