Message Mapping: Why Your Business Needs It

Message-mapping-book-Soulati.jpgThat word “messaging?” It’s been around a really long time, born in traditional marketing and public relations. And, you know what? It remains as important today as before, perhaps even more so.

Technology has disrupted how business markets to customers and how sales teams build relationships, too. It’s ever more critical to ensure your messaging is tight to inform your business story to everyone outside your company.

I am a message mapping master.

For 20 years, I have been standing in front of businesses of all sizes to help them fine tune messages to position the company with authority.

Not much has changed with the process I use to facilitate a message mapping session. What has changed is the clutter. Companies, solopreneurs, small firms, business units, sales teams, and corporations are struggling to deliver a clear and simple message. [Read more...]

What’s Happening With @Soulati?

Jon-Buscall.jpgHas anyone missed me? I know a few have and thanks for the well wishes. But, guess what? I’ve not been sick; thank my fortunate stars.

Where I have been is under a rock in the dark trying to muddle through an intense time at my blogging house and for my brand. It’s what every company must experience. You can call it transformation, and it’s a journey that takes awhile…a long while, with lots of introspection and grappling with the demons of the past that form you into today’s persona.
Message-Mapping-Book.jpg
As a result of this experience, my blog has been basically dark since prior to January. I can’t say I’ve missed worrying about what to write on a near-daily basis, but I’m feeling the absence of expressing myself and communing with you, too.

Today, I can honestly say, I see the light. It’s just around the bend, but
having brand new digs is making the light waves brighter.

I need to give my second child (to be born in my next life) to one astonishing businessman, friend, colleague, and partner by name of Dr. Jon Buscall of Jontus Media. Jon is the consummate digital marketer, a brutal editor, and a whiz at website design. His team, anchored by an adorable man named Juanjo, made my new website and me simply gorgeous.

Hire Jon Buscall of Jontus Media

Please hire Jon Buscall for ALL your digital marketing needs and to assess your future journey with digital. Better yet, hit this landing page and schedule a free Marketing Intensive with him!

Essentially, long story short, the lights are back on.

  • I have a new website — it’s all mobile, responsive and built for conversions.
  • I am doing digital marketing the right way because I hired Jon Buscall.
  • I have a project manager on my team who is also the consummate writer and knows my fears and challenges about failure in Jenn Whinnem. Tweet Jenn @TheJenn, but don’t hire her, she’s mine.
  • I give a mega shout out to Cathy Tetrick for spending a Saturday as my photographer.
  • I have a new auto-responder series I wrote all by myself, and you can sign up for it via my blog page right here in the sidebar. (That was an astonishing feat, mind you!)
  • I am building my email list because the experts said I have to; so, if you don’t mind, sign up and see how it’s done!

I’m so happy in my new house that just launched not even 24 hours ago!!

Find any kinks? Please do share. It’s always great to have fresh eyes on a labor of love. And speaking of love, I have missed you and love you to pieces.

In gratitude…

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The Dark Side of Blogging

BSteel-Girl.jpgack in my Chicago agency days, public relations was the dark side. When journalists crossed over, they took a big ribbing.

Bloggers have a dark side, too.

It’s oriented to the lightness of writing tone and levity. If there isn’t any, then a blog post can turn into a complete whine with negativity rampant.

Other times, life happens. Some people choose to push through the negativity and write like normal. Others, like me, can’t find the inspiration to be light and informative because personal emotion gets the best of that.

Another reason there may be a dark side is due to transition. Did you know I’m in digital marketing hell? Getting a crash course in the world of auto-responders and email campaigns. Not too fun for me, as it’s a completely different way of life than what I’m used to. I’d rather hire the experts!

So, there are a few reasons why I’ve put aside the pen awhile, but I didn’t want to leave you hanging not knowing why.

See you sooner than soon.

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The Solopreneur And The Hive

Bee-Hive-Soulati.jpgI’ve been saying for years there’s no more going it alone as a solo entrepreneur; times up for individual practices of one.

Why?

From first-hand experience, I offer you this:

There is too much kerfuddle about what’s new online that requires competency and back-end smarts to make the online business go. What about that social media stuff? Who’s interpreting the big data, and who, for goodness sake, is installing all the plug-ins, widgets, badges and pages plus security on your site and landing pages, not to mention the calls to action and ohmygosh that list?

Beyond competency in all things online, brand and digital marketing plus the writing and strategy of it all, there’s also accounting, legal (more oriented to contracts) or other skill sets needed for teams’ success.

Get the picture?

If you’re still not tracking and nodding the head along with me, here’s solid proof my theory is justified. In the Feb. 3, 2014 Wall Street Journal Small Business Report, “Freelancing Alone—But Together,” the executive dean of St. Joseph’s College in New York writes a solid piece about consultants who find payload working together in a hive.

What Is A Hive

We’re not talking bees here, but do consider the queen and the workers building a colony. There’s a systematic method to that buzzing madness, right? And, now consider this hive mentality with a grouping of freelancers coming together with conjoined forces, competencies, experience, and services to represent clients.

According to Elance in the story in the Wall Street Journal, in 2013, there were 1.21 million jobs posted on its freelance site with 1.15 million freelancers available; do the math – a bit of a deficiency for professionals, eh?

Which suggests to me that the freelancer solopreneur has a bit of opportunity to make it rich; but hold on…as companies shed their full-timers, they’re not shedding the need for skills. This means that a hive has the opportunity to roll in and become the outsourced team, acting as if they are full-time. Do you have a hive success story of your own?

Hive Success

Imagine if you’re part of a hive with all the moving parts to make it buzz. Throughout my 30 years in public relations, I have put together virtual teams and bid together on RFPs. Back in the day, however, companies weren’t ready for that type of structure; perhaps they thought there wasn’t structure.

What I can share as the most critical point of working in a hive or virtual team is this – someone needs to lead. Sadly, organizational dynamics requires a leader; flat teams may work well in theory, but clients need a leading point person they turn to for issues, discussions and strategy.

Here are several factors that contribute to hive success:
1. Leadership – appoint your primary point person to represent the hive to clients.
2. Skill Set – get a variety of competencies on the team that are not competitive with one another.
3. Money – address the discomfort of money and pay up front; everyone carries the load and contributes to expenses while getting a fee commensurate with the budgets attracted and hours recorded
4. Unified Front – this becomes more esoteric; however, if a client is calling another hive member for help with an issue, that person has to inform the rest of the hive. The team must function as a unit and not as individual members especially when clients regard the hive as one company.

Hire Soulati Media

There’s beauty being a solo practice. I can morph into arrangements faster than a chameleon changes colors. I can slot into a marketing team and be an assistant product marketer or join a public relations team and put my media relations skills to work, or work with another solo marketer trying to get a blog up and running or take a larger role as a business strategist for a startup.

Why this is easier for me is due to my career as a generalist in agency public relations. I took on a plethora of roles and adopted skill sets to empower competency as the Internet era unfolded.

Soulati Media is seeking clients right now. Let’s begin with a message map and follow that up with some strategic marketing programs and execution. The team is here and standing by; better yet, Jayme Soulati is the leader with decades of competency to offer.

Be Part of My Hive

Honestly, my hive has been alive and well for a number of years. I draw upon the skill sets that are deficient in my purview and gladly so. It’s been a tough road for me because I am a DIY’er. I love to do it myself but when I do it poorly, it’s time to step aside and let the experts in.
There’s safety in numbers to an extent. What I have found is that people are happy to join a hive as long as they don’t have to lead, and that’s what I do best.

Care to join my hive?

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I Married My Blog

wedding-bouquet.jpgThis is a true story. I finally found my soul mate, and it wasn’t the opposite sex or even the same sex for that matter. It is my blog; hands down.

This blog, named ever so rightly as Soulati-‘TUDE!, is approaching a birthday in March. It is turning the big 4, not the big 4-0, but the big 4. I’d hasten a guess that four years of straight blogging as a professional is akin to the big 4-0. You know, something like cats have nine lives or dog years are longer than one human year.

My blog has become:

  • My obsession (it tells me to write without even speaking)
  • My OCD (I have to write or else I succumb to the next bullet)
  • My guilt
  • My happiness (I’m thrilled when I know I’ve written a winner)
  • My sadness (I’m gloomy when I need a break and then force myself to write)
  • My investment (Uhmm, yeah, time is money)
  • My professionalism (It defines my read next bullet and competency)
  • My brand marketing (Indeed)
  • My influence building (Writing gives me influence, right?)
  • My authority (The content I write builds authority, authenticity and thus creates influence)
  • My emotion (Agony, pride, laughter, happiness as above)
  • My daily activity and neglect (It’s a totally consuming)
  • My love (Right?)

I am totally immersed eye-deep in this blog after 650+ posts, 10,000+ comments and four years of lessons to navigate the complexity and rewards of professional blogging. Add all the guest posting I’ve done and NOT captured here, and that post tally is likely up to 700 now.

Is It Time For A Divorce?

Do you think all marriages end in divorce? There’s a great piece of data somewhere that supports something like that, I’m sure. For a blogger to divest herself from blogging, the outcome would be much like a divorce – extreme sadness, too much time on hands, where to write and about what, how to keep the brand front and center and alive, and how to share with a community that’s invisible yet not.

After four years of blogging, I’ve learned this:

• I have mastered the content strategy – my content is my craft, and it’s NOT an echo chamber at all, ever.
• Data and analytics continue to plague me because I’m a creative, presenting creations via words for everyone to see.
• Digital marketing is more challenging than one thinks, and I’m unhappy having to make it happen.
• I write my best work for others and love guest posting for the ability to showcase talent in another’s house or use a different voice than how I pen for me.

Rocky Start to 2014

I’ve not been posting much; first time ever, and can’t say the guilt has consumed me…yet. This break was unplanned and it was necessary. As I continue to ponder what it means to be married to my blog, I came to the understanding that MY BLOG OWNS ME. It is in charge, top dog, drives the ship, dictates decisions and eats my money. But, with every unbalanced marriage where one partner holds the upper hand, there is some balance of give and take and partnership, too.

In this partnership of four years that is truly 10, I married my blog and continue to work through the kinks and experience every growing pain and emotion, whether happy or sad. One day soon, we will make money together (we’re already making music) and add more variations of bread for the table loaf by loaf. As blog and blogger continue to evolve, inspiration comes from bread crumbs and eventually loaves are baked until it becomes a bakery.

You know, If You Give A Mouse A Cookie.

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