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What Is Your Blogger Voice Saying About You? October 31, 2011

Posted by christinapappas in Blogging.
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8 comments

We have all heard the term ‘blogger voice.’ In fact, some of us are still trying to find ours, some have embraced theirs and some are simply replicating others who have paved a path to success. But I wonder if our voice is truly carrying who we are or are we portraying a more reserved, polished version of ourselves for the outside world for the sake of appearing ‘professional’?

I am in the ‘still trying to find it’ bucket amongst many others. People have told me that I have found my voice and this blog speaks to that but I cannot help questioning myself sometimes (you do that too, right?). Then this week I saw Chris Brogan send a tweet asking if anyone would take business advice from someone that used the acronym ‘lol’. I was slightly taken aback because I use lol – a lot. LOL. And never thought anything of it.

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Social Media Desperado October 27, 2011

Posted by christinapappas in Social Media, Strategy.
9 comments

Recently I sent out a tweet saying that I needed to catch-up on my follow backs. As you know, and can easily see from looking at my profile, I don’t follow everyone back. The reason? I don’t believe in following you just because you followed me. So, last week as I sent this tweet stating my intents and then proceeded to check out the list of people following me and followed a few back, I received this tweet not too long afterwards(name has been removed to protect the innocent) :

“Hey Christina…OK, so I guess maybe I qualify then for a follow back? :-)”

Seriously? Ok, maybe they were trying to lighten up the tweet with that smiley face but I decided to take a look at their profile more closely and see what they were tweeting about. I couldn’t believe what I saw. Here is a sample (again, all names have been removed and I promise this is spot-on true!):

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‘Being Contagious’ As a Good Thing October 24, 2011

Posted by christinapappas in Content Marketing, Marketing, Strategy.
3 comments

heirarchy-of-contagiousness

It was clear from the title of the book that Dan Zarrella is not a fan of the term ‘viral marketing’ but the further I got into “Zarrella’s Hierarchy of Contagiousness”, I was less convinced. I don’t think it’s the term itself but what is implied by it.

For example, it’s a joke amongst marketers (right?) to be in a room with senior executives and hear one of them say ‘why don’t we make something go viral?’ What does that mean anyways?

As a whole, we know it means that the content is spreadable; people want to pass it along because they either

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A Proper Excuse Not to Blog October 19, 2011

Posted by christinapappas in Blogging, Marketing.
9 comments

Yesterday Chris Brogan posted a blog that excused all excuses when it came to not being able to find the time to blog. But my mind was racing after I read it because I have recently been struggling with finding the time to blog. It’s not that I don’t want to blog or that I lack topics to write on, but that I genuinely don’t have the time.

I started thinking of Chris vs. Christina (aka me). He is a man and I am a woman. Does that presume that I have some responsibilities that he may or may not have? I am expected to cook dinner when I get home. I spend my Sundays doing laundry – at the Laundromat and I have a full-time job that has nothing to do with this blog. Now I’m not going to make any full-blown assumptions about Chris and how he spends his time (cough Ragu cough), but I feel as though he has more opportunity than someone like me to write for his blog.

If you own your own business (which I know is a LOT of work) but does that give you more opportunity or more flexibility with your schedule giving you time to write? What about if you are single – like me- and are doing everything on your own? Do you genuinely have less time than someone who is married or has a supportive partner?

So, is there a proper excuse not to blog?

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Red Pens, Invisible Budgets and Knowing Who You Want to Become October 17, 2011

Posted by christinapappas in Marketing, Strategy.
6 comments

While I was growing up I often said to myself or anyone else listening ‘I am going to be the coolest mom ever and let me kids do and say whatever they want’. This usually came after I was either a) grounded, b) not allowed to do something or go somewhere or c) totally mortified by something my parents did, said, wore or drove. Every felt like that as a kid? So why am I telling you this? Well, I started thinking lately about the types of people I have worked for and the types of companies I have worked in and found myself thinking ‘I am going to be the coolest boss at the coolest company ever’ and couldn’t help but recall my childhood fantasies of being a ‘cool mom.’

I’ve had tons of bosses (perhaps in another post Ill delight you with all the various jobs I have held in my lifetime) but there are a couple that really stuck out as the ones that I will ultimately learn from in the way that I ‘don’t want to try that with my team’.

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Is Blogging Going the Way of the Buffalo? October 13, 2011

Posted by christinapappas in Blogging.
7 comments

I’m going to do something unusual today but it’s something I always wanted to do; talk about my dreams. And not the kind of dreams as in ‘when I grow up I am going to live in a house by the sea and be the vice president of marketing at a successful company’ but the ‘I just woke up and what the hell was that dream all about’ kind.

If you know me in my personal life or have ever worked with me in an office, you know I dream A LOT. I know we all dream, but I remember at least 3 dreams everyday from the night before. And yes I dream about work (although I am told this is not a good thing) and I dream about my pets and my family and out of character who knows how my mind comes up with this stuff things. But last night I had this dream about the end of blogging. Here is how it went (and sorry it’s so short but that’s how dreams are sometimes):

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Complaints, the Other Low Hanging Fruit October 10, 2011

Posted by christinapappas in Consumer Marketing, Lead Generation.
3 comments

I was reading over at the MarketingProfs site on how Twitter Users Wants Brands to Respond to Their Complaints and couldn’t help but think ‘hell ya we do.’ As Ann Handley mentioned in a response tweet to me, “Absolutely! Seems like a low-hanging fruit kind of thing. (to me) Complain or praise – it goes both ways.”

I have used Twitter in a number of ways, and yes of course, I have used it to vent and ask for alternatives. There have only been two outcomes to tweets of this nature; no response or a competitor of the vendor in which I am complaining about reaches out to offer help.

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The Best Conversation I Had All Day October 5, 2011

Posted by christinapappas in Lead Generation, Marketing, Strategy.
3 comments

Was with someone on my sales team.

Now I have heard about the age-old battle between sales and marketing. That he-said she-said BS (to put it bluntly). They aren’t calling the leads we gave them, they’re giving us crappy leads…blah blah blah. Truth is we need each other more than we realize.

As a marketer, I am not typically on the phone making calls into the leads I am generating or the leads that come in through our website. I have no idea what that conversation looks and sounds like.

Unless I ask.

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Building a Beautiful Backend October 3, 2011

Posted by christinapappas in Blogging, Strategy.
1 comment so far

We talk a lot about starting a blog, choosing a topic, setting a schedule, attracting readers, building community and staying motivated to keep doing it but I hardly ever see anyone talk about actually building the blog. As in picking out a theme, a color scheme, fonts, a banner image, and even pics of yourself as the author (if you choose). This is what I call the backend (ya that kind, not the other kind).

This is the stuff that’s the hardest for me to do.

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Would You Like Fries With That? September 28, 2011

Posted by christinapappas in Consumer Marketing, Strategy.
3 comments

Too bad cause you can’t have ‘em! That’s right, I read today that Thomas Monaghan, the founder of Domino’s Pizza, is beginning his latest venture and this time it’s selling gourmet hamburgers via house delivery (and no, there are no fries on the menu).  

In his plan, he envisions:

  • No seating in the restaurant
  • Delivery is free of charge but has a two hamburger minimum
  • There is pick-up but no drive-thru
  • Delivery is only available 1.5 miles from the store enabling them to live up to their promise to be there in ’15 minutes or less’ (more…)

Influencing the Influencer September 26, 2011

Posted by christinapappas in Content Marketing, Strategy.
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I had a conversation with a friend of mine who was asking me about my experience selling into the IT department. Now I have never ‘sold’ into any department (if we take that whole 2 week stint of door to door selling out of the picture), but I did generate leads from that group and also supported a sales team who was actively talking to them and essentially selling to them. The thing about my friend though is that his solution does not help the IT organization but because it’s a technology, they are involved. So we got into a conversation about the user, the influencer and the decision maker. How you market and ‘sell’ to each of these without one interfering with the next.

In this case, my friend’s audience is optometry offices and the ‘users’ are primarily the opticians themselves or the office support staff – not IT. However, because it’s a technology, will live on the offices systems and has the potential to house patient data, IT is involved. They are the influencer.

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Participation, Lead Generation and Communities September 21, 2011

Posted by christinapappas in Lead Generation, Social Media.
1 comment so far

LinkedIn was my first professional social network and MySpace was my first personal social network. While I am actively on Twitter now and only use Facebook to get in touch with people on occasion (like messaging my cousin this morning to call me), I have found that LinkedIn is not only a great tool to connect with my network but I also have the opportunity to collaborate in an open setting (group discussions) with other thought-minded individuals who may or may not be connected to me – yet.

Both Quora & Yahoo!Answers similar online vehicles to either ask questions or respond to questions, but I find both sites lacking in regards to linking that conversation to the ability to continue the relationship after the question has been asked and answered.

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Don’t Niche Your Audiences Options September 19, 2011

Posted by christinapappas in Blogging, Content Marketing.
4 comments

I get extremely frustrated every time I find or land on a blog that I want to subscribe to and don’t see an option to sign-up via email. Personally, I have tried RSS and unless I set a daily reminder to check it, I don’t so email works for me. I can read blogs via email on my iPhone, I can flag the ones I want to read or respond to and come back later and I can sort everything by blog. I know I can do all this on RSS although I am not sure about the flagging one, but I don’t like it.

After asking a few bloggers why I cannot subscribe via email, their response was that the option was there and I probably didn’t see it. Guess what?

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Fair Weather Political Supporters and Brand Fans September 14, 2011

Posted by christinapappas in Branding, Consumer Marketing.
2 comments

deserted sidewalk

We have been having a bit of weather in Massachusetts over the past couple of weeks and in the meantime, local elections are coming up in my town. Why am I mentioning this? Well, I noticed something about the so-called political ‘fans’ and supporters; they don’t come out when it rains. Fair weather, sun, clouds, whatever, they are there adorning every street corner waving with one handle and holding their candidates sign in the other. But when it rains? Those curbs are a desolate land of nothingness.

I honestly hadn’t considered it before but it got me thinking about our so-called fans online. Is there such a thing as a true online fan/friend? Or are we here for a purpose when it’s convenient for us to do so and when it rains, well, we will just stay home?

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WHERE is Where I am September 12, 2011

Posted by christinapappas in Marketing.
4 comments

As many of you know, I spent my summer of 2011 diligently looking for a new job and just recently I found one. I had the greatest fortune of choosing from 3 different offers and after working in my new position for two weeks now, I feel I made a really great decision.

So without further ado for those of you who don’t already know… Here it is! The official announcement! Drumroll…tatatatatatata…I am the new Merchant Services Marketing Manager for WHERE.

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Minding Your PSA September 7, 2011

Posted by christinapappas in Blogging, Content Marketing, Strategy.
2 comments

Point Story Application

A common question I see asked over and over in the LinkedIn groups I participate is ‘I am going to start a blog and I am not really sure how to start. Help.’ I totally applaud these professionals who see that there is value in building blog content while at the same time questioning their intentions. What I mean is that many of us say we want to start a blog because we see other people doing it or hear about other people doing it. Just the other day I was speaking to my neighbor and she asked ‘what exactly do you do anyways’ to which I replied ‘I am a marketer who focuses on inbound marketing to drive traffic by creating content which includes writing for the corporate blog.’ Her response? ‘You blog? That’s so cool.’

In one discussion, I came across this response from Tess Robinson who shared:

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Contrarians Are Welcome Here September 5, 2011

Posted by christinapappas in Blogging, Social Media.
3 comments

M. Chatterly Sculpture - AgainstTheCrowd

The topic of the #SM Tweetchat, this week hosted by Peg Fitzpatrick, discussed dealing with the art of negativity in social media. More specifically about the role that trolls and contrarians play in relation to.

Now I am no fan of trolls and have little time to pay attention to them, fuel their fire or give them any type of satisfaction so I am going to focus on my admiration for contrarians today. Yes, you heard me, admiration!

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From Application to Offer, a Conversion Analysis of Job Hunting August 31, 2011

Posted by christinapappas in Strategy.
13 comments

As many of you are already aware, my position at Zmags was eliminated this summer which left me jobless like many of you. I contemplated starting my own gig. Could I make it as a blogger? Could I do this for real? Could I charge companies an hourly rate to teach them how I do what I do so well? Am I even a good marketer? If Zmags couldn’t find a need for me, could anyone?

But as I reflected upon these questions, I had to proactively seek employment or else the unemployment checks would cease and desist. And so I hit the pavement, applying for jobs, calling on recruiters, going on interviews, sending thank you cards and last week I received 3 job offers. Yes, that’s right. 3! In this economy that sucks so badly, I had 3 companies that wanted me to come work for them.

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The Seemingly Obvious Yet Untapped Opportunity August 29, 2011

Posted by christinapappas in Consumer Marketing, Mobile Marketing.
2 comments

I came across some tweets in my stream yesterday from one of my favorite brands: EXPRESS. They were sharing the link to a new online catalog which I eagerly clicked but since I was on iPhone, I got this:

Now in an age where we know that consumers will use their mobile device to shop, research and find recommendations, I was surprised by the message. First of all, the message is extremely unhelpful and secondly, the brand is missing a huge opportunity to help their mobile consumers and build brand engagement.

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A Referral is Surely Worth a Thousand Somethings August 24, 2011

Posted by christinapappas in Consumer Marketing, Lead Generation.
4 comments

referral

If a picture is worth a thousand words then a referral must surely be worth a thousand somethings. Perhaps a thousand customers? A thousand orders? A thousand public appearances? A thousand mentions by analysts? A thousand job offers?

Perhaps ‘thousand’ is a stretch in some cases but there is no doubt that referrals are important.

We all ask for and get referrals when it comes to things we need. I ask for book recommendations, doctors in new areas when I move, restaurants offering a particular fare or even something to do on a weekend. But are we proactively asking people to refer their network to us? What part of our conversations is spent ‘leading the horse to water’ (asking for referrals) vs. being led to water (getting referrals)?

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Deserts in Maine, Strategy and Execution August 22, 2011

Posted by christinapappas in Strategy.
9 comments

Desert of Maine

This weekend I visited the Desert of Maine. If you have never heard of it, trust me, I know what you are thinking because up until about a week ago, I had no idea a desert was just miles from my house until I saw a postcard on a friend’s fridge from the Desert of Maine and I just had to see this for myself.

How Fertile Farmland Evolved Into A 300 Acre Desert

The story about the Desert of Maine is pretty interesting. In 1797, the Tuttles moved to the farm. Apparently, Mr. Tuttle heard of the land and after visiting, he purchased it. Mrs. Tuttle was not too pleased exclaiming that she was not leaving her home to go live on the newly purchased farm. So what did Mr. Tuttle do? He moved the entire house to Maine complete with Mrs. Tuttle.

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Consumer, Interrupted August 17, 2011

Posted by christinapappas in Consumer Marketing.
1 comment so far

Store Layout

Over the last month I noticed something happening in a couple of the stores I frequent; my experience was interrupted.

It started when I went to Walgreen’s and took my usual path to the toilet paper/tissue item only to find an aisle full of baby food. A little disgruntled, I backtracked to make sure I was in the aisle I intended to be in. Did I walk too far? Did I turn right when I should have turned left? Where am I?

Then, a couple weeks later a similar experience at the grocery store (Stop & Shop). It started with the produce section. The potatoes were in the back instead of the middle. The tomatoes were at the front instead of the side and the bags of pre-mixed salad were at the front instead of the back. Rearranging the produce section I can handle, but a couple weeks later and the entire store had gotten a facelift.

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Lead Nurturing 101: Start Where They Started August 15, 2011

Posted by christinapappas in Content Marketing, Lead Nurturing.
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Starting Line

Interesting question came up while I was working at a company. They wanted to re-structure the lead nurturing programs but could only do so much based on the resources and the limitations of the software. The choice was between nurturing prospects with content that was relevant to what they originally download OR nurturing prospects with content based on who they were and what type of company they worked for.

When it comes to lead nurturing, do you want to nurture based on what the prospect downloaded or based on who the prospect is?

I see positives and negatives for both sides but if I had to choose, I would nurture based on their original query and here is why.

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Chances Are, You Have Already Been Gamed August 10, 2011

Posted by christinapappas in Consumer Marketing, Social Media.
11 comments

I was starting to wonder why people were connecting gaming with content and engagement. What the heck does giving out Farmville credits have to do with a brand’s content? Then it hit me. We have been getting gamed all along; we just didn’t have a really cool industry buzzword like gamification to call it.

Remember that episode of Seinfeld when Elaine is consuming sandwiches from a certain sub shop just to get another punch in her card that would eventually lead to a free sandwich? In fact she lost the card somewhere during the episode and someone offered to make her a sandwich and she refused saying that she only wanted one from that deli so she could get her free one. That’s a form of gamification.

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5 Things That Can Go Wrong During a Webinar – and What To Do August 8, 2011

Posted by christinapappas in Content Marketing.
5 comments

Now I don’t want to go all sounding like the grim reaper but there is something I didn’t mention in my post Webinars: How to Execute Them and Drown Your Sales Team in Leads and that is that things can and will go wrong.

Last week I shared a few laughs with Lisa Gerber @SpinSucks about webinars. During the conversation, we discovered that we had some things in common including the fact that we both run webinar programs (she for Spin Sucks PRO and me for my last company) and we can also both tell you that things will go wrong. Power outages happen, speaker’s don’t show up, phones cut out and schedules are mixed up.

So in the post, I just want to prepare you for the worst so you can start envisioning these scenarios happening to you (sorry but you gotta do it to be effective) so you can build the best contingency plan ever.

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How Much Do You Produce? August 2, 2011

Posted by christinapappas in Blogging, Social Media.
12 comments

 I attended HubSpot’s first annual user conference HUG last year which was the first time I saw this graph:

At the time, I had just started with a new company and was the first time I was solely responsible for a corporate blog. I had walked into the company stating ‘we need to blog everyday to be effective and we cannot miss one single day.’ Turns out I was right and wrong.

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We May Just Be Too Cool for Our Own Consumers August 1, 2011

Posted by christinapappas in Mobile Marketing.
12 comments

This past week, Jay Baer wrote a post about QR codes by conducting an analysis of a Crowne Plaza ad that features one. It was an interesting case study that not only talked about the overall design and purpose of including the QR code but questioned whether or not one was really needed. In fact, he makes an excellent point asking the hotel chain why they didn’t just use a SMS campaign; More Americans have the capability to text vs. those that can scan a QR code.

I am a marketer through and through so I like QR codes and yes, I think they are cool, and yes, I have created them and posted them on marketing materials and included them in email campaigns but it was only recently that I discovered how few consumers actually know what they are and what to do with them. Are we too ‘cool’ for our own good when it comes to using technology? Have we lost sight of our consumer and forgotten to consider what they may actually do with a QR code or how they will react to it?

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Sales Prospects to Job Prospects: A Transition in Lead Generation July 27, 2011

Posted by christinapappas in Content Marketing, Lead Generation.
20 comments

job search

My true passion is lead generation. I love the thrill of overloading sales with leads and watching the pipeline go up as a result of my efforts. It’s thrilling to say the least and it allows me, as a marketer, to exercise all my passions into a common goal.

Now that I am not doing lead generation in its traditional marketing sense (as in generating leads for a sales force team to call upon) and have now transitioned to lead generation for my own selfish purposes (job search), I am finding that the rules are very much the same. In fact, I feel like I have an unfair advantage to some of the job seekers out there because of my marketing background.

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Getting Eliminated With Tact and Diplomacy July 20, 2011

Posted by christinapappas in Uncategorized.
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This has absolutely nothing to do with content marketing, lead generation or social media but hey, it’s my blog and this recently happened to me and I know for a fact I am not alone. My elimination, the extinction of my position, the none-need for my talent has been weighing on me making me question everything about what I did in my position, how I treated others and why o why was I chosen to be *shock* eliminated.

My dad always talked about ‘tact and diplomacy’. He said everyone should have this written on their blackboard or somewhere that they can see it every day. The whole idea behind this powerful phrase is to ‘always say the right thing no matter what.’ Well, in some cases its best not to say anything at all (like when your being told that your position no longer exists). Why do they call it ‘being eliminated’ anyways? How can you not have a negative reaction to something so *ahem* negative?

So let’s get to it. When you are in the hot seat, how do you get eliminated with tact and diplomacy?

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Why Your Content Strategy is So Important to Public Relations July 19, 2011

Posted by christinapappas in Content Marketing, Public Relations.
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Over the last few years, the overlap between marketing and PR has become almost translucent. PR agencies are now running social media campaigns for their clients, writing blog posts, coordinating research studies and designing infographics. Heck, the last PR agency I worked with even had a photographer on staff that took all the headshots of our executive team. Why the change from clip books, media mentions and TV interviews to content and social media?

I hadn’t considered up until a few years ago how important content was to a company’s PR strategy. I mean, I knew that content helped support thought-leadership and gave the company a tool agnostic voice in the industry, but helping PR to get media placement and establish relationships with media contacts and bloggers? Not so much.

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Webinars: How to Execute Them and Drown Your Sales Team in Leads July 13, 2011

Posted by christinapappas in Content Marketing, Lead Generation.
7 comments

Webinars are a great source of leads for many organizations and I feel they should definitely be a part of your content marketing strategy. But marketers and organizations often ask how do I do a webinar? What’s involved? What’s the best way to get the most registrations?

I have run webinars at a few companies whom I have worked for and I have to tell you, sales dreaded it. And not because they were horrible events, but because they knew that the lull in leads in their inbox was equivalent to the ‘calm before the storm’. Yes, I drowned them in leads every time and I loved hearing the complaints revert from ‘there aren’t any leads’ to ‘whoa, slow down, too many leads.’ LOL! Even Ann Handley who was a guest speaker together with C.C. Chapman gave me a ‘wow’ for collecting almost 1400 registrations for the webinar. I am certainly no HubSpot, but I will tell you how I did it so you can do the same.

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What Good Is Your Product If Your Users Can’t Figure Out How to Use It? July 11, 2011

Posted by christinapappas in Uncategorized.
5 comments

So I am finally getting around to talking about cocktails :) but couldn’t help myself with this one. Hope you enjoy!

I came across this new whipped cream flavored vodka in my friend’s liquor cabinet the other day as we were mixing up some drinks for the poolside and was intrigued. I mean it was whipped cream flavored vodka! YUMO! So I asked ‘what can we mix this with?’ and she didn’t know. She said she bought it for the very same reason I wanted to try it so bad but we both couldn’t come up with anything to mix it with.

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5 Unusual Places to Find Inspiration When You Are ‘Stuck’ July 6, 2011

Posted by christinapappas in Blogging, Content Marketing.
2 comments

We all experience brain freeze, writer’s block, idea amnesia or whatever else you want to call it but we know we have to write something. Our audience is relying on us, waiting for the post to appear and we have nothing to write about. While I use the ‘traditional’ forms of inspiration like looking at LinkedIn discussions, trending topics on Twitter, other blogger’s content, Google Alerts and news sites like Mashable and Techcrunch, here are 5 more unusual places you may find some inspiration when you are just simply stuck.

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