Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Twitter Tip-Branding

If you use Twitter, your tweets are generally branded with the service
you use (Twitterrific, TwitterFeed,, TweetDeck, etc.). If you'd
rather that your tweets be branded with your own website name and
URL link, use the free TweetBrand service.

TweetBrand allows you to brand your tweets (with your website link):

Monday, December 28, 2009

Crowdfunding, Microfinance, Micropatronage, Collective Action, Middlemen and the Movies

Boy, just keeping up with all the terms is a chore these days. A not so new one is crowdfunding. Wikipedia defines it: Crowd funding (sometimes called crowd financing, crowd sourced capital or "mass funding") is an approach to raising the capital required for a new project or enterprise by appealing to a group of people (figuratively, "the crowd") for contributions from one or many. When such an appeal is global it is mass funding.

Crowdfunding is a neat derivative of microfinancing, which offers financial services to poor or low-income people. It’s a form of micropatronage that is being experimented with as a funding mechanism for creative work like film projects. Micropatronage is a system in which the public directly supports the work of others by making donations through the Internet. Micropatronage differs from traditional patronage systems by allowing many "patrons" to donate small amounts, rather than a small number of patrons making larger contributions.

Crowdfunding is circumventing traditional funding mechanisms like bank loans or venture capital. Basically, it says let's see if we can get a ton of people to chip in a very small amount of money that in aggregate can help somebody to do something. Sounds like mass collaboration with our pocketbooks. And mass collaboration is a collective action. Collective action is the pursuit of a goal or set of goals by more than one person.

Very similar to sponsorship term though I think sponsorship is more applicable as a verb meaning to sponsor something. To support an event, activity, person, or organization financially or through the provision of products or services. A sponsor is the individual or group that provides the support, similar to a benefactor. Which basically means a good maker.

And since so many of us want to make good, the creation of crowd funding comes into play. One site trying to use crowdfunding to benefit film is, a collaborative way to fund ideas and fuel innovation. They act as a resource market, where visitors can watch a pitch trailer for films in varying states of production, share clips with friends (thereby creating a buzz), ‘demand’ screenings in their area and even contribute to a film’s release costs.

On IndieGoGo, projects use the fundraising, promotion and discovery tools provided to build an engaged fan base of funders. They take 9% of the money filmmakers raise themselves and deliver what? Fiscal sponsorship? An escrow account? Most fiscal sponsors charge less than 5%.

If someone managed to raise $200k, Indiegogo would take $18k. That's two days of shooting at that budget level. I can't think of many things worth two days of shooting. For $18k you could build a web site, incorporate the production, set up an escrow account (or an account that holds funds separate from the production's operating account), pay for a few decent meals for the crew, hire an extra PA, etc.

Has indiegogo helped anyone? So far the stand-out IndieGoGo success story has been the documentary Tapestries of Hope, which raised US $25,000 through the site to expose the shocking child abuse problem in Zimbabwe, where young girls are raped because of a mythological belief that virgins can cure Aids and HIV. Another film, The Lilliput, a feature based on the true story a Jewish dwarf who hid in garbage bins during the Holocaust, raised $10,000.

I've always thought that the potential for funding entrepreneurs via crowdfunding was a very powerful concept. I thought of it years ago, even before crowdfunding existed as a term.

But I'm certain that it's only a matter of time before crowdfunding overtakes angel investing and other traditional financing mechanisms as a great way to fund a new business concept.

But they are going to have challenges. If a small contribution obtained via crowdfunding is actually an equity investment or even a loan, then crowdfunding companies may soon have issues with securities laws. I forget the details but if you raise money from over a certain number of investors, you start being subject to all sorts of securities laws.

Is it a IndieGoGo a valuable tool? Depends on what type of project, I suppose. If you are looking for small amounts, it might be a good ticket item. Maybe I am shortsighted but they sound more like a finder or a middleman taking a piece of the pie like we have always done. A middleman is simply someone investors listen to — often another entrepreneur or investor. Now getting investors to listen, telling the story they want to hear, and you gotta have traction aka product testing. Investors don’t invest in businesses they invest in stories. You must start building your product and start testing it with your market before you start raising money. A story without traction is a work of fiction but then again, that’s the movies right?

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Some cool links (HARO) – Get notified of journalists looking for sources to interview for their stories. - Also notifies you of reporters looking for sources - not as populated as HARO. – Set up a conference call for free. – Record your conversations using Skype or other VoIP application. – Find experts to help you with any project. – Create a social media newsroom. It’s FREE for 30 days! – Distribute your press release online and in newsrooms. – Look up the contact information for any celebrity. – Grab screen shots and turn them into JPGs. – Convert your documents into PDFs for FREE! – Resize any image for FREE! – Download sample legal forms and documents. - A great site to create a simple, low-cost website. - Make a video and get it professionally edited. They even mail you a camera to use! - A site that helps you identify and track awards for you and your business.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009


According to Technorati’s State of the Blogosphere 2009, there are over 112 million active blogs in the world. Many of them are maintained by professional bloggers and are integral parts of company marketing plans. Who would have thought that blogs would grow so big. As we learn to harness the power of the Internet, business blogs are using this sphere as a way to talk with customers and clients on all sorts of things, from new product and service offerings to simply inform investors of the state of their companies to wishing them Merry Christmas.

Sunday, December 20, 2009


I had a conversation this week explaining the many great reasons to pursue major national coverage. First, getting coverage in a major national publication like USA Today, or a market specific trade journal like Private Label Magazine sets in motion a chain of events that will raise your company’s visibility dramatically. There’s the article itself, which you can get reprinted and include in sales and proposal packages for additional creditability. Then, you can issue a local release that says something like: Regional Firm’s Accomplishments Gets National Attention, that sort of thing. A single “hit” in a major publication can be leveraged in a multiple ways – over an extended period of time (long shelf-life). That enables your company to “amortize” the cost of getting the attention over multiple uses during an extended time frame. Priceless! Second: getting this kind of coverage catapults a company into an entirely new and more significant category of player. There’s something about the “gravitas” that comes with the attention from a major. That’s not to mention the points I have highlighted in the past about increasing perceived value of the company, better positioning it as a candidate for acquisition, all of those positives as well. No brainer. If it’s easy, and doesn’t cost a fortune, it’s worth a shot.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009


Expect the unexpected. Even the best plans cannot anticipate everything that might happen, so you have to improvise as you go forward. And one such improvisation is Twitter. When you wrote your Marketing Plan, maybe Twitter did not exist but it does now. Twitter started in 2006 and according to Wikipedia is a free social networking and micro-blogging service that enables its users to send and read messages known as tweets. Tweets are text-based posts of up to 140 characters displayed on the author's profile page and delivered to the author's subscribers who are known as followers.

Senders can restrict delivery to those in their circle of friends or, by default, allow open access. Users can send and receive tweets via the Twitter website, Short Message Service (SMS) or external applications. While the service itself costs nothing to use, accessing it through SMS may incur phone service provider fees.

The 140-character limit on message length was initially set for compatibility with SMS messaging, and has brought to the web the kind of shorthand notation and slang commonly used in SMS messages. The 140 character limit has also spurred the usage of URL shortening services such as tinyurl, and, and content hosting services, such as Twitpic and NotePub to accommodate multimedia content and text longer than 140 characters. Since its creation, Twitter has gained notability and popularity worldwide.

Now for some stats:
•According to a recent report on Pew Internet “the median age of a Twitter user is 31, which has remained stable over the past year. The median age for MySpace is now 26, down from 27 in May 2008, and the median age for LinkedIn is now 39, down from 40. Facebook, however, is graying a bit: the median age for this social network site is now 33, up from 26 in May 2008.”

•According to a recent study by of 1900 social media professionals:
◦65% have less than 2 years of experience working with social media.
◦ The companies represented by these professionals are just as new to the ballgame with 71% having less than 2 years of experience with Social Media.
◦In 66% of these companies the marketing department leads the social media efforts.
◦In 23% of these companies the customer service department leads the social media efforts.

Twitter is a great way to develop relationships and promote yourself and your product or business. But it's important to avoid being seen as someone who just promotes themselves. Most of your tweets should be about helping others, but you also need to inject some personality to help people get to know you.

Here's a great blogger who offers tips about Twitter:

Here are some ideas for tweeting:

1. Link to helpful or entertaining articles, Web sites, and blog posts and recommend products and services you find useful.

2. Offer an incentive to subscribe to your ezine or blog, or offer a free eBook or sample of one of your products with no strings attached.

3. Announce your live and virtual events.

4. Teach a mini-lesson in 140 characters.

5. If you make a mistake say so.

6. Get to know your followers.

7) Twitter is as a "knowledge network". A "network" of people to whom you can pose questions and - usually extremely rapidly - get back responses.

8) Conduct a survey.

9) Twitter as a Travelogue, plane late? traffic? Check it all out on Twitter.

10) Use Twitter as a tool to drive traffic to blog entries.

One final note. If you have actually read this far along (thank you, if you have!), you might have come to the conclusion that I spend a lot of time using Twitter. The truth is that I really don't, but I have found a way that works very well for me to fit occasional glances at the twitterstream into my regular daily workflow.