Friday, April 26, 2013

A walk through the week

So much happens around here that the months literally fly by. This week there was just so much coolness, I thought I would set it out here to share. 

The weekends were 17 - 19 hour days and the week days probably 13-14. Trying to go to bed earlier to spend more hours in the sunshine this week! (It's actually amazing to look at everything written out - I can see where my time is spent. Have you tried this?)

I really hope you have time to check some of this stuff out, I'm sure I've forgotten some things, but you get the idea - Happy weekend kids!

Stuff I read

Bossypants by Tina Fey     #LOVED big time - Didn't think I could love her more ~ (Thanks Lisa!)

Eloquent Java Script - So great and free online! (Thanks Derek!)

The Power of Starting Something Stupid (again!) (Thanks Richie!)

Stuff I listened to

Morelove - Old Tomorrow

Sophia Danai - Wishing Well

Stuff I watched

Lovely Hannah

Amazing Santiago

I dared

This amazing video!

Websites I found

Yoga I did

Addicted to Busy

Some of the Lakshmi Series

Neck Stretches

Mantras I chanted

I just finished the 21 day meditation and have begun  21 days of mantras

So far we have done:

Om Shanti Om
Om Gum Ganapatayei Namaha

Work stuff

I also worked on the soundtrack for The 5 Powers which will be ready for CDBaby right away, and connected with someone I haven't spoken with in ages.

I also spent most of the sunny hours in the yard clearing up the gardens, starting the new compost and planning for the yard. We removed one of the sheds and reclaimed an amazing gazebo - it's been an amazing week.

I completed my outline and synopsis for Aspire TV

Made a few notes for some upcoming Soulpancake stuff and newsletters, but have mostly been writing down ideas around revamping the .com.

Study stuff

I had a quiz for Python
Readings for Kant
Lecture on writing iOS Apps

Stuff I made

This Biscotti is amazing and I can't stop eating it, full stop.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Another great Canadian voice lost ~ Rita MacNeil


 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Sydney, NS (April 17, 2013) It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Cape Breton’s first lady of song, Rita MacNeil. Rita died last evening (April 16th) from complications following surgery, at the age of 68. A gentle soul with a heart of gold and the voice of an angel, Rita’s music spoke of her love of home and family, the courage to rise above life’s challenges and the hardworking men and women that tie this country together. “Working Man”, “Flying on Your Own”, Reason to Believe”, “I’ll Accept The Rose Tonight” and “Home I’ll Be”, are just a few of the songs that endeared Rita to fans in Canada, the U.K and Australia. Born in Big Pond, Cape Breton on May 28th, 1944 to Neil and Catherine (Rene) MacNeil, Rita was one of eight children. It wasn’t an easy life, as depicted in her autobiography “On A Personal Note”(released in 1998), but with determination and a passion for writing songs and singing, Rita pushed beyond a profound shyness and found her way to a stage at Expo 86 in Vancouver. It was here that the world discovered Rita MacNeil. In 1987 she won her first Juno Award for Most Promising Female Vocalist. She was 42. “Flying on Your Own” followed in 1987 and in 1989, her Juno performance with Cape Breton’s Men of the Deeps of “Working Man”, brought the house down. Over the course of her career, Rita recorded more than 24 albums which sold in the millions. She won 3 Juno’s, as well as numerous East Coast Music Awards, Country Music Awards, and a Gemini for her CBC variety show 'Rita & Friends' that ran from 1994 to 1997. She was a Member of the Order of Canada, was awarded the Order of Nova Scotia and is the recipient of five honorary doctorates. In 1986 she opened up Rita’s Tea Room in her hometown of Big Pond, which in the past few years enjoyed frequent visits from Rita herself. Rita’s quick wit and sly sense of humour was a hallmark of her live shows and was in evidence when she was featured in an episode of the Trailer Park Boys. A mother to Laura (Dana) and Wade (Lori), a grandmother, a dear friend, and a sister, Rita was a Canadian icon – a woman who had a dream that became a reality - who brought joy and inspiration to so many. And you never let the hard times Take away your soul And you stopped the tears from falling As you watched the young ones go You’re as peaceful as a clear day You’re as rugged as the seas I caress you, oh, Cape Breton, in my dreams Home I’ll Be – Rita MacNeil “Music is timeless and ageless,” noted the legendary singer, “the passion I feel for what I do can’t be put aside with a number and a year. It is a big part of my life – the concerts, the touring, the letters and the joy the audience gives back to me when the music touches a chord with them.” Rita MacNeil Marlene Palmer, Palmer Publicity Ink, Ltd - 250-590-6261 (PDT)

Friday, April 12, 2013

Crowdfunding - Making It Work For You

I've seen many crowdfunding campaigns work, some really well, and loads that fail. Here are some helpful tips for planning your strategy - via Stage 32.

Simplying the Crowdfunding Marketing Process

Have you launched your crowdfunding campaign but are receiving no traction - even though you've messaged thousands of people who you found painstakingly on the internet?
The bad news is that you're a tad too late. Marketing of your crowdfunding campaign should begin BEFORE it is launched. Ideally, you should give yourself a 3-month marketing window before the actual campaign.
Messaging is the backbone of crowdfunding marketing - what you say, to whom, and how. It begins with the following two elements/questions:
  • Who are you planning to reach out to, and why have you chosen to contact them? (target audience)
  • What are you planning to write to them? (message draft)
Knowing your audience gives you power. Here are the two points you must follow while developing theaudience contact sheet.
Resist the temptation to message everybody on your contact list. Research and determine who might be interested in your project - even if they are not on your email lists. I often recommend clients to break down their potential targets into lists, depending on the project and its reach requirements. For instance, your project might need lists of friends, family, colleagues, fans/cheerleaders, influencers, and trailblazers. Whatever your specific lists are, fill in at least 10 names under each category. I always recommend starting small and staying close to home and then working your way out.
Build individual profiles that allows for contact to be made in a fashion which is appropriate and fitting. Knowing what drives the target person will help you position your message accordingly. Similarly, understanding the factors or people that influence your target's choice will determine the addition and subtraction of campaign communication ingredients during the outreach process.
No matter how skilled a writer you are (which I am sure most of you are), marketing message development is a different beast altogether. It is more of a psychological game than creative expression.
Here are the few core elements to remember if you're attempting to create your own campaign message.
Let the campaign message not be about the project: This might surprise you, but it's true. People invest in people, not projects. You should be able to sell yourself before hoping to sell your idea because potential backers need to know:
  • What makes you the best person to carry out the proposed project?
  • Will you deliver what you promise?
As such, your goal should be to:
  • Instill their confidence in you.
  • Convey your personality and passion about what you're doing in a compelling way.
Throw away the logical glasses. Time and again, psychologists have stressed the significance of emotion over reason in fundraising. People make decisions about you and your project on the basis of 'gut feeling' or intuition. When it comes to emotions, we have to look at several intangible factors that affect their "giving" decisions, such as:
  • First thoughts and impressions. First impressions don't just work in romances and job interviews; they apply to crowdfunding situations as well. How people "feel" when they first encounter your campaign counts; in fact, that's what lasts.
  • Safe versus beneficial: As we all know, losses hurt more than gains feel good. Therefore, your campaign message must communicate safety before benefits.
  • Social proof: It's human nature to like and want what others have - be it their spouse, lover, job, parents, or education. The rules of investment and affiliation are no different. We open our wallets if and when we receive validation from people we trust, admire, or compete against. They can be in our immediate social circle or society in general. As a fund seeker, your job, my friend, is to find who and where they are.
  • Bonding: We are creatures of bonds and emotions. Therefore, don't forget to pull those heartstrings if you would like the purse strings to be opened. They say, "You can have the best project at hand, but it will not fly if backers cannot develop an emotional bond with it." Therefore, as they say, building an emotional connect is far more important than increasing your fan count.
If you target sharply and communicate responsibly, help will come your way.
For my blog, I asked several platform executives and those whose projects have been successfully funded about crowdfunding marketing strategies that work, and here is what they said:
Benji Rogers (CEO of PledgeMusic): You, the artist, must not appear desperate. Create incredible campaigns, engage with your fans, and don't simply ask for money.
Ben Hamilton (Community Manager at PleaseFund.Us): Build a story behind your campaign, and let it resonate with people. It's often the story that people buy in to, and not necessarily the idea.
Matthew Benetti (Marketing & Partnerships Manager at Pozible): The biggest key to success is probably research, planning, and engaging with audiences. Successful project creators constantly engage with their audience and put a lot of work into building their online fan-base, before and during the campaign - without spamming!
Ali Berlinski (Author who successfully raised funds for her book and received a publishing deal from the platform's publishing arm): They say it takes a village to raise a child and similarly, it takes a community to publish a book. In order to fundraise, you really need to reach out to your community, extended community, and then even your extended community's extended community. And when I say reach out, I mean on a personal level.
Devon Glenn (who ran a successful Kickstarter campaign for her novel, and is an editor at Social Times):Deep down, people want something they can't buy at Walmart: something truly special that they discovered and brought into the light. Give them a project they can feel proud to support. Enthusiasm and persistence go a long way. When people see that you're serious about what you do and that others are backing you up, they'll be more inclined to join.

Sharmeen Akbani Gangat is an art and entertainment marketer. For her, marketing is messaging - and she applies that principle in her professional life: she earned the chance to work on UNTV's promotional video marketing package for World Summit through a cold call pitch; prospected and secured 15 new web 2.0 clients for a start-up within a month's time; and, wrote sales letters that sold millions of dollars worth of products and services. She is a certified filmmaker from New York University and holds a master's degree from Columbia University. She also taught marketing classes and conducted branding workshops at Hunter College and New York University.
You can visit Sharmeen at her blog, The Glocul Group and on Twitter at @SharmeenAGangat.

(And just FYI - Here is our latest one - it seems to be doing ok, and there was TONS of pre-planning. I really think that you need to think of crowdfunding as an 'event' of its' own, it needs that much consideration. Cheers! Jenn