Justin Brady Designs Elegant Virtual Book Signing

Cover of "In Pursuit of Elegance: Why the... Cover via Amazon

Is Des Moines' own Justin Brady creating a business model on how authors will soon be marketing books?

For the secong time this year, Justin has paved the way for "bringing in" a best selling author to have a "virtual book signing."

Des Moines' second virtual book signing, featuring renown speaker and author, Matthew E. May and his book "In Pursuit of Elegance: Why The Best Ideas Have Something Missing" will take place Tuesday, September 7th at Jasper Winery from 5 – 6:30pm! Register today (it's free — and check out the menu!)

In February, Justin arranged for a conversation with Dan Pink on his ground-breaking book Drive. It was a rousing success.

Here are a few reasons why I think this is a great model:

  • The conversation is center stage. Rather than the author signing books and glad-handing, book plates with the author's signature are shipped in. Books are purchased locally. This gives the author and audience time to focus on having a conversation centered around the book.
  • The audience has a big role. Dan Pink so gets this, So does Matthew May. And so does Justin Brady. The passive role of reader becomes dynamic as they get to have thought provoking Q & A with the author. In Dan's case, we even got to meet his son as they connected via Skype from Dan's home.
  • The ground of conversation becomes level. This isn't a stage and microphone presentation. It's an informal talk around the book, the author, and the applications the audience can take home. Friendships are forged. Enthusiastic evangelists go forth.
  • With barriers broken, business booms. It's my understanding that Dan Pink's team has received several requests by companies looking for Dan to come to Des Moines to speak to their company.

Now, about this book and the event. I've started re-reading "Elegance" to prepare for next Tuesday. I love the book! Why?  I really dig white space. I'm almost addicted to ambiguity. And there is a bit of elegance in the gap. (Here's Matthew May's Change This Manifesto – Creative Elegance: The Power of Incomplete Ideas )

If you have a passion for innovation or design, of business planning or communications of any kind – I encourage your presence. This could become habit.

Should this "book-signing" conversation model continue – and why shouldn't it – Justin Brady should be thanked in a big way for putting Des Moines on the book tour map – virtual or otherwise. By the city, the state, and booksellers and publishers for the idea and follow-through.

Thanks Justin. You are a hero of mine.

Follow 'em on Twitter:

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0-60 Series: Day Three – Writing for the Web and Eye Rests

In this series, we will cover some of the first 60 days of integrating social media into your overall business strategy.


Day Three – Writing for the Web and Eye Rests

Objective: To begin to write specifically for the web-based reader and their reading and sharing habits.

Tools: Your new blogware platform (WordPress? Typepad? Blogger?). Notice I didn’t say MS Word.

Writing for the Web

Writing for the web is different. Different from most print journalism. Probably much different than what your English teacher taught you back in the day.

One reason is because the readers read differently. Another is the dynamic nature of web pages with hyperlinks, moving parts, and back buttons. If we are to write with the reader in mind (and who and how they might share what you’ve written), we must be aware of their reading habits.

A post I always require my students to read is Blog Posting – Give Them Eye Rests.

Slow Down Their Scroll

Readers on the web are scanners and surfers. They scroll and move on in the fast lane. Even if you writing is great, they still may not slow down. Help them navigate safely by providing rest stops along the super-information highway. These “speed bumps” might include:

  • Bold text your take-away phrases (a 7-10 word phrase is better than a single keyword)
  • An image that helps tell the story (preferably positioned on the right of the text)
  • A list, either bullets or numbered (you don’t have to love these, but know that readers do)
  • Hyperlink text (instead of spelling out the 5 W’s & H, link to them — contextually)

By giving these “gifts” to the reader, they are more likely to remember what you’ve written (at least the bold take-away), and they are more likely to share it with others (it’s good AND easy-to-read)

Readers will stick with you if you are considerate of their habits. Think about how you read on the web. Do you scroll and scan or read every line?

See what I mean?

Note that during these 60 days, I would have about 20 face-to-face or live conversations (Skype or other form of video/screen sharing). The other days are self-paced — though plenty of homework.

You can get this series emailed to you in a gradual release format (one-a-day for 60 days). FInd out how you can get started today.

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Google Voice + First Time Callers = Guest Post?

A few days ago, I confessed how I have a few customers "calling in" their blog posts using Google Voice. The combination of transcription and audio file has made it quite easy for some busy business owners to "blog" as we can still capture tone and inflection with the audio. We just clean up the text, add a few links and an image.

After talking with my buddy, Mike Wagner, I'm going to experiment again with Google Voice. This time, mashup up this site as part blog & comments, part guest post, part call-in show.

Each week, I'll pose a question here. If you want to take part, just call in your answer to my G-Voice # at


This week's question:

What is the most close-knit "offline" community you participate in and what makes it so close-knit?

I'll post your answers mid-week here. When you call in, there's a few things to consider:

  • I'd like to post both text AND audio. Let me know when you call if you want just the text posted.
  • You only have 3 minutes to leave your message
  • Let me know which site to link to on your comment (website, twitter, facebook…something of yours)
  • We'll close up the call-in submission Wednesdays, Midnight Pacific.

Are you a first time caller, long-time reader? 

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Whistle Stops: 08/29/10 – Let’s Get Blogging Edition

Whistlestops_39_3 Whistle Stops are conversations, eye-openers, or tools representing the brain train discovered while traveling along the Conversphere.  From business to education, life hacks to giving back, these are the posts and links that have in some way grabbed my attention! A great deal of talk this week about whether blogs are still relevant, but there’s also some fantastic “back-to-basics” chatter being offered up:

Wow!  Lots of great stuff. I found all of these in my RSS reader and shared them earlier. Grab a seat on your deck and a beverage, and soak up the knowledge (and then apply what you learn:-)) Happy blogging! Maybe I’ll see you in #blogchat tonight.

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Strong-End Summit: Content Marketing and Conversational Media

It’s been a while since I’ve worked in a cubicle, but I know (and you do too) that Friday afternoons are a bit more relaxed. Relaxed doesn’t mean lazy though. And why not utilize sites like YouTube and SlideShare productively and end our week strongly.

This week, we’ll focus on Content Marketing and Conversational Media. Let’s get smart:

What is Content Marketing?

What is Content Marketing? from OpenView Venture on Vimeo.

Joe Pulizzi of Junta42 “We Are All Publishers Now

Seth Godin and Tom Peters on blogging

Scott Ginsberg: Writing is the Basis of All Wealth

ROI of Social Media – Case Study w/ Boesen the Florist

Have a strong weekend and come out creating on Monday, dig?

Make a Dent in the Universe

I've talked with a lot of folks recently are are tired of the stuck they are rooted (rutted?) in.

I ask about their passion and the extraordinary and they cling onto passivity and the ordinary. They don't like it or want it, but still — they dig deeper roots in their stuck.

Several times this week, I've launched Garr Reynold's deck on Daniel Pink's brilliant book, Johnny Bunko. I watch the person I show it too. I see nods and smirks (they see thruth). But, at least this week, the slide that gets them is No. 169.

I've heard big sighs, a cheer, and even seen a tear.

If you feel trapped, stop. Go make a dent in your universe.

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Social Media Playbook: Blog or Twitter or Facebook? Or…?

Since 2006, I've written:

  • 1500 ConverStations blog posts
  • 7000 Twitter entries
  • I dunno how many Facebook entries (FriendFeed populates most of it)

Do the blog posts take a bit longer?  Yes, quite a bit. 

Do the blog posts allow me to be more findable, and therefore more profitable? Yes, quite a bit.

Here's my caveat:  I don't believe it's an "or" question.  I think blogging and tweeting and facebooking, especially if you can do it all in a manageable time, are all important.  But if you skip one, don't let it be your blogging.

Maranda Gibson of AccuConference commented on a recent post on, and how she like to use the tools in conjunction with each other and "using one without the other limits conversations." Great point!

Maybe we should look at Twitter and Facebook (and other social sharing spots) similarly** to our "leave-behind" material, such as business cards, brochures, sales sheets and our blog as "the catalog."  

Too many companies (especially small business) are putting all their eggs in the Twitter and Facebook arena as a replacement to producing deeper content on a site such as a blog. Not a great idea for long-term success.

I don't sell blogs.  I'll coach folks to improvement on any tool (and success on the whole if we have the right strategy and mindset)

Don't skip the foundation.

**I say similarly in the vein of size and scope, not of purpose or message type

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Social Media Informer: Best Digest of Social Media for Business

Anything that can make it easier for me to find a signal is a tool worth looking at.

Social Media Informer (SMI), a new hub and aggregator for social media content makes it easier to cut through the noise and find a signal. You can use the site as a daily digest, or search articles based on topics or dates.

In Tom Pick’s review of the site on Webbiquity, he shares:

“SMI was developed by some of the same people as the popular B2B Marketing Zone b2b marketing portal. It also uses the same underlying Browse My Stuff technology,
which enables publishers, PR agencies, corporations and other
enterprises to efficiently SEO-friendly build branded content
aggregation hubs.”

You’ll find archived content from plenty of the industry leaders, some you’re sure to be familiar with, and some maybe you haven’t discovered yet.  With Social Media Informer – you’ll be able to quick-and-easy now.

I’ve found myself searching by topic hubs (a great way to find outbound links if you’re using Blog Posting Mantra #4), and occasionally using the date-based “change edition” at the top (this could come in useful for our Social Media History category)

I’m proud to be among those featured, and thankful to be among their readers.  You should be too.

Social_media_informerHere are some of the other Featured sites (I’m either subscribed or following each of these folks):

If you want to learn more about how you can engage or involved, here’s more on how to Participate with Social Media Informer


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0-60 Series: Day Two – Content Creation Practice

In this series, we will cover some of the first 60 days of integrating social media into your overall business strategy.


Day Two – Content Creation Practice

This is your first writing day, though your writing won't be viewable to the public just yet. We pick a content management tool (what we'll call "blogware") such as WordPress or Typepad.

In either case, we "hide" it from search engines during our first two weeks. During these first two weeks of "trash talking", we focus on:

  • Learning the tool and how to use eye rests
  • Practice free-writing and half-blogging within a disciplined time frame
  • Develop your voice and thereby your categories

But more on those a bit later.

Sign up for either WordPress.com or Typepad's 14-day free trial (choose Premium). A quick side on each of these:

  • WordPress.com sites are free. If you decide to keep using WordPress, we will soon move to a self-hosted version (WordPress.org), but you'll want to keep the WordPress.com site for the API-key they give you. Some plugins we use will need this API-key (more on this in two weeks).
  • With Typepad, we'll opt for the Premium version because of design flexibility (though we won't think about that just yet. You'll need to sign up with your payment info, though you won't be charged during the free trial.

In either case, make sure you opt for "block search engines" during this period. This option is usually on the 2nd or 3rd screen of the initial sign-up process.  If you miss it, we can go back and make sure your site is "hidden."

WordPress.com uses the term Privacy, and you should choose "block search engines" for the first two weeks.


Typepad's terminology for this is either Publicized or Non-Publicized and leave the box "unchecked" for now.


While I love Typepad (they host ConverStations and probably will for a long time), I also have sites on WordPress.  Because of the plugins available on WordPress, I find myself recommending that more often these days.  

Don't think about design just yet.  We'll get to that.  For now, just pound the keys, dawg

Note that during these 60 days, I would have about 20 face-to-face or live conversations (Skype or other form of video/screen sharing). The other days are self-paced — though plenty of homework.

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Are Blogging and Commenting Still Important Tools in Social Media?

Quite a few folks talking and writing about whether "blogging" is still relevant or not and where has commenting gone?

First, I'll say "blogging" is still the foundation of your content and a deep part of your conversation – the trunk of your social media tree.

I've worked with those that blog now and again, here and there. They are disappointed in the return (but look at the lack of deposit). So they take to the quick and twitter or facebook instead. Instant gratification.

When these folks begin to produce content and conversational points a bit deeper and more frequently on their blog site, they see better findability, more focused daily interaction offline, and even better bottom-line results. But it's work.

Second, allow me to be bold and say commenting on blogs is highly overrated as a means of success measurement. I want them, everyone wants them. They're great.  But I would rather find:

  1. Readers extending the conversation on your blog and linking back to the original post, or
  2. Sharing a link on Twitter or Facebook with your two-bits added

And hey, I'm all for Twitter and Facebook… and Slideshare and Flickr and Foursquare too.  They are fruits of the Social Media tree, extra rooms in our Social Media storehouse.  We can really branch out and connect from those places.  We can throw rice against a wall and see what sticks. Brainstorm.  Even improve our findability.

But the foundation of what we do and think, what we believe, and the most important inventory we have online is that space we call "blog" and the content or conversations that live and endure there.

Am I saying that folks who Twitter and Facebook in a business sense without blogging are lazy? No (Yes), I'm not saying that at all (sure you are). Not really (yes, really – you are).  But as seasons change and FBML's go by the way, you'll wish you had stronger roots. 

Hello, blog.

I do agree much of the exchange, the back-and-forth conversation, may now happenelsewhere. But don't use that as a signal that blogging has died or is a waste of time.

Blogging is still very much an important item in your toolbox.

Are RSS feeds still relevant? Another post (but very much intertwined with this one).

Related Here:

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