Effective Messaging
No. 44
November, 2009

With all the things on our plates these days, it's a great relief to finally get something done. In my case, it's the Web site I've been working on all year. More about that in the first article. It's not totally finished yet--but it's live and ready for comment. I do hope to hear from you. Here's the URL www.BryanBergeron.com.

The second article details a very special reunion I had last month in New York City. It includes a reminder to make sure you can be easily found on the Web. You never know who might be searching for you.

Wishing you a wonderful Thanksgiving with sublime food and fine fellowship.
In This Issue
Live at Last
Show Up
Web Tips
Happy Thanksgiving
Live at Last

Bergeron site

I often introduce myself as a Web site midwife. The phrase usually elicits a smile or a chuckle. But in truth, birthing a site is more like building a house than having a baby. Fortunately, I have some experience with home construction.

Although completing a house in nine months would be remarkable for its speed, Web sites usually don't take that long. My latest endeavor did, but it was a complicated process for which, fortunately, the client didn't have a deadline.

Of course, we faced the usual issues of structure, design and content. But my partners on the site and I had some unique challenges. We were rebranding an individual consultant whose background, abilities and accomplishments are extraordinary.  

Less is Better

The original site concept was much more complicated than the final version. Though site creep is more common than paring down, I was relieved after each phone call or email in which we evoked the "keep it simple" rule. Since the average time spent visiting a Web page is 30 seconds, we needed to create compelling content to coax the reader into investing more time.

From the beginning, I advocated a powerful photo on the Homepage. So I screened photographers and eventually chose Paul Shoul of Northampton, MA. We spent a day in the client's office doing a professional photo shoot worthy of a top ad agency. Then developer Mary Fran Miklitsch began the process of designing the individual pages.

Creating Copy

The design, navigation and images were a collaborative venture. But when it came to creating the copy, I was mostly on my own. Because of the client's diversity, I needed to become a mini-expert on such arcane topics as patent-portfolio analysis and haptics (which I had never even heard of before I began this assignment).

I had to create a "voice" that would cut across the client's diverse areas of expertise--technology, healthcare informatics and business--and seem professional without being overly technical or, worse still, pompous.

There were dark nights of the soul when I didn't think I could ever master the complexity of the challenge. And there were tedious hours pouring through pages of text on subjects I could barely comprehend. But it all seemed worthwhile when pages of copy came back from an appreciative client with minor changes or, sometimes, none at all.

Like mothers who forget about the birth pains of the first child and conceive more offspring, I am eagerly looking to do more Web sites for accomplished business professionals. Leads gratefully accepted.
By now I hope you're eager to see the site. Check out www.BryanBergeron.com and let me know what you think.

Show Up
Jan's bookReconnecting stories abound today what with Facebook and Google and all those "find your classmates" sites. I know people who have rediscovered all their loves from childhood.

My awesome meet-up story doesn't have to do with romance or even school. It harkens back to the earliest years of my professional life when I was 24 years old living in New York City. But it begins when I was writing the August issue of Web Words.  A phrase from that era popped into my head. I went online to see if I could find its author, Jan V. White--the Time Inc. art director with whom I worked back then.

I discovered a long list of his published books and a reference to him in a blog (which I commented on). And I found a younger White, also a graphic designer, who was, perhaps, his son. Many people would have given up at that point, but the detective in me was energized.

I wrote a carefully worded email to the "maybe" son in which I asked about my colleague's life after I lost track of him. Several years ago I discovered from a similar online search that my best friend from high school had died 11 years earlier, so I realize that some of these excursions into the past are sad.


But this one has a very happy ending. It was his son, and Jan and I met up in New York City last month. The scene was straight out of a cool contemporary movie. There I was sipping wine in the library of the prestigious Century Club (itself not so easy to find on the Web), catching up with an early mentor. Then, to add to the delight, we visited John Goldsmith, who was then managing editor of the publication we both worked on.

The experience left me eager to find others from my past. Through Facebook, I did reconnect with a roommate from those same years. There's an old mirror that hangs in my powder room. One day I looked at it and remembered that it had originally belonged to Kate. Fortunately her married name is unusual, and I was communicating with her in no time. But I haven't found others from my early years--even people with really uncommon names.

Be Searchable

So, the moral of the story is, don't play hard to find. Be sure that you show up online in case someone is searching for you. And craft with care how you present yourself. Web site, blog, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter are all places where you can make yourself known. The result can be anything from a wonderful reunion to a brand-new customer. Contact me to discuss fine tuning your online presence.

Web Tips
Tips2 Some things that seem too good to be true really are true. That's the case with FreeConfrenceCall.com.

All you need is a name and email address and your account is ready to use 24/7 for up to 96 callers for an unlimited number of six-hour calls. Hmmm. Can you just imagine a call with 96 callers that goes on for six hours? That aside, it's a great service for the smaller, shorter calls that most of us make regularly. And you can do it on the fly; no need for a reservation.

Local phone charges do apply, but you can reduce that to almost nothing with Skype. What's more, you can record the conference call for free and then download it to distribute or archive.

They also offer a for-fee service that does phone blasts. Imagine how useful that would be for reminding people of an event they've signed up to attend.
And Finally . . .

Shawenon Communications collaborates with small businesses, solopreneurs, professionals and not-for-profits to get their messages across in the written word.

We specialize in electronic communications, including e-zines and other forms of email marketing, and Web site content.  We also ghostwrite articles and other business communications. As a business partner, we resell Constant Contact's email marketing service.


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Happy Thanksgiving
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Can you believe it? The holidays are nearly here. Didn't this year seem to speed by even faster than usual--for better or for worse?

It's time to think about seasonal cards for customers, clients, suppliers and friends of your business.

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And if you don't yet use Constant Contact, this would be an excellent time to begin your 60-day free trial.

If you want to know more, contact me.

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