Effective Messaging
No. 82
January, 2013

My holidays were amazing. I hope yours were, too. Now it's back to work. I'm ready!

This issue includes the first survey we've done in several years. Your reward for completing it is a chance to win a full hour of free consulting. We can talk about your online communications, or I'll comment on and/or edit something you've written. Your choice. But first you need to complete the survey.

If you've been wondering about LinkedIn's endorsement feature, you can read my take in the second article. It's titled
"Interesting Bad Idea," which will give you a hint of where I'm going on the topic.

I'm still trying to figure this one out. Last month I made a passing reference to the previous year's December issue. I almost didn't include a link. But then I figured, why not? Ten percent of those who read the issue clicked on this link. Ten percent is a big number for clicks though (or is it click throughs?). Was it me or those wonderful dolphins?

I'm on Facebook and Twitter. Follow me. 

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In This Issue
Online Communications - A survey
Interesting Bad Idea - LinkedIn endorsements revisited
Web Tips - Photobucket part 2
New Deal
Online Communications

It's been over two years since I did a survey of the Web Words readership. I was reminded of that recently when I created a survey for a client. It was fun and so easy I decided to make one of my own.

The Offer

Everyone who completes the survey will be entered in a drawing to win an hour's free consulting on a project of their choice. This includes everything from advice about long-range marketing plans to reviewing a Web site or an email marketing campaign. It could also be used for editing copy. The winner will be announced in the February issue of Web Words.

The survey is short. You can complete it in a few minutes. So do it NOW.

The Product

I am always impressed with how easy Constant Contact has made the survey process. I put this one together in less than 10 minutes. Of course, I had figured out the questions in advance.

You can start with a blank template or select one to assess company satisfaction or a newsletter, event or Web site. There are also templates for products and services.

To learn more about the value of surveys, check out this webinar.

Then contact me to learn more. Oh yes, and do fill out the survey.

Interesting Bad Idea
Cat in pool

That's where I come down on LinkedIn's endorsement feature. I'm not alone. It's highly controversial. But love them or hate them, more than 200 million endorsements have been made since they were introduced in September.

What It's About

LinkedIn has a product called Recruiter, which they sell to companies for big bucks. And endorsements were introduced to make that product more desirable. That makes sense if you are hiring a programmer and seeking specific skills. But it doesn't work so well for the rest of us. Endorsements were also designed to increase engagement. (See more about that in "Rules of Engagement," from the Oct. issue).

How has it turned out? I agree with Paul Furiga: "From my perspective, the endorse button is an inauthentic application of what makes LinkedIn authentic." Ouch. Mess with authenticity in business networking and you're on thin ice.

I know a lot of people in my network really well without having a clue whether they are skilled at what they do. It turns out my situation isn't unique. People are endorsing others out of reciprocity--just to be nice.  That's great for LinkedIn's engagement, but it's not worth anything to someone who is seeking to fill a position. And oh, by the way, that's not why most of us are using LinkedIn in the first place.

Your Choices

Should you add skills to your LinkedIn profile?

I'd say yes to this one. It's not clear that endorsements are here to stay, but if they are, you should have them. But be careful. List the top 10 skills you want people to endorse you for in order of importance. (There are "how to's" in my previous article and in the resources below.) Pick these carefully as the sequence can't be changed once someone clicks on your skill.

Should you endorse others?

This is controversial, too. My view: endorse the people whose skills you can really testify for. Ignore the rest, even if you like the people.

I still think it's an interesting bad idea that should go away. But I'm not sure that it will. Your thoughts?


Forbes - Everything you need to know about LinkedIn endorsements
Word Write Communications - To endorse or not to endorse
Theresa Merrill - Got skills? Get endorsements (has some useful "how to's")


Web Tips

Tips2I invest a lot of time each month looking for Web Words photos. For years, I relied on iStock. But recently they upped their prices enough to make me look elsewhere.

Following a tip from the Constant Contact help desk, I went to Photobucket. Sure enough, I found a cat on a raft in a swimming pool when searching for "bad idea." It doesn't violate copyright laws, either. I even read the fine print to be sure.

You must be a member of Photobucket. But that's free. Then you search photos that have been listed as "public." This also serves as a reminder to make your photos private unless you're OK with them showing up anywhere. Personally, I'm thankful for that cat's mistake and the photographer's generosity.  

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, Web sites and social media.  We also ghostwrite articles and other business communications. As a solution provider, we resell Constant Contact's email marketing service.


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First name
Susanna Opper
Shawenon Communications

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Unported License.
New Deal 
SO turtleneck cropped
I became a Constant Contact partner nearly seven years ago, when the company was tiny.

I asked for incentives for customers to sign up with me rather than through the corporate account. They said, "Not now, but we'll get there." Today it's a successful, publicly traded company. And they've granted my wish.

So if you've been waiting to get started with Constant Contact, now's the time. Be in touch to get the details of what I can offer.

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