Trans Canada Riders

July 18th, 2017

No Comments

Given my summer location in Kenora Ontario, we are always catching news of “riders” traveling across Canada on various pursuits. I often wonder about the story behind the rider. Often times it is a personal journey of support or awareness. So many causes, so many riders.

In some instances it is just a dream journey, a time to fulfill on a vision, or a chance to see this great land of ours.

I know this summer that there are many who are travelling acros various parts of our great country, during Canada’s 150 celebrations. It is a year of exploration. This is a special birthday year as Canada celebrates its sesquicentennial year.

There is one “rider” of whom I am familiar. His name is Paul Kraemer. Paul is a digital marketing strategist who hails from Richmond Hill Ontario. I have become friends with Paul through some of the work that he has done for Bladder Cancer Canada. Paul has been working with us on ways to increase our awareness on line. particularly with our Goggle Adwords efforts.

Paul is taking a dream trip this summer from Richmond Hill to the Arctic Circle and back again. Given his work with Bladder Cancer Canada, he was struck by the lack of awareness of this disease. He offered to help raise awareness along the way.

We have set him up with some swag, buttons, stickers, some key storylines and a flag to wave along the way. He will be meeting with some of our walk leads, volunteers and local media in our “walk communities” of Kenora, Saskatoon, Edmonton, Calgary and Winnipeg.

Perhaps you will see Paul on his journey and now have a little more insight into, “what that guy is doing”. Paul will fulfill a dream of riding to and from the Arctic. He is going to rendezvous with family in Anchorage Alaska. Along the way, he will help us at Bladder Cancer Canada fulfill on a dream that we have as well. That dream and mandate is to support patients and raise awareness about bladder cancer in Canada. If Paul could affect just one patient and their support network,

If Paul can affect the life of just one patient and their support network along the way, he will have helped us fulfill our dreams too.

Wishing Paul a safe journey too and from the Arctic Circle. See you in Kenora !

@FergDevins  @BladderCancerCA

VIDEO CLIP

The Devins Network Lake of the Woods

Working Remotely at the Lake

June 30th, 2017

No Comments

Hello out there Canada !

I’m re-issuing my “virtual office” blog post on working remote at the lake. I am also adding a new “video” produced this summer to help you think about how you might plan on working remotely this summer. Cheers to Canada’s 150

VIDEO LINK HERE  

Ah summer…time to set up the virtual office.

A time when families plan to spend more time together with each other, extended families and friends. For many Canadians, it is a time to enjoy that special place known as the “cottage”, “camp” or “cabin”, depending on of course which part of this vast and magnificent land you might be headed to…the coast – lake – river – countryside – hills or mountains.

For me, that “camp” becomes my summer location and headquarters in Central Canada for the Devins Network. I get a a smile across my face just writing that! It’s the virtual office.

Even when I was still working full time at Molson Coors, I would make the weekly treck northwards to Kenora from Toronto late on a Thursday night and return on Monday.

Thankfully, I had the benefit of understanding and supportive colleagues and a CEO who knew that I was plugged in and accessible at all times, regardless of my physical location. Ground rules in that regard are critically important to make the model work. Establish that agreement early on so that the context is understood by your team and clients.

The remote or virtual office concept is being adapted and embraced by more and more individuals and businesses. I truly believe in this web-connected network society in which we live, if you’ve got access to the web, you are on the job; available and in touch.

Obviously, the truth is that virtual office or job locations are not for everyone. If you are an administration type, that requires physical files at your disposal, it’s likely the case that you need to be next to those physical files. 

If you are on a production line or supervising production lines or operations, it is likely important that you are physically on the site in case troubleshooting is required.

However, if you can execute your responsibilities and fulfill on your accountabilities on line, without requiring a physical presence – you can likely make the virtual office thing happen.

So what does a virtual office look like, feel like ?

DETERMINE WORK SPACE

Establishing your physical “work space” is a critical consideration, in setting up your virtual office. A desk, chair, printer, filing space, office items, mouse, keyboard, clock are all important for your physcial set up. Most important is an agreement with your family members of where you locate in their environment. You may have to take a call or examine something on line at any point in the day. Having space that will allow for this and not cause friction with the rest of the family is key to happiness for those sharing your newly created office space.

A PHONE

Cell phones allow you to be in touch anywhere anytime as long as you have cell service. I find that more and more folks are leaving the land line behind and moving to cell phone only. Given that most families have plans for each member of the family – it has become the predominant device for contact…voice or text. As a solopreneur my cell phone is my phone for business and travels with me everywhere. Depending on how “remote” you are, you might need to do some research on network availability and service in your area. Most communities and service providers have figured out how to keep their permanent and summer residents connected.

COMPUTER

Hard wired to the net or Wifi will provide you with the connectedness you need to access your work team, clients, suppliers, colleagues, and prospects. If you don’t have wifi you may actually have the benefit of a data plan and you can “hotspot” from your phone. Research most accessible and affordable options. Another critical consideration is your “back up”. By this, I am referring to backup device. I stumbled onto a situation where my computer needed servicing. Having an Apple Mac Book it required being shipped away for several days. Thus, I needed to have a back up laptop, tablet or device.

WIFI

I have struggled year after year with just simply unacceptable wifi service from the local provider. This year I am experimenting with xplornet.com and find them to be oustanding. Currently, I have 23 MBPS down and 1MBPS up. And, I am currently looking at increasing the upload by enhancing my plan to 4 MBPS up.

DOCUMENTS 

Platforms such as dropbox, box, icloud and or various other clouds allow you to arrange your critical documents for access. You can also share and edit with teams via these platforms. It might take some getting used to but is really slick once you are operating in this space. This will also provide a safe back-up for you with access on any device if your primary computer or lap to go on the fritz.

FACE TO FACE

Facetime for Apple folks, SKYPE for just about anyone and many other video conference platforms like “Go To Meeting” allow you to conduct virtual meetings where you actually do have face to face ability through your computer, tablet or phone device. 

VOICE TO VOICE OR SCREEN SHARING

Plenty of conference call platforms on phones and available today to ensure that you can remain connected and be engaged in meetings whenever that call might be on your calendar. I recommend securing a conference line so that you have it on the ready, rather than having to scramble if in need of convening a call with your team or clients. Join Me is a terrific service to share your screen with others via conference call.

CONFERENCE ROOMS

Most hotels, and many local businesses offer up their conference space for use by individuals or small businesses. You don’t have to look too far before finding something that will suit your needs. This is particularly important if you are need in several hours on a “call”. It could be a major inconvenience to your family if you are set up in common space in your abode. Often times there is idle space in summer months in cottage country, the establishment might appreciate a few tweets, Trip Advisor referral or Facebook like or recommendation from you in return.

CALENDAR AND ALARM

Don’t fall into a trap of getting distracted with what is going on at  your virtual location environment. Have a calendar plan with “notifications” when meetings, calls or assignments are due.

PLAN YOUR WORK WINDOWS

Put a plan in place to lay out your work each day. Rob Hatch at Owner Media has a good process that he talks about in his “work like you’re on vacation” course. His suggestion is to lay out your work the night before, plan it, plan the outcomes and schedule that time free of distractions.

MAIL

Canada Post will allow for personal mail being forwarded, or how about having home office send you your mail weekly in a ground courier envelope. Many cottage communities also have local post office box availability. Depending on whether you know your community, or are just renting for the summer – don’t just assume that your standard courier will be able to get to you. Talk to locals first.

BANKING

There are now so many options to bank and complete transactions on line. All of the banks and credit unions seem to have set up on on line banking ease. You can also utilize PayPal as a transaction service to pay on line.

FEELING REMOTE AND AWAY FROM INFORMATION

Google it ! YouTube it ! There is no reason for you to feel out of touch if you are connected to the web in your virtual office.

NETWORKING GAPS

Pick your pathway and engage with folks through platforms existing on LinkedIN, Facebook, Twitter and Google + (to just name a few…). If you are remote,you may feel that you are disconnected from people. You can stay in touch through your networks. As part of your plan you might decide to reach out to a number of people through the week. Drop those into your calendar with a purpose in mind. Check out profiles with your cottage community in their profile. A great tool for this is Audiense.

DISCIPLINE

Getting your mindset established from the get go is most critical. Know when you are at “work” and when you are at “leisure”. Plan your day, work your plan. Schedule appropriate amount of time for calls, email, social networking. Routine calls or meetings will make for better planning over the longer term. Discipline and planning will make this work with ease. Those early morning sunrises might make for the perfect time to wipe off the morning dew, grab a nice hot coffee, cup of tea, iced drink or smoothie on your deck or dock to check incoming mail and plan your day.

JUST A CALL OR EMAIL AWAY!

The biggest hurdle with establishing a virtual office is you getting your head around the fact that nothing is impossible to get done when you are remote. The other hurdle is getting those that you work with and support comfortable with the fact that you are achieving your goals and accomplishing the work that needs to get done; even though you are not physically at a location. No need to rub it in, but acknowledging accomplishments from your place away is a good reinforcement that the work is getting done.

Get your virtual office established and…enjoy the summer !

VIDEO LINK ALSO HERE – smiles.

@FergDevins @DevinsNetwork

IMG_4153

Celebrating Pride in Canada

June 25th, 2017

No Comments

As Pride celebrations take place this weekend across this great land, may we be thankful for the tolerance and acceptance that speaks strongly for who we are as a people. Respect, tolerance, acceptance, dialogue, collaboration, peace. In a world that is challenged on so many of these fronts, may there be much happiness, joy and celebration of our diversity as a nation.

The Generator Project

The Generator Project Weekend

May 5th, 2017

No Comments

This weekend, folks at The Generator Project are once again encouraging us to take time for face to face engagement in our community.

The Generator Project was inspired by the blackout of August 14, 2003, on the Eastern seaboard of North America. Over 500 generating units shut down that afternoon and it resulted in the power being shut off to over 55 million people in Canada and the United States anywhere from 2-7 days.

I can recall driving back towards Toronto and stopping Barrie to visit a chiropractor that I had visited during my years at Molson. He had wonderfully bright windows in his office, but the power was out. He proceeded, like so many others, to just keep working through what was assumed to be a minor power outage.

As I continued down the 400, I was not aware of the outage, given that it was still daylight, until I pulled into the roadside stop for a bathroom break and power was off there as well.

People were talking about the outage and that it was widespread.

Checking in with Kathy and the kids, it was apparent that this was a massive outage. Rather than facing the mire of traffic at rush hour, I diverted to see the in-laws in the countryside. We lit up the bar-b-q, waiting for power to return.

As dusk settled in I headed home with an eery approach to the Toronto skyline in darkness. This was a serious situation!

Back in the neighbourhood, friends and families gathered on front porches and lawns to converse about what was transpiring.

I decided I’d have to bbq my walleye catch, from earlier in the day, after a morning of fishing near North Bay. The neighbours were thankful for that.

Hundreds of thousands of moments like this took place in August of 2003.

When was the last time that you turned everything off and took the time to just collect with neighbours and friends to chat about life?

The Generator Project is all about bringing together family and friends for social interaction. There need not be any other reason than to come together in your community.

So…have you planned a Generator Weekend event within your community yet? Check it out, engaged, converse, relax and revel in the joy of connecting face to face in dialogue with family and friends. Check them out on Twitter @GenProjectOrg.

I hope you are inspired by the Generator Project. I know I am. Cheers ! @FergDevins

Bladder Cancer Canada Awareness #YellowHelps

Bladder Cancer Canada Awareness Month of May #YellowHelps

April 30th, 2017

No Comments

Bladder Cancer Canada Awareness Month

The month of May is #BadderCancer Awareness Month in Canada. This is the second year that Bladder Cancer Canada has declared the month of May as Bladder Cancer Canada Awareness month. We are delighted that Health Canada has also officially recognized our efforts this year.

Our campaign is all about shouting out and promoting that #YellowHelps. With #YellowHelps we are intent on reaching out to the 80,000 patients and their families across Canada to get them connected with us at Bladder Cancer Canada. You can also connect with us on Facebook at Bladder Cancer Canada – Cancer De La Vessie on our national page. We also have 20 Facebook community pages centered in our “Walk Communities” across Canada.

We are so thankful to members of the media across Canada who are supporting our efforts and in particular our partners at Corus Entertainment and their Global News Network.

#YellowHelps fight #bladdercancer

With our #YellowHelps campaign we are calling upon our volunteers, patients, families, urologists, oncologists, nurses, general practitioners and the public at large; to join with us to bring attention and awareness to this fifth most prevalent cancer in Canada. Did you know that #bladdercancer is the 4th most prevalent cancer amongst men in Canada and 12th for women? Yet, in funding, it is below 20th!

Some of the milestones this month will include a May 6th lighting of Niagara Falls in yellow, with a touch of red. On May 14th the CN Tower in Toronto will be lit yellow, with a touch of red. BC Place will also be lighting up yellow, with a touch of red at some point during the month.

I Survived

I am personally proud to shout out the #BladderCancer awareness activity through #yellowhelps as a bladder cancer survivor myself. I had two non-muscle invasive tumours removed in March of 2014 and have been diligently carrying out my follow-up cystoscopies and BCG treatments, since surgery. My check ups since surgery have remained”all clear”. I’ve taken the active step of getting involved with Bladder Cancer Canada as a board member and for the second year as National Walk Lead

Spread the Word

YOU can help us this month by helping to spread the word about #yellowhelps as part of our effort to raise awareness coast to coast to coast in Canada for #bladdercancer. Feel free to retweet @BladderCancerCA or post on Facebook. You can also gain more information and ideas about Bladder Cancer in Canada, and ways to support our awareness month of May at www.bladdercancercanada.org. Perhaps you will decide to volunteer, join a forum or make a donation to support the fight against this disease.

Please help shout out awareness for #BladderCancer Canada by using our #YellowHelps hashtag across your social networks this month.

Thanks for helping us gain greater awareness for Bladder Cancer. And for wellness sake, if you See Red – See Your Doctor !  @FergDevins @DevinsNetwork 

 

Art of Networking

April 17th, 2017

2 Responses

Have you ever come across that person that just seems to “know everyone”? I’d bet dollars to dimes that they have mastery with the art of networking.

Like communications and public relations, I also believe that there is more art than science, when it comes to networking. There are those who are introverts and those that are extroverts. Those who feel at ease with striking up a conversation with just about anyone are most likely to be a natural networker. There are those that find that small talk flows easily for them. Any topic can spark a conversation. Those are the natural artists of social networking.

There are several basic steps to getting grounded in networking. Whether you are a natural conversationalist or not, this fundamental framework will undoubtedly serve you well in establishing a network for success:

Pick Your Channels – Start Somewhere

Oh my goodness; where does one begin to turn on channels for communication. I actually use a platform called EClincher to help me manage across my various networks. I also have maintained a Buffer account for similar reasons. Within those platforms, I network through Twitter, LinkedIN, Instagram, Facebook and Google+. I also maintain home base with my web/blog at www.thedevinsntwork.ca. I also maintain my “contacts” within my Google accounts. If you are just starting out in establishing your network, start with one or two and build strength during those early stages for you.

Communicate through Dialogue

If you are one who researches blogs, articles and posts; I would hope that you are turning that into a two-way opportunity for communication. By adding your voice to social networks, you will gain notice and awareness for you and your brand. If you are merely lurking and observing on the sidelines, your time on research may be well spent, but you will not be building a network through conversation. Step into a conversation with authority and opinion. You need not be controversial to strike up a conversation and be recognized through dialogue. Offering supportive comment and building on posts by others is a good place to start.

Build Your Lists

Start to develop an update contact list. Whether this is on your own mobile or desk top system, Facebook friends, Twitter followers, Instagram community, Pinterest likes, LinkeIN connections or Google+ interests – you have a natural community with whom you connect. They are fundamentally your initial “list” of contacts and the base of your network. Once you’ve got your lists built you can determine how you might initially connect with these contacts. You can do this via email, through your LinkedIN connections or choose an email relationship management tool like Constant Contact or Mail Chimp.

Post

As mentioned earlier, lurking and observing can be quite informative. Actively engaging in social networking can will be more impactful. Take the time to plan, schedule and generate posts that demonstrate to your followers and the world through social media just who you are and what you stand for. Over time your posts will generate a followership. You will see that people will agree and re-post. Or, perhaps people will have a different opinion to share in contrast to your post. All of this will bring attention to you and your business or interest. Get active and learn through your posts. You will also learn through posts that images and video will generate more interest and engagement. Take the time to consider what image to associate with your post. There are lots of platforms to share your ideas.

Engage

Keep your contact and network “hot”. By “hot” I mean keep them engaged. Ensure that you are in touch and engaged with your contacts by keeping in touch, liking their posts, and retweeting their tweets. You can also build up your social network assets by joining various interest groups on Facebook and LinkedIN. You will then be in groups with like minded people, sharing insights and ideas on topics important and of interest to you. By keeping in touch you will be top of mind and valued within their network – which will bring value to your network.

The Art

The “art” is that all of this is done from the heart of a genuine authentic “you”. There will be obvious tricks on timing, when to post/not to post, length of post etc. However, the strength of your art of networking will be solidly found in the authenticity of your communication. When people understand what you stand for – they will follow and support you in your endeavours. Create your own posts, tell your own story, post your photos, link to things of interest to you. One caution is not to just become a stream of “re tweets or re-posts”. Create your own voice for content in your channels.

Wishing all you network artists much success out there. Cheers !  @FergDevins

 

 

Enrol the C-Suite in Social Media

March 14th, 2017

No Comments

Isn’t life easier in a company when the senior leadership is supportive of the plan? My point here is that when you enrol the C-Suite in social media, the job of the communicator is almost free of hassles.  Once the c-suite sees the tremendous value and impact for their business, they will ensure that there are appropriate resources to deploy these strategic communication tools. Public Relations and social media together can have a tremendous impact on a brand or company profile. After all, they are in charge of the art of communication.

Shout to Seneca College Public Relations

I had the pleasure of speaking with the Seneca Media classes February 13th. They are graduate students in pursuit of a certificate in Public Relations and Social Media. These are the communicators of our future. I was stressing the importance of social media and public relations teams, within an organization, to ensure that the senior leadership embraces the power of their work.

The headlines of my presentation were intended to provide some coaching to these up and coming professionals. I suggested some ways of they might successfully enrol and engage senior leaders in their company, with social media and public relations. Social media and public relations should be regarded as valued practices and assets within the marketing mix.

CEO Support a Clincher

If you can become top of mind with the CEO or head of a business, your work will be that much easier. With a CEO supportive of social media and public relations in the mix, the rest of management and the organization will quickly align. CEO’s that value the impact of social media and public relations are no doubt witnessing strong consumer relations and enhanced brand loyalty. CEO’s that take an active role in social networks themselves will experience the power of these networks. We know from the latest Signal Communication Leadership CEO index that Canadian CEO’s are really just beginning to embrace the networks, let alone the value. The goods news is that the communications team can coach and counsel members of the leadership team to impactful social networking for the business.

A Senior Leader “sponsor”

A senior leader within the organization, leading the department that houses social media and PR, will also make a huge difference. A strong voice fighting for inclusion of social and PR, will help entrench the agenda within an organization. This will help raise profile and understanding throughout an organization. Social media and PR cannot be seen as add-ons. They cannot be there only in case of emergency. They must be seen and utilized as communication assets ongoing entrenched in the sales and marketing strategies.

Strategic Benefit Understood

Some might view social as tactical. I view it as strategically tactical. Social Media and Public Relations must be seen and understood as strategic, within the communications strategy of a brand and business.

Perhaps it is core to the brand’s voice in the market.

Perhaps it is critical in leading, protecting and reinforcing corporate reputation.

Perhaps it is a critical channel with which to support direct to consumer relations.

Or, all three of the areas of brand and business strength can be supported by a strategic plan in social media and public relations. The wonderful world of social media has so many analytics available now. There are rich and robust data and tracking platforms. This is not a subjective call.  Communicators; you can prove yourself with objective analytic proof. Go for it!

Social Role Defined and Supported

Social Media needs to have a clear role in the mix of marketing and sales. It can play a clear role, as the voice and face of a brand and business. Once that role is defined, the business must then invest in the assets; like they invest in other media assets. Social media voice is as important as an advertising buy. View it as “media”, just as you would view print, television, radio, outdoor and in the home. It is “media” – be sure that its role is defined and supported.

Part of the Marketing Mix

Social media deserves a box on the checklist, like all other aspects and elements of the marketing mix. Social media can play a critical and leading role in Product – Place – Price and Promotion. Don’t let social media become that eleventh-hour consideration. Don’t let social media only become important when that negative tweet is thrown your way and someone happens to stumble across it. Put effective monitoring and listening in place. Lead the conversation for the brand and business in social networks. That clearly puts social media and PR in play, as part of the marketing mix.

Keep it Top of Mind

PR folks need to practice what they preach. PR folks need to tell their story, show the results internally, build alliances, create stories of success and show the value that they bring to the brand and organization. The marketing folks will showcase their new ads. The sales folks will highlight sales. The supply chain team will show the new innovations. Step it up communicators! By showing your accomplishments you will be sure to have continued investment and belief in your efforts.

Wrap Up

If these variables are taken seriously, I truly believe that you will find those senior leaders in your organization and the C-Suite value social media. You will be demonstrating impact and value in the mix of the business.

Wishing communicators of the future much success. C-Suite executives…be proud and glad you have them.

Cheers !  @FergDevins @DevinsNetwork

 

Kenora Thistle Stanley Cup Champions

Small Town Spirit

February 13th, 2017

2 Responses

There is just quite something unique, authentic and empowering about small town spirit. The people of Kenora will reach new heights of spirit this week, as they host #Scotiabank #HockeyDay in Canada.

Centre of Canada

Growing up in Kenora Ontario was just an awesome experience. Having the Lake of the Woods lapping up along the shore of our town, being two hours from Winnipeg, six hours from Duluth, five hours from Thunder Bay, ninety minutes from Dryden, two and a half hours from Ignace, three hours to Sioux Lookout, three hours to Red Lake, an hour and a half to Ear Falls, thirty minutes to Sioux Narrows, sixty minutes to Vermillion Bay, thirty minutes to Minaki, forty-five minutes to Falcon Lake, two hours to Fort Frances and the International border crossing to the USA at International Falls, two hours to Rainy River and the international crossing at Beaudette Minnesota and everything in between and beyond; how could you beat being in the centre of Canada experiencing the four seasons this country provides?

Lake of the Woods

Kenora sits on the northernmost channel of beautiful Lake of the Woods, at the headwaters of the Winnipeg River.Lake of the Woods is over 70 miles (110 km) long and wide, and contains more than 14,552 islands and 65,000 miles (105,000 km) of shoreline. It would amount to the longest coastline of any Canadian lake, except that the lake is not entirely within Canada. Lake of the Woods is the sixth largest freshwater lake located (at least partially) in the United States, after the five Great Lakes. Northwestern Ontario is located in the far reaches of the province of Ontario, a full two-day drive. Yes, a two-day drive – or 24 hours straight through; if you must. Whether you cross at Sarnia into Michigan State and start the US “south of Superior” route, or head north from Toronto along the top of Superior on Highway 17, or take the “truckers route” up along the longest street in the world (Yonge Street from Toronto to Rainy River,over 1,896 kilometres or 1,178 miles long); it is a great distance way from Ontario’s capital to the capital of lake life and the great outdoors – Kenora Ontario. Actually, the official slogan is “North America’s Premier Boating Destination”.Enough context, let’s get back to talking about small town spirit.

Scotiabank Hockey Day in Canada

February 18th, 2017 Scotiabank brings #HockeyDay in Canada to Kenora Ontario. As all of the Canadian NHL teams face off against each other, Kenora will be a buzzing with hockey related festivities along the shoreline of the northernmost channel of Lake of the Woods. Hockey Night in Canada personalities Don Cherry and Ron MacLean will be hosting their Coaches Corner from Kenora. SportsNet will be broadcasting all day long and into the evening starting at 12 noon ET (11 am Central Time in Kenora).

All eyes of our nation, hockey fans coast to coast to coast, will turn their eyes to capture wonderful grassroots stories about Kenora and its hockey heritage. Did you know that Kenora is the smallest town to have won the Stanely Cup? They will play a re-enactment game on the lake in front of the “Thistle Pavillion” Saturday morning. More recently the Stanley Cup returned to Kenora and was proudly hoisted high by local hockey hero Mike Richards, member of two LA King Stanley Cup Champion teams. And the Kenora Thistles’ name lives on with their current AAA Midget roster. They will play Saturday afternoon.

When it comes to small town spirit, there will be nothing to compare with February 18th as Kenora’s 15,000 population welcome the eyes and hearts of the nation, and visitors to their town. Be sure to take in the winter beauty of Kenora Ontario, in celebration of our national sport and Scotiabank’s Hockey Day in Canada.

Tune in to SportsNet

Throughout the day, check it out on SportsNet . The small town spirit will shine through proudly. Happy #Scotiabank #HockeyDay Canada! We’ll be “posting” small town spirit from Kenora. @FergDevins

Consider Blogging

February 12th, 2017

No Comments

A @ChrisBrogan Nudge

In Chris Brogan’s weekly newsletter February 12th , I was reminded of the wonderful early days of exploring social media in 2007. It prompted me to suggest that you consider blogging. 2007 was a time when blogs were exploding. If you couldn’t get traditional media to tell your story; you could develop your own media and shout your story out as loud as you wanted. Well, that said; you could create and post it – the level of sound and noise was up to you. In fact you had to follow through with your integrated and well-defined communications plan.

You Are In Control

They were the best of times. Brands were “early adopting” and exploring social channels. Marketing practices and long-standing media planning was put to the challenge. A community was unfolding and growing as people sought out social networks as channels for communication.

Chris’ Sunday newsletter wasn’t so much about challenging readers to write blogs, but it was a nudge to embrace what we have in our command. I see his nudge as a challenge to stand in a place of action, rather than contemplation. How many times have you seen a post and let it pass? Have you ever read a blog and considered commenting, but didn’t? Now more than ever, it is time to engage.

Channels are Open – Start Communicating

We have more social networks and media channels at our fingertips today than ever before. Many traditional media outlets have opened up their journalists and reporters to comment and debate. Unfortunately, some members of the public have been hiding behind trollish profiles and crass comments, compromising this dialogue in some areas. Respect is key, in creating meaningful dialogue. Mutual respect and appreciating and valuing that there are differing opinions, is critical to meaningful engagement.

Tell Your Story

What opportunity are you missing by letting others tell stories about you, your brand, your cause, your business or your community? Why let someone else lead that conversation?  You can embrace the opportunity to jump into the dialogue and bring your voice to the discussion, or sit in the stands and watch the play go back and forth. There’s more fun in the heat of the action, isn’t there?

Choose a Channel

For me, I like to be in the conversation. You need not be a techno expert to get into social media and generate a conversation. There are so many platforms options to consider blogging. Platforms today are built for any and all levels of comfort with technology. Gosh, if you can type or use a key board – you can create media for yourself, your brand, your cause, your business or enterprise. If you’ve got a solid idea or concept then write, click, drag and drop – you’re ready to roll. Personally, I’m active across many different social channels – Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIN, Instagram, Pinterest and YouTube. Obviously, this “blog” is also part of my footprint. I use a few tools to keep it all singing together. These include but are not limited to EClincher, Promo Republic, Commun.it, Buffer and Co-Schedule. I utilize CisionPoint, for media outreach, and Constant Contact for CRM. Canva is wonderful for developing photo assets. Filmora is terrific for video editing and pulling together quick video clips. Lots of resources to discover once you start exploring.

Naturally, it is not just about posting the story and they will come. It will take some planning and targeting of an audience. These channels are also wide open and easy to access and use.

Happy to Assist

If I’ve sparked something here for you let’s chat further. If you’ve got a story but don’t know where to start, connect with me and I’d be glad to talk about your business or peronal brand or cause purpose and where you might begin.

Truly, the first step is really up to you. If you don’t consider blogging, at least consider what network might help you get in a conversation with your community.

Let’s get that story out there now. @FergDevins 

PS – If you’d like some terrific ongoing coaching from a couple of guys that “get it”, check out @ChrisBrogan and @RobHatch and all that they’ve got going on at Owner Media Group.

Queen's Alumni

Queen’s Alumni Volunteer Summit

February 7th, 2017

No Comments

Queen’s Spirit

Ah – the spirit of Queen’s University. The strength of continuing the spirit of the tricolour is founded in the successful recruitment and engagement of alumni volunteers over 175 years. I have the pleasure of continuing to support my class of Arts and Science 1984 as a coordinator for our reunions. I was honoured to have served as Queen’s Alumni President in 1995-96. Although there has been much change on campus over multiple decades, the spirit, bond and community of Queen’s and it’s school spirit persists.

Volunteer Summit April 7-8

The Alumni Association introduced the notion of a “volunteer summit” a couple of years ago.

The Queen’s Alumni Volunteer Summit takes place April 7-8 at the Donald Gordon Centre near west campus in Kingston Ontario.

The weekend is a wonderful opportunity for volunteers to gather, share ideas, re-connect and get tooled up for their branches and class reunions. The event involves a cross section of alumni through the decades. Branch representatives from around the world congregate to discover opportunities to better connect with fellow alumni.

The summit includes presentations and workshops led by the Queen’s University Alumni executive, staff, subject matter experts and guest faculty. During the weekend, the Alumni Awards gala takes place to honour those and their service to the Queen’s community.

Be Sure to Attend

If you are involved in your class reunions, branch activities or curious about how you might like to re-connect with the Queen’s community as a volunteer, be sure to seek further information and consider attending the volunteer summit. Yes, there will be an Oil Thigh…smiles. @FergDevins @DevinsNetwork

This post was published on Tuesday, February 7th, 2017 at 10:32 am and is filed under Uncategorised.