Drought on ideas for writing blog posts?

Are you experiencing a drought of blog topic ideas?

Are you experiencing a drought of blog topic ideas?

Has your creativity run low on blog topics? Start the New Year with a list of ideas that you can use in the future when you are seeking something to write about. Taking action now to improve your marketing in 2014 by developing subjects for writing your blog.

  • Answer questions that you hear from co-workers or clients.
  • Describe an ethical dilemma.
  • Explain how to do something.
  • Introduce a new tool or technology that relates to your work.
  • Offer a lesson you might share with a co-worker.
  • Pick a story online, provide a link and make comments related to your interests.
  • Promote an industry or professional association event.
  • Relate an incident that you saw when you were out shopping to your subject matter expertise.
  • Tell a funny story with a workplace moral.
  • Use a photo to illustrate a business idea.
  • Write about overcoming a challenge.

Good luck filling up with fresh ideas to take Marketing Action in the New Year.

Travelers — Write that blog or book

Expert travel writers and photographers (Craig Johnson, Janet  Fullwood & Ingrid Lundquist) offered guidance at The Book-In-Hand workshop.

Expert travel writers and photographers (Craig Johnson, Janet Fullwood & Ingrid Lundquist) offered guidance at The Book-In-Hand workshop.

Do you want to share your world travel experiences? Were there comic events on your recent trip that would make entertaining stories? Are you looking for a way to meld your passion for travel and writing?

I recently had the privilege of attending a travel writers’ workshop hosted by The Book-In-Hand Roadshow.

Award-winning book professionals shared their advice on how to get started as an adventure-sharing author.  Janet Fullwood, former Sacramento Bee travel editor and travel photographer; Craig Johnson, photographer and print-on-demand photo bookmaker; and Ingrid Lundquist, award-winning author and street photographer, all provided insight and encouragement to hopeful travel writers.

To get motivated, they suggested reading other travel blogs, taking a class in photography or joining a writers group. The speakers described a focused approach to describing places and recording experiences in a way that would intrigue others.  As a result, I gained ideas on how I might become much more intentional than a casual vacation storyteller or snap shot taker to produce material beyond my usual marketing commentary.

Glenn Karwoski gives Innovation Tips to Marketers

Stretch your imagination - what are all the things this might be?

Stretch your imagination – what are all the things this might be?

Yesterday, the Sacramento Chapter of the American Marketing Association hosted “The Culture of Innovation: How to Develop the Next Great Ideas” with speaker Glenn Karwoski, The Business of Ideas.

According to Karwoski, the key elements to innovation are to see things differently and to think differently. He suggested that cross functional teams of intrinsically motivated people are critical to innovation. As well as involving people in-house from various disciplines, he recommended looking at the problem from the customers’ perspective as essential to innovation.

Read more on Karwoski’s suggestions to spur fresh ideas at your company at Twin Cities Business – Innovations.

Thinking of Sweet Mountain Mandarins

DSC02386When I saw the first Placer Mountain Mandarin signs going up, my first thought was I can’t wait to taste this local fruit again.

My second thought was that this is Farm to Fork in action, with no fork necessary to enjoy this candy-like fruit. The Placer County Mountain Mandarin Growers Association has done a wonderful job uniting farms to brand the mandarins unique to Placer County.

My third thought was admiration that the group has done research to differentiate the local crop from competitors. According to the nutrition section of the Mountain Mandarin website:

“Made famous in a 2008 study by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), Placer County Owari Satsuma mandarins offer high concentrations of the phytochemical synephrine. According to the study, synephrine concentrations in Placer County mandarins were up to six times higher than values previously determined for orange juices. The study concluded that ten ounces of mandarin juice contains as much synephrine as one over-the-counter decongestant pill.”

This all led up to seeing an offer to win free tickets to the 20th Mountain Mandarin Festival being held Nov. 22-24, 2013 in Auburn, CA. I look forward to using the tickets I won, tasting the delicious fruit, seeing Placer County farmers and experiencing a locally grown marketing effort. Thank you to the mandarin farmers and promoters who put Placer County on the map as the place to get the best mandarins.

Ideas for Marketing Your Business in 2014

DSC02097Start Now

If you start making plans in January 2014, it may be spring before your marketing campaign roles out. So just as the leaves are changing color, like these in Northern California near Sacramento, start making plans for the changes needed in your 2014 strategy and marketing action plan.

Set Goals

Review the first 10 months of the year, and compare results to the 2013 goal. Then set new goals for 2014.

Take Photos

Photos are more important than ever for online as well as print. Arrange to get photos taken now. If your service or products are used outdoors, you can still catch some flowers or fall color to make an attractive background. Use a professional photographer. Be sure the images are high resolution and that you have full rights to the photos.

Gather Testimonials

Identify clients who have recently worked with your company, give them a call and ask a few questions about their experience. Write down what they say in their own words. Email it back to them, requesting corrections and clarification. Ask for permission to use their comments and names in marketing materials. These can be used to help your staff understand how your company is perceived as well as can be used on websites, brochures and other materials.

Arrange Contracts

Talk to firms that can help you meet your marketing goals, and evaluate how well each might fit your needs. Once you make a selection, set your contract to start January 1, 2014.

Enjoy the Holidays

You’ll be able to enjoy the holidays knowing that you have done the preparation to get your 2014 marketing ideas underway at the very start of the year.


CEO’s Tell All — Transforming with Continuous Improvement

Presidents and top managers will gather on Thursday, Nov. 14 at 6 PM in Lincoln, CA at the Orchard Creek Lodge to share their experiences implementing Continuous Improvement. Go to the Continuous Improvement Network (CIN) web site to learn more about the Executive Forum on Organizational Transformation through Continuous Improvement.

Many of the presenters from the Sacramento region have experience using lean and process improvement methods to transform their companies. Part of their success was due to the support from other executives located in Northern California who are involved in the Continuous Improvement Network. In this interactive format, all participants will be encouraged to tell about their challenges and successes, and gather input from others.

If your business is using or considering embarking on the Continuous Improvement “journey,” membership in the not-for-profit employer group that formed in 2011 may be a a valuable resource for you. The Continuous Improvement Network also offers tours of members’ facilities and share employee training. Sierra College Center for Applied Competitive Technologies is a training partner with the CIN.

Loomis Soroptimist Accepting Award Applications

Soroptimist International of Loomis Basin is accepting community awards applications, due in December. The application forms are available at www.soroptimistloomis.com.

Women’s Opportunity Award

This award aids women who need additional skills, training and education to upgrade their employment skills to better support their families. Candidates should be heads of households, completing undergraduate programs or entering vocational or technical training programs, and reside in the Loomis Basin. Applications are due by December 15, 2013.

Violet Richardson Award

This award recognizes young women who make the community and the world a better place, particularly for women and girls, through volunteer efforts. Girls must be between the ages of 14 and 17 on December 1, 2013 and reside in the Loomis Basin. This winner receives a cash award and an additional cash award for the non-profit of her choice.  Applications are due by December 1, 2013.

Teacher Grants

These small grants help fund teachers’ long-term projects that will benefit numerous classes over time. Previous recipients have used the funds for books, music, science project equipment, historic costumes and other similar projects that benefit the students and community. The grant request can be from any area of study. Applications are due by December 1, 2013.

To learn more Soroptimist International of Loomis Basin, go towww.soroptimistloomis.com, visit a Wednesday 8 AM weekly meeting at ‘The Train Depot’ (Taylor Rd. & Horseshoe Bar Rd.) in Loomis. On the 2nd Wednesday of every month the club holds an evening meeting at Lorenzo’s at 5:30 PM.

Soroptimist (soroptimist.org) is an international volunteer service organization for business, professional and retired women who work to improve the lives of women and girls, in local communities and throughout the world. Soroptimist International of Loomis Basin (www.soroptimistloomis.com) is a 501(c)(3) organization. The club supports Loomis LIFE center, former foster youth attending Sierra College, and other community and international projects.

Not Your Father’s Manufacturing

Exciting new product development and manufacturing career opportunities are exploding for students with a focus hands-on Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM). Check out the CNBC Disruptor Series on Manufacturing Disruptors. Growth expected in 3D printing, robotics and drones. Learn about community-based product development in second report on Quirky.

Marketing Action supports Ice Bowl

Karen Fraser-Middleton (L) with Loomis Soroptimists at Rocklin Ice Bowl

The disc golf Ice Bowl held in Rocklin this weekend collected food for the Placer Food Bank and raised funds for Soroptimist International Loomis Basin. Marketing Action was a tee sponsor.

STEM: Welding Adds Applied Math Lessons at Sierra College

Sierra College Math and Welding departments worked together on a National Science Foundation (NSF)  IGNITE grant with the University of West Virginia at Parkersburg (UWVP) to infuse math into welding curriculum.

Sierra College Welding Department chair, Bill Wenzel worked with Katie Lucero, chair of the Sierra College Math Department, to develop the new applied academic curriculum.  The math lessons tied directly to a student project and significantly improved students’ math skills. Carol Pepper-Kittredge, director, Sierra College Center for Applied Competitive Technologies (CACT)  facilitated the collaboration of faculty with the University of West Virginia on this NSF grant project.

See the movie showing these technical education students integrating math into welding at Placer Herald Sierra College addresses skills gap by fusing math with welding (11-29-2012).

Learn more about Sierra College STEM projects.