It shouldn’t be news that people do business with people they like, but it seems as if we need to point that out to business owners periodically. Since that’s true, and it should be a generally acknowledged truth, it’s mystifying why companies often still make their employees online-anonymous.

What do I mean by online-anonymous? I see company blogs where each post is authored by “Admin” which must have been the world’s most popular baby name from 1960 till about 1990, given how many “Admins” there are out there. People — readers, business prospects, business partners, members, customers, etc. — want to know whose voice it is they’re hearing! They want to know who the authors are of the content they’re consuming — always. Better yet if they can SEE the person who is writing/tweeting, etc.

Better still is the opportunity to contact or connect with the person behind the company account. Let your readers or online visitors know where to find your people online — or off — by e-mail or phone, on LinkedIn, etc.

What worries you? I’ve heard from company managers that they don’t allow their employees to have an online presence that identifies them as a member of the company for the following reasons (with my parenthetical responses):

  1. They don’t want recruiters or other companies to steal their valuable people away (My response: be a better employer and you won’t have to worry about that.)
  2. They are embarrassed about their employees and don’t think they’ll represent the company appropriately (Two things: reconsider your hires/weed out, and train/put in place a social media policy to protect you and the employees and make it clear what your expectations are in this realm. Your employees ARE representing you, whether you like it or not.)
  3. They’re afraid of being contacted by too many people. (Huh? OK, I guess I understand if you’re attracting a lot of people who are not the right audience, but if that’s the case, then it’s your communications strategy that’s off, or maybe you’re just trying to go out of business?)
  4. Turnover is high, and it’s such a pain to keep removing people or replacing them online. (Hmmm. If turnover is so high, it’s possible your business challenges go much deeper than your online presence. Even if an employee leaves the organization, you don’t have to remove the fact that they ever were associated with your business. In fact, that looks a little fishy to the outside observer. Unless they were a really bad seed, let that person be part of the incredible history that tells the story of your company. You don’t have any control over what that person does online and it’s likely their LinkedIn profile is going to show their employment with you regardless.)

I invite you all in 2015 to introduce us to the people who make up your business. Let’s see their shining faces and get to know their names. I’m far more likely to remember a person than the company name and I’m definitely more interested in interacting with a human than a faceless logo. Aren’t you?


I like to take a peek at the Google Analytics of this site for the full year overview toward the end of each year. Looking at what visitors read the most helps shape what I decide to publish in the coming year. In 2014, the most visits were to posts about creating good LinkedIn summaries — something it seems most of you still struggle to complete.

The first post of its kind shared six good examples of summaries.

This post was the second collection of good summaries.

After that, the most visits were to posts about crisis communications, particularly around the social media surge that happened with the disappearance of Hannah Graham from Charlottesville, Va.

Another popular post in 2014 took a look at news values — what they are, and how to make sure your business is paying attention to them before posting, pitching, engaging media.

What was the most popular content your blog produced in the past year?




We went with a “happy new year” theme for this year’s company holiday card, mostly because we’re slow to get these out in the mail! The artwork is from Watermark Design.

Let this serve as your reminder to touch base with customers and clients at the end of the year — they’re looking forward to hearing from you!

I’ve written about how tired I am of e-mail. It has its uses, but fails in many ways. Phone calls are great, when needed. Texting is fantastic for a lot of quick communication. I’ve been thinking, though, of doing more writing by hand starting with the end of this year.

No, no: I don’t just mean holiday cards. I mean letters. Not a lot. Just a few.

My friend Amanda is very, very good at this. She sends the best birthday cards and handwritten “thinking of you” notes I’ve ever received.

A little secret? I keep them all. I keep all the handwritten, mailed notes I get. I have a rather large drawer full of them. When I’m having a particularly crappy day, it is really nice to open that drawer and read the words of dear friends and family.

So why haven’t I returned the favor? I get hung up on the lack of awesome stationery and an available pen. (Pretty sure I can remedy that). I get hung up on the fact that my fingers are near a keyboard or a smartphone all of my waking hours.

I’m going to give it a whirl, though. I have two very special people to start writing to, and I’ll see where it goes from there.

Do you write by hand? Do you like it when you get something handwritten in the mail?

Joey DeVilla sums it up nicely with a handy flowchart. His point is, of course, if someone wishes you any kind of warm, thoughtful greeting — even if it’s for a holiday you don’t celebrate — thank them, and wish them well! It’s not an invitation to argue with them. It’s not an attempt to proselytize. It’s just a greeting.

Having worked in public relations my entire career, I’ve been conditioned to offer very holiday nonspecific greetings and am often, perhaps, overly careful to share the appropriate message. This post, though, makes me rethink that a little, and this year, I’m just going to wish people well however the mood strikes.

As we head into Thanksgiving, in that case, I wish you all a Happy Pie Day!